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novel #10



DAHHLINGS! WELCOME TO THE NEW WAVE VANIY ISSUE It’s a fascinating issue with plenty of clout and profile raising content. Working with Terry Rodgers’ press and marketing team has been an honour and a career bench mark too. It has also been a self-reflective issue as much of the content holds a mirror up to the reader and pushes you to acknowledge your participation in some incredibly vain endeavours. Prepare for some painful pangs as you read some very astute observations about facebook users. Compose yourself for some chemical confessions you may feel complicit in when reading the vanity interviews where participants talk candidly about the illegal drugs they use to change their bodies. A little alliteration there, pardon me. We have, as always, tried to set an engaging and pertinent theme. This time we made it our objective to observe, discuss and analyse what we regarded as a new wave of vanity in contemporary culture. In doing so we aimed to create a platform for honest and open commentary on taboo issues. This issue, or any issue of novel magazine, does not seek to ridicule or humiliate any groups or individuals. The content herein has taught me (an avid reader of Novel just like you) much about myself and my own vanity. It has even led me to make significant changes. I hope something equally powerful occurs to you, my darlings. WORDS BY LEE HALPIN /// IMAGE BY REBECCA ELIZABETH /// MODEL CATHERINE MURPHY






















Terry Rodgers’ gorgeous and stunning paintings have long impressed Novel staff and we finally published a theme that allowed us to get in touch with him We are honored to be publishing not only his work, but an accompanying article by Jim Zimmerman, a wriiter who has been following Rodgers’ work for twenty years.

The splendid productivity of Terry Rodgers is a rare thing to see, and his latest “investigations” improbably outshine the mind-blowing record of the previous twenty years. No one more artfully uses beauty to expose blight, and no artist better employs the erotic to critique the banal. If you want to see the “God particle,” just take a look at Rodgers’ recent work.

No one more artfully uses beauty to expose blight, and no artist better employs the erotic to critique the banal. The future is shrinking, the past is a bloated carcass of semi-truths and stale fictions, and the present, that fleeting moment we just missed, is where we are yearning to live now. But how do we get there? The impermanence of everything haunts

us. We want to participate in The Next Sure Thing, and then strain to overtake it and turn our knowingness on it, disdainful, sure of our superiority to anything so palpably evanescent. We have a moment of triumph, and then we learn it’s nothing compared to something that happened twelve minutes ago. Is everything merely an accretion of accidents--genetics, evolution, climate, and our semblance of individuality? What if we are not quite individual enough? We could alter our footprint and posture, or revise our gestural effects. We could design a uniqueness that extends, elaborates, and magnifies our accidental origin and development. Our spirit could shape our material. We could find the art of the living present in our bodies--mind over matter--and claim the presentation of self as intellectual property. Never mind the banalities and trivialities of the electronic world. A few syllables of ephemera are nothing compared to what we can walk into a room with. Ever since his early work in photog-

raphy and painting, Rodgers has practiced the discipline of watching people watch themselves. His observations have since been amplified in new media, especially in his revelatory lightboxes. As he balances the delicate individual spirit against the crude material ambiance, Rodgers continues to find new ways of illuminating our personal quests, however momentary and self-contradictory they may appear next week. He sees us masking our earnestness in the pursuit of pleasure. Rodgers captures the problems we face when we have everything we could possibly want. He watches us trying not to fit into the great machine of the ever-accelerating culture that is beyond pop and bordering on a bigger bang. We calculate our every move when we know that no one will be watching unless we can distract someone from their electronic addictions. What it takes to be noticed these days is a sense of the divine, and we will go halfway to hell to make it happen.

Pleasure seeking is that serious these days. We prove our boldness of vision by erasing the past before it can be diluted by documenting or historicizing. There is no future; there is only the explosion of the who-am-I-now. I will do whatever it takes to defy invisibility. Rodgers makes our vain quests irresistibly gorgeous.

Rodgers captures the problems we face when we have everything we could possibly want.





EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN The Mean, the Serene and Everything in Between is a new exhibition at Unit-44 from Australian artist, Darren Henderson. As a result of oddly timed phone calls from Oz to Newcastle, Lee Halpin has been getting to know Darren before his arrival in the UK. Between talk of battle rap, ornithology and beautiful women they did manage to conduct an interview too.

I understand the beach is a special location for you. What is your most vivid memory of being at the beach? Who is there and what’s happening? My first real memories of the beach would be around surfing and learning to surf. My Dad bought my brother and I these big ugly, floaty, blue foam surfboards to learn on. We didn’t have a clue how to ride a wave. All attempts didn’t last a second but when you finally rode a wave for more than a second, there was no feeling like it. Other than that, the beach has been in my life always. It’s where you went on holidays, it’s where you went when you skipped school; almost a haven for you and your mates. Can you describe the best feeling you ever had on a surf board or the best wave you ever caught? Surfing would have to be one of the best sports in the world. It’s a good leveller. You could have had the shittiest week ever but after a surf it doesn’t seem to matter. It’s hard to describe one moment, there has been so many. Surfing in the Mentawi Islands in Sumatra with mates was a trip of a lifetime. Surfing with my brother and friends at ‘Magicland’s’ or Hendonesia (Cape Woolamai - Phillip Island) is always an awesome experience. Bali last year was a great trip with some larger waves and some absolute cainings. When surfing with mates we always talk about the ‘one wave’. You could be surfing for two minutes or three hours and there is always one wave that will blow your mind and give your body a buzz like nothing else. When it comes you feel excited and content at the same time. I always feel respectful of the ocean. You can be the strongest swimmer, strongest surfer, but you are no match for the power of the ocean.  How does your connection to the beach and waves feed into your art, if it does? It feeds my art for sure. It’s a good break from painting or working but also the energy you get from the ocean is like nothing else. It inspires you to create more. I took some time off before coming over to Newcastle to put some finishing touches to the show, at my house at Cape Woolamai, Victoria. It’s a

little surfing shack. The week I took off was the most perfect week of winter waves Victoria had seen all year. I panicked because I thought I wouldn’t get time to surf or I wouldn’t get any painting done. It was actually the perfect balance. I painted until the in-coming high tide and then went surfing and then came back to my house and kept painting. It was bliss. I thought I’d never come home and wished I didn’t have to leave. Life’s fucking great. Haha. Why do owls feature so prominently in your work?  It’s a slight obsession. OK it’s a large obsession. I’ve always been interested in birds/nature/wildlife. Owls are a freaky part of nature. I’d always loved that they are on every continent apart from Antarctica and that they appear in most cultures around the world. They are markers of gods, knowledge, wisdom or fertility as well as death, famine and destruction.  And I suppose over time they have transformed into being a study of expression, character, emotion and colour. What is it you’ve discovered about character, emotion and colour as a result of painting owls?  Mmmmm...I suppose painting the owls has helped discover how quick things can change. A different composition, a small line, a fat shape or colour can change the character and feeling of a painting hugely. I suppose this is what keeps me coming back to them as well. Just sitting down and painting without any plan is a great freedom to have. Great escape.  What is it that attracts you to wood as a medium? I love the texture, feel and colour of wood. I especially love it when it has 5 coats of glossy shellac applied. Somehow solid, earthy. I also build all the frames the paintings are painted on. It’s part of the process before you get to let loose on an untouched wooden canvas. Lots of artists are using social-media to promote their work and further their careers. How do you feel about this? Is it something you find useful? I think social-media for promotion of your art is a great way to get it out

there. Whether you’re established or up and coming. It’s great as both a marketing tool or just for having fun with your mates. To be honest, I am attempting to get better at it. I love a lot of the street art blogs/sites out there. It’s a visual feast. Inspiration is at every click. Facebook loses me a little. Instagram I love because it is visual. In saying that, though, I think the artist/author needs to be a good judge on what they want to put out there. Instead of every single piece of work they produce, it could be as simple as the 10 best.   THE MEAN, THE SERENE AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN AN ENTIRELY NEW SANCTUARY OF WORK BY AUSTRALIAN ARTIST DARREN HENDERSON OPENING FRIDAY 28TH SEPTEMBER AT UNIT 44 HOULTS YARD NEWCASTLE NE6 2HL THE DISPLAY WILL RUN THROUGH OCTOBER R.S.V.P. DANNY@UNIT44

