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DESIGN & layout by una harty, Rachel graham, DERMOT O’RIORDAN & SARAH MOREL copy-edited by AOIFE BRADSHAW cover art by DANIEL TATLOW PRINTED BY GREHAN PRINTERS 3

Signs Preceding the End of the World is a book like no other you will read this year. At a modest one hundred or so pages, it’s easily devoured in one sitting, but it will take up more space in your mind than a novel twice its length as it unfolds within you like an origami crane. The story of a young Mexican woman, Makina, who must traverse the border smuggling a message to her estranged brother is told in language that is at once beautiful and jarring. Lisa Dillman’s translation of Yuri Herrera’s original Spanish is a work of art in its own right, paradoxically dissociating and engaging the reader in equal measure. Her prose is a testament to her faithfulness to the rhythm of Mexican colloquialisms and the particularities of Herrera’s neologisms. Her version highlights the main theme of the novel: the act of translating and crossing between two diametrically opposed cultures. Such multifaceted work is shaped by a panoply of diverse literary traditions. A novel that builds terrifying subterranean spaces into the narrative alludes to Dante’s Inferno, or even a grown-up Alice in Wonderland. Makina’s “versing” from one perilously macho world to another recalls Cormac McCarthy’s apocalyptic novel, The Road. Motifs borrowed from Greek and Aztec mythology pepper the book and coalesce into one of the most

FILM Defining the Decade 1930’s: La Règle du Jeu

formidable heroines in modern literature. Signs Preceding the End of the World has won this year’s Best Translated Book Award, the shortlist of which included Elena Ferrante’s The Story of the Lost Child. This attests to the novel’s sheer excellence. Don’t be fooled by the narrow binding. This is one of the most profound stories about crossing, cultural difference and gender I have ever read.

The 1930s was a decade of political instability in Europe, culminating in the continent going to war just twenty years after the last great conflict had ended. While there is no shortage of films dealing with social and political unrest made post-World War II (such as this year’s The Childhood Of A Leader) only a handful were brave or perceptive enough to depict it at the time. Perhaps the finest and best known of these is Jean Renoir’s La Règle du Jeu. Released in 1939, it was initially greeted with hostile reviews and unenthusiastic audiences, even being labelled “unpatriotic” by one critic. While Renoir’s previous film La Grande Illusion (1937) was hailed as a masterpiece upon its release, La Règle du Jeu’s current reputation as one of the greatest films of all time only emerged through its rediscovery and the reconstruction of the original cut (almost half an hour longer). The restored version was screened at the 1959 Venice Film Festival and hailed as a masterwork. Directed, co-written by, and starring Renoir, the fast-paced, superficially lighthearted drama revolves around the private lives of the French bourgeoisie. André Jurieux (Roland Toutain) is a famous aviator who has just landed back in France after a record-breaking flight. He and his friend Octave (played movingly by Renoir) drive to visit Christine (Nora Gregor), the beautiful Austrian woman André loves, and her slimy husband Robert, Marquis de la Chesnaye (Marcel Dalio). They gather in their country mansion for a lavish weekend retreat. All the while, romantic and social tensions unfold and the exaggerated civil congeniality among the guests gradually erodes. Banned by the French government for two decades for being demoralising, Renoir’s cutting satire of the upper-middle class wonderfully exposes the hypocrisy and malaise of French society on the brink of war in a manner that is humorous, but ultimately tragic. WORDS BY OISIN MCELHINNEY

FOOD Food for Thought: Smart Swimmers Want to ensure you’re at peak performance? Increase your intake of oily fish! Oily fish are the best dietary sources of omega 3 essential fatty acids - possibly the single most important brain nutrient. Oily, cold water fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines and kippers are the best sources to improve your cognition and memory function. These sustainable swimmers are supercharged with EPA and DHA, two brain boosting forms of omega-3 fatty acids that help to regulate the neurotransmitters which are responsible for strong mental focus. Fatty acids such as EPA and DHA have been thought to assist in the alleviation of stress and also make that feel-good brain chemical- serotonin. DHA plays a huge part in the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain responsible for memory, language and attention. Low levels of DHA have been linked to slower learning, 4

a lower IQ and even irregular sleeping patterns. The Rush Medical Center in Chicago recently did a study on people who carry a genetic marker known to be associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. They found that the carriers who ate seafood at least once per week had lower physiological signs of the disease. Our bodies cannot make these essential fatty acids which means they must be obtained through one’s diet. If you’re vegetarian, vegan or simply don’t enjoy fish, there are supplements available such as Udo’s Choice or Ultimate Oil Blend capsules. It’s available in most health food stores and is made from a unique blend of organic seeds and oils, all of which are packed full with omega 3, 6 and 9 essential fatty acids. It appears that the old tale, The Salmon of Knowledge, holds up after all! WORDS BY ROISE NI MHAONAIGH


LIT Books From Around the World: Signs Preceding the End of the World

GAMES Nerdy News: Xmas Picks Dermot - BATTLEFIELD 1: The Battlefield franchise has had mixed success as of late. Though Battlefield 4 was well loved by gamers despite technical glitches, Battlefield: Hardline failed to truly break the mold established by its predecessors. This does not appear to be a mistake repeated by the upcoming Battlefield 1. Despite its somewhat confusing name, the newest addition to the Battlefield line up promises to breathe new life into the series. Set in the often neglected backdrop of World War 1, this game provides a bevy of new features such as era appropriate weapons and vehicles, dynamic weather and a unique crafting system. What’s more, the storyline promises a more nihilistic view of the pointless violence involved in international conflict, providing a depth most triple A shooters lack.


Cahal - SID MEIER’S CIVILIZATION VI: Sid Meier’s Civilization series often evokes warm feelings of nostalgia in its fans. Whether it be memories of staying up an extra hour on a school night for ‘just one more turn’, or the thought of an incensed Gandhi breaking out the nuclear missiles, you’d be hard pressed to find a gamer without some personal anecdote related to the strategy game. Whereas most would be content to rest on their laurels, Civilization VI promises to improve on the time tested formula with several new additions to the game play. City planning will be overhauled with the addition of districts which must be carefully managed and controlled, the Tech Tree system is being radically changed and perhaps the most exciting change is the addition of secret agenda’s for AI players. All in all, Civilization VI looks like a favorite for the holiday season.

ART Art On Campus: Moore’s Reclining Connected Forms

It can sometimes be easy to mistake the Reclining Connected Forms sculpture by Henry Moore for a very well-shaped shrub. However this bronze figure has stood firmly in the Library Square behind the Campanile since 1971, it’s smooth contours curving into the surrounding greenery and the picturesque Front Square beside it. Henry Moore himself has said that “there are three recurring themes: mother with child; the reclining figure; large form protecting small form. In this sculpture I have united all three motifs”. The mother and child image can be clearly seen in the piece as the cocooning uterus-like shape holds within it what resembles a reclining horizontal humanoid shape. This piece of sculpture was installed on campus after the removal of Henry Moore’s The King and Queen from the Library Forecourt in 1969. Moore felt that there was not enough natural light for his masterpiece, as it stood in the shadow of the Berkeley Library, and thus its removal resulted in the empty plinth which still remains beside the Pomodoro globe today. Moore’s rounded, smooth forms stay close to his choice of material, and his suggested humanoid figures reflect the influence of the works of Gaugin and ‘primitivist’ artworks, which he greatly admired. The oxidised green of the bronze and the simplistic flow of his work makes Reclining Connected Forms an interesting juxtaposition to the surrounding neoclassical architecture in Front Square.

FASHION Front Square Fashion: Shauna Louise Caffrey


Shauna Louise Caffrey is a final year music student whose research interest in witchcraft is reflected in her wardrobe choices. She wears a matte black hourglass corset from Babydoll Boutique Temple Bar paired with a fulllength, black, Betty Jackson skirt. Her lace-up high heels are from Via del Corso, Rome. She completes the look with a black leather jacket with silver detailing and an abundance of jewellery. Her earrings (a coffin and sword) and unicorn ring are all from She picked up the rune ring from the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Boscastle. The pentagram ring was sourced from Celtic Spirit in St. Stephen’s Green. Her bird skull necklace was a recent birthday gift and the ankh choker is from Haworth in England, while her cosy knit scarf with buckle detail is from Penneys.


Name: David DeBarra Studying: Film Age: 22 Spotify Username: David DeBarra Best playlist: Gym Playlist #14: Leg Day If you were a song: Hacker by Death Grips If Trinity were a song: Giving Bad People Good Ideas by Death Grips Song for Freshers: Have a Sad Cum BB by Death Grips Song no one has heard of that you love: Sacramento Bitches by Death Grips WORDS & PHOTO BY DARRAGH KELLY

THEATRE TCD Graduate Spotlight: Oberon Books: Fresh Cuts WORDS BY AMYROSE FORDER

MUSIC Sounds of Front Square

Oberon Books, a London-based, independent publishing house, has recently released Fresh Cuts. A book of four plays, it features three recent Trinity graduates: Claire O’Reilly, Dylan Coburn Gray and Mollie Molumby. The book’s inspiration is the Dublin Fringe Festival, and its stated aim is to showcase just a taster of the multidisciplinary, sensorial and exciting plays and playwrights which have emerged from the festival over the past two years. The selection highlights the experimental, contemporary and brave shows which one may have missed the chance to witness live during the festival. Fresh Cuts is an aesthetically beautiful book, with another recent Trinity graduate, Breffni Holohan, gracing the cover. Definitely one to pick up for anyone interested in emerging Irish drama. It is available from the Oberon Books website or in all good bookshops around the city.

