“The geeks shall inhe rit the earth”
... it’s good isn’t it!”
Quench chat to comic gods Simon Pegg and Nick Frost
BRING ON THE FUZZ Mob them!
Features on th e rise and ris flash-mobb e of ing
QUENCH.GAIRRHYDD.COM > VOL 4.48 > FEB 19 2007
It’s full of laughs: we chat to comedian, Ed Byrne
Group gatherings: You and Me. Or maybe just me.
What you doing that for? Quench looks at the phenomenon that is flash mobbing Features/ page 24
Adoption antics: should it make a difference?
The best of the rest: feast your eyes on Cardiff’s shows
regulars 04THE BLURB It’s my Lou Bear
To date or not to date
It’s hot and it’s fuzz
A web of information
Hero to zero
Living on the edge
Setting the mood
In a dilemma
61THE FINAL WHISTLE
I love you in the morning
It’s what dreams are made of
62TUNNEL VISION It’s never clueless
Editor Sophie Robehmed Executive editor Perri Lewis Assistant to the Editors Elaine Morgan Arts Kim O’Connor, Rebecca Child Blind Date Rosanne and Olivia Books Daisy Beare Columnists Gareth Paisey, Grace DeVille, Dave Menon, John Widdop Cult Classics Tom Brookes Debate Caleb Woodbridge Digital Dom Mukwamba-Sendall Fashion Leana Crookes, Matt Hitt Features Amy Harrison, Ben Bryant Film Ewen Hosie, Ryan Owen, Si Truss Food Joanne Grew Gay Deen Lloyd, Jenny Hall Going Out Kayleigh Excell, Rachel Clare Interviews Amira Hashish, Nicola Menage Music Mike Richards, Sofie Jenkinson, Will Hitchins Photography Adam Gasson, James Perou, Sarah Day Travel Chris Rogers, Jim Whiteley Cover Design Graeme Porteous Proof Readers Elise Kirke, Rachel Cormican, Kate Dobbs, Kieran Harwood Contributors Matt Cutler, Laura Rowe, Emily Kendrick, Huw Davis, Guy Ferney-Hough, Jim Finucane, Phillip Jones, Mike Bateson-Hill, Harold Shiel, Henry Cann, Fran Jarvis, Josie Allchin, Reuman Frijj, Tasha Prest-Smith, Tom Wiilliams, Roseanna Eastoe, Emily Davies, Aisling Tempany, Gareth Mogg, Jon Berridge, Gillian Couch, Leila Pinder, Jim Whitely, Rosanne White, Sylvie Winn, Ed Slater, Ashley James, Lucy Reader, Chloe Adams, James Temperton, Natalie Newbigging, Andy Swidenbank.
Oxford: top tunes, yah
Best Student Publication 2005
Best Student Magazine 2005 & 2006
THE BLURB q.ed.
Shooting myself in the foot
o, I’m finding that many things are getting my goat as it were these days. More so than usual. I wonder why that is. I thought I might share a few of these particular incidents. Perhaps some of you will empathise, maybe you won’t. That’s the risk I take but I’m hoping that it will be a relief to vent off a small portion of the tamer thoughts that circulate my grey matter. Hope you don’t mind. Firstly, this Skins programme that is still being hyped to the extreme is try-hard. Very, very try-hard with its rude language, saucy antics and by simply making me feel like a right paedo because I now find that About a Boy actor strangely attractive. Yet using the phrase ‘try hard’ is an expression in itself which has become some clichéd piece of pap that people who are ‘too cool for school’ habitually use and these are the type of people who look down their a la mode conk at me, rolling their eyes while saying ‘Riiiight’ when I make an utterance. Yes, this is just one complex I have and no, I can’t even describe the way this programme grates without becoming significantly more annoyed. And then, the snow arrives as fast as it disappears leaving many of us disillusioned and sad post-euphoria of the white flakes. What we are left with however is brown, faece-tinted slush that tries its upmost to make us fall and break our spines after inducing us to look eerily like waddling peni. First mankind, now nature has it in for us it seems. Next, The Times state on their website that final year students will be more in demand than ever this year, which doesn’t soothe me. Oh, no. They do not consider the possibility that all these graduate schemes will be heavily oversubscribed, especially for such competitive fields such as, say media, which is incidentially what I’m endeavouring to beaver away at. So that is just wonderful. I wish I was Julie Andrews on a mountain, yodelling with children, wearing curtains and not having to plan my life. This might just be what is making me considerably thorny at the moment. For that, I apologise for a rather prickly read that I have provided. I’m a sloppy springer spaniel; not a hot-tempered, fire-breathing dragon. Even this melodrama is successfully getting in my craw because it hides the genuine concern and panic of planning the future that many of us are experiencing right now. Why is this happening to me? And why won’t David Cameron just admit to dabbling in a little doubee? And breathe, you babbling fool.
ssian. vs. a presidential Ru A poisonous Russian uffs, who would triumph? But, if it came to fistic Mishka ‘Vladivostok Babe’ Schneiderova Strengths: Grasp of the English language; Ability to irritate vast numbers of day-time TV viewers; Bypassing immigration laws. Weaknesses: Vodka; Smoking; Shane Warne. Actually make that any Australian middle-aged man with an above-average pulse rate. Special Move: The Lou-Bear Hug – Grabs hold of prey with a squeeze perfected from many a cold night in darkest Siberia.
Vladimir ‘KGB undercover’ Putin Strengths: Powerful name (Likens him to Vlad the Impaler aka. Dracula); Secret Service contacts; Poison-in-food ability. Weaknesses: Hated by majority of people in the political landscape; Physique of Peter Crouch’s shorter brother. Special Move: The Belly Kiss – Likened to the Kiss of Death, Vlad isolates the stomach area to indicate the initiation of cruise missiles to the desired target.
THE VERDICT The fight starts in a mist of confusion. Venue: the picturesque and mutually situated Red Square. However Putin, on time as ever, has to wait 10 hours for the postponed Melbourne-Moscow flight to arrive, on which Mishka has worked herself into a fighting mood with an around-the-world Vodka and Tazzle binge. The President peers over his dark-rimmed sunglasses to spot the sozzled figure, easily mistaken for a man in drag, making her way through the crowd. Vlad wastes no opportunity and gives an-ear tug to
indicate a hit to his sniper on the roof of the Kremlin. Fortunately for the Russian battleaxe, her pseudo-Louis takes the shot, giving the air hostess a chance to climb into the ring. In her far from sober state, Mishka sees Vlad as a younger version of her Aussie lover man, leading her to passionately embrace him and inadvertedly unleash the ‘Lou-Bear.’ The former KGB man cannot retaliate; the weight difference leaves him no chance to wriggle out of her effeminate grasp. Russia’s most famous export wastes no time in cracking out her favourite tipple, leaving Putin to plan his revenge and a possible nuclear retaliation on Erinsborough. Matt Cutler
Parched life B British R‘n’ a h singer Keis les White tackive Quench’s fons big questi
! s i h t r e w Ans Who is your musical idol? It would have to be Stevie Wonder. He knows how to play and is so creative with what he does. Do you have a role model? Halle Berry is a personal role model of mine. She has had real highs and lows during her career. Where do you feel most at home? I really love Camden town. There is a great vibe. I go through the markets and then sit down and chill there. It is so cultural as well. Leicester Square is also fabulous but it is a bit too hyped. When I’m feeling really upbeat I’ll go to Leicester Square. Camden is calmer. What is your favourite cuisine? I really love Chinese food but I hate sushi. I can’t take anything that is not cooked.
What do you do chill out? I really enjoy watching films. You can’t beat the oldies either.
What costs 10,000 times more than tap water? Yes, you guessed it – water. The most available commodity in the world brought to our shops by companies who know that we will spend a hard-earned wage/well-deserved student loan so we don’t die of thirst. Bottled water is more expensive than beer in some pubs and shops. In fact, filling your car with mineral water instead of ozone-obliterating fuel will not only half your petrol bill, but be your own special way of saving the environment. At least petrol prices being high acts to deter us from using cars all the time. I think God would rue the day he let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place. Maybe, “let the rivers flow strong, for a price thou finds suitable” would have been more appropriate. And it’s not just a financial hydroconundrum. How does Tony Blair expect to solve the obesity crisis when kids are faced with a cheaper, and thus more desirable, sugary alternative? Porky junior has no incentive to stray from the normal trends of the cold beverage market. In part, it’s the fault of every bottled water drinker out there for satisfying the H20-exploiters. I’m no Adam Smith, but no buying = no profit = cheaper water. Let’s start a revolution. Arm yourself with an empty bottle, locate your nearest source of Cardiff’s finest valley water, and don’t give in to spending over the odds for lets face it, something that falls from the sky. And I know drinking a pint of petrol isn’t the most thirst quenching, but at least I’ll be happy in the knowledge I’m getting my money’s worth. Matt Cutler
h has: This week Quenc Been thinking: l farce’ ‘That life is a crue itorial & Ed of ne (Ed Vansto Opinion). Been looking at: irrhydd.com/ http://quench.ga azine has now Our spanking magline for the been updated on masses
Debating dating St Valentine’s Day has just come round again - but is dating the best way to pursue romance?
Little Miss Blind Date
nlike bungee jumping without a harness, climbing into a tank with a shark, or auditioning for Big Brother, dating is something everyone should try at least once. However nerve-wracking it may be, dating is one of the most enjoyable ways of getting to know someone new. Instead of stumbling home at the end of Rubber Duck and waking up the next morning with a hangover of apocalyptic proportions and an unfamiliar other (now if only I could remember their name…) and then wondering why they don't call or text, dating allows you to spend time with someone you feel attracted to and find out more about what you have in common.
Dating is one of the most enjoyable ways of getting to know someone The biggest challenge of dating is overcoming the fear. First, you must pluck up the courage to ask out the object of your affection while facing the prospect of being turned down by them or stared at as if you've sprouted horns. Once on the date, you might find that, actually, you have nothing in common. Maybe the other person is more interested than you are or, even worse, that you like them more than they like you. But everyone is different; even if neither of you want to go on future dates, you've spent time getting to know someone potentially very interesting that you can say 'hi' to in the pub or on Facebook. Dating helps you to deal with your nerves and gives you the opportunity to be yourself. It also helps you decide what you want from a future partner. Yes, it takes nerves and yes, it might not work out. There's always the chance you'll have one too many, trip up, belch or insist on telling that 'hilarious' story about the time you and your housemates stole a traffic cone, but dating is just a bit of fun. Even if it goes completely wrong, you'll (hopefully) leave with your dignity intact and the courage to do it again.
he trouble with dating is that, generally speaking, it's an individualistic, consumerist and self-centred method of relationships. Now people can mean different things by “dating”, and some manage to date unselfishly. But our habits and culture of dating lend themselves very readily to selfishness rather than love. Dating is usually about finding the person I find attractive, who I like and who will give me pleasure. Dating treats people like a product to be returned to the store if I don't like them. But the paradox of hedonism is that whoever seeks happiness for its own sake will never be happy; we need something to be happy about. We won’t find real happiness in relationships if we start by seeking our own satisfaction. Love is its most hedonistic by giving up hedonism: love is finding pleasure not in your own happiness but in the happiness of your beloved. Our culture is also relentlessly individualistic. Dating is just you and the person you fancy, usually divorced from any kind of normal social situation. There’s a place for privacy, but all our relationships exist in a wider social context. It’s far healthier to begin with getting to know someone as part of a wider friendship group, and moving on to romance supported and helped by our friends, and dare I say it, family.
Love is at its most hedonistic by giving up hedonism Dating is usually a series of casual, commitmentfree liaisons. Commitment gives meaning and security to relationships. True romance involves both pleasure and purpose, duty and delight, hand in hand with one another. Where there is love, or we are seeking to develop love, commitment is not a cage, but a delight. Love is not about finding some mystical soul-mate. Fancying someone, having a crush on someone, being “in love” is good soil in which to grow genuine love, but it needs to be cultivated. The best environment to do so is not dating as usually practiced, but one of commitment, community and mutual giving.
You are what you are
Grace de Ville
Has Gillian McKeith resorted to catnapping?
hen my agoraphobic and morbidly obese cat went missing, we feared the worst. Two weeks of leaving strategically placed chunks of Brie around the garden and there was still no sign of the notoriously antisocial beast. Something was wrong. Pringle would never turn down a fine cheese. As hard as it was to accept the fact that she was dead, it was the most feasible explanation. Despite the (huge) feline shaped hole in their lives, the whole family attempted to carry on as best they could. But one day, like a fluffy Jesus, Pringle returned from the dead. She'd lost about half her body weight and seemed a little vague, but was otherwise intact. At the time, I was too busy rejoicing her lack of deadness to contemplate her whereabouts during her twoweek disappearance. In retrospect I'd like to think that she'd been on a debauched bender with local catty Casanova, but her haggard looks and irrational fear of blue-green algae and alfalfa sprouts could only offer one conclusion: she had been abducted by Dr. Gillian McKeith. It's hardly surprising; Michelle McManus may have shifted a few pounds but she’s still as chubby and ruddy-cheeked as the next deep-fried Mars Bar aficionado. Recent accusations that she may be talking shit (as opposed to studying it) and isn’t, technically speaking, a doctor per se could force her to take drastic action to save her dwindling career. She needs a muse with speedier weight-loss potential than a twenty-three-stone Glaswegian with a failed singing career. It’s time to think small. Animals lose weight just as quickly as toddlers but can’t answer back as much. And besides, forcing preschoolers to diet might, just might, be considered unethical. The next step for our nutritionist friend should be to set up a detox farm for unhealthy creatures. This is surely preferable to simply snatching them from suburban gardens? As much as I try and convince myself that Gillian McKeith has stolen my Granddad, I think it’s fair to say that as of this week, he is no longer of this earth. Granddad was a chronically unhealthy man. He preached the importance of a ‘tot’ (read: pint) of whiskey before bed. He saw ‘no point’ to sun protection, insisting that all the years of rubbing engine oil onto his skin while in the navy had done him no damage. This was after he'd had a cancerous lump removed from his ear, which the doctor had attributed to sun damage. "Don't give me any
McKeith: Enjoying herself a bit too much
Michelle McManus may have shifted a few pounds but she’s still as chubby and ruddy cheeked as the next deep-fried Mars Bar aficionado of this five-a-day mumbo jumbo" was a typical retort to anyone who attempted to get him to eat some fruit and vegetables. His ludicrously tiny shorts were sported in the most severe of weather conditions and locals saw them as a sign of the changing seasons. Forget the call of the cuckoo – the amount of thigh exposed was directly proportional to the advent of spring. In essence, he had absolutely no regard for his own wellbeing, yet still managed (at the ripe old age of eighty-three) to look younger and healthier than Gillian McKeith. Perhaps our generation are all so focused on staying healthy that we’re making ourselves ill. My grandfather lived through eight decades without ever ingesting a single acai berry. Let’s hope that good ol’ Gill follows the career path of that equally annoying health ‘professional’ Mr. Motivator (appearing soon at a Woolworth’s near you) and we can get on with worrying about the more important things in life, such as happy slapping and bird flu.
PHOTO: JAMES PEROU
Byrne baby Byrne He doesn’t just sell mobile phones, you know. Ten years after his first gig the Irish comedian is still going strong with a new tour Standing Up and Falling Down.
Amira Hashish and Nicola Menage talks to him about tours, bad reviews and tips for first-timers d Bynre sits in his dressing room, smartly dressed but a little dishevelled after just having stepped off the stage from his new tour, Standing Up and Falling Down. So how did it go? “Its going great by and large.” He replies enthusiastically. “Not all the gigs were as great as that one was. About half of them have been that good.” Ed is also a favourite at the Edinburgh Fringe, the biggest arts
festival in the world, having gigged there for the umpteenth time in August 2006. Are there many differences between playing there and doing a tour? “The thing about [the Edinburgh festival] is you get reviewed a lot. It just puts pressure on the whole thing. My mate Andy Maxwell calls it Exams for Clams. You go with your new show that you’re going to be doing that year (a lot of it you might
be doing on tour) and it’s your chance to get your head above the parapet as it were.” “So a lot of the press come to see you because they don’t review you when you’re touring round. So there’s pressure. Last time I did the fringe was 2004 and I got two good reviews and the rest were mediocre. I got a kicking from a few of them!” He adds with disdain. Do bad reviews bother you? “Yes it gets to me more than it
I did a 900 seater venue on a bank holiday in Ipswich and there were literally a hundred people there. It’s painful. EIGHT
INTERVIEWS really. Now and again you get to do a venue which is maybe too big. Not on this tour but on previous tours I think I did a 900-seater venue in Ipswich on a bank holiday where Ipswich were playing at home and there were literally a hundred people there. It’s painful.” Ed began his career as a stand-up in 1993 at the Comedy Cellar in Glasgow. He later packed his bags and headed to London “where the streets are paved with comedy clubs.” Since then he has been nominated for a Perrier award and been involved in many T.V panel shows such as 8 Out of 10 Cats, as well as BBC2's Mock The Week. He has also presented television shows Uncut! Best Unseen Ads and Just For Laughs. “I always fancied stand-up.” he muses.
Buy a dictaphone and anytime you say anything vaguely amusing say it again into the dictaphone. Do that for six months you’ll have half an hour of shit! gets to most, I think. A lot of comedians probably don’t even read their interviews. The thing is when I was starting out I got nice reviews: in ‘96 they were good enough even if they were only a three-star reviews. In ‘97 I got four-star reviews. Then in ‘98 they were nearly all five-star. And then in ‘99 they were still pretty good but they kind of trailed off after that. Then I went back this year and got nice reviews again. So it’s nice.” What keeps you going? “The audience. Just getting up there and saying what you think. You just go ‘Fuck anyone who doesn’t think I'm good!’” Does it get tiring going onstage every night? “It does but compared to most jobs it’s still a winner. The worst thing is sitting in queues of traffic on motorways to and from. Or getting back to hotels and finding they don’t do food. Its hard to eat a lot before you do a gig, and after the gig you’re out drinking and then you have no food so your health takes quite a kicking!” “The downside is just the travelling
“But I never thought I’d be good enough to do it. I actually fancied the idea of T.V presenting or something like that. I got into it through student union carry-on, actually. I was the entertainments guy and and then the vice president of my University in Glasgow. Through hosting karaoke and pop quizzes and going up for the big speeches in the election I got a taste for it. “Then I started to get asked to get involved in other student unions: Dundee asked me to go and host their freshers' welcome. I’ve been told I have talent for this!” he recalls, amazed. “I studied Horticulture.” he adds. “It was interesting before I started studying it…” So what advice does he have for anyone aspiring to get involved in comedy? “First of all buy a dictaphone and anytime you say anything vaguely amusing at a party or with friends nip off to the toilet or whatever and say it again into the dictaphone. If you do that for six months you’ll have half an hour of shit, but five minutes of that will probably be
usable and you just need to find a way of turning that into a one way conversation, rather than just saying ‘my mate once said this at a party..’ If you’re a funny person and you’re sitting down with people and tape every funny thing you say then eventually something will come out of it.” “The other thing not to do is think ‘right I wanna be a comedian so I’m going to go down to the comedy store in London and try it.’ “ You don’t want to go to the premium level comedy clubs. Even the Glee clubs or Jongleurs. You don’t want to go to the proper paying level club. What you want to do is find out where the low level Glee circuit clubs are, where the open mic-ers go; where it’s new people, and try out your material there first. “Luckily I didn’t make that mistake but I’ve spoken to people who did. They were shit at the start but they give it a go and they die on their arse. But a year or two later they’re really good and they storm it but they’ll never forget that first gig!” What’s his favourite comedian? Bill Hicks was probably my favourite. I like Dennis Leary though. A lot of people underrate him. A lot of people say he’s a Bill-licking-Hicks clown but I think he had a lot of original stuff that was his own and was really good. I'm also a big fan of Chris Rock. Actually I think most of my favourite comics are American.” Next comes a question that throws him slightly. But it doesn’t take him long to throw back a witty reply. If I gave you a million pounds right now what would you do? [a pause] “Bank it! Id be afraid of someone mugging me!” he laughs. “I wouldn’t cancel the rest of the tour put it that way. But I wouldn’t book a second tour!” Is he into acting too or perhaps music? “I'm not musical at all. I love music but I'm not musical. I do have an idea about a couple who go camping to save their relationship – one day I will write!” And in ten years time...? “I’ll probably be bitter and old somewhere going ‘I used to be funny!’ Ed Byrne is doing his ‘Standing Up and falling Down’ tour until June.
