Tom Stevenson editor Tal Davies london Anna Matheson and Omer Hamid features Amelia Jefferies and Lauryn Murdoch arts Bethia Stone and Keeren Flora photography Angel Lambo and Ryan Ramgobin music Amy Bowles and Lucinda Turner fashion Mark Birrell and Kamilla Baiden film Bryony Orr qupid Lauren Mason, Maria Sowter and Robert Pritchard sub editors Maria D’Amico cartoon Cover image by Passetti via Flickr (CC)
@cubmagazine.co.uk 3 London
The Real Ordeal. “Holmes is a scientist of humanity.” Page 5
4 Pirates and Emperors
We speak to CEO of Penguin Books, John Makinson about the future of the creative sector.
5 Crime and Cocaine
Our writer explores the seemingly timeless obsession with Sherlock Holmes.
6 Map Poetry Zine
We take a look at some student arts publications, beginning with the highly inventive MAP Poetry Zine.
7 David Hockney: A Bigger
Picture Image by liits via Flickr (CC)
What to do this fortnight
David Hockney’s latest exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts is very popular, we find out why.
8-9 CUB’s EYE 10-11 Electrifying Sounds!
LGBT history month features Paul Burston’s ‘literary salon’ at the Royal Festival Hall.
Some of the best artists from the world of electronic music, including Raisa K, SBTRKT, and Jamie xx.
Stewart Lee: Carpet Remnant World (February 8th)
12 Musings on Men’s
Polari (February 6th)
The inimitable Stewart Lee is at Leicester Square Theatre. If you miss it, you’re probably an idiot who watches Dave.
Keats House: The Food of Love (February 12th) There’s no better way to celebrate Valentine’s day than with Romantic poetry. Keats House are providing not only amorous verse but talks, demonstrations, and food - all in Aphrodite’s name.
We look at male fashion and ask: what happened to short shorts?
13 All About the Boys
Resolution! (February 17th)
London is having its very own menswear season for the first time.
Euston Road’s ‘The Place’ are hosting their annual dance festival, with talents across the spectrum from student to professional.
14-15 Wanna Go and See a
Royal Manuscripts (-March 13th) Any excuse to go to the British Library is a good excuse, but their exhibition of 150 Renaissance and medieval manuscripts collected by English kings and queens is an especially good one.
You should be working for us! To get involved with writing, photography, interviews or cartoons email firstname.lastname@example.org
We guide you through the our recommendations for date movies.
The latest lovebirds to be struck by Qupid’s arrow...
The Real Ordeal The beautiful Japanese girl sighed, a slow shuddering sigh that could have only come from a deep and implacable exhaustion of the soul. Her boyfriend witnessed her suffering with understandable anguish - his face contracting in a rictus of remorse; he cocooned her in a comforting embrace. She leaned her head on his shoulder for a moment, then, emboldened by this solidarity, they both staggered onwards. Sorry. I mean, that was misleading. This is not the opening scene of a poignant new tragi-comedy by Sofia Coppola. This was two tourists at the National Gallery, as witnessed by Devawn Wilkinson. It’s funny, I thought the National Gallery was just this massive panelled wonderland you could pop into for a heady dose of grandeur, pretty pictures, and snobbery. Maybe you could even get robbed blind for a cup of tea and a slice of cake that weighs less than the eight pound coins you used to pay for it. But, apparently, it’s a new circle of Hell. I mean, isn’t the solution perfectly clear? If you don’t want to go there, just… don’t go there. I was clearly mistaken when I thought holidays had to be fun, and have consequently coined a new phrase for the harassed individuals I see stumbling through London’s tourist hot-spots, dazed, wretched, clutching their Lonely Planet guides like bulletproof vests: ordealists. Martyrs to the all-inclusive package holiday. Is it masochism? Is there something I’m missing? This is not just perennial grumpy Londoner cynicism. I’ve nothing against tourists, personally. I don’t even mind when I share the tube carriage with a school group who can’t get over the name Cockfosters Station. I mean, that’s a laughriot. Because it sounds like... yeah. Ha, cocks. If anything I identify with tourists, I even envy their
you’re not a fan of “ Ifwrinkled corpses,
don’t go to the British Museum Ancient Egyptian exhibition... or Les Miserables. I mean, seriously, hasn’t that musical been going on for longer than Christianity?
naivety, impressionability and general demeanour of absolute awe. I often wish I could experience London again for the very first time, when a red telephone box was a beaming beacon, “Oh, look at those funny old Brits and their jaunty nostalgia, eh?!”, and not just the repository for ‘Tran-sex-uals-4 -U’ postcard advertisements and odours the source of which you don’t even want to consider. I want to look at Big Ben and think, “Cor blimey, guv’nor! What an inspiring architectural spectacle”, rather than “SHIT, is that the time? Oh, great, I’m going to have to travel peak now.” I went to Paris and I didn’t take a photo of the Eiffel Tower. Subversive, I know. Should I sleep less soundly for fear a representative of the French Tourism Board is going to bludgeon me to death with a baguette? Is that the ordealists’ motivation? If they skip the comainducing curb-crawl of the open-top bus tour just for today, will Boris Johnson, the Queen, and whoever is in the Hamley’s Bear suit watching via CCTV write their names in an ominous blood-red book and make them really pay for ‘not doing London properly’? As usual, it sounds like I’m over exaggerating but I can’t think of anything else to justify the self-punishing mindset I see in action every time I venture into Central London. I’ve seen parents physically herding their sleepwalking children through the aisles of the Mineral Collection at the Natural History Museum because “you’ve got to see all of it, haven’t you, while you’re here.” Well, I suppose I have forever lost touch with that particular sensibility - I will never fully appreciate the terrifying time limitations of a city day-trip, as if someone has fired the starting-gun in an absurd ‘Sights of
London City’ version of Supermarket Sweep, and is commentating aggressively on the action. “NO. NO. THERE IS NO TIME TO WEE, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA STARTS IN EIGHT HOURS AND YOU HAVEN’T EVEN TRIED TO MAKE THOSE ROYAL GUARDS LAUGH YET. BE FUNNIER. NOW GO TO THE TATE MODERN AND YAWN LIKE YOU MEAN IT.” It’s not even just the reluctance that perplexes me; it’s the misplaced enthusiasm too. I’ve got two words for you: London Dungeons. What on earth could be compelling these visitors to so stoically fork out twenty-four pounds, only to queue for around twenty four years? I once saw a man join the line armed with a Starbucks coffee and a paperback. He was a true ordealist; he was going to see this whole damn thing through. But he shouldn’t have bothered. If you want to be deeply disturbed, just peek round the side to see a sweaty out-of-work actor with a bloodied pig’s head mask pulled to one side, smoking a cigarette and faintly crying. Now that’s terrifying. Tourists of London, my advice is this – keep calm, and you know what, just stop... if you want. If you don’t particularly like looking at small squares, thin lines and squirming dots for forty five minutes, then don’t get on the London Eye. If you’re not a fan of wrinkled corpses, don’t go to the British Museum Ancient Egyptian exhibition... or Les Miserables. I mean, seriously, hasn’t that musical been going on for longer than Christianity? Surely the headliners are at least partly desiccated. If I do have my grudges against tourists, it is only because, for the most part, they are experiencing a sanitised, artificial and unrepresentative version of London, and that’s not even their fault. Ladies and gentlemen of the London Tourist Board, here’s my pitch for a new kind of tourism, something that should bag us Capital of Culture in no time: “If you want to see the bright lights of the city, just come to Mile End Road at about 11 pm on a Saturday night! Enjoy the dazzling display of beautiful sirens – guaranteed sightings every five minutes - ambulance and police – more for your money! Plus it’s a bit more of an edge-of-your-seat-thrill-ride. Will you be violently propositioned by a drunken man vomiting outside Budgens? Will you? Won’t you? Will you? Won’t you? I mean, you probably will, so try to enjoy it. That’s real London for you – the real ordeal - fun and frolics for the whole family. Devawn Wilkinson is a second year English and Drama student. If you want to be the next LQMDONer then email the editor Tal Davies at london@ cubmagazine.co.uk 3
