Strodeâ€™s Independent Newspaper
e r g n u s e t o n r c c i i i i a t o r h i s m l m e s M u t l o a i i M Fa L F P G &
CONTENTS PAGE 2.
The Phantom Of The Opera
The Self-Help Obsession
Pure Fashion London Review
Ken Livingston Visits
Alice In Wonderland
Avatar Cover image courtesy of Bethany Whitehead
Editor in chief, Ros Wilks
Layout, Ray Hale
Dance Or Die
The Shadow Of An Empire
Lost In Digitized Translation
A Box Of Dust And Bones
The Strodian Myth-buster 22. Comic Strip
a r e p O e h T f O m to n a h P The
By Jessica Ridler
Given the hype surrounding Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘The Phantom of the Opera,’ it was no surprise that the thought of it not living up to expectations crossed my mind whilst I was waiting for it to begin. My doubts disintegrated as I learned about the underestimated Christine, who gets the opportunity to sing the lead role in the Opera - thanks to the Phantom’s coaching. Her voice attracts the admiration of her childhood friend, but soon he battles with the Phantom to win Christine’s heart. The incredible design of the set allowed scenes to flow into each other seamlessly, and carried us through a whirlwind of the character’s innermost feelings and thoughts. Like any romantic I sided with the Phantom – how could Christine not want to be with him? Could she not see that his slightly evil and erratic actions could make him that dark but yet attractive figure? How could Webber have forgotten about happily ever after?! Although the ending posed many questions, I’m wondering how my next theatre trip will live up to these new expectations …
The Phantom Of The Opera is currently showing at Her Majesty’s Theater in Haymarket, London with the nearest tube station being Piccadilly Circus (easy to get to from Waterloo) For more info and ticket booking check out the link below:
The Self-Help Obsession
By Hollie Wright
Self-help books, why are we an obsessed nation?
Since first publication, John Gray's seminal book, 'Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus' has inspired countless numbers of people to rush out in droves in pursuit of purchase, presumably in the hope of finally being able to understand that complex creature- the opposite sex. The popularity of such a book must rely upon that old mainstay of self-help books, the irresistible blend of anthropological psychology and the heartfelt emotional deconstruction of feelings. It can only be concluded, of course, that understanding the motivations and planetary origins of the other half will lead to a more fulfilling and successful relationship. The growth of such media, based upon multifaceted subjects, is answerable to the PostModern condition to seek ‘perfection’ through self spiritualism. The ‘Mind, Body and Spirit’ genre as it has come to be known, is generally thought of as being found on the bookshelves of middle aged ‘Spinsters’ experiencing a midlife crisis-being generally labelled as the hopeless ‘nutter’. Yet, the Male/Female divide is not as pronounced as first thought: 66! of the books are bought by women, with 34! purchased by men, while recent researchers noted a surveyed age range of 12 to 74 year olds. It is impossible to deny the power of the genre. Even If we personally do not rush out to buy copies of ‘The Road Less Travelled’ or ‘I’m OK- You’re OK’, we can’t escape the influence of the ‘selfhelp’ saga, with sales of over £38m a year the people we work with, socialise with or, pass in the street must own some sort of ‘life-changing’ book. The extensive growth of spiritualism in the past century is owing to the post-modern vacuum that we are subject to. Secularisation of traditional Religion, with a growth in lack of respect for institutions such as education, and the recurrent uncertainty of where to turn, have led to this need to find our own salvation. Thus, it is no surprise that self help books which promote a messianic message to their readers, have grown in vast popularity. Moreover, the recession of 2009 caused sales to rocket, as people sought a solution to the economic crisis. The recent trend in sales is correlated to uncertainties and crises of life. Therefore, it begs the question is the genre just a clever publication scam or do self help books actually work? For the writer’s of many of these books, the answer is simple, for them it is a way of reaching a cathartic purging of the mind, body and spirit, through the liberation of their ideas and self recognition of their achievement. For the reader, it is a little more complex, whether we are truly perceptive after reading or not is questionable, for most the experience is one that is empathetic, where we come to understand the author and feel inspired and motivated by their story. The way the ‘self help’ genre is viewed is wholly dependent upon the individual. For some the concept is dismissed altogether on the grounds of it being a scam or based on ‘insanity’. However, cliché but true, we must not judge a book by its cover and consequently we cannot truly know if it is going to enthuse a heartfelt response from the reader or not, without reading the genre ourselves. Hence, it must be counselled: next time you pass the spiritual section of Waterstones, pick up a ‘self-help’ book so that you can reach your own just conclusion.
