Two TRINITY NEWS
issue 7 8 Feb 2011
NÉNETTE by Alex Towers
MORE ARTICLES ABOUT BUILDINGS AND FOOD
igh winds and the type of weather known scientifically as ‘bucketing down’. Those were the conditions under which the issue of TN2 in your hands was created. Every time a foot moved, a puddle soaked a shoe. Hats blew off. Lighters refused to light. It was a bad time for the empire, and it will provide excellent background for the inevitable Reeling In The Years sequence about the past couple of weeks. Some reasonably fun stuff happened too, though. Dylan Haskins decided to run for election. Many of the country’s most hated politicians have been Trinity alumni, but it’s a little strange to see a current student in a button-down shirt promising change to the electorate from every second lamppost. And he’s running against Mannix Flynn, surely the more established vote for those in the demographic seeking an ‘outsider with slicked back hair’ type. Still, props to Dylan, a man with a keen sense of the difference between complaining about something and actually attempting to make it better. More of that sort of thing. In this issue, to the immediate left of this editorial, you are likely to find a feature on the tourists who populate Trinity in competitive numbers to students, but on entirely different vector paths. Student consensus on the Book of Kells? Not That Good. Tourist consensus on the Book of Kells? Really Good. Go figure. You also might have noticed a primate on the cover. That’s Nénette. Being an orangutan in a zoo in Paris is her day job, but she also moonlights as the eponymous star of Nicolas Philibert’s new film. Alex Towers talks to him about it, having accidentally interrupted his dinner with a phone call. There’s also an interview with post-dubstep poster boy James Blake, pieces on storytelling and comics, and more. On the back page, Oisin Murphy gets even more meta than his already advanced level of being meta by talking about somebody talking about him talking about someone else satirically by talking to someone else again. Go figure. Also, over the past month, I’ve been having an incredibly confusing email exchange with famous rapper Lil B the Based God. I contact him. He replies, being incredibly positive, and sends me his phone number. I ask him whether Friday’d be a good time to call. He replies with one word: “waenva”. I call him lots of times, across several days. Voicemail. He leaves it a week, and then emails me again out of the blue saying “hey man hope all is well.” I call him again. Voicemail. Such a rollercoaster ride of emotions. Some day, Lil B. Some day. Enjoy the issue.
by Jamie Leptien
ooking across Front Square on an average day, it’s easy to separate the tourists from the students by how slowly they move. A group of them stands still in the middle with their guidebook open, trying to point out the Campanile from the Corinthian columns. Over towards the GMB, a couple walk hand-in-hand at a pace so gentle they must be madly in love, or pretending to be. They drink in their surroundings, with all the time in the world. Meanwhile, a red-haired girl in high heels curses the cobblestones, and a short guy with a Costa coffee cup beelines towards the gap by the Postgrad Reading room. Like the pigeons and the seagulls, tourists in Trinity are tolerated with a combination of superiority and mild amusement. When Overheard in Trinity College Dublin had its fifteen minutes of Facebook fame, one of the recurring themes was the dumb tourist, typically quoted standing in front of the Berkeley Sphere saying something like, “Gosh honey, this must be the
HATES A TOURIST
famous Trinity ball!” Inevitably, it’s the Americans we love to giggle at the most. Badly dressed, earnest and apparently a bit thick, they embody everything the Trinity student tries not to be. The other big tourist contingent seems to come from the Latin quarters of Europe, with the Italians particularly distinctive, not doing much to discourage generalisations by all coveting the same designer labels on their shiny shoes, fur-hooded puffa jackets and black shades. Whatever you think of them though, they’ re everpresent. All year round, even when the students have left campus for dust, a steady stream trickles onto campus, signs up for tours that cost 50c a minute, ogles the architecture, peers at the Book of Kells, and goes on its slightly more satisfied way. They’re almost more a part of the campus picture than we are. But how does Trinity find its way onto so many itineraries? Fáilte Ireland statistics for visitors to Ireland’s “attractions” has the Book of Kells down in seventh place, but when you consider that these figures include Irish visitors, its tourist factor would most likely leapfrog sights like Dublin Zoo, the Botanic Gardens and the National Gallery, and go right into an astounding third place, behind the Cliffs of Moher and the Guinness Storehouse. While the Guinness Storehouse is an obvious Irish trademark and the Cliffs of Moher are pretty jaw-dropping, the reasons for the popularity of the Book of Kells seem slightly more obscure.
“I start to think that maybe we’re just a cynical bunch and should stop being deadly and hug the Book of Kells.”
I decide to commit social suicide and talk to the tourists outside the Old Library to find out whether their €9 was worthwhile, and what they think of Trinity. First up are Daniel and Carol, amiable Canadians. Why did they decide to come here in the first place? “We have an interest in medieval history.” Huh. I hadn’t thought of that. And were they impressed with it? “It was awesome.” Yeah? “ Yeah, totally. The little pictures on the book? I don’t know how they do that.” Hm. Later I speak to Californian Byron, whose incredibly sharp suit and hat are probably the source of some annoyance to his plainly dressed cousin Sarah, especially when I ask if I can take their photo. What did he think of it? “I thought it was amazing.” I get much the same reaction from James Mooney, of the Mooneys of New York, over for his mother’s birthday with her family in Stillorgan. What did they think of Trinity overall? “Fantastic, it was beautiful. The history’s amazing.” I start to think that maybe we’re just a cynical bunch, and should stop being deadly and hug the Book of Kells. Cue young French girl. “I saw the Book of Kells, but I prefer the Old Library.” Trinity overall? “It was good, yes. Because I’ ve seen the University of Glasgow, I think the architecture was more…” She hesitates, searching for the how-do-you-say, and then looks up decisively, “I appreciate more the University of Glasgow. Sorry.” Good apparently, but not as good as Glasgow. I shouldn’t have asked. 3
WANDERLIST #7 M USIC Murder
The intentional killing of humans has been the cornerstone of art since the beginning of time, and popular music is no exception. From third person murder ballads to first person murder brags, visiting death upon others never ceases to entertain. Deerhoof - Twin Killers Peopled by daisy-eyed jazz connoisseurs and fronted by the tiniest Japanese woman imaginable, Deerhoof’s take on the subject is predictably upbeat. Two sisters use shyness as deception. But they are killers. Still, bop your head. Another Sunny Day - You Should All Be Murdered The logical conclusion to indie-pop unhappiness is this, a list of types of people who deserve to be killed. A navel-gazing version of Ted’s Priest of the Year speech. 2Pac - Hit Em Up Though the Notorious B.I.G. was the clear feud victor in the eyes of anyone who has ears, Tupac Shakur’s hit diss track provided a pleasingly aggressive list of people he hates and how he hopes they die. The most prominent: being shot by 2Pac, with glocks. Dead Kennedys - I Kill Children In keeping with punk tradition, Jello Biafra’s lyrical delivery is pretty straightforward. “I kill children/I like to see them die,” he opens. Johnny Cash - Folsom Prison Blues Johnny Cash is in jail and he’s unhappy. Why? Because he shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die. Kind of deserves it, really. Karl McDonald
WHAT YOU’VE BEEN DOING ART I N C OLLEGE
Sketch by Gerda Fromel Genetics Building A stroll around the Genetics Building is a bit off the beaten track for some, but it’s well worth it. Architecturally it’s quite pleasant, there’s free water, and it plays host to a formidable selection from the college’s ever-expanding pool of Modern and Contemporary Art. Among these is a sketch of a head by Gerda Fromel, an Irish-based German artist whose untimely death in 1975 cut short what might have been an extremely prolific career in sculpture. Indeed, the absence of her work from the art market suggests that it is greatly cherished by those who possess it. The sketch features a human head – a sole, central form in a stretch of utterly blank support. The image is executed in a variety of strokes, from the soft hazy peripheral marks to the fierce spikes that illustrate the jaw. The abstraction of familiar facial elements could relate to a denial of “the individual”, while the contour of the crown might suggest either infancy or a sense of animation. The scale and display of the picture, meanwhile, is arresting; the head is near life-size, and as you peer into the frame your own reflection overlaps with its contours, perhaps erasing its singularities and drawing attention to your universally human traits. Catherine Gaffney
M USIC Online Music Editor Keith Grehan
presents a mini-mix by Frankie Grimes, history student and resident at new Pod club night Chewn. It’s short and loads of fun, featuring the world’s most logical remix, a dubstep version of Soulja Boy’s Crank That. Find it and all the other minimixes (Orlando, Two Charming Men etc) on the TN2 Soundcloud http://soundcloud.com/tn2 M USIC Also check out a think-piece on the
decline of ‘emo’ by Trinity News National News Editor Evan Musgrave.
THE ATRE Theatre Editor Jamie Leptien,
who followed up his Moore Street and Forty Foot visits with an arduous journey to outside the Old Library this issue (pp. 2-3), presides over reviews of what’s on in Dublin at the moment, including Players’ The Importance of Being Earnest. FILM Movie reviews continue apace, with
Róisín Lacey-McCormac on Nénette.
T WIT TER Work is boring. Let’s retweet
each other instead. @tn2magazine 4
DEVIL IN A NEW DRESS FILM
The Exorcist (1973) Poland In 1973 William Friedkin shocked audiences with this visceral horror of demonic possession, with no small part of the success due to the double-jointed Linda Blair, straddling the dual-role of innocent girl and the contortionist devil that dwells inside. It created a genre unto itself, but no equals. Here in Leszek Zebnowski’s poster we see no swearing thirteen year old in cheap gore make-up, no young priest/old priest team and no projectile vomit. Instead we have a stark vermillion image of the ancient mythological demon that supposedly takes hold of the little girl. Sprouting from the earth, we see that it is not the serpent that is coiled around the tree in this petrified garden but that the tree has grown around the snake. A chilling suggestion of a malignity that is not only tenacious, but patient. Máiréad Casey
TO MY HEAD
MAY CONTAIN TRACES OF: 8 February 2011
2 EVERYBODY HATES A TOURIST Jamie Leptien figures out exactly why there are so many happylooking tourists on campus when college isn’t that great.
6 PICTURE BOOK Eoin McAuley visits Dublin City Comics on Bolton Street to learn about the comic art scene .
7 CELEBRITY SKIN Michael Barry considers the slightly askew version of an international screen awards ceremony we have in the IFTAs..
8 GET COLOUR Aisling Deng wears black on the outside, because black is how she feels on the inside. Ana Kinsella feels pink with a blue bow.
10 TIRED OF MONKEYIN’ AROUND Alex Towers speaks to director Nicolas Philibert about his new film on the humdrum life of Nénette. Who is an orangutan
12 WE COOKIN’ BABY Martin McKenna explains sous vide, an unusual method of meat-cooking used in the world’s best restaurants.
14 SONGS OF INNOCENCE/SONGS OF EXPERIENCE Karl McDonald speaks to BBC Sound of 2011 runner-up and incredibly evocative electronic songwriter James Blake.
