The University Observer’s Arts & Culture Supplement
10.11.09 VOL XV1 ISSUE 5
Jennifer’s Body Video Games Live Melbourne Phil Lynott Jack L
REGULARS SOAPBOX – Catriona Laverty whinges about people who whinge on message boards WHAT’S HOT & WHAT’S NOT – Michelle McCormick sends us round the bend with current trends VOXPOP – Sophie Lioe quizzes punters on potential explosions around campus
you the fashionably latest in fashion
VIDEO GAMES LIVE – ever want to find
FILM & TV REVIEWS – we get inside Megan Fox (zing!) in Jennifer’s Body; get wrapped up in impending doom in 2012, and take Woodstock in, er, Taking Woodstock TV – on otwo’s gogglebox this week, The
MIXTAPE – our new columnist Jamie Martin talks hypochondria
Biggest Loser and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
LIVE MUSIC – Louis Westwater sits down
TOP TEN – We count down the best
MUSIC – Sean Finnan learns what Mew
intellectual action films
W E B WATC H
are really all about
– Scouring ceaselessly, Gavan Reilly brings us the best in online nonsense
– Colin Sweetman battles with his wireless signal. Curse you, WaveLAN Network!
– John Gallagher fishes for answers off theatre director Jim Culleton – Colin Sweetman assesses the UCD Symphony Orchestra
T R AV E L – Lauren O’Hanlon tells Up Over all about the world of Down Under and Melbourne – On the third leg of his cycle to Greece, Kris Goodbody gets tired (ish)
GIGABYTE – Alison Lee bites down on Burlesque in Gigabyte
FESTIVAL – Grace Duffy gives Greenday
SOMETHING ELSE out what Final Fantasy sounds like using a symphony orchestra? Quinton O’Reilly did
with Wailers veteran Elan Atias
COATS– Seán McGovern shows you the best options for making cold winds piss off BLOGWATCH – Corbmac McKay brings
AGONY ANTO – He’s got Adidas shoes and a peaked cap; God knows he’s opinionated ATTEMPTS – Eoin Brady butchers a poor boy’s head in the name of journalistic comedy
FA S H I O N
– John Gallagher gotwos Cordoba, wherever that is…
HEADLINER – In a whip of commercial change, Sally Hayden talks to Ash about the downfall of the album and a new, innovative plan to release one single every two weeks
26 27 28
FOOD & DRINK – Marco Pierre White’s Frankie’s comes under the knife – Donal McKeown explores the world of strange and exotic beers
I CO N – An iconic retrospective of the legend that is Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott
MUSIC REVIEWS – Flight of the Conchords and the Saw Doctors all on one page… you love it
THE FUTURE – Selva Unal keeps us up to date on the next fortnight’s gigs, and Mystic Mittens gives an even more reliable account
from the Eds Ah, Movember… As you know, we’re not the types to complain, but Mother of God, if we have to sweat over another essay in the next few days we’ll just have to drown ourselves in a sea of word counts. Hopefully we won’t have to worry about this for too long, for streams of hard-nosed and hairylipped men are now upon us! Watch them about campus, point at them and laugh… but remember that it’s for a good cause (cancer awareness and general silliness). A man with a moustache takes no shit. Both of your humble otwo editors proudly wear theirs, but neither is man enough to actually kill off its most prized friend – the Beard. But as of last week, the Beard has packed its bags, meaning the moustache will have to fly solo. This is a first in otwo’s editing life, so let’s at least make it to the shop before scurrying back home to shave the disgusting thing off. Perhaps we could just bring our Mach 3 with us on the bus. If women are allowed put makeup on in public, surely a man is allowed to open up his jacks bag, crack a reflection and shave ravenously? We don’t know but we’re gonna find out! Kudos for those of you who braving the fashion faux paux [sic] of our father’s time. On a completely unrelated note, we’d like to mention the sad departure of our previous editor, Eoin Brady, who is currently being held captive in the James Joyce Library by an evil book-dwelling monster named Deadline. Eoin, good luck with getting out of that one… (by the way, who’s that guy in the office claiming to be your replacement?) Jake & Colin
SOAPBOX Message Boards are out to get us, reckons Catriona Laverty I hate message boards. In 15,000 years when the aliens land to study our extinct civilisation, they’ll trace our ultimate downfall to message boards. They’ll discover fossils swathed in our own excrement hunched in front of computers, having just given up living becasue no one replied to our “how do I do this breathing thing??? LOL” thread. Really, they will be our downfall. The problem with message boards is that they attract all the lazy, stupid, vacuous people as well as the smart, street-savvy, normal people. Boards allow the stupid people to never have to find something out for themselves. They perpetuate the society of laziness, ignorance and dependent thought we’ve been building for some years now, and it will kill us all dead. You know the people I’m talking about, you know the ones. They’re always there, asking. Asking their crap questions like where is Stillorgan? Asking their facepalm questions like what is G.D.P (Grade Point Average)? Asking, always asking. And they’ll never stop, not as long as there are kind, good people in the world. Because someone will alway feel sorry and just tell them the answer. Someday soon, no one will be able to do anything without consulting their message board, but the age old tradition of people finding out for them-fucking-selves will have been lost, and no one will hear their screams of how/why/am I pregnant? They must be stopped. And I’m just going to say it, say what everyone else has been thinking. No, not sterilisation, it’s certainly a start but it won’t stamp out the problem. Execution. It seems harsh now, but we must think of the benefits to humanity. Think of the hours you spend shouting at these people via computer keyboard, before deleting the message in case you get banned. Think of these people accidentally reproducing because no one replied to their thread about doing it standing up. If nothing else, think of the children. I mean, srsly. No, we have to draw the line, and it has to be straight. Help! can’t find Newman Building, have lecture in 5 mins!! :-0 Shot. How many books can I borrow from the library interrobang Shot. Is anyone here changed there mind about alishishea question mark question mark question mark exclaimation mark smiley face lol Hung, drawn, quartered then shot. Twice. You know you’re thinking it too.
College is hard enough without having to stay up to date on being down with the kids. Michelle McCormick is here to save you the trouble
Webcomics Want to make an irreverent and witty comment on topical issues, but lack wit or imagination? Then webcomics are for you! Like this shiny new one, Wheel Spinning Hamster Dead (wshd. net). Amuse your friends by wryly passing someone else’s hilarious observations, earning valuable street cred.
Caramel Nibbles Those bastards at Cadbury have been holding out on us, people. They’re only now releasing their most chocolatey conception for us to stuff our faces with. Think giant Buttons with caramel inside – like a little piece of love on your tongue. So good, we’ll just about forgive them for not making them sooner.
FlashForward Another new TV show to get addicted to, as if we didn’t have enough going on in our lives. This one revolves around the aftermath of a freak event where the world blacks out for 2 minutes and 17, and experiences a flash into the… forward? Six months in the future to be precise. Spookiness and weirdness ensues.
Dark evenings What’s all this ‘dark evenings and mornings’ fuss? If you’re getting up while it’s still dark, you’re doing it wrong. Where are the hangovers? Where’s the dedication to partying? The fact it gets darker earlier just means more cover for covert knacker drinking and back-alley fumbles. The darkness is our friend…embrace it!
Facebook changes Facebook, you make my brain hurt. What’s the difference between the Live Feed and the other feed? Why can’t I find any of my events? Why are you making me feel guilty for not talking to my old friends from primary school by rubbing them in my face the whole time? What did I ever do to you, Facebook? I just want to social network in peace! I’m going to go over here and cry now.
Google Wave Google Wave is finally here! Yay! But wait… how does it work? I type, and the other person can see it… just like chat? Well I could just use chat for that. And the other person can see what I’m typing as I type? WITCHCRAFT. Also, my hilarious wit is less impressive when the other person can see me labouring over it before I hit ‘send’. Sadsies.
Organised Christmas Freaks If you’re one of the people who saves up since August, plans ahead, stows away Christmas cards, wrapping paper, gift ideas and actual gifts… the rest of us all hate you. You’re the one who wants Christmas parties in November. You’re the one who puts their tree up the day you take the Halloween decorations down. You’re ruining it for the rest of us.
Series Breaks Just when you get into the swing of being mindlessly addicted to a new TV drama airing across the pond, they go and have a hiatus for two weeks. Where is my Glee? Where is my House? Give me back my television shows, US TV networks! It’s clearly a tactic to get us all the more addicted and twitching for a fix. Not that we have a problem, or anything. We can stop any time we want. otwo
say what ???
QUESTION: If you could bomb any building on campus what would it be? asks Sophie Lioe
“Arts, because it would be such a brighter campus if everywhere was like Science and Quinn”
“The water tower: it was the first thing I saw and it’s so ugly!”
Cathy McAndrew, 1st Law with Politics
Helena Scott, 4th Nursing
“the Ag building, its so old and needs revamped”
Lea Peders, 3rd Business Admin
“Arts - it’s the only building I know!”
AGONY ANTO We may have gone a little overboard and a few things have gotten broken but now my landlord is saying I can’t have my deposit back! He’s being so unreasonable, what can I do to make him see sense? Yours, Paul
Dear Anto I’m having a few problems with my Landlord. It’s my first year living away from my parents so I’ve been making the most of it, throwing parties most nights and having all my friends over to stay.
A’right Pauly? I’m afraid that yur the one being unreasonable here, bud. It’s your first time away from home and you just don’t standunder how it wurricks. Everybody loses their deposit. The only thing you can do now is try to make the money back in udder areas. Try not turning on the central otwo
Tony, Masters in Econ
With friends in low places, Anto knows the fookin’ score, man heating, it’s a worthless expense. Rummage around the house for some old furniture or chairs that don’t get used much and use them for fuel for the fireplace. There’s nothing the landlord can do about it – the fook has already taken your deposit. Te be honest, I’ve noticed that while they have a hungry eye on the Delph they never check how many chairs are left in the house – it catches them off guard. The best way to get along in rented accommodation is to surrender your deposit asap; then you can relax and have some real fun. No more telling gaff guests to use coasters or not to spray paint curse words on the ceiling. This is the best thing that could have happened to yeh, trust me. Yurz,
Anto Dear Anto, My roommate is absolutely disgusting, she throws her clothes all around our room, leaves dirty 10.11.09
dishes piled up in the sink for weeks until they go mouldy, and never ever cleans the bathroom. I’ve given out about it so many times but it just doesn’t get through, what can I do to make her tidy up? Yours, Amy Story Ameee, Durty roommates are the most common problems in college, and you need to tackle this head on. Gather up all her clothes and mouldy plates from around the house and dump them on her bed. Next you get five or six rolls of cling film and wrap the doorty clothes and plates to the bed. Take pictures of your creation and post them up on Facebook. She will be forced to either tidy up or move out – leaving you a nice clean house. Don’t be afraid to take a shite on her pillow either. Cheers bud,
otwo attempts : hairdressing
“Don’t pay money for that,” shouts an arbitrary money-saver, “I’ll mess it up for free.” Does Eoin Brady really have to answer to our hair prayers?
