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Quench ISSUE 144 - MAY 2014






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In this issue, our music team has secured interviews with some of the biggest acts currently recording, including Manchester Orchestra (pictured above), Chvrches, Issues and Childhood. Video games has also secured an exclusive interview with Rhianna Pratchett, the writer of Mirror’s Edge and the recent Tomb Raider reboot. On the centre pages, we’ve put together what we believe to be the ultimate guide to Cardiff, as judged by the editors of our individual sections, occupying an eight-page mini publication of its own, so feel free to pull it out and take a look! Lonely hearts rejoice, as Food and Drink look at where you can take bad date partners, as well as a review of the Cardiff branch of boutique pie restaurant Pieminister. Travel get into the spirit of the summer with a spread of student holiday photos and dig deep into package holidays. Features, too, look forward to the next few months with a comprehensive list of what you can do in Cardiff while the sun still shines, as well as publishing pieces exploring the perspectives of third and first year students at the end of this academic year. LGBT+ examine representations of gender and sexuality in superhero films, as well as asking if the community itself provides safe space for dialogue and debate. Culture swoop in with the highlights of the Hay Festival, and a rundown of local staples, the NoFitState circus and Made in Roath Festival. Film and TV engage in possibly the most self-referential debate ever, asking whether Film or TV is a superior place to tell a story, and take a closer look at the castings in the next Star Wars film. Finally, Helen Griffiths gives us one last look into her mind as Cardiff’s most snap-happy third year, and Fashion and Beauty features ethical fashion brand Amazing Aardvark, and interviews those behind mental health awareness group Heads Above the Waves.



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Cover photography by Henry Laurisch




There’s something special about wanting to go into the media nowadays. I’d call it a compulsion; the compulsion to write, speak, and act in a way that communicates something. Even if it’s something as superficial as your love for a particular pair of shoes or a particular person’s face, there’s something to be recognised in people who would face the poor job and pay prospects of journalism and risk stability in order to be able to communicate that something, whatever it may be. Of course, in one form or another, we all think we’re going to be successes. Matthew Parris identified something similar in politicians; deciding that you want to be a politician is basically admitting that you’re not only fit to govern, but that you’re going to be able to overcome the selection process and be able to get elected in the first place. Some might call that arrogance (and I think, as an ex-MP, he did), but I think that’s another sort of manifestation of that compulsion I spoke about. When I named my editor’s note “The Question,” it represented my desire to figure out what drove people to us to spend 100+ hours a month in the student media office putting together this behemoth of a publication. To be honest, I’m not 100% sure I’ve found the answer; the one thing I am sure of, though, is that this industry is the place for me. Maybe I’ll never know why, but it’s the only place I can expend some of that invisible energy inside of me - the same energy that compels journalists, broadcasters and writers around the world. This is my home now, and I’ve loved every step along the way. As a team, we’ve achieved so much this year. Issue 141, at time of writing, has 2.2mil individual views on its digital version, meaning we pretty much went viral. Transitioning from a fortnightly supplement to the venerable gair rhydd to a magazine of our own was a pretty amazing experience, and I’ve been honoured to lead the team that saw what was probably the most significant change in the magazine’s publishing process since it was founded. In the past, we’ve won a number of national awards, including some of the coveted Guardian Student Media Awards, as have our writers. I’m confident that, even if we don’t win anything this year, we’ve set the wheels in motion to be - without a doubt - one of the finest student publications in the UK over the next twelve months. On the subject of next year, the magazine’s editor will be Sum Sze Tam, who’s spent the last year working on the Culture section with Amy Pay. We had slightly fewer applicants for the editorship than last year, but I’m confident Sum Sze (Sum Sze is her first name, by the way - note that down now before you call her “Sum,” Westerners) would have been the best even if two thousand people applied. Indeed, in one instance, she was, securing a pretty coveted internship in London this summer despite a few hundred other people applying for the same post. Sum Sze represents the very best Cardiff has to offer, and probably the rest of the UK’s universities too. I’ve seen her interviewing people, and, to be honest, it’s already clear she’ll do a better job than me. For starters, she’s a lot more fashionable. Thank you, everybody, who read and wrote for the magazine this year. Overleaf, we’ve got a bumper edition of the special thanks section, and while it’s inevitable we’ve missed a few people, it’s an almost complete list of those who were instrumental in making the magazine what it is now. Oh, and Sophie Lodge? I couldn’t have done this without you. This is Michael O’Connell-Davidson, signing off. MOCD


You’ve had the entire year to acquaint yourselves with our ugly faces, and it’s not as though you’ll need to contact any of us as we’ll all be moving on to bigger and better things (for those staying on, that includes next year’s magazine). With that in mind, we’re dedicating this page and all of the work we’ve done this year to the following people: Charlotte Wace, who has been hugely supportive and helped plan the transition to a monthly format, the families and friends of the team for their understanding whenever we came back at 3am after wrestling with InDesign for the past twelve hours, and for being eternally proud of our work on the magazine (particularly Michelle and Stephen O’Connell-Davidson, Mama Lodge, Karin, Antonia, Corinna, and Evris Consolos, Marcel Hannemann, Mike Kiss, Ben Aldersley, Maria Pulman, Chris Houghton, Rob Thomas, Becky Pickering, Elinor Davis, Chloe Price, Izzy Jones and Jacob Dickins), Sum Sze Tam, for accepting Mike hasn’t had the time to plan for your anniversary as it falls just after this issue goes to print, Jacob Dirnhuber, for being a shoulder to cry on and a great friend to Mike and Sum Sze, Elin Rees for her assistance with Swn Festival, Connor Cupples, for all the help he’s given our music team this year, Gregory Barton, for his work on both GB Live and Orchard, Fleur Tucker, Suzanne Carter, and Mair Jones for being great points of contact for our culture team, Adam Bown, for being the (unofficial) third video games editor, Funky Arse Dancing, Folk Roots, The Friendzone, Naughty Keith, The Taf, for reasons that go without saying (thanks for all the Enchiladas!), The Tea and Coffee Circlejerk, Ed Watson, for starring on the front cover of Quench 143 and organising the Chvrches interview that graces the cover of this issue, Lizo Mzimba, for being an excellent media awards host, Elaine Morgan, for being an all around lovely lady, and Tom Eden, for being an excellent editor of gair rhydd and a pillar of support to the magazine’s staff. We’d also like to thank the entire gair rhydd team, particularly Rowan Whittington, Gareth Evans, Olivier “big money” van den Bent-Kelly and SportPol past and present, as well as everybody involved in Xpress and CUTV (extended shoutouts to Matt Jones, Sam Lloyd, Kayleigh Chan and Helen Griffiths), All of the staff of Cardiff SU deserve a mention, but especially the security guards for letting us stay way too late, Cari Davies, for being the ultimate president, and Jess McFarlane for being a limitless source of positivity and good-will. Thanks are also extended to Martyn Fowler, who continues to be the right man for the job, Skeletor, for never giving up, John Jewell, Andy Williams, Duncan Bloy and other lecturers who were understanding when our career aspirations got in the way of academia, Yasmine Canga-Valles, who we’re wishing the best of luck in advance of her postgrad, Rhianna Pratchett, for completing one of the best interviews we’ve had all year on such short notice, Josh Edwards, for doing absolutely nothing to benefit print, the Student Publication Association and Sophie Davis, whose efforts kept the entire association afloat another year, the Quench teams of the years prior, and, of those, Jo Southerd, Luke Slade, Laura Evans, and Lloyd Griffiths for their encouragement this year. Quench 2013/2014 has been, past and present, Michael O’Connell-Davidson, Sophie Lodge, Charlotte Wace, Andy Love, Chloe May, Hattie Miskin, Charlie Mock, Suryatapa Mukherjee, Emrhys Pickup, Helen Griffiths, Jordan Brewer, Jacqueline Kilikita, Sophie Falcon, Jess Rayner, Emma Giles, Kathryn Lewis, Emilia Ignaciuk, Dylan Jenkins, Amy Pay, Sum Sze Tam, Rhian Carruthers, Matt Grimster, Oli Richards, Leanne Dixon, Daniel Rosser, Charlie Andrews, Jade Attwood, Jenny Morgan, Imran Bukhari, Tom Connick, Jimmy Dunne, Hannah Embleton-Smith and Alex Greig. A short (and by no means exhaustive) list of this year’s standout contributors includes Anne Porter, Adam Bown, Aimee-Lee Abraham, Henry Boon, Alec Evans, Elouise Hobbs, Louis Browne, Bethan Philips, Jacob Dirnhuber (yes, you’re on this page twice, deal with it), India Thomas, Tom Reeder, Dan Tucker, Jasmine Freeman, Jordan Nicholls, Vaiva Seskeviciute, James Ayles, Amy Endacott, Alex Miarli, Lubna Anani, Liam McNeilly, Josie Copson, Amelia Jones, Freddy Rochez, Alice Havard, Eleanor Wilson, Kirsty Fardell, Marc Mayo, Kieran Brettle-Aldridge, Owen Spalding, George Atkins, Anica Whitmore, Desna Lespinoy, Sarah Roberts, Rhys Thomas Elliott, Toby Mott, Jack Glasscock, Matthew Lee Schneider, Daniel Krajnik, and Conor Brown.


SUMMER IN CARDIFF The summer is here! Kathryn Lewis brings you the best things to do during the sunny season It’s fast approaching that time of year where we pack up our lives into our parents’ car boots and wave good bye to our much loved adoptive city for the summer months. For most first year students this is a customary event which comes around every semester break; but by the time you get to second and third year these precious weeks spent at home seem to shrink as each one passes, the university libraries becoming more familiar than your home town. So when the dreaded exam period finally draws to an end, more often than not students flee the city. Cathays becomes a ghost town throughout the summer months and you rarely see selfies on Instagram of your fellow students’ ‘mental’ summer in Cardiff. However, it appears that we may all be missing out when the mass exodus of students leave this beautiful and diverse capital city. So for any of you lucky enough to be spending your break in Cardiff, here are a few ideas of how to fill your time.

If your summer looks set to be weeks of empty pages in your calendar, do not despair When you picture summer festivals, Cardiff isn’t the iconic party city most would imagine. And in all honesty it’s not, but the Welsh capital is home to some creative and fun festivals of its own. If the abundant pictures of our food on social networking sites is anything to go by, more of us than ever are becoming a bit of a “foodie”, so why not indulge yourself in some culinary treats at the International Food & Drink festival at Cardiff Bay. Between the 11th and 13th July the Bay will be flooded with gastronomic treats from around the world for you to try and buy, and even better, admission to the festival is free. If food isn’t your thing, but you still fancy a wander down to Mermaid Quay, the Bay is also going to be the venue for the city’s Spring Music Fest between the 24th May and the 1st June. Don’t expect to

be wowed by the likes of Arctic Monkeys or Dolly Parton, but the festival boasts a wide range of local artists and a relaxed atmosphere. Plus you don’t have to frantically refresh a web page or sell all your personal belongings to get your hands on a ticket; it’s free!

Prove the instagram snobs wrong this summer and big up your adoptive home If you feel as if you’ve exhausted Cardiff Bay after all, it is probably the only other part of Cardiff most students bother to venture to, except for Live Longue and that’s for £1 glasses of wine - the city has plenty more to offer. If you have spent a little too much of that precious revision time watching Game of Thrones lately, you can indulge your newfound fantasies (maybe not all of them) at Cardiff Castle’s jousting event, imaginatively named ‘Joust’! Here you can get involved in all things medieval, from juggling and archery to food and drink, whilst watching the professionals battle it out. If you’re keen to get into the medieval action make sure to book a ticket by June the 16th, tickets are £13. If you prefer to watch the action instead of being part of it, the Cardiff theatre scene has an amazing selection of shows to offer this summer. Cardiff Millennium Centre is playing host to some amazing West End productions, including War Horse, Cats & West Side Story, which is a fantastic opportunity for any musical lovers, as touring prices are a steal compared to those in London (tickets around £25.) It’s not just the city’s big theatre which is offering some great entertainment this summer: the Sherman Theatre which is right on our doorstep has a number of productions running through June and September, with student tickets starting at £7.50. People may label us ‘the lazy members of society’, but the majority of students do have a bike. It’s just lying lonely in a hallway or under stair cupboard. So

why not brush the dust off your wheels by exploring the Taff Trail cycle routes. The cycle path stretches from Cardiff Bay all the way to the Brecon Beacons, with some amazing sites along the way including Caerphilly Castle and Sophia Gardens. Also don’t worry, no one’s expecting Bradley Wiggins; the trail is easy to join and exit with multiple train stations (and pubs for a cheeky cider in the sun) along the way. What’s more, if you don’t have a bike you can hire one from Taff Trail Cycle Hire in Pontcanna Fields at a reasonable price. If cycling isn’t quite exhilarating enough for you, Cardiff has its own white water rafting centre (who knew!). Here you can wash all past exam stress away with outdoor rafting, indoor surfing and even ‘hot dogging’ (a two man inflatable kayak, to put straight any wondering minds). Although the activities at White Water Centre are at the higher end of most students’ budgets - prices start at £40 - it would definitely be an experience to remember. Also if it’s a sunny day, how are your Facebook friends to know you’re in South Wales, not New South Wales, Australia? So if you are feeling a bit glum at the prospect of your fellow students magically attaining the funds to venture around the world while your summer looks set to be weeks of empty pages in your calendar, do not despair. Ok, we cannot guarantee amazing weather. It’s going to rain at some point, we all know it, but Cardiff has a lot more to offer than first expected. Prove the Instagram snobs wrong this summer and ‘big up’ your adoptive home.




Hannah Cheshire gives advice to fellow sufferers of panic attacks at this point in the academic year when exams and coursework are building up the pressure

For as long as I can remember I have had anxiety and panic attacks. I was diagnosed, officially, with panic attacks when I was fourteen, and was only diagnosed with anxiety disorder in January of this year, over four years later. They destroyed my self-confidence and ruined all of my memories of school. I let my panic attacks control my life and it was a truly awful time.

Don’t forget to breathe The thought of having a panic attack in an exam is alarming, and at this time I thought of those who, like me, have an additional reason for experiencing the crushing feeling of dread as they step into that exam hall. I’ve found that the best way to prevent attacks is distraction; if you feel an attack building, games on your phone are a brilliant way to turn your mind to something else. If you’re in a lecture, or an exam, you can’t just get your phone out, so picture something or someone or somewhere that makes you feel happy and relaxed. Tell yourself you are going to be OK. You are on a beach in Mexico with a mojito, not a stuffy hall filled with silence and five hundred fellow students. Don’t forget to breathe. This sounds obvious, but I’ve forgotten to breathe before and ended up collapsing, which is embarrassing. Take slow, deep breaths and try to stay focused on that beach. There is nothing physically wrong with you and you are absolutely healthy, so there is no reason to be worried. Dry your eyes and blow your nose,



reapply your makeup if it’s necessary and try to continue with normal activities after you’ve calmed yourself down. You’ll feel exhausted and a little freaked out, but you’re physically fine. If at all possible do some exercise soon after to use up all that spare adrenaline in your system. Binge on some chocolate and talk to someone about your feelings later, telling a friend and confiding in them can take the pressure off having panic attacks. If you’re that friend that they are confiding in, ask them how you can help them! Everyone has something: I like to be left alone for a little while after but some people like hugs or a good chat once they’ve relaxed. It entirely depends on what they need. However, if your friend is having a panic attack, tell them to breathe, talk to them but try to resist the urge to hug them as this can end up with some unfortunate consequences for you (sorry dad for that one time I had a panic attack and punched you in the stomach!). At this point in the university year, pressure starts to rise and deadlines draw closer. But you can do this and you can overcome any panic that is thrown your way. While this article is no instant cure, it’ll make panicking a little easier. Just remember to breathe and not let these attacks control your life.

Kay Sage, Le Passage (1956)



Two weeks before moving into Senghennydd Court at Cardiff University, I had what those with a penchant for drama might call “a moment”. Summer was drawing to a close, the majority of my friends had waltzed their way to every corner of the country, and the prospect of University – that up until now had felt entirely false – became very real indeed. I remember looking out of my bedroom window onto a sun-soaked garden and genuinely believing that life was about to change forever. That may sound like hyperbole, but it’s true – and anyway, I’m sure that everyone is guilty of losing some perspective prior to properly leaving home for the first time. It wasn’t until I’d spent a couple of days feeling sorry for myself that it suddenly dawned on me that I was embarking on an entirely new experience that was to be embraced rather than shied away from. I’m still not sure what clicked, but something did and I’ve never looked back. Arriving at Room 2, Flat 3, House E and making the acquaintance of Salisbury Road and its Family Fish Bar (along with my still-fantastic flat-mates, of course) I felt incredibly positive about my first year in the Welsh capital and I’m thrilled to say that it hasn’t disappointed. Following a Fresher’s fortnight that was defined by a packed Solus dance floor and many forgotten names, the course I’d clicked on UCAS many moons ago (Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies) broke into full flow as many came to the realisation that they hadn’t held a pen – let alone written a 1500 word essay – in months.

As the end of the academic year draws to a close, two students reflect - one first year, and one about to graduate on the past year, and what the future holds for them

I don’t think anyone quite appreciated how special the Autumn semester was. Although everyone was still finding their feet (and falling fowl to the countless number of reps who claimed they’d got tickets for the “biggest” night in town), I remember a real bond in those initial seminars that was inevitably born from a “we’re in this together” mentality.

I remember looking out of my bedroom window onto a sun-soaked garden and genuinely believing that life was about to change forever While this faded somewhat as the academic year progressed and individuals found their cliques, the community spirit remained and I often found myself acknowledging course mates in the corridors of Bute building or on the sticky floors of Glam. The frequent socials helped to maintain this, too – albeit through the disclosure of information that should have never seen the light of day courtesy of “Never Have I Ever” and the ever-comforting Taf. Returning home for Christmas was like visiting a forgotten paradise. Suddenly I was relieved from household chores that I’d integrated into my routine, and actually eating something that tasted good rather than a Sainsbury’s Basics Ready Meal and three veg that formed a large part of my University diet. The spring semester flashed by, but then so did the entire academic year. It’s scary to contemplate, because what adults continuously mention

throughout childhood is proven correct; time really does speed up with age. Which is exactly why it’s so important to enjoy every minute of every experience. Throughout my first year I’ve been involved in Cardiff Student Media (most notably with Cardiff Union TV and Quench) and so many opportunities opened themselves up to me as a result. I’ve interviewed Swansea City defender and Wales International Neil Taylor, toured BBC Wales, and attended the National Student Television Awards as well as contributing to a range of programs. If you’re yet to check out any of the four sections (Gair Rhydd, Quench, CUTV and Xpress), I implore you to do so because not only are they currently hiring but it was one of the best decisions I made this academic year. On the topic of decisions, I think there’s at least one moment in everybody’s first year that they look back at and cringe. Living independently in a new city is bound to bring with it mistakes, and while I’m lucky in the respect that mine were few and relatively harmless (albeit slightly awkward, perhaps!), I don’t think that anybody should have regrets unless they’re unhappy with the person that they’re taking into second year. The main thing is that I’ve survived, and had an amazing time – largely as a result of the people I’ve met on my course and otherwise. Regardless of how serious things are meant to get from here on out, we’ll celebrate the end of the academic year in true first year style by being young, happy, and sharing the impression that life just can’t get any better.

Toby Mott



As a carefree fresher, you think that the day will never come when your life will be punctuated not by jaeger bombs, sticky floors and regrets, but rather dissertation anxiety, LinkedIn profiles and the dull ache of stress. The creeping realisation that I had little more than a year left of being a student first hit me one dark evening over the Christmas period. I was at a party, quietly sipping mulled wine and inwardly debating a second trip to the buffet table, when I was confronted by the dreaded question: “So, what are you doing next year?” It was a question I had studiously avoided but when asked by a well-meaning family friend, it felt like the decisive chime of church bells at the funeral of my student years. I struggled to clutter together a legitimate answer beyond a hollow laugh and vague references to travelling or accepting the inevitability of my unemployment while whiling away long days weeping at videos of red pandas. It was that evening that the fear set in. I had heard of final-year fear before and had always viewed it as a possibility in the distant future. But against my wishes, it became a constant companion. What had I been doing for the past four years of my languages degree that was worthy of note? My cobbled together CV seemed riddled with black holes of inactivity. I started to curse my parents for not being better connected or rich enough to fund another



degree and I became increasingly aggrieved by smug statuses about securing grad scheme places. Slowly, I found that my course mates were morphing into real-life human beings with jobs.

Your resentment towards first years grows more transparent as you watch drunken eighteen year olds dance with wild abandon to Taylor Swift’s ‘22’, whilst you, an actual 22 year old, curse them and their youth In conjunction with the fear of the big unknown came the inevitable phase of misty-eyed nostalgia for every element of university life. Everything that you were moaning about last week suddenly seems just so beautiful. You may find yourself getting sentimental about misspent nights at the SU, and you may even end up mourning the ill-fated demise of The Lash (even though you only went a handful of times and probably hated it). Even the memory of ending up at terrible fast food joints fills you with entirely unwarranted nostalgia; the cheap charms of Chippy Lane are enough to elicit a solitary tear. Late night browsing descends into trawling through old Facebook photos of your carefree first year existence and wondering about where your fresher

friends ended up: did Dmitry find true love, and did Brian, the perpetually drunk optometrist, get through his degree unscathed? You start to view nights out in first and second year through heavily rose-tinted lenses as now, whenever you find the time to go out, you feel anything but ‘fresh’. Your resentment towards first years grows more transparent as you watch drunken eighteen year olds dance with wild abandon to Taylor Swift’s ‘22’, whilst you, as an actual 22 year old, silently curse them and their youth. You may fall into the trap of counting down pointless landmarks: the last reading week, the last lecture, the last student loan. Quickly, you will find your newsfeed littered with trite statuses and excessive emotion about the least exciting elements of student life, about how it’s all gone so fast and where have the years gone? Still, anything is better than the onslaught of photographs of neatly bound dissertations. However, despite the stress and despite the fear, I do inwardly smile at those who say that they cannot wait to be free and just earn some cash because really, the reason that your final year can be hard is precisely because university is such a great experience. When else would you find the time to dabble in bizarre hobbies (one friend recently took up painting wooden rabbits), become proficient at pub quizzes and create memories that you’ll share with friends for years to come? And study, of course.

