Issue Two Spring 2010
Creativity Photos Art and Words by Cardiff Students
Editor Oliver Franklin Co-Editor/ Head of Design Paul Stollery Assistant Sub-editor Megan King Cover Art Front: Nat Hills ‘Carousel’ Back: Sam Smith Proof Readers Tom Rouse Daniella Graham Damian Fantato Tomos Clarke Miranda Atty Greg Rees Lucy Morgan Lizzie Blockley
‘Black Man’ David Baines
Welcome to the second ever issue of Creativity magazine. In case you missed the first one, here’s the premise: we’re all about showing off new and exciting creative talent. What you will see on the following pages is the best writing, art and photography that the students of Cardiff have to offer – now in glorious glossy.
This issue, our artists venture from the chilling (Tom Edwards’ brilliant short story ‘Fallout’), to the beautiful (particularly our gorgeous centre-fold, Nat Hills’ Red Passion’), to the awe-inspiring (Jonny Wrate’s photo ‘Wild’). As always, we would like to thank everyone that submitted work for consideration. The response to the last issue was unbelievable, and whittling the choices down to these select few was an almost impossible task – although it must be said, a very enjoyable one. A big thanks must also go to Emma Jones and her team at Cardiff Student’s Union for sourcing the finances to bring you this lovely new glossy magazine and enabling us to give our talented photographers and artists the outlet they deserve. If you would like to submit work for the next issue, or talk to any of the contributors about their work, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org 3
Left: ‘Full Moon Party’ Below: ‘5:43 Sunrise’ Rishi Shonpal
One August night, when the sun was just setting, you told me there would be a meteorite shower. I couldn’t wait; my eyes fixed wide on yours with excitement. We drove out into the country as the light rapidly faded, leaving the hazy orange city-sky behind us. You told me about your job as I drank in the cool night air.
Beneath P erseus Hannah Caddick
We parked the car on a verge and walked through the long grasses ready for harvest. Their bulky heads heavy with corn looked blue in the dimming light. As we shook out the blanket and laid it on the ground, dust shimmering round us, you told me about your family. The ground was hard, baked from endless days of hot summer sun. We wriggled beneath the darkening sky and you asked about my family. Finally comfortable on the cracked earth, I told you about my father and you listened silently. The night was still. Your face was fading in the darkness, but I could still see your eyes, unfaltering blue, sparkling as we laughed about how we became friends. All the while I didn’t notice clouds sweeping over the pale stars. We talked about past lovers, companionship, intimacy, loss and love. We talked about desire. The air felt suddenly cold and I turned onto my side, closer to your warmth. The wind fondly ruffling the corn, we shared our dreams and our secrets. You leaned closer to my ear and lowered your voice, as though suspicious of the whispering grasses. Looking for a shooting star, I felt a splash on my cheek as I turned my face to the sky for the first time. It was empty and full of cloud, fat and ready to burst. We laughed aloud and, with the sound, shook the water from the sky. We ran through the corn, the noise of our laughter and the rain deafening. Peals of thunder shook the ground and you took my hand in yours. You stopped and turned to me, and through the storm shouted something I couldn’t hear. From the warm dry shelter of the car we watched the rain pass over, like huge grey curtains pulled back to reveal a burning sunrise. We had stayed up all night and not seen a single meteor blaze through the sky. But as you kissed me and told me you loved me, I fell for you, aflame. Two stars collide.
No. 5 Megan King My heart whistles in the tin kettle over the fire but they do not seem to hear it. They pour over me, staring into my glassy eyes, searching for a trace of the man who dismantled me. I lie on my crime-scene bed and try to cry, but my insides are turned to ice. A man with kind eyes lightly fingers the wounds in my chest that cannot heal. â€œWho did this to you?â€? he murmurs. I want to answer him and all the others that are rallying to my cause, spying on my tragedy. But my lips are drawn taunt with the effort it took not to scream: I had not wanted to give him the satisfaction of my suffering. Beneath his sharp fingers I flaked away in fleshy chunks. With swarthy eyes he methodically plucked the light from my own until the world was a perpetual twilight. Somewhere in my emptying skull there are the hills I grew up in and the lovers I had in France who fed me oysters and called me Marie. My memories slip through my fingers like liquid before they can clot in the palms of my hands. My heart stops hissing in the kettle. Finally, I am done.