or this Attempt, we wanted to see what it felt like to inflict pain on another living thing. Unfortunately, a considerable portion of the body of potential candidates for subjecting to savage treatments had been put out of commission before we even got started: AA Gill had pretty conclusively put one baboon beyond the bounds of usefulness for this project with his softnosed .357 to the lung. This is where Rob came in. With his luscious chocolate-coloured locks bouncing and shining in the sun as he frolicked gaily around the airy Student Centre atrium, we couldn’t help but be smitten. Smitten in an aggressive, violent kind of way. Sadly, bloodlust doesn’t go very far as a justification for naughty behaviour these days, so we needed some other explanation for our deviancy. We’ve come to the conclusion that we’re trying out home hairdressing not to live out our violent fantasies, but in order to save money. It turns out that in order to do a proper haircut, a considerable amount of equipment is required. When I volunteered for this, I was a happy-go-lucky, carefree young man with nary a worry (beyond where my next Americano was coming from). I thought I’d show up, chop some hair, wave my arms, and everyone would give me adulation and hugs. When I got past the initial excitement, the onerous nature of the task to which I had been assigned struck me. I need scissors – possibly special ones, an electric razor with multiple heads, a cloak (for Rob, not me), a water spray gun, magical salon shampoo and conditioner, a lean-back head sink, a tiled or wooden floor, anti-varicosevein stockings, and numerous copies of Hello from 2008. This was getting serious. Even then, if I did somehow manage to acquire all this equipment, I feared that more would be required of me by this terrifying challenge: I would even have to learn how to cut hair. Ingeniously, I stumbled upon the idea of using a so-called internet “search engine” in order to find information that other internet users had “posted” on their respective “web sites”. The first “website” that I “logged on” to, howtodothings.com, was quite helpful and gave succinct and easy-to-follow directions. Having invested fully seven minutes of my time (two searching and five watching the video) I felt I was ready for the next stage in my training. I proceeded to learn advanced layering techniques from expertvillage.com over the course
of the next seven minutes. At this point, I felt that it would be appropriate to begin investing in the future of Rob’s hair. However, with the original money-saving goal weighing heavily on my mind, I decided a more
If your hair is six inches long, Red Dax will literally make
you die. otwo
prudent approach would be to find a scissors of sort (which I proceeded to lose, incidentally), put a hole in a bin bag for a cloak, use a little cup of water for a squirter and simply do without everything else on the list of necessities. The momentous occasion arrived, and I began to make the first inroads into Rob’s treasured keratin crown, but I had some difficulty getting into my groove. I was uncomfortable and awkward. It felt like being the only person on the dance floor. A couple of pints later, I was flying. Not really. That would, of course, have been deeply irresponsible for someone entrusted with property of such sentimental value and, presumably, considerable age. After a few timid snips at the mullet-esque backside of Rob’s head, the clipping began to flow. I even remembered to cut it all the same length by using my fingers as a guide, which is a pretty advanced technique, if you ask me (and you do). Occasionally, bystanders contributed something to the process. The useful contributions came exclusively from girls: Rob has girls to thank for his feathered fringe. I also picked up a rather graceful pinch-and-snip technique from a girl, which looked much more elegant than what I had been doing up until that point – grabbing clumps of hair in my fist and hacking blindly until they became detached from Rob’s head. Another (much less beneficial) contribution to the production was the tub of Red Dax that appeared before me. Red Dax is a product intended for use on short, neat hair. Conversely, if your hair is six inches long, Red Dax will literally make you die. We were all dead. It was that bad. When we’d gotten over being figuratively dead, and I’d rearranged some of Rob’s other hair over a particularly tenacious Dax wad, everyone was quite happy with the morning’s endeavours. We swept up the hair and thought about what we’d learned. The lessons we can take from this Attempt are as follows: girls are useful and should be listened to. Red Dax is not useful and should not be listened to. Cutting hair is easy.
WHO LET THE CATS OUT? Alison Lee sees the burlesque LoveCats in, eh, Bray Glamourous, flamboyant, sexy… These aren’t words anyone would ordinarily use to describe the Harbour Bar in Bray. “Old man pub” is one of the kinder terms reserved for the seaside pub, which regularly acts as a venue for local bands, trad nights and open mic evenings. But on Saturday 24th October, the Harbour Bar took a step in an entirely more risqué direction when the LoveCats Burlesque Troop took to the stage and sexed the place up with an evening of singing, dancing and debauchery. LoveCats is the creation of local youths with a passion for the art of burlesque. The group enlisted the help of Azaria Starfire, a professional dancer, who chipped in her sexpertise and helped produce an impressive variety show that had the bar jammed all night. Azaria herself was undoubtedly one of the show’s highlights, combining ballet and burlesque to tracks like ‘Johnny Got A Boom Boom’ by Imelda May and ‘Coin Operated Boy’ by the Dresden Dolls. The rest of the troupe got to the strut their stuff onstage too: ‘I Want To Be Evil’ by Eartha Kitt and ‘I Put A Spell On You’ by Screaming Jay Hawkins are just some of the raunchy songs
dancers Trixie Vixen, Lilly deValle and Kitty LaRue performed choreographies to. ‘Choreography’ is far too dull a word to describe the full-on burlesque dancing that was on display; the group had the sexy costumes, the moves, the looks and the attitude to pull it off: not bad at all for a troupe of burlesque virgins. The majority of the show was comprised of dances, but dashing street magician Patrick Leddy quietened things down a little with a magic show. He astonished the crowd with card tricks and mind-reading, and yours truly was even dragged up on stage to play the part of “lovely assistant”. The night wouldn’t have been complete without music, provided by Sally O’Duanling and Gillian Boate who respectively covered Meet Me At The Moon and Fever. There were some educational moments too, such as MC Top Kat’s highly informative reading of extracts from Sex Tips For Married Couples from 1894. Many readers might be sceptical about the concept of burlesque. Is it just an excuse for girls to… well, get their tits out and guys to watch, because it’s an “art form”? It’s not for the faint-hearted, that’s for sure. But
Photo by Mari Barlow a huge amount of skill, hard work and thought goes into a good burlesque show, and the result is glamorous, fun, and sexy. So what’s there to complain about? The LoveCats Burlesque Troop definitely made a memorable debut – the costumes, props and organisation couldn’t have been more professional.
It’s Jamie’s world… we just live in it In the first instalment of his new column, Jamie Martin Anyone who knows me well will tell you that I am a hypochondriac. In fact, I am the worst kind of hypochondriac going. I am the kind of hypochondriac who doesn’t help himself at all. For instance, last week on a night out, myself and my friend Dermot decided that it would be a good idea to have a head butt competition in the back of a car. This resulted in a very long week of headaches followed by a visit to the hospital. After inquiring why I felt the need to play a game in which there can be no real winners, the doctor explained to me that I had two options. Option one, I could wait and see if my symptoms got any better. He said that I might have a concussion due to the repeated head butts. My mother was present and was by no means pleased when I answered the doctor’s question of “how many head butts in total did you give and receive?” My answer of “about twenty” caused my mother to ask the doctor some questions of her own. Questions like, “At what age do men begin to have a little bit of sense?” or “have you ever heard anything as stupid in all your life?”. Option two was to get a brain scan in order to determine whether I have received any brain injury or not. The catch to option two was, the scan raises cancer risk to 1 in 1000. To me, this is a very high number. Now bear in mind, when I get a cough it is swine flu. When I find a
Songs to come out of the closet to Thinking about coming out? Don’t worry about what to say - just press play on these tunes and hope people get the message!
strange mark on my skin it is skin cancer. I have been to the doctor several times for strange illnesses that don’t even exist outside of my head. I was so worried that I had testicular cancer once that I allowed another man to examine my balls. The doctor in question was not pleased when I explained to him that, “I just tend to worry about things that aren’t there sometimes”. I think he was unhappy at having to start his morning with another mans sack in his hands just because I tend to worry. So I knew myself, the last thing I need is to worry about a 1 in 1000 chance of cancer for the rest of my life. I opted for option one, I took the week off and escaped to my Aunty’s house in Donegal where I rested my tired skull and took in the fresh air. A week later, and I am feeling better, although I think I may have caught something on the way home.
‘I’m Coming Out’ – Diana Ross
‘In The Navy’ – The Village People
Let’s start with the obvious: with the lyrics “I’m coming out/I want the world to know”, most people will get the message. Most people will also tell you to turn that awful
This gay anthem came on suddenly in Spy one Friday and I was surprised to see so many lads flocking to the dance floor. It’s only when I saw their dancing prowess that the
‘Keen On Boys’ – The Radio Dept
‘Sexy Boy’ – Air
Stunning shoegaze pop with dreamy vocals, swirling ambience and a subtle beat. That was great! What’s it called? ‘Keen On Boys’.
“how many head butts in total did you give and receive?”
‘Do You Really Want To Hurt Me’ – Culture Club People will be in no doubt about your sexual orientation when you play this. Boy George acts as a herald announcing you onto the scene. Why else would you listen to Boy George?
‘The Magic Position’ – Patrick Wolf If I was gay, this would definitely be my choice.Violins and handclaps galore combine to create Wolf’s most accessible euphoric and feel good song. Try not to smile during this camp celebration.
Stylish pop from the French duo could be used to come out if you put it on and stare lustily at some dude across the room. However, miming the words (literally just “sexy boy” repeated, a lot) is not advised.
‘Unsatisfied’ – The Replacements Certainly not an obvious choice but Paul Westerberg’s emotive lyrics and tortured vocals will have people asking: “What’s up?”
‘Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)’ – C&C Music Factory Everybody remembers the episode of The Simpsons where Homer takes Bart to a gay steel mill. Play this song and people will definitely know what floats your boat, be it the Simpsons, steel, or men in hot pants. Vincent O’Boyle
SOUL REBELS Elan Atias of legendary old-timers The Wailers speaks about Bono, the evolution of reggae, and trying to solve world hunger to Louis Westwater
ne could be forgiven for not knowing the name ‘Atias’, and indeed get away with confusing said name with ‘Atticus’, a leading character in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Mention the surname ‘Marley’, however, closely preceeded by ‘Bob’, and bells quickly begin to ring. Current front man of ‘The Wailers’, Elan Atias undoubtedly has a big pair of shoes to fill every time the band takes to the stage. This is a feat that the crew has proven themselves worthy of accomplishing unremittingly throughout recent times. Asked what stands out to him about playing here in Ireland, Atias affirms, “Irish audiences have great voices! Some audiences can’t carry
a tune, but Irish crowds always manage to sing in key!” Hardcore fans of roots-reggae from the sixties will say that the message behind the genre died with the birth of Dance Hall, Buju Banton, and subsequently artists such as Sean Paul. Yet, Elan stood firm on this one: “Both those guys are good friends and I love their work. Family Man [of The Wailers] always says that one great artist inspires another. Reggae came from blues and jazz to the early rocksteady stuff. Hip-hop came from Dance Hall, then years later hip-hop also influenced the new Dance Hall that’s out today, which then evolved into reggaeton. At the end of the day, it’s all just music.” For the past two years, the band have been working on an album of brand new material, bringing in
contemporary artists from various genres, all of whom have been influenced and inspired by the band over the years. The Wailers record material, send out the tracks to a range of collaborators, and all of a sudden their material is fused with country and western, hip-hop and rock. According to Atias, this exciting project should be with us early 2010. The Californian-born musician is also quick to declare his likemindedness with Bono, the pair having formed their own charity organisation two years ago. “We took the budgets for what our bands would get from promoters on tour and gave that money to the World Food
Programme, and started selling wristbands to raise money. It’s called ‘I Went Hungry’ and you can see there how much money we raise at each tour date. We actually went to the places that are being helped by us. People have been displaced by conflict and have no food or proper homes. One of the kids there grew up in the cocaine fields, and he sang us a song called ‘Hijo de Coca’ [‘Son of Cocaine’]. It brought me to tears.” For Irish people visiting Jamaica, Elan offers some concise advice: just stay away from Kingston! Besides that, be open minded, and “go have a great time!” For more details on the Wailers’ ‘I Went Hungry’ initiative, visit iwenthungry.org.
Anything but American Idiots Green Day never fail to impress Grace Duﬀy
The throng of sopping ‘scene’ children queuing in the rain all day well deserved their spot at the forefront of an exhilarating spectacle as Green Day returned to Dublin. The three-and-a-half-hour show was a veritable juggernaut, enrapturing every one of the innumerable giddily screaming multitudes before it. The headliners rushed giddily onstage at about 9pm to the clamorous delight of the packed arena. Diving headlong into ‘Song of the Century’ and ‘21st Century Breakdown’ from their latest album, the Californian veterans have the entire building on their feet and singing wildly along within minutes. Exploding through a fantastic setlist that mixed a multitude of classics with newer numbers, the band are playful, dynamic, and brilliant. Musically, the bombast is unparalleled – Billie Joe Armstrong’s voice never falters, and the iridescent lighting complements the heaving music perfectly.
