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qmunicate issue 74 • 22/1/2010 •



contents 04

news Coming Soon • Manuary • Point/Counter-Point: Labour Party • Uni Funding • KitKats • The Ballot Box


features Ruaraidh J MacIntyre • January Transfers• 2010 • Reboots • Burns • Interview: Malcolm Middleton •


View from the top... Hello and welcome back to qmunicate, I hope you had an enjoyable festive period and are settling back in. It was good to see everyone back at a capacity Cheesy Pop last week. The Union is hitting the ground running this term and we’ve already seen the debut of Amateur Theatre in Jim’s which sold out on it’s first night! This Monday sees another new venture with the inaugural Burns Supper, which includes two drams of fine whisky, a three-course meal and a ceilidh for only £15. We’re determined to bring fresh ideas to the table this term and we really want to hear what the membership would like to see in the Union so please email, drop in or attend committees. At last Monday’s Board Meeting the Board of Management discussed how the Union can help with fundraising for the people of Haiti. We’ll be raising funds and planning special events and we would really appreciate your support. Staying on charities, I’m delighted to say that we managed to raise just short of £2,000 for charity last term so thanks for your continued support for worthwhile causes!


reviews • Live: Twilight Sad, Xcerts• CD: Frightened Rabbit, Hot Chip, Lightspeed Champion, Sambassadeur, Owl City • Film: A Single Man, The Road & 44 Inch Chest •

other 10 Things: #6 • • I Saw You • Who Are Ya? Kevin Devine • What’s On

Over the next few weeks the Board intend to discuss the ban on the sale of Nestle products, which has been in place for over a decade. The Union has been a proud member of the Baby Milk Action campaign but the time has come to assess if the boycott is still relevant to the membership. We’d appreciate your feedback on this to ensure that the decision is representative of the majority. As an aside, Ladies First: The History of the Queen Margaret Union book is now finished and will be released in the next month. Copies will be sold online with Amazon taking pre-order and in the Union. It’s a brilliant read and covers the entire 120 year history of the QM. I hope to see you at our events throughout the next few weeks! Aaron. qmunicate.magazine@

qmunicate is © Queen Margaret Union. All work is © its authors 2009. Views expressed do not necessarily represent those of the Queen Margaret Union.

Edited by Iain Smith with Katie McQuater and Simon Wallace Film and Music edited by Laura Crean and Andy Davies Writen by Ruaraidh J MacIntyre, Andrew Grozier, Nina Scott, Kate Goldie, Aaron Murray, Oliver Milne, Adam Samson, Siobhan McCulloch, Patrick Hughes, Emma Bainbridge, Jenny Nordman, Chris Hall, Chris Mace, Liam Hainey, Kirsten Murray, Alison Wilson, Sarah Joy, Nick Green, Lewis MacKenzie, David Bradley, Tobias Wilson, Lucy Jones and Fraser Sutherland Thanks to Surprise Adverts, Andy Dunlop, Duncan Usher, Abi Allsopp, SarcMark Photographs by Kevin Devine, Iain Smith, David Shrigley and kitay and atomicShed(via flickr) Cover by Simon Wallace Printing by Forward Graphics


Coming Soon... QMU Debating Society

New Theatre 2

Thursday • 28th January • 7.30pm

Monday • 8th February • 8pm

The QM debating society returned to action last week and continues on the 28th with a debate not to be missed. Get in on the action by coming along to the meeting, always fancied having a go but never got round to trying it out? All experience levels are welcome, there’s no elitism here.

Following the huge success of the debut of New Theatre in Jim’s, round two looks to go even bigger and better. Coming to you in early February, the QM’s latest venture takes another piece of new student theatre and puts it right where you can see it. No need to crawl to the Citz or trek to the Tron, New Theatre in Jim’s is all you need to experience the joys of the theatre for a wonderfully student-friendly The Debating Society is the QM’s latest club, and is designed to let those price. of you how love to argue, do so productively in an environment where no one is likely to get punched. Liam Hainey and Ross Mitchell will lead How much is it? You say. Five pounds, I say and that includes a panini you through the process if you’ve never participated in a proper debate and a pint of either Stella, Tennants, Olde English or a soft drink of your before, and seasoned debators have the chance to hone their skills in a choice. Bargainous. Tickets are on sale from Monday 25th January, and relaxed, friendly environment. following the sell-out success of Ashleigh Willis’ It’s Not A Pipe last week, it’s probably best to bag your tickets early. They’ll be down in the QM The subject for the debates are chosen by the members, and range from reception, ask the lovely gentleman or lady who sits there and he’ll sort the ludicrusly entertaining to highly topical political subjects. It’s a great you out. way to get to know some like-minded students and try your hand at the art of debating. Whilst the 8th of February’s show is yet to be confirmed at the time of going to print, It’s sure to be moving/hilarious/mindblowing and most Stay tuned to qmunicate in the near future for more information on importantly, in full 3D. You don’t even need to wear ugly sunglasses. special debate events coming in the near future as we head towards the 2010 general election. Theatre, eh? Like the cinema, but less polished.

Burns’ Night Supper & Ceilidh Monday • 25th January • 8pm This January, the QM hosts the Burns’ Night Supper & Ceilidh, in order to celebrate the birthday of Scotland’s most prominent historical figure, the national bard Robert Burns. The event will be held in association with The QMU Whisky Club and The GU Celtic Music Group. This year marks the 251st anniversary of Burns’ birth, and traditionally Burns’ Night is a celebration of the poet’s life, work and heritage. The QM Burns’ Supper will include a traditional three-course meal and at least two drams of whisky. The Supper will follow the tradition of a recital of The Selkirk Grace, as well as a Toast to the Haggis and poetry readings. The post-supper Ceilidh then gives you the opportunity to dance your cares away, Rabbie style, so be ready to Strip The Willow in a night of traditional Scottish dancing and music. This event is a great way to discover the traditions and customs upheld at Burns’ Night, especially if you are female - traditionally, Burns’ Night suppers are all-male occasions and many Burns’ clubs around the country maintained this custom until recently, with a ‘Toast to the Lassies’ to acknowledge their absent feminine counterparts. At the QM, though, doors are open to everyone to enjoy this uniquely Scottish occasion. So don your kilts and your frocks, come along and be prepared for an evening of fun and tradition. Tickets cost £15 and are available from QM Reception. Included in the ticket price is: 3-course traditional meal, at least 2 drams of whisky and entry to the Ceilidh.

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Funding Crisis for Unis Buckfast Bother Chris Hall


ord Mandelson has sent a letter to the Higher Education Funding Council to inform them of forthcoming cuts. The funding will be reduced by approximately £533 million pounds for the next full academic year with total proposed cuts announced so far to exceed £900 million over three years.

The Business secretary has also said that many universities have taken on more students than they were supposed to and have asked the HEFC to claim back the funding given to these extra students. He said that reducing the number of students accepted to university will help to ‘protect quality and access to higher education’. These cuts are supposed to encourage universities to run more fast track courses for those who aim to enter vocational courses and foundation courses for those who wish to broaden their general education. The fast track courses will be run over two years and will contain the same material which is in the three year courses. It will use

the summer vacations as extra terms. These are being aimed at mature students who are interested in completing the course but don’t wish to be involved in the fuller student experience.

The Russell group, of which the University of Glasgow is a part, has released a statement which comes out against the cuts. The statement claims that this could bring the education system to a “meltdown”. The statement also went on to say “Such huge cuts in university budgets would have a devastating effect not only on students and staff, but also on Britain’s international competitiveness”. As the University of Glasgow doesn’t receive its funding from the HEFC, this reduction will not directly affect its day-to-day running. But this could indirectly cause students who see funding being reduced in Britain to think that this will diminish the quality of education. If fewer students apply to the university then the Scottish government could see this as a reason to also reduce funding.

