Teen Art Out nr 15 ISSN 2284 – 6549 ISSN–L = 2284 – 6549
Our editorial team Editor in chief: Editors:
Cover design: Cover graphics: Design:
Simona Mihalca Andreea Bădeu Aubrey Joy Songcog Julia N. Hamermesz Kasey Rae Michela Sereni Andreea Albulescu Katherine Corner Daria Radu Deserie Monterey Claudia P. Kartikay Kini Henry Villanova Emanuele Serraino Spinu Ovidiu Cristian Ioana Marian Tudor Simona Maria Ruxandra Marin Pall Jokull Ioana- Mădălina Sterpu
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SUMARY LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Once upon a December, Simona Mihalca
ONCE UPON A DECEMBER “Once upon a month, but why december?”, Daria Radu
December, Andreea Albulescu
Last ride of the year,
Julia N. Hamermesz
Once upon a December, Deserie Monterey
Once upon a December..., Katherine Corner
Seasons of Love, Aubrey Joy Songcog
The longest night of the year, Claudia P.
Memories, magic and a Christmas-scented story, Andreea Bădeu
SOCIAL WATCH The Obsessive Devotion, Michela Sereni
The Scholastic Battlefield, Henry Villanova
TEEN EVENTS Scorpions, Simona Mihalca
Christmas Rock Fest, Simona Mihalca
PSYCH(O) Controlling our emotions, Kartikay Kini
IDEAS ON CELLULOID A conversation with Helena Bonham Carter, Kasey Rae
Letter from the editor
Once upon a December
by Simona Mihalca
Dancing bears, painted wings. Things I almost remember, And a song, someone sings. Once upon a December. (Deana Carter â€“ Once Upon a December from Anastasia
he song has started and now the December carousel is spinning. Indeed, it is a carousel, one of joy and disappointment, one of time to look back and look forward, one that sends you back to your childhood and expects you to give it your best. All the memories of childhood come rushing back again, as no one can deny that the Winter Holidays have a certain magic attached to them. Whether that means staying with your family or simply enjoying a holiday, drinking a hot chocolate 4
or caroling, as the year is all but gone now, we must all make peace with it. And as we make our peace, we should feel relieved. We have to try to let loose of the bad and only accept the best from us and from others. Winter is a cold and somehow frightening, but it is beautiful and full of wonder. Itâ€™s the playground of little kids, who are so amazed to watch snowflakes coming down peacefully and to unwrap all those gifts, believing in something with all their heart.
Letter from the editor
December can be like an imperial ball. In all honesty, if we are talking about imperialism, my mind runs to Mother Russia, with its white, white winters. And there you have it. Indeed, December is a ballroom full of what happened along the year, where you can dance and spin and rejoice in all that has been done, where you can listen to that one song that always makes you feel better, where you can sit back and relax, where you can retreat to your loved ones and fall back into tradition.
the last ride of the year. Enjoy the show we have put on and try to think and feel what itâ€™s all about. And if, somehow, we managed to touch a chord, let us know, share your visions with us, tell us why you think December is or is not all we made it to be.
So, please, join us in what is
Happy Winter Holidays and very Happy New Year from the Teen Art Out staff!
Simona Mihalca, 5
Marco Hietala Marco Hietala needs no introduction. He’s the “Viking” bassist and singer of Finnish band Nightwish. And we had to pleasure to ask him a few (or more than few) questions about their latest release, the “Showtime, Storytime” Live DVD, shot at Wacken Open Air. More to the fans’ delight, it is also accompanied by an in-depth documentary of the Imaginaerum tour called appropriately “Please Learn the Set list in 48 Hours”.
Simona Mihalca: “Please Learn the Set list In 48 Hours” was really amazing. From what I gather, the first time you have asked Floor to step in was actually 48 hours before the Salt Lake City show? Marco Hietala: That’s a fact! When we had the situation on the US tour we just had to figure out who could pull this kind of thing off so that the tour wouldn’t fall over and Floor was probably the first one that came to mind. She said that she is going to try and 7
Interview that’s it, basically. She flew over to the United States and at the same time on the flight was reading lyrics and listening to songs. And within 24 hours of her arrival she was on stage doing a show. It was pretty excited for everybody, but I guess she got the most excitement at that time. S.M: One of the things I realised from it is that, even if everybody warmly welcomed Floor and Elize and Alissa as guest singers, the girls didn’t get enough recognition for what they did. Fans knew how good they were and just expected them to perform wonderfully, forgetting all the work and stress it went into filling the role on such short notice. M.H: Yes, there is a lot of work in preparing for that and when we were doing the first shows she had quite a lot of the lyrics taped on the stage, but every evening was less and less until within a week or so it was all gone, so it was really fast. I think it was actually quite exceptional. We couldn’t have been more pleased, of course, and I think she was as well. S.M: As they showed footage from different periods, the feelings were so clearly visible beyond what you were 8
saying. It’s so amazing to see you becoming so joyful and there can be seen a change of spirit. M.H: Well, the thing was, the relief when we actually saw we can still do the shows and the tour. It was big and I think you can see it from everybody’s faces but I don’t think the good feelings ever went down because you can see really well, for instance on the live DVD that there was a really good vibe through the whole rest of the tour. The personal chemistry was working and things were working, the band was working. S.M: How was it to have someone documenting your every move? Obviously, there have been End of Innocence and Made in Hong Kong, but this time it was recorded during the whole tour, which was a really long time. M.H: You have to get used to it. When we started the tour the pace wasn’t very hectic, but when we started to go through Europe with a show almost every day, with a day off every now and then and you had a camera or more on you all the time. We actually had to tell people “Hey! We need a few moments of privacy every now and then” S.M: And this time you let
Interview it be much more raw, emotional and heart-felt. Of course, we remember other behind the scenes from your past releases, but this time it tends to be more of a confession and a true nature of it. M.H: We didn’t make any conscious decision about making it personal. It just turned out like this. We’ve had some hard times, really really hard times. And then, when you talk to people who became known faces so you’re not really acting in front of them, you do what you do and be who you are and that way it becomes personal. You see people as they are, even with the raw emotions sometimes. I think it’s all for the better as it’s all real. S.M: But how was actually the show in Wacken? M.H: We had a good time. It was second to last week we were doing shows and we had a really short time window to see what we can get: lights, pyros and so on. And as a great bonus, we didn’t expect that there were going to be over 80,000 people to see the show. But since there were, I’ve got no complaints. It was a very good situation for everything. S.M: If you went back in time now, after doing the live
DVD, would you do it again? That is supposing the label didn’t tell you to do so. M.H: It was true that we were only planning on doing the documentary. And then the label said “Hey guys. It would be really really really nice if you shot a live show”. At first we didn’t really want to get into the hassle because we only had two months to go with the shows and to put everything together with the camcrews is a little bit tight. But in the end we thought it’s a good situation and a good opportunity to get the current line and immortalize it. So we just decided to go along with it. S.M: Some amazing songs from old times re-appeared in your set list. How do you feel about that? On one hand, I believe that it is such joy to have some songs again, but on the other you have Wishmaster again, which you said countless times that you don’t want to play anymore. M.H: Every time there is a singer change, and now we’ve had a couple, you have to take into account the fact that every singer has a way of doing things and there are different kinds of personal quirks in how you’re able to fulfill some kind of a melody line. 9
Interview And you just have to find out which songs fit which singer the best. We had to make some arrangement changes when Anette joined and now we did a few with Floor but she seems to be very versatile in taking any kind of song and making an interpretation out of that. It wasn’t really that hard, as she did most of the work and we just played them
Sin is going and how Floor is really going to extremes at the end.
as we usually did. But it was fun, for instance, to take a hold of Bless the Child once again. Now that we were actually mixing the live DVD, it surprised me how heavy the song has actually been. I always liked the heavy stuff so all the better. And one of the highlights of the show is, as you can see, how well She Is My
you’ve done that already.