Charlotte Walmsley


INSTANT GRATIFICATION James Thompson explores the consequences of everything being just a click away Over the past decade, the World Wide Web seems to have absorbed just about everything on the planet and transferred it to the screens of our laptops, tablets, smartphones and remaining few desktops. The internet is continuously growing in such a way that the average person can get a hold of just about whatever they ‘need’ (or more likely ‘want’) in a matter of seconds, through a couple of clicks, taps and swipes. Although the net provides an infinite amount of life-enhancing possibilities, it seems to, above anything else, serve up unnecessary amounts of satisfaction. This may seem like a rather cynical statement, but it cannot be denied that our generation has become addicted to certain internet ‘services’, by consuming the immediate entertainment and self-gratification they provide in potentially dangerous doses. The first of the lethal gratifiers is social media. Facebook turned ten this year; and with MySpace (and don’t forget Bebo) coming before it, it is hard to remember a time when our generation wasn’t preoccupied with popping notifications, coastline or mountain range cover photos and the events that you are virtually ‘attending’, yet in reality sleeping through. Facebook can be useful in that it enables you to ‘connect with friends and the world around you’. Though fundamentally it’s all about you; your profile is essentially a testament to how much happier you are than your ex from four years ago. Facebook has become a means by which people feel better about themselves. Or worse, if suddenly you become jealous of a ‘friend’ who is posting a heap of smiley photos of them in Tenerife, suggesting that they’re having the best time in the world and are definitely beating you at life. The only way to counteract this is to post a load of photos of you doing interesting stuff, which results in an all-out battle between self-gratifiers who do things specifically to post them on Facebook and then eagerly watch their phones awaiting feedback. The most common self-gratification tool of them all is of course, ‘The Selfie’: the picture you take of yourself looking the best you can, with a few filters chucked on top in an attempt to

receive as many ‘likes’ and positive comments as possible. If the response is good then you can die happy. But it doesn’t matter if you are Ellen DeGeneres and a group of smiling Oscar nominees; the world has no need for photos of you, taken by yourself, on your own phone. It all comes down to satisfying the self, and ultimately people rely on virtual compliments in the form of ‘likes’ to get through the day. The same goes for statuses. I found out recently that my little brother actually removes statuses from his wall that fail to receive a certain amount of ‘thumbs up’. The witty statement that makes the final cut and manages to rake in ‘likes’ in the double figures probably took him two hours to write… but no one needs to know that! I hate to throw my bro under the bus, but it does go to show that if social media dictates the lives of most twenty-somethings around the world, then the generation following us is utterly doomed. So what is wrong with a little gratification from taking an innocent selfie or crafting the mother of all statuses? Well, a study by some neuroscientists at Harvard found that talking about ourselves brings us a kind of pleasure similar to what we feel eating food, having sex or getting money. When the notification sound ‘pops’, indicating some praise is coming your way, the brain’s reward-circuitry is activated, and you are instantly satisfied. Getting a ‘like’, doesn’t mean that you no longer feel the need to eat or have sex, but because the gratification is so immediate and so easy to receive, it does mean that you are less inclined to do something satisfying that requires effort like playing the guitar or going to the gym. It definitely means that you are less inclined to do something productive that only offers gratification in the long run, like doing a dissertation. Ultimately, the rush of dopamine that gives us ‘the buzz’ is short-lived and therefore, in an attempt to experience the same gratification, we constantly seek more social experiences by spending prolonged periods of time on Facebook. In light of the new Banksy artwork presenting the ‘iPhone Lovers’, it is fair to say that a lot people spend more time looking at their phones waiting for the virtual sense of gratification, rather than paying attention to the real human beings that



surround them. So that’s how people indulge themselves socially, but it doesn’t end there. For as soon as we stop wasting time on social media, it’s straight to Netflix. We’ve passed the days of renting DVDs from Blockbusters and we’ve nearly come to the point of avoiding trips to the cinema; why make the effort if the world’s largest virtual movie library is right in front of you? There is nothing wrong with watching a bit of TV, but the binge-watching that Netflix provides is where it gets out of hand. You finish watching an episode of House of Cards, and before you know it, Netflix, knowing that you are hungry for more pleasure, begins counting down until the start of the next one. From then on your brain refuses to change gears, and will happily repeat episode after episode until the early hours of the morning; and why do you do it? Because you can! Why go out into the world to find gratification when you can gain it from the comfort of your own room. You can catch up on Breaking Bad (because it’s all anyone talks about) or spend an entire weekend watching two full seasons of 24. The weekly airings of the much-loved Game of Thrones on Sky Atlantic serve as a reminder that good things come to those who wait. Although each episode usually ends with a cliff-hanger that begs to be resolved, because we know that it is out of our hands we are forced to carry on with our lives and are probably better off as a result. When the next week comes around, our days have probably been more productive, and the episode itself becomes a treat and significantly more satisfying than if we had watched it at the end of a succession of five. When entertainment is that accessible, you immediately disregard everything else. Just the other night, I decided to switch over from a BBC News report on the Crimean Crisis to Die Hard with a Vengeance on Channel 5. In hindsight, it was probably wrong to ignorantly substitute information regarding a global crisis for the entertainment of an action-filled fantasy, but at that point in time, my brain preferred to absorb the gratifying images of Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson blowing up German terrorists. Despite having witnessed these images six or seven times already. Undoubtedly the easiest source for entertainment, and one of the finest ways to waste your time, is the infamous YouTube. This is how it happens: You start watching a funny video that Ben (a ‘friend’ who you can’t recall ever adding or meeting) just posted on Facebook (a post that seeks the acknowledgment that Ben possesses a sense of humour and is in touch with the latest viral trends). The video is called ‘Baby Monkey (Riding On A Pig Baby Monkey)’; you’ve seen it

before but you watch it anyway, and then forty-five minutes later you suddenly find yourself watching: ‘50 Cent dubbed over Jehovah’s Witnesses trying to get deaf people to stop masturbating’. How have you ended up here? The past three quarters of an hour you have been in a zombie state, incessantly clicking on ‘funny video’ after ‘funny video’. It was consciously gratifying to begin with, but now you need to seriously re-evaluate your life. Just as we cannot avoid watching the next episode on Netflix, the sight of the long list of ‘Related videos’ trigger those rocketing dopamine levels. Your brain says: ‘The last video was funny, so why not watch another one? Just one more and then we’ll get back to the essay, I promise.’ Another forty minutes pass. A lot of YouTubers themselves are chief exemplars for the gratification generation, as many post videos in a desperate attempt to hoard as many views as possible. You could argue that certain videos are providing entertainment for people all around the world. But after watching a video of a budgie singing dubstep, or a compilation of babies eating lemons for the first time, in the grand scheme of things neither the viewers nor the person behind the camera are better off. There is nothing wrong with pleasuring yourself… Though as a student, the most detrimental effect of constantly searching for satisfaction in these forms is that you become a bigger timewaster than a Swansea City ball boy, and no proper work is actually achieved. You come home complaining to housemates about an 8-hour stint in Julian Hodge, strenuously researching for your dissertation. Yet 85% of that time was probably spent tagging yourself in photos from Retros the previous night or getting caught up in a never-ending cycle of Saturday Night Live skits on YouTube. I’ll admit that I’ve been doing the latter on and off since the start of this article. Though if I’m honest writing this at the moment feels like work and I’m afraid that technology has conditioned me to want to stop immediately and satisfy myself by watching an episode of Arrested Development. After all, it’s only a few tempting clicks away. Ultimately, the act of procrastination is a form of self-gratification that inevitably overcomes the urge to apply yourself and work for something meaningful. With Netflix allowing us to feast our eyes on any cinematic adventure we please, and Facebook allowing us to stage ourselves for nearly any human being we please, it is clear that ever-developing technology has turned our generation into gratification machines that don’t even have to leave their screens to find the pleasure that they don’t actually need.

The act of procrastination is a form of self gratification that inevitably overcomes the urge to apply yourself and work for something meaningful

Q 10



GET OVER IT! Back in the beginning of April, GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) held their 25th Annual GLAAD Media Awards, which sets out to honour a host of various films, albums, books, comics and other media from 2013 for their “fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and the issues that affect their lives”. As with the other forms of media that are listed above, comics have constructed a whole host of characters who represent the LGBT+ community and many a story have been crafted around issues and opinions regarding said community. The Outstanding Comic Book category featured an especially robust selection of nominees, but ultimately the award was presented to Marvel’s recently concluded Young Avengers title from writer Kieron Gillen. Young Avengers was most notable for featuring the popular gay superhero couple Hulkling and Wiccan, but it also explored the complicated sexuality of the remainder of the team roster. “With Young Avengers, thanks to the work of Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung in its creation, we had an incredible opportunity to push these themes even more prominently,” said Gillen in Marvel’s press release. “The response from the people who the book spoke to has been absolutely humbling. Receiving the award continues that particular theme. We’re both lucky and grateful.” In the original Young Avengers series, writer and creator Allan Heinberg intended to reveal that teammates Wiccan and Hulkling were a couple in issue #12, but to his surprise, many fans picked up on the clues of the first two issues. Months after the Young Avengers disbanded after a disastrous mission, Hulkling proposed to Wiccan and, that very night, the two were told that they were now considered official Avengers. This all happened in the pages of ‘Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #9’, which was the first comic to feature the two characters sharing a true kiss, nearly seven years after their introduction. Another title that was nominated within the Outstanding Comic Book category was DC’s Batwoman. The original Batwoman was Kathy Kane, a circus owner and thrill-seeker who seemingly decided to adopt the life of a costumed adventurer for the sheer fun of it (and to get Batman’s attention). She was introduced in 1956 in response to comic book critics who alleged that the Dark Knight was homosexual and that his stories were partly gay propaganda. After a few years of fun misadventures, Kathy Kane largely vanished from comics. Fifty years after Kathy first appeared, a new Batwoman debuted in the world of DC Comics. Kate Kane (a relative of Kathy’s) was a woman who had lost her mother and sister to kidnappers when she was a child. Later on, Kate joined the U.S. Army, as her father had before her, but the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy later got her into a situation where she could either come out as a lesbian or allow someone else to be investigated. Kate came out and left the military behind. A later encounter with the Batman convinced Kate that there was still a way for her skills and training to be useful. With her father as her aid, Kate wages war on Gotham’s

Charlie Andrews writes about inspiring LGBT+ icons in Superhero comics

criminals as the Batwoman. Kate is noted for being romantically involved with Maggie Sawyer, an old friend of Superman’s, and this relationship has recently progressed to the point where they are now engaged. With DC’s reboot of continuity (The New 52) back in 2011, Batwoman was given her own title, thus becoming the first gay superhero to headline her own on-going title. Batwoman may be the first gay superhero to headline her own title, but she isn’t credited with being the first gay superhero. That accolade is awarded to the X-Man Northstar. Jean-Paul Beaubier was first introduced in 1979 in the pages of Uncanny X-Men, as a member of the Canadian superhero team Alpha Flight before later joining the X-Men. Created by Chris Claremont and John Byrne, Northstar was intended to be gay but this was not openly stated until 1992 after another character confronted him about how famous and influential people could bring greater attention to LGBT+ issues and the rising AIDS epidemic. As a result, Northstar came out at a press conference and went on to become a speaker for LGBT+ rights. Northstar’s gay-superhero-posterboy status doesn’t stop there, however. Twenty years after gaining so much external publicity, Northstar did it again by marrying his long-time boyfriend Kyle Jinadu, thus giving Marvel its first superhero same-sex marriage. Northstar proposed at the end of Astonishing X-Men #50 and the ceremony took place in issue #51. Writer Marjorie Liu regularly explored the challenges Jean-Paul and Kyle faced - as mutants, as gay men, and as men in an interracial marriage, they faced no shortage of adversity. Yet, they persevered - opening a door for other same-sex superhero couples. In fact in the same issue, Liu provided a treat for long-term X-Men fans by acknowledging the homosexual relationship between Mystique and Destiny that had so often been alluded to in the past. With Northstar and Kyle’s progress, hopefully we’ll fast reach a point where same-sex marriage in comics is commonplace enough that it doesn’t need to be the source of mass media hype any longer. If you’re not a big fan of comics or an avid reader, then there is one further example that you may have encountered way back on the TV platform. Buffy the Vampire Slayer had a massive following, partly because it subverted the typical gender stereotypes by portraying Buffy, the lead female, in an action hero role. The series was also popular amongst the LGBT+ community because it put the gay character Willow and her relationships at the centre of its later seasons. When the series concluded on TV, it continued onto its eighth season through the comic book medium. Not only has this series featured several different lesbian characters (Willow, Tara, and Kennedy), but it also went so far as to allow its main character, Buffy, to experiment with a same-sex encounter. Drew Goddard, who was a writer for Buffy back when it was a TV series, sums up this article nicely when he says: “even though we’ve still got a way to go, we’ve made tremendous progress with regard to portrayals of human sexuality in pop culture over the last ten years or so. So, the stage just feels different now”.

Famous and influential people could bring greater attention to LGBT+ issues



LGBT+ SPACES - NOT FOR EVERYONE Students from Cardiff University discuss what being LGBT+ mean to them and discuss the pros and cons of LGBT+ specific ‘safe spaces’ Questioning your identity and coming out can be an isolating and lonely experience. Often, you feel as though no one can understand you, and that you cannot relate to anyone. Discovering LGBT+ spaces can, for many people, be a literal life-saver. A safe space to share your experiences, express your concerns and - perhaps most importantly - know you’re not alone. However, these spaces do not come without their problems. Over the four years or so that I have been involved in LGBT+ environments my opinions of them have changed drastically. I am a very different person now to the timid teenager that first walked into an LGBT+ meeting all those years ago; with the biggest difference, in my eyes, being the confidence and pride I now take in my identity. If you’re expecting me to gleefully proclaim that I identify as a homosexual and all is good with the world, you couldn’t be more wrong. Nor, if you’re wondering, do I identify as bisexual, transgender, asexual, pansexual, nonbinary or any of the other limitless possibilities covered by the umbrella. This story does have a happy ending however, because I am comfortable announcing to the world that I identify, simply, as me. My identity can not, and indeed will not be bound by a single word, unless that word is simply ‘me’. I am so much more than who I love, and sadly, this is one of the biggest problems I have about being in an LGBT+ space. In a community where ironically the term ‘labelless’ has become a label in its own right, telling others that you simply do not care about defining yourself is somewhat contradictory. Inevitably, when you do not serve your own identity up for scrutiny, others will soon begin to thrust some upon you, assuring you that it’s ‘ok to take time to figure things out’ and ‘maybe you should try using *insert sexuality here* as a label.’ This was not the only problem I found that arose from this obsession with

labelling. Having initially rejoiced in the freedom to discuss LGBT+ issues in safety, it soon became apparent that this was the only item on the agenda. Whilst I wanted to discuss all manner of things, the conversation always quickly returned to queer issues and once again I soon began feeling very isolated and lonely. I thought I had found a space where I could truly be myself but as it turned out, I was hiding more of me than ever. Allowing yourself to use a label may suit you - I pass no judgement on those for whom sexuality forms an identity - but thrusting labels upon others and shaming them into feeling as though they must let it define who they are is not acceptable. It is so easy in these spaces to be convinced that your sexuality is equal to your identity, but perhaps next time someone asks how you identify, really think about it. If your answer stays the same - great. But if it changes, then that’s great too. All I know is my answer will never differ from simply ‘me.’ Sam Peterson

I am comfortable announcing to the world that I identify, simply, as me

I’ve had a lot of time to think over the past few months. Things seemed to be coming together; Cardiff’s been treating me pretty well and I passed all my modules last term. Life was looking good. I realised I was bi when I was 16, but living with a religious family and going to a religious school pretty much kept me from exploring life beyond the little bubble that I grew up in. As I’m sure many of you know - hiding away and not being true to yourself can make you pretty unhappy. When your best friend comes out drunkenly at a New Year’s Eve party, it’s testament to the extreme problems staying in the closet can cause (which sometimes are extreme actions with possibly regrettable results). I’m still in that closet, at least at home. But being LGBT+ isn’t everything. It isn’t the fringe of this and that, being known the be all and end all of me, or you, or by people but not really knowing me. Just anybody, dear reader. It’s a small part being myself pushes people the wrong of me and of who I am as a whole. As way sometimes, and trying to be open and John Amaechi said at the National Student honest with people has made me feel that Pride, “What I have in common with any of a little more. Thankfully, most of the people you will be disparate and different entirely I’ve met here at uni have made me feel at from issues of sexuality.” I’m finding that home and like a part of something. At Chinese New Year I got some of the more and more people, both in and out of LGBT+ circles, judge you on just two worst news anyone could get; my mother words - “I’m {InsertLabelHere}” - before has lung cancer. It has basically put me they even know you. It grinds my gears on a downward spiral. Life isn’t great that people can be so careless with their right now. Every worry or thought seems comments, thinking about themselves first so trivial, it has helped me see the bigger and disregarding the effect their actions picture. That’s how fragile our lives are, things can change in a flash. We can can have. It actually surprised me that some of all face the same, or similar, problems, my flatmates this year had no clue what regardless of who we are or where we’re LGBT+ stood for (it shouldn’t have). I’ve from. There’s more to me than just a letter. felt like an outsider for years, always on Marcus Connolly


Q 12



with Helen Griffiths

Bye uni, it’s been a blast So here we are, my last column of the year. I’m actually feeling quite emotional as I’m writing this. A few weeks ago, I had my very last lecture. I’ve now handed in my last essays EVER and soon I’ll be doing my very last exam. After that, all that remains is graduation. But I did the whole wah-the-future’s-so-scary-whatdo-I-do-now thing in my last column; this time, instead of looking forward, I thought I’d look back. WARNING: expect cheese, and lots of it. These past three years have been completely ridiculous, in the best possible way. I can’t believe they’re coming to an end. It’s slowly sinking in that I’m never going to experience anything quite like university again. I mean, when else in life do you get to live within streets of most of your closest friends? Or get away with sleeping until midday, then going out until the early hours… on a week night? Or have the chance to take part in such a wide range of extra curricular activities? Uni really is something special, and I’m so grateful that I was given the opportunity to come to Cardiff.

These past three years have been completely ridiculous, in the best possible way I guess that’s why I find it impossible to understand people who wish away their time at university. It perplexes me that not everyone enjoys it. I mean, fair enough if it’s not your thing, but it really is a bloody incredible opportunity - and, for that matter, not an opportunity that everybody gets. Which is why my motto throughout has been to make the most of every single aspect - the social side, the clubs and societies, and oh yeah… that degree thing that we’re ultimately all here for. As cliché as it sounds, you get out of uni what you put into it. So, the only logical thing to do is to put EVERYTHING into it. When I left high school, I was cripplingly shy. I came out of my shell a bit in sixth form, but I didn’t truly gain confidence until my first year of uni. There’s nothing like being thrown into a house with complete strangers to jump-start your people skills! Luckily, a lot of those complete strangers were lovely, and I’m still good friends with a number of my first-year housemates. I actually owe them a lot in terms of helping me become more outgoing, so thank you (you know who you are!). If you’d have told that quiet little fresher that she’d eventually be the deputy of the student TV station, or the columnist for the magazine, or doing shows on the radio, she’d have laughed in your face. But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, joining Cardiff Student Media was the best decision I ever made. Without a doubt. I’d known from day one that I wanted to be a part of print, but if it hadn’t been for two very good friends of mine telling me what an amazing time they’d had in CUTV and Xpress during first year, I might never have thought

LIFESTYLE COLUMNIST to get involved with broadcast, and that would have been awful. So I owe them a lot, too. Not just for that, but for having been my rocks throughout the whole of uni - even while one of them was working in London! As I’m putting the final touches to this column, it’s a couple of days after the Cardiff Student Media Awards, a night that celebrates all the fantastic things the people of Cardiff Student Media have done over the past year. Okay, I’m a little bit biased, but believe me when I say these are some of the most hard working, creative, and genuinely lovely people I’ve ever met. The day after the awards, a group of us spent hours together recovering from the night before and hanging out in each other’s company… we’d all gone a little bit insane from lack of sleep (plus, y’know, there was a lot of wine). Somebody climbed a lamppost for no other reason than, and I quote, “I’m hungover”. A few of us were kicked out of Cafe 37 when they realised we’d been in there for the best part of two hours and didn’t intend to move anytime soon (we relocated to Gassy Jack’s instead). It was one of those days when you don’t really do much, but the people you’re with somehow manage to make everything hilarious. And that’s the best thing about uni; it’s all about the people you meet. It really messes with my head to think that, if I’d have gone somewhere else, I’d have a completely different group of friends by now. I don’t like that thought. I find it hard to believe that any other university could rival the set of people that I’ve met here.

I find it hard to believe that any other university could rival the set of people that I’ve met here In fact, I don’t believe any other city could rival Cardiff for a university experience. It’s small enough that everything is within walking distance, but big enough that there’s always something going on - from gigs, to international rugby… even a cheese festival. What more could you want? It’s rife with Welsh culture, too - Wales does patriotism like England never could. And that’s coming from an English girl. Then there’s the fact that you can simply be out shopping on Queen’s Street and bump into the stars of some of the UK’s finest TV programmes (by this I mean the likes of Dr Who, not The Valleys). Of course, the city itself is beautiful too. We’ve got the parks, the Bay, the castle… I’m gushing now. I just really love Cardiff. You get the idea. I guess what I’m trying to say is, uni surpassed all of my expectations. I never thought I’d truly feel at home here - I’d lived in Cheshire my whole life, I’d never been away from my parents for longer than a couple of weeks, and I had a group of friends at home who I was very happy with, thank you very much. How could I ever feel at ease in a new city full of strangers? Well thankfully, that city turned out pretty great, and many of the strangers did too. Now, whenever I hop on a train from Cardiff Central, I feel like Harry leaving Hogwarts.

Sorry, I had to get a HP quote in here somewhere. Goodbye, uni. It really has been a blast.



HEADS ABOVE THE WAVES Quench Fashion recently caught up with Heads Above The Waves; a new no-profit organisation that’s brought out their own clothing line. Check out the interview and get on board. WHAT IS HATW IN A NUTSHELL? Heads Above The Waves is a non-profit organisation, raising awareness about self-harm, and encouraging people to find hope through creativity; whether that’s music, art, writing, whatever works for them. Like our t-shirts say, one size doesn’t fit all. There isn’t one blanket solution to self-harm, so we want people to find their own way of keeping their heads above whatever waves life is throwing their way. We’re also very much about the fact that it’s ok to not be ok. I got really inspired by a lyric from The Wonder Years, which says “It’s not about forcing happiness; it’s about not letting sadness win”.


Yeah, it’s been a really exciting world to get into. The truth is, I never thought that I’d be running a company, I’m still learning so much every single day. It’s awesome to meet and talk to a variety of people, from street wear stores to the vintage fair folks, share ideas, and get some affirmation that it’s possible to make a clothing label work. Cardiff’s got a really rad scene for this sort of thing. There’s a whole bunch of creative types, events, and opportunities, which we’ve been lucky enough to get involved with; like vintage fairs in Buffalo Bar and Cardiff Fashion Quarter, and local gigs, setting up our stall next to the band merch. Everyone’s been really receptive to what we’re doing and the message that we’re trying to spread; everyone has bad days, and we’re trying to help people deal with that in a better way, and that’s something everyone can get behind.

IS HATW LINKED TO A PARTICULAR MUSIC SCENE? Right now, it’s pretty heavily linked to the pop-punk scene. I mean, the whole idea of HATW started out as making band t-shirts that said “pop-punk saved my life”, and donating the profits to the Samaritans. I went for some funding, and they told me they’d fund it if I set up my own organisation, so that’s where HATW was born. For me, it was finding pop-punk music/lyrics (and the positivity that surrounds the scene) that actually pulled me out of a pretty dark place when I was struggling with self-harm as a teenager. Lyrics from bands like The Wonder Years and Real Friends just have the kind of message that we want to convey to people: “If you never break, you’ll never know how to put yourself back together”. But I’m really keen to point out that we’re by no means JUST a pop-punk brand. I just wrote a blog post on our website the other day, about the fact that music means so much to so many people, whatever genre that may be. I’m always on the look out for inspiration/positivity from everywhere. We’ve asked people what music they listen to when they need to get in a better headspace, and we’ve had everything from Dolly Parton to Bring Me the Horizon, and everything in-between.

Q 14

ARE THERE ANY OTHER PROJECTS YOUʼRE INVOLVED IN RIGHT NOW? We’re putting together all sorts of plans for the coming year. In particular, we’re trying to give people a practical opportunity to take the first step, and find what works for them to keep their heads above the waves. So we’re starting to run workshops, and put on events to let people try a bunch of different things.HATW is run by 3 people, and we’ve all got our own stuff going on as well, I’m playing in a band called Junior, and we’re starting to push that hard. Gruff runs a production company called Storm+Shelter, and they’re always crazy busy making all sorts of beautiful videos etc (they do all the HATW content). Hannah runs the Team Up club night every Friday in The Bunker (where I also DJ), so there’s plenty keeping all of us occupied, as well as trying to scale up HATW to reach even more people, in a more practical way.

WHAT DO YOU HOPE FOR THE FUTURE OF HATW AND ITʼS POSITION IN CARDIFF CULTURE? I think really, for me, it’s mostly about seeing the name getting out there a lot more. It’s starting to reach a point where I’m going to gigs and there’s usually someone there in a HATW shirt, which is pretty crazy cool. My hope is for the name Heads Above The Waves to become synonymous with hope, and help. I want HATW to become a way for people to talk openly about what they’re going through and how they’re feeling, so we’re going to start providing more practical help for people, and we’ve already got the first steps going with that. So be sure to keep up with us on social media for updates!

WHAT BANDS WOULD YOU SAY HAVE BEEN MOST HELPFUL TO YOU IN YOUR VENTURE? All the bands we’ve been lucky enough to meet and talk with have been amazing to us. Two interviews that particularly stand out for me were Gnarwolves and Real Friends; they had a lot of awesome stuff to say and were amazingly friendly. Real Friends just came back to Cardiff on their headline tour, and it was good to catch up with them again. In terms of inspiration, I’d definitely say (and in fact, I already did earlier) Real Friends and The Wonder Years have got an awesome message which we all take a lot from. I’m stoked to say that The Wonder Years, Real Friends, Modern Baseball, Decade, and more locally, Falling With Style and From Her Eyes have been wearing Heads Above The Waves merch, and so we’ve gained some new followers from that, which is awesome.

WHAT INSPIRES THE DESIGN FOR THE SHIRTS? The cool thing about our shirts, is that we get small runs done by local artists, and we give them pretty much free reign. We want the designs to have a message behind them of something that’s inspired that artist, sometimes that’s a quote, or a lyric, sometimes it’s just a concept. Our new line of shirts have inspirations including nature and getting outside, the pop-punk scene, and one of them is actually inspired by someone’s story that they’ve shared with us. I think that’s pretty cool, because it means there’s a variety of inspirations and a variety of design styles to cater to a variety of tastes, because we want everyone to be able to get behind Heads Above The Waves.


Fast Fashion TREND WATCH: SUNGLASSES Sunglasses are the ultimate summer accessory, epitomising the summer season and instantly adding a bold statement to any daytime look. As always, the classic shapes are here to stay with the Ran-Bans wayfarer, being reworked in all colours and patterns, from chic black to quirky leopard print. The hottest trends for 2014 include cat-eye frames in polka dot at River Island and tortoise at Topshop. For a round shaped face, opt for oversized rectangular frames to add a style statement or, for those heart shaped faces amongst us, try the timeless classic aviators. The iconic round sunglasses are a must-have this season being modernised with embellishments, as seen at Topshop. So, give your summer wardrobe an instant update with some statement shades!

