Tuesday 8th November 2011 | INDIGO
Page 7: Durham is delicious: Food Editor Molly Fowler goes to the Durham Food Festival Page 8&9: Blog Days: we talk to Durham Graduate Audrey Rogers about her super-successful blog Frassy
Across: 1 Wet to the west of the Atlantic, dry to the east (8) 5 Some Infa Red Spectroscopy allows one to be spotted (6) 10 A bookish city (7) 11 An eight-legged cat that’s lost its tail! (7) 12 Sour lye is difficult to grasp (7) 13 Did he meet a Genie on the way to win Jerusalem? (7) 14 The only country were some patio hierarchy can be seen (8) 16 Put off sending payment (5) 18 A very delectable number, we hear (5) 20 Within the absolute, there is more than can be imagined (8) 24 Would rather not play A flat and leave a blemish (7) 26 Their temperament causes many sheets of paper to be adorned in red (7) 27 Guy Fawke’s father was an Ent, they say! (7) 28 Their foot is not as clean as you’d expect (7) 29 Actively oppose the reverse of time by notorious head Yankee (6) 30 Artist of Belgium, a gritter of teeth? (8)
Down: 1 Avenue of trees, mostly (6) 2 Transporting water by way of the exhaust pipe? (7) 3 Robert, caught between two sticks at the edge of North America, finds himself in Africa! (7) 4 Livid Granny has no head for nonsense (5) 6 Pioneering negotiator (7) 7 Looked gloomy on a two-wheel drive (5) 8 Put ear to stone to hear the oscillations (8) 9 Soft calf means two must carry on their shoulders instead (8) 15 In Paignton, it was most keenly felt (8) 17 Witty repeater (8) 19 Rest beside wild tarn, or perhaps be just in passing (7) 21 Almost all of her notes revolutionised mathematics (7) 22 The part time worker established a storm! (7) 23 Sounds like a Greek sculpture is left out in the cold! (6) 25 Tea centred in small cloud of vapour (5) 26 Article connects doctor with master of arts palaver (5) Emily Woodhouse
o. Fittest Fresher. I feel I should explain. For those of you who are new to Durham and have never experienced the phenomenon that is indigo’s Fittest Fresher feature, I promise, it really isn’t quite as bad as it sounds. Yes, okay, we are featuring a select group of Freshers simply because our three
Fashion Editors thought they were slightly-above-average in the looks department, therefore perpetuating the message we are assaulted by from almost all corners of society: the more attractive you are, the more worthy you are of our time. However, dear readers, let me say one thing: just look at them all. Aren’t they pretty?
Page 10: Not just a nostalgia trip: Funeral for a Friend tell Will Clement all about their new album
Page 12: The Nutcracker: Two different takes on the world-famous ballet as it arrives in the North East Page 14: Midnight in Paris: Riccardo Liberatore looks at Woody Allen’s legacy in light of his latest offering
Page 15: Catch 22: on the 50th anniversary of its publication we ask what makes it such an enduring classic
Page 16: Taking to the Toon: Kirsten Sutherland tells us what nearby metropolis Newcastle has to offer
editor’s letter Go on, you can appreciate them, on a purely aesthetic and artistic level. Don’t feel bad. Check out the masterful lighting! The beautiful clothes! The excellent use of props that your esteemed editors may or may not have been vaguely involved in! It’s all so lovely, isn’t it? Just like Vogue, except with clothes you might actually
have enough money to buy and people that you will almost certainly see in the street. But please, don’t let all this beauty start to make you feel bad about yourself. We’re not showing you pictures of attractive people simply because we can. No, we’re making a stand. We’re showing you pictures of attractive
people doing normal stuff in the Viaduct, to show you that they’re just like us, guys! Look at them, hanging out by a skip. We’ve all been there. Let’s just remember, in the immortal words of Derek Zoolander, there’s a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking. HS
Tuesday 8th November 2011 | INDIGO
any of you will have never seen fittest fresher before. For many years Palatinate ran a competition to try and find the fittest new addition to Durham’s student population. Recently the explicit judgement has been abandoned due to the completely objectionable nature of such a competition. As such what we have here is not a competition. There will be no winner, and we are not even claiming that these eight people are the eight fittest freshers. As undoubtedly beautiful as they all are, it is impossible for one section of the student newspaper to comprehensively sift through the entire population of Durham looking for fitties. There are undoubtedly issues: phrases such as “ideological farce”, “brazenly elitist” and “it would never happen in Sweden” were bandied about by freshers and photographers alike. But what this really is is a photoshoot, entirely of freshers, in some pretty swanky outifits. Originally there was a theme, which involved lots of rubbish, empty beer cans, and mouldy pizza boxes in a student house in the viaduct. However, the theme swiftly got subsumed into the far more flexible overall goal of ‘let’s just get the best pictures we can’. So that’s what we’ve got here, some truly fantastic photos. The photo encompassing some of the viaduct certainly stole the show, and now graces the front cover. If there was a theme it was student Durham, not tourist Durham. The viaduct is definitely a symbol of student life in Durham. Photography by Tom Weller and Quinn Murray. Thanks also to Rachel Bailin, Laura Gregory & Rachel Aroesti for all their hard work.
INDIGO | Tuesday 8th November 2011
Fashion Editors: Rachel Bailin, Tom Weller, Laura Gregory firstname.lastname@example.org
behind the scenes...
