Volume 32 Issue 5,Nov 21 - Dec 4
Photographers, illustrators, cartoonists and writers - Email: play.editor@ london-student.net
Flickr User: Nicolo Paternaster
4-5 Music +in discussion: seun kuti +live review: patrick wolf
Dictionary of detournement:
V for Violent Disorder:
6-7 Literature +REVIEW: towards a new manifesto +advice on where to take your poetry
(1) Where 3 or more persons who are present together use or threaten unlawful violence and the conduct of them (taken together) is such as would cause a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for their personal safety, each of the persons using or threatening unlawful violence is guilty of violent disorder.
8-9 screen +interview: joseph cedar
(2) It is immaterial whether or not the 3 or more use or threaten unlawful violence simultaneously.
The man they call Polarbear: Interview on page 7 +review: les enfants du paradis
10-11 Stage +Remi kanzai: the art of struggle + win free tickets to see chiago
12-13 Centre +BARRY ACKROYD (CINEMATOGRAPHer)
HYPERREAL VIOLENCE - special feature on pages 12-13
14-15 arts +the drawings of sylvia
plath +no limit beyond the taboo
(1) Marked by a senseless, disorienting, often menacing complexity. Kafkaesque bureaucracies (2) Marked by surreal distortion and often a sense of impending danger. (3) In the manner of fiction written by Franz Kafka.
play editorsgwilym lewis-brooke Jake pace-lawrie
Screen editorsaustin raywood, dakid katz
18-19 food +best food films +cooking the perfect roast
(4) Violent disorder may be committed in private as well as in public places.
ASSISTANT editorkevin guyan
16-17 fashion +a guide to getting ahead in the industry
20-21 travel +a trip on the titanc +the travel bug
(3) No person of reasonable firmness need actually be, or be likely to be, present at the scene.
stage editormatt williamson
literature EditorROBERT KIELY
Best recipes from food writer James Ramsden on page 19
ARTS editorTravis Riley MUSIC EDITORSRICHARD HALL, RINA BUZNEA
FASHION EDITORS FLORENCE CORNISH, KATE VINE
TRAVEL EDITOR EMILY RAY
Food Editor Helena Goodrich brand designDanny WIlson
Cover Photo MONTAGE: Jake Pace-lawrie
Music & Nightlife
PLAY | Volume 32, Issue 5
Where To Start With... By KCL Music Student and DJ, Jack Aisher When I was first asked to write a ‘Where To Start With...’ article I was immediately faced with a problem: which genre do I write about? Like most people, I thrive on listening and involving myself with a wide range of music - it pretty much rules my life. However, I am quickly drawn to one particular area. You see, I have the unusual lifestyle combo of being on one side a music student at KCL, studying all the ins and outs of composition, performance and history, and on the other a DJ and producer of dance and electronic music, playing in clubs ’til late and occasionally getting flown abroad to do my thing. It is a truly bizarre existence and one which I can safely say no-one would have predicted for me a few years ago. The idea of this piece is to give you an introduction and an easy way into what can sometimes be a daunting scene. House
music has been around for a while, and the countless sub-genres and super-sub-genres are a little too much for the casual listener, who only really wants to listen to some nice music. Luckily for us all, unlike some genres (e.g dubstep) where snobbery and excessive knowledge amongst fans is the norm, house music has a very relaxed and unintimidating vibe to it. After all, people listen to house when they are out already having a good time at the club, or in most of our cases, while we are pre-drinking in halls, flats or student houses. The sharp ones amongst you will have realized that the number of beats per minute (something DJs are very particular about) is the crucial factor here. A quick pumping beat increases your heart rate and gets you moving - it is as simple as that! House music varies from between 120-130 bpm, but I will hazard a guess that most of the stuff you will have heard is at the higher, more conventional end of the spectrum. Dance music has made a major comeback in the last 18 months, bursting into mainstream consciousness and invading the charts. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that Rihanna feat. Calvin Harris, ‘We Found Love’ is a great song, but it is easy to see why it is popular. It’s catchy, easy to dance to and slots into that
clever niche category of “bedroom dance”; you will most likely listen to it and sing along at home, then hear it later in a club on a night out. Rihanna, Example, David Guetta and many others have mastered the formula of making a hit dance track and are currently squeezing every last marketable drop out of it. In the meantime, if the mainstream stuff doesn’t float your disco boat, I am here to give you a nudge in the right direction. I am sure many of you will have heard of Deadmau5, the Canadian-born dance guru selling records by the million and touring the world with sell out shows. SO last year! There are literally thousands of talented young producers out there making awesome music that deserves a listen. For the more melodic stuff, check out Dinka, EDX, Soundprank, Pryda, JackLNDN (that’s me!) and Avicii. It should keep you occupied and give you an idea of what you might be missing. If the more hard hitting, funky electro feel is your thing then be sure to check out Wolfgang Gartner, Mord Fustang, Dada Life,
fluenced his father in anyway. His twinkling eyes and Cheshire cat grin verify his status as an entertainer and each question he is asked receives an articulate, animated response. When asked whether he is a revolutionary or a musician first and foremost, he announces that he's switched positions and would now categorise himself as a revolutionary. Fella sang predominantly about discrimination and injustices within Nigeria; Seun expands out from this, lyrically attacking global capitalism and multi-nationals. Although Seun mainly articulates African concerns, he realises that the problems he sings about are international issues: “Everyone around the world is essentially undergoing the same experience.” When questioned to what extent he sings for
Africans and to what extent for the world at large, he states that he wants “the world to feel him but his people to understand him.” Seun is carrying on his father's fight for justice and equality. "Why fear death?" he says. "That's the one thing we can all be certain of. The choices are: you talkyou die, you keep quiet -you die. So where is the point in staying quiet?" Fela's legacy lives on through Seun's revitalized 21st century perspective.
‘deep melodic house is incredible for a meaningful stare out of the window on a long journey!’
In Discussion With Seun Kuti By Isla Duporge
The youngest son of Nigeria's greatest musician Fella Kuti, Seun Kuti is a star in his own right. Fronting his father's band Egypt 80, Seun follows in his Afrobeat, revolutionary footsteps. Performing in London on 4 November, Seun took an afternoon out of his schedule to come and give an interview to SOAS Radio Station. Arriving at the campus, I was amongst a herd of other fans fighting their way into the lecture theatre. Seun Kuti starts the discussion confirming that his father was definitely not a fan of reggae; he shows disgust at the notion that James Brown's funk was played in the house or in-
Madeon, Killed It (that’s also me) and Michael Woods. These are the people tickling my musical taste buds right now and I am confident, hand on heart, that you will enjoy their music. Don’t expect too many lyrics or memorable generic vocal phrases; these people are masters of song structure and subtlety and have been rocking crowds all over the world for years. Make sure you are in the mood before you listen, and if you really have an aversion to the pace and feel of dance music, then try making a workout playlist and going on a jog. I personally find that deep melodic house is incredible for a meaningful stare out of the window on a long journey! If you want to get involved more in the scene then try heading to a few clubs on the weekend. Ministry of Sound’s weekend lineups are world class and although at £12-15 it can seem pricey, you are not going for a drunken night of carnage; you are going for the music. I hope I have been of some help, and if you find yourself itching to get involved then tweet me @jacklndn and I will show you the light!
To watch the full interview, search ‘Seun Kuti SOAS’ on YouTube, or listen to the podcast on soasradio.org. Also listen out for DJ Ritu and her programme, A World in London - a down-to-earth show demystifying world music.
Live Reviews PLAY | Volume 32, Issue 5
By Navin Seeburn One of the most striking things about being at a Patrick Wolf concert is how celebratory it all feels, like a reward for the very act of existing. At any moment, he might simply well up and tell the crowd how beautiful they are, and for each one of his gigs there’s a story to tell. Tonight he tells us of his rise to this very stage: how he grew up listening to X-Ray Spex and remembers listening to them hidden in a bathroom stall, how Poly Styrene (the lead singer) sadly passed on recently, and how special it feels to be stood where he saw her sing before. It feels like we’re all drawn here for something special, a moment where artist meets influence and the results are magical. A cracked voice utters that he wishes she’d been here to see this, and
By Jakob Tanner Twin Sister’s lead singer Andrea Estella sings on the opening track of their debut album, ‘Goodbyes are loneliest / when you know we’ll never meet’ - a line that in its obviousness offers a charming sense of innocence. This feeling weaves throughout the LP, bridging together
4 November @ Roundhouse
you’re inside the artist himself. The feeling is almost indescribable: ecstasy and sadness tumbled together in one musical outpouring. Tonight opened on a more introspective tone. An ethereal track named ‘Armistice’ stirred up a heartbroken atmosphere on a stage awash with smoke and colour, flanked by two glowing model houses. As he progressed through a selection of his more sensitive songs, he seemed like a musician revisiting old tracks and reinterpreting them. ‘The Pigeon Song’ received an extended ending on the viola that drew out the song’s lonesome pain into a haunting, harmonised crescendo. A familiar riff rearranged for the baritone ukulele, met quizzically by some, morphed into a sparser, more desperate sounding cover of ‘Tristan’. That’s how his musicality comes out. Never a man to let the flickering flame of music die out, he rekindles it in his own songs. He inspired a collaboration of misfits tonight, giving them his love of music, giving them a safe space to be different and celebrate being sensitive and emotional. A heartfelt wander down ‘Godrevy Point’ secured lumps firmly in throats, while a newly unveiled verse and chorus for ‘Time of Year’ explored the feelings surrounding the winter solstice. Of course, being a disco icon, he interspersed the sensitive with cheer, and his sheer upbeat nature meant it never felt forced. As he closed the night, the glowing houses made sense: his father appeared for saxophone solos on ‘The Magic Position’ and ‘The City’, to rapturous applause. Patrick Wolf stages not just a show, but an emotional experience that is unique and unmissable.
Los Campesinos By Navin Seeburn
Listening to this band alone in your room, you’d be forgiven for thinking that their fan-base consists solely of the lonely, jaded and heartbroken, connected to the music through screams of “woe is us together”. When Los Campesinos stood to greet the crowd at KCLSU, it suddenly became clear that this connection breeds fan passion in its rawest form. From beginning to end, a sea of rabid fans shouted every last lyric back at singer Gareth. A testament to frontmen who know their craft, he threw it back at the crowd with embittered shouts between unabashed singing and pained drawl. Towards the end of the show he avoided eye contact, for a moment humbled and vulnerable, thanking the crowd because “being in a band’s dead fun”. A post-gig tweet from Gareth revealed the depth of their symbiotic harmony: “I honestly don't think any sex could feel better than hearing a fuckton of people shout, ‘you could never kiss a Tory boy’ back at me.” More than your average guitaristbassist-drummer affair, the seven Campesinos crowded the Tutu’s stage. In full indie rock swing, their energy was palpable. Coupling a dense mix with a frenetic pace, they opened with the jumpy
Album Review: Twin Sister, ‘In Heaven’ sounds that seemed disconnected in their previous offerings. Twin Sister’s initial EPs jarringly juxtaposed chilled, post-modern disco head-bobbers with more melancholy electronic tracks. On their newest record, no one sound has trumped the other, yet there is a definite turn towards the constant snare hits and dance cries of joy. The album begins with a funky vibe, notably with tracks such as ‘Stop’ and ‘Bad Street’, while the middle of the album transcends into synthesised lullabies like ‘Luna’s Theme’ and ‘Kimmi in a Rice Field’. The one negative of the album is that no song reaches the heights of spacey disco glory like ‘All Around and Away We Go’ – an older track from the Colour Your
Life EP. The bouncy twee of ‘…Away We Go’ helped elevate the group to “buzz band” status. This absence might be the missing ingredient to an otherwise enjoyable album, though it takes a full listen or two before it might tickle one’s appetite. Twin Sister’s sound can easily become inconspic-
7 November @ KCLSU
bass-driven ‘By Your Hand’ from their new album Hello Sadness. In the next ten minutes, they delivered the likes of ‘Romance is Boring’ and ‘Death to Los Campesinos’. An explanation came afterwards: they know that their fans like them to open with three exciting songs to get pulses racing before reining it in. These musicians have become masters of the set-list, bonding with their crowds. Of course a band like Los Campesinos never truly reins it in: they introduced the positively chirpy ‘We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed’ with the tagline, “this is a song about how we’re all going to die alone.” Professional to the last, they balanced the mood of the gig on that fine edge between cathartic release and moping, rumbling indie rock. Of course, the crowd weren’t going to let the band go that easily. Out went the shouts for an encore, and as the band obliged, the acknowledgement was fierce. They introduced ‘A Documented Minor Emotional Breakdown’ as that song they find inexplicably fun to play, and with that the source of all this energy was clear to see. Tonight was a testament to just how much Los Campesinos truly love what they do.
uous background music, lost to conversation; In Heaven, though, is one of those albums that deserve headphones and your eyes closed.
WHERE DO I TAKE MY POETRY?
PLAY | Volume 32, Issue 5
So, you’ve written a poem. You thought it was pretty bloody good at the time, and, having popped downstairs to make yourself a brew, you return to find yourself cataclysmically certain that these words- your words- are going to change the world. What do you do now? Where do you take this fragile little tinker and in whose hands should it be nursed?
The answer provided by ‘Write Out Loud’ would almost certainly be “your own!” ‘Write Out Loud’ is an online hub for poets with gemstones just like yours. They list open-floor, open-mic and readaround events, for all poets of all standards, genres and tastes. They place the emphasis on performance, encouraging upcoming poets to share their thoughts and poetry now, and think about publishing later. They offer poetry events that promise to be rewarding, and
offer writers and readers the opportunity to filter their listings by their own interests, city, date, and venue.
Admittedly, this isn’t always successful. You may end up at an event that’s not quite for you, such as I did this week, in attending the ‘Camden School of Enlightenment’. Hosted the first Wednesday of every month, ‘CSofE’ is a two-hour-long cross-genre event of microlectures, performance poetry, music, story-telling, stand-up comedy, and open-mic… if that’s your bag, go for it. It was enlightening for me as I was fortunate enough to meet one of the directors of ‘Write Out Loud’, who had a few other recommendations for where to take poetry. Start at ‘Y-Tuesday’, a candle-lit open-mic night, hosted the first Tuesday of every month, upstairs at The Three Kings in
William Rubel’s Bread: A Global History
William Rubel, Bread: A Global History (London: Reaktion, 2011), £10.99 Published 3rd October 2011 The first sentence alone says enough: “Flatbread, loaf bread, fried bread, bean bread, corn bread; they are all breads.” This is perceptive writing. But the gems, passed off as casyal observations, continue into the second sentence:
“Yet, when asked to go to the store to buy bread for dinner, most readers of this book [Oh!, and self-aware!] will pass up all types of bread except the loaf breads. There is an ac-
cepted ambiguity in the way we use the term ‘bread’ that lets us both recognize bread as a hugely wide classification of foodstuffs, and to think of bread for our own table as a more narrowly defined concept.”