The former, ever an impressive showman, positively exceeds himself onstage. Charismatic and charming, he pulls several fans onstage throughout the night, allowing one youngster to play the role of the “sacrifice” for recent single ‘East Jesus Nowhere’ and two others to sing the otwo
words to vintage classic ‘Longview’. While it’s been 18 years since Green Day started coming to Dublin, it’s very hard to believe the band have been playing for so long, as there’s certainly no sign of age or lethargy to their music or live show. In fact, they’re better than ever, with a lively and frenetic show that evokes an ear-to-ear smile as much as it does genuine tears. An acoustic version of ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’ is positively scintillating, and as Armstrong concludes with a solo guitar medley of ‘Wake Me Up When September Ends’ and perennial favourite ‘Time of Your Life’, the spellbound atmosphere is almost overwhelming. Memorable and moving, it would take the most iron of wills not to come away from this show breathless. Green Day played The O2 on 21st October
We want something mew
Sean Finnan meets Jonas Bjerre of Danish alt-indie boys Mew
ith the title of their new album spanning a massive twenty-three words and describing themselves as “the world’s only stadium indie band”, Mew are a band with no fear of being described as pretentious. The outfit started out in a north Copenhagen suburb fifteen years ago releasing material on their own label, Evil Office. Without the pressures of a major label on the band for their formative years, Mew were able to explore and develop their unique alternative sound, described as being “experimental dream pop”. The band is now signed to Sony’s Epic label but retains the same creative control as previously. Mew’s lead singer, Jonas Bjerre tells otwo that “Sony don’t really get involved that much. They really let us do our own thing. They knew that when they signed the band that we’d prove to them that we’d do everything ourselves.” Five albums and a European tour with REM later (“Seeing Stipe up on stage every night was pretty good value, on a learning scale, for a frontman on stage”), the band have arrived with their new album and the Comparisons to David Bowie and Frank Sinatra don’t come easy. The Irish singer-songwriter that is Jack L, however, seems to have made such an impression on music critics and fans alike that, over the last decade his studio albums and live shows have attracted widespread critical acclaim he totally deserves. Although somewhat of an unsung hero, Jack L enjoys the support of a dedicated fan base, ensuring the commercial success of his latest release, a greatest-hits style double album called The Story So Far. Charting his musical career from the beginning, it’s comprised of both live and studio stuff, as well as songs he has played for years on the road which people were “always looking for” but could never find. When asked about his decision to release this album, he reminded us of his seven previous albums, an sizeable amount considering that, in the artist’s own words, “the Beatles had that many when they released theirs.” The album was also prompted by the release of a book of the same name by Anna McPartlin, a tale about fans of Jack’s and their following of him over the years, intertwined with their own individual lives and stories.
rather poetic title of No More Stories, Are Told Today, I’m Sorry, They Washed Away. No More Stories, The World is Grey, I’m Tired, Let’s Wash Away. The lengthy title has met with mixed reactions: “I guess it’s the whole point. Some people like it and some people don’t. Whatever!” Titling aside, the album has received some great reviews; critics have described it as “a surprisingly optimistic affair that does a good job of convincing the listener that Mew might finally be within screaming range of the dreamy magnificence they’ve long aspired to.” Describing themselves as “kids of the eighties”, Mew’s influences stem from acts such as Prince and The Pet Shop Boys, to the alternative sound of My Bloody Valentine. The effect of their somewhat flamboyant influences is evident in their sets: their performances are characterised by the use of visuals, transforming any venue into the band’s own haven. “We wanted to create a world around the music. We felt that we could go into any club or whatever place and turn it into our place.”
L IS FOR LEARNER Want to know what the L in ‘Jack L’ really stands for? Sophie Lioe finds out
Mew’s album, No More Stories, is out now.
Jack’s own story began in his hometown of Athy, Co. Kildare, before becoming a regular fixture of the Dublin music scene with his early backing band The Black Romantics. It wasn’t long before the frontman turned solo and released his first album Metropolis Blue in 1999, claiming that “singing is what I imagine I was put here to do.” This last statement surely sums up his long-established, dedicated music career to date, with hits including ‘Georgie Boy’ and his irreverent cover of Kylie’s ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’. You wouldn’t have caught Jack anywhere near college, as he “left school very early, and got in loads of trouble because I had no interest” – a choice which surely benefited the rest of us. As for his opinion of our beloved Bono – Jack claims to be “always dumbfounded by the amount of grief he gets,” and describes him as a very “down to earth kind of person” any time he has met him. His last words went along the lines of “You’re always after that thing, a great song, that will live forever.” Judging by this album, he may have achieved just that - a few times over. PS – the L stands for Lukeman.
Enda Walsh’s Disco Pigs L
ast week’s Dramsoc lunchtime play, Disco Pigs, written by Enda Walsh, is a hilarious and occasionally horrifying coming of age drama. Written in 1996, it was made most famous in 2001 as a movie starring Cillian Murphy and Harper’s Island’s Elaine Cassidy. Inseparable since birth, next-door neighbours and wilful outsiders Pig (Matthew Kelly) and Runt (Andrea Coakely) have grown up together as though they were twins — even having their unique bond expressed by their own private language. According to Runt, Pig is “da bes an da worse pal in dis bad ol ‘whirl.” They are so close in fact that they form their own isolated world of violence, dysfunction, and devotion. This play was energetically directed by Shane Ward, with strong and convincing performances (as well as unfaltering Cork accents) by both Kelly and Coakely. It was great to see full use being made of all the space the black box has to offer, and there
was a really effective use of lighting throughout to reflect a change of setting or mood, varying from the pulsating strobe-lights of a disco, to the blue of the sea and the blood-red of violent acts. Disco Pigs is one of those plays that forcibly grabs the audience’s attention from the very
beginning and refuses to let go until the bitter end. “An da liddle baby Jeebas a Cork Sity take da furs bread inta da whirl”, for this line, at the play’s beginning, the audience was witnesses to the spectacle that is the ‘births’ of both Pig and Runt. Balanced on two of the play’s few props (a pair of upturned chairs), Kelly and Coakely slid out
from between the chairs’ legs, to the delight and amazement of everyone watching. The tension in this play grows from this point onwards, to such an extent that the final scene’s dramatic violence is quite inevitable and had lost almost all of its shock value. As they wander through Cork on their 17th birthday, starting fights with everyone from bar staff and bus drivers to Sinn Féin members, Pig and Runt start to grow apart. As unconventional as this play is, the damage to this unhealthy relationship is done the old-fashioned way -- with a first kiss. While Pig discovers he loves Runt; Runt discovers she has spent more than enough time on the fringe of society with her self-destructive friend and his taste for violence. Therefore there is no way to avoid the massive change about to impact both their lives. Nicola Lyons
HOOK, LINE AND SINKER
John Gallagher discusses recent success, Dublin’s burgeoning drama scene, and the honesty of contemporary theatre with Jim Culleton of the Fishamble New Play Company Dramatically speaking, Dublin has a lot to offer – according to the Fishamble New Play Company’s artistic director, Jim Culleton. Culleton, who was educated at Belvedere College before pursuing a degree in drama and theatre studies at Trinity College, has for the last twenty years been a driving force behind modern Irish theatre on a national and international platform. In 1990, after graduating, the Dublin native coalesced with like-minded Trinity graduates and members of UCD Dramsoc to form Pigsback Theatre Company. In 1997 it would be renamed Fishamble: the New Play Company. Since then the company has expanded quite substantially, its work regarded by many as the cutting edge in modern theatre. In 2008 over 16,000 people attended Fishamble productions. The work of Sebastian Barry and Joe O’Connor has travelled the world being staged everywhere, from “the nooks and crannies of Temple Bar,” as Culleton puts it, “to 59E59 in New York City.” What people all over the world find
so appealing about the Fishamble productions is the “ethos of honesty and invention.” Plays such as Noah and the Tower Flower based in the Ballymun Towers, and Forgotten, which tells the story of four elderly people in care homes around Ireland, have been extraordinarily well received outside Ireland. “Fishamble aims to show us ourselves and reflect on society. People engage with this uniquely Irish perspective,” admits Culleton humbly. The success of Fishamble productions would not have been possible without the support of the Arts Council and Culture Ireland. The director encourages the government to continue supporting the arts as it has been doing, remarking with a giggle that “the arts are one of the only things to have not let us down in recent times, with the banks and the church and so on.” The Trinity graduate goes on to further justify the importance of the arts, informing otwo of its economic benefit in stating, “Cultural tourism alone is worth €5.1m, it has created 50,000 jobs in Ireland, and otwo
from every euro spent on the arts, three euro goes directly back to the Exchequer.” As the arts in Ireland continue to thrive, Jim Culleton prepares for the world premiere of Strandline, a play by Abbie Spallen and directed by Culleton. Based in a small coastal town in Northern Ireland, the recent work from Spallen, the winner of the Stewart Patrick Trust Award, tells the story of a woman whose husband has recently died. As she wakes him in the company of three women she never liked, secrets are shared. It’s a dark, vibrant and funny piece of drama which comments on what is worth revealing and what is better left unsaid. Strandline runs at the Project Arts Centre, Temple Bar from 11th November to 5th December. 10.11.09
Bats out of Hell Ambitious, brave, and ﬁercely determined, Cancer Bats tell Grace Duffy how hard work is winning them the hearts of rock lovers around the world
Cancer Bats are a band that epitomise the rock ‘n’ roll ethos. Touring everywhere in their lovably battered red van, they set up their own equipment and tune their own instruments, merrily hang around with fans after shows, and wouldn’t have it any other way. Their industrious attitude is a characteristic many have come to love and appreciate about the Toronto quartet, reflecting as it does their dedication to what they do. “For this band, that was the main theme, being able to do it full time,” explains vocalist Liam Cormier. “The band started at the end of 2004 when we were all about 25, when you have to get on with your life. The people that you love aren’t going The time of year has come again for UCD’s Symphony Orchestra to showcase talent around the campus. Established in 2002, UCDSO is the university’s leading music ensemble with around 70-80 student members. It is now a recognised programme module and elective under the UCD Horizons scheme, allowing students to reap academic as well as artistic and social rewards. In spring of this year the orchestra played to a full house in the National Concert Hall, in accordance with their tradition of playing the NCH in the second semester of term and O’Reilly Hall in the first. This year the Orchestra are accompanied by another campus musical gem in the UCD Choral Scholars, the Dublin choir Enchiriadis, and renowned cellist Ailbhe McDonagh. Conductor Ciarán Crilly once again leads the orchestra onto the stage with a well-rehearsed and selected few pieces from the Russia, France and England of the late nineteenth century to the early twentieth. The public will be first treated to Dukas’ ‘Fanfare from La Peri’, played purely by the brass section of the orchestra. Although the famed conductor Sir Thomas Beecham
to say, ‘Oh yeah, we support the fact that you don’t wanna do anything,’ so by 2005 it was like, ‘I’ve got nothing in my life but this band, let’s just put everything we have into it,’ and it ended up working out.” The band’s particular brand of ballsy punk metal has struck a chord with listeners, searching for something genuine amidst the increasingly trend-conscious rock music market. The straight-edged lifestyles of guitarist Scott Middleton and Liam himself has influenced their lyrical direction, while the addition of bassist Jaye Schwarzer has streamlined their music. “We’d never have a song that was about getting wasted, ‘cos that’s not something all four of us do... I want to make sure that everyone can at least partially identify with the lyrics, so I’d never write a song about being straight edge either. A lot of songs are about doing whatever you need to do to make you happy.” Of their forthcoming third album, entitled Bears, Mayors, Scraps, and Bones, Liam says,
“the big thing is, now that Jaye is holding down the low end as much as he is, it’s allowing Scott to have more freedom with guitar, and Jaye backs me up a lot, so we’ve been able to do a lot more overlapping vocals.” With a hugely successful tour backing Billy Talent just complete, many more booked, and the new album due in March 2010, it’s all systems go for the fun-loving Canadians. Liam is humble and proud, asserting, “I feel this is where we all wanted the band to be from the beginning, so this is like the culmination of what we’ve being working for. I’m psyched to be here!”
UCD Symphony Orchestra After selling out the National Concert Hall in Spring, Colin Sweetman checks out the oﬀerings for the UCD Symphony Orchestra’s winter recital in O’Reilly Hall once stated that “brass bands are all very well in their place - outdoors and several miles away”, you can
be guaranteed that this will be a fantastic and bright opening to the evening’s show.
