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The University Times




The University Times Magazine










ON THE ROAD AGAIN... Killian McDonagh looks for revelation on the route Jack Kerouac took in On the Road








We assess which Burrito is best in Dublin. This week: Burritos & Blues


IN FOCUS A photo by Dargan Crowley-Long on the day of the Queen’s visit to Trinity College Dublin



Anna Harrighton, Daniel Cummins & Darren Sinnott cover the Edinburgh Fringe from different perspectives

David Doyle on Ireland’s oldest literary journal going online


Darragh Haugh on why he will keep going to the cinema



Joseph Noonan interviews Rosemary McKenna about her new show

Luke O’Connell explains just what the hell has been going on in the news with Sinead O’Connor


Tommy Gavin reviews Irelands new international art exhibition


Shauna Watson on the DU Orchestra

CSC Katie Abrahams takes a look at the activities of college societies over the year


FASHION Colin McGrane advises on what to wear this coming Autumn


The University Times Magazine represents a triumph of resolve. Why else would people commit dozens of hours of their unpaid personal time to a student magazine, especially now, when the medium is clearly in its final death throes? The naive among you will assume it is because they want to learn the valuable skills that come with student journalism, increase their job prospects, and have fun engaging with what is essentially a small media landscape. No, it is because of the maniacal University Times cult of personality, which requires a blood oath upon signing up, forbidding anyone from leaving or betraying its occult secrets. While it might appear like we’ll be trying to cover the goings on in Trinity and Dublin in an interesting and informative way, we will only be skulking closer to the surreptitious conclusion of our nefarious agenda. With that in mind, we present in this this issue for your consideration, the Trinity Ten, where we take a look at some of the biggest contributors to student life, and rank them for gossip purposes. We also have a scathing analysis from the inside, of the three billion dollar industry centred on Kim Kardashian and other supposedly important people. Furthermore we have an introduction to the fast paced and ever growing sport of Roller Derby, where girls on roller-skates collide around a track, three different views of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and a look at the newly opened Dublin Contemporary which aims to bring international contemporary art to Dublin on a scale yet unseen. We are also proud to announce the first iteration of our Burrito Bar column, where we investigate the various burrito establishments around Dublin and rank them on atmosphere, ingredients, flavour, structure and value. In the final issue, look forward to seeing who manages to take home the illustrious University Times Pendiente Burrito award. If you feel like you might want to contribute and are willing to have adventures documenting interesting people and places and occurrences, email us at, and after your lengthy hazing process, you too can be a part of The University Times Magazine. The brand is huge.

Tommy Gavin (@UTzine)

CONTRIBUTORS Editor: Tommy Gavin Deputy Editor: Luke O’Connell Creative Director: Dargan Crowley-Long

Culture Editor: David Doyle Trinity Ten Photographer: Apoorv Vyas

Illustrator: Sadhbh Byrne Contributors: Tom Lowe, Killian

McDonagh, Darragh Haugh, Colin McGrane, Katie Abrahams, Shauna Watson, Joseph Noonan, Anna Cosgrave, James O’Hagan



SAD PARADISE: IN SEARCH OF KEROUAC’S AMERICA Jack Kerouac obsessive, Kilian McDonagh retraced the route from On the Road, albeit in the opposite direction, along the interstate 80 from San Fransisco to New York in search of truth and revelation. He boarded a night bus out of San Fransisco, and this is what he saw…


By Killian McDonagh

We’ll be assessing the players of the Dublin burrito renaissance issue by issue, with the awarding of the coveted University Times Pendiente Burrito award in issue 8.


Photo: Rapheal Fauveau

aving caught the night bus out of San Francisco, I passed through northern California in the dark. I awoke to brilliant light sitting on plains of green sage-brush which sloped up to jagged swirls and grooves of red clay mountains, all laid out beneath a soft blue sky. The occasional homestead surrounded by piles of scrap metal whizzed by to my left as the Mexican hoodlum sitting in front of me recounted tales of gang warfare to his newfound mamasita. I got talking to the two people in the row behind me; one a nineteen year old single mother of Puerto Rican background named Kayla who was fleeing an abusive relationship with a Somalian man, the father of her beautiful nine-month-old baby girl Jamila, the other a soft spoken man of about twenty eight named Stephen (after the first Christian martyr, as he informed me) who had recently been released from a psychiatric institution for the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and who was on his way to Missouri with his grandmother’s ashes in his duffel bag to take care of an aunt who had just had a stroke, and who’s ultimate goal was to attend Christian college and become a minister. My immediate thought was: these are the kind of people for whom Kerouac would have creamed himself. About an hour outside of Battle Mountain, Nevada, disaster struck. The bus began to shake violently and the driver immediately pulled over to the side of the freeway to discover that the transmission was shot. We were stranded in the baking heat, forty miles from the nearest town in the middle of the Nevada desert. Unpleasant as this situation was for us however, it was worse for Jamila, who’s periods of good behaviour were interspersed with moans and yelps that would bring forth such spewings of feigned aggression from her mother as: “Don’t make me lose my nerves!”, which would then be followed by her storming

off to have a cigarette outside, leaving her baby in the more than capable hands of the would-be-care-giver-cum-preacher who would rock her on his knee and sing to her until she calmed down. Matters weren’t helped at this point by Leah, a wraith-like tweaker in the seat in front, who, having clearly hit rock bottom in San Francisco, was on the way home to visit her parents in Wyoming, and whose constant convulsions and coughing fits raised the levels of stress in the bus considerably- if purely out of concern for her well-being. During the course of the day the heat took its toll, and it wasn’t long before our small band of stranded travellers were slumped listlessly in corners dozing through the remainder of the seven hours it took for the rescue bus to arrive. Night fell and we set out again. At around this point Leah’s behaviour began to deteriorate. I had agreed to let her use my phone to call her parents earlier in the day (although her hands weren’t steady enough to dial the numbers herself ), and she now came over with the intention of doing so again, only this time, after issuing forth tear choking “I love you guys” at the end of the voicemail, she refused to leave the previously unoccupied seat beside me and proceeded to lean in towards me mumbling “Please don’t be freaked out!”, shaking uncontrollably. Before long she was up wandering the isle and falling in on top of other people, mumbling and shaking, until finally needing to be physically redirected to her own seat. She proceeded to lie down in the foetal position and continue to undergo violent spasms until our bus pulled into Salt Lake City, Utah. From here we went our separate ways, Kayla and Jamila disappearing with an ex high school football player sporting a goatee, Stephen continuing on his own epic journey, and me heading off to find somewhere to sleep. I just wonder what place there was in Kerouac’s romantic vision of humanity for someone like Leah, and I suspect the answer would be that there wasn’t one.


urritos and Blues in its original incarnation was a Ranelagh institution. Sadly it was destined to fade away as the original owner left after a conflict with investors, which marked a decline in quality until it closed down. However, some of the pre-decline staff are now in the new-ish Wexord Street Burritos & Blues, bringing the old school taste back to the starving masses. The atmosphere is among the best of all the burrito establishments in Dublin; Ample seating, complementary tobasco sauce and blues. Real blues, from Muddy Waters to Son House. The staff are friendly, especially considering what must have to endure; open for business until 4am on Friday and Saturday, on Wexford Street no less. Forget the lunch rush; they have to put up with the 3am post-palace rush. It can’t be an easy job and they carry it well. The ingredients are good, nothing too fancy. They don’t have chorizo but they do have sweet potato. The bean paste is pretty stodgy, and whether that is good or bad comes down to personal preference, and some people rate B&B as the best for this very reason. The ingredients aren’t fancy; minced meat, iceburg lettuce and cheddar cheese, but they get the job done right. The homemade guacamole stands out, and it’s worth getting as an extra. This brings us to flavour which is along junkfood lines but you’re pretty much guaranteed a delicious burrito whatever you get. It tastes like a burrito, as opposed to the sum of its parts. One thing though is that while the salsa will be spicy as a scorched machete if that’s what you want, there is no difference in salsa flavours. There is no corn salsa, no smokey salsa and no verde, which is a shame. The burrito holds together pretty well, the importance of which cannot be underrated. Too many burrito places fall down when it comes to construction, but Burritos & Blues holds its own in the wrap game, even if it can get a bit messy at the end. The value for money is better than can be expected. There is a huge selection on the menu which includes tacos, quesadillas and nachos, and there is a nice dichotomy between the set menu and the ability to customise. Between all the burritos being under the €7 euro, and the student deal of a €6 burrito and a drink, it can’t be beat for value. SERVICE/ATMOSPHERE – 5/5 INGREDIENTS – 3/5 FLAVOUR – 3/5 STRUCTURE – 3/5 VALUE – 5/5 TOTAL: 19/25





