February 2012 - issue no. 6 UCC official magazine
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Interview with rap superstar
Plus interviews with Michael Winslow and Delorentos
Exploring the hidden side of Cork City
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Special investigation of the UCC Societiesâ€™ Guild
Behind The Scenes Welcome to the penultimate issue of Motley, we have a packed issue for you this month. Summer exams are nearly upon us and the fishbowl is starting to fill up with slightly panicked faces. This issue focuses on things behind the scenes in Cork. In the current affairs section we have a look at the societies’ guild in UCC, specially looking how they are set up and how they spend their money. It is important to look at things like this because it is your money from your capitation fee that they are spending, even if you don’t use societies or don’t care what they do. In entertainments, we have some great interviews with people playing in Cork over the next few weeks including rap superstar Professor Green. In features, we look at a few of the quirkier activities you can try in Cork. It is interesting, when you peel back the layers, how many different activities take place under our noses. Check out the different sections and make up your own mind, enjoy the issue. Kevin - editor Motley Magazine
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‘Throne of the Worshipful Master’ at the Freemasons Provincial Headquarters on Tuckey Street in Cork, read our feature on the Freemasons on pages 30/31
CONTENTS Current Affairs Investigating the UCC Societies’ Guild and seeing if our money is well spent.
Entertainments Interviews with Police Academy’s Michael Winslow, rap artist Professor Green and Irish rock band Delorentos.
Features Features editor Cathal Brennan talks to the Freemasons of Cork City, Laura Kennedy gives advice on public speaking, Kevin Williams follows Cork’s ‘ghostbusers’ to the remains of a Magdalene laundery and Noel Dillon-Daly declares his candidacy for UCC Students’ Union President.
Fashion Sarah Commane looks at the most influencial style icons and in the world today.
UCC Societies’ Guild: an organisation in need of reform. by Kevin Curran A bad person can corrupt a good system; however, a bad system can render good-hearted individuals redundant.
The University College Cork Societies’ Guild Executive is the body that represents, regulates and grants funding to all societies in the University. Each student pays around €40 from their capitation fee to pay for the running of the societies in UCC. Last year €270,000 was allocated to societies by the Societies’ Guild Executive. The guild executive consists of a 12-person team with six OCMs, an ex-officio, the President, an SU representative and three university staff representatives. Only students can run for president or OCM positions. The heads of every UCC society vote for the president and the other committee members at the AGM held every March. Unlike the Students’ Union, who have open elections, the guild operate closed elections and only 82 people have a vote on who takes charge of over €300,000 of students’ money.
spoke of their dismay at the denial of funding for a trip to London, only to hear of the granting of funding to the Film Society for a London trip with a similar itinerary. Both the Capriccio and Live Music societies have had difficulty in gaining any funding related to bands as the guild operates “a no funding bands” precedent, leaving these music promotion societies in a position where they cannot gain funding for the primary objective of their societies. These are just a few examples of inconsistencies that are prevalent in the system.
In the first line of the guild constitution, it states, “It [the UCC Societies’ Guild Executive] shall aim to promote academic, representative and social development of UCC students by way of facilitating, representing and regulating UCC student societies.” Readers should remember this sentence later in the article as it states that the guild wants to improve students socially as well as facilitating academic improvement and representation at different events. It is also important to note that the constitution mentions facilitation before regulation in the sentence. In addition, the guild constitution declares that it should be accompanied by a list of guild rules that guide the administration of societies.
When Motley spoke to people involved in societies, they told us that a small selection of societies seem to get a lot of funding and the rest of the societies operate on much smaller allowances. Motley obtained a copy of the guild accounts for 2011, it stated that four societies: The Dramatic Society, The Philosophical Society, The Law Society and The Choral Society accounted for 35% of all funding allocation in the calendar year of 2011, with €92,000 of funding from a total of €260,000. The average spending of the other 78 societies for 2011 was €1,900. These four societies have represented UCC well in various competitions; however, they each have quite a small active membership in proportion to other societies. Thus, this 35% of the budget does not represent a large amount of UCC students. These four societies have a long history in UCC and it seems that there is a correlation between this and the disparity in funding between different societies. The use of undocumented precedents has brought us to a situation where some societies will always receive funding for activities, as they have received funding in the past. On the other hand, other societies will never receive funding for events, as an apparent precedents exist denying them funding for particular activities.
“We have found that the guild executive has had a surplus for the last four years; it seems illogical with this evidence to have convoluted and unclear precedents in place.” When a Motley representative inquired about these rules and where we could obtain a copy, it became evident that such a document does not exist, and this is where the problems with this organisation begin. The student activities office advised Motley that the guild executive act on a set of precedents; however, it seems that these precedents are not written down and this is contrary to the guild constitution. A schedule of allowances exists that guides societies in their applications. This document is more of a technical document guiding applications and has a small paragraph detailing what they will and won’t fund. Motley found that the previously mentioned precedent rules are often given as reasons for denial of funding and are not contained in the schedule of allowances. While conducting this investigation into the guild executive, we spoke to people involved in societies and they informed us of numerous occasions of continuing difficulties in obtaining funding for events and a perceived uneven use of these precedents. Motley spoke to a member of the Journalism Society committee who
“One of our sources had a proposed society rejected on the grounds of specific guild rules, and as we stated earlier, these rules do not exist.”
As we mentioned in an earlier paragraph, the guild executive exists to facilitate as well as to regulate the spending of money by societies. However, with these precedents it puts a larger emphasize on the denial of applications as opposed to facilitating the societies to spend money. It is obvious that some rules should exist but rules such as “we don’t fund events off campus”, “no band rules” for music societies or the granting of expenses to some societies and the denial of others for the invitation of guests for events, seems to be an over-regulation of students money. It also lacks consistency that leads to a skewed distribution of funds and the making of unjust decisions. We have found that the guild executive has had a surplus for the last four years; it seems illogical with this evidence to have convoluted and unclear precedents in place.
UCC Societies Guild logo These undocumented precedents also allow the guild executive to deny the creation of societies often citing reasons of “single issue”, “having existing societies that could cover that need” or “little scope past year one”. Once again, there is an inherent contradiction in the guild executive’s history behind such reasoning. Law is one issue, drama is one issue, The Live Music Society, is not only the single issue of music but also it is specifically focused on live music. The Sophia philosophical society, which was apparently attached to the philosophical department, was set up despite the presence of the Philosophic Society and The Law society that could cover that area if they so wished. The logic on this point may seem misguided; however, it is the same logic that the guild executive has used in the past. They denied a “Students for Sensible Drug Policy” society, which is an international organisation recognised by the UN, citing that the Slainte Society (a health and fitness society) could fulfil that need. On the third point, it is very difficult to forecast what will and won’t happen. One of our sources had a proposed society rejected on the grounds of specific guild rules, and as we stated earlier, these rules do not exist. It is in the guild constitution to facilitate the running of societies and it is wrong that they refuse the creation of societies using woolly reasoning. Why does a reasoning of single issue be usable to deny a proposed society if it is a valid issue? Motley has spoken to several people who had proposed societies denied on that point and it seems quite unfair to deny people access to facilities and funds on this issue. We spoke to some students who had 500 signatures for their proposed society and were denied on the point of single issue and that the society would have no scope past year one. This seems to contradict the statements made in the guild constitution. If we do not have a concrete set of rules as to why societies should or should not be created, the decision is completely subjective to the people making the decision, and this is detrimental to the integrity of UCC and the Societies’ Guild. It is important to note that societies receive limited funding in their first probationary year, thus there is not a huge financial risk in taking on new societies. The Societies’ Guild executive seems to focus more on regulation and promotion rather than facilitation which is specifically mentioned in their constitution. We really need to look at how this system operates, as it is UCC students’ money and they should be allowed spend it. It is important to have some sort of regulation but it seems that the UCC Societies’ guild have become far more bureaucratic than needs be.
Questionable spending of student funds by the Societies’ Guild Executive By Current Affairs Editor Jerry Larkin In the last month, Motley Magazine has conducted a special investigation into the conduct of the UCC Societies’ Guild Executive when it comes to its financial affairs, uncovering questionable practices involving the spending of student funds, a discernible lack of accountability to the student body and financial decisions being made on a whim. This questionable spending of student funds dates back to at least the previous academic year. This magazine found this to be an important issue to highlight, given the fact that over €260,000 of student money goes towards the Societies’ Guild every year to spend on societies, although this is not always the case.
The previous academic year had also seen a noticeable increase in extravagant public spending by the guild, including the fitting of an outdoor 46 Inch 1080p television in November of this year, which is apparently only available to buy in the US. The retailing price of this outdoor TV is approx €2,200, which does not take into account the considerable costs associated with delivery, installation and the purchase of an accompanying generator. The reasoning for this spending was that it would eventually cut down on printing costs. This seems somewhat laughable, as when students pass the TV they only see the screen for about 4 to 5 seconds and might see only one advertisement. The actual coverage the TV gives societies is a drop in the ocean compared to the amount of different posters put up on all the billboards every week. This spending does not seem justified at all. This year there has also been a comprehensive refurbishment of the Hub (which consists of the guild offices and other facilities for society members), which saw the fitting of a glass partition, with the guild logo emblazoned on it, for the office of the guild president, paid for by the previous guild executive. This is in addition to the installation of a large wide screen HD television directly facing the office of the president. All of this expenditure appears to be unnecessary for the successful running of the guild, especially when given the fact that it is students’ money being spent.
The committee of the guild consists of seven students elected every March as well as two resident officers. These positions were previously voluntary ones, but at a 2010 Guild EGM, it was decided to make the president position a full-time job, giving it a sabbatical status equal to the salary of a full-time Student Union officer. That was decided by just 68 society auditors present at the EGM. The guild constitution is extremely vague in this area, and these auditors were not required to consult with the members of their society. This decision to spend approximately €21,000 of student’s money by only 68 students of UCC appears to be undemocratic in light of the fact that every student may vote in the SU elections (with a turnout in the thousands). It has to be said that the guild have set up a Society Senate in order to address the lack of apparent accountability. However, it is important to mention that the president position was carried out voluntarily for the entire existence of the guild up until this point – what makes this academic year any different? It is also important to note that the president of the Clubs Executive – which controls more money than the guild – is not given a wage at all. This whole episode appears to show the attitude of the guild executive, where money is spent just because it is there, with weak rationale behind such spending.
As an amateur outfit ourselves, we at Motley believe that it is entirely fair that students are reasonably rewarded for their time and effort if they are acting on a voluntary basis (notwithstanding the €21,000 salary going to the guild president). However, it appears that the Societies’ Guild take this to an extreme – both through legitimate spending and questionable social spending and expenses. There appears to be a true lack of accountability for money spent, with the guild only answerable to the auditors of societies and not to the student body as a whole. We believe this should be the Guild’s main priority – to encourage students to partake in society activities and to facilitate such activities. However, it appears that the guild is spending a significant portion of students’ money on blatant self-promotion and white elephant projects, such as the massive outdoor television. Serious questions must be raised, such as is the guild budget of around €260,000 justifiable in the current economic climate, with the increased financial burden of students– would a portion of it not be better spent on the Student Hardship Fund?
A source who held a position previously on the Societies Guild in the academic year 2010/2011 has outlined to Motley Magazine numerous inappropriate and questionable spending of funds by the Guild in that academic year including: Spending over €1000 of students’ money in the summer of 2010 on an elaborate crossover dinner in Soho restaurant, which included over €200 on a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne. This is despite the fact that the committee of the Guild are also invited to the annual lavish Students Union crossover meal. Keeping receipts for taxis while socialising, and putting them down as Societies Guild expenses, despite the fact that these receipts had nothing to do with guild business. Every member of the guild having access to a tab for the Scoláire shop, including the possibility of purchasing items for their own personal use. The guild expense accounts for the current academic year were not made available to Motley magazine, as the guild said it had yet to be approved to be released.
The UCC Societies Guild Executive were contacted for a response yesterday but declined to comment as they felt they could not supply a significantly detailed response in time. What do you think? Have your say, visit our facebook at facebook.com/motleymagazine
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Quit Fracking Around Sian Cowman
On January 26th of this year, a Pennsylvania man named Carl Stiles passed away from intestinal cancer. His surviving wife, Judy, also has serious health problems – both of them had been told by doctors they were unlikely to live long lives due to their exposure to toxic chemicals. Much to their dismay, the source of the chemicals was their home. Their well water was contaminated with high levels of heavy metals, methane, and radioactive elements, and the radiation limit was almost 7 times the US EPA standard limit. In a public letter, Judy writes: “Our water turned salty, then it turned yellow. Soon after our water seemed like it couldn’t get through the pipes it spurted so much. Taking a shower in a closed environment you felt like you were choking and drowning in your own spit. For a few months the water actually burned and numbed the skin. A feeling that lasted at times for hours.” Not long before their health issues began, Carl and Judy had leased their land to U.S. company Chesapeake Energy. The corporation passed a pipeline through the land, transporting natural gas obtained nearby through the process of ‘hydraulic fracturing’. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, may not be a household term yet in Ireland but it is something we will become more familiar with in the near future. The fracking process is a form of natural gas extraction that involves pumping a mixture of water, sand and chemicals at high pressure into rock, to split it apart and release the gas it contains. It is the latest weapon in the drive to continue gobbling up energy as fast as we can, and it’s heading our way. It has been known for years that there are gas deposits in Ireland, namely in the Lough Allen and Clare Basins, which cover parts of several counties. These gas deposits are not easily accessible, and that is why they have never been drilled. But now, with rising energy prices, they are beginning to look more attractive. In the dying days of the last government, three companies were awarded licences to begin exploration for gas in the Lough Allen and Clare basins. Unfortunately, just like with Shell in Mayo, the Irish people cannot expect to benefit from the revenue. But even if local communities could benefit financially from the drilling, do we really want this form of gas extraction to go ahead after hearing stories like Carl and Judy’s?
A report from The Tyndall Centre in Manchester University concluded that “The fracturing and ‘flowback’ fluids … contain a number of hazardous substances that, should they contaminate groundwater, are likely to result in potentially severe impacts on drinking water quality and/or surface waters/wetland habitats.” The worry over the consequences of fracking has prompted a public outcry, and in response, several county councils have banned fracking. This would seem to be a victory for residents in opposition to the arrival of the gas companies, but unfortunately the companies see it differently. A company called Tamboran was awarded the licence for exploration in the Northwest. Recently, Tamboran’s CEO Richard Moorman spoke on northwest radio station Ocean FM claiming that the company is answerable only to the government, not to county councils. The company plans to go ahead regardless of decisions made by the county councils – Moorman says “it is my expectation that the State wouldn’t let anyone who doesn’t have an expertise in geology or engineering make such complicated decisions...” He also said that any evidence from local opposition that fracking is bad for the environment or for people’s health is “misinformation” that comes from “the entertainment movie Gasland” and that “there is no independent research here at all.”
Gasland is a documentary a Pennsylvania filmmaker, Josh Fox, who was approached by a gas company to lease his land for fracking. This prompted him to film in areas of the U.S. where fracking is being carried out. The documentary shows disturbing images of environmental destruction, health issues, and taps that light on fire. Contrary to Moorman’s claims, there is also plenty of scientific evidence of the dangers of fracking. A report from The Tyndall Centre in Manchester University concluded that “The fracturing and ‘flowback’ fluids … contain a number of hazardous substances that, should they contaminate groundwater, are likely to result in potentially severe impacts on drinking water quality and/or surface waters/wetland habitats.” Despite being unable to test the exact frack fluid composition due to intellectual property law, the Tyndall scientists also found that some of the frack fluids are carcinogenic, and mutagenic, which means they can cause genetic defects, amongst other big scary words. Another study, by scientists at Duke University, explains the taps on fire shown in Gasland. They tested drinking water wells in fracking areas of the U.S. and found dangerous levels of methane in the water. So it seems pretty clear-cut - fracking is bad for your health. But when people affected try to get justice, it doesn’t always go their way. Sometimes they have signed a confidentiality agreement when they leased their land and, therefore, cannot speak out. Sometimes they are paid off. And if they do make it to court, their evidence of polluted water may be thrown out if they did not have their water tested before the fracking began. These companies play every game in the book to make their money. Tamboran has promised hundreds of jobs for the Northwest. When pressed however, it seems that these jobs will actually be spread out over a 30 year period. Tamboran also promise there will be no environmental contamination, and that the wells will only cover a small area. We need only look to the U.S. to see this is not true. There is no doubt that stories from people like Carl and Judy tell us the truth about fracking. The lethal combination of toxic chemicals and corporate irresponsibility is not something we want polluting our clean island. This article only brushes the surface, so get out there, get educated and get active. For more information on this topic, see the Facebook group ‘No Fracking Ireland’ and www.what-the-frack.org.
Requiem for the Old Right Jesse Harrington
Why American conservatives won’t get the big government, small government debate they want in November.
The Republican Party has a reputation for being the party of limited government. Low taxes, low spending, favouring solutions at a local and state level to those at a federal level. One only has to look at the Tea Party movement, which opposed federal stimulus and bank bailouts, and attacks Obamacare as socialist, to see these ideas at play among Republicans at a grassroots level. The problem is that as at the Establishmentlevel, the Republican Party has long ceased to be a party of limited government. Prior to the Second World War, the party was dominated by a paleo-conservative coalition known as the “Old Right”, which was indeed heavily opposed to any state intervention that went beyond the strict authorisation of the Constitution, and especially opposed to Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal. From the 1960s on, however, the party was taken over by the neoconservative movement – a movement which sought to expand government and adopt the policy of state intervention whenever it suited its own ends. It was the neoconservative movement which culminated in the pro-war, big government, highly interventionist policies of the Bush administration, which has in turn given the party its negative image in recent times.
president and identifies himself as a Wilsonian (President Woodrow Wilson was one of the earliest leaders of the progressive movement and, like Roosevelt, brought America into war overseas). Santorum, who has perhaps the most interventionist foreign policy of all, would legislate matters of private morality at a federal level. Needless to say, such views are far from consistent with the strictly constitutional view of individual liberty.
In the European media especially, the Republican Party is often portrayed as cynical and opportunistic for its criticisms of PresiThe disconnect between grassroots and establishment was most recently dent Obama, while the Tea Party are depicted as ignorant rubes – at best angry popuchallenged by Ron Paul: “Our rhetoric is still good, but when we’re lists, at worst intolerant fundamentalists. It is however often forgotten that there might in charge, we expand government.” be legitimate, practical reasons for ordinary Republicans to espouse a constitutionalist, limited government ideology in the wake Even Ronald Reagan – who famously of the Obama administration. For one, beclaimed that “government is not the solution hind their rhetoric the Democrats’ economic to our problem, government is the problem” record has been dismal: according to the – actually expanded government, increased White House’s own figures released last July, taxes and protective tariffs, and increased Obama’s trillion dollar stimulus has cost both spending and the deficit. (The case is $278,000 for each job it has created, while particularly well put in Jacob Huebert’s recrowding out the private sector. For another, cent ‘Libertarianism Today’.) And in spite the cost of America’s adventurist foreign polof the anger of the Tea Party, the Republican icy has only expanded in the last four years, Establishment in its present incarnation rewhich after ten years in Iraq and Afghanistan mains dominated by a neoconservative elite. has been wearying for the American people. The disconnect between grassroots and establishment was most recently challenged Above all, the greatest concern must be the by Ron Paul: “Our rhetoric is still good, but worrying pace with which the remit of govwhen we’re in charge, we expand governernment has expanded into the sphere of ment.” civil liberties. The National Defense Authorization Act signed into law by Obama in And therein lies the problem. Of the four December looks set to be far worse for civil candidates running in the Republican presiliberties than the Bush administration’s indential primaries, Ron Paul is the only genufamous Patriot Act – where the Patriot Act ine small-government conservative. The authorised wiretapping of American citizens, other three represent different strands of the NDAA authorises detention without trial, big-government neoconservativism: Mitt drawing condemnation from the American Romney the neocon of big business, Newt Civil Liberties Union. The Patriot Act was Gingrich the neocon technocrat and Beltwayalso extended in 2011, ten years after it first insider, and Rick Santorum the neocon of the came into effect. The Stop Online Piracy Act, religious right. Romney will be hard-pressed shelved after heavy criticism, similarly drew to differentiate himself from Obama because criticism for its negative implications for free he supported the same stimulus package and speech and censorship. mandated healthcare reform in principle. Not one of those pieces of legislation can be Gingrich, in spite of his Tea Party-backing, is justified in line with a strict interpretation even more of a big government progressive, of the Constitution or the Bill of Rights, and who claims Roosevelt as America’s greatest each represents a major expansion of gov-
ernment. Yet, all of them received bipartisan support from Republicans and Democrats. Romney and Gingrich both support the NDAA, while Santorum supports the Patriot Act. It is ironic that these candidates should receive such support when grassroots conservatives instinctively oppose such measures. It is even more ironic Ron Paul should receive the least media coverage when he has been polling respectably – and most likely to carry independents in an election – for holding to that same opposition. The role of Fox News is rightly criticised by non-Republicans: a study carried out by Fairleigh Dickinson University in November found its viewers less informed than those who do not watch any news. However, the point that must be stressed is that Fox News’ bias favours the neoconservative view while excluding paleoconservatives. Ron Paul’s constitutionalist, anti-war stance was never likely to engender any favours from the organisation which was the loudest cheerleader for Bush’s expansionism, both domestically and overseas. In the most unceremonious manner possible, Ron Paul was prematurely and consistently dismissed as “unelectable”.