Topshop, £16

ASOS, £12

ASOS, £15



Amazing Aardvark is an independent clothing brand based in Cardiff with ethical fashion at the forefront of their designs. The brand was founded in 2013, creating a new breed of fashion that shared a love of the environment and people, promoting the use of renewable energy and the fair treatment of workers. At Quench Fashion, we are big supporters of independent fashion and thought it was time to find out more about the brand, so Nicole Petty reviewed their new range and looked into what Amazing Aardvark are all about.

Q 16

Founded in 2013 by Lauren Chatwin and Paul James, Amazing Aardvark is a welcoming face to Cardiff’s fashion market. Their design stems from a simple idea: a different animal for every letter of the alphabet, each with its own alliterative adjective. With this, their ‘Beastees’ range was born, offering bold sketches, and quirky t-shirts. Their fearless design fits perfectly into urban and street wear prints, attracting the ASOS, Topshop, River Island and Urban Outfitters shoppers. Throughout 2013 and well into 2014, animal print and animal-themed fashion continues to feature on the runways of some of the biggest designers. Amazing Aardvark succeed in bringing the latest fashion trend to the mainstream in a fresh and alternative way. It’s rule of thumb in the fashion world: never shy away from pattern. Pattern is essential - the world would be a boring place without it – but it takes some expertise to get it looking chic. Without going overboard, the ‘Beastees’ range offer a variety of t-shirts and sweaters, to make those ‘jeans and t-shirt’ days a bit more original. Their newly established ‘Lonely Aardvark’ range appeals to those who prefer a more muted outfit. As many of us are aware, men and fashion go together like socks and sandals; Amazing Aardvark has made it easy for the fashionamateurs to look bang on trend this spring. ‘Lonely Aardvark’s’ Fred Perry-inspired polo shirts look great for an evening occasion, teamed with a classic blazer and a pair of brogues. As for the stylish ladies, why not keep within the animal theme and team a ‘Beastees’ t-shirt with the iconic leopard print sporty shoe inspired by Steve Madden. My favourite piece from the collection has got to be the ‘Barmy Badger’ rolled sleeve top. I must admit, their tops are not something I would usually buy; my style is a little more girly, so I styled mine with a pair of Topshop ‘Mom’ jeans, and a pair of green Zara sandals to add a splash of colour to the look. We must not forget the incredible ethos behind the brand that makes the company different from other retailers. The world is changing, it has been for a while; when you watch documentaries like ‘Food, Inc.’, you see just how poorly animals can

be treated. It demands attention for people to start changing their lives in a really small way which will have a huge impact on the world, both environmentally and humanely. Not only are their tops individual, their garments are made solely from organic cotton and manufactured using renewable green energy from wind and solar power. By handpicking suppliers who operate a ‘green agenda’ and who have been certified by the Carbon Trust, they have achieved a 90% reduction in their carbon footprint. Impressed? There’s more. As customers, it’s important for us to know where our clothes are coming from; Amazing Aardvark guarantees nothing but respect for both people and animals. It’s the smallest change in the market that can make a tremendous difference to the environment. They pride themselves on good quality, organic produce; they have proven to fit in with current high street trends, without following the mainstream. The brand is certainly a treasured addition to Cardiff’s fashion market. Nicole Petty


Fringed Suede Jacket, Topshop, £255

After turning 40 this year, one of the most infamous faces in contemporary fashion history, Kate Moss, joins forces once again with Topshop to form a collaboration to rival all collaborations. A supermodel that has boho chic down to an art, with her vintage-inspired wardrobe envied by all, Kate Moss has teamed up with the high-street giants Topshop to create a new collection that is an ode to Moss’s iconic style. Moss first turned to designing for Topshop back in 2007, producing a sell-out line and fans (including us here at Quench Fashion) were thrilled to hear the news that the formidable duo are working together again. The range comprises of beautiful statement pieces based on four key trends, including noir tailoring and Balearic dressing. All the pieces epitomise Moss’s own brand of effortless cool, and are a clear example of how London is at the forefront of fashion. The collection has been referred to as a ‘wardrobe

autobiography’ with Moss recreating her own personal favourites, from classic fringed leather to her much loved 70s bohemian look. When the collection was first released at the end of April, shoppers lined the streets outside the flagship store in London, with good reason to, as the range features pieces that are perfect for the festival season. At Quench Fashion HQ we are lusting over that killer suede fringed jacket along with the stunning embellished gowns, with the range marking the end of a fouryear hiatus for Moss paying homage to classic shapes and key pieces. Designed by Katy England, the new line features 40 pieces and focusses on a summer ethos with fringed kaftans and beaded shirts. The prices may seem way out of a student budget, but think of it as an investment. I personally won’t rest until I am strutting around Cathays in that fringed jacket…

Long Fringe Tassel Dress, Topshop, £95

“I am very excited to create a new collection that bears my name. Now more than ever, with London being at the forefront of fashion, as it feels like I’m back home working with Topshop.” - Kate Moss

Jess Rayner

Beaded Fringed Dress, Topshop. £250 Splice Skirt Maxi Dress, Topshop £355 Feather Off Shoulder Cocktail Dress, Topshop £130





Take a look at the best ethical beauty products on the market for guilt free gorgeousness Via Jacqueline Kilikita

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This fabulous colour pop hue from ethical enthuaiasts at The Body Shop boasts 2x as much pigment as high-end brands such as MAC and Illamasqua. The product uses completely natural ingredients and often the store donates some of the money generated from sales to charities such as Green Peace and PETA. What’s not to love?

This bubblegum flavoured lip scrub smells good enough to eat. In fact, it is actually edible! Apply this completely vegan product directly to your lips and rub them together to eradicate dry skin. It will leave your lips feeling kissably soft, and also primes them for lipstick or gloss application for full staying power throughout the day.

Lipstick in Siren, £12, The Body Shop

Lip Scrub £6, LUSH Cosmetics

L’Occitane is known for its natural and organic products that never fail to impress on the beauty front. So capture spring/ summer in a bottle with this lovely cherry blossom scent that is often a surefire sell out in store. If this fragrance doesn’t take your fancy, be sure to pop into the store where assistants will endeavour to find you your signature smell out of the plethora of bottles available.

Cherie Parfum £30, L’Occitane

This translucent face powder from Lush will even out your skin tone in just one small dusting. Complete with a slight shimmer, it can also act as a highlighter to the cheek and brow bones. Simply take a blusher or bronzing brush and dust straight on to problematic areas after applying a foundation base. It’s best for masking dark circles or scars without looking too heavy. Again, it’s all vegan!

Translucent Powder £12, LUSH Cosmetics



Photography - Bethan Phillips

Photography - Lewis Hopkins

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LIFESTYLE TRAVEL Photography - Lewis Hopkins

Photography - Emma Giles


Photography - Bethan Phillips

THE UNCONVENTIONAL PACKAGE HOLIDAY The prospect of tour-operated, group travel may bring back buried memories of damp school trips to Paris or the painstakingly boring free city walking tour you mistakenly thought ‘might be fun’. However, the travel industry has progressed and there are now an enormous range of student focused, organised packages available to fill our summer months. From volunteering to beach hopping, travel writers Kathryn, Tegan & Lucy give us an insight into their group holiday exeriences.

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THAINTRO - THAILAND For the confident and courageous among us the thought of a trip to an exotic new country purely invokes feelings of excitement and curiosity, luckily enough for them worry is a distant emotion. However for many budding young travellers the notion of journeying to a new, distant culture, with different languages and curious customs, can be a little unnerving. Fortunately there are plenty of budget-friendly tour groups available, many specifically tailored for students, which offer introductory insights to destinations across the globe. One such company is ThaIntro, which as you can guess from the name is an introductory tour around Thailand (no tedious, umbrella-laden guides or snap happy tourists included). The weeklong trip is suited for anybody looking to explore the delightfully diverse culture of Thailand that doesn’t possess the confidence to go it alone. Starting off in Bangkok and travelling down to Koh Phangan, ThaIntro provides a lively first glimpse into the Thai culture, with days packed full of exciting activities, including elephant treks and Thai cooking classes, followed by evenings filled with cocktail buckets and beach parties. One of the best things about ThaIntro is that the group leader picks everyone up from the airport, whatever time your flight arrives, eradicating the chance of jetlag fuelled airport freak-outs (it’s happened to us all). Throughout the trip you travel with a group of about 15-30 people of a similar age, which is an invaluable way to meet people for solo travellers or just to make some great new friends. What’s more the comrades acquired in the week often become your accompanying explorers for the rest of your adventure. At the end of the thrilling week, you will have gained lasting memories but also the courage and eagerness to continue your trip without the safety net of a tour group, in an amazing country which you have now grown to adore. Kathryn Lewis


ThaIntro provides a lively first glimpse into the Thai culture, with days packed full of exciting activities, including elephant treks and Thai cooking classes



In my opinion, there is no better way to kick back, relax and blow off some steam after exams than a holiday with guaranteed sea, sun and fun. I spent last summer swimming and sunbathing on the picturesque Croatian coast with the British company Summer Sail, which is specifically tailored to students like us. The down to earth tour organisation took exactly what every student wants into account; be it relaxation, beach parties or the infamous Croatian nightlife. Many students may think that tour operated holidays are expensive and out of their price range, but Summer Sail offered an amazing experience without breaking the bank. What’s more the relatively low exchange rate means your spending money can stretch to those cheeky extra evening beverages. This Croatian sailing break is so much more than the cheap and cheerful resort holidays you see on ‘Sun, Sex & Suspicious Parents’. Having your own private skipper means that you can add a bit of class to your holiday without ruining your overdraft. You can relax by day on the private yacht, or anchor and enjoy some of the most beautiful beaches and towns in Europe with likeminded people. At the end of a long day living the life of luxury, Croatia’s up and coming party scene is ready to greet you with open arms. Croatia’s music scene is becoming Ibiza’s top competition, with huge festivals featuring all sorts of genres, such as Hideout, INmusic, Ultra Europe and Soundwave. What could be better than topping of a fantastic week on the Adriatic Sea than immersing yourself in the exciting and varied music prospects.

It’s been over two years since I went on an organised trip to Fiji with the company Think Pacific, and without sounding too over the top, it is one of the best things I have ever done. For eight weeks I lived in a small village on a remote island, teaching at the local school and helping build a new ‘kindi’ or nursery school for children who come from multiple villages over the island. On weekends off we climbed mountains, visited neighbouring villages and spent the day on a castaway style island; after leaving the island we spent two weeks seeing mainland Fiji. Organised trips and ‘voluntourism’ have had a lot of criticism in recent media coverage questioning travellers’ benefits at the expense of the community they are volunteering in. I recently read a blog to this effect, where one author claimed that building projects were a waste of time because local village men either do all the work, or tear down the volunteers efforts and do it themselves. I cannot speak for other companies, but with Think Pacific this wasn’t the case. I know this because not only were the local men not allowed on the building site, but I vividly remember the week of late nights we worked tearing down, and then rebuilding the structure again, with the windows we had put up that were out of place. We made and fixed the mistakes ourselves. I can’t argue with the fact that I was volunteering in a picture-perfect paradise for 10 weeks, and this part was not a hardship. However, what I can say in favour of organised trips is the authentic experiences they offer you that solo travel never could. It showed me more of Fiji than a pretty beach and clear waters because in living with people, we built up real relationships that made the experience more memorable and valuable. I would pick participating in an organised trip anyday.

Lucy Pierce

Tegan Morris





This month Chloe May takes us to Rome, exploring why it consistently remains one of Europe’s most loved city destinations with its fascinating history and mesmerising architecture As I came to the end of my first year of University with a little bit of leftover money burning a hole in my pocket, my boyfriend and I decided to take a trip to Rome. A mere three hour flight from Birmingham to Rome Fiumicino, followed by a thirty-minute train journey on the Leonardo Express taking us to the center of the city and a trip on the Metro to our accommodation. Considering we were staying a forty-minute walk from the center of Rome, in an apartment owned by my boyfriend’s distant family, we came to know the city’s flawless metro system well. Having arrived in the city and making a hash of greeting my boyfriend’s Italian family (it’s two kisses on the cheek in Italy!), we headed out to explore the city. One thing that instantly struck me was that so many iconic sights were within walking distance of one another. The Pantheon blew us away – a 2000 year-old temple now operating as a Church. Its dome is considered the Romans’

One thing that instantly struck me was how so many iconic sights were set within walking distance of to one another greatest architectural achievement and dates back to AD 120. After taking in its magnificence, we walked ten minutes through non-descript narrow streets and heard the sound of running water for a good few minutes before the Trevi Fountain seemed to appear out of nowhere in front of us. However, the experience of the fountain was dampened by

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the hoards of tourists and street-salesmen who crowd around it day and night, so we hastily threw our Euros over our left shoulder before heading to Piazza Navona via the infamous Giolitti’s for the best and biggest ice cream I have ever tasted! Our second day took us to the glorious Roman ruins – undoubtedly my favourite part of the trip. Nothing can prepare you for the huge, imposing structure of the Colosseum and walking down the ruined paths of the Roman Forum - the glorious center of the Roman Empire. Similarly, nothing can prepare you for the intense queuing – so book ahead if you can! The image of the ancient ruins, the open

Nothing can prepare you for the huge, imposing structure of the Colosseum blue sky beyond it and the respectful peace that seemed to fall within the great gladiatorial arena is one that will remain with me forever. Also for the crazy cat ladies among you (guilty!) keep an eye out for the kitties that make the passageways of the Colesseum their home! During our four-day trip we also visited the Vatican City. If there is one thing I would encourage visitors to do, is to do the 500-step climb to the top of St Peter’s Basilica, however daunting it may initially appear. Without getting a glimpse of that famous view of the city, your trip is incomplete. Our view was made all the more memorable by the hot and muggy day suddenly breaking out into thunderstorms and forked lightning as we reached the top and looked out over the city – an eerie sight

to say the least! Ensure you take in the beauty of St. Peter’s Church, the grandest church in a city of

Every corner you turn you are faced with something beautiful and awe-inspiring beautiful churches, before heading onto the Vatican museums to explore its extraordinary beauty as well as the Sistine chapel and its acclaimed ceiling. Rome is undoubtedly awesome. On every corner you turn, you are faced with something beautiful and awe-inspiring – whether it’s a building or just the best pizza you’ve ever tasted. A visitor to Rome can gain a sense of a whole different culture and way of life simply by people-watching in one of the city’s many piazzas – it is undeniably the buzz of the city that make it one of the most incredible places to visit in Europe.


FESTIVALS FURTHER AFIELD Festivals are a popular choice when it comes to summer entertainment, so why not indulge completely and take a holiday at the same time? Whether it’s music, beer or culture that takes your fancy, Europe has a lot to offer in the way of summer festivals

Berliner Bierfestival

Tomorrowland Held in the small Belgian town of Boom, Tomorrowland attracts dance music fans in their thousands from all over their world, united in their love for good music and quest for an incredible time. My housemate always claims that you don’t get to choose if you go to Tomorrowland, the party Gods in fact pick you... quite a unique approach to festival tickets, but I kind of love her ideology. Each year a new set is designed and created and it truly takes your breath away, even if you are just seeing the pictures. The themes are all kept fairly secretive before the reveal making it that much more exciting for revellers. For the first time this year the festival will spread over two weekends doubling the number of lucky party goers. Much of the line up has already been announced with the likes of Above and Beyond, Hardwell, Benny Benassi and Nicky Romero topping the bill. Boom (appropriately named) boasts a small population of about 17,000, but each year in July it gets invaded by this monstrous festival and really comes alive. If you’re looking to head out early then you can enjoy the quaint bars and restaurants in town, or even head to the capital Brussels, which is just over an hour away for some tourist time. Josie May Copson

The Internationales Berliner Bierfestival is currently into its 18th year of inebriating Berliners, tourist stag-parties and beer connoisseurs alike in a heady mix of over 2,000 speciality beers from around the globe. The Festival takes place within the beautiful wedding cake setting of the Karl-Marx Allee, bookmarked by the beautiful dual towers of Frankfurter Tor and Stausberger Platz (in such a beautiful place, it is entirely appropriate to get absolutely smashed). The festival is ‘the biggest biergarten in Europe’ running to approximately 1,820 meters. After several of Germany’s most proud and potent beers, it will feel like much longer (if you make it). Buy a 0.5l Stein from one of the festival organizers, each based at the start, middle and end of the Festival for 3 euros which allows you to fill it at any of the tents, halls or trailers for the very reasonable price of 1.50. And repeat. Then repeat some more. There is also plentiful opportunity to sample local fare if you need something to soak up the beer. Try the Schweinebraten (pork shoulder) or Brathend’l (roast chicken) if you are feeling particularly carnivorous. The festival runs from the 2nd to the 4th of August. Opening hours are 10 a.m till 12 p.m... that is of course, if you are still standing (or haven’t been told to leave). Thomas Bamford

Festival No.6 In a highly saturated festival market, in which many line-ups are near indistinguishable and the concept of a philosophy is alien to many organisers, Portmeirion’s Festival No 6 is a breath of fresh air. Having already played host to legendary acts such as New Order, Chic, Primal Scream and Frankie Knuckles in its short two-year existence, it has promptly established itself at the forefront of UK festivals. In 2014, No.6 returns with another innovative line up cater ing for many tastes across music and culture. This year’s bill pits the iconic pairing of Pet Shop Boys and Beck, alongside the rising London Grammar as one of their first festival headline slots, displaying the willingness of the curators to give up and coming bands their chance on the big stage. Set amongst the astounding beauty of Portmeirion Village, music is just half of the story at No.6. An array of poets, comedians, and speakers also grace the numerous stages in both the festival arena and the village itself, with numerous events also taking place in the quaint setting of the Portmeirion woods. If a friendly atmosphere, cutting edge line up and spectacular surroundings are what you seek when planning your summer festivals, you can rest assured that Festival No.6 has got it covered. Liam McNeilly




Pan fried comedy double act, served with a roast script, and a beautiful scenery sauce: BBC2’s “The Trip to Italy” is a dish to be enjoyed

BBC iPlayer during revision periods is a lot like a menu at a restaurant - you have to pick wisely. The last thing you want is the sinking feeling when what you ordered doesn’t look anywhere near as good as what the person on the next table ordered, and they go and rub it in by taking a food selfie. In similar fashion, when you allow yourself a half hour break in an evening of gruelling revision, you want to be absolutely sure the programme you choose will not only be satisfying, but one that you feel can’t really be topped by anything else on the iPlayer “menu”. There is always a dish on a menu that can be put into the “safe” category (lasagne, steak and chips etc). These are like TV programmes you have seen plenty of times before - you can’t really go wrong, but are not the most exciting. Examples of these can be any soap or chat show. Then you have the expensive options that you only really pick on special occasions, or those rare occasions when you win the lottery. The equivalent of these dishes on a TV choice menu in revision periods are your movies or Sunday night detective dramas. They last at least 90 minutes, which most of us students can’t afford at this time of the year. Take a look at bbc iPlayer’s menu currently, and you will find an option that is affordable in time spent watching it, but offers a little more excitement than your beige, safe category options. “The Trip to Italy” is a 6 part comedy series, adapted from the film version of the same name. Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, play twisted versions of themselves as they are sent off by a newspaper to review restaurants across Italy. Coogan plays the uninterested, grumpier half of the comedy double, where Brydon plays the role of the annoying younger brother. However, it is always easy enough for Brydon to break

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through the sarcastic shell of Coogan, and hilarious rallies of banter ensue. It is here that the show has something over other comedy series - both Coogan and Brydon are exceptional comedians, with perfect comedy timing, impressions and delivery. In a similar

[This programme] is a fantastic salute to Italian cuisine style to America’s Curb Your Enthusiam, the script seems to be somewhat set up in a basic form, but the actors clearly have a licence to improvise. So the acting is spot on, and the script is intelligent. But these points alone do not make an exceptionally good TV series. What “The Trip to Italy” adds in, as a cherry on top, is the beautiful scenery of Italy. As the double act make their way from the beautiful North of Italy, through Tuscany and Rome and ending up in the South, you don’t have to imagine the incredible shots and background scenery. Combine all these aspects and you have a perfect recipe for a sterling piece of comedy work, that I would recommend to anyone. I imagine by now you are wondering, this all seems well and good, but why the unnecessary (cringey?) comparisons of the TV show to restaurant menus and recipes? Well, apart from the fact this article has been written for the food section, the programme itself is a fantastic salute to Italian cuisine. Each episode has at least a ten minute section of Coogan and Brydon enjoying a 3 course meal while they do impeccable impersonations of Michael Caine and Robert De Niro. While the comedy is playing out,

constant shots of the working Italian kitchen are shown. Each plate of food served gets an intense two second shot, and is lavishly talked about by the characters. For the foodies watching, you won’t be disappointed. The dishes served in each restaurant are a direct salute to the region each episode is set in: in episode 1, set in Piemonte, the double act eats beef ragu spaghetti, followed by game (typical of the northern regions of Italy). Episode 3, set in Tuscany, shows dishes such as wild boar with Tuscan style potatoes (the way of cooking these potatoes was even shown in quick clips to the working kitchen), and the metropolitan side of Italy was shown in Episode 4 when the pair dine in 2-star Michelin Ristorante Oliver Glowig. So whilst the show is undoubtedly a good laugh, its constant food theme throughout the series makes it perfect for any Italian food enthusiast. Those who take to this TV show should know that there has already been a critically acclaimed first season, titled simply “The Trip”, which again shows Coogan and Brydon testing out restaurants, except this time around the equally beautiful area of the Lake District. And this isn’t the only show on our screens that dabbles in gastronomic indulgences; Sky is currently showing the critically acclaimed second series of “Hannibal”– yet another decent programme rich in gastronomy. It seems Britain’s current foodie revolution is spilling over into other genres of television. Time now for one last unnecessary food reference; The Trip to Italy is a perfect second course to the first series from this comedy double act, but as the episodes are more quality over quantity, fans of the show will undoubtedly have some room a little more…after a few more hours of work.

Sean Bagnall

LIFESTYLE food & Drink


The lavishly shot history of a chef’s pursuit of his passion: “Chef” captures the foodie zeitgeist

There is a tantalisingly tasty film coming to a cinema near you this summer and it is sure to make you come away with a growling tummy. Jon Favreau’s latest film promises to touch, tingle, and tempt every single one of your tastebuds as we follow the journey of a restaurant chef to a food-truck chef. Jon Favreau (director of the Iron Man Trilogy and Swingers) writes, directs and stars in the upcoming “Chef”, which follows the journey of Carl Casper. Carl starts the film as the head chef in a restaurant owned by an oppressive individual played by Dustin Hoffman. When a high-profile food critic comes to town for a review, Carl has just begun to experiment with food and creates a series of new dishes, subsequently announcing to his fellow cooks that “we’re gonna cook like this”. However, the owner doesn’t approve of Carl’s display of culinary artistry and lets him know in no uncertain terms “this is my restaurant … either you stay or you go“. Consequently Carl is forced to cook Hoffman’s menu on the night and suffice to say, it doesn’t go down well. After taking to Twitter to vent his frustration at the food critic, Carl understandably becomes dejected about the review. Scarlett Johansson’s character attempts to comfort Carl, exclaiming “who cares”. This sets the wheels in motion for Carl to pursue his passion, break free from his shackles of oppression and create some truly scrumptious food. As he puts it in the film, “There are chefs that cook food that they believe in. And people will try because they are open to a new experience and end up liking it”. Cue the cameo of Favreau’s frequent collaborator Robert Downey Jr. who literally offers Carl the vehicle to achieve his dream– a Taco Truck. It would be an understatement to say that the truck has seen better days; in fact it looks like it came back from beyond the compactor.

However, Carl is determined to cook food that people will love, food that he “believes” in. He enlists the help of his son and former souschef Martin, with whose support Carl is able to rejuvenate the truck and turn it into a travelling food haven. With the metaphorical and literal vehicle ready, he sets off across the country on a quest to reach as many people with his intuitive food as possible. Carl is amazed at just how successful his dream becomes, and is unable to fathom why the queues keep growing at every destination. He comes to learn that his son Percy, whom he has taken with him on his culinary adventure, has taken to Twitter, Vine and Facebook – social media tools which are foreign to his dad – to broadcast their whereabouts. It’s a key element of their bonding: Carl, previously distant from his son, sees the food truck as a way to build a relationship with him – “I get to touch people’s lives with what I do, and I love it, I want to share this with you”. As the trailer for this film fully emphasises, it is the cooking, sharing and love

The true star of this film is most definitely the food and it really deserves its own credit on the cast list for food – with Martin wanting to share in Carl’s dream venture, and Percy helping with cooking on the food truck - that forms the bonds between the core cast of characters. The true star of this film is most definitely the food and it really deserves its own credit on the cast list. Every time we find Carl cooking, everything from the individual ingredients to the final dish is given its due screen time. Never

before has food stolen the limelight quite like this, nor has it ever been given this much screen time in a feature film. Whether it is Martin utilising a crusty baguette for a euphemistic quip, or Carl carefully portioning a taco, all forms of food are captured on camera. We are even treated to a sequence that is reminiscent of something you might find on Ready Steady Cook – Carl preparing carne asada (a Mexican dish based around seared marinated meat) from pots of ingredients, to skillfully dicing an onion, to delicately pouring on the marinade dressing. If your stomach is able to survive its groaning until the end of the film, then after the credits have finished rolling you will be provided with one more culinary treat. In preparation for this film, Favreau enlisted the help of chef Roy Choi (creator of LA’s gourmet Korean taco truck, Kogi) who trained Favreau in the kitchen – in order to create a more authentic visual representation – and also helped create the in-film menus as well as also teaching Favreau how to eat food less like a nine year-old. With this post-credits scene Favreau has showcased some of the footage captured during his culinary training. The food is the vehicle behind the plot, for without the food we would have no film. But the food that is exhibited was truly delicious. From the mouth-watering carne asada to molten chocolate cake, there is a reason that this film has been marketed as “food porn”. It is this clever marketing campaign that might prove to be the creator of the film’s success; the current social trend of “food porn” has been overloading every social media platform. The trailer for “Chef” features many a dish captured beautifully and each one would not look astray if published on Instagram under #foodporn. It goes without saying that Chris Tilly from IGN accurately instructs: “don’t go on an empty stomach”.