n o i h s a F e v i t a n r e t l A ndra By Alexa
For all you high-street shy guys out there, it looks like spring has sprung – or rather exploded – in a rather un-tranquil corner of Camden. Out with the Rasta earmuffs (well…almost!) and gothic trenches which adorned the alleyways throughout December, the muso-tee-sellers have sprung up like mushrooms once more. However, worry not; the daylight hours may be increasing but Black Rose boutique remains as dark as ever… So, as you are presumably delving deep into the crevies of your cupboards as part of your annual ‘spring clean’ (but inexplicably failing to ransack any year-old vintage type gems) we have hopped about in search of some Stables sapphires (or mystical catacombs, if you prefer…) Nothing Could be more seasonally fitting. The Stables a newly re-opened (and extended) yet rarely ventured market, even for old Camdeners.
w ie v e R n io h s a F e Pur ngridge By Naomi La
Twice a year Kensington Olympia is subject to a transformation; Pure London, the UK’s leading trade fashion event, floods into the glass roofed arena bringing with it an array of outlandish designers, spectacularly mad fashion and a heard of buyers all eager to gain the secrets of this year’s latest trends. The event is primarily aimed for sourcing woman’s wear, young creative fashion for men and women and accessory and footwear brands. However, whilst not a business lady myself I nonetheless attended the event to see for myself the latest items set to hit the shops: For me, the event was more about experiencing the fashion world and feeling what it is like to be a part of it. The whole event ran for three days, each time showcasing a range of different products. Throughout the affair there were a range of catwalks, seminars and stands all aimed at showcasing new collections of clothing and accessories. Attending the second day, one of the main exhibitors was Zandra Rhodes allowing me to get a glimpse of her latest collection of amazing bags and accessories. The main trend that Rhodes seemed to capture was the oversized look. There were some amazing clutch bags that were made to be very big on purpose. There was also a lot of fringing, with tassels on pretty much the whole collection. Colour was also very important in the collection, with a mixture of very bright and flamboyant pieces, alongside more subtle, wearable piece. In addition I saw included work by Supertrash, Very by Vero Moda and Pomodoro to name a few, whilst in order to present the younger generation garments there was a separate catwalk set up, specifically for the showcasing of young creative fashion. These were the sort of items that you could knew would be replicated for the likes of Topshop in just a few short months. The garments were edgy and more concerned with the appearance than high quality fabrics so readily used in other exhibitions. One of the most interesting seminars of the day was the trend forecasting by WGSN. Whilst long, it really fascinated me how people manage to correctly guess what the key fashion trends will be for the next seasons. I’ll never understand how they manage to predict it accurately each time! !
But for me it was the stands which were the biggest highlight of the day. The area was set out like a traditional market and had an amazing atmosphere to match. Models mingled amongst the crowds all acting as walking advertisements for various designers. The clothes looked amazing, and you couldn’t help but want to buy everything in sight! From formal wear to younger fashions, every single style was catered for and I even recognized some of the brands from this section of the hall, from high street stores such as Republic. I was also fortunate enough to be able to see the new Vivienne Westwood accessory collection which included some very creative shoes. Never known for her conventional garments, Westwood kept her individuality using a PVC plastic fabric to have her shoes made out of. They were reminiscent of the jelly shoes that we all wore back in the 90’s on the beach but quite a bit more stylish and with a higher price tag! It was while I was looking around the Vivienne Westwood stand that I noticed Zandra Rhodes herself was doing the exact same thing! You can hardly miss her with her trademark bright pink hair. I didn’t get the chance to speak to her, but it was still pretty amazing being that close to such a fashionista! It was a surreal day filled with the quirky wonders and surprises that the fashion world is so famous for. Keep a look out for boyfriend blazers paired with those girly florals over the next few months – I’m off to dig out those old jelly shoes…… !
