536 Avengers Assemble!
A guide to the heroes and villains of the biggest movie of 2012
Tom Stevenson editor Tal Davies london Anna Matheson and Omer Hamid features Amelia Jefferies and Lauryn Murdoch arts Keeren Flora and Bethia Stone photography Angel Lambo and Ryan Ramgobin music Amy Bowles and Lucinda Turner fashion Mark Birrell and Kamilla Baiden film Colette Yapp-Davis qupid Lauren Mason, Maria Sowter and Robert Pritchard sub editors Maria D’Amico cartoon
@cubmagazine.co.uk 3 London
Of Penury and Perambulation: London Rediscovered. “Concise, vulnerable pop.” Page 10
4 The Long-Distance
Our relationship special brings you the science behind every Fresher’s nightmare.
5 Just Friends?
Our writers debate the possibility of men and women ever remaining purely Platonic.
6 Matilda - The Musical
Cambridge Theatre’s musical production of Matilda is quite the show.
7 Roald Dahl
The tragic life of one of Britain’s best loved writers and cult figures. Image courtesy of cool delta
8-9 CUB’s EYE
What to do this fortnight...
10 The Drums
London International Mime Festival (-January 29th)
11 The Drums: The Interview
Astonishing displays of acrobatics and old-fashioned circus at Soho Theatre, and the Southbank centre.
The Way of Tea (-January 22nd) The British Museum has a free demonstration of the Japanese tea ceremony - a must for teatheists.
Chinese New Year (January 29th)
The year of the Dragon (self-evidently the best year) begins with a huge parade starting in Trafalgar Square. Fireworks, food, and twenty-foot costumes, what’s not to like?
Astronomy photographer of the year (-February 5th)
Royal Museums Greenwich are hosting the winning entries, which include a breath-taking shot of the Orion Nebula.
QMessenger Calling (Jan 23rd)
We’re taking over Drapers for a big night, with Quest Radio DJs, QMTV filming, and all the usual drinks deals.
You should be working for us! To get involved with writing, photography, interviews or cartoons email firstname.lastname@example.org
What is the secret behind their unique blend of 1950s inspired pop?
We talk to founding member Jacob Graham about their individual sound.
12 From Catwalk to Cover
A front row seat to the Fashion and Textiles Museum’s latest exhibition.
13 The Collaboration
We get behind the Designer/High Street partnership.
14-15 Avengers! Assemble
Your quick guide to the heroes and villains of the biggest movie of 2012.
The latest lovebirds to be struck by Qupid’s arrow...
Robert Hainault Of Penury and Perambulation: London Rediscovered Writing about ‘one aspect of London life’ is not altogether easy. It just doesn’t seem feasible to only concentrate on any one aspect, or even ﬁtting for a city that seems so readily to lend itself to technicolour. As with all places, the genius loci of London ﬁnds its identity in the conﬂuence of its best and most beastly attributes, and to concentrate solely on one or the other would be to present in greyscale what you can look out of your window and see in full spectrum. Therefore I am bound to offer thoughts not only on London life, but o n
London lifelessness. London is, of course, the most densely populated city in England, as anyone who has tried to get home during the rush hour knows. Dense is a word to which one ﬁnds oneself returning to
While wandering “ through its centre
the diversity of iconic architecture gives one an impression not unlike the Paris of Team America, with its landmarks crammed impossibly close together. ”
when describing London. While wandering through its centre the diversity of iconic architecture gives one an impression not unlike the Paris of Team America, with its landmarks crammed impossibly close together. From Waterloo Bridge one can just make out the ancient dome of St. Paul’s nestling amongst the newer and more ambitious sheer glass phalluses straining to tickle the sky. Not only is it the ﬁnancial heart of the country and the seat of our government, it is also the place where the creative ingenues take their ﬁrst steps into the limelight in greatest concentration and established talent plays out for the longest run. It has an historical density, too: how many times have we wandered through it in books and ﬁlms? What ghosts both real and ﬁctional crowd its streets? Flick through a few television channels and it is only a matter of time before that most familiar of cities looms out from the cathode-ray tube. If London is not short on life, neither are our lives short on London. However, my relationship with the place is far from that simple. Before I moved here my view of it was not unlike that of a familiar but distant friend. Something which carried associations of vitality, heavy drinking, and ready laughter. However, while, as Marlene Dietrich once said, too much of a good thing can be wonderful, too much of an overrated thing can be just plain depressing. Like so many great bon vivants its charm is impossible to sustain indeﬁnitely, and the superﬁcial jollity often masks more than a little sourness. Where once you had laughed at the freshness of its humour you pall a little from overexposure to it and its neuroses slowly begin to show. London is essentially a city of neuroses. Too much life gives you a tolerance for the stuff, and living in London can all too easily feel like simply existing. Underground suicides become little more than inconveniences, fellow pedestrians irksome caravans of the pavement, and beggars just one more thing to step over as you try to get home. It is a sad fact, and one that occasionally troubles me but, sadder still, it never lasts for very long. Sooner
or later I am back to shoving my way down Oxford Street and muttering to myself about the boundless idiocy of tourists and their fucking cameras. It is this numbness that renders the most pervasive aspect of London its utter lack of aspect. I have still not been to see a show, despite having said for two years that I would, and only this week did I ﬁnally get round to buying tickets to see the London Symphony Orchestra, something which had been top of my list when I turned up as a fresher with the optimistic intention of bouncing from concerts to new plays to poetry recitals to art galleries. But so what? Why should you give a damn about all the things I meant to do and never got round to? Because while you might be drinking London to the lees, it is more likely that you have a list, too, and, like me, probably spend more nights in with a bottle of wine, a packet of cigarettes and one tired series of The West Wing than you had really intended to. Money is the chief barrier, of course. Student life in London is always bound to fall short of expectation for even the most proﬂigate of us, and fairly soon the overdraft - and your bank manager - starts groaning. I have never been good with money, and have noticed a worrying trend of reckless expenditure that always leaves me at the mercy of my much-too-generous friends. I had always greeted the ﬁrst declined debit card payment with a mixture of disappointment and selfexcoriation but the end of last semester climaxed in a particularly red-faced appeal to my father to pay off my overdraft fees (who graciously obliged with no-doubt far greater irritation than he let on, for it was a considerable amount of money). Not only was I broke but I had no-one left to bail me out. If I wanted to get anywhere I would have to walk. However, this was not, as it transpired, a miserable experience. Like Guy Debord and, more recently, Will Self, I discovered the pleasures of the ﬂaneur. And London, now that I was actually living from a topographic rather than a tube map, seemed like a new city. Just as I had dehumanised the human cattle I had previously only brieﬂy had to push through, I now began to see them as an indelible part of the city’s texture. I factored in the time they would add to my journey at busy times, I rediscovered the joys of my perambulating cane, and I felt as wide-eyed and small as I had when I took my ﬁrst stroll through Mayfair, not as a visitor but, to borrow Quentin Crisp’s immaculate phrase, as a resident alien. I rediscovered London, and though I still haven’t managed to see Les Miserables or play on the pianos at Harrods, I did manage to get back a sense of humour at the jokes of an old friend.
Robert Hainault is a second year English Literature student. If you want to be the next LQMDONer then email the editor Tal Davies at london@cubmagazine. co.uk 3
The Long Distance Question The Science behind every Fresher’s nightmare.