In the most unceremonious manner possible, Ron Paul was prematurely and consistently dismissed as “unelectable” And for that reason, instead of a matchup between a big-government Democrat and small-government Republican in November, we can expect a race between two biggovernment candidates who, in spite of representing nominally different parties, are not qualitatively different in the methods they would use to achieve their ends. That is the problem with the Republican Party when it comes to the choice presented to the American voter in November: not that the ideology of its supporters is too radical or unprincipled, but that the ideology of its leadership is not radical or principled enough.
The Most Important Election of the Year? As the Euro crisis rages on, Nicolas Sarkozy faces an uphill struggle for re-election. Current Affairs Editor Jerry Larkin asks - will Angela Merkel’s support aid his campaign or prove to be a kiss of death? After a year which saw both a general and presidential election take place in this part of the world, any Irish person could be forgiven for having election fatigue. However, with major elections happening in France in April and in the US in November, political hacks have much more drama to look forward to this year. The French election, in particular, promises to be a closely-run contest, given the fractured nature of French politics. Along with the two main parties – Sarkozy’s UMP and the Parti Socialiste which will fight the election with François Hollande as their candidate – there is also the Parti communiste français (PCF), the Front National, the Green Party and the centrist Democratic Movement led by François Bayrou, along with many more smaller niche parties. The French political system is fairly unique in the way that the president is elected, with a first round taking place on 22nd of April. The top two candidates from that round will advance to the second round of voting which takes place two weeks later and is a straight face-off between the two candidates. At the time of writing, Sarkozy had just announced that he is running. The feeling amongst the media in France is that he was paving the way for an imminent announcement by making prominent speeches and taking populist positions in the last couple of months. The French President had been sliding in the polls in the last year or so, with small successes like the overthrowing of Gadaffi in Libya doing little to prevent this decline. In having an approval rating of 32 percent, Sarkozy is the most unpopular French President since World War II. Indeed, his reputation is such that they were rumours circulating amongst the French twitterati that the recent birth of his fourth child with Carla Bruni was timed to roughly coincide with the election. Although he is currently 10 points behind Hollande in the opinion polls, he has the significant advantage of incumbency – the French have historically been reluctant to vote against a sitting President. While Sarkozy’s popularity has hit a nadir in the last year, Hollande’s star has been on the rise. He had to fight a primary election within the Parti Socialiste (PS) last year, beating five other candidates, including the PS leader Martine Aubry and the 2007 PS candidate Ségolène Royal. The primary election certainly provided the French media with many column inches, given the fact that Royal and Hollande had been partners for over 30 years, before they separated in 2007. Despite this personal history, Royal and the other candidates have rowed in behind Hollande since his nomination. The seemingly serene state of the Socialists is in marked contrast to the turmoil of last summer, brought about by the arrest and subsequent trial of Dominque Strauss-Kahn (ubiquitously known in France as DSK). Many in France thought him to be the automatic challenger to Sarkozy and a certain winner of this election, although the rape trial saga ended that scenario comprehensively. However, followers of the Socialists must be pleasantly surprised that the negative publicity surrounding DSK did not overly impact their presidential bid. Hollande has taken a decisive swing to the left since his nomination, and a victory for him would see a sea-change in the European consensus of austerity and punishing smaller states for supposed fiscal irresponsibility. Despite this, the last Socialist President Mitterand was forced to lurch to the right midway through his first term due to global economic pressures, and this may be a factor in an Hollande presidency.
Another important element of the upcoming French election is the performance in the opinion polls of Martine Le Pen for the Front National. She has performed extremely well, running currently in third place, with some speculating that she could make the second round if Sarkozy’s campaign falters. That scenario would be a near-repeat of the election of 2002, where her father Jean-Marie defeated the Socialist candidate to proceed into the second round against Jacques Chirac. Such was the fury on behalf of the ordinary voter that Chirac won in a landslide. However it would be foolish to dismiss Le Pen, largely because of the French equivalent of the ‘Shy Tory’ effect, where voters are afraid to speak publicly of their support for an extreme candidate. Le Pen has built herself up as an anti-establishment option for French voters sick of the UMP and the PS orthodoxy, and this may appeal to many voters with unemployment at a 12 year high. A final unpredictable element of this election is the pledge by Merkel to rally behind Sarkozy in his campaign. An alliance between French and German leaders is not without precedent – Chirac and Shroeder combined to condemn the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, and in 1992 Helmet Kohl and Mitterand forced through the Maastricht Treaty. However this show of strength is different and how this support will actually manifest itself is unclear. This step has already been criticised by Hollande and others in France as an unwelcome foray into another country’s political process. There has also been apprehension shown in Germany for the support, with some Germans feeling that Merkel should be concentrating fully on the Euro crisis and not on an unrelated election. However, it is clear that - as the second most influential government in the EU - the upcoming election in France is intertwined with the outcome of the Euro crisis, and the eventual political direction which the EU will take in the future. Whether Merkel’s public campaigning on behalf of Sarkozy will help or hinder his re-election prospects is not yet clear, but in this globalised political climate, the result of the 6th of May will have very real consequences for every citizen of the European Union.
Current Affairs Free speech at what price? Opinion Orla Hubbard argues against the notion of unlimited free speech and highlights the limits and responsibilities that go with this right
The cancelled visit of Nick Griffin to UCC has caused unprecedented controversy among the student population and has seen it split right down the middle and sit staunchly on our chosen side of the fence. There have been some vehement objections and even threats against his visit by some, while others maintain that he should be allowed the opportunity to participate in public debate. Griffin is clearly a controversial character with controversial beliefs. One of the most divisive of his beliefs is in the right to unlimited freedom of speech. Some people claim that it is a basic human right to be able to speak your mind freely and without censorship of any kind. They would argue that dictatorships rise and democracies fall the moment that freedom of speech is compromised. Nick Griffin certainly believes this, and consistently uses it as justification for his racist, sexist and small-minded perspectives. I would agree that for a society to be free, a fundamental requirement is that the people can speak and act without suppression. This freedom is enshrined in several bills of rights. However, there are very few rights or privileges that are not accompanied by some condition or implication, and it is in this spirit that the right to speak freely must always come with certain safeguards. This is not thinly veiled oppression as Nick Griffin claims, it is actually a protection that is extended to the whole of society. Griffin, along with other advocates for unlimited freedom of speech, allege that stifling free speech is an attack on democracy itself and that all individuals have the right to air their own views regardless of what they are. I wonder whether they would feel the same if propaganda and hatred was being spread about them and their own families? While most of us would instinctively disregard such a request, there will always be small minded dogmatists in the world and the strongest weapon we could ever give them would be to allow them to congregate, pontificate and encourage violence and hatred towards other human beings.
We cherish the privilege that we are all born free and equal, but we must also accept that unequal people must be treated unequally in order for the law, public morality and their own rights to be proportionate and fair. If a particular person, class or subgroup are more vulnerable to intolerance, discrimination and crime then surely they need to be awarded more support and protection?
Ultimately what we need to remember is that every right must bring with it an implied responsibility. None of us can be allowed to enjoy the privilege of speaking our minds, protesting and congregating without in turn contracting to use this privilege in a responsible and conscientious way. The right to freedom of speech is hotly contested and it is very difficult to know exactly where to draw the line. Often this can be very subjective and the line is open to interpretation by law enforcement and the judiciary. However it is ultimately a positive feature of the right to free speech that its restrictions are so undefined. It means that instead of banning words or phrases from our collective vocabulary, which would indeed be akin to the State playing Big Brother, it is the context and the malicious intent behind the expression that is considered. In all the arguing, we forget the basic principle: No person has the right to encourage hatred against another human being or to violate their human rights. This is something that a civilised society can never compromise on.
Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that the right to speak freely may be restricted “for respect of the rights or reputation of others.” This restriction is included to allow for the balance of the individual right to free speech against the individual’s right to dignity, equality and a good name. It acts to protect every culture, group and class in society - right down to the last individual - from bigoted statements which incite hatred and violence against them. We all agree that we want this protection to support our own well-being and security, which we feel we deserve as a western civilised democracy. The division occurs when this protection extends to foreign nationals, immigrants, the homeless, homosexuals, prostitutes etc. Some people, like Nick Griffin, are opposed to these rights being extended to the marginalised and it is in this spirit of small minded bigotry that they obstinately condemn any limits on freedom of speech. Time and again we have seen these implied limitations stand in the way of hate rallies, racist public meetings and attempts to incite and spread hatred, violence and intolerance. Without some restrictions on what the individual may ‘express’ in public, there would be nothing to stop the spread of anti-immigration, anti-black, anti-semetic and homophobic rallies and protests around the country. There would be nothing except for their own moral compass to stop somebody standing in the Quad and beseeching us all to stone every gay person we meet, or scream abuse at every redhead.
European Disunity Alan Conway looks at what a post-EU Europe may look like.
Whether or not the European Union will survive the current economic crisis it faces remains to be seen, as are the repercussions such a collapse would wreak over its member states. It would be the largest change of internal relations in Europe since the Second World War - if not the fall of Rome itself. As such, one would assume it would only be prudent to prepare to face such a calamity, even while working to avoid it. Though it hasn’t been discussed much within the Irish media, a few loose comments abroad have given some idea as to what may be on offer should such eventualities come to pass. Further political and economic unions are inevitable; in order to compete on a global scale and provide Europeans with the lifestyle we have become accustomed to, a larger population and economic clout is required - more than most individual member states can provide of their own ability. With this in mind, Vladimir Putin has spoken of his wish to create a Eurasian Union, at the moment limited to Belarus and Kazakhstan, however, the ambitious Mr. Putin would undoubtedly snap at the heels of chance if the opportunity presented itself to reassert Russian economic dominance over our Eastern European neighbours in the case of an EU collapse, and this is a very real fear in many Eastern European countries.
Such a Union would have a great deal to offer Ireland. At a time when we are seeking to reform our political system we would have working models and examples to base our system upon. Estonia, as world leaders in e-governance, could provide the example in making politics accessible, as opposed to our current Minister for Finance’s solution to our unusable e-voting machines (sell them to Irish Bars around the globe). In making fair use of natural resources to benefit all of the nation, as opposed to a small number of investors, we should look to Norway and it’s exploitation of it’s oil instead of every Irish minister’s solution of forgetting their previous support for Shell to Sea upon acceptance of office. In terms of economic recovery, Sweden has come a far way and dealt well with it’s own financial and property collapse not even a lifetime ago.
Elsewhere there have been mentions of a two-tier Europe built around the Franco-Germanic economies et al. If such a situation were to arise it is not difficult to discern which tier Ireland would operate in. Yet - there is an alternative, spoken of only in whispers and double bluffs as of now, but a viable alternative none the less if we are to pursue our own interests. That is a Nordic Union. It has been suggested as recently as last October by Gunnar Wetterberg, a leading figure in the Swedish Confederation and former senior member of the Swedish Ministry of Finance. The idea itself, however, is not new; historically there have been a number of unions between Scandinavian nations. What is new however is the call for Britain to seek to enter into such a Union. In the past year David Cameron has hosted a summit attended by the Premiers of the Nordic states and has only in the past few days returned from a similar, expanded, summit in Stockholm that was further attended by representatives from Estonia, Lithuania and & Latvia. Some may consider his previous comments about Britain beginning to look more to the Nords than Brussels may be construed as grandstanding before EU meetings where he was required to take a firm stand in order to defend the City of London. However, the words of Alex Salmond must be taken more seriously. He has claimed that postIndependence, while Scotland will retain close links of friendship with both England and Europe, it will look to the Nordic Model in how it runs its affairs – and with the Scottish Nationalists being a steadily centre-left party, they would be in an ideal situation to try and export that model.
All empires come to an end at some stage; as the European Project falters it is sheer folly to not make preparations for the coming winter. Enda Kenny can preoccupy himself with paying back his debt, but a time has now emerged for the Left in this country to assert not only how it wishes to deal with this crisis today and tomorrow, but where it wishes to see Ireland five decades from now, as those choices have to be made today. Scandinavian nations already have their own arrangements on some scale with regards to tariffs and passports - it’s a club we should seek to join as soon as possible. Otherwise, it’s going to be an even colder winter.
Ag Reamonn Ó Braoain
I Mí na Nollag 2011, bhuail ceannairí an AE le chéile ag cruinniú fíor-thábhachtach maidir le todhchaí limistéar an Euro. Áfach, i ndiaidh breis is trí no ceithre chruinnithe dhéag le linn an dá bhliain anuas, céard iad na cúiseanna don cheann seo ach go h-áirithe a bheith mar chroí díospóireachta phoiblí san Eoraip le mí go leith anuas? Bhuel, seo iad na boshonraí. Ag an gcrunniú seo, agus iad ag iarraidh géarchor creidmheasa eile ar nós 2007-08 a sheachaint, lorg ceannairí an AE aontas ina mbeadh gach ceann den 27 ballstáit bainteach- an 17 a bhí an euro acu agus an 10 eile. Dúirt Seansailéir na Gearmáine, Angela Merkel, gurbh é an taon slí chun géarchor eile a sheachaint ná chun rialacha airgeadais dian a chur isteach i gconraithe an AE. Sa tslí sin bheadh an cumas ag an AE pionóis garbh a chur ar thíortha nach raibh freagrach go h-airgeadúil. Tá cúig cheannairí AE is fiche tar éis aontú anois ar chonradh fioscach nua cumaithe chun rialacha maidir le h-easnaimh búiséadacha agus fiacha a neartú i mballstáit an AE. Rachaidh an conradh i bhfeidhm ar 1ú Eanáir 2013 má tá sé socraithe go dlethach ag gach tír faoin am sin. Tugann sé cumhacht don AE pionós a chur ar thír le h-easnamh thar 3% den Olltáirgeacht Intíre (OTI). In aontas fioscach, déanann udaráis comónta idir na rialtaisí cinntí maidir le bailiúcháin agus caitheamh cáin. Cuireann sé béim ar pholasaithe comónta maidir le cáin, an córas leasa agus rialacha i margadh an lucht oibre. I ndiaidh cainteanna fada, bheartaigh an Ríocht Aontaithe gan glacadh leis an gconradh, chomh maith le Poblacht na Seice ag cruinniú eile ag deireadh Mí Eanáir i mbliana. Áfach, ní dúirt Poblacht na Seice nach mbeadh sí toilteanch glacadh leis an gconradh am éigin eile. Bheartaigh siad gan an margadh a shíniú de bharr rudaí áirithe sa téacs, agus bhí fadhbanna ag an Ríocht Aontaithe le rialacha faoi sheirbhisí airgeadais i Londain. Níor theastaigh uathu freisin go mbeadh institiúid an AE ag coimeád súil ar gníomhaíochtaí na tíortha éagsúla. Taispeánann téacs an chonraidh an cumhacht a bheidh ag udaráis an AE chun dul i ngleic ar thíortha nach bhfuil ag éirí go maith le coinníollacha an chonraidh, le roinnt daoine ag rá go mbeidh an Eoraip gafa le polasaithe déine ar feadh na blianta dá bharr. Tugann Alt 8 cumhacht do Chúirt Chóire na hEorpa búiséad tír ar bith a fhiosrú agus í a fhíneáil suas go 0.1% de OTI má bhriseann sí na rialacha atá leagtha amach sa chonradh. Le luach timpeall €155 billiún ag OTI na tire seo, ciallaíonn sé sin go mbeadh fíneáil cuíosach mór á íoc again i gcóir búiséad mí-chothrom. Tá alt ann freisin a deireann nach mbeidh rochtain ag aon thír ar ar gciste tarrthála don AE muna bhfuil an conradh curha i bhfeidhm acu. De bharr go bhfuilimid ag brath ar an t-airgead seo faoi láthair, cíallaíonn sé seo nach mbeidh an tír in ann íoc as seirbhisí poiblí an bhliain seo chugainn muna mbeimid tar éis glacadh leis an gconradh agus muna mbeidh an cumas againn filleadh thar n-ais ar na margaí oscailte chun iasachtaí eile a fháil.
Agus é ag caint ag coiste Oireachtais faoin gceist seo, dúirt an t-Ollamh Karl Whelan ó Choláiste na hOllscoile Baile Átha Cliath go raibh sé amhrasach faoi rialacha fioscacha a bhí brí dleathach acu san Eoraip. Bíonn sé deacair easnaimh búiséadacha a áiriú, agus mar sin beidh na rialacha nua seo triblóideach i gcóir tíortha san Eoraip sa thodhchaí. D’fhéadfadh leis na rialacha seo a bheith mar chúis i gcóir ró-úsáid ar pholasaithe déine san Eoraip. Ach, dar leis an t-Ollamh bheadh sé níos fear don tír seo an conradh a shíniú de bharr go bhfuil fiacha an-ard again agus caithfimid é a dhéanamh chun leanúint ag fail airgid ón Eoraip chun íoc as costaisí na tire. I láthair na h-uaire áfach, níl sé soiléir conas go mbeimidh ag glacadh leis an gconradh seo, nó an mbeimid ag glacadh leis in aon chor fiú. Níl an Rialtas tar éis a rá go mbeidh vóta ag muintir na tíre seo ar an gconradh fioscach nua trí reifreann fós. In ionad sin, tá an rialtos ag iarraidh a fháil amach má tá gá reifreann a bheith acu dar le Bunreacht na h-Éireann. Muna bhfuil gá do sin, beidh an conradh curtha tríd an Oireachtas. Ach nuair a chuireadh ceist ar dhaoine le déanaí faoin gceist seo, Dúirt 72% de mhuintir na tire seo go bhfuil vóta ag teastáil uathu ar an gconradh fioscach nua, le 60% ag rá nach bhfuil fhios acu conas a chaithfidís a vóta nó go bhfuil said ina choinne. Go soiléir, is dóigh le muintir na h-Éireann go bhfuil ceart morálta acu vóta a chaitheamh ar an gceist seo, is cuma má tá nó muna bhfuil gá dleathach é sin a dhéanamh. Ach má bheartaíonn an Rialtas nach bhfuil gá reifreann a chur ar siúl, tá seans go mbeidh ceann fós má tá sé ag teastáil ó aon tríú den Dáil agus tromlach an Seanaid. Mar sin, tá seans fós go mbeidh tionchar ag tuairim muintir na tíre ar an gconradh seo. Níl fhios ag éinne conas a leagfaidh an scéal seo amach, ach níl aon amhras ann gur cheist chonspóideach í. Mholfaimis dóibh súil gear a choimeád air.
If you keep your goal in sight, you can climb to any height. ‘Everybody’s got a right to their dreams.’ Recovered from R&G Week? Because your monthly prescription of Motley Ents has just arrived! In this issue, we take a look at the upcoming Academy Awards and the Brit Awards, we have some fantastic interviews, and a healthy side-order of features, previews, a ‘going out’ guide, and reviews. And don’t forget to try and guess the movie below!
Guess The Movie! Here at Motley’s Ents Section, we like to test your knowledge of all things Entertainments. Simply guess the name of the movie (brownie points for the characters’ names!) by reading the extract. And, no, we’re not giving any hints!
MAN: Now, this is slightly awkward, but I’m afraid you’re late. WOMAN: Yes, I’m afraid I am. MAN: Where’s Mr Johnson? WOMAN: He doesn’t know I’m here. MAN: Well, that’s not a very promising start. WOMAN: No. No, look. My husband has seen everyone to no avail. Awfully afraid he’s given up hope. MAN: He hasn’t seen me. WOMAN: Awfully sure of yourself. MAN: Well, I’m sure of anyone who wants to be cured. WOMAN: Of course he wants to be cured. My husband is required to speak publicly.
