The College Tribune, The Siren, Issue 4, Vol 24

Page 1

College Tribune Entertainment Supplement 26.10.2010

Hipsters Rook & The Ravens Hard Working Class Heroes Campus Style



e d i u G GIG


The Siren 26.10.10

Emos Ryan Cullen

David Tracey interviews Electro Music Act Digitalism

Pages 6-7


‘Nobody understands me!” That could be

This genre has lately been marketed

because you look like something from The

heavily by the music industry to teenagers

Nightmare Before Christmas.

with bands such as Taking Back Sunday,

Emos have many traits and characteristics

(pictured) and has seen much commercial

associated with them, and with this following


observation, you too can spot them, before

technically they have open arms, they tend

you get sucked into their gravitational pull

to not be the friendliest of people. Sorry,

soaked with self deprecation, misery and

not people, I mean things, and they usually

‘so called’ sensitivity. They are an entire

don’t stray far from the herd.




subculture of people (usually angsty teens) with a tragically fake personality, a selective music taste and acquired dress sense, who tend to talk about planet Earth’s demise, their unblemished love and relationships and, of course, inflicting self-harm (or at least trying to) while sitting on the kerb beside the Central Bank. (No one knows why the Central Bank is such a hot bed of self loathing, maybe it’s because Irish banks

Marina & the Diamonds Vicar Street Wednesday 27th October €23

Mystery Jets The Academy Wednesday 3rd November €18

Digitalism The Academy Friday 29th October €25

Chromeo Tripod Thursday 4th November €20

Ham Sandwich The Button Factory Saturday 30th October €15

Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip Workman’s Club Friday 5th November €18.50

The Temper Trap Tripod Sunday 31st October €25

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone Workman’s Club Saturday 6th November €15.50

Tinie Tempah The Academy Monday 1st November €19.50

seem to be a cause of misery these days.) Emo as a genre is, more or less, softcore punk music on oestrogen that integrates unenthusiastic melodramatic 17 year olds who never smile, high pitched overwrought lyrics and inaudible guitar riffs, with greasy unwashed hair that is required to cover at

Lee Maguire rates the Capital City of Iceland Reykjavik.

Page 11

least three fifths of their faces at an angle.

The Specialist by Conor McKenna

A Forgotten Guitar Gem: The Fender Jazzmaster


Danny Lambert checks out Campus style

Page 8

1958 seems just like any other year: Elvis was drafted into the US army, Charles De Gaulle took power in France, and instant noodles came on sale for the first time. We forget sometimes that this date is special for another reason: the birth of the Fender Jazzmaster. After the successes of the Telecaster and the Stratocaster, innovative inventor Leo Fender felt the need to improve on what most guitarists now consider nearperfection. The Jazzmaster was the first of these endeavours sporting an all new offset contour body, rosewood fingerboard and soap-bar single-coil pick-ups. The newly designed vibrato tailpieces worked well, though the long string length behind the bridge robs natural sustain. The Jazzmaster was also the first Fender guitar to include a dual circuit for rhythm and lead, though in practice, it was rarely used. Realistically the Jazzmaster would have been more popular without such gimmicks. Jazzmasters became popular with surf rock bands such as The Astronauts, The Challengers and The Ventures. Its rich tones and broad spectrum helped these bands form the sounds we know and love from the 60s. It’s strange to think that God (Eric Clapton) also picked one up for a while, but eventually settled on the Strat as his Fender of choice. Most guitarists who picked up Jazzmasters

did so in the 70’s when they became unfashionable and more importantly, cheaper than Stratocasters. Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth picked up Jazzmasters because they couldn’t afford better. Using a series of alternate tunings and odd playing techniques, the duo helped create the sound for which Sonic Youth are now famous for. While Leo Fender might be disappointed with the result of his jazz guitar, it spelled certain success for Sonic Youth and others who joined their ranks as Jazzmaster players. The line was discontinued in 1980 while the company was going through its worst period financially under the media giant

CBS. Desire for the guitars never ceased however and the line was reintroduced in 1986 by Fender Japan. Such was the success of this scheme that Fender USA brought back production which would eventually include signature models for both Sonic Youth guitarists, Elvis Costello and Dinosaur Jr. Guitarist, J. Mascis. The Jazzmaster celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2008 with players from around the world uniting in New York for a one off concert on September 12th. The guitars now retail from €499 right up to the top end at €1299. It’s not an easy guitar to fall in love with in many ways. Firstly, its shape is a love or hate it affair; the offset contour body just doesn’t suit some people. Secondly, to play this guitar requires a skill of its own: which may put some veteran players off. It’s not an easy guitar to play by any means: the frets are very wide and issues with the bridge could leave the action quite high. It is best served with .11 strings and general care. Learn to play it, and you’ll fall in love with it. It was designed, as the name suggests, to fit the needs of a jazz guitarist. This never

transpired however: most jazz guitarists found its tendency to feedback distressing. Perhaps the jazz greats found the solid body and rhythm circuit too modern for their style. The result is that today we don’t associate the Jazzmaster with jazz; it’s more at home with indie rock. Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys found his style suited to the Jazzmaster for their tour. The Jazzmaster became part of a series of guitars now affectionately referred to as Leftfield Fenders. The post-Strat guitars which also included the Jaguar and the Mustang never became as popular as their predecessors. Their odd looks and sound were obviously too much for some players, but they are under-appreciated nonetheless. Some have described them as the most versatile guitar around, others call it clunky and unnecessary. Comments aside it deserves to be heralded: it’s not a guitar people see often, or even talk about, but it’s better than that. It’s the independent guitar of the Fender catalogue, neither trashy nor slick, it’s elegant and doesn’t impress upon itself.

The Siren 26.10.10

The Scoop Darkstar North

Acclaimed dubstep duo James Young and Aiden Whalley have steered their musical vessel, Darkstar, into unchartered territory, aided by the recruitment of new member,

Elvis Costello National Ransom

The work of “experimental” artists has always been approached with caution by casual music fans, whose scepticism is

vocalist James Buttery. This is another album

especially unfair in the case of Declan “Elvis

that makes a rather tenuous connection to

Costello” McManus, a man responsible for

the genre of dubstep. Instead it’s more of a

many musical gems over his three-decade

melancholy synth-pop work. Darkstar’s new direction is quite obviously an homage to

career. A pity, then, that his latest work is such a contribution to the bad reputation of

eighties synth-pop pioneers such as Kraftwerk and OMD, and they even cover a Human League B-side, “Gold”. The title of the album itself, “North”, is a reminder that the development of electronica

the said experimental genre. Costello’s tenth studio album continues the same furrow ploughed by his previous effort,

owes a lot to the bleak northern towns in England. Indeed, the entire album could be

last year’s country-tinged “Secret, Profane And Sugar Cane”. Opening without intro or

interpreted as a stark statement from the Mancunian duo at the core of the group (Young

fanfare, the plodding title track sets the scene for the mediocrity that is to ensue. The

and Whalley) that their music is leaving the dubstep genre and its London roots entirely.

album then offers a pleasant momentary deviation in the Tom Waits-esque “Jimmie

This is characterised by the binning of their nearly completed album late last year and

Standing In the Rain”. However, there is something seriously grating about listening to

their subsequent start from scratch with vocalist Buttery. While this album has a certain immersive quality, it never fully grasps your attention. Instead, it hovers along the borders of your consciousness. The hit “Aidy’s Girl Is A

Costello, with a voice so Americanized, crooning about ‘standing at a Lancashire station’. Some monotonous lounge jazz leads us into what is probably the album’s best track,

