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5 CULTURE

MUSIC

FASHION

TECH

Slinkachu: Mountains from Molehills and The Dube

Guitar gods: Jason Becker, Steve Vai and Emperors

Barbara Boner and The Wool Pack

Holodecks, Phone-cinema, Chirpify your Twitter

WIN!

Molami Headphones and one of three ichicgear iPad Cases


5

54 Not dead yet Jason Becker

06 The Hotlist 08 Little Big Man Slinkachu 18 The Dube

Little Big Man Slinkachu

22 Celebrity Skin

08

32 The Wool Pack 35 The Gateway to India Portes des Indes 38 Non-Alcoholic Vanilla Eggnog 40 Bavarian Christmas Market 44 One Night in Bangkok

44

48 Loften Isalands, Norway

One night in Bangkok Travel

50 The Bristol Hotel

>>>

One of three iChicGear

101 iPad covers 35

Portes des Indes

A pair of Molami

102 Headphones worth ÂŁ150

38 Non-Alcoholic Vanilla Eggnog

The Love Bug Volkswagev Cabriolet

72 Cover Morgan White Photography


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5

ISSUE

WELCOME

60 Wizards of Oz Emporers

Working on Flush Magazine over the past twelve months has been so much fun that the time has just flown by. I’m so pleased with how we’ve grown in 2012 and with each edition has come new readers and writers wanting to become involved. It’s also been really great to get your feedback, as a result we’re going to be doing more travel and home features in 2013 just like you’ve asked for. In addition to this we’re going to be expanding into exciting new areas too, so watch this space for more info.

64 Ones to Watch

Have a fantastic Christmas and New Year and we’ll see you in Feb 2013.

85 Gaming - Hell Yeah

66 The Story of Vai Steve Vai 70 Ford Focus 74 Skoda Rapid 78 VW Beetle Cabriolet 84 Gaming - Halo 4

86 Tech - Galaxy Beam 88 A real Holodeck? 94 App of the month Chirpify 96 Competition Endomondo Workout Jackets

Pete Graham, EDITOR

97 Competition JoyTAB Android Tablet 98 My Favourite Movie Jurassic Park

CONTRIBUTORS Amelia Harvey Amy Packham Casey Bowers Chris Leddy Dave Whithead Hana Karlasen Hannah Duncan Ian ‘Epredator’ Hughes Jamie Reynolds Karen James-welton

Lois Foulger Luke Lavelle Natasha Colyer Henry McMunn Natasha Lunn Phil Blaney James Martin Samuel Law Steve Clarke Vanessa Sue Smith

FLUSH Magazine 2 Old Bank House Acle, Norwich Norfolk NR13 3DY T: 01493 753968 E: info@flushmagazine.co.uk


THE HOTLIST Green Network

By the end of 2012 there will be 300+ electric car charging ‘POD Points’ across the UK. Pod Point accounts are just like PAYG mobile phones, credit online and off you go. Depending on where you live, you might also be able to have a new Solo2 communicating charge point installed at your house free of charge. www.PPPAYG.com

THE STUFF OF LIFE

Cleaning Windows Microsoft have finally realised how people actually use computers and Windows 8 is a clean, intuitive operating system that will give Apple plenty to think about. The fightback starts here? www.microsoft.com

WIN!

Win one of three iChicGear iPad covers

Angry Birds Star Wars Playing Cards Complete with 3D lenticular bonus card in a metal collectible tin. Collect all four sets and take them to your local bridge club, I dare you. www.cartamundi. co.uk


Streetwise The Illustrated London Map by British artist Alice Tait, featuring famous landmarks such as The Royal Albert Hall, the London Zoo and Buckingham Palace. It’s not as practical as an A to Z, but much better looking. www.notonthehigh street.com/thealice taitshop

Fruit & Nut case No Christmas cheese plater should be without this Limited Edition Boursin soft cheese with fig and nuts. Perfect with warm toasted ciabatta, watching Allo Allo re-runs on the box. www.boursin.co.uk

Wine Goggles Beaker from Sesame Street might use this cool Wine Carafe from the Science Museum for a celebratory glass of Blackcurrant Juice after a hard day experimenting at the Lab. Works well with a vintage 1988 Chateauneuf Du Pape too. www.sciencemuseumshop.co.uk

WIN!

Win a pair of Molami Headphones worth ÂŁ150


Little Big Man

SLINKACHU Interview by Julie Fisher

London based artist Slinkachu uses ‘street’ art in a very different way compared with someone like Banksy or say, John Feckner. His close up (and distant) pictures of miniature scenes are a window into an artificially staged world, conflicted by scale and events. What I love about them is the characters within them also allow a thought provoking (and often humorous) insight into real life. On a cold wet Autumn day in London, Slinkachu held an open workshop on the top floor of Rich Mix on Bethnal Green Rd to encourage people of all ages to get creative. A variety of materials (including the dead bees which Slinkachu uses so often in his own work) were provided and participants had three hours to create a work of art inspired by Slinkachu’s theme of ‘small people in a big world’. While the people got busy I grabbed a few moments with the man himself..


Were you pleased with the turnout today? It’s been cool especially with the weather �(looks out at torrential rain)�. I wouldn’t usually go out and shoot when it’s raining unless the image requires it, so I think people are being quite brave just by showing up! The ideas have been great too. I didn’t want people to just have my figures and feel like they had to copy what I do. I wanted them to think creatively and use a range of materials, anything that’s available to them basically.


So you don’t find yourself running out of ideas? It gets harder because you don’t want to feel like you’re repeating yourself, especially as the miniatures are so popular now, so there’s always pressure to do more things with them. I don’t get bored though as it’s the ideas behind the work that really interest me. They’re all about city life and people’s experiences in the city. Getting e-mails from people showing me pieces they’ve created which have been inspired by me is also great, that really keeps me going.


What are your plans for the future? After the book promotion I want to take some time off because I’ve been really busy recently. There’s a Japanese version of Global Model Village ‘ coming out so I’m hoping to get out to Japan next year. I also have notebooks full of ideas which I haven’t been able to use, so I’ll be doing something with those when I get the time.


Slinkachu’s new book Global Model Village is out now and published by UK EDITION by Boxtree Macmillan USA by Blue Rider Press GERMAN EDITION (Kleine Leute In Der Weiten Welt) released by Cadeau


E B U D E H T Drum He Bangs Thewith Dion Dublin An Inter vieBYw AMY PACKHAM

for reer playing a c r e ll a tb o la, a successful fo and Aston Vil d e it In addition to n U r te s e rs), Manch g love affair e in th n o n u g r n g o n m lo (a da s also enjoye sion based a s h u n rc li e b p u w D e n n Dio da 10 he release 0 look 2 In . ic s u m ube’. It may D with e h ‘T d e ll a ument c oth original b s e rc u o s n musical instr esig henomenon s innovative d p it t e u th b , , s le d a p re im s rd sp musicians ounds. As wo l s a n e v io ti s a s re fe c ro d an by p gularly used re ’s it d n a s ols for kids. o grow h c s in l o to ucation and as an ed s see how thing to im h h it w p I caught u ed.. have develop


The Dube was something I invented while I was actually still playing for Norwich City. I’ve always loved music. I’ve played the saxophone since 1992, and all my family members play a musical instrument so music is very much in my blood.

AMY: Hi Dion! How are you? Dion Dublin: Yes, I’m OK thank you, although a little tired as I played in a charity match with the lads from One Direction and I didn’t get back until late. I’m just about hanging in there. AP: So we were hoping to learn a bit more about ‘The Dube’, what was it like to find a new vocation after you retired from football? Was it strange having to move on to something completely different? DD: Not really. The Dube was something I invented while I was actually still playing for Norwich City. I’ve always loved music. I’ve played the saxophone since 1992, and all my family members play a musical instrument so music is very much in my blood. One day after a training session I decided to take a detour to a hardware store and purchase nails and s ome wood, which I thought would make a nice sound. When I stopped playing football it had a chance to return and take charge. AP: Did your family give you any advice? DD: Well, I needed a musical ear so I rang my brothers and they came to the house to see ‘The Dube’ and said it sounded good. Whether it did or not at the time I don’t know, but it was still something I

wanted to take forward and I knew there was mileage in it in some way shape or form. AP: How did you go about designing it, did you get help? DD: No, I had no help from anybody and I didn’t know anything. I just decided to make a certain shaped musical instrument, which suited my style of playing, tapping, making rhythms and it just seemed to work for me, selfishly I suppose. I guess you can only make something for yourself and it’s a bit of pot luck too. AP: So is it just made out of wood? DD: Yes, it’s totally wood, no skins at all, and it’s got four different playable sides that give you four different tones. I knew exactly how many sides I wanted to be playable but I didn’t realise it was going to sound as good as it did. It was actually a bit of a shock to me. As it developed over the past eight years, the sound has got better and it’s exactly how I want it to look. The first ones had nails and all sorts hanging out of the wood, but now it’s completely finished and very professional. It’s very unique, it’s crystal clean and sounds nothing like a set of congas or bongo drums. It’s very distinctive. I don’t really know of any drums that are completely wood. Karl Brazil is one of those using it and he plays drums for Robbie Williams and Feeder. I went to see Courtney Pine, a saxophonist, possibly the most well-known saxophonist in Britain, and showed him ‘The Dube’ and he was absolutely loved it. He said to me “Dion, I’ve got an idea. Why don’t you make a family of Dubes?” So because


