OTwo Volume XXIII, Issue 4
The Celebrations Issue
co n t e n t s 3 mystic mittens Soapbox
letter from the editors
4 arts&culture news WHWN 5 travel 6 f ood 8 games 10 film&tv photo: Martin healy
14 creative writing
IT wasn’t easy, and at times it seemed downright impossible. There was stress, sweat, tears, and even a badly bruised wrist. But we finally got here, and we now find ourselves on issue 4, the final issue of the first semester. Here at OTwo, we think that this milestone is cause for celebration, so much so that we’ve dedicated an entire issue to the idea. And what better time to celebrate? With Christmas just around the corner, the prospect of escaping the concrete expanse that is Belfield for a month is just the push most need to get over the finish-line. For those of us who need that bit more, though, there is OTwo. This issue, we are celebrating all things arts and culture, highlighting the importance of both enjoying and supporting what Dublin and further afield have to offer. Celebration is often a time to come together and to be thankful for all the positives we have in our lives. It is important, however, that we celebrate previously unrecognised aspects of our society too, and it is this duality that shows OTwo in all its glory. Our centre this issue, a moving and emotional interview with activist, archivist and journalist Tonie Walsh celebrates the hidden voices of Irish LGBTQ+ history, and his work on the AIDS Memorial project. Our Games section celebrates the best, but previously overlooked, games of 2016, while Film celebrates the importance of the media in a passionate and stirring Op-Ed piece. Food continues to salute the thriving food scene in the city, with a review of a new chicken-wing bar, while also looking ahead to Christmas, offering up the best of vegetarian festive snacks. Music continues to celebrate the bubbling hot-pot that is Dublin city. Irish titans, We Cut Corners, stop by for a chat, while Radar features SpudGun, the intergalactic space-travelling band that have made Dublin, and Earth, their temporary home. Music’s feature article also addresses the need to Katie Devlin Arts & Literature Editor support and increase opportunities for Ireland’s struggling musicians. Music Editor Ezra Maloney Fashion, meanwhile, celebrates the idea of the style icon, not just as someone who dresses well, Luke Sharkey Creative Writing Editor but embodies an entire lifestyle, while also lauding high-fashion houses’ successful transition to Games Editor Chiamaka Amadi accessing wider audiences through social media. Aaron Poole Online OTwo Editor Arts and Literature, similarly, highlights the importance of celebrating up-and-coming voices, Film & TV Editor Melissa Ridge and the diversity that both the written and spoken word can represent. Owen Steinberger So while things may seem stressful right now, in the lead-up to exams and looming deadlines, we hope that this issue brings you at least some hope, and the realisation that, however small, there is Alice Kelly The Honourable M. Mittens always some cause for thanks and celebration. Rebecca Kelly Cian Montague Ailble Keenan Sinead Mulcahy Kate Lalwani Conor O’Boyle Jake McPartland
16 Tonie wals h 20 music 24 fas hion 28 arts&lit
31 fatal fourway 32 aperture OTwo Credits Editor Roisin Guyett-Nicholson Deputy Editor Martin Healy OTwo Co-Editors Seán Hayes David Monaghan
Art & Design Editor Louise Flanagan Chief of Photography Camille Lombard Food & Drink Editor Rachel Gaffney Fashion Editor
OTwo Contributors Ause Abdelhaq Barbara Borges Elena Brady Shane Cullen
Eithne Dodd Alexander Glover Anna Graham Aoife Hardesty Orla Keaveney
Happy Christmas! David + Seán
MYSTIC MITTENS ARIES
On the bright side, now that it’s Christmas, your constant, existential dread can be blamed on your low Elf-esteem.
In lieu of presents, this year you decide to give everyone your opinions. They’re worth even less than the gifts.
After a night out in Coppers, you finally find a Christmas sweater, although your roommates will soon find out that this ugly sweater is also a moaner and a screamer.
After spending the semester floating about and putting off all your work, you now find yourself sweating away in the library in the run-up to Christmas exams. You could say you are a lost Claus.
GEMINI At this festive time, always follow Santa’s motto: “wrap your package before you shove it down the chimney.”
CANCER Your chat-up line in Dicey’s, “if I was the Grinch, I wouldn’t steal Christmas. I’d steal you” ends up getting you pepper-sprayed by an American exchange student.
LEO Your Star Wars obsession goes too far and gets you kicked out of Christmas Day mass for singing Yoda-inspired carols: “A Merry Christmas we wish you, A Merry Christmas we wish you.”
You eat the Christmas decorations as a funny dare for your mate’s Snapchat story, but you’ll now spend the holidays in hospital with Tinsel-itis.
