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The Naked and Famous Company Andy Harries Gaming too expensive?


SHORT FUSE

Editorial.

With it being the last issue before we all disappear for Christmas, we, here at Fuse thought it would be a good time to write an editorial. Much has happened this year and we thought we would take a look back on some of the more memorable events of 2011. In February Colin Firth picked up an Oscar for his performance in the Kings Speech which incidently is an amazing film that everyone should check out. April saw Kate and Wills tie the not in the wedding of the decade, and Pippa Middelton’s bum got it’s own Facebook page and sprung a chain of ‘how to get a bum like Pippa’s’ books. August saw students take to the streets in their thousands and protest about the cuts and wide spread damage was inflicted upon London and other areas of the UK. The start of October saw Steve Jobs sadly pass away but no doubt his legacy will live on through the products he created. October also saw the England Rugby Team crash out of the World Cup in spectacular fashion, spending more time throwing dwarves than rugby balls and getting into trouble with hotel staff. And jumping off ferries. And now we are about to enter December and who knows what kinds of stuff will happen. Sadly Fuse won’t be here to report it until 2012. So thanks for reading and contributing throughout the year and we will see you all in 2012.

Have yourself a grumpy little Christmas The signs are unmistakable. Advent calendars are starting to leave the shelves; Starbucks have unveiled their red coffee cups once again, and Arthur Christmas has just been released in cinemas. All signs that we’re now well and truly in the month of… November. Oh, come on. I can’t be the only one who finds this insane. It seems like every year December gets a couple of days longer, to the point that we’ve only just put away the Halloween stuff before we have to order the turkey. Just to clarify; this is not an objection to the commercialisation

of Christmas. I love that bit of Christmas – I get lots of presents, there’s the Doctor Who special to look forward to, and I can stuff myself full of chocolate and cold meat without fear of reproach. No, what really gets my eggnog boiling is the fact that, year upon year, the shops and the city councils seem just a little bit more eager to deck the halls. As soon as the temperature begins to drop, and the nights begin to lengthen, they leap into action. You can’t move for tinsel, gaudy lights, and fat men in red suits who invariably smell like B.O., whisky and regret.

And then there are the songs. The rush of happiness that the sane among us feel when The X Factor ends for another year quickly turns into disappointment when this year’s plastic-faced, personality - deficient winner releases a crappy single that will inevitably get to number one. And the classic Christmas songs, the genuinely good ones, will be played repeatedly in every shop up and down the high street so that by the time December actually begins, even Mother Teresa would want to shoot Jona Lewie in the face. Once it gets to December, of course, it’s another story. We’re

Friday December 2 2011

The Womble Factor? Few things amuse me more than the Simon Cowell machine. By machine, I indeed mean the man himself; those lean, beefy muscles cascading beneath a sea of polo necks; but also refer to The X Factor brand and all its counterparts. Christmas in particular, is an amusing one. Not satisfied with bizarrely merging this years X factor contestants’ faces with M&S Christmas puddings (some stark similarities there), the Cowell machine still feels the need to embark on its annual coup d’état of all that we hold dear- The Christmas No.1. We used to care, my mum assures me we did, back in the days when Queen (1975), Slade (1974) and even the Spice Girls (‘96, ‘97 AND ‘98. Jesus. Really?) won the apparently impor-

tant number one slot. More recently however, and for five out of six of the previous Christmases, an X factor douche bag has taken the crown. The hole in this six year line of hell, was Rage Against the Machine’s internet campaign to overthrow Cowell’s dominance back in 2009, with “Killing in the Name”. I think we can all admit, it was a particularly festive one. This year, thank god, another more than worthy adversary has appeared to topple the X Factor winner of their presupposed top spot- The Wombles, with ‘Wombling Merry Christmas’ (yes again, don’t ruin this for me) from their new album The W Factor. Thankfully, with Irish conditionerdiscoverer Janet Devlin gone, The Wombles chances of winning

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Fuse cover

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This fortnight’s Christmas themed Fuse cover has been lovingly created by Sam Bolton.

have risen significantly. Not because the girl was good, but because her wail was so similar to that of a Womble it would have been difficult to differentiate which song you were listening to. Most terrifyingly of all, it could have been Frankie Cocozza, who would evidently have used cocaine to drug and confuse said Wombles into a stupor, allowing him to infiltrate their Wimbledon lair and become their grubby Womble overlord.

supposed to get into the Christmas spirit then – it’s what makes the 25th feel extra special when we’re sat around the table with our family and friends. But we need the rest of the year to get on with our lives, and we won’t be able to do that if we allow Christmas to encroach so far into the year that we’re buying the tree while we’re still wearing shorts. So the next time you see that big red Coca-Cola truck, take a look at your calendar. And if it’s not yet December, shoot the damn tyres out. Phil Bayles

Competition That’s the kind of stuff the Simon Cowell machine will do to reach the number one spot, they’re even willing to butcher a brilliant Biffy Clyro song by letting a bloke in a hat wail it at us on TV. That was only last year, by the now-selling-used-cars Matt Cardle. Let’s not let it happen again; go Wombles go! Alisha Rouse

Brit-Rock group Kasabian are perfoming at Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena of December 10th and you could be in with a chance with winning tickets. All you have to do is answer this simple question: What kind of dinosaur features on Kasabian’s new album. a. Carcharodontosaurus! b. Velociraptor! c. Oviraptor! d. Daspletosaurus! If you think you know the answer enter online at Forgetoday.com and click on the front page link. The winner will be announced on December 7 and will be contacted via email so make sure to keep checking them. Good luck!


use crossed the Atlantic (by phone anyway) to chat to Canadian troubadour Dan Mangan about cocktails, cats and music.

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ada, people were slightly more interested. We have very isolated cities, Vancouver is a world away from Toronto, and I think it breeds a very supportive community.

How would you describe your music to somebody who hasn’t heard your previous albums?

Are you hoping for another Polaris Prize nomination with your new album?

I suppose I would use adjectives. I think you could say that what we’re making has little bits of a whole bunch of different genres, indie, rock and folk, but also little bits of jazz. I like to think that it sounds like a lot of different things, but not really anything else sounds like what we do.

I think that would be cool, but you can’t really count on anything. I try to have very low expectations and high hopes. I try to be thrilled with every small victory. It would be very exciting if we were, but I’m not banking on it.

So would you say you’ve dropped the singer-songwriter label now? Yeah. Since I started I’ve been going further and further from the singer-songwriter thing; when I first started out, I was definitely entrenched in that world, and I was really enchanted by the idea of it. As I progressed, I really desired to explore other areas, I didn’t really enjoy the box that you get put in as soon as you’re in that genre. It was important to me to not be confined by it, and to make whatever music I was feeling like I wanted to make. I’m still making melodies, and verses and choruses, but at the same time, sonically, this last record doesn’t sound to me like a singer-songwriter record, it sounds more like a band. Have the themes between albums changed as well? I think so, yeah. As I’ve gotten older, things change: the things on your mind change, the music around you changes, your influences change. It’s only natural that you dip your toes in different bodies of water. You’ve got a band now. Do you think Canada’s music community has helped with that? Canada’s had a great decade in terms of music, I think we’ve had a fairly rich musical community for awhile, but especially in the last decade it seems, a lot of great bands have popped out. It’s a really great place to be from. I remember when I was first starting to book my own gigs in Europe or Australia, it seemed like as soon as you said you were from Can-

Have you searched for yourself on Drinkify.org? It recommends a drink of Red Bull, coconut milk, and two types of gin. Does that sound like your music in drink form?

No, that sounds like a glitch in the system. It’s a bizarre combination. I mean, Red Bull’s kind of disgusting! And I don’t know if you’d want coconut milk in that; most bartenders would not mix two different types of gin, they’d just stick with one. I’d just stick with whiskey, beer or a little wine, my cocktail of choice is gin and tonic. Fair enough. You know that photo of you and a cat? Whose cat is that? I was taking photos with a friend in this backyard, and it was his... whose was it? Uhm, the cat belonged to the mother of his friend, I’ve never met her. We were in this backyard taking photos, and this cat just jumped up on the table. I leaned down to basically say hi to the cat, and it just immediately yawned right in my face. So it looks like it’s yelling, but really it’s just yawning, and some photographer captured the moment. Have you been listening to anything good lately that you’d want to recommend? Yeah, I’ve been buying so much music since I got home. There’s a record by a guy named Bry Webb, it’s his first solo record; he was in a band called The Constantines, they were kind of iconic. His solo record’s just beautiful. . That sounds awesome. Well, thanks for your time. My pleasure, and thanks for the piece!

Fuse Musings

Fuse is pleased to officially welcome in... Christmas. The start of December means one thing. All Christmas related items are ac-

ceptable including itchy Christmas knitwear and festive tunes (but not Slade or Wizzard). Roll on Bar One Christmas day and the possibility of snow.

Fuse was surprised that.... no women have made the shortlist

his broadcast and became so loud that Williams had to tell viewers that he was in no danger. It seems the spirit of Ron Burgundy lives on.

for BBC Sports Personality of the year. Nomionations have included Rory Mcllroy and Mark Cavendish but missed out the World Championship 10km swimmer Keri-Anne Payne. Fuse thinks that Forge Sport deserves more of a vote than Nuts and Zoo who respectively voted all male, big surprise there. Fuse is impressed by the commitment of... some people to their job. American News Anchor Brian Williams continued his broadcast despite the fire alarm going off halfway through it. The noise continued throughtout

Fuse was interested to learn that... a French man has been ordered to pay his wife 10,000 Euros in damages due to withholding sex from her for years. The couple married in 1986 and divorced in 2009 and it would appear their marriage was sex-less. The man’s defence was that he was simply too tired after work to satsify his wife’s needs.

