SONAR Issue 3
SONAR ISSUE 3 Editorial Hi Folks! Welcome to issue three of SONAR magazine, your last slice of Solent talent brought to you from Solent Students' Union for 2010 (how time flies)! This issue is packed full of all your favourite content, reviews of recent releases, gigs and books, alongside articles questioning our own social activism and an informative piece describing the life of an autistic student from Solent University. As always you will find a bunch of exciting interviews, updates from your Union and lots of other things so get stuck in, and if you’re really stuck for Christmas presents, just take your parents/siblings/ friends home a copy for their stockings! (We kid….) Have a lovely holiday, don’t stress too much over deadlines and we’ll see you all in 2011! Much love, SONAR mag team
Laura J. Smith // SONAR editor & VP Communications Email // email@example.com Twitter // @SolentComms Facebook // solentvpcomms Creative Director and Designer // Samuel Davies
POLITICAL ACTIVISM? Words // Kat Romero We may live in an age of rapid and fast paced technological change but what about social and political change? Are we as a generation more likely to protest the updating of Facebook than a potential new political policy? On November 10th, NUS’s National Demonstration day took place, opposing plans to increase tuitions fees. Our generation is now facing political change that directly affects us and our fellow peers. As a journalism student, discussing issues on politics and its impact on society is central to the degree. Reflecting back on previous generations that fought for change and were not afraid to stand up for their rights makes me question the nature of my own. In today’s society, when facing political reform, are the younger generation still radical? Looking back at history, punk culture may at first glance appear as just a fashion and music genre for the youth, but it also encompassed a whole set of political ideologies. Focusing mainly on ideas of non-conformity and antiestablishment, the punk generation were able to voice their political views through various platforms such as music, literature, spoken word or even fashion choices. The whole premise gave a younger generation a voice and bands such as The Sex Pistols and The Clash sang lyrics that slammed the establishment, prompting the generation
to stand up and fight for social and political change. Are the youth of today as passionate about having a political voice? Considering that prior to the General election on May this year, more than half of 18-24 year olds weren’t even registered to vote, it’s easy to assume not. A common problem with young people and politics is apathy and a lack of engagement with the subject. We live in a society where many things are tailored to our younger generation. Music, films, TV and technology all concentrate on the younger generation as their central market and this can makes us feel we have a key voice and identity within society. Politics is an area run by an older generation who don’t directly reflect our tastes or interests. Speaking with students, it’s clear that many feel unconnected to politics and don’t feel it directly impacts on them. One student commented that politics fails to speak to a younger generation and can seem far too confusing and complex. Rather than admit to being confused by politics, many young people would rather shun it all together. So what is the proposed solution? Simon Cowell famously stated that to engage young people with politics, you could create a political show with an X Factor type format. Is that really the only way to engage our generation? Have political leaders present their policies to a packed audience, whilst Dermot O’Leary chats
source // newstatesman
backstage with their fellow MP’S asking “So are they any good?” I’m not sure what the solution is to engaging our generation with politics and enabling us to find our political voice. I am by no means an expert on the subject and speak as one of the many students completely disengaged from current affairs. In recent years, I’ve been very un radical, choosing to browse through a copy of heat as opposed to the New Statesman and groaning incessantly when forced to watch Question Time. Listening to my parents and grandparents speak fondly about casting their first vote, I realised that this year marked my first opportunity to vote in a general election and
I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t. In the run up to the election, I may have been able to blag an opinion on political matters but my political voice was heard no further than my Facebook status. In light of NUS’S demonstration day, I’m faced with a political policy that will directly affect me as a student. On reflection, it does enrage me that higher tuition fees could mean that the Oxford’s and Cambridge’s of this country will be able to charge so high that only a certain wealth can continue studying there. I may not dye my hair, put safety pins through my clothes or yell expletive remarks about the “establishment” but this November 10th I feel a strong desire to channel my inner 70’s punk, allow my political voice to be heard beyond Facebook and be just a tad radical. Do you?