Chazen stars Amira Hashish talks Tittybangbang, training and what is going to happen in ten years with BBC3 actress Debbie Chazen...
Tell us what it is like to work on the Tittybangbang set. [Laughs.] It is the best fun ever. It is fantastic. The cast is brilliant. We all get along really well. It is like turning up for the morning, dressing up and just having a little play around all day. It’s just great. Are you very involved with the creative process? I don’t write any of it but we did a lot of rehearsing with improvised stuff. We say what we think works and what doesn’t. The cast is all female. Was that intentional? It was an obvious thing to be an all female comedy show because it hadn’t really been done before but the
w BBC3 actress Debbie and fello grotesque came along afterwards. It was a by-product. It wasn’t a conscious effort of getting together to be female and grotesque but it worked out that way. Is there some of yourself in the characters? I try not to put too much of myself in the characters but it inevitably happens because of mannerisms and my natural characteristics.
What was the transition like from The Smoking Room to Tittybangbang? It was quite different but not difficult. It was a lot of fun. The smoking room was brilliant but it was filmed on one set with the same ten people in varying formulas. You went to work, sat down and smoked all day. I can tell you now, it put me off smoking for life. I couldn’t speak for three weeks afterwards. My throat was so
INTERVIEWS sore. It was sexy for a while then it completely went. To go from that to something where you are charging around and the energy is up all the time was a bit different but not any less or more fun. Do you have a favourite character that you have played? I love them all. I am very lucky to earn a living from what I absolutely love doing. After ten years of doing it, I still can’t quite believe that I am an actress. Many people would say the same thing about me. (laughs) It is completely surreal. How did you become involved in acting? I was always aware I wanted to act. I never knew there was anything else. I was five and went to see Danny Larue and Wayne Sleep in Aladdin in the London Palladium. It was my first taste of the theatre, The orchestra started up with a big chord and it went to the overture and I started crying. My mum asked me why I was crying. I said, ‘it’s so beautiful.’ From that moment, I was hooked. Did you have professional training? I went to university and then went to LAMDA. I did Russian and Spanish in uni at Manchester. I loved my time at uni. I did a lot of acting and very little studying. I really wanted to do
Why did you decide to focus on comedy? I did a production of Agamemnon once. I thought I played a tragic character well but everyone laughed at my performance. People would come up to me and say you are really funny so I thought I would be better taking the comedy route. Have you got any advice for those wanting to get into acting? Be very determined. Be able to take knock-backs. It can get you down if you don’t get parts but it is worth preserving because when you get them it is amazing. Where do you see yourself in ten years? I want to still be a known actress, I don’t want to be on a UKTV Gold ‘whatever happened to…’ programme. If you could be anybody else for a day who would it be? Vanessa Paradis for obvious reasons.
Q U E N C H’ S
Tell us about your most embarrassing moment… I was fifteen. I went to Disneyland. I came out of the toilet and Mickey Mouse pointed out that my skirt was in my trousers. What was the last lie you told? There are so many. I saw an exboyfriend the other day. I pretended my phone was on vibrate and said I had to take the call. It was a complete lie but I didn’t want to talk to him. If you were given £1 million what would you do with it? I would pay off my mortgage and buy my sister’s house. It is a bit boring but a lot of actors would agree. What makes you laugh? Anything and everything. I laugh at grotesque things. I always laugh at inappropriate situations and at the wrong time. I have been told I have a dirty laugh.
Tittybangbang series one is available now on DVD
Celebrating Quench’s 50th edition with an extra special compact disc. Bosh.
LOCAL MIXTAPE best of Quench brings you some of the Cardiff’s music scene
If you were a fly for a week where is the first place you would go? See above. Inside Johnny Depp’s trousers.
ss I still cannot believe I am an actre
acting but my parents were very sensible and said I should go to uni first.
Available: March 5 ELEVEN
IN THEIR SHOES PHOTO: JAMES PEROU
Blood Red Shoesâ€™ LauraMary Carter and Steven Ansell talk to Gillian Couch...
How's the tour going so far? It's really good, we've just had a break and this is our sixth show now. We're pretty tired; we got hardly any sleep in Ireland. It was so fun though, everyone was really friendly and the response and turn out we got was great. You're ending the tour with shows supporting The Young Knives, are you looking forward to it? Yeah we are. We're looking forward to meeting them, we heard they were really fun to be around. We like their stuff too so it'll be good to see that. How did you create BRS? LM: We should probably have an automatic answer for this really, shouldn't we? S: That's why I'm staying quiet, we get asked so much and there's no way of making it more interesting. LM: We were both in other bands which broke up and Steve stole my hat in London and said I had to come to Brighton to get it back. S: Yeah, and you did! I was wearing it when I met you, it was like this cool rasta hat. LM: It's a nice hat, I wanted it back. So yeah, we just jammed and it kinda went from there. Since then, how have you found it? Well everyone says stuff like 'oh it must be a shock', but it's all been a gradual progression. There's just been a steady increase, we've got nine singles now and released some on a few record labels. We've just worked hard, so it's kind of trained us for playing big venues.
You've been a likened to bands like the Pixies and Sonic Youth, do you see that as a good thing? Yeah, the pixies are good; kinda weird and distinctive, so we like that. We don't really think we especially sound like anyone. I mean there are bits that we notice and think 'oh, that sounds like Blur' but no-one else would ever notice. So who would you say are your main influences? There are so many that you can't name them. Your new single is out soon, is this the beginning of an album? No, we've not started writing the album yet, but it'll be out around October. We're really proud of the single though, think it's the best so far. We spent three days recording one song, so it should be good.
How would you sum up your sound to anyone who hasn't heard yet? Loud, yeah kinda loud. Just raw and energetic, the vocals are melodic when we can hear them! Do you guys have any aims for the future? S: We've got a few goals. I really wanna meet Dave Grohl... And yeah, we thought we'd like to headline the Astoria and play the festivals. Oh and the Jo Whiley Live Lounge thing would be good. LM: Except all the ones we think of doing, someone else does! S: We wanted to do Justin Timberlake and then the Klaxons did it the other day. *Blood Red Shoes' new single 'it's getting boring by the sea' is out on the March 12.
the lowdown with Amira and Nicky The latest news to be entertaining the interviews camp.... *ROBBIE WILLIAMS didn’t perform at this year’s Brits because he has been admitted to rehab instead. Get well soon Robs.
*PENELOPE CRUZ insists that she is not seeing Kylie Minogue’s ex-, Olivier Martinez. They are just friends.
*It seems to be everybody’s birthday at the moment. Not everyone gets the same guestlist as JENNIFER ANISTON though. Amongst her party--goers were her exboyfriend, Vince Vaughn and best friend Courteney Cox.
*BILLIE PIPER is in talks with the production crew of new TV drama Belle De Jour. The show is about a London prostitute and is a far cry from her squeaky clean character in Doctor Who.
*MISCHA BARTON and rocker CISCO ADLER have decided to end their relationship. After a year and a half together it seems they are both back on the love market..
* Pirates of The Caribbean writer TERRY ROSSIO has said he would consider writing Pirates 4. The third movie is released in May.
LISTEN OUT FOR THE LOWDOWN FRIDAYS, 2.30-4 PM ON XPRESS RADIO
Famous for 5 minutespublic...
neral Interviews is let loose on the ge
t was just another ordinary day for ALAN BAINBRIDGE until Interviews disovered one of Cardiff’s hidden gems. In his first ever magazine interview, the third year Optometry student comes to terms with his new found fame.
Tell us a secret about yourself... Well, I like dressing up as a woman. What is your biggest fear? Having all my teeth smashed out in one go like in the film American History X. When was the last time you logged into facebook? At 4pm today. I was meant to be doing my dissertation.
Reveal your most embarrassing moment... The police took me home when I was 16 because they caught me pissing on a tree. They talked to my parents who were not too pleased. What is the most outrageous thing you have done? I streaked down Salisbury Road.
What was your first thought this morning... Where am I? Who was the last person you kissed? My girlfriend this morning. What is your biggest turn off? Sober people.
e c n a r e l o T Zero
e h t s n i o j k s e d n Fashio te a b e d ” o r e z e z i “s
t’s virtually unavoidable; every shop you go into has rows and rows of magazines screaming “pics of skinny celebs,” “worries over dramatic weight- loss”. The "size zero" problem, however out of style its allegedly becoming, is still very much at large. You might not see many skinny minnies of "size zero" proportions skipping up and down the stairs of Cardiff's student union just yet, but fashion is now forcing young women around the country to reassess their waistlines. The media fire surrounding the
"size zero" issue has once again been set alight by the onset of London Fashion Week, where the government has urged the British Fashion council to reconsider the participation of underweight models. After the shocking deaths of two ultra- slim catwalk models due to heart failure and anorexia, the British Fashion council still refuse to ban underweight models from their catwalks. Surely this is sending out the wrong message; basically condoning eating disorders and crash dieting. Anyone who has ever attended a professional fashion show will tell you that all high-end fashion models are ridiculously slim in person. In theory, they should represent the small, freakish sector of the population that were born to be 5 ft 11 and a UK size 6, but increasing pressures to be even skinnier are now pushing models to extreme measures to lose weight. What people seem to be forgetting, is that young women have always looked up to slim role models. Just examine the fashion icons of the past; Audrey Hepburn, svelte in her LBD or Jackie O, teetering around in her giant shades. With the exception of Marilyn Monroe, being slim has always been synonymous with being glamourous, so what has suddenly turned this to an unhealthy obsession? It has been more recently, when the supermodel has crossed over into the super-celebrity, that we as a nation have begun to look to Models as fashion icons. Twiggy might have been the first ever supermodel, but since then iconic figures like Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer and Kate Moss have not only been gracing the covers of fashion magazines, but can also be
MARILYN: A real woman
KATE BOSWORTH: Looking brittle
After the shocking deaths of two ultra-slim catwalk models due to heart failure and anorexia, the British Fashion council still refuse to ban underweight models from their catwalks
THE TEASE: Dita is tasty and curvaceous
found in the pages of Heat and Now. Likewise, as models have crossed over into celebrity, it is now the actresses of the big screen that women look to as their fashion icons.
"size zero" will definitely get you zero fashion cred as far as we're concerned
As a result, celebrities have become virtual clothes hangers who are just used to endorse the latest Birkin Bag or McQueen Skull Scarf. Although the media does encourage us to be disgusted by these women's skinniness, you will often find the latest fad diet printed alongside poor Kate Bosworth looking gaunt in that must-have Missoni bikini. This unhealthy and confusing message markets the "size zero" as a trend that some dedicated followers of fashion might think that they actually have to succumb to. Itâ€™s not just magazines that are
VICTORIA BECKHAM: Too skinny
guilty of promoting the "size zero"; television shows like Make me a Supermodel and America's Next Top Model actively encourage us to observe these creatures like they are animals in a zoo, bringing us face to face with the models' weight battles and self-esteem issues. This gross fascination with thesupposedly 'beautiful people' is simply getting out of hand. Gone are the days when women aspired to be healthy, curvaceous and natural. Believe you me, there is nothing stylish about looking like you are about to keel over. Just take Victoria Beckham's attempt to pull off the Roland Mouret's Galaxy dress back in October; the only way to rock that frock is with a serious set of curves. Although it is true that fashion has no mercy when it comes to favouring the slender frame, you can still be slim and healthy at the same time. So fellow fashionistas take note; being "size zero" will definitely get you zero fashion cred as far as we're concerned. Leana Crookes RACHEL WEISZ: Gives the galaxy some va- va voom
Love will tear us apart...
want to go travelling with my boyfriend.” I was surprised when family and friends met my comments with replies such as “Oh, really?”, “Are you sure that’s a good idea?”, “What if you fall out?” The majority of responses were negative, and instead of doubts creeping into my mind it only made me more determined to go with him. I felt that whoever you travelled with would always raise the possibility of falling out with each other. I can now see that my opinion of travelling in a relationship was seen through rose tinted glasses. I had envisioned romantic walks on the beach; beautiful sunset’s together, remote islands with no one else around. Of course, it didn’t take long before my dreams were shattered. Actually it only took 3 hours. On the plane journey I was really excited about going to Asia, but spent the majority of the journey taking advantage of BA’s freebies while he snored his way across the time zones. At times I found travelling with my boyfriend amusing as I began to notice how the opposite sexes are treated differently in some countries abroad. For instance, bills were handed to my boyfriend and when I paid for anything, nearly every time the change would be given back to him. On certain occasions I really appreciated having him with me as it prevented me being harassed by other men’s advances. I think we had a great time travelling together because we had such similar interests. We have friends who have hated travelling as a couple; they argued most of the time and eventually broke up. Lots of people say they feel unapproachable as a couple, and it’s therefore harder to make friends. We luckily didn’t experience this, and even plucked up the courage to go back to Asia again last summer, and found it just as good as the first time. Leila Pinder
...but it could be True Love
Do people who travel alone cry themselves to sleep like Jade Goody? Would Stephen Hawking make a practical and fun travel buddy? All is revealed within...
It won’t always work out...
lanning to go away can be as much fun as going. But as I organised my gap year 3 years ago, I felt as though my plans were very much akin to the Titanic – beautifully crafted, an adventure to embark on, with so much promise after so many months of preparation, but ultimately doomed to hit a massive iceberg and sink. And this particular iceberg would come in the form of my girlfriend. Now don’t get me wrong, my girlfriend doesn’t look like an iceberg, far from it. But everyone I spoke to in the months leading up to our departure tried to persuade me not to go with her, told me it was the worst idea ever, and generally thought I was pretty stupid for even suggesting it. Well, I did go with her, and it was great. I’ll be honest; I was expecting to perhaps find myself restricted in my activities by travelling with my girlfriend. Would she be able to hack the pressure of travelling? The constant moving around, the scummy places to sleep, and generally putting up with me for 6 months? As it turns out, yes she was. And, we had a great time too. Travelling with a partner isn’t a decision to be taken lightly, and it will definitely make or break a relationship. You’ll have to deal with issues you didn’t even think would arise before you went away, such as sitting up at night while the other runs back and forward to the pit toilet every 5 minutes, doing things you really didn’t ever want to imagine the other doing, but you’ll get over it – you’re just sharing an important part of someone else’s gap year experience, all be it one perhaps neither of you wanted to see. Jim Whiteley
TRAVEL PIGS: the root of travelling problems?
Travel editor Chris Rogers takes us through the nightmare that is travelling in a group of three
Just the three of us: you and I...and him! I
t’s not, it’s not, it’s not! How dare you!?” screamed Dom storming out of the cabin and along the train carriage with floods of tears flowing from his eyes. He slammed the door behind him as he entered the toilet where he fell to his knees. Shivering and shaking he gasped and groaned. He felt utterly sick with rage, but slowly managed to stand and stare through watery eyes at his red face in the mirror. “How can he? How can he?” he said to himself between heavy breaths. “How can he claim it, with such conviction as well?” Dom knew it, he just knew that Harry was wrong; the pig was scientifically proven to be the second most intelligent animal on the planet, not the dolphin as Harry so arrogantly claimed. But how could he prove it? They were stuck on this train for at least another three days; without internet access. How could Dom destroy Harry? Because that’s what he wanted to do. He wanted to wipe Harry out; he wanted to hit him so hard. The idiot. The fucking moron. Although a fictional story, with fictional characters, this little episode is drawn from real experiences. During my gap year I travelled with two of my closest friends and this type of scenario was not uncommon. We are still the best of friends now, but our three month trip really tested
our friendship. We were warned before we left that deciding to travel as a three was a big mistake, but we were defiant. We knew we were too close, we knew each other too well. We would be fine or so we thought. How wrong we were. Our daily arguments ranged from fairly lighthearted debates such as whether or not religion is the root of all evil, to far heavier and intense rows over who gets the window seat on the bus. We would scowl at each other’s stupidity for believing that we needed to turn left to get back to the hostel, or cackle at each other’s ridiculous attempts to haggle, and hated each other for it. This, along with the supposedly unflawed decision making device, the flipped coin, being brought into to question with allegations of cheating, which left us wanting to murder each other.
The experience was wholly unpleasant The main problem we found about travelling in a group of three was the feeling of jealousy which we all experienced. Each one of us was convinced that the other two were far more ‘chummy’ with each other. I had a particular problem due to my
fairly passive nature. Often I would find myself left out during a blazing row between the other two. Bizarrely I felt jealous of the attention they were giving each other by arguing. And then of course there would be the post argument bummer fest they would always seem to engage in - in order to make up. These feelings did, however, change on one occasion when I was routinely observing the fight from the sidelines when one of my friends turned on me and demanded to know why I refused to get involved. The experience was wholly unpleasant and I found myself not feeling quite so jealous of their arguments from that point on. There were of course many great advantages to travelling as a three. It allows you to go off by yourself if you feel you need space without leaving someone alone. Although that’s the only advantage I can think of. I have recently been sent the photos from our trip by one of my two travel companions and as I browse through I have fond memories of the wonderful time we had together. But, in terms of group dynamics, a three is troublesome and challenging and so I would strongly recommend travelling in even numbers. Although having more than four can be messy as I experienced when I travelled with sixteen friends, but that’s another story.
