Issuu on Google+


30 / arts@gairrhydd.com


: s t n e t n o c Issue 72

RY OF BEST MAGAZINE IN NOMINATED FOR THE CATEGO AWARDS 2008! THE GUARDIAN STUDENT MEDIA

VOYEUR RANT HUW FEATURES TRAVEL INTERVIEWS GAY FOOD FASHION BLIND DATE

He yelped girlishly as he foolishly mistook my merkin for a mouse

Amber Duval answers your problems, p. 5.

GOING OUT ARTS BOOKS DIGITAL MUSIC FILM

COVER PHOTO: Sophie Pycroft DESIGN: Ben Bryant

04 06 07 09 13 16 20 22 24 28 29 32 34 38 41 48

Editor Hazel Plush Executive Editor Ben Bryant Assistant to the Editors Elaine Morgan Arts Kate Budd, Lisa Evans Blind Date Emma Chapman, Sarah George Books Aisling Tempany Digital Liam Charalambous, Tom Baker Fashion Meme Sgroi, Nicole Briggs Features Gillian Couch, Louise Cook Film Adam Woodward, Francesca Jarvis, Sim Eckstein Food Jenny Edwards, Jen Entecott Gay James Moore Going Out Alex Gwilliam, Kirstin Knight Huw Huw Davies Interviews Ben Marshall, Leah Eynon Music Guy Ferneyhough, Kyle Ellison, Phil Guy The Rant Andy Swidenbank Travel Andy Tweddle, Simon Lucey Head of Photography Natalia Popova Creative Consultant Sophie Pycroft Proof Readers Aisling Tempany, Elaine Morgan, Hannah Pearce

printed on recycled paper. PLEASE RECYCLE.


voyeur

“I

{Voyeur}

would rather be an opportunist and float than go to the bottom with my principles around my neck.” Stanley Baldwin, British Statesman. I love this quote. For me, it encapsulates a hedonistic existence that only the likes of Oscar Wilde or Samantha Jones could possibly achieve, but which I secretly strive for too. To renounce all moral responsibilities and principles would surely be the most powerful release; the days of guilt and regret would be over, and life could be a long, wild ride of self-gratification. Reality bites, however, in the inescapable conscience, a joy-sucking force obviously designed to extract the fun out of anything remotely wayward. And, of course, there’s always the threat of Karma. But fear not! There’s a new bargaining tool with the Powers That Be, and it’s going to be your new best friend. I’m referring, of course, to ‘Negative Karma’. A personal reinvention of the ancient Buddhist principle, Negative Karma is the thinking (wo)man’s comfort blankie. Has something bad happened? Congratulations, you now have permission to do something naughty to rebalance the karmic situation. The scale of negativity is relative, of course, and works in a quid-pro-quo fashion. Say, for example, you drop the butter lid and it lands sunnyside down. Now that’s a pain but, happily, you now have the opportunity to cancel it out by sticking the jam spoon in your housemate’s marmite. Or slipping a red sock in a white hotwash. Or putting recycling in the rubbish bin. Nothing major, just a little bird-flip to the Powers That Be. It’s not just about doing something a bit shitty for the sake of it; the purpose of this exercise is to take the edge off life’s disappointments and get a little fruity with The Grand Plan. Psychologists may call it displacement, sceptics may call it revenge, but I call it a good old excuse for karmic realignment. Has a nice ring to it, don’t you think? HP

04 / voyeur@gairrhydd.com

IN

OUT

Guns. Dangerous, illegal, and actually quite heavy.

Condiment guns. Fill them with your sauces and blast them all over the place!

e-shopper

embracing consumerist filth

Rude Balloon Shapes Everyone loves a little after dinner fun with phallicshaped balloons, don't they? Not suitable for children.

Dear Amber, Last issue you mentioned that you wore a merkin, which was a revelation for me as I too have worn one for many years now. I am writing, however, to enquire about merkin fastening. How does one securely attach one’s merkin? I ended up in flagrante with a guy off my course over the weekend, and although I thought it was safely secured, it made an untimely slither down my leg during the throes of passion. He yelped girlishly as he foolishly mistook the mound of fur (which now lay innocently on his foot) for a mouse. I quickly explained, but he left before I could reattach the adhesive. Now, when he sees me in lectures, he blanches and turns away. I can’t help but think that the whole situation could have been avoided if I’d learned a little more about pubic wig protocol. Please help. Carol, second year Archaeology student.

.


Amber Duval

......

voyeur

This issue: Amber answers your most pressing problems...

I'm constantly unnerved by the daily stream of emails I receive from social no-hopers, so have decided to answer the most pathetic of pleas on these fair pages. Don't say I never do anything for you lot. Read on for my creamy pearls of wisdom...

Dear Amber, I guess I’m what you might call a 'toss pot', or some other vulgar adjective from your vocabulary. I do, however, find myself in a bit of a quandary. A while ago I had a relationship with a girl who was many years my junior, but I was somewhat distracted by her other young friends. That relationship has now ended, but I’ve nurtured a secret love for one of her beautiful housemates ever since. I can’t stop thinking about that voluptuous piece of crumpet, and have even started an evening class for an excuse to hang around in the Library and ‘bump’ into her. I’m thinking about initiating contact to invite her to dinner or a show, but am worried that I may come across as a desperate loser. How do I avoid this? Please, I need your help… David, member of LifeLong Learning.

Dear David, From your own admissions, you sound like a dismal no hoper, and there’s nothing worse than a posh cock jockey with ideas above his station. Stay away from that poor girl; she’d probably balk at your pathetic confession and laugh about the whole creepy scenario with the rest of her housemates. Why is it that scrotum-featured losers like yourself feel they can encroach on the fabulousness of the female sex? A few years ago I encountered a similarly poorly-endowed flange-faced male who insisted on waggling his scotch eggs in my direction whenever he came near me. I cut his jiggling short with one fell swoop of my crocodile skin handbag, a technique I hope that poor girl employs if you approach her again. Humph.

Dear Carol, Oh dear, it seems you’ve fallen victim to the curse of the slippery muff mullet. I’m afraid that one of the dangers of wearing such attire is the possibility of its detachment upon any untoward pressure. I can, however, personally recommend the staying power of thickly applied false eyelash glue, with a finishing flourish of extra-strength hairspray. Be wary of over-application, however, as clumping can be an unsightly problem. Hope this helps.

voyeur@gairrhydd.com / 05


the rant

THE RANT: The X Factor

David Spittle has a few problems with the X Factor. You'd never have guessed...

T

elevision is almost universally bollocks. We all know it. If ever there were a fertile medium to rant about, then television is it. And within that is the most obvious choice of all - the 'reality' show. Responsible not only for picking off the nations brain-cells one by one, but also for introducing a whole herd of gurgling, cretinous, pseudo-celebrity fuck-wits into our lives, the reality TV show is quite possibly the most dangerous threat to civilised society since the invention of the atomic bomb. Which, though, is the worst one? I reckon I've got the answer. "It has been my dream to sing for as long as I can remember, Simon”, exclaims yet another doe-eyed, tangerine-tanned and clinically dull wannabe. What follows is the inevitable rendition, delivered with the en-

Am I still watching this ironically, or am I loving every freakin' second?

chanting charisma of a damp flannel. The worse thing is, however... it's not bad. It's horrifically mundane. The X Factor (and I know it's a cliché to argue such an obvious point) parades middle of the road, generic and generally nauseating music. The show shamelessly promotes template singers, which is made all the worse by the fact that the judges (most notably Captain Smug, "slap-menow” Simon Cowell) explain that they are merely being realistic, and following their music business experience. What will and will not work in this suggested music business becomes an umbrella excuse to hide the realms of yawn-inducing shite that the show consistently produces. Of course, I’m not about to contradict Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh's oft-mentioned “prestigious” business experience but, damn it, surely it's not a crime to allow the slightest glimpse of individuality to shine? Again, I’d like to stress I'm not on some musical snobbery rampage (a.k.a. the “more alternative than thou” approach), it's just simply excruciating to see such a showcase of forgettable clones. Another of the show’s rant-worthy traits lie in its propensity to use emotional issues to tug at viewers' heart strings. You know, the classic solemn voiceover: “This is Sophie, a single mum with four children,

06 /rant@gairrhydd.com

struggling to chase her dreams”, perhaps with a dash of complimentary background Coldplay to set the tear-jerking tone. I'm not belittling such problems, but wheeling them out and prostituting their emotional worth for publicity is simply sick. It's hard to shake the feeling that our beloved voice-over man (or who ever it is who relates the myriad of poo-strewn situations) is emotionally blackmailing the viewer. What sort of person are you if you have no sympathy for this excessively tearful individual?! How dare you deny them their dreams? The show preys upon the voyeuristic trend of gazing happily at the problems of others, creating a situation where it's almost disappointing if a person doesn’t have at least a couple of skeletons in the closet. Heaven forbid such issues should be kept private, away from the floods of tears and excessively sentimental moments of public urgency. Any excuse for an inappropriate hug. It would be easy to rip into the programme’s endless array of deeply angering features. But perhaps the worst thing - and certainly the most disturbing thing - is that The X factor is so addictive. Like it or not, it's compelling, passive and temptingly easy viewing. You'll definitely experience one of those moments where you have to seriously consider: ”Am I still watching this ironically and with a guarded cynical eye, or am I being drawn in - and loving every freakin' second?”. Personally, though, I think the only answer is to discard temptation, change the channel and smile, safe in the knowledge you're a better person for walking away...

We all k now feel, Sim how you on...


h R

huw

? uw

he thinks stuff

ight, let’s talk pirates. Yes, I know The Boy Thunder has already written about pirates in gair rhydd. How do I know? Because he beats me to a topic every week. Last time it was traffic light parties; this week it’s pirates. He deliberately creeps into my mind and steals my ideas, then writes about them better than I do before I have a chance to try. Stop stealing my thunder, Thunder. Anyway, JAMIE – that’s right, I’ve blown your cover – real-life piracy ISN’T FUNNY. Captain Pugwash may be; illegally downloading music may be; real piracy isn’t. Talk about the Jolly Roger, pieces of eight and walking the bloody plank as much as you want, but SOMALIAN BUCCANEERS ARE KILLING PEOPLE. IT’S NOT FUNNY. GOT THAT, THUNDER? But anyway, back to fun stuff: why does everyone love pirates? They're greedy, violent and as a general rule, ugly as sin (ancestral chavs, in fact). They have the same principles as Vikings, yet the hairy, hard-drinking Harald Hardraadas of the world never really made it big outside Scandinavia. But despite equal amounts of raping, pillaging and questionable body piercings, pirates have undergone some sort of cultural renaissance that means everybody loves them. I blame Johnny Depp. Any character he plays becomes an instant object of desire. I think he should play the title role (what else?) in The Life And Death Of Harold Shipman. Or, more likely, Tim Burton's Harold Shipman: The Demon Doctor of Greater Manchester (A Musical). The

Gary Glitter Chronicles. When I Wish Upon A Stalin. Fred West Side Story. You get the picture. The thing is, Johnny Depp has just added to the inexorable sex appeal pirates seem to have in the minds of most women. I cannot understand how this ever came about. They're really, really ugly. I know it sounds fun in your head: mmm, a big pirate to sweep me up in his arms and ravish me. But in actual

Foul tasting kisses, raucous laughter, and a second frontbum courtesy of Captain Hook reaching 3rd base... fact you would just suffer horrible heavy petting, involving foul-tasting kisses, raucous laughter, and a second frontbum courtesy of Captain Hook reaching third base. The thing really annoying me at the moment, though, is how people use pirates to look cool. I am talking, of course, about Pirate Facebook. Mark Zuckerburg is the heartless bastard who controversially decided to change the site's layout. Several million people have joined various groups against the new system. It wasn't the most popular move. So in his infinite wisdom, Zuckerberg thought: "What will make people accept a new Facebook? I know! Pirate language!" Did it work? Yes.

Yes it bloody did. Everyone is going on about it like it's the most ingenious thing known to man. Stop it! You're being conned! Too late: Pirate Facebook is the new sliced Hovis, even though it's sad, confusing and actually kind of annoying. Some of the language isn't even all that pirate-y. "Ye ole" is added everywhere, even though it's a phrase reserved for pub names. “Help” is translated into “Mayday” – more pilot than pirate. And the friend invite thing is "2 sorry louts think they're yer mates!". That's not pirate-speak. That's Essex-speak. Blackbeard would be turning in his grave, were it not for the fact that turning would be too much effort because he was hungover when he was killed (FACT). Clearly someone was a bit lazy in their research of pirate lingo, but it's still worked in converting people to the new Facebook. Besides, to err is human – to arrr is pirate. Whether the popularity of pirates will continue to survive the abominations that are Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and 3 is questionable, but Disney has banked on sealing the deal by green-lighting Pirates of the Caribbean 4. Can a film based on a theme park ride be stretched to three sequels? You get the feeling it's a bit all-or-nothing with this one, at least with the cast: rumours are that so far, only Johnny Depp has signed up. Still, given that Jack Sparrow, still the best character, was pretty much shoved into the sidelines in the last film, this could be a good thing. In conclusion...ah, who am I kidding? Facebook aside, pirates are cool.

huw@gairrhydd.com / 07


30 / arts@gairrhydd.com


features

MONEY, GIRLS

& CARS Jake Yorath delves into the glamorous world of motorsports

quenchfeatures@gairrhydd.com / 09


features

WELCOME TO

SILVERSTONE: the home of British Motor Racing. For those who don’t know, Silverstone is Britain’s centre of motorsport, home of the British Grand Prix (until 2010) with just about every major event visiting Northamptonshire’s hallowed ribbon of tarmac once a year. It’s almost always cold, or wet, or misty, or any combination of crap weather. This year, though, was a good year. One weekend I even managed to get sunburn; this has never happened to me anywhere, let alone the one spot in Britain that usually suffers cold and wet weather as standard, but enough of the pessimism.

