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College Tribune Entertainment Supplement 06.04.2011

Music

What future do small record stores have? Page 5

film

Between The Canals Review Page 12

Fashion

Campus Style Examines UCD Fashion Page 8

The Vaccine's talk to The Siren


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Music

The Siren 06.04.11

The Band - Music from Big Pink

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Daniel Nolan _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The Band’s 1968 debut album, Music from Big Pink, is one of the most celebrated works of the late 1960s, and rightfully so. Beyond the obvious reasons of the sheer quality of the songs and musicianship on the album, one of its greatest assets is its lack of pretence or vanity. There’s an unusually laid-back feel to Music from Big Pink, as though The Band are performing for their own enjoyment more than anything else. However, this never detracts from the power of the album. The album even comes equipped with its own mythology. The titular Big Pink was the band’s nickname for the house in the isolated area of upstate New York in the basement of which the record was recorded, and stories of the recording process have entered musical legend. They had previously only operated as a backing band, firstly for Ronnie Hawkins then, famously, Bob Dylan. On this record, they moved into the foreground, displaying their prodigious songwriting and vocal talents as well as their instrumental abilities. Dylan was present for much of the recording, as he apparently enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere that pervaded the house, and co-wrote three of the songs.

Despite Dylan’s influence on the album, it is dominated by The Band’s members’ uniquely emotive songwriting. Robbie Robertson demonstrated a lyrical prowess to rival even Dylan’s. He contributed the album’s most celebrated song, ‘The Weight,’ famously used to great effect in ‘Easy Rider,’ which was released a year later. The connection to that film seems appropriate in retrospect, as both are inextricably linked to that period of the late sixties during which the optimism of the early part of the decade began to wane. ‘The Weight’ is also possibly the finest demonstration of The Band’s superb vocal harmonies. Throughout the album, drummer Levon Helm, bassist Rick Danko and pianist Richard Manuel weave their vocal lines together to remarkable effect. Each had a fantastic and unusual voice in their own right, but when used in combination, they sounded unlike anything else. The predominant style of vocal harmony at the time was that associated with Crosby, Stills and Nash. While their harmonies

were flawlessly tight to the point that their voices became indistinguishable, The Band maintained the individuality of the separate voices. This lead to a more endearing and distinctive style.

Robertson’s deeply evocative songwriting style is also in evidence on ‘Caledonia Mission,’ which is by turns beautiful and raucous, and ‘To Kingdom Come,’ which

fades out on one of his finest guitar solos. The record captures a certain ethereal, almost dream-like quality at various stages, perhaps most effectively on the bittersweet ‘In a Station,’ impeccably sung by Richard Manuel. On the record’s only cover, ‘Long Black Veil,’ The Band lend a new vitality and energy to an old standard that had previously been recorded by a multitude of artists. Here, they effortlessly make it their own. Again, their vocal harmonies are used to great effect. ‘Tears of Rage,’ the album’s immensely powerful opener- a Bob Dylan co-write with Richard Manuel, illustrates The Band’s skill with a ballad. Robertson’s ‘Chest Fever’ and Dylan and Danko’s ‘This Wheel’s on Fire’ both show genuine edge and sound well ahead of their time, making great use of distortion and taking on a darkly psychedelic sound. The latter went on to fame as the theme song to the sitcom ‘Absolutely Fabulous,’ though the version used was Julie Driscoll and Adrian Edmondson’s cover. Several of the band’s members were multi-instrumentalists, meaning the

range of sounds on the album moves beyond the core traditional instruments of the folk/rock genre. Perhaps The Band’s least heralded member, Garth Hudson lends his abilities to several instruments aside from his primary instrument, his organ, including the wurlitzer, saxophone and clavinet. The instrumental diversity of the album was another element which set it apart from other records of the time. The album closes with Bob Dylan’s deeply poignant ‘I Shall Be Released,’ beautifully delivered here by Rick Danko. At The Band’s farewell concert eight years later, documented by Martin Scorsese in his film ‘The Last Waltz,’ they finished with a performance of this song. They were joined on stage by such icons of the era as Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Van Morrison and many others. This gathering illustrated the powerful effect The Band’s releases had over the musical scene of the sixties and seventies, even if the acclaim of critics and their peers never translated into record sales to rival those of many of their contemporaries. Long after The Band disintegrated amidst a haze of in-fighting and various addictions, their music, particularly that of their first album, is still cherished by those fortunate enough to have heard it.

924 Gilman Street

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Graham Luby _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

To get to one of the most sacred sites in alternative music, cross the San Francisco Bay Bridge from San Francisco to Emeryville and take the left interchange north towards Berkeley. Cruise along the East Shore Freeway, past the Berkeley Marina and the attractive Eastshore State Park, until you reach the Gilman Street exit. Turning right across the railway tracks, head down this unassuming, stuccowalled thoroughfare, past the motorcycle repair shops and cheap eateries until, on the corner of 8th Street and Gilman, you reach a squat concrete warehouse/canning shop complex. Tread lightly - you’re on hallowed ground. It looks like any other concrete shell, like any of the hundreds of thousands of others laid out in a grey sprawl along the heavily-industrialized East Bay, from San Jose in the South, to Rodeo in the North. The cracked pavement is spouting greenery, the red-brick façade coated with decades of faded graffiti, and the inside is no less glamorous. The burst couches and yet-more graffiti would suggest that this is nothing more than a squat; the rickety wooden stage is the only thing challenging that assumption, tucked away into a corner.

But every Friday and Saturday night, this age-worn grotto comes to life, pulsing under the Doc Martens of hundreds of angry young enthusiasts. In 1986, the closure of The Farm and the Mabuhay Gardens punk clubs created a fresh demand for an all-ages venue in the Bay Area. Hair metal and spandex were in full swing in the mainstream, and the disillusioned youths of one of America’s most stiflingly cosmopolitan cities needed a place to pogo their frustrations out on weekends. In April of that year, several local punk enthusiasts (among them the late Tim Yohannon, founder of fanzine/website Maximumrocknroll) procured premises in the form of a disused warehouse at 924 Gilman Street in Berkeley. After several months of organisation and self-funded promotion, the first performance at The Alternative Music Foundation (or “Gilman”) took place on New Year’s Eve 1986.