Striving as an Autistic Student By Phil Evans
As a student at Southampton Solent University who is 24 years old yet still finds himself in full time education, it could be considered by an outsider with limited knowledge of another person’s situation that periods of time have been wasted by merely sitting back and relaxing whilst opportunities to earn valuable experience in any area of work have passed them by. This would be an understandable thought because life is often about grasping chances when they come along which may change any career for either good or bad reasons, though there are also people who blossom slower than others for circumstances beyond their control. Such roadblocks along the metaphorical path towards success and fortune may include financial problems or disputes within a family that could knock anybody off their pursuit for future happiness, or an issue regarding application for places in universities themselves, becoming increasingly difficult to obtain as government cuts take effect. One further reason why life may cause occasional struggles is living with a disability, this being my own explanation for prolonging
an academic journey compared to younger students on the BA (Hons) Sports Journalism course with myself, which has made me ponder how quickly I’m achieving set goals throughout life. Forgive any pessimism here, but are these thoughts correct? Can being disabled hold somebody back from a prosperous career in any modern day industry? My specific disability is Asperger Syndrome, a form of Autism that is mild in terms of severity on the Autistic Spectrum but can still be pretty upsetting when feelings and difficulties brought on by Asperger’s take over the mind without prior notice. These sudden mood changes aren’t exactly easily described but have an ability to halt any progress made on a project or task almost immediately, perhaps even completely altering previously planned arrangements. Of course this isn’t purely negative as there can be positive sides to being Autistic too, but my own personal experiences have offered an intriguing mixture of good and bad memories, something that has made daily life very
interesting but also an uphill struggle when things aren’t going as perfect as they could be! As I’ve just mentioned, life with Autism can be a blessing for all its downfalls which constantly have ways of making every little breakthrough important from getting good results academically to achieving success during everyday life that ultimately proves an initial prognosis made during early development by consultants at a West Midlands Special Needs Assessment Unit foolish in context. Whilst being locked into my own little bubble as many toddlers can be, my mother was told that I’d never walk, talk or basically amount to anything. Shocking news as I’m sure you’ll agree but I take this comment as a challenge, how would they feel knowing that I’ve come through standard school education and now sit comfortably placed working towards media based opportunities in the future? I’ll do everything to prove them wrong which is a message that can hopefully be passed on through this article. Never give up if you can find ways of achieving your destiny, you’ll eventually get the happiness you’re striving for.
source // south shore stitchers
RECYCLING TRENDS Words // LOUISE DAWSON
aaa There is nothing better than flicking through glossy high-end magazines to catch a peek at the latest trends, and there is nothing worse than realising there is no chance you’ll never be able to afford those designer fashions. Being a student takes its toll on the life of a shopaholic, but fear not boys and girls because as scary as it sounds there will always be last season’s trends in your wardrobe that you can easily recycle into new ones. This season, it seems that woolly socks are everywhere. You can wear them with brogues, military boots, ballet pumps and some designers have even opted for teaming them with kitten heels for a dressy yet casual day time look. For men, again they are fashionable with brogues and military boots. Unless you had a pair last winter and have kept them stashed at the bottom of your sock drawer, you may have to search down the sides of your sofa for three pounds and go and buy yourself a pair from Primark. If you are however for some strange reason a ‘shop snob’ then you still don’t have to spend a lot of money – knit yourself a pair, or reason with your conscience and save time by popping to Primark.
You may remember that denim shirts were at their peak this summer? Well this winter get rid of the 50’s ‘tied in at the waist’ inspired look (but keep the sleeves rolled up) and try layering it over a chunky knit dress with some opaque neutral tights. If you want to give the actual shirt a new twist then why not try customising it with a bit of spare fabric? Leopard print has never been more in fashion than it is this season and the best thing is it works for everyone even if you are sceptical about trying new trends (because you literally only need a little bit, and is a very versatile look so will go with anything!!) Try lining the shirt collar with some leopard print fabric, or sewing a little panel over the pockets. A change as small as this can really help update the look. Another handy thing to know about denim is that it is a natural fibre so takes very easy to fabric dyes – so if you have a light denim shirt / jacket from last season and want to stand out from the crowd be bold and dye it a rich colour such as Ruby red, Royal blue, Purple or a deep pink. Whatever you decide to customise from last season, just remember two things: fashion never has to be expensive, and customising is always fun. FACT.
SONAR MEDIA SONAR. A word that hopefully by now you will all be even slightly familiar with. In previous years, the SU’s media sector operated under several different names and identities, but since having merged to become SONAR Media, the Members of Radio Sonar, Sonar TV, Sonar Film Society and of course, SONAR magazine have been working as much more of a united front. If you aren’t familiar with our brand, here’s a bit more information on what it is exactly that we do, and how you guys can get involved!
SonarTV is Solent Students’ Union’s official television society! We film live music, events and cover university related stories. This year we have already covered Oxjam Festival, Futures on tour, National Demo Info, and much more! We film weekly and have twice monthly socials at Avondale House. We have a dedicated team of camera crew, editors, presenters, and script writers. For more information, please visit our sonarTV facebook page or www.sonartv.co.uk.