Words by Omer Hamid Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Love knows no boundaries. The heart wants what it wants. This is the kind of wisdom we usually call upon in our defence when the heart overcomes the head and we find ourselves plunged into the murky, treacherous waters of a posthigh school long-distance relationship (‘LDR’). If, like me, you have a somewhat sour experience with this concept then you probably can’t restrain the urge to shudder when the topic is raised. If, however, you’re one of the saintly few still involved in one then I’d ask you to take my words with a pinch of salt and remember that knowledge is power – relationships should never be governed by emotion alone. No relationship is easy, no relationship has insurance, that’s the fundamental brilliance and brutality of falling in love. That’s life. Abigail Sullivan-Moore in The New York Times wrote a particularly useful piece on the subject. She points out that, sad but true, most relationships of that nature find it difficult to survive the first stint of university life and fall by the wayside. So in just one more attempt of mine to quantify the unknowable, to evaluate the immeasurable, I’ll be bold and suggest that the success of an LDR is not found in the myriad of neurotic, naïve literature to be found in that merciless black hole that we call the internet. Their language is as woolly as it is illogical. The language we need to use was claimed long ago by the physicists. By that, I mean the principle that governs the LDR universe is the balance of Space and Time. What do I mean? As usual, I’m not really sure. But let’s go with it for now and begin with Space. Space, I believe, is the single most fundamental principle of any LDR. It means space to breathe, space to think, space to be yourself. Any relationship is between two people and in an LDR it’s quite easy to let the situation override that simple fact. It’s quite easy to cling so tightly to each other over the distance that you don’t broaden your friendship circle, or don’t get involved in university life as you should. The LDRs that people tend to regret are the ones that sit on your shoulders throwing a dark cloud over what should be the most memorable time of your life. Eventually, the relationship goes down the toilet and now you’re a step behind everyone else who has already found their place. It’s an irony worth noting that to really bring two people together over a distance, you need to have Space. Not between you. Around you. Ms. Moore quotes a university president as having said “If you come to campus and you do four or five years here and find yourself leaving with only the same friends that you had in high school, we as an institution have failed you.” Look at it this way – if you put your energy into becoming the person you really are then you’re setting
the ground for a long success or an early failure. You either match or you don’t. Wouldn’t you rather find out as soon as possible? That’s what Space does for you. Next, I’ll depart from the gospel of Marie-Claire and Cosmo (reliable sources that they are) and point out something that they usually deny – I think the size of the distance definitely matters. My own experience with this was across a continent and it made a massive difference. Which leads nicely on to the other half of the analysis – Time. While Space is important to keep the relationship one of equal partners, I can’t stress enough that it should be a balance. The only thing to interrupt the Space should be Time. Time together to understand what’s going on in the Space. In any LDR Time is the mother’s milk, the blood in the veins. Your Time together will be condensed and so it should be intense, valuable, treasured. Make the most of it. That means make a big deal – there is no wisdom in pretending everything is OK and everything will be all right because more often than not it isn’t and it won’t. The LDR is a balancing act. Give each other Space, but not at the expense of Time. Sure, make friends and be social but don’t blow off a phone call or a Skype session to drink with the lads because over a distance every flash of jealousy and every paranoid strand of thought becomes amplified; these things unravel remarkably quickly. Logically then, because things can fall apart faster than usual, your Time together needs to be more valuable than usual. Space, governed by Time and Time to enjoy the Space, together. Sound complicated? It should. LDRs are a tricky business. They are truly an awful experience. It is not an enduring situation, not a sustainable environment by any standard. LDRs are the emergency powers written into the relationship constitution. Regrettable, but sometimes necessary. They should be exercised with extreme caution. They suspend all the usual laws – blind trust, implicit affection, individual privacy. No, for the duration of the LDR you have to prove the trust, pour on the affection and share everything. Otherwise you’re in for a more difficult run than necessary (and it was already no picnic). Absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder, it whispers things you don’t want to hear. Love does know boundaries, it observes borders and takes a hit with every one that you make it cross. But if I’ve made you believe that I’m a cynic then I have misled you – it was naïve romanticism that led me to stumble into one. But you need to be prepared to play a guessing, waiting and balancing game. You need to have your Space to be yourself but you can’t let that edge out the Time that must be spent. It’s not easy – but would you want it to be?
Over a distance every flash of jealousy and every paranoid strand of thought becomes amplified.
Image by Lele Gelibter
The language we need to use was claimed long ago by the physicists... the balance of Space and Time.
Playing The Field Are women making it too easy? Words by Jonelle Jones-Alleyne You’re out with your boyfriend and you realise you’re receiving unwanted looks (or a glare worthy of a thousand pre-heated knives preparing for target) from another girl who always seems to be around every corner. It finally gets to you, so you ask him who she is. Then he’s spinning you some beautifully crafted work of fiction. “Some girl who’s obsessed with me”, “a jealous ex”, or perhaps she’s simply “crazy”? Finally, the icing on the cake: “She’s just jealous of you.” Some men like to play the field. But why do some women make it easier for them? We seem to have this naïvety complex where we feel that he couldn’t possibly lie, that everyone wants what you have and even if he does have a past, you could be The One to change him. There are five important pieces of advice that you must follow if you feel suspicious in the early days of a new romance, for your own sanity. 1. Does he deserve admiration? Why is it that we spend years of our childhoods learning what respect is, that rudeness should not be tolerated, that lying is wrong and that we should only strive for the best, but the moment it comes to a person we admire, all life lessons go out the window? First, we need to address on what grounds
Words by Lauren Cantillon Pfffft. Of course they can, and hands up who else is feeling vaguely insulted by the idea they couldn’t? You’d have to be pretty arrogant being to think every member of the opposite sex just wants some action with you, although most of these platonic entanglements probably wouldn’t be the same without the occasional bit of cheeky banter. But that’s just it - how great is it to have someone to test all that stuff on?! Honest advice, opinions and evaluation. Girls, he really will tell you if you look like you’ve tried too hard, and guys, well, yes, saying that, in that way, is not going to make her think you’re God’s gift to campus. See, we’d all be lost without each other. The difficult thing is just managing to convince your friends that going to the ballet and then the coolest underground bar in London (no, I’m not telling) does not count as a date... And that staying in a male friends’ bed does not mean there arev feelings there (apart from the triumph of ejecting them to a sofa/the floor). I don’t see why there’s this feeling of suspicion - my best friend is someone I’ve known since I was months old, and yes, he is a guy, shock. But he’s someone I’ve grown up with, trust deeply, and one of the few who I allow to ridicule me in all things. His friendship is what is precious; his gender, irrelevant.
this guy deserves to be admired. Many women make the common mistake of never transitioning from being the spectator to becoming his team player. Admiration from afar is the norm: you like the way he interacts with people on a day to day basis, his friends are cool and he’s always one step ahead when it comes to his assignments. But now that you’re his girlfriend why is it that you are not a part of his life? And I don’t mean going to his house sometimes (when his family are out) or having coffees here and there (and he doesn’t offer to pay for you). I’m talking about him making you part of his daily routine rather than you waiting for him to make the first call, giving him the benefit of the doubt and after 3 hours of contemplating whether you should or not… making the first call. A guy interested in a girl is a guy calling a girl first, a guy taking her out before the thought even enters her mind. The right guy is always one step ahead of the game, that’s how you know it’s important to him. If that’s your guy, stick with him. 2. If he needs defending, he is guilty of something… …even if that ‘something’ is not being into you enough. If you find yourself trying to explain to friends why he couldn’t pay £2 for your small latte or why you were the one to call first for the last 4 conversations (which he
ended because he was tired on all occasions), then you clearly have a problem on your hands. Spluttering a series of invalid excuses on his behalf to spectators is a fool-proof way of realising that you yourself are nothing more than a confused spectator also. “Maybe his parents aren’t ready to meet me yet… I mean, it’s only been a year.” Cue your friend’s expression of pity for you. The only ‘one up’ you have on the critics is the string of firsthand lies from the man himself. Lucky you. 3. That girl is YOU a few months down the line. For a guy to take liberties, he’ll have a long line of women who taught him that he could. Usually, the last girl hangs around either trying to be his friend or hates every molecule of his being. Harsh as it may sound, he probably deserves it. When another woman, especially from his past, makes herself known on the scene and the current girlfriend makes a scene about it, the man is often quietly egging her on. Don’t kid yourself, there is nothing worse than ignoring the evidence in front of you. He played this girl and he will play you too, proving he doesn’t deserve your admiration and that you were right to suspect him of being guilty of something! So listen to her; odds are that his treatment of her and you match up like a criminal to a fingerprint. 4. Confront him. Tears stream down your cheeks as you dial his number for “the last time”.