16 STORY, BUD?
MODEL CITIZEN FASHION Expect to see Trinity’s most fabulous filling the front rows of
the Chapel on February 24th for Fashion Soc’s first ever fashion show, so make sure to plonk yourself in a prime seat by the catwalk. Student models will be showing off the finest from stores such as New Look, AWear, Rococo, Covet, Eager Beaver and A Store Is Born with music from DJ Frankie Grimes, and rumour has it there’ll be delicious goody bags for attendees. If that wasn’t enough, it’s all in aid of the Simon Community, and if you’re not the charitable type, dust off the gladrags and head to Model Behaviour in Citibar on Friday the 18th for a chance to win two tickets to the show for the most stylish attendee. There’ll be some dancing and drinking going on after the show check out the Fashion Society’s stand in the Arts Block all this week for further details. In the meantime, get working on your best Anna Wintour impersonation for your moment in the front row. Ana Kinsella
Grainne Clear looks at the different storytelling events around the city and considers their importance.
17 EVERYBODY HATES A TOURIST Karl McDonald talks to experimentalist Patrick Kelleher about drinking poitín with David Kitt at a gramophone disco.
19 REVIEWS Trinity News TwoCycle Seven features LittleBigPlanet 2, True Grit, The Walking Dead, Cafe des Irlandais, James Blake, Mogwai, and more.
CONTRIBUTORS Editor: Karl McDonald. Art: Jennifer Duignam, Catherine Gaffney. Books: Stuart Winchester, Kevin Breathnach. Fashion: Ana Kinsella, Aisling Deng. Film: Alex Towers, Mairéad Casey. Food: Sadhbh O’Brien, Rose Ponsonby. Games: Andy Kavanagh. Music: Gheorghe Rusu, Keith Grehan. Theatre: Jamie Leptien. TV: James Kelly, Michael Barry. Images: Dublin City Comics, Jamie Leptien, Martin McKenna, David O’Dwyer Design: Gearóid O’Rourke, Martin McKenna . General assistance: Aoife Crowley. Fuelled by: tigerstigerstigerstigerstigerstigers, Lord Byron, Cinnamon Songs, Super Bowl XLV. 5
HALF MAN HALF AMAZING by Eoin McAuley.
olton Street is now the happy home to the newly established Dublin City Comics. Just recently opened, the shop specialises in selling the latest comic book and graphic novel releases from America and Europe, as well as offering a wide collection of model replicas and figures for collectors to purchase. The shop is the brain child of Doc and Christy, who together help to create the easy and relaxed ambience within the shop itself. It is always a positive sign to see new businesses opening up during such a turbulent time, as the current political and economic climate does its best to discourage such acts of bravery. However, while the owners of the shop are well aware of the economic challenges facing them, they still strive to provide the best deals possible for their customers by charging only the cover price for all comics, something which sets Dublin City Comics apart from all their competitors. They’re also extremely supportive of up and coming artists. Any self-publishing Irish comic book writer will find a fantastic start into the industry here as they can sell their work within the shop and keep all of the profits themselves. “We’re really just trying to get the work out there for people to see,” explains Doc, who oversees the comic section of the shop. It appears that the com-
ic i ndust r y
(which originally began during the Great Depression) is recession proof, and Irish artists are beginning to realise this. For example, Stephen Coffey is an Irish writer who has ventured into self-publishing and has received strong interest in his work from places as far away as Australia. He cites the internet as a valuable tool in the process of self-publishing as it greatly reduces the cost of printing. Today people can simply buy comics online and download the files to read on any computer they want. And interest in Irish comic book art, and the entire visual culture associated with the medium, is expanding at an incredible rate. Well known Irish comic book artists today include Nick Roche, who has worked on such projects as the comic book series Transformers, a name now associated with the animated television series and Hollywood blockbusters it has spawned. Currently, America stands as the king of comics with its two major publishing companies DC and Marvel competing for attention in both the film and publishing worlds. But it is evident from Dublin City Comics’ new concept, Geekeasy, that there is no shortage of talent or ideas here in Ireland, which can go on to develop similar success in the field. The Geekeasy is a comfortably furnished club room located beneath the main shop, equipped with television screens, an original XBox, PS1, PS2 and PCs with free internet connection. Perhaps most importantly though, the room offers a space where Irish artists and writers can come together to experiment, brainstorm and collaborate. The walls of the Geekeasy proudly display a multitude of different sketches from artists who frequent the club, with Rob Carey acting as art coordinator for the space. There are
plans in place to hopefully organise a weekly meeting for artists to come together with writers to collaborate or put together portfolios, which can then be viewed at conventions around the world. This will hopefully result in artists being offered work by leading international publishing companies. Any art work produced within the Geekeasy, can be displayed on the walls by the artist for everyone to view. Today the comic book industry continues to grow with famous celebrities such as Jonathan Ross writing his own comic book series and rapper Eminem guest starring in the comic book Punisher. If Irish artists such as Cormac Hughes (a Dublin City Comics regular) and others can grow in success with their work it could bring a whole new industry to the country, which has never really been given much consideration before. However, if the passion for the medium and the artistic talent on show in Dublin City Comics are anything to go by, this is an inevitable step, and one in the right direction in my opinion. Dublin City Comics is located at 46 Bolton Street, Dublin 1. You can also find them on Facebook or you can e-mail them at dublincitycomics@yahoo. com. Trinity Arts Festival is running two Comic Book Drawing Workshops this week as part of their programme of events. For more information, check out the TAF stands in the Hamilton and Arts Buildings. Credits Left: Leprechaun by Ger Hankey Above: Dredd Pool by Cormac Hughes, Top: Doc Ginger by Rob Carey Courtesy the artists & Dublin City Comics
lready in its eighth year, this year’s Irish Film and Television awards will be held on February 12th. Once again, it faces the exact same criticisms from columnists and internet trolls that it gets every year. The judging panel always get it woefully wrong when it comes to the nominees. They seem to use the film equivalent of the “Irish granny” rule when composing each domestic category. A national film and television awards ceremony isn’t sustainable, as the talent just isn’t there. The IFTAs do frequently lend themselves to such objections. The awards’ website solemnly explains how this year there is just one category for the Best Actress in a Lead Role for both film and television, given the dearth of possible entries. Despite these criticisms, the awards themselves are not without merit. Indeed, if the lists of this year’s nominees were considered in isolation, then the quality and variety on display would be a cause for celebration. It is realistic about the size of the pool from which nominees are drawn, with soap stars frequently being mentioned alongside our best Hollywood exports. Once again, there is a strong showing for TG4 in both the technical and dramatic categories, with the detective drama Na Cloigne in particular being nominated in most of the major categories.
“ALL THE COMPONENTS OF AN AWARDS SHOW SEEM PRESENT, BUT THE END PRODUCT STILL FEELS LIKE A SURREAL COPY AND PASTE JOB.” This demonstrates awareness that Irish language programming is responsible for some of the most creative indigenous productions of the last few years. Despite these positives, the IFTAs as an award ceremony and as a television programme still have a number of basic issues. Most notably, there are fundamental problems with the structure and presentation of the awards. Each year the IFTAs seem to take all of the elements of the more esteemed awards ceremonies but apply them in the wrong manner, something which results in the feeling that something isn’t quite right. All the components of an awards show seem present, but the end product still
feels like a surreal copy and paste job. There’s slightly too much space between the stage and the tables where the guests are sitting. The clips for each nominee go on for far too long. The banter between presenters is not so much stilted in a cheesy fashion as it is in a more basic awkwardness, like the exchange that follows on from someone farting during a job interview. The exact point of the awards is also questionable. Despite taking an even-handed approach to the choice of nominees, and offering a rare chance for the exposure of domestic productions, the awards themselves seem more concerned with the disproportionate promotion of the three international categories. While this can be easily justified as an attempt to boost ratings, this focus threatens to undo all of the good work that the awards ceremony actually does. The awards statues themselves reflect this position as a bizarre halfway house, given that they look like a cross between the Oscar statue and one of the wellmeaning bronze Famine memorials dotted around the country. The sheer seriousness with which it takes itself also looks ridiculous when compared to other native awards shows. Its direct competitor, the TV Now awards, seems to have a more realistic idea about what Irish awards shows can possibly hope to achieve. Conceived by Michael O’Doherty, a man whose recent Fade Street appearances have simultaneously positioned him as Ireland’s answer to both Kelly Cutrone and Larry Flynt, the TV Now Awards are the IFTA’s gothic other. Whereas the IFTAs seem concerned with projecting an image of a race of people who are now refined and capable of wearing tuxedoes with the best of them, the TV Now awards are like a trashy ghost that reminds us that we are only ever going to be able to successfully host a semi-formal knees-up that resembles an over-bloated supermarket display for half-price salmon. Its amateurishness is apparent in all facets of its production. There is no attempt made to edit out the very audible audience chatting. Last year’s editors also frequently cut to a gyrating Blathnaid Ní Chófaigh during any lulls in proceedings, like some weird variation on the go-go dancing interludes on a sixties variety show. Despite this, the TV Now Awards work because they are aware of their station. They know that Irish awards ceremonies are only ever going to be of huge importance to flattered British soap stars and domestic celebrities, something which makes the overall product slightly more appealing. Although they are marked by a confusion of purpose, and although they lack a certain self-awareness, the IFTAs are still a worthwhile endeavour. They offer a rare platform for our native film and television industries, and allow for the rightful recognition of domestic talent. Even if this is swaddled in a manic insistence on appearing sophisticated. Michael Barry 7
lack clothes are like a security blanket for me. Throwing on a pair of black jeans and a baggy black tee is like carefully positioning a barrier between you and the rest of the world, and it’s often more flattering than colours. It’s easier than wearing colour too, because black goes with everything - everything else black, that is. But wearing prints and colours requires a careful objective balance to get everything right. So I head for the darker section of my wardrobe anytime I’m in a hurry, a bad mood, or heading out for a night out. But that’s not to say I’ve forsaken colours altogether. My black clothes are reserved for when I’m feeling lazy, or else when I need to show a bit of maturity. On the days I’m not immersed in a cocoon of darkness, I’m 8
ANA KINSELLA: COLOUR usually dressed in the opposite: what’s generally referred to as ‘whimsy’, much like the outfit shown here. It’s what I consider a careful mixture of Season One Gossip Girl, lots of cardigans and a look I call ‘Norwegian schoolgirl’. I’m not quite sure why, at age 21, I’m so drawn to dressing like a precocious 11-yearold, but there’s something about white tights, flouncy skirts, blouses and cardigans that just speaks to me. I think that wearing colour can have a lot to do with your mood, and so generally I try to avoid dressing in too much black in winter when everyone feels gloomy and crap anyway. But for now, my collection of bows and pink things is getting out of hand. I have more polka dot prints than sense. My favourite dress is covered in big yellow sunflowers, a grown-up version of one I owned and wore to death when I was 6 years old. I
have this one peach sundress with cream lace I bought in Paris a year ago in the belief that it would make me look like just like Zooey Deschanel. But for now it hangs in my closet, unworn in the fear that it’ll look like I’m trying to be Zooey Deschanel. So perhaps I am growing up a little. I’m swapping pink tights for black ones more often than not now,and I recognise the obvious fact that a black minidress is probably racier than any blouse-and-high-waisted- skirt combination I can come up with. But I can’t quit this look forever. I own too many silly headscarfs and tights to give it all up. And even on the days I do choose black upon black upon black, I promise to sneak in some hidden whimsy. Being a consistent dresser is overrated. A life on the sartorial dark side is not for me.
