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Curtain up! Light the lights! Behind the scenes, amidst the excitement of the first issue, Motley worked on some plans for its future – plans which now come to fruition. As you may have heard on the grapevine, Christmas (or, indeed, a special Halloween treat) is coming early to Motley this year, as we launch our new website, uccmotley.ie, on Monday the 22nd of October. Printed articles will appear on the website and, in addition, there will be content which will be unique to the site. It’s taken a while for this to become a reality, and I’m very excited about its launch. In addition to our new website, you may have heard that students can now participate in an awarded internship with us as part of the new UCC Works programme. Last month I mentioned the importance of ‘getting involved’, and speaking with writers old and new, the most common ‘regret’ I’ve heard is that they ‘should have got involved sooner’. This internship programme offers an added incentive, in particular from an ‘employability’ point of view: writing for Motley will develop your writing and editing skills, and, in addition to enjoying the work (we hope!), you’ll be awarded for it. Formal recognition is more than what most students have got in the past for their extra-curricular work in UCC, so avail of the opportunity while you can. Though Motley is growing, the issues must nevertheless continue to be printed, and so here we are with our second issue of the year. We’re back to our higher page count and more varied content – get in touch and let us know what you think of this issue! We’ll be keeping everyone updated via Facebook and Twitter as we count down the days to the launch of uccmotley.ie – don’t miss it! We’ll see you after the show. John Murphy
The Team Editor — email@example.com John Murphy Current Affairs — firstname.lastname@example.org Alan Conway (Editor) Orla Hubbard (Deputy Editor) Cathal Larkin (Deputy Editor) Entertainments — email@example.com Emma Mc Carthy (Editor) Eimear Hurley (Deputy Editor) Tamara Malone (Deputy Editor) Features — firstname.lastname@example.org Mae McSweeney (Editor) Senita Appiakorang (Deputy Editor) Peter Neville (Deputy Editor)
The Writers Daniel Boland Robert Bolton Cathal Brennan Aidan Coffey Mary Collins Sarah Commane Kate Dennison Luke Field Gavin Fitzgerald Sarah Glascott Katie Healy Martha Hegarty Shell Leonard
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5 Daithí Ó Sé reviews the American preisdential debate
Eimear Hurley speaks to Jamin O’Donovan, bassist of Cork band Fred.
Senita Appiakorang tells us why X-Factor may be more exploitation than entertainment.
Sarah Commane discusses the internationally renowned model and fashion icon, Tina Chow.
Mary Collins gives her impressions after watching Disney films for the first time.
Sarah Glascott is a little superstitious, are you?
Luke Field recalls the recent pro-choice march in Dublin, and brings us up to speed on both sides of the abortion debate in Ireland.
Fashion goes minimalistic.
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An Anglo-Irish Relationship Alan Conway looks at the political mechanisms preventing progress Recently we have seen An Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s visage gracing the cover of Time Magazine, the first Irish Premier since Seán Lemass, apparently. Another article, speaking of Irish recovery, congratulating Ireland on being a good buachaill – when in reality, economic growth of a level with serious effect, is still far over the horizon. This ‘pat on the back’ is something we’ve become far too accustomed to, and its head is raised in various media outlets regularly, when they have an agenda to peddle. The realm in which I wish to examine it now, is that of Anglo-Irish relations.
interference from the PSNI itself, as well as from political circles. The Office of the Police Ombudsman must remain above question; a powerful Ombudsman was central to the accepting of the PSNI by Nationalists in 2007 and it is a public confidence in the force that will enter decline if the Office is not seen to be free of such interference. A most worrying trend to emerge recently is for the British government to try and move past the War without addressing its legacy as illustrated above. It has refused an inquiry into the Ballymurphy Massacre as well as the murder of Human Rights Solicitor Pat Finucane. While it references the cost of the Bloody Sunday enquiry as a reason for not going ahead with any more, surely once Prime Minister David Cameron admitted and apologized for State Collusion in the incidents an enquiry should have been mandated for the sake of human dignity alone. This is in stark contrast to the Irish State which is continuing with a lengthy (Smithwick) Tribunal into Garda Collusion with the IRA into the killings of two RUC officers despite the fact that much of the ‘evidence’ cited in the setting up of the Tribunal has since been proven false, as reported in Phoenix Magazine.
If the media hype surrounding the visit of Elizabeth Windsor last year were to be believed; or perhaps when Rugby was allowed to be played in Croke Park; or maybe all those times we have paid out Billions in unsecured bonds… well, certain quarters must certainly believe that we are a very mature nation indeed. But as one matures one should have dealt with the issues of the past, otherwise they will invariably resurge at some time in the future, causing a squeak here or perhaps something a little louder there, depending on the significance of the issue at hand. I believe it is fair to say the legacy of the Civil War that gripped six counties of this island would be capable of a mighty uproar if dealt with in an inadequate fashion. This can be easily illustrated through the disaffection that youths can feel, leading to an expected ‘Summer Rioting Season’ or even with regards the questions put to Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness during the recent Irish Presidential Election.
The point could be made that while the Irish states actions are commendable, and the British deplorable, there is not a massive difference given that the main protagonist in the Irish sense, The Provisional Irish Republican Army, has not held any Public Enquires. However, this is to fly in the face of calls from Republicans for years now to hold a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the style of the Post-Apartheid South Africa.
The truth of the matter is that great steps have been taken to ensure a prosperous future for people, of all persuasions, on this island. We have seen great progress in recent years, culminating in the devolution of Policing from the Parliament at Westminster to the Assembly at Stormont. However, this progress is currently facing stiff challenges and opposition, which must be rebuffed at every turn.
Timely? Yes. Expensive? Yes. But it would allow the people of both these islands to find a permanent piece and allow the past to rest. It would further put an end to the ridiculous, on-going situation of the continued internment of Marian Price and Martin Corey – which the Southern State seems to have little interest in intervening in.
Firstly, what has been done correctly?
Maturity involves more than putting transgressions behind oneself, it takes the courage to point out to a new friend that their behavior is unacceptable. While talk of Irish State ‘maturing as a nation’ may be clichéd and premature, the British one is full only of half-apologies and references to its shameful past – until such a time comes as it is willing to be completely open, there should be no such ridiculous talk of ‘maturing as a nation’ – South or North of the Border.
The creation of the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) of the PSNI to investigate unsolved killings, with a broad historical remit. Their work has resulted in a number of successful prosecutions. However, in the last few months a report has emerged from the University of Ulster raising some worrying issues with regards Team. Dr Patricia Lundy commented, ‘There is no clear rationale for this less favourable differentiation in treatment… the evidence suggests [British] soldiers are given preferential treatment.’ This is a most worrying occurrence that must be addressed immediately to restore public confidence in the HET – further, given that the Teams funding is due to run out this year, with some third of their mandate unfulfilled, it would be a sad legacy to see the work that they have carried out tarnished.
Quote from Patricia Lundy courtesy of BBC.co.uk.
The Office of the Police Ombudsman is another role that, for a time, performed admirably. Nuala O’Loan did a magnificent job. Recently, however, reports have suggested that the office may have been too successful and as such it has been neutered somewhat. It has been suggested that there has been too much
Images: Degreezero of Wikipedia, Time Magazine, BBC.
ergraduates d n u d e t a ic d h oking for de lo is e site to enric b in e z a w g s a it M d y n e a Motl he magazine t o t e t ’s media! u C ib C r t U h it w to con perience students’ ex
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- A Reminder Of Coalition Arrogance Padraig Martin ponders the resignation that could lead to others.
Róisín Shortall’s recent resignation serves as another example of the sheer ignorance that is endemic within the leadership of the coalition. Every week in the Dáil, opposition leaders and spokespeople are shouted down by those residing on the Government benches. An Taoiseach Enda Kenny continually refuses to answer straightforward questions. When challenged by the leader of the opposition, Micheál Martin, the Taoiseach’s modus operandi has simply been to blame Fianna Fáil for leaving such a mess behind them. When Gerry Adams or Mary Lou McDonald question him, he usually mentions the Troubles, something about bank robbing, or the fact that Sinn Féin is implementing similar policies in Northern Ireland. All of these points might be valid, but it is simply unacceptable for Enda Kenny to continue carrying on in the manner which he has been since he took office. The electorate wants leadership from its politicians. The government need to start walking the walk. Fine Gael and Labour ran deeply cynical election campaigns in 2011 – they made promises that they were never going to be able to keep, and they knew it. The least we should expect now is for the Government to stand up and be honest about the decisions they are making, instead of taking pot-shots at the opposition.
The loss of another TD will not faze the Government in the slightest where the logistics of Dáil voting is concerned. But it has highlighted the inability of Fine Gael and Labour to manage their own affairs. The biggest loser in this latest debacle is perhaps the Tánaiste, Eamon Gilmore. Shortall’s withdrawal has badly undermined his leadership of the Labour party, and yet again serves us with a reminder of the cynical nature of his intentions.
Minister James Reilly TD, Minister of State Roisin Shortall TD and Minister Edwin Poots at the first North South conference on developing joint approaches to tackling alcohol misuse on the island of Ireland.
sat the ravaged carcass of Fianna Fáil, who in such a scenario would have had little choice but to support the Government, allowing Gilmore to pick up where he left off pre-election, slating the government at every turn whilst offering few or no solutions. Had he opted to go into opposition Deputy Gilmore could have attempted to build a real alternative to the status quo, instead his party is consistently hovering below both Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin in various opinion polls, and four of its TDs have opted to resign the party whip. Labour’s entry into government was perhaps an inevitable outcome given the age profile of the party’s senior representatives. The party is now set to continue in the same pattern it always has – i.e. do well when Fianna Fáil has a poor showing in an election, enter into coalition Government, and suffer electoral losses at the next outing. Ms Shorthall’s resignation has its roots in the way Eamon Gilmore mismanaged his ministerial appointments. Joan Burton was shunted into a position that Deputy Shortall had designs on, leaving the latter with the title Minister of State for Primary Care. For the first four months of her reign, she lacked the designated authority as minister to adequately carry out its functions. Over a year and a half into the government’s term, free primary care still isn’t even on the agenda. The result of this, as ever, will be that patients (the very people Labour claim to represent)will lose out. The electorate may be disappointed with Fine Gael, but we all had a fair idea of what to expect from the closest thing we have to a right wing party. Labour, on the other hand, claim to represent the ordinary working man, yet they have completely sold out the electorate in a cynical exchange for power. Róisín Shorthall was left with no alternative but to resign. It was the correct and moral action to take on her part, with the consequence being that her career is now stunted. She is the second Labour Junior Minister to resign from a ministerial position, and the fact that she also chose to leave the party is an indictment of the leadership. The qualities that would have made Shortall a genuinely reforming minister were the same qualities that led to her fall-outs with the abrupt, and politically inexperienced, James Reilly. It’s just a shame that more politicians don’t have the courage of their convictions and stand up for the people who chose them to represent their best interests. Images: breakingnews.ie, MerrionStreet.ie.
Gilmore, having led Labour to its greatest ever electoral result, would have been better served to lead Labour into opposition in March 2011. Had he done so, he would have been the leader of the opposition, and would have been up against a Fine Gael minority government. On the opposition benches alongside him would have
March for Choice 2012 Luke Field reflects on the Abortion debate in Ireland – how far it has come, and maybe, how far it has to go. On Saturday the 29th of September, approximately 2,500 people took to the streets of Dublin for the March for Choice, seeking to have Ireland’s abortion laws changed to allow women access to termination services in their own country of residence. The diversity of the marchers was truly striking; men and women of all shapes, sizes, and ages had turned out for a bright and cool Saturday afternoon. Some carried flags, banners, posters, signs; others pushed prams or led their children by the hand. Sharp suits walked besides young punks in fancy dress – a multitude of people from a multitude of backgrounds united together in purpose. The march was quite late setting off from the Spire on O’Connell Street; initial numbers appeared to be quite low, and the organizers must have feared that many were running behind schedule and would miss the march altogether if the start was not delayed. Such fears would be allayed as the marchers proceeded, with many more people joining in as the crowd set off down towards Merrion Square, pushing the figures well into the thousands. Many of those who were present, particularly from the very beginning, were seasoned campaigners affiliated to various political and/or feminist organisations and familiar from attending many other marches on similar issues. As the march set off, it became immediately apparent that there was a notable lack of counter-protestors. Most demonstrations in Ireland centred on modernizing social policy, such as legislating for the X case or legalizing same-sex marriage, tend to meet on-the-street resistance or responses from various conservative groups (SPUC, Youth Defence, and many others). There seemed to be little in the way of these responses on this particular day, save for one small group that did manage to get to the Spire and raise a banner proclaiming that ‘Pro-life counselling saves lives’ and advertising ‘Good Counsel Family Planning.’ The marchers seemed uninterested in engaging, however, and the back-andforth catcalling that often occurs at these events did not transpire. On Twitter, however, a more heated battle was beginning. Marchers tweeting with the ‘#March4Choice’ hashtag found themselves beset by a tide of messages from pro-life activists who fought from behind a keyboard rather than a barricade. Early on, the issue of numbers in attendance became a key issue of controversy; pro-life tweeters attempted to create the illusion that the number of attendees was in the low hundreds (‘about 400’ being a common line) while those in attendance at the march, including Labour Senator Ivana Bacik, exaggerated numbers to the tune of about 5,000. Official estimates varied wildly as well, with the Gardaí initially suggesting that 500 people had taken part and then later revising that figure to 2,500, though both figures were issued with the caveat that it is notoriously difficult to estimate the size of crowds. Much of the debate remained relatively civil, if hotly contested, though a number of people tweeting from the march – myself included – were subjected to a barrage of abuse and death threats from anonymous Twitter accounts that had seemingly sprung up overnight.
When the march reached its destination, a number of speakers from different backgrounds addressed the crowd; various feminist groups were represented, as well as an LGBT activist group whose speaker professed the ‘natural alliance’ between LGBT and pro-choice activists, and a migrant rights spokesperson who said she was there on behalf of every woman who calls Ireland home, not just those who are citizens. For many, the centrepiece of the speaking section was newly-independent United Left Alliance TD Clare Daly, who gave a typical barnstorming address that made far more hits than misses. Notable amongst her remarks was a savaging of the expert group who are due to report to Dáil Éireann shortly on legislating for the X case (‘why did we need a so-called “expert group” to tell us what we need, when women have been telling us that for years?’) and a promise to table again a bill on X case legislation brought to the Dáil earlier this year if the expert group’s report does not result in immediate government action. Despite the highly politicised nature of the event, very little was heard in the way of partisan attacks, though many remarks were undeniably addressed to the Labour Party – some of whose TDs have been very active on the issue in a campaigning sense and yet have not achieved legislative change. Coming away from the march, the mood amongst participants was mostly buoyant, albeit with the occasional caveat – at least one person was heard to say ‘let’s hope this doesn’t become another annual march that we have to attend.’ For the most part, though, the numbers and positive energy of the marchers along with the lack of any real on-the-street resistance suggested that the tide was turning in the abortion debate in Ireland. It seems almost inevitable that, whether incrementally or otherwise, abortion laws in Ireland will come into line with those put in place by our European neighbours; perhaps this is a change whose time has already come. Image: @JC_ie of Twitter
Innovation & Identity in the Irish Education System The GLF discusses how the Minister for Education cannot deliver on his rhetoric without addressing much broader issues within the education system itself. Minister Ruairi Quinn with President of IT Sligo, Prof Terri Scott and John Kelly (Senior Director, Customer Technical Support and Education Services, EMEA at Citrix) at the launch of the first Citrix Academy in Ireland at IT Sligo.
Having watched a very interesting RTÉ programme on Monday 3rd of September entitled Back to School: Inside the Department, it gave me a very interesting insight into the thinking behind the scenes at the Department of Education and Skills. Minister Ruairi Quinn TD begins the show by making his own coffee and giving off the impression of being a very down to earth person, to let people relate to him. And relate to him we should, as decisions he is making now will affect the lives of our children for many years to come.
By saddling college leavers with debt when they finish their education, they are forced to get in line with the economy by getting a job quickly and quietly lest they bring the wrath of Ivor Fitzpatrick and company (Bank of Ireland’s solicitors) upon them. For students to develop new ways of thinking, they cannot be forced to conform to a career for the sake of it, but they must be allowed to choose their own way as an individual. Another point is the impact that being in debt has on a person’s mental health; we can only look at the vast increase in suicide since the recession left a great dint in most of our pockets. Why would we invest in our youth’s sense of identity and innovation if it is only to cripple is mentally and physically with debt when they leave the education system?
Mr Quinn’s most noble aspect throughout the programme is that he constantly refers to the improvement of the schools’ curriculum and building of new schools as his priority. Looking at the developments in school curriculum contained in the new Junior Cycle Curriculum, which preach innovation and identity as its mantra for development of students, would satisfy even the most sceptical of education professors as the way forward for education. Innovation and identity are about creating people who are good critical thinkers and have a sense of their place in the world - as well as having the life skills to maintain a sound mind and body. To this, I applaud the minister. Truly, his relationship with National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, and the Department, which he previously referred to as ‘malevolently dysfunctional,’ has improved for the good of the nation’s students.
Behind the minister’s desk on the programme in his library was a book called Lines of Most Resistance by Edward Pearce. This book is about the political struggle in Westminster surrounding Irish Home Rule. As a political science book it give lessons that not everyone will be happy with tough decisions in politics, nearly a century of strife and unrest in Northern Ireland is testament to that. The Minister, after going back on his pledge not to increase college fees simply stated, ‘that’s politics.’ That is the game politics, but if I could urge Mr Quinn to add another book to his collection, it would be The Age of Revolution by Eric Hobsbawm. Mr Hobsbawm reflects that the middle classes are the main instigators behind revolution. When they were denied property rights and the vote throughout history they consistently rebelled and protested for it. Looking at the current third level grant system, parents who earn €50,000 p.a. are put into the same bracket as a parent earning €250,000 p.a. and if they wish to send their child to college this fall they both have to fork out €2,250 in registration fees; less than 1% to the wealthier of the two families, but 4.5% to the other. This is quite a difference, and when you factor in accommodation, food, books and travel, etc. the gap only grows larger and forces the less fortunate family to sue for a loan while they are already being hit by the household charge, income levy and increased energy costs, while a family with an income of approx. €20,000 p.a. will receive a grant for their child and not have to worry about the capital cost. History has shown us when the middle class are suppressed they will take to the streets; December’s budget could hit harder than the Government thinks, lest history repeat itself.
