We interview Superhanz
Volume III Issue X | Editor & Layout - Sinead Brennan Flux | March 21, 2012
Blah blah blah
“They’ve all gone to look for America”
Sinead Brennan shares her experiences of her US Embassy interview... and about the friend who learned off the pledge of allegience for the occassion
o it’s that time of year again, for all you J1ers to be given your interview dates in the American Embassy. The interview, or series of walking from window to window getting fingerprints taken, giving documents and finally talking to a man about where you’re headed, actually doesn’t take all that long. It can however be a bit of a pain, for some more so than others, as I learned when I signed into Facebook today. My friend had his embassy interview this morning and his status read: “Cheers to Jamie and Ross who massively over-exaggerated my embassy meeting today telling me that a suit was essential and that I had to learn the pledge of allegiance off by
heart because they grill you in an interview. I got up at 6am to get my suit ready and learn how many stars and stripes were on the flag…I walked into the place in a full suit and got a form stamped at a window. I looked like such an asshole when I realised everyone else was wearing tracksuits and hoodies... f*ck you guys I missed my bus because I came home to iron my shirt.” I genuinely laughed out loud. as, I’m assuming, did the other fifty something people who have liked the status so far. My embassy interview last year was a bit of a disaster. More to the point, I’m a bit of a disaster, especially that early in the morning when it’s raining and I’m stressing about not having everything in my big brown envelope that I had put all the stuff I needed into.
I was outside the embassy really early. My mom had been nice enough to drive me up from Naas because the interview was at 8am and it would’ve been serious hassle getting out to Ballsbridge for that time. So I started queuing. Then as I was called inside we were told to get rid of any bottles of water we had. I rolled up to the security man, took off my coat as instructed and placed my handbag on the table. He looked through and pulled out my make up bag (quick heads up, don’t bring make up with you) and made me put a small amount of all my products on my hand to prove it wasn’t poison or something. We’re talking foundation, mascara, eyeliner, eyeshadow, powder, the whole shebang. Needless to say he wasn’t my biggest fan. So now with one multicoloured hand, and one human hand, I took a sip from my water and then was told to put it in the bin.
Then came time to walk through the metal detectors. Of course I had dressed nicely for the interview, but what I hadn’t thought through was the fact that my top had this metal thing on it (that sounds dodge but I promise its actually a really nice top). The metal detector beeps. Everyone looks my way. Then two security men with guns come out and I explain its just my top. They are not pleased with me, not one bit. I had a tank top underneath this troublesome top so I offered to take it off, just so they’d be sure I wasn’t some kind of terrorist. This wasn’t necessary apparently but then one of them shouted that if I was in the airport, I would be searched and warned me to dress differently for my flight. FYI, I didn’t wear that top on the plane. One thing I
did do was learn my lesson. Then I went in, went from window to window until eventually I was called up for the last time to this ginger man who asked me where I went to college, told me he always gets confused between DCU and UCD (blasphemous I know) and then asked where I wanted to go in America. Nice little chat. Then afterwards I asked where I should go next, thinking this couldn’t possibly be the interview, but he then told me I could go home and I told him how shocked I was that it was all over. He laughed at me. Great morning all round. But at least I didn’t fall for the pledge of allegiance crap like my friend did. The fool.
Nothing on TV? Why not give one of these homegrown films a go?
The opening scene of this film draws you in immediately. Colin Farrell is looking his worst in a dodgy jumper and trackies but gives one of his funniest performances, showing off his range as an actor. With an all-star Irish cast (including Cillian Murphy, Colm Meaney & Deirdre O’Kane), excellent script and some hilarious storylines, you’ll be laughing almost constantly. 2
Breakfast on Pluto 2005
This film follows Patrick ‘Kitten’ Braden (Cillian Murphy) as he grows up in Northern Ireland in the 70s. When Kitten moves to London the story really kicks off and with stars like The Wombles, Brendan Gleeson, Liam Neeson and Gavin Friday all showing up, the film takes us on an emotional, and extremely entertaining journey with Kitten through life. An all round great film.
The Wind that Shakes the Barley, 2006
A very lengthy film, which is the only reason I haven’t watched it more. I’m not really one for the patriotic epic movies but this one is just so well done, moving and it really drew me in. Another fantastic cast, and it doesn’t rely on the dry Irish sense of humour to make it excellent. It has real emotion, feeling and because it is based on real events it often sends shivers down my spine.