The award winning Radio Sonar is the radio broadcasting arm of the Sonar Media group. The station broadcasts live from the internet at www.radiosonar.co.uk 24 hours a day, seven days a week. However we don’t just look for people to do shows. We also have teams for events, marketing, music, sports, news, tech and systems. Our aim is to provide a nearprofessional experience in a radio operation.
Victoria Purcell, Sonar TV Station Manager
SONAR FILM Sonar Film is Solent Students' Union’s dedicated Film Society. Run by Entertainment Technology students, Sonar Film are studentled, showing student-requested films, on the East Park Terrace campus in the University's Cinema room - LT1 (housing a 338" screen) - located just above Costa Coffee in the main entrance of the University. We are one of, if not the only University in the world to house and actively use a Digital 3D Cinema projector alongside a traditional 35mm film projector. With students as our main focus, Sonar Film aims to charge their customers as little as possible for their screenings. Our first film of this term, Disney/Pixar's Up, attracted a door charge of just £2 - on average around four times cheaper than a normal cinema. Sonar Film are in the process of building their film list for the remainder of the University year. More information on how people can get involved can be found on our Facebook or Twitter pages! Adam Taylor, Sonar Film President
If you are interested in getting involved in Radio Sonar please e-mail station.manager@ radiosonar.co.uk or pop along to our office, on the first floor of the SU Building. Tom Jackson, Radio Sonar Station Manager
SONAR MAGAZINE SONAR mag is an collaborative project that aims to create and publish the very best of student content, with articles ranging from the obscure to the popular, and covering areas as varied as sports, fashion, photography, criminology, mental health issues and informative articles on pressing topics, alongside sterling reviews and interviews from its many talented contributors. Unlike other societies, you are not required to pay a fee to join SONAR magazine, as we very much operate a ‘contribute as you go’ system, so that those with commitments to their studies are able to duck in and out without having to feel pressured. Because of this, we also get to mix up our content a lot from one issue to the next. If you are interested in contributing to SONAR magazine in any way, contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org Follow our blog at: sonarmag.tumblr.com and come pick up a good old-fashioned paper copy from the SU! Laura Smith, SONAR magazine and blog editor
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THE PRICE OF
HAPPINESS? Words: // Dan Brett aaa
There has been much talk over the past fortnight about the amount of money invested into football, with Wayne Rooney stealing headlines after agreeing a whopping ÂŁ250k-per-week deal with Manchester United, keeping the England international at Old Trafford until 2015. The contract will see the 25-year old earn a whopping ÂŁ65million over the five-year period, an unprecedented sum for a player who has failed to perform for both club and country of late, including a very poor showing during the World Cup in South Africa this summer. The whole Rooney-United saga seemed a little suspect however, especially on the part of Wayne and his agent. During the weeks leading up to Rooney signing his new contract, there was a tug-of-war between the two parties which resulted in wide-spread media coverage, not just in England but across the world. With a player with the known calibre that Rooney has, it's no doubt that a host of
source // abcnews
source // emirates247
Europe's top clubs would all look to sign the Croxteth-born forward, including Spanish giants Real Madrid, whose manager JosĂŠ Mourinho has already expressed several desires to sign the player, also when still in charge of fellow title contenders Chelsea. A clever bargaining tool by Rooney's agent, Paul Stretford. Knowing that Rooney's ability could land him a multi-million pound deal away from an area which, at the time, held bad memories amidst allegations of infidelity, helping his and Colleen's relationship get back on track by moving them out of the media spotlight, it would be all too an opportunity for Rooney to turn down. With Colleen reportedly unable to settle in the area after allegations against the Red Devil's talisman, Rooney would have been left scrambling to do anything to save his marriage, and potentially more importantly to him, his image. As the same in any walk of life, looking after your family should be a number one priority, thus making sure they are cared
for and happy. Does this happen in modern football? Well, you be the judge. Nobody could have faulted Rooney if these were the reasons as to leaving Manchester, potentially moving to London or abroad, but for me all of the hype for seemingly just for more money leaves a very sour taste in not only my mouth, but many football fans' and personalities that I've been lucky enough to talk to. For a man on his wage to ask for even more to â€œurinate up the wallâ€? makes a mockery of those who are well documented to save lives, and risk their own yet end up on a weekly wage that Rooney could literally earn in seconds. However this is the sad state of football in the modern era. The days of individuals inhabiting the game 'just for fun', knowing that the money they earn is paid by faithful supporters, whose hard earned wages go towards them living a life of luxury are long gone. It's all downhill from here, folks.