The club quickly became an institution for the Bay Area punk movement. Sticking to a rigid non-profit philosophy that excluded alcohol, drugs, violence

and major-label acts, Gilman grew into a hub for youth counter-culture; free food and used clothes sat alongside concession tables at gigs, while cheap membership fees and free entry for volunteers turned Gilman into a daytime hang-out joint as well as a venue. The no-major-labels policy provided emerging acts with an easily accessible

stage and an attentive audience. Many bands that cut their teeth at Gilman went on to gain notoriety in their own right, including the likes of Operation Ivy, The Offspring, Neurosis and a youthful Green Day. “I was just introduced to a lot of new ideas [at Gilman]”, Green Day’s Billie-Joe Armstrong mused in January of this year. “I think that was my escape…I was getting another education that I wasn’t getting at home anymore, or from the schools that I had to go to. It was just this feeling of, ‘I’m out of prison!’ However, Gilman’s staunch opposition to major-label acts has proved in recent years to be as damaging as it is beneficial. What was originally created as a method of protecting upcoming bands, has now been twisted into that of an obstinate, self-righteous opposition to the “mainstream”. Former regulars such as Atlantic Records’ Bad Religion and Interscope’s AFI are now personae non grate by vir-

tue of their success, while in 1994, former Dead Kennedy’s loon Jello Biafra was attacked at a Fixtures gig for his “sellout rock star” status (despite never having signed to a major label). Today, while still mainly playing host to punk and hardcore shows, Gilman also hosts a wide range of niche acts including metal and grind bands, acoustic singersongwriters and even DJ’s and techno acts. Admission fees are still between five and ten dollars (often as little as two dollars for members), while every aspect of the club is still run by voluntary staff. For any fans of “alternative” music visiting the San Francisco Bay Area, a visit to Gilman is a must. Be that as it may, those with plans of making the pilgrimage should act on them fast, rumour circulated last year that due to an imminent rent increase on the site, the club could be forced to close its doors for good in late 2011. This would leave the venue going the same tragic way as CBGB’s in New York. However, as was evident when The Farm and The Mabuhay Gardens closed a quarter of a century ago, the Bay Area punk scene’s strong DIY-ethic ensures that somewhere will always be on hand to carry the banner.


The Siren 06.04.11

Music

3

Yelle Moon Safari Disco Club

Fleet Foxes Helplessness Blues

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The French tend to produce lots of great pop music. But due largely to geography, not a lot of it makes an impact outside France. People like to know what their being sung to about. It’s also worth noting that, when you hear people speak or sing in French and don’t understand, it’s difficult not to leap to the assumption that what they’re saying is probably very condescending. I, for one, do not take well to the unfounded suspicion of condescension. Yelle are one of the rare French acts who look like making it beyond continental Europe. Their debut album, Pop Up, was released way back in 2007 (to put that in perspective, we were all still assuming Mickey Rourke’s career was over). The album was met with relative acclaim and garnered them a fairly widespread following. Four years and one Lazarus-like rise to redemption from Mr. Rourke later, they’ve earned themselves a spot opening for Katy Perry. Yelle share a lot in common with the more likeable of the recent ‘80s revivalists, such as Ladyhawke, but throw in a subtle originality of their own. They pedal a fine line of sleek, electronic pop, with a distinct elegance by Julie Budet’s feather-light vocals. The album peaks with the shoe gaze-meets-funk ‘Que Veux Tu’. Elsewhere, while one or two tracks fail to make any lasting impression, on the first few listens at least, the bulk of it is excellent. ‘Le Grand Saut’ and ‘C’est Pas Un Vie’ get that breezily bittersweer pop thing just right, and ‘Mon Pays’ displays a darker side to their ouevre. What’s most impressive about the album is the apparent languid ease with which the band master their sound. One thing in which Yelle could be accused of lacking is diversity. While they do what they do very well, they do it an awful lot. This criticism aside, Moon Safari Disco Club is a highly enjoyable and charming record, that may even lead to a more widespread appreciation of the tragically neglectd Frech pop genre. And that’s almost as impressive as overcoming addiction problems to make a stunning return to mainstream cinema in a powerful film about wrestling.

Fleet Foxes were the surprise breakout act of 2008. Their debut brought folk to a mass 21st century audience. There was a danger for the band that, once people had explored their sound, they might lose interest, as is common with many hype bands that release one great record and then fade into obscurity. However, Fleet Foxes sound like they are in this for the long haul. While the mid album EP the band released last spring flirted with a rockier sound, Helplessness Blues is folk to it’s core. The band sticks mostly to the formula that worked so well on their debut; but, they also expand it, and build off of it to bring their sound somewhere new. The brightness, the belting pop choruses and of course the trademark vocal harmonies, still dominate the sound. However the canvasses are larger, the sound-scape is broader and the lyrics are more focused and engaging. Although they have taken on a more focused sound, and seem to be setting their stall out as an albums band, Helplessness Blues is full of standalone anthems that rival the highlights of their debut. One reoccurring failing of the album is a slight tendency to over complicate things. Although these moments are not common, when they occur they can be jarring and they leave the listener longing for some space and less cluttered arraignments. The Shrine/An Argument is a good example of this. The eight minute piece is close to being one of the highlights of the album, but then it is somewhat ruined by a horrible discordant horn noise that sounds like a broken saxophone that comes in near the end. It will send a lot of listeners reaching for the next button. Nitpicking aside, this is great album. In a world of auto-tune and Pro Tools, it’s nice to hear something that sounds so pure. This is a record which will only get better with time and will provide the soundtrack for a lot of people’s summer.

Daniel Nolan

Joseph Conroy


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Music

The Siren 06.04.11

Can’t Live Up to the Hype ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Examining how some albums have just simply flopped despite the huge expectation from fans and critics alike, Conor Manning examines the issue of the ‘great music’ we are all told about, before we have even heard it ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Over-hyped albums. They’re promoted, pushed and talked about to death. When salivating fans finally get their hands on the CD case and take it home, their expectations are shattered and they are left feeling unfulfilled. Often when albums are over-promoted, fans are let down when the band makes an unexpected change in style, as when Radiohead released Kid A in 2000. The hype for Kid A was great enough

to bring it to number one in America upon release, while it also managed to go platinum in the UK. Fans were optimistic about the follow-up to the ground-breaking OK Computer. However, when they heard the layers of sampling, drum machine patterns and synthesisers on Kid A, they discovered the disappointment that comes with a favourite band taking a completely new direction. Radiohead replaced their trademark guitar sound with a more artificial tone, obscured lyrics and unusual song structures. While Kid A received excellent reviews, it’s impact was damaged by the hype surrounding its release as fans

were alienated by the shift in style of the band’s music. At other times, the hype can be too much when unusual circumstances surround the band prior to an album’s release. A case in point is Saint Anger. Metallica’s Saint Anger was given huge publicity prior to release, owing to the billing it received as a ‘comeback album.’ The interest surrounding the album was increased by singer James Hetfield going through seven months of rehab during recording and drummer Lars Ulrich suing music downloading website, Napster. When Saint Anger hit the shelves, fans of Metallica were left feeling angry and bewildered. Avid followers of Metallica heard steel-sounding drums, guitars overpowering each other, and a departure from the band’s melody-based compositions to an altogether more rhythmic sound. Needless to say, this was not the comeback millions of people had expected.

