Siren Issue 6

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college tribune entertainment supplement 20.11.12


20.11.12 25th



MUSIC The Siren’s definitive guide to… Stalking By Chris Becton Page 3

Someone Great is Gone By Ciaran Breslin Page 4

ARTS Argo By Joesph Gallagher Page 6

reslin Ciaran B Editor Music

Spotify has arrived in Ireland and taken Facebook by storm. I don’t know about anyone else but I’ve spent all my time on it so far making sure I’m listening to suitably cool music while simultaneously judging everyone else’s taste. I had never previously used Spotify before and I must say I’m enjoying it as much as everyone else seems to be, although as far as I can work out it’s exactly the same as Grooveshark (which I previously used) except its automatically linked to your Facebook page, which I suppose is a pro or a con depending on how you look at it. Either way it’s an extremely useful facility, with this method of listening to music likely to replace traditional Mp3 players and I-pods. Downloading music is fast becoming a thing of the past when almost every piece of equipment we now use is already connected to the Internet. Streaming represents the future and the idea of ownership of music is becoming more and more distant. This is looked on by some as a kind of impure way of appreciating music and artists, the easy access facilitating the casual listener and somehow devaluing the appreciation of the more zealous fan. This might be a very briefly understandable view but it’s quickly overridden by the sheer convenience and comfort afforded by having so much at our disposal, and not least, negated by the fact that artists get paid by Spotify anyway. We can claim the most access to music of any generation ever, immediate access to previously inaccessible material, something we’re extremely lucky to have. And you can always go on a private session if you want to listen to One Direction.

Book-to-Film Adaptation: Where do you stand? By Elaine McDonald Page 6

I’ve come to dread opening The Siren on a Tuesday to see what photo of me was used. Just to let you know, it’s not my choice. I can only be blamed for letting the photo be taken in the first place.

Assassin’s Creed 3 By Darragh O’Connor Page 7

Fine fairings By Stephen West Page 8

y) ka Fox a ( x o F Conor ditor Arts E

Smock Alley Theatre hosted the Dublin Book Festival this week and I managed to make it to ‘A History of Ireland in 100 Objects: What’s the Object of Our Time?’ hosted by Fintan O’Toole. The panel and audience discussed the ten objects which have been the subject of online and offline voting in order to try to tease out what object defines the years we’re currently living in. I was torn between Katie Taylor’s gloves and the certificate of naturalisation... if one of them gets chosen, you know it’s down to me. For your fortnightly arts fix, we’ve got our regular selection of movie picks - including Aoife Byrne getting frenchy down at the IFI - and also what’s happening around UCD and Dublin. I finally gave in on Sunday and let my housemate put up the Christmas tree - with that in mind, The Siren’s got your christmas gifts sorted and our suggestion of what shows to catch up on over the break. Five episodes a day? Be grand. And finally, in the words of the immortal Kim Possible: call me, tweet me, if you wanna reach me. @conorfoxor


Stay artsy UCD.

She’s a lady… and she knows she’s got style! by Lisa Gorry Page 10

Style Icon by Miceala O’Donovan Page 11

The Balenciaga Saga by Lauren Tracey Page 11

ey Sween n i s i o tor R ion Edi Fash

Irish Times fashion blogger Rosemary Mac Cabe and stylist Annmarie O’Connor have this week been discussing Siopaella, a swap shop and consignement store based in two locations in Temple bar. The Temple Lane boutique has high end designer items, new and second hand, and the Crow Street location stocks high street and vintage items. The idea behind the shop is that you can bring in your unwanted clothing, so long as it’s in fairly good condition, and when your items are sold, you get forty percent of the cash. This is perfect for those who can’t get the hang of ebay, but have good quality items building up in their wardrobe that could be worth something. The Temple Lane boutique is quite expensive but great for a look around or if you’re shopping for something special, and the Crow Street shop has American Apparel, Topshop, and Karen Millen items going for much less than their original prices. Many of the items have never been worn. If you’re looking for a new shopping experience this week, Siopaella’s a fantastic choice.


Album Reviews The Rolling Stones - GRRR!


he Rolling Stones are back with their greatest hits compilation album GRRR!. The album is out to celebrate fifty years of being general rock gods. Is it a case of trying to squeeze out a few euros for the much delayed retirement fund, or is it an investment worth making? First off, the purchase options for this album are almost beyond comprehension. They range from the two disc, 40 song standard issue to the four disc, 80 track and countless collectable inclusive

(posters, book, you name it, this version has it) Super Deluxe Edition. The latter is clearly for the super fan out there. However, if you don’t wish to push the boat out and you choose to stick with the standard issue, you’ll find, through varying track listings from version to version, you won’t be missing out on the very best of The Stones. This point renders the acquisition of the insanely overpriced Super Deluxe Edition pointless, as many tracks are effectively being rated by the band as filler. A disappointment was a serious lack of new material, with One More Shot, and Doom and Gloom being the only new songs. Both thankfully fit perfectly with the remastered classics, which sound better than ever. A wise man once said “The Stones maaaan…”, and that man was right, this is precisely what this album is.

Chris Becton EIGHT


Lana Del Rey - Paradise EP


ana Del Rey is back with a mixed bag of moodiness and sexiness in the form of Paradise, the EP to follow her hit and miss breakthrough album, Born to Die. The single Ride is possibly the driving factor for this release -it’s a love letter to her clichéd themes of big sky, open road and the American Dream. Despite the overall lack of thematic originality it still flows and captivates the listener. There is an increased emphasis on musicality in Paradise. Drum beats and music compliment La-

The Siren’s definitive guide to…


na’s almost constant variation of the same two melodies that are woven through her entire repertoire. One feels this moody tone may need to be escaped if Lana is to remain relevant. The 1950’s sexiness coupled with twenty-first century persona is reaching its sell by date and it won’t be too long before she becomes just plain annoying. Another criticism is the lackadaisical nature in which songs seem to have been written. She seems to have thrown some words together and attempts to justify them as lyrics. “My pussy tastes like Pepsi cola”, need I say more? The shining light of this EP is definitely it being coupled with Born to Die, if you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon and bought the album then perhaps with the incentive of the single Ride, it could be a good time to buy the album. If you own Born to Die, then stay well enough away.

Chris Becton

her coattails and go out in the sun sometime!!

Puddle of Mudd - She Hates Me

Chris Becton

Do you have anger or rejection issues? Puddle of Mudd may be the answer to your problems. While not technically related to stalking, you can easily imagine any person who calls themselves a fan of Puddle of Mudd have, at one time or another in their life, spent more than a few solitary nights cold calling members of the opposite sex.

