Christmas gift guide Classic Warlord Peace Movie talk on Sunday
Santa baby, stick a Christmas playlist on, for me
he problem with Christmas nowadays is that the snow blanketed streets and charming Swiss chalets we hear about in the songs are far, far away from our reality. In their place we get the X Factor single, the Strictly Come Dancing champion, and that awful ‘behind every great Christmas there’s Mum’ advert from ASDA. In fact the modern British Christmas is so far removed from its traditional songbook cousin that it’s forgotten to send a card. It’s easy to become disillusioned by the supposed Christmas spirit which is marketed by the shops and supermarkets, especially when the onslaught now starts mid-October. Our modern, commercialised Christmas trickles into our tellies and minds through the CocaCola advert, and eventually the emotional rollercoaster that is the John Lewis advert, and its conduit is music. Christmas is a holiday of sound. Whether it’s sleigh bells, choirs and hymns, “Holidays are comin’”, or just another twinkly
acoustic cover by Ellie Goulding, music is the key to our warm, happy feelings about Christmas. Christmas songs are very personal things; they tap into our childhood nostalgia and our fluffy memories of food and presents. So when you choose to start playing Christmas songs is a personal choice; the problem is these days the high street tends to choose for us. Damn you, the Man! Some favour a mid-to-late November approach – the season of Starbucks’ red cups – whilst the more austere amongst us prefer a traditional Advent-style route, starting on December 1. As the long, cold nights draw in a dose of Mariah can do wonders to your morale when you’ve been in the IC for 12 hours. Whether you join in earlier or later, the first play of Wham!, Band Aid or Darlene Love is a personal way to ready yourself for the joy of Yuletide overeating, so get your Christmas tree out of hibernation and get ready to rock around it.
t’s that time of year again; yes, sadly it’s our final issue of the year, but we’ve still got a few treats lined up for you. There are kittens on the front cover and kittens in Sparks, so let’s hope for everyone’s sake that kittens are indeed just for Christmas. Continuing this festive spirit, we’ve got a Christmas gift guide for you in Arts, Screen have affirmed just how brilliant Twitter is by examining the latest craze for socially networked film buffs to interact, whilst Music have interviewed a band called Peace. Lastly, If you’ve been playing the Assassin’s Creed games and wondered why being an assassin is remarkably unstealthy, then read Games’ Hitman: Absolution review for the alternative. Arnold Bennett Coral Williamson
I should be revising but I’m staring at pussy instead
with that? Absolutely nothing. Bottom line, kittens are damn cute. Kittens make everyone smile. Kittens are innocent, and silly, and playful, and lazy, and everything we students wish we could always be. It’s essay season, and after the holidays exam season looms around the corner, and it’s times like these that obsessions like Kitten-cam will be getting more than their fair share of student hits. Back in March this year, ‘Mi-
randa’s Kitten Cam’ took up valuable productivity hours by providing a live stream 24 hours a day of five lovely little kittens. The Discovery Channel’s Animal Planet has recently swiped this idea and placed a similar livestream on their website, whilst the teeny-tiny cats await adoption. It’s definitely more satisfying, and more addictive, to watch a live stream of kittens being ridiculous, than watching filmed videos on Youtube (and if you’re anything like me, you’ve proba-
When Hollywood turns Grimm
o, the past decade or so in cinema has proved the popularity of fantasy blockbusters for modern audiences. The Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings film sagas have pavied the way, unfortunately, for a breed of Hollywood films that have shown how low film productions can sink to. Classic fairy tales such as Red Riding Hood have become the cash cows of fantasy blockbusters that merely add a dash of the ‘grown up’ element to them so to claim that they take a ‘new twist’ on the classic tale. Soon to be hitting our scenes early next year for example will be Hansel and Gretel: Witch
Friday November 30 2012
he truth is, everyone knows there’s only one true purpose for the internet. And no, it’s not porn. It’s cats. Anyone who spends a little too much time staring at their computer can probably relate to spending considerable time watching hilarious videos of cats. Even websites that post news articles, politics and celebrity culture, like Buzzfeed, are still fairly likely to welcome you with an adorable kitten on their homepage. And what’s wrong
Hunters, a continuation of the Brothers Grimm tale that sees the main characters zipped up in black leather and armed with crossbows and shotguns. There’s a depressing corporate feel behind these films, as actors and actresses from popular films are flown in to play the title role. For Hansel and Gretel, Jeremy Renner (Avengers Assemble) is to play the leading man, whilst earlier this year Snow White and the Huntsman saw Kristin Stewart and Chris Hemsworth (Thor) taking centre stage. Although these have rekindled an interest in the fairy tales and their cultural significance, there is a clear element here of a formu-
la concocted specifically to make millions at the box office. Snow White and the Huntsman made almost $400 million worldwide. Overall, there is always going to be that little part of me that will feel the need to repeatedly hit my head against a desk each time I see one of these films being advertised. What’s wrong with the original tales you can find between the pages of a book? They’re consistently better, far more intelligent and, particularly in the case of the Brothers Grimm, far more gruesome and enjoyable. Rhiannon Pickin
bly watched all of the best ones several hundred times). It’s fair to say that the quickest way to get hits on the internet is with nudity or cats, and kittens are way more entertaining than boobs. They’re just so fluffy and adorable. Whilst this might not exactly be helpful to your essay progress or seminar reading, what more wonderful and innocent distraction is there in the world than kittens? Kaz Scattergood
This cover was once again forged by the impressively talented Manuel Andres Fuentes Zepeda, a regular Fuse fixture.
The University of Sheffield’s Light Entertainment society are putting on their annual pantomime with a performance of A Christmas Carol, with all proceeds going to the charity to Homeless and Rootless at Christmas. With some amusing adjustments to the story, USLES promises it is a performance not to be missed. In an interview with the brilliant writer and director Matt Voice, Polly Sculpher found out a little more about what we can expect. There are many theatres in Sheffield, why should people go to see USLES’s performance? For the masterly writing and unparalleled directing, of course! USLES is a pretty unique society - we've kept true to our core philosophy: everyone who wants to be involved can be. Every USLES show is unique.
original wasn't laden with comedy musical numbers. Well, that got fixed straight away - you might recognise a few tunes. Our delightful Mrs Cratchit has some fine facial hair and a suspiciously deep voice when she's not concentrating, for example. Then there's the fourth wall (or rather, lack of it), and the puns.
We're united by our passion for silliness, and raising money for a good cause. What made you choose the charity HARC? For every show, our Charities officer collects nominations for a charity, and the society at large votes on which one we choose. Because HARC is a local charity, we felt collectively that the moneywe raise will be able to make a real difference to them at exactly the time of year they need it.
What was your inspiration for these changes?
A Christmas Carol isn’t known for being a very comedic play, what changes have you made to make it more of a USLES performance? During my research in writing the show, I was shocked and appalled to discover that Dickens'
I think a great way of getting the comedy out of a wellknown story is to challenge it: ask it questions and find new ways of exploring it. One of the major things we've done is made a few of the major characters, like the Cratchits, a little less morally pure - in our version of the story, Mrs Cratchit
Saturday December 1: The Bourne Legacy: 3.30pm 7.30pm
F Tuesday November 4; 2pm til 4pm at the Council Chambers in the Octagon Centre; £1 entry
ive years after the release of The Bourne Ultimatum, The Bourne Legacy proves that the formula can work even without Matt Damon. After Bourne exposes the Treadstone project, Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) ably fills the gap as Aaron Cross, a new agent who finds himself hunted by the head of the CIA’s secret operations Eric Byer (Edward Norton). Rachel Weisz provides excellent support in this fast paced and gripping sequel.
Scrooge's nephew, Fred, gets a little more stage time than you might expect, not to mention a host of particularly strained puns. Plus, Scrooge's former fiance only pops up briefly in the original, but I've given her some proper closure, of sorts. How do you think that this compares to USLES’s previous pantomimes? For the past few years, USLES has been performing in various venues around the union, but this is our first time for quite a while in a proper theatre. To live up to the expectations that come with that, we've really been pulling out all the stops to make sure it's as big, bold and silly as it can possibly be. USLES it ain't! If this has made you feel Christmassy, head to Sheffield’s Library Theatre December 4-5 to watch USLES’s hilarious A Christmas Carol for only £5.