KitKat: Giving FairTrade the finger Chris Mace


attle lines were redrawn between Néstle and boycotters as the controversial chocolate manufacturer has been awarded the FairTrade mark for its Kit-Kat confectionary. The Queen Margaret Union has been a long standing supporter of the boycott because of the irresponsible way the company markets its baby foods in developing countries. However Harriet Lamb of the Fair Trade Foundation says, “the significant amount of cocoa that goes into Kit-Kats will open whole new possibilities for farmers, giving them a more sustainable livelihood.” Mark Brady Campaign Co-ordinator of Baby Milk Action, however, doesn’t agree, “We have added FairTrade Kit-Kat to our list of boycotted products and suggest that anyone who is concerned about promoting real change for people in developing countries support the boycott and buy products from companies

with positive business values not just token initiatives.” QM’s Support and Services lieutenant, Fraser Sutherland, defended the QM‘s longstanding policy on the sale of Néstle products, “ It is important for the Union to take a stand on ethical issues, especially where a company takes such a blatant disregard for the wellbeing of consumers and producers. Néstle’s promoting of babymilk formula in Sub-Saharan Africa has been nothing short of immoral. The rebranding of Kit-Kats under the FairTrade banner is highly ethically misleading as it represents only 3% of their total chocolate products. While this could be seen as a welcome move, it is worrying that Néstle doesn’t consider 97% of their cocoa farmers deserving of fair pay.” However, some members of the Union are calling on a revoke of the boycott in light of the recent revelations. Pick up the next issue of qmunicate for a special point/counter-point discussion of the subject.

Katie McQuater


leading Scottish clergyman has heavily criticised Buckfast, the tonic wine made by monks. Considered by some as the scourge of Scotland, it is not the first time Buckfast -known locally as Buckie- has been blamed for the anti-social behaviour caused by drinking. An investigation has revealed that the popular drink has, in the past three years, been mentioned in 5,000 crime reports filed by Strathclyde Police. The often aggressive nature of these crimes – according to police figures, almost one in ten was violent – has led authorities to lay blame with the consumption of alcohol. The condemnation that comes from the Right Rev. Bob Gillies, Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney, however, is clearly aimed towards the makers of Buckfast, the Benedictine monks of the Buckfast Abbey. He addresses their moral responsibility in the production of the drink, claiming their Christian values may be lacking. Speaking on a BBC Scotland Investigates programme, Bishop Gillies said: ‘What sort of moral double-take is there that these monks can be so closely associated with that product and knowingly aware of the social damage as well as the medical damage it is doing to the kids who take it in such vast volumes?’ With each bottle containing 11 units of alcohol, it is undisputed that over-consumption of Buckfast could be damaging. Leading to anxious and aggressive behaviour, the high caffeine content alone could also be blamed for levels of anti-social behaviour. Industry bosses, however, have hit back at the criticism, claiming that responsibility lies with consumers of the drink, not those who produce and distribute it. The production process of Buckfast has barely changed since the 1880s, when French monks made their settlement at the abbey in Devon. The commercial company in charge of Buckfast’s distribution denied any need for a change in the recipe.

qmunicate • 5

Manuary the meme Glasgow students’ create internet phenomenon through Facebook David Bradley


anuary is a month-long celebration of masculinity, the brainchild of University of Glasgow students Chris Hall and Mark Stewart. Inspired by the success of Movember, (in which gentlemen were encouraged to grow a moustache throughout the month of November to raise money for prostate cancer) the two set up a joke Facebook event entitled “Manuary”. Manuary is described as “a month long celebration of masculinity, with activities enshrining masculinity: mock fighting, meat, beer and chivalry.” and has now gathered more than 30,000 members from all over the world. Chris says “It was when I was in the middle of Movember; I wondered what else could be made into a month for fun. I remembered someone suggesting Decembeard and I figured that it could be Manuary.” And there it began, a month where all us red blooded, carnivorous, borderline alcoholic but never the less chivalrous men could do exactly what we always do, but feel that little bit more special for doing it. “


The Ballot Box with Andrew Grozier (Views expressed in qmunicate do not necessarily represent those of the Queen Margaret Union.) Ousting the person in charge of a nation is something that should be left to the experts; think Castro, Guevara, Washington, Wallace etc. It shouldn’t be tried by morons like Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt. The Labour MPs recently issued a cunning email/text message (they’re up to scratch with their technology nowadays, y’know) encouraging their Labour peers to have a “secret ballot”, or vote of confidence/no confidence on Gordon Brown’s leadership, claiming this would help to bring the party

6 • qmunicate

The event’s popularity could be compared to that of internet sensations Chuck Norris and other masculine figures, but Chris reiterates that any assumptions that Manuary aims to promote violence, binge drinking or sexism would be an over-analysis of what was intended to be a joke between friends. Chris says “If anyone seriously believes any of the Manuary principles are related to sociological crises, they need to reevaluate their sesnses of humour. There are much worse things on the internet, our only intent was to hopefully brighten a few peoples’ day, man and woman alike. I think we’ve achieved this.” Manuary’s female counterpart, Femruary, has been distinctly less successful, garnering less than two hundred attendees to celebrate activites such as “giggling, cocktails” and “shopping”. It’s rumoured that other themed months will emerge in the forseeable future, with Homoeroctober already an established Facebook event and Gaypril rumoured to be appearing shortly. together. Before we start on this stupid fucking idea, they also had no idea what’d happen if the vote went ahead and actually did find that no-one wanted Brown. Their weak list of alternatives has popped up a few times on a potential leader to replace the PM. Well, ‘‘list’’ is a bit adventurous perhaps, more just, erm, Ainsworth or Miliband. However, both by necessity are ruled out, as Ainsworth potentially looks even worse on camera than Brown, and Miliband still wears fucking Huggies. Evidently this was not considered, hence, morons. Anyway, I’ve emailed the PM offering a suitable punishment for Hoon and Hewitt; namely that they be left to mop up the blood, sweat, stale beer and semen from the O2 Arena floor after the upcoming Lady Gaga concert. No thanks needed Mr Brown, just doing my duty as a citizen... Speaking of Lady Gaga, Iris Robinson, the wife of Northern Ireland’s -soon to be former, no doubt- First Minister, recently went off her nut after revealing that she had adulterous sex with a child and bought it a cafe to put his

toys in. If you’d like to go throw tomatoes at said cafe, I don’t condone it. I just encourage it. Don’t feel sorry for Iris; she stole the money from you. Technically it’s your cafe, come to think of it. The Chilcot inquiry paid some attention to Alastair Campbell recently, who kindly helped us see that in the end, Tony Blair was just a warmongering Bush sucker after all. We found that Blair had decided, come what may, (irrelevant UN backing or not) that he’d be off to war with Iraq, and that the dossier wasn’t “sexed up”, just full of ludicrous claims that were not fully untrue, so therefore deemed to be true... all makes sense now eh? That’s what happens when inquiries try to get answers from a spin doctor. Sheesh. David Cameron got a photo of himself, “sexed it up” like some kind of Iraq dossier, then stuck it all over Britain so people would vote for him. And as predicted the Copenhagen Summit went fucking nowhere – don’t want to say I told you so, but...

Point/Counter-Point Was the Labour Party’s “Leadership Crisis” just a cynical PR ploy? The most recent episode in government was, for once, not another expenses scandal, but this time the leadership crisis, in which Labour Ministers Patricia Hewitt and Geoff Hoon attempted to encourage MPs to partake in an internal secret ballot, indicating whether or not they had confidence in the Prime Minister’s leadership. Whatever the outcome, the ministers involved stated that their intention was to strengthen the party and restore divide. However, could it be that the failed plot was not a genuine attempt at assertion of Brown’s status, but a cynical and carefully orchestrated PR stunt? - If you want to write for or against something in Point/Counter-Point, email with your ideas. The QMU Debating Society meet weekly on Thursdays at 6.30pm in Committee Room 3.

