Special Flip Cover
Ball Special January 2012 - issue no. 5 ucc official magazine
Taking a look at Entertainments in UCC
New Year, New Opportunities I have always wondered: do people actually believe in New Year’s resolutions? It has become more apparent to me this year that people do try hard to turn a new leaf come the New Year, when I began to notice the marathon like procession of runners outside my window for the last 2 weeks. Each and every one of them run past with a steely determination in their eyes that this year maybe, just maybe, they will keep it going for more than a short fleeting moment of effort. The idea of doing something as a result of a date passing always seems bizarre to me. I beg the question, if someone really wanted to go running or give up smoking why don’t they just start doing it the day they declare their intention to do it? I suppose it is always good to have good intentions starting the New Year. This year will be tough for a lot of people considering all the negativity, bad news and doom and gloom surrounding the isle of Ireland at this moment in time. For me this year is going to be a transitional one, I’m finally out of college after five years, and I am going to try to become a “real man” and get a job, hopefully one I want to do. My New Year’s resolution is to try to preach less but I am already breaking that. We all have our hopes and aspirations and for the upcoming year and I suppose it is important to have some idea of where you would like to be. Everything can change and anything is possible, but there are some constants; we will still hate whatever government is in charge, the weather outside will be weather and come January, there will still be people running past my window.
THE TEAM Kevin Curran
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Deputy Current Affairs
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Interview with Mr ‘Gift Grub’ Mario Rosenstock page 14
CONTENTS Current affairs
Orla Hubbard looks at father’s rights and the lack there of. We examine the Vita Cortex dispute and the issues surrounding it.
Katie Kim talks to Orla Hodnett about being one of the most hotly tipped acts for 2012. Four pages of reviews and previews of the latest film, TV and music.
Mae McSweeney reflects on the toys and games that made our childhood. We find out about the weird and wonderful world of professional beer pong
LET THEM ENTERTAIN YOU? Kevin Curran looks at the ents on offer in UCC and other universities. Can you spot the difference?
University College Cork is similar in size to Trinity and UCD and quite a bit larger than NUI Maynooth and DCU, according to the universities official websites. When you look at the level of entertainment, acts etc., that take place in these institutions; there is a massive gap between what these universities have on offer during the year and what takes place in UCC. We pay the same amount of money in fees and our student contribution charge that pays for the Students Union, Societies Guild etc. is similar to those in other universities. We have strong societies, a decent union and various other student services that stack up with our brethren from Leinster that I have already mentioned. However, it seems we are very lacking in proper on-site entertainment in UCC, which all of those Colleges have in abundance.
3 things that need to change, for good entertainments to happen, in UCC. 1. A full-time student entertainments officer with an entertainments team. You may not know this but there is a full time entertainments manager in the Students Union in UCC. He does a good job in avoiding losses in any endeavours he engages in, however the problem is that he is in his 40’s and, thus, cannot be expected to know what will and what won’t succeed considering current tastes and trends. We elect a part-time student entertainments officer for the students union every year; however, over the years, they have been extremely limited in what they can do, by the presence of this full-time manager. The lack of a full-time sabbatical entertainments officer who is in tune with student needs leads the entertainments in UCC to be scarce and conservative as is evident from reading the third paragraph.
How can these universities do so much better with similar resources? And why should we care so much about entertainments? Firstly gigs, events etc. offer outlets for students where the aim is not to go and get smashed, but, to see a comedian, band, psychic medium or whatever else is on that the day. Secondly, any venue owner will tell you that the public drink less when they are at a gig, using that logic, putting on bands, comedians etc. can help to curb alcohol abuse by the students of UCC.
Having the ability to charge in to the old bar.
At the moment, it is not possible to charge into the Old Bar because it is a member’s bar, and all the students of UCC are members. Therefore, the reasoning is that you cannot charge customers an entry fee into a place that they have already paid to be a member of. That is all well and good, however it is the same situation in the UCD students bar, it is a member’s bar, but they have the common sense to realise that all the members appreciate that LMFAO or Boys Noize will incur a charge. Enough of UCD’s population wanted these acts to play to have the venue completely sold out. We should have this in UCC and the Old Bar is an obvious readymade solution.
In the past twelve months, Trinity held the Trinity Ball featuring Jessie J, BellX1, The Streets and Professor Green, to name but a few. Maynooth held The Gathering which featured The Coronas and The Rubberbandits. Also in 2011, UCD’s student bar had Boys Noize, LMFAO, Ryan Sheridan, The Vengaboys and a whole host of smaller acts. In the past twelve months, outside of fresher’s week and RAG week, UCC has had Neil Delamere, Des Bishop and Andrew Maxwell perform on campus with no bands and no up-and-comers preforming around the €5 to €7 mark. The three comedians are the sum total of acts that preformed in Devere Hall, and consequently UCC, in 2011. UCD’s students bar, a similar size to the old bar, has recognisable names performing every week for reasonable prices. It’s a simple fact that for our size we are punching well below our weight when it comes to entertainments.
Have more guts and imagination.
A little risk and foresight is needed by the powers that be in UCC. The only reason we do not have acts the size of LMFAO or Boys Noize preforming is because we have not organised it, it is as simple as that.
I have heard before the argument, because we are not Dublin based, we cannot attract big name acts. The reality that acts with large fan bases preform regularly in The Savoy, The Pavilion, The Cork Opera House and Cyprus Avenue rubbishes that argument. The next argument put forward is that acts are chosen carefully because any profit made goes to the student hardship fund. That is a fair point, however putting on more varied acts that will make a small profit does not detract from the student hardship fund, it simply gives more value to students of UCC who pay the wages of everyone involved in these decisions.
Image Credits: imagineireland.ie, lmfao pictures, bp.blogspot.com
If you can’t stand the heat... Sarah Slevin reflects on the high-profile defections from the Government benches, and the actual reasons for rebelling Losing one backbencher is misfortunate. Losing two backbenchers is careless. However losing two backbenchers and a Minister of State is just plain worrying. Certainly if you’re Eamon Gilmore. Add to that Fine Gael’s Denis Naughten losing the party whip, and it is evident that there has been a remarkable rate of defection from the government parties, despite the fact they have been in office for under a year. While the impact of these losses on the government majority in the Dáil will be negligible, the negative publicity that they entail will be something both the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste will be keen to avoid during the coming years. Speculation now mounts as to likely defectors in 2012. Many consider Dublin Mid-West TD Joanna Tuffy to be the next to go, as it was she who, along with Mr Broughan, voted against Labour’s decision to enter government. The reported divisions between Fine Gael and Labour look set to intensify during the coming year, and further caustic austerity measures that have to be implemented under the EU-IMF agreement will increase pressure on backbench TDs, particularly amongst Labour ranks.
In a way these losses are something that party leaders must come to expect, as it is in the nature of the whip system that party lines can often clash with local issues or personal beliefs. Some may consider these dissidents to be highly principled in putting their own convictions before party or government commitments. However, I believe it to be self-interest that is the primary concern of those who desert parties on whose strength they were elected. First to abandon ship was FG’s Denis Naughten, who was removed from the parliamentary party after he opposed the government’s decision to close the accident and emergency department of Roscommon General Hospital. Mr Naughten promised before his election that he would resign should the government close the A&E department, unlike his party colleague Frank Feighan who voted with the government and retains the party whip.
The reasons why each TD felt obliged to abdicate their party responsibilities have been well documented. However, these reasons do not necessarily give us an insight into their actual motives. In the case of Denis Naughten, parish pump politics was clearly the order of the day. While he made a promise intended to aid his election prospects he at least he fulfilled this promise, meaning the Roscommon electorate knew where they stood with him. The reasons for Willie Penrose’s departure are also rooted deep in clientelism, as the former minister was elected in the Longford-Westmeath constituency. However, both backbench Labour TDs could be said to have left via the moral highroad, a route traditionally favoured by Labour Party while in government. What is noticeable about the three backbench TDs is that they all have their own personal website, containing minimal reference to their respective parties. While this could be a mere coincidence, it could also be indicative of the self-interest that accompanies defection from a political party.
It no doubt came as a shock to senior Labour figures that former Minister of State Willie Penrose was the first to break ranks. Deemed a ‘super-junior’ minister, in that he could attend cabinet meetings but not participate in votes, he opposed the government decision to close Columb Barracks in Mullingar. Less surprising was the expulsion of Tommy Broughan from the Labour parliamentary party after he voted against the government in a procedural matter concerning the amount of time that was to be given to a debate on the extension of the bank guarantee scheme. This was not the first time Mr Broughan failed to toe the party line, as he lost the whip in both 1994 and 2010. He also opposed Labour’s decision to enter government with Fine Gael in February. Finally, new boy Patrick Nulty voted against the budget last month , claiming that it would drive Ireland further into recession and that it hit low earners disproportionately. Mr Nulty lasted just over a month as a government TD, having taken the seat of the late Brian Lenihan.
Supporters of politicians who defect from a party often cite the principled stance of the representative in question. While this is one interpretation, it could also be seen as a betrayal not only of the party through which they were elected, but of the voters who elected them. Like it or not, the party whip system is an integral part of our political structure, and the electorate are aware of that. It was particularly clear in the recent general election that a candidate’s party was a defining factor in their prospects. This is especially obvious in the case of Patrick Nulty, who abandoned the Labour Party only one month after his election. Elected representatives who fail to toe the party line are not necessarily the heroic revolutionaries they would have us believe. Quite often they are acting on no one’s behalf but their own, and jilting those who voted for them. However, if they remain unconvinced that they are reneging on their duty to the electorate, their defection could be considered in a much more practical light. There is a certain analogy concerning tents, and the difference between being inside and being outside. Potential mutineers would do well to remember it.
After Kim Jong-Il
Jesse Harrington reflects on one of the world’s most oppressed and secretive societies – one which continues to this day
The death by natural causes of Kim Jong-Il, Supreme Leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, in December brought to a fitting end a year which has seen a transformation in the international landscape of dictatorships. Jong-Il’s death offers an opportunity to reflect on what stood out as the most militarised, most totalitarian and most secretive regime in the world – entirely subservient to his personality and pronouncements – and why there is little hope for the change or popular foment that swept through other dictatorships that year. Kim Jong-Il cultivated what can only be described as a bizarre cult of personality – a blend of the most authoritarian elements of Confucianism and Stalinism. Much of this was inherited from the cult of his long-lived father Kim Il-Sung, who ruled North Korea from its founding in 1948 to his death in 1994, and who has been practically deified in North Korean propaganda as the nation’s “Eternal President”. Jong-Il built up his own heroic narrative when he took over as the nation’s “Dear Leader”. Although Soviet records demonstrate his birth at a Siberian military post in 1941, his official biography reports instead that his birth occurred in a log cabin at the foot of the Paekdu Mountain, North Korea’s most sacred mountain: prophesied by a swallow and heralded by a miraculous change in the seasons and a new star in the heavens. The national media frequently reported incredible exploits which ranged from achieving 11 holes-in-one in his first game of golf, to inspiring international fashion trends based on his recognisable khaki pantsuits. A 2009 satirical piece by Onion News, in which the Dear Leader promises to bring the Moon to North Korea by 2015, would not have been far out of place amidst the propaganda surrounding the ambitions of the nation’s space programme. Kim Jong was revered by state media as the perfect image of what a leader should be, with global recognition as the world’s greatest statesman. The day his death was announced, state television broadcast images of public outpouring of sorrow, remarkable for the hysterical weeping of the individual
mourners but also for the regimented manner of their congregation on the steps of government offices and national monuments. While undoubtedly directed by state authorities, for many there was an underlying grief, grounded in their total indoctrination into the genuine worship of the Dear Leader – something the late Christopher Hitchens also noted of the death of Kim Il-Sung when writing for Vanity Fair in 2001. The disconnect between rhetoric and reality could not have been greater however, and behind the propaganda lay famine and repression. Kim Jong Il’s claim to control of the weather contrasted sharply with the reality of severe flooding and devastation in the mid-1990s. Power shortages became common and electricity scarce as former communist allies cut off fuel subsidies that same decade. In the 1960s North Koreans were actually better off than their southern counterparts; North Koreans today are worse off than they were under Kim Il-Sung. In night-time satellite images of the Korean Peninsula, North Korea appears a blot of impenetrable darkness – a metaphor for the country’s absolute isolation, as if 23 million people have somehow slipped out of time and into an earlier century.
“...his official biography reports instead that his birth occurred in a log cabin at the foot of the Paekdu Mountain, North Korea’s most sacred mountain: prophesied by a swallow and heralded by a miraculous change in the seasons and a new star in the heavens. “ In Nothing to Envy, Barbara Demick recounts the tragedy of individual accounts of life in the Democratic People’s Republic. Its society remains one built around a rigid and repressive hereditary caste system, in which one’s station and life prospects are entirely determined by perceived loyalty to the state, and in which the only social mobility is downward. Neighbours spied on each other, and the mere suggestion of criticism could lead to deportation to the remote mines and forced labour camps of Chongjin. In a neat cognitive dissonance, state propaganda has simultaneously maintained the rhetoric of being the greatest nation on earth and envy of the world, and yet also being under constant siege by Yankee imperialists. Representing that idea in microcosm, the Kim dynasty even maintains an uninhabited settlement at Gijeongdong – a model Potemkin village supposedly attesting the superiority of North Korean life – beside the demilitarised zone as part of its farcical propaganda war with the south.
And yet ordinary North Koreans wept hysterically at the death of the Dear Leader. To Hitchens, this incredible level of denial had an explanation: if a North Korean citizen decided the regime was all a lie and a waste, he “would have to face the fact that his life had been a lie and a waste also”. Ideology had become so ingrained that any recognition of its hollowness would be akin to a psychological trauma – denial was thus a coping mechanism to evade the bitter truth of reality. Others note that the process consent to the regime as a matter of survival on a daily basis served part of the indoctrination. By partaking in every aspect of the centrally planned society, making concessions to the regime at seemingly insignificant junctures, dutiful citizens lived out in deeds what they came to believe in their minds. Moreover, without foreign contact, “hermetically sealed” to the outside world, North Koreans had no rival narrative to compare against that received from the state. The majority really did believe no nation had achieved a higher attainment in human civilisation than theirs. One of the reasons why the dictatorships in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia were so persistent was because although many people deeply resented them, they could not be sure others felt the same way. Social media changed that by allowing popular unrest to build rapid momentum through information cascade. In North Korea, with all communication subservient to the state apparatus, such mobilisation would be impossible – criticism could scarcely leave a man’s lips without him being denounced. Beneath the isolation and indoctrination, it is not even clear that a silent majority could express itself if it had the means to do so.
“To Hitchens, this incredible level of denial had an explanation: if a North Korean citizen decided the regime was all a lie and a waste, he “would have to face the fact that his life had been a lie and a waste also.” The world may be afraid of North Korea’s drive for nuclear capacity – a desperate attempt to gain greater leverage and economic concessions from its neighbouring nuclear power China, a former ally revealed in a 2010 Wikileak to be increasingly impatient with the “spoiled child” of Pyongyang. But the legacy of Kim Jong-Il poses a more real threat to his own people on a daily basis than any spectre of nuclear armageddon ever could.
(Lack of) Fathers Rights in Ireland As a western democracy, Ireland is part of a group of countries which have vowed to embrace and protect the human rights of all its citizens. Although we have performed relatively well on this front, there are still several large holes in our armour which consistently let us down. One of the most urgent areas of Irish law that we need to overhaul is fathers’ rights in Ireland. Most of us are aware of the protections and rights awarded to mothers both by statute and in the Constitution itself. We know that unmarried mothers are guardians and custodians of the child. We know that mothers have legal rights in relation to the children after a relationship breakdown. But where do fathers fit into this? A worrying amount of confusion surrounds what rights a father possess in order to see his child or to make decisions in relation to the child. This uncertainty can be painful for everyone involved, but ultimately it is the child that suffers the most, and will continue to suffer until the law is changed. Many fathers who are not married to the mother of their child, assume they have joint guardianship rights if their name is on their child’s birth cert. They may also assume that they have a right to access or joint custody of the child. Most of these assumptions come directly from the rumour mill, and still others are formed from hearsay or television programmes. Many people have no clear understanding of what a father’s position is in relation to his child, and there is confusion about how Irish law differs from fathers’ rights in other countries. In Ireland, if a father is not married to the child’s mother, then he is not automatically recognised as a guardian of the child. Having the father’s name on the child’s birth cert does not give the father any rights in respect of the child. On the birth of a child out of wedlock in Ireland, the mother is the sole guardian and sole custodian of the child. This legal position is both outdated and horrendously unfair, as it leaves fathers with no legal rights whatsoever in relation to their children. This in turn feeds the societal prejudice that unmarried fathers have no interest in their children, refuse to participate in their lives, and are generally good-for-nothing. But they cannot participate in their children’s lives when they have no legal right to do so. It is a vicious circle and a tangled web of misinterpretation and prejudice. Under Irish law, unmarried fathers who have not yet applied for guardianship have no right to see their child, and no right to make decisions in relation to their child. Furthermore, their consent is not necessary for the child to be issued with a passport and the mother is not required to notify the father before she leaves the country with the child. What is most unsettling is that if the child is being put up for adoption, the law only provides for the unmarried father to be consulted “if possible” before an adoption order is made. The only way to ensure that the father’s consent in required before the child can be removed from the country or adopted is if he becomes a guardian. If a father wishes to be involved in the child’s life then he has two options. Firstly, if the mother agrees to make him a joint guardian, then both parents can sign a statutory declaration for joint guardianship. Because there is no central register for Statutory Declaration Forms, this form must be retained as it is the only evidence that the father is a guardian. For this reason it is prudent for the Statutory Declaration to be registered as a Rule of Court so that there is a legal record of the father’s guardianship rights. Even if the father is made a guardian in this way, any arrangements between the parents regarding access, maintenance and custody cannot be legally enforced. This leaves the father in an untenable position as any arrangements for access are informal and can be revoked by the mother at any time.
Orla Hubbard looks at father’s rights and the lack there of.
If the child’s mother does not agree to making the father a joint guardian, then he can apply to his local District Court for guardianship of the child. What is significant about the legal position on guardianship is that it is not a right for the father to claim, but something for which he must apply to the court, and wait for the judge to decide. In deciding whether to grant guardianship, the judge will take the mother’s views into account, but will ultimately hold the welfare of the child as the paramount consideration. If a father is granted guardianship, then he assumes the rights and duties of a guardian. This means that he has a duty to maintain and properly care for the child, and has the right to make decisions in the major areas of a child’s life.