Can men and women ever be purely platonic?
Cartoon by Maria D’Amico
“You know you mean a lot to me… and we’ve been together for so long but I – I – can’t do it anymore… it’s over…” “Ok.” – He hangs up. Surely a break up shouldn’t be this easy? You call him again wanting closure, hoping that at last he’ll give you the attention and respect you’ve always craved from him. Until you finally realise you were just a pawn in his grand game of “how many girls”. To him, the game has run its course with you. What more proof do you need? When a person cares about someone they will do whatever they can to never lose touch with that someone. Even if he’s smooth with his words: “If that’s what you want, I understand... I won’t be selfish and stop you... I’ll see you around.” Don’t be fooled. He’s glad you did it first because it’s less guilt on his part and you’ll force yourself to move on, which gives him a hell of a lot less of a headache. If he knows the steps to the breakup dance, he’s had some practice. 5. Lesson learnt? Open your eyes. We women often complain that all guys play girls, but we let them get away with it. There are many signs to suss them out within the first few conversations you have with them. So be on your guard and don’t let the little girl inside you cloud your judgement. For years we’ve been fed fairy tales of how it should be, but life isn’t all roses. It’s time women got wise to the game, so choose carefully next time.
Words by Elizabeth Howis Can anyone honestly say they have a close friend of the opposite sex? If you give it some real consideration, you’ll probably think differently. Personally, I haven’t had a close male friend without there having been some form of awkward attraction or flirtation stemming from at least one of us, at one stage or another. Whether this is an immediate attraction that draws you together or the moment of realisation that your ‘just friend’ is with someone else across the room at a party, it’s always been there below the surface. Don’t get me wrong, having friends of the opposite sex in your social group is definitely achievable - what may not be so easy is having that particularly ‘close’ friendship – your best mate without a degree of that awkward sexual tension felt by at least one of you. As When Harry Met Sally proves to us all, if your best friend is of the opposite sex, everyone knows that at the end of the day you’re meant to be together. That’s the story. In short, men and women can never really be friends, because one of them always lets sex get in the way - one of them always finds the other attractive. If you find a guy or a girl that you respect, trust and admire enough to be your best friend, let’s be honest, that’s not all that they are.
Matilda - the Musical
f you have taken a walk around the West End recently, you may have noticed that there is an air of unoriginality in the current line-up of shows, the majority of which are either spin-offs of popular ﬁlm franchises (‘Shrek’, ‘Legally Blonde’) or campy jukebox affairs (‘Mamma-Mia’, ‘We Will Rock You’). One particuSam Whyte larly depressing looking offering, ‘Rock of Ages’, a show which strings its narrative together with so-called ‘80’s classic rock hits’, sells itself on the posters by claiming that it is ‘London’s guiltiest pleasure’. Because, after all, what I would really like to part with £50 for would be to see Justin Lee Collins in a back-combed wig and leg-warmers, singing ‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot’ – now that’s entertainment. While Britain proudly exports plays such as ‘War Horse’, ‘Jerusalem’ and ‘One Man,Two Guvnors’ oversees, surely the musicals of the West End should too reﬂect what appears to be an exiting time for mainstream theatre, instead of these current ﬂashy, yet insipid shows which seem to be solely designed to make shed loads of money from dazed and confused day-trippers. Thankfully, there is one particular show, ‘Matilda – The Musical’, which sets itself apart from the rest as being one of the best original musicals Britain may have seen for some time. The RSC production, which previewed in Stratford-upon-Avon in late 2010, has now made a seamless transition to the Cambridge Theatre and has been greeted with an overwhelmingly enthusiastic response from both critics and audiences alike. The show itself is three hours of utterly glorious entertainment, which sparkles with ingenuity, originality, intelligence and wit. The story, as I am sure most people will be familiar with, is based on Roald Dahl’s novel about young Matilda Wormwood, a precocious and intelligent girl who teaches herself to read and, subsequently, immerses herself in a world of stories and knowledge. She does this to escape from the world of her parents, a comically loathsome pair who not only ignore Matilda’s talent but appear to actively despise her ‘Mum says I’m a good case for population control’, sweetly sings the tiny girl onstage (grim). Matilda’s life is changed when she starts school and is confronted by two antithetical adults (classic Dahl): the sweet and encouraging, yet troubled Miss Honey and the monstrous, child-hating head teacher Miss Trunchbull. Part of the show’s charm is certainly due to its writers who, on pa-
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‘The Wormwoods’ by Manuel Harlan © Matilda the Musical per, seem to be unlikely choices but excel in their respective areas. Dennis Kelly, cowriter of the brilliant and much maligned ‘Pulling’, was in charge of the script, while coiffed, rationalist comedian Tim Minchin was on music and lyrics duty. Minchin’s music is particularly strong as it ﬁnely treads the line between detailed, intricate lyrics, bombastic instrumentation and luscious vocal harmony. In fact, it is these sorts of contradictions that make Matilda such a joyful viewing experience. It is both intimate and overwhelming. It is sweet, yet playfully nasty. It is intelligent, but very, very childish. In some ways, these contradictions are quite apparent as the show attempts, in the same way that Dahl does, to make the audience identify with and recall childhood and the waves of varying emotion and experience that make it so won-
derful. In one particular sequence, the children swoop forward on suspended swings towards the audience, singing about their simplistic, childish hopes for the future. The uniting of the choreography, stage design and music make for a utterly stunning number – I defy even the most hardened cynic not to be intoxicated by its infectious happiness. Other elements of the show will make you feel like a child in a much more literal sense. The set, itself, is made up of scrabble tiles of varying sizes, which sprawl outside the proscenium arch, onto the ceiling and over the side walls. The sheer size of the construction, coupled with the overhang, make you, as an audience member, feel miniature in comparison – almost as if the Trunchbull, herself, is leering over you. On that note, Bertie Carvel provides
what appears to be a career-deﬁning performance as Miss Trunchbull, being terrifyingly cruel at the same time as being shrill and petulant. His enormous stature towers over even the adult actors – adding to the show’s ability to make you feel like a child, regardless of age (although, I’m still not quite sure how Carvel manages to make Trunchbull more feminine than Pam Ferris did in the ﬁlm version of the novel – there’s something not right there.) Other notable performances include Paul Kaye’s Mr. Wormwood, a perfect embodiment of a Quentin Blake illustration; Lauren Ward’s Miss Honey, a character who risks being as sickly sweet as her name suggests but is, instead, notably marred by insecurities and self doubt. And, of course, we have Matilda, herself. While I unfortunately forgot to make a note of which of the four rotating Matilda actresses I saw [Editor’s Note: it was Eleanor Worthington Cox], I can only presume that they are all played with equally impressive talent. Props must be given to the young children in the cast who, I have come to the conclusion, must be a set of highly intelligent robots – mainly because they don’t come across as irritatingly adorable drama school kids. Personally, I found that one of the show’s strengths was the underplaying of Matilda’s telekinetic powers, one of the narrative’s weaker sections which always felt tacked on. Kelly’s script makes the point that Matilda only has her powers to help her kindred spirit, Miss Honey, ﬁnd happiness. My only two niggles (and they really are niggles instead of full blown criticisms) would be that the some of the sound levels for the actors microphones make some of Minchin’s more ambitious lyrics hard to decipher. Also I wasn’t crazy about Matilda’s brother Michael, who was meant to perpetually be in a television induced daze but came across as almost mentally disabled. But, these minute details aside, the show is a triumph that deserves a review every bit as gushing as this one. It is rare to see a musical that scores highly on almost every level of theatrical production, and ‘Matilda – The Musical’ really does. The sheer happiness the ﬁnale radiates will make you want to join Matilda and Miss Honey as they cartwheel upstage towards their new life. ‘Matilda - The Musical’ has extended its run until 21st October 2012 at the Cambridge Theatre 8 £5 tickets are available from 10am on the day of the performance for 16-25 year olds from the box ofﬁce Other tickets range from £20-£62.50
Olivia Bascombe looks into the tragic life of one of Britain’s best loved children’s authors and some of the amazing stories that set him apart as one of the most fascinating men of his generation.
