A Note From the Editor ‘Ello ‘ello ‘ello... ...and welcome one and all to the first edition of this new born mag. Sure it‟s a little rough around the edges, but then we‟re still in nappies so be patient with us. Right so for those of you that haven‟t heard, we are a brand spanking new arts mag, located primarily on the web for now. All we want to do is add to the discourse that already exists in the arts whilst maybe even initiating a few discussions ourselves. Who knows? Our aim is just for everybody to talk with passion in their voices and a sparkle in their eyes, whilst we provide the perfect platform from which to do it. For this first issue some bright little spark came up with the idea of christening it the premier edition and making it, in some way or other, all about firsts...so behind our sunrise cover, we kick off the „pen and ink‟ section with a short story about a dance of death on virgin snow. This is followed by a consideration of originality and the arrival of sound in Hollywood for „end scene‟ and last but not least a tale of how innovation in social networking has changed our relationship and proximity to certain areas of the music industry fills „the stave‟. Keep your eyes peeled in future issues for a further section with some fine art/art and design features or anything else with which your imaginations care to furnish us. But for now, please buckle your seatbelts and prepare for quite a ride...at least the best we could come up with as first timers, in this the first issue of The Cutting Room Floor! All the best. Peace out.
A Sixth form student from Cambridge, sheâ€™s dynamite with a laser beam, guaranteed to blow your mind. Someone told her she was laid back once. It was the biggest compliment sheâ€™d ever received.
Is said to have more in common with those of the feline persuasion than those of any two legged kind. This is due to an incurable habit of searching through bins for scraps. The results of these nocturnal expeditions can be found nestled within these pages.
Having purposefully reached the age of twenty-one with only minor bumps and bruises, he has spent the last three years studying film (for what purpose you might ask). However as a consequence he has a cursory and very occasionally insightful knowledge of the subject. He has great aspirations to be Bob Dylan or Jack Kerouac but is beginning to doubt this is a possibility.
Developed a condition at a tender age where by tiny little pieces of film negative find their way into the body via the blood stream after viewing and have a wayward effect on the brain. Sill struggling to cope with the symptoms of said cinematic malady, it is both a wonder and a miracle
that anything resembling a university level of study was achieved. Having finally finished her English and Classics degree she sits down to write this with a sigh of relief.
PEN + INK
The Hunter He lay upon the white earth, still. As much at peace with the world now as he was when he came into it. Eyes shut. A centurion guarding the way to the golden gates. He was a star in the snow. The staircase starts here. Beside this flesh lay grey fur. Grey fur and knowing eyes. Little black pools that could scan the soul. A nose that could smell lies, could follow their sweetly toxic scent for many miles through three feet of snow. He found his breath hard to catch as he watched this broken piece of man. Eyes shut. A moment earlier he had been running. Fast. As fast as the bullet that was about to hit him, ploughing through the snow, coughing and sneezing simultaneously as little white flakes found their way into the soft, sensitive areas deep inside his nose. Head down he settled into a jog. There was for a long time no scent. The wind seemed to laugh as it rushed past his ears, swam in currents around him. Life was quieter amongst the trees. Usually. Not today, but usually. Sniff sniff. Sniff sniff. No trail, still just layers of a cold featherlike substance that once on his paws melted. He sat down, breath dancing in a thick mist in front of his eyes. And then he felt it â€“ the pungent smell of...Bang. Falsehoods. A searing pain at the hip. Too late. He turned around teeth bared moisture in his eyes. Blinking back at him were the hollow promises of a double barrelled shot gun. With lightning speed he charged at it. His teeth dug into the shallow flesh of human shin. The leg began to shake. He held on. Cold metal blows rained down upon his back and neck and shoulders. He let go. Tumbling over and over. The sky sprouted trees. The trees sprouted sky, the ground turned a tired sort of blue. Bang. Right in the side. Hot lead. A steady outward flow of juices. He stumbled on the log now flat on his back, legs in the air. With his last burst of strength he flew through the air and sunk his jowls into the jugular. Warm red liquid gushed past his lips, painted his gums with pure bright anger. And that was how it came to be still, the flesh. Eyes shut. The star that marked the spot upon the snow.