“ On the birth of a child out of wedlock in Ireland, the
mother is the sole guardian and sole custodian of the child. This legal position is both outdated and horrendously unfair, as it leaves fathers with no legal rights whatsoever in relation to their children. ” The father may also apply to the court for access to or custody of the child, and the judge must again consider the application with reference to the welfare of the child. An unmarried father has no right to see his child without an access order from the court. Contrary to what is widely believed, there is no standard access order, but every situation is considered on its own merits before the specifics of the order are decided. The court may refuse to grant access if it believes, based on submissions by the mother or information it has gathered from the father, that contact with the father would be damaging to the welfare of the child. The child’s mother may also make submissions to the court about the terms of the access, for instance that it be supervised. If a father is granted access by the court, then he may see his child only at the times prescribed by the order. He must comply fully with the terms of the order as any breach may result in imprisonment. If a father is married to the mother of his child then he is an automatic guardian and joint custodian of the child and need not apply to the courts. In this situation the father has all the rights and responsibilities of guardianship and custody. If the marital relationship breaks down, then the father remains a guardian and joint custodian and the couple may provide for access and custody in a written separation agreement between them. Otherwise, the couple may apply to the court to make an order regarding access and custody of the children. The court as ever will treat the welfare of the children as paramount and take the social and financial positions of both parents onto account before making a decision. However, even at this stage there remains a strong constitutional presumption that the child’s welfare rests with the mother and only in “exceptional circumstances” would custody be fully removed from the mother.
Chinese Censorship on Track? Sian Cowman examines the high-tech ways in which Chinese people are defying their Government and the potential consequences of this new technology. The image of Tank Man from Tiananmen Square is an iconic one that is known all over the Western world. Recently, a documentary filmmaker showed the image to students at Beijing University, the centre of the uprising. None of them had seen it. The long arm of Chinese censorship reaches far. We have all heard of the Twitter Revolution spreading across the Arab world, but what about the power of social media in China? July’s train crash in Zhejiang province provoked a mass reaction on the Internet, actually influencing the government’s handling of the situation. Does this reveal cracks in the armour of the Chinese Communist Party’s Propaganda department? Or is it simply a blip in the radar? On July 23rd of this year China’s new high-speed rail network suffered a massive blow to its reputation with a head-on collision between two trains that caused the deaths of dozens of people. The new rail network was launched in 2007 with much fanfare and it has become a symbol of China’s progress and growing prosperity. There was much furore after the crash as to who was at fault, and the government moved quickly to sack high-ranking railway officials. Immediately after the collision, while state television was still not baring the facts, posts flooded into China’s micro-blogging websites, known as ‘weibos’. The first post came 4 minutes after the accident from a passenger at the scene, reporting a loud crash and a power cut. 9 minutes later another passenger posted “Children are crying all over the train car! Not a single attendant here!” Over the coming days, there were many posts contemptuous of the media coverage, the railway authorities and the government explanations. One post read: “Why have the people been robbed of the right to know? How long do they want to hide?” The Internet became the main source of information, truth, and public opinion. The clearest sign of the weibos’ influence is their impact on the government itself. A few days after the accident, officials forbade local lawyers to accept cases from families of victims without their permission. After a microblogging outcry, the government had to withdraw the order and apologize. Then the weibos had another victory - rail workers buried the first car of the oncoming train at the scene of the accident. Through pressure from the Internet community the train was unearthed and taken for analysis.
These incidents are small victories against China’s high level of media censorship, which has recently been highlighted in the news – the show-down with Google over the hacking of human rights activists’ email accounts, and the awarding of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to jailed human rights activist Liu Xiaobo. Liu was imprisoned for ‘inciting subversion of state power’, a crime he committed mostly through his writing. Funnily enough under the Constitution Chinese citizens are afforded freedom of speech and press, but the actual law includes media restrictions to prevent the sharing of state secrets. The government’s definition of what constitutes a state secret is somewhat clouded. While the amount of print publications has mushroomed in the past years, leading some to believe that the press is gaining more of a voice, the truth is that China’s many bureaucratic bodies are simply becoming cannier about censorship. The Propaganda Department issues editors with weekly censorship guidelines. Journalists face harassment and prison terms if they do not comply with the government’s wishes, causing them to self-censor. Television also comes under strict scrutiny – in September the TV show ‘Super Girl’, China’s answer to the X-Factor, was banned because the audience voting too closely resembles Western-style democracy. The Internet is also heavily censored, with search terms such as ‘Tibet’ or ‘protest’ banned. It is telling that the weibos themselves exist because their Western counterparts are banned. They have gained government approval by consenting to regulate content, and government monitors delete posts containing offending keywords such as ’human rights’. But like Western social networking sites, a single post can spread quickly. The weibos also know that their popularity depends on their ability to preserve some leeway and so they play cutesy with the censors. While the relative freedom of speech after the crash is a breakthrough for the Chinese public, it may be in the government’s interest to let the public believe that they are gaining some freedom when in actual fact they are not. Even though the weibos are hard to regulate, the government could exercise greater control should it wish, as it did with calls for ‘Jasmine Revolution’ street protests posted in February. It could be a government tactic to let people vent their frustrations onto the screen, so they don’t do so on the street. Indeed, weibo posts critical of the handling of the train crash are unlikely to provoke mass street protests. The Chinese government is aware that the balance of power is teetering on a knife-edge, and with the largest population in the world, the people really could snatch power from the government if they stood up for it. This quote from a well-respected Chinese actor, posted on a weibo after the crash and subsequently deleted, sums up the difference between the plebs and the powerful – “If a higher-level leader died, there would be countless wreaths; however, when many ordinary people died, there was only endless harmony” — a euphemism for censorship.
Vita Cortex Dispute Eoghan McMahon takes a closer look at the Vita Cortex dispute and what it may mean for workers in the future. On December 16th, a meeting was called between management and employees at the Vita Cortex plant in Turners Cross. Workers were given assurances over the previous 3 months that they would be getting at least 2.9 weeks pay per year worked at the company in redundancy, down from 4 weeks originally. However, management told the workers that 32 out of 42 would not be coming back to work on the Monday morning and those workers would be receiving no redundancies whatsoever. After being informed of this, an impromptu meeting was called by one of the now ex-workers in the battered, trendy-in-the-60s canteen above the factory floor. There, the workers’ SIPTU representative outlined 2 options for the workers – stay here, or go home and wait. The workers stayed. This isn’t the first time since the start of the recession that Ireland has seen a workers sit-in arguing for better redundancy packages. In 2009, workers in Thomas Cook sat-in in their offices in Dublin in protest at inadequate redundancy packages. Those workers felt the strong arm of the state act far quicker than the workers in Vita Cortex. 80 riot-armoured Gardaí smashed the front window of the tour operator’s window on Grafton Street and dragged the occupiers out one by one after just four days. Does the longevity of the protest in Cork signal a change in attitudes on behalf of the state? I doubt it. Rather, I would argue that the main difference is the increased level of support among the general public for direct action in cases like this. People are far less willing to let it happen, and the government no longer has the moral authority to do it. The Vita Cortex protest is one of a number of recent direct action protests in Cork City. Occupy Cork, the Cork Community Resource Centre (NAMA building on Oliver Plunkett St.), and the CCTU Employment Centre on North Main Street are other occupations which have been challenging cuts to social services, bank bailouts and short-sighted government policy. The Vita Cortex workers are not activists, they’re not (overtly) left wing or anarchist, they are not interested in abstract notions of capitalistic exploitation of the working class
Current Affairs Opinion
The Cortex plant has been in operation on that site since 1958, and many of the 32 workers currently sitting-in at the plant have over 40 years service there and would have happily stayed there until retirement. They just want their fair dues. Similarly, the workers on North Main Street just want to make sure the services they provide to the unemployed of Cork city are maintained. Many involved in the Occupy camp and the building on Oliver Plunkett just want to see some semblance of justice happen in Ireland. But like the student protests against the re-introduction of fees, this just isn’t enough. If people are serious about fighting austerity in all its guises- the lay-offs in Vita, the rise in student fees, the cuts to the dole, the closure of hospitals and the rise in classroom sizes - then people need to see beyond their own struggles and look at the parallels between themselves and others in similar positions. Lay-offs, NAMA, public services, and the bank bail-out are all interlinked. The struggle for free education cannot be separated from the banking issue; the failure to pay proper redundancies in Vita Cortex cannot be separated from the dilution of our labour protection laws and property speculation. There needs to be a shared understanding as to what we are fighting against if we want to see our country function again. If we want to see jobs for these men and women be available in places like Turners Cross once the occupation is over, if we want to see jobs for graduates once they finish university, if we want to see social mobility for people on grants to extend beyond basic education, we need to organise more broadly to tackle these wider and more complex issues.
In my mind these are issues such as democratic legitimacy, economic justice, reasonable expectation of duty of care within industry, the notion of public service, of the social contract, the idea of government expenditure versus social investment. The abuse of workers trust in Vita Cortex is a symptom of something bigger than simple mismanagement of company funds - it is a symptom of the balance of power between capital and labour; or, in other words between the legitimacy of action through property rights, and legitimacy of action through democratic decision making. We need to find a more equitable equilibrium if we want to see our country move towards a sustainable economy, and a more just society. If people want to know more about Vita Cortex, or the other occupations happening around Cork at the moment you can check them out here – • Vita Cortex wordpress http://vitacortexworkers.wordpress.com/ • Vita Cortex Facebook - search “Happy Christmas & New Year to Vita Cortex Workers” • CCTU Employment Centre http://thecorknews.ie/articles/former-staffbid-keep-jobs-centre-open-3668 • Cork Community Resource Centre - http://corkcitycentre.wordpress.com/ • Occupy Cork Facebook Search ‘Occupy Cork’. Checking them out online can often be good as a starting point, but to get a real insight into what’s going on you should really call down yourself and have a chat with those involved. I’ve visited them all and trust me, they don’t bite!
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has stated that he will review his Ministers after nearly a year in charge – Current Affairs Editor Jerry Larkin selflessly does his job for him
Michael Noonan (Minister for Finance) – 6/10
Report Card for the Government Enda Kenny (Taoiseach) – 8/10 If Taoiseach Kenny is going to do a proper job in reviewing each Ministers’ performances during the year, then the buck has to stop with the boss. It must be acknowledged that Kenny has grown into the job of Taoiseach, and his fortunes since the attempted heave in the summer of 2010 have picked up significantly. This has been achieved through a mixture of luck, optics and level-headedness. The successful visits of Queen Elizabeth II and Barack Obama within two weeks of each other certainly was a piece of luck which Kenny was gifted with by the efforts of previous administrations. His speech on St Stephens Green before Obama was criticised by some as being too cheesy and ripping material from Obama, but praised by others as inspiring rhetoric. His advisors also deserve credit for the fresh image which Kenny has portrayed to the public, by scrapping ministerial chauffeurs and cutting the wages to ministers. A noted slip-up was the Roscommon hospital closure farce, in which Kenny had to face a humiliating climb-down as a result of a video clip taken from before the general election being released, which showed Mr. Kenny had indeed promised to save the hospital from shutting its doors.
Eamon Gilmore (Táiniste/Minister for Foreign Affairs) – 5/10 It has been a far tougher 11 months in power for Labour then it has been for their Fine Gael coalition partners, and Gilmore’s approval ratings have reflected this. His readiness to abandon pre-election positions have been criticised by all corners, and many have characterised these election promises as reckless and disingenuous in hindsight. A big victory for Labour voters was the reversal of the cut in the minimum wage, although this position was also held by Fine Gael. Gilmore was in charge of the second conference in Farmleigh aimed at generating ideas to kickstart the economy. Even a relatively simple task like this garnered controversy when Gilmore invited Denis O Brien to the conference, despite his status as a tax exile. This controversy was exaserbated by Gilmore’s position before the election when he claimed that tax exiles should be stripped of their Irish citizenship. The important business of foreign affairs was left to the Taoiseach, when upon publication of the latest report into clerical child rape, he denounced the cult of secrecy within the Church, apparantly speaking for every voter. A rare highlight for many voters was his support for Palestinian statehood in a speech to the UN in September.
Ruairi Quinn (Minister for Education and Skills) – 8/10
Quinn has turned out to be a radical and modernising force within the Department of Education, and his willingness to question every aspect of education in Ireland has won him many fans. Foremost among these changes has been his plan to overhaul the Junior and Leaving Certificate from an exam based on rote-learning to a more abstract form of learning. This has been spurred on by recent reports which have seen Ireland’s standing in global education tables falling rapidly. Another initiative has been the setting up of the forum on school patronage, which seeks to give more plurality to the Catholic-dominated system of secondary education. A major setback to his credibility was the signing of the USI pledge not to raise third-level fees in the days before the election and his subsequent public U-turn.
Given his ministerial experience in government since the 1980’s, Noonan was always going to be an obvious choice for the finance portfolio, though this was only brought about by the failure of Richard Bruton’s heave in the summer of 2010. It can’t be denied that the power of this position has diminished significantly with the introduction of the Department of Public Expenditure, which takes over a lot of the traditional duties of the Department of Finance. Noonan gained a tangible victory during the summer when a deal was reached with the EU to significantly reduce the interest rate which Ireland had to pay on the November 2010 bailout. There was criticism from some quarters that this reduction still did not make the Irish public debt sustainable, and that a partial default (á la Greece) was the only solution. Noonan has continuously dismissed these arguments, claiming that Ireland’s position is the lesser of two evils. This approach has sought to contrast the public disturbance in Greece with the more placid situation in Ireland as proof that the government’s approach is working. However, the agreement by EU leaders to implement a constitutional debt brake on countries will pose a headache for Noonan and the entire government if, as seems likely, the agreement requires a referendum to ratify it.
and Reform) –
(Minister for Public Expenditure
Howlin has been lucky in the sense that this position is newly created and he has no predecessors to be compared to. On the other hand, he is the Minister in charge of cutting public spending by €10 billion in three years – an unenviable position. Despite this, he has gained a reputation as being amongst the most competent ministers, with no obvious gaffes in the past 11 months. He has expressed full support for the Croke Park Agreement, so long as the conditions attached to it are kept by the public service. Another aspect of his brief is for public reform, which has gathered less attention than his budgetary duties. On this front, he has expressed support for the abolition of the Seanad, and a referendum on this will take place in 2012.
Best of the rest:
Joan Burton (Minister for Social Protection) - 8/10 – She
has recovered from her job disappointment in March to hit the ground running with less cuts in the Department than expected in Budget 2012. Richard Bruton (Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation) – 6/10 – He is well qualified for this position and has been a steady pair of hands, thought the persistantly high unemployment rate must be a worry. Provoked tension within the government with his controversial reform of joint labour committees.
Candidates for detention:
Leo Varadkar (Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport) –
4/10 – Too likely to spout positions which fall outside his remit and extremely gaffe-prone. Frances Fitzgerald (Minister for Children & Youth Affairs) – 5/10 – While the establishment of this position as a full Cabinet one is to be welcomed, she has been largely inconspicuous. A referendum on childrens’ rights will be her main focus this year.
The New Poll Tax? Alan Conway argues against the recent introduction of a household charge.
The new Household Charge introduced in Budget 2012 is required to be paid by the end of March. Those who do not pay may face fines of up to €2,500, and should they not pay it, it has been suggested it may be deducted from their wages. This is a most crude act by the government and reminiscent of a poll tax. We have adopted a system of taxation, though it could be improved upon, whereby the amount of tax placed upon an income is on a graduated scale. Taxation by graduation is a fair system if implemented in a progressive fashion. It ensures that people pay what they are capable of and not more. This poll tax flies in the face of the logic of our system; a €100 flat tax will be more detrimental to a person earning €30,000 a year than that of someone earning €100,000 a year. It has been set out that this will eventually be changed to a Property Tax based on the value of the home in question but this raises more questions than it answers. The government has failed in its pre-election promise to remove Upward Only Rent Reviews as it attempts to re-inflate the property market. Will the eventual valuation be based upon the still over-hyped value of a home today or upon the value homes will be once some equilibrium returns to the property market? I suspect the former. Furthermore, this involves some thought upon what the value of a home in Ireland should be. Some calls for a national discussion on this topic have been quickly mooted as the NAMA scheme is based upon returning value to the market. And while yes, further actions must be taken to alleviate the stress on those in arrears or negative
equity amongst other issues, do we really want the property market to return to the height it was at a few short years ago, the crash from which we are currently paying the repercussions for? This policy has in of itself failed already. Recent reports have highlighted the significant losses that NAMA is expected to make by 2020, are we to be expected to pay tax to the Revenue at a higher rate than another state agency has acknowledged property will be worth. The Household Charge will inevitably be implemented successfully with just a few setbacks; it is on the matter of the true valuation of property in this state, and rectifying the situation for those in difficulty, that we should make our stand. The issues of non-payment campaign is one of greater consideration than, perhaps, has already been given. There are many reasons to protest government policy, many ways to do it and indeed, many people who do on a daily basis. However, with the encouraging of a boycott of the tax it could be claimed that people in positions of authority are being reckless. Many TDs have announced that they will not be paying the tax as a matter of principle, and if genuine, deserve our respect and admiration for the stand they have taken. What is reckless and irresponsible though are those who are encouraging the general public to join the boycott. When the campaign withers and is beaten by the government, a TD will likely be able to pay any penalty they may incur quite easily. The arrears of their constituents, however, would be quite a different matter and they would be likely to be in a far worse position than had they paid the charge in the first place.
In the coming years there will be more austerity and many more taxes. In the cases of some of these it may be possible to rally the citizenry to oppose the government. But in this case, in particular, it is surely the wiser option to oppose, and protest, but inevitably pay the Charge… but prepare for the Tax, that if it is to be implemented against our will, that it is at least at a fair valuation of our homes.
“Recent reports have highlighted the significant losses that NAMA is expected to make by 2020, are we to be expected to pay tax to the Revenue at a higher rate than another state agency has acknowledged property will be worth.”
In a situation where the chances of victory are nil, surely the opposition is better off saving its own strength and credibility to fight another day, but more importantly, by conceding defeat on this count, to save the people we claim to be fighting for, from hardship and waste of much needed funds in the long run.