The next pure fashion show runs from the 1st-3rd of August 2010
Find out more about it here: www.purefashion.com
? l i a F e b o r d r a W
ilks By Ros W
Reckon your wardrobe is lacking choice? Sheena Matheiken has to wear the same dress for the whole year...
That’s right! This sweet LBD, thankfully made into 7 copies by designer Eliza Starbuck, has been donned by Matheiken for nearly 162 days now, and it’s all in aid of The Akanksha Foundation, a charity that provides aid and education for children in the india slums. She’s taken the opportunity to create chic, kooky styles with the mini shirt-dress as her template. Check out a few of the magnificent results! Find out more about The Akanksha Foundation at their website:
y r lo G r e k c o b r e k Knic
ilks By Ros W
SIN is going Gok on your undies this week! Get those bangers lookin’ bangin’!
We’ve all got them. The beige, sagging bras maybe with an odd rose attached here and there in a vain attempt to make them look “pretty”. Then there’s maybe one sort of nice black lacy number that’s four sizes too small and nearly breaks our ribs as we attempt to force it round our backs. Oh and you can’t forget those raggedy off-white knickers…. Sounds familiar? Pulling a slightly strained smile of recognition? If so it’s time to make a change. Whether you’ve got ill-fitting bras or you’re just fed up with items aptly named “Doreen”, the improvements to your health and confidence can be astounding. Although a slightly taboo subject, lingerie is slowly becoming an increasingly popular fashion item. Manufacturers like Lepel, Freya and Fantasie have brought us out of the dark ages where the bustier women could expect only one peach coloured number for sale and where the only “sexy” items were garish, red, feathery things more suited to a Drag Queen than your average gal. Now, whether we want to be sweet, alluring, or vibrant with our undergarments it doesn’t take much trekking to find something pretty damn gorgeous…. Still uncertain? See if any of these stunning numbers below take your fancy... nza La Se
Midnight Gr ace @ Fig leaves
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ear or en who w m o w f o e too big b 80! it r e h t term , wea fitting bra ould result in long can c too small, ms! Thats right you o a t ble health pro g from a sore back get anythin om a bad bra! fr headache
Places to visit www.figleaves.com La Senza Bravissimo Ann Summers
good for those – Slightly pricier but classy brands that are particularly gifted with a pair of melons – Cheap and sexy numbers fun and funky – Again accommodating larger (and smaller!) ladies with items... – The Knickerbox range is defiantly one to check out!
s it is V e n o t s g in Ken Liv By Katie Marshall
On Wednesday 11th March, Laws, Politics and Citizenship students were given the opportunity to attend a talk and question and answer session with the former Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone. Livingstone, who was expelled from the Labour party in 2000, spoke to students about the current political state of the country and methods in which the cracks in the Government can be restored by us as the future of politics. His recommendations and suggestions included the construction of local energy plants to combat the ever increasing problem that is climate change. Alongside this, Livingstone reiterated that we should all use public transport where possible – which many students have no other option but to do despite the excessive costs involved in doing so. When challenged about the elevated prices of public transport by a Strode’s student in the audience Livingstone expressed some understanding, and proposed attempting to rectify this if he were reinstated as Mayor. Livingstone joined politics in 1968 with a view to ‘change the world and change the way we live’ and was the London Mayor from 2000 to 2008. He plans to run for London Mayor again in 2012 with hopes to build more housing, “re plaster the economy” and for the Labour party to embrace the redistribution of wealth if they continue to stay in power after the general election. So...does Ken Livingstone get your vote?
d n la r e d n o W In e c li A
By Abi Crowe
Was the highly anticipated film as good as it was made out to be?