The band started at the end of 2004 when we were all
about 25, when you have to get on with your life. The people that you love aren’t going to say, ‘Oh yeah, we support the fact that you don’t wanna do anything’
Elgar’s music is wonderful in its heroic melancholy. Therefore, the orchestra treats you to one of his finest works: the Cello Concerto. If you like cellos as much as otwo, this is one to definitely watch, listen and experience. Like last year’s performance, which was themed with music from Russia, Crilly once again conjures performances from the country’s greatest composers. Of all the pieces being performed on this night, Prokofiev’s Lieutenant Kijé is the one which should be anticipated the most. UCD Symphony Orchestra profits most by using this piece to display in-depth and colourful use of the available musical language. Watch all the YouTube videos you want: nothing compares to experiencing the piece live, as the musicians of UCD perform its ‘new simplicity’. If you want proof of how promising and engaging UCD Symphony Orchestra are, keep your ears peeled around campus today – they’ll be lurking around for surprise performances around the college, so keep your ears open! The UCD Symphony Orchestra play the O’Reilly Hall on 8pm Wednesday 18th November. Tickets €10 (€5 for students). www.ucdorchestra.com
Kris on a Bike: T A cycle to the Cyclades
his was a rough leg of the trip, maybe the roughest thing I’ve ever got myself into. The plan was to find our way from the Atlantic coastal city of San Sebastian to Barcelona, the Mediterranean’s own Sodom and Gomorrah. This route would take us across the foothills of the Pyrenees, into Pamplona for the opening of the San Fermin bull run, down into the desert wastelands of Spain’s red centre, a final traverse of a few unexpected mountains and straight into the welcoming Mediterranean Sea. This all seemed like great fun until our first day setting out from San Sebastian after a few days surfing, accompanied by the manner of hangovers that could bring a grown man to his knees. A trail of bright orange vomit wound its way behind us in a sort of Hansel and Grettel fashion all the way to our first stop on a busy roadside just outside the strange little town of Tolosa. Day two saw us making the push for Pamplona where the male ego would lead us all into reluctantly risking our lives in order to outdo each other in the infamous bull run, but first we would have to make it through the opening ceremony. This was like nothing I had ever seen before, an ocean of red and white gradually merging into a solid block of pink as every man woman and child was covered from head to toe in sangria. People were hurling this vicious concoction from balconies by the bucket load onto
g Negotiatin in North Spa
Born for Melbourne
Lauren O’Hanlon recommends Melbourne for a getaway down under Planning on going away for the summer, or maybe taking a year out? How does sun, surf and sand on the edge if an energetic cosmopolitan urban jungle suit you? If that seems like your kind of scene, the sophisticated and slick city of Melbourne should be at the top of your travelling list. Prided as the cultural capital of Australia, Melbourne is known as a hotspot for tourists and backpackers across the world. This is no surprise:
the city is filled with an array of edgy bars, chic restaurants and an enviable outdoor lifestyle. Both the physical and cultural landscapes provide a welcoming canvas for its dynamic population. Whether you’re interested in lazing about on one of the golden beaches, experiencing the multi-cultural central business district or savouring the atmosphere at an Aussie Rules match in the famous MCG, Melbourne really has something for everyone. otwo
Getting into the city is pretty convenient – the city is serviced by two airports which are just 25 minutes from the city centre. The $45 taxi fare is a little pricey for a student budget, but air coaches operate regularly. Once arrived, there is a range of cheap and cheerful hostels to choose from. One of the first things you will 10.11.09
learn when you arrive is that Melburnians are extreme sports enthusiasts. Be it cricket on the beach or football on TV, the people of Melbourne love their sport and welcome everyone to join in. Major sporting events such as the Australian Open and the F1 grand prix attract tourists from all over the world every year. It is here that you will become familiar with the rules of thumb: “get up and go” and “slip, slop, slap”; the first meaning to get involved in sport, the second referring to the use of sunscreen. If you can’t stand the heat, summer is
TRAVEL 13 a heaving mass of people, fighting, kissing, groping, even writhing around on the ground, this was a case study in madness. The next few days followed the same course with intermittent moments of sleeping and eating. The bull run is a story for another time, the amount of emotions crammed into that unforgettable fifteen minutes is difficult to describe. After four days of this we were all swept up in a dangerous case of the fear and decided it was time to get the hell out of there, we escaped our campsite through a wheat field in the dead of night in order to escape paying, then it was back to the gruelling ride towards the sea. The following week was spent pulling contorted facial expressions as we struggled up the ‘foothills’ of the Pyrenees. We picked up an alarmingly hairy American who
definitely the wrong season for you as temperatures skyrocket. For those more into checking out the shopping and dining side of things, Melbourne boasts an assortment of lively shopping promenades and stylish high streets, all easily and cheaply accessible through the unique trams that lumber up and down through the urban frenzy and out towards the character-filled neighbourhoods. A short trip from the city can bring you to crowd drawing locations such as St Kilda Beach where surf, fun and eclectic dining can all be found. Here many cafes and arts and crafts markets can be found along the beachfront in the summer. Melbourne is not known for its wild clubbing but what attracts so many tourists to Melbourne is what is hidden outside the city. For example, one of the most popular
was endeavouring to do the same trip alone, and talked our way into spending an unnerving night in a monastery somewhere obscure, and nearly lost a man in a very dark encounter with the inside of a tunnel and collectively lost about ten stone in weight along the way. The journey into Barcelona in the early hours of the morning was nearly as hairy as the American, but we rolled triumphantly into two hedonistic days of celebration. As our second ferry of the trip pulled out bound for Rome we couldn’t help but feel that the most exciting leg of the trip was over, but for better or for worse we were about to be proven very wrong indeed. Just how exciting can Kris Goodbody’s cycling tour from Blackrock to Greece get? His diary
and well-known areas just outside Melbourne is the Great Ocean Road. This takes you right down the coast, really showing you what the country has to offer – so next time you’re deciding where to travel, Melbourne is definitely a cool and vibrant place you won’t regret visiting.
¿Cómo está en Córdoba? In the dead heat of the Spanish summer, John Gallagher loses himself in the winding calles of Cordoba With a population of 320,000, one might expect that Cordoba would become an anesthetised ghost town. This is certainly not the case: rich in culture, with its religious structures and musical legacy, this hidden city thrives in the summer months. The Spanish city’s architecture is famous throughout the world, safeguarded as an UNESCO world heritage site. Narrow alleys lead to quiet plazas while colourful mosaic work and traditional patios enchant strolling visitors. Even the rundown flats between the Mosque and the city walls gleam with charm. At times it’s less like modern Spain and more like 1950s North Africa. La Mezquita is Cordoba’s tour de force. First built around 600AD, the Great Mosque underwent several crises of identity, first built as a church before being changed to a mosque, back to a chapel, and eventually resting as a place of Muslim worship. Today La Mezquita is exhibited to the public at a fee of €5. Its windowless interior provides a welcome cooling system while its fountains are ideal for bathing in 10.11.09
the basking sun. The city library is a convenient pit stop - with air conditioning and free internet access, it is the only place where an organised UCD student can register for the next academic year, provided an American is not hogging two computers blogging about the cheap all-you-can-eat buffets in the Andalucian heartland. Together with its architectural highlights, Cordoba is also famous for its music and in particular its flamenco guitar. In the new town you will find workshops where everything from traditional Spanish guitars and lutes to steel string electric guitars are built by request. Towards the end of July “the City of the Guitar” celebrates la Festival de la Guitarra. Musicians from all over the world, including Mark Knopfler, Paco de Lucia and BB King, come to play and pay homage to the birth place of the instrument. Spain’s high speed railway means that within two hours you can be in Barcelona or Madrid, and in even less time to go further south to Seville. Cordoba seems to have emerged from hiding. It is certainly cheap, even compared to other Mediterranean destinations. Go before 2016 when the city becomes homogenised as the European Capital of Culture.
AshestoAshes In a revolutionary idea to music production, Sally Hayden speaks to Ash drummer Rick McMurray about the band’s latest idea: to release a new single every two weeks
ame? I just drink my way through it.” Ash have been together seventeen years, selling eight million albums, playing a part in the Good Friday Agreement, and being named as one of Q magazine’s “50 Bands to See Before You Die”. Now they’re back, with a new take on the music scene: declaring albums defunct and singles contemporary, they’ve set themselves a challenge of releasing twenty-six singles in one year, unleashing a new one every two weeks. Drummer Rick McMurray explains the reasoning behind this concept, called the A-Z
Series. “We just decided to ditch the album concept a couple of years back, we kinda got bored of having a three-year cycle of the album, then spending a year and a half on the road, and then back in writing again, and we kind of wanted to mix things up a bit and mix up the writing with the touring as well. I think it’s the way people buy music as well these days; people are just cherrypicking tracks off albums rather than buying a full album, they’re just buying songs that they hear on the radio or on MySpace or whatever. “We decided we just wanted to do things a little bit differently so we came up with the concept of just bringing out a single every two weeks and we’ll do that for a year... twenty-six songs, which is coincidently the number of letters in the alphabet, and that’s where the name comes from.”
Taking the decision to release every song as a single means each song’s melodies must be strong; for one thing, the band sacrifice the ability to pad out an album with filler material simply to take up space. “We have been recording a lot in the studio over the last year and we’ve come up with forty-four songs. Because every one is a single, we really want to keep the quality up – we’re going to go into studio I think early next year too – so we’ll have plenty of tracks… hopefully we’ll have, like, fifty to choose from.” Ash formed and released their first album while still in school, and can ably be thought of as one of Northern Ireland’s most successful bands and exports, having had considerable success not only in Europe but in America. otwo asks Rick how they have managed to stay together so long.
“We all grew up together, we get on really well, and we still have a lot as a band to achieve... ambitions, things that we haven’t done yet...” Like what? “We’ve never had a number one single so we’d like to get that, and we’d love to headline one of the big festivals as well, so we’re still really excited. We think, because we’re not doing albums any more, it’s like a new lease of life for the band… it almost feels like we’re started again; when a band starts out, not really thinking about albums, you know, trying to write as many songs as possible and write the greatest songs you can.” Not only are Ash songsters, they’re actors too. Musicians turned to acting can be calamitous at the best of times, and you’d be forgiven if you haven’t heard of Ash’s bigscreen endeavour. Slashed, the unreleased horror film they created starring themselves and the Coldplay duo of Chris Martin and Jonny Buckland - also featuring appearances from Moby, James Nesbitt and Dave Grohl - still hasn’t come to a cinema screen near you. “I don’t know if we’re going to release it,” says McMurray. “It never actually got finished at the time; there’s a few scenes that didn’t be shot and it’s just, like, ‘I think we’d look a little bit older’. It’s seven years ago so it’ll never be finished, but I think Mark’s talking about just editing some little clips of it together for YouTube or something like that.” Rick also quells the rumours that Dave Grohl was against the release, for fears of being seen running around in bloodstained boxers. “Dave actually comes across quite well, he’s a pretty good actor. I’d say he’s probably one of the best actors in it, he’s kind of like a pastiche of Sherlock Holmes.” But back to business. In their new vision of a single-based music market, Ash have acknowledged that the industry they’re in is constantly evolving, and also recognise the challenges this poses for up-and-coming artists. “I think things have changed for bands starting off,” opines McMurray. “It’s changed so much since we’ve started – I mean, that was before the internet even existed and you didn’t have to set up your own MySpace or your Facebook or be constantly Twittering all the time. I guess there’s so many different tools out there for bands. “Then again, the music business just isn’t the same; there’s just such a quick turnover of bands, I think it’s going to be really tough for them out there. Especially with illegal downloading, it’s really hard to establish yourself but I guess people have got more money for going out and seeing gigs rather than buying records, so I guess you’re just going to have to get out on the road and keep plugging away.” otwo also asks what the music scene in the North was like in the early ‘90s. “It was kind of weird because in our hometown, Downpatrick, there were so many bands – it’s a really small place with a population of about fifteen thousand, but there were at least about fifteen bands that were kicking around at that time. Nirvana was a huge influence – it just made everyone want to go out and join a band. That was cool, and then I think
things sort of died off for a little bit after that. We were one of the lucky ones we got signed and got successful.” Despite being part of a band that drank its way through fame and allegedly smoked spliffs with S Club (“S Club? Did we? We were definitely there the night they got busted anyway for doing something... they seemed to be quite big fans of the band strangely enough”), the then-foursome didn’t forget their roots, with Rick citing their role in the Northern peace process as a highlight of his career. “We played a concert at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast in the week coming up to the Good Friday Agreement. The No campaign was grabbing all the headlines... I think it was John Hume and Bono’s idea to put on a gig with a big band from the North and really promote the Yes campaign, and it did seem to really have an effect around the country. It was suddenly the Yes campaign that was grabbing all the headlines so it was much more positive and we were just really proud to play whatever part we could in it.” McMurray, Wheeler and Hamilton parted ways with guitarist Charlotte Hatherley in 2006 after nine years as a foursome, returning to the three original members of the band. “I think we’re really happy as a three-piece. I think when we got rid of Charlotte we were nervous, wondering whether we could pull things off because we were a fourpiece for so long. But pretty much within the first week of gigs we were like, ‘Yeah, we’re definitely staying like this’.” Not that the devolution back to a three-piece changed the style of Ash’s output: the band have been changing their sound since the outset. “If you listen to the first of the singles which we put out last
Monday, which is called ‘True Love 19AD’, and compare that to our early stuff, it sounds like two different bands. We’ve always been big fans of bands who change their sound and change their identity a lot. There’s no point in repeating yourself, once you’ve done something it’s time to move on to something else that’s new.” And how about the fact that they think their staggered releasing of singles could stop potential illegal music sharing? McMurray believes that this form of distribution minimises the free copies of a record to people in the media, among others, and therefore it’s less likely to end up on Limewire et al. “It’s not like doing an album – we’re doing a single every two weeks, people aren’t going to hear it until it’s been released, you hear it as it unfolds, and we’ve got a subscription from a website which is £13 in the UK for all 26, so it’s really wellpriced. I think music still has to have a value – if people get things for free they don’t really care about it as much as they do if they’ve paid for it, so I think it’s important that the music has a value so people care about it.” Though maybe not a revolutionary idea, Ash seem ready to tackle any hindrance, and see the changing industry as a challenge rather than an impediment. So what’s next for them? “This whole campaign’s going to run for a year so I guess we should be touring all around the world, going to Japan I think next year and maybe America as well… the whole single thing doesn’t finish until the end of next September, but after that we’re going to have to come up with a new concept.” What Ash might come up with next is anyone’s guess, but without doubt it’ll be worth watching.