Enrique Iglesias- Escape


o you spend your nights in a garden, longingly looking up at a lit window, or steal clothes from washing lines? If so, this may just be the soundtrack to your curious existence.

Taylor Swift - You Belong With Me I find it difficult for it not to be creepy when Taylor Swift knows when her crush is on the phone to someone. Oh and as for being the guy’s neighbour, you wouldn’t be far off in assuming her moving into


that house was a long thought out process which results in her eventually wearing his skin.

write this song. Apart from that and the whole tantric sex thing, he’s apparently a lovely guy though.

The Police - Every Breath You Take

Radiohead - Creep

Useless fact that may or may not be true: Mr Sting wrote this song after a break up with a lady friend. Seems pretty normal, right? The weird part of the story is that after moving out of their apartment, Mr Sting took up residence in an apartment across the road from said lady friend, and found inspiration to

Radiohead: Doing the Creep since 1992. Picture it: The dew is settling down, you pull the hood up on your parka, the bedroom light comes on, and this comes on in your head. You know what time it is, and it’s not Hammer Time. Oh Radiohead, could there be a more needy song in existence? Stop dragging on

The greatest piece of knowledge I took from Leaving Cert Spanish is that Enrique Iglesias’ translated name is Harry Churches. He’s truly a shining example of creepin’ done right, with that name and that mole, he still managed to follow Anna Kournikova into the ladies bathrooms and manage a quick shift before being chucked out. If only a recent accidental foray into the ladies bathroom of my own had gone so well… Notable omissions: Carly Rae Jepsen, The other 50% of Taylor Swift songs, Nickelback, Billy Rae Cyrus, East 17.


1. A six month free trial is a very long time to avail of a great service, and later, paying a tenner a month for the service is still cheaper than buying albums one-by-one from iTunes. 2. The website is accessible and user-friendly, even for those who aren’t tech-savvy. 3. Your friends can send you links to songs and artists straight to the application. 4. There is no mid-song buffering, which is more than I can say for Grooveshark, Deezer or Youtube. 5. Anyone who has ever lost a large digital music collection during a computer crash will know how traumatic that can be –no worries of that with Spotify, it’s all saved to your account, in the cloud. 6. “Related Artists” is excellent for discovering new favourites. 7. Comprehensive discographies are available by obscure and outdated artists -not just the mainstream and not just recent hits. 8. The artists get paid every time one of their songs is streamed, which is important for the music industry. There are only two issues – Number one: it removes the pleasure of cultivating a tactile music collection and arranging your CD’s in personally meaningful orders. Number two: due to its social connection, your friends can see EVERYTHING you listen, from all your guilty pleasures, down to the dodgiest Adam Ant number (“Human Bondage Den”, if you’re wondering). Supposed indie-boys be warned, we can all see those emo-girl songs you’ve been overplaying! But aside from that, it’s a brilliant piece of technology and liable to become a musiclover’s staple in the same way iTunes has. Go forth and Spotify! You won’t regret it.

Sophie McDonald



Someone Great is Gone Ciaran Breslin explores the triumphant end of LCD Soundsytem in the light of the recent documentary Shut Up And Play The Hits


CD Soundsystem are a once in a lifetime band. They are important and timeless in the same way that other pioneering bands become irrevocably associated with a time period, a sound, a mood. Like The Clash or The Beatles they have the potential, in time, to retrospectively embody a musical period. To pin a genre on them is certainly not rewarding. They don’t sound like dance-punk or electro-indie or post-disco: they sound like the musical period between the early 2000’s and now. Seeing as I am only around 22 years old, it might seem a bit disingenuous to claim to be a long-term disciple or authority on the band; I was fourteen and probably largely oblivious when they released their debut album. But my musical tastes matured along with the band’s career. What I was listening to by the time I got a bit older was informed by the same school of music from which LCD graduated. It’s like the way everyone goes through a phase of loving Punk or Madchester or even Led Zeppelin or someone like that. You discover these exciting, fantastic bands, and you become briefly obsessed before you find the disconnect: just how much can you wear Fred Perry and listen to the Jam before it rings hollow. They might be iconic, generation shaping musical movements, but it’s not your generation. LCD Soundsytem shaped our generation. The documentary (and the final shows in Madison Square

Garden around which its based) is an inspired way to end the band. James Murphy has never been shy about courting the more commercial side of the industry, recording a 45 minute long track commissioned for a Nike athletic campaign and having several LCD tracks popping up on adverts and game soundtracks. The idea of the documentary, and the involvement of people like Spike Jonze, is another embrace of modernity, an affirmation of the band willingness to contemporise and experiment. Similarly, the appearance of Arcade Fire on stage to perform North American Scum doesn’t ring hollow, the idea of selling out or anything like that is never entertained: LCD are in complete control of their destiny and this is how they’re going to do it. And because of that, it’s a visually stunning piece of work. The action opens, aptly enough, on the minute after the end, as they walk offstage for the last time and the roadies clear away their gear. The next ten minutes prepare us for how the film will operate: it cuts variously from Murphy alone making coffee in his apartment to a couple of arty shot media interviews where we hear sage and for the most part, interesting questions about the nature of music-as-art and legacy, spliced in between the band interacting backstage before the final show, not visibly nervous, just excited and attractive. All this however, is completely blown from your mind around eleven minutes in when the first extended footage

from the concert is debuted. Dance Yrself Clean explodes from the screen, again brilliantly shot and with impeccable sound quality. It comes as a reminder of why we’re watching, what all the fuss is about. Forget all the analytical stuff about art, about shaping generations, it just sounds fresh and familiar and joyful and fantastic. This is how the action continues, with songs vying for time with backstage action and the constant interview of Murphy. It makes for compelling viewing, with nothing really on screen long enough to get boring, and often interesting things not being on screen long enough. The atmospheric shots of New York are beautiful and work brilliantly with the examination of the Murphy’s intentions and influences, so tied in as they are with the city. Everything is seamlessly edited. “What was the ambition” asks our un-named interviewer, over a shot of Murphy getting on the Subway at sunset. “To leave a mark I guess. To leave a stain” comes the reply, as the unmistakable opening of All My Friends jolts the camera back to slow motion shots of Madison Square Garden going crazy. For this is probably LCD Soundsystem’s mark. Their finest, most poignant, most iconic moment. The director has enough good sense to just let the whole song play out. “To tell the truth, this could be the last time” sings Murphy knowingly, a song probably as entwined with the emotional, modern, coming-ofage anxiety and apathy of the 21st