Pirates and Emperors
A Conversation with John Makinson Words and Image by Tom Stevenson I met John Makinson in the foyer of the University of London Union. Tall, with powerful shoulders and an impressive handshake, he was wearing a long black coat and tapping away on his Blackberry. Though happy to speak for New Turn, he looks like a busy man, and quickly confirms this by mentioning that he’s rushing off that very afternoon to sit on a panel at the Royal Society of Arts, Manufacture, and Commerce. John is something of a powerhouse in the cultural world. Not only is he CEO of the illustrious publisher Penguin, he’s also the current chairman at the National Theatre. But John is not just a lover of books and stage, he’s also a businessman. He’s the former Finance Director of Penguin’s parent company, the FTSE listed Pearson Group, he once ran the Financial Times Lex Column, and he’s a Trustee of the Institute for Public Policy Research, the UK’s leading think tank. As he puts it: “I’ve spent all of my work career patrolling the boundaries between the creative sector and the commercial sector.” His thoughts on Britain’s ‘creative sector’, by which he means everything from film, music, and books to advertising and radio, are therefore somewhat hybrid. John clearly values culture and the arts, but also stresses that “government needs to make the creative economy more of a priority.” He explains that these sectors are valuable and successful, citing the fact that they are growing at twice the level of total economic growth and employing 1.5 million people, but also that he is worried about
them. With many bookshops and music retailers groaning under the weight of downloads and international internet companies, it’s easy to see why. John starts by explaining just what it is that makes him think the creative sector is so important. “We certainly have in this city,” he says, “the most highly regarded performing arts sector and museums and galleries sector in the world.” And this, he maintains, is no coincidence. “We do in this country have a DNA which is peculiarly well attuned to turning out fantastic music, movies, theatre, films, and books. We are just very, very good at this.” In a way which is not true of other industries (like finance), John sees creative culture as something Britain does especially well; he even calls it, with characteristic economist’s style, “Britain’s comparative advantage.” “I’ve always felt”, he goes on, “that there is a particular kind of British creative sensibility that is distinctive and does not exist anywhere else in the world. We should celebrate that and try to capitalize on it. Investment bankers are the same everywhere.” So if the British are so good in the creative industries, and they’re growing, what’s the problem? Part of the answer to this question can be signalled by a single word: Amazon. John admires companies like Amazon, but thinks they have an unfair advantage over British companies that is damaging the industry. “Amazon not only enjoys all the advantages over Waterstones that all virtual b u s i nesses e n joy
“ We do in this country have a DNA which is peculiarly well
attuned to turning out fantastic music, movies, theatre, films, and books. We are just very, very good at this.
over physical businesses: no rates, no rent, no staff, no utility bills, no need to hold any stock... but in addition to that they pay no tax.” John wants government policy “to ensure that there is a relatively level playing field in the creative sector.” But the more significant danger to Britain’s creative industries that John sees is that “we are completely feeble on piracy.” In order to maintain these sectors, he believes that “it’s absolutely vital that our Intellectual Property regime is robust and protective.” As CEO of Penguin, it’s easy to see why John has this view. He himself says that: “The level of copyright infringement in the Penguin business is not dangerously high, but it is millions and millions of illegal downloads a day.” By the way, he chuckles, “almost all of this activity seems to come from students.” Why does John think the propagation of free books, music, and film is a problem? “I think that people have to understand that unless Intellectual Property is paid for, it will cease to exist. It just won’t happen.” But don’t authors and artists create art for itself, and not simply for money? “They don’t do it just for money, but they have to live on something... If there is no reward, and it’s all siphoned off into infringing activity, we won’t be paying advances and books won’t be written.” For John, the idea that Britain’s book exports, which are world-leading, will suffer because of pirated content is unpalatable, both economically and culturally. “The Russian book market is 80% a pirate market now”, he explains, “one in five books in Russia is sold legally. If that were to happen here, that would be the end of not just the book retailing industry, it would be the end of the
book publishing industry.” I suggest that lax Intellectual Property regulation has stimulated creativity in the fashion industry, but John is utterly unconvinced that this could apply to books or music. “Fashion is real stuff... I don’t think they’re subject to the same pressures that affect Intellectual Property companies and organizations as they go digital.” His answer to this problem is controversial. John supports strong regulation of Intellectual Property, which means internet regulation. Internet Service Providers (ISPs), he says, must combat the “piratical behaviour of their customers.” “Virgin has to see it as part of its responsibility to make sure that its customers are not violating Intellectual Property, and they have not been.” And if they won’t, as is certainly the trend, he supports government measures such as the reviled SOPA/PIPA in the United States. The CEO of Penguin will clearly support the emperors of publishing over the pirates, but he also recognises that part of the solution may simply be “offering the consumer a fair deal.” And he is realistic in that, to continue the nautical metaphor, he knows regulating Intellectual Property in a digital age is a labour far beyond that of Canute. Penguin spend a fortune on “watermarking, and data security”, but “it is just impossible, no matter how much you throw at it, to police this.” John ends, partly in jest, with an anecdote that demonstrates just how close we are to a Britain without book shops. “Waterstones exists today only because of the eccentric generosity of a Russian gentleman called Alexander Mamut - and I pray for the health and wealth of his family every evening as I go to bed”, he says, smiling. “He invested in it partly because he has a son at Eton - so we also hope and pray that he doesn’t get kicked out of Eton, because that could be the end of the British book retailing industry.”
