B OOK S 3 Is A Christmas Carol the best Christmas book out there? F I L M & TV 4 Film & TV look at alternative Christmas movies this holiday season 5 Franchise fatigue: how much is too much? V I S UAL AR TS 6 The role of the curator in art galleries F EATUR E S 7 To live in or not to live in: that is the question F ASHI ON 8&9 Get comfy with Durham’s student models T R AV E L 10 & 11 A look at European Christmas markets happening within the UK F O O D & DR I N K 12 Interviewing Jasmine Widish, who started her own baking company after university STAG E 13 Looking at Piccolo Theatre’s production of Swallow 14 Editors’ picks of what to watch in Durham M U SI C 14 & 15 Albums to get you through a conversation with a modern music snob C R E A TI VE W R I TING 16 Nostalgia in the digital age
Cover photograph: Zsofi Borsi Models: Hendrik Speelmans (left) and Gianfranco Conti
Thursday, 1 December 2016
s it December already? Blimey that’s fast. Being at Durham University is fantastic, because you get to effectively celebrate Christmas at least twice. Think of all your College Christmas feasts or formals, society events, or all the house parties and dinners that seem to spring up. This edition of Indigo is the last print edition of the term, and the team have peppered it with Christmas themed articles which are especially relevant for the holiday season. While Books and Film & TV look at the representations of Christmas in the media, Travel looks at European-style Christmas markets all over the UK, giving you plenty of material to mull over this Christmas. Nonetheless, with the holiday season comes the end of Michaelmas term. To many of us, it is both a relief and a source of stress. While essay and assignment deadlines are fast closing in, we also have seeing our families back home to look forward to over Christmas. And what is Christmas for, if not to spend time with your loved ones. But going home to see your family also means leaving your newfound friends behind, and it is quite sad having to ‘choose’ between new friends or old ones. You might then begin to wonder if you’ll bother keeping in contact with your new friends, or worse – if they’ll bother keeping contact with you. But just because you only met someone ten weeks ago, doesn’t mean that they’re somehow less of a friend than your old friends are. In fact, I consider the person who sat next to me during my university matriculation ceremony to be one of my best friends even now. Indeed, the one thing that strikes me the most during these end-of-term periods is how temporary everything is. What feels incredibly familiar and routine to you has, in reality, only really stuck with you for less than eight weeks. New friends you have met feel as though you have known them for an eternity, for instance, and leaving them feels as painful as saying goodbye to your old friends from back home prior to entering university. I find the end of term to be a mixed bag of emotions for this reason, and I hope the term has treated you as well as it has treated me, and I wish you a very merry Christmas. YC www.palatinate.org.uk www.facebook.com/palindigo Follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @indigodurham
IND IGO E D ITO R S YC Chin Olivia Howcroft (deputy) FE A TUR E S E D ITO R S Sophie Paterson Matthew Chalmers (deputy) C R E A TIVE W R ITING E D ITO R Anna Gibbs S TA GE E D ITO R S Sofya Grebenkina Alison Gamble (deputy) V IS UA L A R TS E D ITO R S Jane Simpkiss Lolita Gendler (deputy) BO O KS E D ITO R S Ellie Scorah Aaron Bell FA S H IO N E D ITO R S Victor Schagerlund Emma Denison (deputy) FO O D & D R INK E D ITO R Divya Shastri TR A V E L E D ITO R S Naoise Murphy Charis Cheesman FIL M & TV E D ITO R S Simon Fearn Eugene Smith (deputy) M US IC E D ITO R S Rory McInnes-Gibbons Bethany Madden (deputy)
Have a question, comment, or an idea for a story you’d like to write? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch.
BOOKS Thursday, 1 December 2016
Christmas unwrapped Is A Christmas Carol really the best source of festive values or do we say ‘Bah Humbug!’ to it? By Nikita Bangar email@example.com
s the festive season approaches we wave a slow goodbye to the autumnal ambience, and extend a frosty hello to the cold grasps of winter. With recent temperatures dropping as low as 2 degrees here in Durham, it is fair to say that yes, Winter Is Coming. But which books will get us in the mood for the upcoming season? Though wonderfully vivacious, Christmas spirit is fleeting and, as we near the end of Michaelmas term, many will agree that leisurely reading has become an indulgence of the past. So, at 150 pages, A Christmas Carol becomes the perfect choice, it couldn’t be more efficiently Christmassy if it tried. Or could it? In fact, A Christmas Carol is not overtly festive. The tale of Ebenezer Scrooge is everything but - that’s the point. Written in 1843, it is thought Dickens wrote the carol as a social criticism, highlighting the bleak situation of England’s poor. It is believed that the novella attempts to illustrate the true meaning of Christmas, if we assume that this is to spread happiness and love during the cold and previously hard–lived
months. By placing a character such as the epithetical Scrooge within festive literature, and making his reversal central to the plot, Dickens juxtaposes a niggling gloom with vibrant elation, rekindling an aurora of festivity and goodwill by the last stave. Besides the name, at a first reading it can be hard to agree that A Christmas Carol could be the most cheerful song around. Most of the competition don’t so openly flirt with the theme of death, as does Dickens in portending Tiny Tim’s passing and Scrooge’s funeral. Dr Seuss’ Grinch and Valentine Davies’ Miracle (on 34th Street) appear joyful and light–hearted, adorned with vibrant descriptions of festive splendour. Comparatively, this novella seems a tale which ‘no warmth could warm.’ Yet, all novels accommodate a subliminal social satire which is hauntingly candid. Perhaps a covertly didactic nature in festive literature is the edge, allowing young and old readers alike to find befitting Christmas comforts or morals to ponder. But what of those morals? What tales of wealth, sharing, and comfort are to be learned? The pondering modern–day reader might as well say ‘Bah Humbug!’ to it all. For this novella lacks any trace of female or minority representation. It asserts no power, gives no voice, to female or minority populations. Yet, it is a classic, a time old tale relayed through generations.
Like so much that is celebrated within our culture, our universal problems, values, and moral imperatives are ascribed to a white man who learns to see the truth. Frustrated again, we reach the concept of a literary canon. The Western Canon, as presented to us by Bloom in 1994, is made up of ‘dead white males’, and nakedly exclusive in an era of inclusion. How can we know that these are the best festive tales when they constitute the only ones we’ve heard? We believe that these are exemplary of accomplished (classic) literature, simply because this is what we have been told. Such novels have been given exclusivity by an elitist voice; they have been ruled worthy and thus preserved as key examples of what Arnold claimed to be ‘the best which has been thought and said in the world’. Should this haunt us much? While the western canon is often defended, it still invariably lacks what W. E. B Du Bois coins a ‘double consciousness’, thus lacking consciousness of the minority in any substantial form. While you watch TV adaptions or flip through the pages of Christmas “classics” this year, maybe lend a thought to the value of the literary canon. Look beyond the western to find tales of the orient or minority. Give yourself a lasting gift this Christmas and redefine your literary canon. (See below) Image: Penguin books.
Non-Western Distinctly Western Reads Christmas Book Reviews A Thousand Spendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
“Nostalgic Christmas anecdotes” – A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas
The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak
“Cold hearted witch” – The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
“Snowman dance party” – The Snowman by Raymond Briggs
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (see our book review online)
“Lion, Witch, Wardrobe” – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis “It’s Christmas Eve” – The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore “Jesus is born” – The Nativity Story in the Bible Send your own three word book reviews to firstname.lastname@example.org
FILM & TV 4
Thursday, 1 December 2016
Alternative festive flicks Can’t stomach another viewing of Love Actually or It’s a Wonderful Life? Film & TV are here to help with their pick of alternative Christmas viewing.
