VOYEUR...4 FEATURES...6 FOOD... 10 BOOKS...14 FASHION...18 Travel...24 PHOTOS...27 LGBT+...30 ARTS...32 MUSIC...36 Film...49
EARLY MORNINGS Greetings from an individual who has relaxed back into the university life in all its habitual normality. The room is sorted, Quench is ticking over, that pointless welcome back speech that all departments insist on running has been begrudgingly attended and to top everything off; the rain has arrived. The year has therefore officially begun. I was very much at a loss as to what to write about in this wee editorial- the last issue was simple; chat a little about Freshers and it was bound to be of mild interest to at least a third of the student body. Alas now time has gone by, and I have little doubt that any reference to Freshers won’t be so willing received. With the start of term comes two things. Firstly, early starts and secondly a feeling of guilt. The former only afflicts those who were foolish enough to enter into an intense degree- medics, engineers and all those who talk of ‘lab’ time can be seen at the crack of dawn (and by this I mean 8.45am) stumbling to various buildings bleary eyed and mentally reminding themselves of the high paying career that will be worth such horrific discomfort. At this time, I will be in bed. I will be thanking God, or at the very least my Head of Department for the late starts I have been blessed with and reminding myself that money isn’t everything. A Politics degree is not wholly pointless despite its depressingly low employment rates, I mumble to myself at moments of doubt, learning has worth in and of itself. The latter feeling of guilt comes from exactly those moments in bed. Those moments, which amount to large portions of the day, which are spent drinking tea, watching Louis Theroux documentaries and charity shopping. Moments which we all know, should be spent in the library doing worthwhile, productive things such as reading, learning, expanding the mind and such. But we all need a break in the day, or if we are honest, several, and that is where we hope Quench comes in- a companion on a hungover morning in bed, or welcome respite from intense essay writing. The more people involved the better, no experience needed- so come to our weekly meeting on the 4th floor of the Union, every Monday at 5.30pm. It might not be your degree, but it’s a guilt free way of filling your day. Dom Kehat
Issue 99 October 11
of the Issue Je m’appelle Chloe Alex. I have size 5 (size 4 in heels) feet. Art (and the making there of) is the itch to my scratch; the Vinnie Jones to my Lock Stock. Music inspired art, as my Auntie Fran would say, is magical...so give me a shout if you need an album cover! Chloe has worked on this weeks cover as well as illustrating the LCD Soundsystem interview on page 46. For more of her work go to http://chloealex.weebly.com/
Quench Quickie Its cold time! For preventing the sniffles this term, how about Cider Vinegar – It’s meant to reduce your chances of catching a cold by taking a teaspoon of cider vinegar in a glass of water at breakfast and another with the main meal of the day – every day. The remedy is also beneficial in that it cleanses the palate and helps to break down fats and prevent clogging of the arteries. A (not) sure fire way to stay slim and be clear nosed, what a treat.
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Welcome To The Circus
Roll up! Roll up! As Bristol's Invisible Circus finishes a sell out run, Jack Doran meets the man who started it all.
FEATURES Doug Francis is a fascinating man. I ventured to Bristol on a rainy evening with the goal of getting the story behind The Invisible Circus, I couldn’t have imagined quite how interesting a tale lay before me. Having awkwardly stood outside the Old Fire Station for far too long, I ducked through a gap in a huge metallic fence to reveal the skeleton of something amazing. I had arrived only days before the opening of the circus’ latest show, ‘Carny Ville’, and the place was a hub of activity. Signs being hung, wire cables tinkered, athletic, dreadlocked performers milling about. I found Doug, also known as Doc Francisco, in the bar room. His appearance, surprisingly unbecoming; his nature, relaxed and warm, not the frantic ringmaster I expected. Having found a quiet corner in the sizeable complex, I asked Doug the only question in mind; where it all began. “It was in London, we were working with a group called Conspiracy, doing warehouse parties back in the early nineties.” An unexpected turn, the man I thought to have been brought up in the circus in fact laid his roots in the legendary days of acid house and epic, illegal warehouse raves. He went on to explain the bitter politics between his comrades, one party pushing for the formulaic and profit building, the other yearning for a more interactive, multimedia and circus flavoured experience. When the former denied the latter any funding to realise their dream, Doug scrawled in huge letters ‘The Invisible Circus’ on the warehouse floor, and so, in the absence of any juggling, trapeze or candy floss, it was born. After a couple of years of pursuing this idea of creating vibrant, exciting environments in squatted buildings, Doug took off to Portugal on an offer of casual work. He partnered a juggler named Wim, they travelled around performing street theatre, Doug as a masked mime artist. “I had quite a nice lifestyle down there, doing kind of freestyle type events, and then touring the festivals of Spain, honing our skills on the crowds. Sometimes we harp back to the days of responsibility-free international travel.” It didn’t take long before he received an offer he couldn’t refuse, “Someone we met down there was from New Zealand and said we should come out, no one had seen this crazy mime stuff. I went there in 1997, set up loads of gigs, street circus, theatre, brought the team [from Portugal] over in 1998.” Years of touring the world meant that by 2002, Doug had established a group of creative minds from all over, and Glastonbury Festival proved a chance to bring them all together. The crew put their Invisible Circus sign atop a truck; friends and circus performers from all over the festival came to get involved. It was clearly a proud moment, “That kind of brought it all together as a stage company.” The next three years saw the group's activity escalate, “ [we were] touring outdoor stages round all the festivals. Shambala, Glastonbury, The Big Green Gathering, all the good, alternative music
festivals. In the winters we kept up some international activity, flying to New Zealand, we spent a bit of time in Thailand.” I was surprised to learn that the low-key Invisible Circus had leant itself to such a jet-setting lifestyle, “It was a funny one, because we were skint, but as long as we had enough money for our next plane ticket we were fine. As a street performer you’ve got a gig wherever you go, so you don’t need much money.” Doug clearly remembered these times with a fondness, “everywhere you go you make quite a connection with the local people, and there’s always tourists to play to”. However, he grew tired of the road, of performing to a handful of people at any one time, yearning for a stage and a reach for bigger audiences. I wanted to know what had brought The Invisible Circus to where it is now, the city of Bristol. Doug began by saying 2005 had been a mad year; ‘mad’, it turned out, didn’t quite cover it. “We’d been going to Thailand, we knew people on this island, Koh Phi Phi, that got totalled in the tsunami, so we ended up doing some benefit gigs in London and going over there at the beginning of the year, doing this whole sort of relief mission thing.” I was taken aback, this warehouse rave-organiser, mime artist, ring-leader and full time squatter was, indeed, of great heart, part of humanitarian disaster relief. He managed two trips in Spring, doing fund raising events in between, and returned just in time for Glastonbury. Back to back festivals ensued including flying to the legendary Burning Man festival in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada. Just as the crew arrived at the event, the horrendous Hurricane Katrina made itself known. Naturally, the performers refused to ignore the carnage, “we ended up going on this mission to New Orleans to do relief work. We got as far as Austin, Texas, but we’d burnt ourselves in $1000 dollars debt at this point because our van had broken down. We got offered a gig in Houston, for $1000, to play at this party, so we thought that would save us and we’d be one step closer, then the next hurricane came on shore.” The whole city was evacuated and The Invisible Circus never made their gig, stuck in Austin, they performed shows and did workshops for kids, raising money for the relief effort. Having returned to London, their crew had dispersed, their squat had been shut down, Doug and his girlfriend had £15 between them and nowhere to go. Their projects had proved too difficult to get off the ground in London, it was time for fresh pastures. A friend of theirs was driving to Cornwall, they hopped aboard, jumping ship in the city of Bristol. “We knew there was a big circus community in Bristol and a big theatre community also, so we thought fuck it, let’s give it one last try.” A printing press at the rear of a squatted property was the first West Country home for the group. The existing residents had earned a lot of heat from the police having thrown hectic parties, and were happy for a more creative, less rowdy use of the space. firstname.lastname@example.org
FEATURES Two small-scale cabaret shows down the line and the printing press’ inhabitants were served their eviction notice. Thankfully, only over the road lived a disused Audi garage and four-storey car-park. It was huge and in a terrible state. Stuck without a home, let alone a performance space, there was no choice, the garage became home out of necessity. The established group of ten snowballed, people coming for days and weeks at a time, helping turn the mess into a space for performance. A lot of work later, and The Invisible Circus presented The Road To Nowhere, the first site specific party on a huge scale. Doug’s dream had been realised. Different people were drawn in to take control of different areas of the huge building; a truly multi-media, multi-sensory circus party. I was curious as to how the project worked, not least in terms of legality. What did the building’s owners think of their space being taken over? “Well initially they were a bit frosty as people always are when you occupy their property, once they found out our intentions, found out we were quite reasonable people, they realised that we’d save them about £40 000 in securing the place, and that wouldn’t have worked anyway.” A casual agreement was put in place, the crew were to keep the garage safe from harm, they would be free from eviction until the end of the year. The group were careful to always stay on the right side of the law, “In squat land it’s a lot less of a consideration usually, but if you’re going to bring 200 people into a place, and take them on some kind of crazy experience, you’ve got to make sure no one’s going to get electrocuted or fall down holes, that kind of stuff.” The police didn’t take long to turn up, Doug laughs as he recounts the police shouting, “Is this a rave? Is this a rave”, and replying politely, “No! This is a theatre performance”. Having established themselves as friendly, and of honest intentions, the police didn’t cause any more bother. A string of further occupations and evictions, including a six week stay in a comedy club, and The Invisible Circus found themselves craving a legal space in which to perform. I was interested to hear that rather than squatting carrying the message and being an integral part of the fabric, they in fact had always sought to find a legitimate home. Doug explained, “that was always part of our campaign to negotiate with owners, to find big, under-used places, to let creative things happen in them.” They had their eyes on a building that would prove the most ambitious to date, a cathedral in Clifton. With permission from the owners, a mammoth seven-month clean up operation was undertaken, and the building was fit for performance. Rather than keep things simple,
Doug decided to offer the cathedral to other groups in Bristol, creating a festival programme. “It was basically everyone who hadn’t received funding”, art exhibitions, theatre and circus performance were all offered in the incredible space. Having developed into a legitimate company, I wondered if Doug and his team were being paid for what sounded like a huge deal of work. “That was the thing, we hoped to have a profit share. We figured we could have some big events, get five hundred or a thousand capacity. We then couldn’t do that [due to fire regulations]. The profit share ended up being about £400 each, for people who had been there everyday for seven months. It was a really brutal ‘coming to terms with the facts’ kind of moment. It was a heart-breaker for the team, we’d worked so hard, everyone was pretty burned out by the end of it.” Having proved their integrity at the cathedral, Doug and his crew had less difficulty securing their latest home, The Old Fire Station, also known as The Island. Property developers Urban Splash allowed the team in for a year, at no charge, to clear the place up. However, life is never straightforward for The Invisible Circus. “In that time the property market kind of went sideways and they stopped being able to support us.” They bartered a deal to pay £1000 a month, a serious bargain given the huge size of the complex. Another property, another clean up mission, this time taking a whole year, and once again being almost entirely carried out by volunteers. In their third year at the venue, Doug is preparing for the fourth outing of Carny Ville, a project that has earned a reputation as one of the most incredible circus experiences being performed today. He explains how, as the years have gone on, his production team has grown both in size and in competency, the latest show involving over three hundred cast and crew members. Bands and DJs provide the soundtrack as The Invisible Circus take the audience on a journey featuring incredible acrobatics, contortion, juggling and aerial stunts. The climactic finale is no less than a feast for the eyes, flames springing from every crevice, the music blaring. What Doug Francis has achieved is undoubtedly something quite amazing, a community project that has strived against the powers that be, and all the while packing a powerful political message. Carny Ville seems to be an embodiment of everything he stands for; indeed, it could be said to mirror his life, full of colour and vibrancy, unexpected excitement round every corner. So what next of The Invisible Circus? Who knows, Doug certainly doesn’t.