Can you make a living from your artwork or do you have to rely on other incomes? I make some of my living from my artwork and some from my iillustration and design work. Some days I’d love to just paint and maybe one day I will. At the moment though my art/ design/illustration all feed off each other. I just like being creative with whatever is thrown my way. Whether it be a logo or a mural. Can you tell us a bit about your upcoming exhibition at Unit-44 on September 28th? The Mean, The Serene and Everything In Between’ is another sanctuary of owls and characters from the last year. A celebration/exploration into the personality of the charac-

ters and owls I have created as well as myself. It is an idea I had during an exhibition organised by Stormie Mills last year in Perth called ‘For, Against and the Truth’, and also the place where I met Danny from Unit44. I can’t wait to get over there and set it up. What do you plan to do for your leisure time in Newcastle? Can’t wait to check out the city of Newcastle. I’m looking forward to art/walls/food. I hear good things from friends who have been there. Apparently Unit-44 are going to submit me to the North Sea so could be a spot of surfing? How thick would my wetsuit be? We’re geordies so we don’t bother with the suits. If you could meet one artist, dead or alive, who would it be? Hard one. There are so many. I’d love to meet Barry McGee. He is one of my all time favs. Cy Twombly and KAWS as well. Are you gunna come dance at Worldheadquarters and get loose with us? I believe the saying goes, weeaye. Correct.

"This isn't any kind of franchise, it's an independently owned store, and so to see something like this in Newcastle is wicked, it's needed."

Facebook. It single-handedly brought down tyrannical governments in North Africa and the Middle East. It feeds us constant running commentary on what our ‘friends’ are eating or watching and who has just come from/ about to go to the gym. It has even provided us with a tool to stalk exes and complete strangers with such precision you’d be forgiven for thinking it had been invented for this very purpose (forget how many ‘likes’ or ‘friends’ you’ve got, surely the feature we’re all begging for is an app that tracks how many ‘Facebook Stalkers’ we have). Undoubtedly, Facebook has revolutionised our lives, so much so that any critique of the social network risks facing the righteous fury of many; it has become so enshrined in the public consciousness that speaking out against it is tantamount to blasphemy. Undeterred, we

Facebook hit upon the ingenious idea to give everyone the chance to be a mini-celeb. tentatively put forth the suggestion that Facebook is not quite the all-shining force for good that it is commonly made out to be. In this case, our sacrilegious scrutiny is aimed towards Facebook’s role in shaping manifestations of vanity in the 21st century.

You anti-facebook, slightly curmudgeonly, above-it-all types are gunna love this. Your moment has come. Finally all those rants you’ve made in living rooms, bars, break out rooms and coffee houses have been vilified in a piece of journalism you can really relate to. Graphics by Andrew Last.

In a society where the cult of celebrity is more pervasive than any formal religion, Facebook hit upon the ingenious idea to give everyone the chance to be a mini-celeb. Projected into every crevice of daily life via mobile phones, iPads and laptops, a Facebook profile acts as your personal PR campaign. Your ‘friends’ become the paparazzi eagerly awaiting the next photo

opp and you live in constant fear of being tagged in a notso-flattering snap. You compete with other ‘celebs’ to see who is more famous using the irrefutable metric of ‘friends’, ‘likes’ and ‘pokes’; by extension we use this metric almost subconsciously to rate how important/popular/attractive people are in real life (go on, admit it, we’ve all done it!) It is perhaps of little surprise then (much like actual celebrities) that young women often wearing less clothing than a streaker at a nudist convention tend to have an inordinate amount of ‘friends’. In your profile you construct an image of what you’d like others to see; needless to say, this isn’t the just-woke-up-froma-messy-night-out-with-thehangover-from-hell you. It’s the well-travelled, happy-go-lucky, ever-partying, groomed to perfection you. Every picture is meticulously selected to present yourself in the best possible light. After all, you want people to like you.  Your weaknesses, insecurities and imperfections are generally left out. The problem is these are the very things that make us loveable human beings; the Facebook profile is just a vacuous, usually unrepresentative projection of who we really are. This is best demonstrated when you get that disconcerting feeling coming across the profile of a person who you are genuinely close to and squirm your way through every cringe-worthy picture and detail. Equally, I’m sure many people who have met up with previously Facebook exclusive friends in the flesh will tell you that the real-life person often doesn’t live up to the bubbly, attractive figure in their profile.  Perhaps one of the greatest testaments to the vain nature of Facebook is that whilst it offers the user an almost unprecedented platform to transmit all sorts of content, most users, most

of the time use this platform to upload pictures of themselves. Why is this? Expectation lies hand in hand with the production of norms and self-promotion on Facebook is one of the most central expectations. You are simply expected to upload a relentless stream of photos of you on nights out under the non-offensive ideology of sharing. Vanity in the form of picture-sharing is the unquestioned norm that underscores Facebook. Nowhere does it specify that photos must be of the narcissistic kind, and occasionally you may stumble across a few pics of an interesting sketch or street art, but the majority of photos are not of this nature. If self-promotion on Facebook is a rough metric for the degree of vanity, it’s on the rise; the amount of profile pictures uploaded each year per person has steadily increased and since 2006 it has tripled.

If self-promotion on Facebook is a rough metric for the degree of vanity, it’s on the rise; the amount of profile pictures uploaded each year per person has steadily increased and since 2006 it has tripled Deviants from this norm open themselves to various types of stigma: What’s wrong with them? Is this a sign of insecurity? Do they have issues with their appearance? Or are they just so goddamn boring that they having nothing to upload? The bottom line appears to be regular uploading of self-absorbed content = the norm = vanity. The emergence of digital photography has allowed users to take endless snaps at no extra

expense. Mixing that with the vanity fair of Facebook profiles has created a me, me, me culture of pouting and posing in photos which serve no other purpose. A huge amount of photographs uploaded to Facebook aren’t cataloguing an important social event they’re literally just vain people taking pictures of themselves, sometimes in silly poses as if to say, ‘Hey look at me, I’m carefree and I don’t take myself too seriously’. Err, you’re in your house, on your own, taking hundreds of pictures of yourself to upload in the hope that some of your thousands of ‘friends’ might ‘like’ or comment on them. Ironically, it looks like you DO take yourself very seriously and are bordering on egomania. On the flipside, when people are genuinely at a celebratory event or on a night out too many people seem more concerned with taking pictures for their Facebook than they do on actually experiencing the moment. We’ve literally overheard a group of girls concur that “the best bit about a night out is putting the pictures up on Facebook.”   Now before you go and grab your pitchfork and your flaming torch to hunt us down, we admit Facebook has its advantages and is a great tool for keeping in touch with distant friends and relatives, perhaps sharing photographs and memories that have nothing to do with selfpromotion or unhinged egotism. But by the same token, we think it’s fair to say that Facebook has contributed to many people being a bit more vain. Now if we have to be offered up as a human sacrifice at the altar of our benevolent master, then so be it. On the plus side, pictures of us being sacrificed will probably get lots of ‘comments’ and ‘likes’... so our sacrifice won’t have been in-vain.


B O O K S NEED TO GET VAINER if they are to compete with the suave digital innovations of the book trade. Books need to care about their physical appearance.