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Fuse was appauled by the latest viral sensation... My Tram Experiance. A quick search on YouTube with this as the title will take you to a video of a middle aged woman hurling abuse at ethnic minorities. The blatant racism is digusting and quite frankly Fuse is offended that we have to breathe the same air as people like her. Good news though, she was arrested shortly after the video went viral and her racist ass can rot in jail for all we care.

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Photo: Jonathan Taggart

SHORT FUSE

Q&A : Dan Mangan

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MUSIC

Interview.The Naked and Famous

Passive aggressives The Naked and Famous sit down with Fuse to discuss the busiest year of their lives, soaring into global album charts and why they’ll never return to IT jobs. Words & Photos: Mark McKay

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hile taking the UK by storm during their all-encompassing world tour, Jesse Wood and David Beadle of The Naked and Famous rock up in Sheffield ahead of their Leadmill gig.

“We wouldn’t like to be recognised everywhere we went. The whole point of The Naked and Famous is that we don’t want to put too much about social and personal lives out there. It’s all about music, that is the priority for us,” says Jesse. The Naked and Famous came from nowhere, it seems. A little more than a year ago Jesse and David were working in IT and at college respectively. But the release of Passive Me, Aggressive You propelled the band onto the world stage.

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Their name comes from a line in the Tricky song, ‘Tricky Kid’. “It fitted our ethos and morals behind the band. Bands at the time were only interested in doing live shows and not putting out anything new. We are the opposite, we don’t do this for the money or to be successful but to create great music.

“We wouldn’t like to be recognised everywhere we went.”

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They used to hit the top 10 on alternative college charts but the release of the single ‘Young Blood’ meant the band found

themselves reaching peak positions on global charts. “All of a sudden it just exploded through the internet with the way ‘Young Blood’ and the album took off,” David notes. The band’s inaugural album Passive Me, Aggressive You was the first album to hit the number one spot in New Zealand from a home grown band in 16 years, and since February they’ve toured non-stop. Last month the band won seven of their nine nominations at the New Zealand Music Awards. “It was flattering to win them and have our music judged against that of our peers.” David says. It was also the first time they’d been home since February. “It was strange coming out the airport. For the first time in months we knew exactly where we were and what we were doing. We knew all the best places to go and there was nothing stressful or challenging,” Jesse explains. The creative force behind the songs comes from Thom Powers and Alisa Xayalith, who create the lyrics and the melody. The creative process then takes the band to the studio to record the tracks differently, adding layers and ideas as they go. The band’s second single ‘Punching in a Dream’ came from an early demo. “It had been floating around for years. We changed it about five or six times but when we made a decision on a version we liked it was recorded quite

fast,” Jesse reflects. The resulting dream-pop melodies and catchy choruses fuse with high tempo, electro beats. This signifies Passive Me, Aggressive You and the result is a sound that has been compared to MGMT, Passion Pit and M83. The band find the comparisons flattering but they say there’s more depth to their record.

“A year ago the band played in front of 200 people in the London Roundhouse and two nights ago we played in front of 3000” The only financial support for the recording of Passive Me, Aggressive You came from their management to cover. “We didn’t have any label backing, we just wanted to record the album for ourselves,” recalls Jesse, “We didn’t know where it would take us but a year later here we are.” In January the band’s manager told them this would be the most insane year of their lives. “A year ago the band played in front of 200 people in the London Roundhouse and two nights ago we played in front of 3000,” David says. The band have toured almost non-stop since then. “A lot of places we have been to on our schedule we will only see for a few hours before heading off again.” “We really liked Japan when we played Fuji Rock because we got

two days off first and we stayed at the festival for three days. We did Lollapalooza in Chicago which could have been amazing but we had to leave straight away. At the end of January we will get a break and do some writing. Then in a year’s time we will be free to start recording again.” David says. They say that the band work for quite a while in pre-production to have an i n t e re s t i n g setlist. “We want to make it diverse and make the different tempos fit well together. My favourite song to play live is ‘Jilted Lovers’, when it all comes together live, it sounds perfect.” Although it sounds like we might be waiting a while for their second album, we can’t wait to see where The Naked and Famous take their sound next.


The price is not right As penniless students, the price of a single game can be equal to that of living for two whole weeks. With this in mind, is gaming too expensive?

GAMES

Feature. GAMING TOO EXPENSIVE ?

Words: Arnold Bennett

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ou can buy many things with £40: Two weeks worth of food shopping. Four music albums. Eight DVDs. A one way ticket to Zurich from Easy Jet. Or alternatively, a single videogame. As hobbies go, playing games is an expensive one. Games release at such a high recommended retail price that it’s hugely challenging to afford just one, let alone sample each new title as it hits store shelves.

“It takes more money to create the likes of Skyrim than it does Tetris, for example”

But again, publishers can’t be lambasted too much, we as consumers see monetary value as some great indication of quality. If I see a pair

Fortunately for the videogame industry, in 2011 it’s far less convenient to download an 8GB file than it is a 3MB song. But that will eventually change, and if pricing remains as stubbornly rigid it could emerge sooner rather than later. Another issue is that of release schedules. It doesn’t matter how good a game is if it’s released at the same time as four other fantastic titles. You could have all the money in the world but not have the time to play each game and live a life outside of that. Gaming is as much an investment of time as it is money. For some reason publishers assume that consumers want to do 90 per

“Zurich’s always wet. Albums become expendable in under an hour and DVDs are rarely watched more than once” As a whole gaming has a lot to learn. The market is over saturated with games at such steep prices that people are being driven to piracy, and that’s bad for the industry. Publishers should evaluate when they release their games and be more prudent with how they price it, instead of treating us consumers as idiots and then paying the price when nobody buys their game. At the end of the day though, you eat all your shopping. Zurich’s always wet. Albums become expendable in under an hour and DVDs are rarely watched more than once. You can buy many things with £40. But nothing provides the same entertainment as a good videogame.

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“I know I’ll get countless hours out of Battlefield’s multiplayer, whereas I might only get a week’s play out of Batman”

“Gaming is as much an investment of time as it is money”

cent of their game playing during 10 per cent of the year. I’m not going to buy the new Assassin’s Creed in November when I’m struggling with end of semester assignments, but I might have found the time to play it during the summer, when I didn’t have any work commitments to attend to outside of serving popcorn at Odeon.

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It’s a tough challenge for the Publishers who set the pricing too. As videogames moved into the HD generation, developers had to work even harder to match the desires of an impatient audience. Programmers grappled and researched with the new technology, artists created twice as many art assets as they previously had, at twice the fidelity, and everyone else raised their productivity to match. And all this cost money. It takes more money to create the likes of Skyrim than it does Tetris, for example. Not only that but console manufacturers demand their cut too, which is why PC games are often cheaper than their console counterparts, because there’s no monolithic overlord of the personal computer. It’s a bunch of abstract parts created by a plethora of different companies and assembled to create a single unit.

Yet a huge problem with the price of gaming as a whole is the rigid price structure all games abide by. Each release retails at around £40, yet each release doesn’t promise a similar level of content. As a cash strapped student I need to plan each purchase like an investment, and in that regard I know I’ll get countless hours out of Battlefield’s multiplayer, whereas I might only get a week’s play from Batman: Arkham City. But they cost the same price. This often forces developers to introduce multiplayer components to games completely unsuited to the idea. Take Dead Space 2 for example: a franchise centred around a foreboding sense of loneliness unique to the singleplayer experience, yet it was someone’s bright idea to introduce a half baked multiplayer component that essentially ripped off Left 4 Dead. And this was a response to the original Dead Space’s poor sales. Probably because people were unwilling to pay £40 for a 10 hour space romp. I know I was, no matter how good the game.

of headphones for £50, and a pair for £80, I’ll automatically assume the more expensive pair somehow offer an improved sound quality. The same is true in this instance. But is this necessarily a bad thing? I know I won’t get the same amount of enjoyment out of Homefront as I would Call of Duty, but at half the price would I really care? Perhaps if publishers were a bit more transparent in how they value their games we as consumers might be less inclined to stick with our favourite franchises. So what happens when games release at too high a price? Piracy happens. People feel entitled to experience the biggest releases in their favourite hobby and unfortunately decide to download them illegally. There is no excusing piracy, but you can understand it. The bigger issue for the industry is commoditisation. It happened to the music industry and it certainly threatens the videogame industry. As Internet speeds increase and broadband adoption grows it becomes easier to illegally download and store all of your media. Commoditisation is the process of media devaluing because of this, music is now a commodity, and games could become one.

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ARTS

Feature. COMPANY PREVIEW

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hristmas is coming, and I am no longer afraid to say it. The lights are on, the nights are drawing in, The Pogues are back in annual business and lunchtime can feasibly consist of turkey sandwiches and an eggnog latte. In the theatrical world Christmas means musicals; big jovial productions with toe-tapping numbers and wonderful dance pieces. The Crucible in this sense is no different, feeding its audiences yearly with Christmas musical treats. Indeed, last years joyous love story ‘Me and My Girl’ achieved a nomination for Best Musical Production in the 2011 Theatrical Management Association Awards.

“Failure and phobia and inability to commit’’ However, reading the theatres blurb about this years offering, you may be forgiven for thinking they got the principles of the yearly celebration a bit wrong: Company stars Sheffield Theatres Artistic Director Daniel Evans as Robert – the commitment phobic bachelor.

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Friday December 2 2011

Failure and phobia, inability to commit... not quite the caring and sharing themes we indulge in over our sprouts?