MAN: Perhaps he should change jobs. WOMAN: He can’t. MAN: Indentured servitude? WOMAN: Something of that nature, yes. MAN: Well, we need to have your hubby pop by. Ah, Tuesday would be good. He can give me his personal history and I’ll make a frank appraisal, and we’ll take it from there. WOMAN: Doctor, forgive me. I do not have a “hubby”. We don’t ‘pop’. And nor do we ever talk about our private lives. No, you must come to us. MAN: No, sorry, Mrs Johnson. My game, my turf, my rules.
The Academy Awards
The 26th of February marks the 84th Academy Awards, a time when we “celebrate the movies in all of us” (a somewhat clichéd tagline for this year’s poster). Nominations were announced on the 24th of January, and, as always, there was a yearly mixture of unsurprising nominees, ‘injustices’, and an ocean of unhappy film fans fruitlessly condemning the Academy and arguing with anyone who will listen. This year, Hugo garnered the most nominations at 11, and The Artist, despite having one less nomination than Hugo, is probably year’s biggest winner, with the most nominations in major categories. War Horse and Moneyball managed to gain 6 nominations, and just behind it are The Descendants and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo with 5 nominations each. Without going too much into the endless arguments about films such as Drive, The Tree of Life, Shame, and The Adventures of Tintin not earning more nominations, I will say this: the lack of a nomination has never stopped a film or an actor from being brilliant (for instance, Alan Rickman has never been nominated and this year marks Gary Oldman’s first). Some would maintain that it is typical example of the Academy being ‘snobbish’ or ‘pretentious’ in the selection of nominees, but, argue to your heart’s content, a great film is a great film, and no award should change your opinion on it. While this piece will focus on the six big awards, by no means should the other categories be ignored. Best Documentary (Feature), Best Foreign Language Film, Best Costume Design and many other categories often get side-lined for the ones discussed below – I’m particularly looking forward to seeing The Muppets and Rio going head-to-head to win Music (Original Song) – so don’t give exclusive attention to any one category.
Actress in a Leading Role: Tilda Swinton in We Need
Actor in a Leading Role: For the past seven years, the win-
ner of the Outstanding Performance by a Male at the SAG Awards has also turned out to be the winner of the Best Actor at the Oscars. If this holds true for an eight year, we will see the award go to Jean Dujardin for his fantastic performance in The Artist. And, interestingly enough, Dujardin is only the fourth Frenchman to have ever been nominated for the award, and he would be the first if he wins. Despite this, George Clooney is tipped to win for his skilful performance in The Descendants, and this year Gary Oldman finally gets his first nomination for his outstanding performance in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. The ever-successful Brad Pitt has also been nominated for Moneyball, and a not-well-known Mexican actor, Demián Bichir, takes the fifth nomination for A Better Life in the category. Two of the many actors absent from the list of nominees include Michael Fassbender, for his performance in Shame as a man with a fractured sexual psyche, and Leonardo DiCaprio as the titular role in J. Edgar. Nevertheless, the Academy seems to have got the nominees right for Best Actor in a Leading Role.
Actor and Actress in a Supporting Role: The bookmakers are totally convinced that Christopher Plummer (Beginners) will pick-up Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress will go to Octavia Spencer (The Help) will pick-up Best Actress. If Plummer beats the other nominees (the other strong candidate being Max von Sydow for his performance in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close) he will become the oldest acting recipient in the history of the Academy Awards. But Best Supporting Actress may not be as clear-cut: appearing in an extraordinary total of seven films in 2011, Jessica Chastain has been nominated for her role as Celia in The Help. Janet McTeer (Albert Nobbs), Bérénice Bejo (The Artist), and Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids) are the other nominees for the award.
to Talk About Kevin didn’t get a nomination, nor did Kirsten Dunst for her enthralling performance as Justine in Melancholia. Dunst has never been nominated for an Academy Award, and I had hopes that this would be the year for her (perhaps von Trier’s infamous Cannes debacle swayed the voters somewhat, as Melancholia has received no nominations). But, nevertheless, the nominees for Best Actress were well deserved. Though having previously been nominated, Glenn Close has yet to win an Oscar, and she has been nominated for Albert Nobbs, superbly playing a woman in the guise of a man in nineteenth century Ireland. Michelle Williams was the centre of the success of My Week with Marilyn, and Viola Davis similarly led The Help with equal conviction. As much as I would like to see Rooney Mara come out on top for her extraordinary performance in The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo, Meryl Streep will most likely accompany the award with the Golden Globe she won last month for her uncanny portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady (a film which didn’t come close to match Streep’s brilliant performance).
Best Director and Best Picture: The nominees for Best Di-
rector are Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist), Alexander Payne (The Descendants), one-time Best Director winners Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris), and Martin Scorsese (Hugo), and winner of the Palme d’Or at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life). Best Picture is the big award of the night. Nine films have been nominated (one less nominee than the previous two years, due to a rule change), five of which, as we have already seen, have also earned a nomination for Best Director. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Help, Midnight in Paris, and Moneyball are the other four films nominated for the prestigious award. As always, these two will be difficult to call. Each of the nominees deserve it for so many different reasons, but, unsurprisingly, Hugo, The Artist, and The Descendants will be the main contenders. In the Academy’s history, over 60 films have been awarded both Best Director and Best Picture. I think Hazanavicius and Scorsese will be the two sides of a flipped coin for Best Director, but Payne or one of the nominees could easily surprise me and win the award. I am, however, more willing to bet that The Artist will take home Best Picture and become the second ‘silent’ film to win since the beginning of the Academy Awards, when the silent film Wings won in 1929.
Billy Crystal returns to host the ceremony for the ninth time. Those attending will be dressed at their best, nominees will have practiced their ‘I’m happy that somebody else won the award I wanted to win’ face, and this year every speech by winners will be totally different from the previous speech. Or not. The Academy Awards will take place on the 26st of February. For a full list of nominees visit oscars.org, where winners will also be listed following the ceremony.
The Brit Awards
Thankfully for us, this year will see the resurrection of the Meteor Awards (under the new title of the Meteor Choice Music Prize) in March, but until then, the Brit Awards ceremony promises to be a fantastic event. We can look forward to top-quality performances from the biggest artists of 2011, the glitz and glamour of awards season, and the unpredictable delight of both endearingly surprised and sourly disappointed popstars, all broadcast live on TV and nicely packaged up and presented to you by the brilliant James Corden. The awards themselves have been given a fresh image, with brand new trophies designed by Sir Peter Blake, the man responsible for the iconic sleeve of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. This year’s nominees are a promising bunch. It’s getting tougher and tougher for artists to make a living out of their music, but if this year’s nominees and performers are anything to go by, we can rest assured that great music will prevail even in these hard times.
Ed Sheeran is the hot favourite to scoop the prize for Best British Male Solo Artist. English rapper Wretch 32 voiced his disgust at not being nominated. Adopting a graceful and humble attitude so typical of rappers, he mused: “It’s sad … but if you’re not in the running when everybody knows you should have been, then that’s cool.” The British Female category is stronger than it has been in some years, with the legendary Kate Bush receiving her tenth nomination to date. Nice and all as that is for the 53-year-old, she doesn’t really stand a chance against the likes of Adele and Florence + The Machine. A sense of déjà vu pervades the British Group category, with Coldplay potentially going for the seventh Brit award of their career. The Vaccines’ nomination for British Breakthrough Act, though, is encouraging, as the mainstream market is crying out for new talent.
Best British Single is likely to go to Adele for ‘Someone Like You’, the song that kicked off a phenomenal year for the songstress. However, some of the other nominations give the distinct impression of the proverbial barrel being scraped. Surely Noah and The Whale’s comeback hit ‘L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.’, for instance, would be a more worthy candidate than Pixie Lott’s ‘All About Tonight’? Adele is tipped to win British Album of the Year, though in this category she probably faces the toughest competition. The nominated records epitomise what has been a great year for British music, from the D.I.Y. feel of Ed Sheeran’s debut to the theatrical and lush sound of Florence + The Machine’s second album. International categories are a fairly predictable roll-call of the big names of the past year. My money’s on Bruno Mars for Best Male, Lady Gaga for Best Female, and Lana Del Rey for International Breakthrough Act. Foo Fighters will probably take home a trophy, though The Strokes could at least have gotten an honourable mention.
And the performers are... Olly Murs: The former X-Factor finalist started his life in the public eye when he went on Deal or No Deal in 2007 and went home with a pitiful £10. Unfortunately he’s unlikely to have any more success in the British Single category, in which he’s nominated. Bruno Mars: 2011 was a glittering year for the soulful singersongwriter, and he has quite a substantial list of hits to choose from for his Brits set. Adele: The pressure is on for Adele to match her last Brit Awards performance. Although she admits that big gigs like this are not her favourite way to spend an evening, after last year’s mesmerising performance, she’s sure to feel confident. Coldplay: Love them or loathe them, Coldplay are still at the centre of the British music universe. Chris Martin and co. are also rumoured to duet with fellow performer, Rihanna at this year’s event. Blur: Blur’s and Noel Gallagher’s appearances at the Brits 2012 are testaments to the legacy of Britpop, and now that the Outstanding Contribution to Music award will have gone to both Oasis and Blur, the burning question of the 90s may never be categorically answered. Blur disbanded in 2009, but there have been whisperings of a reunion ever since then. Their set might shed some light whether or not an official comeback is in the pipeline.
In 2010, Florence + The Machine and Dizzee Rascal stole the show with ‘You Got The Dirtee Love.’ Last year, Adele had the audience on their feet and thousands more viewers in tears when she delivered a heart-wrenching rendition of ‘Someone Like You.’ So who’s going to give the performance of the year this time around? The contenders are: Ed Sheeran: Young Mr Sheeran’s unique, ���folk-hop’ performance style is a big factor in his runaway success, and he will undoubtedly use this opportunity to prove he is worthy of all of his four nominations. Rihanna: Not really one for slushy piano numbers like Adele, Rihanna will bring all that we love about pop music to the Brits. Expect ostentatious staging, projected images with no real relevance to the music, skimpy costumes to facilitate movement, and perhaps a medley of similar-sounding backing tracks, maybe even with a live vocal performance! Noel Gallagher: The last time Noel performed at the Brits was in 2007, with Oasis, when they were presented with their Outstanding Contribution to Music award. This year he’ll be taking to the stage with his new project, High Flying Birds. Florence + The Machine: Expectations are high for Florence Welch after her unforgettable performance in 2010, but if anyone can be trusted to pull it out of the bag, it’s her.
The Brit Awards will take place on the 21st of February in London’s O2 Arena, and will be televised on BBC One. For interviews, photos, information on the nominees, and much more, check out brits.co.uk.
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? …No, it’s Michael Winslow! Known as the man with 10,000 voices and ‘that guy from Police Academy’, Michael Winslow is one the worlds most renowned voice artists. He catches up with Kevin Curran. Michael Winslow has had a long and varied career as a voice artist, comedian, actor and all round performer. He made his TV debut on the legendary Gong Show in the 1980s and went on to star in cult films such as the Police Academy series, Spaceballs and as the voice of Mogwai in Gremlins. Since then, he has toured the world as a voice artist and comedian and recently went viral on YouTube with his surreal rendition of Jimi Hendrix playing guitar on a Danish TV show. Audiences are regularly wowed by his realistic impressions of guitars, typewriters, guns and various other sound effects. However, he intimated that having a talent for voices led him into interesting situations as a child. “I was one of those kids with an imaginary friend, but my imaginary friend made noises and that got me into trouble. Kids would ask me if I would like to play army and I would be like ‘no man, I want to be in the air and run off as a plane.’ It was probably a little hard to handle. I also realised pretty soon that I shouldn’t make animal noises towards real animals because they will bite you!” “With my voices, I want to play what I can hear, so if I can’t play the guitar that well then I try to do it with my voice. Everything is a work in progress: the voices evolve over time, and some take a long time but others come easier. It’s like baking a cake; you have to take your time and work on the layers!” Winslow started his professional career on the stage in theatre productions and soon found that his ability to make crazy noises landed him an increasing amount of comedic acting roles. After making a number of movie appearances, he landed the role of Larvel “Motor Mouth” Jones, the sound affect making rebellious police officer in Police Academy, which became a cult classic and is set to be renewed in a new version of the movie in the near future. “I still get a lot of attention because of those movies; it has been a pretty interesting journey for me. Now with Police Academy 8 coming up the whole process is kind of starting again. New Line Cinema have taken up the franchise, and hopefully we will see as much of the old cast together as possible. There is a script approved and the director is in place, so hopefully we will see the production start in the next year.” A new version or ‘re-vamp’ of the movie franchise has been mooted for years but Winslow is confident it will take place. “I would like to do more acting, particularly with the guys from Police Academy, but I just have to wait and see I guess.”
Since the Police Academy movies, Winslow has been working as a comedian/voice artist and has travelled all around the world. He admits that his show is a bit unusual. “People have called me a voice-strimentalist. My job is to make people forget about the rent for a while by any means possible. In my show there is everything for everybody; there are gimmicks, there are voices, comedy, stand-up and a bit of theatre as well. A little bit for everybody!”
“With my voices, I want to play what I can hear, so if I can’t play the guitar that well then I try to do it with my voice. Everything is a work in progress: the voices evolve over time, and some take a long time but others come easier. It’s like baking a cake; you have to take your time and work on the layers!” Winslow has toured most of Europe, Australia, North America and many other places. He admits it can be tiring travelling around the world on these long winding tours. “It is tiring; I try to have breaks in my schedule as much as possible. I try to arrange my schedule that I get as much done in one place at a time to cut down on a lot of moving around.” In keeping with his travelling lifestyle, Winslow is embarking on another tour of Europe in the coming months and is playing four dates in Ireland as a part of this tour. “I am a bit nervous about this tour but I take this attitude of ‘what’s next and let’s do it!’” Although he is the man of 10,000 voices, Winslow had not heard the musical Cork accent that awaits him when he plays the Opera House next month. As we parted ways, I left him with the advice that when he is inevitably called “boy” it is not in the slave kind of way, but in a nice way. I suppose you learn something new every day!
Michael Winslow plays at the Cork Opera House on the 23rd of February. Tickets are on sale for €21-€23.50 from various outlets.
“People who accuse Tarantino of being over-reliant on dialogue need to watch this film” – Chris Redmond
For every film geek on the planet, there is a defining moment that occurs, usually early on in life, where the artistic wonderment of film becomes crystal clear in said geek’s fuzzy little head. In my case, this moment happened 12 years ago when I first saw Pulp Fiction. It started me on a path where Steven Seagal and Jean Claude Van Damme were replaced by Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese. Pulp Fiction remains my alltime favourite film, and will likely always remain so, but over the years I have found myself revisiting more and more (perhaps QT’s most underrated work), his Pulp Fiction follow-up Jackie Brown.
This film marked a change of pace for America’s exhilarating young filmmaker. Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction were fiercely energetic, uncompromising, often brutal, and nigh on impossible to replicate. The comfortable, considered, some may say slow, pace of Jackie Brown took many critics by surprise, but plaudits continued to pour in. There is much to admire about Tarantino’s more recent offerings, Death Proof excepted, but Jackie Brown succeeds in almost every way possible. For a start, the performances are pitch-perfect. Pam Grier plays the title role with weary aplomb, Sam Jackson makes for a scary, funny and totally convincing gun dealer, while the then-unheard-of Robert Forster secured an Oscar nomination for his performance as disenchanted bail bondsman Max Cherry. And amongst all of this is an understated Robert De Niro, giving a subtly detailed performance as shifty ex-con Louis Gara.
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The convoluted plot, gorgeously soulful soundtrack and nail-biting tension are delightful, but what makes this film special is its humanity – something Tarantino’s critics have often accused him of lacking. The tentative romance that develops between Jackie and Max is delicately written – we are left in little doubt that both characters share a mutual affection, but this is never forced down our throats. Instead, we see them exchange tender little compliments, while we are rarely sure whether Jackie is trying to manipulate Max as part of her elaborate stay-out-of-jail-and-get-rich scheme. Forster, in turn, reminds himself of Jackie by constantly playing her favourite song, The Delfonics’ ‘Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time).’ It’s a nice, recurring touch, and words are not needed to convey the meaning. People who accuse Tarantino of being over-reliant on dialogue need to watch this film. Above all, though, Jackie Brown is a film about growing old. The characters have reached a point in their lives where their best years are behind them and, worse still, they are fully aware of it. This is a reality that will eventually hit us all, and Tarantino shows remarkable compassion in depicting it. A great film will resonate with you for different reasons at different points in your life. As I get older and continue enjoying this film, there will undoubtedly be a feeling of growing older with familiar friends. It is for this reason that Jackie Brown will continue to endure, and may just emerge as Tarantino’s finest moment. Now that is saying something.
Image credits: Miramax Films.
1. Dave Chappelle Rick James uploaded by: zcp4655 View Count: 1,174,133
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We wont ruin the surprise by writing some of the lyrics here but we can guaratee that you’ll appreciate Whitest Kids You Know as they bring us their reasons why people should be nicer to old people and visit them more often, with a catchy melody you’ll be ‘hooked’ on this video in no time. However, beware as you might find yourself singing the chorus at the most inappropriate times.
“I wish I had four hands, so I could give those titties four thumbs down!” I think that is all we need to say.
In terms of his collaborations, Manderson has worked with, and largely gained publicity and popularity from, Lily Allen, Emeli Sandé, Example and the Streets, among others. He has learned a lot about the industry from these stars, saying that they have “taught me a lot about how to handle certain things. It made it much more of a reality, the pressures and what really happens – what [the industry] really is, as opposed to what you imagine it to be before you get into it.”
Tamara Malone speaks with hip-hop superstar, Professor Green Professor Green has come a long way. From a tough upbringing in East London – a childhood, though defined by personal and familial difficulty, in which he discovered a love of varied genres of music – he is now on the way to becoming one of the more successful rappers out there. Citing Johnny Cash, soul, drum n’ bass and dubstep amongst his influences (“and I think that’s quite prevalent in my music”), Professor Green – or Stephan Paul Manderson, as he’s known to family and friends – says that these kinds of music have always appealed to him, although this “wasn’t that easy coming from where I come from – there was stuff that was cool to listen to and stuff that was not cool, but I didn’t really apply it the way other people did”. Manderson’s start in the industry began almost accidentally, when he was asked to rap at a friend’s party where everyone was freestyling. He continued to attend rap battles, winning nearly every time. Now 28, he has been working in the industry for 10 years, and emphasises how hard he has worked to get to where he is now. When asked about the kinds of difficulties encountered along the way, Manderson says that rap has not always been so mainstream and popular as it is nowadays, a problem he and other artists tackled together. “When I first started out, [rap] music wasn’t as successful, it wasn’t as commonplace. A rap track at number one is normal now, but when I began it wasn’t”. Due to these obstacles, Professor Green says that he very nearly reconsidered working in the industry. “I don’t know if I was adamant [about carrying on as a rapper] or if it was blind stupidity, there were plenty of times when I nearly – very, very nearly – just went, you know, ‘fuck it, what am I doing it for?’ It’s a hobby and that’s what it should be, but I didn’t, I carried on.” This has proved to be a wise decision, in light of the fact he has recently been nominated a BRIT award in the Best Male category, something he calls “a massive achievement” considering what he was two years ago.
“I don’t know if I was adamant [about carrying on as a rapper] or if it was blind stupidity, there were plenty of times when I nearly – very, very nearly – just went, you know, ‘fuck it, what am I doing it for? Speaking of artists working together collectively, a trait Professor Green has embraced in his music – through collaborations, his personal life and public persona – is helping other artists and giving them publicity, gushing about how much he loves Lana Del Ray’s album for example. He tells me that, “there’s always going to be competition, but everyone’s more supportive than they ever have been… As much as people bicker and argue, everyone works together. That’s happening more here I think, which is good because it keeps the music fresh.”
Professor Green has also been recognized for the honesty he shows in his lyrics, and says, “I don’t think you can completely separate yourself from who you are when you’re writing a song, I think that’s quite hard; you’re always going to write from your own perspective.” He also talks about progression in his music. “In the last few years, from the success of the first album, touring with the lads, having the freedom to change things, I think that’s where the biggest progression has been.”
