Editor’s Letter ..................................................................................................page 4 Contributors Page ............................................................................................page 6 Readers’ Letters ................................................................................................page 7 Shopping Picks ................................................................................................page 9 One to Watch ...................................................................................................page 13 Halloween Drink .............................................................................................page 20 Halloween Treat ...............................................................................................page 22 The Curse of the Hollywood Remake ..............................................................page 24 Interview with Comedian Danny Ward ...........................................................page 29 Halloween Playlist ............................................................................................page 35 An Essay on Russian Counterculture ...............................................................page 38 Short Story: Edgar Allan Poe’s Berenice ..........................................................page 45 Paul Klee: Making Visible ................................................................................page 55 An Irish Person’s Guide to Halloween .............................................................page 60 Interview with Syd Moore ...............................................................................page 65 Party for Halloween .........................................................................................page 71 BFI Gothic Horror Festival .............................................................................page 73 Focus On: Roger Corman .................................................................................page 76 Halloween Places to Visit ................................................................................page 81 Interview with Savile Row Tailor Rebecca Hewitt ...........................................page 83 Women’s Fashion: Church of Punk ..................................................................page 87 Shoot: Sweater Weather ...................................................................................page 90 Men’s Fashion: Layer it up ...............................................................................page 98
Dear Readers, I was on the bus this morning when I heard some schoolkids excitedly discussing their Halloween costumes, and it made me sad that we often lose this sense of wonderment as we grow up. I think Halloween is one of those occasions that we enjoy less and less the older we get. In our teens and early 20s it involves hitting the town and trying to ignore the girls who throw on some lingerie and a pair of animal ears as a costume (a la Mean Girls). Following these years, we’re more likely to worry about our houses being egged than which horror movie to watch. With that said, I’m thrilled to present you with this Halloween themed issue of Haste. We have explored all aspects of the spooky day, so whether you’re looking to throw a party to remember, need some costume inspiration, or you want to learn more about the history of this ancient holiday, do read on. Alongside our seasonal content, we have included our usual mix of interviews and features. If you’re planning a visit to Tate Modern in the next while, don’t miss our piece on Paul Klee (p), detailing the exhibit of his work that has just opened, and tracing his prolific career. We also have an interview with comedian Danny Ward whose career is on the ascent following an award winning performance at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (p). Our short story this issue comes from the master of the horror genre, Mr. Edgar Allan Poe with Berenice, a terrifying tale of love gone awry. I’m hoping this issue will evoke the Halloween spirit in all of you! Laura
enn Hastings- Jenn has just completed her MA in Design History and Material Culture at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, Ireland. Her thesis is entitled Transitional Functionality: Image, Object, Fragment. Jenn found writing her essay for us on Paul Klee’s exhibition at Tate Modern to be a far more pleasurable experience. This year’s Halloween costume: zombie Marie Antoinette
ave Shine- Dave is a self- confessed beard fanatic and sees one as the ultimate male accessory. Dave recently graduated with a BA in English and aims to further his career as a freelance fashion journalist. This year’s Halloween costume: Hank Moody from TV series Californication
my Brosnan- Amy has been obsessed with fashion since she first started playing with her mother’s costume jewellery aged three. She recently spent a month in Dubai and is now obsessed with leaning more about Middle Eastern fashions. This year’s Halloween costume: a geisha
ay Fennelly- Ray likes to claim that he was raised by a pack of wild televisions. This worked to his advantage when writing a feature on Hollywood remakes of horror movies for this special Halloween issue of Haste. Ray now works in TV production in London, and continues to write and direct his own short films. His latest, Details, will be released this Winter. This year’s Halloween costume: a Klingon from Star Trek
Do you have an opinion you would like to express to us? E- mail your letters to Hastmag@gmail.com or send by post to 10 Hastings House, Liverpool Street, EC1 5TN
Dear Editor, I found the article in your last issue on the Miles Aldridge exhibit in Somerset House to be completely one sided and sycophantic. The author praised everything possible without offering any sort of criticism. I find this impossible to accept, because when I saw the exhibit with my own eyes I was vastly underwhelmed. I found the presentation of his work to be completely dull and unimaginative, as well as being crammed in to too small a space. I have been familiar with the photographs of Miles Aldridge for some time now, especially his Vogue Italia work, and I came away from the exhibit with no heightened sense about his work or his motivations. I would expect to see more of a balanced judgement in your magazine, as I have seen before. Steven from Ealing, via e- mail
Dear Editor, I was so pleased to see your coverage on Breast Cancer Awareness month in the last issue. I feel that many general interest publications will mention the event in passing, but not devote any time to discussing the importance of it. Reading the interviews with survivors who have gone on to raise funds for cancer research was truly inspiring and a great read on my commute
home. I really identified with Maryâ€™s story, as I lost a close relative to breast cancer also. It is great to see a magazine using its readership not just to make money, but also to spread a great message of taking care of ourselves and raising money for charity. Annette, Essex
Dear Editor, My excitement on seeing your recent cover with Iggy Azalea was quickly extinguished when I saw that the interview had completely focused on her controversial music videos and fashion sense, and had explored hardly anything about her music. I would expect that I am not the only reader to be disappointed in an interview with a singer which hardly mentions music. I did feel that the article was well written, but I would have enjoyed reading more about Iggyâ€™s influences on her music, and less on her style. Julia from Shoreditch, via e- mail Dear Editor, I have always enjoyed picking up your magazine for its mixture of long and short articles, but I felt I had to write in to say how much I liked the in- depth piece on the reality of pollution from Sellafield in the last issue. It has been a hot topic for many years now, but the writer put a fresh perspective on it with the newly released horrifying environmental statistics. It is great to finally have access to a free magazine that lasts for my morning and evening commute, and which reports on real news instead of just puff pieces. I feel moved to take action to shut Sellafield after reading the article, and I have started a local letter writing campaign to David Cameron and I am circulating a petition. Hopefully we can get the support that we need. Tom, Kent
Vivienne Westwood £650
River Island £70
Tommy Hilfiger £250
French Connection £95
Miss Selfridge £65
Christopher Kane £400
Richard Nicoll £520
River Island £60
mma Langford is an Irish singer/ songwriter currently finding her feet in the London music scene. This 24 year old has an awful lot of talent and has been compared to the likes of Stevie Nicks for her ethereal, heartfelt and very, very catchy music. I’m pleased to report that she is as delightful in person as she is up on stage.
Laura: How long have you been singing for? Emma: I can’t really remember a time when I wasn’t singing. Music wasn’t always my priority, or the career I thought I would wind up in, but it was always second nature to me, from the day I was born I suppose. I’d say I’ve been singing since my toddler years when I was part of a lot of stage schools and choirs, but when I started secondary school I developed vocal nodules and had to take a break from it, which shook my confidence a lot. I only really got back into it in a big way when I started my BA in voice and dance in 2009. L: How would you describe your style of music?
E: I’m asked that a lot and it never gets easier to answer. I would have always considered myself a jazz or indie musician, but recently I’ve had a lot of comments on how my music tends more toward the Irish trad style, and I’m writing a lot more music now that fits into the brackets of trad and folk. I’m pretty open and experimental about the type of music I write and sing, but I’d describe my stuff mostly as a sort of jazz/trad fusion I guess. L: Who are your biggest musical/ personal influences?
E: My Mom and Dad have always been big musical and personal influences: they decided from a young age what sounds I was surrounded with from day to day, and I have to say they made some good choices. They’ve also been an insanely supportive and encouraging pair, always urging me on to bigger and better things. Musically, I’ve listened to a lot of the Beatles, a lot of musical theatre, a lot of Jeff Buckley and I’ve been pulled toward female jazz and soul singers like Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Billie Holiday and more recently singers like Joni Mitchell, Kate Bush, Leanne La Havas, Laura Marling. I’m influenced mostly just by the musicians and people I’m exposed to on a daily basis though; the stuff I hear on the radio; the people I play music with; my housemates; my friends; my family… I’m a bit of a sponge for inspiration! L: How do you deal with gigging so many nights a week? E: I stay in bed for as long as physically possible before guilt sets in in the mornings, that definitely helps! At the moment though I’m not gigging too much, I’m taking a step back to write and arrange music for recording purposes. When I am gigging a lot in succession I find it really important that I spend time with non-musicians, with my Mom, or just doing non-music things to keep myself grounded in reality, and to avoid getting tired of it all. It’s very easy to get caught
up and burnt out, when you’re not pacing yourself and getting sleep and keeping in touch with the world. Having some of my best friends to play music with makes it all a lot easier, and a lot more fun than it would otherwise be too though. It rarely feels like work, and if we weren’t gigging every other night, we’d probably be hanging out and going to gigs anyway! L: You often perform with different bands, how do you find the experience compared to being a solo act? E: Oh honestly I love performing with other musicians so much more than performing solo. There’s just much more that can happen, a lot more fun to be had musically, playing with a group, than can happen on your own. Obviously the experience differs from group to group, and sometimes the dynamic’s just not there with the people you’re performing with, but like every good relationship it’s a case of trial and error, and in general my experiences of playing in a band have been great! Playing solo makes setting up and transport and all that easier, but the best things take hard work. I remember my first time playing with a band, and it really just felt like all of a sudden I had this whole musical army behind me, like a whole crowd of friends just hanging out on stage with me. It puts me at ease knowing I have this group of people I can trust standing up there with me. I have the tiniest bit less creative liberty with the music when I have a group of people trying to follow my lead, but I’m lucky to have patient and accommodating band-mates who put up with a lot of on-the-spot changes. I can still express myself creatively and emotionally, but it feels far less vulnerable! L: What is the process of writing your own music like?
E: Scary and fun and exciting, and sometimes downright frustrating. Starting a new song can be the most exciting moment, when you get this flash of inspiration for a melody or a lyric, especially when it comes during a dry spell. Often enough my parents or friends have been mid-conversation with me when I’ve had to jump out of my seat and get to a guitar, or a pen and paper as quick as physically possible, and then I’m lost to them for a few hours. Then comes the second wind of energy for it maybe a week later where I’ll get to a full verse, and a chorus sort of falls naturally out of the sky and then, I think most songwriters will agree, comes the dreaded second verse, and that’s where it gets scary because you don’t know if this idea is going to withstand an entire song and whether this second verse will make or break the whole thing, and quite often I’ve wound up scrapping an entire song I might have had in the pipeline for months because the second verse just didn’t work out. Also there’s this issue of being self-aware and emotionally open and honest in public about your life experiences, and how much honesty is too much, and how much does anyone really want to know when you’re putting yourself out there? Writing and performing your own music is this amazingly liberating release most of the time, but it can also be soul-crushing when it feels like your life isn’t interesting enough to engage an audience, and that’s always a fear during the writing process.
L: Do you think the music industry is a tough one to be in, for a young woman?
E: I don’t think it’s any tougher for guys or girls, according to their gender. For any young person entering the industry I’ve found it to be as hard as you make it for yourself. It’s competitive, especially if you want to enter the mainstream in a big way, which I don’t particularly. Everyone sort of needs a gimmick or a quirk and it seems to stop being about the music sometimes. I personally find the music industry a tough one to be part of from a physical point of view, because I do a lot of my own heavy lifting and trekking about, but I also really enjoy that. I love being selfsufficient. There is of course a certain degree of expectation on girls to be seductive and sexy and pretty and flirty on stage, but I think guys feel that sort of pressure too, and it’s only as much of an issue as you allow it to be really. L: What do you think are the most important factors in putting on a good performance?
E: I would say communication is a big thing; with your band, with the sound technician, and with the audience. Keeping a good line of communication just lets the whole performance flow naturally. Energy is so important too, if your energy is low the audience feels it, and it just drags the whole gig down. I’ve played a lot of gigs where I just didn’t take any joy out of the music because my focus was off and my energy was low, and I wound up having to put on a sort of façade, and the whole vibe was just wrong. I like to be as genuine as I can be on stage, and give my listeners the credit they deserve, so for me that means being on form and open with them. Practice too is an obvious but important factor: I rarely play any of my songs the exact same way twice, but when the band are practiced and comfortable with the music it doesn’t matter too much if the song drifts in a different direction, we all know how to follow and lead each other, and it makes the performance interesting and just a bit more fun too! My band doesn’t always agree with that, mind you. My impromptu improvisations can be a point of contention. L: What do you think of shows like The X Factor?