Computer” retains the two-step rhythm typical of releases from the Hyperdub label, a

the infectious “Slow Drag With Josephine”. This will rack up a substantial playlist on

novelty in this album.

the iPod of many a Costello enthusiast, but is the album’s last moment of glory. It’s all

“In The Wings”, the album’s opening track, features forlorn, yet soothing, piano and ever

downhill from here.

so slightly distorted vocals - something which will become typical of the album’s later

What follows is a heady mix of coffee shop music and saccharine honky-tonk, seemingly

tracks. A perfect example of this is “Deadness”, where the ebbing synth work seems to wash over the entire album from this point on. “Two Chords” is where Buttery’s vocals are at their most potent, and coupled with the progressive nature of the track, makes it an

the main aspects of Costello’s latest creative period. He has chosen wisely in releasing “National Ransom” in time for the Christmas market - “You Hung The Moon”

album highlight.

will undoubtedly provide the background noises at a thousand office parties before it

Extremely dense and complex, the suffocating melancholy of this album will overwhelm

is consigned to rot in polycarbonate plastic on a thousand shelves. Thirty years into

the listener from time to time. The entire album is based on the idea of humans living

a respected and accomplished career, nobody is going to begrudge Costello for never

with machines, another common trend within early 80’s synth work, and while it is inter-

writing another “Oliver’s Army” or “I Want You”, but he really could do better than this.

esting to hear again, it is no longer innovative. Jonathan Barry

Graham Luby

Kings of Leon

The Temper Trap

Kings of Leon need no introduction. Lauded by Dylan and Elvis Costello, the three sons of a preacher (and cousin Cameron) have headlined some of the biggest festivals this side of the Atlantic, and made four charttopping albums. The latest release we’ve been graced with, “Come Around Sundown”, delivers thirteen largely laid-back indie-pop tracks in the same vein as “Only By The Night.” Single “Radioactive” may already be familiar to you with its vibrant guitar, belted-out vocals, catchy sing-along-friendly chorus and, inevitably, oodles of radio play. Yes, they still sound like the same blazing sex fiends. However, the more muscular guitar and bass heard at intervals on “Radioactive” are a good indicator of the album sound. In this sense the band inject some of the garage sound prevalent on earlier albums. That said, if you are a fan of pre “Only By The Night” material, don’t get your hopes up – this is still a very polished package and most songs are far too formulaic to appear passionate or raw. Exceptions to this include “The Immortals” and “Pony Up”; both of which embrace a grunge-funk sound, bolstered by the rarely fallible drums and bass duo, Nathan and Jared, with an air-guitar worthy interlude from Matthew on “Pony Up”. Lyrically, the album is much darker than “Only By The Night”, which is reassuring considering the emphatic emptiness of “Radioactive”. A strong 60’s surf-pop sound creeps in among tracks like “Mary” and “Beach Side”, in a Pearl Jam meets The Bay City Rollers manner. Given the disappointingly predictable hard-hitting mellow-chorus, soulful-verse pattern of the majority of tracks on this album, it’s cheering to see Kings of Leon experiment a little more. On “Come Around Sundown”, Kings of Leon remind us of their solid musical talent, traffic-stopping vocals and unfortunate location in the dismal stasis of made-for-stadium drivel. However, if this Beach-Boys-for-the-modern-day approach or southern blues style as per “Back Down South”, is the way forward for the band, their future might not look so glum.

The Temper Trap, hailing from Melbourne, Australia, only made waves around these waters with their single “Sweet Disposition” which was used in films such as (500) Days of Summer and more advertisements than previously thought possible. The group are now set to release the remix collection of their debut album “Conditions” on the 29th of October via Infectious records. As this has been happening more frequently, with artists wanting to extend their relevance between albums, it is not a particularly unexpected or intriguing decision. Expectations were for the album to be like most other remixes of indie/alternative rock albums, which of course it is, and for a lot of famous names to be writing stand alone tracks that sample the vocals of the band they’re remixing. So the extent to which you enjoyed the band’s original work will have very little to do with how you perceive this album. It has a weak opener from Rollo and Sister Bliss of Faithless, and only truly finds its feet on the third track, a strong effort by Alan Willkis. From this point, things start to look better with a suitably brooding remix from The Fool’s Gold label (“Down River”) and a surprisingly sentimental and soulful turn form Dubstep prankster RUSKO (“Soldier On”). As the album progresses, the interpretations remain interesting and relevant for the most part, excluding some tracks that come across as rushed and uninspired, such as “Fader” and “Drum Song”. Highlights come in the form of the fantastically funky Penguin Prison remix of “Resurrection” and the dark dance floor anthem “Science of Fear” from The Count (aka Herve). Overall, this album does hold its own in the arena of remix albums. Its differing and intriguing elements gel nicely; there doesn’t seem to be much struggle for attention between artists, which can be a problem on collaborative works such as these. It won’t disappoint until you get bored of it, but that will surely happen quite quickly for the majority of listeners.

Come Around Sundown

Tracey O’Connor



Conditions Remixed:

Simon Mulcahy

playlist feat. Nicki Minaj – Check it Out Nicki Minaj seems to have gone from nowhere to ubiquity in an indecently short time. Her latest appearance comes on Black Eyed Peas’ frontman Will.iam’s new track, which is amiable enough if a little dull. The song makes up for employing a load of pointless auto-tune by building itself around a sample of the Buggles’ ‘Video Killed the Radio Star,’ which improves anything. Ed Drewett Champagne Lemonade Ed Drewett is apparently the guy who sang the chorus of cockney nuisance Professor Green’s recent single, ‘I Need You Tonight.’ His debut single is aimed firmly at club success, built around insistent beats and electronic squelches. It’s catchy enough and not entirely unpleasant to listen to once, but the one time should be plenty. Ellie Goulding - Lights The latest offering from the unrelentingly bland Ellie Goulding seems to be a slightly less irritating version of her previous hit single, ‘Starry Eyed.’ She always sounds really anxious about something. An in-depth analysis of her lyrics might reveal what, but it would take a more courageous man than I to explore the dark recesses of Ellie Goulding’s mind. Futures Apart - Andrew’s Pride ‘Andrew’s Pride’ is Wexford band Futures Apart’s debut single. It’s a frantic, angular affair, displaying a fairly original sound- an interesting blend of rock and dance. There are a few handy hooks and good lyrics, giving plenty of reasons to expect more from this recently-formed act. The liner notes of the single mention a mix of Franz Ferdinand and Duran Duran, which gives a pretty good idea of whereabouts on the musical spectrum this one’s at. by Daniel Nolan

Pat de BrĂşn

Scott Ahearn

Paul Lynam

Jonny Cosgrove

James Williamson

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1 pm–3pm: Introduction to DJing for Women – Blue Room 7pm: Debate with L&H :

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1.30pm: Sexual Health Talk Blue Room


11.30pm – 3.30pm: Marie Keating Mobile Information Unit

The special SU card is free to use and entitles you to earn points on purchases in SU outlets. From ENTS events to your Crunchie, the SU card is the key to big rewards

7.00: Table Quiz in the Student Bar

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9pm: Ladies Night in the Student Bar Aoife Live and Grainne Quinn & slave auction

Thursday 27th registration all day 2pm-� 3pm: Challenging Sterotypes Sportsathon in the Student Centre 9: Monster Mash Up in the Student Bar – Best Dressed Heroine wins tickets to the Halloween Ball

REMEMBER, REMEMBER THE 3RD OF NOVEMBER!! National March against the proposed doubling of the Reg Fee, cut to the Grant and Graduate Unemployment takes place this November 3rd. Demand Education, not Emigration this November 3rd by coming out onto the streets and making your voice heard! 8&'(QWV SURXGO\ VSRQVRUHG E\ 9RGDIRQH LQ DVVRFLDWLRQ ZLWK 6SLQ SUHVHQW



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is taking this November 2nd at 5pm by the lake, book it into your calendar.