Push it W real good Disabled travel, by Si Truss
All by myself, don’t wanna be, All by myself! ...but Rosanne White does
ravelling alone always seems like a daunting and often quite dangerous prospect, but it was one of the biggest and best decisions I ever made. After working in the North Island of New Zealand for six months, I wanted to see more of the country. Previously, I’d travelled with a close friend who made Nikki Graham look like Mother Teresa, so I was really excited about having my own mini adventure without worrying about anyone else. But at the same time, I wasn’t sure if I could deal with being on my own for such a long time. In the end, I took the plunge, and booked myself onto a backpacker bus, a popular choice for single travellers in New Zealand. I’m really not into coach tours; they make me think of SAGA holidays, so I got on the bus feeling more than a little bit nervous. But I soon found I had nothing to worry about. During my journey, I met loads of single travellers of a range of different ages and nationalities along with couples and groups of friends. Meeting people on the bus meant that we could all book to stay in the same hostel and sample the local nightlife, or stay in touch and meet up again later on in the circuit. During the
couple of months I spent travelling alone, I climbed a glacier, went jetboating and white-water rafting, hiked over a volcano and managed to squeeze in some whale watching. Travelling alone was the most challenging thing I’ve ever tried. Although I enjoyed meeting people, by the end I began to miss having friends around instead of having to introduce myself and begin from scratch with every new person I met. However fun it was, I always remember a part of me feeling a bit sad that none of my close friends or family were there to share it with me All-in-all, I think travelling alone is something everyone should try. It sounds like such a cliché, but it does teach you a lot about yourself and how you cope on your own. But it’s also something you have to think about and really plan. While New Zealand is an incredibly safe and friendly country, I’m not sure I’d be so quick to go it alone when travelling elsewhere. I’m now planning my next big adventure and I can’t wait. Travelling alone is not only both exciting and terrifying; it gives you the biggest sense of achievement when you realise that you did it all yourself.
hen I was about twelve years old I went on a day out to a US theme-park with my disabled sister. During the day, while she was elsewhere, I decided to take a spin in her unoccupied wheelchair. Unfortunately, misjudging my trajectory, I ended up caught in an uncontrollable descent down a nearby, sharply declining hill. Needless to say my adventure in the wheelchair ended with me landing face-to-concrete at the bottom of the hill. Imagine this predicament viewed from the perspective of one of the employees of the Disney Corporation, stationed in the nearby gift shop, seeing a young boy careering past the window and ending in a mangled heap a few meters away. Now when the aforementioned employees who came running to my rescue saw me stand of my own accord their shocked expressions soon changed to one of sheer disappointment. I’ve discovered, from several years of holidaying and general moving about with someone of quite severe disability, that the general public are often very keen to take the opportunity to help out someone less able than them. Now while this can at times lead to the odd well-meaning but misguided patronising gesture (crayons, colouring books, kid’s menus) it more importantly has the upshot of making disabled travel often easier than you think. That’s not to say it doesn’t take a little extra effort. It generally involves more forward planning than you would associate with normal budget travel. It’s important to search for places to stay with lifts, stair-free entrances, etc. Also, when you’re planning where to visit there’s lots of little things worth taking into account. For example, countries such as Croatia that have been involved in conflict over the last twenty years are always going to be more geared up towards the disabled than you think. While it’s a tragic fact that places such as this are going to have a much larger percentage of the population than normal with missing or non-functional limbs, this also means that the issue of disability is taken a lot more seriously. In all, disabled travel is always going to mean a little more work. However, there is nothing stopping people of even serious disability from enjoying international travel.
Quench considers the current gay adoption row and asks ‘what is best for the child?’ This Act has been passed and as it stands businesses, organisations, schools and other agencies are forbidden from refusing their services solely on the basis of gender,disability, age, religion and race. The remaining third of the bill that is yet to be passed will extend the acts coverage to protect LGB individuals. This will mean all sections of society will be subject to an equal standard of human rights, and protected from discrimination. It also allows the government to run one organisation that deals with all equal rights and prevents all kinds of discrimination. Anything circling human rights is bound to be surrounded with controversy. However, this act in particular has caused a bit of a stir. Recently Catholic adoption agencies have refused to give gay couples the right to use their organisation when looking to adopt a child. The Catholic faith is standing by its beliefs surrounding homosexuality, describing it
h comes The reaction of the Catholic Churc as no surprise; gay rights and religious groups never really have mixed well
pril sees the establishment of the Commission for Equality and Human Rights that was introduced in the last year as part of the government’s 2006 Equality Act. At the moment two-thirds of
as "intrinsically disordered." Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, a figure-head of the British Catholic Church, has become extremely vocal on the subject stating only in a marital relationship between a man and
a woman can a child be raised normally and effectively. The reaction of the Catholic Church comes as no surprise; gay rights and religious groups never really have mixed well. (Anyone notice the nice Christian lady handing out anti-gay literature at Mardi Gras this year?) But the big surprise is that, despite his strong religious beliefs and background, Tony Blair has stood firm on the issue and has refused to give the Catholic Adoption Agencies an “opt-out option,” with many ministers apparently behind the new legislation. Despite this looming confrontation the Catholic Adoption Agencies really cannot be ignored for their good work. These agencies are extremely popular and excel in finding ‘difficultto-place children’ a loving home. If the Catholic agencies refuse to back down and are not given the option to opt-out then they will have no choice but to close and a great deal of children will be left homeless. As much as we want our beliefs and practices to be fully acknowledged and accepted in society shouldn’t we do the same for religious organisations despite their harsh views? On the other hand, when the choice is between a child living with a loving gay couple or having no family at all I’m sure we would all agree that the first option is far better. Gay people have already proved that they can be as loving as any straight married couple (thanks to the Civil Partnership Act). So why can’t they care for a disadvantaged child as well?
The grounds for refusing to adopt based on sexuality are strongly being eroded
he most fundamental thing a child needs is to be brought up in a loving and caring home. I doubt anybody would disagree. So why should this view depend upon the parents being a different sex? As long as two people can give a child a loving home, it surely should not matter what sex and sexuality they are. At the end of the day, children have to be put first. It seems ludicrous that competent gay couples are denied the right to adopt. In many peopleâ€™s opinion, the arguments against gays adopting hold little strength. The argument that children will be denied female or male role models is flawed, especially with the existence of many lone parents managing to bring up children. Others
advocate that it will result in the child being bullied, when the fact remains that children are bullied for all things in life that are unforeseeable. The grounds for refusing to adopt based on sexuality are strongly being eroded in steps. The Government, who are forcing Catholic Adoption agencies to allow gay couples to adopt, or simply close if not. It is inconceivable that discrimination can still exist and be accepted in today's society, especially by using religion to back it up. I totally respect that people have religious beliefs, but religion has to adapt to modern societal change, like so many other institutions have, or face the consequences. It has adapted to subjects such as divorce, re-marriage
and abortion so why not gay rights? The wishes of such adoption agencies should not be elevated above the rest of society. It is interesting that such organisations think that it would be so awful for a child to have two loving mothers or two loving fathers, but encourage unprotected sex that leads to over-population in the first place, making it increasingly likely that more and more children will be born to teenage mothers who have not left school yet. Ironically, being refused to adopt has led to greater steps towards gay rights. Gay couple Tony and Barry Drewitt-Barlow were refused adoption rights on grounds of being gay. They were told, by the adoption panel, they were not allowed a 'normal' child but children with special needs were acceptable. After taking various courses for caring for children with special needs they were adamantly refused. Facing yet another refusal the couple went on to have children via IVF and a surrogate mother. Twins were born with the girl Saffron having Barrie as her biological father and the boy Aspen with Tony as his. Consequently, this couple made head-way in the being the first gay couple legally deemed parent one and two on their birth certificate. These dads have ensured they give their children the best life possible with female role models in the form of nannies when young, and regular visits from their surrogate mother. Selling up their successful business and retiring in their thirties, their children are treated lavishly with everything they need, but most importantly - love.
LGBT BALL The Cardiff LGBT event of the year returns after its phenomenal success last year Join the LGBT society on Saturday, March 24 for a night of fun held at the city centreâ€™s Holiday Inn at 8pm until late for dancing, live music and a gourmet meal all for just ÂŁ28 per person. Then head to the after-party at Lush. To get your ticket, come to any of our events, see any of the committee members or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Real Ale and Cider Festival 2007
W E I V E R P S K N DRII 10th Brewery: Breconshire Brewery Location: Brecon, Powys, Wales Beer: Golden Valley (4.2% ABV) Since its establishment in 2002, Breconshire has become as a local favourite with Golden Valley as its flagship brew. Voted Champion Beer of Wales in 2004, Golden Valley is a shining example of the new golden ale style, which is particularly popular among younger drinkers. Floral and mildly bitter, this is easy drinking and perfect for a real ale newcomer.
Brewery: Crouch Vale Location: Chelmsford, Essex, England Beer: Brewers Gold (4.0% ABV) Brewerâ€™s Gold holds a rare honour in brewing history as one of only a handful of ales to have been named Champion Beer of Britain two years running. The reigning champion, Brewers Gold is a golden ale, perfect for young people just getting into real ale. Light in both colour and taste, this is thirst quenching real ale at its best.
different beers from 40 different breweries
1,600 people raising thousands of pounds for charity
80 40 different ciders
6,000 pints of real ale & lager
Brewery: Fitzpatrick's Herbal Health Shop Location: Rawtenstall, Lancashire, England Drinks: Sarsaparilla & Ginger Beer (< .2%) pints of traditional cider A new introduction to the festival this year is the inclusion of two non-alcoand perry holic real-brewed traditional drinks: Sarsaparilla and Ginger Beer, both awardwinning examples of a long tradition of temperance brewing in Britain. Sarsaparilla is a dark infusion of natural plant extracts, while Ginger Beer is a light, warming drink superior to the bottled examples commonly found in supermarkets. Either is the perfect drink if you don't drink alcohol, want to take a break and enjoy the music, or simply want to experiment. Brewery: Harviestoun Brewery Location: Alva, Clackmannanshire, Scotland Beer: Schiehallion (4.8% ABV) The cold climate of Scotland makes it practical to brew a genuine German-style lager, and so Harviestoun have done, crafting a sweet, light, yet complex beer featuring the delicate aromas of German hops with a distinctly British twist of citrus. Overtones of honey and caramel support the middle and it finishes with an English-style bitterness. Schiehallion, like Rhymney Premier Lager (see below), may ruin fizzy yellow lagers for you forever. Brewery: Otley Brewing Company Location: Pontypridd, Mid Glamorgan, Wales Beer: O-Garden (4.6% ABV) A naturally-cloudy witbier, O-Garden is, like its Belgian namesake, flavored with coriander and orange peel to provide a uniquely light palate of spices; as far as we know, this is the only beer of this style made commercially in Britain. Otley's hallmark dry finish rounds out a delicate, wheaty body. A beer which appeals easily to people who don't normally drink beer.
So we have all had enough by now of all this Valentine’s day hype and fuss. But one love we all have is food. Carry on the romantic feel this February with some moody and sultry recipes. Laura Rowe gives us advice on food and drinks to set the mood.
To set the mood, why not try aphrodisiac oysters from Cardiff Market? Arguably not to everyone’s taste, but I promise you they are not only edible but delectable served in the shell with a fruity red wine vinegar, finely chopped shallots and a tiny bit of caster sugar.
Champagne…perhaps, depending on the extent of your love but Prosecco or Lambrusco (no, not £1.99 Lambrini – don’t get confused) are just as beautiful, but cheap, Italian sparkling wines. Just drop in some blitzed frozen raspberries and you have my Raspberry Nipple. Yum!
Contrary to Cartmen’s beliefs, chocolate salted balls aren’t the way to go. Instead try my quick and easy truffles that are stored in the freezer, so will last even if he/she won’t. The basic recipe is 100g of chocolate to 1/2cup or 125ml of whipped double cream, which makes approximately twelve to sixteen truffles. Melt the chocolate in the microwave for about fifty seconds (keep a close eye as the chocolate can burn and easily spoil), add to the cream. Chill the mixture in the freezer until firm. Use a melon baller or a teaspoon to shape into balls, place on greaseproof paper and freeze until firm. Once the truffles are set they can be transferred into tupperware containers and kept in the freezer until they are needed. Serve straight from the freezer. Combine the melted chocolate, (70% cocoa solids are best) and cream as before but stir in a few drops of vanilla extract and one tbsp of chilli infused olive oil. Once the truffles are shaped decorate with a thin strip of red chilli. Amaretto truffles are also a stunning end to a good night. Mix milk chocolate and the cream with one tbsp of amaretto liqueur. Decorate once shaped with flaked almonds. Let’s admit, who can resist the temptation of these choclately delights even if we are having a night in on our own! Go on, give it a go-we all deserve a treat whatever the occasion,
Another low-effort but superb indulgence is a baked Camembert. Get a Camembert, take off all the plastic wrapping and place back in its wooden casing. Prick the cheese, and insert very thin slithers of a small garlic clove (not too much – remember garlic can be a passion killer), fresh rosemary and lots of freshly ground black pepper and coarse sea salt. Bake in the oven at about 220°c for 15 minutes. To dip in the baked cheese potato wedges are really scrummy. Chop a medium potato per person into wedges, drizzle in olive oil (again garlic infused is nice but be careful), finely chopped fresh rosemary, chilli flakes and lots of salt and pepper. Another nice accompaniment is chunks of gherkins, sounds odd but the sharp vinegary gherkins really compliment the creamy cheese.
The wavering co
Femininity is no longer just a girl thing, boys are getting in on it too Tasha Prest-Smith looks into the changing notions of gender in today’s culture
ike many girls, I attempt to embody conventional femininity; I like the colour pink, and I’m rarely seen without lipstick, earrings and eyeliner. Throughout all these self-conscious processes of vanity, I’ve started to question what it’s all for. True, it’s partly a self-confidence thing. But perhaps it’s also because I’m vaguely aware that female femininity is now under threat. It seems that femininity is no longer a realm only inhabited by women; western men have started to claim some of its traits for themselves. This trend, certainly in terms of personal styling, can be observed in a number of celebrities. Luke Pritchard of The Kooks. Paolo Nutini. Mark Owen from Take That. Alex James, ex-member of Blur. Jay Kay of Jamiroquai fame. OK, he beats up the paparazzi from time to time, but maybe this is merely an attempt at
virility after sporting pink and white fluffy suits and dressing up as a rather too convincing woman in his video for Feels Just Like It Should. Vice versa isn’t, admittedly, very common, but nevertheless, there is something pretty masculine about female stars such as Pink, Eve and Lil Kim.
Even men’s figures are becoming increasingly waif-like Society seems to have gone beyond the meterosexual man. Clothes traditionally designed for women are becoming increasingly popular with men, from David Beckham’s infamous sarong incident to the relatively new must-have item for the fashion-conscious male: the cardigan. It’s now the norm for some men to have as many, if not more,
grooming products than women. Hair straighteners, fake tan, highlight kits, anti-wrinkle formulae – you name it, several thousand guys out there will own it. The results of this rise in male beautification are everywhere. When I’m on a night out, I’ve actually found myself feeling quite put out by the appearance of some of the guys I’ve seen. From their perfectly-coiffured long fringes to their eyeliner to their extremely defined legs, shown off to their best advantage in a pair of tight trousers, they’re exuding femininity. Even men’s figures are becoming increasingly waif-like, leaving some women (OK, maybe it’s just me) feeling rather puzzled about the boundaries between the two genders. What are the implications of this shift within gender? Are we gradually becoming a nation of androgynies? Probably not, but nonetheless changes are definitely apparent. These changes, I would argue, go beyond mere physical appearance; they affect the entire psyche behind gender. Of course, gender is constructed not only through body language, facial features and the clothes you wear, but through emotional perception, social interaction and job
oncept of gender
Boys that make girls jealous: Luke Pritchard, Paolo Nutini, Jay Kay, Mark Owen and David Beckham
From their perfectly-coiffured lon g fringes, to their eyeliner, to their extremely defined legs, choice. Are these areas, ...they’re exuding femininity more related to character than physical particularities, also altering? Before answering that, it’s important to note that conventions of masculinity and femininity have been, for the most part, historically and politically constructed. The rise of colonialism during the 1850s was a central period in creating rigid segregations between the sexes. Men were expected to be the ruthless defenders of the empire, and open displays of emotion became completely unacceptable. Separations between men and women were reinforced after World War II, when men returning from war were threatened by the fact that women had competently taken over many of their jobs in their absence. The domesticated housewife was, more than ever, the desired role attributed to women from men, to keep them firmly in their place. The second wave of feminism in the 1960s certainly helped combat some of the repression that women had endured, but there was (and is) still a long way to go, if genuine equality between the sexes is the goal.
The birth of the ‘ladette’ in the 1990s illustrated what happens when women start behaving like (certain) men. It’s not a pretty picture by any means. Ladettes can teach us some vital lessons; they represent everything that most women dislike about men, just as drag kings, when convincing, teach men how women would like to be treated. The main problem involved with the concept of gender is exactly that – it’s a concept. Society has ground it into us that women should be feminine, and men should be masculine. But when you actually come to define femininity, for example, it’s not all that easy. I know some men who have conventionally feminine mannerisms and very girlish features, yet they’re completely straight, and study ‘manly’ subjects like Physics and Engineering. Do these features make them feminine, effeminate, or neither of these? In a similar way, I can raise or lower my level of femininity when
needed, by putting on a higher pitched voice or tuning into the ‘little girl lost’ look. I’m not sure that any of my actions stem from an innate femininity. Gender and sexuality will never be as straightforward as they’re made out to be. So is gender fluidity a positive thing? I would argue yes, as it alters the rigid boundaries between the two sexes. Whether changes in physical appearance will trigger changes to male chauvinism and sexism, both of which are, unfortunately, still very much prevalent in Western culture, remains to be seen. Women with high-powered jobs, particularly in the financial sector, can expect to earn 20% less than their male counterparts, for example. However, from my limited perspective, I’ve noticed a significant difference in the way my grandparents’ generation of men speak to and of women, and that of my own generation; generally, there is much more respect. Men today, on the whole, seem more open-minded and emotionally aware than their immediate ancestors. And it’s changes like this which gradually help to alleviate inequalities between women and men.
G N I B B O M H FLAS
Taking the moniker literally in Detroit, USA
Pillow fighting on the streets? Silent discos? Just what is this ‘flash-mobbing’ phenomenon, asks Josie Allchin
n the summer of August 2003, reporters and newspapers alike documented one of the most bizarre events ever to descend on the English capital. The public looked on in a state of bemusement and curiosity as 300 people bundled into a North London furniture shop, started to talk on the phone to an unsuspecting friend about how amazing the furniture was, while omitting the letter ‘O’ from any word they uttered. Earlier that morning, the same crowd had descended on several pubs across London to receive instruction leaflets for what they were about to carry out that day. The leaflets ordered the crowd to make their way to the furniture shop, text a friend with the words ‘Call me’ and await the call. Once on the phone to their friends, the crowd followed the instructions on the leaflets to pick out a sofa and view it with ‘reverence’ and ‘awe’, and to speak the words, “Wow, what a
sofa”! At precisely 6.40 pm the instructions commanded the crowd to leave the shop, say goodbye to someone they did not know and ‘return to their lives’. Onlookers must have thought the world had gone barmy, or that someone had spiked their coffee with some sort of hallucinogenic drug. But no, this bizarre event was in fact a highly organised stunt - it was the UK’s first ever ‘flash-mob’. Not even a week had gone by before a spate of similar events started to follow around the country – a flash-mob gathered in Birmingham and stripped off to ‘Give It Away’ by The Red Hot Chili Peppers, in Hull people danced the hokeypokey, and, a little closer to home, last year Cardiff’s first ever flash-mob took place in the form of a giant pillow fight in the city centre. And it wasn’t just the UK that was going flash-mob crazy – it seems that the rest of the world had also caught the bug. Flash-mobs were reported in the United States, Israel, Europe, Australia and Russia which, believe it or not, has one of
the biggest flash-mob ‘communities’ in the world, with over 18,000 active members in more than 30 cities. But what actually is a flash-mob? What, if any, are the criteria that one has to meet in order to categorise such apparently random acts of chaos as a flash-mob? It seems that this question is actually easier than you might think – the flash-mobbing craze was so quick to catch on and cause a stir that official definitions have already entered the dictionary, and circulate throughout the English language. In modern usage, a flash-mob can be described as a group of people who gather suddenly in a public place, do something unusual (often for a brief period of time), and then swiftly disperse. Bill Wasik, editor of America’s Harper’s magazine, first coined this modern use of the term when he reportedly organised the first ever flash-mob in a store of the American shopping chain, Macy’s.
Onlookers must have thought tha t someone had spiked their coffee
FEATURES Flash-mobbing is huge in...