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My brothers, my business partner and I had a 10 minute jamming session with none other than Stevie Wonder and he loved it. He took one away, and since then his PA has got in touch and said he’d like more.

of Courtney Pine’s suggestion I made four different sized Dubes and he now uses a full set on stage with him every time he plays, and it has been on his last two albums. In January I went to a show called NAMM. I had the biggest legend in music come over to The Dube stand and play The Dube. My brothers, my business partner and I had a 10 minute jamming session with none other than Stevie Wonder and he loved it. He took one away, and since then his PA has got in touch and said he’d like more. The next stop for The Dube is Pasic which is a drum show in Austin Texas. It’s still finding its feet and I’m still trying to get it out there but it’s something I love and I’m passionate about and I’m hoping that people see the beauty and the benefit in ‘The Dube’ as I do. On the flip side of that, I go into schools and teach the children how to play, they get it. When you see a young person actually sit on a blue gym mat and hit The Dube and they’re making sounds, they are gobsmacked. In schools, I use Dubes with Numbers and letters on. I’ll teach them to play through saying ABC, 123, red, green, blue, and they get it... it’s simple. I love it because the children smile. There will be two people playing The Dube at all times, so there’s an element

of breaking down social barriers, they have to make friends and work together. AP: How do you see The Dube in five years time? Hopefully as a successful instrument within professional bands, within the curriculum of schools, helping young people and older people to learn rhythm and basically for it to be a stable business, which is running well and people respect. AP: One last question… What goal are you most proud of scoring? It was one for Cambridge United against Chesterfield at Wembley, I think it was 1991 and I scored the only goal. Good Luck Dion! For more info visit www. thedube.com/


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Vera Moda UTC Jumper £20 You just can’t go wrong with a chunky cable knit in the Winter, and this Vera Moda UTC Jumper is no different. It’s Oversized - meaning you don’t have to worry about those winter munchies and tins of quality street.

THE WOOL PACK by Natasha Colyer

Like it or not, Winter is well and truly upon us. Don’t despair, I’ve found the perfect way to make that hot/cold transition more bearable. Whether your snuggling in on those icy evenings, or braving the elements for a Sunday Lunch down the local, these jumpers will ensure you keep warm with style.

Michael Bastian Cashmere crew neck sweater £565 We all know that cartoon favourite Charlie Brown, and now with a bit of Michael Bastian’s designer magic you can recreate the iconic look yourself. Wear with jeans and a leather jacket for the ultimate geek


Donna ida IRO Piper Knit – Noir £165 For a smarter look team with a pair of black leather leggings, some black rider boots and a long statement necklace. However this jumper will look great with most things - the simple yet striking design is plain enough to team with patterned accessories or a pair of coloured/patterned jeans or leggings.

Mr Porter White mountaineering fairisle wool-blend sweater ÂŁ390 Exuding feelings of rustic charm, this amazing sweater is just right for those cooler winter months. Wear with a red jacket, hunting boots and light denim jeans for an effortlessly on trend , rustic winter look.


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La Portes des Indes

The Gateway to India Tucked away behind Marble Arch is a Tardis of a restaurant, La Portes des Indes. An unassuming yellow door on a corner looks the size of my bedroom. In actual fact it hides a former Edwardian ballroom hidden below the streets of London that can seat 350. by Hannah Duncan


P

alm trees stretch to the heights of the two levels while stalking tigers painted in murals peek out between tropical fonds. Opulent greens and gold’s, and the constant splash of a waterfall make you feel like you’ve stepped off a plane rather than in through a door. La Portes des Indes translates to ‘The Gateway to India’ and they have achieved this in spectacular fashion with their

design. Visually breathtaking, you feel like you’re in on a secret that few know, or that you should show your passport and know the secret handshake on arrival. The idea behind Chef Mehernosh Mody’s culinary experience is Indian cooking inspired by the French Creole cuisine of Pondicherry as well as other French trading posts from Southern India. While staff joked that this


doesn’t mean you end up with frogs leg curry it’s hard to imagine what this entails (or entrails if we’re talking about snails). It’s difficult to put your finger on what makes this style of cooking so different other than the absence of the average dishes on the menu (no ‘British’ Tikka Masala or Kormas). The tandoori seared Foie Gras perhaps being the easiest dish to spot where cuisines collide. You get all the taste of Indian food with refreshing and subtle differences. And of course, with the smug self-confidence we want from our chefs, he makes it look so very easy. On the final Friday of every month Mehernosh offers a cooking master class. Perhaps I’m warped but I like chefs to live up to that stereotype of a somewhat stand tall, begrudging, superior being. Mehernosh gives the impression of someone badgered into this but the way he imparts knowledge and locks eye contact with you tells a different story. He talks at length, giving tips on how to mix and keep spices that are the base of all Indian cooking, delivering his wisdom with a serious and steady tone that is almost hypnotic. On this occasion he cooked and served Crab Malabar, made with yoghurt, turmeric, mustard seeds and curry leaves to name a few ingredients. The flavours subtle and

almost refreshing, muting the overpowering taste of crab that puts many off shellfish (not this crustacean lover I must stress). Guinea Fowl Mahe walked the line of delightfully spicy without tipping over that uncomfortable chilli burn. Interestingly that is very much his style, the heat in food should be part of complex flavours and not overpower the entire dish. On the rare occasions diners feel that food served is not hot enough they are given a plate of chillies to up their own temperature. Finally a Rose Phirnee, a floral cold rice pudding as it were, was chilled and rounded off the lively dishes that it followed. This is food at its cleverest, in a setting I’d be happy to take a vacation in. Of course afterwards, all Indian food will feel inferior and I have been spoilt by tasting Naan bread the second it’s removed from the Tandoori oven. La Porte des Indes takes a massive step away from what we have come to expect from an Indian restaurant and if you want your taste buds to feel excited and enthused again then I highly recommend you pay a visit. Your mouth will thank you for it. La Portes des Indes, 32 Bryanston Street London W1H 7EG Tel 020 7224 0055 For more info on visit www.laportedesindes.com


Non-Alcoholic

Vanilla Eggnog If there’s one thing that tells us when the Christmas season is close by its Eggnog! Traditionally an alcoholic drink, containing rum, brandy, bourbon or whisky, I’m going to be preparing a non-alcoholic version even the little ones can enjoy. Finding a good replacement for the alcohol in eggnog was challenging, but I came up with the idea of using Vanilla syrup (usually used for flavoring coffee) and it works great!

INGREDIENTS (FOR 3 GLASSES): ● 2 cups milk ● 1⁄2 cup sugar ● 4 egg yolks ● 1⁄4 cup vanilla syrup ● 1⁄4 cup cream METHOD 1. Start by whisking the egg yolks together with the sugar. Whisk until you get an even, creamy mixture. 2. In a deep saucepan, heat up the milk at a medium temperature. 3. Once warm (do not let cook) add the egg yolk, sugar mixture to the warm milk and keep whisking. 4. Let simmer for around 4 minutes and mix once in a while

so it won’t stick to the pan. 5. You’ll notice some froth forming already on the top, this is thanks to the egg yolks. Once you feel the mixture has become a bit heavier, it’s ready to be removed from the heat. 6. Add the cream and vanilla syrup and whisk once more. Drink warm or let it cool down in the fridge. I’ve presented them in these glass jars that I just kept from other products, cleaned and decorated with some lace. Sprinkle with some nutmeg and you’re ready to go! Hope you enjoy this recipe and my best wishes for the coming holiday season!


Bavaria

FESTIVE MARKETS, MAGICAL MOUNTAINS - AND BAKING!

For me, Christmas creates a vivid image in my mind of classical old towns nestled deep in the heart of evergreen woodland, with snowflakes resting on branches and rooftops. If you are looking to get away at Christmas and share this view, Bavaria could be the place to go. To help me get into the Bavarian Christmas spirit I attended a ‘Great Bavarian Bakeoff ’ and it did just the trick.

F

or me, Christmas creates a vivid image in my mind of classical old towns nestled deep in the heart of evergreen woodland, with snowflakes resting on branches and rooftops. If you are looking to get away at Christmas and share this view, Bavaria could be the place to go. To help me get into the Bavarian Christmas spirit I attended a Great Bavarian Bakeoff and it did just the trick. When I received the invitation I felt a wide spectrum of emotions – joy, excitement and overriding terror being the primary ones! Amongst my friends I’m well known for my often somewhat random comments and certainly not my cooking; in fact, I’d go so far as to say that my culinary expertise verges, at times, on the positively infamous! Thus far, I haven’t given anyone food poisoning, but I’ve had a couple of near misses, so as I’m sure you can imagine, baking wouldn’t be my idea of the ‘perfect’ relaxing event.... Thankfully, my worries were soon put to bed, as we were to be making classic German Christmas cookies (otherwise known as ‘Springerle’) in small groups with help from a professional chef (phew!). After being treated to some beautifully cooked Bratwurst, red cabbage and a glass or two of mulled wine, we got cracking with creating Germaninspired cookie... erm... masterpieces.