The Guard 2011
Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle. Some duo. Gleeson may seem in the trailors like your typical member of the Gardai but add some drug use and prostitutes to the mix and this illusion is shattered. A hilarious film with a lot of the usuals showing up again. If you haven’t seen this yet, make the effort to watch it, it is one of the funniest movies of late, including those outside of Ireland.
Perrier’s Bounty 2009
Another great performance from Cillian Murphy and another all-start cast. Almost every scene yeilds a “ohh that’s your man!” The performances in the film are top notch and the character interactions are excellent. Expect to see Brendan Gleeson, Jim Broadbent, Liam Cunningham and a host of other ridiculously familiar faces along the way. There’s something about Cillian Murphy though isn’t there. Flux | March 21, 2012
Oh so much more than just Aran jumpers... W ith all the hype of fashion month and the glamour that the big fashion houses bring, we can sometimes forget what’s happening on our own doorstep. Irish fashion was once just another word for conservative knitwear, well-made but hardly ground breaking. Well, if you didn’t know, our fashion industry is undergoing a bit of a revamp. Maybe it’s the increasing presence of international fashion in our media or maybe it’s the fact that fashion is the industry to be in lately, but Irish designers are producing amazing collections at home and proving themselves abroad. Some of them are brand new to the industry while others are more established but none should be overlooked in favour of international designers. Natalie B. Coleman is one of the most innovative designers working in Ireland today. Her pieces are known for their large prints, featured in the last couple of seasons in her jewellery. These
Flux | March 21, 2012
she hand draws and watercolours, then digitally prints them onto her pieces. She is inspired by the secrets and desires all women have for individuality and her pieces have a quirkiness about them that ensures your look will be unique; be it an asymmetrical pleated dress or a large print of the collection’s title ‘All The Jewellery I Never Got’ across the chest of a dress. She graduated from Limerick School of Art and Design before completing a Masters in the infamous Central Saint Martins. Since then she’s worked with threeASFOUR in New York, RagnaFrodadottir in Iceland and our own Joanne Hynes. She launched her own label just two years ago and has been invited to show at Copenhagen and Amsterdam Fashion Weeks, having already showed at New York and Paris Fashion Week. She has also gathered some celebrity fans, including Lily Allen and almost every Irish celebrity with a decent
Katie Clinton look s at the Irish desig ners that can compete on an internation al level in the fashion ind ustry
stylist. Her current collection, All The Jewellery I Never Got Pt2, is on sale in New York, Paris, Japan and China, as well as Dublin. My favourite piece is the pleated, uneven length dress with full on prints; it somehow manages to be slightly over-thetop but totally wearable. If you like prints then you should check out Helen Steele. Working out of her converted duck-hatchery studio in Monaghan, she has crossed the line from fine artist to designer with ease in the last few years. As an abstract and performance artist she has a client base that includes the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Diane Von Furstenberg, Donald Sutherland and Helena Christensen. She collaborated with Harvey Nichols for both their 2010 shows and with Vogue’s Fashion Night Out before moving on to work with Joanne Hynes. Together they created a collection for AW’11 that combined art and fashion.
Styled by Ann-Marie O’Connor, the collection showed at London Fashion Week to great reviews. Now she is breaking out on her own with a line of ‘wearable art’ that was launched this SS at LFW. The collection is all tunics, leggings and maxi dresses splashed with beautifully saturated colours that seem to come directly off of the canvas. If she were to be compared to any other designer it may be said she is like a Mary Katrantzou who is freer with her brush. The resulting prints are just as striking but they have an undeniably artistic feel. The only way to describe it really is as wearable art! If you’re after something with a little more urban edge then you need to get on board with Emma Manley. Now based in London, the Dublin-born designer made her name by interning at some serious fashion houses after her graduation from Grafton Academy. She first worked with VPL in New York, working on designs for several
NYFW shows. She then moved to London and to Alexander McQueen where she worked on several collections, including the amazing final show by Lee McQueen. In 2010 she launched her own label, Manley. Her SS’12 collection sees a huge mix of fabrics combined to juxtapose with the label’s usual romanticism. She worked with chiffon, pigskin, wool and luxury jersey to create the line based on Bauhaus art – big, basic and bright. The collection is simple with studs and gold metallic being the focal points but that does not mean it is not powerful. One of the most striking pieces is a nude maxi dress with a leather elongated body and chiffon skirt – the fit, length and handling of embellishment is perfect. It’s a fresh and brave collection and you can see it at Bow in the Powerscourt Townhouse Centre. So with fashion month coming to an end why not turn your attention to Irish talent, you’d never know what you might find. 3
“There is life outside your apartment”
Valerie Loftus chats with Katharine Moraz, star of the Tony Award winning musical Avenue Q
unny, fluffy, and just a little bit rude – what am I talking about? Avenue Q, of course, the side-splitting, Tony Award-winning Broadway musical that combines lovable puppets and real-life performers. Fresh out of college, Princeton moves to downbeat Avenue Q where he meets a host of colourful and crude characters. Princeton has to find his way in the real world while trying to answer the burning question: what do you do with a BA in English? Avenue Q rolls into the Bord Gais Energy Theatre (formerly Grand Canal Theatre) in April, but I caught up with one of the stars of the show, Katharine Moraz, to find out more.
