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ISSUE 8 10 MARCH 2014

LONDON’S BEST ARTS AND CULTURE: CURATED

LONDON’S ALTERNATIVE HOUSING / BEST SOHO RECORD STORES / AN INSIDE LOOK AT MEADHAM KIRCHHOFF / LONDON FASHION WEEK / A CHAT WITH LOVEPARK / ZOE PILGER ON HER DEBUT NOVEL / UNSEEN ARCHIVE IMAGES


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READ FULL ISSUES ONLINE: WWW.LONDON-STUDENT.NET/THE-SMOKE COVER: PHOTOGRAPHY NIGEL PACQUETTE, DESIGN EMMA ALLWOOD


the smoke FROM THE EDITORS How do we have seven issues behind us? And how is this, the eighth issue, our last? Here’s how: spending up to 16 hours a day in the office. Proofreading six times each issue. Chasing people up through email, text and Facebook. And amidst the stress of it all, remembering the wonderful people who keep us sane and running. We owe a lot to our section editors, contributors and the London Student team. In this last issue, we gave thought to the phenomena so unique to this city: the increasingly difficult housing market making people choose to live in alternative spaces rather than traditional houses and flats; the musical sanctuary of old and well-loved record shops in a small corner of Soho; art industry insiders, though each occupying very different roles, responding to the present and future of the London art scene. We hope we’ve amassed content fit for the final issue. Neither of us fully expected the sheer amount of time, effort and energy this would take – after all, we both only applied to be section editors, not editors-in-chief. But we’re incredibly glad to have had this opportunity. We learned more about London in the last half a year than we ever

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did in the previous years we’ve lived here. We found out how incredibly talented and creative University of London students were; gave up Tesco almost entirely after finding the cheapest and freshest fruit stalls; had great moments of recuperation and indulgence after finding the best upcoming techno events. Now that we’re done with The Smoke, we look forward to actually doing many the things we’ve been writing about. We don’t know what’s going to happen to ULU, given the UoL management’s proposal to close it – amongst the many indispensable things about a student union, student media is of great importance, and we hope the London Student can continue. It is a precious source of information for both sides: what we learned in the process of founding and running this magazine is immeasurable. We sincerely thank you for your support, and wish all the best to future London Student staff, and look forward to seeing their new Arts & Culture section, unless we are all rubbed out under the boot of UoL senior managerial staff.

EMMA & RENA

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WHAT’S INSIDE 4-5 – FEATURES London’s alternative housing: warehouse living, life on a boat and squatting 6-7 – FEATURES Sounds of Soho: our best loved record stores off the high street 8 – MUSIC A chat with Lovepark on band names and evil promotors 9 – MUSIC Live & album reviews, feat. Katy B, Bombay Bicycle Club, Jandek & more 10-11 – ARTS Six art industry insiders answer six questions 12 – FASHION Highlights from London Fashion Week 13 – FASHION Behind the veil: Meadham Kirchhoff tell us about their AW14 show

EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Emma Hope Allwood Rena Minegishi thesmoke@london-student.net

14 – FILM An interview with Luke Blackett, head of UCL Film Society, on the importance of supporting student filmmakers

SUB EDITOR Anna Tomlinson

DESIGNER / FASHION EDITOR Emma Hope Allwood fashion@london-student.net

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ARCHIVE EDITOR Gaby Laing archive@london-student.net

16 – BOOKS Zoe Pilger discusses her debut novel Eat Your Heart Out

ARTS EDITORS Costanza Beltrami Liza Weber arts@london-student.net

BOOKS EDITOR Elizabeth Metcalfe books@london-student.net

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FILM EDITOR

FOOD EDITOR Bryony Bowie food@london-student.net

19 – FOOD Italian baked goodness from Princi / going gourmet with GBK

MUSIC EDITOR George McVicar music@london-student.net

Sarah Fortescue theatre@london-student.net

TRAVEL EDITOR James Hodge travel@london-student.net

17 – BOOKS Five lesser known dystopian novels / Independent bookshops: Claire de Rouen, London’s only specialist fashion and photography bookshop 18 – THEATRE Diane ‘Philomena Cunk’ Morgan on comedic treasures of misery and shit jobs / Royal Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty in Covent garden cinemas

Kit Harwood screen@london-student.net

THEATRE EDITOR

15 – FILM Short Sighted Cinema, a magazine and regular night dedicated to short films / the cult cinema night at The Good, Bad and Unseen

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20 – TRAVEL Alternative guide to Northern Ireland 21 – DAYS & NIGHTS We present London’s best events, 10 March to beyond 22-23 – FROM THE ARCHIVES Unseen images found in the archive

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IN FOCUS

As students, many of us have probably had similar living experiences: we’ve stayed in halls and shared flats or houses with friends. Our pockets have probably been emptied by vampiric estate agents, our roofs left leaking by absent landlords. We probably don’t know our neighbours’ names. Despite London’s diversity, its rental market is surprisingly homogenous and universally despised. In the face of soaring rents and rising disillusionment, Londoners are looking for alternatives, for ways of living on their own terms. But what lies beyond the normal rental market?

ALTERNATIVE LIVING IN LONDON

T E H O U S E R E S ID E N R A W : EN N PA IS PI OSSI Ossi is a photographer originally hailing from Finland. Since graduating from Swansea Metropolitan University, he has been living in north London’s warehouse communities for two and a half years. A few months ago he started the blog Manor House Project, which contains images he has taken since first moving into the community, documenting the life there and the people that occupy them. Completely legal, the communities are housed in converted ex-industrial buildings, where residents live in groups, paying rent to the owner of the warehouse. Although thousands of people live in these communities across the city, it’s a relatively unknown lifestyle, one that is subject to stereotyping and misrepresentation. “A lot of people assume that we’re squatting,” he tells me when we meet for a coffee. “They have no idea. It might look rough outside, but they’ve never been indoors. They are completely unaware that there might be a family living there, living a completely normal life.” Despite the large numbers that can occupy the warehouses, people do just that: lead normal lives. “We have

internet, all the normal facilities… heating, gas, showers, all of that.” Although the residences are relatively safe, with gates, CCTV and industrial lighting, he admits it’s “not for everyone.” Some tenants leave after a month or so. A common misconception concerns the cost – living in the warehouses is not cheap. “I’m sure I could find a cheaper room in a normal shared house,” Ossi says, “but having the community, the people around you – that’s the whole point. When you come home for work there’ll be eight people around eating dinner, and they’ve cooked for you already, and you talk… it instantly makes my day better.” Although the warehouse scene often draws people involved with the arts like Ossi, it’s mainly because the communities provide space to set up a studio or have a workshop, rather than any particular artistic pretensions. He makes it clear that living in a warehouse just because it’s regarded as cool or artistic is the antithesis of the communities’ ethos, and those that think this end up getting “completely ripped off. They pay high rent but live in a small shitty room.” Some developers are capitalising on the

communities’ growing popularity, and a lot of the warehouses are having their precious workshop space replaced with rooms. Some Ossi has visited are “like student halls, with long corridors and as many rooms as possible, to get as much money out of people as they can.” But the best warehouses are focused on developing a community and sharing your space with those you live with. “It’s a lifestyle. In London, most people live in shared houses, and they might not even know the name of the person that lives next door. That’s what I find strange.” In fact, he’s lived with “everyone, from DJs to businessmen and doctors of science.” It’s this diversity that makes warehouse living so special, because everyone helps each other out: “If you get a broken laptop, there’s always someone to fix it for you. If you need a bike, there’s someone that builds bikes.” However, the warehouses are under threat, under the guise of concern for the welfare of the residents – Harringey’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Enforcement Joseph Ejiofor has been quoted as saying that offering industrial units as places to live is “unacceptable”, and the council is developing a £600,000 task force “to fully investigate and address the problem through a combination of regulation, improvement, enforcement and, where necessary, prosecution.” There is little coincidence in the fact that the warehouses reside on land which is key to the council’s new redevelopment plans, and the residents are rightfully concerned.

Although Ossi has been photographing the warehouses since he arrived in London, the council’s warnings have caused him to kick his project up a gear, as he hopes it could serve as evidence to show people the value of the communities. “It’s been quite intense the last few months,” he admits. “It’s becoming more of a social documentary now.” Undeniably, the integrity of the project stems from the fact that Ossi is a member of the communities himself, rather than an outsider. “It’s quite difficult, and quite a careful subject,” he admits, for whilst his position allows him access to the residents, he does not wish in any way to speak for them. “I’m speaking for myself, and my experience. I wouldn’t speak for anyone else.” He believes that the council’s £600,000 should be used to strengthen their homes, not dismantle them: ”It could make the warehouses better, whether it’s giving us more bins or building a local shop or community centre, instead of kicking everyone out and just having empty units.” Those in the scene are taking action in response to the threat to their homes, writing to the council and campaigning. Despite the condemnation of the warehouses as a “problem”, the goal of preserving these unique communities is of paramount importance. “It isn’t rats that live in these places,” Ossi says emphatically. “We are not doing any damage. We grow vegetables in old parking lots. How can that possibly be wrong?” www.manorhouseproject.tumblr.com

IMAGES: OSSI PIISPANEN

I COULD FIND A CHEAPER ROOM IN A NORMAL

SHARED HOUSE, BUT HAVING THE COMMUNITY, THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU – THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT


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feature EN: FRANCESCA ALL T L IV E S O N A B O A I first spot Francesca as I emerge from a path on the edge of an east London river, waving at me from about a hundred metres away. I’m here to chat about life on the boat she’s been living on alone for the past six weeks. It is small, blue, and engine-less, and, after we say our hellos, she scrambles onto the roof to fix a tarpaulin that has dislodged during the night. She tells me that she was waiting for me to arrive before attempting it, so I could make sure she doesn’t fall in the water. After securing it with bricks, we duck through a doorway and head inside. I’m immediately surprised by the boat’s warmth – a small coal-fired stove with a chimney keeps it toasty, though it requires a nearby carbon monoxide alarm (which I’m told has sounded a few times). As she puts the kettle on for tea, I ask whether it gets damp. “Not really”, she tells me. “It was a little when I moved in. I think the girl who lived here before wasn’t using it much. She mostly stayed with her boyfriend. As long as you keep it warm and well ventilated, it’s fine.” Looking around, the boat is cosy and home-like, with blankets, cushions, photos and flowers both real and fake, everywhere – and not a nautical stripe in sight.

After a recent Guardian article which detailed one person’s hellish experiences in a damp, cramped cabin aboard a freezing houseboat “slum”, I have to say I’m pleasantly surprised. Now in her final year at LCC in Elephant and Castle – where she cycles to attend classes to avoid the cost of a travelcard – Francesca started living on the boat after returning from travelling in California and Mexico last summer. “I didn’t have anywhere to live for a while,” she says. “I was just staying with friends. I lived with my friend’s parents for a while... This was just the first thing that popped up that was affordable, and seemed a little bit appealing.” She admits it started as something of a romantic fantasy, but despite the wonderfully kitsch interior, Francesca assures me it’s far from perfect: there’s no shower (“I just shower at friends’ places...people don’t need to shower as often as they think!”), no internet, no fridge, and the power is always going off. How was it during the recent bout of storms? “Horrible! It just meant that I didn’t sleep that well because the boat was banging against the side. I’m moored in the river rather than the canal, so it can have quite a current.” It all costs her £390 a month, which she argues is too much. “It’s cheaper than rent could be, but it’s not as cheap as I would want it to be.” I think back to the Guardian article, where people paid around £230, which perhaps explains why Francesca’s situation is rather less stark.