It was fantastic that everybody rolled up their sleeves and got really stuck in, showing a great sense of pride in their creations and, I must say, I learned that day that the term ‘you should never judge a book by its cover’ can most-definitely be applied to baking (take note Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, please). Although my group’s ‘KnusperDömchen’ cookies didn’t look even remotely like those in the pictures and we were told by the professionals that they had never seen anything quite like them before, (I take that as a compliment, by the way!) they were the quickest to disappear into our fellow bakers’

by Vix Russell


Bavaria

FESTIVE MARKETS, MAGICAL MOUNTAINS - AND BAKING! mouths and Christmas tins! German Christmas markets in Britain are quirky and enjoyable, but nothing can compare to the real thing! We were also treated to a taster of the experiences from a former ‘Christkind’ (or ‘Christkindl’, ‘Christkindle’ and even ‘Christkindel’ depending on which region/town one is venturing to) of Nuremberg. For those less familiar with the role, in Germany the Christkind is the angelic bringer of Christmas gifts – in an attempt to convey how important this individual is, I will merely state that she is ‘bigger’ than Santa Claus (and not in terms of circumference).

Germany has been growing in popularity as a short break destination for Britons over the last year with Munich, along with Berlin, Frankfurt and Cologne topping the charts as preferred cities to visit and Bavaria the most popular federal state. I’m hardly surprised that Bavaria is such a favourite with many as it really does offer such a wide choice of things to see and do. Whether your preference is skiing, sampling the renowned beers, wines or bratwurst, hiking through enchanted wooded forests or visiting fairytale mountaintop castles and other historical locations, (or perhaps a little of all of the above) I will bet my shoes that you’ll have a wonderfully enjoyable time there. There’s also a full and varied schedule of fantastic-looking events coming up across Germany in 2013. Starting in January and running through to the following year is


For those less familiar with the role, in Germany the Christkind is the angelic bringer of Christmas gifts – in an attempt to convey how important this individual is, I will merely state that she is ‘bigger’ than Santa Claus (and not in terms of circumference).

the large-scale celebration for the 150th anniversary of Henry Van De Velde, the Belgian Art Nouveau artist and architect whose many works and ideas paved the way for the world famous German Bauhaus School. In February there is the Ski Jumping World Cup and then later in the year Germany will be hosting the F1 Grand Prix, Fashion Week and the 40th BMW Berlin Marathon (to name but a few). I will most certainly be visiting Southern Germany soon and can’t wait to wander through the stunning Bavarian forest, scale the mighty Bavarian Alps and pig out on real Springerle at the Nuremberg Christmas Market! For more info on Bavarian Christmas Markets visit www.bavaria.travel/ christmas-markets-bavaria-germany


ONE NIGHT IN

BANGKOK Known collectively as ‘The Dome’ at lebua and offering a unique selection of restaurants and bars, the Tower Club is the ultimate luxury hotel experience. Recently awarded ‘Asia’s Leading Lifestyle Hotel’ and ‘Thailand’s Leading Lifestyle Hotel 2012’ at the World Travel Awards, the complex includes: The Sirocco restaurant, boasting a live jazz band and Mediterranean cuisine of the highest order and The Sky Bar where you can order a ‘Hangovertini’, a cocktail made especially for the crew who worked on the movie ‘The Hangover 2’ (some of which was filmed at the Hotel). The signature fine dining restaurant at lebua is Mezzaluna. With a half moon ‘open kitchen’, you can watch as Michelin starred twin chefs, Thomas and Mathias Suhring, flex their culinary muscles to produce world-class inspiring dishes of the highest order.


Should that leave you wanting more, there is also Breeze, 200 metres above the ground with breathtaking views across the Choa Phraya River and Bangkok skyline. Oh, and don’t forget lebua’s Café Mozu, situated on the Mezzanine level poolside, with fine Lebanese, Thai & Indian Cuisine. As for the Hotel itself, each of the 221 suites located between the 51st and 59th floors of the State Tower are complimented by a Finesse mattress, free Wi-Fi, minibar and priority dinner reservations at The Dome. Guests also have access to the Tower Club Lounge on the 52nd floor; where complimentary canapés and drinks are served. The Hotel is a 10 minute walk from the BTS Sky Train’s Saphan Taksin station and a 40-minute drive from Suvarnabhumi International Airport. If you are in Bangkok for only one night, where else would you go?


Tower Club at lebua, 1055 State Tower, Silom Road, Bangkok 10500, Tel: +66 (0) 2624 9999 For more info visit: www.lebua.com


NEW YEAR’S LEAVE Viking Festival - Loften Islands, Norway

Looking for a last minute escape holiday this New Year? Taber Holidays have organised a four night break flying direct to Evenes, Norway for a special Viking Festival

Tour highlights include ■ Trip to Hov, one of the best places to see the Northern Lights Tour of the Loften Islands visiting Stamsund and Leknes Guided tour of Lofotr, the Viking Museum at Borg ■ Visit to Polar Lights Centre at Laukvik ■ Visit to glassblower in Vikten (including a stop for coffee and waffles made by his mother) ■ Viking Feast in the Chieftain’s House ■ New Years Eve firework display ■ Full board accommodation at the Rica Svolvær Hotel Other Options available ■ Sea Eagle and whale watching ■ Cross country skiing ■ Northern Lights hunt by snow shoe in Hov ■ Special church sermon in Svolvær Church Departing from Gatwick on December 28th Price £1598pp based on two sharing. For more info call 01274 875 199 or visit www.taberhols.co.uk


PROMOTION


The Bristol Hotel BRISTOL


GETAWAYS

N

ow part of The Doyle Collection, (the others are in London, Boston, Washington DC, Dublin and Cork), the 187 room Hotel is nestled on the quayside of the floating Harbour in the maritime district of Bristol. Refurbished in 2009, it’s perfectly located for the Bristol Old Vic, Queen Square and The Arnolfini, Bristol’s contemporary arts centre which is right next door. One of Bristol’s best music venues, The Thelka (actually on a boat) is just five minutes walk away too. I arrive in on a wet, dreary Sunday in late Autumn. It feels like it’s been raining for months (probably only been a few weeks). I’m damp, the Bristol Hotel is softly lit, cosy and inviting, walking in feels like a nice warm hug. The hotel lobby is a hive of activity, musicians are checking out, a small wedding party is readying themselves to leave for the big day ahead. Young couples arrive for lunch and there is a modern but unpretentious vibe to the decor. I head upstair to dry out. My top floor room is unfussy, modern and comfortable. The TV is huge, the Wi-Fi is free, and the in-

room coffee comes courtesy of a nifty Nespresso machine. Ten minutes later a waiter brings complimentary marsh-mellows with chocolate sauce. I like this place. At four o’clock sharp all Englishman go for Afternoon Tea, and today is no different. The Quayside, River Lounge Restaurant located inside The Bristol has put a modern twist on this time honoured tradition, and a Pot of Organic Tea is the perfect introduction. With its soothing ambience and white grand piano the River Lounge is the perfect place to while away a Sunday afternoon. From my vantage point I can see the silly people outside getting wet, darting across the river footbridge to Millennium Square, faces battered by flappy mackintoshes. Before long four varieties of delicious open sandwiches arrive on a black slate accompanied by five small individual cakes. The presentation is fantastic, nearly (but not quite) too nice to spoil by eating. A perfect balance of sweet and savoury. My favourite is the freshly baked scone with clotted cream and the Chef’s very own raspberry jam. Proceedings are rounded off with a Hendricks Cocktail. Served in a tea pot it’s a blend of mint, Hendricks Gin, Elderflower cordial, lemon juice and Ginger Beer. The mint gives it a Summer, Pimms-like quality, nicely out of kilter with the weather and even if it’s raining outside, my face is glowing. If you get the chance, try one. As dark descends the rain clouds briefly receed and I venture along the (by now) almost deserted quayside. Most people have taken refuge in one of the many local bars and eateries along the waterside. It’s nice to be in the heart of a city away from cars for a while. Before long before the heavens open again and I head back to the hotel. Room service is dialed, pizza is eaten, the soft bed beaks my fall and sleep is partaken. On a wet weekend in Bristol, there can’t be many better places to be.

Top Tip If you’re visiting on a weekend and like the quiet, ask for a non-quayside room

The Bristol Hotel Prince Street, Bristol BS1 4QF Telephone: +44 (0) 117 923 0333 Rooms available from £155 per night, also look out for special rates. Afternoon Tea is served daily priced £17.50 per person (The Hendricks Gin cocktail experience is an extra £5.00) For more info visit www.doylecollection. com


JASON BECKER NOT DEAD YET By Hana Karlasen

Before he was in his teens Jason Becker had learned to play the guitar parts for nearly every Simon & Garfunkel album. He soon moved on to Eric Clapton and in 1987 (at the age of 16) joined forces with guitarist and friend Marty Friedman, releasing two albums at the forefront of the burgeoning thrash / speed metal scene. They were hugely popular and in Europe and sold out shows wherever they went...

>

PHOTOGRAPH BY ROSS PELTON

...Jason was as a guitar virtuoso, and when Steve Vai left David Lee Roth’s band to join Whitesnake in 1990, he was the natural replacement to take over the job. However, not long after recording had started on Roth’s ‘A Little Ain’t Enough’ album at Little Mountain Sound Studios in Vancouver, Jason began to have problems with what he thought was a trapped nerve in his leg. As time went on he found guitar playing more difficult and things took a turn for the worse. After extensive medical testing he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, or more commonly known as Motor Neurone Disease in the UK), a serious degenerative condition that causes muscle weakness and atrophy throughout the body. It’s the same condition suffered by Stephen Hawking and only 4% of people with it survive for longer than 10 years. That was 22 years ago. Jason somehow finished the recording sessions, but was unwell enough to make the subsequent world tour and returned home to his family. While his body has been weakend, his mind has stayed sharp, and despite incredible difficulties continues to compose music. Now, with the help of Jason’s family and friends, a beautiful documentary about his journey has been made by one time Sundance Film Festival producer, Jesse Ville. Despite the underlined sadness behind it, the film is actually a story of hope and inspiration to others.