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Infamous composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim’s 1970’s musical ‘Company’, addresses unashamedly, complicated, but normal, adult issues through the unexpected media of show song and dance. Directed by Jonathan Munby,

the production opens for its six week run at the Crucible from November 30th, and in art’s truly whimsical fashion, it claims to be more relevant and provocative within this seasonal backdrop. The suggestion is that our festive mind frame puts ideas of relationships into persistent reflection. At the time of year we draw everyone closest we can’t help but evaluate the quality and meaningfulness of our companionships. So, does this mean that Company’s protagonist Robert is a hippy, man-about-town, Scrooge, fumbling through the dating world rather than the paranormal one? I meet Damian Humbley and Claire Price, two of the shows stars, eager to convince me that our traditional festive themes can come in irregular shaped packages. “You know putting on a musical at Christmas time seems like an obvious choice, but this one’s got a twist on it. It’s not your typical musical.” Damian, an acclaimed musical actor, sits diagonally from me, facing his onstage wife Claire. We form a neat triangular threesome across the circular table, fitting amongst the ‘speed dating’ style set up in the bar. The pair play Harry and Sarah, one of five assortments of couples. The cast itself generates excitement at its overflow of recognised talent; Francesca Annis, film and theatre actress, most notably, being drawn back to musicals for the first time in 40 years. Annis is joined by Claire, an award winning classical actress who is making her musi-


ARTS

Phone rings, door chimes, in comes Company... This Christmas Stephen Sondheim’s Company comes to the Crucible. Charlotte Frost talks to cast members Claire Price and Damian Humbley. cal debut. The show is not only atypical in theme but this productions’ mixture of straight thespians with experienced musical actors provides potential for depth in its approach.

ally questionable to be single at 35? Munby, who perfectly, turns 35 this year has made the debatable decision to honour the musicals 1970’s origins and keep the piece in its time period.

A breakthrough of experimentation in musical when first unleashed on Broadway, the story of ‘Company’ follows Robert on his 35th birthday as he questions his future as a single and ‘middle aged’ man.

It seems the cast agree that moving the musical forward would do it an injustice, but Damian reassures that the show is not there to act as a comment on the past.

Formatted in serial bursts of interaction with each couple, Robert flashes through scenarios in the lead up to his surprise birthday party. These comedic meetings with his best, married, friends and his three lovers accumulate to an exploration of the pro’s and con’s of the ultimate commitment of marriage. “The show is incredibly compassionate about marriage, and very honest about it,” Claire responds diplomatically as I ask for a pro and a con of marriage: ”There are some fantastic songs where people are asked, are you glad you got married? And they say well, you’re actually always

“Unashamedly complicated, but normal adult issues”

With all this claustrophobic honesty it is hard to think why you would rush to the theatre to be faced with the very woes you wanted to escape. And, that is where I get the impression that Sondheim’s distinguishable music comes in, providing the release and the fantasy aspect.

Pre-feminism is an interesting concept for modern women who find themselves ‘Bah Humbuging!’ at every sprig of mistletoe.

“It has to reach a point where you can no longer speak anymore but you break into heightened place of discovery,” Damian observes, the couple agreeing that it is the beautiful and truthful story-telling lyrics which allow audiences to relate, reflect but still enjoy. Ultimately it is our craving to make sense of human nature and our ability to laugh at our own fragility that defines the attractiveness of this show.

The story portrays mainly conventional marriages where the wives do not work, indeed the most famous number is entitled ‘The Ladies who Lunch’. This position would be unfathomable to a large majority of women today, but perhaps its accessibility now lies in women relating to Robert’s character and his fears instead.

“You’re actually always sorry and you’re always glad...that’s relationships’’

“There‘s a universal accessibility to this show, all keeping it in the 1970s does is add another layer of enjoyment to it. It’s kinda pre-feminism, post 60s, where everyone was free loving, but it was preaids so it was before any kind of anxiety on sexuality”.

Neither actor married, it becomes obvious in our discussion that marriage or age is not necessarily the identifiable universal draw to the production; it is the fact that pressure to commit and uncertainty in committal still exist. “It’s also about friendship which, when you’re young, your life is about.“ Claire states, “Gosh, that person is getting a bit close and that person’s not getting close enough.” That’s what my uni days were like.” Therein lies its student appeal, this con-

The Crucible’s ‘Company’ is set to be bigger and better than ever before. The last UK version of the show directed by Sam Mendes in 1995. This production offers original costume, a larger band, and copious choreography, ensuring that the theatre has well timed its festive release dates. It is the adult musical that by all accounts, despite its complex, yet still joyous content should not be missed.

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sorry and you’re always glad. And I think that’s absolutely right. You always wonder if you should be getting out of it and you’re really really glad you’re in it… and that’s relationships.” But how relevant is marriage to today’s audiences? And with our somewhat ‘Sex and the City’ lifestyle, is it still re-

stant reassessment with how we interact with those around us.

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SCREEN

Interview. ANDY HARRIES Words: Tom Fletcher

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s a man fascinated by the world we live in, British film producer Andy Harries has stepped out of his comfort zone to tackle one of the highest profile political ordeals in recent years with the upcoming political biopic The Lady. Aung San Suu Kyi, a Burmese politician, until recently, had spent 15 years under house arrest. Her crime was campaigning for democracy in a country run by a military junta. As the leader of The National League for Democracy in Burma, she led her party to victory in the 1990 General Elections. The leading military junta denounced these results and had Aung San Suu Kyi arrested. “The Lady is a deeply inspiring and ultimately very sad story about an amazing woman who deserves our respect,” the producer says with a rousing conviction. “It all started when I went to Burma in the early 90s with my wife, Rebecca Frayn, a novelist who would go on to write the film. While on holiday in Thailand, we realised we could visit Burma for a week with a tourist’s visa.

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Friday December 2 2011

“An inspiring and very sad story about an amazing woman.”

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“Burma was under strict military control. It was a dreadful experience. You weren’t allowed to talk to the people and the people, of course, couldn’t talk to you. You could really sense how incredibly oppressed the nation was. “This experience remained with both of us. So, about five years ago we had the idea for the film. But the story of the relationship

between Aung San Suu Kyi and her husband Dr Michael Aris was much less well known. There were no books on it, no articles on it. “Essentially, Michael’s role in the relationship – once his wife was under house arrest – was to keep her name on the forefront of the world. Part of his campaign was helping her win Nobel Peace Prize of 1991. “He felt that the more well known she was, the safer she would be, that they wouldn’t dare kill her. That was the story we wanted to tell. “They were madly in love, but at the same time, the Burmese government used the fact he was a white Englishman as ammunition for their remorseless attacks on her. Unfortunately, the film doesn’t have time to explore the full, horrific extent of what was going on in Burma at the time.”

“She draws parallels with Nelson Mandela” Michael Aris was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1997. The Burmese government refused to grant him a visa despite his severe illness. Aung San Suu Kyi, temporarily freed from house arrest, refused to leave Burma for fear of being refused re-entry by the military junta. Aris died in 1999. The last time the couple had seen each other was the Christmas of 1995. After 15 years, Aung San Suu Kyi was finally released from house arrest on November 13 2010. “The interesting thing is that, while we were making the film, one of its purposes was to highlight her political imprisonment, and to bring to light how many political prisoners there are in Burma. Of course, she was released halfway through filming. “When we were setting up the film we weren’t able to contact her in any shape or form, so we didn’t know whether she’d be happy about a film being made about her. We took a risk there in a sense. “She is an incredible woman. She’s effectively been in prison for 20 years. She draws obvious parallels with Nelson Mandela. It’s a very inspiring story. People that are willing to sacrifice their lives and their families for a cause of democracy are people we should all be aware of and respect. “Things are changing in Burma. But there is still a huge way to go. It’s still very far from being a democracy. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. There’s a real possibility that she could even end up standing again for parliament. So the film serves a different purpose now; it serves as a testimony to her incredible character and her situation.”

Aung San Suu Kyi spent 15 years under house arrest. Award Winning producer, Andy Harries, talks to Fuse about Burma, Princess Diana, and dirty Leeds.


“Hollywood is dead culturally” The Queen, starring Helen Mirren, was undoubtedly the most successful British film of 2006, with the leading lady earning an Academy Award for her portrayal of Elizabeth II. “The Queen really came from being in London the week Princess Diana died in 1997. It was the most extraordinary thing I’d ever witnessed. I just remember people behaving incredible peculiarly. It was very sad, I understand that. But the city was at a standstill. We just wanted to try and make sense of it. It all just left us thinking: What the fuck happened that week? “Eventually, we revisited it all and thought about how we could make a story about it. I’d worked quite closely with Helen Mirren on Prime Suspect. She was certainly the starting point for The Queen. The starting point for The Lady was Michelle Yeoh. “Sometimes in movies it’s good to start with the casting. Consider The Damned United. We were at the Venice Film festival with The Queen, when Stephen Frears turned up with an advanced copy of David Peace’s wonderful book. On the front cover was a picture of Brian Clough. He put it in front of me and said, “What do you think? I think that’s Michael Sheen. I think we should make this film.’” And they did just that, The Damned United, and particularly Michael Sheen’s performance, was met with critical acclaim. Andy Harries takes an extraordinary amount of pride from his British identity; this is evident in nearly all of his high pro-

The Damned United (2009)

file projects. If you look at The Royle Family, The Queen, The Damned United or Cold Feet; his work is quintessentially British. You would, therefore, expect a strangeness to come hand in hand with his latest project in Burma. “It was strange to a degree to make a film so, so far away from British culture. But, the starting point was really the story of Michael Aris, an Englishman. Much of the research was done in London, so the Britishness of the story has always been a key part of it. “I’ve always been attracted to British culture though. For example, as proven with The Damned United, I’ve always loved football. I follow Peterborough United (which is tragic). But who doesn’t remember the Clough years? Of course, Leeds were a fucking rough crowd back in the day. But the Clough saga was a fantastic soap opera and the finest example of good old fashioned, British football. It was a long, long way from the galaxy of international players there are now.” It’s fairly easy to see why Andy Harries is widely regarded as one of the finest British film and television producers of the last decade. The sad truth, though, is that the most financially triumphant films these days generally emerge from Hollywood.