Tail limp and heavy the fur assumed his spot. Eyes like tar that could swallow any subject, a nose sharp as a knife. He lay himself down on his pillow of snow. Dripping his warmth onto the ice. His muscles were stiff and sore. A sticky substance trickled around his jaw. Things were becoming dimmer. The dance of the wind had become harder to decipher. Once again a snowflake settled in the soft part of his nose. He tried to heave it away. It quickly melted. The cubs. They would not know what had happened, where he had gone. He would leave them a message. Before he settled into his duvet of unearthly white, he sat back on his haunches and howled his goodbye to the winds.
riginal Si n O
Pirates of the Carribean At Worlds End Walt Disney Pictures
People are often scared to try new things. This is fact. Films often tend to be fiction, so what happens when you combine the two? Cinema, of course, is the most commercial of all of the arts; powerful producers tend to dictate the pace of the industry and it is very rare that we bear witness to something that‟s truly new and innovative – after all, the potential losses that taking such a risk incurs could cripple an entire studio. The apparent solution? Stick with the familiar, invent a sequel (or, if we‟re very lucky, a prequel) with an established formula and watch with greedy eyes as the cash registers continue to ker-ching. And, inevitably, they will, and I‟m not entirely sure whether it reflects worse on the filmmakers who create their films using such recognised blueprints, or on us, the audience, who continue to pay to see such offerings as Pirates of the Caribbean: At World‟s End or Spider Man 3. If you look at the top twenty highest-grossing
films ever made, they provide an apt confirmation of this trend. Of these twenty films, thirteen are sequels – you could even stretch it to fourteen if you include Avatar as a sequel to Pocahontas.
What happens if we take things a step further? If we‟re searching for true originality, a real first, then we can‟t include adaptations from books or comics. Obviously I‟m not saying that I believe books should always stay as books; countless wonderful adaptations have made their way from the discoloured pages in tattered paperbacks to the glory of the silver screen. In fact, I think that people get too hung up about whether a film was “loyal” to its source material, as if the filmmakers somehow owe something to the readers of the book. Cinema and literature are completely different media; comparing them is like criticising wholemeal bread because it doesn‟t taste as good as white. (Which is true, by the way.) Nothing angers me more than when a devout reader lets loose a huge diatribe because Tom Bombadil wasn‟t included in the Lord of the Rings films. He was a pointless character, not necessary to the plot or really anything else and the film is better because they wrote him out. Get over it. Anyway, if we remove all the book “ People get too adaptations ( which includes waving a tearful goodbye to Jurassic Park) it hung up on leaves us with two remaining films in the top twenty highest-grossing. whether a film Suddenly the imagination and was “loyal” to capacity for the film world to create something truly individual is looking its source less than impressive. Let‟s tighten our material” parameters even further. For something to be genuinely innovative, surely it has to have its own story, be a true product of fiction? Everyone loves the occasional „based on a true story‟, but to concentrate a series of genuine and documented events into a two hour screenplay involves less pure creativity than imagining a whole story from nothing at all. That rules out Titanic, then, though even if you disregarded this rule, you‟d be pretty hard-pressed to come up with a way that Titanic is innovative and original in any manner. Though the way that it bored me sincerely to the point where I was willing EVERY character to perish quickly but painfully was perhaps a bold move. Maritime merriment aside, that means that of the twenty all time highestgrossing films at the box office, nineteen have been eliminated in the search for true originality. Only one remains, and I bet you can‟t guess what it is.
Finding Nemo Walt Disney Pictures
Go on, give it a go. Nothing? Well then, sneaking in at number twenty on the list, sandwiched between The Fellowship of the Ring and Revenge of the Sith, is the beautiful and beguiling Finding Nemo. Of course, it had to be the geniuses at Pixar who could materialise the holy combination of box office heft with true ingenuity. There‟s no denying that Finding Nemo is a truly original film, both in terms of its contemporary technology and its blend of heart, character, story, and visuals. Whilst Avatar is undeniably innovative in terms of technology, cinema isn‟t simply a showcase for how clever your technicians can be. Avatar suffers from a generic story, average acting and an offensively poor screenplay, but it‟s almost kind of alright because we‟re so distracted by things trying to hit us in the face. The makers of Nemo, on the other hand, recognise that without the originality of character and story to supplement the impressive technology, the film wouldn‟t be cinema. It would just be pixels on a screen arranged in a pretty fashion. A true „first‟ then is apparently something that‟s relatively rare to come by. Though they do exist (the dysfunctional brilliance of Little Miss Sunshine or the genre ingenuity of Let the Right One In), films that display that intangible freshness about them usually seem to pale at the box office in comparison to generic and familiar fodder. And it‟s a terrible shame. It means, however, that when one of those sparkling new offerings does appear, it makes it all the more enjoyable and we feel as if we are sitting on the edge of our seat, watching something truly special. I, for one, spend far too much time sunk back in the depths of said chair, at the edge nowhere near as often as I ought to be.