By Simon Fearn Film & TV Editor email@example.com
have a confession to make: I quite like Love Actually. I know I shouldn’t; both you and I owe it to ourselves to discard the tradi– tional festive fluff for more substantial fare. So grab the leftover turkey and a generous helping of mulled wine and sit back and relax (or, in fact, despair) with these unconventional seasonal offerings: The Hunt (Jagten) (2012) Thomas Vinterberg’s (Festen, Far From the Mad– dening Crowd) Oscar-nominated, 2012 Danish flick is ideal for getting you in the festive mood. Lucas (Mads Mikkelsen) is having a difficult Christmas; a child has wrongly accused him of molestation and the community is quick to violently turn against him. Needless to say, there is a distinct lack of ‘good-
By Eugene Smith Deputy Film & TV Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
he trouble with Christmas films is that, being made at a time of year that isn’t Christmas, their seasonal schmaltz can often feel somewhat disingenuous. It is, therefore, far better to bypass the saccharine scenery and stick your teeth into the grittier takes on everyone’s favourite time of year. Here are my top three options for doing just that: Die Hard (1988) It’s Christmas Eve in Los Angeles. Bruce Willis’ New York cop, John McClane, doesn’t know it yet, but he’s about to become the iconic hero of what I long ago chose to describe as the Citizen Kane of popcorn action movies. A group of vaguely European terrorists, led by the peerless Alan Rickman as the positively seminal villain Hans Gruber, seize control of a Japanese corporation’s skyscraper and
will to all men’ in the air. Mikkelsen gives an acting masterclass as the persecuted Lucas. You can’t help but cringe at each new attempt to ostracise him – bricks are thrown through windows; he’s turned away from shops; even his girlfriend begins to suspect him. This is a film that utterly involves the viewer, like a nightmare playing out in an all too predictable way. Raising issues of falsified memories and the lengths we go to protect our loved ones, The Hunt is just the kind of thing you want to mull over in a lethargic post-Christmas-dinner haze. This is England ‘88 (2011) Following on from Shane Meadows’ phenomenal 2006 film, This is England ’88 is the second of three Channel 4 series that follow the lives of a loveable bunch of misfits getting by on a rough estate. It’s gritty and occasionally very bleak stuff that’s tempered with a bizarre sense of humour. The previous series came to a devastating (if slightly melodramatic) conclusion featuring adultery, rape and murder that tore friends apart and left the already long-suffering Lol (Vicky McClure) deeply traumatised. Can the gang make up their differences and have a merry Christmas after all? The tone is well-balanced throughout and Meadows’ and Jack Thorne’s dialogue is always brilliantly naturalistic. Lol’s experience as an isolated, mentally ill single mother is as bleak as it sounds, take the staff hostage, at which point it is up to McClane to save the day – largely by roaming the building’s ventilation shafts in a grimy tank-top, shouting into a walkie-talkie and sweating. Though the film paved the way for a stream of inconsistent sequels, and opened the floodgates for a deluge of formulaic copycat actioners, every minute of its 131-minute runtime is captivating. From explosions to gunfights, and from dramatic deaths to grammatically–dodgy German, whacking this on at Yuletide will bring you the very best of thrillingly non-Christmassy Christmas cinema. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) This sharply witty neo-noir crime caper was one of a handful of films that heralded Robert Downey Jr’s triumphant return to the big screen following his substance abuse and rehabilitation in the early 2000s. Playing Harry Lockhart, a petty criminal mistaken for an actor and given on-the-job experience of detective work to prepare him for a role, Downey’s performance is authentically droll and his double act with Val Kilmer (Top Gun, Batman Forever), playing Harry’s private detective mentor ‘Gay’ Perry, truly sizzles. What begins as an ironic kind of buddy-cop comedy soon becomes tantamount to a fast-paced conspiracy thriller, as the plot thickens so much as to actually require the tension-breaking levity of the film’s countless one-liners and set-piece visual gags. The whizzing action sequences – involving shootouts, car chases and a hilariously misjudged game of Russian roulette – are also punctuated by
but meanwhile, the persistently disastrous Shaun (Thomas Turgoose) is falling for his co-star in a terribly acted school play. Much like The Hunt, don’t rely on This is England ’88 for a dose of Christmas cheer. But I think there’s too much unrealistic happiness going around in the festive season – this is the perfect antidote! Gremlins (1984) This one conjures up many happy childhood memories! Written by Chris Columbus (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Home Alone) and produced by Steven Spielberg, Gremlins should really be as much of a staple as Elf or The Nightmare Before Christmas. Mega–dork Billy (Zach Galligan) is given the ultimate Christmas present – an adorable furry Mogwai called Gizmo. Alas like many of us he doesn’t really read the instructions before playing with his new toy, and before you know it an army of mischievous little green gremlins are causing havoc. It’s not particularly profound, but it’s a memorably bonkers idea with a surprising dose of gore (the infamous scene with the gremlin exploding in the microwave for instance). On the whole it’s very, very silly. For Gremlins fans there’s a sequel and a rumoured third instalment on its way. But for now just appreciate this excellent specimen of crazy 80s filmmaking. the protagonists’ attendance of the odd Christmas party, which is what validates the film’s inclusion on my list. Children of Men (2006) The Nativity is all about a pregnant mother seeking a place of refuge in which to give birth; so is Children of Men – the difference being, in this thoughtful sci-fi thriller, everyone on the planet stopped being able to give birth two decades ago. Directed by Alfonso Cuarón (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Gravity), the film is set in a dystopian 2027, where inexplicable global infertility has resulted in deteriorating social order and rampant state terrorism. Clive Owen stars, alongside a glittering supporting cast of Julianne Moore, Michael Caine and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Released in the United States on the 25th of December, Children of Men is simultaneously the best, and least Christmassy, film on my list. Together with hauling you to the edge of your seat through a flurry of enthralling action scenes, the film also coaxes you into a real intellectual engagement with its fascinatingly broad sweep of issues and characters. The denouement, set in an overcrowded refugee camp infested with corruption, police brutality and religious radicalism, provides one of the most breathtakingly provocative and memorable scenes in cinema.