Crime and Cocaine
He continues to surround us. Whether in books, films, or television programmes, Holmes and Watson are remarkably successful. Ruth Ingamells discusses what is behind the enduring allure of the Sherlock Holmes stories. Sherlock Holmes: the meticulous mastermind, the maniacal drug addicted detective. He epitomises the self/ego that understands itself at the centre of the universe and makes sense of everything, his character celebrating the scientific method and the search for essential truth. Holmes sees what is there, what is real and what others overlook. Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Downey Jr., Rupert Everett, Jeremy Brett, Matt Frewer, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, and Richard Roxburgh are merely a few examples of actors who’ve jumped at the chance to play the great detective. Guinness World Records cites him as the most frequently portrayed character in film – and let’s not forget that Hugh Laurie as Doctor House is an homage – all of which stems from the iconic figure in the works of Arthur Conan Doyle. There have even been adaptions for stage, both the original stories and spin-offs. He has existed on our literary radar for over one hundred years and we are still interested in him as a character, in his intricate mind and complex behaviour. He is a contradiction in many respects: a man who indulges in drugs to clear the mind, a man who is solitary yet demands a partner, seemingly cold yet upholding an affection (to an almost homoerotic degree) for that partner. A man who honours the rational and yet follows a moral compass and the (arguably arbitrary) parameters of the law. He is a character who understands everything, yet barely makes sense himself. In this respect, we relate to him. But Sherlock Holmes stories are stories where everything has a meaning, and it is this aspect that makes them so seductive: “What object is served by this circle of misery and violence and fear? It must tend to some end, or else our universe is ruled by chance, which is unthinkable,” says Holmes – and Holmes is always right. In his world we can trust everything seen or read to have a meaning, where in our own we can only trust it to be uncertain. There is something comforting about a world where chance is unthinkable and meaning is imperative. Holmes is obsessed with the truth. He is a scientist of humanity and society, searching for the answers that are hidden to the average person. He is the ultimate search engine, processing information and using his powers of deduction to understand events long past. The root of the scientific method is empiricism, and Holmes’ entire
Image by dynamosquito character is obsessed with synthetic truth and rationality. As in Scooby Doo, any hint of the supernatural is eliminated, as the rational rejects the spiritual – the classic example is the ‘Hound of the Baskervilles’; when the
Cocaine is well known as the ego drug, a drug perfect for Holmes, whose ego is the momentum for all the stories.
solution seems improbable it is the scientific method that triumphs, it is not an unearthly hound on a killing rampage but a murder executed by mankind. The narrative attracts us because it recognises the scientist in us all, and our compulsion to understand our surroundings and ourselves. We are all detectives in that sense, we all work toward solutions and answers, from the most cost-effective route to work to the global economy. We read each other when we observe how a friend reacts to a present we have bought them;
we read ourselves when we categorise ourselves under a certain star which we suppose represents what kind of person we are. Sherlock Holmes is a character that takes this aspect of our psychology and makes it his addiction. Holmes is written as a cocaine addict, as Irene Adler tells us in the new BBC series: “I think you’re damaged, delusional and believe in a higher power; in your case it’s yourself.” Cocaine is well known as the ego drug, a drug perfect for Holmes whose ego is the momentum for all the stories, despite them being told to us through Watson’s fictive authorship. He is described by Watson as a machine, his arrogance allows him to function faster than the average person, and therefore recognises information in everything he sees. He thinks himself a god, and as the reader, we would have to agree. But far more interesting are his flaws or his malfunctions; he is incapable of sentiment that hinders his efficiency, and this is far from perfection. Something which the literature dictates, but the films by Guy Richie warp, is the idea of Holmes as incapable of love. Love is irrational, and to love one must perceive another as bigger and better than the self. Holmes, whose ego expands beyond a reasonable size and is further exacerbated
by narcotics, cannot do this. As Holmes is the hero, Watson is his conscience. Watson is the author, the doctor, the little voice in the back of the head reminding him of his flaws – however, Holmes can dismiss his conscience, and we watch with jealousy as his iron ego functions over and above the authority that we are subject to. He need not listen to that little voice. In this respect he transcends the average human, and whether this is the result of his drug use or his personality, we love him for it. He is the superman. And, secretly, we all like to see ourselves as the hero of our own story; in our own heads we are Holmes. In reality we are probably Watson, we are his thoughtful but emotionally flawed and intellectually inferior sidekick, but that need not prevent us from dreaming. Regardless of whether we perceive ourselves as Holmes or Watson, their famed marriage still entices us today. The literature is still accessible and writers are finding new ways to portray them in modern settings. Holmes has grown out of Conan Doyle’s pages and into other media, and no longer relies on his words to verify him. Holmes may be addicted to crime and cocaine but we remain addicted to Holmes.
A rts MAP Poetry Zine
Gallery • Dance • Comedy • Campus • Theatre Events • Art • Poetry • Photography • Print
MAP is a poetry magazine published quarterly on a single folded A2 sheet aiming to “unearth young talent in and around the London area”. Started by QM student Will Tucker, the zine is centred around (but not exclusive to) the university. “The idea behind the name and format comes from the thought that poetry is a way of mapping the world around us, with each poem being like a personal geography of experience and feeling.” As well as poetic contributions, MAP also features the work of various photographers and artists, with each issue doubling up as a poster. Available from their website or the London Review of Books for just £2, the next issue comes out on the 29th February and is accompanied by an issue launch party at R-Bar in Stepney Green. The event starts at 19.30 and will include poets from both issues of the zine so far, as well as opening up the stage to new talent. If you want to read a poem of your own or just fancy a night of something different, the event is open to everyone. If socialising isn’t your thing but you still want to get involved then feel free to just send them an email or contact them via your social networking site of choice. The latest supplement to the magazine is MAP poetry videos, which feature poets reading their works in their everyday environment. “This was initially just an attempt to experiment with new forms of dissemination, but we found the contrast between the poetry and the quotidian setting to be something worth exploring, and will continue to make this a regular feature of MAP Poetry.” “We are always looking for not just poets, but artists, photographers, illustrators, designers, as well as commentators for a forthcoming blog.” If you want to get involved visit www.scloppus.com
Images courtesy of MAP poetry
As much as writing heartfelt (and, let’s face it, depressing) poetry in your darkened bedroom can be a very creative process, sometimes it’s healthy to meet other people. So here are a few of the ways you can bond over bathos, and meet over metre, without having to mix with the creatively challenged ... QM Literary Review QM Literary Society Queen Mary is launching a new literary journal for creative writing, poetry, reviews and essays. This is an exciting opportunity for all of you literary keenos out there to see your creative work or journalism in print. Submissions for the next issue (March 2012) are now closed, but the review is looking for a design for the front cover. Information on future deadlines and content regulations is available from editors@ qmreview.co.uk and they will be looking for new contributions after the next release date. Work submitted can be of any length on any subject, but must be original. qmreview.co.uk
Not quite founded yet but well on its way, the Queen Mary Literary Society aims to “act as an output for creative writing amongst students”. Far more social than the publications, the society intends to draw together like-minded students for open mic nights, social gatherings, talks from as big names as they can muster and big trips to places of interest. The main appeal of this society is that it is not just centred on creativity, but aims to be accessible to people from all degrees (who says a Maths student might not want to talk about Shakespeare every once in a while). Keep an eye on CUBarts for more information as and when it becomes available.
