Page 1

The Guardian Student Media Awards: Runner-Up - Magazine Of The Year Volume 3 Issue 22 March 2005

“it por trays a world where modern life is still rubbish”

Kaiser Chiefs The Quench review

Rise and shine

Fe a t u r e s s e e s i n t h e Chinese New Year of the Rooster Best student publication // EMAP Fanzine awards 2005 Film//Sexy stars Fashion// The Dark Side Arts//Captain Picard

Interviews - Fashion - Gay - Travel - Music - Books - Digital - Film - Arts - Food - Going Out


Contents

quench@gairrhydd.com

Its Tiff Needell... 4 6 8 13 16 19 20 23 33 34 39 43 46 52 53 55

Tequila + own goals = an unhappy OTP Debate: Can you be rascist to a Cornishman? Features Delving around your nether regions Interviews: Willy squared Travel: Baulk like an Egyptian Gay:(Adopts Johnny Vegas voice) “Monkey” Fashion: “Is it cos I iz a model?” Music: New Order-nary? Digital: Tiny, little games-machines Books: Ph’WAR, what a great book Arts: Boldly go where no theatre has gone Film: More boys than an Eton open-day Food: A bit of Norwegian nationalism Blind Date: Valentine’s gifts in Hindi Sport: Defending those bloody foreigners Bastian Springs: Licking the loins of pop

Executive editor Gary Andrews Quench editor James Anthony Deputy editors Will Dean, Perri Lewis Assistant to editor Elaine morgan Arts Debbie Green, Natalie Slater Blind Date Lisa O’Brien Books Kerry-Lynne Doyle Columnists John Stanton, Bastian Springs Cult Classics Catherine Gee Debate Bethany Whiteside Digital Simeon Rosser-Trokas Fashion Perri Lewis Features Emma Langley, Hannah Perry Film Craig Driver, Alan Woolley, Catherine Gee Food Mari Ropstad Gay Ian Loynd Going Out Dave Adams Interviews Will Dean, Xandria Horton Mr Chuffy Himself Music Sam Coare, Jon Davies One Trick Pony Geordie Chris, Chris “Astro” Bowden Photography Luke Pavey, Adam Gasson Travel Sarah Cummins, Laura Tovey Contributors John Tuscany, Yan Wu, Ellie Power, Richard Lilly, Robert Sharples, Ali Gratton, Clare Nester, Charlotte Howells, Anita Bhagwandas, James Woodroof, David Sutheran, Jadine Wringe, Nik Thakkar, Gage Falsht, David Ford, Katie Brunt, Will Shmit, Dave Jennings, Gareth Paisey, Tom Scott, Adam Walton, Peter Brown, Elgan Iowerth, Mike Hyde, James Perou, Colm Loughlin, Alex Burton, Adam Wilkinson, Sam Mills, Caleb Woodridge, Bren Coopey, Ailsa Chalk, Alexandra Fry, Ewen Hosie, Natalia Kekic, Matthew Turtle, James Deshays, Leah Hefferman, Leanne Wilcox, Stephen H. Crofts Photographers and illustrators James Perou, Gemma Green, Jim Sefton Proof readers Chris White, Ailsa Chalk, Alys Southwood Cover design Will Talmage Thoughts of the week: What a stonking issue; Quench Editor AWOL - suspected dead; ding-dong - it’s Ramones o’clock; Willy - “I do like a good tidy”; Perri - “This is utter gash”.

Quench 07 03 05

3

QED When I was little, I watched a Guns N Roses concert. Axl Rose wore a t-shirt that read - ‘Kill Your Idols’. I’ve come to believe this is an unnecessary imperative, since my idols keep killing themselves. Specifically, they keep shooting themselves in the head. From the instant I laid eyes (and ears) on him, I was in love with Kurt Cobain. As a socially inept child, I felt a kindred spirit giving voice to the fact that I didn’t really like life, or other people. More often than not, the feeling appeared to be mutual, reinforcing negative thought patterns and behaviour. Two years into my fandom, long enough for it to be verging on the obsessive, Kurt Cobain shot himself at his Seattle home. His suicide was announced to the world on April 8, 1994. My fourteenth birthday. Cue violent shove into obsessive. The feelings which followed have been described by everyone when referring to grumpy teenagers and/or Kurt’s condition as “angst”. Grunge even made this malaise ‘cool’ for a while, and made Nirvana a tired cliché. My GP likes to call the condition “bipolar disorder”, but then, Doctors like putting things in clearly marked boxes with funny labels. It took a while to find another idol, not so much to replace Kurt, but perhaps stand beside him as someone a little less self-destructive. After studying media and journalism for a while, Gonzo journalism, and its creator, Hunter S. Thompson were discovered. Not wanting to do things by halves, this was just what was needed to turn another fandom into an obsession. My journalism fixation was barrelling along rather nicely, until Hunter administered his own ‘final solution’ on February 20 2005. Fuck poncey dedications - This modest publication is ne’er fit to be uttered in the same breath as the canons of the people listed above. And fuck anyone who believes that someone who decided to take his own life is an unfit role-model. Teenage angst has paid off well / Now I’m bored and old.


( L e g e n d )

M

any people in Britain today seem to feel that the Royal Family are redundant. If you’re one of them, this bit is for you. So you’d like to see the Royal Family abolished - particularly now the fit one’s dead? To you I say: sit back and relax, we have a weapon more powerful within the Royal Family than anything we can bring to bear from without - a nuclear (family) weapon if you will. That weapon is The Queen. Seen publicly with an exponentially decreasing frequency, this weapon of monarchal destruction can more frequently be seen breaking apart the reputation of the royal family using her secondary armament - a DOE, or Duke of

One Trick Pony

05

Edinburgh. This weapon alone is capable of doing serious damage; used primarily in the skirmishing role, he is deployed in front of large units of the free press and is then allowed to fire hugely damaging soundbites at them - most memorably: “It looks like an Indian’s done it.” The Queen, herself, is a psychological weapon deployed with great cunning to create huge gashes in the fabric of high society. Her most recent deployment is in the role of a motherin-law-to-be which she has taken to well. After just a few short weeks of system callibration, she has delivered her first payload. It went something like this: “You’re going to MARRY her? Well I’m not going to the wedding.” Keep up the good work.

HRH Queen Elizabeth II

QUEEN: poker-faced

( T o s s e r )

A

s someone whose education revolved chiefly around singing the school hymn very loud and really looking forward to house rugby, I was delighted to see the sportsmanly attitude adopted by Steven Gerrard during Sunday’s Carling Cup Final betwixt Liverpool and Chelsea. After a corking goal from someone who’s name I cannot pronounce though know to be spelt Riise - just bugger all seconds into the game, Liverpool went one nil up. It was at this moment that Steven thought ‘smashing!’. This thought was accompanied by a long forgotten memory from his own public school education: Steven was thinking about the House rugby final he played in when he was in upper-fifth. Aldworth

(Steven’s own house) had won - but he remembered what the head-master had said afterwards: “Well done to both teams, you have represented your respective houses admirably. However - this fantastic win has been marred by a less than sporting attitude adopted by Aldworth and their shameless trouncing of the opposition is unworthy of them - take a lesson from this gentlemen.” Back in the Millenium stadium, Steven did. After approximately seventy minutes of play, this niggling memory flooded his brain (a quick process); he knew what he had to do. He saw his chance - a freekick from the halfway line, and in a moment of sheer public school genius he’d levelled the score-line. Tit.

Steven Gerrard "Trashbat is like two people jumping from the twin towers...only fucking on the way down. " – Nathan Barley

final thoughts (...)

Oooh

"Stairwell nonce-bashing?" “He’ll not make it to the stairs” – The OTP team on Michael Jackson’s possible future in prison


06

Debate

The Cornish... are these Celts a race?

AGAINST

FOR Bethany Whiteside

T

he following definition of race comes from Collins Essential English Dictionary (very posh) so it must be correct: “ a group of people of common ancestry with distinguishing physical features, such as skin colour or build.” Ok, “distinguishing physical features” may be going a little far, but there is no doubt that the Cornish share a common ancestry. Descendents are directly related to the first Celts who inhabited this land; legend has it from St. Piran himself. Races are distinguished by their culture, language, myths and legends: all reflected by the true Cornish. Cornish is a language and, together with Welsh and Gaelic, is officially recognised by the European Charter. Secondly, people speak of ‘the Cornish’, subconciously acknowledging their separate existence from the English. Thirdly, they are pretty famous; everyone with thinking and memory capacity has heard of this group of people. Fourthly, although not a thing to be proud of, the inbred nature of many families and villages only adds to the argument. A natural suspicion of outsiders exists; it is better to marry your own. Cornwall is a land chock-full of cultures: food being an obvious example. Cream teas and pasties are known throughout the UK as a Cornish invention. Miners would take the latter underground for their lunch, holding onto the crust with their fingers so as not to poison themselves with gunpowder dust. Like all races, the Cornish are full of zany facts. Other, more noteworthy inventions were pioneered by Richard Trevithick and William Murdoch, resulting in the locomotive and miners safety lamp respectively. The former led to the creation of railways and the latter saved many lives. Every race rejoices in having a reason to feel pride. The argument in favour of the Cornish as a race is endless; they existed as a race before the English, they have their own flag, their own saint and are sufficiently recognised as a race to campaign for separation from England. As a Celtic neighbour, I hope the Welsh will have a little sympathy, if only because the Cornish introduced them to rugby. Kernow Bys Vyken: Cornwall Forever!

I

John Tuscany

have a friend who violently defends her home county of Cornwall. To her it’s prettier than every other county, the people are nicer and Prince Harry holidays there. In fact, she wishes that a seismic shift would sever her home from the isle of England so it could drift off into the sunset, the sovereign state of Cornland peopled by the race of the Cornish. It is this definition of the Cornish as a race that I have trouble with. Many of the Cornish I know adamantly insist that they are separate from the rest of Great Britain, reinforcing the ‘us versus them’ mentality. But what is so great about being a separate race? The dictionary defines a race as a collection of people sharing “a common ancestry with distinguishing physical features.” If the Cornish have distinguishing physical features it’s only a few extra fingers and toes because their ancestry is shared a little too frequently. However, to belong to a race is not just about features. The English race is made up of a wide range of skin colours, accents and traditions; we are culturally rich. If the Cornish want to claim a separate cultural identity then I have no issue with them, but races are jingoistic. You can still keep your identity without having to separate yourself from your neighbour. What insecurity exists in the Cornish pysche that makes them feel they need to distinguish themselves in this way? Do they feel belittled because the only things they have contributed to the world are teashops and chopped up meat in a crust? Different cultures in one nation can work together; they can feed each other with their different cultural values. However, an insistence on forming races pulls us apart and back into an era of tribalism. Would the Cornish insist on kicking anyone non-Cornish out of Cornland? Further alienation from cultural variety can only serve to strengthen the bigotry and ignorance rife in these incestuous communities, or areas significantly populated by the white, second-home owning family. And anyway, I have it on good authority that Devon’s better.


Mr Chuffy

burnhim@quench.com

Quench 07 03 05

07

Mr Chuffy Investigates...

C

That Elitist, Evil, Bloodthirsty, Savage and Bloodthirsty Murder of those pretty little ginger dogs colloquially termed Fox Hunting

RIME! We all fear the statistical probability of potentially becoming a probable victim. Cries of ‘don’t bum rape me’ are rife, echoing around our nation’s towns and cities every single night. But now there is a new crime aboard the good ship Albion which threatens to weave the fabric of society into a squalid pair of crotchless knickers - the ancient tradition of the fox hunting tradition. Huntsmen and The Fox have existed in blissful harmony for centuries, with the relationship marred only occasionally through ritualistic slaughter. However, throughout the 20th Century hygiene-disadvantaged hunt protesters have sought to disrupt this delicate ecological equilibrium. Initial attempts by protesters to glue themselves to the fox proved unsuccessful, as they often fell off. The recent introduction of a ginger bracelet depicting the slogan ‘Make hunting history and ban game shooting, badger baiting, pigeon punching, monkey teasing, squirrel felching and whale smelling’ was deemed equally ineffectual due to the writing being really small. The ban appeared even more improbable in the mid-1990s with popularity for the sport soaring following revelations that the fox species was the result of a boozefuelled romp between media giant Chris Evans and a Springer Spaniel. The preference for quadropedal bedfellows was rumoured to trigger the marital breakdown between bespeckled Evans and teenage pop prodigy, Billie Piper. The legislative, however, were faced with little alternative following the Yuletide hunting of radio disc jockey and TV prat Dr Fox. Following a misunderstanding, thought to centre upon the DJ’s name, 25 hounds with five

horsed huntsmen in tow, scoured central London in seek of the good doctor. Following a tip off from an aggrieved former chimney sweep, the hunt entered Leicester Square narrowly avoiding a class of school children looking at whores. The pack of crazed hounds then laid siege upon the home of Capital Radio. Screams were heard from within, followed ominously by the sound of teeth on flesh. And then, one by one, the hounds departed; some carried limbs, others had vital internal organs. Onlooker and American tourist Armitage Shanks was fortunate enough to claim a pancreatic duct as a souvenir of the event. Overjoyed, Shanks described the scene as ‘a delightfully quintessential English spectacle’. Hunt organisers expressed the mistaken identity as ‘regrettable’. The national outcry however was predictably hysterical and disproportionate. Within days of the killing, the cry had gone from ‘tally-ho’ to ‘tally-no’ with the introduction of legislation prohibiting hunting with hounds. The ban was met with mixed emotions, with anti-hunt silly-head Swampy Puddleguff rejoicing, exclaiming from his tree top hovel that ‘foxes are people too’. However, the pro-hunt lobby argued that their ancient pass time had been grossly misrepresented. Hunt organiser Tarquin Bartholomew Widdle-Squit III told Quench of their love of the fox. “The purpose is not to inflict pain upon the

Buckaroo

animal”, Widdle-Squit said while fellating a fox. “Rather, it is an elaborate game of kiss chase. As with any passionate expression of desire, sometimes things can get a little out of hand.”

Pop idle The anti-hunting legislation, however, is riddled with idiosyncratic loopholes, allowing for the continuation of the sport. Only last weekend, comedian Eddie Izzard narrowly avoided a drag hunt through boarding a mobile vasectomy clinic. Section 47(c) of the legislation permits the hunting of foxes with swans. Swans are vicious little buggers, capable of killing a fox with their powerful wings. The Queen, who owns all the swans in the world, threatened the refusal of Royal Assent if the clause was not included. A spokesperson for Queen Elizabeth l said: “the Monarch does not possess male reproductive organs”. The debate threatens to divide an already divided nation. A commemorative sonnet depicting these turbulent times, penned by poet laureate Ted Kooser, was scrapped when Kooser provocatively used ‘fox’ and ‘cocks’ as rhyming couplets. As Quench went to press, civil war between town and country was looming heavily upon the bloodstained horizon. Unsubstantiated reports have emerged from Northumberland that Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott had been combine-harvested by Country Folk angered by the ban. Military experts believe that celebrity fox and hunt enthusiast Basil Brush could be extremely influential to the outcome of any military campaign. Brush, who has yet to formally take sides, predicts a bloody and widow-making combat campaign, prophesising ‘boom boom’.


08

Features

features@gairrhydd.com

Quench 07 03 05

Cutting It Cultural custom or barbaric practice? Perri Lewis investigates female circumcision

T

o many women, Dr Foldes is a saviour. Every year he helps around 200 women overcome the effects of genital mutilation by reconstructing their external genitalia using pioneering methods. He refuses to charge for the operations because he believes his work is rectifying one of the world’s greatest injustices: “Victims shouldn’t pay for the crimes against them. These women have already paid a huge price.” After the two-hour operation in a hospital just outside Paris, one of his clients describes herself as feeling ‘whole again’. While it will be about four months before she will feel any sensation, the physical change has already had a significant psychological effect on her: “I feel so happy now. I can be with my husband like all women are with their men. I feel things I never felt before and I am not in pain. I am feeling like a real woman.” This woman is not alone in her suffering. She is just one of the 100-140 million women that the World Health Organisation estimates has undergone some kind of genital mutilation. They believe that, even in today’s society, around two million are still at risk

from having the practice inflicted upon them. Female genital mutilation (FGM) can include partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or any other injury to the female genital organs. Many presuppose that this barbaric act is only practiced in remote, largely ‘uncivilised’ areas of the world. But it is shocking to discover that FGM is prevalent in many modern societies, principally in parts of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. It is also increasingly found in Europe, Australia, Canada and the USA, primarily among immigrants. In Egypt, a massive 97% of married women aged 15-49 have been subjected to FGM. Such an alarmingly high number is primarily due to a lack of legislation against the practice. While many countries, including Britain, Canada and Switzerland have outlawed it, the Egyptian government have found it almost impossible to enforce a ban. Although a sanction on FGM was passed in July 1996, just a year later it was overturned by an Egyptian court who accepted the argument that the ruling had violated the legal rights of the medical profession. At present, the legislation forbids FGM unless it is deemed necessary for health rea-

sons. However, the press have hinted that there may be corruption in the system, whereby doctors abandon their professional knowledge in favour of personal opinion. One Egyptian newspaper quoted a pro-FGM gynaecologist as saying with a smile: “I’m a university professor and I can decide whether a patient needs to be reduced or not. I will do it for medical reasons.” It is quite clear that law cannot always prevent the practice of FGM, also known as female circumcision. It has actually been suggested that legislation against it may put more women at risk: illegal operations tend to be conducted in secret, usually under less hygienic conditions. Internationally-renowned model, Waris Dirie, agrees with this: “Laws will not really make the difference… you really have to change the social norm.” As a child of four, Dirie was circumcised by her mother with a dirty razor; she remembers it only as ‘that horror’. As her career took off she used her fame to raise awareness of FGM. After writing a autobiography of her experiences, the UN Population Fund


(UNFPA) named Dirie as its special ambassador on FGM. Her quest is partly fuelled by the memory of her sister, who died because of FGM. The World Health Organisation estimates that thousands of deaths are caused every year by infections, haemorrhaging or during childbirth as a result of such mutilation. The effects of circumcision depends on the extent of the mutilation, but usual consequences include difficulty in passing urine, urine retention, menstrual complications, vulvar abscesses, obstetric complications, urinary tract infections, chronic pelvic infection, and low fertility or sterility and sexual dysfunction.