Available from the SU box office
Sunday December 2: Looper: 3.30pm, 7.30pm
n the future, the mob dispenses with its enemies by transporting them 30 years into the past where a hired gun, Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), executes them. However, when Joe recognises his older self (Bruce Willis) his hesitation allows older Joe to escape, sparking the mob’s vengeance and a desperate hunt to save himself. Stylish and superbly paced, Looper is one of the year’s most original and incredible thrillers.
Friday December 7: Killing Them Softly: 7.30pm
hired killer (Brad Pitt) is paid to investigate the heist of a mob-protected poker game in New Or-
leans. With support from Richard Jenkins (Cabin in the Woods) and James Galdolfini (The Sopranos) among many others, perfectly reflects the crime and economic hardship of its setting. A gritty yet intelligent crime drama which proves they can still make them like they used to.
e’ve all been there: You want to apply for a job but your CV is, frankly, shit. Your references haven’t been updated since high school, your GCSEs are the centerpiece of your professional existence, and to the best of your employer’s knowledge the closest you’ve come to work experience is the Duke of Edinburgh award. Not only that but it looks bad; like you had a shoestring budget which forced you to hire Stevie Wonder as a design consultant. If you really are on a tight budget, then what better way to resurrect your career than attending this workshop.
is quite the exploiting, moneydriven (wo)man.
Friday November 30 2012
GIAG: Film Unit Cracking CVs
PEACE and Good Will to all Men
Amelia Heathman got the opportunity to catch up with Peace’s Harry, lead singer of one of the most exciting bands to emerge this year and talked about their love for Comic Sans and how to make ridiculous requests to your record label
Friday November 30 2012
hatting to Harry from Peace is quite amusing as far as interviews go. He seems easily distracted; from having conversations with various band members to occasionally saying the word ‘fireworks’. The band is made up of two brothers, Harry and Sam, and two friends, Doug and Dom, who all met in college and decided to make music instead of doing anything. They all began playing instruments pretty young. Harry started playing drums age nine and Dom also got into music at a similar age, so it almost seems natural to them that this is the direction they’d go in. I begin by steering the interview to a discussion about the year 2012 and how it has treated Peace. “It’s been a great year as a band. At the beginning of the year we hadn’t really done much, we just had one demo online. Now we’ve released an EP, a single, got signed and done two really big tours. It’s pretty cool.” If anything, 2012 has been pretty generous to Peace in how much publicity they’ve been given, including the Guardian’s ‘New Band of the Day’ and NME’s ‘Radar Band of the Week’. I ask Harry about the hype that has surrounded them and if he thinks it can make or break a band. “I don’t think it can make or break you, being a good band can make or break you. It can only be a good thing, right? Because then people will be talking about you and that can only
be a good thing. If you don’t live up to people’s expectations then you don’t, that’s it.” He doesn’t sound too confident about this before reassuring me: “It’s not a concern really.” We started to talk about Peace’s sound which has been described as a cross between Wu Lyf and Vampire Weekend. “I think those are two of the more obscure ones, I don’t really think of us as like either of those. But I guess that was based on our first demo which was a long time ago.
“Comic Sans is the greatest font to ever grace paper” “There’s obviously similarities, but if you listen to a bigger body of our music, it’s nothing like that. “But it’s still really early days for us; I think people are still getting their heads around who we are.” Are you still getting your head around who you are, I ask? “I don’t think so, I don’t think we’ve ever tried to get our head around our sound, we’ve just played. We’ve never tried to sound a certain way; just going with the flow, which in our opinion is the best way to be.” While Peace aren’t looking for a sound to trademark them as a band, they are into manifestos to do that for them, including ‘music to fuck you in the heart’. “That was a long time ago,” said Harry I asked his permission to use it as a headline and
Birmingham? ‘We also asked for the contract to be put in Comic Sans but they didn’t do that. I would’ve thought they’d refused the billboard but they refused to put the contract in Comic Sans. Weird.
he was all for it, though I’m not too sure I’d be able to run it past the Fuse editor. “We came up with it when we first started. We were throwing emotions around willy nilly and it came out. It was just something I said and then it got written down. We should trademark it!” The conversation moves from manifestos to record labels, namely Peace’s decision earlier this year to sign to Columbia. “It was pretty straightforward really. We liked them, they liked us. We liked them more than any other label, it was a no-brainer really. Hands down, they are the best label in the world. It’s a fact.”
“It’s early days, people are still getting their heads around who we are” The terms of the contract they made were definitely in Peace’s hands. “Ah yeah, we had a few cheeky demands.” Cheeky meaning a massive billboard saying ‘What the F ck
“We’re trying to keep thinking of having more fun. And fireworks” “Lower case Comic Sans is like the most beautiful written text can look. In my humble opinion. Comic Sans is the greatest font to ever grace paper.” When they’re not asking for billboards or Comic Sans, Peace get up to antics on tour too. Once, they painted a massive peace sign on the front of a venue. I ask Harry about this and he just laughs, “Oh the Old Blue Last in London? “We haven’t got any Dulux left so I don’t think we’ll be doing it in Sheffield. “After our show we just wanted to paint on the wall so we did.” It seems that this is basically Peace’s mantra. Just do whatever the hell you want. When reading about the Birmingham billboard as we’ll call it, the NME article said that Peace were surprised that Swim Deep hadn’t written their names on it yet. Turns out the bands are pals and went to college together. “Cav used to be our merch boy before he was in Swim Deep. He
used to come on tour with us, then he quit and joined Swim Deep. They won’t support us on tour!” Chat returns back to the tour, always at the forefront of a band’s mind, and considering they were at the Sugarmill in Stoke and had over ten dates left, it’s understandable. “We’re looking forward to playing more places, to more people with more songs. And getting our live show better and better. We’re still growing and it’s still early on, and only really by doing things can you grow, I guess. “I don’t know, it feels good right? We want to continue the good feeling.” The ‘good feeling’ Harry keeps telling me about launches us into a discussion about the next venture for the band: the debut album. “Spring next year. We’ve finished recording it now. It’s good, it feels good, I’ll leak it to you for 50 quid.” If anyone from Columbia reads this, I’m sure he’s joking. Almost. 2013 holds more for Peace than just an album though. The band have come so far since 2011 that it will be interesting to see where another year can get them. “Touring. And maybe, more touring. And trying to keep thinking of having more fun. Fireworks.” Is this Peace’s new manifesto maybe? “I don’t know what our manifesto is going to be. Maybe fireworks. And a festive spirit all year round. Christmas to Christmas, we’re going to be celebrating. It’s going to be good.”
CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE Oh, the weather outside is frightful,
but the bookshop’s so delightful Fuse believes in giving the gift of literature this festive season - and we’ve pulled together some suggestions to help you out Great for older sisters
Perfect for Mystery-lovers
A great read on a long journey
The Help by Katheryn Stockett Penguin Books, £7.99
The Flanders Panel by Arturo Perez-Reverte Vintage Books, £7.99
athryn Stockett’s The Help dares to deal with many topics; not just the overarching issue of race, but also the role of women, religion and domestic abuse. Set in Jackson, Mississippi, amidst the civil rights riots of the 1960s, this unforgettable book follows the lives of three women: an elderly maid, her sassy best friend, and a middle class white girl who wishes to change the world. The Help somehow makes the reader laugh out loud one page, then cry with frustration on the next. Perfect if you’re stumped for a present for an older sister. Danielle Roe
rturo Perez-Reverte’s The Flanders Panel is at times dark, at times psychedelic and always an intellectually stimulating novel revolving around a painting given to the main character, Julia, for restoration. The painting depicts a scene of two men playing chess and a woman watching. While working, Julia discovers a text suggesting one of them was killed and the game hides the identity of his murderer. Meanwhile someone decides to play chess with her, killing one of her friends each time he knocks down a figure… Alex Bucko
America Unchained by Dave Gorman Ebury Press, £7.99
omedian Dave Gorman decided one day that he wanted to go on a road trip. To complicate things, he decided to take this trip across the States, and to do it without spending a single cent on ‘the man’: everything had to be purchased from independently owned stores. Looking for the true heart of America, Dave’s hilarious book took him to motels shaped like giant dogs, a lot of different towns called ‘Independence’, and to the edge of his sanity. Better than the documentary it spawned, America Unchained is a perfect travel read. Amy Claire Thompson
For your favourite word nerd
Ideal for your brother or best mate
The Etymologicon, by Mark Forsyth Icon Books, £12.99
Lights Out In Wonderland, DBC Pierre Faber and Faber, £12.99
veryone knows one. The ‘Did you know...?’ guy, the trivia spouter, the slightly obnoxious (but always useful in pub quizzes) friend or relative. Introducing The Etymologicon, an always witty tour through the oddities of the English language that will provide a perfect stocking-filler for the relative who owns everything, and some lovely nerdy little tidbits for Christmas lunch conversation. This ruby tome is ideal for the logophile you love, who after reading it will wonder how they ever got by in life without knowing why monks are related to monkeys, and what links film buffs to buffaloes.