The Cygnet Society A Queen Mary society dedicated to producing the truly unswerving poetic voice of E1, Cygnet Society offers students the opportunity and forum to submit and publish their poems in this society’s monthly magazine/review. The society will invite students to attend workshops, providing advice on how to write, edit and perform poetry. The society will also arrange a monthly ‘slam’, inviting poets of the society to perform their verse, giving students an eye into the world of performance poetry. The society will arrange talks with published poets and writers, offering industry insights and advice on what budding poets might do to get noticed. So it’s not all stuffed shirts and scholarly stiffness! The society will naturally divulge in the art of the ‘social’ – a night out or a quiet one in the local. A cornerstone of good verse is good society. There is also potential to team up with CUBarts and situate your work within a wider exhibition. Send questions and submissions to email@example.com. qmsu.org/groups/CygnetPoetry/
David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture
First impressions? Busy. David Hockney’s latest exhibition has been unveiled to a torrent of media coverage, with tube posters adorning almost every platform and snippets of praise splashed on arts pages up and down the country. Word has spread: the queue stretched far out of the door, and even inside it was difficult to move. Luckily, I already had tickets reserved, but even then pushing through crowds of people on a Saturday isn’t really my idea of fun. Don’t go on a Saturday. A section devoted to his early landscapes is meant to illustrate “Hockney’s early preoccupation with the representation of space.” This preoccupation arguably never left. A later series is devoted to recreating Claude Lorrain’s The Sermon on the Mount, mostly because of Hockney’s fascination with how Lorrain had shown space in the work. The recurring theme of transport is also present, be it train tracks, country roads, or trails going through a forest. Hockney loves space. Shame there wasn’t much of it in the gallery.
‘David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture’ is at the Royal Academy of Arts, Piccadilly, from 21 January to 9 April 2012. Read the full review at www.qmessenger.co.uk
Woldgate Woods, 21, 23 and 29 November 2006 courtesy of the artist © David Hockney photo by Richard Schmidt
CUB’S EYE “QMessenger Calling” QMedia editors and writers held a special event at Drapers to celebrate the relaunch of QMessenger online and Quest digital radio station. Capturing the dazed and confused atmosphere as the early hours stretched out, this photo shows students in their natural habitat, as they “partied down for the media.” Image by Maria Sowter
CUB Music takes a look at the direction electronic music has taken to date. From synth guitar noise to melodic patterns, rough cut samples and heavy Dub-beats these artists are the best in their field in contemporary electronic music in the U.K. Featuring our new artists like Raisa K, tune in and get ready to be wow-ed.
SPOTLIGHT ARTIST: RAISA K Shedding the skin of music collaborations past, Raisa K steps into the spotlight to show London what she’s really made of. It’s quite difficult to believe that the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, an institution that prides itself on regurgitating the freshest breed of classically trained musicians, could have given birth to someone that is so contrary to any established order in music. Widespread success in Micachu and The Shapes (Raisa being the circle, to be exact) has a lot to show in her music as it takes its raw asymmetrical underlying quality and runs with it. Not only that, but Raisa K has also spent some time playing with DELS, proving her wildly eclectic and genre-moulding abilities. Raisa K takes electronic soundscape to a new depth and turns it into something that is almost uncomfortable for us to hear, but impossible to rip ourselves away from. Her mild-mannered stage presence works hand-in-hand with the bold streaks of sound that tend to consume everything and everyone around it; she has the same hypnotic glare as a drunken John Cage and the jerky rhythm of a rabid drummer. Raisa K’s flair for the homemade and prepared is evident in her on-stage set up, where most artists are satisfied with a midi interface, a keyboard and MAC - Raisa K kicks up that raw sound with full drum kit, guitar and bass. On the tracks where words reside, her vocals act as more of an accompaniment to the track than the foreman; drowning, splitting, scratching words all helping to make her musical impression. Each track is distinctly different, each painting its own story through unresolved chords laid astride fresh dissonance, the quiet, strangling and the macabre gradually evolving into the ambient. Still being a new solo artist, Raisa K is still playing around with a sound which we greatly wish other people had the balls to experiment with.
Image: Angel Lambo
TIPPER (or more commonly known © mekuria getinet (CC) © mekuria getinet (CC)
AMON TOBIN is an absolute giant in his field, from outselling artists such
as Massive Attack and Bjork he has made a fan base in both other artists and the general public alike. Making music for film and game soundtracks to luxury stripclubs and private raves, this globally recognised artist has made meaningful the idea of being a composer of electronic music. His last album, ISAM, is demonstrative of the head-dizzying heights that he has reached. From taking the sounds of live lion roars, humming insects, creaking chairs and general household objects hit against fireplaces - Amon Tobin takes familiar sounds and renders them unfamiliar. In order to create new musical landscapes he rips apart sounds and sews them back together with surrealist tape and temperamental glue. Often holing himself up and working in isolation from conception to mixing, Amon Tobin definitely comes across as a genius at work. You are urged to look out for Amon Tobin’s breathtaking audio-visual live show at Brixton Academy in May, which has been taglined as ‘beyond 3D’, where hopefully the sights can explain the sounds.