IMAGES: EMMA ALLWOOD

emailing you!” Aside from this, living alone is the biggest change from her last home, a large house in Manor House, which she rented for two years. “I lived with five people, and there would always be about eight people in the house at any one time. I just had so much space before, and I live alone here... it’s smaller.”

Due to an unfortunate iPhone-related accident on board, she’s been adjusting to being relatively removed from everything. Though being without the internet is somewhat refreshing, it comes with its downside: “It’s weird now I have no smartphone. I’m completely cut off. No one remembers that they have to call you instead of

Does she like living alone? “Um. Maybe...” she laughs, “I don’t know. I like it because you can choose when to socialise, rather than constantly living in a really noisy house, being woken up by other people. But it’s been a weird adjustment for me.” Despite this, she’s getting used to life on the boat, and is even thinking of taking out a loan to buy her own (“with a shower!”) to live on and rent out when she travels. That way, she’ll be paying off something she owns, rather than paying rent and having nothing to show for it. “I think it has proven to be a good stepping stone to figuring out what I want to do over the next few years. It’s opened up a lot of new ideas in my head and a lot of new opportunities for me to think about.”

making enough money with projects that I do.” (Sara estimates she spends under £100 a year, a somewhat mind-boggling concept when that’s barely enough to cover a monthly travelcard). Like warehouse living, there’s also a community aspect, which means “lots of social dinners and helping people out... [It’s] really rewarding.” However, she admits that safety is a “constant concern”, whether the threat is coming from “police, bailiffs or angry residents”. Although she feels safe legally (there are strict laws about the police entering a squat without a warrant), she says that “nearly everyone I know has some form of PTSD from heavy banging on doors when the bailiffs come knocking or the police make contact... Worrying

about whether the person at your door is friendly, and if you have a place to live next month are quite stressful too”. Squatters are easily stereotyped due to their alternative way of living, but Sara says that many she meets are studying for master’s degrees and are politically active. Perhaps the most valuable part of her experience has been that squatting has allowed her to “learn on [her] own terms” – she’s gone from having to call a plumber at 2:30am to being confident with plumbing, electrics and carpentry. “In a mostly money-free environment,” she says, “nearly everything we have has been repaired in some way. It’s been a real eye-opener of how easy and rewarding it is to repair things.”

UATT ER SA RA M A RCO : SQ One other well-known alternative is of course, squatting. Since new regulations were introduced in 2012, squatters are only permitted to occupy commercial buildings. It’s certainly a cheap way to live, but presents more practical problems than warehouse or boat living. After our interview leads ran dry, we tracked a squatter down online to fill us in on what it’s like. Sara Marco has been squatting in London for a year and a half, living in a church (complete with electricity and WiFi) that was previously sitting empty for four years. There are positives and negatives to the experience, she says. “On the plus side, I have the freedom to do what I want with my time and don’t have to worry about whether I’m going to be

/ EMMA ALLWOOD / KCL / CO-EDITOR

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OFF THE CACOPHONOUS OXFORD STREET, THIS CORNER OF LONDON PROVIDES A SANCTUARY FOR MUSIC LOVERS

BM SOHO

PHONICA

Black Market Records on D’Arblay Street is arguably London’s best-curated dance music emporium, with walls of vinyl and substantial variety, despite the shop’s small size. With plenty of listening decks as well as stacks of new releases each week, it’s easy to while away hours at BM. Friendly and knowledgeable staff, including owner Nicky Blackmarket, a well-respected drum ‘n’ bass DJ, are always keen to offer recommendations.

Something of a cultural centre for dance music, Phonica (opposite, bottom right) recently celebrated its tenth anniversary with a three-CD/LP compilation and a flurry of parties, hosting some of the biggest and best including Levon Vincent, Trevor Jackson and Skudge.

The shop is split over two floors: the upstairs offers internationally oriented house and techno, as well as various strands of UK-centric dance music – drum ‘n’ bass, garage, and dubstep. The downstairs is home to every accessory a DJ could need: headphones, slipmats, needles, controllers, you name it. The shop also hosts in-store gigs from some of the world’s top DJs, with house music legends such as Derrick Carter, Moodyman, and Kerri Chandler having all played on the BM sound system. BM is a proper record shop, offering a rich social experience that can’t be had when shopping online; it has long been a key place in London’s dance music community, having opened its doors nearly a quarter of a century ago in 1990, and always employing as staff DJs, promoters, and producers who are active members of the community. 25 D’Arblay St, W1F 8EJ / ROB HEATH / UCL / CONTRIBUTOR

Indeed, Phonica is no stranger to rubbing shoulders with pioneers; the shop itself has hosted a number of free and extremely crowded in-stores, including sets from Richie Hawtin, Joy O, Boddika and Four Tet. Nevertheless, the shop’s selection is not exclusively floor fillers and party tracks – on the contrary, with a long line of listening decks, Phonica is a great place to pick up a stack and just listen, although it is advised you bring your own headphones, as the shop seem to have run out of decent pairs. Unlike most of the stores on this list, Phonica’s speciality is hot-off-the-press releases, and is the most likely place to stock a record on the day of its release. For this reason, a dig around the shop is pretty much essential for anyone wishing to dip their toes in the dance music zeitgeist, even if that isn’t usually their thing. They also have a fantastic collection of disco re-presses and edits, which is surely enough to lure any true music fan. 51 Poland St, W1F 7LZ / GEORGE MCVICAR / QMUL / MUSIC EDITOR

HAROLD MOORES When I was miserably wasting away as a sales assistant in a nightmarish Oxford Street store, I’d run over to Harold Moores to spend my 15-minute breaks in its dusty, well-loved wooden interior, lush strings pouring out of the speakers. This cosy independent shop is staffed by classical and jazz musicians, and the atmosphere is that of a true music shop: music fanatics on a little pilgrimage to find that golden recording. The ground floor is filled with an impressive amount of classical music CDs, while the downstairs offer second-hand CDs and vinyl, both classical and jazz. There’s none of the snobbery or air of exclusion that is so often associated with classical music – the staff are simply people passionate about their field, and far beyond – and will talk with you for ages, should you ask them for any help. It still amazes me that they’re generous enough to play any CD/vinyl you want to listen to on the shop’s sound system, even if they’re brand new and sealed. They also regularly do a 50% off deal on all secondhand stocks. Whether you’re a lover of classical music or just curious, Harold Moores is worth getting lost in for a few hours. 2 Great Marlborough St, W1F 7HQ / RENA MINEGISHI / KCL / CO-EDITOR

SISTER RAY Sister Ray Records (above), named after the Velvet Underground song, caters to a wider variety of tastes than the other dance and electronic music oriented record shops in the area. Sister Ray stocks both new and second-hand CDs as well as vinyl, all across a wide variety of genres – from punk to krautrock, from techno to noise. They also offer a smaller selection of books, posters, DVDs and t-shirts. Sister Ray is Soho’s best option for indie music, and has a solid, though sometimes expensive, selection of rare records (usually first pressings of classic albums). Despite not being as electronic-music-centric as some of Soho’s other record shops, Sister Ray does still stock a reasonable selection of dance music vinyl, often being a good place to pick up new UK releases which tend not to sell out as quickly as they do in neighbouring shops such as Phonica and BM Records. Like these other shops, Sister Ray also has listening decks. A personal recommendation is the incredibly cheap posters. Album promo posters that have previously been plastered over the front window and walls of the shop are sold in good condition and at knockdown prices, usually for less than a pound. 34-35 Berwick St, W1F 8RP / ROB HEATH / UCL / CONTRIBUTOR


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features SOUNDS OF THE UNIVERSE To me, walking into Sounds of the Universe (right; opposite bottom left) is entering a cave full of treasures, if the cave was full of DJs and had new stock every week. Filled to the ceiling in vinyl and CDs, the shop has a close association with the brilliant Soul Jazz Records label, stocking the largest selection of reggae, dubstep, jazz, house, disco, funk + soul, Brazilian, Latin, African and world beats in the UK. With such an impressive collection, it may be downright confusing; but I’ve always found that whenever I’m in there, they’re playing something amazing on the speakers, and you can start by asking “what’s playing?” to the friendly and knowledgeable folks behind the counter. They’ve been incredibly helpful whenever I’ve asked for help: I’ve been recommended a Tropicalia compilation, voodoo drum recordings and a Vakula LP, all of which were excellent. If you’d rather go solo, there are several listening decks and a CD player. The downstairs is a dizzyingly wonderful collection of books and DVDs, ranging from a history of black music in 1980s New York to an in-depth analysis of the No Wave era. Sounds of the Universe also hosts in-store gigs. This is, without a doubt, one of my favourite spaces on earth. 7 Broadwick St, W1F 0DA / RENA MINEGISHI / KCL / CO-EDITOR

RECKLESS RECORDS The first shop I ever bought a record in was Reckless Records. In a somewhat inauthentic, contrived way, I had already planned to start my collection with one of the best records of all time, Trans Europe Express. However, any good record shop is going to stock that LP; that’s not what makes Reckless stand out. It’s what I also happened to buy there that does. Without a smartphone or listening deck in the shop, I sought to pick 5 or 6 random records under the “German Techno” selection and hoped for the best. Reckless is known for their bargain gems, and I picked those 6 for under £20 - a crate digger’s dream! To this day I still DJ and listen to all 6 of those records, which should be statistically impossible. Nevertheless, Reckless’ sublime selection policy ensures you’re in safe hands even when you’re whimsically buying records, as I was that day. Selling everything from funk to grime to noise, Reckless is one of the most diverse shops in Soho in terms of style. Perhaps not best for those who have a very clear idea of what they want, but perfect for anyone who fancies a leap of faith and a little adventure. 30 Berwick St, W1F 8RH / GEORGE MCVICAR / QMUL / MUSIC EDITOR

IMAGES: EMMA ALLWOOD

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LOVEPARK WE CHAT WITH THE FRONTMAN OF THE UP-AND-COMING INDIE BAND

Hailing from Burgess Hill, Lovepark’s sweet and entrancing indie sound has been steadily gaining them recognition. Managed by 13 Artists – the respected booking agency that also manages Radiohead, Arctic Monkeys, Portishead and many others – the band has extensively played gigs in London and Brighton, as well as Berlin and Paris. We had tea with the frontman and co-songwriter Kamran Khan, a third year philosophy student at Heythrop, to discuss band names, bad promoters and our shared love for Björk (“Hunter” is one of the best opening tracks ever). How did Lovepark get started? It actually started around 9 years ago, in its earliest form. I started playing guitar at 10, and my best friend started playing bass around 12, who’s still the bass player in the band. So it started when my best friend and I started playing together, along with our old drummer. Our other guitarist and songwriter Hass, who’s still in the band now, he joined when I was about 14. We got a new drummer about two and a half years ago, and since then the line-up has been the same. It wasn’t always called Lovepark – we were called The Puritans when we first started, I think we had one other name called Neo… which is weird, it sounds like The Matrix or something, I don’t know why we thought that was good. [As for The Puritans] I was in a history lesson when I was about 13, and I liked the sound of “the Puritans”, thought they had a band-y sounding name. We were The Puritans until about 2010. I remember at that time, These New Puritans came out and I was like, “what are we gonna do about this?” I actually mailed them on MySpace: “I noticed we almost have the same name; is this a problem?” As if we were on their level or something. They didn’t reply... Do you have EPs? We did release a vinyl in the summer of 2012. Double A side, two tracks: “How Do I See?” and “Shudder”. I don’t really know why we did vinyl – that was our manager’s decision. It was supposed to be more of a promo vinyl. We sold them at our gigs. Recently we’ve recorded a four track EP, which is all finished, and it should be out in May. We’re still not sure what format yet; we just got a new manager, and he’s showing us around to different labels and he’s in talks with various people. So the format hasn’t been decided, but we know it’s going to come out, one way or another. You guys should definitely be signed. You sound great. You also play a lot of gigs! Yeah, we’re getting quite a lot of good gigs. Hopefully more of that will come along soon. To be honest, when we released the vinyl in 2012, we sounded quite different to how we do now – we had a period of stopping, rethinking a load of stuff, and improving. Two days ago we started recording for the release that’s coming