Can you tell us a bit about your characters?
“I play two characters in the musical – Kate Monster and Lucy the Slut. Kate Monster is very sweet; she’s a kindergarten teaching assistant who lives on Avenue Q. She meets Princeton and they start to go out and fall in love. Then I also play Lucy the Slut, who is exactly what her name suggests! She’s a nightclub singer, and likes to get her claws into any man she can find. They’re very different characters, but very fun to play.” A lot of people have been wondering: how do you do a musical with puppets?
“Oh, I don’t know! The reason
Avenue Q is so good is because of the puppets. They’re very racy and rude, but because they’re so naïve, they get away with it. As for the technical aspects of it, you have to learn the basics with our puppet coach Nigel Plaskett –he’s like a puppet legend! He worked with The Muppets and Sesame Street. It is difficult when you start because you have a whole other person on your arm, and you have to think about all the normal things you do in a musical and put it all into the puppet and make it part of you. But after a while, things become second nature.” Have you ever had any puppetrelated slip ups on stage?
“There are slight things that go wrong from time to time – all the puppeteers have to voice at least two puppets each, and there
Literary Death Match Emma-Louise Hutchinson catches up with the creator of the series before its return to Dublin this month
ushing a TV show in LA, mingling with comedians, actors and musicians, and nights spent hosting events in over 40 cities all over the world it might not sound like the life of your average writer but it’s all in a day’s work for Literary Death Match creator Todd Zuniga. After the idea was born over sushi in New York, Zuniga explains, he and his co-creators started the event because they wanted to figure out a way to make reading fun and address the problems they saw at events in New York at the time; lazy writers, those with no concept of
time limits, and the odd mix of comedy and literature. And so Literary Death Match was born. For the unfamiliar, the premise is simple; four writers, three judges, two rounds and one game show style finale. The writers read their own work for seven minutes or less (those going over this are often shot with Nerf guns), are judged on literary merit, performance and intangibles by anyone from comedians to musician Moby, and two are chosen to progress to the Death Match finale. The premise may be simple but the proceedings are some-
times less so. The Death Matches can be anything from Pin the Mustache on Hemingway to a Literary Spelling Bee and don’t always go to plan. One of the event’s biggest disasters involved a remote control helicopter, a lost rotor and sudden change of task. “They [the finalists] had to fly the helicopter and try to land it on a book while the other finalist was shooting a Nerf dart gun... to try to shoot down the helicopter, and the person who got it closest to the book was gonna win. But after the first person did it, they got shot down so it crashed the copter and
are points in the show where I have to talk to myself as two different characters. You have to be aware of who you’re playing now and who you’re talking to! Sometimes your heart skips a beat and you think “Am I doing the right thing? Am I saying the right line with the right puppet?” You have to stay on your toes.” What’s your favourite song to perform?
“Personally, I love ‘There’s a Fine, Fine Line’, which I perform at the end of Act 1. It’s a real heartbreak song. But there are so many – I love listening to ‘Schadenfreude’ and doing ‘You Can Be As Loud As The Hell You Want’, because they’re such catchy tunes.”
you ever have to update the references to make the musical more current?
“We do, actually. It first came to London seven years ago, so there are changes in references to politics – towards the end, they used to reference George Bush. Obviously now he’s not in office it doesn’t have the same effect. Generally, we don’t have to change too much at all, just one or two lines here and there to keep up to date. Otherwise, it’s about very universal things that everybody goes through; relationships, sexuality, and racism. The core issues are always the same.”