Tuesday 8th November 2011 | INDIGO
Fashion Editors: Rachel Bailin, Tom Weller, Laura Gregory email@example.com
Age: 19 College: Collingwood Subject: PPE From: Stockholm
Age: 20 College: Hatfield Subject: French and Politics From: Harrogate
Age: 20 College: Hatfield Subject: Law From: Sri Lanka
Age: 19 College: Van Mildert Subject: Criminology From: Worcestershire
Age: 20 College: Cuth’s Subject: PPE From: Frankfurt
Age: 19 College: Cuth’s Subject: Psychology From: Reading
Age: 18 College: Mary’s Subject: Anthropology From: London
Age: 18 College: “Hatfield, but I’m not a c*nt” Subject: PPE From: Brighton
INDIGO | Tuesday 8th November 2011
Food & Drink Editor: Molly Fowler firstname.lastname@example.org
food & drink
Durham gets delicious Molly Fowler brings you the cream of the crop from this year’s Durham Food Festival
or those of you who didn’t make it down to Durham’s Food Festival this year, I can only offer my condolences. After having paid my meagre £2.50 and slipped on my wristband, I stepped (well, ran) into the marquee fit to bursting with excitement. The sights, sounds, and most crucially, smells that I was immediately hit with confirmed it: I was in a food lover’s heaven. As I looked around me in a semi-daze, I was pleasantly surprised to see how great a variety was provided for Durham foodies. There was a multitude of stalls selling everything from bison burgers to Chinese street food, as well as homeware and live chef demonstrations - this
the promise of gourmet food had been well and truly met
was certainly an event intended to cater to the masses. Thus, with notebook poised and stomach rumbling, I began my perusal of all that Durham’s Food Festival had to offer, and I am thrilled to say that I was by no means disappointed. Having a sweet tooth, I was immediately drawn to any stand selling cakey, sugary or chocolatey fares, and began to sample things at a rate found somewhat alarming to my companions. I am pleased to report I was spoilt for choice with stalls like The Brownie Bar offering a chocolate brownie so rich and decadent that it won the Great Taste Gold Award in
2011, as well as Loopy Lisa’s Fudge, whose classic butter fudge was so creamy and delicious it won the same Gold Award in 2009. The promise of gourmet food had been well and truly met. My inner child was also thrilled to see an overabundance of cupcake stalls catering for every occasion. The elegantly named Glass Slipper Bakery provided Halloween themed cupcakes decorated with bats and skulls, whilst the innovative Popcake Kitchen introduced the elegantly small yet sinfully decadent cake treat on a stick – perfect for munching on whilst inspecting other stalls. After thoroughly satisfying my sugar cravings, I was drawn to my other great love: cheese. I was thrilled to see the festival more than provided for that particular passion and after sampling every cheese I could get my hands on from the various cheesemongers, I was drawn - as was a large portion of the crowd - to Derek Priestley Cheesemongers. Offering a staggering and unusual variety, from Maplewood smoked cheddar to white stilton with strawberries and champagne, I couldn’t resist partaking in their outstanding offer of three cheeses for £5 and I’m ashamed to say the remains of this purchase are hidden in the back of the fridge at home, away from the prying mitts of my housemates. Unfortunately, there was rather a poor selection of seafood. However, I was pleased to see a very smartly dressed gentleman perched next to me on a rickety plastic bench covered in a grimy paper tablecloth casually tucking into a flute of chilled Prosecco and a dozen oysters, even if it did make my
Proof that good food really does lead to happiness Photograph: Delaney Chambers humble steak pie look rather shabby in comparison. Whilst everything I saw, sampled and purchased throughout the day more than exceeded my already exacting standards, I must confess that I received the most pleasure from a certain male friend attempting to assert his masculinity by sampling the aptly named ‘smartarse’ from The One Stop Hot Shop. A chilli sauce reaching over 16 million on the Scoville Heat Scale for chilli peppers, we were informed by a somehwat wicked looking vendor that it was unavailable for general purchase in the UK and came
with the warning “can cause breathing difficulties”. After initially insisting that it wasn’t that bad, my previously willing sampler then had to excuse himself with eyes watering and tongue lolling and only several
attempting to assert his masculinity by sampling the aptly named ‘smartarse’
hours and a glass of milk later was he finally able to whisper that he thought it might hurt forever. Manly… My gourmet experience is one I will not be forgetting in a hurry. This is mainly thanks to my multitude of edible purchases stashed away at home and I urge you all to attend next year – I know it’s a visit I won’t hesitate to make.
For David Evans’s review on the drinks on offer, go to palatinate. org.uk
hy did you start your blog?
I always wanted to study fashion but was persuaded to pursue a more traditional degree. I began Frassy because I wanted to do something creative, off my own back, and completely unrelated to my degree. It began purely as a creative outlet, and then it sort of evolved into documenting my daily personal style. As a fresher, I began reading a lot of fashion blogs to the point of fascination and so I thought, “Hey, why not do this myself”?
What was the reaction like at first and how did it change?
I guess I was lucky because I had a lot of friends who were into blogging so they gave me a lot of initial publicity. Also I started Frassy just before the “blogging trend” happened, so at the time there weren’t that many UK fashion blogs. Saying that, it took a good 6-8 months before I really developed a readership. It was a frustrating time, but then it just sort of took off. At first, it was so strange that girls I didn’t know were so interested in me. And then, all of a sudden, I was travelling to London all the time, for fashion week, for press collaborations - it was great!
Do you make a living from your blog?
Yes, Frassy comprises the largest chunk of my self-employment - I’m also working as a freelance photographer and fashion writer. Frassy generates money from advertising revenue and froms brands sponsoring me to wear and feature their clothes on my blog. I also run a boutique where I sell clothes and accessories sourced in Paris. I’ve recently signed a contract with an agent and I am in the midst of designing a t-shirt range. If it goes well I want to start designing a seasonal collection
of clothing to sell on Frassy Rags.
What’s the most exciting thing that has happened to you as a result of the blog? I guess maybe making the cover of a book, called Style Diaries. My own book is now in the making, titled “How to be Frassy”- giving girls of all ages advice on fashion, life, style etc.
