BYLINE ISSUE V
Headlines of Byline: FILM & TV “Colin Healy reviews the latest Bond outing SPECTRE, Rob O’Sullivan points out the correlating hype for new Star Wars films and Olivia Brown talks about the Cork Film Festival”
MUSIC “Byline favourites Girl Band forced to cancel tour, Holly Cooney previews the Northern Ireland Music Prize and Holly interviews award-nominated band The Lost Brothers”
ARTS & LIT A Shiny Aluminium Brick
As I finish off another issue of Byline, I find myself deeply lost and hurt, not because of anything that any of my talented and good looking editors did, but because my laptop of several years has finally made its transformation from ‘usable piece of technology’ to ‘very expensive brick’. Because of that, I’m writing this on my phone, which is being suspiciously slow, like it too wants to give up the goose. Whoop. By the time you’re all reading this, it will now be after Halloween, and you’re probably still regretting some of those decisions you made, like that ‘Sexy’ or ‘funny’ costume, or as everyone else saw it, that kinda gross and probably racist costume you picked up at the last minute. Good job, those pictures are on the internet forever now. I dressed like a lumberjack, by that I mean, I wore my normal clothes and everyone said, ‘Hey, nice lumberjack costume’, and I didn’t disagree with them. I wear a lot of flannel. This also means it’s November, that wonderful time of year where, over the course of a week, your exams have moved from being far enough away so that you don’t feel guilty
about drinking before the library closes, right to being every other day and oh god, what am I doing with my life. For those of you who are in any way actually reliant on what your grades are to get a job, a fair amount of panic is probably setting in. This is fine, everything is fine, please keep your sobbing to a minimum in the fishbowl, I’ve still got to finish this assignment.
“Colm Furlong measures the worth of creative writing programmes and reviews the best of Dramat’s Short Play Festival”
GAMING “Amy O’Callaghan looks at the rise and fall of Nintendo, Jonathan Soltan talks about the death of the skating game genre and Aoife Gleeson shares some of the worst moments in gaming marketing”
It’s not all bad though, you’ve made it through your first quarter of the year, and things probably aren’t the worst. Your lecturers may even like you enough to give you an extension if you ask for it, as long as you’ve been showing up. Do try to show up to class, that often helps, and it’s even better when there are attendance marks, as in, you literally get marks for showing up.
Even better, it’s now issue five and I haven’t been fired, so either the Editor in Chief doesn’t particularly care if I screw up, or I’m actually good at my job. I’m assuming it’s the first thing.
Editor: Xander Cosgrave Designer: Robert O’Sullivan Film & TV Editor: Olivia Brown Music Editor: Holly Cooney Arts & Lit Editor: Colm Furlong
“Lauren Mulvihill gets opinions on the gender neutral bathrooms, Herb Simpson guides you through the ORB, Frank Jaeger gives you 7 All-Nighter Tips, and more”
“Music Editor Holly Cooney talks to Duke Special about his new album, religion, the creative process and his nomination for a Northern Ireland Music Prize”
Gaming Editor: Aoife Gleeson Fiction Editor: Austin Dowling Humour Editor: Lauren Mulvihill Comics Editor: Dylan O Connell Copy Editor: Brian Conmy
EDITOR - AUSTIN DOWLING
by Nora Shychuk She climbed out of the window and entered the cold, dark world that spoke to her even in the brightest of days. Luckily, her house only had one floor. It was a small, ranch-style home with brown shutters and yellow shingles. It looked like banana bread or an off-white vanilla cake. It was mid-November. Soon there would be snow, but not tonight. Before leaving, she had grabbed her jacket and wool hat, but forgot her gloves. At least she had pockets. Besides, she’d be right back. Andrea’s mother would kill her if she knew she was out. If she knew where she was going. The woods again, obviously. Andrea loved the old stone well-hidden deep in the mess of pine trees. Sometimes, she heard someone laughing down there, but she never told her mom that. The laugh was always low and rumbled, echoing off the rocky surface of the walls. She’d say hello, then all would go silent. That was that. She took careful, quiet steps as she ventured away from the house. If she moved just the right way, the motion light would turn on. Then her mom would drag her inside and shut her back in her empty, dusty room. Tonight the moon was dull, its light ghostly and pale. Little stars sparkled far away, between wispy blankets of clouds and low swirls of fog. If she squinted, Andrea could just make out the pointy branches. They looked like arms and hands. Yes, the trees stood together like dark giants, swaying slowly in the cold wind. She started to shiver as she entered the woods. She knew this place well. She knew the path to take and how many steps from the creek to the well. Silently, she counted. All in her head. Like most things. The creek gurgled tiredly, its current a touch away from freezing for the winter. She couldn’t see them, but Andrea felt the owls staring down at her, their heads turning, turning, turning to watch her as she walked. Somewhere, a twig snapped. A deer, maybe.
Then, the rumble. The laughing. It was coming from inside. “Hello?” she called. Hush. Quiet. Nothing. Of course, what was left to do but enter? It would be warmer. She walked beneath the jagged doorway, the door long gone. The floor was hard beneath her feet. Cement. The moonlight streamed through just enough to make out an old, wobbly table with mismatched legs and a sooty, black fireplace. A couple stacks of wood sat to the left. Maybe someone had planned to use it. The rest of the room was empty. Just stone walls and one window on the far end. The glass was cracked. The laugh was right behind her then. She whirled around, but saw nobody. There was a gust, though. A faint breeze along her neck that drifted up her cheek. Andrea lifted her head in response and noticed a metal staircase that spiralled up to the second floor. That’s when she heard the footsteps above her head. Shoes on metal. Hand on the rail. Andrea ran up the stairs quickly, breathlessly, sure she would find the source of the laugh—the source of the steps. The second floor was even darker. No windows. No fireplace. Just a bed. A bed in the dead centre of the room with ratty blankets. The floor was wooden, but she could hear the termites chewing and squirming.
Andrea’s ears throbbed by the time she reached the well. It was too cold and too dark. Oh, and here was the thing: the well wasn’t there. It should have been, but it wasn’t. She had made this same trip just a week before and the well was right here. Now it was gone. It moved. She listened for the laugh but heard nothing, just the dead leaves and the branches and the feathers and the owls’ necks snapping and turning. Andrea blew into her hands for warmth, but even her breath was icy. She kicked the ground, then turned to go home. It was too late anyway. She jammed her hands in her pockets, took a step, then stopped.
Then, the heavy feeling. It was all around her. She waited for the laugh, but it never came. She only felt a cold hand on hers and then the darkness from outside turned to black, and Andrea couldn’t see anymore. She got dizzy and closed her eyes.
There. Right in front of her. An old, stone house. It had not been there before, but now it was. It was grey and sick and cold-looking. Just like the moon.
Somehow, Andrea made her way to the bed and fell down on the springy mattress and never woke up.
“Hello?” she called again. Silence. The loud kind that makes your ears bleed.
HUMOUR HEADLINES News Stars of UCC house party video confirm night was “great craic” Crime UK police to prosecute Adele for tearing out the hearts of millions with latest song Health World Health Organization confirms that literally everything is killing you Culture Irish public still waiting for video of Drake dancing to “My Lovely Horse”
World ‘Harry Potter and the Stolen Child’ tickets on sale, cause World War 3 Science Psychologists see upsurge in youths unable to determine whether their squad is truly ‘on point’ Entertainment Local theatre kid hugely overestimates importance of background part in play
TV LISTINGS 4
TV3, Sunday @ 8PM: A quick sigh followed by a realisation of your own mortality BBC2, Saturday @ 7PM: UCC and Trinity go head to head in an exceptionally gory edition of University Challenge.