TV Netflix Picks Vol. 2: Spooky Surprises It’s Halloween. Maybe you’re looking to cuddle up close with that special pumpkin. Or maybe you’re wondering why you would bother going out when you can get cosy and binge watch some top quality TV. NETFLIX... American Horror Story: Freak Show. Always there to remind you that freaky clowns are never too far away. Katie O’Brien Bates Motel. Norman Bates will have you shitting your pants - but in an entertaining and somewhat comfortable manner. Conall Monaghan Black Mirror. I feel this is the time of year to remind people that Black Mirror is a thing. Anyone who hasn’t seen it needs to, but only if you’re genuinely looking to be disturbed. Gary Munnelly Scream. So far it’s a really fun horror series that captures the whole selfaware nature of the original film. Gary Munnelly SHOULD BE ON NETFLIX... Scream Queens. With a new second season airing in the states, Scream Queens is the perfect combination of the ridiculous and the frightening. I ask myself everyday, “how can I be more like Chanel Oberlin?” Sorcha Ní Cheallaigh Twin Peaks. Ok so this isn’t on Netflix, but for God’s sake please watch it. Twin Peaks is a genre defining piece of television that skillfully combines horror, thriller with David Lynch’s typical offbeat sensibilities. Set in the epitome of the middle American small town, we follow Special Agent Dale Cooper down a progressively more bizarre and disturbing rabbit hole. Oisín Vince Coulter 6



Rachel Graham spoke to Niall O’Brien, one of the team behind The Grow Dome Project. The eye-catching geodesic dome is in Flanagan’s Fields community garden, Dublin 8, where it is used as a space for hydroponic vegetable gardening and community events. What’s the idea behind the Grow Dome Project? We’re a social enterprise that started life as a community project. The idea was to try and turn a derelict space into a community resource that’s able to create food, employment and a social space all in one place. I was looking around and there were derelict buildings and derelict land everywhere at the time. If you’ve no money, but you’ve loads of time, and you’ve loads of space, what do you do? Grow things was the only thing I could really think of. This dome is quite small, but you could grow about 12,000 lettuces a week in here. We’re looking into higher priced items - basil, herbs, wheat grass - because it’s very important to us that it can support a job. We want to take the voluntary nature out of community gardens. There’s usually two or three main people, and if one of them gets sick, or moves, or has a kid, the whole thing falls apart. If you have a paid position in that garden, then you will always attract another person to do it. In layman’s terms, what is hydroponics? Basically you’re substituting water for soil. The plant food is dissolved in the water, so the roots are sitting in a bath of food. They don’t have to do any work to grow their roots down and search for food - all the energy goes up into the plant itself. The advantages are that it uses 90 percent less water than watering in soil, the plants grow much quicker, and the fruit matures quicker and grows bigger. There was no soil on this site at all when this started. There was just an apartment block that was knocked down and patted into the ground. There was meant to be development but recession hit. So in an area where there is no soil, it’s perfect. All you do is catch the rainwater, run it through a simple filter, and add food into the water. Then because the root systems stay smaller, you can have a much higher concentration of plants. That’s important in urban farming because space is at such a premium. It’s gas, some people think hydroponics are

the devil or something. Flat-earthers, you know! But you only need a bit of space for the hydroponics. This dome could support the job that runs the whole garden. What reception has the dome gotten from the local community? We knocked on every door in the area before we built it, to seek permission. No matter how well-intentioned you are, you really need to bring the area with you. That’s very important, so everyone feels it is theirs. It’s a very chilled-out, tranquil space. It catches people’s imagination, and I think that’s half the challenge with community projects - people don’t care. There’s a lot of apathy. But when kids come in here, generally the first thing they say is “oh wow!” Lots of community events are held here. Children’s playgroups, garden meetings, residents association meetings - sometimes you’ll come in and there’ll be lads asleep on the couch with the paper over their heads. It’s a real melting pot. The social aspect is very important, and it was a surprise how well that went. We also have Tús [community work placement programme] workers in the garden. Every 8 months or something new people come in and they all get to learn a bit about gardening and a bit about hydroponics. We’re actually gonna have the guys who are here at the moment helping us build the next dome, so that’s very exciting. Plans for the future? This is the proto-type dome. We’ll be using all the tricks that we learned from this one and putting them into the next ones. The next one is gonna go into a university that I can’t name - yet! And then there’s a school close to here, where we’re gonna do smaller versions as alternative classrooms - a cheap alternative to prefabs. Prefabs cost an absolute fortune, and they’re not very inspiring buildings. We’ll be building smaller domes in steel and polycarbonate, so they’ll last a lifetime. In the future, we are hoping to run this dome as a social enterprise, but there’s a bit of paperwork to do first. For the moment, there’s no point growing buckets of lettuce if you can’t sell it on, because there is the cost of growing it. So we kind of have to kill a bit of time while the paperwork goes through, but we’ll be back! WORDS & PHOTOGRAPH BY RACHEL GRAHAM


Back in Print!


indsay Lohan was on the cover of the first fashion magazine I ever bought. It was a September 2009 issue of ELLE UK purchased from Tesco. Seven years later, the issue inhabits a highly coveted space on the bookcase in my bedroom. Though its initial function to report on forthcoming Autumnal trends and offer exclusive insights into the life of a troubled Lohan has expired, it exists now as a lasting fashion object. It signifies the beginning of my enduring affair with fashion magazines, while serving as a window into a distinct moment in fashion and culture. Harboured between its thinning glossy covers, lies this unique zeitgeist. This idea, that a magazine has the potential to remain a product of a time and place while being reflective of one’s own identity and taste, has not only fuelled my personal affinity for fashion publications but has inspired an unlikely revival of interest in print culture both at home and abroad. Despite the numerous death knells sounded on the written word in the face of digital media, print culture survives. Yes, the mechanical and almost dizzying regurgitation of online content has affected our consumption of printed publications, but our handheld access to the internet hasn’t convinced us to pull the plug on the printing press just yet. By taking a diametric approach to the strategy of digital content, many printed magazines have embraced their ability to slow things down, and absorb - a rather remarkable feat in today’s society. The ability to provide an item of permanence in an industry that is largely founded upon transience has inspired the development of small independent fashion magazines. A branch off of a wider movement experienced by arts and culture print publications internationally, these publications champion the luxuries of print by presenting niche perspectives through quality production. This is the case with FRANC Magazine, a Dublin-based biannual fashion magazine, co-founded two years ago by Trinity students, Briony Somers and Lauren Henshaw. FRANC’s literary approach to visual culture, in the form of atemporal personal essays, transcends the rapturous pace of fashion. Instead, it pauses, digests and poignantly reflects. As Briony, editor-in-chief of FRANC, asserts, “We’re not trying to be relevant we’re trying to resonate.”


FRANC was conceived with the soulful aim of creating “something that you wanted to sit down and read with a cup of tea,” accompanied by a broader intellectual pursuit to create a platform for thoughtful fashion discussion. Having just launched its third issue, FRANC is now an established member of an industrious local offering of independent fashion titles. What unites them is their aim to heighten the experience of the most fundamental aspect of a magazine, its physicality. By celebrating the tactual qualities of print, in terms of its considered content, lavish editorials and high production value, these publications are rendered somewhat luxury items. You need not leave the parameters of Dublin city to lay hands on a host of these premium publications, namely, FRANC, Thread, GRAPE, CULT and MFI Magazine. These integral properties of print also resound with Adam Gaffey, founder and editor-in-chief of Men’s Fashion Ireland, who posits the recent growth of his multimedia production company to its print component - MFI Magazine. “It’s that feeling of freshly inked paper and a physical product which our consumer can hold in their hands and maintain in their possession,” he tells me when asked about the unique qualities print brings to MFI. Interestingly, Men’s Fashion Ireland began as a Facebook page in 2013, a solely online enterprise to showcase talent in Dublin’s menswear market. Observing traffic, demographics and establishing relationships with brands and other creatives through Facebook, enabled Mens Fashion Ireland to publish its first print issue in 2014. Since then, MFI Magazine has grown at “an unexpectedly fast pace,” offering in depth editorials and cutting-edge shoots. Transitioning from digital to print is the reversal of a route taken by many contemporary publications who had to acquiesce to creating digital content in order to remain competitive. But this imperious pressure to provide an online counterpart doesn’t at all concern the team at FRANC. When discussing the position of fashion print in this newly digitised landscape, Briony admits that it’s not an issue she gives much thought to, and simply adds that “having an online presence wasn’t something that ever made a huge amount of sense for FRANC.” Largely because the medium still offers something that a screen can’t.

When you sieve through the layers of commerciality and model #squads, fashion is, at its core, a visually driven industry, consequently giving print the upper hand in representing visual culture. “I don’t find fashion photography anywhere near as compelling on a screen,” Briony adds. FRANC’s editorials are in equal parts contemporary and romanticised, and require the quiet admiration that comes with print publications. Adam also advocates the advantages print pertains over digital media when producing fashion content, “I feel that print publications don’t contain the inadmissible content we see scrolling through our feeds”. Indeed, the pace of biannual and quarterly print titles allows editorial teams to meditate on the layout of each page and consider the value of every word. From my experience as a reader, this meticulous process makes the experience all the more enjoyable. Perhaps it is also the format adopted by both magazines that bolsters their gratifying reading experience. By dedicating every issue to an overarching theme, Adam finds that it gives each publication “a clear message” and allows the editorial team to thoroughly explore a concept or topic that is relevant to its time. In this way, they have become entirely self sufficient publications. When pressed about how FRANC settles on a theme, Briony explains that they emerge rather organically during the creative process. The issues that arise during the exploration of one theme, become the focus of the next. ‘Obsession’ has evolved into

our handheld access to the internet hasn’t convinced us to pull the plug on the printing press just yet.

‘Fear’ which evolved into ‘Pretence’, creating a narrative that is entirely expressive of FRANC’s development. Although both publications have only been in circulation for two years, the assertiveness with which each magazine delivers its point of view is laudable. It makes me wonder about the kind of environment they were faced with as start-ups, given the relatively small size of Dublin’s fashion industry. For Adam, there wasn’t a question of obstacles, “if I didn’t do it, would anyone ever challenge the creativity of menswear in Ireland? Would there ever be a platform for creative artists and journalists to express their interest in this area?” Ultimately, both publications were received enthusiastically and, if anything, the intimacy of Dublin’s creative scene enhanced their production. Since their inception,


When you

sieve through the layers of commerciality and model #squads, fashion is, at its core, a visually driven industry FRANC and MFI Magazine have enjoyed the cooperation of Irish creatives, who have influenced, advised and, on occasion, contributed. You need only attend the magazine’s launch parties to witness the energy of this community. From contributors to readers, all are unanimous in their shared enthusiasm for fashion, print culture and of course, free Jameson. However, the readership is broader than I initially imagined. Both Briony and Adam assure me that their demographic is highly dynamic, and constantly growing. Briony attributes FRANC’s appeal to the emotional conscience at the heart of the magazine. “We ultimately are dealing with the ideas and emotions behind fashion and that’s something everyone can relate to,” she explains. MFI’s demographic - despite exploring a subject as niche as menswear - spans from college students to sports stars, including female readers and a significant amount of international sales online. The community surrounding independent fashion magazines extends beyond readers and collaborators, to their stockists who play a vital role in nurturing this culture. Spaces around Dublin such as Indigo and Cloth, The Library Project, Nowhere and Om Diva stock a finely curated inventory of independent publications. A recent addition to this is Sunday Books, launched by Paul Guinan earlier this month. Sunday Books is a Dublin-based online bookshop offering a selection of books and magazines that are united by their quality of content, design and production. The website currently stocks thirty titles, a number that it’s founder Paul Guinan determines will grow over time, “I’m especially keen to increase the magazine offering considering the amount of impressive titles currently out there.”