S.M: I think fans expected She Is My Sin to appear earlier on the set list, as she had covered it with After Forever. M.H: Yes, of course, it’s an easy thing to do when you don’t have to memorize the lyrics since
S.M: Speaking of set lists, I think you might have created a new fan favourite with the Christmas song for the lonely documentarist. M.H: [laughs] Don’t think we’re gonna be playing that live.
Interview It’s a story that might be true but actually isn’t. There are a few things that have their root in different happenings we’ve had along the root with Mr. Ville Lipiäinen S.M: How has touring life generally changed from older tours like Once upon a Tour or World Tour of the Century? Are you more mature now or is it the same Rock’n Roll crazy lifestyle and way of discovering the world? M.H: Of course, as you get older, you get little mellower. Maybe the nights are not as long as they used to be. And when we’re doing some of these shows, occasionally there is a party. But I think we’re taking it easier these days. S.M: It appears the band now has a mantra before going on stage, from Prometheus Unbound. How did it come to that?
M.H: It’s a poem. Troy came up with it at some point and it kind of became a small ritual before a show. It’s a nice way to boost the group spirit and the whole getting out there and raise hell. S.M: Did you guys go to see Floor at Metal Female Voices Fest or other Revamp concerts? M.H: I actually went to Tampere here in Finland one day
when she was doing a show with Kamelot. I got to see a few familiar faces in Kamelot, as well, and say hi to everyone. We had been doing quite a few shows with Floor being on the same side of the stage and now we had the opportunity to watch her from the other side and see how she was doing. She was good, as i knew she would. S.M: While obviously, Tuomas is the leader of the band, we have seen you on a lot of promotion tours and interviews, supporting him. But between you, Jukka and Emppu, did you draw the short straw? M.H: We try to split these interview things. It seems that Tuomas is doing the most of the talking and then I’m next. Floor has been doing quite a few of them these days, as well. We’re the most talkative, most fluent. And then again, Tuomas knows the best. He’s holding the ropes. I’m doing a lot of interview but then again I also have a lot of insight to the DVD and such because I was heavily involved in mixing the sound. This is just how it goes. Whoever has most time and that seems to be me right now. S.M: What is, for you, the most touching thing you fans have done or said? M.H: There have been a few 11
Interview of people who said they’d be really depressed, close to even thinking of suicide and the albums and the songs we’ve done with Nightwish have helped them through some hard times and that is actually quite touching. It makes you remember that we’re doing the music because we want to and we are driven to do these things but in the end it seems that the stuff you do also matters to a lot of other people. That is great. I feel privileged by these things.
that’s nice as well. I do like the kind of serenity that all the whiteness brings at times. And now that Christmas is coming along it’s going to be good to just close the doors and be home for a few days and stay with your own. S.M: What do you want Santa to bring you? M.H: Some more time. If he could bring some surplus extra free time, that would be great.
S . M : What is your favourite a l b u m released this year?
S . M : And the most cliché question of all: a message for the Romanian fans?
M.H: It could be Alter Bridge’s Fortress. S.M: How are winter and its holidays in Finland compared to the rest of the world? M.H: Well, winter is really getting on here. I was just earlier today shoveling snow from the yard. I’m used to it. I’ve grown up here. I like it. I’ve had privileges every now and then like doing an Australian tour in January and 12
M.H: Well, it’s been a while since we’ve been there and it would be good to come back because the fans and the shows have been great. S.M: Thank you so very much. care!
M.H: See you then! You take
foto: Pall Jokull
once upon a december ff
Once upon a December
“Once upon a month, but why december?” by Daria Radu
ince I was born in December, I have a special connection with this month, and with the majestic winter as a whole. As soon as the 1st of December comes merrily and starts sprinkling little snowflakes of joy around the little houses, I know that
finally Christmas is bound to arrive, full with magnificent decorations, fascinating traditions and a huge pile of kindness from the people you’d expect less. But why? Why only now? Why do we have to wait eleven excruciatingly long months to
foto: Pall Jokull
Once upon a December thank the ones we love for all their goodwill, for being there for us when we felt most alone? Why do we need a ‘reason’, a specific ‘date’, to finally show our gratitude? Every year, when Christmas is finally arriving after such a tedious waiting, we tend to smile more, to be more amiable, but take a second there to ask yourself why. Doesn’t the pretty young cashier guy from the local shop always give a small discount because he thinks ‘you need a little pick-me-up’, why would you consider buying him a gift only when it’s close to Christmas? Doesn’t your mother always lift you up, when you have hit rock bottom, why are you buying her flowers only now? Christmas is on 25th December, right? Who said that? Why did you believe them? How do you know Christmas is not on the 10th of April? Or on the 30th of September? Or yesterday? Oh, but you know why. Because that’s when Christmas lights are lit, mouth-watering cakes are baked, mighty trees are cut and carefully decorated, and the powerful companies steal your money mercilessly with the constant statement: “It’s Christmas! Make your dear ones smile by buying this useless gift! And also 16
this one! Oh, and remember that long-lost aunt, I bet she needs this super-expensive vacuum cleaner!”. Take a deep breath and ask yourself if this is the jolly Christmas you want. One in which ‘stereotypes are born for the sake of business’. Once again we are controlled by society with the most beautiful lie they have come up until now. However, aren’t we the ones who let ourselves controlled by their deceits? Is’;t it truly our own fault? Don’t wait 11 months to thank your father for paying your college tuition, or your grandmother for baking you cupcakes every time she sees you shedding tears over your crush. Make a change for yourself. Decorate a tree everyday. Smile brighter than you should even if you think it’s not necessary. because a smile a day keeps the sadness away! Change the “Once Upon A December” Anastasia was talking about in the famous Disney film into “Once Upon a Random Month”. Why not? Oh, and don’t forget your Santa hat. Let them know Christmas is endless. And they’ll all smile alongside you.
beginning to look a lot like Christmas”, some people may say, just as the first day of December slowly passes. Well, of course, if you are a student, you can only think of “The Nightmare before Christmas” – and I’m not talking about the movie. I’m, of course, talking about the real thing: THE FINAL EXAMS before a short holiday in which you can sleep and eat as much as you want, without anyone scolding you for being lazy.