The Byline Travel Guide to the ORB by Herb Simpson
University College Cork is a must-see tourist destination for any visitor to the Rebel County. Stunning feats of early Victorian architecture are offset by a vibrant, bustling 21st-century campus environment, all nestled along the banks of the gently meandering River Lee. Undoubtedly, the highlight of any UCC campus tour is a visit to the famed O’Rahilly Building, or ‘the ORB’ as it is affectionately known by staff and students alike; one can, quite literally, get lost within its halls. A beacon of modern ‘planning’, the ORB can be found nestled amongst the trees just northwest of the Main Quad and, boasts a host of modern artworks: statues; paintings; and, on the upper floors, many crude wall carvings from the tribes of people who roam the halls searching fro department offices. Just to your right, as you enter on the ground floor, is the Coffee Dock, serving a range of beverages and foodstuffs for the weary traveller. No, it’s not down that corridor. It’s to the right of the corridor you’re thinking of. Oh, you
went in through the other entrance, okay. How about you just go back to the foyer and try again. Actually, never mind, forget it; just take the elevator to the first floor. The first floor of the ORB, much like the second and third floors, boasts a clean, off-white interior. A leisurely jaunt down one of four corridors leading off the common area reveals more artwork, and all the office space one would imagine to find within the halls of such a prestigious institution. Wait, did I remember to mention to take note of what corridor you walked down when you first arrived? No? Oh. Well, you should be fine. All you have to do is go down to the staircase in corner of one of the lounges and you’ll get right back to the entrance, unless you’re on the wrong side of the building. If you go down the stairs there you end up in the Arts Office, sorry. Try going back up, not too far up though, that’ll just make things worse. The ORB is well-known to many as
a visual metaphor for college life; while each floor may claim to be fully navigable, with an assortment of maps dotting each hall, your personal experience may prove to be less so. However, there’s no need to worry – if in need, simply chat to the friendly staff at the front desk, which is located on the Ground Floor! All you’ll need is a great sense of direction, and a bit of faith in yourself if you want to find it. You can even enter a full reenactment of The Labyrinth, all you have to do is tie a long, red string to any immovable object by the front door to help you find your way back at the end of the tour. Perfect for survivalists and thrill-seekers, the ORB is a mustvisit for anyone wishing to gain the full ‘university experience’ – one of confusion, despair, and self-delusion. That’s why we give it 4 stars!
Riots in City Over Alleged Xmas Tree Sighting by Lauren Mulvihill
Monday saw Cork’s famous Patrick’s Street devolve into a blazing inferno as riots erupted over the alleged sighting of a Christmas tree. The tree, which is believed to have been spotted in the window of one of the city’s most well-known department stores, Blue Tomás, has since been taken down, with many members of staff reportedly traumatized over public reactions to the decoration. Gardaí have detained at least thirty-two individuals in relation to crimes committed during the riot, including property damage and ‘graphic’ public nudity. Rioters have taken to the internet in the past days to express their dissatisfaction, with one protester in particular posting an 800-word rant, in which the phrase “it’s barely f*cking November” is repeated seventeen times, to the official Facebook page of Cork County Council. While the continued consumerisation of the Christmas season has been a hot topic for many
years, this riot is the first of its kind to be recorded. Already gaining notoriety as the ‘Sure Weren’t They Right, Too’ Riot, leading instigators have dubbed it a “boiling over of tensions which have been simmering for years between the everyday worker and the Bureau of Loyal, Latent Orders for Capitalist Kringle Success (B.O.L.L.O.C.K.S)” – an underground network of home decoration producers, and a bone of contention among certain sectors of society for the power they seemingly exert over the Autumn/Winter market.
Phillip Power, manager of the department store whose Christmasthemed window display is believed to have set off the riot, has found himself in hot water since the incident, with several members of staff staging pickets outside the main entrance. The pickets, which have included such acts as fashioning baubles into makeshift ‘shanks’ and the burning of elf hats, have only added to the chaos in the aftermath of the riots. When contacted for a statement, Mr. Power responded with the following:
Mary McGovern, 75, a native of County Cork and devout Catholic, spoke to Byline following Monday’s eruption.
“I, Phillip Power, as acting manager of Blue Tomás, deny all responsibility for the aforementioned outbreak of tensions in Cork City Centre on Monday, the 2nd of November. I did not have seasonal relations with that window.”
“Now, I wouldn’t be an advocate for violence at all so I wouldn’t,” she revealed, “but Christmastime should be more about the baby Jesus than the trees and the chocolates and whathave-you. And I have to say, I have a chainsaw out there in the back, and if I had known about them protests, I wouldn’t have been far behind ‘em.”
Streets may take several weeks to clear, and in the meantime, Gardaí have appealed for witnesses to the event.
EDITOR - LAUREN MULVIHILL
Straight, White, Cisgender Student Has Problem With ‘Gender-Neutral’ Bathroom by Lauren Mulvihill UCC Food Science student Eleanor Fahey has revealed this week that she is “not ok” with the recent introduction of a gender-neutral bathroom on campus. The decision by the Students Union to introduce the toilets to the SU Common Room has been the subject of much discussion. While some see the move as a step forward for inclusivity on campus, Ms Fahey – who is straight, white, and cisgender – has been left feeling “offended and downtrodden”. “Personally, I believe it will negatively affect my life,” Eleanor claims. “Despite rarely being in the vicinity of the SU Common Room and the presence
of several dozens of single-sex bathrooms on campus, I am personally uncomfortable with the thought of using such a bathroom, and for this reason, I believe the decision should be reversed.”
one of my friend’s friends is an actual lesbian, and I’m usually ok with being around her. So if I can put up with this, all those people going on about needing gender-neutral bathrooms need to stop whining.”
Ms Fahey, who “totally gets the whole minority thing or whatever”, also added that she has “been oppressed, like, a lot” throughout her life.
Many other students in the straight, white, cisgender subgroup who agree with Ms Fahey’s views feel that this move by the Student’s Union is yet another example of the type of adversity they face on a daily basis, with many believing that having the vote should be enough for “minorities”, and that by seeking equality, acceptance, and comfort in everyday life they are “just being awkward”.
“One time, I tried to get into a nightclub and the bouncer wouldn’t believe I was 18, and I was literally turning 18 two days after,” she laments, “so you can’t say I don’t understand oppression. Plus I have a really diverse social circle;
Ms Fahey has since organised a boycott of the bathroom in question, with her and a sizeable minority of two other students actively avoiding the facility in the SU Common Room every Monday, when she is on the other side of campus for a lecture in the Kane Building, which, like all other UCC buildings, has gender-specific toilet facilities.
7by Frank All-Nighter Survival Tips Jaeger “4am in the morning, and I’m putting on my 3rd pot of coffee. Fuck. Why did I leave this so late? What on earth was I thinking? Am I any kind of decent student at all?” The above thought has raced through most students’ heads at some point. Congratulations! You’re pulling an all nighter. Hardcore. You’ll have to put up with lots tonight: rejecting phone calls from inebriated friends, reading the same sentence a million times... and of course the seductive lure of your soft, nebular pillows and warm, inviting duvet. Now that you’re in this situation, I’d like to impart some delicious savvy to you... Not that I know any better: admittedly this is a product of the wretched pangs of sleep deprivation and bitter experience.
1. Drink coffee.
Lots of it. Not that granulated, sorry excuse for treacle rubbish either. Gotta have grounds, baby. Those salad scoffing hipsters are right about this one.