FIELD DAY// PHOTOGRAPHY // Stephanie Broom STYLIST // Emma Bigg MODEL // Magnus Wibe
Jumper // Primark £18 Checked Shirt // Primark £8 Shorts // Topman £30 Boots // H&M £24.99 Braces // Primark £2
T-Shirt // Primark £4 Waistcoat // Topman £36 Blazer // New Look £20 Jeans // Primark £9 Boots // H&M £24.99 Flat cap // Primark £2
Shirt // Primark £8 Waistcoat // Primark £9 Jacket // Primark £16 Jeans // Primark £6 Flat cap // Primark £2
aaa Words // Kirsty Wilson What would you think if I told you that instead of doing your third year at Solent you could go to one of 31 other countries to do it and then come back and do your last year as if you never left? Oh, and at the same time you can follow different topics (but in the same subject area as your degree), travel Europe easily and cheaply and meet people from all over the world. Last August I did exactly this on a program designed by the European Union called Erasmus. In one year I visited 18 European cities (including central Europe, Eastern Europe and Scandinavia), met friends for life from as far as Singapore and came back with a whole new career direction. As cliché as this might sound, I learnt more in the last year than two years at university.
I lost count of the amount of times I ended up talking about something I had no idea about or having a new point of view brought to my attention. This is proof of the amount of interesting and exciting people you will meet along the way; from a quiet Swedish girl intent on opening her own “coffee shop” in Holland to a strong willed communist from Greece, you would never be left with nothing to say to someone. Making friends was one of the main worries before leaving, especially as a friend was supposed to come with me and dropped out. I’m pretty sure this would be the same for anyone else thinking about going on an Erasmus but everyone is in the same position, everyone is more open about meeting different nationalities anyway (the majority love the English accent). After you’ve made some friends and settled in, it’s time to take advantage of being on mainland Europe. Get to know the country you’re living in by travelling to other cities and venture further even on a
source // amazingmaps
budget. Whilst I was away, hitchhiking was the most extreme form of travel to reach Sweden’s mid-summer celebrations, but others included Eurolines that got us to Paris on time for the sunrise and a 7am Ryanair flight after a heavy night out in Barcelona. I’m sure by now the £ signs are flashing in your eyes. But you actually get paid to go on Erasmus. Along with your usual maintenance loan (on an over sea’s code so you could get more) the EU gives you a grant each month, last years was €310, which you don’t have to pay back. On top of this, if you go to France to study, the French government give you some money as well. And there’s always a job as a way also to get to know locals and language is never a problem. The course you study would be in English (unless you can speak fluently in another language) and when encountering a situation where someone doesn’t understand English you soon learn how to adapt. If anything, you
will want to learn a new language. It does make you feel lazy and you see how England should really encourage young people to learn other languages. It definitely sets you apart from the rest on your CV too. Returning to the UK was for me, both the happiest and saddest part of the year. Happy that you are able to look back on how much you have done and how far you have come along in growing up and having your eyes opened to another way of life, and sad that you have to leave friends (or someone more than a friend) behind and go back to university life in England. Slotting back into the third year is easy. Mainly because as soon as it’s done you can start living the dreams that you encountered whilst away on Erasmus and be at an advantage in the industry after a year’s worth of additional skills and character building to add to both your résumé and fond memories.
JACKAL Interview // Villagers
Words // Tasha Pert
aaa With great appraisal from critics up and down the country, Dublin outfit Villagers are rising to fame on the UK music scene. As the brainchild of song writer and performer Conor J. O’Brien, the band has not only received award nominations here but has a great following over the pond. Now undertaking a massive tour of Europe to showcase the debut album, ‘Becoming A Jackal’, I caught up with O’Brien in Brighton.
together with the guys; I just finished a solo tour around the states. So I’ve just met them all again and smelt them and hugged them. Our drummer smells of patchouli. Is it patchouli? Well, he’s a good smelling man. Are there any places in particular that you’re looking forward to revisiting or maybe seeing for the first time?
Do you enjoy performing live?
Well I’ve never played in Lancaster and we’ve never played in Sheffield. I played in Sheffield with my previous band, The Immediate, so that’ll be like a reunion of sorts. I’m just kind of looking forward to everywhere really. People are obviously listening to the album and getting tickets for the show, and we’ll turn up with our big smiley heads and play our songs. It’ll be a good time.
Yeah, if I didn’t enjoy performing live I don’t think I’d do it. I’m just excited because I’m getting back
How was performing in the US? Was it any different?