Lucy Jones

Fraser Sutherland



etty arguments and sordid squabbles traditionally mark the breakdown of a long relationship. Who expects anything different in politics? The epidemic of cat-fighting and back-stabbing breaking out amongst Brown’s government is as predictable as the next celebrity break-up, except maybe, guiltily, less fun to watch. So the latest internal scuffle, a secret ballot to once and for all kick the Prime Minister out of “the gang”, came as no surprise. What was a little more surprising was how Gordon Brown, known scapegoat and all round blame-bearer, managed to rise above the whole affair sustaining very little damage. Of course his critics might argue that Brown’s grasp on power is so tenuous that he has reached the otherwise enviable state of being untouchable – Why flog a dead horse? But apparently, prior to the would-be coup, the Prime Minister was having a pretty good week. A bit of Tory bashing here, a spot of sledging there perhaps, Labour was having, if not an excellent start to the New Year, certainly a better week than they’d seen in a while. Something that I certainly wouldn’t have noticed unless I’d read it in a front page news article blaring about a failed governmental revolt. Cunning plan on the PM’s behalf? Some nasty, suspicious minds would say so indeed. To be fair, it’s never going to be front page news; “Prime Minister Performs Adequately”, or; “Gordon DOESN’T Balls It Up This Week”. But for a sickly government, it seems that any achievement is news and no publicity is bad publicity. Perhaps Brown wanted to send back a big, borrowed “Yes we Can” to Mr Cameron’s oh-so smooth-faced insistences that “We can’t go on like this!” Admittedly, a weekend of bickering and the eventual rallying of some extremely lukewarm support is hardly a great advertisement for the government. But given the level of national expectation, Brown has done well. He’s still in power, he’s not in the papers for having messed up in any noticeable way, and, since none of his potential successors had the guts to make a serious move for his post, he has actually become the only man for the job, by default. And then of course there are the ringleaders. A former Chief Whip, and a former Health Secretary. Emphasis on former, please. Brown may not cut an impressive figure, but he does in comparison to these two. One of them looks like a sheep. The party is embarrassed, and for once it’s not by their leader. I am not for one moment suggesting that Brown will have a chance at election through proving that he can at least still maintain some level of control within his own party. Nor that this brief success (or at any rate not an unqualified failure) will carry him through the opinion polls for even a few weeks. Simply that Brown’s government has reached the point where any scrap of positive news is required in defence of their position, and even a fresh row is better than another look at the veritable traffic jam of national problems.

he attempted coup of Gordon Brown’s leadership highlights the inner turmoil that has been grasping the Labour Party since Brown’s inauguration as party leader. Ever since Blair quit in his over most grand manner, the loyalists to him in the party have been planning to punt Brown into the political scrapheap. Attempts to oust the prime minister before have failed quite badly before but this was seen as the last chance to change the leader before the general election. The failure of the plot doesn’t point to the fact that Hoon and Hewitt (the ringleaders of the plot) were attempting a Public Relations stunt to increase their profile, although it does give a glaring insight into their incompetence to judge the current mood of Labour MPs. The most recent plan to oust the Prime Minister comes at a time when most political commentators are considering the war between Gordon Brown and David Cameron to become Prime Minister. But now Mr Brown has a political battle to fight on another front, and this time it comes from behind his own lines. The problem for the would-be overthrowers was that they launched the plot to depose the Prime Minister when Mr Brown was answering one of the most successful Prime Minister’s Questions since he has been in the role. Ripping to shreds the Conservatives’ plans for inheritance tax and Married Couples’ Allowance, he had the Labour backbenchers in an cheering frenzy at the lack of Mr Cameron’s poise. This led to the failure of any single Cabinet minister to back the coup and a number of backbenchers voicing it as a “disgrace to the party”. So this surely means that Gordon Brown is safe, and the party is square behind him? Just what is needed in running up to one of the most crucial elections in the past 10 years. Well the answer, put simply, is no. Although the Cabinet did eventually rally round Mr Brown, they took their time. Each of them waiting for another to make the first move and oust Mr Brown to let another lead the party into the General election. Though, rather surprisingly, they wilted and somewhat awkwardly stood behind Brown. This is due to Brown listening to the old phrase “keep your friends close, but your enemies closer”, and keeping most of the would-be candidates for Prime Minister on the Cabinet, thus forcing them to back their leader in order to keep their high-profile positions intact. So what now for the Labour Party? An election campaign with very little focus on Brown himself will be the most likely tactic, especially since Brown isn’t seen as a very popular figure with the public. Expect a change in leadership after the election however, if Cameron is successful in leading the Conservatives to Number Ten, which maybe quite likely even with Cameron’s smoothed over face.

qmunicate • 7


ruaraidh j MAcIntyre qmunicate’s hirsute columnist on what to do when it all goes wrong Once again I’ve had an article sprung upon me, and once again I respond with the speed of a gerbil travelling up the large intestine of Richard Gere. Unfortunately I’ve broken my laptop and have had to write this on one of the PCs in the Kelvin Building; they say I can use it as long as I promise not to divide by zero again.

good as new. With that I realised I’d phoned the wrong person, I mean I had phoned my dad, but he’s a man who types with one finger and frequently asks if he could get a keyboard that goes from A-Z.

convinced my wife that he was me. How the milkman got my laptop, I’ll never know. Or how the postie got in on the action as well.

With laptop in hand I strode purposefully into the repair shop. My budget wasn’t exactly a lot, Like a dog with a laptop-shaped bone, I went so it was good to know the repairman also sold back to hitting it, figuring I could either fix bread and milk, which I was sorely in need of. The reason my laptop broke remains a mystery it, or sate my anger and hatred when it was I knew he was a skilled tradesman by his wide to me. I don’t think it was because I used it reduced to mere chips and robot blood. During range of expert tools; chisel, hammer, saw, almost exclusively in the sauna, or that I often one of my rage blackouts I managed to punch welding rod, flat head AND Phillips screwdriver, cleaned it with strong solvents and drilled my laptop back into working order. I realised it was a veritable Aladdin’s cave of computer air holes in it to help vent excess internet. I that there must have been a loose connection technology. think most probably it was caused by some somewhere, and that in holding part of the misinformation about flames making it run casing down I could convince it to bring the Having seen morning television, I now know faster, combined with trying to make it more magical lights back. that it’s quite in vogue to haggle over things. eco-friendly by outfitting it with some wooden I asked how much it would cost to repair and panelling. As soon as it was powered up, I went about was told he didn’t know. I asked if he could deleting all the naked photos of myself, bank see what was wrong with it then give me a In desperation I phoned my father: details, incriminating evidence of crimes quote. That would still cost me £20. I tried to “My laptop won’t turn on.” committed, fan fiction stories involving myself haggle. I paid £30. I came back a week later “Have you tried turning it on and off again?” joining the crew of Star Trek and boning aliens and the machine had been fixed, but it was “Yes.” in a Riker kind of role, and it culminated in the going to cost me. He’d had to replace 2 of the “It’s broken.” transfer of nearly twelve hours of pornography 5 internets on the machine, the screen had to to a fireproof box I’ve now buried in the back be varnished, the keys had the chrome plating So upon the discovery of my screen not turning garden. retouched, and I now had a bangin’ spoiler on on, I did what any man confronted with broken the back. technology does. Hit it. Repeatedly. I turned it The reason for all of this is because I’ve listened on and off again, still nothing. Having grown to the media and I’m now aware that I’m but It cost me £200, although admittedly I could’ve up in the 90’s I’m more than capable of fixing one step away from foreigners stealing my got a new one for that, and it only runs on electronics; so I took out the battery, blew on credit card details, my personal information, weekdays, and when I log in to my online it, and put it back in. Still nothing. I mean, this everything. I had a laptop repaired once banking I have to put my password in at least technique works for everything. Someone before, and after having my information stolen, 3 times, but at least no-one has stolen my beside you is dying? Most paramedics will pull two weeks later I found a man in bed with my identity. And that’s why this article was written aside their tongue, blow in their mouth, and wife. How did he do it you ask? She told me. by the one and only Craig Smith Ruaraidh Jay hey presto! That elderly Italian plumber is as This bastard had stolen my information, and MacIntyre.