Trinity has a lot of students who contribute to the overall collegial experience. Here, we profile and rank ten such students.






he panel has decided to include Jack Leahy and Joel McKeever, two promising second year students, in the Trinity Ten due to the “bright futures” they are sure to enjoy within Trinity. They haven’t reached the same level of influence as the rest of the names on this list yet but they are well on their way. Indeed, some might say that their level of involvement is impressive to the point that they are bewilderingly omnipresent. Leahy is sports editor of this very publication, sits on

the Oversight Committee of the SU and is currently trying to start a “Random Acts of Kindness” society. McKeever, heavily involved in Players, Lit Soc and Q Soc, was awarded “Fresher of the Year” at the last CSC Awards ceremony. They are two of a slew of second years who made names for themselves in their first year, including Aidan Bond-James, Ian Curran, Ellen Hanly, and Fíodhna HoranMurphy - all of them very likely to make appearances on future editions of this list.




nna Cosgrave places ninth on this year’s list, managing to keep a spot on the Trinity Ten after placing in the teens of last year’s Trinity Twenty. Cosgrave’s climb on the list reflects her continued involvement in extra curricular activities. She was likened to Karl Rove in last year’s list due to her continued electoral success in the highly fraught political environment of The Phil. This year, after resigning her hard won position of Secretary and further broadening her focus, her other talents outside of electoral acumen have become more apparent. Anna holds the position of Speaker Convenor for Trinity Entrepreneurial Society, is the events coordinator for the Trinity Arts Festival and is on the committee of the CSC Executive. This level of involvement resulted in the Irish Feminist Network naming her a “young female leader in Irish society” and creating a peppy video about her with a “Florence and the Machine” backing track. How very inspirational.

Cover Story



lunkett McCullagh has been described unanimously across the panel as one of “the soundest lads ever”. As a man with fingers in many pies Plunkett has been at the forefront of plenty campaigns and causes, but his soundness has never wavered and for this the panel thinks he must be commended. Elected as the JCR Music Officer in his second year with a budget of €20,000 he organised and oversaw the construction of the new Trinity Hall Music Room and founded the Trinity Hall Music Society. Following on from his success as JCR Music Officer Plunkett was elected the JCR President. As President, Plunkett decided to take a year off books, and with the extra time on his hands the JCR had one of their most successful years in recent memory. With Colm Moore as his Vice President, the pair organised an trip to Barcelona and a ski trip to Les Arcs in France, as well as numerous “class” nights out and balls. Last year, there were rumors that Plunkett would run for SU Ents Officer but due to his off books status he was deemed ineligible. When Chris O’Connor threw his hat in the ring it was Plunkett who would go on to manage one of the best guerilla Ents campaigns Trinity has seen in a while. In just three weeks the team went from the underdogs to the top dogs. For the coming year Plunkett is now sitting comfortably as Chris O’Connor’s Ents Secretary as well as being event manager for the Trinity Student Management Fund. It would seem appropriate to suggest that Plunkett will run for Ents officer this year. Having been very much at the forefront of the JCR, he will now work behind the scenes for the year in preparation for the Ents race.




aron Heffernan is the “character” of this list. He doesn’t hold any major position in a society or the SU, nor does he sit on the CSC executive. Aaron’s influence is generated by his charisma and talent. His joke run at SU President last year, in his Obama character, drew attention not just from Trinity’s student population but from colleges all over the country. Heffernan’s daily videos and staged appearances drew attention to the SU elections that they would never have otherwise received. During Obama’s visit Heffernan received national exposure, appearing on the Saturday Night Show, TV3 news and getting mentions in the national newspapers. He is also in “A Betrayal Of the Penguins”, a comedy sketch trio that has performed sold out shows two years in a row at the Edinburgh Fringe festival. As well as being an accomplished comedic performer, he also is a talented stage actor and has appeared in numerous productions, both in and outside of college. He received an ISDA award for his puppetry in “The Happy Prince” and has an acclaimed painting hanging in the Players Theatre. The panel thinks it would be mean-spirited to level any criticism against Heffernan. He has no official obligations to the student body - all we are asked to do is sit back and be entertained.



he enigmatic cover star of this issue’s magazine is Marc Atkinson, chair of DU Players, Trinity’s accomplished drama society. As the new chair of one of Trinity’s biggest and most well-known societies, Atkinson has big shoes to fill after Matt Smyth. Smyth ensured a successful year for Players with a number of high profile shows (including the sublimely ridiculous musical adaptation of Jurassic Park, “Jurasstastic”) and the much publicised week long Oscar Wilde and Shakespeare festivals. Despite the panel’s best efforts, we didn’t manage to find any rumblings of discontent around Atkinson’s upcoming reign as chair. Universally regarded as a likeable character with a strong background in theatre, an air of excitement surrounds his taking the top job. However, big differences are expected between his

MARC ATKINSON chairmanship and Smyth’s. One of the main sources of tension within Players is disagreement over what exactly they should be doing with their time and resources. Although Smyth did a great job promoting the society many felt that recently there has been too much focus on humorous and campily entertaining events like the aforementioned “Jurasstastic” and the Players take on the dating show “Take Me Out”, resulting in the feeling that the society has been straying from its roots in serious drama. Atkinson’s priorities definitely lie within this sphere of “serious drama” - a scholar of the college in drama and theatre studies, he has the strong theoretical background as well as the long history of involvement in stage productions necessary to make sure Players is producing impressive theatre.




UBES (Dublin University Business and Economics Society) is one of Trinity’s largest and most notorious societies. It attracts mostly BESS students and its culture is therefore reflective of the population of that course - it’s filled with people who love to party and are also very good at making money. While DUBES has a reputation as a party society, it is also perhaps the society that has the most tangible direct career benefits for its members. In this context, current auditor Max McQuillan is perfect for the job. McQuillan is well organised and enterprising and is known for never getting sidetracked or giving up on a goal. He recently summered in San Francisco where he interned at an internet start-up company but still found time to make money on the side - he reportedly


bought a bike there that he resold for twice as much upon returning to Dublin. The panel has also been reliably informed that he was the main motivating force in making sure that his group of friends consistently got up at a respectable time of day and spent time sightseeing. Despite all that, he was still very much engaged in stereotypical J1 summer beer legend behavior, earning himself the title “Mad Max” (used at least semi-ironically, the panel hopes). An optimistic, motivated and fun person, his position as DUBES auditor should result in great things for both him and the society. Under his leadership it should go a long way towards strengthening its culture of excess, indulgence and engaging very successfully with the dark nature of capitalism.