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Perhaps his most notable works are The Queen and The Damned United. The Queen, of course, saw Helen Mirren awarded an Academy Award and The Damned United, a fictionalised account of Brian Clough’s tenure at Leeds United, was a critics’ favourite of 2009. So what is it about biographical films that Andy Harries seems to engage with so consistently well? “I don’t actually know to be honest,” he laughs. “I studied politics at Hull University and had spent my entire youth wanting to be a journalist. I had worked at a paper before university. But when I graduated, I just wanted to tell stories about current affairs. I think The Queen, The Deal and The Lady are all similar. I feel inspired by real stories. It’s really important to try and make sense of the world we live in.”

“Her only crime was campaigning for democracy”

“The Brian Clough Saga was a fantastic soap opera” “I was offered a job in LA about 10 years ago. It was very tempting and very flattering, but it was right in the middle of The Royle Family and Cold Feet. I knew that if you go to LA, you must go seriously. You can’t just go to Hollywood for a year. It takes a number of years of commitment. “I’ve never really been into the big money, big houses and big cars. It doesn’t really interest me. Hollywood is dead, culturally. It’s not very stimulating. “There are exceptions, of course, but too many Hollywood films are so mechanical; there’s no heart and soul. It’s disappointing really. Hollywood doesn’t make as many great films as it used to. You’ll find much more interesting films all over the world, not just Britain.”

The Lady, starring Michelle Yeoh, is set for release on December 30.

The Best of Andy Harries

The Deal (2003) The prequel to The Queen saw Michael Sheen take on Tony Blair for the first time alongside David Morrissey as Gordon Brown.

Prime Suspect: The Final Act (2006) Golden Globe nominated crime drama starring Helen Mirren. Harries’ first work with The Queen herself.

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Cold Feet (1997-2003) Award winning romantic drama set in Manchester starring James Nesbitt.

Friday December 2 2011

The Royle Family (1998-2003) Acclaimed British sitcom about the everyday lives of the Royales, starring Ricky Tomlinson.

The Queen (2006)

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Reviews.RELEASES Dan Mangan Oh Fortune City Slang 9/10

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n the UK, Dan Mangan has been fairly well-received although is yet to leave his mark, with debut album Postcards & Daydreams and Polarisnominated 2009 effort Nice, Nice, Very Nice. However, with his latest record Oh Fortune, it’s certain that Mangan will leave the British audience and many more across the world in awe. A change in direction from the alt-folk, observational anthems of his second album has done Mangan a world of good, delivering an album full of tex-

ture and gorgeous sounds which sweep and flow effortlessly throughout. With the help of free-jazz experimentalists and violinist Eyvind Kang, the orchestral arrangements and instrumentation on Mangan’s third record elevate the album to a whole new level, creating a captivating soundscape. As early as opener ‘About As Helpful as You Can Be Without Being Any Help At All’ we are treated to the rich instrumentation that is central to the brilliance of Oh Fortune. Despite the song’s long-winded title, it rises and falls like a perfect Viennese Waltz thanks to the excellent violin arrangements, with Mangan’s voice dripping with emotion.

The track then seamlessly moves into ‘How Darwinian’, a more poignant affair, with Mangan singing disappointedly “I should know better by now / there’s only so much to go round”. Oh Fortune contrasts melancholy with glory, with perfect ease. ‘If I Am Dead’ is an intimate, almost delicate spectacle, while ‘Daffodil’ asks for forgiveness for Mangan’s awful deeds. The likes of ‘Post-War Blues’ and ‘Starts With Them Ends With Us’ in contrast make a call to arms, the latter finishing with a climax of triumphant-sounding trumpets. Honest, anthemic, rich in sound and simply beautiful, Oh Fortune is Dan Mangan’s best yet. Oliver Turner

Ani DiFranco

¿Which Side Are You On? V2 Records 7/10

A Boy & Bear Moonfire

V2 Records 8/10

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oy & Bear are what the music world has been waiting for; the perfect hybrid between folk and rock, the band for people who don’t like folk music. Having been tipped as ‘one of the most important discoveries’ at this year’s Lollapalooza in Chicago and winning Rolling Stone’s Artist to Watch of 2011, there is a slight worry that Boy & Bear won’t be able to live up to the hype. But Moonfire, the band’s astonishing debut pushes all doubts way, way out of the mind. With a smooth voice that can

Now Playing ith the abundance

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of new releases each week it can be difficult to sift through the shit in search of the gold so Fuse has handpicked some of the musical highlights for you. Our friends over at Forge Radio have chosen a particularly fantastic single of the week and we thought it needed a mention. Jay-Z and Kanye West’s collaborative album, Watch the Throne, may have divided critics (some said it was good, others said it was awesome) but there’s no denying the brilliance of ‘Why I Love You’. Featuring Mr Hudson, and sampling heavily from Cassius’ ‘I Love You So’, it’s one of the highlights from one of the most exciting albums of this year. As always, we’re keen to talk about the finest local music, which is why we were frustrated to have missed out Kate Jackson’s most recent single, ‘Wonder Feeling’, from last issue’s Now Playing. But this is the time to right that wrong. It’s a superb release from

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only be described as ‘dreamy’, Dave Hosking layers the songs beautifully with comprehensive lyrics, “I’m shedding off my innocence” and a yearning that can only be called love. ‘Feeding Line’ has the perfect feel of a festival song in the making. It’s hard not to imagine 30,000 people singing “I'm finding it harder to reason in order to grow / And finding it hard is a feeling that all of you know” in a field and that is the beauty of Boy & Bear. You can already feel how big they’re going to be. ‘Part time Believer’ is the soundtrack for anyone who is nostalgic for childhood, with the lyrics “See I was waiting for my dad to come home from work / so I could show him all the chords that I'd learnt / See I was under the impression I was gonna lead / some kind of the former Long Blondes frontwoman that builds on the style she established with her former bandmates. Many of Jackson’s upcoming tracks have been coproduced with Suede guitarist, Bernard Butler, including this and its A-side, ‘The Atlantic’. And finally, we couldn’t do a Christmas issue without talking about at least one Christmas song. But who to choose? Every year the radio is swamped with heartfelt lyrics and jingly melodies but there’s only been one new track this year to make us stop and pay attention to its festive message. Emmy the Great and Tim Wheeler have collaborated on a record for the holidays, but it’s not their first release, ‘Home for the Holidays’, that’s got us singing. No. It’s forthcoming album track ‘Jesus the Reindeer’. It’s a ridiculous concept, we know, but the hilarious lyrics are enough to fill even the meanest grinch with Christmas Spirit: “Joey. Chandler. Sancho. Panza. Sarah. Palin. JESUS!” And with that, we’d like to wish all of our readers a very merry Christmas, and a happy new year. Enjoy your holiday!

simple understated life.” Their music is so easy to relate to that it just pulls you in and leaves you wanting more. ‘Milk & Sticks’ has all the infectiousness of Mumford and Son’s ‘Little Lion Man’. With a fastpaced guitar accompaniment and a sense of desolation there’s almost a need to hit the replay button the second this song finishes. It’s easy to see how this band have attracted the attention of Rolling Stone and can cite Laura Marling and Marcus Mumford amongst their fans. There is a definite feeling that this isn’t all we’re going to expect from Boy & Bear and that the end is, thank god, nowhere near. Amelia Heathman

ni DiFranco’s first album release in over three years, ¿Which Side Are You On?, is a shatteringly honest reflection of her feelings about the world she sees around her. Her music communicates her frustration and angst through thoughtfully constructed music which would resonate with anybody possessing a moral compass. She starts with ‘Life Boat’, a solid introduction to the album. She makes use of her characteristic staccato style acoustic guitar picking, mixed with subtle electric guitar in the background. This, along with her light yet husky voice, generates an upbeat atmosphere to the album. This happy, folky feel is continued throughout, but is also broken up by more serious songs focusing on her concerns about politics, war, the environment and the subjection of women. ‘Splinter’ focuses heavily on the problems we face with envi-