She was circumcised by her mother with a dirty razor There are also serious implications for womens’ psychosexual and psychological health; many have feelings of incompleteness, anxiety and depression, which seem to manifest themselves in later life when the severity of the incident dawns on them. Despite the clear risks of FGM, women are led to believe that the removal of their external genital organs will prevent AIDS and promote fertility. Such myths are even legitimised by some members of the medical profession. Dr Saed Thabet, a professor of gynaecology, believes

Features 09

that ‘uncircumcised girls… are more liable to infections and cancers.’ Female circumcision is often justified on religious grounds. It is thought that the Prophet Mohammed once showed a woman how to perform female circumcision properly. However, one of the biggest misconceptions of FGM is that it is an Islamic practice. Many Muslims believe that FGM is essentially unIslamic because the removal of the clitoris, an extremely sensitive erogenous zone, prevents a husband from fulfilling his wife’s sexual desire. This requirement is quite clearly stated in the Qu’ran. It seems that mutilation is largely down to cultural tradition rather than religious instruction. The limitation of sexual desire is often another reason why the Speaking out: U.N embassador and exprevalence of FGM is so high. The removal of the external geni- supermodel Waris Dirie tal organs is thought to preserve that the norm for female circumcision a woman’s chastity, making them will continue until women are granted more desirable partners. Circumcising equal status around the world: cultures, usually socialise members “Tradition is man-made, unfortunatewith the belief that only circumcised ly.” women make good wives. Often the Many believe that circumcision is female relatives of the groom inspect necessary to make a child a real male the bride’s genitals before the cereor female. Cultural norms and gender mony takes place. It is often the fear stereotypes dictate that men have to of rendering their daughters unsuitbe ‘hard’ and women have to be able for marriage which prevents par‘soft’. By removing the clitoris, the ents from abstaining from the praconly ‘hard’ part of female genitalia, it tice. is believed that a child will become It is motivations like these which truly female. have caused many to view FGM as a Despite the wide range of motivatool of gender oppression. It seems tions for FGM, it is likely that very few that women are forced to suffer the of us can comprehend the reasoning health risks associated with the pracbehind the practice. However, some tice simply to align with patriarchal believe that criticisms of FGM stem cultural expectations. Dirie believes from a lack of understanding rather than an opposition to the practice. Dr Adeline Apena, of Russel Sage College, argues that FGM is discussed so negatively because of the use of Western cultural perspectives to assess the practice. Dr Yahia Oun Alla, a Sudanese psychiatrist says: “To the girls here, circumcision does not mean taking away part of their bodies. It is a normal occurrence that happens to everyone.” We may never know whether support for FGM is derived from real personal opinion or because so many women and men worldwide have been socialised to favour it. What is apparent, however, is that around 200 women leave Dr Foldes’s French office every year feeling like a little piece of their humanity and femininity has been restored.

Women protesting against FGM in Kenya


10 Features

Brian Wilson

His praises may have been sung before, but he’s still Kerry-Lynne Doyle’s hero

T

wo-thousand and five has been a good year for Brian Wilson. In the few months that have passed, he has already won his first Grammy and been named MUSICARES 2005 Person of the Year. After over 40 years in the music industry it seems that Wilson is finally, getting the recognition he deserves. Born in 1942 in Hawthorne, California, Wilson had a gift for music from a young age. Influenced by The Four Freshman, he experimented vocally, with Jazz harmonies, and on the piano, encouraging his brothers to join in. These early experiments were the genesis for the The Beach Boys’ internationally recognisable harmonies. When Brian was 19, The Beach Boys recorded their first hit, Surfin’, at his home. The record became a hit on the local music scene and soon came to the attention of Capitol Records. Armed with a record deal, The Beach Boys were on their way. After a succession of hits, the band’s busy touring schedule took its toll. Wilson stopped touring with the band in 1964, preferring to focus on writing and producing their music. By this point the band’s happy-go-lucky surf anthems had become their trademark even though Wilson had never surfed due to his fear of water. By 1966, Wilson was a respected producer and had started work on Pet Sounds, the album which Paul McCartney cited as the inspiration for Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band. Pet Sounds is filled with classics such as Wouldn’t it be Nice? and Sloop John B. Although now critically acclaimed, on its release, sales of the album were disappointing. This added to the immense strain and emotional exhaustion that would haunt Wilson for many years of his life. Soon after Pet Sounds, Brian set to work on Smile but was left frustrated with his work. Instead, The Beach Boys released Smiley Smile in 1967, a mixture of work from both

Smile and Pet Sounds, which included the seminal Good Vibrations. Wilson was left physically exhausted and emotionally strained. He delved into drugs and had such a severe nervous breakdown that he stayed in bed for a year. What had started as experimentation with LSD, became a life-threatening addiction. Speaking about his addiction in I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times – Brian Wilson and the Making of Pet Sounds, Brian explains: “It shattered my mind, and I came back, thank God, in I don’t know how many pieces.” Brian was so suffocated by his drug problem that it was not until 1988 that he released his first solo album. Although the album received critical acclaim, it did not fare too well commercially Brian spent ten years collaborating with different artists and penning new tracks for The Beach Boys to perform on tour, until he released 1998’s Imagination. The album marked Wilson’s return and he has subsequently toured to sell-out audiences across the world. With the re-release of Smile earning him a Grammy it seems that Wilson

really has started to win the acclaim he has always deserved. The eleventh track on Pet Sounds, I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times has often been used to describe Wilson and his genius. Writing in the era of The Beatles, it is easy to see why his talent may have been overshadowed. Yet his superb ability to layer instruments and vocal lines alongside undeniably brilliant songwriting should not be ignored or forgotten. His genius crafted and encapsulated the sound of America in the sixties. To me, Brian Wilson simply is music.

BRIAN WILSON: “I’m not called Elton. Or am I?”


Crouching tiger, Features crowing rooster

11

Yan Wu writes about how Cardiff University’s Chinese community saw in the year of the rooster

D

ong Qiang, Dong Qiang. With the bustling beats of gong and drum, the traditional Lion Dancing started Cardiff University’s night of Chinese New Year celebrations. The bright yellow, golden, and green colour of the lion outfit, the performers’ black martial arts suits and the red lanterns hanging in the background immediately filled Solus with an air of oriental festival. February 9 marked the Chinese New Year of the Rooster. The celebration, held by Cardiff University’s Chinese community, took place on the following Sunday night. More than 300 audience-members and dozens of performers came from far and wide. This year’s party boasted a huge variety of performances which included much audience participation. Chinese dances, songs, Pipa (a traditional Chinese musical instrument) performance and a traditional costume show, successfully caught a lot of attention and won enthusiastic applause from the audience. Meanwhile, Slovakian dancing and an emerging local Welsh band also became highlights of the night. Much like Christmas in Western countries, the Chinese New Year (or the Spring Festival) is usually celebrated by family reunification. However, it

seems that this year the Chinese community opened up even more warmly to welcome all ethnic groups joining their big ‘family’ celebration. Chao, a 3rd-year Computer Science undergraduate, brought five housemates along. He claimed that he didn’t feel homesick at all and was having much more fun celebrating New Year with friends here. Lola and Ning, Business School undergraduates who appeared in the fashion show, told me that, interestingly enough, the traditional Chinese costumes they wore tonight were borrowed from their very supportive British flatmates. The British performers and audience-members also shared this feeling of festivity. Tim Brett, a Lion Dancing performer, was really proud to show off Lion Dancing as a gem of ‘cultural tradition from South China’ to an audience in South Wales. To him, Lion Dancing is not a pantomime show; years of practice in martial arts made him ‘appreciate the meaning’ behind this oriental cultural ritual. The Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA), which has more than 600 members in Cardiff, hosted this multicultural event. The Chinese Embassy and the Welsh Development Agency financed the event, in an

FASHION SHOW: celebrating all aspects of Eastern culture

MICHAEL JACKSON: Chinese style effort to promote Chinese sub-culture. Apart from the atmosphere of ‘happy gathering’, something goes beyond the stage. Part of the ticket sales for this year's event will go to the Tsunami relief fund. Jin Zhang, the Association's Executive Chairperson, said: “We want to express the Chinese community's concerns for those who lost their families and property during this disaster and send our sympathy and warm wishes in the New Year.” The Chinese New Year is not just celebrated by the Chinese community in the UK, but also by the people from Japan, Korea, Vietnam and other south East Asian communities.


I n t e r v i e w s

Quench 07 03 05

13

WILLY MASON: Not a pie fan

H a r d hand to hold Willy Dean meets fellow Willy and unlikely Radio 1 favourite, Willy Mason, to talk about girls and pies At this moment in time, Willy’s ‘band’ consists of him and his 16year-old younger brother Sam who, as well as helping Willy with guitar duties, designs the artwork for his records and T-shirts. "He did all the inside artwork, actually I just went in his room and stole all his post-it notes. In fact, the cover for Oxygen [Willy’s ubiquitous single] was one of the first ones I stole."

Negative. Speaking of cheese, a good looking young rock star must have the lion’s choice of young female admirers. "I thought that it was an easy way to meet girls, but I like close friends. It’s better to keep it clean, in more ways than one." In Still A Fly, Willy sings that you shouldn’t ‘Read Dostoevsky at your age’. Pray tell Mr. Mason, what age can one read, say, Crime and Punishment? "Uh. (Long pause) Good question." That got him. Despite the success of Oxygen, he isn’t an icon just yet. "I was selling Tshirts after a gig and someone asked me if Willy was going to be coming out. Someone else asked me if they could have a Willy Dixon CD. ‘Er, sorry I didn’t bring any with me, heh heh.’ The only time I’ve been recognized over here was when I was buying a crepe." Crepes eh? Bet he won’t be having any more meat pies from the North-West though.

W

illy mason is unwell. No, really. Some bad choices at a Manchester chip shop ("That’s what you guys call ‘em right?") has left the 20-year-old Martha’s Vineyard native and his tour manager Paul a little worse for wear. Championed by the likes of Jo Whiley, Willy was back in the UK for a tour that sold out faster than you can say ‘booking fee’. After some heavy Radio 1 airplay and the staggered release of his debut album, Where The Humans Eat, this tour has been a little different from others where he has supported the likes of the 2220s. "People know the songs, so it’s not as much of a surprise to them" Any lighter waving action yet? "Heh heh heh, no not yet.” Looking slightly dishevelled after months of relentless touring, Willy cuts a lonely figure in the tiny dressing room of the Barfly. Surely he must be looking forward to making the step up to bigger, more homely venues. "Erm, I don’t think I am really. The small gigs are the best usually, but when I get a band it will probably be a lot different. Even then I prefer it when it’s just everyone hanging out and you can see everybody"

I just went into his room and stole all his post-it notes

Like the all-conquering (well, UK conquering) Scissor Sisters, Willy enjoys relative anonymity in his home climes, "I’ve sold less than a thousand records over there. It’s cool though, it’s good for me. I like catching people by surprise." It’s at this point that our interview is briefly interrupted by Willy and Paul smelling the cheese in the fridge to ‘see if it’s still good’. The conclusion?

Where the Humans Eat is out now. Willy Mason tours the UK in April.


14

Interview

Clyro come clean BIFFY CLYRO: Celtic Boys

Before their Cardiff gig, Ellie Power caught up with Biffy Clyro, which is a really weird name.... harmonies throughout in a style more commonly associated with the inside of a cloister. This was a far cry from more raucous tracks such as Glitter and Trauma and Some kind of Wizard. They display obvious talent, which seems set to soon pay off.

to himself about holding a united front against the English. So how did the band form? "We all came from a similar area so we hooked up, started playing Nirvana songs and shit like that". However, success doesn't mean everything to the group. The group abide by the motto that "we'd be doing it whether we were in Cardiff today or not. At home we'd still be making music". For such a talented group, it's easy to imagine that the boys have rivals in the industry. However, they don't feel that's the case. The band are also quick to praise support bands Hell is for Heroes and Ghostride, remarking, "to get them out and watch them play every night, it's fantastic". So what plans do Biffy Clyro have for the future? "More of the same. We're going to America next month and to Europe straight after this. We just want to tour everywhere a bit more".

I

n this day and age of instant fame from reality shows such as XFactor and Fame Academy, it's nice to see a band progress to fame the old fashioned way. Biffy Clyro, consisting of Simon Neil and twin brothers Ben and James Johnston, first came together in the mid '90s. After being spotted in the unsigned tent at T in the Park, Biffy Clyro signed with Beggars Banquet in 2000. They've toured piously since and are currently undergoing a ten-date tour of the UK. So what of the odd moniker? "We wanted a name where you didn't really know what kind of music we were gonna play when you heard it." So it doesn't actually mean anything then? "No. Even to this day people ask about it, so I suppose in that sense it was a good choice. I know a lot of people probably think it's a shit name." It's hard not to instantly warm to their enthusiastic banter, lilted in soft, brogue Scottish. Another surprise came prior to the interview; I was fortunate enough to hear the band practicing There's No Such Man as Crasp. The trio sang in perfect

We wanted a name where you didn't really know what music we were gonna play when you heard it

Although the band are firmly rooted in their Scottish heritage, Biffy Clyro have many links with Wales. For instance, their first tour manager was Welsh, they recorded their recent album in Wales (in only one day), they've toured with Welsh bands People in Planes and Jarcrew, and the only place they've played more than Cardiff is Glasgow. When I ask how they feel about playing for a Welsh audience, Simon tells me that they have ‘an affiliation with Wales’. This is followed by Ben, who mutters

www.biffyclyro.com


Do not Fret

Interview 15

Xandria Horton talks to rising northern songsmith Steven Fretwell about his new album and The Magical Mystery Tour

STEPHEN FRETWELL: “For those about to rock” myself sound like Damien Rice". He shrugs, "Maybe I don’t know. I just don’t really understand what Damien Rice is singing about. Stones teaching him how to run and to fly, running down halls like cannonballs. It’s just lazy song writing" he jokes.

I just don’t really understand what Damien Rice is singing about. Stones teaching him how to run how to fly, running down halls like cannonballs. It’s just lazy songwriting

I

finally manage to get my interview with Steven Fretwell, sitting in his tourbus outside Barfly (he got it from friends and fellow musicians Doves when they upgraded; before that he and his band slept in a van) before his gig Thursday evening. Considering that the movement of the bus had kept him up until 5am that morning, the cold weather had given him chapped lips and he was woken up at 10am to do a promotion for BBC Wales, he doesn’t act the diva and is a perfect host. He offers me a drink - repeatedly - and if I want a cigarette. “Do you mind if I smoke?”, he asks. Not at all. So a busy day then? An acoustic set on Red Dragon FM, among other things. Apparently commercial radio is ‘weird’. "They always ask you what your favourite colour is, y’know?" he smiles. Of course then I have to ask. Apparently it’s red and black. Almost everything I’d read on the internet has identified him as being 23, originally from Scunthorpe, and many have likened him musically to Damien Rice. How does he feel about the comparison? "Do you see the connection?" he asks quizzically. "See, it’s not my place to slag anyone off, but I didn’t set about trying to make

importance of being able to get your thoughts out there in music form. "It’s handy now that if someone pisses you off you can write a song and piss them off by getting it released - which is a glorious situation to be in." So what is happening at the moment? “Well, after this we’re off on tour with Athlete. Five days in the UK and then a European tour." So how strange is it to be promoting a debut album? He looks slightly uncomfortable. He shrugs. "I dunno, it’s kind of weird. It felt a very natural thing to do as I’ve been doing music for so long, but it was nice that it got like, critically acclaimed, y’know a lot of magazines that I’ve read for years, as a reader, so it’s quite flattering." He makes it seem so simple. Is it really that easy? “Well, its a performance, it’s like in the theatre, you have to be sure that the wires, the strings, don’t show to the audience,” he explains. “It may look like it’s all polished and easy, but there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes, not just me but the band and crew.” So, hypothetically speaking, if he could collaborate with any artist, who would it be? "Probably Ivor Cutler" Fretwell muses. “He’s a poet, really good. He plays instruments to his poetry and he played Buster Bloodvessel in the Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour film. He’s the guy in the front who never speaks, who goes out with the fat girl who eats lots of spaghetti." He laughs. Have you seen it? I admit that I have not, but vow to do so. So with all the touring, when is he going to take a break? He has plans of getting away somewhere in early March, but nowhere ‘far’. Maybe like Vienna. It takes me a moment. Not far? What is ‘far’? “I thought you meant…" I start. "Rhyll?" he prompts. Rhyll indeed. On his recommendation I stayed around for the gig. For a really nice guy, his music was pretty impressive too. Here’s one to watch out for. The single, Run and album, Magpie are both on sale now.