E: I actually auditioned (unsuccessfully, as it turns out) for The X Factor in Newcastle while I was studying there. It was an enlightening experience, and one I would recommend to anyone wondering whether they want to enter the mainstream music industry. The X Factor audition process is a casting process, as with any TV show. Talent is definitely a big part of the selection, but it’s about ticking the personality/motive/back story/image boxes too. Shows like the X Factor have given a deserved break to a select few, and I’d never begrudge the winners of such shows the credit they’re due as artists or performers, it’s a tough process in itself, but it’s not really about the music. I find it pretty funny to have people come up to me at gigs, and to be told as though by some dazzling revelation that I should go for the X Factor, that I’d definitely win, but it’s hard to explain without sounding like a music snob why I probably wouldn’t, and why there are few things I want less than to be part of that particular circus!
L: What has been your best moment in music so far?
E: My best moment in music has to be the time I spent recording with my band, Lemon Street – well we’re less a band than an elastic collective, the line-up changes a lot. We recorded 2 tracks together before ever establishing ourselves as a band, back in February 2012 as part of my final year project for college. The entire EP was recorded in one day: we went into the studio in the morning with a rough blueprint of an arrangement for one track, “August Flowers”, and a completely blank canvas for another, which became “Sandman”. That day spent in studio was really captured in the recordings. It was just fun and creatively free, and felt like anything was possible, and all the footage and photos and memories of it bring me back to a time when playing my own music with a band was a new and exciting experience. It sort of felt like the start of a new relationship I suppose, when we were all still getting to know each other and finding our footing together, and enjoying every step of the way. I really love thinking back on that time to remind myself of why I’m doing what I’m doing in music, and why I fell in love with it all in the first place. L: What are your aims for the future? E: Ahhh, the biggest, scariest of all the questions! I really don’t know for sure. I only started taking myself seriously as a musician pretty recently, despite the kind protestations of friends and family alike. This time last year I would never have foreseen myself standing where I am now! I’ve played support slots for the like of John Smith and Hermitage Green and was even invited personally by Paddy Casey to play the opening slot for him in Cork’s Cypress Avenue. It’s been a total rollercoaster of a year, and I’m excited but completely blinded by the future. I guess I’d love to record again – maybe an album – at some point in the next few years, and I’ve had these mad aspirations toward working with an orchestra someday, but all I really aim for right now is to keep improving and changing and learning, to keep meeting and working with fantastic musicians, to travel with my music to new and interesting places. If I can manage all that, keep my head on my shoulders, and hold on to the wonderful people I have in my life right now, I’ll be doing pretty well I think. Follow Emma on her facebook page (facebook.com/emmakatelangford) for updates on her gigs around London.
“What sorcery is this?”
his is a Halloween variation on the classic Liquorice Stick, using black sambuca as its
base. Not everyone loves the taste of sambuca, but the inclusion of chocolateflavoured liqueur gives this drink wider appeal. The cocktail’s dark colour will help it
fit right in to your party atmosphere — just keep it away from any clumsy ghosts. For extra dramatic effect, pour grenadine into a small vial and add a drop of “blood” to each drink before serving.
1- 1/ 2 oz (45 ml) black sambuca 1/ 2 oz (15 ml) vodka 1/ 2 oz (15 ml) crème de cacao Drop of grenadine Red or black liquorice sticks (for garnish) In a martini shaker, shake ice, black sambuca, vodka and crème de cacao. Strain and pour into a martini glass. Add a drop of grenadine. Garnish with licorice. Serve with a flourish. Makes 1 drink.
For the cookies you will need: 300g plain flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 1/2 teaspoon salt 125g butter, softened 300g caster sugar 250g pumpkin puree 1 egg 1 teaspoon vanilla extract For the icing 250g icing sugar 3 tablespoons milk 1 tablespoon melted butter 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Method Prep:20min › Cook:20min › Extra time:40min › Ready in:1hr20min Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Combine flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves and salt; set aside. In a medium bowl, cream together the 125g of butter and caster sugar. Add pumpkin, egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla to butter mixture, and beat until creamy. Mix in dry ingredients. Drop on baking tray by tablespoonfuls; flatten slightly. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool cookies, then drizzle icing with fork. To make icing: Combine icing sugar, milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add milk as needed, to achieve drizzling consistency.
he horror remake is an idea that fills me with an immediate and unreserved sense of dread. Why is this, you may ask. Am I a person with suffers from a nervous disposition? No. Perhaps I’m one of those people who have to look away at the mere suggestion of guts and gore splattering across the big screen? The answer again is no. In fact I love horror movies, always have and always will. It was a passion that started for me at a young age. I had monster movie posters on my bedroom walls, I collected the comic books and honestly I could have told you the many and varied ways according to traditional European folklore to kill a vampire, long before I could do long division. In fact while other kids where happy to hold birthday parties where the entertainment consisted of watching a VHS copy of Star Wars or The Goonies, I was the kid who would slip on a copy of something like A Nightmare on Elm Street at a party to a room of his unsuspecting 10 year old peers and revel in their frenzied, repulsed, reactions to the movie. This love of horror movies has stayed with me and is one of the contributing factors in my ambitions to become a filmmaker.
So if I’m such a fan, should I not be all for horror remakes? In theory, yes, I should be excited with the prospect of another chance to see our favourite monsters repackaged and rebooted for yet another outing on the big screen. I should be enthralled by the seemingly unlimited possibilities on offer from the latest special effects technology and bigger budgets available to create a monster that could haunt our nightmare anew, but in reality I’m not. I’ve been disappointed too many times. I’m usually left cold at just how wrong they can get it. This Halloween your local multiplex cinema is likely to be packed tighter than a mass grave with eager crowds excited to see the latest attempt at a horror reboot- Kimberly Peirce’s version of Carrie, the classic 1976 tale of a teenage girl with powers beyond her control. Despite my cynicism, I will be going to check this version out. Let’s take a look at what makes most of these films go so wrong. The horror movie remake is nothing new in Hollywood. Universal was arguably the studio that put horror on the map in tinsel town. In 1931, despite the Great Depression, the studio had massive box office success, first with Dracula, starring the unforgettable Bella Lugosi, and then Frankenstein with Boris Karloff as the monster. Some may be a little shocked to hear that James Whale’s movie was not the first vision of the Frankenstein story to be committed to celluloid. In 1912 Thomas Edison’s film company had made their film adaptation of the Mary Shelley novel. As far as Dracula was concerned, the Count had already appeared on the silver screen. Well, sort of. Nine years previously in 1922, F.W. Murnau released Nosferatu, his unauthorised film adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel, changing the lead character’s name from Count Dracula to Count Orlock. Lugosi’s version of the vampire not only stood in the shadow of Count Orlock, but also had a rival to contend with in the form of Carlos Villarias as Conde Dracula from the Spanish language version of Dracula, which was shot on the same sets at night. It was common practice by the Hollywood studios at that stage to make a foreign language version of a film to capitalize on the advent of the “talkies”. In the UK, in the late 1950s, the upstart studio Hammer Films decided to remake the
Frankenstein and Dracula legends for the big screen. First up was The Curse of Frankenstein, starring Peter Cushing as Baron Frankenstein, and with Christopher Lee as the monster. This was followed by Dracula in 1957 starring Lee as the Count and Cushing as his adversary Van Helsing. These film were shot in colour, heightening the level of gore and sexuality on offer on screen. This was a conscious decision on the studio’s part to cash in on the newly adopted “X” certificate offered by UK censors. It worked as the films gained large audiences worldwide, resurrecting the genre and sending it in a more visceral direction. Horror movies at their core have always been an arena where film makers have pushed the boundaries. Many first time film makers see a horror film as a realistic option, they can be made on a low budget with a small cast and few locations. If successful the profit margin to be made by these films can be quite high, which in turn is attractive to investors. The small budgets mean that these movie directors have to be quite inventive in ways to create the next scare and scream. Just look at the early work of directors such as Wes Craven and Sam Raimi. Craven’s 1972 film The Last House On The Left and Raimi’s The Evil Dead (released in 1981) are examples of horror films overcoming their restrictions; the small budgets (by Hollywood standards), an inexperienced cast and crew, and some dodgy acting in places, to create something memorable. Both films were shot on a budget of $90,000 by first time directors who were, despite the drawbacks on the respective productions able to show flair and imagination in their storytelling. They created genuine scares in movies that went on to take millions of dollars at the box offices and became a seminal part of American cinema. In other words, these films are greater than the sum of their severed body parts. Perhaps this is why the remakes just can’t live up to the originals. They were relatively easy projects for modern day filmmakers to take on, as opposed to the labours of love which they were for directors such as Craven and Raimi, and it shows in the end product. Both The Last House On The Left and Evil Dead have suffered the plague of the remake in recent years. First up, Last House got the remake treatment in 2009. The film made by Rouge Pictures brought Craven back to produce with his newly formed company Midnight Pictures. Craven stated that he was attracted by the possibilities of the larger budget. While it was successful on its opening weekend, the film received mixed reviews and while being an altogether slicker production, it lost much of the impact of the original. The less said about the 2013 reboot of the Evil Dead the better. The best part of this overblown and downright annoying take on the franchise occurs during the pre-credits sequence. Evil Dead: The Musical, the camp Rocky Horror style show which is based on the more comedic elements of Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness movies, which plays to packed out houses in Toronto, is scarier than this movie. Even when it seems on paper that the big Hollywood horror remake has gotten it right, they get it oh so wrong. When it was announced in 2006 that Rob Zombie was to head up the new remake/reboot of the Halloween franchise, I expected big things. After all Zombie had shown
“I don’t think I will ever be able to forgive Rob Zombie for turning Michael Myers into a winey, fat kid in a Kiss t- shirt.”
great promise with his first two films House of a Thousand Corpses and The Devils Rejects. He was a horror movie fanatic, a fan of the original film and a friend of Halloween creator John Carpenter. Reports circulated that Zombie wanted to make the film as much more a prequel than a remake and still I wasn’t alarmed. I really should have been. Like many a stupid character in a horror movie I ignored the early warning that something wasn’t right. I should have been afraid, I should have been very afraid, because the movie that followed on its release in August 2007 was unbelievably bad. The film meanders along at an uneven and uninteresting pace, falling into the same trap of many a horror remake, deciding to spend far too much time on the main characters back story. The film subjects us to scene after scene of an uninteresting teen Michael Myers. I don’t think I will ever be able to forgive Rob Zombie for turning Michael Myers into a winey, fat kid in a Kiss t shirt. No horror movie fanatic cares too much why he kills, they just want to see him kill, which this remake ignores entirely. The cinema- going public have been subject to many a bad horror movie remake in the past decade or so. A number of classic horror films that should never have been touched because they can’t be bettered have been have had their legacy tarnished by pointless remakes. Think The Omen, Friday the 13th, and A Nightmare on Elm Street. The latest classic rumoured for a remake is the most holy of the unholy: The Exorcist. William Friedkin’s 1972 seminal work of the horror movie genre about a little girl possessed by the devil himself is about to be remade into a ten part mini-series for television. Can anyone tell me the point? This film is the perfect horror film, lauded by the critics and fans alike. Any previous attempts at making sequels or prequels for the franchise have always plummeted in horror movie fans esteem faster than a falling angel. I don’t think I need to take out the Quija board to ask the spirits for the reasons behind the remake. It’s money. The same reason we are subject to any of these sad imitations. The horrible truth is that there will always be money to be made with a horror movie remake and that’s why Hollywood keeps resurrecting them. Who knows, perhaps Carrie will break the curse of the horror movie remake. Chloe Grace Moretz is a great choice for the title role, with a supporting cast including Julianne Moore as her religious fanatic mother. If it fails to live up to my expectations, I might be re- creating the prom scene myself. If you don’t get the reference I recommend you watch the original Carrie before checking out the remake, just in case. Carrie opens in cinemas across the U.K on the 18th of October.
anny Ward is a self- deprecating type of comedian. This has proved to be popular with the public, and won him the Amused Moose People’s Champion Award at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He is articulate, open, and genuinely funny, I can see why audiences keep coming back for more. Baker is currently touring the country with his award winning show Pressure Point.