The Siren 26.10.10



Like Walking On A Cloud One of the most exciting up and coming bands in Dublin, Cloud Castle Lake talk to David Murphy about Villagers, Nabokov and playing alongside the stars Ireland has had plenty of major label success

Lights, as well as bands from overseas such

down through the years, most notably with

as Bear In Heaven, Murder By Death and

the likes of U2 and Snow Patrol. Lately

Erland and the Carnival.

however, this trend has been on the wane,

The band were lucky enough to grace

with bands failing to make the transition

the Crawdaddy Stage at Electric Picnic,

from achieving success at home to gaining

although they first had to prove their

recognition across the sea.

Artists with

worth by winning the Pick of the Picnic

undoubted musical talent and ambition have

competition to ensure their spot at the

struggled to expand their fanbase and record


sales beyond the Emerald Isle. Out of the

“It (Electric Picnic) was a lot of fun and

wealth of young and up and coming bands

very exciting. We got great treatment there

around though, Cloud Castle Lake stick out

and met some amazing people like Janelle

as having the ability and drive to break out

Monae and Jonsi (Sigur Ros). It was a great

of Ireland and into a wider market.

taster of an amazing life led by successful

The group take their name from a short

musicians,” enthuses James, the band’s

story by Nabokov.“Dan came up with it one


day and we all agreed instantly that it fit our

After getting a brief glimpse of the big time,

music.” And so it stuck, giving an identity

the band are hungry to capitalise on the

to an exciting young band, comprising of

momentum they have built up. They hope

Rory O’Connor, Daniel McAuley, Brendan

to have their debut single, ‘A Wolf Howling’

Jenkinson and James O’Donohoe.

out in November. “We plan to press it on 7"

The four members have been playing

vinyl and have a B side with a remix also”,

together ever since meeting in school. They

James explains.

began playing at club nights around Dublin

‘A Wolf Howling’ starts out with what

before being rewarded with a headline slot

sounds like tribal drumming sucking you

in The Village. Since then, they have been

in, accompanied by an eerily dancing

appearing regularly around the city while

guitar and haunting lyrics which are all

also enjoying the privilege of supporting

pieced together masterfully. It is hard to

Irish acts like Funeral Suits and Green

resist wanting to delve further into the

Something for the Working Man David Murphy heads down to Dublin’s newest music venue, The Workman’s Club, to find out what’s on offer. Dublin has its fair share of mid-level

explains Karl, one of the venue’s managers.

music venues, the type of venues that are

“We saw an opportunity to do things a little

so intimate you feel connected to the

differently. The Workman’s Club has a lot of

people on stage. Places such as Whelan’s,

character, it’s quite rough around the edges.”

Crawdaddy, The Academy, The Button

With a smaller capacity than most, one

Factory and Tripod to name but a few, have

might see it as a perfect spot for a singer-

had the privilege of welcoming music greats

songwriter, acoustic set. But the Workman’s

like Jeff Buckley, as well as more recent big

Club aren’t just happy with this. The new

names in music like The Killers. A new

venue is out to challenge the rest and offer

addition to this mix of smaller venues is the

good value for money to the punters too.

Workman’s Club on Wellington Quay.

“It only has a capacity of under 300 which

The Workman’s Club opened its doors on

is smaller than the others. Regardless of size,

the 25th September, and since then it has

however, people are always looking for the

hosted artists like Villagers, Imelda May,

best value for their money. We’re offering

Damien Dempsey and the 2007 Mercury

cheaper drink prices to go with the music

Music Prize nominee, Fionn Regan.

and so far it has been well received.”

Despite this impressive list though, the

With the economy struggling, and people

question still begs to be answered. Why,

being wary of how they spend their money,

with so many venues of the same nature

big venues like the O2 are still charging

already in existence, is there a need for

exorbitant prices which many people are


simply no longer willing to pay. Gig goers

“We saw a bit of a gap in the market which

are turning to arguably better quality gigs in

we thought would be good to build on,”

smaller venues for less of their hard earned

band’s work after listening to this intriguing

way it always will be. We simply don’t have

Irish music this year so there will definitely


a big enough population to knock out as

be more bands following in his footsteps.”

Cloud Castle Lake also featured at the

many great artists as regularly as the US or

The future looks bright for Cloud Castle



Lake and their hypnotic sound of haunting

(HWCH) festival in Dublin as one of the

There is light at the end of the tunnel,

vocals, fuzzy guitars and pulsing drums that

headline performers, playing the Twisted

however, and James feels the recent success

let you drift away. With the impending

Pepper. At a time when the Irish music

of Conor O’Brien’s Villagers is a sign of

release of their debut single, the buzz

scene is facing serious problems and with

good things to come for the Irish music

around them is sure to grow even bigger.

bands finding it tougher to get recognition,

scene. “There are so many more bands now.

Until then check out their Myspace page,

HWCH acts as an invaluable platform for

There is a great underground culture, with

cloudcastlelakeband, for news of upcoming

aspiring bands to showcase what they have

regards to music and artistic creativity in

gigs and for a few rough recordings that

to offer.

Dublin these days, so I think it is a good

may not flatter, but do give a feel of what is

problems at hand.

place to be right now for young musicians

to come from this exciting Dublin

“The problem with Ireland is purely its size

such as ourselves. Conor getting signed to

four piece.

and it being an isolated country. That’s the

Domino Records has put a big spotlight on





O’Donohoe acknowledges the

cash. Karl feels there is a hint of that but nothing more. “Yes, that’s true, to a certain extent. However, good acts, acts that don’t come to town very often, will sell out. Once it is value for money, no matter if it’s a venue of 300, 3000 or 15000, people will go.” Dublin has a vibrant music scene, which is evident in the type of acts that continue to come and play here. “Dublin has a lot to offer. International acts love playing here. The reception they receive from their crowds is among the best there is,” Karl says assuredly. He also agrees local talent is on the up. “The home grown scene here is better than it has been in a long time. There are more aspiring musicians about these days, which is fantastic.” The Workman’s Club was a venue during the Hard Working Class Heroes festival and wants to give opportunities to new local bands to showcase their sound. “We have this new thing where we allow a band to pick who their support acts will be, what music will be played during each set, how long each set will go on and what time they will finish and the DJs for the rest of the

€5 after. Away from music, there are other

30th, hip-hop duo Dan Le Sac v Scroobius

night. We basically let them take over the

events available too. “We try to be as diverse

Pip on the 4th and 5th November and

venue in the way they see fit. Just last Friday,

as possible. Only a couple of weeks ago, we

Irish alternative rockers Delorentos on

Cloud Castle Lake ran a night here.”

had a wedding on a Monday, a play on the

December 16th.