Tuesday 8th November 2011 | INDIGO
Audrey Rogers, 23, started her style blog www.befrassy. com while still studying English at Durham. She is regularly featured on teenvogue.com and currently blogs for Hello! magazine. Rachel Aroesti caught up with her to talk about the success of her blog and to find out how the blogosphere works
What’s a typical ‘day in the life’ of a blogger?
People don’t believe me, but a blog takes a lot of time. Usually my photographer will come over and we will get a couple different outfits photographed. Then there is editing, the photos, replying to emails, meetings with brands. I have an intern too, and she’s super fun, so we will drink coffee and Diet Coke in my apartment and she helps with just about every aspect of the blog. Then there is my boutique - I have to source clothing, trek out to wholesalers, package all the orders up, take them to the post office - it’s never ending. It’s a weekly cycle, but there is never ever enough time in a day!
What are your plans for the future with Frassy?
I’ve got BIG plans! Right now, my two websites are being re-designed and by January 2012, you will be able to read Frassy in multiple languages. I also want to amp up my boutique - designing clothes I want the store to eventually be an emporium of clothes that stick very closely to my own personal style.
What are your favourite blogs?
As a blogger, I read a lot of blogs. Some of my favourites are Atlantic Pacific, Sincerely Jules, Because I’m Addicted, Fashionology, Business of Fashion.
To blog or not to blog
INDIGO | Tuesday 8th November 2011
Audrey gives her advice on breaking into the world of blogs How do you get your blog noticed? Original content is key. There are literally hundreds of thousands of blogs out there now, which makes it that much harder to gain readership. Also, interact with your readers- interaction is the essence of blogging. So reply to their emails, blog about topics that they will find interesting.
How do you get followers? I get asked this question a lot - and there is no quick recipe for success. You just have to be persistent! Send out a lot of emails, use social networking to the maximum - twitter is so great. Also, go to PR events- befriend fellow bloggers- it’s a very loyal industry.
How do you get businesses/ publications involved in your blog? In the same way you apply for internshipssend them a CV of your blog- traffic statistics, your achievements with blogging so far. Be patient but also be persistent. And finally, what should a good blog have? Original content. And it should also be personal. Reading blogs is similar to letting a friend read your journal- it’s writing and sharing on an intimate level.
Features Editor: Sarah Murray email@example.com
Four very different Durham students explain why they blog Music blogger, Jess Denham: I’ve always enjoyed writing about things I love, but to be honest I started blogging primarily because I want to pursue a career in journalism. Work experience has taught me how important an online presence is if you want to get somewhere in the media. I write mainly on music but have also blogged about films, books and fashion. I try not to limit myself too much although can’t deny that music-related posts dominate! I’ll write reviews on gigs and festivals I’ve been to, and showcase exciting new bands that I’ve heard. jessdenham. blogspot.com Travel blogger, Claudia Fellerman: I found blogging on my year abroad a way to relax. You can’t lose a blog but you can forget what you have been doing, so it’s even more useful than a phone conversation for keeping your friends and family updated. Sometimes I just did so many amazing things that I just needed to clear my head and being able to blog from anywhere. www. claudiafellerman. tumblr.com Fashion blogger, Kate G (above): I had blogged semi-privately for years and eventually it just became more practical to create a public website. I would also get a lot of questions about things that I’ve made and a blog seemed to be the best platform for posting tutorials. Before I moved here I tried to post about once a week. Unfortunately I’ve had to
stop blogging until my studies are a little more under control! I hope to update soon - Durham is such an amazingly beautiful place, I’m going to have to take some photos before winter sets in. I don’t really hope to achieve anything. Everything I post on my blog I would post elsewhere anyway, a blog is just a slightly more organised way of doing it. It’s nice to look back on old posts as little snapshots of my life at the time. As for the tutorials, all I want is other people to use them to make things! It’s so satisfying to see things people have made after reading my blog. schwurlie.blogspot.com Photography blogger, Bella Franks (below): I started a blog one rainy afternoon when I realised my life is just so interesting it needs to be shared with the world. Kidding. It was actually at the time I was studying photography in Newcastle. I use it as my own little virtual world of creativity to display my photographs and illustrations. I’m hoping to find a job in the creative world and having a blog is useful as I can give potential employers an insight into my work. On my blog I talk about what I get up to – from selling broken clocks at a car boot sale, drawing naked people in Florence to describing the dead grasshopper on my bathroom floor – nothing is too random, explicit or green to deserve a mention! bellasbitsandbobs.blogspot.com
Mrs Elvet sorts you out indigo’s very own Agony Aunt solves all your problems Dear Mrs Elvet, I was in Studio the other night when I was grinded upon by the most obliging of chaps. We have now been together almost a week and are very much in love. One hitch, he is, dare I say, a ‘Butlerite’! To make matters worse, he’s living in college. We’ve talked it over but I’m not so sure we can make this long-distance thing work... (Lovelorn - Hatfield) Oh honey, I know your dilemma all to well. I’m embarrassed to admit that I once had a boyfriend at Collingwood. Let’s just say my heels and my dignity were both in tatters after that horrific commute. Give it up now and save your Louboutins, the trek isn’t worth it, even for the most reciprocal of men.
Dear Mrs Elvet, Where is the library? I’m a third year and I’ve yet to find this mythical place. I hear they have a room of journals and magical moving bookshelves! (Currently searching Hild Bede) If Legally Blonde taught me anything it was that you only need a sweet attitude and some damn nice shoes to get a degree. Stay as you are, the library doesn’t need you.