Cover Story


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yan Bartlett has planned on running for SU President since he was first elected class rep. He’s a decent and genuine guy and his belief in what the SU does or can do is unshakable. His work ethic has always been unquestionable. The panel has learned that he woke up one night during the summer with an idea for a national campaign on access to education, went to his office and didn’t leave until 6am. While his competence is in little doubt, his route to the top job wasn’t as comfortable as he might have anticipated. The joke campaign run by Aaron Heffernan gathered such momentum that it appeared for all the world that Heffernan may well have beaten Batlett had he stayed in the race. That

oin O’Liatháin and Liam O’Néill, president of The Philosophical Society and Auditor of The Historical Society respectively, find themselves sharing a spot in fourth place due to the hugely significant presence their societies hold on campus. Some of the activities these large debating societies participate in are greatly appreciated by college administration: their successes in international debating competitions and their ability to attract high profile guest speakers are extremely beneficial to the reputation and social life of Trinity. Evidence of their importance to college is seen in the fact that both O’Liatháin and O’Néill were included in a very small greeting party for the Queen of England’s visit to Trinity at the end of last year. Leadership of the debating societies is a difficult and stressful job - the logistical hardship of overseeing the many activities of such a large society is added to by the notorious infighting and faction forming which both societies experience every year. Both O’Liatháin and Ó’Néill have taken somewhat unusual paths to the top,

Heffernan chose to drop out and endorse Bartlett spoke more about Heffernan’s selfawareness than it did Bartlett’s clout with the general college electorate. But win he did and now he begins his year as President of the Student’s Union facing a number of challenges. The biggest of which is how he can best influence college policy to spare students feeling the ill effects of college cutbacks. With ominous hints coming from the government and a college administration openly calling for the re-introduction of fees, this will almost certainly be the hardest year yet in terms of staving off cuts in services and increased fees. Previous SU presidents and their colleagues have done an impressive job of keeping fees down the registration fee did rise last year, but not by as much as many anticipated. However, as pressure continues to mount it may turn out that they were just delaying the inevitable. Yet if anyone can achieve the impossible, Bartlett’s extremely strong work rate and passion may make him that person. The panel agree that the year starts optimistically for the SU with Bartlett at its helm and that he is well placed to make the most out of his powerful position. Omitted from this list, but no less important to the SU than Bartlett, are Education Officer Rachel Barry and Welfare Officer Louisa Miller. The panel decided to include only two SU sabbats on the list for the sake of diversity, but the influence of Barry and Miller must be noted if the list is to be at all reflective of the group of students who strive to improve college life.


seemingly avoiding much of the political warfare many go through as they attempt to climb up the ranks of the GMB. This time last year not many people would have predicted either of them would hold the position they do now. The stable and affable O’Liatháin has always managed to stay out of petty arguments (no mean feat in a society full of ambitious and competitive students) and suddenly became a presidential contender early last year when he took on the important position of Secretary after Anna Cosgrave resigned. O’Néill begins his auditorship having just finished second year, a rare occurrence. He took on the role of Librarian, a job that not many want due to its heavy workload, in his second year despite the time constraints that come with being a medicine student. These two atypical and intelligent GMB leaders take up their positions at a time when both societies are rumored to be facing debt problems due to overextending themselves - the panel hopes that their sober maturity will enable them to make improvements whilst maintaining a high level of activity.

Cover Story




hris O’Connor is a hard man to define, despite the perception some have of him. On one hand he’s a law nerd whose grades are up there with the best in his class. He could also be defined as a classic rugby jock, with broad shoulders and SCT credentials from his days in Limerick’s prestigious Glenstal Abbey. But when he wasn’t upending opponents on the rugby field, he was doing vocal exercises to hone his classically trained baritone singing voice. Crucial to his performance this year, he also has the business acumen required to excel in the Ents position. He stormed into the Ents race as the underdog. His campaign was thrown together in just three weeks but gathered momentum quickly, winning over the student body with his Fatboy Slim flash mob and charismatic campaign team. CO’C secured the affection of the masses with promises of €4 naggins and €5 club nights. Whether he’ll deliver on the latter is still to be seen, but he has struck a deal with an off licence near campus to sell the aforementioned naggins. Not only that, he has struck a similar deal with a well known off licence in Rathmines, near Trinity Halls.


O’Connor’s campaign demonstrated that he has a keen understanding of how to promote both himself and his events via new media. While other candidates placed large emphasis on printed materials like posters and manifestos, CO’C took to making almost daily videos which featured The Hardy Bucks, Brian Dobson, Irish rugby international Rob Kearney, Miss Universe Ireland Roz Purcell and comedian Tommy Tiernan. More impressive again were his “Old Spice” and “Never say no to Panda” remakes, done shot for shot by the same videographers who filmed Trinity Orchestra’s Daft Punk concert. The ents race also proved to be something of a perfect storm for O’Connor, as the presumed candidate to beat, Elaine McDaid, lost some support after her Glee-inspired flashmob, and CO’C was able to carry home the victory. He has been active as ents officer-elect, having secured Calvin Harris to play on Monday of Freshers’ Week, and CO’C is confident that it will be a strong launch to his officership. If he and his entourage of “rayl lads” can pull it all off, then those who jumped to stereotype him will be forced to reconsider.

Cover Story


ROB FARHAT on our list. While the Chair of CSC has historically been an administrative position, mainly involving processing grant applications at the start of the year and then helping societies out with any problems or queries they may have, Farhat wants to bring societies and the SU together to cross-promote events. Farhat has ensured that a number of dates for society events will appear in the SU Diary, that both college newspapers will feature society notices about upcoming events and that a first ever CSC yearbook will be published, with Farhat enlisting the help of those involved in college publications to produce it. Indeed, it’s hard to find fault with Farhat. Liked by all and easy to work with, Farhat seems to have no natural enemies. Rumours that he enlisted in the Iranian Republican Guard after an uncharacteristically aggressive encounter with Noam Chomsky at a family gathering were nonchalantly waved off. That he plagiarised some French band and didn’t actually come up with the Daft Punk moniker, not to mention music, was of little interest to those held rapt in his thrall. And rumours that his legendary modesty and uncomfortable acceptance of compliments belie an ego on par with the most diva-like of Ents Officers have been nipped in the bud by Farhat, who insists that he does it all “because he cares”. That he referred to himself in the third person was once again ignored by his devotees. For all of the above, Farhat is number one. Nice one.

ob Farhat is number one on this list for two reasons. First, he did more last year than any single person to increase the profile of Trinity College when he composed, conducted and organised the Daft Punk concerts in the Exam Hall. Whether the attention they received or the final encore performance at Electric Picnic were of Farhat’s original design is open to question, but there’s no denying that his efforts resulted in a PR golden egg for the college. Not just a musical prodigy, Farhat showed he had a talent for promotion by joining up with then Ents officer Darragh Genockey to build hype for the event. Rob enlisted the help of Tom Speers, Callum Swift and Tiernan Kennedy to record the event, the result of which is a video that now has close to 500,000 views on YouTube. That the Orchestra were asked to open the Electric Picnic mainstage on the Saturday is testament to the effort Farhat put into the concerts’ promotion. This event showed how collaboration can benefit societies, and that collaboration between societies and the SU improve the perception of all parties. Farhat’s commitment to collaboration was one of his main policies when running for Chair of the Central Societies Committee, the administrative and overseeing body for all societies. That Farhat now holds this position is the second reason why he has earned the top spot




By Tommy Gavin

Tommy Gavin investigates the bizzarre sport of Roller Derby and catches up with The Dublin Roller Girls.


e arrived late to the sports centre in Greystones, so things were already in full swing when we got there. The Dublin Roller Girls had a comfortable lead against the Liverpool Roller Birds, but with thirty minutes of Jams left to go, their eventual victory was not yet assured. We had come to see Roller Derby, the hard hitting alternative sport on rollerskates, where girls in fishnets shoot around a track knocking each other around to the sounds of Blondie and Bikini Kill. We were not disappointed. Points are scored when the designated team Jammer (marked with a star on their helmet), passes members of the opposing team (blockers). Blockers have to make space for their Jammer to pass the other team, and also prevent the enemy jammer from passing them. This takes place during Jams which last two minutes, and there are two half-hour blocks of Jams. Big hits are part of the game and injuries are not uncommon. Pads and helmets prevent the worst, but it’s still a contact sport on roller-skates. “I did break a couple of bones actually” explained Christine O’Connor aka Kitty Cadeaver, “but they were in my foot so I didn’t realise, and they were pretty much healed by the time I got an X-ray. We teach ourselves to fall so it doesn’t really happen, but it’s like any sport. You’re going to get fucked up”.


