Future Kings of Spain talk to Catriona Gray about their return
The devil now wears Lacroix
10 Fashion 12 Book reviews 13 Books 14 Theatre 16 Art 18 Edibles 20 Endnotes Cover photo: Sean MacCormack
“20000 cans of film and 5000 tapes” The Irish Film Archive, P7
irst week back. The inevitable question: what did you do this summer? Most of the TNT journalists did a lot. Laura Corrigan was flung into the melée of Paris Fashion Week. Carolyn Power hung out with a multitude of musicians. Ciarán Durkan checked out Valentino’s exhibition in the ancient Ara Pacis in Rome.
You can read all about their exploits in this issue. I, alas, had no such luck, spending an unpleasantly large chunk of the summer working in a shoe shop. Unglamorous, yes. Entertaining, no. I’ll spare you the traumatic details. On a more optimistic note, TNT is looking, if possible, even better this year. Special thanks are due to Gearoid and Martin for all their help in producing this
first issue as well as to everyone else who contributed articles. Finally, to old and new students alike, if you fancy getting involved with TNT, then just get in contact with me or any of the editorial staff. Don’t be shy. We’re all quite nice. Allegedly. Catriona
Notorious In which our heroine beats the post summer syndrome. Words: Victoria Notaro
hhh, Freshers’ Week. The single student’s favourite time of year. Everyone’s tanned (well, kinda freckled), eager to get back into the swing of things and months away from the stress and utter doom of the exams. But possibly most exciting of all for the single students out there, there’s also an influx of nubile young talent into college, all wandering around bright eyed and bushy tailed. They’re just waiting to be corrupted by, I mean introduced to, the finer things of Trinity life…or just the fine things. And of course, there are plenty of opportunities for romance, from chatting up on the Freshers’ stalls in Front Square, to the Traffic Light Ball where everyone literally wears their relationship status on their sleeve. Yet there’s also another untapped resource besides the newbies…those that have fallen victim to the postsummer break-up, something which is not an alien concept to us students. Long hot summers of J1s or extended travels have put paid to even the most committed of relationships, in my experience, and the result of this is a return to college with more than a desire to hit the books and believe me, I know. These are the ones that are not just single, but single with a vengeance. Especially if that ex is around and deserving of a good rub in the face. I myself was a Senior Freshman sufferer of the Post-Summer Condition (PSC), dumped the day I came back from Interrailing (cruel on so many levels). And when just over a month later, when the rawness had abated, I floated back to college a few pounds lighter – crying BURNS those calories - and a whole heap more enthusiastic. I had developed delayed reaction Freshers Syndrome, possibly the most conspicuous symptom of the PSC. College suddenly took on a whole new meaning for me once I was single. The stalls I had mindlessly breezed past in first year, suddenly seemed packed to the gills with possibilities…almost more than a girl in my delicate condition could take. Actually, definitely more than I could take. Like an excited puppy, I bounded right in…to alcohol poisoning and immense embarrassment. On the Monday night, I took to my new single student life overly en-
I can see myself having worn my green light rather over earnestly and having my self confidence destroyed as all the blokes went for the more aloof amber-lit ladies.”
thusiastically….and the video footage of me swinging around a lamppost on O’Connell St still exists…as do the voices of the bouncers ejecting me from Redz still echo in my mind. My lasting impression though has to be my best friend, Vicky with a y, leaving me in the hall in a heap…and me still being there Tuesday morning when the mother got up for work. It turned out that I was too hungover on Tuesday for the Traffic Light Ball – and I can’t say I’m not glad. I can see myself having worn my green light rather over earnestly and having my self-confidence destroyed as all the blokes went for the more aloof amber-lit ladies. Enthusiasm = scary, yet also another unavoidable symptom of the PSC. All I’m saying is be careful, sufferers. Don’t put yourself out there too much this week. There’s nothing more unattractive than vomiting beside the DJ box in a crowded club. I know. And somehow it’s even less acceptable when you’re actually not even a Fresher! Sure, we’re all excited about coming back to college, and whatever changes have happened in our lives over the always eventful summer holidays. We all know that excitement won’t last all year. But those photos of you all over that Junior Freshman blocke will...at the very least!
Not just the next big thing The Flaws proclaim their artistic integrity and talk about the release of their debut album. Words: Carolyn Power
heir first album has been released and they are cropping up everywhere from The Electric Picnic to Music Ireland: Monaghan four piece The Flaws are the current best hope for a solid Irish homegrown success. Shortly before the launch of their debut record Achieving Vagueness, frontman Paul Finn came in to Dublin University Radio Society to talk about the current Flaws state of affairs. Although the band has been active for a couple of years now, the first album is undoubtedly a bigger step than the EP, and while Finn admitted to feeling “excited, nervous and a little scared” about the impending release, he also pointed out that, with the pre-reviews of the record being as good as they were, the main aspect the band members were focusing on was the fun and achievement of having an album out there, as this was a new thing for them. Having already achieved an advanced state of chilled-out-ness, the vocalist said, quite correctly, that once the album was out, all they could really do was “wait and see what happens.” That is not to suggest, though, that the lads haven’t been promoting the record like mad for the past few months. They gigged through the summer, taking in the Electric Picnic and smaller festivals in Ireland as well as festivals over the water in Germany and Italy. Their time has also been consumed by radio work, TV appearances including TG4 and more print than you can shake a stick at – as Finn himself put it, “basically, anyone who reads anything, at this stage, should know it’s coming out”. And
the work has paid off: the bigger media centres like The Ticket and Today FM’s Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show are promoting the band and the album as an up-and-coming Irish success story in the making, and tracks from the album are finding their way into rotations on radio and Channel 6’s Night Shift music show. It is also reassuring to see a band making their own way up through the industry in this traditional, hard-graft way, instead of the usual hypecatching method popular among most of the questionable current hit parade. No matter how talented or likeable a band or artist, it is this kind of dedication to their chosen craft and this willingness to keep working at it that is essential to get them through the long haul if they want to avoid the one album wonder pitfalls. As a consuming public, we are starting to lose the artist loyalty that saw acts like Bowie and the Beatles keep their considerable careers going, and if the material isn’t there, then we won’t be either, happy enough that we are moving on to the Next Big Thing. There is little danger of this happening to The Flaws, though, if they keep going the way they are now. The first album is solid and well-crafted and seemingly filler-free as each track has an instantly memorable hook or chorus and could, potentially, be a successful single. The lyrics are honest and direct, with a turn of phrase that manages to be innovative without being annoyingly elusive for the sake of it, as we see with plenty of today’s more introspective offerings. And as good as it is, you still feel confident that the band can keep doing better and better: especially since, according to Finn, they are “physically unable to stop
Curious to see if this ever hapens independently of Louis Walsh’s involvement, I asked Paul whether there’s any hope for a Flaws Christmas album.”
writing songs…I mean, we’ll be there eating our cornflakes in the morning, and we’ll come up with the rhythm for a song [though not, as I had hoped, a chart-topper about cornflakes themselves]…you’ll just be crunching away there, and you’ll get a rhythm, and then you’ll make a song from that”. He’s laughing at this point, but it is true: the ability to be effortlessly prolific where songwriting is concerned is hardly a bad thing (Sufjan Stevens, anyone?) and if the quality is kept up like it is on Achieving Vagueness, they’ll be laughing for a good long time yet. Of course even the dedicated musician has to think about the old purse strings every now and then and many of them tap
into the incredibly lucrative Christmas market. Curious to see if this ever happens independently of Louis Walsh’s involvement, I asked Paul whether there’s any hope for a Flaws Christmas album. Judging by his initial response (“Dear God, no”), it wasn’t looking good; but as we talked a bit about the market research involved, the possibility of shifting the focus slightly to a Stephen’s Day album was duly considered. So, you know, fingers crossed – and if it does happen, you know where you saw it first. And if it comes out and happens to be called Cornflake Rhythms, well then you also know who’s getting album name credits, if there is such a thing. Yes, things are definitely on the up and up for The Flaws. But what plans do they have for the future after the event? Trying to think of a simultaneously ingenious and relaxing alternative to the urban sprawl of the musician’s life, I suggested going to the country and living on a farm. But Finn already lives on a farm, as it happens, so it was back to the drawing board for yours truly, with the result of him coming up with his own alternative: opening a restaurant, which could make for an excellent chill-out version of a Hell’s Kitchen series. And if it ever features any recipes containing cornflakes, you know…etc. The album was launched on 13 September and is in stores now and there are also plenty of chances to see them do their thing live with appearances at Hard Working Class Heroes, shows at Dublin City University and National University of Ireland Maynooth, and at the Music Ireland showcase: check out myspace.com/theflawsmusic for more details.