Butt ning W inter brings with it elegance unknown to the styles of summer – the layers thicken up, the fabrics get heavier and every outfit is completed by a stylish and practical winter coat. The winds and rain make “practifashion” an essential style when the skies darken and the sun is an occasional visitor. This year’s styles follow with what could be said was one of the only original styles of the last ten years. The military look is still very much with us, epaulettes on the shoulders, double-breasted buttons lining the chests of those who wear them. The military look gives an edge to fashion, a traditional elegance that was a sign of quality of all the classic military inspirations. Our styles in this issue show a contrast between the types on offer, with an everyday coat combined with a style that is both more suited to the elements and with a dressed-up feel. A quality coat furthers any look, an exterior presentation of what you’re wearing underneath. The price reflects the quality. A coat is an investment, a piece to add to your collection that will last for many seasons to come.
Style, quality and practicality: it could only be Winter time. Seán McGovern looks at the styles on offer this winter for essentials we can all appreciate: the coat
Eimear wears: Black, double-breasted belt coat: €129 Navy, double-breasted hooded coat: €99 Julie wears: Square-patterned coat: €114 Black jacket with gold zip detailing: €99 Wayne wears: Grey Double breasted jacket: €107 Navy, gold buttoned, double breasted coat: €122 All coats courtesy of Topshop, St. Stephen’s Green, and Topman, Grafton Street Models: Eimear Daly, Julie Kirwan and Wayne Fitzpatrick Photographer: Colin Scally Stylist: Seán McGovern Style Assistant: Corbmac McKay
With a myriad of choices, fashion tastes are as broad as the selection of blogs dedicated to them online. Corbmac McKay looks at three very different style guides
oved by some and loathed by others, fashion blogs design and sculpt the very clothes which are deemed correct for us to wear. Each site can be associated with a different sense of individuality, or a certain niche who can be targeted by what motifs decorate their tops and what shoes wrap their feet. Just Google for “fashion blogs” and the list is endless: some might be a collaboration of outdated and unrealistic trends which would hardly ever be considered fashionable; others are, to borrow a phrase, un peu d’air sur terre.
Inspiration can be attained by simply glancing through the pictures, rather than read long irrelevant passages concerning matters that are simply nothing to do with fashion. This
Fake Karl Lagerfeld (fakekarl. blogspot.com) is a site devoted to an over-the-top attitude of the stereotypically fabulous and artificial world of fashion. Karl’s portrayal of fashion is both outrageously materialistic and modish. Pieces created by this fashion guru can be a daunting challenge to read for those not in touch with Milan’s red carpet or New York’s catwalk. To be honest, what Karl writes about can be seen as absolute nonsense; each paragraph focuses on the absurd and is irrelevant to the next, at one stage ridiculing an “orange nut muffin” and following with a paragraph dedicated to “an unemployed interior designer”. Karl’s blogs are undeniably witty and easy to read, but lack the adequate photography appreciated in most fashion blogs. The site itself is dark and sophisticated with a forever stylish monochrome and colourless layout, typically used to employ a suave audience. But its relevance to fashion? Minimal. An odd pun is thrown in here and there and at times the fashion jargon can be interpreted, but all in all the site itself is more a satire, indulging an exaggerated account of a passion for the empires of style.
bohemian mix concentrates on juxtapositions that are irrevocably aesthetic and ocular. Cherry Blossom Girl (thecherryblossomgirl. com) is perhaps the most impressive fashion blog available on the net. This site not only catches fashion in a sublime form, but adopts the forever lasting popular culture. The page itself is decorated with pretty doodles and iconic images. If you are the impatient sort and need to find a specific piece of clothing, a simple list on the left hand side of the page (be it shoes, accessories or tees, the list is exhasutive) is perfect for your needs. Sharp bright images are flaunted next to a neat and precise layout which makes browsing all the easier and enjoyable. The overall site is like an attractive assortment of chocolates with a wide variety of style and something here for everyone. Browsing through these sites there is a stark and bold eye catcher: none of these sites have anything in common concerning clothes and fashion advice. Each site is dedicated to a different style and target market, from goth to fashionista, there is a wide variety of fashion advice. This does concern their relevance to fashion, and how they convey what people should wear. From studded leather chokers to cotton paisley pinafores, there is a huge juxtaposition that goes against the standards of contemporary style. What is its relevance to seasonal style? Is it a sheer chaotic mess of what the editor could find first or is it genuine from the fashion houses that truly create fashion? This is really up to the reader, and this is what every person intends to find when they read a fashion blog. Fashion blogs can be as reliable as a fabricated celebrity diet, but there are some which capture our hearts and suit our approach to fashion – and these are the true gems which we hold close to us under the Favourites tab forever. Once you find something that suits both your individual tastes and budget, you’ve struck gold. It’s individual praise that justifies these blogs’ dedication to fashion.
Face Hunter (facehunter.blogspot.com) is an entirely different proposition. There is no verbosity describing what fashion is and what should be worn – instead, viewers are allowed to decide for themselves through a series of striking images. This site certainly has its feet on the ground of fashion and reminds us that it is all about individuality. Everyday people are caught wearing their own collaborations in hope to inspire the nation – from rural chic to contemporary geek, you can find it all. otwo
Having sold out shows around the world, Video Games Live co-founder Tommy Tallarcio talks to Quinton O’Reilly about music, video games, and fulfilling a lifelong dream
nce upon a time, video games were classed as a niche medium – one that conjured up images of adolescent boys hunched over a monitor, wiping the sweat from their spotted brows as they try to defeat a badly-drawn evil warlord and save the world. Things changed with the introduction of firstly the Sony PlayStation, and later the Nintendo Wii. Thanks to these, video games have begun to cross the bridge from niche interest into mainstream entertainment. Despite its rapid evolution, the medium isn’t regarded as artistic as film and literature, but it is quickly evolving in different ways, and one idea that brings games and art together is a new show called Video Games Live (VGL). For those unfamiliar with the show, VGL was created by two video game composers, Tommy Tallarico and Jack Wall, and consists of a live orchestra composing music from numerous games from the genre’s humble beginnings to the present day. The event describes itself as having “the power and emotion of a symphony orchestra mixed with the excitement and energy of a rock concert and the technology and interactivity of a video game” and
attempts to bridge the gap between the two media. Tommy Tallarico is one of the more prominent names in video game music compisition, having had a long career spanning more than twenty years and over 275 titles. While composing orchestrated
Those black and white films? Well, that’s our Pong music isn’t the easiest task in the world, it’s the idea of converting a video game song from simple bleeps and bloops into a score for a full symphony orchestra that makes the task do hard. Tallarico, however, relishes the challenge of converting these tunes into their new format. “The hardest part as a composer is getting the melody,” he explains, “[but] the hard parts are already done – the melody for Mario is just sitting there, so it’s actually not so much challenging as it is fun. You get to take these amazing melodies and really blow them out where no one has heard of them in this lush environment.” That wasn’t the only problem the otwo
show faced. When the idea was first conceived back in 2002, it was met with scepticism by the gaming industry. Tallarico spent the next three years creating the show, obtaining the rights and licenses to the various pieces, before finally putting on their first show in the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. 11,000 people attended the event, easily dispelling any cynicism and reservations the games industry had about the popularity of the idea. Since then, the show has become a worldwide success and has played over 150 shows in venues such as New York, London, Beijing, Sydney and Rio de Janeiro. Tallarico jokes at how quickly things changed, saying that video game companies now beg them to put their music on the show. The show’s growing popularity and success means that the show is premiering new games before they’re released – their tour in Paris will host the premiere of Assassins’ Creed II as the game’s creators, Ubisoft, are based in France. Tallarico’s goal when creating VGL was to show the world that games could be artistic and culturally significant. Discussing this belief, he links the changes of video games to the earlier days of film and television, believing that video games will follow the same route. “They (film and television) weren’t universally accepted the second they came out,” says Tallarico. “It took 30 to 40 years for the generational gap to close and for the people who grew up on film, it evolved into their culture. The same thing is happen10.11.09
ing with games… those black and white films? Well, that’s our Pong.” A trend that he notices at each show is the type of audience the show gets. While you’d be forgiven for thinking the audiences would solely consist of hardcore gamers, there’s also a mixture of casual gamers and families alongside them. “It’s funny,” remarks Tallarico. “I look out at the audience and I see a grandma sitting in one seat and next to her would be a teenager in a Mario t-shirt, next to some guy dressed in a suit and tie with his girlfriend, next to someone dressed up as Mario.” It’s an exciting time for the games industry which is currently evolving in more ways than just graphics. While talking to Tallarico and listening to him enthuse about the experiences that came from the show, it’s clear that VGL is a labor of love for him and a realisation of a longcherished dream – a dream that stems from his childhood, where a ten-year-old Tallarico would record music from video games before splicing them together and inviting his friends over to listen. “I’d invite my neighbourhood friends over; I’d charge them a nickel, I’d play the cassette tape back as I got up on the television set, I’d grab a broomstick and I’d put my favorite video games on the TV behind me and I’d pretend to put on a show,” laughs Tallarico. “Who knew thirty years later I’d be doing this?” Video Games Live perform two shows at the National Concert Hall on Sunday 29th November. www.nch.ie
20 FILM & TV
Reviews JENNIFER'S BODY Released: Out now Cast: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Adam Brody Director: Karyn Kusama Imagine the high school drama of Mean Girls meeting the high concept horror of The Exorcist and you’ve already got a good idea of what Jennifer’s Body is all about. The film follows the story of Megan Fox as Jennifer Chase, a small town girl sacrificed by a Satan worshipping indie band (no, seriously). Jennifer then takes on an un-life of her own, terrorising the boys of the town of Devil’s Kettle. In essence a rape-revenge morality tale, a strong feminist message of sexual empowerment runs from beginning to end. The film even opens with the awful line, “Hell is a teenage girl”; but Jean-Paul Sartre, this is not.