2. Turn your heating off.
Then turn it on again. And vice versa. Varying your temperature will keep you awake. Plus it has the added bonus of a small break away from whatever disastrous scrawls you’ve cobbled together in the past couple of hours. Bonus points if you vary the heat while in the nude, or wear a onesie.
3. Reference accordingly.
I’m not joking, you don’t want to mess that one up. If you use an idea from an episode of Thomas the Tank Engine, make sure you know who wrote it, when, and who published it. You don’t want Thomas getting mad at you now, do you?
4. Enjoy ‘the twilight zone’.
No, don’t pull out your copy of ‘Breaking Dawn’. Those endless sexy descriptions of Edward Cullen’s face can wait until you’ve finished. ‘The Twilight Zone’ is that beautiful moment where you finally understand what you’re doing and have a huge surge of productivity. It’s like a shot of adrenaline, or a powerful orgasm. It’s awesome. Embrace it, it only lasts a short while… unless you train it to last longer. *winks*
Get it done. Get it over with. What are you? Are you a student, or a snail? Cause snails cry all the time, but they still get around. Embrace the cry. To stop yourself from crying (because you still have work to do), you can use salt in your eyes. It’s effective. It makes you so angry and pained that you don’t feel sad anymore.
6. Avoid Facebook.
Avoid those tossers who say stuff like ‘Phew, just submitted my assignment. I’d HATE to be up all night.’. They are utter wankers. They deserve none of your time or energy, as they will suck the very life out of your study with their obnoxious overachieving smugness. And no, I’m not just talking about med students.
Seriously, if you can get one piece of advice from this that isn’t a horrendous attempt at humour. Just submit the fuckin’ thing. Seriously. Get it done, submit it and forget it. There’s always the next assignment.* *If you’re a third year and it is your last assignment, please ignore this. You have spent almost three years turning into the majestic, last minute butterfly you are and everything you write is pure genius. Good luck to you and if it doesn’t work out, there’s always retail or call centres.
GAMING Gaming’s Worst Marketing Stunts by Aoife Gleeson So, a few weeks ago, the official Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 Twitter account randomly changed its name to ‘Current Events Aggregate’ and started reporting fake news stories. At first it was a little bemusing, tweeting about fake films and fashion. Then things started getting a bit dark when the account reported “BREAKING NEWS: Unconfirmed reports are coming in of an explosion on the North bank of the Singapore Marina.” The reaction was general confusion (remember that the account, for all intents and purposes, looked like a normal verified news account) and, after the stunt was over, the account tweeted “That was a glimpse into the future of #BlackOps3”. It was widely criticised for being in poor taste and a non-apology, that stated it was never meant to offend, was issued by the game director. Unfortunately, this is nothing new for gaming marketing companies. This stunt is actually pretty tame compared to some of the worst ones. Gaming advertising is typically loud, brash and attention grabbing. It’s no surprise then that some stunts leap past the realm of good taste and end up with terribly cringe results. These illconceived stunts are unfortunately commonplace and no one ever seems to really learn from them. So, without further ado, here are the worst of the worst:
God of War 2:
Resident Evil 5 (and 6):
Being well known for its gratuitous violence and questionable sexualisation you’d expect a certain level of gross from God of War’s marketing. Now, quadruple that level. In the run up to God of War 2’s launch, Sony hosted a party in Athens which featured topless models serving grapes, live snakes, Kratos impersonators and fire breathers. Nothing too bad so far. The issue arose from the centrepiece: a freshly decapitated goat with its still warm guts spilling out. Guests were invited to reach inside the goat and eat its innards, giving them a chance to win a PS3. When pictures surfaced, the press jumped on them. As if games didn’t have enough image issues already.
In an event to promote Resident Evil 5 Capcom’s marketing agency decided to spread fake body parts around London, encouraging fans to go on a ‘treasure hunt’ for them throughout the city. These ‘body parts’ were fairly convincing looking, so you wouldn’t exactly want to be a random oblivious person coming across a bloody arm stump in the park. Three years later, to promote Resident Evil 6, Capcom set up a popup shop in London which was designed to look like they were selling cuts of human meat. Offers included ‘Peppered Human Sausage’ and ‘Human Thigh Steak’, as well as numerous hands. I actually think this stunt is kind of cool with people more likely to cop that they hadn’t come across an actual crime scene. Although, the company did actually set up fake crime scenes to promote the game so I’m taking back those points.
it on social media. Despite later stating that this was supposed to mean posing for photos with the models the ambiguous wording seemed to implicitly support acts of sexual assault.
Splinter Cell: Conviction When a man with a bandaged arm stumbled into a bar in New Zealand and brandished a gun at the people inside the reaction was understandable: people dived for cover, someone called the police and they arrived armed on the scene. They quickly discovered that the gun was a fake and the gunman had been hired by an advertising company to promote Splinter Cell: Conviction. It’s not difficult to imagine a much worse outcome to this story: one in which the supposed gunman was shot right in the face.
This dumb idea suffers from a particular lack of foresight. Ubisoft anonymously sent an unsolicited package to an Australian gaming news outlet which, when opened, appeared to be a bomb. The bomb squad was called and the building evacuated. When opened the ‘bomb’ contained a copy of Watch Dogs, a baseball cap and a beanie. Needless to say, the journalists that they scared the bejesus out of were none too pleased.
It’s safe to say that you shouldn’t expect much from a game that feature a boss fight with ‘Lust’, a naked undead woman that moans at you until you eventually defeat her by stabbing her to death in a somehow sexually suggestive manner. Ya, it’s pretty gross. Anyway, firstly they hired actors to pretend to be a religious group picketing the game outside the E3 convention centre (which is just desperate and dishonest) and then encouraged convention goers to ‘commit acts of lust’ with Booth Babes and document
Acclaim, a now defunct developer since 2004, had so many cringe inducing marketing stunts back in the day they deserve a unified entry. For the release date of their racing game Burnout 2 they offered to cover the speeding tickets of drivers in the UK, effectively encouraging people to drive dangerously. After a negative response from the government they ultimately cancelled the plan. In another seriously illconceived idea they tried to promote Shadowman 2 by buying advertising space on gravestones, claiming it would help poorer people to afford better funeral services. This plan was, unsurprisingly, also cancelled. Lastly, to promote Turok, they offered $10,000 to the first couple to name their baby Turok. The news stories disappear after the initial announcement so it’s probably safe to say that no one was dumb enough to take them up on the offer.
EDITOR - AOIFE GLEESON
What Happened to Skating Games? Jonathan Soltan analyses the death of a genre When Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 was revealed earlier this year Activision let us all know, in no uncertain terms, that this game would be a return to form for the series. We were assured that this was the reason it had the number 5 in its title, being the next real entry in the series after numerous inconsequential instalments. And there was much rejoicing. Yet, here we are a month on from its release and everyone would rather forget that the game exists at all. How did we get here? Growing up in the PS1 era, Tony Hawk games were at the beginning of their heyday and everyone had played at least one. Even well into the PS2 era, the games were still of a high quality but moving further into an arcade, cartoonish style.
By the time we hit the last generation the series had turned to gimmicks like a skateboard peripheral for Ride and Shred. By this point though I barely noticed, to be honest, since EA had come out with a game simply called Skate. It brought skating games way back to basics and kept things pretty realistic. It also introduced an innovative new control scheme that I never fully mastered but that I very much enjoyed. However, all of this is in the past tense. Skate 3 released in 2010, and we’ve never really gotten a high quality AAA skating game since. A whole genre of games just pretty much stopped existing five years ago. That’s pretty crazy to think about.