Image Credit: rte.ie
The Audacity of Mitt With the Republican primary seemingly a foregone conclusion, Daithi Ó Sé discusses the campaign of the clear favourite The contest for President of the United States is entering a crucial phase for Republican challengers jousting for the opportunity to defeat President Barack Obama in November. All but one have risen to fame and fallen back into obscurity. The exception being former Massachusetts Governor, Mitt Romney. Son of 60’s Michigan Governor, George Romney, Mitt would be no stranger to business or politics. In his years, he would graduate from Harvard and run Bain Capital, a venture capitalist firm as a consultant. Here Mitt would learn how to create jobs, something he boasts of on the campaign trail. The world of business also involved him in the buying and liquidation of entire companies, resulting in the loss of some and at times all the workers of the company while generating huge profits for his shareholders. This point is particularly crippling for someone who espouses to be labelled as a job creator and for which the Obama camp will not hesitate in using against him. In 1994, Romney ran against incumbent Democratic Senator, Ted Kennedy (younger brother of JFK). During the campaign, Romney portrayed himself as a moderate Republican with liberal and progressive positions. Over the years such positions included Gay rights, Abortion, government economic stimulation, the Auto-Industry bailout and others but the principal one is universal health care. Romney developed a plan in Massachusetts during his tenure as Governor which was essentially the same plan as was signed into law by the Obama in March, 2010. These ‘flip-flops’ haunt Romney where his primary rivals show him up as inconsistent and out of touch.
“Democrats have already begun attacking Romney as a rich, out of touch business man who has little interest in protecting the middle class but only to repeal Obama’s signature health care law and grant more tax cuts to the rich. The Republican base will similarly attack his credentials and question if Romney is a real conservative or if he changes his position depending on the situation.” Following his loss to Kennedy, Romney returned to business where he salvaged the faltering 2002 Winter Olympic Games from disaster. He then successfully ran for Governor in 2003 and unsuccessfully for President in 2008. After McCain secured the Republican nod to face Obama in the General Election, Romney endorsed him and once again returned to business and has worked towards his current run since. That’s the history. Viewing Obama as a vulnerable President who hasn’t solved the economic crisis, the Republican field has gone on the attack to make him a 1 term President. Romney quickly emerged as the front-runner when Republican favourites such as popular evangelical Mike Huckabee, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, 2008 VP candidate Sarah Palin and others decided not to run. While the other candidates hail from the various wings of the Republican party, Romney has been running the table with huge support from the mainstream Business/Wall Street side of the party.
Romney remained steady at around 25% in most polls while his rivals rose and fell in quick succession – Bachmann, Perry, Cain, Gingrich, Santorum and most recently Hunstman. Gingrich’s fall in particular was directly attributed to Mitt as financial backers of Romney decimated the former Speaker of the House with over $4 milion dollars worth of devastating TV attack ads mocking his record and electability in Iowa where he was a frontrunner in early December. The first decision was that of the state of Iowa on January 3rd where Romney won by 8 votes over former Pennsylvania Senator, Christian values flag-bearer, Rick Santorum with over 120,000 ballots cast. While victory was razor thin, it has already given his campaign the early momentum that is likely to finish the Republican primary contest by March if not sooner. Romney made history by decisively winning New Hampshire with near 40% of the vote making him the first nonincumbent President to win both early primary states. Candidates are now currently campaigning in the southern state of South Carolina which is seen as the end-game where Romney could finish the primary season, given his warchest, endorsement s and organisational strength which is now too far ahead of his rivals to challenge him for the nomination. In 2008, Obama’s victory in South Carolina gave him the momentum he needed to beat Hillary Clinton to the Democratic National Convention and ultimately, the Oval Office. That said, Romney has been the viewed winner of these primaries for some months now and Team Obama is waiting. Viewing Mitt as their strongest and most likely opponent, Democrats have already begun attacking Romney as a rich, out of touch business man who has little interest in protecting the middle class but only to repeal Obama’s signature health care law and grant more tax cuts to the rich. The Republican base will similarly attack his credentials and question if Romney is a real conservative or if he changes his position depending on the situation. This will surely damage him in the Summer and Autumn campaign against Obama who will blanket the airwaves and TV channels with quotes and comparisons of Romney’s flip-flopping and cold business nature. Obama has already begun attacking Mitt even before he is out the gate of the party primaries in the hope of weakening him further. In response, Romney will tout his experience working in the private sector, creating jobs and running a successful business, saying that America should turn to him to bring the United States out of the economic abyss instead of granting another 4 years to the current President. The recovery of the economy over the next 10 months will undoubtedly decide the election. Unemployment is at 8.5% and falling. Whether Obama can create enough momentum in the jobs market or not will decide whether he gets a second term or if President Romney will get the people to ‘Believe in America’. The America that emerges afterwards is one we will have to wait and see.
Isn’t it nice to know a lot!
(‘And a little bit not’).
The second term of college signals many things for students: a plethora of assignments and exams, the panic surrounding the said assignments and exams, but, more importantly, it’s another term of banter and Ents before the college year 2011-2012 is over. Outside of the college sphere (in the big, wide, real world), 2012 will mark many important occasions. To name but a few, we celebrate 200 years of Charles Dickens, watch the 2012 Olympics unfold (or, y’know, not), mark 50 years of the James Bond film franchise, remember 16 years of Pokémon (yes, that had to be mentioned), and commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Titanic.
With so much happening this year, where are we supposed to find the time for all this college work?
Guess The Movie! Here at Motley’s Ents Section, we like to test your knowledge of all things Entertainments.
Simply guess the name of the movie (brownie points for the characters’ names!) by reading the extract. And, no, we’re not giving any hints! WOMAN 1: So, you were having sex with the little fella, then?
WOMAN 2: They said they were goin’ to the Twin Cities.
WOMAN 2: Uh-huh.
WOMAN 1: Oh, yah?
WOMAN 1: Is there anything else you can tell me about him?
WOMAN 3: Yah.
WOMAN 2: No. Like I say, he was funnylooking. More’n most people even. WOMAN 1: And what about the other fella? WOMAN 3: He was a little older. Y’know, he looked like the Marlboro man. WOMAN 1: Oh yah? WOMAN 3: Yah. Or maybe I’m sayin’ that, y’know, ’cause he smoked a lot of Marlboros. WOMAN 1: Uh-huh. WOMAN 3: Y’know like a subconscioustype of thing. WOMAN 1: Oh yah, that can happen. WOMAN 3: Yah.
WOMAN 2: Yah. Yah, is that useful to ya? WOMAN 1: Oh you bet ya, yah. WOMAN 1 & 2: Yah.
The Special One John Murphy speaks with Mario Rosenstock, the man behind Gift Grub
How are Bertie Ahern, Roy Keane, Miriam O’ Callaghan and Michael Flatley connected? At first glance, we all associate them with contemporary Ireland. But, being prominent figures in Irish society, they have also become members of that group of people who have been characterised by comedian and actor Mario Rosenstock. In a way, these characterisations have become synonymous with the person’s public personas – when we think of the likes of Daniel O’ Donnell, Joan Burton, and Roy Keane, how much of our ideas about them can be attributed to Gift Grub? Even though it is having such a wide-reaching impact, Gift Grub didn’t start out as a serious career move. Today FM (then known as Radio Ireland) started-up in 1997, and Mario began the precursor to Gift Grub when one of the producers (his flatmate, incidentally) asked him to phone-in as Gerry Adams. Following its popularity, a series of short parodies of Star Trek (called ‘Starship Compromise’) emerged featuring depictions of Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness. Ian Dempsey later joined Today FM, and Rosenstock was approached to work on some comedy for the show; the first sketches for the show featured a cookery spot for Bertie Ahern entitled ‘Gift Grub’, where he was joined by a different personality each morning. Even though it had somewhat simple and casual roots, Gift Grub’s success from its first broadcast on May 3rd 1999 propelled it onwards and it became a permanent fixture on Dempsey’s Breakfast Show. Far from being a catalogue of impersonations, Gift Grub is very much led by characterisations. ““I would probably regard myself as an actor who does characters… If you just took a direct voice off someone and copied it, well then what’s the point of doing it at all? The fun is in caricaturing it, heightening it, and making some fun of it.” But political figures aren’t the only people satirised on Gift Grub – it concentrates just as much on figures from sport, TV, and music. In Mario’s own words, “any character on earth can appear on Gift Grub.” Mario won the Outstanding Achievement Award last October at the 11th PPI (Phonographic Performance Ireland) Radio Awards, but his success hasn’t been limited to radio. Special 1 TV (previously I’m on Setanta Sports), a short satirical television series using puppet caricatures of sports personalities, became extremely popular, producing over 70 episodes and 20 webisodes. Special 1 TV was born out of a love for sport – “the drama and soap-opera that is football, and just the sheer love for football.” “I think in the last 15 years the whole Premier League has just gone nuts in terms of celebrities, money, fame, and the fact that these guys are now more rockstars and football stars, and then there’s the whole soap-opera of it all. It’s so scrutinised by the media with everything under a magnifying glass, and it made the whole thing more ridiculous, more interesting and crazy to comment on.”
While studying Economics and Politics at Trinity, Mario acted at Players Theatre and since then the stage has been his home. In the 1990s Mario played Dr David Hanlon in Glenroe, and in 2005 he starred as Keano in I, Keano, a comedy musical which parodies the so-called ‘Roy Keane incident’ which occurred in 2000. In 2009, he had the opportunity to marry Gift Grub with the stage in Gift Grub Live. “The first show we did, Gift Grub Live 1, we were being kind-of careful with it because we didn’t know what would work and what wouldn’t work on stage. We were being, maybe, a bit conservative, and it turned out to be a ‘greatest hit’ show of all the characters who have developed over the years”. Gift Grub Live 2, however, is a whole new show where everything from the first show has been turned over. “This show is much more upstage, much more topical; it’s about the climate we live in, it’s about now, and it’s about people who are around right now.” Amongst others, Gift Grub Live 2 will see Mario take to the stage as Miriam O’ Callaghan, Michael Flatley, Enda Kenny, Mary Byrne, Ronan O’ Gara, and Louis Walsh.
“I think in the last 15 years the whole Premier League has just gone nuts in terms of celebrities, money, fame, and the fact that these guys are now more rock-stars and football stars, and then there’s the whole soap-opera of it all.” Excited to be playing in Cork, Mario mentions that he and Ian Dempsey talk about Cork as being almost the “natural home” of Gift Grub. “There is a certain element of Gift Grub having a home down there, and it’s reflected in the ticket sales. Whenever I put a show on sale in Cork it sells faster than anywhere else in Ireland – including Dublin… and even my home in Waterford.” This year marks Gift Grub’s 13th year, and Mario Rosenstock is nowhere near breaking the strides he is taking. Along with his Gift Grub tour and the sketches on the Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show on Today FM, Mario has been signed by the BBC to bring back Special 1 TV for Euro 2012 and this year’s Olympics. And maybe more Vincent Browne sketches are also on the cards! Gift Grub Live 2 comes to the Cork Opera House at the end of March. The show has been sold-out, but The Vincent Browne sketches can still be found on YouTube, and Gift Grub can be heard every weekday morning on Today FM during the Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show, or can be listened online via the podcast. Images courtesy of Mario Rosenstock
Violence in films Chris Redmond considers the violence of the divisive film, ‘The Killer Inside Me’ Usually I spend the Christmas period watching some familiar festive favourites, but this time I took a slightly different route and decided to catch up on a few films that had been on the to-watch list for quite some time. Despite the semi-comatose state that seemed to characterise this holiday period, there was one film I paid full attention to, and it happened to be the most violent of the bunch – Michael Winterbottom’s controversial thriller, The Killer Inside Me. Starring the mesmerising Casey Affleck, The Killer Inside Me has stirred up ferocious debate surrounding the role of violence in cinema. Many of its critics have lambasted the intensely graphic violence directed towards women during the film, the shock value no doubt exemplified by the identity of the victims, Hollywood sweethearts Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson. Radio 5 Live presenter Simon Mayo found the film to be “vile and misogynistic”, but his co-presenter Mark Kermode was far more accepting, praising the film for its willingness to present such horrific violence in such a matter-of-fact way. It has proved so divisive that even Jessica Alba herself walked out of the screening in Cannes. However, it does raise several important questions relating to the issue of violence on screen – namely, when is violence gratuitous? I don’t regard extreme violence as gratuitous necessarily. In fact, it is often comic book-style violence that can leave a bitter taste in the mouth. Take your average action flick, for example. People are casually blown to pieces, buildings are destroyed with wanton glee, whole cities in some cases can be obliterated off the map… but the dog survives! It’s great to see we have our priorities straight when observing the erosion of mankind. I’m looking at you, Mr Emmerich (he of Independence Day and 2012 directorial fame)! Because of the frivolous nature of the action genre, wholesale destruction of life can be something of a banality. Not so when a director is unafraid of offering up a particularly unpleasant and unflinching depiction of violence. Violence is, after all, a pretty unpleasant practice. Winterbottom is emphatic about how he thinks violence should be portrayed, and it’s hard to argue with him. How else should we film a scene where a vicious psychopath brutally beats a woman to death? Is there a lighter way of doing this? I don’t think there is when the aim of the film is to give a realistic and honest interpretation of pathological violence. It reminds me of critics of Jack Nicholson’s performance in The Shining. He went over the top, they said. So how do you subtly play a man who is trying to murder his family? The consequences of violence are important and need to be shown. If someone gets their face beaten to a pulp, we should see the effects. Violence is bad because of its effects. Even if we don’t see them, the victim’s family certainly will. That is the crucial point and, thanks to films like The Killer Inside Me, we won’t have to worry about desensitization. Image credits: Eclipse Pictures
Poster parody of the month
Snow White meets Star Wars. Image credit: freakingnews.com
Rent DRIVE for a night!
Starring Ryan Gosling, Drive was definitely one of the stand-out films of 2011. If you haven’t seen it yet (for shame), now’s your chance – it’s released this month on Blu-Ray and DVD!
Image credits: FilmDistrict, Icon Home Entertainment.
Now you see them…
“Nothing divides a cinema audience quite like an unexpected cameo appearance” – Keavy O’Sullivan.
Whether it’s delight or despair, or an intriguing mixture of the two, cameos seem to be a sure-fire way to garner some more attention for your film. Of course, cinema isn’t the only culprit. TV shows, and increasingly music videos, also play host to celebrity guests. While there are some cameos which are undoubtedly influenced by money and nothing more, others add immeasurably to the film. Then, of course, there are those rare few that manage to steal the show entirely:
Keith Richards in Pirates of the Caribbean – At World’s End: It was well known that Johnny Depp had based part of his interpretation of Captain Jack Sparrow on the legendary Rolling Stones guitarist. While that performance alone was pretty great stuff, having Richards appear as Captain’s Jack father, all piratey and craggy and awesome like that, was the icing on the cake. They even let him play guitar!
Will Ferrell in Wedding Crashers: As their Svengali-esque mentor in the art of wedding crashing, the audience knew all about Chaz Reinhold long before we meet him. But then, he answers the door, wearing a dressing gown, and yelling about meatloaf to his mum, and all the legends suddenly seem that bit more impressive. Especially as he now specialises in funerals…
Chuck Norris in Dodgeball: The man is a legend, and we got to see that legend on screen. What more can an audience ask for?
Mike Tyson in The Hangover: Unexpected comedy gold from Mike Tyson. While his reputation as a slightly terrifying boxer has spread around the world, his appreciation for the smooth tones of Phil Collins was less known until this film.
Brad Pitt in Friends: One of Mr Pitt’s funnier moments in my opinion. Playing an old high school friend of the Geller’s, and victim of Rachel “the bully” Greene, Pitt smoulders with hate while trying to resist those devious yams. The added context of his marriage to Jennifer Aniston just made this scene funnier, and Mr Pitt was rewarded with an Emmy nomination for the role.
Johnny Depp in The Fast Show: This British sketch show was one of the best things on TV for years. Fact. And Johnny Depp was such a fan that he asked to be written in, and the resulting sketch (ooh, suits you sir) is one of the most viewed comedy sketches from the stellar collection of the Fast Show. Brilliant stuff.
Britney Spears in How I Met Your Mother: Ms Spears surprised almost everybody with her creepily cute doctor’s assistant. While she did (inevitably) fall prey to Barney, she stole a few hearts herself in the process. Best Line? “Please don’t yell at me sir, ’cos I have a tendency to cry.” I don’t know about you, but I just wanted to give the poor girl a hug. Hallejulah by Leonard Cohen: Cohen’s Hallejulah, or Jeff Buckley’s, or Imogen Heap’s, or even Donkey’s. It’s been in so many films, but it’s still somehow fresh. The mark of a truly great song. And there you have it. While cameos are often just shot down as quick and easy ways to make money, these examples show that with a little work, a short appearance can really go a long way.
The Sheens in Hot Shots Part Deux: Charlie Sheen is generally brilliant in this underrated film. It never was going to win any Oscars, but it’s a pretty clever parody with lots of little references to make the audience feel clever. Shining amongst these is the amazing meeting on the river between Martin Sheen and Charlie Sheen. Their intense voiceovers, calling back to Platoon and Apocalypse Now meet, then they see each other, and shout that immortal line, that every son and father wants to hear… “I loved you in Wall Street!”
Pamela Anderson in Borat: This cameo had people guessing as to whether Pammy was in on the joke at all. Turns out she was, but that doesn’t take away from what is a great appearance. She doesn’t overact in any way (hence the confusion as to whether she was actually acting or not) and it’s a hilarious scene in general.
Fox Plaza Building in Los Angeles: Ok, so I know it’s a building, but it has quite a collection of film roles under its belt. What makes it even more impressive is that most of these roles culminated in explosions. The most famous appearance is arguably as the Nakatomi Plaza building in Die Hard, which is pretty much blown up twice. Not too shabby. The Fox building went on to be blown up in the final sequence of Fight Club.