It might simply be that a band can’t face up to their previous achievements. The pressure to live up to their fame appeared to prove too much for Oasis as well. Fuelled entirely by ego (and ‘allegedly’ a substance or two), Oasis released their third album, Be Here Now, in 1997. Their record company, Creation Records, created an air of secrecy around the release with a “fascist” control over access to the band, in the words of one employee. Airplay was limited and reviewers were made to sign gag orders before being given copies. This only increased anticipation, however, and, ultimately, the disappointment felt by fans worldwide.

Katy Perry Feat. Kanye West – E.T. Katy Perry has what is guaranteed to be a huge hit, as a result of taking a leaf out of Ms. Gaga’s book by embracing the whole weirdo fad. An inevitable move, she still however comes out of it with her individuality intact and a great track on her hand. Kanye spits one of the worst raps of his career, but that is still not enough to ruin the song. Excellent production and a very catchy chorus, this is going to be big. The Hoosiers – Bumpy Ride The Hossiers, a band that is not even worth spelling correctly. This new single sounds as if it took Mika five minutes to write. I struggle to think of a target audience for this song as it could not possibly appeal to anyone. I’m not even being that harsh, it is just such a pointless song. Burial – Street Halo Burial’s long awaited return to focusing on his solo material is solidified by the release of this song that will appear on his upcoming third album. This song is classic Burial. If you don’t know what that is, then you should check this song out as it encapsulates his talent and unique style perfectly.

Following the success of Definitely Maybe and (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?, the album is largely seen as a poor one. Despite being a commercial success, critics, fans, and even Oasis themselves have since admitted it was overblown. In 1999, it had the dubious honour of being the album most sold back to second-hand record stores. The truth was, with no development in their sound, added to the ridiculous length (71 minutes for 12 songs, 9 of which were longer than 5 minutes) and insistence on cramming as many guitars in as possible, Be Here Now has deservedly felt a strong backlash from the band and fans alike. We just have to admit that sometimes bands just aren’t as good as they used to be. That didn’t prevent most fans from expecting more from Guns N’ Roses’ Chinese Democracy. Chinese Democracy was their first studio album in 15 years, and the first since long-time members Slash, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum left the band. After a recording process which lasted fourteen years, featuring twelve artists accredited with being members of the band, and five producers reported to have worked on it, it was finally released to the world in 2008. Alas, it was met with universal shock and horror.

The phenomenon of over-endorsed albums continues today. Even this year, both the Vaccines and Brother have been hailed as the saviours of rock ‘n’ roll, a ridiculous label that sets a band up to fail before they begin. Fans of the Beach Boys, meanwhile, have been waiting for the as-yet unreleased Smile for 44 years, having only heard pieces from what was due to be ‘The Greatest Pop Album Ever,’ following Pet Sounds, as bootlegs and other rare recordings. More recently, in 2005, Brian Wilson recorded and toured his own version of the album, yet it is only with this release of the original recordings, that fans will be truly satisfied. However, after nearly half a century, is it in any way possible that Smile can live up to the incredible expectations of music fans across the globe?

Gay for Johnny Depp – C’mon Feel the Boize Is this a cover? Technically, yes, but the group bring so much life to the song that one could easily mistake it for their own. A delightful blast from the past, that is completely welcome as it reminds the listener that music is supposed to be about fun. Jennifer Lopez Feat. Pitbull – On The Floor The mixture of the well known Ibiza-esque synths, typical electro/house rhythm, wobble bass and catchy vocals make this song a perfectly fine club track. It must be said that this is nothing special, and it is not the first or last of its kind. One must also respect J-Lo for giving it one last try, and succeeding, that is, if you are to go by the YouTube views it has received to date (see for yourself ). by Simon Mulcahy


The Siren 06.04.11

Music

5

Not-so High Fidelity... _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

In the run-up to Record Store Day, Joseph Conroy looks at the problems facing local record stores _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

It’s not fresh news that record stores are in trouble. The past ten years have seen major international record store names like Tower and Virgin Megastores almost cease to exist. In the states, after filing for bankruptcy, not a single Tower Records outlet is left standing after the affiliate went into liquidation in 2006. There are no Virgin Megas-

tores left in the US, UK or Ireland. Domestically, we have also seen a prominent player, Golden Discs, go into examinership in 2009 and struggle to stay afloat. The fourth annual record store day is fast approaching on April 16th. The list of participating Irish stores is looking particularly lean. In Dublin Spindizzy,

All City, Freebird, Celtic Note and Sound Cellar are the only independent stores taking part. Since Record Store Day 2010, many significant retailers have fallen by the wayside. Large regional players have suffered greatest, with Zhivago in Galway forced into liquidation this January, while BPM Records were recently

forced to close their stores across the south-east. Some of the capital’s favourite spots have also been forced to close. The most notable is Road Records’ closure of their iconic Fade Street store. Having first closed in January 09 and reopened in April of the same year, they closed again in July of last year; and this time it was for real. The statement that the store released on the second closure stressed that all possible means of creating a sustainable business out of the store had been exhausted and they just could not survive. The statement expressed its fear for the independent record store in general; “we can’t blame digital sales, illegal downloading, etc, the world is a changing place and I can’t see any room in it for kooky little indie stores like ourselves.” These fears have been realised with City Discs closing early this year, and more recently, Comet Records on Cope Street became the latest tragedy case in the Capital. Conor Pope, owner of Comet Records, commented that “There is a whole generation who have never paid anything for music, and I don’t know if they will ever be prepared to pay anything for music”. In a world where you can download The Beatles life work for free in about 15 minutes from any file sharing website, is there any hope for the humble record store? The key to record store survival seems to be diversification for big stores, and specialisation for small ones. If you walk into HMV’s flagship store on Grafton Street, you won’t be bombarded by Britney or Mary Byrne CD’s, but rather the ground floor now stocks DVD’s, video games and music accessories, so it’s easier to find a copy of Call Of Duty, or some Dr. Dre branded headphones than an actual CD. Tower have retained their focus on physical music sales at the front of shop, while it has also diversified by expanding to have clothing, books, music accessories, merchandise and magazine sections, as well as opening a new café to generate extra footfall and revenue. Of the remaining independents in the capital, most serve niche markets with Celtic Note, All City and Sound Cellar catering specifically for trad, hip hop and metal markets respectively. Borderline in Temple bar is also still afloat and specialising in vinyl and rarities. The upcoming world Record Store Day will hope to breathe life into this struggling industry the world over. The event will see some of the world’s biggest acts releasing on off releases, mostly on seven or twelve inch. These releases will inevitably become collector’s items as most have print runs around one or two thousand copies. The releases cover all bases. Reissues will be released by classic acts like rare