Loney Dear Hall Music Polyvinyl 6/10

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Photo by Ella Ruth Cowperthwaite

all Music is the sixth album Swedish singer / songwriter Emil Svanängen is releasing under the pseudonym Loney Dear (previously Loney, Dear with a very important comma). Like his previous work, the record echoes with melancholia. Svanängen’s striking vocals together with the impressive musical arrangements create a dreamy feeling of mystery, reminiscent of Bon Iver. ‘D Major’, the strongest track on the record, shows Loney Dear’s full potential. Emil Svanängen’s vocals are high pitched but steady and the soundscape, which starts off very narrow and small scale with a sole guitar, soon reaches higher grounds as a choir and a church organ is added. At times, Hall Music sounds somewhat like a collection of hymns, with the church organ working like a connective thread throughout the album. In ‘Young Hearts’, it is accom-

ronmental change, and the lack of political action to resolve them. She uses blunt, powerful lyrics to illustrate her point; “Some might call it conservation, and some might call it common sense”. She also addresses the flaws of American politics in ‘Which Side Are You On?’, her own version of Pete Seeger’s classic. Using a funk-infused melody, with a strong bass line and the simple, yet powerful repetition of the line “Which side are you on?”, she radiates vibes of exasperation at the corruption, war and corporate dominance American politics has bred. DiFranco finishes the album with the honest and beautiful ‘Zoo’, which illustrates the difficulties of living day to day whilst trying to maintain high ethical standards in the increasingly amoral environment that we have created for ourselves. Ani DiFranco has created a clever piece of peaceful activism. Her honesty and determination to stand up for what she believes in would resonate with anybody sharing even some of her views, making you consider how you think, act and live. Jack Crisfield panied by brittle and vulnerable vocals. The result is a wistful, emotional and memorable ballad which the album needs to not get lost in the experimental ambitions of the producer. Because the truth is that overall, Hall Music does not contain very many strong, remarkable choruses or melodies. It is more a half-hour long coherent and thoroughly worked through piece of music than it is 11 individually strong songs. Although the last track on the record breathes some pop, with vocals sung by Malin Ståhlberg, and a nice beat having been added to the experimental sound, Loney Dear definitely seems to have abandoned his accessible, easygoing indie pop songs. He has taken another direction, and songs like ‘The City, The Airport’ from album Sologne, or ‘Saturday Waits’ from Loney Noir is nowhere to be found. In their place is however a more elaborate album than its five predecessors. Angeliqua Dieye Follow us on Twitter @ForgePressMusic


The Vaccines O2 Academy

Wednesday November 23

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he Vaccines are one of those bands who have sneakily infiltrated themselves into the dizzy heights of indie stardom with only a mere debut album, grabbing themselves an extremely sought-after support slot with the Arctic Monkeys in the process. With the hype currently surrounding them and their soldout tour, they have a lot to prove to the rammed O2 Academy. Howler begin the evening with some surf-influenced indie that certainly gets the toes of the early crowd tapping. The only American band of the night, their style is certainly influenced by both Californian surf-rock, shown in the appropriately titled ‘Beach Sluts,’ and the more straight-up indie of The Strokes. A Western influence is also evident in the guitar of new single ‘Back Of Your Neck,’ giving Howler a much needed edge in the cut-throat indie rock world. For a band on their first jaunt of the UK, Howler have huge potential- providing something a little extra in a world of massproduced, monotonous indie. Bounding onto the stage with enviable enthusiasm, Frankie of Frankie & The Heartstrings gets the crowd suitably warmed up for The Vaccines with his and his bands eightie’s-tinged indie, commanding the stage like a true front man. In comparison to Frankie & The

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Heartstrings, The Vaccines’ opener ‘Blow It Up’ seems rather dull and repetitive, with lead singer Justin hardly the most passionate frontman. In fact, the whole performance seemed rather muted, with the ridiculously likeable ‘Wreckin’ Bar’ lacking the spark that it has on the band’s debut album What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? Nevertheless, you cannot deny the enthusiasm of the crowd. Clad in The Vaccines tour t-shirts, they appear to know every word to every song, which arguably isn’t difficult considering almost the entire set is taken from their only album. Even the likes of ‘Post BreakUp Sex’ lack emotion and zest, suggesting that perhaps this is the band’s performance style- a serious lack of crowd interaction, a lack of connection to their own songs and a general lack of enthusiasm to be performing. The only truly inspiring moment of the night came during the mass singalong to ‘All In White’, one of the standout tracks of the album both lyrically and musically. After an unnecessarily long buildup, the encore is the tip of the iceberg of disappointment, with final song ‘Norgaard’ giving the crowd one last opportunity to dance, but simultaneously, still not justifying the hype surrounding them and their album, which is currently the biggest selling debut of the year so far. What did you expect from The Vaccines? A hell of a lot more. Zoe Antell

The Vaccines: Mark McKay

The Darkness O2 Academy

Monday November 21

Mariachi eL Bronx Leadmill

Friday November 25

acoustic version of 'Holding My Own'. The atmosphere wasn't tame for long though, as Justin announced, “the best thing about Yorkshire is that it's already Christmas.” Complete with confetti snow and wild pyrotechnics, The Darkness treated the lively crowd to the holiday classic, 'Don't Let the Bells End'. They finished the night in true style with ultimate crowd pleaser, 'I Believe in a Thing Called Love'. The future for the band is unpredictable, but what lies ahead is definitely intriguing if not incredibly exciting. Any man who can wear lycra costumes and wear them well pushing forty, definitely deserves some appreciation. Rachel Dixon

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Fuse.

o any die-hard fans of L.A hardcore punk rockers The Bronx, they will be familiar with their Latin alter-ego project Mariachi El Bronx. Having heard promising things from the band, after playing slots at Glastonbury and Reading/ Leeds festivals, it was no surprise with the ticket demand at Sheffield’s Leadmill that tonight was not going to disappoint. Hundreds were packed into tonight’s venue to be a part of this intimate set, rightly so as it is the last Mariachi tour for a couple of years with frontman Matt Caughthran and co returning to the studio to record the fourth eponymous Bronx album early next year. First on is Then Thickens from Lancashire providing the crowd with progressive The xx-influenced sounds that are then closely followed by Tim Kasher amusing the crowd with his brilliant

Mariachi El Bronx: Taylor Fleischner Tenacious D styled acoustic set. Both receive great praise from Friday night’s audience. The sound of Mariachi is alive in Leadmill tonight as The Bronx walk on stage beaming to see so many people cheering for them so far away from home. As soon as the first song ’48 Roses’ commences with the bright sound of trumpets filling the room, everyone dances in good, albeit drunken, spirits. The six-piece are complete in their traditional Mexican outfits head to toe, which is also accompanied by several bottles of Corona to show Sheffield’s Leadmill how to have a good time. Finishing with their 2009 hit ‘Clown Powder’ the crowd erupted as Caughthran left the stage telling the crowd “life’s too short to do the same thing for the rest of your life, do something different, mix it up and you won’t be disappointed,” leaving behind inspiration and ambition which will stay with the crowd for years to come. Lawrence Russell

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onderfully psychedelic and flamboyant, there is only one band that can pull off lycra, scissor kicks in overly tight jeans and inconceivably high, falsetto lyrics. After a five year hiatus, rehab, fall-outs and a questionable second album, the terrifically peculiar but outstanding Darkness, returned to rock Sheffield’s O2 Academy. Proclaimed to be the best crowd of the tour so far, the Sheffield lot were more than willing to sing, chant, and rock on demand to a back-catalogue of unforgettable hits including 'Black

Shuck' and 'Hell and Back'. Bassist Frankie Poullain, guitarist Dan Hawkins and drummer, Ed Graham were equally as animated as the crazed, yet memorising Justin Hawkins. Proving to be not only a musical genius but a gymnast too, Justin accompanied each track with either scissor kicks, cartwheels or his signature move of the splits; both men and women shrieked in awe and horror. The Darkness weren't only here to reminisce, the guys threw in some of their new material set to be released early next year. The tracks played were surprisingly good and the crowd rocked with the band. 'One Way Ticket' was the most promising out of the new material. A break mid-set saw Justin perform a beautiful

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Reviews.

my week with marilyn Dir: Simon Curtis 7/10

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n the summer of 1956, Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) came to England to shoot a film starring - and directed by - veteran actor Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh). My Week with Marilyn is the story of that film shoot, and in particular the relationship that Monroe forges with low-ranking assistant Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne). Without doubt, this film’s greatest asset is its cast. Michelle

50/50

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omedy. Cancer. A combination that would probably receive looks of disapproval in a game of Word Association. Despite the taboo, director Jonathon Levine bravely combines the two with wit and respect in 50/50. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is Adam, a reserved 27-year-old who doesn’t smoke or drink (and even recycles) who is subsequently shocked to discover he has cancer. The film focuses on the development of Adam’s illness and therefore, as it is such an emotional and serious topic, the comedic moments do not appear with regularity throughout the whole film. The family situation is extremely distressing as Adam’s father is also suffering with Alzheimer’s and his mother, Diane is finding it difficult to cope. At times it can feel as though despair overrules the laughter. However, moments of comedy brighten up the film, appearing

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Dir: Jonathan Levine 8/10

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Williams is superb as Marilyn, balancing perfectly the actress’ on-screen personality and the strained, frail young woman propped upright by pills and alcohol to the point where they become almost separate characters. Branagh provides both antagonist and comic relief in the form of Laurence Olivier, whose scathing reactions to Marilyn’s work ethic give way to childlike fits of pique. Meanwhile, the secondary cast (including Judi Dench, Dominic Cooper and Zoë Wanamaker) compliment the film perfectly, each with their own niche and distinctive personalities. Ironically, the only performance that lets the side down is that of

Eddie Redmayne. It’s not that he does anything particularly wrong; it’s he doesn’t really seem to be needed all that much. Despite the film’s title, Adrian Hodges’ script seems to focus the entire story singly on Monroe, rather than on the couple. This is her story, not theirs. There’s interesting imagery here – the supposed relationship between Colin and Marilyn draws a parallel with the film that they’re all trying to shoot. It’s great while it lasts, but when it’s done, it’s done, and everyone simply gets on with their lives as if it never happened. On the other hand, whilst the story may not be perfectly executed, the world in which it takes place is brilliantly

constructed. The use of bright lights and brighter music all perfectly evoke the lost ‘Golden Age’ of cinema, brought to life in the lovingly recreated film studios of yesteryear, and contrasted by beautiful scenes in the English countryside, including some at Windsor Castle and Eton College. It doesn’t really add anything to the story, but it does a great job of adding to the escapist nature of the film. As a period drama and a love story then, My Week with Marilyn is disappointing. Despite a fabulous cast laden with talent, the script seems to float along almost aimlessly, with a romance that could very well not have taken place.