Sonar // So this is basically the beginning of the new UK tour, are you looking forward to it? O’Brien // Yeah for sure, I’m excited. It’s going to be a good time.
source // wearevillagers.com
For me, in the US, every new city that you go to is almost like a different country to the last; because it’s such a big place there’s just these completely different attitudes and places. As a whole, I’ve just experienced incredibly diverse kinds of audiences in the states, so it’s hard to unify them.
drummer’s label back in Dublin before we got signed to Domino. That kind of already put a few off the list because I didn’t want to re-release them. Then I put all the other songs into a big bucket, twirled it round, took them out again with my eyes closed and there’s the album!
When you write a song is there a certain process you go through?
This is an extract of an interview with Villagers, to read the rest go to: http://sonarmag.tumblr.com
There’s a process but it’s different every time. Like if you start trying to do the same thing twice it just never works. I always feel like you have to come at things from the opposite direction most of the time. Your debut album, ‘Becoming A Jackal’, how did you decide which songs made the final cut? I guess I had like a bunch of demos, maybe 20 demos, and I release some songs on my
aaa Words // Zoe Whitfield Their album was recently voted the fifth best of 2010 by the same magazine that got them on lilos on a dirty east London canal for their August cover, and NME hand picked them as one of four bands fronting a supposed resurgence in the Manchester ‘scene’. The former of course, The Fly, the latter apparently “the most potent scene in a generation,” the band, Everything Everything. Making music they themselves call “unconventional surprising unpredictable pop” Jonathon (vocals), Jeremy (bass), Mike (drums) and Alex (guitar) are indeed today based in Manchester, though Alex they claim to have “found in Hoxton or somewhere like that” (he’s from Guernsey). Did I mention Take That are fans too?
Previously both studying popular music and recording where they were “eating and sleeping music”, Jonathon and Mike today talk to me post-sound check, pre-tonight’s sold out gig, four days in on a tour that they already agree has seen “the best headline shows we’ve done.” But first that uni stint, as Jonathon admits, “I got turned off a little bit, my mind started to wonder and I started making films and not really studying music when I should have been. It did teach me loads about writing for a group though, as until then I’d been sort of laptop orientated and just thought of me and the recording as the only thing that existed.” And how did they do? “We all got the big one,” tells Jonathon, though of course, “It wasn’t like the record label were like ‘Jonathon, you cannot get a record deal if you didn’t get a first.” Can’t hurt, mind.
source // bigmouthpublicity
THING THING For those unsure, Everything Everything are not new. They formed in 2007 and their discography stretches back to ‘08. However they seem to be ‘everywhere’ at the moment, and one could surely be forgiven for citing them as a buzz band. But how does it feel? “Really strange. But then again, the average person might see us in a magazine one day and then might see us in a magazine weeks later, but we see every single thing that we’re in,” admits Jonathon. “To us it’s absolutely insane, our perspective is already quite skewed thinking ‘why are they listening to us, why do they care about us?’ It’s not hard, but we know it took this amount of time and we were there on that day and there it goes into that there, so it’s not like an explosion-you do loads of stuff
and loads of stuff appears a bit later.” “It’s like making soup,” Mike adds, before being told off by his front man, “No more soup analogies, Mike.” So there you have it, doing press is like making soup, but what of NME (and the rest)’s apparent sudden focus on Manchester, do Jonathon et al believe Madchester is back? “No, I think there’s a new media focus. I think bands are doing what they’ve been doing for ages.” Quite. This is an extract of an interview with Everything Everything, to read the rest go to http://sonarmag.tumblr.com/
FUTURE PR0JECTI0NS aaa
Solent is a talented place, it’s true. Filmmakers and recent graduates Oliver Wiser and Georges Misjura’s final major project film has landed them much more than just a final mark for their third year. Since graduating, the pair have entered their film, White Elephants and Red Herrings into several film festivals, which has subsequently picked up several awards along the way. Their first award was for ‘Most Outstanding Film’ at Southampton Solent University, and from there on in, they have won awards for FE Drama (Inspire Film Festival 2010), Best Screenplay (One VoiceYouth Film Festival 2010), and picked up a nomination for Best of Festival (Inspire), as well as receiving an Official Selection at the International Student Film Festival Awards 2010.
Synopsis // White Elephants and Red Herrings White Elephants and Red Herrings is a story of unrequited love from the socially austere 1950s to the present day. The film engages with Queer theory and challenges perceived attitudes towards sexuality. Whilst at university, the film’s protagonist Robin, had embarked upon an illicit affair with a married man, and affair which he would deny to even himself. It is not until the suicide of his former lover that Robin is truly able to accept, admit and advance his own identity.
footage in the church, the evocative shots at the beginning and the end, the bath scene, the complex timelines etc., don’t always sit comfortably with each other, but that doesn’t matter either. The sequences have been so carefully considered and shot (everything right down to the end credits) and edited with such élan and sophistication and the control of the tone is so precise throughout that such an extraordinary emotional unity and cohesion has very much been achieved.