I’m not going to try to convert or preach to anyone - what would be the point? From past experience, I know it’s futile. But I will tell you a bit about it; I am, if I use the full, up-my-own-arse, put-it-on-the-CV title, a 'semi-professional motorsport photographer'. Basically I get paid to eat posh food and hang around fast cars, gorgeous women, and for some reason, an awful lot of Dutch journalists, clad in varying degrees of orange. When I say fast cars, I mean FAST cars: Aston Martin, Ferrari, Lamborghini, and the less glamorous Volkswagens and Peugeots of this world. I love it, to be honest. There’s no spectacle like it - your rock concert,

your football match, whatever your leisure of choice. I don’t know how loud an Aston DBR9 is, but it's music to my ears. There’s nothing like it anywhere on earth. Sex is better, but this is pretty damn good. It’s also very scary. In April, I got press accreditation for the first time in my life. This might seem a big jump in topic, but bear with me just a second. I arrive, don my press vest (basically meaning I can stand in front of all the fences the punters have to stand behind), and get my spot where the cars are accelerating hard, about two feet to my left. On track is the FIA GT3 European Championship, and the first few come past. “Wow, this is sweet,” I say to myself, my


features

just like Tony Robinson likes old coins, I like old cars.

eyeball pressed against the viewfinder. Suddenly, I hear a ping to my right; a stone has just been flicked off the track by a passing Ferrari, and has missed me by less than a foot. “Shit, that was close.” While I value being alive, it was exhilarating, so I stayed there and took a whole lot more photos. With no more missiles, I'm pleased to say. So what else have I done this year? I’ve covered six events, some I had to pay for, and others I’ve been Press or just blagged a

pass. Either way, it means I pay next to nothing for a weekend’s good racing. The year started with Britcar in March, a kind of mish-mash series for sports cars. Unfortunately it snowed, horizontally, in my face. A lot of us have seen snow, and you may have even witnessed a blizzard, but this wouldn’t have been out of place in Alaska. Anyway, after two whiteouts, the sun came out and gave us the most gorgeous day. I will never understand weather. The snow didn’t dampen my enthusiasm for the season, though. After all, I am addicted. And thanks to a nice man contacting me from lands afar, I ended up being pushed up a level, to being a paid

photographer. The Silverstone Supercar Showdown features the FIA GT Championship. It has a ridiculous name, a ridiculous lack of publicity and ridiculously few people in the grandstands. And even though you can’t see the cars for the thick fog, it's still the best entertainment in the world. From ear piercing Astons and ground shaking Corvettes, to the world’s best sounding vehicle (Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT, YouTube it), the aural spectacle is more glorious than the most well written music, harder hitting than a pneumatic

quenchfeatures@gairrhydd.com / 11


features drill, and will live with me until I die. There really is nothing on earth like it. I have a one thousand word limit for this; I could write a million on how good GT racing is. Then came July, and the Silverstone Classic. 'Classic' may suggest cars that really should be past their sell-by date and I shouldn’t care, because all but about five of the cars are older than me. But just like Tony Robinson likes old coins, I like old cars. The 1970s might have been

a rubbish period for fashion, and a questionable one for music, but by God did they know how to make a racing car. Three days of glorious sun (followed by 10 days of less glorious sunburn) made the last weekend in July one of the highlights of my life. I had never before spent a weekend at a racetrack and worn sunglasses the whole time. I have now. After visiting a couple more club events, I made my way to the big

12 /quenchfeatures@gairrhydd.com

one. Not the British Grand Prix. I’m not sure what happens after the first few laps of a Grand Prix, to be honest.I think (but I’m not sure) they might just drive round like traffic, one behind the other, for two hours. TWO HOURS! There’s a rumour though, that they actually all park, have a coffee, then make up the results. Who knows? Anyway, I digress. I'm talking about The Le Mans Series. Early on, I may have said that Peugeot are unglamorous, but, if I’m honest, I lied. Well, the Peugeot 908 is glamorous. It may be a diesel and make no sound, but because it looks like the Batmobile and is faster than just about anything, it's a damn amazing car. And it races against Audi. Audi’s car is a diesel too, but it’s boring silver and driven by guys who might well do their top button up when they’re not wearing a tie. I wouldn’t be surprised if Audi’s driver recruitment advert said “driver wanted, stamp collecting experience essential.” Although they did give me free lunch (cooked by Michelinstarred chefs no less) and Red Bull (in a glass, served by a glamorous lady), so they’re not all that bad. Being press has its benefits. There are four classes (two for purposedesigned racing prototypes, and two for modified Grand Touring road cars), 50 cars, and stunning weather. Audi won, and Peugeot ended the race with one car cobbled from bits of two. But it looked cooler, so it’s ok. One last thing; the girls are hot. Some are a little...rough, but there are a fair few corkers. There’s not much that can beat flirting with grid girls. Just one week later, it was time for the event that ends my season. The Britcar 24 hours of Silverstone. After an awful lot of Carling, 3 shit pasties and a few cheap sausage rolls, it was 4am, just before dawn. An inexplicable magic hung in the air. It’s a strange place at 4am, is Silverstone; bleak but beautiful, and very cold too. But then came dawn. Sunset had been lovely, but dawn was ironically, a fitting end to a fantastic season. What more can I say? Get yourself to a motorsport event, soon. There are other places (I visited countless this season, not just Silverstone), and a quick search of your local tourist office will tell you where your nearest is. You won’t regret it. Words & photos: Jake Yorath


travel

...without borders Each issue, Travel showcases a controversial destination through the eyes of a student. The state of Zimbabwe has become synonymous with Mugabe's brutal regime; however, says Rupert Waldron, there's more to this African hot spot than unsteady politics.

13 /travel@gairrhydd.com

The campsite we stayed in was protected by high walls but had odd unwelcome guests in the form of baboons, renowned for stealing food and even attacking some campers. After setting up camp, the inevitable question of money was discussed. Zimbabwe is known for its outlandish inflation. I cannot recall the exact currency rate at the time I was there but I’m sure it has increased. We exchanged all our money on the black market as you got an extremely favourable rate of exchange as opposed to doing it officially where

Nearly every building has a framed picture of Mugabe.

Z

imbabwe - a country continually torn with strife and tyranny. At present, the country is under the control of Robert Mugabe and reports of brutality under his regime frequently make the daily news. I was only in the country for four days but I did get to witness many aspects of this controversial and unique country. I was on an organised tour that was going through Africa during spring 2007 for my gap year. The night before we entered Zimbabwe, we were briefed by the tour guide. We were advised that it would be sheer folly to criticise Mugabe and his regime. In fact, we were told it was unwise to even discuss politics. Nearly every building has a framed picture of Robert Mugabe and no one speaks out against him. As you would expect, this made me somewhat unsteady. The tour came into Zimbabwe through Zambia. We were destined for the town of Livingstone, named after the famous explorer. The first sight that greeted us was the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls - one of the most magnificent natural sights in the world. Over a mile wide, Victoria Falls is one of the largest waterfalls on the planet. The waterfall is a sight like no other I have experienced before. When you get close, the spray from the water that is shot into the air after reaching the bottom of the Falls, is so intense that it feels like a heavy rain storm. The roar from the water can be heard for miles. Quite simply, it must be seen to be believed.

you got about ten times less then you would if you did it illegally. Even then I think the rate was a couple of million Zim Dollars to one US Dollar. On the first night we went on a river trip to watch the sunset - a dramatic and romantic sight that lights up the sky. Everyone was very drunk by the end of the trip and I remember taking a couple of extra bottles back with me hiding in the pockets of my shorts. Livingstone is a small town and is chiefly dedicated to tourists so as a settlement it is not as volatile

as the major cities - there is even a specialist police force to look after tourists. Many of the street vendors also prefer to deal in US dollars, probably because of the weakness of the local currency. I personally did not suffer any abuse or loss whilst I was there. One thing that makes Livingstone an incredible place to visit is, despite the hot political climate, there are many activities that people can partake in. There is a range of activities including a plane trip (quite expensive), white water rafting (not available at the time), an elephant back ride, a walk with lions and bungee jumps. I took part in an elephant back ride which one of the most unique moments in my life. You have a trainer ‘steering’ the animal and you sit at the back of the elephant with a handle on the saddle to hold on to. Their backs are surprisingly large and have the space of a small car. The walk lasted an hour and we travelled through the African shrub land. I also did a walk with lions which is quite selfexplanatory, but also an exhilarating experience. You are issued with a stick, for safety purposes, and have the opportunity to witness the lions climb trees and feed. Zimbabwe may be a country facing political strife and huge turmoil but you rarely notice it in Livingstone, apart from the hyperinflation. Tourists are protected and you are looked after well. I, for one, will never forget my short experience there.


interviews

z

S H A R T AS SHION FA Trash Fashion have had a chaotic summer, but they are back and stronger than ever. Dom Kehat and Ben Marshall caught up with them to discuss touring, the spectre of Nu Rave, and of course, THAT song...

16/ interviews@gairrhydd.com @gairrhydd.com


interviews

How is the Tour going then?

V “ z

We only just started last week really, so I couldn't really tell you. It's the first real time that we've done a couple of days in a row, because we usually have a day off, but it's getting a bit serious now. We like doing gigs, but it's always a bit of a bitch to travel to some place in the middle of nowhere! There's only three of us who can drive the van, and we don’t take our manager on tour so it can get a bit hectic. Apart from all that shite, it's all a bit of a giggle really. You've got a new album coming out soon, how did that go for you?

Yeah, we've got a single called Night of Errors, which was out on the 20th October, and then we have our album launch on the 29th at the London Barfly. Originally we were half gonna do a vague story line behind the album. We were going to shoot a video ourselves and release one once a month for a year. In the end it was too much like hard work!

Many people will be most familiar with you because of It’s a Rave Dave, how do you feel about the song now?

H

later, because basically we’ve had loads of pressure to release the album with ‘Rave Dave’ on it, but we kind of want to draw a line underneath it and carry on. Every band gets that with a song, I mean we play a set with ‘Rave Dave’ in it, and we come to play an encore and they want us to play it again!

A bit of everything, really. We’ve refused to play it,decided that we love it, or sometimes try and do a rock version. It is a bit of an Albatross around our neck because there are people who love us for it, and people who fucking hate us for it, but it is what it is. Like, we’re trying to get a new album out not like a year later, but half a year

Because of that song you were lumped in with the whole Nu Rave nonsense that occurred a year or so ago, how did you feel about that?

'Rave Dave' was written nearly four years ago, and was way before Nu Rave happened. It was just a

Essentially what I am saying is don’t put lasers or sharks on bears.

T

rash Fashion are not your average band. Cutting quite the dash, resplendent in Lego man earring and dapper bowler hat, Jetstorm and the rest of the guys met up with us before their gig at Cardiff Barfly to discuss their engoing tour, and the trials and tribulations that inevitably arise from it.

commentary on growing up; nothing to do with Nu Rave. It’s more to do with a party than a rave, and Dave is just a name that rhymes with rave. When it did come out, it seemed like a parody of all these Nu Rave bands, but we ended up being lumped in, which was a bit funny really. What would you consider your musical influences to be; they seem a little hard to place. We get a lot of reviews trying to list our influences, and usually they're bang on. They say stuff like Iron Maiden and Human League which I reckon is fav. I'm also into a lot of Funk Soul, Disco, 80s and Britpop. I mean I was growing up when Blur & Pulp was out, then I got into metal, and all types of shit. Kylie Minogue, Whigfield… Was Whigfield a big influence?

saying Saturday Night and ‘Rave Dave,' you do the math. I read recently that your Bassist left, how has that affect the band's dynamic? There was a definite change to the dynamic; we spent 2 years in the back of the van together. However he just loves his folk music. It takes so much fucking time man; you can’t really be in two bands if you want either of them to succeed. It kinda messed up our summer, didn’t gig for 3 months, which was longest period of time we spent not touring since we started.

U

I guess you missed out on the festivals then. Are you a big festivals band? We’ll play wherever like Barcelona, Germany, all over the shop.We've found we've been accepted more in Europe than in the UK, because in the UK we’re kind of past the whole Nu Rave thing, but if you travel around to some place out in the sticks and Nu Rave has just arrived, they expect us to go mental, and we’re like ‘I’m sorry, we don’t actually have any fluro with us today!’ Finally, the most important question; in a fight between a polar bear with sharks instead of arms, and a polar bear with lasers instead of eyes, who would win? How powerful are the lasers? It depends on a number of different things, I mean you can get those mental ones that can cut through metal and shit, or crappy little ones. What sharks are they? Basically what you are asking is, are sharks better than lasers, because the bear remains the same. What if the bear had a mirror? Not that I’d want to complicate things further. If think we’d need to do some mathematical models first. Essentially what I am saying is; don’t put lasers or sharks on bears. And you can quote me on that.

H

Fucking massive influence. I’m just

interviews@gairrhydd.com / 17


([YL`\ interviews

Orange County metalcore's finest hit the Union and unashamedly exposed their love of 80s metal, thrash and hardcore alongside some operatic vocals, piano and trumpet. Amy Walker talks to Atreyu about the possiblity of selling out, walking the McDonald's drive thru and being masters of Brazillian jujitsu.

T

he band took their name from a character in the well-loved film Never Ending Story, and have had much success since peaking on the Billboard top 200 at number nine in March 2006 with their third studio album A Death Grip on Yesterday. If you still are not quite sure of who they are you might recognize their music from the film Mr and Mr Smith, where they sung a cover of Bon Jovi's hit You Give Love A Bad Name or on the sound track to Underworld Revolution and the XBox and PS2 BurnOut 3 racing game. Amy Walker met up with the band to talk about touring and what they think of the music they play. I am not going to lie: as I walk through the Union on Sunday evening past the multitude of sweeping fringes and studded belts I am pretty excited about interviewing a band that put out such metalcore masterpieces as The Crimson and Right Side of the Bed. With Atreyu headlining this year’s Taste of Chaos

tour along with such big names as Story of the Year and As I Lay Dying we got a chance to speak with guitarist Dan Jacobs about what the guys had in store. After being around for ten years or so we expected some fairly interesting tales about escapades on tour and maybe even about the music itself but sadly this was very much not the case. As far as scandalous behindthe-scenes stories go, walking through McDonalds drive-thru’s and kebab shops in the dead of night seem to be the most Jacobs is willing to tell us about. Very rock’n’roll. However the boys are pros in Brazilian jujitsu so I probably wouldn’t mess with them. With the band being insanely busy over the last few months with the likes of the Projekt Revolution tour with Linkin Park and the US

18/ interviews@gairrhydd.com8


interviews are writing the record that we want to write and we are playing the music we want to play and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that” Furthermore, Jacobs later goes on to describe how the album was re-released purely as a means to ‘boost sales’ which probably won’t do anything to convince disillusioned fans that they haven’t sold out. This re-release included an adventurous cover of Faith No More’s Epic and Clean Sheets

by The Descendants that no doubt came from the band’s love of 80’s metal. In particular Jacobs notes that to him personally the beauty of Lead Sails Paper Anchor was being able to pay homage to such legends as Scorpions and Motley Crue, which have had a significant influence on him and the band as a whole. Nevertheless, for those die-hard fans there is still hope for Atreyu’s former glory, as Jacobs reveals: “it’s been a long road but we’re definitely not done yet, we’re constantly working on new material”. Whether it was due to a kind of commercial arrogance or simply because Jacobs wasn’t in a very talkative mood, for a band with such a big sound, they had very little say for themselves. Disappointing.