We haven’t been left entirely high and dry, though. We have gotten the incredibly fun OlliOlli and OlliOlli 2 from the talented dudes at Roll7. They play pretty much like 2D Skate games and really hit the spot when it comes to trying a course again and again to master it. Many a bus journey was spent trying to grind every rail in a single combo. This shouldn’t be all that we have, though. We were all promised a real Tony Hawk game and we were let down in pretty much every conceivable way. Not only is it not the amazing game that we were all promised; it barely even works. Slamming and grinding are both mapped to one button so the
game has to try and figure out what you want to happen. Combos don’t end when they’re supposed to. Load times are long. The list goes on. My request is simple: somebody please just give me a game where I can do a nose grind without falling out of the world. Is that so much to ask?
differentiated the console. As well as that, the choice of games on the console has been sparse, as major releases such as The Legend of Zelda Wii U and Star Fox, which were both expected to be released this year, are pushed forward into sometime during 2016 instead. The 3DS (and the bafflingly titled ‘2DS’) have not done much better, with a bad choice of name once again confusing potential customers about what exactly they’re buying. The lack of third-party releases on both consoles also means that many gamers fail to take them seriously.
to rise to the competitiveness of today’s gaming market. Not much is known as to what the company has in store besides the mysterious Project NX and its foray into mobile gaming. The death of the company president, Satoru Iwata, this year could potentially be strongly felt as the man was a significant force behind the release of both the Nintendo DS and Wii. Nintendo has managed to stimulate additional revenue through the release of Amiibo figures, but is currently surviving mainly on it’s young children and nostalgia-ridden superfans, and if it doesn’t up its game soon, it could lose even its most loyal followers.
The Rise and Fall of Nintendo Amy O’ Callaghan recaps Nintendo’s decline Nintendo’s first foray into the gaming industry was in the 1970s, when manufacturing began on small, coinoperated machines that would mark the beginning of the modern arcade industry. Fast-forward to 1985, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) is released. Coming complete with many of Nintendo’s soon to be most popular franchises, Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda, the console was a certified hit. The SNES, Nintendo 64 and GameCube followed and Nintendo’s reign as the king of console gaming began to come to an end. It had developed an intensely loyal fanbase, ensuring its popularity wouldn’t waver immediately. The immense popularity of the Wii, released in 2006, seemed to
cement this fact as millions scrambled to obtain it, making it one of the most popular video game consoles of all time. Alas, all good things must come to an end. The Wii turned out to be a passing fad, as most soon grew bored of virtual bowling and tennis, and since the arrival of the Wii U in 2013, Nintendo’s consoles are falling drastically behind the PS4 and Xbox One. As of July 2015, the Wii U has only sold 10.13 million units compared to the 24.77 million PS4s sold despite the Sony console being on the market for a shorter period. The Wii U was a marketing failure, as most believed it was a mere upgrade of the Wii due to its name and lack of advertising that
Nintendo seems to now be working on its own accord, disregarding what other companies are doing and failing
Byline Music Editor Holly Cooney spoke to Duke Special, aka Peter Wilson after his gig at the Coughlan’s Live Music Festival. Duke Special, is as his name suggests, a special performer. His mix of styles and sounds lends a unique, retro sound that no other can claim. Over the past decade Wilson has experimented with every genre, honing his craft to produce whimsical music with strong narratives. His new album “Look Out Machines” is the result of a crowdfunding campaign with Pledge Music where fans pledged money in return for special extras, including house concerts which saw Wilson travelling across the world playing in all venues big and small. His latest venture to Cork saw him close the Coughlan’s Live Music Festival and what a performance that was. Bringing his special charm to this small venue, his energy and interaction with the crowd shows that he deserves the title of one of Ireland’s greatest talents. The new album, nominated for the Northern Ireland Music Prize, is full of strong and explosive songs and is a glimpse in Wilson’s world. We sat down to talk crowdfunding, religion and chart music.
BYLINE: So we all love Coughlans, but it’s a really small venue. Do BY: Do you think that the music scene in Northern Ireland has smaller venues appeal to you? changed since you started out? DUKE SPECIAL: Yeah I do love smaller venues. There’s something actually amazing about the intimacy, [you have] people up close to you and it’s a chance to tell stories more than bigger venues. Over the summer I’ve been doing festivals and you can’t really have that same kind of interaction so small venues are great for that reason and Coughlans is like the cream of the crop.
DS: Yeah I think so. I think there’s, in some ways a great optimism about being able to export what you do. You know there’s a lot more people going further afield and I think that’s balanced by the fact that it’s really hard to make a living playing music and just selling records. I guess if you’ve been doing it for a while you’ll see bands fall by the wayside and people stop doing what they’re doing and people coming through but I’ve definitely seen a whole crop of new people coming up.
BY: So the new album “Look Out Machines” is more electronic than your previous work, why was there a change in direction with this album? BY: Do you think there’s a sense of camaraderie, with music especially, that bridges the religious and social divide that exists in DS: I think with each album I’ve done I’ve tried to go somewhere Northern Ireland? Do you think music helps to bridge that divide? different. So in the demoing for the tracks for the record we were finding we were using electronic drums and fake strings and DS: It always has. Right through the last thirty, forty, fifty years things like that and it sounded really good so we just kinda kept music has transcended any kind of backgrounds or geography. It with that. gets down to the stuff that’s important
BY: There’s a lot of religious connotations on the new album, BY: Your sound is really unique, obviously we all know that. What especially with songs like “In a Dive” and the title track, “Look Out inspired your sound and why do you think it’s so well received in Machines”. Do you feel that coming from the north, that religion is an era where chart music is the big thing? an important topic that you should address? DS: I don’t know if chart music is the big thing. I think the charts DS: I think “In a Dive” definitely, is a bit of a rant against have gone far, far away from what people who are into music [religion]. I think the whole concept of the album is, not a n t i - actually like. Weirdly I think that’s the case. religion as such, but anti things that make us try to fit into a certain mould and religion is one of those things. I don’t know how I got my sound. I think I’ve tried to be authentic
Look Out Machines
and do things that I like, things that I do like playing the piano and the influences that I’ve had inevitably come through the process of digesting those things and then they come out in how your write and how you come across.
“...for me, in a recording it’s about the atmosphere and the textures, as well as the song” BY: You use quite an eclectic mix of instruments, not always conventional instruments, like cheese graters and gramophone records. Where do these ideas come from? DS: Everything’s an instrument! I think again there are certain instruments that are really useable but then everything makes a sound. I think there’s lots of people who found different sounds in creating textures and for me, in a recording it’s about the atmosphere and the textures, as well as the song. What makes a really interesting recording is all the ingredients that go into that. BY: Growing up as a kind who loved music, who were your big influences? DS: I think growing up The Beatles were huge, like an epiphany. Probably hymns and things as well, choirs and traditional music and then all along [the way] there have been various other epiphanies that have informed me and influenced my writing.
DS: I started my most recent record using Pledge and then licensed the record to a label, but certainly Pledge [is great]. It’s the second time I’ve done it, the first was in 2009 and again, it’s just the nature of the musical landscape at the minute, in terms of the industry side of things. You’ll do whatever you can to get a record out. BY: Do you think communities like Pledge are a good alternative to traditional record labels?
research. I find that kind of stuff really inspiring because you end up hearing stories, amazing stories that almost write themselves. Most recently, I collaborated with a writer called Andrew Doyle on Gulliver’s Travels, [the] musical, so again working with other people is really brilliant because it throws you in a different direction then you’d go otherwise.