It is very exciting to see that the filmmakers have so taken to heart the idea that film is itself a language and that to have a real understanding of it you also have to have a knowledge of its history. As Jean Renoir once said: “You can be modern, and must want to be so, because you must contribute something, but you can be modern only by humbly following your predecessors.”
This is without doubt the most intense student film I have ever been involved in. I was completely gripped from beginning to end and was left feeling rather shaken and aware that something had gone on at a level that wasn’t immediately comprehensible. It is a film without characters or performances in the normal sense of the words; it’s limited and is probably unsustainable beyond ten minutes or so, but that doesn’t seem to matter. One could even say that the various distinct elements that make up the film – the “documentary”
Jon Sanders, Screenwriting and Film Production tutor, Southampton Solent University
BEAUT MY dark I F U L
TWISTED FANTASY Words // Robin Pailler
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy marks the fifth studio album from Kanye West since College Dropout burst on the scene almost seven years ago. Since that joyous debut it’s hard to ignore West's turbulent success; the endless media controversies, (Taylor Swift anyone?) personal revelations (his heavily publicised relationship with model Alexis Phifer as well as the death of his mother) and three platinum selling albums since that debut - have kept West firmly in the media spotlight. One is thing is apparent then, when you first listen to MBDTF – West knows this. This is man who is fully aware of the postmodern world that has sucked him dry. From the opening hook on ‘Dark Fantasy’
where a voice cries “Can we get much higher?” it seems Kanye is questioning the heights of his career. What follows is an artist laying his soul bare. Whether it’s the political fears of ‘Power’ or the self-indulgent confessions in ‘Monster’, West is not afraid to hold back on his views. ‘Runaway’ is an easy standout – the 9 minute revamp opening with a haunting piano key slowly escalating before bursting into an onslaught of emotion as he tells lovers to “runaway as fast as you can”. The inclusion of Bon Iver on two tracks as well as the aid of producer Jeff Bhasker are welcome additions and ensure Kanye’s sound reaches out to an ever-changing music culture whilst never losing the original feel of his Chi town roots. Whether designing shoes for Louie Vuitton or directing his 35 minute short film 'Runaway', Kanye has established himself as a driving force within western culture.
DUE DATE Words // Reese Howard source // generationfilm Highly anticipated new comedy from the team that gave us The Hangover. Due Date, featuring chalk and cheese road buddies Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis has a lot to live up to. Advertised off the back of The Hangover’s sensational success, boasting a similar road movie narrative and again featuring Galifianakis, Due Date has a high bar to vault. Intolerant architect with a ‘no bullshit’ attitude, Peter Highman (Downey Jr.) is on his way home for the birth of his first child. He however, has the misfortune of meeting his exact polar opposite on this earth; Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis) who’s over the top idiocy lands them on a ‘No Fly’ list. Stuck with no money, no bags and no means of getting home Peter reluctantly takes a ride from Ethan. Queue chaos. Without trying to be cynical, I didn’t expect much from Todd Phillips’ latest comedy. It sounded a little predictable and to be honest, a little too similar to the linear style we see in The Hangover. On the other hand however, I thought with a little optimism, - The Hangover IS gut-wrenchingly funny so if Due Date can match this, perhaps the lack of originality can be forgiven. Disappointingly, the narrative does not live up to that of its predecessor. The Hangover
has a hook. Due Date does not. Starting out promisingly, the film identifies a great friction in the relationship between the focal characters, but the badly sequenced list of increasingly farfetched events let the strength of the film down, in a big way. Grinding their characters, both Downey Jr., and Galifianakis perform incredibly, saving Due Date from disaster. The laughs come long and hard in spite of the ridiculous antics, thanks to their very natural love-hate relationship. A brief appearance from Jamie Foxx is also welcomed, offering two great scenes of light-hearted buddy comedy, before the plot takes a swing for the worse. It’s a shame Due Date isn’t better. The potential is definitely there, the chemistry between Ethan and Peter proves that, but the story just doesn’t fit. The weight in this sort of comedy is that it could sort of happen and because of this the first hour of the film is believably fun. The final forty minutes however, are just so silly that they spoil the strong start. Due Date will always be compared to The Hangover. The film would have needed to do something really new and special to gain independent recognition and sadly, it doesn’t.