Image credits: 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., CBS, BBC One. celebrityfreaks. com, flickr.com, friends wikia, thefancarpet.com, telegraph.co.uk, hark.com
Some are blessed with TV shows, others just get slaps! Louise Creedon takes a look at the sad reality of reality TV. Is it just me, or has television really taken a turn for the worst lately? It seems that every time I lift the remote there is a new reality show piloting and, to be quite frank, I’m sick to the back teeth of it. When did we, as a society, lower our standards so much that television producers genuinely sat down in a board room and said “I know, let’s film pregnant teenagers” or “let’s lock some of the world’s most annoying people in a house for a few weeks and film everything they do?” Jeez, even in the olden days you had the aul‘ execution to keep you occupied. Inhumane, yes but I dare say a hell of a lot more educational (murder is wrong kids) than the deplorable serial sludge we are subjected to now. Take, for example, the aforementioned pregnant teenagers, or should I say MTV’s 16 and Pregnant. This follows the lives of young girls dealing with the hardships of pregnancy. However, it’s all ok, because getting pregnant that young is character building. The fact that the United States has the highest teenage birth rate in the world has absolutely nothing to do with MTV essentially glamorising it. Hmm… To quote the Facebook page, “If I was 16 and pregnant, I’d get a slap, not a TV show.” Then, of course, we have things like The Hills, Fade Street, Jersey Shore and (Lord have mercy) Tallaghtfornia. Hate to break it to you, dear reader, but these shows are as real as Santa Claus (sorry if I squashed anybody’s hopes there). Everything is fake, planned in advance and, more than likely, scripted. It baffles me that people choose to waste their time glued to the screen seeing what sort of a mess Snookie (Ladies and Gents, I give you the cause of the hole in the Ozone layer) and Co. can get themselves into. And let’s not forget Keeping Up with the Kardashians… Actually, let’s. Is there anybody outside of LaLa Land who genuinely cares about the Kardashians and therefore desires to keep up with them? Why are they going so fast anyway? I don’t bother for fear of getting a stitch. I absolutely could not write an article on this subject without mentioning the metaphorical pimple on the face of reality television and that is talk shows. Namely Jeremy Kyle and his friends Steve Wilkos, Maury etc. Jeremy in particular seems to think that he’s Jesus. Sent down from Television Heaven to bring peace to all Mankind. All I see is an idiot in a suit attempting to get the Tracksuit Brigade to speak to each other. And when he sits on that top step, the guests (why don’t these people seem to have any pride in their appearance?) are powerless against him. You want reality? Go outside. Focus on your own life instead of squandering your time in front of the television watching somebody else’s. These people have no idea that you exist and neither do they care, so it seems foolish to focus your energy on discussing who is going break up with whom. Turn off that idiot box. Trust me, you’ll survive. Image credits: entertainmentwallpaper.com, Universal Pictures
Trippy Art – A Glance at Surrealism Kala Chung discusses the genius of the Surrealists If you had to draw creativity from somewhere, where would you look? The Surrealists asked themselves the same question. Founded in the early 1920’s, artists like André Breton, Max Ernst and Salvador Dalí, began to explore ways to make anti-war paintings more expressive. They thought that the conscious mind was suppressed by morals and society restrictions so they experimented with delving into the unconscious mind. When you dream, your conscious mind is overthrown by your unconscious mind. Unacknowledged perceptions or thoughts you might have, instinctual desires and fears come to life while you sleep. If you wake up abruptly, you may remember some of your dream while the unconscious is still active. Dreams have no limitations and anything can happen. They are honest, and this is what the Surrealists sought – to tap into the unconscious and express their innermost feelings. Some characteristic features of this movement include the use of colours that are completely contrasting. A lot of the works produced in this era were colourful and dreamlike, the art depicting something that wouldn’t happen in the real world. They were often full of symbolism and perhaps strange creatures which were often the result of collage (surrealist artists use a lot of collage. In fact, I came across a humorous neo-surrealist worth checking out who can be found at twistedvintage.blogspot.com). Some of the most famous works from this period came from the artist Salvador Dalí. This man’s painting were pure genius; ironically, although his subject matter would be completely surreal, his landscape was cleverly thought out to compliment his focus point. One of his most famous pieces, The Persistance of Memory, depicts melting clocks, symbolizing how fickle time is. Dalí used his paintings as a form of psychoanalysis for himself and uncovered things about himself he didn’t even know or remember, like childhood memories and even sexual fetishes! However, Dalí’s honesty and sometimes ‘too graphic’ paintings made him get on the wrong side of André Breton, the founder of the surrealists, and was kicked out of the group in 1934. Breton even nicknamed Dalí ‘Avida Dollars’ because he believed Dalí was such a sell-out that he didn’t even really care about art but more about fame. Criticised or not, Dalí is one of the greatest artists, of not only the Surrealist movement, but in art history. His paintings were so realistic; it was hard to believe they came from his mind. He went on to work in other areas too like film and fashion, and he helped with a dreamlike scene for Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound. He also worked with fashion designers Christian Dior and Elsa Schiaparelli, designing things like a belt with lips for a buckle and a compact powder box designed like a phone dial. Though the Surrealist movement ended in the late 60’s, it has never really died. The surrealists influenced plenty of artists and art forms to follow; abstract expressionism, pop art and minimalism were all by-products of the movement. Artists began to further experiment the ideas of the surrealists; Jackson Pollock for example began to realise how to explore his subconscious to bring out inner feelings, and from this he invented his famous ‘drip-paintings’. Many other artists were hugely affected by the different and very out-of-this-world paintings that came out of this era. You look at one painting, and can interpret it in so many ways. If you’re not a big art head, I promise you that surrealism will blow you mind.
Katie Kim Orla Hodnett speaks to Waterford folk artist Katie Kim in light of this month’s The Certain Three tour Katie Kim, Waterford folk artist, is one of a number of notable musical acts to come out of the region in recent years. In 2008, she released her debut album Twelve, which was written and recorded in the city. Having spent the past few years touring, recording and perusing other musical projects, she releases her second album Cover and Flood this month. Katie accounts for the flourishing music scene in Waterford: “It was 6 or 7 years ago when it really started to flower, down there it hasn’t really stopped. Once something happens and other people see it happening, then people get inspiration to do what they’re doing. It’s a snowball effect.” Katie’s early musical influences are pretty far detached from her own folk leanings. “When I was younger I listened to a lot of musicals, then I became quite obsessed with Queen and the way he (Mercury) used harmonies.” It was simply a love of music that caused Katie to pursue a career in it. “I think it’s just the way music makes everybody feel; in some people it makes you think differently. Some people want to enjoy it, and some people want to do it. I always enjoyed music. When I was about 12 or 13 my mother bought me a guitar and taught me a few chords. I just spent most of my time in my room with the guitar. It all started there. I listened to music like everybody else. Everyone is surrounded by music in some way. I was just one of those people who decided to pursue it. “
Katie heads out on The Certain Three tour this month. It will see her play 10 dates across the country accompanied by Puzzle Muteson and The Lost Brothers. The tour is organised by the Word of Mouth Agency, and since the tour’s inception in 2010 it has seen the likes of O Emperor and We Cut Corners take part. “I’m really looking forward to it. It’ll be the first live tour I’ve done in about three years, so it’ll be really good. I’ll be sharing the bill with The Lost Brothers and Puzzle Muteson so it’ll be great.” Outside of her solo work, Katie has worked with The Waterboys legend, Mike Scott. She contributed vocals to An Appointment with Mr Yeats, an album which puts a number of the poems of W.B. Yeats to music. Katie attributes Scott’s invitation to work on the project to pure luck. “We were in the Button Factory. I was on before David Kitt and he (Scott) bought a vinyl from me at the merchandise desk. I moved to Toronto after that gig and he emailed me and asked me would I be part of the ‘Yeats’ tour and ‘Yeats’ album. I said I would and then I moved home and went on tour with him. I’m a huge fan of The Waterboys. I’m a huge fan of ‘This is the Sea’ and ‘Fisherman’s Blues.’ I think it’s one of the greatest Irish, well Scottish-Irish albums.”
Katie’s second album Cover and Flood is being released as a double vinyl album. Vinyl is a brave decision considering physical sales are in constant decline, but a personal passion for the format is the reason for her choice. “Anybody I work with or spend time with all buy vinyl. Vinyl is on the way up. I have no interest in CDs. It’s such a throwaway format. They’re so easily damaged. Nobody seems to take care of CDs. They’re a flimsy release. Vinyl is the most important thing for me: I love buying vinyl and I love listening to vinyl. If I am going to put money into releasing something, I want it to be something substantial, which I believe vinyl is.”
An unconventional approach was taken in the making of Cover and Flood. “I finished Twelve, went on tour with it, went to Toronto for a while, came home, and ended up recording for two years straight. Recording and recording and recording, not intending it to be put on any particular album. At the end of two years I kind of wanted to release something. When I looked back over things, I felt all the songs had the same kind of atmosphere to them. I felt they all belonged on one album. I couldn’t release them in any other form than those 20 songs. It’s still only about 50 minutes long. It’s not a huge album. It’s just bits and pieces. It’s like a diary of sorts – of what I have been doing for the last 2 years in the studio in Waterford. The third album is already done; well, done in my head and recorded.”
With her own album coming out and commitments to other projects to keep, 2012 is looking to be a very busy year for Katie Kim. “Big year ahead! This month is the tour, which will continue into February. Then there is The Waterboys tour is in March, April and May. Then we come back and we go to Germany, Switzerland, the UK and then we go to France to record the third album – and basically that’s the whole year taken up.”
Katie’s second album, Cover and Flood, was released earlier this month. Images courtesy of Word of Mouth Agency and Flaming June Records.
“We knew the music hits of the year before they were hits”
Mary Egan and Lisa Curtin give us the ‘ones to watch’ for 2012. Chris Rene: Chris rose to
Sandé has been gaining notoriety on the music scene since featuring on Chipmunk’s ‘Diamond Rings’ in 2009. She then became relatively prominant last year with the release of her debut single, ‘Heaven’ and the number one single ‘Read All About It’ with Professor Green. Despite this, she remains relatively unknown to the general public. I have a feeling that this is all about to change as she has recently been awarded the prestigious Critics’ Choice award at the forthcoming Brit Awards – which has previously been won by Adele, Florence and the Machine, Jessie J and Ellie Goulding. No pressure then!
fame when he came third on the American X Factor in 2011. His tough upbringing combined with his original song ‘Young Homie’ caused a stir at his first audition. However, it was soon apparent that he wasn’t as comfortable performing other people’s material. Despite this, the two original songs he performed on the show were outstanding. If given the chance, he could become the real winner of the show and 2012 may just be a significant year for him.
’s ce ee al R m 11, for the 20 ny e th n a . Wi sinc i tor of atch ing c a croll k Tribes: Tribes are a four-piece rock Fand th X s la e to m est band, similar in style to The Libertines. yl igg an From hi stsupi l b a e d a debut porting the Pixies, Tribes have ureleased str pit their he n A Des ch a be t e t album, with lead single ‘Sapho’ curing the hunger i o th m. t p it t u fec sprevious of s of rock fans of their withdrawl rock r er latin pefrom ei n cthey n astyle, i t’n‘proll e legends. In trueW rock filmed their s e hi ar ha p, R : first music video the rooftoops, with screaming tinreadyon rst d po e s p a fans rallying lthesstreets. u an Destined for success! a M e g ck ce hav s younof ro e Records g, thixture re inin mi er. tra rfect Bieb pe stin Ju
The name may be familiar to cover addicts such as myself, but to most the name Conor Maynard is unfamiliar. Over the past couple of years Conor has gained a substantial online following due to his frequent YouTube videos. These include unique versions of ‘E.T’ and ‘Only Girl In The World’, which have all been attracting millions of views and positive comments for his efforts. His debut single is set for release this spring, and if his adorable voice and vocal style continue to attractWhat fans greater at the rate his YouTube Spector: signthat of success than uploads have, he has a very brightstall year featuring on the background on Winston’s aheadright? of him. of EastEnders, Currently touring the UK, Spector are set for great things for 2012. Their music has moved from SoundCloud to iTunes, and ‘What you Wanted’ is set to be a hit for 2012.
London born, Irish raised MaverNoah and Whale: Noah and songwriter the Whale with featured ick sabre is aThe hip-hop inspired singer a veryin Oxegen in 2011 keeping and highLondon in bothaccents the UK soulfull edge. Theand mixare of fast his Wexford and with a growing number of albums being reallowIrish for Charts a very unique and genuine voice. He is releasing aleased. currently have albums,inand single his debutThey album “Lonely arethree the Brave” latetheir January. ‘Waiting Chance to Come’ in the Followingfor onMy from two top 20 hitshas in also 2011appeared with “I Need” season finaleOne” of Skins. Their success is guaranteed to grow and the5“The the New Ross native is destined for big further in2012 2012. things in
Spector: What greater sign of success than featuring on the background on Winston’s stall of EastEnders, right? Currently touring the UK, Spector are set for great things for 2012. Their music has moved from SoundCloud to iTunes, and ‘What you Wanted’ is set to be a hit for 2012.
Winner of the Australian X
Tribes: Tribes are ina 2011, four-piece Factor Reece’s records have already hit
rock and roll band, similar in style platinum. Despite his lack of any formal training, to The Libertines. Fromsuperstar support-has a perfect pitch and a style this young ing the Pixies,to Tribes have released match. With the perfect mixture of rock and pop, their debut album, single Reecewith is sitlead to be the biggest thing since Justin Bie‘Sapho’ curingber. the hunger of rock fans of their withdrawl from previous rock legends. In true rock ’n‘ roll style, they filmed their first music video on the rooftoops, with screaming fans rallying the streets. Destined for success!
At only 21 years old, Kimbra has recently released her debut record, even though she has been playing live shows for many years now. She is reminiscent of Amy Winehouse with her creative music, style and image. Now that she has signed with Warner Bros Records, she is set for wider fame – ‘Settle Down’ and ‘Cameo Lovers’ are two songs well worth a listen.
Beating the blues, one song at a time Eimear Hurley gives us her playlist to beat the January blues Blue Monday (statistically the most depressing day of the year) falls on January 23rd, but fear not, reader: these songs are sure to help relieve your winter woes.
‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ – Queen: While even the most horrendous cover versions can’t take from the sheer brilliance of this song, the original is unbeatable. The voice, thez harmonies, the guitar, the rhythm, the lyrics, the energy - if ever there was a song that warranted a “phwoar”, this is it.
‘Move Your Feet’ – Junior Senior: The Danish pop duo had a hit with this song in 2002. Ten years on, it still puts smiles on faces and feet on dancefloors, makeshift and otherwise. The pixel-art video is worth checking out, also, to brighten up even the dankest January day.
‘Pencil Full of Lead’ – Paolo Nutini: This track has it all – a snazzy brass-band sound; fun lyrics; a catchy tune; all made more even more endearing by Paolo’s gravelly vocal and lovely Scottish accent. The whole thing is a bit reminiscent of Jungle Book. What’s not to love?
‘Wouldn’t it be Nice’ – The Beach Boys: A large percentage of the Beach Boys back catalogue is glee-inducing, summery pop, but this song is in a happy-league all of its own. Listening to this without smiling is about as easy as eating a doughnut without licking your lips. Listening to this while eating a doughnut and neither smiling nor licking your lips may actually be impossible.
‘(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher’ – Jackie Wilson: ‘Mr Entertainer’ didn’t make his name through audacious hip gyrations (unlike some I could mention). This performance is just one example of how gut-bustingly good his voice was. This song was played regularly on Obama’s campaign stops during the presidential race in 2008. Mr President obviously knows a good morale-boosting number when he hears one.
‘You Make My Dreams’ – Hall & Oates: Immortalised in that delicious dance scene from (500) Days of Summer, Hall and Oates’ triumphant 1980 hit makes up for the parade of atrocious songs that followed it over the next decade. Despite their silly haircuts, Daryl Hall and John Oates definitely knew what they were doing here.
‘Here Comes the Sun’ – The Beatles: Some readers may be familiar ==with Nina Simone’s rendition of this Beatles classic; others may remember it from The Parent Trap. Either way, this is the perfect song for those dreaming of summer. It may be a good four months away, but listen to this and you’ll feel like that ice is slowly melting…
‘Mr Blue Sky’ – Electric Light Orchestra: Drink companies often have top-notch songs on their ads, and this is just one example. “Thank goodness for Guinness” for introducing a new generation to this feelgood gem through its 2008 ad (the one with the dot, remember?). Infectious, well-crafted and slightly indulgent ’70s pop at its finest.
‘Sir Duke’ – Stevie Wonder: Stevie Wonder simply had to feature on this list. Funky as hell, and sufficiently cheesy, Sir Duke is guaranteed to get to singing along (or at least trying to do so during the high bits). Instant frown-repellent!
Image Credits grooveflex.files.wordpress.com .tfavbrooklyn.files.wordpress.com 1.bp.blogspot.com, 991.com.closebutsofar.com, newspaper.li
Daniel Foley samples some upcoming films scheduled for release in January
Director: Stephen Spielberg. Starring: Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson, David Thewlis, Benedict Cumberbatch. Release date: 13th January. Pegged as one of the top films of the year, this adaptation of a London stage show sees Stephen Spielberg in the director’s chair, and follows the journey of a young man during WWI who joins the war effort after he loses his beloved horse to the cavalry. His expedition takes outside of the comfort of his life in England and across Europe. The stage version was a massive hit and there have been fears that the film would be made ‘to Hollywood’ but early reviews have been mostly positive. The film is said to be visually stunning and performances good all round. Starring Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson and David Thewlis, War Horse definitely looks like it’s worth the ticket price.
Director: Clint Eastwood. Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Naomi Watts, Judi Dench, Armie Hammer. Release date: 20th January. American-history buffs should check out Clint Eastwood’s latest effort, J.Edgar. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role, J. Edgar chronicles the career of J. Edgar Hoover, a director of and a key player in the foundation of the FBI. Like the direction of the recent Margaret Thatcher film (The Iron Lady), we see the title character as an elderly man reflecting on his rise to power in the early part of the 20th century. The film focuses on the career of Hoover from 1919 onwards, featuring his trials and tribulations in office and it also touches on his alleged homosexuality. DiCaprio’s performance has been praised while Eastwood’s direction is said to lack focus and coherence. Aside from DiCaprio, the film stars Armie Hammer (the face of the Winklevoss twins from The Social Network), Judi Dench and Naomi Watts.