From the trailers alone you could be easily forgiven for thinking Jennifer’s Body is another quirky teenage comedy more in line with Rocket Science than Resident Evil, but the film instead combines genuine horror with effortlessly brilliant comedic dialogue courtesy of Juno scribe Diablo Cody. The stripper-turned-Oscar-winner’s ear for clever teenage vernacular is easily the highlight of the film, and almost makes it worth watching. Almost. As much as Cody’s dialogue is genuinely entertaining, it is absolutely lost on Megan Fox. This film shows us that without robots or explosions on screen to distract us from her, it quickly becomes apparent how terrible an actress she is. Granted, she fulfils her role as stock attractive female with full use of both of her talents, but that really is the extent of her performance. She comes off hugely unlikeable,
even for a member of the homicidal undead. Amanda Seyfried, on the other hand, pulls off her comic turn excellently, and truly puts Fox to shame. Jennifer’s Body at times takes a tongue-in-cheek look at the horror genre rather then trying to participate in it, though there are genuine laugh out loud moments. The film does exude Cody and Kusama’s female empowerment subtext, but at the same time, Fox’s character becomes cursed because she wasn’t a virgin when she was sacrificed, which smacks more than a little of the abstinence preaching. In a nutshell: Passable supernatural horror fare. Cody’s dialogue is brilliant as ever, but unfortunately it only works for good actresses. Jon Hozier-Byrne
TAKING WOODSTOCK Released: Out now Cast: Demetri Martin, Henry Goodman, Imelda Staunton Director: Ang Lee Taking Woodstock is a story about a man who attempts to save his parents’ failing motel by organising Woodstock to be held nearby… and there’s really not a whole lot else going on. While many moving themes are introduced such as coming of age, self-confidence or independence, they get a bit lost and forgotten about as the story progresses. It all feels a bit awkward and pointless. I spent most of the two hours wondering “where are they going with this?” Unfortunately the answer was: nowhere at all.
You may be tempted to argue that a slightly meaningless series of events pretty accurately reflects Woodstock, in itself a bit of disjoined confusion. It doesn’t change the fact, though, that this film left me feeling hollow. Many of the characters are excellently written and while it was very fun to see Demitri Martin take drugs and dance around, nobody learns anything, nobody grows as a person. It’s all a little disappointing. A notable feature of the film was the use of split-screen. At first it seemed to be a clever reflection of how hectic and confusing it must have been to organise such a huge festival but it was used over and over until it lost all effect and just became annoying. There was almost more split-screen used throughout the film than whole screen, at one point there were competing otwo
conversations in each screen. Perhaps Ang Lee just didn’t want to cut any of his precious scenes and so tried to show them all concurrently. It was probably a good thing he did, because even with half the shots overlapping the film was still over two hours long and gave me a headache. Despite all my whinging, I did enjoy it. The individual elements of Taking Woodstock are great. There are giggles and some genuinely heart-warming moments throughout. It’s silly and weird and I spent most of the time with a big beaming grin on my face. In a Nutshell: Although unfocused and meandering, very enjoyable and funny. Just don’t expect any deeper meaning. Emer Sugrue
FILM & TV 21
2012 Released: November 13 Director: Roland Emmerich Starring: John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Oliver Platt Ronald Emmerich already has quite a pedigree in blowing up international landmarks, as the director of Independence Day, remembered by most who saw it for the diplomatically questionable explosion of the White House. With 2012, though, Emmerich exceeds himself in both the wilful destruction of world landmarks, and in iffy politically commentary. That’s not to say that 2012 is as lazy or as formulaic as Emmerich’s 1996 blockbuster. White House scientific advisor Adrian Helmsley (Ejiofor) learns that the sun is emitting stronger solar flares than ever, which are leading to the earth’s core melting and causing the earth’s crust to destabilise and trigger mass earthquakes and apocalyptic tsunamis all over the world. His megalomaniacal boss, Carl Anheuser (Platt, echoing his role as a dickhead attorney in The West Wing), takes advantage of the political chaos that ensues and is generally a prat, while struggling divorcé author Jackson Curtis (Cusack) provides the human face as he and his family struggle to escape the gaping cracks in the ground that only ever get within three yards of him. Ultimately all three collide as the world’s panicked masses struggle for survival. 2012’s special effects, it must be acknowledged, are quite extraordinary and deftly real;
Intelligent Action Movies Brains and brawn? Seán McGovern chooses ten of the best smart action flicks The Last Action Hero (1993) Loud, sprawling and over the top: your standard action movie. Packed full of parodies on the genre, and while not the hit it was intended to be, a bucket of self-referential fun.
the sight of most of California sliding into the sea in hundredacre chunks is presented with gruesome reality. The science of the plot is a wee bit tenuous – sun gets hotter, Earth instantly falls to shit – while the political world is a humorous but somewhat misplaced satire of the real world: the Queen is seen escaping with her Corgis; the American President is black (although aged), the German Chancellor is a middleaged woman, and the Governor of California is an Austrian actor. As a complete package, 2012 is certainly not beyond recommending; though destined to be overlooked in favour of Avatar as the cinematic event of the year, 2012 is an engaging and thought-provoking epic about how humanity might cope should the Earth decide to evict us en masse. In a nutshell: You’ll be thankful you’re on dry land afterward. Gavan Reilly
Aliens (1986) A sequel that purposely distinguished itself from its predecessor as a brash and aggressive assault on sensibilities, not only did Aliens make the yuppie the real villain, it got Sigourney Weaver a Best Actress Oscar nomination. Heart, soul, and lots of slime. The Fifth Element (1997) Action with a French twist: a beautiful, energetic creation from Luc Besson, remarkable for taking an American genre and creating something aesthetically beautiful as well as action packed, with a sense of fun and irony existing between all the explosions. GoldenEye (1995) This Bond effort makes it to the list: not only is it a standout in a franchise, but because of its skill of reinvention. The first Bond film after the fall of the Berlin wall, Pierce Brosnan made the part his own, a step up from a “sexist, misogynist dinosaur” and a “relic of the Cold War”. Admire for the title sequence alone. Die Hard (1988) Back when Bruce Willis still had hair, he made the everyman a hero in his bloodstained vest. Die Hard is not only still as exhilarating now as it was on release, but has gained vast academic attention over the years for themes ranging from Bruce Willis’ muscles to Alan Rickman’s villainy. Demolition Man (1993) With more than a few nods to Brave New World, Demolition Man was the beginning of the end of action movies, with subversive political opinions beneath shiny things being blown up. Let us not forget that in
the future, Arnold Schwarzenegger is President. Almost like life imitating prophetic art. Almost. Total Recall (1990) Back when action movies were still for adults and not 13-year-olds with ADHD, Total Recall had all you wanted in an action film: fantastic plot, great effects, hideous mutants, bulging eyes, Sharon Stone, and a hooker with three breasts. With a pounding score by Jerry Goldsmith, it’s not the only film by Paul Verhoeven on this list. The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996) A slight wildcard on the list, The Long Kiss Goodnight serves more as a curiosity than anything else, doing great things with an amnesia narrative. Slick and stylish, with Geena Davis proving she could easily do action as well as being Thelma and/ or Louise. X2: X-Men United (2003) A sequel that betters an original is always welcome; X-Men 2 had a huge amount of social and political interpretations. What’s more is that it also had wonderful extended fight scenes, character arcs, and that it never gets dull to see Mystique slither about the place. Starship Troopers (1997) How often is a nineties action film hailed as military propaganda or a critique on mindless human death and violence? Maybe just this once. With its fluffy cast it still manages to be visceral, engaging and bloody. It’s hard to know just which film is Paul Verhoeven’s masterpiece, though I’d argue it’s Showgirls.
FILM & TV
French Fancies With the upcoming French Film Festival taking place in the IFI this November, Conor Barry takes a waltz through some of the better French entries
he French certainly know how to make films, which should come as no surprise as they invented the whole thing in the first place. In celebration of the upcoming IFI French Film Festival, otwo takes a look at some of the films that should be watched to whet your French cinema appetite. Amelie (2001) With Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s latest film appearing as part of the Film Festival it only seems right to take a look back at his most loved work, Amelie. Probably the most watched French film by people who aren’t actually French, it’s a strange mixture of a stock love story and a magical Disney film. Set in the type of Paris we’d like to think exists, but clearly doesn’t, we follow the mild adventures of Amelie, a naïve waitress who falls in love with a mysterious stranger with whom she plays games in an attempt to make him fall in love with her. As well as the film just being ridiculously cute (she’s like a real life doll!) it’s actually a very touching and well made piece of cinema, complimented perfectly by an amazing soundtrack by Yann Tiersen. If this film doesn’t make you feel all warm inside it’s because you actually have no soul. Les Triplettes de Belleville (2003) A bizarre film all round. In short, the film is an animation about a man who fulfils his childhood aspiration of cycling in the Tour de France, only to be kidnapped midway through by the French Mafia, forcing his grandmother and pet dog on a rescue mission to release him. You know, the usual. Completely dialogue free, the film lets its retro animation style do the talking, a style that is as anti-Disney as possible. This point is consciously hammered home at one stage when we see a
Mickey Mouse head-shaped turd floating in a toilet bowel. Not exactly subtle, but it raises a smile. And it is more than refreshing to have a cartoon that’s not patronising yet completely family friendly. This is inoffensive but genre redefining stuff that is definitely worth a watch.
dreamlike camerawork and the hard, realistic dialogue (well, obviously some weren’t drawn in since they walked out of the film, but they were probably pansies). If you can manage a little bit of ultra-violence, you’re in for one of the most rewarding films in recent French history.
Irreversible (2002) Allegedly the most walked-out-of movie in the year of its releaase, after the first couple minutes it’s easy to see where the shock came from. Irreversible bluntly opens with a man storming into a gay club and beating another man to death with a fire extinguisher. No explanation; just graphic violence. We then see the film unfold backwards showing us what happened leading up to this event. Needless to say, it’s not exactly pretty either. While it may sound like unnecessary
Bande à part (1964) You know when you think of a stereotypical super-cool Frenchman, you imagine a wellattired gent with a cigarette always in mouth, and rarely speaking? This film is the epitome of that stereotype: it simply oozes cool. In fact, Quentin Tarantino was so taken with the film that he took it as the name for his production company and, in a lot of ways, recreated the tone in Pulp Fiction. The plot very loosely follows two men as they try and persuade a young girl to assist them with a burglary. In fairness though, the plot isn’t as important as the style, crafted by director Jean-Luc Godard. At one point three main characters spend a full four minutes doing the same dance over and over in a small French café. It is a credit to Godard that this one of the most memorable scenes in cinema. Bande à part champions the impressive trophy of making the mundane shockingly slick. Hopefully this wide spectrum of some of French cinemas best will provide you with a taster of what they’ve got to offer. Obviously I’m leaving out classics such as Les Quatre Cents Coups and Cool Runnings but this selection should more than get you in the mood for the IFI’s upcoming festival.
ultra-violence, it is more accurately described as a finely crafted and thoroughly involving thriller which stars the seemingly infallible Vincent Cassel. You can’t help but be drawn into the film by the moody atmosphere with the strangely otwo
The IFI French Film Festival runs from 19th-29th November. Information on schedules and pricing at www.ifi.ie
FILM & TV 23
IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA David Reilly checks out the latest pretender to the TV sitcom crown, the gloriously un-pc It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia “Who’re you supposed to be? Kermit? The Hulk?” Just some of the suggestions people offered when trying to guess my Halloween costume. It dawned on me Saturday night, as I stood in my green spandex body suit, that very few people are aware of the show that was the origin of my costume, let alone have watched it. The show in question is It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, it toys playfully with political correctness much like a kitten with a ball of wool – a racist, homophobic kitten. The sitcom is set around a group of friends who own a struggling Irish bar in (predictably enough) Philadelphia. The Gang, as they’re known, consist of three guys in their early thirties – Mac, Charlie and Dennis, Dennis’s twin sister Dee, and their father Frank, played by Danny DeVito. Co-creator Glenn Howerton has revealed that the show was originally called Jerks, an appropriately blunt title it has to be said, and a point exaggerated by the deadpan delivery and the absence of a laughter track. While The Gang are in no way malicious, they certainly possess questionable morals. In fact, each
episode deals with a different aspect of The Gang’s worrying choices: their part-time drug dealing, their racism, or the time they exploit a supposed miracle.
and Dee becoming addicted to crack in order to qualify for benefits and not have to work. However, far and away the star of the show is Charlie, an illiterate
There are few controversial issues that the show hasn’t dealt with in its five-season run. On one occasion Mac and Dennis each take a side of the abortion debate in order to pick up women, and another involves Dennis
underachiever with an addiction to glue and who’s prone to aggressive outbursts. He has been referred to by The Gang as “retarded”, with Mac even commenting “no one understands the subtleties of Charlie’s retardation
better than me.” Hardly living the high life, sleeping on an old pull out couch with Frank, he puts most of his time into trying to impress the Waitress with whom he is in love, even going so far as faking cancer to try and garner sympathy. And yes, her name is Waitress; five seasons in and she hasn’t been given a name. This all brings me back to why I was standing out in the cold dressed in a green spandex body suit on Saturday night. It is as a result of Charlie’s mental instability that one of the greatest sitcom side characters was produced: the Green Man. Green Man is Charlie’s enigmatic, spandex clad alter ego who randomly pops up throughout the show to simply dance and kick people in the balls. Comedy gold right there.