Department of Education
One recent aspect of the education system that stirred my thoughts was the introduction of Bank of Ireland’s student loan schemes as an alternative option for people who did not have the means to pay the increased student contribution for third level education. This contradicts the thinking of innovation and identity. For a person to be innovative they have to have the freedom of thought and expression that is protected by our constitution. There’s one problem though: people who are in debt are never people to break the mould, they will just fit in and try to survive. As Albert Einstein put it, ‘we can’t solve the problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.’
Mr Quinn rightly states that his main mission in education is to provide for the population boom and not have a time where a child goes to school expecting to see a schoolyard but finds a field. No one can dispute this, but let us give the children a future where, through cultivating their innovation, and providing for it, both before and after the education system, they can develop the new ideas and industry to help get us out of this financial turmoil, rather than let the next generation become a victim of our mistakes, by straddling them with debt and worry; stifling their identity we so love to cherish. Images: Yelp.Com, CorkPolitics.ie, SligoIT.ie.
I’m Gonna Make a Change It seems to be almost an inevitability that individuals who find themselves, by choice or by default, in the spotlight of the press will become victims of the dark side that lurks within the modern media machine. Quite often these events prove to be nothing more than a mildly amusing distraction from more serious world affairs, as was the case with Prince Harry and his royally embarrassing antics Stateside. However, we were forced to accept the harsh reality of our modern media when the Leveson Inquiry laid bare the dark underbelly of journalistic culture in the UK, describing sinister activities heretofore unimagined by even the most cynical of observers.
Sarah Slevin discusses media interest in celebrities
Proving this not to be an exclusively British problem, Italian-owned magazine Closer published photographs of a semi-naked Kate Middleton, taken whilst holidaying in the villa owned by the Queen’s nephew, Lord Linley, in Provence. The pictures, taken from approximately a kilometre away, show Kate and William sunbathing on their private terrace, unaware of the photographer’s distant presence. The fallout from the story was immediate, with Buckingham Palace decrying what they deemed to be offensive and invasive journalism, and British publications refusing to purchase and release the photographs on that side of the Channel. The publication of the photos created an explosion in the mind of the general public as well, lighting a fuse of discussion between those who considered the photos shocking and degrading, and those who saw the images as banal, unoriginal and irrelevant. However, common to both camps was the desire to lay the blame at the doorsteps of the apparently depraved and licentious media bigwigs, who thought it appropriate to invade the privacy of a young woman for their own financial gain. Meanwhile, on this side of the Irish Sea, a very different storm was brewing in a very different teacup, as model and former Miss World Rosanna Davison posed, also semi-naked, for a German edition of Playboy magazine. The usual sources spouted the usual proclamations, lamenting the decision of a young woman in the public eye to expose herself in what they would consider to be a gratuitous and tasteless manner. Rosanna was even invited on The Late Late Show, clearly with an expectation that she would justify, or at least explain, her decision. But back to Kate. Many placed the blame at the door of the Duchess herself and her handlers, saying that such intrusions are to be expected when one is counted amongst the world’s most famous women. Evidently they believed steps should have been taken to prevent Kate being exposed in such a manner. Some even became needlessly personal, claiming that the Duchess herself, as a figure of intense public interest, should have known better. This is a fair assertion, particularly given the fate that befell her unfortunate mother in law, whose ring she now proudly wears on her left hand. Maybe there was an expectation that this ring would serve as a cautionary tale, and a reminder of Diana’s fate. However, the vast majority of commentators and interested observers have denounced the tasteless journalism, and the gossip columns which, in their eyes, have long been trawling the gutters of 21st century society.
Rosanna Davison, former Miss World, posed nude in a German edition of Playboy magazine.
It seems to me that both these schools of thought entirely miss the point. Decrying a supposedly immoral media ignores the influence of those whom the media is intended to serve – us. Our insatiable and prurient interest in falsly created celebrities is the fuel which powers this media machine. Presumably the decision-makers in Closer weighed the cost of a potential lawsuit from the royal familiy against the enormous profit to be made by publishing such perverse photos, and found that they had very little to lose. Even those who vociferously criticised the images should bear some portion of the blame. The very fact that we all took such an intense interest in the photos demonstrates that there is a market for them, thereby justifying their existence. Whilst legal experts contemplate ‘public interest’ as a journalistic purpose, it is as clear as day that stories such as this are what really constitute the interest of the public. We may not like it, but that photographer took those photographs on that day in France because he knew we wanted to see them. Rosanna, on the other hand, made a decision to reveal and promote herself in the manner in which she did. She was not a victim of our obsession with celebrities, and neither was this was a necessary step to promote her career. She has been a successful model for over nine years, and in truth this act will probably lower her standing in a country which values common decency. However, the people who castigated Ms Davison continue to take an officious and unnecessary interest in Ms Middleton. What it boils down to is an issue of choice. Rosanna chose to pose for Playboy and was condemned. Kate did not choose to pose for a nameless French photographer, yet the interest in the story was overwhelming. Do we need stricter privacy laws? Probably. Should we impose heavier sanctions on those who breach ethical standards in the media? Maybe. Or maybe, in the words of Michael Jackson, we need to take a look in the mirror, and make a change. Because the double standards we maintain, typified by the difference between the Rosanna Davison and Kate Middleton affairs, cannot continue. Images: tws3d.com, tumblr.com
I Predict a Pussy Riot
Orla Hubbard considers the measured reaction of the West to the latest repression in Russia. The Russian punk band Pussy Riot were arrested in March, following a performance in Moscow’s main cathedral where they called for the Virgin Mary to protect Russia against Vladimir Putin, who returned to power a few days later.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton vehemently rejected Kremlin claims that Russian NGOs are directed by Washington, and that she personally orchestrated demonstrations against Putin as part of a US effort to destabilize Russia.
On 17 August, the three women were sentenced to two years each in a penal colony for ‘hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.’ They say that their protest, in brightly-coloured balaclavas and short skirts, was not intended to offend believers, and was motivated by anger over Putin’s growing closeness to Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. Kirill has called Putin’s rule a “miracle of God” and backed his presidential election campaign this year.
The Kremlin followed this by forcing USAID to end its endeavours in Russia by October, alleging that it was meddling in domestic politics by providing grants for election monitoring. Notably, local elections in Russia are scheduled to be held on October 14, two weeks after USAID was shut down. This move highlights the major regression of democracy in Russia.
Opposition activists argue that the harsh sentences were personally ordered by Putin as part of a crackdown on dissent following his return to the presidency in May, which was marred by widespread protests against the former KGB agent. This case has exposed doubts over the independence of the judiciary, and has refocused attention on Putin’s human rights record. Unfortunately, Pussy Riot’s arrest is not the only evidence of a clampdown on dissent. The Russian law on Extremist Activities is deliberately vague, and is being used to target human rights activists and political opponents. Meanwhile, the deaths of Anna Politkovskaya, Anastasia Barburova and other journalists and human rights defenders go unaccounted for.
It is the responsibility of the West, particularly the EU as a close trading partner with Russia, to take a clear and decisive stand against the direction that Russia is taking under Putin. Greens/EFA MEPs have tabled a motion for a resolution condemning Russia’s human rights abuses. But this is only a baby step.The EU must take a long hard look at its relationship with Russia. We need to adopt a new decisiveness in our attitude towards Russia if we are to see a tangible commitment to their international human rights obligations.
Pussy Riot’s arrest was followed by the enactment of several new draconian laws last July, imposing excessive fines on protesters, stiffening punishment for defamation and tightening controls over foreign-funded NGOs.
Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy said in July 2012 that she was ‘highly concerned’ by amendments to the Russian NGO laws, along with ‘other developments that limit the space for a vibrant civil society in Russia.’
A new law which comes into force in November, seeks to regulate foreignfunded NGOs, which it describes as ‘foreign agents’, by compelling them to submit reports on their activities, to file detailed quarterly financial reports, and be subject to unannounced inspections. Several NGOs in Russia, including the Russian branch of Transparency International, are refusing to register as ‘foreign agents’ even though non-compliance could result in the forcible closure of organisations.
The world needs to make a clear and decisive gesture to Russia, and to Putin personally, that the denial of basic human freedoms will not be tolerated. We must begin by passing the Greens/EFA resolution, and if necessary the EU and USA should move to impose economic sanctions on the Russian government.
Another bill currently before Parliament would impose jail terms for offending religious sentiment – tightening the bonds between Putin and the Orthodox Church. The bill reverses ex-President Dmitry Medvedev‘s reform that decriminalized libel in 2011.
However, it is significant that the Russian people generally favour the new laws, with 58% supporting the new defamation legislation and 62% supporting the imposition of restrictions on the internet, according to a poll released by the independent Levada Center. Russians also remain ambivalent towards Pussy Riot. When polled, 51% held negative or hostile views towards the group’s actions.
A third law enacted in July creates a blacklist of websites which contain illegal material. Once a website is placed on this registry it can then be shut down without a court order. This new law contradicts previous claims by Mr Medvedev that Russia’s uncensored internet is proof of the country’s respect for a free press. New York based press freedom watchdog, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) comments ‘that Russia will so quickly abandon that standard shows how fragile its respect can be.’ The legislation has been condemned by the European Union and the United States, where the CPJ has further said that the new laws ‘demonstrate just how much Russia is diverging from accepted international norms of human rights.’
Pussy Riot’s appeal was finally ruled upon on 10 October. One of the women was unexpectedly released with a suspended sentence, while the court upheld the sentences of the other two. The debate over whether Pussy Riot should have been jailed has caused a deep split in society, to a degree rarely seen since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. The issue hits a nerve with Russians because it forces them to question how far they have really come since the collapse of communism – but more intimately it forces them to question whether they are ready to move on. With over half of Russia eager to retain Soviet era laws and punishments, it must be questioned whether sanctions or a change of leadership would make any meaningful difference. Russia has a long way to go before it can shake off the culture of repression and paranoia left in the wake of the Soviet Union. Images: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images, rabble.ca, t.opne.ws.
The Star of David and the Crescent Moon Gavin Lynch-Frahill takes a look at the conflict.
In the night skies we look to the stars glittered around a half moon and feel inspired by their empowering beauty. Who would think that these two celestial images could be the symbols in what could become one of the most vicious wars the world has ever seen? The world is in uproar. In the past months we have seen rioting in Greece and Spain, over financial crisis; attacks on embassies in Libya, Egypt and throughout the Middle East, over a video about the prophet Mohammad; and the civil war in Syria rages on without and end in sight. One news story that many networks did not show, around the world, was that of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urgently requesting a meeting with President Obama, only to be turned down as Barack preferred to go on the Letterman Show in an attempt to boost his own image before the forthcoming elections. What is occurring that would make you worry about Israel over the other crisis? An Iranian nuclear program which, if lines are not drawn soon, could see the whole region plunged into war.
Image: ‘Hagar and Ishmael banished by Abraham’, Pieter Jozef Verhaghen (1781), The Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp.
In recent months the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS or MI6) has announced to the world that it has warned the Israelis to call off planning over Iran. One can only speculate at why such a secret organisation would make a public statement over a contentious issue, but in this writer’s professional opinion it is clear that the Israelis were in an advanced stage of operations planning against Iran. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s commander in chief, has also heightened tensions when he declared that the Holocaust never happened. In the past few weeks the United Nations warned Iran and Israel about making incendiary rhetoric before the annual sitting of the General Assembly - to which Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had replied that Israel has no roots in the Middle East and must be ‘eliminated.’
Israel is a nation forged from war, their victory over the British army led to the British withdrawal from Palestine, and since then their defence policy had been one of pre-emptive strikes on her enemies. Vastly outnumbered by her enemies in the Arab League, the Israeli policy of attacking her opponents before they have massed their armies has won them a whole host of victories against overwhelming odds. In fact, the one war where Israel did not launch a pre-emptive strike against her enemies was the Yom Kippur War in 1973, for which then Prime Minister Golda Meir was highly criticized, and, only for mass Soviet and American arms imports, would have resulted in a massive defeat for Israel. Even when Israel learned of a Nuclear Reactor being built in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, they quickly launched a surprise air attack destroying Osirak Reactor that France had supplied for them in Baghdad in a blatant violation of international law.
Both Israel and Iran have one thing in common. They are both nations who take the traditional strong Russian dictator role of ‘dare the world to stop us’; Israel with her frequent attacks, both covert and overt, into rival countries and Iran with her continued disobedience of the Atomic Energy Agency (a strategy that led to Saddam Hussein’s eventual downfall). The only question worth asking is that if these two countries go to war, how will the West and the Arab League respond? The United States are bound by the Carter Doctrine to stabilise the region to avoid a repeat of the oil crisis in the 1970s which nearly destroyed her economy. The Arab League is already in disagreement over what to do in Syria and another conflict with a hated Semite state may unite or divide them. One fact is certain: too many nations in the world have economic interests in the Middle East to allow this conflict to occur. Could this be the first world conflict post-war to coax the red stars from the east in China to intervene?
The situation has not changed much in the present. The Iranian government is enriching uranium for what it calls a civil power generating project, just as Saddam had, and the Israelis are worried about it. Many analysts believe that it is only a matter of time before the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) launch a raid into Iran to destroy facilities which threaten the existence of their state. As a nation, they hold a force projection and military technological capacity that few, bar Saudi Arabia, in the Middle East possess. Iran, on the other hand, has been flexing her military muscles in a recent series of demonstrations and parades. Most notable are her investments in antiaircraft defence systems and medium range missiles. The Iranians have also split a fourth force from the traditional armed forces of army, navy and air force to form an air defence wing of their armed forces to shoot down enemy aircraft and defend its cities. This is in direct challenge to Israel’s traditional air superiority strategy over the Arabs and her ability to defend her citizens.
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All Style, No Substance With the final lengths of the race ahead of them, Daithí Ó Sé examines the premise, and battle, that was the first Presidential Candidate Debate of 2012.
It’s been a very rough summer for Mitt Romney. Brushing aside the feeble Republican field in the GOP Primaries, he attained his goal, the Republican nomination for President in May. For Romney, though, his race was only beginning. He insulted the UK on his foreign trip when he said he wasn’t sure if they could host the 2012 Olympic Games, saying ‘there were a few things that were disconcerting.’ In response, he was slapped down by PM David Cameron who said ‘of course, it’s easier to organise an Olympic games in the middle of no-where,’ referring to Romney’s organising of the 2002 Winter Olympic games. The unforgiving UK Press then ravaged Romney – not only giving him his own Twitter hashtag, #romneyshambles, but also slating him on the front page of The Sun simply saying ‘Mitt the Twit’. It was catastrophic for a Presidential candidate when a trip to London was referred to as ‘a car crash,’ given that the UK is the United States’ closest ally. This coupled with attacks on his poor leadership as Governor of Massachusetts and career in Bain Capital liquidating companies and firing the employees began to hurt him with voters by summer’s end. At the end of August, Romney chose Congressman Paul Ryan as his VicePresidential pick. Ryan brought youth, vigour and unyielding conservative credentials to the campaign. The consequence with Paul Ryan was that it also brought his Budget Plan front and centre, which includes tax cuts for the rich, deep cuts in spending and repealing Obama’s Healthcare law and replacing it with a Voucher system. Despite this, the most caustic news cycle for Romney came in the form of a video secretly recorded at a private Romney fundraiser in May in which he said that 47% of the country were never going to vote for him as they were on welfare, lacked personal responsibility and were going to vote for Obama anyway so he could do nothing for them. This allowed Obama’s campaign and the press to question Romney’s capacity to connect with the average voter.
A summer of bad polls, embarrassing gaffes and general pessimism coupled with Obama’s characterisation of Romney as an out-of-touch corporate robot began to hit home with Obama up in all national and swing-state polls. Going into the debates, the dysfunctional Romney campaign was on life support as even FOX News and conservative pundits like Rush Limbaugh began abandoning Romney to his fate. A loss at the first Presidential Debate would have been the final nail in the coffin of Romney’s campaign. On the contrary, what transpired was Romney fighting for his political life and winning. From the beginning, Mitt was the more compelling candidate than Obama who seemed drained, and not as razor-sharp an orator as in 2008. Romney won. Hands down. He was forceful, brisk and fear-mongering while Obama was kept, matter-of-fact and detached.
Romney re-invented himself and emerged as Moderate Mitt Romney, the pro-middle class contender we rarely see. It being the domestic/economic debate, Romney was in a favourable territory, being both the challenger and having the upper-hand on topics of jobs and rconomic growth. Likewise, Obama was sturdier on reducing the deficit and on his healthcare overhaul, ‘Obamacare’. On taxation, Mitt flip-flopped saying he would cut taxes by 20% for everyone while reducing the deficit, which presently stands at over $16 trillion dollars. As Mitt opened up on his plans, it became a fact-checkers delight as Romney made over 30 lies in less than half an hour, according to one source. He was incredulous, discussing his plans for Obamacare and Financial Reform with no particulars of what he would replace them with and what he would maintain. This allowed Obama to punch back saying ‘do you think he’s keeping his plans secret because they’re so great?’
Old lies came up again and again like Romney condemning Obama of cutting $716 billion dollars from Medicare ten times in the debate. Notwithstanding it being a complete lie, he was planting the idea of Obama cutting healthcare into people’s heads. Even worse, there was no rebuttal from Obama, which validated Romney’s lie. The truth is, Obama in fact saved $716 billion dollars of waste from Medicare. Paradoxically it was even included in Paul Ryan’s budget which Mitt himself supports. Romney is entirely impractical on fixing America’s financial woes. He has the cheek to suggest cutting taxes for everyone by 20%, augment military spending AND slash the deficit. In reality, his plan would elevate taxes on the poor and slash domestic spending radically while giving the affluent tax cuts that would in turn explode the deficit. All in all, a very poor performance from President Obama. Pauses in his arguments made him look out of practice and deficient of his legendary rhetoric. He should have been more resolute and take the fight to Romney over the course of the debate. Appearances matter in debates and Romney won that fight easily. He had little substance yet his vigorous style totally overshadowed Obama’s caution. The pair will meet again at a Town Hall style debate, an environment that Obama is far better suited to. My feeling is that he won’t make a repeat performance, and will push his plan to counter Romney’s lack of one. He will point to his record, ideas and the reality that unemployment has now dropped below 8% for the first time in 4 years, and that the economy is on the mend. The facts will overwhelm Mitt Romney in the end as, like his debating style, he is ‘All Style, No Substance.’
