BEHIND THE MASK
LENNY ABRAHAMSON TALKS ABOUT HIS NEW FILM, FRANK.
THE WIDER ANGLE
IS TV OPENING UP TO DIFFERENT EXPERIENCES.
12 REGULARS OPENERS SEX HOMEGROWN FACES CALENDAR THE END PIECE
4 KICKSTARTER GAMES 7 FOREST AVENUE 15 LENNY ABRAHAMSON 24 NOELLE CAMPBELL-SHARP 32 SUMMER THEATRE 34 GORSE MAGAZINE LGBT TELEVISION
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REVIEWS TV LITERATURE // FOOD MUSIC FILM TV ART // THEATRE
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Guest Editor Matthew Mulligan Editor Henry Longden Deputy Editor Meadhbh McGrath Creative Director Atalanta Copeman-Papas Copy Editors Lola Boorman & Lily Ní Dhomhnaill Business Manager Sam Dunne Editorial Staff Gabija Purlytė // Issy Thompson // Louise Hynes // Eoin McCague // Sarah Lennon Galavan Cian Clynes // Alex Milne Turner // Chris Rooke // Patrick Cremen // Lily Ní Dhomhnaill // Matthew Mulligan //Lola Boorman Tara Joshi // Liam Maher // Katherine Murphy // Kayla Marie Walsh // Ciara Forristal // Eva Short Photo Editor Molly Rowan-Hamilton Illustrator Alice Wilson Special Thanks PJ Moloney, Jennifer McCahill and the Trinity Publications Committee // Elaine McCahill & the Staﬀ of Trinity News Mark Grehan and all at Grehans Printers // Aaron Devine // Alice Wilson // Grace Nuttall // Akash Sikka Lily Ní Dhomhnaill // All of the 2013/14 tn2 team ISSUE EIGHT // 3
GILDED LILY ART NC Iris, Vivienne Roche NC Iris was commissioned from Irish artist Vivienne Roche by the National College of Ireland to mark the transfer to its new site at the IFSC in the Dublin Docklands. Completed in 2006, this fourteen-metre sculpture — one of the tallest pieces of public sculpture to be designed, built and assembled in Ireland — is loosely based on the forms of the iris and the arum lily, and is symbolic of the concepts of change, growth and vision associated with education. A complex AKASH SIKKA technological feat, it is the product of a collaboration between Roche, Arup Engineering (Cork), Arup R&D (London) and Steele & Co. Its making involved computer modelling devised for the design of aircraft, while its “skin” is based on chainmail — a material best known from the Middle Ages as a form of armour made of interlocking rings — reimagined on an architectural scale. The five veins on which this transparent mesh is wrapped and which act as the main supports for the sculpture are made of Duplex stainless steel of the type used in North Sea pipelines. An important part of the work was a computer-controlled lighting system which illuminated it at night, painting it in colours that changed depending on the time of year. Sadly, this feature has not been maintained, but the sculpture still glistens brightly in the sun as an emblem of optimism for this new part of the city. GABIJA PURLYTĖ
BEST SUPPORTING ROLE
GAMES Is virtual reality actually reality? It certainly seems that way after Oculus VR showed off the newest version of their Oculus Rift gaming console. With a lower response time and greater pixel count among other improvements, many were captivated by the ability to enter a whole new world, and were even disappointed to have to be brought back to the real world at the end of the demo. Virtual reality headsets allow the user to become totally immersed in a different environment: be it a game, or perhaps a simulation of a real life place. Think of Google Street View, but as if you were actually there. Generally this is produced by a headset, as well as some type of motion sensing apparatus to allow movement as well. Several other key players are joining in the competition to have the first successful virtual reality system. Facebook has very recently bought Oculus VR itself for $2 billion, and with Mark Zuckerberg claiming excitement about using virtual reality to “connect a billion people”, it seems that they have big plans. Another key gaming player has emerged in Sony, who recently announced their Morpheus virtual reality system for the Playstation 4, the prototype of which is coupled with several Playstation Move controllers to allow for gaming interaction as well. Arguably gaming isn’t the most interesting use of the new technology. Other potential uses are far more interesting, and are likely to be where the impetus for improving virtual reality comes from: training for situations that require strategies or quick responses; immersive art pieces; new forms of fiction; and even therapy, in particular for brain injuries or mental health. These are far more exciting and indeed important, and could allow for unprecedented changes not just to entertainment, but to how we interact with the reality around us. CHRIS ROOKE
FILM The last in our series of the defining genres in film addresses the recent resurgence of the “bridge trope”. Most will associate the genre with its lead role in the 1957 WWII biopic The Bridge on the River Kwai, where it broke out of its mould and delivered an inspiring performance giving “structure” to the lives of POWs in Burma. Following this career defining role, the bridge returned in more symbolic parts in the second half of the 20th Century. Although outperforming the leads in many scenes, many complained about the over-representation of “rickety bridges” in films such as The Man Who Would Be King, The Cassandra Crossing and the heartbreaking, but selfless, last moments of the bridge over the Merderet River in Saving Private Ryan. Although debate continues over whether Man on Wire should ever have been included in The Bridge Hall of Fame, the high point of the bridge renaissance has been The Big Lebowski star, Jeff Bridges. Redefining what audiences expect of the name, Bridges has blended an impressive array of humour, romance and lighthearted drama, while pleasing traditionalists by never sneering at a supporting role. HENRY LONGDEN 4 // TN2MAGAZINE.IE
FRONT SQUARE FASHION
MOLLY ROWAN HAMITON
LITERARY MILESTONES LITERATURE April 11, 1931 Dorothy Parker resigned from her position as New Yorker theatre critic. Her stepping down marked the end of the Reign of Terror endured by those she reviewed with icy wit. She started as a theatre critic in Vanity Fair in 1918, but was promptly fired for “fixing” three plays — her own word for her witty brand of slating criticism. In one review “if you don’t knit, bring a book”; in another she decided instead to review the performance of the woman beside her as she looked for her lost glove. “I went into the Plymouth Theater a comparatively young woman,” she said of a production of Tolstoy’s Redemption, “and I staggered out of it, three hours later, twenty years older.” Some of her most famous quotations are derived from her time at the New Yorker, such as when she observed that Katherine Hepburn’s performance “runs the gamut of emotions from A to B”; or when her editor phoned her on her honeymoon to ask for copy, and she replied that she was “too fucking busy – or vice versa”. As well as a critic she was a writer, poet and a popular figure in 1920s New York intellectual circles. Despite her popularity, however, it is safe to say that when she resigned, Broadway breathed a sigh of relief. LILY NÍ DHOMHNAILL
Edward Barry, SS BESS Previously known for his greasy mullet, this Student has burst back onto the scene with exuberant aplomb, channelling a style that is Andre 300 meets Ab Fab. His unique take on the suit is the centrepiece of the ensemble. The jacket evokes a regal sense of pomp, which is challenged by the baggy trousers, which are reminiscent of street life in New York — the beats, the rhymes, the life in the hood. Not afraid to work up a sweat on the rugby pitch or the catwalk, this student is getting it right. All hail Trinity’s Renaissance Man! ISSY THOMPSON
BRUNCH OF THE WEEK SLICE
FOOD Slice is the new Stoneybatter-based sister branch of Cake Café. The menu offers a wide range of options, with an emphasis on speciality egg dishes. All ingredients are sourced from small Irish food producers. 3FE coffee was an excellent match to my scrambled eggs with spicy sausage, avocado, creme fraiche and coriander on buttered rye. The homemade baked beans also went down a treat. Brunch cocktails looked inviting,
CRAFT BEER BLACK’S IPA
DRINKS With only their second release, this microbrewery from Kinsale have created a surprising concoction. The drink, at first glance, appears as dark and frothy as a stout but this is misleading as the aroma and taste reveal it to be an exquisite ale. The first sip reveals the taste of coffee, however once the drink settles in the glass and on the palate, the balanced, fruity tones of an ale come forth. Passion fruit, grape and chocolate are all tasted, and the light hops provide an essential freshness. This is a good beer. It is a beer that has a traditional body yet with surprising tones. A beer that will challenge but not overpower, and drinkable throughout the night, unlike so many intense IPAs. Black’s has a lot more to offer. ALEX MILNE TURNER
but still feeling woozy from the previous night, I opted instead for some fresh orange juice. With no room for cake, we put down our cutlery and got the bill. Paying €11 for eggs and coffee and €10 for beans and juice we suffered a slight stab to our pockets, but we left more human than upon entry.
56 MANOR PLACE., DUBLIN 7 EMILY HUMPHREYS
ISSUE EIGHT // 5
SOUNDS OF THE CITY K-POP: SEOUL
MUSIC South Korea has come a long way since their 1998 financial crisis. Today, the city of Seoul is the shimmering trophy of its glorious rebirth. Situated by the river Han, with a population of 25 million, Seoul is an unprecedented example of rapid globalisation. But, what is the key to the city’s success? Apparently, it is the infectiously addictive music of K-Pop. Just ask Bank of Korea, who have lauded the genre for its startling financial intake overseas, bringing billions of US dollars into the country each year. This has come almost entirely from the online frenzy generated by acts such as Psy, F(X) and 2NE1 as they accumulate tens of millions of hits per music video, with their over-the-top take on American pop music. As mainstream examples of wonderfully eccentric songwriting and masters of marketing campaigns, these groups are the sound of a thriving city in the process of Westernisation. Taking the fashions and musical cliches, which we have run into the ground, they have revitalised the ideas that we pedestrianised, making them exciting once more. On top of this, these are groups with an unparalleled work ethic. You see, the music industry in Seoul took it upon itself to create a watertight, almost militant approach to forming pop groups, guaranteeing commercial success, and hence, contributing to the city’s process of modernisation. Seoul talent agencies train hundreds of young performers through a rigorous process called the “Quadruple Threat”. Mentoring them in singing, dancing, rapping and polyglotism, their appeal has surpassed the limitations of the Korean market, achieving mass popularity in the States, Latin America and Europe, many of whom look at these acts half bemused, half enthralled, but undeniably stunned by the sheer spectacle. Everything about K-Pop is simply larger than life. From the unshakably upbeat and hilarious, Devo-esque sound of Crayon Pop, to the creatively unpredictable structures of Girl Generation, and not to forget the pink army tanks that parade about in F(X) music videos, it is a movement both familiar to Western tastes, while being like nothing you have ever seen before. You might not be able to afford a ticket to Seoul, but I can assure you that soon enough it will be coming your way. MICHAEL LANIGAN
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
UPPERS & DOWNERS MISTER D. X ANJA RUBIK // In the “deliberately lofi” video for Chleb (Polish for “bread”), the supermodel parodies Polish culture and media imagery of women by riding a giant daschund and zooming oﬀ into space. SOFIA COPPOLA’S THE LITTLE MERMAID // Coppola is set to helm a live-action adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s dark fairytale, and reports indicate that the film will follow the original ending, in which the mermaid throws herself into the ocean to save her prince.
TRANSPARENT // This Amazon original series — a dark, complex comedy, starring Jeﬀrey Tambor as a trans* woman preparing to come out to her family — could prove to be groundbreaking. INDIANA JONES REBOOT // The franchise could take the James Bond route and cast a younger actor to replace Harrison Ford. Bradley Cooper is rumoured to be top of the list. EMOJI DIVERSITY // Apple has vowed to introduce a more ethnically diverse emoji character set, after adding gay and lesbian emojis in 2012. WINESHAKES // The American dining chain that created the “beershakes” of 2012 are now oﬀering this frothy combo of milk, wine and vodka.