True to his style, Tim Burton has created another dark and gloomy world starring Johnny Depp. This is not the original Alice in Wonderland though, this is thirteen years later and Alice has been proposed to by a typical rich boy who disapproves of Alice’s overactive imagination and ‘dreams’ of a rabbit in a waistcoat. Leaving him standing in front of a crowd she heads into a forest and yep, you guessed it; falls down a rabbit hole. However, what greets Alice this time around is not a pretty sight. The Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) has taken over Wonderland and casts fear in anyone attempting to disobey her by screaming, “Off with their head!!”. Alice must live up to her destiny and remove the Red Queen from her position of power. Tim Burton’s imagination is truly phenomenal and the cast (including Alan Rickman as the sarcastic caterpillar and Steven Fry as the Cheshire Cat) are excellently chosen. The only criticism in his choice of actors I would make is, at times, Johnny Depp. He is great when he is the Mad Hatter, however he repeatedly falls back into being Jack Sparrow or Sweeney Todd which makes it hard to concentrate on the character he is actually playing. It’s definitely one to see, but go for the 2D option. It wasn’t filmed using 3D technology which means watching it in 3D makes it lose a lot of its colour. Overall I’d give it 3 stars, it is what it should be; a family fun adventure with a twist.
Crowe By Abi
Because frankly, The Smurfs, will always be much much better.
So James Cameron has done it again. In ‘Terminator 2: Judgement Day’ (1991) he took CGI (computer generated imagery) to the next level. In ‘Titanic’ (1997) his special effects left audiences in awe. However Avatar (2009) is in a league of its own. Cameron (a gadget geek) created a hugely challenging task for himself in making this $237 million film and don’t get me wrong, the effects are incredible. Each character design was only finalised after 100 drafts and each single frame of this 156 minute film took 30 hours to create. It’s an impressive achievement and an amazing step forward in both CGI and 3D technology; but will it have a negative effect on cinema? The story really does let the film down. Cameron has basically taken the story from ‘Pocahontas’ and ‘Dances with Wolves’ and thrown huge amounts of cash and special effects at it. The story was too long, was slow to start and some of the dialogue was just embarrassing. Every director that visited Cameron’s set for ‘Avatar’ is now using the very same technology to create their next films, so does mean that we are doomed to suffer a year or so of stunning effects taking priority over a good story. You can make the most visually stunning film in the world and people will like it but look who landed the 2010 Oscars. Avatar: 3, ‘The Hurt Locker’ : 6, including the Best Motion Picture of the Year. Avatar was amazing but a film still needs a good script to be the best.
Dance Or Die By Kirsty Capes-Edwards
This time next year Family Force 5 will be bringing out their third album, but until then here’s what we thought of their second...
After setting the bar ridiculously high with their debut album back in 2006, Family Force 5 had to work hard to meet their own standards. Fortunately, the crunk-rock quintet, hailing from Atlanta, is way too stupendous to be held down. Instead, FF5 have succeeded in delivering another deliciously bittersweet mouthful of awesomeness. Dance or Die is an eclectic blend of crunk-rock, electro-pop and ghetto-rap, inspired by and originating from their Deep Southern roots. And judging by the sales figures - after releasing the album on an independent, minor label - they’re pretty damn smart. Opening with the title track, it’s clear that a lot has changed since the debut EP. But don’t let that put you off – FF5 still manage to blend their own distinctive flavour with a new recipe of electronic rap-rock. Dance Or Die seems much more light-hearted, focussing on the club/dance vibes of their sound, rather than the ‘Atlanta Gangsta’ aspects favoured in the debut. Saying that, DOD still transcends musical tastes, offering something for everyone. Keyboardist “Nadaddy”’s opening synthesizers coupled with choppy, rhythmically layered vocals, courtesy of singer/rhythm guitarist “SGA”, give way to a catchy drumbeat that you can’t help but bop along to. Whilst FF5 meticulously embody everything that represents crunk-rock, they manage to do so in so slapdash and haphazard a way, they make it seem easy. The phrase organised chaos comes to mind. The second track “Get Your Back Off The Wall” opens with SGA’s heavily filtered voice, ever-increasing in pitch and volume until the signature drum machine beat kicks in, providing the backbone to a song of immense headbanging-potential. “How in The World?” with its soulful, heartfelt chorus immediately switches the tone. Some of the riffs and filters on this record are truly outstanding, often so complicated that it’s hard to distinguish where the vocals end and the instruments begin. A case in point being “Fever”, which at it’s highest has vocals that Justin Hawkins would be proud of; working in perfect harmony with the masterful guitar-interplay and exceptional drumming, creating an insane sonic texture. Even more admirable is the fact that it’s an incredibly catchy song, to the point where you stop caring about the instrumental arrangements; it just makes you want to rock the hell out. There’s not a single bad track on this record, but that doesn’t automatically make it an all-time classic. However, given the appeal that FF5 commands, it does make you wonder why they’re not reaching the charts. A band like this, and a record like this, injects a much-needed liveliness and fun into music, the likes of which we haven’t seen since Blink 182’s Enema of the State. Although this stuff needs to be heard by the masses, I’m secretly quite glad it isn’t. I want to lock these guys up, hide them from the world, and keep them all for myself.