Kitty and a few others started what turned out to be the first Roller Derby team in Ireland in September 2009, after wanting to join a team and discovering that there wasn’t one. They met on and decided to meet up in person every Sunday to get to it. “It took us about a month to realise how much we had ahead of us. We’d just talk about stuff like logos, team colours, team names, stuff we shouldn’t even have been thinking about. We were trying to come up with a league name, something that sounded cool, and we came up with the Dublin Roller Girls…” The real work came in finding people who would want to join, finding a place to practice, getting equipment for people who didn’t want to invest immediately and inevitably, getting the money to pay for it all. Between surprisingly successful fundraisers and what little dues the initial few members were paying, the material side took care of itself, and training was able to start in January. “We started doing stuff we learned on the internet because none of us knew how to skate properly. Videos, game footage, there is a lot of help out there if you want it. When we started doing practices, one of the girls was taking care of coaching, but she wasn’t getting to skate as much.” Enter Chris Goggins aka Violent Bob, Kitty’s boyfriend and the coach of the Dublin Roller Girls. “They just needed someone who would come in and roll with it” he said, pun unintended. “I decided to do it

on skates too so it kind of meant that everyone was starting on the same level. Rather than standing there on my own two feet yelling about how simple things were, I was trying to learn them myself.” The learning curve was and remains sharp for everyone involved. Kitty spends 34 hours a week on Derby related activities from training to administration, and the practice sessions are 10 hours a week for the serious players. Martina McDonald aka Tina Gutt-Herr-and Jamm (as in peanutbutter and jam) deals with the many press enquiries they get, which is part of one of the many committees the Dublin Roller Girls have assembled just to function properly. “Whenever you start training, the freshmeat (beginner session) is on Sundays, and after you pass that, you go to Wednesdays as well. Then, after you pass that and become a senior girl, you go to Wednesdays, Sundays and Mondays. Then, after you pass that there are extra sessions on Sundays for the travel team.” It sounds like a lot of work and is. “Some people take it up as a hobby, and I know a few girls who have managed to maintain it as a hobby. They come to skate, and they maybe come twice a week, go home and they’re happy. They’re not involved in the business side of the league, and that’s fine. But for people who can’t even commit to that, it’s just too much of a monster for them. The Derby Monster; it eats your life away. I wouldn’t see Bob if he didn’t come skate with us, it’s like a job.” The Derby monster proved to be a consistent motif when I talked to the Dublin Roller Girls. Call it the cult of Roller Derby. The denizens of Skull Island had King Kong, Gozer had Zuul, and the Dublin Roller Girls have the Derby Monster, whom they willingly and unsparingly sacrifice to. It has disciples all over the world, as Violent Bob found. “There is a sense of community that you don’t really get with other sports. In soccer, maybe a coach wouldn’t help another because they want an edge or something, but with this it’s like, because it’s such an underground sport everybody wants to pull it up together. I’ve been down to help coach in Cork, we had the Galway and Limerick girls come down here to us. “ The sense of shared community and camaraderie ties into the subculture image aspect of the sport. Exactly which subculture varies from league to league. While it is primarily seen as being tied to rockabilly revival with tattooed women and hard partying, there are stronger elements of punk or metal in different places. The Dublin Roller Girls are more mainstream than some of the UK, and especially USA teams, and while there are girls with piercings and tattoos on the team, you could say they are more diverse in their alternative subcultures. “As long as I’m playing Derby, I don’t

But it’s like any other sport, you’re going to get fucked up.


care if the girl next to me has tattoos or has never been to a rock bar in her life” said Kitty.” It does attract the subculture element because they see it’s a lot of fun, but they don’t necessarily see the hard work part and you lose them”. Another motif beside the Derby Monster is the Whip It effect, named after 2009 Ellen Page film directed by Drew Barrymore about Roller Derby. The Dublin Roller Girls were involved in doing promo work with the production company that brought the film to Ireland, which was great for their PR, but the film also brought them a lot of girls who just wanted to be Ellen Page, and portended the biggest drop out of new recruits. Violent Bob had to fill the practices with stretches and isometric exercise, not deliberately to discourage, but in his words, “just to make sure the girls who were coming down realised that, yes, this is going to hurt and you’re going to wake up on Monday feeling stiff as a board.” It wasn’t until 6 months after the film came out, that new recruits started sticking around. The Whip It effect tapped into Roller Derby’s on-going existential crisis between sports and entertainment. Obviously the image is built into the sport with the face-paint, alter-egos and fishnet tights, and when Roller Derby was revived in Texas in 2001, it was predominantly about entertainment. Dublin Roller Girl and Trinity Student Aine Ni Choisdealbha aka Peppy Nephrine told me that she wouldn’t want people to think that you just put on a pair of skates and skate around hitting people, as portrayed in Whip it. “There is a lot of strategy and a lot of effort, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing if people are initially drawn to it because of the image, because they might get drawn into the sport. There is a place for the image, if it isn’t necessarily about the image.” For Violent Bob, if someone can perform the skills and play the game, “then dress whatever the hell way you want to dress. For me, the sport always comes first. Always. Between the entertaining aesthetic and the athletic aspect, Roller Derby has a lot going for it which accounts for the fact that it is growing every day. It’s also one of the few sports where the top competitors are women, and where the women’s leagues are seen as the legitimate incarnation. There are around 100 girls on the waiting list for the next set of trials, and teams have sprung up in Limerick, Galway and Cork, independently of the Dublin Roller Girls. There is also now an Irish team who will be competing in Toronto in the Roller Derby world cup in December, six of whom are from the Dublin Roller Girls, coached by Violent Bob. Finances are still the biggest obstacle as the sport is DIY and built on the sheer enthusiasm of those involved. For it to continue to get bigger, it will eventually need some kind of sponsorship. For now though, the ultimate aim of the Dublin Roller Girls is to make it off the features pages, and onto the sports pages.


THE POWER OF THE TONGUE Tom Lowe,, who has never been known to give a shit about what Kim Kardashian gets up to, spent three weeks as an intern for celebrity gossip magazine People - and left feeling uneasy about the $3 billion a year industry. to maintain the Real Housewives lifestyle without the bank account to support it. Two weeks before his death, his estranged wife complained to the press that he used to abuse her physically, remarks that were picked up by news outlets all over the world. By all accounts, Mr Armstrong was no saint, but seeing his personal trauma play out from the engine room of the machine that churns out stories ranging from the tragic to the inane about supposedly “public” figures, it was hard to ignore the role of the $3 billion-a-year celebrity news industry in his demise. Indeed, just before his death, Mr Armstrong complained of the pressure caused by the Bravo show, saying to People that the series “pushed him to extremes”. After his death, his lawyer Ronald Richards remarked, again to People, “When his wife and him first started the show, I warned them that it would cause undue stress on their marriage. Being thrust in the spotlight didn’t do any favors for Russell and Taylor.” I wasn’t the only People employee feeling ill at ease about Russell’s sad end. Another of my duties was to oversee the filming of 15-second celebrity news spots in which one of the magazine’s editors would synopsise some of the most recent issue’s biggest stories. One of the executive editors, forced to segue from a cheery bit about Kim Kardashian’s storyboarded made-for-TV wedding to Russell’s very public demise, remarked “Jesus, what a creepy business.” Too right. Although People itself isn’t much in the habit of muckraking - its stock in trade

I’ve never really been on top of my celebrity gossip (as an economics student I tend to read more about Angela Merkel than Angelina Jolie) but this summer I received a crash course in the day-to-day lives of the great and the good. Through some good fortune, I found myself behind a desk on the 28th floor of Manhattan’s Time & Life building, interning in the PR department of People Magazine, the USA’s premier source of celebrity news and human interest stories. Although reading People’s three-syllables-or-less house style requires very little thought, not every story is a puff piece about Gavin DeGraw’s new granola-and-froyo diet. As with real life, tragedy can interrupt celebrity lives too; in one particular story I dealt with, the link between real personal disaster and the machine in which I was a temporary cog left me feeling a little bit too close to the story. On August 15th, Russell Armstrong hanged himself with a length of electrical cord in his Mulholland Drive home in Beverly Hills, leaving behind his 5-year old daughter Kennedy and his estranged wife Taylor - star of Bravo’s Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. In between running errands and making photocopies, my main function as an intern was to seek out every mention of People in news stories across the globe. As such, I was intimately aware of Mr Armstrong’s declining fortunes in the week leading up to his death. Taylor had filed for divorce a month earlier, he was facing a $1.5m lawsuit for breach of contract, and he was deep in debt, struggling