The American Second Amendment: A Destructive Piece of Constitution Robert Bolton argues that the American Second Amendment is a dangerous piece of the Constitution. The Arizona Daily Star put my feelings and the feelings of many others perfectly: ‘someone should do something. But no one does’. In the wake of the Aurora tragedy that occurred during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises in July, I thought the description of James Holmes matched that of the villain Bane in the film, prompting me to think this was a guy who became so obsessed with the trilogy he thought it was real life. But my thoughts changed from reflecting on media violence, to a much more grounded and complex issue: the American Second Amendment. The Aurora shooting does not represent a once off event. Ironically, just as the Joker in the Dark Knight mocked how people can end up just as evil has himself, James Holmes has left his own subtle insult on American society – the insult being that Americans are powerless to do anything about this tragedy, as they are just too convicted when it comes to the right to arms and prison as a means to fight crime. It’s commonly held that ‘evil’ lies in the actions of ‘bad’ people. A murder is evil, abuse is evil, and James Holmes is evil because we see no good in the taking of twelve innocent lives. But perhaps evil not only lies in the actions of a person, but also in the inaction of people and their politicians. The ‘not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country’ quote rings a bell here. Mass shootings in the United States are all too familiar. It is like a yearly punishment which America must endure for its over-individualistic and patriotic attitudes. Americans seem to love the Second Amendment to the extent that not even death can kill this romance. But if the US has any hope of significantly reducing gun crime, it must tackle the causes of these problems – of which I will deal with one here, the right to bear arms. Silence is not a sound but a noise. It is a noise that has rung 23 times in Congress when the issue of gun control is brought up for debate according Diana DeGette, a Colorado congresswoman. She has asserted that Congress doesn’t even want to hear about guns. So how many more shootings will it take the US to realize that not everyone will use a gun for the purpose of self-defence? How many more shootings will it take Americans to understand that their belief in the rights to bear arms is destructive? I believe it is only in dismantling this constitutional tabernacle that gun crime and attitudes towards crime in America will change for the better.
The second amendment seems to acknowledge that violent crime is an inevitable part of society and that in order to protect its citizens, the US needs laws that allow citizens to counteract this inevitability. It is well known in Sociological literature that poverty, social exclusion, and inequality play a large role in creating the violent criminal. Sadly, capitalism is a system that creates inequality, because the premise of capitalism is that everybody has a chance and a right to fulfil their American dream, that everybody has an equal chance to become the millionaire. But not everybody can own a palace, as a palace requires servants. Further, the American tendency to hype individualism to the point of manic delusion, and an oppressing and regressive lack of understanding of how humans behave, needs considered and weighted deliberation. James Holmes has full responsibility for his crimes, which is undeniable. But we cannot always assume that violent criminals have full responsibility for the way they think. Thankfully, violent crime can be prevented. However, it must first acknowledge that there is a limit to individual responsibility. For example, psychiatrist James Gilligan argues that the severe abuse that many of the most violent criminals have endured when they were younger is one of the reasons they have the ability to commit violent crimes. Abuse, he argues, numbs their emotions so much that they literally cannot feel anything anymore. As a result, they are the living dead. They can kill because they feel neither compassion nor regret. Now, the reason why I don’t commit violent crimes is because I am an emotional and compassionate being. The point I’m making is that it’s not anyone’s fault that the abuse they have suffered has numbed their emotions to the point of not feeling any emotions. So in order for Americans to realise that mass shootings like the Aurora shooting can be prevented, they must realise that there are external forces that create people like James Holmes and that people can be influenced by these external forces to the point of acquiring a potentially violent psychological makeup. Everyone should have a right to defend themselves. But perhaps Americans, and the rest of humanity, should go a little further. Why not say, ‘everyone has a right to live in a society without crime’? Americans are very convicted and proud when it comes to rights. The constitution is the basis for rights and Americans worship it. Maybe if they believed they have a right to live in a violent-free society, the political and cultural landscape might change to preventing crime in the first place, and so there would be no need for a right to arm. It’s amazing what the belief in rights can do. The belief in the Second Amendment is so powerful, mass shootings or rampant gun crime have not even stirred progressive political debate. Indeed, it rarely has. The right to arms is just too important for Americans. Images: theveterancoalition.blogspot.ie, raymondpronk. wordpress.com, blogsensebybarb.wordpress.com, Thomas Jefferson (Rembrandt Peale, 1800) [edited].
The Icelandic Revolution
Siannon O’Neill on a revolution that Ireland can learn from.
You may have heard a bit of commotion coming from Iceland in recent years. Then again, you may have not heard much at all, and that is perfectly probable. It turns out this bit of commotion should be a lot of commotion, but the world media has failed to give it appropriate credit. Why is this the case? Is it because it illustrates giving power back to the people? Or because Iceland revolted against foreign markets?
With a new government in place it was time to make a few changes to ensure that these mistakes wouldn’t happen again. The Icelandic constitution hadn’t been changed since 1944 when Iceland won its independence from Denmark – and at that point the only word replaced was President instead of King. The element that was truly a revolutionary tool of the 21st century was the re-writing of the constitution – not by a gathering of politicians hidden away in office, but by its citizens on the internet. The meetings held by newly elected parliament constituents, all of which were non-party regular citizens, were streamed on the internet. Citizens were able to make comments and suggestions, overseeing the decisions that shaped their new constitution.
First off, there was a resignation of Iceland’s ruling government ministers three months after the official financial collapse. In 2008, at the height of the global economic mess, the people managed to overthrow their government. These people were the protesters, the campaigners, the people who believed that the undeserved taxes being forced on them were a shambles and that their government was to blame for letting this happen. A successive amount of rocks and food were fired at Parliament buildings, but protests remained peaceful. Some riots broke out, causing tear gas to be used by police, but nothing grew too violent. Members of Parliament were forced out of office and later that year a new female Prime Minister was elected, the popular Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir.
And finally, justice for all was determined by the furious demands made by the people. The government finally made civil and penal investigations into those who were actually responsible for this financial crisis. Norwegian-French investigator Eva Joly and a team of 20 were hired to take on the monumental task of finding and incarcerating guilty parties. So far, the ex-President of Kaupthing, Sigurdur Einarsson, has been arrested whilst other guilty bankers have fled the country. More than 200 people, including CEOs of banks, face criminal charges. 90 people have been prosecuted and criminal investigations still continue.
In 2008 there was also a re-nationalization of the banks. The Icelandic banks that were privatized in 2003 had attracted foreign investment, mainly from Britain and The Netherlands. They had offered an online banking service called ‘Icesave’, which had high rates of return for investors. As unregulated investments grew, so did the banks’ foreign debt. The Króna then lost 85% of its value with respect to the Euro, and Iceland’s main banks Landbanki, Kapthing and Glitnir went belly up. After the banks’ bankruptcy there was no option but to be nationalized. Now Iceland has a new state-controlled banking system, formed from the remnants of banks that failed. In the March 2010 referendum it was put to the people whether paying for this enormous 5.3 billion euro debt incurred by private parties should be the responsibility of the citizens, (€100 a month per citizen at 5.5% interest over 15 years) or left to those responsible for creating the mess. 93% voted for the latter. It was admitted by the Prime Minister that economic and political chaos could follow – he was right. Threats from Britain came which stated that they could be isolated, becoming ‘the Cuba of the north’, or if they succumbed to European demands to be reimbursed, they would become ‘the Haiti of the north.’ There was uproar against the UK’s use of anti-terrorist legislation against Iceland. Holding strong against other hostile nations, it stuck to putting its people before the markets.
Why haven’t you heard more about this in the news? Well it just looks like a perfect case study of what other nations in crisis should follow. Iceland has proved that endless bailouts are not what would have saved their economy on the brink of collapse – something we could clearly learn from. It has made the swiftest economic recovery in history and has revolted in a peaceful way. The Króna has now overtaken the euro and regains economic security, whilst Ireland still shows no sign of economic recovery. All considered, the main aspect that has led to their phenomenal success is that they’ve put people before the market, not the market before the people. It’s time we take a leaf out of their book, stop bowing to the EU, and take charge of our own nation, legislation, and constitution. Image: senzasoste.it.
What’s going on in Cork this month? Motley reveals the crème of Cork’s events.
Date: 26th October. Info: James Bond is back for his fiftieth year and shaking but not stirring once again is Daniel Craig as the suave secret agent. This part of the Bond saga seems to be taking a glimpse into Judy Dench’s character of M whose past comes back to haunt her.
Twisted Celluloid @ Halloween
Date: 30th-31st October. Venue: Triskel Christchurch. Info: Triskel’s Halloween event will be showing special previews of Excision, Antiviral, Chained, American Mary and V/H/S before their theatrical release in Ireland – not to be missed by horror and film fans! Price: Special rate of €30 to see all five films, individual film €7.60-€8.60.
Date: 18th October.
Romeo and Juliet
Venue: Half-Moon Lane Theatre.
Date: 10th-20th October.
Info: The Irish singer-songwriter is coming to play an intimate gig after playing at some of the biggest festivals in Europe. Promoting her third album, fans of Bird shouldn’t miss this rare opportunity.
Venue: The Opera House.
Get Back: The Story Of The Beatles Date: 18th-20th October. Venue: Everyman Palace.. Info: A show which charts the most memorable moments and music of the Beatles. It demands audience participation for the songs and delves into the past and evolution of one of the greatest bands in living memory.
Fred Date: 25th October. Venue: The Pavilion Theatre. Info: If you enjoyed our interview with Fred’s bassist, Jamin O’Donovan, maybe you’ll want to see the bad for yourself. Lucky enough, Fred are just one of the acts playing the Guinness Jazz Festival. Tickets are on sale at tickets.ie.
Info: The classic Shakespeare tale comes to The Opera House in a modern setting. No doubt after the success of last year’s A Winter Tale, the current retelling is a draw for younger audiences and a way to introduce Shakespeare to a whole new generation.
Swan Lake Date: 21st October. Venue: The Cork Opera House. Info: Seeming to become a yearly event, the Moscow ballet is back with their production of Swan Lake which tells the story of Odette, who is turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer, and finds love with Prince Siegfried. If you love Black Swan or even The Swan Princess, be sure not to meet the inspiration, if only for the Tchaikovsky’s music and the thought that this masterpiece was the first ballet he ever wrote.
Joe Duffy’s Funny Friday Show Date: 30th October-2nd November. Venue: The Everyman Palace. Info: If you like Gift Grub, you’ll be sure to enjoy this impersonation show which sees Pakie O’Callaghan and Frank Twomey (popular regulars on Joe Duffy in between all the complaining) take on various Irish personalities. You’ll see the two emulate Willie O’Dea, Miriam O’Callaghan and Bertie Ahern among others.
The Heineken Project
Circus of Horror
Date: 1st-4th November.
Date: 7th November.
Venue: Savoy and The Cork Opera House.
Venue: The Cork Opera House.
Info: The Heineken Experience is a new music venture which brings fresh and popular acts to venues around Ireland. Starting off on November 1st, we have Labrinth playing at Savoy but that’s not all. There’s also have Rizzle Kicks, the pop-rap duo, probably best known for featuring on Olly Murs’ track ‘Heart Skips A Beat’ coming to the Opera House on November 4th.
Info: ‘If Quentin Tarantino had directed Cirque Du Soleil then you would be only half way there.’ Is the tagline for this horror show that is set to descend upon The Cork Opera House. You might remember the ghoulish, weird act from Britain’s Got Talent which showcases freaky talents and as it boasts, comedic turns. If you have a strong stomach and an attraction to the weird, this may just be for you.
Tickets: The Heineken Experience is free through their website, heinekenmusic.ie
Images: 007.com, whazon.com
It’s the Most Horrific Time of Year…
Daniel Boland suggests a few horror classics to get you in the mood for All Hallow’s Eve.
The names Ghostface, Norman Bates and Michael Myers instantly remind us of the famous horror characters imprinted in our memory from films most of us have seen through the years. With Halloween coming at the end of the month, it is time for the following films to provide the jumps and scares they were made to do. *Spoilers ahead!*
The Exorcist (1973) Perhaps the most famous horror film, this classic tells the story of a young girl who is possessed by a demon as two priests attempt to return the girl to normality through an exorcism. This film left quite an impression when it was released and won an Oscar for best sound – who could forget the first time they heard ‘Tubular Bells’? A scene which will not likely be forgotten is the spider-walk down the stairs as Regan is spewing blood from her mouth.
Halloween (1978) Released the same year as Dawn of the Dead; this slasher horror film tells the story of the psychotic Michael Myers as he stalks high school student Laurie Strode with devastating consequences. Strodes is played by a then unknown Jamie Lee Curtis in this low budget slasher and provides her with enough attention to remain on the horror scene for a few years before branching out to other genres. The defining scene in Halloween is when Laurie is trying to hide from Myers in the closet, but he breaks the door down as he turns to face both Laurie and the camera showing the true horror of his haunting mask. Psycho (1960)
No Halloween film collection is complete without this Hitchcock classic – the earliest film on the list provides a blend of horror and suspense that only Hitchcock could execute perfectly. Who could forget the harrowing stare of Norman Bates as he drooled over Marion Crane when she stays in the motel? In the famous shower scene we see that it is not just Norman who displays psychotic tendencies as a shadowy figure pulls the curtain across. The scene previously mentioned has been named as one of the best scenes in all of cinema history. Scream (1996) This modern day ‘whodunit?’ centres around Sidney Prescott as she is tormented by the serial killer known as Ghostface. This film does not hold back as the director, Wes Craven, tries to provide the ultimate scaring experience. The first scene with Drew Barrymore playing a distressed victim sets the pace for how the horror film will continue. Ghostface is notorious for hiding behind doors and jumping out at any minute giving a great horror experience. Scream is often credited with reviving the genre. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
This film takes a different approach to the horror genre through a world where zombies roam free preying on human flesh. Following on from George A. Romero’s first film in the Living Dead series, the United States is in panic mode as they are helpless in the fight against the zombies. The film centres on Stephen and Francine as they attempt to evade the zombie invasion. Dawn of the Dead also features some humourous scenes to break up the tension, in particular during the zombie invasion in the shopping centre and a character stops to have his blood pressure taken before being attacked by the flesh eating zombies.
When Halloween night comes around root out these DVDs, turn off all the lights and, most importantly, ignore those ‘trick or treaters’! Images: Dimension Films, Compass International Pictures. Universal Pictures
Mary Collins explores a classic film genre for the first time – the Disney animation.
Are you sitting comfortably? Good – now let me lead you through the dark and dreary world of a deprived child, having grown up in the world missing a pivotal experience, only to be released into society with the monochrome outlook of someone who had no experience of the wonders of Walt Disney’s wondrous legacy.
distance, while she gives birth to twins. She wakes when one of the babies sucks her finger, drawing out the flax from the cursed spinning wheel. But Disney’s story is a beautiful rendition, based on a less graphic and more hopeful version. The way it’s drawn is quite beautiful, and Mary Costa (Aurora) is mind-blowingly good. Again, however, I have a few concerns. I love the way adult relationships are so easy in Disney. Aurora knew Philip for 10 minutes and she was in love. Either Disney is setting impossibly high standards, or I need to meet new men. This movie comes from an earlier Disney era, a time when women were basically seen and not heard – and it is obvious. Aurora, despite being the focus of the whole story, has practically no lines. Surely, we should have heard more from the woman carrying the show?
I didn’t watch Disney films as a child. I didn’t see The Lion King until I was 19, and then it was at the ‘insistence’ of a friend. To some this may seem strange – I have heard many people saying how their first memories are of them going to the cinema to see Simba being raised proudly to all. Yet it is extraordinary to me that so many people could have such strong emotional ties to cartoons, and this piqued my curiosity. What would the movies look like to an adult, with no experience of the Disney phenomenon? Would they seem as endearing and inspire such fierce loyalty as those who declared themselves ‘raised’ on it? Or would they seem a let-down? With a crash course on Disney, I decided to find out. First on the list is The Little Mermaid: the tale of Ariel’s adventures both above and below the surf, and her unerring quest to be human. It was a turning point for Disney, being the start of the Disney Renaissance. I must confess that I wasn’t disappointed. It was heartwarming, the outcome was as predictable as rain in Ireland but the story was well told. But I do have a few bones to pick with it: when I was sixteen I was hardly left on my own, let alone allowed off to marry a prince of a different species. Yes, I know true love conquers all and it’s based on an old story, but couldn’t love have waited until she was an adult? She could hardly be expected to have the physical and emotional maturity to handle it. Speaking of physical maturity, she had quite the transformation! When Ariel was on shore with her new legs trying to walk, it was entertaining but they seem to have left out a pivotal moment. As shocking as it was to suddenly have legs, surely the fact she now had a vagina came as a surprise? For someone who thought that a fork was an implement used to brush hair, she seemed completely unphased by that new addition!
Last for my rant is my favourite, Mulan. One of the later releases, this is less patronising than its predecessors. It tells the courageous story of Mulan, who takes her father’s place in the war and wins the hearts of the Chinese people after saving their Emperor. This comes from the latest batch of Disney movies and was the last Disney Princess feature for over a decade. It shows how far Disney has come: from Aurora who spent most of her time oscillating that fabulous voice to Mulan, who fought for what she believed in, defying her family and culture. Being similarly obstinate and proud, I felt that Mulan was the easiest to relate to. The animation was stunning (at this point I was expecting no less) and the story was entertaining. You could get annoyed that in one of the few Disney movies to make women out as strong willed and powerful, she had to act as a man to be so, but I think that’s more Disney’s penchant for stereotypes and a comment on the time the movie was set. So did I become a die-hard Disney fan like the majority of my peers? No, but I can see where they’re coming from. As a child, the stories are entertaining, the cinematography aesthetically appealing and the fantasy of being in such a story intoxicating. As an adult, it’s a slightly different. Every Disney princess is 16 years old, they all have to be saved and none of them are happy without a Prince. Yes, they’re just stories, meant for entertainment but for the young sensitive souls watching I wonder if they feel pressure to find a Prince Charming? Or is it a heart-warming ideal, to believe that true love and contentment is out there? That all we have to do is find our fairy tale ending? Images: Walt Disney Pictures.