Photographs: Grace Tseng
FILM & TV Thursday, 1 December 2016
Too much of a good thing? For those who think we’ve had quite enough Star Wars and Harry Potter films, you’re not alone. In a sea of sequels, reboots and remakes, is there any room for originality? By Matthew Hilborn email@example.com
merican actor William Gilette once wrote to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, asking for permission to play the gifted sleuth on stage. The author’s response paved the way for the endless rehashing of the detective that continues to this day: “You may marry him, murder him, or do anything you like to him.” Is modern popular culture simply reproducing plot devices (Holmes included), doing ‘anything [they] like to’ well-known figures, and running out of fresh ideas? Ridley Scott is planning three more Alien sequels; the third reboot of the Spider Man franchise since 2002 is in the works; and we’re being treated (subjected?) to a reworking of the classic Jumanji. If that weren’t enough, no fewer than five Fantastic Beasts films have been promised, and the second in a long series of new Star Wars outings is about to be released. Are audiences suffering from a case of franchise fatigue? On a very simple level, sequels make absolute commercial sense, capitalising on publicity that’s already there rather than investing in something new. Many Hollywood contracts now include clauses that tie actors down to potential sequels, conditional on the success of the first movie. Steven Spielberg once said that he’s only ever confident that an audience will turn up to see his work when he makes “the sequel to Jurassic Park or another Indiana Jones movie. […] Everything else that is striking out into new territory is a crap shoot.” Sequels have a guaranteed audience, generated
Sequels make absolute commercial sense, capitalising on publicity that is already there rather than investing in something new principally by online fandoms. In our shareable, soundbiteable culture of screenagers, reboots and prequels are obligatory viewing for any ‘true fan’ worth their salt, even if for no other reason than to tick that box – to claim to have watched/read them – and subsequently to opine in social circles that they pale in comparison to the ‘original’ film(s). As a result, franchises - especially Warner Bros and Marvel - know that even middling sequels are moneyspinners, for they have viewers eating out of the palm of their hand. Documentary filmmaker Adam Curtis has spoken eloquently of what he terms ‘static culture’, the notion that contemporary artists are too self-aware. Reluctant to push the boat out, they have stagnated into endless regurgitations. Maybe it’s the final fate of every ground-breaking work of art to be repeated, ad nauseam, until a fresh trailblazer takes its place. And yet, I’m reminded that, despite copious of-
fers, Nora Ephron never made a sequel to perhaps the finest romantic comedy ever written, When Harry Met Sally. Why? Because both she and her protagonists, Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal, rightly deemed that the first film was matchless. History shows us that there is nothing inherently wrong with a sequel. Toy Story 2 and 3 were fabulous (and a fourth is on the way), Shrek 2, Before Sunrise and The Godfather II were almost if not just as good as their respective ‘firsts’, and The Empire Strikes Back is almost universally considered a greater film than A New Hope. To put it bluntly, sequels offer more chances to get it right, to refine the tried-and-tested formula. When franchises wait before capitalising on instant success (as Disney Pixar have done with Finding Dory, for example, and the soon-to-be-released Incredibles sequel), it gives them more time to refine a plotline and work out where to take the story. Here’s hoping the upcoming Trainspotting and Jumanji sequels benefit from holding fire for a couple of decades, but unfortunately this does not seem to have been the case with this year’s Blair Witch. Perhaps I’m just another clichéd Woody Allen fan (in a sense a franchise all by himself, directing one very
Franchises know that even middling sequels are moneyspinners, for they have viewers eating out of the palm of their hand familiar film a year for a number of decades). Just like Owen Wilson in that masterful scene in Midnight in Paris, I nostalgically yearn to revisit a golden era – in Allen’s case, the 70s and early 80s – despite knowing for certain that such heights will never be reached again.These diminishing returns are partly due to the kind of directors who take on sequels, mechanically ticking boxes and spewing out stuffthat-worked-the-first-time-around. Although I’m an incurable Potterhead, I still dream of what the later Harry Potter sequels might have been like if helmed by Guillermo del Toro, instead of those we got from Mr. Play-It-Safe David Yates. What’s more, Hollywood is churning out reboots that no one really asked for: follow-ups to bad films. A second Snow White and the Huntsman, anyone? Or another Independence Day film, this time without Will Smith? The best art does not simply pitch its tent, pass the time, and take it easy. It jumps up and bites you. It gets under your skin. Sequels inevitably offer the pleasant sensation of having ‘seen all this before’ – after all, they are creatively dependent on, and to some degree shackled to, the original(s) – but the danger is that they become all too familiar, reduced to inwardly-imitating parodies of themselves. Taking a leaf out of your own book can be a dangerous exercise. Perhaps you can have too much of a good thing. Illustration: Faye Chua
VISUAL ARTS 6
Thursday, 1 December 2016
Long live the curator In an increasingly political and financially pressured art world, is there still a place for the curator? By Lolita Gendler Deputy Visual Arts Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
pon asking Dr Anthony Parton, former curator of the Hatton Gallery and Eagle Gallery Director, Emma Hill about the power of the curator, it was clear that the role had drastically evolved over the last 30 years. Art has always had a social context; often the art world reflects the aspects of the generation in which it exists. Dr Anthony Parton suggests that 1985 was the moment the curator truly became the conductor of this representation. Philosopher and curator Jean François Lyotard, wanted to highlight the materiality of his generation through the arrangement of an exhibition, that has since been noted as the inauguration of the post-modern exhibit. It was through Lyotard’s composition of the artworks that this was achieved. He, as curator, hijacked the work exhibited and, regardless of intended meaning, used it to create a new dialogue. This provocative approach went beyond merely showcasing existing themes in the art world and paved the way for the growing and powerful force of the independent curator.
In my view [the curator is] too powerful perhaps? Curators have become the makers and shapers of grand ideas and world views through the manipulation of cultural material – Dr Anthony Parton The existence of the art world rests tentatively on the relationship between 5 constituents; The Artist, the Audience, the Critic, the Gallery space and the Curator. The increase in power of the curator threw the dynamic of the art world into imbalance. To regain control the Gallery space began to absorb the function of the independent curator, by making the role a permanent position on their pay roll. Consequently, bringing the once autonomous position to the point of antiquation. This is not to say that the institution/curator is an entirely negative evolution of the role, many find the meddling independent curator to be unnecessary and undesired. However, this is usually the position of artists
who believe they are the absolute authority of their work and thus also demand curatorial control of exhibitions, hence the birth of the artist/curator.
Contemporary curators tended to be museum or gallery-based. In this sense, they shaped very much what the public saw – Emma Hill Artist/curators and Gallery/curators are perfectly capable of creating engaging exhibitions. But we need the independent curator to act as the mediator, someone who can stand self-sufficiently against the pressures of the artist, gallery and critic, whilst creating a coherent narrative, someone capable of reminding us of Lyotard’s revolutionary efforts. But often our mediator is snatched from us, the curator who pursued art free from attachment or obligation is the slashed-art-funds baby thrown out with the soft subject bath water. Independent Curators International (ICI) claims that the role of the curator is to be ‘a contextualising force for contemporary art, one that develops infrastructure for contemporary artists and art discourse’. Although a commendable ideal , can we still believe the curator is alive and kicking? Can enough distance from a piece of work or a political position - because yes Galleries (especially those publicly funded) are politically charged - be achieved to create an independent infrastructure for Art?
The exhibition has increasingly become an artwork in its own right with catalogues ‘signed’ on the covers by those creative talents who have curated them – Dr Anthony Parton Sure, the artist/curator or the institution/curator can create a context for art to be experienced, but if we solely work with these curators we run the risk of being surrounded by an oppressive and monotonous presentation. Artworks will be shown under the pretence of originality and progress but there will always be the underlying knowledge that an artist or gallery agenda is directing our opinion.
In many ways, the role of the curator has become nothing more than a platform for the vanity of the privileged few in the art world. We cannot allow the once effective regulator to be made redundant, giving rise to a monopoly over what and how art should be seen. Even if we credit an artist as being beyond petty bias and playground antics, can we trust them to transcend their artistic view to create representative holistic exhibitions? For example, Martin Parr’s curatorial debut at the Barbican, an exhibition entitled ‘Strange and Familiar’, consisted of international photographers’ depictions of Britain from the 1930s onwards. Although an interesting exhibition with merit, it served to compliment and promote his coinciding exhibition at the Guildhall, documenting the Lord Mayor’s show. One alternative to the bias of the artist or gallery curator is the guest curator, the foreigner entering the well-established institution/artist dynamic. Gallery owner and dealer in the beautiful, Axel Vervoodt curates the Fortunay Collection exhibition in the Venice Biennale, unorthodoxly exhibiting a combination of contemporary art with ancient objects. It is events such as Biennales and art festivals where we may still glimpse the rare curator outside their art world counterparts.