I recently went to the Newcastle Launch of Richard Milward’s new novel, Kimberly’s Capital Punishment at the Tyneside Cinema. Richard is a Middlesbrough writer whose debut novel Apples (2007) earned him the moniker of ‘enfant terrible’ when he was twenty two. After a reading from his new book (which was enough to demonstrate his wonderful surreal lyricism) there was a screening of the author’s favourite film, Polanski’s Repulsion. But the star of the show was Milward’s novel – the object itself – which was on sale in a limited edition format. Milward calls Kimberly ‘a multiple choice novel.’ The protagonist dies half way through and the reader is invited to roll a dice to determine which of six possible endings/afterlives awaits. The limited edition has no front or back cover – it is unbound – and instead fits into something more like the sleeve of a vinyl. There are three hundred of these available, each having been decorated with drawings by Milward himself. The standard paperback was not to be published till weeks later. If you are like me and love physical books, something like Kimberly should give you hope. This is how print is responding to digital. And digital, for all its ease and cost-effectiveness, can’t give you something this beautiful. Books that care about their appearance are the way forward. But I’m faced with a problem straight away. I desperately want to read Kimberly – it has been designed to whet a reader’s appetite – but it is so beautiful I don’t want to spoil it. And because of the bespoke aspect; one of a few made with one-off artwork from the author, part of me wants to keep it pristine forever, never even touching it. It is s a collector’s item of the future. I know that I will wait for the paperback to come out so that I don’t feel like I’m besmirching a piece of art. But I also know that the only way books can fight digital is by being better objects – ones like Kimberly. Lee Brackstone, Milward’s editor at Faber, has blogged: ‘If literary publishers are to survive, not only as arbiters of taste, but as the connective tissue between authors and readers, each and every book and the world we


VANITY PUBLISHING Jonathan McAloon is an Oxford graduate, but we don’t hold that against him. In the following companion articles he argues that heightened vanity in the publishing industry may well be a positive thing and a force that could help combat print publishing’s losing battle with the digital publishing industry. Page layout is a head nod to Adam Thirwell’s Kapow!

WRITERS NEED TO GET VAINER and learn to be better performers. Why is there no such thing as a rock star author?

create around it must be invented anew.’ Every book must be invented anew. Here is something for budding writers to think about. Brackstone’s aesthetic is shared by Visual Editions, an independent publisher who produce striking books where authors collaborate with designers. They think ‘books should be as visually interesting as the stories they tell,’ and are behind the latest novel by Adam Thirlwell; a young writer who, like Milward, has been called an enfant terrible. At twenty four, he was put on the noughties’ GRANTA list of twenty best young novelists before his debut Politics was even published. Kapow!, his fourth book, is set against the Arab Spring. To follow the revolution readers have to ‘revolve’ the book this way and that to read columns of text printed in different directions. Here is a book whose appearance comes directly from the way it is intended to be read. A book like this is beautiful but it is clever as well – it has a strategy. It can’t be called an advertising gimmick because it is implicated in the form of the book. The author and the publisher are of one mind. A book isn’t there to inspire reverence but to encourage reading. From now on, books need to be beautiful but above all, tactile. Authors and publishers need to think of ways to make books attractive throughout the read – on the inside pages as well as the covers. The idea of the one-off/ limited edition run encourages the ownership of books as objects but gives digital the upper-hand as far as practicality is concerned. The idea of books that you wouldn’t dare touch could in some way speed the obsolescence of print that people are fighting against. At the moment, the literary world is predicting and fearing a future where physical books are the passion of a handful of antiquarian connoisseurs while everyone else uses an e-reader because it is ‘cheaper’ and ‘easier.’ But for me, and for many other book lovers, the beauty of physical books is the way they bear witness to having lived and having been read. When a book smells like a book, is scrappy with underlinings and notes, we feel it has personality. What we really mean is we have personalised it. But this has always been the case; a book’s personality won’t save it from digital. It has to start being more proud of the way it looks, too.

In most of the arts there is an expectation that the artist will involve themselves in the PR side of their art as well as the work itself. Visual artists, actors or musicians get to create public personas in order to transmit their art to an audience or in some way continue to influence it once it leaves their hands. Turner Prize winning potter, Grayson Perry, often makes public appearances as his female alter-ego Claire. This isn’t just seen as a separate eccentricity but as part of the way you view his work. Similarly, David Bowie adopted a number of personae who either enacted or represented the subject matter of his music, and Prince starred in films which created a mythology alongside the discography. This approach adds a new dimension whereby the art comes to life, and somebody who listens to an album or goes to see a concert lives the art too. But writers? Writers are traditionally thought to be the most introspective of artists. Whether this is true or not of every single writer, most in the past century have abandoned the process of their art once they send their manuscript to their publisher. It is the in-house design and marketing brains who sell their art. Instead of using their imaginations to come up with a brilliant promotional strategy which issues directly from the artistic vision of their book, they do a few readings or interviews around the country. No wonder literary fiction doesn’t sell. And faced with introverts that have to be minded, I understand why it is difficult to find an author who inspires six-figure confidence from publishers. It is, after all, the author who gets the contract, not just the book. The author is expected to write more books after that, and better ones. The problem stems from a couple of outmoded beliefs. One is that caring about how one’s art is sold is vulgar/beneath artistic seriousness. Lord Byron could have made a killing when Childe Harold came out in 1812, but accepting payment wasn’t aristocratic: profiting from one’s writing was for hack professionals. Byron’s publisher got rich instead. But that was two hundred years ago. Another, is the old cliché of art not speaking for itself: style over substance. But ‘style’ has always meant something quite different in fiction. Style is the way prose is written, the way sentences are made; a way of seeing or even thinking. This comes included in the book’s marrow, its ‘substance.’ But even in the more popular use of style – a kind of vanity or surface glitter – there are some issues which must be addressed. Even with the David Bowie/Ziggy Stardust continuum – Bowie at his most physically extravagant – one never got the impression that he was ‘style over substance’. His substance was great, but the style was a catalyst for the substance; it was part of appreciating the songs. Like with great prose writers, style in the hands of a true artist is a double helping of substance. So who can be called the Bowie of writing? Who has such a detailed performance style? (Bret Easton Elis? Let’s not bother, eh?) Philip Roth likes to perform – manipulating a reader’s desire for biographical information is one of the big themes of his fiction – but even then the performance nearly always presents him as a catty, private person who doesn’t understand or sympathise with the need to know the man behind the work. For Roth, anyone who expects to find the juicy gossip they desire is missing the point; writers fictionalise themselves professionally. Even the truth is part of the fiction. You have to look far back indeed if you want to find a rock star author. You might be surprised to learn that this rock star author was an Anglican vicar in the eighteenth century. His name was Laurence Sterne. Sterne wrote a couple of novels. The title of his most famous can be abbreviated to Tristram Shandy; a long fictional autobiography which ends before Tristram is an adult – so concerned is the narrator with telling us every detail that affected his life. It is full of digressions, diagrams and references to the author’s public reception – i.e loads of playful ‘meta’ stuff. Tristram Shandy was a massive success. Sterne cultivated an association between himself and two of his characters – Tristram, a Yorkshire gentleman ( his Ziggy) and Yorick – a bawdy clergyman and the star of his next novel (his Thin White Duke). Sterne even published his serious sermons as Yorick. When Sterne died people wrote obituaries to his characters, too. But this kind of thing was more commonplace than you’d think. In the eighteenth century people often published under pseudonyms or personae. But it is the way things are fed from the fiction into the real world and vice versa that interests me. In 2011, Leo Benedictus’ The Afterparty came out. At its heart is the story of a celebrity scandal and media cover-up, but around this the reader is invited to take part in the book’s marketing strategy. A character within the novel is submitting the ‘inner’ novel – the one about celebs – to a literary agent. This frame allows room for a separate plot concerning the secret identity of the would-be author, but it also suggests a different level; a new context, where the contents of the book affect the outside world, and where one is invited to interact and collude with the subject matter. You don’t just read his book; you live it, you tweet it. Readers of the hardback could enter a competition to be immortalised in the book and written into the paperback as a character. ‘Deleted scenes’ were promised, as was the inclusion of any tweets about the book that included the hashtag #afterpartybook. Benedictus (or rather, a character within his book) coined the term ‘Hyperfiction.’ He (Benedictus, not the character) expanded on this at an interview, saying that ‘novels need not stop at their own covers,’ and that with The Afterparty he sought to plant ‘pieces of the novel inside the real world.’ As usually happens with innovation, The Afterparty has been greeted with some closed-mindedness (though far less than you’d expect, thankfully). Most of this, however, seems to be to do with the ‘vapid’ subject matter of the celebrity world and the metafictional tricksiness rather than the ‘Hyperfiction’ concept. My favourite thing about The Afterparty is how it also works as a piece of traditional fiction, with crafty revelations and heaps of style (and by style I mean the writerly kind – the kind that is part of the substance and talent). If writers are good enough, confident enough about the substance of their work, why not be a little vainer about it and let this spill over into the outside world? Into the realm of style?