One doesn’t have to know Disney to know the story of Sleeping Beauty, the young woman cursed to a terrible fate and saved by Prince Charming. Of course, in the real story Prince Charming is not so lovely – upon finding the princess, he rapes her and rides off into the
Martha Hegarty takes a look at the new movie adaptation of the 19th century Tolstoy classic. It seems to be the age of the adaptation. From Sherlock to Star Trek, re-imaginings are the trend du jour over original screenplays. Compare our current releases to those of the pre-noughties and you’ll see that almost all new releases are sequels, prequels, remakes or adaptations. It’s not all bad though. Out of The Expendables 2 flavoured haze comes some genuinely brilliant revisions of previously visited tales, amongst them the new Anna Karenina. For those not down with Leo Tolstoy’s 19th Century paperweight (820 pages), Anna Karenina is the story of Imperial Russian socialite Anna (Keira Knightley) who is seemingly content in a passionless marriage to dependable government official Karenin (Jude Law). When she falls for handsome cavalry officer Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) she kicks off an affair that challenges both her own world and etiquette-prone society as a whole. However, it’s definitely not just another costume drama. Faced with enormous budget cuts, director extraordinaire Joe Wright chose to set the film almost exclusively in a dilapidating 19th century theatre where the setting demanded balls, can-can performances, train accidents and horse races all within the confines of these walls. In the same way that almost dislocating your knee makes you go to the gym, great and sexy things can be created from apparent constrictions. Cue the gushing.
Throughout the film, everything is kept fresh by way of this innovation. Simple movements, costume changes, entrances and otherwise ordinary crowd scenes are all stylised into dances or beats, looking as much like pieces of controlled set as the tasty rococo layers of stage scenery. Before seeing the film, I expected the dance scenes to be your usual Pride & Prejudice holding-hands-means-we’re-married style gang waltz. But even this is updated and intensified beyond Tolstoy’s verbal formality. It’s a hybrid of an old waltz, modern ballet and interpretative hand convulsions that’s intersected by fittingly extreme and telling spotlights. The emotions and conflicts which are the driving forces of the novel are allowed to take centre-stage via these visual metaphors. Again it seems like it shouldn’t work, but it completely does. Not only does it work, it spruces up the pace of the novel in an extremely apt and faithful way: using a variety of beautiful façades as backdrop to the happenings of a façade-obsessed society. Similarly, the purely cinematic switches into Moscow or agricultural Russia denote the wider context of the novel’s themes. Here the tension between disorder (easy blonde officers) and order (squeamish marital condom box) is created by placing the intimate and sometimes suffocating stage-set scenes side by side with comparatively wide open landscapes. The book itself was considered a pinnacle in realist writing, so the juxtaposition between romanticized, interior intensity and this more practical wider context serves to emphasize the film’s realistic impact more. Even the backstage area is utilised for bleaker, less sentimental settings that the characters wander through.
In the film, the frame itself becomes the stage, with sets bleeding in and out and crisscrossed with the advantage of cinematic cuts. This cocktail of theatre-techniques-meets-film-techniques never feels forced or clunky; despite its unexpectedness, it’s as seamless and completely captivating as a White Russian. For example, one scene sees Karenin rip a beseeching letter to pieces which then transform into snow, showing the scale of his anger which is never fully explored in the book. And it’s not just theatrical gravitas that’s being channelled; painting, puppetry and ballet are all employed too, making it more of a hardcore fishbowl than a cocktail.
It’s left unclear whether Tolstoy is condemning or condoning Anna as an independent woman who don’t need any marriage. The film’s finale has this same fantabulously executed ambiguity with all the visual romance of an Adam Ant video. Though it differs on many accounts to the novel, it’s an adaptation that amplifies the best of its emotional and thematic potential and manages to make it all feel completely original.
Images: Wordsworth Classics, Universal Pictures.
Recommended Watch Invasion of the Body Snatchers This 1956 horror classic was filmed and released during a period in America of intense paranoia related to the ‘Red Scare’. The narrative tells the tale of ordinary, hard-working Americans having their bodies completely taken over by alien forces – the body snatchers, lifeless drones caring little for family or their jobs (the horror!). A slightly ridiculous ‘we must protect the children!’-type storyline, though it is truly sinister in parts – the scene where we find the hatching pods nesting in a greenhouse is indeed an eerie one! Image: cineramaetcetera.files.wordpress.com
Welcome Back, Old Friends Kate Dennison gives a quick recap on some of our favourite shows before they hit our screens again. Oh October, beautiful autumn, with the leaves falling off the trees, and the sunlight fading, and our favourite TV shows finally back on the air! And may I just say, on behalf of all man/womankind – thank God. While pre-teens are boxing up their crayons and secondary school students are packing their ink and quills (that’s what they use, right?), the cool college kids with access to the internet are in the process of, completely legally, downloading episode one of whatever season their current favourite shows are on. I don’t know about you guys, but my list of programs to catch up on is embarrassingly long. Firstly, and most importantly, the Gleeks are back! It felt like all the cool people were leaving last season, but, luckily, we still get to follow a few of them (mainly Rachel) living it up in New York, adding a much needed level of glamour to the whole proceedings. Then there’s Grey’s Anatomy. Things are getting pretty serious at Seattle Grey. After the totally realistic plane crash and survival in the forest storyline of last season, we are right back into hospital drama at the beginning of this one. People are crying a lot, having hand spasms, and unplugging ventilators all over the place! There are a few tear-jerking moments like spoiler alert) when Lexi comes back from the dead and turns Meredith into a zombie resulting in widespread chaos and a lot of patients having their brains eaten… Okay, you’ve caught me out, that hasn’t happened… yet. What a twist that would be though, right?! It’s not technically back yet, but with NBC announcing a delay in its return, cult fans of Community are waiting with bated breath for the new season to start. Rumour has it (thank you Adele, now I can’t get that song out of my head), that Little Britain star Matt Lucas will be making a guest appearance as Abed’s new friend. As exciting as it is to have such a highcalibre comedian and actor in the show, if the Troy and Abed dynamic is ruined then who will host the ‘Troy and Abed in the Morning Show’?! Is Matt going to usurp Troy and play Constable Reggie to Abed’s Inspector Spacetime? I, for one, am worried.
Anyone who missed the quirky Jess over the summer will be happy to see her moonwalk backwards onto our screens. New Girl has returned, and so far it’s pretty similar to the first season. A bit of ‘Nick and Jess; will they get together?’, several mentions of Smiddy’s penis, and a lot of laugh out loud moments. Watch her try to be a shots girl using her many male showbiz impersonations and a lot of obvious winking, laugh with her as she makes a teeny-tiny top hat fashionable, and cry with her as she struggles to find a new career path. And finally, How I Met Your Mother. As the potentially last season, will we finally find out who this ‘mother’ is? To be honest, I’m kind of beyond caring at this point. The reasons for watching this show are the hilarious stories Barney tells to get girls, Marshall’s awesome one-liners, and all the random celebrity guests (James Van Der Beek, Britney Spears and Katy Perry to name a few). Will Ted ever find a wife and have two kids, one girl and one boy? No one knows. It is a complete mystery.
Images: 20th Television.
Biker is the New Black
Sorcha Nagle gets potential viewers up to speed on biker gang drama Sons of Anarchy.
Sons Of Anarchy, now on its fifth season, follows the lives of a close-knit community in the fictional town of Charming in California. This town, however, comes with an outlaw motorcycle club. The show centres on protagonist Jax Teller, who is played by Charlie Hunnam of Green Street fame, the vice president of the club who has recently begun to question the business the club is getting into. He is part of the founding charter, known as ‘Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club’, ‘Redwood Original’, or the acronym SAMCRO. They are led by Clay Morrow, who is married to Jax’s mother Gemma. Jax’s father John co-founded SAMCRO following his return from Vietnam but then died in a motorcycle accident when Jax was young. Jax then finds some of his father’s old letters and a diary while cleaning out a storage locker, and they begin to change his view on everything, he realises that his father was trying to steer the club away from everything they are involved in today.
The Sons ride customized Harley-Davidson motorcycles, all painted black. They primarily make their money by importing weapons and making protection runs for local businesses defending valuable cargo. However, some members are determined to move the club into drugs to make more money, meanwhile others are still sticking to the club’s ideal of keeping drugs out of Charming.
SAMCRO keep drugs out of Charming, which earns them admiration and awe from the townspeople who would rather go to SAMCRO than the police. They keep their position in Charming through close relationships with sheriffs, police and mayors, as well as using bribery and intimidation. Each of the members wear kuttes with the SOA patch on the back, which is a Grim Reaper wielding a scythe with an M16 handle. Only full members can wear the Reaper patch, the new members who are on a year’s trial period are only permitted to wear a small patch that states that they are ‘Prospects’. Almost all of the full members have SAMCRO tattoos including a full back piece of the Reaper. Each member has their own tattoos for personal reasons and many of them are Vietnam related due to the original nine members serving there.
As season one begins, there are flashbacks to events that are needed to set the plot, going back as far as 30 years and as close as less than a year. Not everything is clear at once, but this just heightens the suspense and keeps the viewer interested. As the seasons continue, you get to go further into the past and see how the relationships have developed over the years. The culture of the club alone is enough to watch the show; even if you ignored everything else, the weddings, funerals and parties they throw make you want to go and join them. Sometimes the writer Kurt Sutter, who does a cameo as Otto, goes a bit overboard and theatrical but it just adds to the allure of the club life.
A Game of Histories
Emma Mc Carthy gives a quick history of Game of Thrones for potential viewers. If you’re like me, a firm rule in terms of entertainment is never judge a book by its adaptation. More often times than not when you sit down apprehensively to watch one of your favourite tomes come to life through film, you come out of it disappointed and frustrated. Why did they get Mister such and such to play that part when Mister Whatshisname would have been so much better? Why did they cut that key scene when fans of the book love it so much? Why did they turn that character so stupid? All these questions will usually run through a bookworm’s mind after viewing. But there are rare, rare times when everything goes just right. You watch the entire spectacle, absolutely captivated. The actors are perfect, the lands are exactly how you imagined and even the changes fit the story well. I think I can safely say, with little disagreement coming back to me, that no production has achieved this quite like A Game of Thrones. One of the highest acclaimed series ever, the show has become an unstoppable juggernaut which has very rarely garnered a negative opinion. I for one am obsessed with the show and think ten episodes per season is nowhere near enough to quench my insatiable appetite. I recommend it to everyone I meet and no, I’m not over-exaggerating. If you’ve met me, you will agree that at some point in our time together, I have gushed about Westeros with Daenerys this and Ned Stark that. A lot of my less privileged friends are a little hesitant to set their gazes upon the HBO series for one simple reason; they will have absolutely no idea what’s going on. Now this I can agree with, reading the books before feasting upon the show is a good idea or else when there is a mention of the many Targaryens or of the Vale or any number of backgrounds, it’s a little hard to understand. But with so many deadlines and assessments already looming, you might not have time to delve into George R.R. Martin’s very long saga. So to these potential viewers, I give a gift. The gift of clarity on some of the more confusing aspects. Seventeen years ago (fourteen in the books), the mad king Aerys Targaryen was besieged upon by a group of rebels which consisted of soldiers Ned Stark (Sean Bean) and Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy). Thinking he was protected by his White Cloaks (the royal bodyguards), Aerys put his trust in the knight Jaime Lannister (Nikolau Waster-Caldau) only to have his throat slit and most of his family murdered. Robert took the Iron Throne as the new king of Westeros and married Jaime’s sister, Cersei (Lena Headey) after his own love, Ned’s sister Lyanna, was raped and murdered by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, something Robert never got over. He appointed Jon Arryn, the Lord who had fostered himself and Ned as boys, as Hand of the King (royal advisor) and made Ned Warden of the North where Ned retreated back to, spending his days in his castle, Winterfell with wife Catelyn (Michelle Fairley) and new baby Robb (Richard Madden). But Ned brought back with him a bitter token for Catelyn in the form of a bastard, known as Jon Snow (Kit Harington). (Bastards get different surnames in Westeros depending on where they are from. The north gets Snow because of the harsh, cold weather.) Catelyn saw this as a major slight and never accepted Jon as one of her own as she went on to give birth to four more children. Ned would also subdue an uprising from what were known as the Iron Islands led by a man called Balon Greyjoy and as punishment, take his son Theon (Alfie Allen, brother to Lily) as a hostage and raise him in Winterfell. Back in the Capital, King’s Landing; Jon Arryn would marry Catelyn’s sister Lysa. Meanwhile, the last of Aerys’ family including his pregnant wife Rhaella (also his sister as Targaryens married brother to sister to keep lines pure) and last surviving son, Viserys (Harry Lloyd), managed to escape the chaos. Shortly after, Rhaella died giving birth to Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) during a storm and the girl was left to the care of abusive, volatile and quite embittered Viserys. They spent their lives roaming the free cities, depending on loyal merchants and rich men for food and shelter. Daenerys knew nothing of her old land besides what her brother told her, many facts of which were skewed to his favour. So, there you have it. If you’ve read the books, you’re probably screaming at the page about how I left out certain aspects but alas, if I were to go into the entire history that Martin has created, we’d be here until exam time. So go forth, my little viewers, and catch up on the brilliance that you’ve spent so long missing. I’m sure once you’ve watched one series, you’ll hop right onto Amazon and buy every book anyway but hopefully, I’ve made it a little easier to get the ball rolling Images: dailyinspiration.com and collider.com
Recommended TV Series
Once Upon A Time It’s the time of year for spooks and ghouls and all kinds of magic! From the makers of Lost, the fantasy series tells the story of Emma Swann, a 28 year old woman who gets a visit from the son she gave up for adoption ten years ago. When she brings him back home to Storybrooke in Maine, she enters into a town where not everything is quite as it seems and the residents are a bit too familiar. OUAT travels between two worlds, ours and a fairytale land and explains how our beloved childhood heroes are now walking amongst us. Images: ABC
Interview with the Vampire Darren Shan originally rose to fame in the early 2000s with The Saga of Darren Shan, the first book of which was adapted into a movie produced by Universal Studios, starring such renowned actors as John C. Reilly. As Mr O’Shaughnessy (as he is also known) comes to Cork for a signing of his new release – Lady of the Shades – at Waterstones, I went to ask him a few questions about successes, past and present. Tell us about Lady of the Shades. Who is the target audience? There’s no target audience per se – I never set out to write for a specific demographic, I just write books that I would like to read. It’s a book for older teens and adults. At heart a mystery thriller, it also weaves in other elements and genres. In the book, a writer of ghost stories travels to London to research his latest novel. He meets a beautiful woman and falls in love, but later finds out that she’s married to a gangster. That sets in motion a traditional film noir type tale, but one with a variety of unusual twists, which challenge our perception of what is real and what is not. I remember reading and enjoying the stories of Darren Shan at a young age. If we are to assume that the readers of this saga are now at university age or older, what do you think your new releases can offer them? I actually started out as an author of adult fiction – the success of my children’s books has overshadowed that, but this is the world I first started in, one that I have always felt comfortable in. It’s not a case of switching from writing for children to writing for adults – I have always done both. It’s a dark, steamy love story, packed with all sorts of very adult twists. My older fans will find very few traces of the Darren Shan they might be familiar with from their youths.
your writing have changed?
The genre of vampire literature exploded soon after the Darren Shan saga with the Twilight franchise, among others. How do you feel about this, and do you think that the expectations of
Water off a duck’s back! Vampires have been going in and out of fashion for the last hundred years. When I started Cirque Du Freak, Buffy was the hottest teen property on TV. When I wrote the Mr Crepsley books, Twilight was at its peak. I ignored both phenomena when writing my books (though I watched Buffy later on and loved it). I think any writer worth their salt will focus on telling stories that matter to them, regardless of what the market might be doing. I’ve never let the success or failure of other books have any sort of an impact on what I write about.
Tamara Malone sinks her teeth into the popular fantasy writer. It was fun. I love movies, so I was delighted that some of my books had been adapted. I would have been happier if they had been more faithful to the books, but at the same time I respect the right of an adapter to do what they want with the source material – I think the best films are made when the film-makers put their own stamp on the story and re-invent it in an original, heartfelt way. I don’t think the film succeeded in every way, but it was a nice, quirky, oddly dark little movie that has been building up a bit of a cult following over the last few years. It’s just important to take it on its own terms and look at how it compares with other movies – not with the books. Describe your process as a writer. What inspires you? Have you ever had to deal with writer’s block, and how have you overcome it? An idea grabs me, I play around with it mentally for a few days, or weeks, or months, or years, and when I feel ready I start thrashing it out in more detail by asking lots of questions and seeing where the answers lead me. Then I sit down to write. With a first draft I’ll write about ten pages a day. I then put it aside for a few months (or more) when finished, return to it and do a rewrite, leave it for a while, edit it, leave it, edit it, and so on for at least a couple of years, sometimes even more – Lady of the Shades was spread out over more than twelve years in total! It would appear that you are rather solitary as an Irish writer of your particular genre. Do you think that your roots, or the place from which you come, contributes to your writing in any way? Well, historically I’m following in the generic footsteps of other Irish writers such as Bram Stoker, Jonathan Swift and Oscar Wilde. Contemporarily speaking, I’m not as alone in my aims as when I first started out -- Eoin Colfer and Derek Landy have both come along, ploughing a similar (though admittedly much lighter-toned) furrow in the children’s world. And on the adult side there’s John Connolly. But yeah, I’m not what you’d describe as a traditional Irish writer. And I think that’s a good thing – there should always be more to a nation’s story-telling culture than one single strand. I don’t know if where I grew up contributed directly to the sort of stories I write, but I like to think that it did. Darren Shan’s most recent releases, Lady of Shades and Zomb-B are available online and in book stores nationwide.
Images: Universal Pictures and Darren Shan.
You have been hugely successful, and among your achievements you can claim that one of your books has been adapted into a movie by Universal Studios. How did this feel at the time, and, in hindsight, how do you view this achievement?
Tales of Mystery and Imagination, Edgar Allen Poe. If you fancy a scary read this Halloween, look no further than Edgar Allen Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination. There are twenty-two short and not-so-sweet tales in all – some highlights being ‘The Masque of the Red Death’, ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’ and ‘The Fall of the House of Usher.’ The stories are filled with spooky houses, mysterious characters, and gore galore, made all the more spine-tingling by Poe’s famously macabre descriptions (for example, nothing is red in colour but ‘blood-tinted’). If you like what you read, track down ‘An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe’ starring Vincent Price, and prepare for a good old-fashioned fright!
Images: Harry Clarke, Wordsworth
Fred Said What? Eimear Hurley chats to Fred bassist Jamin O’Donovan about their new works and success overseas.