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all change Tobias Wilson and Andy Davies contemplate the value of the transfer window It’s January; it may be cold, you may be broke from Christmas and fashioning disguises to avoid your dissertation adviser, but in football it means only one thing: signings. That’s right, it’s the beautiful game’s equivalent of Hungry Hungry Hippos; in which managers desperately try to sign players to fill in for injuries, departures or players that are just shit. The transfer window comes but twice a year, for a combined total of five months. Four mind-numbingly dull ones in the summer and an exciting scramble in January. However, it wasn’t always this way. Time was that players could hop on and off teams like a stripper at a United Christmas party. But in 2002 FIFA and the EU sat down and decided to regulate the transfers between all the separate leagues of Europe, and thus the modern transfer window was created. Since its introduction, many have called for the removal of a transfer window. We here at qmunicate towers have decided to outline the pros and cons of such a system, and decide whether it benefits the game as a whole. Our decision will be sent immediately to the head of FIFA, and we are informed it will be taken into sincere consideration. Well, let’s start with the good. The transfer window allows the managers, players and fans to focus on football. It lends stability to the teams, and stops the likes of Chelsea and Man City from simply buying a new player when one isn’t performing. The window means that once the season has started, all the cards are on the table and the game can be played. It’s far more interesting to watch how a manager

will shape his team around the players he has, rather than simply replacing them. The January window can be a lifeline for clubs at the bottom of the league. If you are flailing around on the precipice, a couple of choice players could save the future of your club. Simply avoiding relegation is a money-spinner to the tune of tens of millions, and could prevent a spiral of debt a-la Leeds. It is also an excellent concept dramatically, as a twist in January can change the entire outcome of the season, and it is genuinely exciting to watch as the transfers play out.

here and there, there is nothing but tedious supposition telling us how a Stoke defender might be about to move on loan, or Man City might be about to buy Ronaldo for £55 billion. They won’t, and if they do, they’ll do it at the very last moment. Before the windows, transfers just happened. There was less of the bullshit, and more genuine surprises at any point throughout the season.

Also, remember Cristiano Ronaldo? Remember his slimy hair? And his slimy face? And his oh-so-slimy personality? Well, he’s gone now. But remember how long that took? Waking up every morning to check football news to find a news story along the lines of “EXCLUSIVE RONALDO TO REAL MADRID CERTAINTY IS CERTAIN”. Every goddamn day. If it wasn’t for the transfer window that’s what every day of every season would be like.

The impact of the transfer window is critical outside of football’s elite. Lower league clubs need a smaller squad with saleable assets to stay financially viable. This, however, leaves a team susceptible to injuries or being forced to endure the performances of John Eustace for a prolonged period of time. The emergency loan system helps to a degree, but many clubs rely on the quick-fire sale of key assets to simply survive: without this, teams can teeter on the brink of existence, as seen at Watford last month. Free trade is hugely important for smaller teams, and gives them the chance to demand a fairer price for their players, as and when it may be required.

So now to put on the “Won’t somebody think of the children (who support League One teams)!” bleeding-heart sympathy act, and thus contradict the rest of this article. “Excitement, Drama, Sam Matterface!” I hear my colleague shout in a grammatically-stunted manner across the press room. Well, yes, Sky Sports News with lovely Georgie or Kelly at midnight on January 21st is quite the pant moistener (not in that way...), but aside from a few hours

The transfer windows certainly inject a little bit of interest in the short term, but the long term impact of stunting the trade of clubs that are currently fighting against administration and the uneven playing field generated by the Premier League’s TV money should not be ignored. Just remember that, as you masturbate furiously over Millie Clode (or Ed Chamberlain) announcing the latest megabucks transfer to Real Madrid.

qmunicate • 9


2010 Twenty Ten

Seems like a while ago, that millenium thing happened and people were all excited about what would happen in the decade ahead, did anyone actually get any of their predictions right? Not really, but then, ten years is a long time. Instead, we’ve chosen to write about what we feel you can expect in the next 11 and a half months. Tips for the next big things, important diary dates and loads of other shite, spewed from the minds of the qmunicate team in order to enlighten you, remind you


Politics Liam Hainey


wenty-ten will be a very significant year for British politics, mainly because of the general election coming up this summer. The vast likelihood is that this election will bring an end to thirteen years of New Labour rule, consigning Gordon Brown to the political dustbin and bringing in a brand new Prime Minister. Most are tipping Tory leader David Cameron to be the next PM and the polls would seem to agree. However, it is even more likely that a Facebook-based campaign organised by the disillusioned masses who are bored of the same old parties winning all the elections will begin in order to get some real change in Britain. So expect to see Zack de la Rocha and Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine delivering their maiden speeches in the House of Commons some time after May. While this may seem radical, what we would still have would be image-obsessed hypocrites lying to us. Remember your vote does make a difference. Much more important however will be the QMU elections. This will be the big one deciding who will form next year’s board and, excitingly, who will be our next President. Whatever the outcome, the person who wins the race for President will probably be someone we all like more than the next Prime Minister and will almost certainly do more that will directly affect you and me in our daily lives. The Queen Margaret Union general election. The one that really matters.

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of the fun things in life or just give you the chance to say “who doesn’t already know this stuff, fucking pish”. One final note: it’s definitely not two=thousand-and-ten, or even twothousand-ten. It’s twenty-ten, in the same vein as nineteen-sixty, not one thousand-nine-hundred-and-sixty. Learn it now, or forever be “that guy. The one who always gets stuff wrong”.


Film Siobhean McCulloch


n stark contrast to last awards seasons’ phenomenal perfomance by British films in cinemas and in awards, twenty-ten looks to be a bad year for British cinema. With British cinema being shunned by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association in this years Golden Globes, this does not bode well for the upcoming awards season. Granted this normally anglophile association favours American films, the blame cannot be squarely laid at their feet, as British films were poor and lacklustre towards the end of 2009. With any luck, British cinema will return to the forefront this year, however with the amount of Hollywood blockbusters being released, this is truly a fond hope. Hollywood has truly pulled their finger out this upcoming year with the release of a film adaptation of Prince of Persia – The Sands of Time, which promises to fare a lot better than its game-movie brethren, as well as several comic-book hero movies, including Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Kick Ass, Iron Man 2 and Jonah Hex, yet the fates of our favourite superheroes Batman and Spiderman are still closely-guarded secrets. Harry Potter fans will not be disappointed, as the first part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is due to release in November. Complete all this with the awesome-looking A-Team movie, and all in all, a busy and satisfying year for movie-goers everywhere.


Fashion Kate Goldie


ull out that classic 80s maroon number thats hiding at the back of your Mum’s cupboard and get cosy, this year is all about that stylish piece that everyone forgets, the jumper. You could go oversized and furry, minimal and block coloured, or even push the boat out and get some applique detail with sparkles, material or even better both. Just don’t ever think frumpy. I will not advocate leggings, or even jeggings, 2010 needs to see less of the camel-toe look. Nightime wear should be looking more like bedtime attire, and by that I do not mean flannel. Instead of an all over floral pattern, try something a bit more subtle and delicate such as lace. Playsuits, although making the task of going to the bathroom much lengthier, are a nice alternative to dresses, and are much more forgiving compared to the body-con look of last season.


Science/Tech Sarah Rankin


ablet PCs, particularly Apple’s Macbook Touch, and ‘systems-ona-chip’ are going to be big in 2010, and while I’m probably one of the worst people to give an opinion on technology (we have a mutual disliking) they seem to be quite handy. They’re designed to be more light-weight, contain lots of applications (apps?) but also have a much longer battery life than anything on the market right now, some even claiming they last a couple of days. With security risks always posing a big problem in the e-world, there will be development of more safety fixtures to try and protect everyone’s personal info and business documents that are all online these days. There’s always the chance this will be the year people give up on talking altogether and just ‘tweet’.

Science is also heavily reliant on technology at the moment and it seems highly possible that this may be the year that we’ll start to barcode our DNA or create digital specimens (e-types) which will help Guys, I think it is time to give up the plaid look. It is tolerable during identify every single species in the world ever. Apparently. There will the day, but just go out on a Saturday night and you will see that the also be research on pretty much everything, from the discovery of DNA lumberjack shirt is no longer a look to make you stand out from the damage in patients with FRDA and the methods to try and deal with it, crowd. Instead you could adopt the previous style tip of the jumper, or if to research on how a parasite can manipulate the sex lives of its host. you want to go for a more out-there look a denim shirt and denim jeans Of course, nothing will be as important as when the Hadron is fired up is the way forward. Denim on denim, style advice for 2010. again in February and we’re all sucked into oblivion.