The latest edition to the novel staff and new resident reporter, Michael –‘reliable’-Teasdale, was assigned the task of examining contemporary and historical attitudes to skin tone. With trademark humour, charm and charisma he reported back the following; (illustration by Steve Paul Myers) Allow me to begin with a little confession: I’m somewhat ambivalent to tanning. If the sun chooses to bronze me then I don’t avoid it but, at the same time, I’ve always been something of a human barometer for the pale; providing an endless sense of empowerment to glowing expartners whose amused post coital comparisons I’ve long since gotten used to. Like many Caucasian males, I’ve watched lady friends smear on the Black Onyx in preparation for a night on the tiles with a perplexed furrow in my brow, washing the resultant residue from sheets the following morning with that same sense of quiet bafflement. I have never, to my recollection, looked across a bar at some potential love interest and thought ‘nah, not orange enough!’ and as for those Geordie Shore folk… look, don’t get me started! We’d need the whole issue and at least one psychiatrist.

...the desire to adopt the appearance of a tribe of migrating Oompa-Loompa hookers? So when I came to research the topic of tanning it was with a similar sense of peering into Pandora’s personal vanity box. I read with dazed fascination about Patricia Krentcil, the New Jersey ‘tanorexic’ housewife, prosecuted for taking her five year old daughter to the salon; performed a rapid-fire double take as I was confronted by her bizarre 1950’s minstrellike appearance and was astonished at the complete disconnection from reality with which she viewed her own weird, post-nuclear glow. I thought about the mirror this held up to Collingwood Street’s ever growing parade of bronzed young things. Was this their future staring back at them

from across the water? At what point did we in the UK trade in the subtle, aesthetic cool of the nineties for the desire to adopt the appearance of a tribe of migrating Oompa-Loompa hookers? Are we stuck in a cyclical transition of in vogue skin tone or have we reached some shared cultural understanding that tan almost always beats out pale? You see, there was a time, before the emergence of the well travelled leisure class, when it was considered popular to be pale. Instead of being the calling card of a return trip from Ibiza, being tanned was then the undesirable benchmark of a day’s grafting in the fields. Skin care companies were dominated not by the human equivalent of Ronseal wood stain, but by lightening creams and bleaches. It was the 1920’s before this cultural trend began to turn; when a bronzed Coco Channel drew gasps sailing into Cannes wearing an accidental suntan that western fashionistas rushed to imitate. The tan, now divorced from working class labour, became a byword for exotic continental travel. Lower down the spectrum, the middle class with their lawns and patios and the rise of the bikini converged with the social upheaval of the seventies and the slacktivist approval tanning demonstrated. In the eighties, the rise of the silicon-enhanced super woman saw the tan-line become an erotic staple under Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Empire. Bronzed Caucasian bodies were now established in the nation’s subconscious as healthy, fashionable and sexually appealing. Then the nineties came, skin cancer awareness came and somehow the whole thing seemed to get neatly filed away in a drawer along with Hi Karate aftershave and perms. When Jade Goody portentously smeared herself with cooking oil to bake in the Big Brother garden, she found herself condemned not applauded for it. It seemed like the nation was awakening from its sun-induced coma…yet the desire to be bronzed never really faded.

Still desperate to avoid the horrors of pasty flesh, people embraced fake tan and spray-on solutions while risking the occasional mild melanoma on the sun-beds. Fashion houses, fuelled by the heroin-chic, size zero appeal of Kate Moss and co., railed against the orange aura as cheap-looking and demonstrating a lack of self control, yet the rank and file of places like the Bigg Market merely shrugged, wearing such labels as a badge of honour pinned to their increasingly tiny hotpants. Still, came the thought, there must be an easier way to attain a healthy radioactive glow without all of the danger and, sure enough, science, with all the Frankenstein plotting of a David Cronenburg movie, offered its solution. From the laboratories of West Arizona, with a name that even sounded like a horror movie sequel, came the wonder drug Melanotan II; a well intentioned pharmaceutical that promised to eradicate the need for tanning. By triggering the body to overproduce the naturally occurring hormone melanocortin, it hoped to create a chemically induced perma-tan in the user that would, in theory, provide a shield against harmful UV rays.

...being tanned was then the undesirable benchmark of a day’s grafting in the fields. Unfortunately, Melanotan II turned out to have some rather less welcome side-effects. The mild nausea it induced in users might have been bearable; the unexpected erections it produced in males might have provided a secondary benefit for some. The manner in which it caused moles to darken and increase in size was, however, the killing joke for the drug. Rather than being the preventative cure for our tanning ailments, Melanotan II effectively risked accelerating skin cancer in its users. Unsurprisingly, it has failed to obtain a license for human use, with the British medical council also grumbling about “damage to the immune and cardiovascular systems” caused by its application. Disturbingly, despite the worrying nature of these revelations, we continue to eat up Melanotan II as a nation. UK bodybuilding forums endorse it and share the websites of suppliers, dismissing the concerns of medical councils all over the world as “scare stories”. A YouTube video showing the best way to “safely” inject the drug into your washboard abs is endorsed by over 16,000 likes, while orange faced TV banshee

Amy Childs uses her insipid realityshow to officially endorse the “Barbie Jab” screeching about how “you look good all the time” while online admirers point out that “everyone has to die sometime.” Little wonder that the brainless hobgoblins of Britain’s white trash nightclubs are lapping the stuff up. Me? I remain unconvinced; I’m still unclear about the alien, internal mindset that fuels such a reckless pursuit of cosmetic perfection. I haven’t found anything in my journey through this bizarre bronzing culture that’s going to convince me of the need to embrace the glow. I guess I’ll stay pale, save on laundry bills and continue looking curiously on at the sun worshippers with the quiet perplexed nature of a nonbeliever; aware of their world but unable to properly grasp the strange perception of inner-beauty that propels them through it. After all, I’m just that guy at the end of the bar, the one who doesn’t care what colour you are; unless you happen to be that girl selling Jägermeister. Now that’s an orange glow I can buy into!


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TESTIMONY OF A NORMAL WOMAN In this fictional short Joanna Allan plays with constructs of normality and femininity by imagining herself as a woman with an abnormal obsession with cosmetic surgery that has become normal to her. Illustration by Ella Berry. I’m just a normal woman and everything that I do to my body comes naturally to me. Taught from birth that attractiveness is an important measurement of feminine self-worth and taunted through my formative years with images of unattainable physical loveliness, I feel programmed to pursue that impossible concept called beauty. I began to wear a padded bra age 10 in order to ease my insecurity over my iron-board chest (the shops sell them for girls seven years upwards now). Not long after, it became routine to shave my legs and underarms, because these areas should be hairless on young women (and yet we are not required to shave the upper side of our arms. Curious. Not long after, I had my protruding ears pinned back and a few years later I had my crooked nose straightened. What else? Breast enlargements, teeth whitening, hair extensions and highlights, gel nails, ear and belly piercings, fake tan, false eyelashes, vajazzle… I’m currently on the waiting list to have my labia reconstructed in a smaller, more aesthetically pleasing and symmetrical form. I plan to be the personification of perfection in women. You may say that I’m no longer myself, that I’m Frankenstein’s monster and the horrific product of a society that demands that females

I am programmed to pursue that impossible concept called beauty.

decorate, allure and attract. I prefer to think of myself as a patchwork quilt of many plastic, collagen and chemical parts, each with its own unique story. And there are always more patches to be added. Of course, “beauty” was never real. It’s merely a standard created to make us good consumers and to plunge us into a dark pit of body insecurity. Possessed by our own self-loathing, we stagger like zombiedolls towards the products that claim to offer us beauty, too blind to see that it is just a mirage and that the perfect body image is unattainable. Now, gradually, capitalism and its crude media partners are carving themselves out a new market for their vanity products: men. I’m not sure that levels of cosmetic surgery, or body mutilation if you prefer, will ever be as high amongst men as they are nowadays amongst women, mainly because I don’t believe capitalism by itself is as toxically powerful as when it is mixed with sexism, or any other form of bigotry for that matter. That said, if society contorts itself enough to ensure that boys too grow up to feel that their self-worth is inextricably linked with certain conceptions of beauty, then who knows? Indeed, marketers are already making millions from persuading men that they need to fill their bodies with extra protein in order to be attractive. So, what is to be done? It’s probably too late for me. Besides, in some ways I have affection for the love child of capitalism and sexism that I am. But you can resist, if you want. You can unpick the rubbish that the marketers try to ram down your throat. Deconstruct it, analyse it and ridicule it, if you wish. Yes I’m vain, but I’m also just a natural woman. It seems ironic, because everything about me is artificial, but “natural” never really existed. I’m a normal woman like any other.