Media is soft focus publicist-friendly puff pieces and paid-for exclu One factor in my own incomprehension sives - the more prurient corners of the celebrity gossip inhit me as soon as I was ushered to my cubicle on my first day dustry invade lives without concern for the well-being of their People Magazine’s staff is almost entirely composed of women. subjects, with the shaky defense that their subjects had wanted The PR department counted me as their only male staff to be in the public eye, and thus gave up all rights to privacy. member. It was awkward - they didn’t know where to look. As Indignant commentators ask why magazines a friend, working in a similarly oestrogen-fuelled from the not-fit-to-wipe-your-arse National environment in the same building told me, Enquirer to the more respectable titles such “that’s probably because they can’t talk as People and Us Weekly have to stick about penises while you’re there.” their oar into a tragedy as personal as a father’s suicide. It became 70% of People’s readers are obvious to me as I scanned the female, which makes sense. headlines of stories around the My Y chromosome seems world linking back to People. to inhibit giving a flying People paid anywhere from Simply, stories about celebfuck about where Ryan rities, even celebrities who Gosling and his mot $1 million to $2.5 million (they seem to have no famewent for lunch. It’s never trusted me enough to tell worthy characteristic bar worth noting that the fame itself, attract readers incredibly expensive me what the real amount was, and so make money. The front page photo of and I never had the balls to ask) reductive logic of economKim Kardashian feafor exclusive photos of the ics applies - if there is a tured her alone, decked buck to be made, someone out in her white dress bride. will do what’s necessary to (an inappropriate choice, make it, and it seems that based on the sex tape that there’s a bull market for celebshot her to prominence, if rity deaths, the more harrowing only because I’d be worried the better. about staining it). No room for I can understand a profita grinning Kris Humphries, excited focused magazine publishing these stories. about getting the Ray-J treatment later. What completely befuddles me is why anyone The poor guy was a sideshow: although Kim could care enough about Kim Kardashian’s wedding that claims she’s taking his surname, the two-part TV People paid anywhere from $1 million to $2.5 million (they special will be called Kim’s Fairytale Wedding: A Kardashian never trusted me enough to tell me what the real amount was, Event. and I never had the balls to ask) for exclusive photos of the What does that say about the values that attract People’s readbride. ers? Are they reading about the wedding because they’re suckers for true love and the permanent uniting of two soulmates, or are they simply fetishising the nuptials’ incredibly expensive bridal accessories - the dresses (3 of them, all Vera Wang), the hair ($150,000), and the ring (15 carats)? If the coverage is a reflection of the readership, I’d be betting on the latter. I came to realise that People is more aptly named than I had thought. The subject matter of most journalism usually comes down to issues: should the thrifty Germans continue to bail out profligate Greece? Do Ireland have the goals in them to qualify for Euro 2016? Is the new Radiohead album any use? Meanwhile, People’s bread and butter is, well, people. Famous personalities and their very comfortable lives. Outside of the celebrity gossip world, journalism elicits an internal discourse in the reader about some topic of interest, whether it be the morality of abortion or where to get the best burrito in Dublin (see page 3). With People and its ilk, however, there is no issue at stake, only trivia - David Beckham’s latest meaningful tattoo (Harper, in excessively ornate script), Sandra Bullock’s nickname for her adopted son (Cajun Cookie), Lindsay Lohan’s favourite low-carb snack (a nosebag full of ketamine with a crystal meth chaser) - made relevant by adjacent celebrity. These magazines contain a very detached kind of journalism - it’s a window into a fantasy world that only a select few can inhabit, rather than a mirror reflecting the reader’s own (real) world. The reason I’m interested in journalism is because it’s a participative pursuit. The things I read about are things that affect me in some way, or, indeed, are things that I can affect, whether through voting, consumer choice or the occasional student magazine article. The readers of People Magazine seem so uninterested in the world and their effect on it that they resort to gossiping about people who wouldn’t piss on them if they were on fire - like 18th century serfs chattering about the landlord’s peccadilloes. As much as I enjoyed the free coffee and hour-long lunch breaks, I don’t think I’ll be back to People any time soon.

“ ”



In Focus

PATH TO FAME. Taken on the day of the Queen’s visit to Trinity College Dublin at the Wall of Fame in Temple Bar by Dargan Crowley-Long.


Culture art Dublin Contemporary is Born 6 years in the making, the Dublin Contemporary has oversome sisyphean odds to deliver a relevant exhibition of modern art

by Tommy Gavin


lot of artists and curators, and a lot of shows are only about aesthetics, and in reality we need a show about ideas, about the real world, and that’s our mandate.” Such were the words of Jota Castro (no relation to the Cuban autocrat), one of the curators of the Dublin Contemporary 2011 which opened on the 6th of September and runs until the 31st of October. Bob Geldoff and the Minister for Art Jimmy Deenihan launched the event, with a flurry of cameras following them around what used to be the UCD Medical School at Earlsfort Terrace, which makes for a surprisingly good gallery, with its long corridors and confined spaces. The exhibition is Ireland’s first attempt at a biennial, which in art-terms means an exhibition of international contemporary art, the idea being like Oxegen but with art instead of bands, and thoughtful reflection instead of stabbings. The show is the first of its kind in Ireland since the ROSC exhibition in the sixties and seventies, and it features the work of over a hundred artists, over 30 of whom are Irish. The Curators, Jota Castro and Christian Viveros-Fauné opted to forego big-name artists that are associated with other events like the Venice Biennial, and instead opted for emerging talent with something to say: “We were looking for originality, diversity and good ideas.” It was for that reason that they selected ‘Terrible Beauty – Art Crisis, Change’ as the theme of the show, to reflect the necessary engagement with change, and ways to address it in light of the global economic meltdown. The other corresponding theme is the office of non-compliance in the centre of Earlsfort terrace. Inspired by the free universities of the anarchist movement, it aims to creatively tackle one problem a week using non-conformist, artist led solutions. This may sound airy and slightly ridiculous, but it has precedent in art movements at their most idealistic, notably of the Situationists, and other groups of artists who sought beneficial social change. At the very least, it will

be interesting to see what it produces. The planning of the Dublin Contemporary though, has been tumultuous. It has its beginnings in 1999 when Oliver Dowling, then visual arts officer for the Arts Council and a co-founder of the exhibition, proposed an international art exhibition for Dublin. This was generally welcomed but seen as untimely. Rachel Thomas, Head of Exhibitions for the Irish Museum of Modern Art approached him in 2005 when she had a similar vision, and the two pushed for it since. Under them, the show was to be about Joycean interaction with the city, as visitors would follow a path between different galleries where the journey became part of the art through imposed context. The other theme was to be Silence as a part of Irish storytelling tradition. However, there were rumours of strife within the Dublin Contemporary headquarters, and it was launched twice in Dublin, once in London and once in New York without much to show for itself. It was also pushed back several times, as it was due to debut in 2010, and then moved to the Summer of 2011, only to be pushed back to have opened recently. Then, in January of this year, Rachel Thomas departed as artistic director for mysterious reasons that nobody felt comfortable disclosing to The University Times Magazine. It was only in February that the current curators were appointed, and it is they who picked the present line-up of artists and chose the new themes. Despite the baggage and scope of the undertaking, the Dublin Contemporary 2011 has overcome its many obstacles in presenting an international contemporary art show of significant merit, which is obviously great from a cultural standpoint, but also as a draw for tourism and in giving a welcoming home for Irish artists. A lot of the art at the exhibition is explicitly political in one way or another. Alan Butler’s mixed media installation finds a room wallpapered with print-outs of stories about China from news websites; one side of


the room about the suicides at the FOXCONN plants where iPhones are manufactured, the other about media censorship. The former also has an iPhone with a video on a loop, the former has 2 giant psychedelic poster recreations of the recent press release condemning traitorous portrayals of Party-approved China. Then there is Brian Duggan’s scale model of a rusted ferris-wheel, accompanied by an English translation of the evacuation order of Pripyat, following the meltdown at Chernobyl. Another sure-to-be popular exhibit is Richard Mosse’s Infra series; a set of photographs with altered colours depicting a series of surreal purple landscapes, filled with rifle bearing Congolese soldiers, that strikes a tragic contrast between dreamscape and reality. Then there are larger scale pieces, such as Castos’s massive, reflective and oddly dimensioned piece “us”, and Thomas Hirschhorn’s giant coffin decorated with images of culture, violence and icons of consumerism. You can’t help but feel that the curators were right to ignore big-name artists and embrace the next generation of artists who are confident to comment on national and international affairs on their own terms. In particular, the Danish artists’ group Superflex have a piece about the economic crisis that seems particularly relevant to Ireland, with their video of an ominous man saying that everything is going to be fine, as you step over euro coins glued to the floor. While the exhibition may have originated out of the Celtic Tiger years, it seems more appropriate now than ever, justifying its title: a Terrible Beauty.