ANTI-SOCIAL DINING // An “interactive” Dubai restaurant has replaced its tabletops with touchscreens, which patrons can use to order food and kill time on Facebook and Twitter until their meals arrive. GOOGLE GLASS X RAY BAN & OAKLEY // Google has paired with Italian eyewear and sunglasses manufacturers Luxottica in an attempt to create less obnoxious, more socially acceptable designs. You’ll probably still end up looking like a glasshole.
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LAMMILY DOLL // The Barbie alternative takes as its slogan that “average is beautiful”, reducing the concept of what Barbie is to her looks and her body, and ignoring her impressively varied career. MEADHBH McGRATH
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WEB CUMMING. “AS A GAY MAN, WEBCAMMING AND SEXTING SEEM LIKE THE PERFECT WAY TO FULFIL SEXUAL DESIRES WHILE NOT HAVING TO BE AT THE BECK AND CALL OF A HETERONORMATIVE SOCIETY.” Recently when talking drunkenly with a group of friends, I discovered we all have something in common. Whether it is through Grindr, Snapchat or Chatroulette knock-off sites, we all detailed how we are addicted to showing as much of ourselves as possible to anyone who wants to look. My friends didn’t recoil when I told them of hours wasted coyly exchanging Snapchat photos with other guys I barely know on lazy mornings; each photo more risque than the last. With so much sexual freedom afforded to us through technology, and the ubiquity of smartphone cameras, I suppose, I shouldn’t be surprised — the frank discussion about our various habits, though, showed that most of us wished we had more self-restrain. For me, it’s enjoyable to sext or to exchange photos with someone I find attractive, even if physically having sex or dating is out of the question. As well as having physical relationships with people I also like webcamming with strangers; it’s more pleasurable than wanking to a pixelated porn video and being able to see how attractive another person finds you is an added bonus. While it might seem shallow to lead someone on over Grindr, showing them photos of myself and receiving inevitable praise never gets old. It’s a natural extension of flirting. I must admit though that when I’m webcamming with someone and I cum, I immediately shutdown my laptop. Staring at my reflection in the black, mirror-like screen my previously sex-addled brain tells me it was a bad idea. I worry about whether or not the person on the screen in front of me has managed to record my performance. Did I show my face at some point? Are my tattoos visible? Will I end up being reblogged on Tumblr, like the thousands of glassy eyed lost souls whose private photos have ended up in a black hole of infinite publicity? Will grainy footage of me surface in the “amateur/webcam” section of a porn site? Even with an exchange conducted through Grindr or Snapchat my enthusiasm
and arousal is instantly killed after the act, and I reflect on what may happen when next I refuse to engage in picture swapping or sexting. Dublin has a small gay scene; even if I do not personally know the people I’m messaging, I know of them. Will they tell others about me? Will I get a reputation as some kind of sex-addicted slut? After talking to my friends these thoughts don’t worry me as much — they’ve all done it, and I’m small fry. But why does this problem exist? Why are men who have sex with men engaging in these activities when a majority of them instantly regret it? In a way it’s on par with the hours men lose looking for and watching pornography, just one degree more intimate. It’s live porn, both you and those watching you are engaging in an intimate
exchange. Swapping photos also feels as innocent as looking at porn, like there’s no inherent harm to it. Today’s gay and bisexual men are more than likely to have complicated relationships with the internet. For most, it helped teach us about who we are, normalised our internal desires and taught us the sex education that wasn’t available in schools. The way the internet did this however was through pornography, and early tendencies to use porn as a way to reconcile fear or sadness towards your newly discovered sexuality can quickly transform into a fixation on it. Men who have sex with men are able to do so with each other in a more liberal environment than is afforded to straight men or women. A history of being pushed to the fringes based on sexual behaviour may be having residual effects when it comes to sexting and webcamming; it’s private, and can be done through networks unseen by most people. As a gay man, these activities seem like the perfect way to fulfil sexual desires while not having to be at the beck and call of a heteronormative society. Straight men can use hook-up apps too, but because of societal expectations, there is probably a better chance of two men hooking up through the internet than there is a man and a woman. Porn hasn’t ruined my life and neither has sexting, webcamming or sending pics of myself to whoever will take them. What feels natural to me in the moment is something that is increasingly becoming the norm for a lot of people. I don’t want to operate within the of constraints of sexuality and flirting that society has placed upon me. I want a safe, fun way to get off and the phone in my pocket never fails to disappoint.
WORDS BY ANONYMOUS ILLUSTRATION BY ALICE WILSON
ISSUE EIGHT // 7
G A M E S
GET YOUR KICKS TN2’S EOIN MOORE SPEAKS TO FEARGUS URQUHART, CEO OF OBSIDIAN ENTERTAINMENT ABOUT HOW CROWDFUNDING WEBSITES SUCH AS KICKSTARTER ARE REVOLUTIONISING THE WAY GAMES ARE BEING DEVELOPED.
Crowdfunding websites such as kickstarter.com have created an interesting opportunity for game developers, both big and small, to produce games which otherwise might be considered “unpublishable” in direct response to fan’s wishes. Feargus Urquhart is the CEO of Obsidian Entertainment, developer of the recently Kickstarter-backed title Pillars of Eternity, which raised almost 4 million dollars in fan donations. Urquhart, in a career spanning twenty years in the games industry, has worked on games including Fallout 1 and 2, the Baldur’s Gate series, Planescape: Torment, Fallout: New Vegas, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and South Park: The Stick of Truth. Tn2 talks to Urquhart about Project Eternity, Kickstarter, and the state of the games industry.
other parts I don’t think it has been felt at all. The difference is mostly due to the budgets and types of games that Kickstarter has helped fund. When I look at the larger publishers (Activision, EA, 2K, and Ubisoft), they are making huge console games that can cost up to, if not more than $100m to develop. Budgets of that size just can’t be funded with crowdfunding — so the impact there is pretty much nonexistent. For independent developers looking at budgets up to $5m or $10m (if they are funding some of the game themselves), it means we can now get games funded that the publishers have not been interested in. And, we get to own what we create, which lets us build up on what we create the way we want to. I think that has helped all of us not only make great games, but set up to keep on doing that.
Has the popularity of Kickstarter had an impact on the games industry? In some parts of the industry, the impact has been pretty huge, while in
Why do you believe that projects like yours have received such unprecedented support from fans? Over the last ten years (before Kickstarter), it has become increasingly
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harder to get games funded that live in this no man’s land of more than a couple million but less than twenty million. The idea is that you go big or go home when it comes to AAA console. On the other side of budgets, publishers have been funding smaller games that use licenses (Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, etc.). For gamers, that has meant that the niche or genre game that we used to make were just not being made. They weren’t being made because people didn’t want them; they just didn’t fit into the model that many publishers had created for themselves (budgets of less than $2m or budgets of more than $20m). That means there were all of these games that were not being made. Luckily a number of us stumbled into this and with the help of Kickstarter got these games funded. How does the experience of working on a Kickstarter-backed game compare to the standard, publisher-controlled system, in terms of creative and practical freedom? It has been great to have the freedom
G A M E S
“AND, WE GET TO OWN WHAT WE CREATE, WHICH LETS US BUILD UP ON WHAT WE CREATE THE WAY WE WANT TO. I THINK THAT HAS HELPED ALL OF US NOT ONLY MAKE GREAT GAMES, BUT SET UP TO KEEP ON DOING THAT.”
to work the way we want to work. When we need to change something about the game, we change it. More importantly, I think we have gotten better and better about how we make games. It is still many months before Pillars of Eternity comes out and we already coming close to being Alpha. Why have so many of the most successful Kickstarter games been in old-school genres — such as pointand-click adventures or isometric RPGs — which have grown out of popularity? I think it is mainly because that while they had fallen out of popularity for funding, they had not fallen out of popularity with gamers. The industry has changed a lot over the last ten years, and I think one of the biggest impacts was the “Death of the PC” that was heralded in the early 2000s. There was this rush for every developer to move over to the console, which meant certain types of games were left behind even if people still wanted them. Added to that for PC
RPGs, after Black Isle, BioWare, and Troika moved on to console and went away — no one else took up the torch. Is Kickstarter allowing these old styles to become relevant again, or are these titles simply playing off 90s gaming nostalgia? I really feel that these games are still relevant, but then I’m a bit biased. What I can say is that I was asking myself that question a bit until I played Shadowrun Returns. I put a good twenty or so hours into it, had a lot of fun, and am looking forward to getting the expansion. While I am a fairly hardcore RPG player, I don’t think I’m the only one. How do you feel the increased transparency and fan interaction brought about by Kickstarter has changed the way you make games? Strangely enough it is like going back to the way we made games in the mid90s. Back then we had forums and between us and BioWare we interacted with our fans a ton. What is different is
that we do feel that we have a responsibility to keep our backers updated on what we are doing. So, we release an update pretty much every two weeks (earlier on it was once every week). A side effect of that, which I think is super interesting, is that anyone who goes to our website [eternity.obsidian.net] can go back through all the updates and get a history on how the game has been built. I don’t know if there has been that much written, filmed, and shown about a game posted publically before. How do you see Kickstarter’s future and its future effect on the industry as a whole? Is Kickstarter simply a brief fad, yielding a few new games, or is this just the beginning of a new games industry? I really hope it is not a fad. Kickstarter has really helped us realise our dream of making our own game and taking a lot more control of our own destiny, along with delivering a game that gamers are really looking forward to. I do think that Kickstarter will evolve like every new thing and that backers will expect even more transparency from us over time. As for the ultimate future of Kickstarter, I think people (like myself ) want to help others out and help them directly. Kickstarter lets that happen and as long as the people who take advantage don’t ruin it for the rest of us — I think we’ll see it flourish. WORDS BY EOIN MOORE ILLUSTRATION BY ALICE WILSON
ISSUE EIGHT // 9
F O O D
A NEW AVENUE
FOOD & DRINK EDITOR CIAN CLYNES MEETS JOHN AND SANDY WYER, THE CHEFS BEHIND DUBLINâ€™S MOST EXCITING NEW RESTAURANT, FOREST AVENUE
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The most telling sign of something new is the amnesia it creates of anything old. For several months now, any conversation I have entertained on the topic of dining in Dublin, has inevitably reverted to talk of a new, small neighbourhood restaurant situated in Ballsbridge. Forest Avenue, the brainchild of husband and wife team, John and Sandy Wyer, fuses elements of traditional European cooking with an innovative approach to the use of Irish produce to create a menu, and experience, that has garnered them significant attention in Irish culinary circles. After stints working at some of Dublinâ€™s premier restaurants, and having become increasingly frustrated by the lack of creative licence they were afforded, both John and Sandy left successful careers with the aim of offering their own perspective on what fine dining should be. However, it took time to turn their ideas into reality. Uncertain of whether Dublin was ready for the type of restaurant they envisioned, they used their pop-up restaurant, The Supper Club Project, to test their approach to fine
F O O D