Sport Patrick Hughes


Music Jenny Nordman



The Champions League will be a mere formality as players will be itching to get on that plane and strut their stuff on the biggest stage of all - the World Cup. Unfortunately Scotland will not be playing a part in the tournament but they can surely cheer on neighbouring countries, such as Spain or France.

The industry is changing, and the current solution seems to be live performances; no matter the size or age of the band. AC/DC will squeeze their beer-bellies into their school uniforms once again, and Depeche Mode, finding the world too small, are doing a ‘Tour of the Universe’. The festival tickets are selling like ice cream on a sunny day. Here in Scotland, The Strokes, Soulwax and Friendly Fires can be seen at Rock Ness, and adventurous people should check out the European festivals, such as Roskilde in Denmark.

new decade is finally upon us, and what an exciting sporting e have an interesting year and decade to come. It has never calendar we have to look forward to. In Football, 2010 is shaping been easier to record music, and no doubt everyone will soon up to be a classic, with the African Cup of Nations giving football carry their own studio in their iPhone, along with a library of fans a taste of what to look forward to at this summer’s World Cup. every song ever released.

What would the summer be without Wimbledon and the famous SW1, and will this finally be the year that Murray conquers the green grass on centre court and brings home the top prize? Probably not, but maybe Cliff will be around to give us another sing song. For rugby fans, the Six Nations will be a highlight of 2010 after Ireland’s impressive Grand Slam fired them to victory. For you cricket fans out there, The Ashes in Australia and the World 2020 in the West Indies will surely grab your attention. Possible the most interesting or possibly controverisal tournament will be the U.S open which could be as exciting as ever, with the crowd surely willing Tiger to get it in the hole again.

There are plenty of fun album releases to come. After two quiet years, Hot Chip is releasing ‘One Life Stand’. MGMT has promised that their new album ‘Congratulations’ will not contain any hits – maybe that will be this year’s trend. Among the freshers, Marina and the Diamonds are releasing their debut album ‘The Family Jewels’, in which we can trace the drift towards more minimalistic electro. ‘Originality’ is the keyword for music in 2010, so prepare to be shocked and amazed.

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This Franchise Needs to Reboot Press OK to ignore all series canon and recast all characters

Oliver Milne investigates Hollywood’s fascination with franchise ‘rebooting’ Reboots and restarts are no longer just the actions of your computer when you and your screen go blue, it from random failure and you from cursing at it. To Hollywood and the movie industry, they have become big business. At least this is the perception - that this trend of remakes is a recent one made with no real artistic merit and simply the bottom line in mind. But remakes are often artistically valuable and re-explore ideas from the past in a fresh light often for a new or fundamentally changed audience. However, debates have raged throughout media circles recently as to the merits, if any, of this practice following the announcement by Sony that the Spiderman franchise would not be seeing a fourth film in the conventional sense but rather a reboot of the series. The Spiderman reboot is in a fairly unique position. In terms of artistic arguments for a reboot it sits on fairly strong ground, as it is a comic book film. Comics are incredibly prone to canon reboots. Often this is done because an element of the creative team behind a project, either the writer or the principal artist, has changed or often simply a desire to explore or re-imagine the mythos behind a character. At the time of writing, Wolverine has had six origins stories and if current rates continue, it is fair to imagine that at the time of publication this will rise easily into the thousands. But this is where I personally feel an important distinction has to be drawn. Comic books do not remake, but they will reboot (or re-imagine). A reboot presents a unique opportunity to change the nature and history of a character and for a new theme to be applied to a wellknown tale. This undeniably has artistic merit

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and has been part of the human storytelling since time immemorial. The fairytale is essentially the literary form of the reboot, as tales spoken in early human history as oral tradition to warn of real world danger have been re-imagined by not only the austere Victorians - who used them as basis for morality tales - but by modern literature to investigate complex and universal themes, a prime example of this practice being Angela Carter’s short story collection The Bloody Chamber, which takes many of the fairy tales collected by Charles Perrault and uses them to explore the predator/prey sexual paradigm and the gender roles expected of it. This is where reboot works best - when given a chance with changed context to take an almost universally understood story and apply context. However, it is more than fair to say that in the world of film this unique opportunity to improve a franchise for a new generation is often cast aside in the hope of a cashing in on a wellknown franchise and bleeding the reputation of a well established name dry. The best example of this is, to put it frankly, any horror remake of any established franchise in the last ten years.

just so awful that they appear to me to be the visual embodiments of our society’s gradual descent into the suppurating arsehole of cultural humdrum. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t have to be heart-wrenchingly artistic to be a valid reboot. I mean, take the remake of Ocean’s Eleven, which is, by no stretch of the imagination, fantastic film-making but does fulfil that important role of providing something moderately entertaining to stare at to distract you from the Glaswegian cold. Some of the upcoming reboots are hardly likely to be playing in the GFT anytime soon. They will nonetheless fill my heart with childlike glee as I stare in some catatonic state at the screen at The A-Team and the highly anticipated, by only me and 30 year old American women, transition and reboot of cult TV cop comedy 21 Jump Street to the big screen. While I have no doubt that both the aforementioned franchises will rake in the cash for their prospective studios, it will hopefully be the combined forces of nostalgia and genuinely entertaining film making that do so.

So on balance I’ve come to the conclusion that reboots, much like everything else, need to be judged on individual merits. While If you were ever in any doubt as to the callous some, like society’s constant rebooting of profit focus of the modern film industry, then our shared folk tales, are legitimate artistic take a casual look at most releases in the horror endeavours with shockwaves that echo in genre. Whether the myriad sequels which have societal consciousness, others, like the reboot exploded from the bowls of Hollywood in of Ocean’s Eleven, are simply good fun and this genre are remakes (generally hold true to both are worth your time. However, as to canon) or whether they are reboots (generally if the reboot of Spiderman will follow the try to establish a canon of their own) is often trend of incredibly poor reboots (The Hulk, unclear. Not that this technical distinction anyone?) I unfortunately think it will become matters particularly when the actual films one of the endless stream of poorly imagined themselves, with particular reference to any reboots with profit - and not artistic merit or remake of Halloween or Friday the 13th, are entertainment - at its heart.