AISLING DENG: DARKNESS First things first, I’ll your brains Then I’mma start rockin’ gold teeth and fangs Cos that’s what a motherfuckin’ monster do Monster Giuseppe heel, that’s the monster shoe Nicki Minaj, Monster n my beautiful, dark, twisted fantasy, I strut my stuff down the runway cum street in sky-high Christian Louboutins. Attractive Adonis-like men flank me. To them, my most ardent fans, I am the Messiah of all things desirable (and all its sister synonyms). As I cross the street –FREEZE! - traffic halts to a well-heeled exclamation mark. I stir awake and find myself sprawled across a couches in the Ussher Library. Instead of feeling like the epitome of ‘hot’ I face the cold, harsh reality that I’m really just a scruffy, eclectically dressed (or more tactfully described as ‘kooky’) student. Seeing as it’s the new year (albeit Chinese New Year), I decided to hang up the floaty floral tea dresses for the dark, sombre mystery of French new wave for a day. Doing a Nicki Minaj breakdown on your look needn’t be as scary as her pseudo-possessed rap or make you feel like you’re wearing a wrapper. First thing’s first, the dress. Tight isn’t the dictionary definition of uncomfortable and restraining if you stick to certain materials. Cotton is one of the most breathable of fabrics; it acts as a body regulating instrument and keeps you cool in summer but warm in winter. The amorphous slink that is polyester provides versatility; the stretchable material sculpts on to your shape. However liberated
and comfortable the semi-clad models look (and the more their semi-sheer tops make you squirm) American Apparel manufacture hard-wearing, good quality, comfortable basics (see: the Knit Sweater Crew Neck Dress and Velvet Long Sleeve Mini Dress). I paired my bodycon Topshop dress with a cropped vintage jacket. The ruffle detailing provides an oxymoronic quality. It’s soft yet lends a hard definition to the shoulders (think Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs). This will distract the eye from any undesirable areas (for me my midriff ) and direct it to your shoulders. A new study of 18- to 33-year-olds has shown those who walked in high heels activated their inner and outer calf muscles much more evenly than those who used flatter shoes. Not only does it make the leg appear slimmer but increases muscle activity, toning it. If you do decide to don a pair, the College grounds, especially the Arts block, Hamilton and Front Square, can suddenly resemble a treacherous snakes and ladders board. To counter, this invest in a thick heeled shoe. I find the collection in Clarks are the most accessible. Well-designed, the soles are often made from rubber and are thus more flexible. Little details personalise the whole look and tend to make the statement. For example wearing a broad rimmed boating hat gives an outfit a je ne sais quoi French chic turn and utilising prints provides a point of intrigue. The moral of the story, however, is that (as demonstrated), when it comes down to it, fashion shouldn’t be rendered a serious thing. It should be as fun and inspired as playing dress-up.
ALL PHOTOGRAPHS BY DAVID O’DWYER
TV DIARY #7
by James Kelly Skins. Probably the defining memory of Skins for me were the awkward moments when one of my parents would wander in half way through an episode, right during a risqué sex scene, or when one of the girls has their tits out. Cue the uncomfortable mumbling conversations about how different it is to real life and how good the actors are at ‘doing’ sex scenes. Thanks for that Skins. This will sound very familiar to many of you reading this, but Skins was so much more than that. It was exciting, the sheer enthusiasm of the cast and the vibrancy of the writing. The novelty of actors who were actually sixteen playing sixteen year olds never got old. I distinctly remembering signing into Bebo and seeing ‘Chris is dead’ plastered across my page before I had actually seen the episode. And I’m definitely not sorry if that was a spoiler because you should have known that. Just sayin’. There is a new series of Skins. Two actually. In many ways they are similar, but they represent completely different facets of what Skins is. As always with Skins, out with the old and in with the new, with the new taking the form of an entirely new cast. The other new series of Skins is the US remake of the original. One is very good, the other is fairly awful. Series Five of Skins is in many ways a return to form for the show, going back to the cheerier nature of the first series after ditching the doom and gloom of the last generation. At its core, it’s a very traditional story of being an outcast, from the androgyny of Franky, to the metal-head Rich. It’s as if Sid and Effie had taken centre stage in the original rather than Tony, and it’s all the better for it. In saying that though, the second generation of Skins gave us some fantastic characters, from Naomi and Emily to Thomas, and I’m not sure whether any character of this generation will have the same impact. Grace is an early favourite for me though. Following the US remakes of both Shameless and Being Human, Skins was next on the list of shows to re-imagine/ruin. The remake has been courting huge controversy, with some calling it “the most dangerous show for teenagers ever.” Big words for a show where the strongest profanity is “shit”. Despite its almost frame for frame reproduction of the original, it just feels insincere and forced. It doesn’t seek to shock like the original did, but rather to continue the trend of MTV’s braindead programming. 9
I WANNA BE LIKE YOU by Alex Towers
rangutans are naturally interesting. Whether singing about the aspiration for harnessing fire in The Jungle Book or sulking around Dublin Zoo eating bananas, there is always something inherently wonderful about them. It probably has something to do with their adorable evolutionary proximity to humans. They have fingernails, eyelashes and expressions so similar to ours. We can’t help but be captivated. This capacity to fascinate is what attracted filmmaker Nicolas Philibert to his latest project. Known for his observational documentaries ranging from subjects such as deaf culture (Le Pays des sourds) to a small-town classroom (Être et avoir), Philibert’s latest film offers a rumination on a forty-year-old orangutan named Nénette that lives in Paris’s Jardin des Plantes. Nénette has lived there since 1972 after being taken from her native Borneo. Every day, hundreds of visitors file past her cage, commenting, recording and experiencing her doleful eyes as they gaze out through her mop of auburn fur. Nénette has achieved a celebrity status and, as a result, she has become the star attraction of the Jardin des Plantes, where she lives with her son Tübo. 10
But with Nénette, Philibert has not made a traditional animal documentary. Instead of the usual talking heads intercut with a highlight reel of her most amusing behavior, we are presented with languidly hypnotic shots of Nénette as she eats, sleeps and hangs in her cage. The only faces in the film, besides the orangutans, are distorted reflections of her visitors in her glass enclosure as they each offer their thoughts of the orangutan. So it could be said that Nénette captures captivating captivity. Some have criticised the film as being too meditative, saying it doesn’t offer anything but nonchalant observation. Instead Nénette could be seen as offering a space for the viewers to project their own philosophy. As I learned in my interview with Philibert, this approach was his intention all along. TN2: Where does the idea for a film like Nénette come from? Nicolas Philibert: Well, one day I went for a walk in this little zoo in the centre of Paris. I found I had no time for the other animals and went straight to the ape-house where I fell dead in front the orangutans. I stood there for two hours, just watching them while listening
to the other visitors. This is where I struck upon the idea for Nénette. TN2: Did you automatically choose Nénette as the focus, why not the other orangutans? NP: Well Nénette is the eldest and as she was born in the wild, she is a bit more hesitant. More so than the others, who can come very close to the glass. Nénette is always a bit distant. Also, I liked her name and really just thought she was the most touching. TN2: You never wanted to go into the cage to film her? NP: No, the idea was to film through the glass. The glass is very important in the film. It symbolises what separates us. The glass has a transparency but also an opacity. Nénette herself is very opaque, she is very mysterious and she keeps this mystery from the first image to the end of the film. We can only speculate and imagine what she is thinking. The film is a mirror. It is not a documentaire but it is an experience of gaze. It is a film about looking, watching and even voyeurism. TN2: Did you always know you were going to concentrate on Nénette and feature the
voiceovers of humans in the background? NP: From the very beginning, I had the idea to use voices and never show the humans except for reflections. Also, I didn’ t want to show the other side of her cage. There are different types of voices. First, there are visitors of the zoo, and then I also included her keepers and finally some friends of mine like a psychoanalyst. The idea was to have a nice diversity of human reactions with some serious, some lighthearted and some moralistic.
“SOME SAY SHE LOOKS MELANCHOLY, SOME SAY SHE LOOKS WISE. WE REALLY DO NOT KNOW.”