The return of the kings Despite facing difficulties, Future Kings of Spain are back, with a brand new album. Words: Catriona Gray
erhaps the choice of interview location had something to do with it, but the Future Kings of Spain came across as a particularly charming lot. I caught up with singer Joey Wilson and drummer Bryan McMahon in the faded glamour of the Central Hotel’s Library Bar. The relaxed atmosphere combined with lavish Victorian furnishings added an element of sophistication usually woefully lacking in a band interview. When I spoke to them, FKOS were on the brink of releasing their much-awaited second album, Nervousystem, due to be released on 28 September. Their self-titled debut album was released in Ireland back in 2003, but problems with their UK record label have led to the delay in the release of the new album. It’s hard not to sympathise with them as they recount the head-wreaking account of their dealings with their ex-record label, as they suffered repeated delays and setbacks to their album release. Finally the band had had enough and after managing to extricate themselves from their contract with the company, they decided to release the album independently, setting up their own label, “What’s the Kim”. When I ask them whether their future plans involve signing to another record label, the answer is emphatic, “No. No way. We’ll be releasing our albums independently from now on.” The band had a particularly promising beginning after they had released their first album through Red Flag Records. They went to Japan, where they spent a fortnight touring intensively, culminating in playing to 40000
people at Sonicmania. By all accounts the Japanese loved FKOS, with one dedicated fan flying all the way to Cork to hear them perform. Wilson tells me that they gave her a lift up to Dublin so she could get a plane back home. “She ended up staying at my house. I even gave up my bed…” he muses, remembering. No one said philanthropy was easy. After Japan, the band won the much-coveted Best New Band at the Meteor Ireland Music Awards in 2004, and proceeded to tour extensively, supporting international acts which included Muse, the Strokes and Biffy Clyro. After listening to the description of their tours, it became clear that Future Kings of Spain have a knack for attracting trouble. Wilson described how Strokes singer Julian Casablancas intervened on their behalf in a fight that they found themselves involved in whilst on tour and McMahon has recovered from a serious car crash in 2002 which left him with serious injuries. He also mentions that while on tour in Japan, one of the band members ended up bringing a heroin-addicted hooker onto the tour bus in an ill-fated attempt to help her. When I ask whether they had any luck with that, they look a bit embarrassed, “I think she just wanted money, to be honest.” After the initial whirlwind of media attention that accompanied their first album, I had assumed that the band would have felt deeply aggrieved by the delay of the release of their second album. Contrary to expectations, they seemed rather philosophical about the whole thing. McMahon explains that because they did a lot of touring after the first album, it wasn’t until about eight
After listening to the description of their tours, it became clear that Future Kings of Spain have a knack for attracting trouble.”
months ago that they really began to feel the delay. Once they decided to go it alone, it was just a matter of picking a date to release the new album. Apart from o,r perhaps because of, the difficulties they have experienced, the band do seem be very genuine. Their featured friends on MySpace are people who are real fans, not a motley collection of big-name bands and record labels. This is quite a novel stance to take, since most bands favour the more corporate approach to their MySpace sites: a fact which is hardly surprising since the website has become the new standard that potential
here are no hard and fast rules to guarantee that your band will 'make it'. Yes you can sit down and try to emulate the success of a well known band by following their model, but that'd be a big waste of your time! Things are always changing, and what worked for your heroes most likely won't work for you. It's really important that you enjoy what you're doing and that your expectations are realistic – play your first gig, recording a good demo and remaining committed. Go with your gut instincts on things. Don't try to be fashionable by tailoring your sound. Music is about many things, but fashion should be the least of them! With all that said, there's so much luck involved – you might be as well off buying a lottery ticket! Not very encouraging, I'll grant you. It's a very tough business, and full of chancers. But if you're having fun… Who cares!?! Bryan McMahon, Drummer FKOS
record labels judge by: friend numbers and profile views hold real weight in the corporate music world. For the record, the band’s name, Future Kings of Spain, has nothing to do with the Spanish monarchy. The four piece bear no relation whatsoever to Juan Carlos I, instead forming their name by piecing together two separate articles in a newspaper. Their name was also partly inspired by a short story written by the Russian writer Nikolai Gogol entitled ���Diary of a Madman”, in which the protagonist believes himself to be the heir to the throne of Spain. FKOS know their nineteenth century Russian writers- far better than the average English literature student if my gormless reaction was anything to go by. It certainly was a lot more highbrow than their second choice for a name- Brains and Nervous System- which somehow doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. My one regret was forgetting to question FKOS on their rather dubious Wikipedia entry. Under the heading “Trivia” appears the statement, “All the members of the band are feverish collectors of ‘still-in-the-box’ vintage cheeses”. Whether it is fact or fiction, I still cannot tell. Maybe it was a cunning ploy to distinguish the real FKOS fans from the fake. Maybe it was an ironic aside designed to fool the gullible reader. Or maybe it really is a genuine interest. It remains a mystery, alas. If you find yourselves obsessively mulling over the potential answers to the “vintage cheese” problem, never fear. There is a solution. You can ask them in person (possibly). Future Kings of Spain play in HMV on Grafton Street at five pm on 2 October. Go and see them. Not only is it absolutely free, but they’ll even sign your album/t-shirt/arm if you ask nicely.
“What is the quintessential University novel?” Catriona Gray investigates P13
P5FEATURE Tickets for the Traffic Light Ball will be available from the Trinity News stand throughtout Freshers’ Week
Harry Nelson directs a timely tribute to this ill-starred hero Words: Simone Cameron-Coen Director: Gerry Nelson, 2007 Length: 53 minutes Gerry Nelson’s Jack Doyle- A Lost Legend is a welltold tale of a flawed hero. The familiar boxing story of the rise and fall of Jack Doyle was woven together using archive film and photographic footage along with reconstruction and anecdotal material from his friends, family, wives and fans. The film’s pace meant that there was a sense that Jack Doyle’s heyday was short-lived but something he lived off for the rest of his life. The company he kept during those years became stories to regale those that bought the drinks he could no longer afford. Spanning several decades and three countries, the film of Jack Doyle’s story shows juxtaposing images of this talented man whose demons got the better of his gifts. The glory days of success celebrated in the press were undercut by per-
sonal histories of his drinking and domestic violence. The newspaper images of a suave, charming sports hero contrasted greatly with those of an old homeless man on the streets and the final, sad image of the wasted hero on a hospital bed. Gerry Nelson’s film managed to capture the excitement of Jack Doyle’s heroic moments, a man who wore both fame and infamy, a man who left Cobh behind to find stardom, a man who burned out quickly among the stars and returned to Cobh a fallen hero.
Dublin Day David Norris narrates a trip through Dublin. Words: Simone Cameron-Coen Director: George Morrison, 2007 Length: 52 minutes George Morrison’s first documentary in thirty years, Dublin Day, is a fascinating new take on both James Joyce’s Ulysses and the city of Dublin. Using archival material collected since 1952, George Morrison has created a beautifully layered film which encapsulates the twenty-four hours of Ulysses and spans Victorian and contemporary images of an evolving city. David Norris’ distinctive narrative style suits George Morrison’s script wonderfully, added to this are carefully selected pieces of music and sound effects. As George Morrison stated himself in the brief questions and answers session after the screening, “I love the sound just as much as the vision”. This overlapping effect of voice, melody and sound effects reflected and enhanced the meandering streets of
Joyce’s Dublin depicted on screen. There is harmony between George Morrison’s vision, Norris’ interpretation, Stephan O’Reilly’s photography and Simon O’Reilly’s soundtrack; this film is a fitting ode to the modern James Joyce, a cinematic moment he would have appreciated, and breathes new life into George Morrison’s well-established and important career. Using new technology to his advantage, George Morrison believes, “There is no excuse for bad work today”. There is a sense of perfectionism in his precise mixing of still and moving images, voice-over and musical accompaniment. The documentary on George Morrison, due for completion at the end of 2007 along with the retrospective in Filmbase and the Irish Film Institute, will be much anticipated by film enthusiasts that keep company with George Morrison and his work.
“This season is all about Lacroix, sweetie” Laura Corrigan tells all P10
Jack Doyle A legend lost
Words: Conor O’Kelly
Salla Tykkä is a Finnish-born artist whose works in photography and video have made her an international art star. In the Royal Hibernian Academy gallery in Ely Place, four of her films are being exhibited alongside a series of photographs until the 28 October. Tykkä's work is fundamentally concerned with the female body and, as such, explores issues of puberty, the male gaze and objectification. Tykkä's best known work, The Cave Trilogy - on display at the RHA seems to chart the development of a young girl from adolescence to womanhood. Along the way, she encounters narcissistic maleness, asserts power over her own body and is frustrated by power structures that wield tools to which she has no access. These are a beautiful series of films, a few minutes each, richly and abstractly layered, they have an effect on the viewer to which the above description does no justice. The second piece on display is titled Zoo and is a much more recent piece. In this, Tykkä places a lone female wandering in a nearly deserted zoo - only a few animals remain - carrying a camera which she raises and lowers, never seeming to find the right composition. The actor in the piece is dressed right out of an Alfred Hitchcock film and this resemblance creates an uncanny effect, which, along with music, creates a sense of tension and unease. Intercut with this main narrative is some sort of subplot - or perhaps a representation of the protagonists state of mind - which involves a game of underwater rugby. This is a violent and masculine scene, beautifully shot again, but quite baffling in its context. As a result Zoo is not as successful as Tykkä's other pieces, the costume and camera are too literal in their references and the underwater shots are distracting. Despite this, this is an exhibition not to be missed and the RHA must be commended for its inclusion in their programme.