Dumpster diving or a greener way of living?
When stumbling home after a late night out have you ever spotted anybody rummaging around through supermarket bins? Well, neither have I, but it is possibly more popular than you would imagine! The freegan lifestyle is based upon the principles of sharing and anti consumerism; it’s not all about eating out of bins. In fact, many people adopt a freegan lifestyle for political reasons. It’s a protest against how big corporations can get away with wasting so much food in a world where poverty is ripe. Many people believe that freegans are scroungers who can’t afford to buy food, but this simply isn’t true. They strive for a sustainable lifestyle and don’t believe they should bend to the will of our consumer driven existence. I for one agree with them! When you go shopping, you probably don’t buy the food that is about to reach its best before date, but have you ever really contemplated where it all goes? Nobody wants it, so all seventeen million tonnes of it goes straight into a bin. Supermarkets are so busy being in competition with each that they’re not bothered about the waste they produce, only the money they make. The food that freegans take is generally edible; they’re not looking for someone’s left over
dinner. Many freegans pride themselves on a healthy lifestyle, as they tend to eat more natural products instead of fast food and junk food. They take packaged and unspoilt food that has reached its sell by date, but is still completely edible. Do you remember that bruised banana that you didn’t want? Well it turns out nobody else wanted to buy it either! Food is even thrown away if the package is slightly damaged, or if new packaging has been introduced and the old one hasn’t sold quickly enough. Supermarkets may not agree with freeganism, but they generally don’t kick up too much of a fuss about it. Addressing the problem would soon lead to the spotlight being on their environmental damage and waste! After all, how ridiculous does it sound to stop people from stealing what you’ve thrown away? Although I’ve never been ‘skipping’, as it is called, I have to say I agree with the principles behind it. When you think about how much food, especially meat, is wasted, the issue of landfill space soon becomes a very serious one indeed. So the next time somebody asks me if I would like to experience freeganism and ‘skipping’, I might just say yes... Melissa Parry
The decision to jump into a dumpster in search for tonight's dinner is a hard one. Personal intergrity versus a new moral eating habit. Let the debate begin.
understand it. I do. It is, although idealistic, a step in reducing the ridiculous amount of waste that we produce as consumers. I also appreciate that it is free food, and as such is a very attractive practice for students to indulge in. But ‘freeganism’, as it has so wittily been dubbed, is a bit gross really, isn’t it? Although raiding through rubbish bins used to be the reserve of tramps, freeganism has given this method of food procurement new legs, particularly with the thrifty student population on the hunt for a bargain! While it may go some way into combating starvation, landfill, carbon emissions and our wasteful, consumerist nature, perhaps it is not tackling the problem at its source. Moreover, it means suffering crippling embarrassment as you slosh your way around a Biffa bin, knee deep in Tesco tearaways and a bevy of over-ripe fruit. What people fail to realise, however, are the potential inconveniences, dangers and ethical implications that come with their foray into the freegan realm. Pro-freegan websites stress the biological hazards that accompany freegan sourcing mission; trips to the skips should always involve a heavy duty Dr Martin boot and a pair of hardy gloves it seems. One website I read offered some sound advice, explaining that if a packet is puffed up it is most likely a heavy ‘build up of bacteria’. Nice. So, there’s one pearl of freegan wisdom to bear in mind as you contemplate tucking into a slightly
swollen B.L.T sandwich packet with a lumpy Frijj milkshake to wash it down with. Other than the potential gastronomic risk of digesting out of date food, there are the legal ramifications to consider before embarking on a casual jaunt to the bins. Supermarkets are within their legal right to prosecute those who trespass on their land – so you need to ask yourself whether your will to rifle through their waste is so strong that you are willing to risk a hefty fine or prison sentence? Think about it – compromising the integrity of your health and personal freedom is surely just not worth it? It is not purely the risk of salmonella, incarceration or shame that should make you question freeganism, but also the way in which freeganism seems to get bandied about as an easy get-out clause for those who want to make a fuss about consumerist culture but are unwilling to address why so much waste is produced in the first place. Of course the environment will benefit from reduced landfill if freegans get stuck into the rubbish, but perhaps what should come out of the freegan movement is a rigorous assessment of needless slaughter, deforestation and over-farming, further to the government’s obsession with best before dates and uneconomical recycling initiatives. Gavin Jewkes
Thai Food Love Affa
Polly Robinson tells Quench how she shunned culinary ignorance and embraced the local cuisine on a recent trip to Thailand.
This summer two friends and I (named A and B or the sake of this article) embarked on a three week holiday to Thailand, taking with us varying expectations of Thai cuisine. A and I were unconcerned, we are big fans of spice and three weeks of Thai green curry sounded close to bliss. B on the other hand considers Korma too hot to handle and finds the prospect of a week without spag bol a source of acute anxiety. Now I can’t say that our relationship with Thai food was a bed of roses from the start. On the night of our arrival, A and I suggested B try pad Thai, a mildly spiced noodle dish involving eggs, vegetables, and anything else the proprietor feels like chucking in it. Regardless of our best efforts a few mouthfuls left B gasping for water and A and I searching for the nearest spaghetti house (thankfully on Ko San Road this is not as difficult as you might think). Despite this turbulent beginning, as our trip continued our enjoyment of Thai food grew. We started to branch out in the choices we made,
experimenting with the whole curry colour spectrum. It was with some relief that we finally hit upon Brown curry, a sweet and nutty concoction perfect for B’s sensitive pallet. (It should be mentioned at this point that recipes, like the buses in Thailand are somewhat unreliable and that subsequent Brown curries did leave B once again reaching for the water.) Meanwhile, A and I embarked upon a love affair with Tom Yam soup, a spicy tomato broth packed with chilli, ginger and lemongrass accompanied with chicken, prawns or seafood. On which note, if you are squeamish never go for Seafood. A ordered it once by mistake and was traumatised by what could only have been a squid eye peeping up at her. By the end of our three weeks what had begun as a rocky romance had become a fully fledged love affair with Thai cuisine. The best dishes contain an astounding combination of sweet, salty, sour and spicy flavours unlike anything I’ve had in England and I’d strongly recommend you get yourself to Thailand and try them for yourself.
Claiming the Prize In its fifth decade as one of the most prestigious literary awards, the Man Booker Prize is up for grabs once again. On September 7, Sir Andrew Motion, the Chair of Judges, announced the six shortlisted novels that had been selected as potential winners for the 42nd Man Booker Prize. The prize, first awarded to P. H. Newby in 1969, is awarded to the best original full-length novel in the English language, irrespective of genre, by an author from the Commonwealth countries, Ireland or Zimbabwe. Recipients of the award often go on to international success. The winner from the 2009 shortlist, Hilary Mantel, is no exception. Her historical fiction based on the life of Thomas Cromwell, Wolf Hall, has been an international literary sensation. In only ten weeks after winning the prize last year, Mantel sold close to 140,000 copies of her book. By the time of the 2010 shortlist, over half a million copies had sold in the UK alone, a phenomenal achievement for both winner and prize. Wolf Hall altered the stereotypical conventions of her genre – historical fiction – in presenting the majority of the text in the present tense. By establishing the past in the present, Mantel severely distorted the orthodox setting of historical fiction and managed to become a sensation. Not only did winning launch the author onto the international stage, but the popularity of the Man Booker surged. After winning the £50,000 prize, Wolf Hall has been shortlisted for the Costa Books Awards 2009, and the Orange Prize for Fiction 2010. Recently the novel won the inaugural Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction a win that guaranteed a further £25,000. The novel has also won the National Book Critics Circle Award amid a flurry of titles that has lead to Mantel's novel being the most
successful Booker winner in history. Alongside the publication of the 2010 shortlist came two fascinating announcements. The Man Booker Prize App has just been realised, launching the award fully into the 21st century. Alongside this, students will now get the opportunity to fully enjoy the shortlisted novels. 18,000 students from five UK universities – Imperial College, London; Liverpool University; Newcastle University; St. Andrews University and the University of East Anglia – will be required to read at least one of the novels before their terms commence. On the back of the App launch, this initiative truly demonstrates the popularity that the Man Booker is enjoying in contemporary readers. The shortlist this year has been whittled down from hundreds of entrants to just six. The nominations include one of only two men to have won the Man Booker twice – Peter Carey. The Australianborn author first won in 1988 for his novel Oscar and Lucinda and then again in 2001 with True History of the Kelly Gang. The only other double winner is J. M. Coetzee who went on to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Carey is the so far the favourite to win, with Parrot and Olivier in America. Exploring the rise of the American democracy from the perspective of a French aristocratic and an lower-class English guard, his latest novel embraces a wide range of themes pertinent to today: democratic societies, class struggle, and international boundaries through a humanist perspective.