TN2: You recently compared Nenette to the Mona Lisa, in what way is she like the Mona Lisa? NP: When you are in front of the Mona Lisa you can’t help imagining things. Is she smiling? Why is she smiling? It’s a face that attracts thoughts, articulations and projections. With Nénette, people project their own feelings. Some people say she looks melancholy, others wise. We really do not know. We do know that she is not depressed because years ago they closed the ape-house for three months and the orangutans got very depressed. They stopped eating and were really miserable, but when it reopened they were immediately better. TN2: How long did you record Nénette and what was her reaction to being filmed? NP: I shot for ten days but some days I only shot two hours in the morning and two in the evening, After two days the keepers said she was recognising me. But I am not the first one to film Nénette, thousands of people film her every year. She is a real star. TN2: I felt you focused on some of the more human aspects to Nénette such as her eyes, fingernails and hair. Was this a way of
humanising her? NP: We are very close to these animals and we cannot help comparing ourselves to them. When people are in front of her they notice her hands, eyes and her smile. She often imitates us. If you give her a hat or gloves she will put them on, she cleans the glass like the keepers do and she eats her yogurt and drinks her tea. In a way she is an educated monster. Not educated, but she has a civilised quality. TN2: Finally if Nénette is about people reacting to an orangutan, how would you like people to react to your orangutan film? NP: That is a good question. I don’t know exactly. I would like them to be touched by her and by the originality of the film. It is very strange film and a very different one. I hope that people can find the inherent curiosity of a film about the experience of filming an orangutan. I think we attribute feelings, intentions and thoughts to her. In talking about her, we talk about ourselves. This is a film on the gaze, on representation; it’s a metaphor for cinema, in particular for documentary. So ultimately I like to think that the film will hypnotise people. Nénette is showing at the Irish Film Institute. 11
SLOW FOOD by Martin McKenna
oil in the bag” seems an unlikely technique to form part of highend cuisine today. But just as pretentious artists can call ordinary inkjet prints of their work giclée, pretentious cooks have their own French term to glamourise this technique: sous vide, which means “under vacuum”. The idea is simple: for a given foodstuff – a piece of meat, say – there is an optimal internal temperature that balances moisture loss with the tenderising effect of the heat-induced breakdown of protein and the flavourenhancing effect of rendered fat. When you shoot for medium-rare the normal way – with a hot pan – the goal is to whip the steak off the heat before it exceeds this temperature. When the environment around the steak is perhaps three times hotter than the desired internal temperature, knowing when that temperature has been reached means practice and probably a lot of overcooked steaks. Sous vide solves this difficulty by vacuumpacking the steak and immersing it in a water bath held at the desired temperature for the meat. This way, the meat will slowly and precisely come up to the desired temperature but never exceed it, making overcooking impossible. Time isn’t a factor either; once the meat has reached this temperature, it can remain there for hours without any loss in quality. After a quick sear out of the bag on an extremely hot pan to caramelise the surface, you have an immaculately medium-rare steak. (If you prefer your steak well-done, a good tip is to have a goat’s cheese tart instead). If you’ve eaten in any decent restaurants during the last ten years you’ve almost
certainly eaten food cooked in this way. It’s as suited to fish, poultry and vegetables as it is to meat. Restaurants use dedicated thermostatcontrolled water baths and vacuum-packers for the technique, which makes adopting it in the home kitchen difficult. The SousVide Supreme is a €599 device designed for the home market and includes the water bath and a vacuum-packer. Alex Renton tested the device in the Guardian last year and described the results as being “as meltingly tender as a Mills & Boon kiss”. An American chef and writer, Kenji LopezAlt, has been trying to take the cost-cutting much further than the SousVide Supreme. His alternative to the expensive machinery is brilliantly simple: an insulated picnic or beer cooler. Filled with water at the right temperature, confirmed with a thermometer, it will easily hold the temperature for long enough to cook your food. The vacuum-packing can be simulated by almost completely submersing a zip-lock bag containing your food in the water. By leaving only the corner of the bag open above the surface of the water, the pressure of the water around the rest of the bag will force the air out through the opening, which can then be sealed and the bag completely submerged. The curiosity of the biochemist in me piqued, I tried his method for a New Year’s Eve menu (with scallops, cauliflower purée and a teriyaki reduction to start, and glace au four for dessert, another temperature-bending dish of ice cream insulated with meringue and baked in the oven.) I bought two fillet steaks in Marks & Spencer, which were conveniently already
vacuum-packed, and put them in my picnic cooler. About two hours later, I peeled away the plastic to reveal two fleshy pink steaks. Their appearance was bemusing – like the interior of cooked meat as I’m used to seeing, only on the surface too. A taste test was underwhelming, lacking both seasoning and the caramelised crust, but the tenderness was undeniable. With a shower of Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and after a quick sear, no more than a minute or two, the meat
SOUS VIDE VACUUMPACKS THE STEAK AND IMMERSES IT IN A WATER BATH HELD AT THE DESIRED TEMPERATURE FOR THE MEAT. looked much more conventional. And its taste, transformed. Though this method is a very different way of doing things, it produces results familiar to any connoisseur: beautifully tender and juicy meat that supports its natural flavour. The technique might be new, but the goals aren’t.
SOUS VIDE STEAK RECIPE: Fill an insulated picnic cooler with water heated to 54 C. When using conventional sous vide recipes, with this unconventional technique, increase the temperature by about 1 degree for each hour of the cooking time. Unless you are using steaks already vacuumpacked, place steaks in a zip-lock bag. Close seal to within an inch of the corner of the bag. Force out air with your hands, then slowly submerge bag leaving only open part of seal just above the surface. Close seal and completely submerge the bag. If you want to cook pre-vacuumed meat straight from the freezer, add an extra 15-30 minutes of cooking time to any recipe. Wait at least 45 minutes or up to 12 hours. This is perfect for guests arriving late. When ready to serve, add 1 tablespoon oil to a heavy pan and heat until oil lightly smokes. Meanwhile, remove steaks from bag and pat dry with a paper towel. Season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add steaks to pan and brown on all sides, about 2 minutes total. Serve immediately.
Equipment Picnic or beer cooler Thermometer Zip-lock bags (or pre-vacuumed meat)
FALLING, FALLING, FALLING... ames Blake is doing something that catches people unawares. His first few EPs, recognised on plenty of endof-year lists last year despite relatively low sales, planted him firmly in the bass music camp. He played live with Mount Kimbie, the duo that essentially define postdubstep, and his own work seemed likely to expand on that. Then his album came out. And it was full of silence. Note for note more indebted to gospel music or R ‘n’ B than Croydon dubplates, it’s dominated by empty spaces and his voice, high in the mix and unrepentant in its stake for centre-stage. Do not expect wobble. But have your subwoofer on, just in case. “I wasn’t hoarding all these songs so I could release this album. I didn’t want to put vocals out on dubstep labels. It wasn’t fair to those labels. Those labels didn’t want vocals, and that’s the reason I didn’t put them out. It was about the fact that they didn’t fit over where I currently was. So yeah, it was nice to keep them back for that reason. “The vocal stuff was written all at the same time as the EPs. It was written over the course of a year, staggered over the course of a year, just like the EPs. At the same time I was writing Why Don’t You Call Me, I was writing the Klavierwerke EP. So the sound just moves on and moves on. In that time I might 14
by Karl McDonald write a vocal track or I might write a beat. It just happens that they all got collected onto one album, because my vocal was the running thread. In my head they’re not really separate to the other tracks.” But the abrupt change in style must have felt risky for an artist beginning to get international attention. Dubstep fans give off the impression of being an unforgiving caste, and the album isn’t exactly the type of thing a DJ who had played his earlier tracks would be able to drop. Blake is unfazed. “People like music. I’m not really here to serve one collection of people. It’s about exploring your own sounds. Surely that’s what every producer does, or singer or artist. It’s about exploring what makes you happy, and I do a lot of different things. I only did Limit To Your Love at first. That was the one vocal song I’d done at that time. I kinda kept going, did Lindesfarne. I just gradually got there, you know.” As much credibility and buzz as the EPs earned, it was the release of Limit To Your Love, a Feist cover stripped to the bone and furnished with a filling-shaking monotone bassline, that propelled Blake to a more
mainstream audience. Zane Lowe picked it as his hottest track, it circulated on blogs, and eventually Blake landed at number two on BBC’s Sound of 2011 poll. Previous holders of the second place slot include Bloc Party, Franz Ferdinand and Duffy. Lady Gaga was sixth for 2009. It may be a self-fulfilling prophecy, but it’s rarely wrong. “It is nice, but I’m not trying to be played on Radio 1 or whatever. It is cool that DJs are buying it to play out. I’m not trying to make dubstep commercial.” Blake’s father is a musician – seek out the rumours yourself online – and that led to an
“I’M NOT REALLY HERE TO SERVE ONE COLLECTION OF PEOPLE. IT’S ABOUT EXPLORING YOUR OWN SOUNDS.”
early start with music. But it was at university that he found his universe to inhabit. “I started to play really young. I started to play piano when I was five or six. And I was singing then as well. But I started making electronic music when I was 19, I was producing dubstep tunes. Lots of people in my Uni would listen to dubstep with me, a lot of my friends. We got into that music together, and I had stuff to play them because I was writing it as well.” It happened quickly from there. James Blake is still only 21. The fact that his name and face are so well known is semi-remarkable in itself, given that an analogous post-dubstep poster boy Burial seemed like he would catch fire if either were ever revealed. Blake even sings his own song in his video for Limit To Your Love. For him it’s a non-issue. “I just wanted to be honest. Not to say that not to have a video and not to use your own name isn’t honest, but sometimes going under loads of different pseudonyms might not be the best reflection of what you do. I feel like everything I do comes from the same place. “Some producers go under different pseudonyms because they are in different mindsets when they make music. Someone like Ramadanman who has Pearson Sound, he feels like the sound is sufficiently different that he needs a different name. But with my
“STOP LISTENING TO THAT RADIO STATION AND GO AND FIND SOME MUSIC THAT’S GENUINE.” music I didn’t want to do that because I felt like it made it more identifiably me. But then what works for other people doesn’t necessarily work for you. Coming out and having that video, because of the vocals in it, people kind of need to see your face, and it was good to be honest about that. “ They are not just vocals, though. Blake harmonises with Blake. Spirituals are conjured with autotune. Given the fact that Jay-Z felt the need to try and kill autotune altogether with Death of Autotune on The Blueprint III, it’s worth asking whether he’s intentionally bucking against the stigma. “There’s no real stigma to me. There might be a public stigma. It’s just like any other effectto me, like chorus or delay. In ten years,
people won’t care how much pop music has been littered with it. There are quite different uses of autotune. The way T-Pain used it was to enable him to sing. It wasn’t to correct bad singing, it was just a new sound. A lot of pop records have it on there to correct bad singing, but I don’t need pitch correction. Bon Iver doesn’t need pitch correction. “Neither do Mary Mary. They used it on Shackles. They weren’t trying to correct their voices, they have great voices. I think the stigma attached to it is because people can’t tell a good voice from a bad voice. If they really complain about it, they’re just hearing it too much and they can’t stand it, in which case they should stop listening to that radio station and go and find some music that’s genuine. Or they can’t tell when it’s being used and it frustrates them. In that case they should go research some good voices. I just wanted to use it because it’s an effect.” The strange thing is, all of a sudden, that radio station might be playing James Blake. And though he shoulders the burden of commercial visibility with pointed modesty and an extremely strong sense of connection to the dubstep scene, it becomes him too. He’s not a bad looking guy, and he makes music that, while definitely not pop, is on some level universally relatable. There have been worse people anointed. 15
