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VENUE ISSUE 285

Will Cockram


concrete.venue@uea.ac.uk

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20.09.2013

VENUE

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contents

85 MUSIC

FASHION

freshers’ guide to music

london fashion week

Greetings to our returning readers and welcome to all you keen freshers! Venue is your go-to culture paper for reviews, fashion tips and what-to-see in Norwich. You’ve arrived just in time for the 50th Anniversary of the University of East Anglia, and inside we have a special Listings page so you know when and were to celebrate. Our editors have been put to the test to put together their pages in time for freshers’ week in a mere four days. In the midst of this, We have also had disappearing pictures, articles and entire pages to contend with. Despite this, our team have done a fantastic job on completing their first full-length issue. Once you new students start navigating your way around the

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city, you’ll start to uncover some great venues. Norwich is packed to the rafters with gigs, art exhibitions, and drama productions, it’s just a matter of finding out what’s on. Student friendly venues include The Bicycle Shop (see pg. 5), The Birdcage, The Playhouse and The Waterfront (tickets available via the UEA Box Office). We hope you enjoy our first issue of the semester, and we also hope to see any of you cultured types who would like to write for us at The Big Meet on the 26th of September. If you’re an astringent critic or an undiscovered fashionista, we want you. Stay cute, Ciara and Hayden

FILM the call

Editor-in-Chief | Sidonie Chaffer-Melley Venue Editors | Hayden East and Ciara Jack Music | Editors | Jack Enright and Alex Flood Music Contributors: Sam Day, Jack Enright, Flo Evans, Alex Flood, Rob Drury, Mike Vinti Fashion | Editors | Madz Abbasi and Ella Sharp Fashion Contributors: Chloe Lamb, Ella Sharp , Melissa Taylor Arts | Editor | Callum Graham Arts Contributors: Jack Francis Perkin, Issy Mitchell, Laura Sharp, Rachael Scott Creative Writing | Editor | Holly McDede Creative Writing Contributors: Rosie Foot, Erin Michie, Apollonia Roman, Deborah Torr, Gaming | Editor | Sam Emsley Gaming Contributors: Sam Emsley Television | Editor | Robert Drury Television Contributors: Adam Dawson, Zoe Jones, Jane Power, Lydia Tewkesbury, Adam White Film | Editors | Holly Wade and Adam White Film Contributors: Ella Gilbert, Emma Holbrook, Holly Wade, Adam White, Competitions/Listings | Editor | Saul Holmes

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Freshers’ Music Guide Norwich Music

THE NICK RAYNS LCR Union of UEA Students

Jack Enright It’s easy to take the LCR for granted. For most freshers a night out in its sweaty interiors quickly becomes a regular event, a drunken inauguration during

freshers’ week blossoming dimly into a series of fragmented nights, hazily strung together throughout the student years. However, just for now, forget the club nights complete with dubious themes and hit singles booming over a sweaty,

bouncing dance floor, because the Nick Rayns LCR will only shine at its very best when employed as a music venue. With a capacity of just over 1500, the site proves surprisingly intimate when you consider those who have previously graced its stage - U2, Manic Street Preachers, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Coldplay to name just a few - and with bands such as Bastille, Sub Focus and Haim just around the corner, the LCR is certainly maintaining its reputation as a serious, heavyweight venue. Alongside the healthily discounted drink prices on gig nights, the greatest appeal lies in its campus location and close proximity to the student union arguably its chief strength against the other Norwich venues. Freshers take note, big names play here and you are within rolling distance of your beds there is simply no excuse to miss out. However, it must be said that besides roping in the aforementioned big bookings, there can at times be more than a faint whiff of nostalgia in its booking choices - reunion tours and

tribute bands feature regularly - with costs for such tickets not always kind to those tight budgets. Just take a look at the Happy Mondays-Bummed 25th Anniversary Tour which, at £28, seems a somewhat hefty price to pay. That, and its rife oversell on tickets, being the two most serious weaknesses. The Nick Rayns LCR fills a gap in the Norwich music scene. The Bicycle Shop, Open and Waterfront all have their various advantages, but really, if what you’re after is a great atmosphere, indecent amounts of dancing and to know the vast majority of those around you, then it really does tick every box. And if you do fancy dancing the night away to some good old chart hits, then it’s free club entry for the rest of the night. Fun, as always, is guaranteed. Getting there - The LCR is located within Union House. When arriving for gigs you’ll need to enter via the back doors.

THE ARTS CENTRE Flo Evans It’s a modest affair really – a renovated Anglo-Saxon church with 300 person capacity. You’ll get a well-pulled pint and some theatre, standup, and a bit of music. Actually, now you mention it, they have had a few folk in that you might have heard of. Oh, I don’t know.... Nirvana, Oasis, Libertines, Manic Street Preahcers and Coldplay? Jack Dee popped in once, as did Noel Fielding. This church is a uniquely striking venue, which can be admired for its perfect acoustics and theatrical, slightly gothic stone arches. The stage is constructed in the place of the old Altar, effortlessly translating this place of worship from the old religion of Christianity to the new religion of music. The venue confidently and consistently books the artists that you

need to talk about, and offers a vast array of genres. Last year saw such critically acclaimed acts as post-punk rockers Savages, as well as Lapalux, the only British artist signed to Flying Lotus’ prestigious Brainfeeder label. Attending a gig here will likely win you the chance of saying “I saw them before they were even on Jools Holland” for years to come. It has the ability to be a roaring gig venue, a crisp and well behaved concert hall, or gloomy devil-may-care stand up venue. It even boasts a lovely, tranquil cafe that, come gig night, transforms into a nice little bar with an impressive selection of ciders and ales, perfect for pre-show drinks with company. This is without mentioning a gerat exhibition space and public use venue for anything from art fairs to classes and private parties. The Arts Centre is that good-looking classmate at school that does everything

Getting there - Take the 25/25A to Castle Meadow, take a left down Opie St. and follow Pottergate until you see The Birdcage. Turn right down the alley and then take your first left - it’s on the right hand side of the street.

The Swan House

well and isn’t trying too hard. The Arts Centre is left field and leather jacket wearing. After leaving the Arts Centre dripping with sweat, spilt beer, and with that dull ringing in your ears, you are much advised to seek refuge amongst kitschy furniture and generously measured cocktails in the Ten Bells Pub,

which is just across the street. If you’re looking for some quick and easy pre-gig nourishment, check out the Grosvenor Fish Bar which is just round the corner on Lower Goat Lane. The Birdcage, directly across from the chip shop, makes a great meeting point and pre-drink destination.


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THE OPEN

THE BICYCLE SHOP Open

Jack Enright The Open can sometimes feel like the unloved middle child of the Norwich music scene when compared to the big, shiny LCR and the older, more chic vibe of the Arts Centre. This isn’t helped by the way things are run over there either step through the doors on gig night and you are confronted by a phalanx of highvis clad stewards, marshals and doorstaff, who proceed to make the gig feel slightly awkward by hanging around the entire night like anxious teachers at a school disco. It’s not all bad news by any means, however - the Open team actually have a knack for snagging some top musical talent just before they hit the big time.

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This means you often get the chance to see some of tomorrow’s big names in a small venue, and if you’re lucky, they’ll be playing downstairs in the tiny, intimate Club Room. Add to the mix the recently installed sound system, which is arguably the best in Norwich, and the fact there is free tea and coffee available at the bar (for God knows what reason) and there are some serious plus points to offset any downsides. Getting there - take the 25A/25 bus to Castle Mall, and carry on walking down that street until you find the entrance roughly 100 metres along the street on the left.

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Rob Drury You’d be forgiven for thinking the Bicycle Shop on St Benedict’s Street serves only coffee, cake and little birds on bicycles as you walk through the door. But step downstairs to the music room for a gig and you’ll find it serves up a whole other host of delights. Whether perched on a stool by the small (but well-stocked) bar or lounging on a sofa by the stage, the tiny venue is perfect for chilled-out, intimate gigs.

Regardless of who’s playing, The Bicycle Shop is a must-visit gig venue for its relaxed atmosphere and tremendously hipster setting. Getting there - take the 25 to Castle Meadow, take a left down Opie St. and follow Pottergate until you see The Birdcage. Turn right down the alley and turn left onto St. Benedicts Street. The Bicycle Shop is on the opposite side of the road after around 50 metres.

THE WATERFRONT Jack Enright Located on the opposite bank to the Riverside Entertainment Centre, The Waterfront may be a tad off the beaten track in terms of Norwich’s nightlife spots, but that certainly shouldn’t be enough to put you off. The Waterfront might sometimes be overshadowed by its big brother on campus, the LCR, but it’s very much a heavyweight venue in its own right. The venue boasts a large 700-capacity room on the ground floor, and a smaller upstairs Studio room. The big bookings will usually play downstairs, but it’s worth keeping an eye on The Studio listings too - it’s a great place for catching small Norwich-based acts in their infancy. The booking team at The Waterfront put together a great series of acts year after year, and this semester is no exception - with heavyweight names such as Peace, Local Natives and MSMR gracing the bill, it would be ignorant to pass off The Waterfront as any kind of LCR-Lite.