dining. “We could see that people were interested in what we were doing, eating seven course meals and knowing the details of what was on the menu and on their plate. We didn’t think people would be that adventurous with food,” Sandy explained. “We didn’t expect that people would enjoy the buzz of going to a restaurant for the whole night, spending three hours there, having seven courses and things like petit fours and canapes and then us coming out and talking to the guests. That was the incubus for Forest Avenue.” As the public’s interest and outlook on food has shifted, this new breed of diner, conditioned by travel and broadened horizons, has encouraged and demanded restaurateurs to up their game. Now, a no longer indifferent public tends to ask informed questions of what appears on the menu, displaying more than a fleeting interest in what arrives on their plate and raising the tide of expectations of the capital’s eateries. This new dining public would feel at
home at John and Sandy’s establishment. Where dinner at many of Dublin’s “fine dining” restaurants can feel like a day at the library under the supervision of a monk, dining at Forest Avenue is a much more casual affair. Its excellence, aside from the brilliance of the food, involves the removal of the common boundaries between the kitchen and the restaurant floor. Chefs often glide to and from the open kitchen, delivering dishes to tables, conversing with guests and even clearing tables when time allows. The almost kinetic energy of the kitchen moves with a level of fluidity unseen in any Dublin restaurant. Such an approach was planned from the beginning Sandy explains, laying out the philosophy of the restaurant. “We wanted to give people that kind of food but we wanted to change the atmosphere. We wanted to tear it down, and strip it back so people could come in and have amazing food but didn’t have to have their wine topped up every five seconds or table brushed over. We wanted to create something new and exciting in Dublin.” Without retelling the dour past of Dublin dining, it’s clear that the food culture in this city has developed considerably in a relatively short space of time with a proliferation of quality eateries throughout the city. However, a general lack of creativity and variety persists among the capital’s restaurants. The public’s hesitance and resistance to change, coupled with the tendency of many of the city’s leading restaurateurs to copy and paste the same tried and tested formulae, has undoubtedly stunted the development of Irish food culture. Having seen what is popular with diners, and what turns a profit for restaurateurs, were the Wyers not motivated to follow such a path? “We thought if we are going to open a restaurant, it has to be our thing,” John stated adamantly. “We have to do exactly what we want to do. We didn’t want to sell out and worry if people complained about the choice. We took a chance, a total gamble. The easiest thing to do would be go down the ‘five starters, five main courses’ route. That would have been easy but it’s not what we wanted to do. We took a chance and thought that Dublin is ready for this style of menu, and it is.” Sandy was quick to reaffirm this view. “It’s a scary experience when you’re investing a large amount of money in something that may not work. The easy thing to do is to say ‘OK, this formula works, let’s do that, because that’s restaurant 101.’ It takes a little bit more to go and chance your arm.” John summarised his view plainly with no guarded caution. “For somebody to take that leap of faith it takes bollocks, and a lot
of people don’t have the bollocks to do it.” A mood of mischief appears to pervade the kitchen. Being daring, and challenging themselves creatively, is the guiding principle of the restaurant. “There has to be an edge to things,” John said expansively. “There has to be that element of uncertainty or else we’re not excited about it. Sometimes we put things on the menu, and end up thinking, ‘fuck, how do we make this work?’ We just make it work.” This nonchalant attitude when determining the dishes on the menu pervades throughout our conversation. When pressed to expand upon the approach he takes to creating his dishes, John’s brow furrows, trying to recollect something that clearly has not been the result of a deliberate plan. He emphasises, as he sees it, the pragmatic, working logic behind his work. “Because we’re very focused on seasonality, Mother Nature makes things look beautiful. Mother Nature is in charge. If you are working with the seasons, you are putting things together that, by nature, grow together in the environment. When you put these things on a plate together, they’re going to work. We’re just going with the flow.” This approach gives reign to dishes that may sound complex and over-the-top on paper, but are delicious and seem even obvious when presented on the plate. Given the pedestal Forest Avenue has been placed upon, I couldn’t help but ask about the industry awards and, dare I say, Michelin star which could come their way. “They don’t motivate us,” they responded instantly in union. Sandy was quick to dismiss any such notions. “We just want to refine things. Keep progressing. Every year we want to be better than the previous year; more polished, more consistent, doing everything sharper.” This commitment to progression and customer experience represents a commitment to a coherent set of values. “Traditionally, restaurants were run by families and one generation took over after the next. That’s what we want. We want to bring back that old school vibe. This is a family run, mom and pop restaurant. It’s all for our daughter. We’re doing this for ourselves and our family. We’re doing this as it’s our passion, so why not use our craft to support our family? That’s all we’re doing.” Blissfully unaware of the rising profile of their restaurant and the new lease of life they are bringing to Dublin’s restaurant scene, John and Sandy Wyer may be doing more than they realise. Irish food culture stands at a hinge point, and one can’t help but feel that Forest Avenue is opening the door for a fresh approach. PHOTOGRAPH BY GRACE NUTTALL
ISSUE EIGHT // 11
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LET'S BE FRANK
TN2’S FILM EDITOR EOIN McCAGUE SPEAKS TO DIRECTORIAL WUNDERKIND LENNY ABRAHAMSON ON HIS MORE RECENT PROJECT, FRANK STARRING MICHAEL FASSBENDER.
Lenny Abrahamson is (fortunately) no longer Ireland’s best-kept cinematic secret. The Emerald Isle’s love for the writer-director and Trinity graduate is well documented: three films, three Best Director IFTA awards. Ever since he burst onto the scene with 2004’s unsentimental, deathly funny, junkie odyssey Adam and Paul, Abrahamson’s name has become synonymous (alongside the McDonagh brothers) with everything that is right about Irish film. And while 2007’s Garage gained even more traction (picking up the Essai Cinema Prize at Cannes) Irish Cinephiles feared he would not hit the heights of Sheridan and Jordan. Then What Richard Did happened. The IFTA sweeping, slow-burning examination of guilt, shame and jealousy among Dublin southside teenagers catapulted actor Jack Reynor into the Transformers franchise, and Abrahamson into the big leagues. “It is always impossible to know while working on a film how it will be received when it’s finally put in front of real audiences, or even how myself will feel about it,” Abrahamson candidly admitted. “I knew Richard was interesting but I really didn’t think it would cause much of a stir, certainly outside of Ireland. When it started to get strong reviews internationally, sold to a lot of territories and got invited to a bunch of excellent festivals it felt great.” Was he suddenly overwhelmed? “I have
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been getting a lot of scripts from here and particularly abroad — the UK and US. Word that I was making Frank came out around the same time, so the industry knew I was interested in making films with a potentially bigger audience and also that I can attract stars to my projects.” Ah yes, Frank. Abrahamson’s follow-up to Richard boasts an all star cast — Domhnall Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Scoot McNairy and Michael Fassbender in the titular role, who wears a papier mache head throughout the film. Based on Jon Ronson’s book, the story follows an impressionable young man with music interests (Gleeson) who joins an eccentric band led by Fassbender’s Frank as they begin to hit the big time. Early reviews from Sundance and SXSW have lauded the shaggy dog filmmaking style. “We’ve radically changed the script since I got involved, but what is still there is a kind of free-wheeling storytelling style and tonal freshness that really appealed to me when I first read it. There were some great sequences in the middle of the story, where this dysfunctional, semi-avant garde band hole up in the middle of nowhere to write an album. I could see that there was a great film in there, although a really challenging one to get right, narratively, tonally and practically. Daunting, but too tempting to pass up. And Jon [Ronson] and Peter [Straughan] are great writers. One of the biggest pleasures for me in the whole process has been spending time with them, hammering out the story, testing out ideas together.” It wouldn’t be wrong to argue that a film detailing the trials and tribulations of an avant-garde band, led by a recluse wearing a mask, draws comparison with a certain Frank Sidebottom. “I remember him on Top of the Pops but I wasn’t a big fan, no. He was just one of those novelty acts that came around from time to time. It’s only now that I see how original and creative he was. I should say that this film, while inspired
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by Frank Sidebottom, is a totally fictional story. The real Frank was a comic creation of Chris Sievey, while our Frank has morphed into an outside musician with some class of unspecified psychiatric dependence on the mask.” Surely the studios were sceptical at the thought of the film’s biggest star hiding his impressive facial features for the entire running time? “From a publicity point of view, it’s really intriguing for people. Within a day of us releasing the [first] still, it was everywhere.” It is no secret that Michael Fassbender is sought after, his IMDB page reading like a Christmas shopping list. “It was exhilarating to work with him,” Abrahamson explained. “There is no pretension with Michael; all he cares about is the work and he will go to any lengths to make it good. He’s mercurial and he will challenge you up front if he doesn’t agree with how you are approaching a scene — but I welcome that and it almost always leads to better work. I think if I were just starting out, or was a nervous director then it could be tough. So he’s demanding, but not about his trailer or his car, only about the things that matter. And when he hits his groove and the scene is working properly around him, he is something to behold.” Abrahamson doesn’t attempt to deny the fact that Frank is quite a leap, not just in terms of star power and budget, but also in scope and studio expectations from his previous works. “[On Richard] most of the actors were young, and just starting out, and the relationship with me was clear and lovely. They trusted me enough to hand themselves over fully and go with the way I wanted to work,” he noted. “We had a long period of work together before we shot, a year on and off, and so we knew each other extremely well when it came to working under the shooting schedule.” How does Frank compare? “My relationships with all the cast members were really healthy too, and that’s not always the case
on films like this, but there is a big difference when you are working with people who already have big reputations and vast experience on a film set. I think you have to earn their respect and their allegiance. Shooting in two countries (Ireland and the US) was pretty challenging. Apart from eating up lots of money in travel and having to run two crews in parallel for big chunks of time, it meant I had to travel a lot in the lead up to the shoot, which made me more tired than usual.” Not surprisingly, the US leg proved to be the more challenging: “The units there are much bigger than on this side of the Atlantic. It’s wall-to-wall 40 ft. lorries and so many people that by the end of the shoot there were still scores of people whose names I didn’t know. It works differently, at the sharp end around camera there also, and takes some getting used to. All my experience to date has been in the European system so it was like learning to drive a car with the clutch and brake swapped over.” When questioned on the state of the Irish film industry, and his newfound position as an elder statesman, Abrahamson remained characteristically humble and optimistic. “There are some very interesting directors up and coming: Ken Wardrup, Carmel Winters, Ivan Kavanagh, Brendan Muldowny, Juanita Wilson and several more, including some who have yet to make a feature but whose talent is already very clear.” When informed that his name is often mentioned alongside Jim Sheridan and Neil Jordan in film students’ conversations regarding the greatest Irish directors of all time, Abrahamson is somewhat taken back, “Both Jim and Neil have had a lot more international success than I have so I’ve a long way to go. I admire them both greatly; they made huge careers at a time when there was so little happening here and took incredible ability and drive.” With Frank, Abrahamson looks set to take his place alongside those he admires.