Flash-mobbers in Cardiff last year
Over 100 people turned up and congregated on the ninth floor rug department and gathered around one particularly expensive rug. Upon being approached by a member of staff, the crowd were instructed to inform them that the gatherers all lived together in a giant warehouse on the outskirts of New York, that they were shopping for a ‘love rug’, and that they made all their purchases and purchase decisions as a group. Documenting the history of the fledgling flash-mobbing phenomenon is easy. Less easy is explaining exactly why people flash-mob, and what this craze has come to represent. Wasik, in his follow-up article regarding his first flash-mob creation, claimed that he set up the event as a social experiment designed to highlight conformity, and the need for individuals to feel like they are ‘insiders’, or a part of the next big thing. Presumably, Wasik anticipated that flash-mobbing was a gimmick that would never become adopted as an activity in itself, so now that flash-mobbing is no longer the latest craze, why is it still popular? Talking to two flash-mobbers from Cardiff’s very own flash-mob society (both of whom have requested to remain anonymous), it becomes clear that the reasons behind flashmobbing are often as light-hearted as the flash-mobs themselves: “I think its just that we don't take ourselves too seriously. It’s nice to do something for no particular reason,
turn up and do something a bit crazy” explains Bob (not his real name). “The rest of the societies have something to them, they've got a thing, a reason to do something, whereas no one really does anything like flash-mobbing, which doesn’t necessarily need a reason”, FlashMobber no. 2 (Deirdre) tells me. The society emerged after a pair of flashmobbers read an article on flashmobbing: “We looked on the internet and saw that thousands of people were doing it across the world and it just looked really fun. So we decided to jump on the bandwagon, really.” Past events in the Cardiff Flashmob society have included a giant pillow fight and a silent disco, although it seems that some haven’t seen the funny side. A bouncer once told Deirdre, “If you don't stop dancing I'm going to rip your head off!” But the flash-mobbers mean no harm. Some ‘victims’ of the flashmob were even quite accommodating: “Curry's were quite nice, they let us do the whole conga around the shop and then leave with dignity!” It seems then that flash-mobbing is done for the sake of... well, not a lot really. Its point is that it has no point, and perhaps this is a refreshing change to everyday, purposeful monotomy. Working to pay the bills; trekking to Tesco for food - flashmobbing liberates us from these everyday tasks for the simple reason that we take part because we don’t have to.
IN REVIEWS THIS WEEK " Books live in a dream !"Music on Jamie T !"Film get all fuzzy !" " Arts look at things that aren’t world !" black and white ! " Going out Digit al on celebrity skin !" on the cheap
Review of the week
Are you hoping for a miracle?
PHOTOS: JAMES PEROU
ine musical and A rare moment of genu intellectual satisfaction rolls into town
Bloc Party Tuesday February 6th
n expectant set of bright eyes and pricked up ear drums met a modest Bloc Party as they stumbled back onto such a well known stage, already used twice to peddle debut album Silent Alarm. A lot of time has passed since then, hell we’ve even got a new (scarily right wing) Pope, but in the end it’s worth the waitwhen the next step is this spot on. With the first mark on tonights blank page parallel to their first step out of hiding, the dark consuming bass of The Prayer reaches out over a sea of outstretched fingers and thumbs, each moment of climax like a star pricked on a dim, oily, velveteen sky. Frantic drumbeats fill intermittent moments of silence in an otherwise continuous wall of sound, fragile shaky vocals tred the eggshells that fall inbetween the cracks in this fresh young set. A sublimely delicate blend of the classic disco edge of older tracks and the sinister nature of those more recent, each note building an increasingly confident and solid set, much more so than ever before. Although met with a certain amount of unrest the minimal amount of new songs from two day old A Weekend In The City do not feel as though they hit a cold face of boredom through lack of recognition, either a product of the Internet or simply the fire in the belly of these songs. Song For Clay (Disappear Here) gives wagging tongues a full minute to flex before knocking the stuffing out of the entire room with its thumping war drums and deep cutting guitar. Similarly Waiting For The 7.18 waits a good few minutes before teaming impeccably timed silence, climax and heartfelt lyrics “If I could do it again I’d climb more trees/I’d pick and I’d eat more wild blackberries.” Time and again effortlessly proving their worth, they have got so much more heart than most, you can see it in their eyes. As the set reaches full momentum Okereke accounces “This is my present to you Cardiff! and launces into This Modern Love. Never has it been more apparent that this band are the perfect voice of a gener-
ation, so often so lost. Frequently offering such sticky sweetness on the lips of a sentiment so bitter. We live in a world where the lifestyle of young people is constantly glamorised and drawn upon in a variety of pitiful ways, by adults, that make young people themselves want to choke on their pizza, Skins being the epitome of such a thing. It is therefore no real surprise that there are hordes of people running towards Bloc Party with open arms. Refreshingly accurate lyrics, both in the throws of a hazy evening and in the cold light of day, lie hand in hand with stomach churningly inspiring instrumentation at every turn. When Bloc Party sing out ‘Are you hoping for a miracle?’ the thousands of flailing arms and lyrics screamed back answer and conclude a firm, resounding ‘Yes!’ Sofie Jenkinson
BOOKS It’s been a good few weeks for the Books desk and there are some raving reviews. Motano, the ramblings of a confused writer, the The Uncomfortable Dead, a look into the dark depths of the underbelly of Mexico mixed with the funny and warming Going Under.
The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters G.W. Dahlquist Viking
escribed as an adult adventure, The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters has a tasty mix of influences. Set with a distinctly Gothic feel in Victorian England, Dahlquist includes elements of Buffy style supernatural spiced with a gripping narrative similar to a good detective novel. It starts simply with a letter; Miss Temple discovers that Roger Bascombe has unexplainably called
Enrique Vila-Matas Translated by Jonathan Dunne Harvill Secker Montano
art novel, part autobiography, part diary, part philosophical musing; Montano is a book which demands a lot of the reader. This latest offering from the Spanish writer is an intricate maze based in an obsession with literature which the protagonist finds himself helplessly trapped in. In the first part of this book we are introduced to the narrator, the literary critic Rosario Girondo, who is disillusioned with the state of literature in Europe and declares himself “literature-sick”. Girondo’s initial ram-
off their engagement. With no explanation, Miss Temple is forced to discover the reason for herself. From this seemly simple decision the world of the Process is opened to her, peppered with blue glass, sex, discovery and death. Along the way, she meets a variety of wicked and strange characters, including Cardinal Chang, the hired assassin and the malicious Cortessa. The adventure continues in rooftop battles, darkened corridors, airship flights and everything centrals on the glass books, capable of the most sinister of imaginings. The plot would be impossible to relate in conversation. The intricate layers overlap seamlessly, allowing the novel to follow the three narratives without causing confusion. The style is clinical but thorough, leaning towards the tropes of the Gothic and refusing to romanticise the gore and depravity of the society. The characters are engaging and intriguing, the
mysteries of their roles kept to the very last minute. However, once finished, the adventure does seem to have stretched to the ridiculous. It is hard to be able to accept the fantastical events throughout. There are many, many slow and laborious coach trips through the London fog and time spent hidden and watching, without gaining anything new. The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters is an ambitious book. It is rare to find a novel that can so successfully create and adventure with an adult context. Your arm will ache with page turning. 9/10 Avalyn Beare
blings are that of a scattered and disjointed mind. He attributes the decline of literary standards to wicked moles who live beneath a volcano in the Atlantic, working to ensure that the standard keeps on falling. To cure himself of this literary sickness, the narrator decides to visit his son, Montano, who is a writer. Montano is also suffering from a kind of literary sickness; after having a novel published, he has succumbed to writer’s block. The narrator hopes that by the two meeting, both the ‘sicknesses’ will be cured. Instead, the meeting proves that Girondo needs a completely different method of curing himself. He decides to recount the whole history of literature in relation to himself. Abruptly, however, this quest of self-rediscovery stops, and the narrator concedes that the character of Montano was entirely fictional. It is the narrator himself who is suffering from writer’s block, and so the novel takes a completely new turn. From
here out, the narrator gives us his autobiography. One of the narrator’s problems is that he cannot write without recreating the lives and works of these celebrated writers. This is also one of the problems of this novel. VilaMatas relies on the reader as having an expert knowledge of these writers as the narrator himself. As such, the novel is at many points inaccessible, many of the accounts of these writers seem like literary in-jokes which only the avid enthusiast will understand. On the plus side, however, these accounts do offer the reader a doorway to numerous European writers. One feels from reading this novel that Vila-Matas genuinely believes that there is a significant problem with European literature, and that one of the novel’s aims is to cure this problem by introducing the reader to various celebrated European writers, perhaps in an attempt to thwart those evil moles once and for all. 6/10 Tom Williams
Masked Balls Galore
BOOKS The Uncomfortable Dead: A Novel by Four Hands Various Serpent’s Tail
he first set of the ‘Four Hands’ belong to Subcommante Marcos - the ski-mask clad spokesperson for the revolutionary Zapatista movement - who writes the odd-numbered chapters, while prominent novelist Paco Ignacio Taibo II’s second set take charge of the even-numbered chapters. Their stories are not isolated but interwoven. You may recognise Taibo’s protagonist, Héctor Belascoarán Shayne, from a previous series. Here, the one-eyed Coca-Cola-fuelled private investigator is joined by Marcos’ main character, the Zapatista investigator Elías Contreras. The case that connects them is the rather vague
Going Under Ray French Harvill Secker
et in the small run down Welsh town of Crindau not far from Cardiff, Going Under tells the story of one man’s struggle for survival in the face of multinational industrial development. When ‘Sunny Jim Electronics’ reveal plans to relocate to India, cashing in on cheap labour and lower production costs, their faithful workers face redundancy and a bleak future. For the people of Crindau, Sunny Jim’s does more than simply provide a weekly income for hundreds of workers, it provides the life, blood and soul for a town which has little else going for it.
investigation of, as Chapter 9 is entitled, ‘The Bad and The Evil’: the corruptors of Mexican and global politics - particularly an elusive figure named Morales, who may be responsible for the ‘disappeared’ our detectives are concerned with. Although this forms a tenuous narrative, the novel is enriched by the numerous storylines and characters. There is Julio, a gay Filipino trying to “figure out what the hell I’m doing in this book”; an Osama binLaden who is in fact a part-time porn star / taco-vendor, employed by the CIA; even Subcommante Marcos - ‘El Sup’ – appears, written in by himself in a completely natural third person. Alongside accounting this myriad of Mexican lives, both authors take licence to mercilessly unmask and denounce everything from encroaching globalization to bigoted homophobia. Despite sharing storylines, the two writers are never competing; each has their own distinctive style. Taibo’s homage to noir detective novels is reminiscent of Raymond Chandler; yet the erratic narration, mirroring the chaos of Mexico City,
results in – if not ‘magical-realism’ – ‘hallucinogenic-realism’, resonating with the novelist’s Hispanic heritage. Marcos’ prose is just as poetic in places; however, he typically writes in persona as his Zapatista characters, adopting their local language. The peasant dialects are roughly adapted into the corresponding English slang, though the otherwise wonderful translation seems to reduce these characters from strong-willed revolutionaries to anglicised angsty gangster types.
Or so it would seem, until Aidan Walsh devises a cunning plan, which may not ultimately succeed in saving his and his friends’ jobs, but which certainly acts to bring together the town’s inhabitants, reigniting their sense of community, friendship and faith. Burying himself six feet underground because ‘that’s where I might as well be when they take my job away,’ with a small patch of daylight entering through a self constructed periscope-cum-delivery chute, Aidan vows to remain buried until Sunny Jim himself agrees to negotiate the unreasonable decision to move abroad. The five weeks which follow are recounted in a hilarious, non-stop, enthralling sequence of tales and events, from Aidan’s unusual path to self discovery and the self-revelations of Crindau’s population, for whom he becomes both spokesperson and confidante. Between entertaining his raunchy midnight flashers, his sinister nocturnal pranksters and his heartwarming caring colleagues, Aidan
deals with the practicalities of life under ground. Sleeping, eating, exercising, and excreting, Aidan manages it all! With the help of his charismatic, budding thespian son, and his not so enthusiastic daughter, Aidan manages to woo the world, from the local community to the international press. Faced with a blank and silent response from Sunny Jim, and armed with his new-found gift for manipulating the press, Aidan takes his challenge one step further putting himself forward for local MP. As a true voice for the people Aidan seems set to storm the elections. However, he soon learns the brutality of politics, and is ousted by the rival candidate and defeated by Sunny Jim. The disappointment of defeat is however short lived. The people of Crindau have been brought together, fighting to save their town, and Aidan Walsh has restored his faith in himself and arises from his grave a stronger, wiser and happier man. 9/10 Emily Davies
Ricocheting from genuinely humorous to desperately shocking Ricocheting from genuinely humorous to desperately shocking, this murder mystery is not so much about murder or mystery. The ‘whodunit’ is supplanted by political rants, yet still stops short of becoming a mere vehicle for views. The Uncomfortable Dead is far from a linear thriller, but all the better for it. 8/10 Roseanna Eastoe
The Band W agon
We love local music but it is killing us.
Thought of the week... Yocal.
NEWS IN BRIEF: Over the last couple of weeks Quench Music has been busier than a geiger counter in Chernobyl. Nights have been sleepless and days have been long, but all for a worthy cause. To help celebrate our landmark 50th edition, Quench Music is putting on a one-off gig to showcase the best of the stonking local talent that makes our job so bloody fun to do. So polish off those boogie shoes and get your funky ass down to Solus on March 18. Numerous artists from the worlds Rock, Soul, Folk, Hip-Hop and Electronica will be grooving accross three rooms. Catch it whilst
Hyena at Buffalo Catch Hyena every Friday Are you bored of hearing the same indie tunes played in the same order every friday night? Bored of request-
Hyena’s Top 5 tracks:
1) Klaxons - Golden Skans 2) The Gossip - Standing In The Way Of Control (Soulwax Nite version) 3) Jamie T - Salvador 4) The Knife - Like A Pen 5) Depeche Mode - Master And Servant
QUE N CH LOVES LOCAL
PHOTO: SIMON AYRE
ecent chilly evenings topped with snow have provided me with many an opportunity to ponder life. My pondering, as always, generally gallops around the velvet green pastures of music. I was contemplating at great length the conundrum of local music. The ‘scene’, as it were, in Cardiff has always been a strange one, dipping and exploding at regular intervals, so often trailing off. My recent conversation with Los Campesinos! about the increasingly exciting events happening with local music, such as the recent Twisted By Design compilation, got us to talking about the existence, or not of a ‘scene.’ Their conclusion to such ends being that it was more a community due to the fact that most local support in terms of attending gigs and buying EPs and albums comes from members of other local bands. It seems that the only real interest comes with a moderate amount of sucess, maybe this is a natural thing, but also a little disappointing. The difficult thing being that the more successful a band gets the less local centred the whole affair becomes, the more difficult it is to get them involved in local projects (not universally true). Maybe DIY has it right; keep it tight, keep it close and keep it supportive. SJ
ing songs that you know the DJ will never play? Do yourself a favour and step away from your usual haunts and come to buffalo every Friday to hear the tunes you always wanted to hear. Delve into the grimey electronica being thrown track after track against Buffalos beautifully painted walls...
FREAKSHOW PRESENTS... GINDRINKER (ACOUSTIC) Dempseys 12th Feb
his was Gindrinker's turn to perform an acoustic set for the monthly Freakshow night. Acoustic Gindrinker? Fuck yeah! Dempseys was rammed with familiar and unfamiliar faces to see D.C and Graf, both clad in suits, perform acoustic renditions of their normally heavy, discordant and abrasive songs. They were joined by several others (“Gareth Middleton’s syncopaters”) who brought along their drums, ukuleles, autoharp, violin, banjo and glockenspiel. Fuck yeah! The new arrangements added a whole different texture to the Gindrinker sound, and intensified the familiar heaviness, discordance and abrasiveness with the menace that only live strings anddrums can bring.
GINDRINKER: Dicky bow A bluegrass version of Covered in Bugs left everyone stunned. There was no way that this wasn’t going to work though was there? With just a mic and a guitar (and a drum machine) these two will make you shutthefuckup and stand in awe of the noise and raw energy that just two people can generate. Simply awesome-o. Grenville d’Moat
Check Out: FREE CD! It’s coming. Be sure to pick up your copy of Quench’s 50th issue and get your free CD, brimming over with enough local tunes to keep even the most far-gone of music fiends smiling and dancing.
MUSIC THE FALL Reformation Post TLC
Local Goings On: Will got very excited this week, his new favourite record label My Kung Fu released an album by a very special American lady.
MARISSA NADLER Diamond Heart Leather My Kung Fu
My standard shopping list
t's an old hackneyed expression but when someone writes, plays, records and releases a song they expose a little bit of themselves to the public domain, free for all to judge. But when you are Marissa Nadler and your songs are as minimalist and delicate as a desert orchid, with a beautiful mesmerising voice accompanied by little more than a gently plucked guitar then you are truly exposing yourself to the listener. Marissa has the type of voice that drifts through the air on a cold night, traveling on the wind under a full moon, through forest and city, over mountains and valleys, land and sea. Most comparable to the great British folk singers of the sixties Miss Nadler’s haunting folk music is both familiar and distant, with occasional found percussion adding the ever unreal edge to her sound. Sometimes her lyrics are so powerfully heartbreaking they take my breath away. She is Cathy, chasing the ghost of Heathcliff through the moor; Dido, waiting out her days for Aeneas to return. Dying Breed is an understated, perfect song to a departed loved one, but it’s the personal touches in the lyrics that bring a tear to my eye “Frank, this song is for you dear, and your curly hair”. There isn’t really a huge amount, or indeed a small amount, of variation on the album but this doesn’t really matter too much, for in no way does the record feel like it drags at all, rather it moves along, floating throught the speakers . This is a wonderful album of gentle emotion and wonderful melodies; it makes me sad and happy all at the same time. 8/10 Will Hitchins
Left-eye Lopez’s tragic demise
nother year, another line-up. So goes the tumultuous life of Britain’s foremost band of bitter bastards. With a recent return to form, Reformation Post-TLC is another scary kick in the bollocks from one fo the few credible bands left surviving from the punk era. First track Over! Over! sees Mark E. Smith shouting away in a particularly discordant manner even for him, bass underpinning the track whilst he rants in his own inimitable way. As the album hurtles abrasively on it becomes apparent Smith is very much in the business of self parody. He plays around with his own recognizable vocal style, with his half melodic shouting regularly bridging on the absurd. Musically Insult Song stands out immediately, pounding toms with off beat cutting guitar and the snarling E.Smith declaring “They were retards THE FALL: We call it Autumn
from the Los Angeles district” However the album does take a while to get under your skin and doesn’t quite have the balls-to-thewall thumping riffage that some earlier Fall tracks gain so much from. If you’re not already a fan of the bands unique anti-aesthetic take to music then this album probably won’t be one to convert you. However it’s another solid addition to the band’s hugely extensive back catalogue. Notebooks out chronologists. 7/10 WIll Hitchins
BOWLING FOR SOUP The Great Burrito Extortion Case A&G Records
The shit band extortion case
t’s been 5 years since Girl All The Bad Guys Want assaulted the charts, and apart from the undervalued nostalgia-fest 1985, Bowling For Soup have barely appeared on anyone’s radar. But for a one-song band, they’re quite prolific. Maybe this, their 8th full-length album, will bring the plaudits they think they deserve. Unfortunately, it’s not very good. The band are clearly proud of being happy, but they don’t actually need to tell us that. Perhaps the predictably juvenile I’m Gay does “make someone feel better on a really shitty day”, but there’s no need to boast about it. They don’t hide their musical motives: “It’s funny how I always write the same old song – sing along with me.” And that’s fair enough. But within minutes, they’ve crossed the very fine line between fun and irritating. No one wants to grow up, it’s true, but shouting “Eff you” and threatening someone with “a SuperSoaker filled with pee”? Hmm. Basically, Bowling For Soup can’t keep up the momentum for a whole album. But on the plus side, Love Sick Stomach Ache (Sugar Coated Accident) is musically much better than the title suggests, and the single High School Never Ends is literally the greatest song ever made. Get it. One-hit wonders they may be, but they can write a catchy tune. 4/10 Huw Davis
MUSIC RJD2 The Third Hand
and Empty House that lend themselves perfectly to the ethereal quality of the film itself. Perhaps the success of the soundtrack relies on the French duo’s ability to capture the tragic beauty of the novel in the music itself without falling into the trap of sentimentality.