SAGITTARIUS Just remember, stressed spelled backwards is dessert, although you’ve probably had enough cake for a lifetime of Christmases.
CAPRICORN Christmas really is just a pre-cursor for the rest of your life. You will do all the work while the fat guy in the suit gets all the praise.
AQUARIUS Don’t blame your weight gain on the Christmas holidays — you were fat before the holidays anyway.
PISCES Your request for a traditional vegan Christmas dinner will finally, and deservedly, get you disowned by your family.
VAPING is very, very, very dumb. In a perfect example of ‘humans ruin everything’, the world surrounding e-cigs is absolute nonsense. The electronic cigarette, which on the surface appears to be a way of making people kick a bad habit, has become a world of its own. And what an awful world it is. People ruin a lot of things. Partially due to human nature, partially due to the internet, people can’t help but fetishise mundane personal objects. I want a nice cup of coffee, please don’t bullshit me on its ‘artisanal’ taste. I like cheap beer – it’s efficient and, well, cheap – so would you mind not looking down on me with your ‘superior’ IPA? People always need an avenue to specialise, and craft the most perfect whatever possible. Vaping is a handy way to help stop smoking, but even the health benefits of it are still heavily disputed. You inhale all that thick Skittles-flavoured liquid, ya think maybe it might screw with your lungs some? You can’t move for the amount of vape shops that have appeared from nothing. During a trip to New York over the summer, you could not walk a block without spotting a “Vape Dawg Emporium” or the like. Maybe since cars are mostly just computers now, men (and it is nearly always men) have to pimp their giant rig to feel alive. Spot anyone talking about the benefits of one heating coil over another, and I instantly want to melt into the ground. It doesn’t help that all vape rigs look unbelievably stupid. E-cigs of old were just regular, old cigarettes with a fancy light on them. Now someone has to hold up the USS Enterprise to their face to just blow their dumb clouds. It also doesn’t help that vaping just screams “I regularly post on r/ redpill and love fedoras.” It is impossible to take anyone who is currently vaping in your vicinity seriously. “Hold on wait, before your next thought, just let me huff on this light sabre that is also a cigarette.” This is also a shout-out to the guy at the main UCD bus stop. Every evening, he’s there, munching away on his big ol’ rig, and blowing his precious cotton into my face. This gentleman – AKA Vapezilla – is all these complaints rolled up into one ridiculous person. While many amusing/drunken evenings can be spent at looking at vape bloggers on YouTube, I do not practice what they preach. Regular smoking is undeniably cool, so either embrace that or enjoy having some working lungs.
Words: Martin Healy Illustration: Joanna O’Malley
A r t s a n d C u lt u r e – News and Events AIDS & Irish Media: Art and Activism: In honour of World AIDS Day, the Media Studies department at NUI Maynooth will run a series of lectures and screenings, aimed at showcasing and interrogating the role of the Irish media in the portrayal of AIDS and the LGBTQ+ communities. The event includes a screening and discussion of Fintan, directed by Bill Hughes, as well as keynote and guestspeakers such as Rory O’Neill and Tonie Walsh.
Carols By Candlelight at Merrion Square: The seasonal cheer is in full swing in Merrion Square, where Carols by Candlelight will be held on December 12th at 6pm. The free event will take place in the beautiful Georgian surroundings of the Pepper Canister Church. Christmas on Merrion Square is co-ordinated by the Merrion Square Innovation Network whose stated mission is to develop the area into a vibrant cultural and tourism cluster. Aladdin - The Helix Christmas Panto: Whether you want to admit it or not, it’s not Christmas without a Pantomime, and Christmas really hasn’t been the same since you last screamed, “he’s behind you!” in complete glee. TheatreworX Productions return to The Helix this Christmas with an hilarious adaptation of Aladdin. Running from November 25th to January 10th, and with tickets starting at €20, a fun-filled evening of cheesy and light-hearted fun is guaranteed for both the family or a group of friends.
First Noël Christmas Concert: An amazing night of music in an incredible location, the First Noël Christmas Concert, taking place in Christ Church Cathedral on December 1st, will see a line-up including The Dublin Walsh Musical Choir, The Aspire Choir from Carlow, Oboist David Agnew, Organist Clive Armstrong, Tenor Simon Morgan, and Celtic Woman Deirdre Shannon. Tickets are currently on sale at €25, supporting the work carried out by Down Syndrome Ireland.