So, sticking exclusively to his subject matter, who is Emily [one of the tracks from Magpie]? "Erm, a lot of people ask that question. It was just something that came into my head" he says elusively. "Like a story?" I prompt. "Like a story yeah. She might have been someone, I don’t know." Glad we cleared that one up. Not that he underestimates the


16 T r a v e l

travel@gairrhydd.com

Quench 07 03 05

Pharoah-nuff

Two weeks of temples, pyramids and diving. Richard Lilly tells us his story

T

he frantic pace and heat of Cairo are the first things that strike you on arriving in this ancient city. The city has grown much in recent years and can seem a little overwhelming at first, but if you take time to explore some backstreets and the old town, then Cairo’s long history and charm are easy to find. We only had two weeks in Egypt and were eager to see as much of the country as possible. I’d booked our first nights accommodation over the internet at the very reasonable 50 Egyptian pounds (EGP) per night (currently around 12 EGP to the British pound). The hotel owner greeted us with sweet tea, coffee and local snacks and helped us plan our trip down the Nile. The next day we jumped into a waiting taxi which sped us through the torrid city traffic to

Hieroglyphics: draw like an Egyptian Giza. The first sight of the pyramids takes your breath away; they really are staggering. Once into the world’s number one heritage site, you can wander at ease through the hundreds of acres of monuments and tombs. For a small tip, (‘baksheesh’, a word you become very familiar with) you can go down inside many of the smaller tombs, which is not only fascinating, but is a welcome relief from the heat of the sun. The following day we toured around Cairo visiting the old Islamic quarter, markets (‘souks’) and spent a few hours wandering around the fabulously ramshackle Egyptian Museum. It is fair to say that you could easily spend a week in the museum and still not see everything. After a fascinating few days in Cairo, we took the overnight train

south to Aswan, the site of the largest dam in Africa and a starting point for trips north up the Nile and south into the heart of Africa. At this point, the Nile is only a few hundred metres wide and is crammed in places with huge cruise-ships chugging up and down with Euro-pop blaring from their sun-decks. Away from the river, the town is small enough to be explored in a day and when the sun goes down the night market comes alive. Crafts and spices from all over Africa are rammed in together with the ubiquitous papyrus salesmen, all with the sweet smell of apple-tobacco wafting from the tea rooms. From Aswan, we had planned to take a felucca trip up the Nile to


Travel Luxor. Feluccas are the traditional Nile boat and have a single large sail, the silhouette of which is one of the iconic images of Egypt. Over the three lazy days it takes to travel to Luxor you can just lie back, relax and take in the sights. Watching the moon rise over the Nile on a perfectly still night is a view I will long remember. On the journey, you can stop at a number of famous riverside temples, such as Kom Ombo and Edfu, or just stare in wonder at the inhospitable desert which flanks the thin corridor of fertile land on either bank. When you arrive in Luxor, the most impressive temple is the Karnak, with its towering 20-metre columns and obelisks. Everywhere you look the walls are covered in hieroglyphics and carvings of imposing statues and idols. Close by the famous tomb of Tutankhamen and other pharaohs can be found. The Valley of the Kings is a ‘must-see’, but be advised that it is best to go early or late in the day as the mid-day coach-loads of tourists and their ‘follow-the-flag’ guides make the place more like a zoo than a globally important historic site. After a week or so of visiting tombs and sacred sites, you become a little ‘templed-out’. A great way to relieve the historical-overload is to hire a bike and go for a gentle cycle through the farmland on the west-bank of the Nile. These fertile plains and their farming methods have changed little in three Sphinx: do not disturb

thousand years and it is easy to imagine life here when the temples and tombs were still young. Tourism has brought much needed cash to Egypt’s economy and the benefits cannot be underestimated. However, the huge numbers of visitors (seven million visited in 2004, and the numbers are increasing every year) have brought with them some problems. While crime is very low compared to other parts of Africa, some of Egypt’s more slippery customers have come up with multiple scams to fleece tourists of their money. Combine this with the constant clamour of traders and touts desperate for access to the tourist’s cash and you have a situation where it is easy to feel a little uneasy at times. As soon as you are away from the more touristy areas however, the pace of life slows down and you can be free to enjoy this captivating country. After so much history and desert, we fancied a change so decided to head to the Sinai Peninsular. The overnight bus journey is one I’d rather forget, but once there the view of the mountains of Saudi Arabia across the perfect blue of the Gulf of Aqaba are well worth it. The area has some of the best diving in the world and is also one of the cheapest places to get your PADI certificate. Dahab got a reputation for being a great place to chill out in the 70s and

17

Felucca: traditional nile boats

80s and still has a very relaxed vibe compared to the hustle and bustle of some of the other Red Sea resortowns like Sharm-El-Sheikh. Accommodation in this pretty seafront town is plentiful and, as with every purchase in Egypt, be sure to haggle for your room; sea-view rooms can be found for £2. All hotels offer snorkel hire and the underwater delights start just as soon as you get in the warm water, with schools of colourful fish swimming all around you. The ‘Blue Hole’ is a particularly good local dive site that is easy to get to and offers excellent underwater treats. After a long day in the water, there are plenty of nice, inexpensive restaurants on the seafront serving excellent seafood. Egypt has a lot to offer the tourist, from the ancient temples and pyramids of the Nile to the inviting crystalclear waters of the Red Sea. With the exchange rate heavily in our favour at the moment, it is a great place for a holiday and an unforgettable experience of Arabia. Flights to Cairo cost around £250 return and accommodation can be from as little as £3 per night. Bargain.


Excess Baggage Battle of The Home Towns: Manchester

Best club: 42nd Stree t. It may be a rubbish indie disco but 60p Heinekens to strains of The Stone Ro ses cer tainly helps. Worst bar: Any on Deansgate. Although Ba r Med recently took the hint and disappeared.

Will Dean Second Year Journalism an Interviews and TV edito d r Manchester in three wo rds Grey, football, scallies. Best bar: Cord, tucked away in a backstreet in the trendy Northern Quarter. It ser ves the best toasties and the walls are covered in cor duroy. Which is nice.

Worst club: The Sugar Lounge. Some punters may say ‘exclusive’. Others (me) would say rubbish. A for me haunt of Mr D. Beckham r . Need I say more? Must Do: Watch Manch est City, Visit URBIS: the mu er seum of modern living and watch the big footie matches on the big scr een outside The Triangle.

holidays at last! Two rilliant, it’s the school for me, no lessons to UK the weeks back in lFrench sports fans cal prepare and no more It’s .’ loo ter Wa revenge for ze ing a lucky match ‘our le discover a lifelong com op pe ny ma w ho amazing us. n as they beat mitment to rugby as soo all about the joys of leavis ard stc po s ek’ This we five led home for the past ing the place we’ve cal l tifu au be a e, lov to come but months. It’s a city I’ve rs, yea for going back to place that I know I’ll be For ge. na ma ver ne it’ll that there are some things anyt don’t exist (don’t let one thing, sausages jus , nt) cou es on se lou y Tou one tell you the garlick for find and Heinz… I’d kill bacon is impossible to not Heinz. watch Countdown and It’s great being able to to the go or er, Fev ht Nig day dubbed re-runs of Satur ing £4 ing nothing without pay pub and sit around do wine of ttle bo a gh, ou en Fair a pint for the privilege. t las t bu p, t-stripping 60 goes as low as a throa

B

18

Everything you ever wanted to know.

E

ven if you’re more of an armchair traveller you can still support a good cause. This Easter, first-year English student Hollie Longmore will be flexing her thumb and hitch-hiking to Morocco. The hitch is to raise money for Link, a charity that channels money into schools in South Africa, Ghana and Uganda. Hollie needs to raise at least £300 for the charity in order to take part and this is where you come in. To sponsor her, go to www.justgiving.com/yikesmorocco To find out more about the hitch, go to Link’s website: www.lcd.org.uk

Posh or Pants? Pants, but in the nice, northern trousery sense.

ce Postcards from Fran By Robert Sharples

Tr a v e l

h a beautinight I played pool wit and didnt de ful architecture stu rtgage. mo a t ou e tak n’t have to h. And she spoke Englis rdiff, it The moment I got to Ca , ne shi sun was blue skies and d an ng ezi fre x’s au while Borde t for a holiday. righ t jus ly ite waterlogged. Defin


G a y

gay@gairrhydd.com

Quench 07 03 05

19

Monkey Lovers monkey lover : n informal won’t let go of one branch until their hand is firmly on another By Ian Loynd Gay Editor

F

aced with politicians who preach of a tolerant Britain, I wonder if LGB people can really be secure with their sexuality? In truth, Britain fails to recognise, respect and celebrate different sexual orientations. It fails to educate the many or protect the few. The stigmatisation and misrepresentation of homosexuals – at all ages – harbours insecurity. Tolerant Britain is a pretence. With an ambiguous position in society, and haunted by notions of non-conformity, do LGB people have a choice but to be monkey lovers? Do we swing from tree to tree as a means of selfpreservation? Are gay men and women capable of maintaining successful relationships? Irrefutably, the answer is yes. We seek the same comfort and reward from a loving relationship and are no less capable of commitment and trust. Yet ask any gay man his greatest fear and he will tell you it is to be alone. It is a mistake to think that discrimination and intolerance are vices of the past. They are as prevalent now as ever before and must be combated. They are all around us; in the media, in government and in education. Education, of

course, is pivotal to the fight against prejudice. Eighty-two percent of teachers claim to be aware of homophobic bullying in school, yet they fail to engage. Twenty four percent are aware of acts of homophobic violence amongst pupils. Yet they fail to engage. Schools fail their youth at every stage in the promotion of tolerance.

Britain fails to recognise, respect and celebrate different sexual orientations Young LGB people do not receive the nurture and protection of teachers who should celebrate their sexuality equally to that of their heterosexual peers. Similarly, gay teachers must obscure their personal lives for fear of comeback from colleagues and pupils. And thus, society is engineered to repress homosexuals from their early years to adult life. LGB people are isolated from an unforgiving and ignorant community. Our relationships suffer at the hands of a majority. The need to swing from tree to tree, to have the support from a loved one, is our survival mechanism. Monkey lovers do not choose to flee, but sometimes we have no choice.


20

F a s h i o n

fashion@gairrhydd.com

Quench 07 03 05

The darker side of fashThe reality of the fashion industry is quite different to the glamorous image it portrays. Fashion Desk investigates just how unethical it can be

Black isn’t in fashion Clare Nester discovers that, in the world of modelling, it’s not just the colour of the outfits that matter

P

ick up any British high street magazine and count how many black or Asian models you can see. The answer is very few. In last November’s edition of Vogue, all the ‘up and coming’ models for this year were white. While the fashion Iman: fighting for equality glitterati are arguing over the issue of fur, shouldn’t we consider the colour of skin that is wearing it? In 1993, The Black Girls Coalition (BGC) rebelled against racism in the fashion industry . A consortium of models formed in 1988 by supermodel Iman, they fought for better treatment of models and the lack of multi-racial representation behind the scenes. Over seven years later, this issue still persists, if not on the catwalks then in advertising. White is the driving force of this high profile worldwide business. While some of the traditionally elite labels, such as Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Armani, Guess, Nautica, and Polo are happy to link themselves with the predominately black gangster scene, their decision seems to be motivatNaomi: suceeded ed by profits rather than equality. Thankfully, rather than becoming cultural copycats there are despite barriers some designers that have made their mark, predominantly Jasmin Shokrian. Britain is a proud multi-cultural society, and our fashions, models and advertising should represent this.

Foxy lady W

ith the recent uproar about the cruelty of fox hunting, it seems a mystery that the British Government aren’t equally concerned with the animal cruelty on fur farms. Austria and Germany have led the way in abolishing this cruel

If the Government are happy to ban fox hunting, fur farming should be next, says Ali Gratton

trade with the Netherlands and Sweden close behind on track to make the farms extinct by 2007. Coming from a farming background, the idea of fur-farms made sense at a young age; too many foxes, humans control the population etc. It wasn’t until a less tender age that I realised that the rules weren’t so black and white, rather more a blood red. Hundreds of animals are slaughtered everyday for people’s vain attempt to look good. It’s not a case of ‘The Fox and the Hound’ on fur farms. Foxes have no taste of a free forest life. Instead they are bred in captivity on fashion farms and are likely to spend their entire life in a space no larger than a shopping trolley. After eight months, the animal has completed its first winter moult, leaving their pelts in prime condition

for the catwalk. The fur trade uses a delightful range of killing techniques; gassing, poison injections, clubbing to death, or electrolysis (an electrode in the mouth and rectum is rather unpleasant for the fox). Amongst others, The World Society for Protection of Animals (WSPA) are strongly fighting the fur farming industry, successfully gaining support in all corners of the world. Among many famous supporters is Kirsten Johnston who refused to wear a fur coat on set, halting filming of Austin Powers for a whole day until a fake was found. As fox hunting has received a ban, surely the Government should make fur farming next. Like the hunt, wearing fur is cruel and inhumane. And like the hunt it serves little purpose except to provide a little enjoyment in the lives of the rich and famous.


Animal farm

Fashion Where to find animal-friendly skincare in Cardiff

Charlotte Howells investigates the real price of looking good and discovers that cosmetics are not always what they seem

A

s you slick on your lippy or dust on some blush it’s unlikely that you’ll realise the sinister side of your beauty essentials. How can something named Snugglekiss Pink Lipgloss have a dark side? I mean, there was all that kerfuffle about animal testing, but that was outlawed years ago, surely? Actually it wasn’t. Although animal testing for cosmetics is banned in the UK, the law around the world has yet to catch up. As a result, many of Britain’s top beauty brands still conduct testing on animals abroad.

An extract from the urine and bodily fluids of animals is used in deodorants, lotions and even mouthwash It has been estimated that 50,000 animals die every year as a result of animal testing by pharmaceutical conglomerate Procter and Gamble alone. Their cosmetic ranges include household names like Max Factor, Pantene and Hugo Boss. Rabbits, monkeys and kittens are immobilised, then brutally poisoned and mutilated to test reactions to new ingredients for use in cosmetics. These tests include applying substances to the animals skin after it has been shaved and abraded: the severity of the resulting skin damage is then graded. Such effects, including cracking, bleeding and ulceration of the animals’ skin, are horrific. Ridiculously this is not even an

effective way of testing cosmetics as products frequently show different reactions when used on human skin. It seems that there is no longer any need to test on animals: tens of thousands of ingredients are already declared safe for human use and advances in technology have meant that there are several more humane testing methods available. These include ‘test tube’ testing and computer modelling. Another reason to reconsider what products you put on your skin is the ingredients they include. Besides being tested on animals many cosmetics are being produced from cheap animal-derived ingredients. In many cases the same ingredient or an ingredient with the same properties can be derived from non-animal sources. However when consumers are happy to buy these products its seems unlikely that companies will switch to these higher-priced ingredients. Cosmetic companies are not making it easy for us to make an informed choice; like hidden animal testing it is often hard to find out the source of the ingredients. The packaging uses hard-to-decipher scientific language, leaving us unclear about exactly what is going on our skin. If the actual source was clearly labelled we may think twice about which products we use. One example is urea or carbamide, an extract from the urine and bodily fluids of animals which is used in deodorants, lotions and even mouthwash. Another repulsive ingredient is placenta polypeptides protein. This is

21

The Body Shop St David’s Centre Neal’s Yard Royal Arcade MAC Capitol Centre Aveda St Mary’s Street Almay, Clarins and Clinique From the respective counters in Boots (Queen Street) and Debemhams

i

To find out if your favourite products are cruelty free, check out The Humane Cosmetics Standard website www.buav.org/gocrueltyfree

animal placenta derived from the uterus of slaughtered animals, used in shampoo and face creams. Lipsticks can also contain extracts of cow brain and spinal cord: kissable indeed. If we want to change the way products are tested and made, maybe it’s time to reconsider the way we shop for beauty.

Animal testing: for your pleasure only


R e v i e w s

Quench 07 03 05

23

THE WAIT IS OVER NEW ORDER Waiting For The Sirens Call London Records

A

fter recently being named ‘Godlike Geniuses’ by the NME, christening The Killers (they stole the name from the fictional band in the Crystal video) and being cited as an influence by an ever increasing crop of new bands. Now seems a more appropriate time than ever for a New Order album. Waiting For... opens with Who’s Joe? where lush majestic strings evaporate around chiming guitars, mechanical drums and the inimitable sound of Peter Hook’s bass. It’s everything New Order should be, epic, without being overblown. Other highlights include the heart-melting Waiting For The Sirens Call, the ecstatically uplifting Krafty (despite the fact that it’s clearly destined to be used on the soundtrack to Match of the Day) and the irresistible disco-stomp of Guilt Is A Useless Emotion and Dracula’s Castle. Ignore the latter’s ridiculous

title, it’s a gem that shows just how much The Killers are indebted to the Mancunian veterans. The album reaches its peak with penultimate track, Turn, which is simply divine and destined to become a classic.