DS: It’s certainly an option. It’s also dependent on your fans wanting you to make another record so, you know it’s quite nerve-wracking, thinking “what if nobody pledges” and then “ok, I’m getting the hint”, but fortunately it was effective again. I’d say the one thing that’s difficult is that it creates a huge amount of work that you have to fulfil. Everything from doing house concerts to other different options you provide that [mean] you have to deliver a lot of things so you know it’s a lot more work than if it was just a record label, but it also brings you as the artist more control which is great. BY: Do you find that helps you when you’re writing for your own albums as you’ve experienced the other side of music?
“Music is more than a song on the radio”
DS: Yeah, I think you pick up a new skill every time you write with someone, even if that song never sees the light. I’ve written with various people, in the record BY: Do you find pressure from the fans that didn’t make the record, for no other from what they would expect from the reason than suitability. You’re creating a album seeing as you used a crowdfunding body of work that creates the personality platform? of the record and there’s songs that didn’t really quite fit that [personality]. They DS: No, never. I think I’m lucky in that the were little lost souls. fans that I have now that I’m always going to follow my gut and any record that I do BY: Congratulations on being nominated will hopefully go in a new direction, but I for the Northern Ireland Music Prize. How think I’m lucky in that respect. do you feel about your competition? BY: You’re involved in lot of different projects, from composing for the National Theatre in London to RTE documentaries. Do you think it’s important for musicians to be able to diversify?
DS: Yeah, it’s really strong set of albums so it’s just really nice to get a mention. I suppose anything other than that is a bonus.
DS: Yes. I think also for me it’s so interesting and so much fun. Music is more than a song on the radio. The idea of writing a song for a film or the theatre or different commissioned projects I think is really exciting because you’re initially floundering and going “I don’t BY: You’re currently working with Pledge know anything about this” and then you music. How’s that going? have to educate yourself and read and
DS: The next writing thing is writing a song for a short, independent film in Belfast. I’m touring with Billy Bragg in England and Scotland in November and then I think I’m gonna throw myself into writing.
BY: Are there any projects in the pipleline that we have to look forward to?
ARTS & LITERATURE On Writing: Creative Writing Programmes Colm Furlong asks if Creative Writing courses are worthwhile for writers. Are Creative Writing courses worthwhile? This question has been asked many times by many different people. It has also garnered nearly as many different answers. Some people proclaim yes! Others staunchly say no. Many declare it to be a waste of time; that nothing can be learned, nothing can be gleaned from taking part in one of these courses. Many argue that true writers shouldn’t need them. Many also argue the opposites of these statements. I believe these courses can be of great benefit to writers when they are done right. Courses which focus on developing the writer’s own work are genuinely worthwhile for numerous reasons. The first of these reasons is the huge variety of new techniques creative writing courses expose writers to. Many writers start out their careers writing in certain ways or using certain methods they know or are familiar with. More often than not, writers stick with what they are comfortable with; which makes sense entirely. There is no point breaching your comfort zone unless it’s going to make things better. However, while on a creative writing course you are often encouraged to experiment and try out new ways of writing. Assignments frequently require the work to be presented a certain way. This is one of the beauties of creative writing courses. You may end up discovering a new technique that you actually really like, that might fix the problem you’ve been having with your own work, or that
you simply want to test out on a new project. For example, in my creative writing masters, we were recently introduced to a technique involving found words which I’ve since adopted and started using in my own work. New techniques are a strong reason why creative writing courses are worthwhile. Another benefit of creative writing courses is the elements of networking and workshopping that take place. When you are on a creative writing course, you are making connections with other writers around you. You are opening doors for yourself, and you are surrounding yourself with like-minded colleagues. This network of writers is incredibly important for your own future as a writer. Not only could one of these colleagues help provide you with an opportunity in the future, they can help you to workshop your ideas and stories as you go. A key part of any creative writing course is to workshop ideas, stories, concepts, etc. You work together to figure out what works and what doesn’t. You work together to figure out those difficult assignments. There have been numerous occasions on my creative writing masters where we have come together in groups to workshop ideas for the different classes, to work together on a group project, and much more. Workshopping is an integral part of any creative writing course, and it truly goes hand in hand with the network of colleagues they allow you to build up. Another incredible benefit of creative writing courses is feedback. I cannot stress enough how
important feedback is for writers of every skill level. Feedback helps writers improve. Feedback helps writers fix issues in their work. When on a creative course, providing your colleagues with feedback is an integral component; and you receive feedback of your own in return. One of the greatest benefits I have found thus far on my creative writing masters is this feedback. Much like the workshopping of ideas, we also gather and share our work with one another. We comment on each other’s pieces, we provide constructive criticism and feedback in order to help each other grow as writers and improve the quality and content of our work. This facet of creative writing courses is truly invaluable. Creative writing courses, just like writers, come in many different shapes and sizes. Some of them are not well run, and they are more of a detriment than an aid to writers. However, in my opinion, that majority of creative writing courses are truly worthwhile. The skills they help develop, the networks they help create, the problems they help fix; all of this makes them a great benefit to writers who take part. Of course there will always be some writers who can work just fine without the aid of a creative writing course; in fact most probably could. But the benefit of sharing your work with others is invaluable to each and every writer out there. Creative writing courses are an excellent vehicle for this.
Book Recommendation: The Cuckoo’s Calling The Cuckoo’s Calling is JK Rowling’s debut novel, writing under her pseudonym Robert Galbraith. It is the first in a series of novels centred on the character Cormoran Strike; a private detective, and his new secretary Robin Ellacott. Rowling’s foray into the crime genre met with fantastic critical reception; even before the news broke that it was her behind the name. It reads like an old school detective story, and one would not think the woman who wrote it was the same person who wrote Harry Potter. Two sequels have since followed- The Silkworm (2014) and Career of Evil (2015). For fans of the crime genre, or fans of Rowling, I highly recommend giving these books a try.
EDITOR - COLM FURLONG
ARTS & LIT
Threeway: Short Play Festival Review Colm Furlong looks back on Dramat’s short play festival.
From the 21st to the 24th of October, UCC Dramat treated audiences to their Short Play Festival; this year collectively titled Threeway. The programme of the evening consisted of three pieces: Lady Du Barry’s by Stephen Lyons, Cards Alight by Colm Sheppard, and Eyes- written by Darragh Mulcahy and directed by Sinead Dunne. The entire evening was a treat to behold, with some strong performances and some strong dramatic pieces evident throughout. The three plays made fantastic use of the space inside the Granary theatre, and each brought us into a new, and different world. First up was Lady Du Barry’s. This short play started the evening on a humorous, yet philosophical note. The wax figurines of Lady Du Barry’s museum came to life at the end of a long day, and led us on a journey through the introduction of a new model to the world of being a wax figure. This particular play had the audience laughing out loud throughout. The individual and unique characters of each wax figure ensured for some hilarious comedy as they each discussed who they were and what they were doing there. In particular, the performance of Maeve O’Gorman as Dame Penelope Squires was particularly amusing, as she thoroughly embraced the character and really went for it. The highlight of this play was the level of emotion the actors, actresses and the writing managed to bring to wax figurines. The audience was made to see them as actual people; different from the famous figures they were portraying day in and day out. The play brought us behind the closed doors and showed us that wax models can have feelings too. These moments were particularly powerful.