HOM EGR OWN
Hailing from Belfast (with the first few years of her life spent in Donegal, living above a pub trying to sneak downstairs to listen to Trad music), singer-songwriter Morgan MacIntyre is all bright eyes and bubbling enthusiasm when we meet for a cup of tea. In her final year at Trinity, she explained the difficulties of moving to Dublin for college, “I first started singing and writing my own songs in Belfast, and I built up a tiny base there, and so I found it quite hard coming to Dublin then — to have to tell everyone here that I sang and wrote music… it’s kind of an embarrassing thing to bring up.” Thankfully, MacIntyre soon got over this trepidation, and quickly got used to going back and forth between the two cities, building up support — though she noted that it is still easier playing at home, “In Belfast I’m a lot more secure in my fanbase, because I’ve been there longer — for example, when I launched the EP [Dancing Down Ravenhill, released late last year] I was more nervous about the gig in Dublin, because in Belfast I knew I could count on a certain amount of people coming.” On the subject of the EP, MacIntyre is as candid and passionate as the songs them-
selves, particularly when explaining the title track: “Dancing Down Ravenhill is about a childhood sweetheart — about this guy who lived on my road, and we used to walk home from school together.” She paused, realising the weight of her words before laughing hesitantly, “Or maybe don’t say that?! Though I think he knows it’s about him anyway”. Ultimately unperturbed, MacIntyre continued, “It’s about when you leave school and come back — like when I came back from college for the Christmas holidays, and I’d see all the little corners that we met up on, or I’d go through the park I used to walk through with him. It’s all the memories flooding back — maybe, knowing that those things are no longer there, but knowing that it’s a good thing. It’s nostalgic.” Listening to the impressive EP, there is a striking starkness and simplicity to MacIntyre’s lyrics, such as the title track with its lines like, “Say you’ll love me long as you live / say you’ll meet me at the bridge”, all in her longing, rich, soulful vocals flowing over sweet, wholesome instrumentation that is somewhat sentimental but never cloyingly so. Indeed, her apparent honesty makes lyrics like “I wish I were able / to speak my mind”
on track Butcher, seem somewhat incongruous, as she noted, “I don’t really tend to write in metaphors, my lyrics are all quite direct.” This sense of candidness is perhaps in part due to the fact that MacIntyre regularly keeps a diary, implying her ease with self-expression. This all launches into a discussion about whether her lyrical openness has ever made her nervous about showcasing her music to others, “I don’t really know — I have very few angry songs, so if I was being angry or a bit mean about someone I would be a bit hesitant…” She then added with laughter, “But my songs are all just like ‘I think you’re amazing, even if you don’t like me that’s fine!’ It’s quite unnerving but I’m like that as a person anyway — I’m open with my feelings, so it’s not like a massive step.” With her heart-on-sleeve songs, that voice and her sheer passion for what she does — maintaining and building upon a music career whilst doing a four year degree is no mean feat — it seems more than likely that, post-graduation, Morgan MacIntyre will very much be one to watch. WORDS BY TARA JOSHI
ISSUE EIGHT // 15
FA S H I O N
ONE OF IRELAND’S FIRST IT GIRLS, NOELLE CAMPBELL-SHARP SPEAKS TO FASHION EDITOR ISSY THOMPSON ABOUT HER CAREER IN FASHION AND HER PATRONAGE OF THE ARTS. ILLUSTRATION BY ALICE WILSON
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Noelle Campbell-Sharp is part of a grizzled, glamorous generation that no longer exists. Outspoken, vital and enormously creative, she comes from the mythical era of a bygone time, when Dublin bristled with imagination and artistic talent. I heard about Campbell-Sharp before I met her. I was told a story by a mutual friend, a classic-car dealer who used to drive around London with a monkey on his shoulder. One day he stopped at some traffic lights on the Kings Road. Suddenly, the car door opened and a woman jumped in, bought the car on the spot, and when the lights turned green, drove off. Now in her seventies, Campbell-Sharp has lost none of her single-minded spontaneity. Once the powerful editor of a host of glossy magazines, she is now the proprietor of Dublin’s Origin Gallery. Her greatest achievement, however, has been the creation of Cill Rialaig, a wild and remote artist’s retreat that overlooks the shores of Kerry. Artists from all corners of the world have made the pilgrimage to this wild and sequestered corner of Ireland, where the view of the Atlantic and the stark, sweeping landscape holds a powerful creative resonance. Campbell-Sharp began her career in Dublin as a woman in a man’s world. One day, to the horror of her boss, she came into work wearing a trouser suit. “They didn’t like their ladies wearing trousers,” Campbell-Sharp recalled, “My boss told me ‘either the trousers go or we won’t be able to keep you on.’” She chose the trousers, and her second job found her working in PR at the Gaiety Theatre, where, upon arrival she was introduced to her first client, Peter O’Toole. “He looked at me with piercing eyes,” she recounts, “and growled, ‘What the fuck would I want with a PRO?’ I was shattered.” Not one to be defeated, Campbell-Sharpe was determined to soften him up. “I just had to break down his resistance,” she explained. She went out on her lunch break and brought a small, ceramic leprechaun. “Mr O’Toole,” she said to him, holding out her hand, “I think you may need a little luck.” He stared at her, and suddenly he grabbed the leprechaun from her outstretched palm and smiled. Soon she met and married the fashion photographer, Neil Campbell-Sharp, and began to write fashion pieces to accompany his pictures. Her
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career in fashion journalism began to rapidly accelerate. She took over the staid society magazine, Irish Tatler, shortened the name to IT, and regenerated it into a modern, extraordinarily successful magazine. Campbell-Sharp looks back on her opulent, hedonistic lifestyle at the time with hilarity. “I was very flashy,” she explains, “because it helped with the PR. I was always in the papers or on TV and I used to drive a Bentley Flying Spur. It was all about the way I lived my life.” A regular at the Shelbourne, Campbell-Sharp also used to haunt Barbarella’s — the Krystle of its time — as well as Elizabeth’s on Leeson Street and Joy’s on Baggot Street. It was at this time that she formed her tempestuous friendship with Terry Keane, the notorious socialite and mistress of the Taoiseach, Charles Haughey. Soon they began to travel the world together. Campbell-Sharp had formed links with Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld and an array of other international couture houses, and so they used to go to all the shows. Her resemblance to Vivienne Westwood proved to be particularly useful. “We were at a Jean Paul Gautier show,” she laughs, “and we forged a note to Gautier from Westwood. He was completely fooled and made a huge fuss of us. I began to get front row seats at all the shows.” She remembers one show particularly clearly. She arrived early to view the John Bates collection and, as usual, made her way to the front row, where she found all the seats to be reserved. There was a man who was already seated and, surreptitiously, he removed the name card on the seat next to him, which belonged to the editor of American Vogue, and beckoned to Campbell-Sharp to sit next to him. “I asked him what he did, and he told me that he was a fashion photographer,” she recounts, “I told him he should have his equipment because this was a very famous designer, who was using very famous models.” She begins to cackle, “He told me I seemed very knowledgeable, and I told him that my husband was a fashion designer. ‘You could say he is the David Bailey of Ireland,’ I quipped. ‘That’s funny,’ he replied, ‘Because I’m the David Bailey of England.’” Encouraged to look for foreign investment for her magazine empire, Campbell-Sharp struck a deal with the Czechoslovakian business mogul Rob-
ert Maxwell, a move that was to signal the end of her lucrative career in publishing. Over the years, Maxwell had accrued enormous debts, and when he was found dead in the Atlantic sea having fallen overboard his yacht, Campbell-Sharp faced financial ruin. “I lost something in the region of 10 million,” she shrugs, “I was probably the first person in Ireland to lose 10 million. A lot of males when they lose money become very uptight — they feel emasculated. I don’t think that women think about money in the same way. I was able to go to my house in the country, look around me and say, what am I going to do now?” She did not have to wait long to find a new vocation, a passion that was to consume her entirely. She heard of local plans to build a ring-road through the middle of a local, crumbling hamlet that had been deserted in the famine and remained, hauntingly beautiful, balanced upon a cliff-face. “They were going to be destroying the last really beautifully preserved road on the Western European Coast,” Campbell-Sharp protests, “I said to the people, there’s no point complaining about this, we’ve got to buy that old village.” And that is precisely what she did. And, now that she possessed an ancient part of the community, she wanted to give something back to that community. She asked herself who she wanted living there and, a firm believer in the reciprocal power of art, the answer seemed clear — artists, poets, composers, those who could draw inspiration from the striking beauty of the surrounding landscape. She built an artists centre in a nearby village and artists in residency began teaching workshops and imparting their artisan skills to the wider community. “We unleashed this incredible latent talent,” she recalled. Campbell-Sharp is a patron of the Irish arts who really cares. A great talent herself, she has dedicated her life to fostering the talent in others, to diversifying and enriching the cultural life of her nation. Bold, flamboyant and strikingly unafraid, she is apprehensive about the artistic future of Ireland, the country that she has put so much of her self into. “I am worried,” she concluded, “about people who are in charge of vision who don’t have a vision themselves. Seeing is believing. You need to see it, and no one is willing to.”
ISSUE EIGHT // 17
PLAYS FOR DAYS HEATHER KEANE GIVES THEATRE BUFFS A FEW IDEAS AS TO HOW TO SPEND THEIR SUMMER DESPITE THE ABSENCE OF 10 DAYS IN DUBLIN. Dismay set over Dublin last month as the folks behind 10 Days In Dublin announced that the festival would not be going ahead this year. The festival’s director, Dan Bergin, told tn2, “It would be wrong of me to say that finances had nothing to do with it, but also wrong of me to say that money was the only reason.” Most were surprised at the news, considering the apparently roaring success of the previous runs, with events like Turning Down Sex’s Mutant Debs and Rachel Shearer’s All Talk generating a buzz that lasted long after 2013’s week-and-a-half 18 // TN2MAGAZINE.IE
long programme. The beauty of 10 Days was its loyalty to the all-inclusive fringe festival definition; welcoming anyone with a good idea and providing access to some of the best spaces around town for an incredible wealth of original material across every genre. The organisers took pride in rejecting a curatorial model in which judges select what they deem to be “interesting” or “good”, instead allowing the audience to decide for themselves what they thought of the all-encompassing snapshot of contemporary arts in Ireland that 10 Days offered. Last July, Dubliners could choose from up to 25 theatre shows on a single day of any style or subject matter imaginable, not to mention what was on offer in comedy, film, visual art, music, and spoken word. No small portion of these were produced by students of Trinity. With DU Players putting on upwards of 30 plays in any 24-week academic year, it’s natural enough that this creative output would spill out all over the rest of the capital when term finished, and it seemed like 10 Days In Dublin was the perfect receptacle for this. Open to anything, the festival offered students an opportunity to take their first steps outside of the drama society, or to revise successful shows for a wider audience than their collegiate peers — Ricky McCormack brought his gripping rendition of Shopping
and Fucking to enjoy another sell-out run at Smock Alley Theatre in July after premiering it in the Samuel Beckett Theatre in 2012. Gatherings like PETTYCASH’s SWEATBOX did a fantastic job of bringing together all the creative types around town and showcased the extraordinary amount of young talent coming from Trinity, the city, and all over Ireland. With the country’s only open-format festival gone, the question is: where will this energy go? The answer seems to lie in the growing amount of short-burst mini-festivals and occasions that are popping up at the hands of those who would have entered performances into the 10 Days programmes of yesteryear, now curating their own work under specific themes and aims. THEATREclub are a young collective at the forefront of this mode of performance and have recently occupied the Project Arts Centre for a 3 day “public conversation’”on addiction. While you won’t find a conventional play on their most recent bill, THEATREclub host a semi-regular festival of new drama, boldly titled THE THEATRE MACHINE TURNS YOU ON — Sorcha Kenny’s DOLLS and Madonna by Meadbh Haicéid both found homes here before going on to show at the 2013 Dublin Fringe Festival. They’re known for leaning on the “live art” side of theatre performance and have
put on a hefty amount of “happenings” since their foundation in 2008, pertaining mostly to community development issues. Looking forward to late April we’ve got a newer but perhaps more regular platform of performance art taking over the city. Live Collision began as a segment of the Dublin Fringe Festival programme but is now entering its second year as a fully fledged festival of its own. Like THEATREclub, Live Collision do a lot of work alongside their annual event as a producing template, supporting experimental multidisciplinary art. They’ll concentrate their programme for 23-26 April on alternative experiences of live performance but their overall message is quite broad: 2014’s mission statement is to showcase art, questioning “our obligations to act on our political and cultural beliefs”. This year’s highlights include interactive multimedia performance, live action public artwork, sculpture, and film. Live Collision’s programme boasts several artists who are renowned in their fields, and one of their main events is a theatrical piece made in collaboration with and about the memories of two retired ballet dancers. The festival is an exciting concept that will rattle the Dublin arts scene’s cage and promises to, above all, push boundaries, but there is less of an emphasis on emerging Irish talent in
this international festival than in other summer revelries. One place you’re guaranteed to find a heap of fresh homegrown entertainment and quite a few familiar faces is in the walled gardens of Ballinlough Castle during the summer solstice. If you’ve got an artsy bone in your body you can give a submission to Body & Soul a shot in exchange for a free ticket to a celestial soirée in the woods. Unlike a lot of festivals’ non-music stages, B&S has a great daytime vibe that attracts loads of merrymakers to afternoon spoken word and theatrics at dusk. The same can be said of its bigger sister that closes the summer, Electric Picnic, and of the biennial BIG HOUSE festival in Kildare. To perform at events like these you’ve got to be imaginative and adaptable, and this kind of festival circuit isn’t suitable for every theatre maker. While the Irish summer festival circuit offers opportunities to perform in a wide array of atmospheres, the closure of 10 Days In Dublin does mean that the country is now without any large event that will not mould the submissions they seek to fit certain themes or styles, or even preconceived notions of what makes a submission a “worthy” piece of work. The onus is once again on performers to develop their work to suit other people’s artistic goals, or to go
out on their own and establish an altogether new platform for their work like THEATREclub has done. Dan Bergin has said, “I still believe that an open-format festival is badly needed in Ireland, and that such a format can work and be a tremendous success if properly run.” Although finance was not the sole reason Bergin’s team will no longer provide for this, the Arts Council’s funding policy definitely does not work to benefit huge one-off festivals like 10 Days. Apart from the Big Five (The Abbey Theatre, Dublin Theatre Festival, The Gate Theatre, Druid, and Rough Magic), companies are only funded on a project-to-project basis, thus decreasing the likelihood for sustainability in the sector. Mini-festivals and new kinds of “happenings” continue to pop up all around Ireland thanks to groups who maintain a quiet but constant presence in the arts scene. However, a successor to 10 Days In Dublin seems both of vital importance but also of scant probability in the near future. Unfortunately a festival of this kind would only count as a single “project” throughout the year, despite its enormous contribution to the development of hundreds of Irish artists each year.