NCE UPON A TIME, THE PEOPLE OF IRELAND WERE KNOWN FOR THEIR STORIES. THEY WERE FULL OF WORDS AND WIT, TALES AND MYTH. THE COUNTRY WAS TEEMING WITH PROFESSIONAL SEANCHAITHE, TRAVELLING STORYTELLERS WHO WOULD TELL THE HUNDREDS OF TALES THEY KNEW AND ENTERTAINED THE LOCAL PEOPLE AROUND THE FIRESIDES. THAT ERA HAS NOW PASSED. People sit around the harsher glow of the television and watch the stories told on the wscreen rather than listen to those coming from the mouths of those around them. And yet, the love of the tale well told has not been lost and is being revived all around us in the city we live in today. The storytelling scene in Dublin has positively exploded in the last year, and new clubs and gatherings are appearing all across the city, just waiting for a few more eager ears. My first experience of storytelling was with
“STORYTELLING IS AN ELEMENT OF OUR CULTURE WHICH HAS NEARLY BEEN LOST” Milk and Cookie Stories, which started as the brainchild of two Trinity students. One of the founders, Sean O hÉigeartaigh, described the idea coming from the wish to have “a night just about stories.” This idea blossomed into a monthly event in Exchange Dublin in Temple Bar, where the substantial venue is packed every night. Just inside the door you are presented with free tea and more cookies and cake than you could ever hope to consume in one evening. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming and the following three hours feature a handful of practiced storytellers, as well as an open mic portion. Sean described his belief in “everyone having a story to tell.” Milk & Cookies also occasionally arranges an After Dark session, the first of which was held in August of last year in the basement of the Clarendon Street Hotel. An incredibly bohemian night of storytelling, comedy, dance, burlesque, music both electric and acoustic and of course the usual stock of cookies was the order of the night, and was easily one of the best free events of the summer. The maze of rooms which makes up the basement of the 16
by Gráinne Clear hotel provided different stages for different acts, and there was truly something for everyone. The next After Dark is currently being organised for March. For a more structured story night, the Narrative Arts Club provides a night of experimental storytelling which cannot fail to entertain. Stories varying from Irish folk to Arabian Nights are related through charismatic performance, and the pair bounce off one other exceptionally well. On occasions, there is musical accompaniment and often there are artists dotted around the bar capturing the stories and the tellers. Here again there is a warm and welcoming atmosphere and high quality storytelling. Coilín also runs a Storytelling Workshop which runs usually once per month and provides the perfect environment in which to find your feet as teller. For the more seasoned storyteller, a very enjoyable night can be found at the longest-running storytelling event
“FREE OR LOW COST EVENTS ARE MAKING THIS ONE OF THE BEST TIMES IN IRELAND FOR THE ARTS” in the city, Dublin Yarnspinners, who have been meeting in the Teachers’ Club in Parnell Square since 1994. Those who attend this event are generally older in years, but again there is an incredibly friendly atmosphere and they always welcome new story-lovers. Founded by professional tellers, the event features some of the top performers in the country and is a night not to be missed by anyone
interested especially in the more traditional style. A guest storyteller generally entertains for most of the show, but members of the audience are also invited to tell their tales, though you’ve got to be good to mix with these guys. Storytelling is an element of our culture which has very nearly been lost, and now in this time of recession free or low cost events such as these are making this one of the best times in Ireland for the arts. Events that don’t cost money and aren’t out to make money lead to friendly, pleasant atmospheres and this is only encouraged more by the nature of storytelling, which is a social and engaging experience. If you are in search of free entertainment that is something more than watching the television and that connects you with people and the culture of your country, then storytelling is definitely for you. Dublin Yarnspinners meets on the second Thursday of every month in the Teachers’ Club, 36 Parnell Square at 8pm. Milk & Cookie Stories holds an event on the second Tuesday of every month in Exchange D u b l i n just past the Turk’s Head in Temple Bar. The t h e m e of this month’s is Show & Tell. Check out their wonderful website at http://www.milkandcookiestories.com/ The Narrative Arts Club performs in the Library Bar of the Central Hotel, Exchequer Street, and the Storytelling Workshop takes place once a month in the Dublin Shambala Centre, 19 Herbert Street. http://www.narrativeartsclub.com/
GOLD SOUNDS by Karl McDonald
atrick Kelleher occupies an interesting position within the Irish music scene. When his debut album You Look Cold came out in 2009, it managed to scoop Best Irish Album of the Year in the reader’s poll on Nialler9. It wasn’t even shortlisted for the Choice Music Prize. His homely experimentalism is the kind of thing that makes crusaders of fans and withering cynics of detractors. 2010 saw the release of the Contact Sports 7” (video screenshot above), and ongoing collaboration with Children Under Hoof, Catscars and more. On the very brink of finishing his new album, TN2 visited him (and his dog) in his cottage in Stoneybatter. Seriously. How far are you into recording the next album? I’m finished pretty much. I’m getting Paul from the Jimmy Cake to record some piano on one song, and then I have a verse that I’m not happy with to re-record. One verse. And just the vocals. That’s it. It just needs to be mastered then. Did you do it again yourself at home? Yeah, me, and Paul on that one song, and then Cian Nugent playing a wailing Prince guitar solo on another one. It’s cool. What’s the vibe of it, would you say? It’s disco-y, but it’s quite slow. There’s delayed
drums and reverbed drums and stuff like that. But contrary to the other album, I think I’m playing bass on all of the tracks. Would you say it’s more beat-driven? Yeah, definitely. All the songs bar one have drum machines on them. Also, when I recorded the other one I was living in a big house with other people and all their instruments were there so I was nicking stuff. I don’t have any drums here in the house now. Are you going to try take it a step further? Yeah, well the UK I think is the logical step. But only in the last year did I even play outside of Dublin with the band. We went to Cork and Galway and Limerick, and I went to Belfast and Tralee and Sligo by myself. Do you reckon any of that is off the back of winning best album in the Nialler9 poll in 2009?
“WE WERE AT THE GRAMOPHONE DISCO AT ELECTRIC PICNIC DRINKING POITÍN.”
Yeah. Sometimes I forget how much things like that have helped me. Like, Nialler9 wouldn’t actually get in touch with me. I know him, but I don’t know him very well. He’s like an invisible force. I think that got a fair bit of notice. And David Kitt was giving out to [Irish Times blogger/journalist] Jim Carroll as well, and everyone seems to know about that. Which was great for me. Not so great for David Kitt, his last album was wicked and it should have been bigger than it was. It’s his best album I think. Did you talk to him after? I was chatting to him. We were at the Gramophone Disco at Electric Picnic drinking poitín. I think I was chatting to him briefly about it. Nothing really in depth. I really liked that he was being supportive. You’re doing a split 7” with Squarehead soon. How did that come about? I just had this song that I wrote years ago when I was mad into Camera Obscura and Belle and Sebastian. And I have this idea of it being this lovely lush 60s wall of sound vibe. And any time I recorded it myself, it didn’t achieve that, it sound lacklustre. So I thought Squarehead might be able to achieve that. And they did, I think. With Fiachra’s help as well. Last week they said your song on the split is the best song they’ve ever heard. That’s ridiculous. 17
OF MOUSSE AND MEN
Rose Ponsonby & Sadhbh O’Brien
MONDAY A friend tells me that he had sex over the week-
end. That’s double figures for him, ten sexual partners. Well done, you arsehole. I think for a moment before replying, which he implores me to do. Six. That’s too many, I think. If the first one worked out then I would have stuck with her, surely. I failed each time, or they failed me. When I get home I write down the names of the girls I’ve done sex with. Six. I can’t remember one of their surnames and dry heave in self-disgust. What happened to self-affirmation Mondays? TU ESDAY The number six is haunting me. I start notic-
ing it everywhere. There were six people in my morning lecture. I have six cigarettes left. Ha, now I have five. Fuck you, the number six. I’m comforted by the knowledge that sixteen would be much worse. Ric ‘The Nature Boy’ Flair is, officially, a sixteen-time world heavyweight champion in professional wrestling. That means he lost at least fifteen world heavyweight titles.
“Six. That’s too many, I think. If the first one worked out then I would have stuck with her.”
Chocolate is a dear, sweet, indulgent thing, and mousse is one of its most precious incarnations. If you’re taking it easy this Valentine’s season there is no better company. And if you’re out to seduce, there is no better weapon. It’s no big secret that chocolate gets the ladies going, and a man who cooks, there’s nothing sexier. You know someone cares when the meal hasn’t been pulled out of a Marks and Spencer box. This particular version of mousse is absolutely foolproof. It looks great, but requires deceptively little effort or skill. If you’re really new to this, the only obstacle you might encounter is separating your eggs. This can be done in the shell. Hold it over a bowl. Give your egg a bash. Pour your yolk from side to side, and let the whites run into the bowl. If you really botch it, grab a spoon and try salvage. So if she didn’t appreciate you enough already, she will now. It never hurts to out-do her expectations so the next time she lambasts your romantic skills you can gently remind her of that one time when you made her mousse. Chocolate is the way to many a woman’s heart, not to mention your way on to other seasonal delights (see left).
Sadhbh & Rose’s
WEDNESDAY “It is completely down to my personal en-
deavours if football scarves become fashionable in Dublin City.” The English Girl laughs as I assume only God would laugh if he were a nubile young woman, or if he existed. I half-mindedly mention God and chuckle. She laughs again, less enthusiastically now, seemingly hesitant and slightly uncomfortable. She then says that she thinks there could be a higher power of some sort, maybe. She’s one of those people that live with no regard for redemption as a pursuit, yet maintain the safety net of Judæo-Christian agnosticism. “Really? That’s cool,” I say, nodding like dashboard Jesus who, I might add, is also a fictional character. “It’s basically Pascal’s Wager,” she says. No it isn’t, my sweet embraceable you. TH U RSDAY Hold on a second, she’s delicious! A girl in my
class, from the year below spots me trying to develop an algebraic formula aimed at exposing a reasonably accurate correlation between the details of a person’s romantic life and their happiness or unhappiness. I haven’t written my mission/hypothesis on the page, so I think I get away with it. I smile at her. My tendency to fall in love at any given moment is both weakness and strength. She smiles back, and I’m already reorganising my iPod in my head to make it more impressive to her, were she ever to use it. I forget the English Girl temporarily. I call this one, Girl Seven. I’m not very inventive with names. Example: I’ll call all my kids ‘Steve.’ FRIDAY I clean the kitchen today. The only girl who texts
me is my mother. “Luv u lots. Mum. X.” The ladies in the audience go “awwwwh,” expressing sympathy for the anonymous sex columnist. “He’d be such a good boyfriend, so sweet.” 18
200g dark chocolate 4 eggs, separated 1tbsp coffee-flavoured liqueur (or mint or orange) 300ml thickened cream Serves 8 (or one, we won’t judge) Melt your chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Remove it and let it cool for ten minutes, so it doesn’t ruin your cream. Stir in the egg yolks and liqueur of choice. Beat the cream with an electric whisk until soft peaks form. In two parts, fold the cream into the chocolate mix. Beat egg whites with electric whisk until stiff peaks form. Fold into your mix. Refrigerate in small cups, glasses, or ramekins, for about 3 hours. Serve with berries, shaved white chocolate, crushed amaretti, or on its own in massive quantities.