When it comes to regular clubnights, in fact, it’s easy to argue that The Waterfront has the edge. While the LCR may have by far the bigger, bolder nights, the playlist will inevitably be chart-heavy and entirely forgettable The Waterfront, on the other hand, puts on a range of clubnights that cater for a few genres at a time. ‘Meltdown’ - the Waterfront’s flagship night - specialises in indie, rock and alternative dance music and runs every Saturday. If you’re a fan of classic rock and metal, then the Metal Lust clubnight will cater for your needs on the third Saturday of the Month in the upstairs Studio. Meanwhile, The Wraith night showcases the best in alternative rock, metal and goth on the last Saturday of every month. In terms of serious downsides to The Waterfront, there really isn’t too much to complain about. The soundsystem might not be as sharp as The Open’s crystal clear set-up, and if you are really splitting hairs then there’s a couple of awkwardly placed pillars in the main room, but nothing that can really take away from a great night out.

Denis Gorbatov

Getting there - Take the 25/25A bus all the way to the train station, then cut through the Riverside Entertainment Complex. After about 300 metres turn right onto the The Lady Julian Bridge and over onto Saint Ann Lane. Take the first left onto King Steet and continue along until you see the venue on your left hand side.


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LIVE REVIEW

Joe Packman

BABYSHAMBLES LCR 16/09/13 Alex Flood It is a feeling of uncertainty that often confronts any person heading to a gig featuring the illustrious Pete Doherty, and when Babyshambles played UEA’s own LCR on Monday 16th September, it was no exception to the rule. News that Doherty arrived 90 minutes late on stage at Brixton Jamm the week before did nothing but confirm the feeling of trepidation that the event would be as chaotic as the band’s famed lead singer’s life has been. The concert itself (when it started 30 minutes late) was in itself much like a visit to the zoo, with a less than full venue (the gig was 87 tickets short of selling out)

gawping at Doherty, much like a child would press its face up against the glass in a reptile house, waiting to see what absurd action this ape would commit next. It cannot be denied that he did not disappoint. Pete (or Peter as he prefers) was full of his ludicrous at times and incomprehensible at others brand of illicit substance-fuelled ‘banter’, and produced several genuine laugh-out-loud moments. He launched his mic stand into the crowd at one point, sparking a mosh-pit brawl which left the stand in twisted bits. Later he harangued his microphone lead in circles around his neck (almost strangling himself several times) a la Roger Daltery in his heyday, and when he declared defiantly that “the first person to get on stage gets a free Babyshambles T-shirt”, the last few songs before the encore were completed in a furore of flying limbs, as a mere four terrified barrier guards fought a flood of

stampeding fourteen-year olds desperate to grab their thirty seconds of fame on stage with the man who would be king. Doherty himself played guitar rarely and soon put it aside after a rousing rendition of ‘Delivery’ as opener, which set the crowd alight. New single ‘Nothing Comes to Nothing’ followed, and was met with a good response from a crowd obviously in awe of Doherty as an image of Libertines splendour they still clutch desperately at. In truth, Doherty’s performance was typically muddled. Technically his guitar playing was often out of time and his vocals were mostly below-par. However this did not detract from the performance, which was exciting and enthralling. Several unexpected covers emerged, a passable cover of Joy Division’s ‘She’s Lost Control’, and a verse of ‘I Wanna Be Adored’ acted as filler in between songs, with Doherty singing the anthemic chorus lying on his back in front

of bewildered drummer Jamie Morrison. Perhaps the most exuberant the crowd became was when the band launched themselves with admirable gusto into The Beatles’ ‘Twist and Shout’, performing it far better the Paul McCartney himself does these days, with Doherty’s ragged voice shredding through the chorus forcefully. After this, the band left the stage, only to return, albeit unsurely, 5 minutes later for an extended 20 minute jam based loosely around the recent single ‘Sequel to the Prequel’. In summary, Babyshambles produced an enthralling evening (later than planned) of their own brand of indie, rock n’ roll, and although no Libertines songs were featured, they gave the crowd what they have come to expect, a shambolic yet entertaining, and most importantly, exciting performance; and that, as we all know, is exactly what Pete Doherty himself, is.


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Album Reviews ARCTIC MONKEYS AM Mike Vinti

There’s no doubt at this point that the Arctic Monkeys are as big as they come. Five albums in, and Alex Turner’s Sheffield Motorcycle gang of a band have completed their transformation from indie royalty to music heroes. AM was born out of supposed boredom with the material of 2011s Suck It and See and the progression between the two albums is clear. Gone are the fast paced, finger shredding guitar riffs that lingered in Suck It and See from Humbug

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days gone by, and in their place we find slick, rolling licks of fuzz heavy guitar that owe far more to Black Sabbath or Led Zeppelin than to Johnny Marr. Nick O’Malley’s bass lolls through the entire album, laid back and sexy, somehow managing to display influences both from classic rock and 90s g-funk; Snoop Dogg wouldn’t sound amiss spitting a verse over the strutting, arrogant bassline of r&b influenced ‘One for the Road’. This duality is most apparent on ‘Arabella’, a song that manages to encapsulate the concept of AM in three and a half minutes. The slow, spaced bass and muted arpeggio that open this track exude vibes of hazy LA beaches and cruising down endless highways in open top Chevy’s, even Alex Turner’s vocals and turn of phrase pay homage to 90s rap. Then seamlessly as you like thick, distorted waves of reverb heavy guitar crash in and we’re back to the swaggering, classic rock n roll vibes of opening tracks ‘Do I Wanna Know?’ and ‘R U Mine?’. Yet the Monkeys manage to avoid sounding ‘American’, a phrase which cropped up in more than one review of Suck it and See. Alex Turner’s lyrical palette is still laden with British and more specifically Northern themes and idioms (see the references to gloom and rain on the more ‘traditional’ sounding Knee Socks). And even Matt Helders’ percussion has a very British rock n roll feel to it. So far so good, the Arctic Monkeys

seem to know exactly what they’re doing with AM. Yet you can’t shake the feeling that by the time ‘I Want it All’ fades into the ironically titled ‘No.1 Party Anthem’ most listeners have tuned out a little. The middle section of the album consists of three tracks back to back that all fit into the category of ‘bluesrock slow-jam’. They’re all perfectly good songs, but that’s the problem. ‘No.1 Party Anthem’ is ‘Suck and See It’ but with Radiohead on guitars and ‘Mad Sounds’ only achievement of note is being the most boring track on an already fairly predictable album. For all of AM’s talk of getting high and its less than subtle suggestions of sex, ‘I saw this coming from the start, the shake rattle and roll’, the Arctic Monkey’s fail to excite to on the majority of the album. AM’s influences are embedded in Turner’s lyrics throughout whether he’s ‘[left] listening to the Stones two thousand light years from home’ in ‘I Want it All’ or Billy Joel’s aforementioned ‘shake, rattle and roll’ in ‘One For The Road’. Sadly, despite the NME’s claims that AM defies genre, this is inoffensive rock music. The controlled, well put together nature of this album somehow prevents it from feeling like the real deal. Jamie Cook’s guitar solos sound like anyone else’s and Helders’ percussion borrows heavily from Led Zep’s John Bonham with its frequent use of crash cymbals and quick snare claps. It sounds a little too much like the ‘Arctic Monkey’s play the

Black Keys’; the first half of AM is heavy on tweaked classics but low on surprise. Seemingly aware of this, Turner and co. kick off the second half with personal favourite ‘Fireside’, the opening Spanish style guitar once again grabs the listener’s attention and finally delivers some well needed refreshment from Alex Turner’s six track impression of Josh Homme. Latest single ‘Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?’ is undeniably one of their best, the lyrics a near perfect account of a Friday night out when someone’s on your mind, a brilliant depiction of everyday life that is matched only by Mike Skinner at his best in The Streets. The less said about Pigeon Detectiveesque ‘Snap Out of It’ the better - far better to focus your efforts on ‘I Wanna Be Yours’, a future classic in the Monkey’s catalogue with an instrumental that Nick Cave could call home and lyrics lifted from the poem of the same name by John Cooper Clarke; ironically it’s the only track where Turner’s emotion feels real. AM is undeniably a good album, crafted to bring around long term fans that were unsure of Suck and See’s offering and to please those that loved it alike. With AM the Arctic Monkeys have cemented their legacy but still haven’t managed to surpass their triumphant debut.

Every once in a while a band will come along and you will immediately sense that they’re something special. London Grammar first arrived on the scene in early 2013, and the music community had quickly laid a thick, heavy weight of expectation upon their skinny hipster shoulders. You’ve heard the singles. ‘Metal & Dust’ whets our appetites with its eerie atmosphere and its strange sounds. ‘Wasting My Young Years’ is delicious, serving a profound ballad with a side of royal strings woven together with lead vocalist Hannah Reid’s angelic voice and lyrics of lament (I don’t know what you want/don’t leave me hanging on). ‘Strong’, their minimalist anthem, the ballad everyone wants to dance to, leaves us salivating for more - and we’ve waited. Now we’re ready for the main course. If You Wait is a collection of music by introverted, creative prodigies expressing themselves. Not exactly an album-full

of party banging choooons, these tracks should be listened to with fervent scrutiny. This is a piece of art for the musically intellectual that would leave Miley Cyrus baffled while she licks a hammer and sings about getting wildly inebriated. Hannah Reid doesn’t lick hammers, but her beautiful, operatic voice is powerful enough to drive a nail through steel. Yet it carries the vulnerability for you to believe in what she’s singing. In the sinister, confessional ‘Nightcall’, (“I’m gonna show you where it’s dumped, but have no fear”) you genuinely believe her sense of guilt and despair. Band members Dot Major and Dan Rothman’s musicality is varied enough to keep us interested, even though London Grammar’s minimal style doesn’t carry much scope for variation. Bongos in ‘Flickers’ enhance the band’s rhythmic quality, whilst a collaboration with Disclosure combines two polarising bands into a perfect concoction, creating

a middle ground sophisticated enough to satisfy both sets of fans. Title track If You Wait, meanwhile, will satisfy anyone. There’s an infinite guarantee that it will crush your heart into a thousand tiny pieces and then fix it up again. In short, it’s incredibly special. If we are splitting hairs, then songs like ‘Shyer’ and ‘Help’ contribute little to the band’s repertoire - but their music is so consistently beautiful it seems almost sacrilege to skip a track. These are the interludes that join the hits together, crafting a continually flowing masterpiece. London Grammar are first and foremost an album band, and what they have created is precious enough to be showcased in a museum in 1000 years time. It’s different, creative, and possibly revolutionary. Let’s wait to find out.