pressings of seven inch versions of The Doors’ Riders The Storm, The Rolling Stones’ Brown Sugar and Jimi Hendrix’s Fire. The world’s biggest contemporary acts are also well represented. One of the most hotly anticipated releases will be Radiohead’s twelve inch, with two previously unreleased tracks, ‘The Butcher ‘and ‘Supercollider’. This pressing is limited to 2,000 and only being released in the UK and Ireland with 100 pressings said to be making their way across the Irish Sea. While Record Store Day is all well and good, it must be said that it is unlikely to have any real effect. Even the fact that the vast vast majority of the releases are on vinyl, points to a bygone era. It’s more of a celebration, as opposed to a credible attempt at rejuvenation of a struggling industry. The organisers seek the re-establishment of the traditional role of the record store as a space for people to meet and experience music together. That era is over if it ever truly existed. There is an underlying problem to most dialogue on the future of almost all aspects of the music industry; this is a failure to truly look at where we are at right now. Amongst the testimonials on the Record Store Day website, one record store owner in the UK suggests, “we have bred a new power generation that has lost its desire for artistic possessions. It seems most of the air breathers who can walk fairly upright and that were born in the last 30 years, have wires in their ears. The whole of their life is on their Ipod and their phone. Photos, friends and music. For them there is no need to ever own a record or CD when they can download something the record companies convince them is ‘essential’ and that can be consumed with little effort. Sort of an audio Big Mac.” But this analogy misses the point. Suggesting young listeners consume music from record labels like a McDonald’s burger is ridiculous. If anything, that analogy is more applicable to the era before the demise of record stores and rise of downloading. He makes the assumption people are downloading from record companies, but they aren’t. The vast majority of this downloading is from free file sharing sites. The High Fidelity style record store banter will be missed. But it still lives on in the blogosphere, as music lovers from all over the world are now coming together on music blogs and message boards too talk about the tunes they love. Sad as it is, we must face up to the fact that this is the endgame for the record store. While everyone from Pirate Bay to Tesco continue to conspire against them, it is hard to say how long this dying breed can survive.


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Music

The Siren 06.04.11

What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? ‘Next big things’ The Vaccines have been hailed as a shot in the arm for the British rock scene. But drummer Pete Robertson remains immune to the hype, as he tells Ciarán Leinster

Comparisons to some of the greatest bands of all time, being heralded as saviours of rock ‘n’ roll, a UK top 5 album, and all within less than a year of coming together – these are the kind of things that give many musicians inflated egos, and cause them to purchase huge fur coats and sunglasses. Not so Pete Robertson of the Vaccines. Almost disappointingly, Robertson, the band’s drummer, seemed to possess no ego, and when asked how it felt to be one of the most talked about band’s in Britain, his reply was surprisingly level-headed. “[It’s] kinda weird... I don’t really know... We’ve said this before, and it’s not being coy or anything, but, genuinely, we don’t really feel like we’re being talked about that much, we don’t really know about much of it...” I pressed him on the notoriety his band have achieved, specifically coming third in the BBC’s “Sound of

2011”, and also the interest that the reputable music magazine NME have taken in the Vaccines. But as much as he wouldn’t admit it, he remained very coy, saying only that, “There’s been a few little landmarks, yeah.” When I asked him about his own musical heroes, and whether he was influenced by any one drummer in particular, Robertson was as reluctant as ever to answer in an overboard manner. “I dunno, really, I don’t really go for hero-worship, but I guess one of the main reasons I started playing the drums was Dave Grohl. I think Nirvana changed a lot of people’s lives, they did with mine. I had the pleasure of meeting him a few weeks ago, and he is as lovely as everyone says.” This mention of American institution Grohl was a shock to the system, given that Robertson and his cohorts have been deemed by the music press as the saviours of the British rock ‘n’ roll scene. However,

Robertson claimed he does not feel the pressure that should accompany that tag. “I don’t feel particularly pressured now, there’s a few people that may

we never thought rock ‘n’ roll needed saving, we never told anyone we were there to do anything like that. I guess if it doesn’t work, then off we go, or if we fail to save anything, it’s the people

Robertson and his cohorts have been deemed by the music press as the saviours of the British Rock ‘n’ Roll scene have had their opinions altered as a result of those comments. If anyone reads something like that, there’s bound to be a few people who get a little uptight. Y’know, people don’t really want to be told they need saving, y’know. I guess we were up against it a wee bit from that, y’know,

who said it are gonna look dumb, not us!” Despite his pleasant and easy-going nature, Robertson bristled noticeably when questioned on the issue of class. Criticism has been flooding in from some quarters that his band are “too posh” for rock ‘n’ roll, something he

takes offence to, “I think it’s a) quite bigoted, and b) also quite incorrect. I think we’re quite well-spoken, certain members of our band went to public school... ... I didn’t myself, I went to a very average comprehensive, in Hampshire, it couldn’t have been more average. Árni, our bass player, comes from Iceland, where the class system doesn’t actually exist. And, he came from a similarly average background to us.” Robertson’s frustration at these comments indicated that he had heard them a number of times previously. “Y’know, when you get things like that, it actually... I mean, first of all, it’s laughably stupid, because, obviously, everyone knows some of the best, and most influential bands in history have been quite well-off, have come from public school education, or whatever, but also, personally, it kind of offends me, because it actually takes myself and Árni out of the


The Siren 06.04.11

equation altogether! You’re ignoring half the band, because if you didn’t, it would be countering your own argument! Which is ultimately completely wrong, and bigoted in the first place.” I took that as a resounding rejection of the notion that middle-class, privately-educated young men couldn’t play rock ‘n’ roll. Hastily moving on to another event which sparked attention in the press, I asked Robertson whether the band had changed the release date of the album, so as not to clash with the Strokes. His answer wasn’t entirely conclusive, so either he was playing dumb, or telling the truth. “We did change our album date, it wasn’t because of the Strokes, though. I’m not entirely sure what it was, I think it was just ready and we were anxious to get it out. I still find it quite odd, to think that people are putting us in competition with the Strokes! It’s kinda weird, y’know, they’re a huge band, we’re big fans of theirs, but we didn’t really take that into consideration.” A reverence for already established musicians also came across when I asked about Liam Gallagher’s view that the Vaccines are “boring”. Robertson replied: “It feels quite nice that he’s heard of us! I wasn’t a huge Oasis fan, but I was an Oasis fan, so knowing that he’s aware of us is quite surreal. But yeah, it’s fine, I don’t re-