In terms of the future, Manderson has always made it quite clear his desire for future collaborations, expressing particularly an eagerness to work with Ed Sheeran and Skrillex, saying especially of Sheeran, “he’s always worked with rappers and he’s done a lot of rapping himself. We’re both just bouncing ideas back and forth until we both get something that we’re really into”. He will also be touring and is playing a gig in Cork Opera House on April 19th, saying of Irish fans that they have always “been on it from the word go. I’ve never had a bad gig in Ireland”. He tells an amusing story of how his trailer was stolen at a service station 10 miles outside Dublin: “someone came up in a tractor while we were all asleep on the tour bus and stole the trailer. Funny thing was they didn’t want our gear, they dumped all our gear”. Despite his recent successes, Professor Green has held onto who he is and where he’s come from. He was truly a pleasure to speak to, offering advice to aspiring rappers he has advocated throughout his entire career: “You’re never handed anything, you have to work for everything – even the opportunities you get.” Professor Green will perform at the Cork Opera House on Thursday, 19th of April. Tickets are on sale now for just €29. For more information, visit corkoperahouse.ie. Images courtesy of EMI Music Ltd.
DELORENTOS Orla Hodnett speaks with Ronan Yourell, lead singer of Delorentos
The past couple of weeks have been more than eventful for Delorentos. Their new album, Little Sparks, was released to universal critical acclaim, and lead singer Ronan Yourell is pretty content with the response. “It’s been brilliant. Obviously it’s only the beginning and reviews are only one person’s opinion, but it’s great that they seem to be enjoying the album. We put our heart and soul into it over the past 18 months or two years, so we’ve been very confident in it and feel it’s the best thing we’ve ever done.” Since the release they have been on the promo campaign trail, including setting up pop-up shops in disused retail spaces across the country, where they sell the album and play acoustic gigs. “It’s nice to bring colour and music to these spaces. It’s been fun.” Fun, but not without incidence. “At the Cork pop-up shop, we were there 15 minutes and they tried to close it down because it wasn’t safe. We were able to do it but we were only allowed to use a 10 square-foot area inside the door. Then we were driving in this big old camper van for the pop up shops, and we were driving back at, like, one in the morning when the left rear tyre exploded. We were sitting on the side of the motorway, waiting for the AA to come and rescue us. We’re still a couple of weeks away from doing any gigs and it’s already been very eventful!” Little Sparks sounds like a band on top of its game. Bold and confident, the album sounds indicative of a band that is really enjoying what they’re doing. “It was really fun to do and that really fed into everything else. A lot of musicians and creative people say that if you don’t have any input you don’t have any output. If you’re not out living a life, seeing things, meeting new people, going places. You don’t have anything to write about if you don’t live a life. We’re a much more balanced band now. We’re not just musicians and we have other interests, so when it came to releasing the album we really felt we should embrace all the other sides of our personalities and talents, making it an all-encompassing creative experience for us.” The recent successes of Delorentos almost never came to be. In 2009 a record contract had fell through, leaving he band in a limbo which ultimately led to a brief split. “It happened so quickly. It had been a pretty heavy year with record label stuff. It was the first time that we put our plans and our career on hold to wait for this thing to be resolved. It was a dark time, I suppose. Getting into the studio very quickly to get the songs recorded, I realised that it wasn’t Delorentos that I was finding difficult, it was the external stuff. We appreciated what we had and thought we shouldn’t let it go. It was very embarrassing as we had announced this split and five or six weeks later we were back together! I’d be philosophical about it. Things happen for a reason.” According to Ronan, experimentation was pivotal in recording the album. “The second album was made under very weird and stressful circumstances. When we decided that we wanted Delorentos to continue to exist it had to be something that was going to be a creative outlet for us and that we really enjoy. Maybe we shackled ourselves before so we were conscious that nothing
would be off limits in writing the new songs. Ross, our drummer, had been collecting equipment over the past couple of years and by the time we were getting stuck into Little Sparks he had built this little home studio. It gave us loads of flexibility to play with different instruments. The other big thing was that we brought in Rob Kirwan (PJ Harvey, U2) to produce. Rob was really into his vintage gear so he brought not only a wealth of experience but a mountain of equipment. The other big development in my mind is that the song writing has really come along. If someone had an idea in their head, we tried it. Everything we do, I hope, means something and comes from a real, heartfelt place.” As an independent band, Delorentos are conscious of the advantages held by those who have major label backing. “From the beginning we’ve always been an independent band. We work and fund everything ourselves. We’ve had our near misses with labels and things. The biggest music markets, with the exception of Germany, are the US and then the UK. If you can crack those markets it’s a big thing. It’s a competition and you know the major labels, well, there are still some out there. When you see someone like Lana Del Rey, it’s incredible the amount of promotion when there’s a label behind something. The exposure they can generate is huge. We rely a heavily on social networking and online stuff. For an independent act it’s a lot harder to compete in markets as big as the US and the UK.”
“We’re not just musicians and we have other interests, so when it came to releasing the album we really felt we should embrace all the other sides of our personalities and talents, making it an all-encompassing creative experience for us.” Delorentos have a busy year ahead of them. They embark upon an extensive Irish tour through February and March and they’ll be heading to the continent later this year. “We’ll be heading over to Spain in May and we’ve got festival dates already booked. We’re hoping to add to that and get around the rest of Europe to Holland, Portugal and other places. It’ll be interesting in Ireland this year without Oxegen to see how the festival scene evolves. The great thing about it is it puts a spotlight on smaller festivals. When we’re not touring we’ll be writing and recording for sure. We’re all very excited about the next year.” Little Sparks is out now and Delorentos play Cyprus Avenue on the 3rd March. Visit delorentos.net or visit facebook.com/delorentosmusic for more information. Images courtesy of Friction PR.
Cult Success Daniel Kiniry takes a look at the quirky cult program Twisted Celluloid. The people who read my articles (I know the three of you exist out there) have probably noticed one thing about me: I like cult movies. If a movie is an automatic success, I’ll probably turn a blind eye to it in favour of a movie that has a niche audience for whatever odd reason. There’s just a great appeal to cult movies: the rabid, enthusiastic fanbases, the idea that there’s a spark of greatness to these flicks that goes unnoticed by the general public, even the fact that they don’t have an obvious appeal to them and are even enjoyed if they are unintentionally awful movies. So the fact there’s a program in our quiet little city that works towards this trend should be something that is celebrated and enjoyed. Twisted Celluloid is a program that started up in the Triskel Arts Centre in Cork city. The program was introduced to me by my horror aficionado buddy Nathan and, in keeping with his preferences, it started off showing cult horror flicks such as Dawn of the Dead and Black Christmas. It has since breached beyond that, however, and just gone into certain thematic cult movies back-to-back. One showing will show animated cult films, another would show stoner flicks. I’ll give you a quick rundown of the flicks they played to give you an idea of the diversity of the program. The first night screened George A. Romero’s zombie classic Dawn of the Dead, suspenseful and beautifully shot horror Suspiria, and a ‘surprise’ movie in every sense of the word The Woman. The second night showed the original Black Christmas and a goofy but fun Netherland picture Saint. The next focused on cult animated movies: the famous anime classic Akira and unique, stylised French animated movie Forbidden Planet. The most recent showing had wayward coming-of-age film Dazed and Confused and the deranged, electric adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
What I love about these screenings is the sheer variety of films on display. There are a few of those films up there I don’t even like, but every single one of them has their own uniqueness to offer – even ones where the genres cross over and they continue to introduce me to new films I would never have seen otherwise. Seeing them in Triskel itself is an experience with its own novelty; watching an epic like Akira or a brilliantly bizarre Fear and Loathing on the big screen is an experience like no other. Plus, it’s an abandoned church, which really adds to the atmosphere of the whole experience, particularly for horror movies. There’s also a bar downstairs, so if you have the money I’m sure seeing these classics on the big screen inebriated would be quite a fun experience! Overall, what is appealing about these screenings is that they are a labour of love. You can just feel the passion and enthusiasm for these films, and watching them with people who love cinema is just a great and fun experience. If you have a love of movies, or just wanna watch something different, I highly recommend this program to you. Next screenings will be on the 24th of February, showing cult classic Highlander and camp classic Flash Gordon. Hope you can make it to that and to the many other great screenings this program will offer in the future. For more information, log-on to the Twisted Celluloid facebook page or see triskelartscentre.ie. Image credits: Twisted Celluloid facebook page.
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The Battle has begun
The UCC Live Music Society commenced its annual ‘Battle of the Bands’ competition with the first heat on February 8th and the second heat a week later. The next heats are on February 22nd, 28th and March 7th in Cyprus Avenue with doors at 9pm. The final of the competition will be held in the same venue on March 14th. Entry to each gig is free (with a UCC student card), otherwise admission is €5. This is a great opportunity to catch up and coming Irish acts, previous winners of this competition include the band O Emporer. The LMS are offering some very appealing prizes to the winners of the competition: - A spot at the Indiependene Music Festival - €1000 worth of recording, mixing and mastering from Carrig-Sound studios - A launch night for the band’s recording in Cyprus Avenue - A support slot at Cyprus Avenue Also, the winners of each heat will receive a support slot at Cyprus Avenue.
This year, a public vote will count for 25% of the total marks that a band will receive. With such an incredible prize on offer to the bands, they will need all the support that they can get from their fans! The winners of our first and second heats and performing in our grand final are NOD and Shooting Saturn , the line ups for the next heats are as follows. Heat 3 – Feb 22nd: Une Pipe, Chestnut Tree, Fear Stalks the Land!, Rabbits Love Liqourice Heat 4 – Feb 28th: Emerson, The Belle Peppers, Gundown, Moustache Feeling Heat 5 – March 7th: Will consist of the runners up of each of the previous heats Additionally, money will be collected for a different charity at each of the heats. The charities are: • UCC Cork Simon Community • UCC SUAS society • UCC St. Vincent de Paul • UCC Medecins Sans Frontiers Society. An event poster for the Battle of the Bands and some pictures of our first heat are below. Photos courtesy of Yvonne O’ Keefe
The boys are back in town. Cormac Lehane takes a look at the Beach Boys’ 50th anniversary reunion tour The Beach Boys will once again be performing on stage as they begin a 50 date international tour, beginning in New Orleans as they headline the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. The Beach Boys, one of the most iconic bands of the last half-century and pioneers of the surf-rock genre have included several different members over time but at the core are most definitely Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston & David Marks who are currently producing a new record after a 15 year hiatus. They have their roots in Hawthorne, California, in 1961, way back when two of Brian’s brothers were still in the band. Despite the deaths of band members and others’ leavings, the band had continued to tour for many years, gathering many accolades including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. It’s no surprise that they hold the American record for the top selling band with hits such as ‘I Get Around’, ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’, ‘Good Vibrations’, ‘California Dreaming’, ‘Surfin’ USA’ – I could go on. Brian Wilson’s gift for vocal arrangements has entranced a generation of surfers and rockers, sometimes both. The band’s unique, relaxed, laid-back cool guy attitudes gained them a lot of followers who wanted to head to the beach in sunny California and bate out the tunes while surfing. The casual attitude didn’t last forever though, as with all successful rock bands, the containment of all those attitudes of each band member onstage, on the tour bus, in the dressing room, always seem to boil over at some point. Wilson, who only recently denied that any such reunion was on the cards, is quoted as saying “I really don’t like working with the guys.”
Who runs the world? With music, I’m pretty much a one-track pony. As in, when I find a track that I like I listen to it ad nauseum, or at least until deafness has set in. I’m usually unable to multitask with my favourite artists of the moment (I’m a shame to my gender stereotypes), but in the past week I’ve noticed that the focus of my iPod was of the woman variety. Now, in light of YouTube proclaiming Rihanna as most viewed female artist at over 2 billion views, (a third of earth’s population, people) and over 20 million views on Lana del Rey’s Video Games alone, it seems certain that the rise of Girl Power is becoming a main feature of 2012’s music scene.
Then, perhaps, he had a change of mind or was persuaded otherwise, because the full ensemble has returned for their 50th anniversary tour. It’s a long way from a bottom-of-the-bill gig playing their first gig alongside heavyweights such as Ike and Tina Turner. As Brian Wilson has recalled since, “We were five clean-cut unworldly white boys from a conservative white suburb in a hall full of black kids.” However, as they did all through their illustrious career, they held their own amongst all their peers. I look forward to hearing the old hits being re-released. It is Ireland, but get ready to follow the surf and sun and gigs in flip-flops wherever the Beach Boys decide to head. They were supposed to announce the news of their return/anniversary tour at the nominations special for the Grammys last month but those plans fell through as the information was leaked. “There will be a surprise at the Grammys,” Wilson told Rolling Stone, “We will do something special for it.” The beach boys opened for Bryan Adams in Vancouver in 2010. Jardine has said “It sounded so good, we just decided to continue.” Image credits: true-rock.ru,quiltyascharged.wordpress.com.
Martha Hegarty discusses some female artists who signal “the rise of Girl Power” in the music scene Cathy Davey: First described to me as having the voice of ‘a Care Bear on helium’, our own Cathy Davey shot to fame when her second album, The Nameless, got to number one on the Irish Albums Chart. Her lyrics are concise, but weighty with the wisdom of experiences, while her voice is able to shift between stoic, sexy roughness in ‘Wild Rum’ to mind-bendingly beautiful tenderness in ‘Lay Your Hand’ in the blink of an eye. Not only does she break the Corrs-style mould for Irish female musicians, it’s rare to find an artist from the Emerald Isle who has a sound that could be from literally anywhere, even the Kingdom of Caring.
Marina and the Diamonds: This self-proclaimed lipstick feminist Florence + The Machine: Part living breathing pre-Raphaelite, part
Woodstock hippy, no one quite has Florence’s style, energy or fantastically poetic lyrics. Lines like “This is a gift, it comes with a price/ Who is the lamb and who is the knife?” somehow translate seamlessly into the mainstream via her unavoidably captivating music. It’s not unusual to hear ‘Dog Days Are Over’ playing at a club, pub, wedding or house party – a unique level of diverse appeal that doesn’t waver on the tracks of her new album, Ceremonials. And despite having to endure the endless repetitions of “she was outa it when I saw her at Oxegen, but she was still the greatest thing my eyes have or will ever see” from my peers, I still keep my torch lit for witnessing The Machine live one day.
cites acts as motley (geddit?) as Kate Bush, Tom Waits and PJ Harvey as her prime influences. The songs of her first album dealt with striving for success, independence and strength, themes that are ordinarily substituted with a distressed damsel’s struggles with love, loss and desperation. ‘Oh No!’ (also known as The Song That Got Me Through The Leaving Cert) embodies both Marina’s unabashedly exuberant pop side and her unique, refreshing and ferocious self-determination. With her new album exploring the “illusions and death of American ideologies involved in the corruption of self”, it’s clear that Miss Diamond isn’t leaving her brains or love of black velvet dresses behind just yet. Image credits: cathydavey.ie, florenceandthemachine.net, marinaandthediamonds.com.
David Coen previews some upcoming films scheduled for release in February and March.
Safe House Director: Daniel Espinosa. Starring: Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Brendan Gleeson. Release Date: 24th February. Denzel Washington returns to the silver screen this February playing the role of a dangerous fugitive. A young CIA agent (Ryan Reynolds) finds himself looking after Washington’s character in a safe house. However when the safe house is attacked, the agent finds himself on the run with his charge. Known for his roles in Training Day and Remember the Titans, fans will hope Washington’s new project will live up to expectations after a disappointing last few outings. Director Daniel Espinosa will help in this regard; being the mind behind entertaining action thriller East Money. Irish Representation in the form of the wonderful Brendan Gleeson is also sure to entice cinema-goers from this side of the pond, and although the plot sounds a tad clichéd, the cast list is sure to produce a convincing performance. Also starring Ryan Reynolds (Green Lantern), Safe House appears to be well worth the ticket price.
Project X Director: Nima Nourizadeh. Starring: Thomas Mann, Oliver Cooper, Nichole Bloom. Release Date: 2nd March. Here’s a film most college students will be able to relate to: it involves heavy partying, drugs and alcohol. Project X concerns three unpopular high school seniors who decide to throw a party to resuscitate their dying reputations. However, as the evening progresses, things start to spiral out of control. Unique aspects of Nourizadeh’s directorial debut are that its shot entirely in first person and that it will also feature ‘unknown’ actors. Regarding first person camera, I reckon this will be a pretty cool way of interpreting the experience of the high school seniors. As for the other aspect, I’d like to think that the lack of recognisable names in the cast list will not in any way affect how the film performs. Good humour is guaranteed also with Todd Phillips on board as producer, having directed both Hangover films. With a relatively unknown cast of Thomas Mann, Oliver Cooper and Nichole Bloom, Project X will hope to bring something fresh and unique to the tried and tested formula of party movies this March.
Wanderlust Director: David Wain. Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Paul Rudd, Malin Akerman, Ray Liotta Release Date: 2nd March. Wanderlust is a story about a Manhattan couple (Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd) who are affected by sudden unemployment. The couple try to add spark to their marriage by taking part in an unconventional society where free love rules. Jennifer Aniston once again takes to the screen under her familiar genre of romantic comedy, who is renowned for her portrayal of Rachel in Friends. Paul Rudd will also be familiar from his lead role in Role Models. The director of the aforementioned film (David Wain) takes over the reigns of Wanderlust; which encourages a great deal of optimism around Aniston’s new project in a seemingly formulaic film career. Even though David Wain has had an interesting career himself (he played a Wedding Photographer in I Love You, Man), Role Models was a clever, hilarious comedy. With that in mind, I predict a strong box office outing for Wanderlust, as well as a worthwhile trip to the cinema. Image credits: Universal Pictures, Warner Bros.
Stack O’ Craic
John Murphy and Mary Egan reveal the crème of Cork’s events.
COMEDY Michael Winslow
Date: 23rd February. Venue: Cork Opera House. Info: Best known for his role as Sgt. Larvelle Jones from Police Academy, the multi-talented actor and comedian Michael Winslow (the ‘Man of 10,000 Sound Effects) brings his tour to Cork. See the interview on a page 16. Tickets: €21-€23.50.
Date: 8th March. Venue: Cork Opera House. Info: The boys from Castletown are back in Cork for some “drinking, shmoking, and fightin’” with a stage adaptation of their RTÉ television series. Tickets: €21-€23.50.
Date: 3rd April. Venue: Cork Opera House. Info: Verdi’s tragic tale of passion back by popular demand. Sung in Italian with English surtitles. Tickets: €26-€41.
Date: 4th and 5th April. Venue: Cork Opera House. Info: A second opera at the Opera House, also back by public demand. Telling a classic story of Parisian love and loss, traditionally staged with the set reflecting the Bohemian art of the period. Sung in Italian with English surtitles. Tickets: €26-€41.
Gemma Hayes, plays the Triskel Arts Centre
FILM Twisted Celluloid
Date: 24th February. Venue: Triskel Christchurch. Info: A screening of Highlander and Flash Gordon. Keep up to date on the Twisted Celluloid facebook page. Tickets: €12 (concessions €10).
MUSIC Gemma Hayes
Date: 18th February. Venue: Triskel Art Center. Info: The talented Gemma Hayes will play Cork, beginning at 8pm. Tickets: €15.
Date: Saturday 3rd March. Venue: Cyprus Avenue. Info: For more information about The Delorentos see the interview on page 19. Tickets: €14.
Date: 1st February. Venue: Cyprus Avenue. Info: The ever popular rapper returns to Cork. Tickets: €14.
Rory Gallagher Festival
Date: 2nd March. Venue: Triskel Art Center. Info: A celebration of Rory Gallagher. Tickets: €12 (concessions €10).
Date: 4th March. Venue: Everyman Palace Theatre. Info: The renowned five-times Grammy nominee and one-time Grammy winner Nanci Griffith performs live, supported on the night by The Kennedys. Tickets: €38.50
Date: 19th April. Venue: Cork Opera House. Info: The renowned five-times Grammy nominee and one-time Grammy winner Nanci Griffith performs live, supported on the night by The Kennedys. Tickets: €38.50
Date: 20th to 25th February. Venue: Everyman Palace Theatre. Info: “What happens when the citizens of a small town – bar one tardy and disaffected drop-out – begin transforming one by one into a herd of rampaging pachyderms?” Unpredictable and bleakly funny, the Blue Raincoat Theatre Company returns to the Everyman following previous successes (The Bald Soprano, The Third Policeman). Tickets: Students €7 (Monday to Wednesday) or €25 (concessions €20).
Date: 28th February to 3rd March. Venue: Everyman Palace Theatre. Info: Most will recognise the title from the 2008 film starring Meryl Streep, but this is the original Pulitzer Prize winning play. Sister Aloysius suspects Father Flynn of improper relations with one of the male students, but as the play progresses her suspicion is questioned. Doubt: A Parable is a gripping and powerful drama which guarantees to captivate audiences. Tickets: Students €7 (Tuesday and Wednesday) or €25 (concessions €20).