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Melissa Taylor gives us the low down on LCR chic

Matte Nails Taking the leather look to the next level

Tartan Autumn’s most accesible trend

CHOKIN’ Leopard Print No. No. No. No.

The season of messiness is upon us; it’s fresher’s week. For those of you who have only recently popped your Lower Common Room cherry, we here at Venue would like to give you a helping hand with what to wear for campus’ most banging night out. Even if you borrow your moves from the Puppet Man you’ll be getting luckier than a UEA rabbit: welcome to Norwich, y’all. Any evening spent at an LCR club night is pretty much guaranteed to be a good’un, as long as you lower all of your expectations and then lower them some more. The LCR is rad. It’s also effing disgusting. Bear this in mind; anything worth more than about twenty quid is probably best left at home. People will bump into you and spill their snakebite all over you, idiots in still damp body paint will rub up against you and for the love of God, DO NOT wear white. By

the end of the night, the floor will become more treacherous than Chancellor’s Drive after a sharp frost. Ladies, use your discretion – heels require night-long commitment. You really can’t go barefoot in that mess, plus there’s often an unholy amount of broken glass. Any event that’s held in the same room as a monthly blood donor’s meeting is going to be an inherently casual affair so you may want to save the party dresses for a place you can buy an actual cocktail. Three VKs in a pint glass isn’t a cocktail. Fellas, you think you’ve got it so easy when it comes to nights out, don’t you? Quick shower, clean shirt, quick spray of something or other (remember: no spray, no lay). Ha ha, think again. It will take you an unreal amount of effort to find a shirt not worn by at least twenty-five other guys. You may not be particularly bothered, but unless you’re very tall, it

will be an absolute ‘mare for your friends to try and find you. Just be a little bit considerate and try to avoid a checked shirt and chinos; if you get lost in the Hive forever, it’ll be entirely your own fault. A few words on fancy dress: make some damn effort. Unless you’re Gretchen Weiner or Regina George, underwear and animal ears just won’t cut it. Not in a prudish or judgemental way; lazy is just lame. Hogwarts LCR: go for Voldemort. Bald cap, white facepaint, and tape your nose up or something. Why not try being a PE teacher for the School Daze LCR, instead of the generic naughty-but-nerdy schoolgirl. Although last minute fancy dress supplies can be bought at the box office, you’ll save a lot more money if you shop around, try Poundland or the market. Basically, just dress up (cheaply) and get down (disgracefully).

London Fashion Week: Kilian Kerner Fashion editors Ella Sharp and Madz Abbasi attend Kilian Kerner’s U.K. debut

Robin Thicke Can you say misoygnistic prick?

On Friday 13 September, Concrete Fashion attended Kilian Kerner’s S/ S14 Red Carpet Collection showcase at the Waldorf Hilton, London. It was the German designer’s first ever UK assembly and suffice it to say, Kilian did not disappoint. Initial expectations of the The Theatre usual runway extravaganza were at large, however these were soon dismissed when doors were opened and the “oos!” and “aahs!” began. Six live models posed in groups with mannequins around the room, all of whom were clothed in Kerner’s stunning ttention reshers pieces, as Greg Foat played light jazz on a grand piano. The layout of Kerner’s Keep your eyes peeled for us, we’ll be showcase was such that viewers were able on the hunt for all you fashion-savvy to walk around and admire his collection freshers at SocMart and SportsMart, close-up and from all angles. so dress to impress and you might just One of the central colours of the end up on the website! collection was gold; a risky colour for Spring/Summer. However, the Oscar Feel free to come and introduce worthy gowns used white accents to lighten the tone of the dresses. One of yourselves to us at societies fair. We’re the boldest golden creations was the nice, we promise. scalloped crop top, which almost looked solid to the touch, paired with an over Follow us on twitter @conc_fashion the top, ballerina-esque full length skirt. Modernising the idea of the dress, the Ella and Madz crop top added the 90s twist we’re so Fashion Editors 2013/14 used to seeing on the high street. A knee length gold shift dress was also a focal

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point of the collection, again modernising a classic, this time the 60s shift. Kerner continued the 90s grunge trend via an amalgamation of statement jewellery – all silver and gold – in which the models were decked. This included chokers intertwined with thick and delicate chains as well as large pearls and jewels; wrist cuffs with multi-coloured, flower-shaped jewels and crystal ear cuffs. A jaw-dropping piece in the collection was a backwards silver necklace. The necklace adorned with both round and tear-drop pearls and numerous white crystals, all of which surrounded a single blue crystal. Seemingly, Kerner loves a throwback and there were touches of the 80s too. Not a shoulder pad in sight, but raised and heavily structured shoulders featured on several of the dresses, taking them from overly girly to tailored and strong. The collection itself, being made up of showy red carpet dresses cleverly avoided looking too pretty-pretty through the use of heavy, solid fabrics and this structured tailoring. Hair and makeup was kept minimalistic so as not to distract from the collection itself. Models had a deep side parting with their hair tucked behind their ears and pulled back into a

sleek pony-tail at the nape of the neck. Their cheekbones were lightly dusted with bronzer and they wore a thin coat of mascara and brown eyeliner. The whole collection played with what our idea of ‘pretty’ and ‘elegance’ really is. From the ballerina skirt, to the structure lines of the fitted shift dresses, Kerner’s creativity and imagination knows no bounds.

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Photographer: Jacob Roberts-Kendall Model: Kat Schofield Stylist: Madz Abbasi and Ella Sharp

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Backpacks are back The time has come to start bracing ourselves for seminars and lectures once again, but carrying your heavy books around classes needn’t be a chore. Rucksacks are a great option for carrying around books, folders and your everyday essentials, with many made with durability, space and weather-proofing in mind. The old-school rucksack has also been having somewhat of a style revival with many gorgeous prints and styles to choose from. This trend looks set to stay throughout autumn, making it the perfect choice for someone looking for a bag combining fashion and function. ASOS ASOS is one of the best places to look for quirky, vintageinspired clothing, and their rucksack range is no exception. With countless styles and designers, it can be very hard to pick a favourite. One of their standouts styles has to be the ‘Reclaimed Vintage Look’ rucksack in ‘Floral Tapestry’. The cute duffle shape is eye-catching, but the focal feature has to be its beautiful tapestry design, which has been lovingly re-crafted from actual vintage fabric.

New Look New Look features some more affordable offerings to the rucksack trend without compromising on style. Their ‘Black Woven Tapestry Backpack’ and ‘Black and Purple Baboushka Tapestry Drawstring Backpack’ are both fashionable combinations of tapestry and leather trends. Their selection of Aztec print rucksacks is varied and versatile to suit every taste, with designs and colours ranging from bright pink and purple to more subtle burgundy and black shades. River Island and Topshop River Island and Topshop are the destinations to go to for sophisticated, leather rucksacks. With many varying colours from elegant blacks and browns to shocking blues, these are the perfect choice for someone looking for a rucksack with a bit of class. Favourite picks include the ‘Patent Mini Backpack’ from Topshop for instant 60’s chic and the ‘Light brown tumbled two-tone rucksack’ from River Island with its unique contrasting panels. Topshop’s ‘Zig Zag Duffle Backback’ is also a great design

as it has lots of space combined with a gorgeous, neutral pattern that will complement almost any outfit. Accessorize Whilst no means the cheapest destination (although they do offer student discount), Accessorize’s use of quality materials means their rucksacks will last longer than cheaper options. Their ‘Check Rucksack’ is both on trend and versatile with its black and red kilt-style fabric. Cute animal prints are a timeless classic, yet the statement ‘Fox PU Rucksack’ goes a step further with its fox head shape and quirky design. The ‘Birdie Print Square Rucksack’ not only uses a lovely fabric, but also has a lot of space and functionality, with a dual use top handle and a matching detachable tablet case.

Chloe Lamb With special thanks to the Plantation Garden for use of their location for the above shoot. Find them at 4 Earlham Road.