ally mind. We knew from the outset that what we were doing wasn’t going to appeal to everyone.” Robertson also revealed that, far from finding Gallagher’s latest band Beady Eye boring, he had recently heard them rehearsing and quite liked them. He also expressed a liking for Vampire Weekend, Deerhunter and Beach Fossils. The most common names people evoke when discussing the Vaccines are the Ramones and the Jesus & Mary Chain, so I was surprised when Robertson told me that they weren’t direct influences on their sound, “No... They weren’t really... We’re big fans, I mean, I love the Ramones, I know the Jesus & Mary Chain, I have a few albums, but they’re not something I’m particularly into. The Ramones, more so. I think, we’ve said this before, actually, and it remains true, I think the reason those comparisons are there is probably because both were heavily influenced by some of our main influences, like Spector girl groups and ‘50s rock ‘n’ roll”. Having just returned from SXSW in Texas, and with festival dates across Europe this summer (including Oxegen), followed by extensive touring of America, Asia, Japan, Autralia and the UK, the Vaccines are an energetic, charismatic and yet humble band that are going places, in more ways than one.

Music

Live Review: The Vaccines,

The Academy, March 29th 2011 It’s hard to figure out how The Vaccines have not disappeared up their own arses yet, based on this showing. With the venue completely packed, the band arrived on stage to a thunderous cheer. Without much of an introduction, singer Justin Young (who previously went by the name Jay Jay Pistolet as an indie-folk singer), and co rip into “Wolfpack”, one of the most high-energy tracks from their recently-released debut album, What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? It took them a few tracks to get the crowd going properly, as Young announced to the largely male crowd, “We’re gonna do a few slow songs, them make it feel like it’s Friday night!” What followed was a surprisingly good version of “Wetsuit”, one of their weakest songs. The song that properly got the crowd going, however, was their debut single, “Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)“, 90 seconds of short, sharp, high-energy rock ‘n’ roll, which caused drinks to be flown through the air, people being pushed and pulled in every direction, and brief moments of hysteria as Young leant right forward into the crowd, the first hint of rock ‘n’ roll star swagger from him all night. As per usual the singles got the biggest receptions, as the crowd went mad during “Blow It Up”, “If You Wanna”, and probably the best song of the night, “Post Break-Up Sex”. Barely half an hour after they had arrived on stage, they left the stage, only to re-appear moments later for the encore, which began with a cover of the Standells’ “Sometime Good Guys Don’t Wear White”. Then, there was the final set closer, “Norgaard”, the infectious burst of power pop that once again worked the crowd into a frenzy. In less than 40 minutes, the Vaccines had thrilled the entire audience, established a ferocious live reputation, and Robertson made two lucky fans very happy by throwing his drumsticks into the crowd at the climax.

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8 Fashion

The Siren 06.04.11

Faye Dinsmore: Self-Created Fashionista or Self-Conceited Genius?

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Cathal O’ Gara peeks into the entrepreneurial mind of the Irish model _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

You may not know Faye Dinsmore, but she knows you. She knows of your addiction to social media platforms like Facebook, she knows of your generation’s socially constructed expectations of celebrity stardom and she knows that these traits of yours prove to be lucrative in the marketing industry. Calling www.fayedinsmore.com a blog is like calling Oprah a talk-show host. Just as when one thinks of the big ‘O’ and a media empire comes to mind, Dinsmore’s blog, if one can even call it a blog, will contain no biographical notes. Instead, it is more of a SMLOG: a Social-Media-LucrativeOpportunist and Grandiose collection of blabberings. Ms. Dinsmore seems to be all questions and no answers. Scrolling through her blog is like reading Heidegger: nominal contentious content in an autocratic

Campus Style

manner, accompanied by an array of name-drops and ‘sponsor’ placements for her awards night (this is not to say that you’ll be finding product-placement in The Origin of the Work of Art any time soon). Credit must be given to Dinsmore, though, for her repudiation of productplacement and advertising in her blog. “If you want me to start advertising your brand or featuring your product please send an email to like-I-would-everdo-that-anyway@fayedinsmore.com – thanks you’re a doll.”, wrote Dinsmore in the SMLOG’s contacts section. With over 250,000 followers, Dinsmore could make a small fortune from productplacement, but disapproves of the opportunity. While this claim is respectable, we all know that the fashion industry is one of smoke and mirrors, and Dinsmore truly puts the word ‘chic’ into chicanery. Dinsmore is not advertising to her

quarter-million facebook followers, but, in fact, is advertising herself to possible employers. Her website acts as a portfolio which has already been approved by 250,000 of Luxury Brands’ target markets. Clever, non? Dinsmore’s blog claims her intent to ‘shake fashion houses to their foundations’. How, you might ask? Why, by uploading pictures of her cute dog and half-naked models, of course! While her initial intent for the website may not have come to fruition as of yet, she has had her effect on the Irish fashion industry. Last week saw Dublin’s Mansion House host an awards night for Ireland’s up-and-coming in the fashion world. The week before saw Dinsmore sit alongside Celestine Cooney and Joanne Hynes where the topic of discussion was the future of Irish fashion. While some voiced begrudging opinions of ‘who does this model think she is?’ and ‘who is

she to set up an awards night?’, begrudgery holds no place in these refashionary times. Dinsmore’s awards night and blog attempts to promote the Irish fashion industry and celebrate fashion’s deserved foremost. Whether a self-profiteering wench, or a self-created and deserving fashion idol, Dinsmore provides a voice for a previously seemingly non-existent Irish fashion world. Although, another thing to take into consideration is her blogging process. I was afforded the opportunity to witness this process in a quiet restaurant in Midtown Manhattan. The method involved Ms. Dinsmore sipping on hot-water with lemon, munching on sirloin steak and smoking up a storm. All the while, her high-tech wizz of a boyfriend hammered away at the blogosphere on his Mac-Laptop updating her website: CHICanery at its best.