Director: James Bobin. Starring: The Muppets, Jason Segel, Amy Adams. Release date: 10th February. “It’s time to play the music” and “it’s time to light the lights” because The Muppet’s movie is finally here. Written by How I Met Your Mother’s Jason Segel, The Muppets promises to be one of the most thoroughly entertaining films of 2012. After seeing his Dracula puppet rock opera at the end of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, I have every confidence in Jason Segel to deliver something great here but to take on the Muppets is a huge undertaking. This film sees Kermit and the gang reuniting after many years to put on one big show to save their theatre from a wealthy oil tycoon. It comes with generations of built-in fan-base and is sure to be the family film of the year. Image credits: Touchstone Pictures, Warner Bros., Walt Disney Pictures.
Image Credits: munster-express.ie, eightball.ie, laney.co.uk, riverbank.ie
Stack O’ Craic John Murphy and Mary Egan reveal the crème of Cork’s events. ENTERTAINMENT Keith Barry – 8 Deadly Sins. Date: 27th to 29th January. Location: Everyman Palace Theatre. Info: Ireland’s ‘mentalist’ is set to entertain and amaze the people of Cork. Audience participation very likely! Tickets: €30. COMEDY Jason Byrne. Date: 27th January. Venue: Cork Opera House. Info: Jason’s sell-out latest show, Cirque Du Byrne, comes to Cork – a night guaranteed to entertain! Tickets: €27.
FILM The Chinese Film Festival. Date: 20th and 21st January. Venue: Triskel Christchurch. Info: Visit triskelartcentre.ie for a full list of screenings and prices.
Neil Delamere. Date: 3rd and 4th February. Venue: Cork Opera House. Info: Having previously performed in UCC, Delamere is back in Cork for another gig! Tickets: €26-€29.
MUSIC Quiet Music Ensemble. Date: 28th January. Venue: Triskel Art Center. Info: Experimental music, with free workshop from 2-4 pm.
Dara O’ Briain. Date: 7th to 10th February. Venue: Cork Opera House. Info: On the heels of the success of his sell-out tour, the brilliant Dara O’ Briain brings his show, ‘The Craic Dealer’, to the Cork Opera House for a night of unfettered laughter. Tickets: From €26.
Tommy Fleming. Date: 28th January. Venue: Cork Opera House. Info: Special concert where Fleming is joined by The Irish Concert Orchestra. Tickets: €38.50. Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy. Date: 1st February. Venue: Cork Opera House. Info: American singer-songwriter Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy performs one night only (interesting fact: Johnny Cash covered his song, ‘I See Darkness’!). Tickets: €25.
THEATRE Beckett X3. Date: 1st to 3rd February. Venue: Everyman Palace Theatre. Info: Performances of Samuel Beckett’s ‘Rough for Theatre 2’, ‘That Time’, and ‘Rockabye’ Tickets: Students €7 (Wednesday) or €25 (concessions €20).
The Glee Experience. Date: 11th February. Venue: Cork Opera House. Info: Every Gleek will have heard of this weeks (if not months) ago – a bunch of talented Gleesters perform songs from the much-loved TV show, Glee. Tickets: €16 (matinee) or €21 (evening).
Equus. Date: 8th to 18th February (ex. 12th) Venue: Everyman Palace Theatre. Info: Equus is coming to Cork! Convicted of blinding six horses, seventeen year old Alan Strang is sent to a psychiatric asylum, and his past and the truth is slowly uncovered by the child psychiatrist assigned to him – forcing him to relive the events of that terrible night. Be advised: this award-winner contains nudity. Tickets: Students €7 (Monday to Wednesday) or €25 (concessions €20).
Alabama 3. Date: 12th February. Venue: Cork Opera House. Info: The performers of the opening track to The Sopranos (‘Woke Up This Morning’), the nine piece band mixes a wide range of genres. Tickets: €25.
The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo. Fergal Carroll discusses his mixed feelings of the latest version of The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo
I first heard of The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo around a year and a half ago when the book trilogy was becoming big here in Ireland. As I wasn’t too big into reading at the time, I let it slide until I discovered there was a Swedish film of the book. I never got around to watching it, and then earlier this year I heard that David Fincher would be directing a ‘Hollywood’ version of the first book. I wanted to come into the movie fresh, without knowing anything about the story, so what was another few months? Understandably, I was excited – an apparently brilliant story combined with one of Hollywood’s finest directors (there is no argument: Se7en, Fight Club and The Social Network speak for themselves). So I waited in anticipation for the finished product. Two great trailers (plus an excellent parody one by The Muppets) and some amazing music by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross only helped to build up my excitement – but how was the final cut? Overall I must admit I was a tad disappointed. I felt the whole affair was a bit lacklustre and lacked that bit of ‘ooopmh’ that would make it really special. Without going too much into the plot, the nuts and bolts of it involve shamed journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) who is hired to investigate the disappearance and death of Harriet Vanger by her uncle Henrik (Christopher Plummer). The titular character, Lisabeth Salander (Rooney Mara), a deeply troubled 23 year old, who is in the care of the state, is an elusive hacker/investigator who teams up with Blomkvist during the course of the movie. It is an interesting premise, but I felt that at times the pacing was too slow; it tends to trod along at the same pace throughout. I didn’t care about the story or the characters, I knew what was happening but wasn’t invested in the story as I was with other films last year. And as my friend pointed out, the casting choices hurt the story, without dishing out spoilers, it makes the climax that bit less shocking. Rooney Mara had the best performance of the cast. Unrecognisable from her role in The Social Network, she had the most interesting character to deal with, as well as the most shocking and violent scenes in any film that came out last year (seriously, do not go see this movie with your parents/older relatives – you WILL regret it!) She played the awkward, obsessive and, at times, insane Lisabeth brilliantly and if Hollywood decides to green light the sequels, we could see her becoming a much bigger name. Daniel Craig does his job, at times he seems almost Bond-esque and his Swedish accent came out in tinges throughout. He does nothing special but he suffices. The standout piece of the ensemble was the music. Fincher once again made an excellent decision in teaming up with the brilliant duo of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. From the highly stylised opening sequence (which included an excellent cover of Led Zepplin’s ‘Immigrant Song’) through the twists, turns and revelations (they were there but it all felt too robust and mechanical) right up to the closing credits they once again did a superb job. After winning an Oscar for The Social Network’s score last year, I’ve a feeling they will be there or there abouts again come February 26th. Combined with Fincher’s trademark directorial style, it fills two of the checkboxes but ultimately it wasn’t enough to make it stand out from the crowd. Rating:
Image credits: Columbia Pictures.
“They’re eating her! And then they’re gonna eat me!” Daniel Kiniry looks at a film that’s so bad, it’s good People love movies for various reasons. Sometimes they’re funny, sometimes they’re pretty to look at, sometimes they have an actor you love. Hell, sometimes they’re even good! That, in turn, brings up another reason people like movies: because they are bad. Now, I don’t mean bad as in people enjoy movies that are painful to sit through. I mean the ‘so-bad-it’s-good’ category. I mean Ed Wood’s filmography, Uwe Boll’s massacre to cinema, the Asylum stuff and, of course, Tommy Wiseau’s masterpiece The Room. There is also Troll 2, a movie so utterly, entertainingly bad that it got a documentary based on how successfully terrible it is, Best Worst Movie. Troll 2 is movie about vegetarian goblins (yes, not trolls-damn it, I demand closure for Troll!). A family travel to Nilbog (geddit?) in an exchange programme. Nilbog is a rather creepy town run by goblins disguised as people who turn you into this weird plant form and eat you. There’s also a creepy ghost (logical), a witch (why not?) and a man who can get rid of huger pains by tying his belt tighter. I’ll let that sink in... What makes Troll 2 so entertaining to me and why, I think, it holds such a cult status is that it doesn’t just fail. It fails spectacularly. The acting isn’t just bad; it’s utterly inhuman and unnaturally forced. You know the famous ‘Oh, my God?!’ scene? That kind of flat, emotionless and just bizarre acting is not only a staple of the movie, there are weirder performances throughout! The effects? Really, really odd looking. I wouldn’t even call them bad, considering I don’t actually know how you would portray ‘the insides of a human being after being turned into a plant’; they’re just... well, head-scratchingly gross. The goblins are really pudgy and deformed looking and not even the least bit intimidating. They’re creepier as people! So what about the writing? It’s really goofy. These characters don’t say things any human would say (including the humans) and the dialogue is unbelievably weird. With such sparkling lines as ‘You can’t piss on hospitality!’ ‘You tryin’ to turn me into a homo!’ and ‘There’s no coffee in Nilbog, it is the devil’s drink!’, you know you’re in for a wild ride of scripting gold! It’s not even the dialogue, but the weird moments and situations in this movie. There’s a scene involving corn that I will NOT ruin for you! Just watch it. I implore you. So what makes it so good if there’s that much bad? Really, it comes down to the fact that it’s just fun. It’s stupid, quirky and weird, but it’s got a charm to it and it’s really hard not to laugh at its ineptitude. The documentary Best Worst Movie (directed by the kid who starred in Troll 2, FYI) is a great insight into the appeal of the movie and a look into what happened to the cast and crew of the film. Some of them aren’t overly happy (particularly regarding the actress who played the mother), but it’s a great look at the people that get involved in these things and how and why the movie’s cult success was spread. I recommend watching it almost as much as I would recommend watching Troll 2. Seriously, seriously watch Troll 2. It’s pure, unadulterated bad movie fun and truly has to be seen to be believed. Rating: Image credits: Epic Productions.
Lioness: Hidden Treasures
Cormac Lehane listens to Amy Winehouse’s posthumous album First of all, it has to be said I thought this album was going to be nothing more than a shameless exploitation of the mourning of hordes of Amy Winehouse fans that still remember the soul-mistress today. I did not expect anything but a few bits and pieces of incomplete music that happened to be lying around some producer’s studio. Let’s face it though, this is what Universal Records are doing; they know that more people will buy her records now she is dead than when she was alive. She never could cut loose from her rebellious nature and past of bad rockstar-relationships. The dark mood that she had been gathering all her life seemed to spiral out of control when she ended up dying from alcohol poisoning on 23/07/2011. The heartbreak is apparent in almost every song on the album, almost every song is like a message to someone and they contain lyrics such as “we’ll share the joy love can bring” and “all I can ever be to you is the darkness we once knew”. The second song on the album, ‘Between The Cheats’, reminded me of that band in the film Back To The Future and so do some of the other songs with their old swing-sound. Amy Winehouse joins the infamous 27-Club, a morbid hall of fame of artists all to die at the age of 27, it seems in most of the cases the sky-rocket to stardom gave them symptoms akin to altitude sickness. This is probably what happened to Amy Winehouse when her renowned problems with alcohol and drugs eventually caught up with her.
You can pretty much expect the same style of song for the whole album here, except what comes like a thunderbolt in the middle of the album ‘Like Smoke’ which features the Queens rapper Nas, who I had never heard of but, thank God, adds some much needed variety to this album. This is definitely my favourite track to the album: it’s a change of pace from the depressing sound of Amy Winehouse wallowing in her lovesickness. It’s got beats, rhymes and rhytm and what more would you need. There is a rehashed version of one of her most famous songs, ‘Valerie’, on the album which really shows off how much of a powerful, recognisable voice she had. It is a very vocal track with very little instrumental added to the awesome voice of the artist. This, along with ‘A Song For You’ could have signalled a return to form for the troubled musician. The album finishes with a poignant monologue from Amy Winehouse herself. She speaks about her favourite artist Donnie Hathaway, but echoes a very apt description of herself. “Donnie Hathaway, he couldn’t contain himself, he had something”. As sad as her story is, here is a testament to a great artist and an album worth buying and listening to. The songs are good but because of the slight repetitiveness, it doesn’t earn a five out of five star rating. Rating:
Image credit: Island, Lioness.
Is looking for writers. Contact the relevant section you are interested in writing for. contact details on the inside cover. 24
Sherlock Holmes: The House of Silk Laura Palmer investigates the first sequel ever endorsed by the Conan Doyle Estate Sherlock Holmes is easily the greatest detective in literary history. For the first time since the death of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a new Holmes story has been sanctioned by his estate, much to the delight of fans everywhere. Bestselling Holmes expert and novelist Anthony Horowitz brings a compelling and atmospheric story to life. Holmes, who first appeared in publication in 1887, has been revived in Horowitz’s 2011 version as the world’s greatest private detective returns to solve another case. Anthony Horowitz is not, of course, Arthur Conan Doyle, but he has been officially selected by the Conan Doyle Estate to continue the tale of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. Anthony Horowitz, a lifelong fan of Sherlock Holmes himself, could not have picked a better franchise to rejuvenate in print form. While the publication of this novel coincides with the release of the second Sherlock Holmes blockbuster and the highly praised BBC adaptation, Sherlock, this book is a marvel in its own right. The character of Sherlock Holmes has certainly experienced the most extensive afterlife of any character in fiction – what other character could survive their creator killing them off? Sherlock has truly stood the test of time: today, almost 125 years since the character of Sherlock Holmes was created, the character could not be more popular.
Horowitz’s contemporary Holmes novel, The House of Silk is in a class of its own. Contrary to what one may believe, this novel is not a Holmes update to match the films, it is (as its cover proudly declares) “The New Sherlock Holmes Novel”. The characters are as close to the originals as good writing will allow; Horowitz truly keeps as close to the authentic detective stories as possible, with Watson even narrating the opening chapter. Anthony Horowitz has succeeded in recreating the Victorian era in which Holmes lives in, accessible to the modern era. The core of the original characters and the world they inhabit is artfully maintained, while hints of modern reasoning are weaved suggestively into the storyline. The House of Silk is truly a worthy addition to the Holmes canon which will undoubtedly go on to please diehard Sherlock Holmes fans, and is likely to introduce a new generation to the exciting world of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. Rating:
Image credit: Orion
Guy Gavriel Kay Tamara Malone reviews the work of Guy Gavriel Kay, the not-well-known literary genius
As a die-hard fantasy fan, I’ve read most of the big names: Tolkien, Pratchett, CS Lewis, JK Rowling. But one writer who is intolerably underrated, in this writers’ humble opinion, is Guy Gavriel Kay – author of, among others, The Fionavar Tapestry, Tigana and A Song for Arbonne. With some connections to Tolkien himself (his parents were friends with the parents of Tolkiens’ daughter-in-law), he was chosen by Christopher Tolkien to help edit his father’s unpublished work. His own novels can boast many accolades themselves, having won the Aurora award and the Casper Award, in 1987, both for The Wandering Fire, the second part in The Fionavar Tapestry. Kay also, in 2008, won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, and has also been given the International Goliardos Award for his work in the fantasy genre. Unlike many other fantasy authors, Kay’s work can be described as historical fantasy, often being based around the real world during certain historical periods, such as Constantinople or Spain. In addition, what I found to be immediately striking about his work was the inclusion of famous and well-known characters, whether historical or not. In The Fionavar Tapestry, King Arthur, Lancelot and Guinevere feature, and their endless story is played out yet again. Indeed, many elements of Celtic culture, the names of pagan Gods and Goddesses, poets, seers and scribes appear in this truly singular work. One would think that this would make it seem somewhat a rip-off of the culture surrounding us in general, but I found while reading that I felt truly excited at the recognition of these names!
Another aspect of Kay’s novels I found interesting is that they feature people from our own world who are transported to this fantasy realm, where they have large and important roles of lengthy significance. This bears a similarity to CS Lewis of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, but is a far more adult work (featuring, in fact, rape scenes among other frequent serious elements) and the characters undergoing this treatment here are, as a matter of fact, college students (appealing to the escapist in us all!). On the back of my dad’s old copy of The Summer Tree, the first novel of the Fionavar trilogy, which I devoured several years ago, there is a single sentence, a single extract from a review, stating that it is, “the only fantasy work I know which does not suffer by comparison with The Lord of the Rings”. I have found that rarely have I come across anyone who has even heard of this author, let alone read his work, and I truly believe that the mass of fantasy fans are hugely missing out in this regard! I wholeheartedly agree with the reviewer who stated this (and that is not something I would say lightly) as his work is truly some of the most stunningly beautiful, poetic, yet exciting and action-packed, I have ever come across. Kay does have the added sense of appeal, over Tolkien, in that his work is not nearly so heavy, not bombarding us with detailed and lengthy descriptions, but with a light and clear structure which makes it all the more dazzling. Rating: Image credit: janedayreader.blogspot.com
If it Ain’t Broke..
Features Editor Cathal Brennan tells us why he won’t be committing to any New Year’s Resolutions... January is a peculiar month. It is miserable, cold, and Christmas couldn’t possibly be further away. Yet unfathomably, it is also the month when large swathes of the population decide to participate in that most heinous of traditions: New Year’s Resolutions. Now, I am not going to ruminate about how pointless the above activity is for too long. I will simply say that if something in my life needed to be changed or addressed, then I would make steps to rectify that concern immediately as opposed to waiting for the first day of the following year. Besides, January is windy and depressing; there could not be a worse time of year to make any steps to change your comfortable routine.
There are several reasons why I won’t be committing to a New Year’s resolution this year: 1.
I still have a metabolism.
My brother told me a few years ago that he envied how I was immune to hangovers. He warned me that once I’d reach my 21st birthday, I would no longer be able to swan about town until 6am and wake up after three hours sleep without a care in the world. Unfortunately, he was wrong; I started getting deathly hangovers a solid year and a half beforehand (this is more than likely a result of premature aging, a fact that can be attributed to a faithful diet of cigarettes, stout and working for Motley). Therein lies the crux of my point; there is no way that I could maintain anything resembling a student lifestyle in ten or even five years time without suffering the affliction of a severe beer belly and at least two liver transplants. Like many others at this time of year, I could make the decision to cut down on the drink. I could decide to kick smoking. I could decide to have a regular sleeping pattern that allows me to see sunlight once in a while. I could do all of the above, but in a way I’d almost be cheating myself of my youth, when I can get away with doing all of this. I only have so long where I am in a position to make use of my metabolism, so I might as well make the most of it. This leads me onto my second reason... 2.
I’m not boring enough (yet).