-Mary Ann Kelly, 1863-1888, final victim of Jack the Ripper. 6
Buttons Hannah Caddick
Folding your shirts I feel the small, hard rounds of buttons that, countless times, I have pushed undone – and done up too. Just last night I pressed them past the stitched edges of gaps in the stiff cuffs when you could not do it yourself. I told you less haste, more speed and took my time, breathing in your damp aftershave. I turn the fabric in my hands now and when you are not looking touch the collar to my nose and inhale. I draw a black dotted line along your chest in permanent marker, take big, shiny crunch snap, crunch snap scissors and cut you open. I make little holes in you, along one side, and, on the other, stitch on black buttons, black as my eyes. And then I put you on and breathe you.
‘Street Dancer’ Lizzie Foggitt
Welcome to Paradise Chris Griffiths
It was his bid for life, ironically, that precipitated his downfall. His body well and truly on earth, his head well and truly in the clouds, he stomped on the accelerator and propelled the car one hundred and thirty miles-per-hour down the hot strip of tarmac. The sun glistened across the windscreen. He bellowed in exhilaration as the dust from the barren orange land washed through his hair. This was it. This was certainty. This was life.
Chasing Rainbows A.T.P. Mathias
But where there was life, death was shortly behind. The distance narrowed between the vehicle and the object of his desire – the rainbow. He was now directly under it. Surely he was going to catch it this time. And then, conveniently, clandestinely, it suddenly gave a flickering shift. It was moving, fading away from him. “No!” he screamed, and threw the wheel carelessly to make a sharp turn. Only, it was too sharp: the car jack-knifed, flipped and flung through the air to destruction. As he lay there dying, Connor Figure caught sight of the rainbow, elusive, untouchable. He spat blood and laughed. The End *** I woke up this morning face down in desert sand, after what felt like a very long sleep. The car was utterly demolished, components spread out by the clumsy hands of detonation. Forced to walk for God only knows how many miles back to civilisation, I probed my memory. Nothing. I don’t recall why the hell I’m out this far or what happened. And that was only the beginning. I got back to town around midday. Over the horizon hung a banner of hot orange as if the world was catching fire - it wasn’t a natural aesthetic, but artificial, contrived. My suspicion was later proven right – the world was alternating on behalf of my presence, my anomaly. The land was uneasy, breathless trees were performing these staccato dances, their leaves flashing from bruised red right through to May green. And then suddenly, in their budding prime, the trees decide to drop like poles straight into the ground. It’s growth in reverse. It’s a world of unnatural colours. It is fake.
*** I am a ghost. That’s right, a ghost. I tried to talk to people, to engage. They looked straight through me – the kind of ignorance that would simply be impossible to feign. I went berserk. I screamed as their scripted speech filled my ears. And they didn’t sense a fucking thing. I went to my house and found a funeral card with my picture and name on it dated a year back on the mantelpiece. I’d died in a car crash. And then it all made sense. Stunted breath and tears ensued… what the fuck was happening? In that moment I heard this patter – like rainfall, only harsher, more punched, like keyboard chatter. I glanced out of the window to find it was raining phrases. Hundreds of little strips of size twelve, Times New Roman were falling from above. I went outside, picked up one of the black strips and read the words: Warning Stop Now! *** “I’m Alex Mathias, the original writer of this story. I thought this was being hacked so I’m here after my typed warnings didn’t stop you.” The man pointed to himself. “I am an advocate, an avatar if you will of the real Alex Mathias, who is typing his entry alongside your independent, self-creating one. You no longer exist to these characters; this is a sequel without you buddy. Can’t you see that your presence here is fucking up my story? You’re not meant to be here.” Just some character in a book? This Mathias guy has really got some gall. “And how do I know you’re telling the truth?” He slowly unbuttoned his flowing black coat. Where a body should have been, there instead resided a churning mass of thousands of typed words, describing his every word and action. Well if that doesn’t confirm you’re from a book I don’t know what will. I’ll admit I got a little shaken, a little scared, so I started pleading to something