George Lucas etc
his is RJD2's third solo album, and represents a change in direction. Now on XL Records, this record leans away from his hiphop origins. The Third Hand is a chunk of lavish techno-style pop with vocal harmonies and a decent serving of groove. Have Mercy thumps out dark space funk (we'll call it that to express just how cool it sounds) and the cycling mesmeric beats of Work It Out push the album along forcefully. It's just a shame that this momentum is not continued throughout the album. In the second half, the pace and excitement slackens as the tracks, some of which are instrumental, meander through mellower tones that sound slightly lifeless. Only Sweet Piece manages to reach the same standards as earlier tracks. The Third Hand is a bit disappointing a listen in its entirety, but it does have some moments of truly exciting music. 7/10 Phillip Jones
QUENCH GOES TO THE MOVIES...
ofia Coppola’s 1999 adaptation of Jeffery Eugenides beautifully sinister novel The Virgin Suicides is without a doubt one of the most affecting teenangst movies of the last decade. Coppola’s faithful adaptation of Eugenides novel about 70’s suburbia, sex, coming-of-age and teen suicide is musically accompanied beautifully by the French electronica outfit Air. Admittedly, unlike other film soundtracks and Air’s other disco friendly album Moon Safari there are no stand out, grab you by the balls ‘hits’. Yet it is the dreamy ambience of songs such as High School Lover
Obviously doctor, you’ve never been a thirteen year old girl. Suicide Underground
The music itself forges the gap between Pink Floyd esque sonic landscapes, The Word Hurricane and dirgy glam rock Bathroom Girl without become a parody of either genre. That is not to say the soundtrack is devoid of moments of pop sentiment. The hauntingly sweet melody of Playground Love is one of the songs that (excuse the cliché) really does send shivers down your adolescent spine. Ultimately it is this sweet, twisted darkness that makes the film and its soundtrack so appealing and reflects so well the mystery of confused and repressed kids in suburbia. M. Bateson-Hill
The single High School Never Ends is literally the greatest song ever made
Big Zeus E.P.
Ace Fu Records
Bowling For Soup
THE HOLD STEADY
Boys and Girls in America
Vagrant Records Parkinsons need not apply
wigging bottles of Bud, allnight frat parties that get out of hand, swooning and driving their way into your hearts The Hold Steady are the sound of today's American. Molded in the cast of Springsteen the album pace is set in the bluesy Stuck Between Stations. Craig Finn’s intonation is Dylan in his youth, ultimately the soul mate of Willy Mason, whose ponderings on the trials of youth are instant classics. In these
times where rock n roll has morphed into a competition of the eccentrics this album pleases in its return to roots. The unity of the rhythm section sound never lets the tempo slip, with Southern US adrenaline running high Same Kooks uses virtuosic keys in a piercing breakdown. Lyrically this debut is incredible documenting society critically without patronising: “I’ve had kisses that make Judas seem sincere”, just a smidgen of the effortless turn of phrase. With a multitude of influences the styles intertwine, lulling through First Night, and then building crushingly into Party Pit. Ambitious without denying its debt to drugs and booze, Boys And Girls In America is pure unadulterated class. 9/10 Emily Kendrick
nnuals are hot property. They have received plaudits from the left, the right and have skillfully avoided the centre. These young whipper-snappers (not one of them is over 22) from North Carolina would not be out of place alongside the Montreal crew, with touches of Islands all over this. Big Zeus is the follow up EP to their debut album Be He Me which has yet to be released on this side of the pond. Three of the five songs here are on that there album which is a little disappointing but this is a fine introduction and the two new tunes – Ease My Mind and Misty Coy – are fresh and tight with some tasty electronic twists. 7/10 Harold Shiel
e live live live live live live live live live live live live
PHOTO: JAMES PEROU
Blood Red Shoes
ix days into their tour, Blood Red Shoes hit the Cardiff Thursday February 1st Barfly, Laura- Mary (gutair, vox) sporting her very own sparkly rouge footwear in a very Dorothy-esque fashion, and begin to raise merry hell. After releasing four 7" records, they aren't exactly the new kids on the block, and by mixing their fresh disco/house roots and just an undertone of grunge with a raw enthusiasm for loud noise, they shake the rafters. What makes them stand out is their true uniqueness in sound, covering so many genres of modern music and fusing them seamlessly for their own signiture vibrations that only professionals can accomBLOOD RED SHOES: Yellow mucus plish. hat Fast ripping drums and clever ass produce Bring me down and Can't Find The Door before Steven (Drums, Wednesday February 7th Vox) invites a "gentleman" up from the crowd to play the cowbell for he surreal entrée to tonight’s show comes from the avant-garde No them on the stage after a particularBra who confounds the audience with her topless attire and her equally loud heckle. Serves him right. ly lewd lyrics. Yet the real star of tonight’s show is the spangled elecFor his final trick, Steven decides tro folk troubadour Patrick Wolf. to stand on his drum kit to play his Opening with a bombastic number from his forthcoming album The Magic symbol, raising it majestically in the Position young Wolf commands the confining Barfly stage with such ease and air, but refraining from trashing his has the crowd hanging on his every lyric. Songs from earlier albums kit, although you could tell that his Lycanthropy and Wind In the Wires feature heavily with the hauntingly dark heart wanted to, and would have finTristan and the heart wrenching Pigeon Song being tonight’s highlights. ished the performance with consisSwitching from viola, to ukulele and to virginal (the earliest keyboard tency. Loud, messy, abrasive rock instrument,) Wolf is obviously a talented fellow yet the occasional stop-start with such a boppable underlayer of some songs causes him to lose patience with his band somewhat. Yet as that make your feet dance, bloodsoon as he storms into the romping Accident and Emergency all is forgotten red shoes or not. Henry Cann and the glitter clad pop star rules the night. Michael Bateson-Hill
JAMIE T: Chav chic. Ta da!
irst things first: this venue is, quite frankly, shit. And it's surprising Friday Febuar that Jamie T, with his mixy 2nd ture of hip hop beats, south London lyrical honesty, and acoustic guitar could tempt the stripe-clad rude boys of Bristol into sharing decidedly cramped breathing space with the indie kids in skinny fits and waistcoats. Yet I can kind of understand why. Despite a disappointing start with Dry Off Your Cheeks, it's new single Calm Down Dearest that gets that echo of appreciation from the crowd that breathes new life into the gig. With other crowd-pleasers If You Got The Money and Sheila fusing infectious beats with annoyingly catchy lyrics, it's pretty much impossible to restrain from being one of the rowdy wankers spilling drinks in their rush to shout about “fuckin' sluts” and cash flow problems. B-side Nothern Line proves Jamie T isn't just a one-trick pony, and arguably the highlight of the whole night is his only acoustic number Back In The Game. There's no disputing the unbelievable presence of the live band, but T shines bright like a Klaxons fan when left with only his guitar and the crowd for company. Fran Jarvis
Bristol Anson Rooms
PHOTO: ED SALTER
dnesday Januar y 31st
Fortune Drive We
he last time Fortune Drive crossed the Severn Bridge to serve Cardiff a handsome portion of Rock’n’Roll, they were sharing our very own Solus stage with LA movie-star rockers Juliette and the Licks. But this time it’s the boys from Bristol’s turn to head the bill. Tonight the support acts don’t live up to the Barfly’s normal high standard, but mood changes quickly as Fortune Drive begin to warm up the congregation with the funk and goovy soul of their latest EP, Recent Advances Vol.ii. If there is one Bristol Trinity
The Good, The Bad & The Queen Friday Januar y 27th
RAT:ATT:AGG: Shat at a bag
duces four light entertainment acts, including a man who can do amazing things with ping pong balls. As the band finally ascend the stage and play album opener History Song the room is slowly submersed into a sea of melancholy only punctuated by a heckler's accusation that Albarn is wearing lipstick. Their set consists of playing the album through from start to finish. Three Changes stands out most of all if only for Albarn's brief change from moody artiste to mid-nineties cockney wide-boy. The contribution
from the rest of the group is flawless throughout and Simonon comes to the fore to the play the last song of the night, a special performance of Guns Of Brixton. It's always welcome when a band surpasses your expectations and tonight was one of those nights. Guy Ferneyhough
Albarn's brief change from moody artiste to mid-nineties cockney wide-boy
he set by support band Rat:att:agg sees Rory Atwell, formerly of pun-fuelled rabbleFriday February 2nd rousers Test Icicles, make his first return to these parts for over a year. However, little fresh creativity is exhibited, ultimately compensated for by his tedious set closing rolling around and “rock and roll” antics – to a barely half-full Barfly. The equally indistinguishable Damn Arms take to the stage and immediately launch into their frenetic punk-rock. Yet, despite the crashing drums, brake-neck guitar, and semi-yelled vocals they mysteriously lack any true presence to fully engage the audience for the duration. Indeed, indicative of the self-sufficiency of these post-punk pretenders is the fact that it is actually the members of Rat:att:agg who are the most engrossed throughout. There are undoubtedly glimpses of interesting melodies and a few foot-tapping rhythm sections, but these regrettably soon give way to a wall of noise. The most successful songs, such as set-closer Test Pattern, combine pounding drums that propel forward angular guitars, accompanied by comprehensible lyrics. Despite its more indie composition, rather than anything post-punk and dangerous, it is undoubtedly the most bearable. Jim Finucane Barfly
PHOTO: Sylvie Winn
t’s the first night on tour for Damon Albarn's new band The Good, The Bad & The Queen, except they don't have a name and are not a band, apparently. The crowd tonight is awash wih Britpop relics; its funny watching middle aged people squabble for the best view. Before the main event the compère (yes, there's a compère!) intro-
defining characteristic of the fivepiece, it is passion. Lead singer Bobby looks wildly stoned, but his intensity bounces off the walls like a rubber ball. The set, although frustratingly short, is peppered with some of the catchiest melodies of all time and held together with cheeky guitar work and a strolling rhythm section. We’re made to wait right until the end before Fortune Drive’s signature tune (and forthcoming single) Sparkle dances out of the speakers. Indie bands are as common as rats these days, and most are as ugly and disease-ridden, but Fortune Drive tear the genre to its bones and manage to find the fun. Mike Richards FORTUNE DRIVE: Hamm ond and a rocket
PHOTO: AVALYN BEAR E
live live live live live live live live live live live live liv
gles singles singles singles singles singles singles LITTLE BARRIE Love You
ALL SAINTS Chick Fit
Another enjoyable slab of classic 60s, hot-stepping funk that we’ve come to expect from this ever nostalgic trio. End of…that is until a Bside of insanely funky-ass proportions rips you from your seat and has you boogieing all the way back to Carnaby Street. 7/10 JF
This is one goddamn sexy trizzack: hot shit from ma girl Shaznay and her krew. No more of that melodic shit, this stuff bangs! I’m off to do some ‘krumping’ wit ma homes on the block. Holla. 12/10 HS
KAISER CHIEFS Ruby
DAMIEN RICE Rootless Tree 14th Floor
Hulking riff intro - check. 'Na na na na na's' - check. Everyman lyrics check. Stupidly catchy chorus check. The Kaisers are back, that this is derivative is both undeniable and irrelevant. A gorgeous piece of freshly minted pop. 8/10 EP
Rootless Tree sees Rice exhibiting that angry, angst-ridden side that contrasts so well with his usual delicate melancholy. This time however, the predictable structure undermines his dramatic cries, contributing largely to an overall lack of sincerity. 6/10 JF
MASTODON Colony of Birchmen
DAN SARTAIN Flight of The Finch
Mastadon, the so called 'future of metal', produce a lifeless, cheap, rock song that doesn’t quite reflect the rest of their latest album Blood Mounntain. Where has the venom gone? Fans used to the throat-tearing, blood-chilling roar of yonder will be let down. 4/10 HC
Dan Sartain stands in the Troubadour lineage somewhere between Johnny Cash and Scott Walker. This Spanishsamba-inspired ditty sounds like its come straight from the troubled singer-songwriter factory. Indeed, Dan like his forefathers sounds like
20 Baked & bladdered
The FUN way to fill your fortnight...
One Little Indian
The Blood Arm/VEG Club at Barfly [ Franz like Californians and local spiky wonders VEG club]
Batucada Basics at Fontana [Brazilian KRUGER PRESENTS funk/hip-hop/ samb Gideon Conn at Buffalo a/ [Manc based folk hip hop] DnB/Bossa/Baile Funk ]
Gruff Rhys does an instore at Spillers 5pm [Last time I went to one of these there was cake]
No Love In Your Heart/ Burn the Liars 679
This new double A-side is a fun fusion of psych-folk and a bubbling bass sound that even Daft Punk have dreams about. No Love In Your Heart is decent, but much better is the snappy Burn the Liars which has enough groove to appear on the most muffled of radars. 8/10 RL
SENSES FAIL Can’t Be Saved Vagrent
This new single form the New Jersey band comes off the back of their successful second album and an upcoming UK tour. Complete with a fist-in-the-air sing along chorus to keep the scene kids happy. 7/10 TW
IRON MAIDEN Different Worlds EMI
Gash. 3/10 MR
El Tanbura at The Point [a collection of veteran Egyptian master musicians, ooo!]
Shane Ward at CIA [There are no words for The Ward]
28WEDNESDAY 1 The Whip at Barfly [Stonking electronic goodness, dirty bass lines, woo! ]
he has the devil on his shoulder and is casting out daemons from his axe. 8/10 MB-H
The Breakfast Club at Buffalo [Classic. ]
John Etheridge's Blue Spirit at Cafe Jazz [With a name like that it’s sure to be dead jazzy!]
Fun Factory at Solus [is it us, or is it shitter than it used to be? Maybe we’re just too old.]
Eugene Francis Junior and the Juniors/Gethin Pearson at Clwb [ Local delights a plenty]
O x f o rd
o Oxford doesn't give the immediate impression of being an exciting hub of musical activity - once coined the “city of dreaming spires” by Mathew Arnold, and known for picturesque scenery and ancient colleges, musical giants such as Manchester would drown quaint little Oxford given half the chance. But beneath its chocolate-box charm lies a dark musical horse the growing success of Truck festival has brought major musical focus back to Oxford, and the sudden surge of new venues and club nights highlights the fact that Oxford really is getting serious about music. Tolkien would be writhing in his grave…
Forming in the 80s as teenagers, public school boys Radiohead went on to become arguably one of britpop’s most influential bands.
Behind the music...
WHAT DO YOU DO? Well, I guess that most people would call me a roadie, but there’s so much more to my job than just hauling amps. Sometimes bands just can't do without important stuff like booze and Beholla 7.65mm automatic and Mauser C96 and C10 pistols. Once I even had to look for the Rowntree. WHY DO YOU DO IT? Well I dropped out of school
Starting out at Oxford’s tiny Jericho Tavern, who would have thought these local boys would go on to make six gold and platinum selling albums. Surely that should put a smile on Thom Yorke’s face?
Another Brit-pop heavyweight, Supergrass made their mark in Oxford’s music scene around the same time as Radiohead. The band reached their prime in the midnineties with the release of the single Alright. Later singles Moving and Pumping On Your Stereo still remain anthemic favourites, despite recent disappearance from the limelight.
THE YOUNG KNIVES
Although not originally from Oxford, this band owes current success to a move to the city and signing to local label Shifty Disco, on which they released their debut album. The band's quintessential Britishness is at nine and had a rather vicious methamphetamine habit by 12, so I needed some money and some shoes. HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? At the time I thought I was in the queue for benefits, but as I turned out I was sitting in the luggage hold of a tour bus. I was found seven weeks later and offered a job. They don’t give me any money, but at least I get all the meth I need. Plus I’ve got to travel as far as Rotherham and as wide as Jade Goody’s otter’s pocket. WHAT’S THE BEST GIG YOU’VE PUT ON? When I was on the road with The Steaming Slaughter Bastards we set up in the sewers directly under the
undoubtedly a reflection of the city, and repeated performances at the Truck festival have helped them acquire recent popularity.
FELL CITY GIRL
This band has been bubbling beneath the surface of success for a while now, and have recently earned themselves an EP deal with Bleeding Music records. Sounding somewhere between Mogwai and Sigor Ros, they’ve supported the likes of The Zutons and Haven, and are a popular tip from local music experts.
VENUE: THE CELLAR
Small, dark, sweaty and usually packed, The Cellar is one of Oxford's many unexpected music venues, boasting some of the best alternative nights out in the city. At first hosting a variety of DJ nights ranging from hip-hop to metal, the venue is now catering for a larger body of live acts. Josie Alchin Houses of Parliament. It was amazing. In fact, it was so good we all had dysentery for weeks. Second best was when I was working for The Cuntbadgers and we set up stage inside a mosque to make a political point. Can’t remember what point exactly... WHAT’S YOUR CURRENT AND ALLTIME FAVORITE RECORD? At the moment I’m really into Dying Fetus. My sister got married to their song Nocturnal Crucifixion, so that really means a lot to me. But I prefer Skull Fucked on Purification Through Violence. My favorite band of all time has to be Pig Destroyer. I first heard them when I was visiting my family in prison a few years back. I found it both angry and sexual, just like I find myself.
Turn and take Aim UK hip-hop legend Andy Turner, or Aim to you and me, makes his first trip to Cardiff in four years to play The Point, off the back of his fantastic new album Flight 602. Mike Richards has a chat with the boy from Barrow...
t's been four years since you last played a show in Cardiff. That's a long time... It was a wicked gig last time. It has always stuck in my head though because we'd decided not to do any encores for that run of gigs but when we came off in Cardiff the crowd was going mental. We stood backstage umming and ahhing about whether or not to just go back on and do a track we'd already done and we decided not to. I always regretted that so hopefully we can put it right this time round. You're touring with a 10-piece band at the moment. Do you feel more comfortable with a band or doing DJ sets? I like both for different reasons. I don't feel uncomfortable doing either, if I did I wouldn't bother doing them. For a long time I'd have said the live thing is what I prefer as I enjoy travelling and hanging out with my mates. t's a great feeling to work for so long rehearsing and chipping away at songs and arrangements, then finally getting out and playing them live. But it's come round now and I'm really looking forward to getting into DJ'ing again. I've been buying loads of new records so I reckon I'll be doing a DJ
tour pretty soon. Flight 602 is your first LP in four years. Did you always intend on releasing your next LP after Hinterland on your own label? At the time I didn't know I'd be releasing my next record on my own label, but even then I wasn't sure about letting Grand Central put it out. I didn't like the way the label was going, so I kind of held back developing the record till either the label folded or I could get off it. As it happens both those things hapened, I got off the label in January of 2005 and a year or so later it went bankrupt. What excitements does your new record label Atic have in the pipeline for us? Other than my next single, Birchwood, which I'm recording some new B-sides for now, we have three big LP releases lined up for this year. First off, a new artist we just signed called Death of The Neighbourhood. His album is a double CD of weird, fucked up vocal stuff and soundtracky instrumentals. After that will be an album by Gripper, an old mate of mine from Barrow. His record is a nice mixed bag of styles ranging from dirty distorted hip-hop through
to latin-tinged house. After that will be the new Niko LP which I'm producing. I reckon that will be our biggest release so far, I wouldn't be surprised if that one crosses over into the mainstream. Has your own label brought along a lot of added pressure, or do you like being the one who sets the deadlines? The only pressure I feel, whether on my own label or not, is the pressure I put on myself to make good music and push myself. Everything else, relative to that, is easy. If you could collaborate with anybody who would it be? I've been lucky so far as everyone I wanted to work with I have: AG, Diamond D, Souls Of Mischief, Stephen Jones. I'm doing another track with QnC and just sent an instrumental to James Yorkston, another artist I've wanted to work with for years now. The only other person I really want to try something with right now is Damon Albarn. Whether or not that will happen, who knows? What music do you think is going to get people inspired in 2007? The best thing I've heard in a long while is The Good, The Bad and The Queen. It's an amazing record, I love the vocal melodies, and the instrumentation and production is quality. You'll be hard pushed to find a better album this year or any other year. It's that good. Another track that's doing it for me is the new Bloc Party single, The Prayer. I wasn't into their last LP but this track is fucking huge, the chorus sends shivers down my spine. I'm interested to see if they can maintain this quality throughout the new album.