Some of the songs may be self referential, but they never fall into the trap of becoming a self- parody. However it’s not all perfect, the strange almost-reggae sound of I Told You So scarily resembles mid90s Swedish pop “sensations” Ace of Base, and the bizarre Beatleshomage Working Overtime should really have been saved for a b-side, actually its not even worthy of that. Scissor Sister Ana Matronic lends her enchanting vocals to Jetstream

which hints at, but never quite reaches the dizzy heights of previous compositions such as True Faith. Although nothing quite ever reaches the earth-shaking greatness of Blue Monday, you’ve got to ask yourself, what could? This is an album which is sure to divide the masses, fans of the band will love it as it is a perfect representation of the New Order sound, a welcome change following 2001’s guitarladen Get Ready. Many will claim they’re simply rehashing the past. Ignore these people. Some of the songs maybe self referential, but they never fall into the trap of becoming a self parody. Simply the fact that this band are still around and making music should be cause for you to buy this. 8/10 Jon Davies


24 M u s i c

music@gairrhydd.com

Quench 07 03 05

A Mars a day... THE MARS VOLTA Frances The Mute Universal

Popular legend has it that, upon the release of QOTSA’s Songs for the Deaf, certain sections of the disabled community took the title a little too literally. As with that release, Frances the Mute won’t prove to be the miracle cure for handicaps, but its about all it fails at doing. It’s the sound of modern music’s most gifted: the meticulously structured landscapes journey through a repertoire of styles from the most classical to the most progressive. Even the ill-advised construction of a language fails to hold it back as it strides towards perfection. Given time, this could prove to be the seminal release of the decade. 10/10 Sam Coare

HONDO MACLEAN Unspoken Dialect

I AM KLOOT Gods and Monsters

Treading in the neatly formed tracks of Funeral for a Friend, Wales’ latest melodic-hardcore exponents certainly have it made. Wearing their influences endearingly on their sleeves, its evident they have borrowed elements from a number of contemporaries. Creating soundscapes that glimmer with audacity, songs like Weightless and Amphibian really echo early Eighteen Visions material, with their formulaic approach. With a healthy barrage of Atreyuesque hook-laden riffery in Mortal Kombat, theirs is a sound sweet enough to easily lure the masses. Yet the widdly guitar frenzy, buried under layers of bileful razor gargling screams, is brutal enough to bruise the knuckles of hardcore kids alike. You really have to delve deep for the flaws: Don’t stop …rodeo is a prime example of the massive overproduction that underpins this record. 8/10 Anita Bhagwandas

I Am Kloot belong in a better world than ours; a world where their immaculately crafted tunes would ebb and flow through streams of desire and avenues of hope, easing us all to sleep on a bed of velvet clouds in Your Favourite Sky. But they’re from Manchester, perhaps explaining the rasping emotion and bittersweet words present in this truly magical record, which has an unfamiliar veneer of optimism from the threepiece. The heavenly Astray proclaims, "I do believe that something, somewhere, sent me to you.” Lie back and let the Kloot take you to a better place. 9/10 James Woodroof

Mighty Atom

Echo

FABRIC 21 DJ Heather Fabric

The seemingly never ending series of Fabric albums continues, as Chicagoborn resident DJ Heather spins tracks from the likes of Mike Delgado and D'julz. If you like your electro/dance music dark, nasty or rough, give this as wide a birth as possible.

If, on the other hand, your scene is bouncy, energetic house built up from cool instrumentals and thumping bass, then check it out. The mixing is tight and smooth, giving the album a flowing feel of unity, and so avoids sounding like a selection of tunes that have just been slung together. 6/10 David Sutheran

CHERRYFALLS Winter/Winter Island

Ex-busker Joe McAdam and his fellow Londoner band-mates offer up a promising debut. Not what you’d expect from a band once heralded as the new Coldplay. Winter/Winter is reminiscent of more ambitious artists, with the addictive pop tunefulness of Nada Surf and the vocal prowess of Pete Yorn. Tracks like the shimmeringly beautiful In Your Arms Again and the bittersweet My Drug are shining examples of what this band can achieve. However, these soon give way to a succession of tiresome sound-a-like tracks which only serve to disappoint. Maybe next time Cherryfalls should cut out the crap and make an EP. 5/10 Jadine Wringe


JACK JOHNSON In Between Dreams

A l b u m s 25

Brushfire/Island

Surfer, filmmaker, musician, father. The list of Jack Johnson’s achievements just goes on and on. With the poignant, expressive lyrics and fantastic guitar work, In Between Dreams has retained the high standards set by previous work. As far as tracks go, Belle is a brilliantly original, accordion-lead song, whereas Sitting, Waiting, Wishing is funky and upbeat, à la Flake. 9/10 Nik Thakkar

HOLLYWOOD ENDING Praying to Fiction Mighty Atom Records

There is a fine line between emo-bliss and horse piss, aptly demonstrated by Hollywood Ending. They possess the harmonic panache of Funeral for a Friend but the sleazy filth of Deftones. Moments of perfection on Fall to Pieces are unfortunately nullified by the inane drivel on Dry Ink. Still, it would be harsh to dismiss this debut as pure pony excrement. 6/10 James Woodroof

TOM VEK We Have Sound

Tummytouch / Go Beat

Tom Vek is a buzz word. He's here to save us from pain, death, surprise love making and ourselves. Or so I heard. In reality this one-man band delivers a delicious take on punk-mentality using electronic thingamys made in his old man's garage. Joyful pockets of punk-funk abound when you ignore his more emo moments; dance, or cry, or both like some drunken PMTer. This is unashamedly good. 8/10 Gage Falsht

KATHLEEN EDWARDS Back To Me Zoë Records

Canadian Kathleen Edwards sings beautifully crafted, heartfelt country songs about failed relationships and the struggles of life. Her pure emotion touches your soul, but her eternal optimism shines through to make this the most heart-wrenchingly kissable release of the year and all that kind of crap. You get the Q-endorsed picture. In truth this is dull and watery, though admittedly not unpleasant, TV backing music. Boring without being annoying, this is not for those possessing an imagination. 4/10 David Ford

BRITISH SEA POWER Open Season Rough Trade

British Sea Power return with aplomb on their second album. Gone are the naturalistic tendencies, as nervy posturing is usurped by raw and immediate commitment. Album-opener It Ended On An Oily Stage slides in on the coat tails of a sweeping guitar riff and bubbly drums before jack-knifing back out on its own ego. BSP have always been on the tilted edge of greatness, partially paralysed by their own potential. Like some aristocratic fawning Pimpernel BSP follow in a long tradition of melodic music toffs ranging as far back as Tim Buckley. This time round they’ve managed to muster some gusto to go with their caviar-drenched arrangements. By the time BSP arrive at Oh Larsen B they’re in full thrall to the spirit of Van Morrison circa 1969. The difference between BSP and fellow melodic rock stalwarts is that they invest musical guile with radio friendly layering and pop ethos craftmanship. Tracks such as Like A Honeycomb and To Get To Sleep might storm the castle but still fail to ignite anything as instantly catchy as Remember Me. It may not stir the hearts of romantics but it will see them creeping that ever closer to wider acclaim. Like moss slowly growing beyond the wall BSP are at last stretching their claws out from under their knuckles. 7/10 Craig Driver


26

Albums

IDLEWILD Warnings/Promises Parlophone

"Nothing really fits on this album. Not one song runs into the next." This slightly ominous statement coming from Gavin Fox, Idlewild’s very own bassist, was surely meant to be complimentary. Produced by Tony Hoffer (Air, Beck, The Thrills), Warnings/Promises sees the highland quintet moving into calmer, more subdued waters. Opening track and lead single Love Steals Us From Loneliness is more sedate and thoughtful than You Held The World in Your Arms; its anthemic chorus letting the older material shine through. This fourth album reveals a more introspective Idle(rather-less)Wild with songs about sleep, age and loneliness. Not Just Sometimes But Always is full of beautiful lulling strings and a tender chorus where Woomble croons, "If I was born the same day

that you died/Should that make me feel more alive?" Fox was right: the songs don’t really fit together and there’s little coherency with bold, rocky tunes following heartfelt ditties. Fans of previous work could be left somewhat frustrated; the album lacks the kick and conviction of The Remote Part, making it hard to like on first listen. But give it time and this album will mature and become like an old friend. Spending time with it will quell all loneliness. 8/10 Katie Brunt

THE BOOMTOWN RATS The Best Of Mercury

Bob Geldof finally reminds us that he once made records as well as mending the world’s ills. Along with his fellow Irish brogues Geldof was briefly the saviouir of 80s rainbow-pop. This compilation takes their mainstream hit I Don’t Like Mondays and mixes it together with 18 other average nuggets of creamy pop. Tracks such as Dave and Like Clockwork highlight their inate ability to transcend their limitations and tendency to regurgitate previous ideas

and song structures. Never as baneful as you might think, The Boomtown Rats are strangely compelling in their beige montage of unrequited lost, broken hearts and emotional turmoil. 5/10 Craig Driver

THE BOXER REBELLION Exits Mercury

This record sees The Boxer Rebellion constantly tail-off into the depths of all that is calm before hitting the listener with more energy than a Duracell battery. The consistent pattern of hushed, elusive verses building up into thunderous choruses makes this a record that puts you to sleep only to instantly wake you back up. Deep, melodic and meaningful, even if it is more depressing than the fact that Fightstar have a sell out UK tour. 6/10 Will Schmit

KAISER CHIEFS Employment B-Unique

Hey guess what: you remember Britpop? Its back, in pog form. OK I’m lying about the pogs, but if you’re someone who longs for the hazy days of Britpop then let this album take you back. If the sounds of I Should Coco-era Supergrass melodies backed with high-pitched ‘Na Na Na Na Naa’s’ isn’t your thing then stay away. With Employment, Kaiser Chiefs have succeeded in making an album that’s likeable, but certainly not lifechanging. The tales told here show a world where modern life is still rubbish. I Predict A Riot presents a disturbingly accurate picture of your average high street in the early-hours of Saturday morning whilst on What Did I Ever Give You, lead-singer Ricky Wilson reflects on a stale and boring relationship. This album is another fine debut from the recent burst of new British bands, however it’s likely to lose its place in your CD player as soon as the NME decide who’ll be Britain‘s next best band. 7/10 Jon Davies


S i n g l e s 27 THE BEES Chicken Payback Virgin Records

THE SUBWAYS Oh Yeah

City Pavement/Infectious

Whether you love them or hate them, The Subways (who will soon be seen supporting Razorlight), are going to be one of the bands of 2005. Oh Yeah, their debut major label release is a three minute roller coaster ride to rock and roll heaven. Absolutely superb. 10/10 Dave Jennings

BE YOUR OWN PET Damn Damn Leash

3345 is a foot-stomping beast of an anthem, but lacks anything to put the Black Velvets ahead of the chasing pack of bland, stereotypical rock and roll. Maybe we’ll just have to hope and wait for the next single. 6/10

BYOP are four Nashville teens with a fetish for words like ‘damn’ and ‘bugger’. Damn Damn Leash combines the punk energy of Ramones with the kookiness of Mo-Ho-Bish-O-Pi to create one of the most infectious, vibrant and disgustingly adorable rock romps of the year so far. 8/10 David Ford

Will Schmit

HOOD The Negatives

XL

Domino

The Negatives is the sound of samples, strings and acoustics, spiralling and sprawling in the artificial breeze of a leaf blower handled by The Notwist. Hood are the finest glitch rock this side of Kid A. 9/10 Gareth Paisey

THE GLITTERATI You Got Nothing On Me Atlantic Records

Throw a bit of funk, a fistful of eclectic guitar licks and a bit of spit together and there you have it: The Glitterati. This song oozes more attitude than a chav after you’ve just let down the tyres on his favourite Nova. 8/10 Will Schmit

DIZZEE RASCAL Off 2 Work XL Recordings

David Sutheran

THE TAILORS A New Hairdo

Trash Aesthetics

THE BLACK VELVETS 3345 Vertigo Records

The latest single to be taken from Free The Bees sounds like it was written in a mushroom-induced 50s/60s flashback. Half early Beatles, half psychedelic Coral, this rustic skiffle oddness has an infectious hook, but verges on the sound of a comedy record. 6/10

Like a mission statement for the man’s dogged work-ethic, this brandnew offering shows again why Dizzee is possibly the best emcee in the country today. Jittery broken beats with a tight lyrical flow, backed up on the b-side by the grimey low-end assault of outstanding album track Graftin’. Unbeatable. 9/10 David Sutheran

The Tailors create a sound which apparently is their own take on ‘70s AM country’, although to me it just sounds a bit like Turin Brakes. Fine if you like that sort of thing, but it just makes me want to say, “Take your guitar, hit the open road and piss off.” 5/10 Jon Davies

BASEMENT JAXX Oh My Gosh XL Recordings

Basement Jaxx have always been a great singles act and Oh My Gosh is definitely hot lunch. Moving away from the big name collaborators and focusing on their house roots has paid off with this rowdy, infectious banger. 9/10 Tom Scott


28 L i v e

Drake, Fretwell bares a number of similarities to Bob Dylan - his bushy hair, the way he holds his guitar, his songwriting and, at times, his voice and, like Dylan, when Fretwell sings, you listen. It really is that simple. As he did for the entirety of his last visit to Cardiff, Fretwell performs the opening three songs of his set alone, before being joined by his band for a breathtaking performance of the hauntingly beautiful Do You Want To Come With? Set highlights come in the form of Brother, Emily, Lost Without You and a solo performance of New York which is so perfect in its execution that it ensures all of the crowd goes home with the hairs on the back of their neck standing to attention. "We hope to see you again very soon," Fretwell says on leaving the stage. For an awestruck Barfly, tomorrow wouldn't be soon enough.

JULIETTE AND THE LICKS Barfly

Peter Brown

Tuesday 15th Feb

Don’t you just love these actor types? Bored of the bright lights of Hollywood, they set out on a pseudo-musical career. Attendance is guaranteed, pressure to perform is slim. So how was Miss Lewis going to fare? With members of H20 and The Dwarves helping out, the Licks punky sound was a perfect accompaniment for Lewis Iggy-esque stage act Brody Dalle should take note. All rock star elitism was left at the door, as Lewis' constant hugging of crowd members showed. Often fast, always intense, it made for a memorable performance. The eclectic crowd left happy and, more importantly, sweaty. Adam Walton

THE ZOMBIES Toucan Club

Monday 21st February

Twelve quid? No support band? It's OK. It's the fucking Zombies. They've produced more great pop than that technicoloured panda. There's a lacklustre turnout for sure - six people my age, perhaps another forty-five people ten-years older than my Dad. By the attendance it's clear a quick history is needed: The Zombies first recorded in 1965 and were signed on the basis of She's Not There. So, as I stood amongst the Mojogeneration, the two Zombies, plus some guy who played bass for The Kinks in the 70s (bleurrrrgh) and two session musicians played a pretty decent version of their minor hit I Love You; a simple slice of 60s pop majesty with an acapella hook that stings the heart. It was all going OK until four songs in when they broke into a cover of What Becomes of the Broken Hearted. The Zombies were important because they never associated themselves with the same soul sounds that so many British groups immersed themselves in. Yet here

they are, on-stage, pissing on their own imitable relevance. Inappropriateness aside it was just straight-up crap; pub bands have covered it better, even Westlife have played better (What about Robson and Jerome? - Ed). I'd have screamed had there not been other people there equally as upset as I and all turning to each other after every song like siblings witnessing daddy slap mummy. Gage Falsht

STEPHEN FRETWELL Cardiff Barfly Thursday 24th February

Stephen Fretwell has long been the jewel in the crown of Manchester's thriving indie revival. But having hit the road in support of Run, the first single taken from his magnificent debut-LP Magpie, it surely won't be long before his adopted-hometown has to accept that they've got to share their secret and allow the rest of the country access to the kind of talent that scarcely comes round once in a generation. A songsmith in the mould of Nick

STEPHEN FRETWELL: My, what a large instrument


MARTINI HENRY RIFLES/ THE INTERNATIONAL KARATE PLUS/WHITE RABBIT Clwb Ifor Bach Monday 28th February

First on stage were White Rabbit, a local up-and-coming band. Brash, loud and raw in their enthusiasm, they were rather infectious. Using a mixture of thunderous drumming, melodic guitar and electronics made for a great sound. While their youth and inexperience did show through, this band has potential. The International Karate Plus provided slightly mellower support with music indicative of the indie genre. Although well done, it was disappointingly samey. The three-piece band provided good entertainment and built up a rapport with the audience, but failed to push the envelope musically. If the distance between insanity and genius is measured by success then Martini Henry Rifles deserves a lot of the latter. Their stage-craft was truly brilliant: the bassist appeared to be on day-release from a local asylum and the guitarist saw anything on the stage as a platform for climbing and jumping from.

L i v e 29

Their mix of shouty-rock, a drummachine and other electronic ditties was original. They ended their set with a mass of distortion and feedback, making for a great performance. A band I’d definitely see again. Elgan Iowerth

EASTERN LANE/ THIS MOTION PICTURE/CRAWLER Barfly

STERIOGRAM/THE NAKED APES/SHORTCUT TO NEWARK Barfly

Rarely does the first support at a Barfly gig play to a near-full house, but Crawler did, and for a very good reason. Admittedly there was a firm nod to Oasis, but the Gallaghers sounded like the bands they grew up with and succeeded, so if the rousing set closer that had the whole venue applauding is anything to go by, they should have a bright future. This Motion Picture failed to improve on the quality of their opening number but maintained the good atmosphere. As a relative newcomer to Eastern Lane I was impressed but never blown away. Promoting their new album The Article, energetic front man Derek Meins did his best to rouse a reaction but the night firmly belonged to Crawler. Mike Hyde

An enthusiastic start to the evening was provided by a brightly dressed Shortcut To Newark, whose cheerful crowd interaction on the elusive subject of book-bending was clearly intended for the devoted fans in the audience. The Naked Apes, a trio of ‘surf dude’ musicians brought a wonderfully juvenile dose of self-titled nerdrock to the ears of the waiting crowd. With such tracks as If You See Kay (about the embarrassment of premature ejaculation) devoted to audience members, they did a fine warm-up job before the headliners took the stage. Steriogram, the Kiwi five-piece, displayed all the manic energy personified by their recent single, Walkie Talkie Man, with lead singer Brad Carter alternating between erratic stage movement and wading into the crowd mid-song to be surrounded by singing fans. Despite one of their number still recovering from illness, the performance was spot on and finished of an evening of bands still very attached to their fans.

