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flux Volume III Issue XII | Editor & Layout: Valerie Loftus

Flux | April 25, 2012

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spring Forward

Struggling to find the perfect coat for Irish spring weather? Claire Healy tells us how

Given this town’s tiny size it

Ireland’s Got mammies Valerie Loftus talks to Colm O’Regan about social networking, memes and the Irish mammy

Comedian Colm O’Regan has found success in a thoroughly modern way - on Twitter, if you don’t mind. Creator of the Irish Mammies Twitter account, he watched as the page reached over 22,000 followers in just four months. It’s easy to see why Irish Mammies is Ireland in a nutshell. Who hasn’t heard the choice phrases below at one time or another? “Sure you might as well be talking to the wall.” “I don’t get ANY ‘funny taste’ off it. Eat it up now. If you were out in Somalia you’d be glad of it.” “Lookit.” Fair enough, says you. But how did the Irish Mammy end up on Twitter? “It wasn’t set up with the intention of working,” says Colm. “I was writing a web TV thing for a crowd called Kildare TV. I figured one of the segments would be for emigrants, a feature called “A Tweet From Mammy.” I was there with my PhotoShop trying to draw up something to look like a tweet when I decided: why 2

not set up a Twitter account, just to make it look real? I followed all the people I followed on Twitter and put up a couple of tweets. All of a sudden I started getting responses. Within about an hour, I had 100 followers.” Why does he think it resonates with so many people? “The big thing is that everybody thinks their own family is mental, and that their experience growing up was unique,” he says. “Then I’d tweet things that I heard my mother or other mothers I knew saying, and I’d get people saying ‘It’s like my mother talking to me.’ It’s that odd feeling when you realise you’re just the same as everyone else.” Growing up in the remote county Cork village of Dripsey, Colm developed the love for Irish rural life that greatly influences his comedy. “I love the Irish rural life, it hints at dark secrets. There’s an anarchic behaviour that stems, I think, from being a colonised people – there’s always an undercurrent of slight humorous rebellion. There’s very low tolerance for bullshit in rural

Ireland. Dripsey gave me a good grounding in that.” The Irish Mammies Twitter account is what happens when this old world and the new social media-driven world collide. Colm is a big fan of social media, but notes that every cloud has a silver

I can trace the moment when I knew I would never be President from when Broadband came in lining: “I think the best thing about social networking is that it has removed barriers to allow the likes of me to reach people. The worst thing about it is that I get nothing done when I’m on Twitter, Wikipedia, Youtube, Reddit – it’s just a disaster. I can trace the moment when I knew I would not be President from

when Broadband came in.” Colm is also fascinated by Internet memes, which he says are a “democratic” form of comedy. “[Memes are] subversive. They’re voted for by the people. A company can’t start a meme. They’re very – I hate this word in this context but I sort of have to use it – they’re very organic. Cells multiplying in the right conditions, and not being grown in a lab.” You could say that Irish Mammies itself is an example of this. Twenty-two thousand people can’t be wrong, right? Apparently so. According to Colm, the page gets very little abuse. “Well, are you going to swear at your mammy?” he laughs. Irish Mammies, for all the humour and nostalgic value, is also a snapshot of Irish culture. Our mothers speak the same way as their mothers, who speak the same way as their mothers. Will the Irish Mammy always be the same? “They will change. Ten per cent of the population were not born in Ireland so there will be a new generation of Irish Mammies. But the culture is so strong

and complex; it’s not like they’re all on their knees clutching rosary beads and moaning. It’s an evolving thing.” O’Regan has no plans to let Irish Mammies rest on Twitter - Ireland’s Got Mammies, premiering at the Kilkenny Cat Laughs Festival on June 2, will bring the online phenomenon to life. There are also plans for a book. All well and good, but just how do you turn a Twitter account into a live show? Colm is playing his cards close to his chest on this one. “Well, watch this space – basically, the tweet is like the tip of the iceberg. Anything you see on Twitter is for free, the ticket price is the extra stuff. I’ve tested out a few bits at my comedy club in Kilmainham and it seems to go well, so I think it’ll be a good show.” Sure, where else would you be going?