Psychoanalysts and advertisters, it’s a scary combination. One party aware of our inner-most thoughts and desires, the other able to project them at us on screens, speakers and billboards. Joe Turnbull discusses the genesis of this devilish pairing and the resultant impact on the modern mind set. llustration by Keano Ross.

a recent study claims that we see up to 2000 adverts every single day.

Vanity itself is nothing new. Throughout Western civilisation, history has been replete with vain, self-obsessed individuals, and indeed, those warning against the perils of such behaviour. From the cautionary tale of Narcissus in Ancient Greece, who was so entranced by the beauty of his own reflection that he was immobilised with fatal consequences, to the Biblical renunciation of self-idolatry personified by the Whore of Babylon. One only has to glance briefly at the history of Western art, and the prevalence of portraits across the centuries, to see that these warnings were not always heeded. Pre-twentieth century history is commonly told through an endless stream of portraits of the famous and powerful, often in the presence of angels or saints, and nearly always in a very flattering light. So whilst vanity is nothing new, it is probably fair to say that prior to the twentieth century it was primarily the preserve of the more affluent members of society; serfs, slaves, peasants and factory workers had neither the time nor the means to worry too much about their appearance. Since the post-War era, however, there are two symbiotic phenomena which have not only shaped the modern world but also helped bring vanity to the masses of ‘Western civilisation’. They are the rise of ‘the individual’ and consumerism. As early as 1919, the use of psychoanalysis was used to help sell products and services by a pioneer called Edward Bernays, who is widely regarded as the ‘godfather of PR’. Bernays saw the impact of propaganda during WW1 and hoped to recreate this during peace time, so he performed the first ever rebranding exercise; turning propaganda, with its negative connotations, into Public Relations. Bernays was heavily influenced by his uncle, Sigmund Freud and his ideas about human psychology; namely, that beneath the veneer of contemporary society, lurked the animalistic desires and passions of the fundamentally irrational masses. But Bernays believed that these subconscious longings could be controlled, manipulated and exploited, by a benevolent elite, for the good of society. Bernays helped a string of huge companies and state-run projects achieve tremendous success and his ideas about Public Relations became so influential that in the following decades all sorts of big businesses began hiring psychoanalysts. One such psychoanalyst was Ernest Dichter who developed upon the ideas set out by Bernays. Dichter genuinely believed that through what he termed a ‘strategy of desire’, he could improve society via the selling of consumer products but not in economic terms; his rationale was that if people identified themselves with products, they would have a more stable self image, greater self esteem and could relate to others via the brands they bought. I suppose you might call it retail therapy. It was Dichter who invented the ‘focus group’, initially as a sort of ‘group therapy’ based around consumer goods. This marked a shift from dictating to people based on general pre-conceived ideas about their hopes/fears to a more inter-related process involving consumer feedback and market research. As the century rolled on, the range of consumer goods steadily proliferated, as did the

mediums for disseminating advertising, which precipitated an explosion in spending on material goods. However, all that was about to change in the second half of the 1960s. There was a cultural backlash against consumerism, authority, and the type of societal conformity promoted by the Freudian branch of psychoanalysis which had been the basis for PR since its inception. Old norms about the inherently evil character of human nature were torn down in an explosion of free expression. The advertisers had to step up their game. In the 1970s, the Stanford Research Institute again sought to apply the advances in psychoanalysis to a new wave of consumer focussed marketing. They believed that despite the diversity of consumers they all fit into certain categories, even the self-expressive types forged in the ‘60s. The idea of demographics was born and with it a tectonic shift in the advertising world, the most significant in its history. From now on advertising didn’t sell products, it sold brands; it didn’t sell things, it sold values and lifestyles. Whereas previously, the use or convenience of a product had been its main selling point, after this monumental shift it became more about selling an image that the consumer would buy into; a lifestyle they aspired to and identified with. As the products took an image and lifestyle focus, so did consumers, and the notion that the brands you bought reflected who you are really took hold, just as Dichter had instigated.

...beneath the veneer of contemporary society, lurked the animalistic desires and passions of the fundamentally irrational masses. Let’s bring things up to the modern day. In the twenty-first century, there is almost infinite consumer choice meant to reflect all types of individuals. We are bombarded by brands everywhere we go; a recent study claims that we see up to 2000 adverts every single day. Modern marketing still exploits our deepest fears and insecurities but it also massages our greatest hopes and ambitions. What’s really distorted though is that these same hopes and ambitions are themselves hugely influenced by media imagery creating a vicious– or highly profitable– circle, depending on your viewpoint. Vanity appears to be just another weakness to exploit. At least 30% of adverts contain sexual imagery, feeding into an obsession with vanity but also playing upon it. Airbrushed bodies and perfect teeth become what we aspire to, though for most are unobtainable, making us more insecure and adversely affecting our self-esteem. We are told in advertising that the next product will help allow us feel better about ourselves, or make us more attractive to the opposite sex, so we keep buying disposable goods that are as hollow and vacuous as vanity itself. In this context, the modern obsession with selfimage is something that has been cultivated and pruned by brands over decades, becoming ever more sophisticated, like the products themselves, and honed to play upon the deepest recesses of our psychology. Vanity is nothing new; it was just rebranded.

Tell us about Hot Source, what’s the inspiration around the night? Hot source came about purely so I could bring Djs like Theo up here to the North East. For a while there was really no underground scene in Newcastle, with the focus being mainly on Stags and Hens etc. But after seeing other nights start pushing some real underground names and realising there was a lot of people desperate for good music led nights, I thought I’d give it a go. With the contacts I’d made pushing small one-off parties and the bigger tear ups on bank holidays I thought I might as well put them to good use and do something I hope people will buy into and enjoy. Did you decide to set your sights on Theo early on? Theo has been at the top of my list for about 4 years, but because he only does one-offs, and Sitting at the apex of jazz, funk, is quite rigid with dates, it was difficult to lock down. There was no one I’d rather have taking techno and house, Theo Parrish control on the first night. To me the guy’s a legend and judging from the response early on personifies the musical heritage of it seems I’m not the only one. Detroit. With no secret formula, his productions and DJ sets are based on the simple premise of sharing his di- How do you think the night will sit alongside the current offerings in and around the North East? verse musical tastes. Parrish has always The scene in Newcastle has always been a funny one, with the huge Student and Stag been, at the risk of using a cliché, all culture up here and, of course, geordie shore doing their thing. To be honest I’d lost about the music, voicing his opinion that a little faith in music and Dj led nights, Even some of the real big hitters such as ShinDJing is solely about creating “a continuous movement of rhythm” rather than the dig and Habit had folded or stopped doing parties as regular. But recently some personality cult of the DJ. And while he has decent parties have been going and people seem to be a lot more receptive never been a blockbusting household name, to ‘clubbing’ in a more pure, traditional sense. Our goal is to be music led, pure it is this honesty which has earned Parrish his and simple. If it wasn’t for nights such as Dada, Ape-x and Cntrl, keeping the fire strong underground following. burning for DJ led nights I doubt I would have tried. Hot Source are bringing Theo Parrish to Cosmic Ballroom on November 2nd, and attendees can be sure to hear an eclectic selection of rich music Who’s next on the hit list? from his vinyl only collection. Novel met organiser We’ve got some big plans but I’ll have to keep them under wraps for a while! Steven Dunn at Tokyo to discuss the upcoming party and what Hot Source is all about. 1 Soul Control 2 Solitary Flight 3 Sweet Sticky 4 Ebonics 5 Black Mist 6 How I Feel 7 Galactic Ancestors