The Shadow Of An Empire By Lucy Alker
The second offering from Irish singer-songwriter Fionn Regan.
Recorded live in an abandoned factory in Co. Wicklow, Ireland, ‘The Shadow of an Empire’ is the follow up to Fionn Regan’s mercury music prize – nominated ‘The End of History’. As can be expected from the circumstances of its recording, this new offering is a little rough around the edges but this certainly isn’t the only difference from his debut that can be heard in the new songs. Regan has swapped his trademark soft vocals and gently plucked guitars for a full electric band and a decidedly harsher vocal tone than we have heard from him in the past. The result is an album of songs that nobody – not even Lost Highway Records, a label which shelved his first effort and subsequently lost an artist – expected him to write. ‘The Shadow of an Empire’ opens with its first single ‘Protection Racket’, a glorious folk-come-rock & roll track condemning big commercial companies and, one suspects, controlling major record labels. The album continues much in the same vein through ‘Catacombs’ (single no. 2), ‘Coat Hook’ and ‘Genocide Matinee’, all of which have a violent lyrical undertone worlds away from the poetics of ‘…History’. The opening verse of ‘Violent Demeanour’ presents us with a much more familiar sound, reminiscent of Regan’s former style, but this quickly evolves into a bitter homage to those who have been mistreated by the state. ‘Lines Written in Winter’ is the first track that can be described as anything resembling gentle. It requires a few careful listens to really appreciate the tender vocal and the threads of emotion running through the melody but it quickly becomes a stand out track. The stillness is soon broken by the opening chords of ‘House Detective’ as Regan belts ‘you climbed up the drainpipe and I climbed up the ladder in your tights’, a personal favourite lyric. Another change of pace ensues with the heart-warming and nostalgic ‘Little Nancy’ and ‘Lord
Help My Poor Soul’. The album closes with the piano-accompanied title track ‘The Shadow of an Empire’. The backing is beautifully simplistic and allows the listener to focus on the most important part of the song, the lyrics. All in all I have grown very fond of this album but I can’t help but feel that Regan has a lot more to give. We know from his debut that he is capable of lyrical brilliance if not genius and that he really understands how to construct a song, but this time around he falls a little short of the completeness of his older tracks. Still, ‘The Shadow of an Empire’ shows a lot of promise for album no. 3 which has the potential to be amazing if he can somehow infuse the skill demonstrated in ‘…History’ with the raw sound and energy of this latest collection.
Fionn has a range of UK tour and festival dates from the 21st of May to the 20th of August. Check out his myspace for more details. www.myspace.com/fionnregan
Paramore, Wembley Arena By Kirsty Capes-Edwards
18th Of December 2009 Supported by: Now Now, Every Child & You Me At Six
The last time I saw Paramore live was in 2007, on a dingy, sweaty mezzanine at the Astoria, packed to bursting point with teeny boppers in yellow skinny-jeans. They were on the last night of their "Riot!" Tour, and they’d sold out. I’d turned up at the venue about an hour before the gig and walked into an empty hall. Oh, how things change. Three years later and five hours in the blistering cold, sleet and snow outside Wembley arena’s East entrance, and I still only get to the second row in the standing area. Wembley is packed out, just like the Astoria was, on the last night of the “Brand New Eyes” tour. Only this time, there are 10,500 more people contributing to the packing out.