o, you’ve got your mum a lovely literary present. But what would you buy for your brother? Your loved ones are worth a gift that’s actually thoughtful, and you pretty much can’t go wrong with DBC Pierre’s Lights Out In Wonderland. Lights Out is about a disaffected young anti-capitalist who decides to go on one last decadent bacchanal with his chef friend, to go out in a majestic bang of drunkenness and debauchery before embracing death. It’s not exactly for the faint-hearted, but it’s nevertheless an inspiring, beautiful read that tells you as much about the thoroughly broken protagonist as much as it does about life itself. Martin Bottomley
Perfect for your teenage siblings
Something for your Mum
The Black Mirror, by Scott Snyder DC Pierre, £22.50
arkus Zusak’s debut novel, The Book Thief, remained in the New York Times bestseller list for over four years since its publication in 2006. A tough act to follow, but I Am The Messenger does just that. The novel follows the exciting yet thought-provoking story of taxi driver Ed Kennedy, who, through a series of seemingly disconnected playing cards bearing tasks from an unknown entity, explores the complexities of morality and fulfilment. The book is both thrilling and incredibly moving, with an exciting twist at the end, and would be perfect for any teenage brother or sister. CJ Leffler
Breakfast at Tiffany’s, by Truman Capote Penguin Books, £7.99 apote’s depiction of a struggling girl in the city who is determined to be capable of looking after herself is something which can capture the hearts and minds of both men and women alike. “Never love a wild thing”, Holly Golightly advises, falsely presenting herself as a cold woman who perceives emotions as a troublesome burden and avoidable frivolity, meanwhile being hit by the “mean reds” where she’s “afraid…but [she doesn’t] know what she’s afraid of”. For anyone who has felt the pangs of affection or the torment of loss, this book is beautiful. Sally Dickson
ou know that friend who would not stop talking about Nolan’s genius for weeks after The Dark Knight Rises came out? Give them The Black Mirror, a wonderfully crafted, tense and engaging Batman story the likes of which they will never have seen before. Featuring not Bruce but original Robin Dick Grayson as the man behind the cowl and Bruce’s ninja assassin-raised son Damian as Robin, the book takes everything you thought you knew about Batman’s world and twists it into something new and refreshing. And as for the villain? Better than Bane.
I Am The Messenger, by Markus Zusak Random House, £10.99
Friday November 30 2012
For comic-book afficianados
Feature. MOVIE TALK ON SUNDAY A new craze is sweeping Twitter on Sunday nights: Fuse talks to one of its creators, Rachel Horn, to find out exactly what Movie Talk On Sunday is all about
e’ve all been there at some point in our lives – two great looking movies come out on the same day, both of which have been raved about by critics. But you’re a poor student who’s surviving on beans; so how do you decide? Simple: you ask your friends. And within half an hour, they’ve argued amongst each other and you’ve made your choice. But your friends don’t come with you, because you’ve never met them. One’s an actor working in Nairobi, another is an amateur Canadian film critic, and the third is a pilot in Brazil. Thanks to Twitter, it’s now easier than ever for film nerds all over the world to find kindred spirits with whom they can share their love of cinema. And two Twitter users have taken that to the next level.
“This wouldn’t have worked on Facebook” Every Sunday at 8pm GMT, someone starts tweeting 10 questions, once every 10 minutes, and film buffs from Texas to Thailand tweet back with their answers. The whole thing is run by Rachel Horn and Raghav Modi, though, as Rachel explains to me, Raghav is the brains behind the idea.
Friday November 30 2012
If you’re a regular tweeter, you may have noticed the hashtag #MTOS popping up every Sunday night. That stands for ‘Movie Talk On Sunday’, the online film club that’s taking Twitter by storm.
“Basically, there were a small group of us who used to talk about films all the time,” she says. “And eventually Raghav came up with the idea that we should start a film club on Twitter; he was already part of a travel group on there – that’s where the idea for the hashtag came from. So he emailed a select few people asking if they’d be interested. Everyone refused except me!”
#MTOS is booked solid until March, and the diversity of subject matter is pretty impressive.
Nevertheless, Raghav and Rachel soldiered on, and on August 7 2011, the first #MTOS discussion went live. The subject was ‘New York & Films’, and according to Rachel, the enthusiasm from the public was overwhelming.
“The nice outweighs the nasty...we have a really loyal following”
“We just couldn’t believe the response we got! Before I knew it, all of my Sundays were being taken up by #MTOS.” So why the sudden success? Part of it, in Rachel’s opinion, is down to the unique nature of Twitter. “Facebook is for family and friends,”she explains. “Twitter is about interests. You follow people on Twitter because they’re interested in the same things as you. And it’s worldwide, too, which means you’ve got so much more opportunity for a great discussion. This wouldn’t have worked on Facebook.” That was when Raghav and Rachel had their next brainwave – the plan had originally been for the two of them to come up with topics every week. But since so many people took part, why not give members the chance to come up with some suggestions? The idea took off like wildfire. The waiting list to host
“What’s surprised me is how there haven’t been any topics repeated yet,” Rachel admits. “When we started, people were saying ‘oh, it won’t last because you’ll run out of things to talk about’.”
But after almost 18 months, the list is just getting longer. What have Rachel’s favourite topics been so far? “There was a topic about ‘News in Movies’, that one was really entertaining. And last month there was a whole discussion dedicated to ‘Moustaches in Film’, which was just incredible!” Obviously, #MTOS isn’t just for the film buff with the encyclopaedic knowledge of the nouvelle vague and the films of Alfred Hitchcock. The discussions reflect the fact that, thanks to the internet and the ease with which one can start a blog, there are thousands of amateur film critics finding their feet out there. But does Rachel think that this will mean the end of more ‘traditional’ film criticism? “Not really. #MTOS is just a platform for more and more
people to share their opinions. That’s all that criticism is, and it’s nice to read a lot of varying opinions about something.” Interestingly, internet users are now moving away from Twitter and trying to set up their own, exclusive platforms for talking about the big screen.
“#MTOS was a way of making people aware of each other and helping them get a following” Letterboxd, one such social networking site set up by two film buffs in New Zealand, allows people to make a working diary of every film they watch. They can write reviews, and even make little top ten lists à la High Fidelity.
“We’ve had some quite important people approach us about expanding what we do,” she says. “But I don’t think it’s really possible. For one thing, it takes up a lot of time. “Raghav has his own full-time business. I’m a fundraiser and a mother of two. Add to that the problem that I’m in Manchester and Raghav is based in India. Plus we have no money to be putting into things like this!”
“We nearly gave it up at one point!” Rachel laughs. “People obviously didn’t like it filling up their Twitter feeds every weekend, and so we’ve had a lot of trolls in the past. Raghav and I have spent a lot of our time unfollowing and blocking people. Luckily the nice outweighs the nasty; the majority of discussions are really civil, and we have a really loyal following that’s only getting bigger.” In fact, it’s starting to attract the attention of some big names in filmmaking. Duncan Jones, son of legendary singer David Bowie and director of the sci-fi hit Moon, has been involved in more than a few discussions.
“It’s become like a little community”
it was all about traffic; when you first set up a blog or a Twitter account you want hits, you want followers, and #MTOS was a way of making people aware of each other and helping each other gain a following. “But it’s become more like a little community. None of my friends at home are into films, and on Twitter I can talk about things that I can never talk about with my other friends. It really takes you away from everything after you’ve had a long week.” Of course, there was only one question I could ask to end the interview: what’s Rachel’s favourite movie? Turns out, it’s The Lord of the Rings. The first one, to be precise. Movie Talk On Sunday takes place every Sunday night at 8pm – just look for the hashtag #MTOS. Look out for Rachel (@askimrach) and Raghav (@raghavmodi) and be sure to follow them.