There are lots of cultural references in the musical – do
Avenue Q comes to the BordGais Energy Theatre on Tuesday the 3rd of April 2012. Tickets start at €20 and are on sale now through Ticketmaster.
then the tail rotor of the copter just went missing… we had to change the finale to where they had to just shoot my friend in the head from a distance with the Nerf machine gun, which was way sadder and less celebratory, but still pretty funny.” Zuniga says seamlessly integrating comedy was one of the main challenges his team faced. The finales may seem the obvious place to fit it in, for good reason, but Todd targetted the judges, their commentary and their jokes. “Having the judges in the event, that was a perfect way for us to integrate the comedy because the judges are reacting to the stories themselves,” he said. On the decision to include judges from outside the literary world, Zuniga explained: “Getting an actor that people know from a TV show or getting a comedian who’s going to really sew it all together or getting a
chef who’s going to comment on the work as a recipe as opposed to, you know, a literary person might, I think that just makes it fun and it makes it surprising and I think people leave the house for two reasons. I think they leave the house to be surprised and to make out with someone and so, we try to offer up both opportunities I guess.” Not content to simply tour all over the world (the event just graced its 40th city and made its first appearances in Scandinavia), Zuniga moved to LA only ten weeks ago and is hoping to turn the event into a TV show. They already have an agent and almost got a TV option so we may see the show on our screens in the near future. For now though, you’ll have to settle for seeing the show when it returns to The Workman’s Club on March 28th. Tickets cost €7 on pre-order and €10 on the door. Flux | March 21, 2012
Ones to watch
hen you hear the word Superhanz you might think of the cocaine addicted musician Super Hans from Peep Show, but believe me, they are not to be confused. Superhanz are a band from Clane, Co Kildare, and while there are a lot of young bands in Ireland trying to make their way in the music scene, these guys really have something special. The band started out in secondary school and having mixed and matched members from other bands, they came together to form the current line up we see today. They started out like most, playing mainly covers and gigging in front of their friends. For about a year now however, they have been focusing on writing their own material and recording the songs that they are particularly proud of. Their second EP is out now, and was recorded at Westland Studios in Dublin and produced by Alwyn Walker. Nicky, the bassist and backing vocalist of the band, said that Alwyn really brought out the best in them and that the final product is something they Flux | March 21, 2012
are all very proud of. Having competed in, and won, various Battle of the Bands competitions around Kildare, they have developed a solid local following and since the release of their first three track EP last year, they have gone from strength to strength and that is clear with this latest offering.
Tell me about the writing process of your songs.
Nicky: It usually starts out with one of us having an idea and then the rest of us adding to it. Stephen: But the lyrics are written by myself and then I bring them to the lads when they’re done, and then we might change a few things or even keep them the same. When it comes to recording, how do you choose which songs to record?
Nicky: We always demo a few songs, listen to them and see if we still like them after a while. Stephen: But the songs for the recent EP were basically our four favourite that we were playing at the time. Rory: Also the ones that seemed to go down best at gigs.
What does it feel like to see people singing along and knowing all the words of your songs?
Stephen: I remember once I saw someone I didn’t know singing along to one of the tunes, and it’s good to know that person went out of their way to listen to your song. So yeah even that one person singing along makes you feel good! Have you been gigging much lately?
Nicky: We’ve done a few over the past while, mostly Battles of the Bands and stuff. We’re really trying to perfect the set and have a set of songs that we’re really proud of. Stephen: Hopefully there’ll be a few gigs over summer as we’re applying for a lot of festivals around the country. Are there any plans yet to maybe combine some of the older songs with the new ones to make an album in the near future?
Nicky: We haven’t really thought that far ahead yet, but when it comes time to making an album we’d like to challenge ourselves
by writing new songs especially for that album. All of your music is available online, have you considered making physical CDs at all?
Nicky: Well I think we’re gonna make a small number of physical CDs, as some people, like ourselves, still like having a CD. Something to hold late at night. Stephen: But I think the internet is something we could use to make an eventual demand for a physical CD. Are there any plans for music videos in the pipeline?
Nicky: We plan to make individual videos for each track on the EP, even if they are just silly or funny. YouTube is where most people listen to music online so we recognise its importance. Rory: Summer is coming up so we’ll have a lot of free time to hopefully get crackin’ then.
When it comes to Irish bands, are there any you particularly like? And who would you most like to support?