Laura: How did you get started in comedy? Danny: When I was a kid growing up in Plymouth, my parents took me to all the big shows that toured there, people like Ben Elton, Victoria Wood, Lenny Henry. I’d never been to a comedy club, I just went to the Theatre Royal, and I remember sitting there once thinking, “well, that looks like a fun thing to do.” I was probably about 14 or 15, and it took me another 15 years to get up the guts to do it myself. L: Who are your comedic influences? D: Well, it was definitely Ben Elton when I was younger, but, like a lot of people, I lost respect for him after that Royal Variety performance in 2000 (Elton was universally panned for a sycophantic tribute to Prince Charles). When we were at University we used to sit around and watch Mike Reid in Eastenders. He was something else, he had a delivery that was masterful. And Bob Monkhouse as well, sort of old school types. And, of course, everyone always says Bill Hicks, so I guess Bill Hicks is on that list too. More recently there’s guys who you’ve probably not heard of – they’re not like TV comics. I’m a big fan of John Bordillo, Ian Cognito. They’re club guys. Most people haven’t heard of them.You switch on the telly and you see these acts, well you might think that these are the guys on top of the game. They kind of are, but they’re also the ones that have been sort of selected to get on tv. You also have successful circuit headliner acts that for one reason or another are not on the telly, but they are masterful to watch. They work every weekend, doubling up on weekend gigs even. Unless you were into comedy, you wouldn’t have a clue who they were. L: Have you been through the whole process of TV panel show auditions? D: Sort of. I had an audition for one – 8 Out of 10 Cats. If I can describe that it was like – you have six comedians in a room, all of whom haven’t been on television, all of who want to be on television, and they’re then told to be funny. Just pretend that, you know, there’s no pressure on it. Just act like you’re down the pub. But it is of course important and there is pressure on it. Then the starting gun goes off and then it’s just like the biggest shit fight you’ve ever seen. Everyone is trying to talk at the same time, but sort of pretend that it’s all casual and it doesn’t really matter. It was insane, I’ve never seen anything like it. I did alright, but not enough to get put on the show. They said they’d have another look next year.
L: What was your favourite gig you ever performed? D: Oh, I know where, I know exactly where. It was quite recently. I did my hour long show Pressure Point up in Edinburgh and I entered a competition and jointly won for the New Muse Laughter Awards. L: Well done! D: Thank you. L: Can you remember what was the best heckler you ever had? Or worst should I say? I tend to go quite quickly on stage, don’t really pause for breath so I don’t really give much room for people to come in and heckle. L: Is that intentional, to put the hecklers off ? D: Well, it’s about getting the energy going but sometimes it’s intentional. If it’s a Friday or a Saturday night and everyone’s drinking, sometimes it’s best not to give anyone the chance. It’s not the most dignified approach but it can be quite effective. Someone shouted at me “you’re gay” and someone shouted “your mum” at me once. The kind of things that happen in school. Like you got that in the playground 20 years ago. Mum jokes. But the best way to kill a comedian isn’t to heckle, because chances are the comedian is going to win, because they’ve got a microphone for a start. They’re probably not drinking as much as the person that’s heckling. Generally, the person that’s heckling is pissed and they’re not going to be desperately quick. So, I think the best way to kill a comedian is actually to do nothing – silence. Silence is the true killer. L: How would you describe the experience of performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival? It must have been pretty amazing. D:Yeah, it’s great at the Edinburgh Festival. There’s nothing really quite like it, I would have thought, anywhere else. It’s pretty intense. I was doing more than one show a day, and I’m reticent to say it was exhausting because, well, working down a mine is exhausting. But what it is is adrenalin that comes and goes, comes and goes and physiologically speaking that will make you tired from a chemical point of view. But it’ great and, you know what, when I was half-way through it, I couldn’t remember the beginning and the end didn’t seem in sight. It’s kind of all engulfing. Like it’s never going to end. For a few days after, you’re elated and after that it’s like fuck. I want to do it again. You know if you do this job you’re on the road travelling all the time.
This weekend I was up to Romford and Birmingham, and then down to Bristol, and then back up to Lincoln and then down to Swanage. You know, it’s constantly up and down. So in Edinburgh you don’t have to go anywhere to do it. You get to do it more than once a day, it’s brilliant, and I can’t wait to go back. It’s important that you catch yourself when you’re in the middle of it, and you think back to when you’re not doing it. It’s pretty intense. L: How do you cope with all the travelling? D: It’s the job really. Ultimately, my ambition would be to get to a stage where I don’t have to leave London as much. You’re well-known, you’re an established headliner. You open one club and you close another and you do that Thursday, Friday, Saturday and you’re pretty much done. London is the place to be for that but there are a lot of people above me in experience in the pecking order who have success and quality and all that so you just have to work to get there. Until that stage, it’s basically on the road every weekend, which is kind of fun. I didn’t start until I was 28, I wouldn’t have fancied getting straight into a car at 18 and spending every weekend on the road. I’d kinda done my weekends out and about, so I quite enjoy it now. L: What did you do before you started in comedy? D: I worked in TV, I was a TV runner. I started as a TV runner and six years later I ended as a TV runner actually. I couldn’t really climb my way up the ladder, I don’t really know why. I didn’t focus as hard as maybe I should have done to progress. I went freelance, and I was working for loads of different companies so no-one way really prepared to invest in me or my career progression I guess, and I was getting a little bit too close to 30 and still making tea and coffee for everybody. I was a bit worried. Then I got approached by someone to be a business consultant entirely out of the blue so I basically became a business consultant and it was whilst I was doing that, that I realised I had the time and the income to be able to start doing comedy and not have to worry about not being paid for it or having to be on a TV set at 6 o’clock in the morning. It was a remarkable piece of luck or design or whatever that this job came along. When I started getting paid in comedy, the consultancy work went away. I didn’t leave or get sacked, the project we were working on came to an end and the comedy kicked in. So as one tapered off the other one started. L: Russell Brand has lately started putting political opinions out there and people are pretty critical about this because of his background in comedy.What to do you think about comedy for a political purpose? D: Originally the stand up scene was based on political comedy- Alexi Sayle, Ben Elton. But I guess you don’t know how invested people are in what they’re saying, or if they just saying it to be noticed. I don’t know if I’ve got this wrong, but it strikes me now that politics is very much a
grey area. It seems most people are fucking apathetic towards politicians, not necessarily towards politics but towards politicians. So if you get up on a stage on a Friday or Saturday night and you start doing a load of political stuff, I think people aren’t going to care. I think a lot of people come to comedy for escapism. To hear something different and it’s sometimes hard to do the political stuff without just lecturing or banging people over the head with a certain doctrine. Not that there isn’t room for it, there are masses of comedians who do that kind of stuff. But I guess they have their audience, people come to watch them in art centres and on tours and to see them speak. Trying to do that stuff in club comedy when you’ve got 20 minutes and most people are drinking in the audience, that’s tough, it’s probably easier just to talk about McDonalds or whatever. L: I love the idea behind Pressure Point. (Danny’s stand up show, based around his mid-life crisis.) Do you think it’s important to draw experience from your everyday life? Are you always on the lookout for the humour in a situation? D: Yeah, I think that’s why that observational sort of comedy is good. It means that life is constantly just research. Anything you do, anywhere you go, there’s always a chance that something is going to happen and you can look for the comedy in it. That’s what I like doing, taking the mundane or everyday things and just weaving comedy out of them. Lots of weird stuff happens all the time when you stop and think about it, there can be comedy in it. WH Smith’s over there [Danny gestures to the bookshop opposite], I was just thinking about this the other day and I kind of worked it into a thing. I was 16 and I went for a Christmas job at WH Smith’s. Turned up all nicely dressed in my school uniform with my record of achievement under my arm, I was full of certificates- for punctuality and attendance and all these things. I was Head Boy and I thought, this will be easy enough. I’ll just go, be polite and, you know, I’ll get the job. When I get there, they split us into groups and they gave us five pieces of paper each and five digestive biscuits and we had to work in groups to make a paper airplane that would fly these digestive biscuits 10 metres down this store. Things like that, when you look back at it, there’s some comedy in that. Basically, it’s about sifting through life and you know every now and then something will happen. My team won anyway, our airplane went furthest, so I thought it meant I would get the job. But the competetive element was a complete red herring, it was all to see how you work in groups you see. I remember thinking actually I wasn’t very group friendly, I was getting a bit dismissive of the whole thing so I took control of the plane. I didn’t get the job. L: What are you working on at the minute? D: Next year’s Edinburgh show. L: Any hints what that’s going to be?
D: At the moment it’s called Infra Dig. It’s Latin, actually short for Infra Dignitum, I think. Basically, it means ‘below your dignity’. So the idea is that Pressure Point was about me living in my auntie Anne’s conservatory and driving a shit car. I no longer live in her conservatory and I drive a better car. So now that’s happened, I therefore start thinking that certain things are below my dignity, and it transpires during the show that they’re not. It’s a succession of stories about that. That premieres on the 8th February at the Leicester Comedy Festival. So I need to have it in some sort of shape by then. At the minute, I’m really just plotting out the story arc. I sort of know what the arc is, I know what the stories are going to be but the stories aren’t funny yet, they’re just stories. So there’s quite a lot of work. My idea behind calling it Infra Dig is to get the Guardian readers interested. What I’m trying to do this year is to make it more about story-telling. It’s a bit of a gamble, it might not work, but the idea is to have lots of stories where people can enjoy the tale and the telling of it. There needs to be a pay-off at the end of it but it’s not quite so necessary to have punchlines all the way through. L: What should our readers expect from one of your gigs? D: I haven’t got many rules. They can expect not to hear anything about Facebook. That’s basically my only law when it comes to comedy. It drives me mad. I think it’s a step backwards, Facebook. I don’t really do anything dirty, I don’t do anything sickly. I won’t cause any consternation. I hope it will be quite well thought through and pacy. I generally tend to talk quite quickly. You’ve got to be careful shows don’t start sounding over -rehearsed. I’ve had reviews where critics have called my shows over-rehearsed pieces, but they’ve also called them lightning quick brilliant pieces. I guess it’s all up to the person watching. Danny Ward is in Leicester Square Theatre on the 7th of November with his award winning show Pressure Point
“Keep the child. I’m Dadaist now.”
“Monster Mash” - Bobby “Boris” Pickett Pickett was messing about in a recording studio, imitating famed horror actor Boris Karloff ’s voice, when he realized that it could be a money maker. Novelty songs will always get the people up dancing.
“Zombie” - The Cranberries Dolores O’ Riordan’s dulcet tones are put to good use in this haunting track. Maybe save this for the slow set when guests have consumed too many Bloody Marys.
“Psycho Killer”- Talking Heads Celebrate David Byrne’s heyday with this 80s classic.
“Hands Around My Throat”- Death in Vegas British rock- electro band Death in Vegas specialize in otherworldly sounds, they’re a must have for Halloween parties.
“I Put a Spell on You”- Screamin’ Jay Hawkins Whether you use this, or Bette Midler’s campy version from Hocus Pocus, people will love it.
“Bela Lugosi’s Dead”- Bauhaus Everything about this song is creepy, throw the music video on in the background for added atmosphere.
“Seven Devils”- Florence and the Machine Florence’s ghostly voice is delightfully ethereal on this track.
“Somebody’s Watching me”- Rockwell Michael Jackson’s vocals on this track are extremely reminiscent of Thriller, which is not included on the list because it seemed far too obvious.
“Heads Will Roll”- Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Do as Karen O insists in this track, and dance, dance, dance ‘till you’re dead.
“Superstition”- Stevie Wonder Released in 1972, this track is a classic for a reason.
ussia has a famously complicated cultural history. The Russian Federation today is a vast territory at over 17 million square kilometres. It encompasses more than 185 different ethnic groups. Uprisings from various cultural and political groups from the Cossacks to the Bolsheviks have occurred again and again throughout Russian history.