Follow us on Twitter @ForgeScreen
It sounds like a great future for #MTOS – big-name directors discussing their work with die-hard fans and amateur critics to make Twitter more peaceful and harmonious. Or something. “We’d love to get more important people,” says Rachel before we say goodbye. “But we’re just trying to get as many people involved as we can. When we started
Words: Phil Bayles Artwork: Manuel Andrés Fuentes Zepeda
Friday November 30 2012
According to Rachel, though, it’s unlikely that #MTOS will branch out into its own website.
In a way, it sort of proves how perfect Twitter is for discussion groups like #MTOS. The template is already there - all it needs is a hashtag to bring people together. Of course, there can be problems with these sorts of groups. Twitter has been infamous in the past for its trolls, and not even Movie Talk On Sunday is safe.
Feature. CLASSIC WARLORD
A piece of She Games go retro and investigate Classic Warlord, a legendary board game born on local turf
Friday November 30 2012
early 50 years ago, in our very own Bar One, a young lecturer started a gaming revolution. The owners of Games Workshop rate it the second best board game in the world, only after their own. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Classic Warlord. Classic Warlord is a game of strategy, betrayal, bluffing and double-bluffing, playable by two to seven people. It’s a game that turns Europe into a battlefield, friends into enemies, and students into masters of war. Whilst the rules may take some time to get your head around, you’re guaranteed to have great fun destroying armies and nuking regions of the Middle East that even Geography students can’t pronounce. Mike Hayes, former University of Sheffield lecturer, first created the original Warlord as a postgrad student at the University of Southampton. “We started off with the underground culture of doing the game in Bar One, it was a great success that everyone could enjoy. I wanted to show with Warlord that there were very clever scientists who were sending us all to nuclear destruction because of their faulty understanding of statistics and uncertainty, and their weakness in emotional intelligence. “You see, some very clever ‘nerd’ who’s magnificent at logistics is not necessarily going to win if he’s outmanoeuvred by
being ganged up on. It was a refuge for people who couldn’t use their brains in classes, who could go down and do things in the Union.” Classic Warlord features eight boards that fit together to form a multi-continental battlefield. The boards encompass in total nearly 600 regions, stretching across three continents. Players spawn armies and attempt to wipe their opponents out using nuclear missiles and general warmongering tactics. A-bombs piled high can attack at close range, whilst H-bombs cause devastating radioactive waves. Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson, founders of Games Workshop, liked the original Warlord so much that they bought the copyright for a time. Once Mike got his hands back on his creation a few years ago, he and his wife Mary have revamped it into the new and improved Classic Warlord, which is very pretty and a nice addition to the board game pile. Unlike many board games which involve rolling dice, this gem flips the stereotype. Instead, players have to gamble against each other, secretly selecting the number on the die which represents the number of regiments they’re going to attack you with. A nice twist to many ordinary board games. “I’m against so many board games these days which involve either just throwing dice or picking yet another card off of a
effield’s history Words: Will Ross Artwork: Gemma Dutton pile. Monopoly is a great game, but somehow I wanted to do away with the endless supplies of Community Chest and Chance cards.” Whilst Classic Warlord involves blowing countries away with nuclear weapons, both Mike and Mary were active members of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). Ironic, yes, but this doesn’t stop harmless strategic fighting. “I wanted to design a framework where people could come to their own conclusions. I mean, they’re playing it in young offenders institutes – on one letter I have, a friend wrote: ‘any riots will be your responsibility.’ The whole thing isn’t about being pro-war, the message is that it’s futile.”
empires for weapons. “It’s important nowadays for kids and students to not be looking at screens all the time; the speed some games are played at is incredible. Interaction is so important and the kind of mental stimulation you get from playing board games with friends and family can’t be matched. They offer paced, thought-provoking strategy and problem solving that can be enjoyed with a pint in one hand. “I found Bar One a very liberating place. It was the sort of place where you could be inspired by meeting people that you couldn’t meet in the Senior Common Room. We used to start on those tables just opposite the bar, and gradually stretch out.
“At a maximum we’d have about six or seven tables spread all over the place. We used to play Warlord on a quiet night because we didn’t want to be in the way on a Friday or Saturday evening. The bar must have thought, ‘jolly good, we’re generating business!’ “I wanted to design something, like Risk or Diplomacy, and I wanted projects for the students where I didn’t have to talk. In my most successful lecture, in the theatre just off of Crookesmoor, I said no more than a dozen words at the beginning. They were a load of crap, but they were accepted.
To find out more about Classic Warlord go to www.classicwarlord.com
Once it gets going, Classic Warlord is exciting, fast-paced and brutal. There’s a pretty hefty FAQ booklet included for more complicated queries new players may face, which can also be downloaded from the website in PDF format. The booklet was inspired by players who wrote to Mike saying they had invented house rules or conjured Doomsday bombs, simply to avoid counter-bluff rules. “Hey, we’ve invented anti-ballistic missiles which can bring down the A-bombs”, one letter reads. Like any board game, players can inevitably strike deals with each other for safe passage, or sell on
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“Sheffield at this time was an amazing place, liberating things were going on”
“At the time, the chess club contained people like Tony Miles, who eventually went on to become the UK’s first ‘over-the-board’ chess grandmaster in 1967. He never finished his degree, but instead was awarded an MA for his achievements in chess. “These days we’d have the sense to give them an honorary degree. At the time this wasn’t recognised. The definition of excellence was very much within the confines of academia. “Sheffield at this time, Bar One especially, was an amazing place. In the early 60s onwards, students were getting very stroppy. This was leading up to the 1968 revolutions in Paris; the Beatles and Lady Chatterley’s trial and other liberating things were going on. You were allowed to have a beard! It was a different era. “There’s this schizophrenia between concepts of advanced mathematics, and playing a game, and students love it. I’ve had letters from students who find subjective work study like operations research and statistics utterly boring, whereas they found playing a game involving the same principles fantastic. “I want my game to have a receptive culture. If students see this mad ex-lecturer hanging around the Union, sitting at Bar One playing the game, hopefully they’ll see that this is a fun thing to get involved with and join in. After all, it beats the hell out of Monopoly!”
Reviews. Lego: The Lord of the rings
Xbox 360/PS3/Wii 9/10
ego: The Lord of the Rings is the latest instalment of the Lego video games franchise by Travellers’ Tales. Where previous games have covered franchises such as Star Wars, Harry Potter and DC Superheroes, this time we follow the Peter Jackson trilogy of J.R.R.Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. You play the role of Frodo Baggins and the rest of the fellowship, travelling across Middle-earth to Mount Doom to cast the ring back into the fire and defeat Sauron’s army. If you’ve never played a Lego game before the basic principle is very simple: you fight, climb and explore your way through iconic moments from the films, playing as Lego versions of all the famous characters from the franchise. You may think ‘all the characters’ is an exaggeration, but with 85 plus characters to un-
lock, that’s pretty much all. In previous Lego games you started in a hub world, a small area in which you can access all the levels. Lego: Lord of the Rings’ most impressive feature is that you have the whole of Middle-earth to explore, and as you start travelling from Bag End the story unfolds organically. This was previously done in Lego: Batman 2 as you could explore the whole of Gotham City, but here its expansiveness really shines. You do get a feeling of adventure as you fight orcs and battle cave trolls across all of Middle Earth. Also new is the inclusion of voice acting: again this was done with Lego Batman 2, but in this case the dialogue is lifted right out of Peter Jackson’s films. There is a quirky charm in seeing a small shiny Gandalf with the voice of Ian McKellen.