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Theatre in Norwich

Rachael Stott If you’re seeking inspiration for how to entertain yourself in Norwich, look no further than the theatres. Regardless of your budget, timetable and taste I guarantee you can find something that will leave you raucously applauding the performers that share their story with you. On finding out I was going to UEA, my only feeling of reservation was towards Norwich’s location. Friends had me convinced I was setting sail to an isolated city made exclusively of cobblestones, John Lewis shops and old people. First year of uni was one of the most hectic, exciting and

eye-opening of my life, and the city’s arts scene was key to this. I did not struggle to feed my passion for theatre with the mix of things on offer in this welcoming and quirky little city. The biggest theatre is Norwich Theatre Royal, seating 1300 in its lavish performance space. Showcasing touring companies from across the UK, its repertoire varies from musicals to National Theatre productions and some great Ballet. There is always something at the Norwich Playhouse and The Playhouse Bar which will make your existence a little

more enchanted with its exotic drinks and decorative fish tank. Jazz, comedy and stand-up amongst many other theatrical treats is showcased on their intimate stage. Alternatively, you can leave the river side and trot over to Maddermarket Theatre in the lanes of the city. The Elizabethan styled stage creates a magnificently nostalgic atmosphere: a warm and welcoming place to spend a dark and rainy autumn evening. Up the road from the Theatre Royal is The Garage: a modern space which facilitates education in the performing arts and also showcases a great deal of talent

from youth theatres and independent local theatre companies. Otherwise, if you are prepared to jump across the river to the Sewell Barn Theatre on the north side of the city you’ll be rewarded with an array of straight plays that will move, entertain and challenge you: maybe each in turn or all at once if you’re lucky. Or if moving isn’t your thing, never fear. Minotaur Theatre Company and Drama Society will be busy all term with entirely student run productions which will not fail to prove to you that students at UEA know their stuff. Image: Outside Studio

GoGo Gorillas in Norwich Kate Snowdon: Don’t Go Go Gorilla - Stay!!

Jack Francis Perkin If you’ve been in Norwich between June and August, you might have noticed the apparition of 53 brightly painted, life-sized gorillas…in fact, how could you fail to have noticed it? The ‘GoGo Gorillas!’, to use their official title, formed an “outdoor art trail” organised by Break, a local young peoples’ charity, and an educational group, Wild in Art. The sculptures themselves – which bore names including ‘Bling Kong’, ‘Optimus Primate’, and (a personal favourite) ‘Bradley Wiggins’ – stood five feet tall, weighed half a tonne, and were modelled from glass-fibre. They were decorated by both professional and amateur artists, among them Phil Daniels, whose spookily accurate rendering of Alan Partridge in gorilla-form, ‘Alanrilla’, was unveiled at the premiere of Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa in August. Also exhibited was the work of local artists like Jenny Leonard and Daniel Hanton, who studied at the Norwich School of Art and Design. In addition to

these, 67 ‘Baby Gorillas’ were contributed by local schools and community groups. Each gorilla originated as a “blank canvas”, and all 53 sculptures reflect the personality of its artist. As well as ‘Alanrilla’, Phil Daniels has decorated ‘Mr Carrow’ – who wears a Norwich City football strip – and an accompanying gorilla-referee called ‘Gladstone’ which was positioned in The Forum. However, Daniels’ light-heartedness is made to feel flippant alongside works like ‘Besty: Here Today! Gone Tomorrow?’ by Kevin Farrow, or, more poignantly, Hannah Nelson’s ‘Killing Fields’: this features a patchworklike design of empty fields, and “is about the relentless destruction of rainforests, mangroves and the clearing of natural land worldwide.” It was refreshing to see serious points being made in a project which slightly over-emphasized its intention to “excite and delight” its audience. Despite the somewhat perplexing incongruity of gorillas and Norwich, the ‘GoGo Gorillas’ – which stood from 24

June to 7 September – offered an interesting alternative to the open-topped bus tour. Visitors to Norwich were encouraged to “find those Gorillas” in a specific order, from number one in Chapelfield Gardens, through to number 53 in The Forum, incorporating Norwich’s Market, its cathedrals, its Castle, and Carrow Road. Indeed, it is expected that the “legacy” of this exhibition, to borrow some Olympic jargon, will be to encourage future tourism by “showcase[ing] the creativity of Norwich, its heritage, architecture, regeneration and its prolific art scene”. In 2008, Wild in Art, which helped to organise this summer’s ‘GoGo Gorillas’, introduced the ‘Go Elephants!’ to Norwich. This was a similar project, featuring 53 lifesized elephants which were later auctioned, raising £203,100 for CLIC Sargent and the Born Free Foundation. It will be hoped that a similar amount can be raised for the Born Free Foundation and Break when the ‘GoGo Gorillas’ are auctioned at The Forum in October.


ARTS

concrete.arts@uea.ac.uk

www.concrete-online.co.uk

My Summer of Art

20.09.2013

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Issy Mitchell I knew I wanted to make something of my summer. I wanted to get as much out of the months I had out of university as possible. Not being overly inspired by my academic life, I knew that I needed to focus on my real passion; art. Over the past year my priorities have shifted. I’m no longer aiming for the first that I so wanted when I started my university career. Now, all I want to do is create. So, with this in mind, I set out in search of like-minded people who I could inspire and be inspired by. This search was based in Oakland, California, where I spent ten glorious weeks of my summer. The search was pretty short-lived as, within a week of me being in Oakland, I had landed a volunteer job working within a local, non-profit, art collective; Rock Paper Scissors. In their words ‘Rock Paper Scissors collective is a volunteer-run organization that fosters creativity and collaboration in order to strengthen local communities and encourage sustainable practices and alternative models.’ This was perfect for me; a space in which creativity was

encouraged and used in order to build a tight-knit community. The collective is based out of a small shop, within which there is a gallery, zine library, ‘art lab’ and boutique, where volunteers can sell whatever it is they chose to make. I spent my days there drawing and sewing, creating in a space where I was surrounded by people that were interested in what I was doing and who actively encouraged my creativity. I also helped to keep the space in order, tidying up and organising the arts and crafts materials, so that other people had the opportunity to come in and enjoy all that the space had to offer Furthermore, volunteering at RPSC provided me with the opportunity to work alongside some interns associated with the collective’s youth programme, a programme set up in order to promote youth involvement within the collective and, thus, to encourage creativity within the local community. This was incredibly gratifying work as, rather than just focusing on my own creativity, I worked to inspire and support the teenagers with

Image: Shirley Lau

the projects that they were working on. Being involved with such a pro-active art collective was an incredibly positive experience. It gave me an insight into how art, in all forms, can be used to create a bond between different people and with the local community. It really made me think about what I want to achieve in

Norwich this year and then what I want to do once I’ve graduated (in less than a year’s time). I want to set up a similar collective, a community within which people feel able to express themselves and where the art created will encourage and inspire others to follow. So that’s what I’m going to do.

Review: A Doll’s House Laura Sharp Nora Helmer is a happily married wife and mother whose husband is just about to be promoted, life couldn’t be more perfect. What her family don’t know, is that Nora has a secret that puts everyone’s reputation on the line. She once borrowed money to save her husband’s life, a truth that Nora struggles to deal with alone until her own realisation of truth; this is not the life she wants. When Ibsen’s A Doll’s House was first performed 130 years ago in England, a production of a woman’s domestic struggle and eventual abandonment of her husband and children would have been almost unimaginable. Today, when it is not such a shocking occurrence, it faces the challenge to make this appeal to a modern audience. The director Carrie Cracknell includes a well laid set; homely lighting and an impressive revolving stage at the Duke of York Theatre in London. Like the stage, the drama seems to go in circles. Never for a moment was Nora’s character placed still. Hattie Morahan

Duke of York Theatre

was forever running through rooms, pinned up against walls and corners and was so jittery and shaken I could not relax for the whole performance. The acting of all the roles, particularly Dr Rank, was brilliantly done and even roles such as the maid were individual and entertaining. In my opinion Hattie’s performance appeared overdone, forcing an old Nora Helmer into an increasingly feminist world. Nora is shown to be slightly unstable, constantly referred to as a ‘little bird’, the performance showed that this bird didn’t stand a chance of flying by herself. Perhaps this has something to do with Simon Stephens’s translation in an attempt to reach out to a contemporary audience. Stephen’s fascination with drinking and insanity are apparent in the play and the feeling of something lacking in Nora Helmer may come from the idea that he ‘thinks she’s going to go back the next day, hung over and apologetic’. Perhaps it is simply a case of her character being lost in translation. The role of Nora Helmer has won Hattie

www.adollshouselondon.com

the Critics Circle Best Actress Award 2013. However, I don’t think Nora’s character has won anything from this portrayal, except perhaps madness. Despite rave reviews, I, like Nora in her nine years of marriage, was

left unsatisfied. This production has inspired a modern day version of the play to be made into a short film by the Young Vic Theatre, which can be viewed at youngvi.org/yvshorts. Nora Helmer, welcome to the twenty-first century


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CREATIVE WRITING

20.09.2013

www.concrete-online.co.uk

Simon Erin Michie

He took photos of them. He took photos of them as, childlike, they drifted into incomprehensibility the moment their eyes shut and mind slackened. He took photos of them during the seconds when they became nonentities, nothing but gathered lumps of flesh, of no significance to anybody – not even themselves. There was a kind of sincerity to be found in these people during the night, as a true nakedness of the soul was exposed. It was an honest disclosure of oneself entirely lacking in the daylight hours, where every movement they made was contrived. Those unguarded moments were so very precious to him, defined him somewhat, as he collected their defencelessness as eight megapixel memories. His favourites were the ones who had nightmares. He revelled in the tremble of their fingertips, revered the groans of discontent as their composure crumpled beneath the bedcovers. Oh, how their legs would spasm and kick out, as if they were trying to hurt him, to drive him away - as if he was the night terror that plagued them. And the sweat - the sweat that didn’t quite manifest into droplets, but clung to and dampened their hot skin as it flushed puce within the darkness! He wanted to bathe in that sweat. But he had rules. Whilst once photographing a perspiring middle-aged contractor, he had taken a handkerchief and cupped the flimsy linen against the man’s brow, waiting until the humidity soaked through and moistened his own epidermis. Yet the male had grown agitated from the contact and he had been forced to recoil, and in the retreat the handkerchief was lost. The experience was phantasmal, and yet he was later compelled to acknowledge his transgression; he had soiled something precious the instant he touched that man. And so he had honed his craft, became self-disciplined in only capturing ocular imprints of his silent visits. He persuaded himself to find them more aesthetically gratifying on