after this upcoming one, so we’re building up. It must be hard to balance all the things you’re doing – you and George (the bassist) are both at uni, and you also have solo projects, right? Yeah, I have a different band called Fake Laugh, which kind of started off as my solo project then turned into a band, but I write all the songs and it’s a lot more basic and less ambitious. It’s more about just writing guitar pop songs. Which is really fun! That’s only been going on for a year, but I think it’s quite good to be in the two bands, because Hass is also in Fake Laugh – we don’t do anything without each other – although it’s tough to balance them, they contrast well and make you realise what’s good about each band. Our drummer produces electronic music, he hasn’t put stuff out yet – he’s only been at it for a year or something like that, but he’s really committed to doing it well and his music is sounding really great. Hass makes music on his own as well, as does George. We all kind of do our own thing. Does everyone write together in Lovepark then? The writing process varies; sometimes Hass will come up with a basic guitar part, sometimes he’ll come with an almost finished demo: two guitars, drums, bass, then I’ll write vocals over it and we’ll work on it in the practice room. I had a bit of a break from doing that, but more recently I’ve been doing that as well: I’ll write something at home and post it in our Facebook group, and it changes in the practice room. Recently we had an occasion where – this happened for the first time – we wrote a song in one practice, all together. It’s completely different each time, really. It makes it less formulaic, more fun. Sometimes Aramis, our drummer, would be playing something on the drums and that’s where it’d start. Sometimes it’s a bassline. I heard you have connections with Dutch Uncles and Bombay Bicycle Club. Yeah, we’ve played with them. We’ve played with Dutch Uncles a couple of times, and that was through a gig with Bombay Bicycle Club. This was years ago – probably our last gigs as The Puritans. It was in Hastings on my 18th birthday. So Bombay Bicycle Club approached you guys to open for them? No! We actually kind of stalked them. Actually, I definitely stalked them. In the end, we just turned into weird fanboys. We saw them at Reading, and gave them a CD of our tracks. We then saw them at a show in Brighton; we hung around and played them our music. They were like, “you should support us sometime”. We looked out for when they were playing, and they told us we could come and play. That must be a great feeling, to share a stage with artists you respect. Definitely, and we got to do it quite a lot, actually. There are a lot of bands that we’ve

IMAGE: MATT HASS

played with that I really like – more recently, Outfit. Outfit’s not very big yet, they’ve actually had an album out. They’re really cool, they’re from Liverpool and they incorporate a lot of electronic elements, kind of like what Bombay Bicycle Club are doing, but in a different way. It’s really cool when you get to play with bands you like. We’re trying to do that a lot more at the moment – we’re only trying to play gigs where we feel it’s appropriate and with bands we really like. We’ve played gigs on bills where it’s like ,“why are we playing this?” Not because the other bands are bad, but it just doesn’t fit. That’s the nature of playing gigs and working out what’s good, I guess. There’s this whole phenomenon of young, aspiring musicians and bands getting ripped off by London promoters. It was actually kind of fun when we did it, because we managed to pull it off OK. They suggested that they book a bus full of your friends to come see your band, and we did that. The gig was a Bloc Party DJ set, which consisted of the guitarist of Bloc Party just playing an iPod. It happens a lot, and the promoter just absolutely rakes in the money because he just puts seven bands on the bill. We booked 50 people to come up on a coach. We lost a little bit of money, probably. Luckily we were good at selling tickets, but a lot of the other bands couldn’t

sell enough tickets and the promoters would expect them to give them money regardless. It’s really messed up. At the same time, there is a lot of good stuff in London. Recently there are a couple of bands we’ve been playing with, who are at similar stages with us, who are really nice – same as any type of industry I suppose, where you meet good and bad people. Often they are very nice. But the idea of people putting everything in their dream of making it in London can be dangerous. That wasn’t ever really a thing for Lovepark; we just happened to come here for university. It’s good to have things outside the band. A year or so ago, we were putting too much weight into the band. Instead of actually just having fun and playing music, like we are now, we were thinking about what was gonna happen next, when are we gonna be famous, when are we gonna get signed? Now we’re having a lot of fun, and because of that we’re more productive than ever, and things are happening. It’s really cool.

Lovepark’s upcoming LP, 21 12, will be released in May. / INTERVIEWED BY RENA MINEGISHI / KCL / CO-EDITOR


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music

live REVIEWS

John Newman, Shepherd’s Bush Empire, 07.02.14

John Newman erupted onto the music scene in 2012, discovered by Rudimental and going onto provide vocals for them, then rising to fame with his debut solo single “Love Me Again”. Best known for his spectacular voice, he impresses all the more with his creative talent, from producing and writing all his music to designing video scripts and even his own clothes. Having expected a crowd filled with teenagers, I was surprised to enter Shepherd’s Bush Empire and be

sitting amongst people even older than my parents. As the lights dimmed, Newman’s face appeared; his musical inspirations were announced on the overhead speakers, all the way from his mother’s Motown influence to Rock’n’Roll legends The Rolling Stones. Suddenly he burst onto the stage, accompanied by his band and an array of flashing lights. All at once, his powerful voice filled the room, immediately drawing the audience into the dynamic atmosphere he so effortlessly generates. The bouncy rhythms and infectious grooves rocked on throughout the whole show, and the band’s energy never once dwindled. Newman’s visceral energy kept everyone on their feet, lulled by the flurry of classics from his album Tribute like “Day One”, “Running” and “Gold Dust”, ending in an explosive burst of gold confetti over the crowd.

/ NATASCHA HEDEGAARD / UCL / ROYAL VETERINARY COLLEGE

9

Jandek, Café OTO, 15.02.14

Whilst I was sat on the floor enjoying the manic noise-jazz jams of the supporting act at Café OTO, I glanced up to the steamy windows and saw the chilling silhouette of Jandek peeping in, with his hand pressed against the glass. With his signature black hat, leather gloves and doctor’s handbag, he looked like a cross between the Demon Headmaster and Gunther von Hagens – completely unstuck from place and time, like an alien who had just landed on Earth decided to visit the café that evening. Of course, that’s not the case, as this was the second of Jandek’s three-day residency at the venue. However, little changed about his outsider mystique as the set began, opening with a song about abandonment and desperation as he groaned out the words “give up alcohol, then you’ll know what true loneliness is” over the backdrop of a detuned, glassy guitar tone. The act followed on into a 25-minute poem about the chorus of

whacked-out bursts of energy from a set of “non-musicians”, completely devoid of any of the cogence or structure of a conventional rock group. The set ended with a flurry of unexpected Trout Mask Replica-style spazzpunk improvisations, culminating with Jandek on the floor by the feet of the audience, with a single white rose between the strings of his guitar.

/ GEORGE MCVICAR / QMUL / MUSIC EDITOR

ALBUM REVIEWS

8/10

8/10

katy b

9/10

7/10

mogwai

bombay bicycle club

Little Red is an engaging display of musical maturity. From the chilled club track “5am” to the 80s-influenced “Crying for No Reason”,  followed by appearances by Jessie Ware and Sampha, the album offers a diverse exploration of electronic dance music.  This 80s throwback sound, coupled with the pristine, glossy production, creates a sound that’s altogether intriguing: the singles themselves are powerhouses, but songs such as  “Sapphire Blue”  and  “Tumbling Down”  offer a hypnotic, minimalistic atmosphere that compliments the anthem-like quality of “Next Thing”. There is a kinetic allure to the beats and the melodies here, but unfortunately it often stays within its comfort zone, sometimes resulting in a sense of repetition and safety around it. However, the album is nonetheless a successful manifesto for club culture, and an apt portrayal of a night on the town.  Katy  B  has developed from her debut; she was On a Mission but now she has flowered into  Little Red, becoming more melodic and accessible, and although the change may be subtle when comparing albums, a sense of sophistication is displayed which was not seen before.

Known for their deafening performances, these Glaswegians have made it big across the globe and now charge £25 per person for a live performance in their hometown. With the release of their eighth studio album, Rave Tapes, Mogwai shows they haven’t stopped moving forwards, sideways and diagonally in sound and instrumentation since their first musical union in 1995. Defying – almost resenting – pre-mediated boundaries of sound, their music has been slotted into genres such as shoegaze, math rock, art rock and even instrumental metal. Indeed, most of the tracks on this album are devoid of lyrics with the exception of “Repelish”, a personal highlight on the album. Rhythmically complex with odd time signatures, dissonant chords and often highly extended and angular melodies, these guys are producing a sound of individual maturity fit for their 20-year-long career. Without them, it’s difficult to envision what the Scottish music scene would look like today. If you are lucky enough to catch them in Europe before they cross the water, I would highly recommend making the effort. For those of you who caught them at Rough Trade signing or the Royal Festival Hall – I’m certain you weren’t disappointed.

Released earlier this month, So Long, See You Tomorrow hit number one in the UK charts in a matter of days. From the opener, “Overdone”, it’s easy to see why: the songs are catchy throughout with vocal lines where you can’t help but sing along. The album creates immeasurable walls of sound that are ambient and energetic in equal measure, particularly evident in the layered vocal tracks that interlock over thick synths and beats on “It’s Alright Now”. As always, Bombay Bicycle Club experiment with a range of instruments: the album lists additional musicians providing flute, horns, piano, and even a cor anglais. This experimental nature has taken Bombay Bicycle Club in an increasingly electronic direction. But they’ve kept their favourite world music elements that always resounded through their discography: the African and Indian rhythms are still present, and the opening of “Feel” begins with a Bollywood sample. Hypnotic, infectious music like this can at times be a challenge to perform live; however, over the last few years, Bombay Bicycle Club have proven themselves to be an excellent live act, and the exuberance of this album would be even more palpable on stage.

Earlier this month, American doom metal duo Sunn O))) released their first proper LP in five years, following 2009’s Monoliths & Dimensions, in this collaboration with Norwegian group Ulver. Terrestrials largely picks up where Monoliths left off, with brass arrangements and sinister vocals accompanying the deafening drones produced by Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson. Such reappearances are far from being redundant; I’ve found this is an album with a malleable quality, one that can be what you want it to be. When listened to at high volumes, it is classic Sunn O))), with the crushing hum of the guitars epic in scale – but when the volumes are turned down, it takes on a warmer quality, being not so much “dark ambient” as ambient in its typical airy, weightless sense. The title of the opening track “Let There Be Light” accords with this warmth, not seen in the duo’s work since another of their collaborations, 2006’s Altar, on which they were joined by Japanese sludge act Boris. Terrestrials combines a panoply of moods, ranging from the ecstatic to the morbid, and yet at all stages avoids sliding into sickliness or inescapable murkiness. This is a beautiful, atmospheric record.