Nicky: Yeah there’s a lot we’re interested in. Redneck Mani-
Sinead Brennan talks to three quarters of Superhanz about their latest EP and plans for the future
festo, Planet Parade Stephen: Two Door Cinema Club definitely, I quite like Villagers Rory: Delorentos, BellX1 Nicky: So any of them guys that would have us! The latest EP from Superhanz is available online (details of where to find it are below) and it is definitely worth the listen. With influences like Arctic Monkeys, Two Door Cinema Club, Kings of Leon and Planet Parade, they have a wide appeal and though their influences are very apparent when listening to their work, there is a uniqueness and freshness to Superhanz that makes their EP something you want to listen to again and again. And even when you’re not listening, it’ll be stuck in your head as the songs are extremely catchy (but not in that annoying Rihanna way.)
www.facebook.com/Superhanzmusic http://listn.to/Superhanz/player breakingtunes.com/superhanz 5
“Waits at the window, wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door” Andrew Brown takes a closer look at some of The Beatles more obscure lyrics
he Beatles: the band that changed the world forever. Not only were they musicians, they were global trendsetters and cultural icons. They are the best selling band in history, with an estimated one billion records sold, and were each individually named in Time Magazine’s 20 most influential people of the 20th century. They weren’t just a band, they were a movement. From kids on the street to school sweethearts and military recruits, everybody could take part in that movement. Throughout the generations, the music of The Beatles has retained its ability to touch people. Those records are still as relevant today as they were in the 1960s. But what of the actual music? For a band that cap-
tured the world’s attention, The Beatles really did have some very odd lyrics. They were musical geniuses, but they also had a sense of humour and poked fun at themselves, their fans, and the music industry as a whole. Add to this some Indian meditation and recreational drug use and the result is some very interesting lyrics. “Well I’d rather see you dead, little girl Than to be with another man” Run For Your Life Rubber Soul The closing track on Rubber Soul was described by George Harrison as his favourite song on the album, even though it was yet another John Lennon com-
position. The song is inspired by Elvis’s ‘Baby, Let’s Play House’ and is a simple acoustic blues shuffle with some controversial lyrics. Lennon sings a series of threats to his girlfriend (the “little girl”) of what might happen should he catch her with another man. The song includes such gems as “Baby, I’m determined and I’d rather see you dead”. For me, Rubber Soul definitely marks a transition in The Beatles’ song writing. “He bag production he got walrus gumboot He got Ono sideboard he one spinal cracker” Come Together Abbey Road
It has been noted that each verse
cryptically depicts each one of The Beatles. “He’s one holy roller” is the spiritual George. “He got monkey finger” is Ringo. “Ono sideboard” is John and of course “So good looking cause he’s so hard to see” is Paul. This song is more than likely just Lennon writing about nothing whatsoever. Interestingly at the start Lennon sings “Shoot me”. Ominous perhaps, then again maybe not. “Sitting on a cornflake, waiting on the van to come. Corporation tee-shirt, stupid bloody Tuesday” I Am The Walrus Magical Mystery Tour
What can we say about this song? Well, it was the first
Tim Barnwell talks about one of the best drama series of our time
Mad Men I
t has often been called the best show on TV, and has four consecutive Emmy awards for best drama series to back up the claim. The series is
Mad Men, and it debuts on Sky Atlantic next week for its fifth season. Irish viewers, though, could be forgiven for being unfamiliar
with the programme, thanks to unhelpful scheduling from Irish and British channels. For those unacquainted, the show follows the fortunes of a New York advertising agency in the 1960s. Some would perhaps be most familiar with the show’s characters from their appearances in lifestyle magazines and the style supplements of weekend newspapers, such has been the impact of the programme’s styling on real world fashions. Nobody wears that trademark grey suit quite like Don Draper, Mad Men’s charis-
matic, conflicted main character and central focus. Capable of compassion and cruelty in equal measure, his balancing act of selfish and selfless makes for enthralling viewing. The viewer enjoys a complicated relationship with Don, as he threatens to burn his bridges for good with yet another alcohol fuelled indiscretion, before redeeming himself in our eyes once more with a surprising act of good faith or charity. Like a less thuggish Tony Soprano, we often find ourselves rooting for Don even though we know his troubles are largely of his own
Beatles track to include the word “knickers”. This song is an explosion of nonsense lyrics. Lennon was frustrated with people reading too much into his band’s songs and insisting there was always a hidden meaning. Ever the joker, he wrote a song with no meaning that was just a string of words. I believe the actual quote was “If Bob Dylan can write this crap, so can I”. Interestingly, the edit of the song contains a quote from King Lear (Act Four, Scene 6, lines 249-259 for anyone interested) and also references the poem ‘The Walrus and The Carpenter’ by Lewis Carroll. Oh, and it was written under the influence of LSD. What more explanation do you need? Leaving aside John Lennon’s making. For every example of his unfaithfulness to his wife, we see brief but convincing evidence that he is a good father to his children. The understanding and sympathy he shows co-worker Peggy Olson during her time of personal need is nowhere to be seen in his brutal handling of a difficult professional situation involving Sal Romano. His fellow characters, too, often fail to cover themselves in glory in their attempts to impress Don and win his favour, or to try to get one over on their creative and charismatic boss. The office politics and personal issues on display grab the viewer’s attention, while the show’s high production values Flux | March 21, 2012