Can you remember your influences when you were 19?

When I was 19, I had already developed my own style, and was mostly concentrating on my own music. I had made a few albums and toured a bunch. I guess you could say that I was my own biggest influence at that age. My two teachers, Dave Creamer and Marty Friedman, were also huge influences. I listened to a lot of modern classical and world music, too. Van Halen, Hendrix, and (Jeff) Beck always inspired me, as well.

What was it like to be a famous musician at an early age?

I was having a lot of fun, but I don’t remember feeling like a ‘famous musician’ at that time. I loved the life I was living, the music I was playing, the other musicians I was meeting, but it was all a whirlwind of fun and excitement and lots of work to become the musician I wanted to be. I wasn’t there yet. Actually, come to think of it, I remember wondering why I wasn’t more famous. Ha ha!

What was it like joining, and being, in a band with David Lee Roth, did you get on with him? It was awesome. And I got along with Dave

and all the guys in the band. They all took me under their wings and treated me with a lot of respect. They told me I kept them on their toes and brought youthful energy to the band and were thankful to me. How could I not like that? Dave was wild. He brought hot women into the studio. It was tough to concentrate on my guitar parts, but I wasn’t complaining! We talked a lot about music, life and health. Once he asked my advice on how to get a nice girl. He had some sweetness about him.

Looking at your younger self in the documentary, are these fond memories for you? Yes, they were some of the best times of my life. My childhood had magic in it. My teen years were full of creativity and collaboration with brilliant musicians. It was a blast being a free musician as well as a young, hot rock star. I’m grateful for those happy, easy, early years. I think they help me deal with what I’ve been going through since diagnosis.

What challenges do you face now when composing music? Does the process differ from before you became ill? Well, yes, the process differs, but mostly because of all the physical limitations. I think the same way, build songs the same way; it’s


The biggest frustration is not being able to get just the sounds I want because I can’t touch an instrument myself. I know what I want, and can get pretty close, but the organic process and sense of discovery is lost.

just that doing it all is a much more timeconsuming and tedious process. It’s worth it, but it takes so much longer to get what I want. The biggest frustration is not being able to get just the sounds I want because I can’t touch an instrument myself. I know what I want, and can get pretty close, but the organic process and sense of discovery is lost. When I was one with the guitar, there was a soul in the music, which I now have to re-create in a different way.

After everything you have been and are still going through, does it make you feel differently about music? No, not really. I love music and always have. Maybe I get a bit more misty-eyed

when I hear certain things, but my feeling about music is pretty much the same. It is the language I speak. Sometimes I feel separated from the physical act of making music, which can cause me to forget that I am a musician, but when I start composing, I think, “Oh yeah!” I have realised that all music comes out of the great silence.

Did you ever believe that you would still be making music and releasing albums?

I never considered that I wouldn’t be doing that. I never read up on ALS when I got diagnosed, so I didn’t know what it was exactly. I’m so happy I avoided it because I might have freaked out. Even when I wasn’t doing music for a few years, I thought it was just temporary. I wrote music in my head, and when I finally went crazy enough to do something about it, I asked my friends, Dan and Mike, what I could do. I can spell out everything to my helpers, and then edit everything in the music program, Logic. So, yes, I always believed I would make music and release albums.

Has your condition changed you as a person?

I think I may be a little more compassionate and definitely more sensitive to fellow ‘crips’, although I do remember having those feelings before I had ALS too, so I’m not sure. I am really sensitive about people feeling unloved; I hate it. Love is the most important thing and everyone should have it. I may have a quicker temper too, but I’m not sure about that either. Basically, I’m the same inside, it’s just more frustrating on the outside.


Without ALS, I doubt I would have gotten into the Indian hugging saint, Amma. I am mostly the same, though, because I was brought up to be a good person.

Who are your influences now / who do you listen to?

I am loving lots of music, such as Peter Gabriel (my favourite), Hiromi, Morten Lauridsen, Kazuhito Yamashita, Philip Glass, Prince, Debussy, Alan Hovhaness, Jeff Beck, Uli Jon Roth, Bela Fleck, Krishna Das, the Beatles, Sarah McLachlan, Katy Perry, George Clinton, Mozart and the list goes on.

The documentary celebrates all you achievements rather than dwelling on your disease, are you pleased with how you came across in it? I can’t tell you how happy I am! Jesse is a brilliant film maker, and I feel so grateful that he is the one who made the film. We got along so well. He and I are very similar. I love how he focused a lot on humour. He knew that I am not one to preach about making your dreams come true. I think that message is in the story without being corny and obvious. Jesse did me proud in every way, and everyone seems to agree.

What’s your favourite episode of Family Guy? Ha ha! Fantastic question. Hmmm. The first one that comes to mind is when Peter gets a stroke. That cracked up me and my friend, who had suffered a stroke herself. I think it is called McStroke. Jason was able to give the answers to this *interview by using eye movements and a special constructed alphabet chart built by his father.

For more info on Jason and his music visit www.jasonbeckerguitar.com For the movie Jason Becker - Not Dead Yet, visit www.jasonbeckermovie.com


Emperors are an Australian rock band that plays big, loud, wonderful, arena ready rock n’ roll that’s awesome and catchy and fun as hell. Band members Adam, Greg, Zoe, and Dane all grew up on 90’s alt rock bands, so there’s a natural tendency for lazy journos and bloggers to label the Perth quartet’s debut LP, Stay Frosty as nostalgic. However, repeat plays yield greater and simpler truths: This band rocks. In between day jobs and local tour stops supporting Sugar Army, Greg Sanders (Guitar and Creative Co-conspirator) shared the joys of getting love from iTunes, the pains of being Aussie and indie, and the secret to making one of the greatest true rock n roll debuts of the year.

BY CASEY BOWERS

Casey Bowers: You’ve supported some international acts on tour locally (Everclear, Silversun Pickups, etc.) - have you had any requests to tour out of AUS? What are your tour plans for 2013? Will you make it to the UK/US? Greg Sanders: Since our song ‘Be Ready When i Say Go’ was the US iTunes single of the week fans have been asking us to play shows in the US but it’s not quite that simple when you’re an independent band. It’s an expensive endevour to do an international tour without backing from a label, so next year we’re going to try and play some conferences like CMJ or South By Southwest, and hopefully some good will come of that. And of course, if a band was to offer us a support slot on a tour in the US or UK we would definitely be keen to jump on that. CB: Stay Frosty is a truly great rock n’ roll debut that is really cohesive. It’s hard pumping, adrenaline-fueled dynamic rock n’ roll but it’s really catchy too. As a band do you strive towards making ‘album rock songs’ but feel pressured to write hit singles or do you just get lucky in the process of recording an album and come out with a few hits?


Greg: When Adam and I were writing Stay Frosty we were very conscious of trying to make every song have the potential to be a single. We intentionally stuck to very tried and true formulas and attempted to fit in as many hooks as possible in three and a half minutes, and make them sound like our favourite bands. I think that’s where the albums cohesion comes from. CB: ‘Rebecca’ and ‘Hey Dolly’ both call out hipsters, poseurs and assholes (Hey Dolly, anyway) ‘Only Pitchfork, only Morigami’ and ‘I’ve got a t-shirt that says I like The Ramones, I bought the album because it fits on my phone.’ Those lyrics seem to speak to our music culture right now. Was that the intention and can you talk more to that? Greg: Yes, it was the intention. When we wrote lyrics for those songs we were just talking about things that pissed us off. We’re not going out of our way to be judgmental - we’re kind of just having a laugh at hipster culture and aspects of pop culture we think are funny or stupid, or simply don’t understand. We’re just calling it as we see it. It’s a strange world!