/ KIERAN JONES / QMUL / CONTRIBUTOR

/ ISLA DUPORGE / SOAS / CONTRIBUTOR

/ RUBY CLYDE / UCL / CONTRIBUTOR

/ ROBERT HEATH / UCL / CONTRIBUTOR

LITTLE RED

RAVE TAPES

SO LONG, SEE YOU TOMORROW

sunn o))) and ulver TERRESTRIALS


10

ART

the smoke ELEANOR NAIRNE Eleanor Nairne is the Curator of Collection and Public Programmes at Artangel. Commissioning exceptional projects by visionary contemporary artists such as Jeremy Deller, Steve McQueen, Brian Eno and Rachel Whiteread, Artangel is a platform for art that changes the way we view the world. If you could own one artwork, which would you choose? One of Lousie Bourgeois’ Femme Maison drawings or perhaps a whole wall stenciled in Nancy Spero’s goddesses. What was the defining moment in your life as an artist? I tend not to think in terms of “defining moments”, but delivering a lecture on the Self Portrait at the Louisiana Museum in Denmark was certainly a special occasion. A modernist building perched on the edge of the sea with windows looking out across the sound to Sweden; I couldn’t help but think, “Carlsberg don’t do art galleries,

but if they did, it would probably be the Louisiana.” How do you think art should be written about? With honesty, clarity and humour. If you could occupy a building in London, which building? I love the former Central Saint Martins building and cycle past it regularly. I can’t help but imagine what projects might take up residence in the space where Gilbert met George and Jarvis Cocker met the girl with “a thirst for knowledge” (as in the song “Common People” by Pulp).

DIG, DANIEL SILVER / COMMISSIONED BY ARTANGEL

Does art have limits? Ethically, yes; imaginatively, no. In 6 words imagine a manifesto for the art of the future. One question: does it move me?

POPPY JACKSON

P R OF

POPPY JACKSON Poppy Jackson is a performance artist and painter, who has presented internationally. Her work explores the female body as an autonomous zone. She is an Associate Artist of ]performance s p a c e [ in London.

How do you think art should be written about? Unpretentiously.

If you could own one artwork, which would you choose? The Eiffel Tower.

Does art have limits? No!

What was the defining moment in your life as an artist? Performing in front of Tehching Hsieh in New York, 2012.

In 6 words imagine a manifesto for the art of the future. Radical, inclusive, performic, spiritual, living, unhouseable.

If you could occupy a building in London, which building? The Shard.

SIX ART INDUSTRY INSID

INTERVIEWED BY ARTS

AND COSTANZ

PING ZHENG Ping Zheng is a painter, soon to graduate with a bachelor’s degree from the Slade. Born and raised in Shanxi province, she first studied in Beijing where she was introduced to Western art. At the age of 18, Ping left China for London to complete a foundation course at Camberwell College. If you could own one artwork, which would you choose? I think at moment that would have to be Georges Seurat’s Bathers at Asnières. What was the defining moment in your life as an artist? My journey from the impossible to the possible. After I was expelled from secondary school (I spent my time in the art studio instead of in school classes) there was no place in such a

small city as Shanxi in which to study art. It was when I got the chance to study abroad that my family’s attitude towards me turned from disappointment to support. How do you think art should be written about? I think art should be written about with regard to the past and the future. If you could occupy a building in London, which building? The Gherkin. Does art have limits? No, certainly not. The human brain is infinite. In 6 words imagine a manifesto for the art of the future. Creating art from humanity and technology.

UNTITLED, PING ZHENG

GRIMM CITY, FLEAFOLLYA


the smoke

ART THOMAS DICKERSON CHARCOAL AND INK ON WAX PAPER, LUKE MCLEAN / ONE OF THE FEATURED ARTISTS ON THE GALLERY’S PRODUCTS

Thom Dickerson is the co-founder & managing director of The Gallery Clothing Company Ltd. Founded in Belfast, the company integrates art and fashion in business, promoting the best young creative in the UK and Ireland. If you could own one artwork, which would you choose? I am not a materialistic person, so there is no one piece that I aspire to own. Art is to be enjoyed; I would feel guilty keeping that enjoyment to myself. That said, if forced to choose, it would have to be a piece by Andy Goldsworthy, whose concept has long influenced my work. What was the defining moment in your life as an artist? There was no single defining moment, but the support and encouragement of my parents set me on the path I’m currently walking today. I particularly remember my mother always encouraging the artist inside me, despite not being creative herself.

FIL E D :

How do you think art should be written about? Truthfully, and with stated opinions. One of my favourite quotations is: “she never looked nice, she looked like Art, and Art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something” (from the book Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell). Art is emotive and this is what reviews should focus on. If you could occupy a building in London, which building? Having never lived in London I would say that the dream would be just to occupy any building and be part of it all. One day soon, hopefully... Does art have limits? Yes and no. Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror explores the extremes to which art can attempt to justify anything. Creativity has no limits. Art, as the manifestation of creativity, perhaps should. In 6 words imagine a manifesto for the art of the future. Dream, Explore, Challenge, Refine, Imagine, Create

ELLERY FOUTCH Ellery Foutch is a visiting lecturer at the Courtauld Institute of Art. She researches oil paintings on canvas, natural history models, advertising images, and other carefully constructed artifacts. Although her work is not always about “capital-A Art,” the methods and questions that Art History uses are central to her research: visual analysis, reception studies, and analytical comparisons inform Foutch’s work.

DERS, SIX QUESTIONS

S EDITORS LIZA WEBER

ZA BELTRAMI

DAVID BECK, MVSEVM, 2006, MIXED MEDIA CONSTRUCTION, SMITHSONIAN AMERICAN ART MUSEUM, GIFT OF THELMA AND MELVIN LENKIN © 2006, DAVID BECK, 2006.8

THOMAS HILLIER FleaFollyArchitects was established by Pascal Bronner and Thomas Hillier in 2012. They are spatial storytellers who use narrative to explore, discover and invent unique architectural propositions translating them into fantastical spaces that surround us. Operating across the fields of architecture, design, fashion, contemporary art and installation, they aim to enhance and blur the thresholds of spatial design, regarding “making” and “crafting” by hand as a key component of their work.

ARCHITECTS

If you could own one artwork, which would you choose? Anything by Chuck Close, he was the first artist I saw in a gallery and it has stuck with me ever since! What was the defining moment in

your life as an artist? I don’t think we have had it yet, and maybe never will! Understanding that architecture is so much more than just bricks and mortar was a big moment for me. How do you think art should be written about? Art can’t be understood through words alone, but through experiencing it! If you could occupy a building in London, which building? The whispering gallery at St Paul’s. Does art have limits? No. In 6 words imagine a manifesto for the art of the future. In a constant state of flux.

If you could own one artwork, which would you choose? I really love David Beck’s MVSEVM, commissioned by the Smithsonian upon the reopening of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in 2006. This amazing little “cabinet of curiosities” contains small galleries, almost like a dollhouse, with miniature versions of works of art – a sculpture gallery contains tiny versions of Man Ray’s Cadeau, Jasper Johns’s Ballantine Beer Cans, and Elie Nadelman’s dancers, for example. There’s also an amazing Wunderkammer, with miniature starfish and reptiles hanging from the ceiling, as well as optical instruments and even a miniscule Feejee mermaid! So I’d be cheating by claiming this “one” artwork that’s really an entire museum in itself, full of drawers to open and cabinets to explore! What was the defining moment in

your life as an artist? An internship with Nancy Mowll Mathews at the Williams College Museum of Art gave me the chance to work with an excellent mentor and to re-think what kind of objects could be taken seriously; we were working on the exhibition Moving Pictures: American Art and Early Film, 1880-1910, which included mass culture images and artifacts like early films, comics, and movement studies alongside Ashcan School paintings, and I was hooked. How do you think art should be written about? Clearly and engagingly! If you could occupy a building in London, which building? Sir John Soane’s Museum! Does art have limits? Sometimes I think everything that seems cutting edge or new was in fact done in the 18th or 19th centuries. But there are new ways to imagine them and make them even more relevant and exciting to people today. In 6 words imagine a manifesto for the art of the future. Asking good questions trumps having answers. (I want to substitute “thinking you have all the answers,” but that’s too many words!)

11


12

fashion

the smoke

TEXT: EMMA ALLWOOD/ KCL / FASHION EDITOR & CHLOE FIROUZIAN / KCL / CONTRIBUTOR IMAGES: NIGEL PACQUETTE

DAVID KOMA

KTZ

LOUISE ALSOP

A man after my own heart: black reigned over the collection in

Gold accents illuminated the monochrome collection for

Showing for the first time at Fashion East was Louise Alsop,

the colour stakes, with the occasional shock of rich purple (a nod

a second season running, accumulating in a full-gilt metal

who delivered a promising collection united by graphic

to Pantone’s colour of the year, Radiant Orchid?) silver, cream

armour dress to close the show. Mirrors stitched into the fabric

elements, colour, and a sense of rebellious youthfulness. Edgy

and royal blue. Koma is known for his mastery of silhouette,

emulated a winterscape with snowflake geometry, the warrior-

without being pretentious (hems were left raw, pop socks

and this season’s pieces were enhanced by corsetry, weaving,

tribe theme implicit in the mirror-shields complimenting this

laddered), and managing to reference the 1990s without being

strong – often diagonal – lines and cage-like elements. Despite

season’s uncompromising power silhouette: oversized parkas

obvious and trite, the show showed a remarkable coherence.

such eclecticism, the collection felt incredibly put together, and

and full volume skirts upon spear-legs wrapped in leggings of

Alsop only graduated from her BA at Westminster in July last

less chaotic than his Spring show. / EA

black lacquer and pewter. / CF

year, but it’s clear her future is bright. / EA

SIMONE ROCHA

HELEN LAWRENCE

TOPSHOP UNIQUE

Rocha’s collection offered Elizabethan shapes and silhouettes,

Helen Lawrence’s collection for Fashion East boasted

You know how sometimes “Ready-to-Wear” is actually

with models’ foreheads daubed regally with gold foil. Patent

cosy knitwear, fingerless gloves and dark denim. Colours

completely unwearable (unless you’re Daphne Guinness)?

fabric was prominent, from the yellow and khaki snakeskin

were neutral, with pastel lilac, apple green and camel

Well, not in Topshop Unique’s case. Thanks to Topshop’s

that covered accessories and garments alike, to the dresses

complementing the usual black, navy and white. The

position as one of Britain’s forefront brands, the show

which flounced at the hips; beading adorning necklines and

comfortable colour palette and fabric choices stood out in

delivered an AW collection that will go from runway to rack

hipbones. Fur, ponyskin and gilt-threaded lace were just some

comparison to Alsop’s sharp and monochrome designs, but

seamlessly. Warm knits, fur, slouchy coats and layering make

of the materials used by Rocha, but despite the elements of

Lawrence’s tendency to stay in the familiar – her silouettes

this collection one of comfortable glamour, whilst prints,

luxury, her collection had a definite punk aesthetic, tartan and

perhaps a little too reminiscent of Kenzo’s SS14 collection –

embroidered mesh pieces and silk bomber jackets brought an

sheer dresses adding a rebellious note. / EA

left something to be desired. / EA

element of the chic streetwear they do so well. / EA


fashion

the smoke

meadham kirchhoff behind the veil: chloe firouzian reflects on lfw’s show stealers

Prior to the show, a precedent of era-defining girl power echoed through the Tate’s Turbine Hall. The Spice Girls’ “Wannabe”, Stevie Nicks’s “Edge of Seventeen”, and Sally Oldfield’s “Mirrors” played over a drift of Penhaligon’s Tralala perfume, with which the giant space was sensually transformed into something homely. With such references to the 70s, 80s, and 90s also present in the designs, Meadham Kirchhoff is all-encompassing magical realism. On a runway scattered with giant hearts filled with tresses of gold tinsel, the models – one half street-cast treasures discovered by Melissa Thompson, and the other half agency girls chosen by Rosie Vogel at Condé Nast – emerged out of the constructions with the threads of glitter stroking their natural, crimp-ended hair. Gliding out of those magical hearts, each look felt as though it had been born into a hyperreal realm of teenage girls, through a very lucky dip into an heirloom fancy dress box: lamé rainbow disco boots, sequined snap purses adorned with Alice in Wonderland-esque cats in hats, Chanel-inspired suits playfully de-frumped with volume, line, and colour. A conversation with Rosa Burgess, the label’s production assistant, gave a snapshot into the kaleidoscopic world of Ed Meadham and Ben Kirchhoff of the eponymous label, a world where reality appears conceived of through a veil – a motif that “Ed has used in collections for many, many seasons” – at once ethereal and bold. This reality’s lens is polarised: holographic lamé python skin is paired with powder-blue chiffon, and three-dimensional vermillion rosebuds are spread toward the heart from where the fabric meets with the hands and neck.  Meadham Kirchhoff reads like punk for girls; traditions and