F I L M
N E W S
FILM film@gairrhydd By Si Truss Film Editor
o we’ve decided to bypass the long editorial in favour of trivia and funnies. A wise choice me thinks.
Triviageddon 300: It’s the new Hot Fuzz
300 (OUT OF 10?)
Now we are fully aware that we have used a picture of 300 on this page at somepoint within the last few issues but I feel we can justify covering it again. Getting its debut at the Berlin film festival this week, this adaptation of the Frank Miller graphic novel looks as if it is going to have an absolutely georgeous aesthetic to it. We are yet too see whether its story, based around 300 spartans defending themselves against a million strong Persian war machine, will have enough content to back up how good it’s going to look. Still with an awesome Nine Inch Nails tune on the trailer, it’s easily enough to get us all at Quench film dangerously excited. This is Sparta...
M ORE Hot Fuzz
WHAT WES DID NEXT
We feel that the time has come for an update on what Quench Film favourite Wes Anderson is up to. Well, it seems that the Royal Tenenbaums and Life Aquatic director has recently begun filming of his next project. The Darjeeling Limited, a film following three brothers to India after the death of their father, see Anderson team up with long time collaborator Jason Schwartzman as well as, for the first time, Roman Coppola. As well as staring Schwartzman and Coppola, the rest of the cast is comprised of the likes of Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Natalie Portman. We’re suspecting it may be sweet, enchanting, surreal and make you feel happy about the world.
Now that it’s actually here we’ve nothing left to look forward to, well, except 300 and Spider Man 3, and Sunshine, and 28 Weeks Later and Science of Sleep and...
Way too much of an obvious choice, ooooh, look at me I can make myself look old and Queen like and you’ll all think I’m so wonderful. Give it to Pegg.
During the making of his debut film El Mariachi, director Robert Rodriguez inadvertantly assisted a convict to escape while he was moved from his cell so that a scene could be filmed in it.
Interweb funny www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jI UNYs33Mg www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9 yoNcm6mPo
Where’s film Si?
At a Blood Brothers gig, that’s where!
Image of the Week
Giving Helen Mirren BAFTAs On DVD: ! Kids in America ! Homicide ! Farce of the Penguins ! Clerks 2 !"The Departed ! In cinemas: ! Hot Fuzz ! For Your Consideration ! Hannibal Rising ! The Reef !
Sign above Chuck Norris’ doorbell.
Film Ryan galivants his way past the insurmountable snow to Bristol, to interview Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, stars of Hot Fuzz
imon Pegg and Nick Frost are the stars of high-octane action comedy epic Hot Fuzz. They also happen to be absolute heroes of mine, dominating the sleeves of many of my shiny discs. A swift introduction and a shake of hands later, an eager Simon greets the dictaphone “Hello Wales!” whilse the lovely Nick Frost makes me a cup of stimulating coffee. The goosebumps and nervous shakes have all but dissappeared.
Like many fans of the boy’s previous work, I was surprised to find an absence of references to Spaced. In repsonse Simon talks about Spaced “Tim and Daisy's life was comprised of a mish-mash of popular cultural things. There aren't that many references like that in Hot Fuzz, they're mainly broader references to the genre itself and the conventions and clichés within the genre”.
Hot It has been frequently questioned about the possibility of a third series of Spaced, seemingly as often as Raimi and Campbell are asked of an Evil Dead sequel. The question is posed, “What about a one-off extended episode where everyone is in their 30s?”
Scorsese is the Geekfather! Simon Pegg on geeks Simon: “I don't know if you ever want to see those guys when they're in their 30s. It's dangerous to go back. I know the temptation is there but I'm starting to think it would be nice to keep them preserved as they were. There was a nice ending to the 2nd series in terms of Tim and
Daisy, and I would have liked to see that relationship through to its consummation, but things didn't work out. So we did Shaun Of The Dead instead and that took us in a different direction’. Shaun Of The Dead was hailed by George A. Romero, the latter being an inspiration to the former, and similarly Hot Fuzz has its roots in films such as The Departed. The question has to be asked, “as Romero loved Shaun Of The Dead, do you think Scorsese would enjoy Hot Fuzz?” Simon: “We found out Scorsese liked Shaun Of The Dead as well, which was funny. Yeah, you want all those people you respect, kind of the ones you want to like your stuff.” Nick: “I should think he would enjoy Hot Fuzz. Also, I've never met the guy but he must be a geek like us, right? You know, he must love cine-
FILM because one hungover morning he had one, and it worked really well as a hangover cure. We thought it was funny,” Nick: “...we don't live in big tepee shaped wafer houses… yet. It's basically been offered” Simon: “...I mean Cornetto would put one on for us”.
Smut ma, he's one of the first geeks” Simon: “He's the geekfather!.” We start to talk about geeks, and in particular the difference between British and American geeks. Nick: “There’s something about the British mentality that makes them slightly embarrassed to love something. Americans, if they love Babylon 5, they fuckin' love Babylon 5, and they don't care who knows. We went to a couple of collect-a-manias when we started to do the press for this, and I was absolutely amazed at how many people dressed up as things, and I'd never seen that before. I think they're just starting to become confident and strong as a number, they're growing”. Simon “...the geeks shall inherit the earth” (laughter) “...it's good isn't it?”
Ed. You have to wonder who Simon and Nick would go as, to such a party? Simon: “I think probably the chaps from Shaun Of The Dead,” Nick: “...Gnarls Barkley” Simon “...I think we could go as Napoleon Dynamite and Pedro”
As Cornetto obviously love the Fuzz team, what about the Academy? Do they think they are in the running for anything next year? Nick: “If we had kids, and then I contracted some awful disease” Simon: “...if you died of cooties, and had malingering death, you would have definitely been up for it” Nick: “...if for the last hour of the film I was blind and on a ventilator, we would win something” Simon: “...that's the criteria…” (laughter) “...you've gotta have a ventilator…” Ryan: “What are you guys doing next?” Nick: “...well, we do this until the end of April, and then Simon and I have started to write a film, and then this man is going off and doing a film, yeah?” Simon: “...yeah” (ecstatic) Nick: “...and then were gonna shoot our film hopefully at the end of the year, and then after that, Edgar and Simon I'm sure will…” Simon: “...we’re gonna write another film together” Nick: “...complete the trilogy,” Simon: “...with Nick in it...and then I don't know, maybe see what comes up” Nick: “...but I mean you know, that alone is three years work”.
We don’t live in big tepee shaped wafer houses Nick Frost on Corenettos
A recent fancy dress party saw myself and lady imitate Shaun and
Nick: “...I went once as David Bowie, kind of involved tying a big red sponge to my hair”. Ryan: ”What’s with the Cornettos?” Simon: “...Cornetto gave us Cornettos for the film. It's kind of a product placement, not that they came to us, Edgar came up with the Cornetto idea in Shaun Of The Dead,
That leaves us with the final geek question. Ryan: “If you were to have real life action figure toy, what would your special feature be?” Nick: “...I think mine would have a massive cock”. Simon ponders inquistively. “...I'd have a massive cock...” Brilliant... Hot Fuzz is out now, go and see it five times.
THE SOUND OF MUSIC There’s nothing funnier than film stars who think they can sing. In Ewen Hosie’s imaginary world, some of these talk to him... THUNDERBOX starring Steven Seagal Hi, I’m Steven Seagal, environmentalist, sex symbol, aikido master, action star, Louisiana police officer and Buddhist. I’m 6’4 1/2” tall, my frame is hewn from cinder blocks and I have a stare that can penetrate lead. I’m a carer at heart. I break bones gentle. According to the vast sea of subjective knowledge that is my wikipedia entry: ‘Seagal’s relationships fall into three general categories. Seagal is a friend and lover of women, an injurer of men, and a protector of animals.’ I think this just about sums me up in the most effective manner I’ve yet read. A lot of people don’t know this about me, but I’m also a damned fine musician. My blues troupe Thunderbox is a sound the likes of which mortal men have never heard. Much as my films re-invented the lagging cinematic medium with their compelling humanity, verve and fervent armsnapping carnage, so does my sound, leaping musical boundaries like a praying mantis taking flight
SEAGAL: The ‘Britney’ style mic
following the first feast of the season. I’ve got two albums out at the moment, Songs from the Crystal Cave and Mojo Priest. They’re classics, in case you didn’t know. My newest single Alligator Ass is tantamount to our creative genius as a band. When I say our creative genius of course I refer to God and myself, for we are in constant communication, what with my being his agent on this Earth and everything.
30 SECONDS TO MARS starring Jared Leto Fuck me, I’m beautiful. I’m Jared Leto. I played Colin Farrell’s lover in Oliver Stone’s masterpiece Alexander. My chest was waxed and bronzed like the antique fireplaces of yore, you could see my reflection in that thing it was so buffed. I’m not just beefcake though, I was method skinny in Requiem for a Dream; scag addict see? Jennifer Connelly loved the Leto noise in that one. Well hard me, you seen Fight Club? I was that guy who gets the absolute leather scrapped out of his face by Ed Norton, so obviously, I’m not vain, because my face looked like pig trotter in that one. Got a band, call themselves 30 Seconds to Mars. We rock the cock like you wash your socks, soaked to the skin on a supersonic spin cycle. My brother Shannon is the drummer. He’s an asshole, man. My lame ass hippie parents gave him a girl’s name; he cried to me for 15 fucking years on account of the beatings. I told him to be a man and stop wasting my fucking time,
CROWE: Mic’s goin’ up yer arse and then I beat the shit out of him too. Hey, after all, I’ve got a reputation to keep. I’m Jared Leto. I am the Beautiful Fuck.
30 ODD FOOT OF GRUNTS starring Russell Crowe I’m drunk with the ghosts of Ollie Reed and Dickie Harris, raisin’ a toast to Richard Burton and then homeward bound. 30 Odd Foot of Grunts. We left a page in Australasian musical history, the band is no longer but our legend will live on. I’m three-time Academy Award nominee, once Academy award winner Russell Crowe. My aggressive brand of stomachchurning pub rock entertained patrons across New Zealand from 1992 to 2005. I’ve settled down to the farm life now, tending my sheep with the gentle caress that only Crowe knows. One day son, all this could be yours. The Grunt is dead, long live the Crowe.
LETO: Be gentle with me
GUEST LIST Ladies and gentlemen, we give you the master of the mockumentary, Mr Christopher Guest
ig bottoms, big bottoms, talk about mud flaps, my girl’s got them. Supposedly when Liam Gallagher first saw Christopher Guest’s best known project This Is Spinal Tap he believed he was watching a documentary about a real band. This proves two things, firstly that Liam Gallagher is, as we always suspected, an idiot and secondly that Guest has an incredible knack for writing dialogue that is not only hilariously funny but also dangerously close to reality. In fact it wasn’t only Liam who was befuddled on the film’s release; director Rob Reiner was reportedly amazed by the amount of people who’d come up to him telling him they loved his film but thought he should have made it about a better known band. For Guest, who co-wrote Tap as well as starring as the band’s rather dense guitarist Nigel Tufnel, the film’s mock documentary style (or mockumentary if you will) was to become something that would act as the trademark of his career. It wasn’t until several years after the success of Spinal Tap that Guest would return to the mockumentary genre. In the meantime he
worked as a writer on American comedy staple Saturday Night Live along with several Spinal Tap spinoffs. He even directed his first full length film The Big Picture; a humorous if slightly unsuccessful look at indie film making. However in 1996 Guest returned to the genre that would make his name with the much overlooked and hugely underrated Waiting for Guffman. Guffman, which parodied the world of amateur dramatics, saw Guest assemble for the first time members of what would become his ‘team.’ Most importantly it was the first time Guest would write with Eugene Levy (that’s right Eugene ‘Jim’s dad from American Pie’ Levy), who would play a major role as a writer and actor in all of Guest’s films to come. In fact it’s hard to imagine that the brilliantly funny Levy seen in Guest films is the same man who’s appeared in such dismal films as American Pie: Band Camp and The Man. Guffman also set the mark for the way Guest’s films would be made. Supposedly Guffman had less than 12 pages of script, most of the dialogue being improvised. The next film to appear in
Guest’s mockumentary canon would be Best In Show, a film which explored, in a typically oddball manner, the already slightly strange world of the dog show. Best In Show which saw a lot more success than Guffman, was followed fairly rapidly by A Mighty Wind. For the third of his self directed moc-doc’s Guest did for folk music what Tap did for heavy metal. He even gathered together the actors who played the aforementioned band to play folk trio ‘The Folksmen.’ For his new film For Your Consideration, Guest directs his team in the direction of indie film making once more, parodying what happens when the sniff of an Oscar gets on to the set. This time round Guest adds Britain’s own Ricky Gervais (who hails Guest as one of his biggest influences) to his collection of actors, Gervais taking the role of a big film executive interfering in the making of ‘A Home For Purim,’ the fictional film about a ridiculous Jewish family returning home to the American deep south to gather around their dying mother. Si Truss
THE BAFTAS this year represented another predictable triumph for the British film industry, with The Queen receiving BEST PICTURE and Helen Mirren receiving a BEST ACTRESS award in her performance as Elizabeth II. The flawed The Last King of Scotland won BEST BRITISH FILM against the likes of Casino Royale (something of an outsider amongst more traditional competition) and curiously enough, given its overall best picture award, The Queen, which failed to win in this category. The Last King of Scotland also achieved a deserved BEST ACTOR win for Forest Whitaker, in his scenery-chewing role as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. Paul Greengrass’s verite style for United 93 won against strong competition in the BEST DIRECTOR category from the likes of Martin Scorcese
and Stephen Frears. Alan Arkin got the award for BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR in indie favourite Little Miss Sunshine, a somewhat iconoclastic but highly deserved choice among judges. BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS went to Jennifer Hudson in the glossy biopic Dreamgirls, beating a double nomination for Little Miss Sunshine (Abigail Breslin, Toni Collette). Little Miss Sunshine also achieved the award for BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY by Michael Arndt, proving that comedy could best the heavy-hitters such as Babel and United 93, also nominated. BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY went to The Last King of Scotland in a weaker than usual year, with William Monahan’s The Departed screenplay perhaps unfairly losing to the inferior Last King, a move which seems
MIRREN: ...Queen laced with pandering to British institution. The depressing sobriety of Children of Men’s visuals beat out flashier competition (Casino Royale, Pan’s Labyrinth) to win the BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY award. The film also went on to win the Bafta for BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN against similarly strong competition (again, the main competition included Pan’s Labyrinth, Casino Royale and the even more expensive Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest). The award for BEST MUSIC went to Gustavo Santaolalla for Babel, with his eclectic style rising above the pomp of David Arnold’s Casino Royale score, also nominated. Unlike the Oscars (see below) Paul Verhoeven got a nomination for BEST FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, but eventually (and fairly) lost to the epochal Pan’s Labyrinth. Ewen Hosie
The Oscar nominations for this year represents the standard mixture of the obvious big-hitters mixed with the occasional eclectic entry. Traditionally, Martin Scorcese is a director who, like Stanley Kubrick and Alfred Hitchcock before him, has been somewhat snubbed by the Oscars, having received several nominations but never having actually won. His director nomination for The Departed holds huge potential however, and should possibly see him get his long overdue statuette. Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance in Blood Diamond won over the Avademy contingent ahead of his affecting portrayal of Billy Costigan in The Departed, but Forest Whitaker is our favourite for the Best Actor award as Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland, a performance that holds a confused film together. Likewise, Helen Mirren is our pick for her portrayal of Elizabeth II in The Queen. Ewen Hosie
Directorial Debuts: Top Ten’s Ashley James delves into the murky world of debut features to see whether their reception has any bearing on directorial success...
t the top of the list (see above) is nobody’s favourite director James Cameron. His obsession with the aquatic began with a sequel to one of the worst action/horror movies imaginable, definitely more Titanic than The Abyss. Verbinski predates the eclectic trio of The Mexican, The Ring and the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise with 98 minutes of Lee Evans chasing a CGI mouse around a house in Mousehunt. Everyone’s favourite eccentric Goth filmmaker Tim Burton’s career began as a Disney animator before directing the tale of an equally
eccentric man-child (Pee Wee’s Big Adventure), trekking across America to find his stolen bike – spooky indeed. Years before The Silence of Lambs, Demme’s career began with Caged Heat, set in a women’s prison, think ITV’s Bad Girls with added smut; the tagline read – “Rape, riot and revenge! White hot desires melting cold prison steel!” – classy stuff. Not all directorial debuts are a disaster however, take this lot for example, the rest of their careers may be utter drivel but their debuts were pretty bloody good (see centre). The Shawshank Redemption is of course one of the greatest films ever
made, however the horribly overrated The Green Mile and Jim Carrey snooze-fest The Majestic is not how to follow it up, which is exactly why Darabont is included. Similarly, Mel Brooks directed and wrote the original version of his own excellent Broadway musical The Producers back in 1968. Unfortunately his output in the ‘90s consisted of Robin Hood: Men in Tights and Dracula: Dead and Lovin’ It. Easy Rider, one of the most iconic movies ever, has as its director Dennis Hopper, one of the most iconic actors ever. However, in the 38 years since his debut release Hopper has only directed a further seven films – each and every one of them as shite as the next. I admit the scathing criticism of some may be unwarranted but let’s not forget that the movie industry is undoubtedly the toughest to get into in the world and everyone needs to start somewhere. However it is still amazing that directors can still be presented with projects after churning out such nonsense at the start of a career, perhaps there is hope for us all (David Fincher started with Alien3 before becoming the god he is today) or perhaps, we shouldn’t be so quick to judge what is after all, emerging talent (see above).