As a highschool student, I can relate that December is the worst month of all. Teachers are rushing to put a lot of marks in the register (also known as December crisis) , the stress level goes over 9000 and beside the mountain of books and papers that seems to reach new heights from one day to another, you still have to find time to run and buy Christmas presents. It’s quite tiring, isn’t it? Well, if we were to count all the nervous breakdowns, the emptied pens, the sleepless hours and all the times we wanted to quit everything and go to Bahamas,
Once upon a December
December by Andreea Albulescu Las Vegas, Bora Bora etc. we’d probably get bored at 1000. Even if December is supposed to be about singing carols, we can only do it while studying for another test or in the classroom. (I often find myself humming “Jingle Bells” during math classes.) There is also a brighter side of going to school in December. We get to meet with all our schoolmates and it’s nice to share the Christmas spirit with everyone. It’s also nice how you get to plan get-togethers with everyone and on the first day of holiday you already know that your biggest wish is to sleep and eat! Christmas is the best time of the year, but if we talk about 1st of December until 20th of the same month, it is some sort of a living hell! I mean, we all have so many things to do, and so little time to find the perfect presents for our dear ones. Hmm… It would be best if there was no school in December! (Not having to wake up early and work so much will also do!)
Andreea Albulescu 17
Once upon a December
by Julia N. Hamermesz
ere it is again. Hot or cold, rainy or dry, no matter the country, red, green and gold take the streets around the world: December and its spirits are back, as in every year. And with it comes the sudden realization that another year has passed, maybe too fast, maybe too blank. 18
As I thought about writing this text, I realized that now it has been a year since I first started to think about my first one here. I called it the beautiful people. I sit now and wonder whether this time of the year is the best or worst to be â€œnormalâ€?, to try to fit in, as this was what I was writing about a year ago.
Once upon a December
foto: Pall Jokull
Happy as it looks, these holydays might as well be a nightmare for loners. This month never really meant much to me. Growing up in a half Jew, half (sort of ) catholic family made things confusing as a child, surely, but nowadays the lack of meaning that I associate to both holidays (Hanukkah and Christmas)
may be due to the fact that I have never really acknowledged the meaning of either, and I don’t even remember ever truly celebrating the first one. Having this in mind, I thought I could write about how Christmas has become a commercial, quite “meaningless” holiday. But it didn’t take me long 19
Once upon a December to give up on this idea. First of all, because I came to realize during my late-night-philosophy-sessions that, even though for most of us this holiday has lost its religious meaning, it still gathers people, still brings families together, and that’s the most important. Second and last, I gave up because nobody cares. I may talk as much as I want about how commercial this date is and it won’t lose its bright, mostly because of reason one. You will read it and after a few hours it’ll be back to house-decorating, giftwrapping, card-writing or any other last minute activity that still has to be done. In short, I decided that maybe some things are not meant to last still, but to be changed and adapted according to the circumstances – just as Christmas meaning. And that took me to a different path. After all, December is not only the holiday season, but the last month, the last 31 days left for us to do whatever we didn’t do through the year. As the clock counts plus one, plus one and midnight, and the next year, come closer I remember my teacher once saying that the clock in fact ticked less one, less one. We all have this feeling, and maybe that’s why we tend to make so many promises for the next year. We set low or skyhigh goals, we swear we are going 20
to be better human beings, that we will enjoy life more or achieve something else, and yet another year passes without most of us actually accomplishing that much. Did you make any promises last December 31st? I must say I set little goals, and hardly accomplished any. It is very easy to forget them during the year – after all, it flies by quickly. You give up, you start to think it doesn’t matter, you postpone it, and when it is too late, well, then it is too late, and the year is almost ending. It is interesting that human beings need a certain time-mark to reflect, to think about how to change. Why can we only think about ourselves and our actions when another year is about to start? Are the clocks that meaningful, that powerful? Can you only act when it tells you that another cycle is starting? Have we become so attached to timecounting that we feel the need to have a strict beginning and an end to everything? Wasn’t the most beautiful thing in life how things fade into each other, just as a year should fade into another? It is as though the less concrete thing in humans, our emotions and needs rule. And how are we trying to rule the thing that matters the most, the thing that a major part of
Once upon a December the population agrees that makes what we are – how are we trying to rule our own feelings and our capability to change and adapt? In the end, the concept of normality that I wrote about last year fits here too. Softly, we are creating a model not only to organize society, but to rule humans, and the standards are reaching us deep down. Don’t get me wrong here: it is not wrong to count time, to keep track of events, etc. – but you should not let it control you, damage you. But most important than it all I started writing this to say: screw the end-of-another-year promises. You are human. You change, you grow, and you adapt: there is absolutely no need to be hard on yourself for letting those goals go, as long as it is what you really want. If you can make those changes at any given time, those promises should always
be a subject to change as well, and therefore not be promises. Use every day to reflect about you and your actions, and make the needed modifications. Don’t feel bad if another year passes and you realize what you intended was not what you got, or not even what you want to get anymore - it’s not the end of the world, just the end of another society-imposed cycle that got a little too important on everyone’s mind. Use your time at fullest, because after all that’s what matters – “some people live more in twenty years than others do in eighty”. It’s not when you change it, or to what you change it: it’s the realization that you should change and the actions you take upon it that make you stand out. It’s the journey that matters, “the climb is all there is”. Happy holydays, everyone.
“Once upon a night we’ll wake to the carnival of life the beauty of this ride ahead such an incredible high It’s hard to light a candle, easy to curse the dark instead This moment the dawn of humanity Last ride of the day”
Julia N. Hamermesz 21
Once upon a December
foto: Pall Jokull
Once Upon a December
by Deserie Monterey
o most people (that includes me); it’s the birth of our savior Jesus Christ. To Santa, it’s a workload day of giving love and presents. To kids, it’s the season of presents. And also for me, it is a time of year when I can eat so much food and have lots of gifts. Under the Christmas tree I may find a Hermes bag, a Louis Vuitton clothes, a Channel watch, a key to my own Audi car or a hundred wrapped gifts, I admit it that my mouth may hang open by those things but it won’t be the very luxurious gift I’ve received. 22
Once upon a December God gave me the most luxurious gift ever! He gave me a VIP ticket to be in my family. He gave me a nagging but lovable mother, an irresponsible but wonderful father and weird but adorable siblings. And I thank God for giving me this ideal family that I love. Once upon on my 7th December I have everything a kid would want, a lot of toys, a spoiler father, and a school that doesn’t mind if you didn’t do your homework. I’ll just say what I want and then I’ll wake up and have it. No effort made, just a little act to put on. Maybe if I’m a real actress I’ll be on the stage for every movie I make.
Once upon a December Then like in some movies once upon on my 10th December I’ve realized that loving someone is a painful story. Underneath the mistletoe I’ve seen my mother, crying. One meter away and I know what’s happening. My father left us, he left me. The cold breeze of December can’t even calm me down. For the first time I’ve seen my Mom cry and it hurts. It hurts to see someone cry and you can’t do anything to keep those tears away but the most painful part is that you’ll just stand there and stare at her. Once upon on my 11th December I’ve known that in life you have to make your own decisions. I have my choices. To be on the road that leads to my Mom or to have a U-turn to be with my Dad. Too much for an eleven yearold kid if you ask me today. So, I just lead my foot to what lies ahead. And also because I despise U-turns in life. Getting over it never seemed easy for anyone. I don’t hate him because he left me, I hated him for a while for letting me see how miserable a man can be. But it changed once upon on my 16th December. I fell on a trap. A love trap that I know someday it’ll hurt if I try to escape. Christmas lights on streets seem to be brighter for me and Christmas bells seem to
be hanging on my ears. Weird but I liked it. But before another December marks the calendar, I found myself escaping from the trap. It wounded me. I’m scarred. And once upon on my 17th December I told myself to have someone to give aide to my wound and not someone who’ll leave another scar. This December I felt nostalgic about those things. Laugh escaped my mouth then I noticed the people surrounding me. People whom I called friends. Once upon a December I had a beautiful but painful story but now, it seems to be a new page. Thank God for the luxurious gift you’ve given me. I have friends who are crazy enough to make me laugh hard, lazy enough to make me think studying is very difficult but perfect enough to make me think that life is worth living. I have my father who’s sorry for what he did and fortunately happily living with his new family, my mom who’s tough enough to be my crusader and my siblings whom I admire for their kindness and for their success in life. With that thought, I smiled and whispered, “Once upon a December I’ve dreamed about living in this wonderland”.