IMAGE: NIGEL PACQUETTE

expectations of womanhood, in both style and sentiment, are pulled apart and reassembled into a beautiful bedlam. The looks are eclectic and the dressmaking traditional. Ed himself tells me that he has “spent a lifetime looking at garment construction, collecting old dresses, in particular, antique dresses from the 20s and 30s”, but the outcome is always original. He has never, “except for one occasion, the Jovan Slip, copied or taken the pattern from old dresses”; yet it’s apparently, and sadly, “what most people think [he] does”. The outcome of this combination of tradition and innovation is that Meadham and Kirchhoff ’s creations are refined with technical mastery. In sourcing  fabrics from English fabric mills and using “a lot of embroidery to recreate older techniques”, the imaginative idiosyncrasies of the duo are rendered a tradition in their own right. Reassembling long-established female signifiers of veils, bows, and lace into a carnivalesque frame, Meadham Kirchhoff reclaim them from the limited conventions they once signified, revealing the flexibility and selfdetermination that is implicit in innovative fashion.  The label puts the cultural significance of clothing into question. “Why should you only be able to wear [a veil] when you are getting married or when someone has died? If something is beautiful, do you really need justification to wear it?” Rosa asks. Do you have to be a 1980s power mum to wear a two-piece suit, or a woman to wear pastels or a skirt? The verdict can be seen on the catwalk of this collection in the Chanel-inspired suits, and in the label’s SS13 and SS14 menswear collections: it’s a triumphant “no”. The list goes on. As does a challenge to politically loaded clothing – its role and authority – in secular culture. The

1920s and 30s too, a period of particular inspiration to the designers, saw gender-subversive flappers in veiled hats. Depending on the collection, the veils are, according to Rosa, “interpreted by the reviewers as a lot more virginal, and in some a lot darker”. Looking at the AW14 collection, which, Rosa tells me, Ed wanted to “be a bit more fun in comparison to the last couple of seasons”, it certainly feels too playful to have the veils shoehorned into either of these categories. Although “bridal dreams” or “sacrificial virgin” might spring to mind with the all-white look, for instance, a quick glance at the shoes are a giveaway; the girl beneath the veil is a heroine straight out of Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber. What is interesting about the veil – the explicit concealing of the face – is that it puts identity in flux, and, as Rosa puts it, ties the idea of the clothing in with the “mystery of the person behind [the veil]”. Meadham Kirchhoff is decidedly playful, which for me, encapsulates the spirit of youth. Rosa’s experience of the studio during show time, where “the research covers the walls in the studio”  like posters and pin-ups in a teenager’s bedroom, has an existential resonance: “I am still noticing lovely things on the walls that I never saw before”.  This is the spirit that’s always evolving, always learning and discovering, irrespective of actual age. This spirit embraces flux, as with the veil, as with the label. In fact, as with the work studio, which Rosa informs me is full “of tinsel, teacups!” and has “a taxidermy cat wearing a crown”. Might this creature have inspired its way into the aforementioned accessory, I wonder...

/ CHLOE FIROUZIAN / KCL / CONTRIBUTOR

13


14

FILM

the smoke

SCHOOL / STUDIO / screen Luke Blackett is the current head of UCLU Film Society, a society that’s over half a century old and counts Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas, the director/producer duo behind some of this decade’s biggest films, amongst their alumni. As head of filmmakers at King’s (FYI, that’s not Made In King’s/Heart Healers – that’s KingsTV), I’ve always been curious about how things were done over at UCL.

IMAGE: UCL FILM SOCIETY

Have things changed in the society since those glory days? Luke was frank, admitting that Nolan and Thomas’s legacy had had some negative effects: “It does create an atmosphere of complacency. We’ve had a fantastic period of our history and produced some fantastic people. It’s great that happened, but the truth is he’s not in the society any more!” That said, the ghost of Nolan’s past can be given some credit for inspiring the Film Society’s recent changes. “It hangs over you,” Luke says, “it’s like, oh my God, this happened. We need to get back there.” The society’s decline was compounded by ongoing technological changes: “since about a decade ago, with the transition from celluloid filmmaking to digital filmmaking, the society itself hasn’t really created the structures, or had the equipment, to go out and make films as a society.” Luke has strived to change this, kicking off last term with The Door At The End, (left; above left) a psychological thriller about gambling addiction, with touches of the surreal. “We wanted to prove to ourselves and to everybody else that as a society, we could do this”, Luke said. “There’s still a need for film societies.”

IMAGE: UCL FILM SOCIETY

IMAGE: KIT HARWOOD

This chimed with my feelings. The digital switchover hasn’t just played havoc with the large institutions in media – it’s also radically changed the purposes behind running a film society. In the past, film societies were enormously influential since film equipment was inordinately expensive and technically intimidating. Flashing forward to today, my favourite film to come out of our society this year was shot on a phone (the wonderful I, Phone by Masha Androsova). Luke agreed with me to an extent. “You have to ask, what can you add, what’s the next step? There’s still this jump between making a film with your mates with a DSLR and running a crew, running a production, thinking about actors, post-production and the rest of the production process, which can be mystifying.” The society’s new goal is to make ambitious films that reach beyond what people are capable of doing on their own – “the real role, I think, for film societies is to bring people together and to create opportunities.” For Luke, part of this comes down to gear. Looking at the success of university drama societies, he realised: “they all have theatres, we don’t have any kit! That’s possibly the biggest challenge facing the society right now. It’s very hard to convince unions that

FILM EDITOR & HEAD OF FILMMAKERS AT KING’S, KIT HARWOOD, TALKS TO LUKE BLACKETT, UCLU FILM SOCIETY PRESIDENT this is a necessary investment, but it’s essentially as valid as buying a theatre. It’s the same type of investment for a lot less”. For a society that lost half of its studio space to the nanotechnology department, this lack of support must sting. But if this is bad, the rest of us have it worse: they’re the only film society in the country that has any studio facilities at all. This all essentially comes down to funding. UCLU Film Society receives a very small grant from UCL union, one Luke feels shows a bias against not only film societies but arts societies in general. “I feel like there’s a lot of emphasis placed on sports societies and sports funding. As much as Varsity and sports events are fantastic, it doesn’t compare to the shared experience of going to see a film or a play together. People in the unions need to sit up and pay attention – they need to recognise that there is a bias against art societies; they need to say, how can we properly support them? We as arts societies also need to do more to help ourselves. I’ve seen encouraging signs of this starting to happen but we are still a long way off.” Luke is confident they’ll get the kit they’re fighting for, and looks forward to a future when “there could be a production every week.” In an encouragingly bipartisan manner, he doesn’t even see this being restricted to UCL students. The society continues to run screenings, socials and workshops, along with the occasional talk by professionals working in the industry. They’re moving onwards with their production slate, working on a tense family drama and a more light-hearted musical comedy. The opportunity to have people from different disciplines work on films together obviously excites Luke. “At the moment I’m working on one film from an English student that’s inspired by a novel, last term’s production was a philosophy student’s and incorporated elements of philosophy.” Variety of inspiration is key: “if all you’ve seen is film, then that’s your main source of inspiration, and it can be very stale. I think for a university student to be able to say ‘I’ve read this bit of philosophy’ or ‘I’m interested in this period of history’, that’s a breath of fresh air into the medium.” I’ll take the implied diss against Film students in my stride (Luke didn’t know I study Film). I’m interested to see where the UCLU film society goes, and look forward to the release of last term’s film. Despite all the changes, Luke seems confident that the society will stay strong: “It’s simply this: what have we done in the past, what are other societies doing currently, and a bit of ‘are we still relevant, how do we stay relevant in the current age’, updating that model. But the underlying skeleton is the same old film society doing the same old things that were done when Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas were at university.”

/ INTERVIEWED BY KIT HARWOOD / KCL / FILM EDITOR


the smoke

FILM

15

SHORT SIGHTED CINEMA THE ONLINE MAGAZINE HOSTS THEIR SHORT FILM NIGHT AT THE RITZY IN BRIXTON Short Sighted Cinema is an online magazine devoted to spreading love for the short film format. Their website showcases and reviews shorts from emerging British filmmakers, and hosting short film nights at The Ritzy in Brixton, which I was especially interested in. The curated monthly night exhibits a program of short films on a chosen topic each month. When I arrived, the venue was packed to the rafters with cinephiles spilling onto every surface, so arriving early for a seat is advised. This month’s theme was “London Lives”, and the program featured six films: Journey (Hardy D. Saleh), The Pub (Joseph Pierce), Money Waster (Fred Rowson), The Way of the Dodo (Liam Saint Pierre), The Ellington Kid (Dan Sully) and The Hungry Corpse (James Pout and Gergely Wootsch). The films showed an enormous amount of variety in tone and medium, from poetic documentary to highly stylised animation. The highlight of the program for me was The Pub, a hallucinatory animation/live-action hybrid that transformed the residents of a North London pub into nightmarish caricatures of themselves.

IMAGE: KIT HARWOOD

The night concluded with a Q&A with the host Gem Carmella, where audience members put their questions to the filmmakers in order to more fully understand their intentions and the production process. It was exciting to see Kino (another popular film open mic event) regular Hardy D. Saleh grilled on the potential privacy ramifications of his work, in which he covertly filmed the passengers on his local bus, even if it did feel slightly bureaucratic. I also enjoyed Dan Sully’s revelation that The Ellington Kid (a darkly funny film

involving a stabbed teenager and a kebab shop) was based on a “true” story he was told while directing a music video. Whilst heading to the event I felt a slight trepidation: when some films try to “capture the energy” of London, it can be to a chorus of mockney accents plonked in a cheaply Guy Ritchie-ised boozer. It was refreshing to see a variety of interpretations of London that veered away from the stereotypical. It was also a reminder that no one vision of London will ever be enough to capture it. When I had a chat with Gem Carmella after the show, she agreed, saying that the curation of the night aimed to combat the poor representation of London in many films. I had a couple of gripes with the night. The majority of the films shown on the night are easily found on the Internet. This makes the screening feel slightly less special than it could have, though the Q&A is an experience that obviously you couldn’t get anywhere else. Additionally, a large number of the films seemed to be several years old. This is a necessary consequence of choosing such specific themes, but it seemed to impact the Q&A for the worse. The filmmakers tended to discuss their films as if they were ancient relics rather than something fresh in their minds. That said, it’s great to see such a carefully selected bunch of short films in a cinematic context. I’m looking forward to next month’s program, in which the Short Sighted team will tackle the theme “Drugs”.

/ KIT HARWOOD / KCL / FILM EDITOR

THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UNSEEN CULT CINEMA AT WHITECHAPEL’S GENESIS CINEMA A cult film night named as such could have turned into anything. I found the shrouded Genesis cinema in Whitechapel by chance, despite the front of the building being devoid of any lighting. I was pleasantly surprised to find an elegant and spacious foyer, equipped with smartly dressed attendants to stand watch over a couple of two-storey murals. To my right there was Steve McQueen, leering worryingly out of an opentop, and to my left, a giant action shot from The Matrix Reloaded. I got that slightly queasy feeling of being in a cult cinema, without the necessary credentials.

more comfortable and assured that it was actually going to be a fun experience; if there’s something cult cinemas know how to do, it’s trash, gore, horror and the like. The main screening of that night was, at least for the first hour, what you’d call a torture porn – Bamboo House of Dolls directed by the acclaimed Shaw Brothers, which was being shown to mark the death of the 106-year-old Run Run Shaw this year. I was at times mortified by the aggressive and constant sexualisation of a group of scantily clad women forced to undergo gruelling manual labour and torture at a Japanese concentration camp.