Amassing subject matter as diverse as politics, film and architecture, Sunday Books also offers a number of Irish and internationally produced fashion magazines. Fashion’s relationship with print is one that Paul considers to be necessary and thus, long-lasting, “The inherently tactile nature of both leads me to believe fashion and print will always remain close bedfellows with one another.” Being involved in a number of print projects in Dublin - including FRANC - Paul attests that the publications produced by Dublin’s community of writers, designers and artists can rival the best in the world. It helps that stockists like Sunday Books can now provide these local print publications with the much needed infrastructure to develop and support their readership. The growth of Dublin’s fashion print industry is fascinating to observe, particularly with creatives like Adam and Briony at the fore; “it drives us to know that we may have helped someone along their journey of selfdiscovery or changed their opinion.” Adam’s sentiments are shared within this community, whose desire to connect with a specific reader in a meaningful way is the definitive quality of independent publications. At it’s best, an independent fashion magazine creates an experience that isn’t easily replicated by digital content. Replete with it’s own aesthetic, creative process and community, it becomes something with which you can establish a relationship. A precious object that informs and inspires, that is reflective of a time and place. An object worth displaying on a bookcase in your bedroom.

Words by Louise Hynes Illustrations by Anna Hardstaff

DIGGING FOR TREASURE Dan Hegarty is an Irish radio presenter on RTE and author. Tn2 Literature Editors Michael Mullooly and Sarah Upton spoke with him about his new book Buried Treasure Vol. 2, a follow up to the first book in the series. The books discuss a variety of albums, from all decades and genres, which he thinks have not received the full credit they deserve. 11

“hey! Look, there’s this wonderful thing called the past. Sometimes it’s the distant, sometimes the not so distant past, but you should look into it.” What are the logistics of putting a book like this together? How long did it take to interview everyone and compile it all?

can be distinguished as such straight away, and that no dustsettling period is required for perspective to kick in?

It’s essentially a project that takes a year. Putting this and the last book together took roughly the same time. initially you come up with what it is you want to do; you start off with “where do I begin?”, and for the last book and this, what I wanted to do was highlight music that’s been forgotten about or just overlooked when it was released. I think these albums deserve more recognition and the people I spoke to about them believe that too, so there’s a pretty simple ethos to it, and the project essentially takes twelve months to put together. Nothing’s ever as straightforward as you think though, and there’s a lot of details and conversations to tend to.that makes it time consuming. But it’s worth it.

It just depends. Some albums just click and catch on straight away, and others don’t. If you look at an album like Play by Moby which was released in 1999, that took over a year to really break through. That’s quite a long time. Other albums like Tomorrow’s Light and Darkness by Will de Burca which was in the last book, was, in my opinion, amazing and I hoped that it would catch on and it hasn’t in any major way. There’s a lot of people saying really nice things about it, but it didn’t really catch on. It really dependssome albums, like books and films, just grow over time, others you’ll be introduced to, you’ll love, and then you’ll just kind of forget about. That’s just because life is busy and you have other things on your mind and you move onto something else. Music is a very transient thing. I think that’s one of the things I try to do in the book; I just go “hey! Look, there’s this wonderful thing called the past. Sometimes it’s the distant, sometimes the not so distant past, but you should look into it.”

As a radio presenter and lover of music first, what do you feel the written medium has to offer? Why write a book about music? Well I suppose I’ve always had the idea that I’d like to write a book at some point or another, and that point came a number of years ago with Buried Treasure, Volume 1. Part of it was that there aren’t enough of these type of compendium books around. I love hearing about albums and music that I don’t know about.I’m not one of these people who, if someone says “oh, have you heard so-and-so?”, I’m not going to lie and say that I might have heard something by them, that’s nonsense. It’s always refreshing to just go “I don’t know that, tell me more about it,” so I love when that happens when I’m reading articles or hear something on the radio or on a podcast or whatever. I think a lot of people also have an attachment to books; they mean something, so to read it out of a book means something special as well. It’s also a challenge, you know? Why not? And the idea behind the book was something I thought that other people would like. I think it’s interesting and I think other people will as well.

Was there a distinct area of music you focused on in each volume? Not really, no. I mean obviously there’s quite a lot of Irish albums in the first volume, and there’s slightly less in this one, not much less though. As a country, Ireland has produced some outstanding music, and I do think that a lot of it didn’t translate internationally the way it might have. I thought that that was something certainly worth pointing out. But no, there wasn’t any “I’m just going to focus on hard rock, or reggae,” it was just literally anything that I felt was worthy of being mentioned. So it’s all sorts of things and not genre-specific.

Some of the albums you cover in the book have come out as recently as in the last few years. Do you feel that a quality album 12

Did any of the artists you reached out to not want you to put their work in a book of albums that you feel have been significantly overlooked? No, if someone didn’t want to be featured then that’s fine. I asked people for quotes about albums and some got back to me, some didn’t. Some said they were busy, but no, people are busy and their time is precious and you’ve got to respect that, so I wouldn’t be put out by that at all. I never got a flat “no, I don’t want you to do this.” People said “let me get back to you,” and some then didn’t, which I guess is kind of a subtle way of saying no thanks.

To what extent is the “album” as a whole still a relevant and important part of the music industry? I think some people are very much “I just want to hear a track,” just one tune. I look at an album as the larger picture of what people are trying to create at that particular point in their career. Sometimes it’s nice to see what it is they’re trying to do. I think if people like Taylor Swift and Kanye West – really big names – value the album still, it’s got to mean something.

In the author’s note, you wrote about cancelling your subscription to Smash Hits before moving to more alternative music. Have you grown to appreciate that pop music? Yeah I interviewed Bananarama at Electric Picnic and had an absolute scream of a time talking to them! I have a real fondness for pop tunes, I still love some of that stuff. Some of the music that I would have read about

in magazines like Smash Hits, still makes me go “Oh my God!” when I hear it, like Stand and Deliver [by Adam and the Ants], man I love that tune! It’s amazing. I wouldn’t look down on any of it, i think that’s nonsense. Some of it I was never a fan of anyway, but the thing is, I’d moved on from getting soccer magazines to music. It had just been the next thing. From there I realised that music was going to be something I was really passionate about, and so Melody Maker and NME were just the next step.

Have you considered writing a book on albums that didn’t deserve the attention they received? I’d rather stay positive. What’s the point? If I don’t like something, I’m not going to start criticising it. If someone asks me openly, publicly, do I like an album, I’ll say it’s not really my cup of tea. If they ask me why I’ll tell them why, but I don’t really see a point in writing a book like that. Maybe someone else will want to do it and if so, best of luck to them. I’d rather stay positive. It’s just a better frame of mind to be in.

Finally, irrespective of the praise it has received, what do you think is the best album of the decade so far? [Laughs] If I had to pick just one? Aww, oh I don’t know. I mean… I don’t know! I can tell you an album I really like now, which is Freetown Sounds by Blood Orange, which is brilliant. But I don’t know, I’d have to give you a list of about three hundred. I can email it on to you if you like! You can find Michael Mullooly’s review of Dan’s book on page 31.

‘‘Ireland has produced some outstanding music, and I do think that a lot of it didn’t translate internationally the way it might have.’’ WORDS BY MICHAEL MULLOOLY & SARAH UPTON PHOTOGRAPH OF DAN HEGARTY BY KEN HEFFERNAN


The Emergence of Irish Rap Rusangano Family are a three piece rap group consisting of two MCs, MuRli and God Knows, and DJ, mynameisJohn. They are based in Limerick, with the members originally hailing from the diverse backgrounds of Zimbabwe, Togo and Ennis. Kevin Bird met up with an MuRli ahead of their performance at Hard Working Class Heroes Festival last weekend. How did Rusangano Family come to be?

We started working together about three years ago. Initially it was God Knows and mynameisjohn, who collaborated on an album called Rusangano/Family which I was also on, but we weren’t operating as a band. When the album was released in May 2014 I went on tour with the guys, so that’s when we started doing it as a trio. Off the back of the tour I released my EP Surface Tension, which mynameisjohn produced four tracks on, and then in March 2015 we launched Rusangano Family as a proper group.

Your music, especially on your new album, incorporates a lot of musical styles, particularly ones that might not traditionally be associated with Hip-Hop. What kind of stuff did you listen to growing up?

Initially it was just whatever was on the radio, but my parents were into a lot of different types of music. My Dad played a lot of Hindu music, so I listened to that a lot. He also had a lot of country music playing in the house; a lot of Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson. Later on, I went to live in my uncle’s house and there was lot of Gospel there. My Grandfather 14

as well, he was a musician. He performed poetry at funerals, and it was the first time that I saw someone perform lyrics, in the way that we rap nowadays, so I found that really inspiring. Hip-Hop came later on, it was when I arrived in Ireland at age twelve that I really started to listen to it. I liked it, because I found similarities between what they were doing and what was traditionally done in Togo, where I am originally from. You’re very much a multicultural group, and you all come from diverse backgrounds. Would you see yourself as a voice for multicultural Ireland? I never really think about it like that, but I think you can’t help but be that. Because we are multicultural, everything that we do is kind of representing multicultural Ireland. So I think you could say yes to that. But the one thing that we want to be, is a voice for everyone who may have been through the stuff that we touch on in our records. We don’t want to be boxed into one label.

A lot of the time you feel as a rapper, that you have to look like you’re not from Ireland in order to be accepted.

You went to the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas earlier this year. What was your highlight of the festival?

Our last gig at the festival was in an Irish pub, and to this day, gig-wise, I’ve never experienced anything like it. We got to the point where the inside of the pub was packed and there was a window opened out onto the main street of Austin and a load of passers-by just stopped and started watching us. So at some point God Knows just jumped out the window, and we’re doing a song where God Knows was doing his raps outside and I was doing mine inside. And just for a moment I was thinking “this is incredible!’ this is the kind of stuff that changes your life!”

One of the lines in your song Lights On which struck me was “thought I had to be American, thought I had to be English, everything but Irish.” Are you always conscious of the fact that you’re in an Irish rap group?

I think you’d have to be. There’s been a lot of criticism of Irish rappers and how they just don’t cut it. But I think a lot of those criticisms have been really unfair. However, it is changing now, with the emergence of rappers in Ireland now who’ve really got it. But you’ve got to understand, everything takes time to grow and mature into what will eventually be a healthy rap scene. So that early stage evolving into maturity is always going to be tough.

A lot of the time you feel as a rapper, that you have to look like you’re not from [Ireland] in order to be accepted. We’re pressured into being and acting a certain way, and as you get older you realise that you can’t sustain being something that you’re not. It’s a reality for a lot of rappers in Ireland.

Following that, what do you think the future of rap is in Ireland? Do you think we could ever have our own unique scene like that of Grime in the UK?