The Dublin Contemporary runs from September 6th until October 31st and spans across the Earlsfort Terrace, the Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin City Gallery the Hugh Lane, the National Gallery of Ireland and the Royal Hibernian Academy and the Iveagh Gardens.


Fringe Benefits


Three different writers provde three different perspectves on the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Working at the Fringe

of the festival; meeting theatre companies, hearing about the best shows, casually sipping Red Stripe with Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman in a “VIP” bar. Aside from the fit-up and get-out of the first and last week, which involved heavy construction work, the work was very easy and involved little more than ripping ticket stubs. I probably would have felt that I was cheating the company if I was being paid more than 50p per hour. Living in Edinburgh was essentially the same as walking through Trinity; the entire population of our campus


espite little interest or experience in theatre, I was heading into a very long summer with no plans so decided to work as front of house and box office staff in C venues, one of the biggest venues at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. It’s a wonder they get any employees, given the daily twelve-hour shifts and a meagre wage of £200 for six weeks. However, they did provide accommodation and free shows, and there was something nice about being “behind-the-scenes”


Acting at the Fringe


erforming at the Fringe Festival was the most tiring thing I have ever done. The exhaustion from pre-Fringe preparations of stencilling the morbid title My Best Friend Drowned in a Swimming Pool onto umbrellas, making banners, printing flyers, buying t-shirts and last minute costumes really was felt in our Tesco value Red Bull infused tech rehearsal which was from 1am to 5am on the morning of our first performance. Luckily our performance was at 9:45pm everyday- so we got to sleep in after this and every night out that followed. If we weren’t performing, going to shows or drinking we were definitely flyering and shamelessly promot-

First time attendee


he little I knew of the Fringe Festival before touching down in Edinburgh was this: plays. Avant- garde plays, whose audience and crew dressed in black, smoked cigarettes through thin black holders and sleept in water tanks. That was how the stereotype played in my mind; which goes to show I knew absolutely nothing prior to my visit. The Fringe is madcap, a fever which grabs the city for over a month and doesn’t let go. At first it’s almost abrasive but you quickly find yourself swept along. From the moment of arrival,



seemed to relocate to Scotland for the duration of the festival, with about a quarter of the C venues staff being Irish. There was something quite nice about this, and in an attempt to talk about the Brits in their presence, I don’t think any of us have ever spoken so much Irish. Overall, I returned to Dublin in a very unhealthy state having spent six weeks eating nothing but Lidl olives. In addition to this, I ended up spending a few hundred pounds on living expenses and tartan scarves, meaning I am now entering the college year with very little money. However, I left Edinburgh with the definite intention of returning.

ing our “dark witty drama” on the Royal Mile. Some people are good at this. Some people have no qualms about approaching people who look like they’d rather steal your umbrella and/or run away from you screaming than take another damp flyer from another damp Fringe performer. I am not one of these people. Thankfully, our promotion tactics were different than most others. They involved one of our cast, usually Eva O’Connor who also wrote the play, lying sprawled in Poundlands’ best paddling pool (it was tiny) in the middle of the Mile surrounded by

the rest of the team holding our homemade banner and flyers in our outstretched hands looking suitably depressed at our best friends recent demise. Looking depressed is surprisingly easy to do while flyering in the rain. If all else failed we’d gift one of our painted umbrellas to the wettest looking person who in turn would be so grateful that they’d bring all of their friends to our show. Worked every time. After flyering we’d traipse back to our lime green kitchen, eat and prepare for the show as yet another reviewer was going to be in the audience. This routine was repeated for 26 days without a break.

my three day trip was a race across the city - from the tiniest of venues beneath a bridge to makeshift auditoriums in UNESCO preserved buildings - devouring as much as possible. You quickly learn that everything manages to wangle five stars; be it from the Scotsman in large lettering, or the neighbouring cat printed in tiny point-eight font. Events begin early each day and run until well past midnight, meaning you can always find something and if the rush becomes too much there are hundreds of small cafes and bars where you can catch a brief respite (and if lucky catch free music, stand-

up or theatre) or wander the Hogwarts-esque streets and nooks of the city. Of course the Fringe was not entirely endless excitement and wonder: tickets for the best performances are snapped up quickly and failure to pre-book tickets before arriving often leads to disappointment. Box office queues for the larger venues proved a minor annoyance made worse when picketed by people with flyers for their show. For whatever reason you’re there, be it for the live performances, the atmospheric nightlife or sheer chance, you cannot help but catch this Fringe fever. And my preconceived stereotype I had brought from home? It was safely quashed by the largely student populace that call Edinburgh home for the duration of the festival.




literature/film Icarus in Flight

Doyle on Ireland’s oldest [ David literary journal going digital.


n a college in which history lies around every corner, it’s of little surprise that Trinity is home to a publication with as rich a history as Icarus. Having started in 1950, it is the oldest literary journal of its type in Ireland and having had a host of illustrious editors, from Louis MacNeice to Sebastian Barry at the helm; it’s managed to carve itself out a place of honour in the Irish literary landscape. Indeed it’s this history that the new editor, Conor Leahy, is looking to celebrate during his tenure. Leahy has embarked on an ambitious project to digitise previous issues of the publication and upload them up online. It’s a hugely important project which will see the contributions of some of the most renowned authors in Irish literary history, including Derek Mahon and Michael Longley, available to a wider audience. It will also offer a rare glimpse into the earliest works of many authors as well as a chance to see some of the earliest scholarly work on topics including James Joyce’s diaries. Having already successfully digitised the first ten years of publication, which amounts to around thirty five issues, Leahy aims to successfully upload all of the issues up until 1970 by the end of the year, which will cover the golden years of Icarus. Close to running out of the issues of the journal held by the National Library, it will soon be Early Printed Stacks

that he’ll turn to in order to complete the task. However digitising Icarus isn’t Leahy’s only vision for the publication this year; he fully intends to maintain and improve upon the high standard set by his predecessors. One goal for the next volume is to include literary essays for the first time which will offer a new dimension to the publication. Also the publication is to return to a simpler layout which Leahy hopes will act as an “exhibition space” for the work with no illustrations accompanying the pieces submitted this year. This decision is largely born out of the editor’s own first printed submission in which his poem appeared on a page with cartoons, illustrations and other poems meaning that it didn’t look anything like it was conceived to look; the result was that Leahy almost stopped submitting and had that been the case, Icarus would have lost one of the most promising young poets. In fact it is this artistic integrity that comes across most strongly when talking to Leahy. There’s little doubt that the digitising of Icarus has made the editorial team keenly aware of the proud history of

the publication and there seems to be a great desire to maintain that this year. Leahy himself a great opportunity to build upon this history, hinting at the fact that he believes that within the next five years, several of the current contributors will be published authors and may one day join the upper echelons of Irish writers. One thing however is certain, under Conor Leahy; Icarus is set to go from strength to strength this year.