The Siren 06.04.11 Fashion

9

Is It COS I’m Cool?

chic

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Kate Brady celebrates Scandinavian brand COS ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

As many would have noticed already, COS arrived to Ireland towards the end of last October with their first ever in-store concession in the BT2 Grafton Street store. Since then however, the H&M sister company and luxurious alternative, has successfully built up a strong following of loyal customers and expanded. This had led to moving to a bigger space and allowing for more stock in the boutique section of the store upstairs. Standing for Collection of Style, the COS brand is most recognisable for it’s unusual use of shape, texture and simple portrayal of a distinctive type of style. Visually, the feel of the label is most striking, from the unique pieces to the sophisticated IKEA-like relaxed lay out of all their stores, creating a most inviting portrayal of a casual quaint boutique. But what is it that makes COS stand out in terms of fashion? It’s the ability to merge high quality materials with simple distinctive couture at an affordable price, and I assure you, the word “affordable” is used suitably with regard to quality. COS prices range from; €15 tees, €49 blouses, €69 euro tailored

pants and chinos, to over €100 for evening dresses, etc. Especially if you’re in search of a garment for a special occasion, their selection of dresses (albeit relatively small) are most striking, high fashion inspired. With only the one concession store in Ireland, they won’t be duplicated by other party guests. Ranges are categorised thematically, and mix plain pastels and darks with striking loud colour. If you’re someone who often is dependent on, or finds themselves drawn to patterns when shopping, COS offers a nice means to create a perfectly balanced look that is easy on the eye, yet does not lose it’s memorable edge. Themes in store at the moment range from Brooklyn basics (beige, tans & greys), Gotland (basic tees, blacks & navys), Less & More (Mad Men inspired range that also caters for the chic working lady), Virgin Suicides

(Browns, Dirty pinks & blues, pretty pieces), Studio 54 (70’s inspired bright pieces, and Spring summer-hot orange, pinks, lime greens - usually fantastic paired with black skinnies or cream chino pants), and many many more. In terms of accessories, COS offers a small selection, but a selection no less than others. With both leather and beaded necklaces and bracelets, bags, Wallets and Pashminas, no simple chain with a small pendant will be found amongst the range. Their accessories really serve their purpose as adding on to an ensemble. Modest chic is evident at a glance at the COS range of clothing, allowing COS to appeal to sophisticated women of all ages. From highwaisted skirts & shorts, a selection of classy blouses and shirts (both collared &collar-less), high-waisted pants, chinos, jeans, eveningwear, Knitwear, playsuits, summer dresses, cotton vests, blazers, and coats, COS is simply lovely. I assure you it is well worth a look at, especially with the summer months approaching.

Swedish Hasbeen’s collaboration with H&M In order to present environmentally friendly footwear to the masses. Cute and conscientious! Particularly the red clogs which are a great staple to any spring/summer wardrobe. Hits stores on April 20th.

Blunt haircuts If you’re going for a trim, be it short, mid length or long, ask your hairdresser to cut straight across. Not only does this give the appearance of volume to finer hair, but it emulates the minimal-esque blunt look, which is the perfect accessory for your spring/summer wardrobe.

The Cos concession store is situated in BT2 Grafton Street. View collections online at www.cosstores.com.

Fashion Week (Without an Invite)

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Kieran Murphy tells us how he blagged his way into Paris Fashion Week ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Fashion Weeks are the staple events in the schedule’s of any ‘fashionista.’ Since the institutions of style were cemented in 1943 with New York Fashion Week, countless cities across the world have followed suit. However only NYC, Paris, Milan and London make up the acclaimed ‘Big Four.’ Invites to Fashion Week are reserved for industry players, Vogue editors and flavour of the month celebrities, where as lesser known industry professionals and the common masses have to make do with show rooms and pictures in magazines. However with a little bit of moxxy, and that well known Irish luck, you can blag your way into a show. When Fashion Week hits Parism the whole city is awash with models running from show to show on the Métro, PR people paying too much for ‘une petit bière’ in fancy bars or even Michael Kors walking around Sacré-Cœur taking in the sights. If you’re not picky about which show you go to, potential invites are swarming with potential plus ones or even valuable contacts. Hitting up-market bars is a sure fire way to run into someone, for instance if you’re a Henry Holland

fan, he’s been known to have a tipple in Raidd Bar, by ‘Hôtel De Ville,’ but best of luck getting in on a busy night if you’re a red blooded female. By simple rule of thumb, anyone speaking English in any up-market bar in Paris during Fashion Week is there working on a show, so pluck up some courage and go say hey to them you’ll never know what could happen. They’ll be glad to just speak to someone in English anyway. You could just be a German exchange student in Paris, who just happens to speak to some random German people, and end up going to the Thierry Mugler Menswear show the next day, without having the faintest clue who he is. However, for those not so lucky to blag an invite, or even sleep your way to the front row, there are ways to make sure your trip is not a complete waste. Make sure to log on to Paris Fashion Week’s website, http://modeaparis.com , and print off the schedule for Paris Fashion Week be it Pret-A-Porter, Menswear or Haute Couture. Here you will have the addresses and times of all the shows going on during the week. However for the more elusive shows,

such as Louis Vuitton who don’t make their show’s locations public, there’s a way to get around them. Get up in the morning, head to Gare du Nord and just keep watching twitter until someone reveals all and hop on the Métro straight away. If not, you can just wing it and see Kate Moss leaving after her fantastic performance for Vuitton while on your way to the Louvre.

Boy chic Colour block this summer in all black. Black shorts & shirts with blazers, as seen on Balmain and Dolce and Gabbana are very becoming for the urban gentleman.

Weather madness Combining sun glasses and gladiators with a parka? Confusing. Please weather, either rain or stay sunny, as I like to wear my coat, not drag it around in a sweaty palm. Photoshop Maybe she’s born with it? OR maybe it’s a computer wizz earning their wage. Fortunately, Make Up Forever’s newly released foundation poster promises to be ‘The World’s First Unreduced Makeup Ad.’

by Kate Brady


10

The Siren 06.04.11

From One Extreme to Another

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With the recent petition set up by Italian Vogue to combat Anorexia, Alex Fingleton discusses the weight extremes triggered by the fashion world

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After using the internet for 30 minutes, you will have been exposed to a lifetimes worth of stimulus associating big with bad. TMZ and Perez Hilton are million dollar industries almost based around photos of celebrities with post-birth weight. Had enough? Check the television and you are now scanning through 50 channels of programs preaching big is bad. Pun named shows such as “biggest losers” and documentaries about cutting fat people out of their homes, forces you to turn to reading. Front pages of newspapers seem to think Kerry Katona’s weight loss is more significant than the Japanese tsunami, “I’m never eating again.” Ireland has become one of the most unhealthy countries in Europe. Child obesity is becoming the most scary prospect of the future, which will inevitably lead to the deaths of more people at a young age. Statistics suggest 300,000 children in Ireland are obese. A look at the census conducted in 2006 tells us that there was a little over 800,000 in the 0-14 age group. A grim reality. If you’re a child growing up, almost half your friends are clinically obese, all you see on television and the Internet is weight loss obsession. This hysteria created by the media is leading to panic amongst vulnerable people who are developing eating disorders.