I enjoy playing any song with a guitar solo. It’s always fun playing to 20, 000 people.

leg of the Taste of Chaos tour with Avenged Sevenfold and Bullet for My Valentine we ask Jacobs if there have been highlights for him over the years. We are quite simply met with the response of “I enjoy playing any song with a guitar solo, it’s always fun playing to 20, 000 people.” At least he’s honest. Perhaps the reason why Atreyu have come under criticism recently is with regards to a notable change of direction on latest offering Lead Sails Paper Anchor. We asked Jacobs about this transition and about how he felt this new creative step had been received: “I think we have to try and make an evolution on every record. We can’t just sit there and write the same thing so we try to explore as many different angles as we can. We

interviews@gairrhydd.com /19


gay

I KISSED A G

Lock up your daughters - dyke chic is coming to a town near you! Lesbianism is cool and kitsch and every fashionista female is climbing aboard the homosexual bandwagon. But as lesbian fever sweeps across the nation, just how genuine is all this high profile lady-loving?

U

nless you’ve been living under a rock on the moon, with your fingers in your ears and your eyes closed for the entire summer, Katy Perry and the ever infectious ‘I Kissed A Girl’ has surely found its way onto your i-pod. After a few minutes of probing Perry’s profile on Google, my research has led me to believe that Little Miss ‘Cherry Chapstick’ herself has never actually kissed a girl. The evidence suggests that she has only ever vicariously indulged in a bit of girl-on-girl action by getting lost in her Scarlett Johansson fuelled fantasies. But after putting pen to paper, Katy's wet dream became one of the most successful songs of 2008. The speculation over whether Miss Perry ever did lock lips with another woman doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. In spite of whatever Katy did or did not do, the song itself has shone a stark spotlight on the new accessibility and allure of straight girls going gay. ‘I Kissed A Girl’ has become an anthem of sorts, paying homage to the new fashionable appeal of fauxmosexuality. Heterosexual girls around the world do not suffer the same stigma that comes from every other public display of same sex affection. In fact, straight girls are being ever encouraged to swap cock for clitoris in this current climate of dyke-chic. But we can’t just place all the responsibility with Katy Perry; Lindsey Lohan needs to share a bit of the blame. La Lo has been romantically linked with Mark Ronson’s slightly less high profile sister, Samantha. As

20 /gay@gairrhydd.com

yet, neither have officially confirmed or denied a relationship, but they are regularly photographed looking a little more then just good gal pals. So if it's not a relationship, what exactly is Lohan playing at? This lesbian chic phase has proved just how far society has come in terms of gay tolerance. I’m not saying that homophobia doesn’t exist, because it definitely does still rear its ugly head, but cast your minds back a mere decade ago, when high profile girl-on-girl action rocked the foundations of popular culture. Channel 4 was inundated with complaints when Brookside’s Anna Friel locked lips with another woman on prime time telly. A panicked frenzy followed the publication of a 1994 Vogue cover image featuring k.d. lang rocking a man’s suit and facial hair. To add to the drama, the androgenous singer/songwriter was shot in a homoerotic clinch with straight supermodel Cindy Crawford. Then, of course, jump in your time machine to 2003, when Britney Spears, Madonna and Christina Aguilera were splashed all over the papers for playing tonsil tennis with each other at the MTV Video Music Awards. Somewhere along the line between the acceptable and the unacceptable, lesbianism transitioned from being reviled to widely imitated. But then there is always the other side of the fence. The appeal of the lesbian lifestyle hasn’t solely created positive feeling. The behaviour of the Britneys, Lindseys and Katys of the world has ensured that only a certain strand of lesbianism is celebrated: an effeminate, sexy and non-com-

mittal version of female homosexuality. Anything outside of this sphere is thus considered an ominous kind of lesbianism. Fauxmosexuality is not a moment of gay pride for gay women, but a voyeuristic fantasy for straight men who love to knock one out to two girls making out. Fashionable pseudo-lesbianism also fails to embrace all the facets of what it is to be a gay woman. It presents a safe, ‘straight’ lesbianism to a society that would otherwise be anxious, or dare I say, disgusted by the image of two women getting it on. Of course, for many women out there, lesbianism isn’t just this month’s ultimate designer accessory. It isn’t something you can splash on in the mornings to match your Jimmy Choo heels and complement your brand new Victoria Beckham hair do. It's a way of life. It's who they are. And I can’t help but think, are the girls who like boys but kiss girls for the boys, trivializing the sexual identity of real lesbians? If Lindsey does wake up tomorrow and announce to the national press ‘I’m done with dykes and back on dick’, the lesbian population will not fall down and die. In fact, I’m pretty sure they probably didn’t give much of a shit about it in the first place. The fact that some starlets are adopting elements of lesbian identity doesn’t validate or obliterate what it is to be a true lesbian in contemporary culture. I just hope all the lesbian ladies out there remember that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. So consider yourselves very flattered! James Moore


gay

GIRL!

“

Are the girls who like boys but kiss girls for the boys trivializing the sexual identity of actual lesbians?

“

gay@gairrhydd.com / 21


food

Food, Glorious Food When just about every food choice seems to have an ethical or health-conscious down-fall, Claudia Dickinson looks to the States for some extreme foods that make Pot Noodles look like a Goji berry salad.

H

aving recently returned from a rather ad-hoc trip to New York, my eyes have been widened just that little bit more to the eccentricities that go hand-in-hand with the motto "Only in America". It seems NYC is a city of extreme contrasts in lifestyle and mentality and, although I haven't ventured further, I am told that the rest of America is similar. When thinking of examples, the American diet instantly springs to mind. Picture this scenario: A size zero model trotting down 8th avenue to a casting in her Manolos, past the onslaught of fast food outlets...if she dares to have a bite to eat (of course I'm not disputing the fact that most models could be lucky enough to have an incredibly high metabolism) she darts past Krispy Kreme Doughnuts into Tasti D-Lite, the low-fat, low-cal, low taste treat for the shape-conscious. Now compare that with this: again on 8th Avenue, the American obesity-epidemic personified orders a super-duper meal with extra condiments in an infamous burgerjoint. This fat fest racks up a calorie intake in excess of 1250 and a fat intake of 50 grams or more (approx 3/4 of a woman's daily allowance). I am not sure which scenario is the lesser of two evils but surely the U.S. government and local State Food Fairs are promoting healthier options? It seems not. Here follows the top ten of America's heart-attack inducing snacks, as taken from the State Food Fairs themselves. If you have a weak stomach you may want to skip a page...

22 / food@gairrhydd.com

1

Fried Spaghetti and Meatballs on a stick

Moulded into balls (including the spaghetti), breaded and fried - just to make it that much easier to eat.

2

Fried Mac'n'Cheese

Pretty much the same as the former incarnation, but fried to make it a Texan national favourite dish.

3

Fried Cookie Dough

Voted the best new food in Texas in 2007, this delicacy does exactly what it says on the tin. Can you see a pattern occurring yet?!

6

Krispy Kreme Burger

7

Donkey Tails

8

Deep-fried Coke

9

Deep-fried Latte

10

The "Butter Bust"

A sweet doughnut used as a bap for a bacon and cheeseburger... perhaps an innovative way to speed up the meal by combining courses?

No, not real donkey. The Texans fill these deep-fried sausages with cheese and wrap them in tortillas.

4

"Koolickles"

These are pickles mixed with Kool-Aid fizzy pop to turn them bright red or green. A hard choice between the two, I'm sure, and an interesting change from deep-fried food. Apparently very popular in Iowa.

5

The "Cool-Dog"

The sibling of the hot-dog but a whole lot sweeter...and colder. This is a new take on the original; the bread bun is replaced with cake, the sausage with ice-cream, and the mustard with sprinkles.

Yes, there is a more unhealthy option than the standard version. Coke syrup and cake batter are deep-fried together, then served with extra syrup on top. This potent diabetes-inducing drink hails, once more, from Texas.

You've guessed it, this culinary delight is from Texas. A heady combo of fried pastry batter, ice-cream and granulated coffee sprinkles.

Your head sculpted life-size in fat. Need I say more?


food

We like to think we're a little healthier than our American counterparts, but these recipes are a good dollop of Autumn comfort food. Yum.

Chicken Casserole Serves: 4 Preperation time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 45 minutes Ingredients: - 1 tbsp cooking oil - 4 chicken portions - 1 small green pepper, skinned, deseeded and sliced - 125g button mushrooms - 1 tbsp plain flour - 2 tbsp tomato purĂŠe - 400g tin chopped tomatoes with onion - 150ml chicken stock - 1 tbsp dried mixed herbs - a few drops Tabasco sauce - salt and pepper - freshly chopped parsley to garnish 1. Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole pan, add the chicken and fry until lightly browned on all sides. 2. Remove the chicken from the pan with a slotted spoon. Set aside. 3.Add the vegetables to the pan and fry for 5 minutes or until softened. 4. Stir in the flour and gradually add the remaining ingredients, stirring thoroughly. 5. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

The Veggie Option The chicken in the casserole can be substituted with Quorn or vegetarian sausages. If you prefer however just add more vegetables such as extra peppers,carrots or sweet potato. Alternatively you can buy casserole selection packs at supermarkets which give you all the vegetables you need. Use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock, if your casserole is looking too thick just add more when needed.

The Dessert Serves: 4 Prepartion time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 40 minutes Ingredients: - 3 medium cooking apples - 180g Granulated sugar - 120g Butter or cooking margarine - 150g Self-raising flour 1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C / 350F / Gas Mark 5. 2. Mix the butter with the flour in a bowl using a fork until you have a texture like breadcrumbs. 3. Add 120g of sugar to the mixture and mix it all together with the fork. This will tend to make the mixture even more like breadcrumbs. That's the crumble mixture ready.

5.Slice the apple quarters - no need to slice them too thinly, about six slices per quarter section of apple will do just fine. 6.Put the apple slices into the casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining 60g of sugar evenly over the apples. 7. Evenly spread the 'crumble' mixture over the sugared apples. 8. Put this into the oven for 40 minutes. 10. Leave to cool for 15 minutes, and serve with ice cream, cream or custard.

4. Peel the apples and cut each one into four parts. Cut out the core from each of the sections.

6. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with mashed potato.

food@gairrhydd.com / 23


fashion

Graveyard Glamour Exorcise your dark side and let

I

n the words of Amy Winehouse, this season it is back to black with the trend we’re all coveting: gothic romance. It’s all about embracing your inner dark princess. Think a more glamorous and revamped Morticia Adams (no pun intended!) Clean bold lines as well as texture, and once again lace, leather and satin, took predominance on the catwalk. Givenchy and Prada were among those best to capture the look with an array of luxurious leather cigarette pants, classic tailored jackets and PVC-look leggings along with plenty of weighty metal around the neck including amulets, charms and silver crosses. Rodarte too nodded to the trend with his collection of sky-high spiked boots. To emulate the style look to French Connection for its latest range of LBDs featuring delicate notes of lace, satin, girly ruffles and ribbons. Topshop really captivates the look with a generous range of jet black leather jackets and PVC-look slinky leggings. In terms of accessories, statement jewellery is key, so don’t be afraid to mix and match various chunky chains and crosses. In order to soften the look accessorise with black ribbon, which can be tied in the hair. As for footwear powerful heels are the way to go; either black knee high boots or skyscraper stilettos ala Alexander McQueen. Finally the piece de resistance? Wear with attitude. Emily Cater

e


fashion

e

our gothic fairy tale inspire you....


fashion

Nailing the Look: Men

W

ith the invention of male cosmetics such as ‘guyliner’ and ‘manscara’ by Superdrug, fashionconscious young men have no excuse to avoid this autumn’s dark romantic goth trend just because they don’t have a girlfriend to steal eyeliner from. This season prioritizes the playful use of textures, such as pairing a leather jacket with a crisp cotton shirt, savouring the graininess of a herringbone wool coat, or even slipping a vintage velvet jacket over a treasured band tee, à la Finnish rock god, Ville Valo of HIM. Black isn’t simply black; it can be charcoal, jet, onyx or ebony. Jeans and trousers are skinny to the point of excruciating pain – The Horrors are sterling examples – best partnered with Winklepickers or a pair of elegant leather boots. Small details like silk buttons or understated lace at cuffs and collars add an opulent, vampiric finish to otherwise plain outfits. Good tailoring never goes amiss, making blazers, waistcoats and military jackets look impeccable. Don’t forget to accessorize – the more eccentric, the better. If you can't manage Noel Fielding’s top hat, go for a Byronic cravat, rosaries, good-quality silver jewellery or belt buckles in intriguing shapes. Finally, gentlemen, please remember even the best guyliner will smear overnight. If you can’t remove it before you pass out in an absinthe-fuelled haze, at least scrub it off with a gentle cleanser before you slink away to your 9 a.m. lecture. Renyi Lim


fashion

Perfect a Ghostly Pallor

W

hen ‘going goth’, the make up plays a vital role in achieving the all-round look. Think vampy, not grungy, when applying the make-up and you’ll be onto a sure thing. A ghostly pallor should provide a canvas on which you can display your statement looks. Therefore, a white powder applied evenly to the face will work well to enhance the eyes and lips. Nicola Roberts' range of face make-up by Jelly Pong Pong would indeed satisfy this look. A hint of bright pink blush should be applied to the apples of the cheeks to give a minimal, yet flattering, glimpse of colour. Lips should be coated in a berrystained gloss, whilst eyes should be kept dark. To achieve this, use a black kohl eye pencil to line the eye and smudge around the edges for a smouldering finish. Sarah George

Gothic Icons

D

ita Von Teese – Dita’s trademark scarlet lipstick accentuates her vampishly pale skin tones and she is rarely seen without a trusty pair of killer black heels. Ooh, mon chérie! Russell Brand – Never short of a black waistcoat or two, he adorns himself with layers of necklaces across open shirts and vintage scarves, oozing vampire chic. Helena Bonham-Carter – ‘Sweeney Todd’ sees her laced-up in black corsets with floor-length tiered skirts. With mysterious director Tim Burton as her real-life partner in crime, her knack for the dark side is hardly surprising! Meatloaf - This ghoulish granddaddy has been inseparable from his leather jackets and velvet cravats since the 70’s, proving you can still be tough with a ruff and a cuff! Hannah Powell


Blind Date

“

I've added him on Facebook but he hasn't accepted my friend request yet

Dave Blind Date: Right then, lets get down to the nitty gritty, what do you rate Jody out of 10? Dave: I'd give Jody an 8, we had a good time and she's a nice girl. So what were your first impressions? To be honest I was just relieved that she turned up in the first place. What was the highlight of the date? The highlight was probably the fact that we had loads to talk about and got on well. Any shocking moments? Not so much shocking, but she talked about Will Young a lot! Random. Do you think you'll meet up again? Maybe, see what happens. Ooohh! So how would you describe Jody in three words? Chatty, fun and pretty. So the infamous chuck, fuck or marry? I'll go for fuck.