Main Set List 1.
Brand New Eyes Intro
2. Ignorance 3. I caught Myself 4.
That’s What You Get
5. Looking Up 6. Crushcrushcrush 7. Turn It Off 8. The Only Exception 9.
Paramore have evolved, as musicians, as 10. Where The Lines Overlap individuals and as a unit. Their sound has matured and they've acquired a 11. Decode new fanbase to match, without alienating the ‘originals': those yellow skinny-jeaned 12. My Heart teeny boppers skipping school and hanging out at the stage door after the gig's finished. Encore It’s all worth it. Paramore’s new album, “Brand New Eyes”, is a treat for the ears, and as always, their live performance is astounding. Support from Paper Route (mediocre - 'nuff said) and Now Now Every Children (adorable all-girl indie-poppers from Minneapolis)
2. Misery Business 3. Brick By Boring Brick
get the crowd going, but a disappointing performance from You Me At Six leaves room for improvement. Paramore fill the gap, opening with the first single from the album, "Ignorance". Front-woman Hayley Williams quite literally sings her heart out, head-banging along with guitarists Taylor York and Josh Farro and occasionally wiggling her fingers at the die-hards jumping in the mosh pit. "Looking Up", song number five on the setlist, has the crowd fist-pumping like crazy, screaming back the lyrics to Williams' offered mic: "I can't believe we almost hung it up / We're just getting started" - and one has to acknowledge the truth in those words. The set consists of a Victorianesque theatrical curtain in cream and red, really showing how much Paramore have evolved since "Riot!", emerging from their angsty adolescence, various romantic entanglements and an almost-hiatus, into mature young musicians who know what they're doing. And they sure as hell know how to work a crowd. Similarly, the response they get for the old-school anthem "Pressure", tells you that there are a lot of Paramore veterans in the audience tonight, and if not, the noobs have done their homework. "Careful" and "Crushcrushcrush" keep the crowd raring, whilst the more sombre ballads, which weren't found on "Riot!", keep the fans thoughtful. There are tears from the band as "The Only Exception" is dedicated to a live onstage marriage proposal - again showing you how much these guys really care. The biggest cheer goes up for "Decode", the track recorded for the "Twilight" movie, although it has to be said it's not one of their best. The highlight of the evening is definitely the encore, with a tearful Hayley exclaiming "This is the best night of my life. This is a dream come true", to a tumultuous roar, before performing an acoustic version of "Misguided Ghosts", complete with drummer Zac Farro playing a bongo accompaniment. The quintet conclude with "Misery Business" then "Brick by Boring Brick", before taking a bow with their support acts, and the curtain falling. Tonight was decidedly one of Paramore's best ever live performances, and considering their track record, that's no mean feat. When fans leave your gig feeling spiritually fulfilled, like better human beings and often in tears of happiness, you know you're doing something right.
By Nicholas Flynn
Let’s rejoin the real world shall we....
Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past 5 years I’m pretty sure most of would you have heard of the gaming sensation that is Guitar Hero. If not, let me fill you in. Basically, armed with a plastic guitar that has a few brightly coloured buttons, you can storm your way through the world of a being a rock star from the comfort of your living room playing a range of anthems from legends like Metallica, Muse and the Foo Fighters. This new wave of games has been massively successful. Since its release in 2005, millions of copies have been sold of both the original series and subsequent sequels and expansions. But whilst the game, an unexpected hit to manufacturers Activision, was snapped up by many across the world it came at a cost, and I don’t mean metaphorically either. The first game was near £70 and prices have continued to rise as the Guitar Hero phenomenon swept through the nation with more and more items continuously being introduced. There have been 5 Guitar Heroes, not including expansions in which case there is a whopping 13 on various platforms, with more still to come. You can now play guitar hero on every medium possible: your Playstation, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii....even mobiles and video arcades (oh yes!) now have the ability to provide you with your GH fix just in case you didn’t have enough already. There has to be a line drawn somewhere. Apparently however manufacturers have predictably decided to step over any line that could be drawn and milk the musical marvel for all it’s worth – the latest release is aimed not to the traditional rocker but instead the likes of Zane Lowe: DJ Hero. Yep, this machine has a full plastic turn table waiting for your carefully poised hands to mix up the likes of Jay-Z with Eminem. It retails at about £89.99 and if that doesn’t already put you off the design of a measly 3 button control makes it look about as interesting as the latest Alvin and The Chipmunks epic (a slightly more affordable £9.98 if you wish to dabble
in the dullness). Now I’ll admit I have had experience with Guitar Hero. Slightly contradicting my argument, I did spend £200 on the Guitar Hero World Tour. In fairness, I don’t regret it entirely: its great for party’s and I do enjoy playing it (there is a vague satisfaction in completing a rather difficult song). Nonetheless it was over priced – to gain possession of two plastic guitars, a padded drum kit and a microphone I had to spend nearly as much as the PS3 console required to use them. When it comes down to it, as fun as the experience is to begin with it’s nothing like the real thing learning how to play a real guitar. Now that IS an achievement. Being able to play the chords to Stairway to Heaven woos girls much more than being able to complete Through The Fire And The Flames on expert level. Girls somehow don’t find men with plastic guitars attractive...a mystery really. It would be far more useful to take up a real instrument, be it guitar or drums or even learn how to DJ. These plastic things are just that: Plastic. No skills are gained or accolades achieved. But as they continue to make money and sell, so it looks like we’ll see them around for a while yet and are likely to see many more variations of it (Piano Hero anyone?)
n io t la s n a r T d e iz it ig D In Lost s By Peter Flynn William
With tons of games being the basis behind films, it’s time to ask ourselves if they’re really any good?
With the upcoming Bruckheimer-produced and inevitable box office dominator ‘Prince of Persia’ approaching our screens, it seems appropriate to take a look at how videogames have nestled in the film industry, and why thanks to releases like Hitman, Alone in the Dark and Resident Evil, their adaptations never seem to prove successful. It is widely known that videogames don’t make great quality films, and vice versa. Reasons for this seem obvious. It’s hard to condense the content of a game into a two hour movie and hard to elongate a film’s plot into a satisfying game. But surely this can’t be the sole reason. Producers must be going wrong somewhere. In theory, adapting a medium in which the entertainment comes from your own actions will result in a rather shallow final piece with a few visuals thrown in (Super Mario Bros), but shouldn’t games be valued upon the deeper ideas they have? And those games are out there. Bioshock (Humanitarian studies), Silent Hill (Psychology), Grand Theft Auto (Erm...Social experiment?). If you make a film based on ideologies and philosophies, you’re guaranteed a greater success than something that simply pieces together some effects reminiscent of level 6. It should also be remembered that the two mediums are good for their own unique functions. ‘Tetris: the movie’ would have few exciting plot twists besides when the L block completes two layers, and of course ‘The Notebook’ would provide little exhilarating game play. You couldn’t simply convert the Bible into ‘New Testament: the album’, so why do it with film and games? Of course these points are futile as producers are always willing to leech off the source material till all that’s left are the dollars of suckers and the tears of long-time fans. Let’s hope ‘Prince of Persia’ can be the swashbuckling ride it seems suited for, but also an adaptation that doesn’t lose its potential through the filters of Hollywood. Then again we are talking about Disney here.
A Box Of Dust And Bones By Jessica Ridler
My eyes open. I desperately inhale a deep, long breath. Air floods my lungs, awakens my organs. My heart begins to beat, first slowly, then faster, faster. I can hear the sound of it clearly now, hammering loudly against my rib cage, penetrating the deadly silence. I’m struggling like an anesthetised animal, awakening after a period of paralysis. The air is pungent and thick, suffocating me like a dusty blanket, choking me, killing me? I blink. My eyes burn and sting and ache. All I see is pitch black and darkness, surrounding me, smothering me. I try to shout out, call for help, but my throat is dry and my mouth cold. I can’t swallow, panic rises.