CB: You have one of the best rock album covers of the year too. What’s the story behind it? Greg: It was inspired by some classic album covers we like by Sebadoh, Nada Surf and a few others. Adam initially wanted a baby holding a gun, but didn’t get a great response when he put a call on Facebook out for people to pose their kids with a firearm for us. Luckily he stumbled across a photo in a friends house of her on her parents farm holding a gun when she was a child. She agreed to let us use it, but I’m not sure she knew what she was getting herself into! CB: There are so many great unexpected musical moments on this album: A straightforward rock riff give way to a nervy bassline one moment. A hard driving punk-ish rhythm drops out and melts into a soaring vocal harmony the next. The musicality displayed on Stay Frosty suggests Emperors is a band with even more artistic potential and expansive musical ideas than we think. I’m curious, did you make the album you wanted to make on this one or do you feel it was the album you had to make so you could get to the place where you could make the


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album you wanted to make? Greg: We made the only album we knew how to make. I think a lot of bands over think when they go into the studio - we intentionally did the opposite. We demo’d the songs a few times so we knew what we were doing, and then recorded them properly. We did fifteen songs originally and then chose the best ten. We’re going to take a similar approach to the next album, and we’re not sure whats going to happen yet. But we’re going to do our best to make it as uncomplicated as possible and focus on making the songs as good as they can be. If it ain’t broke... CB: Almost everything that’s been written about Emperors brings up the 90s alt rock influence, obviously, your collective tastes spans generations and genres - what are some bands/artists that fans might not immediately suspect? Greg: A lot of our favourite bands are actually from the 80’s. Adam & I are massive fans of The Replacements and Zoe loves the Cure. Dane is into weirder stuff, like Mr Bungle and various metal bands. But we do love the 90’s - it was a great time for music, but more importantly, that’s when we grew up so our influence from that era is pretty natural. CB: From an outsider’s perspective, the Australian music scene - though completely ripe with amazing bands - seems very insular and despite digital distribution, not much makes its out (Jet, The Vines and Violent Soho) and onto the radars of UK or US music fans. Is it time for a Aussie Invasion? Why are you guys keeping all the good rock music to yourselves? Greg: Believe me, no-one is intentionally keeping anything to themselves! I touched on it before, it’s just a very expensive thing to tour internationally without the backing of a label. Those three bands you mentioned

were all backed by big labels when they toured and were distributed internationally, and without that backing it’s hard to get noticed in such an isolated part of the world. With that said, we’re going to give it out best shot and probably max out a few credit cards along the way. CB: What was your favorite/best album of 2012? Greg: The new Jeff The Brotherhood album is great - that’s my favourite off the top of my head. CB: What are some touring essentials? Greg: Common sense, and the patience to deal with living a pretty unglamorous lifetsyle. CB: Do you have any unique band rituals before a show/after? Greg: Nothing unique, we like a drink to calm our nerves and relieve boredom before a show. We jump around a lot and talk shit and then will generally leave after the show when the rider is finished. CB: Are you using a fox pedal on the intro to ‘Be Ready When I Say Go?’ (just curious) Greg: No - it’s an American strat plugged straight into a 1987 JCM800. Respect for the guitar nerd question though :) CB: Since hitting my ears on Spotify, I’ve been scanning the web for other kick-ass Australian bands - any suggestions? Greg: One of the most under-rated bands in Australia is a band from Melbourne called Jonesez. They’ve released two albums already and are pure class. I can’t believe more people don’t know about them - check ‘em out! For more info visit http://emperorsmusic. bandcamp.com


Dancing Heals

Darwin & The Dinosaur Annie Dressner

Anyone who is, or was a fan of Mazzy Star or Madder Rose’s perkier moments will find New York Singer-Songwriter Annie Dressner’s heartwarming soundscapes of life and love a joyful way to spend 3 minutes over their time. Now based in the UK her debut record ‘Strangers Who Knew Each Other’s Names’ is a confident debut and a sign of good things. Available through BandCamp http://anniedressner. bandcamp.com

Apart from being one of the most fabulously titled bands ever, Darwin & The Dinosaur are also from Flush The Fashion’s hometown of Norwich. D&TD have a rare talent of being able to be very noisy without actually being ‘noisy’. Follow? Huge vocals accompanied by equally large guitars, but with melodies too. Remember melodies? Look out for their new EP ‘Romulus’ in January 2013. That leaves enough time to catch up on the story so far here http://darwinandthedinosaur. bandcamp.com/ by Matthew Cooper

Ever since I first heard Men at Work, there will always be a small part of my brain devoted to Australian guitar pop bands. Compared to claustrophobic post brit-pop UK the wide open spaces often seem to be conducive to songs that have room to breathe. The latest band is Melbourne based Dancing Heals, their album ‘Into the Night’ is a Californian-touched, post-Thrill’s collection that sounds best in an open-top ‘58 Chevy beach-bound on a summer’s day with a frisbee/surfboard/swingball. *delete as appropriate For more info visit www.dancingheals.net or listen to current tune ‘Charlie Brown’


One’s to watch

Sharon Van Etten

Sharon Van Etten’s star is in the ascendancy right now. A recent ‘Later with Jools Holland’ performance and a tour with Damien Jurado have been the icing on an exciting 2012 cake. The follow up to 2010’s Epic, Tramp is the first on the Jagjaguwar label, and a cohesive moulding, somewhat surprising when you consider it was recorded in scattered sessions over a 14 month period. A US tour with Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds in early 2013 will see her reach even further heights. For more info visit www.sharonvanetten.com

Sarah Young

Featured recently in Flush the Fashion, DJ / Producer Sarah Young is a British Producer/ DJ / musician combining elements of Moombah, reggae, bhangra, grime, soca and pop to come up with a sound quite unlike anyone else on the Global Bass scene. For more info visit http://iamsarahyoung.com

Flume

Sydney-based, 21-year-old Flume had his first taste of producing at age 13 from a music production program he found in a cereal box. Six years later and his distinctive postmodern R&B sounds are uniting the affections of The XX, Four Tet and Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. The self-titled debuted is release on February 18th in the UK through Transgressive Records For more info visit www. flumemusic.com


VAI THE STORY OF

You wait your whole life for one Dave Lee Roth guitarist and two come along at once. First Jason Becker and now Steve Vai, both in the same edition of Flush Magazine.

Fact: Steve Vai is generally considered to be one of the best rock guitarists in the world. As a youngster Vai gained employment as a music transcriber for the legendary Frank Zappa. Suitably impressed by his handy-work Steve was then invited to tour with Zappa and played guitar on several of his albums including 1981’s ‘Shut Up ‘N’ Play Yer Guitar’, ‘Tinsel Town Rebellion’ and ‘Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch’ in 1982 (my fav Zappa record cover). From there he replaced Yngwie Malmsteen in Alcatrazz before releasing two brilliant solo records ‘Flex-Able’ and ‘Flex-Able Leftovers’ in 1984. Among his musical collaborations he also worked with John Lydon on the Public Image Limited record ‘Album’. When Dave Lee Roth was looking for someone to fill the somewhat large hole usually filled by Eddie Van Halen on his first two solo records after leaving Van Halen, namely ‘Eat em and Smile’ in 1986 and ‘Skyscraper’ in 1988, Steve duly obliged. After a brief stint in Whitesnake, in 1990 he recorded ‘Passion And Warfare’ and over the last 20 years has continued to compose, record and perform, selling more than 15 million records in the process.

2012’s Story of Light is the first ‘proper’ release in seven years, I asked him why it had taken so long to release SV: I think my problem is I’m interested in so many things, I have been keeping busy since ‘Real Illusions’. Right after that album I did a year long tour and then I did a project where I composed 2 hours of orchestral music for the Metropole Orchestra in Holland, and you know composing takes a long time. For example it took me 6-8 months just to prepare the scores and then we did 5 performances and filmed them, recorded them and then editing that record was


pretty intensive and took almost a year too. Then I did some Zappa plays Zappa tours, Experience Hendrix tours and then I put a band together with two violin players and did another tour and some recording with them (this was released on his own label Favored Nations). Then I composed two more symphonies and stuck my head up and thought I had better get out on tour again. After which I spent probably 18 months putting together ‘The Story of Light’. It went pretty fast.

How did the new album evolve? SV: Well, what happens is I collect ideas, whether it is a little guitar riff or something I see someone else play, or something somebody says to me or something inspires me and I try and capture these little snippets, and I’ve been doing this since I was 13 years old. So I have all these thousands of pieces of information, sometimes in my head, sometimes recorded and when it comes time to put a record together I go back and listen to these snippets and develop them into full blown ideas or use them for inspiration. I come up with stuff on the spot too and build the tracks around this. These days I have an iPhone which is really great for recording ideas and many of the ideas on ‘The Story of Light’ evolved from stuff I recorded using that. The Story of Light was also the first thing I recorded in my new ‘home’ studio, which was really nice too.

Is it true that ‘The Story of Light is part two of a three part series?

SV: It’s actually going to be a four part series of records that started with ‘Real Illusions’


I’m not quite sure how it will all evolve but I’m looking at doing something really different to present it using new technologies and something really state-ofthe-art. Who knows what technology will be available when we do it, but the plan is to do something amazing.

running order mixed up from all the records. I’m not quite sure how it will all evolve but I’m looking at doing something really different to present it using new technologies and something really state-of-the-art. Who knows what technology will be available when we do it, but the plan is to do something amazing.

How has you playing developed as you have got older?

SV: It’s interesting, the other day I was listening to some of my early stuff and I couldn’t believe how much I was shredding. My interests have changed and as a guitar player I’m still fundamentally in love with playing the guitar, but I don’t have so much of a desire to pick fast notes any more. The thing that has been evolving is the phrasing, the dynamics, tone and I’m still paying as fast as ever, but just differently. It’s a nice journey and I know the fingers are older than they used to be and they don’t have as much steam in them but there is plenty of expressive muscle left and I feel like I’m playing better than ever on tour.

So you don’t leave out the fast songs out on tour these days then?

SV: Well there are songs I don’t play live because they are too hard, but it’s not because they are too fast. Like the song ‘The Story of Light’ I wanted to play that, but the phrasing in the last part of the melody is so daunting that when I recorded it I broke it down, piece by piece. I worked on unique phrasing and I could put it all together and learn it, but it would be quite a time consuming task and we just didn’t have that sort of time for this tour.

I heard you are a keen bee-keeper, how did you get into that?