If you take it as a biopic, however, it makes for surprisingly decent viewing. Watching Michelle Williams’ stunning performance, it’s very easy to see why Marilyn Monroe is still regarded by many as one of the greatest actresses and sex symbols of the 20th century, viewed by millions with open mouths and wide eyes. It also seems apt, with the aftermath of Charlie Sheen’s “biwinning” saga still fresh in our minds, to be reminded that the phenomenon of the damaged celebrity is as old as cinema itself, and that once upon a time the actors behind the addictive substances had a genuine, Godgiven talent. Phil Bayles

predominantly in Adam’s friendship with Kyle (Seth Rogen). Kyle abuses Adam’s condition in order to guilt girls into bed, much to his despair, “No one wants to fuck me. I look like Voldemort.” The chemistry between Levitt and Rogen is the film’s selling point. Rogen, with his fuzzy looks and instantly recognisable chuckle, creates a believable 20-something guy trying to find the funny side for the good of his friend and himself. 50/50 could benefit from longer focus on their friendship as it provides the relief needed to get the audience, and Adam, through the many periods of misery. Gordon-Levitt’s performance is equally admirable. The emotional range Adam travels through includes; shock, denial, anger and acceptance, which beautifully demonstrates the powerful acting skill of GordonLevitt as he is able to deliver captivating realism. The highs and lows and emotive soundtrack within the film make it at times an emotionally draining watch. However, interspersing the drama between the laughter adds to the believable humanity

of the film. Another subplot of 50/50 is Adam’s relationship with his well-meaning, mild-mannered psychologist Katie (Anna Kendrick). It is as if this role is tailored for Kendrick as she portrays the awkwardness of her character perfectly, providing glimmers

of textbook hope for Adam reminding him that, “You can’t change your situation. The only thing that you can change is how you choose to deal with it.” The film delivers just the right amount of comedy and drama to maintain the seriousness of the topic without overlooking the ability of human nature to find

laughter in moments of misery. It is, for the majority, heartwarming and enjoyable. Unfortunately, for anyone who has experience of serious illness it may prove a difficult watch at times, but ultimately a rewarding one. Bryony Dent


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TV. mr bean

“Merry Christmas Mr Bean” 8/10

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hristmas tends to reduce the expectations of an audience; people will watch films and listen to music at Christmas that would be considered abhorrent at any other time of year, something the television execs always take full advantage of throughout December when they shamelessly produce an onslaught of some of the most appalling entertainment the human race has to offer. “Merry Christmas Mr Bean” was Rowan Atkinson’s 1992 yuletide gift to the world and, to this day, is still the only Christmas special, according to the latest statistics, to have been any good at all. The reason Mr Bean managed to pull off the Christmas special so impossibly well is that Atkinson had already thrown his dignity away. He is a man who stretches his face into shapes that only ever appear when a child violently attacks Play-Doh and bends his body like a shatter-proof ruler

whilst conducting the Christmas brass band. Mr Bean represents the way we would all live if we were completely unaware that people were watching our actions and formulating opinions on them. I, for one, would love to buy my baubles based solely on how well they bounced. I want to listen to carol singers outside my door without even considering the notion that they might want payment. But alas, I am socially aware, and so instead my dreams must be realised through a short piece of comedy gold. I still have vivid memories of moments in my childhood where I posted myself Christmas cards for my own amusement and reenacted a nativity scene with a dinosaur, though sadly I never had a Dalek. I have even attempted Bean-esque facial contortions in the bathroom mirror, trying to no avail to mimic Atkinson’s masterpiece. However, I inevitably discovered that even the best comedy actors cannot surmount the insurmountable Mr Bean. Josh Carey

dream house Dir: Jim Sheridan 5/10

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Cult Corner. jingle all the way

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Christmas Eve. Now we’ve all been there, but what Arnie fails to realise is that his son Jamie (Jake Lloyd) wants a Turbo Man action figure – the hottest toy of the year that is, naturally, sold out everywhere. So begins a madcap caper across the city to track down the last Turbo Man. Even if you’re unlucky enough to have never heard of this film, you already know how it ends. Its narrative trajectory is as inevitable as the coma that comes after Christmas dinner. There is absolutely no suspense in the story and there isn’t a single likeable character. Arnie is a lazy and neglectful parent and husband, his wife is an unsympathetic crone, and their son is a bit of a spoilt knobhead who should be getting a swift kick up the jacksie for Christmas before anything else. At times, it does seem like a

relic from the Cold War - a capitalist propaganda film that concurrently demonises leftwing liberalism whilst enforcing the materialist notion that you basically suck at being a human being of any worth if you don’t keep up with the latest commercial fads. The fact that the balanced voice of reason, Myron (Sinbad), is portrayed in the worst light possible, embodying almost every negative social and racial stereotype going, just shows how warped the film’s ideology is. So, why should you watch this? Because it is genuinely one of the funniest

Alex Chafey and most quotable Christmas films ever made, even if that comedy is unintentional most of the time. Plus, It’s always funny watching Arnie trying to act like he’s a normal everyday guy and not some muscle-bound killing machine. Just don’t touch his wife’s cookies. Tom Wardak

Fuse. Fuse.

fter watching the 348th version of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (the one starring Ross Kemp as a loan shark is… interesting) it’s easy to feel an overwhelming sense of ennui when it comes to Christmas films. If you’re sick of the stomachchurning mawkish optimism and warm and fuzzy sentimentality that comes with the season, Jingle All The Way is the cure. It’s a vapid, soulless story about dysfunctional families and unfulfilling consumerism that is totally ridiculous and hilarious in every way, from the lame script to the God-awful acting, right to the surreal musical number that ends with Arnold Schwarzenegger punching a midget in a Santa costume across a room. Arnie stars as Howard Langston, a successful businessman and terrible family-man who leaves buying his son’s present to

lacklustre conclusion, which ultimately fails to convince. These plot problems are a shame because the chemistry between real-life couple Craig and Weisz is excellent and they both give brilliant performances. It’s also a very atmospheric, and a generally well-put-together movie in spite of a clumsy soundtrack. Fans of Craig can be thankful that in Will’s busy office schedule he found time to go to the gym, although once the twist is revealed he oddly starts to sport a creepy Lecter-esque hair do. Would I recommend Dream House? Well, for fans of ghostly suspense thrillers there are much better films out there (The Awakening is still in cinemas) but there are worse ways to spend 90 minutes and in spite of its many problems, there is something strangely likeable about it. However, if you do see it do not watch the trailer first.

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Dir: Brian Levant Year: 1996

n Dream House, successful, wealthy, white-collar worker Will Atenton (Daniel Craig) quits his successful city occupation as a writer in order to spend more time with his family - wife Libby (Rachel Weisz) and two daughters (Taylor and Clair Geare) - at the same time as doing up a big, old house in snowy suburbia. Surprisingly, however, this turns out not to be as good an idea as it sounds when strange, inexplicable events start happening. The shadow of past events that hangs over the house causes Will to investigate, and he soon discovers all is not what it seems. I should emphasise the word soon as the inevitable big twist is remorselessly exposed just half way into the film, and is, in fact, even revealed in the

trailer for the film. Yes, the trailer. And herein lays Dream House’s fatal flaw. Why director Jim Sheridan takes such a cack-handed approach to the timing of the twist is the only thing the audience is left guessing about in the second half. It’s like if Dorothy found out the Wizard of Oz was not an actual wizard half way through, before she encountered any witches or flying monkeys, or her friends demonstrated any bravery, intelligence or, er, having a heart. It also suffers from having several moments which don’t make any kind of logical sense. The problem is, essentially, that Dream House doesn’t know what sort of film it is. It starts out like a run-of-themill haunted house flick, with a couple of genuinely scary, bump-in-the-night moments, then throws it all away in the second act in favour of a mushy romance and a tedious whodunit that eventually dribbles to a

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Friday December 2 2011

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e here at Fuse are having a serious problem. A real, genuine problem which is only being exacerbated as Christmas creeps ever closer. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. Putting aside such trivial matters as assignments and spending time with loved ones, the quite absurd amount of fantastic recent gaming releases has led to us wanting nothing more than to batten down the hatches, lock the door and play until our thumbs bleed. And even then, if we spent every waking hour button mashing away, it wouldn’t be enough. Not with games like Skyrim where you can happily spend three hours just reading books from a shelf, or firing arrows at frolicking bunny rabbits, or a whole day in one city not even moving the main plot along. And then there is Batman: Arkham City, whose dark, suspenseful and utterly immersive atmosphere must have led to a significant increase in students lurking in the unlit depths of Crookes before jumping on passersby yelling “I AM THE NIGHT!” With an entire city to run around in, taking out muggers and feeling smug as you work out how to get to a particularly tricky Riddler trophy, day time is beginning to seem more and more overrated. After all this sitting in the dark twitching, we then like to be sociable, so commit ourselves to a marathon of online multiplayers on any one of many very solid shooters released recently, with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 probably holding the edge. At least this way we get to interact with human beings, even if it is just through having them swear at us and insult our mothers every time we miss a shot. Then there’s the hours of fun (and potential headaches) to be had from Mario Kart on 3DS, and all the buildings just waiting to be scaled in Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, not to mention all of the other very solid games from the last few weeks all stacked up and ready to be played. Our advice? Stick it out these next few weeks until the end of the term, then have a gaming binge until your eyes have gone square and your hands worn down to the bone. After all, isn’t that the true meaning of Christmas?