LITTLE BIG PLANET
by Andy Kavanagh
LITTLEBIGPLANET 2 Playstation 3 apan has a musical movement called Visual Kei. Its artists, mostly rock bands of various styles, concern themselves more with dressing as androgynous as possible than making music with any substance. In 2006, An Café, one the more popular visual kei bands, released their second album Magnya Carta to widespread critical acclaim. It was the first time one of these records was actually considered to be quite good, and the band were clearly as surprised by this as everyone else. Unwilling to stray from the disco-rock stylings that made them, what followed were second rate imitations, wrapped in louder and shinier packaging each time. By turning everything up to eleven, all the genius and charm of Magnya Carta became obnoxious and derivative. The same principal can be seen everywhere. From The Godfather III to Iron Man 2, simply giving an audience more of something doesn’t mean better results. This is the problem with sequels. In an age where art and entertainment have been woven together and found themselves with the much sought-after ability to make money, it can be difficult to tell when something has been genuinely improved upon and when it’s simply being repackaged in some sort of Malibu-Stacey-With-New-Hat campaign. Games, being expensive yet ethereal by nature, suffer from unwarranted sequels more than any other medium. The announcement of any new title in a long-running franchise creates simultaneous feelings of excitement and trepidation in the hearts of its fans. To better understand the skepticism surrounding LittleBigPlanet 2 requires a history lesson. 20
LittleBigPlanet wasn’t about the game you got in the box as much as the game you could create from it. Players were given a dazzling array of tools with which to create their own levels and upload them to the Playstation Network for all to see. Even when the game was finished, there were countless levels created by people all over the world just waiting to be enjoyed or endured. It was the game that would keep on giving. How do you improve on a game that was founded on the idea of constant creation? The long answer is, expand the source material without losing focus, you build on what came before without destroying or removing and you give the audience a chance to appreciate it in new ways. The short answer is, you make LittleBigPlanet 2. The plot, which was one of few areas where the first game fell short, concerns itself with an other-worldy, Lovecraftian Chinese dragon thing called Negativitron, who is determined to destroy Craftworld. Sackboy, our hero, must join The Alliance, a team of increasingly bizarre and hilarious characters lead by one Larry Da Vinci, who are equally determined to save Craftworld. It’s not HalfLife, but it’s functional and provides a greater sense of purpose to the campaign than was found in LBP. As an antagonist, Negativitron is incredibly effective and the way in which the environments change on his arrival creates an air of child-like terror. It’s never scary, but it’s certainly never pleasant. Visually, it would appear at first glance that not much has changed and that’s exactly what makes LBP2’s visual overhaul so special. The first game looked spectacular and the exquisite lighting, extraordinary detail,
and inexplicable charm that made Sackboy’s world so wonderful are all present and accounted for. The improvements are sublime in their subtlety. Cut-scenes are made inside the game engine and make use of the new camera angle feature to add cinematic flair to proceedings and Sackboy is even more adorable than before thanks to a set of genuinely charming animations such as a ballet pirouette during longer jumps. Like its predecessor, LBP2 encourages the player to create levels of their very own. The tool set is even more comprehensive than before allowing would-be designers more freedom and control over their creations than they could ever have imagined. The ability to program the behaviour of perilous devices, trigger switches and the hilarious little sackbots is quite literally a game changer. In order to access the create section of the game, at least half of the tutorial videos (there are fifty in total) must be watched, which is unfortunate for people who created in LBP and already know how things work. It can be quite daunting however and a lot of the options available are so niche and specific, even someone familiar with LBP’s create suite might not think to find them. LittleBigPlanet 2 is everything a good sequel should be. It’s more attractive, more accessible and generally just more appealing. It’s countless new additions enhance the experience without overpowering their source. It might not be the revolution the original LittleBigPlanet was, but it doesn’t need to be. LBP2 has refined and expanded a modern day classic. You can’t ask for more than that. Andy Kavanagh
THE WALKING DEAD
JAMES BLAKE James Blake
Girl Talk M USIC James Blake
BOOKS Comic books are lame. You can try to
dress them up and call them graphic novels, but you know what? They are still very much not cool. Sorry to have to tell you. But here’s the thing: the fact that they’re so lame is totally perfect. It leaves them unchanged and raw for those of us who don’t mind reading an illustrated story under our covers late at night, or those of who slide back issues of the Green Lantern in between the open pages of much hipper books (just me?). Comic book fans get to sit and enjoy an incredibly powerful narrative form that, for the most part, has changed very little since its inception. It’s awesome. The Walking Dead is probably best known to most people as the recent AMC television, adapted for television by Shawshank Redemption director Frank Darabont. The show is exceedingly well written and the acting is even better and I’m not here to offer the well-worn pretension that “the original is so much better.” Rather I want to insist that the original, despite being drawn in pencil and being a little heavy-handed with Batman-esque sound effects, is worth your time. The comic was started in 2003 by Robert Kirkman and was published monthly by Image Comics. It quickly developed a rabid following online and was passed around via email and flash drives. I first encountered it over the summer, when someone who was aware of my undying (pun intended) affection
for zombies, slipped a few issues onto my computer. I was hooked. The Walking Dead proves the narrative worth of the comic effortlessly and continuously. Kirkman and his illustrators, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard, develop a pathos that is indisputably tangible. The character’s facial expressions and body language is heartbreaking as they come to grips with the heinous reality of their new world. Walking Dead is so much more than a postapocalyptic zombie story, though. It is a story of how humans change and adapt. Kirkman chronicles the course of love in a broken world with real narrative talent, and then on top of that, every terror and triumph that our survivors experience is driven home with stunning visuals from Moore and Adlard. It’s not a book for the faint of heart. It can be gruesome and at times, genuinely scary. But no matter how awesome those moments may be, they are really just flourishes for a truly powerful story of survival and alienation in a new America – an America that may not be as united as it once was. The Walking Dead is a worthy read. It’s not going to impress your girlfriend or make that cute guy ask you out, but it’s going to consume your attention. You will open it one afternoon and three and a half hours later you will gasp and raise your head and come back to the real world, where there are no zombies, yet. Stuart Winchester
reaching number 2 on the BBC’s Sound of 2011 poll may have come as a much needed life-affirmation to those whose ears have been numbed by the brand of sentimental neo-pop that has taken over the charts in recent years. The BBC poll is really more about second-guessing the state of the mass market than promoting innovative music, which isn’t necessarily reprehensible in itself. But it seems possible that the compilers are using his 90s hip-hop influences to brand him as a kind of retro-chic, another symptom of the terrified nostalgia that has student club nights firmly in its stranglehold. This debut album has alleviated my fear. It is a record unmistakeably involved in reclaiming that space between the retro and the futuristic that has been so neglected for so long: the Now. The album is shaped by an awareness of this conflict. The songs move in two times: with the jumping fluorescent-legwarmer-clad 90s kid, and the static buzz of an iPod charger. These cultural tropes meet metrically and the beat is always being chased, or chastened, by another. Moreover, the album differs from Blake’s earlier releases - it is not a compiled production feat that runs on and on, but a collection of deeply personal and carefully structured songs. It is spacious, pensive music, and the space between and around the sounds is as important as the sounds themselves. Interestingly, silence seems to be a growing cultural voice at the moment. Each generation suffers accusation of mindlessness from its parents, but with the advent of reality TV and internet networking sites, ours has had it pretty bad. Perhaps the children of digitalisation are finally getting a chance to hear themselves think in the saturated, empty seconds of Blake’s music. This is genre bending, excessive hyphenation-inspiring stuff (retro-gospel-dubstepsoul? minimalist-electronica-hip-pop?) that you don’t have to wear skinny jeans or know what an oscillator does to listen to. It is boundary-breaking and it is beautiful. On I Never Learnt to Share, chord progressions that would be at home in a gospel chapel are played out on Gameboy-synths, and with calm confidence give way to bass heavy nurave-worthy electro-blare, as a choir of James Blakes mournfully chant a single line about familial dysfunction. Dance to it, cry to it, like to it, love to it. This is an album you cannot afford to miss. Anna Clifford 21
TRUE GRIT III Directors: Joel & Ethan Coen
CARIBOU ISLAND David Vann BOOKS I should be honest: I wasn’t entirely
sure what the word ‘caribou’ meant before I agreed to review Caribou Island. So, fearing I wouldn’t understand it, I decided to look the word up. Within the first three pages of the book, however, it became obvious that Caribou Island was not going to be an island known for its “large, North America deer of the genus rangifer”. No, Caribou Island was going to be a metaphor. David Vann is the author of Legend of a Suicide, the hugely successful collection of stories which explored the suicide of his father from a series of fictional viewpoints. His first novel, Caribou Island explores many of the same themes, using similar surroundings, motifs, names. Their histories vary slightly from book to book, but it seems like these are the same characters, too. A retired couple, Gary and Irene are trapped in a loveless marriage of thirty years. Together, they intend to build and live in a log cabin on Caribou Island, a dream of wilderness Gary has had for years. Irene is less enthusiastic, thinking the project little more than a way out of the marriage for Gary. She begins to experience excruciating headaches, but with the help of painkillers, she continues to help Gary build the cabin. Alone on the island, the couple’s problems are magnified. Irene’s breakdown hastens and the story comes to a well-handled conclusion. There is even time for a storm scene, in which Gary – part King Lear, part Alexander Portnoy – masturbates onto the foundations of the cabin. Vann writes prose without flourish and has an annoying habit of pointing out his metaphors. So, we read: “An omen, but she didn’t know how to read it”, and, best of all, “she was thinking this was a kind of metaphor”. Nonetheless, the characters in this storyline are well-drawn and convincing. If only Vann had included it in Legend of a Suicide – it would have fit perfectly. Instead, he attaches two long, threadbare plotlines concerning the couple’s children in order to flesh the story out into a full-length novel. The characters are as unbelievable as they are uninteresting, and after nearly 300 pages in their irritating company, the reader has joined Gary in his dream of wilderness. Kevin Breathnach 22
FILM The Coen Brothers are known for the
masterful way in which they take a genre story and warp it into something exceptional. The Big Lebowski is their take on a detective story, Intolerable Cruelty their romantic comedy and O Brother Where Art Thou their musical. Now with True Grit, they are applying their cerebral peculiarities to the western. Although not the first time the pair have retold a story their own way (they remade The Ladykillers in 2004 with Tom Hanks), they have stressed that they aren’t remaking the 1969 True Grit, but instead offering a more faithful adaptation of Charles Portis’s source novel. In doing so their True Grit focuses on 14-year-old Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld). Sharp-witted and resourceful, Mattie sets about planning a pedantic revenge strategy after her father is murdered by outlaw Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin). After inquiring about a U.S Marshal to track Cheney down, she settles for Rooster Cogburn, (Jeff Bridges) due to the legend of his mercilessness. However cocky Texas Ranger LaBoeuf (Matt Damon) has been tracking Cheney, and joins the pair to hunt down the outlaw. While the plot appears to be a customary cowboy story, the Coens’s transform it into something extraordinary through their dialogue. Mattie Ross follows the long line of fast-talking, quick-witted Coen leading ladies and Steinfield’s endearing performance draws comparison with Frances McDormand in Fargo and Burn After Reading. Her straightforward, bible-spouting turn is a highlight of the film, as is her repartee with her two older male co-stars (“you do not give out much