Someday soon, I will be old. I don’t mean old as in elderly (I’m not that presumptuous, I only just about made into my twenties), but in the sense that I won’t be young anymore. In the not too distant future, I will probably have a regular nine to five job. I’ll wake up in the morning to a breakfast consisting of a bowl of wholegrain cholesterol-friendly gruel, a drive-time commute to the sounds of 4FM and a day’s work of moderate productivity in a sensible office which is furnished in a particularly sensible shade of grey. Monday to Thursday, I’ll come home, make a quick microwave dinner and watch something like Grey’s Anatomy before bed. On a Friday night, I’ll probably go to some overpriced yuppie bar and talk to friends about typical old people stuff; staples of such a conversation include discussing who died recently, who is getting married, how little Timmy is getting on in primary school, the new tie that John bought recently, the price of butter, and so on. Gone will be the days where I’ll be able to go on a night out, arrive home wearing a traffic cone (a la the Sorting Hat from Harry Potter), order Dominos at 4am and subsequently fall into a coma for the next two days. And to me, that sounds fucking depressing. I pledge to hold off the inexorable scourge of maturity as long as I possibly can, and this means not giving up the creature comforts that I am able to enjoy for the time being. I’ll be old soon, and I’ll be old for long enough. I’m not going to exacerbate the process by purposefully making myself more sensible, boring or even remotely like deputy Features Editor Athos.
‘What a way to make a living’ by Jack Gibson Lucey 3.
I’m far too lazy.
I’m the exiled king of procrastination. I’m the kind of person who refuses to walk on an escalator, and I’d sooner download the 3rd season of Community than look up any of the suggested reading for a 5 credit module. Trudging to the gym or learning a new language seems to be a borderline Olympian effort, especially while I’m just about dealing with everything on my plate at the moment. With this in mind, it seems pretty likely that I’m not going to commit to voluntarily changing my ways anytime soon. Unless I develop a beer belly or need a liver transplant, that is, but here’s hoping that that’s not on the cards until after RAG week at least... We’re covering plenty of ground in the Features section this month. Stephen O’Sullivan gives his account of recently travelling to Las Vegas to participate in the seventh World Series of Beer Pong; Mike McCarthy talks about the January slump; Mae McSweeney reflects on the toys and games that made our childhood; Maeve Clayton talks to the White Witch of Cobh; and Noel Dillon Daly writes a letter of complaint to himself. There’s all of that, and much more besides. Want to submit an article to the Features Section? Send your questions/submissions to email@example.com.
Why you shouldn’t read The UCC NEWS Deputy Features Editor Athos Tsiopani gives us 5 reasons for why we shouldn’t read that other college publication...
Now, rumours have begun to circulate that there is a certain rivalry between your beloved Motley Magazine and that other ‘rag’ on campus, The UCC Express. It might seem petty to acknowledge them, but I felt it was time to clear the air and discuss the differences between us, via the one-way medium of publishing. A rivalry is not necessarily unsurprising: it is a well-known fact that our readers certainly cannot overlap, and if you enjoy one then you simply cannot enjoy the other. So here are some reasons why you should donate your precious time to Motley. 1. The Express use subliminal messages Indeed, every entry in The Express contains a plethora of subliminal messages that are designed to influence your daily life. These range from BUY COCA COLA to FAIL YOUR EXAMS, with the occasional KICK YOUR DOG thrown in for good humour. One of their methods is to innocently put the letters in words they want you to pay attention to in capitals so that they stick out. Your subconscious picks up on these, and the next thing you know you’re sitting on the side of the road, filthy, soaked in vomit and HILLBILLIES because, while you intended on having merely one pint with your mates, something in the back of your mind told you to have many. Here at Motley, we don’t believe in subliminal messaging. We would never think of telling you to BUY anything. 2. They use satire Each issue of The Express is rife with satirical comments. Here at Motley, we don’t believe in satire; in fact, we find it very silly. Sure, the lads in the Current Affairs section have the odd laugh – but there’s nothing like that here in the Features section. When Noel Daly discusses computer science students or suggests that every member of the political societies in UCC likes to be pissed on, he really means every word he says. Anybody who misinterprets his articles as the kind that push a subject to an extreme in an attempt to highlight the absurdity of that subject, such as stereotyping, the notion of intentionally controversial political debate, or misogyny, is clearly an idiot. At Motley, we stand by our words with a dignified conviction. Unlike The Express. 3. They make things up I am tired of reading article after article in The Express, which is seemingly complete fiction. Allegations that have absolutely no basis in fact are constantly thrown around, allegations that could easily damage the reputations of the people or magazines they slander. I, for one, don’t find this amusing. What is this ‘new corker’ anyway? 4. They rant We here at Motley never rant about anything in our Features section. Especially not in our editorials. Written by Cathal Brennan. Who never complains. About anything. Partictularly not New Year’s resolutions. 5. They are complete hypocrites The Express are renowned for the number of contradictions in their issues. They make a textbook on quantum mechanics look like the dictionary. It should be known that each criticism and allegation they hurl so furiously about through their ‘satire’ is one they are guilty of themselves. Take a close look: you will see that each of their claims, from not using subliminal messaging to denying their method of simply making things up, is directly contradicted in the very articles that say these things, all for the purpose of their precious satire. They even write satirical articles about satire, and then take the time to explain it at the end for those people who just don’t get it. How pretentious. It really is tragic.
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A Letter to the Gods Full-time student and avid horticulturist Noel Dillon-Daly writes a stern public letter of complaint... Dear Mr Dillon-Daly, My name is Noel Dillon-Daly. I’m an average man, I enjoy a laugh and often I find myself in the company of a good woman. At the weekends, I drink pinot-noir with the bluebloods and while we speak of the decadent Cimmerian nights spent on the Côte d’Azur, I dream of dreams long since past. I have loved and lost with utmost fervour, I have run the race of life and finished second and I have been beaten, broken and brought to my knees on more occasions than my memory would care to educe. Considering I am a Computer Science student Mr Daly, I suspect you find this rather hard to believe. You seem to think that Computer Science students are narrow-minded, witless and ultimately typical in the stereo sense. Getting down to brass tacks Mr Daly I read your piece in last month’s Motley and I found it disgusting, vile, humourless and badly written. Although you never explicitly mentioned people by name, it was quite obvious that you were referring to ME personally as a “cretin”. Now I’m sure you and your stupid editors would refute this and say that you were using an exaggerated form of the stereotype associated with CS students to satirise the stereotype associated with CS students and propose that dramatic irony is a technique not solely identified with Shakespearean plays. Well...that’s very convenient isn’t it? No Mr Daly, that’s just not going to cut it. I simply can’t believe that concepts as complicated as subtext or satire could honestly exist in anything you would write. Judging from your photograph, which I can only assume is an accurate representation of who you are, it would appear that you don’t have two brain cells to rub together. You sit like a fool in your penthouse appartment, sipping brandy next to a chicken or something, looking down on the rest of us. Why? Why can’t you ONLY apply yourself to your coursework? Why do you HAVE TO have outside interests? We all like to laugh, Mr Daly, but some of us prefer classy clever comedy like “Two and A Half Men”, “Top Gear”, Michael McIntyre and cats with sunglasses. I find the use of profanity in your articles to be wholly unacceptable. Again, I’m sure you would argue that profanity can be as important to satire as modality is to Jazz but again I must say “no”. Sure you can quote Peter Cook and Stephen Fry and Chris Morris and hope they jump to your defence but you must ask yourself this – Are you as good as them? The answer is certainly, once again, “no”. To be fair Mr Daly, you do make me laugh but not in the way you’d wish. It seems we have another Kevin Myers wannabe in our midst. That’s right, ANOTHER Kevin Myers wannabe. I’m so angry I don’t even know what that means. Of course I’ve never read Kevin Myers but I think it would be reasonable to assume that you stole the article entitled “The Sexy Man’s Guide to Satisfying the Ladies” from him. Thievery, Mr Daly? Never have I ever thought that you would sink so low. Oh and by the way, that so-called “guide” to getting women was awful. It seemed to only proffer bad advice. One might even say, the worst advice. Oh great job, you idiot! Yesterday I took the liberty of doing a Google search of your name. It turns out that like me you are a Computer Science student. What the fudge!? Are you really that stupid? You realise what this means don’t you? You called YOURSELF a wanker! You walked into that one didn’t you? And wait a minute...in that last article were you referring to YOURSELF as the Computer Science friend? What a fool!? How did you not realise you were making fun of yourself? I don’t know if I’ve ever come across such a silly-billy. The 20th Century called Mr Daly and they want their article back. I know what you’re thinking – “What does he mean by that?” It also seems to me that you have a personal vendetta against Microsoft. Now I’m all for having a go at minorites, charities, poverty, famine etc. but I get an eerie chill down my spine when I hear the word Microsoft mentioned in anything other than a positive light. What’s your problem with Microsoft? Sure you can suggest that they are one of the biggest threats to creativity on the face of the earth and that their business practice lacks both competitiveness and fairness. But come on! My friend works for Microsoft. Sure, he has a face only a mother could love but luckily for him he’s a motherfucker. He sees nothing wrong with working for Microsoft. And he might be right. To quote Bill Gates: “Computers is good” Aside from being a complete and utter loser you are also a sexist. The way you speak about women in your articles is disgraceful. It’s as if you despise half the population of the World and have decided to put it into print. Either that or you’ve taken the position of a sexist to satirise sexism. Again, you’d never be clever enough to do that. Nor would I be clever enough to comprehend it. Obviously an accusation of sexism isn’t as important as an accusation of some other “ism” against Computer Science, so I’m going to write very little of how ugly that behaviour is. I suppose one might argue that prioritising the apparent dented feelings of CS students over the possible offence that women might take is in itself a form of sexism...but let’s not go there. To conclude Mr Daly, I won’t rest until you are expelled from UCC for your disgusting behaviour. I take offence to people like you. Those who think the World is a playground. Those who think everything is up for grabs. Those who have the temerity to write and assume people will understand. I am a Computer Science student and as a Computer Science student I feel it’s my responsibility to criticise that which I fail to comprehend. This is a University, Mr Daly. This is no place for creativity. THIS HAS TO STOP. NOW. If you insist on being creative then I suggest you write a letter to the Gods and hope they reply. Yours Insincerely, Noel Dillon-Daly
Image Credit: Julia Healy
Resolutely Against Resolutions Laura Kennedy questions the merit of New Year’s Resolutions... Well, here we are in yet another January, the heady days of Christmas behind us with nothing to remind us of the past merriment except a few (ahem!) extra pounds and some dodgy socks with an insane-looking Santa embroidered on the side. And while it is extremely likely that I will in fact be wearing my crazy, off-his-head Santa socks well into July, I refuse to bring my Christmas weight with them. Hence my first New Year’s resolution: to lose a stone in four weeks. This was to include early morning jogs, evening trips to the gym, no carbs after six o’ clock etc. I also did my celebrity diet research (hey, if it’s in Heat magazine and it’s good enough for Kerry Katona then it MUST be good!) and I discovered that if I limit myself to foods of a single colour per day I would certainly be hot-to-trot by Valentines. I lasted two days on the “eat only orange foods” plan before I started to gag at the thought of any more carrots. Don’t get me started on the oranges… let’s just say they keep you regular! It was then, starving and irritable, that I began to question the idea of New Year’s resolutions; why do we decide to set ourselves the gruelling and almost impossible tasks of at this time of year, such as losing two stone in a week, giving up smoking cold turkey after 15 years of twenty cigarettes a day, or meeting “the One” by Valentine’s day. We wouldn’t do it at any other time of the year, so why, during one of the most depressing months of the calendar, would we want to inflict such torture upon ourselves? I certainly won’t be appearing anywhere in a bikini until at least June, so why the rush to lose weight at breakneck speed now? I am fairly confident that none of the so-called diets in the tabloid magazines would be advocated by a certified health professional. In fact most doctors slam crash diets claiming that repeated crash dieting and cutting out essential food groups can cause lasting damage to the heart and immune system. Similarly, if you were to approach your doctor about advice to quit smoking the last thing he would say would be to go cold turkey. Like all addictions, a strong support network is required to achieve lasting success. It is this network, as well as the realisation that kicking the habit is part of an on-going process, that will bear results; addiction is not a light-switch that turns on or off as soon as the first of January arrives. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that you should forget giving up and reach for the Cuban cigars. On the contrary, I think that approaching the New Year with goals and ideas of how you would like the year to progress is a great idea. I mean, you wouldn’t plan a journey without a map (and if you do then perhaps your New Year’s resolution should be to familiarise yourself with maps). It is a great time to plan change, to give something up or even to take something up. It is the manner in which we approach these changes, however, and how we implement them that is key to their success rate. For this reason I think that New Year’s Resolutions are a bad idea. It took Superman twenty years to realise he was, in fact, Superman so the likes of us mere mortals are definitely not going to achieve super human status in four weeks or less. And that’s just the physical torture. We put extreme emotional and mental pressure on ourselves too by vowing to be a better student/employee/person, or by resolving to change every aspect of your life to achieve lasting success and happiness. Were you very unhappy last year? It was only a few weeks ago, we seemed happy enough with our weight or being single then. So why, when the New Year celebrations ring in 2012, do you decide that you and your life are no longer good enough? Don’t change for the sake of change. Decide to change something because it is the right decision for you, or because it is a smart choice health wise (I really don’t condone chain smoking Cuban cigars you know). But be realistic. Lasting change won’t happen overnight. Don’t swear that the next cigarette will be your last because it probably won’t, and please don’t assess every new person you meet as a potential “the One” (that poor boy who you’ve batting your eyelids at behind the counter in Centra isn’t sure if you’re trying to plant a gypsy curse on him or if you’ve got something in your eye). What you should do is approach the New Year with a positive outlook and vow to be open to every new opportunity and to just do your best, as that’s the resolution that is most likely to stay with you throughout the year. You never know what’s around the corner… I could be at your wedding to Centra-Boy by June! Happy New Year!
Image Credit: gettyimages.com
Beer Pong Having recently participated in the 7th World Series of Beer Pong tournament in Las Vegas, Stephen O’Sullivan recalls his experience.
When you hear ‘beer pong’ the first thing that comes to mind is an image of frat parties, red solo cups, and beer, girls, and more beer… Let me get one thing straight; the World Series of Beer Pong is a different game. It is treated as a professional sport by the vast majority of participants – it is about winning and the €50,000 prize, not about beer (although the majority of players get pretty wasted on the side to maintain the ‘zone’). Each year between January 1st to 5th, roughly 500 teams from 14 countries travel to the Flamingo Hotel, Las Vegas, to play in the World Series. I attended WSOBP V and got hooked. I loved it. I wasn’t expecting it. Playing beer pong in a kitchen on College Road doesn’t come close to this – 100 tables in a conference room, rap music blaring, your competitors shouting in your face, the crowed shouting in your face, and having to “make cups”. It is a brilliant mix of aggression, focus, and skill. Personally it suits me and my teammate; we both played sport to a relatively high level and after retiring we wanted some other way to compete – professional beer pong was perfect. We play under the team name “THERE’S A PROBLEM WITH YOUR FACE”. While obviously we go to compete and want to win, there is a huge community of players, many of which I consider personal friends and visit when I am in the USA/Canada. This was my 3rd WSOBP and the standard increased again – a lot (making 70% of your shots is about top standard). Our one goal this year was to make Day 3. Not an easy feat as we face little/no competition in Europe. At the WSOBP you play 6 games on day one, and 6 games on day 2. Your wins and losses are recorded as well as how much you won or lost by. The top 128 teams qualify for double elimination bracket on day 3. Last year we missed out on Day 3 by 5 cups with a record of 8 wins 4 losses and a cup difference of +5. Ideally, the goal is to go 12 wins and 0 losses, but we knew 9-3 would get us through this year; we had to make at least that. We went 3-3 on Day 1, which meant we had to win all our games on Day 2; after 3 nights of partying/drinking heavily, it is extremely tough to keep focus and maintain the ‘right drunk’ to make cups. Too drunk, your aim is gone. Too sober, and you get distracted; you need the right ‘zone’. Through some good shooting and (legal) intimidation, we won the six games and made it into Day 3. We wanted to go deep on Day 3, not just qualify. At the WSOBP, there are many side events. You can literally play beer pong all day long. Once preliminary games on Day 1 and 2 are finished, side events such as the singles tournament, women’s singles, international tournament, co-ed tournament, and random doubles tournament are all very competitive. We were expected to do well in the International tourney after finishing 5th last year – however, the author of this article got ejected after jokingly throwing a cup at an opponent (a good friend from Montreal), which the security interpreted as him trying to “start something”. Hence, we did not place at the International. Next Year… Next Year… While obviously winning the WSOBP and the prize money is on everyone’s mind, you are in Las Vegas with 1,000 of the messiest people in the world, so it is important to enjoy it also. I personally do not like gambling, besides the odd spot of blackjack, so what typically happens is that I end up playing beer pong cash games, either at a room party or at O’Shea’s Casino which has permanent beer pong tables. Cash games are typically about $20 per man, but I have witnessed some go to $500. Realistically, the WSOBP is too much fun – very little sleep or food, and lots of drinking and laughing. For the entire trip, it works out at about €1,500 considering you are in Vegas, and the event itself it like nothing on the planet, I would advise it to anyone! It is money well spent. We had a disappointing finish at WSOBP VII; having expected to finish top 50 we ended up ranked 96th. There can only be one winner… While beer pong isn’t that popular in Ireland, it is on the rise. I am involved in Widespread Chaos Beer Pong (see Facebook), a company which sells beer pong tables and also organises monthly cash tournaments in Cork. When I came back from WSOBP V two years ago, no one played. However, many bars are beginning to hold regular beer pong tournaments, which is great to see. While not many people will take it as seriously as I do or the professional players in the states that pay their rent via beer pong do, I say give it a try. It’s a fun game, and very entertaining for parties. However, if you do want a cash game, come find me and remember – THERE’S A PROBLEM WITH YOUR FACE!
New Year’s Blues
Concerned Kerryman Mike McCarthy writes in to share his thoughts on the New Year’s slump
Dear Mr Editor,
Yours etc, A Concerned Kerryman, Mike McCarthy
Poetry Corner Walking amongst the shadows. In dusk and grey, when come what may This eager darkness threatens day. Squeezes, dampens, falls as rain, Clutching sidewalks lengthens pain. While swimming in its ungodly sea, This oily blackness, blankets me. I shiver, breathing, forcing air, My spine a river flowing with fear. With hands of dank, insidious intent, I am captured, bound, felled and spent. Yet hearken, solemn angel weeps, Come hither lightness, soft it creeps. As tendrils, smoke- filled day-time eyes, Blinking dawn exhumes and cries. Free me from this night time grip, Kiss me tender with honey dew lips. For walking amongst the shadows been, My lonesome spirit seldom seen. With wistful morning dusky sighs, Embrace me between your cloudy thighs. And gasping, falling down loves ravine, I echo blissful day break’s dream.