Counterculture sprang up in Russia in the 1970s as an artistic form of protest against a government which quashed its people’s rights to self-expression. Today, it has re- emerged to give a voice and a public image to those who Putin’s government seeks to persecute. The introduction of homophobic laws has angered many and created an atmosphere of repression. On the 30th of June 2013 Vladimir Putin signed a bill into law which bans “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations to minors”. There is no clarity on how these laws can be used exactly, as the words “propaganda” and “non- traditional sexual relations” do not have exact legal definitions. So far the bill has resulted in a ban on all gay pride parades, and there is a system of fines in place for anyone violating the bill which works on an equally unclear sliding scale. As a result of the government’s actions, gay culture has become counterculture. Russia’s artistic community has responded angrily and protesters such as Pussy Riot have hit headlines world round. This is what sets modern counterculture apart from that of the Communist era, although Russia can still be considered a closed off country, the internet has made it so that the outside world can bear witness to what is happening there. Throughout the Communist era artistic controls were applied with varying degrees of success. Only one art form was thought to be acceptable; Socialist Realism was brought to the fore by Stalin who established the Union of Artists in 1932 and formally disbanded all independent artistic groups. The purpose of Socialist Realism was to portray Russian citizens as gloriously happy and productive in a perfect world of Communism, with Stalin as the benevolent father figure. Anything that did not meet with the criteria of the Union was considered dangerous and the Communist government was not afraid to react strongly. With the pretence of supporting the arts, an art school was constructed in the 1970s- in Siberia. It was thought that an art school in the middle of nowhere would sound better in the press than dragging the artists off to the gulags, although it would achieve the same purpose of silencing their influence on society. In a similarly “covert” vein, KGB agents posing as construction workers bulldozed an open- air art exhibition in Moscow in 1974. Politically aligned art was not a new concept in Russia; however, it was new for the artist to support the leading party, as they were historically a voice of dissidence. Lenin was inspired to harness the power of the artist by the Wanderers, a group of Realist painters who used art to express things which political censorship would not allow them to say directly. Stalin turned this concept on its head with the Union of Artists, creating the conditions for Counterculture to emerge.
The Gorbachev era brought increased artistic freedom along with its policies of Glasnost and Perestroika; however increased freedom did not equal total freedom. Brid O Gallchoir, an Irish theatre director, lived in Moscow from September 1990 to May 1991. As an outsider in Russian society, she became very aware of people’s hesitation to discuss state control: “They were reluctant to speak about that kind of stuff. Despite Glasnost, people were still fairly paranoid.” It was a brand new experience however for people who had been born in the height of Communist control such as Masha Mombelli, a St. Petersburg native and fashion stylist now resident in London. She describes the atmosphere in the renewed artistic scene of the late 1980s/ early ‘90s in her city as a very exciting time: “It all began in a tiny coffee shop called Saigon. I was quite young, about 18 when I started going there. It was full of poets, writers, musicians, artists. They looked different. They dressed different. They were more flamboyant. It was a hub for meeting, you went there and you just didn’t want to leave.” At the same time in Moscow, O Gallchoir was experiencing Russian culture for the first time while studying at GITIS- the Russian state institute of theatre. “Despite Communism and the lack of religion, it made me think of Ireland in the ‘50s- none of the big advances of the ‘60s had happened. There was not much of a concept of feminism and even well educated people were casually and unconsciously racist. Young men and women didn’t socialise much together and people married very young.” This increased, but not total, artistic freedom inspired truly fascinating counterculture. Creative people were celebrating, but also still rebelling against the remaining control asserted over them. Two of the most notable counterculture movements that emerged in this sea of creativity were parallel cinema and sots art. Parallel cinema was at the height of its output and popularity in the 1980s, following in the footsteps of the renowned Russian filmmakers of the 1920s such as Sergei Eisenstein (Battleship Potemkin, 1925) and Dziga Vertov (Man With a Movie Camera, 1929). Filmmakers including Boris Yukhananov, Oleg Kulik, and Gleb Aleinikov aimed to explore aspects of culture which had been banned for their entire lives. Sub sects of parallel cinema began to emerge, such as alcho- cinema, which involves people getting drunk on camera while angrily discussing politics and culture. Necro Realism is another extreme sub sect, and an interesting reaction to the constraints of Socialist Realism. For sixty years any kind of negativity was banned on film, and so filmmaker Yvgeni Yufit responded to this by including as much death, poverty and deviant behaviour as possible in his films. Sots art came to prominence in the 1970s at a time when it was still a criminal offence to speak out against the government. This counterculture movement involved putting the Communist images and slogans which were ubiquitous in all public places at the time in a mocking pop art context. Much of this had to do with overcoming the cult of personality which Stalin had first propagated. Artists did not face the persecution which they would have under Stalin, but they also could not expect any support from the government. The unusual situation which these artists found
themselves in is best summed up by the incident which occurred when Khrushchev visited the public Manezh exhibition in Moscow in 1962, at which some non- conformist artists were showing their work. Despite his denunciation of Stalin as a criminal Khrushchev appears to have had similar views on art which did not support his regime. Upon viewing the countercultural art he threatened to deport the artists responsible and demanded the exhibit be closed down. While there was no official ban on what these artists were doing their work could most certainly be arbitrarily censored. Constant alteration of laws to further the influence of the government has again become a fact of Russian life today. Despite the advances made in gay rights in the 1990s, gay people in Russia today face persecution from all sides. “The thing is that it was always there. Homophobia in Russia is very strong. It comes from fear. If you bombard people with threats all the time it will sink in.” Masha believes that Communism is still deeply rooted in the Russian psyche, and this, of course, is a definite factor in the homophobia: “They want Communism with shopping. That would be ideal, this is what people crave.” The majority are comfortable with the re- introduction of many Communist principles such as homosexuality being illegal. Masha notes another worrying trend emerging in today’s Russia, extreme racism: “I can only describe it as fascist. It’s not so much let’s hate these people, it’s more about ‘We’re Russians, let’s cleanse the nation, let’s save our children.’ It’s more subtle.” The entire LGBT community was illegal under Communism, and this is where it is once again headed. Masha noted: “You would just say ‘oh this person is different or eccentric, that was the code for it.’” Brid recalled a similar experience 23 years ago: “I never heard homosexuality mentioned, and as far as I knew I didn’t meet any gay people while I was there. I guess that says enough.” Communist leadership found many reasons to justify their persecution of homosexuals. Sexuality in general was associated with Capitalism and so was thought to be an enemy of the state. Increasing the population in the USSR was thought to be of paramount importance in securing their status as the ultimate world power, with the result that abortions were banned in 1936, and homosexual couples who could not produce children were of no use to the Soviets. Writers were encouraged to denounce homosexuals, and many disturbing claims were levelled against the LGBT community. Valentin Rasputin was one of several high profile anti-gay writers. In his works he likened homosexuals to necrophiliacs and alluded to homosexuality being anti- Russian: “When it comes to homosexuals let’s keep Russia clean. We have our own traditions.” Nikolai Chernyshevsky’s attitude is extremely telling of the general Russian attitude to sexuality, in his 1863 novel What is to be Done he expresses the opinion that sexuality can be compartmentalized, tucked away to avoid inconvenience. It must be noted that Russia’s homophobia was obviously not an isolated incident, it was widespread across the world until perhaps twenty years ago. It is important to examine the past however to make sense of increased antigay attitudes across Russia today. It seemed like progress was being made for LGBT rights following the collapse of Commu-
nism. The 1990s saw a more tolerant attitude emerge with a popular television programme, Pirate TV, being hosted by transvestite Vladislav Mamyshev- Monroe, who continued to be a spokesperson for LGBT rights until her death in 2013. Masha remembers the times of progress fondly: “In the ‘90s it became free, and that was a real joy for people to be able to express themselves and have fun. It was a time to try things, to test things, to be free and experimental. Gay clubs were open in St. Petersburg. It seems it will never go back.” With the current combination of old Communist discrimination on sexuality and Fascist views on race purity, Russia is facing a grim future indeed. Counterculture objects to this return to a racist, homophobic society through a variety of mediums. Voina is perhaps the best known countercultural art collective involved in protesting in Russia today. The group mainly engages in performance art to highlight their dissatisfaction with the government and police force. These actions have resulted in more than a dozen criminal cases being brought against the group. They align themselves with the far left and reject the use of money, claiming they have made the shoplifting of food and drink into an art. Russians are extremely proud of their literary culture, and this is perhaps why they object so strongly to this counterculture. Brid was fascinated by the literary knowledge and appreciation she came across in Moscow: “The thing that struck me most about the arts was how much people loved the arts and respected artists. Ordinary people loved Hamlet and Chekov and Pushkin,
“Politically aligned art was not a new concept in Russia; however, it was new for the artist to support the leading party, as they were historically a voice of dissidence.” 43
they were emotional in their relationship to the arts and viewed poets and writers as friends.” It is a similar passion which drives Voina to commit the acts that they do. Using giant scale art projects Voina has taken counterculture to new heights, literally. Flying in the face of Russia’s rigidly conservative façade, members of the collective painted a 65 metre long penis on the Liteyny drawbridge in St. Petersburg. The drawbridge is opposite the headquarters of the FSB (former KGB). This was a highly organised piece of graffiti. The group had to study traffic patterns and practice completing the penis for two weeks prior to their attempt as they realised they would have only 30 seconds to finish their work. Pussy Riot, perhaps the best known current example of modern Russian counterculture, formed from a splinter group of Voina. As Masha notes, this group have truly polarized the country: “I thought that this generation was just a generation of conformists until I heard about Pussy Riot. Pussy Riot divided society in two. Actually the majority of people hate them. They touched something that is sacred- religion. Russia is a very religious country.” Following their satirical performance in a Moscow cathedral the art collective have been demonized in the Russian press. Masha believes that Pussy Riot’s gender has a large part to play in the way they are treated: “If they were boys instead of girls, they wouldn’t be in prison. These girls are treated as silly girls who don’t know what they are doing, as though someone is behind them, someone put them up to it.” The members of Pussy Riot who have escaped arrest insist that they will not stop pursuing justice. The influence of counterculture is continuing to give a voice to the oppressed. At the time of writing, incarcerated Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has declared herself on hunger strike to protest the deplorable conditions in Penal Colony No 14 where she is being held. The prison is infamous in Russia for its 16 hour working days. Without countercultural influencers such as Tolokonnikova the outside world would not be aware of many of Russia’s human rights violations. While they are still actively opposing a corrupt government there is hope for Russia.
“Tell David Icke we’re not in.”
Berenice by Edgar Allan Poe Dicebant mihi sodales, si sepulchrum amicae visitarem, curas meas aliquantulum forelevatas. - Ebn Zaiat ISERY is manifold. The wretchedness of earth is multiform. Overreaching the wide horizon as the rainbow, its hues are as various as the hues of that arch - as distinct too, yet as intimately blended. Overreaching the wide horizon as the rainbow! How is it that from beauty I have derived a type of unloveliness? - from the covenant of peace, a simile of sorrow? But as, in ethics, evil is a consequence of good, so, in fact, out of joy is sorrow born. Either the memory of past bliss is the anguish of to-day, or the agonies which are, have their origin in the ecstasies which might have been . My baptismal name is Egaeus; that of my family I will not mention. Yet there are no towers in the land more time-honored than my gloomy, gray, hereditary halls. Our line has been called a race of visionaries; and in many striking particulars - in the character of the family mansion - in the frescos of the chief saloon - in the tapestries of the dormitories - in the chiselling of some buttresses in the armory - but more especially in the gallery of antique paintings - in the fashion of the library chamber - and, lastly, in the very peculiar nature of the libraryâ€™s contents there is more than sufficient evidence to warrant the belief.
The recollections of my earliest years are connected with that chamber, and with its volumes of which latter I will say no more. Here died my mother. Herein was I born. But it is mere idleness to say that I had not lived before - that the soul has no previous existence. You deny it? - let us not argue the matter. Convinced myself, I seek not to convince. There is, however, a remembrance of aerial forms - of spiritual and meaning eyes - of sounds, musical yet sad - a remembrance which will not be excluded; a memory like a shadow - vague, variable, indefinite, unsteady; and like a shadow, too, in the impossibility of my getting rid of it while the sunlight of my reason shall exist. In that chamber was I born. Thus awaking from the long night of what seemed, but was not, nonentity, at once into the very regions of fairy land - into a palace of imagination - into the wild dominions of monastic thought and erudition - it is not singular that I gazed around me with a startled and ardent eye - that I loitered away my boyhood in books, and dissipated my youth in reverie; but it is singular that as years rolled away, and the noon of manhood found me still in the mansion of my fathers - it is wonderful what stagnation there fell upon the springs of my life - wonderful how total an inversion took place in the character of my commonest thought. The realities of the world affected me as visions, and as visions only, while the wild ideas of the land of dreams became, in turn, not the material of my every-day existence, but in very deed that existence utterly and solely in itself.