The honest man, though e’er sae poor Is king o’ men for a’ that January: a month for whisky, haggis and Auld Lang Syne. Well, maybe you’ve sung that once this year already, at the bells of Hogmanay, but give it another blast none the less. Celebrating Rabbie Burns’ birthday on the 25th January and the days surrounding is a national event, even more important to some than Scotland’s other national celebration, St. Andrews’ Day, on the 30th November. So what are we celebrating, and does it really have a place in modern Scotland 214 years after his death? I’m not going to attempt to analyse The Bard’s great literary works, because between you and me, I’m a science student and not too clued up on literary style, but Rabbie has a bigger part on Scotland’s stage than just a poet. Being born and bred in Ayr, I’ve always had a massive interest in Scotland’s favorite son and his legacy. Regarded by many Scottish historians as the pioneer of Scotland’s Romantic movement, he was also held in high regards as an inspiration to many founders of liberalism and socialism. It’s not surprising then that Burns was recently voted as the Greatest Scot in a Scottish public poll by STV. Rabbie was born in the small village of Alloway just south of Ayr in 1759. He lived and worked in the area until the age of eighteen as a labourer on his father’s farm, where he also developed his skills in poetry even at the early age of fifteen. After his father’s death in 1784, Burns moved to Mauchline, where he was made a Freemason in the local lodge. It was here that his literary skills were first admired and he was requested to appear at a number of lodges around Scotland to share his popular poems and songs. It was in 1786 that his name became famous the length and breadth of Scotland with the publication of a collection of his early poetry, known as the Kilmarnock Edition. Indeed, at a visit to the Edinburgh Lodge in 1787 his occupation was recorded as “poet” on the role of members. It was on these tours of Scotland that he wrote many of his inspirational works, including his egalitarian-inspired work “A Man’s a Man for A’ That”. After moving to Edinburgh for a couple of years to oversee the editing and printing of his second release of poetry, he moved to Dumfries in 1788, where he worked as an exciseman for the government. It was in Dumfries that he wrote his most admired piece of work “Tam O’ Shanter”, a story of witchcraft and drunkenness written in a mixture of Scots and English. Burns died in Dumfries at the premature age of thirty-seven, and is buried in the town. So what does all this mean to us today, and why is it still seen as important to celebrate the life and works of Rabbie in the 21st century? It may be the way that he represented the Scottish spirit in his poetry, or his views on equality and social responsibility. Burns is often represented as a bit of a playboy with his multiple relationships, but consider his position in terms of today’s celebrity society and he would be seen as a relatively modest man. There are those who would have you believe that he was due to move to Jamaica to work on a slave-driven plantation, but this seems very out of character for a man who held very strong views against slavery and racism in general, highlighted in his piece “The Slave’s Lament”. But certainly his popularity with his contemporaries would have been because he gave the Scottish a sense of national identity after it had been almost wiped out by the banning of bagpipes and Highland dress by the Government following the Jacobite uprising in 1745. Whatever the reason for the Scottish public’s love of the national bard it is clear that it will continue for many years. Just last year, the Scottish Government founded the year of Homecoming to celebrate 250 years since Burns was born, with the intended success of bringing a massive increase in tourist numbers. This success is especially notable given the current economic recession. Certainly Rabbie’s popularity across the world increases the sales of Scottish produce in many other countries, and he can be seen not only as an icon of Scottish identity, but also as an icon of great economic benefit to Scottish companies in a globalised world.

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Malcolm Middleton Nina Scott speaks to former arch-miserabilist about changing direction It’s halfway through December and Malcolm Middleton’s feeling Christmassy. His tree’s been up for a week and he’s looking forward to a break from his intense touring schedule. His 5th solo studio album, Waxing Gibbous, was released in July though he may have enjoyed travelling Europe on the Waxing Gibbous tour, he readily admits that the current set of acoustic shows is where he’s more comfortable. “When I make an album like Waxing Gibbous, I always try to recreate it live. And because it’s a full-band album it’s a lot of stress getting the musicians involved, doing all the rehearsals and planning the tour. On stage I don’t really enjoy it as much. I feel like I’m a quiet dog barking over a loud band and I’m not much of a performer so I prefer it on my own sometimes.” 2010 brings a new start for Middleton. He no longer wishes to produce music under the “Malcolm Middleton” moniker. The “ginger whinger”, as Aidan Moffat, his support tonight and Arab Strap bandmate, infamously nicknamed him, is to be no more. “I could keep going now and do another album next year but the way I released Waxing Gibbous was in a blaze of cynicism and lacking enthusiasm. I feel excited already about doing something that’s not tied to my name, that’s not tied to “arch-miserabilist” or depressing songwriter. I mean, I don’t mind those tags because that’s the easiest thing to say about those songs but I’m looking forward to something different.” Even though Middleton’s voice stays quiet, his articulate phrases show he’s been feeling ready to change direction for some time and his calm face conveys a real enthusiasm for whatever’s on the horizon. Changing tack suddenly, Middleton conspiratorially lowers his voice to confide “I want to do dance records.” It seems like an odd leap from the acoustic folk sound Middleton’s known for, but a quick listen to Waxing Gibbous shows a whole range of 8-bit and synth sounds sneaked in amongst the strings, even if he won’t be the first to indulge in some electronica. ‘‘A bit more human and real rather than ‘Oh yeah, baby.’ and stuff like that. I’m not going to say intelligent dance because that’s a crap term. But, uh, emo dance?” It will also be the first time Middleton has embarked on a new project without there being an overlap with his previous work. The clear distinction between “Malcolm Middleton” and whatever comes next is something he never had between Arab Strap and Malcolm Middleton. Releasing his first two solo albums whilst still

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in Arab Strap with Aidan Moffat, his efforts were all too often dismissed as a side-project. But for Middleton, nothing could be further from the truth. “When I started my solo stuff, I never saw it as a side-project. To me, it was like, ‘Naw this is the main thing, secretly.’ But yeah, I think I do need the clean slate, otherwise I will get all the tags and labels. And for myself as well, I’ve not written much lately.” Until now, Middleton has appeared at times to be plagued and simultaneously embraced by these labels , in a “If you can’t beat them...” kind of way. With sample lyrics like “It’s easy hating yourself, it’s hard making it rhyme” it’s not hard to see why people have jumped on gloomy phrases to describe Middleton. But he insists that writing depressing songs doesn’t make for a depressing person. “Arab Strap basically got them (the tags) because of the mood of the songs and the melancholy. And the same with my own stuff obviously. If you only express one part of yourself through songs, that’s all people are going to see. I’ve never written a song when I’m happy. I don’t think I’ve played guitar when I’m happy. Not that I’m sad all the time but it’s only out of boredom, or feeling down or something that I’ll actually bother to do anything.” Even with such a bleak description of his creative process, there’s no denying Middleton’s longevity, an increasingly rare thing in music. To consistently remain successful for such a long time without being able to rely on stadium tours places him amongst a minority. As such, I wonder if he has any guidance for kids trying to make it today. Revealing another glimpse of his dry humour, Middleton reveals a surprising source of inspiration; “Just what Lady Gaga said on X Factor; be yourself. Don’t take any shit from anyone.” Laughing he corrects himself, “Naw, I don’t know. It’s harder now because there’s so much over-saturation of music. Like MySpace, it makes it harder for people. I’ve no idea. Just keep at it, have something to fall back on.” He stops for a beat before his last piece of advice. “And I was going to say don’t live in a dream world but sometimes that helps. A little bit of delusion can give you the confidence and bravado to keep going. Be a little bit delusional.” Be yourself, don’t take any shit and stay a little delusional? Sounds pretty solid to me.


XLive Flood of Red/The Xcerts Stereo X 20/12 Kirsten Murray Due to the atrocious weather forced upon us this winter, I arrived late at King Tut’s, missing the first support and was just in time to catch the second support band, Healthy Minds Collapse, take the stage. With their heavy riffs and stirring melodies it almost seems too obvious to compare them to the Foo Fighters, but I can’t help but be reminded of the Foo’s more recent releases as this three-piece play their set. The room fills as The Xcerts prepare to play, demonstrating their well deserved increasing popularity. The trio open with a new song, which is considerably heavier than anything

found on their debut album In The Cold Wind We Smile, taking their existing fans by pleasant surprise, and succeeding in grabbing the attention of their entire audience. Throughout their set, the crowd is treated to an enthralling selection of both old and new tracks with the band giving a truly genuine performance. Despite the limited numbers that had fought through the treacherous weather to Tut’s, the three boys appear completely in awe of the response they get from the crowd. Headliners, Flood of Red, join The Xcerts onstage during Crisis in the Slow Lane however this doesn’t seem to faze the crowd who sing every word back to front man Murray MacLeod. The biggest reaction is certainly at the trio’s finale,

where Murray bashfully holds the stage on his own, playing the beautiful ‘Aberdeen 1987’. Although Flood of Red are the headliners for tonight, the room unfortunately empties considerably before they come onstage. Throughout their performance, the Glasgow band never seems able to reach further than the small, hardcore group of fans screaming at them in front of the stage. Having seen them play before, I was quite disappointed that they did not give one of their memorable and exciting performances. With little enthusiasm and sincerity, they played their songs and left the handful of fans who knew the lyrics to sing for them. Following the lively performance from the likable Aberdonians, on this occasion Flood of Red sadly failed to deliver.