ILLUSTRATION BY ALICE WILSON
ISSUE EIGHT // 19
FULLY LOADED MAGAZINE
Irish publishing culture has been a bit lacklustre of late. It is easy to blame this slump on the tyrannical grip of online media, where traditional cultural and literary criticism has become just another facet of the reader’s abbreviated, Twitter-generated attention spans. But it would be wrong to assume that there’s no market for more traditional print media, it is just that, in Dublin at least, there appears to be no space for it, no medium. Ireland is, perhaps, happy to export their rising authors and critics, let them be published elsewhere and then claim them as definitively “Irish” in their style and content. Recent developments, however, have seen a push back against this tendency. Tom Morris, editor of The Stinging Fly, a pioneering publication in the re-crafting of Irish literary identity, has been optimistic about what’s happening in Dublin of late: “It feels to me like new blood is being spilled. And it’s exciting to see the formation of a new publisher like Tramp Press, or the journal gorse, or the on-going good work of The South Circular.” Earlier this year Susan Tomaselli and David Gavan produced gorse, a new and hugely successful magazine devoted to art and literary criticism, fiction, poetry and the free-from essay. Gorse is a strangely innovative creature. In a way it’s a getting-back-to-basics for print media, a move away from the formless, extensive mass so many online literary journals provide. The journal was born out of an appreciation for and a reaction against the growing online tendency in global literary culture. Susan Tomaselli, co-editor of the journal, has worked extensively for prominent, radical — and exclusively online — 3:AM Magazine and 3:AM Press, whose tagline is “Whatever it is, we’re against it”. Tomaselli’s decision to make a start with gorse came from a particularly unfortunate moment at 3: AM where the servers went down: “It just made me realise the impermanence of the net, basically, and I thought it would be nice to produce something slightly more lasting.” Literary culture’s current relationship to the Internet is a complex one. In a sense, online magazines have created a globalised literary community, a freedom of form and
subject, which frees writers from the tyranny of “house style”. “That’s the beauty of the internet, bringing different writers together… I’m not sure if there is such a thing as a national literature anymore,” Tomaselli details. This post-national view of literature is something that may seem jarring to Irish literary culture, which is undeniably founded upon finding the Irish influence in almost everything. Tomaselli’s comment echoes that of author and contributor to gorse, Rob Doyle in his recent interview with tn2, “The new kind of online life feels post-national and ahistoric, and it’s hard to know how literature is going to work with and represent that, but it will have to if it’s going to keep up with how people are living now”. Gorse appears to be crafting this idea into print, and indeed, it’s a necessary adaptation that many publications have had to make. Like The Stinging Fly, gorse stands for a much more nuanced crafting of “Irish” identity, a middle ground between Irish essentialism and what Gavan calls the culture of “aping London”. Both Gavan and Tomaselli are hugely concerned with the establishment of a more vibrant, literary community and ethos in Ireland to stave off intellectual and literary emigration. Perhaps, part of this new identity is the recognition of its limits, the need and desire to go elsewhere in order to reflect on what can be produced here. “I’m proud to be Irish, but I think it’s Kevin Barry that said that Ireland is this dark little rock on the corner of Europe, and I just think that’s a great image,” Tomaselli mused. In addition to this releasing of national identity, there is a relaxing of literary expectation. The first issue of gorse operated almost entirely on a commission basis, with Tomaselli approaching writers whose work she knew and admired. In this sense, gorse’s aesthetic was very consciously constructed but not with the strangling specificity that governs many online or established journals. “I think also a lot of magazines have a very strict house style, whereas from my experience working with Susan at 3:AM it’s just essentially anything that’s good, really strong and good… it doesn’t have to be anything other than good. And that helps enor-
mously, just if you really are behind what you’re doing and believe in it and you’re competent then that’ll get you published, which is excellent… We miss a lot of things in the popular press that don’t get published because they’re not shiny enough,” Gavan stated. The journal’s emphasis on the free-form essay is undoubtedly a part of this reaction against the streamlining of modern cultural criticism. Both Tomaselli and Gavan are hugely aware that something like Finnegan’s Wake or the writings of Paul Morely or William Trevor would not be publishing in today’s commercial market. Gavan, in particular, reels against the sterilisation of today’s criticism, “I mean they say if you’re doing a theatre review don’t be intellectual… but a theatre experience is intellectual.” While the internet has undoubtedly democratised new forms of writing, it has demanded its own standard of writing to which subsequently print media has begun to pander, what Gavan calls “postmodern pick n’ mix”. In this way gorse invariably fills a gap, or rather in Tomaselli’s view, “I think we’ve made a gap. It may not have been there before.” In any case, it provides a platform for writers at home and abroad and demonstrates a burgeoning commitment to an important hybrid of traditional and contemporary influences. One thing which Tomaselli and Morris both stress is the centrality of the reader, Tomaselli’s ambition for the journal was that it would be “something I would want to read myself… I don’t want it to be a writer’s journal, you know, I want to connect with readers”. The focus here, however, is on “excellence”, not an active assumption or rejection of national identity, nor a vendetta against the internet; it is about finding a medium within which literature can pervade. As Morris says of The Stinging Fly and which Tomaselli and Gavan corroborate, “We’re really just looking for it to be excellent — regardless of its origin. And though, ‘excellent writing’ is something of a nebulous phrase … we really do try to broaden and surprise our tastes as often and as forcefully as possible.” WORDS BY LOLA BOORMAN
ISSUE EIGHT // 21
THE WIDER ANGLE The anti-hero has been a recurring television trope in recent years and has become a phenomenon inextricably linked with the golden era of television currently within our midst. Characters like Walter White and Tony Soprano have left an indelible impression on television audiences and with rumours circulating that Ellen Page and Kate Mara are to join the ranks of detectives in HBO’s True Detective, one cannot help but ask where has the anti-heroine been hiding? A study carried out by USC Annenberg and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media stated that strong female characters are few and far between and that for every Carrie Mathison (Homeland’s Claire Danes), there are six Real Housewives, who continue to perpetuate the representation of male superiority. Women, however, have found their televisual niche in sitcoms and comedy, reaching their zenith in 2012 with a vast array of shows debuting such as 2 Broke Girls, New Girl and The Mindy Project. The women portrayed in these series talk frankly about sex, sleep around, curse profusely, and crack jokes as sexual or as politically incorrect as they please.
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These characteristics, usually attributed to males, are refreshing to see, and reflect the growing breed of independent, freethinking female characters, allowed to make mistakes and to develop and grow as characters, free from the expectations that had previously paralysed any sense of agency. Female characters are put first and although some cliches of the sitcom genre exist — getting dumped, going on a first date, etc. — these women are defined independent of their menfolk. This rise has been challenged by their male counterparts, who no doubt feel threatened by the growing success of these sitcoms, a once overarchingly male domain. In 2012, Lee Aronsohn, showrunner of Two and a Half Men stated that television had reached its “peak-vagina” and was experiencing a “labia saturation”, fanning the flames to the now well-known “Are women funny?” debate. The critical acclaim and popular success of these shows suggest that Aronsohn is mistaken, and that the representation of women in this light suggest that television representations have changed greatly in the last 20 years alone to accommodate the changing role of women in
society. The portrayal of women has not been as polarizing in recent years, the same cannot be said of the representation of LGBT characters on television, which experiences equal bouts of regression and progression. Controversy, for example, has been sparked by RTE’s new sitcom The Centre which crudely and openly mocks a pre-op trans* woman. LGBT characters no longer occupy a silent role on British and American television and have commandeered the starring roles in many popular series such as Queer as Folk, which was the first hour-long drama on television to portray the lives of gay men and women. In 1997 Ellen DeGeneres’ lead character in Ellen came out in a special episode, becoming the first gay lead on national television. Seven years later, the success of The L Word, especially amongst the LGBT community, drew attention to the progressive attitudes of the industry towards realistic depictions of lesbian relationships and sex. Tropes such as falling in love with a straight woman, co-parenting and love triangles have become a common occurrence in mainstream media
TV EDITOR CIARA FORRISTAL EXAMINES THE REPRESENTATION OF WOMEN AND THE LGBT COMMUNITY IN RECENT TELEVISION, AND WONDERS WHETHER THE INDUSTRY HAS BECOME MORE PROGRESSIVE. and have hardened into cliches similar to that associated with their heterosexual counterparts. Criticism has been levelled against this series in particular for perpetuating the gender binary and reifying heteronormativity. Although it has been termed the “queer successor” to Sex and the City, the show places greater emphasis on privileged heterosexual norms such as monogamy and committed relationships, and the female protagonists are heavily punished when they veer from this norm. Whilst Samantha, Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte may experience backlash and fallout from their infidelities or that of their partners, they do not experience the same breakdown of mental health and social ostracisation as the L Word protagonists. Moreover, all the lesbians depicted in this show can be considered “lipstick lesbians” — glamorous women attractive to straight men, thus continuing women’s subjection to the male gaze. No “butch” women appear on the show throughout its six series and the show was criticised for its transphobic portrayal of Max, originally Moira, the only transgender character in the show. The series refused to blur the
lines of sexual identity and whilst actress Laverne Cox marks television history in Orange is the New Black as the first transgender actress to play a transgender role, series like this and The L Word portray lesbian relationships as liminal, subject to change depending on the presence or absence of males and the charged libido of the inmates. Whilst the physicality of lesbian relationships are portrayed on screen with increasing frequency, the same cannot be said of homosexual relationships. To a certain degree gay characters are still often portrayed as asexual, or if they are in relationships, these relationships are sterilised with little or no displays of affection. In Glee, for example, a blatant contrast can be seen between Kurt and Blaine’s relationship and that of Santana and Brittany, the former reduced to chaste kissing, the latter shown making out in their tight-fitting cheerleading uniforms, offering an easy means of attracting male viewers. In Modern Family, the relationship between Mitch and Cameron lacks physicality, particularly its failure to show the couple kissing, a failure rectified with a chaste kiss in the second season.