Indeed. Language is an amazing thing. Btu Rubel does, don’t worry, return from the heights of linguistic philosophy to bread: “Another aspect of crumb is colour...” The crudeat-heart may see this as banal prose, but I for one see Rubel’s perfect marraige of form and content, style and subject-. SÉUMAS FITZ
Charlie Brooker, Unnovations (London: Faber, 2011), £7.99 Re-issued 3rd November 2011
Charlie Broker has gone more mainstream with 10 O’ Clock Live – time to re-issue. This book is along the lines of TV Go Home, it’s a comic spoof of the consumer-product catalogues. “Unnovations is modelled on those catalogues that were once so welcome as they spilled unwanted from your weekend newspapers in a magfall of bizarre information. This is a timeless celebration of triumphantly useless and inappropriate consumer choices.”
In this spoof-product catalogue, Charlie Brooker highlights the decadence of the 90s consumer culture. It’s smart, punchy, and heavily illustrated. The blurb states (accurately): “a classic vision of a consumer paradise gone very weird indeed”. For example, you can get the Thunky-ThinkThinknomore-Thunkishere Mitten and Mirror Kit, some intelligent underwear that spies on a daughter’s desire (you can “pinpoint the precise moment your angelic offspring sheds her virginal mindset… biology has betrayed the despicable truth”), doghanging DVDs, and the bizarre
genetically engineered erotic-fucktoy KissMammal 2003, which comes with a User’s Manual delineated the six rear-mounted orifices (including Fantasy Orifice 2), which is “supplied infection-free”. My my, they’ve thought of everything. In summation: by turns disturbing and hilarious. It is timely for this book to be reissued after the collapse of our financial system. We can laugh ath the decadence that got us here. But don’t let the satire distract you from the truth of it. SÉUMAS FITZ
Clerkenwell Close. Personal and unintimidating, this is perhaps the perfect space to first show-case your masterpiece. Maybe then take it round the corner, to one of the many open-floor events hosted at the Betsy Trotwood pub, in Farringdon, where the magazine Ambit hosts open slots. By now brimming with confidence, go next to ‘More Poetry’, a long-running open-mic night, falling on the first Monday of every month. It is hosted at The Coffee Shop, a five minute walk from Liverpool Street Station, and is serious air-time for your little gem. Perhaps the finish line, on this tour you’ve taken around the performance poetry scene, is ‘Poetry Unplugged’. 50-plus crowds, crammed into a basement
containing some of the most important people in the poetry world; maybe, all of a sudden, you and your poem, worn-out, wrung dry, and hankering after a brew, may seem stronger than ever. ‘Write Out Loud’ resource for poetry events - www.writeoutloud.net ‘Camden School of Enlightenment’ at The Camden Head - www.csofe.co.uk ‘Y-Tuesday’ at The Three Kings- facebook search ‘Y Tuesday Poetry’ ‘More Poetry’ at The Coffee Shop www.kenchampion.org.uk/events ‘Poetry Unplugged’ at The Poetry Café www.poetrysociety.org.uk/content/cafe PENNY NEWELL
Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer’s Towards a New
Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, Towards a New Manifesto, tans. Rodney Livingstone (London: Verso, 2011), £9.99 Published October 2011 Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer wrote the central text of critical theory, Dialectic of Enlightenment, a critique of the Enlightenment reason that, they argued, had resulted in fascism and totalitarianism. This is “a record of their discussions over three weeks in the spring of 1956, recorded with a view to the production of a contemporary version of The Communist Manifesto.” Opening this book, I might be forgiven for having expected a reworking of Marx and Engel’s Manifesto. It is tangentially, but this is moreso a series of dense conversation between two intellectual heavyweights. But however misleading the title is (I can’t think of one that would remain punchy AND accurate… the description of it as a “philosophical jam-session” comes close but is a bit wanky), it remains an interesting and timely read. Adorno and Horkheimer discuss the split between theory and practice (one that Adorno refuses to accept), work, and politics. Horkheimer comes out the more pessimistic of the two: “…today we have to declare ourselves defeatists. Not in a fatalistic way, but simply because of the situation we find ourselves in. There is nothing we can do. We should not turn this into a theory, but have to declare that basically we cannot bring about change. We must not act as if we still could.” (Moving AWAY from a new Manifesto, perhaps…) Horkheimer essentially thinks the best we can hope for is an improved American-version of capitalism. Adorno does not respond directly to this, he remains more oblique, though more revolutionary. As Adorno states: “When ideas become too concrete, I protest; when they become too abstract, you protest.” Adorno refuses any split between theory and practice, but still demon-
stratably remains theoretical, rather than fusing the two (i.e. remains abstract). This is a problem. It is a key one, one that ought to be discussed, especially in Occupy-movements; what is it that is wanted, what is the improvement being requested? The book has come out at a good time. Some further instances of textual potency: “… the difference between thinking and eating roast goose is not so very great.” “Human beings live on horror.” “What we reject is not practice but telling others what to do.” “True thought is thought that has no wish to insist on being in the right.” There are also instances of frustratingly cryptic remarks. One dialogue concludes: “Freud. Death drive.” Hmmmm. Need I add that it is about time someone started translating Horkheimer, who I have quoted overwhelmingly? SAMANTHA MARENGHI
POLARBEAR INTERVIEW PLAY | Volume 32, Issue 5
Play speaks to Internationally renowned spoken word artist Polarbear about his new show, Old Me
This is Polarbear’s third full length performance piece - following RETURN- A Spoken Screenplay, and If I cover my nose you can’t see me, which closed the London Literature Festival. Old Me is an autobiographical work about the changes he went through in his life six years ago – going from working on a Birmingham building site, discovering spoken word, to pursuing his a career as an artist, and becoming a father. Polarbear has a talent for poignancy, and the minimal setting with evocative music and lighting (Daniel Marcus Clark and Cis O’Boyle ) give his performance real meat. It’s a deluge of voices, of moments from various times in his life jostling, stream-ofconsciousness-style, but all addressed to a ‘you’ that shifts from his son to his partner. He voices the kinds of discontent and elation a workingclass guy would have to becoming an artist, anxieties about the concept of a ‘proper job’, etc. I spoke to Polarbear about Old Me, his reading, and some other things. On Old Me: “There’s alot in Old Me about parenting, about how nonsensical rules are. I get a bit off my chest in this piece, which I’ve never done directly.” On protests: “Kettle people in and they boil over.” On not marching: “I imagine I’d be
me too, to know that what I’m thinking is not that different to what you’re thinking.
RK: I really like that couplet you have: “Why say in ten words what you can say in two / why say in two words what you can shut the fuck up and do.” What do you think about art and politics at the moment, poetry readings at Occupy London etc.? PB: It’s tricky. I have quite strong opinions but I keep them to myself. Those readings at Occupy, I don’t like the persona that makes you. For me, that is. I don’t like the ppreaching to the choir thing. I don’t like standing up in front of a bunch of people, knowing what they think, re-affirming what they already think. But there is something to be said for saying things that the masses are thinking. I think it’s important. But I don’t like it. I dunno. It always seems like a wee in the sea. It’s all about the impact you’re having. And it seems that they think they have more of an impact than they do. Because... it’s important to voice these things. But they always seem to get voiced to people who already know. I mean, I was asked alot... alot, to write about the rioting that went on in North London and back home in Birmingham. But to what end? There’s some amazing things written in the heat of the moment. Responses to stuff. And then its just gone. Where is it now? What happened three or four months ago, nobody’s talking about it now. The responses are gone. I don’t know. What impact does it have? Y’know? RK:Yeah… PB: It’s tricky I guess. And I don’t wanna sound pessimistic about it. It just always seems that it’s like a wasted opportunity. RK: Like what Žižek said at Occupy Wall Street, don’t go home and say what a great time it was...
in the middle of it, but not getting caught up in it, feeling slightly like I did when I used to watch football. Asking myself: ‘What is this really doing?’ But... I’m just old in my mentality.” On performance: “I like the ‘sink or swim’ element, I get up, and I deliver, and people aren’t expecting it. ‘Go on, say something meaningful, and let’s see if you can take me with you.’ That’s the excitement.” But he had more to say, and here’s the staccato’d interview: RK: Does your work have a central message, as a whole? A friend sees it as ‘find your passion, and stick to it, work on that’... PB: I don’t really think about it like that, I don’t think about a message. If that’s there, great. But I don’t... I set out to connect with people, to show that others could be in my position. And vice versa. And I hope that people get to know
PB: Yeah… The enjoyment, it’s selfish. But these people are intelligent enough to look at it all for what it is. And it feels great. Not to rebel, but to say something and be part of something that’s against something that is wrong. That everybody knows is wrong. But you’re gonna go home, yeah? Maybe wearing nike, maybe have some Kellogg’s or Nestle cereal. ‘Oh, it’s just a bowl.’... But that’s a lazy pessimistic way of lookin at it too. At least they’re doing something. What I like about the Occupy movement is the strangely passive nature of it. It’s not throwing a brick. It’s considered. There’s a maturity to it. RK: Before you did your first spoken word gig in 2005, you were rapping, right? PB: I was rapping before that for a long time, and still do. But it’s for me, and my mates. There are people in Birmingham now listening to tracks by me and my mate, but it never travels anywhere, if you know what I mean. There’s no time to dedicate to it. Creating something that was worthy of mastering. RK: What do you look for in writing, spokenword-work, etc.? PB: It comes down to choice. What is it you’re
trying to say? Does it rhyme? Ok, well don’t make it rhyme. Don’t constrain yourself. I dunno, it feels like a step backwards. My cousin tells the best stories, and its coz he’s in em. If he’s telling you about seeing someone get stabbed, he’s there. RK: What about literary influences? PB: My girlfriend was a massive influence on me, just getting me to read. I was reading
RK: What’s your writing process? PB: For the shorter ones, they’re all formed in the mouth. I get 3 minutes of stuff, and only then do I write it down. But with longer ones it’s very much writing. With Return, it was like 23 A4 pages when it was done, but I wrote about 190. With this one I write about the same again, over 60 drafts and I got 30 pages. I’m a bit obsessive. RK: So Old Me is the final part of a trilogy, a kind of autobiographical trilogy. What are you up to next?
Bukowski in my late teens and loving it, y’know, the antihero stuff. But, yeah, I think it’s more about an openness, not being closed to certain kinds of form. There woulda bin a time when I woulda dismissed poetry and stuff before I even read it. My tastes haven’t changed much. My father-in-law is giving me a classical education in music, literature, and stuff. Joyce’s Ulysses, I loved it. I think it might be the best... well, I don’t wanna say that. There’s so much out there. The other day I got sent a collection of poetry, from a group of recovering or recovered addicts. I worked with them a bit before in Bournemouth. It’s amazing. There’s a real rawness to it. The bluntness and the beauty... unbelievable. I dunno... ‘Why do you like it’, ‘I dunno, I can’t tell you mate, why I liked it or didn’t like it, its just what I got.’ Thats how I’ve bin all my life.
PB: I’m writing something for kinds about lying and storytelling, for next Spring. For ten year olds. Then there’s an epic multiperson storyproject, and pending funding... I hope we get it... it’ll be a year-and-a-half project... Anyway, I’m looking forward to the kids gig. But I wouldn’t want nippers seeing Old Me. But anyway, there will be less me in what I do next. RK: You mentioned some friends, back home, don’t see what you do as a ‘proper job’. Do you feel that yourself? PB: ... I no longer feel unjustified. For awhile it just felt weird to get paid for what I was doing anyway. It’s proper though, I fill out tax returns. I’m proper. Polarbear’s new show is running at the Roundhouse from 21st Nov – 3rd Dec. Tickets are £12.50. He blogs at http://www.homeofpolar.com/ ROBERT KIELY
Kathryn Stockett’s The Help
Kathryn Stockett, The Help (London: Reaktion Books, 2011), £7.99 Re-printed 29th September 2011
The Help, Kathryn Stockett’s debut novel, has remained on bestseller’s lists since its first publication in 2009. It has been compared with To Kill a Mockingbird and Gone with the Wind. What’s more, a film of the novel has just been released and has already been a hit at the box office.
Set in 1962 in the deep south of Mississippi, the novel’s focus is on civil rights at the time and the segregation between whites and blacks in day to day life. While some may groan at the prospect of reading another novel about the civil rights movement, a genre which, though always thought provoking, can be seen as repetitive, The Help takes a slightly different direction. What is striking about this book is not its portrayal of the civil rights movement. This seems to appear only in vague sweeps or in brief snippets and has lead to the novel being criticised for not taking its subject matter seriously enough, for being ‘segregation lite’ – a criticism made by actor Wendell Pierce. Whether this is fair or not, what is remarkable about this novel is its portrayal of relationships between women: personal relationships between maids and their employers, between maids themselves, between mothers and daughters as well as between women within the restraints of their society. Relationships between men or between women and men are hardly developed at all.
The central relationship in the novel is that between Minny, one of the more defiant maids, and Celia, a dappy housewife, shunned from the rest of the society for being “white trash”. But later, Celia’s candour and lack of restraint in her behaviour with Minny turns the typical relationship between employer and maid on its head and leaves Minny reminding her Celia of her “place.” Throughout the novel Stockett highlights the irony in the relationships between the maids and their employers: during childhood the maids are essentially mothers to the children of their employers, they do everything for them and shape them into the people they become. But the maids do this in the knowledge that this relationship will eventually become tainted when the white child grows up to learn the prejudices of the time. Despite the novel’s unquestionably heavy subject matter (racism, discrimination, motherhood), Stockett manages to maintain a sense of humour. The villainous Miss Hilly, the mystery behind Minnie’s Terrible Awful and Miss Skeeter’s cutting remarks do not trivialize the serious points of the book, but evoke the way in which we use humour to deal with difficult circumstances, and help to create a novel that is enjoyable as well as poignant to read. HERMIONE PAGNI
PLAY | Volume 32, Issue 5
Interview: Joseph Cedar, director of Footnote to identify with him. He has this flaw that is very human and I am forgiving towards him. London Student: All of your films to date have been set in Israel so you have quite a limited audience. Do you think that you could make a film that is not set in Israel? Joseph Cedar: I hope so, I do not have one right now in mind, but it is something that I am considering. My life is in Israel and most of the things that interest me happen there. I’m not sure if that is good for my career but it is what it is. London Student: Many films that make it out of Israel are those which deal with the Arab/Israeli conflict. What do you think you and other Israeli directors can do to reach a wider audience? Joseph Cedar: Well Footnote isn’t about the conflict and for me, I want to go into a theatre and watch something that I haven’t seen before, which is genuinely better, smarter, more entertaining and more thrilling than the rest of the movies that are being made. That is very hard to do. That’s what I’d like to do and if that happens once or twice in my lifetime it would be great. SOPHIE BATES
Three Academics on Film
Courtesy: Getty Images
I saw Footnote in Cannes at this year’s film festival, where it premiered and received the prix du scénario (best screenplay award). It has also just been shown at the BFI London Film Festival. Its director, Joseph Cedar, is most recognised for his film Beaufort, the first Israeli film in 24 years to be nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards. Footnote is a black comedic drama about a strained father-son relationship and the inner workings of an academic world where competition is fierce. Both are scholars of the Talmud, a central text in Judaism, but the son Uriel excels in his career creating a barrier between him and his father Eliezer which manifests itself in Eliezer’s disapproving views of Uriel’s studies and practices. Eliezer cuts himself off from the world, until one day he gets a phone call from the ministry of education telling him that he has won the prestigious Israel prize. However, the two names of the academics were muddled up and the true winner is actually Uriel. The story presents a literary account of a frustrated relationship between a father and son exacerbated by academic rivalries. Cedar uses an intriguing narrative portraying intellectual conflicts, with complicated emotions and a demonstration of how we are all competing for recognition. I spoke with the charming, erudite Cedar at one of the LFF’s filmmaker afternoon teas.