Damon Galgut was originally shortlisted for the prize in 2003 for his bestselling novel The Good Doctor. His new entry, In a Strange Room, is tipped to be an even greater success. A young man embarks on an international journey that will change his life and challenge his place in the world forever; reputedly, the narrative is based on Galgut’s own South African search for identity. Howard Jacobson’s The Finkler Question is also a tale indicative of the quest for true identity. The protagonist, Julian Treslove, is pursued by his own bitter memories until a brutal attack forces him to change. The Long Song follows a slave girl named July, born in Jamaica, who achieves freedom. Coming from Andrea Levy, who won international stardom with her Small Island, this novel is another favourite contender. John Howard’s C is the most philosophical
novel on the shortlist. Centered around the enigmatic Serge Carrefax before and during WWI, human identity is again called into crisis when it encounters a new form: technology. A particularly interesting and innovative novel comes from the youngest author on the shortlist. Aged 40, Emma Donoghue was born in the same year the prize was first awarded. Her first Booker nomination is for Room. The novel charts concepts of Western freedom. Locked in a single room with his mother – known simply as `Ma` - Jack has no idea of there being any world external to his room. One day, he escapes from his captor and experiences a dazzling new world in which freedom is entirely alien to him. The Man Booker Prize 2010 winner will be announced on the 12th October. James Dunn
Reviews Emma Donoghue
The Slap (Tuskar Rock)
Emma Donoghue’s Booker-nominated Room is loosely based on the Josef Fritzl story which recently shocked the world. The forced confinement of a mother and child is the starting point for Donoghue to discuss questions about how we acquire understanding and make sense of the world around us. The child, five-year-old Jack, is the focus of the story, with his account of life in the only world he has known, Room. This is pitched against his mother’s, who has had exposure to the outside world: she was kidnapped as a nineteen-year-old college student, and raped by a prison visitor. The novel’s themes and narrative are, broadly speaking, split into outside and inside the room: the problems that occur from being inside the room and wanting to be outside, and the anxiety of confronting an alien and at times incomprehensible world. For fans of: Cormac MacCarthy’s The Road, Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake Kevin Jones
The Slap follows a group of Melbourne suburbanites whose lives are irrevocably changed when a man slaps an unruly child at a garden party. The parents of the child take the man to court, and their dogged belief in the maxim that it is absolutely wrong to hit a child leads to rifts between friends and their eventual social isolation. The Slap is sometimes heavy handed in its examination of the prejudices underling western middle class life. The novel is split into eight chapters, each one narrated by one of the principal characters, and this strips characters of their respectabilities, exposing the petty vengeances exacted by each one in their social and professional lives. This allows for devastating social criticism, given more bite by Tsiolkas’ dark sense of humour. However the graphic language can make it hard to read at times. If you like this, try: Richard Yates’ Revolutionary Road, Michel Houellebecq’s Atomised Kevin Jones
forgotten gems... A look in the loft for those long lost classics. This week, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark.
Compared to many novels that could be regarded as forgotten classics, Muriel Spark’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (first published in 1961) has not exactly disappeared into complete obscurity. Spark, who died in 2006, left a considerable and wellregarded body of work, which ranges from poetry to biographies of famous literary figures, and includes over twenty novels (two of which were shortlisted for the Booker Prize.) Indeed, Spark won many prizes and accolades in her later years, and even after her death remains a novelist of great importance to many people. Yet, compared to some other influential novels of the period, populist enthusiasm for Brodie seems somewhat muted: certainly, the novel is far less high-profile now than in 1969, when it was made into an Oscarwinning film starring a young Maggie
contact long after they leave her class and even the school. She proves to be an enormous influence on many aspects of the girls’ lives, if not always a healthy one, and, ultimately, some of them have a great deal of influence on her. Miss Brodie’s passion for the married Mr Lloyd, and her relationship with the bachelor Mr Lowther eventually contribute to her undoing, as, amongst the tangled webs of love and lies, she is betrayed by one of the ‘Brodie set’, dying alone and a shadow of her former self while still middle-aged. Spark’s prose is both elegantly vivid and wonderfully terse. The unusual structure of the narrative (it is not chronological, so we find out about relationships and deaths before we find out how they happen) is extremely effective. The storytelling is masterful and maintains suspense
Smith in the title role. And, in my opinion, that is a travesty.
throughout: yes, we know where certain characters will end up, but that adds to
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is based around a group of Edinburgh junior school
rather than detracts from the narrative. Spark’s interest in religion (and arguably
girls who have the eponymous Miss Brodie as their teacher one year in the 1930s. Miss
in the human psyche) is evident throughout the novel, and adds further depth to what
Brodie is disliked, or rather disapproved of, by many of the other teachers in the
is a complex yet highly enjoyable story. If you are fans of novels with a bit of meat
school: her methods are unorthodox and her lessons tend towards lessons in life rather than learning from textbooks. Miss
on them, of stories about love, sex, death, Hitler and painting, then I highly recommend this novel. Greg A. Rees
Brodie and the girls, Sandy, Rose, Jenny, Mary, Eunice and Monica, remain in close
DYING TO BE PALE The practice of skin whitening is growing in popularity in Asia. Lucy Trevallion explains how this beauty practice is reflective of a problem thats more than skin deep. Every summer, without fail, a competition begins. This competition is unknown to many, but includes all. It hits from Barry beach to the Bali beach. London city to Mexico City. British students worldwide are competing. The competitions best loved name is the whowill-get-most-tanned competition. We all know the dangers of tanning, sun bed tanning, and supposedly even fake tanning. But while the tan reigns supreme here, in Asia a different dangerous phenomenon is sweeping the continent. More than just a fashion trend, being tanned or being pale has become part of our cultural values, intertwined with racial supremacy and colonial issues. In grey and rainy modern Britain a tan is associated with wealth; you can afford to holiday in the sun, catch a winter tan on the slopes. You have a ‘healthy glow’ because you do sports in the sunshine. However, this has not always been the case. Way back in yesteryear (aka the Elizabethan times), bronzer did not exist and powder was every woman’s best friend. Pale skin was considered aristocratic; if you were rich you could afford to stay indoors. The peasants and labourers baked out in the sun. Interestingly, this is still true in South East Asia, where working the crops and building are fundamental jobs. Elizabethan women powdered their faces chalk white, as did the geishas across the seas. Surely skincare has progressed since the Elizabethan times? Computers, collagen, men on the moon. Nope. We powdered mercury on our faces then, and we rub it in now. Melanin determines how dark your skin is, more melanin production equals darker skin. Melanin also offers a protective layer. Think of it as your body’s natural protection from the sun. So, if creams are used to reduce melanin production your skin is incredibly vulnerable and would have to be covered at all times. “Mercury is very harmful to the central nervous system and kidney, particularly the developing brain of a foetus and young child " says Lam, Chinese University chemical pathology professor. "It can lead to convulsions, coma
and death." “Flawlessly milky skin is to die for” states an Asian beauty website. This is a tragically honest outcome and a tragically common view. Asia Market Intelligence revealed just this year that in Hong Kong two thirds of men were found to prefer fairer skin, while the statistics of Malaysia were even more shocking at three quarters of men stating the same. Almost half of Asians aged 25 to 34 years use skin whiteners. Despite the mass use of this harmful product, discussion about the harm of these products is limited. The Imperial College hospital in London recently took in a 28 year old woman suffering from rapid weight gain, stretch marks, and an inability to conceive. After many medical examinations she finally revealed she had been using a potent skin lightening treatment. The cream contained high levels of the steroid clobetasol, a cream often prescribed for extreme eczema cases. Because the cream was illegal unless prescribed she was hesitant to seek help or have a truthful examination. This is not purely a beauty issue. It is not purely a matter of thousands voluntarily giving themselves liver problems. It is a signal that culturally the message in Asia is life is better if you are pale and Westernized. Whenever you visit Asia now you can’t help but be greeted by pale asian models in magazines, pouting at you from train ads, and swamping you at department stores. Of course the industry is there to make money, and missing an opportunity to latch onto this billion pound industry would be business suicide. But each poison creamed model is promoting an equally poisonous message: Asians should feel ashamed of their physical heritage and erase it. Just like putting on cream is a temporary solution, banning these products only works on the surface. The government must look deeper at the interwoven relationship between racial supremacy and self worth, before these concepts become too twisted to untangle.
Unveil Autumn Pale
Pure Portrait Skin Since this season’s skin is all about looking natural, being bang on trend will be a cinch even if in a hurry. Use a warm palette of honey, caramel and cream for the base but never stray too far from your own skin tone for a healthy, glow. Keep your skin pale and accent the natural contours of the face by shading in cheekbones and temples. Get the look: Prime the skin with a moisturising serum Apply your foundation Dust with pressed powder for a matte yet silky finish Use iridescent powder to highlight the cheekbones and temples OR create a wintery flush with girlish blusher shades worn low on the cheeks Et Voila – portrait perfect skin!
Experimental eyes Experiment with eye liner and create a look that you love. If you’re feeling playful, try feline inspired winged eyes by lining the eye with a kohl pencil. Create modern eyes by opting for earthy shadows with olivey undertones. Even swapping your black liner for brown will freshen up your look for winter at minimal cost.
Lips, lips, lips
Red lips of every hue made their way down countless runways this season. And since its all about celebrating the woman, we’re not surprised: who can ignore a woman with red lips? Investigate flattering shades of blackcurrant, plum and burgundy to puncture your natural looking skin. Application guide: Remove dry skin with a cleanser and soft toothbrush Dab on a small amount of non-greasy lip salve Use a small amount of primer or concealer Apply with or without liner, with a brush for a more polished look or by pressing on with fingers depending on your mood.
best dressed of them all?
Bringing you the
freshers of the ball...
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Belles of the Ball
Boys of the
City Spa's For me the word spa treatment conjures an image of my grandmother smothered in seaweed on an outrageously expensive wilderness retreat. But, fellow economically challenged students, there is a way to experience this bodily rejuvenation with only a minor knock to your bank balance. A stone's throw away from Cathays is the Park Plaza Hotel (in student terms opposite Tiger Tiger) and inside you will discover Laguna spa. This magical place offers weekday treatment packages from £55-60 which includes a choice of massages, facials or the slightly daunting full body exfoliation. What this entails you will have to find out, but for me the most enticing part of the whole deal is the oppurtunity to slip into those infamous white slippers and bathrobe and enjoy a complementary lunch, because as we all know free food always tastes best. Spa-ing provides an opportunity to escape from the messy student life and lord it over the rest of us for an hour or so. Laguna even offers a ‘Twilight Escape’ – sorry no Robert Pattinson - which allows you to begin your treatments in the evening, so there really is no excuse. So slow your breathing, empty your mind and indulge in a little relaxation.
Freshers' week left you feeling heavy-eyed, foggy-headed and lead-limbed? Get the spring back in your step.
Clear your cobwebs after the Freshers' frenzy by doing something out of the ordinary. Stay in a Tepee and explore the plethora of picturesque spots that South Wales has on offer. ‘The Tipi Company’ run a little business from their farm in Ogmore on Sea, offering tepee’s to warmly welcomed guests from March to late October. It’s a beautiful little seaside spot where you can go horse-riding, co-steering, surfing and walking, or spend your afternoons gorging on good food in ‘The Pelican’ pub and snacking on sweet treats in the farm's tea room. The Tepee’s sleep 8 people and are simple, with a charcoal fire in the centre for added ambience and a campfire outside for a few days of outdoorsy fun. It’s the perfect way to freshen up after the not so fresh, ‘Freshers Fortnight’ antics but they can be a little pricey at £400 a night if you want to stay for the weekend. Weekday deals are however always advertised on the internet and you are likely to be able to snatch one up for around £150. A kooky, ecological and satisfyingly economical break for less than £20 per person per night if your social skills have surpassed themselves this fortnight and you have eight friends to invite along with you!