Girls Night: The Musical
Date: 5th to 10th March. Venue: Everyman Palace Theatre. Info: Following its successes in the UK and the US, Girls Night boasts a mixture of popular songs from the 80s and 90s. When five friends go on a karaoke night out they “re-live their past, celebrate their present, and look to the future.” Starring Lorraine Keane, Hilday Fay, Sorcha Furlong, Sharon Sexton and West End star Jacintha Whyte. Tickets: Monday €20, Tuesday to Saturday €25.
The Descendants Fergal Carroll critiques The Descendants, starring George Clooney
Based on the book of the same name by Kaui Hart Hemmings, The Descendants tells the gloomy story of Matt King’s life and family as he deals with his wife’s passing. After a motorboat accident leaves his wife Elizabeth in a coma she will never wake from, Matt is forced to assume control of the difficult situation faced by him and his two young daughters. As the metaphorical ‘back-up’ parent, he has to deal with his controlling his daughters, managing the sale of his family’s historical land and learning that his wife isn’t the woman he thought she was. As Mike tells us in the opening monologue, life isn’t a holiday even if you live in a stunning paradise like Hawaii, which really is the central theme of the movie. The turmoil in Mike’s life is surrounded by the beautiful Hawaiian landscape. His life is turned upside-down as he discovers that his wife was having an affair and he sets out to find her lover. The mix of anger, sadness and mourning make for some superb scenes during the movie, the later scenes in particular. Clooney was certainly the star of the show. It’s one of his career’s best performances, up there with his roles in 2009’s Up in the Air and 2007’s Michael Clayton. He already has a Golden Globe in the bag for it, and is the current favourite to win Best Actor in February’s Academy Awards. He brings a realness to the role that few actors could: the amount of disconnect Matt experiences with his daughters, the anger he feels towards his wife’s cheating, and the mourning he goes through all help make Matt a character we understand and can relate to. The emotion he brings to the character is something that really sets Clooney apart in this role. The supporting cast all aided Clooney delightfully (bar one) but it was Nick Krause as the ‘cool dude’ surfer, Sid, that really stood out. At times the film was in trouble of being drowned in a sea of depression, but Krause was there to lighten the mood through as his own stupidity and loose tongue gets him into trouble. And as the movie goes on he becomes much more than the comedic relief. Child actress Amara Miller, who made her debut playing Matt’s youngest daughter Scottie, was the one black spot on the acting card. Her dialogue seemed rushed and unnatural, but she had one scene in particular later on that made up for it. Throughout the movie we are indulged in native Hawaiian music. It ties in nicely with the Hawaiian backdrop and helps give the whole thing a very natural feel. At times the music might have seemed clichéd but it worked. It seemed to me that there wasn’t a scene that didn’t have some music playing, which really is a credit to director Alexander Payne. What was going on onscreen was so riveting that when the music was missing I hardly noticed. The whole package has been beautifully constructed by Payne. From the gorgeous Hawaiian background, being indulged in native Hawaiian music and to wonderful performances by the whole cast, it’s the highlight of Payne’s career so far. It has already received high praise, winning Best Motion Picture (Drama) at the Golden Globes in January and it’s in the running for all the main categories in the Oscars. And while the Oscars might have a snobbish quality to them, The Descendants undoubtedly deserves the recognition it has received so far. Image credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures. Rating:
War Horse Louise Creedon reviews Spielberg’s latest film
“It’s just a silly, testosterone fuelled movie with a horse thrown in for good measure”. If, like me, you saw the trailer for War Horse and said this to yourself, you might want to reconsider. Far from the typical men-who-are-friends-decide-to-join-the-army-and-have-a-terrible-experiencethen-there-is-an-epic-battle-and-one-of-them-dies-type war film that we have become used to, War Horse manages to avoid falling into this generic trap. Instead we are presented with an account of the brutality of World War One through the eyes of a horse. Set on the eve of the war, the story begins when a temperamental thoroughbred horse is bought on a whim by poor tenant farmer Ted Narracott (Peter Mullan), much to the annoyance of his wife, Rose (Emily Watson). Their son, Albert (Jeremy Irvine) is very taken with the young horse (naming him Joey) and decides to train him to pull the ploughing machine. After a series of failed attempts, Albert and Joey defy everybody’s expectations and mange to successfully plough a stony field, which the family use to plant turnips in. However, the crop fails, and having no other way to pay his overdue rent, Ted decides to sell Joey to Captain Nicholls (Tom Hiddleston), a young cavalry officer, as World War One breaks out. Albert confronts the officer and tries to enlist in the army, but he is too young. So Joey’s adventure begins, and Nicholls is the first of many people that Joey touches as he traverses one of the most horrifying human events in history. Directed by none other than Stephen Spielberg, War Horse is a far cry from E.T., Schindler’s List and War of the Worlds, yet it still has enough in it to capture the attention of the audience. It is well shot, with sweeping views of the both English and French country sides. We are shown the brutality of No Man’s Land yet not enough to make us forget about Joey and his predicament – a wise move on Spielberg’s part I feel. Also, despite the fact that the story takes place over a span of four years, never at any time does the film feel ‘choppy.’ One sequence blends effortlessly into another, creating a seamless picture for the audience. The casting was extremely well done, with the horses being equally as impressive as the human actors! Joey exudes a tremendous amount of personality (especially seeing as he was actually played by fourteen different horses), providing interesting and believable reactions to the various scenarios thrown at him. Spielberg quite tactfully makes use of the horses to great effect – whether it’s to show the majesty and beauty of the animal or to portray the horror that befell working animals in the early days of mechanized war machines. So, if you are willing to invest in another rich and evocative Spielberg historical drama, definitely make it War Horse. There is no doubt in my mind that it will prove to be one of the most compelling films of 2012. Image credit: Touchstone Pictures. Rating:
Born To Die Kevin Long listens to Lana Del Rey’s recently-released album Few artists create such frenzy prior to the launch of a major-label debut album quite like Lana Del Rey. The release of her single Video Games in October of last year spawned a surge of interest into discovering more about the American songstress. Lana Del Rey (real name Elizabeth “Lizzie” Grant) hails from Lake Placid in New York and is daughter to millionaire domain investor Rob Grant. Born To Die is not the first foray into music by Del Rey, who had previously released a digital album under her actual name. The album failed to gain her commercial success and was later removed after a two month stint on iTunes. Success seemed unattainable for Lana Del Rey and then by lucky chance (or perhaps a clever marketing stunt) Video Games began to chart in several countries worldwide and catapulted the young artist into the mainstream, and public opinion immediately polarized towards Lana Del Rey. Some consider her music unique and her image reminiscent of the culture of the bygone days of classic Hollywood while others dismiss her as shallow hipster garbage with little artistic integrity. As fascinating as Lana Del Rey’s background, as well as people’s interpretations of her, is, the more important thing to examine is the music itself. Video Games is a rather welcome break from the contrived club-pop music that dominated the charts in 2011, and acts as a template for the rest of the songs on Born To Die. Del Rey and her producers have established a wholly consistent album of moody, atmospheric songs (Del Rey has branded her genre of music as “Hollywood sadcore”) about love and wealth. Formulaic it may be, but if it ain’t broke, why fix it? Lana Del Rey is fixated with the idealised ‘rebel without a cause’ bad boy types whom she broods and pouts over in her music. ‘Off to the Races’, one of the standout tracks on the record, showcases this to best effect. It fully resonates her psychosexual nature towards her “old man” who loves her with “every beat of his cocaine heart”. It is rare that a song passes without mention of money or other such material commodities. ‘National Anthem’ is perhaps the most materialistic of the songs on display in Born To Die: “Take me to the Hamptons, Bugatti Veyron.” The song romanticises the extravagance and wealth to which Del Rey desires her lover to lavish her with. The themes of the music are certainly interesting but it is Lana Del Rey’s voice that is the most compelling factor to the album. It is utterly distinct, ranging from low, sombre tones to girlish, bratty shrills. She purrs with sexual confidence the lyrics of one song before switching to a voice of fragility and neediness in the next. Her vocal deliverance of ‘Radio’ is heartbreakingly powerful. The album is not without its flaws. The consistency of orchestration makes it hard to fully differentiate between some songs and Del Rey’s constant fixation with all things material can become quite jarring. Still, Born To Die is an impressive major label debut from an intriguing artist full of promise. It certainly won’t be to everyone’s taste, but for those who fell in love with Video Games, the album is an essential purchase. Image credit: Interscope, Polydor, Stranger. Rating:
Laura Palmer reads Stephen King’s bestselling novel, 11.22.63
Stephen King has been a household name for many years due to his complex horror/science fiction novels, and King’s newest novel certainly does not lack complexity. What can be more complex than the paradoxical theory of time travel? Fans of the Time Travellers Wife will be attracted to this strange tale of love, morality and history. 11.22.63 is quite something, an exciting, intelligent if overtly long book that expresses all of King’s powers as a writer. 11.22.63 follows the story of Jake Epping, a schoolteacher from Maine, U.S.A., as he is summoned by the owner of a local diner named Al’s that has become popular for its speciality burgers at 1950’s prices. When owner Al falls mortally ill, he imparts his biggest secret to Jake before he dies: Al has a portal in his pantry that leads to 1958. As it turns out, cancer has interrupted Al during a five-year mission to prevent JFK’s death, a task that Jake later becomes obsessed with himself. 11.22.63 is (surprisingly) the first time-travel novel the famed author has written. The detailed descriptions of everyday life in the era of JFK reflect King’s relentless efforts in researching the historical events of the time. What makes this book so endearing is the researched nature of (most of) the historical facts of this story. Specific emphasis is placed on JFK, Lee Harvey Oswald and the key events leading to the President’s assassination. While it is obvious that King is much more interested in the history of the era than he is in the science of how his character got to 1958, the very presence of time travel as a plot device is a step in the right direction for a genre that has been lacking of late. Although the science of time-travel is mysterious in this novel, King does put effort into contemplating the inevitable paradoxes of this genre. Special emphasis has been placed on the “Butterfly Effect” (pardon the Kutcher reference) which plays a critical role in the novel’s plot. King grapples with the mind boggling idea (among others) that preventing the murder of JFK could prevent the Vietnam War and countless other American blunders. For me, the first 250 pages of 11.22.63 form my only criticism of this work. While the opening of the novel creates a suspenseful and occasionally horrific mini-novel in itself that will delight fans of the classic King novels of old, it seems like a rewriting of an older King novel, which for me resulted in transforming my impression of clowns forever. King transports the main character to a town where a clown has been dismembering children; the prevailing tone is one of terror and suspense which has many similarities to the 1986 novel It. Despite the 700 or so pages which make up this book, it is a suspenseful page turner that raises serious questions about morality. Minus the It rewrite of the first few chapters, King’s 11.22.63 is a gripping novel that will please any science fiction fan. Image credit: Hodder & Stoughton. Rating:
Meine Tochter nimmermehr Kellie Morrissey reviews Opera Theatre Company’s touring production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute
Opera Theatre Company’s touring production of Mozart’s final opera, The Magic Flute, played to a full house for one night in Cork’s Everyman Theatre on January 31st. The most frequently performed opera in the world, it was actually conceived as somewhat of a hybrid in its 1791 inception; a singspiel, the opera comprises of both spoken elements and sung-through portions. The Magic Flute was written as an opera for the lower classes, and even in 2012 it retains that vaguely pantomimish feeling, with its fantastic characters, evil villains, jaunty melodies (the glockenspiel is always fun) and delightful props. It tells the story of Tamino and Papageno, a prince and a birdcatcher, who must rescue Pamina, the daughter of a sorceress, the evil Queen of the Night, from a priest, Sarastro, who is keeping her captive – presumably to keep her safe. OTC’s production, with Anniliese Miskimmon at the helm, is somewhat stripped down from traditional productions: clever costuming sets the piece somewhere in the early 1900s. Sarastro and his brotherhood are not costumed as priests but as university professors and academics, replete with tweed, pipes and tumblers of whiskey, while the Queen of the Night and her handmaidens, initially dressed as vestal virgins, in the second act wear sashes and suffragette costumes. This dichotomy of men vs. women, present in the Masonic symbolism of the original production, comes to a height in the final scene, where the ladies unroll a “Votes for Women” banner and spar with the Brotherhood before the lights go down. The performances in this production are the indubitable highlights; Owen Gilhooly as Papageno is sublime, and I found myself waiting impatiently for all of his scenes. His comic timing, strong voice and impressive stature and presence combine to steal each scene he’s in, and his “Pa-pa-pa” duet with Papagena (excellently doubled by one of the Three Ladies) in the penultimate scene is definitely one of the most joyful moments of the entire opera. Matthew Trevino’s deep bass is both exquisite and foreboding on Sarastro’s lower notes, while Lawrence Thackeray as Monostatos is affable and bumbling more than he is reprehensible, to great effect. Adrian Dwyer and Emma Morwood, Tamino and Pamina, are also excellent, with Morwood particularly enjoyable. Alison Bell as the Queen of the Night was also impressive, but seemed to be rushed and uncomfortable throughout her colatura in the second, most famous aria (“Hell’s vengeance”) – perhaps a fault of the stripped-down orchestra, but it made for a disappointment where the highlight of the opera usually rests. On the whole, I was unsure of the updating; it was clever and thorough, and the costumes were delightful, but the dispensing with the usual ending of the opera left a sense of incompletion. The Queen of the Night’s Emmeline Pankhurst-style outfit in the second act also seemed to diminish the urgency of her scenes and lent an unfortunate and unintended comic note. Sung in English, I think the hard edge of German was missed in some of the more jaunty melodies and in some of the more emotive arias, but the clarity it lent in the crowded, small Everyman was definitely worth it. The set design warrants mention; stripped down and bare, it is utilised fully by each scene, with innovative lighting and projections bringing each scene to life. I’m not a fan of the needless utilisation of kids in theatre, and while the trio of child spirits were very good and quite entertaining, the younger children used in staging of Pamina and Tamino’s final trials, while raising isolated chuckles from the audience, ultimately detracted from the scene. Slight criticisms aside, it is, as the trailer promises, a night of magic populated with exciting performances, soaring music and excellent design. Nearing the end of its 4 month run, I would urge you to see Opera Theatre Company’s The Magic Flute before it closes. Visit opera.ie for the complete touring schedule, and visit facebook.com/OperaTheatreCompany to keep up with the latest productions. Image credits: Kip Carroll. Rating:
A Fistful of Lint Features Editor Cathal Brennan gives his two cents on student poverty Whoever said that money can’t buy you happiness was one of either two things: on drugs or talking bollocks. An argument could be made that one might precipitate the other, but that’s a different issue; the only thing worth commenting on right now is that I’m broke. Horribly, excruciatingly broke. Back-breakingly broke one might say, like Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal were in that film about the two broke cowboys living on that mountain. Or at least I think that’s what the movie was about, I can’t say I ever saw it myself. I would check out the plot synopsis on IMDB, but I recently sold my laptop to pay for a month’s supply of baked beans. As a result, I am currently writing the manuscript of this article with a quill and some papyrus. Nobody wants to be poor in college. Maintaining a diet based on Koka noodles and pancakes is not good for you, breaking the leg off of a chair and using it as firewood is not a viable alternative to paying your gas bill, and having to pay for a pint entirely with five cent coins is not so much humbling as it is embarrassing.
The risk of being privy to financial hardship is everywhere, and can manifest itself in multiple forms as soon as you walk out your front door. This is the primary reason behind my increased vigilance when entering the proto-authoritarian state that is the Boole Library; if they gave me an on-the-spot fine of €5 for coughing too loudly at this moment in time, I could only give them the entirety of my life savings: precisely 92c and a nodge of lint from my back pocket. I would no doubt be thrown into the dungeon in Q – 1, shackled alongside some other poor soul who played “Roxanne” in the Reading Room without realising that her earphones weren’t properly plugged into her laptop.
“It’s possible to try and budget your expenses to an extent, but life tends to get in the way. An ordinary week can sometimes turn into a nightmare that disembowels the remnants of your maintenance grant”
It’s blatantly obvious that money can make you happy. If financial institutions were to shut down tomorrow and the flow of money came to a halt, then there would be no effective governance, social welfare system, education, etc. The only two alternatives to money are pretty regressive; either we could all depopulate Cork City, squat on a patch of land in the countryside and return to a skills/sustenance-based barter system, or we could all turn into hunter gatherers and scavenge the Mad Max style wasteland that the country would probably become. Furthermore, a halt to the flow of money would disable trade, and would thusly make it difficult for people to easily acquire the day-to-day essentials, such as coffee, tobacco and alcohol. In conclusion, everything wouldn’t really work without money. When I say everything, I also include myself in that bracket; I’m going to go hibernate until some money materialises, someone remind the deputy features editor to wake me up in a few days.
It’s possible to try and budget your expenses to an extent, but life tends to get in the way. An ordinary week can sometimes turn into a nightmare that disembowels the remnants of your maintenance grant before you’ve even done your weekly shopping. I had a particularly bad week during last term that went as follows: Monday; lecturer tells me to buy new course material - €20. Tuesday; phone falls out of my pocket outside of the Orb, gets trampled on by a herd of caffeinedeficient students on their way to Coffee Dock - €25 to buy a brick of a phone to tide me over. Wednesday; the straps of my rucksack rip because of the weighty tome that I had to buy on Monday – another €30 to replace it. Thursday; day spent hibernating underneath my quilt in a last ditch effort to not spend the €5 and something cent that’s left in my bank account. And Friday: spending that money on a pint to cope with the poverty-derived depression.
This month’s section is the most eclectic yet. I interview Dr. David Butler, a UCC lecturer and Worshipful Master of the First Lodge of Ireland, the oldest branch of the clandestine international organisation known as the Freemasons; Maeve Clayton talks about the rise of Roller Derby and the Cork City Firebirds; Kevin Williams joins a group of ghost hunters in their investigation of an old asylum formerly run by the Magdalene Sisters; and deputy features editor Athos Tsiopani expresses his desire to win a student media award for the wrong reasons entirely. All financial contributions to The Cathal Brennan “Spare me a Tenner” Foundation can be sent to Motley Magazine, 54 College Road, Cork. Alternatively, you can send on your bank account details to: email@example.com
Illustration by Jack Gibson Lucey
The Other Award “Colour Writer of the Year” is an award given at the National Student Media Awards for the best writer of satirical or humorous articles. Deputy Features Editor Athos Tsiopani is putting himself forward for the award, but for all the wrong reasons...
This article was actually borne out of a Motley editorial meeting, which is a strange thing considering that most of our meetings are spent sitting around and taking the piss out of the Current Affairs lads. But at this particular meeting, a little while after Jerry was red in the face but only a few moments before Cathal, the Features editor, and I stopped laughing, we discussed a mainstay of the ambitious journalist-to-be’s yearly schedule: the National Student Media Awards, which are, as their website claims, our “equivalent of the Oscars”. As a deputy editor and satire writer, I was content to sit back and let the bigwigs do the talking; until I was informed that I was eligible to get an award. I almost dropped my coffee. Which award? Best editor? Best looking editor? Do they have an award for that? I finally settled down after an onslaught of questions, such was the pinnacle of my excitement. One might note that to this day, I have yet to drop my coffee. ‘Best Colour Writer of the Year’ was what I was told. I was dumb-founded; I hadn’t even guessed that such an award existed. But, yes oh yes, after all of these years of blending in with the crowd, I was finally to be recognised for my colour. Being part Greek-Cypriot, my skin is a walnut-coloured hue displaying a Mediterranean ethnicity which quietly disguises the fact that I am still Caucasian. As a friend of mine put it, I am “a rather nice shade of light brown.” Another friend jokingly called me ‘Cinnamon’ after I told him I was up for the award, perhaps to suggest that I am sweet in moderation, yet spicy in abundance. While I have always gotten recognition from my friends, it was not until I moved to Cork to attend UCC that I began to get attention from random people in the street, expressing their appreciation. However, strangely enough, they seem to miss my most apparent quality, that of my skin tone, and concentrate on other dazzling parts of my personality. One random guy recognised my physique by shouting “Cassius Clay” at me one day. Imagine being likened to the former heavy-weight boxing champion of the world! My confidence was boosted for the rest of the week. Another man I passed in the street started saying “tick tock tick tock” as I walked by, perhaps to insinuate that because I’m such a classy fella, I should always carry a pocket watch around with me. I don’t at the moment, but I’m beginning to think that I should! “Go back to Pakistan!” is another example, though said by someone clearly confused. Go back to Pakistan? But sir, I could not possibly go to Pakistan, the only things there that would make me stand out are the facts that I don’t know any of the local languages, nor am I Muslim, Hindu, Sheikh, or any of their religions. My skin tone would just blend in and I wouldn’t be recognised for my colour difference, which is no fun at all. Besides, I’d have to go to Pakistan for a first time before I can go back there. And then there was the CLASSIC “get off our streets ni**er”, shouted at me from a car window when I was 17. I’m not entirely sure what the woman shouting it meant, but she was clearly an amateur comedienne; the comment had me rolling in hysterics. That was funny. Very, very funny. So incredibly funny that I laughed a little and rushed home as quickly as I could. Fucking hilarious. So I feel that I have a good chance to win the Colour Writer of the Year award. Having received so much recognition from my adoring public for other qualities of mine, it’ll be nice to get the skin-tone set in stone. Though I hope to God that none of my competitors are wearing fake tan, I just can’t compete with orange. And if there are any Smurf candidates from Dublin, then I’ll just have to pack up and leave Ireland altogether…and never come back.