‘So, Eimear Hurley, what will I interview you about?’ Thus began what could have been a revolutionary Motley interview, had it not been for my bashfulness and – ahem – professionalism. Jamin O’Donovan is the bassist in Fred (formerly known as Fred the Purple-Haired Ninja), the Cork band that so many have come to know and love. They are undoubtedly a big part of the city’s music community, and although Jamin is himself a Limerick man, he considers Cork his home and Fred’s. ‘Anytime we do a tour, we do something similar for all the shows, but it feels like we plan a bit extra for the home crowd,’ he says. Fred have not only won hearts all over Ireland, but have also cracked Canada, with their fourth and most recent album, Leaving My Empire earning critical acclaim and lots of loyal new Canadian fans. Their track ‘Damn You Hollywood’ also featured in an episode of Gossip Girl in 2009. Jamin assures me, though, that Fred have ‘no intention of being anywhere else.’
Fred is certainly not one of your run-of-the-mill indie rock bands, having crafted an infectious and unique style over the past decade or so when their first EP was released in 2000. What do they listen to for inspiration? ‘What actually influences the music we write is very different to what we listen to ourselves. After gigs we all drive home together and we all play what we like – we all like different kinds of stuff.’ Frontman Joe O’Leary is also involved in various side projects; he recently played a gig in Cork with Canadian alternative country artist Doug Paisley, and participated in a Christmas Eve concert in the Opera House last year. A sense of fun and humour has always been central to Fred’s identity as a band, though they placed less of an emphasis on that with Leaving My Empire. ‘We just wanted to write songs that reflected how we felt at the time,’ Jamin says. ‘Not that it was dark, but we didn’t incorporate our usual humour into it.’ Their humour is mostly relayed through their Facebook updates and e-mails. Of course, their live shows are always something to look forward to, not only because their music is top-class, but also because they’re fun people who clearly enjoy what they do, and they don’t take themselves too seriously (or, at least, as seriously as they could, given their success to date). This year they’re playing in The Pavilion as part of the Jazz Festival, and, sure enough, they have something special up their sleeves for us. ‘People often turn up to shows and ask to play something from the first or second album that we’ve literally forgotten how to play,’ Jamin tells me. So, in a demonstration of their commitment to their fans, Fred have decided to play songs from all four albums, and invited the fans to choose what goes on the set list via Facebook. So, what’s next for Fred? After a busy year of promoting the album at home and overseas, and a fun-filled summer of festivals, Jamin says that it’s now time to restart the creative cycle. ‘We’ve probably been writing stuff individually for the last couple of months, so the next step would be to look at sharing our ideas, writing collectively and starting our next creative project.’ I’m excited already.
Leaving My Empire was recorded in the world-renowned Hotel2Tango studio in Montreal with Arcade Fire producer Howard Bilerman. Jamin explains that recording in a studio was a new experience for the boys: ‘[Our previous album] Go God Go we recorded pretty much in our bedrooms on our computers, which meant that the whole band was never in a room when recording a song. There were only ever one or maybe two people in the room at a time.’ This way, it’s easy for the band members to make each song exactly how they want it to sound: ‘If you don’t like it you can delete it and do it again, or chop it up on the computer and make it exactly perfect.’ For this record, though, they gave up some of that freedom, and recorded everything live. According to Jamin, this recording method has its pros and cons: ‘The production has more of a band feel and a band sound, and I guess it’s more organic, even though I don’t particularly like that word… but it means lots more rehearsal, and, unfortunately, lots more money.’
Images: fredtheband.com. bestfan.com
’Tis the season to be ghouly
Terry O’Sullivan gives us a couple of tracks with a punk theme. ‘Totalimmortal’ – AFI
What better way to celebrate the period of the macabre than with some appropriately themed music. Horror punk rose out of the East Coast punk scene in the US in the late 1970s by mixing the rebel energy of punk rock with the aesthetic and themes of 1950’s Hollywood horror and science fiction B-movies. The weirdly hypnotic melodies of rockabilly and 1950s doo wop give this brand of punk music some dance floor attraction missing from some brands of punk. While the scene has fractured since its humble beginnings, there is still a devoted following who continue to dress up like they are about to go trick-ortreating and pile into many a sweaty basement to listen to men with face paint scream about zombies, alien invasions and ghosts. Here are few suggestions to the perfect Halloween playlist of horror punk.
Before being known as the MTV emo poster boys with songs such as Miss Murder, AFI (the letters standing for A Fire Inside) were known as the Californian revitalizers of schlock horror in punk. Their songs mixed the more mainstream dark romanticism of emo with proper horror punk credentials. This song would go on to be covered by the Offspring for the soundtrack of the movie Me, Myself and Irene.
‘Hybrid Moments’ – The Misfits This little ditty about being carved up by ghouls showcases all you need to know about horror punk, the lyrics ‘You hide your looks behind these scars’ sum it up adequately. The Misfits single-handedly created the genre in 1977. Led by Glenn Danzig, the man called the Elvis of punk rock due to his crooning qualities, they started a revolution which inspired bands as diverse as Metallica (who covered a number of their songs on their Garage Inc. album) and Green Day. Famous for their raucous gigs and inventing a hair style (Google ‘devilock’ and see what I mean), the Misfits can be said to have truly crossed into mainstream culture today as their skull logo t-shirts are only second to the famous Ramones t-shirt in ‘punk’ fashion. Though they broke up in 1983, but various reincarnations have kept the dark flame burning well into the 21st century.
‘Dead in Hollywood’ – Murderdolls This horror super group consists of Wednesday 13, Joey Jordison and various members of bands such as Static X, Dope and Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. Described as ‘Mötley Crüe meets the Misfits’, they have blended the hard rock of bands such as Guns ’N’ Roses and Alice Cooper (whom they have toured with) and reached quite a large audience. This song, which name checks every conceivable horror film cliché, stars a certain Mr Marilyn Manson in the video as a mad scientist. They go to show that horror punk is far from dead.
‘Undead’ – The Undead Images: Caroline, Stiff, Nitro, Roadrunner
This appropriately named band was formed by Bobby Steele in 1980. After being kicked out of The Misfits, he decided to make his own way and in true underground fashion carved out a niche for them that is still going to this day. This song about being tormented by vampires and witches highlights a more hard-core punk sensibility, yet stays true to the bands horror roots.
Recommended Listen At Home with Screamin’ Jay Hawkins Screamin’ Jay – or Jalacy, as he is also known – Hawkins released his debut album in 1958, which is probably best known for the iconic track ‘I Put a Spell on You.’ With his penchant for guttural shouting (which earned the song bans on some radio stations for being ‘cannibalistic’) and macabre stage props, this album made him an influential figure in rock n’ roll history as a proto-shock rocker. Nina Simone’s cover is perhaps even more famous than the original but for pure raw energy and an almost chilling intensity, this version cannot be beat.
Features ‘Trick or Treat, Christ is neat, give us some Bibles to read: Jesus Ween’ Mae McSweeney investigates the growing effort to carve an Evangelical Christian face onto the jack-o-lantern of Halloween. Only it hasn’t, really. Halloween has been subject to Christian influences, like every other indigenous European holiday. The Celtic fairyfestival of Samhain bears little resemblance to what we celebrate today. In fact, the tradition of wearing costumes and disguises is a Christian practice, intended to ward off the lost souls who were said to wander the earth between All Saint’s Day on November 1st, and All Soul’s Day on the 2nd. Trick-or-Treating has its roots in the 12th century tradition of baking ‘soul cakes’; so much was the festival associated with Christianity that during the Reformation, Protestants denounced the rituals of Halloween as ‘popish’.
Are you sick and tired of seeing your loved ones forced to participate in a pagan festival which celebrates black magic, glamourizes fear, sanctions boisterous pranks and provokes a Godless gluttony of pound-shop sherbert? Me neither. But the fundamentalist Christians at not-for-profit organization Jesus Ween certainly are. Since 2002, Pastor Paul Ade, the group’s leader and the original ‘Jesus Weener’, if you will, has been leading the way in using Halloween as an opportunity to spread the word of God. If you should rock up to Pastor Paul’s front door on October 31st, prepare to receive not a begrudging fistful of stale peanuts and fizzy cola bottles, but a miniature copy of the New Testament. The movement is apparently spreading throughout the USA, and has had some success in the UK as well. According to the website, Jesus Ween is an alternative for ‘regular families who feel uncomfortable with some variations of Halloween (Emphasis on Death, Witches and Zombies, instead they would prefer to celebrate life and salvation)’.
My biggest criticism of this Jesus Ween thing isn’t its bungling efforts to spread the Word of God to perplexed nine year olds in Transformer costumes, nor the egregious appropriation of the suffix ‘ween’. It’s the crude dichotomy it draws between Christian and pagan, light and darkness, good and evil, as if one isn’t inextricably linked to the other. Halloween has evolved just as all primitive celebrations and rituals evolve, and to claim that Jesus Ween aims to ‘celebrate life, not death’ is to ignore that much of the emphasis on death and the afterlife were introduced by Christians, who recognized that, just as Easter commemorated life and rebirth of Spring, there was a need for an Autumnal festival of death and mourning. Pretty much any world religion I can think of has a festival which recognizes the reality of darkness and death –because one has to acknowledge death, and the passage of time.
I have doubts that it would ever take off in Ireland – not alone due to a general Catholic estrangement from scripture, but also because Irish children just would not accept it. I was egged from the window of a passing Nissan Micra, for no discernible reason, on Barrack Street one evening in August – and I never even had the chance to offer them a free Bible.
So, where the well-meaning Jesus Weeners proclaim on their website that ‘every year, the world and its system have a day set aside to celebrate ungodly images and evil characters... God inspired us to encourage Christians to use this day as an opportunity to spread the gospel.’ The ‘system’ they refer to is not immune to Christian influence, and has in fact been shaped by it. Besides, the Bible is full of some fairly unsavoury characters too – does anyone want to talk about Abaddon, demon overlord of a locust army? Or what about Baal, the first of the seven princes of Hell, who takes the form of a bizarre man-toad-cat hybrid? (Note to self: that would make an amazing Halloween costume).
So, now for some gentle questioning of the method, and the madness, behind Jesus Ween: do they know that ‘Halloween’ is derived from the phrase ‘Hallowed Evening’? What exactly is a ‘ween’ supposed to be? Are they aware that ‘ween’ sounds like a shortened version of the vulgar colloquial term, ‘wiener’? Did they consider that many children old enough to ask for sweets at their neighbours’ doorstep are too young to read and understand the Bible? Did they consider that children of other faiths participate in Treat-or-Treating, and that their parents might take offence to a perceived attempt to indoctrinate their kids? Were they too busy clutching their pearls to realise that the greatest threat posed to kids this time of year is tooth decay? And, finally, do they know that Jesus himself was a zombie?
Just to make it clear: it’s not my intention to go all Richard Dawkins up in here: if I wanted to take down organised religion, I surely would have picked a stronger target than Jesus Ween. This a matter of context and history, of balanced perspective – of checkin’ yoself before you wreck yo’self. Now, if you’ll excuse me , I need to place an order for 1000 miniature copies of Anton Lavey’s The Satanic Bible – won’t somebody think of the children?!
Yet, despite the seemingly gormless naivety of the Jesus Ween movement, they do have history on their side – Christmas and Easter, in particular, are pagan celebrations wrapped up in Christian gift paper. It’s also been well documented that some of the earliest missionaries to Ireland from Rome used the legends of native myths and deities, and transferred them to Christian monks and nuns, thus naturalising a foreign belief system as an indigenous part of the existing culture. Bearing this in mind, it’s actually pretty impressive that Halloween has managed to escape attempts at a Christian make-over until now.
Images: http://blogs.babble.com/strollerderby, Jesus Ween
Why Halloween makes me Scream Peter Neville shares his terror of ancient apples, lame puns, and overweight children.
The eve of all things lurid, satanic and immoral is nearly upon us; stores nationwide are plentifulling their supplies of fake blood, temporary gashes and dismembered limbs. Without doubt, Ireland has taken Halloween fever to its heart. And perhaps you may feel that it wouldn’t be too difficult for me to also to smile warmly at the mention of the H-word. But, to be honest, the only way Halloween will be close to my chest is if somebody decides to drive a stake through my heart.
Second, the vast amounts of sweets everywhere. We are in recessionary times – tough times, gruelling times. These are the times when we discover the true meaning of hard work, and in exchange we succeed. But for kids they are presented with this fairy-tale notion of rewards for nothing. It is unfair for the parents to present this kind of world. Ok, you glued bat wings to a bin bag, that doesn’t merit free sweets paid by the taxpayer. Indeed, I would say that at least some percentage of the national deficit has been caused by the persistent, annual and unstoppable forces of trickor-treating. Plus, on a side note, don’t we already have more than enough fat, hyperactive kids as it is?
On the whole, this time of year is quite nice – the days are shorter, the mornings are colder, and it is more acceptable to spend the day warm in bed instead of skating around campus like a snowman with pneumonia. Those are the kind of days I like. In fact, it is not overstatement to say that out of all four seasons, autumn is definitely, at least, my third favourite. So, why the hatred of this yearly feast? It comes down to a few reasons.
And finally, the terrible jokes. The corny, blood-curdlingly bad puns we grew up with – I guarantee you can think of one now, perhaps incorporating a skeleton not going to a dance party. If you cannot think of one, here’s what is known in the business as a zinger: ‘A skeleton walks into a bar, and asks the barman for a pint of beer and a mop’ . See what I mean? Truly terrible.
First, extortion. That’s right, folks, it may seem like simple trick-or treat-for the small kids, but on the receiving end it is an obligation. Students can’t afford to have excess sweets lying round the house, and you can rest assured that there will be no candy apples – unless some neglected Granny Smiths have been there so long that they have naturally taken to evolution by sucrose, out of boredom. And in that case, those shrivelled and depressed pieces of fruit will be even more gruesome than the beasts the kids feign.
Quite simply, the only worthwhile things about Halloween are the ‘Treehouse of Terror’ episodes of The Simpsons and, for guys, the sight of attractive ladies partying in a variety of creative costumes. And so, on the eve of the celebration of macabre, monstrous and murderous, please join me in hiding under the bed until it’s all over. Honestly, do tell me: is the world not gruesome enough without extra goblins and ghouls?
Images: Ciara Kenny, retrodundee.blogspot.com, clcker.com,
A Simple Guide to Celebrity Stalking Katie Healy deals with her obsession in a healthy and honest way, and shares some of her deviously effective tips with us.
You feel like you know this person, you see and hear them everywhere – but have never seen them face to face. You may just want to tell them that you are a fan (not that they already know), you may want to say hey or gently stroke their face before being pummelled by burly bodyguards. Whatever you’re into doing with your particular celebrity, I’m sure this guide will be useful… somehow. So, there are metres between you and that guy from that thing that’s on the telly, the only problem is that one eyed, 8’2” security guard and the barbed wired gate he’s protecting. This brings us to my first point: 1) Push the limits: There is a reason that this person is surrounded by fences and security – you are probably a red, sweaty, loud, hyperventilating fan boy/girl and they are terrified of you. A press pass should solve this problem, instantly transforming you into a member of a somewhat elite squad. All that’s required here is some Photoshop and an old laminate. Lovely. If that doesn’t work, blag. Blagging is how everyone gets everywhere. Trust me, it’s the way to go. 2) Be cool: This is a must when in the confines of a celebrity pit. Look cool, act cool, be cool. Wear sunglasses to avoid the dodgy shifty-eyed look and, dammit, take off that t-shirt with his face printed on it! Control your hyperventilation, wipe those sweaty hands, and then start doing the creep.
3) Befriend: Famous folk are sick of fans; they have plenty of fans. You need to up your game and befriend this person. Remember that they too are human; strike up a conversation, talk about similar interests and do not pander to them whatsoever – if anything they should pander you at this stage. After all, you are part of the fake media presence. 4) Give them what they want: If you don’t automatically hit it off with said celebrity, give them what they want. Which is cans. Celebrities love cans. Tyskie if possible, but Karpackie is fine too. 5) Never respect the manager: Yes, the manager is that pesky little creature who is hovering around all the time like a middle child always seeking attention. They have a lot of power and will get angry if you push them too far, so never look them in the eye. You’ll spontaneously combust. 6) Get proof: What are all these wild stories without colourful illustrations? Don’t forget your camera – or at the very least try and get your picture in the paper as your fall from grace is meticulously documented. Images: caughtoffside.com, David Shankbone.
Kids Say the Darndest Things
Abigail Daisy Woods tells tale of the growing pains she shares her family home with.
Growing up an only child was a decadent experience for me. Not only did it permanently impede my social skills, it also brought my self-absorption and covetousness to an all-time peak. This all came crashing down when I was ten years old with the birth of my first sibling; by the time I was thirteen, I was a sibling of two more. Over the past few years, I have realized that these three children are absolutely hilarious. They have filled my life with so many anecdotes, some of which I will now share with you lovely people. I’d best start with the youngest, my seven-year-old brother. The wonderful thing about him is that he has always been a bit of a charmer, more often than not answering to the nickname ‘Handsome Man’, and has been asking waitresses their names since he was three. He had the time of his life at my 21st birthday party, when he asked my mother if she had any ‘man perfume’ as he preened himself in the mirror, in eager anticipation of all of the girls that would shortly be arriving. One of our chickens had recently had a chick, which he tactfully utilised as an ice breaker; greeting every girl with the line ‘hey, wanna see my chick?’ Within minutes of dropping this chick-up line, he had them bouncing on the trampoline with him. The next day he quizzed me as to why I didn’t have more blonde friends at the party. Next, we have my 8 year old sister, the quintessential middle child. She gets by on pure wit, and I one day imagine she will be either the CEO of a multi-million euro company, or a mob boss. On one of my recent trips home she updated me on the status of
my brother’s loose tooth; it had fallen out and the tooth fairy had given him €5 for it. I was in shock; the most I had ever gotten for a tooth was a pound and that was for one of the front ones. She then explained to me that ‘things are very different now’, that tooth fairies work for themselves and they ‘trade in the teeth for more money than they give the children, because the value of teeth is at a record high’. I assume that this concept is a combination of her vivid imagination and the huge influence of the growing Cash-for-Gold industry. Finally, we have the eldest. At 11 she has reached her ‘tween’ stage, where her unawareness and hilarity has been slightly squashed by the pressures of joint writing and long division. Rest assured, she still has her gems. As an avid music fan, she is a firm believer in covering her walls with One Direction and Little Mix posters from tween magazines. She constantly quizzes me as to what Azaliea Banks is singing in the ‘beeped out parts’ of ‘212’, because she thinks she’s ‘old enough to know now’ (I don’t think anyone is old enough to know). She bought her first phone a few weeks ago with her birthday money; our first conversation went as follows: ‘Hey Ab, I just got my first phone. And guess what, THE DOG HAS DIARRHOEA… (Sic)’. I’ll spare you the rest of the details. I’ve only scraped the tip of the iceberg with these little snapshots of the kids’ joviality. Having younger siblings has really taught me that children are comical little humans who are much smarter than we give them credit for. They remain undamaged by the system that has churned out saps like you and I. If anyone thinks that they might know of children who can out-funny my siblings, then take up my challenge and write to features@ motley.ie!