Phantom FM have also launched a new

Tuesday and a book launch and reading on

indie club night in the Workman’s Club

the Wednesday. We hope to be able to cater

every Thursday playing ‘alternative floor

for everyone’s taste.”

fillers, massive rock anthems and indie

Upcoming shows at the Workman’s Club

remixes.’ It is free in before eleven and only

include Halves album launch on October

For further gig listings be sure to visit



The Siren 26.10.10

Digitalmusik Speaking to Jens Molle of German electro duo Digitalism ahead of their gig at the UCD Halloween Ball, David Tracey hears about doomed remixes, the importance of remaining practical and their relaxed avant-garde approach to making music. The old stereotype of Germans is that

in Japan, it got a bit scary because we

they are efficient, strong minded and a

couldn’t really walk around without

tad boring. The problem is that more

being recognised anymore so that was

often than not, the stereotype turns

a bit weird.”

out to be true.

It just so happened that at the time

This view of the Teutonic race is

Digitalism were getting noticed while

arguably no more prevalent than in the

quite a few electro kids in England

realm of electronic music, where the

and France were toying with a similar

robot image of Kraftwerk looms large.

idea of mixing dance music with indie

The thing is that very few nations have

sensibilities. As a result, the duo has

as proud a history of electronic music

often been compared with the likes

as Germany. One of the more recent

of Justice and The Klaxons, something

additions to this history is Hamburg

that never sat totally comfortably with

duo Jens Molle and Ismail Tuefekci,

either Jens or Ismail.

and in a break from tradition, they’re

“We never really liked it, although I

actually a bit of craic.

can totally understand what people

Our conversation began with Jens

meant, because back then there was

asking, in impeccable English, about

this completely new generation of acts

people just DJing or producing dance,

This eclectic, out of the ordinary

would come across as insufferably

my plans for the weekend, which,

emerging from their homes, including

electronic music.

way of developing music is essential

arrogant, if it wasn’t for the pair being

needless to say, set the tone for a

Justice and the Klaxons and lots of

likeable chaps. Jens says their vision

relaxed chat with one of the friendliest

other people. It was a completely new

unpredictable, as is their eclectic range

hasn’t changed.

DJs this side of the Rhine.

generation and we were part of that.”

of influences. In interviews, both Jens

“That’s still how we see it. We still

Digitalism came to the attention of

Still, though, Digitalism have never

and Ismail often cite unusual sources

think of our music as a soundtrack for

the mainstream in 2007 with the

seen themselves as part of any kind of

for their music, alongside more obvious

something that people can make up.

release of their debut, “Idealism”.

movement or scene, even if they were

choices like Daft Punk. So where are

It’s like a soundtrack for a movie that

The album had been preceded by a

forced into one by critics at the time.

the two turning for inspiration these

doesn’t exist.”

number of extremely well received

“We never really like being tagged or


It’s also true that Digitalism achieved

singles and 12” mixes beginning with

being put in a box with other people

“It can be anything, soundtracks, early

this aim on “Idealism”. While quite a

“Idealistic” in 2004. The releases that

because we just didn’t really feel like

Amiga computer games, which would

few of their floor fillers were padded

followed, most notably “Zdarlight” in

that”, he pauses before adding, “We

also be soundtracks, you know 8-bit

out with instantly forgettable electro

2005, helped build up significant buzz

always felt like the outsiders and we

stuff.... It doesn’t have to be electronic

beats, the album proved the pair were

around the group prior to the release

wanted to stay outside and just let

music, it can also be lots of rock music

capable of sustaining a cohesive vision

of “Idealism”, which turned out to be

people do their things and we had our

as well as 80’s stuff, you know pop stuff

over the course of a full LP, a trick that

a huge success with critics and, more

own stuff going on”.

from the 80’s, that sort of thing.”

many similar acts often fail to pull off,

importantly, on the dance floor. All of

The duo certainly set themselves apart

This sort of pick and mix approach

once they are given the challenge of

this attention was a bit unexpected for

in their unusual, eclectic approach to

to recording and making music could

stretching their sound out for longer


making music. They see themselves as

easily fall into pastiche were it not for

than the average 12”. According to

“We didn’t really know what to expect.

an “electronic garage band”, a phrase

a grand vision that unifies all these

Jens, making a fully-formed statement

The reaction to the twelve-inches had

Jens describes as “making a two person

disparate influences into a cohesive

was always a goal with their first record.

already been quite big, but that was in

rock band without being able to play

whole. In an interview around the

“That was kind of top priority because

the clubs. It got a lot bigger when the

all the rock stuff, so that’s why we use

time of Idealism’s release the pair were

we saw the album as more than just the

album got released and “Pogo”, the

electronic equipment”.

quoted as saying, “Digitalism think in

sum of the songs on it, so it was just

single. All of a sudden we got radio

This view makes more sense when he

strong images and try to put a whole

like if you present your latest film or

play and of course had to do the usual

explains Digitalism’s trial and error

universe into each song.” This rather

something. We really wanted it to be

stuff, like interviews, promos, visits

method of creating songs.

lofty opinion of their own music

cohesive and have a bit of character to

here and there. Especially, for example,

“We didn’t really feel like all those

Our approach was always here in the bunker, ‘right, let’s plug in a guitar which we can’t really play, but let’s give it a try and make a couple of patterns and just record that stuff and mix it into other stuff that’s already there, and then, you know, play some drums’, just make sure everything sounds a bit raw in a way.”

to keeping the pair’s music fresh and



a different place if you want to record

then we thought maybe let’s work with

drums and listen to very loud music at

these guys or see if we can do a remix

four in the morning on a Wednesday

for that song or something.”

night or something. That’s perfect here

According to Jens they’ve rarely

in the bunker because you can do that.”

had any negative experiences when

They have managed to spruce up the

presenting reworked versions to their

place a bit though, “we’ve refurbished

original composers, except in the case

the bunker a bit so it’s not so drab

of one particularly high profile client.



“We’ve done a remix for Daft Punk

decided against putting in windows,

at the beginning and we had two

“that would be too expensive and it

different remixes, and one of them

might make the whole street explode

everyone really liked but everyone said

or something!” So for the moment

‘ah, you can’t put this on a Daft Punk

the pair seem perfectly happy to stay

twelve inch’, because it was completely

right where they are. “It’s a perfect


playground for grown-ups”, says Jens


with a chuckle.

never seen the light of day, although

This practical nature also extends to


gaining exposure for their music. In

themselves with the fact that it may not

a move that some might see as “selling

be long till they hear them, albeit in a

out”, Digitalism have been happy to

different form.

lend their songs to advertisements,

a sell out, because there are so many

“It’s still brilliant material, we’re still working with the stuff we were working with when we were working on Daft Punk.”

people who still don’t know us, and

It seems that the duo only get worked

if songs like that end up on game

up when it comes to making their

soundtracks together with completely

music, as the laid back atmosphere is

However, the

including one for BMW, and computer games. However, Jens doesn’t see this as tarnishing the band’s respectability. Instead, he says, it’s just another way of getting the group’s music out to the public. “We approve lots of this kind of stuff but we don’t really feel like it’s being


have fans

unfortunately can


[different] music, than that’s really cool,

sometimes interrupted in the bunker.

it. It’s hard to describe, but we were

because there’s still lots of people who

“We fight sometimes of course, but I

pretty conceptual when it came to

have to discover our songs.”

think it’s always good to, you know,”

working on the album actually.”