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Ellen Jurczak Arnold Bennett games@forgetoday.com

call of duty: modern warfare 3 PC/360/PS3

8/10

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ince its humble origins back in 2003, Call of Duty (COD) has grown exponentially, becoming the biggest grossing gaming franchise of all time. Representing the final story arc for developer Infinity Ward’s Modern Warfare branch, this isn’t a revolution in gaming but presents a natural evolution for the series. The single-player campaign will be instantly familiar to anyone who has played a previous title. COD has always done the blockbuster effect well and Modern Warfare 3 is no different. Players are treated to the familiar formula of fast-paced run and gun gameplay combined with explosive set-piece cutscenes and a soundtrack matching most Hollywood action flicks. Where the series begins to show its age, however, is through the visuals. The graphics themselves still hold up relatively well considering the benchmark set by new releases such as Rage and Battlefield 3 but the failure to update the game’s engine in any significant manner means that once you scratch at the surface, the graphics and core gameplay mechanics themselves are very reminiscent of earlier itinerations.

final fantasy vii PS1/PSN

RETRO CORNER

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ut of all of the Final Fantasy games the one that dedicated fans reminisce about the most is 1997’s Final Fantasy VII (FFVII). With its hooking storyline, mysterious characters and enchanting theme music it is in a league of its own. One of the best aspects of the game is the storyline: you play mysterious protagonist Cloud Strife on his journey to save the world from Sephiroth, a villain who discovers that he is a product of a vile experiment. Memories begin to unfold as the game advances and you cannot help but applaud the amount of thought that has gone into the plot—there are no anti-climaxes here. The minor flaws of the game, such as the lack of speech, are overshadowed by the emotional and complex storyline which also includes love-triangles, sacrifices, and heroism. Unlike earlier Final Fantasy games only three characters are able to be in the party at the same time during battle

That being said, many fans will delight in the reworking of what is arguably a successful format and satisfying gameplay experience. In terms of depth, Modern Warfare 3 certainly improves upon its predecessors. The single-player campaign, whilst relatively short, is an enjoyable experience and presents a satisfying end to the Modern Warfare story arc, if a predictable one. Infinity Ward have really offered an improved package however when it comes to their “Special Ops” mode. First introduced with COD: Modern Warfare 2, Special Ops mode now offers even more cooperative missions in a range of formats which can see players teaming up to defuse IED’s or take part in the kidnapping of the Russian president. A completely new addition is “Survival” mode which sees players pitted against waves of enemies ranging from standard Russian soldiers to attack helicopters and heavily armoured juggernauts. Although similar in its format to the popular “Nazi Zombies” game mode found in both World at War and Black Ops, it still offers enough unique features to be a welcome addition to the game’s overall package. The staple of the COD mode. This isn’t really an issue, especially when you consider the developments made, including the more realistic looking characters, introduction of Limit Breaks (one-off moves which deal more damage than normal attacks) and Materia, crystals which allow characters to use special abilities. Of course, if you’re ever tired of battling monsters across the world map you can always resort to alternative activities and mini-games, such as Chocobo racing. Some may overlook Final Fantasy VII, especially with the modern focus on visuals. However, the game has impressive graphics considering how long ago it was released. The cinematic cut-scenes are particularly remarkable, especially when you glance down and remember that it is a simple PS1 staring back at you. Hardcore fans immediately recognise Nobuo Uematsu’s touch in Final Fantasy VII’s beautiful theme music which set the standard for all future Final Fantasy games to follow and that we admire so much. FFVII is a must-play: other than the graphics (which can be excused considering its age) the game possesses the best elements of every Final Fantasy game and is strong competition even for more recent RPG releases. The fact that it is on the PS1 is not a sufficient excuse for missing out on one of the best—or even the best—Final Fantasy games out there.

series however is of course its multiplayer. Whether you will enjoy this aspect of the game depends entirely on your feelings about its previous multiplayer offerings. The formula is instantly recognisable and the gameplay lighting fast. The maps are well laid out and perks have been reorganised to improve game balance. A range of new weapons such as the CM 901 and old favourites like the AK-47, all of which can be customised, offer the freedom of choice which COD has become renowned for. The tweaking of certain perks and the refinement of previous

gameplay problems such as grenade launcher spamming means Modern Warfare 3 presents a slick if familiar multiplayer experience. COD: Elite also adds a new dynamic with the offering of accurate statistic tracking and the ability to import your Facebook friends. Although the base product of this new feature is free, a premium version does exist and a years subscription costs around £30. This includes the ability to level up your clan, immediate and free access to all future DLC releases and the chance to win prizes, both in-game and material. Doubtless many will see the introduction of this new service as a cynical attempt by Activision to suck even more money out of their fanbase but it has to be remembered that premium features are optional and aimed at a more hardcore competitive multiplayer audience. For those who feel disaffected with the series, the familiar core gameplay mechanics and somewhat outdated visuals will enforce the idea that the series has become complacent and a little lazy. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 ultimately offers enough to draw veterans of the series back for more fast-paced action, new features and tweaks which are extremely welcome. Jonny Webb

super mario 3d land NINTENDO 3DS

9/10

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uper Mario 3D Land builds on an already fantastic gaming template to create an exciting new adventure featuring some of the greatest moments from the franchise’s history and tonnes of unique content which completely refreshes one of the most innovative and original series in gaming. The 3D effect on Nintendo’s new handheld is stunning. However, until now it’s been little more than an aesthetic addition used to liven up old N64 games. This has been one of the biggest criticisms of the 3DS so far; the 3D effect doesn’t add to the gameplay, so what’s the point? In response to the naysayers, Nintendo have launched Super Mario 3D Land, the first game on the system where using the 3D is essential if you want to complete the game. With the effect turned off, some of the worlds are difficult to negotiate and it’s only once you turn it on that you can appreciate the full depth of the level designs. 3D Land excels as a portable title. The levels are short and sweet, often less than five minutes each, and the game is broken up nicely allowing you to dip in and out as you please. Just because this is a portable game though, doesn’t mean that it’s void of a challenge. The difficulty increases nicely Jenny Leung through the first 8 worlds but never

gets too taxing, making it accessible for younger gamers and more casual players. Once you complete the main story though, an additional 8 ‘special’ worlds open up, offering a challenge more suited to a ‘hardcore’ gamer. These levels are typically more complex variations of early levels that create entirely new challenges. What makes Super Mario 3D Land so impressive though, is the attention to detail. Ahead of its release fans were pleased to see a return of the famous Tanooki suit from Super Mario Bros. 3, but it’s not just this classic power-up that references older games from the series. The sprite on the lower map is the same 8-bit image used in the first Super Mario Bros. NES game. Every so often you’ll come across brief moments of side-scrolling fun reminiscent of early versions. The aesthetic is extremely similar to the look first established in Super Mario 64 and, perhaps most satisfyingly, the final battle with Bowser steals from Mario’s first appearance - we’re talking Donkey Kong, with Bowser hurling Barrels at Jump-Man as he negotiates a particularly complex part of the castle. This latest adventure from Mario (and eventually Luigi) is one of the most entertaining yet. And although it’s packed full of classic Mario moments, the result completely redefines platforming, like many of its predecessors. Sam Bolton


Dr Marigold and Mr Chops The Lyceum 8/10

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f the idea of watching a single man perform Dickens for an hour and a half sounds dreary to you, think again. Striking up a rapport with the audience before even speaking his first line, charismatic thespian Simon Callow produces an enchanting evening of expert story-telling in ‘Dr Marigold and Mr Chops’. Directed by Patrick Garland, the show opens with ‘Mr Chops’, a parable surrounding the fortunes of a fairground dwarf whose dearest ambition is to enter ‘society’. However, upon winning the lottery, Mr Chops becomes exploited and abused by the society he once aspired to join, an idea poignantly summed up in his words of, ‘When

you’ve got nothing left to give…they laugh at you.’ And the audience themselves are certainly laughing, for although the tale might sound rather sombre in nature, ‘Mr Chops’ is in fact full of humorous moments too, meaning Callow’s performance is utterly captivating from start to finish. Holding an audience’s attention with a Dickens monologue is no mean feat. However, Callow performs with such gusto and skill that the piece is as accessible as it would have been in Dickens’s own era, despite having not been played for around 150 years now. The longer of the monologues, ‘Dr Marigold’, is perhaps the more moving of the two. After losing both his wife and daughter, hawker Marigold decides to adopt a young girl named Sophie who is both deaf and dumb. I was initially

5 Years of TOSS The Old Sweet Shop 8/10

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verything about The Old Sweet Shop in Nether Edge whiffs of romanticism: from the name to the location, to the ethos to the artists. Their new five-year anniversary exhibition fulfils its romantic image exactingly. 5 Years of TOSS is an enticing melting pot of local artists, combining anything from gothic portraits to postmodern sketches. Sarah Abbot, who designed the poster for the exhibition, showcases atypical examples of postcard-twee meets

concerned as to how such subject matter could be portrayed sensitively; however, Callow is again well up to the challenge, evoking both laughter and possibly a few tears from the audience as he narrates Marigold and Sophie’s emotional story. Callow’s versatile range of accents is also commendable; from Scottish to cockney, he makes the transition between all characters appear effortless. The only fault I found with the production was that the set was a little mediocre and bare; however, as this is a oneman show, a stripped back set helped ensure that no attention was detracted from Callow’s fantastic performance. A thoroughly entertaining evening, which will delight both Dickens enthusiasts and general theatre-goers alike.