The Freemasons of Cork City
Features Editor Cathal Brennan talks to Dr David Butler, UCC lecturer and Provincial Grand Librarian and Archivist of the Freemasons of Munster.
Linking Grand Parade to South Main Street, Tuckey Street is one of the smaller side streets in Cork City Centre. Despite being home to a particularly nice bar, the street is not an especially notable part of the city. It mainly serves to ease inner city congestion, as taxi drivers nightly hover down the street with a haggle of revellers in tow, fresh out of the bastion of the drunken post-nightclub refuge that is Hillbillies. On one end of the street lies a non-descript, blue and yellow building that is in need of a fresh lick of paint. Situated across from the St. Vincent de Paul centre, it is a large building that most would not even notice. The only peculiarity about the premises is a faded, bronze medallion that is bolted to its front wall, just to the right of the entrance. This small piece of metal is the only external indication that this building is the provincial headquarters of the Freemasons in Munster. The Freemasons is an international organisation that is over 400 years old. It is based on the traditions and structure of the old trade guilds of the Middle Ages, using the symbolism of stonemasonry as an allegory through which the members strive towards self improvement. It is a secretive association that has been a subject of contention for many a conspiracy theorist throughout the years. Fifteen Presidents of the United States have been members of the organisation; even Silvio Berlusconi was a member, until he was kicked out of the organisation in the late 1970s for “unbecoming conduct.” It was even parodied by The Simpsons, in the episode where Homer joins a clandestine organisation known as the Stonecutters. There are 35’000 members in Ireland (400 based in Cork City and county), ten times that amount in the UK and several million in the United States. The oldest branch of Freemasons, known as a ‘Lodge’, is Scottish and has records going as far back as 1599. The oldest Irish lodges are in Munster, being introduced via the maritime trade with Bristol, most likely during the sixteenth or early seventeenth century. The ground floor of the provincial headquarters on Tuckey Street doubles as a supper room and museum. The wooden floor is emblazoned with the square and compass, the symbol that is synonymous with the organisation worldwide; even the cups, saucers and cutlery of the kitchen bear the Freemason’s mark. The walls are covered in newspaper clippings, hand-embroidered aprons, and several grand examples of the ceremonial tools of the organisation; an example of one of these tools includes a massive 150 year old spirit level which hangs from a wall to the left hand side of the room. It was in the laying of the foundation stone of St. Patrick’s Bridge and St. Finnbarr’s Cathedral in 1895 and 1865 respectively.
The square, compass, spirit level and plummet are all tools of the ancient stonemason which are used as an allegorical and symbolic aid within the Freemasons. “The tradition of wearing an apron goes back to the ancient trade guilds”, explained Dr. David Butler, UCC lecturer and member of the First Lodge of Ireland, pointing to a 200 year old apron displayed upon the wall. “Stonemasons would have worn an apron to protect their clothes while working on stone. In the Freemasons however, you’re working on your own morals, your own education, your own being.”
Dr. Butler lectures in Geography UCC and History in UL. At the time of the interview in early December, his position in the First Lodge of Ireland was Senior Warden; he has since risen to the rank of Worshipful Master and is effectively the chairperson of the Lodge, while simultaneously holding the position of Provincial Grand Librarian and Archivist for the Munster Freemasons. He also acts as curator of the museum exhibits, and tours various historical and heritage societies around the building by appointment. His own introduction to the building is of interest, in that a friend took him on a tour of this building back in 2003. “A friend took me on a tour of this building once back in 2003. About a year and a half later, we visited again to the coffee morning that’s hosted every Friday. I liked the history of the organisation, and got to know people through the coffee morning, who mostly all retired people and students. The rest, as they say, is history.” After a few months, David became a member. After a year in the organisation, he became the Provincial Archivist and Librarian of the organisation. Contrary to popular belief, one does not have to be invited before joining; he simply applied. “From the outside in, people think that you must be in a certain family to become a member, or that you must be invited to join. This isn’t true.” There are three re-
quirements to applying: the applicant must be male, over 21 and faithful to a higher being. “This doesn’t necessarily have to be the Christianity; members can be Jewish, Hindu, Ba’hai, anything as long as they have a faith, that they have a charitable outlook and that they’re a good upright person without a prison record which is ten miles long.” There are no women members in Irish lodges, although there are women-only and mixed lodges overseas. The influence of the old stonemasonry tradition is vital to the workings of Freemasonry. “The whole tradition of the Freemasons comes from stonemasonry. Stonemasons had their own secret language, which was very important for them in getting work”, explained David. “For example, if you were a stonemason from Youghal in the 1300s and you wanted to get work in Galway, you’d turn up and report to the foreman. As you and the foreman wouldn’t be able to read or write, you would have to get it across that you were of an appropriate level of expertise and that you weren’t a fraud before being allowed to work. He would say something in a certain way, and you would reply back in kind; also, he might say something that would seem like a throwaway remark to someone in the wider community, but something that a qualified master stonemason would pay attention to and pick up on. Freemasons don’t have a secret language, but there are little things that were taken from the stonemason tradition that we use here and there. They can be used as a mode of confirmation as to whether someone else is a freemason or not.” “A lot of people have the wrong perception of us”, said John McCully, a member of the organisation since January 1952 and has just celebrated 60 years of membership. He was a treasurer of the Harmony Lodge 555 for 7 years, and a secretary for 17 years after that. He has been running the aforementioned coffee morning every Friday since 1994. We discussed the charitable aspect of the Freemasons: “Charity is a big thing in Freemasonry, looking after your fellow man. Whereas some people would say that we just look after our own, in actual fact we look after several charities.” About every five years, the Grand Master in Dublin runs what is known as the Grand Master’s Festival of Charity, where every lodge in Ireland must organise some function or fundraiser for a charity of his choice. The funds raised during the most recent festival in 2008 amounted to €680,000, which was made available to various charities. “People have the wrong idea about the organisation.”
For more information, visit The Province of Munster Freemasons at http://www.munsterfreemason.com/ Image Credit: Julia Healy
As previously mentioned, the exterior of the building is quite drab and bland. The ground floor, while hosting a myriad of historically and aesthetically engaging artefacts, portraits and otherwise, is not what could be described as visually striking. This trend, however, changes as one ascends the original 1770s staircase to the upper floors. The main meeting room of the Lodge, situated on the first floor, is nothing less than spectacular. A large room measuring 30 ft in width and 50 ft in length with a ceiling over 20 foot high, it is packed with ancient memorabilia of significance not only to the Freemasons, but to the wider Cork area. The red handmade carpet is laden with the square and compass motif, while the seats to the right and left of the room are actually the stalls taken from the original 18th century St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral before it was demolished in the 1860s. Over the chair of the Worshipful Master at the top of the room is a canopy – the same one that was used over the Bishop’s throne in the old St. Finn Barre’s Cathedral. Both the stalls and canopy date back to 1690-1730. In the middle of the room lies a handmade carpet akin to the pattern and colour of a chessboard, upon which members swear oaths of allegiance as they take the various degrees of membership. All four sides of the room are adorned with armorial banners bearing family coats of arms, which rise to the height of the ceiling. Just inside the entrance lies the chair of the Inner Guard, who sits during the meeting with a drawn sword. If a member arrives to the meeting late, they have to give a password to the Inner Guard to get in - as is their tradition. “You have to do things properly!” David remarked.
and all three of the principal officers– the Excellent King, the High Priest and the Chief Scribe – are seated at the top of the room, not scattered on different sides like the meeting room downstairs.” Also, the symbolic tools of the Royal Arch Chapter are not the square, compass, level and plummet, but are instead the pick, shovel and crowbar. “The joke in Freemasonry is that you’re quarrying harder for your morals up here rather than downstairs!” Looking upon the venerable exterior of the headquarters, it seems unlikely that such historical and cultural merit lay inside. It is well worth dropping in for half an hour to gain an insight into one of the lesser known aspects of Cork’s history. Every the year the building opens its doors to the public during the Choral Festival in May, Cork Heritage Week in August and on Cork Culture Night in September, while hosting regular coffee mornings every Friday from 10.30am to noon . Think about that the next time you walk down Tuckey Street on your way home, with a Hillbillie’s snack box and someone else’s coat under your arm. For more information, visit The Province of Munster Freemasons at http://www.munsterfreemason.com/ Image Credit: Julia Healy
POETRY CORNER UPON THE STEPS OF TRAFALGAR SQUARE Fountains nearby. Shoots water upwards, Sunlight trickles strangely down. People crowd around, Something eternal in a changing world. Water dances to a natural beat As faces come and go.
There are several complimentary branches within The Masonic Order. Once a Freemason, it is possible to apply to or be invited to particular “add-on” groups such as Royal Arch Masonry (which has its own dedicated chapter room on the third floor), Knight Masonry, Knights Templar, the Masonic Knights of Malta, and Prince Rose Croix (whose members have their family coats of arms displayed in the first floor meeting room).
Never the same one twice. As words are exchanged, All in different tongue with the same message: We are one people Small, unimportant and still so wonderful, Standing in the same place
The Royal Arch Chapter Room on the top floor is similarly impressive to the first floor meeting room. It is modelled on King Solomon’s temple, has a 16 ft high shipboard ceiling and is draped with red cloth and carpet. It has a slightly different symbolism compared to that of an ordinary Freemason Lodge. “The colour is predominantly red,
For just one moment in time.
By Peter Neville
Speak Up: A Guide to Public Speaking Laura Kennedy writes about the pressures of public speaking and how to overcome pre-speech anxiety. As a self-proclaimed chatterbox, I generally have no problem with talking about anything to anyone. If they have ears and are misfortunate enough to have asked me a question then they will inevitably get my answer (and quite possibly the answers to questions they didn’t ask) in an anecdotal soliloquy that could go on and on. It’s not that I’m an insufferable bore who loves the sound of my own voice - I just love to talk. Well, to say that I love to have conversations would be more accurate. There’s nothing like a good catch up or gossip amongst friends, or even a heated debate (in which I am invariably right). To communicate is an important aspect of what makes us human, as we are social animals. However, chatting to someone over a pint about who scored with whom on a Saturday night is one thing. Standing up on stage in front of real people to do presentation or speech is quite another, and one that renders me speechless at the sheer horror of the idea. Such was the case last week when I had to do a PowerPoint presentation in front of a large group of my fellow English MA students and lecturers. Not only that, but it was a new form of PowerPoint presentation called Pecha-Kucha, in which you have 6 minutes and 40 seconds to present your topic using 20 slides that change every 20 seconds. It sounds easy enough and six minutes isn’t even that long – about the same length of time to get from the Old Bar to the New Bar I reckon - but the thought of having to stand up in front of a group of people that I don’t know made me feel physically sick with nerves, my heart racing at the prospect. Who knew I was such a wimp! This is a girl who has bungee-jumped from a crane, travelled around the world and drank many a dodgy concoction of spirits courtesy of my friend’s parents’ drinks cupboard on teenage disco nights without batting an eyelid! So why did speaking in front of a group of peers for six minutes turn me into a nervous wreck? Unsurprisingly, I am not alone in this fear. Many adults have an inherent fear of public speaking; the thought of having to do it can turn an otherwise calm, collected person into a stuttering, nervous wreck. I think certain sports personalities are perfect examples of this: gifted, successful athletes can play under the scrutiny of thousands of fans and make it look effortless. However, many become inarticulate and awkward the minute a microphone is put in front of them. Why are we so afraid of being heard? Well, you will be glad to hear that it is a genuine fear. Fear of public speaking, or glossaphobia, is one of the most commonly reported social fears. If you suffer from this phobia you join an elite set of A-listers who also claim to be glossaphobic, like Bruce Willis (who is now married to a Victoria’s Secret model so lads take note: it didn’t stop him!) and Julia Roberts, who both overcame their fears to lead successful movie careers. And it can be overcome. Much research has been done and there are many experts who provide coaching and training to people who want to work on their presentation abilities. In fact, the business of providing group and individual coaching is a lucrative one with companies, politicians and even ordinary individuals (for example, someone who is preparing to give a best man’s speech) investing in training to help them deal with the dreaded task. One such expert is Dr. Max Atkinson. He came to prominence as a result of a television experiment which saw him train a complete novice to public speaking to address a political conference and receive a standing ovation. However he had been an expert in this field for many years before this. While he appreciates that public speaking is a real fear, almost all of us will have to do it at least once in our lives. He says: “Good speeches are memorable, and to that end, the more rhetoric the better.” He advocates the use of the “list of three” and quotes Abraham Lincoln’s speech as a good example of this (“Government of the people, by the people, for the
people”). This technique packs a punch but is also memorable. Another useful technique for a memorable speech is the use of imagery. “Imagery requires the use of skilful similes…Martin Luther King was a master of simile,” says Dr. Atkinson. And on tackling the nerves? “Moving around helps to drain the adrenalin; stops the build up of physical tension.” And of course – practice. “The words are not enough. The best public speakers practice their delivery.” Strangely enough, he doesn’t mention anything about picturing your audience in their underwear. And thank God for that - you can never be too sure who might be sitting in the crowd! So there you have it. With a few tricks and plenty of practice, you can and will be a public speaking pro. And if you do decide to picture your listeners in their undies, just make sure they changed them first. Good luck!
10 Tips for Public Speaking 1. Know your material. Pick a topic you are interested in. Know more about it than you include in your speech. Use humour, personal stories and conversational language - that way you won’t forget what to say. 2. Practice, Practice, Practice! Rehearse out loud with all the equipment you plan on using. Revise as necessary. Work to control filler word, such as “ah” or “um”. 3. Know the audience. Greet some of the audience members as they arrive. It’s easier to speak to a group of friends than to strangers. 4. Know the room. Arrive early, walk around the speaking area and practice using the microphone and any visual aids. 5. Relax. Begin by addressing the audience. It buys you time and calms your nerves. Pause, smile and count to three before saying anything. (“One one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand. Pause. Begin.) Transform nervous energy into enthusiasm. 6. Visualize yourself giving your speech. Imagine yourself speaking, your voice loud, clear and confident. Visualize the audience clapping – it will boost your confidence. 7. Realize that people want you to succeed. Audiences want you to be interesting, stimulating, informative and entertaining. They’re rooting for you. 8. Don’t apologize for nervousness. Don’t worry about appearing nervous or making a mistake – the audience probably wouldn’t notice it. 9. Concentrate on the message – not the medium. Focus your attention away from your own anxieties and concentrate on your message and your audience. 10. Gain experience. Your speech should represent you — as an authority and as a person. Experience builds confidence, which is the key to effective speaking. Acknowledgements: Toastmasters.org, Lend me your Ears by Max Atkinson, Random House
Image Credit: kensavage.com
Mein Kampus When voting in this year’s Students’ Union elections, make the right choice and vote Noel Dillon-Daly For UCCSU President ‘12/’13 Hello. My name is Noel Dillon-Daly. I am a critically-acclaimed, sexually active genius. While I may be a nobleman of some esteem, I can identify with the common man. Last week, I climbed the Galtee Mountains and was touched by the hand of God. He smiled and handed down to me a tablet with only one commandment carved upon it - “Win!” Therefore, my people, it should come as no surprise that I am running for Students’ Union President. So without further adieu, I give you “My Manifesto”. 1. Money, Money, Money It has recently come to my attention that the money raised during R&G Week is given to charity. Upon hearing this, I couldn’t help but get violently sick all over the rosy-cheeked, emaciated face of my child servant. Instead of this so-called “Raise and Give Week”, I will implement “Raise and Take Week” - or RAT Week, if you will. All the money raised will be spent on my new office, which will overlook the college campus from on high. This will allow me to inspect the comings and goings of all the little students as they hurriedly scamper to their respective lectures. 2. A change of words Nothing says new beginnings like a good ol’ change of words. “The Student Centre” is a very boring, matter-of-fact name. When I ascend to my rightful role as UCCSU President, its name shall be changed to “Noeltown”. That has a delightful awe-inspiring ring to it. Not only that, but when finished with a customer, all clerks and bar staff will be legally obliged to say “Noel be with you”. Also, the university credo of ”Where Finbarr taught, let Munster learn” has become quite trite. No, we need something else. I propose “Where Daly leads, let Munster follow”. And you will follow. I will be your God, standing atop the ORB, my sword unsheathed, ready to lead you into battle. Oh, I shall rule with an iron fist! 3. Fresher’s packs Fresher’s packs have become pathetic - supplying little 18-year-olds with condoms and lubricant and such like. It’s filthy behaviour like this that makes the Students’ Union look like that sex-obsessed uncle who offers to take you to a GAA match in return for keeping your mouth shut. No, there shall be no condoms in the Fresher’s packs handed out during my regime. Why? Because when I’m President there will be no accidents. Instead I shall fill every Fresher’s pack with a photograph of a dole queue with the accompanying caption: “This is where you’re going.” 4. The Library The library has become very busy of late. Therefore, I will be forced to only allow men into the library between the hours of 11am and 2am. Ladies, ye can pop in before eleven to pick up a copy of Rachel Allen’s latest cookery book if ye haven’t already bought it, or whatever. Furthermore, the so called “fines” imposed on students in the library are laughable. A dramatic increase is needed! If anyone so much as whispers, they will be dragged outside and murdered in front of their peers. Tempt me. I dare you.
5. My Finals Solution I address this part of my manifesto to final year students only. Every year some cheeky, “fun-loving” Student President-wannabe comes along with promises of backrubs and drink concessions. You already know this. As final year students, you have the right to vote for next year’s President – even though you won’t be here. If you vote for me, you will be shutting the door behind you and keeping younger, future competitors away from the job market. How? Because when I am King, there will be no graduating. The gates will be locked and I will slowly but surely establish a new state comprised of hipster idiots who will do my bidding and bow before their leader. You will have sealed your fate with a #1 Vote for Noel DillonDaly. Conclusion To finish off what will no doubt become a manifesto of legend, I would like to say one more thing. Voting for Noel DillonDaly is voting for a candidate with a difference. What separates me from the other candidates you ask? Unlike the other candidates, I am completely 100% against sex with animals. The other candidates would have you believe that sex with animals is a good thing. Not me. Remember, a #1 Vote for Noel Dillon-Daly is a vote for Greatness. A vote for anyone else is a vote for sex with animals. I look forward to being your President. I look forward to being your God. Vote Daly #1. Image credit: Julia Healy
Paranormal Activity Kevin Williams, Deputy Features Editor Athos Tsiopani and Photo Editor Julia Healy accompanied the Cork Paranormal Investigations team to the remains of the Good Shepherd Convent on the outskirts of Cork City
This is the kind of building that horror movies are set in. From a distance the mansion-sized convent looks almost intact, one can see the red brick formation but not the caved-in roofs nor the boarded-up windows that are so apparent from up close. The interior is even further dilapidated; burnt and derelict, the building echoes the lifestyle of those that lived there: empty and destroyed. The ground is covered in litter: empty bottles, cigarette butts, newpapers and old condom packets, as well as the torn-down remains of radiators, pipes, bricks, wood and ash. The pockmarked holes in the walls are accompanied by graffiti and other forms of vandalism that extend onto the ceilings and floors of each room. It was freezing cold: our breath would have been visible if it wasn’t so dark. We spent three hours in there looking for ghosts.
smacked him across the head. The head torch that he was wearing got thrown off of him, despite the fact that it was strapped on tight.” The team uses a broad range of equipment in the course of their work, such as digital and video cameras, motion sensors, digital thermometers, infrared torches, a digital video recording system and Dictaphones for capturing instances of EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena; the hearing of unexplainable voices during playback of a recording). All of this gear was put to use on the night that Motley accompanied the CPI on their investigation of the Good Shepherd Convent, Sunday’s Well. Before the site became rundown and derelict, it doubled as a branch of the Magadelene Laundries.