“

blind date

Jody Blind Date: Ok so over to you Jody! How would you rate him out of 10? Jody: I'd probably give him a 7. And what were your first impressions? I thought that he was pretty cool and trendy at first glance. His hairstyle suggested he was pretty high maintenance though! What was the highlight of the date? We laughed a lot at everyone staring at us getting all the special attention. I was impressed by all the travelling Dave had done aswell. Would you be up for meeting him again? Yeah, but just as friends. I've added him on Facebook but he hasn't accepted my request yet. How would you describe Dave in three words? Vain, cool and funny. So...chuck, fuck or marry? I would say marry - only if he concentrated more on me and less on his hair!

Dave and Jody enjoyed a sumptuous meal at The Hard Rock Cafe.

Fancy a loved up evening of fine wine and dining? For free?! Then drop your very own sultry love goddesses an email...

28 /arts@gairrhydd.com


going out

GOING OUT? YOUR GUIDE TO THE HALLOWEEN FESTIVITIES

- pick of the issue -

audio bullys & the freestylers

taking over with a fancy dress allnighter for those of you after something a little more hardcore. If none of these grab you, or if you’re terminally anti-social, for a £5 deposit you can grab yourself a pair of headphones and join in with the Silent Disco down at the Point: a churchful of people dancing to two DJ sets at the same time. Raving… but not as we know it. No rest for the wicked – see you on the dancefloor!

IN PREPARATION FOR THE UNION'S UPCOMING BREAKBEAT EXPLOSION, ALEX GWILLIAM GIVES A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THE TWO HEADLINE ACTS JUST WAITING TO TEAR YOU A NEW BASS-HOLE THIS HALLOWEEN... ing in preparation for the upcoming release of their brand new album ‘Sunday Night Fever’. The last time Audio Bullys played in Cardiff, it was supporting The Prodigy at the CIA, and anyone who has witnessed their live performances at events such as this year’s Gatecrasher Summer Soundsystem knows exactly the high-octane dancefloor commotion to be expected from the duo on the night.

THERE'LL BE SOME VASTLY EMPTY LECTURE THEATRES ON FRIDAY MORNING Supporting Audio Bullys on the lineup are the equally legendary London twosome Freestylers. Having been at the pioneering helm of the breakbeat scene for over 10 years now, Freestylers have been responsible for some of the biggest anthems of the genre in recent memory. The most notable of these being the phenomenally popular ‘Fasten Your Seatbelt’, produced alongside drum n bass mainstream pinups Pendulum, which was

Freestylers

W

ith the year’s favourite excuse to don a silly costume and throw eggs at old ladies drawing near, it seems only fitting that we should have a devilish and disgusting night of dancing to warm up for it first. Thursday October 30 sees Cardiff University’s clubbing & DJing society, Traffic, bringing one of the most exciting lineups that the union has seen all year. Heading up the bill are London's mighty Audio Bullys. Grammatical irritations over their name aside, Audio Bullys are a prime example of top class British urban dance music at its finest. Exploding onto the scene back in 2003 with their album ‘Ego War’, they created quite a stir with their bass heavy synthesis of house, hip-hop, electro and dub. Their re-working of Nancy Sinatra’s ‘Bang Bang (You Shot Me Down)’ caused a veritable force 10 on the dance music richter scale when it dropped in 2005. Since then, however, they have bee largely quiet. All that has changed this year, and 2008 has seen the Bullys tour-

Freestylers descend upon the Union for a night of broken-beat-electrowizardry, while Cool House returns to Glo Bar on Saturday November 8. Junglised is also back on the scene at new club Plan B – check out the killer lineup, which includes Friction, Noisia, Alix Perez and Nicky Blackmarket. Indie kids, rejoice, because The Welsh Club celebrates the spooky season with a very special Dudes Abide. Upstairs Holodeck will be

Y

es, it’s that time of the year: themed cocktails, trick or treating and utter retards dressed as vampires… Ladies and gentlemen, Halloween is upon us once again. At Going Out we’ve weighed up the pros and cons, and have come to the decision that any excuse to party is fine by us… And party we will! The muchanticipated Traffic Monster Mashup sees both the Audiobullys and the

blasted out of speakers worldwide non-stop for pretty much a full calendar year following its release in 2005. During their illustrious career, Freestylers have worked up a formidable reputation, and thoroughly deserve their title as ‘The Grandaddies of the Breakbeat Scene’. The combination of these two top class acts on a Thursday night is surely set to secure some vastly empty lecture theatres come Friday morning, and given that it’s Halloween the day after, the weekend looks set to be fraught with some pretty ghastly hangovers. Just don’t get caught out when the sun rises!

TRAFFIC presents Audio Bullys and The Freestylers – Thursday 30th October, SOLUS, £6 adv.

goingout@gairrhydd.com / 29


goinggoing out out

REVIEWS TOUR UNION GREAT HALL

R

CALIBRE CLWB IFOR BACH

I

’m apprehensive about the Calibre gig. With a musical history spanning back to 1998, the Irish-born DJ has produced a number of critically acclaimed albums, including collaborations with Fabio, Marcus Intalex and ST Files. However, I've never seen him perform before, and bitter experience has taught me that the guys who make good albums don't always play the best live sets. As it turns out, I’m wasting my time. Dan Marshall warms us up

PERHAPS SHE JUST DOESN'T PUT IN THE COMMITMENT WHEN PLAYING TO A WELSH CROWD

sad to admit that perhaps she just doesn’t put in the commitment when playing to a Welsh crowd. Thankfully the same did not apply to her DJs in tow, Fake Blood and Rico Tubbs, both of whom put in stellar performances. Fake Blood did his best to maintain the secrecy of his identity by wearing a low cap and high scarf, but that didn’t stop him churning out an intensely satisfyingly varied set of fidget house and techno, garnished with an

nicely with his signature brand of chilled beats, before a seamless turnover to Calibre. Having not known quite what to expect, I’m pleasantly surprised: his set is the Absolut vodka of liquid D&B. Not only this, but he has pleasing hair which begs to be patted (not quite as good as High Contrast’s, but it’s up there). He treats us to a lyrical wave of tunes that – if I’m not mistaken – go on for more than two hours without me even realising. The mood is complemented by the intimate nature of the Welsh Club: I feel as though I’m dancing in a friendly underwater world. The 3am finish brings me back to the real world with a resounding

30 / goingout@gairrhydd.com

impressive display of scratching and turntablism. Closing off the night, Danish human jack-in-a-box Rico Tubbs did his best to pogo his way through the ceiling, dropping track after track of sheer bassline nastiness and ensuring a still-packed dancefloor when the lights went up. The no-show of the Mutoid Waste Co. was a big blow to the night, especially since they had been so highly touted by the promoters during the run up. Whether or not this was to do with poor ticket sales will doubtlessly remain unknown. Despite this, the night as a whole was a success, and all that remains now is a year-long wait to see if Annie can muster up more than a ‘head down-frown at her shoes’ performance when she rolls around for us next year. AG

Freestylers

adio One’s ‘I am the musical she-messiah’ Annie Mac has been doing her annual tour of clubs and universities for longer than I can remember now. Every year the Irish-born DJ picks a handful of artists she deems to be on the verge of mainstream greatness (i.e. she will be playing their tracks non-stop for the next 12 months on her radio show) and flaunts them to audiences around the country to show off what a seemingly amazing musical soothsayer she truly is. The only problem is, these tours have become such a mainstay of the clubbing calendar, and she plays so many gigs during the run, that finding the energy to be enthused by each of the crowds she plays to appears to be just too much of a superhuman effort even for her to achieve. This was one of the main issues with her appearance in Cardiff. Granted, the music she played was

typically dancefloor friendly, and certainly got the toes wiggling to a satisfying degree, but Miss Mac herself looked so positively jaded by the whole experience that one wondered if she'd just been given the news that her cat had been diagnosed with tuberculosis. The same could be said for her performance at the equivalent gig last year, and it's

ANNIE MAC

thump, however. Congratulations Aperture… another top night. KK


goinggoing out out out

LISTINGS 27/10/08

09/11/08

06/11

·GIG – Boys With X-Ray Eyes featuring Carnivores, then Hammertime! (Club night), Barfly - £5 ·Year of the Pug (Indie), Clwb Ifor Bach - £2/£3 ·Aesthetics (Hip Hop), Buffalo Bar ·Collective (Hip hop), Glo Bar - £2/3 ·You Me At Six, Solus - £9

·C-Y-N-T (House/Electro/Techno), Clwb Ifor Bach - £3 ·Nizlopi, Clwb Ifor Bach - £10/11 ·Uprising Soundsystem (Reggae/ Dancehall), Glo Bar - £3 ·Rancid, Great Hall - £15

Audio Bullys

28/10

29/10 ·GIG – Go-X with Dreamer, then ·SkinnyGene (Club night), Barfly - £5 ·Listen Up! (Indie), Clwb Ifor Bach - £2/3

cial, Clwb Ifor Bach - £3.50/4.50

01/11 ·Vinyl Vendettas (60s/70s/80s), Clwb Ifor Bach - £5 ·GIG – Viva Machine, then Flyswatter (Club night), Barfly - £6 ·Airbourne, Great Hall - £12

07/11 ·The Dudes Abide, Clwb Ifor Bach – £3.50 ·Junglised presents Friction, Noisia and Alix Perez, Plan B - £10/12 ·Silent Disco, The Point - £7 ·GIG - Red Light Company, then Mad4it! (Club night), Barfly - £5

02/11 ·GIG - Harbour, Clwb Ifor Bach - £5 ·Har Mar Superstar (DJ set) and Innercity Pirates, Glo Bar - £3 before 11, £5 after

·Year of the Pug (Indie), Clwb Ifor Bach - £2/£3 ·Aesthetics (Hip Hop), Buffalo Bar ·Collective (Hip hop). Glo Bar - £2/3 ·Hammertime! (Club night), Barfly - £5 ·Paul Heaton plus Cerys Matthews, Solus - £16.50

·The Week That Was (Indie/Electro), Clwb Ifor Bach - £6/7 ·GIG – Cheeky Cheeky and the Nosebleeds, then Discord (Club night), Barfly - £6 ·Traffic Halloween Monster Mashup feat. Audiobullys and Freestylers, Solus - £5/6/8 ·Uprising Soundsystem (Reggae/ Dancehall), Glo Bar - £3

·GIG – Sex Pistols Experience, then Mad4it! (Club night), Barfly - £7.50 ·Holodeck with Jerome Hill, Clwb Ifor Bach - £7 before 11:30, £8 after ·The Dudes Abide Halloween Spe-

08/11 ·Vinyl Vendettas (60s/70s/80s), Clwb Ifor Bach - £5 ·GIG - From Monument to Masses, then Flyswatter (Club night), Barfly - £5 ·Cool House (House), Glo Bar - £3

09/11 ·Living Room (acoustic), Clwb Ifor Bach - £2 ·Tantrum presents Atomic Hooligan, Glo Bar - free Rancid

31/10

Friction

Har Mar Superstar

30/10

04/11

SNAP HAPPY?

05/11 ·GIG – Failsafe with New Day, then SkinnyGene (Club night), Barfly - £5 ·Listen Up! (Indie), Clwb Ifor Bach - £2/3

send us your going out pics and you could get your face on these pages!

goingout@gairrhydd.com / 31


arts

Footloose... Footloose

Joy Harding experiences a colourful night of sing-a-long tunes, fancy footwork and thrusting dancers at the New Theatre

New Theatre 06/10/08-11/10/08

I

t’s a miserable, grey Monday evening in Cardiff. The general mood is pretty bleak with summer well and truly gone, and a lift in spirits seems nowhere in sight. Yet one room in Cardiff is alive with bright lights, catchy music and thrusting dancers. If you’re picturing Oceana’s Disco Room then try again. It's close, but only in distance... I am, of course, referring to the opening night of Footloose at the New Theatre. The production, based on the 1984 film, is centred around Bomont, a small town where the local council have banned rock music and dancing. But when lead Ren McCormack (Stephen Webb) arrives in town he rallies the high school students to campaign for an end-of-year dance. As with many musicals, the plot paled into a mere excuse for bursting into jazz-hands mode. Footloose doesn't boast a particularly challenging storyline, but its ins and outs were ultimately forgettable in the wake of such dynamic, high-energy dancing and fantastic songs. But, af-

ter all, that's what makes musicals so fantastic! Granted, Footloose is not for those looking for symbolism and metaphor, but if you fancy something a little light-hearted and camp then this energetic show is perfect. The indisputable highlight was, predictably, the jaw-dropping rendition of Holding Out For A Hero. Until this point, myself and all the other women in the theatre had been subjected to a relentless stream of toned, tanned girls with ridiculous cleavages, when the stage was miraculously filled with half naked muscular firemen, lifeguards and sailors. They treated us to a mouth-watering display of gyrations and high kicks, causing every heterosexual male in the audience to squirm in their seat. Simply fantastic. The first night was by no means a sell-out, but that didn’t appear to dis-

hearten the cast. Their high-energy performances were maintained throughout and everyone seemed to be having just as much fun as the audience. By the final reprise of the catchy theme song it was hard to tell the cast from the audience anyway - we were all on our feet, dancing along!