I think it’s possible, but it will take time. You need to give it time and allow it to grow naturally, without trying to make it into something that it’s not going to be. Also, you need to accept that sometimes rappers are going to sound a way that you don’t like, but that’s fine too because you need that. If you go to LA or wherever, I’m pretty sure there’s going to be many different forms of rap. You need all types of rap to live together. It can’t always be that “this group are against these guys because one are the old school and the other are the new school.” I think that kind of thing is destructive. We’ve got to look to a way that is constructive, so that eventually we get to the point where we have a healthy scene, like the Grime scene that has emerged.

Some of your tracks are quite in tune with current affairs and what’s going on, particularly a song like Heathrow which resonates a lot with the migrant situation at the moment. Do current affairs influence your songwriting?

For sure, current affairs are what you experience on a daily basis, you can’t just close your eyes to what’s going on around you and say “that’s none of my concern”. It’s probably because I don’t live a lifestyle that people would tend to associate with mainstream Hip-Hop. Some people feel comfortable with putting on a persona, I’m not able to do that, reality is much more of a concern to me. I can’t just watch people being treated a certain way that I’m not happy with and not say anything about it. We try not to pick sides either, but we want share what we think about these things, so it’s important to us.

On the bio of your bandcamp page it says “think globally, act locally.” Is this the philosophy of the group?

Yes, it is our philosophy. There’s this idea that it’s so tough to make it in Ireland musically and eventually you’ll have to go abroad to LA or London or wherever. Our whole thing is that we don’t mind going to LA or London, but we want to make an impact at home in Ireland. So we could go to LA, but we always come back, just the way that people go on business trips. We want to impact the whole world, starting out from our community. That’s what our goal is in a nutshell.



Samuel Laurence Cunnane Samuel Laurence Cunnane’s new photography exhibition is currently on display in The Douglas Hyde Gallery. Contemporary in style, Laurence Cunnane’s work is a series of hand-printed colour photographs, intimately framed and presented to the viewer as snapshots of his life. He has previously exhibited all around the world - from the Kerlin Gallery in Dublin to the Theodore:Art gallery in New York City. He very kindly took the time to answer some questions I had about his work. What photographers are you following, studying or looking at at the moment? How have they inspired your current work? I’m always revisiting old favourites to see how things change over time, to see what new elements I can decipher in the images. Artists such as Paul Graham, Araki, Saul Leiter and Luigi Ghirri - I’ve been heavily inspired by their works throughout the last few years. However the more I do this, the less I find myself relying on the visual vocabulary of others. I’m developing trust in my own voice by following the elements and atmospheres I want to explore, and sooner rather than later I hope that what I see on the wall is at least close to the imagery I picture in my mind. 16

You have eschewed not only digital cameras but also digital postproduction in favour of hand-printing colour film. How has this decision and this process influenced how you approached creating these photos? It has very much affected everything I do. The very act of photographing on rolls of film of 36 exposures obviously has an effect, but more so than that, I will often photograph for 4-6 months before seeing a single image developed or scanned. So although there’s a lot of room for error, and I never really know for sure if the work is evolving as it should, I actually find this quite a liberating feeling. I find it’s good to give up control and instead

trust the process. There’s no doubt that I’ve missed lots of photographs working in this way but it certainly doesn’t keep me up at night. Digital photography and digital post production are incredible tools, but I’ve certainly not been the first to feel that analogue and digital are separate mediums with little to do with one another, and that they therefore don’t lend themselves to being compared. I enjoy the analogue workflow because I can’t take too many photographs and because I won’t see them for months. Both mediums, like all tools, have certain constraints. The sooner the tools get out of the way and allow the work to happen, that’s all that counts. It just so happens that the constraints of analogue suit me a lot more than digital.

“I find it’s good to give up control and instead trust the process.”

What does this body of work mean to you? How do you see it? This work has been years in the making. it all started with one image I made in France nearly 6 years ago and I’ve added and subtracted to the project throughout the subsequent years. I see the work as an exploration of a feeling about the perceived physical nature of our surroundings and how photography can reflect precisely the ‘weightlessness’ with which the seen world can at times appear, almost translucent and fragmental.

What are your plans going forward? Will you expand on this work or start on another project? So as ever, I’m still shooting. At the moment, I’m shooting in Kerry a lot (where I’m based) and out west in general. This is basically the beginning of a new body of work. As for the work I’ve created up to now, I hope to complete the final phase of the project by once again traveling to Iran and shooting there for a number of months. Then I’ll begin preparation for an eventual publication of the completed project. At the moment, my main preoccupation is to finish the colour darkroom I’m building down in Kerry! Samuel Laurence Cunnane’s work is on display in The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Trinity College Dublin until the 9th of November 2016. For our review of the exhibition, see page 27.

Can you give a run-down of your technical image-making process, from shooting to processing to printing (for the digitally literate but analoguely illiterate)? The workflow is slow and simple. I generally photograph for at least a couple of months at a time, never taking too many pictures of any one scene. When I’ve gathered enough film or when there’s nothing edible left in my fridge because there’s only room for unprocessed film, I send it away to be developed and I receive in return cut strips of negatives which I then look at in an negative viewer, basically a live feed camera that plugs into a TV monitor. I make a very rough edit of what’s interesting and then continue shooting. Pretty much rinse and repeat until I need to make a final edit of some kind - at which point I travel to a darkroom where I make some final prints. Obviously this is not ideal - it would be better to be making work prints throughout the process - but colour darkrooms are rare and expensive. I usually travel to London or Berlin to use one. Colour printing is much like black and white printing except for the absence of all light, even the red light we associate so much with darkroom printing. But it’s not as difficult as that may sound, in fact you quickly get used to working in the dark. At the end, you’re left with your final enlargement. The physical connection from the initial scene, where the film was exposed and the light reacted with the chemically coated base of the film, is still present in the final image, where light was once again used to project and enlarge the image onto chemically sensitive paper. This to me seems like an important difference from the digital process which involves a breach of the physical, a digital chasm as such.

How has your approach to image-making evolved since you first started photography? Well I now have a much more developed sense of what I’m doing and why, whereas when I started I didn’t have a sense at all of what it is I wanted to witness or record, beyond just having an obsession with image making. Now I can picture what the work I’m trying to make might ideally look like. I have a clear idea of the mood I’m trying to convey and the kind of subject matter I want to explore.





Clash of the Titans For the droves of Game of Thrones aficionados wandering bereft since the conclusion of series six, TitanCon comes at the perfect time. A two-day event based in Belfast annually since 2009, this gathering is a chance for fans of all ages to meet and appreciate the HBO series and George R. R. Martin’s books that inspired it. TN2 decided to investigate this promising event and, boy, did it deliver.



Alice and Cahal, Saturday 11.00 As dazed first-timers to TitanCon, which was held last weekend at the Wellington Park Hotel, we jumped in head first by signing up for the most obscure activity available: a medieval staff combat workshop in the hotel’s “Winterfell” room. Run by Historical Fencing Northern Ireland, this was one of several workshops aimed at providing an insight into the battle scenes of Game of Thrones. Within a minute, we were both handed staffs and shown basic techniques. The hour-long lesson was an introduction to sparring in pairs, but was also grounded in a fascinating theoretical framework. According to instructor Harold Turner, the staff was considered a non-lethal equivalent to the sword, but was often preferable as it provided a non-fatal way for guards to apprehend malcontents. The workshop was a fascinating tutorial on authentic medieval combat that would appeal to anyone with even a mild interest in battle techniques. Alice and Cahal, Saturday 12.00 At this point it was time for the annual game of Countdown in the “King’s Landing” room. Guests, including fantasy novelist Peadar Ó Guilín and Game of Thrones actors Kerry Ingram (Shireen Baratheon) and Dominic Carter (Janos Slynt), were paired off in ferocious battles of wit and wisdom. Challenges included anagrams, mental arithmetic and Scrabble, all timed to the Countdown clock. Audience participation was encouraged in the challenges and also in entertaining distractions, such as arranged gymnastic tricks, while the competitors tried to solve the latest puzzle. The game was wonderfully funny and entertaining to watch, while also helping TitanCon newcomers ease into the convention atmosphere. Cahal, Saturday 15.00 After lunch I took part in the “Samwell’s Diary” workshop in the “Riverrun” room with an open mind and absolutely no idea what I was about to do. It turned out to be medieval leather crafting. Referencing the character’s famous leather-bound diary in the show, participants were invited to try their hand at crafting their own. A beautiful example was provided by instructor Emma Andrews, and I set to work making a naturally inferior version. Using a scalpel and hole puncher, I transformed an unremarkable notebook from Poundland into a traditional diary covered in soft black leather. The workshop was a practical demonstration of the level of work required to produce anything in the Middle Ages, even for something so nondescript. It was also an example of the TitanCon volunteers taking a minor detail in the TV show and turning it into an illuminating workshop. Alice, Saturday 15.00 The shouts and yells from next door in the “Castle Black” room caught my attention. The workshop, titled “Scottish Gaelic for Time Travellers,” immediately appealed to my inner Outlander fan. I was soon delving into the history of the Scottish clans, dispelling popular myths about the clans and their customs. Host Beth NicAonghais demonstrated the battle cries of various Scottish clans, many of which were not in Scots Gaelic, but in English, French and Latin. These ranged from the terrifying cry of Clan Cameron (“Sons of the hounds, come hither and get flesh!”) to the slightly less threatening “High hillock!” of Clan Mackenzie. The workshop ended with an opportunity to win an Outlander Jamie Frasier doll for creating the most imaginative motto, sigil and Clan name. Overall, it provided an interesting comparison between Scots Gaelic and the better known Irish tongue, while also providing an excellent lesson in Scottish history. Cahal, Saturday 17.00 After finally achieving a somewhat acceptable stitching on my diary, I wandered into the “King’s Landing” hall. It turned out to be a panel discussion with eight Game of Thrones extras. The intriguing discussion ranged from applying to be an extra on the show, to the sort of work involved, to the crazy hours that can be required for filming. One extra detailed her experience receiving a call in Dublin at midnight asking her to be in Derry for filming at six the following morning. It is undoubtedly a dream of any of the show’s fans to someday appear in it, and this was an excellent introduction to how it might someday be possible. I can still dream!