Dundrum on Ice: Ice-skating rinks have now started to pop up all around the place and, despite the somewhat dangerously named Swords on Ice, most can guarantee an hour or two of embarrassing fun. Dundrum on Ice boasts 500m sq. of crisp, white ice for you to make a complete fool of yourself. Student tickets are available from just €10, so throw on some skates and you may just discover a hidden talent. On the other hand, you might just lose a finger.
What’s Hot & What’s Not HOT:
Childish Gambino: Is there anything Donald Glover can’t do? Probably not, but for the sake of our collective selfesteem, we’d like to imagine he is unable to perform mundane and practically useless tasks without assistance such as opening a pickle jar or wrapping a present nicely. Well, one of the many things he can do is make absolutely amazing music. Not doubt that the release of his upcoming album, Awaken, My Love!, as Childish Gambino will be no exception. Two tracks have already been released, “Me and Your Mama” and “Redbone”. Both are quite a leap from his usual fast paced, pun-filled, existentialist rap. He instead chooses to showcase his vocal skills in these new tracks which have a slower, more soulful feel to them than we’ve seen from Gambino before. This change is intriguing and has fans biting at the bit to hear the whole album when it drops on December 2nd.
BoJack Horseman: The season 3 finale of BoJack Horseman was not okay, is not okay and, honestly, probably never will be. This is old news, but we’re still shook. Harrowing.
Nocturnal Animals: Described as an American neo-noir psychological thriller written, directed and co-produced by the iconic Tom Ford – it is an absolute must see. It’s the perfect mix of beautiful cinematography used to portray a captivating and complex story line, all weaved together beautifully by a cast of phenomenal actors. Jake Gyllenhaal: He deserves his own section. We love him. So much.
Oversharers: People need to take a step back and realise that no one cares. Is there some new Apple product we don’t know about yet that allows a person’s every thought to be converted into a status With Randomly Capatalised Words and a few emojis chucked onto the end for good measure? Please take it to the DMs or a therapist but don’t be blocking up the newsfeed with little anecdotes from the toilet bowl. No one cares if you’re on your second bottle of white or if you made dinner yourself. Do you want a pat on the back? You’re a grown person and your pasta sauce looks weak. You found out a grape is the fruit that most describes your personality on a BuzzFeed quiz? Good for you! Weather Jokes: After three issues of OTwo listing the weather as Not Hot, the joke has worn itself thin and has, in fact, become Not Hot itself.
Va l e n c i a : The Forgotten City Having spent his Erasmus year in the Spanish city, Alexander Glover outlines why you should discover the forgotten gem that is Valencia. photo Credit: federico galarraga
in Disney’s Tomorrowland. The venue
which soars above the city. After scaling
hosts many different events all year long
the 207 steps your reward is unrivalled
and the permanent attractions include:
panoramic views of Valencia. photo Credit: Jcc76
Oceanogràfic (Europe’s biggest aquarium), the Príncipe Felipe Science Museum, and the Palau de les Arts (opera house). At the other end of the Turia is the Bioparc. This conservationist zoo is designed following the zoo-immersion concept, with barriers invisible to the eye of the visitor. It allows visitors the opportunity to see beautifully recreated models
Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias
of four African ecosystems and get
WHEN tourists think of Spain they
is a part of Ciutat Vella are the trendiest
mammal show is particularly interesting.
parts of the city. Both areas offer
Valencia’s city centre is split into three
see the city, there is also a hop-on-
Ruzafa along with El Carmen which
up close to the animals. The birds and
either think of holiday hotspots such
hop-off bus tour. The tour has two
main zones: Centro, Ciutat Vella, and
as Marbella and Ibiza or citybreaks in
routes: Historical Valencia and Maritime
Madrid and Barcelona. But what if you
Valencia, and your ticket is valid on both
want both? Spain’s third largest and oft-
A stroll around the Centro zone will
fantastic restaurants and bars as well as vintage shops and independent galleries. Two of my favourite restaurants were Paprika and The Black Turtle.
lead to the discovery of Plaza de Toros
The Turia River flowed through the
(bull ring), Plaza del Ayuntamiento, and
Beaches: The Malvarrosa beach is
city up until the 1950s when a diversion
Mercado de Colon. This zone is perfect
beautiful and is populated most of the
project was carried out following
for shopping if you want to find Spanish
year. If you are looking for a quieter
the great flood of 1957. Now the old
brands such as Zara and Bershka at
time on the beach minus volleyball
and between Madrid and the Balearic
riverbed has been transformed into
their lower Spanish prices or explore
and reggaetón then take the short bus
Islands. This means sunshine all year
a nine kilometre urban greenspace
the famous El Corte Ingles. The zone is
ride from the city to El Saler. Here you
long and ample opportunities to hit the
known locally as Jardí del Túria which is
also rich with restaurants offering a wide
will find miles of unspoilt white sand
extremely popular amongst Valencianos.