Cards Alight was a dramatic, powerful, and emotional piece of theatre. The final short play of the evening was Eyes. I thoroughly enjoyed this piece. It hit the right levels of creepy and intense, and it really fit the mood in the lead up to Halloween. With a plot centred on giving in to the voices which torment you, and finding your inner eyes in order to truly ‘see’, this play brought strong levels of fear and intensity to the Granary. More than one member of the audience was left squirming in their seats. The highlight of this play was the fantastic performance of Aisling O’Mahony as Y. She thoroughly embraced the weirdness of the character and delivered a nerve wracking performance. She chilled the audience with her voice, and also caused them to jump in shock when she raised it. Everything from her movement, to her body language, to her voice was brilliant. Her fellow cast member Douglas Lordan also delivered a strong performance as X; portraying the fear and terror that was at the heart of the play. In conclusion, UCC Dramat’s short play festival was a resounding success. The festival showcased the talent of the writers, directors, actors, actresses and crews Dramat possesses. It demonstrated some real emotion, some powerful drama, and some brilliant comedy.
Following on from this was the play Cards Alight. This play told two separate stories. There was the story of Barry and The Priest who was trying to help him, and there was the story of Alex and Lauren who were fighting over where to spend their evening. There performances in this piece were incredibly strong and rife with emotion. The actresses really brought the characters to life, and the audience was invited to sympathise with their struggles. The themes of this piece were darker than that of the piece that went before it. In particular in this play, I want to highlight the performances of Peggy Gilbert and Deirdre Finn as Alex and Lauren respectively. The dialogue between these two as they fought over changing for those you love was very powerful; and it was brilliantly brought to life in front of our eyes. That does not take away from the performances of Niamh Birkett and Rí Fox who adopted the masculine roles of Barry and The Priest, and pulled them off with aplomb.
MUSIC By Holly Cooney - Music Editor
Girl Band Forced to Cancel European and North American Dates Like many others across the city I was gutted to miss out on tickets for the highly sought after Girl Band show at Coughlan’s Live on New Year’s Eve, what a way to ring in the year! Their Coughlan’s gig sold out almost immediately, but last week the bad news came that the band have had to cancel the remainder of their 2015 dates across Europe and North America, including January 1st at Coughlan’s and in the Button Factory on November 7th. Their Facebook page cites the cancellation of the dates “due to health issues in the band”. There have been no further explanations, but frontman Dara Kiely is known to have suffered poor mental health in the past, an experience which inspired many songs on the September release “Holding Hands With Jamie”. This may or may not be relative to the cancellations, as Kiely has also been suffering from damaged ligaments which may also be the cause. In any case, get well soon Girl Band, we miss you already.
Northern Ireland Music Prize 2015 Following on from our cover interview with the one and only Duke Special, Byline present the Northern Ireland Music Prize special. Like the Northern version of the Meteor Choice award, the NIMP is a celebration of the wonderful albums coming out of the North, whose music scene is a lot bigger than one might think. The event forms part of the Sound of Belfast music festival which takes place from November 6th to 14th, hosting a variety of gigs, film screening and conferences and advice for those wishing to break into the music industry. The Northern Ireland Music Prize is produced by Oh Yeah music centre and supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland with the aim to promote music in Northern Ireland. From a list of over seventy nominees, the final twelve have been whittled down for this year’s Northern Ireland Music Prize. They are; A Plastic Rose “Flickering Light of an Inner War”, And So I Watch You From Afar “Heirs”, Axis Of “The Mid Brae Inn”, BeeMickSee “Belfast Yank”, Ciaran Lavery and Ryan Vail “Sea Legs”, Duke Special “Look Out Machines”, The Lost Brothers “News Songs of Dawn and Dust”, Malojian “Southlands”, Not Squares “Bolts”, SOAK “Before We Forgot How to Dream”, Therapy? “Disquiet” and Tim Wheeler “Lost Domain”. Such a brilliant and different shortlist, it will be the job of a panel of industry expert to pick a winner, with performances on the night from nominees such as Ciaran Lavery and Ryan Vail, Malojian and The Lost Brothers. As well as the NIMP, there will be a special Oh Yeah Legend Award. This prestigious award is given to an individual from Northern Ireland who has had an exceptional contribution to the music scene in Northern Ireland. Previous winners have included Gary Moore,
The Undertones and Henry McCullough, and the calibre of this year’s Oh Yeah Legend will certainly not disappoint. Hailing from Enniskillen, Neil Hannon of the Divine Comedy is one of Ireland’s greatest musical exports. Due to the success of the band Hannon has also been involved in television and film scores, first venturing into this world with the by now iconic “Father Ted” theme tune and later branching out to work on music for productions such as “Doctor Who” and “A Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy”. As such, it comes as no surprise that Hannon has been chosen as this year’s Oh Yeah Legend. Stuart Baille, CEO of Oh Yeah music centre explained their choice saying the “stunning songs” full of “wit emotion and intelligence” are central to their decision, but also how Hannon “continues to bring distinction to Northern Ireland”.
The Divine Comedy will play at the event in Mandela Hall on November 14th alongside the various nominees. Tickets are priced at £13.75 and are available from http://www.nimusicprize.com/
EDITOR - HOLLY COONEY
Among the list of nominees include our cover star Duke Special and big interview, The Lost Brothers. Holly Cooney takes a look at both albums to see how they’ll fare against such strong competition.
Duke Special “Look Out Machine” Our cover star Mr. Peter Wilson, aka the wonderfully eccentric Duke Special is certainly in the top three albums to win this year’s Northern Ireland Music Prize. No stranger to album nominations Wilson has spent the last ten years honing his craft of eclectic, emotionally driven, retro style songs and “Look Out Machines” is certainly no different. Returning to the smart, imaginative songs he is known and loved for, Wilson also changes it up with a more electronic vibe. Songs such as “In a Dive” focus on the religious divide reminiscent of his upbringing in Down and Belfast and this, along with the other tracks are presented in a warm and romantic style with Wilson’s signature character.
The Lost Brothers “New Songs of Dawn and Dust” The Lost Brothers write stories, not songs, using beautifully descriptive imagery combined with haunting melodies that make them some of the best songwriters in the country. “New Songs of Dawn and Dust” is a cracker of an album, using the Lost Brother’s usual gentle, melancholy music to bring you to a serene and faraway place. The songs don’t feel new, such is the strength of the song-writing of Oisin Leech and Mark McCausland that these songs are so laden with emotion and depth that they bring a sense of familiarity. Based on song-writing alone “New Songs of Dawn and Dust” is certainly in the running.
The Lost Brothers; The Trail That Leads Home Byline’s Music Editor Holly Cooney speaks to The Lost Brothers following their nomination for the Northern Ireland Music Prize 2015.
BYLINE: Hey Oisin! You guys have had a really hectic 2015, from touring with Glen Hansard to playing festivals such as SXSW and Electric Picnic, have ye had any highlights? Well that gig (Coughlan’s Live Music Festival 2015) there was one of my highlights. We really loved it. We’ve played Coughlan’s a few times but that was up there with one of our favourites.
Do you like the Cork crowd? I love the Cork crowd, they were up for a laugh there just now.
Folk music has been enjoying a revival over the last number of years, why do you think that’s been? I don’t know, yeah everything comes in circles you know and I think it’s brilliant when music changes and evolves and the whole scene changes, but it’ll always come back to songs. I think songs matter most, you can’t get away from a good song, and folk music and great songs are connected. Folk music doesn’t have to be woollen jumpers or Aran jumpers, you know playing a guitar in the corner of a wooded forest, it can be anything, anything and everything. Folk umbrellas everything. It’s just music.