But onwards and up the stairs, I was directed into a fancy open-plan bar with comfy seats, with a pie and mash restaurant overlooking a projector alive with the trailers of some awesome looking 70s and 80s trash films. Immediately I felt

At one point, a blind girl is chased around by a sadistic guard who has thrown broken glass around her feet. This scene can described as rather challenging to watch. I’m glad to have ridden my way to the end of the film past the porno, past

the rather elongated escape scene in the middle, and on to the brilliant battle scene where the protagonists race for the gold stashed in a cave on a Japanese mountain (that’s why they were getting tortured!). The Shaw Brothers somehow preemptively took a leaf out of Terence Malick’s book for the final sword/ gun fight where, atop a hill, a good guy and a good girl fight a bad guy and a bad girl respectively, bathed heroically in the light of the golden hour. The hosts’ bawdy banter about all the boobs we’d witnessed really emphasised the fact that, as far as cinema audiences go, we mainly consisted of horny middle-aged men who were all too eager to join in the fun. And that, for me, was a first.

/ ALFRED CLARKE / GOLDSMITHS / CONTRIBUTOR


16

books

the smoke

Feminism, Sex, and the City: ZOE PILGER ON HER DEBUT NOVEL, EAT MY HEART OUT “I really had no idea what to expect,” says Zoe Pilger, on the reception of her debut novel Eat My Heart Out, published in January, “because it has the conventions of a chick-lit novel, but darker.” This is an astute definition of the book. Eat My Heart Out is Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging meets The Bell Jar meets A Clockwork Orange. Its heroine – or anti-heroine, depending on how you view her – is twenty-three-year-old Ann-Marie, who rattles from one implosively destructive relationship to the next. Pilger wanted to use the “what-if function of literature” in order to depict “familiar scenarios that you might see in Sex and the City in a more surreal way.” She certainly achieves this, with her own unique brand of manic, volcanic wit. You probably would not find Carrie Bradshaw in Tesco masturbating with a raw heart whilst attired in her mother’s bridal dress, but Ann-Marie ends her date with Dave in a supermarket with animal blood running down her legs, dressed “like Princess Diana on her wedding day”. Pilger describes her protagonist as being less autobiographical, more her “wild, anarchic ID,” an “alter-ego”.

IMAGE: EMMA ALLWOOD

HUMAN BEINGS ARE FOREVER FRAUGHT

WITH POWER STRUGGLES, BUT WE CAN STILL FIGHT HARD TO FIND EQUALITY

One thing that is refreshing about Eat My Heart Out is its immediacy; Ann-Marie is most certainly a girl of the 21st century. As well as making references to the popular culture of our times, such as Fifty Shades of Grey and Nigella Lawson, Pilger also lightly satirises the notion of the hipster. If you are under the age of thirty and a Londoner, you probably know at least one person you can imagine would do DJ sets at a peanut factory in Hackney, and who wears a onesie that bears a headline stolen from a Vice article, similar to Samuel in the novel. “London has influenced me hugely, it’s like another character,” says Pilger, a native of the city herself. She wanted to illustrate a “Dickensian idea of London, a huge collision of different people and experiences.” Ann-Marie’s home city is very recognisable, from the “God squad man” outside Oxford Circus station right down to the Londis on Clapham High Street. As well as the book’s urban setting, a huge aspect of Eat My Heart Out is feminism. Ann-Marie encounters the enormously successful feminist writer Stephanie Haight, who attempts to act as her feminine guru, enlightening her to the gendered oppression she is under. However, Stephanie becomes increasingly unhinged, almost to the point of despotism. The episode in which she locks Ann-Marie in a glass box and forces her to sing her favourite love songs is reminiscent of a kind of reverse Room 101 scene from Nineteen Eighty-Four. Pilger recognises that the publication of her novel “coincides with a new wave of feminism, which more women are starting to engage with.” Stephanie makes reference to a “post-feminist whirly-pool”, which Pilger defines as a “regressive, consumer-driven idea of what it means to be a woman today… second-wave feminism made such huge steps, and though things have improved,

things have also regressed.” Pilger identifies this retrograde movement in attitudes towards women, demonstrated in cultural exports such as Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and pornography. The relationship between culture and the treatment of women is evident in Eat My Heart Out, with, for example, references to the concept of the “bunnyboiler”. Pilger sees the expression as “a term used to put down assertive women… we’re conditioned to believe that men will only be attracted to us if we’re infantile, weaker and less than them.” However, the author is aware of the negative effects of gender stereotypes on both sexes: “There’s an equal amount of pressure on men. The stereotype is that men are sex-mad beasts who want to fuck as many girls as possible, and that’s as harmful to men as it is to women.” In fact, despite being female-oriented, Eat My Heart Out also has a male following: “Men seem to like it as well, which I’m pleased about because I didn’t want to alienate them.” And is Pilger optimistic that a power balance between the sexes can ever be achieved? “I think men and women can be equal… it’s an ideal, human beings are forever fraught with power struggles, but we can still fight hard to find equality.” In terms of future plans, Pilger is already crafting her second novel, about “a romance writer who gets put in a mental asylum for going against the boundaries of the genre.” This new work is influenced by her PhD research on romantic subjection which she is completing at Goldsmiths, University of London. Will we ever hear about Ann-Marie and her luridly violent romantic antics again? Pilger says that she has “thought about writing a novel about her every ten years…” Whatever her next literary venture is, let’s hope that it is as striking as her first offbeat effort.

/ INTERVIEWED BY STEPHANIE GORMAN / GOLDSMITHS / CONTRIBUTOR


books

the smoke

dystopias We all know about 1984 and Brave New World, but in this article Abigail Draycott takes a look at five other lesser-known twentieth century dystopian novels. One thing’s for sure, these choices put our essay-related stresses into rather harsh perspective...

THE HANDMAID’S TALE MARGARET ATWOOD, 1985 “A rat in a maze is free to go anywhere, as long as it stays inside the maze.” In the oppressive theocracy of the Republic of Gilead, the status of women has fallen to an alltime low as they are reduced to commodities. The world is run by a military dictatorship, with the Christian faith being of both paramount importance and the method by which the state gains such unprecedented control of its people. The Handmaid’s Tale is vital in furthering our understanding of the power that religion can have when it falls into the wrong hands. Considered to be controversial by many, it would be foolish not to give this novel a read. THE RUNNING MAN STEPHEN KING, 1982 “Say your name over two hundred times and discover you are no one.” The Running Man is set in the year 2025 in an authoritarian America. It tracks the financial difficulties of one man whose desperation leads him to take part in a game show in order to win a vast sum of money. In the style of the now well-known Battle Royale and The Hunger Games, the televised reality programme results in the violent hunting of the novel’s protagonist, and his eventual death. The Running Man, much like the films and books to which it bears a resemblance, forces us to question the lengths to which we will go to for the sake of entertainment – an especially important message in today’s media-obsessed society. WE YEVGENY ZAMYATIN, 1924 “Those two, in paradise, were given a choice: happiness without freedom, or freedom without happiness. There was no third alternative.” Considered to have had a major influence on George Orwell before he wrote 1984, Zamyatin’s We is set in a world made entirely of glass, enabling the state police to monitor the occurrences of its citizens. The population has become utterly dehumanised, with each human’s name being simply

composed of a letter and a series of numbers. The novel, although innovative for its time, seems to lack the type of captivating storyline present in other dystopian fictions, which perhaps explains its comparative unpopularity when we look at other similar novels of the 20th century. THE CHILDREN OF MEN P. D. JAMES, 1992 “A regime which combines perpetual surveillance with total indulgence is hardly conducive to healthy development.” Perhaps better known from its 2006 film adaptation, James’ The Children of Men is set in the nottoo-distant future where males have been rendered infertile and extinction is inevitable. As well as having a tyrannical leader, the United Kingdom’s society has reached new levels of inequality, with the youngest generation treated like royalty due to their rarity. The novel follows a group of rebels who vow to restore the country to a state of democracy, but, understandably, they meet numerous obstacles in their path. The Children of Men, however, ends on a hopeful note, suggesting that all is most definitely not lost. A CANTICLE FOR LEIBOWITZ WALTER MILLER, 1960 “Nature imposes nothing on you that Nature doesn’t prepare you to bear.” Reminiscent of Fahrenheit 451, Walter Miller’s only novel A Canticle for Leibowitz is based upon the world’s wish to rid itself of knowledge and intelligence, as these are believed to have led to the recent nuclear war that plagued earth. Needless to say, many years later, this process is reversed and nuclear power returns, demonstrating the cyclical nature of civilisation. The novel is paradoxical in the sense that religion is a driving feature of society, despite our common association of secularism in the future. A Canticle for Leibowitz reminds us of the risks posed by nuclear energy, but highlights the inevitability of its existence.

/ ABIGAIL DRAYCOTT / KCL / CONTRIBUTOR

be independent Books Editor Elizabeth visits Claire de Rouen, London’s only specialist fashion and photography bookshop, part owned by Lily Cole

Reached by a short flight of stairs, Claire de Rouen is something of a haven, at odds with the traffic-ridden Charing Cross Road that it sits on. It’s the only specialist fashion and photography bookshop in London, and about 3500 photobooks, out of print and rare titles, fashion monographs and contemporary magazines are crammed into its distinctive L shape. “The bookshop is not very organised really, even though I am a relatively organised person; I like that quality”, Lucy Moore, the director, tells me. “You give up on the instantaneous gratification that is more usual of the shopping experience now, and spend 20 minutes in here, seeing what you can find.” Lucy bought the bookshop in 2011, with the help of her good friend, model Lily Cole, when the eponymous owner sadly passed away and the bookshop’s future became uncertain. “It was a very unusual opportunity to begin working with something that was already established as an incredible archive of books, and a place where people come for in-depth conversation.” Had she always thought about owning a bookshop? “I did always think that it would be nice, but only in the way that you have these sort of abstract dreams”, Lucy tells me, laughing. Of course any independent bookshop knows the threat that online giants like Amazon pose, but Claire de Rouen is lucky to have a strong loyal customer base, counting David Bailey and Bruce Weber as regulars and tempting in many others who are in search of something intriguing and unique. Lucy organises book signings and small presentations, and commissions window displays in order to offer something that Amazon never could. Her Chance Claire project sees an industry expert pick their favourite books, which are then displayed at the front of the shop. “It gives a different feeling to the shop for a couple of weeks”, she explains. A place that excites the mind and is a constant source of fascinating conversation, Claire de Rouen is the epitome of a thriving bookshop. For Lucy it is being in this community that is the real joy: “I love being part of something much bigger – being part of the independent bookshop culture. I meet a lot of the most exciting, younger people who are doing creative work in the city. At the same time, I meet the older generation of brilliant, wellestablished people. I like that feeling of being part of a shifting culture that changes with each generation.”

/ INTERVIEWED BY ELIZABETH METCALFE / KCL / BOOKS EDITOR IMAGES © CLAIRE DE ROUEN BOOKS

IMAGE: TRENT MCMINN

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18

theatre

the smoke

wonder woman:

DIANE MORGAN, AKA PHILOMENA CUNK, SPOKE TO US ABOUT VACANT LOOKS, SHIT JOBS, AND TROLLING BRIAN COX.