range of cuisines; a couple of favourites
forgotten city -- Valencia -- is a hybrid of the two. Valencia lies on the east coast, south of Barcelona, north of Alicante
Having spent a year of my life in
The park passes by the city’s main
Valencia, I now consider it to be my
museums and monuments on either
second home and I can’t wait to get
bank and is crossed by 18 beautiful
photo Credit: manuel martin vicente
back to it. A year gave me plenty of time and unique bridges. On a sunny day (of which there are many), the park to discover many hidden gems, but for potential holidaymakers I have picked
is packed with locals, tourists, and
some of my favourite things the city has
students and every activity imaginable
to offer. (Tip: when you first arrive pick
can be witnessed (from parkour to
“Valencia is a hybrid of a city break and a beach holiday.”
Malvarrosa Beach being La Tagliatella and Lemongrass.
photo Credit: diego delso
Catedral de Valencia up a copy of Hello Valencia from any good café for a detailed upto-date guide.) First things first, the best way to get around the city is by bike. The flat landscape of Valencia makes it a joy to cycle around and the excellent
baseball). The biggest tourist attraction is the
Best museums: IVAM; Museo de Belles
Ciutat Vella or the ‘Old City’ makes
Artes; and the Fallero Museum which
for a very picturesque walk amongst the
runs through the history of the city’s
flurry of incredible Spanish buildings.
weirdly wonderful annual Fallas festival
One of the most popular attractions
which takes place in March.
here is the Mercado Central which
Shopping centres: Aqua, which is beside
houses 1,300 market stalls selling fresh
the City of Arts and Sciences ,and
Valencian and Spanish produce.
Bonaire. The latter requires a 40-minute
While in this area check out La Lonja
bus journey, but is worth it if you are
de Seda which is across the plaza.
looking for a shopping mecca with huge
This is the site of the old silk exchange
stores and outlets.
and as an excellent example of Gothic
Nightlife: The city is full of late bars
architecture is a UNESCO World
and nightclubs all catering for different
Heritage Site. The gorgeous Plaza de la
tastes. For a cheaper night-out the area
Reina and Plaza de la Virgen are great
surrounding the university is a must.
spots to enjoy an ice-cream in the heart
To find out when and where it is all
of the city.
happening download the Xceed app.
Valenbisi service has 275 stations in
Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (City
In la Reina, you will find the Catedral
convenient locations. A seven-day
of Arts and Sciences) with its futuristic
de Valencia which hosts what is said to
scheme, the metro and the EMT buses
subscription costs just €13.30.
architecture. The attraction is one of the
be The Holy Grail. The cathedral also
get you everywhere you need to go in
12 Treasures of Spain and even featured
has its emblematic Miguelete Tower
If you don’t have a lot of time to
Transport: In addition to the bike
when you wish upon a bone… Dublin’s first dedicated chicken wings restaurant on Montague Street is put to the test by our dedicated reviewer Ause Abdelhaq. WHEN it comes to chicken wings, people in the capital are completely spoiled for choice. There are countless places which claim to serve “the best wings in Dublin”. From TriBeCa to Farmer Brown’s to the ever-present Elephant and Castle, opinion generally seems to be split and everyone has a favourite. However, it always seemed a bit odd that all of the most famous restaurants have full menus which just happen to serve incredible wings – none of them have been wholeheartedly dedicated to The Cause. Until now. Wishbone opened about six weeks ago, in mid-October, to a fair amount of publicity and featured on several popular foodie blogs online. Situated up the road from Diceys on Montague Street, it opens until 1:30am on Friday and Saturday nights. Wishbone is likely to be a big draw, as are the cocktails. Being a massive fan of chicken wings, my expectations were relatively high. After all, a place dedicated to one type of food should really excel at it if they’re going to be successful. Honestly, it does not disappoint. Going along with a friend, I was able to try both the spicy BBQ wings and the salted toffee apple wings. The former gave me a taste of what could be the most popular, while the latter would give an insight into one of their more offbeat dishes. With some fries ordered on the side, my friend also ordered their onion rings. The standard BBQ wings were very good, but no better than those offered in any other top wing joint in the city; where Wishbone really surprised me was in the speciality plate
– the salted toffee apple wings. Quite frankly, it’s worth visiting the restaurant for that dish alone; it was one of those beautiful moments where you don’t think something will work, but it really, really does. In terms of sides, the chips were well made, but the onion rings were far too batterfocused for my taste. Overall, the food was incredibly satisfying – I wish I’d had space for dessert, because they have a Ferrero Rocher cheesecake which looked absolutely delicious. Other impressive features included the décor, which managed to keep things compact yet comfortable, and the service, which was fast, friendly and brilliant overall. Upon seeing the numbers on the bill, I was a little concerned that the price might be a little high for students, but as we were leaving I noticed a lunch deal which they run every day until 3pm – wings and a side for €10; more than reasonable value for the amount of food you get, and definitely affordable for those in college. There’s very little negative criticism to give when it comes to Wishbone. It’s trendy, with a great location and gorgeous food which doesn’t hurt the wallet in the same way as Elephant and Castle might. The only thing I can think to say is that I wouldn’t recommend it to a vegetarian or a vegan – in terms of menu variety, it doesn’t really exist, but really who expects it to? Altogether, I left the restaurant feeling really satisfied with every aspect of the meal – and I think I may have a new favourite wing joint in Dublin.