Of Cheese and Sheep

revision, that the pictures were enough to satisfy, to indulge his curiosity. He nevertheless rarely caught those instances of nightmare delirium, as on average most sleepers he encountered were sweet-dreamers, whose placid expressions and soft sighs often made him grimace with frustration; or dead weights, whom he considered to be particularly gormless creatures, when noting the way their dribble had crystallised on their pillowcases. They were the extremes of the spectrum. The dead weights left themselves incredibly exposed to physical manipulation, whilst the sweet-dreamers were far too susceptible to subconscious influence for his liking. There remained a sensation that closely mirrored bereavement on those occasions, as it was disappointingly effortless to attain what he desired from them. One particular night, however – that night, he chanced across a very special sleeper indeed. A small girl, approximately eight years old, sleepwalking around her bedroom. He was systematic in how he approached this case; firstly ensuring that the parents (dead weights) were not inclined to awaken in the immediate future, secondly that the door was securely bolted, and then finally finding a perch from which to study the sleepwalker. He chose her bed, settling close to the headrest, and paused to suck in the scent of the room – to at least have that pleasure, if he could not touch her – and noted with delight that it hinted at salted caramel. She twirled around the darkened space in a lazy loop, similarly to how a slight draft coming through the crack of the bedroom window would push around a stray feather. The girl’s eyes were wide, colourless, as they swept across him with every turn of the room. It reminded him of a time when he had sat and watched the revolving beam of a lighthouse, how each time it briefly illuminated him on that

bench he became weightless, a skeletal frame merely driven by the desire to perceive and be perceived. His blood thumped in his ears and saliva coated his canine teeth like snake venom, euphoric as he was at the rare find that once again made him feel this way. The muscles in his hands seized with cold excitement as he struggled to disentangle the camera from his pocket. He couldn’t press the button rapidly enough to record every angle of her form, every twist of a limb, every expression that crossed her dreamless face. Some pictures appeared just as pale streaks as she moved out of frame, whilst others were caught between indecipherability and clarity – where the only features distinguishable were her leering, hollow eyes. He wanted to remember, to remember, to remember forever. He may have been sat there for centuries. He lost track of himself that night, submersing himself in recording every feature of his noctambulist, his little Lady Macbeth. He became sloppy, as when she started to murmur he forcibly sank his teeth into his thick tongue, to muffle his responding hum of placation. The sound, a wet echo that scraped the roof of his mouth, lodged in his throat and it was as if he were choking on his carelessness. He was disintegrating, decomposing in that bedroom. The temptation – the desire to cross that boundary and touch her! He pressed the zoom button on the camera instead, levelled the shot along her jaw line, and in quick succession stole image after image of her lips as they began to open wider, stretch further, pull so taut they turned ashen grey. He continued to take the pictures even as he realised that the girl had stopped moving, even as he realised that her eyes now pierced his through the lens... Even as she began to scream. He wanted to never forget.

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concrete.creativewriting@uea.ac.uk

Stanley Blows Apollonia Roman —into his tuba hating each blasting, blasted spittle-filled breath, hating that his portly figure suits this portly tool and it’s perverted, flatulent notes, sour beneath those of the quavering flutes and tight trumpets. Stanley feels for his fat, slovenly friend.

Stop Breeding Rosie Foot Questions stop fucking Like fingernail fungi, Dogs on heat, Clotted phlegm. One after the other, Faster and faster, Deeper and deeper, Twirling like cork screws, To the side of my ears, Above my neck, Behind my forehead. They won’t stop. Multiplying in a warm brain flannel, encrusted with pubic residue I can handle the enigma of Mr What, with a frown and a fistful of silver rings I can take the presence of Mr When, with an intricate map of lists and wage packets I can digest Mr How, with a pinch of salt and a graveyard of dusty books But that little bugger Mr Why, well, he swings on ropey brain intestine Tickles in areas that ring out the juices in your tongue. I can’t control him and what is worse, he is the god father for fucking. Multiplying in the millions, billions, trillions in sizes smaller than an ant eye. Multifaceted sides, Individually unique, Biologically perplexing. He reigns higher than any other question, With a reproductive system like a barrel of bubbles, Humping himself quicker and quicker. Why? Why? Why? Stable nods and concrete replies die in the depressing nature of Mr Why. He sits in a boxing ring in a silk robe waiting for an answer. In the hollow, village hall of my brain, he shouts only to have a faint echo cry back. Grey pubes. Grey sex. Grey life. With no answers, Mr Why continues to breed.

This Could Anywhere

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Deborah Torr Let’s pretend we are in someone else’s dream, The only thing to contend with, Is the splash of the pebble, The sway of the stream Does anything really matter in this time in between? This here is where fingers interlock, These moments are gone but they never really stop, This is the clock handle between the tick and the tock; This is me, Driving into the middle of nowhere, And finding some diner named ‘This Could Be Anywhere’. I’ll drink strawberry milkshake through a barber shop straw, And forget that time is just the ice cubes in my glass, Clinking with the past, Solid now, But about to thaw. If the here and now is all we have and all we can hope for, Then place your faith in fate and then wait, Cos the breaks don’t always come, But when they do, Grab them, Breathe in, And then dive, It’s only when I’m falling that I ever feel alive, With the wind rushing by, We are airborne, Weightless, Wingless, Yet we survive.

Artist Rosie Foot

I am a tortured soul with a lacklustre, sticky attitude towards work, It doesn’t come easy. I sit and ponder on my terms aware that I sound conventional. One half of a binary opposite, Half an orange, half a glass, an egg cracked it two. That’s how we make sense of the world, right? If you’re not this you must be that. If I say black you think of white, Not grey, White. By recognising one thing you give power to its silent twin. I do not want to revise for an exam, The exam has the power. I do not want to marry. Marriage has the power. I do not want to come home. Home has the power. It’s like fattening a Labrador with milk and beef, The cow impoverished and bony lying on its back, Udders parched, backside bitten. I want it to get up. But I am just too lazy. I am void. An artist with a problem.


GAMING concrete.gaming@uea.ac.uk

www.concrete-online.co.uk

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20.09.2013

Preview: xbox one and ps4 Sam Emsley Microsoft’s next offering in the console market is the Xbox One. A new sleeker design and a hardware upgrade are a marked improvement on its predecessor, although its steeper price point relative to the PS4 might dissuade some. Noticeable hardware upgrades are the 500gb HDD and the blu-ray disc drive: the latter seeing Microsoft finally embrace the technology long after their failed competitor, HD-DVD, was laid to rest. It also gives the discs far greater capacity which should allow for much more detailed and expansive games. Some interesting exclusives were also announced, including Ryse, Dead Rising 3, and an as yet unnamed Halo game. But despite all of these positives the limelight has been entirely focused on Microsoft’s blunders, not the console itself - with the first of these being the decision to implement possibly the worst thing in modern gaming: always online DRM. Microsoft were initially coy on the issue, before confirming that the Xbox One would have to connect to the internet every 24 hours even for offline play. As the internet exploded in a torrent of entirely justified outrage, Sony made sure to note in their presentation that the PS4 would not

have DRM, something which resulted in almost universal praise. Microsoft held fast and came precariously close to falling on their sword before completely backtracking and deciding to remove DRM. Another questionable decision is their forcible inclusion of Kinect with every console. Not only is the price pushed up by this (not to mention that the majority of gamers will have no use for it), but it can also potentially hear and see everything you do. This bordered on scandal as the NSA revelations came to light and drew further criticism in Microsoft’s direction concerning their collusion with the NSA. The Xbox One certainly has its redeeming features and many fans of the system will have already decided to buy the console in spite of its drawbacks. However for those on the fence the PS4 certainly seems the more attractive investment. The cheaper price point due to the lack of unnecessary extras will be the biggest selling point, and one can’t help but feel that if Microsoft was less strict on the Kinect they would sell far more consoles, although that is yet to be seen. Wikimedia

Guerrilla Games & Sony Computer Entertainment

Wikimedia

Crytek & Microsoft Studios Mired in less controversy was the announcement of the Playstation 4 at E3. The console is sporting a new, sleeker design and a revamped controller as Sony’s next foray into console gaming attempts to shift units. The Dualshock 4 now has a touch pad on the top which “offers new ways to interact with games”, although its uses are yet to be seen. There is also an LED bar to give signals to the player as well as a “share” button in place of the old “select” button. The console itself has been fairly liberal from the outset relative to the Xbox One with no restrictions on game reselling or sharing and no DRM or region locking, a stance met with great appraisal. Some could argue that reception of these features led Microsoft to change their mind on their draconian limitations in order to attempt to win back their customers. Sony have made some changes to their online subscription service, the most notable being that players will now have to pay a fee to play online, similar to Xbox Live. Sony attempted to soften the blow by announcing many benefits to the service including instant

access to a collection of games, a music service, Twitch streaming and a whole host of entertainment services. There is no free alternative for online play in the console market and Sony has done their best to persuade gamers to part with their money for the privilege by including many non-gaming related incentives, much like Microsoft has been doing with their service, leaving the two on very similar online footing heading into the next generation. In terms of games the PS4 does have some promising exclusives including Driveclub, Infamous: Second Son, Killzone: Shadow Fall and The Order: 1886. There is a nice mix of sequels to successful franchises as well as new IPs announced which is refreshing, providing a lineup of some good solid titles with a good history interspersed with brand new, exciting ideas. Overall the PS4 has some things over the Xbox One, mainly the cheaper price. This alone may be the deciding factor for many customers, although Sony has built an impressive roster of release titles as well as many other incentives to accompany the introduction of their new console.