...and fancy free Jest a Minute Glee Club 08/10/08

L

ast week, the Glee Club played host to a free comedy night with a difference, as top comedians took part in a panel game recorded for BBC Radio Wales. The quick-fire quiz saw the performers’ knowledge of comedy history and entertainment put to the test. Jest a Minute attracted some impressive names in the comedy

32 /arts@gairrhydd.com

circuit, including the bubbly Lucy Porter and wacky entertainer Rob Deering. The show was also skillfully held together by quiz master and radio star, Rhod Gilbert. Despite the fantastic comedy, the most special part of the evening was being given a behind-the-scenes glimpse of both the panel game and the workings of the radio show. This was a sneak preview, where you saw not only the recording of two shows, but also far more than would be included in the final edit. We were entertained with in-jokes which were either irrelevant to the radio show or too rude to be broadcast

to the nation during the afternoon, making the whole scenario a bit like stumbling across some professional comedians in the pub. With all the banter between them. The comedians were quick to mention the implications of recording a light, afternoon comedy show with an evening crowd of rowdy drunkards. This was shown with the hilarious audience participation round, which saw members of the crowd trying out some of their own one-liners onstage. A hilarious and unforgettable (and free!) night at Glee Club. Kate Budd


arts

Romeo and Juliet

New Theatre 14/10/08-18/10/08

Lord Capulet in a shrunken brown velour tracksuit. This poor attempt at comic tragedy ended with the dead lovers turning into gold statues, like the eerie street performers who stand outside Marks and Spencer. To add insult to injury, the cast's acting ability was indisputably mixed. A frustratingly wooden Jack Ryder lacked any emotion and movement as he stared gormlessly up to his lover on the balcony. And although Juliet, played by Sara Lloyd Gregory, was adequately convincing during the first act as an innocent young girl, she became frustratingly annoying as the play continued. The nurse, Friar Lawrence and

Lady Capulet, performed well, although they suffered from poor direction. This play certainly left the audience feeling stunned, but it was for all the wrong reasons. I wouldn't recommend an evening spent in the grips of this misjudged play, even if it was only to see a reincarnated Jamie Mitchell in flesh boxers. Katy Parkes

W

illiam Shakespeare’s tragic love story of two star-crossed lovers takes a turn for the worse at the New Theatre. The Wales Theatre Company have updated the play using leather, skinny jeans, laptops and guns, shamelessly echoing Luhrman's 1996 film. Director Michael Bogdanov's production is a tasteless and embarrassing mix of tragedy and crude comedy, drawing inspiration from anything from the gangs of Grease to Alan Sugar's boardroom. The death of Mercutio and Tybalt extends into a relay of unnecessary witty poses, confusing the audience into uncomfortable laughter. But Juliet’s fake death scene really sealed the deal. In a dramatic crescendo the nurse repeatedly spanked Lady Capulet's bum, whilst watched by

a tasteless and embarrassing mix of tragedy and crude comedy

Coming soon... Evita

New Theatre 10/11/08-22/11/08

E

vita arrives in Cardiff from Monday 10th November, brought to life in a new production by Bill Kenwright and the Really Useful Company. This classic stageshow features all the

iconic songs, including Andrew Lloyd Webber's ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’. Evita tells the dramatic story of Eva Pevon, the wife of former Argentine dictator Juan Peron, and her extraordinary life.

Contact the New Theatre box office on 029 2087 8889, or visit www. newtheatrecardiff.co.uk for more information.

arts@gairrhydd.com / 33


books

Books reading glasses are dead sexy!

Check. Check. Check. Check.

Big teeth? Dark hair? Big muscles? Total wanker?

Midnight's Daughter, Karen Chance (Penguin)

A

s if the title wasn’t bad enough, the book pretty much lost me when I read the first line of the blurb: “Dorina is a dhampir – half-human, half-vampire.” As a general rule, the quality of a book is inversely proportional to the number of words it invents, and at an initial ratio of two invented words to every six common words, things did not bode well. There are some notable exceptions to this rule, but Midnight’s Daughter is not one of them. It is painfully bad. Barely a page went by where I did not wince with the quality of the writing. Most of the time I spent with my face planted firmly in my palm. It’s like something

34/ books@gairrhydd.com

a 14-year old would write in an intermediate English class. It’s a terrible fan-fiction of an Anne Rice novel, where the author puts herself in the story to make out with all the sexy vampire dudes, describing all their sexy vampire features in intimate detail, as well as her own horrifically-detailed arousal and sexual encounters with said vampires. Big teeth? Check. Dark hair? Check. Big muscles? Check. Total wanker? Check. Apparently Karen Chance is a NY Times bestselling author. I can only assume that there are a huge number of stupid teenage goths in the USA who have no idea what a book actually is and will buy anything that involves vampires. In an

effort to give the author a chance I visited her website to see if she was not, in fact, a total hack. I was confronted with a page that bears more than a passing resemblance to the satirical website of Garth Marenghi of Darkplace fame, except that this god-awful self-satisfied trash-peddler is apparently genuine. The plot is contrived, clichéd and rubbish, the prose is contrived, clichéd and rubbish, and the characters are contrived, clichéd and rubbish. I cannot stand this book and will burn it at the first opportunity I get. Halloween would probably be appropriate, right? Richard Wood


books John, Niall Williams (Bloomsbury)

T

he book tells the story of John, the last surviving apostle of Jesus who is in exile with his Christian followers. Christianity is now banned. After years of waiting in lonely solitude cracks appear in their community as some grow tired of waiting. However, when the ban is lifted John and his followers return to their home, Ephesus which is now a world of competing religious sects where Christianity is in danger of vanishing. With this devastating feat as its back drop and with John inspired by Jesus’ teachings, especially love and forgiveness, the story shows how John came to write his Gospel. The fact that the book is based on “real” events has both upsides as well as down. It makes the book more immersive, you feel a sense of empathy and compassion for John as seemingly throughout his life he has devoted himself entirely with little or no material reward. If you are not a particularly religious person you would probably have difficulty in reading this book as some degree of background knowledge of the biblical stories is needed. Christianity is shown in a more than positive light and if the reader were to know nothing about Jesus or the Christian faith then the story would make little sense. The language is both lyrical and emotive and by the end you too feel as if you have been on a journey. Louisa Cavell

The Taint Of Midas, Anne Zouroudi (Bloomsbury)

T

he Taint of Midas is second in a detective series set in Greece based on one of the seven deadly sins, in this case Greed. This isn’t the typical catchthe-bad-guy mystery. Zouroudi layers the story well, adding complex characters whose life she slowly unravels alongside the main plotline, creating a nice mix of Greek mythology and modern lifestyle. Old Gabrilis had been taking care of the Temple of Apollo for over half a century, which was on highly sought-after land. Hours after he unknowingly signs it away, he is killed. The protagonist, Hermes Diaktoris, more commonly referred to as The Fat Man, is the calm and always cool detective from Athens who discovers the body. This leads him to being the prime suspect in the murder. It doesn’t seem so simple as other characters emerge who have motive and opportunity. The Fat Man tries to solve the mystery of Gabrilis’s death with the help of Gazis, a seasoned sergeant, Petridis, a naïve constable and a barber named Sostis. In the end, Hermes dispenses his own style of justice which, although unconventional, is quite understandable. Zouroudi manages to keep the reader immersed in not only the crime bit of the novel, but also in the development of the characters. The conclusion of the book definitely wasn’t predictable. Will be looking out for the next book. Rohini Prasad

Books in Cardiff all things literary and local 29 October Duncan Bush launches his novel Now all the Rage, Borders, 6pm, then: An evening with Duncan Bush nd his new novel Now all the Rage, Waterstones 6.15pm Right so, does he spend 15 mins launching it in Borders, then go to Waterstones, or has he double booked, and will there be a big bookstore fight off? Now that would be really exciting.

1 November Julian Ruck signs copies of his

new book, Inheritance Lost, Waterstones, 11am. A 'love in spite of odds' story. Go and see if he actually signs any books

5 November Kate Adie signs Into Danger: People who risk their lives for work. Borders, 5pm

6 November Book Launch of The Bridge over the River by Johannes Gramich. Historic, apparently.

books@gairrhydd.com / 35


books

Aisling Tempany and Rachelle Simons review the New, and discover handsome poets, bus

36/ books@gairrhydd.com @gairrhydd.com

Yet? talk where the beautifully brown-eyed David LLewellyn read an extract from a violent 500 year old French novel, and, unsuprisingly, concluded that literature probably wasn't that new or shocking after all. The event provided me with

“

It seemed this was not an event for passing strangers

“

F

estival seems like the wrong word to describe Baylit: Shock of the New. Last Saturday afternoon found me wandering around Cardiff Bay, looking for a Welsh literature festival. And it was hard to find among cerebral palsy fundraisers, a cheese market and the usual clutter of Doctor Who and Torchwood fans. But when I eventually tracked it down, cornered off upstairs in Terra Nova, it didn't feel like a festival at all, more the annual pub social of a few Welsh literature types. Once in, I sat myself next to author David LLewellyn. The small talk was Rural Writing, discussing its relationship with urban welsh literature. Tom Bullough, Cynan Jones and Horatio Clare read extracts from their three rural novels, a contrast with the usual pub drinks, meals and matches playing in the rest of the pub. After a short break and an overpriced sandwich, it was to Terra Nova and the Shocked

lots of thoughts and ideas for my own creative writing, but also left me aware of the fact that literature is not a great way to make a living. On the way home on the bus, contemplating literature and writing, I sat next to Tom Bullough, literally rubbing shoulders with him at every turn round Grangetown. I couldn't bring myself to say

hello to him, nor could I the four other times I'd met him. Later on, I made another journey to Cardiff Bay, this time to Aisle 16: Services to Poetry, the penultimate event of the festival. The setting was more like a wedding reception, with white tables all arranged around a dance floor. All the same faces from the previous event turned up, and the surreal atmosphere was well and truly here to stay. By this time I felt more like I was part of this elite group, not just some crasher. I wanted to say I was a writer when asked, but had to admit begrudgingly that I was just a student. Ultimately, Baylit shattered my illusions about writing and authors, and left me pondering whether or not I could really write too. And whether or not, even if you can write, writing is worth anything when money's scarcer and foods pricier. Whether or not that is a recommendation for the festival next year, only time will tell. Aisling Tempany


books

Cardiff's literature festival Baylit: Shock of routes and how to get to Schooner Way.

fast and rhythmically. The intonations felt natural, spurring the poems on to their climaxes. I usually prefer written poetry, unpacking it carefully with highlighters and notes, yet the confident, polished

Their confident, polished and passionate delivery made them a joy to hear

A

fter a stressful 45minute power-walk across the motorways of the bay, armed only with a printout from Google Maps, the girlfriend and I jumped in a taxi to The Wharf on Schooner Way. Luckily, the event was well worth the fuss to get to. Aisle 16: Services to Poetry was a funny, irreverent and eclectic show – more than a reading, with the aim of finding humanity or poetry in the ‘soulless strips of consumerist hell’ that are roadway service stations. The four men performed a slick and professional show, opening with a long, serious montage of their trip to atmospheric music. Filmed inside the car with a grainy handheld camera it gave a sense of claustrophobia and, as another of their self professed aims was ‘charting discomfort’, I think it worked rather well. Likewise, the visible window frames were an apt metaphor for the way poetry frames and controls our world. The poetry itself was rich, tightly weaved, and delivered

and passionate delivery made them a joy to hear. Many of the poems began integrating humour and recognisable cultural references before transforming into tougher pastures of crime and the seedier side of modern life. For me, the poems that worked best included ‘At Ferrybridge’, which set a break-up against the shallow

distractions of the services, and ‘Fruit’. The latter accelerated and decelerated to evoke a man’s addiction to a fruit machine which lost its attraction as its lack of humanity was unmasked. Each poem was flanked by well placed and genuinely funny interludes that documented the less ‘high-brow’ parts of their trip, such as the quest for the perfect scotch egg and the lack of Archers in Travelodge minibars. Again, each of these was delivered with professionalism and humour and the video technology was used to great effect. In a room of round tables and relatively bright lighting we were encouraged to look at each other, and not to disappear passively into the experience. Because of this, I think the championing of antihomogeneity in the poems was heightened. The interactive approach was continued later during a game of interactive ‘shotgun’ with Snickers as prizes. In summary, an innovative evening, and great fun. Rachelle Simons

books@gairrhydd.com @gairrhydd.com / 37


digital

DIGITAL\:1011010100101000100

010011001101100110011001110110 110011011001001100010100101010 10 01010101100010100101010110001 00010 This week: Dom Mukwamba-Sendall relives the finest toy money can buy!

T

he Bible. It’s a big book, there are no pictures, and you’re guaranteed to get embroiled in a conversation about it sooner or later. And just like a popular football meet or bout of rugby, if you don’t know what you’re talking about then passionate experts will see through you like the x-ray of a greenhouse. Enter The Brick Testament, pictorial cliff notes on the events of the big book of God acted out using Lego, the finest toy money can buy. Touting itself as the world’s most comprehensive illustrated bible, it’s the product of seven years’ work from Rev. Brendan Powell Smith, an avowed atheist who possesses a lot of Lego and the desire to inform the unwashed masses of the contents of the bible in a “fun and compelling way”. Making it fun and compelling basically involves picking the choicest parts of the two Testaments, usually those involving sodomy, rape, murder or torture. They’re pared down and parodied with dioramas of little yellow plastic blokes. It works brilliantly. For starters you can instantly tell the site has been a labour of love. Each cell has been put together with meticulous attention to detail, using Lego pieces that (save a few little alterations with a hobby knife or permanent marker) are all from original sets. As a result, I found that I was constantly

38 / digital@gairrhydd.com

noticing pieces from sets which I owned as a child, but which were employed in very ingenious ways. There’s a man buggering a bear in Leviticus 18:23 that I’m certain was from my First Farmyard Duplo set. Those hats the Moabs were wearing right before they were slaughtered by the Israelites in 1 Samuel 14:47? They’re taken right from a wind-andgo Lego police car I had when I was six. I spent so much time scrutinising some of the dioramas that I completely forgot which bible story I was meant to be reading, so had to start all over again. It wasn’t the greatest hardship, though, as I got to gawk in infantile amazement at the pictures all over again. But it’s not just Lego representations of sandy biblical dustbowls in The Brick Testament. A healthy dose of modernising has been done on a lot of the dioramas. Ever wondered how a false-god worshipping Lego man would look as he butchers his wife and 2.4 children in the comfort of his own living room? Look no further than “When to Stone Your Whole Family”, The Brick Testament’s re-imagining of Deuteronomy 13:6-8. Got unpaid workers that need teaching some dawg-gon respect? “Instructions for Slaves” will clear up any grey areas in their worthless prole, sub-human noggins quick smart. It’s the humorous yet largely inoffensive depictions that give The Brick Testament its fun and compelling edge. And it’s little wonder that both hard-line atheists and Bible belt Lutherans have lauded the site for handling its subject matter very well. And did I mention that it’s made entirely out of Lego? Amazing.