Friday 18th February

Thursday 24th February

James Perou

BLACK WIRE Barfly

Monday 21st February

A year ago Black Wire were a mess, a contrived collage of tuneless Electro-punk and pointy shoes. But things have changed. The new material is punchy, sharp and just the right side of bombastic - suddenly they can handle a chorus. Significantly they’re now their own band - elements of doom rockers past (the Mary Chain, NIN, Primal Scream) are detectable, but they don’t dominate. Black Wire sound most like Black Wire, an excitable mix of electronic drums, thumping bass, fractured guitar and mumblingone-minute-shouting-the-next-vocals, and that’s very satisfying. Colm Loughlin

STERIOGRAM: Wow it’s the missing Hanson brother


30 L i v e WILLY MASON Barfly

Tuesday 22nd February

PHOTO: Gemma Green

When opening act Tom Partridge (ingredients: 2 parts Idlewild, two parts Newquay beach-bum, 6 parts utter blandness) finally removes himself from the stage, the sold-out Barfly eagerly awaits a new hero. And so it is Willy Mason. He of the Dylan-comparisons and Radio 1 airplayfame, wearing a black, grey and blue lumberjack shirt. He strolls anonymously onto the stage and picks up one of a few acoustic guitars. It’s only at this point that most of the crowd realise they are looking straight at their headline act. Mason confidently rolls off the highlights of his debut-album, Where The Humans Eat, with a predictably loud ‘whoop’ going up amongst the audience for a souped-up version of top-30 single, Oxygen. Returning for an encore comprising of album-highlight Our Town and a medley of Hank Williams’ KawLiga and You’re Gonna Change. Willy then proceeds to sign anything and everything for his (numerable) female fan base. Unlike his friend and fellow teenage prodigy Conor Oberst, Mason exerts a witty and self-deprecating confidence whiles he absent-mindedly chats to the crowd between songs. You’d struggle to dislike him. Will Dean

BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE Barfly Thursday 17th February

I get the feeling I shouldn’t be at the Barfly tonight, based on the fact that I’m not a four-foot, pre-pubescent ball of human grease. The first band are so memorable that I forget their name, and the second band, Days In December (31? - Ed), only provide entertainment when their guitarist attempts to demonstrate his mediocre ability. Bullet For My Valentine provide music that we’ve all heard before, music we hate more each time we listen to it. When I hear their lyric, “I know you’re listening, but can you hear me?” I only think one thing: unfortunately I can. Will Schmit

BIFFY CLYRO/ HELL IS FOR HEROES The Coal Exchange Wednesday 23rd February

The church-like hall of the Coal Exchange, in combination with the fanatical following for touring stalwards, Biffy Clyro made the evening seem more like the meeting of a religious cult than anything else. Hell is for Heroes, added to the bill by special request of the Biff’, epitomised the meaning of ‘short and sweet’. Applauded for their energetic, if somewhat low-key, live performances, the night proved to be an early exhibit of new album Transmit Disrupt. Blink and you’d miss them; we almost did. Biffy aren’t reknowned for doing things by half: their live show certainly matches the sometime over-elaborate studio output. Glitter and Trauma opened proceedings, one of the many songs played from 2004’s Infinity landing. But it’s in their back-catalogue that Biffy excel: Questions and Answers echoes around the crowd, with 57 and Justboy understandably received like returning heroes. As with one certain Scottish export, the Biff’ just keep getting better with age. Sam Coare

grab! OK, so we normally only give out free stuff to our lovely contributors, but here’s your chance to get hold of a limited-edition vinyl copy of The Kills’ No Wow, complete with a bonus DVD documentary. Aren’t we good to you? Email music@gairrhydd.com with the answer to the following by Saturday 12th March: Whats the 1st track on The Kill’s debut album called?


THE SILENT LEAGUE Barfly

L i v e 31

Friday 25th February

This is the calm before the storm, and with a calm this quiet you'd be forgiven for expecting a tempest of truly biblical proportions. As I enter the Barfly at 8pm the venue is almost completely empty and the crowd who are there already don't seem particularly enthused. Openering act Stray Borders do their best to whip-up some kind of interest with a passable impression of Incubus, without the DJ. No one seems impressed. On then to the DTs who are, by now, playing to a much fuller venue and seem to be causing a lot more excitement. Perhaps this was merely due to the fact that their lead singer looks like she should be modelling for Calvin Klein rather than fronting an average garage-rock band. The Silent League on the other hand are very good. Mixing sounds of Mercury Rev and The Flaming Lips their charming lo-fi indie-rock seems to hit all the right places. They deal with technical difficulties admirably, waiting for microphones to get fixed by bantering with each other and generally keeping us amused. And of course the music is sublime. Less of a storm then and more of a refreshing summer shower.

ART BRUT/ THE CHALETS/CAJITA

Barfly Monday 28th February.

Alex Buxton

BLOC PARTY/NEIL’S CHILDREN/BATTLE Camden Barfly Wednesday February 16

With a huge theatre tour booked for autumn and a Number Three album to their name, you couldn’t blame Bloc Party for not taking this album-launch gig entirely seriously. Tonight, Britain’s best chart-stars are backed by Sussex’s Battle, who may well be the Razorlight to Bloc Party’s Libertines (except, you know, good) and the abysmal Neil’s Children, whose drummer wore a subversive Topman T-shirt (with rips in it and everything). Bloc Party jump onto the stage and immediately let rip with Banquet, followed by Price of Gas, Positive Tension and a stellar She’s Hearing Voices. This is before Helicopter and Like Eating Glass send the tiny crowd into spasm, “Dance, don’t shove” shouts singer Kele Okereke. This is a special gig, the last Bloc Party will play of this size for a good few years, if ever, even if Okereke was heard afterwards telling his tour manager, “That was the worst gig we’ve done for ages”. With standards like those they can’t fail. Will Dean

BLOC PARTY: Kele’s heroes

Definitely the sublime mechanics of indie-art-rock, openers Cajita were ingenious operators of many interesting electronic toys. Oozing insecure cool, their performance was a modest wisp of passion. They were flowers with jagged-edges filling the room with that blissful, intellectual, four-in-the-morning feel. A radiant merger of subtle angst and contemporary poetry. Sandwiched between greats were The Chalets. Sexually-frustrated bubblegum synth-pop fronted by two school girls dressed up in their mother’s clothes and singing into hairbrushes. A monotonous shouting competition which is only really appealing to leery men turned on by New York prostitutes. Disregarding nonsensical electronics, Art Brut marched on, proudly and loudly sticking to the simple plan: the entire enthusiastic, cockney Britrock package with its own interesting little quirks. The result was a raw, anthemic and enjoyable punk ruckus with enough room on the stage to really move. No artsy-fartsy, no dance routine and no synths; a breathable formula not treated so well since The Clash. Adam Wilkinson


32

D i g i t a l

digital@gairrhydd.com

Quench 07 03 05

Waluigi despairs at Cliff Richard’s ‘singing’

Game, set and match

Sam Mills talks balls (tennis balls) with Mario Power Tennis

I

n the early days Mario jumped on the heads of turtles, defeated giant apes and that was it. Since then, however, we have seen him driving go-carts, playing pinball and even partaking in a spot of tennis. In this, the Gamecube sequel to the N64 classic, Mario and friends return for some crazy tennis action. This edition features the obvious Nintendo characters such as Mario, Luigi and Bowser, as well as a few less famous faces (Waluigi and his crazy moustache being a personal favourite). For those of you who may be longing for some sensible tennis gaming, unfortunately, Pete Sampras doesn’t show up in the game, although Donkey Kong is a more than suitable substitute. The host of classic Nintendo characters (each with their own attributes and skills) and a wide variety of courts add interest to the game, but where Mario Power Tennis really excels is its overall playability and sheer addictiveness. This is achieved through the intuitive controls and a steady learning curve.

Basically the controls consist of two buttons on the pad, making it easy for a beginner to pick up and play. Unusually the basic controls do not limit the game, with combinations of the buttons resulting in more interesting shots such as smashes and lobs. Now comes the main ‘problem’ associated with Mario Power Tennis. The ‘Power’ found in the game’s title refers to the power-move. During a rally, your character gains the ability to produce an ultimate shot. For instance, if you miss a shot and there’s no way of reaching it: hold down the R trigger for a second and tap the hit button. This causes a brief cut scene where your character might strap on a jet pack or spin crazily from one side of the court to the other, reaching the ball and managing to hit a return. This can become increasingly annoying, especially against experienced players. While the power move can be annoying, it does add a tactical element to the game, giving less capable players the chance to win. The die-hard

fans of the original N64 version probably won’t like this move, but thankfully there is a choice to turn it off. So, love it or loath it, it doesn’t have to ruin the game for you. The multi-player element of the game is easily the best thing about Mario Power Tennis. You and three mates can play standard tennis or some of the frantic mini games that become unlocked through the one player mode. These include hitting balls through rings and playing paintball against a wall instead of tennis. Also on offer are a wide range of gimmick courts which feature various obstacles, increasing the variety of the game. Basically if you are a tennis or Nintendo fan, get this game. And if you’re not then what’s wrong with you? Mario Power Tennis has all the fun of tennis, without the bad bits: no rain and no Tim Henman or Cliff Richard in sight.


Handheld hotshots Digital

33

V Double the fun: Nintendo’s Gameboy DS (left) and Sony’s PSP

Simeon Rosser-Trokas considers how Nintendo’s new Gameboy DS will fare against Sony’s PSP

A

h Nintendo. There was a time when they ruled the gaming world with an iron-fist and always delivered great consoles and truly classic games. Sadly, not anymore. True, they still turn out classics, but their format-fiddling of both the N64 and Gamecube has cost them dearly, as first Sony and then Microsoft began biting huge chunks out of their home-console market share. This process now looks almost irreversible. But the handheld market was always a different story; Nintendo never let go of that. The evolution of Gameboy over the years trounched all threats to its domination of mobile gaming. But now that Sony are shortly to enter the fray with the PSP, what does the future hold? Let’s be honest, things don’t look good. Both aesthetically and graphically the PSP leaves the new Gameboy DS whimpering on the floor in a pool of its own blood. Add to this Sony’s huge brand-recognition and slick marketing and it certainly appears to be

the death of Nintendo as a hardware company. Time to go software à la Sega then? No, not just yet. Nintendo’s strength has always been novelty and innovation and the DS has both of these. Sure, the graphics are only N64 and-a-half standard, as opposed to PSP’s Playstation 2 in your hand, but does that matter? After all, Playstation 2 has the weakest graphics of the current consoles and is still the most successful. The whole point of the DS is not to churn out games that are identikit versions of games you can play at home, but to take gaming in a new direction. By supplying their latest baby with two screens (one being touch sensitive), Nintendo hopes to take mobilegaming into unchartered territory. DS is a gamble for Nintendo and it may make or break their future as a hardware company: in my opinion, their gamble is worth the risk. After all, what other choice do they have? If they had released the equivalent of PSP (a Gamecube in your hand if you will) then where would the marketing

hook be? Sony already dominate the home market and had Nintendo confirmed that mobile gaming was just about bringing home console games to your pocket then they would have handed the market to Sony on a silver platter. At least this way they’re making a fight of it. As a consumer, you now have two choices: PSP (good-looking but generic) or DS (average-looking but innovative). The gamer in you should realise that the DS is by far the most interesting prospect, but then interesting was never enough to ensure popularity. In the end it all comes down to the games and at the moment neither PSP or DS seem to have any distinct advantage as both systems are in their infancy. Things do look good for Nintendo having sold far more DSs than Sony have PSPs, but that could merely be down to Sony’s supply problems. Its really up to you. Come March 11 I hope you’re all playing Wario Ware and not holding out for PSP, otherwise it really will be game over for Nintendo.


34 B o o k s

books@gairrhydd.com

Quench 07 03 05

e

r tho

Au

fil o r P

Caleb Woodbridge on the magic of His Dark Materials author Phillip Pullman

O

nce upon a time, there was a boy who wanted to write stories. His name was Philip Pullman and he was born in Norfolk in 1946. His father was in the Royal Air Force, so his family travelled the world. They went from England to Africa and the land of South Rhodesia and, later on, to Australia. On the far side of the world, Philip discovered something wonderful comics and their exciting stories of Superman, Dick Tracy and Batman. With these comics, a desire began to stir - the wish to weave the magic of stories. Later Philip moved to Wales. Miss Enid Jones taught him English at Ysgol Ardydwy, Harlech. Through Milton, Wordsworth and other metaphysical poets, he was taken to places beyond his dreams or experiences: there was no doubt of what he wanted to do next. Philip Pullman went to Oxford. He read English at Exeter College, though he still doubts whether he learned to read it well. He learned a bit about books but he was keen to write his first novel, writing three pages every day. When his first book was published he discovered that trouble lies not in

writing but in telling stories that are actually good. He became a teacher and carried on writing. He wrote the tales of Sally Lockhart, a brave girl faced with adventure and mystery in Victorian London, starting with The Ruby in the Smoke. Then came his trilogy, His Dark Materials. This is a tale of witches and daemons, of love and betrayal, of innocence and experience, and of growing up. In Northern Lights, Lyra Belaqua sets out to the frozen north to find out about the mysterious Dust. In The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass, she ends up travelling far beyond own her world. In this bold story Pullman weaves ideas about life, man and God. You see, Philip Pullman doesn’t believe in a overarching God. He wants people to build a Republic of Heaven in the here and now. Yet the Authority, the God in his story, is not like the loving God of the Bible - so many people disagree. Pullman has discussed his ideas with many people, including the Archbishop of Canterbury. Many people loved his books; they became bestsellers and won a great deal of prizes. The Amber Spyglass was the first children’s book to win the Whitbread Book of the Year. Pullman is now seen as one of the best storytellers alive. The boy who

THE INSIDER’S GUIDE TO GETTING A FIRST Mark Black White Ladder Press

T

his book is every student’s dream. Written in an accessible, user-friendly way, it offers pratical advice to ensure that you make the best of your time at university. The most refreshing element of the book is that in his first degree Black got a 2:2. It was only through using the book’s strategies that he got a distinction in his MBA (equivalent to a first), so his tips really can be trusted. The book is divided into strata,

“Hands up who’s a toff” including ‘Time Management’ and ‘Lifestyle’, which encompass every element that can affect your degree. Yet it is not boring. So many guides can be dull and condescending; this is practical and is peppered with humourous cartoons to maintain its student-friendly tone. Black also keeps it simple. He cov-

loved stories became a man who creates them. Pullman now lives in Oxford and writes in the shed at the bottom of his garden. Each day he writes three pages and watches Neighbours. He also sends copies of each of his books to Miss Enid Jones. What of the future? The Book of Dust and more stories from the worlds of His Dark Materials. He says he will tell more tales of Sally Lockhart. And each day he’ll sit down and write his three pages, perhaps even until the day that he dies. But these are stories yet to happen, yet alone to be told.

PULLMAN: Whitbread winner ers topics such as printing on good quality paper and the little things that will boost your marks. This advice is easy to follow, emphasising the importance of the basics in your work. In short, whatever year you are in, The Insider’s Guide to getting a First (or avoiding a Third) will help you. Whether you’re a third year wanting to boost your marks in your final term or are a first year wanting to get on the right track, it really is worth buying. Kerry-Lynne Doyle WIN! Check out this week’s grab page to see how you can win a free copy of your very own


War’ra great book AL-QAEDA: THE TRUE STORY OF RADICAL ISLAM Jason Burke Penguin

L

iving in university, as opposed to the ‘real’ world, sheltered by daytime TV and drunken haziness, I had felt increasingly frustrated and guilty for not understanding the whole issue of terrorism. The idea of sifting through the mass of media material in search of the truth has parallels with the search for the Holy Grail. Thank goodness then that a book has been written that is full of answers that are genuinely easy to understand. What is al-Qaeda? What is the true role of Osama bin Laden? The author draws on the history of the organisation and his own personal experiences to break down

Books 35 the myths surrounding this most radical branch of Islam. Bethany Whiteside.

ORBITER Warren Ellis and Colleen Doran

I WISH I’D SAID THAT Ned Sherrin

I

B

Titan n the near-future, man has given up on space travel due to one event: the disappearance of the space shuttle Venture. When Venture returns to earth with only one crazed crew member, new engines and a type of skin covering its hull, questions are asked. Where has it been? Where is the rest of the crew? What’s happened to the ship?