to friends as Dave Tipper) takes us down the more ambient and technical side of the electronic sphere of music. His strong background in sound recording is forever present in his music, as he has infectiously tight control and stubbornness over every half second of every track. A technical professional in every sense of the word, he claims he has no influences and only draws upon inspiration from himself. From Glitch-Hop to Trip-Hip to BreakBeat, Dub, Funk (yes, Funk) and back again, Tipper was only ever made for the dancefloor. Make sure you’ve got your bass turned right up so that you’re set in good stead for that wooomp-wooomp-wobble-wooomp, spinning wobb-disc factor. Words by Angel Lambo
Image: Mason Trinker (CC)
is a name you ought to know following his involvement with the award-winning band, the xx, and through releases such as the phenomenal remix album ‘We’re New Here’; which features the legendary soul poet, Gil Scott-Heron. Jamie’s commercial success has made him a pioneer of the post-dubstep genre. So what is it about his sound which makes the Londoner so popular? Essentially, he’s been able to create a style which is both simplistic but incredibly engaging – you can’t stop listening. His production is intricate, smart, and unique. You can’t fault it. The mainstream success he has enjoyed can be credited to collaborations with high-profile pop artists and his ability to stamp his own mark on their material. This is evident on the production of Drake’s song, ‘Take Care’ which features megastar Rihanna, and also in the remix of Adele’s ‘Rolling in the Deep’ where Jamie takes a slow ballad and transforms it into a distorted bass track which you can dance to. However, his style is not to everyone’s taste. A quick glance towards some of the comments the remix of Adele’s ‘Rolling in the Deep’ received on YouTube suggests that some electronic music fans are unimpressed with his simplistic approach. They may have a point, but records such as the beautifully relaxed ‘Far Nearer’ - which is essentially vocals repeated on top of a steel drum beat - demonstrate that simple is sometimes best.
NRC Flikr (CC)
is considered one of the founders of post-dubstep electronic music. Blake can pretty much do it all: the twenty-three year old is an excellent experimental producer, great on the keys, and even possesses a distinctive set of vocals. When you combine all of these talents, amazing music is the result. An exaggeration? Perhaps, but he’s pretty special. His unique style led to his eponymous debut album receiving a Mercury Music Prize nomination in 2011. So, what makes Blake special? He merges jagged beats, heavy bass and glitchy silences with soulful but eerily morose vocals. It’s definitely a refreshing sound in a genre of music where it is easy for producers to overcompensate with overly dirty drops. Blake is aware of this tendency and wishes to avoid it – this is evident in an interview with The Boston Phoenix last year: "I think the dubstep that has come over to the US, and certain producers - who I can't even be bothered naming - have definitely hit upon a sort of frat-boy market where there's this macho-ism being reflected in the sounds and the way the music makes you feel. And to me, that is a million miles away from where dubstep started. It's a million miles away from the ethos of it. It's been influenced so much by electro and rave, into who can make the dirtiest, filthiest bass sound, almost like a pissing competition, and that's not really necessary. And I just think that largely that is not going to appeal to women. I find that whole side of things to be pretty frustrating, because that is a direct misrepresentation of the sound as far as I'm concerned."
NRC Flikr (CC)
was the breakthrough underground artist of 2011 and wears the most famous mask in electronic music today. Regarding the mask – he argues that “it’s about uplifting the soul and challenging the normality of electronic music and production.” But enough of that - his self-titled album was one of the best records of 2011 and as a result, he is rightly considered one of the hottest artists on the electronic music scene today. What genre is SBTRKT? Chicago house… dubstep… two-step? You can’t define him - he is truly the jack of all trades while his debut album had everything you would want from a DJ. SBTRKT combines intricate beats ranging from ultra-smooth to rave with amazing vocals from artists such as Sampha, Jessie Ware, Roses Gabor and Little Dragon. You won’t find wobbly basslines or dirty drops here; it’s a very slick and precise production which has similarities to old UK garage. There is a hell of a lot of potential here, with the BBC believing “what we have here is the promise of this decade’s Timbaland.” Time will tell, but watch out for SBTRKT. It’s not an exaggeration to claim that he is going to dominate the electronic music scene in 2012.
Watch out Skrillex et al, Blake isn’t a fan. Although portrayed as the poster boy for post-dubstep music, Blake still has his critics; labelled by some as the electronic version of Bon Iver, while others claim that he is over-hyped and unoriginal (with some believing that “artists such as David Sylvain have been doing this for years”). These minority opinions should be taken with a pinch of salt as Blake’s experimental approach has reinvigorated the aspects of electronic music which had become too predictable. This surely can only be a good thing.
Mike Katzif Flikr (CC)
MOUNT KIMBIE has been on the scene for a few years now and they have
Passetti via Flickr (CC)
consistently produced excellent material. Although names such as James Blake and Jamie xx are associated with the development of the post-dubstep genre, Mount Kimbie are arguably responsible for its birth. They aren’t your traditional dubstep band - you’re not going to find any glitchy and wobbly drops. Instead, they use lighter sounds mixed with acoustic riffs and the occasional garbled vocals to create short, calm, high quality songs. Their music lends itself to chilled out Sundays rather than sweaty raves on a Friday night. It’s chill out music at it’s very best, and long may it continue. Words by Ryan Ramgobin
Musings on Men’s Fashion...
Image by Arturo J. Paniagua via Flickr (cc)
Staring at this for more than 30 seconds will make you pregnant. Fact.
I recently watched a ﬁlm called Deadfall. It has a zero rating on Rotten Tomatoes, stars Nicolas Cage and Charlie Sheen, as well as some epically bad fashion. Nic Cage ﬁrst appears, just hanging out, in a pea green suit and Hawaiian shirt. He later goes on a casual – and I stress the word casual – night out wearing a white smoking jacket, black shirt, and a golden bow tie/cummerbund combo. The point is, how can someone get fashion so wrong? I mean, I love the Hawaiian shirt (it’s casual with a collar) but there are some squares who would say it’s unfashionable. I have in fact spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about the demise of the male short shorts, and I
Gruffudd Watts gives us his thoughts on fashion, Topman and asks what on earth happened to male short shorts?
think it’s relevant here. A conservative estimate would place the age of the male short shorts as being the 50s-80s, and then they fell into disgrace. Oh what world is this? What ﬁckle industry; where one day a man can publicly display his rockin’ thighs, and the next, he’s naught but a Village People throw back? Allen Ginsberg, Steve McQueen, James Dean, Jim Morrison, every rock star of the seventies, Tom Selleck, Freddie Mercury; all Gods among men, all united by the fact they probably owned a pair of male short shorts. Webster’s deﬁnes fashion as “a: a prevailing custom, usage, or style b(1):the prevailing style (as in dress) during a particular time (2): a garment in such
a style <always wears the latest fashions>” which is annoyingly obvious. So moving swiftly on. Let’s check out Topman – they know fashion as far as I’m aware – Working Class Hero is the ‘latest trend’, which involves a group of clearly middle class teenagers wearing a bunch of over priced clothes which have been clobbered together due to a slightly vintage aesthetic. What’s with the price of clothes anyway? I mean I get the concept of buying a designer jacket and paying a vast sum for it. There’s an association with a designer, like buying a piece of canvas for thousands of pounds because it’s associated with an artist. Buying a pair of drop crotch, carrot jeans for £44 (and I have checked the price) is like
buying a bland tasting apple for a tenner, and you’ll look like a shit version of MC Hammer for your troubles. You might think I’m not a big fan of fashion, but that’s not true. Everyone is a fan of fashion, if I wasn’t I’d go around in boiler suits, but that would be a fashion statement and then other people would start wearing them, and then Topman would start selling them for £80, and someone would be writing about how only shit people wear boiler suits. Ultimately commercialised fashion pisses me off, in the 1920s if you dressed awesomely you were an eccentric or a bohemian, someone with genuine self expression, now-a-days you’re a hipster at best, the guy in the Topman ad at worst.