The Sonic Tsunami The coming of sound to Hollywood
At some point between the late 1920‟s and early 30‟s a great many of the biggest stars in the cinematic firmament disappeared, literally over night. They were swallowed up, became victims of the dream factory that they themselves had helped to establish and create over a period of some 20 or more years. It was in this way that the careers of the likes of Mary Pickford and John Gilbert, the George Clooney and Kate Winslet of their day were brought abruptly to an end. But why? What could facilitate the silencing of so many prodigious talents over such a short space of time? The answer is sound. At the twilight of the silent era many an actor and studio executive sat nervously in wait to see if they “Why was it so would successfully break the sound barrier. The Queen of the screen and difficult for the sparkliest jewel in the MGM audiences and crown a certain Miss Greta Garbo bided her time in order to select the artists to perfect project with which to make the reconcile the leap in storytelling. In fact when she old with the finally came to making her first talkie Anna Christie at the very dawn of the new?” 30‟s audiences were left staring at the screen for at several minutes before she makes an appearance and several more before she utters a word. Luckily for her, the deep sultry Swedish tones with which she was gifted were a perfect match for the new dimension which had been added to the cinema going experience. So what about storytelling had changed? Why was it so difficult for audiences and therefore these artists to reconcile the old with the new? Perhaps it had something to do with the moving of the
Greta Garbo (1930) Clarence Sinclair Bull
parameters of fact and fiction as they stood then. In reality, ergo in fact, human beings had voices with which to communicate with one another, in the world of make believe, ergo in fiction, they did not. The characters in the visual stories at the time were forced into violent and exaggerated physical movement in order to achieve a coherent method with which to project their emotions on the screen. These moving images in other words had no voice save that which the audience‟s imaginations gave them. And what was so peculiar about that? Here the same amount of distance existed between audience members and the characters which kept them entertained existed in the reading of the title cards on screen as between reader and writer in any “What it did novel available at the time. Suddenly to our instead of silence, audible words emerged expectations of from these two dimensional mouths. If looking directly at cinema cannot the audience can be classed as breaking th be compared the invisible 4 wall, then the coming of sound could be said to have broken with any other something of a „5th wall‟ which existed at development in the time. A sensation which can only be the field” understood when experiencing the less frequent although often times uncomfortable breaking of the 4th wall in any cinematic story of recent times. Even today this technique is often applied as a gimmick; imagine the adjustment that would have to be made if an intrusion such as this was here to stay. But as terrifying as change can appear it is ultimately synonymous with progress. What the coming of sound did to our expectations of cinema cannot be compared with any other development to date in the field. What audiences were asked to do in a very real way, for the first time was accept whilst under the suspension of disbelief, an ever increasing level of documentary reality on their screens. The dawn of the talkies set off in relatively rapid succession- when one acknowledges that cinema is only just over a century old – the invention of colour, steadily less melodramatic acting and rigid filming techniques. With these developments in place we then created CGI and most recently 3D techniques in order for us to feel that we have attained the satisfactory level of recognition between
the fictional world and ours that the introduction of sound taught us to expect. The phenomena of sound inevitably did much for the development of production techniques behind the camera as well. As a plethora of clever technicians built their careers on jumping over ever more demanding hurdles in an effort to keep up or even remain one step ahead of the latest innovation - or fashion as cynics might call them - in storytelling; Perhaps most significantly of all, these technicians and performers within this relative fraction of a second in the pretelevision age, brought audiences composed largely of the everyday folk, who by the early thirties were reeling from the impact of the great depression, not only closer to a make believe world far from the hardships of their own time, but close also the glamorous and seemingly ethereal stars of which it was composed. This vocal tidal wave then not only set off a series of technologically mind blowing cinematic occurrence like a chain of dominoes, the genealogy of which is clearly visible on screens today. But it provided a bridge, a means with which to further deepen the cinematic experience and afford audience member a way with which to audibly communicate with their dreams.
W h y s p a c e ?