Moreover, recent representations of gay men on television have been predominantly young, white, middle class Caucasians as seen in series such as Modern Family and Will and Grace. This “desirable” representation of homosexuality is a mirror image of the ideal image of straight men. Those of differing economic class or race are portrayed as occupying a silenced centre, as seen in the character of Omar Little in The Wire, who walks the streets of Baltimore at the dead of night, appearing and disappearing like a ghost, unconfined to a hetero-normative narrative. Whilst debate still rages as to whether television is at the forefront of changing attitudes in the representation of women and the LGBT community, it continues to provide an intriguing medium to examine the conflicting notions and attitudes that are still prevalent in society. One thing is certain, characters in recent television series are more complex and engaged in more nuanced relationships and structures than previous generations, and these entanglements make for compelling television. ILLUSTRATION BY ALICE WILSON
ISSUE SEVEN // 23
F A C E S
URSULA REYES FREELANCE WRITER
BY MOLLY ROWANHAMILTON
L IT ER AT UR E // FO O D & D R I N K // MU S I C FIL M // T V // A RT // T H E AT R E
FEATURING GAME OF THRONES BY MATTHEW MULLIGAN
P R E V I E W: GA M E O F T H RO N E S
HBO // SKY ATLANTIC TV After what seems like a lifetime off air, Game of Thrones triumphantly returns for its fourth season bringing with it more blood, sex and intrigue than ever before. The show opens with the traditional tour of Westeros as new steel is forged from the last of the Stark clan’s power and the winners and losers of the last season weigh up their positions. From the striking, foreboding opening images of fire and metal it’s clear that this is a show in its prime. The events of the Red Wedding have left the Lannisters in their strongest ever position; their main enemy has been wiped out and loose ends have been tied up. With all of the family back together in King’s Landing, soap opera drama and humour quickly ensues. Cersei and Tyrion can’t hide their contempt for each other, Jaime has returned to find his sister no longer romantically interested in him and Joffrey is due to get married, while all try to keep on the good side of patriarch Tywin. Away from the capital, returning characters are embroiled in their own storylines, with a particular favourite being the adventures of the Hound and Arya. Their odd-couple double act of towering fearsome killer-for-hire and inquisitive moral orphan is constantly tense and full of humour. This far into the series, it would be easy to become bored of the characters that we’ve been with from the start. However, constant twists and turns make sure that audiences are kept on their toes, as individuals who have up until now not interacted with one another are placed in new situations and new allegiances. A cast of new key players have also been introduced, such as the revenge seeking
Prince Oberyn of Dorne. With a wealth of backstory and centuries worth of family histories to get through, the writers do a good job of making these new characters seem like they’ve always been part of this expansive world. The fourth season introduces yet more fearsome threats from beyond the Wall, slowly making their way down the continent and spreading terror wherever they go. While the series has become known for explicitly violent battles and duels, psychological terror is something which is now more pervasive as the Seven Kingdoms slip deeper into unrest and instability; Westeros has become a darker realm. Tightly choreographed fights and epic armies are still a mainstay of the series, and the viewers are reminded that Game of Thrones is one of the best looking shows on television. Whether you’ve read the books or not, the show is taking measures to keep the plot fresh; a shocking death in an early episode sets the gears in motion for the rest of the season but cast members have stated numerous times that we will see a lot of divergences from the source material. The current season spans the second half of the third book, a pivotal moment in the series where certainties of the past are forever changed. If the rest of the fourth season can match the momentum and standard of the first three episodes then both fans and newcomers will stay enthralled until the bloody end.
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GAME OF THRONES SEASON FOUR STARTS APRIL 7 ON SKY ATLANTIC HD. WORDS BY MATTHEW MULLIGAN COVER ILLUSTRATION BY ALICE WILSON
T H E B R U N I S T D AY O F W R AT H ROBERT COOVER LITERATURE Robert Coover has returned to the scene of his very first novel with a 1,000-page sequel that is just as bizarre and as brilliant. The Origin of the Brunists, published in 1966, described the genesis and disgrace of the fundamentalist cult of Brunism in a decaying Western American town. Now, five years on, the Brunists have returned to West Condon for the day of Rapture, when the righteous will be saved and sinners damned for all eternity… that is, if they’ve got the date right. First impressions are chaotic. The narrative flits, seemingly at random, from one wacky character to the next. There’s Abner Baxter, the bible-thumping zealot whose apocalyptic notions are too extreme even for the Brunists; Wesley Edwards, who finds one day that his brain has been inhabited by an argumentative Jesus Christ, with whom he bickers aloud; the Blaurock children and their madcap playground game of “Apocalypse”. Throw in several Christian Hells Angels, plenty of writhing fits of religious ecstasy, a somewhat seedy teenage romance and some very lax gun control, and you’re getting close to the carnival that is The Brunist Day of Wrath. This may seem like excess to some, like the New York Times reviewer who wrote of the original: “It’s a pity Mr. Coover ran out of ideas before words”. The style of the Brunist novels is excessive, but that’s the point. Instead of a singular story we have a sprawling, multi-perspectival collage — like sitting in a supermarket security room and watching the floor from every angle at once. And even
still, somehow, there is enough forward motion for a gripping pace, although it does take a few hundred pages to get going. As well as a scathing critique of Christian fundamentalism, this is a story about stories. Events are seen to morph and solidify in new shapes as they are reprocessed through the lenses of myth and history. Narrative, of one sort or another, reduces experience to a singular, linear chain of occurrences. The reality conveyed by the newspapers differs greatly from that which will go down in Brunist lore, and both share only tenuous links with what “actually happened”. Characters who seem almost sensible from inside their heads become “cretins” or “ugly smartalecky sluts” from another’s standpoint. “Life’s a story,” observes Sally, “and you either write it or get written.” In contrast, this book lets the narrative spread laterally to create an intricate fabric of perspectives. Many of Coover’s postmodernist contemporaries address similar narrative concerns, but few are so legitimately funny. His off the wall dialogue and deadpan character sketches will provoke laughter at the most apparently inappropriate situations. Whatever the key to this brand of dark, off-the-wall humour, Coover has it. He had it in 1966, and he still has it now. WORDS BY LILY NÍ DHOMHNAILL
M E E T A N D M E AT SOUTH WILLIAM STREET
FOOD & DRINK Given the superb quality of their sandwiches, and the fact that it only opened a month ago, Meet and Meat can easily be forgiven its few logistical teething problems. Upon arrival, a distinctive red and white striped canopy leads to a cafe that oozes urban chic, with a rustic Provençal twist. The tiled walls are filled with bottles of wine while in a side window there hangs (what I presume to be) fake cuts of meat — a bizarre addition to the decor but subtle enough not to be off-putting. The main attraction here however is the butcher’s block. This Roast of the Day is sliced and generously stuffed into a warm ciabatta right in front of you. Today’s option was pork but my partner and I opted for sandwiches off the menu: one Chuck N’ Stuffin’ and one Sticky Ham and Egg, both in ciabatta rolls. For any vegetarians that might be put off
by the name, there is Where’s The Meat, a falafel, hummus and harissa wrap. It costs the same to eat-in or takeaway (€6.90 each) so it’s worth finding a seat and having it warmed up. The friendly staff, clad in their red striped aprons, kept the queue moving and we ordered our sandwiches at the counter, which is where the system gets a little strange; you order, pay, find a seat either at the marble tables or window stools and wait for them to call your sandwich name. It caused quite a bit of confusion and is something I suspect will soon change. Our shout came quickly though, and the sandwiches were delicious. In my soft, warm Chuck N’ Stuffin’ ciabatta, the chicken breast was meaty and moist with a great simple stuffing, and there was just the right amount of mayonnaise. It was so good that I can forgive the lettuce being slightly warm and limp. The Sticky Ham and Egg was also generous with its fillings, boasting a great savoury jam and dash of sauerkraut. The two choices of soup, one meat and one vegetarian, were popular too with other customers. One thing I really liked is the option to reserve a table, which is rare for lunch in a cafe, and a useful addition to the lunchtime scene. After our sandwiches, there was a little room left for something sweet. The large slice of flapjack, (€2.50) was crumbly and chewy, and the chocolate cupcake (€2.75) was dangerously sweet. Both were served on floral china plates, while the espresso (€2.00) was tasty and came in a quaint cup and saucer. These quirky vintage touches only added to what is an impressive lunch menu that I look forward to exploring.