London Student: Where did your interest in film making develop and what was the biggest challenge in making Footnote? Joseph Cedar: It started from a young age, during high school. I knew that I was going to be in some branch of the entertainment industry. The first job that I got was in a TV studio and it felt like that is where I wanted to stay, in a studio. The biggest challenge is always the writing. There are external challenges, like finding the financing, getting actors or the right location, but all of these things do not come near to the challenge of putting together a story that makes sense. This screenplay didn’t take long to put together, about eight months, but during that period if you don’t know that it is good enough, then nothing around you feels good. So that’s the only real challenge. London Student: Whilst watching the film, I found that the score played a very important part. I felt that it seemed to be influenced by Shostakovich with its sharp punctuations and dissonant sounds. Was the music a representation of the father/son relationship in the film? Joseph Cedar: It is hard to talk about what music does. No interpretation or commentary can really reflect what a note can do and
how you experience something. But for me, there is always a tension between a melody and a sound. A melody seems an easy way to manipulate an audience into a certain emotion. On the other side of that spectrum is just a monotone, which feels very close to the picture that you are seeing on screen. I think that somehow is linked to the conflict between the father and son. The son is all about melody and the father is very one toned, harsh, a screeching kind of sound. London Student: It is easier for the audience to identify more with the son Uriel than the father Eliezer. Uriel says “I’ve no idea who this man is and he’s my father”; there is that distance between him and his son as well as between him and the viewer. Why is he such a mystery and perhaps a slightly less developed character than Uriel? Joseph Cedar: For me, he is one of the richest people I have had the opportunity to put on screen. He is someone who ends up betraying everything that he stands for. The first part of the film presents what those things are. The second part shows how he compromises that. He is not a lovable character but I think he is someone who I can feel compassion for because life did not treat him well, but he does cruel things to the people around him in the name of a truth that I don’t necessarily subscribe to. So it’s not easy
Academics have long provided great and memorable characters in the cinema. Foonote got us thinking about some of the finest examples, from bleak dramas to more unexpected sources.
1. Isak Borg in Wild Strawberries
Swedish film legend Victor Sjöström plays an eldery academic confronting his memories and his decorated life, spurred on by receiving an honorary degree. Pastiched and referenced to great effect by Woody Allen in Stardust Memories and Deconstructing Harry.
2. Larry Gopnik in A Serious Man
Michael Stuhlbarg delights as Minnesota physics professor Larry Gopnik, a man undergoing an existential crisi of his own - his wife is having an affair, a student is blackmailing him to change his final grade, and all the local rabbis offer only mystifying spiritual advice. A typically cruel and dark fable from the Coen Brothers.
3. Indiana Jones!
Harrison Ford’s iconic whip-cracking, boulder-evading cinematic adventurer is also a prized academic himself. Indy gives us hope that the scholarly life can be thrilling and physical as well as intellectually stimulating. DAVID KATZ
PLAY | Volume 32, Issue 5
Review: This Our Still Life Dir: Andrew Kötting
Courtesy: Getty Images
“This Our Still Life is a home movie”. That is how director Andrew Kötting describes it, and his description is apt. All the features are there. Snapshots of family life. Shaky camera work. Shots attempting to communicate the startling beauty of the surrounding landscape. Not that Kötting actually manages to; after all, to appreciate the beauty of such an experience, you have to actually have been there. Similarly, to appreciate a home movie, you have to have been there at the filming. The entertainment value in home movies is in reliving experiences special to you, because they happened with people you love. A home movie about the experiences of strangers on the other hand, is never anything but crushingly dull. Like most home movies, This Our Still Life does not have a plot. It is instead a mess of individual scenes. Some of these are shots of the Pyrenees in which Kötting and his family live, but most of them are instead snapshots of Kötting’s lover Leila and his daughter Eden. If this makes the film sound inconsequential and sweet, well, be in for a shock, because Eden has Joubert’s syndrome, a rare disease that impairs both cognitive faculties and the development of the mouth. When we watch Eden in the film, we watch her being patiently taught basic English, while listening to the incomprehensible noises she makes because true speech is beyond her. Such scenes lend the movie a real tinge of melancholy, but it is a melancholy that alienates rather than captivates, only adding to the film’s problems. One of these problems mentioned above, is that this film is a mess of scenes. Each scene stands alone. Just as in a home movie, there is nothing to tie each scene together, no narrative. One major way in which the scenes are individualised is the way Kötting conducts abstract commentary on each, via voice-over quotations. Sometimes, this makes the scenes work, though generally only when the quotations are ironic. Sometimes the scenes are just great on content alone. One at the end, when Eden and her family display genuine joy at her crooning incoherently along to an Elvis record, is even sweet. But these good moments do not make up for how dull a slog the rest of the film is. In fact, in my opinion, I think the whole idea of artistically experimental film as a whole is fundamentally flawed. Film is a narrative medium. It exists to tell stories. Messing around with form and structure and quotation-based narration are all fine things, but they should never be separated from a narrative, because then all you have are a series of unconnected moments. Then if most of those moments are dull you have a dull film. This doesn’t happen with narratives, because, even if some scenes in a narrative aren’t fantastically exciting, they at least are building up to exciting scenes, and indeed amplify the power of those scenes. So I did not enjoy This Our Still Life. It was desperately dull, and watching it the greatest question on my mind was why it even exists at all. If you were a filmmaker, with the money to buy camera equipment, with the connections to excellent musicians that Kötting does and living in a world with so many fascinating stories yet untold, why on Earth would you waste your time on the forlorn effort of trying to make a home movie into something people outside of your family might pay to watch? ADAM BRODIE
Review: Les Enfants du Paradis Dir: Marcel Carné
Courtesy: Getty Images
Marcel Carné’s Les Enfants du Paradis has long been regarded as a masterpiece of French cinema; the BFI’s recent restoration reminds us that Les Enfants is not only a French classic, but one of cinema’s greatest romances. The effect of the new print cannot be overrated. For years Les Enfants has only been available as a poor quality print, which was particularly unfortunate since the film’s emotional punch lies in understated moments – when, for instance, the free-spirited Garance tosses a flower to the mime-artist, Baptiste, and you see him fall in love with her. All of these are brought out to perfection by the new release. The glorious mise-en-scène, which sweeps the audience through 1830s Parisian street-scenes, onto the stage and back-stage, and takes us to bars, Roman baths, boudoirs, and boarding houses, also benefits greatly from the restoration. The sets are particularly impressive considering that Les Enfants was filmed during the German occupation of France in World War II. The film’s two part structure was apparently the result of a 90 minute time limit imposed by the Vichy government, but this framework also suits the theatrical focus. As the curtain is raised on the ‘première époque’ we enter a world of fragile appearances, joining the crowd on Paris’ notorious ‘Boulevard du Crime’ in the company of the rag-man Jericho (Pierre Renoir) as he sells used clothes. By the end of this sequence, the major players have been introduced – Garance (Arletty), Baptiste (Jean-Louis Barrault), actor Frédérick (Pierre Brasseur) and Lacenaire (Marcel Herrand), a criminal-cumaspiring playwright. All of these men, along with her aristocratic patron (Louis Salou), desire Garance, but Garance only loves one, and she wants to love on her own terms. The restored print enhanced the role of characters that hadn’t previously made an impression on me, such as Baptiste’s wife Nathalie, played with heartbreaking restraint by María Casares, and Avril, Lancaire’s creepily innocent hitman, who constantly sports one of Garance’s token flowers. In a film where every character is linked through their relationship to Garance, Avril’s connection is left tantalisingly unexplained. One of the first things we learn about Lacenaire is that he intends to write a farce rather than a tragedy. The fact that the two genres can actually overlap – which Baptiste’s role as a mime, a figure of fun and sorrow, encapsulates – underlies the film’s events. The final scene returns us to the street of the opening shot, now filled with a carnival crowd, where Baptiste, for once the only character on screen not in costume, finds himself surrounded by versions of his on-stage Pierrot persona. Les Enfants has everything – love, tragedy and murder, exceptional performances and a fantastic script. It is a delight to see it restored to the big screen. Les Enfants du Paradis is screening at the BFI until 30th December and at cinemas nationwide FRANCES EVANS
PLAY | Volume 32, Issue 5
The Art of Struggle to develop my own kind of thinking about Ground-breaking Palestinian-American how to approach the spoken word.” performance poet Remi Kanazi wasn’t alAbove all, it taught him to value the politiways into politics. Describing his childcal potential of his poetry. “You have to use hood, growing up in small-town every angle you can to inspire people and Massachusetts, he explains “I was fat, I had get them moving. I hope that I can educate one eyebrow, I was brown in an all white people and also educate myself. I can altown. All I wanted was to fit in: I wanted to ways be a better activist, a better poet, a disassociate, assimilate and just get along.’ better organiser.” It was when he moved to New York City, in Crucially, his activism is not confined to his the increasingly racist climate of post-9/11 poetry alone. He is a central member of the America, that radical ideas started to apBDS movement, which aims to put pressure peal. “I wanted a way to fight back against on the Israeli state through boycotts and the misconceptions and stereotypes, this sanctions. I asked Remi how he would redemonization of 1.4 billion Muslims or spond to those who, while they might apArabs.” preciate the need for an economic boycott, Perhaps unsurprisingly for a man who deare reluctant to support an academic or culfines himself as ‘An activist who happens to tural one. be a poet’, this challenge to any single con“The Academic and Cultural boycott is inception of what it means to be Muslim is stitutional, not individual” he explains. immediately evident in Remi’s early work. “You’re targeting institutions that are com‘A lot of what I did was identity politics to plicit with Israel’s system of oppression, ocbegin with’ explains Remi. ‘But it soon becupation and apartheid. The came more than that. It became movement’s three demands are all about fighting against the systems Whether it’s recognised under international law: of oppression. Whether it’s police police brutalend the occupation, right of return for brutality on the US-Mexico bority on the USrefugees, and equality for Palestinians der, Egypt, Tunisia or Palestine, Mexico living in Israel itself. All Palestinians we should be standing in solidarborder, Egypt, are asking for is to be recognised as ity against oppression.’ Tunisia or basic human beings, and to have their Fittingly, it was within the context Palestine, we inalienable rights recognised and imof that struggle that Remi’s poetry should be plemented. The response to it has first emerged. “I started performstanding in been rejection, it’s been propaganda, ing at rallies” he explains, “I didn’t solidarity it’s been BS on a number of levels.” go down the traditional spokenagainst opFor Remi, divorcing art from political word route. And that was good pression.’ issues is ludicrous. “Take an artist in and bad in a lot of different ways. the West Bank. A lot of the time they It was sort of like going for a walk can’t even get to another artist elsewhere in in London, I got lost every single day and the West Bank, never mind get to their had to find my way out. I think it helped me
show, never mind get to East Jerusalem or Gaza. The Palestinian arts community has been systematically attacked. Nobody talks about the artists in Gaza denied visa after visa. There’s this BS notion that culture is untouchable.” Crucially, while Remi is clearly fiercely proPalestinian, he strongly disassociates himself from ideas of nationalism. “I’m not a nationalist. I’m not an ethno-centrist. I’m not fighting for Palestine and I’m not fighting for a flag. It’s because they’re living under occupation. It’s because there shouldn’t be five million plus refugees from any population – whether they’re Iraqi, whether they’re Palestinian. The only reason I’d ever raise a Palestinian flag is because it symbolises the fight against oppression.” Above all, he sees the task of both activists and artists to be that of generalising the struggle, of making links between different
The latest show at the Southwark playhouse is a stripped down version of Middleton and Rowley’s Jacobean classic The Changeling. Tripping out the cast in trim, stylish present-day wear, director Michael Oakley might seem to be missing out on the down and dirty nature of the play. But the gamble pays off, leaving the production with a defiantly modern feel. Even after four-hundred years The Changeling still has the power to unsettle and entertain. It’s true that the supporting cast struggle occasionally with the verse; but a fiery performance from the two leads more than makes up for it. In particular, David Caves is effortlessly cool as De Flores, the play’s disfigured antihero whose obsession with Fiona Hampton’s flirtatious
play’s dark humour to the fore, while never allowing the savagery of events to be forgotten. The first murder in particular is gripping, revolting and hilarious in more or less equal quantities, and even the somewhat peculiar scene in which the heroine’s jealous husband uses a potion to test her virginity is entertainingly executed. Those hoping to see the play’s notoriously bizarre ‘mad-house’ sub-plot are in for a disappointment – it’s been cut. But that’s pretty understandable. Attitudes towards mental health have changed a tad in the last four-hundred years, and its probably fair to say that its not regarded as quite the laugh a minute stuff that it once was. Fortunately, the result is a performance with astonishing pace, never leaving you time for even a shred of boredom. The production is not without the occasional weakness, but if you’re in the mood for blood, sex and seventeenth-century noir, it’s definitely worth seeing. MATT WILLIAMSON
Review: The Changeling
heroine lands them both in deep, deep trouble. He captures the complex characterisation of the obsessive lover to such a degree that at times the audience genuinely feels for him. And the relish with which he sets about plotting, scheming and murdering his way to what he wants can only be described as infectious. The set too is particularly well judged. We’re in the office of De Flores, where the mundane and the sinister is mixed to great effect. Sure, the use of recorded sound for asides and soliloquies is a bit annoying, but the diverse range of uses to which the set’s multiple CCTV screens were put was a triumph of invention. In a play much concerned with watching and spying, it was a smart, well-executed decision which contributed to a delightful level of paranoia. Above all, the production is to be admired for the way that it constantly keeps the
types of oppression. “The more people are part of the movement, the more in the US you’re building bridges with the Black American and Latino communities, the more you’re standing against the public lynching of Troy Davis in Georgia, the more you’re standing against Obama kicking out 400,000 undocumented people a year, the more you’re standing in solidarity with the people of the US-Mexico border, the better of a human being you are. It’s not just about trying to build coalitions because it helps your cause: It’s all of our causes. We should fight against injustice wherever we find it.’ Remi Kanazi is currently touring the UK and will perform again in London on November 29. For full tour dates and to buy a copy of his new book Poetic Injustice, visit his website www.poeticinjustice.net INTERVIEW BY MATT WILLIAMSON
Win Two Tickets to:
The Leceister Square box office are offering London Student readers two free tickets to the 8.30 performance of Chicago on Friday November 25. To win, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with a name, contact telephone number and the answer the following question: Who wrote the original play on which Chicago the Musical is based? Visit www.london-student.net for more details and a handy hint.