Charlie Andrews



T HE food & drIn k gUI dE T o



not sure where to take your miserable date? food & drink editor Emilia Ignaciuk gives some firsthand advice As far as dates are concerned, I might not know what to do, but I sure as hell know where to go. That knowledge came at a steep price: I didn’t always have the discerning palate and enviable taste which come as perks of being food & drink editor. consequently, on some occasions the pursuit of romance has found me in places that were only slightly less soul-destroying than Bute café. In the interest of full editorial disclosure, I will share those experiences with you: if they save at least one of you from a date disaster, I’ll consider my job in this position to be done.


Taking someone to Harvester is the date equivalent of getting someone a picture frame for their birthday – you can’t go completely wrong, but can you ever go really right? on the plus side, there’s something to be said for a man who appreciates a free salad bar. during our visit, all of the customers were either under 12 or over 40: if nothing else, the place screams commitment. we made about two hours of small talk, punctuated by some family-friendly drinks and a generally nondescript plate of fish and chips. The aftermath: two days of lukewarm texting. Judging from the clientele, Harvester is where romance is kept aflame, not where it is born. or, if you like to keep the date atmosphere relaxed and down-to-earth, head to Cafe Minuet (castle arcade). Italian food in Britain is usually something of a posh affair, but minuet feels delightfully casual and cozy. It also manages to firmly grasp the Holy grail of eating out: huge portions that are actually delicious. The only

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gripe I have with this place are the ridiculous opening hours, which however befall every other establishment in cardiff’s arcades, so you’ll have to save it for a lunchtime date like the busy businessman/woman you are.


Perhaps it’s uncalled for to devote a whole paragraph to a place that was already closing down before I entered my second year and has now been replaced by face 11 on cathays Terrace. However, as food & drink editor I would like to commemorate it for posterity: it was more than a restaurant - it was an experience. our date happened to “accidentally” coincide with valentine’s day and well, a tapas barcum-shisha lounge (bit of a red flag in itself, in hindsight) seemed sensual enough. Upon walking in we were magically transported to a rather haphazard cross between someone’s living room circa 1985 and the fortune telling booth in cardiff market. Being spoilt for choice should be part of the experience in any self-respecting tapas bar, but it’s a struggle when most dishes consist of elusively named “chicken pieces”. Having looked through the menu, nothing could prepare us for its last page, which greeted us with a blurry picture of a woman in her 40s in a vaguely middle Eastern fancy dress outfit, informing us that a belly dancer is “available on request” to “spice up your meal”. so there’s that. who exactly this place targeted remains a mystery to me to this day. or, if it’s small plates you’re after, there’s Pica Pica (15-23 westgate st). westgate street isn’t exactly party central and the exposed brickwork

inside feels a bit generic Bar, but what they do have is 3 for 2 on tapas and an extremely solid selection thereof (and very decent cocktails too). I’d heartily recommend you the marinated anchovies, but the only dish that’s less appropriate on a date is garlic bread.


as much as I would defend anyone’s god-given right to stuff your face with as much chicken as humanly possible, nando’s is where romance goes to die. obviously, given that the relationship progresses well enough, at some point your crush will probably see you drunkenly putting your hand-mouth coordination to the test with a chicken cottage box, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s pretty tough to use your womanly wiles with piri-piri flavoured grease dripping down your chin. But what’s a girl to do? suffice to say, our rendezvous was enough of a success that it was swiftly repeated, this time in a different branch of nando’s. once is a coincidence, but twice is malevolence. The date ended up in him blatantly catching up on my texts while I popped in to the toilet. oh, and we had some chicken too, I guess. or, if you fancy seeing your date at the prey of their basest carnivore urges, take them to the Grazing Shed (1 Barrack lane). admittedly, burgers on a date are an extremely high riskhigh reward move, but once you find yourself in this temple of meat hedonism facing one of their impressive offerings, chances are you won’t really care. of course, there’s no attractive way to eat a burger, but have you ever really bonded with anyone over a salad? I don’t think so.

LIFESTYLE food & Drink

F O O D misc ellan y


spicy lamb burgers Here’s a recipe to celebrate the end of spring and the start of summer. Perfect for BBQs and even good to cook from frozen, it’s up to you how much of the ingredients you use. They’re great to make in big batches so that you can keep them in the fridge for a few days and chuck them in with meals or in a sandwich. It’s great recipe to get stuck in and messy. Use your hands. Enjoy! Ingredients:

lamb mince paprika garlic (crushed) red onions (thinly sliced) brown sugar soft goats cheese rosemary Burger buns balsamic vinegar Method: Fry the chopped onions with a good pinch of salt on a low heat until soft (should take 10-15 minutes). For every 3 red onions I like to add 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and balsamic. Add these and cook for a further 5-10 minutes until sticky and caramelised. Mix the mince with rosemary, garlic, paprika and season with salt and pepper. Divide into burgers of whatever shape, size and thickness you desire. Leave to one side, ready to cook. Grill, fry or BBQ the burgers, turning frequently and cook to your liking. Lightly toast the buns. Add burger while still hot, applying a dollop of goats cheese on top to your liking and some onions. Sit back, put on your sunnies, have a sip of your beer… And enjoy the summer.

s u mm e r

by Dylan Elidyr Jenkins

f o o d f e s ti v a l

g ui d e

Grillstock Bristol and Manchester | 7th-8th June 2014 and 28th-29th June 2014 Grillstock’s promise is simple yet effective: “meat, music, mayhem”. What’s better? Here’s one for the BBQ fans our there, where the secrets of BBQ will be unveiled. Put down your apron and tongs and get down to one of these, in Bristol or Manchester.

The Great British Beer Festival | 12th15th August Held in London’s Olympia exhibition, this year Britons will do what they do best: drink beer. With hundreds of ales, ciders, perries and beers to try this promises to be one to remember... Or rather, forget?

Pembrokeshire Fish Week | 28th June-6th July Seafood and eat it. Pembrokeshire isn’t too far, so why not head there to sample some of the best seafood in the country. The events are spread throughout the week, in various locations around Pembrokeshire, from masterclasses to tasting sessions and entertainment, there’s plenty to go around.

Abergavenny Food Festival | 20th-21st September Here’s a festival for the gourmet crew who love their fine foods, wines and various other miraculous tasting concoctions. Abergavenny Food Festival is renowned for the quality and passion of its 200 stalls and vendors. It’s not too far either, only a bus ride or car journey away.


your way through


This summer, don’t settle for bottled drinks or tap water, for these simple recipes will guarantee you luxury hydration.

Raspberry and lime cordial 500g raspberries 500g caster sugar juice of 2-3 limes 3 tbsp red wine vinegar

Let the raspberries stew with the sugar and vinegar in a pan on a low heat. Mash it up as you go until after 10 minutes or so you have a smooth and syrupy concoction. Rub it through a sieve into a clean pan. Tip the seeds from the sieve into a bowl and add 300ml of water and stir. Sieve it again into a pan. Pour the watery liquid into the

mashed raspberries and boil for 1 minute. Keep the cordial in sterilised bottles and seal, and they will keep for a couple of months if they remain unopened. Refrigerate once opened. Serve with tonic water, lemonade or apple juice or add to boring vodka-lemonade mixers. Always serve with ice.

Peach & Gin Iced Tea

2 peaches, peeled, pitted and or 8 minutes. Add 4 cups of diced ice to a jug, and pour the tea 1 peach, peeled, pitted and mixture into the jug. Blitz the sliced diced peaches and sugar in a 100-150 grams of sugar blender until smooth and mix 7 tea bags (preferably Earl 8 sprigs of mint well into the tea. Grey or Darjeeling) Gin to taste You can add gin if you want to 1.2 litres of boiling water at this point. Otherwise, serve 1 lemon, sliced Make the tea with the lemon in glasses with some mint and 1 piece of ginger (about 2 and ginger in a heatproof a peach slice. inches), peeled and crushed container. Let that brew for 7



This month Food and Drink editor Dylan Elidyr Jenkins gets to sample what it really means to

“live & eat pie”

at Cardiff’s new kid on the block, Pieminister

What’s the best thing to put into a pie? Well, while classic fillings tend to please and are a common feature on most pub and chippy menus, Pieminister is here to give us something better. Here’s a small chain with a remarkable story, that’s revolutionised the British pie industry and grown to become its most trusted pie brand. Pieminister has succeeded in transforming the pie from pukka, to perfect. Pies don’t exactly exert class, style or suggest any culinary feats of creativity, but as soon as you step into this carefully designed establishment on St Mary Street, you know you’ve reached the other side of the spectrum. William Gillard, great-great-great grandfather of co-founder Jon Simon, was a pie maker himself and this family tradition has, since then, developed into the honest success that it is today. With twelve restaurants in Great Britain and two overseas, there’s a reason why there’s so much demand for this brand. With Simon’s vision and co-founder Tristan Hogg’s culinary skills, they promise pies “made with

Q 30

fine ingredients you can see, taste and smell”. My co-editor Emilia and myself sat by the large windows overlooking St Mary Street, watching passers-by; a red neon sign standing proud behind us proclaiming their inspired motto: ‘live and eat pie’ – we sure intended to. The restaurant looks and feels like a small chain: its rustic-chic interior and quality finish is stylish and cool but still manages to maintain a feel of independence. Here’s a place you can go to shoot the shit whilst you explore their drinks menu. There’s homemade ginger beer and cloudy lemonade, smoothies, or local(ish) craft beers on offer, all at quite a steep price, but you get what you pay for. The menu plays on the traditional; offering classic or lighter pies, plain or chilli scotch eggs made to order, pickles, dips and an array of sides, from macaroni cheese to skin on chips. You can just order single pies but the main attractions are their pie feasts: an £8 offer that comes with a choice of pie or pot and two sides, or the £9 ‘mothership’ of pie, mash, gravy, minty mushy peas, grated cheddar and crispy shallots. We both opted for their £8 deal. I was itching to try the cheesy mash and cauliflower – in all honesty, I couldn’t imagine anything better to go with pie. As for the pie, I was drawn to the ‘deerstalker’: an attractive combination of venison, dry cured bacon, red wine and puy lentil, while my co-editor Emilia went for the ‘free ranger’: chicken, ham hock with leek and thyme. The presentation of the pies is coherent with the rest of the restaurant; the big wooden chopping boards and enamel plates were a simple but sexy touch and the presentation of the food was effortlessly appealing. I also opted for a homemade ginger beer, which filled the pint glass it came in and bit my tongue with its awakening gingery kick. I couldn’t wait to tuck in once it all arrived. The pastry was of a perfect consistency, maintaining its crisp yet soft feel to the end, regardless of the amount of gravy that I covered it with, which verged on chippy-esque flavours with a far better texture. Pie and mash are truly the perfect couple, but cheesy mash is the ideal mistress. The tender venison stood out, boasting delicious red wine flavours, combined with hints of bacon and a layering lentil texture. The cheesy mash and cauliflowers were perfect additions; the mash lying directly underneath the pie, meaning every forkful was teasingly filled with comfort and excitement. I had to take breaks to save myself from devouring everything. Emilia’s was good as well; creamy and rich with an obvious leeky presence but lacked in chicken flavour. Her sweet potato fries were fluffy wrapped in crispiness, just lovely, but I was a little disappointed with the minty chilli peas with parsley. Although they were better

Welcome to the Quench awards, your ultimate guide to cardiff. You’ve spent the entire year reading carefully curated reviews of bars, venues, bands and restaurants - so here are our picks of the very best this city has to offer. We’re students, so no Michelin star venues here - we’ve focused on highlighting experiences the average student will be able to fit on their own credit card, as opposed to their father’s. We’ve also highlighted some individuals who have done a great deal to benefit students - these include a very special liberation campaigner, and a student editor whose work has benefitted her peers across an entire department at Cardiff University. Whether you’re graduating, a first year, or you don’t even go to our university, you owe it to yourself to pay these venues a visit. Bring a friend. Bring a significant other. Bring a family member. Hell, bring your phone, and tweet us on @Quenchmag with the hashtag #Quenchawards14 (but don’t forget to talk to the people you’re sat with, you big millenial). We’re hoping to start a tradition of rewarding those who do the most to benefit student life in Cardiff. The people and places within these eight pages are those we believe to be the best this city has to offer the average student. If we’ve missed anybody, join the conversation - they might be here this time next year.


Quench Awards 2014


Judged by: Quench Fashion & Beauty Special mention: Kay Russant


Judged by: Quench Culture Close contenders: Experimentica, Dylan Thomas Festival

Buffalo Boutique. If you’re looking for a event that includes the best in fashion and beauty in Cardiff with a late night twist, Buffalo Boutique is where it’s at. Instead of getting wasted in Clwb Ifor Bach one night, why not head over to Buffalo Bar (only a short walk from the Students’ Union) where your money will be much better spent. Brimming with students and shopaholics alike, whatever you’re looking for, their independent stalls are bound to have something to spend your well-earned student loan on; from nail bars and herbal teas to vintage clothing (for women AND men) and cocktails. It’s a great night for a whistle-stop tour of the Cardiff fashion scene, and if you and your housemate can’t face taking your bursting wardrobes back home over the summer, there’s always opportunities to run your own stall for the night and get rid of those shoes that looked so pretty but never quite fit.

Made in Roath. The best example of good quality art in a tightly-focused, local community presents itself in Made In Roath. Based in Roath (obviously), this group of people work long and hard all year round to make their multiple events as sunny-sweet and pleasant as can be. With stalls of scrumptious food, homegrown music, a Roath-based film festival, and plenty of spoken word and pop-up poetry events, there is so much soul food to offer. Perhaps most importantly, this has been achieved by the local community, making events focused and relevant, and even sometimes incorporating political activism. The social bond between these people is really impressive! They’ve actually got three main events on throughout the year, but the biggest one is their Made In Roath festival in October. So when the next academic year rolls around, make sure to head down the Wellfield/ Albany Road way to experience the fun!


Judged by: Quench Travel

STA Travel. STA are perfectly geared towards student travellers, offering an extensive range of destinations, tours and programmes available for students who want to explore the most interesting locations in the world. Whether you are looking to work abroad, volunteer or cure your sense of wanderlust, STA have a programme to accommodate your needs. They offer you a tailormade experience, providing a one-to-one booking service to ensure that you have considered all aspects of your trip, and they’re available in person at their Cardiff branch just opposite the castle. They also offer last-minute deals, great for those who have an urgent desire to travel or who aren’t the most organised! It’s also a great shout if you’re just finishing exams now and staring into the void of university summer holidays. With their well structured programmes, good deals and personal help, STA is a great choice for student travellers.


Quench Awards 2014


Judged by: Quench Culture Close Contender: Wales Millenium Centre, Sherman Cymru, The Gate


Judged by: Quench LGBT+

Chapter Arts Centre. Chapter Arts Centre is the greatest incubator for art in Cardiff ; based in Canton, they house the broadest range of the most cutting-edge arts. Their array of performance, films, visual art, mixed media, and classes are consistently excellent in quality. From independent films to big Hollywood releases, from animation courses to livestreaming the UK’s best theatre productions, Chapter covers a range of arts that is suited for both the expert and the uninitiated. But where this venue truly excels is outside of the arts; the Chapter experience is aesthetically pleasing, and never superficial. The only possible setback might be that they’re a little out of the way for most students, but it’s worth the walk - which is in itself quite a pleasurable precursor to submerging oneself into what Chapter has to offer anyway. The Caffi Bar, which brims with personality, is in itself worth visiting.

Bar Icon. Bar Icon is situated on Charles Street in the centre of Cardiff. It’s quite a classy venue laid out on two floors, which is a welcome break for students accustomed to living in relative squalor. Downstairs, there are leather sofas and quiet booths to chat in, as well as a small dancefloor. They’ve got you covered, whether you’re in the mood for sashaying or sweettalking. Upstairs can be hired out for parties, with their consistent quality of food that makes sure you get a reliable society social out of your visit. As might be expected from the establishment’s name, Bar Icon has a pretty good bar; with a wide variety of reasonably priced drinks, and discounted cocktails on most nights, it’s also perfect for socialising with fewer friends. Bar Icon is a nice addition to the LGBT+ scene; with friendly staff and a bright interior, it is definitely the place to start any night out!


Judged by: Quench FIlm & TV

Thé Pot Café. To the untrained eye The Pot is a small, slightly rugged looking café at the end of Crwys Road. Yet as we covered in our March issue, this tiny cafe holds a world of untainted and hardly known wonders; most of all their Film and Dinner evenings. As a quaint combination of delicious food, cozy atmosphere and choice selection of all-time film greats, Thé Pot has to be recognised as a student’s dream. For just £7.50 a pop, you get a homemade meal (make sure to ask about their vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options since they are more than happy to find something that suits you) accompanied by a cult classic. They describe their atmosphere as ‘like sitting in your friend’s kitchen’ - if your friend had a huge projector and could actually cook. It’s an evening hotspot and perfect for anyone who wants something a little more than just a bucket of overpriced popcorn and the latest terrible chick flick.




Judged by: Quench Food & Drink What to check out: Edible dough bowls (that’s not a typo).

The North Star. If in doubt, follow the North Star. This beautiful, converted Victorian pub on North Road, right next to Taly Halls, is a gastro-pub from heaven. The interior is comfortable, cool and classy all at the same time - as is the food. But don’t be worrying, we haven’t picked the best pub in Cardiff that charges £30 for a bowl of chips the North Star is abundant with affordable students meals, as well as special nights like 2-4-1 Pizza Tuesday, their elaborate but mouthwatering Man vs Food menu on Wednesdays, Jazz Thursdays (which includes a free starter with every main meal) and 2 for £10 mains on Sundays (including a wonderful home-cooked Sunday roast). They also host open mic and live music nights, for something a little different, as well as the classic pub quiz nights. It’s in a student area, the food is fab, the prices are student friendly. No contest, really.





Judged by: Quench Food & Drink Close contenders: Albany Fish Bar La Shish. La Shish could be called a kebab shop, but really, the only thing it has in common with the various meat-based establishments dotted around City Road is that it serves kebabs. And what kebabs they are! It’s the kind of place you feel a bit reluctant to tell people about because you feel as though you’re giving a secret away, it’s that good. Its takeaway selection, all strongly influenced by Middle Eastern cuisine, is brilliant – the wraps are honestly a work of art, and don’t even get me started on the lamb skewers. And if you’d rather sit down, the meals on offer are really good value while taste-wise, they put the rest of City Road to shame. With starters around £3 and £6 for a main, you can have a really good, filling meal for just £10. Compared to some overpriced chicken in St Davids, La Shish is a definite must, whether you’re having a quiet night in with your housemates or a meal out with friends.

Judged by: Quench Food & Drink Close contenders: Hoffi Coffi

Coffee Barker. The Cardiff arcades have no shortage of various coffee shops, small and large, but Coffee Barker definitely stands out amongst them. With its warm atmosphere, it’s the kind of place where you’re all too likely to lose the track of time for hours on end because it’s such a pleasure to be in. The décor is endearingly haphazard, with Arts and Crafts-esque wallpapers and cosy armchairs, but here it all just works. With a huge selection on offer, there’s no shortage of drinks to try out even if you happen not to be a fan of coffee itself. If you are – well, you’re gonna leave Coffee Barker very satisfied. And then there’s the cakes: the display at the counter will definitely make your mouth water. Their sister establishment, Barker Tea House, is equally worth a visit. If you’re looking for somewhere to study that’s not a library, Coffee Barker has the perfect atmosphere to keep you in high spirits.


Quench Awards 2014



Judged by: Quench Food & Drink Close Contender: Urban Tap House Ten Feet Tall. Tucked away into the otherwise rather quiet Church Street, Ten Feet Tall is a true moment of respite in the city centre. If you’re after a drink or two but would rather avoid the droves of chain pubs or the madness of Greyfriars Road, this bar has got you covered. It does have the requisite 2-4-1 on cocktails deal that most watering holes in Cardiff pride themselves on, but here there’s some absolute gems on offer: they’re a joy to watch being made and a joy to drink - even if you might regret it in the morning. As befitting its central location, Ten Feet Tall feels relaxed yet still quite refined, and if you get peckish during the night, the food menu is nothing to scoff at. But if after having intensely taken advantage of the cocktail offers you’d rather the night progressed in a more raucous fashion, Undertone’s just a flight of stairs away - a club highly recommended by Quench Music.

Judged by: Quench Food & Drink What to check out: Their express lunch menu

Bully’s. Now, Bully’s is out of the way across the park in Pontcanna, but good food can be worth travelling for. Restaurant owner Russell Bullimore is passionate about good food and good wine, and its his passion that’s made this hidden gem one of the best places to eat in South Wales. The menu is like nothing else in Cardiff, exploring the boundaries of modern cuisine. It’s quite expensive for the student budget, but their locally sourced ingredients are sure to give you a feast to remember. A small, quirky little venue, perfect for romance, celebrations or just seeming like you’re that little bit more sophisticated than your peers. If you’re looking for something extra special, Bully’s also holds Gourmet Evenings, but beware the price. On an everyday basis though, Bully’s sits at ‘London prices’; which given its reputation and quality is nothing to be scared by. Bully’s: the King of Cardiff ’s wining and dining.


Judged by: Quench Music

RADSTEWART. Made up of Cardiff students past and present; Dylan, Chris, Calvin and Jac have been going from strength to strength over the last year. Despite being in different countries most of the time, they’ve still managed to fit in a steady string of UK gigs and another EP, ‘Wiccans & Beatlemancers’. Their sound is off-kilter and fragmented (that’s what makes them so great), and they’ve been touring very successfully over the past couple of months. They sing about student Wiccans (“underground and mostly male”) and being sleazy, and reside in “City Road: that flat above the brothel.” Their new EP is a true gem of the local scene and one of the finest cuts of idiosyncratic indie-pop. If you’d like to hear some of their songs head over to their Bandcamp or Facebook page. Bandcamp: Facebook:




Judged by: Quench Music Close contenders: Millionaires (Undertone)

Jealous Lovers Club. If you haven’t explored Cardiff ’s music scene - where the hell have you been at? With immeasurable successes under their belts, Jealous Lovers has come on leaps and bounds in the last year. The crowds are growing and their shows have seen both the youngest buds of the Cardiff scene and the stars of the international touring scene take to the stage. The crowning glory was undoubtedly May 4th’s Quench-sponsored Microfestival at Gwdihw (check out a full review of the festival on page 51) - a perfect celebration of not only the Cardiff music scene, but underground indie across the country. Cardiff is an incredibly exciting city for music fans, and that is in no small part thanks to the work of Connor Cupples and Jealous Lovers Club. Find the latest Jealous Lovers Club events on their Facebook page: JealousLoversClub


Judged by: Quench LGBT+

Elly Barnes. Elly Barnes does brilliant work for the LGBT+ movement - focussing on education and giving Diversity Training to members of staff. Elly Barnes runs the Educate and Celebrate programme and is the National Schools rep for LGBT History Month and SchoolsOUT. Barnes has also won The Independent on Sunday’s Pink List 2011, came 21st in 2013 and has also judged the awards in 2012. Attending one of Elly’s talks it is clear why she has won so many awards and is such a prominent asset to the movement. Elly definitely follows what she preaches by being such a role model: “It’s ignorance that causes homophobia – once educated, attitudes change. Sometimes it’s a deep-rooted hatred which takes a long time to change. The best way is to show positive role models.” To find out more about Elly and her projects please visit


Judged by: Quench Fashion & Beauty Special mention: Si Martin

Heads Above the Waves. HATW is a non-profit organisation with a twist. In its essence it hopes to raise awareness of self-harm in young people, and tries to encourage an outlet in art. What started out as poppunk band t-shirts being sold for Samaritans has turned into their own line of merchandise that has got the thumbs up here at Quench Fashion. Not only are their products a good price and good quality, but they’ve got some really great styles going on. But HATW aren’t just fashion, their music roots are still going strong with local events (make sure to read our interview with HATW about their campaign on page 14). They are trying to create a conversation about self-harm and trying to give young people the help they need in the any way they can - and that gets the biggest thumbs up of all here at Quench. To find out more about HATW and see their full range, go to


Quench Awards 2014


The Global Panorama is more than just a blog set up by some undergraduates: it’s one of the most promising new media properties we’ve seen


Judged by: Michael O’Connell Davidson & Sophie Lodge Highly commended: Toby Mott Trisha Chowdhury. The Global Panorama is an online news organisation that was founded in 2012. Since then, they have gained over 150 writers from over the globe and a huge social media following. They pride themselves on their ethical, non-biased and international news which has been recognised on a global scale. While being on par with many professional global news websites, The Global Panorama actively encourages all writers, particularly student journalists, and Trisha Chowdhury, the founder and editor-in-chief herself is a student here at Cardiff. Trisha actually set up The Global Panorama while studying for her JOMEC degree. While keeping The Global Panorama running on its day to day basis, she also writes for the site and other newspapers on politics and current affairs. Not only has she done well for herself in terms of awards and recognition for her own work, but she has also taken on roles and respeonsibilities within her degree programme and through the Journalism Society at Cardiff University, encouraging many students to get involved in journalism. As judges, we found Trisha to be an easy choice. For starters, she’s provided a great platform for international students and those abroad - something that student media is admittedly lacking. In addition, she has given a wealth of students a huge amount of editorial experience in an environment where they aren’t likely to be exploited and taken for granted, which is all too common in today’s media landscape. Having spoken to Trisha before, she appears to genuinely value what each and every one of her staff brings to the team, and those who work with her appear to reciprocate wholly. That is the mark of a truly good editor. Ask anybody who’s been in a management position (particularly within the media), and they’ll waste no time explaining how difficult it is keeping volunteers (or even paid employees) organised and on message. Trisha does all that and more, going one step further and handling the site’s day to day business management. The Global Panorama is more than just a blog set up by some undergraduates – it’s one of the most promising new media properties we’ve seen.

