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Events

Milda’s

Story

Exclusive: COVER Photographer: Selene Alexia Model: Laura Baldwin Styling: Bloch Creative Director: Ulia Ali

Interview with

Till Fechner

The writer:

Art in Life -

Practically lived out

Musical Life:

Amy Bairstow

The Roaring

20s

Nathan Akerhurst

Editorial:

Laura Baldwin

My Hitchcock


Dear reader, You are holding the first issue of HIIIGH magazine. Several other students of the London College of Communication, and I, created this publication. Just like every other artistic person, or publisher, I aspired to create something completely unique, something that I felt this world lacked. In this age of modern technologies and freedom from censorship, the true meaning behind words suchs as art and culture has become impossibly disgraced. Garbage can be thrown on the floor and named an artistic installation, and a vulgar, poorly written novel by uneducated housewife can become a bestseller. I wonder if it is not our own fault that the majority of youth lack a cultural layer to their characters. This has lead to the degradation of culture, where the only things that matter in art are objects which hold shock value or provoke gossip. Of course we may not change the pace society lives by, but I truly believe that HIIIGH can become

Editor-in-Chief, Art Director, & Advertising Director - Ulia Ali Editor & Photographer - Selene Alexia Cinema Editor & Production Director - Gizem Dervis Fashion Editor & Staff Writer - Jess Atkins a guide for young individuals who strive to progress and, instead of simplifying art and making it banal, can become the next geniuses and true connoisseurs of culture. We want to be involved in building a highly educated, intelligent society that will be capable of understanding and appreciating the beauty of our lives and creations. Thus, I want to finish with John Lennon’s wise words: “You may say I am a dreamer, but I am not the only one.”

The HIIIGH team would like to take this opportunity to gratefully acknowledge the contribution of Selene Alexia, the photographer of our photoshoot with Laura Baldwin, and for her great assistance with the compilation of this issue.

Special thanks to BLOCH for the collaboration and styling of the first main editorial in HIIIGH.

Fashion Assistant & Staff Writer - Sarah Kisswani Finance Director Margaret McGonnell

Print Production London College of Communication

Thanks to Tricia K. Gardner, a 2D artist working for Disney, who drew a Hitchock illustration for Film section. trishkg.com hello@trishkg.com


This annual festival brings together international, world class poets, best-selling authors and speakers representing a spectrum of creative disciplines. Live poetry, short plays, music based on Pablo Neruda’s poetry and discussions on favourite books, communities, graphic novels and much more for literature lovers.

This dramatic, passionate story based on the life of Crown Prince Rudolf will blow your mind! Mayerling is ballet, mixed with psychological drama, with lashings of sex, death and intrigue.

The 1942 classic romance CASABLANCA returns to the big screen at The Prince Charles Cinema with a very special 30-minute pre-show performed by pianist Cyrus Gabrysh. Dressing to impress is very much encouraged. Royal ascot is a marvelous event which brings together the very best of style, sport, elegance and entertaintment.

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Passion, intrigue, revenge, a star diva and fabulous music – Tosca is one of the greatest operas that now you can experience for free thanks to BP. You can heck the locations of BP Big Screen Venues at www.roh.org.uk/about/bp-big-screens

An outstanding eight-week summer season of daily orchestral classic music concerts and other events. Verdi, Vagner, Mozart... A true delight for even the most sophisticated listeners!

One of the most extravagant £10 million theatrical staging of J.M. Barrie’s classic children’s book. Definitely not to be missed!

One of the most magnificent and spectacular Italian operas will be shown as a part of the famous Glyndebourne Opera Festival (18 May - 25 August) in East Sussex. It has easy to follow story, funny moments and beautiful costumes, which makes this a perfect choice of opera for a first date.

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BLACKISH REGION (C) BRET TESKEY (MODERN IMAGERY)

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The young and beautiful Milda Gecaite is a rising star in Canadian film industry, who here tells her story about the up and downs of the life of the actress and her road to success.

I

originally came from a small port town in Lithuania called Klaipeda. I was born in 1989 on March 31. The nurses and doctors described me as a funny child, because I would laugh one moment and cry the next, switching moods in seconds.

At the age of five I took part in a beauty/talent contest and surprisingly became “Miss Bumblebee”. That’s where, I assume, my story really began as my mom saw my passion for stage performance. After that, she took me to my first dance class: it was Ballroom dancing. Ever since that day, I became immersed with Ballroom and Latin dance. I began leading my life as a competitive dancer until I was 15. At the time, I thought my career had ended as my then dance partner told me he found another person to dance with and I am no longer needed. I was devastated, depressed and thought of quitting dance altogether, but then something

inside me clicked and I realized I am not going to stop until I reach the very top; even just to prove my ex-partner, and to the people around me, that I am better than that. So, I spent my days in the studio, practicing on my own, until one day, my mother got a call. The call came from a far-away land called Canada, where I was offered a job as a dancer. Of course, I seized this opportunity by the tail and after a short time, I found myself in Canada continuing my dance career. As they say, if it happened once, it may happen again, and so it did. My new dance partner in Canada suddenly decided to quit dancing, throwing me back to square one again, not knowing what to do next. At that time I was in the 11th grade at school, and it was time for me to finally decide what I wanted to do in my life. One day my close friend told me she saw an announcement for musical audition for ballroom dancers. The very next morning I skipped class and went to audition.

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Three months later, as I walked home from school, I happened to be a witness to a car accident (a car flew by me right in front of my eyes and hit a pole) after which I struggled to return home, since I was shaking from I nearly got killed; Long story short, we danced the the fact that I prayed out loud, thanking God first round, my name got called for being alive. As I reached my out last, much to my surprise. I door, I heard the phone ringing. had to stay for the singing part I picked it up and a pleasant feof the audition, and was told we male voice bagan: “ Hello, I am may get the call or we may not. calling from Mirvish ProducTo be honest, I did not believe I tions, the producers would like would get a call. But once more ty Dancing”…..” I to my surprise, I got called back to…… “Dir couldn’t not understand half of for the third round of auditions the things she was saying and to do “partnering” after which just said: “I’m sorry, I almost they still didn’t make it clear if got killed just now, please call I got the role or not. Again I did back in an hour.” And hung up. not had any expectations.