PLAY | Volume 32, Issue 5
Sixty-Six Books Catherine Tate in Sixty-Six Books. Photo by Mark Douet.
Flora Neville checks out the grand reopening of the relocated Bush Theatre. In a funny way, I was most looking forward to seeing the sunrise. I had this rather romantic vision of 140 actors, 66 writers and a dwindling audience littered around the rooms and garden of the newly opened Bush theatre, basking in the comforting light. Anti climatic on this score would be an understatement, partly because it was one of those grey and miserable days and partly because we spent the best part in a squalid and darkened room, like a family of moles, slowly becoming one with the theatre benches over the course of 24 hours, 7
pm till 7pm - yes, a whole day of plays. Writers and academics such as Rowan Williams, Jeanette Winterson, Carol Ann Duffy and Kate Mosse, were commissioned to respond to one book of the bible, in an event that was to mark the anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible, and establish the Bush ‘in this big moment for our small but significant history’. All sixty six books were interpreted into performances, each radically different from the next. By the end of the marathon we had seen Arthur Darvill strumming away the Gospel of St Luke on his guitar, an utterly camp Samuel Barnett playing St Paul, re-
Review: The Mikado
The Mikado, written by Gilbert and Sullivan, was first performed in London in March 1885. In 2011, their classic comic opera has been brought to “London’s Little Opera House”, otherwise know as the King’s Head Theatre in Angel, performed by the Charles Court Opera group, and directed by John Savournin. Gilbert and Sullivan aimed to satirise British politics with The Mikado; a concept that Savournin’s small but very talented cast of nine execute with some excellent singing. Set in the fictional Japanese village of Titipu, The Mikado follows a complicated love triangle between the ex-tailor Ko-Ko (Philip Lee), his reluctant schoolgirl fiancée Yum-Yum (Catrine Kirkman) and her true love Nanki-Poo (Robin Bailey). In order to escape his recent sentencing to death for flirting, Ko-Ko has himself become the Lord High Executioner of Titipu, advised by Pooh-Bah (John Savournin). The love story is soon overcast however, with death and cruelty arriving in the form of the bloodthirsty Mikado of Japan (Simon MastertonSmith) arrives at the village complaining about the lack of executions taking place. What follows is an amusing depiction of the villagers’ attempts to escape ‘the chop’ in the form of faked deaths and secret marriages. Initially I was put off by the tiny theatre, and slightly disappointed with the very basic set of a few boxes and the plain cos-
ferring to Jesus Christ as ‘a naughty boy’, and even Rafe Spall proclaiming ‘I’m not a fan of anal’ in the lesser known book of Hosea. You may well ask how these plays related to the stories they were representing and to be honest, often the links were more than tenuous, but all of the interpretations were interesting and the standard of acting consistently phenomenal. The plays were interspersed with fifteen minute intervals, during which we explored the new theatre or ‘home’ as it is lovingly referred to by the driving forces. Following the biblical theme we ate whole trees of ‘tempting apples’ and cut up the dance floor of ‘Club Heaven’ decked out with neon lights, edgy photographs and pews, what else after all? The theatre is located opposite Sheperd’s bush tube stop, next to the market, the general public looking in through the wire mesh that separated us from them probably would have thought that we looked like theatre fanatical zombies, pale and washed out, ironically celebrating Halloween. Despite appearances, I had little difficulty in staying awake for the full whack, and I think I could even do it all over again. I don’t think this is because I am an extraordinary theatre nut or an insomniac or even a raucous student, the feeling of camaraderie is so strong throughout, and there was perhaps even something slightly miraculous and epic about the event, almost supernatural. One audience member put it so perfectly during one of the fifteen minute breaks, ‘this is making theatre history’. Though we were all pretty delirious by that point. FLORA NEVILLE
Poo. Although Katisha’s character is only introduced late into the opera, yet the combination of Strobel’s commanding stage presence and powerful voice certainly made her the most memorable performer in the production. Director John Savournin was similarly notable with his pompous PoohBah. Combining opera and comedy is no easy task, yet the Charles Court Opera succeeded in executing a production that was not only hilarious, but also incredibly well sung. The Mikado is playing at the King’s Head Theatre till November 29, with a new season announced for February 2012. JENNY COBB
tume design. But as the opera unfolded it became clear that this tiny cast did not need an elaborate set or flamboyant costumes in order to bring the story to life, their talented vocals and passion alone were enough to pull off a remarkable production of The Mikado. In fact, the minimal set and simple costume meant that there was nothing to distract from the excellent vocal talent of the cast. Similarly, the small venue made the performance all the more engaging for the audience, as did the faultless accompaniment provided by the two pianists (the Eaton-Young piano duo) sharing a single piano. Needless to say I was too quick to judge the strippedback nature of this production of The Mikado, as the simplicity of the performance merely allowed the talent of the cast to shine. Rosie Strobel especially stood out within the small group, playing Katisha, the draconian, husband-hungry Philip Lee as Ko-Ko in old woman who had been previously be- Photo by Bill Knight. trothed to Nanki-
Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens
Caitlin Parr spoke to director Andrea Spisto about SOAS Drama’s next production, which will be performed to mark World Aids Day. Why did you choose this specific production to mark World Aids Day? Elegies is a quirky off broadway musical that not many people have heard of. It speaks more from a human perspective, as compared to more popular musicals like Rent, making it seem as if you are listening to real people you know talking about their lives. Why do you think it’s important for theatre to connect with events like World Aids Day? Theatre is special - for an hour and a half people commit to believing what’s on stage. Unlike handing out fliers or trying to explain the importance of a certain cause, putting an audience through experiences that stir up emotion means they’ll come out and, maybe unknowingly, have gone through a change of thought or heart. Theatre is powerful; By using it as a tool to spread awareness you’re changing peoples lives. What was your biggest challenge as director of Elegies? There are around 40 people who I rely on for this show - if something goes off balance, everything starts sliding off. At the end of the day, people are at university doing degrees so I have to make sure that everything is balanced, including my own studies. How does a 'musical' form work with regard to such potentially sombre subject matter? This musical isn't just about the sad experiences of HIV/AIDS sufferers. It’s about human experience - their happy, sad, and even funny moments. Elegies was not only written for awareness but also to celebrate the lives of those amazing people. Music is sometimes the best way to describe a feeling when there are no words to represent it... in this play it goes through every emotion and is written beautifully! What makes SOAS's version unique? The Actors! Many have been involved in HIV/AIDS and LGBT awareness causes in other SOAS societies, so this isn't just a group of people trying to show off their acting skills. Everyone, some acting for the first time, is speaking from the heart when it comes to these monologues. What's next for SOAS Drama? We’re going to look into plays related to what we learn about in our unique university, displaying perspectives from the places we study most. Many probably don't know about some amazing playwrights that come from world-over. It’s time to merge drama with what SOAS knows best, so look out next term! Tickets on sale soon for SOAS Drama’s ‘Elegies for Angels, Punks, and Raging Queens’ on December 1st 7:30pm in SOAS’s Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre.
PLAY | Volume 32, Issue 5
Play looks at a new documentary that investigates why viewing horrific real-life footage from warzones and accidents has become so popular. “There was one video I saw a while back that was really quite fascinating. A people carrier crashed into a lamppost ... and- combusted, really quite quickly. First you’re watching the car and you’re thinking, that’s not really that interesting, but then you hear the car horn go, and instantly, it’s stepped up. Suddenly it’s got more real. He climbs through [a hole in the car window] and literally by the time he climbs through the car he’s still on fire in patches [...] and like you see in movies, he’s covered in flames and flailing his arms, and he puts it all out, and he’s sat there, and the thing that fascinates me about that is that person had already died. He was alive and yet he was going to be dead”. He repeated “It was so real, you know?” This strange man stands centre frame and explains his morbid fascination in bursts of excitement. This is Ogrish the Movie and it is as unsettling as documentaries get. Watching the strange distance between the subject’s dark tastes and the dazzling banality of their voices is fascinating. A faint smile of the enthusiast enjoying his expert knowledge crosses this man’s freckled face (as if he were talking about comic books or football leagues). He is definitely not. You can see from his gesticulations and his knowledge that an encyclopedia of death has been inscribed into his memory from the long hours spent alone watching death after death after death. It is frankly terrifying to see the ease that he delivers his description of his interaction with this footage. He repeats again and again his desire to see something that is “Real”. Snuff movies are not new; the user-upload Ogrish site and a few others like it have grown out of the Mondo movies. This genre of exploitation cinema exploited racialised figures and depicted real, or reportedly real, killings. But today, because of the internet, viewers don’t even have to interact with a seller to cater for their tastes. They are free to observe anonymously. This is a voyeur’s paradise. The watcher is invisible and can travel anywhere through their screen. In the documentary another enthusiast explains his awakening to this world. “It was a video called Executions, I remember I bought it from a car boot sale [when he was 15]. I didn’t want to watch it at first because it’s one of those things, once you’ve seen somebody die- you never forget it. I remember a few months later sitting round with a few friends from school; a couple of boys and
Hyperreal Violence~ A Preview of Ogrish the Movie Documenting the Rise of Uncensored a couple of girls and I made them watch this video. They didn’t want to... one of them left and another one of them started crying I believe. I was the only one who wasn’t so disgusted that I didn’t want to watch it again”. J.G Ballard’s novel “Crash” could be claimed to have authored this futuristic horror. His world of automobile crash fetishists seems to be dawning on us like a nightmare that we cannot wake from. Alan Moore recently described reading Crash as an adolescent: “I remembered wondering: all this stuff about celebrities and car crashes, what has this got to do with the future? And I come from Norfolk where Diana Spenser [princess Diana] is buried”. James, the protagonist in Crash, has a sexual awakening following a near fatal collision. Subsequently, automobile accidents are raised to a sensual splendour through the elegant designs of the car and its geometry’s correspondence to the bodies of the passengers. Soon James finds
and Simulation, Jean Baudrillard 1981 Michigan Press, Tr. Sheila Faria Glaser). The philosopher Baudrillard cast Crash in a hyperreal light. His concept of the hyperreal: the fact that we can no longer engage with reality as a result of over exposure to stimuli explains what is going on in Ogrish The Movie. Baudrillard’s ideas, complex and strange, seem almost science-fiction themselves. But watching Ogrish, again and again his ideas find evidence in the world view of these viewers of violence: “It’s kind of like the reality tv that we all wish we saw, because in most places reality tv is so pandering and it’s so set up that there’s no element of reality in it. I mean these [footage of real violence] are real people in surreal moments.”
“the first images I looked for was the dead picture of Princess Diana after her Paris car crash and then, of course, there was the Kurt Cobain suicide photograph... Which never emerged, except for the photograph of his arm and leg through the window” himself plotting the ideal sexualised carcrash, the marriage of celebrities in a union of automotive death play out in his mind, provocatively, like a snuff movie on repeat. Watching the rough cut of Ogrish The Movie the real-life parallels to Ballard’s fiction are hauntingly symettrical: “When the internet was starting to get popular with kids, and we started to use it at school, the first images I looked for was the dead picture of Princess Diana after her Paris car crash and then, of course, there was the Kurt Cobain suicide photograph...which never emerged, except for the photograph of his arm and leg through the window”. The illicit peering into the Cobain home of the photographer accidentally calls to mind that other type of perversion; the peeping tom. The fascination with sexuality and death of celebrities finds itself, here, today, married and in the act of intercourse when they slip on ice and wrap themselves around one another in a Ballardian car crash. “In Crash, there is neither fiction nor reality anymore - hyperreality abolishes both. It is there that our contemporary science fiction, if there is one, exists.” (page 82 Simulacra
In response to a Western world of the hyperreal where violence (FLORIAN MAIER-AICHEN: UNappears to be contained in a superstrucTITLED (FREEWAY CRASH), ture that isolates it from our experience of real 2002) life, there is a market for ungraphic image. One subject of the film, apderground voyeurs of the most barbaric parently a media entrepreneur (the roughcut events. It is as if, to break the Hyperreal, lacks names), confessed his discomfort: these viewers need to seek the most real “What I do find disturbing is a site like kinds of human life processes that are conOgrish that calls itself a News site and then cealed from them: the raw footage of death is makes a compilation of 20 decapitations, bean example. cuase it’s not news... it’s showbiz.” Elsewhere in Ogrish The Movie, another of the Since the coverage of the Vietnam war led to characters with a penchant for burning carso much dissent in the American, French and wrecks punctuated this entrepreneur’s comUK public there has been a concerted effort ments about the showbusiness glamour of to isolate and contain the violence of the batthe violence. With an almost sexual excitetlefield. The documentary’s Armadillo and ment, he told the filmmakers about the first Restrepo bought to light some of that which clip he watched: “I had some, you know; old has been hidden, but the media has generally internet modem [rolls eyes]... I was downbeen clear of the violent reality of those conloading it from a P2P connection, and the flicts. By isolating this violence there has whole twenty minutes it was downloading I been a pacifying effect upon the public, only was thinking- do I want to see this? Should I broken occasionally as with “Wikileaks; Colsee this? Am I allowed to see this? There lateral Murder” that saw the extreme brutalwere so many questions, but I think ultiity of the conflict slip out from behind the mately that’s what drove me more towards arras of liberal democratic politics and its it.” smiling, spin-doctored face. But the placing of these raw images of events that are so much in our consciousness, just out of reach, like top shelf magazines, has also had the effect of coating the images in the same glossy covered taboo of the porno-
Ogrish, the now discontinued site, tellingly collected all of its advertising revenues from pornographic film companies. The audiences were there for the thrill. There is a rhyme between the exploitation of a porno and the ex-
PLAY | Volume 32, Issue 5
ploitation of the mondo. Both are consumed in private, in secret, and both film these events with the tinged lens of real life. Both sex and death are all pervading in advertising and culture and the news; and yet both (in the west) are only ever shown as reenactments dramatised by actors. To puncture the hyperreal these forms present the essential and socially repressed behaviours of humans in seemingly- “real” forms. Under the counter, behind closed doors, sent through wires into your home computer, for the anonymous gratification of the thrill-seeking voyeur of reality. And just as the internet would struggle to function without all of the traffic from porn, the flow of the web is lubricated by the underbelly of horror-porn. There is a market there that is readily exploited: “It’s a hard time in media land so however we can score we’ll score, and if that means something gruesome well...” Money is the motive for the businessman, regardless of the content. But there is another latent effect of the footage. Another enthusiast explains in Ogrish: “Nowadays the government says, the news goes to here” - he pushed his hands to his right as if lifting
a weightless cardboard box - “something happened, 40 people died, that’s it. Well we want to see the people...” He paused for a moment and stabbed his hands at the air to the other side of his body “actually dead”. Jody Mcintyre, the writer and activist, commented to me on the violence of Iraq and Afgahnistan that if citizens of countries involved in invasions actually saw the real brutality of those conflicts around them they would quickly oppose it. The violence of bombs bursting brick and bone indiscriminately - on your street, in your area, in your home - would quickly melt the veneer of a good war. The blackout on the media from showing such footage has destroyed even a sobering representation of that extreme violence. Forums like Ogrish were some of the few online to show these horrors as they actually happened.
sitions” alongside a video from 1937 titled “crazy pygmy princess dances”. The violence outside this Hypereal bubble is rearticulated in a racialised form. Unlike wikileaks, which presented the footage of wartime violence alongside information about American imperialism, and leaked pentagon documents discussing strategy for manipulating European public opinion, Ogrish presened similar footageof imperialist violence alongside car accidents, pornographic adverts and dancing pygmys.