PENDING.....

Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 Xbox360, Ps3, Ps2, PSP, PC, Mobile Another year and so another iteration of one of the best football video games. What new features will pull fans away from Pro Evo 2008?

Little Big Planet Playstation 3 Absolute freedom awaits those entering the world of LBP. These cute little characters made of sacks can act in any role you want. Act out your favourite movie scene then share it with everyone online or make the 100th Mario game!


digital

FIFA 09

E

very new season, EA inevitably regroups and tries to figure out how on earth they are going to topple Pro Evo and its legion of followers. And although Fifa’s usual boast of a plethora of “new features” can usually be taken with a heavy pinch of cynicism, this year it appears to have done more than clean its boots. Amongst its impressive list of 250 improvements is ‘Adidas Live Season’. You can now download data about any football league in the world, with players’ performance being updated via your Internet con-

SNK ARCADE CLASSICS VOL. 1

S

ixteen games is a lot and you would especially think so for 20 quid (which is what this will retail at). The dilemma I am faced with is that there is a real mixed bag here, not to mention the audience it is aimed at. Here in Europe we’ve never gotten as hot under the collar about arcade games as our American and Japanese compardres. The other point working in disfavour for this compilation is that I can think of a better game for every named title of equal age. All titles on here are from

nection. Football games with online capabilities have been crying out for this feature for years, it’s impressive to see that it’s finally been implemented. EA has also improved the ‘Be A Pro’ feature, which has been immensely popular with fans of previous Fifa incarnations. As well as the single player mode, which allows you to rise from the reserves bench to Captain of your national team, you can also play online in astounding 10 vs 10 matches in which you control one player. It’s like a technically advanced version of table football. Whether or not this may become tedious is open to debate. In terms of gameplay, it would be reasonable to say that Fifa now feels like the connoisseur’s football game. EA have included all manner of user-configurable settings, and seem to have designed the game to emphasise mid-pitch possession battles. It’s now nigh-impossible to pass players with footwork alone; you have to calculate where gaps exist in your opponent’s defence and ensure your passes are timed to perfection. Although this is initially rather

frustrating, it makes the moments when you do pass the keeper all the more glorious, especially when accompanied by Fifa’s trademark slick animations and fully-licensed players. They have also included all manner of physical improvements; players are now weighted individually, making one-on-one battles for the ball identical to those you see on Setanta. Crossing the ball still feels a bit of an inexact science but the timing of your headers is now more important if you want to ping it in the top corner. Commentary is provided by Andy Gray and Martin Tyler, and provides well-informed and interesting facts about the teams involved rather than the same generic phrases you hear when playing PES. This compliments the simply stunning graphics, which of course include accurate stadiums and any kit from Division 2 to the Premier League. Couple this with the aforementioned ‘Live Season’, and PES looks more and more like an arcade football game. Joe Cronin

1990 to 1997, so obviously I’m not going to go and compare them to anything released in the last 10 years. That’s just not cricket. Don’t get me wrong, there are some fun games here even for the uninitiated. Metal Slug is a great side-scrolling shooter and, thinking back to other games from the 1990s, the graphics are pretty damn good. In a similar ilk, Last Resort will keep boredom away with its laser pew-pewing space ships. It can be safely said that this compilation is aimed towards fans, those who still hold a torch for their childhood gaming loves. So what can a fan get out of this? I’d say the equivalent of a one-night stand. Satisfying and enjoyable but it certainly won’t fill that void. Each game is true to its original release, same graphics, sound and presentation. Once you’ve selected a game of choice from the main menu it’s basically like you have the arcade machine in living room, even down to the flashing ‘insert coin’ text. Brilliant… or hang on. Say I was a hardcore SNK fan, I know for a fact I would love to see these classic games with good makeover. Such as clear, distortion-free sound

and crispy, juicy graphics. Yeah we all know that the PS2 is not at the forefront of console technology anymore but it’s still a capable machine able to be used for something more than a doorstop. it can’t be faulted for variety with some of the more notable games on the compilation being: Fatal Fury, “Samurai Showdown”, Last Resort, Metal Slug and King of Fighters ’94. As well as football and baseball games to balance it out. The fault comes is that it feels very slapdash; I don’t get the feeling of any passion or extensive thought put into this title. If you have never heard of any of these games, stay away, there is nothing for you here. This is a game for fans only. The games are there just as you remember them, but for some that may be the problem. This was a wasted opportunity to attract new fans. A nice idea but ultimately flawed by its execution. Liam Charalambous

digital@gairrhydd.com / 39


30 / arts@gairrhydd.com


music

inmusicthisweek

live:elbow

feature:transgressive albums:warmsley

musiceditorial newsinbrief Hail to the Thieves

So it turns out Radiohead's supposedly liberal approach to the release of In Rainbows, was in fact a devious marketing strategy to cater to the bands disgusting capitalist vision. Well, not really, but figures released last week suggest that their cunning sales technique was in fact extremely profitable. The album has sold 3 million copies to date, and Radiohead made more money off In Rainbows than Hail To The Thief even before the physical copy had been released. In the words of Hot Chocolate then, everyone's a winner, as Radiohead make a shit load of money and I get a brilliant record for free.

Forgot about Dre

Nowadays everybody wanna talk like they got something to say, but nothin' comes out when they move their lips, just a buncha jibberish, and motherfuckers act like they forgot about Dre. No, this isn't just me talking jibberish, but in fact the news that everyone's favorite doctor has stepped in to save his good chum Eminem from almost certain failure. With Slim's last two albums being a little on the shady side, the rapper has left production duties in the best of hands with Dr Dre and also rumours of contributions from DJ Premier. Something to keep me busy until forthcoming Dre opus, Detox, anyway.

discoverlocal...

I

t’s fair to say that Cardiff based quintet Fredrick Stanley Star took me a little by surprise. From the opening strumming sounds of album opener 500 Years I had set myself up for a fairly gentle yet pleasant listening experience, but by the track's end it was clear I hadn’t given the band anywhere near enough credit. Not that this isn’t a tender and pleasant album for the most part, but there’s a whole lot of drama

Peel Express What's that pulling into Liverpool's South Parkway train station? Why it's legendary DJ John Peel! No not that John Peel silly, the brand-spanking-new train which has been named after him and recently launched on 23rd October. So apparently Peel once liked a song that mentioned a train, so the good people at Merseytravel made the logical connection and named one of the bloody things after him. A kind gesture, sure, but I can't be the only one that thinks there are other things in this world that Peel would rather put his name to? Still, if my train rides of the future are soundtracked by The Fall and The Undertones, I'll travel happily.

Fredrick Stanley Star. Heaviside Layer. Shape

squeezed into Heaviside Layer that I was completely unprepared for. The bar has been set high in this market, saturated with folk music of a similar vein, but few bands have delivered with this much style. Gospel-like vocals are massively important throughout, soaring over the varied instrumentation bringing to mind counterparts Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver. Such esteemed comparisons don’t come lightly, but Fredrick Stanley

Star’s experimental, lo-fi approach to the genre remains a pleasure for the albums modest half hour length. Released via Shape Records (home to attack+defend), Fredrick Stanley Star come highly recommended for those looking to avoid the more insipid, uninspiring artists in the same mould. It seems you don’t even have to leave your doorstop for a slice of avant-garde tinged folk at its euphoric best. KE

music@gairrhydd.com / 41


music

albums albums albums albums DEERHUNTER Microcastle

DEPARTMENT OF EAGLES

In Ear Park

DARTZ Village Of Alnerique

Kranky

4AD

Xtra Mile Records

fter leaking way back in April, it was no secret that Bradford Cox and co. had produced what would become one of the year’s best albums, and with the prospect of the New Year just around the corner, Microcastle – Deerhunter’s lethargic, understated masterpiece – will no doubt be gracing that musical pedestal come this winter. Essentially, it's a record detailing absolute resignation that succeeds with striking simplicity and elegance; it’s a collection of pop songs hidden in hypnotic ambience and minimalism. Mirocastle always feels like it could fall apart under it’s own heavy-heartedness, but it's within these same overtones of fragility that its reluctant beauty lies. While it may take some effort on the listener’s behalf - as the finest of albums typically do - the final affects are inspiring. It may not be immediate, but Microcastle is a grower in the true sense of the word, and repeated listens go well rewarded. Phil Guy

ormerly known as Whitey on the Moon UK, the now (slightly) better named Department of Eagles return with an intimate collection of songs detailing the childhood experiences of band member Daniel Rossen. Anyone familiar with Grizzly Bear, another more recent project of Rossen, will immediately feel at home amongst the carefully arranged verses and jaunty rhythms found on In Ear Park. Department of Eagles' fondness for a densely layered sound, created with a variety of instruments and samples, is apparent throughout. Songs such as Phantom Other and Waves of Rye move from sparse, meandering passages to grandiose crescendos. No One Does It Like You, a particular highlight, more than faintly echoes The Beach Boys with its blissed-out, sun kissed feel and catchy bass line. A repetition of ideas, albeit interesting ones, is possibly the only thing that holds this album back. Danial Wayte

A

Deerhunter

9

F

42 / gairrhyddmusic@gmail.com

8

T

eesside dance punk three piece drop the “!” (previously “DARTZ!”) and find their delicate side for this concept album. The first thing that hits you when listening to this album is that the vocals are incredibly soft throughout. This, coupled with the often abrasive tone of the guitar, leaves much of the lyrics barely discernable, and if you do put in the effort to make them out you don’t feel suitably rewarded. Just when the vocals are almost becoming too much effort to listen to, pity is taken in the form of What Happens to Places Where Spaces Should Be and Embers, which are instrumental tracks near the tail end of the album and serve to remind you that the drumming and bass playing aren’t incompetent, and are sometimes the closest the album gets to memorable. These elements, however are simply overshadowed by the weak vocals. Andrew Coulson

5


music

Bloc Party

albums albums albums albums

How We Became

FRANÇOIS VIROT Yes Or No

BLOC PARTY Intimacy

Transgressive

Half Machine Records

Wichita

uch was expected of Jeremy Warmsley when he burst onto the scene five or so years ago like a nerdy British version of Conor Oberst. Given the hype, therefore, he can only consider it a disappointment that the reviews of his debut album The Art of Fiction were mixed at best. At times, this follow-up release appears to share the faults of its predecessor. Warmsley shows off his production skills at the detriment of the descriptive, story-telling lyrics which characterise his strongest efforts. Thankfully, however, this album shows more variety to his repertoire. Although recent single Lose My Cool suggests that he may not have learned from his mistakes, the Londoner adds an unexpected change of pace with tracks like the inventive and upbeat Dancing With the Enemy. Such diversity is surprising given the tendency of some of his music to drag, but it looks like Jeremy Warmsley is finally managing to harness the unquestionable talent which he has at his disposal. A definite improvement on the first album, and hopefully a sign of things to come. Tom Victor

he first thing you notice about this French mans album, is that he doesn’t sound very French. Hailing from Lyon, François Virot’s debut Yes Or No features one man and his guitar, occasionally accompanied by his hand-clapping brother. Despite Virot being a drummer by trade, he has managed to knock out a jaunty little record which wouldn’t be out of place backing an advert selling mobile phones or something of the like. Opening with the frantic and clapfilled Not The One, succeeds in ringing you into a world stuffed full of lo-fi acoustic and near abstract lyrics. The songs continue to melt through one another until Cascade Kisses slows it all down with a simple yet delicate intro, backed by howling vocals a certain Mr. Martin might be proud of. Things turn a little joyful akin to The Shins' classic guitar pop when the up-coming single Say Fiesta cracks in leaving you feeling instantly warm like a cup of hot choc. With a recent upsurge in Folkie artists possessing a penchant for introspective songwriting, FV will nestle nicely in upholding the singer songwriter standards. Tom Coyle

JEREMY WARMSLEY

M

7

T

6

W

ell fuck me sideways! The most exciting and clever and brilliant band are back baby! Bloc Party return, supposedly having grown some balls after their limp dick of a second album in order to try and claw back fans of their earlier, more testosto-rocky, tracks. However, here's some sand for your vagina, Bloc-heads; because this record is really not the amazing opus to love and loss set to the sounds of futuristic tank warfare or Greek gods fucking that Bloc Party are clearly gunning for. Clearly all the chin-stroking Guardianistas are positively jizzing themselves over the prospect of a young black guy being pseudo-intellectual, but I've always considered Bloc Party to be the stupid person's Clever Person band, and GCSE Classics references to Greek and Roman Gods smack of the worst kind of snobbery; snobbery by people who don't know why they look down on the people that they do. So, one for the crashing dullards blithely deriding 'chavs', but who themselves have all the intellectual integrity of a gone-off yoghurt. Your average Bloc Party fan, then. Ben Marshall

4

gairrhyddmusic@gmail.com / 43


music

live live live live live live live ELBOW Great Hall 10/09/08

P

I think it's that Elbow simply aren't a band given to sheer exuberance. They're melancholic, understated, occasionally grand but never quite content. One Day Like This may have rightly received vast amounts of airplay, but its glorious optimism doesn't at all fit with the introspection of their earlier music. I'd hate to begrudge Elbow their new-found success and perceived happiness. But until they have enough songs that actually fit their mood, couldn't they just go back to being miserable? Jamie Thunder

energetic set. Straight from the off, it is clear why the band are being tipped for success by the likes of the NME; their brand of infectious dance pop mayhem, whilst definitely not a first, is highly polished for a band so young. The set is made up of many synth filled, guitar-laden numbers; many of which have only featured live four or so times. The radio friendly Letting Go is saved until the end, and apparently it sounds 'a bit like ABBA', according to frontman Fred Davis.