I think curators in the visual arts are influential and, in this, I include the directors of independent galleries whose programmes are essentially curatorial in terms of creating contexts – Emma Hill Beyond the ICI or the guest curator, our best hope can be found in the small independent galleries whose directors are a voice capable of standing apart from the politics of the big institutions and the vanity of the artists. Organisations where there is enough freedom to have the luxury to pursue and investigate themes that may be at odds with the rest of the art world. IF we support these galleries, we have a chance at purifying and maintaining the power of the curator. Long live the Curator. Illustration by Charlotte Way
FEATURES Thursday, 1 December 2016
Leaving the nest
Living out gives you the chance to experience Durham beyond college and the Bill Bryson
By Katy Willis email@example.com
iving out isn’t for everyone. Last year as a fresher I was convinced that 1) I did not belong in Durham, 2) I would end up drowning in my own stress bubble and 3) I would not survive until Christmas surrounded by complete strangers instead of familiar faces. But here I am finding myself approaching December with the following questions: when does it become socially acceptable to buy a five pound Christmas tree from Paperchase for my place? And when does one start caring about formative essay deadlines rather than which Christmas jumper to wear to a lecture? I guess you could say I’m a hell of a lot more relaxed this year, even though I have more summatives to write, more books to read and more library days scheduled in. The thing is though, university isn’t all about work. It’s about self-love. It’s about finding your independence. Damn it, it’s about feeling like you’ve just won Bake Off when all you did was make yourself some nice pasta. This is the feeling I get whenever I cook myself dinner instead of succumbing to Domino’s Pizza or Sweet Tooth – which, in theory, none of us can really afford anyway. It’s a feeling of pride. It’s a ring-yourparents-and-tell-them-you-know-how-to-adult moment. In second year, I live for these moments. Being a fresher was hysterical. Not hilarious, like when you’ve burnt something in an attempt at cooking a satisfactory meal, or because when you eventually come to clean up your house even the hoover can’t distinguish between strands of hair and carpet fibres; you don’t get to experience those kind of blunders in college. No – being a fresher was hysterical, because one minute you’re content, hiding away in your little cocoon of bed sheets and books and chocolate from the vending machine, and the next you find yourself wondering what everybody else on your corridor is doing. Are they having a Colin Firth movie marathon that you weren’t invited to? Are they doing far
more work than you? Have they already been down for dinner and back down for seconds while you’ve obliviously had your earphones in the entire time? This was the paranoia of living-in. It was my worst enemy for a long time last year. Living in college was slightly too confining for someone as paranoid as myself. Many people you speak to may disagree – in fact, I can guarantee most students you speak to will sing songs of praise for college life. But, it isn’t for everyone. Don’t get me wrong though, I enjoyed living in college. I lived for the honeycomb desserts, the two hour long landing chats with my corridor, and the knowledge that I never had to worry about cooking or washing up – undoubtedly the part I miss the most. Even if you are not the going-out type somehow you find yourself being dragged out to Friday nights at Klute and Monday night Cheapskates by those on your corridor who you hear pre-drinking in the kitchen whilst you already have your pyjamas on eating chocolate buttons. Essentially, living in college occasionally makes you feel as though your university experience is out of your hands. For me, second year isn’t like that: you choose to live your university experience the way you want to, not the way others expect you to live it. You don’t
I can guarantee most students you speak to will sing songs of praise for college life. But, it isn’t for everyone. feel like your every move is being heard, watched or judged and you don’t have that harrowing sense of dread going into a dining hall feeling absolutely clueless as to where your friends are sitting. Alternatively you may attempt to make a genuine effort with dinner, choosing to make homemade garlic sauce to have with your chicken, only to burn the bottom of the pan, undercook the chicken and forget to add half of the ingredients. The effort is there though, right? So is the experience. Cook-
ing has never been my strong point, but having a chance to at least try to cook is a whole lot of fun. Even if your lasagne is abysmal and doesn’t live up to your parents’ version, you still made the time to cook, and for that you deserve a pat on the back. Living out puts an entirely different spin on university life altogether. Although still being part of your college and attending events has a cosy, family feel to it, not living in college has its definite perks. Most people live with friends, but I opted for the less generic living choice – living with my boyfriend in a studio apartment in the middle of town. I can already hear your ‘Wow, that’s brave’ and ‘Oh, really?’ comments, and that’s fine. Everyone’s different. Clearly, the typical thing to do is to move out with friends – obviously I didn’t get that memo. But despite not having those housemate bonds that one gets in a typical student house, I have definitely noticed an increased closeness with not only my boyfriend, but with those friends I choose to spend time with. Having the choice is nice, I’ve noticed. I don’t feel like the inner sesh-queen within me is forcing me to leave behind my uber-soft Primark blanket to venture out – unwillingly – into the gloomy November night. And I don’t feel bad about that. Instead, if I want, I visit my friends in their houses, and have a chat over a cup of tea and a bit of Bake Off. Or alternatively over cider. Or wine. Or we just go all out and go to Jimmy’s, all depending on the mood. Whereas back at my place, my boyfriend and I catch up on the latest TV shows that we’ve missed, or pop down to Sainsbury’s if it’s 10:30 and we’re in desperate need of some late night snacks – which, for us, is a regular occurrence. Living in town is unbelievably handy. Obviously the noise is pretty ongoing and it makes you really want to make that trek down to Bill Bryson sometimes, but it’s so much more different from living in a hill college – good different. I feel like I’m experiencing Durham, as a town far more than simply the Durham where I attend university. I appreciate it a lot more. Photograph: Arthur Dimsdale via Palatinate Flickr
Thursday, 1 December 2016
Under the covers with D
Last Monday morning, Palatinate Fashion were lucky enough to host an exclusive photo-shoot an in a full week of lectures, but they also manage to squeeze in modelling on the side as well. If it’s find out a bit more ab Gianmarco Conti Postgrad St Mary’s College (First from left)
Flora Phillips Second Year Trevelyan College (Second from left)
Alejandra Mateo Second Year John Snow College (Third from left)
Your favourite/most prized item of clothing My Rubinacci tailor-made Neapolitan suit which I bought purposely for the several formals and balls that Durham has to offer with its collegiate system. When do you feel your sexiest? Probably when I have just showered after an intense gym workout. Are there any looks you would feel uncomfortable wearing? Most likely anything that derives from an animal. Your best feature I’d say my olive-skin, which makes it ideal in the summer for a good tan and avoids me being completely pale in the cold English winters. Your biggest vice I bite my nails when I’m very nervous (I know, it’s a bad habit).
Your favourite/most prized item of clothing My calf-skin coat, Kevin. When do you feel your sexiest? When I’m completely naked. Are there any looks you would feel uncomfortable wearing? You only know until you try, so I’m not sure I could answer that one properly. Your best feature My jawbone? It’s quite intrusive, but probably one of the strongest parts of my body. Your biggest vice I’m completely comfortable eating out of bins, and have been caught doing so in the past.