Twilight Sad Nice n Sleazy’s X 16/12 Andy Davies A bitterly cold night in late December 2009. Nice n Sleazy’s is packed to the brim, a sense of anticipation building as rumour and hearsay flies through the ground level bar, Chinese whispers passing from person to person as a sucession of modern Scottish musical institutions drifts over from the well-worn jukebox. A unexceptional note is pinned up at the back of the bar, confirming Scott Hutchinson of Frightened Rabbit fame as main support to returning heroes The Twilight Sad, and an increasingly restless crowd shun the silly money being offered by the touts of Sauchiehall Street to make their way into the basement and prepare for what has become the year’s most eagerly awaited gig. As it happens, Scott Hutchinson never arrives. An hour and a half passes as excitement turns to irritation and anxiety, before- finally- The Twilight Sad arrive to a fairly muted reception. A half-arsed apology for the prolonged inactivity follows, but all is quickly forgiven as the band plough into a ferocious set that deftly combines old crowd-pleasers such as ‘That

Summer at Home I Had Become The Invisible Boy’ with the rawer elements found in the tracks from ‘Forget The Night Ahead’. The night has an intimacy that is unlikely to be associated with The Twilight Sad for much longer: in March the ABC awaits, and the scarcity of tickets for this special show illustrates just how far the band has come over the past 12 months or so. Closing the night, singer James Graham laments the recent Twilight Saga phenomenon: apparently a gig in Texas was greeted by a couple in full vampire regalia. No such mix-ups are apparent tonight: Sleazy’s is full of the hardcore support that helped create the initial buzz around the band, and the rare live outing of their cover of Joy Division’s ’24 Hours’ is lapped up by the crowd. The closing rendition of ‘Cold Days From The Birdhouse’ is one of the most effecting pieces of music you’ll likely ever hear: building from an acoustic strum to an epic behemoth of white noise, it’s a wonderful close to a night that despite a couple of hiccups, manages to surpass even the mild bout of hysteria that preceded it.

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XMusic The Irrepressibles Mirror Mirror

Hot Chip One Life Stand I have a confession to make; I have never really been bitten by the Hot Chip bug. Sure I have screamed the words “over and over” over and over at four am at a 12 hour Cheesy but it never really happened until now. ‘One Life Stand’ is the fourth offering from the well liked British electro pop band and their best. As the youth dust down their neons and recover from the electro hangover which was the last five years, so do Hot Chip. The album holds together very well and shows them as being more musically involved, swapping repetitive choruses for mellow, thoughtful passages of music. ‘One Life Stand’ is a more mature offering from the five-piece who could easily just released more of the same tried and tested music. However by the first song Hot Chip express their intentions to blow us away and by the last track you will be wanting to listen to this album over and over and over... [PH]

Owl City Fireflies I’ll admit that the appeal of reviewing Owl City’s single Fireflies was that there was an owl on the cover. Having been presented to me as being ‘a shit Postal Service’ (and me being a Postal Service fan), I was dubious about listening to it, but soon happy to discover that Fireflies, which has already had huge success in the US and Canada, is actually a decent, even catchy single. You could argue that Owl City is a bit like The Postal Service’s little brother, aspiring to be like the older one but still a bit too underdeveloped. However, if you like electronic, twinkly pop sounds, and are in the mood to listen to some feel-good, guilty pleasure kind of music, then maybe it’s time to give this one-man synthpop show a listen. [EB]

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Every now and then something phenomenal comes along and forces you to alter how you perceive music. Much of the orchestration on ‘Mirror Mirror’ is achingly beautiful and the counter tenor of band leader Jamie McDermott provides the band with great versatility. Tracks like ‘Knife Song’ are theatrical, almost camp whereas ‘I’ll Maybe Let You’ see the vocals take on a hypnotic, haunting quality. Each of the albums 12 tracks is a beautifully constructed orchestral piece showcasing the talents of each of this 10piece’s classically trained performers. I hesitate to use the phrase “sonic landscape” due the inherent douchebaggery, but it is –perhaps for the first and only time- correctly applied to The Irrepressibles. If you’re looking for something a little different and dramatic then you could go far, far worse than picking this up. [OM] Lightspeed Champion Marlene Lightspeed Champion, Devonté Hynes, certainly demonstrates his widespread musical talent on his new release. The variety of styles on this 6-track EP take the listener on an exciting melodic journey, ranging from the modern-day pop tune ‘Marlene’ -an incredibly radio-friendly number which remained lodged in my head for hours after hearing it just the once- to the suave ‘69 Année Érotique’, sung entirely in French. Hynes’ skills as a composer are poignant during ‘So Long! So Long!’, an instrumental which makes classical music cool. His blueslike ballad ‘He’s The Great Imposter’ is really enjoyable, and would feel totally at home in a ‘70s movie. Finally, the closing track ‘Tete Morte’ begins as another smooth French ballad before switching back to a more modern style. Overall, Hynes’ latest release is just Champion for lifting your spirits on a rainy day. [KM]

Cuts... Niteflights - The Delightful Fall of Niteflights EP Genre-hopping Black Keysian rock with a knowing strut. Brooding and smart riffs akin to Field Music, but without the Mackems. Ace.

Frightened Rabbit Nothing Like You Being something of a Frightened Rabbit virgin, and basing my initial opinions on the success the band has enjoyed, I was willing to give their new single ‘Nothing Like You’ a go. Colour me unimpressed. Scott Hutchinson is a mediocre songwriter masquerading as a tortured soul: the tune itself was catchy enough and the chorus was okay, but as upbeat and pop as they are, Frightened Rabbit aren’t really doing anything I haven’t heard before. Although they do it with a smidgen more skill than others, on the whole there is nothing particularly remarkable about the single or its B-Side ‘Learned Your Name’, a slowed-down effort that comes across as pretentious noise. All in all, in opposition to Frightened Rabbit’s many many fans, I just don’t see the attraction, but it’s decent enough pop/indie fare I suppose. [SM] Sambassadeur Europe Sambassadeur describe themselves as ‘a DIY version of Abba’, and that serves as a fairly decent description (or perhaps forewarning): if you like bouncy Europop by the likes of Abba or Alphabeat, you’ll probably like Sambassadeur– if not, steer clear. Listening to the album, however, I’m reminded more of Architecture in Helsinki than of Abba’s harmonies. First track ‘Stranded’ sets out as the album means to go on –all husky vocals and poppy melodies. ‘Days’, which is their “big” single, has optimistic piano-led melodies combined with violins, though the lyrics leave something to be desired– sample chorus: ‘When you’re all alone, and on your own, looking for a way to take you home...’ But then pop music has always been superficial: based on danceability rather than deeper sentiments and Sambassadeur fulfil this requirement, offering effervescent pop aplenty. Many of the tracks aren’t very exciting musically, and at times it can be fairly derivative, but ‘Europe’ makes for some pretty background noise. [AW] Lonelady - Intuition Pretentious post-punk which aims for deep extistentialism and ends up taking itself far too seriously.

XFilm 44 Inch Chest Malcolm Venville’s 44 Inch Chest, penned by the scribes of Sexy Beast scribes is at first an attractive proposition. The opening shot is of a frozen Ray Winstone lying amid domestic wreckage to the plaintive croon of Harry Nilsson’s ‘Without You’; it is at once intriguing and comedic. Here his character Colin, it transpires, has reacted vehemently upon being informed that his wife is leaving him for a younger man. A motley crew of thuggish mates (including a fabulously vile John Hurt and a suave Ian McShane) help kidnap her French lover, and whilst holed up in a derelict house, a psychologically vulnerable Colin decides whether to let his estranged wife and her Gallic beau live. We are asked to care for the crudely drawn archetypes: bigoted and crotchety Old Man Peanut, mothers-boy Archie and gay, sophisticated and effortlessly charming Meredith. Winstone’s performance, ranging from catatonic devastation to wounded fragility, is a winning depiction of fractured masculinity but Colin, as with the others, never feels like a genuine, fully-rounded character. Moreover, despite Winstone’s efforts, investing emotionally in a wife-beating protagonist’s dilemma over whether to kill a silent and virtually anonymous man proves a tough sell. There is a complete lack of narrative drive which only serves to accentuate the staginess of the script. As the film trundles aimlessly towards its underwhelming conclusion, one wonders whether the visual inertia, claustrophobic monologues and limited locations indicates that 44 Inch Chest might have fared better on the stage. [Nick Green]