ARTS

Reviews.

gUys and Dolls

University Drama Studio 7/10

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rom the gritty underground sewers of New York to sassy hotbox dancers and devout missionaries, SUPAS presents a diverse and entertaining night in Guys and Dolls. Cameron Bisset directs a raw interpretation of 1950s New York, in which the never sleeping world of Broadway and its back street gamblers eagerly await the annual phenomenon of Nathan Detroit’s illegal, Olivia Middleton floating crap game. Desperate to find the $1000 to hire a venue for his dice-shooting game, Detroit bets the charming gambler Sky Masterson (Josh Taylor) that he cannot take highly-strung missionary Sarah Brown (Emily Parker) to dinner with him in Havana. A bet which results in the most unusual

corporate-cool; her festive designs adorn shops in Meadowhall this Christmas. The saleability and simplicity of Sarah’s work in many ways demonstrates the tangibility of an exhibition such as 5 Year’s of TOSS. The exhibition carries a sense of familiarity and comfort without ever encountering the mundane. Craww’s eerie paintings suggest a woozy uncertainty and melancholia, encapsulated in his description of the work as exploring “nasty surprises masquerading in beauty”. Craww’s unique vision shows that the elegant and the grotesque can become synonymous. Abbot and Craww’s

coupling in New York. Meanwhile, showgirl Adelaide (Megan Gunn) is anxious that her 14-year long engagement with Nathan (Sam Chapman) will not lead to the dream wedding she has been hoping for, an anxiety that leads to a permanent psychosomatic cold. As the curtain came a up, the glitz and glamour of Broadway life was revealed, with SUPAS definitely making the most of the limited space available to them. The orchestra, who were strategically placed at the back of the stage, provided the perfect backdrop both aurally and visually, creating the rustic jazz-like atmosphere indicative of the show. Though the balance between the orchestra and voices was not quite met, the orchestra were nevertheless tight and meticulous. The cast certainly grew into their parts as the show progressed, with the acting and singing becoming stronger and stronger.

The chorus numbers for “Luck be a lady” and “Sit Down you’re Rocking the Boat” were fantastically choreographed and full of Broadway glamour. Playing the part of Adelaide comically and enthusiastically, the multitalented Gunn suited the role perfectly from the moment she came on stage, acting with vigour and confidence. Similarly, the chemistry between Skye and Sarah was genuinely tantalising. Taylor and Parker gave the audience a beautiful insight into a couple that are seemingly opposite yet perfectly matched. Undeniably, SUPAS had worked tirelessly to provide a credit worthy show in which both actors and audience were having fun. I left the theatre with both the nasal New York accent and the catchy show stopping tunes buzzing round my head and I’m pretty sure they will remain there for the forthcoming days.

themes, but all done before. The exhibit includes a ladder, chalkboard and desk. It’s essentially another exploration of a bunch of redundant objects cluttering a white-walled room. The skill is in the grouping not the making. A black and white cartoon plays, periodically interrupted by a shrill bell. A cleverly re-hashed film is projected onto the main wall providing an explanation of the objects beneath. The piece is simple and sterile, giving no sense of a busy film set. The constant hum of the machines induces silence, but far from contemplative it‘s almost boring. There is hardly any substance and Beloff makes a large leap from

piece to themes. This film and the title are the works most redeeming features. The second room, an afterthought, seeks to justify the work by quoting great arts of the industrial revolution. We see Duchamp revisited and Surrealism is hinted at. But Beloff brings nothing new and does it nowhere near as well as the Léger’s and the Oppenhiem’s of the turn of the century. The £4 pamphlet is more meaty than M her work itself! The concept of relying on technology is no longer new, it’s factual and Beloff’s basic re-examination of Marx’s Commodity Fetish is tedious, tenuous and 100-years too late.

Ellen Nicholls

designs contrast starkly with Ema’s cartoonist, surrealist paintings, clearly redolent of her fascination with graffiti. ‘5 Years of TOSS’ manages to exhibit so much more than graffiti artist Rocket’s snapshot streetart canvases, however, as his angular, abstracted pieces juxtapose with his more street-savvy work. The assortment of paintings on display, from such very different artists, is a testament to The Old Sweet Shop’s ability to present diversity and variety. It ultimately creates an exciting and unexpected exhibition. Just don’t expect consistency in the curation. Laura Connor

Site Gallery 5/10

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Fuse.

eloff claims her works act as a medium between the living and the dead. And “The Infernal Dream of Mutt and Jeff” is no exception. It looks to introduce us, the living, to old film equipment, the dead. Beloff boasts three key concepts: re-aligning old cinema machinery and footage, contemplating whether human creations can live and work outside of its creator and as an addition Capitalism’s commodification of the human body. All very nice clear-cut

Friday December 2 2011

Zoe Beloff

Charlotte Frost

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LISTINGS

Film Unit

Tickets: £2.50

GIAG: Company

Robert, a commitmentphobic bachelor, is about to hit 35 and his friends’ think it’s time he settled down. This brilliantly observed musical about love and marriage is sophisticated, fast-paced and funny.

All films are shown in the Students’ Union Auditorium.

Friday December 9: Arrietty; 7:30pm

Tickets cost £2.50 and can be bought from the Union Box Office or Union Shop.

Studio Ghibli is regarded as the “Walt Disney of Japan”. The movie is based on Mary Norton’s book The Borrowers. Arrietty is largely faithful to the original novel, the only major difference being that the setting is changed from England to Japan. The titular Arrietty is a 14 year old “tiny person” who lives under the floorboards of an old house in western Tokyo.

Sunday December 4: The Tree of Life; 7:30pm

Packed with sensational songs, Company will star Sheffield Theatres’ Artistic Director Daniel Evans as Robert. Evans has won widespread critical acclaim as an actor, and most recently he was on our screens in the Sondheim celebration concert as part Tuesday December 6: 7:15pm @ The Crucible Theatre; £10 of the BBC Proms.

The Tree of Life is as epic and ambitious as one could hope. Starring Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain Malick has assembled a superb cast for what is very possibly his masterpiece. Set largely in the 1950’s the film is a meditation on life, the passage of time, family and nature.

Saturday December 10: Super 8; 3:30/7:30pm Director J.J. Abrams and producer Steven Spielberg bring film making to a whole

new level with this sci-fi about a mysterious train crash. One night Joe sneaks out late to meet his friends to film at a train track when a truck crashes into a train causing it to derail and consequently releasing its supernatural cargo out into the small town nearby. Sunday December 11: Love Actually; 7:30pm Love Actually has a star studded cast including brilliant performances by Bill Nighy, Hugh Grant and Keira Nightly. The film follows 10 separate stories all intertwined and all proving that Love Actually is All Around.

Fuse’s four for the fortnight Sleeping Beauty: Friday December 9 - Sunday January 8 @ Sheffield City Hall; £10 + Sleeping Beauty at the Lyceum Theatre with an all-star cast including Beverley Callard (Liz MacDonald from Coronation St) as the Wicked Queen, Sid Sloane (Sid from CBeebies) as the Jester and Sheffield’s favourite Dame, the brilliant Damian Williams as Nurse Nellie. Once again the show will be written and directed by Paul Hendy and produced by the same team who brought you last year’s smash hit, Peter Pan. With dazzling sets and costumes, stunning special effects, hilarious family comedy and lots of audience participation, this promises to be our funniest pantomime ever.

The Crookes: Saturday December 17 @ Queens Social Club; £6.50/£5.50 members; 7.30pm Sheffield indie-pop band The Crookes will be returning to Queens Social Club on Saturday Demeber 17, fresh from a stop-off in Japan and Europe, and with new guitarist Tom Dakin playing his first Sheffield show with them. Last time they played Queens Social Club, the night ended up with one very boozy dancefloor, with tunes care of none other than Steve Lamacq. It was damned awesome.

Fuse.

Friday December September216 2011 2011

Tickets always sell fast so don’t be disappointed, book your tickets now!

They’ll be supported by ace shoegaze-tinged indie band Sissy & the Blisters and Tom’s other band, Silent Film Project, long one of our favourite local bands.

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Gamestation’s Best of 2011: Sunday December 4 @ Showroom Cafe, 6.00pm; FREE! Get down to Gamestation Meadowhall’s Best Of 2011 Gaming night! Try the best games of the year on all formats with chances to buy at discount prices ready for Christmas! It’s a free entry event from, 6.00-11.00pm and is guaranteed to be popular so make sure you get there early! The Best Selling Games of 2011 include: FIFA 12 (EA) - PS3 Wii Sports Resort (Nintendo) - Wii Pokemon White (Nintendo) - DS

Aloe Blacc: Friday December 9 @ Plug, Sheffield; £15.50; 7.00pm News of Aloe’s UK tour follows the huge crossover success of ‘I Need A Dollar’, which has drawn comparisons with the likes of Marvin Gaye and Gil Scott-Heron. Blacc famously wrote ‘I Need A Dollar’ following a redundancy from his then-job, during which he still gigged furiously as an MC, searching for a break. ‘Dollar’ began to pick up extensive attention following its use on the HBO show, ‘How to Make It in America’, before impacting across Europe and the US, almost via word-of-mouth. Its release through Epic in May eventually led to an extraordinary eight weeks in the UK Top 10, where it peaked at number 2. The track is already nearing 400,000 sales in the UK, has picked up over 13 million Youtube hits for the official video, and was recently nominated for a Mojo Award for Best Song. With a Top 10 album, ‘Good Things’, also under his belt, Blacc has now emerged as one of the year’s most in-demand new artists.


FORGE PRESS Friday December 2 2011 www.forgetoday.com 

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FUSE Issue 42