THE BIGGEST LOSER The latest American TV fad makes fun of fat people, making Conor Barry wonder when TV became such an asshole... Remember when TV used to be friendly – when it tried to help you in life? When Blind Date would set up socially inept couples, or when The Generation Game encouraged family values and rewarded contestants with prizes? TV was your buddy, giving you advice and looking out for you. What the hell happened? When did TV suddenly become a jerk? Nowadays, TV constantly informs you of how ugly and stupid you are: Jamie Oliver is forever reminding us that we’re terrible at cooking, Super Nanny is appalled with what we think is the proper way to raise our children, while What Not To Wear smugly laughs at our attempt to get dressed. Why do we keep watching this patronising insult box? Probably the most depressing example of this hideous new subgenre is The Biggest Loser. The show gathers a group of horribly obese people to compete in a type of fat
person boot camp. The US version of the show is hosted by stock attractive health freaks Jillian and Bob who look as if they would spontaneously combust at the sight of a hamburger. The duo deal with the overweight the same way the sergeant from Full Metal Jacket treats Private Pyle: constantly insulting them to exercise more than physically possible, until they either lose the weight or put a rifle to their face. Sure, the concept of the show is a promotion of healthy living, which is not something to be dismissed. But marching these people around like circus freaks is hardly going to do wonders for their self-esteem – I mean, even that title! The Biggest Loser? Oh, very witty, guys. You simultaneously get across the idea of the show as well as patronising all of the contestants. Way to perpetuate the idea of fat people as failures, as they watch from their mother’s otwo
basement and cry into their large pizzas. And what the hell is up with the voting off system? Surely
there’s no need to make the show a competition. And even if you do, 10.11.09
surely the most overweight person – the person having trouble losing the weight – should stay on rather than be voted off in favour of the guy making huge progress. In fact, nobody should be voted off. That makes sense in a talent show, but this is like voting someone out of hospital. I miss the old cuddly TV; Rosie and Jim would never hurt my feelings. But we’re stuck with what we’ve got: TV that just pretends to be your friend, offering to help you get back in shape so you can be a cool, attractive person. Just be aware that when you’re not paying attention it’s calling you fat behind your back.
with Gavan Reilly “Who was the main guy in The Bridges of Madison County again?” The dozen of you who actually read this page are probably broadly a similar sort: slightly more technologically minded than the average college-goer, and the type of person seen as being so permanently networked and dependable that your friends will often call you at all hours, asking you to check something for them on Google or Wikipedia. You’ll probably be more than familiar, therefore, with the slight hassle that comes with such a mantle: especially when you just know it’d be easier for your friend – who, often, is sitting beside you, on the internet – to check the fact
themselves. Step forward, then, Let Me Google That For You. Next time you’re on MSN or GChat with an annoying, lazy would-be Googler, simply pop along to http://short.ie/
uo51, do the search for them, and send them the link back. Watch as the site loads for them very slowly, and very, very, very patronisingly.
Meanwhile, blaring on the otwo stereo (well, through the speakers on otwo’s iMac) a lot in the past fortnight has been this particular YouTube gem, showing exactly why the new media revolution has been particularly beneficial for sharing well, new media. An unsigned Jamaican reggae artist, Queen Ifrica, has put together – along with her equally dubiouslymonikered friends – a video of actually quite commendable production quality, to go along with a song discussing the world’s vital themes in a resolute and hard-hitting way. Sadly, there’s something a little bit too LOL about ‘Daddy’, a song that deals with sexual abuse with… well, how about you just check it for yourself? There just aren’t the words to do it justice. http://short.ie/uo52 Elsewhere – at this time of year
your life is destroyed by studying and projects, and no matter how organised you are, there’s always that one useful webpage that you’ll forget to refer to, or you see but forget the relevance of. A solution! MyStickies (http://short.ie/uo54) lets you put virtual post-it notes on useful sites so that when you return to them, you’ll know exactly what you missed. (Though, in hindsight, you could always just use your Bookmarks a bit more…) Which leaves just enough time – thank God! – for Zorba, the Male Belly Dancer (http://short. ie/uo55), a college soccer match in which someone scores a goal from 95 yards (http://short.ie/uo56 – it has to be seen to be believed), and a collection of the best stupid questions from that ever-reigning source of stupidity, Yahoo! Answers (http://short.ie/uo57). As ever, if you have any useful links, just send them to webwatch@ universityobserver.ie
Homemade technology that works Colin Sweetman researches ways of increasing wireless signal levels on your laptop – along with increased levels of embarrassment No joke: until recently, I was able to walk to my local shop and still receive an internet signal from my house. Now, I practically have to be standing right beside it. WiFi reception is also a problem in the James Joyce Library at this time of the year, plaguing students who “Just want a damn internet connection that fookin’ works!” We all know how it feels. If you don’t make it to the library before all the nerdlings at half eight in the morning, you suffer the chance to walk around in your big heavy coat, harshly gripping your laptop and fellow cable while what can only be described as a ‘sweaty itch’ consumes your body, the stress of finding a table and plug haunting your mind. All the while, that emphatic sand clock is drumming away down to your latest deadline. To counter the jealousy that overcomes the student who’s looking around the library at various laptops
with working browsers and thinking “why is it just mine that isn’t working?”, there is a technique in the shape of end-tunnel light. I present to you ‘The Windsurfer’, cheaper than buying any other gizmo providing higher frequency to your laptop, and is pretty easy to make at home. All you need is cardboard, tinfoil, a working printer and browser (eep!), and some Pritt Stick. The concept is pretty basic. Hell, this is something you should have learned to do in primary school. Steps: • Download the image (just Google ‘Windsurfer’) and print. •
Cut around the lines and trace onto Cardboard
Cut out copy of cardboard
Wrap the cardboard cutouts in Aluminium foil
Connect the resulting two-pieces into support slots
Stick Windsurfer onto piece-of-crap antenna on Wireless Router
Point it in the direction of your laptop
It is worth mentioning here that attempting to fiddle with the UCD’s routers is probably an offence that will be frowned upon. But nonetheless, desperate times call for desperate measures! This homemade device should effectively rob the signal off the laptops behind the ‘shield’ and direct all towards you and your vicinity. If you want to take this a step further, you can also steal signal off your neighbour: simply wrap an ethernet cable around your
mobile phone, plug one end into your laptop, et voila! Mobile phones are automatically set to find and heighten connectivity; unfortunately, they cannot break security codes though. Boo.
FOOD & DRINK 25
Food & Drink
Wish you were beer Jake O’Brien pleads alcoholism, and invites you to join him with some more exotic beery offerings
Review: Frankie’s Italian Bar & Grill
Jake O’Brien visits the new steakhouse on Temple Bar and leaves feeling self-important, but satisfied…
eer. Beer is not a foreign idea to most students. In fact, we could go one step further and suggest that it is indeed a universal concept. It is part of our downtime; it is part of our uptime. It seems that this fizzy liquid is an intricate part of nearly every aspect of our society. We drink it to stave away stress. We drink it to celebrate the lack of stress. We drink it to mourn. We drink it to escape. With these ideas in tow, is there any way we can escape from the escapism of beer? Has it become so much a part of our everyday lives that even the foreign beers aren’t all that foreign anymore? Well, no, for the purposes of this article, I’m going to forget I wrote that last bit and just dive headfirst into the world of outsider beer. As a recommendation for delving your body into this wretched world, check out Deveney’s Off License in Rathmines (opposite the Tesco and KFC). At the back of this retail outlet is a fridge full of ‘Out of Date’ wonders. It’s advertised, so it’s okay… I think… With the highest kudos and praise, I refer you to Okocim, Blue Label. With a hefty percentage of 7.5 and a colour so dark it would make the BNP blush, Okocim will take you to a level of depravity and filth that you thought only existed in the terrifying world of
Charles Bukowski. The beer’s flavour is rich and obscenely intrusive; add to this its bargain price of one euro a bottle (500ml) and you’ve got yourself a date with the floor of whatever venue you’re parading around. Stellar stuff indeed. For the subtler, more delicate palate, why not give Tiger a swing. A swing and a miss? No: it’s a lovely beer, reminiscent of life before student poverty and scrounging. It a little more pricey, but it won’t have you starting a fight with a door handle in the wee hours of the morning. Tyskie is perhaps the benevolent middleman of this whole scenario. An ambiguous no-man’s land of beer, it combines the hearty pour of the stronger beers with the overt nobility of the lighter ones. This Polish offering comes out swinging. With a bat. At the nearest motor vehicle in sight. Well, there you have it. Get them down your neck and give us the verdict. Failing these, pop down to O’Brien’s and pick up some of their one euro cans. Hollandia, Castlemaine… the list goes on. As a conclusion, I would suggest that those of you who don’t drink Guinness (a foreign concept perhaps) go out and get acquainted with it, or I’m personally coming after you. Well, I’m off to try some more exotic brews and maybe, just maybe I’ll let you in on the secrets someday.