The fact that “Isi plays a lot of

Jens pauses, diplomatically choosing his

Once again an overall vision was very

Playstation” doesn’t hurt either.

words, “discuss things and then come

important. The two wanted “a bit of a

It’s obvious from this that the flipside

up with the best option.”

story to it, even though there is maybe

of Jens’ and Ismail’s practical nature

With the two heading back to the

none... we always try to have an overall

is that the duo also happen to be

bunker to work on a new album,


extremely laid back towards just about

which they hope to have released by

What is obvious is that despite being

everything. An example of their easy

early next year, the amount of fights






going personalities can be seen in their

could soon sharply increase. Surely the

amount of thought into their work,

remix work.

weight of expectation and amount of

Digitalism have never lost a particularly

Digitalism have built up quite a

attention their new release will receive,

useful German characteristic. Simply

reputation in this area, with remixes

in light of the success of “Idealism”,

put, they are practical.

It perhaps

that include songs by major acts

will only make matters more stressful?

explains why that, rather than opt for

such as The White Stripes, Depeche

“As long as we’re really excited about

a top of the range studio with state of

Mode, The Klaxons, The Futureheads,

what we deliver, then everything is

art equipment as soon as the money

Cut Copy and Test Icicles. Perhaps

fine. We don’t really care about any

started to roll in, the pair are still


making music in an old World War II

approach to their work has informed

bunker in Hamburg.

these remixes too.

“I guess we were just too lazy to move

“The first ones were kind of ‘ok, if

everything somewhere else, I think that

you want, you can do this’ and we just

was the main thing that kept us here,

thought ‘ok, let’s do that’.”

it’s quite convenient because it’s close

Even as their profile grew, this laissez

to where we live and you can always

faire attitude didn’t change.

get here within ten minutes if you have

“Later on we met more people who

an idea of something. Of course you

were kind of doing the same thing,

would have to put lots of money into

mainly, you know, being in a band, and




reception.” Jens claims the band’s own expectations are more than enough to keep them motivated, “and they’re pretty high, so maybe that matches with what people expect as well.” There will certainly be a huge amount of expectation when Digitalism take to the stage for the UCD Halloween Ball in The Academy on the 29th of October.

People should expect a

thrilling, sweaty set that isn’t in the slightest bit boring.



The Siren 26.10.10

The Urban Turban Aah, th turban is in fashion again! Marguerite Murphy is on hand to explain how to wear this vintage inspired gem Originality is a rare find in fashion these days, as the contemporary catwalks are rife with nostalgia for the past. We’ve witnessed the trend setters of the late noughties perpetually attempting to resurrect trends that graced the early twentieth century. Vintage is now a booming business, and the charity shops are stuffed full of hipsters claiming their faux fur jackets, polka dot shirts and broderie anglaise items for half nothing. The latest trend to realign the old with the new is the turban. Pretty much ‘out there’ and seemingly sacrilegious, the turban prancing down catwalks alludes to no religion, bar her Majesty, Anna Wintour. Its influences derive from Orientalism, and not the Rastafarian, Indian, Pashtun and Mayan coverings which initially spring to mind on hearing the word used. The turban has often found itself the butt of jokes, criticism, and equality issues in the contemporary world. But we can also look at it from an artistic perspective, and

appreciate the beauty of the original head gear that made it so popular in the 1920’s. The turban has now found its place on the shelves of American Apparel and Topshop, as well as vintage stores across Dublin and other Western cities. Prada sent its girls down the runway in an array of silk turbans a few years ago, fuelling the trend which has, understandably, been slowly filtered through to the high street, even if the everyday buyer might question looking as though they’ve just walked out of the shower. But a daring few in the limelight have been ‘papped’ in their turbans of choice, such as Beyonce, Pixie Geldof, and the skinnier, blonder half of Mary Kate or Ashley (forgive me, they look pretty much the same.) Prada took its inspirations from 1920’s screen sirens like Greta Garbo and Loretta Young, who wore their silk turbans, adorned with pearls and flowers, whilst lounging around in black and white. But for contemporary fashion fans, a more interesting spin would be



By Danny Lambert

From Left: Vaarsha Baugreet (Age 17) Arts - 1st year Favourite Shop Topshop Style Icon Nicole Scherzinger (Pussycat Dolls) Bárbara Cortez-Miranda (Age 21) B & L - 3rd year Favourite Shop Zara Style Icon Hilary Duff Stephanie Trimble (Age 19) Arts - English and History - 2nd year Favourite Shop Urban Outfitters Style Icon Fearne Cotton

to invoke the Oriental exoticism that inspired the post-flapper trends of the twenties. So take inspiration from the masters, namely Vermeer and his Girl with a Pearl Earring. Buying a ready-made turban might be daunting but will look great, and it is also easy to wear, like putting on a hat. Firstly, tie your hair up in a bun and find yourself a vintage turban from The Harlequin or the mini turbans from American Apparel and Topshop, teamed with minimal makeup and clothing – as the turban is a statement in itself – and, of course, a pair of pearl earrings. For the faint of heart, meanwhile, try out a mini turban. Take a silk scarf – for a really bold statement, choose a paisley style print – and wrap it around itself, place it on your head like a hair band and clip it under with bobby pins. Or, to make things simpler, go for the ready-made versions. Some general tips to remember when wearing a turban: Ignore funny looks. They don’t get style. Equally, play down your outfit, even though it may be tempting to

match your turban to your shoes and so forth. Avoid the drama rehearsal look and tone down colours and patterns. This look is perfect for hangover days, times of pressure when you have multiple

deadlines to fill, or just lazy days when your hair isn’t in the best shape. The turban hides all. So not only will you look on trend, you save yourself from looking in need of a good wash. Result.


The Siren 26.10.10

Make Scents Now? In need of a new fragrance, but don’t know how to go about chosing one? Laura McNally gives the low down on how to get the perfect scent. Our sense of smell is the most subtle of all, yet also the most powerful. We may not be aware of it consciously, but scents and smells can affect us in a profound way. We associate people and places with different smells, so when selecting a perfume for yourself, you want to make a worthwhile investment in a fragrance which captures the essence of YOU. When choosing a perfume for purchase, the best way to make sure it’s the perfect one for you is to spray it on and test it out for a day. If the scent blends in and you can no longer consciously smell it after a few hours, this indicates that the fragrance is suitable for you. The first lesson in Perfume 101 is understanding the difference between “Eau de Parfum” and “Eau de Toilette”. Perfumes displaying “Eau de Parfum” on the packaging are more concentrated than the

“Eau de Toilette” perfumes. Consequently, Eau de Parfum scents are more expensive and long-lasting compared to those which are Eau de Toilette. With so many fragrances on the market, it’s difficult to know where to start when selecting which one to invest your money in. To make it easier for you, here is a brief guide to get you started. The various scents and smells available can be categorised under four different headings: spicy, fresh, floral and fruity. Spicy, oriental fragrances evoke deep, rich and musky scents. Calvin Klein’s Obsession and Rush by Gucci are popular spicy scents. Paco Rabanne’s new fragrance One Million is a spicy, musky, modern-day scent. Fresh fragrances are subtle, refreshing, light scents. Examples include Inis Cologne and Calvin Klein’s cult classic scent, CK One. Floral scents are ultra-feminine and

sweet-smelling. Many floral perfumes are combined with fruity notes for a sweet and sexy scent. Sweet scents include many of the Britney Spears collection, including Curious and Fantasy. Britney’s newest perfume to hit the shelves, Radiance, includes notes of wild berries and dewy petals, making for a deliciously sweet scent. Inis Arose is also evocative of flirty, floral notes. Fruity-based fragrances are perfect summertime scents. DKNY sell a range of fruity perfumes, such as Be Delicious, an apple-infused scent, and Red Delicious, which combines the sweet smells of raspberry, lychee and apple. For effective results, it is important to focus on the main pulse points when spraying perfumes. These pulse points include the inside of the wrists, the neck and behind the ears. For an even longer-lasting result, try

Lather on the Leather

using a matching body lotion along with your selected perfume. Many perfumes are available as gift sets with matching shower gel and body lotion – definitely one for the Christmas list. The Perfume Shop is a good place to start when shopping for your fragrance of choice. The Body Shop carries their own range of perfumes, which focus on providing specific scent infusions such as Vanilla and White Musk. There are also many online sources available when searching for fragrances. offer a selection of previously limited edition perfumes, which may not be available in stores. Ebay and Amazon also sell perfumes at reduced prices.