“It’s trendy, with a great location and gorgeous food which doesn’t hurt the wallet.”
IMAGES COURTESy OF WISHBONE FACEBOOk
Aoife’s Christmas Corner AS a vegetarian, coming up to Christmas every year I am asked the same question by many people; “Aoife, what do you eat on Christmas day?” This question can be asked in a great many of ways, from ridiculing, to curious and even genuinely concerned. “Don’t you miss turkey and ham?” Well, honestly, I don’t miss meat on Christmas. For me, Christmas dinner has always been about the side dishes. Creamy, mashed potatoes, my dad’s homemade cranberry sauce, which he piles on your plate until all your food is covered, apple sauce with lots of cinnamon, roast sweet potato, pumpkin and butternut squash, sprinkled with brown sugar and cinnamon (cinnamon is a common theme of my Christmas). What I do miss is the stuffing and gravy and roast potatoes in goose fat. So these are the items that I have striven to find suitable replacements for.
The key difference in vegetarian stuffing is that it isn’t cooked inside the turkey (which leads to the existential question of whether stuffing is stuffing if it hasn’t been stuffed inside something). The problem here is that cooking stuffing on a dish without any meaty juices can leave it dry and breadcrumb-like. When putting my stuffing in the oven, I pour on vegetable stock, ensuring the stuffing won’t be too dry. I roast potatoes in vegetable oil rather than goose fat. I mix in plenty of herbs, and do my carrots and parsnips the same way. I have yet to find a gravy replacement, but will continue my search. “But, Aoife, what do you eat instead of the turkey and ham?” Other vegetarians speak of supplementing the big meat dishes with nut roasts. While I’m sure nut roasts have their place in the world, that place is not on my kitchen table, or inside my tummy. I find nut roasts tend to be dry and
crispy and chewy and I just don’t like them. For me, I like a vegetarian wellington, and not the kind you wear on your feet. It’s a puff pastry, stuffed with pureed chickpeas, red onion chutney, brie cheese, cranberries (lots of cranberries), breadcrumbs and herbs. The nice thing about the wellington is it doesn’t get too dry. This year, I’ve decided to mix in some pureed sweet potato and butternut squash and pumpkin, just to shake things up a bit. Classic desserts make an appearance, the gingerbread cookies, mince pies, Christmas pudding, as well chocolate cake, but usually we’re too full to eat much. The real after dinner treat is lying down in front of the fire with my dog and going to sleep for the big post-dinner hibernation.
PHOTO CREDIT: JOANNA O’MALLEy
Irish Food Village: A Warm Welcome in Cold Days In their first student dedicated venture, Rachel Gaffney discusses the great success of the Irish Food Village thus far. ON a blustery, cold Thursday afternoon, it is no mean feat to see students in their dozens clambering towards the Sutherland School of Law. Not only would that truly terrify law lecturers to see such unusual enthusiasm, it would also deeply hurt the staff in Centra, as for once the chicken fillet roll queue is nonexistent. Instead hungry students are eagerly heading towards UCD’s latest food venture: the Irish Village Markets. As part of the six week trial, thirteen different vendors set up on campus and are open from approximately 11:30am to 2:30pm every Thursday. The food on offer is a wide variety of international cuisine, ranging from Italian wood-fire style pizza to Korean Kanum Thai. This venture was sparked as a result of the highly successful food market that was held as part of UCD Festival last summer. Organiser Des Vallely, from Irish Village Markets, says “the success and viability of the enterprise will be assessed at the end of the six weeks with the hopes of coming back for all of semester two”. The Irish Village Markets usually cater for corporate events and outdoor festivals, having recently served at an event for Facebook and
were a regular feature at Happenings outdoor cinema screenings during the summer. In their first student orientated venture, Des Vallely enthused that “we are delighted with the feedback from our traders and students alike”. The large portion sizes are considerably
“Finally a decent place to get a burrito in UCD!”