Kassandra O’Connell of the The Irish Film Archive of the Irish Film Institute. Photo: Mark Carroll
The celluloid caretaker Recognising the the unsung importance of the Irish Film Archive. TN2 speaks to Kassandra O’Connell. Words: Emma Keaveney
n 1909, long before the mushrooming of suburban multiplexes nationwide, Ireland’s first cinema opened its doors. The Volta cinema at 45 Mary Street in Dublin’s city centre was a personal project undertaken by James Joyce, who wanted to create a permanent home in his native city for the relatively new and exciting medium. Today, unfortunately, nothing remains of the Volta and the site where it once stood is now occupied by the Penney’s store at the back end of Henry Street. How dramatically times change. However, it is somewhat reassuring that despite the fact that Ireland’s inaugural cinemas have long since been forgotten, The Irish Film Archive of the Irish Film Institute dedicates itself to the preservation of Irelands cinematic heritage. The collection, housed in temperature-controlled vaults in Temple Bar, is made up of over 20000 cans of film, 5000 tapes and a vast collection of paper and photographic collections. The archive incorporates fiction films, public information films, amateur material, documentaries and animation dating from the 1800’s (the oldest footage held is the Lumiere brothers footage of 1897 Dublin) to the present day. In truth it is difficult to get across the sheer vastness of the collection. The archive houses footage from
The archive houses footage from every decade since the opening of the Volta cinema in 1909.”
every decade since the opening of the Volta cinema. Fiction films made in or about Ireland make up a significant chunk of the collection, with the oldest feature preserved being The Lad From Old Ireland from 1910. Pre-RTE documentaries such as Peter Lennon’s critically acclaimed Rocky Road to Dublin (1968) and newsreel footage from as far back as 1917 are also items of great interest, both socially, culturally and politically. With such a wide variety of footage to choose from, it must be difficult to decide what should be included. Kassan-
dra O’ Connell, the head of the Archive, explains the selection process, “At the moment we have agreements with both the Irish Film Board and the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland whereby they deposit a copy of any production they fund with us for preservation purposes. In many ways that takes the guesswork out of our acquisitions policy…the more difficult aspect for an archivist is selecting material that individuals have made for their personal use, such as home movies. These can be incredibly interesting for many reasons: fashions, customs, social history, topography, architecture, but it is often difficult in the present to know what will become interesting to future generations…” This safeguarding done for future generations could be said to be invaluable to the nation. Ms O’Connell elaborates, “Preserving a visual record of our activities and endeavours enables us, as a nation, to examine ourselves through film and explore our cultural identity. The things we have chosen to record and the stories that we have committed to film tell us much about our national interests, beliefs and fears. The collection tangibly chronicles the creation of modern Ireland…what we choose to preserve will effect how our era is viewed by future generations, much as the filmmaking decisions of previous generations have
coloured our view of the past.” So, just like the National Museum, Gallery or Library, the Archive provides a time capsule from which we can learn more about ourselves. Yet, crucially, unlike these institutions, the Archive (as part of the Irish Film Institute) is not a government-designated institution. The moving image saturates modern society, acting simultaneously as entertainment and an important social document and form of cultural expression. Yet officially, the reasons why we should preserve film are not recognised. Is this telling of the Irish attitude to the medium as a whole? Ms O’Connell is adamant, “I think that generally in Ireland there is a lack of awareness of the importance of film...An essential step in the recognition of the importance of film would be designation by the Irish government of a dedicated ‘National Cultural Institution’ for film, following the lead of other countries and by statutorily supporting a ‘National’ Film Archive with all the legislative, financial and resource implications that entails”. Despite this apparent passivity on the part of the government, the Irish Film Archive, tucked away in Temple Bar, continues to preserve, protect and safeguard Ireland on screen – a celluloid heirloom whose significance cannot be underestimated.
Well, here we all are again, looking back on a satisfactory summer of festivals and record releases and forward to long months of library time and essay-riddled nights. Or to be more exact, things to distract us from said academic pursuits… Having previously stayed firmly planted on Irish festival soil, I headed to France in May as one of the Irish ambassadors for the wonderfully eclectic Europavox music festival in the Auvergne. Packed with bands, ambassadors, DJs and VJs from all over (quite logically) Europe, this excellent week included a blistering 2ManyDJ’s set, best enjoyed from the vantage point of dancing on the bass bins, and fusions of dance, pop, reggae and acoustic music from Cirkus feat. Nenah Cherry, Agoria and Gus Gus, to name but a few. And smuggling champagne around the venues, but that’s a different story. More recently, it was the turn of Meeting House Square to bring in the noise with the savage Beck’s Fusions showcase. It had everything you needed for a good time: Scots floorfiller Calvin Harris, Dublin blinders Jape, projected video displays, and X-Ray specs (yes!) for all. Even the weather cooperated, just proving the powers that be love a good boogie. There’s still plenty going on around the capital in the months to come, including the This Is Wanted weekend, and Music Ireland in the Royal Dublin Society. This one is definitely for the diary – live music from Paddy Casey, The Flaws and Messiah J and the Expert, info seminars and workshops with leading industry professionals, and the live search for Ireland’s fastest drummer. October 5 to 7: check it. And what of the new albums to blast away on the old headphones should you inadvertently find yourself in the library after all? Well, Josh Ritter’s latest offering, The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter, isn’t a bad place to start. It’s a departure from his earlier material showcasing Ritter’s new-found piano skills and produced by long-time keyboard collaborator Sam Kassirer. The Idaho native clearly just wants to have fun on this album and with the honest, declamatory lyrics and musical stylings throwing out clear references to Waits, Springsteen and Dylan and effortlessly dead-on lashings of brass and sting sections, it’s one to stick on and turn up. All the way up. To eleven.
Interviews with the bands of HWCH www.trinitynews.ie
Words: Carolyn Power
A motley crew Talking to Xavier Rudd and the Handsome Furs. Words: Carolyn Power
n the current musical state of affairs where so much of the industry’s time is spent trying to find the zeitgeist sound and then create endless copies of it, it’s nice to come across a few musicians who are still doing things a bit differently. It’s even better when they come to Ireland to show off their individual approach to what they do; luckily for us, Aussie multi-instrumentalist Xavier Rudd and Montreal duo Handsome Furs fit all the requirements and were up for a bit of a chat about it. Xavier Rudd is a musician known not only for his eclectic, layered world music-meets-singer songwriter stylings, but also for his keen interest in issues of the environment and the rights of expression of oppressed communities like the Australian aboriginal population. Playing Ireland on 25 September as part of the tour for his new album White Moth, he was more than happy to discuss this aspect of his music, agreeing that music is an important avenue for getting his message out because “the media can be very negative and sometimes it’s hard to get the positive stuff out there”. But being on a tour, the musician also has to address the incongruity of environmental awareness and the often environmentally harmful practice of touring, “Yeah, it is a problem. You’re starting to see it at festivals now: the industry is toxic, especially in the United States and a lot of the time there’s no recycling or anything like that. In my personal life, I try to leave a small footprint, because on the road it does feel a bit toxic. It’s time now for the big festivals to lead the way and show an example”. For Rudd, music is a “strong passion that de-
veloped into a career”, and as anyone who has seen him live will attest, the passion is still as strong as ever. Rudd himself acknowledges the importance of seeing his music live to truly understand where he’s coming from; he finds it hard to describe his sound himself and he’s not alone in this: “it is hard to describe, lots of people say they don’t really get it till they see it live, it takes a while!” So the advice is that when you get the chance again, check him out! Look up “hip” in your standard dictionary these days and you’ll see a little snapshot of Montreal beside it, so it���s no surprise that resident indie duo Handsome Furs are as fascinating as they are. Not only is their music – which “uses minimalist elements to create maximum sound” as the band’s Alexei Perry describes – an ethereal blend of spooky soundscapes and poignant vocals,, but the minimalist songsmiths booked themselves a tour before actually writing any songs. Gutsy. And one can only presume slightly nerve-wracking? “Wildly so”, confirms Perry, “especially for me, because I’d never been in a band or played live before!” It turns out it was an inspired case of feeling the fear and doing it anyway, because their sound has been lauded so far for it’s lush, beautiful sounds and the interesting subject matter and lyrics. I asked Perry, who is also a writer, whether the lyrics and the other writings ever cross over, but she says they are kept fairly separate “although maybe some of the same demons come out”. Well, if so, they are some pretty impressive-sounding demons. Check them out when they play Whelan’s on 5 October to see for yourselves.