The new album was produced by Bill Ryder Jones from The Coral, how did that collaboration come Where did your interest in folk about? music come from? Has it been from a young age or further We lived in Liverpool. I’m from Navan down your career? and Mark’s from Omagh, but we lived in Liverpool for five years and Mark used to be in a band called “The Basement” who were on Deltasonic Records and they toured with The Coral. This is about ten years ago, and Bill played guitar in The Coral and then started hearing Lost Brother songs and said “wow, this is good” and if we ever wanted to do an album let’s do one. So we recorded a single with him about five years ago and then the time came to make an album and we said “let’s do it!”, so we sent him the songs and he loved them.
My first love was punk music when I was like fourteen or fifteen. I was into bands like The UK Subs and Stiff Little Fingers and used to go to punk festivals by myself in England and I’d be the only kid there. Like I was fifteen and there were all these adults with mohicans and I’d pitch up my tent and listen to bands like The Stranglers, The UK Subs and then somebody gave me a cassette of Bob Dylan when I was sixteen, “Freewheelin’” and that just opened up a whole world of music to me, artists like Led Belly, Rory Gallagher, Woodie
Guthrie, Van Morrison and further back to blues men like Robert Johnson and I connected with that old music and just started collecting records. I was trying to learn songs from that whole world and then Mark and I started writing these songs.
You guys always have great album artwork, where does it come from? Do you think music and art are closely linked? Oh definitely. Mark from The Lost Brothers does all of our album artwork. He did this one, the new one. Mark painted it up, painted the birds etc. We love to have a theme running through all our artwork, so they’re all hand painted. The first three albums had us on the front of them, but the fourth one doesn’t because this I the start of a new chapter. I think it’s important to have a recognisable album cover, I think we call this album “the yellow album”.
Morrison played the old blues clubs there so we’re gonna go find those old places.
Well we love you back home anyway, so much so that “Songs of Dusk and Dawn” has been nominated for The Northern Ireland Music Prize, how does that feel? It feels cool, yeah it’s nice to get [recognition], it’s nice when things like that pop up out of the blue. We weren’t expecting it so we’re gonna go along and have a party! If we win we’re gonna come back and buy everyone in Cork a Lamborghini (we’ll hold you to that Oisin!)
You’re about to go on tour again with Glen Hansard to Germany and Italy, how do the Europeans like the music? If you guys don’t win, who will you be rooting for? We’ve never gigged in Europe! We’ve gigged in Paris and Switzerland, [as] one off gigs, but this will be the first tour and I can’t wait, because they’re big theatres as [we’re playing] with Glenn Hansard again and we’re really excited. We’re gonna go to Hamburg and do The Beatles tour. Rory Gallagher and Van
You know what, I haven’t even looked at the list! I heard that The Divine Comedy are playing, so I can’t wait to see them, Neil Hannon is a genius. But when I arrive there I’ll look at the list and say “errh who have we got to beat here!”
FILM & TELEVISION Review: SPECTRE By Colin Healy The 4th instalment of the Daniel Craig series and the 25th instalment in the Bond franchise, Spectre takes place a few months after the previous movie ‘Skyfall’ ends. In this movie, a new threat arises from the shadows that seems to be connected to Bond’s past in some way. While Bond leaves without authorisation to investigate this mysterious organisation named ‘Spectre’, his antics jeopardise the ‘0-0 programme’ in MI6 which means he is soon on his own against an organisation that seem to be everywhere. There is really a lot to say about this movie and unfortunately not all of it good. Starting with the good, Christoph Waltz and Andrew Scott are both really enjoyable to watch in the film with both bringing a cool but menacing presence to their characters. I was happy to see an older bond girl (compared to the previous) be included with Monica
Bellucci playing the woman to be seduced. The other love interest (Léa Seydoux) plays a more bad-ass bond girl than we are used to which was also cool to see. Visually this movie is spectacular. There was a clear desire to make this one big as we are taken across the world from the opening scene in Mexico, with the flourishes of colour from a Day of the Dead parade, to the snowy mountainous peaks of Austria. Finally there is the overall storyline. Although not perfect by any means, it’s interesting enough to hold the viewers’ attention for the 148min running time and does tie together the other Daniel Craig movies, although it’s not a great link. You could watch this without seeing the others. For the sake of not coming across as a ranting old man and not wanting to give
away any spoilers, I’m going to keep my discussion of the “not so good” parts of the film to a minimum. First off there was not enough Christoph Waltz. I was really excited when I heard he would be in this movie and honestly I don’t feel they used him enough. In relation to the main “baddy”, it’s actually quite boring and stereotypical when you think of it. It plays on the classic ‘German trying to take over the world’ line and some of the things he does in the movie are typically what you have come to expect from a Bond villain (and yes I am aware Christoph Waltz is Austrian I’m just stating that the villain seems German). The collateral damage in this movie is staggering, like seriously they crew laugh in the face of tactical approach and stealth, while buildings collapse and Bond uses a plane as a weapon (and not a ranged weapon either). It seems the idea of espionage is no longer Bond,
making the whole thing get a little silly at times and gives it a Die Hard feel. The film has a lot of plot holes and lazy moments and honestly at times can feel a little clichéd, especially the ending. In saying all this, I would recommend it. It is ultimately a good send off to this chapter of the series and I did actually enjoy the movie. I suppose I had high hopes for it and I really didn’t expect the level action that was put out. So I would say go see it, but be prepared for some visually stunning but mentally dumbing scenes and explosions.
Aww Here It Goes Designer Rob O’Sullivan looks back in anger at the build-up to the Phantom Menace & how we’re falling for it all again with Episode 7 As you can probably tell by the ‘Kenan and Kell’ reference in the title I am a chid of the 90s...who is now panicking that current Freshers are so young that Kenan and Kell jokes don’t land. Being a child of the 90s I distinctly remember playing with my cousin’s hand-medown wrestling action figures when my dad called me into the sitting room, sat me down and said “son, we’re going to watch a Star Wars.”
I wish I could give you an academicly brilliant insight into what my little mind was feeling as Luke set out on his adventure a long time ago in a galaxy far far away, but all I can say is it rocked me; rocked me to my very core. There is something about the characters, even at such a young age, that just captured my imagination: Luke, a young adventurer, Ben Kenobi, a wise grandfather helping Luke on his way, and Han Solo, the coolest dude in the Universe. Me and my dad sat down on that couch and watched VHS after VHS (they might actually have been VCDs) until the trilogy was done, the
credits rolled and John Williams’ music echoed throughout my head. This was, I thought, the greatest moment of my tiny little life, until my dad uttered possibly the greatest words ever to be said: “they’ve made a new one, it’s coming out in a few weeks.” And thus, on a bright morning in July the family gathered: cousins, uncles, grandparents alike made this pilgrammage to the Reel Cinema in Ballincollig. Spirits were high, toys were bought, tickets were bought and we were ready: it was clear, even to 5-year old me, that this excitement was not exclusive to those under 18: my parents, wide eyed and giddy, had seen all the trailers, seen Liam Neeson, seen Darth Maul and had heard all about this podracing thing. Part of them, surely, were not in Ballincollig, but were in a dingy pop-up cinema in the village hall where they first saw the original films. And then, time came: I picked up my Qui Gon Jinn figure and walked up the ramp to the Reel Cinema. That innocence, that childhood wonder
would soon be gone, never to return... ...oh, not me. I thought it was alright. I was five like, the racist cartoon rabbit stepped in the poopy, I was delira....my parents on the other hand: simply silent. Maybe three words were uttered from the credits to our front door. This is the power of a bad Star Wars film. I wasn’t allowed watch Attack of the Clones, or rather, I wasn’t told it even existed. In 2005 I was now 11, big enough to know about the new Star Wars, and hey, people said it was actually not too bad; and that’s what it was: not too bad. “Not too bad” isn’t good enough for Star Wars, but at least we were done. Aside from the odd CGI edits, we could enjoy the Originals again, and that would be it. And now it’s 2015. I’ve seen the trailers, seen that the original cast are back and I’ve heard all about this Kylo Ren. And worst of all, the worst part of the pull that Star Wars has, is that none of the obvious deja vu occurred. Not one bit. It wasn’t until late one night in
the Express Office when I showed a friend of mine the newest trailer; the look in his eyes, the look of childlike wonder, the look of a person whose mind was just blown to pieces, was a look I’d seen before, and years of George-Lucasian memory repression was undone. Oh no...it’s happened again. “It’s fine” I told myself, “JJ Abrahams is a competent director, Harrison Ford is in it, how bad could it be?” Then I looked at Phantom Menace, and told myself “Liam Neeson is in it, Ewan McGregor’s a good actor, how...bad could it be?” I’d love to tell you I fought the good fight, that I calmed down and went to approach Episode 7 as a regular film... ...yeah....see you all on Midnight on December 17th. I mean, how bad could it really be...