were very friendly and nice, (the writer is not just saying that as she was offered a delicious free sample), and commented that they “never expected to be so busy!” Due to this warm welcome from students of the Irish Village Markets it is hoped that this venture will continue on into the new year. The crowds would probably only get larger
in warmer weather. Thursdays in UCD will be eagerly looked forward to, and not just for their proximity to the weekend. If you are looking to broaden your palate, and get a tasty, nutritious and different lunch on campus then pop by the Irish Village Markets next Thursday between 11:30am and 2:30pm, next to the Sutherland School of Law.
good value for money, with most meals averaging at €7. This is competitively priced compared to the usual options on campus and the influx of variety has been greatly appreciated by students. “Finally a decent place to get a burrito in UCD!” commented third year Food Science student Gemma Lyons. Some international students were flocking to the stalls serving Asian dishes to get an authentic reminder of home but by far the busiest stall had to be Zero Zero Wood Fired Pizza. The staff Photo credit: martin healy
Recipe: Warming Winter Chicken Stew This is the perfect recipe for the cold evenings ahead. It’s cheap, easy to make and freezes well so you can have it again and again!
Rachel Gaffney Method:
Ingredients 4 chicken legs 2 carrots 2 celery sticks 1 vegetable stock cube 1 onion 1 clove garlic 2 medium potatoes Salt and pepper, to taste
image courtesy of kidspot.co.nz
To begin, peel and roughly cut carrots. Chop the celery sticks into small pieces. Peel, and dice the onion. Peel the potatoes. Place the vegetable stock cube in a large saucepan and add three quarters of a pint of water (400ml). Add a clove of garlic and the prepared vegetables to the pot. Add the chicken legs (you can use chicken breast either but leg is cheaper) to the pot also. Add a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. Bring to the boil, put a lid on the pot and leave to simmer on the hob for 45 minutes. About twenty minutes before the chicken is due to be finished cooking, put the potatoes in another pan to boil. Mash the potatoes with a dash of milk. Serve in a large dish or bowl, pouring the chicken and vegetable mixture onto the potatoes. Enjoy!
Top FiVe hiDDen gems oF 2016 Aaron Poole takes a look at some of the hidden gaming gems that you might have missed this year.
AH, Christmas, a time when we can finally kick back and relax for a while without the woes of college and work to bog us down. While some might see it as a time to socialise with family and make merry, gamers can instead see it as an opportunity to catch up on titles missed out on during the year. “But what will I play first?” you ask. Fret not, we here at OTwo are here to run down the top 5 titles you won’t want to miss out on during your weeklong gaming marathon.
“The success of Firewatch lies in its unique format and gameplay”
4. inside - PS4/Xbox One/PC Back in October’s edition of OTwo, we reviewed INSIDE following its multiplatform release, bringing it to PS4. But what wasn’t immediately obvious at the time, was just how thought provoking the game would become, inspiring multiple replays which still have our brains boggled (something that is certainly not helped by the revelation that the game has an alternate ending). If you have yet to play INSIDE, you’re missing out. Essentially LIMBO 2.0, the game is presented in a format that completely does away with dialogue in favour of visual storytelling, something that the game’s side-scrolling element helps to convey via background imagery. The game is unforgiving, and you are liable to be mutilated by dogs or blown apart by surrounding hazards without warning. We definitely recommend giving it a go, but be prepared to find yourself researching theories online after a detailed play-through.
5. firewatch - PS4/Xbox One/PC Released back in February this year, Firewatch could have been just another indie title that fell by the wayside, but it turned into one of the most critically acclaimed indie releases of the last few years. The game follows the main character, Henry, who takes up a position at a fire watch station based in the real-life Shoshone National Forest, Wyoming. As the game’s title implies, your role as Henry is to remain at your post ready to report signs of fire. We won’t spoil what happens next, but the focus of the game isn’t as obvious as it appears to be. The success of Firewatch lies in its unique format and gameplay, carried out in a wellstructured, easy-to-explore world. Featuring some of the best writing and voice acting present in any video game released this year, play this if you get a chance, you won’t regret it.