Still running After more than two decades, Bruce Springsteen still has no intention to quit. Words: Michael Armstrong
t NBC Studios in New York, there’s an empty drum stool where Max Weinberg usually sits on the Conan O’Brien Show. Steven Van Zandt, fresh from finishing up on The Sopranos, puts his acting career on hold and heads out the door, guitar in hand. And somewhere, Clarence Clemons, “The Big Man”, dusts off his saxophone case. They are all heeding the call because the Boss is back and coming to Ireland this December. And this time, there won’t be a banjo in sight. I was lucky enough to catch Bruce Springsteen in Belfast last year as part of his Seeger Sessions Tour. I’ve seen a lot of live acts, from Bob Dylan to Sleater-Kinney, but this was, by far, the best. The previous night’s show in Dublin was so successful that it was later released as a live album to commemorate the tour, but for a local boy, nothing could have matched his poignant solo performance of “City of Ruins”. You could hear a pin drop. That was until he switched gears and returned to one of the bombastic big hitters of “We Shall
Overcome”. When the Boss yelled “get off yer asses”, you just did and didn’t even think about it. At 58, Springsteen still has the power to move you with his performance more than you’d ever think possible, a power that is clearly lacking in some of the current crop of rock stars. No one gets up for Pete Doherty these days, not even Pete Doherty. So what gives Springsteen such vigour after so many years of writing and touring? One factor must be the continued contribution of the E street band, without whom he would struggle to perform the likes of “Thunder Road” or “Born in the U.S.A.” with the same passion. Assured of their involvement whenever he may need it, Springsteen has the freedom to evolve as an artist on his own, seeking out new projects such as the tribute to Pete Seeger or his solo acoustic work. Unlike his contemporary Loudon Wainwright or his predecessors Neil Young or Van Morrison, Springsteen has improved, if anything, with age and many fans place his post-9/11 album The Rising as one of his very best. While Bob Dylan has undoubtedly returned to form of
late, no one would put “Modern Times” or even “Love & Theft” on the same level as the classics. Dylan is also notorious as an unreliable live performer whereas Springsteen was built for the touring lifestyle. Of course having his wife, Patti Scialfa, in the band must help matters some, but it’s a trick not lost on a certain Canadian band who are also returning to our shores come Winter. The Arcade Fire’s debt to this particular elder statesman reaches into creative terms as well, as anyone who has heard “Antichrist Television Blues” will attest. Stick a saxophone solo on the end and it could be a B-side from Born to Run. At the end of the day, however, it won’t be the camaraderie of the E Street Band or the chance to hear some of the classics live that will have me standing in line outside the Odyssey arena in the cold a few months from now. It’ll be the knowledge that, unlike any other performer alive today, I can guarantee at some point during the three hour performance, there will be some moment that moves me, that breaks down the barrier between audience and performer and gives each one of us something unique,
The Boss is back, and coming to Ireland this Dece\\mber. And this time, there won’t be a banjo in sight. ”
something truly special to take home with us when the night is over. It is this gift that makes Springsteen “the Boss”, and you can bet that when he takes to the stage again in Belfast, I’ll be there.
COLLEGE BANDS Despite having only been together for a few months, Red Machine have a well-developed sound that will pummel you stupid if given half a chance (think Melvins and Tool mud-wrestling with the lights out in Kurt Cobain’s basement). TNT found vocalist/guitarist Steven Lydon loitering suspiciously outside the local Spar and took him in for some questioning… Who are Red Machine, then? We are three strapping young Dublin lads going by the names of Steven, Sam and Kevin, who sing/play guitar, bass and drums, respectively. Sort of like some kind of rocking, musical pavlova. What’s with the name? People inevitably tend to think of a huge Russian army. Is that a good thing? I don’t know. What do you sound like? We’re far too profound to have influences, and too pretentious to name them. It’s basically rock music. What have you been up to of late? Playing gigs all summer in everywhere from Eamonn Doran’s to the Sugar Club, getting our first demo, writing, schmoozing, partying, being stressed
out/fired from jobs. All for the music… How do you evaluate the scene in Dublin for a band like yours? It’s getting better. There are some stunning bands doing the rounds at the minute, but there remains lots of crap. It’ll develop naturally, I’m sure, just keep playing away. What are your ultimate aspirations as a band? Write great music, go on tour, destroy crap music/big egos. What have you got coming up? We’re recording an EP in a few weeks to replace our admittedly-poor demo. We’re playing live about once a week these days, so just have a look at the site if you want to check us out. Then there’s the whole dirty, schmoozing side of things. I don’t want to talk about it. For more information www.bebo.com/redmachinemusic www.myspace.com/redmachinemusic
The Devil wears Lacroix Move over Prada — this season’s all about Lacroix, sweetie, Lacroix. Words: Laura Corrigan
watched The Devil Wears Prada credits roll with a mixture of horrific anticipation and disbelief. The reviews from fashion insiders buoyed my confidence – one eminent style journalist regarded the movie as “a fine fashion fantasy with little to do with reality”. Armed with the expert understanding that the world portrayed had been little more than a literary creation, I flew into Charles de Gaulle eager to start a summer internship under the guidance of a high ranking fashion editor. Meticulous preplanning of suitable outfits meant that I arrived early on the first day of my new job, bag bulging with an assortment of French phrase books and metro maps. “Miranda” entered. I was ushered into her office and wordlessly handed a notebook. There was no room for pleasantries as we dived headfirst into a list of tasks I was to complete within the next hour. Bus stops and Paris district names were thrown into the everexpanding inventory alongside vague French sounding products I was to magically source. “Don’t come back here empty handed”, I was ordered, leaving the building clutching my hastily scribbled notes. Frantically I scoured the arrondissements, searching for remote offices and products I had been told to find. After three hours, I returned, late and sweaty following my impromptu tour of the city. Greeted with a withering glare for my delayed reappearance, I was instructed to fetch a pot of the natural yoghurt which had been on my list. I obeyed, scurrying into the kitchen and suddenly realising that I hadn’t been given a lunch break. Body image disorders aren’t the cause of the size zero phenomenon in the fashion industry – there’s simply no time for frivolous things like eating. The yoghurt wasn’t deemed adequate: I had made the apparent mistake of buying natural yoghurt that didn’t taste of anything.
Slipping into Row B past some strikingly familiar faces I saw why the premier seating was out of bounds. The first row was awash with celebrities and clusters of photographers, more eager to catch a silverscreen star than the newest couture creation.”
As the days wore on and fashion week approached, I spent less time at the office and more in internet cafes until the early hours of the morning, emailing fashion houses and responding to their invitations, making sure I was fully prepared for the new occurrences in the show schedule. My mobile phone was on 24-hour standby for any last minute tweaks. Without realising it, I began to accept as normal the behaviour of industry colleagues. I delighted whenever a fashionista stretched to a “please” or “thank you”; it had become such a rare treat to hear words of decorum with etiquette being an endangered beast in the fashion world. And so the season began. Invites to shows and celebrity-drenched parties flooded in. The menswear collections were presented first – my job was to manage the office by day and after the daily dry cleaning and plant watering duties at six, I was required to attend the evening runway shows. The sheer glamour and excitement of the events even sparkled in the atmos-
Illustration: Rebecca Gray
phere outside, amplified by the ever-flashing presence of the paparazzi. The media feverishness climaxed the following week at women’s couture. Hand-delivered invites streamed in every hour and Paris was heaving under a mass of Manolo-clad journalists and international trendsetters all vying for one thing – front row-tickets. Miranda was always placed in the first class cabin of fashion; she could make or break a collection with a camera-captured shrug of the shoulder or throwaway remark. The Christian Lacroix ticket arrived and I noted the seat number. Second row. Miranda rejected the invite with cool
amusement - “the sheer audacity of these people” – and instructed me to cover the show. Slipping into Row B past some strikingly familiar faces I saw why the premier seating was out of bounds. The first row was awash with celebrities and clusters of photographers, more eager to catch a silverscreen star than the newest couture creation. The Giorgio Armani show was on the next day. If Lacroix could command this much hyped attention, what could I expect from the undisputed king of twentieth century fashion? To be continued…
All hail Valentino The emperor of Italian fashion does ancient Rome. Words: Ciaran Durkan “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears”, as Shakespeare would have it in his play Julius Caesar. Caesar’s legacy was to create the beginnings of an empire. His successor, Octavius, was later to be crowned the first imperial leader of the newly established Roman Empire by divine providence and took the name Caesar Augustus. Now, Augustus was not known for his ostentatious palace or his taste in fine clothes. A leader of the world of imperial fashion, he was not. The most we can say of Augustus was that he had a little bit of a penchant for shoes, high heeled shoes to be exact. Ok, well, not high heels, really, more of a nice thick-soled Roman sandal as he was a few inches short of emperor height without them and he liked the extra wedge,
so as to make him feel tall. Augustus built a monument to world peace, or pax romanus, after he had established power in most of modern Europe. His monument, the Ara Pacis, still stands today in the center of Rome and is a testament to the sculptural art of the golden age of Augustus. If anything, one would expect to find a collection of shoes lining the monument of Augustus, akin to his particular fetish, a leader a la Manolo Blahnik, perhaps. Instead, on the 6 July this summer, a modern-day emperor of Roman fashion was given permission to display his latest collection along side the ancient Caesar’s monument. Exactly what Valentino has to do with ancient Roman art and civilization remains to be seen, but it is, without doubt,
one of the most magnificent settings in which to display this very special anniversary collection of fashion. Valentino celebrated 45 years as a fashion designer this summer and was given permission to take over the Ara Pacis to display over 300 mannequins dressed in their finest. Taking pride of place is Valentino’s signature red dress as for his birthday collection he has reinvented it somewhat. A sultry, full-length evening dress in deep red with a square neckline which has been sliced down the middle and meets a gathered cascade ruche just below the bust. Add to this every variety of dress imaginable, haute couture to pret-a-porter, in all colours, materials and styles and you have almost 45 years of fashion.
Ancient Rome’s golden age is celebrated along side the memory of Rome during the Dolce Vita era when Valentino started his career. This merging of two Roman giants celebrates the designer’s long and prosperous career. His classical and elegant style which made him famous so many years ago takes its cue, perhaps, from the elegantly carved figures surrounding the Ara Pacis itself. It begs the question, however, as to who and what, the Romans worship more. Their historic past or their modern fashion labels? One thing is for sure. Never underestimate the power of a little black dress, nor the man who designs it, as this display screams for everyone to hear: All Hail Valentino!