‘Roald Dahl’ (1954) by Carl Van Vechten c/o US Library of Congress
oald Dahl is forever in the consciousness of my ‘inner child’, but it never occurred to me to think about what went on inside the head of the man who brought us Matilda, The BFG, or Kiss Kiss, his collection of stories published in 1960. Dahl’s most infamous characters have always been quite sinister; the neglectful Wormwood parents and the abusive Mrs Trunchbull, for instance. But what do we know of Dahl himself, the man who wrote stories at the back of his garden, in his shed? In 1916, a boy named Roald Dahl was born in Cardiff, Wales. By the time he was three he had lost his sister to appendicitis and his father to pneumonia. Aged eightDahl and four of his school friends were caught in what they called ‘The Great Mouse Plot of 1924’, in which they were caned for putting a dead mouse into a jar of sweets at a local shop. The juxtaposition between grief, death, and mischief would later cement his transcendence as a writer for both children and adults. But what I ﬁnd particularly crucial to understanding the writer behind the books are the years after his service in WWII. Dahl had survived an accidental sally across No Man’s Land as an air pilot, as well as a fractured skull and the temporary loss of his sight. But Dahl’s Post-War life read like another battle in itself. The pivotal year is 1960. Dahl is in the New York Bestsellers’ List, married happily to American actress Patricia Neal, and
now the father of two daughters, Olivia and Tessa, and a son, Theo. Dahl reported the growth of his son like a sergeant in war: “He has a pair of testicles the size of walnuts and a sharp wicked penis”. With the birth of his son in a previously femaledominated house, Dahl is full of pride and joy. But on the 5th December 1960, Theo was severely injured when his baby carriage was struck by an oncoming taxi in New York. It was Theo’s diagnosis of Hydrocephalus, the accumulation of liquid in the brain, that was to produce perhaps his greatest work: his contribution to the Wade-Dahl-Till valve (WDT). Each time Theo returned from hospital, his condition would quickly worsen. As soon as the cause of the problem was identiﬁed as a defective valve, Dahl set to work designing a new one with engineer Stanley Wade. Wade specialised in fuel pumps for model trains, and together they designed the WDT with neurosurgeon Kenneth Till, a feat that treated and cured several thousand children who suffered from the same illness. Dahl observed his son as he would a subject for story. He wrote down the incident several days after Theo’s injury, he recorded the science, and not the just the event, of the trauma. Twenty odd years later, Dahl publishes George’s Marvellous Medicine, in which a young boy conjures up a remedial potion to cure his grandmother of her illnesses.
Quentin Blake B
lake’s illustrations are predominantly considered synonymous with Roald Dahl’s stories, but this is in no way due to his lack of other experience or the quality of his other work. It is merely an accolade to how well the two have combined their unique styles to create timeless books. Behind the celebrated Dahl illustrations, sits the hugely acclaimed and ultimately successful life that Quentin Blake worked so hard for from the age of 16. Born in Kent in 1932, Blake went to Sidcup Grammar School before focusing his education toward his chosen career. He left home to read English at Cambridge and, following National Service, commenced a teaching diploma at the University of London whilst attending life classes at Chelsea Art School. From the very start of his lengthy education, Blake showed signs of becoming the illustrator his is today. As a teenager he submitted several drawings to his school magazine and around the age of 16 began to get drawings accepted by satirical publication ‘Punch’. It wasn’t until his days at Chelsea that drawing for Punch became an actual job, and with these regular illustrations Blake also began to draw for The Spectator, producing both small
drawings and cover works. From here it seemed that his vocation was decided, and his focus became ever more concentrated as he entered the world of illustrating entire publications. Blake’s ﬁrst stand-alone book came in the form of ‘English Parade’, a pamphlet composed to promote the government’s National Service scheme to soldiers for whom reading presented difﬁculties. It was the ﬁrst time that Blake was allowed the freedom to create a continuous view of a different world. He remained restricted by publishers’ requirements, but was given the ability to take something commonplace and present it in a new way - “to invent a visual world”. Blake’s ultimate decision to combine all of his interests into a single medium came in 1960 when he asked his friend, John Yeoman, to write a book for him to illustrate. This book came in the form of ‘A Drink of Water’: “I was interested in education, drawing and English, so it seemed as if illustrating a children’s book might be something I could do”. This decision to focus on children’s literature was one that was partially fuelled by his need to break the mould. In leaving behind Punch and The Spectator, the artist attempted to break away from the black and white normality of satirical
‘Henry VIII & Kings Choir’ by Quentin Blake Image by Jo Edkins c/o geography.org.uk
illustration. In 1968 Blake both wrote and illustrated ‘Patrick’, a story about a boy who, on playing his violin, made things change colour. In the seven years leading up to his ﬁrst book with Dahl, Blake not only continued to write his own stories, but also illustrated for a vast number of authors including Harwood Thompson, J B S Haldane and Clement Freud. When the two did eventually meet, however, the pair worked faultlessly together, producing eleven successful books in the ﬁfteen years leading up to Dahl’s death in 1990. Outside of his career, Blake dedicated his time to art and education. From 1978 to 1986 Blake was head of the Illustration department at the Royal College of Art, a position that allowed him to both produce work freely and to advise young
By 1962, however, Dahl experienced further loss: his daughter, Olivia, died of measles encephalitis. Dahl kept a small green notebook, meticulously noting his daughter’s ﬁnal day. It was not found until after his death 28 years later, in his writing hut, a small token of his child left untouched. He kept her toys in his bedroom, locked away, and grew silent and withdrawn. Three years later, 1965, Patricia (or Pat as she was known to Dahl) was three months pregnant and on the set of John Ford’s Seven Women in L.A. It is the fourth day of ﬁlming, and Pat feels a intense pain go through her heard. She was seeing double, experiencing strange visions and odd thoughts. While her daughter, Tessa, asked her what was wrong, she lost consciousness. Like his involvement with Theo’s treatment, and his detailed notes on his daughter Olivia, Dahl went to work, hiring therapists and physiotherapists to retrain his wife’s mind. She had suffered a cerebral stroke. He was determined to beat illness. Pity was not an option. Pat eventually learned to how walk and talk again, and she was son rehabilitated into her acting career. Pat dubbed her husband with admiration ‘Roald the Rotten’, shoving her back into the deep end of her movie career with purpose and grit. Surviving the disasters of grief, loss, and later divorce, Dahl has outlived his own stories and sits proudly, as if a character from out of a book. artists. This need to educate the younger generations that Blake held, and continues to hold, was recognised when he was appointed as the very ﬁrst Children’s Laureate. Blake felt it was his duty to “do everything [he] could to promote children’s literature.” This led to the National Gallery commissioning the Tell me a Picture exhibition in 2001, to be curated by Blake, in order to encourage younger visitors to visit the gallery. The exhibition had 250,000 visitors, a ﬁgure that not only shows Blake‘s appeal as an illustrator, but also his success as Children’s Laureate. There is no question that through his illustrations of Roald Dahl’s stories, Quentin Blake adds an additional level of meaning to the words on the page; the elements of text and image seem to combine perfectly to present a cross over of real life and fantasy, and in no way can Blake’s input to the success of Dahl’s stories be downplayed. But it is easy to overlook the artist’s other endeavours, endeavours that, whether through his illustrations or his contributions to education, show remarkable creativity and personal determination. There is nothing remarkable about the life of Quentin Blake, and this is what allows his work to be so timeless and engaging. He depicts the everyday life that everyone can relate to, but then expands upon it with elements of his playful and child like imagination, he does not create a new world, but simply allows us to view our own in a slightly different way.