ORBITER: Out of this world A team of three specialists are brought in to answer these questions - a former NASA pilot, a propulsion expert and a psychiatrist. Together they must open their minds to the possibility that there is life out there. The story is brilliantly crafted, the characters are all engaging and, most importantly, they seem real, unlike many comic book creations. The plot moves along at a steady pace, slowly revealing the truth and the dialogue, while heavy on various theories such as unified field disturbance, is generally easy to follow. This is what comic book fans have come to expect from Warren Ellis, famous in the industry for his mad ideas and wonderful dialogue as seen in Transmetropolitan and Planetary. As always, a comic book is never complete without good art but thankfully Colleen Doran delivers, giving us more of the gripping shadowed images we associate with the artist of The Sandman. As a graphic novel, this book is one of the best standalone stories currently available, created by a wonderful team who have obviously done their research. You simply can’t go wrong with this emotionally-involving, clever, witty, thoughtful piece of art. Bren Coopey

Oxford University Press izarre and random are about the only words capable of describing Ned Sherrin’s collection of quotes, quips and one-liners. Covering a range of subjects from acting and advertising, to taxes and the weather, Sherrin provides a perfect example of the consequences of having way too much time on your hands. Thankfully, I have a reading list the length of the Great Wall of China to save me from such tedium. That said, I Wish I’d Said That does have a few minor saving graces, such as Jo Brand’s oh-so-true comment on the result of her TV makeover: “I know I looked awful because my mother phoned and said I looked lovely.” So unless you’re a raving quote-fiend or looking for something to make your course reading list a hell of a lot more appealing, avoid this at all costs. Alisa Chalk BRAND: One of Sherrin’s subjects


36 B o o k s

Book Bag

THE ROUGH GUIDE TO CULT MOVIES

LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME

Paul Simpson, Helen Rodiss, and Michaela Bushell

Dom Jolyt

Penguin

BloomsburyPress

C

T

ontinuing their indelible series of ‘Rough Guides’ Penguin finally get round to covering something truly worthy of feverish obsession: film. Essentially a mini-bible of all things celluloid, the guide splits its quest into over 50 sub-categories ranging from Anime and Blaxploitation to Dwarves and Zombies. Every film ever released, and those that were cut before their release, are covered. The enjoyable quota of this guide comes from the genuine love and obsessive nature of the writers. However, the greatest joy comes from the endless compendium of film trivia that transcends the usual "Did you know Keith Chegwin was in Polanski's Macbeth?" tripe. The trivia veers from the fact that Life of Brian was banned in Norway but marketed in Sweden as 'The Film that is so funny it was banned in Norway', to the disturbing fact that Schindler’s List was banned in Malaysia for being pro-Jewish. Any film guide that exposes anti-Semitism as crude and stupid has to be a good buy. This may be a guide that is somewhat one-dimensional in its fascination with film, but it remains endlessly inventive and intriguing. How can you really argue with a guide that cites Chevy Chase's Fletch as a true work of art? Craig Driver

LIFE OF BRIAN: Banned in Norway, don’t you know

he sleeve-notes say it all really: “No holds barred…jaw dropping.” Dom Trigger Happy TV Joly’s first book is an, at times hilarious poke at the world of celebrity autobiographies. And it almost works. Probably rooted in about one percent fact (i.e. he once appeared on a telly show called Trigger Happy TV), Look At Me is essentially Joly’s attempt at fictional humour. The book jumps from Dom growing up with a talking dog in JOLY: Struggling to follow up Trigger Happy TV Lebanon, to inspiring Nirvana to write Smells Like Teen Spirit; to working for the MI5, to splitting up Czechoslovakia. It’s a bit like Forrest Gump, except it doesn’t really work. The main conceit does; we all know autobiographies are generally a load of tosh, but Look At Me simply isn’t that funny. The ideas are there (Dom’s Czech wife only being able to communicate via dialogue from Dallas for example) but there just aren’t enough gags. Joly’s first outing as an author is an easy enough read, but one can only assume that it is one borne from having to fulfil the commitments of a book deal, like Dave Gorman’s much funnier, Googlewhack Adventure. Will Dean

LARPERS AND SHROOMERS Susie Dent

S

usie Dent, Countdown’s resident ‘Dictionary Corner’ expert and veritable sexbomb, capitalizes on the recent heightened interest in matters of the English language with this review of predominantly recent and of-the-moment slang. Divided into various sections ranging from fashion to politics via sport, business and street slang, Larpers and Shroomers – The Language Report is a lively and well-researched celebration of our infinitely resourceful and constantly shifting language. Unlikely to provide continued interest to anyone but the keenest etymologists it will nevertheless reward leisurely browsing. COUNTDOWN: A bevy of brainy beauties I can recommend having a peek if only to discover what constitutes a ‘Croydon facelift.’ Jim Sefton CHAV: One of the Larpers words Oxford


38

Arts

arts@gairrhydd.com

Quench 07 03 05

The Dresser @ New Theatre

S

Lyndhurst: The king of camp

tarring Nicholas Lyndhurst and Julian Glover, this wartime drama comes to Cardiff following rave West End reviews. Exploring the relationships between close friends during turbulent times, the play discovers love gained, love lost and unrequited love. Describing it in these terms make you think The Dresser belongs in the mushy romantic genre, yet it doesn’t. Lyndhurst puts in an outstanding performance as the camp dresser, a role that seems made for him as he strode across the stage. His performance was immaculate, and was a far cry from Rodney Trotter, but played with just as much skill as his role as the Peckham trader. Julian Glover, playing Sir, led Lyndhurst through the trials and tribulations of the play, producing humour, wit, pity and most of all, class. The talent on stage was undeniable, and it was a true honour to be part of this performance. The set design must be mentioned for its originality and creativity, providing a stage within a stage, allowing the actors to show off their talent to the maximum. The New Theatre is coming up trumps this year with yet another great show to its name. Natalie Slater

Landscapes Through the Eyes of an Artist @ The Courtyard Gallery

T

he Courtyard Gallery specialises in exhibiting the work of local Welsh artists. This month, Peter Cronin’s graceful watercolours have been brightening the walls. Cronin is from Bridgend and takes much of his inspiration from the weather (definitely an advantage that he lives in Wales then). He is particularly interested in the way in which light and seasons can affect a landscape. Cronin takes all his paintings from scenes that he experiences, suggesting in a down-to-earth manner that “there really isn’t a substitute for

real life as a source of inspiration.” Both traditional and talented, this artist is at the beginnings of making a great name for himself in the artworld. Unfortunately, as I write this review, the paintings are being removed from the Courtyard walls and so you have missed your chance to view this excellent exhibition. However, admission to the gallery is free and it is handily situated in the heart of studentland on Locheber Street, Roath: there really is no excuse not to get down there and see the top-notch art which will undoubt-

edly feature in future Courtyard exhibitions. Debbie Green

Cardiff International Festival of Musical Theatre returns to the Welsh capital Jesus Christ Superstar 29 March - 2 April, Stanwell School,Penarth The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical theatre classic is performed by some very talented students. A must-see.

Tommy,11-16 April, New Theatre Rock musical from The Who, this tells of a dumb kid who turns into a pinball wizard. Stars Jonathan Wilkes.

New Welsh musical following a young miner on his quest to save the world. Amazing Grace, 5-9 April, The Sherman

Kiss Me Kate, 29 March- 16 April, Wales Millenium Centre Smash hit capturing 1940s America in a musical version of Shakespeare's Taming of The Shrew. Also contains gangsters.

A Broadway fable about friendship, compromise and the high price of success. Presenting an exciting range of shows and events celebrating the world's most popular live art form the musical.

Merrily We Roll Along, 30 March - 2 April, The Sherman


A Life In The Theatre A r t s Rumour has it that Joshua Jackon and Patrick Stewart have traded Hollywood for a life on stage A Life In The Theatre @ Apollo Theatre

S

at waiting for the curtain to rise, a lady in her early forties enthusiastically asks me, ‘Are you here for Patrick or Joshua?’ Before I can say that I am impartial as a reviewer, ‘Joshua’ slips out. It quickly becomes clear that there are two camps within the audience and neither side is given reason to be disappointed. Patrick Stewart (undoubtedly one of Britain’s finest stage actors) plays Robert, an older actor who begins to realise that his life in the theatre is coming to an end. Robert performs and shares a dressing room with John (Jackson), a young and handsome actor who is at first impressed by Robert’s knowledge and experience but slowly bores of his advice and jealousy. Soon the favourable reviews come his way, along with the friends to go with his new stylish wardrobe. In David Mamet’s observation of life as an actor, both characters excel in comedy, poignancy and give a master class in bad acting. Stewart has to be respected for appearing in nothing but his underwear next to the gorgeous Jackson (also in underwear attire) not once,

but three times. Needless to say, this led to a faint sound of wolf-whistles across the theatre.

Jackson more than holds his own in his West End debut Whilst sometimes lacking direction, the anticipation of which terrible plays the characters will star in next more than makes up for that. In particular, a scene in which Robert forgets his lines, causing John to storm offstage in protest is priceless. Jackson more than holds his own in his West End debut. He creates a plausible, droll character who fails to realise he is ultimately on a different stage of the same downward spiral that Robert is experiencing. Stewart and Jackson compliment each other superbly throughout. The numerous chuckles and reflective silences amongst the audience are all thanks to the pair’s fantastic acting skills. Alexandra Fry

When you said Klingon, I was thinking of something rather less s u rp r i s i n g. . . .

39

What’s On? Waves in the Chatroom @ Sherman Theatre, till 12 March Two internet fiends become friends through their love of the Super Furry Animals. Two tickets for the price of one on selected nights.

Classical Spectacular @ CIA, 12 March Lights, lasers, fireworks and powerful sounds. If classical is your thing this is bound to be spectacular.

Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime @ New Theatre, 14 - 19 March Oscar Wilde’s classic tale of society, marriage and murder, staring comedian Russ Abbot.

Dirty Fan Male @ Wales Millennium Centre, 17 - 19 March A documentary/theatre/comedy show featuring genuine letters received by British porn stars. Sounds interesting. A way to visit the Welsh home of opera without being too classy.

Ed Byrne @ Glee Club, 16th March A barrel of laughs at the UK’s biggest purpose-built comedy club.

Beginning, Middle and End @ g39, 12 March - 23 April A Life in the Theatre is running up to April 23 at the Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London. Yes, it is London guys, but it is well worth the trek. Come on, it’s not as though you have to travel on the Starship Enterprise or anything.

Art shows presented in a non-chronological order for many arty reasons that we can’t be arsed to go into.

Annie @ Theatre Royal, Bath, 15 - 19 March ‘Tommorrow, tommorrow, I’ll love you...’ Come on, a little carrot-top girl belting out that song would make anyone’s heart melt. This classic Broadway show presents the perfect excuse to take that short train-trip down to Bath.


40

F i l m

THE MACHINIST

Dir: Brad Anderson Cast: Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh

J

onathan Franzen once wrote that “when the truth gets really awful, you retrench; you re-examine, you seem obsolete.” Brad Anderson’s The Machinist may not be a Faustian lecture in redemption, but it remains an interminable examination of the dark water of the soul. Christian Bale plays Trevor Reznik, a man who hasn’t slept for a year. His dramatic weight loss and severe insomnia have led his bosses in the machine factory where he works to suspect him of drug addiction. Emaciated and bleary eyed Trevor is in no condition to operate heavy machinery. One day, distracted by the leering gaze of a thuggish stranger, Trevor accidentally starts the drill press causing a colleague, Miller (Michael Ironside), to lose an arm. The brutish stranger quickly becomes the focus of a harsh and brittle Dadaist eulogy on the parameters of personal dissolution as paranoia closes in. Bale, who lost 63 pounds to play the skeletal spectre Trevor, is dangerously authentic. Resembling an Orwellian Travis Bickle, Trevor is an emaciated poster-boy for the insidious and irrelevant, his fractured body and ravaged psyche reflecting the shattered reality of a world seemingly lost to greed and indignity. While its metaphorical allusions may be pertinent they do remain somewhat pretentious. There is a delicately poised danger in the industrial

film@gairrhydd.co.uk

gloom that veils Trevor’s world. Anderson’s savage direction lurches into a Nietzschean diabolism whereby human suffering becomes delicious indulgence. The Machinist is painfully Wachowski-esque in its dark, brittle bricolage of stuttered visions and heavy shadows. Thankfully for all its psychological static it remains, despite its mordant tone, more alive in its ideals and intentions than many a libidinous mainstream effort.

A mordantly bleak and stylistically sharp gutterslap of a film The film’s harsh exploration of personal paranoia is offset by a highly nuanced, knowing portrait of a world trapped by the dead weight of individual exposition. In a guilt-stricken scene Trevor takes a young boy on a funhouse ride called Highway to Hell only for the boy to suffer an epileptic fit. The stark terror across Bale’s feature is an object lesson in conveying unadulterated emotion. Trevor exists in a blasted territory; a world left weary by its own bleak incoherence. Like Alice lost down her rabbit hole Bale’s Trevor is a social leper, a furious shadow; half man, half vapour. Cryptic philosophical allusions to the future inhabit every twisted scene. Xavi Giméne’s charred cinematography and Alain Bainée’s fettered lighting recalls Scott’s post-apocalyptic landscapes in Alien and Kurtz’s shadowy

Quench 07 03 05

enclave in Apocalypse Now. The atmosphere is claustrophobic, intoxicating and, despite the gloom, caustically illuminating. Admittedly the film’s existential preoccupation does counterfeit its ability to speak to a wider audience. This is by no means a rival to Lynch or Fincher but more of a decadent pastiche. A mordantly bleak and stylistically sharp gutter-slap of a film where polymath ideology and tortured beauty go hand in hand. The cauterised narrative throughout is hindered by Anderson’s insistence on the obvious. A copy of Dostoevsky’s ‘Idiot’ sits prominently by Trevor’s bed winking knowingly at us just in case we didn’t spot how deeply philosophical this film truly is. Moments such as this and Bale’s baneful sex with prostitute Stevie (a deeply grimy Jennifer Jason Leigh) wreak of a knowing indulgence. Despite its Kafka-meets-Hitchcock pretensions, Anderson is The Machinist’s conductor. He sees its limitations and makes them part of the fabric of his film. Dread, paranoia, and mental pestilence work together in a intense tale of intrigue before a final twist arrives that is wrought tight and cuts like a knife to the eye. At a time when American cinema is happy to settle for incoherent mewling, The Machinist, for all its morbid nihilism, is an unexpected act of artistic resuscitation. Craig Driver


Film

Hotel Rwanda: a sober and important film

HOTEL RWANDA

Dir: Terry George Starring: Don Cheadle, Sophie Okonedo, Nick Nolte

D

on Cheadle brings a quiet elegance to his role as Paul Rusesabagina, the manager of the Hotel des Mille Collines, a man who sheltered and protected over 1200 refugees within its walls from genocide at the hands of Hutu militia. The story takes place in the Rwandan-capital Kigali in 1994. Following the assassination of the Rwandan president (which is blamed on Tutsi rebels), a peace agreement between the two groups is shattered, resulting in mass chaos between Tutsis and the Hutu militia. One million Africans died in the ensuing slaughter. What made these events more shocking was the ignorance of the West to pleas for help. This is emphasised in the film through the cynicism of both Nick Nolte in his role as the overwhelmed UN Colonel assigned to help guard the hotel, and Joaquin Phoenix as Jack, a determined reporter. There is great support from Sophie Okonedo as Paul’s Tutsi wife Tatiana. Although comparisons could be made to Schindler’s List, it stands out on its own merits through great performances and Terry George’s deft, understated direction.

Ewen Hosie

SPANGLISH

Dir: James L. Brooks Cast: Adam Sandler, Paz Vega,

F

rom the Oscar winning director James L. Brooks who brought us the heart warming As Good

As It Gets comes Spanglish, a film that deals with the collision of cultures with humour and compassion. Flor (Vega) plays the role of a gorgeous Mexican who lands a housekeeping job with the affluent and highly dysfunctional Clasky family. Set in Los Angeles, Flor and her beautiful bi-lingual daughter are overwhelmed by the clash of cultures. Though Flor speaks no English, she soon develops a warm relationship with the kind hearted John Clasky (Sandler). An alcoholic grandmother, a neurotic wife and a troubled overweight daughter are the comic highlights. We are allowed to relish in the presumption that a typical American family is likely to be as bizarre and continuously peculiar. Despite being marketed as a comedy, Spanglish falls into the romance genre. Real issues, such as infidelity and dissatisfaction with life, are out of place. The couple of Flor and John are mismatched. The film is lengthy and drawn out but still achieves no satisfying conclusion. Sandler’s acting is sufficient, although forgettable. If you want some laughs rent The Wedding Singer instead.

41

address sexual behaviour. Kinsey is clearly the curious whim of Award Academy award winning director Bill Condon, whose previous efforts include Gods and Monsters. The film turns the microscope on the man whose landmark studies on the sexual behaviours of the common man rocked a nation. The film is packed with amusing interviews, worst-case scenarios and almost cartoon-like capers. Its plot is vague and is always keen to stick to the concepts of Kinsey being a revolutionary sex therapist. Despite this indulgent ethos and a text book tagline “Let's talk about sex” Kinsey cannot be said to be entirely representative of reality. The doctor suffered many doubters who questioned his motives and credentials. His work has suffered substantially since its publication. The film refuses to focus in on the more dubious aspects of the good Doctor’s work. But we shouldn’t let that bother us because Kinsey is a film that resolves around pervasive sexual content. An exceptional film that suffers and excels from its controversial subject matter. Matthew Turtle

Natalia Kekic

KINSEY

Director: Bill Condon Cast: Liam Neeson, Laura Linney, Peter Sarsgaard

T

he film in question is a look at the life of Dr. Alfred Kinsey. Kinsey is a pioneer in the area of human sexuality, whose 1948 publication Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male was one of the first recorded works that saw science

Liam Neeson preaches the distinguished merits of a good old bow-tie


42

F i l m

BEST ACTOR

Oscar’s choice

Jamie Foxx, Ray Foxx as Ray Charles invested the role with unashamed dedication and unadulterated verve.

BruceCampbell, BEST ACTOR Bubba Ho-Tep The Evil Dead stalwart proved he’s more than ‘groovy’ as an ageing Elvis battling ancient FilmDesk Choice mummies. BEST ACTRESS Hilary Swank, Million Dollar Baby Swank picked up her second Oscar for her bruising and brave portrayal of Maggie Fitzgerald. Oscar’s choice BEST ACTRESS Zhang Ziyi, House of Flying Daggers As blind assassin Mei, Ziyi was graceful and stunning, conveying genuine pathos. FilmDesk Choice BEST S/ACTOR Morgan Freeman, Million Dollar Baby Oscar journey man Freeman finally picked up a statuette for his turn as Dupris. Oscar’s choice BEST S/ACTOR Nick Frost, Shaun of the Dead Frost’s perpetual slacker Ed had the funniest lines of 2004 and was the über dosser par excellence. FilmDesk Choice BEST S/ACTRESS Cate Blanchett, The Aviator As Katherine Hepburn, Blanchett was poignant and graceful. Oscar’s choice BEST ACTRESS Maggie Cheung, Hero The Queen of oriental cool, Cheung as Flying Snow was smouldering and glacial, robust FilmDesk Choice and angelic.