Arriving in Trinity in style Think O’Neills will do for college? Think again. Words: Mieke Van Embden
ruth be told, I don’t particularly remember what I wore on my first day of college. I’m pretty sure I didn’t spend any afternoons agonising over what I would wear to make the perfect impression on my first day of school with the big kids. My friend assures me that I went with a jeans-brown-boots-green-jumper combo. Said friend also spent an entire week planning the perfect ensemble. But what I can tell you is that I do remember having a lazy day during my Junior Freshman year. You know the ones, you just don’t feel like making the effort so you throw your hair up in a ponytail and pull on the nearest comfy trackies – in my case, O’Neills – and a cosy hoody. First and last time I’ll ever do that in college. If you’re a resident of the Arts Building, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about and if you’re
new to the Trinity game, you’ll pick up on it quickly enough! You’d be forgiven for thinking that the Arts Building has nothing to do with education and is more about parading the wares of your wardrobe. Everywhere you look, there are girls and guys strutting their stuff. Designer jeans, handbags, skirts, jackets and jumpers rule the roost. Forget about the student budget and don’t worry about whether the labels are real or a bargain find at some Thai market or American outlet from the big summer adventure. The fact is, fashion speaks volumes in Trinity and it’s up to you to make sure you stay on the right side of the divide. So what should you wear on your first day of school? You’ve made it out of secondary school and into the big bad world of third-level education. Gone is the anonymity of a uniform. In its place you
find the daily task of choosing an outfit that expresses your personality. Though you may love your tracky bottoms, it’s time to face the fact that during term-time, they must be confined to the gym and bumming round the house on hangover days. This isn’t University College Dublin. O’Neills (as I learned) are NOT your friend. The key to Arts Building fashion is to develop some flair. You don’t need to spend the GDP of a small nation to dress well. Of course, it’s nice to indulge in a little Karen Millen or French Connection if the budget will stretch to it, but you can do just as well by hitting Penney’s and H&M and by being selective about what you buy. Here are my top tips: Jeans are a good staple for guys or girls, and can be worn with virtually anything. Likewise, girls, a couple of pairs of
flat pumps for the girl who want to break free of runners and heels are perfect and can be worn with trousers, skirts or dresses. Learn to layer. Not only will you be warm while everyone else shivers in the Ussher, but it allows you more freedom to customise your style while keeping on trend. Miniskirts and opaque tights for the rainy days so you don’t have to wait until lunchtime for your trousers to dry out again. Accessorise, accessorise, accessorise! You’ve got a plain-coloured dress on? Belt it. Wearing monochrome? Get some beads. Sun’s out? Sunglasses. Wear your hair down everyday? Mix it up with a hair band. Got stuff to carry around? Invest in a big bag. Penney’s and A-wear are great for stocking up on essential accessories but leaving you with enough change for a drink down the Pavilion Bar.
The state of modern man Read Sebastian Faulks’ novel Human Traces and appreciate the work of a literary master. Words: Joey Facer
ith the abundance of novels published daily, it is becoming more and more clear that a modern style of writing is being created, or at least, discerned, in the midst of what had once seemed a jumble of influence: a pastiche paradise. Authors such as Coetzee and Murakami blaze on in a fury of quirksome novels and the general trend seems to be to imply that the problem with the modern condition is that our sufeit of ideas and influences seems to inevitably lead to a lack of certainty about the world, religion, consciousness and being itself. Faulks, known for his harrowing realism in books such as Birdsong and Charlotte Gray, has in his most recent endeavour unexpectedly hit right at the heart of the modern conundrum. In his earlier works, he displayed a Tolstoyan touch, with flawlessly detailed historical reference, well-defined and engaging characters and a balance between interest and disturbance. Human Traces seems something of a departure for Faulks and, whilst this unsettles the familiar reader at first, the novel is nothing short of a
milestone in modern literature. Even amidst this book, which is of considerable gravity in a philosophical sense, Faulks does not fail to deliver highly on the aesthetic front. As in his earlier works, and as with the great Russian and French masters of realism, the novel strikes many careful balances: the outer concerns of life are blended into the inner concerns, and become more effectively life as we recognise it. In addition Faulks does not succomb to Dickensian techniques of overexplanation, but leaves much for the reader to guess at whilst never being obscure or enfuriating in his omissions. The novel deals with two endearing young doctors’ journeys through life in the 1870’s, when the study of psychology and psychiatry was beginning to gain credence. The young men’s observations and theses chiefly concern the nature of madness and the nature of man and the book seeks to find a bridge where the two cohere. Man is the only animal to endure madness; the doctors seek to discover why. The exploration of the text into this area is not only medical, but great elements of their discoveries and contemplations are deeply philosophical. About halfway through the novel, the
Frugal living for dummies Author: Deborah TaylorHough
reader may find themselves momentarily losing faith in Faulks as he stands on the edge of this vast plateau: here the novel seems to be a far cry from greatness with too little philosophy and too much unneccessary material considering the gravity of the subject the novel is dealing with. It seems at this mid-point that Faulks lacks the nerve, perhaps even the ability, to simply say what he seems to be tip-toeing around. Soon, however, the reader is retracting such a hasty judgement. This former evasion can be seen as a ploy to divert the reader and force them to come up with their own theories before Faulks triumphs at last to present philisophical moments moving in their lucidity and eminently insightful, particularly for the non-scientific reader for whom the novel is meant (this is not to say that scientific people do not read novels, merely that in the majority of cases whilst doing so they are not scientists but readers of novels). The close of the book is astonishing and yet not overblown; the last pages moving in wave upon wave over the reader of narrative twists and gifts of insight. Whereas previously, Faulks has rendered
Relationships for dummies
history for his readers, now he chooses to render science, and make it something real, and living and, who would have thought it, artistic. The word “alas” reverberates throughout the text, leaving the reader feeling a certain amount of sadness which is inevitable with the moving along of science and the eradication of old beliefs and values as well as with the unstoppable onset of life and all its calamities. The other striking motif is one of shape, often concerning men and women whose purpose in life is to try to fit together, mirroring the plethora of ideas and theories which it is hoped will one day begin to piece together, like a jigsaw. The influence of the Symposium of Plato is assumed here in indescribably beautiful phrases, but this myth is not limited to sexual relations, but is much broader, encompassing all the many varieties of shape that make up a life. The book is applicable, and urgently so: to everyone and everything. Read it, and experience enlightenment not before known to this reader in a modern novel.
Pregnancy for dummies
Author: Kate M. Wachs
Author: S. Jarvis et al.
Price: €23.99 408pp.
Price: €23.99 384pp.
Reviewer: Paul Earlie
Reviewer: Paul Earlie
Price: €23.99 288pp. Reviewer: Paul Earlie
“Living frugally isn’t the same as living a miserably unadorned, Spartan lifestyle”, explains Ms Taylor-Hough in her upbeat introduction to a book which deserves a place on any self-respecting student’s shelf. Deftling flip-flopping between popular psychologist (“Adjusting Bad Attitudes”) and health-food guru (“Going to the Grocery without Being Taken to the Cleaners”), our ever-pragmatic author offers advice on every conceivable facet of cheap living. Includes an illuminating section on stinginess and the art of love (Chapter 17:” Ten Frugal Ways to Tell Your Sweetheart: ‘I Love You!’”).
Dr Wachs, it seems, is something of a relationships faithhealer. Routinely called upon by Oprah and Cosmopolitan to bail ailing couples out of relationship cul-de-sacs, Dr Wachs claims that every successful relationship is supported by the five pillars of honesty, loyalty, intimacy, trust, and friendship. REALLY successful relationships, however, also contain two other ingredients, what she calls “Relationship Superglue”: “Good communication” (duh) and “GOOD sex” (but not too good, presumably). Unmissable.
Accidents happen. If you find yourself or your partner unexpectedly pregnant, this immensely quotable book “breast engorgement really sucks” - should be your first port of call. Our four authors are something of a pregnancy A-Team. Beginning with an illuminating FAQ (Can I dye my hair while pregnant? Can I eat sushi?), this book expands to cover all possible gestational bases from “I think I'm pregant!” to “I think I'm in labour!” Worried about what comes next? The publishers have thoughtfully provided a sequel: YOUR BABY'S FIRST YEAR FOR DUMMIES.