Tepee Time-out 24
Rambles in Roath Park Just minutes from the crowded hustle and bustle of studentsville lies a haven of calm. Roath park is Cardiff ’s hidden treasure; boasting a spectacular lake, beautiful gardens for the Titchmarsh in you, and play park for those still with energy to burn, Roath is guaranteed to leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. The pedalos and rowing boats are arguably the most picturesque way to enjoy Roath’s charms as well as being the most entertaining- with all the gentle lapping water, swans and willow trees, you would be forgiven for imaging a Notebook-like experience! The best tip I can offer in order to recreate your cinematic dream scene is to recruit a member of the rowing club, allowing you to enjoy the scenic boat ride without the flailing oars!
Cardiff Bay Nothing washes away a sullied conscience better than a good bout of sea air. So if your Freshers' has been a fortnight of wanton behaviour and debauchery, could I suggest Cardiff Bay for an afternoon of reflection? Firstly, head to the converted Norwegian Church; it’s a much more satisfying way to feign your remorse than a full confession and once you’re there you can tuck into good eats ‘n’ sweet treats. Or take a boat trip around the harbour. There’s a handful of shops and a Sunday Market which starts at 10am (if you’re not feeling too fragile after Saturday night's Comeplay) selling Welsh commodities like love spoons and lava bread. And if you haven’t already blown your student loan on booze and Boombox tickets, the Millennium Centre is a pricey but very enjoyable way to spend the evening watching one of its highly praised performances.
A slice of calm in the Latino maze of Central America. Clare Baronowski falls in love.
Belize Usually after a trip I am left stranded when the classic travelling question rears its ugly head - ‘so, what was your favourite country?’ Year after year I flounder around, cringing at my indecision and finally come to an unconvincing answer. But this time I have it, I can whole heartedly say it is Belize. This small, relatively unheard of country is the well kept secret of Central America and it is an absolute gem. With coral reefs, creole culture and colonial edge, it is so different from the Latin American countries surrounding it that you could cut it away from the mainland and float it out into the Caribbean Sea. Everywhere you look sit Rastafarians, rum and weed, components which complement the national motto of "slow down baby" (as I was warned numerous times). In Belize it is always feels like a Saturday and the brightly coloured, rattling, ex American school buses plod down dirt streets blaring Bob Marley as the passengers recline in their seats. This laid back existence sweeps you up and carries you along with it. The reason it is such a haven for the British traveller is the fact that its first language is English, so for those struggling their way through Spanish it is a very welcome break.
Belize is as wide as it is thin as the majority of it is made up of small islands off the East coast. The Cayes, as they’re called, are world renowned for their beautiful coral reefs and incredible marine life. After sharing an intimate moment with a manatee I went on to encounter turtles, eagle rays and four metre long sharks every time I donned my snorkel or scuba mask. It is also a wildlife extravaganza as many endangered birds such as the blue footed booby and also loggerhead and green turtles lay their eggs on the untouched, palm fringed beaches. The locals are incredibly friendly and want to help you as they are extremely nationalistic and knowledgeable about every aspect of their country. I spent my time there exploring the least touristy regions, meeting locals and sampling the local cuisine of fresh fish and rice and beans. I felt very safe the whole time and would happily take one of the marriage proposals offered left right and centre to the foreign girls and become a true Belizean national. Reclining in paradise with a rum punch in hand is just one aspect of Belize’s charm, but its huge amounts of untouched rainforest, reefs and the day to day relaxed vibe that is definitely worth experiencing yourself.
Lucy Chip: "Tating time."
y h p a r g o t o h P n a Urb Interesting subject pieces for photographing are closer than you would think, with Tom Armstrong and Chris Griffiths talking you through the benefits of the urban Cardiff skyline.
Although Cardiff may be seen as just a big town in comparison to most capital cities, its wide variety of architecture ranging from the industrial to the contemporary provides a large playground for the enthusiastic photographer. Since the beginning of the 19th Century, a number of differing industries have shaped Cardiff â€™s layout. This has meant that through the ages, Cardiff has entwined its modern developments amongst the old industrial and residential architecture that still remains. For example, the futuristic design of the Millennium Stadium looms above much of the old traditional architecture seen in the retail areas of Cardiff. This allows itself to become a great subject for photographers interested in the urban environment. Trying out different framing techniques on particular points in the city where the stadium juts out above the landscape can provide some interesting visually aesthetic images. This idea of juxtaposing the old with the new can also be
used at Cardiff Bay. A lot of finance has recently been pumped into this area of Cardiff giving it a contemporary feel. However outstanding buildings such as the Church and the old Coal Exchange building in Mount Stuarts Square subtly sideline the modern aspects of the Bay. At night, this photography hotspot turns into a great environment for taking long exposure shots. With the St. Davids hotel lights glistening on the seawater and with boats frequently returning back to the Bay from work, light trails and reflections can easily be caught. A short walk around the piers and footpaths can allow for a different perspective looking back on to the Bay. Cardiff Central Market also presents itself as a great subject for the practicing photographer. Filled with local shoppers, fresh fruit and vegetables, the market displays large amounts of the local culture of Cardiff. Walking along the top floors of the market allows for birds eye view shots of the downstairs area.
The merits of getting high can never be overstated, as it provides great new perspectives over the capital. This can prove a little difficult in a city notorious for being flat. If you take a walk through Bristol its winding hill streets will happily elevate you to some amazing viewpoints of the city. Hills, however, are something Cardiff lacks. Drawing from experience I have found that climbing the tops of multi storey car parks, shopping centres and rooftops are all good ways to get a different perspective of Cardiff ’s cityscape. Using this technique can also present some interesting angles to capture light trails from vehicles passing through some of the main roads. Climbing up a multi storey around sunset can result in some great mixes of beautiful light, shadow and urban landscape. For those interested in urban environment
photography, a new exhibition called “Street Photography Now” is being held at the Third Floor Gallery from the 10th of October to the 14th. The exhibition promises to display a wide range of exciting and revealing images from every corner of the planet. The display will contain photographs from many image-making greats, such as Martin Parr (famous for his documentation of an amusement park in Brighton slowly dilapidating) and Joel Meyerowitz (famous for his documentation of life on the streets of New York). Following on from this article, we’d like to see the best of your urban images and so the competition theme for the next issue is Urban Photography. All entries to firstname.lastname@example.org
Scissor Sister World What the Hec?
OK, hands up. Who here doesn’t like Kylie? It may come as a bit of a surprise to you (yes, you), but not all gay men like Kylie. Frankly, the thought of Cher makes me queasy. And don’t get me started on Katy Perry, Lady Gaga or Britney. But, it did get me thinking. What does an artist have to do to make Gaydom as a whole go OMFG over their oeuvre? Certainly, having a homo in the line-up helps; just look at Boyzone or the Scissor Sisters, not to mention recent chart-botherers The Wanted. Disco beats and flamboyant dancing seems to be a must, especially for lady pop stars wishing to court a gay audience. Of course, it all depends what sort of gay audience you are aiming for. Katy Perry and Lady Gaga’s louche portrayals of bisexuality has been both praised and criticised across the gay community. Pop stars trying to pick up a pink following, be warned! But you needn’t despair: not all gays are pop princesses. The reality is that it is all too easy to presume that a gay man loves ABBA and knows all the words to Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive.’ There is a world of clever, quirky pop out there aimed at us gays: not just the pop of Alison Goldfrapp and the Pet Shop Boys, but also the pop-opera of Rufus Wainwright. Every person, gay, straight or none of the above, takes something deeply personal from music. It might be a turn of phrase, a particular melody, even a pause for breath – it might even be the simple fact you kissed a girl and liked it. Hector Roddan, Kate Neale
When the music industry and the gay audience go paired up together, it's not all about Madonna or Jake Shears. It is also the strong representation of quirky sounds we can all relate to with pride.
When a recent survey (done by no less than the Office of National Statistics) suggested that only 3 in 200 people in the UK are gays or lesbians, and only 1 in 200 are bi, I was having a bit of a crisis of self belief. How can these figures be true when there are so many LGBT+ people all around us? For one, my facebook friends list certainly has more than 80 people who identify as something other than straight and I’ve got under 300 friends! Even my mother’s facebook friends list includes two lesbians (though as this is my girlfriend and I this statistic is debatably skewed...) Anyway, aside from making me doubt my faith in statistics, humanity and homosexuality, this survey led to me thinking about numbers of LGBT+ public figures - specifically in the music industry. You see, music is the one place where I’m pretty certain that the LGBT+ community is well represented, even if we are apparently only numbering less than 3% of the population... Everyone listens to music so there’s a massive audience out there and this is reflected in the huge variety of musical genre that exist. Whether you listen to rock, folk, indie or classical, there are plenty of LGBT+ musicians to be found. While writing this article when I asked people their favourite musicians and bands, it is hardly unsurprising that a lot of artists mentioned were somewhere on the LGBT+ spectrum. Some genres for example Glam Rock, Queercore and Riot Grrrl feature queer musicians at the heart of the genre and play this up in a lot of their music, such as the androgyny and ambiguously camp personae of various Glam Rock superstars, or the politicised feminist punk rockers who founded the Riot Grrrl scene. There’s bands like the Gossip and the Scissor Sisters of which various members are pretty obviously not straight (Who else would name their band after a Sapphic sex position, seriously?), and other bands where various ambiguous sexualities have led to rumours, denials and eventually confirmation, such as with Bloc Party’s Kele, Mika and George Michael to name just a few. Then there are world changingly massive bands such as Queen with front man Freddie Mercury whose sexuality, however unimportant, cannot be ignored. I can’t fail to mention Morrissey - ‘one of the most influential artists ever’ (said the NME), who will never deny or admit anything relating to his sexuality, thus maintaining a permanently ambiguous sexual image. In recent years, many artists have used sexuality as a selling point in their music, a phenomenon which is rife amongst female performers. The music industry certainly seems open to this - Miley Cyrus simulated a kiss with a female dancer, Lady Gaga kissed various women in her video for ‘Telephone’ and it could be said that this all started with Katy Perry’s infamous single which has actually prevented me from using my cherry flavoured lip balm until this day... But does this mean the music industry is promoting bisexuality, or is it just trendy to appear open and accepting of the LGBT+ community? Obviously I’m all for acknowledgement and openness because it’s with tolerance and honesty that more people will feel they can come out. We need positive LGBT+ role models in all areas to spread a message – and who better to do so than those in the creative and versatile music industry? So don’t be disheartened by statistics – LGBT+ people are everywhere – coming out of your iTunes, living in your halls of residence, or even writing for your student magazine. So whenever you feel underrepresented by a national survey, or you feel your gender expression is being sidelined by the majority of the world, don’t forget that music is a great way to cheer up and it’s awesomely LGBTastic. Kate Boddington
Culture and the City
With so much happening in the local culture calendar over the next few weeks we award Cardiff pride of place in this editions previews. So what is happening in our lovely city?