Judged by: Quench Travel What to check out: Have a go flying the TARDIS with the Doctor!

The Doctor Who Experience. It’s not just a tempting attraction for tourists visiting the city, the Doctor Who Experience offers an exciting and eye-opening day trip for any fan of sci-fi drama. The interactive gallery-cummuseum isn’t just a playground for younger fans, but provides a backstage insight into the production of the much loved show, which also takes a look at the past Doctor Who actors and artefacts. What makes the attraction so great is that it’s not a ‘been there, done that’ kind of trip. With seasonal activities and interactive displays, including the Doctor Who monsters making an appearance at Hallowe’en, you’ll want to stop by more than once! And don’t forget about the other various Doctor Who related attractions all around the city, including the TARDIS on top of Cardiff Castle, and the Torchwood memorial wall by the docks, only a short walk from the Doctor Who Experience!




Credits Design work

Sophie Lodge Michael O’Connell-Davidson Emilia Ignaciuk


The Judges Sophie Lodge Michael O’Connell-Davidson


Emilia Ignaciuk

With thanks Eline Jeanne Ed Gilbert


There’s a lot of focus today on “sponsored content,” or brands as publishers; I can proudly say that this is not that. Rather, this is a practical attempt to show the people and businesses of Cardiff that we are listening, and we do have thoughts and feelings on their work. A more candid motivation as an editor was that this was also a good way of encapsulating the “best of ” posts that inevitably crop up around this time of year, as section editors scramble for what few ideas they haven’t used yet. Perhaps this is happening across the entire media sphere, as it appears just about every blog and website is doing the same right now; I like BuzzFeed, Upworthy, and their peers, although I’m not too sure I like what they’ve started (10 Cool Ways we Mimicked Other Websites posts have been cropping up everywhere for a while now). I’d like to think that the Quench Awards are something slightly different than an arbitrary selection of preferences, though. We’ve sent short letters to everybody featured (who is a business, obviously) inviting them to advertise in this magazine at a discounted rate. We did not reach out to them prior to selecting these awards, and I gave no guidance to section editors (who functioned as judges) in who they should offer awards to. Maybe none will take us up on the offer. However, it’s a way of galvanising little businesses to keep doing what they do, and, beyond that, encouraging them to advertise with an audience who is not only engaged, but trusts the paper it’s printed on. I have no desire to see Tesco advertise in this magazine, and I hope that Sum Sze never hires anybody who’d consider awarding them anything (unless it’s Best Venue for Slowly Destroying The High Street, in which case, top marks, lads). We’re living in a time where quality service is being eroded in place of massive economies of scale, and the only people who can afford to advertise are the bastards, or charities who’d be much better off spending money on the causes they support. Well, fuck that, I say. I want the little guy to advertise in this magazine, because we are the little guy. And I want to live in a society where the adverts I see aren’t put together as a result of intelligence-insulting focus groups or Soylent Green style homogenization. To work with these people, they don’t only have to know that we care, but why we care in the first place. Small businesses of Cardiff, artists, and others - if you want to be here next year, do better. Make us sit up and take notice. Don’t just speak at us, but speak to us. We’re listening. MOCD

Quench Awards 2014

LIFESTYLE food & Drink

Not just rabbit food

Food & Drink editor Emilia Ignaciuk

Photography: Emilia ignaciuk, Pieminister

reviews the newest addition to Cardiff Bay

than your average peas, they lacked the chilli kick we craved. As we finished our pies the waitress brought over a scotch egg, still hot from the cooker. I was nearly full by this time but still managed to find room. It had the wonderful hearty texture homemade scotch eggs have, as well as an oozing yolky centre that made my heart throb with delight. I truly think a perfectly runny yolk is one of the best things a person can witness. We finished with a few beers, a perfect way to wash down the feast. Although it was carb filled and rich, the pies succeeded to avoid their stereotyped heaviness, mainly due to the fabulous consistency of the pastry. We tried a few beers: Bristol Beer Factory’s earthy Golden ale; the sweet and smooth Somerset Cider Bus’ medium dry cider; Wild Beer co’s uniquely delicious secret spices, roasted apricots and wild yeast beer; and my highlight, the Camden pale ale, giving you everything you want from a pale ale. Here’s a restaurant that has managed to produce a vision that’s stayed with them since their humble beginnings in Bristol and in festivals. They’re a friendly and attractive brand based on good principles and good food: their ingredients are locally sourced and they even take part in various charitable causes, helping over 200 charities each year through The Prince’s Trust. It’s more than value for money, especially considering you’re likely to pay this much for a pie in a pub anyway. They even provide a takeaway service, which I’m very likely to use. Proving that originality and innovation can be found in our high street restaurants, Pieminister is a small slice of Cardiff’s food scene that you should definitely dig into. What is the best thing to put into a pie? Well in this case, your teeth.

First and foremost, I’m slightly wary about any food establishment that bills itself as “healthy”. Let me put it this way: I try to eat sensibly as much as I can, but at the same time I get regularly chastised by my housemate for trying to deep fry every conceivable foodstuff in the flat. However, I do enjoy a chance to get my preconceptions challenged when there’s food involved, so me and my co-editor Dylan set out to review the recently opened Café Pure in Cardiff Bay, whose motto is “Love your health”. Café Pure was founded by two personal trainers, the idea behind it being to provide a relaxed eatery for people that are serious about their health but find it hard to navigate the myriad of options on offer in most restaurants. As we made our way out of the train station, we reached an interestingly shaped construction in the middle of a traffic island, with its outdoor seating area absolutely battered by the wind – my hopes weren’t exactly high. However, as soon as we walked in I warmed up to the place – it was rammed for 2 PM, and anywhere that busy must be doing something right. I’ve got to say that Café Pure was quite successful in targeting their demographic, because as soon as we walked upstairs to the main seating area, we realised everyone inside was fit – in both meanings of the word. The clientele matches the interior – the simple lines of the furniture give it quite a sleek feel, while massive windows give you a glimpse of the Bay while you peruse the menu. Everything on offer was quite affordable: in Cardiff, if you want more from your lunch than pub food it’s pretty tough to go below the £10 mark and most dishes in Café Pure are well below that. We had the chance to try their salads, which, as one of the owners told us, are what Café Pure prides itself on. As a complete salad philistine, I was surprised by how much I appreciated them. The combinations used are fairly standard, but the addition of interesting

ingredients, such as raspberries and sweet potatoes, elevates them a fair bit over the dreaded “rabbit food” descriptor and makes them really feel like a meal of their own. The portions were generous and having polished off our plates we were unexpectedly but pleasantly full. However, as good as the salads were, they just cried out for a dressing, which turned out to be a slight disappointment as the assortment on offer says takeaway rather than health hub. Drinks-wise, the smoothie I ordered (the array of choice is, as you could expect, pretty impressive), although not the best I’ve had, complemented the meal quite nicely. Regrettably, I didn’t get a chance to test the hangover-curing properties the menu claims it had, but perhaps that was for best. I’ve got to say Dylan made a better choice on that front, as his carroty-gingery concoction was one of the highlights of our lunch. Our visit was rounded off by a plate of whey protein blueberry pancakes with some honey on the side, which by the sounds of it didn’t exactly whet my appetite. To my surprise, they hit the spot, which is quite a feat for my sweet tooth: their distinct wheaty taste while unexpected was not unpleasant and they didn’t feel cloying or heavy, something which tends to plague restaurant desserts (they’re actually listed as a breakfast dish in the menu, but shh…). Well, if that’s what healthy food is like I guess there’s a big lifestyle change on the cards for me… All in all, we left Café Pure more satisfied than we thought we would. Alas, Cardiff Bay is hardly an obvious choice for lunch (they do offer free delivery, but sadly Cathays is just out of range), but having spoken to one of the owners, the success of the restaurant spurred them to consider opening a new branch in the city centre. Even if you’re not a gym nut, that might be worth keeping an eye out for…



circusinsession When it comes to death-defying acrobatics and magic, the Welsh capital may be the last place you’d think to look for it. But as Catherine Hopkins discovers, one of the UK’s best circuses is located slap-bang in the middle of Bute Street

Photo: Richard Davenport

In a list of cities likely to be a regional hub for circus skills, you may think that Cardiff would probably not feature that highly. But think again. Cardiff is home to one of the most exciting, innovative and successful performance art companies in the UK today. NoFitState Circus started life as five young street artists plying their trade on the high streets of Cardiff. The thought of starting a globally successful modern circus troupe was not high on their agenda. But they must have done something right, because in 1987 they won the Welsh Community Business of the Year. In 1988, they won Cardiff Street Entertainers of the Year. By 1993, they had settled in the Splott area of Cardiff. They were also starting to work with the Welsh National Opera. It was the beginning of the crossover between friends doing what they loved, and setting up a professional outfit. The hard work paid off and in 2011, NoFitState celebrated its 25th birthday. They have since put on shows to

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global critical acclaim, including Tabú (2008 – 2010), Labyrinth (2011) and Barricade (2012). But if you’re clamouring for the glitz and glamour of some bigger circus acts we could mention, you’ve possibly come to the wrong place. NoFitState prides itself on being able to put on the highest quality productions that don’t rely on elaborate costumes and complicated props. “I don’t want to say stylised movement because that sounds poncey,” says founding member and creative director Tom Rack, “but we made a very conscious decision to put on one side a lot of our own methodology, because circus in a theatre is a completely different context. It is a way to reach new audiences.” In practice this means a performance that is deeper and more emotional than your traditional circus experience. The artists feel so close you could almost touch them, and it is this closeness that is at the heart of NoFitState’s ideology. In a typical show, all is laid bare and the performance

speaks for itself. In an age when glamour prevails and only the immaculate will suffice, how do NoFitState fit in? The performers will tell you that it is the raw emotion and sheer humanity on display that leaves the audience feeling as if they’ve connected in some way. It is this sense of connection that makes NoFitState so special. From their humble beginnings on the streets of Cardiff, to the various tents and churches that have housed them, to their current home in an old Welsh National Opera building, NoFitState have always relied on a sense of community. Today, their massive warehouse performance space functions as a performance area for professionals, enthusiastic amateurs and absolute beginners. The circus offers taster sessions, dropin classes and courses that will set you on the path to a fulfilling circus experience, whatever your age. If your fitness regime is leaving you cold, NoFitState offers a variety of community classes that might just combine fitness and happiness in one fell swoop. Did you know that unicycle hockey was a thing? Well, it is. There’s a UK league and everything and, you’ve guessed it, NoFitState Circus just happens to be able to assist you if you want to get involved. They offer tumbling, hula hoop and even adult ballet classes. Their beginners’ flying trapeze taster sessions, in particular, are a great experience for students: at £15 for two hours, it runs every other Friday 6-8PM. They also offer hen parties for the brave and bold amongst you. Don’t let a lack of experience stop you from getting involved. Check out their website and get involved:

Photo: Mark Robson


BIANCO The latest show from Cardiff’s own NoFitState Circus has toured the globe to radiant reviews. Bianco is everything you could want from a modern circus. It has acrobats, aerialists and tightrope walkers in killer heels. But this is no tacky spectacular. This tale of beauty and transformation is set with scaffolding and minimal props. You are here to marvel at the sheer spectacle of what the human body can achieve. Set to the music of Bianco’s live band, it is a display of the extraordinary things ordinary people can achieve. Expect to be amazed, enthralled and just a little bit out of your comfort zone. This is director Firenza Guidi’s fourth production for NoFitState. Her career has taken her to Europe, the US and India and has seen her win numerous awards. Bianco looks set to be her latest triumph. Dress for comfort because with no seating, Bianco is theatre with a difference. But just take a chance and go with it because it promises to be a night like no other. The show runs from 23 May – 7 June 2014 in the Big Top erected next to No Fit State’s warehouse home on Bute Street. Tickets cost £17/£14. Photo: Mark Robson




S O F T MACHINE Surreal, smooth, fuzzy and nonhuman, an exhibition has arrived in Chapter that sits in the funny place between making you feel at home and making you feel uneasy in your own skin. Dan Tucker makes the walk down to Chapter’s gallery to untangle these feelings Photos: Warren Orchard

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Walking through The Soft Machine is more of a journey into the mind than a journey through a gallery. The exhibition functions as a single work of art, which loosely follows the narrative of the novel of the same name by William S. Burroughs. The title itself is a reference to Burroughs’ view of the human form as simultaneously (and perhaps paradoxically) part natural and part artificial, and this is poignantly expressed by the sculpted forms throughout the exhibition. Baldock uses these natural materials to create distinctly unnatural forms, which he uses to begin an intriguing discussion about perceptions of our bodies. The primary textures selected by Baldock are natural fibres, such as cotton and wool, threaded with oversized needles that function as a nod to Burroughs’ morphine addiction. Wood, carved and glazed to represent faecal matter, squats brazenly in a corner. A glass ball in the centre of a pile of red sand evokes a bloodshot eye. Baldock’s ability to utilise natural forms to invoke surreal imagery is nothing short of masterful. But it is the childish, joyful colour choices of Baldock that most intrigued me. The palette is incredibly rich, comprised primarily of vibrant yellows and oranges, clashing boldly with

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deep blues and browns. Colours are presented typically in block or patchwork form, adding to the childlike quality of the sculptures. The individual sculptures themselves are somewhat reminiscent of M. C. Escher’s paradoxical architecture; individual aspects of Baldock’s sculptures depict parts of the human body in a realistic and insightful way, but when seen as part of a larger whole, they only serve to confuse and disorientate the viewer. One can clearly see a nose, and then try to force oneself to see a face where a face simply does not exist. A human form looms imposingly in the corner of the eye, but upon facing the sculpture, it is merely a fuzzy, woollen caricature of a person’s silhouette, with too many limbs and no facial features. It is their near-human form that is the most unsettling thing about the exhibition. Whilst not invoking any real, personal sense of horror, the human-esque forms that Baldock creates certainly have a nightmarish quality. Despite the fact that the gallery itself is actually a relatively open, well-lit space, it nonetheless felt claustrophobic. The ability of these inanimate objects to communicate is likely due to their respective proximity to each other, which

certainly makes one highly apprehensive when moving through the exhibition, being careful not to step on or bump into any of the pieces. This newfound self-awareness of one’s body as a physical object the space that it occupies, and how it interacts with its environment - entrenches and reaffirms Baldock’s notion of the human form as a Soft Machine. It reminds me of the humorous notion of the brain as the overprotective owner of a meaty vehicle. The Soft Machine also contains a set of cumbersome, oversized costumes with cartoon-like faces woven into the fabric. The first parallel I drew was how Baldock’s use of artificial media to convey natural forms mirrors the way in which humans use fabric and clothing to convey their personality. But there is also a deeper artistic meaning here; a homage to Oskar Schlemmer’s 1922 Triadisches Ballet, in which the designer created costumes that enlarged and emphasised aspects of the body in an attempt to transcend the traditional human form. The costumes are deliberately difficult to wear, which Baldock uses to represent the fact that, at some point, everyone feels uneasy in their own skin. But the piece most closely linked to the theme of transcendence is that of a large blue felt cuboid

held aloft by four brightly-coloured wooden stilts. It stands imposingly at the entrance to the third and final room, which represents the final chapter of The Soft Machine. Resting gently atop the felt is a mass of cotton wool, crafted into a stunningly realistic cloud formation. The placement of the cloud, which is not easily visible due to its height, likely represents the age-old, primordial desire for humans to reach the clouds. Furthermore, its deliberate placement directly over the doorway is clearly part of Baldock’s repeated desire to force the viewer into close proximity with the art; to engage with it whilst also reflecting on our own bodies. The ultimate effect of the exhibition is to serve as a challenge to our experiences of our own bodies, how we represent them, and how they interact with our environment. Baldock makes art appear to be the most natural, instinctive way that our bodies can interact with their environment. The result is captivating. The Soft Machine is showing in the Chapter gallery from now until 29 June. Make sure that you get a chance to see this incredible exhibit before you go home for summer.



Quench Culture editor Amy Pay looks at The Hay Festival - one of the biggest culture celebrations of its kind. It’s not just for bookworms; check out some of the other reasons to visit and Amy’s picks of the programme The Hay Festival is an annual literature and arts festival held in Hay on Wye - a chocolate box town that thrives off the book industry. Now in its 27th year, it boasts an impressively strong line-up over ten days. Dedicated to sharing conversation about big topics in a fun and accessible way, it brings together all sorts of thought-provoking speakers, from authors, poets, artists and musicians to ecologists, economists, philosophers, scientists and more. What’s that I hear? “But I’ve spent the best part of a year with my nose in a book. Why would I want to bother with even more of that stuff?” I’ll tell you why…



While there are many famous authors at Hay (Helen Fielding, Ian McEwan and Toni Morrison to name a few), it is not just about literature. There are directors of popular television shows (Steven Moffat, Sherlock and Dr. Who), actors (Benedict Cumberbatch), comedians (including Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan) and all-round legends (such as Steven Fry). Then you have arty types (fashion designers, photographers, musicians, curators and collectors), foodies, eco-warriors, historians and people from various industries and careers. No matter who you choose to see, it is almost impossible to come away uninspired from listening to Hay Festival speakers for a day.

Yes, Hay-On-Wye, more commonly referred to as Hay, is a bibliophile’s Mecca. There are over twenty bookshops in the small town, earning it the title of ‘The National Book Town of Wales’. Some of the shops stock brand new books, but the majority of them stock mainly secondhand books. Generally speaking, their wares are a snip of the cost of buying new books online, which gives you the green flag to try out a different genre, random author or read up on something out of the ordinary. For non-fiction readers and those who don’t really like reading words upon words, there are shops that specialise in books about wider culture topics, niche hobbies and visuals. In our time of digital books and e-reading, it is important not to lose track of the true craft of books. One thing a Kindle or Hudl cannot replicate is the sight and smell of shelves and shelves of books. Indulge.

NON-LITERATURE PICKS OF THE PROGRAMME ART Martin Parr (photographer); Emma Bridgewater (artist/ craft designer); gallery curators; museum owners; art commentators FASHION Julien Macdonald (fashion designer to the stars); Katharine Hamnett (sustainable clothing designer); Colin McDowell (fashion commentator) MUSIC Brian May (Queen); Tom Maschler (publisher, auctioning John Lennon drawings); Suggs (Madness); Ray Davies (The Kinks); Gruff Rhys (Super Furry Animals)

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It takes under an hour and a half to reach Hay by car from Cardiff, or slightly longer via train. Either way, it is surprisingly easy to reach. Set amongst the Brecon Beacons, just next to the Black Mountains, the surrounding scenery during the journey is spectacular. Wide riverdwelling valleys, steep winding cliffs and infinite fields border the roads, making for an epic drive through places that bear little resemblance to Cardiff. Stop off in a rustic pub (there are plenty of them) or dip into one of the roadside villages to take in the views. Also, as Hay is on the border between England and Wales, you can actually hop from one country to the other (great for the easily amused, ahem).

Reading is a sedentary hobby, but Hay Festival is full of action. The talks and presentations are largely sitting and listening affairs, but there are often some interactive elements such as a Q&A or audience involvement. Outside of the bookish realm, there are practical workshops that anybody can attend, many of which are free. Try out observational drawing, have a go at writing, or get to grips with traditional craft making. You can watch BBC sessions for the radio and television happening live for broadcast, including talks, debates and game shows. Alternatively, you could stuff your face with copious amounts of fudge - there is so much of the scrumptious stuff in that little town.

NON-LITERATURE PICKS OF THE PROGRAMME (CONTINUED) FILM & TV Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia, Star Wars); Steven Moffat (Sherlock, Dr Who); Hans Rosenfeldt (The Bridge creator);William Nicholson (screenwriter for Les Miserables and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom); Judi Dench FOOD Mary Berry (Great British Bake Off babe); Antonio Carluccio (Italian chef); food writers; health and fitness experts COMEDY Johnny Vegas; Al Murray; Lee Mack; Bill Bailey; Steve Coogan; John Bishop; Rob Brydon



Rhianna Pratchett on games, gender, the nature of interactivity, and the future of Discworld Answering our questions all the way from sunny Mexico (not pictured), we speak to the prolific writer behind Mirror’s Edge, Tomb Raider and Heavenly Sword.