Leila Gherabli goes Live with The Drums With the likes of Morrissey turning up to their gigs, and Boy George gushing about front man Jonathan Pierce’s “fantastic” onstage presence, it’s clear that the hype that’s surrounded The Drums since the release of indie pop sensation ‘Let’s go Surfing’ is as much a result of their live performances as their signature blend of postpunk and 1950s inspired pop. Hooked on their second album, Portamento, which is a shade darker and even more stripped down than their self-titled debut, I head to The Junction in Cambridge to see the Brooklyn band play. As the intimate venue begins to swell with what’s mostly young hipster types (Morrissey is nowhere to be seen) all pushing eagerly towards the stage, I end up clinging to the barrier to avoid losing my spot in the front. I ask the girl beside me if she’s seen The Drums play before. “Twice” she says, before telling me with unparalleled enthusiasm that Jonathan’s knees get really sweaty. It turns out that neither she, nor Boy George is exaggerating. Jonathan is captivating. He
struts around the stage to ‘Best Friend’ with flamboyant fervour and might, throwing in violent, jerky moves while singing about a (fictitious) dead best friend. At times, Jonathan becomes so absorbed in what he’s singing that you get the feeling you shouldn’t even be watching; he sways back and forth to the otherworldly, synth-laden ‘Searching for Heaven’, head lolling and arms flailing, like a slightly drunken rag doll in skinny jeans. The effect of this is both unsettling and utterly compelling. This is just as well, as there’s little engagement with the other band members. Even Jacob, who, in past gigs has been known to leap around with a tambourine, is busy operating a huge bank of synthesisers at the back of the stage. The set list incorporates tracks from both Portamento and the debut, and includes the thrilling ‘If He Likes It Let Him Do It’ (which Jonathan referred to at a previous gig as “a song about gay sex”), as well as up tempo yet melancholy songs like ‘Money and Me’ and ‘The Moon’, which have the crowd buzzing. Jonathan expert-
ly teases those of us in the front rows, teetering dangerously close to a sea of outstretched hands before returning to centre stage. At one point, after hovering around the edge of the stage for an entire verse of ‘Days’, he falls into the frenzied embrace of the crowd, with only the barrier between him and what seems like hundreds of groping (and occasionally, wandering) hands. But even mild harassment doesn’t distract from the task at hand and Jonathan continues to sing, seeming to be at once in his element and struggling for his life. The security guards shift around uneasily, unsure of what to do. I realise all this excitement may be getting to me when Jonathan praises the crowd’s energy and thanks us for coming out, before adding (a little sarcastically) “and on a school night too”. “We don’t go to school!” I hear myself shout. Oh dear. It’s a good thing I don’t have a lighter or I would probably be waving it during the slow songs. The temptation to do so is especially strong during ‘Baby that’s not the Point’, when the venue
falls silent around Jonathan’s softened voice, unaccompanied except for the bass to Ben E. King’s ‘Stand by Me’, and rounded off with twanging, lingering guitar. The band come out for an encore after the crowd’s desperate chants of “We want Drums” slide into a moaning rendition of ‘Down by the Water’. They save two of their best for last; the moody ‘It Will All End in Tears’ and ‘The Future’, a shimmering, wistful song that sees the gig end on a wave of goose bump inducing guitar. Despite developments such as the addition of guitarist Myles Matheny (of Violens), as well a shift to a slightly more electronic sound, The Drums remain committed to only writing and performing music that they themselves are passionate about. This means that if you’re planning to see them when they return to London in February, you shouldn’t hold your breath for ‘Let’s Go Surfing’ (you will pass out). What you can expect from The Drums, is a heartfelt and largely unforgettable live performance that, and Jonathan’s sweaty knees.
espite continuing fears about the demise of the music industry, 2011 still had its fair share of big selling albums. Aside from the likes of reliable big hitters like Lady Gaga, Adele and Coldplay, there were a number of undeniably great albums – from Drake, Lykke Li and St. Vincent, among others – that were to different degrees innovative whilst also shifting considerable units. But, for music that you’d find in the “indie” section of iTunes or your local record store (do those still exist?), 2011 was a limbo year. From Pitchfork to The Guardian, the consensus seems to be that, for much indie music (however hard that is to define today), last year was business as usual. After trawling through the masses of exceedingly average offerings from once interesting artists such as Bombay Bicycle Club, Cold War Kids and White Lies, the records that could be said to be both “indie” and “successful” are few. But these shared some surprising common ground. Last year all saw acclaimed releases from James Blake, Bon Iver and PJ Harvey, all of which are stripped back, with any excess, gimmicks or un-
ber 2011 on Island Records), has been broadly acclaimed, with Slant magazine describing it as “straightforward and yet artfully delivered”. Despite the fact that the four-piece have been together for only a few years, they have been through a lot since their first EP, Summertime, was released by Moshi Moshi in 2009. When founding members Jonathan Pierce and Jacob Graham started making music in 2006, it was with a retro synth outfit named Goat Explosion, a project that later split into two separate bands. This all changed in 2008, when the two splinter groups were brought back together again and, abandoning their synths, became reacquainted with guitars: The Drums were born. Despite constant alterations in the line up that continue to this day – which Jacob Graham, now turned synth player, explained to me simply, saying, “Sometimes you've just got to do something to shake things up” – have maintained an original focus of their sound across three releases, as well as frequenting every “Sound of” column known to man. Jonny Pierce made the top ten of the NME’s infamous and much-admired cool list, in which he was commended for
Harry Thorne talks to founding member Jacob Graham about the band’s individual sound and why it is that people finally get it. vivalist move: The Drums manage to be a band that are incredibly of the minute, obvious from the extent of their fan base – both online and at their concerts. Lyrically, Portamento is an album that is up-front about insecurities, presenting music that Jacob describes as “concise, vulnerable pop”. He sees this as a positive, saying that the group maintains “a lack of senseless self indulgence”, noting that: “We have nothing to prove really. I'd like to think our character separates us from other bands, but that's what I think should separate every band from every other band. Unfortunately that is not always the case.” Oddly enough, this
Gagas of the music industry, those that hide behind façades of money, clothes or costumes, or it could simply be the next step in the innumerable cycle of trends, something which Jacob seems closer to believing. As he said to me, “It's nice to have other's enjoy your music, but that is fleeting.” Whatever the cause, some of the best albums of recent months share a sense of minimalism in terms of sonics, and vulnerability in terms of emotions. If you are lucky enough to see The Drums live, and they’ve recently added three new UK dates to their tour in February, one at the Camden Roundhouse
How would you describe your sound? “Concise, vulnerable pop.” needed sounds removed. It is a sound that is familiar from a number of varying genres, from post-dubstep/bass music to hip-hop – it isn’t confined to a single city, continent or genre. This is where The Drums come in. The Brooklyn based band’s second album, Portamento (released in Septem-
his “charmingly careless combination of perfectly straightfaced deadpan humour and ludicrously grand statements”. Though remaining minimalist their sound overlays Pierce’s wonderfully awkward, Morrissey-esque vocals with Beach Boys-ish melodies and Pixiesstyle riffs. But this isn’t a nostalgic or re-
vulnerability, this emotion – the earnest, un-ironic kind – seems to be back in. You see this across many of the most acclaimed albums of 2011: from Fleet Foxes to The Weeknd, the list goes on. Why might this be? One argument is that it’s a direct response from the public to the over-exuberance of the Kanyes or the
in late February, then you’ll get it. In a live context, Pierce’s vocals encompass a new confidence and power that isn’t there on record. It’s in the certainty they hold in their uncertain movements, in their modest stage presence, in the way they are so confident with their awkwardness. The Drums know that this vulnerability is their strength. As Pierce shyly observed at their headline gig at Shepherd’s Bush Empire in December, “I think we’re all hopeless, in a good way.” Throughout that concert there was a peculiar unity that it’s often hard to find at live shows of that size. In Portamento, The Drums have a produced a strong album, but not yet a great one – instead, it’s the sound of a band still finding their way, quietly confident that people are interested to know where they might go. Pierce himself has said that, together, they don’t “have a very long shelf life as a band”, and in mid-2011 they came close to splitting. As Jacob rather poignantly said to me, “It's funny how when you're at your happiest, your mortality seems closer than ever. I guess it's that fear of losing it.” It is clear that The Drums are in no way a regular band in terms of mentality. But whatever becomes of The Drums, they highlight how quickly tastes can change: their sound hasn’t changed much in the few years they’ve been together, but right now – at the beginning of 2012 – it feels right. Images courtesy of Cool Delta.