Dear Mrs Elvet, There’s no easy way to say this but, I’ve run out of clean clothes. I like to think that I’m a man of the world - I read The Spectator you know - but I can’t seem to get to grips with these confounded washing machines! I’ve worn my tweed suit for the past week and I think my fruity odour is attracting the wrong sort of lady. Help! (Ripe for a wash - Mary’s) Darling, I’ve never washed a thing in my life. If God wanted me to wash clothes he wouldn’t have brought Consuela into my life. Get hiring! But in the meantime, do some serious damage to Daddy’s credit card. The only thing less attractive than a ‘ripe’ gentleman is a working-class accent. Dear Mrs Elvet There’s been talk lately about the number of bed partners a respectable lady should have in her life. An overachiever in every field let’s just say my “scoring” has been on the high side. With a reputation to consider, how high is too high? (Counting – Collingwood) My dear girl, am I to imply from your question that you have been rather promiscuous!? Think of men as chocolate cake, treat yourself every once in a while and stop counting calories! Eleri Watson
Tuesday 8th November 2011 | INDIGO
Will Clement catches up with Funeral for a Friend before their Newcastle show
Not merely a nostalgia trip
n 2001, a group of fraught young Welshmen burst onto the hardcore scene, writing the soundtrack to many a teenage heartbreak around the world. Ten years and five full-length albums later, the boyos are as energetic as ever, ready to take on their second decade. Gav Burrough and Rich Boucher, who joined the band in 2008 and 2011 respectively, confidently assured indigo that the latest full length, Welcome Home Armageddon, was one of Funeral for a Friend’s best pieces of work. “We’re really proud of it. We tried to bring back elements from the first two albums that maybe people were missing about the band and I suppose with the introduction of me and Rich into the band, we felt that as well”. It has certainly been extremely well received by critics and fans alike, with its return to a heavier Funeral for a Friend, leading to the release being affectionately nicknamed by some: ‘Casually Dressed And Deep In Conversation Part 2’. “We’ve certainly brought back some of those elements,” mused Gav. “But this isn’t a nostalgia trip. We’ve taken the elements that were missing from the band but also kept the relevant bits”. This blending of old and new can perhaps best be seen on tracks ‘Front Row Seats To The End Of The World’ and ‘Owls (Are Watching)’, both of which were as eagerly enjoyed by the Newcastle crowd as old classics ‘This Year’s Most Open Heartache’ and ‘Roses For The Dead’. Yet, despite the plaudits flooding in from all quarters, Funeral are not resting on their laurels. See You All In
Funeral for a Friend delight their fans Photograph: Lloyd Williams Photography Hell, an EP with one new song and alternative versions of Welcome Home Armageddon songs, was released in late October, and Gav excitedly described it as the catalyst for the autumn tour. “We’d recorded the new song [‘High Castles’], which really shows where we are as a band right now, and wanted to get it out there as soon as possible. Alongside that, we had all these acoustic or remixed versions of the Armageddon songs that we didn’t want to just sit on someone’s laptop somewhere”. The apocalyptic titles of both Welcome Home Armageddon and See You All In Hell displays a dark humour that
the band insists is necessary for artists to exist these days. “Some bands these days like to think they take themselves seriously, but I don’t
We tried to bring back elements from the first two albums that maybe people were missing about the band
think any musician should be too serious. The album titles
juxtapose with the cartoonstyle album covers, which shows we’re still having a lot of fun”. The energy and enjoyment that the band evidently embody translated completely onto the stage, with their set of golden oldies and raw new tracks a definite winning formula. With plans for a new album in the coming year, it’s obvious that the boys from Bridgend still have the hunger for music. What’s perhaps more important though, as the band’s tenyear anniversary passes by, is that the elation of UK crowds on this tour shows that we are still hungry for Funeral for a Friend.
• Formed in 2001 in Bridgend, Wales • They take their name from a song by Planes Mistaken For Stars • Described by Zane Lowe in 2009 as “one of the best British bands of the last decade” • In April 2011, the band were inducted into Rocksounds’ ‘Hall of Fame’ • Avid rugby fans, they were furious at the “dogshit” referee decision to red card Sam Warburton in the World Cup
INDIGO | Tuesday 8th November 2011
OXJAM at the DSU
Music Editor: Jess Denham Multimedia Music Editor: Briony Chappell firstname.lastname@example.org
Local artists perform as part of a month-long festival of volunteer gigs
n the depths of Dunelm House’s Fonteyn Ballroom, Durham played host to a variety of local artists in aid of Oxfam’s nationwide music festival. In Durham, the charm of the student bands came mainly from their intimacy and energy. One of the highlights of debut duo Tim and Sam was a stripped down interpretation of Lily Allen’s ‘Not Fair’. By creating intriguing folk sounds on acoustic guitar and electric cello, Tim and Sam made the song very much their own. A chorus of “Shhhh...” went round the hall when singersongwriter Nick Wallis started his rivetingly soulful acoustic set. Intimacy gave way to energy as the Violets took centre stage. Their innovative blend of indie folk and synthpop whirled up a maelstrom despite the vocals suffering as a consequence. The eclectic Avast! Narwhals finished off the live acts, thoroughly rocking out the room before the Tony Harrison Movement DJ set gave the night a sublime finishing touch. Avast! Narwhals’ lead guitarist commented later how
Oxjam musicians warming up Photograph: Tom Mitchell the whole evening definitely had a “good vibe”. Oxjam’s mission statement is to raise money for Oxfam’s causes worldwide by being “the UK’s month-long music festival”: putting together small volunteer-based gigs up and down the country. Durham’s Oxjam raised over £1400, greatly exceed-
ing its £500 target. Its real success, however, was in promoting the live music scene in Durham. Oxjam served as a reminder that there are other options to Studio and Loveshack in Durham if you ever feel like experiencing something different. Justin Murray
The Water’s Edge
Gabriel Samuels Forget what you think a Coldplay song should sound like. Listening to the new album, just let it wash over you in a blaze of colour and energy. The opening track bursts urgently into the gorgeous ‘Hurts Like Heaven’, calling the youth to arms, before the stand-out spine-tingler ‘Charlie Brown’; instant live hits. The beautiful ‘Us Against the World’ will placate those unwilling to embrace Coldplay’s stylistic shifts. It’s not perfect – the surprise collaboration with Rihanna on ‘Princess of China’ may take a while to get used to – but this is an exciting, forward thinking album whose passion and prettiness reminds you how grateful you are to be young.