century as no other. Visually the highlight is probably Us Vs Them, when a massive discoball is revealed halfway through, strobe-ing the packed out audience as they dance furiously. The swopping of audio from Murphy’s dissection of Losing My Edge in the interview with footage from the performance of the song is another excellent moment, providing incisive exploration of Murphy’s influences behind the beginning of the band. Later Murphy gives a rambling onstage speech introducing Arcade Fire which finally segueways into the most fun song of the set, devoid for a moment of the poignancy that permeates most of the night, as it seems everyone in New York is compelled to joyfully scream along to North Amercian Scum. More footage of Murphy explaining his reasons for ending the band, a nostalgic last meal between all the members and a symbolic goodbye between them threatens for a moment to become over sentimental before giving way to an emotional performance of Someone Great which rescues any fears that the sentimentality might briefly feel contrived. The film undoubtedly stands as the Last Waltz of a generation, and remains every bit as relevant for this generation as that was back then. Perhaps it’s the proclivity of James Murphy to deal simultaneously with themes of creative fecundity and lethargy, or perhaps to put it another way, to address the polarity

between artistry and artificiality, that makes the whole project (the band, the concerts, the legacy) ring so true in our modern era. The second last scene sees Murphy looking at the old equipment before it gets sold, the guitars and amps and keyboards, and briefly shedding a few tears, the only time in the film in which the obvious emotion onstage is ever really acknowledged offstage. And with that, we’re back at what Murphy calls “this weird thing in a boxing arena”, an aptly ridiculous venue for what started as a single underground dance movement and is now filling out the biggest stadium in Manhattan. The final song, inevitably, is New York I Love You (But You’re Bringing Me Down). The slow build up to the familiar emotionally charged crescendo ends the concert, ends the film and ends the band. As thousands of white balloons cascade into the arena both the band and audience are in tears at the end of something truly influential and special.



ExitMusic – Whelan’s Kathryn Toolan reviews the husband and wife team’s latest live offerings


obody was prepared for what happened in Whelan’s last weekend. Hushed voices and murmured conversations were cut short by the sounds of “The Sea”, the opening track of ExitMusic’s set list. Without a doubt one of their strongest tracks, the crowd were enraptured within seconds. A small crowd, it has to be said, but one that would soon be rewarded for their dedication to good music. Hailing from Brooklyn, ExitMusic are a two piece band made up of Alexsa Palladino and Devon Church. A husband and wife team, Palladino performs the vocal duties of the band (along with an assortment of other instruments), while Church accompanies on guitar, with an odd smack of a drum here and there. ExitMusic may be small in numbers but they make up for this fact wholeheartedly with presence and noise. Their debut album Passage was released earlier in 2012 and they have been touring worldwide since. The tracks they performed were from said album, a musical cacophony of epic proportions. They have been compared to

Icelandic band Sigur Ros and the similarities are present: both are utterly sensational in style, but they are poles apart. The brilliance of the album “Passage” is only amplified when performed live. “The Modern Age” followed “The Sea”. For such a tiny human being, Palladino has an impressive set of lungs. Whispered lyrics suddenly erupted without warning, transforming into an ethereal wailing, tingling any spine in a 100 metre radius. “White Noise” and “The Night”, both from Passage, were effortless in performance. The performance never lagged, never lost inertia, it flowed with a distinctively elegant ease. The audience remained in a state of awe for the entire 45 minute set. The band itself moved around the stage with an awkward ease, at one point Church used a violin bow to produce the distortive yet aurally pleasing accompaniment to “The Night”, a showcase of his talent and individualism, while Palladino took up her guitar, after several tracks on the keyboards. The highlight of the night was

without a doubt the final song –the title track of the album Passage. For over 8 minutes, Church and Palladino showcased their abun-

Passion Pit - Olympia Theatre Ciaran Breslin ruminates on Passion Pit’s performance in Heineken’s Greenspheres


n the second of Heineken’s Green Sphere dates to take part before the New Year, Dublin’s Oympia Theatre welcomed the triumphant return of everyone’s favourite electro-pop outfit Passion Pit to Ireland. The Green Sphere project represents a fantastic and eclectic series of gigs which last year saw Glasvegas, Simian Mobile Disco, The Drums and Wild Beasts all play a series of gigs around the country, while this year still has Jack Beats and The Magician to come. And best of all, in a particularly student friendly move, it’s free. So student friendly in fact, that I only found out I had a ticket forty minutes before the show started, when it turned out my sister had a couple spare. So, after managing to persuade the bouncers that a screen shot of a ticket on an I-phone represented a valid reason to let us in, we were climbing the winding stairs to the upper balcony of the Olympia. The Olympia is an extremely nice venue, but perhaps not the best place to enjoy the dancey electro stylings of a band like Passion Pit. The auditorium is all seated and divided into three tiers of ornate galleries so we at the top were in a curious position of awkwardly looking down on the stage at a band

who are much more suited to be playing at the head of a big dancefloor. The strange mood was perhaps best summed up by a moment when Michael Angelekos from the stage joyously encouraged us to “Stand the fuck up!”, a suggestion tentatively followed by a few who were then immediately commanded to “sit down at the front” by the security on the balcony. Still, the band were in absolutely top form, and as they picked their way through the numerous keyboards and synths onstage to begin with an energetic performance of Take A Walk, throughout which Angelekos bounced from one side of the stage to the other, exhorting the audience to respond, which they did joyfully. It was a great display of musicianship throughout, with each band member seemingly in charge of at least two instruments per song. Buoyed equally by the energy of the band and the free beer included with our ticket, we in the upper tiers became more and more comfortable as the set went on, with the relentless tunes, with catchy synths just getting catchier as the night went on. A more stripped back interlude in the middle where Angelekos re-

treated from the spotlight at the front of the stage to a piano saw a rare more subdued moment from the band. The highlight of the night though was undoubtedly the last song. The nature of free concerts means that perhaps there is always the potential for an audience not to be as familiar with the band as usual. However the familiar opening strains of Sleepyhead was greeted with cheers of gleeful recognition from the crowd and Passion Pit proceeded to blaze through their debut single, leading a huge singalong. Their encore of Little Secrets saw the crowd lit up as the stage lights flashed and twinkled in time with the call-and-response chorus between band and audience, and the frenetic set was over. The overall vibe was extremely relaxed and enjoyable, with the band feeding of a happy and receptive crowd. We left completely satisfied, Green Spheres again providing absolutely excellent value for no money.

dant musical worth. Atmospheric, visceral and all-consuming. Eerie, uplifting and wonderful. They ticked all the boxes. Once the mu-

sic stopped, the narcotic echo of their sound was all that was left; the audience was left speechless and desperate for their next fix.