Davis is keen to make light of the fact that this is the bands first time in Cardiff, and that they didn’t know what to expect; it is clear that they had nothing to fear though as the majority of onlookers are kept pogoing throughout. Before finishing up Davis proudly announces that they’ll definitely be returning– once they have written some more songs, that is. So if you’re looking for a dance, then Team Waterpolo are certainly up for providing the soundtrack. Toby Rattray

Elbow

photo: Ryan Atkinson

robably the best band ever to be named after a body part, Elbow's rise to the top has been as gradual and slowburning as their music. Until, that is, their Mercury Music Prize victory earlier this year, which saw them finally achieve the official

recognition they deserve. Yet faced with a capacity crowd at the Great Hall, they don't quite deliver. It's not that their Mercury Prize win has made them complacent; they're certainly not just going through the motions. Guy Garvey's voice is as richly Mancunian and emotive as ever, and I've never wanted to buy a man a pint as much as I do him. The setlist's fine, too. Even without the chanting Forget Myself, there's a good mix of old and new. It's just that throughout their set, something seems to be lacking.

TEAM WATERPOLO Barfly 09/10/08

F

rom the back of the Barfly the wail of an air raid siren can be heard. Strangely, instead of heading for cover people disjointedly make their way to the scene of the chaos, as Team Waterpolo bomb into their

44 / music@gairrhydd.com


music

Glam Chops

live live live live live live live

THE STRANGLERS Solus

CAJUN DANCE PARTY

The Point

GLAM CHOPS UWIC

16/10/08

06/10/08

09/10/08

t’s Thursday night and the Union is filling with not just students but also middle-aged people and balding heads. An oddity in most circumstances but not tonight: The Stranglers are playing. A band that has been together for over thirty years. However, the band’s age certainly does not interfere with the gargantuan amount of energy that is ever-present during their set. From the first minute they take to the stage until the two encores, the whole room is jumping with total adoration for songs that have stood the test of time and kicked it hard in the balls. From the mellow Golden Brown, to the unique edgy rock of Nice ‘N’ Sleazy the band have uncompromising showmanship and tight musicianship which is spawning vigorous power that captures the audience and makes the fists pound and the feet jump. They have the energy of any band in their twenties and have a set that has never aged. I felt buzzed and exhilarated from witnessing it. Here’s hoping they carry on playing for another thirty years. Roddy Waldren

here’s an antique charm to The Point that provides a sharp contrast to the youthfulness of London tykes Cajun Dance Party and, of course, their audience tonight. This doesn’t detract from the bands own charm, encapsulated by their quirky, bittersweet indie pop, even though - upon first impression - some of the members look like they should be doing their A-levels. To be fair though, the texture and musicality of their songs is their strong point. In a world polluted by insipid radio fodder like The Fratellis and The Pigeon Detectives, I cannot convey how reassuring it is to feel that Cajun have something a little different. I mean there’s the raw material of something truly special in songs like Amylase and The Race, both of which blossom with character and melody. Even new songs like Talk To Me and Train Song are strikingly assertive examples of what happens when occasionally pop goes right, evoking unanimous nods of approval from the crowd. In short, this is great stuff from a promising upcoming band. Matt Wright

n first sight you’d be forgiven for thinking that Glam Chops coated in face paint, multi coloured spandex and 4 inch sparkly heels were some kind of escapees. You’d be right; their front man Eddie Argos (of Art Brut fame) has left his Top of the Pops dreams behind and dived head first into the frighteningly colourful world of glam rock. Playing the small yet garish UWIC Tommys Bar, the 10 members of Glam Chops appear to be more than the stage can handle. But as the dancers squeeze on stage the venue fosters Chops' talent for thrills and fun. Guitarists pushed perilously close to the front of the stage pluck out chunky chords making the crowd jive and bob. While feet move automatically to the music the lyrics of Ready Eddie bubble laughter out of an already grinning crowd. On first glance Glam Chops appear to be all about the visual impact but two days later when I found myself singing “don’t be glum be glam”, I knew Glam Chops had the songs to match. Nick Yates

I

T

O

music@gairrhydd.com / 45


music

Listings

singlesoftheweek

Monday 27th Vessels @ Buffalo The Rifles @ Bristol Thekla

Tuesday 28th

Thursday 30th The Week That Was @ Clwb Fleet Foxes @ SU, Bristol The Walkmen @ Bristol Thekla

No Age

Frank Turner @ SU, Bristol Goldfrapp @ Colston Hall, Bristol

No Age

9

Friendly Fires

7

Friday 31st

Teen Creeps Sub Pop

Vampire Weekend @ Bristol Academy

So it's the Shred Yr Face Tour tomorrow night in Bristol, and it's going to be fucking A. Chances are that LA duo No Age will thrash out this bad boy at some point, and I for one will be the happiest of chappies. PG

This glitzy sugar bomb of an ode to the French capital shows that Friendly Fires know how to execute a trendy sound with guillotine precision- just not in a way that’s revolutionary. MW

Esser

Pint Shot Riot

Sunday 2nd Neon Neon @ Millenium Centre Slayer @ CIA

Monday 3rd Bryan Adames @ CIA Eugene McGuinness @ Louisiana,

Thursday 6th Rancid @ SU Nizlopi @ Clwb

Friday 7th Katie Melua @ CIA Red Light Company @ Barfly MGMT @ Bristol Academy Sigur Ros @ Colston Hall, Bristol

Saturday 8th Leonard Cohen @ CIA Mr Scruff @ Bristol Academy

Sunday 9th Grammatics @ Barfly Don Cabellero @ The Croft, Bristol Noah & The Whale @ Bristol Thekla

46/music@gairrhydd.com

6

Satisfied Transgressive

Paris XL Recordings

Holes Life In The Big City

3

You might expect Esser to be weird, but not in this way. The confused instrumentation and out-of-place handclaps add intrigue to a straightforward pop-song, although not enough to lift it above the mediocre. TV

Apparently they got the band name by scrolling through options on predictive text, and it's tempting to believe that they got these ridiculous cod-Enemy lyrics in a similar fashion. Oh dear. ED

Destructors 666

Times New Viking

Geistbahn Split EP Rowdy Farago

5

Call And Respond Matador

8

A fun forgettable powerchord fest, dumb lyrics, theatrical drum fills and laughable artwork. A set of neanderthal anthems that clumsily display their lack of originality with endearing enthusiasm. DS

Times New Viking have hit upon a winning formula and they're sticking to it; gloriously fuzzy guitars and strained female vocals are coated in a cool lo-fi production. You do the math. KE

LC!/NA/TNV

Dan Black

Shred Yr Face 7" Self-Released

8

Consisting of a remix of Los Campesinos, a cover from Times New Viking and a minute or so of noise from No Age, this sounds like a pretty shoddy prospect. But it’s not, it’s good. XP

Young A&M

7

A track packed with infectious lyrics and an equally contagious bass line, an unorthodox collaboration of electro-pop meets hip hop. Dubbed the new Calvin Harris? Not acceptable in the naughties. SJM


music

a bluffer’s guide to...

Transgressive

Dom Kehat charts the history of the exciting London imprint Transgressive, looking at artists from the label's past, present and future...

O

nly really cool people start labels. Only ridiculously cool 20 year olds start labels as cutting edge and successful as Transgressive Records. Back in 2004 two guys, Tim and Toby, met at a Bloc Party gig in London. Far from being ordinary members of the audience, Tim was in fact releasing the band’s debut single on his first label, and Toby was putting on the gig itself. United by music they became close friends and formed a label; and thus Transgressive was born. Their aim was to make the Transgressive name synonymous with originality and talent. Their first release came in the form of The Subways ‘1am’, a band that have received much critical and popular acclaim. Their recent album ‘All or Nothing’ (released on Warner Brothers records) experienced great commercial success, and all of this thanks to the faith of two blokes in a pub in East London. Today the label work alongside Warner Brothers in what is essentially an A&R role. They find the major label two acts a year to sign, allowing artists to have both the financial backing of Warner together with the enthusiasm and knowledge associated with indie labels. Transgressive continues to release singles and the odd LP under its own name, and some of the most successful bands in today’s charts have at one point been under the loving wing of Tim and Toby. Not bad going really.

Larrikin Love A band who fused elements of folk, blue grass and reggae with a

traditional indie rock sound. Despite only existing for a little under two years, Larrikin Love gained a loyal bordering on obsessive following. Larrikin Love released their first, and sadly last album ‘The Freedom Spark’ on Warner Records in 2006, thanks to the consultancy deal between the major and Transgressive, whom had released a single for the band previously.

Foals This Oxford based band released their much anticipated debut album ‘Antidotes’ in March, on Transgressive, reaching the 3rd position in the UK charts. Most unexpected considering their highest reaching single position to date is 26 with Cassius. Unapologetically intelligent, and almost as equally unapologetically pretentious, the band, lead by Oxford University drop out Yannis, are extremely varied with influences; from the iconic American new wave band Talking Heads to minimalist composer Steve Reich.

Jeremy Warmsley The new(er) kid on the Transgressive block, Jeremy Warmsley has already got the media talking with his raw lyrics and vocals that seem to both strain and soar giving songs an element of emotion that’s easy to relate to. His new album, ‘How We Became’, features my all time favourite Warmsley song ‘Lose My Cool’. It’s a self consciously sexy song, he sings with such conviction you can’t help smile at the honesty of it all, and love him ever the more for it.

music@gairrhydd.com / 47


film

film news . rumours . conjecture SHIVER ME TIMBERS, IT'S ZAC SPARROW! Teen heartthrob and acting behemoth Zac Efron is onboard for a role in the as yet untitled forth instalment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. After graduating high school this autumn, reports suggest that Efron was reluctant to continue into higher education, prompting Disney to offer the rising star $10 million to appear in their latest swashbuckling adventure, which is due to start filming next yarrr. The news comes just days after Johnny Depp signed up to reprise his role as Captain Jack Sparrow for the princely sum of $32 million, a vast amount even by Hollywood standards.

FACEBOOK: THE MOVIE As Facebook continues to take over our lives (and in the process, the world) the bright folk over at Columbia have gone and green lit a feature film centered on the social networking site. Recently announced as ‘in production’, the biopic will focus around the company’s founder and creator Mark Zuckerberg and will be written by Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, A Few Good Men). Users of the site have already formed a 2,500 strong group of fans all looking to get a slice of the action, with requests stretching from minor roles to co-writing credits.

SAW: THE RIDE To continue the trend of nonsensical news stories this week, Thorpe Park have announced plans for a Saw themed ride called, um, SAW – The Ride. Scheduled to open spring 2009, the world’s first horror movie rollercoaster will feature the steepest freefall drop in the world at a staggering 100ft. Pitting hapless riders against Jigsaw himself, this promises to be an unnerving experience which will satisfy even the most diehard adrenaline junkies. The series, which returns with a fifth instalment this year, is one of the most popular horror franchises of all time, having already grossed over $555 millionworth of box office revenue. QT'S BASTERDS BEGIN THIER MISSION On a more pleasing note, Quentin Tarantino’s WWII epic is finally underway, as shooting began in Germany this month. Inglourious Basterds (and no, that’s not a typo) sees the king of cool team up with the likes of Brad Pitt, Mike Myers, Eli Roth and Diana Kruger, who head a cast of talented up-and-comings. Despite initial rumours, it appears this will not be a remake of Enzo Castellari’s 1978 War classic The Inglorious Bastards. Perhaps then, Tarratino’s apparently inaptly spelt title is not so much homage as it is intentional estrangement.

48 /film@gairrhydd.com

This week: Top 5 Movie Presidents, p. 55


film

igor dir: tony leondis cast: john cusack, steve buscemi, eddie izzard, john cleese out now, 87 mins Synopsis: Igor (Cusack) attempts to fulfil his dreams of winning the annual Evil Science Fair whilst simultaneously striving to prevent his nemesis, Dr. Schadenfreude (Izzard), from stealing Eva, his new creation.

A

n empty cinema theatre isn’t usually a promising sign, especially on an opening weekend but, hey ho, let’s give it a chance. After all, a film featuring John Cusack, Steve Buscemi and Eddie Izzard can’t be all bad, surely? Set in the land of Malaria, inhabited by evil scientists and their putupon servants, 'Igors', Igor follows one particular 'Igor' who aspires to become an evil scientist himself. When his boss, Dr. Glickenstein (Cleese), snuffs it, he finally realises his ambitions. Cue much evil-doing and soul-searching as Igor realises that ‘It’s better to be a good nobody than an evil somebody’. The problem with Igor is that it simply isn’t very funny. The jokes seem laboured, desperately trying to highlight that Malaria is an ‘evil’ land full of ‘evil scientists’ intent on ‘inflicting evil on the world’. You get the picture. Besides, isn’t this supposed to be a PG? The pedigree of the vocal cast is one of the few saving graces: Cusack makes the title character endearing enough to root for, aided by Molly Shannon as Eva, Igor’s creation-gone-good. Buscemi is excellent as Scamper, Igor’s suicidal yet immortal rabbit invention, providing the few moments of hilarity. Additionally there are amusing turns from Eddie Izzard and Jay Leno. Overall, Igor isn’t bad. It’s simply mediocre. Despite possessing a strong cast, the film still manages to disappoint due to its cumbersome pacing and heavily contrived storyline. It desperately tries to fill the eerie-yet-amusing niche already filled by the far superior Nightmare Before Christmas, but fails badly. Steve Wright

**

eagle eye dir: d.j. caruso cast: shia lebeouf, michelle monaghan, billy bob thornton out now, 118 mins Synopsis: Perennial action hero Shia LeBeouf stars as Jerry Shaw, who upon returning from work finds himself the patsy in a terrorist plot. Framed, and stalked over the phone by a sinister disembodied voice, our hero has no choice but to submit to the terrorists’ demands as he and his female love interest are led down a treacherous path to their, and America’s, inescapable doom.

M

arketed as a vague conspiracy thriller, Eagle Eye appears totally unremarkable until its central (preposterous) premise is laid bare in the second half of the film. I hesitate to spoil it here, but this is actually sci-fi, rather than just

implausible. Those expecting a realistic, thoughtful take on the ethics of a surveillance society could spend their time better than this; those with lower expectations such as myself could do much worse. Eagle Eye takes its antagonist’s all-seeing omnipotence to the limit, throwing outrageous set pieces and techno-fantasism around with little regard for ordinary laws of physics or narrative restraint. It isn’t as blasé as Transformers, but, thank goodness, it’s a lot better scripted and characterised, to the ensemble casts' credit. It also boasts a surprisingly selfeffacing look at American foreign policy, and a female protagonist who isn’t just eye-candy. So perhaps there is some intelligence to be found here, after all. Sadly, the film drags a little near the end, overcomplicating things and outstaying its welcome by about half an hour. Tolerate that, and you have two hours of entertaining trash on your hands. George Carpenter

***

film@gairrhydd.com / 49


film

dir: matteo garrone cast: salvatore abruzzesse, simone sacchettino, vincenzo fabrincino out now, 137 mins Synopsis: Based on the bestselling novel of the same name, Gomorra follows five stories which are woven together into a shocking expose of the Camorra; a massive criminal organisation based in Naples.