Cork Paranormal Investigations was founded by Jacqui Horgan in 2006. A small organisation consisting of seven investigators, the aim of the group is to collect and catalogue instances of supernatural phenomena in order to prove the existence of an afterlife. The team carries out “call-ins” to various locations around the wider Cork area where there has been a history of supposedly paranormal occurrences. “I’ve been interested in the paranormal since I was about fifteen”, said Jacqui. “I got into it through watching films, reading novels, that sort of thing. The history of Cork City and the surrounding area played a big part in getting me interested as well. There was no team in Cork at the time, so I said I’d get a team together and see how we would get on.”
The Magdelene Laundries were a source of much cruelty in many countries like Ireland, England, Canada, the United States and several other European countries throughout the late 19th and 20th centuries. The institutions were established as asylums for ‘fallen’ women, ie those of a promiscuous nature, and were run by the Magdelene Sisters, convents of nuns. Many of the inmates were admitted against their will for such ‘sins’ as prostitution, having children out of wedlock or simply being mentally ill. There were even some cases of women who were admitted for being too pretty; for being a source of temptation on the male members of their community.
The CPI has been very active in carrying out investigations since its inception, having visited reputedly haunted castles in Leap, Charleville and Blarney, St. Kevin’s Asylum in Cork City and Colaiste Isagain in the Gaeltacht of Ballyvourney. Their visit to the latter location was eventful, as Jacqui vividly recalls. “We were on an investigation there about two years ago. There were four of us there. Three of us watched as a shadow approached one of our team, before a force
The Magdelene Laundries were socially acceptable in England and Ireland for almost one and a half centuries, in part because of the strict attitudes towards sex in the Catholic Church at the time, and also because very little of what occured inside of the asylums ever escaped to the outside world. Very few inmates ever left the institutions, many took up vows and many died from the incredibly poor living conditions in the convents. It has been reported that hundreds of women and children in the care of the Magdelenes were abused physically, sexually and emotionally during their time there. These figures came to light in the early nineties, when a Laundry in Dublin sold part of its convent to a real-estate developer. It was soon realised that the bodies of over 150 people were buried in un-marked graves outside of the property and many were exhumed and cremated to be buried in a mass grave in Glasnevin Cemetary, Dublin. This sparked an international scandal that led to an enquirey into the atrocities that took place within the institutes. After several women testified to the poor conditions and abuse they had received under the ‘care’ of the Magdalene sisters, a national investigation took place which resulted in the closing of many of the Magdelene Laundries world-wide, including the Good Shepherd Convent, based in Cork.
It started in what might have been a dormitory on the first floor. The room was marked at either end with arches, its floor cluttered in places with broken ceramic sinks. Cameras with infra-red lights were readied and the group was instructed to dark out - to turn off all torches. Slowly and patiently, one member of the group at a time, they would call out to whatever it was they felt might inhabit the darkness. Appeals were made to children (the women who had been violently erased from Irish society) and to mothers (the sisters who did not so much overlook the violence as oversee it). From the corner of my eye I caught something at one point, as did therest of the team. A slight air of excitement occured as the teamannounced our contact. I’m not sure what I saw and I feel no need to explain it. Athos concluded that the event was caused by lightbouncing off of a white ceramic tile, paired with a slight breeze.Julia speculated that it may have been a rat. The apparition was unfortunately not caught on camera. When it came to be my turn to call out, it was not embarrassment that I felt, but gravity. Calling out to spirits entails a vulnerability that does not sit well with me. Inviting a child, at times Little Nellie herself, to tell me how it felt to live in such a place, I felt completely calm and, somehow, transparent - almost as though I had become a ghost myself. Listening to my voice move through the space, the only answers I heard were the echoes of my words filling the corners of the hall and decaying into silence. I can’t say that I encountered anything that filled me with a desperation to explain it. Did I expect to see something that would keep me up at night? No. Did I want to? Yes.
The Good Shepherd Convent was established in 1872, and primarily worked as an orphanage and a Laundry. The convent is actually the setting for the 2002 film ‘The Magdelene Sisters’, that dramatized the events and treatment of the inmates there during the 1960s. The Good Shepherd closed in the late 70s and by the early 90s it had been sold to an external developer. However, a serious fire destroyed a large part of the building and the rest has remained derelict since 2003. One particularly famous inmate was ‘Little Nellie’ who died during her stay there. She apparently ‘longed’ to receive Holy Communion and influenced Pope St. Pius X to change the age of Communion from 12 to 7. Nellie died at the age of 5 in 1908 from tuberculosis. She was one of the figures we were hoping to see during our own stay there as we investigated the Convent with the Cork Parnormal Investigations group on the 3rd of February this year. The Cork Paranormal Investigation team had explored the Convent a number of times before and claimed that it rarely disappointed. They explained to Athos, Julia and I that most of the activity they had come across had centered around a large hall on the ground floor, as well as the adjoining corridor. While we were to explore many of the asylum’s rooms, our night’s search would culminate on the ground floor hall.
Image Credit: Julia Healy
Heels on Wheels: Cork City Firebirds
Maeve Clayton talks to Cork’s first competitive Roller Derby team, the Cork City Firebirds
Created initially in 1920s America before fizzling out in popularity by the early 1970s, Roller Derby experienced a revival in Austin, Texas at the beginning of the last decade and has grown exponentially since. Popularised by the 2009 film Whip it, which starred Drew Barrymore and Ellen Page, it has evolved from its humble beginnings to become one of the fastest growing full-contact, (largely) all-female sports in existence today. This highly physical sport is “girl-power” in a form quite unlike that of the 1990’s “Spice World” many of us grew up with. Its widespread appeal has led to roller derby leagues popping up on every continent, culminating with the very first Roller Derby World Cup held last December in Toronto, Canada. 13 countries were in attendance, including Ireland, whose relatively inexperienced team boasted an impressive scoring record aided by members from Cork’s own Roller Derby team, the “Cork City Firebirds”, a team established in June 2011 by the founding members of “Rebel County Rollers,” its non-competitive predecessor.
Roller Derby “Bouts” are held on flat-track circuits by skaters decked out in quad skates and full protective gear, including helmets, elbow, knee and wrist pads. Both teams have five players apiece, 4 blockers and 1 jammer who skate around the track simultaneously. The jammer must lap the other team’s blockers on the track in order to score, but as their name would suggest, the blockers are hell-bent on stopping this from happening. This is where the full- contact nature of the sport comes into play and the necessity for all the padding becomes clear. The aim of the game is for both teams to score as many points as possible over the two 30 minute periods which are divided into 2 minute “jam” sessions. But, as with any sport, brute force will only get you so far, entertaining as it may be to watch; shrewd, scheming strategic play is how bouts are really won.
As it is still a somewhat new sport, methods, tactics and strategies are constantly developing. Players and onlookers alike are permanently kept on their toes by the games constant, rapid maturation which results in it being not only extremely enjoyable for the competitors, but also a truly spectacular spectator sport as well. Just ask any of the 200+ attendees at Cork City Firebirds last bout against the Amsterdam Derby Dames. While there are longer established teams in Ireland such as those in Dublin, Limerick and Belfast, even more are popping up around the country. This indicates that the sport’s popularity is certainly growing, and the recent explosion of Roller Derby leagues across Europe has led to a much bigger pool of teams for the Firebirds to compete against. The Cork City Firebirds are constantly on the lookout for more players, so if you’re interested, why not get in contact with them and try it out for yourself. They hold frequent skate clinics to teach you the basics (over 18’s only) and no prior skating experience is required, just lots of enthusiasm and a positive attitude. They also require trainers, referees and other nonskating officials, so Gents, even though you seem to have been largely excluded from this sport until now, why not head along if you’re interested and get involved! Male leagues have recently started appearing in the U.S., with Canada, the U.K. and Australia hot on their (w)heels. So, maybe it’s time for Irish men to jump on the roller derby wagon too. If you want to check it out yourself, then head over the Cork City Firebirds are hosting the Glasgow Roller Girls B- team in the Little Island Sports Complex on the 4th of March. Besides, who wouldn’t want to see girls with self-given monikers such as “Crow Jane”, “Rush’N Barron” and “Demon Llama” kicking ass? For more information on the Cork City Firebird Roller Derby team, check out their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ corkcityfirebirds Image Credit: dublinrollergirls.com
Cork Firebirds vs Dublin Rollergirls
HE LOVES ME ~ HE LOVES ME NOT? Still waiting for Prince Charming? Don’t hold your breath, writes Colette Scariff-Lalor Red and pink hearts, over-priced restaurants, pretty bouquets, cheesy movies and cooing couples that would make even the hardest of stomachs succumb to nausea: yes, Valentine’s Day is upon us once more. Undoubtedly one of the most ludicrous and frivolous events on the calendar, the day can either be one of intense excitement and joy as you eagerly await what your other half will have planned for you, or a day of misery, disappointment and self-loathing as you wonder why you find yourself alone yet again, weeping with your girlfriends over Titanic whilst downing the chardonnay. If you find yourself in the latter category to some degree, don’t fear. You are not alone! Personally, Valentine’s Day has never exactly been a success for me…in fact, I can’t remember one Valentine’s Day that has ever been remotely romantic. Oddly, things seemed to have become worse during my college years. I am trying to debate which of the last three Valentines was the worst… was it first year when I half-jokingly sent a Valentine’s to the guy I liked in my class (only for him to freak out)? Or perhaps second year, when my on-again, off-again friend with benefits decided to cancel our cinema date one hour before? Or quite possibly last year when I was strolling through Paris surrounded by a ridiculous amount of couples with annoying sales-people shoving roses in my face? Nevertheless, one cannot help but wonder about the meaning of love, an emotion that gets one whole day devoted to it each year. There is no denying that love is the most important emotion in the world. It feels like the world is constantly obsessed with this indefinable notion; songs, movies, books, magazine articles, poetry, art and theatre all strive to shed some light upon possibly the most complex idea in the human psychology. Perhaps the problem with defining it is that there are simply so many different types of love. It is true to say that the word “love” is excessively overused. People declare their love for the latest movie, their new car, etc, and that is before we even look at all the different types of human love between children and parents, friends, our idols…the list goes on and on.
Alas, one can say that love is something different for everyone, dependent on the day, the season, the mood and the people involved. This is where the complications start. What exactly is this romantic love that people spend their lives pursuing? Is it sexual desire, passion, compatibility, fondness, friendship or complete and utter self-delusion?
The truth of the matter is that love is really just a glorious ideal instilled in us from such a young age that we are deluded into believing of its existence. Call me cynical but romantic love is just a creation like the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus to make our children believe in a bright future, to make them oblivious to the horrors of the real world. Eventually the child grows up but instead of being protected from the evil world, they are left unprepared, unguarded and ultimately disappointed when life fails to present them with the Prince Charming and the perfect Happy Ending they were promised. The result of this delusion is that they believe they are the ones to blame, that there is something wrong with them and thus begins the process of self-destruction that is love. This self-destruction usually starts in the teenage years when one is foolishly deluded into believing that the guy you met at the disco Saturday night is the man of your dreams and that behind his shaggy hair, clumsy dance moves and non-existent conversation there lies a Prince about to be unveiled. If you are lucky, this self-delusion will evaporate with the memory of that drunken night and leave you relatively unscathed. But there will always be those few who will continue the charade for a few weeks, ridiculously declaring to their awestruck friends that they have found “the one” before a few days later being reduced to the pitiful status of “single” on Facebook, wondering hopelessly where it all went wrong. If this self-delusion stopped here and became just a trait associated with adolescence, comparable to acne and growth spurts, then things would not be too worrying. This delusion, however, can continue on well into the twenties where people usually go through a series of failed relationships, each time left with a lower state of self-confidence, declaring how unlucky they are and losing more and more fate in the notion of love. Of course, the older one gets, the more complicated their situations become. One can no longer plead innocence and run home to their mother when things don’t work out and the stakes become inevitably higher as more things threaten to delude the individual. Love can quickly become a love of the idea of just being with someone, of not being alone, of not being the one who will be left on the shelf, forever single. For many this results in a loss of self-respect. I am not saying that some type of love does not exist. I have many friends who are in happy relationships but it works because they have learned not to idealise love, not to expect it to be wonderful and perfect and magical and all the things we have been taught to believe it to be. They lower their expectations and then love (or extreme compatibility/great fondness, as I prefer to call it!) is possible. The truth of the matter is that love is a riddle. Some people may never solve it, but for those special few realists, the world is a lot sweeter a place because they can see it for what it really is, bereft of any commercialised, sugar-coated icing. While the hyper-real love which is presented to us on a day-to-day basis may be lovely to look at, it will eventually succumb to some form of decay and match the fate of the numerous Valentine’s Day cards that will inevitably end up in the bin.
Science, Embodied: The Human Bodies Exhibition Ruth Lawlor writes about the Human Bodies Exhibition, currently taking place in the Ambassador Theatre, Dublin There is a world to be found within the self, a world beneath the skin that few of us ever discover. It can be a scary place, this realm of sinew and bone, but an interesting one too, a chance to cross that invisible barrier and experience the carnal like we never could have conceived. Rarely are we afforded the opportunity to go there, but when we are it is a spectacle we should not turn down. Recently it was announced that Dublin has been selected for the world debut of the Human Body Exhibition, a fascinating display of more than two hundred full and partially real human body specimens. With the skin stripped away once and for all - quite literally as well as metaphorically - this exhibition provides visitors with a real-life window into their very own being, a portal to bodily function and a door to the previously unexplored. The Human Body Exhibition does more than display for us our most weird and wonderful innards. It’s a useful education too, particularly for those interested in biology, anatomy or medicine. That’s not all, however: the exhibition aims to show its visitors how various lifestyles can affect our inner systems, a useful experience for anyone. There are both healthy and unhealthy specimens, which reveal the damage that can be done to the body by such things as smoking and obesity. If you ever needed a wake-up call, now is the time. “We are excited to bring this fascinating new exhibition to Dublin,” said Noel McHale of MCD Promotions. “The Human Body Exhibition delivers powerful messages on the importance of a healthy lifestyle and creates a unique and unforgettable experience for our residents and visitors.” The specimens featured in The Human Body Exhibition were donated in accordance with Chinese law to the Dalian Hoffen Biotechnique Laboratory which engages in research and the preservation of human bodies, which are then donated to medical schools and the general public for educational purposes. Using new techniques, human tissue is permanently preserved using liquid silicone rubber that is treated and hardened. The end result is a rubberized specimen, preserved to the cellular level, showcasing the complexity of the body’s many bones, muscles, nerves, blood vessels, and organs. The full-body specimens can take over a year to prepare. The Human Body Exhibition opened at the Ambassador Theatre on February 3 and will be available for a limited time. Student tickets are €16 and can be purchased from Ticketmaster.ie.
Image Credit: Catherine Dennehy to popular belief, Super Mario does not accurately demonstrate the effects Mushrooms don’t make you grow Contrary that mushrooms can have on the human When renowned psychologist Timothy Leary advised his generation to “turn on” by taking psychedelic drugs, he got it all wrong; “turning off” parts of the brain may be the real secret to expanding your mind, a new study of hallucinogenic mushrooms has found. The study involved 15 people who had previous experiences of taking hallucinogens. These ‘lucky’ volunteers were then injected with psilocybin which is the ingredient responsible for mind trips, found in mushrooms. The effect was immediate, peaking in just minutes and lasting for about an hour. Some described the experience as ‘dissolving’, while another said they were ‘kneeling at the foot of God’. Their brains were scanned before and after the trips. It was shown that there were decreases in the amount of blood flowing through parts of their brains. The reduction of brain activity was most pronounced in the thalamus, a part of the brain which is important with regards to perceptual processing and motor function. This reduction in action is not what would be expected. For years, people have thought that hallucinogens ‘turn-on’ brain activity. It was easy to presume that these kinds of drugs were actually stimulating other pathways in the brain. This stimulation was thought of as a likely explanation of the kaleidoscopic hallucinations often experienced by users of magic mushrooms. So what is going on? Psilocybin may be suppressing core regions that help to coordinate and control the brain; this suppression may result in deep, philosophical thought patterns. It fits with how Aldous Huxley described the effects of mescaline - a hallucinogen that, in his words, flung wide the “doors of perception.”
body. Natasha Tarr informs us of the hallucinogenic effects of mushrooms
Decreased activity in certain parts of the brain may allow for a more unconstrained conscious experience, lifting the ‘filters that are at play in terms of limiting our perception of reality’ according to Matthew Johnson, an experimental psychologist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Scientists believe that the highly interconnected brain that we all have is essential for maintaining a person’s sense of self. So by turning off some of these networks, researchers hope that it may be possible to treat certain psychological conditions by opening the brain to new ways of thinking. Several studies have shown that psilocybin can change people’s attitudes for the better and may be useful for treating depression, a condition linked to too much activity in the normal network pathways of the brain. “Chemically switching off might have very profound beneficial effects,” said Professor Nutt of Imperial College London, who suspects that psilocybin could also be useful for treating obsessive-compulsive disorder. “It may help people completely locked into a mindset that drives their lives.” I have to add though that using psychedelic drugs is dangerous. Many people argue that taking mushrooms is safer than any of the other hallucinogens, and while that may be the case, it is important to remember that altering your perception of reality can have lasting effects, e.g. persisting anxiety, psychological disturbances or even ‘posttraumatic stress disorder’. For more articles of a scientifical nature, check out Natasha’s blog at suupedupscience.blogspot.com Image Credit: teamlando.deviantart.com
Love, Relationships & other Socio-Economic Variables Do you find relationships to be more confusing than Quantum Physics? Everything you need to know lies in the field of microeconomics, writes Lisa Ryan
As the poem “Bloody Men” by Wendy Cope states, men are like buses. None for ages, and then three come along at once. This also applies to women – when you’re single and looking, it’s almost as the entire world thinks that you’re invisible. Yet when you get into a relationship, you appear attractive to those who had not previously noticed you. This is not just coincidence; in fact, it can be explained by simple MicroEconomics.
The single woman or man is not particularly perceived as cool in social standing. Although they may be pleasing to us, aesthetically and otherwise, the puzzle as to why they are more attractive when they are in a relationship is down to social opinion. The act of being in a relationship tends to be associated with giving someone else utility – and this is what draws in other people. It is much like if a friend of yours tells you that a certain film is great - they are enticing you to see it. If you see someone else gaining utility from being in a relationship with someone, this is more likely to entice you towards them. If Person A and Person B are in a relationship, it is reasonable to say that they both find each other to be attractive. If Person A is good-looking, as defined by social convention, then it is reasonable to say that others of the same sex would then take Person A’s opinion of finding Person B to be attractive as valid. It is a reasonable assumption that Person A would have the choice of more than one suitor if attractive. Person A has obviously weighed up the opportunity cost of being in a relationship with Person B, and has decided that they will gain more utility in this relationship than in one with any other potential suitor. As consumers, we are also risk-averse. We do not wish to make the wrong decision, and in the absence of perfect information, we rely on the opinions of others to make the right choice. When we see the lovely Person A enjoying their time with Person B, we see this as a fairly risk-free option (apart from the fact that Person B is probably enjoying their time with the lovely Person A also), and so our attraction towards both of them grows.
In Robert Frank’s book “The Economic Naturalist”, he states that the reasoning for this “sudden” new attraction stems from the opinions of others. This can be explained even more simply if you equate the experience of being in a relationship to the experience of seeing a movie, or consuming something else which must be experienced to give the consumer an opinion. A relationship can be defined as an experience good. As with all experience goods, the take-up is influenced by the opinions of others, particularly those whom we view as our peers. All consumption must be seen in a social context, especially if the consumers in question are between the age of 12 and 25. If we see people that we respect (and wish to gain the respect of) showing an interest in something or someone, we are likely to let their opinion bias our own, resulting in us wanting to experience what they have. In the case of relationships, this is no different. Our utility from doing a certain thing will increase if this is perceived as cool in social standing, thus making us happier.
In short, there is a reason that you’ve suddenly become attracted to the guy you see outside the Main Rest everyday in the last two weeks: he just started going out with that attractive brunette that you (whether you know it or not) think is cool, and want to gain the respect and admiration of. Sadly, it’s unlikely you will get either if you keep pursuing her boyfriend. Image Credit: depositphotos.com, livemint.com
A Little Bit of What You Fancy! Photo Editor Julia Healy visits the Cameron Macaroonry in the English Market. Gwen Perroud and her husband Regis have been running the stall in the English Market in Cork city centre for a few months, baking their delicious confections in West Cork. Gwen is passionate about food - she trained as a chef in France and then spent some time learning the art of making the perfect macaroon from a friend before bringing her expertise to Cork.