From Catwalk to Cover: A Front Row Seat
Faye Gorman took a look around the latest exhibition at the Fashion and Textiles Museum and witnessed the journey of a lifetime...
Image by PreteMoiParis, via Flickr (CC)
The Lure of Louboutin Our writer Eleanor Doughty gives us her views on those oh-so-covetable red soles... The Marquis de Sade said of women, “the way to a woman’s heart is along the path of torment”. In a recent interview entitled Master of Pain with Claudia Croft, Christian Louboutin himself said, “a little discomfort is balanced by something else, which has to do with desire”. This argument seems consistent with de Sade’s, emphasising his point. Perhaps, the French have spoken. Sex appeal, glamour, power - all words that one might link to the iconic redsoled shoe that furnishes the closets of thousands of women. You don’t need to have read Vogue to recognise the name. Louboutin. The French designer’s name is revered across the world, sparking synapses in the brains of all women when mentioned. I recently tried a pair on whilst working in a busy fashion department. The soft interior lining soothed my sore feet and as I stood up, I felt a rush, the Louboutin rush! Looking down, I admired my feet whilst walking a few paces in them. The heels were towering but the feeling was incredible. As a lover of all things classic and traditional, I’m drawn to the Louboutin legacy. My wardrobe is crammed with classic pieces, a handful of trench coats in a variety of colours, fabrics and lengths, English tweed, androgynous brogues
Until now, the catwalk has been a place of exclusivity, accessible only to the chosen few who witness the clothes that are unaffordable to most. However, the exhibition From Catwalk to Cover – a Front Row Seat at the Fashion & Textiles Museum makes it possible to gain a direct insight into the chaos and glamour behind the spectacle of the fashion show and beyond. Any image you see in a magazine has stemmed from the collaboration of the designer, model, hair and make-up artist, photographer, creative director and editor, whose responsibilities and roles are examined by Fashion photographer and curator Kirstin Sinclair as the journey from the catwalk to cover is unearthed for this exhibition. The minimalistic layout seems to embody the allure of the industry rather than the chaotic backdrop that shadows the finished product of the catwalk show. You are initially able to discover the history of the catwalk; a relatively new creation born in 19th Century Paris as fashion parades in the couture houses, before looking at how the fashion show
is constructed, including the importance of the carefully-chosen celebrity front row. With over 100 images on display by top fashion photographers Kirstin Sinclair, Chris Moore, Matt Lever and Phillip Meech, including photographs of the prestigious front rows, the catwalk, backstage and models on and off-duty, you get the opportunity to see the images that determine the trends for the season. Highlights of the exhibition include clothes straight off the catwalk, from designers such as Prada, Alexander Wang and Vivien Westwood, as well as a commentary on street style, which has begun to make a big impact on the industry due to the speed with which internet images can reach the public. Another memorable factor of the exhibition is the entire section that has been dedicated to the “pioneer and inspiration” Jane Ashley, whose collection of mostly black-andwhite narrative photographs taken in interesting locations is so unique. The exhibition runs Tuesdays to Saturdays at the Fashion & Textiles Museum, London Bridge, until the 26th February 2012. Tickets are £5 for students.
and more blouses than I thought possible to own. Despite this, French style has its own appeal. Move over British heritage, Victoriana inspired and vintage pieces, the Parisian black blazer has firmly earned its place in my closet’s hall of fame. The most perfect addition to the French minimalist outlook I like to take on fashion is the Louboutin. The patent, ever shiny, trademark red-soled shoe has had a space reserved in my extensive shoe collection for many years. The shoe is a pedestal of the woman’s whole body. The shoes we wear define the way we look at ourselves, judge other women and most of all, how men see us. In a recent talk show interview, Louboutin himself asserted that the confidence gained from a woman wearing a good pair of heels was attractive to men, the centring of gravity made us more shapely, perhaps more sexy. We can see this for ourselves; we see that high heels literally raise our status, making us feel more confident, more powerful and taller. I’m not short, but I love a good high heel. For me, the height is genius; it improves my gait, makes me cross my legs a certain way (à la Marlene Dietrich) and feel cool and confident, providing I’ve practised running for the tube. Image by Kirstin Sinclair, courtesy of Felicities
The collaboration sensation?
Images courtesy of John Galliano
The new trend of a designer/high street partnership Does Jimmy Choo’s name on an H&M product reis far from over. Hanna Ibraheem can’t wait to see ally make it a Jimmy Choo shoe? Eleanor Doughty what’s next... isn’t so sure... You’re walking down Bond Street and see that amazing LV bag in the Selfridges window. Walking on a few more paces, and a passer-by is wearing a killer pair of Louboutins. It is in this moment that you make that silent promise to yourself, you’ll study harder and soon you’ll be able to afford these designer labels. For now, you look at your New Look boots and Topshop satchel – all helped with student discount, of course – and you’re happy with what you have. That is, until a new turn in fashion unveiled before us: the collaboration of high street and designer. In November 2010 high street chain Gap unveiled plans for an exclusive collection created by Italian designer Valentino. At the time, Gap was suffering a loss in profits and had been criticised for changing their iconic logo, only to change it back to the original a week later. However, the decision to team up with the fashion house definitely worked in their favour, being a great success in Italy. Following this success, High Street stores, ranging from GapKids to Topshop, have grasped the new trend. Though the one store to fully catch designer/high street fever has to be H&M, having experienced previous success with Stella McCartney-mania, Jimmy Choo chaos and love for Lanvin, they did not stop there. The popular retailer went on to form a new partnership, one which they could never have predicted would be so successful, Versace for H&M. Versace for H&M quickly gained buzz through it’s appearance on billboards everywhere. Its launch caused chaos amongst shoppers, with many queuing through the night outside the H&M flagship stores. In order to deal with the chaos, each customer was given a wristband, allowing
only ten minutes worth of shopping time for every group of twenty people. Within a matter of minutes, the rails were clear. But was the Italian collection worth the commotion? The works consisted of bright neons, loud leopard prints and thick gold chains, bordering on tacky, having even been regarded as making “the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air look understated”. The collaboration, however, was deemed so successful that a new collection was released, this time only available online. Reeling off the success of the association, H&M have announced their next partnership for 2012, Italian brand Marni. Consuelo Castiglioni has created a range of colour-blocked and African print pieces that will appear in 260 stores worldwide, as well as online. The latest to join the collab crowd? There have been rumours circling that John Galliano will be designing a capsule collection for Zara for a Spring/Summer 2012 release. Although there has been no confirmation as to whether this collaboration is set to go ahead, it would prove popular to all those waiting for his return. The new trend of designer/High Street partnerships is far from over. We are certain to see many more collections hitting the rails at affordable prices. It doesn’t just stop at clothes and shoes collaborations either, as we saw when Jean Paul Gaultier created a lingerie collection especially for La Perla. Even so, whether the material is of the best quality, or the item is worth the money, shoppers across the world will continue to face the queues, the pushing and shoving to get their hands on that wristband – sort of like a golden ticket to the Chocolate Factory, except for a new dress rather than a truffle.