To many, Philomena Cunk, the vacant-stared, dim-witted interviewer from Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe will be one of the highlights of the satirical BBC show. This is certainly the case for certain members of the London Student team – and we’ve made no secret of our fandom. When we told her of our excitement about securing an interview, she oh-so-humbly exclaimed in her unmistakable Bolton accent: “I’m not Madonna!” – and there it was: confirmation that Ms Diane Morgan has no idea how brilliant she undeniably is. From her debut on the show in 2013 as a mock-commentator on weekly events, her popularity has risen – and she now has her own feature, Moments of Wonder. So how does one come to be the only female comic on the show? “I had to audition for Charlie [Brooker] – he wanted a female version of Barry Shitpeas [the male counterpart of Cunk], so I have early contracts for ‘Mrs Shitpeas’”. A sure sign of making it, then. “It was fairly terrifying. He’s quite scary. He’s genuinely grumpy – in a nice way. I was always a massive fan before I saw the show – a massive fan. I was like an X Factor contestant, I was like ‘I’ve got to do this!’” It’s good to know we’re not the only over-enthusiastic fans of the self-proclaimed “underwhelmist.” So what of her relationship with Brooker? Is he really as grumpy as he makes out? “That’s just his face. He’s brilliant – but I hardly ever see him. He’s always writing. Well, that’s what he says he’s doing. He’s like Walter White… I’m like the Jesse to his Walter White.” Fellow Weekly Wipe fans will notice there’s an obvious inspiration for the format of the latest series’ new Cunk feature: “For the first session, I’d watched loads of Brian Cox’s Wonders of the Universe – I think you can see from the first episode that I actually became him. Apparently he’s seen it – he’s a friend of Charlie’s. Do you know, though, I’ve been tweeting Brian Cox. For months, I’ve just been

IMAGE: ANDY DEVONSHIRE

asking him really stupid questions, like ‘will things catch on fire if I leave them plugged in?’ – he never replied. I think ‘oh, God! Am I really pissing him off?’ then the other day… he replied. I said to him “I love how you’re always smiling, even though there’s absolutely no point to life?” and he replied “it’s the pointlessness that amuses me” – it made my bloody day. I think Cunk’s moved on a bit now though – they’re less Cox and more… thick.” For those who observe Philomena Cunk as closely as we do, her trademark vacant stare, furrowed brow and inquisitive bobbed head will be instantly recognisable. For most actors, typecasting can become a problem – so surely this is more likely to be the case when your character is as vacuous as Cunk? “It’s weird because… people do spot me now, and when they spot me they seem genuinely amazed that I actually exist. I often get spotted when I’m just staring into space. I try not to do that anymore. I make an effort to not look stupid; I’m just always trying to look really intelligent. To be honest though, I’m not a million miles away from the character.” Anyone who admires comedians as much as we do will know this is just not true. To be successful, it helps to be particularly quickwitted and observational. This is certainly true of Morgan, who chose to trade university for drama school – East 15, which she is quick to assure me is not a boy band. “I just wanted to

just do comedy. I constantly watched comedy and that was all I wanted to do, but I just didn’t know how to go about it. I presumed that drama school would be the thing to do. So I went and I immediately told my tutors that I wasn’t interested in Shakespeare – I asked if they could help me with the comedy. They just cast me as Lady Macbeth as punishment. They gave me all the big dramatic parts that everyone really wanted, and I just wanted to play the comedy maid. I still got laughs, in Shakespeare – ‘Oh, Diane’s doing Lady Macbeth! Haha!’” As many theatre graduates will realise, if getting into drama school seems like the tricky part (it took Morgan 3 years), then graduating will really test them. “When I left, I didn’t do much – bits and bobs. I thought ‘shit! I really need to do something with my life. Maybe I should try stand-up.’ And everything changed after that – suddenly casting directors became interested in me – I should have just skipped drama school and just done stand up. It went well, I just kept getting gigs – for 9 years.” She was also keen to offer some refreshingly honest advice for budding comedians: prepare to be miserable. “It helps to have loads of awful dead-end jobs. You need to have had quite a lot of misery in your life before you’ve got anything interesting to talk about. You need to have been heartbroken, sacked, in jail… So have lots of really awful jobs, to get started. I

packed worming tablets in a factory in Bolton from 8 o’clock in the morning to 6 o’clock at night, just counting and packing over and over again – you weren’t allowed to sit down and you weren’t allowed to talk, in case it slowed you down. It was awful! It was actual torture. You see, when you’ve experienced things like that, and the people who do these jobs for years and years… it’s like ‘Christ’. For a start, it makes you think ‘shit, I really need to pull my socks up. I need to get some chuffing qualifications – fast’. But really, the shit job is going to be feeding what you’re going to be doing later and the characters you meet in awful jobs are something else.” Luckily for us, Morgan is a long way from factories, shit jobs, and Bolton. She noted some observations about her current home in the capital with her trademark humour, “The convenience of London is amazing – just look at the amount of cashpoints. There’s Pret a Manger everywhere. It’s so good. The bad thing, of course, is that you’re never more than 6 feet away from a rat.” So, London’s gain is Bolton’s loss – and it seems as though as long as we can continue to entice her with a multitude of cashpoints and Prets, we’ll be able to continue to enjoy the work of one of the most talented young female comedians around.

/ INTERVIEWED BY SARAH FORTESCUE / CSSD / THEATRE EDITOR

SLEEPING BEAUTY, ROYAL OPERA HOUSE As scores of little faces accompanied proud parents to the Royal Opera House’s matinee showing of one of the most well-loved fairy tales, it amazed me that the concentration of notoriously fidgety young things would be held for over hours with no words – or indeed phones, games, or other distractions. Their parents, of course, would have been aware that the visual feast accompanying Tchaikovsky’s music would be enough to hold their ga e as perfectly as rincess Aurora’s arabesque itself. This revival of the 1946 Royal Opera House production worked its magic on the young attendees – clearly, the feast of colours that successfully lifted the spirits the audience of post-war Britain was enough to enchant those lucky enough to be treated to the Royal Ballet’s 75th anniversary production. The regally tinged pastels of the prologue, the autumnal assortment of Prince Florimund’s fellow

hunters, and the vibrant feast of bold hues that accompanied the final celebration created a festival of visually stunning grandeur. f course Tchaikovsky’s ballet is not just aimed at children. Although it is based on harles errault’s La belle au bois dormant, rather than the 16 original of the fairy tale, Giambattista Basile’s Sole, Luna, e Talia - which tells a more macabre account – it is still a dramatic tale with its fair share of darkness, and will entice audiences of all ages. The Sleeping Beauty is showing at the Royal Opera House until th April 01 . There will be a live screening of the performance in cinemas on 19th March.

/ SARAH FORTESCUE / CSSD / THEATRE EDITOR


food

the smoke

- PRINCI milanese bakery in the heart of london Tucked away behind a modest fronting on Soho’s Wardour Street is arguably one of the best Italian bakeries in London. Named Princi, the bakery chain is massive in Milan but a well-kept secret over here. Divided into two halves, there is a takeaway bakery with seating to the right, and a proper Neapolitan pizzeria to the left, with a picturesque fired stone oven at its heart. You can see the chefs tossing the pizza dough, adding to the atmosphere; the emphasis on quality pizza is tangible.

IMAGE: GOURMET BURGER KITCHEN

go gourmet at gbk Everyone loves a good burger, but the pleasure they bring is often marred by feelings of guilt and bloating afterwards. Luckily, recent years have seen the introduction of more burger restaurants that angle towards a fresher, less instant and overall less greasy meal. GBK is one of these – a New Zealand-based restaurant that has become a successful chain in the UK (with over 30 in London alone), whilst managing to avoid feeling generic. As a vegetarian, it’s common to be offered only a couple of token options on some menus – particularly in a burger restaurant – but the choices GBK present are fantastic. There are currently three, though they’re each so delicious

having it coated in breadcrumbs and fried – my friend opted for char-grilled, and was certainly not disappointed. Their beef burgers are proudly proclaimed to be 100% West Country beef, and options range from The Kiwiburger (beetroot, egg, pineapple and cheddar, plus relish and mayo) to The Don (American cheese, gorgonzola, bacon aioli, rocket, onion jam, pickled onion and house mayo, all encased in a brioche bun), so you certainly won’t suffer from a lack of choice. My choice for sides will always be the skin-on chunky fries (with a healthy portion of garlic

To make up for the disappointing value, the bakery offers many little delights that can’t be replicated in a small home oven: try the rustici, mini puff pastry slices full of cheeses and vegetables. The desserts are also brilliant, with gelato and panna cotta available, but the highlight is the baked tarts: peach and pistachio, ricotta and cherry, and my ultimate favourite, the cannoli Siciliano. These are executed perfectly, and always freshly baked. If you don’t have the time to sit down at their table, don’t fret: you can buy breads or cheeses to take home, or have a foccacia sandwich made to go. Try the parma ham, tomato and mozzarella for £4.60. Prices on this side are quite modest – an olive foccacia (ideal as an alternative to a lunchtime Pret sandwich) is only £2.50.

/ EMILY MONTFORD / KCL / CONTRIBUTOR

The non-vegetarian burgers are also, I’ve been assured, fantastic – I introduced a friend to GBK a few weeks ago, and the look on her face when presented with the Chicken, Camembert & Cranberry was brilliant to behold. With chicken burgers you are presented with the option of char-grilling or

The focaccia pizza slices present a great chance to try different flavours, such as pesto, French bean & pine nut, or the ham & crescenza. There are alternatives to the pizza, for example some wonderful lasagne, and pasta dishes including calamari with chilli and chickpeas – but it is clear that, despite these, pizza is the star. Salads are a bit steeper in price, and though delicious, their simplicity can leave you dissatisfied. While the French bean salad with olive tapenade is tasty, it costs £7.80, which is significantly pricier than if you’d tossed together the ingredients at home.

It’s not only the aesthetic of the bakery or the atmosphere that is appealing to the customers, but the obvious quality of the ingredients, and the authenticity of the recipes. As students, maybe we’ll only be able to visit occasionally due to budgetary constraints, but it does break the monotony of a lunchtime sandwich, and is perfect for an evening meal out in central London.

Even the burger bun is something special – the lightly toasted sourdough bread gives it that extra hint of luxury

in their own right that I couldn’t complain even if that was cut down. My personal favourite is the falafel: crisp on the outside with a soft, spicy interior, surrounded by a mix of warm chilli salsa, fresh cucumber raita and a glorious amount of garlic mayonnaise. Even the burger bun is something special – the lightly toasted sourdough bread gives it that extra hint of luxury, and creates a lovely flavour rather than just being something to hold the filling together.

At lunchtime Princi is relaxed, full of friends or business meetings, with customers mostly choosing to buy casual baked goods instead of a full-scale dining experience, but in the evening the place is buzzing. It is always packed: you can hear the noise from the street, and smell the food as you step through the door. The menu is designed around the premise of quality ingredients in simple, delicious recipes. While the menu offers a vast amount of choice, the food itself is far from overwhelming, unlike the usual greasy “Italian” that high streets throw at us.

mayonnaise on the side) – they’re crisp, fluffy and cooked to perfection. On trying the skinny fries I found them just that bit too skinny for my liking (though improved by the addition of Hei Hei salt, regular salt with added spice and flavours), but each to their own. At an average of £9 per burger it’s perhaps not the cheapest choice – but they frequently offer deals, and downloading their app gives you a 30% student discount and allows you to gain more expensive freebies the more you visit: beginning with a free dipping sauce and culminating in a free burger. For me it’s a firm favourite, and I guarantee that after your first visit, it will be yours too.