Torrent or Not Torrent


Haugh investigates [ Darragh the death of cinema.

n these cash strapped times there a few luxuries beyond a club entrance fee that we can afford, let alone spending 20 euro to see some random movie that most people have never heard of. In the past when a situation like this came up one would be forced to patiently wait for the DVD release or maybe even the HMV bargain bin, however, in recent years an almost infinite selection of movies has become available to any person as long as they have a decent internet connection and the name of a good website. In fact, torrenting and streaming have become so common place that it’s rarely even considered wrong by the most people, and who can blame them? Is it the moral equivalent of borrowing a mates DVD instead of paying for it yourself? Beyond the money constraints often torrenting can just be a whole lot more convenient. No set show times, sold out showings or over crowed theatre with no air conditioning that you had to walk to in the rain followed by an argument over which film to see which you will always lose. Sometimes there’s simply is no more comfortable way to watch a movie then at home lying on the couch with a laptop on your belly and cheap popcorn beside you. Despite the plus side of torrenting, I don’t think I

ever could turn my back on the cinema. Few things compare to a room of over 200 people laughing, screaming and sometimes even crying together. Not to mention the feeling of anticipation while lying up for that film that its seems like you’ve been waiting years for and the jubilation that comes over you the moment the lights go down and you see the familiar studio logo (and I know it’s incredibly over priced but tastes as good as the cinema popcorn and slightly watered down coke combo meal deal). When you think back to your favourite movie, would it really of been so special if instead of sharing it with a few friends and strangers it was a copy you watched online taken with a shaky camera and with subtitles in Malaysian? There is room for a balance to be struck though. Why not use the internet for those films you’re curious about but know in your heart are going to be awful Hollywood cash grabbers (Anything with katherine Heigl or Shia Labeouf is a safe bet to avoid) or some small independent affair that you know has no hope of getting a screening anywhere near you and save the cinema for those movies that deserve to be appreciated and enjoyed on a large scale such as the great summer blockbuster or something that warrants an intimate examination like this autumns upcoming batch of Oscar hopefuls.


The simple truth is that, when the film and the people are just right, in the cinema not only are the screens bigger but so are the emotions.

theatre/music An Interview with Rosemary McKenna Noonan meets an ex-Trinity [ Joseph Player to discuss her new show


ntering Connolly Books on East Essex Street on a Friday, with a plan to meet the director and recent Trinity graduate Rosemary McKenna for a quick interview to discuss her latest show Bedbound, I stepped off the Temple Bar street and into another world. A cheery greeting of “Conas atá tú?” from the man sitting behind the shop counter, as he looked away from the couple he had been chatting to entirely

as Gaeilge before I stepped in. It immediately became clear that I was now in a pretty special little bookshop. Being greeted in Irish was not the only unusual thing about this self-professed “oldest radical bookshop in Dublin”. When I wandered through the airy ground floor room to the back of the shop, I arrived at a ordinary-looking door, with nothing remarkable about it but a modest sign overheard which read: “The New Theatre”. Theatre is something McKenna could discuss endlessly. In the brief time we spent talking, she gave me an valuable insight into the world of the Irish stage and opened up about how very different it is to be a professional director in the real world, where suddenly she is faced with responsibilities like paying for insurance, theatre bookings and rehearsal spaces, and how it contrasts dramatically with what it’s like to put on a few shows as a student in college. She speaks enthusiastically of Players and the opportunities it gave her as a student with an interest in directing. “You have a pool of actors and designers at your disposal, for free, and you actually take

for granted the full-spec theatre and advice from a drama department who know exactly what they’re talking about.” Despite now being burdened with inane things like insurance, she does not complain about working hard to get what she wants, remarking that “in this job you just have to roll with the punches…it’s very much a case of sticking it out for a while and putting the hours in.” The most important thing for McKenna is to provoke something from her audience, and this is something she will work tirelessly to achieve. She adds visceral touches to Bedbound, a play set in a single room, dominated by the sickbed of a young girl with polio. “So often when we go to a theatre we are way too passive…we sit there neither flinching nor laughing - that really frustrates me.” She moves outside of Walsh’s very fast-paced script to add several uncomfortable moments, like a character spitting puke onto their lap or another simulating various sexual acts. The result is a tense atmosphere full of raw emotion, in the intimate space of a theatre that is hidden behind a bookshop. When I asked her if she had any words of advice for drama students interested in directing, her answer was simple: “Players. Do everything in players.”

Daft Punk Orchestra in review


Watson goes through the [ Shauna Trinity Orchestra’s recent successes

n Orchestral lifestyle isn’t typically associated with rock and roll, commanding the main stage at Electric Picnic and relaxing backstage with the world’s biggest indie and rock names. However, Trinity Orchestra, the only student run Orchestra in Ireland, aren’t exactly conformists to orchestral norms, arrangements or compositions, having adapting scores of well known artists such as Radiohead, Sigur Ros and most recently Daft Punk. Rob Farhat’s arrangement of Trinity Orchestra Plays Daft Punk established such wide-spread recognition that they received numerouss offers to perform outside the boundaries of the exam hall. Peter Joyce, the Orchestra’s newly elected Auditor recognised that they had never received such attention before: “It was after the success of the Daft Punk show in the Exam Hall in February that we started getting offers to play major gigs such as Forbidden Fruit festival, 10 days in Dublin and Electric Picnic.” YouTube also acted as a major propeller to the increased success of the Orchestra. Their video of Daft Punk’s greatest hits medley, recorded at their Daft Punk debut in February, has an ever increasing view count of over 450,000 and generates a staggering amount of praise for the society. “YouTubers are notorious for nit-picking,” Peter

remarked on the mixed reactions towards the singers’ performances in the video. “But I think at the shows over the summer they really proved their talent to the critics and Electric Picnic was some of the members’ best performances.” Admirably, it seemed as though the soloists had taken the criticism on the chin as they stunned the festival goers at the start of September. “The size of the crowd was Rob Farhat: Orchestra Conductor Photo: David O’Dwyer unprecedented and their reaction to our music was amazing” said Peter who is currently a performing a score of hits from their Electric Picnic third year Music student. comrades, Arcade Fire. The spirited atmosphere was at full blast as the crowd Even though the featured shows of popular and curendured the beating rain, enthusiastically mimicking rent bands escalated them to their astounding success, the hand gestures of the singers during the perforthe society are adamant they will remain dedicated to mance of Too Long. their original roots, performing two shows during the With the attention surrounding the Orchestra solely year of a contrasting classical genre. remaining on their renditions of the Daft Punk Undoubtedly, following the impact of the Daft Punk album Discovery during recent months, the society spectacle we will be reeling over the Trinity Orchestra confirmed that Electric Picnic was their last Irish perPlay Arcade Fire performance for months subsequent formance of the arrangement. However, the recognito their Freshers’ Week concert. Considering the action received by the Orchestra is a significant platform complishments of Trinity Orchestra over the summer, from which to conjure up further success over the they will indisputably begin the new academic year coming year. The society revealed that they are curwith an attitude and motivation that is harder, better, rently preparing for an immense Freshers’ Week show, faster and stronger…


fashion Summer Days Driftin’ Away Colin McGrane advises on what to wear this coming Autumn.