Words via Michael OʼConnell-Davidson; Research and questions via MOCD and Rhian Carruthers. An unabridged copy of this interview is available online at

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“You do know I’m on Holiday, right? ;)” Rhianna Pratchett has sent us her responses while holidaying Mexico, after e-mailing them to her far later than we’d initially intended. The excited feeling I get knowing that she’s responded to us in time to hit the printers is quickly replaced by the growing feeling that we’ve done a very bad thing emailing her so late. Pratchett began her career writing for the “late, great” PC Zone. “I spent a few years at the coalface of British games journalism before leaving to go freelance. I was offered a gig as a story-editor for a hard-core RPG called Beyond Divinity, and it all kicked off from there.” Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’ve played something Rhianna was involved in; she was the writer for, among other projects, Heavenly Sword, the Tomb Raider reboot and Mirror’s Edge. It’s a very different medium to write for, both in terms of the practicalities and the way the audience interacts with the text. “The role that the player undertakes in a game, and the relationship they have with the narrative, is very different from that of a regular viewer or reader. They absorb the narrative in an active, rather than passive way. They don’t just watch or read the story, they are the story. It is an experience, an adventure, a journey.” Yet despite the complicated player-narrative relationship, “the industry is still getting used to the idea of using professional writers, let alone using them correctly.” She describes writers in the games industry as being in the “square-peg-in-round-hole” phase. Despite the dystopian narrative being one of most memorable aspects of the original Mirror’s Edge, Pratchett entered into the development process towards the end of production. “Unless they are already part of the development team, a writer will often be brought in a year or more into the development process and they will have to create a story around existing assets. It’s a bit like writing a movie at the same time that it’s being filmed.” “You are a cog in a machine, trying to turn well with the other cogs, all of which have their own needs and agendas. You can still do great things, but you have to be very lucky with your team and working environment.” Despite that, though, things are only getting better. Director-writers like Ken Levine and Tim Schafer are becoming more common, and there are many more games writers in business than there were even five years ago. “The press and players are taking narrative more seriously and there’s much more discussion and advice out there about it. We’re still fighting a hard battle, but we have a few more soldiers in the trenches.” Even so, this increased prominence of narrative in video games has not come without controversy. We speak about Zoe Quinn’s seminal Depression Quest, which provides a unique insight into the mind of a someone suffering from the titular condition. “The abuse Zoe received over Depression Quest was utterly disgusting.” Much of the criticism leveraged against her came from the fact that the game was text-based, but, as Pratchett notes, “Text-based games have a long and proud history in the industry.” “Really that’s where the genesis of so many games stemmed from. The notion of ‘what is a game?’ absolutely needs to be challenged. Games that explore deeply personal subjects and shed light on experiences that many people are unaware of are something we need more of. Games can just be for sheer entertainment, but as a community and an industry it’s vital that we make room for games with something to say.” The games industry - and its associated community - has received a lot of negative media attention in recent years. Blurred Lines: The Battle of the Sexes, a recent BBC2 documentary, painted a picture of the gaming community (and, indeed, the internet at large) as a virulent place for women, and the #1reasonwhy was described as the hashtag that “exposed games industry sexism” by The Guardian. But Pratchett - who has been a gamer since she was a young child - thinks it’s more complex than that. “[It’s] not fair in the least. Characterizing any industry in just one light is unlikely to be accurate

ENTERTAINMENT VIDEO GAMES or show the full picture.” “The wider media tends to be wildly behind the times, and has a history of depicting games in a negative light. This is partly due to the fact that society likes to have its scapegoats (the waltz, rock’n’roll, video nasties etc.) and partly due to the fact that so many people (parents in particular) are ill-informed about the content of games, or the sheer variety available.” Indeed, Pratchett started a counterpart hashtag to #1reasonwhy, #1reasontobe. “I wanted to show that although it’s important to shine light into the dark corners of this world and show the battles being fought, it’s also important to show what’s worth fighting for.” She admits that her experience has been largely positive. “I haven’t felt particularly maligned or abused because of my gender. There’s always the trolls, but they are pretty much a given if you’re in the public eye and online [but] there’s no denying that some women have had very negative experiences and that is awful. Hopefully more people are becoming aware of the problems and doing more to alleviate them. It might seem like the trolls are winning sometimes, but I have found that there’s also a great deal of support out there.” Gender representation in video games is very complex, and has been the subject of much critical debate by academics and games writers. Pratchett, who worked closely with developers on the Tomb Raider reboot, was involved in shaping the representation of arguably the most iconic woman in video games. What was that like? “It really was a once in a life time opportunity. I mean it’s Lara Croft, right? Even my mum knows who she is. It was a real honour to get to work on a character as iconic as Lara and a team as hugely talented as Crystal Dynamics. It also felt that it was the right time in my career to take on such a challenge. It’s really wonderful to see how warmly she’s been received. I’m delighted to have been a part of that.” Pratchett is still involved with the Tomb Raider project, and is currently working on companion comics with Dark Horse. But have representations of women in games changed for the better? “It’s hard to tell because so few AAA games have female protagonists. There were only three in 2013 (Tomb Raider, Beyond: Two Souls and Remember Me). However, I think we have seen some really interesting female secondary characters emerging in recent years such as Ellie in The Last of Us and Elizabeth in Bioshock Infinite. You do get more female led titles in smaller, indie games, which unfortunately don’t always get the recognition they deserve, although I was pleased to see Gone Home get so many plaudits. “I think the marketing of female characters is going through a shift at the moment. The previous Tomb Raiders were often marketed in a very sexualised, just-for-the-guys way. Not only did it not really reflect the games themselves, but I think that was rather off putting for some female gamers, myself included, and probably some male ones too. Now that way of portraying a female character seems positively archaic. Lara is for everyone.” Another strong female representation Pratchett authored was Mirror’s Edge protagonist, Faith, who was designed to resemble real women more closely - a deviation from the women of Soul Calibur, Dead or Alive, and even the original Tomb Raider. With a sequel set before the events of the original game in the works, I asked Pratchett how she felt about the project; despite writing the original (as well as working with DC on a series of comics), EA have begun development without her. Does this feel like an undoing of her legacy? “I wrote the prequel story in the comics, so I guess they’re completely rewriting that for the next game. They own the IP, so it’s absolutely their right to do so.” She notes her first clue was that nobody contacted her by the time of the announcement. “No one I worked with on Mirror’s Edge is even at the studio anymore, let alone working on the next game. I know as much about it as the average gamer. The first project was very hard for all concerned. However, it would’ve been nice for them to have checked in with me to see if I was even interested in working on the next one, as I’d spent more time expanding the world, stories and

On writing the Tomb Raider reboot: “It really was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I mean it’s Lara Croft, right? Even my mum knows who she is.” characters than anyone else on the team. I think there would have to be a very different attitude towards the narrative this time around for me to be interested in working on a sequel.” It’s not all bad news, though: “considering I went on to work on Tomb Raider and helped reimagine Lara Croft, partly because of Mirror’s Edge and Heavenly Sword, I don’t really have anything to complain about. Karma has a way of sorting things out…eventually!” We spoke briefly about her father, Terry Pratchett. Did having such a famous author as a father influence her at all? “I’m not sure how much he influenced me to go into writing. He certainly didn’t actively encourage it. I guess it was just in the blood.” Indeed, the relationship between Rhianna and her father is much more complex than a literary dynasty: “I’m immensely proud of what my father has achieved in his career, but I see him as being my dad first and foremost, not ‘Terry Pratchett’ [the] famous author. He’s the man who built me Moomin Valley out of papier-mâché, taught me how to milk goats and who took me out of bed in the middle of the night to see glow worms and Halley’s comet.” In an interview with New Statesman in 2012, Terry Pratchett declared that Discworld was “safe” in Rhianna’s hands. “That interview had many people jumping to the conclusion that I’d be continuing to write the books. I don’t have any intention of doing that. When it comes to Discworld I consider myself more of a caretaker, or a narrative gardener, than a successor - keeping things in line with what I feel my father would’ve wanted.” “However, I will be involved with things like adaptations (I’m adapting Wee Free Men into a screenplay at the moment) and I am part of the creative team behind Terry Pratchett’s The Watch spin-off TV series. That’s where I feel my strengths lie. The books are sacred to dad.” Concluding, I ask her what a typical working day is for her. As with many media professionals, she notes she doesn’t really have a typical day. “Typical tends to make me a little bored. I usually try and spend a few hours solid writing and then the rest of the time is spent researching, reading, answering emails and interviews, and polishing my Hearthstone skills. “Alongside my game projects (which I can’t talk about) I’m currently finishing the first draft of Wee Free Men and also working on the Tomb Raider comics with Gail. My first screenplay, an adaptation of Janet Paisley’s novel Warrior Daughter (which I developed with funding from the BFI and Creative Scotland) is going out to directors at the moment. Exciting times!” ■



CAN VIDEOGAMES BE ART? The debate as to whether videogames can ever be considered as art has existed for as long as the medium itself. This month, on top of interviewing game narrative queen Rhianna Pratchett, Quench focuses on two particular areas of the argument. Adam Bown weighs in on the debate, looking at an increasingly important part of videogame narratives: voice acting The late film critic Roger Ebert once said “video games can never be art”. However, as the medium has advanced over the years it is fair to say that if video games are still not considered an art form, then they soon will be. With the titles produced during the last and current generations of consoles striving to build upon the achievements of their predecessors – arguably producing some of the best works of the craft in the process – video games are seemingly starting to become as renowned as their silver screen counterparts. It is, then, no surprise that the standards of voice-acting in games have gotten progressively higher and higher, but is it key to the medium as a whole?

Certainly, with more recent titles such as Bioshock: Infinite, Far Cry 3 and The Last of Us, the top notch performances from the casts lent a lot, not only to the dramatic weight of the narratives, but also to the characters they inhabited as well. For instance, Michael Mando’s unhinged performance in Far Cry 3 brought to life one of the most memorable antagonists ever seen in videogames in the form of Vass Montenegro, an ostensibly insane human trafficker with a knack for monologues, who elevated every scene he was in. Perhaps his defining moment being when he shares his definition of insanity, with protagonist Jason Brody - played extremely well by Gianpaolo Venuta - before throwing him into a river with a cinderblock tied to his wrists. Then, there is the chemistry between Troy Baker and Courtnee Draper in Irrational Games’ magnum opus Bioshock: Infinite, complementing each other perfectly as Booker and Elizabeth DeWitt and became a solid foundation for the emotional core of the narrative. To the immense relief of the universe, Baker and Draper would reprise their roles in the DLC Burial at Sea, where they firmly established themselves as one of the best voiceacting double-acts to date, as well as talented actors in their own rights. Draper, in particular, displayed a commendable range, taking the character of Elizabeth convincingly from a wide-eyed innocent girl to a noir style femme fatale simply by the nuances she brought to her performance.

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On the other hand, as a wise Barry Burton once said, “you almost became a Jill sandwich”. Yes, Capcom’s Resident Evil - released back in 1996 - was filled to the brim with bad dialogue and acting so wooden each syllable uttered turned into an olive branch as it floated through the air. Even so, the game received critical acclaim, spawned a long-standing franchise, and is considered a classic of the survival-horror genre. In effect, the overall appeal of the title had nothing to do with the quality of acting, it was the atmosphere, gameplay and visuals that took centre stage. This is the same with titles like Limbo and Risk of Rain, in the sense that neither of them rely on dialogue in any way, their selling points are based on the art design, gameplay mechanics and atmosphere of their respective works. Which leads us back to the original question, is voice-acting key in video games?

While it is certainly a feature most people would warm to more than QTE’s or cutscenes, voice-acting may not be as integral to the medium as some may think. Though that is not to say it is unwelcome. In fact, there have been many cases where excellent voice-acting has bolstered the quality of a game, but it is possible to produce a work without it and still create a great game.


Simon Richards gives his views, analysing the classic The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask on the Nintendo 64

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask has arguably one of the greatest cult followings in the gaming community, on the same level as Earthbound for the SNES and Shadow of the Colossus for the PS2. Majora’s Mask takes the dark path that other Zelda titles avoid with the ingenious blend of narrative and game play raising uncomfortable philosophical questions concerning death, pointlessness and grief. Since last year rumours started on the internet concerning a possible re-mastering of this title have been given credence by the multiple references to it in recent Nintendo releases. Taking place after Ocarina of Time, the story opens with Link searching for Navi, his lost fairy companion from the previous game. While riding his horse Epona in the Lost Woods he is ambushed by Skull Kid, a strange imp from the previous game wearing an odd mask who is accompanied by the two fairies Tatl and Tael. Having stolen the Ocarina of Time and Epona, Skull Kid is pursued by Link, whom he curses, transforming Link into a plantlike Deku Scrub. After the strange pursuit Link arrives at Clock Town in Termina, a world which seems to exist separately from Hyrule, the setting of the other Zelda titles. Link meets the Happy Mask Salesman, who informs Link that Skull Kid stole Majora’s Mask from him, an ancient mask containing a terrible power. Link must recover the mask to prevent Skull Kid from crashing the moon into Termina, and so Tatl joins him in an uneasy alliance. With three days until disaster, Link is able to recover the Ocarina of Time from Skull Kid and return to the first day. The Happy Mask Salesman lifts the curse from Link, and so begins his journey to awaken the Four Giants that reside in Termina to prevent the moon from falling, a journey that requires repeating the same cycle of three days. Throughout his journey Link collects multiple masks, some which allow him to assume the form of the dead person whom the mask represents. Structure-wise this game differs from its predecessor, with fewer dungeons, but each of a greater complexity. Gameplay also sees the introduction of

the transformation mask mechanic, which allows a much more varied style of gameplay. The Deku Mask for example introduces a challenging yet enjoyable form of platforming, using small rotors to glide from platform to platform; thus the masks encourage greater exploration. The true power of this game emanates from its dark narrative, one that is enhanced by the emphasis on side-quests. Throughout your journey you’ll spend time healing Termina’s inhabitants of their sorrows; the sidequest to reunite the doomed lovers Anju and Kafei before the moon falls is particularly moving. The ingenious mechanic of repeating the same three days symbolises the fear of death in this game, allowing the player to experience every aspect of the character’s lives in the face of the inevitable moon-fall. There is no princess to save, all that exists is life and death; even the Skull Kid is no real antagonist, just a lonely child being crippled by overwhelming power. This fear of death is also supported by the popular theory that this game is symbolic of Link’s own death, that the whole world of Termina is a bizarre purgatory designed to help Link accept his death. The grief theory shows that each area in the world represents the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Whether it is true or not, this theory is a testament to the resonance of this title within the gaming medium. This is one of the few games which you actually fear playing; unlike the anxiousness of horror games, the narrative based on the inevitability of death adds a kind of despairing gravity to the three-day timer. Each second has weight to it, and in a game where you forge emotional connections with many of the characters it truly feels like the world is ending. All in all the willingness of this game to explore the darkest of subjects, humanity’s fear of death, makes it unique not only among Zelda titles, but in the gaming genre in general. In a medium often criticised for a lack of substance and narrative by those unfamiliar with it, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask stands out as a beacon, showing that the gaming medium is capable of true works of art.

There is no princess to save, all that exists is life and death; even the Skull Kid is no real antagonist, just a lonely child being crippled by overwhelming power




OF THE WORLD? Alex Miarli hunts down the reason why we all love an apocalypse story Over the last fifty years there has been a continual rise in the popularity of postapocalyptic stories across all media, but in particular film and television. For some reason, people are captivated by the thought of society having to start over after some form of devastation, whether it’s disease, weapons of mass destruction, technological destruction, alien

The wrong turn in The Walking Dead could mean death and prove that the actors on Game of Thrones have better job security than they do invasions, or of course, a zombie apocalypse. If you look deeper into the films or shows you love, the list of post-apocalyptic, disaster or dystopian societal stories is endless! This is obviously a goldmine for television and film studios. To have the opportunity to churn out the same story over and over again with a few tweaks here and there (with the guarantee that you’ll have an audience) is one of the greatest reassurances in an industry that is as volatile as Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano (…it erupts a lot). So why do we keep going back to watch the same story? Ranging from comedic takes such as Shaun of the Dead, This is the End or Warm Bodies to the more extreme, dark and serious versions like Falling Skies, The Book of Eli, Contagion or The Walking Dead; the variety of subgenres help to breathe a different life into the same story in the hope to keep the idea of battling against all odds relatively fresh. The most obvious post-apocalyptic story that has been reused countless times is of course the zombie apocalypse story. No matter whether you’re watching a film or a TV show, you can’t escape

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the zombie apocalypse (excuse the pun!). Over the years, the box office has been plagued by the undead, most notably from the classic 28 Days Later to more recent endeavours, like Brad Pitt’s World War Z. In nearly every zombie movie, they speak to both our nostalgia for the modern world as we watch it crumble before our very eyes, as well as to our disquiet about a post-modernity that appears barbaric and foreboding; with a zombie attack, it acts as a cleansing balm and the chance to start over again. This could be something that appeals to a number of people who continue to watch, in the hope of turning over a new metaphorical leaf. As well as this, the protagonist in this genre is the self-sufficient individual rather than the social, pluralistic horde, only to be thrown into the deep end in the context of the specific story; another psychological connection of something the viewer might want to aspire to in their own lives, let alone the fantastical world of film. In recent years, it has not always been a sugar coated experience for the viewer but heavily coated in a cruel reality of loss and devastation. One particular television series that capitalises on this aspect is of course The Walking Dead. The show’s characters help to create emotional connections with the viewers, as they are mentally and physically tested in a derelict society where the wrong turn could mean death and prove that the actors on Game of Thrones have better job security than they do! And let’s not forget the scene in Will Smith’s zombie-like epic I Am Legend when his dog, his only friend on a deserted, zombie-infested Manhattan becomes infected and he has to kill her with his own hands… Who didn’t shed a tear at that scene?! However, the post-apocalyptic genre does not stop with zombies and aliens but technically extends its reach to the concept of a dystopian society. A lot of post-apocalyptic television shows and films have an element of science-fiction at their core, like Blade Runner, Elysium or J.J. Abrams’ Revolution, but everything has been turned on its head and what

would be the norm is now far from reality. One franchise that adopts this is the Planet of the Apes franchise that is now in its prequel/reboot stage with the upcoming Dawn of the Planet of the Apes film this summer. The franchise is centred on the role-reversal where apes are the dominant species to humans in a futuristic post-apocalyptic Earth. But all of these films and TV shows that focus on the

No matter whether you’re watching a film or a TV show, you can’t escape the zombie apocalypse demise of our planet or a civilisation that emulates ours is something we might subconsciously crave because it’ll break up our monotonous day-to-day living; in most cases it acts as a way to start over. Not to mention, we’re shrouded in doom and gloom in our everyday lives but we still want humanity to prevail in the end and this genre helps to provide that in some way. For the viewer, the real thrill of a post-apocalyptic film or series is feeling the heroic in him or her being called out into a world that in many ways already feels post-apocalyptic. This genre also implies the idea that technology and our way of living is enough to annihilate the human race and they have the power to call mankind into a more deeply and genuinely humane way of life… Just look at the events of The Day After Tomorrow to see how we could potentially cause a cataclysmic shift of our planet through global warming! The postapocalyptic genre also suggests to its audiences that the time has come to grow beyond mankind’s age-old self-absorbed territoriality, and to seek out a deeper, more heroic interrelatedness with each other and the world in which we live. But this is only scratching the surface of the genre…



Charlie Andrews picks the best of post-apocalyptic films and TV shows throughout the years The post-apocalyptic genre has been “over done” in recent years with producers and writers realising how commercially successful and critically acclaimed they can be. Though the genre is becoming increasingly saturated there are of course some great examples within it; from iconic films such as I Am Legend and Shaun of the Dead, to TV shows such as Falling Skies and The Walking Dead. I have picked out a couple of examples from each medium that I personally feel are worth a watch regardless of critical reception. Zombieland Yet another film categorised under the zombie sub-genre. But what can I say; this is one of my favourite films of all time – and with good reason. There is no part of the narrative that focuses on a zombie outbreak – just a throwaway line regarding a contaminated burger – instead the film focuses on four completely different and unrelatable characters who find themselves brought together in the world of Zombieland. From Columbus’ (Jesse Eisenberg) “Rules to Surviving Zombieland” to Tallahassee’s (Woody Harrelson) desperate quest to find the world’s last Twinkie – they’re that good – this aptly labeled ‘zomcom’ will have you in stitches. And of course, who could forget the brilliantly sweet cameo by Bill “fucking” Murray. World War Z World War Z was a blockbuster success when it was released last year and many described it as Brad Pitt’s best film to date. Based on the book of the same name, written by Max Brooks, the film opens with former United Nations investigator Gerry Lane (Pitt) enjoying family life in his newfound role of househusband. But of course things don’t go according to plan when the family set off for a vacation. A few miles down the road they find themselves caught in seemingly ordinary congestion, however when a police car comes charging down the middle of two lanes, taking out Lane’s wing mirror in process, and civilians break out into a furor of panic the family starts to follow suit. As the titular “Z” suggests, the panic is caused by the outbreak of a zombie pandemic. What makes this film stand out from its peers in the zombie sub-genre is the visually dynamic scenes littered throughout the narrative. The most impressive piece of cinematography is found in the Jerusalem based portion of the film. After hearing whispers about a zombie infection spreading across the globe, the politicians of Jerusalem decide to build a wall across the entire outer-rim of the city. Whilst this plan initially seems to work, the citizens of Jerusalem become too rowdy and create too much noise which consequently causes a literal tower of zombies to break over the wall. The 100 The 100 isn’t currently airing in the UK, so why am I suggesting it? Well after airing just a few episodes state-side the show has already been renewed for a second season – it’s just that good. Set 97 years after a nuclear war has destroyed civilization and consequently caused the Earth to be uninhabitable, humanity’s lone survivors are housed on a spaceship orbiting above Earth. With resources stretched and space sparse, laws and legislations are extremely strict on the ship – if a person above the age of eighteen is found committing a crime, regardless of how serious or petty, they are immediately sentenced to death. But where does the title come in? Well the politicians of the spaceship have a plan to survive despite diminishing resources; they decide to send 100 juvenile delinquents back down to Earth to discover if the levels of radiation have dropped in the hopes that humanity can re-populate the planet. What makes the premise of the show interesting is the dual narrative focus – the show not only focuses on the 100 youths on the planet’s surface, but also centres on the politicians back on the spaceship. The on-screen debates between Greys Anatomy’s Isaiah Washington and Lost’s Henry Ian Cusick are most definitely worthy of your attention. Revolution The post-apocalyptic world of this show was not brought about by a zombie pandemic, nuclear fallout or a natural disaster. Quite simply, the lights just went out. After years of human civilization’s increasing dependence on technology and energy, what would happen when it all switched off never to come on again? – the world would be sent back to the Dark Ages. Revolution is set fifteen years after the global blackout and finds civilization completely changed. Militia-type groups have risen up after the fall of the American government, families have been forced out of the major cities, and the President is presumed dead. The narrative is set within the Monroe Republic, a militia run by the increasingly paranoid Sebastian Monroe (David Lyons) who is desperately trying to hunt down former friend and comrade Miles Matheson (Billy Burke) whom Monroe believes is the one person capable of toppling his dictatorship. With firearms being horded by the militias, this series provides many spectacular action sequences showcasing Miles’ dexterity with a sword and many characters’ accuracy with bows, knives and crossbows. Despite the fact that the show was cancelled this May, with an incredible executive production team comprising of J.J. Abrams (Lost, Fringe), Jon Favreau (Iron Man Trilogy, Swingers) and Erik Kripke (Supernatural) and an ensemble cast which includes Billy Burke (Twilight Saga), Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost) and Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad) this series is certainly worth a watch.



Meet The Stars of Episode


Imran Bukhari examines the bright new additions to the re-birthed cast of Star Wars: Episode VII and predicts the roles that each actor will be playing. After much speculation and more rumours than you could shake a lightsaber at. Director J.J. Abrams and producer Lawrence Kasdan officially announced the main cast for Star Wars: Episode VII. In the world of film,

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it is almost entirely unheard of for a movie to reveal all its primary actors in one go, especially for a project as highly anticipated as this. Among this announcement is the news that original Star Wars veterans Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher will return as Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia respectively. The real intrigue however lies in the new faces as they include an eclectic mix of wellrespected thespians, actors on the cusp of Hollywood royalty and complete newcomers.

Daisy Ridley Not an awful lot can actually be said about Daisy Ridley, simply because Star Wars: Episode VII will be one of her first ever film roles. To date she has been mainly seen on British TV shows; Mr Selfridge, Casualty and Silent Witness. Before she is transported to a galaxy far far away, you’ll be able to see her first in The Inbetweeners 2.

Adam Driver Out of all the names that arose from the press release, Adam Driver’s was the least surprising. The actor has long been linked with a role (as has nearly every actor) and all that was missing was confirmation of his involvement. Driver has had small roles in many films over the past few years including J. Edgar, Lincoln and a scene stealing cameo in Inside Llewyn Davis alongside his future Star Wars co-star Oscar Isaac. Driver is most well-known for his TV work however; particularly his role in HBO’s hit show Girls. Potential Role: Driver has long been gestated as being the big bad of Star Wars: Episode VII. He most definitely has the look and demeanour to be a truly menacing Sith Lord.

Potential Role: There has been speculation that another major female role has yet to be cast. If this uncast part is not the daughter of Han and Leia, then Ridley most definitely will be.

Oscar Isaac Oscar Isaac is very much an actor on the brink of stardom. After appearing as a supporting character for a long time in films like Robin Hood, Drive and Body of Lies; he showed his leading man potential with his Golden Globe nominated performance as the titular character of Inside Llewyn Davis. This piece of casting is particularly smart by J.J. Abrams and his team because Isaac is a talented actor with impressive credentials but has yet to have a truly career defining role. Stars Wars will surely be just that. Potential Role: Isaac will most likely be the new ‘Han Solo’. Not necessarily the typical hero of the story but the character that everyone wants to be. Expect him to also be a love interest for Daisy Ridley’s character.


Domhnall Gleeson

Andy Serkis

To most people Domhnall Gleeson is the second most famous acting Gleeson, behind his father Brendan. Come December 2015 all that could change. The younger Gleeson does have experience in blockbuster films having played Bill Weasley in the Harry Potter franchise and since then has gone on to build his reputation as an exciting actor in many smaller independent films; True Grit, About Time and Frank.

Gollum. King Kong. Caesar. Captain Haddock. Andy Serkis is without doubt the leading actor when it comes to motion capture performances, so much so that a petition was set up to add another Oscar category recognising his work. Serkis, along with Christopher Lee will also have the added clout of being the only two actors who have appeared in both the Star Wars and The Lord of The Rings films.

Potential Role: I have a sneaking suspicion that Gleeson may well be playing Luke Skywalker’s son. But if Luke has obeyed the celibacy rule bestowed on all Jedi, then he would also make a fantastic android.

John Boyega Max Von Sydow At the tender age of 85 it is great to see arguably the greatest Swedish actor of all time taking a role in one of the biggest film franchises in cinema history. He was once the muse to director Ingmar Bergman in iconic films like Seventh Seal. Von Sydow has recently worked for some of the finest living directors; Minority Report with Steven Spielberg and Shutter Island with Martin Scorsese. His appointment brings an added gravitas to the already excellent cast and is surely an indication that the script must be half decent.

22 year old John Boyega’s most notable role came in 2011’s Attack the Block, where he portrayed a member of a young London gang fighting off an invasion of aliens. Of all the casting choices this is probably the most risqué. Star Wars fans will be too wary of the saga’s poor casting when it came to the young incarnations of Anakin Skywalker. Hopefully Boyega will be able to shine despite his limited acting résumé.

Potential Role: If Serkis has been employed because of his exceptional skills with motion capture, then he really could be playing any character under the sun. J.J. Abrams is a fan of practical effects and minimal CGI, but there are bound to be new and strange aliens for our heroes to encounter. This opens up the potential for Serkis to be playing multiple roles in the same movie.

Potential Role: Could be Lando’s son or a character unaffiliated with prior lore; potentially an apprentice to Luke Skywalker.