Sixty Second Society This week The Siren talks to Nicole Doyle, director of UCD Musical Society’s production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. So what is Sweeney Todd all about? It’s about a barber who’s been imprisoned for 15 years and then he returns to seek his revenge on those who’ve wronged him Have you made many changes to it as opposed to a professional production? Nope, it’s exactly the same as you’re provided with the scores and scripts that are sent from the rights company … so we haven’t made any changes … it’s not an academic production. Why should students fork over €8 for an amateur performance? ...because it’s incredibly high standard, great effects, we’re using blood - just because it’s a student production doesn’t mean the performances are amateur.

Book-to-Film Adaptation: Where do you stand? While it may be a good film, Elaine McDonald asks “whether it is a good film version of the book?”


n a debate with friends over whether “The Shining” was an inadequate adaption or an improvement, while both sides had valid points; one side having watched the movie and the other having read the book, neither having done both. The reality is that while movie adaptions rely on stylistic tastes and opinions, it also depends on how well an individual can aggressively argue the merits of a book over a movie or vice versa. These adaptions notably face an immense strain due to box office expectations, the hopes of loyal fans and attempts to remain true to the original work. There are a few movies that garner genuine consensus in terms of atrociousness and irreparable harm they’ve caused to the film industry, and there will always be a few people who emerge from the shadows claiming that they read the book before it was a film, who feel that the wrong actors have been cast in certain roles. On the flip side, there are films which arguably have not only brought certain novels to a global platform but have spectacularly embodied the essence of the novel. The resulting movie may in fact be a good film, the question that must be asked is whether it is a good film version of the book?

One example of this are the later films of the Harry Potter franchise; bringing the brilliance and beauty of the novels to life, infusing them with actors that fulfilled our every expectation of each character. From the cheeky charm of the Weasley Brothers to the “Please, someone punch me in the face” expression that Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy) carried off with obvious ease. To the annoyance of the producers who had begun preparing contracts with an American ‘Chosen One’, J.K Rowling demanded that actors should only be chosen from a pool of Irish, English and Scottish talent. Yet this proved to be a fantastic decision, there was little dispute over the cast and they seemed to carry their magical charm outside of the realms of the silver screen. It has become one of the most loved series of adaptions, gaining itself much critical acclaim (Ed.’s note - I beg to differ). The reality is that these adaptions rely on the vision of the director, with re-makes of certain movies being a testament to this, most recently the Batman franchise (yes, I know it’s a comic book, close enough). Rebooted as a darker, more serious and politically aware series, Christopher Nolan sought to make the The Dark Knight a superior adaption. Gone were the

nipples on the bat suit(Batman and Robin 1997), the embarrassing villains and extremely childish take on a classic tormented hero. When the series was taken over by Nolan there wasn’t a preposterous cat mask in sight, replaced by binoculars with a feline flick when necessary. Many felt that the success of this adaption was not simply a result of removing Jim Carey in a green jumpsuit but the choice of cast that reflected Nolan’s own personal expectations. Christian Bale seemed the ideal embodiment of the moody billionaire Bruce Wayne and it didn’t hurt that he and Anne Hathaway were a pair of rides when poured into skintight costumes. The choice of cast played on having a mixture of current stars, such as Bale and Hathaway, and casting them alongside classic stars like Michael Cain. Not only did it feed into audience expectations, it also comforted them that there were capable actors taking up these much loved roles. However, Hollywood is not without its failure and sometimes would rather make a quick splash at the box-office rather than honoring its literary counterpart. One case of this was Dr Seuss’ much loved The Cat in the Hat, demonstrating how an actor’s largerthan-life personality can com-

pletely spoil a movie. The movie seemed to be more about Mike Myers dressed up as crass and painfully unfunny cat than telling the original story: gone were the lovable witticisms in favour of cringe slapstick. Granted, it is for kids but there’s a line. One reviewer for the Washington Post declared it to be “as creatively inspired as a giant hair ball”. Furthermore, there are some books, regardless of style, casting or any other aspect, that should never even make it straight to DVD -purely because the book is particularly awful as it is. Twilight is the epitome of this. As if Bella Swan hadn’t done enough harm, Kristen Stewart sought to set the feminist back another twenty years with the emotional range of a teaspoon. Indeed, the awkward, badly-written dialogue only made me want to be boiled in my own spit as a plank in a wig let herself become a vampire punching bag. Let’s not even get started on Robert Pattinson, trying to bring some equilibrium with 5 million facial expressions a minute and a demeanour that befitted a 108 year-old virgin vampire chasing a 17 year-old girl a little too well... Let us just be thankful that Twilight’s (un)dead and gone. Hon The Great Gatsby.

Biggest fear of what could happen? Someone will fall during part of the killing sequence. Do you prefer being on stage or directing? Ha both! How do you know I’m on stage?! I’ve loved directing the show but I love being on stage as well. Nervous? Excited. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street runs nightly 20th-24th November at 7.30pm in Astra Hall. Tickets €8/€10/€12. If you want to see your society featured here, email for all the deets.



Joesph Gallagher finds out if Hollywood can save the world

en Affleck’s third outing as a director makes certain to take its place alongside his previous two efforts in proving that Affleck is suited to helming more first-rate Hollywood movies for some time to come. Argo sees Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck), a former CIA operative, attempting to rescue six diplomats from Tehran during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis by means of a fake science fiction movie entitled, ‘Argo’. Affleck is joined by a string of highly regarded supporting actors that include: Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, and John Goodman.

The performances in this piece are terrific all round. Affleck and Cranston provide utilitarian performances; Arkin and Goodman provide the showier stuff. Credit is also due to the realism achieved by casting six relative unknowns as the diplomats. The screenplay by Chris Terrio, who previously directed Heights (2005), is soaked in cold-sweat tension and implausible situations that even the most persnickety viewer will disregard come the exciting climactic sequence. The directing is mature and Affleck is continuing to prove that he certainly has the

directing chops. An example of the maturity can be seen in a prologue made up of cartoons and documentary footage that lays out what led to the departure of the Westernsupported Shah and the arrival of the Ayatollah Khomeini and fundamentalist Islam. But Affleck isn’t afraid to direct the hell out of it at the same time and does so by quickening its pace to great effect and zooming in on its darkly comic humour. Credit is also due the lengths this movie goes to achieve a sense of time. The fashions are spot-on as are the various pieces of appa-

ratus that are used throughout the movie such as phones and copying machines. The inclusion of the old Warner Brothers’ logo and the relabeling the studio’s water tower set the time. Rodrigo Prieto’s cinematography further adds to that seventies’ vibe. Argo is one of the best movies of the year and it will certainly feature in this year’s awards season. Ask yourself: what could be more pleasing to voters than a movie that not only appeals to audiences and critics alike, but also suggests that Hollywood can, in fact, save the world?