EDITOR - OLIVIA BROWN
FILM & TV
60th Cork Film Festival Is An Event of Firsts to Be Remembered by Olivia Brown It’s a Festival of firsts as the Cork Film Festival celebrates its diamond anniversary. The glittering ten day event, which is principally funded by the Arts Council Ireland, is running throughout the city from 6th to 15th November. The 60th Edition will see four new Festival venues, an appearance by well-known British actor Simon Callow, a live performance by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, a commemoration of the 20th anniversary of Rory Gallagher’s passing and an Oscar-hopeful short movie by Irish actor Hugh O’Connor.
In keeping with its sterling reputation for nurturing home-grown talent, the Festival will screen over 50 Irish Short Films, almost half of which were made in Cork. This year, the winners of the Grand Prix Irish presented by RTÉ Cork and, the winner of the Grand Prix International, will automatically progress to the Oscars longlist for consideration for the first time ever.
Commenting on the exciting line-up, Cork Film Festival Creative Director James Mullighan said “The Festival may be 60, but this is a year of firsts.”
To mark the significant increase in the number of locally made short films, the Festival has created a feature length presentation - Homegrown: New Shorts From Cork - to take place in the Cork Opera House, before the opening night film, Jerzy Skolimowski’s Irish-Polish thriller; 11 Minutes.
This year sees the Everyman Theatre, St Luke’s Church, the Pavilion and the Ballymaloe Grainstore joining the Festival for the first time as new and exciting venues. Another 60th Edition treat is the expanded hugely entertaining Family Programme. It features two sing-along presentations of Disney’s FROZEN at the Opera House with the Youth Choir of the Montfort Academy of the Performing and, a chance to see Disney’s THE LION KING on the big screen at the Gate cinemas in Mallow and Midleton.
This year’s Irish Gala Strangerland, starring Nicole Kidman, Hugo Weaving and Joseph Fiennes, was directed by Australian Kim Farrant and produced by Macdara Kelleher for Dublin Company Fastnet Films. The Irish-Australian production tells the story of a newly arrived family to an isolated, outback Australian town and the subsequent disappearance of their children, just before a massive sand-storm hits. The film has been lauded for Kidman’s powerhouse performance, has also been noted for the eerie and beautiful cinematography by Kerryman P.J.Dillon.
The eagerly anticipated Steve Jobs biopic starring Michael Fassbender will have its Irish premiere at the Festival. While for the first time in Cork, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra will perform the live score to David Lean’s romantic masterpiece, Brief Encounter, on the Cork Opera House stage.
This year also sees the much anticipated return of ILLUMINATE, the mental health film and discussion series supported by the HSE and Cork’s Arts and Minds. ILLUMINATE is the cornerstone of the Festival’s newly expanded IDEAS series, which this year explores the complex issues of assisted dying, the refugee crisis and abortion. Films in each series are followed by expert led discussions and debates. ILLUMINATE and IDEAS will welcome broadcasters, academics and policy makers to discuss these issues with audience in an innovative fashion.
This must-see live event was developed in collaboration between RTÉ and the Festival’s creative team and promises to be one of the highlights of the ten days. RTÉ is the Festival’s newly announced Principal Partner while the Arts Council Ireland continues its long-standing work as the Festival’s primary funder.
It’s no secret that Ireland is a hub for cinematic celebrations. Here in Cork alone, we are awash with festivals. IndieCork has just finished wrapping things up, Cork Film Festival is about to get underway and the Cork French Film Festival, Fastnet Short Film Festival and the Japanese Film festival are still to come, it isn’t hard to see the city is bursting with cinematic galas. There is a feast of events and screenings to keep you entertained all year round. When you live in a city as small as Cork that hosts so many festivals you can’t help but question their purpose. Sure short films or the other somewhat more alternative features which can be found here may not be your thing but don’t disregard the underlying importance of these events. They benefit both filmmakers, actors, producers and the local communities and businesses in a variety of different ways. The obvious winners of any film festival, besides the actual festival winners themselves, are the producers, directors, actors, actresses and anyone else involved in making a film. It gives
amateurs and seasoned filmmakers alike a chance to reach out and capture new audiences. They get to introduce a variety of people to their work. It’s rare you go to a film festival with the intention of seeing a more conventional film. You go to see something a little bit more out there or just a little bit different to what you’re used to. It’s also a chance for up and coming directors, actors, actresses and producers to add another notch to their belt. Festivals are a fantastic way to keep an eye on the new talent on the scene. Most documentary makers get their big break at such events. Some festivals such as IndieCork pride themselves in their efforts to support and promote new and local talent. Film festivals provide one of the mains ways to “support your own” in the cinematic world. It can be heard for local acts to make it onto our screens without the support of the network a festival can provide. Producers, directors, filmmakers in every shape and form come together and create a support group for each other. Contacts
Full details of all events can be found on corkfilmfest.org and in the official 60th edition brochure
are made, films discussed, and ideas are shared. Organised workshops usually go hand in hand with festivals, as seen with the Cork Film Festival and IndieCork. They aim to educate the film makers, providing them with tips, tricks and ideas. Some of the films shown at the festivals, are purposely picked with the intention of educating their audience. A prime example of this is the Illuminate Series which is hosted as part of the Cork Film Festival and aims to draw awareness to mental health via the big screen. With the crowds that are drawn into such events, film festivals are also significant in terms of the tourism they provide to an area. People come from all over the world to attend certain festivals. They stay in local hotels, eat the in local restaurants, spend their money in the shops all of which adds up and benefits the local economy. Sponsorship deals and offers also aid the locality. The effort and dedication it takes to organise a festival can also encourage a great sense of community
involvement. Film in Cork is an organisation which provide a range of services to those working in film, television, and animation, while also promoting the Cork region as a wonderful place to work. Speaking to Byline on the significance of film festivals in Cork, Film in Cork Manager, Rossa Mullin said “Film In Cork revels in the hugely vibrant film festival culture in Cork throughout the year: from the Cork Film Festival which for 60 years has been delivering fascinating film programs to Cork audiences, to the more recent filmmaker-oriented festivals such as IndieCork for independents and Underground for emerging filmmakers, to the wonderful festivals by the sea: Schull’s Fastnet Film Festival and the First Cut Film Festival in Youghal - btw location for the classic John Huston “Moby Dick” starring Gregory Peck and Orson Welles. And that’s not forgetting the French Film Festival every March bringing to Cork screens the best from the birthplace of cinema!”