Potential Role: Due to Von Sydow’s versatility and experience as an actor this could go either way. Should the dark side be his path he would make an excellent shady, older character pulling the strings in the vein of Emperor Palpatine. On the other hand he could also easily be a caring, wise mentor reminiscent of Alec Guinness’ Obi-Wan Kenobi.




Heroes is coming back. Will it be a glorious revitalisation or a torturous misadventure? Kieran Brettle-Alrdridge gives his thoughts After the announcement that Heroes would return next year, I jumped back in time to 2006 to take a look at how the show was the first time around. 8 years on from when it first aired, the show begs the question: is seeing the show make a return to our screens in a new 13 episode miniseries really for the best? It’s interesting to note that originally the show was set to focus around a different group of heroes each season with the premise that each of the characters would wake to discover they had amazing abilities and would slowly come to meet each other. However, due to the popularity of characters like Peter Petrelli and Clair Bennet, it was decided that the initial cast would be used continuously after the premiere season. Whilst this worked with many of the characters, it can also be argued that this was also the downfall of the show with creative juices appearing to run dry when similar plot threads were being used season after season. Just how many times was Sylar used as the villain? The first coming of the sci-fi hit provided us with enough plot twists and confusing interludes to last us a lifetime. This is one of the reasons why the show was successful. Not only did the characters evolve, but the story evolved with them. Heroes gave us the feeling that the characters’ actions had a direct impact on the

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future and how it would eventually play out. Despite leaving us with a feeling of slight disappointment at the end, Heroes was fantastic and has become a fan favourite. Now it’s just a case of waiting to see if the second coming brings anything new to the table or even if it just brings the same amount of intrigue and suspense as the first one did. Whilst series writer Tim Kring is returning for Reborn, it has yet to be confirmed whether or not any of the original cast will be returning. If they were to return would it be in a recurring role or just a cameo to delight returning fans? However, Hayden Panettiere recently revealed that was she shocked that they didn’t approach her for the reboot. There are some suggesting that dropping the original cast entirely would be great for the show, a blank canvass to paint a new story upon. This could even be a desperate attempt by NBC to just make a quick buck. In a world where people are scared to try new shows and new ideas are often shunned, branding and household names are always a safe bet. Perhaps this is NBC trying its hand at that rather than actually feeling passionate about recreating something that was great the first time around. It could quite easily be said that the reason we saw Heroes leave was because the fans grew tired. As the story progressed, it did become ever more apparent that Kring was rehashing old ideas. So perhaps this alone is reason enough for a reboot to be left well enough alone. This reboot could leave us with a fond memory of a brilliant show, or it could be the death of it entirely. Here’s hoping Heroes will be Reborn.


Nostalgic Viewing Some get forgotten, some survive. But what shows are worth revisiting? Charlie Andrews can tell you a few Nostalgia. We all experience it. How things were better. How things have changed. For better or for worse things are different but there is still no harm in reminiscing. The same can be said for the TV industry. If you care to take a look at a current TV guide you would find listings for the highly popular, critically acclaimed Game of Thrones, the darkly delectable Hannibal, and the tense, brooding and nail-biting Arrow. It goes without saying that there are some truly magnificent shows currently gracing our TV screens. But does a show have to be current to be enjoyable? Does a show have to be littered with breathtakingly incredible special effects (courtesy of current technology)? No it doesn’t. Admittedly you need to watch current shows to experience all of the water-cooler moments, but older TV series are still as enjoyable and impressive now as they were back in the day. There truly is no harm in a little nostalgic viewing. When I think of nostalgic viewing one series always comes prominently to mind: Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This show is where Joss Whedon, the man who assembled the Avengers, made his name in the industry. If you haven’t seen this show then you’d better start now, as it truly is a classic. The show focuses on Buffy, a teenage girl who was destined to be her generation’s ‘slayer’, tasked with fighting vampires, demons and other infernal creatures. What made this show great was the ensemble cast of characters that Whedon had created – from the beginning Buffy was aided by headstrong and down on his luck Xander, techno-wizz and timid Willow (played by How I Met Your Mother’s Alyson Hannigan), and human library Giles. After starting Buffy again recently it goes without saying nostalgic viewing doesn’t come better or stronger than this. When Andy wrote about Veronica Mars’ journey from TV to the big screen in the last issue I decided to check out the original series for myself. I was honestly amazed at how well this show has aged. Apart from the old piece of technology here and there that is dated (chunky phones, My Space being popular– that sort of

thing), the only thing that reminds me that this series is now ten years old is Veronica herself; I am a big fan of Heroes (another great example of nostalgic viewing) and Kristen Bell played the shockingly bitchy Elle in the second and third seasons. Veronica is incredibly intuitive, intelligent and a darn good detective. For a high-school girl she seems to take on the entire world, from finding a lost parrot to unearthing an elaborate murder conspiracy involving multi-million dollar business corporations, and Veronica manages all of this whilst still managing to graduate. Perhaps the most common experience of nostalgic viewing comes in the form of the iconic comedy series Friends. The much-loved show finished a decade ago now and yet you can still find it airing over on Comedy Central. Some say it ran for too long, some say it didn’t run for long enough, regardless one thing is for certain: it is still funny today. From Rachel singing “I like big butts” to her baby daughter to Joey trying to speak French, this show is littered with laugh out loud moments. Forget about the awesomely catchy theme tune, the best musical number in this show has to be Phoebe’s own “Smelly Cat” – “Smelly cat, smelly cat, what are they feeding you? Smelly cat, smelly cat it’s not your fault” – she truly is a lyrical genius. The show also managed some remarkable celebrity cameos throughout its ten-year run, from Jon Favreau to Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt to George Clooney, some incredible talent graced the series. Now if you excuse me I need to go and watch The One Where Joey Speaks French.



Hollywood vs. HBO With more money now being made in TV, Charlie Andrews weighs up whether stories are told better on film or TV?

I know, right; such a heavy article title. To mark the final issue of the year we decided as a section to weigh up which platform is better: film or TV. When I say better, I am not referring to which platform makes the most money – whilst the amount of money being made in the TV industry is increasing exponentially (hence more household names flocking over to our TV screens) – instead I shall be weighing them up in terms of visual effects, character development, and narrative threads. Ultimately this article sets out to debate which is the better platform for storytelling. Visual Effects Undoubtedly one would award this category to film. Having millions at your disposal in an effects budget speaks volumes, and here, having such a big budget pays off. Look no further than this month’s Godzilla; that creature is nothing but pure CG. But the effects don’t stop there; this film promises global destruction, from the San Francisco Bridge to naval cruisers, the destruction in this film is unmatched – well, maybe Man of Steel could stand up to it.

Man of Steel’s opening sequence provided the audience with the best cinematic portrayal of the planet Krypton to date. Exotic wildlife, breathtakingly colourful scenery, and unimaginable technology, Krypton looked incredible even during its destruction. Then you had the effects of Superman flying. When the original Superman was released back in 1978 the audience was astounded and in awe at witnessing a man taking flight, and a lot of the films success can be attributed to its visual effects. However, Man of Steel took these to a whole other level. Whether it was Henry Cavill crashing through a mountaintop, or his breaking of the sound barrier, the effects were stunning and more amazingly, realistic. Whether you’re of the opinion that director Zack Snyder went a little overboard with (spoilers!) Metropolis’ destruction in the final third or not, there is not denying it was visually spectacular.

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Such visual effects on the TV side of things are anything but a spectacle. Smallville – Superman’s small screen adaptation – can be commended for attempting to utilise such an effects based narrative and character for TV. Whilst the writing of the show often left something to be desired, the effects of the show were actually not that bad. Ok, so the super hearing was terrible, and the lack of flight was infuriating, but the heat vision was awesome and even the super speed was pretty good for its time.

Man of Steel’s opening sequence provided the audience with the best cinematic portrayal of the planet Krypton to date Since Smallville ended in 2011 the visual effects on television of improved tremendously. The Tomorrow People, which is going to be a (sadly) short-lived single season, is a great example of this. The titular Tomorrow People possess the abilities of The Three T’s – telepathy, telekinesis and

teleportation – and the effects used by the producers are incredible. The teleportation effects are the best I have seen – certainly better than Hiro’s on Heroes – and the telekinesis, for what it is, looks great also. The weakest of the three is telepathy because obviously it is nigh on impossible to really represent visually. My most anticipated show of 2014 is The Flash – which has just been picked up for a full season, yay! – and a trailer for the show dropped this month. If you watch this trailer without knowing anything about the project you would be forgiven for expecting a cinematic release titled The Flash because the effects truly are that great. The molecular vibration, the slow-motion, the super speed, everything about this show looks spectacular. I can easily make a big statement here – but bear in mind it is also a personal opinion – and say that I believe the visual effects on the super speed are easily the best to date, including those effects used for the same purpose in film. Everything from the zaps of lightning, to the mid-run freeze frames, to the sliding stops, television network the CW have accomplished the unimaginable: they have brought an effects based character seamlessly to the small screen with great effect (pun intended).


Character Development and Narrative Threads These two categories can be judged together as both require a period of time to accomplish. With this in mind, one could say that TV typically handles character and narrative development better.

This serialised format truly makes TV the best for both character and narrative threads There are two main forms a television programme can take – procedural and serialised. The former format employs a case-of-the-week type strategy; each episode introduces a specific circumstance that the characters must solve by the end of that episode. In a procedural the weekly case is the focus, while the ongoing themes, if any, are secondary. Examples of procedurals are Criminal Minds, Grey’s Anatomy, and The Blacklist. Whilst the case-of-the-week takes centre stage each episode the series as a whole still provides opportunity for character development. Each case provides the cast of characters with a different situation or scenario and with this comes several opportunities for character development – a character may share a previous life experience similar to that being presented in the current episode,

a character may exhibit an unorthodox reaction, or perhaps a revelation in a case sheds a light on a character’s hidden motives, thoughts, or agenda. Some procedural series do however over an overarching narrative thread and each episode provides an opportunity to strengthen and add to that particular thread. A great example of this would be the criticallyacclaimed Sherlock. In the first series the first two episodes were very much your typical case-of-the-week but each case added to the over-arching narrative thread which in this case was Moriarty. The finale for the first series centred around wrapping up the over-arching case and providing a fitting conclusion to the series. The serialised format is one that comprises of over arching narrative threads and character development that develop over the course of the season or series. These ongoing stories and themes take precedent and build towards a gradual climax. While serialised TV shows can contain ‘monster-ofthe-week stories’ they are (often) secondary and used instead to explore/reflect the larger story/themes. Some great examples of serialised shows are Arrow, Lost, and Breaking Bad. This serialised format truly makes TV the best for both character development and narrative threads as, instead of having to wait a couple of years for the next instalment in film (damn you Avengers: Age of Ultron), you get the next instalments week on week. Moreover, instead of being limited to a single viewing/film, series have the privilege of being able to craft intricately woven storylines and characters over several instalments in a series, whether that be a 13-episode mini-series or the old, dying 22-episode format.








Cardiff three-piece Kutosis open the weekend with a perfectly rugged set of garage rock, a sound matched by none over the three-day stint. It seems a shame, then, that their turn out was wearing rather thin on the ground. It only takes a few to put on a show, though, and that is exactly what they did. CM

If you can work ‘you sit there in your chinos eating jalapeños’ into a song as Randolph’s Leap do, then you’re off to a good start. Mix that with a folky onslaught of brass and guitar, a sunny Friday afternoon and a few dozen 40-somethings sufficiently dosed up on cider and you can’t really go wrong. CM

Opening day two is entrusted to multi instrumentalists The School. Tamborines, violins, hand-claps and even a recorder make their way into the melting pot, but the highlight comes in the form of a duelling solo between trumpet and xylophone at the midpoint of the set. The eight-strong collective manages to bring warm smiles indoors, while the outdoors is struggling against the cold spring morning. TC

September Girls provide one of the most together sets of the weekend. If only the cavernous church hall didn’t swallow up their grungey, 60s noise pop before it can gravitate anywhere further than the front row. But, as far as matching outfits and heavy basslines go, they do a pretty good job. CM

Verbose til the end, Cardiff’s lo-fi indie pop sensations Radstewart make the impressive feat of changing their infamous lyric, “if you go out and get drunk, in a Native American headdress, then you’re a c*nt,” into a family friendly affair. ‘Twerp’ is what was chosen as the perfect substitute for the aforementioned naughty word, in case you were wondering. TC

There were signs all around the Gate Arts Centre warning bohemian parents about potty-mouthed artists, ‘especially that Simon Love’. I saw one such parent rummage through his tote bag for noisecancelling headphones, desperate to halt the filth during Love’s ‘Motherfuckers (Version 2)’. Assuming they worked, that girl missed out on a delightfully puerile set that included ‘Wowie Zowie’ and fan favourite, ‘My Dick’. JD

T h e P r o p e r Ornaments’ reserved set of neo-psychedelica has a time-warping effect on the twilight crowd. Their rightside-of-strained harmonies put me in mind of Temples playing at Clwb for Swn. Others in the audience no doubt went back a little further. The band opened for the headliners admirably, in good preparation for future support slots with Toy and the Horrors. JD

My middle-aged uncle said of a Wedding Present gig some five years ago that he realised it may well be his last chance to mosh, ever – so he did. Clearly the band just has that effect, as it’s taken the crowd strongly tonight, salaried men and women pogoing with abandon, attempting stage invasions and generally behaving like joyful teenagers. It’s an energy they’re drawing from David Gedge, the band’s constant frontman for nearly thirty years, who performs with the same fervour as when touring their very first albums. His is a voice that ages wonderfully, reminiscent of Charlie the Cat even in youth, and now seasoned into a true snarl. He sneers through a career’s worth of spiteful love songs, from old favourite ‘Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft’ through to tracks from latest LP ‘Valentina’ like the borderline postrock ‘You Jane’.

Cardiff’s own Hail! The Planes prove yet again that they are one of the city’s brightest propects with a set of shimmering, folk-tinged post-rock. While the more delicate elements may have been spoilt by a baby’s gargling and yelping, there is no doubting H!TP’s majesty amongst these former church walls. TC

Stephen Black, or Sweet Baboo to the assembled throng, takes to the stage alone this evening. His acoustic ditties touch upon love, life and laughter, falling upon a refreshingly hushed audience, who pay their respects to him with both rumbles of laughter at his awkward humour and thunderous applause as each tale ends. TC

Q 50

We weren’t aware that wearing sunglasses indoors was still a ‘thing.’ According to Helen Love, though, it is. As are subpar Ramones rip offs and baggy jeans. Apparently, though, she was exactly what everyone has been waiting for. Come nine o’clock the parents have drunk one too many beer and nothing is getting in the way of their bloody good time. CM

The band are known for recording and performing extensively in languages other than their native English; they released Peel Sessions in Ukrainian, and still tour France with ‘Pourquoi Es Tu Devenue Si Raisonnable?’ from the ‘George Best’ album. Tonight, which also happened to be Record Store Day, they’d played an acoustic set at Spiller’s and released a new Welsh EP, ‘Cân’. Gedge, apologising for his own lack of Welsh-speaking, invited his friend Andrew Teilo (who translated the EP) to perform vocal duties on ‘Meet Cute’. The Wedding Present leave on the ringing notes of Bewitched – having played its full six minutes to crescendo – and promise to be back soon. After their third Cardiff gig in as many years, nobody doubts them. JD

Capping off the weekend, Withered Hand bring a haggard folk pop to the festivities. Every bit as jaunty as the weekend’s previous escapades, the bopping reaches fever pitch as the last few notes ring out amongst the pews of The Gate. A fitting end to a summery celebration of all things independent and fun. TC



HOW I FAKED THE MOON LANDING PHOTO CREDIT: MICHAEL NASH Renowned for its music scene for years, Cardiff’s recent successes in the area owe a lot to Connor Cupples and Jealous Lovers Club. The local promoting powerhouse is synonymous with the wealth of independent venues that cover Cardiff’s streets, and the streams of bands that flood them on an almost nightly basis. With the upcoming launch of Jealous Lovers Club Records drawing ever closer, a celebration was in order. Never one to do things by halves, Connor’s celebration came in the form of a two-stage, twelve-band ‘microfestival’, which was held at Gwdihw on May 4th - a perfect reflection of everything Jealous Lovers Club has been building over the last two years. Opening the day is entrusted to local upstarts Esuna, their twiddly math-rock perfectly in keeping with the indie ethos that Jealous Lovers Club has championed from the start. Despite the odd timing slip-up (“Let’s just say I hate 7/8” laughs drummer Joseff Neale from the back corner of Gwdihw’s indoor stage), their set exudes a confidence that masks the fact that they have only played a handful of shows. Over on the outdoor Quench stage, Cleft are quick to admit that “it’s a really nice day to be playing really fuckin’ horrible music like this!” Jokes aside, theirs is a set of instrumental noodling with a decidedly heavier flavour than most. Their pedalboard gets a thorough workout throughout, and they undoubtedly leave with a few more fans to their name. Totem Terrors, however, suffer a few too many technical glitches to be considered a success this afternoon. Their barbed electro-punk is certainly interesting, but with a failing drum machine, struggles to make much of an impact – a feat easily managed by How I Faked The Moon Landing. From the second they take to the

stage, the Cardiff indie-pop quintet incite mania, hurling themselves (and, at one point, a rather expensive looking synth) around the tent with reckless abandon. While today is a celebration of the past, present and future of Jealous Lovers Club, it also quickly becomes something of a wake, as Her Parents take to the indoor stage for their last ever show. The writhing mass of bodies on stage becomes perfect metaphor for the madness of the music, as the group throw themselves around the diminutive stage, cracking jokes and clearly relishing every last second of their time together.

HOW I FAKED THE MOON LANDING EASILY MAKE AN IMPACT Radstewart are surely one of Cardiff’s hottest properties right now, and today’s set provides another solid set of reasons why. Their ramshackle charm is perfectly at ease in the early summer sunshine, and their umpteenth show under the Jealous Lovers banner is fittingly faultless. Back inside, noise-pop dup Playlounge are similarly no strangers to Jealous Lovers Club’s shows, and their chaotic harmonics are welcomed back with open arms. With summer’s sheen beginning to show on the faces of all attendees, Nai Harvest’s newfound melody provides the perfect soundtrack under the Quench banner of the main stage. A far cry from the jagged emo of their debut full-length ‘Whatever’, this year’s ‘Hold Open My Head’

EP has opened the duo up to a whole new world of sunny day vibes, perfectly welcomed by the sun-tinged crowd. A more chilled-out ambiance comes from Olympians, whose inside stage set provides a welcome respite from the setting sun as they delicately craft each of their odes to the ordinary. Back out in said sunset, Samoans showcase upcoming debut album ‘Rescue’ to a swelling evening crowd. The accomplishment that each track exudes belies the band’s local status - it seems absurd that a band of this calibre could still be considered such. Nonetheless, the homecoming atmosphere of this evening’s set is perfectly suited to the setting of this Jealous Lovers fiesta. Closing the inside stage is entrusted to Woahnows, whose pop-tinged punk-rock provides the perfect score for the now slightly more lubricated crowd’s grinning and bopping. Heading outside one final time, Tellison take to a Cardiff stage for the first time since 2011. Headliner status is something Tellison thrive on, their noholds-barred approach to catchiness providing ample support for sing-alongs and the occasional boogie. The band themselves form perfect metaphor for the day they close. Kings of the UK’s independent scene, Tellison pay respects to their older material in much the same way as the Jealous Lovers Club Microfest celebrated the promoters’ achievements to date. However, both hint at bright future prospects, with Tellison using the opportunity to air tracks from their upcoming third album, and Jealous Lovers themselves about to embark on their own new adventure with the launch of their record label. A promising look to the future of the UK indie scene, the Jealous Lovers Club Microfest was a perfect culmination of all the efforts put into the brand to date. Here’s to the future. TOM CONNICK




Q 52

ENTERTAINMENT MUSIC It’s been a long three years since the last time Manchester Orchestra touched down in the UK for a headline tour, and a similar gap between 2011’s ‘Simple Math’ and the group’s new release. If you wanted a visual indicator of that passage of time then a good place to start would be lead singer Andy Hull’s beard, carrying a further few inches of facial fuzz since last we saw him performing on these shores. Hull is in a relaxed and confident mood backstage at the Fleece in Bristol as the doors open for the first night of the band’s tour supporting new album ‘Cope’. “I think we just wanted to make a bullshit-free record,” muses Hull of the record’s aesthetic, pouring himself a whiskey. “Just something in our catalogue that was so direct, and we spent a long time on these songs and even though they sound simple it’s very difficult to do that.” The band deliver on that promise, with the songs on ‘Cope’ as lean and taut as anything Manchester Orchestra have released, with some of the more sprawling pieces of old replaced by shorter sharp bursts of hard guitars while retaining their knack for a great tune. Only one song clocks in at over four minutes, but that’s purely coincidence according to Hull - “We never thought about length, ever. It was just really weird that every song ended up being almost the exact same length, but we never thought about that, never tried that.” The notable change in the record from its predecessor, then, is its focus and direction. “I felt like [with] ‘Simple Math’ we went in every area, and then I wanted to do my favourite area which is... you know, rocking the fuck out.” Another important change in the development of ‘Cope’ was the fact that the band handled production duties themselves, but the additional freedom didn’t necessarily make the process smoother, “It definitely was not any easier, it was probably harder because we didn’t have somebody in the corner kind of championing it saying like ‘That’s great! Keep going!’ you know? It was just us, and me having to say that more often than not. I was really saying more like ‘this isn’t good, we’ve got to make it better’.” Though the band were their own boss this time around it’s not to say they totally ignored outside opinion. “‘Trees’, the eighth song on the record, wasn’t supposed to be on the record, it was supposed to be a ten track record at like 35 minutes. Then everyone from my mom to the mixer to the masterer to the label were like ‘that’s a really great song, you should put it on’.” The long gestation period of the record was by no means down to a lack of ideas on the band’s part, with 28 songs being developed in the process before ‘Cope’ was whittled down to its eleven tracks. Just because they didn’t make this release, it doesn’t mean the extra songs will be consigned to the cutting room floor, however. “Every record we have a bunch of extra songs, but these songs were really cool. I can definitely see all of our unreleased songs seeing the light of day eventually maybe in a box set…” Hull pauses to ponder the scenario, “You know, after I die, when we need to pay for dog food and baby food you know...” The songs that made the cut are the result of nearly

two years of writing, and the amount of effort put into achieving the particular turbocharged sound we hear is the result of some meticulous work in the studio by the band. “I actually only played one guitar, I played that red guitar I was playing on stage [a Fender telecaster that Hull used during the soundcheck] for that whole record.” Hull explains enthusiastically, “But I mean what we did was Robert [McDowell, partner in crime on lead guitar] and I would record both our guitar parts in the same room and then do a double of that, and then we would both go into the control room and we would record 4 different tones of playing the exact same thing each. So at any given time there’s ten to sixteen guitars playing on that record.” The result is a collection of songs designed to knock you off your feet that’s best enjoyed turned up to 11, and sees Manchester Orchestra confidently achieve the album’s mission objective.

I CALL MYSELF A CHRIST-CENTRED SPIRITUALIST, AND WHENEVER YOU HAVE FAITH IN SOMETHING SO BIG, IT WOULD BE WEIRD IF YOU DIDN’T DOUBT IT It would be neglectful, however, not to talk about the words behind the music, that are just as important in lending Manchester Orchestra’s songs their emotional clout. ‘Cope’’s lyrics are a delicate balance of storytelling and the singer’s own thoughts and experiences, “This record’s mixed, there’s character stories, like ‘Top Notch’ is half and half, ‘Top Notch’ is a character based story and then at the end it’s sort of a narrator.” This marks a shift from the more autobiographical content of ‘Simple Math’, according to Hull. “It’s all coming from my brain so I guess it’s autobiographical in that sense, it has something to do with me. But this record was less ‘this is about Andy Hull’s life’, it was more ‘this is what Andy Hull thinks about life’.”

Many of the band’s lyrics deal with questioning concepts of faith and love, and it’s tempting to place a heavy emphasis on Hull’s Christian upbringing (his father is a pastor) but the man himself is not so sure this made a huge difference to the themes he discusses in his songs, “Sure, I mean I think everyone’s upbringing is what makes them question things later. My upbringing was wonderful; I have a wonderful relationship with my parents. But also I believe in God; I call myself a Christ-centred spiritualist, so that certainly plays a big part in that, and whenever you have faith in something so big, it would be weird if you didn’t doubt it, you know?” If Hull’s parents’ support and warmth were a significant benefit to the band in their embryonic stage, the singer is less enthusiastic about the role of their hometown - Atlanta, Georgia - in the early days. “We never felt accepted by our local music scene, that’s why we started touring.” Not that Hull necessarily feels this has hindered them in the long run, “I think a lot of times when bands are accepted by their hometown scene they don’t really have any reason to go anywhere else because they can play a show that weekend and all their friends come out, it’ll be a big show. We didn’t have that, you know, we had to go to other cities and that’s what really started us on the path of being a pretty intense touring band.” Explaining Manchester Orchestra’s three year absence from the UK, Hull cites the members’ sideprojects as contributing factors, “We’re in another band called Bad Books and we did a second record with Bad Books in this off-cycle, I did another solo record and then we did another Bad Books record.” The release by Bad Books (a collaboration between Manchester Orchestra members and American indie-folk artist Kevin Devine) was more successful than expected, and so they decided to run with it longer than first planned. “That record cycle was only supposed to last about six months but one of the songs on that record got picked up on radio, and we were like ‘Man we should really go explore this thing’ and we ended up doing way better than anybody thought it would.” Such a long gap between visits could have Manchester Orchestra’s British fans wondering if they’ll return a different band, but Hull assures us that the only key change is a positive one. “Yeah, for sure, we’re better. I think we’re at the best we’ve ever been, we keep getting better and I think in like 50 to 75 shows we’re gonna be up there with some of the best bands out there.” With an autumn tour already pencilled in (complete with a stop at Cardiff Student’s Union on the 6th October) fans of the band need not be impatient about another long absence, and for anybody catching the band for the first time, we have it straight from the horse’s mouth that Manchester Orchestra will be returning at the peak of their powers.