Assassin’s Creed 3 Darragh O’Connor takes one final plunge into the world of Desmond Miles


fter a long wait Assassin’s Creed 3 has arrived. In the wake of the stellar Assassin’s Creed 2, gamers were presented with two addenda to the plot of Ezio Auditore da Firenze in AC: Brotherhood and AC: Revelations. Most have mixed feelings about these, and negative reactions seems to be owing to a longing for a conclusion of the gripping story five years in the making of Desmond Miles. Other than Halo 4 or Mass Effect 3, I cannot think of a game with more pre-release baggage this year. Assassin’s Creed 3 is an open world game, and, as the fifth in the series, fans should know what to expect. There are a few different plots that the game connects; the conclusion of Desmond Miles’ story as he tries to stop the coming doomsday of 21st 2012, the feud between Assassins and Templars and the main focus of the game (within the Animus) the story of Desmond’s ancestor, Ratonhnhaké:ton (adopted name “Connor”).

This portion of the game is set between 1753 and 1783, as we follow Connor against the backdrop of the American Revolution. This is very general, as the scope of this game is huge. You play as multiple characters during the 18th Century animus session, along with several side missions outside the Animus in 2012 as Desmond himself. Each of these locations are rendered amazingly and don’t fail to live up to the high standard set by it’s predecessors. This is very important as a major part of this game is exploration; based around the Frontier, the cities of Boston and New York. The Frontier will be a welcome addition for fans of Skyrim. Ubisoft have taken the more enjoyable elements from that world, and exported them to 18th Century America to create a “live” environment in which one can hunt, and complete side missions. The absence of tall buildings via the landscapes of Rome, Florence or Constantinople did have me

concerned that the free running aspect would be wasted, however the New World allows for the climbing of trees, cliffs, and other natural elements. In the cities themselves, Connor can jump through windows, onto trees, and rooftops - it is a new departure from the series’ norm, but it helps keep it fresh. The combat too has a different feel than the others with thousands of new animations, and counter-attacks now more difficult to perform. Open combat is punished, with the player being rewarded for stealth

kills instead. The counter system has been completely revamped, and in very much the same vain as the God of War series, buttons are pressed in a timed sequence during a cinematic. The tomahawk is the biggest learning curve in this game, replacing the hidden blade as the linchpin of the gamers arsenal. The ending of the game may be somewhat of a disappointment to fans, but it is a thrilling conclusion to a great series. The later missions do tend to drag, and feel a little repetitive. The biggest problem with

this game is Desmond as from a game play standpoint he is a nightmare. However the locations of his missions, and importance placed on your time when you play as him, make this acceptable. This is a must for fans of the series and fans of plot heavy games. Ubisoft again have captured the magic of this series i.e. using history as a background for their pseudo-history, rooted within secret societies and the mysteries that surround 2012. Assassin’s Creed 3 delivers all that was hoped.

“Arts are usually endemic to a culture”

le cool publisher Michael McDermott shoots the breeze with Conor Fox about how Dublin’s arts scene is evolving and why students should engage with it


ith over 15,500 subscribers, it’s arguable that le cool is the definitive guide to what’s happening in the city on any given day (apart from The Siren of course) “revealing what is worthwhile and the things that you really should not miss.” Publisher of the weekly online magazine Michael McDermott strongly believes Dublin’s art scene is thriving and not to be ignored on the global stage.

lished themselves as big players in the scene. McDermott feels this has had a positive rather than a negative effect on Dublin’s output with the exciting emergence of a DIY culture which isn’t relying on or driven by arts council grants. “People are doing it off their own bat but are also doing it in a collaborative barter sort of way so they’re trading skills and getting stuff off the ground”. This is particularly true for stu-

Dermott feels should be recognised on a greater sphere - particularly when it comes to the financing of it. He points to the ‘Your Country, Your Call’ competition as a media and PR driven campaign which he feels ultimately achieved nothing. “There must have been the guts of a million spent on it and instead of a million I would see that as two hundred five grand: what could have been done if two hundred different companies had been given five

“once you get your foothold in … you realise the world is bigger than the bubble you live within” “On the grand scheme of things, Dublin isn’t New York, it’s not London, it’s not Paris; [Dublin] doesn’t have that grandiose scalability of a city which gives it so much added extra to it,” acknowledges McDermott, “but it thrives and I think it’s always proven it stands head over heels.” He points out that Ireland is recognised worldwide for producing great writers and musicians - “it punches above its weight.” The crash of the Celtic Tiger has affected the arts just as much as any other sector, grants being less readily available and often only for those who have already estab-

dents and young people who have never had the opportunity of receiving a grant, “it’s all about connections and networks and supporting each other”. It’s allowing for a greater freedom of thought and creative expression with events happening “out of a necessity to make the city relevant and vibrant for themselves and for their friends ... producing something that will entertain themselves and their friends and will hopefully reach a wider audience.” The shift towards work produced for the individual rather than for the masses is a change Mc-

grand to get their seed idea off the ground?” McDermott accepts that it’s a lot easier to sell a concept to the media if there’s a “big grandiose scale of idea” but argues “bigger isn’t always better”. “The frustrating thing is that the really great people don’t want a lot of money they just want the support or recognition and it’s not there”. As for how students can get involved in Dublin’s art scene? “Just start somewhere.” Extolling the virtues of volunteering, McDermott explains that “you gotta start without a sense of expectation but with a sense of

what you can offer and that could be volunteering for [festivals] … there are people out there looking for students all the time and once you get your foothold in there then you start making connections, then you start networking and you realise the world is bigger than the bubble you live within”. Bringing him back to his point on how important collaboration is he states that “everybody else is doing it, maybe at a more advanced scale or a more connected scale but you’re all ultimately trying to

achieve the same thing; whether it’s putting on a theatre show in college or on the Abbey.” Pointing at how ThisIsPopBaby emerged from Dublin youth theatre McDermott feels that “it all builds as a cache of experience.” “Do something as opposed to thinking about it, or expecting it arrive to you. Be proactive.” le cool Dublin is a free weekly emagazine that can be subscribed to at @ lecooldublin”