Introducing... Renowned raconteur Howard Marks will be gracing stages across the UK throughout October 2010 for a tour which coincides with the release of the highly anticipated film, Mr. Nice. Directed by Bernard Rose and following the thread of his best-selling autobiography, the film captures Howard’s audacious and unbelievable career as an international drug trafficker and all round charmer, played captivatingly by BAFTA-winning, Emmy-nominated Welsh actor Rhys Ifans. The new stage shows will see Howard bear his incredible and ironically comedic life-story in a dynamic performance that rolls spoken word, book readings, personal photos and film clips into an irresistible package to be savoured and passed from audience to audience around Britain. But who is Howard Marks some might ask? Well he is a bit of a Welsh legend but for all the wrong reasons! During the mid 1980s, Howard Marks had forty-three aliases, eightynine phone lines, and twenty five companies trading throughout the world. At the height of his career, he was smuggling consignments of up to thirty tons of marijuana from Pakistan and Thailand to America and Canada, and had contact with organisations as diverse as the CIA, MI6, the IRA, and the Mafia. Busted in 1988 by the American Drug Enforcement Agency and
sentenced to twenty-five years at America’s toughest federal penitentiary, Howard Marks was released on parole in 1995 after serving seven years. Following his release from prison, Howard wrote the multi-lingual best-seller Mr. Nice – the auto-biography which cemented his transformation from outlaw to national treasure. Telling his extraordinary story on stage was a natural progression and his initial shows received excellent reviews leading to his now legendary oneman comedy show, An Audience with Mr Nice, which continues to sell out at venues throughout Britain and Europe. Howard Marks projects his recollections from the stage in an honest and animated no holds barred style, blended perfectly with his magnetic personality and exclusive insightfulness. This new series of shows will prove essential for anyone curious to hear the anecdotes from the man himself - the man whose thrilling story has captured the imagination and admiration of people worldwide. Charismatic, loose, daring, addictive, magnetic, vulnerable and intellectual, it’s time to meet the real Mr. Nice. Tickets are on sale now from all venue box offices and are priced from just £10-£15. Mr. Nice (the film) will screen throughout cinemas nationwide from Friday 8th October.
Breaking the Bay The Welsh Milennium Centre welcomes this fantastic dance spectacle which celebrates hip hop dance at its best. Live dance sessions, music, workshops and other attractions will take over the bay in this MUST visit day out for dance fanatics. And at the heart of the festival is the Breakin’ Convention... Some of the world’s most impressive and creative hip hop artists in the world hit the Donald Gordon stage with massive power and dance until the sun goes down! Showcasing amazing work by Sebastien and Raphael this action-packed event is set to be a knock-out. Date: 22 – 23 October 2010 Tine: 7.30pm Tickets for the Breakin' Convention: £10 - £15
The Review The Ryder Cup isn’t the only thing to put Wales on the International Stage this week...
September the 28th saw the National Museum and Gallery of Wales open the doors of its 7 new galleries. Demure and predictable gallery space has been replaced by a series of brightly decorated rooms which have completely altered the mood of the gallery. The gallery is – dare I say it – a piece of installation art itself. The combination of sky blues, imposing greens and taupe greys set against the magnificent array of art creates a spectacle well worth a visit. So what did President of Amgeddfa Cymru, Paul Loveluck have to say? Paul Loveluck: ‘This is extremely important for Wales. Yes she is a small country but she is a small country with big ambitions. Just look at the Ryder Cup for instance. The aim of this new Gallery space is to produce a home for international art in Wales for the world to see'. But it already seems that the art collections of Wales have already had international success… 'The successful ‘Turner to Cezanne’ tour was the first sustained tour of art from the museum to tour abroad in years. With 230,000 visits and a reported £4million spent on media coverage it smashed viewing records in America. Now at home in the Museum it is time to challenge your U.S. peers (Ryder Cup style) and show them that Europe is just as serious about art too!
doubt its Impressionist collection. Boasting the likes of Renoir and Monet it is the BIGGEST Impressionist collection outside of France. Yet what is most striking is flexiblibility of this new gallery space. Infamous names from the worldwide circuit such as Renoir and Monet are hung steps away from Welsh artists such as Merlyn Evans and Graham Sutherland. The unfamiliar is framed by the familiar making for an extremely innovative and refreshing. And in July there is more to come. The scaffolding framing the West Wing is not the Museum’s lame attempt at installation art. It figuratively represents the building work underway to construct a new gallery space dedicated to contemporary art. Here is what Paul Loveluck also had to say on the future of the museum: ‘In the next few years we will concentrate on making St. Fagan the home of History in Wales. Then we hope to relocate the natural history and geology exhibitions to a new building. If this proves a possibility then this space will be entirely dedicated to art. It will no longer be a museum with a gallery: it will be a National Gallery of Art for Wales.’ So if you fancy a snoop around this impressive new gallery space keep your eyes peeled for the public opening over the next few weeks! Katie Haylock
The most notorious collection is no
In an entirely predictable twist of fate, the rain has finally set in and the summer is most definitely over. What better time to review and relive the festivals of the summer just gone by? Hear all the juicy details, whether they be on the bands, the crowds or the, erm, toilets; Quench writers give you their opinions. Unfortunately, this massive festival blowout has lead to the temporary/possibly semi-permanent death of Quench Music’s most controversial and generally grumpy section: the infamous singles page (as well as the usual live section, which is a damn shame since Oceansize provided me with one of the best gigs of my life at Millennium Music Hall). Anyway, this got us thinking: do singles need reviewing? After all, in this modern age of the interwebs and the mobile telephone it has become awfully easy to listen to any song you might wish to subject your ears to. Listening to one track doesn’t take much time but I’ll tell you what does: listening to albums. So don���t worry, we’re still on hand to give the lowdown on the best, and worst, of this fortnight’s releases. As if there wasn’t enough to celebrate this issue, everyone is beginning to get a bit excited about this year’s Swn festival. Held in various venues around Cardiff ’s city centre, October 21-23 will leave audiences spoilt for choice, with big(ish) names such as Cate Le Bon, Swans and Kids In Glass Houses all part of the 150 strong lineup. A future issue of Quench Music will tell all. Something to look forward to then, whatever the weather.
Previews Yeasayer Millenium Music Hall Tuesday 19th October
Tomb Crew Cardiff Arts Institute Friday 15th October
Stagga Cardiff Arts Institute Friday 22nd October
Yeasayer have managed to garner quite a degree of attention during the last academic year, and with the release of their second full length album, Odd Blood, they will be bringing their inventive, idiosyncratic style of experimental pop music to Cardiff on October 19th. Yeasayer established themselves as a firm favourite on the festival circuit this year with appearances at Latitude, Reading and T in the Park, as well as a hand picked selection of festivals on the continent, all of which were met with high regard both from the public and the critics alike. This is the first big gig of the academic year to take place at Millennium Music Hall, and it promises to be a rather good one indeed. Get your tickets soon, as this could be an opportune moment for intimacy with a band who are the choice word on a lot of peoples lips. Take this opportunity and allow them to be the word on your lips too.
With deadline constraints being what they are, my initial plans to preview the upcoming Bedlam, and it will be Bedlam, have been well and truly scuppered. But worry not, there are plenty of upcoming events to keep you partying into the wee, wee hours. Cardiff will once again be opening their collective arms to the illustrious Tomb Crew. The last time the 'Crew graced a Cardiff stage was at a CYNT curated (suprise, suprise) evening at Clwb, but with the calibre of this event CAI are most definately hot on their heels. Tomb Crew will be unleashing a night of unadulterated bassheaviness all over the Arts Institute. Joining the 'Crew on the 19th will be, big breath, Toddla T, Crookers, Sinden, Brodinski & Joe Hot Chip. Phew. It will be a night of beats, breaks, bass and bleeps with all manner of electronic wizardry thrown in for good measure.