Xbox 360/PS3/PC 8/10
“You have the whole of Middle-earth to explore” The new and extensive range of weapons and actions the game has to offer creates a fresh feel to an older franchise. It is always fun to throw Gimli at a wall and run around destroying things inside the Balrog. Lego: The Lord of the Rings is a fantastic adventure for any age. After you complete the main storyline you have the ability to collect red bricks, characters, and replay the story missions in free play, so there is a lot to do. With a play time that greatly exceeds the total run time of the extended films combined, this game is well worth a look at.
acteristically brash style; opting to simultaneously take on the big boys of shooting, Call of Duty and Halo; and stealth-action, Assassin’s Creed and Dishonored. But how did it stand up among this season’s triple A titles? As the trailers foretold, our beloved Agent 47 is tasked with assassinating Diana, his handler and dependable ally in previous chapters of the series. Her dying wish is that 47 protects young Victoria from the Agency, 47’s employers, whom Diana accuses of being corrupt. Whilst the storyline does add a heightened sense of drama and purpose to the missions, it ultimately does not feel fully formed. An exceptional narrative has never been a major part of previous entries in the series but for the game to try and
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Croc: Legend of the gobbos PlayStation/PC/GBC
amers are constantly trying to find a new high in graphics, and demand deep multiplayer experiences, forever striding forward in their search for perfection. However, some of the greatest games have been and gone, seldom being remembered, one of those being the legend that is Croc: Legend of the Gobbos. For those who have no idea
Friday November 30 2012
t’s been six long years since we’ve donned the fiber wire and dual silverballers that saw gamers become ever more devious and threatening to their loved ones, but finally Hitman returns to us in unchar-
The content of The Lord of the Rings seemed to be a little mature for a kids game, however they have pulled it off by making the numerous death scenes humorous rather than emotional.
what this game is, Croc is a platform game made in 1997. Gobbo King Rufus (all Gobbos being poof balls with arms and legs and cartoony eyes) finds a basket carrying a baby Croc in the river. He then raises Croc as a Gobbo, however the evil Baron Dante and his Dantini minions invade Gobbo Island, capturing many Gobbos and their King. The aim of the game is to rescue the captured Gobbos and King Gobbo Rufus from the evil clutches of Baron Dante. The gameplay is loveably cartoonish, with Croc battling the Dantinis and many bosses, including a boxing ladybird and a duck transformed by
Dante into a giant, whilst Croc yells “Kapow!”, “Yazow!” and “Wa-Hey!” when performing various moves like box smashing, tail whip attacks and so on. The collection of diamonds to gain lives and Gobbos to advance the story line also lends the game an air of nostalgic brilliance. Croc shall forever live in the annals of history as one of the greatest games ever to be created, showing that a game does not need the most up-todate graphics, downloadable extras, or even online multiplayer, to be truly great. Kieran Dean
fail leaves a sour taste. Though there is a sense of the developers giving with one hand and taking with the other, the result is a great stealth-action experience for the player. The levels are divided between the free, open, kill-as-youwill assassinations that we know and love and the rather more unfamiliar escape levels.
“A great stealth-action experience” This at first seems scarily linear but these sequences offer a sense of tension that only comes with being specifically hunted by your enemies, furthermore the funnelling of the player through a level allows for impressive action set-pieces, before being safely returned to assassinations. FPS enthusiasts can rejoice, as Hitman: Absolution is the series’ most accessible game yet to a person who thinks the sound of silence is only bettered by the sound of head-
shots. For the first time players will enjoy a cover system, slowmotion targeting á la Red Dead Redemption, and hand-tohand combat. Whilst this proposition may make purists shiver it actually works pretty well and doesn’t detract from the experience. The real champion of the game is the environment- it is absolutely gorgeous. The amount of interactivity is stunning, and this is what makes the environment exceptional. The inescapable feeling that you can affect anything around you and are actively looking for things to use, this leads to players taking far more time to appreciate the world that has been crafted. An intelligent and affecting soundtrack further deepens the feeling of immersion. Overall this game is a success, with a serviceable story, updated gameplay dynamics and stunning environments. Hitman: Absolution offers gamers the opportunity to see that stealth can be fun and that slow, extravagant, well thought-out murder really is its own reward. David Pollard
JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT
t was more than just a crash of drums and a flash of light at the opening night of Bill Kenwright’s production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. The Lyceum’s latest production was filled with technicolour emotions, ranging from melancholy, regret, playfulness, love, and every other emotion one could hope for in this timeless musical. It’s hard to go wrong with Keith Jack’s boyish good looks and on-stage charm, and expectations were high for his portrayal of Joseph. The runner-up in the BBC One show, Any Dream Will Do, drew gasps of delight from the crowd when he stepped onto the stage in a loincloth, reveal-
ing perfect washboard abs. His vocal executions were equally refined. Yet while his vocal ability was stellar, there was a certain grit and pain that was missing in his portrayal of Joseph, especially during the iconic number ‘Close Every Door’, where Joseph laments his new life ahead as a slave. I found myself waiting for the outburst of emotion towards the ending of the song that tugs at your heartstrings, but alas, the moment never quite arrived. Anyone with an emotional attachment to Donny Osmond’s spectacular portrayal of Joseph in the 1999 film version of the musical will probably feel the same. Whatever apprehension the audience had about Jack’s portrayal of Joseph was completely removed after the interval, however. Jack returned to the stage with a renewed confidence, and showed he was a force to be reckoned with in the second act, shining during aggressive
scenes and up-tempo numbers in ‘Brothers Come to Egypt/Grovel, Grovel’ and ‘Who’s The Thief’ proving that he was indeed the right man for the role. While the spotlight shines on the titular character Joseph, one should not discredit the narrator in this production. Lauren Ingram was undoubtedly one of the highlights of the musical. As the narrator, she showed off her pitch-perfect vocals and impeccable range, keeping the audience engaged throughout the musical and performing effortlessly during both emotional and upbeat numbers. She had a tasteful vibrato, and did not overdo her performance with theatrics. This made it an organic one, that all theatre-goers could appreciate and enjoy. Joseph’s brothers also added energy and comical value to the musical, and a particular standout was the performance of ‘Those Canaan Days’. The sons of Jacob put up a solid execution of the number, which was
filled with regret at their actions for selling Joseph to slavery. The female dancers were clad in skin-tight leotards and too-short skirts, making it a tad too risqué for a family audience, especially during lifts and splits in the dance. Nonetheless, it was in keeping with the sultry French dance, and the performance was exceptionally emotive and technically impressive. The musical ended with a high-octane series of encores, complete with clapping, singing along, and standing ovations. It was a spectacular end to the musical, reminding us of why this classic is so well loved, and will continue to be loved by future generations.
Raffle tickets were also handed round by Dolly (Lisa Howard), who seemed strangely interested in which seat I was sitting in before presenting me with my tickets. After confirming that I was seated within a chair reserved for the press, surprise surprise - I just happened to win the raffle’s prize, which was the notorious aforementioned gherkins. This prize captured the essence of the show; random, silly, and just plain pointless. Nevertheless, the production was set in motion, and its plot began to unfold. The play surrounds Little Voice (Jess Robinson), a painfully shy teenage girl who spends her time locked away in her room with her father’s record collection in order to avoid her extrovert mother Mari (Beverley Callard), who is currently pursuing show business hotshot, Ray Say (Philip Andrew). After hearing Little Voice perfectly impersonate the singers of her records one night, Say becomes
obsessed with making her into a star, meaning that Little Voice is reluctantly shoved into the spotlight. The show’s opening scene failed to provide a clear introduction to this simple story, and the first hour trundled on fairly uninterestingly, due to a stilted script which was packed with corny, Carry On style humour. However, the play did temporarily pick up with Little Voice’s much anticipated vocal performance. Robinson performed a medley of songs ranging from ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ by Diana Ross & the Supremes, to Edith Piaf’s ‘Non, je ne regrette rien’, and handled each song admirably. However, bearing in mind that she had been the definitive wallflower up until this point, this impressive performance was completely out of character for Little Voice, as we witnessed her throwing herself around the stage with unprecedented confidence.
The final half hour of the show also took an entirely different tack. What was previously a light-hearted piece of theatre became a bizarre mish-mash of house fires and equally blazing arguments between the characters. Most infuriatingly of all, Little Voice’s love interest Billy (Ray Quinn) rolled up on a chairlift at the play’s conclusion to whisk her to safety, because doesn’t everyone just happen to have a chairlift lying around for their personal use? Overall, Callard is the star of this production, as Mari is the kind of character you love to hate, making her performance
highly enjoyable to watch. Little Voice, on the other hand, is rather grating, with Robinson hugely overcooking her nervous nature. Regarding staging, Little Voice’s bedroom was positioned above the house’s living room; giving the backdrop far greater depth. It was also suitably rickety and unstable, perhaps reflecting the tenuous family ties inside. Apart from these positive aspects however, this production was thoroughly mediocre, containing little to engage with. But hey - at least I can have a gherkin on my burger now.
andy warhol : an intimate portrait
Wainwright emphasised the artist’s intensely private character. Despite this, he was smart - in fact he was a ‘genius’. He understood in order to publicise himself it was imperative for him to be a huge personality, just like the ones in movies. This realisation was followed with Warhol’s decision to start wearing wigs, alter how he spoke and to embrace his famous catchphrase ‘everything is great’, assuming a cartoon-like facade. Warhol was not only a personality; he was indisputably an immensely successful artist. His work was strange and innovative. He believed that nothing in life should be wasted; whether that was a telephone call or a can of soup, everything was potential material. He was one of the only artists to leave such a distinctive legacy of work from all media. When questioned about Warhol’s negative reputation, which seems the popular depiction of today, Wainwright clearly stated that he did indeed ‘use’ people; “he consumed people like he consumed pizza”, as
Nat Finkelstein once said. However, in regards to Warhol’s alleged blame for the destruction of certain individuals, notably Edie Sedgwick, Wainwright dismissed Warhol’s accountability, even remarking, “If it wasn’t for Warhol, Edie could have been just another dead addict”; he preserved her in all her beauty and splendour for eternity. Andy Warhol used life and people for his art. And these people loved to be used. “He was a black hole in which you fell into and came out the other side a superstar.” Yet the biggest star of them all was conclusively Andy Warhol himself.