The violence of bombs bursting brick andbone indiscriminately- on your street, in your Ogrish the Movie is area, in your home; would subtitled Documentquickly melt the veneer of a ing the Rise of UnMedia, and good war. The blackout on censored perhaps the website the media from showing such Ogrish represents just that: a vanguard footage has destroyed even a that stepped out beyond the confines of a sobering representation of journalism gagged by complicity to the that extreme violence
But far from being run and maintained by anti-war activists, the format tends to be tied to racialised imagery and vile tropes of hate. Ogrish.com featured a forum that was filled with racist bile that went entirely unchecked by the websites creators. The website that has replaced Ogrish: Liveleak.com, on its front page today, features videos of rockets smashing into “suspected taliban fighting po-
state at times of war. But the fact that this footage has become taboo gives it a dimension that is hauntingly similar to the pornography that it stars alongside on these forums. This online replaying of violence is likely to continue. During the Egyptian revolution footage of a government car driving down the road over scores of demonstrators was shared over Facebook. Footage like this should not be censored, and Ogrish, despite some of the content and the context that it is presented with, provided the first signs of real life violence on our screens. With consequences that can be felt in all modern demonstrations; where the police cover their identification and avoid cameras that might catch them being overzealous with their fists or batons. Ogrish The Movie provides a haunting and fascinating look into the viewers that spawned this strange trend in voyeurism. And in a strange doubling it feels when watching the movie as if you too are partaking in a voyeuristic act: watching the confessions of these enthusiasts as they exalt the power of the footage of murders, or natural disasters, explaining the thrill they see at an automobile crash or execution. The film ends up forcing you to look back at your own viewing habits and the whole relationship of watching the real world through the lens of the media. J.G Ballard wrote of Crash: "I wanted to rub the human face in its own vomit, and force it to look in the mirror." Ogrish The Movie has a similar effect on us, forcing similar nauseating self awareness of our own complicty in the production of violence, whether ignorant or not. And for precisely that reason it must not be missed. LEON ATISMIA
“BRA AD ON A BUS” EATMORECHIPS (FLICKR)
The Makers of Gods
Grayson Perry and Alan Measles at the British Museum
play on the authentic artefact versus the Perry mock-up. At no point are you certain that what you see is the real thing. Perry juxtaposes the motorcycle helmet from his pilgrimage with two other examples of historical helmets, except on closer inspection, the second helmet is also a Perry original, Early English Motorcycle Helmet (1981). Further into the exhibition you are faced with a red felt mask, complete with geeky glasses, magazine collage hat, and plastic teeth. It must be a Grayson Perry intervention, but it turns out to be a genuine Hungarian parade mask. The guessing game effect is part of the show, as is the juxtaposition of objects in Perry’s curation. Rosetta Vase is a clear modern day nod to the Rosetta Stone, contrasting belief systems instead of language (‘Post-Diana Society’ is my personal favourite). Equally, Tomb Guardian, an evil Alan Measles, sports an erection so large as to be terrifying rather than impressive, but people aren’t shocked by the Guardian’s unduly large organ. It is modern art after all. It is its accompanying piece, a sheel-na-gig, a mediaeval statue taken from an Irish church with a markedly exaggerated vulva (as is characteristic of the style) that elicits shock, and also a little glee, from the audience. These curatorial devices really begin to take effect halfway through the show and you start to forget to look for the Perrymade object amongst the relics, and take it all in equally. This is the strength of the exhibition. Perry is bold enough to follow a line of intuition that isn’t usually exhibited in museum culture. There is no attempt to document or compare the specific historic significance of objects, and no concern over what might be seen intellectually as a more or less obvious choice. The objects are chosen because they appear, in Perry’s viewpoint, to be different or special; perhaps because they wouldn’t usually be displayed, or indeed, because even if they were shown, they wouldn’t be seen as they are in
this case. Perry admits a fondness for art that involves craft. The best artwork for him usually has an element of ‘I couldn’t have made that’ about it. This isn’t fashionable in modern art culture, but conversely, isn’t such a challenging statement when made in the British Museum. By placing his own art behind glass alongside these carefully crafted museum objects gives it a strange twist of significance, and serves as a challenge for Perry’s works to match up to the standard of craft lineage that he is celebrating. The focal point of the exhibition comes at the end, this is The Tomb of The Unknown Craftsman itself. An ornate, six-foot across, rusted iron ship bedecked with casts of British Museum artefacts. It is made beautifully and lit to appear like a sacred object. Despite this, the ship doesn’t hold its own quite so well as Perry’s other objects, its ideas aren’t so inherent; however, it does serve a purpose. This is the point at which everything in the exhibition connects. The whole of the show is a homage to the unknown craftsman, and this ship serves as a single, unifying tomb for all the craftsmen and women displayed in the exhibition. It is as if by being made into one character, they can be better represented. One question remains to be asked: “Where is Alan Measles in all of this?” The answer is found quoted on Perry’s Rosetta Vase. “Monuments are meant to commemorate kings and religions, heroes, dogmas, but in the end the man they commemorate is the builder”, (Jacob Bronowski). Every god must have a tale to tell, and pieces like The Near Death and Enlightenment of Alan Measles show that he is no different. Alan is seen throughout the exhibition, but as with all gods, his image is both fleeting and shifting, and ultimately when we see it, we don’t think of the depicted, but of the man who made the depiction.
and inelegant. Her shading is scribbly. Altogether, the impression is childlike. Yet at a closer look, the pieces of fruit metamorphose into wrinkled realities, their shells crumpling and dimpling in the vale of their shadows. This juxtaposition of dichotomous forces proves quite haunting and calls to memory the penultimate line from the artist’s poem Mirror: “In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman / Rises.” “In me she Moving clockwise round the 44 Suspended like a washing line from before exhibited drawings has drowned never the white walls of The Mayor Gallery, by Sylvia Plath, I perceive a propenthere exists another medium through a young girl, sity for drawing in threes, whether which to fathom the enigma that is that is by means of ensemble or tripPlath. I urge you, do not let it go un- and in me an tych form. Wuthering Heights seen. old woman Today (near Haworth, Yorkshire) Having walked blindly, and no doubt going for £4000, depicts a collapsignorantly, past Dadamaino’s exhibi- Rises.” ing house, distinctly divided by tion of minimal, monochromatic canvases, I three textures of ‘black stone’. What of this plant myself before Plath’s Bowl of Fruit. three? Is the artist quietly alluding to religious Measuring 9.8x14cm, the still life feels a little implications in the form of the Holy Trinity or exposed under the yellow glare of the exhibithe altarpiece? Are her objects thus to be ention spotlights. The artist’s lines are bold, undowed with a certain divinity? I’m not altowieldy, presumptuous; I can’t quite find the gether sure. The roof is blighted and droops word. While they make for a proportionate with discomfort, as if its slates are melting to life-like whole, they are in themselves naïve meet the ground. Once more Plath’s lines as-
sume a rounded, trusting tone so that from a distance, the drawing oddly resembles something of Hansel and Gretel’s house of candy. Seemingly floating on paper-white-cloud, the house stirs ‘among the horizontals’ of dreamscape. The viewer’s approach is thus made indeterminate, that of walking into an exhibition hall itself perhaps, with its corners and rooms not yet learned, its silences not yet sounded. Possibly two thirds of her drawings are subjected to such ivory space. Of her inked objects only few posses a shadow. The only article that supposedly ties them to their page is but two lowly letters spelling “SP”. The smallest illustration of them all summons me to its plot. From behind a vertical line, there peeps a Curious French Cat. Its detailing leaves much to be desired with only three dainty whiskers protruding from its otherwise mottled coat. But is his expression altogether curious? Yes, I think it is. As is mine as I turn on my heels and ‘skip’ off home to muse and mull over Sylvia Plath, the curious artist, who immortally continues to amaze.
Entering through the domed Grand Court of the British museum, you ascend the central reading room staircase and round the corner. There is the banner for Grayson Perry, Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman, but before you can think to enter the exhibition itself you find yourself face to face with Alan Measles, Grayson Perry’s teddy bear.
He rides resplendent in a A vehicle carriage affixed to the back fit for the of a custom-built motorbike. what a bike it is; made pilgrimage And with exquisite detail, and of of a teddy uncommonly polished pristine appearance, especially bear god. within the walls of the
British Museum. It is decorated with a typical Grayson Perry flare: clockwork keys, hearts, jewels, inscriptions (“patience”, “doubt”, “humility”), a triumphant silver statue of Alan as a war hero at the front, and Alan himself at the back in his box carriage atop his ornate silver throne. The saddle is the most bizarrely striking feature; an immediately phallic, oversized pedal-bike saddle, covered in brown leather, adorned with jewels, and an ornamental leather trim. At first glance, the bike could be taken as ridiculous; every part of it is oversized, and utterly overblown. Closer inspection reveals telltale wear on the foot rests, for this bike has had its uses outside of the gallery. It is not just an art-object, but was made for a pilgrimage. It allowed Grayson to take his teddy to Germany to make amends for the war games they played in their youth. The very idea of the site of pilgrimage ties closely into the exhibition, as does the object of worship, but here, everything is turned on its head, for Alan is undoubtedly the god of this exhibition, just as he is the “benign dictator” of Perry’s imaginary world. Alan is represented in a multitude of forms throughout the exhibition, from teddy, to triumphant warrior, to tomb guardian, and this bike is his pope-mobile. Whilst on one hand, Alan Measles went on a pilgrimage for himself, there is also a sense in which he was being taken for the people to see. This is indeed a vehicle fit for the pilgrimage of a teddy bear god, and it now makes sense that he should be outside of the exhibition, for he is here to be seen by all. However, a quick glance down at the plaque below reveals a startling truth. This teddy, majestic in Measles’ carriage, is not Alan Measles at all. Perry could not bear, it seems, to part with the original, and this is Pinny a “stunt double”. The god of the exhibition is not present, and we find ourselves to be worshipping a false idol. The absence of our god is, at first, conceptually unsettling. However, within the context of an exhibition of artefacts, the presence of an idol starts to make a great deal of sense. Entering the exhibition, the first object you see is one of Perry’s own vases, entitled You Are Here. It is a playful way to open an art show, especially one at so unconventional a venue. The vase demonstrates all of the craftwork of the exhibition’s title, appearing perfectly formed, and ornately decorated. It depicts a series of figures, each having his or her own reason for visiting the show, and for the most part this reveals a surprisingly pessimistic outlook on the part
PLAY | Volume 32, Issue 5
Grayson Perry, Map of Truths and Beliefs, (detail), 2011. Courtesy the Artist and The Paragon Press, London. Copyright Grayson Perry. Photo: Alicia Guirao, Factum Arte
of Perry. “I loved the poster”, states one eager visitor, whilst a hapless student moans: “It’s on my A level syllabus.” The real blow is dealt in the statement of the inevitable modern art grump: “I need to have my negative prejudice confirmed.” There is a clear awareness from Perry of how modern art could be received in this museum context. Although looking around at the audience, I think for the most part, he is wrong. From here on in, the exhibition is a constant
Sylvia Plath - Her Drawings
I have always claimed to be something of a staunch Plath reader, my growing library at home unfailingly flecked with her novels, poetry, and prose. So I was rather abashed to discover Her Drawings. Happening upon her name while surfing Timeout London’s ‘free’ filter, a prickling tremor found me. All along, she had inked lines that were not letters and sketched symbols that didn’t assume mere syntax.
At the British Museum until February 19 2012. Nearest tubes: Holborn, Russell Square.
At Mayor Gallery until December 16. Nearest Tube: Picadilly Circus.
PLAY | Volume 32, Issue 5
Wilhelm Sasnal at the Whitechapel
Past and present jostle for pre-eminence and streaked through with hints of ethereal greens the intimately personal collides with society’s and pinks, hands scrabbling madly at a blinduniversals in Wilhelm Sasnal’s entrancing ing brightness. The intensity of light almost new exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery. feels violating. Yet this isolation is itself subverted by the voyeuristic component Sasnal’s name, his reputation, and the value of his works are in the L a m b a s t e d . . . of much of Sasnal’s photographiascendancy, as he has emerged as as a poor man’s cally conceived paintings. We simultaneously observe, and are one of the most intriguing Eastern observed, we are the subject and the European artists after the fall of Richter. object, and this tension feeds much of Sasnal’s the Soviet Union. Yet his work has divided more complex compositions. opinion, sometimes being lambasted, unThe imitative, slightly contrived yet simulfairly, as a poor man’s Richter. This exhibition taneously immediate ‘snapshot’ quality, deprovides a riposte to such claims. However, riving from the influence of photography, is the greatest admirers of this exhibition will confusing. An obscuration, near obliteration probably be those approaching the canvas as of narrative presents only the immediate, yet an opportunity to engage on an intellectual always suggests an unrevealed history. The inlevel, not purely as a technical and aesthetic trigue generated by the photo-realistic object. Many of the paintings on show are Kacper, a figure turned away, arms held outmodest and unassuming, almost pre-empting stretched as though crucified, demands a cretheir rapid dismissal. Yet something about ative filling in of the narrative void. Kacper this stylistic conviction captures the viewer and Anka depicts two individuals, deeply inand engages them in a struggle of contemplatimate and yet curiously estranged, in a scene tion. Indeed, a kind of Hegelian struggle unutterly devoid of time. Sasnal gives us no hints derlies so much of Sasnal’s work. and no suggestions – he merely gives us what This struggle assumes multiple manifestais. Conjecture is the domain of the onlooker. tions. The past and present inhabit the same It is often what is excluded, rather than what canvas, most explicitly in Sasnal’s reworking is depicted, that is the most engaging element of Seurat’s Bathers D'Asnière. Sasnal extracts of Sasnal’s work. Blank empty space, the anand then accentuates the melancholy and solitithesis of substance, becomes Sasnal’s subtude of Seurat’s impressionist masterpiece, ject. Within this space our minds are invited bathing the seated figure in an almost childish to interpret the faceless figures and the untold pallet. The historical meets the contemporary narratives. The ominous white void, defying in far more subtle and personal ways. Masi gravity with its skyward advance, depicted in depicts the elaborately composed sign of a Power Station in Iran, suggests a burgeoning shop which, we learn, holds great significance vacuum, cleansing reality of its existence, for the artist and his wife. This subjective restoring the canvas to its bleached state. monumentalising of the mundane jeopardises The series of paintings, which reinterpret the certainty of our opinions, alienating the Art Spiegelmann’s Maus comic strips, reflect viewer. a deep engagement with twentieth century Photography is woven deeply into Sasnal’s Polish history. Other paintings possess a jourwork. The pinnacle of this photographic qualnalistic quality, capturing survivors of the reity is Photophobia, a white painted canvas
No Limit Beyond the Taboo
Still from a Nathalie Djurberg claymation
There are two dimly lit rooms. Each contains two large flickering screens at opposing ends and tables with dozens of luminous glass sculptures scattered across them. The whole space is filled with dark atmospheric soundscapes.