Ok Guys, donâ€™t let the late opening time put you off this one, even though it is at midnight. This event will be following on from one of the SWN events, so it should be a pretty good night/ morning. Born and bred in this fair city, Stagga now resides in Berlin creating beats that have become firm favourites with the likes of Mary Anne Hobbs, Huw Stephens and Rob Da Bank. Stagga has established himself as a major player on the Dubstep circuit with tracks such as Sick As Sin and Timewarp ripping up dance floors across Europe, and this will be his first hometown gig in quite some time. With support from the One Mission residents this should be a fitting return. For those embarking upon SWN this year, this could be a great excuse to stay up all night. Letâ€™s not leave the festival ethos die just yet! Jon Berry
A rundown of some recent releases
Neil Young Le Noise Reprise
5/10 I will admit that prior to hearing the entirety of this album a tangible excitement presented itself at the prospect of a primarily electric, stripped down, dirty Neil Young album. Records such as Rust never sleeps and Freedom were pre-eminent in their influence over the whole grunge era they preceded. Mr Young’s behemoth sonics, lumberjack aesthetics and tender, loud/quiet songwriting traits subtly influenced the decades that followed. It is with not an ounce of sarcasm that Mr Young is regarded as the Godfather of grunge, so an album that could possibly reiterate such credentials left me suitably salivating. Le Noise, however, is an underwhelming album that at times can be a real labour to listen to. . At times, Young’s lustrous skills begin to shine out. Songs such as Rumblin’ and The Hitch-
hiker display Young’s acerbic self deprecation, but it is sadly not enough to make the album a particularly absorbing listen. The haunting abrasiveness of Daniel Lanois’ production gives the album an almost indecipherable density that is, at best, difficult to take in from start to finish. But let's be honest, Neil Young has never been one to make easy Pop music, and love it or hate it this album, as with the majority of his back-catalogue, is opinion worthy at the very least. Jon Berry
The Maine Black and White Sire/Action Theory
4/10 Having never heard The Maine's music I went into this album with no expectations, arguably the best way to approach music. After having listened to Black and White, however, it sounds all too familiar for my liking. Black and White is the follow-
up to the Arizona-based band's 2008 album Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop and perhaps it’s harsh to say but maybe they should have stopped after that. This is the type of music that a certain demographic will love, and I have to admit that five years ago I would have appreciated this album far more. It is text book pop-rock; it's upbeat, with soaring choruses It's safe to assume that this band isn’t trying to push any boundaries. On first listen it is difficult to differentiate between each song, yet to give them credit the songs are incredibly catchy; and after the second verse of most songs I found myself singing along. Certain songs such as opener Don't Stop Now and Fuel to the Fire stand out well on their own. Apparently inspired by American rock 'n' roll, the album appears to have missed out the soul that goes with the genre. By the penultimate song lead singer John O’Callaghan sings ‘I’m bored, I’m bored’, perfectly summing up my own feelings. Fans of Metro Station and You Me At Six will love this, but it's not for me. Emma Wilford
Sufjan Stevens Age of Adz Asthmatic Kitty
Ever since the release of the spectacular Illinoise back in 2005, Sufjan Stevens has been laden with some of the most immense of expectations. It wasn't just the album's calibre, but the way it seemed to mark the maturation of a musician who had been developing and expanding his sound in the most exciting of ways ever since his debut in 2000. Each record up to this point had all the scope and vision of a genius but frequently lacked the cultivation needed to sculpt a masterpiece. In Illinoise, however, it all came together across 22 of the most superbly crafted tracks of the past decade. The problem with such an achievenment though is that it serves as the reference point for each subsequent release, and no effort since has stood up next to that level of complexity. Initially apparent is Age of Adz increased use of electronics. The familiar array of stringed
instruments are most frequently present in distortion and it rarely creates the same Americanatinged ardency that Stevens has achieved his best work through. The return of large choral sections, however, do create some special moments, but the overall record feels slightly empty; like versus without a chorus or stories without an ending. Stevens' undoubted passion for pushing bounderies still make Age of Adz a better album than most, but Stevens is again betrayed by the benchmark set by Illinoise 5 years ago. Simon Roach
Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards
7/10 Instrumental guitar-based rock is a fine art. A song can all too easily end up sounding like a series of technical exercises, losing its sense of melody and a wider audience along with it. Joe Satriani remains one of the few artists to consistently hold
the attention of the wider nonguitar-playing public. Black Swans and Wormhole, marks a return to the traditional solo Satriani sound, seemingly benefiting from his brief departure into the world of the rock band. The presence of keyboardist Mike Keneally results in an album that is progressive but also reminiscent of the 80s albums with which Satriani made his name. There are traditional rockers in the form of Premonition and Light Years Away, prog influences in Dream Song, old-school gospel blues courtesy of Littleworth Lane and even a bit of XXesque atmosphere in Solitude. It is fair to say that Black Swans is a brave release considering the wide array of styles on offer here, but a tight rhythm section and Satch’s legendary phrasing help to create an album that is more than the sum of its parts. Satriani himself, is perhaps best surmised by penultimate track Wind in the Trees’ use of guitar autotuning to create a garbled mess: always up to speed with the contemporary, but often found performing the unexpected. Michael Brown email@example.com
Festival Round Up Summer is over. This is what you could have done.
Bestival 9th-12th September Surely there are no festivals that boast the wordof-mouth hype that’s reserved for Rob Da Bank’s Bestival. It follows that I set afoot on The Isle Of White with a certain nervousness, fearful the high expectations wouldn’t be met. Thankfully it didn’t take long for the festival to establish itself as something rather special. The long walk from entrance to campsite revealed such wonders as illuminated tulips standing ten foot tall; a huge tree sculpture, complete with windows and door; a giant mushroom shaped figure, a glittering, silver castle sat atop. Having run out of interesting synonyms, BIG was the order of the day. Of equal size to that mentioned above, Bestival’s musical offerings surely must have left other festivals green with envy. I wish that I could say I gripped the safety rail at the heel of every musician I yearned to see, however, that would be lying. A combination of working at Mr Tea’s café and an excess of toxic indulgence between shifts meant I wasn’t often able to venture much further than either my tent or the tea-shop’s bar. However, the music I did catch was no less than fantastic, par-
ticular highlights including duo Mount Kimbie and the jaw-dropping Flaming Lips. Peas and carrots, bangers and mash, Bestival and fancy dress. That’s right, if you’re not dressed up come Saturday afternoon, you really shouldn’t be there. The effort was undeniable as the whole population seemed to transform into strange and colourful characters. Walking round the site suddenly became laugh-a-minute as your friends ceaselessly pointed out the next amazing costume. Unfortunately, the festival crowd wasn’t quite what I expected. Our café proved refuge to many an underage casualty from early on the Thursday. I felt at times the affluent, youthful bunch weren’t as friendly as perhaps you’d find at other events, and they certainly went to bed too early, although this took little away from my weekend. Festival institutions such as pyro-maniacs Arcadia, and freaky hippies Chai Wallahs ensured that no one left the isle without a smile on their face. Definitely worth a look. Jack Doran
Hop Farm 2nd-3rd July
Outlook 2nd-5th September
A relatively new festival, over the course of its three-year life Hop Farm has seen some surprisingly big names grace the stage. Artists such as Neil Young, Paul Weller and Primal Scream have all blown their pipes to an annually increasing crowd. With rave reviews from the previous years, I was more than excited to see what this low-key festival had in store. This year’s line-up saw an array of fantastic bands, including Seasick Steve, Mumford & Sons and even that cult hero turned lyrical monolith Bob Dylan; I entered this festival with high hopes, and for the most part it did not disappoint. It was a sunny, warm weekend, which was perfectly reflected in the atmosphere and demeanour of the revellers. No topless, drunken louts here, just calm and collected people enjoying rip-roaring stomps as well as mellow acoustic ballads. As well as feasting on the bands spear-heading a revitalized folk movement such as Laura Marling and Mumford & Sons (who were consequently one of the best bands of the weekend), one could also sample the foundations of this timeless musical genre. Although hardly able to sing a line and about as stiff as your Grandad’s left leg, Bob Dylan still proved himself to be a wily and effective performer. He only said a few words, but when he did, they were those of a man grateful for the opportunity to perform even at his age. The negatives, although rather serious, are few. On the Saturday the water pump supplying the 20,000 campers suffered a pressure malfunction, which, bringing me on to my next point, caused people to dish out nearly a fiver for beer; so slightly unreliable and perhaps a little pricey. It is only the festival’s third year, however, and I’m sure that after a few more Hop Farm will leave a permanent folky imprint on the UK festival circuit. Matt Tilling
I am still recovering from Outlook… I don’t mean in the “wheheey, I got SOOO fucked I now have persistent iris pain” way, that only took a good night’s sleep and a cuddle to sort out. What I mean is that I am still reflecting on what a hyperbole-escaping week I had. This year was Outlook’s first time at Fort Punta Christo- a ruined stone fort on the southern point of Croatia’s Istrian coast, and I don’t think they’ll be moving any time soon. With dusty paths connecting the intimately sized arenas, and tunnels leading to dungeon and a 20ft high walled circular pit kitted out with full sound-systems, I can’t think of a place better suited to play some sinister tunes. For some, the thought of four whole days of dubstep may seem a bit hectic, or just a bit horrible, but the catalogue of DJs, MC’s and bands on the list made Outlook more of a general bass culture festival. With the UK Hip-Hop of Roots Manuva and the dancehall reggae of Macka B, as well as Mungo’s Hi-Fi and Channel One Sound System ,there was enough to keep all kinds of dub culture fans happy. Of course, sets from a large selection of the British dubstep scene’s best producers were there to keep all the true fiends bouncing. Nothing can be said about Outlook without a mention of the infamous boat parties. Twice a day boats set sail carrying two hundred festivalgoers, a few DJ’s, MC’s and a sound-system, and drive around scaring the shit out of the fish and locals. If you don’t believe me, have a look for your self – search ‘prymedia outlook’ on youtube, I definitely recommend it. Tom Armstrong
Glastonbury 23rd- 27th June With the pressure of celebrating its 40th anniversary Glastonbury definitely had something to prove this year. The weather was certainly in their favour as soaring temperatures led festivalgoers to ditch their wellies for flip-flops. As it was my first visit I wasn’t sure what to expect; music aside the first thing that was unmistakable was the sheer imagination that went in to creating this alternate world. Around every corner there was something to behold, from the Alice in Wonderland inspired bar to the dark hedonism of fiery Arcadia. I could have spent days merely wandering the 900 acres sampling the wonders the festival had to offer. With such an enormous array of music playing over the four days it was impossible to even see a fraction of the talent playing, yet the stand out performance definitely had to be the xx, who’s minimal performance was perfect for their nighttime slot. Sets from The Black Keys, Mumford & Sons and Muse were also memorable. It was the music legends such as Stevie Wonder
and Ray Davis who established their talent over newer and arguably ‘over hyped’ acts such as La Roux and MGMT. The Motown singer even managed to coax festival organiser Michael Eavis onto the stage to sing ‘Happy Birthday to you’ making for an unforgettable Sunday evening. The Park stage proved to be the place to see new music, such as Villagers, Local Natives and Midlake and with surprise performances galore from the likes of Thom Yorke and Biffy Clyro it showed that the newest stage to join the festival was not to be missed. Despite spending a great deal of time desperately searching for shade from the scorching sun, Glastonbury was undoubtedly an experience not to forget, meeting all my expectations and more. Although it’s grown up from its original hippie roots, there is still a sense of indulging in good old-fashioned fun, ensuring anyone old or young the time of their lives. Emma Wilford