The days of queues for Kate Moss capes, sequin dresses and “exclusive designs” in Topshop stores nationwide might be over but look no further than fashion week schedules for who might be next. The age of the designer-High Street collaboration is well and truly upon us, designers from all spheres are branching out into fast fashion. H&M are pretty keen on the idea of taking on designers to enliven their often basic collections from season to season. The Swedish brand have racked up designers including the elusive Karl Lagerfeld, British beauty Stella McCartney and Dutch avant-garde duo Viktor & Rolf onto their designer guest books. More recently, French powerhouse Lanvin collaborated with H&M, sending crowds flocking to the High Street in anticipation. Whilst all this might appear fantastic on the Wikipedia page of H&M, I’m not sure how sustainable these products are and whether they’re worth purchasing. For students, the appeal is totally there; a chance to own something exclusively designed is certainly worth putting the launch day in your diary for. To me, Lanvin is special and special isn’t exactly the word I’d use to describe High Street retailers and the mass-produced products that they sell. To me, Lanvin should be made to measure, forever. Whilst I’m completely in support of diffusion lines and bringing high fashion to the masses, the idea that someone else half way down the street could be wearing the same shoes as me doesn’t really appeal, whether they’re Jimmy Choo or not. In times of economic strain, consumers for lower priced products are in their hundreds of thousands, but I’d rather not be wearing the same shoe as hundreds of thousands, just because it’s
from a “designer house”. Does Jimmy Choo’s name on an H&M product really make it a Jimmy Choo shoe? I’m not so sure. The next collaboration to be wheeled out of H&M is reputed to be Marni; oh the tragedy! One might say that Marni has sold her soul, quite literally, to the devil; the once chicest of chic label for smart women worldwide has sold itself to the high street and the mass-produced fast fashion conveyer belt. God forbid Marni joins its pal Versace in the fashion pit that is eBay. Amongst the younger generation, collaborations keep coming too; H by Henry Holland sold fabulously in the department store giant Debenhams and opened up the brand to a market of millions that may have never got the opportunity to sample his quirky taste. We could all agree that the last thing we want to see is another pair of Henry Holland for Pretty Polly suspender tights emerging from clubs, bars and cabs everywhere, but the marketing for him has been fantastic. For the consumer, maybe it’s just about how much you want that product. For the student, the idea of the designer collaboration is brilliant, opening up coveted design house products to the wallets of millions. It’s all too easy to indulge ourselves in the temptations of fast fashion without the slightest thought to where it might have come from and who made it. Having Versace sewn into the back of your collar might just make it all a little brighter this winter. Despite this, I’m still in two minds; is it worth queuing for hours on a cold, windy Oxford Street for what we imagine to be a taste of Versace, Marni or Lanvin? Or would you rather save up for that pair of shoes. I know what I’d rather do, and it would be much warmer.
the lazy man’s guide to the heroes and
Robert Downey Jr. is Tony Stark A.K.A. HISTORY:
The troubled son and heir of technology and weapons magnate Howard Stark (one of the scientists who helped create Captain America). A technology and business genius/play-boy whose Amoral lifestyle is abruptly changed when a piece of shrapnel damages his heart to the point where it must be powered (in some versions replaced) by a nuclear core. A changed man, Stark becomes a superhero in order to help those placed in harm’s way by industrial warfare, using an armoured suit of his own design. he’s a witty rogue who does things his own way and never drops his snarky persona, surely epic sparks will fly between him and the straight-laced Captain America.
Yes and no, as all of Stark’s power is drawn from the suit and the core that powers both it and him. With the suit he’s a human tank that can fire bursts of pure energy, use inbuilt mounted weapons (missiles, lasers etc) and of course fly. Without it he’s an average schmo with a bad heart.
Samuel L. Jackson is History:
Colonel Nick Fury
Nick Fury began life in the 60s as a sort of American answer to James Bond. In the comics he is an agent of the organisation S.H.i.e.L.D. which liaises between the CIA, the UN and various superheroes. In the movies however the character is usually referred to as Director Fury, meaning his position is much higher up the ranks and he exists largely as a patriarchal authority figure to the heroes.
Aside from the most bad-ass name EVER, and an equally bad-ass eye-patch, nothing. In the comics he has been known to take something referred to as the Infinity Formula, which counter-acts the aging process, thus making him about 100 years old. However, as he doesn’t appear until the modern-day parts of Captain America we doubt this will be included in the movie.
Scarlett Johansson is Natasha Romanoff A.K.A. History:
In official canon she’s an orphan rescued by Captain America and his sometime collaborator, Wolverine (before the claws), and goes on to become a Russian spy. In the films she’s the personal assistant and bodyguard of Nick Fury. also In the comics she has an intense romance with fellow Avenger Hawkeye, so look out for that.
None, but she’s an expert in martial arts and, stereotypically, ballet. She takes out a whole goon squad of guards by herself in Iron Man 2. Nimble, powerful and remarkably feline; she’s the kind of kick-ass eye-candy that director joss whedon made so famous with his hit show buffy the vampire slayer.
THE INCREDIBLE HULK
Mark Ruffalo is Dr Bruce Banner A.K.A. HISTORY:
A once mild-mannered scientist who is forever altered in an accident involving huge amounts of gamma radiation which causes him to transform into a gigantic, indestructible (and for some reason, green) monster whenever he feels angry or threatened. Whilst being able to do away with many a villain in his mean green form, The Hulk is both unpredictable and uncontrollable, causing Bruce to frequently harm those he cares about and forcing him to live a life of solitude.
Potentially limitless: the more you attack and enrage him the stronger he becomes. bullets and missiles merely bounce off the hulk’s impenetrable skin while He can leap over mountains in a single bound and throw a tank like a shot put.
d villains of the biggest movie of 2012
Jeremy Renner is Clint Barton A.K.A. History:
In the comic universe Barton is the antithesis of Iron Man, losing his parents to a car crash at a young age also but being left to fend for himself in abject poverty. He learns to become a master archer from a travelling circus and bands of criminals. In the films, however, Clint seems to be a thorough military man (appearing briefly as one of S.H.i.e.L.D.’s guards), almost certainly a special ops guy who got referred to Nick Fury due to his uncanny abilities with a bow and arrow.
None really, but like Captain America he’s at the peak of human fitness and a master in most forms of ranged weaponry. His incredible aim and employment of trick arrows (explosive, acid, nets, smoke etc.) make him a lethal force.
Chris Evans is Steve Rogers A.K.A. History:
Originally a piece of WW2 propaganda (the first issue’s cover showed The Cap punching Hitler himself in the face) it tells the story of young scrawny Rogers who fails in his attempts to enlist and fight the Axis powers but instead enrols in a scientific programme to create the perfect soldier. Injected with a secret formula (or super-charged by “vita-rays” depending on the comic you read) which was developed by a defected Nazi scientist, he transforms into a physically superior super-soldier who battles regularly with his nefarious Nazi nemesis Red Skull, as well as being frozen and awoken in the modern day to head The Avengers.