There are two dimly lit rooms. Each contains two large flickering screens at opposing ends and tables with dozens of luminous glass sculptures scattered across them. The whole space is filled with dark atmospheric soundscapes. On the screens, colourful Plasticine
figurines move in stop-motion, appearing to play childishly in transparent glassy landscapes. Out of the surround sound system, a variety of fragile and dispersed offbeat noises and a deep organic bass swirl around the space. It might feel at first like you have stumbled into a fairytale, but once you recognise the ferocious character of these fictions, your flesh will crawl. You’ve just stepped into A World of Glass, the current exhibition of Nathalie Djurberg’s new claymation films, accompanied by the music of Hans Berg. Works from the year-
Wilhelm Sasnal, Kacper, 2009. Oil on canvas, 75 x 90 cm © Wilhelm Sasnal, Courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London
cent Japanese tsunami. Yet Sasnal’s work is most powerful when stripped of this overtly political tone, accepting and embracing an internalised conception of significance and reality. Through this, his paintings become warped and distorted reflections of our own reality, vastly divergent, and yet also comprehensible. Sasnal flirts with the entire heritage of modern art, flitting between romanticism and a gritty realism, abstraction and representative art. He remains ambiguous, resisting categorisation. Through all this, Sasnal retains a sense of the serious responsibility of the artist,
long collaboration of these Berlin-based artists have been shown and given awards internationally, most recently at the 2009 Venice Biennale. An audio-visual landscape of four films and one soundtrack, that’s the simple but haunting setting of this crossmedia installation at Camden Arts Centre. Djurberg’s stories touch upon highly sensitive topics such as the dark, destructive power of our natural drives and the archetypal relationship between male dominance and female subjugation. They uncover ambivalent clashes between pain and pleasure, temptation and trepidation, violence and vulnerability. It is impossible to maintain a position of distant observation; we are directly exposed to lust for physical contact and suffering. And beyond the taboo, there’s no limit. Titles such as My Body is a House of Glass, Monster and I’m a Wild Animal suggest the raw nature of the issues at hand. Apparently naive animals awake from a somehow unconscious state of mind to suddenly find themselves in the midst of apocalyptic dances where harmless play merges indistinguishably into torture and cannibalism. This is hardly fun and games. Djurberg is a masterful sculptor, puppeteer, and filmmaker. Her compositions of colour, objects and motion are deeply sensual and pleasing. It’s the puppets’ unconscious beings that compel us to look at these acts of crudest violence. They recall both the grotesqueness of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the archaic terror of Sodom and Gomorrah. But all morals are suspended in these provocative pieces and no comment whatsoever is provided within the narrative.
who may experiment in medium, form, technique and subject matter, but who “must not cheat”. This solitary tenet seems accusatory; an immersion into Sasnal’s world is exhausting, yet enhancing. His work represents a bulwark against the flimsy superficiality of modern culture. It demands considerable intellectual industry, yet repays this with a complex insight into the self-inverted struggle of modern life, an insight that is reassuring and yet disconcerting.NICHOLAS MITHEN
At Whitechapel Gallery until January 1 2012. Nearest tube: Aldgate East.
The whole task of generating emotional intensity lies with Hans Berg and his congenial translation of static, visual situations into dynamic aural fluctuations. Fragile sounds accompany the silent screams of the puppets and a masterly dramaturgy of sonic vibrations builds a tension of foreboding that inexorably intrudes your body. Ever since postmodernism’s theories of moral relativism, intellectual ignorance, and the ‘truth within the void’ represented our perceived world as a meagre model of the abstract intangible reality; the body has become one of the obsessive rediscoveries of contemporary art. The body as the true scene of human life is a central topic in Djurberg’s work: the body as a fragile shield and source of force, the body as the victim and the culprit, the body as an instrument of will and burden of want, the body as the painful battlefield of lust and desire, leaving no winners at all but the traces of terror and the remains of rage. Even if you do not care for content at all, but are rather looking for aesthetic stimulation and inspiration, you should not miss this. Merely as an example of high-level animation film and sound-installation, this masterpiece of collaboration between Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg is a deeply enjoyable experience. JULIA SCHELL
At Camden Arts Centre until January 8 2012. Nearest tubes: Finchley Road, Hampstead.
A Guide To Getting Ahead in the Industry
PLAY | Volume 32, Issue 5
It may seem like graduation and the need to look for a real job are a million miles away but given the current jobs market, its more than a little bit of a good idea to start thinking about it now. Interning is a fantastic place to start - think of it as a ‘try before you buy’ career choice. But don’t feel overwhelmed if you’ve never interned before or just don’t know where to start. Play has put together this handy guide to give you all the need to no details on when, where, who and how to get yourself ahead in the industry. What job? And what do the experts say?
How do I apply?
When should I apply?
Paula Maddin, Freelance Stylist “Never ask more than once if you can do anything, they will ask you when they need you. If you make yourself indispensible, people will see this and you will eventually get a job, you'll probably start at the bottom but will end up at the top!”
Look at the by-lines in magazines to see who styled shoots that you like. Or contact a styling agency to see if you can be placed there or if they have any freelancers looking for extra help. There are plenty around so don’t worry if the first one doesn’t have anyone.
Stylists work all year round so just apply a couple of months before you would like to start.
Bonita Turner, Fashion Editor at Now “Really its very important to be polite, hardworking and to use your initiative. And, don't underestimate the importance of turning up on time, looking professional and a smile – you need to look like you want to work there.”
Sara Jensen, Founder of Button PR “Know what area of PR you want to work in, immerse yourself in the relevant media and trends, get work experience. Key skills in PR are the ability to network and build relationships - so even making cups of coffee in these sort of working environments will get you in front of the right people and improve your understanding of how the industry works.”
Natalia Schwartz, Buyer for TCS “To work as a fashion buyer requires motivation, strong business acumen and ability to adopt to change and work under pressure. The role of a buyer is also that of a business manager. The main aim is to buy the best stock possible to earn a profit for the company.”
Magazines and supplements very rarely advertise for interns so take a look on the websites of all the magazines you like. If they have an email address for internships, great, but these are rarely checked so email the Fashion Assistant, Director and Junior Stylist – making sure you address it to their name! Then call them to introduce yourself and make sure they got your email.
PR and journalism go hand in hand so chances are if you are good at one you’ll be good at the other. Like with magazines, email a person, not a generic address asking if they have any openings for interns and chase up with a phone call.
This is probably one of the most competitive areas of fashion, considering the fact that it is essentially shopping for a living. So make sure that you don’t give up easily. Email all the buying offices you can think of and chase up with phone calls if they haven’t gotten back to you within a week to ten days.
This Week I’m Making... Fur Collar
Step 1: Ok, no I’m not really making this as such but a little bit of customisation never hurt. Get yourself one of these fur collars – they are available from most fabric shops or online and come in loads of great colours.
Step 2: Get about half a metre of ribbon – any colour, any fabric and then cut it in half again. Lay the collar down on a flat surface with the fur facing downwards and place the ribbon on the front two ends.
If you are looking for a month to three month placement over a summer, it’s best to apply at the beginning of January. Or if you have graduated and are looking more long term, apply at the end of summer, in August time, for lengthier placements.
Again, for summer internships, apply in January or for more long term, wait till the end of summer.
Buyers always need extra help around fashion week season (September and February) so apply two months in advance of these. You’ll get much more out of a buying internship if the person you’re shadowing is busy.
Step 3: Pin the ribbon into place and then sew it on with a light running stitch.
Do’s and Don’ts
Do try and be available a lot. So don’t apply to be a stylist intern if you can only do 2 days a week. As a freelancer, stylists will work 7 days a week so be prepared to graft and get up at the crack of dawn. Don’t criticise the stylists look. With your own taste it can be difficult to keep schtum but, remember, you are there to learn. Stylists have to bear in mind things like brand representation, costing and trends so try to keep an eye on how they manage to fit all these into one shoot. Do Call them! This is so important to make sure your application isn’t just lost among a pile of press releases and invoices. The good news is that magazines are always looking for interns so if you’re persistent, you’re more than likely to get something. Don’t send one standard letter to everyone. They will be able to tell. Make sure that they you mention a feature that you like in their publication – this is a simple tip but no important. Do have a good awareness of the current fashion and beauty climate. PR is so dependent on being on trend and up to the minute that it is essential you have a good knowledge of all things fashionable.Don’t Be shy. PR is the ultimate selling career, having to persuade people to do things that they may not necessarily want to do (like give you samples for free). Don’t forget to have fun though. PR has more work parties than most other areas of the industry so enjoy. Do know the next season’s trends. If you show that you have more to you than just thinking something looks pretty, you are guaranteed to impress. Don’t get carried away with falling in love with all the trends. Yes buying is about picking things which are stylish but costings and budgets are huge factors to bear in mind too. Think of it this way, if you see anything in a shop that you think is ridiculously overpriced, its probably down to a bad buying choice.
Step 4: Turn the collar around, place it around your neck and tie the ribbon into a bow. Trim any excess off as necessary and that’s it. Keeps you warm and stylish all season.
From one magazine to another... PLAY | Volume 32, Issue 5
Creative, glamorous and fun, a job in fashion is one of the most coveted positions, and therefore the fashion industry can be one of the hardest nuts to crack in regards to careers. Working in fashion magazines is the dream of so many, but we all saw The Devil Wears Prada, and real life in the fashion world can be worryingly similar to Anne Hathaway’s mad dash for success. For every one job, there are husbands of fashion enthusiasts willing to do anything to land it, and with more and more unpaid positions it is becoming all the harder to find that stylish role. However, it is still possible to break into the industry, and with hard work, vision and patience it can be a very rewarding experience. London Student talks to ASOS Magazine’s up and coming fashion assistant, Natalie Michaelides. As a child, Natalie was always interested in fashion and it played a huge part in her future career. “I always had an interest in fashion and clothes from when I was young,” she says. Her family were a large inspiration to her, in both her love of fashion and as a possibility of pursuing fashion professionally. ‘My most vivid memories as a child involve the women in my family and clothes. My Mum was always really glam!” She says, “Also, my sister studied at the London College of Fashion, which made take seriously the idea of a career in the fashion world.” However, like many students hoping for a career in fashion journalism, Natalie did not head straight into a university course in the field. “I studied English Literature at Reading University,” she explains, “It allowed me to keep my career choice quite open until I was
sure exactly which avenue I wanted to pursue.” She is confident that a general humanities degree is no hindrance to a more creative job. ‘A lot of the girls I work with studied various things related to fashion - but there are also quite a few who studied things like History, Sociology.’
The crucial addition to your CV is not educational, but practical experience. I relied on getting internships and gaining experience after I graduated. It is crucial to getting a job in the industry.” Above all, Natalie stresses the importance of pursuing your career relentlessly, through internships and work experience until you finally land a position at a publication. ‘Before coming to ASOS I interned at various magazines and assisted stylists on everything I could for around a year and a half,” she says, ‘It was really hard and took a lot of dedication, as for the most part it was unpaid (apart from expenses). I would temp in-between and save the money.’ It is essential to be dedicated to every experience which arises, in order to make it worthwhile. ‘You need to treat each internship like a real job and put everything into it. Remember your end goal when asked to pop out to buy lunches or photocopy, which does happen. Otherwise it’s a waste of your time.’
However, Natalie assures me the hard grind was incredibly valuable. She describes her job at ASOS as ‘very creative, challenging and fun.’ No day is the same working at a fashion magazine. The average day at the magazine is always different and always busy. The fashion team here work on the magazine content but also online features and the ASOS.com homepage,’ she explains, “The job involves assisting and prepping for shoots - expect to pack, and unpack suitcases A LOT compiling shopping pages, styling, researching trends and shows.’ Such diversity means a fashion assistant has to stay on the ball to get everything done, and to be successful. ‘You need to be able to multi-task and communicate really well,’ she says, ‘You must be really organised and focused. And of course, you
have to love fashion.’
Natalie’s hopes for the future are similar to most young people dreaming of breaking into fashion journalism. ‘My dream job has always been to work at a women’s magazine in fashion,’ she declares, ‘Ultimately my aim is to progress within this area and become an editor.’ But what advice would she offer those of us still waiting for our first experience under one of the Miranda Priestlys of the world? ‘You need to be aware that fashion isn’t always ‘glamour and fun’ as people often think,’ she asserts, putting aside the stereotype of an ‘easy’ fashion job, ‘but it does allow you to work in a really creative environment with lots of interesting people.’ In terms of guidance, Natalie’s words lie once more in dedication. ‘The best advice I can give to others is to work hard, be nice to everyone you meet along the way, make great contacts, and also be really dedicated in achieving your ultimate goal.’
Best Food Films
This week at the London Student Food section we have been considering films to get your mouth watering and recoiling in equal measures. Here are our top picks:
‘Recoil at the slabs of flesh purveyed for the tenants to gnaw.’
2. Delicatessen, Jean-Pierre Jeunet (1991)
1. Supersize Me, Morgan Spurlock (2004)
If you haven’t seen it, I’m sure you’ve heard of it. Spurlock turns the camera on himself and only eats Macdonalds for 30 days. It makes hard viewing as Doctor’s warn him he is at risk of severe liver damage and is affected by moods swings and depression. I doubt after viewing you will want to eat Macdonalds for a long time.
How to make The Perfect Roast Dinner...
1.Chocolat, Lasse Hallstrom (2000)
In a postapocalyptic age on the outskirts of Paris food is scarce. The tenants of one building ruled by a despotic butcher cope by eating meat from hapless handymen ruled by the promise of a job and room in this harsh economic climate. Recoil at the slabs of flesh purveyed for the tenants to gnaw. A fabulously surreal film.
In Hong Kong, Aunt Mei prepares dumplings with a secret ingredient that is supposed to rejuvenate one and minus years from your face. Mrs Li, a former TV star visits Mei to recover her youth unaware that the secret ingredient is... aborted foetus’s. For those with a strong stomach!
Sarah Michelle Gellar is a down on her luck restaurant owner who just can’t seem to get her new business venture of the ground. With the help of a magical crab who controls the action with a click of his magic claws, her emotions are channelled into her food
3.Dumplings, Fruit Chan (2004)
The perfect roast dinner has got to be chicken. It’s tasty, easy to cook and the meat goes a long way. Try to buy the best quality chicken you can afford as this will undoubtedly have the best flavour. A great way of finding quality meat at a lower price is to visit your local market just before closing time. Butchers will often sell meat at a cut price to shift it, and are usually open to haggling. This recipe serves 4 people.