The songs are more or less depictions of characters and events that take place in the story, and if you read the linear notes you can glean certain elements, but it doesn’t drag you down if you just want to hear the music. The plan is to record more installments and songs and some of the melodies will be replaced with vocal arrangements and it will be a story from beginning to end with the

SV: It’s actually a very simple hobby. When we had kids and moved out of Hollywood and into our home in the valley we had two acres of land and I wanted to plant some fruit trees. I did some research and found out honey bees are great for pollination. At one point I had seven colonies. It’s actually pretty rewarding, you don’t have to do too much, the bee’s do all the work, but I go in and check the hives and make sure they are all healthy. In our last harvest we had over 500lb’s of honey. That stuff, that takes the time. The Story of Light is out now. Steve is currently on tour in the UK and Europe for more info visit www.vai.com


SMALL AND MIGHTY

FORD FOCUS 1.0T ECOBOOST TITANIUM Words and Photos by Rob McSorley

Having owned three Ford Focus’ over the years the prospect of trying out the new mark three was pretty exciting. Then I learned the car I would be testing would have Ford’s brand new 1.0T EcoBoost engine nestled under the bonnet. Surely an engine of such small proportions lugging around a c-segment hatch is a recipe for disaster? Could it cope with such a tough task and still return decent economy? Read on to find out.


It’s common knowledge that the first generation Focus was a gamechanger. Visually it stood out from the crowd with its ‘new edge’ lines and clever use of triangles. It looked far better than any of its rivals and still cuts a dash today. The second generation lost a lot of this charm looking for like a squashed Mondeo – itself a rather safe design. This new Focus is a return to form. Finally it looks interested again. From the massive stretched-back rear lights to the aggressive front lower bumper. It all gels together well to resemble a larger, more sophisticated Fiesta – which is no bad thing. No doubt purists will miss the trademark high mounted taillights but the result here is generally good looking. The car I tested had ‘Titanium’ trim so is helped further with bigger 17” wheels, bits of chrome trim here and there and a neat spoiler all in Candy Red – a colour that suits this car very well. The Focus’ cabin is a really great place to spend time. The design of the dashboard is clearly a throwback to the original Focus with its jutting angles and prominent centre stack. Everything is where you would expect to find it and works perfectly. The materials used are also well thought out to give a good impression of quality although the rough plastics in many places don’t ooze quality as those in a Golf do. Kit on the Titanium model I tested was more than generous with standard fit DAB radio, cruise control, Bluetooth/USB input for the stereo, LED mood lighting, dual zone climate control, automatic lights and wipers and a heated front windscreen. It’s also refreshing to see a good quota of the latest safety kit included in the £850 Drive Assistance Pack. This includes Active City Stop, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Aid, Traffic Sign Recognition, Driver Alert, Blind Spot Info and Auto High Beam. The new Focus is a touch smaller than the model it replaces so cabin space is a little down from before. Front space is decent although there is no hiding the fact that the dashboard and


“The third generation Focus is; as it has always been, a superb all-rounder. It drives very well, looks distinctive, is well built and boasts some really great safety kit. The EcoBoost engine lives up to the expectations, it’s punchy, refined and cheap to run. Admittedly the Focus has lost a little cabin space and driving thrills but it has gained a new found level of refinement and that for many makes it themost complete, broadly talented car in its class.”

wide centre stock rob the front seat passenger of vital leg and hip space. Room in the back is more limited, two adults will be perfectly happy with good headroom but the reduced width of the cabin makes carrying three across the bench a pinch. There are rivals that are more accommodating but there are also many that are on-par with the Focus. That said the boot is a good size and a really usable shape and the rear seats fold flat for larger items. Thrilling handling with plenty of driver involvement and a well sorted ride are a Focus trademark. The new Focus changes the mix slightly. There is no hiding that body control is still superb as are grip levels. The ride is also beautifully balanced even when riding on 17” rims. What has changed is that the driver’s connection to the road through the car’s controls is a little blunted as a result of much

improved refinement. The steering isn’t quite as direct as before, the gearbox although perfectly smooth also feels a little less mechanical in its action. Thankfully the new-found refinement is a welcome addition that 90% of buyers will be grateful for, Overall the drive on offer still edges everything else in its class. Just like the rest of the package the engine is also quietly brilliant. Experiences of 1.0 litre engines in the past must be erased from memory to truly understand what’s going on under the bonnet. The unit is tiny; 998cc with only three cylinders but it has direct injection, a small turbocharger, stop-start and amazingly still kicks out 123bhp. It’s a superb engine that fits well with the Focus’ character. The sounds it makes are fruity and the punch on offer come as quite a surprise. It’s also impressively refined even under fairly hard acceleration and vibrations are minimal. Although Ford tell us that 67.3 mpg is achievable on a mixed cycle, I managed 43mg. Obviously some way off what’s expected but still pretty good considering the pace and fun on offer – this isn’t an underpowered car. The example I tested also only had 5,000 miles under its belt so I would expect economy to improve as the miles piled on.

FORD FOCUS 1.0T Price as tested: £22,240 Engine: 1.0 litre 12v 123bhp 0-62mph: 11.3secs Maximum Speed: 120 mph Economy: 44.8mpg (urban), 67.3mpg (extra-urban), 56.5mpg (combined) Emissions: 109g/km (Band B) - VED (12 months) – £20 The Verdict: 9/10


SKODA Next March, the Skoda Octavia will be reborn closer to the luxury car sector. To accommodate this shift in the marketplace, Skoda have launched the all new Skoda Rapid to occupy the space left behind. I went along to the UK launch to ďŹ nd out more.


RAPID

The Rapid follows Skodas design bible closely, ticking every one of their prerequisite aesthetic boxes. It’s not a million miles from the current Octavia, with simple, confident bold design strokes. Visually there is no extra baggage and the Skoda badge sits high and proudly on the top of bonnet. The ‘less is more ethos’ about the car is symbolic of the companies progress in recent years and the design has been stripped back to almost extreme functionality. The downside is the Rapid doesn’t quite grab your attention and those people who buy with their eyes may overlook it’s other benefits. The target market is families looking for value for money, and the Rapid certainly delivers in this respect. With a range of engines and trim levels the cheapest is only £12,900, that is nearly £1.7k cheaper than a Hyundai i30 and nearly £1.5k cheaper than a Kia Cee’d, it’s main two competitors. As you may expect the entry level models are fairly basic trim-wise. The 1.2 TSI 86PS S I tested suffered from some wind noise at higher speeds and light steering, but was competent enough in the corners. I preferred the SE 1.6 TDI CR 105PS Elegance, a livelier drive despite being a diesel. It will do 0-

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62mph (100kmh) in 10.6 sec and return 64.2mpg, expect this to be closer to 5055mpg over different driving conditions, but still good. Practicality is the keyword for the Rapid, headroom and legroom in the front and back is excellent, the boot is big with 550 litres space (or 1490 litres with the rear seats down). Next to the petrol cap is a windscreen scraper and clip. It means you can scrape the ice off the windscreen without the snow falling onto your seat when you open the door. A simple but brilliant innovation second only to the Citigo’s ‘curry clip’. Skoda is playing a long term game with the Rapid and they’ve built a competent car for an extremely competitive price, it doesn’t have that wow factor but wisely by avoiding any gimmicky stuff the Rapid shouldn’t look out old-fashioned in a year or two either. Look out for a full review in Flush the Fashion coming soon. For more info visit www.skoda.co.uk


VW BEETLE CABRIOLET It’s back! The new VW Beetle Cabriolet has just been unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show and it is a real beauty.


With a atter rooine and windshield design closer to the original classic Cabriolet it succeeds in being both completely modern and nostalgically retro at the same time.


Safety has been a top priority in the design of the new car and Volkswagen have developed an active rollover protection system that deploys automatically should the car flip over. In addition to the fixed A-pillars there is also a head and thorax airbag system to ensure maximum protection for the driver and all passengers in the event of an accident. With a choice of seven engines, including an eco Bluemotion and two diesel engines there is a Cabriolet for everyone. Prices start from £18,150 up to £26,485 available to order in the UK now for Spring 2013 delivery.