Darragh O’Connor looks at fan cuts of films to see it they’re undoing mistakes or making new ones

Conor Fox suggests what shows to indulge in this Christmas


t’s said that a “Director’s Cut” allows the true vision of the director to be realised. These are usually backed by the studio and are considered mainstream, even canonical. What most people may not be a aware of is the other practice of editing films, dubbed “recuts.” These often present a new film entirely. Clive Barker’s Nightbreed is one of those films, that has achieved cult status, despite being a huge flop. This grand departure from Hellraiser was Barker’s attempt at a “Horror fan’s Star Wars.” The studio gutted the film, cutting more than an hour from the running time, and then packaged it as standard slasher film fare. Twenty-two years later, a film that claims to repair Barker’s vision has appeared. Russell Cherrington, supervising director of Nightbreed: The Cabal Cut, at this year’s Horrorthon discussed this process: “it is a composite of the theatrical cut and a VHS tape containing the missing footage that [was] found in the office of Clive Barker.” The Cabal Cut is a richer film. It is everything that the cult fans wanted. However the

Game of Thrones I’m hoping Santa brings me the books so I can give the TV show a go. For all the fantasy geeks out there, this is apparently one of the best shows to try with a unique world to explore. The characters are well written and acted, The Guardian said “characters so venomous, they could eat the Borgias.” Yikes. There’s meant to be sex and violence, followed by more violence and sex. Just the thing to liven up a lazy St. Stephen’s Day.

Girls “Living the dream. One obstacle at a time.” Lena Durham writes and stars in HBO’s Girls and with the main character based on her and her friends’ antics, she knows what she’s talking about. Living the life in New York until her parents stop funding her lifestyle, Durham’s forced to try to support herself. All the characters were inspired by Sex and the City to move to the big city in search of their dreams - TV characters inspired by other TV characters? It’s the Inception of my life.

Revenge I love Revenge. It’s not a guilty pleasure, it’s a flat out PLEASURE. It’s like Dallas except with more bitchy side glances and less shoulder pads. Emily Thorne rents a summer house in the Hamptons allegedly to enjoy an easy going summer. Turns out she’s actually Amanda Clarke, daughter of convicted-terrorist-but-actually-innocent-andnow-murdered David Clarke, and Emily/Amanda is back to wreak revenge on the Grayson family for setting up her father all those years before. How does she intend on doing that? By sleeping with the son and heir Daniel Grayson of course. Now that’s some revenge we could all get behind.

Fine fairings Not sure what to get who for this Christmas? If your friends and family are as arts-obsessed as The Siren, yule have no need to worry: Stephen West has got you covered

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Turning fifty this year, the James Bond movie franchise celebrated by releasing a box-set containing each of Bond’s 22 adventures (prior to Skyfall). You’ve got commentary tracks, vintage featurettes and deleted scenes. Other bonuses include a new documentary devoted to the franchise’s history and a second one of interviews of all six Bonds.

The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook It may be slightly stereotypical to give your mother a cookbook but feminism is so 2011 and when the recipes are this delish, who really cares? Inspired by the Emmy award winning series Downton Abbey, the recipes aren’t exactly student fare so encourage her to whip up some of Ethel’s Beloved Crepes Suzette and Bates’ Chicken and Mushroom Pie before you get the bus back to the Big Shmoke.

isolated event - from the standpoint of a sequel to Highlander, it is perfect. Star Wars Episode I.I: The Phantom Edit is a re-edited version of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace to “create a stronger film than what was released by George Lucas”. The changes in this edit include removing most of Jar Jar Binks’ scenes, limiting the discussion of midi-chlorians, trimming the politics, and removing “yippee” and “oops” from the young Anakin’s dialogue to give him stronger character. There were a total of 18 minutes cut from the original film, reducing the run time from 136 minutes to 118 minutes. Though unauthorized, this film is highly praised as it is an overall less offensive film, and much better than that of Lucas. Where is the line? Mike J. Nichols just made minor cuts to The Phantom Menace, while Mulcahy literally reconstructed his film from the ground up. Should these be accepted as legitimate, or even worthwhile? I believe that this is a helpful practice, as it highlights what can be done with a perceived “bad” film through masterful editing. The moral of the story is that not everything that can be put into a new cut, should be. The Cabal Cut - are you listening?

Finding Nemo: Ultimate Collector’s Edition Finding Nemo is probably one of the greatest films Pixar has released and it’s time to introduce it to those younger than you. Let them meet Nemo, Dorie and Marlin and go on a watery adventure. This edition is in Blu-ray and has a whole host of special features - including a virtual aquarium. It also gives you a fantastic excuse to watch it again and again. Just keep swimming guys, just keep swimming.

IFI Membership

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story is still rather nonsensical and falls apart in the third act with the wacko-like assault on the Midian. With a running time over two and a half hours, the movie is far too long and most of the third act’s additional scenes are of terrible quality. Due to their VHS tape origin, it has a drastically negative effect on the film. Cherrington stated that this was “the sixth attempt at it.” There is a good film here, but not everything needed to be included. Highlander II: The Quicking is so bad that not even Sean Connery managed to save it. Considered the “worst sequel ever” director Russell Mulcahy was shafted and not totally responsible for the 1991 version. Due to an unbelievable financial situation while shooting on location in Argentina, the value of Argentinian Peso unexpectedly plummeted and left the production broke in a matter of days. This forced the studio to piece together a film from the material that they had already shot. Mulcahy tried to repair his film. He renegotiated film rights, re-edited the scenes, and even rehired the actors to shoot new footage. This resulted in a film that is eighteen minutes longer, called Highlander II: The Renegade Version. It is a vast improvement, the nonsense is removed and it is a sequel to the first film instead of just a random

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For the cinema lover in your family, getting them a membership to the Irish Film Institute in Temple Bar is a great way to get into their good books. It entitles them to a free ticket, discounts on future tickets and food in the IFI Café Bar, updates on what the haps in Dublin’s movie world are, and a heck of a lot more. The Irish Film Institute preserves, presents and promotes film culture throughout Ireland and abroad; giving someone the gift of membership to the IFI allows them to experience the many benefits available while simultaneously providing a much needed support to the arts.