Jess Denham For those who love a man with his guitar, this is an easy album to ‘like’. Unfortunately though, newcomer Luke Ritchie’s debut album suffers heavily from a lack of orginality. Despite some rich vocals and textured melodies, there is nothing electrifying or exciting about this record. Opening track ‘The Lighthouse’ is instantly reminiscent of the likes of Bon Iver yet, unlike the latter, Ritchie’s somewhat feeble attempt at creating an evocative atmosphere fails to convince. Devoid of any real innovation, it seems likely that The Water’s Edge will fade into the generic sea of ‘nice’ singer-songwriters.
Chase & Status draw an eclectic crowd to Newcastle
Chase & Status’ chaotic live show Photograph: Michael Elborn
With latest album No More Idols, drum and bass duo Chase & Status have taken an underground style of music and made it appeal to the masses. Their recent Newcastle gig held an atmosphere far removed from the sort of sweatbeaded, wide-eyed chaos of their usual post-midnight DJ sets. Whilst mostly made up of people being turned away from the bar, the crowd covered a striking range of demographics. From the young topless geordies at the front to the older couple spectating from the back, it was hard to gauge
what to expect. Though initially sceptical, the energetic passion of the London DJs-turnedproducers-turned-artistes’ live experience demonstrated that Chase & Status have explored live music primarily as an opportunity to venture new horizons. However, their live show arguably lacked the flow and continuity of a mixed DJ set. It will be interesting to see whether or not the commercial music world will irreversibly hold them back from the original values of their genre. Michael Elborn
Love music, hate folk and rock? We’d love to hear from jazz aficionados, classical enthusiasts, or heavy metal headbangers. Send any contributions to music@palatinate. org.uk
For more music news, visit palatinate.org.uk
Tuesday 8th November 2011 | INDIGO
Dancer Frances Teehan and Stage Editor Kathy Laszlo watch Minsk State Ballet Academy’s performance at the Journal Tyne Theatre and discover two sides of the same shell
To the pointe: The Nutcracker Frances: I was awaiting the moment where I would be “transported to another world” by a piece which is renowned for its ability to enchant people of all ages. However, it became apparent from the moment the soundtrack began playing, immediately losing the famous magical atmosphere conjured by a live orchestra, that this would not be the grand production that I was expecting. This disappointment was deepened further when a mawkish backdrop replaced the grand Christmas tree that traditionally greets audiences. The company presented an extremely young ensemble, echoing the earliest productions of The Nutcracker where Marie was played by a child. However, despite the youthful excitement this brought to the piece, the absence of consistent technique and the unconvincing facial expressions became a recurring distraction. It was impossible to focus on the individual(s) behind the steps. I was continually frustrated with the amount of repetition that appeared merely to fill time. A further weakness was evident in the fight scene between the Nutcracker and the Mouse King. The steps held promise of excitement and thrill that the audience craves from such a display, but the sequence limited the strength of these sensations. It was almost as if the arrangement was too choreographed, lacking the spark of spontaneity that fuels the motivations behind the conflict. Marie’s technique was astonishing for a child of such a young age with her double pirouettes neatly closed and her arabesques hitting a strong line. With the arrival of the Sugar Plum Fairy, I was able to appreciate the benefits of experience as both their
Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet divided opinion with our writers Illustration: Ella Cole technique and performance were mastered harmoniously, especially in the pas de deux of the second act. The fairy’s effortless routines captivated both the audience and younger members of the ensemble, as if demonstrating what they may
Although not a flawless performance, there was a certain charm
achieve in the future. In the face of the repetitive choreography, which often missed the climaxes of Tchaikovsky’s legendary score, both dancers
proved why they merited the leading roles. Further highlights were the character dances of the second act, which successfully captured the humour of the piece. Nonetheless, it was the delightful pointe work of two girls (who could not have been eight years old), which warranted the loud cheer at the end of the production. Although not a flawless performance, there was a certain charm, and the audience left the theatre smiling with children leaping around in mock ballet. With the tinsel almost off the fake tree as the curtain closed, this couldn’t match the Royal Ballet, but the effort that the performers illustrated throughout was commendable.
Kathy: I fall over in the snow. Durham’s fast-approaching transformation into a Winter Wonderland does not only send metaphorical shivers through my spine. Hence my unqualified admiration for all those who can stand up straight and keep their balance in wintery surroundings. Achieving all these tasks – and in pointe-shoes! – the aspiring Ballet Etoiles of Minsk’s State Ballet Academy, had already tiptoed their way into my heart before the first note had even resounded. Granted, said ‘wintery surroundings’ did appear to be literally hanging by a (glittery) thread. Nostalgia pervaded the piece, a longing for past times, when families still as-
sembled around Christmas trees; when children, instead of sitting at home, moving as little as their their index finger when catapulting angry birds on their iPads, were able to stand vertically on their toes. Thus, when the two eightyear-olds on stage fought over the eponymous nutcracker so gracefully, tearing the toy away from each other in accordance with the Tchaikovskyan stroke, one could not help but forgive them for their tensely smiling faces as they stood en pointe. This production, then, underlined that there are features more important in a ballet than elaborate staging: story, and perhaps more importantly, emotion have to be conveyed not only through movement, but posture of head and body. When verbal language is abandoned, the dancers have to make shoulders, arms and legs tell the story of the young Marie who finds herself transported into a magical kingdom populated by dolls. The young ensemble delivered mixed results: while the Chinese Tea Performers – clad in yellow, mischievous smirks on their faces – were downright hilarious, the Arab Belly Dancer’s awkward meandering was almost puzzling. It was only when the Sugar Plum Fairy entered the stage to perform her famous “Dance” that matters were put into perspective. Effortlessly, yet displaying absolute body control up to her fingertips, she breezed on and off the stage. In the end, it was her fellow artists’ more trembly, but perhaps more charming work which I will continue to remember, because their efforts taught me a lesson. Thus, when mid-term workload becomes increasingly overwhelming or you are simply scared of the weather like me: sit up straight, shoulders back and face the music. If it hurts a little bit, smile. Dance.