/ ZOSIA EDWARDS / RHUL / CONTRIBUTOR

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20

travel

the smoke

OUR ALTERNATIVE GUIDE TO NORTHERN IRELAND In honour of St Patrick’s Day, we asked our very own patron saint of Northern Ireland, Dean Courtney, to take us on a scenic tour of his homeland. If you’re expecting a pint of Guinness and a handful of lucky charms, you’d be wrong. Here’s Dean’s guide to Northern ireland...

BELFAST STROKE CITY OTHERWISE KNOWN AS DERRY Not a place renowned for its high standards of public health, or indeed life expectancy, Stroke City is merely a local colloquialism born out of the ever-present dispute into the correct name for Derry/ Londonderry. Politics are hard to avoid in a city whose very name assumes deep political allegiance, but mercifully anaesthetisation of this heavily divided area has arrived in the form of its award as the UK City of Culture for 2013. This citywide arts and culture plan was aimed at transforming the city’s ailing fortunes through the creation of a reinvigorated tourism agenda, selling a new image of Derry as depoliticised, artsy, and really rather middle class to a city which is truly anything but. However, whilst Derry was named one of the top ten cities in the world to visit by Lonely Planet, it would be a shame if this attracted a standardissue, community-wrecking regeneration. For within its famous walls, Derry epitomises its people’s division, betrayal and resilience in a way that the asinine, pictureperfect “Peace Bridge” could never achieve. Before heading off, do nip briefly across the border to nearby Muff. The border village merits special mention for the Muff Diving Club, should plunging yourself into the ice-cold depths of the Atlantic Ocean to inevitably hit rock bottom is of any interest to you. €15 buys lifetime membership at the Muff Diving Club, including an official “Muff Diver” certificate, a must for any small bathroom wall.

CASTLEROCK An essential treat, but often neglected by the traditional tourist rabbles, is the train trip from Bellerena to Castlerock. Described by Michael Palin as one of the best in the world, this short trip passes the foot of Binevenagh Mountain, which towers spectacularly over the North Coast, its views extending out to County Donegal and on the rare clear day, across to Scotland, through sandy beaches, towards Ireland’s longest railway tunnel, dramatically carved through a cliff. It took 3,600 pounds of gunpowder to blow out the tunnel in 1853. Castlerock is not very notable in itself, being a small and rather artsy seaside town with a couple of cafes and bars. However, it’s the surrounding area that brings people here. Miles of white beaches on one side, and coastal cliff edge walking on the other. Make your way through the rather ominously titled Black Glen, and be sure to check out Mussenden Temple, a historic library perched perilously close to a 120ft cliff top. This area falls under the remit of the National Trust, and while mostly free except car parking, you can spend the rather arbitrary £4.27 to go inside Hewlett House – Ireland’s oldest thatched cottage. Or skip it and have a pint, and admire the outside for free.Thatch is an external feature, after all.

BALLYCASTLE/ RATHLIN ISLAND

GIANT’S CAUSEWAY & CARRICK-A-REDE The Giant’s Causeway (background) is one of the natural world’s most captivating phenomena, and rightly protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Recently opened on the site is the Stirling Prize-nominated visitors’ centre, to explain the science and mythology behind the endless basalt Blockbusters board. The building is sensitive, and doesn’t undermine the sensational views leading up to the site. Its erection does come with a cost though – although previously free, there’s now a rather steep entrance fee. Just down the road is Carrick-aRede, a traditional fisherman’s rope bridge connecting the coast to a small, rocky island famed as an ideal spot for salmon fishing. Whilst the traditional use is long gone, what remains is a stomachchurning walk, with only some rope and a plank saving you from a most spectacular death. Less death-defying once the spoilsport attendants stop people from bouncing across the bridge, but you’ll still want a pint afterwards. Giant’s Causeway £8.50; Carrick-aRede £5.60. Discounts available.

Ballycastle, hometown of dried salty seaweed – the alleged delicacy dulse (inexplicably pronounced “dul-lis”), contains a Kebab-A-Rama, a caravan park and a petrol station. One local secret is just outside the town, the Vanishing Lake Loughareema. Why or not it cares to grace you with its presence nobody can quite work out, so it remains an unanswered, bolshy, natural phenomenon. Ballycastle is also a short ferry ride away from the 6-mile-long Rathlin Island. The island now boasts a rising population of 100, and is the only inhabited island off the Northern Irish coast. It is essentially a geologist’s wet dream, but do take in a blissfully quiet pint before the arrival of broadband turns the islanders to pornography. Ballycastle to Rathlin Island Ferry £6.

Full disclosure before I go on, I’m a Belfast man. I’ve always been disturbed by travel guides that portray Belfast solely with a narrative of the The Troubles or the bloody Titanic. Aside from telling you to avoid the expensive, hideous tourist dice that is the Titanic Centre like the plague, I wish to talk about neither. Belfast is slowly becoming a venue in its own right, no longer the poor man’s Dublin, no longer its own worst enemy. In recent years, the regeneration of the Cathedral Quarter has established Belfast as a cultural hub. Traditional cobbled streets filled with restaurants and pubs – streets that tell their own story of the city’s industrial heritage. Also too good to miss is the MAC, an architecturally fascinating contemporary art gallery opened last year and proving a real hit with the locals. Just ignore the faux-Mediterranean square on which it resides, you can file that under Neoliberal Urban Regeneration Guff (NURG). Also worth a visit is the Botanic Gardens, a public park containing, oddly enough, Victorian botanical gardens. Avoid the Ulster Museum, and head instead for the Lyric Theatre, which has recently been redeveloped to much fanfare among architects. Belfast certainly has enough to keep you going for a pleasant evening or two. Rather sadly, though, and not unlike other UK urban centres, the city is slipping towards NURG, but I urge you to visit and make your own mind up: sadly not a lot of people do. The Lyric Theatre: Tickets from around £10. MAC: Galleries are free, shows and events may charge a fee. Black Box: from free.

/ DEAN COURTNEY / GOLDSMITHS / CONTRIBUTOR


EVENTS

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days and nights WILLIAM BASINSKI & MICHAEL GIRA (SWANS)

VERONESE: MAGNIFICENCE IN RENAISSANCE VENICE

12 March, 7pm St John-at-Hackney Church £18

19 March - 15 June National Gallery £8

FASHION WORLD OF JEAN PAUL GAULTIER

VISIBLE SPACE

Showcasing 190 garments and ditigal archives, and featuring a talk from the enfant terrible himself 9 April – 25 August Barbican Centre Prices vary, from free

An exhibition, screening and discussion on queer presenting brown bodies and how they are perceived 16-29 April Rich Mix Free

PETER FRÖBERG IDLING IN CONVERSATION WITH DAVID PILLING

OSGUT TON WITH BEN KLOCK AND MARCEL FENGLER

Fröberg discusses his debut novel Song for an Approaching Storm, a political thriller set in 1950s Cambodia. 10 March, 7pm Daunt Books £5

16 March, 12pm The Village Underground £17.50

IN THE WOLF’S MOUTH: ADAM FOULDS WITH ANDREW MOTION Foulds discusses his latest novel, which explores themes of violence, distorted history and war. 12 March, 7pm London Review Bookshop £10

CABIN PRESENTS: APPLEBLIM, ASUSU 14 March, 10pm Rhythm Factory £5

EXPLODING CINEMA A night of short film, performances, music and mayhem 14 March, 7pm Peckham Liberal Club £5

CAMBERWELL FREE FILM FESTIVAL Showing Wadjda, Blue is the Warmest Colour and many others 20-30 March Various locations

PAUL DURCAN: LIFE IS A DREAM

VOICES OF WOMANHOOD FESTIVAL DAY

A celebration of works by the Irish poet on St. Patrick’s Day 17 March, 6.30pm Southbank Centre Free, RSVP required

23 March, 11am – 9pm Roxy Bar and Screen From £7.30

SHORT SIGHTED CINEMA PRESENTS... DRUGS

Performances of contemporary and traditional poetry 23 March, 2pm Keats House Free

18 March, 7:30pm Upstairs at The Ritzy £5

THE SLEEPING BEAUTY Royal Ballet production live in cinemas across London, filmed from the Royal Opera House 19 March, 7.15pm From £15

ANIMATING THE WORD: PLAYING POETRY

20 March, 7pm Shepherd’s Bush Empire £19

14 March, 11pm Egg London £18.50

SCRATCH MIXER Regular showcase of London’s most exciting new spoken word 20 March, 7pm Southbank Centre £2.50

Six key post-war artists that redefined Germany Until 31 August British Museum Free

RE:VAULT FILM DEN

ABSTRACT DRAWING

31 March, 7pm Bar Kick, Shoreditch £2.50

Until 19 April Drawing Room Free on Mon & Tues

FISHBONE

MARTIN CREED

A pop-up restaurant puts a seafood spin on gourmet fast food Tue-Sat, until 31 March Kensington Palace

Until 27 April Hayward Gallery £9

LONDON COFFEE FESTIVAL

Written by Shelagh Delaney when she was nineteen, one of the great defining and taboo-breaking plays of the 1950s Until 11 May National Theatre From £15

A TASTE OF HONEY

3-6 April The Old Truman Brewery £11.50 in advance

MEET THE BREWER

BARBICAN YOUNG POETS SHOWCASE 26 March, 7pm Barbican Centre Free, RSVP required

WE ARE PROUD TO PRESENT…

26 March, 8pm Café OTO £14

NINA CANELL: NEAR HERE YOUSEF, LAURENT GARNIER & STEVE LAWLER

GERMANY DIVIDED: BASELITZ AND HIS GENERATION

Ale samples and a BBQ, featuring The Five Points Brewing Company 10 April, 7pm Climpsons Arch Free admission

HAUSCHKA WE ARE SCIENTISTS

BRICK LANE, BY PHIL MAXWELL B&W photographs of Brick Lane, from 1982 4-28 April Rich Mix Free

The Swedish sculptor turns electrical currents, stray socks or chewing gum into sculptures Until 30 March Camden Arts Centre Free

The little-known story of the first genocide of the 20th century Until 12 April Bush Theatre £12

DAVID HOCKNEY, PRINTMAKER Until 11 May Dulwich Picture Gallery £5 for students

FILM WORLD OF JEAN PAUL GAULTIER

HERA MASTER COME DOWN

Complementing The Fashion World Of Jean Paul Gaultier, Barbican presents film season curated by the iconic French designer. 22-29 May Barbican Centre £8.50

An exhibition to celebrate Ntiense Eno Amooquaye’s new writing Until 13 April Southbank Centre Free

Until 14 June Noel Coward Theatre From £9.50

THE FULL MONTY


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the smoke

from the archives

The London Student photographic archives consist of two drawers in an ancient filing cabinet, sitting stoutly in the corner of the editor’s office. Images vary from press shots of late 80s TV stars and 90s fashion campaigns to gritty social documentary. Unfortunately, our predecessors were somewhat lax in their archiving skills, and a huge amount of images are without names, dates, or any identifying information.


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For our final issue, we wanted to showcase just a few of these hidden gems: photos which caught our eye, but which we have so far been unable to publish due to their anonymity. From a Soho strip club’s smiling porter (top left) to these mystery musicians playing a slightly bizarre, yet very impressive array of instruments (bottom right), we hope you enjoy these random glimpses into the past.

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ISSUE VIII  

LONDON’S ALTERNATIVE HOUSING / BEST SOHO RECORD STORES / AN INSIDE LOOK AT MEADHAM KIRCHHOFF / LONDON FASHION WEEK / A CHAT WITH LOVEPARK /...

ISSUE VIII  

LONDON’S ALTERNATIVE HOUSING / BEST SOHO RECORD STORES / AN INSIDE LOOK AT MEADHAM KIRCHHOFF / LONDON FASHION WEEK / A CHAT WITH LOVEPARK /...

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