sugar with your pronouncements” a bruised LaBoeuf remarks after one of her caustic digs). Matt Damon also displays a natural ability at delivering Coen dialogue, his swaggering “rodeo clown” Ranger veering knowledgeably between earning the audience’s sympathy and scorn. But it is Jeff Bridges who steals the film from his co-stars, much like he did with The Big Lebowski. Whether drunkenly flinging biscuits to shoot at or riding guns blazing against five men, Bridges delivers a career best performance. The supporting cast, including Barry Pepper and Domhnall Gleeson also shine, but it’s the leads that remain in the memory. But the way in which the brothers subvert True Grit into something more than just another western is through applying their offbeat humor. The po-faced marketing with Johnny Cash’s Christian battle hymn God’s Gonna Cut You Down echoing throughout is almost selling a different film. Whether it’s LaBoeuf ruefully revealing that he almost kissed Mattie as she slept (despite, he said, her being “very young, and sick…and unattractive”) or Mattie laying into Cogburn’s speech impediment (telling him that futile is not spelt “f-u-d-e-l”), emphasis is put on the absurdity. Really it could be said that the film is funny in the way that Steve Buscemi’s foot in the woodchipper in Fargo was funny. Dialing down the eccentric means the Coen’s have the most financially successful film of their career, yet their trademarks (though diluted) are still present and the brothers have once again delivered an outstanding film. Alex Towers
RABBIT HOLE Director: John Cameron Mitchell
LE CAFÉ DES IRLANDAIS 12-13 Georges Street, Dublin 2
FOOD Anyone will tell you the same thing
about a true French bistro: the atmosphere is as important as the food. If a bistro does a fantastic steak frites, but looks like a Tesco, then all involved are completely missing the point. A good French bistro needs to have tasty, traditional food while at the same time looking like it has been teleported from some forgotten alley in Paris. Luckily, Le Café des Irlandais on Great George’s Street has both the food and the atmosphere necessary for a good French meal. The café, which is situated in a dining room that dates back to 1894, is filled to the brim with luscious French decor. Not a detail is spared - the floor is black-and-white checkerboard, the bar is all shiny brass and elegantly carved wood, there are bunches of lavender on the tables and a fireplace crackles in the corner on cold nights. There are, however, some reminders that you are in Dublin and not in Paris - for instance, the wallpaper features pictures of Oscar Wilde and James Joyce. In addition, all the food is sourced locally (much of it from the nearby Temple Bar market). The manager, Vera O’Grady, mentioned this as one of her main goals for the cuisine of Café des Irlandais. The food is not supposed to be strictly French, but instead Franco-Irish. The dishes reflect this - they are country French cuisine, hearty meat dishes and warm soups as opposed to the somewhat less accessible
food favoured by many other French restaurants. The vegetables in particular are delicious - cooked to perfection and served drizzled in juice. Vegetarians beware, however: while the vegetables are wonderful, there are very few vegetarian options on the menu. In addition to accessible food, the price is also reasonably friendly to student budgets - my entrée at dinner was €9.50, and my desert was only €4.50. While the restaurant has been open only a short while, O’Grady has ambitious plans for the space. A theatre is opening in the restaurant’s basement in late February, showing lunchtime and early evening plays and performances. Many of the waiting-staff employed at the café are aspiring performers hoping to be involved in this new basement theatre. All in all, I would recommend Le Café des Irlandais to students looking to experience French-style Irish food in a charming setting. While the price may be a bit more expensive than we students are used to, I think the atmosphere and food are worth the extra euros. The fact all of the ingredients are locally sourced, and the restaurant Irish-owned and staffed also make it a good choice for those wishing to support the local economy. With the opening of the theatre and a prix-fixe Valentine’s Day menu coming up within the next few months, there are more reasons every day to give Le Café des Irlandais a try. Christina Newkirk
FILM Rabbit Hole is the story of a couple’s grief
following the death of their child. It is also a film in which, I am unashamed to say, I cried continually throughout. It was truly exhausting. However don’t let this put you off watching it. Although it doesn’t sound appealing, the film’s surprisingly cathartic qualities meant I actually came out of the darkened cinema feeling pretty optimistic. Becca (Nicole Kidman) and Howie (Aaron Eckhart) are a couple, who after eight months are still struggling with the grief of their four year old son’s death. However as Rabbit Hole is set after the tragedy, the audience are saved from the excessive falsity of an actor attempting to portray the immediacy and intensity of the anguish. Instead we’re shown the abject poignancy of a tragedy, which has lingered on months after it occurred. Rabbit Hole also attests to the depth of Nicole Kidman’s acting abilities. Always comfortable in the role of the controlling, emotionally distant woman, she once again plays the part to perfection here. She struggles alone with her internal emotional chaos, and rejects all attempts from her husband and family to comfort her. Her rejection of religion and the “will of God” as a viable explanation for her son’s death is refreshing, an acknowledgement of modernity. It is character development is what provides the optimism in this film. Becca and Howie face the gradual dissolution of their marriage in the face of grief, but Howie in particular (though tempted to take the easy way out) is bravely determined to make them work, and provides the audience with the light at the end of the tunnel. It would have been hard for Rabbit Hole not to be good. Adapted from the Pulitzer Prize winning play from David Lindsay-Abaire, the dialogue is intense and burning, but devoid of excessive sentimentality. The only criticism I could make is on the slightly unbelievable and verging on soppy meetings between Becca and the teenager (Miles Teller) who was behind the wheel of the car that killed her son. Though the subject matter is not going to have people running to the cinema, it’s poignant observation of loss, grief and gradual alleviation is well worth the watch, despite the tears you will undoubtedly shed. Clare Burnett 23
TOWER RECORDS CAFÉ 6-8 Wicklow St, Dublin 2
FOOD With many in Dublin mourning the
loss of Gruel and The Mermaid, here at least is something to salve the wound. The Sound Bites café, located upstairs in Tower Records was founded by a former member of the Gruel team, and is carrying on the tradition of honest, tasty, simply good food, at reasonable prices, and in appealingly laidback surroundings. Stop by for lunch and grab the ½ soup and ½ sandwich combo for €6.30, or try one of the stew style specials on offer, or, my personal favourite, a sumo-sized piece of pizza accompanied by some of the best salads on offer in Dublin. Also serving great coffee, and a selection of really delicious homemade baked goods such as Bakewell tart, cookies, scones, cake and, deep breath, cinnamon rolls, this is definitely the place to indulge any teatime cravings that might ambush you while in the library. With the economy the way it is, and the likes of impersonal chains such as Costa Coffee popping up on every street corner, Sound Bites, being a small locally run enterprise that serves fresh, intelligent, and above all, tasty food, wholeheartedly deserves our support. Rose Ponsonby
collaborative effort, published and beautiful presented by the Royal Irish Academy, extracts forty interesting plates from John Rocque’s Exact Survey of Dublin, which was completed in 1756, by which time Rocque was already a cartographer and engraver of international repute. Meanwhile, Dublin was, “taking its place among the great metropolitan centres of Europe.” The commentary is not as interesting as it might have been. There aren’t many observations made, just descriptions of the maps on display. Any observations that are made are written in a dry, almost unreadable academic style. Yet Rocque’s old maps of Georgian Dublin are strangely fascinating. The topography, though altered, has a way of very literally placing us in history. ‘You are here’, they seem to say. Kevin Breathnach
Royal Irish Academy BOOKS It is often said in defence of the study
of history that, in order to know where we are going, it is necessary that we first know where we have come from. I’m not sure whether this axiom is more or less relevant to the study of old maps. To understand where you are going, it might not be particularly helpful to study a 250-year old map of your city. Colm Lennon and John Montague’s 24
HARDCORE WILL NEVER DIE BUT YOU WILL Mogwai
NO STRINGS ATTACHED Director: Ivan Reitman
JOHN ROCQUE’S DUBLIN
to fall in love? While the story unfolds in a thoroughly predictable manner, Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters, Kindergarten Cop) makes sure everything breezes by with the minimum of fuss. Inevitably, the laughs dry up towards the end, as the search for a happy resolution takes precedence, but the film isn’t without its charm, despite Ashton Kutcher playing “Ashton Kutcher” (always a stretch) for most of the time. So if you’re looking for a date movie, look no further. For Him: Natalie Portman and some cheap laughs. For Her: Ashton Kutcher and a soppy ending. In short, something for everyone. Jack Mays
FILM What is there to say about No Strings
Attached? The film follows a tried-and-tested formula: take two good-lucking stars and contrive to get them in a room together so they can take each other’s clothes off. It’s not going to set the world alight, but it’s perfectly enjoyable nevertheless. Adam (Ashton Kutcher) is an aspiring writer trying to get out of the shadow of his pot-smoking father (the always brilliant Kevin Kline), a one-time TV star. Meanwhile, hot off the success of the Black Swan, Natalie Portman is excellent as Emma, a hard-working doctor with relationship issues. Initially just “friends with benefits”, No Strings Attached asks the question: can we choose when
M USIC Mogwai is one of these bands whose
new material falls under the category of “more of the same”, every single time. But progress does not equate to merit, nor similarity to dullness. Consistency is the word, and who can complain when that consistency extends to the quality of their music and the high standard they’ve produced until now? No one, that’s who. Unlike their contemporaries in Godspeed You! Black Emperor, or the slew of imitators with 20 minute tracks and orchestral arrangements, Mogwai like to keep things simple. The longest song here is 8-odd minutes, and it flies by. Instrumentally, the band prove pleasantly predictable. Drums, keys, piano, effected guitar, and processed or whispered vocals layer in a way to have several hooks playing simultaneously, for them to meet and meander however necessarily, to build up and tear down in cascading, chill-inducing 5am crescendos. Along with nearly all of the “more of the same” bandcamp (The Hives are a good analogy), they’ve introduced subtle electronics into the mix. And that’s what they are, subtle. You can’t tell guitar from synth, and you don’t notice when drum machine becomes drum. The band might be growing bored with their arrangements, but the listener isn’t. Mogwai fans will welcome another home run, and for the uninitiated this is as good a starting point as any. Gheorghe Rusu
GUILT Y PLE ASURES
BREAK UP WITH YOUR TEENAGE METAL BAND by Seán Mc Tiernan
ONE Don’t break up with them the week before a large
music festival. You’ll have to go on your own, as you never put in the effort making other mates. On the plus side you will not see them at any bands you go to and thus have your suspicions about “musical differences” confirmed. Or maybe you’re just into arsey music that no one actually should be listening to. (This is okay though, you’re 17.) T WO Don’t leave your instrument or amplification at your bandmate’s house. When you go round you won’t have a tearful reconciliation ending in a million-selling album. You’ll be shown the bag of weed that used to be the money that used to be your guitar. If you’re lucky you’ll also be given the username of the man on adverts. ie. Either way, you’re going to get told to fuck off. THREE Don’t discuss the break up with your parents. They won’t understand the “creative differences” you had with Robbo and Green Steve. Instead, they’ll interpret your words as “I’ve wasted all the money you spent on guitar lessons and ridiculous, spikey instruments and I still don’t play hurling”. They’ll really hate that. FOU R If you “start a new project” with the other fellas in Entombed t-shirts that also hang around outside the local Dunnes, it is totally not cool to take your guitar parts from your old band and make new songs around them. You made them to go under the full songs that Robbo wrote after he broke up with Siobhan. You are stealing his pain, dude. Okay, you got the shift off Siobhan years ago in Irish college but that’s not the same. Remember: “the types of sadness Siobhan puts inside people are each as exquisite and unique as the self harm scars she gives herself”, or so sang the tentatively-mustachioed 16-year-old you once called “my lead singer”. Oh and also it will expose how boring your guitar bits are. FIVE Whatever you do, don’t start a fucking solo project of folk music. There’s no grand reasoning behind this, it’s just you could be the bumfluff bluesman to push Big Mick who runs the folk night over the edge and into “Stab Everyone” territory. No one believes you covering the same Leadbelly song as Kurt Cobain does on Unplugged is “just a massive coincidence”. SIX Don’t go to college, get maudlin and make some half-arsed attempt at reforming. You will get too drunk to play, something you used to be too nervous to do, and forget all of the songs in front of the small and nowdisgusted group of “new college friends” you forced to come along. You’ll also vomit on the short one afterwards. Nightmare. SE VEN Don’t talk about this fucking band in pubs when you’re 25 and people start talking about their rugby days. You’re not somehow defeating them, you’re actually making it worse. At least the physical altercations in their stories actually happened.