INDIGO | Tuesday 8th November 2011
Stage Editor: Kathy Laszlo email@example.com
Paul Moss and Emma Cave as Todd and Kali Photograph: Tamsin White
“Heart-wrenchingly poignant” Stockholm The Assembly Rooms
must admit to a degree of perplexity in response to
Bryony Lavery’s Stockholm, as presented by 3DTC. Clocking in at an hour with just two characters, Todd (Paul Moss) and Kali (Emma Cave) dip into the lives of a married couple about to embark on a holiday to Sweden, throwing light on their relationship via a series of fast paced flashbacks and vignettes
punctuating events within their home over the course of a day. We see gradations of emotional states, ranging from one extreme of a perfect couple’s shuddering sappiness, to brainwashed synchronised speech under a clinically white spotlight; an impressive contrast in theory, but a device which
seemed hastily ushered into the play without any prior warning and little posterior explanation. In addition to the nonlinear narrative, Stockholm hastens its pace with a profusion of dance scenes which are later seen to be some of the strongest points of the performance - the first of these being set to the vintage
Sarah Johnson popped into a rehearsal to see how the cast are getting on and to have a chat with director India Furse.
shopping for wood to build a human-sized oven… Tell us what drew you to direct Hansel and Gretel. I: I knew the opera quite well and I’m pretty familiar with the score, so that was a factor. I also liked the variety that the piece offers, some scenes are utterly terrifying, whilst others are incredibly comical. The magical/ fairy tale facet of it also allows for quite a lot of freedom of interpretation from a design point of view, which as a director is very exciting.
What can we expect from the production? I: Well, we’re using a translation of the opera that is renowned for having quite a dark and sinister edge to it, so this is certainly no ordinary fairytale! However it does also have its fair share of humour and in parts is very over the top. For me the music is one of the best things about Hansel and Gretel. It’s very simple, almost nursery-rhyme-esque in style, which means it’s very easy to listen to – something that certainly can’t be said for all opera!
In rehearsal with...DOE’s Hansel and Gretel
One of the first major theatre productions of the year, Durham Opera Ensemble (DOE) will be performing Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel in the Assembly rooms this Thursday – Saturday (10-12th November). Hansel and Gretel is a ‘fairytale opera’, based on the Grimm brothers’ tale of the same name, which tells the story of two young, errant children who become lost in an enchanted wood and encounter a witch, a giant edible gingerbread house and opera-singing fairies.
So, India, how are rehearsals are going so far? India: Everything’s going well thanks. The music has all been covered and now we’re working on staging all the scenes and slowly putting the show together. The production side of things is moving along nicely too, the set and costumes are slowly coming together. I’ve in fact been out all afternoon
beat instrumental “Tequila”. The comedy doesn’t always succeed (think the flippant references to Bergman and the deliberate faux-Swedish) and a lot of the jokes could have benefitted from more paced speech. One gets the feeling this production struggled to instill some coherence in a modern play riddled with leaps and lapses in time as well as representing both public and private thought. The play sweeps the audience along, and after three choreographed scenes, one finds oneself wondering where exactly this is leading. The music and dance are overwhelmingly lovely, but is it too much? But this, too, is not without its merits, for the actors’ physicality often compensates for what may have been seen as lacking in dialogue or delivery. Perhaps the strongest moment of the play is during the flashback of one of their first dates, which sees them enveloped in a murky yet intimate red spotlight over a dinner table. A lightly melancholic piano plays as Kali pours melted candle wax onto Todd’s hand in this tender scene before a sudden switch back to the present. One does not feel much sympathy for either character, and the speedy emotional jumps in the play can be exhausting. Heart-wrenchingly poignant; a treatise on nonlinear narrative? Perhaps not, though the physicality and choreography of the performance is something to be applauded.
We’re also taking the magical/ fairy-tale theme to the extreme and are planning quite an ambitious set, with giant cakes, a bewitched forest and a gingerbread house, so the production is going to be quite a spectacle. As DOE always does, we’ve managed to assemble a cast of some of the most talented performers in Durham, so the standard of the performances is going to be incredibly high. Finally, could you please sum up Hansel and Gretel in three words? I: Comic, magical and dark!