GAMING Halo 4

Review by Henry McMunn

I haven’t had faith in the Halo franchise for a while. The first three in the series may have changed the face of first-person shooters and online multiplayer forever, but with the release of ODST and Reach afterwards, I began to lose interest at the new, darker look the series was taking on. I had even less hope when I discovered that Halo 4 (a sequel to a concluded trilogy) was being developed by a different studio altogether. How could they bring the franchise back to its glory days? How could they capture the old magic? Well, it seems a miracle has occurred – my faith is restored. After lying unconscious in a stasis tank onboard the UNSC frigate Master Chief was left in at the end of Halo 3, the armour-clad hero is given a sudden and rather

rude awakening. Crash landing on another Forerunner deep-space artefact, Chief discovers a whole new enemy in the Prometheans, along with a ragtag colony of Covenant warriors looking for the secrets that the ancient structure holds. It’s a fascinating adventure, and one that’s filled with huge, setpieced battles in colourful exotic locations – a far cry from the drab aesthetic and morbid tone the series had been taking recently. A subplot regarding Cortana, Chief ’s AI companion, has been thrown in, giving some much-needed humanity to the hulking supersoldier. Predictably, the campaign proved to be short but sweet; quality often seems to be mutually exclusive from longevity in Halo’s single player mode. However, I found it hard to be too disappointed by the brevity

of the 6-hour story when Halo 4 offers the same amount of extra features as its predecessors. The map-maker Foundry and the Theatre mode allowing you to rewatch and record your best plays are usual fare for Halo games, but somewhat exceptional in the field of other FPS games. Online multiplayer is endlessly rewarding as always, with a varied host of match types, new and old weaponry, and a regularly updated (some of them daily) list of challenges to complete in battle. Spartan Ops is an interesting addition; the new gametype which replaces the wave mode Firefight from previous titles. Here, a bunch of players co-operatively battle through areas absolutely filled with enemy players and compete to get the most kills and fewest deaths. Released in episodic format, the


It’s a fascinating adventure, and one that’s filled with huge, set-pieced battles in colourful exotic locations

Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit Review by Jamie Rodgers

game begins with just one ‘mission’ (made of five mini-missions), with another released for download every week or so. It’s not as intense or as difficult as Firefight – in fact, die as many times as you like and you can’t fail – but it’s well suited as a casual, co-operative gametype. Halo 4’s one of the earlier titles in the mad rush for the Christmas period of games, but it’s a hell of a start. Great for both casuals and diehard Halo fans, 343 Industries have created something that offers both the series staple of value for money, and a polished, exciting shooter that’s bundled full of fan service. Platform: Xbox 36Developer: 343 Industries Publisher: Microsoft Studios Pegi Rating: 16+

When you think of Hell, and the underworld, you normally think of fiery pits of horror, sadistic demons ready to torture helpless souls, and endless repeats of Deal or No Deal. Well you’d be mostly right: The residents of Hell also love a bit of celebrity gossip, as shown when you play Hell Yeah! You play as Prince Ash, a skeletal rabbit, and son of the head honcho of Hell. He loves nothing more than causing pain, dicing up defenceless demons, and rubber duckies. When divulging in his love of rubber ducks, someone took a picture of him in the bath, and now the photo is leaked onto the net. Now Ash is on a quest to eliminate the 100 demons who saw the incriminating picture. As if residents of the underworld need an excuse to dice up anything that spurts out blood. The game itself plays out like a 2D platformer, with a little bit of Metroid style exploration. You traverse unique and varying levels on your ‘drill’ (Which is really a buzzsaw), searching for the 100 monsters that saw the picture of you. You need to whittle their health down by any means necessary (Saw them, shoot, drop a box, etc.), followed by a quick Wario Ware-esque mini game. Beat that, and you are treated to a Ash performing cartoon style fatalities. My favourite is the parody of Space invaders, where

everything shoots your hapless victim. It’s easy to pick up and play, though there are a few challenging sections, which have caused me to explode in an orgy of pixels and embarrassment. Doesn’t help that the only way to regain health is to find the sparsely located blood fountains, though that adds to the challenge, like the old school platformers. Underneath the cartoon-y graphics and satirical humour is a very well built platformer. It harkens back to classics, like Sonic, Mega Man, and (as stated before), Metroid. On a few occasions, while writing this review, I ended up playing the game longer than I thought, forgetting I had to actually write something about it. That’s how hooked I was, and I’m sure you’ll be hooked too... Or end up with a bony rabbit making a visit in the night.

Read more gaming news and reviews from Henry and our other Gaming writers on Flush the Fashion, www.flushthefashion.com


TECH Mobile phone manufacturers are always coming up with some new ‘killer’ feature to convince us how much better our lives would be if we had their latest handset. Samsung’s Galaxy Beam isn’t what you might call a ‘game changer’, although it does have a few nice features not available on many ‘must have’ phones.

GALAXY BEAM HANDS ON

Weighing in at 145grams, (the iPhone 5 is 112grams) it’s quite heavy, but the 4” screen is clear and the frame is solid. It has a plasticky back cover which snaps on and off to remove the battery, but it feels built to last. With so much other stuff included on mobiles, it’s easy to forget the main purpose of a phone – i.e. to call people on, and audio quality on the Beam is good. It’s also easy to set up with other devices, something I’ve had a problem with in the past when connecting to a Mac, and it’s (almost) idiot-proof.

OPERATING SYSTEM

Despite being pre-installed with the now (only slightly) dated Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS, there are no cobwebs on this OS. Admittedly, it doesn’t quite the same slick interface as an iPhone, but easy customisation means within a day I had it set up just how I wanted it. That is something you can’t do on an iPhone. The touchscreen is fast and responsive and multiple App’s can be running without any noticeable slowdown too.

APPS

Am sure you are aware every Android phone comes with access to Google’s Play Store.

Despite the slightly chaotic feel, I like the openness of it, and while the quality of Apps can sometimes be mixed, the choice is becoming bigger and better all the time. For me Netflix, Evernote, Angry Birds, iPlayer, Dropbox, Gmail, Twitter, Instagram are all essentials, but you could spend a days browsing the endless games and productivity apps available, many free of charge.

DIGITAL PROJECTOR

The phone takes its name from the built-in digital projector. You can ‘Beam’ the phones screen across the room onto a wall for an instant home cinema. The picture can go up to 50” wide, and as far as gimmicks go, it’s a pretty cool one The room needs to be fairly dark and the focus can be adjusted so the picture is still sharp depending on the distance. You can also enhance things by connecting stereo speakers, although I found the sound quality was reasonable enough coming direct from the phone audio output. The projected ‘movie’ can be streamed or


played from a range of sources. Be it recorded on the phone’s video camera, directly from the Play Store, Netflix, iPlayer or from a file on your computer copied to the phone. It was happy to play all kinds of file formats too. It was actually really good fun and the kids loved having a proper cinema experience at home. Make some popcorn and get all cosy on those dark winter evenings when there is not much to do outside apart from get wet/ cold and you will really enjoy it. There is a function to enable you to perform business presentations although personally I’d be a tad nervous using this instead of a traditional projector, but it could be a good option to have as a backup. Slightly cooler is the ambience mode for Austin Powers type psychedelic projections.

SO WHAT’S THE CATCH?

All this hard work drains the power and a full two hour movie will empty at least half of your battery’s life. Thankfully, the phone

comes with two batteries in the box. So you can be charging one while you use the other. It’s not mega-cheap either, but since launch the price has come down to around the £250-300 mark. If you compare that with taking the family to the cinema a few times, it would pay for itself in no time. You should also be able to pick one up for free with the right contract, as there will be all sorts of deals on after Christmas. Overall a pleasant surprise and the projector function was used much more than I thought it would be. Kids love it especially. If you’re a movie fan and like the idea of being able to watch huge movies on the wall at the end of your bed on a lazy Sunday, the Galaxy Beam could be for you.

SPECS

1.0GHz dual-core processor 8GB internal memory 5MP Megapixels Camera 4” Display Android 2.3 Gingerbread SD card supported 2 x 2000mAh batteries For more info visit www.samsung.com


A REAL H BY IAN HUGHES EPREDATOR


OLODECK? Entertainment media these days is all about immersion. We seek to see hear and feel everything about an experience, a story or a game. Much of what we have got used to is based around a single display, combined with our ability to ďŹ ll in with imagination. With a book that single display screen is the page of text and a whole lot of our ideas added. With a game we have TV monitors, surround sound and some control mechanisms and a little physical feedback. All provide ways to experience a story...


READY TO WEAR

Using more screens to get more immersion is complicated and expensive. Screens also used to be cumbersome glass tubes. Now they can now be put into glasses, with a TV screen for each eye. There were a number of these in the early 90’s with arcade systems like Virtuality. These installations featured a heavy headset and users stood in a pod to help determine where they were facing. The sensors changed what you could see based on head movements. Although the games were not as photo-realistic as todays current state-of-the-art versions, the experience did work. These sorts of Virtual Reality (VR) helmet experiences are undergoing a bit of a renaissance with companies like Sony building new headsets and the Kickstarter project Oculus Rift. It was successfully crowd-funded and support by some of the leading lights in the games industry has been good. These are headsets you wear that replace your view of the world with a stereoscopic image. Note these can also be considered in the context of the new Google glasses. They are not actually VR glasses but a heads up see through display system. They are screens that you wear. Of course needing to wear different headsets for different reasons may cause a few problems in user take up.

ENGAGE...

VR headsets are an approach to create an all around immersive experience. To become totally involved in a ‘virtual’ environment has long been in the realms of science fiction. The Star Trek - Next Generation holodeck being a prime example. For those who are not trekkers/trekkies the holodeck was a large room, usually onboard a ship. When in the holodeck an entire world and experience was projected around you. A world of any size can appear. Being in the realms of science fiction it is also populated with objects that are replicated from matter and have force force fields around those projections. This means you can walk and bump into things. The floor moves with the users in a hidden multi-directional treadmill way. This can of course seem a little far fetched as a whole. Star Trek is full of subtle pieces of information to help explain how a holodeck might work, but mostly it is a plot vehicle to explore all sorts of places and times. It has become a well know concept.

Interestingly (according to legend) the concept of the Holodeck was put to Gene Rodenberry, the creator of Star Trek by Gene Dolgoff who was the inventor of the LCD projector in 1984.

LIVING IN A CAVE

Projectors have been used to create immersive environments in research and education establishments. The principle of a CAVE (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment) uses each of the walls of a large cube room as a projection surface for a rear facing projectors. The floor and walls are projected in synch with one another to create the feeling of space and allow some movement. Some variants use 3D glasses too. The room is a known size with flat surfaces making it easier in many ways to create the projections. Moving in the space is of course limited.