The Douche Journals: The Definitive Account of One Man’s Genius If someone you know is a fan of New Girl, it’s pretty likely that they also love Schmidt. You should hate him for the douche that he is but he somehow comes off a little bit adorable. This cute read catalogs every single ridiculous thing (with bonus charts and photos) Schmidt has said that has forced him to put money into the beloved and infamous Douchebag Jar. It includes a foreword by Schmidt’s best friend and roommate, the long suffering Nick. Just like the TV show, Winston’s pretty much absent.

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Joseph Gallagher gives you the rundown on this week’s latest releases

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part II

The Master

Director: Bill Condon

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

Stars: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner

Stars: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, and Amy Adams

Plot: After the birth of Renesmee, the Cullens gather other vampire clans in order to protect the child from a false allegation that puts the family in front of the Volturi.

Plot: A Naval veteran arrives home from war unsettled and uncertain of his future - until he is tantalized by The Cause and its charismatic leader.

Why watch it? You support vegetarianism and like the fact that Edward Cullen is a vegetarian vampire. Also Edward is, like, so much hotter than Jacob. Totally. Why not watch it? A vegetarian vampire … what?!

Why watch it? You’re a Scientologist and you wan’t to make sure there are no “fat” jokes in relation to Lancaster Dodd who happens to be inspired by L. Ron Hubbard. Why not watch it? Those Scientology leaflets you may have received have made you want to stay away from anything remotely based off or influenced by it.


Don’t Miss This! The Big Question—The Grand Music Quiz Taking place in The Grand Social and in aid of Crumlin’s Childrens Hospital, what better way to show off your music knowledge while doing it for the kids at the same time. Running from 8am until 5pm that day, there’s time for everyone to give it a shot. €10, 8am to 5pm, November 21st, The Grand Social.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Toy Launch


Silver Linings

Director: Michael Hoffman

Director: David O. Russell

Stars: Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz, Alan Rickman

Stars: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro

Plot: An art curator decides to seek revenge on his abusive boss by conning him into buying a fake Monet, but his plan requires the help of an eccentric and unpredictable Texas rodeo queen.

Plot: After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own.

Why watch it? The Coen Brothers wrote the screenplay. Why not watch it? They didn’t direct it.

De rouille et d’os

Why watch it? It may be a better love story than Twilight. Why not watch it? You’re a Twihard.

Don your beret and join Aoife Byrne in looking at her pick from this year’s French Film Festival: Rust and Bone


ust and Bone, a FrenchBelgian film directed by Jacques Audiard, follows the turbulent romance of orca whale trainer Stéphanie (Marion Cotillard) and immigrant bare knuckle boxer Ali (Matthias Schoenarets) as they attempt to help each other combat feelings of loss, trauma, and dispossession. The idyllic Cote d’Azur town of Antibes presents the backdrop for the unlikely pair of lovers. Initially, Stéphanie and Ali’s differences in socio-economic background make them a dubious match, but after Stéphanie suffers a tragic workplace accident she is forced to reevaluate her life by broadening her horizons. Marion Cotillard, unsurprisingly, gives a moving performance, while Matthias Schoenarets’ rose to the challenge of depicting the

emotionally-stunted Ali in an engaging and unalienating manner. Similarly, their stormy relationship is dealt with in a refreshing and thought-provoking method; it could very well have devolved into melodrama, yet it is handled sensitively without being overly sentimental. Rust and Bone thrives in its communication that Stéphanie has gained more than she has lost through the accident. At first, there is a visible emptiness and falsity to her life, which is best expressed in the cringe-worthy, saccharine scene where she dances to Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’ while orca whales jump into the air all around her. Thankfully, Stéphanie and Ali’s consequent quests for self-discovery are more subtly portrayed. The film was nominated for the

2012 Palme d’Or and won Best Film at the BFI London film festival, and it shows. It’s a visually stunning piece of work. Shot with a hazy, ethereal quality, the fogginess underpins the mental uncertainty of the main characters as they endeavour to come to terms with their inner conflicts. This being said, the film is not without its faults. The disordered plot is a bit jarring. This problem perhaps arose in adaptation; the film is loosely based on an amalgamation of two very different short stories, ‘Rocket Ride’ and ‘Rust and Bone’ by Canadian writer Craig Davidson. The question remains whether the stories mesh well at all. For instance, the plotline surrounding Ali’s inability to hold down a steady job is curtailed to emphasise his ambition to become a professional boxer. Nonethe-

less, the director’s heavy editing of the subplot gives the audience the distinct impression that it is unresolved, leaving a bad taste. The long-running release of Rust and Bone coincides with the French Film Festival 2012 underway at the IFI for the month of November. The festival will see prolific French actors and directors such as Juliette Binoche, Benoit Jacquot, and Reba Kateb, to name a few, involved in the promotion of French film. Films billed for the festival celebrate French contributions to world cinema at the Oscars, as well as the best from Cannes. Perhaps most interesting however, is the ‘First Time Directors’ aspect, which gives well-deserved recognition to new names in French cinema, like Alice Winocour, Elie Wajeman and Héléna Klotz.

For all the eighties kids out there, Smyths is putting on a show with the launch of the highly anticipated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys. Jervis Street’s store has been chosen as the lucky store to launch the toys before anyone else in Ireland, and with Turtle giveaways on the day, it’s a blast from the past well worth heading out for. TURTLE POWER. Doors open 7am, November 24th , Smyths, Jervis Street.

The Staves This sister act from Watford is one not to be missed. Haunting harmonies and a timing that’ll give you shivers, the trio are gracing the fantastic Whelan’s with their presence on the 25th. Doors open at 8pm and tickets are going for the meagre price of €15: a bargain. €15, 8 pm, November 25th, Whelan’s.

Green Eggs and Ham: A Dr Seuss Exhibition Fourteen different artists explore and interpret the words and art of Dr Seuss. This exhibition takes a look at the dark and surreal side to the stories, the characters and bizarre situations, and the interesting parallels that be drawn today of social priorities and the absurd parodies found in his tales. Free, 3pm-11pm, until November 29th, White Lady Art Gallery, Wellington Quay.