The Lyceum Theatre 7/10
the rise and fall of little voice The Lyceum Theatre 4/10
t’s not often that you leave a theatre with a jar of gherkins in hand. However, that is exactly how I left the Lyceum’s production of Little Voice on Monday evening - with an unexpectedly large amount of gherkins, and an even larger sense of disappointment. Director Jim Cartwright’s latest show opened with a bizarre warm-up routine by several of the play’s characters, which instantly fell flat as the auditorium was still rather empty. Indeed, whilst many members of the audience were still trying to find their seats, Mr Boo (Duggie Brown) ploughed on with a stand-up routine comprised of barely audible and incredibly naff jokes, evoking a toe-curlingly awkward atmosphere from the offset.
The Graves Galley 8/10
Friday November 30 2012
Yasmine Finbow More reviews online Read more reviews online at Forge Today
oncurrent with the day of the record-breaking sale of Warhol’s Statue of Liberty for $43.8 million, Andy Warhol: An Intimate Portrait took place, a talk discussing the life of the famous artist. Sitting amongst the self-portraits of Warhol in the exhibition at Graves Gallery, Dr Jean Wainwright informed an absorbed audience of the artist’s life, from his childhood in Pittsburgh, to his death in 1987. Dr Jean Wainwright has dedicated years to understanding Warhol. She has interviewed numerous people who knew him personally, as well as listening to an absurd number of his 4000 self-made tapes - which he surreptitiously recorded during his daily life. As an outcome of her expertise, she has appeared on numerous radio and television shows with reference to Warhol
Arc Geffen Records 8/10
verything Everything are back will the follow up to their debut album Man Alive and all the same jittery beats and high pitched male vocals are present but with a new found intelligence to the lyrics and a sing along feel. Arc has a darker, atmospheric edge that wasn’t felt on their first release, with its frantically fast-paced indie-pop. ‘Torso of the Week’ features intriguing lyrics like “Girl you’ve been hitting the treadmill like a freak” and “You look like you’re sick of your husband” which makes you question what on earth the song is about, and the repetitive ringing bell and synthetic beat at the start gives you an uneasy feeling of anticipation. There is an emphasis on varied percussion and there is definitely an electronic influence at times as well. As soon as you feel like you know what they are trying to achieve stylistically, the feel changes again, showing how experimental Everything Every-
Now Playing ith the abundance 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. We couldn’t have been happier when we found out that Chad Valley has collaborated with Twin Shadow on his new album Young Hunger which is out now. The electronic pop track ‘Owe You This’ has a nostalgic, 80s feel to it. The two sets of male vocals compliment each other perfectly and sound even better when they harmonise together. We can’t see how anyone wouldn’t like this track and we recommend having a listen to Young Hunger as well as Twin Shadows album Confess which came out earlier this year and is also superb. It is pretty much December now so we at Fuse are starting to get very excited about Christ-
Friday November 30 2012
mas and there is nothing better than a bit a festive music to get you in the spirit. Sufjan Stevens has released a 58 track album titled Silver & Cold which features all your favourites and also some of Stevens’ own. The album is streaming for free on his bandcamp now and we really enjoy his folk fuelled Christmas songs. The 13 minute ‘Christmas Unicorn’ even turns into a cover of Joy Division’s ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ and somehow he manages to make it sound somewhat merry. We are loving ‘Glitch’ from London five-piece the History of Apple Pie, their fuzzy pop sound and the grungey distorted guitars sound great and contrast well with the soft, sweet vocals of female singer Stephanie Min. If you like Yuck and Splashh then you will definitely like these too. Finally, if you haven’t already heard the new Girls Aloud track appropriately called ‘Something New’ then go do it now, if only to marvel at how strange it is to hear them rap. LW & AH
cREATURE wITH THE ATOM BRAIN The Birds Fly Low Jezus Factory Records 6/10
heir third release in only four years, The Birds Fly Low is relaxed and hypnotic; a mellow, easy listening album from Belgian alt-rock band Creature with the Atom Brain. It contains a medley of distorted guitars and clean-cut basslines, which add a distinctive power to Aldo Struyf’s extraordinary vocal prowess. The band use a wide range of instruments on top of their basic song formula, introducing synthesised keyboards and often a
The Burgh Island EP Island Records 6/10
en Howard is back with his new release titled The Burgh Island EP; four sombre tracks of haunting melancholia, a short insight into the depths of a lost soul bound to make your heart ache. The Burgh Island EP is a refreshing and welcome change from over-processed shallow pop albums and try-hard indieacoustic wannabes, slightly echoing Damien Rice with its raw, stripped back quality. ‘Esmerelda’ starts the EP; a fuss free and lyrically stunning folk song that tells a tale of loss and loneliness. Howard’s vocals
thing have become. ‘Duet’ with its dramatic introduction and use of string instruments has got the makings of a future single, its infectious chorus and the way it builds up epically with synths, powerful harmonies and raging guitars towards the end means it is bound to win them new fans. The short but stunning ‘Arc’ brings the album to the halfway point nicely and the high register vocals of Jonathan Higgs have never sounded better. Highlight ‘Armourland’ has all the usual characteristics such as the fastpaced energy felt in the majority of their music, but with a gloomier contrast as well. Their music has matured greatly in the two years they’ve been away and ‘The House Is Dust’ shows this well, with its haunting piano part and Higgs’ vocals which have a deeper quality at times. ‘Radiant’ with its echoey vocals and single ‘Cough Cough’ with its vibrant harmonies, energetic percussion and frantic beat show Everything Everything at their best. Arc is an outstanding release that shows how exciting British guitar music can be. Lianne Williams
brass addition. Most of the songs blend well to create pleasant listening. ‘R-Frequency’ stood out the most because of its strange, Mike Oldfield-esque Dutch scat. There’s a weird yet wonderful combination of reggae guitar patterns with futuristic, video game-inspired electronic sounds, all topped off with an Egyptiansounding drum beat. Such an odd song, yet it lives up to Creature’s reputation. Creature with the Atom Brain was originally the name of a 1955 B movie zombie film, as well as a Roky Erickson song, before ex-Millionaire keys player Struyf took it for his band name. Many of these songs cry out to be learnt by budding musicians
because of their simple riffs and melodies, which are well put together and sound brilliant with the right added effects. Creature’s music is the sort of thing a university garage band could easily start with. The whole album is enjoyable to an extent, the sort of thing you might leave on when flicking through a shuffle playlist, but it’s unlikely that anyone would sit through an entire album in one sitting without getting bored.