I showed up at the dance studio where the casting was held, and knew nothing about how auditions work. All I knew was that I would have to dance like never before.

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MILDA FOR NATURAL SPIN DANCEWEAR (C) ED NG

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The rest that followed was getting my first contract, first day of preparations and staging of the show, up until the opening night of the North American Premiere of “Dirty Dancing: The Classical Story on Stage.” This event was the foundation for my current career path. I have spent almost 2 years at the Royal Alexandra Theater In Toronto, performing in front of 1500 people every night and I loved every second of it. I did not go to drama school, but everything I learned about the theater was from first hand experience; I could not have asked for a better learning process. I have learned that theater and performing are not just about fame and screaming fans. It’s all about hard work, focus, consistency, practice, understanding, team work, partnerships and much more. There are so many things When people ask me happening behind that glowing stage that audience doesn’t know about: tears, drama, emotions, friendships, love, betrayals and more, which sometimes are even more complicated and intense than the play.

roles, run lines, work with the director not only on the character development but technicalities of staging as well... It’s all really fascinating! Dancing was something that I already knew how to do, but acting was an entirely new horizon. Therefore, I decided to start taking on camera classes (those were the only ones I could do with the show schedule). I found one of the best acting studios in town and began exploring the acting world. The first few classes I did were terrifying, since the only form of communication in front of an audience I was used to, was my dancing. I would use my body, not my voice or face. It was all very odd, scary and uncomfortable. I remember my first commercial audition, in which they gave us big Hubba Bubba gum and told us to chew on it be, fore we came into the room. I had no idea what to expect. As I walked into the room they asked me to chew the gum, look in the distance, pretend we just saw our biggest Idol, look really in shock and then we had to blow out as huge a bubble as possible and pop it on the cue! Well, I popped it right I guess, because I got the part. When asked afterwards, why me, the answer was: “you’d be surprised how many girls can’t blow up a gum bubble.” So ever since then I put “Gum Bubble popping” under my special skills on my resume… Just kidding! But that was my first job in front of the camera.

why acting I say: because I’m scared of it. ”

I always contemplate if I had this opportunity sent from above because I was ready or if it was just my luck. For a while I couldn’t believe how blessed I was to get such a big chance “without trying hard”, but then I realized that I spent 16 years dancing, training and polishing my skills before I got picked out of all those dancers who came in that day (including auditions held in Montreal, L.A. etc. for this specific role. Because I was the youngest in a cast of 39 amazing performers, I had lots of new opportunities to learn. I watched actors prepare their

I began building up my demo reel. I tried to shoot in as many student films as I could. Some of them were of great productions, some not, but every experience brought something new. The auditioning process was still scary at the time, but I think that’s why I pushed myself to

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BLACKISH REGION (C) BRET TESKEY (MODERN IMAGERY)

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do it. After every audition, however scary and nerve wracking, I walked out and felt accomplished: “I have done something special today” I would say to myself. The important thing is to try to forget how you did it, what you said, and how people reacted at the audition, because otherwise that can drive you bonkers! I did try to get into theater school, and although I auditioned well, they wouldn’t take me in since I have already worked professionally in the industry. I remember saying to myself: “If I don’t get in, I’ll quit this whole thing.” So I didn’t get in, and I cried for about two days and then I got incredibly angry and determined to prove them wrong for not taking me in. So I got up and continued auditioning for projects, with my agent sending me out as much as possible...

tion into any character she portrays. There are many more, but these would be my top two. As for directors… I’d love to work with Baz Lurhmann, - he creates this fantasy world that is taken as a reality without a. I’d also love to work with Woody Allen because of his unique easy breezy style of films that make a lot of sense underneath. I would also like to star in any movie that is based on Nicholas Sparks’ novels: I like the emotional charge.

I could list story after story about every project I worked, but really, acting to me is about being in that bubble where nothing else in the worlds exists. I like pushing my own boundaries, especially when it’s something I’m scared of doing. When people ask me why acting, I say: because I’m scared of it. That’s the main reason. There is this warrior in me who wants to prove people. Also, I want to inspire people, and show them that anything is possible. I am not the first, not the last example of that, but I still want to be an inspiration. I want to put my country, Lithuania, on the world map of acting. My dream role? Oh this is a loaded question but from the top of my head- Satine in Moulin Rouge or Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With The Wind. Who inspires me? Meryl Streep because of her deep sincerity and diversity, and Nicole Kidman because people say I look like her, and I joke that I’m her long lost daughter...and because I admire her grace and transforma-

MIILDA IN AN UPCOMING FILM “THE PIN” (LEAH & DANYA) (C) JOHNNY VONG

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BLACKISH REGION (C) BRET TESKEY (MODERN IMAGERY)

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Your magazine made me think about modern culture and its future. Nowadays, the rapid changes in culture and the arts make me ponder if somewhere down the road all the productions are going to be fast paced shots of action or facial expressions or dumb wit. I do feel like the world of cinema is steering away from sincerity. It feels like only perfect people are allowed on screen with perfect looks, perfect body language, and perfect everything! I just wonder if society asks that for itself. The audience wants to see perfection, and wants to indulge in it. I just wish people were less scared to accept imperfections, even on screen. I also sometimes feel that today’s society, especially the younger generations, is not very highly educated when it comes to culture.

Back in the day, it was prestigious to be highly cultured. Intelligent individuals who cared about the real art of acting, music, and performance were much more respected, while now people appreciate the financial potential of creations more and people who can “sell” to the audience. With such a fast paced world out there, it seems a lot of interesting creations of music and cinema get lost in translation, because nobody makes an effort to watch something until the end, to listen to a song all the way through, to read an article to its conclusion (and if you are still reading these words, kudos to you). We want everything to be fast, “right here right now; and if we cannot get it, we just move on. It is sad really, because what will that leave us with at the end?