Berenice and I were cousins, and we grew up together in my paternal halls. Yet differently we grew - I, ill of health, and buried in gloom - she, agile, graceful, and overflowing with energy; hers, the ramble on the hill-side - mine the studies of the cloister; I, living within my own heart, and addicted, body and soul, to the most intense and painful meditation - she, roaming carelessly through life, with no thought of the shadows in her path, or the silent flight of the ravenwinged hours. Berenice! -I call upon her name - Berenice! - and from the gray ruins of memory a thousand tumultuous recollections are startled at the sound! Ah, vividly is her image before me now, as in the early days of her light-heartedness and joy! Oh, gorgeous yet fantastic beauty! Oh, sylph amid the shrubberies of Arnheim! Oh, Naiad among its fountains! And then - then all is mystery and terror, and a tale which should not be told. Disease - a fatal disease, fell like the simoon upon her frame; and, even while I gazed upon her, the spirit of change swept over her, pervading her mind, her habits, and her character, and, in a manner the most subtle and terrible, disturbing even the identity of her person! Alas! the destroyer came and went! - and the victim where is she? I knew her not - or knew her no longer as Berenice. Among the numerous train of maladies superinduced by that fatal and primary one which effected a revolution of so horrible a kind in the moral and physical being of my cousin, may be mentioned as the most distressing and obstinate in its nature, a species of epilepsy not unfrequently terminating in trance itself - trance very nearly resembling positive dissolution, and from which her manner of recovery was in most instances, startlingly abrupt. In the mean time my own disease - for I have been told that I should call it by no other appellation - my own disease, then, grew rapidly upon me, and assumed finally a monomaniac character of a novel and extraordinary form - hourly and momently gaining vigor - and at length obtaining over me the most incomprehensible ascendancy. This monomania, if I must so term it, consisted in a morbid irritability of those properties of the mind in metaphysical science termed the attentive. It is more than probable that I am not understood; but I fear, indeed, that it is in no manner possible to convey to the mind of the merely general reader, an adequate idea of that nervous intensity of interest with which, in my case, the powers of meditation (not to speak technically) busied and buried themselves, in the contemplation of even the most ordinary objects of the universe. To muse for long unwearied hours, with my attention riveted to some frivolous device on the margin, or in the typography of a book; to become absorbed, for the better part of a summerâ€™s day, in a quaint shadow falling aslant upon the tapestry or upon the floor; to lose myself, for an entire night, in watching the steady flame of a lamp, or the embers of a fire; to dream away whole days over the perfume of a flower; to repeat, monotonously, some common word, until the sound, by dint of frequent repetition, ceased to convey any idea whatever to the mind; to lose all sense of motion or physical existence, by means of absolute bodily quiescence long and obstinately persevered in: such were a few of the most common and least pernicious vagaries induced by a condition of the mental faculties, not, indeed, altogether unparalleled, but certainly bidding defiance to anything like analysis or explanation.
Yet let me not be misapprehended. The undue, earnest, and morbid attention thus excited by objects in their own nature frivolous, must not be confounded in character with that ruminating propensity common to all mankind, and more especially indulged in by persons of ardent imagination. It was not even, as might be at first supposed, an extreme condition, or exaggeration of such propensity, but primarily and essentially distinct and different. In the one instance, the dreamer, or enthusiast, being interested by an object usually not frivolous, imperceptibly loses sight of this object in a wilderness of deductions and suggestions issuing therefrom, until, at the conclusion of a day dream often replete with luxury , he finds the incitamentum, or first cause of his musings, entirely vanished and forgotten. In my case, the primary object was invariably frivolous , although assuming, through the medium of my distempered vision, a refracted and unreal importance. Few deductions, if any, were made; and those few pertinaciously returning in upon the original object as a centre. The meditations were never pleasurable; and, at the termination of the reverie, the first cause, so far from being out of sight, had attained that supernaturally exaggerated interest which was the prevailing feature of the disease. In a word, the powers of mind more particularly exercised were, with me, as I have said before, the attentive, and are, with the day-dreamer, the speculative. My books, at this epoch, if they did not actually serve to irritate the disorder, partook, it will be perceived, largely, in their imaginative and inconsequential nature, of the characteristic qualities of the disorder itself. I well remember, among others, the treatise of the noble Italian, Coelius Secundus Curio, “ De Amplitudine Beati Regni Dei; “ St. Austin’s great work, the “City of God;” and Tertullian’s “De Carne Christi ,” in which the paradoxical sentence “ Mortuus est Dei filius; credible est quia ineptum est: et sepultus resurrexit; certum est quia impossibile est, “ occupied my undivided time, for many weeks of laborious and fruitless investigation. Thus it will appear that, shaken from its balance only by trivial things, my reason bore resemblance to that ocean-crag spoken of by Ptolemy Hephestion, which steadily resisting the attacks of human violence, and the fiercer fury of the waters and the winds, trembled only to the touch of the flower called Asphodel. And although, to a careless thinker, it might appear a matter beyond doubt, that the alteration produced by her unhappy malady, in the moral condition of Berenice, would afford me many objects for the exercise of that intense and abnormal meditation whose nature I have been at some trouble in explaining, yet such was not in any degree the case. In the lucid intervals of my infirmity, her calamity, indeed, gave me pain, and, taking deeply to heart that total wreck of her fair and gentle life, I did not fall to ponder, frequently and bitterly, upon the wonder-working means by which so strange a revolution had been so suddenly brought to pass. But these reflections partook not of the idiosyncrasy of my disease, and were such as would have occurred, under similar circumstances, to the ordinary mass of mankind. True to its own character, my disorder revelled in the less important but more startling changes wrought in the physical frame of Berenice - in the singular and most appalling distortion of her personal identity.
During the brightest days of her unparalleled beauty, most surely I had never loved her. In the strange anomaly of my existence, feelings with me, had never been of the heart, and my passions always were of the mind. Through the gray of the early morning - among the trellised shadows of the forest at noonday - and in the silence of my library at night - she had flitted by my eyes, and I had seen her - not as the living and breathing Berenice, but as the Berenice of a dream; not as a being of the earth, earthy, but as the abstraction of such a being; not as a thing to admire, but to analyze; not as an object of love, but as the theme of the most abstruse although desultory speculation. And now - now I shuddered in her presence, and grew pale at her approach; yet, bitterly lamenting her fallen and desolate condition, I called to mind that she had loved me long, and, in an evil moment, I spoke to her of marriage. And at length the period of our nuptials was approaching, when, upon an afternoon in the winter of the year - one of those unseasonably warm, calm, and misty days which are the nurse of the beautiful Halcyon , - I sat, (and sat, as I thought, alone,) in the inner apartment of the library. But, uplifting my eyes, I saw that Berenice stood before me. Was it my own excited imagination - or the misty influence of the atmosphere - or the uncertain twilight of the chamber - or the gray draperies which fell around her figure - that caused in it so vacillating and indistinct an outline? I could not tell. She spoke no word; and I - not for worlds could I have uttered a syllable. An icy chill ran through my frame; a sense of insufferable anxiety oppressed me; a consuming curiosity pervaded my soul; and sinking back upon the chair, I remained for some time breathless and motionless, with my eyes riveted upon her person. Alas! its emaciation was excessive, and not one vestige of the former being lurked in any single line of the contour. My burning glances at length fell upon the face. The forehead was high, and very pale, and singularly placid; and the once jetty hair fell partially over it, and overshadowed the hollow temples with innumerable ringlets, now of a vivid yellow, and jarring discordantly, in their fantastic character, with the reigning melancholy of the countenance. The eyes were lifeless, and lustreless, and seemingly pupilless, and I shrank involuntarily from their glassy stare to he contemplation of the thin and shrunken lips. They parted; and in a smile of peculiar meaning, the teeth of the changed Berenice disclosed themselves slowly to my view. Would to God that I had never beheld them, or that, having done so, I had died! The shutting of a door disturbed me, and, looking up, I found that my cousin had departed from the chamber. But from the disordered chamber of my brain, had not, alas! departed, and would not be driven away, the white and ghastly spectrum of the teeth. Not a speck on their surface - not a shade on their enamel - not an indenture in their edges - but what that period of her smile had sufficed to brand in upon my memory. I saw them now even more unequivocally than I beheld them then. The teeth! - the teeth! - they were here, and there, and everywhere, and visibly and palpably before me; long, narrow, and excessively white, with the pale lips writhing about them, as in the very moment of their first terrible development. Then came the full fury of my
monomania, and I struggled in vain against its strange and irresistible influence. In the multiplied objects of the external world I had no thoughts but for the teeth. For these I longed with a phrenzied desire. All other matters and all different interests became absorbed in their single contemplation. They - they alone were present to the mental eye, and they, in their sole individuality, became the essence of my mental life. I held them in every light. I turned them in every attitude. I surveyed their characteristics. I dwelt upon their peculiarities. I pondered upon their conformation. I mused upon the alteration in their nature. I shuddered as I assigned to them in imagination a sensitive and sentient power, and even when unassisted by the lips, a capability of moral expression. Of Mademoiselle Salle it has been well said, “ Que tous ses pas etaient des sentiments ,” and of Berenice I more seriously believed que toutes ses dents etaient des idees . Des idees! - ah here was the idiotic thought that destroyed me! Des idees! - ah therefore it was that I coveted them so madly! I felt that their possession could alone ever restore me to peace, in giving me back to reason. And the evening closed in upon me thus - and then the darkness came, and tarried, and went - and the day again dawned - and the mists of a second night were now gathering around - and still I sat motionless in that solitary room - and still I sat buried in meditation - and still the phantasma of the teeth maintained its terrible ascendancy, as, with the most vivid hideous distinctness, it floated about amid the changing lights and shadows of the chamber. At length there broke in upon my dreams a cry as of horror and dismay; and thereunto, after a pause, succeeded the sound of troubled voices, intermingled with many low moanings of sorrow or of pain. I arose from my seat, and throwing open one of the doors of the library, saw standing out in the antechamber a servant maiden, all in tears, who told me that Berenice was - no more! She had been seized with epilepsy in the early morning, and now, at the closing in of the night, the grave was ready for its tenant, and all the preparations for the burial were completed. I found myself sitting in the library, and again sitting there alone. It seemed that I had newly awakened from a confused and exciting dream. I knew that it was now midnight, and I was well aware, that since the setting of the sun, Berenice had been interred. But of that dreary period which intervened I had no positive, at least no definite comprehension. Yet its memory was replete with horror - horror more horrible from being vague, and terror more terrible from ambiguity. It was a fearful page in the record my existence, written all over with dim, and hideous, and unintelligible recollections. I strived to decypher them, but in vain; while ever and anon, like the spirit of a departed sound, the shrill and piercing shriek of a female voice seemed to be ringing in my ears. I had done a deed - what was it? I asked myself the question aloud, and the whispering echoes of the chamber answered me, - “ what was it? “ On the table beside me burned a lamp, and near it lay a little box. It was of no remarkable character, and I had seen it frequently before, for it was the property of the family physician; but how came it there, upon my table, and why did I shudder in regarding it? These things were in no manner to be accounted for, and my eyes at length dropped to the open pages of a book, and
to a sentence underscored therein. The words were the singular but simple ones of the poet Ebn Zaiat: - â€œ Dicebant mihi sodales si sepulchrum amicae visitarem, curas meas aliquantulum fore levatas .â€? Why then, as I perused them, did the hairs of my head erect themselves on end, and the blood of my body become congealed within my veins? There came a light tap at the library door - and, pale as the tenant of a tomb, a menial entered upon tiptoe. His looks were wild with terror, and he spoke to me in a voice tremulous, husky, and very low. What said he? - some broken sentences I heard. He told of a wild cry disturbing the silence of the night - of the gathering together of the household - of a search in the direction of the sound; and then his tones grew thrillingly distinct as he whispered me of a violated grave - of a disfigured body enshrouded, yet still breathing - still palpitating - still alive ! He pointed to garments; - they were muddy and clotted with gore. I spoke not, and he took me gently by the hand: it was indented with the impress of human nails. He directed my attention to some object against the wall. I looked at it for some minutes: it was a spade. With a shriek I bounded to the table, and grasped the box that lay upon it. But I could not force it open; and in my tremor, it slipped from my hands, and fell heavily, and burst into pieces; and from it, with a rattling sound, there rolled out some instruments of dental surgery, intermingled with thirty-two small, white and ivory-looking substances that were scattered to and fro about the floor.
In a new exhibition of Paul Klee’s work entitled The EY exhibition Paul Klee – Making Visible at the Tate Modern, paintings, drawings and watercolours from collections around the world will be reunited and displayed alongside each other as the artist originally intended, for the first time since Klee exhibited them himself.
aking Visible begins with the artist’s breakthrough during the First World War, when he first developed his individual abstract patchworks of colour that later became characteristic of his ‘magic square’ paintings.