WORDS BY KERRY BRENNAN
ISSUE EIGHT // 27
MØ NO MYTHOLOGIES TO FOLLOW MUSIC Karen Marie Ørsted’s on-stage moniker is MØ, which apart from being an abbreviation of her name also means “maiden” in Danish. This translation stands in contrast to the fact that MØ is twenty-five at the time her debut album’s release: a mature age for the music industry, which serves as testament to the bizarre journey the Dane has already undertaken as an artist. It began with dancing to the Spice Girls in front of a mirror and buying their album at the tender age of seven, to connecting with punk, hip-hop, and Sonic Youth during her teens. Her former forays into the music industry include forming a feminist electro-punk band with her best friend Josephine to rapping a few years later. While MØ claims that Ronni Vindhahl, the producer of No Mythologies
comparison to make with an electro-pop Scandinavian. The focal points of the record, however, are the songs where MØ does what she does best: forceful explorations of youth, employing trademark horns, glockenspiels, synths, and distinctive singing in punchy choruses. According to Ørsted herself, her songs are about being young, confused, and restless and being true to herself as far as the lyrics and the editing of the final product goes. For instance she is outspokenly against her voice sounding too polished on the record. While the too “honesty” “honesty” card is being thrown around a lot by many artists these days, MØ is undeniably distinct in her genre. After listening to the album it’s difficult to pin-point a single pièce de résistance — a first sign of the consistency and qual-
TYCHO // AWAKE Musician and graphic designer Tycho has presented himself, or rather his band, as an embodiment of the blog-generated genre of chillwave. Electronic artists and bands who trade under this genre are guilty of posting filtered photographs of sunsets, speaking of how their dreams or hypnagogia has influenced their work, and reaching for the sublime through harmonic ambiguity. In doing so, chillwave musicians have made themselves targets for criticism, as it is easy to mutter “bullshit” at their superficial philosophies. Tycho’s Awake is saturated with all the cliched characteristics of its chosen serene style. Surprisingly, the roving journey through pensive moods by means of mundane melodies and arpeggios, and heavy use of reverb, is not all that bad. Awake stays conscious through interesting sectional changes that perpetuate a forward motion. Tycho is seemingly aware of his genre’s flawed outcome: sedation. Awake is nice, pleasant music — but that’s it. AODHAGAN O'FLAHERTY
FREDDIE GIBBS AND MADLIB // PIÑATA
to Follow, helped her to finally “settle” into her identity on stage, it’s apparent that her tumultuous musical past still dwells in her songs. Wide-ranging influences are evident throughout her oeuvre, yielding some interesting results. Never Wanna Know and Dust Is Gone do exhibit an undeniable likeness to Lana Del Rey’s ballads, however they are not the focus of the album but rather a relatively well-executed side experiment as MØ’s vocals still possess that sense of urgency quite different to Del Rey’s melancholy. Slow Love has a distinct 80s vibe to it, oddly resembling Blondie’s craft; an unlikely 28 // TN2MAGAZINE.IE
ity of the album. Maiden, Pilgrim, and XXX 88 recorded with Diplo are the obvious fan favourites as they exhibit that unique MØ sound. However, Fire Rides, Don’t Wanna Dance, and the title track No Mythologies to Follow deserve just as much credit. Overall the album is a well-produced, entertaining mixture of different tempos, influences, and styles. Unfortunately, talent is likely to be snubbed by mainstream. She realises we can’t all be Lordes, and in a way we are all glad. WORDS BY SERGEY ALIFANOV
On their first LP together, named Piñata, Freddie Gibbs and Madlib deliver on the promise of previous singles, and deliver one of the best hip-hop albums of 2014 so far. On previous Gibbs releases, which are undoubtedly solid records, one felt that the wealth of producers and their different styles caused him to be less focused and resulted in the release of some sub-par material. Here, with Madlib’s trademark soulful and jazz based productions in tow, Gibbs is on top form lyrically, with none of the filler material that marred his previous mixtapes present. Singles such as Thuggin’ and Shame showcase the best of what each pair have to offer, and other cuts such as Knicks, Deeper and Uno (which feature two of the best Madlib beats of recent times) are where both members’ styles mesh best and highlight the best of what the LA rap scene has to offer at the minute. LIAM MAHER
THE DOUBLE RICHARD AYOADE
FILM Richard Ayoade’s second feature length film The Double, an adaptation of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novella of the same name, confirms the intimations that his first film, Submarine (2010), made of his uniqueness and talent. Dismissed by some after his debut as a Wes Anderson imitation, Ayoade proves with his latest work that he has a clear vision and his own style and techniques. Like Anderson, The Double features a similar cast to Ayoade’s previous venture, as well as a similar infusion of bright primary colours, invading what, for the most part, is a darkened mise-en-scène. These similarities, however, should not be mistakenly interpreted to mean they are doing the same thing. Ayoade’s film is a truly unique take on the doppelganger motif which pervades every level of storytelling. In a comedy that’s just about as black as a comedy can be, Jesse Eisenberg portrays both Simon James, an unremarkable nobody, and James Simon, the charismatic doppelganger. James works in a dank, cubicled office space, which on screen resembles some sort of underground boiler-room, and lusting after the radiant copy girl Hannah (Mia Wasikowska), who seems oblivious to his adoration. It seems that Simon’s life could not possibly be more pathetic but his ruthless lookalike intends nonetheless to take what little he has from him. Whether a fan of Eisenberg or not, one cannot deny that he is well cast here as a character demented by his own anxiety and defeatist attitude. It is a testament to Eisenberg’s performance that a viewer can identify in a moment whether they are looking at Simon or James, despite the characters’ identical faces and clothing. Cameos from Submarine actors Yasmin Paige, Craig Roberts and Noah
Taylor as well as Ayoade’s former IT Crowd co-star Chris O’Dowd appear as subtle winks to the audience, reminding them of the absurdity of the nightmarish world which Simon inhabits. Despite the film delving into the psychological world of super-egos and manifestations of man’s inadequacy, it’s successful in maintaining its comic touch because of the mere fact that it is, in a way, quite entertaining to watch Eisenberg’s character suffer. A shift in Ayoade’s previously light-hearted artistic focus, The Double’s darkness may alienate, or at least come as a surprise to fans of Ayoade’s acting endeavours, however this represents an important turning point in his career. And although it is difficult to be sure with only two feature length productions so far in his directorial back catalogue, it would appear that he has a bright future ahead. WORDS BY AISLING KELLY
THE RAID 2
S TA R R E D U P
FILM The Raid was one of the slickest and thrilling action films in recent memory. Now with a bigger budget, director Gareth Evans is back and he manages to catch lightning in a bottle twice, crafting a film that can stand next to the original. The Raid 2 takes place five minutes after the end of its predecessor. In order to protect his family after taking down the local crime lord, Rama (Iko Uwais) is forced to go undercover to bring down a large crime syndicate and uncover corruption within the police force. While the first film’s story really only served to provide a frame for the action, its sequel goes to a greater length to establish a more detailed plot. However, this film is still focused on the intricate and fast paced fight scenes that made the original so important. The speed and technical precision exhibited by the actors is undoubtedly the most impressive aspect of the film. Long, sweeping shots show Rama dispatching foes with swift and ultra-violent strikes. The film builds and builds, leading to more elaborate set pieces that up the ante each time, ending in a thrilling climax in one of the most spectacularly choreographed duels in a film. In a world of CGI box office giants The Raid 2 is a welcome alternative that should be seen.
FILM Jack O’Connell’s jaw dropping performance as Eric in the new prison drama Starred Up directed by David Mackenzie, is a refreshingly gritty piece of cinema that raises the bar for all that follow. Eric, who has been “starred up” (transferred as a young offender to an adult prison because of the serious threat he poses) is once again at the bottom of the food chain. He has to carefully maneuver through the minefield of prison all the while developing trust with a prison therapist (Rupert Friend). Survival is key. However, it is the piercing relationship between Eric and his father (Ben Mendelsohn), a fellow inmate, that distances this film from the prison cliche of rehabilitation and mentorship, and brings it to a far more powerful level. Intense moments of alienation and connection amidst the chaos of prison serve to humanise Eric and his father, returning the integrity that was taken when they were given a number. Jack O’Connell’s performance is flawless, giving us an insight into the darkness of his character as well as the prison system, yet all the while making him likable enough to root for, which is no easy feat. Behind the violence, manipulation and torture is a surprisingly charming and reaffirming prison drama with brilliant performances, cinematography and direction. A must-see.
WORDS BY COLUM HOLLAND
WORDS BY SARAH KATE FENELON
ISSUE EIGHT // 29
t ING FLEM SKY ATLANTIC
LOUIS THEROUX'S LA STORIES
Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond is a reductive title for a show that does its best, and succeeds, to give an insight into a man that many are too quick to reduce to a wannabe prototype of his creation. Fleming, a four part BBC America series, spends very little time on Ian Fleming’s time as an author, instead focusing on his life in Naval Intelligence during WW2 and his personal life during the same period. Really the show is an incredibly tasteful and surprisingly emotionally complex insight into a man who accidently wrote himself out of history by writing Bond into it. Focusing on the period before Bond really emerged in Fleming’s mind, the programme successfully neither mythologises nor humanises a man who was himself unsure as to how he wanted to see himself. Fleming was undeniably a fragile and imaginative man, nuances both captured in Dominic Cooper’s strong performance. Lara Pulver, Leslie Manville and Samuel
BBC2 TV Louis Theroux returns to our screens after a lengthy absence, during which time he has relocated to Los Angeles. This move has inspired his new three part series, Louis Theroux’s LA Stories, in which each episode tackles a different issue pertinent to his new adoptive city. He’s famous for exploring the seedier side to the City of Angels, such as the pornographic industry, but this time he’s looking at everyday realities for its residents. Last week LA’s stray dog problem was under the microscope as Louis visited South Central, where dogs who have been bred for fighting, selling or protection roam the streets. In the second episode, Edge of Life, death takes centre stage with Louis visiting the nonprofit Cedar-Sinai Medical Centre. In LA the treatment of those with terminal illness goes further than anywhere else, as patients fight for life despite enormous financial costs and adverse side-effects. An extremely harrowing and sometimes unnervingly invasive look at passion and strength exhibited by family, friends and hospital staff, Theroux seems visibly distressed at times when faced with the harsh limitations of medicine. LA, and Cedar-Sinai in particular, is often thought
of purely in terms of the rich and famous, but the hospital caters to normal citizens as well as actors and glitterati. Sometimes these contrasts are overpowering; during a look inside of the Stephen Spielberg Pediatric Research Center, Louis winced as he was told of the possible misery down the line for a young man lying in the bed beside him. The United States spends more on endof-life care than anywhere else in the world. The backdrop of glamorous Los Angeles is contrasted strongly with terminal illness, as those who are in hospital take more dangerous, painful treatments that could give them longer life instead of choosing what hospital workers call a “comfortable “comfortable end”. Glimmers of hope are seen seen in the wards of Cedar-Sinai, such as when a small breakthrough is made that gives patients a little bit longer at life, or when new medicines are used and new techniques are carried out. Theroux brings the viewer through a world of seemingly unnecessary suffering that never quite seems to make sense. Though he started his career making gonzo-type films documenting the weird and the wonderful, perhaps the most startling look at life that he has given us can be found in these new documentaries.
WORDS BY MATTHEW MULLIGAN
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West provide well-balanced and understated turns that allow Cooper to fully explore Fleming’s almost ephemeral self. The Man Who Would Be Bond is undeniably a classy affair. Though Bond’s stoicism might be an invention, his penchant for the finer things comes straight from Fleming’s own life, making for aesthetically great television. The allusions to the spy-to-come are tasteful and don’t distract from the story that is more interesting than Bond’s adventures because of the levels of humanity that Fleming seemed to largely delete from his brainchild’s life. The immediately recognisable Bond theme underscores the realer life of the author in a way that’s self-aware enough not to detract from the drama. The manifestation of Fleming’s poetic licence with his own adventures is skilfully executed by director Mat Whitecross, further blurring the lines between fact and ficD JOYCE-AHEARNE tion.