Technically none. However his treatment gives him abnormal, and peak, improvements in strength, endurance, agility and speed. He becomes a genius tactician and his iconic shield is often thrown as a kind of deadly frisbee weapon. Just imagine getting hit in the face by a giant metal shield.
The God of Thunder
Chris Hemsworth is Thor Odinson A.K.A. History:
The son of the patriarchal Norse God/Alien king Odin, he comes from a distant planet known as Asgard and wields his giant hammer Mjolnir. Sent to earth by his father to learn humility, Thor came to use his godly powers to defend humanity from other Aliens as well as the murderous intentions of his bitter step-brother Loki. In the films he defeats Loki, but in so doing destroys the means of returning to Earth. Judging from early trailers these should both be two huge plot points in the film.
The powers of a God; he can fly, he has super strength, he’s practically indestructible. Oh yeah, and he can twat things with a giant hammer. Always useful.
YOUR ENEMY IS NOT WHAT YOU EXPECT
THE POSSIBLE VILLAINS OF THE AVENGERS
LOKI ODINSON A.K.A. THE GOD OF MISCHIEF
EMILE BLONSKY A.K.A. THE ABOMINATION
DR SAMUEL STERNS A.K.A. THE LEADER
The personal protege of none other than Adolph Hitler himself, Johann reinvents himself as a terrorist out to surpass Hitler and either rule the world or destroy it. In the films he UNDERGOES THE SAME SUPER-TREATMENT AS CAPTAIN AMERICA, BUT IS HORRIFICALLY SCARRED BY THE PROCESS. IN THE END HE gets SUCKED INTO A SPACE/TIME RIFT AFTER MEDdLING WITH A POWERFUL aSGARDIAN ARTEFACT, WHICH NICK FURY REVEALS IS NOW IN THE HANDS OF s.h.i.e.l.d. considering loki manages to survive falling into the same rift it’s unlikely we’ve seen the last of johann.
Easily the most complex of the universe’s villains, he certainly isn’t the most An obsessive soldier who deliberately administered himself to some likeable of characters but he is one of the most empathetic. Born as a malevoof the same conditions which created The Hulk in an endless quest for lent alien creature known as a Frost Giant, he was taken in and raised by the ultimate power. The result is a transformation into a spikey, scaly kind king Odin, father of Thor, AS HIS OWN SON BUT HIS ORIGINS WERE KEPT A SECRET monstrosity with similar strengths to The Hulk and a penchant for FROM LOKI UNTIL ADULTHOOD. Overshadowed by his brother throughout his life due evil. He appears in the last Hulk film and is, naturally, defeated. however, to his physical inferiority, he compensates by learning the secrets of the realm promotional webisodes for the film reveal that the military wanted him of Asgard and its magic. we know he’ll feature heavily in the film, but consider- to be integrated into the Avengers instead of The Hulk (as per the recoming it only took one hero to dispatch him last time we doubt it’ll require a whole mendation of the hulk’s arch nemesis general thaddeus “thunderbolt” team to tackle just him. whether or not LOKI redeems himself or continues to ross), so he’s still imprisoned somewhere - waiting to get out. wreak havoc is yet to be seen.
A scientist altered by that pesky gamma radiation that seems to physically alter people left, right and centre. Sterns has his brain enlarged by his encounter with the radiation and, as per usual, tries to conquer the world as a result. Sterns crops up just at the end of the last Hulk film as he begins to transform after The Abomination knocks some of the Hulk’s infected blood into a wound on his forehead.
JOHANN SCHMIDT A.K.A. RED SKULL
English Language and Linguistics, 2nd Year “Fun, Smart, Outgoing.”
The location of our date was Fat Cat restaurant; somewhere I’d never been before but have wanted to go for a while. Understandably, I was a little nervous to begin with - but not for long at all. Meeting my date was the funniest moment: we couldn’t help but look at each other and burst out with laughter as we realised we already knew each other. Putting that aside, we decided to try to make the most of the night anyway! The restaurant was gorgeous, so we
Film Studies, 3rd Year “Generous, Personable, Dreamer.”
I applied for the Qupid date partly for a laugh and partly out of curiosity. Waiting for the my date to arrive, I kept thinking to myself: “I hope she’s not boring, I hope I don’t constantly need to lead the conversation, I hope she’s not much taller than me!” The moment I saw Rachel I started to smile: we already knew one another as fellow teammates at cheerleading. I reassured myself that I could now not
decided to take full advantage of the free food and wine. Luckily, seeing as we already knew each other it wasn’t difficult to keep the conversation going. The night actually turned out really well: the food was delicious (especially the dessert!) and we had a free bottle of wine so no complaints! We got to know each other even better and realised we actually have quite a lot in common. We got a bit carried away with the conversation and didn’t end up leaving until pretty late. The night was such good fun, and it was great to have been sent on a blind date with someone I could talk to so easily . It may have taken a lot of persuasion by friends at first to get me to go on a blind date, however the night went unexpectedly well and I’d definitely encourage other friends of mine to give it a chance. Although the date might not have been quite what either of us had expected it was well worth it, and I hope that we’ll stay close friends. Vijay is a friendly, interesting, funny guy and I’m so glad I got the chance to get to know him better. only get a free meal but a laugh with a mate as well! After a bit of a giggle, our conversation turned to the serious business of cheerleading injuries but as time went on and the food and drink arrived, we started to relax and talk about ourselves. We were surprised at one another’s stories as we spoke of our past relationships and how people see and treat us. It turned out that we are similarly misread and shocked at our difficulties in finding a lasting decent relationship. Rachel is great fun to talk to and she and I share many interests, some of which I thought were rare and unusual. We also have a similar attitude to life, with a firm idea of what we would like to achieve in the future. I realised that Rachel is not only beautiful but has a great personality and decent principles too! She is great conversationalist and has a great sense of humour. We have even arranged for us to go running together.
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 email@example.com
Qupid’s Verdict As the third Qupid in as many issues, the pressure was on to prove my salt by pairing up a truly superb duo. It shouldn’t be difficult, then, to imagine my despair when, upon arrival, my potential soulmates turned to one another and laughed: not only had they met before but they attended the same practices and sessions as every week as part of the cheerleading team! I reassured myself that there have probably been worse beginnings to blind dates - at least they hadn’t been romantically involved before! Watching the potential lovebirds interact, it was clear that they had spent time together before but I suspected it had been limited to group outings. Probably rather boozy ones, if my previous experiences of cheerleaders are anything to go by! I hoped a little time alone just the two of them might be just the thing to spark a new attraction! After the business of headshots and a brief snap of the pair together inside the restaurant, I decided I could not remain an awkward date voyeur
any longer and made a dash for it, calling my editor on the way to berate him for sending me into the lions den with a pair who already knew one another. It sounds as though the evening quickly became relaxed, more so than previous dates, as the conversation turned to their shared interests of running and cheerleading. I was pleased to hear the pair had touched on more intimate issues as well, sharing tales of their luck - or lack thereof - in love. It would seem the pair will be meeting up again outside cheerleading - they’ve arranged to go running together. Perhaps not the most romantic way to get sweaty together , but I suppose it’s a start! I’m unsure whether the pair connected as more than friends, both are keeping their feelings on the matter close to their hearts, but it seems they had an enjoyable evening and became closer friends as a result. Perhaps things will develop, I’ll just have to wait and see! And so, it is with little regret that I hand the baton of matchmaking to Cub’s new Qupid, the lovely Bryony Orr. May all her dates be successful!