Get used to it, because you’ll see it everywhere you go. It’s leather, and it’s all over fashion now. Kellie Nwaorokie delves deeper When Michael Jackson wore that red leather

with some heels, it can make for a very

jacket in the video for hit single Thriller, he

fashion forward A/W look.

gave the world yet another timeless fashion

Another item which ticks the box is the

fad. Almost two decades later, when we

leather skirt. Be it mini, calf length or

pay homage to the legend, we once again

somewhere in-between, sporting one of

witness the revival of this classic material.

these this winter is the way to go. As far as

Leather skirts, jackets, tops, boots, coats,

colour goes, black rules, but this season sees

accessories, and of course trousers are all

grey come to the fore, while buttery soft

dressed down, dressed up, glazed, shiny, and

chocolate and tan skirts have also made an

in a myriad of colours. In other words, it’s

appearance on the catwalk. Layer the leather

meant to grab the spotlight for all those

skirt with knits, go tough with a leather

who wear it. Hermes even pulled out a full

jacket or soften the look with a silky blouse

leather jumpsuit as part of their aviation-

and it will see you through this winter with

themed collection this year.


French Fashion label Givenchy’s Autumn/

And finally, the greatest staple buy when it

Winter 2010 line had a generous appearance

comes to leather is the leather jacket. It can

of black leather highlighted with jewel-

be worn in so many different ways and can

encrusted accessories. Taking a cue from

give you many different looks, day and night.

this runway trend, leather has made a

There are so many styles to be found on

comeback with an illustrative anatomy of

the high street, that the options are endless.

intricate couture that exhibits a repertoire

Find a modern version of a biker jacket if

of enduring design. With a colour palette

you want your jacket to be feminine, to

ranging from classic red, tan and natural

accentuate your waist choose a fitted jacket.

brown leather accessories, this season brings

As the biker jacket can be seen as somewhat

in new trends with a variety of travel bags,

edgy, rock n’ roll and masculine, try avoiding

sling bags and laptop satchels; vintage

pairing the jacket with other items that are

leather is a trendy look.

like that, such as western boots, Dr. Martens,

If you are skeptical about how to wear

Converse, unless you really are going for

leather or the idea actually scares you, no

the 80s rock chick/festival/concert look.

need to fret! You can ease yourself into

Don’t go too far the other way either, and

this fast growing trend. If you are used to

wear dresses made out of overly feminine

dressing casually, then why not opt for a

materials and colours like rose silk. Your

pair of leather leggings instead? If you don’t

style will then become messy and Courtney

want to go for the overall leather look, there

Love-ish – and we don’t want that.

are leggings that have leather patches on the

But above all else, if you bear one thing in

shins, running below the knee. These are

mind this season: let it be leather.

great also for evening/night wear. Paired




Who would have thought you’d ever be dragging that fussy looking thing your Granny knitted for you out of the attic again? Zara and Penneys seem to be embracing the trend woolly. So make like Bridget Jones and grab a bit of retro granddad!

Faux Fur Ankle Boots.

It’s Ireland. It’s winter. It’s cold. We want something stylish for our poor freezing feet through the hard winter months. Faux fur boots are the perfect replacement for dolly shoes. A bit of lace or buckle can give it a very nice edge too.

Waistcoats Waistcoats are back, and not just for waiters and Christmas elves. Topshop are offering a nice range in denim, silk and leather. Ideal for that ‘Is it hot or cold?’ kind of day.

Eek Jerseys Anybody who wears a jersey to a pub/nightclub might as well be carrying a hurl and sliotar around with them for the night. People who wear a jersey off the pitch should just be locked in Croke Park FOREVER.


Having your beautiful new, virgin white tshirt turned into a Jersey Shore whore at the hand of false tan. ‘Collar, will you ever be white again?’


Seeing six different people wearing them on campus with socks in the last week has brought the biggest fashion horror of the summer back again. It’s like Return of the Living Dead, except with shoes. by Ashling O’ Loughlin

The Siren 26.10.10


She’s a Lady Aoifa Smyth delves into the world of ladylike dressing Coco Chanel once said, “A girl should be

On the catwalk, Chloe maintained their

two things: classy and fabulous”, and what

usual chic, classy and sharp style and did

better way to do this than to embrace the

not disappoint with an array of pussy bow

ladylike trend, which is so prevalent this

silk blouses, camel coats and caramel tones.

autumn/winter. This trend is everywhere

Louis Vuitton emphasised the ladylike trend

you look. The characters in Mad Men all

with stunning full circle skirts and revealing

sport pencil skirts and silky blouses, while

fitted bodices. These outfits were perfected

on the red carpet, celebrities like Keira

with fur handbags and tailored blazers with

Knightley and Carey Mulligan are opting

padded shoulders. Dries Van Noten donned

for demure vintage inspired looks at film

an array of rich autumnal shades in their

premieres. And of course, who could forget

autumn/winter 2010 collection.

the runway; Chloe, Miu Miu, Lanvin and

The full floor sweeping skirts with

Chanel are all going prim and proper

muted floral patterns brought an air of

this season.

sophisticated, yet slightly muted, elegance

Ladylike dressing has a few simple rules.

to the collection. Finally, Prada got ladylike

Firstly, the emphasis is on the female form.

styling down to a tee, with ornate beehives,

Busts are lifted, cleavage is encouraged,

pea coats and gorgeous dance-hall dresses,

waists are emphasised with belts and

with panels missing under the bust for a

high waist lines. Secondly, hemlines are

modern twist, not to mention their cute

lengthened; skirts should not be shorter

inclusion of socks with heels – perfect for

than the knee in order to achieve this

chilly October evenings.

elegant look. If you’re petite, don’t worry,

The catwalk collections are all well and

as the A-line shape of the skirt veers away

good, but for us more humble student

from making you look dumpy, with the

folk, the ladylike trend is easily obtainable

high waistline. The final rule for looking

if you know what to look for and where

like a lady is pillar box red lipstick. A

to look. Stick to jewel tones, such as ruby

smouldering pout is essential for every

red, emerald green, sapphire blue, and if you

aspiring, sexy starlet.

have a darker skin tone, try topaz yellow.

Liquorice tones are also popular for this

replicating this classic bag. Urban Outfitters

fifties blouses and short gloves can be found

trend; look out for lavender, mint, lime and

currently supply a range of sweet vintage-

in vintage treasure troves around the city.

lemon shades.

esque bags in faux leather and patent, with

Ebay is a great source for original and

Capes are bang on for this look and also

handles on the top. Office and Topshop

unique pieces, as well as American site Etsy.

happen to be all over the high-street in

have a variety of ladylike shoes, like brogues,

The secret to this trend is elegance and

shops such as Topshop, Zara, A-Wear and

Mary Janes, court heels and ballet pumps.

poise. If you’re willing to embrace it, you

River Island. Camel coats are a must have

Pussy bow and feminine sheer blouses are,

have to adopt this attitude, and walk with

too; invest in a luxurious one from Reiss.

conveniently, all over Penneys and Topshop

your shoulders back and with a swagger in

Tweed coats can be seen on the rails in

at the moment.

your step. Before you know it, there’ll be a

Penneys and A-Wear.