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TILL FECHNER exclusive interview

The famous Parisian opera singer gave an exclusive interview to HIIIGH magazine, sharing the curious “behind the scenes” of the life of a true artist and his thoughts about modern culture. Dear Till, it is a great honour to interview you! To begin with I wanted to ask you about your background. When did you start to sing? Was it a youthful dream or did your parents push you in this direction? Thank you! I found the idea of HIIGH magazine absolutely amazing and it is a great pleasure to be a part of it. My family didn’t predisposed me to an artistic profession at all, and my aspirations were a cause for my parents as I was growing up. In my youth, I passionately wanted to be a ballet dancer. It was out of the question for my family, so instead they decided to make me take piano lessons, which of course I never regretted. At the age of 12 or 13 I secretly started to go to dance lessons, and then to drama classes, and hid this from my parents for many years. By the time I was finishing school, and should have begun applying to Universities, I had reached a high enough skill in dancing and acting to go to auditions with confidence. I thus began pushing my passion enthusiastically.

With luck I soon started to dance in some shows at l'Opéra de Paris. This was obviously the right time to announce to my parents that I have become a professional actor and dancer. They came to see my performances and finally understood and accepted my choice. I always found it hard to explain what it was about the theatre life I found so hypnotizing. I just followed my intuition, which I feel is essential in helping you realize your true dreams and achieving your goals. I encountered many amazing opera singers while working daily at the fabulous Paris Opera. They encouraged and inspired me to take singing courses. At 21 I enrolled in a small conservatory where I had an excellent teacher (Janine Devost), who prepared me for my studies at famous Paris Conservatoire. And, voilà my journey began! I had the unique chance to study and practice with famous masters of opera in Italy, then return to Paris with a major US agency, who helped me make my grand debut at the Opéra National de Paris, along with many other opera houses in France and across Europe.

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Is life hard as an opera singer? Would you choose another path if you had a chance? Yes, it is definitely a hard life! Learning to sing is obviously a very strict discipline, but it is only the beginning of a long adventure. The actual life of an opera singer is essentially a life of solitude. Of course we meet a lot of people in the theaters, new colleagues, new conductors or directors, many people in the audience, but our profession can be comparable to the life of sportsmen. We get paid to win medals, to perform and dedicate ourselves fully mentally and physically. This means a lot of responsibility and a lot of traveling. I spend an average of 8 to 10 months a year away from home. Needless to say that having a personal life is almost impossible in such circumstances! Fortunately today we, like everyone else, have the opportunity to stay in touch with our friends, our loved ones (and the public) through Facebook and social media. This may seem like a fun detail, but social networks brought a real change to our vagabond lives! To me it seems that there are numerous challenges for an opera singer. We all begin by being the creators of our own unique instrument we need to build and tune daily – the voice. Then we need to develop the perfect technique, comparable to any other instrumentalist. Finally, we must manage the fundamental knowledge that opera is not only singing but also acting, like in a theater. This theatrical aspect often escapes young singers’ attention who are often concerned only about the singing technique. This is obviously a primary concern and our technique should be honed to perfection, but in the reality of the profession the theatrical aspect is also very important. It is sometimes something that is extremely difficult to manage for even the most extraordinarily talented singers: to find absolute harmony in the combination of the two arts. It is precisely these difficulties that stimulate me.

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If I had, like many young singers no idea what life on the stage means, I still wouldn’t try any other job in the world. An opportunity to work with such legendary artists as Claudio Abbado, Daniel Harding, Alberto Zedda, Petre Brook, Lev Dodin or Andra Breth is one of the reasons to absolutely love my job ! Do you have a favourite role? What is included in your repertoire? I built a large portion of my career on the roles of Rossini. This is a very exciting and virtuoso repertoire that not every opera singer can pull off, as it is very difficult from a technical point of view. Rossini was Italian. I am German born and raised in France, so I had in principle no particular reason to get excited about a typical Italian repertoire. Maybe I did not know what to do with my Franco-German origins, but Italian music has seemed a paradise to me. Today I sing a much wider repertoire. I have, for example, played in a contemporary opera by the Franco-Polish composer Karol Beffa, in Mexico. In June, will be at the State Opera House, in Budapest, for a French baroque opera “Hippolytus and Aricia” by Rameau. I also just sang my first “Don Giovanni” at the Opéra de Bastia. I dream to sing Verdi and major German and French romantic composers: Weber, Beethoven, Gounod ... One day maybe if I am lucky!

Rehearsing “La Vida Breve” (Manuel de Falla)


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Till Fechner performing DULCAMARA in "L'Elisir d'Amore" (Donizetti)

Performing ALASKA WOLF JOE in “Mahagonny” (Kurt Weill)

In what direction do you predict opera will go? Do you feel like it is transforming and changing, trying to be “trendy,” or do you believe opera is an art that is eternal and is independent from à la mode? This is a hard question. The opera is a form of spectacle which first appeared in Italy in the XVI century. Since there is a beginning there will probably be an end. The opera has a very particular time report, which sometimes goes against the current speeds that characterize our society. It seems to me that to create an opera, and to listen to it, you must have time. In addition, the opera has always inspired the stage directors, and they are often the ones who keep the masterpieces alive. The opera does not comply with fashion;

if the music has survived the centuries it is not without reason. Also what is said in an opera is simply accessible to all ages and timeless. I believe that the history of opera making is still in progress and this art is constantly evolving. I do not know if Opera is eternal, but the situations and emotions presented in an opera certainly are. And do not forget that opera, like “classical” music in general, has a very particular originality in our time: no sound, no technical assistance, we are of the “organic” music! This is an amazing experience! This is something that young people often find difficult to understand and often ask “where are the microphones?” I think the experience of an opera is very special and can be a very striking and valuable thing in the global musical landscape of our time.