And the Winner is... Fo l l o w i n g t h e e g o - o r g y t h a t wa s the Oscars, F ilm Desk list the winners and choose their own cinematic tipple of the last year BEST PICTURE

Oscar’s choice

Million Dollar Baby Clint Eastwood’s fiercely understated boxing flick, at once raw and compassionate, ousted The Aviator.

Oldboy BEST PICTURE Chan-wook Park’s blistering wound of a movie outstylised Tarantino and revitalised the sour core of Eastern Cinema. FilmDesk Choice

BEST DIRECTOR Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby The ageing gunslinger won his second Best Director Oscar for Oscar’s choice his boxing gem. BEST DIRECTOR Michael Gondry, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Gondry’s direction was sheer graceful invention and pure kinetic beauty. FilmDesk Choice


p

Film

43

y l p e e D , y l Tr uly, Mad Continuing from last

i s s u e ’s f e m m e f a t a l e s , i t ’s t h e b o y ’s t u r n . Catherine Gee selects t h e b e s t o f t h e b l o ke s 1

JOHNNY DEPP 43/50

BEAUTY ACTING ABILITY GRACE SEXUAL PRESENCE INTELLIGENCE

7/10 9/10 9/10 9/10 9/10

AH, THE delectable Johnny Depp. For years he has been making audiences swoon with his quirky performances, those intense eyes and enviable cheekbones. This here is a man not afraid to experiment but his enigmatic prowess exudes every time. Donnie Brasco and Jack Sparrow: two very different characters, both sexy as hell.

2

MARLON BRANDO 39/50

BEAUTY ACTING ABILITY GRACE SEXUAL PRESENCE INTELLIGENCE

JAMES DEAN

BEAUTY ACTING ABILITY GRACE SEXUAL PRESENCE INTELLIGENCE

8/10 8/10 6/10 8/10 5/10

THE EPITOME of the fast-living actor, this guy was dead by 25, his car having collided with another. He made a mere three films as a leading actor but it was enough to seal his legendary status forever.

BRAD PITT

BEAUTY ACTING ABILITY GRACE SEXUAL PRESENCE INTELLIGENCE

6/10 10/10 6/10 9/10 8/10

RIVALLED ONLY by John Travolta in terms of successful comebacks, Marlon Brando is most definitely the Film King. He revolutionised acting and made it what we see today. His onscreen magnetism has rarely been equalled.

4

3

38/50 9/10 8/10 6/10 9/10 6/10

BRAD IS the classic example of a Hollywood pin up and is often considered to be the most beautiful man in the world. He is the visual definition of Adonis-like raw sexuality. Just think Fight Club and low slung trousers…

35/50

5

SEAN CONNERY

BEAUTY ACTING ABILITY GRACE SEXUAL PRESENCE INTELLIGENCE

6/10 7/10 6/10 8/10 7/10

THE ORIGINAL and best James Bond who, although now in his seventies, would still get it. His lilting Scottish accent and trademark tuxedo has enchanted many an audience.

34/50


44

F i l m

A C T O R P R O F I L E : T I M C U R RY Date of Birth: 19th April 1946 Born: Timothy James Curry Biography: The son of a methodist

Curry: Grand Wizard

The DVDon

Reviews you cant refuse OLDBOY, rel. Out now Chan Wook-Park’s blistered masterpiece is a tightly-wrought paranoid thriller equal to anything Scorcese or Tarantino have ever done. One day in 1988, ordinary white collar worker Oh Dae-soo (Choi Min-sik) is kidnapped and incarcerated in a private makeshift prison cell, dressed up like a cheap hotel room. Fifteen years on and, without a word of warning, Daesoo is released. Dae-soo begins to track down his enemy, only to find he may be the pawn in a much bigger game which is only just beginning. Based on Japanese manga of the same name by Minegishi Nobuaki and Tsuchiya Garon, Oldboy is a masterfully inventive revenge thriller complete with acidicly black comic moments. The Don Says: “I love this film like a brother of the upmost importance. It, along with The Last Unicorn, is the greatest film made by mankind”

chaplain in the Royal Navy and a school secretary, Tim Curry graduated from the University of Birmingham in Drama and English. He started his professional career in the London production of Hair and went on to appear in productions by The Royal Shakespeare Company and The Royal Court Theatre, where he created the unforgetable character of Dr Frank N. Furter in The Rocky Horror Show. When this was later adapted for the big screen as The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Curry reprised his role as the stocking-clad lipstick wearing doctor. After a string of minor successes throughout the late seventies and early eighties he grabbed the role of Wadsworth the butler in Clue,

ALIEN VS PREDATOR, rel. Mar 7th The two cinematic behemoths come head to head in a CGI battle of the space monsters. While any film that has a Predator swinging an Alien by the tail through a brick wall is bound to be good; plot, narrative, script, and tension are woefully absent. More a computer game than a film, AVP remains dumbed-down entertainment that excites but leaves you feel cheated for the waste of potential. The Don Says: “Such a film is like some trashy whorey-vagrant who services only the lowest common denominator of human scum. It makes me sick with purple love wax.” The Corporation, rel. Mar 7th A mission statement in academic sermonising, The Corporation focuses on the corporate infestation of our personal lives. While not viscerally exciting it is still an important and succinct film that attempts to open the avenues so quickly shut by large conglomerates in the name of profit and growth. A series of talking heads, ranging from Michael Moore to Noam Chomsky and Naomi Klein, serve to illuminate our narrow perspectives. Strangely difficult to penetrate but essential nonetheless. The Don Says: “This is the reason people come to us in search of homicidal discount. We, unlike many a

the sphincter-splitting comic adaptation of the board-game Cluedo. Throughout the nineties he continued to divide his time between film, the stage and music, touring the US and Europe with his own band and releasing four albums. He is also a soughtafter voice-talent for video games and audio books. Recently he has been selected to play the role of King Arthur in Spamalot, the broadway musical of Monty Python and the Holy Grail opening this month. Personal Quote: “The role required someone very, very cool and impossibly handsome. So of course, they picked me.” Top 3 films: Clue (1985), The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), The Hunt for Red October (1990) Trivia: Performed in Roger Waters’ historic production of The Wall: Live in Berlin in July 1990. Status: Chubby, cheery and bearded corporation, offer a service drenched in decades of pain.”

THE CANNELONI SPECIAL FASTER, PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL!, Rel. March 7th

K

itsch to the point of velvetlaced bikinis, Russ Meyer’s mammory-gland cult-classic is finally given the full and voluptuous release it always required. Released in 1965, this black and white tale of tight-topped vixens of the flesh is part playboy, part Tatantino. After karate-chopping a drag-racer to death and kidnapping his innocent teenage girlfriend, psychotic go-go dancer Varla (Tura Satana), Rosie (Haji), and Billie (Lorie Williams) head into the desert for sexual misadventure. Derided by many as ‘amateurish’ and ‘purile’, Meyer has always been one for low-brow antics matched by even lower cleaveges. In its own way Pussycat! is a seminal feminist doctrine of empowerment and sexual aggressiveness that kicks and pouts in equal measure. The Don Says: “Once as a young psychopath I saw this film in a moment of weakness and my genitals prolapsed in a kaleidoscopic wave of hysteria.”


46

F o o d

Quench 07 03 05

food@gairrhydd.com

I feel like moose tonight James Deshays goes to IKEA with £20 and a hangover to find out if Swedish food bears the secret to a good life. It doesn’t

A

s a student, chances are you’ve been to Ikea for some reason or another, but have you ever eaten there? By eating I don’t mean doing the student thing by taking your own sandwiches or finding a Polo at the bottom of your pocket. I’m talking about the restaurant and the Food Market. Ikea Cardiff caters well for the hungry shopper: there’s the restaurant, the Exit Bistro (for the bored and hungry man), the coffee bar and, for the hardcore Swede wannabe, the Food Market. Located at the end of the checkouts, the Food Market is the place to spot a homesick Swede crying over the vast array of jarred herring. Perhaps more popular with us Brits is the restaurant, conveniently at the end of the one-way-only-orbe-frowned-upon showroom. With a budget of £20 and a hangover I was set free on the restaurant and food hall. Armed with a pen, pad and alchy breath, it was time

“How d’you like dem meatballs?”

to analyse Ikea food. At the risk of looking like a porker, I refrained from ordering everything, but my poor belly, which hadn’t seen any food since the kebab from the night before, was calling for meatballs and chips. Surprisingly, £10 bought me three main meals (don’t worry, I took friends). The meatballs are probably the best known food item to come out of Sweden, and rightly so. I’m not really a fan of processed meat, but there’s definately something about these gob-stopper sized balls. The meat itself is pretty tasteless but the creamy sauce gives it its taste. Unfortunately the presentation does leave something to be desired - a lot of the food looks like it has been out for most of the day. The pasta looks starchy, and from previous experience, the open sandwiches are missing the top piece of stodgy bread (yes, I know what an open sandwich is, but still) and the breaded haddock tasted like Miss Millies’ chicken.

Other dishes in the restaurant ranged from soup of the day to a rather unsubstantial chicken ceasar salad. There’s even a kid’s bag and, best of all, a kids’ play area with a widescreen TV (feel free to push any chav-like brats out the way). Probably most appealing thing to us students is the two main meals for £5 offer (Monday-Friday 3:30pm-9:30pm), plus free refills for all draught soft drinks. If you decide that you do like the meatballs, or any other dish from the restaurant, you can always wander to the Ikea food hall where you can find it all to take home. This is where I decided to go all out and experiment with the Swedish culinary tradition. You can, for example, buy a family size 1kg bag of IKEA Swedish meatballs, cream sauce and lingonberry jam for just £4.50. With prices like these, who needs Lidl? Feeling brave from the meat ball experience I felt it was time, in true Scandinavia fashion, to make a giant stride - I moved on to to the elk sausage. It should be mentioned that the sausage also contained venison and pork and tasted like somewhat like a red Pepperami. The thought of actually


Food

Swedes: you can’t trust them eating a moose made the whole experience a lot less enjoyable, but the general consensus was quite positive - at least it’s one of those things that you can impress your mates with down the pub. The choice of herring wasn’t easy - herring in sherry marinade and herring in vodka and orange are only two of the choices - but in the end I decided to play it safe with the herring in tomato sauce. It was fishy and quite slimy and not a personal favourite. Salmon, or gravad lax, sounded impressive, but must say that I’ve had better. In fact the best food that I cooked when I got back was the meatballs. And the best bit is they taste exactly the same as they did in the store. Also tasted was pear cider,

Inlagd sill (or salted herring) 4 to 6 fillets of salt herring 11⁄2 dl (3/4 cup) sugar 1 dl (1⁄2 cup) Swedish spirit vinegar 2 dl (about 1 cup) water 5 tsp. all spice 1 bay leaf 1 to 2 red onions Sliced dill sprigs SOAK THE herring in cold water for 10 to 12 hours, or follow the directions on the package. Drain them. Mix the sugar, vinegar and water

cheese and sweets. The cider tasted a little like gone off Apple Tango, but then again, what was I expecting? The Swedish cheese looked like it had come straight out of a Walt Disney cartoon, complete with holes and all, and the skum mushrooms, the Swedish sweets, tasted quite nice even

in a separate bowl. Add the allspice, bay leaf and onion. ...or a salted herring

Pour the dressing over the herring and refrigerate for 2 hours.

47

though the name suggests otherwise. So what have I discovered about myself during this Ikea food experience? Well, it amounts to the fact that that unfortunately, and against my snobbish side, I am a typical Brit. Although there is plenty of Swedish choice available at Ikea, give me processed meat, gravy and chips any day. In my defence I did quite like the elk and the Dime-bar cake, but the best thing about Ikea and its food are the student-friendly prices. Most portions don’t even look as if they’d fill the likes of Caprice, but the food is surprisingly filling and most importantly, it won’t break the bank. Remember, you are not a salmon...

Cut the herring in 1 cm thick slices, cover with dressing and garnish with red onion rings and dill sprigs. Variation: Instead of allspice, add 1 teaspoon whole cloves and 5 crushed white peppercorns to the dressing. Bring to a boil, let cool and pour over the herring reserving about 1⁄2 dl. Refrigerate for at least two hours. Slice the herring and place in serving dish. Add the remaining dressing and garnish with red onion rings, cloves and dill.


48 F o o d

Sushi

S

ushi is the fastest growing food trend in the UK, and Cardiff has just said ‘konnichiwa’ to its own sushi bar. For those who think that raw fish for lunch doesn’t sound very appealing, you will be happy to know that sushi doesn’t just consist of raw salmon and tuna. The word sushi literally means foods that ‘contain rice seasoned with vinegar’. Other ingredients, like asparagus and sqiud, are then combined with the rice to make up a sushi dish. Sushi is very low in fat - a typical sitting of eight sushi pieces contains around 400 calories. This makes it a food staple for celebrities, which doesn’t harm its popularity with the rest of us either. The most common sushi pieces are Nigiri and Norimaki. Nigiri is flattened, oval shaped balls of rice with a single topping. Norimaki is a rice-roll with a filling in the middle, which is held together with seaweed (Nori). The toppings are what make the sushi unique, so if squid isn’t to your taste you can always try a piece of smoked salmon, egg or red pepper piece. For the adventurous among us, there is the option of trying sashi-

Th e gu dum ide m to ies ...

As the first in a new series, Leah Hefferman explains how to get started on sushi. Throughout the next few issues we’ll tell you the do’s and dont’s of a foodstuff so you can get the answers to all the questions you never dared to ask mi. This is a slice of raw seafood or meat which is served alone and savoured for its pure taste. Sashimi is what is usually thought of when sushi is mentioned. The Kaiten or ‘conveyor belt’ sushi restaurants offer a fast-food version of the dish, where the sushi plates circle around the eating area on a conveyor belt. The customer can then take the plates off the belt when they want to. The sushi is categorised into price ranges. Most restaurants will have a guide to explain the pricing policy, but the type of plate the piece is on usually indicates the price. The individual plates in a Kaiten restaurant typically cost anything from £1.00 to £4.00 depending on what is in the chosen piece. The set menus again range in price from £6.00 to £14.00, but this price does include at least four, and sometimes as many as eight different dishes. So you’ve handled the pitfalls of choosing a sushi piece, what next? Sushi is generally eaten using your hands but chopsticks can also be used. However, it is considered a faux-pas to pass sushi to another person using chopsticks. The main accompaniments to sushi are soy sauce and wasabi,

which is a Japanese horse radish, and ginger or gari. Both soy sauce and wasabi are used for dipping. A section of the sushi filling or topping is generally dipped into the sauce, but not the whole thing. Gari is eaten between bites of sushi and is said to cleanse the palate, ready for each new mouthful. Now you should be ready to order an accompanying drink of green tea and give sushi a try. If you’re still not convinced just think of the medicinal purposes the Japanese love sushi and they enjoy the longest life expectancy in the world.

Sushi bar: Sounds a bit fishy


50

C u l t C l a s s i c s

classics@gairrhydd.com

Quench 07 03 05

This issue it’s all about youth angst with an examination of the joys of retro gaming, cathartic violence and more Manics misery STREETS OF RAGE 2

TEARS OF THE BLACK TIGER

THE HOLY BIBLE

Sega

Dir. Wisit Sasanatieng (2000)

Manic Street Preachers

1992

We all have a favourite console from when we were younger. Mine was the Sega Mega Drive, a beautiful piece of black plastic that provided hours of fun. With various titles available, from Sonic to Shinobi, the Mega Drive was a dream console for any young boy who liked to sit down. By far the greatest game available on this console was the second Streets of Rage game, a classic beat ‘em up game that relied on you moving along the screen and fighting various bad guys that would run at you or drop out of the sky. Whilst the graphics have not stood the test of time, the gameplay itself is still one of the best experiences you can have. What distinguishes this game from the original is an awesome soundtrack that mixes poignant tones with a techno beat, superior graphics and a wider range of moves including a special attack that comes in very useful. Two of the three original characters return as playable people, with the third having been kidnapped by Mr X; you know a guy with a name like that is evil. The two returning characters, Axel and Blaze, are joined by Max the strong guy and Skates, a fast kid on rollerblades. Streets of Rage 2 is by far one of the greatest games ever and it will always have a fond place in my memory. For those that haven’t experienced it, find a Mega drive, find a copy of this game and go kick some ass. Bren Coopey

Starring: Chartchai Ngamsan

An intoxicating mixture of breathtaking visuals, camp aggression and utterly insane bubblegum romance, Sasanatieng’s Tears of the Black Tiger delivers a perfectly compiled piece of arthouse kitsch. Having been delayed by a shootout, Dum, the titular Black Tiger, arrives late for a planned elopement with his childhood sweetheart, Ramphui. However, believing that she’s been stood up, Ramphui has returned home, upset and disheartened. So much so that she finally gives in to pressure from her father, the local governor, to marry the local commandant, Kumjorn. Of course, with Kumjorn leading the hunt for the outlaw Fai and his gang of Tigers, the inevitable confrontation between Dum and Kumjorn slowly develops as bad guys get riotously blasted, eyebrows get excessively twitchy, and romantic interludes become gloriously overblown. Tears of the Black Tiger is a heady and exotic mix of John Water’s decadently camp visuals and Tarantino’s self-indulgent tendency for all things frantic and excitable. The film is saved from kitsch obscurity by expertly switching between brutal rainbow violence and delicate petallike tenderness. Part classic western, part camp cinematic orgy, Tears is a sumptuous visual treat that commandeers the viewers sensibilities before sublimely twisting them with an eastern ethos of eccentricity. Craig Driver

Epic (1994)

Released in 1994, this was the third release by legendary band the Manic Street Preachers. Written and recorded back when they still had four members, it reflects the darker side of human nature and society. With songs inspired by eating disorders, the Holocaust and references to corrupt society and selfharm this is not the kind of album to play after a hard day’s studying or to get you in the party mood. However the combination of heavy guitars, drums and James Dean Bradfield’s vocals makes this the only album to listen to turned up loud when you’ve had bad day and need to let go. The content of the songs on this album also have substance and meaning that clearly show the Manic’s political stance and views on life. By listening to the lyrics properly you can gain some insight into important issues that are just as relevant today as when it was written. This album is much more than just good music.