UCC POSTGRADUATE OPEN DAY 2012
The only thing worse than a bad Christmas is a great New Year’s Eve. Let’s think about this rationally; January is famous for being a long arduous month where cold damp weather, niggling colds and stomach bugs are all the rage. The disadvantages of having a smashing New Year’s Eve with friends and family far outweigh the horrible reality of returning to work, college and reality. Mr Editor, we live in a time where Christmas has become nothing more than an excuse to spend hilarious amounts of money on food and ridiculously useless gifts while sleeping away our hard earned holiday time, full to the brim with overly rich food and drink. Images of Danish banquet rooms in the Viking Age spring to mind as we think of the Christmas table; vegetarians by choice for 364 days of the year cast off their ideology to help desecrate the turkey, and brussels sprouts are needlessly grown in their thousands only to be harvested, packaged, bought, cooked and dumped. “At Christmas time there’s no need to be afraid”. Whatever member of Band Aid who wrote that lyric has obviously not foreseen what the modern day Christmas in Ireland has become. The dreaded randomised visiting of family members (who usually wouldn’t piss on you if you were on fire) call by bearing tins of Cadbury’s Roses and re-packaged bottles of Paddy’s Whiskey. Call me a cynic, Mr Editor, but I wish for a more simplistic Christmas; a nice mass in the morning, a bit of drisheen for the breakfast and a nicely sized plate of Christmas dinner followed by a walk and an early night. Call me Old Man McCarthy if you will, readers; I shall refer to my inclination as common sense. Christmas is a time of peace amongst men, not a time for mad excursions through Dunnes Stores to find more sausage meat for the stuffing, despite the burgeoning contents of your overburdened fridge. But to answer the question you are all probably wondering, yes; I had a smashing Christmas and a dull enough New Year’s Eve, so January is looking up already. For example, it has become easier to navigate the isles of Tesco now, as they’ve put away all of their Santa paraphernalia. Everyone is getting back to the real world of doom, gloom and pints of porter on Friday evenings. This Kerryman hopes that you, Mr Editor, and the readers will make the most of this fine year we have ahead of us, even though we have another day’s work this year on account of the leap year. Be happy, stay smiling and know that Santa will be here again before you know it!
MASTER THE UNIVERSE TUESDAY, 31st JANUARY 2012 11.30am - 3.00pm DEVERE HALL
Postgraduate Options at UCC* *Additional session on UCC options from 6pm -7.30pm
Postgraduate options at other 3rd level colleges Ireland and Abroad
For more information please visit: www.ucc.ie/postgrad
By Laura Marie Whelton
Tune In or Tune Out Ashleigh Hayman speaks to UCC 98.3FM station manager Kieran Hurley about the relaunch of the radio station.
It had never occurred to me before to listen to UCC radio; my tuner dial was permanently set to the likes of 2fm or Spin Fm. With that shameful admission over, let me swiftly inform you that I have discovered what I’ve been missing out on! With shows ranging from classical music to pop rock, there is enough choice to cater for any taste. It’s now the New Year; and while radio stations aren’t accustomed to taking up spinning classes in the Maradyke, the UCC radio station has been re-launched for a fresh start this year. Set up in 1995, Cork Campus Radio, as it was known, was born into a world of ‘Hootie & the Blowfish’ and Aloha shirts. Little wonder then that it was in need of a bit of a makeover, or as station manager, Kieran Hurley puts it, “a fresh coat of paint”. So Ireland’s only 24/7 student radio station underwent a few cosmetic changes, such as its rebranding as UCC 98.3fm and the unveiling of its new logo. You may very well have noticed a few t-shirts roaming campus showing it off. The studio itself got a face-lift too, such as new microphones and upgrades to the desks and doors. It’s based on the third floor of the Student Centre, you should go and have a look if you have a bit of time to kill. Being student-run, it has quite an advantage in its quest to appeal to the student population, with between 75 and 100 of our peers involved. Plus, with students able to submit their own music too, you might even get the chance to discover the untapped talent around campus. Other new bonuses include a wider signal across Munster, bringing us more sport events such as the Sigerson Cup and to get out and about in their mobile broadcasting unit. These changes have all come about as a result of the students themselves having more of a say about what they wanted out of the station - so it’s not surprising that they directly benefit us. For UCC 98.3fm, standards have always been high; those involved in the past have gone onto News Talk, Today FM, RTE, Red FM, several Australian stations and beyond. Its past presenters even include Des Bishop. Kieran reminisced on the matter: “Looking back, I remember kicking this American out of the studio. He was wearing a white tracksuit and baseball cap and was going ‘Yo yo yo yo’, which was the style of the day. Now you look at him and he’s this international comedian, and you have to wonder. The one I always thought would be a major f**k-up turns out to be the most successful ex-volunteer I’ve ever had.” While Des may only pop back every now and again, many of the station’s current presenters are equally good company. Kieran also quirked that students often “see their friends working and think they can do a better job!” Sound a bit like you? Well then you’ll be happy to know that they have an open door policy, so give your hair a comb and set off to see the boss man. They are particularly interested in promoting more women on air. The station takes its listenership seriously and so certain standards are expected. They won’t just put any idiot in charge of our ears! With all of the above and a tagline like “Turn Me On”, how could one resist a listen? If you’re interested in getting involved with UCC 98.3 FM, send an email to Kieran Hurley at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the radio station at the top floor of the Student Centre. Image Credit: Julia Healy, www.ucc.ie
They Don’t Make Nostalgia Like They Used To Mae McSweeney reflects on the games that defined her childhood For the largest part of my childhood, I was what relatives probably called “an indoors-y child” – I cared more for the cushiony world of cheese-on-toast and marathons of Earthworm Jim on VHS tapes than I did for the Great Outdoors. My soft round frame was not engineered for the spirited sprinting and awe-inspiring cartwheels my friends performed. Yet, I must not have been a complete hermit, because as I reminisce upon those more innocent, tubbier times, memories of out-door jaunts and hi-jinks skip and roly-poly into my mind. I’d like to share some of them with you, in the hope that you might look upon your younger days and realise what a weirdo you were too. The kind of games I’m talking about were the purest, most organic creations of imagination, role-playing playground skits. Few or no props were involved. The rules were unwritten but understood. For example, Families/Mammies and Daddies: a popular favourite among girls, everyone scrambled for dibs on Older Sister or The Mom. Less popular roles included The Baby, because the novelty of crawling around and crying animatedly wore off pretty quickly, and The Dad, because you had to be “at work” all day and only entered this idyllic domestic scene at dinner-time. Another similar part-time is Spice Girls, in which dance sequences and other notable scenes from the seminal 1997 film Spice World would be re-enacted, lovingly but without any kind of correlation to the actual movie. All red-headed Irish girls of this generation have been assigned the role of Ginger Spice at some point. Let’s explore some more controversial territory – the famed Red Rover, also known as The Game They Tried To Ban. Red Rover was best when played in massive groups, 50 screaming children versus another 50 screaming children. At its most epic, Red Rover felt like a game that could determine life and death. That chilling battle-cry, “RED ROVER RED ROVER, WE CALL MAE OVER!”, still echoes in my darkest nightmares. To a concerned teacher on playground duty, it must have looked like a scene from Braveheart. If your school was anywhere near as concerned for your safety as mine was, it would have been banned, as the urban legend of the day involved an unnamed child breaking a rib from battering himself against the opposition’s concrete defences of hand-holding 9 year-olds. Then there are more niche creations – a friend of mine fondly reminisces on a much-loved childhood game, “Nits”. From what I can tell, this game involved a number of children running around in fields of corn pretending to be head lice, and scooping together small mounds of earth to “lay eggs”. Another friend, who understandably wishes to remain anonymous, vaguely recalls playing “Pimps and Hoes Game” in primary school … she provided no further details. Much to my delight, some of these games could actually be played in that haven of havens, that sanctuary from the wind and the rain and the belligerent sugar-seeking wasps, the Living Room. My sister and I engaged in a game that combined our shared love of sitting with our tendancies towards violence – one of us would sit in an armchair, knees bent, feet poised to strike, and the other would attempt to sit on the chair. Using only her feet, the arm-chairee would attempt to kick the ass of this usurper until they gave up, or threw themselves backwards in a desperate last-ditch shot at victory. So I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief meditation on the frivolities of youth, or at the very least that it’s prompted you to recall the japes of your own pre-teen years. To quote Lou Reed, “I don’t really like nostalgia unless it’s mine”, and that might be true for many of you, so go ahead: indulge in some bittersweet rose-tinted yearning for those days you can’t really remember that well, when toys came in cereal boxes, when a troll was a little naked plastic doll, and “gullible” was written on the ceiling.
Images Credit: distroya.deviantart.com, photos.com
The White Witch of Cobh Maeve Clayton talks to White Witch Helen Barrett about the history of her tradition and the future of the country...
In an East Cork town nestled between the spellbinding presence of its Cathedral and the enchanting charms of Cork Harbour lies the home of Helen Barrett, the ‘White Witch of Cobh’ and Commander in Chief of some 3500 White Witches across Ireland. Helen comes from a long line of Witches dating back to the Spanish Inquisition, is extremely knowledgeable about all things supernatural and spoke to Motley magazine about a wide variety of subjects ranging from David Beckham to the supposed end of the world on December 21st 2012.(I believe the two are unrelated.) But before jumping right to the apocalypse, let’s start with the basics shall we? Your palm, take a look at it. Do you have a cross below your wedding ring finger? Then odds are you will end up a widow/widower. Is there a broken line along your ‘heart line?’(Curvy line running along your hand up near your fingers) Then I’m sorry to tell you but, chances are high you’ll be heartbroken at some point. According to Helen, your palm will also tell you the house you are meant to have, when and who you are meant to marry, how many children you are intended to have, when you will die and whether or not you will be successful, financially or otherwise. Our palms are maps of our entire beings and dictate our destinies. A good palm is a good future so you’ll be glad to hear that this White Witch is unwavering in her belief that Irish palms are very strong. We “have long life lines” and it is for this reason that she believes we have a 90% chance of surviving 2012 without disaster. I’ll take those odds. This is not to say that White Witches haven’t observed many signs of a potential doomsday. In 2001, a small ‘UFO’ located in Bantry, Co. Cork was linked to the end of the world and was just one of many more allegedly retrieved UFOs worldwide, according to the White Witches. Helen is still optimistic, however, that the human race will prevail. As she says herself, “human nature is a force to be reckoned with”. We have endured before and we will again. It is for this reason that she firmly believes the Irish people will pick themselves up again and find a way out of the current economic situation. In fact, she predicts great wealth and prosperity in Ireland’s not too distant future, 2016 to be exact. Because of Ireland’s vast supplies of oil off the coast, she feels that we could be worth as much as 3 trillion euro in a mere four years. You may be loath to believe her but having accurately foretold the premature deaths of Princess Diana, John F. Kennedy and Michael Jackson, I assume that I am not alone in hoping that this particular prediction of hers comes to fruition.
White Witches believe we all live our lives aided by a “Guardian of Fate”, whose job it is to ensure that that which is written on our palms is fulfilled. Unfortunately this is countered by the presence of a “Guardian of Sabotage” whose job it is to set 13 challenges to you along the way. The Guardian of Sabotage resents a person who has “too much of a good thing” which is why, Helen believes, David Beckham better watch his back. “Golden- Balls” himself has indeed lived a golden life. Love, success, friends and wealth; that which we all strive for he has in abundance and this, Helen believes, is what makes him susceptible to sabotage sooner rather than later. Helen Barrett, in conjunction with few other like-minded individuals, has written a book which further explores these themes as well as setting out the history and art of witchcraft more comprehensively. It is called Soar-A-Vale and is available to download on amazon.com for the very reasonable price of €2.50. I had the fortune of being told by Helen that my future entails great success and wealth; with that in mind, I’m off to the Coast lads. See you in 2016... Image Credit: http://www.wallpaper4me.com
e y Tort
err Rasp b
to ve Clay by Mae
2 (154g) packets Oreos 2 punnets of raspberries (300 grams) 6 Tbsp melted butter 500ml Cream Method: 320g Dark chocolate 1. 2.
3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Break up the Oreos by putting them in a plastic bag and rolling over the with a rolling pin/vodka bottle Mix with the melted butter and squash into a shallow round tin Bake for 8 minutes in the oven then leave to cool Mash the raspberries with a fork then spread them over the cool biscuit base Melt the chocolate and leave to cool slightly Partially whip the cream then fold half of it into the chocolate. Mix it well then stir in the other half of the cream Layer the chocolate cream mixture over the biscuit and raspberry base and leave to set in the fridge Enjoy! It’s good for you! There are raspberries in it...
Image Credit: leblogpiquant.com
WHAT’S ANOTHER YEAR?
Colette Scariff-Lalor discusses the importance of bringing a positive attitude to 2012
It’s that time of year again: you have once again over-indulged in the delights of Christmas. Turkey has yet again become unbearable for another year, you have rewatched all the Christmas classics to the point of exhaustion, you’ve managed to successfully avoid being rude to those annoying relatives you only see once a year and still exclaim how tall you are, and for the umpteenth time, you have managed to fake enthusiasm upon receiving some truly pathetic Christmas gifts! Alas you return to UCC, slightly hung-over from an all too wild New Year’s party only to realise that you have a string of assignments due in the space of a few weeks. Add to that the fact that you’re broke, the nights are long, cold and dark, Christmas is over and it’s January! And what ever happens in January? It’s easy to see why many people can be slightly apprehensive about the start of a New Year! It is therefore easy to see why New Year resolutions more and more seem to become the butts of everyone’s jokes. True, one can argue that New Year’s resolutions are completely pointless. People make them but by the end of January, most of them have either been broken or forgotten! How many of ye can remember what your resolutions were last year? Exactly! Nevertheless, it is important to make some resolutions. No one is perfect. Everyone has room for some little improvement. Everyone will always want something they don’t have right now and this is where the beauty of resolutions comes in; one’s recognition that one can be more than they are today. Undoubtedly, given the bleak economic climate at the moment where we seem constantly bombarded with news of war, poverty and hardship, it can be difficult to see the New Year for all its endless possibilities. It is too easy to fall into a pessimistic attitude, viewing ourselves as futile creatures in the universe with no ability to make a change. But as cheesy as it may sound, everyone can make a difference. Everyone can be the creators of their own destinies. We all have dreams. We just need to get out there and make them happen! A New Year is the perfect motivation to kick-start us! It can be something as small as trying to improve one’s grade, taking up an instrument, getting on to that sports team and all the usual goals, like trying to lose weight, drink less or give up smoking. Perhaps it is something more ambitious. Perhaps you’re graduating this year, so your dream could be the find the ideal job. Some students might want to do something exotic like volunteering in South America. For others, it could be to find a summer job that makes you want to get out of bed in the morning. Perhaps you have a dream holiday… some place you have been longing to go to for years but have never managed it. Start saving now and who knows, it could very well happen this year! Maybe you want to tell that someone special how you really feel about them but have never had the courage! I say: go for it! There can never be too many dreams! It’s a new year, anything is possible! And sure if it all goes wrong….how bad! As Samuel Beckett said; “Try again, Fail again, Fail better”. Besides, some people say that the world is going to end in a few months time, so you won’t have too long to live out your shame!
Image Credit: Getty Images
Blazer €35 mercury goes retrograde and skirt €15 miss daisy blue
Dress miss daisy blue €68 and turban €28 turquoise flamingo
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Daoine ar lĂne 15
Skirt €24 and waistcoat €18 all mercury goes retrograde
Black tiered dress: Dress POA miss daisy blue
Red dress with sequins: dress POA mercury goes retrograde
Shirt, miss daisy blue €22 pants, mercury goes retrograde, €28
Dress â‚Ź82 miss daisy blue
Dress POA, Miss Daisy Blue, and Belt Turquoise Flamingo.
Handbags have become an increasingly important addition to any outfit. Fashion writer Emma Oliver explores the cultural significance of the timeless and iconic clutch bag.
From ancient, tribal woman of Africa to Victoria “Hermes Birkin” Beckham, handbags and clutches have always been a coveted item on a woman’s needto-have list. It is undoubtedly one of the most personal objects a woman can own. The handbag one chooses can represent status, power and beauty and in most cases is a reflection or extension of one’s personality. By peering into a stranger’s bag one can instantly learn countless things about the carrier. A lipstick or lip gloss kind of girl? Frugal or extravagant? Hell they’re so popular even men having started wanting to jump the trend (rise of the man-bag anyone?). A new handbag will never make you feel fat like a pair of jeans post-Christmas festivities (although they have been known to result in a full arm and upper body workout if we let ourselves think back to the Chloe Paddington bag circa 2002. The bag itself cost over €1000. A simple gym membership may have been the better option). Since the days of the “it” bag have finally ceased, the “it” clutch is coming into its own. Perfectly convenient for any College Ball. Move over Mulberry Alexa there’s a new bag du jour in the making. Three words. McQueen. Skull. Clutch. With the untimely death of Lee McQueen and the brand’s swift take over by Sarah Burton, the McQueen skull clutch is on the top of every self respecting fashionista’s wish list. Sparkly yet sinister it possesses the perfect amount of femininity, whilst still having a rock chick edge with McQueen’s signature skulls. But this amount of bag perfection naturally comes at a price and a four digit price none the less. Any first years out there may want to start pressuring parents now for that extra special 21st birthday present. Just saying. As we all know, girls carry their lives around in their handbag, but what happens at a Ball? Cue limitation panic! Unfortunately this clutch is not one for the gals who tend to carry industrial amounts of make-up. A phone, keys, your ticket (probably the most forgotten item and also the most essential) and a lipstick are about as much as one can expect to cram inside this beauty. It may epitomise style and earn you serious fashion brownie points but ladies, please remember that at a college ball that will going on for nearly eight hours (if you’re lucky enough to have the dinner) size really does matter… Personally for me, the Chanel 2.55 just oozes icon status and screams the perfect bag. It is refined, chic, and perhaps most importantly, timeless. For those of you not well versed in fashion trivia, the bag itself was created by Coco Chanel in February 1955, hence 2.55. Undoubtedly it is one of the most, if not the most recognisable bag in the world. Nearly sixty years later the bag is still in circulation-cue iconic bag status. It’s big and beautiful enough to wear during the day but can still bring glamour to an evening event. And it can fit everything. Felicitations! Luckily for you every high street shop in Ireland thinks so too, so finding a knock off shouldn’t be too hard. However when searching for a near replica, try to stay away from anything that screams “ten euro in Pennys girl!”, as you really do get what you pay for. There is truly nothing worse than smugly thinking that you’ve found the perfect bag at a bargain price, only for the strap to rip at some stage during the night. Annoyingly frustrating at a Ball as there is no-where to put your bag other than under a table (no, no, no, never a good idea mademoiselles).