Deserie Monterey 23
Once upon a December
December... by Katherine Corner
foto: Emanuele Serraino, Spagna Square at at Christmas
emories simmer through a sieve as icing sugar, Dancing around and landing all together, Collected as one to cover the cake in powder, As Christmas wishes and cheer grows ever louder. Streets will be alive with the well-intended hustle, As the lights reflect off of the smiles amongst the bustle, A perfect scene to a neatly scrawled card, With wishes of joyfulness and kind regard.
Once upon a December An extract from a Charles Dickens novel, The etched words within the magic of the spell, Good humour and wine that gets sorrow drunk, Chatting shoppers searching through the discarded junk. Family photographs framed by such elegant gold, Jokes from a cracker that promise to never cease to be old, A tree that watches over solemnly, Topped by an inanimate angel who will never fly free. The smell of cinnamon and vanilla gently wafts, Tickling the red noses of those that sneeze and cough, As winter has greeted them with coldness to the lungs, Yet this will not prevent the carols from being sung. Snowflakes fall like kisses and petals, Unkindness and retribution into a fire unwillingly fall, A chimney guides a way for the smoke that has gone astray, As cinders of a fire passively creep into a blaze. The chatter of coins that descends into the buckets, Victorian rocking horses, china dolls and puppets, Are placed meticulously into stockings, And to the houses the families are flocking. Candlelight guides the way along the cobbled streets, To the grand shops and coffee houses where they agree to meet, To exchange homely stories and welcoming words, Heard by the echo of the robinâ€™s call to the other birds. The scent of roasted chestnuts as bells finally chime, At midnight the clock tells us it is finally time, To wake all of the houses across the way, In the hopes that St. Nicholas will take a visit today.
Katherine Corner 25
Once upon a December
Seasons of Love by Aubrey Joy Songcog
“Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes How do you measure, measure a year?” Rent, “Seasons of Love”
he thought of how a year is being measured is simple. Just a division of time equal to about 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds, representing the interval between one vernal equinox and the next. A period in which the sphere completes a revolution round the sun. 26
But these words won’t be the prevailing thoughts when we think about how a year runs. It could be how our days grow shorter and how our memories grow further as we paced towards the end of the year. It could also how we able to surpass another round of trials and challenges. But others perceive it as a full round of seasons --Spring,
Once upon a December
foto: Emanuele Serraino, Make up for the evening
Summer, Autumn, and Winter. Every season, the world has something to offer. Every season has its zeniths and hills. Every season exhibits beauty and dreariness, colors and bleaks, glee and gloom, and basically, it marks the beginning and ending. â€œAlthough all days are equally
long regardless of the season, some days are long not only seasonally but by rewards they offer.â€? Dejan Stojanovic On the arrival of spring, it appears to be something inspirited, something hopeful. It seems like the world is playing like a child as the birds are crooning, flowers are bursting with colors, and the sun is 27
Once upon a December
shining vigorously. A phenomenon where the world arrange itself into a poem. When the spring arose, the only thing that matters is where to be the happiest. But it is not forever that the birds will croon nor the flowers will bloom. Daniel Abraham stated in his book, The Price of Spring that it is a lie that we say that flowers return every spring. The truth is that the world is renewed. It is also true that that renewal comes at a price, for even if the flower grows from an ancient vine, the flowers of spring are themselves new to the world, untried and untested. The flower that wilted last year is gone. Petals once fallen are fallen forever. Flowers do not return in the spring, rather they are replaced. It is in this difference between returned and replaced that the price of renewal is paid. And as it is for spring flowers, so it is for us. “And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” F. Scott Fitzgerald, the Great Gatsby
Summer is the unfulfilled promise of spring. Hereafter, 28
summer is the time when wonderful things could happen. It is a time to dance in the sun and to crown our head with flowers. It is a favorable circumstance to dive into the deepness of Poseidon’s realm as summer gives us an adventure and a brave spirit that we usually don’t have the rest of the year. It gives us an incredible opportunity to be frisky and bold. After all, it will leave us with a plenty collection of memories, memories that are never to be forgotten. Day by day, and taking its time, the summer will end eventually. The pavements will be filled by monotony and the noise will become insipid. Murders and amputations befall on the backyards. Autumn is a sort of momentary season, something nostalgic. Wherein tree branches were naked against the wind and cold, and leaves fall from the trees without bitterness, and as if they’re falling like they’re falling through your heart, like they’re falling in love with the ground, and you know at that moment, a part of you also dies. “Her pleasure in the walk must arise from the exercise and the day, from the view of the last smiles of the year upon the tawny leaves and
Once upon a December
withered hedges, and from repeating to herself some few of the thousand poetical descriptions extant of autumn--that season of peculiar and inexhaustible influence on the mind of taste and tenderness--that season which has drawn from every poet worthy of being read some attempt at description, or some lines of feeling.” Jane Austen
Winter is actually a time for a touch of a loving hand and a core for sweetness and light. Time to make amends and tie loose ends. Time to finish off what you have started and hope your wishes come true. And most of all, it is a time for home.
Apart from the pearled horizons, there is a quiet transition between autumn and winter. Thereupon, the sky will be filled with a soft-grey mist as the snow suspends in the mid-air. Blurred window glass, cold rooms, pale pavements, soundless footsteps on the street, and a tranquil earth. Everything disappears underneath the flakes of silence, and the ground and sky sways into a great harmonious blur. Everything will call for a fresh promise and lucid wonders.
It seems that snow loves the trees, the vast, and everything. That every time it falls, it embraces everything so gently and covers it up with blankets, and perhaps, kiss the world good night. The fragility of winter gives comfort. In spite of its cold wind, it still gives the feeling of warmth.
“Things have their time, even eminence bows to timeliness.” Perhaps, seasons are the way of the world to tell us that things can’t ever bear the same certainty again. That we are living in a world with a constant change. We change just as the seasons change so nothing is ever quite the same. But that is the essence of seasons- to exhibit the beauty of changes. To show us that flowers in the spring are beautiful and so is the falling of leaves in the spring. That we can love the heat of summer and so the snowfall of winter. “Wherever you may go, life is a beautiful thing. Life is like a passing season. It comes and goes. Whatever may come, it’s better to enjoy the changing seasons.”