Your favourite/most prized item of clothing A blue turquoise scarf, you will never see me without it. My mum threw it away some time ago and when I found it, it was love at first sight. When do you feel your sexiest? Paddling towards a good wave. Anything done in the water is ten times sexier. Are there any looks you would feel uncomfortable wearing? Anything that will constrict my movement. Your best feature A chilled ‘carpe diem’ fish. Your biggest vice Polo mints and Cheesestrings. I will never get enough of both of them.
FASHION Thursday, 1 December 2016
Durham’s student models
nd interview with some of the hottest students on Elvet. Not only do these beauties manage to fit true you can’t have brains and beauty, then these six students defy every rule. We talk to them to bout what they’re like. Teodora Stanoeva 2nd Year Van Mildert College (Third from right)
Chloe Lau 2nd Year Hatfield College (Second from right)
Ted Lavis Coward 1st Year St. Aidan’s College (First from right)
Your favourite/most prized item of clothing A white high-neck cropped knit jumper. I love it because it is both stylish and warm for the winter season. When do you feel your sexiest? Wearing high heels. I think that shoes are one of the most important parts of a woman’s style and high heels especially, make you look sexy both when wearing casual jeans and a nice dress. Are there any looks you would feel uncomfortable wearing? Wearing something too revealing, that has no artistic purpose. Your best feature Probably my eyes because usually they are green, but sometimes change colour depending on the clothes that I am wearing.
Your favourite/most prized item of clothing Anything stolen from my Mum’s vintage wardrobe; treasures like Chanel don’t ever get old. When do you feel your sexiest? When sweating like an absolute pig at dance class or Muay Thai trainings. Are there any looks you would feel uncomfortable wearing? Outfits that make me look shorter than I already am; body piercings (aside from ears) or wigs. Your best feature My tan that never leaves me, or as people say – my eyes? Your biggest vice Resting bitch face, punctuality, difficult in following good advice – I can’t decide on which one.
Your favourite/most prized item of clothing Currently my high-waisted trousers. They fit perfectly and I wear them about 80% of the time. When do you feel your sexiest? I deliberately don’t dress sexily! So when the clothes are off I definitely feel sexiest. Are there any looks you would feel uncomfortable wearing? Straight-legged jeans or anything with a logo to be honest. But mostly straight-legged jeans. Your best feature Is it okay to say my cheekbones? Your biggest vice Definitely smoking and crushing on emotionally unavailable men. Styled by: Emma Denison & Victor Schagerlund Photography by: Zsofi Borsi
Thursday, 1 December 2016
Countdown to Christmas: a
With Christmas just around the corner, Travel has all you nee
Birmingham Christmas Market Photograph: Bob Hall via Flickr
By Anna Ley firstname.lastname@example.org
or some, it’s the release of the long anticipated John Lewis advert that marks the beginning of the Christmas build up. For others, it’s the delight of the tiny chocolate behind a window marked 1st of December. For fewer perhaps (the scrooges), it’s the arrival of Christmas Eve. My festivities, however,
Cobbled streets littered with tinsel-topped stalls to the echoes of carol singers, cupping a mug of steaming mulled wine, absorbing the cosy atmosphere captures the very essence of Christmas begin with a visit to the 170 dazzling chalets at Bath Christmas Market. The markets are a welcome tradition in Germany during the cold months. During the late middle
Manchester Christmas Market Phot
Christmas lights guide you through the maze of wooden chalets, dusted with snow... offering a variety of gifts from weird wooden ties to warm chocolate wine ages, they would open in the winter for just a day or two to allow for townspeople to stock up on food and supplies to last them through those long winter months. These ‘Christkindlsmarkt’ soon became a meeting place and market for homemade festive goods, including tree ornaments and wooden figurines, and slowly evolved into the novelty gift selling stalls we know today. Christmas lights guide you through the maze of wooden chalets, dusted with snow (only if you’re lucky… we never were in Bath), offering a variety of gifts from weird wooden ties to warm chocolate wine. Of course, this also includes the free tasters at the cheese/chocolate/chilli sauce stalls (take what
you can get)! Just wandering through the cobbled streets littered with tinsel-topped stalls to the echoes of carol singers, cupping a mug of steaming mulled wine, absorbing the cosy atmosphere captures the very essence of Christmas. The variety of independent sellers makes it a great place to shop for your mum, your sister or your awkwardly hardto-buy-for brother and, just when you get that little bit fed–up with the shopping extravaganza, you might even want to pick up something for yourself. I think you’ll struggle not to! Over the last 15 years, German Christmas markets have become increasingly popular in our major cities, with more and more unwrapping across the UK. For example, Frankfurt’s annual market attracts 5 million visitors across its 180 chalets, whilst 9 million of us are enticed each year by a mere 300 stalls at St Anne’s Square, Manchester. Christmas markets in the UK can be pretty spectacular; they do get really quite busy with their increasing popularity, but that just ensures you stay warm! So go on… pull on your woolly gloves and hat and brave the brisk winter air for the festive fairs this year. There’s nothing merrier in the build up to Christmas than an evening at the markets.
TRAVEL Thursday, 1 December 2016
taste of Germany in the UK
ed to know about the best European markets closer to home.
Where to find them... Birmingham- the Frankfurt Christmas market in Victoria Square is the largest outside of Germany and Austria! 17 November - 29 December Bath – Roman Baths and Abbey area, 24 November - 11 December Belfast - City Hall Gardens, 19 November – 22 December Cardiff - Traditional Market, Cardiff Centre, 10 November- 23 December Edinburgh- European Christmas Market, East Princes St Gardens, 19 November - 7 January Exeter - Cathedral Green, 19th November - 18th December Glasgow- St Enoch Square, 10 November 10 - 22 December George Square, 26 November - 29 December Leeds - Millennium Square, 11 November - 18 December London - Southbank Christmas Market, 30 November - 3 January Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, 18 November - 2 January Manchester - St Ann’s Square, 10th November- 20th December Winchester - Cathedral Close, 18 November - 20 December Or, if you fancy something a bit different: Brighton - local artists open their homes and workshops to sell artwork on 3 weekends over the period: 26,27 November, 3,4 December and 10,11 December.
Best of Instagram
tograph: Rachel Docherty via Flickr
Photograph: Phil Long via Flickr
Photograph by Florie Moran. Follow @palatinatetravel for more student snaps from outside the Durham bubble!