3. that dragon, cancer - PC That Dragon, Cancer is probably one of the most difficult titles that a gamer could experience, but that’s only because of just how impactful and enthralling it is telling the story. The game follows the Green family and their experience as their child is diagnosed with an atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor shortly after his first birthday. As one would imagine, it’s a very personal experience, which challenges the player, putting you in the shoes of the baby’s parents as the game’s events play out. While it may be a sensitive topic for some, the game provides a wealth of awareness and insight relative to the subject matter, told through a compelling narrative. The experience, as a result, makes it one of the best story-driven titles this year, making it essential playing.
2. the witness - PS4/Xbox One/PC Have you ever been so caught up inside the world of a video game that you legitimately find it hard to think about anything else? It rarely happens, but The Witness has made the list. Developed by Braid’s Jonathan Blow, The Witness is a puzzle game that truly goes beyond the realm of simply being a piece of interactive entertainment, and that’s saying something when the aim of the game is to essentially manoeuver a bright dot around the game’s world through a sequence of square panels. Yes, you read that right. As you navigate to find the exit point, it’s the way by which the game teaches you how to beat it that makes it so addictive, featuring interactive puzzle solving on a level that I simply can’t convey through words. This won’t be a game for everyone, but we can’t recommend it enough. If you don’t believe so, give it a Google search. This is something you need to experience yourself.
“While it may be a sensitive topic for some, the game provides a wealth of awareness” 1. virginia - PS4/Xbox One/PC Rewinding the clock back to 2010, developer Quantic Dream changed the exploration genre with the release of Heavy Rain. Since then, there has been a lot more expected from that genre in terms of how much more of an experience it’s adhering titles were, flowing more along the lines of an interactive film as opposed to a game you could ‘beat’. Virginia is the culmination of all these elements, presented exactly as a film would by progressing from scene to scene via dissolves and featuring cinematic editing. The game sees the player control FBI agent Anne Tarver as she investigates the disappearance of a boy in rural Virginia. While we don’t want to spoil the story, things begin to veer in on the supernatural as the story progresses, leading to very interesting developments that make it the best storyline you will see all year. You need to experience this one for yourself.
Football Manager 2017: Review Martin Healy
Platforms: PC; Mac Developer: Sports Interactive Publisher: SEGA Release date: November 4th FOOTBALL management used to be a lot simpler. In the heydays of Brian Clough’s European Cup-winning Nottingham Forest side, match preparation simply involved some men casually running around a park. Football has changed immeasurably since the late-seventies, and since
the dawn of SportsInteractive’s Football Manager series in 2004, virtual simulations of the sport have drastically changed. Modern Football Manager is a behemoth of a video game; with the average season taking dozens of hours to go through, especially if you want to actually win things. This year’s game sees the series continuing to slowly repeat the same formula, something the series has been doing for a number of years now. This is not simply wheel-spinning, mind you. While there are few big new features this year, there is plenty of handy changes to make this year an acceptable upgrade. There’s an abundance of changes to make long-term saves more enjoyable, mostly in how clubs change over time. It also sees older players
decline faster with age, so you’re less likely to see 37 year-old Eden Hazard line up for Chelsea in 2028.
“Matches may look a lot better, but once any contact between two players occurs, the resulting animations are just awful.” The updated team report screen is also handy, continuing the series’ move toward colourcoding and clearer interfaces, and away from big piles of sliders and scary numbers. There are also some smaller changes, like the new pre-contract screen, which steps around thirty-something Brazilian also-rans unexpectedly holding you up for massive wages. Other changes include those to the match engine. Player passing and movement animations have taken a big step forward. On top of that, players tend to make smarter decisions on the pitch, so players don’t tend to idiotically run the ball out of play. These small changes are all welcome, but the game is certainly not without its flaws. Matches may look a lot better, but once any contact between two players occur, the resulting
animations are just awful. The same can be said with the goalkeeper animations, which look slow and robotic. The new social media tab attempts to recreate Twitter and is mostly terrible. While it keeps you up-to-date on events in your alternatefootball world, most of the feedback from fans can be completely random. Also, despite being in the game for a decade, dealing with the media is still a mostly-pointless chore. New staff roles have also been introduced to better simulate the expansion of modern football clubs, but it’s very hard to tell what data analysts and sport scientists actually do, or why you would hire one person over another.
“You’re less likely to see 37 year-old Eden Hazard line up for Chelsea in 2028.” There are so many things to keep track of in Football Manager 2017 yet parts continue to be a chore, even if you can delegate to a virtual stooge. Nonetheless, this is another engaging entry in Sports Interactive series, so prepare to spend many nerdy and frustrating hours dreaming big and devouring pass-completion ratios.