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concrete.television@uea.ac.uk

Autumn TV: Reviews Peaky Blinders

Lydia Tewkesbury Peaky Blinders, the BBC’s latest period piece, opens in 1919, when our soldiers have returned home to discover theat the honour of victory is as much a fiction as the glory of war. The scene is grim. People are poor, drinkers, drug addicts or shell shocked soldiers finding it impossible to make their way back into mainstream society. Gritty and painfully honest, Peaky Blinders is not a drama reminiscing about the “good old days”. The Peaky Blinders, a real gang who terrorised Birmingham, were so called because of the razor blades they would stitch into their flat caps, used to blind those who were unfortunate enough to cross them. The power and fear the gang asserted over the city is a claustrophobic presence throughout Peaky Blinders. People hide in the streets when they see them coming and men fall silent from singing in pubs when they arrive. The Peaky Blinders demand respect through fear, although all can agree that Tommy Shelby, head of the mafia-like family, has not been the same since his return from war. A program like this really needs complicated characters in order to keep

TELEVISION

BBC audience engagement and Cillian Murphy’s performance as outer psychopath, inner potential good-guy, Tommy, fills this role nicely. Seemingly uncomfortable with his notoriety, he embodies the improvisational way in which people were living in this bizarre time of fragile peace and misery. He appears outwardly calm and collected but it doesn’t take long to realise that this

guy has no idea what he’s doing. Tommy tries to calm his shell shocked friend who has succumbed to psychosis through scaring him straight. He’s accidentally stolen a load of guns. He was going for motorbikes, as it happens. He has clandestine meetings with his overbearing (but wonderful) gangster mother in empty churches, a trope that

appears completely nonsensical to this reviewer. Discussion is never louder and more conspicuous than in an almost empty church. No one thinks you’re praying. Peaky Blinders is not without familiar characters. We have the barbaric policeman, the stupid brother, the naïve sister, the matriarch and the innocent seeming spy girl out for revenge. We are used to them all. It is instead the questions the show asks that destabilise us. This is a world few of us would have experienced, and therein lies the intrigue. People are searching for a way to survive after the worst, some forced to wonder what their sacrifices were for. Perhaps here is where the progress is made, good and bad. Peaky Blinders presents us with a society so buried beneath the damage that has been done that they’ve stopped caring, coming out from under all the shadows and restraints they can, and pushing forward into an age of hedonism and short lived, limited freedom. Catch up on the BBC iPlayer and see the rest of the series on Thursdays, 9PM on BBC Two.

Grand Designs Jane Power The hugely popular dream home creation show Grand Designs is back this month. Celebrating its eighth season, the series commences with a selection of fantasy-induced and badly organised construction projects, ranging from a Hollywood Hills-style mansion to a converted 1920’s cinema – and let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to live in a converted cinema? Self-builds are as much about fantasy and ambition as about practicality and budgeting, and it is this clash of factors that leads to the show’s drama, and therefore its appeal. Grand Designs presenter, Kevin McCloud, also provides his unique brand of commentary, constantly reminding the audiences of the problems that the builders and designers face. After eight years, there is a danger of the show becoming stale. After all, it is anything if not formulaic; the project-owners are introduced and present their ideal fantasy project and we follow the build, visiting throughout the year. Explanations are

Channel 4 given as to the new technologies or design ideas that make each particular project unique. The project usually gets behind, or over budget, and these difficulties are explored or explained, until finally the project is complete and we get a

tour of the home and lots of luscious camera shots of the finished product. It’s essentially the same every episode, with the same ups and downs every week. But the formula works. The dedication and sheer creativity of those designing and

building their own dream homes, whilst very watchable, can seem off putting in its scale. McCloud cleverly grounds the show for the audience, providing vital context and pointing out limitations that allow us to understand the designers, and ultimately give us someone to root for. Occasionally, there will be designs that we don’t root for. There may even be those whom we wish to fail. There is a guilty pleasure in seeing people we don’t like spending far too much money and failing. However, Grand Designs has never been malicious. Usually those who dedicated so much of their lives to their project will end up happy, and hopefully the audience will end up happy for them. It is this supportive and encouraging nature that makes us return to the show; a series more teacher than officer. Grand Designs has remained popular for eight series, and setting no limit on projects’ time, money and imagination, it looks set to continue for many more. Catch up on the episodes you’ve missed on 4oD, and see the rest of this series on Wednesdays at 9PM Will on Cockram Channel 4.


TELEVISION concrete.television@uea.ac.uk

www.concrete-online.co.uk

20.09.2013

Educating Yorkshire

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Zoe Jones The reaction to Channel 4’s Educating Yorkshire was somewhat disappointing. The programme presents the day to day events within the walls of Thornhill Community Academy in Dewsbury, run by no-nonsense Head teacher Jonny Mitchell. The first episode was completely captivating, and had the nation falling in love with students that we ourselves would have loathed at school. We will Ryan, a latte drinking 12 year old who dreams of becoming Prime Minister, to fulfil his current school goal to achieve ‘school council’ status. We are devastated that Bailey, a girl so genuinely impressed with her Scouse-brow that it centred in the advertising campaign, didn’t make Prefect. Although, her Scouse-brow was quite the achievement, like a child had gotten loose with some Crayola on her face. What was infuriating was the online feedback. Tweets such as ‘Don’t worry, not everyone from Yorkshire is thick!’ flooded twitter feeds, provoking an angry response

TwoFour from some. Something to note is that not one of the children featured was at all ‘thick’. One viewer’s comment was so naïve and bigoted it exuded social insensitivity; choosing to comment on “teachers not addressed as ‘Sir’,” “children using phones,” and “female teachers inclined to obesity”. What this particular person neglected to notice is that the body-

type of a female teacher does not, and never has, affect their teaching abilities whatsoever. Why it was felt necessary to single out the female gender also begs questioning. Additionally, in an increasingly technology-run society, where practically every child in school will own a mobile phone, it would be an inefficient and laborious task to

Bates Motel Adam White

Catfish Adam Dawson

A&E TV One of the few bones of contention in Alfred Hitchcock’s seminal 1960 masterpiece Psycho is its last-minute psychological profile of Norman Bates himself; an authoritative doctor diagnosing Bates’ madness and explaining his general weirdness with some out-of-nowhere exposition. It’s a moment that feels at odds with the rest of the film, much of its infamous tension sparked by suggestion rather than action. The prequel series Bates Motel adds even more context to a narrative that doesn’t exactly require it, with Freddie Highmore playing a teenage Norman, Vera Farmiga his infamous mother and new proprietor of a rundown Oregon motel. Murder, body bags and vaguely incestuous undertones naturally ensue, the show anchored by the mystery of how Norman Bates went from a gawky, misunderstood teenager shuffled around the country by

confiscate the phone from every child at the beginning of the school day. What has failed to be made clear, is that this school has been the subject of scrutiny as a result of the fly-onthe-wall documentary. While it was a previously failing school, Thornhill Community Academy has made one of the most significant improvements in the country, recently achieving 63% grade A-C and rated as ‘good’ by OFSTED. Of course, for entertainment purposes, the programme is going to focus on the kid that snowballs pensioners; it’s just good television. Focusing on disobedient and ill-disciplined children and playing up to social stereotypes might have been the only flaw in what was otherwise an accurate and poignant portrayal of modern community high schools. A high school is a living system, made up of living individuals that are, despite what the nation might think, only human. Thornhill is just like any other high school.

his frantic mother to the dysfunctional murderer of the Psycho movie. As a series, Bates Motel is as driven by its foregone conclusion as it is confined by it, its ability to intrigue audiences likely dependent on how much time they’re willing to give to a story with an ending they already know. With its present day setting and high school subplots amongst Bates Motel’s weaker elements, Farmiga is tasked with carrying much of the show’s intrigue. Thankfully she’s an interesting, evocative performer, seemingly aware of the show’s kitschy undertones and able to make Norma Bates a tragic but amusingly loopy protagonist. Whilst much of the show’s press has been devoted to Norman Bates and his gloomy destiny, it’s his mother who should be Bates Motel’s secret weapon in the long run, and the show’s one key area that almost justifies its very existence.

Everyone on the face of the planet has seen the documentary Catfish. But just in case you’ve been living in a cave like a hermit, this is what it’s about. Nev Schulman starts talking to a girl online. They eventually get into a relationship though they’ve never met. Nev and two friends investigate only to find out the woman he’d been talking to isn’t who she said she was. As he is now clearly an expert at dragging pictures into a Google image search, MTV has given him a show where he brings together couples who have never met. Some of the time these are genuinely sweet moments –  the pair might just not have enough money to fly across America to see each other, or maybe something has

MTV Press

always got in the way of them trying to meet. It’s nice to watch two people meet up for the first time and enjoy each other’s company offline (because we all know it’s different). Despite the sweetness of certain moments, others are pretty hard to watch. How would you feel if someone had told you were they were a beautiful young woman, only to find out they’re actually an old hag? You’re simply watching someone’s dreams get crushed. That always makes for the best reality TV, right? Maybe not. Bearing in mind that this is a reality series on MTV, it’s surprisingly enjoyable. It’s not going to change the way you view the world but it will reinforce that if someone’s too good to be true, they probably aren’t.