“No one believes that you covering the same Leadbelly song as Kurt Cobain does on Unplugged is ‘just a massive coincidence’.”
Late New Order by Alex Towers
t’s extraordinary that same the mopey post punks who scribed Atmosphere would later join up with Keith Allen and England’s 1990 World Cup Squad to sing cup song World In Motion. Granted that beacon of misery Ian Curtis wasn’t hanging around with them anymore, but nevertheless it was a massive turnaround to go from Joy Division’s heavy Industrial punk to New Order’s cheerily boisterous synthpop. So much of a change in fact its surprising that they managed to retain any of their original followers and I wouldn’t imagine there’s much of an overlap if a Venn diagram was drawn of their respective fan-bases. While I firmly count myself a fan of New Order and Joy Division and see that most people can enjoy early 1980’s hits such as Blue Monday and Ceremony without any hint of shame, my affection for the band is more humiliating. When New Order reformed after a hiatus in 1998 they began making some woefully crude songs. Take Crystal for example, which includes the lyric: “Here comes love/its like honey/you can’t buy/ it with money” or one from the aptly titled Brutal: “And the sound in my head/ goes round and round/like a drunk on the stairs/ who just fell down”. Unfortunately I love these tracks, and not in some trendily ironic way. I genuinely like the way they sound. I realize there is something wretched about the way Bernard Sumner rhymes “afternoon was very clear” with “I got thirsty for a beer” in Slow Jam but I can’t help enjoying it. I think the appreciation is one borne of fondness. I like that the lads in Joy Division weren’t always melancholic trenchcoat-sporting dreardigans, and they mellowed out and made happier songs, however cringeworthy. Late New Order feel like a Dadband: three fifty-something men strumming away in a garage trying to recapture the glory days. That’s why I’ll continue to listen to their late catalogue with as much pleasure as the ones from when they were moping around Manchester. Because sometimes New Order’s Morning Night and Day is just a little bit more fun than Joy Division’s Dead Souls. 25
RIOT BOY ROCKS COLUMN Oisín Murphy
ow ought we to govern ourselves?’ is a familiar question which takes on very immediate significance as we face into a potentially climactic general election, but also (if governance and editorial are to be seen as correlative which, for the purposes of this piece, I ask that they might) for members of the college press, in light of the recent DUSSC Ski Trip controversy and, particularly, also myself in the wake of Cillian Murphy, our public editor, discussing my ‘No Offense’ column (featuring Tim Smyth) from TN2 Issue 5, in Issue 6 of Trinity News. What Mr. Murphy (Cillian, not me) had to say was, by and large, balanced and non-partisan (as one would expect). I was surprised more by the fact that he was required to write anything about my work in the first instance. If I have an ‘issue’ with anything, it is more the notion that an individual work of a meta-satirical bent might require a retrospective and quotidian editorial examination at all (whether as a result of correspondence received from without or based on a decision of the editor’s own). This is not to suggest that either form of journalism is more worthy than the other, but that subjecting a work of equivocality, intended by design to provoke thought rather than dictate it, to a form of analysis which values formal and cognitive specificity is, to my mind, an unnecessary pursuit which will invariable yield little of critical value for the reader. As our public editor correctly observed, my rather vague function within TN2 (as a publication in itself ) is to produce ‘commentary’ rather than news reports or editorial opinion pieces for the main ‘paper. I do not, obviously, question Cillian Murphy’s right to analyse the things I write, though the use of a critical method which views the conversational format I adopted (or rather, directly lifted from a Gmail chat with Tim Smyth) for the piece in question as ‘contrived’ and/or predisposed to ambiguity, while simultaneously determining ambiguity as an adverse quality in writing of that kind, I find to be unjustified. The argument seems to be a circular one: a ‘conversation format’ tends towards ambiguity and, despite taking this as established fact, one still applies to it a mode of analysis which disfavours ambiguity and, thus, the form itself. If you will forgive me the gimcrack rhetorical flourish, one might as well chastise a violinist for not preparing a steak dinner during live performance. Though Cillian Murphy asserts that my piece may not be held ‘to the same standards of objectivity as a news article’, the formal means through which I express my privilege of subjectivity are (it seems), in the same space, 26
“I would like to officially announce my independent candidacy for Dáil Éireann in the Dublin South-East constituency.”
deemed to be inadequate. To seek a broader view, while a search for ‘true meaning’ may be traced throughout human history and seen partly as a rejection of ambiguity for real knowledge’s sake (though neither Modernism, as a search for truth, nor epistemology ought to be our focus, at least not in an academic sense), it often carries with it a regressive and hidebound disavowal of the very uncertainties and ambiguities which propel human discourse and, indeed, necessitate its existence to begin with. The temptation to say something is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, and the processes involved in aiming to reach such a decision, often work against a true understanding of the thing in question, despite these terms linguistically possessing an absolute dominion of their own, which denotes mastery of a sort. Of course, ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ are hardly the only ‘absolutes’ we find ourselves grappling with, though there is a discursive tendency to make statements or analyses which, while demystifying the subject (whether it be art or politics or sport, etc.), decontextualise, or bleach things of ecstatic significance, to the detriment of the irregular kind of understanding necessitated by an irregular point of reference. So what purpose, then, may we ascribe to the editorial of those more figurative elements of our college publications and, indeed, of similar publications in the wider world? An acknowledgement of each piece of journalistic work within its appropriate context, both on a denotative level (ie. as editorial, standard report, etc.) and by observation of its formal properties seems to me an appropriate starting point. Though I would scarcely accuse Cillian Murphy of any negligence or wrongdoing in this regard, his piece was provocative to me in the sense that its approach contrasted with my personal view of how writing of the kind produced by me and Tim Smyth ought to be read. And, propelled by a desire to see the poetic reality of art and life preserved and protected from prosaic language and analysis, I would like to officially announce my independent candidacy for Dáil Éireann in the Dublin South-East constituency. Though I am aware of the risk of splitting the youth vote, given Dylan Haskins’ recent decision to throw his hat into the ring as Ireland’s answer to Wyclef Jean, I feel I can offer ‘change’ and ‘reform’ without ‘compromising my personal integrity’. The interests I aim to represent will be my own, and if the public agree with me, then they can stick it to a ‘culture of cronyism, backhanders and wordy-spintwisters’ (all things I have in my crosshairs ready to be blasted away) by casting (blasting) their vote for me, Oisín Murphy, me.
Waltzing Workshop w/ DU Dance Society Sports Hall A
11pm After party
Comedy night in Shebeen Chic: A Betrayal of Penguins at 10pm with support from 9pm
Opening night in the Atrium at 7pm
Balloon -Twisting Workshop w/ Mr. Balloonatic Phil Conversation Room
Comic-Book drawing Workshop in association with Trinity Art Workshop (2hr Session) TAW
Jewellery-making Workshop w/ Yellow Brick Road Elize Rooms
Calligraphy Workshop w/ Peannairi in association with Early Irish Society (2hr Session) TAW
Daft Funk at Captain Americas - Free Entry
Screening of Rocky Horror Picture Show the Swift Theatre at 8pm
Doubt in The Samuel Beckett Theatre at 6pm with Players Society (C5)
Workshop w/ Oron Cattes Science Gallery
Lunchtime Conversation Series in conjunction w/ the Hist
Lunchtime Conversation Series in conjunction w/ the Hist
Lunchtime Conversation Series in conjunction w/ the Hist
Lunchtime Conversation Series in conjunction w/ the Hist
This House Believes That Art Should Not Be Politically Motivated – The Hist, Graduate’s Memorial Building at 7.30pm
Science, Art and Ethics Panel in The Science Gallery at 6.45pm (C7, C5 for students)
Lighting Workshop w/ DU Players Player’s Theatre
10.30pm ENTS Night out with Knights of Leon in Button Factory – tickets C8, C6 with concession leaflet from TAF stand
6.30pm The Way We Wore, exhibition of outfits at Hist Conversation Rooms
DJ Tutorial workshop in room 5039 Arts w/ DU Digital Arts Society at 5pm
Comic-Book drawing continued
Comic-Book drawing Workshop in association with Trinity Art Workshop (2hr Session) Elize Rooms
Tour of Visceral at Science Gallery
Pinhole Photography Workshop w/ DUPA
Provost’s House Tour Campanile
Special Effects Make-up Workshop Room 50 Atrium
Comic-Book drawing contd. Singers Workshop Room 50 Atrium
Clothes Customizing Workshop w/ Alexa O’ Byrne
Provost’s House Tour Campanile
Life-drawing Workshop with Fergus Byrne, in association w/ Trinity Arts Workshop
Tour of the Book of Kells Exhibition in association w/ EIS
Life-Drawing Marathon in association with Trinity Arts Workshop
Photography Treasure Trail in association with DUPA
11pm After party
Closing Ceremony/Drinks Reception/Exhibition of works, Science Gallery at 6.30pm
5.30pm Come Dine With Me At Trinity Screening – free entry (but must book tickets beforehand on Science Gallery website)
Circus and Spectacle Workshop w/ Juggling Society Atrium
Tour of the college Art Collection
Lunchtime Conversation Series in conjunction w/ the Hist
Swap-Shop Phil Conversation Room
Knitting Workshop w/ Knitting Society Hist Conversation Room
Origami Event w/ Oisín Byrne Morning Elize, Afternoon Atrium
Photobooth Project w/ Visual Arts Society Arts Building
Trinity Arts Festival 2011 Timetable