The opening track to Pink, ‘Locked’, is almost a microcosm of Hebden’s new focus, demonstrating both facets of his compositional approach; after over a minute of nothing but a tough drum groove, a mellow synth playing an improvised pattern begins to dance in and out of the percussion. Jupiters uses the same approach, though this time inverted; after two minutes of dreamy synthesised soundscape, the arpeggios and melodies give way to a stripped down garage groove. Jupiters’ long, beatless introduction is one of several moments on Pink which indicates that Hebden is not entirely committed to a dancefloor led style, and is perhaps unwilling to fully break with the bedroom-listening dynamic of his earlier material. However, it is not as though Hebden labels Pink in anyway as DJing ammunition, or likewise as a home listening release. While the myriad of genres which he nods to throughout the album don’t always bond together perfectly, Pink’s refusal to sit in one distinct category is what makes it such an interesting listen. Track highlight: 128 Harps


Kieran Hebden, aka Four Tet, has undergone somewhat of a musical makeover in the past few years. His releases prior to Pink were long-playing blends of electronica, jazz, trip-hop, folk and other genres one might listen to while reclining at home. He was known for sombre, introspective pieces like ‘My Angel Rocks Back and Forth’ and ‘And They All Look Broken Hearted’. Then, after going slightly quiet in 2005, 2009’s There Is Love in You was a sudden indication that he was embracing house, garage, dubstep and other dancefloor oriented styles - a suspicion which was confirmed after collaborations with Burial and his contribution to the Fabric.Live series. Pink cements Hebden’s new image somewhat further, but is also a reminder that he has by no means abandoned the delicate tuneful approach which he was originally known for - indeed, the melancholy 128 Harps sounds like a subtle nod to the aforementioned ‘My Angel Rocks Back and Forth’. The musicality is very much still there, but is now supported by rolling drum loops and deep sub-bass rather than jilted percussion and glitched samples.



would lend itself most easily to criticism; as there is no lyrical content, the similarity between the tracks makes it difficult to distinguish them. Indeed, one would have trouble listening to In Decay and being able to identify the track number of their favourite afterwards. While certain tracks are more memorable than others – ‘Dreambender’ and ‘Data Kiss’ being two more dramatic moments of the release – the general emphasis seems to be on creating a sonic landscape rather than pursuing a traditional album dynamic. Whether or not this is a criticism at all depends – while some listeners may like an album to have its up and downs and surprises, there is something to be said for hearing a whole album as a work in itself. This is especially true of the music of Com Truise, which, when listened to in the right way, can evoke mental imagery as wonderful as a lonely car drive through a neon lit megacity. Track highlight: Dreambender



In Decay is a collection of previously web only tracks from American electronic artist Com Truise. Released on Matthew Dear’s Ghostly International imprint, the intention is presumably to capitalise on the success Com Truise has been enjoying following his year-old debut Galactic Melt and subsequent schedule of touring. Given that the tracks are compiled from the artist’s output over the past several years, the consistency of In Decay is striking. Almost every track plods along below 100BPM, with gritty vintage drum machines and warm synths that sound like a combination of Boards of Canada and Tangerine Dream. The style almost becomes a parody of the 80s synth sound, yet with melancholy musical ideas that move the mood away from gimmickry and ridicule and into a nostalgic yearning, almost as though the music is lamenting a promised future that never quite materialised. And yet the consistency is perhaps also the feature which

Album Reviews:



Emma Pearson was surprised to learn you could have a serious makeover for your eyebrows. She now relishes expressing that surprise by raising her perfectly formed brows at the slightest provocation.

Until recently, I never gave much thought to my eyebrows. Yes we’ve all had the odd over plucking drama and dare I say shaving misdemeanour, but teenage experimentation/ idiocy aside, the most attention I’d ever given my meagre slithers was a quick swipe of the tweezers at those fly-away stragglers. Don’t get me wrong- I love a good brow, but I never imagined that my bordering-onblonde wisps could ever be moulded into a Megan Fox naive of me. Apparently, with modern day eyebrow technology, the most pathetic of threads can be transformed into a power brow that a Gallagher brother would be proud of. Eyebrows have exploded onto the beauty agenda over the last year or so. Boyish, burly or downright bling, the day of the invisibrow is dead and gone. With celebs like Lily Collins and Katy Perry favouring the strong brow, Chanel models dazzling with the sequenced brow and the entire Desperate Scousewives cast championing the scouse-brow (including the men), I decided to take the plunge of the wax, the tug of the tweeze and the throb of the threads, and surrender to the HD brow. HD brows are the result of an eyebrow shaping treatment that focuses on design, producing polished brows that last up to four weeks. By following a 7 step treatment, you will be left with the best brows for your face – which, funnily enough, are usually as far removed from your natural brows as possible. I was most intrigued, however, by the promise of a ‘re-growth programme’ which re-trains your

brows into shape over a course of visits by stimulating growth. Although it’s a fair few years since my pluck-happy teenage days, the lure of the power brow proved too strong to resist and it was with visions of thick face-framers that I booked myself in for ‘a totally new definition in eyebrow shaping’.

ried about. In fact, the threading felt like a sharp pinching sensation that was by no means unbearable - or tickly for that matter. The area above my eyebrows was threaded to blend the hairs naturally into the rest of the face and was over with after a couple of minutes. Phew!

Stage 1: Consultation This is where you discuss the shape and colour that you would like to achieve. In my case, pleadings for bushiness combined with a Megan Fox arch. My stylist looks worried.

Stage 6: Tweezing The stylist removed the last little blighters that had evaded the wax, scissors and threads.

Stage 2: Tinting A relatively quick and completely pain free procedure. The stylist tints your brows with the dye of your choice and wipes off with a cotton pad after a minute. I opted for brown/black for maximum brow-wow. Stage 3: Waxing I’ve had my eyebrows waxed before and was prepared for the slight burning sensation. I was more worried about the amount of wax the stylist used between my brows amid fears of a neglected mono. Stage 4: Trimming I have never considered trimming my eyebrows before, but apparently keeping the hairs at the same length creates a refined and polished appearance. Stage 5: Threading Having heard a number of mixed reviews ranging from ‘being stung by 1000 bees’ to ‘just a little tickle’, threading had been the part of the treatment that I had been most wor-

Step 7: Aftercare The stylist ran through a few maintenance points whilst trowelling on the HD brow make up. I begin to worry about looking like Katie Price. One hour later and I don’t recognise the heavy-browed-beaut peering suspiciously at me from the mirror. Gone are the fair baby-brows from a mere 60 minutes before, replaced with a strong – and very dark - set of fierce furrows. I see the stylist watching me in amusement as I pull as many eyebrow-expressive faces as my muscles will allow and announce that I am now a power brow convert. It is true that well defined eyebrows really do transform the whole face and frame your eyes, and in my opinion, £25 is a fair price to pay for such an artistic arch. After rinsing more money on products to maintain my new found favourite accessory, I leave the salon wondering how I ever ventured out before without first perfecting my brows. We are a vain lot aren’t we?


To Be Seen is a collaborative photoshoot involving several creative projects and one local business. It brings together creative writing, fashion design, photography and modelling. Working with the theme of modern vanity Lee Halpin and Lee Scullion put their heads together over a cup of coffee in Heaton Perk and decided to create a romantic narrative shoot. The idea motivating the shoot is that, occasionally, some people do things in coffee houses ‘to be seen’ doing that activity; vainly engaging in public posing. It was decided to create a scenario where two people were flirting with one another via this process of doing things to be seen doing them; ostentatiously projecting their interests and personalities at each other. Lee Halpin directed the shoot and composed a story line involving two vintage-styled, cosmopolitan, coffee house socialites. Artifice Orifice provided wardrobe. Lee Scullion photographed and assisted in direction. Rob Heron of ‘Rob Heron and the Tea Pad Orchestra’ is the male model. Catherine Murphy is the female model. The set was provided by Heaton Perk coffee house.





& CHEMICAL CONFESSIONS Vanity has arguably reached a cultural extreme in today’s Britain with large portions of society going to drastic measures and acquiring hardcore beauty regimes in order to meet a perceived standard of attractiveness.Wild shopping sprees and chemical enhancement are no longer the reserve of the rich and famous, as the following interviews prove. Photograph by Ely Smith.