Alice and Cahal, Saturday 18.00 By this point, it was time for the closing ceremony. This opened with several martial arts demonstrations by Northern Irish schools, followed by the intriguingly titled Brutal Ballet. The largely bemused audience watched an interpretive dance based on the People Beyond the Wall in Game of Thrones. A dozen or so dancers in full coats and masks performed a variety of styles, from ballet to Irish and lyrical to break-dancing. It was the most imaginative dance routine we have ever witnessed and a tribute to the sheer creativity this convention inspired. Alice, Sunday 11.30 The second part of TitanCon weekend was a trip around Northern Ireland to a variety of filming sights. The Dark Hedges was our first stop. This road lined with beech trees was originally planted along the drive to a Georgian manor to impress visitors. They were filmed in the first episode of season two, when Arya and the Night’s Watch recruits leave King’s Landing. Cahal, Sunday 14.00 Our second stop was Cushendun Caves, at the mouth of the River Dun. This carries the caveat that the shots in the show were very dark. However, the place is still recognisable upon inspection as the location where Melisandre gives birth to the shadow in season two. After getting lost in the caves (twice), we eventually found the spot. Alice, Sunday 15.00 The next (very quick) visit was to the village of Carnlough. A set of steps leading down from the pier featured briefly in season six, where Arya drags herself out of the canal. Cahal (supposedly by accident) started a trend of recreating the scene. Cahal, Sunday 16.00 Our final destination was the scenic Clandeboye Estate, which contained several filming locations. The first was the clearing in which Craster’s Keep (seasons one to five) had been filmed. It appeared that the Night Watch’s fire had been permanent however, as there was nothing resembling a keep to be seen. Nevertheless, the tree groupings around the keep were recognisable and host Phil Lowles said that several props had been found the previous year. You never know what might get left behind for the trailing fans! Alice, Sunday 16.30 The last sight of the tour was undoubtedly my favourite - the sinister scene where Jaime Lannister loses his right hand to one of Lord Bolton’s men. I relived the horror of the scene in my mind looking at the infamous tree stump and the trees where Brienne and Jaime had been chained during the Season 3 episode. I turned around to realise that we were right in front of the Godswood Tree from season one. This location where the Night’s Watch made their vows caused an impromptu recitation from Cahal, a hilarious but endearing sight. Alice and Cahal, Sunday 19.00 The final part of our TitanCon was a medieval-themed feast at the banquet hall in Clandeboyne. Although not an actual filming site, the hall was beautiful and still captured the essence of Westeros. Unlike last year, which apparently saw a Red Wedding recreation, the end of the convention was a peaceful but comfortable atmosphere. Alice and Cahal, Monday 12.00 Overall, we came away from TitanCon with a leather-bound diary, a new knowledge of Scottish war-cries and medieval staff wielding, a plethora of photographs from filming sights and a great sense of the community this television series inspires. The organisers have made it a convention suitable for everyone, from superfans to newbies alike, and thus an event all can enjoy. Ten out of ten would TitanCon again.



Frightfu FA

Dublin-based Fantastic Films have emerged as one of Ireland’s leading film production companies since their establishment in the early 2000s. Focused mainly on horror, their filmography includes some superb feature-lengths, from the acclaimed Let Us Prey (2014) starring Liam Cunningham, to the sinister, unforgettable The Hallow (2015). They have also been recognised globally, with Martin McDonagh’s Six Shooter winning Best Short at the Academy Awards in 2005 and The Summit winning the editing award at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013. In the run-up to their appearance at this year’s Horror Expo Dublin, co-founders John McDonnell and Brendan McCarthy sat down with me to discuss the ins and outs of managing a production company and what it’s like to scare people for a living.



How did Fantastic Films come about? John McDonnell: I think we just decided that we wanted to stand out. We felt that there are a lot of film companies in Ireland who are all doing the same sort of thing. We wanted to establish how we define ourselves from the get-go. Both of us are mad horror nuts. We’ve been around the block a long time, we have plenty of knowledge about how the industry works [McCarthy was a screenwriter and Film Adviser to the Arts Council of Ireland; McDonnell was a founding member of the Irish Film and Television Academy]. We thought, if we’re going to go for this, we need to do something that is fun and why not do what we love? Essentially, we make the films that we would want to see on the big screen.

John, you’re Head of Production and Brendan, you’re Head of Developing and Financing – what is an average working day like? John McDonnell: The thing is, because we’ve been around for so long in this industry, we can do each other’s job. It’s handy, especially since we both travel a lot. If one of us is busy, the other can take over for the day. From my point of view, what really works is that what Brendan enjoys doing and what I enjoy doing are separate sides of the business so it’s really an ideal working environment. Brendan McCarthy: The most important thing we have to remember is to always keep in mind our vision for the future because you’ll never get there if you’re not aware of those plans for upcoming projects. Typically, it can take a project about four years to come together. So if you want to make films regularly, and we need to, then you always have to stay on top of those plans.

How involved are you in the making of a film – from preproduction to the final post-production stages? Brendan: Once we all agree on the vision of a project, we like to see the directors take it from there. Our job really is to enable, so actually, it’s that four years where a lot of our work comes in – trying to get the script working well, get the right cast, right director and persuade financiers to buy into the vision that we present. But once we’ve done all that and we are confident that the project is in good hands, we are happy to step back. It’s always a bad sign if we are busy during production. Every few weeks we would meet up with the director and have a look at it so far, and discuss the standard that is being produced. You have to trust the production team, otherwise there’s a problem.

Generally we try to avoid the five Ps, which are Pubs, Pints, Priests, Paedophiles and Potatoes. What horror movies have inspired you? Brendan: The first film that truly scared me was The Exorcist. It scared the life out of me – to such a degree that I had to go back a week later to see it again! I loved it. I’ve always loved the likes of Wes Craven (Nightmare on Elm Street) and Carrie is one of my all time favourites. I think at some level I’m always trying to re-make Carrie [laughs]. But there’s so many recent great horror films too, I love The Witch, and The Conjuring has some very effective jump scares. John: The first film I saw that scared the living daylights out of me was The Poltergeist – the original one in the cinema. I just remember grabbing the sides of the seat but I was really thrilled by it, the whole experience. I remember being desperate to see Alien also. And because I was slightly 24

underage when it came out, it was quite difficult to come across, but I got it and I absolutely adored it! I think because I’ve been involved in a lot of mainstream drama, I thought it would actually be a lot more fun to start the day thinking “how can we kill people in interesting ways?” I say to people that we go to work everyday thinking “what’s the coolest way to kill somebody on screen that hasn’t been seen before?” And that’s not a bad way to earn a living is it? [chuckles] You just get such a buzz out of it. I love being scared by films and scaring people by making films like these.

The Hallow heavily features Irish folklore in its storyline. Is it important to include Irish elements in your films? Brendan: I think it’s something that occurs naturally – if it feels appropriate. For instance, with Wakewood, we never purposely went into the project thinking ‘Ireland 1985’ because it can very easily become a distraction. If a setting or a location is too specific it can actually take away from the story. Horror films aren’t about a specific setting, they’re much more concerned with the human story behind it. If we’re looking at The Hallow, people who have been to Ireland, who live in Ireland, who recognise various landmarks or whatever, it’s a little bonus to spot those things. But Wakewood, for instance, is recognised as a British film, internationally speaking – and that’s fine, it doesn’t really bother us. John: All films have to play on a world stage anyway. With The Hallow at least, it was wonderful to mine this Celtic folklore that it is so rich in Ireland. But at the same time, it doesn’t mean it has to be Irish. The best films are set within their world and we would be of the view that our films are set comfortably in their own world and whether that is Ireland or not is not really important. Brendan: One of the debates we had with Hammer Films when we got involved with them in the production of Wakewood was whether we should place typical ‘Irish’ landmarks around, like a church, or a few priests – that sort of thing. But we felt that that really shouldn’t take priority. Once you introduce those things, the film starts to pull in a different direction. So we just said, look, let’s ignore that. We can mention that the town is religious but once you start to delve into that sort of thing, it begins to deviate from the main storyline. Wakewood at its heart is about a couple, rather foolishly, trying to resurrect their daughter. The Irish cultural context falls second in priority. John: Generally we try to avoid the five P’s, which are Pubs, Pints, Priests, Paedophiles and Potatoes. In other words, we want to avoid those cliches. Our stories are international and if we do them well, they should affect all audiences to the same extent. As Brendan said about Wakewood; a couple in New Zealand should feel the same effect as a couple watching in Donegal. It’s really about a loss of a child, it’s the human aspect.

So Fantastic Films are set to show a special screening at the Horror Expo. Can you tell us anything about that or is it all strictly classified? John: We’re going to show a few bits from projects that haven’t been released, it’s very exciting. It’s great to engage with the horror community and it’s interesting to meet professors of horror, theatre writers – it’s wonderful to take part in something like this and just ‘nerd off ’.

The Summit, a documentary that focuses on the tragic deaths of 11 men on Mount Everest, differs from your previous ventures in horror. What attracted you to this project? John: On the surface it doesn’t feel like it’s linked to horror, but what happened that day at K2 was terribly horrific and it’s not actually that different from what we normally do. We’re both fans of documentaries. There was a great team behind that project, and its tone is actually very similar to our horror films.

we go to work everyday thinking whats the coolest way to kill somebody on screen that hasnt been seen before?


Six Shooter is another success story for Fantastic Films. Do you think that winning an Oscar for Best Short Film in 2005 set a higher standard for your projects that came after? John: That was a wonderful experience. But it was actually around the time that we decided to properly concentrate on making horror films. It was great to work with a genius like Martin McDonagh on that project, he’s so intelligent and a great director to work with. And there’s some pretty horrific things in Six Shooter, like exploding cows and psychopaths with guns and an assortment of other things that we associate with any of McDonagh’s later films and again I would argue, that a short film project like this was not a million miles away from the stuff that we do now. It has a lot of horror elements to it.

Are there any other films you’ve worked with that you are particularly proud of? John: The next one! We have two very interesting ones about to be released. I Am Not a Serial Killer will be premiered in Cork. It is just an amazing film, Christopher Lloyd stars and I feel that it is the performance of his career. Then we have P.O.V. coming out next year, with Shauna McDonald from The Descent. There’s rumours we may be showing clips from those at the Horror Expo…

Do you think horror films are being taken more seriously these days? John: Horror as a genre is growing very popular but at the same time, it’s vastly underestimated. There is a perception among some, that horror is kind of... sub drama. It is looked down by a lot of people and we think that is such an unfair assumption to make. To make a good horror film takes enormous amounts of talent and skill and we try to surround ourselves with the most talented people we can work with.

What do you both think is the reason behind the success of Fantastic Films? Brendan: You have to keep it fun, otherwise you lose interest and so does the audience, and we always try to be true to the genre we’re working with and produce films that can be welcomed by cinemas internationally. John: We always think of audience – and I suppose in a nutshell that is why we’re successful, and because we ourselves are part of our audience, making films isn’t really a tedious job. We make films that we want to see. Sometimes you come across films that just feel like a product and we can’t do that. At the end of the day, we’ve enjoyed our success because we love what we do. We’re incredibly passionate about each of our projects. And we’re complete fanboys too!