Don’t forget that most vintage shops stock

new Joan Harris around every corner of the

If you can’t quite stretch for a Chanel 2.55,

an array of gems, to help you achieve

Arts Block.

don’t fret, as most high street shops are

ladylike dressing. Full skirts, tailored jackets,

The Queen lives on After the tragic death of Lee McQueen – Alexander to the fashion world – last year, Niya Morrisey examines how the label that bears his name has lost none of its potency under the stewardship of its new head designer Sarah Burton. McQueen’s right hand woman is now on

black lace dress reminiscent of Lady Gaga’s

appeared on the runway. White jackets with

top of the fashion world. Sarah Burton’s

infamous meat dress, except that it was

elaborate designs, military skirts, and a nod

Spring 2011 collection for Alexander

elegant and did not have a note of vulgarity.

towards the future with mesmerising dresses

McQueen was highly anticipated by

Burton brought many ideas to the Alexander

which resembled oversized pom-poms.

everyone. Her determination deserved a

McQueen house of fashion. She somehow

McQueen’s shoes have been adored by

standing ovation, as it’s pretty tough to take

managed to bring a note of haute couture

Daphne Guinness, Sarah-Jessica Parker and

over from a genius like McQueen. In this

to this S/S 2011 collection and spilled her

Lady Gaga among others, and the inclusions

particular collection, Burton managed to

own individuality into her creations. To

to the new collection are as marvellous

establish McQueen’s individual approach to

quote the designer on her collection, “I

as the creations that came before them.

fashion: strong lines, aesthetic and shocking

don’t think it has to have as much angst in

Perhaps one thing that struck the audience

colours. However, she put a feminine ‘belle

it. I think it will become softer. There will

was their minimalism, which was combined

and everything surrounding it, to be dark

It can be said that not many things have

du jour’ character into the collection.

always be this McQueen spirit and essence.

with a futuristic touch. Yet despite this

and almost morbid at times. Burton opted


=The show opened with three white

“But, of course, I’m a woman, so maybe

departure, they remained classic and the

for a minimalistic setting, which proved to

clothing range. His fantasy continues to

dresses, which can only be described as

this is more from a woman’s point of view.

craftsmanship of Lee continues to breathe

greatly complement the clothes on show. It

live on with the great motivation of Sarah Burton, who has managed to establish so

about Alexander


As the collection

There’s always got to be some darkness,

through the pieces of Burton’s collection.

was as if models were walking on a plain

progressed into darker colours, it was as

because otherwise you don’t appreciate

Burton also altered the staging that had

white canvas which had a touch of nature

many new traditions in the house, yet stay

if Lee himself had created it – not least

what’s light. I’ve had training in darkness,

become standard for McQueen’s collections.

in it: grass, leaves etc. It was wonderful to

faithful to the old ones too. She is utterly

The staging during S/S 2011 can only be

see that the clothes matched the setting

familiar with Alexander McQueen’s style and has her own unique way of approaching

‘princess-like’ gowns.

because of the exquisite embroidery

but I don’t feel that it’s necessarily a personal

involved and an unrivalled attention to

thing for me. I’m a bit lighter.”

described as simplistic, with nothing applied

perfectly, such as a shockingly beautiful

detail. One particular piece stood out, a

Of course, Lee’s favourite peaked shoulders

for shock value. Alexander liked his runway,

monarch butterfly dress and a sea

fashion. In short, Sarah Burton’s collection

creature dress.

has proved to be a riveting success.

The Siren 26.10.10


The Land of Ice & Fire Following his experience as an Erasmus student in Iceland, Lee Maguire reviews his time in the City of Reykjavik. From the moment I discovered I had been accepted into the University of Iceland for my Erasmus year, I instinctively felt that a memorable year lay ahead. Little did I realise that this period of study would coincide with one of the darkest periods in this isolated Scandinavian country’s history. Travelling to Reykjavik is quite expensive, with two flights required. I travelled from Dublin to London Stansted with Ryanair, followed by a connecting flight with Iceland Express to Reykjavik International Airport, known locally as Keflavik. One cautionary note however, especially to those planning to spend a long period there, is to take heed of the baggage allowance, as I got stung for an extra €200!

Bjork and Sigur Ros. If literature is more your thing, a number of bookshops are to be found in this area, with my favourite being Mal og Menning. Look out for the work of Halldor Laxness, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1955. It is hard to imagine one ever going hungry in this city. For a light but appetising meal, try Café Paris, situated on Auturstaeti which intersects with Laugavegur. If confined to a tight budget though, try the Icelandic yoghurt called Skyr. A thick and creamy, yet highly nutritious snack, it is available in numerous flavours and is a cheap alternative. A beautiful place to have lunch “al fresco” is at Tjornin Lake, which is situated just a stone’s

Solon, where the music continues to play until the sun comes up. To end your night, I would suggest you take a pit stop at Baejarins Beztu Pylsur, a hot dog stand, whose most famous customer was the former President of the USA, Bill Clinton. If this fails to impress you, head to any of the half a dozen or so pizza shops, where one can buy a slice of mouth watering pizza. As my time in this beautiful European city was spent studying, I visited the various cultural attractions within the city. If possible, a visit to the Icelandic Parliament, Alpingi, is a worthwhile experience. Back in 2008, angry protesters gathered outside the government building, following the collapse of the

University of Iceland, founded in 1911. The campus is close in proximity to the National Museum and the National Library, both of which contain various artefacts and relics of this patriotic country’s history. Finally, you cannot go wrong in visiting the Culture House where one can examine the manuscripts containing the Eddas and Sagas, a key component of the oral tradition of the nation’s folklore. These sites are all located within walking distance of the city centre. While hiring a car is rather expensive, a car would be required to travel around the rest of the country. A breathtaking view of the city should be high on your list of things to see. To see Reyjavik open

consider the following. Why is the average life expectancy in Iceland 81 years? It is attributed partially to Icelanders’ love of swimming in their countless number of outdoor swimming pools scattered across the land, where crowds gather in rain or shine. With this being the case, it is a must for visitors to the country to take full advantage of these fantastic facilities. Following a swim, visitors often jump into a hot pot which, although similar to jacuzzi, can have its temperatures raised up to 40 degrees. With almost eighteen hours of darkness during the long and seemingly relentless winter, there is something eerie about watching the stars twinkle or snowflakes falling from the sky