If you’ve only heard more recent albums by the Manic’s, such as This Is My Truth, then be prepared for a bit of a shock. This has an angry, young and forceful style that doesn’t mince it’s words or use niceties. Well worth the money though. Leanne Wilcox


Going Out

goingout@gairrhydd.com

Quench 07 03 05

Photo: Luke Pavey

Dear Reader, account Sincerest apologies. Onof of still being in a state the creative burn-out fromganza, Going Out’s Canton Crawl extrava found sadly wantcreative drive has beene, braving lost dining this week. Thereforand ‘entry issues’, ners, stomach cramps inatively theme of we bring you the imag ‘some restaurants’.

LAS IGUANAS

Mill Lane

M

exican food might not be to everybody’s taste. But, if you’re hardy enough to not need to run to the toilet whenever you come within five feet of rich, spicy food, then Las Iguanas is an enjoyable place to try something a little different. However, if you’re a little less adventurous then the menu boasts the kind of ‘crossover’ stuff you could easily find in Old Orleans or TGI Friday’s, like nachos, fajitas and steak. But if you fancy taking a chance then there’s the likes of chimichangas (of Dustin Hoffman/Meet The Fockers fame), or Xinxim: billed on the menu as ‘Pele’s favourite’, which was what sold it to me. Surprisingly, in the light of that endorsement, it didn’t contain viagra, but was in fact chicken breast in a crayfish with a lime and plantain sauce. It did, however, put a road right through me the next day, proving that it’s easier to give advice than follow it (see first paragraph). I wasn’t the only one struck down with a case of the evil botts either, which makes me think there must be something in the air. A word of caution must be sounded about the service. Our main course somehow got ‘lost’ which made for a more-than-half-hour wait after our starters. I’ve also heard of other instances of similar cock-ups; these can’t really be excused in what in all other respects is a quality restaurant. There was also a disappointing absence of moustachioed guitarists on donkeys, and no complimentary wearwhile-you-eat sombreros. But I guess you can’t have everything. Dave Adams

Las Iguanas: olé!

VALENTINO’S

JUBORAJ

Windsor Place

Mill Lane

W

L

hen dining out you’d expect any difficulties to come in the form of, say, pronouncing things on the menu, or the impenetrable accent of the waiter. But, in Valentino’s the main obstacle is the world’s narrowest front door. For some reason it seems to have been designed only for people of Kate Moss proportions. Anyone who, to borrow my mum’s endearing phrase, is ‘a bit big-boned’, should probably just avoid the place altogether. For those non-fatties amongst you, squeeze in and you’ll find this restaurant cosy and pretty classy, with a real authentic feel to it (Italian waitresses and I’m sold). Mind you, having S Club 7 and the like as background music wasn’t exactly my idea of romantic.

Be warned, this place is home to the world’s narrowest front door The food, however, was excellent. The steak was top-notch and the salmon practically melted in my mouth. But if you’re interested in value for money, don’t expect the quantities to be large enough to justify the high prices. This is a good place for a special occasion, especially if you want to look flash in front of the missus, but it’s bit pricey to make a habit out of. And some of you may need a crash course at Weight Watchers before you even think about it. Dave Adams

51

iving in Cathays and Roath, we students are spoilt for choice when it comes to curry houses that offer the kind of cheap quality and price that the bowels take an instant, and stinging, dislike to. But the Juboraj is a cut above all these. It boasts to be South Wales’ premier Indian restaurant chain, with restaurants in Cardiff, Swansea and Newport. Once through the doors you can see why. Some curry houses look like they were modelled on a pimp’s dining room, but the Juboraj has a quality that’s instantly noticeable, even if the ears still take a beating from the cheesy sitar muzak. At first glance the prices may cause a shock, but when the food arrives they are easily justified. You can practically taste the chef’s sweat and toil – only metaphorically, unlike some curry houses - and the portions are ample enough to quell any hunger. Overall the Juboraj isn’t cheap, but if you want to taste proper meat in a proper curry, and not the microwave meal variety, then this is a good starting point. Any place that can boast diners like Tom Jones and Eric Clapton is good enough - and probably too good for me; apart from the one in Newport, which I’m probably too good for. Stephen H. Crofts ... the Kenny G of Quench Fancy having a crack at this yourself? Then come along Mondays at 2pm and we’ll dish you out your mission. Go out. Get pissed. Tell us about it. It’s the way forward. Email: goingout@gairrhydd.com


52 B l i n d

D a t e blinddate@gairrhydd.com

Quench 07 03 05

Just good friends The date @ Laura Tov ey

21 year-old third-year English Literature student looking to meet a Johnny Depp look-a-like to stimulate body and mind.

1. What was your first impression of Bal? He looked very friendly and it was very sweet that he arrived with flowers...for Valentine’s Day. 2. Did sparks fly? There wasn’t really any physical attraction on my part. 3. Did you have a lot to talk about or were you constantly looking at your watch? He was really interesting to talk to, and I got to test out the three words of Hindi I know. 4. Did you go out after the date? No. 5. Will you see each other again? Probably not. 6. Did you enjoy your date and was it what you had hoped for? Yes, I wanted to meet someone new and he was very interesting. 7. Sum up your date in three words. It was philosophical. Rate your date out of 5

Balvinder Pal Sing Ahluwalia

22 year-old MBA student searching for a kind natured woman to help make his dreams come true.

1. What was your first impression of Laura? She seemed like a nice girl. 2. Did sparks fly? She is a very beautiful girl with an attractive personality. 3. Did you have a lot to talk about or were you constantly looking at your watch? We had lots to talk about, we discussed our different cultures and our plans for the future. 4. Did you swap numbers? Yes, I asked for Laura’s number. 5. Will you see each other again? I don’t know, maybe in the future. 6. Did you enjoy your date and was it what you had hoped for? Yes, I think I have found a good friend. 7. Describe your date in three words. Blind date surprise.

Rate your date out of 5

Free food and booze plus the chance to meet your love match: what more could you ask for? Interested? Then contact me at blinddate@gairrhydd.com or text me on 07746503742. What’s the worst that could happen?

S exual H ealth A w areness G roup. The ShAg office is open week week days days between between 12 - 1 for confidenconfidential advice and suppor t. New New member s alwa always welcome. welcome.

No glove, no love!


S p o r t

sport@gairrhydd.com

Quench 07 03 05

53

Home and away

John Stanton examines the unjust xenophobia and lack of tolerance that plagues British football

S

ix months into university life, just a two-hour car journey from home and living the pressure-free student life, I, like many others, found myself longing for home. Devoid of the security, familiarity and established friendships I had enjoyed in my pre-university life, settling into a new lifestyle, a new home and a new country seemed, at times, insurmountable. Jose Antonio Reyes, upon joining Arsenal, travelled a similar distance, but by plane, from Seville to London, where he was largely restricted to the confines of his temporary hotel. He did not have the luxury of the social network that university halls can provide. This problematic introduction to English life was perpetuated by the language barrier, itself an obstacle in the essential process of socialisation. Drastic change is problematic at the best of times. Yet I, unlike Reyes, did not have to go to work on a daily basis, perform in front of 40,000 people and placate a manager with the highest standards. Nor did I have to deal with the insatiable thirst for information of the English press. Where I could relax in privacy, Reyes had to be on-guard at all times, constantly aware of both what he said and what he did. So, when a Spanish radio host recently duped the 21-year old into admitting being a little homesick, while it represented a despicable act of deception and lack of journalistic integrity, it did serve to highlight the problems that young sportsmen and women face when they are moved around like commercial commodities. The vitriolic abuse hurled at top footballers on a weekly basis is an unfortunate by-product of football culture, yet experience shows that footballers are seen as things, rather than people. Fans do not consider the emotional impact on a player, nor their likely loss of confidence and self-belief when they shower insults upon those they

claim to support. How would they like it if, while at the office, a complete stranger appeared by their desk and hurled unnecessary and often ill-informed abuse in their direction? Should we be surprised that a young man in a new country misses home and is struggling to adapt? And should we castigate him for such feelings? In no other walk of life, in no other profession would someone be so strongly vilified for natural human feelings of loneliness and isolation. It is no longer adequate to assume that market value and a sizeable wage should alleviate any such emotions. Far from it, it is likely these factors only perpetuate the problem.

The vitriolic abuse hurled at top footballers on a weekly basis is an unfortunate by-product of football culture, yet experience shows that footballers are seen as things, rather than people This recent episode has highlighted that football’s penchant for excessive expectancy of its emerging talent has exceeded all reasonable levels of sanity. In 1998, at the age of 21, a seemingly unfit and perhaps unstable Ronaldo took to the field for Brazil in the World Cup Final. In which other profession would a worker perform their job while suffering so clearly and so publicly? Global scrutiny was the last thing the young Brazilian needed, yet, in the current era of a global football market, the sport has been slow to recognise that it has off-field

obligations to those people who make it such a profitable commodity on the field. In Reyes’s case, an unfortunate hoax led to largely unwarranted castigation. His error came in agreeing that he would, one day, be interested in joining Real Madrid. Had someone suggested to me, in those first six months, that I might prefer to go to Bath University, where a far greater proportion of my friends were, I may have been tempted. I’m sure I would have expressed an interest. When players complain of homesickness, are they acting like mollycoddled misfits or are they simply misunderstood mavericks, masters of their profession yet not masters of social life in a foreign and unwelcoming land? While fans shout obscenities, throw missiles and generally abuse the people they invariably claim to worship, they usually go home to loving families and a stable environment. For many foreign footballers, leaving the pitch on a Saturday heralds only a return to the misery and isolation of their hotel room. No amount of money can substitute family, friendship and familiarity. And, unlike me, Reyes couldn’t go home at weekends.

REYES: Miserable away from home


- Phil

Bonus points for finding:

Today, Phil is completely lost in an absolutely gigantic crowd. Can you find him?

54 Where’s Phil? Impossible@gr.com

Quench 07 03 05


D e a t h c o m e s i n m a n y f o r m s , b u t n o n e c a n t e r r i f y l i k e . . .

Vinyl

Quench 07 03 05

Resting

with Bastian Springs

55

Place

G

et out there on the street and do something, kids. You’re in your prime. You’ve got your parent’s money for the first time, you don’t really have to worry about getting your degree, be honest, do you really want a degree in journalistic engineering with law when you’re going to get papa shitbag’s millions after you spike his drink on New Year’s Eve. Do you? So why not go and explore. Explore films - I refuse to believe any of you come from a town with a better cinema than Chapter, UGC and Ster Century? And for records you have no excuse not to be broadening your horizons a bit. Come on! even MVC sells Tweez by Slint. This weeks Vinyl Resting Place celebrates rare cultural phenomenon - the song which exists entirely within the student population. Like a By Bastian Springs that well-fed Gremlin at 12.15am, these hideous beasts will only destroy you in the end. Don’t let them.

Out on a Limb

Record #5 - Chesney Hawkes - The One and Only Crime: Soundtracking Bacardi Breezer Fuelled Student Prickteasing.

A

hh, remember the time we went to the Taf quiz and they played The One and Only by Chesney Hawkes at the end? Oh how we laughed. The One and Only by onehit-too-many supergay Chesney Hawkes by being staggeringly dire on an Isaac Newton-defying number of levels. Not only is it embarassing pissing-your-pants-at-your-exfiancee’s-wedding degree, it’s also a waste of Nik Kershaw’s unarguably underrated song-

writing genius, and is basically Jason Donovan’s Too Many Broken Hearts surgically attached The Final Countdown like a dismembered ear to a puss-pumped rodent. Not only these three killer facts, but the idea that the second gutfaced buttock clenching student soddy shitmasters turn 18, this song spins 360 degrees, and back again like an irony splashed gryoscope. Is it good because it’s bad because it was once good but now it’s so bad it’s great

though it wasn’t that good in the first thing, and that’s what makes it bad now or what? Or is it’s inherent badness secretly good, and hence all you downtrodden moneywasting swan shit go to crap clubs all night dressed as Slutty McSchool to hear it, hmmm? On this plus side, it did keep Sit Down by James from the top slot, but like I Am The Ressurection and Loaded before it, stripped down and stark in sober light of day, is unutterably, disgustingly, bad.

Chesney Hawkes: Bird shit

Record #6 - The Bravery - Honest Mistake Crime: Executive Mess.

Y The Bravery: Gas them

o! Out there amidst the hubbub and humdrum of the music industry, far from the amateur shamblings of your average Quenchketeer, there are people doing a proper job. People doing hard fought fisticuffs in the cut and thrust of the music business, putting their neck out and gobbling down greasy corporate knob to bring you the majestic delights you wake up to every morning. One meeting between several of these accumulated brainstormers from heaven saw New York’s The Bravery get their skinny-tie indie boy

asses signed. “So listen fellow clueless music executives. There’s this band right, called The Bravery yeah?” “Yeah - love the ‘The’ bit in the name by the way, they’ll go far” “Seriously, my loyal degenerates, they’re from New York too, I heard it’s currently a cultural hotbed in 2005” “Whoah there - too good to be true buttmunch. Say - we could market them as a cross between The Killers and dare I say it, The Strokes” “Exactly what I was thinking. Those derivative nonces who read the NME and don’t

even know which end of their body to defecate with will lap it up like the little buggers they are” “Mmm - why not get Moyles to play it - then we’ll have the twentysomething FHM-gawpers who like their music to sound like one long spicybean-filled fart covered too” The Bravery, in short, are like a Messiah to lip-sore industry executives. All we need to do now is raise awareness of their godawful neo-new-wave sludge, betray them at sundown, wait for the cockcrow, wash their feet and nail their rancid corpses to a sturdy, neo-new wave crucifix.

Who’s up next week? Akon? Space featuring Cerys Matthews? Zero 7? Kula Shaker? Until then, rest in peace xxx Any suggestions? Give BS a tinkle... bastian@gairrhydd.com


04

One Trick Pony

Quench 07 03 05

(Overrated) ( Tequila )

It makes me happy, granted, but also has rather an alarming ability for causing morning-after vomiting (I prefer my vomiting to be immediate.) As an antidote to Solus it’s bloody good, but the next day’s pain is frankly unbearable. So tequila, perhaps, doesn’t in fact make me happy so much as save up the pain for the following day, to release it all in one go, like a rubbish truck unloading at the dump. Quite how Mexicans cope with spirits at all in that sort of heat is a mystery. One would assume that a cold bottle of Corona, complete with piece of lime, is more appropriate for desert conditions than a beverage that could plausibly be made out of the fire of Hell mixed with Satan’s own bodily fluids. Tequila only just manages to justify its existence by its presence on the lips of Salma Hayek in Frida. It’s not just that advertising is annoying, particularly on TV and especially when involving any sort of mobile ringtone (what’s wrong with ‘ring ring’?), but it’s also quite frightening. The possibility of buying Full Spectrum Warrior: Commando Frontier for PS2 completely by accident simply through having seen the advert so many times is deeply worrying, particularly since I don’t actually have a PS2. Worse still is the sheer volume of celebrities that are willing to whore themselves out to companies - such as certain former professional sportspeople advertising crisps, a foodstuff frowned upon in most athletic circles. The power of advertising upon my brain is even more disturbing when it transpires that I almost bought an Ulrika Jonsson Red Nose Day Tshirt. In my own defence, she did look good in it.

( Advertising )

(Underrated) ( Rediscovery ) There’s something oddly delightful about rediscovering an album or film that spends an unfairly small proportion of time being heard/viewed. Too often these are CDs, rashly purchased off the back of one single, which aren’t given a fair listen and quickly become boring. Suddenly, sometimes years later, a random urge to try it again kicks in. Or more often, a CD is simply played to death over a few months and then put away: a victim of Radio One Syndrome. Once the album makes its way up from the bottom of the pile and finally sees the light of day once again, it’s like buying a brand new CD, but with nostalgia from about five years previously. Oddly, Semisonic’s Feeling Strangely Fine invokes memories of blowing away cops on Grand Theft Auto. The latest comedic offering from the legendary Chris Morris is in the form of a sitcom, Nathan Barley, set in and around a small magazine. The programme centres around a journalist called Dan Ashcroft who hates his job and the other people who work for ‘Sugar Ape’ magazine. In particular, he hates Nathan Barley, the title character, who is a prick. The series has been universally panned in the press, but is very funny in places, in a dark, almost wrong kind of way, as with much of Morris’s work. The character, Nathan, runs a website called Trashbat.co.ck, featuring such gems as a vulgar version of paper, scissors stone called ‘cock, muff and bumhole’, and offers web surfers the chance to bet on Russian tramp races. Ace.

( Nathan Barley )

Quench - Issue 22  

Quench - Issue 22