She’s a lady… and she knows she’s got style! She’s a final year Arts student who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to take it: Lisa Gorry chats to up and coming fashionista, Erin Grant.


he’s the girl we all want to be. With a killer sense of style and time management skills I could only dream of, Erin Grant, final year English, History and Women’s Studies student in NUIG, is really making a name for herself in the vintage underground. Having set up Runway Rabbits in June of this year, Erin, along with her housemate partner Emma, has not only managed to entice Irish stars, such as MayKay of Fight Like Apes fame, to partake in a bit of vintage clothes clawing, but has also bagged herself a fashion show commissioned by Tony & Guy and made a proper name for herself among the vintage markets in Galway. With ever the eye for expansion, I asked Erin how this “wonderful idea materialized” came to fruition. Things are really taking off for Runway Rabbits these days! What sparked its creation? “Yeah, things are going really well at the moment! Runway Rabbits was an idea which hit me one sunny summer morning while I was taking notes on my bed. Fashion is something which drives me and I approached my housemate Emma with the idea of selling our clothes to make money. We’re both students so, it was desperately needed because at the time I had no job and I was saving for college. Emma had some excellent ideas and together we created our own business.” As a final year student, it’s insane to believe that one girl can manage it all. How do you balance college with the business?

“Finding the balance between this and college was easy for me because I enjoy having heaps of tasks. I really can’t sit still for a minute and I always need to be writing, creating or planning something. It is a big thing to take on a business, blog, part-time job and college all at the same time but my way of balancing is to always pick things you enjoy. If you enjoy all the things you do - you’ll make time for them. I also sit down every Sunday with a cuppa’ tea and create a rough plan for the week. It’s all about time management.” It’s a fantastic inspiration for students, like yourself, who are looking to make a living out of something they love and that drives them. Any advice for those students looking to give it a go? “My tips for anyone who wants to start up their own business are pretty simple. I think you need to be very focused on what you want from your business. You need to be 100% ready for the commitment and I always think that if you’re going to start you need to work out is there a market for what you want to do. We were blessed with setting up in Galway as the market for unique style here is very large. If someone tells you that your idea is worthless then ignore them. You need to pursue your passion with a readiness to fail at first, but the ability to always get back up and continue. The best people go through lots of problems before they get where they want to be.”

With all these big ideas on the go you must have mighty plans for the future! Care to share? “I have so many plans for the future for Runway Rabbits! Emma and I keep being approached asking do we have a shop so, eventually that would be a wonderful thing to have. Since the summer the company has gone from strength to strength and we really are amazed with the amount of people who support what we do! The biggest thing we have planned at the moment is in December. We were approached by Toni & Guy in Galway and asked to host our very own fashion show! As you can imagine, this is an incredible opportunity for us. It really is my dream to organize a show so I am really overwhelmed by this idea.” Finally, three style icons? “David Bowie, Alexander McQueen, Marilyn Monroe” If you’re looking for more from this feisty fashionista, you can check out her blog,, which frequently hosts competitions and keeps you up to date on how Runway Rabbits is going. Alternatively, you can find them on Facebook, Runway Rabbits Clothing, and on their website, rrclothing.wix. com/runwayrabbitsclothing. Here come the girls!


Style Icon: Sofia Coppola Miceala O’Donovan discusses this week’s style icon, Sofia Coppola


orn into Hollywood royalty, Sofia is the daughter of The Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola. She interned with Chanel in Paris at just fifteen, before becoming a model, frequently featuring in music videos during the 90’s including Madonna’s Deeper and Deeper. She started clothing line ‘Milk-fed’ with Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon, designed handbags for Louis Vuitton, and is best friends with Marc Jacobs as well as being the muse and face of his 2002 fragrance. Her films are all visually striking, with her 1999 adaptation of The Virgin Suicides providing major inspiration for renowned fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson and her dazzlingly stylised 2006 biopic Marie Antoinette. The commercials she has directed in recent years are equally stunning including the iconic image of ‘Miss Cherie Dior’ floating over Paris rooftops by a fistful of candy-coloured balloons as well as that of the Marni collection for H&M. She is currently shooting her 2013 film, Bling Ring starring Emma Watson, telling the true story of a group of fashion obsessed teenagers who burgled 3 million dollars worth of designer clothes, bags, shoes and jewellery from the homes of some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. A plot premise many readers here can probably sympathize with…



Keira Knightley Her Erdem gown for the Anna Karenina premiere – speechless.

Androgyny Currently style-crushing on both Andrej Pejic and Vod from Channel Four’s Fresh Meat… a winning combo.

Fur collars Grown up 1940’s glamour. So luxurious and toasty warm!

The Balenciaga Saga


Lauren Tracey looks at Nicolas Ghesquiere’s iconic designs for Balenciaga, and the significance of his departure from the house


or Balenciaga fans everywhere it seems that an end of an era has arrived. The incredibly talented and greatly respected Nicolas Ghesquiere has announced his departure from the iconic brand. Founded in 1919 by the Spaniard Cristobal Balenciaga, the house’s couture business prospered for almost 40 years right through to the 1960’s, when the house began to lose both customers and power of influence due to a lack of design leadership. However, in 1997, the floundering fashion house received an injection of fresh ideas and creativity through the appointment of Nicolas Ghesquiere, who was just 25 years of age. At the same time, Ghesquiere had been designing for the brands Japanese line, and was plucked for the prominent position to the surprise of many. Under his influence the brand began to regain its former lustre and prowess, transforming into the fashion power house we know it as today. So what exactly is it about Ghesquiere’s designs that altered Balenciaga and created a fashion forward brand with powerful, trendsetting abilities? Many fashion critics put it down to his distinctively mod-

ern and original vision. American Vogue described him as fashions “most sought-after and influential figure.” He is credited with creating the modern woman’s silhouette, comprising of skinny pants with a voluminous and vibrant top, completely reinvigorating the concept of the female shape. One of his most iconic collections consisted of

structured cocoon like dresses, with audaciously jarring floral prints. He often works with new fabrics, employing technological advances in his designs, in a way that many of his contemporaries choose to avoid. The question on everyone’s mind at the moment: why is Ghesquiere leaving the fashion house that earned him unparalleled critical success? There has been intense media speculation in the days since the announcement of his departure. Cathy Horyn of the New York Times has an interesting take on the Balenciaga Saga. Indicating that Ghesquiere is seeking more creative freedom, such as that which has been given to the newly appointed creative director of YSL, Hedi Slimane, she concluded: “Mr Ghesquiere could wind up doing something with LVMH (there is already talk about that), or just take a little break.” There are also reports that Ghesquiere holds a 10% stake in Balenciaga, which would leave him in a better position financially to launch his own label. Wherever Ghesquiere goes, with talent such as his he is sure to make an impact, regardless of whether that is at an established house or his own label.

Copy cats Check out Azealia Banks’ new video for Atlantis then watch Rihanna’s SNL performance of Diamonds… very “fishy”. Team Azealia!

The Breaking Dawn red carpet a bit of a fashion-fail parade.

Coloured contacts after Halloween Fine for zombies, just plain weird on the living…

Micaela O’Donovan

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