University novels A heady mix of intellectuals, students and alcoholics; it’s certainly worth leafing through the pick of campus-based fiction. Words: Catriona Gray
ho can resist a novel set in a university? It is the ideal location in which to set a piece of fiction (just think of the possibilities suggested by a novel set in Limerick Intitute of Technology). The author has a ready-made framework to work with: aesthetic architecture, eccentric intellectuals and a few bright young things thrown in for added interest and variety. These factors do tend to vary from college to college. Sometimes all three are present, sometimes only one and, occasionally, none whatsoever. Perhaps the most famous novel of this genre is Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited. Written in Waugh’s post-war despondency at rationing, this novel remains a choice source of well-worn college witticisms frequently quoted by knowing parents or undergraduates, two choice examples being: “You want either a first or a fourth. There is no value in anything in between. Time spent on a good second is time thrown away” and “You’ll find you’ll spend half your second year shaking off the undesirable friends you made in your first”. Wise words, although I still haven’t met anyone who has had the nerve
to act on them. The sophistication of Waugh’s writing combined with his evocation of pre-WWII Oxford makes Brideshead Revisited overshadow its forerunner. Decline and Fall, Waugh’s first novel, was written nearly two decades earlier and charters the misadventures of the ill-fated Paul Pennyfeather, who is sent down from “Scone College” after sprinting across its grounds with no trousers on. Kingsley Amis also set his first novel, Lucky Jim, in a university. Jim Dixon, however, is the antithesis of the “bright young things” that flit through Waugh’s novels. A history lecturer in a newly built university, Dixon’s career prospects look particularly bleak. The progression of the novel does nothing to change this. What starts out badly gets much worse. Amis’ dry ironic narrative unleashes the full force of academic sarcasm, a force all too often unleashed by various tutors of this college on hapless students. Just like a sarcastic academic, Amis’ narrative has to be understood to be fully appreciated. To pass this book off as being merely “comic” (as Wikipedia so glibly summarises it) is to grossly undersell its complexity. As for the so-called “Trinity novel”, J.P. Donleavey’s The Ginger Man: it is
utterly pointless to classify it as a university-based novel as Trinity itself is barely mentioned. The book’s pugnacious protagonist spends most of his time slumming it in an aggressive alcoholic daze that Donleavy clearly finds rather groovy if the tone of his narrative is anything to go by. Sebastian Dangerfield is no Sebastian Flyte, even though the two share both a first name and an alcohol addiction. The Ginger Man was published in 1955 and was a prime example of the dilemma faced by Irish writers attempting to produce literature in the wake of Ulysses. Donleavy is embarrassingly, self-consciously going for modernism à la Joyce. What was once banned for obscenity now just seems a bit passé. If you haven’t read it yet, please, don’t bother. If you’re looking for something to read, pick up an A.S. Byatt. Having spent the last month reading her quartet of novels set in mid-twentieth century Britain, I cannot believe that this (still living) author is not more widely publicised. A.S. Byatt doesn’t just write fiction, she writes literature: weaving a complex, amusing, compelling web that references a myriad of other texts, nearly all of them familiar to the average student studying English. It is
rather nice to hear her characters quote The Duchess of Malfi or catch the occasional reference to King Lear. In case this is beginning to alarm the prospective reader, relax, the references to literary classics do not affect the plot, merely enhance it. Still Life, the second book of the series, has ostensibly the most to do with a university, as it is largely set in Cambridge in the mid-1950’s, although the entire quartet is preoccupied with education and the English language. What Byatt’s novels illustrate is the added advantage from a literary perspective of setting a novel in an academic environment. Because the characters themselves are enmeshed in academia, it enables the author to incorporate a far wider array of imagery into their work than they would have otherwise been able to use which gives a novel far more potential. The university, furthermore, does possess a sort of intellectual chic, whether the writer chooses to admit this or not. Most university-based fiction reflects whatever the author’s individual style: be it languid glamour of Evelyn Waugh, the lyricism of A.S Byatt or the scathing irony of Kingsley Amis.
“Alles ist vergängliche” Everything is beautiful The cast of the Streetwise Opera Company.
Teaching opera to the homeless: spending the summer with Streetwise Words: Polly Graham
treetwise Opera is a small UK-based organisation which produces operas performed by the homeless in collaboration with professionals. This year, I was lucky enough to work as a participant supporter for the company’s production of Critical Mass, a newly commissioned opera composed by Orlando Gough for an ensemble of Streetwise performers and professional singers and premiered as part of The Almeida Opera Festival. The experience left me with a sense of revelation as I watched people transformed through performance and realised the power of the expressive arts. Founded by visionary Matt Peacock five years ago after an MP referred to the homeless as “the people you step over coming out of the opera house”, Streetwise is a young and radical project with ambitions stretching between social reform and innovative theatrical practice. However, the aim of providing some of the most vulnerable members of society with the opportunity to perform in or work on an operatic production remains shocking and imbalanced in the eyes of many. “What good can singing do for people who are sleeping on the street?” I was often asked, “How can opera really remedy people’s lives?” I had originally been drawn to Streetwise because it seemed to be living the spirit that man cannot live by bread alone, that every life deserves a range of opportunities and that help and true charity is not simply about housing someone who needs shelter, but also about acknowledging their whole being artistic as well as physical. Idealistic though my hopes might have been, while working for Streetwise, I was never disappointed; in fact, the longer I worked with the company,
the more their unique aims inspired me. Streetwise organises regular opera workshops in various day-centres for the homeless around London and from these, establishes a group of interested performers who are willing to go through the intensive rehearsal period. In supporting participants during production, my involvement in the project began at the transition point between a single hour workshop per week to fulltime rehearsals. For many this was a huge jump in terms of commitment and concentration though their struggle was fuelled by the prospect of the exciting performance weekend. Participants’ needs were so varied, everyday as a supporter was different: we cooked lunch for the cast and crew to establish a sense of ensemble and, in breaks, helped with biography writing, costume fittings, line learning and developing confidence in singing a capella. Eventually I was woven into the performance to help a group of women participants playing ghostly suffragettes to remember their precise entrances and exits. The Streetwise model for performance work centres on the idea of collaboration in order that people from a range of backgrounds might learn from one another; thus the players were a mixture of professional singers from Gough’s choir The Shout and Streetwise performers and the stage-management team was a mixture of experienced professionals and participant technicians. The aim is to create an open atmosphere to strive against any social exclusion which participants might have suffered. Through the shared vision of the production, this objective undoubtedly took effect as a microcosm of society learned to listen to each other. This sense of dialogue became a
Founded by visionary Matt Peacock five years ago, after an MP referred to the homeless as “the people you step over coming out of the opera house”, Streetwise is a young and radical project.”
strong theme in people’s response to the project, “we have been spoilt to work with such a wonderful composer and director – their care and tutelage has allowed us to reach a high standard…we can hold our own with professionals…I hope they have learnt something from us as well”, “it gives me a great understanding of how things should be.” The concept of opera is in itself one of collaboration: a profound synthesis of music and drama which depicts an imaginary world and has a powerful effect upon its audience. The paradigm of collective apprenticeship and balancing different perspectives united by a single project was demonstrated in the relationship between director Emma Bernard and composer Orlando Gough, who had to learn from and listen to each other throughout rehearsals. Their co-devised production Critical Mass
furthered this philosophy of exchange as it gave voice to different folk songs which were woven together to make a full portrait of human experience. Thus Negro spirituals blended into songs from the French Resistance, into an Irish keening lament, into Italian love songs, finishing with Jerusalem and, finally, a German folk song. Gough and Bernard were inspired by the diversity of cultures they encountered in homeless shelters when they were first commissioned to lead this Streetwise production and their creation drew on two aspects of multiculturalism in contemporary London. The first was the New Labour attitude to cultural diversity, whose rhetoric was satirised through Bernard’s text and whose significance was undermined by her haunting dreamscape setting for a delegates’ conference – the end of the world and the collapse of civilization, where any social boundaries have been toppled and common survival of existence unites all. This subversive spirit was then developed through Gough’s arrangement of folk songs which undercut and eventually overcame the dry conference with a delicate momentum: struggling, triumphant, serene. The piece ended with a subtle modulation from a hummed rendition of Jerusalem into the sublime song “Alles ist verganglich” and affirmed the Blakean spirit of inclusion, transformation and rebirth through art, which the whole project had been striding towards. One was reminded of the end of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell: The fire, the fire is falling! Look up, look up! O citizen of London enlarge thy countenance… Go winged thought, widen his forehead… For everything that lives is Holy.
Dance around Dublin Tourist trap or masterpiece of choreography? Our intrepid reporter reviews the phenomenon that is Riverdance. Words: Joey Facer
iverdance is Ireland’s undisputed theatrical phenomenon. There is not an Irish person who has not some conception of the show, either from the Eurovision interval act of over a decade ago or from the constant jibes about what has often been considered Ireland’s most trite export. Ears blocked to the ridicule of friends, I decided to experience the show first hand. Undeniably the difference from the televised versions is almost shocking at first; the stage and cast seem so pitifully small, particularly in that first infamous “Riverdance” number. However, soon into the show, you can forget comparisons as the dancing seduces the viewer. I have to confess, Riverdance is not a show to see in a cynical mindset. It is the kind of thing that, like Christmas, one must take seriously against one’s better judgement in order to enjoy to the highest degree. Not for the weak of stomach, Riverdance requires of all, and particularly those of Irish descent who are conditioned to dismiss the dancing and the voice-overs as “cod-Irish”, an innocence and freshness. The dancing, whilst technically excellent, is
The cast of the thirteenth production of Riverdance performing in Dublin. Photo: Gerry Lundberg PR
chiefly about communication and the audience has to be prepared to connect with the dancers. Early on, female lead Zara Curtis managed to make a firm impression on the audience. She had more energy than perhaps the whole chorus combined (who were far from lacklustre themselves) and continually burst onto stage and proved herself inexceptionable in every area of Irish dance. The male lead, Anthony Sharkey, perhaps feeling the weight of his infamous predecessor, Michael Flatley, seemed overly concerned to get his steps right rather than putting energy or innovation into his work. The result was a technically pleasing, though underwhelming, performance which perhaps might be addressed in the coming years; he seems exceptionally young for the role. The set dance was both entertaining and wellchoreographed, but the show might have benefitted from a few more of these, being as they are, still a part of rural Irish culture. Indeed, although the Russian and Spainish dances were well-executed and interesting, as the show wound down, it was hard not to regret there had not been more Irish dancing. Nevertheless, the dance-off between
American and Irish dancers was one of the show’s high points, with the audience responding with laughs, cheers and shouts for the respective parties. It is in watching an act like that one, one most clearly perceives the power of dance, something neglected in so many dance shows today, and something Riverdance achieves effortlessly. The show was a success with most of the audience opting for the standing ovation by the end: no mean feat for a Monday night. Some might point out that the show is still fashioned for a foreign market: after Eurovision, the show did not grace Irish shores for several years, and now back in the Gaiety for its fourth consecutive summer, the crowd it seeks is the tourist market. Nevertheless, with talent like Curtis to lead it along with an astonishing band and a cast that has been rehearsed to the highest level (dancers among you will know how hard it is to keep in synch – in “Riverdance”, some twenty people perform simultaneous steps a capella without fault), Riverdance is still a show that can be enjoyed by all. Simply remove prejudices, sit back and let it envelop you.