beyond the sky. I explained to him my predicament. I still don’t think he believes I’m not some hacker. I inhale upon my cigarette and juggle the smoke in my mouth. I didn’t want him to know that underneath this façade I was falling to pieces like the rest of the world. “So what will you say when you meet the writer of your life?” He bolted as soon as the question left my 10
mouth, the little coward. I’m living in the interlude, the no man’s land of creation. He must be lying. I need to escape. *** What does one do when they are faced with the fact that their existence is based on the capricious whims of some author? You’ll chase rainbows Connor; if you can prove they’re real then anything can be… it’s what you’ve always done said these thick black letters that fell from the vacant sky. There stands a rainbow off in the rim of the glassy sky. It looks tangible, the bands of looped light simply glistening and coruscating, proud, fruitful. I’m laughing. Is it real if it was written? Is it Mathias’ thought or my memory? I can’t concern myself with the philosophy; I just have to keep driving. I speed down the black strip of a familiar looking desert. My legs are beginning to vanish from the waist down. The sky is melting down off its canvas like lethargic ice cream. He must be shutting down this document. What a strange sensation it is to say that. Just as my arms start fizzing into clear nothingness, I take out a pad and paper and balance it precariously on the steering wheel. Connor Figure, cigarette in his mouth and sand in his hair, sped down the black desert asphalt scene… My sight is going. The world is waning, clouds popping like lemonade bubbles, life dissolving like dreams on awakening, the writers’ neglect or the characters’ profound realisation. I can just see the rainbow, I’m right alongside it – I’m going to catch it. It suddenly moves, eschews me playfully. He saw the rainbow, plummeted toward it as it glistened remaining absolutely still… I swerved violently and lost control; the car jack-knifed and spun through the air. The pen and paper still in my hand, I lay dying, my body fleeting, evanescent. I saw the rainbow sailing away. Life defeats me. And yet, I spit blood and laugh. My words can create a reality and my spirit will not be bound in hollow bondage. I can escape… I can escape… Trying to find certainty and assurance in existence is like trying to find the end of the rainbow. But Connor Figure caught it, and as the rainbow was real, so life was real. And such a thing could never vanish. The End
Top: ‘Under my umberella’ Bottom: ‘Contact’ Sarah Pritchard
Mirror mirror on the wall, I see ashes in you. My flesh on fire as my entity is melting and my breaths are but a few, while my life support is pending.
Mirrors Sergio Hadjivasilis In mirrors and in people’s eyes, when they look at me with vanity
My flesh on fire as my entity is melting,
their looks as eerie as wolves’ cries
yet you stuff me in a vial
and this encrusts me with insanity.
while my life support is pending
When they look at me with vanity
with a scarred and twisted smile.
it makes me hate me to the bone
Yet you stuff me in a vial
and this encrusts me with insanity
-with its toxic quintessence-
which is by now my comfort zone.
with a scarred and crazy smile forever more haunting my essence. With its toxic quintessence in mirrors and in people’s eyes;
It makes me hate me to the bone, all that purposeless and fake attention which is by now my comfort zone
forever more haunting my essence,
and challenges my soul’s retention.
their looks as eerie as wolves’ cries.
All that purposeless and fake attention has puzzled me whether it’s true, a mirror never lies, dictates convention; mirror mirror on the wall, I see ashes in you.
Left: ‘No Rescue’ right: ‘Untitled 2’ Philip Newbould
‘The Tree’ Jake Yorath
Faces Darren Freebury Jones When only the moon rages outside my window, and the room is filled with soundless dark, I feel my heart thud in my chest and know that one day this will end, this drumbeat cease after a sudden blast, or a slow decline. Wiping sweat from my brow, twisting, turning, toiling, steeped in memories, I gaze at Adriana, tell her our first kiss should be to the song, Pretty Green Eyes. ‘But we have brown eyes,’ she says. Caroline smiles as snow begins to fall, before her taxi arrives, before she leaves me. Now, I’m with Will, ignorant and happy, staggering under this same moon, not knowing he’ll find a girl, have kids, and forget that I was once his friend. Sometimes, without reason, I fear I won’t wake. Better to fall asleep, distracted by memories, even bittersweet ones, than watch the future threaten all night, wide-eyed.