Top 10 Debuts - That failed to inspire
Top 10 Debuts – That gave a false sense of excitement
Top 10 Debuts – That ignited a glittering career
1. James Cameron – Piranha 2 2. Gore Verbinski - Mousehunt 3. Francis Ford Coppola – The Bellboy and the Playgirls 4. Tim Burton – Pee Wee’s Big Adventure 5. Jonathan Demme – Caged Heat 6. Joel Schumacher – The Incredible Shrinking Woman 7. David Fincher – Alien3 8. Bryan Singer – Public Access 9. Steven Spielberg – Sugarland Express
1. Dennis Hopper – Easy Rider 2. Simon West – Con Air 3. Mel Brooks – The Producers 4. Farrelly Brothers – Dumb and Dumber 5. David Zucker and Jim Abrahams – Airplane! 6. Amy Heckerling – Fast Times at Ridgemont High 7. Jay Roach – Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery 8. Hugh Wilson – Police Academy 9. George Lucas – THX 1138 10. Frank Darabont – The
1. Rob Reiner – This is Spinal Tap 2. Quentin Tarantino – Reservoir Dogs 3. Robert Rodriguez – El Mariachi 4. Sam Raimi – The Evil Dead 5. Sam Mendes – American Beauty 6. Kevin Smith - Clerks 7. The Coen Brothers – Blood Simple 8. David Lynch - Eraserhead 9. Danny Boyle – Shallow Grave 10. Wes Anderson – Bottle Rocket
HOT FUZZ Dir: Edgar Wright Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost Out Now, 121 mins
rom the makers of Shaun of the Dead comes the eagerly awaited Hot Fuzz. Whereas Shaun of the Dead was inspired by Romero’s Dead trilogy, Hot Fuzz takes its inspiration from every action cop movie in the last two decades. Visualise Murtagh and Riggs and think Midsummer Murder spliced with Bad Boys 2 and you are halfway there. Fittingly for the genre, exposition takes a nanosecond with cutting that Jack the Ripper would be proud of, as we are introduced to our protagonist Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg), who in short is ‘Supercop.’ In a training sequence cheekily imitating both those of The Departed and Infernal Affairs, we see Edgar Wright’s visual flair as Nicholas Angel is put through his paces in the Krypton of Factors. You would be forgiven for thinking Christopher
Doyle and Tony Scott had teamed up. This relentless cutting continues as ‘Supercop’ Angel is shipped out to Sandford in a montage so quick it seems as if Edgar Wright has set the auto-edit on the footage to half a second. Epileptics beware.
Edgar Wright is Tony Scott on crack! After what appears to be two seconds, Angel arrives in his personal hell, where police(man) officers let criminals off, and spend most of their time eating cake and icecream. To exacerbate things (make things worse), he is teamed up with the most eager of partners, Danny Butterman (Nick Frost), whose mind is saturated with so many action films it could explode as if Seagal had deemed it offensive. It doesn’t take long ‘til Angel is suspicious of the numerous accidents that are happening, but noone believes him apart from Danny. With the body count rising though, the two need to work together to
find out what's going on, or could it be that Angel is just wound too tightly for country living? Pegg and Frost have been doing their double act for so long it's become second nature and it's nice to see them playing (slightly) different roles. Edgar Wright is Tony Scott... on crack, and he has never been so indulgent, most poignantly as a helicopter passes Pegg in all its slo-mo glory and wailing rotor blades. It even rivals Top Gun with an unmeasurable amount of homo-eroticism as well as ’taches that only Magnums’ Tom Selleck could dream of. If that isn’t enough 80s for you, then the prevalence of visceral gore and splashing of blood is tantamount to that in Evil Dead 2. He has concocted a high-octane action film that is saturated with adrenaline-fuelled images, epilepsyinducing cuts, and relentless zooms, whips and pans. Action indeed. If you look up high-octane in the dictionary, what do you get? No, not Hot Fuzz, you get ‘forceful or intense; dynamic; high-powered’. And this is exactly what Hot Fuzz is. Hot Smut… Ryan Owen
FILM THE REEF Dir: Howard E. Baker, John Fox Starring: Freddie Prinze Jr., Evan
FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION Dir: Christopher Guest Starring: Harry Shearer, Ricky Gervais
HANNIBAL RISING Dir: Peter Webber Starring: Gaspard Ulliel, Rhys Ifans
Out Now, 77 mins
Out Now, 117 mins
Out Now, 100 mins
An age-old tale of the little guy who, after losing his family, must follow his destiny to fight for true love and defeat the villain against all odds. Just underwater. With fishes.
Hannibal Rising deals with the early life of Lector (the pre-PhD years if you will), explaining why he grew into the monster we see in the later films.
Christopher ‘Spinal Tap’ Guests and Co. take a look at the making of a ridiculous low budget movie and at what happens when rumours of an Oscar gets on set.
he Reef is the animated tale of a fish called Pi (Prinze Jr.) who loses his parents at a young age and must travel to live with other family in The Reef. Upon arrival he promptly falls in love and finds himself with the task of defeating a mean-spirited shark to save his new home and win his girl, Cordelia. While initially being alone in his quest and unable to garner the support of his new friends. Inevitably everyone comes good eventually as Pi is aided by a host of wacky fish and crustaceans. It lacks the lavish and visually beautiful seascapes of Finding Nemo and the characters largely resemble plastic bath toys but the real disappointment here is the absence of any sophisticated humour. The jokes rely heavily on groan-inducing puns and some very lazy stereotyping in addition to terrible rapping from our villainous shark, Troy, who is more school bully than force to be reckoned with. The surprise highlight is Rob Schneider's Nerissa, a Clint Eastwood homage, drill sergeant and turtle sorceror who is entertaining throughout. This is good fun in places but you might end up feeling like you've seen it all done before, bigger, better and brighter by Pixar and Dreamworks. Natalie Newbigging
annibal Lector is one of cinema's most interesting villains. Cold, calculating and totally charismatic, he manages to be scary and almost likeable at the same time. It's a shame that young French actor Gaspard Ulliel simply cannot fill Anthony Hopkins' shoes, or in this case, protective face mask. Beginning in war-torn Lithuania in 1944, ex-Soviet troops fleeing from the Eastern Front chance upon the newly orphaned eight year-old Lector and his younger sister Misha. Short on rations and freezing, they see no other option than to eat her. It's not long before a series of cliché ridden coincidences lead him to find the ex-soldiers, and we get to see Hannibal's apparent inability to 'turn the other cheek'. The problem with Hannibal Rising is that the very character of Hannibal is redundant. Replace him with another cannibalistic nutter and it wouldn't have made a difference. Ulliel has got the cold stare down to a tee, but he has none of the charisma and allure that Hopkins managed to pack into just 20 odd minutes of screen time in Silence. Rhys Ifans is suitably menacing as the leader of the sister-eating troops, and the rest of the cast do alright, despite some truly laughable dialogue. This young Hannibal fails to leave an impression on the audience's mind, and that's what the film needs when there's no one else to empathise with. Overall, the linear plot and a disappointing portrayal of Hannibal Lector makes for a mediocre and by-thebook thriller, just with a bit of extra blood and guts. Rather than seeing this, you'd be better off staying at home with a nice bottle of Chianti... Andy Swidenbank
he name Christopher Guest is synonymous with the 'mocumentary' genre, so it was always going to be a risky business for Guest to elect to make his new film in anything but a documentary style. Unfortunately, it seems that in the process of writing and shooting For Your Consideration he has found it hard to shake many of the hallmarks of the genre that made his name. The result is a film that, while veryfunny in places, lacks the flow and coherent narrative that a comedy of this sort requires. Too many scenes look just too reminiscent of the style of Guest’s earlier work, which leaves a constant feeling that the film is missing a voice over or a series of talking heads to pad it out. That's not to say that it doesn't touch at brilliance; some of the mostly improvised performances from Guest's regular cast, particularly Catherine O'Hara and Harry Shearer, make for moments of hilarity. Additionally the film’s central premise, focusing around making a film about a ridiculous Jewish family in the southern US, leads to some brilliant set pieces, such as a cast of actors speaking Yiddish in overblown Southern accents. However, in all, it lacks the flow and constant laughs we've come to associate with the director’s best. Furthermore, the addition of Ricky Gervais to the cast seems a little misguided, with his mannerisms and characterisations all too familiar to British audiences; he sticks out by a mile from Guest's regular cast. On the whole it’s not all bad, It has almost enough charm and sheer wit to allow you to forget its failings; almost but not quite. Si Truss
Michael Bay's live-action Transformers movie is set to be one of this summer's must-see blockbusters; filled with joy, pathos and honking great robots duffing each other in. Rhys Trigg's got the touch, he's got the power.
weet zombie Jesus, it’s nearly here! Children of the ‘80s rejoice, for this summer there shall come a film sure to be so sweeping in its scope, so sublime in the delicate intricacies of its plotting and so undeniably perfect in its execution that it will forever change the way you live your life... Ok, so maybe that’s a wee bit of an exaggeration, but for everyone who grew up with those uber-cool shape-shifting Robots in Disguise, the Transformers in live-action is officially A Big Deal. Helmed by Michael Bay (The Rock, Armageddon) - a man so famed for blowing stuff up that some speculate he may be some sort of evil robot himself - and executive produced by some chap named Steven Spielberg, Transformers promises great things. In keeping with the storyline of the original cartoon/comics, the plot deals with the civil war between two factions of sentient robots, the heroic Autobots and evil Decepticons, on the planet Cybertron. These aliens possess the ability to morph their robot bodies into vehicles and weaponry; hence the nameTransformers. The Transformers’ war is relocated to Earth as both factions pursue the Allspark, a Cybertronian artefact of great power that landed on our planet millions of years ago. Using their transforming abilities to create alternate modes of disguise based on earthbound machinery, both sides embark on the search for the Allspark – and, seeing as this is a Bay flick, will presumably blast the living shit out of each other/anything in their way.
Outstanding stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree. Human interest in the film will be provided by Sam ‘Spike’ Witwicky, played by Constantine’s Shia LaBeouf. Sam becomes a sort of liaison between the Autobots and humankind when he buys his first car – which turns out to be the injured Autobot Bumblebee. Jon Voight and ‘The Jesus’ of Big Lebowski fame, John Turturro, have also signed on to play US military types caught up in the Transformers’ war - which escalates into a full-blown Decepticon invasion after some frankly unsubtle giant-robot-scorpion attacks in the Middle East make it clear disguise isn’t so much of an issue anymore… Much fuss has been made among the notoriously stubborn Transformers fanbase about several aspects of the production; teeth have been gritted about Bay’s involvement, some narrative discrepancies and the leaked script, but the biggest controversy has been regarding the movie designs for the robots themselves, being radically different in appearance from the Transformers of old. This film is my Casablanca, they’d better not ruin it. Nevertheless, Bay insists that, no matter how different the Transformers may look, they will maintain the same personalities as their cartoon originals. To
back this up and pacify an army of increasingly concerned/blindingly angry fans, the decision has been made to hire Peter Cullen, the original voice actor for Autobot leader, 80s icon and general Best Character In Anything Ever, Optimus Prime, to reprise his signature role on the big screen. In addition Frank Welker, who originally voiced Decepticon leader Megatron (as well as the not-evil-at-all Freddy in Scooby-Doo), is in talks to follow Cullen into the voiceover studio to re-establish the greatest robotic rivalry since C-3PO spilled Robocop’s pint. Huzzah! For those of us who spent our formative years clutching our original Optimus Prime toys close to our hearts (or trying to find those bloody detachable blue hands of his), this could be the movie event of our lives. We wait with baited breath; could this film be the blockbusting, riproaringly exciting spectacle that will spark all of our naysaying, Thundercatspreferring pals to finally admit they’d backed the wrong horse? Or could it be an ill-conceived, violent and totally loveless buggering of a delicate, whispered dream? Only time will tell, but for now true believers must settle for devoting a coursedestroying amount of time to reading about the film, and above all, hoping against hope that Bay and Spielberg know their fusion cannons from their elbows…
new release CLERKS 2 Out February 19 fter promising the return of the Clerks at the end of Dogma (a film which was itself prematurely promised in the end credits of Clerks) Smith was quoted on several different occasions as saying he would never return to the lives of Dante Hicks and Randall Graves, yet here we are. Clerks 2 has been a film that divided fans of the original even before production had ever begun. For some this was going to be the film for which they’d been waiting on so long, while others were left quaking, praying that the never entirely reliable Smith wouldn’t tarnish the memory of his (arguably) greatest creation. The references to popular culture are all there too, with a scene arguing the relative merits of Star Wars against Lord of The Rings being up there with the funniest things Smith has ever done. Roughly half way through, a dance scene which really doesn’t gel with the feel of the film, sends the whole thing a little off course. Thank Alanis Morissette then that the film’s climax is not only brilliant but confirms the age old suspicions that interspecies sex is very, very funny. Si Truss
A TV boxset
HOMICIDE Out Now f a show is regarded as the biggest influence on US crime behemoth NYPD Blue then a level of quality is obviously implied. Homicide is stark and brutally gritty, shot almost entirely on hand-held cameras. It is a stylistic precursor to Cops and the endless other unconvincing detective dramas that have followed in its masterful wake. Ashley James
new release KIDS IN AMERICA Out Now ids in America is about a group of kids in America doing what they do best... starting a revolution to solve all that is wrong with the world, i.e. their high school principal. Ridden with all the regular clichés this film was the most excruciating 91 minutes of my life since my appendix burst. Amy Harrison
Bateman’s best THE DEPARTED Out February 19th n recent times, Scorsese has made films that seem to have lost the spark that makes one smile at his work. But by going back to the streets, he seems to have retained some of the original authenticity that made his earlier work so memorable. Indeed, directors seem to get worse with age, relying more on infinite studio crews to do the work for them (ahem...Lucas). But here, his voice surpasses all the likely meddlers, and his minions have reproduced what was intended. From the get go, we hear absolute clarity from an almost-whispering Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson), as he releases one of those monologues that we’ve heard so many times before. But the crux of this is a mixture of reality through a character that is inherently truthful and a character that we know instantly while oldies such as Nicholson, Sheen, Winstone and Baldwin are reliably great and as charismatic as ever. This is quite an achievement for Scorsese and not to be confused as a return to form, moreso a return to what he knows best: the mean streets. Ryan Owen
THE DEPARTED: Leo was insulted by Matt’s ‘big willy’ boast
straight-to-DVD FARCE OF THE PENGUINS Out February 19th ob Saget’s Farce of the Penguins is a film that tries to convince us that by taking stock footage of wildlife documentary and dubbing it with the voices of haggard comedians that somehow he has created an anarchic spoof. A comedic idea exploited back in the day by Woody Allen for What’s Up, Tiger Lily?, Unfortunately (or predictably), the result isn’t even as watchable as Steve Oedekerk’s Kung Pow: Enter the Fist, itself a poor attempt at shaking parody out of old material. Samuel L. Jackson pays the bills as a narrator following the story of a group of rowdy male penguins and their journey across the Antarctic wastes in an effort to get laid. The result is infuriatingly bad. Ewen Hosie
It’s not all black and white
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD The New Theatre 6 - 10 February
it’s a sin
arper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is familiar to most of us, appearing as a favourite on many secondary school English curriculums. This Birmingham Repertory Theatre Company production of an often retold story is delivered faithfully and with impressive energy from the cast. Little Scout Finch spends her days playing games and making mischief with her brother, Jem, and new boy, Dill. Life is slow and relatively peaceful in Maycomb, a small Alabama town. Underneath its sleepy surface,
though, Maycomb’s white folks struggle to get along with their black neighbours and a scattering of trailer trash residents remind Maycomb of its poverty. Scout’s dad, Atticus Finch, is a lawyer and a colour-blind champion for civil rights. When he is called to defend a black man against a rape charge, Atticus fights a noble but ultimately tragic battle, but one that also teaches Scout, and the people of Maycomb, a few valuable life lessons. In a production of smooth performances, Sally Tatum stands out for her considered portrayal of Mayella Ewell. Duncan Preston turns out a passionate and convincingly genuine Atticus Finch. Simon Higlett’s set provides a lynchpin for the production, capturing perfectly the drowsy small-town life of Maycomb. The stark image of a bare tree in the
centre of the stage throughout the play is remarkably effective in suggesting that life may not be as cosy as it appears.
Atticus fights a noble but ultimately tragic battle To Kill a Mockingbird is an absorbing story that addresses race, prejudice and freedom. This is a fine production of a renowned novel, but it is perhaps too eager to retell Harper Lee’s story. A more inventive stage adaptation may not be to all tastes, but it might also breathe fresh life into a story that must stay relevant to our current time. Kim O’Connor
reviews COMEDY CLUB CF10 6 February
Fall over laughing
he first comedian up was Matt Price, who was a bit like a curate’s egg: good in parts. His first gimmick was to get to the whole audience to sway, while making us form a flame shape with our arms, and say, ‘Eww, don’t get too close’. This was, apparently, a ‘camp fire’. As a West Country native, his mocking of his own people was funny, as well as his admission that, ‘I was born and bred in Cornwall…born inbred’. The incident when he’d just bought some hummus and olives and was confronted with a boy with a knife, and his solution: to say ‘Shall we pool our resources and have a picnic?’, also had us all laughing. However, some of his sexually explicit jokes weren’t handled well, and even some of the male members of the audience looked uncomfortable. The central act, Noel Britain, didn’t rely only on sexual jokes, but rather focused on aspects of society as a whole. These aspects ranged from his claim that Bath is a ‘classy place’ because it sells ‘Kentuckyfried pheasant’, to his delight when he chucks condoms in old peoples’ trolleys, and their consequent reactions at the checkout. Apparently Osama Bin Laden masks are popular at Halloween in America. Britain had us in raptures when he cited hypothetical reactions from parents who saw ‘Osama’ out trick or treating: ‘Expected him to be taller than that’ and ‘Didn’t expect him to be wearing Spiderman PJs either’. He had a variety of props, one of which was a massive 5-pound note. He tried to use it in shops, with the desperate words, ‘Take it quickly, I’m shrinking’. One salesperson gave the hilarious response, ‘Have you got anything smaller?’ Overall, a quickwitted and skilful performer. Tasha Prest-Smith
Butetown History and Arts Centre 4 December - 19 February Forgotten space
his exhibition, down in Cardiff Bay, seems to have been forgotten. When I went to visit it over the weekend, it wasn’t even open. Noone was expecting visitors. This is a shame, but also not surprising. I was let in eventually by a resident artist, who was making tea. It was not a good start. The exhibition is quite small and takes no more than half an hour to look around. It focuses on the stories and history of the Black, Asian
and Jewish communities in Britain. The exhibition suffers from its lack of space, the main exhibition is squashed into a back room, while the central space focuses on the arts centre itself. Within the exhibition, I was disappointed by how London-oriented it seemed. I expected something in Butetown Arts Centre, a symbol of local cultural diversity, to be more local. I would recommend this exhibition to anyone who’s interesting in seeing more of Cardiff than the Student’s Union and number of bars. This exhibition though, barely scrapes the surfaces of ethnic diversity, which is surprising in an area of Cardiff that is historically diverse. Aisling Tempany
WWW.VIDEOJUG.COM If only a few more celebrities had watched the clip entitled 'How to get out of a car without showing In Review: your knickers' the world would WWW.EGOTASTIC.COM be a better place. et another trashy celeb website
ver found yourself sitting at home after a lecture, neighbours over, wondering how to insult someone using British sign language or how to care for Madagascan hissing cockroaches? Yes; then this is the site for you. The general idea behind http://www.videojug.com/ is that people create short videos teaching people less intelligent than themselves, how to do stuff they couldn't otherwise do. These video clips range from learning to tie your shoelaces, to learning how chat someone up on the bus or train (surely a very specialised skill) This web site has two functions; making bored students laugh at badly-made videos whose presenters are about as good as Kelly Brooks was on Big Breakfast; and actually providing useful information. If only a few more celebrities had watched the clip entitled 'How to get out of a car without showing your knickers' the
world would be a better place. There is a lot to be said for this site, it provides useful visual instructions, that really do help idiots like me learn to do the most mundane tasks, take for example my vastly inadequate knowledge of DIY, now vastly improved by clips such as 'How to fit a door handle' and ' How to fix a dripping tap'. This web site would have been useful on Valentine’s Day as it offers advice on a range of Valentine dilemmas, such as 'How to survive Valentines if you are single', to 'How to be romantic yet original on Valentine’s Day'. But if you are one of those people who is perfect in every way visit this site to watch the odd blithering idiot stumble through their instructions. Chloe Adams
geek of the week
What Happens In Edinburgh... Goes On Facebook Medicine Edinburgh 07’ This isn’t OK
destined to distract you from your studies, the abundance of which is truly the bane of my life. Egotastic.com is genuinely dedicated to hard-hitting journalistic issues, with headlines such as 'Keira Knightly has a weird mouth, broken nose and horrible legs' and 'Sienna Miller has stretch marks and cellulite'. The favourite phrase on this website has to be 'nipple slip', referring to the assortment of pictures dedicated to side-boobs and nipple-flashes. These so-called nipple slips include those of Jennifer Aniston, Paris Hilton, and our very own Lizzy Hurley. But the most spectacular nipple-slip award has to go to the outrageously weird exposure of Kate Bosworth, whose nips are just bizarre (check it out). There is also an array of archives for the celeb-trash-hunter to pillage, including that of our favourite, the ever loveable Lindsey Lohan, which consists almost entirely of articles with the word 'rehab' in them: 'Lindsey Lohan ditches rehab again', 'Lindsey Lohan plays rehab hookie' etc. but at least the last article in her archive reassuringly doesn't contain the aforementioned word; indeed, it simply reads: 'Lindsay Lohan's Liver is Fucked'. Egotastic.com really does provide celebrity news and gossip in gargantuan proportions, with numerous categories to search under including movies, music, celebrities and television. The definitive category though has to be 'media files' under which the heading 'up skirt' appears, which does exactly what it says on the tin. Yep, numerous pictures of celebs from a toddlers viewpoint, worth I cheeky peek. Lucy Reader
DIGITAL Future Classics: Ewen Hosie’s Gamecube Gems The Wind Waker grew to represent the Zelda title that would prove most divisive amongst fans. Taking a vibrant, cel-shaded approach to the graphics proved alienating to some, but it is my personal belief that Link’s adventures in The Wind Waker to this day represent the closest gaming has ever come to a living cartoon. It also proved divisive due to its focus on sailing, instead of Link’s traditional steed Epona. These are moot points however, as the characterisation and environments are truly astonishing, with the hazy underground volcano caverns of Dragon Roost Island proving a particularly memorable visual highlight.
1. Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker Upon initial video announcement,
2. Resident Evil 4 The greatest action title on the Gamecube, and one of the premier
titles in proving the console’s visual superiority over the PS2 (a visually inferior port was later released for the PS2, but the Gamecube version remains the definitive version). It represented a huge leap for the flagging series by featuring fully polygonal environments and an intuitive aiming system, while also continuing the saga through the eradication of zombies in favour of the more dangerous Ganado strain.
3.Metroid Prime Samus Aran’s adventures through space went first-person for Metroid Prime, a game which takes Halo and gives it a Nintendo spin, resulting in a hybrid that is more first-person platform adventure than first-person shooter per se. Beautiful graphics, innovative controls and the re-establishment of a gaming legend.
Making Historwii: James Temperton On The Nintendo Wii two months on
he Wii has now been out for a few months and it is time to sit back and evaluate how it has performed. Thanks to an impressive marketing campaign, good in-store presence and a good product to sell, Nintendo have managed to shift just about every Wii unit all over the world and have backed it up with some pretty solid software. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is, in my opinion, one of the finest games ever created, and titles like Wii Sports, WarioWare: Smooth Moves and even Rayman Raving Rabbids from Ubisoft have aided the Wii along nicely. I got my unit a week before it launched here in Europe and I’m still enjoying it and playing it nearly every day. This isn’t just some ‘novelty’ product. I’ve downloaded Mario Kart 64 from the Virtual Console, I’m always checking the News Channel and there is nothing more relaxing and pointless to do than spin the globe on the Weather Channel and see if it is raining in Tokyo. The Wii came with a lot of hype and Nintendo certainly encouraged people to hype it even more. For me, the Wii has lived up to these big expectations in a number of ways. First up, all the stock has sold out and contin-ues to sell out. Secondly, it hasn’t been getting any bad reviews. People are really buying into the Wii experience and Nintendo are reaping the rewards in terms of profits. Just like they did with the DS before it, the Wii is becoming a must-have item for people of all ages. Everyone I know who has had a crack at Wii Sports or WarioWare has instantly fallen in love with it. Wide smiles, laughs and people throwing themselves about like idiots; what could be better? The Wii is all about social gaming and about getting loads of
people playing and enjoying gaming. This all-inclusive approach is one that I personally love. With 2007 promising some top titles, the Wii experience is only set to get even better.
Going on out a budget This time of year is always painful: dissertation stress, no money and you’re just recovering from the January blues. Rachel Clare and Kayleigh Excell have found 10 things to do that will hardly cost anything...
Hit the last of the sales, some shops even seem to put things that were new at the start of January into the sale now! Or start your summer wardrobe early and get last seasons bargains for £1! Or even if you have no money to spare, you can always just go trying on really expensive clothes that you’d never buy with your mates. Or go to Primark.
Go to the National Museum. Discover art, archaeology, natural history and geology. With a busy programme of exhibitions and events, the museum has something to amaze everyone, whatever your interest – and admission is free. Especially check out the art collection which is one of Europe's finest. Five hundred years of magnificent paintings, drawings, sculpture, silver and ceramics from Wales and across the world, including one of Europe's best collections of Impressionist works.
Bargain Tuesday at Cineworld. We know it’s a bit of an obvious one but when you’ve got no money a Tuesday trip to the cinema is always a good distraction from work. It only costs £3.50 for anyone. Also, if you want to save 50p. even if you aren’t a member you can join film society in their viewing of some classic old films for only £3. Every week they show one at 8pm- previous films include Amelie, O Brother Where Art Thou? and Fear and Loathing in Los Vegas.
A stroll in Bute park. Ok, so it might sound like something your mum and dad would do on a Sunday but a walk in this pretty
park can provide much needed relaxation from the stresses of uni. You could have a game of footie or frisbee, or even a picnic with housemates.
Do some volunteering. There are loads of different things you could do such as working with children, animals or even working somewhere ike Nightline. A good place to start is SVC (Student Volunteering Cardiff) on the third floor of the Student Union.
Be an ‘Early bird’ on the National Express coach website. If you book you’re journey well in advance you can go to Central London on the coach for £1. It’s a bargain, and if you’ve saved you’re money here than you’ll have plenty of money left for lots of shopping on Oxford Street, Camden Market or Covent Garden.
mentf. For a little bit extra you could even do an aerobics, yoga or dancing class!
Head to the Students’ Union. There are plenty of things to do, everything is relatively cheap and plenty of other students around. Mondays at Fun Factory are free before ten and is a very good night out!
Recommended: cheap drinks and happy hours Bar Ice 4 Churchill Way,City Centre,CF10 2DW Not the kind of place if you’re planning an early night. 02920237177 Sun-Tue & Thu-Fri 11am-11pm, Wed & Sat 11am2am
Oz Bar St Mary Street,City Centre,CF10 1DX About as Australian as Russia. 02920668008 Mon-Wed 12pm11pm, Thu- Sat 12pm-1am Sun 12pm-10.30pm
Prince Of Wales 82 St Mary’s St,City Centre,CF10 1FA Another Wetherspoon’s but this one has some cool décor. 02920644449 Mon-Sat 11am11pm, Sun 12pm-10.30pm
Book a cheap holiday. If you want something to cheer you up, why not look on lastminute.com for a summer holiday now- you’ll save loads and then can start saving up for when you’re out there. Head to the sea for some fresh air, fish and chips and an icecream. It’s really cheap to get to Penarth on the local trains, as well as Barry Island. You can also go to Swansea by bus from Cardiff bus station for £3.50.
Get fit. Burn off that Christmas bulge and head to Park Place gym for only £1.10 for a session. You can stay in for as long as you want and can use all the equip-
The End Coburn Street,Cathays,CF24 4BR The End caters for most 18-23 pub-goers. 02920373897 Mon-Sat 11am-11pm, Sun 12pm10.30pm
Beat it The Beat Generation have been described as the most influential writers of all time. Gareth Mogg finds out why.
omething happened in the late 1950s that just seemed to come alive without any warning, no precedent and seemingly without a direction. I am talking about the controversial ‘Beat Generation’ movement that sparked a cultural phenomenon and a whole new way of life. As students, by nature we possess the carefree attitude and longing to live and see things that the writers of the ‘Beat Generation’ set out to achieve all those years ago. The phrase was coined by Jack Kerouac to describe his anti-conformist friends in the underground parts of New York. There were only a few people involved, namely Kerouac, William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, all aspiring writers, who by the time they had met, had a large quantity of unpublished work hidden away. They were all struggling writers, students and, more notably drug addicts (especially Burroughs). Burroughs had long been interested in experimenting with opiates, in order to find new inspiration. Burroughs said, “There is no line between the 'real world' and 'world of myth and symbol'. Objects, sensations, hit with the impact of hallucination.” This is only a sample of the controversy caused by the Beat writers. Burroughs other fascination was
with criminal behaviour, making many contacts with the criminal underground of New York. Aside from their behaviour was the controversy caused through the unique writing style these men created. Bounding with never-ending energy, relentless emotion and a spontaneous take on life, this non-conformist way of expression seeped through every page they wrote. The semi-autobiographical novel, On the Road, penned by Kerouac is now legendary. In a three-week writing flurry of inspiration, sat at his typewriter, Kerouac completed the novel that would define a generation and in the words of Burroughs, send countless numbers of kids on the road. The story is that of Kerouac's own experiences with the infamous Neal Cassidy and their travels across the United States. The action is pure chaos, but necessary; jumping from one point to the next, you hold your breath. It is this energy and spontaneity that makes these novels unique. They thrive for emotion with every sentence and every word. Despite the public curiosity with this movement, it brought about numerous critics, one being Truman Capote, author of Breakfast at Tiffanies. Capote condemned On the Road for its slack attitude and brandished it as not a way to write. He
stated that a novel should take three years to write, and not three weeks! One of the romanticised images that come with the Beats is the endless travelling around the country, normally ending up on the west coast, in San Francisco. The travelling was the inspiration, the search for different experiences. It was rumoured that the writers even contributed to each other's works. William Burroughs novel, Naked Lunch, was said to have been titled by Kerouac and that Howl by Ginsberg was written in reference to his friends, this was also seen in On the Road, where the character Dean Morriarty is in fact Neal Cassidy. The ‘Beat Generation’ was different and unorthodox in almost every way, and it only really gathered a large following after it had disappeared. Yet its influence still thrives in music, novels and the lives of those who appreciate and understand its importance, for anyone seeking out the road. In the words of Dean Morriarty, “What's your road, man? -holyboy road, madman road, rainbow road, guppy road, any road. It's an anywhere road for anybody anyhow.”
Cult classics recommends Howl (1956) by Allen Ginsberg On The Road (1957) by Jack Kerouac Naked Lunch (1959) by William Burroughs
BLIND DATE Five facts for February 14
Little Miss Blind Date This week Little Miss Blind Date has been inundated with love dilemmas from all sides
t seems that Valentines Day has provoked insecurities among even the most feminist and powerful of my female friends. They're all suddenly questioning whether it is wrong to be single and if they belong to a weird species that is happy to be without their 'other half'. We live in a time when everywhere you turn things come in twos - salt and pepper, Sooty and Sweep, even Popeye pulled Olive. Even though we're told on a daily basis that being single is just as valid as being in a relationship, this message is often contradicted and sometimes even appears as a way of making single people feel better about, well, being single. Take Sex and the City. Although a programme that seems to promote singledom as an amazing thing, it only ends happily because all four have found their perfect man. It seems almost unacceptable to be single and even less so if you are not actively searching for Mr or Miss Right. All-in-all, it seems to me that the single girl is often given the tag of unloved and unable to find a man whereas the single guy is portrayed as a love god and gift to women. Whenever a celebrity couple breaks up, it's always the woman that is photographed looking forlorn, whereas the guy is pictured 'draping' himself over a bevy of beauties a la Kylie and Olivier Martinez. But let's be honest, all of this media hype is exactly that, so what's the point in letting it get you down? This Valentine's Day, instead of moping about and watching Love Actually/Notting Hill/She's All That again, Little Miss Blind Date went out with her army of girlfriends and
had the best night out in weeks, (thank you Welsh Club!) Because when you come down to it, there's nothing wrong with being single. I remember a time when my friend was asked whether she had a boyfriend by a giant panda while in Come Play. When she replied no and still expressed no interest in him, he snorted that she must be a lesbian and stormed off. She turned to me and said, 'I am single because I want to be.' And that was that, plain and simple.
Everything comes in twos, even Popeye pulled Olive The other day, one of my male friends confided to me that he would much prefer to stay in on Valentines Day and get a takeaway as 'Valentines Day is just a hyped up way to get a shag and this way I can play Playstation while we eat.' Remember this if you're single and Valentines Day has left you a bit down: just because it's February 14, it doesn't mean to say that someone will magically change. If you have to wait until that auspicious day to say 'I love you', then clearly something's gone a bit wrong. Surveys have shown that 3 percent of people who own pets give their beloved cat/dog/tortoise a Valentines Day present. So next time you see Rover the dog from next door wearing a new pink sparkling dog collar, just thank yourself that while you may be single, at least you're not a nutter!
Verona, the Italian city made famous by Shakespeare's lovers Romeo and Juliet, receives about 1,000 letters addressed to Juliet every Valentine's Day.
Amnat Puttigo of Pattaya, Thailand, won a Valentine’s Day contest by holding his wife in his arms for 10 hours 49 minutes and 15 seconds.
The term "to wear your heart on your sleeve" originated in the Middle Ages when young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who their Valentines would be which they would then wear pinned on their sleeves for one week.
In the Middle Ages, people believed that the first person you met on the morning of February 14 would be your future husband/wife. Little Miss Blind Date saw her elderly neighbour at exactly 9.45am on February 14. Her housemates are now buying hats in preparation for the wedding…
In the medieval era, girls would eat strange foods on February 14 so they'd dream of their future husbands. Obviously they'd never seen inside a student fridge, where strange can mean anything from cheese dripping in mouldy mackerel juice, to liquidized carrot mush. Appetising
According to statistics, one of the top 10 things to do as a single on Valentine’s Day is go on a blind date. So what are you waiting for? Email email@example.com and let Little Miss Blind Date work her magic.
THE FINAL WHISTLE
Wonder of Wilko Jon Berridge on Jonny Wilkinson’s magical return to international rugby and England’s over-reliance on the World Cup winner
t was the sort of comeback that might induce Sylvester Stallone to pen a five-page script for Rocky VII. However, unlike the Italian Stallion, Jonny Wilkinson’s training montages would be long and boring; there would be no barrel throwing, just kick, kick, kick. Wilkinson’s performance against Scotland was phenomenal; his composure and bravery were outstanding. Typically, the English media are saying a Six Nations Grand Slam
and retention of the World Cup are dead certainties. How fickle the people in Fleet Street are - not so long ago this was the worst England team ever. With Wilkinson back England are a much better side, but surely a bit of realism is needed for the side to progress. The second matches of the tournament against Italy revealed how much England rely on that special left boot. England’s form since the last World Cup has been nothing short of diabolical. Excuses were made throughout by the former coach Andy Robinson; injuries and poor refereeing decisions to name just two, but given the pool of players available in England compared to the other Rugby nations there was no excuse. It spoke volumes that Robinson declared before the Scotland match that Wilkinson would not be in his starting fifteen if he had still been coach. If Wilkinson had not of played England may have struggled to victory. To see Jonny back though is a delight, anyone who does not wish him the best in his comeback is moronic given his injury plight. His goal kicking, commitment to training and bravery mark him out as one of England’s finest sportsmen. To see a 100 percent fit Wilkinson come up against New Zealand’s Daniel Carter (unlike the Lions tours) will be
A particular worr y is that Wilkinson carries the back-line, papering over their inadequacies intriguing. The only problem is that England relies on him too much. Following England’s World Cup success, the England coaches quickly dismissed accusations that England was a one-man team. To say that England were is perhaps harsh given the likes of Martin Johnson, Phil Vickery, Jason Robinson, Richard Hill, and Lawrence Dallaglio that helped the squad to victory in the Telstra Dome four years ago. Given the present situation though, a particular worry is that Wilkinson carries the back-line, papering over their inadequacies. Too often between 2004 – 2006, and against Italy this year the England back-line looked bereft of ideas. The new coach Brian Ashton may well change this, but England cannot afford Wilkinson to get injured yet again.
T unnel Vi s i o n TV Si/Will/Si
Back and forth and back again
’ll be honest; I didn’t really put much forethought into what I was going to write for this week’s tunnel vision. So much so that I haven’t actually watched too much TV and up until this point of writing I haven’t any idea what I’m going to write about. The only TV related thing that’s happened in my life this week is that the TV licensing people have sent me lots of letters because I haven’t got round to paying it. Oh wait, I remember I did see some things on TV, like Shipwrecked, with that hilarious racist one. She kicks the shit out of Jade Goody in the racist stakes, with her hilarious ‘I’m for slavery’ banter. However, it miraculously manages to avoid the huge uproar Big Brother generated because no one really watches it. For me the most hilarious thing about the whole Big Brother affair
was when all the slightly confused politicians got involved without really doing their research first. Especially when one of the aforementioned fellows declared that he ‘was outraged that the BBC would show such a thing.’ As if we need reality TV to show us that racist wankers constantly surround us. All I need to do is look out my window on a Friday night to see fellow students ‘hilariously’ trying to smash windows of the mosque at the end of my road. Oh and Skins, I’ve seen one episode of that, and it’s rubbish, but I couldn’t stop watching it. That seems to be the general opinion of everyone I’ve spoken to, no one actually enjoys it but they watch it anyway. And I wish they’d stop affecting those awful Bristollian accents that are all ‘alright you where you been to my pet.’ Fuck off.
It’s rubbish, but I couldn’t stop watching it Oh, and the gay storyline on Hollyoaks, that was awesome. I’m pretty sure it now holds the record for most amount of times the words ‘poofter’ and ‘nonce’ have been used in the same episode. Classic. Sorry, this has been a particularly dreadful TV-related rant this week; I can’t believe you read this far. I bet you’re one of those aforementioned people who watches Skins then moans about it afterwards. Don’t
worry, you are amongst friends here. At this point of the TV article, it is I, TV Will who has taken over writing duties. Also known as music Will, or Senor Ding Dong. I’m now going to berate TV Simon for saying “Ohhhhh, I so hate programme X but I keep watching it”, it’s just one of those lame things people say who don’t want to admit they worship the ground the makers of I’m a Celebrity walk on. You always get these pseudo intellectual twats complaining about the detriment Big Bro has on society, juxtaposed with them admitting “Yes It’s crap, but I love it”. Strap on a pair Greer. Calming down slightly I watched a retrospective on Morse yesterday and was reminded what a great show it was. What I mainly picked up from it was how much the directors use the Oxford scenery as integral to the feel and the plot of each episode. John Hurt plays the alcoholic detective wonderfully, particularly the parts where he has to look angry and then shout at Lewis.Hello, TV Si again. How dare Will insult my views on television, however poorly thought out and irrelevant they are. Still, that little paragraph about Inspector Morse was a bit of a waste of space wasn’t it? I’d delete it normally but I don’t really have anything to say and am therefore desperate for anything that fills precious column inches. I bet you miss the days when TV Gareth used to write this section, we all do. Well he’s gone now, he’s dead or famous or something; It’s you, it’s me, it’s self-indulgent TV-related wank.
She kicks the shit out of Jade Goody in the racist stakes