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Do you meet a lot of young people who enjoy opera, or is it sadly appreciated less and less with each generation? Why do people think the youth do not like opera? The opera is not a museum with old divas! I’ll tell you one thing: the opera is the most rock and roll show ever. It’s a crazy thing! Personally I always attend meetings with the public, especially when it comes to young people. I had the incredible opportunity to experience opera in all its senses and I think it is criminal not to be introduced to this form of unforgettable entertainment. I sincerely believe that if young people do not come to the opera it’s just that they do not know it exists because we do not speak to them. So I say “hey guys! Buy the ticket once, we will offer special prices for you. Come in and let the opera evoke your soul! You will discover something you won’t be able to forget!” And it works! The kids love the opera, they just need to be introduced to it. And it is not a matter of “culture”. The opera is violent, visceral art which does not require special knowledge. This is something that strikes without warning. Obviously, in an opera house you can see many older people, but there is no doubt that they discovered their love for opera before. So now it’s your turn, young people! What makes me think that the opera has a strong impact on young people, it is the growing number of girls and boys taking operatic training. It is a real jungles, and I can assure you that the next generation of opera makers and admirers is brilliantly prepared!

is a reflection of our feelings, lives. A look, a gesture, a word, a moment of beauty is absolutely everywhere. People just have troubles seeing and believing it, as a lot of things became just a habit, we got used to wonders of this world. What a mistake! For me, the beauty is in the uproar, the natural restlessness. Make art, make music: it’s just organizing the uproar that everyone can hear and see perfectly. But it seems to me that one thing that cannot be separated from the noise is silence. Essential beauty. I live in Paris and have spent most of my life in very large cities, so often all what I need is silence. As an opera singer, we must continuously withstand such a saturation of silence that has, for us, a very special meaning. It is a real luxury. Personally I like to retire to a small medieval village in the south of France. There I will be surrounded by friends, old stones and nature. I will have the necessary calm to read while exploring musical works of the past it is important to read a lot. What we learn from the past is that if things move, nothing changes fundamentally. This makes us very humble. In purely musical domain I was marked by numerous personalities. I can cite the disorder as a form of gratitude for what they have given me: Samuel Ramey, Maria Callas, Marilyn Horne, Valerie Masterson, Rockwell Blake, Regina Resnik, Glenn Gould, Claudio Abbado, Peter Brook.

What inspires you in life? How do you discover beauty in life? What inspire me most are the people. This is where you find real life and genuine beauty. The art is inspired by life and express it. Every song, film, book, everything that was ever said

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Till Fechner performing Hamlet in “LES AMANTS FOUS” (Orianne Moretti)


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play your role in this play of life. These are all the talents we need to have maybe one day the world we dream. And this is a real job! Furthermore, culture is not what comes from the past: it is that which is still alive, which aligns with the eternity of human nature. So there are no levels in culture, not “high” or “low” culture. I often see attempts to “popularize” an opera. Sure it’s great to share this art with all. But how does this actually work? I saw rock and pop stars trying to sing opera arias in French television show that has become very successful. But it is a shame that half of the public won’t even understand that the popular show cannot be compared in any senses with an actual evening at the opera theatre.

Performing ALIDORO in “La Cenerentola” (Rossini)

What do you think about the idea of creating HIIIGH magazine? Do you believe there are individuals who want to protect culture in its “pure” form? Do you believe in the definitions of high and low culture? As I mentioned above, I believe youth should be informed about the existence of the opera. If Hiiigh magazine can contribute to this then we must consider that the work you are doing is essential, and you can be a true visionary and promoter of cultural richness. We are all responsible for the world we create, as we all are part of this world. Everyone must bring his special talent to the table. In art you have creators, explorers and guides, so it’s important to

Why not make a program with great artists, and which will allow people to actually discover what opera means. I have great respect for some pop singers, but everyone has to do what he or she can do. The problem is that we tend to confuse culture and entertainment. Entertainment is a wonderful thing. I respect that and I myself enjoy some great entertainment. But one thing is clear: no, “X-Factor” or “Britain’s Got Talent” (the same kinds of programs exist all over the world) are not cultural programs. Variety of popular singers who try to sing opera does not demonstrate a level of culture. If the media want us to believe that it is culture, then we must look elsewhere to find it. I hope that your magazine is a source of true culture that to which we are all entitled.

Interview and translation from French by Ulia Ali. Special thanks to Jerome Rytlewski Louchart for making interview with Till Fechner possible.

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Active socialist, Oxford student, blogger and a budding writer gave us a sneak a peek into his mind and upcoming book Interregnum.

I've always written. Mostly not stuff that was especially good quality, but in a way that doesn't matter, the act of putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard these days) is something that's important in itself- or has been to me anyway. For a long time I've had a penchant for the speculative- dystopian, SF & Fantasy, alternate histories, etc. Nineteen Eighty Four, The Man in the High Castle, Extinction, Mieville's Embassytown- work that imagines another world and in doing so reveals a few uncomfortable truths about our own. That is to some extent what I try to do. Outside fiction I do a fair bit of journalism, currently regularly writing for the Oxford Student's comment section, and also write poetry- the first time I was published was in a students' poetry anthology back in the dark days of secondary school. I blog at Red Flag Flying- though my degree and other commitments has meant updates these days are quite sparse- but it's a space for socialist comment and opinion, of which I have a lot. I'm also working on a play dealing with the Northern Ireland Troubles and elitism in 1970s Oxford University. You asked me about the culture, about values and definitions. I have mixed feelings about culture and it's not something I've had time to

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fully think about. Of course in terms of art, architecture, music and literature I have my own preferences and a few are quite old-fashioned. But I'd never dream of imposing what I considered to be 'good' culture on everyone else as a universal vision of what good aesthetic is. I can't stand Roger Scruton. It's a slight contradiction in that I do allow myself to get snobbish about what I'd consider to be the cultural equivalent of a festering garbage heap, but I also recognise that objectively there's no such thing as a universal aesthetic. Preferences are preferences. Or at least they would be if we genuinely did form our tastes on some sort of tabula rasa, but what concerns me is the influence of overarching political discourse upon cultural expression. As a small example; the (admittedly enjoyable in cinematic terms) reactionary rightwing fantasy that was the latest Dark Knight film. Popular culture is ultimately the reproduction of ruling ideologies, which accounts for the swamp of consumerism we have today - (and then people wonder why we get guerrilla consumerism in the form of the London riots.) Or indeed there's the other idea that art has to be some sort of apolitical abstract thought experiment, an idea that rests on the acceptance of the status quo for all its apathetic pretensions. The Situationist International would be turning in their collectivised grave. Hence why I've