Street Style: Menswear
Tom 3rd Year Geography Shirt: Hollister Jeans: ASOS Shoes: ASOS Coat: H&M
Michael 2nd Year Linguistics Coat: Pull & Bear Jeans: Topman Shirt: Topman Shoes: T.U.K
CUB Fashion decided to take a stroll around campus and find out what our stylish male students are wearing...
Ben 3rd Year Law Shoes: Russell & Bromley Chinos: Topman Jumper: M&S Images by Lucinda Turner
All About the Boys Last Monday, the fashion industry woke up to the news that London will be hosting its very own m e n s wear season next summer. After years of British designers being obligated to borrow the Milan or Paris runways in order to show their newest collections, the likes of Burberry, Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood will ﬁnally have a London menswear week to call their own. Scheduling the week to begin on the 15th of June – conspicuously before the traditional dates of Milan and Paris – the British Fashion Council are bringing high-fashion menswear to the masses. Harold Tillman, chairman of the BFC, told Vogue: “The menswear industry has been growing from strength to strength in past years and this is true testament to this, London Collections: Men will not only be a showcase for brands and designers but will form a cross cultural programme creating a festival for menswear”. Now is the time to brush up on our menswear knowledge and, as always, CUB is ahead of the curve, here to bring you all the news from January’s menswear collections.
needn’t only be for the brave hearted” Here’s what the male population will be wearing in winter 2012, so you can bring the catwalk to the lecture hall. It seems that every season a new take on the suit is hailed as the biggest new trend on the menswear catwalks. Designers adapt and adjust the traditional suit into the desired shape of the season, and the emerging look becomes the biggest trend of the runway. This season, however, there is no consensus; Calvin Klein showed boxy pinstriped jackets, whilst Lanvin went for leather and ragged edges. Christopher Bailey used Burberry’s military history as inspiration for incorporating a quilted ﬂight jacket into a ﬂannel suit. The true purveyor of the suit of 2012 was Miuccia Prada, sending a bevy of Hollywood actors down the red-carpeted catwalk on the same night as the Golden Globes. Representing “a parody of male power”, Adrien Brody, Gary Oldman and Jamie Bell played Edwardian diplomats charged with control of the world. The
show communicated the emptiness of dressing to impress, with high-buttoned ornate suits revealed, on closer inspection, to be cut from denim and cotton. Use this diversity of suit interpretation as a free pass to a new look of your own creation. Boxy shoulders, navy and buttoned-up suits were some of the more easy looks on the catwalk. Try a navy blazer with button detail, but unless you’re looking for a fashion statement leave Dolce and Gabbana’s homage to the suit and cape combination on the catwalk. At Kenzo, the ﬁrst look sent down the catwalk was a camel suit and tie, white shirt, and neon orange brogues. The shocks of neon amidst brown, black or blue continued, with neon orange hats, polo necks, bags and scarves. Elsewhere, Moschino showed luminous green trousers and highlights at Roberto Cavalli included lime green coats. Not a look to recreate head-to-toe, and no one wants a repeat of the neon rave outﬁts of 2007, but if you’re that way inclined, a neon hat can always brighten up a winter’s day. Avoid mix-andmatching neon shades, however well they were done at Versace. Donatella paired neon greens and yellows in eighties jumpsuits, a look that might do well on the Milan catwalk, but maybe not in Mile End. Neon needn’t only be for the brave hearted, take inspiration from Jil Sander and Armani where neon worked well as a glimpse of a belt or a ﬂash of a jacket lining. Another cross-over from the SS12 womenswear catwalks, there were few necks on display this season for men. CUBfashion has championed polo necks since AW10 and it is heartening to see them sticking around. A difﬁcult look for men to wear, at Balenciaga and Roberto Cavalli they were mostly worn under coordinating single-breasted trench coats, à la Rick Astley. If you don’t want to channel Rick, then copy Armani, who sent models down the catwalk in less clingy, thick-knit polo necks in black, navy, and the seasonal favourite, burgundy. Alternatively, wear a polo neck under a v-neck jumper, as seen at Pringle – adding extra warmth for the winter months. Although a difﬁcult garment to pull off, polo necks are worth it when they work; the humble polo neck brings a look up to date, adds colour underneath an old jumper, and even keeps your neck warm. A novel idea for the winter months, the Paris and Milan catwalks brought us shorts. Although not highly practical, it is easy to see the allure; comfortable tracksuit shorts at Buckler looked made for lounging, and the velveteen cutoffs at Jean-Paul Gaultier could double up as pyjamas. These aren’t shorts for summer, they are shorts for winter
Image by Gaynoir_ via Flickr (cc) nights and Sundays. However, not all then Dolce and Gabbana’s velvet winethe shorts on show were asking to be coloured suits with wide black lapels are lounged in; Raf Simons sent every one the height of burgundy bravado, worn of his models down the catwalk in suit with a white shirt and crimson bowtrousers, cut off exactly on the knee. By tie. On the more subtle side, Valentino matching the shorts to the suit jacket matched delicate knit maroon jumpand shirt above them, the look was for- ers with coordinating cocoon jackets, mal and businesslike, but askew. Not a an easy look to recreate with a trip to trend to copy at a job interview, but try Uniqlo next autumn. Don’t feel that you pairing navy or grey knee-length shorts have to match your burgundies though, with a brighter knit jumper if you really different hues of maroon, crimson and magenta were paired together at Salvawant to recreate this. Burgundy was all over the SS12 wo- tore Ferragamo, and worn with shades menswear catwalks, but is on the rise of purple and brown. This is a trend again, making the transition to the for the sartorially shy as well; maroon menswear collections of Paris and Mi- sports bags and magenta inconspicuImage via onto Flickr (cc) ously striped socks means that you lan. Boozy colours were back on by theGaynoir_ runway at Neil Barrett in the form of can also channel the menswear catwalks cosy shearling, zipped up to the chin without wearing a burgundy bow tie. and worn under sports jackets. If you’re looking for ostentation next winter, 13
WANNA GO AND SEE A We can’t tell you what do on your date, but
EDITOR’S RENTAL CHOICES I
CAUTIONARY TALES O THE LOVE-O-METER
FOR HER: The Notebook