Being treated like a punter is one thing, but royalty is another thing altogether. My night in Frankie’s of Temple Bar began as the staff cunningly discovered that yours truly was present in the guise of the dreaded food critic. With this notion in hand I was led to my private seat and walked through the menu stepby-step. Thus, it must be stated that Frankie’s Steakhouse and Bar retains a magnificent and reasonably contemporary Set Menu for thirty euro. This menu is compiled of three courses and the standard tea and coffee to finish. Delightful. However, one chose to launch an outrageous attack on their main menu, compiling any and all possibilities of gastronomic possibility. After being waited on every three minutes, for a time it certainly became evident that the staff were now fully aware of my position, and had been given strict and obvious orders to hold my table in the highest regard as priority number one. While this was indeed a progressively irritating (albeit slightly embarrassing) situation, 10.11.09
I discovered a darkly egocentric thrill emanating from the overall experience. But enough about me: let’s talk about food. The Caesar Salad was fancifully standard and brilliantly fresh, while the Spicy Buffalo Wings were fresh but nothing out of the ordinary. As a sequel to this bout of starter we ordered the Spaghetti and Pork Meatballs and the New York Style Burger with fried egg, cheese, and bacon. The pasta was magnificently al dente and the sauce was… well: imagine someone took a chunk directly out of Italy and smashed it into a juicer. It was incredible. As tomato based pasta sauces go, this one takes the cake (or sauce, as it were). The burger was delicately assembled ingeniously with the cheese sealing the bacon and egg to the meat, which was brilliantly rare. Bloody as hell, that is exactly what Willis was talking about. Definitely a great meal, and I’m sure the service isn’t quite as intrusive when you’re not reviewing it for a paper. Frankie’s Italian Bar & Grill, 42 Temple Bar Square, Dublin 2. Tel (01) 6790445 www.frankies.ie
PHILIP PARRIS LYNOTT CHANGED THE FACE OF IRISH MUSIC FOREVER. JAMES MARTIN MET THE LATE STAR’S MOTHER PHILOMENA TO GET HER INSIGHT ON THE LIFE OF THE INFLUENTIAL THIN LIZZY FRONTMAN
ne cannot call themselves truly Irish without being familiar with the music of Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy. Hailed as Ireland’s first rock star, Phil changed the face of music with his fresh sound and attitude. Born on 20th August 1949 to an unmarried Catholic mother and an Afro-Brazilian father who left his mother three weeks after giving birth, Phil’s life was always bound to be different. Ireland in the 1950s was not quite as diverse as it is today, and a black child in Dublin was the rarest thing going. The young rockstar-to-be, however, loved the attention. “He was always the centre of attention,” Philomena remembers. “As a young boy, Women would be asking him, ‘Oh, give us a curl’. And he’d pretend to take a curl out of his hair and give it to them. Even when he was a youngster he loved fashions and style. I lived in England and my mother was raising him in Dublin. I would bring back all the latest fashions and he loved it.” His charisma and appearance soon grabbed the attention of a neighbour, Joe Smith, who was putting together a band with his two sons. They asked Phil to be the lead singer. Philomena recalls Phil’s first gig with the Black Eagles. “He came out and he had a long lady’s satin evening glove on, and he was giving it all these moves like Adam Ant. I thought, ‘Oh, great little performer there.’ All the girls started screaming just because he was different.” From there, Phil joined many different bands with many different line-ups until finally, with long time friend Brian Downey and northern guitarist Eric Bell, Thin Lizzy was formed. “The first break they got,” Philomena remembers, “was ‘Whiskey in the Jar’. That wasn’t supposed to be released as an A-side. He rocked up that old tune and people loved it. I had a juke box in my hotel in Manchester, and I put it on and it was played morning noon and night. Georgie Best used to be in my hotel – he almost lived there for seven years – and whenever he came in it was nothing but ‘Whiskey in the Jar’!” Thin Lizzy soon grew into their own sound, though seeing a constant change of guitarists (John Sykes was replaced by Gary Moore, Scott
Gorham and Snowy White). The band honed a twin guitar technique that they became famous for, and many of Phil’s lyrics were inspired by the ancient legends of Celtic Ireland. Phil had a great love for Ireland and its culture. According to his mother, Phil had always shown artistic talent: “There was no musical business in my family, and certainly not in his father’s. So I reckon it was just an out and out gift from God. If you were driving down a big highway in America with him, he’d see all these big posters. He always kept a jotter in his hand and a pencil. If he saw an advertisement with a cowboy on it or something he would jot it down
“Georgie Best used to be in my hotel – he almost lived there for seven years – and whenever he came in it was nothing but ‘Whiskey in the Jar’!” otwo
and they would give him [ideas] for writing songs.” Everyone knows hits such as ‘Dancing In The Moonlight’, ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’ and ‘Jailbreak’. Thin Lizzy’s commercial success, though, brought with it the darker side of the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle. The band began to experiment with heavy drugs and Phil became addicted to heroin. This ultimately had an effect on the frontman’s performance, and relationships within the band became strained. Thin Lizzy found themselves in debt and Lynott found himself even more dependant on drugs. On Saturday 4th January 1986, at the age of just 36, Phil Lynott was pronounced dead. His mother, to this day, claims she never knew of her son’s heavy dependancy. “I found out later, that when he was on heavy drugs he made sure nobody ever let me know. And I used to say ‘Phil, don’t ever go on heavy drugs.’ He said ‘Ah, Ma, everybody tries everything’, and he brushed me off. I didn’t find out until he was in the hospital that Phil was an addict. That is how much it was kept from me. Now when I look at old photographs, I can see how it aged him.” Lynott had kept his addiction from his mother by injecting himself between his toes so as to hide his track marks. The fact that Phil Lynott died so young contributed to his solidification as a cult icon. Fans still come from all over the world to the Irishman’s grave and to the “Vibe For Philo” concerts that are run every year on the anniversary of his death. Philomena receives hundreds of letters of support from fans on her birthday and for Christmas. I ask Philomena what is it about her son that makes him such an icon. “I thought that as a frontman, musician, poet, composer… he just had everything that a band needs. And besides all that side of him, he was a character. He was full of fun and was a cheeky devil! We all know it was the drugs that changed him and killed him, but he was a wonderful son, and great friend to everybody. He loved animals and music! But listen,” she reminds me with a smile, “this is mother talk!”
Album: She Wolf Rating: C-
Album: Overcome Rating: D
Album: To Win Just Once: Greatest Hits Rating: D+
The X Factor may be entertaining to watch but when the acts make the transition from singing covers on TV to their own songs on a CD, it doesn’t really work. Alexandra Burke tragically continues that trend. Burke is a talented singer but talent can only go so far. Originality is lacking on this album. We’ve heard it all before and Burke’s contemporaries are far better offerings. Flo Rida doesn’t do her any favours with a typically turgid performance on lead single ‘Bad Boys’. Sony has also been kind enough to include her bland version of Leonard Cohen’s classic ‘Hallelujah’. Thanks Sony.
Bizarrely, it was an appearance on The Podge & Rodge Show that put the Saw Doctors back in musical vogue. In 2008 the puppet duo asked the group to cover the Sugababes track ‘About You Now’; the result rocketed to number one in the charts. This greatest hits includes the Sugababes cover, a live version of their most famous hit ‘N17’, and Ireland’s biggest-selling single in history, ‘I Useta Lover’. Although their material might be too stereotypical for some, there’s
From openly saying she wants Matt Damon (get in there, son) to referencing Freud, Shakira’s new album is bonkers. Following the tendency in today’s pop, Shakira’s gone distinctly more electro. Musically, it’s up and down; songs such as ‘Gypsy’, ‘Mon Amour’ (which is oddly familiar) and the title track are reasonably decent, but others bring the album’s average down to… well, average. As ever, the lyrics are laden with sexual references and make our heads spin to the point of outright pain. Shakira does all this herself but still, she’s got nothing on Beyonce. In a nutshell: Want songs that’ll be looped in clubs for the next six months? This is for you. Theo Morrissey
a charm to songs that eschew typical rock themes like sex and drugs. Instead, expect songs about everything from issues like teenage pregnancy to the landscape of county Mayo. Keyboard and saxophone give the strong trad sound a twist and the songs are undeniably catchy. In a nutshell: A nostalgic dose of the rare-auld times for fans and first-timers alike. Alison Lee
In A Nutshell: Should have been called Underwhelmed. Vincent O’Boyle
FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS Album: I Told You I Was Freaky Rating: BIt’s a pity that they don’t just write normal songs. By the very nature that the Conchords
are comedy based, it makes it impossible for these songs to ever be taken seriously. The tunes make for good listening, you’ll definitely get a laugh out of some of the more brash songs. But one minor element still lies on
the album – that is, it always sounds like they are either trying to get as many words into the one note or the complete opposite, leaving the listener with a desperate attempt at rhyme and reason.
In a nutshell: Wait until they come out with an accompanying DVD/ Video before buying. Colin Sweetman
Album of the Fortnight JAMIE CULLUM Album: The Pursuit Rating: B Jamie Cullum has hovered ghost-like in the background for some years now without ever really becoming a household name – something of a shame, as his music isn’t actually bad at all. A jazz enthusiast with skill for creating a tingling piano line, The Pursuit is a fine collection of easy-listening songs that mixes tone and atmosphere beautifully. Cullum excels particularly in crafting mood – his songs are gently persuasive, appealing to the listener through their range of complementary instruments and meditative,
thoughtful lyrics. In a contemporary musical landscape littered with ostentatious showmen and vacuous glamazons, there’s something attractive about a guy who can do things simple – but no less effective. In a nutshell: Simple, straightforward, inoffensive – for the easygoing listener. The stripped down cover of Rihanna’s ‘Please Don’t Stop the Music’ is inspired. Grace Duﬀy otwo
Aries (March 21 April 19) As a consequence of the discovery of GRB 090423, I have no idea what’s going to happen you. Probably best if you just stayed at home. In the basement. You can borrow my tinfoil hat, if you like.
“Here to predict your future by licking the frogs that live in the Arts Block water supply”
Taurus (April 20 May 20) You will find members of the opposite sex will be strongly attracted to you. Overcome the temptation and spurn them – they only want you for your toes.
Gig of the Fortnight: The Chapters 20.11.09 – UCD Student Bar – €14.50
The Chapters are five guys from Dublin with music that has been compared to Fleetwood Mac, The Frames, Snow Patrol, and The Cars. If that’s not enough the vocalist’s voice has been said to resemble the voice of Guy TUESDAY 10 November
Gift Grub - Vicar Street, Dublin 8pm - €35 Russell Brand - The O2 - 8pm - €38 County Sessions: Tipperary - The Button Factory 7.30pm - €12
Marina and The Diamonds - The Academy - €14.80 Terminus - The Abbey Theatre 8pm - €20 - €25 Oliver! - Civic Theatre, Tallaght 8pm - €17 - €20
Eventech - RDS 10am-5.30pm Bad Glamour presents Steve Aoki - The Button Factory 11pm Over the River and Through the Woods - The Mill Theatre -
Capricorn (December 22 January 19) This is your week. You can do it. It has been fated that this week you will finally be the person to figure out Martin Butler’s email puzzle. Aquarius (January 20 - February 18) Say cheese! No, really. Say it. Pisces (February 19 - March 20) “Is that a pair of wide-set hips in your pants, or are you just pleased to see me?” is a question that bears little relevance to predicting your future. Nonetheless, public discourse is sure to benefit profoundly from having it in print.
(Oct 23 – Nov 22) Remember to treat Nutella with the respect it deserves.
Garvey and Peter Gabriel. Anyone who’s seen The Chapters live once will want to see them again: they performed in Oxygen 2009, Castlepalooza, Indie-pendence, and The Music Show. They have THURSDAY
Virgo (August 23 September 22) I know you’re the Belfield Bugler. Desist immediately, or I will be forced to report you to the relevant authorities. Or worse – Scottie.
Sagittarius (November 22 December 21) It is looking increasingly likely that if you fail to curtail your excessive consumption of potatoes, you will turn into one.
Libra (September 24 - October 23) As suggested by the 2007 marketing campaign, Belly is gonna get ya. It’s only a matter of time, m’dear.
Gemini (May 21 June 20) Go short on British banks in the expectation of government divestment. Cancer (June 21 July 22) Nom nom nom
Leo (July 23 August 22) South Dublin is going to run out of bananas at around 3pm on the 25th November. Start hoarding now, and do it quickly, before the other star signs catch on.
also participated in the twenty-fifth anniversary of DART and Arthur’s Day for the Guinness 250 celebrations. The relaxing music makes your brain wander into the land of dreams… Selva Unal SATURDAY
Backstreet Boys -Odyssey Arena, Belfast - 8pm £33.00 John Kingerlee - The Bad Art Gallery - €tbc Sean Hughes - Vicar Street -8.30pm - €28
Irish Pink Floyd - The Button Factory - 7.30pm - €15 Super Extra Bonus Party - The Academy €17.50 Backstreet Boys - The O2 - 7.30pm - €44.50-€59.50
WWE Undertakers RIP Tour - The O2 - 6pm -€33.60€76.25 Belfast Giants V Cardiff Devils - Odyssey Arena, Belfast - 7pm £10
Yusuf Islam The O2 - 6.30pm - €76.20 Art Fair 09 RDS - 11am Mary Coughlan and Her Band Seated Show - The Button Factory - 7.30pm - €20 in advance
Macbeth - The Gaiety Theatre 8pm - €25 - €120 Irish Times Boyle Medal Conferral & Public Lecture RDS - 7pm-8.30pm - FREE! (Advance booking essential)
Knights Of Leon - The Academy €12.50 Galway Jazz Festival Festival Club - 11pm ‘til late FREE!
Galway Jazz Festival -From USA/Ireland, Buckley, Stowell, Freely - 3.30pm - €8 County Sessions Dublin - The Button Factory 7.30pm - €12
Das Rheingold The Gaiety Theatre - 8pm - €15.00€65.00 Lovers (by Brien Friel) - The Mill Theatre - 8pm €13-€16
The Chapters - The Academy €14.50 Twilight: New Moon – cinemas worldwide Mad About Musicals - Draíocht, Blanchardstown 8pm - €15-€18 otwo
The Dublin City Jazz Orchestra - The Button Factory 7.30pm - €10
Published on Nov 10, 2009