Manchester Orchestra play Cardiff Student’s Union on October 6th. The 5/5 Quench-rated new album ‘Cope’ is out now - read our review over at




THE UP-AND-COMING INDIE QUARTET SPOKE TO JADE ATTWOOD AHEAD OF THEIR CLWB HEADLINER Anticipating the release of their debut album and completing their first headline tour of the UK, indie pop quartet Childhood seem to be living the rock’n’roll dream. With relentless hangovers, night after night of playing to packed out crowds and constant movement from one venue to the next, the trials and tribulations of tour life have shaken the band into overdrive. Not to be discouraged by their imposing climb to popularity, their confident energy still holds, ready to be flung into the UK music scene. Ben, Leo, Dan and Jonny have been on the peripherals of the music ether since their culmination in 2010. Far from being fresh faced to the critical gaze of the British music scene, the band were received initially with much praise for their released material. But they have thus far incidentally lived in the shadows of their musical compadres, following Temples and Palma Violets on their tours, seldom breaking away from lazy inter-genre comparisons to them. “We get a lot of lazy comparisons to bands. It’s annoying but you’ve just got to realise that’s the nature of the beast. It makes us laugh because people who do that obviously don’t really know our band that well. It’s friendship association.” Arguably an unstable phase, simply lying in wait of the promotional storm, many would feel anxious about the reception of their debut. But Childhood look set to send a defiant territorial message with their first studio album, with lead vocalist Ben commenting “I’m definitely more excited than I am nervous. I don’t know what I’d be nervous about because I really like the album; it’s ours.” Writing and producing it

Q 54

themselves, an air of proud parenthood dominates their feelings of its release. The collaborative element of the record certainly seems to exude when listing the band’s influences and modes of production. Noting the motown, synth and even house influences on the album each band member has contributed to the record’s dialectic sound. Also charting Bjork and Bono as their top collaborations, a seemingly

STEPPING AWAY FROM THEIR “POP” LABEL, AIMING TO PLEASE NO ONE BUT THEMSELVES simple typification of Childhood as just another indie band becomes problematic. Promising a far from monotone collection of eclectic tracks, the boys carry a hefty weight on their shoulders. In this sense the band seems to be stepping away from their “Pop” label, aiming to please no one but themselves. Bassist Dan affirmed their confident attitude “It’s more a case of ‘this is what we do, like it or not’. I hate it when people try and engineer their music…We just want to play our music to people who like us.” Many bands arguably aim to simply please their fans with the release of new material. But with a

restricted, albeit devoted fanbase due to the lack of their musical offerings in circulation, the four piece seek to simply “reach more people”, pulling in yet more appreciative indie pop punters. Despite their aforementioned jovial critical acclaim from the likes of the Guardian and NME, such comments from the leaders of “taste” fails to be a priority for the band; “It’s just all too pretentious” Dan asserts of fortysomething, musical experts’ opinions. Of course their live tour and summer packed with festival dates will aid the propagation of the heady sound. Their music screams to be played live, taking a wholly new surge of energy in its transformation to stage. Hitting the likes of Latitude and Bestival this year, Childhood will be showcased to those who crave a new musical addition to their summer soundtracks. But without a crowd fully devoted to their set, due to the lack of their musical offerings in circulation, every gig serves to be a challenge - “We’re still winning people over even at our own gigs. A lot of people who have come to our headline tour come out of intrigue. So we’re still winning people over and it’s the same with festivals.” Childhood are a band who could be assumed to be a typical post-uni collaborative who are stepping into the music business naively, just to live the rock’n’roll lifestyle and continue the hedonism of university life. Contrary to this, however, is the bands’ actual standing. With heads switched on and ideas to innovate and create a diverse placement in the ears of as many people as possible, they are definitely not to be ignored.








TOM CONNICK TALKS TO TYLER CARTER - THE R’N’B VOCALIST STAKING HIS CLAIM ON METALCORE Sometimes the simplest metaphors are the strongest. Reflecting on the polarising opinions surrounding his rap-rock revivalists Issues, clean vocalist Tyler Carter has a simple put down for all the haters – “It’s just like being at school”. “Everybody’s different – everybody likes different things and everybody’s a different type of person,” he continues, “With our band, if you love us, we’ll associate with you, but why would you associate with people who hate you?” Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia (by way of LA), Issues are no strangers to this polarisation. It’s reflected not only in their surroundings, but in the songs themselves – each track a mish-mash of influences from across the industry. “I just call it rock!” laughs Carter. “There’s R’n’B, and there’s pop, and there’s hip-hop, and metalcore… there’s all this influence. But of all the genres and categories, it would still fall under ‘rock’. We’re on the Rock Charts on iTunes. I don’t bother explaining it – I just say ‘it’s really unique, and it’s like… rock!’” But Carter’s not one to shy away from the ‘dirty word’ that’s followed them since the release of 2011’s Black Diamonds EP – in fact, he fully embraces it. “I say ‘nu-metal’ sometimes too,” he smiles, “Just because it’s kind of urban and it’s got the hip-hop stuff in it as well.” A brave man. Of course, with these influences all battling for attention, one would expect the writing process to be a struggle, but Carter paints quite a different picture. “It really just starts with whoever’s got the idea, and who’s writing the song,” he explains. “There are songs like ‘Late’, or ‘Mad At Myself’, that started

with me writing a song that I thought would be a really fun rock song, or it started as a pop song and we converted it. Then there’s songs like ‘Personality Cult’ that started with just AJ (Rebollo, guitar) and Ty (Acord, turntables & electronics) writing a heavy fuckin’ song! Then there’s songs like ‘Never Lose Your Flames’, where it started as a pop song, but me and Josh (Manuel, drums) really wanted to do a pop-punk song. So you know, Josh wrote some really cool drums, and we put it all together. It just depends on where we start, you know?”

WE DID PRETTY WELL ON OUR EP, BUT THAT WAS THE BEGINNING The result is a truly intriguing work – a breath of fresh air in a stagnating U.S. metal scene, increasingly more concerned with breakdowns and merchandise than musicality or innovation. This was reflected in the reception to the album, which hit a lofty number nine in the U.S. chart – a monumental achievement not only for a metal album, but for a debut. “It was sick – we were shocked!” says Carter of their commercial success. “We wanted to just be in the Top 20, but to be number nine on our debut is pretty rad. We did pretty well on our EP, but that was the beginning. To have gotten this far in such a short time is pretty insane.” That time is about to get a whole lot longer. With a myriad of side-projects from every member being put

on hold while the Issues train keeps rolling, Carter looks to an uncertain future.“I wanna keep growing. I wanna keep touring, seeing more countries and playing for more and more people each time. More than anything we want to be able to see the whole, entire world – every crevice – and be able to have fans there. Be a household name, even!” Ty wants to continue to produce and continue to write songs for people, and I want to continue to do my solo stuff and write songs for people, so that’s soon to come. I write songs all the time, and I hope to put out my record soon.” Despite this non-stop flow of creativity, Carter assures that “Issues is the main priority”. He continues, “Everybody wants Issues right now, so that’s where the schedule lies. We don’t have a set schedule for any of the other stuff; we just build projects and things around Issues. This is the main job right now, and that’s what I plan to focus on for a long time.” The future looks bright for the gang, but Carter is reluctant to plan ahead too much. “It’s unpredictable, we’re such an unpredictable band, I just don’t know what’s next. Every day we’re getting cool new opportunities, and it’s exciting. We’re gonna tour a lot this year, write a couple of new songs, put ‘em out. We’ve got an acoustic record coming out, some music videos coming out… we’ve got a lot of media to drop, it’s just a matter of how and when so it doesn’t get too much at once.” Household name status may not be too far off, then. Get yourselves acquainted with them now.



CHVRCHES Hannah Embleton-Smith talks to the biggest name in synth-pop ahead of their first live show in Wales

Tucked into the Union’s cluttered backstage area with an unassuming air, you would never guess that the synth-pop trio were in the middle of their international tour following seemingly instant success with 2013 debut album 'The Bones of What You Believe'. Lead singer Lauren Mayberry is quick to defend the hard work it’s taken to get this far: "For us, it doesn’t feel that instant because we’ve been touring quite hard for eighteen months, but we’re really pleasantly surprised by the response to the record and how supportive people have been thus far." ‘People’ is a bit of an understatement; Chvrches’ success has exploded on an international scale. Having recently polished off a set to a hefty Coachella crowd, the band’s stateside profile is growing rapidly. Martin Doherty, on synths, voices his enthusiasm for the reception they’ve been getting across the pond: "It’ll be fun to go back to America. I think that’s where we had the strongest connection and the most recognition



immediately." Chvrches won’t be abandoning their British roots anytime soon, though. "The UK is always gonna be important to us, to succeed here,’ added Martin. ‘It’s important to make the most of what you have in your home country, you know?"

IT’S A REALLY INTERESTING CREATIVE DYNAMIC BETWEEN THE THREE OF US It seems those home roots will be getting stronger in the future, in fact. Having recorded their debut record, released via Virgin Records, in Glasgow, Martin reveals that the group have no plans to move further afield for

their next project. "Our plan is to go back to the same place that this all started, which is just a wee, dingy basement studio in the South side of Glasgow. We wouldn’t really change anything, apart from maybe having more synthesizers to play with! We’re all really comfortable there and it’s a familiar space; we know that it sounds good. There’s no need to spend loads of money going to LA or the Bahamas or whatever to record an album" (Nevertheless, approving murmurs ensue at the mention of sunnier climes.) One of the band’s major assets is how deeply involved they are in the record-making process from start to finish; that craftsmanship surely explains why the public has latched on to the innovation that Chvrches brings to the electro scene. Synth, bass and guitar player Iain Cook explains where each of their strengths lie: "I think it’s a really interesting creative dynamic between the three of us; we all bring ideas into the studio, we just kind of fire it off each other and roll with it. There’s a momentum and a dynamic


YOU CAN ONLY CALL PEOPLE ON THEIR BULLSHIT AS AND WHEN IT COMES UP It quickly becomes clear that having such solid authorship over their music is essential to the workings of the trio, and that extends to how they treat feedback from fans and critics. While their appreciation for those responses is unquestionable, Martin asserts that it doesn’t affect their approach to making a record. "That’s a very definite approach from us. We’re not in the business of making music based on the reactions of other people, you know; I think that’s a particularly cynical and negative way to approach a creative process. "For me, as a listener, I can tell immediately when something comes on that has been made to order for a specific situation or for a specific audience, and to adhere to the fashion of the moment. That’s not what we’re about at all." Martin sees this approach becoming increasingly accessible with the means that so many of us have at our fingertips in the technological era: "Beyond anything else, I think that it’s a good time for people making the music that they want to make, because there are so many avenues that you can use to exploit your band. You can reach people a lot more easily now than you could even five years ago. I mean, we just keep doing what we’re doing. Don’t take your eye off the ball. It’s about concentrating on praise too much, isn’t it? Don’t be doing that." On top of their creativity, Chvrches aren’t afraid to speak out about issues in the music industry. Hit by misogynistic and sexually aggressive Facebook messages, Lauren tackled the influx in an article published last year by The Guardian. She explains the situation since then: "I think it was helpful for us to nail our colours to the mast, as it were, so that people know where we stand on things. We didn’t really do a properly controlled experiment, because we turned off the direct messages at the same time as we wrote the piece in the paper. I think it would be naïve to think that suddenly people are amazingly respectful, but by and large I would say that most of the people who follow our band are really great. They share interesting stuff with us and, for me, that’s the point of having an online community. It’s just a minority of people who ruin that for everybody. I guess at this juncture it’s just part of the job, but you can only call people on their bullshit as and when it comes up. I don’t really think that the better option is just to ignore it."

It’s pretty contemptible that, in 2014, gender discrimination is still considered inevitable for female artists. With sexual exploitation in the music industry coming under fresh scrutiny in recent months, is raising awareness the way to bring about a change once and for all? "I think so," considers Lauren. "I think it was refreshing that a more mainstream audience was discussing it towards the end of last year and start of this year. It’s hard to tell whether that’s actually gonna promote positive change, or whether it’s just a fad that everyone wants to discuss because it’s in the popular consciousness. There are a lot of minorities who aren’t represented effectively in music, and unfortunately not all get talked about. Hopefully people will come to have a more open and intelligent discussion about those issues.’ Speaking of biased representations, despite the success of Chvrches, they have yet to receive a nomination for the UK’s major music prizes. However, they have already been recognized by the Mercury Prize’s cheeky counterpart, the Popjustice Twenty Quid Prize, for best British pop single with ‘The Mother We Share’ in 2013. Martin calls it their "crowning achievement of last year" despite never having seen the twenty quid ("we had to hold up our own for the photo as we weren’t there to collect it!"). Joking aside, Lauren discussed her view of industry awards, giving preference to poll-voted accolades having come second in The Blog Sound of 2013 and fifth in the BBC Sound of 2013. "Obviously we’ve never been nominated for a Mercury so don’t know much about the voting structure, but I would say that the blog vote meant a lot to us because that’s the way this band started. People were writing about us on the internet and before we got to radio it was all blogs and social networks, people passing it around to their friends. Our band wouldn’t have got to do the things we’ve been doing so quickly, had it not been for that base level of support." With festival mania fast approaching, Chvrches have a busy season ahead, not least with the highly anticipated Glastonbury. Martin hesitantly fills us in: "Not all of them are public knowledge – that’d be a really good way to get us kicked off the bill! We’ll be at T in the Park in Scotland, and the most recent confirmation is Reading and Leeds, which we’re really looking forward to. We played there last year but we were on a tiny stage; it’s really nice of them to have us back. It’s a nice feeling to see your name on a poster in a print that you can actually read." Lauren laughs, "We’ve gone up a font size post-album." Once the summer hype is over, the band are keen to get underway with some new material. "Hopefully we’ll get to write later in the year", Lauren explains. "I guess right now we’re on the road an awful lot. We’re okay at finding time to record on the road, but writing is quite hard. You don’t get a huge amount of head space to do that. But hopefully things will be a bit more structured later in the year, when we get a few more breaks. We definitely want to start writing again, ’cause that’s kind of where the band began; it was just writing without a view to playing live. It’d be interesting to get more of a balance between the two."


that happens with us that is really refreshing It comes together really quickly. We all have a lot of cross-over skills. Martin and I came from a music production background, so I guess we were a bit more knowledgeable in that area, and Lauren’s really good with words and melody, so we get on pretty well as a creative team."





CHILDHOOD • CLWB IFOR BACH • APRIL 30 Cockily taking to the stage, the lights dampen into a red hue to introduce Childhood. Suitably gangly and hipsterly adorned, the four piece look right at home at Clwb Ifor Bach. Receiving much critical praise on their introduction to the music scene in 2012, and also joining the like of Palma Violets and Temples on their respective tours, fans and critics alike have been awaiting their return. Their recurrence this year marks their official launch of their first studio album and headline tour. And so the London based band wearily arrived at their penultimate gig, however no such lack of energy is manifested on stage. They begin their set glaring headily into the expectant crowd before ripping into their debut single “Blue Velvet”. The enigmatic lead Ben imminently takes to the fore, fully demanding the attention of the room with his rhythmic afro banging to drummer Jonny’s frantic

thumping. The band continued on their tirade, through a set containing the highlights from their soon to be released debut. Despite being all but lost on the crowd initially, ever y track received appreciative applause on closing. With the energy of the crowd at height, the band then returned to their prior singles “Solemn Skies” and short but sweet closer “Semester” to finish the show on a high. Silhouetted against vivid yellow lighting, the last strums and crashing tones of Semester play, with the band finishing triumphantly. Exiting the stage with the same self-assertive swagger Leo, Ben, Dan and Jonny could leave reassured. With the success of reception at their new material and persistent musical strength of their earlier work, it seems these rock’n’roll newbies will be sticking around. Jade Attwood

CHET FAKER • THE LANTERN, BRISTOL• APRIL 28 Chet Faker’s career has been one of constant battle with definitions; does he make jazz, soul, house, hip-hop… is he where he wants to be? Minutes into his live show, as Faker dances around the array of equipment surrounding him, a wry smile on his face, it becomes abundantly clear that he has no interest in being categorised, he’s perfectly happy to just make music he thinks sound good. And it does. Faker chops and changes, splicing delicate harmonies in tender love songs into jarring house-esque crescendos, creating a set with a level of coherence and direction that makes perfect sense of a debut album that wasn’t quite a flowing piece. ‘Built on Glass’ is undoubtedly an impressive debut from the Australian, but it seemed there was something missing, it didn’t quite come together as a whole record. Fakers endless improvisation and innovation in a live setup immediately makes it very clear that this is no accident - the album is designed to be remixed,

reworked and mixed together into an almost DJ set-like show. Every now and then however Faker wipes off his brow, takes a seat at his keys and showcases the softer side of his range for tracks such as ‘Blush’ and a succinct version of latest single ‘Talk is Cheap’ . Strained, powerful vocals interspersed with carefully planned silences quickly shift the mood from energetic movement to silent awe, highlights coming from opener ‘I’m Into You’, the duteous build of ‘Cigarettes & Chocolate’ to powerful climax and of course ‘No Diggidy’. Overall Chet Faker live is a unique experience. Reaching relative fame from the hard graft of HypeMachine and Soundcloud, Faker has had nothing handed to him and little assistance, a quality he makes very clear in the way he controls the show and clearly loves every second. Ultimately, Chet Faker is just a man doing his thing, and doing it well. Henry Boon

JUNGLE • THE GLOBE • MAY 1 At long last, the enigma of Jungle has been broken. Despite the discovery that their tribal, future-funk sound didn’t in fact come from a haze of smoke on centre stage, Jungle enchanted the crowd in to a perpetual sway, their groove turning the floor of Cardiff’s Globe into a sea of undulating bodies. Sounds of the rainforest soon echoed around the Globe and Jungle arrived on stage. You wouldn’t believe they are a band that have hidden their identity for so long; their performance was raw, unpretentious and visceral, and any lingering mystique swiftly disappeared. It was perhaps fitting that Jungle started and finished their set with ‘The Heat’ and an encore of ‘Platoon’, the two songs responsible for drawing early critical attention to their music. Clearly, Jungle respect their art and want their music to remain paramount; they don’t need any press shots, social media or even a backdrop; their music holds all their colour and vibrancy.

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So intricate and nuanced is the wall of sound created by Jungle, that you struggle to believe it is all being played live. Yet, one look at the seven members huddled onstage and the cacophony becomes believable. Leading the Jungle pack were T and J, dictating the flow of the songs with stunning multi-instrumentalism. Not only do they sing into their pop-filtered mics, but the duo control the keyboards and synths, while playing bass and guitar too. Their vocals are matched by two more singers on the side of the stage, while the remaining elements of Jungle’s sound come from a further guitarist, a percussionist and a drummer who uses empty Coke bottles to act as chimes. Yes, really. At no point during their set of just under an hour do you doubt Jungle’s passion, purpose and potential. Jungle are like your Dad’s vintage Reebok windbreaker you found in the loft: surprising, cosy, hip and oh, so welcome. Louis Browne





They may have never seen superstardom the first time round, but late 80’s alternative rockers Pixies went on to become one of the biggest influences on 90’s rock. The Bost quartet pioneered the loud-soft-loud formula that influenced everyone from Radiohead, Nirvana to Weezer. A successful reunion in 2004, seeing them play a four-night run at Brixton Academy then going on to headline Reading & Leeds in 2005, has finally led to this - ten years on from reuniting, their first full studio album since 1991’s 'Trompe Le Monde'. Opener ‘What Goes Boom’ shows singer Black Francis channelling his inner Chris Cornell before leading into a combination of guitar-heavy hooks, and is slightly lacking lyrically (“I like that slinky little punky, little bit funky” recalling Red Hot Chili Peppers at their worst), but some classic Pixies melodies lets us



There is something to be said of debut solo albums being indulgent, or deliberately obtuse, when an artist steps away from a commercial and cultural phenomenon. Damon Albarn has hit some heady heights with Blur and to a lesser extent Gorillaz - but here is a solo album that takes the individual and while inwardly focussed, is dignified and offers some real musical quality. It is important to distinguish this from Blur and such; this is often oriented to Albarn’s love of African music - such as early track ‘Lonely Press Play’, where an atmosphere is built through several percussion instruments before Damon takes to the piano and sings a mournful tale of music being the saviour of dark feelings. Tracks like ‘Mr Tembo’ bring a sunny, joyful sense - backed by a choir and ukulele, it is a mile away from much of the Blur frontman’s discography.

MANCHESTER ORCHESTRA • COPE ‘Cope’ explores every avenue of meaning it possesses, the simple power of one word best epitomised by the succinct branding of this album. Always lyrically strong, Atlanta’s finest have stepped up their game with this album finalising a journey of struggles with life, death and everything inbetween spanning four studio albums. With 2011's ‘Simple Math,’ Manchester Orchestra clearly targeted the heart with a subdued sound – this year they pick us up off the floor, relentlessly beat us over the head with unyielding rock anthems and spit us out, gasping for more. This an album

know that the alternative legends are delivering, even following the departure of long-term bassist Kim Deal. ‘Indie Cindy’ shows some regrettable spoken word with uneasy-sounding lines such as ‘you put the “cock” in “cocktail”’. The synth-added ‘Bagboy’ shows more spoken word adding further low points to the album, but ‘Blue Eyed Hexe’ sees Pixies taking on a more typical 80s hard rock sound, alongside ‘Greens and Blues’ which recalls the lighter end, suggesting their ability to combine the heavy with the light is still in full force. There are lyrical shortcomings, but 'Indie Cindy' shows the versatile melodies and dynamics Pixies fans have grown to love. With Nirvana in the public eye, some more of the music that they once looked up to couldn’t have come at a much better time. Alec Evans

from a band that know what they want: to belt out everything they’ve got with an aggression greater than that of any previous outing. A brave move from a band whose most popular tracks are on the quieter side of their range, but one that doesn’t disappoint. Recorded in a studio built by the band themselves, free of time constraints and input from producers or labels, ‘Cope’ is the most quintessentially Manchester Orchestra album to date. This is a black and white rock album but still somehow manages to provide so much more. A fantastic effort from a band that can do no wrong. Henry Boon



There is cultural commentary, too. ‘Everyday Robots’ is an eerie opener, but his ability to reflect modern life through resounding lyrics is as prominent as ever. The album does become a stretch though, the 45 minutes of uninterrupted thoughtfulness leading to certain moments going missing from the memory. Some ground is reclaimed as ‘Heavy Seas Of Love’ ends the album on a high-note, bringing together a gospel choir to bring positive lyrics to life. It’s perhaps easy to ignore those sorts of moments and focus on ‘Everyday Robots’ as moody, and comparisons to fellow Britpop overlord Noel Gallagher’s solo efforts position this as a lesser musical achievement. But that is to miss the point of this album. Damon Albarn set out to tell his tale, looking inwards and writing for listeners to absorb his experiences and lessons. In doing that he has succeeded. Marc Mayo


Fans of fellow Brummie bands like Peace will fall head over heels in love with B-town four piece Superfood. Having supported Drenge and the aforementioned Peace on tour last year, 2014 sees the quartet hit the road with Wolf Alice in late Spring, their new tracks in tow. ‘TV’ is a discordant, beautiful mess that lyrically ranges back and forth over everything and nothing. Bearing a nostalgic nineties feel, the song feels as warm and fuzzy as its distorted guitars. ‘Bubbles’ is playful indie pop at its best, packing even more of a punch than Peace’s debut album

delivered. The frequent alterations in tempo stop on ‘Melting’, an altogether more rhythmic and jaunty offering, providing the lightest moment on the CD and the track is pleasantly repetitive; a perfect soundtrack to imminent summer days. The EP closes with the low-fi sound of early Arctic Monkeys, blending quick little melodies and soft vocals with thrashing guitars in its louder moments. All in all, Superfood’s ‘Mam’ offers us just a tiny taste of what’s to come. A live setting will be where the band really show us what they can deliver. India Thomas


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Quench is Cardiff's leading student lifestyle magazine, edited by Michael O'Connell-Davidson and Sophie Lodge.