FOOD & DRINK 12
Thursday, 1 December 2016
Truly Delicious Bakes
Food & Drink interviews baker Jasmine Widish, who started her baking career at the age of 18 and now owns her own baking company, called Truly Delicious Bakes. By Florriane Humphrey email@example.com
ver since the advent of the Great British Bake-Off, the dreams of ‘I want to be an astronaut’ or ‘I want to be a vet’ have probably been replaced with ‘I want to bake cakes.’ With the wholesome Britishness, Mary Berry’s dulcet tones, and the delicious creations that come out of the oven, GBBO has sold a job prospect to millions better than any career fair could ever do. For most of us, however, whether it’s a lack of opportunity or, like me, the inability to bake a cake without burning either it or the kitchen, this will remain a dream. And as with many other dreams, it takes a while to make them reality. University gets in the way, then a few years scrabbling around for graduate jobs, and then finally we might hit upon what we love doing. One girl, however, has been in her dream job since she left school aged 18. What’s more, she took the risk and dropped out of university to pursue it. As a pupil at a grammar school, she did what no one else in her school had dared to do, rejecting the status quo in favour of something more fulfilling. Jasmine Wisdish, now 21, has just started up her own baking company, Truly Delicious Bakes. Only three years ago she was starting Royal Holloway University, to study Classics. A few weeks into term she was working in Harrods’ café Ladurée where she climbed the ranks to Chef de Partie to gain experience and a good reputation for her company. Jasmine then began working in independent bakeries and is now launching her own company. In three years, Jasmine has achieved what many of us hope to do in our 30s, down to sheer motivation and belief in her ability to succeed. I was lucky enough to interview Jasmine to find out what it takes to thrive in the industry. What made you realise university wasn’t for you? Once I started lectures I realised that, although Classics is interesting, it wasn’t something I wanted to do full time and I couldn’t see a future in it. Also, if I’m going to spend 30 grand or more I better love the subject I’m studying! Was it hard to make the decision to drop out? It wasn’t especially difficult because I can be quite stubborn when I want to be. Once I had made my decision there was no convincing me otherwise. To be honest, it was quite scary at the time to take such a big risk but I knew I’d made the right decision once I’d done it. Do you think more people should do it? Obviously if you’re three years into a degree don’t drop out, you’re almost there! I was only six weeks in so I hadn’t really wasted any time or money. I had reservations before I went to university and
I knew what I wanted to do when I left so when I dropped out I had a clear direction to take. But don’t just leave because you’re finding one essay particularly difficult! However, if there’s something else you want to do and you feel like university isn’t the right decision at the moment, discuss it with other people because you’ve got to really consider it. But remember, there’s no point being miserable and spending money on something you hate. it?
Does the education system make it hard to do
Schools and society in general are so university focused but getting a degree isn’t the be all and end all of life. Sure, it is a big part of it but there are some valuable lessons that can’t be learnt at university. I’ve definitely grown as a person and gained skills that I wouldn’t have had if I stayed. Any advice for students wanting to pursue a career in baking? Do not think that it will be easy! Any job in the hospitality industry is hard; long working hours, stressful environments, and standing all day. Just be ready to think on your feet and be flexible. However, if you are passionate about baking it will all be worth it. Also, invest in a pair of comfortable shoes - they may be ugly but boy will they save your feet. Who was your favourite GBBO star? Hands down has to be Selasi. He was so cool and charming and definitely brought some sex appeal to the tent. I’ve heard he wants to open a bakery in London; I’ll be first in line to work there! What’s your favourite cake recipe? I love Paul Hollywood’s brioche recipe. The texture is so light and fluffy but still deliciously rich. It’s best eaten warm or fried until golden in butter and sugar. It takes a bit of time and effort but it’s totally worth it What are the plans for the future? I’m aiming at some point to do the Diplôme de Pâtisserie at Le Cordon Bleu in London. The course looks amazing and I’m excited to learn and to be able to bake five days a week. Then hopefully in the future once I’ve had more experience I will open my own bakery. Any advice for amateur bakers? Just keep practising! The difference to my cake making when I first started and my level is now is huge. Signing up to Pinterest and baking Instagrams will provide you with so much inspiration for new flavours and techniques. Don’t let baking failures set you back, just keep trying until you get it right. Also maybe try and find some baking classes
if you want to hone your skills in one particular area of cake making. Any great bakeries we should visit? One of my favourite places is Cocomaya, a small French bakery just round the corner from Paddington Station. Their food is all made in house, ranging from mini sandwiches to beautiful cakes; perfect for Sunday afternoon tea or taking away the food and having a picnic in Hyde Park. My favourite is their mini chocolate cake...it’s so dense and fudgy - absolute heaven! Don’t forget to check out Jasmine’s website Truly Delicious Bakes for more information!
Photograph: Jasmine Widish
STAGE Thursday, 1 December 2016
Swooning over swallow
A Fresher elates over Piccolo Theatre’s production of Swallow; a true step beyond. By Alice Felicity Chambers firstname.lastname@example.org
s a young, naïve Fresher, Durham Student Theatre looms as a mysterious and alluring world before me. This is my first glance into the intricacies and challenges of a DST production. Piccolo Theatre’s version of Stef Smith’s Swallow particularly stood out to me. “Who said smashing things up was a bad thing?” This trio show is a masterpiece in staging, lighting, acting and sound. Both aesthetically astounding and deeply moving, it is definitely the most impressive show I have seen during my first six weeks at Durham. It really proves the point that less is more. Swallow tells the interlocking story of three individuals. There is Rebecca, the alcoholic divorcee, Anna, the crazed recluse and Sam, the nervous transsexual. Their lives merge in unexpected and often amusing ways. Anna and Rebecca live in the same building. Sam and Rebecca date until Rebecca discovers Sam’s true sexuality. Both Sam and Rebecca at-
tempt to help Anna leave her flat. Piccolo’s production was spot on. Each character was perceptively performed. Anna, played by Steph Sarratt, showed the subtleties of loneliness, whether that was in her flittering concentration or her wild imagination. Rebecca, played by Annie Davison, was sassy and destructive; the perfect cover for a broken heart. Sam, played by Matt Dormer, was intensely believable in his presentation of a woman’s desire to be a man. Although the action is dominated by extended monologues, the audience’s attention is never dropped. Whether this is in a darkly-humoured jealous fit or an episode of self–discovery, each moment is filled with tender revelations. Even the structure of the play itself is fluid and beautifully arranged. The definition and rawness of each character is what makes this play so captivating. Their insecurities and longings are exposed. Nothing is hidden from the audience. We are taken aback by the power of simple human emotion. This was aided by the luminous set and the enchanting music, that works so well with the seemingly-everyday reality of this production.
The bright door in the centre of the stage hinted at something cosmic, and its comforting glow added spiritual warmth to the play. In truth, it is just three characters. Nothing else. Although an avid theatre– goer, this was my first experience of student theatre. Swallow’s universality is what made it so appealing to me. Whether it is the National Theatre’s main summer production or Basingstoke’s youth theatre’s Saturday show, the financial backing is not a factor. Swallow relies solely on an intense quality of acting and a true connection with human feelings. This is something that, undeniably, all three actors achieved. Anna particularly stood out for me. Her tumbling thoughts and fervent imagination drew the audience to question her true character. Why is she by herself? What caused her to exist in such a way? Such questions are explored, but never answered. That is the real tension in the play: is it uplifting or are we left in a state of confusion and loss? Although, I have to admit, all of the Durham student theatre I have seen has been of an astonishing standard, Swallow surpasses all. Its simplicity outshone the more complicated productions. Samuel Kirkman’s exquisite photos truly give credit to this. In some ways, this article seems pointless. If you didn’t watch it, you won’t have another opportunity. Though the upcoming big-name Richard III may be a glorious show, my advice would be to watch those shows without the big reputations attached to them. They may surprise you.