Secret Garden Party 22nd-25th July While there were naturally some superb performances at Secret Garden Party this year, to construct a review around the music would serve as a poor representation of what this festival is about. Similarly to Glastonbury, it’s an event which attracts its numbers regardless of line-up and has instead built its reputation on an uncompromising desire for silly, heady fun. To start with you must erase any idea you already have of what a music festival is about. Forget straw trilbies, neon glasses and packed arena crowds, this is the playground of the eccentric and bizarre and is a creative smorgasbord like no other. The site itself, revolving largely around a central lake, would surely put Wonderland to shame through its endless colours and dream-inspiring decor, and is core to the festival’s magic. Coupled
with some more-than-willing revellers, this setting creates a sort of adult Disneyland that’s rife with a constant stream of new experiences and spontaneous shenanigans. One such happening sprung during a performance by the Bearded Kittens where hundreds of bags of paint dust were thrown out into the audience, resulting in a mass cloud of rainbow-coloured war. This sort of communal participation is the festival’s main aim and is achieved wonderfully through all manner of devices, from the Health and Safety-defying Colisillyeum to the numerous art projects and performances. SGP is a truly liberating experience and its ethos of unrestricted euphoria should be embraced by all. Simon Roach
Womad 23rd-25th July Womad is a Mecca for the Middle-class, middle aged festival goer. The djembes, Chinese violins, didgeridoos and ensemble cast of World Music artists are like the Pied Pipers pipes to anyone over 35 with a campervan and an interest in music, art and/or dance. Never have I seen (numerous) livein vehicle fields with so many immaculate campervans, new and vintage, ranging in size from the dinky to the monolithic. Having not quite reached the campervan stage of life yet, I was lucky enough to stay in a field, although such civilisation would undoubtedly make the post-evening guide rope assault course a little easier to negotiate. WOMAD’s eclecticism transcends merely what appears onstage. Sure, it boasts one of the most
culturally rich line ups of any summer event, (how many places can you see Gil Scott-Heron followed by the fantastic DJ Kentaro? Only at Womad, that’s where), but what truly sets Womad apart from other festivals of this nature is its variety offstage. Set in Charlton Park, there are a number of stages outside of the main arena, set in woods or along rivers that wait to be discovered. One highlight of the weekend was on such a stage watching Cerys Matthews playing an intimate set of beautiful folk songs to a captivated audience in an imposing wooded area. It may have been the drugs, but there was something very special about that moment. Jon Berry
Melt! 16th-18th July
The Big Chill 5th-8th August
Two hours South-West of Berlin, on the bank of a great muddy lake, sits an open-air museum named Ferropolis. I don’t know what the museum is for, probably to do with mining or something, but that is neither important nor interesting. What is important is that some prolific Germans once looked at the 30 metre high, menacing, industrial-as-fuck machines that sit there and thought, “These would look even better with a few thousand messy dance music fans scattered around them”. So, a few stages and a fake beach later, Melt Festival was born. This summer was Melt’s 13th year and it stood up to its name as a great provider of diverse music. The festival managed to focus on electro and techno, with names like Moderat and Pantha Du Price playing in the shadow of one of the cranes, while still hosting better-known artists like Goldfrapp and Massive Attack on the huge main stage. Such varied music resulted in a greatly varied crowd which came together from all over Europe to revel in the intriguingly electric atmosphere prevalent at many foreign festivals. A sense of anything-goes drifts around the site, shown by the lack of security and the sound-systems that spring up in the campsite, starting little raves amongst the tents. From the cool kids of Kreuzberg to the hardcore Dutch techno fans and the Brits over to sample the famous Berlin party scene, the crowd was a cross section of western European hedonists all keen for a good time in an amazing setting. Spending some time in Berlin as a continuation of the festival is a must-do, you’ll realise how partying is meant to be done. Tom Armstrong
Being a bit new to the festival scene and having only bought my Big Chill ticket a matter of weeks before it was scheduled, my preparation, which I’d always imagined would be a long and thorough process of stocking up on a few home comforts (namely cushions and lanterns) to make the incredible yet potentially mud-filled experience a little more amiable, was much less productive than planned. I was elated when I arrived at Eastnoor Castle Deer Park in Herefordshire with 35,000 other people for one of the most ambient and eclectic festivals imaginable. Thankfully, I found that my ‘goody’ deprived backpack was in fact sufficient amongst all the weird and wonderful treats the Big Chill team had on offer. We gorged on sharp electronic sounds like Little Dragon, sweet fresh beats from Thom Yorke- who played a whole host of songs from his most recent album The Eraser- and breathtakingly emotive instrumentals courtesy of Explosion in the Sky. Walking into the arena was (as one of the music tents was fittingly called) like drifting into ‘Paradiso’. There was rooibos, pear and cinnamon tea on tap and piles of cupcakes and roast pepper and pumpkin pies to satiate us while we cavorted in the ‘Enchanted Garden’ and reclined in the myriad of kooky tents. Big Chill did exactly what it said on the tin and provided a utopia for all our “chilling” needs - It’s a must for any music lover who likes their festivals to be a little closer to ‘cushty’ than cramped and their bop to Mr. Scruff with a slice of syrup and cinnamon toast. Simone Miche
D LC system d n Sou
It’s late 2007, I’m 17 years old, and Sound of Silver pretty much hasn’t stopped being played for the past 6 months. As I bop along to school each morning I’m no longer a spotty-faced pupil from dreary Edinburgh; I’m in New York, rocking out as some sort of Disco/Punk Crossover King with LCD Soundsystem acting as the great anointer. Three years and another incredible album on and I’m pacing the upper halls of the Student’s Union as I wait to be patched through to the main man himself, James Murphy. Gulp. Being the hero that he is for me, you can understand the über-sweaty palms and the manner in which I squeakily introduce myself before hastily delving into my first question – “How are you feeling about your upcoming tour with Hot Chip?”
A logical starting point – keep it light, relevant, get the conversation going and hopefully calm the nerves along the way: JM: Yeah, we’re all feeling pretty good really. It’s funny, I’m actually sitting with all the guys right now in Al’s [Doyle of Hot Chip] garden [cue a faint chorus of mumbling Hellos from Hot Chip down the phone]. Hell. So I’m essentially in a conference call with some of the finest purveyors of alternative music that the entire world has to offer. This wasn’t the effect I was hoping for and sweat is no longer the only fluid I have to worry about leaving my body. I glance down. No patch. I’m safe for now.
MUSIC Somehow collecting myself I continue, congratulate Murphy on the recent release of the superb This is Happening and enquire as to how the connection with Hot Chip first came about:
about before I sing. And I just go in and automatically sing – don’t write anything beforehand but just go to the mic and sing. Then I’ll listen to it and make some changes and that’s usually about it.
JM: Thank you! Well really Jon Galkin from DFA was listening to their very, very early stuff, he and Tim actually, two of my partners at DFA, heard about them and introduced us. Then we’ve just been friends for years. I’m on tour now and I had a few days off. I’m gonna record and use his studio for a few days and just relax in his garden.
Consequently, this unique style has aided Murphy in existing as one of the most acclaimed artists around. Each release has been gaining in commercial success, but all three have shared an uncharacteristically unanimous level of critical praise. Many artists will claim they don’t care what reviews say and that as long as they’re connecting with an audience then they're happy. I ask Murphy what he thinks, and whether he felt an extra pressure with his latest release after the first two albums were so well received:
Murphy’s referring here to DFA records, a New York-based label which he founded in 2001 along with Jon Galkin and Tim Goldsworthy. After having played in various bands and worked as a sound engineer for many years up to this point, it wasn’t until 2002 that his big break came as a producer when Losing My Edge emerged as a huge hit on the underground scene. DFA provided a platform for this success to grow and 2005 saw the birth of LCD Soundsystem through his eponymous debut. Since then two more albums have been released and Murphy has established himself as a pioneer of contemporary electronic music. He constantly smudges the lines between genres and I'm keen to find out how this fusion of punk, techno and everything in between came about: JM: I grew up listening to classic rock and punk rock really. Alternative music or whatever you want to call it. Indie rock I guess - that was my childhood. Anything from The Clash to Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark to the Dead Kennedys and The b52s and stuff. Later on when I started DJing I was already about 29, and it just seemed like in ’99 dance music had gotten really shiny? I didn’t like it before then but I had met friends who were into it and would take me out, but all the aesthetics were these over-designed computer graphics, I don’t know. It just looked really lame to me and seemed easy to just inject some of the shit that I grew up with and some of the aesthetic that I was used to. And then it wound up being fun for me and fun for other people. As an artist straddling the gap between producer and traditional musician, I'm also curious as whether Murphy writes at a computer like the former or with guitar like the latter: JM: Neither really, most of the time I have the songs almost completely thought out in my head, all the different parts. And then I just try and go record them. Sometimes I have processes, like I’ll start by playing drums, and then play something to the drums, and just fill the song out from there. In terms of lyrics, usually there’s some sort of idea of what the song’s hook is and what the song’s
JM: I don’t know. I think I don’t care, or would say that I don’t care, but I think that’s not true. It’s easy for me to say that because everything’s been very positive, but it would probably be very sad for me if everyone hated it. And I always feel tonnes of pressure when I write; it’s something that I’ve always had to deal with. But not necessarily because of the acclaim, it’s just automatic; I’ve had it since I was 18. The only thing that I didn’t feel much pressure was Losing my Edge. I think everything else I’ve felt pressure for. One interesting point made on a blog I read recently about emerging artists and the lack of money to be made in the music industry is that, as there is less reason to appeal commercially, musicians are more free to experiment and discover niches that there may not have been in a world where you make music for money. I put this forward to Murphy: JM: I don’t really care, I mean, it’s an industry that got too rich and everyone was used to making too much money. As a band, I didn’t make money from music until I was 35 years old but I’ve been in bands since I was 13, so it’s just something I’ve always spent money on because it’s something I like to do. And I think that the internet – for everything it’s taken away - it’s made the industry less about money and more about attention. Bands just want to be able to get a lot of attention, and if you just replace money with that then it’s still not necessarily all about the music. Having managed to maintain my trousers in the dry state I most enjoy them in, I'm left revering James Murphy no less than I did three years ago. There's no air of arrogance or smugness as he discusses his various accolades - his modest character being the icing on the cake for one of America's best exports. Simon Roach firstname.lastname@example.org
FILM NEWS Peter Jackson's The Hobbit has already faced a series of agonising delays, and there were further setbacks this week when disputes arose between the film and unions in New Zealand, with actors being told to refuse jobs on the film. Jackson has threatened that the whole film may yet be moved to Eastern Europe, so everything remains up in the air for Bilbo and the New Zealand film industry. You can never have too much Stephen Fry in your life, so news that he's to play Sherlock Holmes' brother Mycroft in the upcoming sequal is good stuff. Gotta love a bit of the Fry. Do we really need another incarnation of The Hulk? After Eric Bana and Edward Norton both lowered themselves to the role, Mark Ruffalo is now taking on the chal-
Trailer Trash #13 praise, muse lambast ( ...in which we
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
lenge in much hyped comic book orgasm The Avengers. Motion-capture technology a la Avatar will be used to transform Ruffalo into the hench green fella, with hopes of a more human-like performance. Great scott: to celebrate its 25 year anniversary, Robert Zemeckis's Back to the Future has returned to cinema screens for a limited rerelease. The '80s wonder has since inspired a cult of loyal followers, for whom seeing Marty McFly take the DeLorean up to 88mph in all its cinematic glory will be, in the memorable words of Doc. Emmett Brown, "some serious shit". MA & EKB
The release of this rather magical trailer has relit sparks of hope worldwide, as a grand finale that seems worthy of J.K. Rowlingâ€™s enchanting series approaches. The final installment will hit our screens in two parts and come November, it appears that dragons, death-eaters and a whole lotta Voldy are already on the cards for Harry and his wizarding pals. Where the previous films might have lacked a certain epic-factor, every spellbinding shot in this sneak preview is enough to make you wish youâ€™d chased up that letter from Hogwarts you were supposed to get on your eleventh birthday. MA
the latest previews.