So that time of year has come again. Evenings are clos- collection even managed to use layers to allow ing in, the first chills of winter are appearing the seemingly unattainable feat of wearing short in the air, and a good lashing of rain (while never in sleeves during the darker months. Bare limbs can short supply) is becoming almost a daily occurrence. Couple this with a gaggle of fresh faced freshers (try saying that one after a few drinks), and a sprinkling of crunchy windfall foliage and you have all the ingredients for a good heady Irish autumn. The onset of Autumn is traumatic enough without the inevitable moment when you open your wardrobe door on October 1st, only to realise that your entire clothing collection is now comprised entirely of cut off shorts, flip flops, plimsolls and floaty numbers, all of which are more suited to a stroll down the promenade in Nice as opposed to a fight to the death to get down Grafton Street in a force ten gale. The shock of a return to an Autumnal wardrobe is one which is both inevitable, and bittersweet. On the one hand, the fact that it is completely implausible (and probably illegal) to leave the house in December wearing a tube top, denim hot-pants and a pair of Hawaiianas, gives you a carte blanche to go wild and buy loads of new lovely clothes. But on the other hand, the realisation that the An Autumnal look from an Erdem runway show effervescent colours of your summer garb must be replaced by the same year in year out greys, flow free in doors before being bundled away inside browns and navy’s is enough to kill off even the most grungy pleather bomber jackets and whimsical hardy of seasonal shoppers. yet edgy cape-come-trench coats. Nevertheless, this season, a whole host of designers are showing us that Autumn/Winter doesn’t This Autumn has also seen the return to use of colalways have to mean bundling yourself up in a cocoon oured print fabrics. For inspiration, take a gander of beige knitted hell for six months running. at Balenciaga’s uber modern block printing, which For inspiration, why not gaze over British design merges deep but vibrant Autumnal colours with house Issa’s autumn 2011 collection, which features white for a strikingly up to date spin on classic fabric cold-weather staples such as layered cardigans, pea printing. For a more timeless feel, follow the overcoats and wrap dresses decked out in a lead of Turkish-Canadian fashion designer Erdem, rich palette of deep, burnt oranges and warm smoky who uses a classic floral printing technique across blues. Even the always controversial issue of a variety of different fabrics, ranging from plus velvet brightly coloured tights has reappeared in the Issa col- to sleek satin. lection, and while the flashy, ebullient look With a range of colour splashed across catwalks (and of a pair of tangerine pins might be the height of soon to be splashed across the high street) glamour on a London catwalk, they may be less there is no excuse to waste time pining for the balmy appealing while sashaying down a rain soaked Luas days of Summer. Grab the nearest jaws of life carriage at 8:00am of a Monday morning. (or fabric scissors) to free yourself from the oppresShock value tights aside, Autumn/Winter has left us sion of your black knitted jumper, and dive into an with a sprinkling of hope that one doesn’t have Autumnal rainbow of vibrant hues, because this to sacrifice one’s fashion identity just for the utilitarAutumn, the only thing that should be dull, grey ian necessities of defending against hypothermia and drab is the weather. and water logging. Alexander Wang’s always creative



he CSC has a new mission this year and that is to ensure the student body are constantly being made aware of the exciting events occurring each month. With a bit of luck and dedication from the society bigwigs, everyone will be able to learn of upcoming events via their MyZone account’s Google Calendar. This new magazine column in University Times Magazine reflect this aim, too. When you pick up each new issue, cast your eyes over this way and I shall strive as Societies Correspondent to inform you of the finest, most mind-expanding and entertaining goings-on in the sometimes impenetrably large and maze-like world of TCD societies. I suspect it’ll be quite fun, bombarding society leaders with emails demanding to get the inside scoop. I tell others my role is akin to an investigatory journalist with schmoozing benefits, but really I just get to be a professional nag. Participating in one or several of the societies is an integral aspect of the College experience, and it is never too late to get involved. Societies will provide endless opportunities for meet-ups, mingling and nights out throughout the year, and they also provide a must-needed break from textbook-based mental strains and tutorial traumas. I will personally relish returning as appreciative audience member of the Phil debates, and during Fresher’s Week will be stopping by the Jazz Soc’s gigs in the Hist (from Monday-Wed). While the Phil, Hist, Players and Ents will no doubt already be familiar, there’s a plethora of varied, alternative avenues to explore. Whether you’re a euphuist, pleonastic poet or more modernist in your constructions of short stories, the Literary Soc hosts plenty of intimate readings in cozy venues. If you’re a musical prodigy, take your pick from Trinity Orchestra, Singers, Jazz, and the Choral and Music societies. Fancy yourself the Louis C.K. of the Future? Or are you nowhere near as witty but goddamnit you think you’re funny and you maybe one day could be the Louis C.K. of the Future with a little more practice? Ah hey, Comedy Soc, didn’t see you there. Are you an eighty year-old woman trapped in a student’s body? Knitting Soc has surprisingly become rather popular since its founding. Hey, you! Are you Jewish? Are you into bending, stretching, deep breathing and imagining warmth flooding you as you amble along a quiet shoreline? Hebrew Soc and Yoga Soc are crying out for your presence. Want to juggle? Perhaps play chess, meet up with Gaelgoiri, then discuss alternative music over a cold Fosters in the Pav? Really? Fosters is manky, but I’m not here to judge. You can do it all, kid. All societies can be found listed on, so go forth and sign up. Welcome to Trinity.

Katie Abrahams

SINEAD O’CONNOR by Luke O’Connell


apparently genuine nerves regarding going on the show. She temporarily pulled out a few days before the show when she was hurt by an RTE researcher’s patronising questions about her “insane behaviour”. Indeed, one might question RTE’s motives in having her appear as a guest if they wanted her to show herself up as nothing more than a pathetic laughing stock. They were, no doubt, fully aware of her well-publicised mental health issues throughout the years and inviting her on could arguably be construed as nothing more than a cynical commercial publicity stunt. In fairness to O’Connor, her interview on the show (having been persuaded to change her mind again by Tubridy) was a gregarious and altogether amusing few minutes in which she joked with Tubridy and came across as relatively normal. Having exhausted the avenue of cyberdating, the nymphomaniac’s latest (at the time of writing) idea for finding love or something like it (sweaty sex, truth be told) is the almost-forgotten matchmaking orgy Lisdoonvarna. Attracting over 40,000 lonely hearts (it says here), the festival is traditionally more banal than anal, but O’Connor has reportedly been strongly encouraged to attend by the head matchmaker. Once the disbelief of hearing O’Connor speak so brazenly about carnal matters subsides, one might admit that maybe she isn’t so risible after all. As her Late Late Show appearance demonstrates, she is doing all this half-jokingly; not in a cynical career-boosting way but to do whatever (or whomever) the fuck she likes and damn it if the boring Plain People of Ireland are going to try to stop her. Would Jim Corr and Mark Little be following her Twitter if she were a man? Probably not, but that is the gender divide for you. O’Connor doesn’t care, and more power to her, as they say. There is no denying that O’Connor has at times been bullied by certain sections of the media and beyond as pathetic and mad, ripe for lampoon. The argument that she tends to court attention should not ignore the fact that she has spoken out (even if in occasionally ridiculous ways) for the voiceless at times when others spinelessly turned away. Her recent foray into prurience is just another bit of eccentricity. Let her be. Let’s keep listening to “Nothing Compare 2 U” when we feel sorry for ourselves. Let’s not bother with most of the rest of her music career. But let’s hope she gets a phenomenal pounding from the man of her dreams one of these days.

can honestly say that, in all my years in a school run by multiple members of the clergy, I never once encountered a priest so openly and unashamedly in search of cock as Sinéad O’Connor (who was ordained in the Latin Tridentine church in 1999). The singer, who once threatened to wrap her arms around every boy she saw in her legendary cover of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U”, has revealed that she has had sex with no more than a banana in over seven months. Of course, O’Connor, 44, has arguably gained as much media attention over the last two decades for her bizarre and controversial behaviour as she has for her music career. Known for her bald head and bare feet, she has long been a vociferous critic of the Catholic Church and its attitude to the child abuse scandals. Frank Sinatra once vowed to “kick her ass” when she refused to allow the playing of the USA’s national anthem before a concert. In 1992, she performed on Saturday Night Live and, much to the shock of everyone from the producers to the audience, ended her cover of Bob Marley’s “War” (whose lyrics she had re-appropriated to highlight the issue of child abuse) by tearing up a photo of the pope and storming off the stage. Shortly after her last marriage (her third), she penned an astonishing polemic in the Sunday Independent in which she attacked the Irish media for bullying her, not despite but because of her “fantastic arse”, an arse which was, she wrote, “responsible for the conception of [her] four lovely children, by four lovely men.” It is unclear whether O’Connor believes that anal conception is biologically possible. In August of this year, O’Connor managed to cause even more public bewilderment when she wrote another colourful article for the same paper, announcing her hopes to find a “very sweet sex-starved man” to more or less ride her senseless. Her criteria included a minimum age of 37 (alas), an absence of hair gel or after-shave, a love for his mother and, it seems, a proclivity for anal sex (or “the tradesman’s entrance”, as she eloquently puts it). She loves nothing better than talking about anal sex in public. On September 2nd, she appeared on the Late Late Show after much humming and hawing. She has repeatedly professed her (unrequited and inexplicable) predatory love for the host Ryan Tubridy and in the week leading up to the show she spoke of her





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The University Times Magazine, Volume 3, Issue 1  
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