Where does all this originate? The definitions of muses and models all lead to the suggestion of perfection, inspiration and a guide for followers. Fashion designers develop concepts which further exaggerate the lines and length of the body. The closest living representations of these idealistic drawings come in the form of girls over six foot tall, who are almost all skin and bone. The stress and competition in the industry for models is fierce, as girls fear not getting booked because they are ‘fat’. Society in the past has accepted this appearance as the ideal shape and size, leading to large amounts of illnesses such as anorexia. Ireland has never been strong in recognising illnesses which don’t have physical evidence of pain. Depression; “Sure we’re all depressed,” Alcoholism; “He’s just up for the craic,” and Anorexia; “She’s just not fat.” Evidence of Ireland’s lack of awareness and toleration for such illnesses is reflected in the number of suicides in the country. Atrocious infrastructure relating to treatment will lead to thousands more. Italian Vogue editor Franca Sozzani

finally had enough, when she led an attack on various institutions and establishments such as Facebook for their relentless lack of interest in moderating the content of their website. Groups and blogs which had grown from Facebook are now stand alone websites promoting anorexia. ‘AnaGirls’, the name of one of the groups which developed into a blog, gives tips on how to go days without eating. Sozzani, apparently fed up of the constant attack on Vogue for promoting anorexia, wanted those responsible to be held accountable. She explains the process of how designers send out clothes six months prior to release, all in size zero, which leads Vogue choosing whether or not to cover the lines at all as some of the famous models can’t fit into the clothes comfortably. Vogue doesn’t make the choice of the size, it’s the responsibility of the designers. It seems to be a case of two extremes. You’re either obese or anorexic. What ever happened healthy? Everyone remembers the classes of health education in school. They might have helped a bit more if it wasn’t a concerned parent teaching them. Unhealthy and rapid weight loss has been seen within the fashion industry itself with Karl Lagerfeld and Marc Jacobs. At the same time as this, unhealthy obesity can be also seen; Andre Leon Talley being one example. Products of the industry they work in? A petition to Facebook is a plaster on a gunshot wound, but it’s better than nothing and a good start.

Remembering a Star

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In light of Elizabeth Taylor’s death due to many years battling illness, Aoifa Smyth reflects on the life and style of the Dame ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The sad news of Elizabeth Taylor’s death sent torrents of sadness through Hollywood when she finally passed away due to congestive heart failure. After a life of much ill health, and even more love affairs (with seven divorces under her belt), Liz passed at the age of 79.

She was said to be one of the last remaining movie starlets, of the Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly generation and even until her remaining days, retained an air of glamour and eccentricity. Taylor broke onto the acting scene at the tender age of twelve, featuring in National Velvet. She stated, amazingly, that she never had acting lessons in her life. Taylor seemed to be an early starter, in more ways than one, when she had her first marriage at eighteen years of age. Her wedding dresses (she had two) were designed by a costume designer from MGM studios, who also designed her notorious body-con dress from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, which sold out in every size and colour on the year of its release, 1958. Elizabeth’s smouldering good looks made her stand out. Women wanted to be her, men wanted to be with her. Her tiny

waist and curves, in all the right places, not to mention her flawless skin and piercing violet eyes, made her the perfect pin up who was discreetly sexy. Taylor was not only known as being extroverted in life, but also in her fashion choices, and she was never known as one to do things by halves. She loved dramatic pieces, and wasn’t shy of standing out. Elizabeth’s desire to be different is apparent in her choices of over the top head pieces, which she so enjoyed donning at award ceremonies. Taylor was also a fan of the dramatic sleeve, giving her the appearance of a real life Goddess. She was often know to sport plunging necklines, yet always retained an air of class and never appeared anything but poised. Her immaculate beauty was incomparable to some of her peers in the industry. One of the standout images of Taylor has

to be her role as Cleopatra in the film of the same name in 1963. Taylor pulls off braids amazingly, not forgetting her dramatic eye makeup which still features heavily throughout fashion today. As she aged, the makeup got heavier, the kaftans got bolder and she managed to exhibit as many eccentric accessories as she could, in the form of feather boas and jewels. One cannot mention the life of Elizabeth Taylor without touching on the subject of her love for diamonds and jewellery. Taylor was said to own a pearl which once belonged to Mary I of England. Her twice ex-husband, Richard Burton, was also known to contribute generously to her diamond collection. Taylor was the perfect embodiment of femininity and with her coquettish charm and confidence. She will be missed.


The Siren 06.04.11

11

The Creation Myth

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As a documentary about Creation Records is set to hit stores in May, Ciarán Leinster meets label founder Alan McGee and film director Danny O’Connor _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

It’s late February, and in one of the back rooms of Liffey Street’s Grand Social, legendary journalist and music manger BP Fallon is holding court, a gathering of the young and the beautiful are chatting, and I’m face to face with one of my all-time music heroes, Alan McGee. McGee, who founded Creation Records in the early 1980s, is in town to promote a film about his label, Upside Down: The Creation Records Story. Creation housed some of the great names of the British music scene in the eighties and nineties, including Oasis, Primal Scream and the Jesus & Mary Chain I begin by asking McGee whether it was a coincidence or not that so many of the bands who signed for Creation had such a reputation for being hell-raisers. “It was just of the time, and we were young, and everybody had a groove goin’, y’know? And I think I attracted people like that.” Director Danny O’Connor echoed these feelings, agreeing wholeheartedly with comments by Primal Scream lead singer Bobby Gillespie and Dick Green, Creation’s co-founder, that the label attracted “outsiders, chancers, lunatics... misfits, drug addicts, sociopaths”. “You have to be fuckin’ mad to be a genius!” claims O’Connor. “You can’t be fuckin’ regular! You can’t check in to the bank in the morning, and kinda go, “right, ok, I know exactly what’s gonna unfold”. But you don’t have to be mental either.” Comparing McGee with famed ex-drug lord Howard Marks, O’Connor remarked: “Alan has got the most impressive intelligence... and you just sit around these people, and you learn.” Marks, Fallon himself, and Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh all make appearances in the film. Both men are keen to emphasise the importance of the GillespieMcGee relationship in the Creation story. “[Gillespie was] intrinsic,” says O’Connor. “Pivotal... The thing I would say is [that] Alan is the conscience, Noel [Gallagher] is the humour, and Gillespie is the rock ‘n’ roll heart. He’s the heart. So, if you have one body, you have a conscience, a soul, that’s McGee. You have a gob, that’s Gallagher. [Then] Gillespie. He’s amazing! They are partners in crime. They are symbiotic. [Although] they’ve fallen in, and fallen out [with each other].” McGee holds a similar view, although he is less forthcom-