ENTER THE V0ID Words // Laura Smith
Gasper Noe’s latest cinematic assault comes in the form of Enter the Void, which, from the trailer alone suggests audiences should expect another unhealthy slice of debauchery and strobe lighting. When compared with the trailer from his earlier groundbreaking shocker, Irreversible, Enter the Void looks (though it might seem impossible) even more degenerate and taboo. Shot almost entirely in the absence of the main protagonist himself, Oscar (Nathaniel Brown), the film charts his journey in accordance to a book borrowed from his friend Alex in the film’s ‘opening’ scenes, The Tibetan Book of the Dead. After being betrayed by a confidante in a vile club knowingly titled The Void, Oscar journeys through a spirit world, watching on as a ghost trapped in limbo while his sister Linda (Paz de la Huerta) mourns over her kindred spirit. It is interesting then, that in the few fleeting moments we do actually lay eyes on our main protagonist (by way of a bathroom mirror), his face looks foreign and unknown to us, thus is the success of the first-person narrative and multitude of POV shots, juxtaposed with Oscar’s continual shape-shifting throughout the film. While it is suggested that after a disturbing and unsettled childhood, Oscar and his sister Linda have become unhealthily close to one another, Linda’s behaviour almost directly
mirrors that of her dead brother’s, potentially because they share the same genes, or possibly because he seems to inherit her body from time to time throughout the film. While it is in the hands of the viewer to fully decide how such sequences are to be interpreted, there are, at times, undeniably obvious motions that suggest Oscar possesses the body of his sister. Idyllic scenes of the pair promising to never leave each other are coupled with intensified moments of graphic sex and violence, within which the two become entwined as one mysterious entity, with ever-changing faces and moods. While Noe himself has told critics not to read too much into the incestuous tones of the film, it becomes, by the end, nigh on impossible to overlook them. Vivid colours, relentless strobe lighting and the neon signs that litter Tokyo where the film is set add to the bewildering sense that everything is all a little too much for your brain to handle, the film is at once mesmerisingly beautiful, grimy and stomach-turning. With a fairly unknown cast, yet a visibly higher budget, Enter the Void manages to achieve a very rare place in cinema, one where words are difficult to find that could describe its effect in full. Put it this way, it’s taken three days to be able to conjure up enough coherence to sit down and write this.
F0ALS @ S0UTHAMPT0N GUILDHALL source // subpop
Words // Craig Thomas Having not seen Foals perform since the release of their second album I was quite keen to see what they had in store for us at the Guildhall and was hoping that they didn’t completely turn their backs on Antidotes - their first album. Opening the show with new single, Blue Blood, you had the feeling that Yannis and co were building up to a big night. And it wasn’t long before they performed two of their biggest songs from Antidotes - Cassius and Balloons, throwing in some older tracks into the mix. Foals put on a fantastic and arguably their best display for Spanish Sahara with its solemn and mystical opening - which saw a silhouette of Yannis projected on to the Guildhall wall thanks
to a stunning light show. The songs’ progressive style saw this boil up to an eruption, which was greeted by the outstretched arms from the energetic crowd. During the encore Foals threw everything they had at the Southampton crowd, performing old hit French Open, followed by their final song of the evening, instant crowd pleaser, Two Steps Twice, providing a fantastic combination of music and lights and without doubt the most energy on stage and off.Yannis climbed every part of the stage he could whilst they entertained the suspended crowd with a long instrumental before they erupted into a final, heart racing performance.
LUELLA’S GUIDE T0 ENGLISH STYLE Words // Toni Caroline “The English have this weird knack of putting together the weirdest combinations of clothing and accessories that somehow – with their warped sense of good, and just plain weird taste – inspire the rest of the world” – Luella Bartley. Approximately a year ago now, Luella Bartley reluctantly shut down her eponymous fashion label ‘Luella’ after a key financer pulled out. Although this was a sad time for the British fashion scene, everything happens for a reason, and so in losing the Luella brand, we gained ‘Luella’s Guide to English Style’. This adorable little book is a British girl’s bible. Full of humour, history and charm, Luella covers the history of English style discussing Skinheads, Mary Quant, sex…and why pink is such an English colour! She talks us through the seven steps of a woman and tells us that English women become “cooler with age”, as well as sharing with us a brief yet personal insight into her younger years. “Why are young girls being encouraged to dress as cheap, naff, nasty seductresses?” The book is illustrated beautifully and full of interesting images of British icons such from Ian Curtis to Lily Allen. I cannot express enough how enchanting this book is and would definitely recommend it to any English girl with a passion for fashion or any interest in English culture! “She would sell her Granny to get her hands on that vintage tweed Chanel jacket to mis-match with her one-off Japanese reissue, vintage limited edition high tops – nicked from her bf.”