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FILM

concrete.film@uea.ac.uk

MoviePlaner

Review: Rush Holly Wade put pedal to the metal to review Ron Howard’s fast and furious biopic Rush

Director Ron Howard Starring Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Bruhl, Olivia Wilde, Natalie Dormer Cert 15 Runtime 123mins Rush is a fantastic film. It is as simple as that. From the storyline to the acting, the script to the visuals every possible element comes together to create something beautifully real. Ron Howard (Frost/Nixon, Apollo 13) directs the masterpiece based on the true story of Formula 1 rivals James Hunt and Niki Lauda. Set in the 1970s it depicts their highs and lows on track as well as their personal lives, all leading up to the fateful 1976 German Grand Prix. Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) is the charismatic

playboy; he womanises, he drinks, he shouldn’t be so good at what he does. The moment he meets Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) his life is changed. Lauda’s ratty face gets under his skin and his desire to race, and to win, is greater than ever before. Lauda is the driven and determined one, the clear antithesis to Hunt. At a time when Formula 1 racing meant facing death every time you stepped into the car, Rush illustrates that the drivers’ passion and desire to win often left them risking their lives for the sport; it certainly was no surprise if a driver died on the track. The film is incredibly visceral and at times difficult to watch. The music and the cinematography build to dramatic climaxes and all you are aware of is the beating of your own heart, clearly emulating the feeling the drivers must have had on the circuit. The film is a true story

and that’s what makes it so hard to watch. A driver is pulled away from a crash on a stretcher, his leg scraped away so badly that all you can see is bone, whilst his car lies in a mangled mess against a fence. This was the time of no health and safety – the fences are flimsy (if there at all), there is no protection in the pit lane and one journalist lies on his stomach, trackside, to photograph the cars as they storm round the track. The 1976 German race should never have been allowed to happen. Luck was not on Lauda’s side that day and nor was the vote. As Hunt exclaims to Lauda before the race, “sometimes it pays to be liked.” Lauda suffered a horrific crash that day which left his face and his lungs burnt. The rivalry between Hunt and Lauda is what keeps them both going; Lauda’s horrendous injuries force him to need his lungs vacuumed, a procedure where only

watching Hunt win races on TV gets him through. The pair have the utmost respect for each other and it is even possible to view them as friends by the end of the film. Aside from the dramatic racing there is laughter and comedy brought out of Peter Morgan’s script. A particular highlight is the scene where Lauda drives the car of a pair of Italian fans, and the burgeoning romance between Lauda and Marlene (Alexandra Maria Lara) is lovely to watch. There are also some fabulous smaller role performances, particularly from Stephen Mangan as part of the McLaren team. Whether a Formula 1 fan or not the film is definitely worth a watch and it is guaranteed to leave an impact that you can’t shake off. It has to be an Oscar contender.

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FILM

concrete.film@uea.ac.uk

www.concrete-online.co.uk

20.09.2013

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at cinemas near you White House Down

Director Roland Emmerich Starring Channing Tatum Cert 12A Runtime 131mins Adam White In a blockbuster climate that seems to favour the motto ‘depressed is best’, it’s rewarding to find instances of old-school frivolity in big-budget filmmaking, event pictures not bogged down by gloomy origin stories or blaring intensity. Considering the pulpy actioner White House Down ranks among this past summer’s numerous high-profile box office flops, it’s not a trend that seems likely to catch on, but there’s an enjoyable quaintness to much of what’s on offer here. Arriving like a forgotten Schwarzenegger vehicle from the 1980’s, White House Down sees Channing Tatum’s aspirational political bodyguard forced to save the day when a rogues gallery of terrorists, Nazis and mercenaries seize

control of the White House and his precocious pre-teen daughter – one of the group’s numerous hostages. It’s clear from that logline alone that this will be a very silly two hours, but director Roland Emmerich is such a dab hand at this type of thing that White House Down constantly resembles a wild joyride, unnecessary and overblown but secretly, blissfully entertaining. Channing Tatum has never been an on-screen presence with, in the nicest possible way, “a whole lot there”, but this is another smart career move on his part, his John Cale heroic and unflinchingly noble, a character tailor-made for Tatum’s unusual blend of every-man charm and lunk-headed blankness. With his increasingly grubby white shirt and the fact that their names even sound similar, Cale is straight from the John McClane playbook: fitting for a movie that effectively transports Die Hard into the oval office. As the battleworn president, Jamie Foxx has fun occupying a genderbending variation on the ‘damsel in distress’ role. He and Tatum share a winning cameradarie only helped by the film’s knowing awareness of its own

Madison Movie

implausibility. (Tatum handing him a rocket launcher to fire at gun-toting nutcases with the line, “I know you’re into peace and everything...”) It’s actually one of the script’s strongest gambits, constantly winking at its own cliches and strained action set-pieces, from the repeated shots of Tatum flying through the air in slow-motion to a messy car chase on the white house lawn in front of an array of frazzled reporters. White House Down is not a ‘good movie’ in any shape or form, but it does work as a confidently absurd antidote to the angst-ridden histrionics of most

Daily Trojan

The Call

Director Brad Anderson Starring Halle Berry Cert 15 Runtime 94mins Adam White Given that it’s headlined by both a former child star at that awkward age in between kiddie roles and legitimate

movie adulthood and an actress still trying to shake off her Catwomanshaped sinkhole of a post-Oscar career (not that Hollywood is exactly churning out interesting parts for forty something black females), it’s a welcome surprise to find that Abigail Breslin/Halle Berry thriller The Call has its modest charms. Berry stars as a 911 operator forced to power through recent emotional trauma in order to track and rescue Breslin’s teen-in-peril, who’s been kidnapped and locked in the trunk of a car. The Call hits

the ground running from there, much of the film’s suspense engineered by Berry striving to keep her caller calm and secure, guiding her through a series of arduous tasks in order to call attention to the vehicle she’s trapped inside. It’s a great role for an occasionally problematic performer like Berry, her protagonist steely and haunted in the way B-movie heroines usually are, but also sweet and maternal, particularly whenever she tries to allay Breslin’s fears with friendly small-talk or words of

recent summer fare. Bolstered by a strong supporting cast of interesting character actors (Maggie Gyllenhaal, Richard Jenkins and Jason Clarke among them) and a blessed reluctance to fully embrace the post-9/11 ‘seriousness’ that it occasionally seems to nudge toward, White House Down is far more enjoyable than it honestly has any right to be, a reminder that modern Hollywood doesn’t always have to be so damn heavy.

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feminist encouragement. Director Brad Anderson additionally gets a surprising amount of mileage out of the story’s various dead-ends and red herrings, from Michael Imperioli’s doomed good samaritan to the suspense of a dying phone battery. There’s a kind of refreshing, oldfashioned simplicity to many of The Call’s busier moments, something that makes the film’s last-minute stumble into Saw-style violence that much more jarring; its final act indulging in the very worst tropes of twenty-first century horror, full of grimy torture dungeons, problematic moral stances and victimized females stripped to their underwear. In trying to cater to two vastly different audiences, The Call flies offcourse, ultimately embracing the very kind of generic laziness it initially seemed to be reacting against. It’s especially unfortunate in light of the creativity of that first hour. Unlike reality, this is the kind of phone call that would actually benefit from being cut off midconversation.

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FILM

www.concrete-online.co.uk

concrete.film@uea.ac.uk

Blame Canada

Ella Gilbert went to Toronto, and all she got were these major Oscar contenders The Toronto International Film Festival is a big draw for film buffs, industry insiders and film enthusiasts alike – the sheer volume of incredible stuff on show ensures that. It is the largest film festival in the world, and a lot of the films likely to hit the screens this autumn are being shown right here at TIFF 2013. Several films have caused a buzz this year; not all of them have been worthy of it, while some of the best have seemingly escaped attention. Benedict Cumberbatch (AKA Sherlock Holmes/tumblr’s current favourite Englishman) features heavily in some of the highest-profile productions: alongside Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts and Ewan McGregor in the starstudded August: Osage County (John Wells), the outstanding 12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen) and as Julian

Assange in The Fifth Estate (Bill Condon) The Fifth Estate has not received rave reviews so far, with most commentators touting it as over-ambitious, despite the relevant and prescient subject matter. Perhaps it is down to the dwindling coverage following Assange squirreling himself away in the Ecuadorian embassy and the indictment of Chelsea Manning (as well as the distraction with her gender) that this exploration of the rise of Wikileaks has gone down so poorly. 12 Years a Slave is worth a watch or two – think Django Unchained, but for adults. Prepare to be absolutely blown away by the actors’ performances, and by the devastating realism of the subject matter. Acting highlights include Michael Fassbender as Edwin Epps, and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northrup, who are

both excellent, bringing passion and drive to the film. It is a definite level up on Steve McQueen’s previous work – Hunger (2008) and Shame (2011) – and is incredible as art, entertainment and education. The Selfish Giant (Clio Barnard) is another bleak film, but one worth a watch. Based on an Oscar Wilde tale of the same name, it explores the relationship between two Bradford boys set amongst rainy fields and housing estates in a gritty, very English, and often striking manner. Although I wasn’t convinced the Canadian audience understood half of what was being said (in fact I know the American next to me didn’t), it was Northern in the best way possible. The cinematography is beautiful, if grey, and the methodically depressing storyline is interspersed with moments of humour and surprising twists, causing it to smack

of Ken Loach. Add to this the superb debut performance of the two leading actors (Conner Chapman and Shaun Thomas), and you have a moving and visceral film. The festival ran from the 5 – 15 September, and you can expect to see many of these films arriving at box offices in the next few months. Explore the full line-up of films at...