Fantastic Films will be attending the Horror Expo this year to show exclusive material from their upcoming projects. The Horror Expo takes place Sunday, 30th October at the Freemasons Grand Lounge, Dublin 2. Tickets priced at 42 euro and are available at 25




Fans of Community will be excited to see Donald Glover’s comic return with Atlanta - although it might not be exactly what they’re expecting. Atlanta follows Earn (Glover) as he drops out of Princeton and returns to Atlanta. Struggling financially, Earn ends up in the modern slump of working a dead-end job. Meanwhile, his cousin Alfred is rising local celebrity and rapper Paper Boi. After mediating a mundane incident involving the snapping of Paper Boi’s side view mirror, Earn decides to quit his job and do something he might actually be passionate about. He becomes Paper Boi’s manager. Atlanta is unique in addressing a wide array of modern American issues. Police brutality, mental illness and transphobia are the focus of multiple episodes. Episodic comments on Snapchat and Instagram culture keep the show universal. At times, you find yourself questioning if Atlanta fits into the comedy genre. However Glover’s exceptionally clever use of cyclical plot and unrelenting satire is a reminder that comedy

and social politics are not mutually exclusive. Keith Stanfield provides a stand out performance as the perpetually stoned, visionary Darius. Atlanta livens up tired-out stoner humour with a spaced out, yet incredulously in tune character. Darius is seen trading a phone for a samurai sword, that sword for a dog, and eventually bartering his way up in a plot that ultimately ridicules the waster stereotype and the path to success. Fans of Glover’s music will notice familiar themes in Atlanta, particularly following his critically acclaimed STN MTN/Kauai

EP. Atlanta truly feels like a dream in which Glover’s Earn, despite social and economic issues beyond his control, could feasibly run the city. Relatable characters and serious issues matched with intelligent humour create this perfectly nuanced TV series. Donald Glover shines in this much anticipated return.

over the growing turmoil in her life. Aisling’s need for near-constant communication between the pair shows her enormous overreliance on her best friend. Danielle, for her part, is reluctant to distance herself from a friendship that is rapidly becoming toxic.

Danielle, her comic timing being particularly admirable. Most critically, they both nail their Cork accents. The supporting cast are excellent. Steve Blount’s turn as an amiable Dublin taxi driver is fantastically relatable for anyone who has every poured their heart out to the poor git stuck driving their drunk self home.



●●●●● Sometimes the Gods are colluding to give you exactly what you want - even if you didn’t realise you wanted it. After years of celebrity GAA coaches and home improvements, Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope is a show I can identify with. Following the lives of two young women from Cork as they stumble their way through life in Dublin, it’s written by Stefanie Preissner (the writer of the sole radio play I have ever listened to more than once) and for once I was actually excited about an RTÉ premiere. The friendship between Aisling and Danielle is the driving force of Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope. The strength of their friendship is incredibly familiar to anyone who has come to depend on their urban family far from home. Aisling is working as a fund manager in the Docklands. Danielle is attending art school as a mature student. Aisling appears to have everything a young woman in her twenties could want – a great job, solid friendships and a superhuman ability to get through work while astonishingly hungover. However, the sparkly dresses and nights in Coppers are a thin veneer of happiness 26

It is very refreshing to see the complexity of female friendship explored on screen with the nuance usually reserved for romantic relationships. The strain and stress of caring about someone as though they were family without the formality of family ties is beautifully explored. Seana Kerslake gives a terrific performance as Aisling, effortlessly capturing a character who is not entirely likeable, but exceptionally compelling. Nika McGuigan also shines as the put upon

Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope is a smashing series that captures just how difficult it can be to live your life when you have no idea what you’re doing. This Corkonian cannot wait for the next instalment.


Douglas Hyde Gallery Until 9th November ●●●●●

The first image one encounters is the sickly pale and crudely truncated, Tree (all works 2016). Frozen in flashlight against an inky skyline, the pallid stump looks like a cry for help. Next to it, Legs 2 is a peek over the shoulder of a seated figure, a furtive glance of the eponymous legs, and bordering these, a blur of hair and a fabric of


Warner Bros. ●●●○○

Nicholas Stoller, the director behind Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Bad Neighbors, joins the Warner Animation Group and Pixar animator Doug Sweetland to create Storks: a charming, quick-witted and fast-paced film that delivers in more ways than one.

These pairings and comparisons are not to suggest that individual pictures lack an intrinsic value, but simply to highlight some of the ways meaning adheres to artworks, and how an artist as sensitive as Laurence Cunnane can be effective in harnessing them. Standing slightly apart, Bin shows a black refuse sack inside a rusted metal container. This simple image, abject yet beautiful, ordinary yet mysterious, has the same qualities that make all of these photographs worth looking at.

The film has a good balance of jokes and gags, that get set up in act one and pay off in act three - very few jokes are thrown in for the sake of passing time. As we’ve come to expect in animations, the jokes are layered for adults to enjoy. While Storks doesn’t scale the emotional heights of other recent animated releases (think Finding Dory and Zootopia), it nonetheless contains important morals about the meaning of family. It is, however, reminiscent of the Lego Movie (also from Warner Animation Group), with themes of consumerism, corporate culture and the work-life balance. There are many stand out moments in the film, for example comedians Key and Peele as a loveable wolf couple, and the “whatever you do, don’t wake the baby” silent fight sequence. Top these off with the improvisation done by the voice cast, and Storks is an enjoyable 100 minutes. Leave all logic at the door and get swept up by Storks’ fast-paced action.


The film is set in a world where storks no longer deliver babies, but packages, as “there are other ways to make babies”. Junior, a whitecollar stork voiced by Andy Samberg, is up for a major promotion under one condition: he must fire Tulip, the human teen who has been living with the storks as a result of a botched delivery. Unable to cut Tulip loose, Junior sends her to a redundant part of the factory: the baby-making department. All is well until she receives a letter from Nate, requesting a baby for his workaholic parents (voiced by Jennifer Aniston and Ty Burrell). When the baby making machine delivers, Junior and Tulip end up feeling responsible for the child and set off on an adventure to find its new home.

her. The landscape looks abandoned, an interzone of scrubland and neglect. Bridges appear elsewhere too, solid things, but also ephemeral, spaces between alternative realities.


Shooting on 35mm film and populating his small, hand-printed images with downbeat characters and settings, this young Kerryman’s Douglas Hyde exhibition follows an extended period traveling through the Balkans, Turkey and Iran. They say location is everything, but Laurence Cunnane’s images are stripped of obvious signifiers, rendering his subjects and their locations curiously adrift. Travelling seems important, but we learn little about the places he visits. Instead, in a set of formally exquisite prints, we are given a record of the marginal, the displaced and the provisional. Images preoccupied with borders and moments of transition contain crossover points both physically evidenced – a preponderance of windows – and metaphysically hinted at, in their sense of a world translated through a curious but uncertain eye.

flowing stripes. Framing and cutting, bark and skin; meaning is set within a series of contrasts. Further into the cavernous gallery space, the stained colours and soot-like blacks of Shadows of Plants Inside a Window (1&2) feel contingent - avert your gaze and they might slip away. You are reminded that their meaning depends on your attention. The work of the influential Italian photographer Luigi Ghirri finds a ghostly afterlife in some of these images - in the charged ordinariness of Bag of Cut Grass, or the deadpan animism of Plant inside a Bank - meaning comes filtered through layers of previous imagery. Propped in golden light against the footing of a metal bridge, Tina by the Bridge, Serbia shows a young woman holding a camera in front of




ARRIVAL Paramount ●●●●●

Arrival manages to achieve a rare thing in modern science fiction: a thought provoking, high-concept plot that remains coherent and compelling throughout. The premise of alien spacecraft suddenly arriving in Earth’s orbit will be familiar to most, but Arrival renews our interest by focusing upon hard hitting emotional moments. Arrival is less a movie about aliens than it is an exploration of humanity and our response to an unknown ‘other’.

annihilation is a welcome move, and indicative of how this is very much a movie of the our time. When Independence Day imagined mankind united against a common external threat in the 90s, it did so against a background of unparalleled global peace and the hegemony of the United States. Now, in a world that seems increasingly gripped by violence and instability every day, Arrival offers us a vision of mankind not only being able to break bread with fundamentally different beings, but more importantly, uniting ourselves through a commitment to communication rather than war.

This film isn’t afraid of difficult ideas, throwing in everything from linguistic theories about the role of language in shaping thought, to advanced physics and the basic philosophical question of what it means to connect with others. There will be inevitable comparisons to recent movies like Interstellar, but what separates Arrival is the skillful grounding of its high-concept and engaging ideas with moments that connect with the viewer on a human level.



Beginning with a moving montage of the birth, life and tragic death of the child of Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams), the movie’s focus remains on the human side of the story at all times. The aftermath of Banks’ loss is suddenly interrupted by the appearance of twelve alien spacecraft in supposedly random locations across Earth. Banks is recruited by the military due to her reputation as a linguist, and she is tasked with getting to grips with the alien’s language in order to allow for communication, joined by theoretical physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner). The decision to frame our first contact with intelligent extraterrestrial life around language rather than the traditional themes of war and


Treasure Entertainment ●●●●○

terrible colonial accents and stereotypical British phrases that notably includes “oh jolly-hockey sticks mate”. Under his own mounting frustration Harry gives up; “ah fuck it – we’re taking the flag back to the people of Ireland!”. Next an Italian Job/Into the West style car chase ensues, in which Harry and Mouse ride a Tír na nÓg horse to catch up with the group fleeing back to Ireland with the flag in a speeding lorry. RTE’s latest film production, The Flag, starring Pat Shortt and Brian Gleeson, is a hilarious film celebrating everything Irish from expat émigrés to rural community politics and the centenary commemoration of the 1916 volunteers. The Flag centres on this historical narrative but contextualises it within contemporary times. Harry Hambridge is the lead character, an Irish construction worker living in London who suddenly falls on hard times. He’s fired from his 28job, kicked out of his flat, and to round it all off both his hamster and father die. At his father’s 28

funeral, Harry uncovers a letter from the British army addressed to his grandfather, recording his incarceration for raising the flag over the GPO, which, in this world, now sits upside down at a military base in Hampshire. Inspired by his Aunt Angela and friend Mouse, Harry and his London-Irish friends conspire to steal back the flag in time for the 2016 Easter commemoration service. This slapstick comedy accelerates its pace as the group manage to steal the flag from the military base whilst disguised as British soldiers with

The Flag’s hilarious parody of Irish-British relations is undercut by several clumsy scene changes, which are jarring and confusing. Moreover, the love-story between Harry and Liz – his unrequited London-Irish love – is an unnecessary Hollywood inclusion to an otherwise fresh plot. The Flag’s nuancing of Irish history through satire reflects how even against adversity, the Irish condition is endearingly cheeky. This film was a solid four stars and I highly recommend anyone in need of a good laugh to buy a ticket to The Flag. WORDS BY ROBYN PAGE-COWMAN