Aubrey Joy Songcog 29
Once upon a December foto: Emanuele Serraino, Light for art’s light
The longest night of the year by Claudia P.
ecember, December, such a special month. December, for us, means snow, winter holidays, CHRISTMAS. Christmas is joy, candies, gifts and a general state of harmony. However, this very holiday didn’t always have the same meaning and it certainly was not celebrated for the same reasons we do today. Before Constantine I imposing Christianity as the religion of the Roman Empire, one of the winter holidays celebrated was Yule. Yule was an indigenous midwinter festival celebrated by the Germanic people, later absorbed into celebration surrounding Christimas 30
over time with christianization. Yule takes place during the winter solstice, when Earth’s axis tilts away from the Northern Hemisphere, and the Sun reaches its greatest distance from the Equatorial Plane. You might know the winter solstice by its other names: “midwinter”, “the longest night” or “the shortest day”. Ancient customs of the celebration dictated that all famers were to go the temple and bring all the food needed while the feast lasted. All those present at the feast were to the part in the drinking of ale. All kinds of livestock were killed as sacrifice, the sacrificial blood
Once upon a December being called hlaut, and hlatbolli the vessel holding the blood. The walls and idiols winthin and outside the temple were to be sprinkled with hlaut, and so were the men present. The meat of the animals was boiled and served at the banquet, in kettles hung over the fire made in the middle of the temple floor. A number of customs stem from Yule, such as Yule log, Yule goat, Yule ham, wassailing. A Yule log is a large and very hard log which is burned in the hearth (a brick or stoned-lined fireplace) as part of the Yule or Christmas celebration in several European cultures. The expression Yule log has also come to refer to log-shaped Christmas cakes, also known as chocolate logs. The Yule goat is one of the oldest Scandinavian and North European and Christmas symbols and tradition. Its origins may be Germanic pagan, and the figure existed in many variants during Scandinavian history. Even nowadays, the Yule goat is typically a goat figure made of straw. A Yule ham or Christmas ham is a tradition ham dish associated with modern Christmas, Yule and Fennoscadian Jul. It is a ham from
a pig that has been cured and sometimes smoked, that is cooked either in the oven or boiled. It is traditionally in the Nordic countries coated with a layer of mustard mixed with eggs and breaded with breadcrumbs. The tradition is suggested to have begun among the Germanic people as a tribute to Freyr, a god in Germanic Panganism associated with boars, harvest and fertility. The tradition of wassailing falls into two distinct categories: The House-Visiting wassail and the Orchard-Visiting wassail. The House-Visiting wassail, caroling by another name, is the practice of people going doorto-door singing Christmas carols. The Orchard-Visiting wassail refers to the ancient custom of visiting orchards inciderproducing regions of England, reciting incantations and singing to the trees to promote a good harvest for the coming year. This is the foundation of the Christian holiday called “Christmas”, its traditions put together by picking up acient Pagan traditions and rits.
Claudia P. 31
Once upon a December
Memories, magic and a Christmas-scented story
by Andreea Bădeu
tories…they have the power to bring back to light old memories and thus they do not let the past vanish in forgetfulness. They can be told by anyone, almost anywhere and at any time, but the best story-teller will always be Grandma. While sitting on the rocking chair and knitting one of those fluffy sweaters, surrounded by the soothing light 32
of the fire, her tender voice will calm down the naughtiest fellow and make him want to listen. Throughout the years, she has told us countless stories and now, when the house smells of sweet-bread and cinnamon, I slightly remember a story about a little girl who was waiting forward to Christmas. “Girls, I’m home!”
Once upon a December When they heard their Mother’s voice, both Sabina, at the tender age of nine and her sister Ileana, aged sixteen, dashed eagerly to the front door .Mother, who was a teacher at a local school, had come back from work. Her cheeks and nose were rosy because of the freezing cold from outside and her fingers were almost frost-bitten. She was delighted to finally see her daughters after a tiring day, but her smile was shadowed by deep worries and you could see vague unhappiness in her eyes. She sent the girls to wash her hands and they sat for lunch.
a bit slanting, but she was utterly glad to have it. It was undoubtedly better than nothing, she thought. The decorations were still a problem, though. That year, they didn’t have any sweets, nor any colourful fruits for the Christmas tree. Instead, Mother had prepared home-made chocolate and wrapped it in tinfoil. Moreover, to her surprise, she had received some star-shaped gingerbread and she could hang it on the poor branches. That year, she finished decorating faster than ever. It looked dreary, but in those straitened circumstances, what could she do?
Mother and Ileana were silent, staring at the empty seat from the table. The only one who was chattering enthusiastically was little Sabina. She kept saying that she intended to lie in wait for Santa Claus and that she wouldn’t let him leave without listening to the poem she had learnt in German.
All of a sudden, she heard Ileana entering the room.
“I can’t wait to see the Christmas tree and the present beneath it! Mother, how long is it until evening?” Mother told her casually to go to bed and wait patiently just as a good girl would. Then, after Sabina had gone to the afternoon sleep, her mother bean adorning the Christmas tree. It was a tiny one, quite barren and
“I miss murmured.
“So do I, love, so do I”, whispered Mother and a tear ran down her cheek. It was the first Christmas without Father. They often thought of him, of what he was doing, whether he was cold, or hungry, or feeling totally estranged. They hadn’t seen him for four months and the last letter had been received a fortnight ago. He had been imprisoned by the communists. Unfortunately, none of them knew when he would be set free. They had only been told to wait. After all, that was all they could do. Still, they knew how much he loved 33
Once upon a December them and how much he craved for leaving that appalling cell and being back home, together with his family. To make matters even worse, there was one more problem. Maybe the most serious one . They had no present for little Sabina. Mother had deeply hoped she would receive a donation of sweets and toys from abroad, as it had happened on the girl’s birthday. That would have saved her, but it wasn’t meant to be. Consequently, she now stood wordlessly in front of the Christmas tree with a glum expression, felling incapable to offer her beloved sunrays that Christmas fairytale they wished for. Right then, Ileana left the room and returned with a book and a brooch, both beautifully wrapped in a vermilion paper and tied with silver strings. “This is Sabina’s present”, said Ileana. Mother looked at her affectionately. She could hardly control her tears. The book, “The Charterhouse of Parma” and the brooch had been received by Ileana from her best friend. Now, she was forced by this dreadful situation to give up on them. Mother knew it was not fair, but she hoped that in this way at least a part of the problem could be solved. 34
“Has Santa come?” they heard Sabina asking enthusiastically. “Yes! Come in, sweetie!”, said Mother a bit unsurely. The moment Sabina saw the presents under the tree, her face lost any trace of happiness. Instead, you could see tears coursing down her cheeks. “I don’t want those things! Why has Santa brought me this dull book and this horrible brooch? Why? I’ve been a really good girl, mum, haven’t I? Why has Santa been so mean? Doesn’t he know I have been such a good student this year? I’ve had bigger grades than Helen and I’m sure she has received a doll and a teddy bear and white chocolate and oranges! Oh, I hate Santa!” This little girl has grown up and is now a wonderful, wise grandmother. She tells this story to any child who sometimes feels they hate Santa. “Never” she says, “never underestimate the magic of Christmas! To be honest, that was one of the best presents I had ever received! “The Charterhouse of Parma” is my favourite novel and look! This is the brooch I told you about! Isn’t it adorable?”
social watch f
Letter from Social watchthe editor
The Obsessive Devotion f
is such a strange word. It has changed in the course of centuries, always staying the same. It has lost and gained weight; we’ve projected society into it, switching, swaying, turning it around. It’s like the big supermarket (“big” meaning “not as small as the other ones”) in your third aunt’s town’s centre: you’ve been there thousand of times - as a fact, you walk in it at least once a week, buying cabbages for the previously mentioned aunt yet each time it’s different. They move the sections, the shelves, and suddenly the Fresh Fruit Spot is now the Strawberry Scented Condoms Spot. You don’t even like strawberries. Or do you?