First name: SARAH Sex: FEMALE Age: 33 Occupation: LETTING AGENT Why do you have so many clothes? I buy them because I care a lot about what others think of me. I shop expensively to create an aura of power. I feel my clothing is a tool to get over inner insecurities. How did you feel after you have bought new clothes? I’ll feel better, but only for a short while. I’ll quickly find another item of clobber I just have to have. How do you feel if you want clothes that you can’t have/afford? It’s an obsession. I often go to any means to buy clothes; avoid bills, do a cheap weekly food shop or borrow money. What do you feel when you look in the mirror wearing new clothes? Confident is the easy answer. However, I can also have feelings of superiority and arrogance. How do people respond to your clothes? I’m trying not to be big headed but most people love my style and clothing. I often get comments

on how smart I look and people ask where I get my clothes. What are you thinking about when you’re looking at other peoples’ clothes? Again, my arrogance comes to the fore. I can make a snap decision on someone just from what they’re wearing. I will judge people on their style. First name: CHRIS Sex: MALE Age: 23 Occupation: DOOR SUPERVISOR What chemicals have you used to alter your appearance? Melanotan injection. How did you feel about your body before introducing chemicals? I felt positive. I am, however, a great believer that most people (not everyone) look healthier and more attractive with a tan. As I have been unable to afford to go anywhere hot on holiday the melanotan was a tempting alternative. Due to my curious nature I had to try it. How do you feel about your body after introducing the chemicals? After the initial nausea post injection I felt

great. After my first sun bed I could already see fast and good results. It was all I expected and more. What do you feel when you look in the mirror? I’m never dissatisfied when scrutinising my own reflection, however, that’s not to say that I’m ever fully satisfied either. Do lots of your peers use these chemicals? Are they easy to ascertain? How? Not lots of my peers, only a couple, who were also very keen to test and learn about their bodies. However, all of us have stopped due to the increased chance of melanoma. The chemicals are easy to obtain. The internet has lots to offer if you know where to look. Why do you think so many people are using these chemicals in today’s society? I would have to guess that the pressures on appearance placed by the pseudo-society we are immersed in from birth cause most to feel they have to better themselves. Appearance has become a big deal, and can change the way people react to you before they have eve spoken to you. Thus, by making yourself look as good as you feel possible, this can give you a large advantage in

your waking life when dealing with other people, if not just for your own confidence. How does your partner feel about these chemicals you use? My partner has to respect my autonomy. As long as she is confident I am looking after my health and not going ‘too far’ she is happy. How do people respond to your tan? People respond differently. I can only assume that this is due to their own personal view of what they consider attractive, or what they might presume about your intentions for exploring avenues that are relatively unknown/not very well documented. I never hid the fact I was using melanotan, and I received a wide variety of different responses: some people loved it, some were worried, some found it hilarious. Everyone was curious. First name: ROSS Sex: MALE Age: 23 Occupation: FASHION RETAIL ASSISTANT What chemicals have you used to alter your appearance and why? Over the course of 2 years I have pretty much tried every anabolic substance, from synthesised hormones such as test enanthate and cypionate, to androgenic compounds such as decanthoate or trenbolone, as well as peptides like insulin, gh and igf. In addition there have been fat burners like clenbutorol or t3s, plus substances to fight the ill effects of the original steroids like proviron, and anti-estrogens like tamoxifen and arimidex. I wanted to be special, in all honesty, something which in my own mind would differentiate and make me ‘better’ than the next man. How did you feel about your body before introducing chemicals? Before gear I was confident, content and proud of my physique. I was skinny and athletic; I looked healthy and I wore whatever I wanted. I wasn’t self-conscious. How do you feel about your body after introducing the chemicals? Post steroids, although I feel I look far more impressive, I am self-conscious, constantly second guess myself, question myself, choose what I wear meticulously based on aesthetics. Then you have to take into account the post-gear comedown. Each pose, each glimpse in the mirror, is a disappointment. There is a change from glowing narcissist to baggy t-shirted hermit! In my positive moments, however, with a pump or after a session, I am immensely proud of my physique. It’s a similar feeling of fascination that I first felt about the guys in the magazines. Rather than a feeling of satisfaction it’s a signal of progression, proof you’re improving, and therefore winning! Never have I looked at myself and thought: that’ll do lad!

How do people respond to your body/ muscles? In terms of women, it ranges from positive attention, to disgust and assumptions about personality. Usually, it’s the nice girls that aren’t impressed at all! Obviously, your peer group are a group of like-minded individuals, who share the same passions and interests as you, so it comes as no surprise that all of my close friends use steroids, which perhaps gives it a sense of normality that it shouldn’t have. My main social hub is the gym. Are they easy to ascertain? How? There are probably more dealers than there really needs to be, and everyone who takes steroids seams to dabble in selling. Why do you think so many people are using these chemicals in today’s society? The ‘mtv generation’ has created a dystopic environment where people strive to be everything they’re not, it’s no different with girls; fake is the new vogue, with everyone competing to be the biggest, most tanned, most fashionable, ‘top shagger’. It’s a world of young fame and fortune, fast results and instant gratification, one night stands and instant notoriety, so steroids fit the bill perfectly. In all walks of life people aren’t willing to be the little man, to work their way up, to put the foundations in. It’s all me, me, me, now, now, now. First name: LAURA Sex: FEMALE Age: 22 Occupation: FULL-TIME MUM What chemicals have you used to alter your appearance and why? Over a number of years, I’ve tried various chemicals to alter my appearance; mainly anything I read that I believe will help with weight loss, quickly. I’m an impatient kind of girl - If I don’t see a result straight away, I give up. I’ve tried a variety of legal slimming aids; thermogenic tablets, thyroid tablets. I’ve used laxatives such as bisacodyl. I can’t stand feeling bloated, and found these to have the same effect, as well as being a much cheaper alternative to many slimming aids on the market. Illegal supplements I’ve tried in order to assist me in altering my appearance include, speed and ephedrine (mixed with copious amounts of caffeine, either in tablet form or coffee, and aspirin - to create an ‘ECA stack’). I’ve also injected myself with relatively new to the market, Melanin injections, in order to give my skin a “healthy glow” (more like an oompa loompa!) Why? Numerous reasons. I suppose the main reason was I didn’t like me and thought a change in appearance would create a change in mind. There were also health reasons. I believed using these chemicals could enhance

my physical performance and help me reach my peak and get to my weight loss goals. I still do believe that they can, as long as they’re used correctly. How did you feel about your body before introducing chemicals? As long as I can remember I’ve hated my body. Hate may be a strong word to many, but that’s definitely the emotion I feel. So most certainly I felt negative and inadequate, especially to my peers. I’ve been envious of many a friend’s fantastic figure. How do you feel about your body after introducing the chemicals? At the moment my body is chemical free, how I feel about that, I’m unsure. Since being asked about doing this interview, I’ve began looking at my body again and there’s a lot that needs to be done. My weight since stopping any chemicals has increased; my motivation is low, so outwardly I look worse. When I first introduced some of these chemicals into my body, I felt shaky, hot, faint, nauseous, but I was at an egotistical low; I enjoyed those feelings, I enjoyed the rush. I got things done and I did get the results (short-term) that I wanted. Whether the results were that of the chemicals or due to the lack of food, and amount of exercise I was doing, it’s hard to say; probably just as much the latter, but I certainly felt the drugs gave me the confidence and helped to get me started. What do you feel when you look in the mirror? I don’t think I’ll ever feel true satisfaction when I look in the mirror. A brain and personality transplant may be needed in order for that to happen. I will always strive to look better than I ever can. Thank goodness I’m relatively poor or I’d probably have an addiction to cosmetic surgery! How do people respond to your body? I’d say indifferent. I’m at neither end of a body spectrum. Not fit nor fat. I’m average and middle of the road. Not particularly a body people have thoughts on. Do lots of your peers use these chemicals? Are they easy to ascertain? How? I know of many people who use the same chemicals as I did, most of the same age bracket 18 -25. I’ve always found them easy enough to ascertain. How? Wanting something to assist me popped into conversations and always seemed to be with somebody who could help. I mean, I’ve never had to meet some stranger down a dark, dingy alley to collect them, that’s for sure.

INTIMATION CREATION We spoke to design agency Intimation Creation to find out about some of the work they do. We also persuaded them to design this issue’s front and back cover. Cheers guys !