ing than O’Connor. “We grew with each other. It was always my label and his label, really. It took us a long time to work that one out, but we both probably worked it out eventually... I love him, and I’d take a bullet for him, he might even take one for me”. The film itself is exceptionally wellmade, tracking the route of the label and its characters from Glasgow to London, and everywhere in between. There are contributions from Noel Gallagher (“If you get Noel Gallagher, you don’t get Liam Gallagher”, says O’Connor), Gillespie, Jim Reid of the Jesus & Mary Chain, Kevin Shield of My Bloody Valentine, Mark Gardener and Andy Bell of Ride, Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals, and others. It is incredibly funny, honest, shocking, and at times, sad. The greatest tragedy of the Creation story is that, at the moment of greatest triumph - Oasis’ monumental Knebworth shows in 1996 - the fortunes of the label, and McGee himself, took a drastic turn for the worst. Britpop had ended. “Well we didn’t notice [that] for a while. Princess Diana died, and it kinda died around that time. But I don’t think... We were so out our minds on ego nobody noticed it [had] died,” said McGee, with a laugh. As McGee’s drug addictions began

impacting on his health, the label finished soon afterwards in November 1999. The film ends on something of a sour note, with Gillespie expressing great anger that McGee had, in his view, bailed on his band. However, McGee likes the ending. “I actually like that bit, believe it or not, ‘cause it’s really honest, and it gives the film edge. One of the reasons I never invested in the film, and let Danny do it, was so that everybody could have their opinion, and Bobby’s entitled to that opinion, and, y’know what, whether it’s true or whether it’s false, it doesnae really matter, that’s what he thinks. And that’s okay.” When asked about the current state of the Gallagher brothers, easily Creation’s highest-selling act, McGee describes Noel’s solo work as “amazing... fuckin’ rockin”. He believes that Beady Eye will be big, but that an Oasis reunion is definitely on the cards. “I’d say in years to come, yeah, probably. They’ll reform. They both would fuckin’ deny that, but in years to come it’ll probably happen.” O’Connor, meanwhile, speaks at length on many subjects, from Phil Lynott (“the best-looking Irsihman ever!”) to The Fray (“[they] sound like someone apologising”), and everything in between. So what of the widely-held assumption that rock

‘n’ roll is dead? Despite his dislike for “cardigan-wearing indie, O’Connor holds an affection for modern bands such as The National and Arcade Fire. McGee, however, is less optimistic. “I don’t think rock ‘n’ roll’s dead in a local sense, but in a worldwide sense it may well be, yeah. If you look at the kids that were there tonight [at the film], there wasnae young kids there, y’know?” O’Connor contends this. “No, no, music’s alive! Rock ‘n’ roll, as we understand it... Depends what your version of rock ‘n’ roll is... But, what we can’t do, and this is important for our children; what we can’t do is become our parents, where you kinda go, “well, it was great in my day, but it’s shit now”. ‘Cos it isn’t shit now. It’s great now.” McGee still holds reservations about modern music culture, however. “I think we’re living in nostalgia culture, and, we’re livin’ in a lotta different cultures, but in rock ‘n’ roll, we’re livin’ in nostalgia culture. But, actually, bigger than rock ‘n’ roll, we’re actually livin’ in X Factor culture. People wanna be Cliff Richard, instead of, fuckin’, y’know, Elvis fuckin’ Presley, and that’s a problem.” The stand-out moment in the film is a wonderful McGee quote: “I was absolutely delusional. I actually thought

I was up there with Beethoven, or Shakespeare; that I was creating metaphysical history by running Creation Records.” I ask McGee why he felt this way, and his reply was refreshingly straightforward: “Drugs. I was just outta my mind. I was on so many drugs, I actually did think I was up there with Shakespeare, then I sobered up, and I realised I was up there with myself!” When it came to the music itself, O’Connor cannot make up his mind on his favourite Creation album. “Definitely Maybe. Or indeed, Fuzzy Logic. Or Bandwagonesque. Or Loveless. They’re all fuckin’ brilliant! Depends what mood you’re in. None of them let me down. Sugar, Copper Blue. Fuckin’ amazing.” He also claims that Jesus & Mary Chain were not only the most important Creation band, but, as Gillespie says, the greatest band ever. “They (the Mary Chain) were dysfunctional people,” says McGee, “but Oasis were just insane.” So what defined all these bands and characterised them as Creation signings? O’Connor has one word to describe the spirit of the label: “Swagger.”


Between The Canals

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AAAcc |

Ryan Cullen

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Between Two Canals is Irelands most recent feature film to hit the big screen in recent months with the likes of ‘Wake Wood’ and ‘Rewind’ making their debuts on screen. The film is set over the course of one day, which just happens to be Saint Patrick’s Day. The film focuses on three small time criminals zipping about the city, conducting little drug deals, picking fights, enjoying the odd drink, flirting with some American tourists, and avoiding local head cases (such as Damien Dempsey) out to settle a score. Although a strange trio in many ways, it tells the story of difference of opinion and life changing decisions that plague the character of the protagonist, Liam Mulligan (Dan Hyland), throughout the film. Using amateur actors, shooting on location in Dublins north side inner city, and employing a hand-held, non-polished directing style, debut filmmaker Mark O'Connor gives his film a certain grit and pace which serves the film well, combined with raw energy that carries the movie

through its nooks and crannies. Rough around the edges in terms of acting and script work, the film still delivers a sort of realism even from its flaws. Damien Dempsey’s involvement has obviously helped the film's publicity, but my feeling is that the film's shoestring budget is what has made it so appealing. From the off, the film has a distinctive Irishness to it instantly, with the opening scenes dedicated to Irish history. In terms of the plot, this film does suffer due to un-originality, although with minimal resources, O’Connor adds a new paint of coat and a more realistic approach. The day goes on, teeming with a concoction of mischief, fun and frolics, ruthless violence and assault, misfortune and a vivacious Nigerian drug user who made me cry with laughter. This fusion offers a well-rounded, benevolent, emotive and compelling insight into a distinct urban reality of our contemporary fair city. The film is impressively constructed and I suspect as a debut for Mark O’Connor, it should receive significant recognition. How to make an above average movie with little resources. A triumph in filmmaking.

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Graduating this Year? Thinking about a Job? MSc in Computer Science (Conversion Course) Commencing September 2011

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COURSE CONTENT The programme provides a thorough foundation in the practical aspects of Information Systems (IS) and includes courses on the following:



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The course is offered by UCD in conjunction with the Institute of Public Administration. More information available at www.csi.ucd.ie/content/msc-computer-science-conversion

Christine Kelly, Administrator (IPA) Tel: +353 1 240 3675 Email: ckelly@ipa.ie

Clare Comerford, Administrator (UCD) Tel: +353 1 716 2483 Email: csi.secretary@ucd.ie


The Siren, 6th April 2011, Iss 11, Vol 24