can be difficult to find the perfect piece of outerwear coming into Spring/Summer. It’s inevitable that the one good option in Topshop will be snapped up by the vast majority of the fashion hungry and we all want to avoid that glance of embarrassment that ensues when you stumble across someone in the same attire. Around this time, that sunny haze is generally not as warm as it first appears to be. Your coat still has to be warm and cosy, practicality is a must, and given the time of year; a functional yet fashionable jacket is an absolute requirement. Spring calls for adaptability, your transitional coat needs to give off a hint of summer yet still instinctively remind us of the ever present chill in the air. The military fatigue jacket is cropping up everywhere and with good reason. Black, grey, khaki and beige are the constraints we ought to remain within, minimal fuss and maximum impact being

jewel tones like burgundy or teal and its flattering length make it not only a sunny daytime staple but also clubber friendly. The structure and proportions of such blazers, teamed with

For those especially cold days, a long wool coat is the only option

Blazer, £55, riverisland.com Wool coat (cover), £75, topshop.com

Divas in the Aviva Megan Ecock examines the rivalry behind this year’s biggest gigs - Madonna’s MDNA tour and Gaga’s Born This Way Ball

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wo of pop’s biggest stars (and biggest rivals) are playing on Irish soil in the coming months. Both Madonna and Lady Gaga are bringing their well-publicised world tours to Dublin’s Aviva Stadium. Madonna is playing the 52 thousand capacity arena in July while Lady Gaga is bringing her Born This Way tour to the venue in September. Madonna (53), who has not played an Irish gig since headlining Slane Castle in 2004, has sold 250 million records worldwide spanning over an almost 3-decade-long career. Famous for songs such as ‘Like a Prayer’ and ‘Vogue’, Madonna is the most successful dance artist in music history. The singer, also known as the ‘Queen of Pop’, has spent a total of 21 weeks at number 1 in the UK singles chart: longer than any other female solo artist.

Follow Irish Mammies on @irishmammies and Colm himself on @ colmoregan. Tickets for Ireland’s Got Mammies are on sale now at www.thecatlaughs.com. Flux | April 25, 2012

the order of the day. Battered boyfriend leather jackets are ultimately covetable and teamed with sheer separates, become softened somehow and less aggressive, making them all the more wearable. Oversized baseball jackets were previously the younger teenager’s cover up of choice however thankfully this phase appears to have passed and it is again acceptable for us to nostalgically channel our inner American. More girls, and indeed boys for that matter, should wear them. They fit the bill as the perfect slouchy alternative and teamed with delicate separates can add a certain ruggedness to any look. Your jacket doesn’t always have to be practical. The long blazer is a new arrival on the scene this year and a welcome respite from the typical at that. Perfect in multiple hues, the combination of

Flux | April 25, 2012

Following in similarly successful footsteps is Lady Gaga. The 26-year-old shot to fame with nightclub floor filler ‘Just Dance’ in 2008 and has since gone on to become one of the world’s most celebrated and talked about pop stars. Gaga counts 5 Grammy Awards and 13 MTV Video Music Awards amongst her trophy collection. The ‘Paparazzi’ singer, whose fans call her ‘Mother Monster’, also holds the record for the most followed Twitter account with over 20 million people subscribed to her tweets. Both Italian American singers are extremely alike. They are both known for their risqué music and outspoken views on religion and sex, as well as their ability to creatively blur the line between pop and porn. The similarities are there for all to see and it is only normal that comparisons have been made. Lady Gaga has constantly spoken out about the admiration and

basic, boyish separates and the nonchalant approach with which such outfits are thrown together only further lends itself to an inherently polished look. Texture and length combinations are taken to a new height, towards a more structured and typically male silhouette. Oozing with city wearability, this is a trend which respect she has for her fellow pop sensation but Madonna has been a little more hostile towards her younger rival. Although praising Lady Gaga as a talented artist, Madonna was not impressed with Mother Monster’s historymaking single ‘Born This Way’. The single, which cemented Gaga’s position as ‘Princess of Pop’, took in the highest number of digital sales by a female artist in history. Madge, however, only heard the single as a dumbed down version of her own classic, ‘Express Yourself ’. During an interview on American television, Madonna said: “I can’t really be annoyed by her [but] when I heard it on the radio, I said, ‘that sounds very familiar’”. She went on to say that hearing the song felt “reductive”. When asked what she meant by that she simply replied, “Look it up.” The Queen of Pop obviously has no plans to step down from her throne just yet and will no doubt want to put on an unforgettable performance following her not-so-regal standing in the album charts. Her latest album, MDNA, went straight in at number