You will need: 1 chicken, about 1.5 kg 3 large potatoes (Desirées are great but any potatoes you have will do 3 large onions 3 large carrots 125g breadcrumbs (you can buy these or make your own with stale bread) 80g butter Medium glass of wine or stock Vegetable or olive oil Sage (about 8-10 fresh leaves) Two large bay leaves Roasting tin for chicken, roasting tray for potatoes and ovenproof dish (about 25x35 cm) for stuffing
1.Preheat the oven to 220 degrees centigrade. First prepare the chicken. Make sure it’s room temperature as it will cook more evenly. First of all, get some butter under the
‘Some of the most mouth watering scenes of chocolate/chocolate making you will see, coupled with Johnny Depp.’
and she becomes the talk of the town. A pretty standard romantic comedy with delicious food scenes, watch on a chilled out afternoon when you need an easy film.
Juliette Binoche is a free spirit who moves to a very religious small town with a strict moral code to open a chocolate shop. Although attempts are made to ban the immoral treats the film ends with a unified village. Some of the most mouth watering scenes of chocolate/chocolate making you will see, coupled with Johnny Depp. Delicious!
For the chicken:
PLAY | Volume 32, Issue 5
3. Julie and Julia, Nora Ephron(2009)
A definitive contemporary foodie film. It’s the story of Julie Powell (played by Amy Adams), a new blogger, who attempts to cook herself through expat in Paris Julia Child’s (Meryl Streep) seminal cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking. An inspirational film about two women’s trials for food with a ‘follow your dream’ message.
4. Like Water For Chocolate Alfonso Arau (1992)
2.Simply Irresistible, Mark Tarlov (1999)
This Mexican film tells the story of Tita who is the last unmarried daughter in her household so she must take care of her mother instead of being with man who she loves (Pedro) who is promised to her sister. The amazing food she whips up reflects her repressed emotion. When she cooks mysticism ensues and characters end up having crazy sex as well as crying into their dishes. Delicious fun! MAYA KORN
skin covering the breast. Do this by pushing your finger between the skin and the breast meat and carefully working it further in to loosen the skin. You’ll be able to see and feel it coming away from the meat. Push about 20g of butter into the space you’ve made, and rub some over the top, being careful not to tear the skin. You can flavour the butter with whatever you like (herbs are always good) and as it cooks, the butter will baste the meat, making it really moist.
the oven. Add them to the tray of searing hot oil, shuffle them about and return to the oven for a further 40-45 minutes.
2.Put the bay leaves inside the cavity, adding any other flavouring you want for example garlic cloves or lemon wedges. Season the chicken all over, making sure to get lots of salt on the skin to help it crisp up. Place it in the middle of your roasting tin. 3.Peel and quarter one of the onions and chop the carrots into large chunks. Scatter them around the chicken in the roasting tin. Put a piece of onion in the cavity too. Place the tray in the middle of the oven. Your chicken will take about 1-1 ½ hours to cook.
For the potatoes:
Once the chicken’s in, start the potatoes. Prepare the roasting tray by covering the bottom with the oil – enough to cover the tray by about 1 cm. Put this in the oven to heat. Peel and chop the spuds into even, medium-sized chunks. Par-boil them in salted water for 10 minutes or until the edges are fluffy when squeezed. Drain, then shake them about in the pan, lid-on. This gets the edges all rough for crisping up in
For the stuffing:
Make the stuffing by peeling the remaining onions and boiling them whole for about 5 minutes, or longer if they are very large. Take them out and let them cool slightly before finely chopping them. Add them to the breadcrumbs, the rest of the butter and finely chopped sage. Season well and mix the whole lot together. Put the mixture into the ovenproof dish and bake it for about 35 minutes. You can of course cook the stuffing inside the chicken, but this takes longer and you don’t get the crispy topping you have when cooking it separate.
For the gravy:
You will know the chicken is cooked when you cut into the leg and the juices run clear. If they’re pink, it needs a bit longer. Take the chicken and veg out and rest them on a chopping board, covered in tinfoil. To make the gravy, heat the tin full of meat juices on the hob. Add the wine/stock and let it bubble up, scraping all the bits of caramelised veg and meat off the bottom of the tray – they’re what make the gravy tasty.
Now all that’s left is to carve your chicken and serve it. LIZZY TURNER
PLAY | Volume 32, Issue 5
Recipes from Food writer James Ramsden
Check out the KCL Radio website to listen to our full interview with James!
cover. Cook for 30 minutes over the lowest heat you can muster, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, slit the skin of the sausages and remove the meat, discarding the suspicious looking membrane. When the vegetables (the soffritto it is known as in Italy – that’s one to impress the ladies, ahem) are completely softened increase the heat and stir in the herbs. Stir for a couple of minutes before adding the sausage meat. Crush with a fork and stir for a further 5 minutes until the meat is completely broken up. Add the wine and simmer for a couple more minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and add the tomatoes and bay leaf. Simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in 400g penne that you have cooked according to pack instructions, and serve in warmed bowls with a sprinkle of parmesan and a little more chopped parsley.
A Smoky, Beery Wrap Serves 2
For the bread 200g plain flour 2 tbsp natural yoghurt 2 tbsp olive oil Pinch of salt 100ml warm water
James Ramsden started out as a student food writer and blogger and has made the transition to professional food journalist. He was a contributing writer to the student gourmet cookbook ‘Beyond Baked Beans’ and his cookbook ‘Small Adventures in Cooking’ was published earlier this year. He has written articles for The Guardian, The Times and lovefood.com amongst others. He also runs a North London Supper club along with his sister Mary. He popped into the Kings Radio studio to discuss everything from ‘how to make gourmet food as a poor student’ to why he will eat any kind of meat apart from tripe. Check out www.kcl.radio.com to see our interview. His blog www.jamesramsden.com is full of tasty, easy to follow recipes, often with a humorous back story, so check it out. Here are a couple to get you started. HELENA GOODRICH
Sausage ragu with penne Serves 4
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed 2 carrots, peeled and diced 1 stick of celery, diced a handful finely chopped parsley a sprig of rosemary, leaves pulled off and finely chopped 6-8 plump sausages 150 ml red wine 1 tin chopped tomatoes 1 bay leaf Some freshly grated Parmesan
Heat a little oil over a low heat and add the onion, garlic, carrots and celery. Season and
For the filling A few chunks of roast pork belly Yoghurt Shredded lettuce Grated raw beetroot Jar of jalapenos Coriander Sliced red onion Salt and pepper Olive oil Smoked porter ***
Make the bread dough by making a well in the flour and adding the salt, yoghurt and olive oil. Make a claw with your hand and mix the yoghurt and oil into the flour, slowly pouring in the water as you do until the mixture comes together. Knead for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic, cover with a tea towel and rest for half an hour.
Meanwhile, heat a little oil in a saute pan and fry the chunks of pork belly for a few minutes until browned, then throw in a good slug of smoked porter. Simmer for a few minutes, season with salt and pepper, cover, and cook with the onions over a low-ish heat for 15 minutes or so.
Brush a little oil on the base of a frying pan and put over a high heat. Flour a work surface, divide the dough in two and roll out as thinly as possible. One at a time, cook for 60-90 seconds on each side – you want a good char without the bread getting too crisp. Now chuck both breads into the pan along with a little spritz of smoked porter. Cover with a lid for a further 30 seconds, then take off the heat. To serve, spread the breads with yoghurt and top with your fillings. Season with salt and pepper, wrap, and gorge. JAMES RAMSDEN www.jamesramsden.com
49 Frith Street London W1D 4SG
There’s something fetishistic about the quest for the “real deal” here in London. We’ve been experiencing an authenticity endemic for years now, with restaurants and supermarkets in competition to provide bona fide peasant food from around the world to Chelsea mums and fixie riders at premium prices. I found myself on the crusade for authenticity when eating at Koya in Soho – the irony being I’ve never even been to Japan. The place sells itself well, just check out their website which features a fairly lengthy spiel about the “Sanuki people” who apparently invented Udon. The 20 minute wait for a table gave me time to inspect the menu, whilst of course being buffeted by the piece of cloth hanging where a door should be – as is custom in old Japan. Having never really tried Japanese food before (Wagamamas doesn’t count, right?), little on the specialist menu stood out, so I took a punt on Kamo Hiya-Atsu (duck broth and cold udon) with a topping of tempura batter and a starter of Kakuni (braised pork belly with cider). The food arrived fairly quickly at our table right next to the kitchen, which was an image of tranquillity with chefs silently preparing food with rhythmic panache. The pork belly, pressure cooked right in front of me by one of the monastic chefs, was slapped on the table with a bottle of Kirin. Retrospectively, devouring the pork belly before trying the udon wasn’t the best idea since everything else paled in comparison to the most succulent underside of pig I’ve ever eaten. Served in a bowl with a light drizzle of cider, the meat is perfectly cooked with the layer of fat seemingly melting away from the flesh. Moving on to the main event, my udon noodles (kneaded by foot, of course) were served cold with a steaming bowl of duck broth and a ramekin of tempura batter. Maybe because I have little to compare the dish with, or because my palate is a little too European, but I found the broth slightly too watery losing much of the flavour, which is definitely there if you concentrate. The cold, thick Udon noodles were however, the highlight of the dish perhaps reflecting the simple, unassuming aesthetic of the restaurant. Overall, my Kamo Hiya-Atsu tasted refreshing, yet not at satisfying as I would have liked from a plate of food that set me back £11.00. I would be lying if I said I left the restaurant feeling underwhelmed, since I had nothing to compare it with. The large and surprisingly varied menu means I’ll go back for seconds, but the high prices and the characteristically specialist vibe the place gives off might deter hungry mouths looking for a quick bite to eat. However, those after authenticity will be right at home at Koya, since I doubt there’s anywhere like it this side of Kantō. TOM ALVAREZ
A Victorian Food Diary: Although it is only a small event, dinner parties can be a stressful thing, and I have passed the day in such a rush! When looking for a starter to impress the Listers, I came across a most pleasant recipe. By substituting turtle with Calves’ meat, you can serve a soup the same consistency but at a fraction of the cost! The head is generally used, or the feet, to cut costs further. Any guests are sure to be impressed.
MOCK TURTLE SOUP: INGREDIENTS
1/2 a calf’s head, 1/4 lb. butter, 1/4 lb. ham, 2 tablespoonfuls of minced parsley, Lemon thyme, sweet marjoram, basil, 2 onions, A few chopped mushrooms, 2 shallots, 2 tablespoonfuls of flour, 1/4 bottle of Madeira/ sherry, Force-meat balls, Cayenne, salt and mace to taste, Juice of 1 lemon and 1 Seville orange, 1 dessert-spoonful sugar, 3 quarts of best stock.
Scald the head with the skin on, remove the brain, tie the head up in a cloth, and let it boil for 1 hour. Cut the meat into small square pieces, and throw into cold water.Take the meat, put it into a stewpan, and cover with stock; let it boil gently for an hour, ‘til tender, and set it aside. Melt the butter in another stewpan, and add the ham, shredded, with the herbs, parsley, onions, shallots, mushrooms, and a pint of stock; let these simmer slowly for 2 hours, then dredge in enough flour to dry up the butter.Fill with the remainder of the stock, add the Madeira, let it stew gently for 10 minutes, rub through a tammy; season with cayenne, and salt to taste; add the juice of the orange and lemon; then 1/4 teaspoonful of pounded mace, and the sugar. Put in the force-meat balls, simmer 5 minutes. Serve piping. Time.—4–1/2 hours. Average cost, 3s. 6d. per quart Seasonable in winter. Sufficient for 10 persons. From the Diary of Hettie Welsh As seen by LIBBY MEYER
Travel With A Cause
An epic journey of beauty awaits LSE student Tala Fahoum on her 350km cycle from Aqaba to the Dead Sea in Jordan. This gruelling effort will see her take the rippling roads over 72 hours alongside 40 cyclists, as part of the Cycling4Gaza initiative to raise awareness for the continuing suffering in Gaza. Starting in 2009, following the wave of attacks on the Gaza strip, Cycling4Gaza was formed by a group of young people fuelled by a passion and determination to cycle “in solidarity with the people of Gaza”. However, what was meant to have already been
What will you be doing next Easter? Will you have time for a short break somewhere? Some people will be paying thousands of pounds to go on cruises marking the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic on April 15 1912. There will, in fact, be cruises from two directions. One ‘memorial cruise’ sets out from the original departure point of Southampton to the intended original destination, New York. The other ‘anniversary cruise’ leaves New York for a circular Atlantic tour. Both cruises travel to the spot where the ship sank. (Let’s hope they don’t collide.) The cruises – complete with lectures and services of remembrance for the dead – are, if you’ll forgive the phrase, the tip of the iceberg in terms of what’s happening in the days and weeks around the centenary. You can listen to a performance by the Merchant Navy and Liverpool Welsh Choral, in Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral. You can watch ‘Titanic: the Musical’ in locations ranging from C
accomplished has now been pushed back to the December 8 2011. Originally, the cycle was due to have taken place in late October in Greece. The team were to start in Olympia and pedal their way through to Athens, but due to the national unrest that has ushered in a series of indefinite strikes, the event was postponed accordingly. Now with a definitive plan and location, the team can focus on their aim once again. Tala is proudly a part of a wider body of individuals partaking in this painstaking yet rewarding feat. Tamara Ben Halim, a co-founder of this growing organization, was inspired to proactively support the hardship of Gaza as she sat in a café with some friends. Now, she and cousin Tala have built upon the solid foundation of this institution as they draw in more numbers to undertake the challenge. For all this to materialize, the U.K. registered charity, Welfare Association, has come on board with the cause and supported the mission.
condition of dedicated training. Tala is currently a full time student. The short time between academic and social commitments is filled with “spinning classes and cardio workouts at the gym”. Her endurance levels were put to the test when she cycled around the Formula One track in her hometown of Bahrain, during the summer. Needless to say, the balance of study and training is askew: “I am prioritising training over uni work unfortunately right now,” but this devotion for Gaza is the beating heart of what now seems like an astronomically strenuous task. The Cycling4Gaza committee play a part in the training as well as the event. On Sunday October 9, there was a cycle from Richmond to Windsor to throw the cyclists into a smaller but parallel experience of what should be expected.