In a line up as rousing as Dublin Theatre Festival 2016, for a play to stand out takes gusto – something this version of The Seagull has in spades. Perhaps it was the kinetic potential of The Corn Exchange merging with Anton Chekhov, or perhaps it was simply the pleasing grey and coral aesthetic of its posters plastered around the city, which kick-started the excitement for the show. Either way, it has resulted in a successful production, with a tight, zealous cast expertly showcasing a microcosm of contemporary Ireland. The Seagull is a delicate tale of domesticity, weaving together a cast of incredulously developed characters into a frustrated outburst of unrequited love. Director Annie Ryan has transported this classic Russian tale to an unnamed Irish, post-Celtic Tiger countryside manor, where brother and sister Sorin (Stephen Brennan) and Arkadina (Deirbhle Crotty) have been reunited due to a retirement and lull from two prosperous careers. From these two cascades a ferociously capable ensemble, including Arkadina’s daughter Constance (originally son, Konstantin, in Chekhov’s original), and her love interest, the local enigma Nina. While the compact yet forceful cast each individually stand their ground, it is the dynamic of these younger actors which demands the stage, and the modernity in the reimagined all-female love triangle adds a refreshing feminist touch to


Gaiety Theatre Dubling Theatre Festival ●●●○○

the production. Jane McGrath’s performance, playing Constance, is wonderfully striking. She is able to purvey the mountain of exasperated emotions felt by her character with a fiery clarity, and perhaps even more impressively, she makes an ingénue, juvenile character which resembles the love-interest in every Michael Cera film, rather likeable. While McGrath’s character searches for ‘new forms’ to create art, eventually settling on writing, McGrath herself multiplies the mediums of connection with the audience through the performance of an original song in Act II. Her deep drawl over the haunting bassline is genuinely affecting, and somewhat masks the unexplainably weak lyrics. This is just one of the sundry, stimulating aspects of Tom Lane’s sound design in the production. Few scenes are without a backing track, and this murky, incidental music reiterates the dark side of humanity shown throughout the play. This element of the production merges well with Paul O’Mahony’s minimalist set, adding to the contemporary feel without appearing forced. We, the audience, are the lake: the symbol of both home and the future

to many of the characters – we are invited into the play, into this world so physically akin to our own, that it feels normal. The production’s serious flaw is that it seems to be confused in terms of genre. Despite this normally making for fascinating theatre, here it filled the space between the audience and stage with a distracted awkwardness. Like a nettle sprouting from the cracks of the pavement, some rather flat comedic attempts pricked the dramatization of humanity, mental illness and unrequited love – subjects which command to be dealt with comprehensively. The more serious scenes seemed to be embarrassed, stumbling apologies for themselves. Sudden wisecracks, furthered the sense that we were stuck in a noughties indie rom-com. In any case, the merit of this really production lies in the actors’ eloquent tangents about the arts. The central message, delivered by Nina (played by the fervent Genevieve HulmeBeaman) in the penultimate scene, is not for artists to acquire fame or fortune, but to endure. The play is a success because it is a reminder of familiar domestic Ireland, and of how our artistic communities interact with and support each other. Chekhov’s brilliant play provides a universal slate upon which to knit together the conflicting concerns of family difficulties, selfdoubt and the exasperation of creative work.


MAFIA III Hangar 13 ●●●●○

The bombastic opening sequence of 2K’s Mafia III depicts landmarks from New Bordeaux, the game’s fictionalised version of New Orleans, to a backtrack of crackly sixties music. The resulting video shows us glimpses of the Ku Klux Klan besides happy-go-lucky white families, scenic river cruises alongside hastily dug graves in bogs, a violent and turbulent inner city alongside peaceful and beautiful suburbs. This contrast of stark reality against optimistic idealism sets the tone of the game immediately. The majority of the game is set in 1968, both arguably the dirtiest year in 20th century American politics and the year that the mafia begins to decline as a serious force in America. A modern day court setting is used to introduce characters and their motivations, while the game proper is explored through flashbacks. Among these characters is Lincoln Clay, the main protagonist and playable character. The opening is especially compelling as not all aspects of Lincoln’s character are revealed immediately. Rather, we gradually learn that he is mixed hispanic and black, he is a Vietnam veteran with a traumatic past, his brother has strong ties to the new Bordeaux black mafia, and he takes family values very very seriously. All these factors come to the fore when a collaborative effort between the Italian and black mobs to rob the federal reserve succeeds. The Italian mob bosses immediately defect on the fragile deal and kill the black leaders, but with our hero miraculously surviving. Lincoln resolves to take back the city from the Italians

and gain vengeance for his murdered family with one stone. What could very easily slip into generic revenge story material, the game however, does not. For one thing, Lincoln and his supporting cast are remarkably well developed for a video game. All come across as extremely damaged people with genuine depth, without resorting to typical shooter clichés. Secondly, the history and lore behind New Bordeaux makes it a fascinating area to explore. Thirdly, the brilliant crime story told through the roughly fifteen hour campaign is brutal and moving in equal measure and will appeal to any Goodfellas or Godfather fans wandering bereft. One aspect the game handles spectacularly is race. Racism underpinned every echelon of American society in the 1960s and the game does not shy away from it. Certain businesses will not serve Lincoln due to his colour, for instance. The looks and comments Lincoln receives walking around part of the city, the discreet detail of every cop you pass moving his hand to his holster, glancing at the on-screen rearview mirror and noticing the squad car tailing you for the last mile - all of these small details are representative of the terrible discrimination of the time. With that being said, it is in the gameplay that Mafia III stumbles somewhat. The fairly standard shooter functions are nicely done, with a good range of combat animations, but the AI leaves a lot to be desired. Entire gunfights can rest on just aiming above the spot an enemy is crouching under until they pop their head up. There is no real coordination or flanking maneuvers by enemies which is quite disappointing. The

driving also takes some getting used to; in a nod to the much heavier muscle cars of the day, cars have slower acceleration and a much lower centre of gravity. However, car chases are fun and well designed. Rather than the uninspired chasing that plagued Mafia II, coppers will actively try to box Lincoln in and ram him off the road. After the first few hours of pure campaign based play, the open world aspect opens up into a series of boss missions which you prepare for by doing several smaller jobs. For instance, a prostitution den is supposedly too heavily guarded to enter immediately so you launch several small attacks on the mobsters’ business to wear him down. There’s something of the first Assassin’s Creed here and it can become fairly repetitive. However, it does add a new twist in that once you’ve conquered an area, you get to choose which of your three subordinates you get to pass it onto. You can’t please everyone and sooner or later, you may have to put your own interests before theirs. All in all, Mafia III is a great story with fantastic characters. However gameplay can become quite bland and repetitive after the first few dozen shoot-outs. There should be more incentive to play a game than simply getting to the next cut scene to advance the story; which 2K doesn’t always provide. Nonetheless, it is a broadly fun, clever game full of social commentary that most game companies wouldn’t come near with a ten foot pole, and perhaps that is motivation enough.





BURIED TREASURE, VOL. 2 Dan Hegarty ●●●●○

“Music is a personal thing – some would say a spiritual part of life and hopefully somewhere in the pages ahead is music that you will embrace and keep with you for years to come.” Dan Hegarty’s second book, Buried Treasure, Volume 2, continues his quest to delve into the near and distant past, unearthing albums that didn’t receive the acclaim they deserve. The book is an immensely comprehensive project, pulling together contributions from hundreds of artists. Hegarty’s analysis of each album is complimented by thoughts from the artists themselves. The dual perspective approach - one personal and intimate, the other professional and objective - works extremely well. The artists’ perspectives are especially interesting for music buffs who are interested in the creative process.

voices and opinions. This organised restraint is one of Buried Treasure’s strongest points.

Each album analysis is accompanied by full-colour cover art, many of which are extraordinarily beautiful and provide a visual break on each page. Underneath the art is the tracklist, and it’s this rigid format, adhered to strictly, that provides the book with a unity and ties together the huge amount of

The book also features articles on record labels and bands as varied as God is an Astronaut, and Mansun (who Paul Draper describes as “the Britpop Sex Pistols”) and features contributions about overlooked albums by musicians and members of the music industry. Buried Treasure, Volume 2 is an ambitious, well organised,


●●●●● A week of danger and debuts saw everything from Dior’s first female creative director to an armed robbery chez Kardashian. Countless young designers took the helm at old fashion houses, attempting to make their mark while paying homage to their predecessors. Meanwhile, the likes of Chanel and Louis Vuitton continued to reinvent the classics. At Saint Laurent, Anthony Vaccarello reintroduced the signature YSL logo – a logo that was mainly confined to storefronts and bags during Hedi Slimane’s four year revamp of the brand. Vaccarello took his celebration of the iconic logo to the next level, even having the letters form the heel of a pair of stilettos. His debut included a characteristic nod to the eighties, with a mix of leather and velvet, boyfriend jeans, and YSL’s iconic women’s tuxedo, “Le Smoking”. Maria Grazia Chiuri debuted her highly anticipated collection for Christian Dior as the first ever female creative director of the brand. The refreshing collection was an honest




fascinating project that brings not only overlooked albums to the fore, but also serves as a snapshot into the minds of diverse figures in the music industry. From radio presenters to solo artists, bands to record label owners, this book is a medley of people passionate about music telling you why - and it works wonderfully.

representation of the modern woman, with a covetable slogan tee reminding us that “we should all be feminists”. We’ve seen Chanel fashion shows take place in customised airports and supermarkets, but no set has been so impressive as this season’s data centre. Karl Lagerfeld is no stranger to extravagance, and in today’s technological world, it should come as no surprise that the Spring 2017 runway featured robots wearing the classic Chanel tweed suit.