l a r u t l u Cakenings Aw Rugby: more than just the prospect of seeing a topless Tommy Bowe. Laura Cronin talks about her transformation into a dignified rugby supporter and rowdy soccer fan
wacky lyrics, the Fab Four did some other very strange things in their recordings. The fade out of ‘Strawberry Fields’ features John moaning “cranberry sauce” over and over. ‘A Day in the Life’ plays a high pitched kilocycle tone 15 seconds after the song fades out, with the intention of driving dogs crazy. All in all, The Beatles
liked being as weird as they could be. They pushed themselves to be interesting and do something a bit quirky and by doing so have earned themselves a place in music history forever. When you actually look at lyrics like these, though, you realise they weren’t only about the peace and love to be found in ‘Love Me Do’.
and attention to aesthetic and historical detail make for a plausible vision of a high rolling New York advertising agency existing in a very credible version of America in the 60s. We meet characters such as Conrad Hilton and come across the agency’s dealings with major brands of the era. Reference is made to as the emergence of The Beatles and the Cuban Missile Crisis, which left the characters convinced that their world was about to end. The show enlightens us as to American society’s attitudes at the time towards race, alcohol, and the place of women. Moments of humour often help the writers convey these messages, as
do very occasional incidents of violence, which are all the more shocking for their infrequency and bluntness. The show’s fifth run was for some time in jeopardy as the show’s creator, Matthew Weiner, clashed with network executives over content and running time, a conflict which illustrated Weiner’s infamously high degree of control over every aspect of the programme, while an ongoing controversy surrounds a New York advertising campaign for the new season. But we should be grateful that Mad Men has come through such difficulties to make its return, and that the fifth season will introduce new fans to the joys and frustrations
Flux | March 21, 2012
y television viewing habits have taken on a double life recently, as if to confuse me when I suddenly form opinions on things I didn’t know I cared about - like sports. Normally, days in our house are spent discussing the latest vajazzle on Tallafornia or Holly’s latest victim on Geordie Shore, but lately we’ve taken to having serious chats about how long Brian O’ Driscoll has left playing international rugby, or what a joke it is that Liverpool paid £30 million for Andy Carroll. The turnaround in topics of conversation over the last few weeks has nearly given me whiplash at times. It all started with the Six Nations on a Saturday afternoon. It’s a good excuse to wear green, do a bit of Grade A creeping, and be patriotic without having to do too much work. All of a sudden, we started watching rugby matches that Ireland weren’t even playing in. We learnt a few things from this exercise: a) Every team in the Six Nations has a player who resembles a ‘Fat Jesus’ and b) The French team are awfully soft- sure Paul O’Connell had no problem playing among the glaciers that had settled around the field on what Ryle Nugent dubbed “a dark dark day for the Six Nations”. You’d swear someone had died or something. The let-down we experienced once the French game had been called off should have signalled alarm bells in my head. What did we care if they played or not? I was only watching in the hopes that Tommy Bowe would have the
jersey ripped off him. Oh no, we were going down a very slippery slope here. We were getting invested in the team. We had spent our afternoons watching these boys shove their heads up each others arses (that’s what it looks like from our angle anyway) and we wouldn’t be satisfied with anything less than a win now, even if it meant getting up off the couch and shouting at the TV. We were in deep. Then, we branched out. Maybe it was time to see other people play different sports? Conveniently enough, the Carling Cup final was being played that weekend and judging by the hype on Facebook and Twitter, this was one to watch. Before the match, it was impossible not to get caught up in the emotion of the day. Liverpool hadn’t won a trophy in six years? That’s so sad for all those old-timers on the team. But Cardiff had paved out such a hard road to the final? Well, that must mean that deserve to win. One thing’s for certain, I would make a useless commentator. We got completely swept up in the match. We went from calling
the players by names we’d given them based on their personal appearance, like ‘Your man with the ponytail’, ‘The one with the goofy smile’ and ‘The dish’ (and yes, I know I’m the only 21 year old who calls handsome men ‘dishy’... or handsome for that matter) to becoming full-blown aficionados on the sport, the clubs and the players themselves. Just as we had transformed ourselves into dignified rugby spectators, we were now finding ourselves becoming the stereotypical rowdy soccer fans. By the end of the penalties, our nerves were shot and we wondered how people waste whole days on games that mightn’t even produce one goal? Somehow, we keep getting more and more drawn in by these sporting weekends. It’s a great excuse to sit on the couch, have a few drinks and pretend to be soaking up some culture and showing some “pride in your jersey”. I even started to care when Rory McIlroy was named golf ’s world number one - who in their right mind even cares about golf? This newfound expertise on the world of sport may last more than one season - but something tells me that this is just a fleeting interest designed to give me an almost valid excuse not to do my thesis. Procrastination is a cruel and clever being.