TIFF.net

Dig Boston

Disposable Teens

teenagers are turning away from supernatural romances in droves, Holly Wade explores News hit recently that the latest planned supernatural series, The Mortal Instruments, is unlikely to continue for a second film. The first, City of Bones, opened in the UK three weeks ago to dismal numbers, and grossed just over $9 million in the US in its opening weekend, making back just one sixth of its $60 million budget. The Mortal Instruments marks another typical try-hard endeavour to rob the

pocket-money from starry-eyed tweens, although it has failed to replicate the huge success of super-franchises such as The Twilight Saga and The Hunger Games, both of which captured the zeitgeist with tales of supernatural romance and brooding hunks. Written by Cassandra Clare, the books follow a traditional ‘young adult’ narrative, revolving around a teenage girl, in this case Clary (Lily Collins),

who discovers an epic secret destiny, this time involving an underground world of Shadowhunters and weirdly incestuous plot twists involving on-screen love interest Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower). The Mortal Instruments is just another failure in a line of Hollywood flops aimed at pre-teens, coming hot on the heels of The Host, also by Twilight author Stephenie Meyer, and Beautiful Creatures; both films failed to achieve the expected

chinayes.com

results earlier this year, seeming to pass the whole world by in spite of heavy marketing campaigns. It seems that even diehard teenage fans, a market traditionally generous when it comes to money, have given up on these films. Have they suddenly become savvy to studios producing the same bag of tricks over and over again, like something on a factory working line? It’s all starting to get a little tiresome; the teens are probably too busy saving their pocket money for the new One Direction film, This Is Us, which happened to gross double the amount of City of Bones in its opening weekend. It is worth noting that the planned sequel, City of Ashes, has not been cancelled – merely postponed indefinitely. But with the first making little money for the studio it seems more likely that it will fade into nothingness. Teenagers may be getting bored of these kinds of films, though Campbell Bower is clearly happy to have them pay his mortgage, having previously played one of the Volturi in Twilight and Young Grindelwald in the two-part Harry Potter finale. Never mind though, he’ll most likely just find another young adult saga to sink his teeth into. Next year’s Divergent, anyone?


FILM

concrete.film@uea.ac.uk

www.concrete-online.co.uk

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20.09.2013

greatest hits: the films of

Richard Curtis

to celebrate the release of About Time, Emma Holbrook compiled the very best from its creator

Four Weddings and a Funeral

The film that served as the launching pad for the king of British romcoms, as well as one of the longest-serving number ones in history (‘Love Is All Around Me’), Four Weddings (1994) marked the first collaboration for the Richard Curtis and Hugh Grant partnership, one that would go on to achieve a decade’s worth of success. Perhaps too schmaltzy for a modern audience, Four Weddings is by no means lacking in truly hilarious moments (Rowan Atkinson and the holy goat) and John Hannah’s hauntingly beautiful rendition of WH Auden’s ‘Funeral Blues’ manages to capture grief in a

wholeheartedly relatable way. Now almost a forgotten treasure, the film was a remarkable success at the time, even garnering an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. Whilst Four Weddings may lack the polish and accessibility of Curtis’ later films, it’s bursting with dry wit and charm that is quintessentially British and quintessentially Richard Curtis.

Notting Hill

With Hugh Grant’s persona as the bumbling, self-deprecating Brit with floppy hair now in full swing, Notting Hill (1999) took what made Four Weddings great and improved upon it ten-fold. Recycling the ‘Englishman meets American girl way out of his league’ trope but introducing Julia Roberts as a genuinely likeable love interest, Notting Hill became a much more successful and touching love story than its predecessor. This charming fairy tale, set against the backdrop of the famous London district, manages to depict an array of lovably ridiculous minor characters, in particular Rhys Ifans as the most uncivilised flatmate you could ever dream of. Curtis’ screenplays always seem to possess at least one takeaway line, dripping with just the right amount of sentimentality that sticks with you for a while after, and Notting Hill is no exception: ‘I’m also just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.’

Bridget Jones’s Diary

This modern day adaptation of Pride and Prejudice almost shouldn’t work on paper. But ever since its 2001 release, Bridget Jones’s Diary has become something of a pop culture classic. Renée Zellweger’s initial casting raised more than a few eyebrows amongst fans of the book, but she is now so universally recognisable as the plucky English heroine that it is hard to ever picture anyone else in the role. Hugh Grant, meanwhile, took a romcom U-turn from blundering gentleman to manipulative scoundrel, but Bridget Jones also provided Colin Firth with an opportunity to reprise his famous role as Mr Darcy and revamp his career in the process. Undoubtedly reminiscent of Richard Curtis’ own The Vicar of Dibley, Bridget Jones offered up a refreshingly relatable yet unlikely heroine, whose unlucky-in-love hijinks soon became the benchmark for romcoms and sitcoms to follow.

Love Actually

Forget Home Alone or even It’s A Wonderful Life, Love Actually (2003) is the film that Christmas (and ITV2) frankly cannot do without. With the cream of the British acting crop at his

disposal, Richard Curtis’ first dabble into directing is indubitably his finest hour. A shamelessly romantic piece, Love Actually is a film that could only exist within the idealistic setting of Christmas; it effortlessly blends moments of levity, melancholy and warmth in order to continuously play on your heartstrings long after the first viewing. The film is so quotable that even David Cameron recently decided to produce a halfhearted imitation of the rousing speech given by his movie counterpart, whilst noticeably failing to credit David Beckham’s right foot (David Beckham’s left foot come to that). There are very few writers who could continue to pull off such saccharine sweetness so earnestly, but it is that very style that has secured Curtis’ place as one of the nation’s favourite filmmakers of the past twenty years. Header - The Boat That Rocked, , thecia.com.au Left, getvideoartwork.com Right, lstel.com


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20.09.2013

LISTINGS

www.concrete-online.co.uk

concrete.listings@uea.ac.uk

20th September - 7th October welcome week 22nd September

Fresh - Icebreaker UEA LCR £5

24th September T-Shirt Party UEA LCR SOLD OUT

23rd September Jaguar Skills UEA LCR £10.99

26th September Masta Klash UEA LCR £8.75

25th September Zane Lowe UEA LCR £10.99

28th September Welcome Party UEA LCR SOLD OUT

27th September Club Retro UEA LCR £4.50

29th September Seann Walsh and Shappi Khorsandi UEA LCR £13

live music 20th September Wire Norwich Arts Centre £14.50 22nd September The Duckworth Lewis Method Norwich Arts Centre £20 24th September Johnny Borrell and Zazou Norwich Arts Centre £10 25th September

The 1975 The Waterfront £11 The Last Carnival Waterfront Studio £6

27th September The Temperence Movement Waterfront Studio £8.50 28th September Korn Again Waterfront Studio £10 29th September Magic Numbers Acoustic Norwich Arts Centre SOLD OUT 30th September Heights Waterfront Studio £7

Kids in Glass Houses The Waterfront £13.50

So Solid Crew The Waterfront £13.50

Frank Hamilton Waterfront Studio £7

3rd October Bury Tomorrow The Waterfront £10

Betrayal Playhouse £12-14

Sam Grey Waterfront Studio £8

7th October

Nadine Shah Norwich Arts Centre £6.50

Miles Kane UEA LCR £17.50

Temples Norwich Arts Centre £9

The Duchess of Malfi Garage £5-10

comedy

In My Shoes Playhouse £8-10 4th October Mess Playhouse £8-10

The Devil Wears Prada The Waterfront £12 The Villains Waterfront Studio £6

Inner Terrestrials Waterfront Studio £8

1st October

27th September

The Sweetbeats Norwich Arts Centre £8-10 Evarose Waterfront Studio £6

theatre 26-27th September

5th October Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra The Waterfront £20

4th October 1st October

26th September

2nd October

26th September Red Card Comedy Club Carrow Road £12 30th September Dr. Phil Hammond 'Games To Play With Your Doctor' Norwich Arts Centre £13-15

1st October Henning Wehn UEA Lecture Theatre 1 £8-12 5th October Gyles Brandreth: Looking for Happiness Playhouse £17.50 Photo: Will Cockram


concrete.listings@uea.ac.uk

LISTINGS UEA’S 50th Anniversary Festival

www.concrete-online.co.uk

20.09.2013

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www.concrete-online.co.uk

COMPETITIONS concrete.competitions@uea.ac.uk

the venue crossword

ACROSS 4. 5. 6. 9. 10. 11.

First Year Student. (7) Knowledge is it. (5) Way of cooking eggs. Goes well with toast. (9) Making money. (6) University Grounds. (6) London Borough, original home of Arsenal Football Club. (8)

DOWN 1. 2. 3. 4. 7. 8. 12. 13.

Suffolk Brewery. (6) UEA is... (9) Another word for first. (5) The name of a singer and the birthplace of the Renaissance. (8) Bloodsucker. (8) Uncaring emotion. (6) A sign of things to come. (4) Building block toys. (4)

Will Cockram


Venue - Issue 285 - 20 September 2013  
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