The Road The Road is something rather rare in cinemas nowadays, as its not the film to make you feel all warm inside, neither will it blow you away with its special effects; rather it is a well written, emotionally touching, gritty film based on a novel by Cormac Macarthy. On top of that it has an excellent cast to boot with Viggo Mortensen playing the lead role of the father and newcomer Kodi Smit-McPhee portraying his son – with top quality acting from both. The plot follows the father and son as they try to survive in the wilderness of America after an un-named cataclysm destroys all crops, animals, and eventually trees. There is no society left, only ragged bands of savage individuals and the harsh realities of cannibalism, suicide, and mistrust of everyone. It isn’t your typical survival film, but the prevalent message is that a father will protect his son at any cost. Mortensen is a veteran actor, and he doesn’t disappoint, but the real star is Smit-McPhee, who at only 13 years old shines through the film as a beacon of innocence and vulnerability. This film would be no mean feat for any actor, never mind a child actor, and I feel he went through a real trial by fire in this film. I suspect he has a long career ahead of him. I left the cinema with the feeling of having just been to a funeral, for The Road is a very good film but a depressing film nonetheless, so make sure you have something to cheer you up afterwards. [Lewis MacKenzie]

A Single Man A Single Man portrays Christopher Isherwood’s 1964 novel about George Falconer and how he copes with the recent death of his gay partner. It follows the day on which he plans to end his life. ‘How cheerful!’, I hear you moan. However, the film is quite the contrary. It had the potential to become morose and lose your interest, but the mixture of light hearted moments and tender friendships make it incredibly easy to watch whilst it also sucks you in emotionally. Certain scenes will leave you smiling whilst others leave you digging your fingernails firmly into your palms in tension and anxiety, one with a sleeping bag springs to mind... This is fashion designer Tom Ford’s first paddle in the pool of film directing whilst taking a welcome break from his usual life of designing suits and accesories. The styling in the film was, to use a word I hate, lush. The lighting is used to highlight emotions but its subtlety stops you from feeling like you’re being patronised. The elegant use of wardrobe seems effortless and will certainly appeal to any of you retro and vintage shoppers. It screams effortless chic and the directing left me aching for his next attempt. The pairings in the cast seem at first a little strange; the grown-up little dweeb from About A Boy and Skins (Nicholas Hoult), Mr Darcy (Colin Firth), Ozymandias from Watchmen (Matthew Goode) and Julianne Moore. However strange a combination they seem it works wonderfully.

The only downfall is perhaps the development of Moore’s character, who is rather reminiscent of Amber Waves in Boogie Nights, but the character is better established in this film (although she does remind me of a rather eccentric aunt I have....) If you boys are apprehensively wondering if you may have to sit through another Brokebutt Mountain tent scene you need not worry! Other than a rather tasty skinny dipping session for you ladies there isn’t much that would mentally scar the squeamish or macho men amongst you. All in all A Single Man is a very entertaining watch that will leave you emotionally touched and teary-eyed. [Sarah Joy]

qmunicate • 17

l OutsiDe tHe Box

Adam Samson

Hope you all had a nice festive season! David Tennant’s wasn’t very good, mostly because the Doctor Who special saw him trapped in a contrived Perspex box with just some lethal radiation for company. This forced him to regenerate into Matt Smith, who appears to resemble some kind of Neanderthal elephantman. Before the inevitable happened Tennant got to save humanity one last time, though not by doing anything particularly impressive. He shot a computer. Bang. Well done, what an anti-climax. He then went on a merry jaunt

18 • qmunicate

around the universe, including stopping off in some faux-Star-Wars space-bar and going a bit Cilla Black when he hooked John Barrowman up with a bit of ass for the evening. If you didn’t see the show, I’m sorry to say that I’m not joking. The series reboot in Spring can’t come soon enough. Speaking of Cilla Black, Blind Date has been dragged kicking and screaming into the Teenies (yup, that’s the name of this decade, get over it) in new ITV1 show Take Me Out. Hosted by Paddy McGuinness, who seems to have fashioned a career for himself by mimicking Peter Kay, the show sees an eligible bachelor attempt to convince 30 single ladies that they should date him. The girls are mostly the sort of people who think photocopying their tits at an office party is a laugh, and they’re free to signal their disapproval of their prospective suitor at any time by buzzing him, like in Britain’s Got Talent. We soon saw why the men were single, with some making elementary mistakes such as admitting to “being a bit of a mummy’s-boy”, that they “enjoy salsa dancing”, or are “looking to start a family”. Yeah, good luck with that. Successful

couples were sent off to a “Manchester hotspot” for their date, which is hardly Barbados, but I suppose that’s the recession for you. Watching the Celebrity Big Brother launch was a depressing experience. The “celebrities” include several people who are only in the spotlight because they’ve dated someone who wasn’t altogether that famous in the first place. Also on the list is Heidi Fleiss, who appears to be some kind of glorified pimp from the USA. It was at this moment that I reached for a stiff drink. I’ll possibly start watching CBB again when they start putting real celebs in it, or when hell freezes over, whichever comes first. PICKS OF THE WEEK 24 [Sky 1, Sun, 9PM ] Glee [E4, Mon, 9PM] Both of these shows are excellent, for entirely different reasons. How about a crossover, with Jack saving the school from an anthrax scare, followed by him taking the lead-vocals in Don’t Stop Believin’’ after the school nurse dianoses the former lead with IBS?

Who Are Ya?

Ten things…

Kevin Devine


You’ve been touring a lot recently, how’s that been going? I had a month with the Get Up Kids, did the Nassaeu Colluseum show with Brand New and Thrice and Glassjaw and then came straight here on a headline tour which we’re just wrapping up. It’s been a busy year, and that indicates that people are interested. You know and I’d rather have people interested than not interested, so it’s hectic but good, really good. You turn thirty next week, do you have an impending sense of doom about it? You’re as old as you feel, you know, it’s like that song by Alliah, Age aint nothin but a numba. Maybe on my actual birthday I’ll have a big existential crisis but I’m feeling okay about it. I wouldn’t want to go back to being twenty again, I know where that went and I enjoy the last ten years so I’m looking forward to the next.

en issues. Ten things to do before you graduate. Simple, eh? Siobhan McCulloch’s back with something for you to make sure you cross off your to-do list. 6 of 10 • Join that club/society you’ve always wanted to. Be it the Chivallric Dream society or the Cecillians or Io, go along to at least one of their meetings. Though, like me, there are many among us who shudder to think of fording unknown waters alone, what other chance are you going to get? The year has just begun and there’s time for you to check out those clubs and societies you wanted to join but were too scared to go on your own to. If it turns out the club wasn’t for you then at least you can say you tried it once.

You’re a journalism graduate, what made you give up writing for a music career? The transition from journalism to music wasn’t particularly natural, I was never very good at being a journalist, I had a couple of articles bought by the New York Post, a shitty tabloid, who would then just kill it so it was never read by anyone. I like journalism and the idea of being a journalist, but I love music. Neither choice would have been particularly economically rewarding, but I figured I had to give pursuing music a shot on the logic that I could be fifty and look back and think ‘well, I tried it’ rather than regretting not trying at all. How have the UK shows been treating you this year? This year has been the year that I’ve had most people connecting with the record, it’s built up from like shows with 30 people, then 50, then 100 and now we’re up around two hundred, so I’m pleased. You’re often associated with labelmates Brand New and Macnhester Orchestra, does it ever become innapropriate? I feel like I’m doing something more DIY, a lot more punk rock in scale, than Brand New. I’m obviously grateful for the association as they’re both amazing artists but I could probably do without answering questions about them so often. I don’t mind questions about the associations when I’m working with them or touring with them or whatever but when people ask me about Jesse’s personal life, which happens like everyday, it’s just a bit creepy. I’m never going to do that, it’s not cool. Kevin’s album Brother’s Blood is out now on BSM.

Available now via qmunicate • 19



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qmunicate magazine issue 74  

Issue 74 of the Queen Margaret Union's award-winning magazine qmunicate.