Director: Jason Reitman Starring : Charlize Theron, Patton Oswalt & Patrick Wilson In Young Adult, director Jason Reitman and Academy Awardwinning screenwriter Diablo Cody reunite for the first time since their 2007 smash-hit, Juno. Unlike Juno however, Young Adult is about as uplifting as watching your dog being put down. Hailed as the feel-bad comedy of the year to date, Charlize Theron stars as Mavis Gray, a narcissistic, divorced, 37-year old ghost writer. She receives an email with pictures of her now married high-school sweetheart Buddy Slade (Pat-
Director: Daniel Espinosa Starring : Denzel Washington When Denzel Washington looks a man dead in the eyes, giving him a shark’s grin before asking “Do I make you nervous?” you know shit’s about to hit the fan. This is true for Safe House, as about two minutes later Washington’s accomplice has an extra ventilation hole in his skull. Clearly his character, Tobin Frost, isn’t quite as fun as the Fonz to hang around with. Safe House is a spy-action flick from Swedish director Daniel Es8
rick Wilson) with his new-born daughter. In an unstable, depressed and semi-delusional state she returns to her hometown of Mercury, Minneapolis, hoping to rekindle her relationship with Buddy and free him from this “trap” because they are “meant to be together”. The only obstacle in her way is Buddy’s wife Beth (Elizabeth Reaser). On Mavis’ crusade for true love, she runs into Matt (Patton Oswalt), a forgotten classmate, in a local sports bar. Matt is as similar to a former high-school jock Buddy as Tallaght is to Timbuktu. A true geek, he assembles action figures in his spare time. Left crippled after a beating in high school, he strikes up an unlikely friendship with Mavis. Theron and Oswalt deliver solid performances as their on-screen companionship grows. Following on from the 2009 comedy-drama Big Fan, stand-up comedian Oswalt shows his full range, and Theron is also fantastic as the psychopathic ex-prom queen. She was deservedly nominated for a Golden Globe Award for this performance. However, it’s still incredibly difficult to identify with Theron’s character. As a result, viewers will find it virtually impossible to care for Mavis, who begins and ends the film in largely the same state, wallowing in a sense of her own self-pity. Young Adult challenges the concept that a movie protagonist must be somewhat pinosa. Washington stars as Tobin Frost, a rogue CIA agent who plans to sell incredibly valuable US secrets to the highest bidder. Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) is the low level rookie who winds up escorting Frost to a nearby safe house after the first one Frost is held in is attacked by mercenaries. Even summarising it here, the plot of Safe House doesn’t sound particularly interesting, mainly because it isn’t. Although there are a few twists and turns here and there, most of them you’ll be able to see coming, and they end up falling flat. This is a shame, because Safe House has several good ideas. The trailer hints that Washington is a master manipulator, who’s going to go all Hannibal Lecter on Reynolds. However, this doesn’t happen, and the two leads don’t have any meaningful interactions besides hitting each other (although that is how real men should interact). What’s more, watching Safe House nearly gave me a migraine. It’s been a while since a film actually made my head begin to vibrate but Safe House has the honour of being the first film this year to secure that prestigious title. Any time an action scene kicks in; the camera suddenly has some sort of seizure. Although this isn’t too bad
likable, but this idea fails to a large extent. It’s difficult to vouch for the bad guy when he/she display very little traces of humanity. As well as an unsatisfactory ending, blatant product placement is also rife throughout the movie. (Diet Coke and a KFC anyone?) Even though all the familiar high-flyer-city-slicker-is-taughtlessons-by-the-simple-smalltown-folk plot points are here, the problem is Mavis doesn’t actually seem to learn her lesson. Another problem with Young Adult is although it is billed as a comedy, it has too many dramatic elements to be regarded as one. It comes across as more of a drama, peppered with comedy. Although it has some notable dark comedic flashes of brilliance, (such as one exchange between Mavis & Matt - Matt: “You’re a piece of work.” Mavis: “You’re a piece of shit.”) The film is ultimately a disappointment, in keeping with its own tone. The performances of Theron and Oswalt are the only aspects which salvage the film from being a complete and utter disaster. Although Young Adult has received a lot of critical acclaim, I would recommend avoiding it if at all possible.