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tended toward the radical and the subversive as almost an instinct - although that too can easily be sanitised, stripped of its reality and displayed in a trendy art gallery built in some hipster East End area where poor people who can no longer afford the house prices used to live. Yes, hipsters annoy me, and living in Oxford I get a lot of them. My novel - something of course that I have had time to think about. There's a great deal I'm trying to do with it, and I guess it's up to readers to judge how well those aims have been fulfilled. It's got a little of the bildungsroman in it- my protagonist is a student coming of age into a world full of chaos (in that sense at least, I write what I am experiencing.) In a sense it's a counterpoint to the Orwellian dystopia. There is no big oppressive totalitarian state. That's because it's unlikely there will be. The Soviet Union is dead and gone, and the world has by and large accepted 'liberal democracy.' I place that in quotation marks because the dystopia we seem to be heading more toward is the opposite. The utter suborning of states to a ruthless and inhuman economy run on the whims of market forces, a system that encourages and lauds greed and venality even more than it currently does, and under the rhetoric of freedom and individuality, the utter neglect of any individual who happens to be (especially economically) vulnerable. In a time of austerity, permanent crisis and dwindling resources, it's a future that's imaginable and the stage upon which the first book is set. In artistic terms that's almost more exciting and terrifying than Orwellianism. Big states can be broken; their shatterpoints are often visible. Economic systems for which no group of individuals in particular are to blame are much harder to fight, the reality of it is much more Kafkaesque.

which has led to the breakdown of the UN and international law. On their way out in a lastditch bid to maintain power, they created an international board to regulate predator multinationals. This board was quickly overrun and its resources now in the hands of perhaps the worst predator multinational of all. The earth is heating up, the oil is running out, and the collapse of the oil futures market has plunged us into another deep recession. A few years earlier, when theoretical faster-than-light travel was discovered, it prompted a scientific boom in the 'space market.' By and large this has translated into an orbital and lunar network of mines, luxury hotels, research installations and impressive buildings mainly there for vanity purposes. Enter the ensemble cast for Interregnum (the first book in what I plan to be a long series)- a student at a faculty that trains professionals for the emergent space market, the commander of the British section of a cooperative military, an ex-PI turned impoverished journalist, and Claudia Swan. The less said about her the better, I don't want to spoil any more of the story!

In a nutshell, it's 2049. The UN Law of the Sea renegotiations in 2020 have started a process

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Pure English rose, talented actress and ballerina in our stunning photoshoot along with Russian writer Serge and beautiful artist Niamh Tulley. Photography by Selene Alexia

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Laura: When I was three my parents decided they wanted me to take ballet classes. As I got older I took more classes and became more passionate about the arts; I never looked back. I began singing and acting and was really enjoying it. When I was 16 I auditioned for several Performing Arts colleges, as I knew it was all I could imagine doing. I went to Doreen Bird College with a D.A.D.A scholarship, and trained for three years. It was incredibly hard work, and taught me a lot about myself. After I graduated I got my first performing role playing Alice in Alice in Wonderland in a Christmas show at the Lichfield Garrick. While on stage you realise how much your hard work has paid off, but you never stop learning. My family has been incredibly supportive and has been by my side the whole time. I couldn’t have done it without them. I find it inspirational how many people I am privileged to meet in this business with a passion for ballet or musical theatre. You find yourself among peers, and build connections with people of similar lifestyles.

Society is changing, but luckily now we live in a country where we have freedom of speech and the ability to be ourselves and to me, being true to yourself is fundamental. In this business auditioning can be tough. After any audition I go shopping or for lunch with my friends. It is important to surround yourself with people who make you happy so you can move on from the tension of auditions. You just have to keep on fighting! During college I felt like I’d lost my drive and determination. I felt like I was only trying to please other people instead of following my heart. My mum took me to watch Legally Blonde, the musical. It helped me realise why I love performance, and reassured me in what I want to do. Since then, whenever I see my mum we always go watch a show. I saw Romeo and Juliet at the O2 arena by the Royal Ballet. It was sensational! It was proof of how hard work can help you achieve your goals. I’m open to all forms of acting, whether that is a BBC drama series or a theatrical play. For the first time in my life I don’t have a plan so I’m just going to see where the opportunities take me and hope I will fulfill my dreams!

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His friends call him “Great Gatsby” for his exquisite sense of taste. He works for Hans Zimmer and he is only 21. May we introduce an amazingly talented and intelligent young composer - Ethan, who told us his story full of wonders...

T

he rain was pouring down over the busy side-streets of Oxford where students in black gowns rushed into their respective colleges to avoid the showering hospitality of British weather. I myself nurtured the same motivation and, though I had spent a good few years living in London and Oxford, the nigh incessant downpour was a little much. I walked hurriedly over the cobblestones and, with an Anglicised sense of self-confidence, I was staring down at my shoes. Occasionally in life I’ve found that some moments just hit you differently; like an out of body experience in which the hallway of endless doors we run through in our minds appears to cul-de-sac in front of one large, widely open egress. So it was for me as I watched my wingtip shoe land on a flyer reading “Oxford University Film Festival”. I paused momentarily, and then, without much thought, picked it up. It was

as if I had been reading a chapter in a book and was looking at the next plot-point, or turn in the story. But before I get ahead of myself, let me tell this story properly, it begins with a girl (as most great stories do). Saving up what small money I had, I was shooting the works, age 12, and taking this fine young lady out to a movie. She was the most beautiful girl in the world: long dark hair and rich brown eyes, a smile that could warm your heart, and an accessibility that made me feel empowered to give to her in any way I could. The movie was Superman Returns - a film which had a certain significance to me at the time as it told of an isolated hero (something I suppose in my oldfashioned romanticism, I imagined I was). Of course, when I say a film had profound significance to me, you must understand you’re talking to the kid who brought a bull-whip to school after watching Indiana Jones and washed dishes

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for weeks when I was five years old to buy a bow and arrow after seeing Errol Flynn in The Adventures of Robin Hood. I sat next to Abby, and watched my favourite scene come up: Superman was flying through the city at night, on his own, just thinking. The music in that film was resplendent, and this particular cue caught my attention. As I listened to it this time however, a new chord struck and epiphany came on: it suddenly occurred to me that this composer, at one time in his life, must have also been a boy in a movie theatre, spellbound by what he heard and saw. I endeavoured that night to write him, I didn’t quite know how, but as fate would have it, the contact line on his fan page was still live (a week later, it was taken down). Luckily enough, I had copied the address and sent him a humble note thanking him, in the name of fine art, for his masterpiece. I remember, the day he wrote back was like Christmas: I printed out the email and showed all my friends and family. You see, in my small neighbourhood, the film industry was referred to as a different world: “Well, Ethan, it’s nice that you want to be part of that world”...and so on. Well for me it felt so detached, elysian even in comparison with the sound of school bells, and cars on their way through my town and on to the next. I was starved for advice, I asked this composer who seemed to be transforming into a friend, what I could do at twelve to further my ‘career’. Though I can only imagine that

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concept was wildly amusing to him, he never belittled my request, responding instead that I ought to try and get as much schooling as possible and while, I don’t think, he was referring to University at that time, per se, that was where I was aiming. I decided to go outside the system and go to my sister’s University, I approached one of the music teachers and elucidated some passionate desire to become immersed in music. Whatever I said must have done the trick because, for some reason, he talked with the school and gave me full credit to attend his class.