The majority of art pieces hint, in some ways, at love: gone, newly found, one-way, tainted, troubled, happy, long lasting, ideal. It’s a rather good subject not only because it tends to be understood by a big part of the public, but also because it’s got and endless number of faces. On this idea is based John Lee’s 1973 “The Colours Of Love”: the author states that one can 36
by Michela Sereni
quite easily determinate six types of love, which occasionally blend together, forming new shades. Those are linked to personality and attitude, and therefore they’re not set, but flexible and changeable. The predominant branches are: Eros, Ludus, Pragma, Mania, Storge, Agape. Eros is based on chemistry, intimacy, passion and the general Shit Son You Lookin’ Real Fine reaction. “Erotic lovers remember exactly how their partners looked when they met; they remember exactly the day they met, the time they first touched, the time they first kissed, the day, hour, minute, place, smell, lighting effects of their first sex; and they expect their partners to remember and celebrate the anniversaries of such occasions. […] Risks of losing the beloved cannot be afforded. On the other hand, erotic lovers constantly search for new ways to please their beloveds with ever-increasing delights — presents, new foods, new sexual techniques, and so on” (Constructed Types Of Love). “People who experience love this way want
Social watch to be emotionally and physically close to their romantic partners and they tend to idealize love […] the type of love that creates excitement at the beginning of a new relationship”(Love Styles). Ludus sounds a lot like extended foreplay, but it isn’t. It’s meant to be fun, free, flirty, a real life play. Because why shouldn’t you be the star? You shine bright enough! “The ideal constructed type of a ludic lover is that of a person who ‘plays’ love affairs as he or she plays games or puzzles — to win, to get the greatest rewards for the least cost. A ludic lover hates dependency, either in himself/ herself or in others” (Ludus: SelfCentred Game Player). Pragma’s the corresponding of that classmate of uncertain age that in middle school used to look bummed out all the time, except the times when he spoke, calmly, and as realistically as a teenager can get. “People with a pragmatic approach to love search for value in potential partners, maintain realistic and rational expectations, and crave to work with their significant others toward a common goal. Examples of questions pragmatic lovers ask themselves about potential partners might be: Will my family approve of this person? What level of education does he have?
How much does he earn? Can she cook? How responsible is she?” (Understanding ‘The Colours Of Love’). Storge is the Pokèmon evolution of a very strong friendship, without pink thorns and magical powers. It’s also slower. And it doesn’t come with a Pokèball. I know, totally disappointing. “The storgic lover is not a person bored by routine home activity, but is more likely to find it comfortable and relaxing. Storgic lovers are not constantly on the search for new love experiences; rather they enjoy the security of being able to predict each other’s responses to their behaviors. […] Physical intimacy, coitus, and the appreciation of their partners as sexual persons usually come relatively late in a storgic relationship, are accepted comfortably and joyously when they do appear on the scene, and are thus satisfying. Pure storgic types are extremely unlikely to “keep an eye out” for new or more romantic partners” (Storge: Life-Long Friends). Agape’s totally selfless and forgiving. It’s about care giving. It probably smells of home-made apple pie. “This kind of love typically assumes that when the loved one causes pain to himself or herself or to someone else, that he or she is acting in ignorance, innocent 37
Letter from Social watchthe editor error, or is the victim of forces not originating in the love-object’s personality. Agapic persons never “fall in love.” Their love for others is always available and they are simply given the opportunity by some of their love objects to show their love to a greater extent than they are by others” (Agapic Love: ‘Thou’ Centred). There often is a thin line between agapic feelings and maniac ones. Mania, however, is way more dangerous. “The constructed ideal of this type of lover is obsessed with his or her love object. A manic lover may be unable to sleep, eat, or even think logically around the loved one. The manic lover has peaks of excitement, but also depths of depression, with very few periods without a high or low. This type of lover is jealous to an extent that might be described as irrational. A manic lover cannot tolerate loss of contact with a love object, even for short periods of time, and is distressed by a lack of the lover’s presence or anticipated interaction. A manic lover is typically crushed by real or fancied rejection, possibly to the point of suicidal ideation” (Mania: Possessiveness And Dependency). This kind of relationship is highly needy, sort of out of control. “It tends to burnout before it gets the chance to mature. Such love is often marked 38
by extreme delusions, feelings of being out of control, rash decisions, and vulnerability” (Love Styles). A clear example can be found in the famous Jodie Foster episode: John Hinckley Jr tried to assassinate the US President, basing this act on the misperception that only through this act would the actress love him back (Biography). Establishing which form of romanticism we prefer can be very useful, for it might lead to finding out new traits of ourselves.“The love styles listed above have also been linked to one’s style of attachment: Eros and Agape are linked to Secure Attachment; Mania is linked to Anxious Attachment; Ludus is linked to Dismissing Attachment” (Truth About Deception). Whenever we celebrate love, we should take the time to stop and think, ponder, possibly in a dim light, with ABBA’s ballads in the background, about the aspects of this emotion that we express the most. Personally, finding out that my way of seeing relationship had a name, Mania, made everything more clear, and I didn’t feel that mad any more. We, as humans, like to name things. It’s not possible all the time, and it’s totally unnecessary, yet it can help. Pointing fingers can be healthy, if it’s aimed at figuring out how to handle a situation.
The Scholastic Battlefield by Henry Villanova
chool is oppressive! Let us be real here. It is a wonderful place, if you abide by the rules and formulas that they have set for you. If you listen to what every teacher says, you’ll be fine. Teachers are cool, sometimes. Even if they are forced to stick to a schedule and not teach what they want in their subject. Teachers are just as trapped as we students are. And they get SHAT on for it by us
students. They go to college for so long, and come back to the same mess that many deal with now. They come back to help students! Why hate them for wanting to help you for low pay? Teachers get their dreams of benevolence crushed by the hivemind of hostility that students produce. All they have to do is say one thing “wrong” to one “popular” kid and EVERYONE 39
Letter from Social watchthe editor HATES THEM. They are just as much a target as the students are. There are some bad teachers. They are the teachers who follow the rules to the point of destroying any sort of individuality in the classroom. Everyone has to read the same way. Everyone has to do the problem THIS way. Not that way. You can get the right answer, but if your method is “wrong”, you’re wrong. The children here are some of the vilest people that you’ll ever meet. They have no consequences to suffer from. They do not have to worry often that they will get hunted down and slaughtered in their living room for relaying the vocal assault that their minds have mustered up. Many come from different lives, but you can throw ALL of that out of the window in this arena! You could have been raped, but your peers will still call you a slut. You could have been abused by your family, but these kids will call you a “punk”. You might want to promote peace, but these kids will call you a fag. You might not have been blessed with the ability to run at athletic speeds or can truck someone down with brutality and precision, but dominate anything put in front of you academically, 40
they will still call you a nerd. They don’t know how hard words can hit you, or even what they mean. In some schools, social laws are created by the students. To get away unscathed, you have to scare the biggest and worst. You have to fuck someone high on the totem pole to be cool. You have to do everything right, just to be safe. You have to fit a norm. You can’t be creative. You can’t be different. Your reputation will get stabbed fiftytwo times before anyone will think that your shoes are cool. You don’t get acknowledged for grades any more. You gotta fit a standard to be recognized for your intelligence. You gotta wear the right jeans the right way at the right time. You have figuratively kill yourself just to be safe. The worst part is that you cannot hide from it all, they’ll kick you out for skipping, not knowing how scary it is for you to just to walk to your fuckin’ locker. Imagination dies in school. Education is dying. School is an adolescent Vietnam War and you won’t win. You can’t win. Go to your library. You can learn a lot just by picking up a book. And you’ll be safer. The crowd avoids it like the plague.