are almost untouched on this track which fits perfectly with the clarity of the instrumental, creating a hollow, sorrowful tone so fitting for the lyrics. Of the four songs on the EP, ‘Esmerelda’ is the only track yet to have a video and definitely one to check out; it’s conceptually simple, beautiful and completely in tune with the song. ‘Oats in the Water’ instantly strikes a chord with its faster intro, easing into an exquisite showcase of Howard’s unique vocals before building into a crescendo with a touch of electric about it. A step away from Howard’s typical sound, but it’s a risk that without a doubt adds character to the EP. Title track ‘Burgh Island’ is a lengthy addition at over 8 min-
utes, featuring Monica Heldal on vocals. The two voices have an intimate symmetry encapsulating the story of the song without gimmicks or faux-dialogue; however lack of lyricism in the last half could see some heading for the skip button. One slight criticism of Howard’s EP is purely that it carries only four tracks, a possible shortcoming after such an anticipated release. In essence, The Burgh Island EP is a moving and powerful work that is sure to earn a place in every listener’s collection, and broaden the scope of their musical tastes to include some authentic folk. Abz Peacock
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Frankie & the Heartstrings: Coral Williamson
Frankie & the Hearstrings
Tuesday November 27 The Harley
Thursday November 15 The Bowery
he Bowery isn’t very full, looking more like a popular bar than a music venue. As local two-piece Radical Boy take to the stage, not much changes. Their grungy alt-rock is a nice start to the evening, but feels out of place in the Bowery. Che Ga Zebra, stupid name aside, are a much better fit for the hipster hang-out. They start out with instrumental math-rock tracks akin to the earliest Foals demos, but steadily get heavier as their set goes on. They get the crowd listening, particularly for highlight ‘Butt Naked’, which features the excellently shouted lyric “Because I’m butt naked!” Finally, it’s time for the main act. DZ Deathrays mill around, taking their time setting up, to the point where anyone who doesn’t know what the Australian duo look like would mistake them for staff. With Bloodstreams being their debut album, they don’t have a
DZ Deathrays: William McEntegart wealth of material to draw from, but they sneak in songs from previous EPs over the course of their set. It’s loud and brash and unapologetically awesome, although there are a few sound problems that result in vocals occasionally being lost in the void. A pit springs up from the very first song, at the base of the stage. Presumably it’s the Small Ideas guys, who arranged the gig. The unbridled enthusiasm is unfortunately not as contagious as you’d expect; large chunks of the audience merely stand around politely, barely nodding their heads in time to ‘Gebbie Street’ or ‘Cops Capacity’. The fact that the gig is free doesn’t add or detract from the quality of the evening. You can hope that it found DZ Deathrays new fans, but it probably hasn’t. Those who were there for a good time though, got a fucking good time.
alking into the Harley to see Frankie and the Heartstrings was like walking into your mate’s house party where everyone knows everyone, it’s a casual night and you’re all going to have a bloody good time of it. No pressure or pretension, just unadulterated live music appreciation. There’s a comfortable amount of people strewn about the venue including Sheffield’s very own the Crookes and Frankie and the Heartstrings themselves grabbing a pre-show pint. It’s not long before support act Sissy and the Blisters are up on stage whacking out some catchy indie tunes reminiscent of the Vaccines in their earlier days,
but with some cute retro-pop like synth additions which are well received by the growing crowd. After a quick set up, the crowd has doubled in size and there are some obviously dedicated Frankie fans in the mix and as the Sunderland based quintet head on stage there’s a fair jostle to get to the front. The band launches straight into the first three songs whipping up energy in the crowd like a pro-rock star and before long everyone is moving. Frankie totally comes into his own on stage; he’s entirely at ease and exudes cool frontman vibes without a fake façade of quirkiness. The band doesn’t hold back with onstage banter while Frankie and Michael, the guitarist, openly include the crowd in the joke before introducing new unheard track ‘Invitation’. A punchy indie rock tune with Frankie and The Heartstring’s signature ‘woah oh’s and clean-
cut lyricism stamped all over it, received by the crowd with, as Frankie modestly guesses, “a maybe clap”. The penultimate song is ‘Hunger’, unarguably the groups’ most successful song. The crowd throw themselves unapologetically into joining in the bands enthusiasm, clapping, dancing and singing along as Frankie croons away leaning onto an amp towards the crowd. The end of the gig rolls around after a near perfect length set that ends as casually as it started and Frankie and the gang saunter back out to the bar as if they’d no more than returned from a cigarette break. This honest five piece band is effortlessly cool and a definite must see for any live music lover. Abz Peacock
Coral Williamson DZ Deathrays: William McEntegart
Saturday November 24 The Leadmill
The Crookes: Coral Williamson
Friday November 30 2012
The Crookes : Coral Williamson
fter Algiers and Best Friends opened to a crowd which is notably mixed in age range, the Crookes hit the stage for a delightful homecoming performance, the final bow in a tour which has seen them play in cities such as Oslo, Berlin and Rome, plus British dates in the usual suspect places. This tour was for the Crookes’ second album Hold Fast, which follows Chasing After Ghosts. Between a solid start with ‘Just Like Dreamers’ and ‘Maybe in the Dark’, and their single ‘A Collier’s Wife’, frontman George Waite announces to the crowd that the band had been “looking forward to this for six months”, Sheffield being a final destination where three quarters of the band had met at university. Waite’s distinctive head-shaking-hair-flying-everywhere singing style, accompanied with bass, is added to by Daniel Hopewell and Tom Dakin on guitars and Russell Bates on drums, the band creating a catchy, melodic sound comparable to the likes of the
Smiths and the Housemartins. ‘Bloodshot Days’ is dedicated to a security official who Waite speculates “was bored shitless”, which raised a laugh, before five songs in a row from Hold Fast are aired, from ‘American Girls’ through to ‘Afterglow’. Either side of pre-encore track ‘Where Did Our Love Go’, Waite proclaims the euphoria felt by the band. “I’m speechless Sheffield, we will remember this for the rest of our lives”, he says, and “Cancel all bookings Leadmill, we’re playing here every night this month.” Following encore songs ‘Yes Yes, We’re Magicians’, and ‘Honey’ (‘Afterglow’ B-side) to round off a brilliant set, the band members link arms on stage and bow to the crowd, a sign of togetherness and satisfaction. They were also available to sign things and have pictures taken later, demonstrating their dedication to the fans. It would be impossible for the Crookes to be anything but brilliant, and this hometown show showed that. Marcus Raymond
Reviews. THE TWILIGHT SAGA: bREAKING DAWN pT 2 Dir: Bill Condon 2/10
ools of blood spill across the screen and the camera pans over a sublime mountain range. This is the opening sequence of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2. The striking cinematography and edgy editing emulate the True Blood opening credits. It’s very impressive. But then the acting starts and the fifth instalment of the saga plunges to familiar lows. In case you were lucky enough to miss the plot of this angsty voyage through the woes of high school and the realm of the undead, we’ll fill you in. Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson) are a teenage girl and a 180-year-old vampire in love. In the latest instalment, they are a married couple with a daughter; the eerie product of an over-reliance on CGI. The Volturi (a merciless, vampiric ruling class) suspect she is an immortal child and hunt the couple down to impose justice. Well, here we are, back with the lip-biting, sighing and lingering stares that we are all familiar with. Occasionally there is a shouting match, but in the most half-hearted way imaginable, as if the cast themselves are bored of the drawn out storyline. As Pattinson himself said, “It’s just so…long.” Pattinson also described how his entire performance was “based on the extreme discomfort of having contact lenses in your eyes. It is a mixture of
looking slightly constipated and stoned.” He’s not alone in this acting style. In fact, it is adopted by the entire ensemble. A bizarre lack of facial or vocal expression means every sentence is punctuated by a series of cold, hard stares. It really is awful. Stewart is, as always, committed to the blank-eyes, slight snarl look, regardless of whether she is throwing a wolf into the air or cradling her newborn child. Occasionally, talented actors in bit-parts attempt to rescue the film, including Rami Malek and Lee Pace. True credit should be given, however, to Noel Fisher and Guri Weinberg, for the least convincing Eastern European accents in recent cinematic history.