Images: istockphoto, batkhela.com.
‘Very superstitious, Nothin’ more to say…’
Never slam another door again thanks to Sarah Glascott – read on to find out why!
A great deal of people (myself included) have been known to be a little on the superstitious side. Whether you simply avoid ladders or lock yourself indoors on Friday the 13th, superstitions are quite commonly acknowledged. Traditionally, Halloween is the time when common superstitions carry a lot more weight and, unfortunately for us, superstitions are usually more in favour of bad outcomes rather than the good. Here is a list of common superstitions and their origins so you’re better prepared when bad luck strikes!
Ladders Many people believe that walking under a ladder is awfully bad luck, while others just think it’s unsafe. Ladders were associated with the gallows back in the day. Obviously, anything associated with the gallows wasn’t held in the highest of favour, so walking under ladders wasn’t really advisable. If you happen to have the unfortunate occasion of actually walking under a ladder, there is a cure... either you spit three times through the rungs of the ladder or else you spit on your shoe. If spitting isn’t for you, you could always cross your fingers until you find a dog or walk backwards through the ladder. Best thing to do really is to avoid walking under ladders in the first place!
Black Cats The bad reputation of the black cat dates back to the dark ages, when witch-hunts were commonplace. Apparently the elderly, solitary women who had pet cats were accused of being witches. Their cats were said to be their ‘familiars’, demonic animals that had been given to them by the devil! Another myth was that Satan turned himself into a cat whenever he was socializing with witches, hence the reason they were seen as demonic animals. Nowadays, however, it is considered good luck for a black cat to cross your path in Ireland, Scotland and England.
Ghosts The thing about ghosts is that you never know if they’re out to get you or not. So if you are misfortunate enough to cross paths with a ghost, walk around it nine times and then it will disappear and leave you alone. If you can’t walk around the spook nine times, caw like a rooster. There’s a theory that ghosts don’t wear watches and they’ll flee if they think daylight is upon them. Also, never slam a door because you might accidentally hit a ghost, and when you hurt a ghost it will haunt you forever!
The Number 13 A good one to end on is the number 13. A definite favourite in the superstitious world, this number has always had it rough. Some buildings do not have an official 13th floor and many people avoid driving or going anywhere on Friday the 13th for fear of something awful happening to them. However, all is not dark. Apparently, those born on the 13th of a month will have good luck on that day. Luckily for us, the next Friday the 13th isn’t until September 2013, which, in my opinion, will be an unlucky year in itself!
Pumpkins/Jack-o’-Lanterns Pumpkins are one of the most recognisable symbols at Halloween. Unfortunately for the Jack-o’-lanterns, its roots in Celtic folklore are tragic. Celtic folklore tells of a drunken farmer named Jack who managed to trick the devil, and his trickery meant that he was turned away from both the gates of heaven and hell after he died. Doomed to roam purgatory forever, he made a lantern using a turnip and a piece of burning coal that the devil had so kindly tossed to him from hell. Pumpkins are more commonly found in America so the lantern became a pumpkin rather than a turnip. So we could indeed still be carving turnips rather than pumpkins. Extra superstitious people used them specifically to ward away vampires.
Broken Mirrors Ancient myth suggests that reflections in mirrors are, in fact, our souls (creepy, right?), and when a mirror was broken, it represented our soul being astray from our body. To break this soulless curse, one would have to wait seven hours (one for each year of bad luck) before picking up the broken pieces. Once all pieces were gathered, they would have to be buried outside in the moonlight –it seems like a lot of effort if you ask me.
Images: icanhazcheezeburger.com, riverbank.ie, strangehistory.net.
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A monthly feature in which a guest writer vents some bile over an issue which really grinds their gears. This month, Gavin Fitzgerald laments the current unstable status of keyboard functions, and the international tensions which arise thereof.
Keyboards. We use them all the time, right? They are our means of accessing the beautiful world that is the internet. They are the ever-dependable link between what I want to write, and what appears on screen. Punch a key, and a letter appears – genius. We’ve all had those times when a pesky mouse freezes on us and we’ve had to rely on the good old keyboard to save our bacon, with its trusty Windows key and the fail-safe Ctrl+Alt+Delete combo. If there was any pliability at all to a keyboard, you’d hug the damn thing and whisper sweet words to it when it saves you from those kinds of situations. Well, I would.
‘But this is the way it’s done in America!’, some moron exclaims before bringing up the frankly irrelevant argument that America is the birthplace of the PC to begin with. My counter-argument is always along these lines: ‘Where the hell do you people think the English language came from? Not that it stops you spelling grey with the letter ‘a’, or mistaking ‘chips’ for ‘fries’, and generally adopting a bastardized dialect of my mother tongue!’ And so on. Now, while I can appreciate the conniver’s side of this (I am, after all, a reasonable man), that yes indeed, the original keyboard was designed and manufactured in America, the thought that I should have to yield to a Yanky formality sends shivers down my spine. If those haughty Americans feel they have the right to butcher spelling, then I shall retain my right to properly labelled key functions, FUCK YOU VERY MUCH. Perhaps if I could lay in wait and catch some of these people, I might be able to scream at them and shake them until they see sense and reason – but that never happens. I don’t doubt that I could knock some sense into them, but, despite the long hours spent hiding the nooks and crannies of the Boole Library, in full camouflage attire with night vision goggles, ready to scold the perpetrator into reform, I never seem to catch them in the act. The only way to make the enemy see reason is to start running some sort of insurgency mission in America – bringing sneaky guerrilla tactics to their schools and homes, stealthily changing every @ to an “ – then retreating en mass to watch their society implode (insert evil laugh here).
My course involves computers, and hence keyboards. I have to use them every day. I use them in college, I use them at home, and in the future I’m sure I’m going to use them in my workplace. I depend on them. Their labelled keys are golden promises, a solid contract of trust between man and machine, without which there would be UTTER CHAOS. No matter how shit things are, at least your keyboard loves you... so when I hit the ‘Delete’ key, I fucking well expect stuff to be deleted.
But alas, maybe there is no way to win this war. Considering America is the greatest military power in the world, is it slightly over-ambitious to hope that a small number of Irish students can challenge the techie status quo? Will I have to suffer on in this world where the function of keyboard keys may forever more be in a state of upheaval? Is a universal consensus on the proper status of that key on the top right-hand corner forever out of reach? And might we all have to bow to the ways of an Imperialist system?
Obviously, I do not want to use the ‘Home’ key when I hit the key labelled ‘Delete’, but for some reason beyond all comprehension, there are sick, sad people out there who keep swapping the functions of these keys in certain UCC computer labs, and that makes me madder than a hunchback in a limbo contest. As it’s the 21st century, I would have assumed that every sentient person who has any awareness of torrents, memes, and general internet culture knows what that key at the top right of the keyboard does. It’s not ‘Home’, it’s ‘Delete’. DELETE.
A bleak and gray forecast indeed – but all is not lost. Never forget, comrades, that ‘Home’ is where 7 the number is.
The Delete/Home swapping is a crime I encounter with infuriating regularity , but then there’s another one which is equally aggravating, but this time, the aggressors have the cheek to try and defend their actions: I’m talking about the @ and “ switcheroo. I’ve lost track of the amount of times that I have been logging into an account of some kind and instead of writing something similar to firstname.lastname@example.org (not my real email, I’m so much more creative than that), I ended up with a gavin”gmail.com. Some conniving bastard had taken it upon his or herself to swap the function of the keys and, as such, when I hit enter I was informed that my email input was invalid. INVALID. The humiliation, the deceit, the OUTRAGE of it all.
Images: reactionimage.org, funnyjunk.org, memelinks.com.
‘Are ya Well?’ A new health and wellness column, written by UCC med students. This month, Aidan Coffey talks a load of sugar about diabetes: what it is, and how to treat it. The festival of Halloween is looming on the horizon, and in addition to low-grade superhero costumes, ultra-revealing morph suits and more spiders than you can shake a broomstick at, we can look forward to a sustained barrage of sugary treats. Sounds like the perfect time to discuss a condition that many would associate immediately with sugar and diet – diabetes. Diabetes is a lifelong disease whereby the body cannot properly absorb sugar released from food. In typical human functioning, food is ingested and broken down in the intestines, into a simple form called glucose (a sugar), which is transported around the body in the blood. Normally, body cells absorb this glucose and use the energy for growth and repair. In order to allow glucose into the cells, a chemical hormone called insulin is released into the blood by the pancreas. However, a diabetic finds it difficult to absorb glucose, meaning their cells must use alternative sources of energy. Excessive glucose can then build up in the blood, causing further health complications. Too much sugar is known as hyperglycaemia (‘hyper’ meaning too much, ‘-glyc-’ referring to sugar, and ‘-aemia’ standing for blood). Conversely, too little sugar in the blood is known as hypoglycaemia. Interestingly, two main categories of diabetes exist. We now know you need insulin to get the sugar from your blood to your cells, a bit like a bridge over a river to allow you move from one side to the other. In Type 1 diabetes, this bridge is no longer there, as the cells in the pancreas that produce the insulin have been destroyed. This form accounts for 10-12% of all diabetes, and it often appears in healthy, thin individuals during adolescence. Type 2 diabetes is more prevalent (more than 85% of cases), and it’s slightly different. Even though the pancreas may be producing insulin, some of the cells have seen so much sugar that they don’t respond properly to the insulin. In response, the pancreas ups the ante and pumps out more insulin, (it’s like when the mother calls you for the dinner and you don’t listen, so she shouts louder, and then you pay attention). Over time, the pancreas gets exhausted and gives up altogether, meaning no insulin at all. Ultimately, both forms mean no insulin, which means no sugar in the cells. And that’s bad.
Some extra sugar in your blood is fine in small doses, but if it’s there the whole time, it can cause trouble. It can get deposited in places it shouldn’t, meaning your some blood vessels and nerves stop working properly, especially in your hands and feet. This is why diabetics must be so careful with their feet – they may not feel blisters or sores on their feet (because of the poor nerves) and they may heal slowly (because of the poor blood supply), and these can develop into problems as serious as gangrene, necessitating amputation in serious cases. Treatment varies depending on the type of diabetes, but often affected individuals must inject synthetic insulin themselves, to take the place of the insulin that their pancreas should be making. This isn’t a perfect fix though – injecting can damage the skin and muscles underneath, so injection sites must be rotated frequently. That said, Elvis Presley had it. Johnny Cash had it. Halle Berry has it. Mikhail Gorbachev has it. Whilst diabetes is no barrel of laughs, it’s clear that gyrating wildly onstage or dismantling the communist empire is still within the bounds of possibility. Just ease up on the sugar in the tea. Disclaimer: this column is not a substitute for consulting a doctor. If you seek information or treatment for this or any other condition, visit the UCC Student Health Clinic.
A Gender-Normative Halloween Costume Guide Derwin Myers bakes some red hot traditional gender roles for you to much on this October 31st. It’s that time of year again. If it’s your first year in college you’re in for a treat, whilst if you are like me and have seen a few Halloweens come and go during your time at UCC, then you know it’s about to get crazy. In the build-up for this hormone fuelled, scantily- clad event I have compiled a list both for the ladies and men on what to wear if you want to impress (I take no responsibility for what happens after the impressing!).
Madmen character: If you’ve been paying any attention to what the opposite sex have been saying since Madmen came on air, then you know a suit, cigar and glass of scotch is a sure-fire winner. Blues Brothers/James Bond is also an option in this category. Oh, and heap on the misogyny. Chicks love misogyny.
Christian Grey: The entire female population are weak at the knees for him, even though he’s a fictional character. Shove a sticker with ‘Mr Grey’ on your shirt and you’ll be laughing. Just be cautious of moms and nans that have read 50 shades. You are welcome. By the way, you will need a whip to go with that suit.
Hugh Hefner: You got the swag, the money and you’re in a bath robe. Plus you’re not 150 years old. Bunnies apply here. Also girls with daddy issues.
Ryan Gosling, Drive: All you need is shades, pair of gloves, a scorpion on the back of your jacket, and a boot for all the ladies. Stay in character by barely speaking and not telling anyone your name. Danny Zuko, Grease: A badass with roll-up jeans, shades and a leather jacket? Worst case scenario you look like The Fonz, and he didn’t do too bad with the ladies. Summer/Autumn lovin’. • Stripper Pole: You will need a roll of cling film, some Christmas lights and a battery source. You will not be meeting candidates for your future wife.
Cat woman: Girl in a full leather bodysuit with a whip. Only the brave will attempt this but there’s a reason it’s a Halloween classic… you know yourself!
Oktoberfest Girl: ’Tis the season, eh? No red-blooded male can resist a lovely lady with jugs of beer. No man.
Wonder Woman: A superhero outfit that would NEVER work in real life. A crime fighting Amazon with a gold breastplate and hot pants? That would be a yes.
Marilyn Monroe: Classy look for the ladies. Just find a street grid with regular trains passing below to recreate the desired effect.
Kim Kardashian: Just stuff a pillow down your dress so your ass looks ridiculously massive. Job done.
Female Ghostbuster: Just Google it. You’ll see what I’m talking about.
GAA: Take your brother’s jersey, rip in half and you’re set. Everyone loves a winner and every lad will tell you a girl in her club kit is nice.
Hooters Girl: Requirements: swag, beer and not a lot else. Leaving Cert optional.
Ninja: Just think about it…
Quick Fire round Do’s:
Quick Fire round Don’t: Douche costume: If you go as anyone from Jersey/Geordie Shore, a giant penis, or if you literally dress as a douche (it’s been done)....just, don’t.
Sexy (insert anything): I’m talking sailors, bumblebees, nuns, French maids, firewomen, Pokémon, watermelons, sharks, janitors, eskimoes, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. There is a sexy costume version of everything out there. Just Google the above examples – and then don’t buy them. Also: going as a ‘Girl Geek’ is so Katy Perry circa 2011. YAWN.
Senita Appiakorang challenges The X Factor fantasy, and examines the blurry line between entertainment and exploitation
The X Factor has sprung upon us, calling for Saturday night plans to be strictly timetabled around the compulsory rudiments of the three and a half hour affair. For me, this means a self-loathsome routine of assembling my duvet and pillows in a fort-like structure around me, and providing something to clasp onto for when I can’t stomach the cringey sob stories. You know the ones: ‘Before the X Factor, my whole life was a shambles. Watching this show gave me the strength to get up every morning. I’d brush my teeth to the rhythm of Katy Perry’s song ‘Firework’ as an exercise to build up my confidence and eventually blow away the judges. If I don’t get this, I may be forced to amputate myself.’ I’m being harsh, but the extent to which the show is sensationalised and manipulated to feed us the idea that it is a legitimate means to a fantastical, showbiz life, is one that both intrigues and worries me. That the contestant auditions before a live audience is fittingly representative of the risk of rejection within the music industry as a whole. In ‘real-world’ auditions, those pivotal first seconds of a performance constitute the time it takes the music scout to form a lasting impression (if you’re lucky enough to make it past the scout’s coffee guy). That sense of ‘now or never’ tension in the live auditions is close to the reality of showbiz breaks. However, the rest of the stages in the show entirely romanticise the notion of a contestants ‘big break’. Like the Grinch loves to ruin Christmas, I love to deconstruct some of those idyllic myths circulated by The X Factor about the music industry. Let’s take a brief moment to reflect upon some the past winners of the X Factor to date, and their lucrative reputations as recently documented by RadioTimes.com: ‘2005: Shane Ward: fourth fastest selling UK single of all time. Series of hit songs. Deliberated as substituting Jason Orange from Take That. Sadly, got the boot. Now basks in the glory of performing in contemporary metal musical Rock of Ages in London.’
I talked to Lara Norris, former music supervisor of Guitar Hero Mobile and current lecturer in Críost Staofan Naofa, where her area is the internal affairs of the music industry, asking her what a standard contract may entail. She shared with me some statistics on royalty divisions which date from 2001. ‘Most recording contracts contain a provision whereby an advance is paid to the artist, prior to any record sales occurring’. This serves as a financial security that ensures the artist gets paid some fixed revenue, irrespective of delays in processing whatever additional cash comes through in sales. ‘If record sales disappoint, then an artist may never be ‘recouped’ and the advances become the only source of income from recording’. However, some recording companies find loop-hole methods of avoiding paying the advance, by deducting the costs of expenses like sponsorship, music videos, touring and promotions from the agreed amount. A regular musician binding themselves to this contract have an immediate advantage, as their musical integrity is not lost because they have creative rights to the musical content. A singer-songwriter would be entitled to the royalties of all their songs and performances, and would receive payment for every performance of it, whether it is his own rendition or not. This is further guaranteed by unions like IMRO or RAAP. Managers would ensure that the contract is tailored to avoid the risk of the performer’s earnings being forfeited to the recording labels, publishers or other subordinates in the musical chain of command, so they can rightfully pay their incurred bills knowingly and with some authority. X Factor contestants unfortunately do not share the same luxury, as they lend themselves to the vulnerability of a record label’s authority. They are liable to be dropped as easily as they entered if their single doesn’t cash in, and in most cases are ill-informed of the terms of the contract, never mind their rights as performer, and are not in a position to negotiate their own terms. I like to think this is why any serious musician would never be enticed by such an opportunity. It’s worth advising anyone considering this sort of prospect to read articles like ‘52 Ways to Screw an Artist’ on digitalmusicnews.com, and read up on the types of contracts you can agree on with record labels and managers to keep yourself aware and acute as to how you’ll gain money. Ultimately, I expect that show will go on with more and more eager and hopeful contestants – and I relish it. It’s the fiendishly clever, hopelessly trashy show we love to hate. As Kelly Rowland would say, ‘you put it DOWN, baby!’
‘2008: Alexandra Burke: notorious for her multimillionaire UK selling rendition of ‘Hallelujah’. Has had a several top ten singles. Appeared on the judging panels of So You Think You Can Dance? and filling for Kelly Rowland in The X Factor.’ ‘2010: Matt Cardle: still have yet to see where his title has got him, rivals One Direction are making waves in America though.’ Apart from Leona Lewis, none of the past winners have, as of yet, become super-stars. The lucky ones are content with the humble ‘pop-star’ label, and others are struggling to find roles in West End musicals. In most cases, the preconceived expectation of international status is not guaranteed merely by virtue of signing a contract with Sony BMG, which dictates all aspects of their career, including some scary financial clauses.