I’m falling. Mind swirling, running wild, I reach out. Solid, it’s all solid. Four sides of solid wood surround me. A box? A coffin? I reach out, push. With all my strength I am still weightless. My muscles feel paralysed, disintegrated. I’m trapped. My heart beats louder, louder. I can feel my ear drums palpitating, every inch of my body penetrated by worms of fear. Worms, insects, attacking my body tissue. Weakening me, eating me? I close my eyes. I wish for a dream but I feel my eyeballs, pulsating in their sockets like a heart in a chest. Or are they?
Short Story: Summer
By Kirsty Capes-Edwards
We used to go into the woods in the summer. There were stepping stones which we leapt across, and when we reached the other side we would run through wheat fields, falling through the crops and jumping into nothing. Our skin prickled and seared from the insect bites. We spent our days next to the old brick footbridge, worn by fishermen’s footsteps and breaking up the river, performing as a makeshift dam. It was here that we built our woodland home. We took the branches of bendy saplings and curved them into a dome, weaving them together with clumsy conviction, leaving space for a “door” and “chimney”. The riverbanks were smooth and sloped steadily until they were level with the silent onyx water which lapped at our feet, caressing our toes, inviting us in. And we followed it, disturbing the tranquillity of unbroken surface, our children’s screams of delight bursting from our lips and sliced through the leaves of ancient trees, radiating into the sky and praising the glorious sun. I was the youngest, following my brother around like a lost puppy, desperate to be included and delightedly surprised when I was. We had summer fever, and we’d forgotten who our friends weren’t, and who were. We would leave our makeshift world when the sun began to set. We would trudge home, knee-deep in mud, grass, thistles, who-knows-what-else, and sleep like we hadn’t slept in weeks, exhausted by the day, and dreaming of the next as it whistled through our dreams and drew us into the garden.! A new day would bring a new adventure with it: always bizarre and exciting and impossible. We shut ourselves from the world and created our own, perfect little piece of heaven, hidden amongst the trees and covered by the secrets of a childlike solidarity between almoststrangers.
n a m r o N ’ in m r o t ‘S Martin uster The Strodian Myth-b For today’s first ever edition of ‘The Strodian Myth-buster”, I shall aim to uncover the truth behind some of Strode’s great mysteries!
First and foremost, the ultimate myth of Strode’s college regarding its Principal, the ever elusive Dr. Frank Botham. Despite having had several pointless timetable suspending assemblies where he reveals himself to the world, many still deny his existence. Not surprising since as little as 30! of the student body claim to have met and conversed with the good Doctor, myself included. But now is the time to shed light on the apparent Myth that is Dr. Botham. He’s real. Simple as. He is not a tear in the space time continuum or a schism in the fabric of reality which bends light around itself to create a physical apparition, the answer given to those who often say he is real, as boldly stated by an individual. He is as human as you or I, myself having shaken hands with the good Principal clearly strengthens the view that he is real. Hopefully the creator of the “Frank Botham is a MYTH!” Facebook page reads this and discovers how much of an ignorant twip you’ve displayed yourself to be. The reason no one sees him is because, in being the principal of a 6th form college, he has far too much work on his hands for him to come out of his office with Mick Hooks blowhorn announcing his existence just to appease you. Now, with that myth busted, we shall move onto a conspiracy theory established by a student of English Literature. For those of you who have had the distinct pleasure of reading Emily Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights” and meeting the distinct Dr. P. Jepson, should have noticed a near exact comparison between the laws lecturer and one of my favourite characters Joseph. The theory firstly invokes these messages: Joseph is immortal. In the story he never ages, never dies and plays a consistent role throughout the text. To continue on with this, some suggest that for Joseph to survive this long and move with the trends of the times, he adopted a new persona and walks among us today….as Dr. Jepson. Farfetched indeed, but considering how both preach near religiously their views and values which they hold dear, an admirable quality in my opinion, and that they both hail from Yorkshire, the theory certainly has more ground than the myth of Frank Botham. So there you have it, Dr. Jepson could be a well known and loved character immortalised in Gothic Literature, a highly successful lecturer and an immortal. Or to put it another way…Students of the college clearly have way too much time on their hands!
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