Tuesday 8h November 2011 | INDIGO
film & tv
Film & TV Editor: Christian Seiersen firstname.lastname@example.org
Riccardo Liberatore views the city of lovers through the eyes of Woody Allen
It’s Midnight in Paris
Gil shares a romantic embrace with his fiancé Illustration: Bella Franks
erhaps it is inevitable for a filmmaker of Woody Allen’s longevity to become increasingly self-referential. Is the illusion of a perfectly selfsustaining world not indication of a perfectly accomplished style? It is the craftsman’s dream to devise a machine so fine in detail to make even the fantastic (most times successfully so, sometimes not) appear familiar. In Midnight in Paris however, it isn’t clear whether what is on show is Allen’s imagination, his world, or simply a world shaped in his constructed image as slapstick comedian, riotous artist and blue-collar academic. Midnight in Paris falls neatly
into the film genre Woody Allen arguably invented: fantasyromantic comedy. The plot centres on Gil (Owen Wilson), a lowbrow Hollywood writer with literary ambitions, and his love affair with Paris and various female satellites: his fiancé (Rachel McAdams), his lover from the ‘20s (Marion Cotillard) and a flame from the flea market (Léa Seydoux). Gil, on holiday with his fiancé and her cartoonishly republican (in the George W. sense) parents, prowls around the streets of Paris in search of relief from upper-middle class America only to fall prey to Gertrude Stein’s circle of protégés (Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso to name a couple), the Fitzger-
alds (F. Scott and Zelda) and other protagonists of the ‘20s Parisian art scene. So quickly does Gil find both sentimental and professional gratification in his parallel universe (his novel featuring
Allen is fond of saying that he’d rather be forgotten
the owner of a memorabilia shop fares well in the company
of the past and receives glowing reviews from all those gathered at Stein’s) that he toys with the idea of settling there permanently. The film is full of the trademark plot twists and romantic equivocation (it is never fully clear exactly what or who Gil is courting) typical of Woody Allen’s style and philosophy of love more generally. But whether or not Gil’s character is complex enough to sustain the plot’s intricacy is harder to gauge. Allen has said that in making Midnight in Paris his aim was to show us the city through his eyes. The film opens with a series of shots of Paris – the Tour Eiffel, l’Arc de Triomphe, Place de la Concorde – much in the style of his iconic tribute to New York in the 1979 film Manhattan. In both films the cities are painted in smooth, wide brushstrokes as the camera seeks to report the wonders of pedestrian life by acting as a bystander. Both focus on the solemnity of the urban landscape and the glamour and excitement of its lights. Where the sequences mainly differ is in their intensity: the opening to Manhattan was highly original in the way it combined a stylized and romantic vision of the city with an animated introduction by the protagonist. In Midnight in Paris the opening sequence merely sets the scene, for it fails to dramatize the character’s psyche in a way that would render him distinctive and succeeds in explaining Allen only through self-citation. It begs the question, what exactly is Woody Allen showing us? Is it New York dressed up as Paris? In Midnight in Paris, like in most of his more recent films set in European cities, Allen plays the tourist self-consciously. Not only does tourism feature abundantly in the films – Allen’s characters often express the naïve delight in the
Old World and its Masters typical of tourists– but it is almost as though what is on show is a reality program concerning Allen’s experiences as a tourist; cast after cast of internationally-renowned American actors are invited to make guest appearances in what is a diary of his travels. Nonetheless, the search for novelty brings Allen to rediscover much of what was great in his work – such as his talent for indulging in the work of his favourite writers – and to enlarge on it in original ways. Allen reproduces with great flair Paris in the ‘20s (and during the Belle Époque) and his ironic portrayals of writers and filmmakers such as Hemingway and Luis Buñuel (wonderfully acted by the varied cast) alone are worth the ticket. Allen is fond of saying that he doesn’t think he will be remembered and that he’d rather be forgotten; yet his writing continues to be at the best of times galvanizing and hilarious and even Midnight in Paris remains true to the immortal work of his early days.
Sean Mcardell sees a contemporary relevance in the Cult Film Society’s showing of The Graduate. Is the British Army’s gruelling officer camp really just shooting and polo? Ed Owen looks at the BBC documentary Sandhurst. Bryony Ali heralds the return of the beloved Volkswagen Bug in the remake of 1984 dance flick Footloose. James Oliver witnesses a return to form for the ‘Paranormal Activity’ franchise in the third installment of the handycam horror.
For all these and more go to palatinate.org.uk
INDIGO | Tuesday 8th November 2011
Books Editor: Izzie Bengoechea email@example.com
The Perfect Catch This year marks the fiftieth anniverary of the first publication of Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. David Hynes investigates what makes the novel so enduringly popular
f it weren’t for the war, Joseph Heller once told his friend and fellow author Kurt Vonnegut that he’d have been in the dry-cleaning business. It’s rather difficult to know what kind of dry-cleaner Joseph Heller would have made. His self-confessed desire for money may well have proved at odds with that profession. It does, however, lead me to conclude that something good did emerge from the war.
It is a book about life and the ways we try to survive it Fifty years on from its initial publication, Catch-22, Heller’s most famous and enduring piece of work, continues to delight as many readers as it dismays. Pop into Waterstones and you will find the novel proudly situated in the ‘wish we’d written it’ section. But why, half a century on, are people of all ages still drawn to it? One of the reasons lies in the fact that whilst every novel is different, Catch-22 is truly unique. Never have I come across such a ‘marmite’ book: people love it or hate it; few are merely indifferent. During the summer, upon telling some friends that it was my favourite book, there was an instant outpouring of scorn; one girl claimed she couldn’t even get past chapter one. Not for the first time, I was left to fight Heller’s corner alone.
On an obvious level, one could say that the novel’s perennial popularity is down to the content. Crudely put, the book is an account of a man’s attempt to survive in the dying days of WWII. The man, Yossarian, is a reluctant soldier; a bombardier situated on the island of Pianosa, who thinks only of staying alive. Catch-22 has often been labelled as the definitive anti-war novel – The Independent described it as ‘the war novel to end all war novels’ – and we are hardly short of wars in the twentyfirst century. It is certainly true that Catch-22 is anti-war. One can easily read the book as a savage satire of wartime bureaucracy, and the incompetent men who run our armies. Few in the hierarchy are spared Heller’s wrath; be it Colonel Cathcart or General Dreedle, nearly all of the men in power are shown to be selfish and flippant with the lives of others. Indeed, the rebellious Yossarian became one of the poster-boys of the anti-war movement in the sixties, when Americans protesting against the Vietnam War marched clad in their ‘Yossarian Lives’ t-shirts. It may therefore seem strange to some people that Heller always insisted that far from being at one with his protagonist, he in fact had a “good war”. He claimed that he was grateful for the conflict that allowed him a governmentfunded college education upon his return to the United States. However, for me, Catch-22 is about more than just war; it is a book about life, and
the ways we try to survive it. Yossarian is in many respects a strange hero, if one can call him a hero at all. He is cynical, sarcastic, scared, and often selfish but above all, he is human. I have never been, and I hope never to go to war; but if I ever found myself in the midst of a conflict I can imagine a similar reaction to Yossarian’s. No classical hero is he - in the face of danger he does not laugh but panic. For centuries we have been fed stories of the super-soldiers who fight battles without regard for their lives. From Homer’s semi-divine Achilles straight through to Tom Cruise’s Pete Mitchell in Top Gun, writers are forever harking on about the fearless warrior. But if they are the exception, then Yossarian is surely the rule.