You may not like it, you may consider it bland sentimentalist tripe that serves only to tarnish the legendary ﬁlmmaking name that is Cassavetes, but the simple truth is that Nick Cassavetes’ The Note book is quite possibly the most potent female aphrodisiac known to man. In layman’s terms – the chicks love it. What’s the magical secret of The Notebook? Is it the story of undying, unending love? Is it Ryan Gosling’s absurd abs? Is it the “genius” of Nicholas Sparks’ writing? Or is it just the simple fact that James Garner could make Mein Kampf sound sexy simply by reading it out loud? I don’t know. No one does, we just all accept a good thing when we see one. Of course, the tried and tested plan doesn’t come without its drawbacks, for one thing there’s the issue of body envy on both sides of the equation; actresses like Rachel McAdams aren’t great at making women with body issues feel any more comfortable, and vice versa for Ryan Gosling and men. If there are any men out there living under the impression that they can compete with Ryan Gosling in the looks department I can assure you that you cannot. No one can, just deal with it. After this, however, comes the largest potential obstacle on your road to dating happiness - the inevitable 10 to 15 minutes of solid weeping that comes at the end of the ﬁlm. Naturally this is a golden opportunity as much as it is a burden, a crying date is pretty much asking to be embraced and reassured in a gentlemanly fashion (this is what weepies were invented for after all) but keep yourselves steady, nobody wants to be remembered as “the guy who tried to grope me while I was crying”. All in all, if you’re trying to inspire a mood of romance and gushing-mushy-almost-putridlyover-sweet-love then don’t worry about writing her a song, just sit back and let the ﬁlm do the work.
7 - 10 CAN YOU FEEL THE LOVE TONIGHT?
4 - 6 THIS MEANS SOMETHING
0 - 3 I'M SO RONERY
Love-o-meter Rating 8/10
A FOR HIM: Taken In terms of man movies they don’t come more sureﬁre than Taken, and it’s not difﬁcult to see why. Every single second of Taken is an afﬁrmation of all male Machismo fantasy: the heroic patriarch, the violent and rugged working man emasculating the feminised and paciﬁstic rich man, Liam Neeson’s iron face. But for all Taken’s sexist wish fulﬁllment there still remains something that, maybe just in a post-modern way, tries to get to the heart of modern male inadequacy and irrational male behaviour. Most post-9/11 thrillers have had a tendency to display men as incapable of protecting their families from some unpredictable (usually racially offensive) threat. At the heart of Taken lies a man simply trying to protect what he views as innocence in the only way he understands how – by shooting people… in the face. It may not be admirable, in fact it deﬁnitely isn’t admirable, but Taken is a crowdpleasing romp through Paris that’s always entertaining, if only for its severe disregard for political correctness. It’s a stupid movie, but at least it’s a genuine kind of stupid rather than a preachy kind of stupid. Kind of like a friendly hill-billy, you don’t agree with him but after a few pints you ﬁnd it hard not to like him.
Love-o-meter Rating 7/10
few weeks ago I went on a date for the ﬁrst time in years, it was with a guy that I already knew. He kindly insisted that I should pick which ﬁlm we should watch, already nervous and ridiculously indecisive I picked the ﬁrst ﬁlm that I could see on the showings list which happened to be Shame… a ﬁlm I knew little about. Unfortunately, we were also very late and the only seats available were at the front row. We nestled down into our seats, necks craned ready for the ﬁlm. Five minutes into the ﬁlm and Michael Fassbender had already done at least three laps of his apartment completely naked. By this point I glanced across at my date to see his mouth open, aghast. He turned to me and whispered, “Why on earth did you pick this ﬁlm?!” In terms of a date movie the ﬁlm got progressively worse, the nudity didn’t get any lighter and the undertones of incest weren’t helping anybody. The most intimate we ever got was the grazing of arms while reaching for a Haribo. With the beneﬁt of hindsight, I should’ve probably found out a bit more about the ﬁlm instead of randomly selecting one. All I had to show for that ﬁlm choice was an increased respect for Michael Fassbender and a crick in my neck. Moral of the story: Get there on time so you don’t have to rush your decisions and so you get good enough seats. Actual Film Rating 8/10 Love-o-meter Rating 1/10 Words By: Alexandra Clark
AweMOVIE SOMETIME? can tell you what movies to watch
OF BAD MOVIE DATES
At the cinema this Valentine’s: Top
hristophe Honoré’s ﬁlms are well known for their unbridled reality and vivid sadness, and Des Chansons d’Amour (‘Love Songs’) is no exception. Filmed in the streets of Paris, with plenty of sex and nudity and some simply stunning cinematography, the script is pared down to simple dialogue, interspersed with amusing and beautiful songs, and is mostly set at night. The ﬁlm centres around Ismaël, a young professional in Paris, who is in a relationship with Julie. Their mutual friend, Alice, often sleeps with them and their irritable bickering – about positions in bed, and who loves each other the most – is endearing. Disaster strikes when Julie dies suddenly of a heart attack at a time when she and Ismaël are not getting on well. Disorientated, Ismaël searches for stability in his love life, moving from partner to partner whilst staying close to Julie’s family. Great, I thought – Paris, love, tragedy, beautiful music, and sex aplenty. I bought it off the internet and sent it to the girl I had just started seeing. We were spending Valentine’s Day alone as it was in half-term. I received a text from her saying she’d just started watching it and it was beautiful… except I forgot that the ﬁlm ends with furiously passionate gay scene between Ismaël and his new ﬂatmate’s brother. Threesomes, gay sex and a sudden heart attack: things didn’t go so well with her from then on. Moral of the story: Always make sure the movie is saying what you want it to say. Actual Film Rating 8/10. Love-o-meter Rating 3/10 Words By: Patrick Ford
n an attempt to appear open-minded and truly feminist I once chose to watch The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift on a ﬁrst date. The cinema was empty: bad sign for the ﬁlm, good sign for the date. As the banal plot of a man driving cars around and seeing various scantily clad women progressed, into various men driving around and even more scantily clad women, I turned to my date... only to discover him leaning forward on his seat, transﬁxed. I tried busting out my moves but they just couldn’t compete with the women on the screen, so I was forced to watch the ﬁlm. Moral of the story – don’t get caught up in the underground world of drift racing – and deﬁnitely choose a good period drama, or even better a Disney. I’m taking my next date to The Iron Lady... Moral of the story: Make concessions, but not too many. Actual Film Rating 1/10 Love-o-meter Rating 5/10
Watched The Notebook too many times? DON’T FEAR! For all intents and purposes The Vow might as well be titled The Notebook 2: Note Harder. When a loving and down-to-earth couple suffer a minor car accident hunky Channing Tatum emerges unharmed, but ﬁancée Rachel McAdams can’t remember the past few years, namely the years they’ve been together. Rather than give up on the love of his life, and in true Nicholas Sparks style, he embarks on a mission to make her fall in love with him all over again. There will be tears, laughter, sassy best friends and long drawn-out When Harry Met Sally style speeches of just how much they love the other’s little annoying ticks. Will they end up together? Won’t they? Of course they will, it’s probably the safest bet at the cinema this Valentine’s day.