Eventually, as fate would have it, my family moved to England, where I approached the University in the exact same way: by going outside the system, by thinking outside the box. I approached one of the University professors who specialised in the psychoanalytical approach to music and for some reason, he let me attend the University, with only one proviso: I wasn’t to tell anyone my age. I suppose that made sense, being that I was two years too young to be formally matriculated into one of the colleges. There I learned a great love of opera, classical composition, REAL art. Here the cheesiness of a fat, Italian man singing his woes to a matinee audience would have been laughed at by my Rugby pals, or my mates at the Rowing Club,


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and yet I found in almost every form of music I studied, a certain pathos articulating a new aspect of the human condition. My family lived in a chateau, practically. Nestled onto 37 acres of sheep fields and pastoral nothingness, this again was a place of isolation. I sat at the piano for hours every day, thinking of new ways to musically express some of the deeper, more specific emotions I was experiencing at the time. Abby and I were writing letters intermittently at the time, and though I felt very deeply for her, those feelings were largely unfulfilled; resulting in more time spent at the piano, in a quiet room, trying to change those thoughts into notes on a page. At this time, I had acquired the nickname ‘Gatsby’ amongst my friends (a little jab at my refusal to ever buy a lager, in lieu of some finely stirred martini like the Kajuma). I caught the bus into town to meet a few friends and read a little at the library. It was pouring rain as I hurried through Oxford that evening. I’ve always believed Oxford at dusk to be one of the most beautiful places in the world; it gives off a sense of the impossibe: to walk where Sir Philip Sidney walked, or stand in the footsteps of Cranmer, Ridley, Sir Thomas More, and a great number of other notable men in history. It made me truly believe that the impossible was attainable after all; a characteristic I suppose Gatsby possessed as well; and indomitable hopefulness in the future and what possibilities life sails to shore. I quickened my pace, passing St. John’s College, when I noticed the sole of my shoe landing on a worn-out, soggy flyer. And so begins the REAL story. With just two short days before admissions deadline, I knew I was under the gun. Truthfully, and though I had written countless short films before in anticipation of my days of film

school (I presumed), I did not have a single story point to go off of: I knew it would have to be something I could film AND act in all at the same time which, stylistically, had some interesting possibilities. Nevertheless, good writing, to me, has always been the puzzle-piecing of an anfractuous chain of events. I knew I wanted, above anything else, for the subject matter to be not just close to my heart, but to actually be my heart in that moment. I had grown up watching the silent movies of Douglas Fairbanks and a few other masterpieces of antique cinema, and had a great appreciation for character-communication without words (to my thinking, the last thing a piece of art should lack is subtlety). The story was quite simple: a young man receives a telegram in the mail, post-marked by the Government. The contents are obviously distressing to him and he is emotionally split up by it; he has no direction. I presented that the elements of this envelope called into question the essence and existence of everything he saw around him: his home, family relationships, etc. Suddenly, at the breaking point of the music, we see a total change of scene whereby he has his direction, his confidence, and in a single second of playback, I answered to the audience that he had received a draft form and was called away to join the Army. The rest of the film shows his departure in preparation of this massive, life-changing event. I relied on my best friend, Charlie, to help with the filming. On the last day, running out of time, I edited the hardcopy and literally sprinted through the city at night to put my film in the right hands for the festival. Now, all I had to do was wait. In truth, I think I undermined just how much of my heart really had been in the story: Over the next few months, I had to call in a state of family emergency with my school as I cycled

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over 25 miles to and from the Polo club where I worked. Those hours in the fields each day, soaking in the freedom and space of self-directed thought, brought with them more opportunities than I could juggle at the time. The night my film was to be shown at the theatre, I was invited to a dinner party by one of my great friends. I couldn’t pass it up, besides, the concept of other people seeing and comparing my work to others was hardly appealing. As fate would have it, that evening I was introduced to one of the most remarkable people I’ve ever met: Mr. Rob Cooke. He was a director for a video series hosted by the BBC World Service; an educational programme made out to over fifty countries worldwide. He asked me to come along and work as an assistant on the project - a credit which eventually opened yet another door! I worked on two projects with Rob before taking off to Morocco for a while. I felt a certain stagnancy which I believe necessitates a bit of shaking-up. There in North Africa, I received a strange, if not down right miraculous email from the President of this thing called The Oxford Union. I had never heard of it. The Union is a student-led organisation hosting speakers and debates that have been met with critical acclaim since their start in 1823. For some odd chance of fate, the President had seen my short film screened at the University. Intrigued by it, she had asked for the officiate of the festival to send over my personal contact information. Six months went by and I was, without realising it, being drafted into by far the most prestigious position I could have had (for a person of my age, interest, and skill set). During my interview in the main office, I spoke of my work with Rob, and what I had learned.

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I was in that moment, of course, an expert in everything pertaining to film, social media, and celebrity hosting. Truthfully, I had been re-reading my favourite book: My Wicked, Wicked Ways (by Errol Flynn), in which he provides the aphorism: “When your pockets are empty, put on your best suit and hold your head up high”. I did this, and it worked! I served two terms as the first Media Officer of the Union. Though I was underage, and not officially associated with any one of Oxford’s thirty-six colleges, no one seemed to notice I was out of place (except of course me.) The hilarity of this position is largely unknown: I had no key-card or pocket pass, no membership I.D. - nothing apart from my good luck with open gates, and my growing relationship with the security guards. As I recall, I even hopped the rod-iron fence a few times. My first day was working with Ms. Katie Price, a supermodel and television personality of some note, who gave me more than a few lessons in how to look ‘sexy’ for the cameras...I garnered something of a name around the pub below after she leggedwrapped me in front of some two hundred on-lookers for the official photographs. It was quite the experience. Then came the President of Mongolia, a famous band called Snow Patrol and a few film pals to boot: I hosted and wrote the interviews for Roland Emmerich, the writer of Band of Brothers, director Bruce Robinson, and the most exciting of all: Johnny Depp. Depp was an interesting chap, during his address to the Union, he was surprisingly reticent. As I was sitting next to him, it obviously came as a total surprise when he simply leaned over and just stared at me for almost half an hour.