teen eventsf ff
Psych(o) Teen events
Scorpions by Simona Mihalca
ust when you thought the year was gone and here came 2014, you got blown away because here came Scorpions. Yes, the rock Gods. You certainly know them. “Here I am!” (I will let you decide if you want to follow that with “Send me an Angel” or “Rock you like a Hurricane”). Yes, 14 December was a day to be marked in the calendars. The legendary concert took place at Romexpo. Despite their having done their final tour in 2010, they were as energetic as ever. And so was the crowd. But let’s start from the beginning: Trooper as an opening act. Their songs seemed a bit slower than usual, but, in all fairness, Trooper and Scorpions fandoms do not really collide. Of course, we were reminded of our high school with “Liceul Cimitir” and also with the help of cheerleaders on stage. One 42
of the highlights of their concert was definitely their duet with Mihai ”Miță” Georgescu, the lead singer from Bere Gratis. Some songs later we heard the ”Romanian National Anthem”, as they called it: “Tari ca
f muntii”. And now the main event: Scorpions! They deserve their name. It was packed and the crowd cheered from the beginning to the
end. If I can say, they might have teased us but they most definitely pleased us. Scorpions is definitely one of the big city nights’ kind of band. All their big hits were here and even some songs from their latest album, Sting in the Tail. One surprise was the presentation of their history and all their albums while James Kottak showed us that he is the king of the drums. Rock’n Roll Forever! Their 8th time in Romania and the fans are just as eager. Thousands and thousands of fans, waiting for the encore which brought us “Send Me An Angel”, “Wind of Change” and “Rock You Like a Hurricane”. What is there more to be said? They gave me goose bumps and I can honestly say that everyone was singing with their heart. Scorpions, you rocked!
Simona Mihalca 43
Psych(o) Teen events
Christmas Rock Fest
ingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell ROCK! Indeed, this Christmas (or almost Christmas) meant Phoenix Entertainmentâ€™s tradition show, bringing on the stage of Silver Church Club bands like Cargo, Trooper and Terrana.
by Simona Mihalca
Day I This was a day born for rock. Pseudonoise and Stonelight did their best, but the moment everyone was waiting for was of course the Cargo concert. Maybe to some peopleâ€™s surprise, but
Teen events certainly a good surprise, Cargo started the show with 3 traditional carols. (We had established that Christmas is coming) But the show took us so much further, through their hits like “Ziua Vrajitoarelor”, “Daca ploaia s-ar opri” and through songs they seldom play such as “Ana”, “Ielele”. They left us wanting more and more and so we persuaded them to come back for an encore that also had “Calare pe Motoare”. I think it’s fair to say that the public favourite was “Daca ploaia s-ar opri”. I cannot find the words to tell you how loud the crowd was. It was really something for the books. And here we are, after a great show, having to go home and waiting restlessly to come back. Day II The day started with Trooper. Maybe because of the concert they had had two days before or the fact that it was a Monday night, but the attendance didn’t match the one in the first day. Nonetheless, Trooper are professionals and they are always happy to welcome their “friends”. The Trooper family sang and headbanged. In the end, the band left the stage, waiting for an encore that never came on our behalf. I would just say that’s
because we were overly-excited about the Terrana concert. I don’t know if you have heard of Terrana, the band Mike Terrana started. You might know Mike from his years with Axel Rudi Pell or his collaboration with Finnish soprano Tarja Turunen. We had the pleasure to see her and Mike on drums last May in another concert of Phoenix Entertainment. Getting back to the point, if you did not know them, you hear now, because you have to! I mean wow. They know what rock should sound like. Why it should make you happy and carefree and leave you in such high spirits. They started the show with “One Way”, their very own song for which they have also released a video. The crowd was ecstatic. These guys know how to make our blood pump and rush. For their second encore (because they are that good and we are that loud), they invited back Trooper for a duet. And oh, boy, let me tell you something, they were on fire. The jokes had never lacked and that only made the public more eager to sing and rock with the bands! The conclusion of the night: hat off to Mike Terrana! He is Mr Beat! I cannot wait to see more of him.
Simona Mihalca 45
Psych(o) Teen events
Controlling our emotions by Kartikay Kini
foto: Pall Jokull
think we’re all capable of controlling our emotions. It takes effort and a lot of mental strength, but the mind is like a muscle. If you spend enough time working on making up your mind about things and holding true to yourself, then you will get better at it. If you tell yourself day in and day out that you are beautiful, then you will begin to believe it and anyone who says otherwise 48
will appear wrong to you. That’s the way it should be anyways. You should be able to look in the mirror and say, “Yes, I’ve got a crooked nose, perhaps people will always comment on those permanent scars on my face for the rest of my life, maybe my ears are large and stick out a lot, maybe my cheeks are a little puffy; but you know what, this is me. I am going to be me my whole life, regardless of all
Psych(o) the makeup I put on, all the body parts I try to hide. I will still have to live with myself. I’ll know who I am on the inside. If I can’t learn to love this view, I can’t possibly hope to love anyone else.” It’s true what they say, you can’t love anyone else without loving yourself first. Part of loving someone else is feeling loved yourself; and if you’re feeling loved but don’t see why, then you’re not really feeling it at all. You’re just accepting something you don’t understand. You feel all the attention but you don’t see what the giver of that attention has truly fallen in love with. If you never acknowledge the fact that you are indeed a good singer, then when someone else says you have a beautiful voice, or that they love you when you sing; you won’t be able to accept it. Not entirely anyways. If you are able to look at yourself and say, “I am a decent writer, maybe a even a good one,” then when someone says they love your short stories, or the rants you write, then you will truly feel loved. You realize that someone else has noticed what you wish people would notice about you. You fall in love with the other person and with yourself again. People will always be a mystery to you because no matter
how well you think you can understand others, they have lived an entire lifetime before meeting you and they have experienced many heart breaks and many fights and struggles that you have not been there for. They will make decisions that are right for them and say things they don’t mean and basically just be themselves. Some people will come and go and some people will be there all the time; and if there’s one thing I’ve learned about people, is that they are wrong. The only people who are ever right about anything are those who love you, and those aren’t people. Those who love you are a part of you. People are strange inexplicable entities that drop in and drop out of your life with as little consequence in your life’s direction as an ant that crossed your path on a sidewalk. Yet they will say things. They will ALWAYS say things. They will see your beauty and wish they had it. They will comment, foolishly, not knowing what you’ve been through; and think that they know what you’re all about. People will say, “Why do you have scars on your face?”, “You look like an elephant with those ears.” “Are you Jewish because of that massive nose?” So are they being mean? Is that it? Are people in general just assholes? I don’t think so. I don’t think people ARE anything 49
but people, and I think they will continue to be so until they get to know and love you. If they continue to comment things like that, then they truly aren’t a part of you. Parts of you shouldn’t bring you down; they should only tell you when you’re down. Cut those out of your life who bring you down, and keep those who tell you what you need to hear. Watch out for those who are quick to say what you WANT to hear, because they’re not really looking out for you. Time to bring this rant full circle. Learning to love oneself is a long and arduous journey. Like I said, it’s a mental exercise,
convincing yourself of something you might not have believed all your life; but it isn’t impossible. It is extremely frustrating and quite exhausting, but the human brain is capable of convincing itself of almost anything. But you have to try. You HAVE to try. YOU have to try. You have to TRY. Try and try again. Fail, get up and try again. You have to try. Try enough, and eventually you will. It will happen. Don’t be afraid. Don’t be skeptical. Don’t think, just try. What is the harm in trying? It isn’t impossible and it won’t hurt a bit. It just requires effort and a little courage. So start trying today.