PREVIEW: DUBLIN THEATRE FESTIVAL Bookings: www.dublintheatrefestival.ie Perspectives on Chekov: The Seagull performed by Kretakor Theatre in Hungarian with English subtitles. 9 to 13 Oct. The Project Cube, Project Arts Centre, East Essex St, Temple Bar, D2. Ivanov performed by Katona Jozsef Theatre in Hungarian with English subtitles. 28 to 29 September, 19.30; 30 September, 15.30. O’Reilly Theatre, Belvedere College, Great Denmark St, D1. Uncle Vanya, a new version by Brian Friel, directed by Robin Lefevre, who returns to The Gate for his second collaboration with Friel over Chekov, following The Bear in 2002. 27 September to 13 October.
20.00. 1 Cavendish Row, D1. Tel. 01 874 4085 Outdoor events: Small mental objects devised by Back to Back Theatre for street performance. Back to Back are an award-winning Australian company who work with performers considered to have mental disabilities; this production addresses the lives of those who experience exclusion in a Western, late capitalist society. A site-specific series of performances in Mayor Square, IFSC 8 October to 12 October, 13.00. La Marea by Mariano Pensotti. A site-specific performance designed for the Quartier Bloom, this production uses nine snippets of narrative to explore
fleeting moments of everyday existence. Don’t miss this opportunity to experience theatre as it originated in medieval Northern Europe when the stage was invented on the street! 4 to 6 October, the Italian Quarter, north of the Millennium Bridge. FREE! Irish writing: Fragments ( Come and go, Rough for Theatre I, Rockaby, Act Without Words II, Neither) by Samuel Beckett, directed by Peter Brook, performed by his internationally acclaimed, Parisian company CICT Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord. Following the critical success of his production of certain shorter plays in French by Beckett last autumn, Brook now approaches five of
Beckett’s lesser-known plays in English. The minimalist French counterpart to this production, which ran in Paris, proved Brook’s vision as a director to be a match for the stark, post-cataclysmic writer. Tivoli Theatre 9 to13 October 19.30. See contact info below. The Pride of Parnell Street by Sebastian Barry, performed by Fishamble. An intimate portrait of married life in Dublin during an era that has passed. 26 September to 6 October, 19.30. Tivoli Theatre 135 Francis Street, D8. Tel. 01 454 4472 Woman and Scarecrow the Irish première by celebrated playwright Marina Carr. A reflection on one woman’s life as she prepares to leave it. Don’t miss this twilight meditation on existence. 6 to 13 October.
Conceptual Creed descends on Trinity
Creeds work, such as that seen in this photograph has been described as rigorous and pure with Creed’s characteristic mingling of humour and seriousness in evidence. Photo: Douglas Hyde Gallery
Words: Rebecca Long
In the Gavin Brown Gallery in New York City, large neon letters state that “Everything Is Going To Be Alright”. This sign is Work No 225, a piece by the British artist Martin Creed whose work is founded on the conceptual art of the 1960’s and 1970’s and who will be exhibiting a number of his individual works at Trinity’s Douglas Hyde Gallery later this month. Winner of the Turner Prize in 2001, at the core of Creed’s art is a kind of emotional yearning, a questioning through which he facilitates his creativity. Creed has always hated choosing subjects for his work and instead began to focus instead on the creative process itself, the act of “making” art as a way of discovering its meaning. In interviews he has revealed that he constantly wonders whether his work is worthwhile which has
led him to form very strong views on the function of art in society, many of which are explored in his work .One such piece is Work No 232, the also neon sign installation “The whole world + the work = the whole world”, now being exhibited above the front door of the Tate Britain Gallery. Here Creed seems to be exploring not only the functionality of art but its proximity to our daily lives. While that work may be abstract, it allows us, through interaction, to become aware of our self consciousness in handling that very abstraction. Creed numbers his pieces for descriptive, as opposed to chronological purposes, often giving them extremely direct titles, such as 1994’s Work no 88 “a sheet of a4 paper crumpled into a ball”, a title which describes the work succinctly. In
the 2002 book Art Now: Interviews with Modern Artists, Creed says, on the subject of his artistic motivation, “I think it’s all to do with wanting to communicate.” So instead of an academic exploration of conceptual art, Creed’s work is a kind of emotional process aimed at expressing himself to a receptive world. He believes there is already enough “stuff” in society today and likes to create pieces by utilising existing materials and situations, thereby situating his art firmly in reality despite its abstract nature. Visual arts are not Creed’s only method of self expression. In 1994, he formed the band Owada: they released their first album Nothing in 1997. It exhibited much of Creed’s trademark minimalist style, here translated into a musical context. This obviously complimented his original medium as sound has also featured in some
of his gallery work. In 2001, aged 33, Creed was awarded the Turner Prize. The winning piece Work No 227 “the lights going on and off” sparked much press attention, invariably provoking the question of whether something so minimalist can truly be described as art. Having beaten fellow artists Mike Nelson, Richard Billingham and Isaac Julien, he accepted the award from pop star Madonna, saying that winning the prize did not make the piece a better one. The work has been described as rigorous and pure with Creed’s characteristic mingling of humour and seriousness in evidence. The Martin Creed Solo Exhibition runs from 19 October to 1 December 2007 in Gallery 1 of the Douglas Hyde Gallery.
Snapshots of college at your fingertips Learning with DU Photography Association. Words: David Rickard
tudents whose experience of photography extends only as far as drunken photographs with a digital camera might feel intimidated by the idea of joining a photography society, but, in fact, they stand to gain a lot from doing so. Dublin University Photographic Association is preparing for the upcoming year and putting the finishing touches to a complete course on photography for members. Not only can they attend classes on how to photoshop their little masterpieces, they can learn what exactly all those buttons and set-
tings on their camera are designed to do and then move on to much much more! Anyone involved in previous years will be aware of the range of facilities offered by the society, including full access to its two darkrooms, camera and equipment lending, lectures on camera handling and composition and field trips in Ireland and Europe. This year´s main innovation is a structured series of lectures running right through the year, so that members will be able to learn all they want to know, from absolute beginner level through the fundamentals of photography and on to some
advanced topics including toning and portraiture. Lectures will take place on a fortnightly basis with short trips to places of interest around the city fitted around the them, where students can put what they learn into practice. With a busy society full of members with a range of interests and abilities, there will be regular informal shows where students can get advice and opinions on their works-in-progress, as well as the larger exhibitions and receptions each term. While many people treat photography as a solo pursuit and happily spend hours in the dark-
room, these events and the field trips (last year’s included Dingle and Berlin) offer a great chance to get to know the other members and have a good time. When our budding little photographers are ready, the society has a fantastic deal with Conn’s cameras on Clarendon St for printing out its digital shots. And, of course, if they want to try their hand in the darkroom, they can borrow a film camera and experiment all they want. As usual, students can sign up during Freshers’ Week or get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Masquerade, spectacle and life according to Yeats Roll up! Roll up! Examining the Jack B. Yeats exhibition at the National Gallery of Ireland. Words: Jean Morley
hen was the last time you visited the circus? Most of us haven’t been there physically or mentally, since childhood. Instead we’ve buried the dusty ring of wonders in the same place we put Santa and our faithfully departed goldfish: a bottomless pit of childhood memory we’d rather avoid. Is that why visiting the new Jack B. Yeats exhibition in the National Gallery is such a disconcerting experience? Possibly. But also because it explores what the circus has become in adult life: a strange metaphor. Just as we have our own metaphors: our circus “freaks” or evil clowns (coulrophobia, anyone?). Yeats had his and, as we follow his metaphor, we’re led to startling human truth. The circus is foremost an entertainment, but, to Yeats, the circus is a metaphor for that lofty sphere of human entertainments: the arts. The more banal peoples’ lives, the greater the drama in entertainment and the arts. Earlier paintings see circus wagons luminous against drab Irish skies, horses rendered mystical and fortune tellers offering the throngs their tuppence-worth of fate. We feel genuine sadness as the big top gets packed up at the end of a run and Irish
The Singing Clown (1928) © Estate of Jack B. Yeats / DACS 2007
skies regain their characteristic grey pallor. The relationship between circus and village changes as Yeats adopts his characteristic indefinite style. As he begins to melt figures with their surroundings, he mixes entertainment with its environment. Skies flash yellow at the circus’ arrival and for the duration of the stay it will be part of the action. Reds, violets and indigos leak from the circus to the clouds or the night skies. At one point, we watch a group of horses escape from the marquee, race towards the horizon and back to the wild. It’s clear rural Ireland can be more than just a venue, it can actively engage with the arts. Moreover the penetration of the Irish landscape by the arts, particularly in post-Independence Ireland, might have positive, dramatic effects. Yet Ireland is oblivious to this truth. The Singing Clown is an angry depiction of a real-life clown, Johnny Patterson, a successful performer and composer in 1880’s Ireland and America. An advocate of unity between loyalists and unionists, he performed his own ballad of unification in 1889 to be immediately assaulted and killed. The painting beautifully immortalises the artistic martyr. Eyes shut and singing, Patterson is impervious to the gaping audience and unpleasant mustard sur-
roundings. As an artist, he will sing his truth, he will be the lunatic who communicates political sense. In fact the connection between the circus and tortured artistry is repeated constantly throughout the works. We watch the Barrel-Man, a man employed to sit in a barrel and avoid blows from spectators. As we view him from below, it’s clear it’s only we, the spectators, who have elevated him to demonic stature. Other artists who bypass themselves to entertain are the dwarf or the travelling entertainers. Whether exploiting his diminished stature for money or covering his skeletal frame with garish rags, the performer sacrifices himself for his role. Yet the artistic sacrifice is a painful one and Yeats perfectly portrays the excruciating loss of self. They Love Me sees a clown finishing an act amidst peachy admiration from his audience yet remaining oddly detached. The mask of pretence seems to have frozen his features well after the performance and we wonder whether he is human at all. Regardless of cruelty or self–sacrifice, the circus man needs to perform. Removed from his audience and alone, the performer can’t fully exist. Dress rehearsals are mundane, empty affairs held in cold blue spaces
and the clown outside of the warm spotlight stands twiddling his thumbs. The artist faces a bored, monotonous existence outside his art. Nobody knew this value of spectatorship better than Yeats himself. His later hazy style, blurred contours and offfocus glimpses force the viewer not only to engage with the work but to construct the artwork through their interpretation. Yet as the circus was a metaphor for art; art itself acts as a vehicle; it transports us to a real understanding of human life. This Grand Conversation was under the Rose is the masterpiece of the exhibition in its ability to break through the double-metaphor. Taking its name from the famous Irish ballad, the piece depicts a horse-rider and a clown relaxing offstage. No conversation passes between the pair who are, at least superficially, entirely different to each other. Yet as they silently acknowledge each other as masked performers, they have true understanding. Beauty finally can finally bloom and it does so in the form of a rose. Performance and the arts lead to true humanity. Masquerade and Spectacle: The Circus and the Travelling Fair in the Work of Jack B Yeats, runs at the National Gallery of Ireland until 11 November.