An Idea That Fell From Laurie Laurelle: Halloween Edition Laura O’ Donovan remembers she’s a Womble by making good use of the things left behind, things that perhaps the everyday folk leave behind. I am a firm believer in being yourself, but when it comes to Halloween, I’m all for identity theft. I was strolling home from college the other day when I stumbled upon a little terrier doing figure of eights on the pavement. Although his tiny body was doubled over in pain from holding it in for so long, his enthusiasm and indecision kept him sniffing. He eventually settled for several locations, making it all the more difficult for his patient owner to clean up. I often feel like this dog, overwhelmed by choice. ‘What are you going to be for Halloween, Laura?’ ‘A little bit of everything, thank you very much.’ The beauty about the holiday is not just the fact that you can eat yourself silly, but also having the opportunity to let your imagination run wild. The latter, my friends, is what I’m trying to instil today. My crafts below are only stepping stones; every single one of you will create completely different products given the same materials. That is what I absolutely adore about craft. Let yourself go some night and see what you come up with. You won’t always be happy with them but keep going until you can actually step back from it and say ‘this isn’t half bad.’ You’ll probably never think it’s perfect, but please remember that it is the little imperfections that make craft so beautiful.
The Necklace They have googly eyes in Vibes and Scribes on Bridge Street, 80c cent for ten of them 1.
Get an empty beer/coke can and rip off the tab from it.
Glue a pair of googly eyes over one of the holes to make a face but make sure you leave a bit of the hole above to tie a piece of ribbon on.
You can make various ones of these by adding hair, ears and other body parts. Go wild! The Spider
I have aimed to provide you all with crafts that encourage you to reuse things that students have in abundance. There are some things that you may need to buy, but I have made sure that they cost no more than €2. You might even come up with better and cheaper options. If you do, go with them. What comes from your head is always more beautiful than what comes from reading a series of steps. The Mini Top Hat
You will need a black plastic spoon, googly eyes and black pipe cleaners. You can get a set of pipe cleaners in Vibes and Scribes for €1.99 and a set of black cutlery in the €2 store on Oliver Plunkett Street. You will be able to make a few spiders out of these. 1.
Hold the spoon facing down with the curve going upwards.
Get a pipe cleaner and wrap it once around the narrow part of the spoon close to the curve of the spoon so that half of the pipe cleaner is at one side and half is at the other side.
Cut an empty toilet roll in half to make the top of the hat. If you want a tall one, leave it as it is.
Repeat step 2 three times, so that you have 4 pipe cleaners and 8 legs.
Cut out enough black bin bag or fabric to completely cover one end and the sides of the toilet roll and stuff the remainder in the other end. Glue, sellotape or staple the bin bag down.
Bend the pipe cleaners up to shape the legs.
From some leftover cardboard or plastic, cut out a circle bigger than the toilet roll for the base of the hat and cover this with some bin bag. Gather the bin bag in the centre of one side of the circle and stick this down.
Cut off the excess handle of the spoon and burn it down with a match or lighter to give it a nice edge. Please make sure not to set yourself or the place on fire! It doesn’t take long at all to do this but it might be best to do it outside.
Put the uncovered end of the toilet roll over this part of the bottom circle so that it covers the mess and stick this down.
Glue the eyes to the pipe cleaner just above the bit that you have burnt.
Have a lovely Halloween!
Get some ribbon, fishnet or anything you can find and tie it around the bottom of the toilet roll.
To make the buckle, take the tab off an empty beer/coke can, put one end of the ribbon through the back of one hole and the other through the back of the other hole and then put the ribbon through the front of the opposite holes.
You can attach it on to a clip or hairband using super glue (it’s costly and messy, but it works well).
Images: Laura O’ Donovan.
Letter from a Concerned Scholar Aódhan Óg de Burcá laments the passing of mystery tours. Dear Sir (or Madam, as the case may be), I address myself to you with the most leaden of hearts, that I may relieve myself and receive some fleeting respite from a most inconsolable and fraught matter which affronts the self-respect of our university from one day to the morrow. I speak, with the utmost bitterness and deploration, of the ban on society mystery tours which continues still to the present day. In the prosperous days of 2010, it was the God-given right of each man and woman to mount a bus, arrive in the back-end of nowhere in particular, and proceed to consume troughs of cheap liquor. Whatever society organised the event was immaterial to us; for I, along with my admirable cohorts, Tadgh Amarachán and Michéal Mac Diarmuidigh, were veterans of the practice. Seldom would the week go past that we failed to grace a mystery tour with robust singsong or regaling yarns of years gone by, comforted in the thought that we could get plastered, make tools of ourselves and never have anything to do with that society ever again. It was the best of days, a golden era where men were men and women were objects. It was an ‘integral part of our student experience’, as we were told by multitudes of cacophonous gaggles of society show-boaters throughout our fresher’s year. To be speaking the truth, they weren’t wrong. The time raced beyond us, and we found ourselves in second year; older, wiser, but eager to get back to what was our most revered ritual. It was in the opening months of the academic year 2011/2012 that we had heard the most reviled words that have irreparably soiled our lives as fervent scholars of this fine institution: mystery tours were to be c ancelled. The news hit us in a fashion comparable to how a wrecking ball may decapitate a wayward pigeon, unaware of its unfortunate flight path. How we rued the day when this decision was made, all because some fellow patrons ‘robbed’ an off-licence during one tour in particular. Myself, Tadgh and Michéal were flattened by the development, but we were told in confidence that it was, in all likelihood, a short-term measure, and that our beloved tours would resume for the year 2012/2013. But, alas and alack!, we have been duped, and are still left stranded in a mire of below-par, Cork city nightclubs where we must lend moderacy to our merriment; we cannot lay waste to the city centre and abscond back to our respective nests without consequence, as was our custom before. It is to us, the stout-hearted and proud students of University College Cork, to reinstitute mystery tours back into university life, a tradition that enables weary scholars to engage in the cathartic destruction of towns in the province of Munster and beyond. By pushing the upper boundaries of ignorant excess and degradation during our formative college years, we can conversely construct a moral barometer by which we can measure the virtue or vice of our future endeavours after graduation. We are the stewards of a heritage, and it is our responsibility to foster it for future generations of hooligans students. Faithfully, Aódhan Óg de Burcá.
Meme of The Month Dolan Duck
Mae McSweeney herps her derp and lurks all the boards, in her attempt to bring you the very lulziest of internet culture. The meme is derived from an MS Paint comic which appeared on a Finnish message board in 2010. The first known English example of the Dolan meme appeared on 4Chan in August 2010, and only a few days later, the Dolan sub-reddit was established. Unsurprisingly, something about this vile, heinous, disgusting character seemed to appeal to the online communities at each of the aforementioned websites, and by March of 2012, Dolan was one of the hottest memes on the interwebz.
‘Dolan Duck’ is an MS Paint web-comic meme, centring on the interactions between a number of poorly drawn Disney cartoon characters, who address each other in broken, misspelled English. Dolan’s name is adapted from the much-loved Donald Duck, an anthropomorphic white duck who wears a sailor suit and cap, whose mischievous personality has delighted children for decades.
Basically all Dolan comics come with a NSFW tag. Themes of bestiality, murder, torture, a myriad display of sexual assault, coprophilia, incest and drug abuse are dealt with in a less than sensitive matter. If you like your humour a little bit twisted (read: really, really sick) then Dolan is the duck for you. Even if Dolan doesn’t completely disgust you, there’s no guarantee you’ll even find it funny – this is a divisive meme, and a lot of people complain about not ‘getting’ the joke. The Dolan fan base is so strong, however, that there is an English-to-Dolan online translator (http:// dolantranslator.appspot.com/) where a sentence such as ‘I like to edit for Motley’ morphs grotesquely into ‘i leik 2 edit fur motley’. Ugh.
Dolan, his altogether more fucked-up, nightmarish double, is not likely to delight anyone of a sensitive or squeamish demeanour. Dolan dons the familiar blue sailor cap, but his face is disturbingly squash, smug and featureless. Basically, Dolan’s whole shtick is that he is a perverted, maniacal, psychopathic, sadistic, cannibalistic, hate-filled, sex-crazed monster. Most comics feature an interaction between Dolan, and his best friend/love rival/victim Gooby (at this stage I feel you should able to be able to figure out who he’s based off). These comics usually feature a final panel where Dolan quotes what is now almost his catchphrase – ‘Gooby pls’. Part of why I find this meme so funny is because the phrase ‘Gooby pls’ can have many different meanings. For example, Dolan may be imploring Gooby to cuddle with him, instead of with Bogs (again, guess for yourself). Or, Dolan wants Gooby to put Pruto to sleep for peeing on his carpet. Or, as is so often the case, Dolan seems to be imploring Gooby to sit still as he commits various acts of atrocity on his gullible friend.
Regarding usage, if you want to make a Dolan comic, then the speech has to be garbled; as in, simple English, full of misspellings and lacking definite articles. Consult the above-mentioned translator if you’re unsure. Examples of non-Disney characters currently in use are Spoderman and Btsman (Marvel Comics), and Dafty Duck, Cyote and Rode Ranrar (Warner Brothers). Try to come up with some suitably horrible action for Donal to commit. Have fun with it, kids! Hyuck hyuck hyuck. Image: funnyjunk.com
Hot, Wholesome Action Dean Murray is ready to rumble, as he investigates the strange and seedy world of professional wrestling.
A few months ago on a Monday night, just past 1 a.m., I was channel surfing. Not an unusual occurrence for me. I reached the sports channels and saw that Monday Night Raw, the World Wrestling Entertainment’s flagship programme, had reached its 1000th episode. Being a huge wrestling fan in my younger days, I stayed to see what it had become in the 10 years since I gave up. It was good craic for what it was – a nostalgia-gasm. Friends of mine who still would be considered huge fans, afterwards told me that Raw is never that good because it’s ‘way too PG’. Another friend of mine told me why: former CEO Linda McMahon’s senate campaign. Her attempt to recreate the wholesome, family friendly and truly ‘American’ wrestling of the 80s was at least a little insane when you consider that, up to 10 years ago, it was about as wholesome and family-friendly as Chris Brown on smack. The ‘Katie Vick’ storyline is quite possibly the worst thing ever to ever happen, ever. This saw Linda McMahon’s actual son-in-law, Triple H, feuding with Kane, ‘The Devil’s Favourite Demon’. Triple H claimed that Kane had a relationship with a girl named Katie Vick. Apparently, one night after a party, Kane (presumably having had a few cans), hiding burns he received early in childhood with his mask, had been driving drunk with Katie Vick in the passenger seat. The car crashed (pesky mask!) and Kane had sex with her corpse. As an ace attorney, Triple H’s proof of Kane’s necrophilia consisted of a video of himself wearing a Kane mask going to a funeral parlour, stripping down and getting into Katie Vick’s supposed casket and humping a mannequin. Then Triple H performed a ventriloquist act, with said mannequin complaining about Kane’s ‘burnt little weiner’ - this actually happened. That this incident isn’t talked about all that much just proves how good the WWE is at purging less savoury events from its history – just ask Chris Benoit1. Oh wait. You can’t. The reason content like this became the norm, was that in the 90s, there were two contending major wrestling companies, the World Wrestling Federation owned by Linda and Vince McMahon, and Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling. This battle for dominance is known as the Monday Night Wars. It was a very real conflict between the two companies, which involved the use of cutthroat tactics, and defections of wrestlers and writers between the two. All through 1996 and 1997, the WWF’s Monday Night Raw was beaten in the ratings by WCW’s Monday Nitro. This all changed when the WWF entered the ‘Attitude Era’ in which the family-friendly ‘good guy versus bad guy’ wrestling of the 80s was dropped in favour of more sexually driven, adult oriented storylines. And DO I mean sexually driven.
Sex was a massive part of WWE (they changed from WWF to WWE after a court case with the World Wildlife Fund, because it was SO easy to confuse them) programming. Female wrestlers called ‘Divas’ competed, and I use that term loosely, in combat such as Bra And Panties matches (last stripped to their underwear wins!), Lingerie Pillow Fights (because, feminism) and Schoolgirl Battle Royales (i.e., suffragettes). WWE is major fan of gender equality. Once, owner Vince McMahon made Diva Trish Stratus bark like a dog, before ripping off her top and firing her, all on-screen. WWE also turned a real life affair into storyline fodder when it was discovered that Lita, who was in a relationship with Matt Hardy, had grown close to Edge. This escalated to point where Matt and Edge had a real fight, live. The worst case of the WWE exploiting the affair can be seen in Edge and Lita’s ‘Live Sex Celebration’. A bed was placed in the ring and Edge declared in front of a live audience, that to celebrate his championship victory, he and Lita were going to have sex. Cue jazzy porn music as they began to strip, before getting under the covers and beginning a little foreplay. I would implore you to check to it out. Not for some weird mutual masturbation conference I’m holding, but just to wonder at HOW and WHY this was considered a good idea.
The WWE now seems to think that it can go back in time to the 80s. A time of clearly defined superheroes and villains. Nothing morally ambiguous - for instance, John Cena, the unholy love child of Hulk Hogan and Vanilla Ice. Cena’s main gimmick is that he’s all about hustle, loyalty, respect, rising above hate; generally being a complete goody-twoshoes. The only way to actually beat him would involve a gun, and only person more marketable than him, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. The problem is that anyone over 13 hates Cena, so the older demographic is diminishing fast. If Linda McMahon fails in her attempt to get the senate seat and goes back to attempting to run a profitable company, she might find that her that her business will go the way of WCW, and simply vanish.
OFFENSIVE JOKE ALERT: Chris Benoit was a very good wrestler who died. The night after WWE did a whole live show tribute to him but when it came out that he murdered his wife, his youngest kid Daniel, and then himself, The WWE obliterated him from their records.
Images: wrestling18.com, blog-city.info, lindaforsenate2012.com
Resident kitchen wench Shell Leonard cackles over a cauldron that hubbles, boils and bubbles, and serves us a wicked selection of treats. All of the recipes can be served with either eye of newt or toe of frog.
With All Hallows’ Eve just around the corner, why not try some frugal, festive fancies to keep the ghosts and ghoulies at bay.While everyone likes to carve themselves a pumpkin, not everyone knows what to do with the actual foodstuff. So, when your house-mates are finished with their jack-o-lantern, sneak in and grab the remains for this delicious soup. You can also use butternut squash as a less seasonal alternative.
Pumpkin Soup (serves 4)
Preheat the oven to 200C. Toss the cubes of pumpkin in the oil. Roast for 15mins, turn and roast for a further 15mins or until the pieces are golden and soft.
1kg of pumpkin, peeled and deseeded, chopped into cubes.
2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp of butter., 1 clove of garlic, sliced or crushed. While the pumpkin cooks, use a pot to melt the butter. Add the onions, garlic and chilli and cook until soft. 2 onions diced., 2 red chillies (mild), chopped and deseeded. Add the squash, stock and crème fraîche. Use a stick blender or food processor to whizz until smooth. Return to the pot and season to your taste. 4 tbsp of crème fraîche. 850ml hot vegetable stock (Knorr stockpots are best).
Optional: Crème fraîche for serving., Croutons (see recipe) Salt and pepper to season.
Witches Fingers (or double dipped shortbread!)
225g butter melted., 175g caster sugar, 2 eggs, separated., 400g plain flour, 1 tsp baking powder.
1 slice bread.
Optional: Raspberry jam mixed with a drop of boiling water., Chocolate spread/Melted Chocolate., Icing sugar Process: Preheat the oven to 180C. Mix the melted butter and sugar together until combined. Add the egg yolks and beat together. Sift in the flour and baking powder. Mix together, then use flour covered hands to knead the dough. This basic shortbread recipe can be used again and again with different shapes. Shape the dough into finger shapes or if you have an icing bag with a large nozzle use that. Bake in the oven for roughly 12 mins or until golden brown. Brush the white of the egg on biscuits and sieve icing sugar on them. Return to oven for 1 minute.
2 tbsp of oil. 1 tbsp of chilli/cayenne pepper. Process: Chop bread into squares. Mix seasoning and oil together. Dip bread into the seasoned oil and bake for 2 mins or until golden. Serving Suggestions: Use hot vegetable stock to dilute the soup if you feel it is too thick.
Toffee Apples/Toffee Popcorn Ingredients:
100g light muscovado sugar, 100g butter, 142ml double cream.
Optional: Apples and chopped walnuts, Popcorn sans seasoning.
Leave to cool on a wire rack for 5mins. Use the chocolate spread to make a nail and the jam to make the blood.
Place the sugar, butter and cream in a pan on a low heat and simmer until the sugar has dissolved (the mixture looks clear). Cook until the sauce is a nice toffee colour.
Serving Suggestions: With toffee popcorn, use the hot sauce and drizzle over the popcorn. For the toffee apples, allow the sauce to cool, dip the apple and roll in the nuts.
Images: Shell Leonard
The Raven Escape
My name is David Young. If I had friends, I’m pretty sure they’d call me ‘Dave’. But I don’t. All I have is a job – as a life assurance salesman. That term bothers me. I’m not sure why. I think it’s because insurance implies there’s a chance something won’t happen, while assurance implies that it will happen. We are all going to die. Life is fragile. That bothers me.