Small, expressive canvases, rich with meaning and grouped as Klee himself grouped them: seeing Paul Klee at Tate Modern is your opportunity to understand Klee’s art as he intended and to appreciate the impact of this fascinating artist. Klee’s works, presented in a symphony of yellow, blue and red, create an inexplicable impression of joy, of music and of freedom. The show combines various media including etching, drawing, ink, pastel, oil paint and watercolour. Uniquely among his contemporaries, he combined the machine aesthetic of modernism with lyrical, organic elements, arriving at a visual language entirely his own. It is only 10 years since the Tate put on a retrospective of Klee’s work but what is unique about this exhibition is the fact that the works will be shown in the order Klee painted them. Paul Klee was an obsessive numberer of his works and had strong views on how to exhibit them, so 73 years after his death he would presumably be delighted at the ethos behind a major show devoted to him opening on Wednesday. "This is probably the very first time that a museum is showing Klee in the way he wanted his work to be seen," said the gallery's director, Chris Dercon. Tate curator Matthew Gale has, in 17 rooms, followed Klee's system and believes that this will facilitate increased understanding of his works. "We needed to be able to really grasp how he is making diverse things simultaneously and that is most easily found through his numbering system. There is an excitement when you see sequences of work coming together." Scrutinising Klee’s artistic output in this way transforms our understanding of how he worked and how he thought about his art. From 1911 onwards Klee inscribed every finished work with two numbers - the first indicating the year he made it and the second its place in the number of works he’d made so far in that year. For example Ships in the Dark (1927, 143) is a painting of just that – you can see the full moon and the bobbing ships. It is next to a painting that could not be more different, a wildly colourful abstract of squares and rectangles that comes next in the list – Harmony of the Northern Flora (1927, 144)."They are apparently different languages," said Gale. "By putting them together you start to read each in a different way." The
show brings together Klee’s works from around the world with, for example, one room including paintings loaned by the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Sprengel Museum in Hanover, Pallant House in Chichester, the Paul Klee centre in Bern and the Museo ThyssenBornemisza in Madrid. Paul Klee may be one of the most inventive artists of the twentieth century but he’s also among the most demanding. His intricate drawings and delicate watercolours are small in scale and short on the visual impact you associate with other major artists of his generation. One alsolooks at them in a slightly different way, with heightened attention. The experience has often been likened to reading a book or a musical score, which means that hanging a large number of them on the walls of a public gallery is notnecessarily the ideal way to show them. Curator Matthew Gale has come up with at least a partial solution to the problem byconstructing a series of intimate rooms at the beginning of the show, and hanging those pictures which he encourages us to look at with concentration far apart, encouraging the viewer to examine one work at a time. Though the later galleries are larger in scale, by the time we get to them we have picked up the knack of how to treat Klee’s art. The austere hang results in by far the most beautiful installation of this elusive artist’s work any of us are ever likelyto see. The artist we encounter as the show opens is a kind of hybrid - at once a cubist, surrealist, symbolist and expressionist -who alternately painted representational, abstract and semiabstract pictures, and who found inspiration in nature without ever attempting to depict a real tree or to paint a naturalistic landscape. One wanders about in Klee’s paintings as you would in a garden, a landscape or a city, the eye alighting at something under your feet, then at the view opening up over rooftops, lighted windows, the moon between buildings. Klee didn't just take a line for a walk, he takes us with it, whether it is describing nothing more than its passage across a sheet of paper, or the birds on the bank of an exotic river. One minute we are flying over tilled fields, the next gazing into an aquarium. The fish are all eyes, goggling back at us. It is hard not to look at Klee without smiling. Affable, harmonious, playful and benign, Klee's art was also –perhaps excessively– open. One day he might be arranging a composition of fish and flowers and clocks, the next, little coloured rectangles that come and go with a wonderful musicality, and never quite settle down. Like Kandinsky, Klee valued the "primitive," and especially the art of children. He envied their polymorphous freedom to create signs, and respected their innocence and directness. I often feel, looking at Klee, that he watched himself as he worked, just to see where his mind would lead him. Working in a spirit both of rigorous formal enquiry and childlike impetuousness and spontaneity, he kept himself guessing as well as us. There is something elusive, unknowable indeed, about his compositions, hovering as they do between natural observation and imagination, neither the one nor the other: "Somewhat closer to the heart/Of creation than
usual/But far from close enough," as he puts it in his epitaph. It is a delicacy of feeling that has made him, however popular, seem less imposing than his great Modernist contemporaries and less obviously influential. Photographs of his studio show a forest of easels. He surrounded himself with stuff â€“ shells and old cups to mix his paint in, painting knives and etching tools, sticks and homemade nibs and brushes to draw and paint with, burlap and muslin as well as paper and canvas to work on. Every surface proposes a different sort of application, porousness or resistance, a different texture and speed of execution. As a result of this, most of the paintings demand that you lean towards them and peer into them. This isn't just because the scale of his images requires that they be read up close, but because their surfaces and the multitude and variety of his little touches and inscriptions ask for our intimate attendance. Every little blot and bleed of his watercolours, every progressive overlay of subtractive colour is worth lingering over. Music had a special influence on him. He earned his living as a professional musician until he sold his first paintings in his thirties. He believed that eighteenth-century counterpoint (his favourite form) could be translated quite directly into gradations of colour and value, repetitions and changes of motif; his compositions of stacked forms, fanned out like decks of cards or colour swatches, are attempts to freeze time in a static composition, to give visual motifs the "unfolding" quality of aural ones - and this sense of rhythmic disclosure, repetition, and blossoming transferred itself, quite naturally, to Klee's images of plants and flowers. He was the complete Romantic, hearing the Weltgeist in every puff of wind, reverent before nature but careful to stylize it. Klee's assumptions were unabashedly transcendentalist. 'Formerly we used to represent things visible on earth,' he wrote in 1920, 'things we either liked to look at or would have liked to see. Today we reveal the reality that is behind visible things, thus expressing the belief that the visible world is merely an isolated case in relation to the universe and that there are many more other, latent realities ...' We are already familiar with Klee, from posters and reproductions and book jackets. Rarely are they merely anodyne, though it is easy enough to reduce him to a sort of happy decorativeness, which Tate abets through the sale of Klee tablemats, cushion covers, scarves, tea trays and tote bags. Blame the Bauhaus, where Klee taught for more than a decade, which hoped to infiltrate good design and aesthetic pleasure into every aspect of our daily lives. The Tate exhibition makes much of his continuous experimentation with technique; the "oiltransfer" method, which he developed in 1919 by making drawings in paint from laying a sheet of painted paper on a blank one and then impressing the lines,followed by the graded build-up of colour in the early 1920s and the later pointillist abstracts he produced with such glorious effect in 1932.
“Klee didn’t just take a line for a walk, he takes us with it, whether it is describing nothing more than its passage across a sheet of paper, or the birds on the bank of an exotic river.”
Klee was no Expressionist and it is a mistake to read too much of the personal in his works or to treat him as an ironic observer of the century in which he lived. He didn't really do angst. His reaction to the First World War, in which he lost some of his closest friends and was himself called up to do clerical work, was to make satirical drawings of warfare rather than confront it. A period of depression when diagnosed with illness in 1935 was followed by a surge of excited and open work in his final years. The colours brighten, the lines become more energetic and the show closes with a series of heart-warming flower pictures done with wax paint on burlap. Klee tended to see the world as a model, a kind of orrery run up by the cosmic clockmaker a Swiss God - to demonstrate spiritual truth. This helps account for the toylike character of his fantasies; if the world had no final reality, it could be represented with the freest, most schematic wit, and this Klee set out to do. The spidery, exact line, crawling and scratching around the edges of his fantasy, works in a small compass of post-Cubist overlaps, transparencies, and figure- field play-offs. In fact, most of Klee's ideas about pictorial space came out of Robert Delaunay's work, especially the Windows. The paper, hospitable to every felicitous accident of blot and puddle in the watercolour washes, contains the images gently. As the art historian Robert Rosenblum has said, 'Klee's particular genius [was] to be able to take any number of the principal Romantic motifs and ambitions that, by the early twentieth century, had often swollen into grotesquely Wagnerian dimensions, and translate them into a language appropriate to the diminutive scale of a child's enchanted world.' Klee tried to give back to art a symbol that must have seemed lost forever in the nightmarish violence of World War I and the social unrest that followed. This was the Paradise-Garden, one of the central images of religious romanticism - the metaphor of Creation itself, with all species growing peaceably together under the eye of natural (or divine) order. A visit to the Paul Klee exhibit is at once thought evoking and calming, a wonderful insight into the process of a great artist.
Paul Klee- Making Visible is open until 9th March 2014 at Tate Modern.
he Halloween that we know and love today has become a highly Americanized
occasion. Much of the history behind this spooky day has been forgotten. It is true
that we have our American friends to thank for trick or treating and some of the best
horror films, but Ireland can lay claim to the true beginnings of Halloween. Samhain (pronounced Sow-in) dates back about 2000 years and was the Celtic New Year, celebrated on the 31st of October to mark the end of the harvests and the beginning of Winter. The ancient Celts were a superstitious bunch and they believed that this was the one day of the year when spirits could walk the earth, as it belonged to neither the past nor the present. Celtic legend and Christian beliefs mixed in 457 AD when Ireland was converted to Christianity by St. Patrick. The evil spirits became minions of the devil, and belief in God became the ultimate protection. In order to frighten away the evil spirits, people would carve angry faces into a hollowed out turnip and place a candle inside to protect them as they slept. When Irish immigrants brought this tradition to America they began to use pumpkins instead. This tradition stems from a grisly Irish legend about Stingy Jack. Jack was an infamous double crosser who was always looking for an easy way out of his troubles. Having led a dishonest life he realised he could be facing some problems in the afterlife. One day Jack spotted the devil walking in disguise (the devil made regular appearances on earth in Irish folklore) and saw an opportunity to cheat his destiny. He tricked the devil into climbing a tree and quickly placed crosses all around the base of it to prevent him escaping. Jack made the devil promise to never take his soul to hell in return for letting him out of the tree. Many years later when Jack died he appeared at the gates of heaven in front of St. Peter. He was told that the life he had led was too worthless and cruel to be allowed into heaven. Because of the devilâ€™s promise to Jack he was also not allowed to enter hell and so was forced to wander the in-between alone for all time. When he protested to the devil that he could not see in the darkness he gave Jack an ember from the flames of hell which Jack placed in a hollowed out turnip as a makeshift lantern. And thusly, the Jack Oâ€™ Lantern was born. Ireland has a rich history of superstition and story telling, and without widespread Irish immigration Halloween as we know it today would not exist.
y two hour interview over lunch with Syd Moore often devolved into two history buffs passionately evoking the events of 500 years ago. We discussed paranormal tv series American Horror Story, the works of Edgar Allan Poe, and Hammer horror movies at length. It’s clear from the beginning that we share an obsession with the horror genre. I am thrilled to have met the author who has reworked the ghost story into a feminist tale, and who is committed to overturning the stereotype of the Essex girl.