Is the death of Myspace also the death of new music? The year was 2007 and I had finally made the migration from Bebo (oh the shame!) to MySpace. A lot had changed about me that year; I had banished my tracksuit bottoms in favour of skinny jeans and had an entirely new wardrobe of friends to choose from. One day I stumbled across a girl‟s profile through mutual friends and instantly knew I wanted to be her friend. She was cool, older, and every time I went on her profile the thumping intro to The Teenagers „Homecoming‟ exploded through my speakers. The lyrics “last week I flew to San Diego to see my auntie / on day one I met her hot step daughter / she‟s a cheerleader, she is a virgin and she is really tanned” sung in an ironic monotonous French accent intrigued me no end, so I decided to check out their profile. It was there that things really began to kick off. I discovered other songs such as “French Kiss” an unusually romantic song about kissing a girl while watching Dirty Dancing, and “Sunset Beach” about one band member having a one night stand with a girl who then stole his Jazz Master keyboard while he slept. I also learnt a bit about this fascinating band. The Teenagers, consisting of Quentin Delafon, Michael Szpiner and Dorian Dumont, were formed one drunken boxing day in the heart of Paris around a table of frozen pizza and vodka in 2005. Initially the band, fronted by 26 year old Delafon, was to be a joke, mocking internet bands and their virtual groupies. Sure enough, within a week, and despite having no music on their page, the band had received their first fan message. A naïve teenage catalyst named Nicole (who had kindly included some naked pictures of herself for the band‟s enjoyment). Thus, the band‟s first song „Fuck Nicole‟ was born. It soon became apparent that it was not only Nicole who enjoyed their tight T-shirt clad, French charm image that the all-male trio emitted and luckily they weren‟t too bad at the music side of things either. They produced a debut album in early 2008 and soon made
lots of English, French and American girls happy with their soft French accents making even the most misogynistic lyrics sound like a chat up line (when have the words "Do you want to have a shower before you leave?" ever made a girl feel beautiful before?). So it was inevitable that eventually other internet music sensations would latch on to their success. “Hey, check out Soko‟s vocals on our song Homecoming” read one of the band‟s posts. Who is Soko you ask? Soko, also French, was my second venture into the big world of internet music. Soko hadn‟t released any albums and all of her music sounded as though it had been recorded in her bedroom, but her cutesy Paris chic was enough to draw even the cynics in – and of course by „cynics‟ I mean Myspace users. Even if you weren‟t already convinced, lyrics like “She stole my future, she broke my dream / I‟ll kill her” sung to a practically lullaby-esque tune, would hypnotise anyone.
“They sounded „I heart Crystal one of Soko‟s like a deranged cat onto Crystal ventured. The had been let loose male/female duo, on a Nintendo 64” cartoon character could not be any then the previous heavily lyrical based sound.
Castles!!‟ read posts. So it was Castles I Canadian named after He-Man‟s home, more different French act‟s
Crystal Castles sounded like a deranged cat had been let loose on a Nintendo 64 and then the entire product had been chucked though a synthesiser. No one should like Crystal Castles, it was as though Alice Glass and Ethan Kath had taken the dictionary definition of a song and reversed it… But that‟s why it was so good! It was new, it was edgy, and it was experimental. The occasional scream from Alice also didn‟t hurt. By this time it was July 2008 and MySpace girl and I were now best friends. While holidaying with her and her family in Italy I received a birthday card from my Mother back in England, in it were two tickets for Crystal Castles live at Camden‟s Electric Ballroom. MySpace music was spilling into my real world.
Fast forward to now, January 2010 and nearly three years later, what has changed? I‟m still close friends with MySpace girl but my Crystal Castles and The Teenagers CDs (yes I actually bought the CDs!) are gathering dust in the depths of my bedroom mess. No longer do unsigned bands reign over my iPod, instead I find myself going back, way back to The Velvet Underground, Jefferson Airplane and The Mamas and The Papas - music that ruled the airwaves way before the internet, or computers for that matter. MySpace has crumbled, the same way that Piczo and Bebo did before and now Facebook rules the internet social network. While there are still pages for bands and musicians, there is yet to be a media player added to these pages, and let‟s face it, listening to the music is essentially the reason why we like musicians right? Now we have to follow links to YouTube and other external sites, which we are less likely to do given our hectic lifestyles. The “Eye Candy” bands that people follow eg. JLS, Justin Beiber, The Saturdays, Cheryl Cole, will flourish on Facebook. However, the idiosyncratic Teenagers and Soko were perfectly suited to Myspace and the twisting web-like network that lead to them is disappearing. I miss it.
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The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of the magazine. All work is the property of the respective authors.