Nicolas Ghesquière continued the technology trend, with a subtle sci-fi take on classic Louis Vuitton pieces. This season’s updated Petite Malle bag was in fact a chic iPhone case that resembles the iconic brand’s luxury trunk. Acknowledging our reliance on smartphones, Ghesquière saw the opportunity to add a little more luxury to our lives. The release date (and price) has yet to be dropped, but no doubt these cases will sell out quickly. Prepare for a Louis Vuitton infested Instagram feed. WORDS BY NIAMH MULVILLE



A Seat At The Table ●●●●○


Solange’s A Seat at the Table had a long, troubled gestation, its genesis going back some eight years. The equally fraught seven-track EP True (2012) was recorded and released in those intervening years, with the sessions for this latest offering taking place in the three years since that EP’s success. Billed as a “project on identity, empowerment, independence, grief and healing” by Solange, A Seat at the Table seems sprawling at first glance, with 21 tracks. It is, however, still essentially a 12-track album, with spoken and sung interludes adding to the mood and filling out the various aporia. In contrast to True, the tone is mostly languid, with a tight band backing Solange’s pacifying vocals with meditative, shuffling, sparse R&B arrangements. Fittingly coinciding with Black History Month on this side of the Atlantic, the album feels like a contemporary nexus of black music history, from Thomas A. Dorsey through Minnie Riperton to Lauryn Hill. In the truly lovely Cranes in the Sky, the first single from the album, and one of several written with Raphael Saadiq, one hears shades of Allen Toussaint’s Southern Nights, with its tinkling up and down the black keys on the piano. But whereas Toussaint pondered on southern skies and the respite they might hold, Solange’s skies are metallic, cold, and unfeeling. In an 32

attempt to heal an unexplained sorrow - one whose nature, one feels, is so apparent it need not be explained, had she the energy to do so - Solange intones “I tried to change it with my hair” and “I slept it away, I sexed it away, I read it away” in stunningly understated style. Elsewhere, that same jaded outlook dominates. Weary sees Solange expressing and prescribing discontent and suspicion, with black female exaltation and bodily autonomy eluding her (“I’m gonna look for my body, yeah/I’ll be back real soon”). Likewise, Don’t Touch My Hair focuses on that which writers such as Ingrid Banks have viewed as having the ability to become a foundation for understanding how black women view power and its relationship to self-esteem. While Solange sighs “they don’t understand”, an assertive self-determination is also expressed (“this hair is my shit, rode the ride, I gave it time”). Two other track titles begin with “don’t”, speaking to the thread of righteous adjuration running through the work. Don’t You Wait and Don’t Wish Me Well recall Solange’s previous sound with Dev Hynes, proving a welcome electronic-infused break from the album’s at times monotonous, slightly plodding ensemble backing. Funk outbursts on Junie and Lil Wayne’s deft delivery in Mad provide more appreciated

variety, but can’t help dislodge the slight aimless, underdeveloped quality of some of the tracks. Solange no doubt intended and is aware of this aimless quality, with the inclusion of the mostly spoken interludes (largely delivered by Master P, though Solange’s parents both deliver moving contributions) adding to the casual, inchoate, communal tone. The digital booklet of lyrics and photos to accompany A Seat at the Table further emphasises the unfinished, rhizomatic quality of Solange’s efforts. Redolent of Mallarmé, its words are bunched, disconnected, torn apart and crossed through. How can the work ever be complete when there is still so much left to do? Both the booklet and album end with “Your love is kind but your love ain’t blind/Your world is kind but your world ain’t blind” from the exquisite Scales. A bittersweet counterpoint to Southern Nights once again and Toussaint’s observation that “precious beauty lies deep beyond the eye”, Solange sings beautifully throughout of a harsh reality that resonates with many. The least the rest of us can do is listen. WORDS BY DARRAGH KELLY

BLACKWATER DISTILLERY Gin Tasting Evening ●●●●○

The private upstairs bar of The Headline provided a simple, sophisticated setting for the twenty-orso enthusiasts in attendance. A tastefully laid out array of garnishes, from apple to thyme, adorn our table-tops. For the less experienced tasters, it was explained that gin is a predominantly juniper flavoured spirit. We are invited to sample the classically named No. 5 Small Batch, London Dry Gin. Aromatic and citrusy, this gin is smooth enough to be sipped straight with just a cube of ice. The suggested tonic is Fever Tree Light and, garnished with a slice of lime, I

Lotts & Co Deli was voted by the Irish Times as Best Newcomer of artisan shops in Ireland, despite only emerging on the market in 2015. Lotts & Co was set up by brothers Paul and John McNerney who also own several restaurants in the area including the Old Spot pub and Paulie’s Pizza. This new venture is an ‘all in one’ deli with a fishmonger, butcher, cafe, rotisserie, bakery and winery, therefore the McNerney brothers are trying to keep up with the growing trend or return back to the ‘independent’ shop. Lotts exudes a ‘shabby-chic’ take on Fallon & Byrne/ Dean & Deluca and its fresh, locallysourced Irish produce filling the sanded down wooden shelves also reflect the sustainable-based ethics these businesses introduced from EastCoast America to Ireland. Colourful squashes, beets, meats and fresh fish (caught “on the line from the Irish sea”) spread across the store. Moreover popular house-brands are substituted for local produce under their sustainable pledge, for instance, an Irish-sourced version of Bon Maman jams which are produced by a Frenchman living in Dublin. The coffee used in Lotts is ground from Italian beans in an Irish brewery ran by the TCD Science Gallery café owners. Finally, their honey brand is not only Irish, but sourced from Trinity student and Suas President Kevin Keane, who runs Keane Honey with his family in Ratoath. General manager Rory English explained that Lotts & Co were trying to keep up with the Dublin and global


57 the Headline played host to some of Dublin’s most devout gin-lovers for Blackwater Distillery’s intimate tasting of several premium products. The event, organised by Dublin Loves Gin, is part of a series of monthly get-togethers in the Clanbrassil St. bar, providing a space to sample, learn and chat about gin. The tasting brings us home with a through-and-through Irish brand, Blackwater Distillery, showing exactly the sort of thing this nation has to offer in our ever expanding distilling and brewing industries.

admit, the experience is immediately enhanced to create one of the most refreshing G&Ts on the market. The next two products, Wexford Strawberry and Juniper Cask Gin, take us in opposite directions. Although the former is appealing to the eye as a fruity summer product, rose coloured with a strawberry, black pepper and basil garnish, it fails to achieve the standard Blackwater have already mastered with the No. 5. Small Batch. The Juniper Cask, however, is robust with fortified juniper flavour and described as “a late night-drink poured over ice” – the

whiskey of gins, if you will. The final sample is an exclusive tasting of Boyle’s Gin. Set for release in November and named after alchemist Robert Boyle of Lismore Castle. Not quite magical, but fresh and flavourful all the same. When served with apple and tonic, it does make quite the final treat. At €20 for the event, with the four drinks included, value isn’t an issue. In the presence of an engaged and excited audience, learning about an impressively expanding brand is priceless. WORDS BY FERGAL O BAOILL GALLCHOBHAIR

LOTTS & CO. Ballsbridge ●●●●○

health trend, while also setting it. Impressed by their sustainable produce and beautiful spread, I moved along with the Frenchhipster music past the Scandavian section (a popular spread mainly laid out for Ballsbridge’s Scandi-locals) and towards the food bar at the back of the store. From the massive sandwiches, soups, meat and fish sections I chose a salad combo – a mixture beetroot, aubergine and green bean, tomato, cucumber and feta, and coleslaw. It was fresh and filling and I sprinkled this with a seed and goji-berry mix on top which gave it an alternative edge. My flat white had a sweet taste to the coffee, however this was perhaps a bit too milky. This was a treat lunch at €10.75. However as café’s surrounding college have lately increased the prices of their salads and hot lunches, Lotts is a lovely alternative. Moreover, with its sustainable resourcing of produce and brands, it is worth paying the extra few euros for. Lotts&Co is open from 8am to 10pm Monday to Saturday and 10am to 6pm Sundays. WORDS BY ROBYN PAGE-COWMAN 33

sex. Thank You For Your Service

This summer myself and a friend toured some of the United States while on a J1 Visa. We spent a few days just outside of Boston during our travels, courtesy of one of his family friends - a woman who instantly became twice as chatty upon my confirmation that I was gay. On our last night in Boston, the three of us were up talking, and having a few drinks. At the same time, I was messaging a guy on Grindr. His profile just said “marine” and that he was 27. However, he looked cute, and sent me photos of himself which made me interested enough to keep chatting, despite the military uniform (or perhaps because of it). It eventually rolled around to two in the morning and he was still messaging me. After enough of his efforts to convince me, and the promise of a free Uber ride over, I agreed to meet up. I let my friend and the woman we were staying with know I was leaving. “He’s going to go sleep with a marine,” my friend announced. To which she quipped, in her incredible New England accent: “well just make sure he knows who’s taking advantage of who, okay?” I have replayed her saying that in my head 100 times over since. I strutted down to where we had agreed to meet, right outside the walls of Harvard. I was feeling pumped, listening to Ariana Grande’s album Dangerous Woman. When we met, my first reaction was that he was neither as tall or as well muscled as I had expected of a marine. My second was that his voice was incredibly rough, seemingly from having smoked something close to a pack a day. At this point though, I was already in too deep for these factors to make me want to back out. He ordered an Uber, and we jumped in. Given we were too awkward to just shift in an Uber ride, we decided to chat instead. It turned out he was only a marine reserve at the time, though he had completed 5 years of active duty. Now he worked for the Red Sox in some capacity - I forgot what it was immediately. He also mentioned that he had been with his last boyfriend, also a marine, for two years, and had nearly married the guy. A bit intense for introductions to someone I was about to have sex with, so I just ignored it. We also discussed my life. I told him I was a student, and that I would be returning home in September. He pressed me as to why I was returning, and I explained that my visa expired come the end of summer. “Would you not just buckle down, work hard, become an American citizen, and stay?” he asked. After some debate over why I preferred to not just abandon my home for America, I eventually shut him down by telling him that I liked living in a country whose health care system didn’t impoverish its most vulnerable citizens, which he begrudgingly agreed was a good thing. Arriving at his place, I messaged my friend, sending him the marine’s name and address. Before I had left, my friend had repeatedly taunted me, saying that as a marine he had probably killed people, and could kill me too. As a precaution then I made sure that, if nothing else, my murderer would be caught. Unfortunately, I had no data at the time, and for a reason too complicated for him to explain to me, the marine couldn’t let me on his wifi. Unable to contact my friend, I began to work myself into a paranoid frenzy until I was lent a laptop to use Facebook on. Meanwhile, the marine changed into a jock strap. Things got underway pretty quickly, and, after not much foreplay, we were in flagrante delicto. There were some minor interruptions, such as his realisation that he had left his phone in the Uber. For the most part, however, time passed as it normally does when you’re having sex, with a lot of movement, and some chat. During one of these moments, while I was thrusting, and we were talking, he said something which I can only presume every young man wants to hear at some point in his life: “You’re the first civilian that’s ever been inside me.” I wish I could pretend I had some clever response, but in reality, I was too dumbfounded, and distracted by trying not to lose my rhythm to say anything at the time other than “um, thanks.” We eventually finished up at some point past 5 am, his words still ringing around in my head as we both drifted to sleep. I woke to my alarm at 10, and left without exchanging too many words with him, afraid he would say something else that might traumatise me. It was only after I had left, and I’d discussed it with a friend that I realised what a poor move that had been. If I had stayed to chat just a little more, and played my cards right, maybe I could have gotten a “thank you for your service.”




Tn2 - October 2016/17  
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