Keflavik International Airport is located approximately 45 minutes from Reykjavik city centre. It is worth remembering that Iceland’s currency is the Icelandic Krona, but credit cards are accepted practically everywhere. The most convenient way of travelling from the airport to your accommodation is by taking the Flybus which will cost you 3500 ISK (roughly €25) which drops tourists at all the hotels and the main bus station respectively. Budget accommodation is difficult to find in this small city. This can be even more challenging in low season as guesthouses are converted into international student accommodation. Once recuperated from the flight, the best thing to do is to acquaint yourself with the city centre, and the main street Laugavegeur is an ideal place to start. With various chic boutiques and eateries to avail from, it is very easy to spend a leisurely morning in this area of the city. For those trying to add an Icelandic element to their iPods, head to Skifan, a large music store, where one can find the back catalogue of famous exports such as

throw from the city centre. For dinner I would recommend some experimentation with traditional Icelandic cuisine, which might include stuffed puffin, fermented shark, sheep heads or whale! On a personal note, my favourite restaurant in the city has to be Icelandic Fish and Chips, located beside the harbour on Tryvaggotu Street. Reykjavik has often been appropriately dubbed the ‘nightlife capital of the north.’ As alcohol is quite expensive in pubs and clubs, many Icelanders choose to visit the state owned off licenses, and drink before heading to the pubs and clubs. The city only begins to come to life around midnight, with many establishments remaining open until seven in the morning. The stereotypical Irish bar has arrived in Iceland too, in the form of Celtic Cross, a bar which includes a room named in honour of James Joyce’s novel, Finnegan’s Wake. Inside, customers gather around a coffin, which acts as the table. If, like the Nolans, you are also in the mood for dancing, head to

three Icelandic banks. Dubbed the Saucepan Revolution, these peaceful demonstrations led to the resignation of then Prime Minister Geer Haard, and subsequently led to the appointment of Johanna Siguroardottir, the first openly gay Prime Minister in the world. Another attraction of note is the

out in front of you, head to the Perlan, which has a 360 Degrees observation desk. Not only can you see the colourful rooftops of the city from here, but you can also take in the beautiful Mount Esja, which is layered with snow for lengthy periods of the year. After a hectic day seeing the sites,

whilst sitting in these hot pots. One might wonder why anyone would want to leave such tranquil relaxation. But you will have to travel Iceland to discover what else this unique country has to offer those who are fortunate enough to visit.

The Siren 26.10.10


Caged-In Following its showing last week, Timothy Potenz reviews UCD Dramsoc production, Cagebirds, and gives his verdict. Before having even comfortably sat down

audience was shoulder to shoulder, the high

in the familiar cold theatre in the basement

curtain walls were on all sides, bars across

of the Newman Building, the play began

the door brought the mind straight to a

as a dreamy-eyed character curling her

prison setting. We were inside the cage, and

head around the Dramsoc theatre entrance,

I have to say it felt weird.

ushering us inside. “Come in my sweeties.”

We weren’t alone. Six actresses, adorned

UCD Dramsoc’s production of Cagebirds

with costumes, body art and make-up that

was otherworldly from start to finish.

made them larger than life, stood frozen

The production was simply stand-out,

like statues as we cautiously made our way

with all seem of normality abandoned. In a

through them to our seats. Our coats off

refreshing and mesmeric show of creativity,

and the door locked, they sprung into life,

the audience was taken away from our

as birds. In a truly impressive display, these

usual lofty seats above the stage and instead

young actresses took on the movements and

herded inside a giant cage where we were

mannerisms of several winged creatures in

but inches away from the play itself. We

a way that was spell-binding. The peacock

certainly weren’t in Kansas anymore.

flourished, the crane strutted, the little

Surrounded by a giant, black curtain, the

twitterer fluttered, all through a bed of

only exit locked with a resounding click,

newspaper strips that gave off a sound of

a slight feeling of claustrophobia settled in,

rustling feathers.

which had been forewarned by the director

A play about institutionalisation and the

Brenda Moreau in a health and safety

need to break one’s boundaries, in particular

announcement. Limited seats ensured the

reference to the plight of female oppression,

Theatre Review Enron Gaiety Theatre, 14 October 2010

years”, Enron is hailed as the best and most innovative company in the world. However, cracks begin to appear as too much of their “profits” are in fact theoretical. Despite Fastow’s attempts to devise a scheme to divert debts into other companies set up

Ciarán Leinster

exclusively to house the debts, Enron

It could well be that Enron, which did three

goes into bankruptcy in December 2001,

nights at the Gaiety Theatre two weeks ago,

leaving thousands unemployed, and without

is a sign of the direction that our culture

pensions, as workers were paid in stock in

is taking. As economics continues to gain

Enron, which rose rapidly before falling

a stranglehold on industries as diverse as

even quicker.

that of sports and music, with investors

Despite the subject matter, you don’t need

taking over English football club and the

to have a degree in economics to understand

authorities of the music industry waging a

what’s going on, such is the genius behind

war with illegal file sharers, it is only natural

Prebble’s play. Enron spells out what is

that theatre should reflect this cultural

going on in very simple terms, meaning the


steps that Skilling, Lay and Fastow take are

Enron, written by Lucy Prebble (pictured

not just understandable, but logical, even to

right) and based on real events that occurred

those of us who aren’t avid readers of the

between 1992 and the present day, tells the

Financial Times. The best example of this

story of the “energy company” of the same

is Fastow’s explanation of how to handle

name. In reality, it is an oil and gas company,

Enron’s debt; he uses boxes inside boxes to

but “say oil and gas, and all people think

explain how 3% of a company can become

about are farts and Arabs”, as company

3% of the original 3% and so on. By the

President Kenneth Lay (played wonderfully

end, you feel like you do have a degree in

by Clive Francis) says. Lay is one of three

economics, ready to do battle with David

real people portrayed, the others being

McWilliams about hedge funds and interest

Andy Fastow (Paul Chahihdi) and Jeff


Skilling (Corey Johnson), whose character

The word “musical” has been bandied

becomes the focus of the play, as he rises

about regarding Enron, so let me just

to the role of CEO due to his innovative

allay these fears. Yes, there are some songs,



but, mercifully, they’re short, clever, funny

meant that the company would bank the

and actually relevant to the story. Enron

profits they were going to make before they

fits more into the genre of social realism,

actually made them. Through the “glory

though, for some, it may be a bit too realistic



As well as staging Cagebirds, UCD Dramsoc awarded Fiona Shaw with an Honorary Fellowship last week. Photo courtesy UCD Dramsoc.

the script was less subtle and bewitching

leave their familiar walls. Does she succeed?

David Campton nearly 40 years ago and

than the production itself. However, it was

Do the soaring walls fall and individuality

still performed today for modern audiences’

a powerful message, and one to take home.

triumph? Or does it end disastrously for

entrancement and delight, the play is sure to

Once a Wild One is introduced into the

all involved? Well I can’t tell you that,

continue on, so long as it is treated with the

cage, she tries to break out and bring the

though I would highly recommend you see

same character, enthusiasm and creativity as

others with her, despite their reluctance to

another production of the play. Written by

our very own Dramsoc displayed this week.

and close to the bone. The performances of the central characters are fantastic throughout. Francis as the avuncular elder statesman; Johnson as the aggressive, intelligent bully whose sheer will and greed drives Enron to the ground; Chahidi as the pathetic loser desperate to please his bosses; and Sara Stewart as the fictional Claudia Roe, the beautiful Southern belle and Skilling’s original rival for the job of CEO. By the end, as Lay is dead and Skilling and Fastow facing jail time, Claudia, forced out of Enron years before, proved to be more in tune with world economics than the men; her energy company in India was the only part of Enron making a profit. The play sparkles with wit, despite the themes. The Lehmann Brothers, the bank whose





recession, are portrayed as an ugly, sneaky two-headed




who represent the legal system appear blindfolded, and the raptors designed to eat Enron’s debt eventually become sick from eating too much debt. Enron is not just the story of the collapse of a huge company; it is a parody and critique of the systems which allowed these men to get away with what they were doing for so long. It addresses the modern obsession with markets, by depicting them almost as nature, or even God-like, as Skilling repeatedly implores and begs the price of stock to rise. It could well be that more and more mainstream




addressing the current financial issues in the world. This may sound like bad news, but if they’re as good as this witty, thoughtprovoking, and ultimately tragic play, then I look forward to them.