book has plenty of them. The technique allows Heller to jump around in time, viewing the same event through different eyes and creates a chronology that is far from linear. Even dialogue is often repetitive and tracts of speech will revolve around one simple misunderstanding. Yet this backtracking only adds to the sense of insanity that Heller attempts to create throughout the book, and which is the foundation
of a catch-22. It is easy for me to see why someone would dislike Catch-22. Not only is it repetitive, but is often confusing and in periods appears to drift. In parts it can be melodramatic. It is a novel devoid of any meaningful female characters, and it is concerned far more with fear and death than with love. And yet for many of its fans, it will be some of these very aspects that attract them to the book. Catch-22 is as much a novel about life as it is about death, but above all it is an impassioned celebration of individuality in the face of pressures to conform. It is this championing of the free spirit that continues to strike a chord to this day. The New York Times described it as a novel that “would not be forgotten by those who could take it”. I couldn’t agree more.
Yossarian is not the super-soldier which writers are forever harking on about. But if they are the exception, then Yossarian is surely the rule If I were to describe Catch-22 in one word, that word could well be ‘circular’, for this is a novel that is forever going back on itself. One of the most infuriating aspects for detractors of the book is its narrative style. Each chapter is written about a different character, and the
The birthday book flickr ID: Jim Barker
Tuesday 8th November 2011 | INDIGO
Travel Editor: Alexandra Groom firstname.lastname@example.org
Talking us through her home town, Kirsten Sutherland explains why we should make the most of our proximity to this great city
ewcastle is one of the most vibrant cities in the country, abundant with both daytime and nightlife activities. ‘The Toon’, as Geordies refer to it, was voted the third best party city in Europe last year in a TripAdvisor poll, beaten only by London and Berlin. Newcastle offers a range of worldfamous musical and comedy acts, cinematic and theatrical events, and localised entertainment from football matches to small festivals. A short fifteen minute train journey away you can find a range of experiences outside of the Durham ‘Bubble’ that it would be a crime to not check out. Newcastle is a party city at heart. It hosts two Universities meaning that cheap student nightlife is a given. There are a number of world-class clubs in Newcastle which each offer slightly different genres of nights. Cosmic Ballroom’s ‘Rub a Dub Dub’ on a Tuesday night plays some of the best dubstep around, where Digital’s classic ‘Born in the 80’s’ night on a Monday has incredibly cheap entry at 80p along with 80p drinks. With over 170 pubs and numerous clubs, a big night out is waiting week in and week out. Aside from Newcastle’s wealth of bars and clubs it is also the only city between Leeds and Edinburgh that hosts many of the bands, DJs, or solo artists touring at any given time. The O2 Academy, The Metro Radio Arena, and Digital are three of the main hosts for musicians with acts. Acts coming up in the next few months include Annie Mac, Tinie Tempah, Scroobius Pip, Arctic Monkeys, Rihanna and The Vaccines. Smaller
The award-winning Millenium Bridge, which has helped the quayside’s renaissance Photograph: Objective Productions
Taking to the ‘Toon’
venues that host arts events and some more local, lesserknown acts are also scattered around. The Cluny and The Tyne are two that host local DJs, international bands and even small daytime music festivals. Newcastle is where those in the know go to see everything from internationally acclaimed acts to a more intimate local experience. In the past ten years Newcastle has undergone a major renaissance developing into one of the most culturally rich cities in the North. It is home to numerous institutions, from the Baltic Contemporary Art Museum to The Sage, a world class opera house. The Theatre Royal, located in the city’s centre, is a thriving centre of entertainment, housing top acts, West End productions, and regular performances from the renowned Royal Shakespeare Company. Just opposite on Pilgrim Street lies the Tyne-
side Cinema, one of the country’s leading independent cinemas screening up to date and out of date productions. Each year to boost Christmas morale the cinema screens It’s a Wonderful Life. Newcastle also prides itself on a diverse shopping landscape and modern entertainment scene. Eldon Square shopping centre and Northumberland Street are the main shopping areas in the city centre, with vintage shops hiding away close to the Bigg Market. Whilst this all may sound overwhelming, the ‘Toon’ is the ideal place to get lost and relax at the weekend after a long week. Strolling through the diverse cityscape, it is refreshing to people watch with that rare luxury of being completely anonymous. None of the Durham danger of bumping into someone you could really do without seeing.
Not only does Newcastle provide all a city should and more, it’s important to recognize its place in the lives of its people. Geordies are extremely patriotic; the way a football fan feels when they walk past St James Park is an
In the past ten years Newcastle has undergone a major renaissance
overwhelming pride, whether the Toon face relegation or not. This pride in their ‘toon’ is similarly obvious as you stroll along the lovingly resurrected Quayside and take in the towering steel
bridges, each serving a different purpose. You wonder as you walk past old couples on their Sunday walk, which of them have also proudly watched as they grow in size, complexity and number. Perhaps the most mesmerizing is the new Millenium Bridge, an award winning cantilever bridge that makes another important link over the gap between Gateshead and Newcastle. Therefore both sides of the river can oversee the renaissance of their Quayside. This is in no way a bid to prove Newcastle’s worth over Durham’s as we all know how great our little city is. What I’m hoping to do however is dispel any myths surrounding Newcastle, and urge you to take that short train journey to experience it for yourself. I guarantee a Geordie smile will greet you
at each turn you take in the ‘Toon’.
Published on Nov 8, 2011