‘Lips’ Natalie Hills
Fallout Tom Edwards
twentysixth ofaprilninetee neightysix onetwentythreeam thirtymegatons caesium137 strontium90 fourhundred timesmorepower fulthanhiroshima fiftysixconfirmed directdeaths fortysevenworkers ninechildren fourthousand estimatedcan cerdeaths threehun dredandsixtysixt housandresettled
One night I heard a noise. I looked out the window. He saw me. “Close the window and go back to sleep,” he said, “There’s a fire at the reactor. I’ll be back soon.” When he died, they dressed him up in formal wear, with his service cap. They couldn’t get shoes on him because his feet had swollen up. They buried him barefoot. My love. – Lyudmilla Ignatenko, wife of fireman Vasily Ignatenko The flames after the explosion in Reactor Four gave the sky a bright raspberry glow. The air smelt metallic and tasted sour. Clickclickclickclickclick: Geiger counters chirped like a plague of locusts. Fire trucks and military vehicles trundled towards the scene, crushing fallen pine cones and chunks of hot graphite under their wheels. Vasily’s skin felt hot. He sat in the back seat of the truck trying to concentrate on Sergey’s briefing, but all he could think about was the heat: an itchy, dry burn that clung to him all over. He scratched the palm of his left hand and swallowed, trying to get rid of the taste at the back of his throat. Later, as Vasily lay dying in a poisoned hospital, workers built a concrete structure around the burning reactor to reduce further contamination. It was hastily constructed and inherently unstable. They named it the Sarcophagus. It was too late. The fallout had already floated high into the atmosphere. It moved in the wind and fell like grey snowflakes in twenty six countries. Green forests turned blood red. Children in Belarus developed incurable tumors. Babies in Turkey were born without brains. After the walls of the hospitals had been scraped down and the bodies had been cremated, the government set up a series of four exclusion zones, concentric circles like Dante’s rings of Hell, centred on the smouldering heart of Reactor Four. The centremost Zone of Alienation, chetvevta zona to the locals, is still a strictly protected no-man’s-land. Even today, only the remaining liquidators – workers employed to decommission the Chernobyl plant – are permitted to enter, and they must work three days on, four days off to reduce the risk of contamination. They sweat in hazmat suits and take cigarette breaks in leadlined, one-man huts. Open coffins standing on end.>>
‘The Declaration’ Jonny Wrate
>>The short, elderly woman stood defiant in her doorway, knotty grey hair tucked under an old baseball cap. Her son had known Vasily from fire station number 38. She gripped the shawl around her shoulders with a slender, weathered hand. Her frown was stern, immovable. This is my home. My home. I will not leave. Who are you to tell me I must leave? You think you can scare me with your guns and your tanks? No, no, it is you who must leave. Let me be. This is my home, my home. She slammed the door shut and moved to the window. They were leaving. In the distance, the ancient pine forest sighed as it blushed death. The Ferris wheel in the centre of Pripyat Amusement Park has never turned. The town, originally built to house employees and scientists from the plant, was evacuated before the park had a chance to open. The wheel still stands, rusting, occasionally groaning in the wind. No children ever shrieked in excitement at the view from the top, no couple ever shared their first kiss there. A heavy silence hums in the convention centre, where hardy shrubs, hardly alive, cling to concrete. A wolf shelters in the lobby of an apartment block. In summer, white light glints off the broken glass, lying where it fell. In winter, blizzards scream through empty schools. They call them the samosely, a Ukrainian slang term which, roughly translated, means â€˜self-settlersâ€™. The samosely are a small group, now made up of fewer than four hundred individuals, who still live inside the dangerously irradiated Zone. Some are elderly residents who refused to leave. Some are vagabonds or drifters, squatters with no families and no real homes. They fish, grow vegetables and hunt in the woods. Some of them say they will never leave, that the Zone is safe, that the Zone is where they belong. Some will not speak, or, like Vasily, cannot. i am the steam void that caused the first explosion i am the az-5 button that should not have been pressed i am the white hot rubble i am the wind which spread the dust i am the ferris wheel that never turns i am vasily burning inside out i am lyudmilla who couldnt touch him on his death bed i am the baby born without a brain i am the black fungus growing on the walls of the sarcophagus i am the clock stopped dead at one twenty three i am the generation defiled by fallout scattered like snow 20
‘The Rut’ Hugo Creeth 21
‘Wild’ Jonny Wrate
St Lucia Sky & Mountains David Spittle Pretty plumes of pink brush feathered fringe against the crag, Indescribable light that heralds with calm grace the writer’s defeat. Smudging strata stretching a bruised grey beneath the pink, Grades purple blue and darker down towards the silver sea. It’s so quiet: the silent announcement of greatness, The stern landscape of sky beyond the fretting thoughts. Bundles of self-importance trip and trample tiny lives, A quibbling neurosis wasting hours crossing wires. Empty bubbles burn through brains and the stagnant dust of dreams, To finally leak in squawking words and self defeating schemes. All to the changing cinema that arches overhead, Us ants in agitation will leave the gods for dead. 22
‘Black and Whites’ Jonny Falkus
Maria Putsch became, whilst pregnant, paranoid about her child dying. Every time she heard mention of cot death, car accidents, leukaemia or terrorism, she shuddered with a fear of her unborn child perishing before he or she finishing growing. And S. Manley Hadley so, rather than attempt to assuage these fears by talking to anybody about them, or even perusing child mortality statistics, she instead began to research taxidermy.