PAT R I C K S C O T T: I M A G E S PA C E L I G H T IMMA
ART Patrick Scott: Image Space Light is a comprehensive retrospective of the artist’s 75 year-long career, held across two venues. While VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art in Carlow is showing later works, dating from the 1960s up to the present, IMMA hosts an exhibition of Scott’s earlier paintings, ranging from the early 1940s, when he exhibited for the first time, to the early 1970s. With Scott’s passing at the age of 93 just a day before the opening of the show, this exhibition has become a worthy tribute to the life and work of one of the greatest Irish artists of the latter half on the twentieth century. Arranged chronologically over the three floors of the Garden Galleries at IMMA, with works belonging to discernible phases in Scott’s artistic development grouped together in separate rooms, this part of the exhibition allows us to appreciate the astounding variety of the artist’s output. His earliest paintings, produced during a period of involvement with the White Stag Group, while lesser known, are already remarkable for the original handling of paint: white outlines are achieved by leaving the light base of the primed canvas uncovered, with a build-up of oil paint marking the edges of the lines, as if holding the colour from spilling into them. In among the purposely childlike imagery of peacocks and fish, rendered in a deliberately naïve manner which nevertheless betrays a remarkable sureness of touch and sense of proportional harmony, one will find the two natural shapes which were to be of central importance to Scott throughout his career: the straight line of the horizon in the
sea, and the perfect circle drawn by the sun in the sky. Among the works shown are paintings taken from Scott’s display when he represented Ireland at the 1960 Venice Biennale, as well as commercial designs of textiles commissioned by Brown Thomas in 1953 (one of which spells “Brown Thomas” in Ogham script). The spacious basement gallery provides a perfect setting for pieces from the Bog and Device series, where Scott employed the technique of “wet in wet”, which had recently been pioneered by American artists and, if we believe Scott’s testimony, he came up with independently. The three last rooms, finally, are given over to the Gold Paintings which, arguably, Scott is most famous for — abstract compositions in gentle shades of tempera with gold leaf on unprimed canvas, radiating with a meditative oriental aura. This exhibition is a wonderfully concise but representative overview of the artist’s oeuvre. As Scott’s exceptional works demand to be seen live, this is an opportunity not to be missed. CONTINUES UNTIL MAY 18 WORDS BY GABIJA PURLYTĖ
C O N S E R VAT O R Y THE ABBEY THEATRE THEATRE Michael West’s Conservatory, showing at the Abbey Theatre’s neglected sister stage, the Peacock, is an intriguing piece of new Irish writing. It begins with an elderly couple, credited only as He and She, bickering about copulating cats and crossword puzzles. The dialogue is rapid and witty, and full of ingenious but playful put-downs. The play is set up as a light-hearted comedy about the trials and tribulations of marriage. As the couple’s conversation continues, however, things take a darker turn. Hints are dropped about just how miserable their life together has been, and there is a sense that the dismal pair are bound by their pain rather than any real affection for each other. Numerous affairs are alluded to but never elaborated on, and we learn that their adult daughters refuse to have any contact with their father. The couple realise that everyone who attended their wedding is now dead, highlighting their isolation as well as their own mortality. There are references to amalgamated churches, lost grounds, and severed friendships. Change is beyond their control, and they reflect sorrowfully on the past. Mid-way through the play, a mysterious box is brought out, which eventually reveals the most heart-breaking secret of all. The acting is impressive, with Deirdre Donnelly’s austerity and restraint perfectly balancing Stephen Brennan’s passionate ranting and raving. The set is refreshingly sparse. Two high-backed armchairs face each other in a bare living room, effectively demonstrating the emptiness of their lives and their inability to escape each
other. The lighting is almost ghostly, implying that the space is haunted by unsavoury memories. The writing is entertaining for the most part, though some of the jokes fall a bit flat. In addition to this, a couple of scenes drag on too long to hold the audience’s attention, and could easily have been cut down without sacrificing any of the effect. Though the penultimate scene is incredibly moving, the ending is bizarre and unnecessary. In terms of plot and humour, Conservatory caters mostly to an older crowd. As a thought-provoking and memorable exploration of love and loss, however, its appeal is universal. WORDS BY KAYLA WALSH
ISSUE EIGHT // 31
LITE R ATU RE
GAM E S
LISTOWEL WRITER'S WEEK
E3 EXPO 2014
Music festivals in Ireland seem to be ever growing in numbers. Away from the larger Oxegen and Electric Picnic festivals, smaller events are carving out a market for themselves all across the country. This year’s Life Festival runs from May 23 to 25 and boasts the best in electronic music, with appearances from Groove Armada and Jamie xx. Body & Soul takes place in June and offers a more boutique atmosphere, providing alternative artists such as Caribou and Darkside. On the other side of the country, Westport Festival of Music & Food plays host to a roster of acts from the past; David Gray, Bryan Adams and Kool & the Gang are set to appear there on June 28 and 29. If you’re not into the camping scene though, Dublin offers Forbidden Fruit on the June Bank Holiday weekend; Flaming Lips, Flying Lotus and Public Enemy are some of the acts playing the increasingly popular festival. MM.
For one weekend of every summer John B. Keane’s birthplace is host to flocks of book-nerds, aspiring poets and literary types, along with anyone looking for a weekend of engaging discussion and entertainment. This year will be no exception, with international award-winning author Douglas Kennedy leading the workshops with a novel-writing class. There will also be classes on travel writing, short stories, poetry, theatre and young adult fiction. As well as workshops there will be talks and readings throughout the weekend, along with the announcement of the nineteenth coveted Kerry Group Award – at €15,000 it’s the largest fiction prize available for Irish writers alone. This year’s nominees are Deirdre Madden, Eimear McBride, Donal Ryan, Frank McGuinness and Colum McCann. May 28 - June 1 LND.
The biggest gaming conference of the year, E3 returns in June this year. Typically the battleground between developers’ big announcements for journalists’ column inches, this year’s conference should be interesting. With no new consoles for anyone to rely on, it’ll be down to the games and software to really make an impact. With the dust settling on the console launches before Christmas, it will be the opportunity for Microsoft and Sony to show off diverse, exciting game lineups in the run-up to this winter. It will also be key for Nintendo, who still have yet to prove that the Wii U can compete effectively against the alternatives. LA, June 10-12 CR.
ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK Having left audiences with a gut-wrenching cliffhanger, the second series of Orange is the New Black cannot return soon enough. Whilst the fate of Pennsatucky and its repercussions for Piper hang in the balance, the season will also focus on the backstories of Lorna, the nun, Taystee, Poussey and Miss Rosa. A new addition to the cast will be seen in the form of Yvonne Vee, a ruthless drug dealer who no doubt will add to the tension, hostilities and dynamics of an already eclectic mix of characters. Orange is the New Black can be seen on Netflix from June 6. CF.
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PENNY DREADFUL Victorian literature and its infamous cast of literary monsters, including Dr Frankenstein’s creature, Dorian Gray and Dracula, come to life in the psychosexual thriller Penny Dreadful. Interweaving the stories of Shelley, Stoker and others, Victorian London becomes plagued with their gothic creations, leading to truly riveting, albeit disturbing television, on par to rival even its literary counterparts. With a star-studded cast including the likes of Eva Green, Josh Hartnett, Billie Piper and Timothy Dalton, this show will not disappoint. Penny Dreadful can be seen on Sky Atlantic — date yet to be announced. CF.
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With the closure of the 10 Days in Dublin festival due to lack of funding, this summer will feel emptier than usual. Fortunately, there are still plenty of upcoming events to tickle the fancy of the city’s theatre-lovers. From May 5-18, the Dublin Gay Theatre Festival will celebrate its eleventh year running. The largest event of its type in the world, it will feature everything from drag musical comedies about Margaret Thatcher to 80s cabaret. Then, from May 20-31, the Dublin Dance Festival kicks in, providing a platform for Irish choreographers and performers to display their substantial talents. From July 11-13, the Street Performance World Championships will treat viewers to fire-jugglers, acrobats, and sword swallowers, among other terrifying things — all free of charge. Finally, the Galway Arts Festival (July 14-27) promises to be well worth the cross-country journey. KW.
Summer in Ireland’s art calendar is the time for biennials. From 12 April to 6 July, Limerick invites you to the 36th edition of EVA International — Ireland’s Biennial of Contemporary Art. Curated this year by Bassam El Baroni, curator and art critic based in Alexandria, Egypt, it takes AGITATIONISM as its theme. As the past few years have witnessed protests unfolding into serious unrest in many parts of the globe, the biennial explores the sense of living under agitation while capturing how we are slowly adapting to a different perception of the world by working through our relationships with historical ideologies, post-colonial narratives, other beings (including animals), and speculations about the not-sodistant future. GP.
BALLYMOE LITERARY FESTIVAL OF FOOD & WINE After the success of the Inaugural Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine in 2013, the event returns with an even larger line-up this year to Ballymaloe House in County Cork. This unique three day celebration of food trends and writing brings together a wide and varied group of chefs, authors, foragers, wine experts, publishers, bloggers and journalists. Unlike any other Irish food festival, Litfest will host a diverse programme of approximately 100 events including cookery demos, tastings, panel discussions, workshops, readings, foraging expeditions, lunches and dinners. René Redzepi, head chef at the renowned Noma restaurant in Copenhagen, will headline this year’s festival and his first Irish appearance will be sure to draw the crowds. May 16, 17 , 18, Ballymaloe House and Cookery School, Shanagarry, Co. Cork. Tickets available from www.litfest.ie. CC.
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Khushwant Singh , writer, historian satirist.
“SINGH NEVER SHIED AWAY FROM SPEAKING HIS MIND AND BREAKING WITH CONVENTION, FAMOUSLY REMARKING THAT 'NO ONE INVENTED A CONDOM FOR THE PEN'.” Khushwant Singh, writer, historian and well-known satirist of Indian culture, died on March 20 in his home in Delhi at the age of 99. He will be remembered as a man of contradictory personas: an agnostic wellversed in the holy scriptures; a vocal champion of free speech who supported the Emergency government; a “dirty old man” who wrote passionately about flowers and birds; and a prestigious intellectual with a mischievous attitude to life. Singh was a prolific and engaging man of letters and one of India’s most widely read authors, publishing over 30 books about history, religion and culture in Indian society. He rose to fame in 1956 with Train To Pakistan — a short, fierce novel that recounts the horrors of the partition of the subcontinent in 1947. He was one of the first modern Indian novelists to openly discuss sexuality, using often-graphic descriptions that made a generation of readers blush. “History provided me a skeleton,” he joked about Delhi: A Novel, “I covered it with flesh and injected blood and a lot of seminal fluid into it.” He also engaged directly with his country’s culture in a more academic sense, and his comprehensive two-volume A History of the Sikhs is still considered the most authoritative account of Sikhism. He wrote in English but also immersed himself in Punjabi, Urdu and some European languages. He was especially enamoured 34 // TN2MAGAZINE.IE
by the Urdu, and translated huge amounts of Urdu poetry into English, especially that of his good friend Faiz Ahmad Faiz, one of Urdu’s most famous poets. He was editor at several major Indian newspapers, including The Illustrated Weekly of India, whose readership grew from 65,000 to 400,000 under his nineyear tenure. Up until two years ago he was still writing his popular weekly column, titled With Malice Towards One and All, commenting on everything from corrupt politicians to his drining habits with characteristically trenchant wit and candour. Born in 1915 in the Muslim-majority village of Hadali in what is now the Punjab region of Pakistan, he always felt a bond with India’s neighbour. “Though forced to flee from Lahore in August 1947, I do not have the slightest ill-will against Pakistan. On the contrary, I describe myself as a man of dual nationality.” This benign attitude alienated him from Indian nationalists, especially right-wing Hindus who deemed him “the last Pakistani living on Indian soil”. Singh never shied away from speaking his mind and breaking with convention, famously remarking that “no one invented a condom for the pen”. In spite of his extensive research in religious doctrine he was outspokenly agnostic, and often poked fun at what he saw as pompousness and self-righteousness in his country’s religious
cultures. He cultivated a rakish reputation, an image that he wholly endorsed, naming his interests as “sex, scotch and scholarship”. In 2001 he triggered diplomatic uproar by pecking the cheek of the Pakistani high commissioner's teenage daughter at a Delhi party when tensions between India and Pakistan were high. His objectifying attitude towards women gained him a lot of opponents: it was a flaw that he was aware of and tried to improve, coming to “the sad conclusion that I have always been a bit of a lecher.” He also became quite unpopular due to his support of prime minister Indira Ghandi and her extremely centralised government. Despite the contention that has always surrounded Singh, he was awarded a Padma Vibhushan (India’s second-highest civilian award) for his vast contribution to Indian literature. Even with such prestige, however, he was never one to take himself too seriously. He wished to be remembered as someone who made people smile, evident in the epigraph he coined for himself: “Here lies one who spared neither man nor God / Waste not your tears on him, he was a sod / Writing nasty things he regarded as great fun / Thank the Lord he is dead, this son of a gun.” WORDS BY LILY NÍ DHOMHNAILL
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