Take a peek around the fountain in the heart of the English Market, and you’ll see a new stall in town selling only macaroons. The macaroon, or macaron, is a delicious French confection consisting of rich chocolate truffle-like ganache sandwiched between two meringue-like almondflour biscuits. These tasty, chewy bites are amazing with coffee or as a dessert. Macaroons became popular in France during the 1800s, with different areas of France claiming that their version of the treat was the best. With a recent surge in the popularity of macaroons in Japan and Korea, once you taste Cameron Macaroonry’s delicacies, it’s easy to see why macaroons are still popular.
Making a change from your usual biscuit or shop-bought stodgy cake, Gwen says business was great coming up to Christmas. “People love buying macaroons for a dinner party - they make a change from your usual cake which ends up sitting in the fridge uneaten.” There is no fear of her macaroons lying uneaten - they’re made fresh with the best ingredients, with a variety of flavours such as Baileys, coconut, raspberry, lavender, praline and caramel. At €1 each, they make for both the perfect gift and the ideal occasional treat. Yum!
We are the 1% Ashamed of your inflated bank account? Embarrassed that you’re not living up to the “broke student” stereotype? It’s time to cast off your shackles and flash your cash, writes Mae McSweeney
“Stu-dent” – noun Scholar, learner: one who attends school “Rich” – adj Having abundant possessions of particular material wealth Now that we’ve defined these terms, let’s put them together to form the phrase “rich students”. Say it with me: Rich. Students. “What apocrypha is this! Who could fathom such a heinous oxymoron?”, I hear some of you protest. “Surely the writer is proposing a logical fallacy, a contradiction in terms, akin to let’s say, ‘married bachelor’, or ‘Engineering Society committee member’”. Nay, my friends; the rich student is alive and flourishing. So come and join me in that venerable Irish tradition of speculating on the wealth of others. As a general rule, unabashed displays of financial flashiness are more than welcome during the Boom time, but alas, recessionary splurging is never going to endear you to you friends and co-workers. This is true for students, perhaps even more so, as some degree of poverty is expected to accompany the college experience. Prowling Cork’s off-licenses for that elusive lessthan-a-fiver naggin, dining on crackers and beans, and fully resenting having to pay 8 cents for printing out your essay (“Bastards, what do they even do with the second copy like?”); these experiences are the common denominators, the self-pitying glue that binds students together. Solidarity lies in the knowledge that you’re not the only one who hasn’t turned the heating on in over a week.
In such a climate, is it any wonder that the wealthier among us want to “pass” as poor? Those Hollister sweatpants? – “Oh yeah, got them in a discount store in Philadelphia during my J1, they’re like, 2 seasons old”. Hmmm. What about that fancy looking ring on your index finger? “Oh this? This is my nan’s, she left it to me in her will.” Whoah, ok, family heirloom, fair enough. But wait...hold on a second... is that salad I see you paying for in the Main Rest? “Oh...this....yes, well....I’m allergic to...chips?” There are many benefits associated with befriending these elusive trust fund babies. For example, as part of their voluntary entourage, they might let you wear their last-season cast-offs to that club which happens to be owned by their Dad. Now you’re heading up in the world; with a rich BBF in tow you’ve always got a nicely heated crib to crash at, complete with wellstocked fridge and an abundance of quilted toilet paper in the ensuite bathroom. And should the day ever arise when they threaten to cut you off from the luxurious perks you’ve been enjoying as their friend, you can totally blackmail them! If they’re applying for the dole after graduation, that is. But, let’s be serious here for a moment, shall we? I’d like to take a chance to address the 1%. Yes I mean you, cowering in your monogrammed Snuggie. Don’t be afraid. For far too long now you’ve had to hide your Mac make-up brushes, your Hugo Boss cologne, from scurrilous hoodlum housemates. You’ve awoken of a morning to find every last can of Diet Coke in your cupboard vanished, never to be replaced. You’re expected to attend every ball, buy every class hoodie, contribute champagne to every game of “Kings” – why? Because you can afford it. My friends, I urge you to rise forth and break free from the shackles of this horrible financial security! “Overdraft”, “store loyalty card”, “Lloyd Grossman Pasta Sauces” – it’s time to reclaim these wonderful terms. They’re not dirty words – they’re your words. Bourgeois is beautiful. Privilege is perfection. Upper class is class. You who were born with a silver spoon in your mouth –- pick up that spoon. Take a look at your distorted reflection and flash that orthodontic smile to yourself. You are the 1%. Hey – even if being rich is wrong, do you really want to be poor? Image Credit: chartstats.com
Hello Spring As we say goodbye winter and hello to (we can only hope) sunnier days, we should also be getting ready to embrace the Spring collections that have fashion editors in frenzy. From the return of the 80’s mule, to the pastel colour comeback and the pretty prints return, and an ongoing list of trends that’s ensure every one will find there own style this spring, it’s set to be the hottest season yet. And I don’t mean the weather. This season on the catwalk the hottest trend comeback – The Mega Mule. If the word ‘Mule’ conjures up images of dreaded outdated 80’s fashion – think again. It’s the 80’s with an Oh-So-Fashionable twist. Featured in the catwalk shows of every notable designer this season from Gucci to Louis Vuitton to Miu Miu, adorning them with gold beading (Oscar De la Renta), Bold stripes (Gucci) and everything from red velvet to black satin to bright coloured leather (Miu Miu). This is one shoe trend you’ll be dying to slip your feet into once you’ve conquered your 80’s fear, and its one that will have you feeling fabulous. If Gucci and Louis Vuitton are slightly out of your price range (we are students after all) then check out this trend on the high street at some slightly more student friendly prices. Asos online has a huge range of sling-backs to suit everyone’s style and price range, and River Island stocks some of the most on trend Mules of the season - Pastels, Prints and Metallic’s – Hello Fabulous! River Island
While it may seem a bit overdone and obvious florals are back for spring 2012 – in a big way. This season though it’s not all about the pattern it’s about the texture, colour and finish – From printed to beaded, velvet to sheer, and every colour of the rainbow, it’s a wildly mixed bunch t choose from. Christopher Kane’s runway show featured nothing but multi-coloured florals and in a modern take on the trend his models wore nothing but sheer dresses covered in flowery stickers, while Alexander Wang and Valentino took on the neutral flower – prefect for those who prefer to steer clear of the intense colours. Got some old dresses hanging out in your
closet? Channel one of this seasons hottest (and purse strings friendly) trend – beading. Grab some bright beads and get sowing and you’ll be ready to rock this trend. Stitching skills not quite up to the task? Take a trip to Topshop and you’ll be consumed by all things floral. Rock out their killer ‘Daffodil Summer Shirtdress’ for an amazing 40 euro and you’ll be feeling brighter before you know it.
Christopher Kane Always thought wearing pyjamas outside of the confines of your own four walls was a little (or a LOT) weird? Well think again. While no one and I repeat - NO ONE - should try donning this trend in their pink bunny-clad fluffy pj’s, the Pyjama party trend looks like its hear to stay. And what’s not to like? Stylish PJ pants and dressing gown jackets? Comfortable AND fashionable? Hello Heaven! Unsure how to wear this trend? Check out Stella McCartney’s runway show and you’ll be under the spell too. This trend channels an elegant glamour as an alternative for the boring old jeans and jacket combo. River Island is doing some great, affordable jackets at the moment and H&M and New Look are stocking some great slouch jackets – its all about the mix and match. (And the 20% student discount.) Just one thing – Don’t forget to swap those slippers for some killer heels.
FASHION Now to colour schemes. While winter was all about the deep, burnt reds and oranges, the mustard yellows and intense shades of green, blues ad greys, its now time for a change. The Spring/Summer collections are focused on the Pastel. Candy coloured pinks, baby blues, sunshine yellows and crisp clean whites – It’s a girly girl’s paradise. Don’t go too far though and opt for the strong sickly version of these colours, keep them pale and iced for a modern, this season take on the trend. This latest craze was presented by the best of the best in every and all catwalks this season – Louis Vuitton, Miu Miu, Tommy Hilfiger, Givenchy, Marc Jacobs, and the list goes on. Nearly every high street store is stocking this trend but to get the most out of your money, and your seasonal styles, opt for lace collars, dropped waist lines or puffed out skirts. For all those handbag fanatics out there (like myself), prepare to get excited. This season we don’t care about the size of your handbag, or even the shape, this Spring its all about the print as we welcome bag the exotic skins - circa 2008 and colour – bold, beautiful colour. Feel like making an investment and purchasing a bag that will be the perfect accessory to every outfit your own? Take a leaf out of Roberto Cavalli’s book and go for neutral skins such as a brown snakeskin mixed with monochrome colour blocking and you’ll be on trend for seasons to come. Or feel like making a statement? Adopt Gucci’s and Ellie Saab’s fashion forward thinking and get yourself a chain-handled, bright, acid coloured exotic skin bag and have heads turning wherever you go.
So there you go. A sensational season awaits. And whether you personal style is bold and bright or subtle and elegant your bound to find your perfect trend in this season’s mix. And remember - If in doubt, consult the Fashion Gods – Vogue.
Roc(oco)-ing into Spring
By Senita Appiakorang
The fashion frenzy of fashion weeks have more or less come to a close and the verdicts have been drawn and set in stone. This Spring / Summer is the fashion season of froufrou and flirtatiousness á la the French 18th century bourgeois art movement, we collectively recognise as Rococo. And what more perfect occasion to get into the spirit of sorbet dreams and lush wildflower garden prints, as now, as Valentine’s Day dawns upon us and the days draw out into sweet dusky evening’s ideal for lolloping and lazing. Across the board and brands we’ve seen a multitude of styles to wear that will tickle all your fancies from the return of 90’s sporty chic, to the influx of pastels reworked this year into candy floss hews and textures flushing through in most evening dresses from Marc Jacobs to Elie Saab. Metallic’s have persevered through last winter and have been reworked in juxtaposition with another Spring / Summer staple of floral print attire tribal print. Indeed ladies, the fashion palette is vast and full of all the playful elements of a Rococo style painting with its romanticism, bursts of loud colour and suggestions of frolicking in gardens as was custom during Bealtaine.
With all these tantalizing forces amalgamating this season, inducing some serious squeals and drools on my part for the want of every single fad, their colours, prints and textures beckoning...screaming if you, will for us to own them, possess them and bask in their fruit-tooty glory, I find no need for further persuasion or explanation. The masters have spoken and we can’t but surrender to their craftsmanship. But for those of us who seldom get a chance to get our desirables from last season in the sales, never mind the fresh off-the-catwalk rack of teasing attire, all’s not lost as a way to spruce one’s look for the emerging season lies in our hands as we treat our faces with as much creativity as one would a blank canvas. It’s due time we step out of the sultry shimmers, matte and smoke of last season’s 70’s Studio54 look and explore lighter tones of foundation, pastel primary coloured eye shadows and get intimate with primers and moisturisers for healthier flushed skin. Say hello to PEACH blusher- capitals can’t emphasise how key this subtle (and I really mean subtle) touch has been and will be for S/S ’12, straight from catwalk to sidewalk, creamed with loosely slick ponytails, twists and buns for that romantic (h)air of breezy, sweet and easy perfection. The overall impact: a display of seemingly natural mother- nature sweeping through the meadows wistfulness and youth, with a touch of mischief. Getting back to base-ics: This year has started off fantastically in the line of beauty, with acclaimed brands: Chanel, Lancome and Yves Saint Laurent expanding their range of foundation, to accommodate the most porcelain of complexions to those rich coffee bean tones. What’s more, these three brands were one of the most used alongside MAC for the dewy, light finish that was championed on the catwalks throughout fashion week. Other foundations that were in the league of a more accessible price range was Maybelline’s 24hour Super Stay foundation which can be got at €13, and Kate Moss’ new range of foundation for Rimmel. Personally, having tried and tested Lancome, I can recommend it as a perfect second skin, surfacing lightly, lasting all day and whisking away the fallible truths of blemish days. Ways to achieve the dewy effect: a. moisturising ones skin prior to foundation application always helps, oil based moisturisers always aid the spread of foundation as well. b. Alternatively using your relevant face cream as base and tinting it with your foundation is another option for the effect, applying it all over your face and finishing with your make-up brush for a smooth finish. c. Easy tip to dewy skin is also applying foundation with your fingers, initially dabbing and then rubbing it in, in contouring motions.
Colouring your eyes: in the spirit of freshness and healthy living for that
much anticipated Summer skin why not wipe clean that slate of smoky or dark metallic make up for something zingier and playful as a medium thick line of baby blue liner or zesty lemon eye shadow...or nothing at all- using your primer as a shiny gloss over your eyes to suggest a bright alertness. Another sweet tip is use your newly purchased peach blush as a ting over the eyes for a Mediterranean glow.
CHEEKY cheeky: LADIES. Baby pinks and bronzes may have ruled our lives up to now but
this new wave of blush colour in the fun colour of Peach will take over your entire lives and you shan’t look back. It has the right amount of sexy and girly and somehow compliments every skin tone from creamy pales to olive and chocolate skin colours. To be accompanied by similar coral or peach lip tints or nude balmy lips.
Spring is in the (h)air: there has never been a more fitting moment than now to wake up, own that tangle and tie it up. FORREALWHAAAT?! (if you’ve seen New Girl, you’ll understand) Think baby hairs and slightly tussled chignons, beehives or plated intricate do’s much in the style as Ancient Grecian/ Roman women. All of this collaborated with the less is more make-up and climaxed with the brash boldness of prints and pastels will create a modern twist on the maiden’s a- maying in the green pastures look which is in keeping with the current trends. Opposing hair styles that have been show cased in fashion week draw from 90’s gelled back slicked ponytails, the ponytails untouched and back combed. Neon pinks, greens and yellows were a hit on the catwalks as well, possibly inspired by the ever changing hair colour of Nicki Minaj. A method of testing out what colour brings out the best in you is sampling any colour chalk to be got at any good art store, and is totally temporary! The choices are endless.
Go forth fellow maidens into Spring/ Summer 2kay12, displaying all the splendour and fresh ripeness of your youthful selves and reap the self indulgent make-up rewards owed to you after an entire month of scrounging and holding back on lust-lists during January. Be fruitful and shine.
Icons and Influencers The term style Icon is used frequently and often recklessly, facts aside below are a few men and women whose style I admire, be they fashion’s leading ladies or Hollywood’s leading men they know how to put a look together and get us talking about their personal style.
“You know, when I woke up this morning I had a realization about myself. I was always Blondie. People always called me Blondie, ever since I was a little kid. What I realized is that at some point I became Dirty Harry. I couldn’t be Blondie anymore, so I became Dirty Harry”. Harry’s style always seems to be juxtaposition between her Blondie and Dirty Harry personae however she is always punk, always sexy and there is nearly always some good “bad taste”.
Elsa Schiaparelli I could write this entire article on this lady and that’s not just because I wrote my dissertation on her last year. So please bear with me while I give you the need to know information about this surreal fashion designer. Schiaparelli is the original naughty girl and the queen of subliminal sex (see her infamous lobster dress) it may look pretty and demure but a fully cooked lobster covering a lady’s crotch brings a few connotations to mind. She was Coco Chanel’s arch enemy, while Chanel was embracing menswear inspired designs Schiaparelli favoured an over the top feminine silhouette that was quirky and playful. Oh and she also designed Zsa Zsa Gabor’s costumes for Moulin Rouge.
Julia is the editor of Wonderland magazine and a street style icon she mixes print, pattern and texture with an ease that is almost upsetting to watch. She is the epitome of confidence and poise and she like any great style icon makes you believe in what she is wearing. Her style is irrefutably modern and fun and she knows you know.
I love him and I have for quite some time now. His personal style has grown from a strict diet of black, white and red to a quirky mix of tailoring and vintage accessories, questionable facial hair aside he has developed an eccentric persona that is matched by his personal style choices. His fashion sense compliments his musical offerings very nicely.
I may be influenced by the fact I just watched Drive and Crazy Stupid love back to back but swoon. Gosling always offers us interesting but fashionable choices never one to simply wear a black tux he experiments with colour and print like no other male actor and off the red carpet he oozes effortless sex appeal.
Taylor Tomasi Hill, style and accessories Editor for US Marie Claire.
Emma Stone, actress and faux ginger
Susie Lau Fashion Blogger
Fashion and Sexuality… Tiarnan O Sullivan Fashion and sexuality have been interminably bound together by contemporary society. Cicero created the infamous philosophy that the eyes are the windows to the soul; I argue that someone’s wardrobe tells far more. What is most peculiar, however, is the unshakeable habit in modern culture of guessing someone’s sexuality based on their clothes. I am going to make an admission here, one that has obviously shaped the arguments in this article: I am gay. I also do not pretend to be an exception to the rule of judging others based on fashion; I will often dictate someone’s sexuality from afar based solely on their wardrobe choice. So yes, if I see a man wearing spray on skinny jeans, ankle boots, a loose off the shoulder top and hair loaded with 3 cans of crystal-hold hair spray, I will happily conclude that the hot girl walking beside him is more likely to be another accessory than a possible girlfriend. I am not here to judge those that judge, I am here merely to ask “why”? Cork has little tolerance for the appreciation of male fashion, anyone that displays it being labelled as gay, metrosexual or a favourite word in the city’s rhetoric, “fla-boy”. Admiration of a fellow man’s outfit appears only to be acceptable within and around the arena of the nightclub. The nightclub has become our generation’s church; large groups of people who know nothing of one another don their Sunday best and congregate in a set space to become part of something bigger than themselves, the DJ acts as a preacher who dictates the movements and sensibility of the crowd and fashion suddenly becomes something which can be discussed and celebrated amongst men. If a man carefully chooses an outfit outside of this arena, however, it is simply decided he is gay. I have been clubbing quite a lot recently, and the attitude change which occurs within men the second they step across the threshold of inebriation never ceases to fascinate me.
I believe this subversive homophobia is beginning to change as the high street becomes more adventurous than ever before. In 2008, Penney’s and other cheap chain stores began to stock buttoned tee’s, skinny jeans, boots, neon colours and many other “gay” items of clothing. This infiltrated the wardrobes of heterosexual and homosexual men alike, and the fashion line which once entirely separated the two has become blurred. In 2012 on the other hand, mesh, shoulder pads, glitter, rips, vibrant colour blocking and even knee high stockings have become the new trends of male fashion. A vogue for “gay” fashion has been adopted by the heterosexual population, particularly in the metropolitan hubs of Ireland, and it is now simply not feasible to judge a man’s sexuality by the clothes he has chosen to wear. Of course, we will all still do it, particularly in an environment such as a college campus. If we were to generalise, the heterosexual man can be spotted wearing a pair of grey sweat pants, a jersey of some sort, tattered white runners and a sports hoodie that cost more than most high label designer jackets. The homosexual man can be identified by an intricate haircut, a pair of Dubarry style shoes, slim fit jeans, a stylish jumper and tan leather jacket. I must procure, however, that these “rules” simply do not pertain to reality anymore; one of my closest gay male friends cares more about the growing hole in the ozone layer than he does his clothes, whilst one of my closest straight male friends recently gave me a ten minute drunken lecture on how he is the new face of Irish fashion. No solutions can be offered for these judgements of others as we are not sure if it’s even a problem. There is rarely malice in the voice of someone who believes another to be gay based on his clothes, merely a passive musing. All that we can be certain of is that times are swiftly changing; in the space of three years the male wardrobe has changed exponentially and the men of Ireland have to some extent begun to embrace fashion. Continental countries (and even Dublin city) may display the future of where male Irish fashion lies; style, sophistication and no correlation between wardrobe and sexuality. For now, we gay men may enjoy the tail end of an era where we can spot each other quite easily, before we succumb to a lifetime of confusion and sexual nuance.
Dress: Miss Daisy Blue â‚Ź86
Dress: Amity €111, clutch: Urban Outfitters stylists own, shoes: Pennys, €10
Dress: Mercury Goes Retrograde €30, shoes: stylists own, socks: Penneys 3 for €3.50
Dress: Turquoise Flamingo, €125, Shoes: Penneys, €13
Model: Kate Lineen Photos: Julia Healy Stylist: Aisling Fitzpatrick Stylist Assistants: Kiera Bergin and Sarah Commane Skirt: Mercury goes Retrograde, €11, Jumper: Warehouse €60, shoes: Penneys, €13
Hair: Origins Hair Academy
Motley Magazine 2012