Y

ou’d be forgiven for never having heard of the Camorra before; I certainly hadn’t. But over the past thirty years they have murdered 4,000 peo-

50 /film@gairrhydd.com

ple; more than any other terrorist group or criminal organisation in the world. Their enterprises range from traditional mafia activities such as drug dealing, to textiles and toxic waste disposal, with business estimated at 150 Billion Euros annually. Matteo Garrone brings this untold story to the silver screen with brutal honesty, excluding the glamorisation you’ve seen in every other mafia movie. The film shifts between five different stories, each one with their own heartbreaking tale to tell about the realities of life under the Camorra. Much of the action is centred around a crumbling suburban tenement block. This relic of sixties modernism provides a hostile environment for the narrative to unfold in and with its raised

gangways and sustained ambience of dread renders the daily lives of its inhabitants akin to that within a prison, both literally and metaphorically, as two cocky youths live out

garrone’s gritty documentary style gives this story a visceral reality which is incredibly affecting

gomorra

their gangster fantasies recreating a scene from Scarface in this impoverished reality. It’s as if Garrone is raising a middle finger to every director who has


film

burn after reading dir: joel & ethan coen cast: george clooney, brad pitt, frances mcdormand out now, 95 mins Synopsis: Two gym co-workers, Chad (Pitt) and Linda (McDormand) discover a disc of what they assume to be precious intelligence lost by CIA-man Osbourne Cox (Malkovich). The chaotic journey that follows is a string of sex, lies, paranoia and some very funky treadmill-dancing.

F

ollowing on from noteworthy critical acclaim and Oscar success with your last motion picture is never going to be particularly easy. Especially when your next cinematic treat is billed as "a high stakes, low life, mid-level CIA thriller" with some of Hollywood's finest names lining

52 /film@gairrhydd.com

up to star as some of your most moronic characters yet. And yet the Coens have apparently done it again: they've taken a film that will leave you both bewildered and baffled, though with a perhaps unsatisfying end, and made it a genius piece of commentary on the stupidity of humanity and the subtlety of consumerism. Both Clooney and McDormand's performances are completely magnetising, but it is Pitt's Gatoradeswilling, iPod-shuffling Chad who steals the show with sweeping hilarity and wonderful parody of his public persona. Malkovich and Swinton also perform with near moronic-perfection, but it is the lack of heart that makes it so difficult to really relate to any of these characters. Without any real sense of attachment, there is a distinct emptiness at the film's core that is hard to shake off. But then again, perhaps this is the point. Many critics have complained that Burn After Reading has not much to say about anything at all, but arguably its true brilliance lies in

its ability to give the impression that this is the case. In reality, this dark half-comedy, half-thriller has a lot to say about contemporary society and the apparent losers who live within it, shamelessly exploiting others for their own personal gain and aimlessly bumbling through life with only material possessions or sex as a mark of satisfaction. That said, the Coens' story, pointless as it may or may not be, is wonderfully funny and beautifully constructed, underpinned with flashes of comic violence and a truly terrific script. By the end, there is a slight uneasy feeling of pointlessness to the whole affair that is hard to overcome: instead all that is left is confusion and stupidity - a hangover left by our own society. And therein lies the genius of Burn After Reading. It may be a pointless tale of stupidity, but it is the most intelligent, amusing ones you will see in a very, very long time. Francesca Jarvis

****


film

LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN Just 9 months after the release of Oscar-winning No Country for Old Men, Francesca Jarvis takes a look at how the Coen brothers managed to turn Hollywood's elite into grade-A jerks in spectacular style.

F

irst there was Everett in O Brother, Where Art Thou?, then Miles in Intolerable Cruelty. Now, 5 years on, the Coens have transformed Hollywood's most eligible bachelor into an absolute moron for the third and final time. Harry Pfarrer is George Clooney's last stint in his self-confessed "Idiot Trilogy", and it would seem both the actor and his Moron Mentors, the Coen brothers, are as delighted as the audience in witnessing the transformation from Fox to Fool in their latest film, Burn After Reading. The character in question this time around is a victim of his own stupidity, indulging in internet dating and an interesting scenario involving a questionable 'dildo-chair'. Yes, it is as bizarrely sadistic as it sounds.

Bear in mind this is the same man who appeared in the hard-hitting thrillers Syriana and Michael Clayton, and the parody becomes even more wickedly ironic. On top of George's Harry, the Coens butcher one of Clooney's most famous A-List buddies: Mr Brad Pitt. Appearing as Chad Feldheimer, Pitt epitomises 'Doofus' in every sense of the word. The two, put together, are as far removed from their Oceans Trilogy characters as perhaps physically possible: Chad has impossibly bad hair, a hyperactive nature, an evil stare that leaves much to be desired and a brain the size of a chickpea. Harry is similarly as redundant, sports a sleazy gold chain and has stock chat-up lines. It's pure Coen idiocy gold, and it works tremendously.

It is enormously refreshing to witness two of the world's most salivated over stars mocking their public image with the help of the ever-capable Coens' quick wit and ironic sense of humour. There is a distinct pretentious air of hypocrisy amongst some of the Hollywood elites, mocked most recently in Ben Stiller's Tropic Thunder by both Tom Cruise and Robert Downey Jnr. Achieved with much more subtlety in Burn After Reading, the Hollywood parody still shows audiences that actors are human too: they can laugh at themselves, they can rip the piss, poke fun and they can have wicked fun while doing it. If there is one thing that critics of Burn After Reading take away from the film, it is that the "Idiot Trilogy" ended with a fantastic bang.

film@gairrhydd.com / 53


film

CALLING A

THE

SHOTS ROGER

DEAKINS 54 /film@gairrhydd.com

s c r e e n i c o n s

midst the special effects laden cinema of the 21st century, there is simply no substitute for the beauty and purity of the art of the cinematographer. The way in which a shot is constructed can transform a respectable film into a cinematic masterpiece. One such cinematographer whose work continues to astonish audiences and filmmakers alike is Roger Deakins. Finding his trade as a still photographer in the 1970s rural Devonshire backcountry, Deakins discovered the world around him through the lens in front of him, and fell in love with what he saw. After travelling the world on various documentary expeditions, Deakins returned home where he soon developed as a renowned British cinematographer. In 1991 he headed west to America where he found work on Joel and Ethan Coen’s Barton Fink. Since then he has become inseparable from the brothers, collaborating with them a further seven times. His eye for the perfect shot and extensive knowledge of setting has adorned him admiration from some of Hollywood’s finest filmmakers. A self admitted purist, Deakins' talent supposes an innateness which has been acknowledged by numer-

ous accolades and nominations; scooping BAFTA’s for The Man Who Wasn’t There and No Country for Old Men respectively. The latter earned him an Oscar nomination for ‘Best Achievement in Cinematography’, a title which has so far proved illusive, after being tipped seven times for the award. Incidentally, Deakins was nominated twice at this years Oscars, where his acclaimed achievements on the beautiful, expressionistic; The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford were overshadowed by There Will be Blood. With a filmography that includes, among others, The Shawshank Redemption, Kundun and O' Brother Where Art Thou? Roger Deakins has established himself as one of the finest cinematographers working in Hollywood today. From the humble pastures of the English countryside, to the vast deserts of the American Mid-west, his illustrious career continues to thrive amidst a cinematic landscape strewn with talented filmmakers and cinematographers. A busy 2009 signals a bright future for a man whose incessant diligence and flair suggests that the best is still yet to come. A. Woodward


film

W

ith the most important US election for decades fast approaching, it seems only fitting to take a moment to look back at some of the most memorable movie presidents past. The candidates are…

JAMES MARSHALL (HARRISON FORD) IN AIR FORCE ONE (1997) After a stirring zero-tolerance to terrorism speech in Moscow, Air Force One is hijacked by (you guessed it) a group of Russian neo-nationalists, who threaten to execute one passenger every half hour unless their demands are met. President Marshall, however, does not negotiate with terrorists. Channelling all of his Viet-vet know-how, he opens up a can of whoop-ass on his Commie adversaries, re-seizing control of his plane and defeating the enemy single-handed. Brave, debonair and down right dangerous, Ford is an all-American, ass-kicking, powerhouse of a president. THOMAS BECK (MORGAN FREEMAN) - DEEP IMPACT (1998) Nowadays, the prospect of an African-American president doesn’t seem so implausible, so perhaps this portrayal has lost some of its original charm. Nevertheless, when the human race is facing extinction at the hands of a seven-mile wide asteroid set on a collision course with Earth, who better than God to calm the panic and devise a plan to save mankind. Most memorable is his public address, which is delivered with integrity and compassion, providing genuine hope to an otherwise doomed nation. MERKIN MUFFLEY (PETER SELLERS) - DR. STRANGELOVE (1964) With the growing reality of the Cold War an ever present concern during the mid sixties, Dr. Strangelove provided the perfect satirical relief to the very serious danger posed at the time. Amidst the threat of nu-

clear crisis, however, this is precisely the man you don’t want in the hot seat. Cripplingly meek and supremely worthless, Peter Sellers’ mockery of a president is so joyously useless that it’s hard to imagine a figure of power like this ever existing, although somehow you fear that they may very well do. JAMES DALE (JACK NICHOLSON) - MARS ATTACKS! (1996) After some particularly hostile aliens invade Earth, President James Dale faces a torrent of tough decisions, none of which he manages to get right. With the fate of the world in his hands, he becomes overwhelmed by his closest personal advisors and consequently leaves it too late in combating the sadistic Martians. A joker of a president he may be, Dale is still perhaps the most likeable leader on this list, with Nicholson exuding all of the immense charisma and wry humour which he has become so famed for. ANDREW SHEPARD (MICHAEL DOUGLAS) - THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT (1995) Putting aside nuclear disaster, alien invasion and the threat of global terrorism, Michael Douglas’s magnificent performance as President

Andrew Shepard is perhaps so memorable because it showcases the true vulnerability of man. In falling for a smart and charming White House lobbyist, the widowed president is forced to face up to his own morality, coming clean to the nation in an emotional and patriotic confession. In humanising the president, this portrait provides a realistic insight into the workings of the American media and the private life of the most powerful man in the world. Words - Adam Woodward Images - Benjamin Phillips

film@gairrhydd.com / 55


30 / arts@gairrhydd.com


film

the mutant chronicles dir: simon hunter cast: thomas jane, ron perlman, john malkovich out now, 111 mins Synopsis: In an apocalyptic future, faced with the ultimate enemy of mankind, a book of chronicles holds the key to redemption. A small team of soldiers goes behind enemy lines in an attempt to destroy the threat. Will they succeed, or will every person on Earth die?

I

ever glamorised the ‘mafia’ way of life, chastising them for giving this violent subculture even a grain of legitimacy. Gomorra is not an easy watch; little attempt is made for you to form a bond with any of its characters and at times it’s hard to follow. When a woman is murdered you struggle to work out the logic behind why she has met her demise, but then you realise that in this world a reason isn’t needed, revenge and machismo are simply more important. Garrone’s gritty documentary style gives this story a visceral reality which is incredibly affecting, and at the film’s finale as a JCB carries two corpses off into the sunset you are left in disbelief that this way of life exists in modern day Europe. Guy Ferneyhough

****

t’s the year 2707, which looks curiously like 1942. An ancient machine has been uncovered which mutates all it comes into contact with. A team of intensely one-dimensional soldiers are recruited to die horribly in an entertaining fashion, while spouting god-awful dialogue and conforming to stereotypes. The cinematography is good, in a sort of Sin City-esque limited colour palette and some great action scenes. There are some good ideas, set in a steampunk-style future where perpetual war is the order of the day, and the absence of a highly technological future sets it apart from most. The plot isn’t totally ridiculous, and would have promise if it was made correctly, it’s just a pity that so many mistakes are made. There are obvious continuity errors throughout the film and the universe is just not consistent. These grating mistakes could be ignored if the rest were any good, but the low quality of script just cannot redeem the film. The dialogue is almost entirely awful and provides no character development and absolutely no reason to care about any of the characters. Apparently the film has been released in an unfinished form, which would explain some aspects of it, but even in a finished form I cannot imagine the dialogue improving. If you want to do the dirty in a cinema, go see this, because you’ll be the only ones there. Richard Wood

**

the rocker dir: peter cattaneo cast: rainn wilson, christinna applegate, jason sudekis out now, 102 mins Synopsis: Youthful, glam guitarist Robert ‘Fish’ Fishman (Wilson) is rejected from his band when they oust him for a recording contract. Twenty years later, an ageing Fish re-ignites his dreams of stardom when he joins his tubby nephew’s whiny indie band, ADD.

I

f this concept is sounding all a bit familiar, that’s because it is. The Rocker emulates the far superior School of Rock in content, cast and style, yet falls seriously short of the mark. Whilst Rainn Wilson’s slapstick performance provides occasional laughs, it fails to attract any real engagement or involvement with the character. His pug-like face is so reminiscent of Jack Black, I couldn’t help but to think of Wilson as some kind of weak impersonator. Josh Gad and Emma Stone take believable turns as Fish’s band mates, but are unfortunately let down by real life singer-songwriter Teddy Geiger, whose performance reeks of conscious arrogance that is all too common amongst young starlets enjoying their new found fame. Although his voice delivers, the music the fictional band play is bland at best, rendering the performance scenes painfully drab. A saving grace comes in the form of band manager David (Sudeikis), who through a combination of great writing and impeccable comedic timing provides the majority of the film’s sparsely spaced laughs. Directed by Englishman Paul Cattaneo of The Full Monty fame, I couldn’t help but be gravely disappointed by The Rocker. Here the raw edginess of Cattaneo’s previous work is rejected in favour of meeting the audience's expectations and providing a comfortable ride. In the climactic end, we are all reminded of the importance of friendship, love and keeping it real. For a feel good film.

Jack Doran

**

film@gairrhydd.com / 51



Quench - Issue 72