The last few years has seen design company Intimation Creative more than double in size and open a second studio, south of the Border in Gateshead, where they now thrive on meeting the demands of graphic design, print and branding clients. Originally Haddington based and maintaining their roots close to Edinburgh, the expansion to Gateshead 3 years ago was a natural progression, following the growth of business within the area and allowing the company to service all their clients more efficiently. Managing Director, Steve Sadler says, “Growth and steady expansion of the Business through the course of the last five years has

necessitated several moves to accommodate additional designers and state-of-the-art print equipment. We are delighted with progress, though, and strive to continue to provide excellent service within the realms of graphic design, print, web and branding to both new and established clients throughout the country”. The edgy “Arch 14” on High Level Parade has presented Intimation with the ideal platform from which to showcase their work and a creative workspace. The relaxed nature of the studio allows clients to drop in for an informal chat and to sample the most recent projects in development, the most recent of which; the honour of the

cover for Novel Magazine! Best known locally for their 2011 “Christmas Window”, (for which there are calls for an annual repeat display!) Intimation believe in working closely with their clients, listening and offering expert advice, based on experience and sound knowledge across their particular range of services, which now also include packaging design and a broader spectrum PR and Social Media service. (Q&A) WITH ANDY SMITH, DIRECTOR GATESHEAD STUDIO Why the move to the North-East? We recognised the need to spread our team wider to better service

our clients further south, however ultimately didn’t want to steer away from East Lothian, where we have fully established IC as part of the local community. Hopefully now, we are building the same close relationships in Gateshead and the North East in general, we really couldn’t be happier with the way the business has been received in Gateshead.

retain business, which has obviously benefitted all of our clients, across all industries. Most recently we have developed strong relations with drink industry related brands, not least of all, with Belhaven Brewery who tasked IC to design numerous cask ale badges which are now seen throughout the country in pubs and restaurants.

Who, typically are IC’s clients? Our strengths lie in many areas across design, print, branding, PR and SM, so our clients come from a very wide ranging industry spectrum. We are however consistent with our competitive pricing structure and flexible working terms to

What sets IC aside from other design studios? We firmly believe that our success to date comes from offering clients expert advice based on vast experience and sound knowledge coupled with listening to clients’ requirements and tailoring products and services to suit



0191 276 5298 WWW.CALSOWN.CO.UK


PRINTING, PROMO AND PERFECT BINDING It’s timet o reveal a little Novel secret. We give you the men who give us our posters, flyers and freshly bound projects back. I remember being a student in an unfamiliar city, reestablsihing myself and getting lost looking for local amenities. As a part-time club promoter, (secret) full-time geek the main amenities I required during my student days were somewhere to get posters and flyers printed and somewhere to get my projects bound at the end of a module (binding was not mandatory but I was a geek and a point scorer who convinced myself these things actually mattered). Either because I was a culturally and geographically ignorant in a foreign city or because it was hard to find somewhere that did cheap flyers and perfect binding (it had to be perfect binding for me) under the same roof, I used to

travel to two sides of town to get these jobs done. When I returned to Newcastle, still studying, but this time as a full-time publisher, I had the same dual service need; affordable promotional material and quality printing and binding services. It was during this time I recruited the services of Native Print who were able to facilitate both of my needs in one shop. Since Novel’s first event in February 2011 at the Biscuit Factory right up until our last launch party at the Lime Street Studios Native Print have been printing our poster’s and flyers for us. They also bound (perfectly, of course) my dissertation for my Master’s degree at Newcastle University. On top of that the business cards I make sure

to forget before any important meeting are also provided by the lads at Native Print. We thought it was high time we thanked Native Print for their services and encouraged you to use them too. Native Print now has four shops in the North-East as well as a website your Grandma could navigate. The service has been made pretty much idiot proof with a file check service that even a technophobe like me couldn’t balls us; they make it almost impossible for you to make a mistake with your print jobs. To access Native Print’s services visit, call into their city centre store on ridley place or dial 01912245126 to get through to their main branch on Chillingham Road in Heaton.


When we found out Michael Finnigan had moved into an swanky apartment overlooking the river Tyne we grew concerned. You can’t gaze serenely out the window whilst starring, square-eyed at the idiot box. We took the only rational measure: in the small hours of a Sunday morning we blacked out his windows, broke into his house and left a new control pad for the X-box. Phew.

Another Kickstarter success story is the Ouya games console. This inexpensive, little open-source machine raised more than nine times the developer’s initial target bringing in close to $8.6 Million also making it the second highest grossing project on the site. Backers who donated $95 receive a free Ouya console that is projected to be delivered sometime in March, 2013. Now it might not look like much, but the reason people are getting so excited about Ouya is because it is open-source. That means games can be downloaded for free, developers will be given access to the console’s source code and money can be made through in-app purchases and

powerful as the current generation of consoles. That said, if you take a look at the Wii, you’ll see that clever design and enjoyable gameplay will always overcome graphical limitations. You’ve just got to decide whether you trust the developers to do so. Perhaps one way to overcome its limitations is with the cloud gaming service OnLive which will be available from launch. For those of you familiar OnLive, you’ll know it lets you stream AAA games on machines that don’t have the processing power to handle the demand. So despite it being no more powerful than a tablet computer subscription based models - you only you can run highly intensive games for have to pay if you’re looking for vanity a monthly subscription that may even items or on-going content. Gamers look better than the 360 and PS3. will even be given easy access to the With over 63,400 backers we can machine’s hardware, where they can make modifications to their heart’s de- assume the Ouya will find itself a little sire and all of this in a minute little pack- niche. For 70 odd pounds it’s a completely inexpensive games console that age no larger than a Rubik’s Cube. When it finally ships, the Ouya will have will double up as a media portal and space for up to four controllers and will web browser, streaming services like output graphics at 1080p, using a modi- BBC iPlayer and 4od. All in all, it’s difficult to say whether fied NVIDIA ULP GeForce GPU and the the Ouya will be any good. The open Android 4.0 operating system. source nature of the thing is certainly This mixture of software and hardware alluring, but then again, isn’t it just the is typically found in tablets and smartphones and for that reason you should innards of a mobile phone stuck into a box. I guess we’ll have to wait and see. expect the graphics to be somewhat similar; they certainly won’t be as

Today the world took a step closer to virtual reality after an innovative new head mounted display (HMD) called the Oculus Rift more than tripled its Kickstarter target of $250,000; in a mere four hours. The Oculus Rift is unique because it offers gamers an all-encompassing field of view and real 3D vision that offers a level of immersion unseen in modern gaming. It all started way back in June when John Carmack, the creator of Doom and all round genius, introduced a prototype version of the Oculus Rift during the E3 presentation. Journalists were invited into a small room one-byone to test out the machine on a highly upgraded version of Doom 3 (out later

this year). The response was overwhelmingly positive and that was just on an unpolished, low resolution machine. What they saw was a great concept. “The demonstration was particularly low-key but the response it gained online was unprecedented.” The prototype wasn’t created by Carmack, however. It was developed by a young tech expert from America called Palmer Luckey. Palmer is the founder of Oculus and has over 200 HMD’s in his own personal collection. The Rift is unique again because it is the first VR machine that doesn’t suffer from latency problems. In the past, gamers would move their heads and the computer simply wouldn’t have enough

processing power to keep up. Because of the advancements in technology, like the introduction of inexpensive motion tracking devices and high-density lightweight screens, the Rift is able to keep up with your movement with zero latency. But if you want to get one for yourself the Kickstarter project will only get you the barebones of the machine and you will have to glue the rest together yourself; probably into an old ski mask. This version is specifically for professional and indie game developers who want to ensure their games have native support when the consumer product finally arrives sometime within the next couple of years. For me, the Rift is a far more appealing product than the next generation of consoles. Sure the graphics will be improved, but I suspect the gameplay will remain largely the same. The Oculus, on the other hand, will provide an entirely new experience to enjoy; an experience that will also build upon what is already there. Imagine revisiting all of your favourite games as if you were actually there, in thrilling 3D. All in all, the Oculus is best summed up by John Carmack himself when he said: “What I’ve got now, is, I honestly think the best VR demo probably the world has ever seen.” And I think we’re all dying to give it a go for ourselves.


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Novel Magazine #10 'The New Wave Vanity Issue'  

Nightlife, performances, events, exhibitions, launch parties and talent. Novel Magazine covers all aspects of North-East culture with a dist...

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