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ried at the time. He shared a few anecdotes about his life in LA (which was hardly easy), before encouraging me not to be afraid to do the same. I had asked him if he would take any of it back, he thought about it for a while, and then looked back, solid, and said ‘No’. He shared with me his own personal motto: “Just Go”.

ETH AN WIT H JOH NN

Y DE PP

After the speech, I was setting up in one of the libraries where about a hundred and fifty people were waiting to speak to him. Everyone was pushing each other around, trying to get over to where they presumed he would walk in. The interesting thing about that room was a well-disguised back door opening into the bookshelves themselves. It was almost entirely obscured from one’s first glance of the lay out. Wanting to get away from the terrible selfservice I was witnessing by the main entrance, I walked over to the far end of the room where I was on my own, able to think and breathe, and, as I recall, pray.

Just go...but where? A friend had offered to set me up with his good friend, the Director of the BBC where an internship could be arranged - it would be easy to procure one given my previous work experience. Or, alternatively, I could move, “cold turkey” as they say, to California - entirely without a car, licence, job, or even a place to live. With that American option, there was also the promise of my future with Abby, my childhood sweetheart and the woman who has been solepossessor of my heart (something this last year has brought to my attention). The deadline was drawing near. I went for a walk that morning. England is so far north that, during springtime, the sun rises just after four in the morning.

Not a minute went by that I didn’t look over and see Depp walking straight out of the bookshelves to come and chat. For a good long time, the two of us just talked whilst everyone else scrambled over each other at the far end of the room - apparently unaware of the two of us at the other side (I guess that’ll happen when your back is turned).

I was out there surrounded by the pastoral environment in which I had spent so many hours, just thinking; deliberating as to which path was mine to take. I have often wondered whether destiny is a set of footsteps you never realise you’re just stepping into, or whether it’s forging a path from absolutely nothing - where chance and fate consort as one, and either are indistinguishable.

I was able to ask him about his gutsy move to California when he was just 19, newly mar-

Out of this nebulous haze of perplexity came one thought, simple, but crystalline: Abby. I

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thought: of all the gambles to be made, all the chances to be had, the greatest adventure of all, I knew, was to walk through life with her. The rest can go to hell, I thought. I’ve figured if I’m going to live life, I’ll live it unafraid, or at least unimpeded. The decision was made and, later that day, my ticket was booked. I landed in Los Angeles knowing only my future roommate, with whom I wouldn’t say I had a friendship at all. By the time my rent was paid, I had $200 in my pocket, no job to speak of, no licence, no car, and very little self-confidence. I only thought: “Just Go”. Abby and I arranged to see each other. It had been six years (to the week) since I had seen her last and I had not revealed to her that I had moved to California. I wanted to see what her hopes and expectations were in the context of her assumption that I did and still would be living half a world away. Since that time, I had developed the trimmings of an English accent (which most Americans mistook for being Australian), a greater knowledge both of the world, and of myself, and a greater appetite for life. Walking around the corner, my eyes suddenly landed on her: she was more beautiful than words could do her prepossessing mien the justice of description. Within the course of half an hour or so, it was obvious we were as in love as ever we had been - though both of us had changed, we would change again; together this time. After working one horrid job after another, I quickly became introduced to the dishonesty based in selfish gain that has pervaded (and distorted) much of the ‘American Dream’. People scrambling over people - again, as per that day

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at the Union, I took a long step back: I thought, I breathed, I listened, I prayed. Over the next six months I spent hours each and every night walking miles - five miles at least every evening, listening to music, planning; ‘quieting my heart’, I used to say. Suddenly, a break! You see, during the time I made my short film, The Call, I was required to call the Warner Bros. Music Department in order to procure their permission to use a musical cue by illustrious composer Hans Zimmer. In between editing the film and shooting it, I had learned the street address of Zimmer’s representation. From that day on, I send hand-written letters (often in excess of four pages each) to Zimmer personally via the studio. I sent one every week or two...for a year and a half. Never once was a letter directed to him - each and every time they were sent back. I finally began to number the letters so that they’d know who it was that was crazy enough to keep knocking. Well, at the end of these six months - all of a sudden, I caught a glimpse of some posting on the internet on an obscure forum about film music from some young man who had interned with Hans Zimmer’s studio. Ecstatic at the lead, I wrote this chap a message on facebook asking him a) how he had secured the internship, and b) who was the best person to speak with about it?


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A month went by, but eventually, I got a single line of response from him: the name and number of the operations manager for Zimmer’s studio. Before I knew it, I was putting on a blue-velvet sport coat and fraternity tie, my black Oxford wing-tips, and hell of a lot of charm, I hoped. I walked in there - overdressed as a geranium! My CV stood up, my history at Oxford and the Union met with approval. Suddenly, disaster struck: I had already convinced them I was qualified, willing, hard-working, and sociable, the only thing I lacked was a car. My intention had been to take the bus there and back (a total of over four hours in public transport every day). This was not satisfactory to them and my application was denied unless I could get a car. I asked them when they would have otherwise required my availability as a studio assistant and told them, come hell or high water, I’ll have a car by that day, just wait and see. I walked out of there deflated, only to find my supportive, kind girlfriend waiting for me coffee grounds stuck in her teeth after trying, what I had described as, the ‘living end’ in café elixirs: Turkish Coffee. She smiled wide and I couldn’t help but feel more in love with her that day than at any other moment leading up to it (a pattern we have yet to break). Miraculously (and I truly cannot describe this in any other way), within half an hour of my interview, I received a phone call from my parents: they had put the down payment on a car as a birthday present. What followed was an emotion I had not experienced: to go around Los Angeles on a bike for six months, completely incapable of any self-respect with your prospective inlaws, and unable to pick your soon-to-be fianceé up - it’s a blow no male ego quickly overcomes.