Casablanca 70th Anniversary Well what can you say? It’s Casablanca, not only is it the original chick-ﬂick, it’s actually a very good movie. From the lovers of classics to the lover of simple romance stories, Casablanca has an almost unparalleled universal appeal.
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace 3D It’s the choice for any self-confessed nerd this Valentine’s. Regardless of gender Star Wars is the ultimate crowd pleaser, even if this is the worst one in the series. It’s the ultimate in popcorn movie entertainment, with horny couples ﬁlling the seats of every date movie (almost certainly resulting in a lot of loud, inconsiderate and overly aggressive East Londoners stiﬂing the romance) Star Wars’ audience would be the more likely to provide the positive vibes you crave for a good ﬁrst date.
Like Crazy The tale of a British student in the US who falls in love, only to be torn from her lover when her visa expires. A will-they-won’t-they movie which garnered two Grand Jury awards at Sundance last year, it’s one for the Indie ﬁlm-goer who doesn’t want to break the mould too hard. Also maybe for couples involving a foreign exchange student, although if they don’t make it in the end it could result in some awkward post-movie conversation.
It’s The Muppets. Who the hell doesn’t like Muppets?
Words By: Mark Birrell Images Courtesy of Philippe Leroyer, Wolfsoul and Julie Kertes via FLickr (CC)
Words By: Holly Darling
English and Film Studies, 1st Year “Extroverted, Melancholic, Ambivalent.”
Straightaway, I admit that I was in it for the food. Love might have been hinted at, but wine was promised and, let’s face it, worse conditions have existed for first encounters. I’ve never really been on many dates, certainly none with people that I was not already in relationships of various kinds with, so it seemed like an original and exciting experience. Maintaining a free spirit, you know? And an unrestrained appetite. As I rushed from a New Turn meeting and put on a shirt, I managed to make the gentlemanly time of 15 minutes early. Plenty of time to relax, or even develop some unexpected nerves. What if she was serious about this?
What if she was a shy and yearning sweetheart with star-spangled hopes for this date? What if she ended up LIKING me? Fortunately, Beth turned out to be none of these things and while she might have enjoyed my company we quickly established that our animalistic urges were directed towards wine and burgers. Consequently, conversation was unrestrained and entertaining – open to romance, perhaps, but not seeing the need for it. The date schema of the discourse allowed personal enquiries to fill any potentially uncomfortable silences, and we both shared some surprisingly intimate stories of love and its making that will never make it to print. My lips are sealed and I trust Beth’s to be the same. We had, in fact, met previously, though I’m happy for this opportunity to get to know Beth better. Last night is sure to make for some laughs and stories in the future. Good times were had all around and I certainly don’t regret my decision in signing up for this blind date. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and while I might have been lucky in ending up with someone as fun, forward and intelligent as Beth, last night gave me a great first impression of blind dating as a whole.
Photo by Yashima via Flickr
Do you want to be the next student struck by Qupid’s wandering arrow? You won’t only meet your potential soulmate, but you’ll get a free meal and bottle of wine at the rather lovely Fat Cat Cafe. If you’re interested email Bryony Orr at firstname.lastname@example.org
English Language and Linguistics, 2nd Year “Clumsy, Chatty, Busy.”
A clichéd comment but nonetheless true: I’d never been on a blind date before Qupid set me up. That said, I’m a poor, malnourished student, which makes me extremely amenable to sitting through an hour or so of awkward chatter if free food and wine is part of the deal. I questioned how much more uncomfortable and embarrassing this could be than an average day in my bumbling, clumsy life, and rationalised that there probably wasn’t much in it. Several friends tried to talk me into drinking heavily before the date to “take the edge off” but I resisted the urge. Just.
It was a pleasant surprise to discover that Victor was my blind “date” as we’ve met briefly before and have friends in common. It was clear from the beginning that neither one of us was interested in a romantic outcome and so the conversation swiftly turned into a series of embarrassing or downright grotesque anecdotes about our friends and acquaintances. The best tale (or worst, depends how you view it) was definitely that of a guy Victor met on his travels who drank too much tabasco and scotch then, as a result, simultaneously fainted and shat himself. In public. There were a few awkward moments, mostly as a direct result of my aforementioned clumsiness. Don’t ask me how, for it is a mystery even to me, but during dinner I managed to spill half a glass of red wine down my left arm. All in all though, it was an enjoyable night with good company. Although I’m not romantically interested in Victor, it would be nice to stay in contact with him as he came across as a witty guy who is interesting to talk to. No doubt our paths will cross again someday soon as we are both involved in the same society.
Qupid’s Verdict Hello, everyone, another new Qupid here and hopefully the one you’ll be seeing for the rest of term. This was my first attempt at making magic happen and creating sparks between two (apparent) strangers. Bethia set out the terms that she would only participate if she was on a date with someone taller than her, which left her with Victor, who I had already paired her up with anyway! After a bit of Facebook stalking told me these two weren’t friends, I thought it was pretty safe to say they didn’t know each other. They had in fact met, and have a few mutual friends, but I think that this helped to break the ice a little and they both felt slight-
ly less awkward in the situation with the little knowledge they did have of one another. I did in fact suggest a game of Scrabble or Jenga that the restaurant had on offer, but it seems that they didn’t need to resort to this as both had an enjoyable evening despite perhaps not falling head over heels for one another. Coming up: Next Cub we’ll see if we can create a new couple in time for Valentine’s Day. Every week on the QMessenger website Qupid has a blog, so send an email or tweet @cubqupid with your love questions/stories for the next instalment! Please get in touch if you would like to be set up on a date and watch this space for an exciting announcement.