is not going anywhere fast. For those especially cold days, a long wool coat is the only option. Seek out curious vintage specimens, with a dash of drama, something which will allow you to take a youthful spin on the trend. Lighter colour palettes are to be avoided here, a heavy coat needs a heavy colour to allow the layers peeking out from underneath to speak for themselves. Detachable faux fur collars will provide a ladylike accent on a coat, which admittedly your granddad might wear. This is a time of year is brimming with potential. Though a colour drenched long blazer may be a dread inducing prospect for some, keep the other elements of the outfit solid and neutral to make a more muted statement. Other mornings, sensibility must be our starting point and for this, heavy outerwear in the richest fabric is what we must aim for during these in-between days. Weather, do your worst. 1 in the US album chart before disappearing completely following a dismal first week of sales. Lady Gaga’s latest album, Born This Way, has since resumed the coveted top spot on the back of a massive two-day sale on Amazon. This musical wrestling match may continue for years to come but it will be interesting to see come September if the reigning Queen of Pop will also be the Diva of the Aviva.

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reviews

The Cold Light of Day

Director: Mabrouk El Mechri Starring : Henry Cavill, Bruce Willis, Caroline Goodall The only advice I can give in good conscience is to not go and see The Cold Light of Day. The premise of the film doesn’t seem that bad: a man finds himself alone in Spain after his family are kidnapped and vows to find them. It’s a fairly simple “hide and seek” storyline. However, this film failed to provide any character development at

Delicacy

Director: David Foenkinos, Stéphane Foenkinos Starring : Audrey Tatou, Francois Damiens, Bruno Todeschini Delicacy begins like a pleasant but fairly straightforward French romantic comedy. It’s set in Paris where the beautiful Nathalie (Audrey Tautou) and her beau Francois (Pio Marma) enjoy a whirlwind romance and fairy-tale wedding. But then their marriage ends abruptly. The shock causes Nathalie to retreat from life and throw herself into her work. For three years she slaves away in an 4

all besides establishing that the main character, Will Shaw (Henry Cavill), is your typical neurotic, self-obsessed American. His mother (Caroline Goodall), his younger brother (Rafi Gavron) and Will’s girlfriend (Emma Hamilton) seem to hover in the background and when they are kidnapped it doesn’t affect us much; we don’t know enough about them to care. His father Martin (Bruce Willis) turns out to be a CIA agent – surprise, surprise - and due to his dirty dealings (or the agencies’ or someone in the agency, I wasn’t too clear at this point) terrorists kidnap his family in revenge.The kidnappers are never fully introduced either.They even seemed to be the good guys at one point, but most of that just melted into a chaotic gun battle where everyone, except anyone of significance, dies. This is immediately followed by a long and drawn out car chase. I have never before put the words “boring” and “car chase” in the same sentence, but this film forced me to do exactly that. It was during this scene that the people beside me decided to leave. Another cinemagoer was on Twitter. Along with the non-explanation of the relatively simple plot there were other holes too. Our

hero Will, as far as I could tell with my basic Leaving Cert Biology skills and knowledge of gravity, should have died at least twice during the film and at the very least deserved some kind of intensive hospitalisation. He fell about four stories, got shot, had the wound cauterised with a heated spoon and was involved in quite a severe car crash yet still managed to run around the streets of Madrid with gusto. Bruce Willis made only a brief appearance in this film and I am surprised he appeared in it at all. Another aspect which may have been a blessing in disguise was the camerawork. For a lot of the film the focus was very strange and seemed to draw the viewer towards things like the half empty wine glass on the table, rather than the actors who were having a conversation behind it. I am not sure if this was done in an attempt to make the film appear “unconventional” with obscure camera angles or if it was an attempt to obscure as much of the film as possible from the viewer, to save them from this travesty. And don’t even get me started on the love story...