For a period of about four or five months, Maria Putsch spent her evenings reading leaflets, adverts, textbooks and watching documentaries on stuffing, embalming and generally on what would be involved if she had a dead child on her hands and wanted to preserve it. The image of a stuffed toddler at the top of her stairs did not strike her as morbid, did not make her scared – she felt, for quite a while, that if she had a child which could not make it to adulthood, she would allow it to continue existence as an ornament. She looked up prices, and even made genuine enquiries – under a pseudonym – regarding having a child stuffed. Legitimate taxidermy businesses either laughed her away or, on realising her seriousness, asked her – not always politely – to never contact them again. She eventually asked her friend, Danielle Coup, if her thoughts were normal. They were in a small cafe neither had been to before and Danielle, thirty-six, had produced a child already so would understand how a pregnant woman thinks. She said, after a short pause, ‘That’s weird, Maria. Really weird.’ And somehow, having had someone say that to her directly, the myriad stuffed children Maria had imagined her house containing began to disappear. The plaintive toddler staring down the stairs: gone. The teenage boy preserved having his first shave: gone. The five-year-old girl displayed at a picnic with her dolls in the garden (there were special waterproofing treatments available): gone. The ten year old holding a child’s bicycle in the garage: gone. The adolescent forever crying after her first break up: gone. Maria’s imagined house of dead children evaporated, and was replaced by guilt at ever thinking such a thing. And then she became scared – no longer certain her child was going to die, Maria realised that he or she would be a living creature she would probably have responsibilities and attachments towards until she died. She began to cry. Danielle looked confused and asked the waiter for the bill. 25
‘Lassie’ David Baines
Break Sophie Dutton The rasping stone tongue of the playground gravel-studded flesh and blood-raked skin. Every tree a splinter shop, every flower a cup of bees. Bones snap like carrots, knees peel like gold stars, toffee-teeth chip and nails bend, acute angles. Hair ripped from scalps, burns from the Far East, And if all else fails, a kick in the nuts. The wail of a fallen comrade, But weâ€™re drowning in thickly invisible mud. Still the sun shines ripely, a birthday balloon, and the air is sweet and clear as juice. Then, the brass voice calls us back to the dust, and broken, we return from Break.
My God, how this winter drags its feet! Just when we all began to think it was over, to emerge from our protective layers, it drew another breath and spat another round of snow upon our heads. The plants that had begun to peer up from the earth perished overnight. You see their crumpled bodies lying just beneath the snow. The birds are desperate now- a blue tit searches in vain for food and for his partner in my garden but he is too late. She too lies crumpled beneath the snow.