as nonsensical to them as it was to me, I could reestablish my eligibility to work there. I got to work directly with Hans Zimmer as well as a number of other well-known Hollywood musician. There my love of music thrived as it has never thrived before. To spend every day in a hotspot of so much creativity, so much vivacity. As of right now, I’ve been inducted into a second internship, of three, at the studio. However, with that, I have the reputation there of being a young man of tenacity and drive. What I lack in knowledge, I intend to make up for in my work ethic, my aspirations, and my passion in everything that I do. Since then, I married Abby - we eloped to St. Thomas, and I’m the happiest man in the world! Final note: last week I took one of my Oxford mates to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, and there, written in stone next to a set of footprints were words since as indelible in my heart as they are there in the pavement: “Dreams really do come true”. Perhaps it comes off a little cheesy, but if it is true, that’s the least of our worries. The world is full of endless possibilities - in which there is more beauty to see, more mellifluence, more music to be heard, and understood, and created than for any impediment, whatsoever, to stand in the way either of the appreciation, or of the creation of true and honest art.

Nevertheless, here was an incredible opportunity to call the studio right back and with a reason

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Amy is a 19 years old musician from Yorkshire who kindly agreed to give us an interview. She plays cello in an orchestra while simultaneously studies textile design at the University of the Arts London, Chelsea college of Art and Design. Firstly, why did you decide to move to London? Mostly for the course because it is the best in the country for textiles, but also because I’ve always wanted to live in London as something is always going on here. London is very exciting place to be! How long have you been playing the cello? I have been playing the cello since I was 8 but started private lessons when I was 10. What made you start playing? Well when I was at school, an orchestra came in and we all got to choose an instrument. I just chose the biggest, but also because it was played by the only woman in the group. I wanted to be like her. Who inspired you? After I got inspired by that woman from the orchestra, my interest slightly dropped until I met Mrs Cravon. She has been my teacher from the age of 10 and her passion for music made me really enjoy it myself and play better. Do either of your parents play an instrument? My parents are very musical, they both love singing opera. They can play – my dad the guitar and my mum the piano - but they are not at an established level. Can you play any other instruments? I have played the double bass a few times but I wouldn’t say I’m a pro. Like my parents I do a lot of singing. I recently sang at my friend’s wedding and at the University talent show.

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What is your favourite piece to play? The Swan, there is a really nice version by Jacqueline du Pre. If everyone went to listen to that on YouTube now that would be great! Where does your orchestra plays? The one I joined here in London meets every Wednesday night just around the corner from Saint Pauls. It would be great if more young people showed an interest as I’m the youngest there. Do you have any upcoming concerts? Our summer concert is the 22 June 7pm at The Barbican, I hope it will be a great turn out. If you could play anywhere in the world where would it be and why? (without hesitation) Paris! Because there is such a passion for classical music. Finally, any advice for young people interested in playing an instrument or looking for an orchestra? The internet is a great resource, you can sign up as a musician and it will come up with orchestras near you. That is how I found the one I am now part of in London. Also for any individual learning to play a classical instrument there will always be a point where someone will tell you it’s ‘not cool’ but you’ve just got to pursue your own dreams. Remember practice makes perfect so you wont be able to play overnight. Interviewed by Jess Atkins


FASHION

LANVIN

MALENE BIRGER

The latest film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s beautiful novel, The Great Gatsby, inspired many designers to return to the glamorous style of the 20s. What a perfect time to channel your inner flapper girl or dapper gentleman!

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NOTTE BY MARCHESA

JENNIFER BEHR

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ROBERT CLERGERIE


SeleneAlexiaPhotography @selenealexia www.selenealexia.com

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(C) TRICIA K.G

Tricia K. Gardner a 2D artist working for Disney in Southern California, found inspiration in famous filmmakers vision: - I was inspired roughly by Hitchcock's quote "I never said all actors are cattle; what I said was all actors should be treated like cattle" and the fact that he essentially tormented Tippi Hedren (ignoring her genuine fear) by using live birds while filming "The Birds", after he had assured her they would be mechanical. This caricature was meant to play at his eccentric methods of directing to achieve his desired result, as well as his pointed harshness to Ms. Hedren for spurning his constant sexual advances. Ink, watercolors, and colored pencils were the media used to create this piece.

LCC student, Gizem Dervis, talks about how Hitchcock influenced her from a very young age. Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was always a big part in both mine and my sister’s upbringing. We used to sneak downstairs, while everyone was asleep, and watch his movies. Hitchcock was born in London Whipps Cross University hospital and grew up in East London, Leytonstone. I used to ride my bike to Leytonstone and show my sister where he lived, as we lived around the corner in Leyton. We were very inspired by Hitchcock as children. This was mainly because before my uncle past away, he would explain Hitchcock’s movies to us as bed time stories. I will never forget The Rear Window story that used to be our favourite since it made us laugh to stiches, while my uncle used to take us to the window in the bedroom and point at other people to make us feel as if we were in the story. Hitchcock was raised by strict Catholic parents. He described his childhood as lonely and shel-

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tered, partly due to his obesity. He once said that he was sent by his father to the local police station with a note asking the officer to lock him away for 10 minutes as punishment for behaving badly. This made me remember my father’s story when he was a child: my farther used to live in an orphanage in Scotland, and used to tell us that the chef in the kitchen was always a horrible man. One day my father had a fight at the table, and the chef took him to the police station and told them to tell him off for his poor behaviour, was that night whipped by his carers at the orphanage. (1963) Hitchcock also stated that his mother would force him to stand at the foot of her bed for several hours as punishment (a scene referenced in his film Psycho). This idea of being harshly treated, or wrongfully accused, is reflected in Hitchcock's films. Psycho was one of the first horror movies made. Eventhough when we were children there were other horror movies, my sister and I still preferred to watch Psycho more than any other film. By watching so many of Hitchcock’s movies I realised that he had a signature trait: He was in every movie he made. The first thing I did was tell my sister. When she came home we took out all Hitchcock’s movies and tried our best to spot Hitchcock in them. It was a very long process, but we enjoyed it. To me Hitchcock was a legend and without his unique style and vision, today’s film industry wouldn’t be the same.


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