“It really is awful”
And it’s not just the acting; the script is overly lengthy and predictable. The film’s climax is an utterly unrealistic – albeit, at times, thrilling – battle scene that bears no relevance to the plot of the book. As the film draws to an end, we are treated to a black and white montage of all the actors involved in the franchise. Emotional acoustic music drifts through the cinema speakers, and the words The Twilight Saga fade from the screen. These final moments are heavy on ‘end of an era’ rhetoric, assuring us that this is the very last film in the series. At least that leaves us with a happy ending. Lauren Archer
END OF WATCH Dir: David Ayer 5/10
E Dir: Michael Haneke 10/10
his French masterpiece revolves around the relationship between Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and Anne (Emmanuelle Riva), two retired music teachers, and how one copes with the other’s deteriorating mental condition. Their love is severely tested on many levels in this sweet yet starkly dark drama. It’s a story about how love prevails over all. It’s difficult to explain just why this film is so perfect. It comes down to the most believable acting you will ever witness. There’s none of that falsified screen-romance bullshit – this is a true love story like no other. Amour is absolutely flawless. Every display of emotion, every stage of Anne’s mental health portrayed, is visually perfect. The first few opening shots in-
Friday November 30 2012
volve the audience searching for the couple in a multitude of people, which puts forward the idea that they are just two in billions, their lives insignificant in the wider context of humanity. Yet their relationship is the epicentre of their existence, which founds empathy of the most profound degree from the very beginning. If not a tear-jerker then this film is certainly thought-provoking and guaranteed to leave you emotionally drained. The couple’s blatant frailty seems to be ignored for a moment when the heart-warming piano compositions are being played. These manage to paint another level of attention-stealing beauty. Critics went nuts for Amour at Cannes this year, and ultimately awarded it the Palme d’Or. It’s likely that this uncompromising, intimately stunning and hardhitting drama will be recognised again during next year’s awards season. Will Ross
nd of Watch takes the concept of a buddy cop movie and moves it from the world of cheesy 80s action flicks to downtown LA, in order to tackle much more realistic situations and problems. It follows cops Brian (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike (Michael Peña) from their day-to-day policing to their run-ins with violent gangs. While there’s certainly a lot to enjoy here, what’s most memorable about End of Watch is the way it’s filmed. In an attempt to be realistic, director David Ayer uses the ‘found footage’ format that has been done so many times it now just feels like clobbering a very long deceased horse. Of course, ‘found footage’ implies someone has found the footage and assembled a film from it. Instead, the crummy camera work is explained in some vague way near the beginning, but the style continues even when none of the characters are filming anything. And instead of being put together in a film, it’s thrown together in a mess. It feels less like watching real events unfold and more like watching an idiot try
to make a film. In what should be the most exciting scenes, like in action sequences and any time when events are happening quickly, it’s virtually impossible to work out what’s going on. Camera work is something that when done well, or even just done adequately, should go unnoticed, but in End of Watch it’s so terribly bad that it makes it hard to focus on what’s going on or invest in the film in any serious way. The illusion of cinema is broken, trampled and trodden into the ground. The attempt to be realistic completely ruins the illusion that we are watching real events. There’s a reason most movies aren’t filmed by their own characters: it only works in very rare cases, and this certainly isn’t one. The homemade style of film making is often employed to mask the fact a film is too incoherent to succeed in conventional style (see Cloverfield and Project X) but this certainly isn’t the case here, as there’s a lot to enjoy. The relationship between Mike and Brian is believable, naturalistic, and very well developed, and the story is steady, even if it does leave a few loose ends. Gyllenhaal and Peña give
strong performances which carry the film, and there are some genuinely engaging, compelling and moving scenes. There’s also a strong supporting cast and a nice collection of minor characters. Yet all of this is marred by the horrendous camera work, which in spite of all the talent on display, makes End of Watch, ironically, verge on the unwatchable. In the end, what could have been brilliant is destroyed by incompetence and clumsy, amateurish, gimmick-based film making. In spite of its many strengths, whether or not you enjoy it will depend on your ability to overlook the erratically stupid way it’s slung together in the cutting room. Alex Chafey
Dir: David O. Russell 9/10
ased on the 2008 novel of the same name, Silver Linings Playbook hits our screens with a splash of quirky optimism, heaps of sentimentality and a healthy and honest take on the taboo subject of mental illness. Written and directed by David O’Russell, the genius behind the highly respected boxing drama The Fighter, and cowritten by the author himself Matthew Quick, this time it’s not about the fight of a professional boxer but the fight of the human spirit. This absolutely is one of the most heartbreakingly beautiful films of the year. From the very first scene we dive straight into the mental health backbone of the plot. We are swiftly introduced to the male lead Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper), who has spent the last eight months in a psychiatric hospital suffering from bipolar disorder following a violent incident with his now estranged wife and her lover. The only thing which keeps him going is the word he has written on his wall, ‘Excelsior’, which he believes will help him find his ‘silver lining’ (hence the title)w. Upon his return to his family home he finds anything but the calm rehabilitation he needs. His mother, the lovable Dolores (Jackie Weaver), tries her best to keep the peace (cue lots of baking and
talking things through). However his football fixated obsessive compulsive father Pat Sr (Robert De Niro) is chaotic and needy. Despite this, the interaction and obvious affection between father and son make for some of the film’s most poignant and comedic interactions. Combine this with clearly Oscar-worthy performances, notably from female lead Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a pill-popping manic depressive widow, and you have a winning combination. Together they find comfort and blacker than black humour in each other’s company. The first scene in which the pair cross paths is one that will stay with you for a long time, as two complete strangers bond over their medication and who is more ‘crazy’.
“One of the most heartbreakingly beautiful films of the year”
Add to this the brilliance of fellow hospital friend Danny (Chris Tucker) who provides light hearted humour throughout. The casting is superb to say the least. The cinematography is as sharp as the script; fast moving, jaunty camera angles and first person perspectives help you to engage with what life is like for someone struggling with the day-to-day demands of living with the personal demons of mental illness. The soundtrack features the
Small Screen. The hour
Wednesday, 9pm BBC Two
I Joyeux Noël
Dir: Christian Carion 2005
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show, The Hour has much more in common with the work of Aaron Sorkin. It’s Sports Night without the sport; The Newsroom without the shouting. Instead, The Hour is stylish, smart and intriguing thanks to its first-rate cast and finely-tuned script from the omnipresent Abi Morgan, who wrote The Iron Lady (if that screenplay was indeed written, and not just stuck together with Pritt Stick by Carol Thatcher in a darkened room.) If The Hour is historically accurate, then it seems that a requirement for working for the BBC in the 1950s was looking like you’ve just stepped out of a Bond film. Not only do they look the part, every member of the cast brings a real emotional intensity. Peter Capaldi, Dominic West and Ben Whishaw all give captivating performances, while showing us what it would be like
if Malcolm Tucker, Fred West and Q were all in the same room. Capaldi in particular manages to steal every scene, lurking in the shadows and speaking threateningly softly like a bespectacled vampire. Ramola Garai continues to shine as the producer, while Whishaw’s character has grown a beard to show, in somewhat lazy shorthand, that he’s been travelling. This prompts West to call him Sigmund Freud, even though he looks more like a sort of woodland Abraham Lincoln. The Hour is refreshingly pacey for a BBC drama, avoiding the genre’s usual fondness for moping and instead remaining lively and jazzy. It feels authentically 1950s, but thanks largely to recent events at the BBC, totally relevant. Apart from the stuff about the threat from ITV, obviously. Dan Meier
somewhat underrated and forgotten film, Joyeux Noël tackles one of the greatest displays of human character ever to be told: the Christmas truce of 1914 along the Western Front. The film follows the Scottish, French and German soldiers in the days leading up to, during, and after the truce, highlighting both the horror of war and the ability to overcome our prejudices of each other in order to celebrate Christmas. The opening scene of French, British and German schoolboys reciting war poems to an eerily empty classroom gives the viewer the sense that they represent the lost generation, or at least
what is left of it, with the rest of the class, the bright hopes for the future, having died in the war which the young boys describe with nationalistic fervour. Joyeux Noël is a multilingual film: the use of French, English and German gives the film an authentic feel, accentuating the differences between the armies through language and emphasising that these barriers, even in a time of war, can be overcome. In comparison to the more mainstream Christmas films, this one seems to be set aside without due consideration for its powerful message which is both tear-rendering and heartwarming. This film is a truly human one, bringing together people in time of devastation and death to show that, in the end, we are all not so different.
title ‘Silver Linings’ score by the excellent Danny Elfman and combines an eclectric mix of Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan and masterpieces from Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein. These perfectly compliment the quirky nature of this movie. The music acts as an emotional backdrop to our characters in their journey towards finding a silver lining, when life seems like it has none. Overall this film is very special indeed. Although clichéd at times, the super sharp characterisation, genuinely moving drama and unforgettable acting from Lawrence and Cooper are dazzling. If you are feeling the winter blues, this film will be sure to cure you. You’d be the crazy ones to miss it.
Friday November 30 2012
t seems like a fitting time for the BBC to bring back a show all about its own fight for journalistic integrity. Set in the 1950s, The Hour follows the production of a BBC news programme of the same name, and this second series starts as the old gang are reunited a year after The Hour was taken off the air for embarrassing the government. Watch and learn, Newsnight. The first series was sold to us as the British Mad Men, as was any programme that happened to be set in the past and featured men in suits who smoked and drank whiskey. As a TV show about the production of a TV
Silver linings playbook
“It doesn’t matter how many times I walk up the staircase in Mappin, I always imagine I’m at the Great Hall in Hogwarts”
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