Until then, I have to sit at my desk by the window. When I’m not working, I like to look around. Sometimes I look over at the rest of the drones, all in little cubicles – spread throughout the room, all identical; like headstones. Sometimes, I’ll turn around and look out the window, and remind myself that there is indeed a world outside my job. It’s not a very uplifting experience. Right across the road stands what’s left of a skyscraper – just like the one I sit in every day. They stopped building it when the project ran out of money. I often wonder what they were going to do with the skyscraper. Wasted potential, ripped down by the dark sides of capitalism. Beyond the failed skyscraper, there are just a series of non-descript buildings. I never cared enough to know why they’re there. They have no personality, and no trace of life. It’s sad. The only thing that I enjoy looking at is the picture that sits above my desk, pinned to the wall of my cubicle. Even when I’m on the phone I stare at it. Even if it is just a small picture of a Volkswagen Type 2 hippy van, it fills me with hope- almost optimism. I imagine handing in my resignation, buying a van just like it- beaten; greyed, aged beyond its years; and fixing it up, then taking it across Europe. I imagine living a real life – a life full of adventure – going from place to place. I imagine the amber sunsets, the green trees, and the clear blue skies. Most importantly, I imagine getting the hell out of here. Sometimes, I think about taking Sarah with me. Sarah works at the reception desk on the ground floor, where she can see everyone pass up on down the road through the glass double doors that mark the boundaries of our mutual prison. She can see the real world. It’s so close she can smell it, but she’s stuck in here with the rest of us. It must be like living in a Glass Box. She can see everything going on, but she can’t be a part of it. Every morning, I pass her on the way to the elevator, and I shoot her a smile as if to say ‘hey, I’m in the same boat as you’, and she grins back at me. The sly grin she gives me lights up my world, and becomes the best three seconds of my day. I especially love how she’s able to smile, even though I know that she feels the same way I do. That keeps me going sometimes. But I want to just leave, and take her with me, on the adventure of a lifetime. Talk to her, learn from her; get to know her, form a meaningful connection.
But what really bothers me is that I get up, every morning, put on my white shirt, and take a bus into town, where I spend all day, sitting at a desk; surrounded by people wearing white shirts, who sit at desks. I am paid to sit at this desk, and tell people over the phone that ‘life is fragile sir. You never know when death will strike. It’s important to have precautions in place.’ And then they give us money, as a precaution for when they die. When you spend every day telling people that life is fragile, you start to believe it. I am living with a death sentence, and everyone in this position has one thing in common: they all have regrets. Mine? I forgot to live. And now I make my living telling people that they too should stop living, in case it kills them. I never took a risk. I always lived safe. I never smoked; I haven’t done drugs since college (and even then, it was non-prescription painkillers). I never got into a fight, I never hurt myself. I never fell in love. Worst of all, I was pushed into a job I hate by parents who know that money will not buy you happiness, but believe that it’s a perfectly good replacement. I have to get out of here. I really want to, you know that? I want it more than anything. Sometimes, I stay up at night, listen to Springsteen, and look out past my backyard – out onto the airport runway near my house. The lights make the sky look like an artificial sunset. It’s amazing to see – it really is. So I stay up all night and watch planes fly away, wonder where they’re going, who is on the planes, and what they are going to do when they reach their destination. Most of all, I wonder why I’m not flying away. If I don’t get out of here soon, I’m afraid I’ll end up like my boss, Mr Grimes. He sits in his office all day on the top floor. He never wanted to be in charge of the whole operation – he just got pushed up the ladder – until he woke up one day in a large office, on the seventh floor; a prisoner of his own success. He drinks a lot. I think his biggest misfortune is that he knows that he isn’t the warden of this massive prison; he’s an inmate – just like the rest of us. I am not going to turn out like Mr Grimes – I swear. I have to get out.
Every morning, I wake up and tell myself that today is the day I finally do it. Today is the day I leave and take her with me. But a voice at the back of my mind always says, like HAL 9000, ‘I’m Sorry, Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that’, so I slug through the day as normal. But, you know what? I have a feeling that today is the day I finally do it. Image: Ciara Kenny
Stranger Than Fiction! •
When Albert Einstein died, his final words died with him. The nurse at his side didn’t understand German.
In 1647, the English Parliament abolished Christmas.
The magic word ‘Abracadabra’ was originally intended for the specific purpose of curing hay fever.
Say hello to the new minimalism. Take inspiration from the architecture of the Glucksman Gallery and choose sharp silhouettes this season. Leather panelling and statement jewellery give this look a healthy dose of attitude, while a simple beanie and untucked shirt lend an urban feel to the simplest of outfits.
Look 1: Wool and leather panel coat: River Island â‚Ź100
Boots: Stylists Own
Trousers: Cos €69
Cotton t-shirt: Stylists Own
Blazer: Warehouse €84
Shoes: Stylists Own
Skirt: Mercury Goes Retrograde â‚Ź18
Shirt: Stylists Own
Boots: Stylists Own
Bowler Hat: Mercury Goes Retrograde
Wool coat: Cos €175
Silk Blouse: Warehouse €46
Angora Cardigan: Topshop €58
Jeans: Gap €59
Boots: Stylists Own
Skirt: Stylists Own
Shirt: Gap €34.95
Beanie: Topshop €18
Wool coat: Topshop €120
Blouse: Warehouse €46
Waxed jeans: Warehouse €61
Boots: Stylists Own
Dress: River Island €53
Necklace: Stylists Own
Boots: Stylists Own
Cuff: Cos Brown Thomas €29
Fashion by: Aisling Fitzpatrick and Emma Oliver.
Model: Meghan O’Donnell. Photographer: Emmet Curtin. Hair: Fiona @ Origins Hair Salon. Makeup: Aoife O’Callaghan @ Benefit Debenhams. Location: With thanks to the Lewis Glucksman Gallery .
The Minimalist Edit Look at any street style blog or in any magazine, and it’s increasingly clear that fast fashion is out, and enduring classic style is most certainly in. Aisling Fitzpatrick counts down the best places to shop the minimalism trend in Cork.
Best for: Coats
The arrival of this Swedish brand at Brown Thomas was heralded by fashion mavericks all over Cork, and it certainly has not disappointed. The brand has a reputation for favouring classic silhouettes and timeless fashion. Beware, however; although Cos is the sister of retail giant H&M, prices are definitely a lot steeper. The real standout piece for this brand is the coat, a garment they have mastered to rival any high end designer brand. Mixing functionality with sharp tailoring and luxurious fabrics, a coat from this brand is likely to last a lifetime and well worth the investment.
Best for: Trousers
Topshop Best for: Shoes Topshop has become a pioneer of fast fashion in the past decade, so I was sceptical as to whether they really had any genuine minimalist styles to offer. While it’s hard to see much of this trend across their clothing range, the shoe department more than makes up for their misgivings. Simple heels and ballerina flats in good quality leather are all available at budget prices. I’m particularly enamoured with the ‘Reflect’ metal heel sandal, a shoe that looks ridiculously Celine-esque.
Penneys Best for: Shirts Penneys’ reputation has been on the rise in recent years, but this season it has truly come into its own. Minimalism is one trend this superstore can do well, and its shirts in particular are a winner. This cream silk shirt is a wardrobe staple, with a cut and fabric to rival any Koople’s opponent. At €15 it’s well worth buying these pieces in every colour available. Style it up with a statement necklace, or layer with a cashmere jumper and leather skirt. Helmut Lang, eat your heart out.
Gap hasn’t had the trendiest reputation among the college demographic for a while now, but minimalism is one trend this shop knows well. Trousers are undoubtedly the key item here, made with strong fabrics and tailored well. Sign up to become a VIP shopper, and you can receive 30% off at different points throughout the year. To make the garment more college appropriate, team with a pair of masculine brogues and plain white t shirt, et voila, you’ve got a look to rival minimalist blogger extraordinaire Elin Kling.
Best for: Blazers
Typically, this shop has a reputation for all things sparkly and bright, but dig a little deeper and you can score some serious minimalism gold. Blazers in particular are a strong point, with an array of different styles available at affordable prices. This season the brand has updated their signature black blazer to include leather sleeves and lapels, with a dangerously covetable result. Alternatively, channel Bianca Jagger in a simple white tux jacket. Paired with black trousers and plenty of attitude, it’s a look that’s certain to turn a few heads.
Mercury Goes Retrograde Best for: Skirts
I had assumed that vintage shops would be a difficult place to shop the minimalist trend. I’m glad to say that I couldn’t be more wrong. With an endless amount of minimalism gems buried away, it was hard to pick a favourite item, but the skirts in particular are a winner. One black midi skirt in particular caught my eye while planning this month’s photo shoot, and with its impeccable cut and even better price tag (€18? Really?!) it was a definite favourite among the fashion team. Word to the wise however, vintage sizes are teeny tiny, so be prepared to try the next size up.
Zara Best for: Bags Anyone that remotely knows Emma and I are aware of our obsession with Zara, so I apologise if I come across a little over-enthusiastic here. If I had my way, this entire article would be dedicated to the brand, but in the end I had to discuss just one particular item that suits the minimalism trend. The bags really do rival any designer piece at affordable prices. Take a look at these for proof.
Best for: Jewellery
I struggle to imagine what shopping was like before H&M arrived on Opera Lane. Taking a trend and putting its own distinctive twist on it, the brand is consistently on the pulse of what consumers want. Sarah’s article on Tina Chow proves that it is jewellery that elevates the minimalism trend to make an outfit truly noticeable, and H&M is the ideal hunting ground for all kinds of accessories. Look out for future collaborations with Martin Maison Margiela for something extra special on a student friendly budget.
Images: Cos, River Island, Topshop, Penneys, H&M, Zara.
Glucksman Gallery Crafts Fair 2012 The Glucksman Gallery presents a weekend of inspired craft from the 9th to the 11th of November. Featuring a selection of Ireland’s finest jewellery, ceramics, textiles, furniture and much more, it’s the perfect time to get in some early Christmas shopping. Call the Glucksman on 021-4901844 or email email@example.com for further information.
Simone Rocha Age: 26. Nationality: Irish. Fashion Credentials: BA in Fashion from The National College of Art and Design, Dublin. Fashion MA at Central Saint Martin’s College, London. Bio: John Rocha’s daughter.
Simone debuted at London Fashion Week at the S/S 11. Eagerly anticipated and with a family name to uphold, Simone’s first collection was a roaring success. With concessions in London, Paris and Milan, John Rocha must be a very proud Dad. Follow Simone on Twitter @Simone_Rocha_
Less is More The fashion for minimalist dressing has once again reared it hatless head for the first time since its golden day of the 1990s. The global economic crisis of 2008 has made us all take a step back from the glittery excess of the past few years and crave a more pared back, simple and under stated way of dressing. New York, the city that never sleeps, is home to the three most notable minimalist designers of the 1990’s: Calvin Klein, Micheal Kors and, of course, Marc Jacobs. And what better men for the job. New Yorkers are known for their smart and sophisticated city style, an ideal breeding ground for the minimalist look. The 1980s had seen the rise of not so slimming spandex, god-awful neon leotards and an obsessive love of fitness. In fashion terms, the world was ready for a change.
Emma Oliver talks minimalism
Olsen. Jil Sanders and Alexander Wang have shown some classic minimalist looks, notably in their SS/11 collections, proving that no matter the decade, this trend is here to stay.
Calvin Klein, the brand that is as globally recognized as Pepsi and started up in the late ’60s was at its height of fame in the 1990s. However, this fame came at a price. Many of the campaigns launched by Calvin Klein in the 1990s were racked with controversy. Klein was beginning to be known for his clean cut lines, crisp white shirts and minimalist styling at its best. It was at the top of his career and the beginning of hers that Klein met Moss. Kate was the freshfaced, pre-rehab model of the moment when she started shooting campaigns for Calvin Klein. Her waif-like figure and notorious party girl ways led to the coining of the term ‘heroin chic’. This ‘barely there’ body type along with minimalist styling caused quite a stir in the fashion world. The flat androgynous aesthetic of Moss tied in perfectly with this no-frills new ideal of fashion perfection. It came as no surprise when in 1993 Klein won ‘America’s Best Designer’ award for his All-American, clean cut designs and so sealed his fate, along with minimalism, as a household name.
The trend for minimalist hand bags swept the nation the minute the stocks dropped on Wall Street. It was considered ugly and excessive to have a handbag that weighed more than a small child dangling gregariously off your arm. Fashionistas worldwide flocked towards classic brands such as Lavin and newer names like Anya Hindmarch to seek out this new breed of the slowly dying out ‘it’ bag. ‘Quality’, ‘classic’, ‘grown-up’ and ‘functional’ were the new buzz words of the season. The anonymity of these label-less bags was a refreshing change for editors and stylists alike where the bag was no longer a main focus of one’s outfit but merely the last piece of a very coordinated puzzle. So, as the French poet and aristocrat Antoine de Saint-Exupe once said, ‘perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.’ Couldn’t have put it more simply, elegantly or clean cut myself.
Nowadays it’s not just the Calvin Kleins or the Marc Jacobs of the world that have nailed this trend. Céline, with Phoebe Philo at the helm, has brought this paired down style to up to date. Pushing the boundaries with silhouettes and colour, Philo has brought this style to structured new heights creating a celebrity following of big screen beauties such as Gwyneth Paltrow and, on occasion, Ashley
Images: mydesignerhandbag.co.uk, Calvin Klein,
Modern Minimalism: Tina Chow and Beyond Sarah Commane discusses the style icon Tina Chow, a lady who pioneered the minimalist look, providing inspiration to Maison Martin Margiela and influencing masses of fashion followers.
‘Yes I’ve been naughty’ was Tina Chow’s response to questions of her battle with HIV; she never hid her illness nor the fling with notorious bisexual playboy Kim d’Estainville, during which she contracted the disease. She became the first well known hetro-sexual woman to die from AIDS and her death, like her life, could be seen to defy stereotype. She was an androgynous beauty who thought out the 70s and 80s were both personally and sartorially progressive. She has become known for her gender-bending personal style and her stunning design aesthetic. Bettina Louise Lutz (aka Tina Chow) was born in Ohio in 1951 to a Japanese mother and German- American father, and they moved to Japan in the 1960s. Both Tina and her sister Bonnie became successful models, becoming the faces of Shiseido. Tina went on to become the muse of many including Karl Lagerfeld, Issey Miyake and Andy Warhol. It was Warhol who encouraged her to design, considering her an equal and much more than just a muse; he recognised her creative vision and introduced her to healing crystals. Healing crystals along with bamboo were the two main materials used in her work. Her parents were obsessed with collecting bamboo and her childhood home was filled both inside and out with it. Her work was deeply personal blending her Japanese heritage, with her personal experiences of pop culture in New York.
Tina blended the formal aesthetics and cultural nuances of both east and west to create a beautifully progressive and enduringly modern design vision. She was the antithesis of the 80s that we have all come to know, rejecting garish colours and metals and embracing crystals, brass and bamboo. Chow summed up her design aesthetic and personal style by saying ‘I like the idea of wearing very personal jewellery and not much decoration.’ Her Jewellery design incorporated traditional Japanese basket weaving techniques and uncut healing crystals. Tina refused to cut the stones arguing that ‘uncut stones are so wonderful, why muddle with them?’ While Chow was, and still is, a widely respected designer, her personal style was equally inspiring. ‘Tina had an innate elegance and never needed any designer to do anything for her. In fact she did a lot for us,’ said Giorgio Armani about the style icon.
Her personal style was a blend of minimalism, masculine tailoring and elegance all actuated with statement jewellery. She played with the idea of borrowing from your boyfriend before anyone else; she was often seen wearing menswear and had a particular love of black Kenzo trousers which she had remade every season. Her uniform was typically a plain white t-shirt, tailored trousers, a masculine cardigan, and a few pieces from her extensive designer jewellery collection. She also collected Haute Couture clothing; she was especially fond of Balenciaga, Dior, Vionnet and Fortuny, all of which was auctioned off after her death. Tina was so respected as a style icon that when a fashion magazine (either Vogue or Harper’s, the details are unclear) asked ten designers to pick a muse to be photographed with, eight out ten picked Chow. There’s a really great anecdote that emphasises her popularity in 1980’s New York: she created a craze amongst gay men to sidepart their hair and don her uniform of white tees, a grey cardigan, flat-ironed Kenzo trousers and ballet flats and exclaim ‘today I’m Tina Chow.’
While during the 1980s it may have been mainly gay man recreating her style, today fashion houses like Martin Maison Margiela and Alexis Bittar borrow a lot from her. Margiela is especially topical as they are collaborating with H&M in a much anticipated diffusion line including both clothing and jewellery, which is set to launch on November 15th. If some of the most recent MMM collections are anything to go by, there will be huge inspiration sought from Tina. The now retired Martin Margiela is considered one of the most innovative and progressive designers of the past 20 years. He is also an enigma within the fashion industry, having never been photographed or interviewed, much to the chagrin of fashion journalists worldwide. He, like Tina Chow, never followed trends; his collections were conceptual and included frayed materials, ice cube jewels (which melted to discolour the clothing they were paired with), exaggerated shoulders and trompe l’oeil effects. Margiela, like Chow, is a designer with a distinct vision and strong conviction of design, who clearly admires Chow’s designs. His collections often feature Chow-inspired jewellery such as Lucite bangles, minimalist cuffs and neck-pieces adorned with crystals. The creative direction of his label is now managed by a design team.
Online retailers offer a wide range of jewellery that I think Tina would approve of, and unlike the originals have a price point that is student friendly. Some of my favourite finds include a multipack of cuffs (1) (€16.94) and a stunning three stone cuff from Free People (2) (€19.76), both available from ASOS. Etsy is an online haven of independent designers and once off finds – simply searching ‘crystal necklace’ produces hundreds of results, including this stunning raw crystal necklace (3) (€10.31). Street style blogs like Stockholm Streetstyle offer hundreds of images showcasing contemporary minimalism in a very accessible manner. Some of my favourite looks include boyfriend jeans, a well cut blazer and a plain white t-shirt –simple, chic and affordable. I recently picked up a pair of Boyfriend jeans in TK Maxx for €11! Folkster.com also stocks great vintage Levis that would be perfect for the look. I certainly recommend investing in a great blazer; it’s a wardrobe staple that will never let you down (check out Aisling’s guide for some great Lee-side shopping destinations).
Tina’s look may seem very accessible in 2012, but in reality she was one of the first to experiment with ‘minimal chic.’ Karl Lagerfeld credits Chow with inventing it, claiming that ‘nobody looked better in it’, and I think he’s most definitely correct.
What will be their take on Margiela for H&M? ‘We are very happy to present Martin Maison Margiela pieces with H&M, offering a new interpretation of our vision. The democracy of our fashion has always been at the centre of our creativity, and the collaboration with H&M allows us to push this instinct further. We will bring together the contrasting universes of the two houses in ways that will surprise all,’ said an official spokesperson. The pieces from the H&M collection will not be hitting Cork stores, so minus a trek to Dublin or joining the hordes that will inevitably crash the high street stores website, just how can you achieve Tina’s look?
Motley Magazine, 2012 - 2013
In our latest issue: interviews with Fred and Darren Shan, fashion 'minimalism' photoshoot at the Lewis Glucksman Gallery review of the firs...
Published on Oct 15, 2012
In our latest issue: interviews with Fred and Darren Shan, fashion 'minimalism' photoshoot at the Lewis Glucksman Gallery review of the firs...