Trinity College Bites A guide to food in Trinity. Words: Beth Armstrong Situated slap-bang in the center of the hustle and bustle of a European capital city, there are a plethora of places to eat and drink dotted around the boundaries of Trinity. However, for those of us after a coffee on the go, a roll in between lectures or a three course dinner with recitals in Latin as an accompaniment - Trinity itself overcomes expectations with a wide variety of food and drink services inside campus. Trinity News is on hand to offer a guide to eating and drinking in the College...
The Arts Cafe Budget: € Quality: !! Despite the coffee shops of Dawson Street on its doorstep, the Arts Building Cafe has proved to be successful in luring the many Trinity arts students to get their caffeine fix. Situated right in the center of the Arts Building with excellent opening hours (from eight am to nine pm), the cafe is where the buzz is at in the Arts Building. It’s the perfect place to grab a cup of coffee as you rush into a lecture, or have a tea break after hours toiling in the library. It has snacks on offer ranging from excellent scones and brownies to yoghurt and fruit for the more health-conscious and there is also a sandwich bar open during lunchtime.
The Dining Hall Budget: €€ Quality: !! Situated in a prime spot in Front Squ are, the Dining Hall is a mecca to stud ents as a building whose primary purpose is of that of food. Eating is a “Harry Potter-esque ” exp erience, as this historic room is regally grand with the eyes of past Trinity alumni peering dow n from the walls as you tuck into your lunch. The food may not be of Michelin star standard , mor e along the lines of meat and two veg fare, but quantity makes up for quality and the choice is exce llent with hot meals, soup and a sandwich counter provided. Vegetarians are, of course, cate red for, and the “Student Specials” on offer mean that you can fill yourself up without brea king the bank, though ketchup and mayo come at a cost. Lunch is served from twelve to three pm daily. (Though be prepared to queue if you hit the one pm lunchtime rush.) The Din ing Hall is also where Commons is served daily. Com mons is a three-course evening meal whi ch has been part of Trinity tradition for centuries and begins and ends with a Latin grace. Orig inal ly attended by almost all of the college population, getting Commons for free is one of the perk s of becoming a Scholar. However, anyone can go to Commons if they purchase a reasona bly pric ed ticket from the Enquiries Office in Front Square. The experience should definitely be had at least once during your time at Trinity.
P19EDIBLES The Pav Budget: € € Quality: !! ! With the clo sing of the B uttery Bar last year, the Pavilion Bar is the only licensed pre mises in the C o llege, and, though smal the famous “P l, it is mighty with av Fridays” at their best in Trinit y term. It’s n o t just a place to hav e a few cans d u ring the day or to pre -drink before h ea out, as there ding is food on off er also and it is top-notc h. A hot food selection is offered at lunch with ch ips, toasties and baked potato es the usual type of pub-g rub available . With as much ketchu p or mayo as you want for free, the Pav gets the thumbs up for both qual ity, taste and budgetary concerns and is well worth the trip from the Ham ilton Buildin g or Arts Building for something to eat. Though, be warned, seat ing is minimal.
The Hamilton Cafe Budget: €€ Quality: !! Hamilton Cafe serves the Run by Trinity Catering services, the and Dining Hall, but at tery same food as is on offer in the But ded students of Trinmin y call less of a distance for the scientifi y morning from eight am ity. It offers a breakfast service ever ing with hot lunches even y and is open until eight pm ever ent specials are on Stud bar. available, as well as a sandwich k balance, and as the ban r you t offer, so eating here won’t upse e, there are no spac ing seat cafe is on two floors with ample The hot chocolate . rush h lunc worries about trying to avoid the s. machine is one of its hidden treasure
Happy in bling with my Mrs Fixit - I’m in a quandary. I live with me ers show tly boyfriend who constan I was, and , ntly rece gifts. He proposed to me generhis is As pt. acce naturally, delighted to ond diam tiful beau a ous way, he bought me d to ghte deli , rally natu n, ring, which I was, agai ther toge py hap very g accept. I envisage us bein mar get we e onc that in the future yet worry his with s erou gen as ried, he will cease to be marriage gifts. How do I ensure both a happy and a blinged-up me? Yours etc, Tamara. Tamara, e is a Everyone knows that a happy marriag r fiyou ly, sure ch, whi blinged-up marriage, mar py hap of es mpl ancé must realise. Exa m. axio this to st atte riages in the media all Lee Just look at Posh and Becks, Tommy Kim and dy Did n, erso Jones and Pamela And s keep ton Pres le. ntel Porter, Preston and Cha e, ridg Self s Mis in his woman blinged up ads in and bob’s your uncle, smiles and spre d to wor a , ever How . the “glossies” abound ts star and husb be -tothe wise, if your soon ry elle jew r you to paying less attention ure in needs, and more to his wallet, a feat ays alw s ines app OK! on your great unh seems to work wonders. Mrs Fixit - Octopuses or Octopi? Yours etc, James James Octopuses. The root comes from Greek, not Latin. Idiot.
Friendship hits rough seas Mrs Fixit - I have a problem. I feel as if I’m growing apart from my friends. U p until recently, we di d everything togeth er in our gang- but ov er the summer, we all changed. Alisia do esn’t like sport anymore- and she’s th e sporty one! Beck ii has stopped caring about her gradesand she’s the brainy on e! Skye pretends lik e she doesn’t know who Marc Jacobs isand she’s the stylis h one! I feel as if th e pressure is mountin g on me to renoun ce my own category in the group and re belbut I’m the calm an d collected one! Ev en our teacher Mrs M ackay noticed the change that has co me over us. I know that people can ch ange and still be friends, but withou t our carefully defin ed personas, we are no thing. What should I do?
Yours etc, Mary-Jane. ~ Mary-Jane, You should docum ent the changes in your “gang” using a hand-held video camera, add a soun dtrack by Hilary Duff/Miley Ray Cy rus and sell the footage to Nickelo deon. Suggest that they use it as the ba sis of a new tween television show/film /magazine tie-in. With your ‘calm an d collected’ observ ational skills, you’ll soon be wealthy enough to find a ne w group of friends who’ll behave how ever the hell you w ant them to, when you want them to, you clingy, obsessive, pubescently-challenged child.
HOT “It gives me a great understanding of how things should be” Streetwise P7
Seeing familiar faces on a night out in Dublin again after a summer away“Oh look! It’s that guy that always shouts at everyone in the Harcourt Diner, let’s never leave again.” Autumn gigs: The Decemberists are playing 9 October and Cold War Kids on 15 November. Oh my, yes. Emma Roberts as Nancy Drew. Bringing dork chic back, and how. Wikipedia-ing musical genres- New Weird America movement anyone? Joanna Newsom’s in there. Freshers’ Week- The one glorious week of the year where it’s perfectly acceptable to make out with somebody that has just finished their Leaving Certificate.
Paying Dublin prices for nights out after a summer away. 2 euro to mind my coat? No thanks, love. Sean Kingston: The Poor Man’s Akon. Vanessa Hudgens’ naked photos. Tween Star in No Clothes Shocker! Manically naming trends- Nu-Goth? Nu-Grave? Nu-Anything? The only thing new about it is the acid-wash Shemaghs that Urban Outfitters are now hawking. The week after Freshers’ WeekMichaelmas Term shall be filled with downward glances in the library, trying to avoid the previous week’s shame…