Eat Pray Love Dir. Ryan Murphy Cast: Julia Roberts, Javier Bardem, Billy Crudup, James Franco
6/10 Middle class, white women abroad have developed a bad reputation in film after SATC2 but Julia Roberts avoids any comparisons with foot-faced SJP in this one woman discovery bio-pic, even if her kind of wealth does mean a lot of women aren’t able to identify. With stunning cinematography at times it seems like a travel brochure brought to life, with lashings of food porn thrown in for good measure. Elizabeth Gilbert’s plight does have credence, its just buried under a lot of shots of spaghetti. Having read the traveloguecum-self help book that the film is based on, the narration which is so endearing and natural at times comes across as stilted. The lessons the book imparts are
lost in translation and it seems that real life events appear fake after being given the Hollywood treatment. Inevitably therefore the pray section of the novel has been toned down, there really being nothing more taboo than an intelligent, liberal woman trying to find God. Sadomasochism would be less shocking. It remains to be seen if Roberts’ megawatt smile has managed to brighten up a turgid genre once again but nevertheless this is an enjoyable if not altogether fulfilling adaptation. Emily Kate Bater
Cyrus Dir: Jay and Mark Duplass Cast: John C Reilly, Jonah Hill, Marisa Tomei
3/10 I sort of assumed that Cyrus would hold its own as an indie picture, admittedly with the intentions of being labeled ‘alter-
native’ for its oh-so-refreshingly weird protagonists and their unusual but charming family dynamic. In reality, I found myself wondering why such annoying characters should ever be allowed their own film. I can certainly see why some people would enjoy the brothers Duplass's pseudo-realist camera work and folky guitarladen score, in a suburban setting that’s both imprecise and relatable. However, it’s against this pleasantly usual backdrop that we find ourselves meeting a host of unpleasant and unusual characters. John C. Reilly’s aptly named John is a dull, self-described ‘Shrek’, a depressed divorcee with a habit of masturbating to the Human League’s Don’t You Want Me. At a vodka-fuelled midlife crisis of a party, John meets Molly (Tomei), a singlemother whose unexplained attraction to John gives his monotonous lifestyle a dramatic turnaround. All that’s standing in the way of their blossoming middle-aged romance is Cyrus (Hill), her angst-ridden twenty-something son. Cyrus’s vendetta against John is an out-
of-proportion Oedipus complex stemming from his own disturbingly close relationship with Molly, and he’ll do anything to keep John away, from hiding his shoes to crashing his ex-wife’s wedding. The rivalry between John and Cyrus is a predominantly awkward venture, and not in a funny way. We find ourselves secondguessing Cyrus’s motives, wondering if John’s romantic reboot is really worth it in the face of such a psychotic step-son, and rarely is there a moment that we can observe their relationship from a neutral perspective – its only by the end that we’ve realized, in fact, both characters are just painfully inept at absolutely everything. I was right about one thing: Cyrus fits snugly into the indie category, but for all of its overly eccentric characterization and half-assed awkward-family-moment jokery, it falls into a void that’s somewhere in limbo between heartfelt and funny – ultimately, an unfulfilling experience. Matt Ayres
Made in Dagenham Dir: Nigel Cole Cast: Sally Hawkins, Bob Hoskins, Rosamund Pike
8/10 Seeing Made in Dagenham on a dreary Sunday afternoon, full of inescapable fresher’s flu I was fully prepared to be lifted by the “feel good” tag. While I wasn’t disappointed, Made in Dagenham is so much more than a British feel good comedy in the same vein as Billy Elliot and The Full Monty. Little more than 42 years ago, women workers were not legally entitled to receive the same pay as their male counterparts and this testament focuses on the group of Ford machinists whose strike and struggle led directly to the Equal Pay Act of 1970. Led by the charming Sally Hawkins, who has been in massive demand since her sunny turn in Happy-Go-Lucky and Bob Hoskins in a typical father
figure, apples and pears role, these descendants of the Suffragettes and ancestors of the Spice Girls use their hot pants and bee hives to get themselves heard. At times the characters are all bee hive and no substance, and I was suspicious that maybe these 2-D characters had been neglected in favour of finding them that Biba dress instead. There’s nothing gritty about Made in Dagenham - the costumes pop and zing on the screen and the women are a joyful force to be reckoned with. Unlike the other films it could be compared to where the characters are resigned to being laid off and need something else to fill their time, the strike here is successful and while the perfunctory relationship dramas are dealt with they don’t take away from the euphoric feeling which is inevitable. Reading like a who’s who of British acting talent and a posthumous release of the British Film Council, this ode to female strength and British character is one of the best dramedies of the year, mainly because its all true. Emily Kate Bater email@example.com
N O V E L L O C A R D I F F
C U L T
H E R O
Ivor Novello is well known for his musicianship and the song-writing award named after him, but as Lloyd Griffiths' discovers, there's a romantic beauty to his silent film ouvre.
Entering Chapter arts centre several Sundays ago, my excitement was for the eclectic charm of seeing Silent classic, The Lodger (1927), expectant at the dramatic pleasure at being totally at the whim of Hitchcock's masochistic suspense. An added thrill was the nuance of having a live band orchestrating the sound along with the pure image ahead of me. And while I have to admit to struggling for ten minutes to get comfortable with the imposition of an external component to the movie, soon the thrill of the story captivated me to no end. A stunning look back at the youthful Alfred honing his skills, the plot is however dominated by the ephemereal eponymous Lodger. In a role that was the first retelling of the Jack the Ripper mythos, Ivor Novello's performance captures the Victorian paranoia embued in a period where Newspaper headlines were just beginning to monger fear throughout London. Fitting the police description as "Tall, and with his face all wrapped-up", his reclusive demeanour and removal of portraits of Blonde women (whom are being killed around London) encourage our suspicion and complicity in identifying him as the inevitable murderer. As with all Hitch-thrillers, what we are encouraged to believe is other than the case, and Novello's mystic murderous persona is soon shattered. Beneath his wrapped up veil, is a romanticised yet brilliantly affecting performance. Hitchcock worked with scores of screen greats, Jimmy Stewart and Laurence Olivier among them, yet Novello has a brilliant talent for turning Hitchcock's manipulation of plot and person into a fearfully emotional and real piece. All this from a man who was born within a 5
minute walk from Chapter Arts centre itself, offCowbridge Road East in Canton (a plaque marks this). It's surprising that his name isn't associated with Welsh quality at the movies, with obvious choices such as Burton and Hopkins trumping him in more blockbusting roles, but his versatility also counted against him, as he was primarily a well known song writer and composer of musicals. Thankfully, Hitchcock's early silent is one of his 1920's films which hasn't disappeared (BFI launched a search for lost reels such as The Desert Eagle recently) and is easily available. His haunting presence wasn't confined to the master of suspense however. The hugely popular The Rat spawned two sequels thanks to Novello's portrayal of cocky rogue Pierre. Sharing the romantic melodrama of The Lodger, Novello developed his range here, with Pierre the hunted charmer of the Parisian underclass. His bravado is undermined however when his true love is put in danger. It may all sound cliched or twee, but in the silence accustomed to early cinema, Novello's stunning good looks are isolated and all the more powerful for being all the audience is allowed to feed off. This is more than just because of his fortunate beauty however. The Lodger owes its mirrors of German Expressionism to the balanced suggestiveness of Novello's emotions, which are both clear yet nuanced, most of all when confined to the two eyes suspiciously peering from his veiled mouth. All enough to guarantee Novello's legacy should be more than an award given to The Ting Tings and Craig David. Lloyd Griffiths
BEST FILM FOR... a look at how your
favourite novels shaped inspiring cinema
One Flew Over The Remains of the Day No Country for Old (1993) Men Cuckoo s Nest (2007)
(1975) This American classic was likely the film that secured Jack Nicholson his permanent place as a Hollywood icon. He plays the criminal Randle Patrick McMurphy, a wily maverick whose plot to outwit authority sees him serving the rest of his prison sentence in a decidedly less rapey mental institution. Unfortunately for McMurphy, he now has to submit to the cruelty of sadistic overseer Nurse Ratched, played stony-faced by Louise Fletcher. She’s determined to keep her ward of crazies under a tyrannical thumb, and as McMurphy’s anti-authoritarian streak surfaces he reawakens the primal spirit of his unhinged peers, becoming the hero in a war of the sexes; resisting the emasculative tendencies of their nurse. Both Nicholson and Fletcher give Oscar-winning performances in their opposing gender roles – for every life-affirming gesture of sanity that McMurphy draws from the patients there’s an equally harsh blow of injustice inflicted by Ratched. Thirty-five years after its release, its climax remains one of the most affecting moments in film history. Matt Ayres
Both stunning and devastating in equal measure, the Merchant Ivory production of Kazuo Ishiguro’s exquisite novel is a strange creature in both mediums. A story where nothing in particular happens, we follow the life of an aged butler played beautifully by Anthony Hopkins, through who we see a whole class system in collapse. The follies and cowardice of war are a backdrop in this human drama, where we see Stevens realise his misplaced loyalty and unredeemable sacrifices while visiting Miss Kenton, an unrequited love from twenty years earlier. Played wonderfully by Emma Thompson, she shatters as a woman helpless against a man blind to own his loss and emotional emptiness. The film as in the book moves expertly between the present and Stevens’ memories and its striking images and lustrous cinematography make it an dignified piece of cinema, affecting and elegant in its misery. Emily Kate Bater
One of the great modern American novels, No Country for Old Men tells the story of an everyday hick (Josh Brolin) who stumbles upon a drugs bust gone wrong and two millon dollars. Thus commences a cat and mouse chase, with Javier Bardem's maniacal hit man in pursuit of the money. With an innocuous bolt gun in hand (meant for cattle), Bardem calmly mesmerizes the audience for all the sickeningly right reasons. Set against a barren Texan wasteland recently invaded by Mexican drug dealers and increasing violence, Tommy Lee Jones' world weary sheriff surveys the whole sorry tale with increasing pathos and ever present sanity in a place gone mad. The Coen brothers' most accomplished achievement next to Fargo, No Country has the same quiet tension and violence, along with an unexpected comedic tinge. No Country is nothing if not a social commentary, pointing to the abyss that as a mass we have come to create and wallow in. Emily Kate Bater
The Team Editor
Executive Editor Sarah Powell Sub Editor Matt Wright Arts
Katie Haylock and Kirsty Allen
Gwennan Rees and Lucy Trevallion
Jack Doran, Claire Dibben and Jenny Pearce
Lloyd Griffiths, Matt Ayres and Emily Kate Bater
Gav Jewkes, Jasmine Joynson and Melissa Parry
Michael Brown, Emma Wilford, Jon Berry and Simon Roach
Chris Griffiths and Tom Armstrong
Clare Baranowski and Simone Miche