We begin by talking about her third novel, entitled The Sacrifice. Syd hopes to have it completed within the week of when we meet, great news for the legion of fans she has accumulated. We discuss the topic of the novel, which has moved on from the Essex witch trials. Moore mentions that she was heavily influenced by the 1973 film The Wicker Man for her latest work. The book is set on a remote island where things are more sinister than they seem. Moore confesses that writing this book was a very different process from her first two. The book follows the story of an anchoress who is walled up and left to die as a religious sacrifice. Moore has again delved into history and is bringing attention to a forgotten phenomenon. Young girls or boys in the 12th century, anchoresses and anchorites, would be given up to the church in times of crop failures or other perceived acts of a vengeful God. This was a practice that was carried out almost worldwide. Moore was stepping away from her previous formula with this topic. “I think that one of my problems with this book is that, with the other two I was really driven about setting the record straight, getting the other side of the story out, getting the stories of these women out, and with this one I haven’t really got that urgency.” Both of Syd’s previous novels, Witch Hunt and The Drowning Pool, were based around women in the present day discovering a connection with women who were executed as witches in 17th century Essex, a much forgotten episode in history. After finding great success within her genre with these novels, I was surprised to hear that she would not be returning to the subject, at least for the minute. Moore explained that she becomes so involved in the research she sometimes needs to separate herself from it. “All that kind of stuff is really hard. Emotionally it’s quite exhausting. I wanted to have a break from all of that. When I was researching Witch Hunt it was a very dark period of time for me. I had to shut off from it because it’s just excruciating to read some of the testimonies, to go through what happened, this building sense of outrage. I wanted to give it a rest, which I don’t think my publishers really wanted, but you need to look after yourself.” It is obvious from her writing that Syd invests emotionally in her characters, drawing on her own life experiences and expertise to create female protagonists with empathy and courage. Her books stand out from a slew of horror writers due to these characters. When combining fiction with history an author runs the risk of over dramatizing situations and
â€œIn her books, humanity is restored to these women who were demonized by a patriarchal and angry society.â€?
creating characters which don’t quite ring true, Moore avoids this due to her obvious dedication to highlighting the injustice done to these women. In her first two novels the main characters are visited by ghosts of the witches. At first they seem terrifying and as though they wish to do harm, but as the novels develop it becomes clear that they have come to help. Moore takes the view that these women have not become embittered from their experience of being persecuted, they simply want to prevent it happening again. Throughout the interview two topics are consistently present- feminism and horror. The two might not seem like the most obvious companions, but Syd describes herself as an activist feminist which she credits with giving her the impetus to write the largely forgotten story of the women executed as witches. “A lot of this filters in to an urgency that I have to address the gender inequalities in this country and globally. The witch hunts are still going on today. In Kenya it’s old women, in Nigeria it’s young children of both sexes. Papua New Guinea are having terrible witch hunts at the moment, and they are mostly women as well.” Moore mentions that since learning details of the witch hunts still ongoing, she advocates support for Stepping Stones, a charity which supports the rights of children, especially those accused of witchcraft, in Nigeria. In her books, humanity is restored to these women who were demonized by a patriarchal and angry society. In Witch Hunt Moore guides the reader to identify with the witches by exploring their lives: “A fifteen year old pauper, isolated from her mother, questioned by a higher ranking gentlemen, frightened, alone, damned; either Rebecca’s instinct for survival kicked in or perhaps she was tortured into confessing or Hopkins’ authority induced her to please him. Whatever occurred in that interview, something changed in the girl and soon her tale took on a more sensational tone as the Witchfinder retold her confession.” Here, Moore recounts the tragic true story of Rebecca West, forced by the Witchfinder to testify against her own mother, condemning her to death. Alongside her writing on the plight of the witches, Syd has been making efforts to have the women commemorated in Essex by erecting a monument in their memory; unfortunately she has received little support. “I did actually apply for funding to the Arts Council and I got turned down for it. They said they didn’t feel there was a demand for it. It is something I would really like to do, but this time I think I’ll try and do it virtually, create a website as opposed to a physical monument. I did look into trying to get a pardon [for the witches] but it’s impossible basically. You have to get the queen to grant a pardon, and each woman would have to be pardoned individually, and it’s just not going to happen.” The reason for the lack of interest today can most likely be attributed to the fact that not many people are aware of the scale of the trials and the number of women who were targeted and murdered. It is estimated that around 300 women were killed in Essex and Sussex between 1644 and 1646 when Matthew Hopkins, the Witchfinder General, was on his rampage to clear the country of women he deemed as evil. It seems incredible that this dark time is not better
known today, when the Salem witch trials in the U.S for instance are widely known of. Syd attributes this to the background against which the trials happened. “The time of the Matthew Hopkins witch hysteria was also the Civil War so terrible things happened and people were really quite brutalized. The Civil War was so bloody and affected everybody, so women being hanged here and there wasn’t something that traumatized people at all. People thought that the world was ending in those years. People remember the name Matthew Hopkins- the Witchfinder General, but no one remembers the names of the victims.” Syd is keen to mention that she will return to the theme of witchcraft for her fourth book. Moore is proud to mention that she has always been an activist. “I’ve always been a marcher since I was a student. Poll tax, miners, anti- apartheid, I’ve always tried to be active.” Female stereotypes were something Syd realized were holding back women in general. Super Strumps is a project she co- founded which aims to reclaim and dispel these stereotypes. The game is based around childhood favourite card game Top Trumps and takes a tongue- in- cheek look at what these stereotypes mean, celebrating female qualities instead of denigrating them. The different stereotypes included are given points out of 100 for four different qualities; nurture, strength, independence, and resourcefulness. The Essex girl, for instance, scores 85 for resourcefulness, but only 35 for nurture. Born and bred in Southend- on- Sea, the Essex girl image is something Syd is very familiar with. It is an issue that pervades her writing as well as her work with Super Strumps. In Witch Hunt, her main character Sadie is a journalist writing a series of articles on the history of the Essex girl. Moore mentions that the stereotype is something she has come up against for her whole life, and what else could an activist do but try to change the situation for the better. Syd spent some time lecturing at a sixth form college in Essex where she heard reports from her students that quite often at an interview for university, the interviewer would begin with a simple “Oh, you’re an Essex girl?”, a question loaded with connotations. Syd explained how awkward this would be for the girls involved. “Seventeen year olds being put in that situation, they want to interview well, they want to get a position on the course. How do you answer that? Do you object to the stereotype in which case you start by pissing off the interviewer, or do you just laugh? They don’t want to jeopardize their chances. It’s not fair, these girls are not on a level playing field because we still have this stereotype.” Super Strumps really hits the nail on the head as far as female stereotypes are concerned. Every woman has at some point been compared to one of these roles, whether it be the bimbo, the career woman, or the gold digger. Moore, along with co- creator Heidi Wigmore, have come up with a light hearted way of celebrating feminism, not an easy task. Moore is constantly contriving new ideas and projects which support a more positive attitude towards feminism. Her latest project along with Heidi Wigmore is to tackle the reasoning behind anti- women attitudes in popular TV and book series Game of Thrones. This will hopefully be debuted at the Women of the World festival in March 2014. “We’re hoping to do a
dressing up event where we will have fantasy costumes, props, breast plates, skirts, a huge wardrobe of amazing pieces. Women come in and dress up, and they give their new persona a name. And we ask ‘what are your qualities?’ Women can create these characters themselves, and we want to ask them what they want from the fantasy genre.” By taking these women out of their comfort zone, Moore expects to see attitudes of warrior women, as opposed to the simpering creatures often found in Game of Thrones. Not content with stopping at this however, Moore intends to use this event as a starting point in creating a fantasy genre TV series which features strong female characters. Having read all of George R.R Martin’s Game of Thrones series, I am inclined to cheer when I realize that someone else has noticed that women do not need to be second class citizens in literature. I don’t believe that most people would be able to manage the number of projects which she is currently taking on, but then again Syd Moore isn’t most people. Proving that work truly never ends for Syd Moore, she is off for a visit to the Freemasonry Museum when I leave her, keen to explore another possible book topic.
“ You call this a stag night?”
For the Love of Mic Dead Rappers Special, Friday 25th OctoberConcrete in Shoreditch is home to this wonderfully themed night. With so many dead rappers to choose from, dressing up should be a breeze. £4 entry fee.
Belle Epoque Dark Circus Party, Saturday 26th OctoberThis surreal and subversive party brings the unusual glamour of the circus together with Halloween elements, all under one roof at the Camden Centre on Euston Road. Steer clear if you have a fear of clowns. Tickets £20.
Halloween Ball at the Mansion, Thursday 31st OctoberHere’s an event for those with a taste for the finer things in life. The location is being kept a secret until the day of the party, an appropriate touch of mystery for a Halloween get- together. Costumes are likely to be elaborate and witty so choose yours carefully. This event will sell out fast, buy your tickets now for £25.
Boxpark Party, Thursday 31st OctoberThe Shoreditch landmark has gotten a makeover for Halloween. Entertainers, magicians, ghost story tellers and a host of creepy creatures await your presence. This is a good option for some old fashioned Halloween fun, as opposed to an all night party. The restaurants and bars will be open until 9, entry is free.
Secretsundaze Halloween asylum party, Saturday 2nd NovemberThe Secretsundaze team at Oval Space in Bethnal Green have put their heads together and come up with a spectacular party night for the costumed and non- costumed alike. US techno producer Function will be playing a set, along with masked electro maestro Redshape. This is one for those who are up for an all night dance session. Tickets £8 on the door.
he BFI have proven that horror films are too good to be confined to the month of October and the Halloween season. The popularity of horror classics is evident now more than ever as the ultimate London cinema has begun its four month programme of Gothic horror classics. The October events are coming to a close, but just because the costumes and decorations are going back into the attic doesn’t mean the films have to.
In order to show the variety of gothic cinema classics which the BFI have gathered, they have divided the festival into four sections. October and November play host to the finest range of Monstrous and The Dark Arts films ever to grace the silver screen. Also to look forward to are the Haunted and Love is a Devil sections in December and January. If you are the pedantic sort of person who knows that Frankenstein is the name of the doctor, not the monster then you will enjoy the Monstrous films on offer. Classics such as An American Werewolf in London, and Dracula, starring the inimitable Christopher Lee, are too good to miss. There are multiple screenings of all the films, but the BFI advises booking early as they will undoubtedly be very popular. Along with the screening of the films the BFI have organized a number of panels with some of the most notable figures in gothic horror cinema. George A. Romero will grace the BFI with his ghoulish genius on the 8th of November to discuss his extensive career in zombie films such as Night of the Living Dead and The Crazies. Tickets are £15, £11.50 with concession. For the more contemporary horror fan, there is also a screening of Charlie Brooker’s Dead Set followed by a panel with the writer himself and Jamie Winstone, star of the TV special, on the 15th of November. As part of The Dark Arts range of films viewers can look forward to The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, this German Expressionist masterpiece which will leave you questioning your sanity. Eyes Without a Face has inspired remakes such as The Skin I Live In, but the original is truly a gothic masterpiece. Coming to speak about his career in gothic horror is Roger Corman, horror producer extraordinaire. He will visit the BFI on the 25th of October to discuss the amazing number of gothic horrors he’s worked on (he has over 400 credits as a producer), focusing on his adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe. The programmes for the last two sections, Haunted and Love is a Devil, have not been released yet, but there is no doubt they will impress judging by the content the BFI have already put together for the first two.
oger Corman is a one of a kind filmmaker. He’s worked extensively with Hollywood‘s A list actors and directors, but he’s also known within the industry as the king of B movies. Corman is a highly talented producer and director, but his unwillingness to work in conjunction with any of the big studios has meant that his films have had shoestring budgets, and have often been derided as poor quality. Nevertheless, Corman has famously never lost money on a film, quite a feat for a person in the industry for over 50 years.
Horror movies have dominated Roger Corman’s career, and he is recognised as a pioneer of the genre. He made his name in the early 1950s with a string of low budget monster films, his first being Monster from the Ocean Floor (1952). The special effects were not very special, and the acting was perhaps the most scary part, but they were what audiences at drive- ins across America wanted to see. As he himself notes he did not go to film school, he learned on the job as a filmmaker. Corman cemented his status as a great horror director/ producer with his adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe stories, he directed six in total including The House of Usher (1960) and The Pit and the Pendulum (1961). The Poe films were the first ones which showed his talents as a filmmaker and which the audiences responded to with demands for more. Eager to keep moving in to new territories, Corman took notice of an emerging group in society- teenagers. He began to make movies about this wave of rebellious young people, a topic which none of the big studios were willing to touch. Rock all Night and Teenage Doll, both released in 1957, were incredibly popular with the young movie goers. Corman gained a fan base with these movies and gained the confidence he needed to move on to riskier ventures. Determined not to be thought of as just a schlock horror maker, Corman self- financed a risky project in 1962. The Intruder is an adaptation of a superlatively controversial book about racial integration in the South of the United States. Corman gave William Shatner his first big break in this movie with the lead role of a man viciously opposed to integration. The racial prejudices of the time meant that the film did not succeed commercially, but it did garner major critical success for Corman. Following his championing of the teenage rebel in the late 1950s and 60s, Corman continued to make films that pushed the boundaries of acceptability. Exploitation films abounded in the 1970s, films were able to include more violence and nudity than ever before thanks to the new film rating system. Roger Corman took full advantage, and drawing on his horror film prowess, produced some truly horrifying titles such as The Hot Box (1972). These films rarely had much of a storyline, and frequently featured topless girls shooting guns. Many were quick to dismiss Corman as a one trick pony in film, but his distribution company, New World Pictures, was responsible for bringing the films of Ingmar Bergman and Federico Fellini to American cinemas at a time when it wasn’t considered profitable to do so. Corman appreciated great film, but he also appreciated that there was a gap in the market for his own type
â€œCorman is a genius at giving the public what they want.â€?
of movie, low budget horror films that could be made quickly and frequently; cheap thrills for America. He also recognised and fostered talent in young filmmakers and actors. Jack Nicholson has stated that Roger Corman was the only person to hire him as an actor for ten years. Corman gave Martin Scorsese his first job as a director in 1972 with the movie Boxcar Bertha. Among his many other proteges were Francis Ford Coppola, Peter Bogdanovich, and Ron Howard. Just when it seemed Roger Corman would remain a Hollywood outsider for the rest of his life, it was announced in 2009 that he was to receive an honorary Oscar in recognition of his contributions to the world of film. Corman was 83 years old. He continues to produce low budget horror films today, primarily for the SyFy channel. Titles such as Sharktopus (2010) and Piranhaconda (2012) have much in common with the monster movies Corman was making back in the â€˜50s. As Corman predicted at the very beginning of his career, this is a style of film that the public will always want to see, and Corman is a genius at giving the public what they want.