The Long Year
I wish I could hibernate. These lengthy nights and biting frosts reveal my very worst. I am a monster in the cold. No thoughts for anybody but myself, no thoughts beyond my chapped fingers and wind burnt cheeks. In the summer I can be lovely, and kind. I long to pick a flower and give it to a passing stranger. To lounge about in the park and throw a ball for a dog. Or read a book sat on a bench: a gorgeous combination of the public and the private. How I wish I could hibernate until the sun comes out again. Will you sing me to sleep? Wake me when the first daffodil shows its pretty face. My God, how this summer stays and stays. My hands, my lips are parched. The earth is parched. Weâ€™re all longing for a drink, a good long soak of rain. Saturate me, saturate my flaking skin! The flowers gave up long ago. They lie along the soil, their open grave. The stream that ran along the garden hedge dried up weeks ago. Now it is not even a dribble. A young sparrow lands hopefully on the bank, but there is nothing but cracked mud and wizened worms. Sun-shrivelled reeds. A mouse dead for thirst. The sparrow flies away again, parched, parched. I long for the cooling breeze of autumn to burst into the stifling air and liberate us all. Breathe life into my languorous limbs, and sooth my sunburnt face. We scuttle from one shady spot to the next, soldiers seeking camouflage. The sun is now our enemy. We are bloated with it, glutted on it. Our bellies swell from the heat that stops us running, walking, moving, thinking. Caked on sweat on caked dust. Come, autumn rains, and wash us clean. Come drag a cloud across this blistering orb. Will you wipe my brow? Fan me, cool me, until the first apple hangs heavy on the
‘Chilli’ Chris Griffiths
Forced Forward Bethan J. V. Evans On just an ordinary day, a Saturday, laughter rang through his ears and a smile ran across his face. His father stood at the kitchen counter making his famous home-made bread. He wasn’t a fantastic cook, but his bread was unbeatable. It was just one of the things that made his father wonderful. His mother was cleaning the living room and singing her favourite songs of the past decades. The coal fire crackled and the warmth blushed the cheeks of everyone inside. He crept up to the counter, his eyes hovering above the surface, and breathed in the soothing dough smell. His father kneaded the smooth clump with his strong fists, pushing in more air pockets. “Go on son, you have a go,” his father smiled at him. Stepping back to allow his son to take his place, his father’s dog tags clanged against his chest. The cuts of crisp silver always shone in the sunlight, displaying his bravery in the rage of the last World War. For now they remained protected under his shirt. He smiled, thrilled to take part in one of his father’s achievements, and concentrated so as not to mess up his father’s work. He smiles. Then he opens his eyes. Upon the vast hills above his hometown, the strong wind beats against his face. It is cold and all he wants to do is go back. Go back home, back to then. But the boy stands there, huddling into his long coat, his uncle looming at his side. The boy, no more than eleven, has to be brave like a grown man. For a second he looks at the mountains that rise exceptionally over the hills, then quickly looks back down to the soft earth at his feet. “Come on now, Rich,” his uncle presses his hand firmly onto his shoulder. If he hadn’t had his arms crossed around the steel box that he’d sworn to protect, he probably would have crumbled to the earth, felt his body crack and fall to tiny pieces, some so small they would be like dust. Rich takes a deep breath; his eyes sting with the prospect of tears and his heart 30
beats so loud he can almost hear the vibration of the two slices of metal, inscribed with his father’s name and unit number, which now hang around his neck. He sees his father standing before him, looking deep into his eyes, hands casually in his pockets, with a gentle smile on his face. Rich secures his grasp on the box, its cold hard exterior sinking sorrow into his body. This is where they have to part. Up on the hills streaked with heather, in front of the grand mountains that guard the sky, they have to say goodbye. His father’s favourite spot. The sun was lowering its light on the world and streaked the sky with lilac. The rocky tops were illuminated, revealing their magnificence to the world. A worthy audience for his father. “It’s time we said goodbye Rich.” His uncle looks back towards their town, like he couldn’t even see his own brother. “But I don’t want to.” “Come on, Rich. You need to be the man of the house now.” That thought makes him want to run straight to his father to be swept up in his arms. His uncle turns around to face him. He has a look of seriousness about him but now that he is so close Rich can see his bloodshot eyes shining with tears. He carefully loosens the grip of Rich’s arms so that the steel box is held in front of them. They hold it together while a tear trickles down Rich’s cheek. His uncle lifts the lid, and with his hands firmly grasping Rich’s at the sides of the box, he makes a sharp upwards motion so that the contents fly into the air and are caught on a gust of wind. Rich looks at the box. Empty. He looks back to his side. His father is gone. Through his glazed eyes he sees the million speckles of dust, which retained a sparkle in the evening light, fly up higher and higher in the sky, making their way to the great mountains.
‘Rodin’s Kiss’ Lauren Housego
NEXT : ISSUE MN AUTU 2010
ISSIO NS TO CREA TIVIT Y@ GAIR RHYD D.CO M
Creativity - Spring 2010