Criticism: A Necessary Evil? By Kyriaki Kyriacou email@example.com
o attend Durham University is to be exposed to a plethora of new experiences, one of which being amateur theatre. Many eagerly seize the opportunity to get involved with a student institution that has nurtured the talents of Ed Gamble, Charlotte Riley, and Roger Moore, to name a few. Durham Student Theatre’s reputation precedes it; productions go on to find success not just on campus, but on a national level with plays regularly being selected for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Approximately seventy productions are put on each year but, at the risk of sounding sacrilegious, not all of them are masterpieces. As the calendar becomes inundated with performances of everything from fin-du-siècle drama to experimental (sometimes disturbing) physical pieces, it becomes necessary to separate true talent and flair from mere misguided theatrical ambition – and this is where the reviewer comes in. It is understandable that some people may be resistant to criticism, especially after a cast and crew have poured so much time and dedication into their own passionate project. To then deem a play ‘unspectacular’ or ‘torturous’ is the equivalent of telling a mother who has just spent thirty hours in labour that her child is ugly. You just don’t do it. Art, much like beauty itself, is subjective and what may seem obscene to one person is refreshing to another. Criticism becomes even more controversial
in the university setting, as the close-knit circle of the Durham Drama community means that literally everyone knows each other. This results in reviewers who may err on the cautious side in order to satisfy a friend – or those who take the Machiavellian approach, and use reviews to unleash a personal vendetta on someone who has wronged them. Obviously, credit should be given where it is due and reviews should not be seen as an opportunity for a writer to let out their sadistic impulses just to make a more engaging read. Above all, criticism should be constructive. There is no point tearing a production to pieces if you can’t then point out how it could be put back together again in the future. To those who are anxious about the ability of a review to make–or–break a theatrical career, it must be noted that there is never just one definitive re-
view. The beauty of mass media is that it provides us with endless sources, each offering a wide array of verdicts. It is important to remember that reviewers are not divine beings imbued with some sort of all-encompassing theatrical knowledge from birth. They are just people who have been asked to give an opinion, and readers can make of that opinion what they will. That being said, the very nature of drama is that it’s a public spectacle. Sophocles and Euripides didn’t write plays for their own private pleasure, but performed them at Drama festivals such as the Dionysia, where they would be judged and eventually rewarded. The existence of art depends on an interactive and critical audience. If you go in search of praise, you must also accept the possibility of encountering criticism. Yes, to have someone slander your work can be heart-wrenching but it can also be illuminating, showing you where you went wrong and how you can improve. In the words of Churchill: ‘Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body; it calls attention to the development of an unhealthy state of things. If it is heeded in time, danger may be averted; if it is suppressed, a fatal distemper may develop.’ After all, criticism is rarely unfounded. You can either ignore the symptoms of an afflicted production or you can treat them – the reviewer merely diagnoses the problem. Photograph: TEDx Stuttgart, Flickr
MUSIC Thursday, 1 December 2016
8 Albums to bluff your way
“It goes verse chorus verse verse chorus ve By Will Hitt firstname.lastname@example.org
Led Zeppelin: IV
Coming Home: A Concert The Assembly Rooms, 11th December, 19:30
he word ‘home’ has the potential to have an endless variety of significations to everyone who has ever thought about what it means to them. Hild Bede Theatre have chosen their cross-genre, one-night-only offering this Michaelmas term to be just that. It’s an ambitious undertaking, to say the least, and a laudable one at that, because in attending you’ll also be supporting a great charity. Women for Women International is an organization that supports and provides business, health, and rights education for women in post-conflict areas around the world. So if you want to spend an evening with a soulful collection of performances, while at the same time feel that you’re doing good for the world then this concert is for you. No Man’s Land, The Gala Theatre, 15th December, 19:00
hat separates Led Zeppelin from any other band is their passion and emotional connection to the music. Even listening to the album now, nearly half a century on, the excitement and animalistic intensity is palpable. While the Beatles claim superiority in songwriting and technical innovation, Zeppelin are unmatched in instrumental prowess. Throughout the album Robert Plant’s immense vocal range, John Bonham’s imperious drumming, oft repeated but never replicated, and Jimmy Page’s renowned dexterity is constantly exhibited. Yet it is “Stairway to Heaven”, a song as synonymous with excess as it is with rock and roll perfection, where Zepplin’s mastery is most plainly displayed; beginning as an acoustic driven ballad displaying Plant’s folk pedi– gree, just over halfway through the track the instr– ments make their appearance, softly at first to tease the listener, then building into a crescendo unr– valled before or since.
ho doesn’t want to see the iconic duo, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart reunited? It’s an opportunity not to be missed and one that can be easily realized if you go and watch the screening of Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land at the Gala Theatre. The play is an enigmatic emotional journey, which promises to leave you as delighted by the craft of the veteran actors as you are scintillated by the action that unfolds. Afterwards you can even take part in the Q&A session with the National Theatre Director of the production, Sean Mathias. Photographs: Hild Bede Theatre (top), Gala Theatre
albums to come out of the weird world of 1980’s Experimental US rock, Doolittle offers an eclectic mix of musical styles which keeps the listener guessing throughout. Instrumentally, the record blends, psychedelia, hard rock, surf pop and surf rock, while lyrically, Black Francis’s distinctive mix of scream–ing and more constrained sound along with Kim Deal’s sugary background vocals are punctated by the pairs overtly sexual gasping and grunting, particularly on “Tame” or “Hey”. While retaining the ruthless grunge and avant–garde lyricism of Surfer Rosa, Doolittle is the band’s most accessible album with a far cleaner, and in the case of “Here Comes Your Man” even “poppier”, sound. And although it never really made the commercial impact it deserved, it has been exalted by critics and inspired much of the alternative rock and grunge success that America would experience in the 90s.
One of the most exciting and unpredictable
Nas: Illmatic “Straight out the fuckin’ dungeons of rap/ Where fake ni**as don’t make it back.” Few opening lines in rap are more iconic and more assertive in their selfconfidence, both of the rapper’s own lyrical proficiency and of the album’s inevitable success. Rob Marriot writes of Nas’ debut that it ‘raised the stakes for hip-hop production, lyrical technique, content, and overall artistic ambition.’ The vivid storytelling of Nas’ native New York-crime, paranoia, urban poverty; his easy lyrical flow, effortlessly incorporating multi–syllable rhyme, internal half rhyme, enja– ment and assonance into a taut ten–tracks, heavy backbeats and unrelenting cadence ensured almost instantly that Nas was revered above his contemporaries. The album cover art was a distinct departure from the hip-hop norm as it featured not a fairly rote set of status symbol clichés which typically disengage the listener, but a close-up picture of himself as a child, superimposed over a project estate, thereby inviting the consumer into his intimate story. The general consensus among critics is that Illmatic forever altered the landscape of East coast hip-hop. The complete package, it is an experience like no other.
MUSIC Thursday, 1 December 2016
y through a conversation with a music snob
erse verse,” but if you’re not so well versed, here’s a little helping hand Beatles: Sgt Peppers’ Lonely Hearts Club Band
er. In a recent review Rolling Stone Magazine described the album as particularly “expansive and seductive”, characterised by its reverb, strings, melody and more user-friendly and sultry lyricism. Songs vary from the heavy rhythms and condensed drumming of the opener “15 Step”, to the ethereal tone of “Nude”, underpinned by the light, therapeutic drumming of Philip Selway, to the thoroughly sombre and scant final track and fan favourite “Videotape”. Throughout, the album is as thoroughly enjoyable as it is intimate.
Bowie: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust...
Arguably the greatest album from what is arguably the greatest band of all time and sitting atop Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time”, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band needs no introduction. The album was created after the Beatles abandoned touring in 1966. The unrelenting hysteria of “Beatlemania” had begun to encroach upon the band’s creativity, and their retreat into virtual solitude allowed them to explore the possibilities of the recording studio, experiment with the concept of the LP, and further distance themselves from the audience with the creation of their alter egos. What results is one of the most important albums ever made, unsurpassed in sound, song-writing, studio technology and album cover notoriety. The album’s closing track, “A Day in the Life”, with its orchestral over-dub, powerful horns and strings accompaniment and memorable lyrics makes for an exquisite symphony to cap off the journey of the fictitious band.