London is an epicentre of spooky attractions. The London Dungeon is great fun, but terriblybusy at this time of year, and the walking tours that you’ll see advertised on the sides of buses are likely to be all booked up in the run up to Halloween. We have been exploring some of the lesser known ghostly attractions which London has to offer. Read on for a rundown of ghastly fun.
Cross Bones Graveyard: Located in Southwark, this is the final resting site for approximately 15,000 souls who could not afford to be buried on consecrated ground. Written accounts from as early as 1598 record this as a burial place for prostitutes, who were deemed unworthy of a Christian burial. Later it became a site for mass graves for those who had died of yellow fever or other infectious diseases. The annual Halloween celebration has not been performed since 2010, but it’s still a fascinating place to visit. Are you brave enough to go after dark? See www.crossbones.org.uk for more info
Ham House Ghost Tours: This 17th century Stuart mansion is reputedly one of England’s most haunted houses. It is rumoured that the ghost of the Duchess of Lauderdale still stalks the corridors, tap tap tapping her silver tipped cane. National Trust guides will take you on a tour of the house and gardens, listen closely for the tapping. The tours are on from now until the 31st of October. See www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ham-house for more details.
The Blood and Tears Walk - Halloween Special: This walk kicks off at Barbican tube station, and takes in the major sites of London’s ghostly history. It will particularly appeal to those interested in Jack the Ripper, as the tour guide gives excellent insights into the various suspects. Also included is the site of many a bloody execution, and a graveyard made infamous for body snatching. The walk is at 7pm and 9.45 pm Halloween night. See www.londontown.org for more details.
ebecca Hewitt has been destined for the fashion industry from a young age. Her mother wanted her to become a model, but Rebecca chose instead to study fashion design, and has been working successfully in many different fashion roles for the past twenty years. She is now the owner of Kipper Bespoke Tailoring on Savile Row; an exclusive bespoke suit company catering to men and women of good taste. When I meet Rebecca she is accompanied, as she frequently is, by her adorable labradoodle, Hardy. After I greet the two of them, and win over Hardy with some dog treats produced by Rebecca, we settle down to the interview.
Rebecca’s interest in tailoring and menswear was sparked by her father’s sense of style. “My father is very debonair. He dresses particularly well. He’s a horse racing enthusiast so he wears racing tweeds, I’ve always been interested in fashion through my father’s influence. I’m quite androgynous myself, I’ve always been drawn into menswear.” Rebecca mentions an eclectic range of fashion icons including Tom Ford, Steve McQueen and Prince Charles. “Prince Charles is immaculate, he has timeless pieces.” I ask what the atmosphere of working on Savile Row is like these days, wondering if the recession has necessitated that businesses compete against each other. “It’s really vibrant, very close knit. It’s had a bit of a re- birth. I think we had this throw away culture for so long and now with the recession people have decided to invest a bit more in their clothing in order to get a better return from it. People have gone back to quality rather than quantity, looked at the long term value, and Savile Row is very much back in fashion.” Men’s suits at Kipper Bespoke start from £1000, and women’s start from £850, so the price is high but not unattainably so. An inspection of one of Rebecca’s suits reveals that they are indeed a good investment. The wonders that a well cut suit can do for a career, and the impression it makes, are well proven. Rebecca mentions that navy is perceived as the colour of authority, and nowhere is this better proven than in the case of former US president Bill Clinton defending himself to a nation. “Clinton went on TV and he was in a navy blue suit declaring ‘I have not had sexual relations with this woman’, and then he came back on TV in a grey suit when the evidence was found proving his guilt, because grey is the colour for apologies! You can tell what politicians are going to say from what they’re wearing.” I am tempted to ask if Kipper Bespoke has clothed a politician with something to hide, but Rebecca’s professionalism no doubt assures a certain degree of confidentiality. We discuss the process for a customer fitting. Along with the usual measurements and discussions one would expect, there is also a highly personalized dialogue. “I do a wardrobe analysis to find out what their role is, what their job entails, if there’s international travel involved, what they require from and like about their clothing, where they’ve been previously purchasing. A lot of two way communication, about what they want and what I can offer.” When one is investing in a bespoke suit, it seems important to get the basics right first. Re-
becca has a few recommendations she makes to her clients. “A good bra for the women, you must wear a good bra for the fitting, it makes such a difference. For the men it’s about keeping the clothes clean. When I make my suits there’s a very big push on the after- service, and on how to maintain the suit. Dry-cleaning kills suits, so they should really only be cleaned twice a year, if you are rotating five suits for instance. We show them how to get rid of stains, and how to hang the trousers properly so they don’t need to be pressed. Men never seem to know how to look after clothes!” As for her own personal wardrobe, Rebecca says that it’s largely a mixture of Marc Jacobs and Zara. “But I wouldn’t buy a jacket or a pair of trousers from the high street, not when I make it all myself and it fits perfectly.” And she believes accessories should be kept minimal, keeping to the mantra, you should wear your jewellery, as opposed to your jewellery wearing you. Inspiration for her style comes from a number of different sources. “London gives me inspiration; in the different boroughs of London you see different elements of fashion. In East London now you see the buttoned up collar trend, which has been around since the Pet Shop Boys days, and which also reminds me of a TV series I’m watching at the moment, Peaky Blinders ( an ITV series set in the 1920s). That was a look that was around when I was first getting interested in fashion, just like in the 1920s when the perfect collar was the sign that you’d really made it, those football fans, the Birmingham City, the Aston Villa fans, they’d all look absolutely immaculate in their Lacoste and their Stone Island. That just shows how cyclical fashion is.” It is clear that there is a very British influence on all aspects of Rebecca’s work, from Prince Charles to 1920s Birmingham gang, the Peaky Blinders. It makes perfect sense that Rebecca’s suits are made in the UK, with absolutely no outsourcing. “If you look at why people outsourced clothing, it was because it was cheaper, but generally the quality isn’t that good, and you’ve got the push now to bring manufacturing back to the UK and we can do that. I’m quite strong on this, but David Cameron bangs on about British manufacturing, and they don’t give us any tax breaks for having things made in the UK! I’m one of very few people doing this, apart from Savile Row.” We finish up the interview by discussing the rather unusual name Rebecca chose for her business- Kipper Bespoke. She explains “Back in the Victorian times on Savile Row the majority of the tailors were men, so if you were a female tailor, in order to ward off any unwanted advances from the male tailors, you used to go around with another female tailor. They became known as kippers for some reason, as a kipper is a split herring. If you have a story behind the name like that and you tell it to people, they’re much more likely to remember that than just ‘Rebecca Hewitt Tailoring’”. It’s attention to detail like this that keeps Rebecca at the top of her industry.
tomping down many a catwalk this season from Saint Laurent to Versace were spikes, leather, studs, fishnets and tartan (lots of tartan). For this season it’s blended with grunge to achieve a laid back rebel look. Think oversized plaid shirts and studded cardigans draped over feminine baby-doll dresses and teamed with chunky black boots, such as the Jeffrey Campbell Coltrane.
This anarchic look has had somewhat of an overhaul in the past year and emerges now as a newly feminine style. It is the quintessential wardrobe addition for the girl who wants to look like she just doesn’t give a #!%@ while still holding on to those elements of chic style. The key this season to doing punk is to not be overrun with the traits that we all know and identify with the style, such as fauxhawks, bondage trousers and safety pins, but more to let your inner punk influence other styles and add a raw edginess to your own personal look. It is no coincidence that this year’s Met Costume Institute Gala embraced the look, and themed the event as PUNK: Chaos to Couture. Here the fashion and celebrity elite embraced rebellion (at a $10,000 a ticket event) and donned high fashion with attitude. Sienna Miller threw a Burberry studded jacket over her gown while Jessica Biel showed her dedication to the cause by wearing a septum piercing. It’s important to be prepared for contrast this Autumn. It’s all about combining your hell raiser tartan skirts and Doc Martens with this season’s religious fuelled collections as seen on the runways at Dolce & Gabbana and Valentino. These Christian inspired collections will be the perfect antidote to your anti-Christ punk ways. Fashion and religion have merged anew in 2013. The ecclesiastically influenced clothing captures the opulence of the Catholic Church’s prowess in its indulgent past. Dolce & Gabbana’s show consisted of divine mosaic prints of religious icons from the Byzantine era. This season’s pieces, ordained in gold tones with gem encrusted crucifixes, are truly masterful pieces of craftsmanship. Heavily embroidered and embellished there is much attention to detail in each piece of the collection. Reminiscent of Baz Luhrmanns’ Romeo and Juliet, colour saturated iconic images of saints and the Virgin adorn accessories and garments. Modern rosary beads, holy medals and layers of crosses rest against heavily patterned outfits. Both trends with such powerful ideologies complement each other, the anti-establishment toughening up the established, and the influences of high fashion adding some gloss to the street fashion of punk. With a penchant for intricate details, luxe patterns and ostentatious accents the next few months are going to be an interesting dalliance between dressing for heaven or hell.
Caroline opposite wears cream jumper from H and M ÂŁ30 Ben wears blue jumper from Marks and Spencers ÂŁ50
Caroline wears check jumper from Karen Millen ÂŁ90
Ben wears orange jumper from Zara ÂŁ32
Caroline wears burgundy jumper from Uniqlo ÂŁ40
Ben wears grey and white jumper from Ralph Lauren ÂŁ100
Ben wears navy jumper from Ted Baker ÂŁ90
ith the arrival of Autumn, and Winter on its heels, it is important to upgrade your personal style to accommodate the rapidly changing weather that comes with it. There are a few choice investments that can help take the chill out of the weather which every male should include in their wardrobe. The first option is heavier fabrics - think wool suits, flannel shirts or denim/leather jackets, these are the options that will earn you those all important style points this Autumn/ Winter. It goes without saying that these items are an easy way to make sure that your personal style is on point while keeping your body temperature from dropping.
The most important point when dressing for these colder months is to layer up. Layering clothes can be tricky at first but there is a simple rule, start with the lighter fabrics and work out with heavier fabrics. Everyone from Tommy Hilfiger to Tom Ford has featured this look in their A/W campaigns. For example, you might start out with your standard cotton t-shirt, then the next layer would be a denim jacket, a cardigan or jumper followed up with an overcoat or suit jacket. Try not to go too heavy or thick with these layers as the over coat should still be fitted to your build and the layers underneath should keep in the heat. The pictures below should be a good place to aim for- multiple layers but still quite slimming and fitted.
Layering is an important tool when it comes to men’s style. The aim is not to look bulky, and if you get too warm indoors, it’s easy just to remove the necessary layers. That’s why it is important to think carefully about your garment choices. Your outfit must still work after each layer is removed, it’s no good just to pick random items and throw them all together. If you do go down that route, you will end up in a club wearing three layers of clothes because of the dirty jumper you threw on under your lovely clean jacket or blazer. Your pants should also be of a more rigid fabric, think heavier denim, corduroy or chinos. Finally, we come to footwear and there’s really only one type of shoe for the wet world of Winter and that’s a good boot with a thick sole. Think Doc Marten’s, a good motorcycle boot, and for the dressier people out there, you can get away with an ankle boot such as a Chelsea boot, but my personal preference is something chunky. It looks great with a good pair of jeans and stands out from the masses when paired with a neutral coloured suit.
Embrace the Autumnal chills, and layer it up guys.
Published on Feb 6, 2014
A magazine produced as a final project for an MA in fashion journalism. It is a magazine aimed at London commuters offering a mixture of lon...