Kartikay Kini 50
ideas on celluloid
Ideas on celluloid
A conversation with Helena Bonham Carter
by Kasey Rae
hile on a long bus ride driving through the one section of New York that looks the least like New York (full of nothing but highways and tall trees) one can’t help but wonder ‘what am I getting myself into?’ A long bumpy bus ride through traffic is an important part of the package when it comes to Film Festivals, however, along with the uncertainty of what you will see. In my case, that would be a conversational panel in a small village in East Hampton as part of the “Hamptons Film Festival.” This particular panel, “A Conversation With Helena Bonham Carter”, is held in a tiny theater right at the edge of the small friendly town right beside a small beach and windmill overlooking a vast grey ocean. Overestimating her fan base largely, I arrive about four hours early thinking there would be a huge line to attend the panel. There were only three hundred people in attendance however, giving the panel a very intimate and relaxed feeling. Before bringing out the guest 52
speaker, they played a reel showing the actress’ many faces, busting through her many stereotypes while doing so. Ones that say she is strictly a merchant Ivory actress, or that she only works for Tim Burton. The woman on the big projection screen doesn’t seem to be strictly anything, however. She transforms from a big headed queen to the queen of England, a tightly corseted child to a wicked witch, and a blonde haired cleaner to a conniving receptionist, The connection between them being a certain insanity. “I love insane people. I find I’m more drawn to them. There is so much more to uncover” The puffy haired woman on the screen announces in a clip from a 2010 interview. The images on screen pale in comparison to the woman herself, who draws in the audience with her hilarious and charming yet shy demeanor. Her responses are given between gulps of her many drinks and between microphone adjustments as she shrinks further and further down the chair she
Ideas on celluloid claims to be too uncomfortable . “The lights are so bright I can’t focus, and usually the chairs are a bit more comfortable…” She critiques the interview immediately, making the crowd and even the nervous interviewer laugh, breaking all the tension in the room. The celebrity gives off a comfortable and relaxed persona with crossed bare legs, a dark floral dress under a light green cardigan that continuously slips down her arm, and long chocolate colored dreads that drape over her shoulder like a messy veil. Effortlessness leaks from every movement and the conversation stays relaxed and casual throughout the hour. We learn a lot about the actress’ courses of study, none of which involved actual acting classes. ‘Ape school’ and ‘singing school’ are among the most interesting and “surprisingly useful” classes in Helena’s life; both brought on from film collaborations with her partner, Tim Burton. “Planet of the apes” was their first film together and contrary to popular belief the two didn’t connect on the film set. “No” she laughs “ It didn’t really happen that way. Tim is very-very shy and he doesn’t speak much. He speaks more now. But then he would always just come up to me and (her hands spring from her lap to fly around as if she is signaling a
plan) rather then speaking and he never finished a sentence, he was just this walking expression. So we really only had one conversation.” A lot of what draws her to the film is intuition and instinct “My agent asked me why I wanted to do the film and I told him ‘don’t ask me why, I just know I have to do it. And I was right…. And not because of the script. And not for Ape school. So take that as a lesson, always trust your gut and follow your instincts. That’s how I met the father of my children.” Eventually the director courted her in a very slow Victorian style, the actress recalls, but feels the need to remind us that things are different now obviously “Then we got two kids” causing the audience to giggle at the actress as she blushes and grins proudly. The relationship started when Burton was in deep mourning over the death of his Chihuahua ‘Poppy’. She hesitates in the middle of her memories of her and Tim’s beginning “This is all really personal stuff…” but continues on, anyway, to the audience obvious relief. “So I phoned him just to give my condolences, we were just about to do British press, and he just said ‘Well do you want to go out to dinner?’ I said … ‘what? He finished a sentence!’ The audience laughs at the shocked look on her face now, showing us her exact expression 53
Ideas on celluloid after the phone call. “He swears to this day he had no ulterior motive. Only that he was touched someone cared about his dead dog. And I don’t know what happened but it definitely happened that night,
but my whole world turned and I thought ‘oh my god this is going to be significant. That’s when it happened.” In the mix with acting like an
Ideas on celluloid ape and learning to sing is learning to function in a tightly laced corset. Corsets were a huge part of her early life in Merchant Ivory films and after finally breaking free from that genre (most notably as Marla Singer
in ‘Fight Club’) she hasn’t broken free from corsets themselves. “I’m a big fan of corsetry!” Helena admits, taking another sip of her diet coke, which spirals us into another story about her caffeine addiction, telling
foto: Emanuele Serraino, Golden hour below Ponte Sant’Angelo
Ideas on celluloid us she couldn’t function without it “I’m a total sloth. In fact I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed without my caffeine fix. Tim calls me ‘bush baby’ (a type of monkey that spends most of its days sleeping) for the amount I can sleep!” This shocks everyone since the woman in front of us seems bursting with energy…. Then again she does sip from diet coke and coffee between responses. When asked about her techniques in acting, Helena shares a particularly interesting insight. “I always use a part of the director in the character I’m portraying. It is their movie and vision, after all, so bits of them are in each character, and it’s my job to show that. I used so much of David Fincher (director of fight club) in Marla…. He probably hates me saying this but he is so Marla Singer.” Many questions and thoughts spring forth from her statement, but before anyone can question her further she moves on to talk about what school she would open if she could, that being the school of ape singing and corsetry, of course! The interview is not ended by the journalist sat across from her but by the film festival participants who have other panels and shows to rush to, and I cant help but feel upset that this interesting 56
and entertaining woman is being walked out on. I soon realize, however, as Helena sits up in her chair to stretch and take a big drink from her water bottle that she is probably relived to be free of the crowd. Only seconds pass before audience members swarm around her, drawn to her friendly personality like moths to a flame. Her body guard gets her out of the crowd as quickly as he can as a few fans pass her notes or presents (the most notable being a large home made doll of Helena’s latest portrayal as a brothel Madame in ‘Lone Ranger’) earning them a sweet smile and a ‘thank you’ from the woman who seems to shrink in the crowd as she makes her way to the exit, leaving every person left in the small room with a smile on their face. Keeping up the tradition of years and years of Film Festival attendants, me and a couple good friends go out for coffee immediately after and find that we cant help but gush about how great the panel was and that we even learned a few things about good acting and film making, along with getting a lot of laughs. It goes without saying that the long journey to the Hamptons was made completely worth it by Helena Bonham Carter.
Ideas on celluloid
foto: Pall Jokull