PATENTS MAKE PRIZES

A recent patent application from Microsoft has pulled together some ideas and concepts that may show a step towards a home projected environment. Patent applications, it should be noted, are an interesting part of the technology landscape. They are often used as weapons by companies to stop or slow down opposing companies (hence the recent Apple v Samsung encounter). They are frequently regarded as anti-competitive. However they are an interesting way to share and express ideas. It would be hypocritical of me to say anything too negative about patents as I created a few unusual ones during my corporate life, usually around unusual ideas and combinations of technology. I also have a current one pending for an unusual approach to social media and gaming. When a patent idea is put forward it quickly gets massaged by legal teams and often removes some of the normal descriptions that we might ordinarily use, though you can get used to reading what it should be. The Microsoft patent at face value looks like a simple projection into the room from a games console. It has, though, evolved from some specific existing inventions that we have already got used to in gaming. To project onto a flat surface, even at an angle is a normal task for a projector. Keystoning allows a projected image to be tapered or fattened to allow a square image to be projected onto an non squared surface, or at an angle. If you look around at any living room where an Xbox lives though you will see all sorts of surfaces and angles that makes projecting complicated. If the projector can understand the shape of a room and the details within it the projector

There is a wall there! Usually motion through the environment is via joystick or gesture movements.

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to project any environment into any other environment like our own homes? It would be interesting to make the entire room the place for our experience. Even more importantly it would be un-encumbered by devices, just walk in and you are there. Just like the Holodeck.

can adjust the image to fit it into the room. A complicated and angled surface can be made to look flat. The texture and colour of the existing surfaces will need different intensities of projected light in order to make any image work. We have seen in the last few years some high profile outdoor projections on the facades of buildings that use this principle. The Queen’s jubilee celebrations featured a projection of Madness’s ‘Our House’ on Buckingham Palace whilst the band played from the roof.


I CAN DO THAT!

How can we do this in our own palaces? What does a Kinect sensor actually do? It builds a 3d map of the room it is in, determines where people are in the room and provides that sensor data to the games console. So you have a scanner that understands you and your room geometry. It makes sense to create a projector to deliver out into that room, adjusting at each surface and corner. Or in patent terms “instructions to compensate for topography of the environmental surface described by the depth information so that the peripheral image appears as a geometrically distortioncorrected extension of the primary image”! The patent also deals with the idea of not projecting onto the person in the room. If you stand in front of a projector you get glare from the image and anything that should be background and behind you appears on you. The Kinect style sensing will work out where not to project. (Of course knowing where you are may well allow games to be developed that project onto us, uniforms and insignia, equipment, scales etc) The patent refers to the projections as

SEEING INTO THE FUTURE

As controllers continue to evolve, we may well also see an equal leap with the way we experience videogames. A room full of projected imagery and surround audio will provide some additional support to our own imaginations. We may be a little way from teleported matter and force fields like the real holodeck and we don’t have ‘Hard Light’ to allow us to feel the environment, but we do have haptic feedback devices and real physical objects can be interwoven into the experience. Just imagine a full driving game using a force feedback steering wheel as we have today, but augmented by being able to look out to the sides of the vehicle as the scenery rushes past your sofa on your living room wall. Often science fiction spoils our expectations.

peripheral to the main screen experience. They are like an atmospheric sound effect. It is not trying to build something that you can face any direction and get an equally real experience. So it is not quite the holodeck from Star Trek but it is a step in the right direction.

I have no doubt we will achieve a Holodeck experience in time. It may be by projection or even a direct brain interface Matrix style. The important thing is to move forward by building on existing technologies, trying out new ideas and have fun doing it. Personally I can’t wait to see how it pans out.

Further reading Oculus Rift www.oculusvr.com/ Microsoft Patent www.faqs.org/patents/app/20120223885. Ian writes about the future on his website www.feedingedge.co.uk


BIRD IS THE WORD

CHIRPIFY


So no credit cards, no filling in forms, just tweet and buy. Some big names are already using the system selling everything from Green Day cd’s to Keen Footwear and lots more are signing up every day. On the other side of the coin is the ability to make charity donations simply by tweeting the organisation. Plus you can also use Chirpify to send money to your friends too (or even better, they send you money). I like it because Chirpify is not just for big businesses, anyone can set up a free basic account and sell their products. There is a fl at 5% per transaction any time you get paid, and the back-end interface is easy enough to understand, my Gran could do it. Look out for @Chirpify on Twitter and Instagram, grab an account and give it a try. For more into visit www.chirpify.com

OF THE MONTH

Chirpify is a new service that allows you to integrate Twitter and Instagram with a Paypal account to make small payments simply by replying with the word ‘buy’ to a seller.


WIN

One of three iChicGear iPad covers

Based in Geneva Switzerland, iChicGear has quickly become a leading manufacturer of cases and bags for Apple devices. Inspired by European grandeur, they make products to perfectly complement the iPad and iPhone, bridging the gap between modern technological awesomeness and old fashioned luxury. In addition to cases they also manufacture top quality tablet styluses among them Phantomus, a stylish ‘stylus’ range for Kids. To enter our competition visit www.flushthefashion.com/win/ichicgear or email your name and address to ichigear@flushthefashion.com Usual Terms and Conditions apply. Editors decision is final. Closing date is 20th Jan 2013. For more info on iChicGear visit www.ichicgear.com


WIN A pair of Molami Headphones worth £150

Based in Stockholm, Sweden, Molami Headphones are tailored with high style and design in mind. A new concept – merging the worlds of fashion and electronics together to form a unique and innovative new brand. Molami design premium headphones that not only sound superb, but also feature the most exclusive fabric and materials, and are tailored to complement the features of the face. The current collection of Molami features three models—Bight, Twine and Pleat. The tailored geometry of each model, along with braided textile-wrapped cords and discreet accents plated in 18k gold show the true craftsmanship of our brand. Each model comes with a soft carrying pouch for safe storage. All Molami headphones feature a microphone and remote, allowing you to pick up calls and communicate while listening to your music. The microphone and remote are compatible with most mobile phones featuring a 3.5mm socket.

To enter our competition visit www.flushthefashion.com/win/molami or email your name and address to molami@flushthefashion.com Usual Terms and Conditions apply. Editors decision is final. Closing date is 20th Jan 2013 For more info and stockists visit www.molami.com


MY FAVOURITE MOVIE by Sam Law

There are good films. There are great films. And there are favourite films...

Do you have a favourite movie? If so, email mymovie@ flushmagazine.co.uk

JURASSIC PARK As a filmmaker, Steven Spielberg is in the rare position of having made about half a dozen of each. And while it’s easy to stand happily in awe of the likes of Schindler’s List, Munich and Saving Private Ryan or to be spellbound by the celluloid mastery of E.T., Jaws or Raiders Of The Lost Ark, for a generation of film fans born about a quarter of a century ago one if his works stands longneck and shoulders above the rest. A blockbuster built on technology’s cutting-edge, but with one foot in the prehistoric majesty of the past, Jurassic Park delivered a runaway thrill-ride bound by brains and (reptilian) brawn. Pushing the boundaries of digital (and animatronic) SFX and playing out a storyline that verges on feasible reality it’s also a curious document of its time. Lightening the darker recesses of Michael Crichton’s outstanding highconcept horror story but playing up the philosophical explorations of man vs. nature and technology developing beyond control, it’s the kind of thoughtful but fantastical fare filmmakers nowadays rarely try and virtually never succeed in emulating. Less a story than a concept, you probably already know the brief. An eccentric billionaire resurrects dinosaurs for an island theme park. A group of archaeologists, scientists and lawyers arrive to inspect. A perfect storm of tropical weather and

industrial espionage intervenes. The dino’s get loose. Chaos ensues. The characters sidestep most - if not all - of the genre stereotypes. Sam Neil invests his objectionable expert with gravitas cut through with brittle misanthropy. The peerless Richard Attenborough essays megalomania into grandfatherly ambition. Jeff Golblum has a libidinous riot... as a mathematician. Then there’s the action. John Williams’ unforgettable soundtrack. The incredible Hawaiian/Costa Rican setting. The ILM/Stan Winston effects axis. Bob Peck’s grizzled gamesman. A pre-Pulp Fiction Samuel L Jackson. But mostly it’s about the creatures themselves. Invested with individual quirk and character they work incredibly as more than genre contrivances. Think the mischievous Dilophosaurus. The grandstanding Brachiosaurus. The iconic, craftily menacing Velociraptors. The fittingly regal T-Rex. In a lesser project they could be lost to the grander themes but here they manage to be both sympathetic and integral to the broader unfolding storyline. Perhaps most impressively, Spielberg made Jurassic Park alongside Schindler’s List in what has been referred to as his “miracle year”. It’d be too much to suggest that the two films work as companion pieces but they do work as two sides of the pristine cinematic coin. Where the latter film won its director Oscar plaudits and his long-desired highbrow respect , the former was arguably the purer movie. Divest of stylistic indulgence – albeit indulging some genre clichés – Jurassic Park is philosophical, roller-coaster storytelling of the absolute highest order.

Sam Law is a bit of an all-rounder. An Irishman based in Scotland, he strings together words on everything from regional politics to death metal and crops up occasionally on Twitter as @sam_law_writes


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Flush Magazine Issue #5