PLAY | Volume 32, Issue 5
With just under two months before the team brave the tough terrains of Jordan, the pressure is on for the cyclists to wedge training into their already busy lives. Without the help of the public, the event cannot be seen through. The team raised over £130,000 last year, going towards the fields of early childhood education in the Gazan communities. The team endeavour to apply themselves even more this year, striving to raise £200,000 for the cause and begin to gain global recognition. To donate please go to: http://www.justgiving.com/tala-fahoum GEORGIE BRADLEY
Being wholly invested into the charity, Tala completed the 2010 cycle from Pisa to Rome. It naturally presented a series of testing instances across the 4-day cycle, notably the “hilly” roads, but the companionship saw her through to the end. “On the second day I wanted to stop, but everyone kept pushing each other along,” sending a wave of moral support down the line. As an expanding association, the humble beginnings have seen a stretch of mutual enthusiasts joining the team from 27 cyclists in 2010, to 40 for this year’s expedition. Thanks to “word of the mouth” the budding cyclists are joined with people from “all over the world” who desire solidarity with Gaza.
Fancy a trip on the Titanic?
Novices are welcomed to the team under the
Cornwall to Kent. You can buy commemorative books, stamps and medallions from the Titanic Heritage Trust. If you’re in Belfast, you can take a walking tour through the city’s Titanic Quarter, and visit the shipyards of Harland & Wolff, where the ship was built. (And as Belfast people are wont to tell you: “There was nothing wrong with the ship when it left Belfast.”) All this is nothing new. The Titanic sinking has a firm grip on the interest and imaginations of huge numbers of people, and has inspired at least two famous films. The failure and expense of Raise the Titanic caused its producer Lew Grade to say: “It would have been cheaper to lower the Atlantic.” On the other hand, Leonardo Di Caprio and Kate Winslet’s acting careers were not exactly sunk by the eponymous film in which they starred.
So what’s going on here? Is this a respectful marking of an international tragedy, or the tourism equivalent of rubbernecking at the scene of a motorway crash? The answer lies partly in the nature of the tragedy, and partly in the nature of tourism. The Titanic was the largest passenger steamship in the world at the time and, like many passenger liners, its image was that of a ‘floating palace’, which used the latest technology, and offered luxury travel on par with new hotels such as The Ritz. It was modern, spacious, and designed in excellent taste: a symbol of national prestige.
2,223 people were on board for the maiden voyage, 1,517 died in the sinking. While this isn’t on the scale of 9/11 (in which almost 3,000 died), it does help to explain the scale of the continuing interest in the sinking, 100 years on. Among the countless points of controversy and debate about the causes of the sinking, we can only wonder at the safety regulations applied at the time, which limited the ship to carrying lifeboats for only 1,178 people.
The spate of 2012 events to mark the Titanic sinking centenary is the latest in a long line of what we might call remembrance tourism. Whether it’s visiting the locations of battles, recent or ancient, or the sites of atrocities, such as Auschwitz or the Killing Fields of Cambodia, people have travelled to places of war and disaster for centuries. Arguably, all these endeavours are types of
pilgrimage –one of the earliest forms, if not the earliest form, of travel andtourism. It’s impossible to know every tourist’s motivation. Some come to gawp and gaze, others come because friends or relatives were lost in the tragedy or the atrocity, still others may simply hope tounderstand a little better what happened. None of this guarantees that such terrible events will never happen again, of course. Your views on the marking of the Titanic centenary may be influenced by your opinion of the tastefulness, or otherwise, of the events. But something is for sure: mankind has a compulsion to travel, and a compulsion to remember. People will continue to travel to remember, whether it’s to take a ‘Tribute World Trade Center 9/11 Walking Tour’ for $10 a head or to sail to a spot somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic. NEIL MATTHEWS
PLAY | Volume 32, Issue5
My Top 4 Crazy Cuban Experiences
The Travel Bug
In an age where capitalism runs rampant, like a bull in a china shop that no-one ever dares stop, genuinely communist Cuba seems a pretty strange place from the outset. This impression of mine was only reinforced when I stepped off the plane and into a country that doesn’t seem to have noticed the passing of the last 60 years. But even with all this background weirdness, Cuba still managed to have some surprises in store: some strange, strange surprises… Being out of mint “What?!” I hear you cry (well, maybe not ALL of you). “How is being out of mint weird?” Well, I reply, what is the national icon of Cuba? Awesome beards and nuclear missiles maybe, but as any cocktail aficionado would tell you, it is of course, the Mojito, the main ingredient of which is mint. On the last leg of my Cuban holiday, my family and I stayed at what is pretty much the ultimate tourist resort on Cuba. Ultimate, except for the total absence of mint. For half a week, we saw nary a sprig. Truly, Cuba shamed itself that day. Being hit on I got hit on by a man. And not just any man: a fairly heavyset, and pretty hairy man. A man who also spoke no English, which was doubly entertaining because I speak no Spanish. All I can take away from this experience is that I must have some amazingly sexy body language, if I managed to come on to someone without either of us understanding a word the other was saying. Eating dinner The interesting thing about Cuba is the way the inhabitants use the capitalists who swing by for a visit. Living in a Communist country of course, the Cuban wage is fixed, and at a pretty low level. Within the system, there isn’t that much opportunity to make some extra cash. But tourists come from outside the system, and they come with oodles of cash and carry the legacy of a tipping culture. For a Cuban, a good tip can equal a month’s worth of wages. Animal sacrifice One majorly awesome thing about Cuba is that voodoo has a pretty strong following there. Don’t worry zombie-phobes: it’s not at all how films make it seem. In real life, voodoo is actually a pretty interesting, cobbled-together sort of a religion, combing ancient African tribal customs with Catholicism into something pretty worship-able. Of course, one side effect of those tribal customs is a little old thing called sacrifice. And they aren’t coy about conducting it either. The example I saw took place roundabout lunchtime in Havana’s Parque Central - I saw someone ritually kill a chicken in the Cuban equivalent of Regent’s Park. Crazy. ADAM BRODIE
Wherever you fancy going, it’s always good to have a daydream on the go...
Home sweet home... gazing out of my bedroom window onto the beautiful, yet grey and typically drizzly British countryside, contemplating the prospect of returning to work and university, and catching up with the news, friends, and family. There is one question running through my head: “Can I really just settle back into the hustle and bustle of daily routine?” However, soon enough the feelings of wonder and exhilarating freedom, brought on by discovering the unknown, fade to a distant sentiment with the memories becoming more like dreams than reality.
When asked why I have the ‘travel bug’, I am unsure of the answer but am confident of two things; travel is the best ‘life’ education one can ask for, and the freedom of having weeks or months to play with, with only a vague itinerary, a little regional information and hopefully enough cash in your bank account is truly refreshing. In my experience there are a number of subjects that are frequently raised when attempting to describe a country or city: the food, the culture, the weather, the sights and the attitude of men towards young female travellers. I find the last a particularly intriguing subject. Men worldwide have ‘searching eyes’ but the etiquette when it comes to the treatment of women seems to vary from country to country regardless of race or religion. Last year, I spent ten weeks travelling in India with a female friend, we were both 19 at the time. As we prepared to depart, the comments we received were all of a similar tone: “Presumably you’re going on a guided tour?” To which the answer was a definite “no”. “Be careful,” “cover up,” i.e. dress respectfully, which of course we did. “Will you be safe?” Etc...! Whenever the trip to India comes into conversation now, the reaction is the same: “My goodness, you are brave,” or “do you regret going just the two of you?” Although the repetition can get rather tiresome, I like telling people how enjoyable, eye opening and educational our experiences were. Inevitably, during ten weeks of constantly being hassled, the never-ending attention and cries of “hey lady... lovely jubbly... you have husband?... you want to see my shop? Asda price!... I give chai just for you...”, every time you turn a new corner, became overwhelming. However, my friend and I never once felt threatened, vulnerable or out of control of a situation, and were only groped as much as one would be in a crowded situation at home. In fact, without a doubt I would be happier
walking down a street in an Indian city at night than I would in England, which I would attribute mainly to the lack of alcohol and knife related crime. In my experience, the fact that we did not feel threatened despite the continuous male attention was due to the ‘shaming culture’ that exists in Indian society. If ever a situation was going unfavourably, a shout of “leave me alone!” quickly and publicly shames the culprit and the situation is resolved.
Another facet of travelling that fascinates me is the innovation of the native people. My favourite example of this to date is found at Battambang, Cambodia, with the ‘bamboo train’. My diary entry for this day reads: “Monday June 7 2010, day 132. Our bus from Siem Reap left half an hour late and arrived 2 hours early; pretty spectacular for SE Asia! We settled into our hotel – yet another one FULL of tuk-tuk driving sleazy men – we sure seem to pick the wrong places (as you can see, our experience with some Cambodian men was somewhat different!) Having swapped some books we headed for the bamboo train... so hilarious... it is composed of bamboo rafts on wheels with a portable motor, which operate along a fifteen kilometre stretch of disused railway. When one raft meets another, the one with the least passengers is dismantled, lifted off and then reconstructed when the other one has passed!” A work of genius! We negotiated a journey on one of these rafts as a method of getting to the next village. The experience was thrilling but also terrifying, the rafts are extremely rickety and travel at very high speed while the passengers have nothing to hold onto but each other. During this trip, hurtling towards us at an equally high speed along the single set of jarring tracks we met another raft packed with three goats, several sacks of grain, a motorbike, four villagers and the ‘driver’. So it was only fair when the ‘drivers’ of the two rafts joined forces and began dismantling our raft! Another issue that reaches epic heights of importance when travelling is coping with toilet arrangements: a hurdle that must be overcome every day but is rarely mentioned whilst relating tales on your return to the wonderfully private and clean flushing facilities of home. All is not bad, at one end of the scale - the most remarkable toilets I have encountered are found in Tokyo. These are equipped with not only the swish rotating self-cleaning seats, occasionally heated, but also with a detailed control panel,
which enables the user to generate fake flushing sounds and odour control buttons amongst others - hours of amusement! The funniest toilet sign I have ever seen was displayed in a toilet in Cambodia where the western toilet that we were visiting was such a rarity that it was necessary to have a ‘no squatting’ sign! However, in my experience there are numerous competitors for the ‘worst toilet award’, mostly being different varieties of the squat or long drop: some with precarious wooden slats on which to balance while the odours from below drift up and engulf you, others with only a torn plastic sheet to protect you from the elments. All of these provide great amusement for the locals who generally do not understand the protestations and disgust of travellers: a toilet is a toilet after all! Undeniably, travel is an addiction for many people; whether catching the sun on a Thai island, recuperating from the previous night’s Full Moon Party, or trekking in the snow-capped Alps, travels in all areas of the globe bring happiness and insight into people’s daily lives. Inevitably, the ‘travel bug’ brings me feelings of nostalgia and wistfulness on a regular basis, but it also brings immense excitement in anticipation of what is to come and acts as a ‘reward’ at the end of a long year’s studying! Personally, the future is always bright when there’s a travel plan in the making! FLYNNE RUSHTON
Jools Holland at the Royal Albert Hall. As a warmup for his annual Hootenanny on BBC2 on New Year’s Eve, Jools Holland brings his Big Band to the Royal Albert Hall for one night only. The show also features special guest and fellow Squeeze member Difford. Saturday 26 November, tickets from £17.50.
Gypsy Hotel. Three words: Balkan Boogie Bands. If that alone does not offer enough to grab your attention, this twelve hour event also promises magicians, cabaret acts, sawdust blues and a resident DJ. A definite departure from your average night out! Gypy Hotel is at The Lexington, Pentonville Road on Saturday 19 November. Advance tickets £9.99. Musical Bingo. Bingo nights may be the highlight of your grandparents’ social calendar but what about musical bingo? Bringing an aural twist to the classic game, Concrete replaces the call of ‘two fat ladies’ with a splattering of tunes followed by some post-bingo dancing. Running from 7.30-11.00pm at Concrete, Shoreditch High Street, on Wednesday 23 November. £4 for five games. inc. zine #4 Launch Party! Celebrating the launch of the fourth edition of inc. magazine, this event includes live illustration, poetry, live music and free copies of the magazine. Thursday 8 December from 7.30pm, Railroad Café, 120 Morning Lane. Entry £4. See www.inczine.blogspot.com for further information. Doctor Dee. If you like to plan ahead, then why not grab some tickets for Damon Albarn second opera, opening in London in summer 2012. Following the life of Dr John Dee – contemporary of Queen Elizabeth I – Albarn’s work considers the ritual and symbolism of Britain, both past and present. At the London Coliseum from June 2012. Tickets from £15. Free and Funny in Angel. If your finances are beginning to run slim, why not visit the Camden Head, Camden Walk, for one of its free comedy nights, featuring both new and established acts. Dates vary, see www.camdenhead.com for furhter information.
Latin Extravaganza Gala Show. Dance My Way Academy presents a night of all things Latin. Tickets will be £20 on the door or can be purchased in advance for £15. The event will take place at ULU on Saturday 26 November from 7.30pm. See www.dancemyway.co.uk for further information. Underground Film Club. If you were lucky enough to catch one of the popular films screened by the Rooftop Film Club over the summer, you’ll be keen to catch its subterranean follow-up. Screening cult classics including Pulp Fiction, Requiem for a Dream and the festive favourite It’s a Wonderful Life offers a change from the regular multiplex listings. Runs from 18 November to 21 December. See www.undergroundfilmclub.com for further information.
The joys of swimming at the Heath. Hampstead Heath Swimming Ponds. Feeling brave? Hampstead offers the only life-guarded open-water swimming facilities open to the public every day of the year. Adults £2, Concessions £1. Telephone 020 7485 3873 for safety information and opening times. Backbeat. Any fan of the Beatles will be aware that the Fab Four were originally a five-piece, prior to the death of Stuart Sutcliffe at the age of 21. This absorbing play focuses on the relationship between Sutcliffe, his lover Astrid Kircherr and John Lennon during their time in Hamburg in 1960. Running at the Duke of York’s Theatre until March 2012.
UCLU RAG Firewalk. Help raise money for children’s charity Barnardos while taking part in an experience you’ll never forget. Those brave enough to walk the coals – which can reach heats of 1000 degrees Celsius - need only donate £20.00 to take part in the event, while encouraging your family and friends to donate. The Firewalk will take place on Thursday 1 December from 4.30pm - 6.30pm. See www.uclu.org for further information. Chicago. Ugly Betty star America Ferrera makes her UK stage debut in this popular musical. Be sure to see it fast as it is only London for a limited eight week run. At the Garrick Theatre until 26 January 2012
Mmm-Bopp along to the O2. Hanson. Hard as it is to believe, the long-haired Mmm-Boppers play London on Tuesday 29 November as part of their world tour. Featuring songs from across their eight albums (yes – eight), this night is sure to bring you back to the fun of childhood. At the Indigo2. Tickets £23.50.
All the elegance of a night at the ballet.
The Sleeping Beauty. Nothing gets more regal than a night at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, so why not give yourself an end of term treat and see the ballet classic The Sleeping Beauty. Runs until 21 December. Tickets from £5.
Turner Prize 2011. For the first time in the prize’s history, the four shortlisted works are on display at a non-Tate venue, setting-up home in Gateshead’s Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. With many of us fleeing London over the Christmas break, why not journey-up to Newcastle and see first-hand one of the artistic highlights of the cultural year. Runs until 8 January 2012, with the winner announced on 5 December 2011.
Turner Prize heads North: the favourite to grab the prize, Karla Black.
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