office while her best friend who is happily married moves on with life and starts a family. She works her way up in the company but despite professional success she is not really happy. Then one day a Swede called Markus, who works on the project she is in charge of, steps into her office to ask about case 114, and something within her stirs. Markus (Francois Damiens) ambles gormlessly into this film and brings it to life with humour, bravery and heart. He has an awkward charm, wit and good nature that will warm your heart as it does Nathalie’s. Anyone who has ever fallen for someone out of their league will be in stitches watching Markus trying to get it right and not mess things up. Colleagues and friends cannot believe lumbering balding Markus could really win the heart of elegant and stylish Nathalie. Soon Markus himself begins to doubt that their ‘beauty and the beast’ romance could ever endure. Tautou is suberb throughout, but it is Damiens who really steals the show. His subtlety and comic timing make him a joy to watch. The only other noteworthy performance comes from Bruno Todeschini who plays Nathalie’s boss

Charles, who desperately longs to have Nathalie, despite having a wife already. In a scene where he is trying to suss out Markus after a few drinks too many he delivers a great comic performance in which you almost feel sorry for him. Delicacy is David Foenkinos adaptation of his own eponymous novel. It’s the successful authors’ first venture into directing, but he has help from his big brother co-director Stéphane Foekinos. Despite their inexperience much of their experimentations work, particularly some time-spanning fantasy sequences and retro static framing. This film certainly lived up to my expectations as a quirky and enjoyable rom com. It lacks some depth in parts but touches on the universal themes of love, loss and redemption with an odd mix of realism and whimsy that I found charming. If you are of a fanciful ilk you will undoubtedly find this hilarious, heart wrenching and uplifting film to be an instant favourite. More serious and sceptical souls are likely to be less impressed.

Nicki Minaj Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded Roman Reloaded is the second mainstream album release from the New York rapper and follows the incredible frenzy of her debut Pink Friday in 2010. Minaj has received some criticism from fans for abandoning her hip-hop roots in favour of Gaga-esque pop. For those concerned about such

Eimear Phelan

Teresa Gallagher

Jason Mraz Love Is A Four Letter Word Love Is A Four Letter Word is the fourth studio album from American singer/songwriter Jason Mraz and is packed with the easy listening songs that we have come to expect from him. The album follows in the same vein of his worldwide hit album We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things

Lostprophets Weapons I have never been a big fan of Lostprophets. However, in the spirit of being a good reviewer, I have tried to not let that cloud my judgement.With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s move

a transformation, this album will do nothing to quell their fears. Roman Reloaded is, at its best, pure unadulterated pop and at its worst, just plain weird. Tracks such as ‘Starships’ and ‘Whip It’ are pre-packaged pop classics. It seems that when Minaj tries to veer away from this style that the album loses steam. Even appearances from some of the biggest stars of the hip-hop world such as Chris Brown and Lil Wayne fail to save the album from catastrophe. This album won’t win over any new fans for Minaj, but for those already enthralled by her wacky demeanour, it’s not a bad attempt. Eimear Shannon

with melodic, mid-tempo tunes that will appeal to a wide variety of music fans. The two-time Grammy Award winner has clearly taken inspiration from the title of the album as most of the songs are about love, positivity and the celebration of life. His lyrics are personal and intimate and you can’t help but get the feel good factor while you listen. The sound of the album varies from up-tempo, live band backed songs to more mellow and laid back beats. Stand-out tracks include the slow paced love song ‘I Won’t Give Up’ or the catchy ‘Everything is Sound’. The music is perfect to relax to and leaves you with a smile on your face. Patricia Rice

on. Weapons is the fifth studio offering from the Welsh sextet. The sound from the opening track ‘Bring ‘Em Down’ is indicative of the entire album: simply, huge. However, where I feel the band is let down is in Watkins’ lyrics. The music throughout the album is solid, but the lyrics can be cringe-worthy and clichéd at times. The personal highlight for me, and possibly a future fan-anthem, is ‘Jesus Walks’. Overall, an improved offering from the boys from Wales, and one I think will be well received amongst fans. Sinead Walsh

Flux | April 25, 2012


FLUX 25/4/2012