D0WNL0AD THIS aaa
Words // Dave Merritt
Downloadable Content (more commonly known as DLC) is big business these days, but just how is effecting gaming? And are we as consumers being completely robbed of our hard earned cash? Whilst DLC is available over all 3 of the seventh generation consoles, it is the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 that are the focus for the extra content. DLC exists in many forms – be it full games, demos or add-ons for existing software, DLC expands the gaming universe beyond the consoles and discs we are so familiar with. Demos are a big part of current gaming, gone are the days where you had to spend £5 on a magazine to get a disk with a selection of demos on it, now they are (usually) free and far more extensive than ever before, and (as long
as you are connected to the internet of course) instantly accessible. Other free content includes videos, behind the scenes content and strategy guides. So you get a lot for simply having an internet connection but what do you get if you pay out some of your wages? Well, having a ‘gold’ subscription for the Xbox (around £35 a year) gets you exclusive content, early access to free demos, the ability to watch Sky player, music from Last FM and exclusive Facebook/Twitter apps as well as the ability to play against friends online (this is free with both of the other major consoles, but that’s another debate) and this is where some controversy comes in... Here’s a scenario.You’ve just bought yourself a brand new FPS, it cost you £40, you play it
for a month and it’s fantastic, then you see that there is some new DLC available. Usually this is exciting, DLC can expand your game or breathe new life into it, but it does cost money and most recently there has been debate about these costs. Modern Warfare 2 released two expansion packs for its online multiplayer, each pack cost just over £10 and for that you get three new maps to battle on. It’s very much in your own hands if you paid out for it, and has been the most downloaded DLC ever, but it didn’t have the smoothest of rides to get there. DLC is now making its presence known beyond the realms of the console. Recent TV/internet adverts for Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption saw plenty of airtime, demonstrating just how important DLC is to the gaming world DLC as well as proving that DLC is big business.
More and more games are using ‘paid for’ DLC to expand their games and some even offer free content, for example Black Rock Studios’ Split Second recently added new cars to its game without charging a penny. Sometimes gamers feel that content is simply ‘kept back’ prior to release just so developers can squeeze every last penny from you, but whichever way you look at it DLC is here to stay, so enjoy and embrace what is the biggest thing to happen to gaming since ‘Goldeneye’ hit the N64.
GIRL Interview // Dan Windle Words // Laura J Smith
With a strong awareness of popular culture icons that have come before her, upcoming starlet Sunday Girl’s stage name echoes tracks of the same title from bands including Blondie and Erasure, yet this is all pure coincidence. As she explains, the moniker actually comes from far more down to earth origins: “The name Sunday Girl came from working in my local pet shop at weekends. Some of the customers used to call me it as no one knew my actual name.” Whilst penning her debut album, Sunday Girl, (Jade Williams to her friends) studied for a degree in Set Design, but left university upon getting signed earlier this year. Co-writing tracks with Jim Elliot (who has worked with the likes of Kylie and Ladyhawke);Williams describes the Sunday Girl sound as taking inspiration from bands like “Saint Etienne, Mazzy Star, Joy Division and Goldfrapp...their tracks are very layered, colourful and ethereal. I
love singers like Peggy Lee and Kellis for their beautiful tone, and performance-wise, I’d love to be compared to someone like Goldfrapp and Roisin Murphy for their elegant, weird pop vibes on stage.” A few months previous, Sunday Girl was named in The Observer Music Monthly as ‘the one to watch’, and she has since been touring with the likes of songstress Ellie Goulding: “It’s very surreal to be honest... it just hasn’t sunk in yet. Being on tour has been an amazing experience and we seem to get a lot of comparisons to her and her band, which is a huge compliment. It’s literally been so much fun, I just don’t want it to end! Ellie and the band have been so lovely and we’ve had lots of fun nights out together. She’s the perfect example of how to crack the industry and get it right! Her career is just getting bigger and bigger every day.”
source // chuff media
So what does the future hold for Sunday Girl? Lots of hard work is the answer, she believes. “And I’m really hoping next year is a good one for me. Lots more live shows and just getting my music out there to a wider audience.” Not only is she a talented singer, but Miss Williams reveals she is creating all of the artwork for the project too. So it seems this (Sunday) Girl is indeed one to watch over the coming months. Perhaps jot down her name in the hopes an album surfaces in time for your much-anticipated Christmas lists. If not, there’ll always be a spot of post-Christmas money burning a hole in your pocket.
To listen to Sunday Girl head to : www. myspace.com/ wearesundaygirl
GRADUATION BALL 2010
// CONGRATULATIONS CLASS OF 2010 //
issue three of solent student's union's SONAR magazine.