Grimes Visions If Robyn, Austra and Lykke Li all clubbed together to create a musical Frankenstein’s monster, that artist would sound something like Grimes. Visions, the first major release from the Canadian singer/keyboardist (real name Claire Boucher), is an example of the now ubiquitous ‘dream pop’ genre at its very best. Though at first a complex and
in some parts, in others I literally could only identify Reynolds by the size of his head. However, not all is bad in Safe House. While many of the fist fights are near impossible to follow without neon signs, some of the action scenes are great, including a particularly slick car chase through the streets of South Africa. And of course Washington shines as always, dragging along the film by the scruff of the neck as it makes less and less sense and Reynolds looks more likely to fall asleep. Although these points bring Safe House up a bit, they can’t fully redeem it. The dialogue is pretty boring and wooden, and for the most part, so is the acting, with the exceptions of a few including Washington and Brendan Gleeson, who plays a head CIA agent. There is a romance sub-plot between Reynolds and his girlfriend, Nora Arnezeder, which is thrown in to give men a bit of eye candy as the women drool over Reynolds. Finally, the ending is typical Hollywood jargon, with much nonsensical explosions (look out for a car destroying itself for no reason).
The Fray Scars & Stories
An album can really be judged by how much it makes you want to sing along with the lyrics. In 2005, the world fell in love with The Fray and their debut album ‘How to Save a Life’ because the lyrics had meaning and everyone wanted to sing along.
Bruce Springsteen Wrecking Ball
My short stint in bed with Bruce Springsteen’s Wrecking Ball was a strange experience. The album’s passionate, I’ll give it that, but it rarely gets me anywhere I want to go. The financial crisis has obviously angered The Boss, and with song titles like ‘This Depression’, ‘Death of My Hometown’ and ‘Shackled and Drawn’, it’s hard to not to feel a sense
seemingly impenetrable piece of work, Visions rewards repeated listening. Singles ‘Oblivion’ and ‘Genesis’ are natural standouts, with ‘Circumambient’ and ‘Be A Body’ following closely behind. The album manages to strike a balance between party-friendly and chill out tracks – the ambient, six-minute-long ‘Skin’ is perfect ‘drifting off to sleep’ music. Boucher’s sugar-sweet vocals and ghostly layered harmonies give an other-wordly feel to the synths and R&B-inspired beats. The fact that it’s almost impossible to decipher what she’s singing only adds to the strange, haunting appeal of the album.Unique, ethereal, and impossible not to dance to, Visions has ‘Sound of 2012’ stamped all over it, and marks Grimes as one to watch for the future.
Scars & Stories did not make me want to sing along. In fact, the blandness of the songs made it difficult to learn the words even if I wanted to. The Fray have never been known for their cheery lyrics but there are only so many power ballads a band can write before they start to become repetitive. This album is littered with ballads that are designed to make you weep but really just make you want to skip to the next song. ‘The Fighter’ and ‘Maps’ may be the only saving grace of this dreary album. This is definitely not an album that you will be running to tell the neighbours about.
of foreboding before listening. There are a few redeeming qualities though. The album isn’t completely devoid of stadium anthems; ‘We Take Care Of Our Own’, the aforementioned ‘Shackled and Drawn’ and ‘Land of Hopes of Dreams’ all hammer themselves into your head with ease. But Wrecking Ball has been hailed as The Boss at his most angry; it’s rare any of this anger or angst is apparent anywhere in his music apart from the lyrics. The melodies are unimaginative and most tracks drawl along with little or no purpose. For die-hard Springsteen fans, this may well slide comfortably into his back catalogue and take pride of place, but it certainly won’t win him any new fans.
Flux | March 21, 2012