PINK/RED WOVEN BRITANNIA SKULL BOX CLUTCH £1,195.00 www.alexandermcqueen.co.uk
TURTLEDOVE CRYSTAL BRITANNIA SKULL BOX CLUTCH £1,495.00 www.alexandermcqueen.co.uk
Karen Millen Jewel Clutch Bag €188.30 www.asos.com
Beaded Clutch Bag €32.99 www.new look.com
Whether your ideal bag is more Mary Poppins than McQueen, rest assured reader, if you take notes from the Iconic Bag royalty above you really can’t go wrong. Happy Ball-ing!
Chanel Classic Flap Bag 2.55 €2,170 Brown Thomas Dublin
2.55 FACTS • The lining – The lining’s brown colour represents the colour of the uniforms from the convent where she grew up. • The inside compartment – there’s a zippered compartment at the inside of the front flap. That’s where Coco Chanel hid her love letters (from her lover at the time). • The backside – there’s a back outside flap on the handbag – that’s where Ms Chanel stashed extra money. • The shoulder strap – Coco Chanel grew up in an convent, at the orphanage. The caretakers hold the keys at their waist dangling from the same type of chains as the 2.55 shoulder strap chains. http://stylefrizz.com/200712/short-history-of-the-famouschanel-255-bag/
It’s a boy - girl thing. By Blau Von T
The remaining college year shall be punctuated with glittering black tie events so with this in mind here is my guide to the hottest formal wear accessories for both guys and dolls. SS’12 is shaping up to be a season of contradictions were opposing colours, shapes and concepts are converging to form new and exciting trend hybrids. Don’t be afraid to approach your choice of formal attire with a sense of adventure and playfulness. This most obvious way to accessorise your look then by focusing on the most important accessory of all: you’re crowning glory. Fashion designers the world over seem to have taken inspiration from upcoming movie releases such as ‘The Artist; and ‘The Great Gatsby’, recalling for the glamour of old and re-honouring finger waves. Finger waves were developed in the 1920s to add style to, and soften the hard appearance of, the bobbed hairstyles that became very popular during the flapper period. Moving from the 20s to the 40s; Miu Miu pay homage the victory roll possibly one of the most recognisable looks of the 1940s and one of the more flattering as it is good for most face types and figures. Top reverse rolls are swept up away from the face, rolled and pinned toward the top of the head where side reverse rolls are one of the most familiar of the 1940s hairstyles. Men folk can get retroinspired by those dashing and slick Mad Men grooming styles and clean hit towel shave from the local barbers.
Headpieces and hats offer a multitude of styling options, from to skullcaps to fascinators, turbans to hair jewels, peacock feathers to birdcage veils somewhere out there is the perfect piece for you. Louis Vuitton and Zooey Deschanel (see ‘What Are You Doing New Years Eve?’ video) have both given us all permission to unleash our inner little princess with the most prised item of the dress-up box: the tiara. Stars such as Isabel Lucas have demonstrated how to unlock your inner quirky soul with vintage head jewels. If your looking your a more unique item then why not try out one of our many local milliners such as Velvet Bow where you can have a custom made fascinator/headpiece designed for you or choose from a pre-selected line.
One major item of attention this season is the humble shoe which Prada has transformed into a piece: colourful wingtip espadrille which stand as wearable artwork of iconic design and mid-century culture. Cartoon chic is a major trend this SS12 with bonus fashion points going to pastel patents and chunky ankle straps. These are elements that carry into the handbag and jewellery collections. Opt for well structured items with opposing textures and fabrics such as suede and metal and with as much crystal as possible. Why not add a little extra to your neckline with the accessory du jour the attachable collar in lace or sequin.
When so many men stand around in almost identical suits it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd. Neckwear often becomes the focus of attention with a flurry of bow-ties, ties, cravats and stylish shirt collars on offer to the sometimes bewildered gent. If your feeling brave why not opt for a velvet bow-tie or dare I even suggest patterned bow-tie, paisley silk cravat or bespoke buttoned collar. When the rest of your attire acts as a conventional backdrop why fear a few simple glimpses of colour and even match your socks to your neckwear. If however you find bravery in your sense of humour then play up some of the verging on ridiculously traditional accessories such as the monocle, cane or pocket corsage. Fancy having even more fun and forgetting about convention altogether then go on get the Dumb and Dumber suit you’ve always dreamed of or even do a Neil in Inbetweeners style, I promise to take the blame!
Image Credit: We Heart It, Vogue, Elle, Zimbio
Which Suits You Best?
Tiarnan O Sullivan
Men’s formal wear was once an area governed by perhaps the strictest and most formulaic of rules in fashion. Suits were expected to be tailored, buttons fastened to the neck and choices of colour stretched only as far as black and white. Contemporary formal fashion trends are far more forgiving, as high street stores have begun to stock skinny and slim fit suits with an array of bright and/or printed shirts to match. As ball season approaches the students of UCC, there has never been a better time to refurbish your formal wardrobe in light of this new wave of options, many of which can be acquired on the strictest of budgets.
For ultimate originality, purchase a brown suit. (Etro, left and right, Gucci, Middle, all from Autmun 2011 collections)
The most important piece of advice with regards to the purchase of a suit is just that, purchasing instead of renting. Suit rentals persist to be a popular choice amongst students as they guise themselves as the most pocket friendly option available, but this is simply untrue. I purchased a Green Label Remus suit in 2009 for both professional and social events that required formal attire, at a total cost of €249.99. I have attended 5 college balls, 3 weddings and countless events wearing the suit, and with prices of suit rental ranging from €80 to €160 euro it would have cost me roughly €1100 had I chose the latter option for each occasion. Invest in a good quality suit in the countless formal attire retailers in Cork and the long term savings will speak for themselves. Make sure to shop around and don’t be afraid to haggle (the original price of my Remus suit was €330). Deciding to stray from the traditional black suit can be risky; if grey suits are not styled perfectly with a look that compliments they simply look ridiculous. Always pair a grey suit with black shoes, and as for shirt choice black remains the only option; many men match it with a white shirt but this will wash you out. If you’re wearing a grey suit, I’d in fact recommend wearing no tie at all for social events and leaving two buttons open; the look is smart and exudes the perfect balance between casual and formal wear. Black shirts offer far more choice in terms of shirt colour, though for the most formal events white is the colour of choice. Avant-garde styles include patterned shirts and ties with bright colours and abstract designs, though the golden rule of men’s formal wear has yet to be shaken: keep it simple. Brown remains a sophisticated, highly original yet much ignored option, though it is beginning to saturate the high label runways so expect the trend to invade the high street soon. There remains little hope for those of you who opt for the cream or white suit, which hasn’t been popular since the 1960’s. It didn’t look good then and it certainly doesn’t look good now.
The grey suit – for style versatility. In terms of style, you’re options are virtually limitless. Skinny and slim fit styles are available from many high street stores, most notably Topman and River Island, with classic fits offered by label retailers in Cork such as Brown Thomas and Gentlemen’s Quarters. The high end labels will set you back in the region of €500, but are usually offered with complimentary alterations to make sure it fits perfectly. Match your choice of suit fitting with your own style; the slimmer amongst you will drown in a classic fit, so opt for the slim or skinny style and match with pointed black leather shoes. If your build is quite bulky, the opposite is true; the skinnier fits will strangle you alive, so select a suit of the more traditional design and couple it with a square footed shoe. Make sure to experiment; the new “geek” trend is storming the high street. To get the look, simply roll up your trousers above some patterned socks and safety pin it into place, match it with Dubarry style brogs and purchase some cheap non-prescription nerd glasses.
As for the finishing touches, professional formal wear dictates wearing a simple tie, whilst social events allow for bow ties (I usually buy the clip on variety – who’s actually going to notice?) Cufflinks should be matched with your tie or shirt colour, or for a 3-piece suit they’re classically supposed to compliment the colour of your waistcoat. These details can be purchased from virtually any men’s clothes shop at minute prices, so don’t bother wasting your money on the more expensive brand name pieces.
WELCOME BEAUTY 2012 This season’s girl is femininity personified. Pretty pastels, flirty lashes and fairytale hair create the ideal look for the college ball season. Deputy Fashion Editor Aisling Fitzpatrick presents Motley’s definitive guide to Spring/Summer beauty.
Inspiration: Emanuel Ungaro Also seen at: Louise Gray, Miu Miu, Mary Katrantzou, Jaeger London Emanuel Ungaro’s look was all about concentrated, intense colour. Not reserved for the eyes however, don’t be afraid to bath every facial surface in rainbow hues. From bubblegum pink lips, to peachy cheeks, colour is most certainly in. Take a cue from Mary Katrantzou, with a digital print dress and clashing vibrant makeup, for a look that’s certain to garner some stares at any College Ball.
Inspiration: Dsquared Also seen at: Gucci, Alexander Wang, Julienne MacDonald, Gianfranco Ferre The smoky eye has long been a season staple among designers, but for SS12 the trend took on a more defined look. The Extreme Smoke is all about the festival look, and make up artist Sharon Dowsett explains “the key is to keep the eye shape horizontal rather than giving it a retro slant”. To crank this trend up a notch for the new season however, keep skin dewy and fresh to inject a sense of uptown chic. This is probably one of the easiest trends to attempt for the College Ball’s, just make sure to choose one dramatic feature and keep the rest understated.
Inspiration: Michael Kors Also seen at: Proenza Schouler, Antonio Berardi, Marni, Peter Pilotto, Prabal Gurung Hair trends were a crucial element of each show this season but as Vogue’s Jessica Hogan explains, there was a focus firmly on texture rather than style. At Alexander Wang and Donna Karan wet look hair ruled the catwalk. For a look that’s a little bit more UCC friendly, take inspiration from Michael Kors and Proenza Schouler. Dusty hair ruled the runway for these designers, and can provide a welcome change from the usual back combing or GHD curls at College Balls. Developing last season’s fishtail plait, Kors’ dishevelled statement plait also referenced the season’s mermaid trend, and is a clear winner for SS12.
Inspiration: Louis Vuitton Also seen at: Chanel, Dolce and Gabbana A personal favourite, this trend is all about fantasy, with mermaids and fairytale Parisian princesses the inspiration behind this look. Flushed cheeks, and flirty eyelashes formed the basis of a look that is both flattering and boldly feminine. Dishevelled chignons and winged eyeliner provided this trend with a much need dose of sensuality, and the result was a Lolitaesque character that will most definitely prove a hit with both sartorial audiences and regular girls the world over. The College Ball season is a perfect opportunity to attempt this trend, just be sure to invest in a good quality set of false lashes (at Louis Vuitton models wore EIGHT sets). C’est l’amour.
Top Five Red Carpet Beauty Moments
With Oscar season (and college ball’s) fast approaching, I take a look at some of the most memorable looks we’ve seen on the red carpet over the past two decades. Michelle Williams at the 2006 Oscars 1. Sienna Miller Miller cemented her status as the ultimate trend setting hippy at the 2007 Golden Globes, with minimal makeup and braids. Although the look initially divided the sartorial press, the public fell even further in love with Sienna. Within weeks braids became the quintessential hairstyle among girls all over the world. 2. Natalie Portman When Natalie Portman arrived at the 2005 Oscars in her Rodarte gown, nobody could deny she deserved a place on the best dressed list. However it was her dewy makeup and jewel encrusted headpiece that truly transformed the actress into a modern day princess. 3. Michelle Williams At the 2006 Oscars, Williams was widely regarded as an underdog, but her appearance on the red carpet in a custom made mustard Vera Wang gown immediately confirmed her prominence as an A-list star. With an understated chignon and simple red lips, Williams quite simply stole the show.
4. Courtney Love When Love appeared at the 1995 Oscars, she wore a dress from a thrift store allegedly because no designer wanted to be affiliated with the star. Smudged makeup and unkempt hair were a thing of the past by 1997 however, when Courtney was clearly at her personal best. Her classic Hollywood look heralded her arrival as the ultimate bad girl’s icon and a Versace campaign quickly followed. 5. Jennifer Lopez At the 2001 Oscars J.Lo sported custom-made mink eyelashes worth $5,000. Need I say more?
The Importance of Being Earnest: Taking yourself and your appearance seriously. Tiarnan O Sullivan Still taking grooming tips from your sister/girlfriend/mother/house pet? It’s time to embrace the exploding culture of male metrosexuality and start considering how you can vastly improve your image with this all important doctrine on male grooming. In following these guidelines, the most important rule to remember is to find balance in how much time you spend on personal grooming. A man who spends no time at all on his appearance sticks out like an un-sheared sheep amongst his naked brethren. The other extreme is the man who has no brethren in the first place; the one who spent so much time staring at his reflection in the bonnet of a car he was left with vanity as his only remaining companion.
A MAN’S FACE
The first thing we visually judge a person on is their face, so taking appropriate care of its appearance is essential. If Movember had no other impact on you, you will have at least been made aware of how a man’s facial hair can drastically alter his appearance. There are three basic options for approaching your facial hair; the shaven, the unshaven and the fully grown beard. Whatever your choice, always remember that regardless of whether or not you use an electric razor or the classic blade, using a good post shave moisturiser is essential. To avoid drying out your skin, purchase a decent set of cleansing, toning and moisturising products as well. You may scoff at this suggestion, but you won’t be laughing so hard the next time you glance in a mirror only to discover you’ve been strolling around campus with the flaked skin of a homeless leper.
A MAN’S BODY
Whether or not you’re ready to admit it, you’ve undoubtedly considered shaving and/or waxing off your body hair. Following the explosion of the hairless male celebrity over the last few years, society now permits you to act on such thoughts without ridicule. Well, without much ridicule. If you’re going to do so, do not use Veet or any other hair removal cream. As a man who has had the misfortune of inflicting the pain hair removal cream induces following a full body application, just trust me. The fifty euro it will cost you to have it waxed off is a far better choice than effectively unleashing the symptoms of syphilis all over your body for the purposes of vanity.
Say what you will about him, Beckham’s approach to grooming allows him to seamlessly change his image while the whole world unconsciously mimics his styles.
A MANS ODOR
There are two tiers to this aspect of grooming oneself. Firstly, you must deal with perspiration. An excessive sweating problem, or hyperhidrosis, affects 3 % of the population. Commercial deodorising products generally do not alleviate hyperhidrosis but merely mask it. Opt instead for an overnight application product which deals directly with the sweat glands themselves, and you’ll never again have to hang your head in shame at the armpit sweat marks in last night’s photos. As for scent, the golden rule has always been “less is more”. Sadly, the majority of men translated this as “spray cologne all over your neck, hands and clothes, before unleashing your chosen scent in front you and dancing in its musky mist”. 2-3 sprays max, gentlemen, unless you want to induce comatose in all those who are misfortunate enough to pass your fog of fragrance.
A MANS HAIR
Deciding on the most appropriate haircut depends entirely on your personal dress sense as well as your general appearance. For all cuts, mini hair straighteners are now available for men and allow for some seriously original styling. Fix the look in place with some hair putty and strong-hold hair spray. That is, if you’re man enough to embrace products which were previously branded as female-only. A clean cut is the safest option, mainly for the appeal of a low maintenance style. However, there’s no escaping the fact that it’s boring. The insurgence of the male quiff is a welcome trend; it’s both unique and professional looking, not to mention the fact that it matches both a clean shaven face as well as light stubble. As for long hair, it’s time to face reality; most prospective partners aren’t keen on long hair, and neither are most employers. Or indeed Morrissey, who argued that “Long hair is an unpardonable offense which should be punishable by death”. Though I wouldn’t go that far, if you’re not a successful rockstar then I’d suggest leaving your long locks back in your teenage years where they belong.
Welcome to the ball special! “College ball dressing” is the younger thrifty sibling of “The red carpet look”, this issue is something I’ve been excited about for a while as I am a self-confessed red carpet junkie. Every day at least once I pour over sites like Red carpet Fashion awards and Lainey Gossip (while the former is “THE” go-to site for runway to red carpet inspiration, the latter is my ultimate guilty pleasure), Lainey could be described as Giuliani Rancic’s evil twin sister. My borderline obsession with red carpet looks comes from my own aversion to traditional formal wear; I do not own a single full length gown. Previously I have preferred to mix separates like maxi skirts and a great blazer or a tuxedo pant and a buttoned-up shirt. However, this year I am on the search for a great dress for this college ball season and I came across many great options in my favourite fashion haunts; Amity, Mercury Goes Retrograde, Miss Daisy Blue and Turquoise Flamingo to bring you some Red Carpet worthy looks at College Ball worthy prices. The fashion shoot this month will mix both my love of formal wear, via separates and the classic full length gown, to create a ten page spread that I hope will have something for everyone. We also look at college ball beauty and accessories and of course we did not forget the boys, Tiarnan O Sullivan takes us through male grooming and suiting. So hopefully this extended fashion section will cover all your sartorial needs this college ball season. Sarah- Motley fashion editor
Contents Beauty Make-up tips for the ball season
Grooming tips for the boys Page 4
Styling Looking at the different suiting options on offer this season
Blau Von T explores movie inspired trends
Emma Oliver looks at the ever important accesory to an outfit that is the handbag
Photo shoot Rust and navy dresses Page 1 Green dress and black belt Page 8 Silver dress Page 9 Red pants and white shirt Page 10 Red dress with sequins Page 11 Black tiered dress Page 12 Green waistcoat and black, white and silver skirt
Black and white dress Page 16 Glitter blazer Page 17
Fashion credits: Styling by: Sarah Commane Assisted by: Aisling Fitzpatrick and Kiera Bergin Hair: Origins Hair Academy Make up and tanning: Claire Leamy Models: Kristina Wieneke and Kate Lineen Photography: Julia Healy
Let us go to the ball! 16 Page Fashion Special
Published on Feb 1, 2012