Radiohead: In Rainbows
The Smiths: The Queen is Dead
The first LP of the “Berlin Trilogy”, Low, is often considered a superior album; the immense pressure of superstardom in the early 1970s saw Bowie become more introspective and experimental and remains one of his most intense and influential albums. However, the absurd rock opera of Ziggy Stardust sees Bowie at his most brilliantly exuberant. The unprecedented androgyny and lavish theatrics made inevitable his rise to fame but the quality of the music and the introduction of Bowie’s alter ego and otherworldly rocker Ziggy Stardust prevented him from becoming yet another fad from the glam era. The album is at its most engrossing with “Starman” which features a soft acoustic guitar and string accompaniment, exhibiting Bowie’s engaging vocals. The anthem “Ziggy Stardust” which Rolling Stone describes as one of rock’s earliest, and best, power ballads as well as “Suffragette City”, are the rock and roll core of the record.
Massive Attack: Blue Lines
Liberated from the self-inflicted pressure to innovate which saw 2003’s Hail to the Thief fall slightly short of their usual standards, Radiohead’s seventh studio album In Rainbows was the most accessible of their works since 1997’s OK Comput-
son’s impassioned vocals and a synth and powerful bass loop. In “Five Man Army”, roots reggae veteran Horace Andy is incorporated into the groups’ distinctive sound and with “Unfinished Sympathy”, Massive Attack created the trip-hop anthem of the decade.
One of the most important groups of their ge– eration, noted in particular for their role in pi– neering the trip-hop movement –a fusion of hip– hop rhythms, soulful melodies, dub grooves and choice sampling – Massive Attack have influenced decades of rock and dance, from Radiohead and Portishead, to launching the successful solo career of Tricky. Their 1991 album, and undisputed maste– piece, Blue Lines, represents an unfamiliar collage of geres, clear from the opening track “Safe From Harm” which mixes an aggressive drum beat, Robert “3D” Del Naja’s idiosyncratic rapping, Shara Nel-
Recorded in the winter of 1985, The Queen is Dead is widely considered by critics as The Smiths’ best studio album, even if its creators don’t think so. Marr and Morrissey both favour Strangeways Here We Come. The album sees the band at the peak of their game, from the driving, raucous rock of the title song, to the more retro rock style of “Bigmouth Strikes Again” and the flawless pop track, “There is a Light That Never Goes Out.” Biographer Johnny Rogan said that on The Queen is Dead, Morrissey emerged as the “most interesting songwriter of his generation”, and it is easy to agree. In the first track Morrissey is at his most venomous as he attacks the British Monarchy, while “Bigmouth Strikes Again” represents a rare foray into self-parody and “I Know It’s Over” is acutely poignant, even melancholic, arguably one of the singers’ finest recorded moments. All images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
CREATIVE WRITING 16
Thursday, 1 December 2016
Nostalgia in the digital age By Emily Brown It started with a letter, as so many things do.
he letter remained on the kitchen counter for two days. Before that it had spent several hours on the doormat, white and smooth against the scratchy brown. On the table a coffee cup was placed beside it leaving behind a ring of moisture left in dangerous proximity to the unspoiled envelope. It felt the bright rays of a winter sun and reflected them dazzling into passing eyes; it soaked up the fading light of evening and the blackness of night. In those two days the letter experienced not just the passing of time but also the passing of an everyday household. After two days it was moved from centre stage to the kitchen counter, where it remained for another five days. Once it became apparent that its presence was not welcome, then from the counter it found itself being slipped into a drawer and finally out of sight. Despite this letter’s seeming insignificance there is always something deliciously significant about receiving a letter. A letter arrives as a beautiful salute to the past. Once the usual checks have been administered in order to clarify that it is not a bill or bank statement, or some other equally uninspiring notification, the letter takes on a new sheen of intrigue. The handwritten address on the front of it marks it as something out of the ordinary, for in modern society the writer of the letter in question has deemed the contents too important to be delivered via text or email. The letter, therefore, will be carrying something that is of interest to the recipient. The letter in question here, however, holds a confusing in-between status in which the letter’s interest fluctuates. What had been marked out as important in the eyes of the sender was not necessarily so to the letter’s intended. Elliot watched the letter with a wary curiosity from where he stood staring down at the contents of the drawer in which it had been stowed. The envelope was unblemished and stood out crisp and white against the paraphernalia of everyday objects beneath it. Surrounded by clusters of key chains, old phone chargers and broken pens the letter seemed to radiate from the rubble. It held itself up for examination. The sloping handwriting resembled that of a child’s, the letters did not join up and the vowels were squat and fat sitting resolutely on the paper. The letter E for Elliot was written in lower case, which he found particularly odd. Looking at the slow careful print of his name Elliot wondered what had been going through the writer’s mind as he had formed the name. Did the writer think about how it was because of him that the addressee bore such a name? Did the writer ever consider that while he was responsible for the name he had once been responsible for the person who now shared it with him? Elliot traced a finger over each letter that had been spelled out. After he had looked at the handwriting for so long that the image was fixed upon his retinas he now liked to close his eyes and feel the imprint of pen upon paper.
The small grooves where the nib of the pen had pushed were deeper in some areas and over some letters than others. He could imagine his father pushing down in concentration for the hard lines of the letter L to ensure that they were as upright as possible. He felt how his father had spent more time in printing the letters of his name and the postcode than he had the county, which was scrawled so lightly that Elliot could barely feel the ink’s impression on the envelope. The ink was a deep India blue, the colour of a clear cloudless sky on holiday just as night was unfolding its clutches. At the end of the address the ink had smudged causing the tail of a lower case g to fan out in a spray like a peacock’s tail. He wondered if his father smudged the letter in his haste to write it or whether he had looked down irritably at his carelessness, the blur of blue reminding him of his capability for mistakes. Elliot’s mother rarely spoke of his father and Elliot had long since learnt not to ask. His father’s departure had left its stamp upon his mother; dark shadows beneath her eyes now became permanent fixtures of her face colouring the once bright skin. Strands of hair lost their pigment to a dusty grey earlier than they should have done and her plump cheeks were now hollow, the skin pulled taught across the translucent bone visible beneath. It seemed only appropriate that his father’s violent character should disappear leaving signs of violence bruised across his mother in its wake.
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A Word From The Editor By Anna Gibbs Creative Writing Editor email@example.com
t’ll be interesting to see history textbooks in years to come, with tweets as sources instead of blurry black and white photographs or diary entries written in perplexing, unreadable handwriting. I suppose we naturally give the traditional forms of documentation the weight of being the true bearers of nostalgia and keepers of thoughts which ambled through our minds many moons ago, because until recently they were all we knew. Is the fabric of nostalgia now changed, due to every moment being documented through a tiny circle of glass kept in everyone’s pockets? In thirty years, will we look back through our old social media accounts and be grateful for the bank of Instagram photos we built up, and for the evidence of long-ceased conversations we had in our younger years? Is nostalgia reduced in some way if we are constantly and consciously focused on creating it for our future selves to reminisce with? Sometimes it seems nostalgia is only valuable if the memories we hold are scarce. Perhaps this fierce fear that fuel for future nostalgia is needed will begin to calm down over the next decades-who knows? Don’t ask me, I’m simply writing a note for my future self to check her past predictions against in the year 2046. Illustration: Anna Gibbs