Watch Dogs 2: Review Aaron Poole
WHEN developing Watch Dogs 2, Ubisoft had to expand and build on the elements that made the first title enjoyable, while also completely changing what fans disliked. And there was a lot that fans disliked. In many ways, Watch Dogs 2 sets out to be both bigger and better than its predecessor, and successfully so, but it has some flaws holding it back (least of all the inconsistent multiplayer servers that, at the time of writing,
“The game is at its most fun when you’re left to play around with its mechanics” are up and down). The single-player campaign takes place in a near-future version of San Francisco where you play as Marcus, a member of a team of hackers called Dedsec that featured heavily in the first title. The premise of the campaign follows the organisation as they attempt to halt tech companies from taking over the city using technology and digital profiling as a medium. In a similar vein to the first title, we’re presented with an open world playground
that wouldn’t be out of place in the universe of Grand Theft Auto or Saint’s Row. The thrust of the gameplay revolves around hacking and stealth. The hacking mechanic is largely carried out through Marcus’ cell phone. Through navigation and a few button presses you can carry out various actions: from remote controlling a forklift, to causing electrical boxes to explode shocking those nearby, or even something as simple as overriding a stoplight to cause a car accident. Unlike its predecessor, we are presented with a lot more non-lethal weapon options that encourage the use of stealth. This includes a stun gun for knocking enemies out while manoeuvring and mini-drones for long-distance hacking and distracting security guards. Within missions, these elements are really the highlight of the game; Watch Dogs 2 ’s best moments come when you are left alone in a large area, meaning it’s up to the player figure out how to handle their objective. However, its latter half doesn’t forget to remind the player of the series’ main theme. Almost every mission thereafter requires you to constantly engage in hacking minigames, which wear out the novelty very quickly and take away from the mission at hand.
Overall, Watch Dogs 2 is an enjoyable experience. While the gimmick of the game might be pushed a bit too much in the player’s face, the game is at its most fun when you’re left to play around with its mechanics. There are hours of meaningless fun to be had through experimenting in the sandbox world Ubisoft have created. Combine that with a cast of engaging Dedsec characters and you’ve got a game that far exceeds the original.
Platforms: PC; Xbox One, PS4 (Reviewed on PS4) Developer: Ubisoft Montreal Publisher: Ubisoft Release date: November 15th
Let’s Not Pretend N o t h i n g J u s t H a pp e n e d Owen Steinberger speaks from the heart up about the result of the American election and the effect it will have on film and TV going onward. TO step into the first person is not something OTwo ordinarily does; however, as we all should be aware by now, these are not ordinary times. If the University Observer is to cover “the news” at all – be it the arts and culture we cover here in the magazine or the headier stuff handled in the broadsheet – if this paper is meant to be any sort of “observer” at all, it is important that we make note of monumental change in the world when it occurs. Such a monumental change has just recently come to pass with the election of Donald J. Trump as president of the United States of America. As an American citizen this affects me in a deeply personal manner. I fear for the disenfranchised in my community; lives and livelihoods are at stake. This is not a joke. However, it would be unfair of me to address this in such a selfish manner, as it does not pertain only to myself or my country – Trump’s shocking ascension to the highest office in the world has the political gravity to affect us all. Art the world over will feel this force as well. It must. The entire world must now react to the rise of an authoritarian figure in the West. A wheel which had refused to turn for decades now begins its slow revolution again, this time in a frightening direction. Art of all forms is imagined, disseminated, and created firmly within its time and place of origin. This is where this monumental change becomes
relevant for us, here, where we normally talk about film and television. Just as with 9/11, which saw our media enter a period of grim-dark anxiety over technology and warfare in the 2000s, this election will likely see the face of film and television shift once more. Immediate panic will soon be eclipsed by the reality of Trump’s newfound power. Unrest has been the immediate reaction to the election-day results cities across the United States, and a broader sense of unease permeates across the globe, Dublin included. Ireland is uniquely placed between post-Brexit Britain and America, and it must necessarily feel the immediate impact of both events as the rest of Europe reels. It is unrest that has always bred creativity. When there is trouble, when an authoritarian presence rears its ugly head, art naturally rises up in opposition. Art is the bastion of free thought and expression, and under this chaotic new administration this will not change. There has, of late, been a stagnancy in media, a common complacency among large studios, an abject willingness to retread old ground time and time again. These last few years have seen the birth of the “cinematic universe,” countless “soft reboots” of old series, and un-numbered sequels that have capitalized shamelessly on popular brands. It all has been effective, too, because this is what
“When we say that events in our lives remind of us scenes from our favorite movies… we are really allowing the timeless dialogue of art and reality to open itself to us. This is important; the outpouring of emotion that such films elicit is what gets us through such trying times.” 10
“When there is trouble, when an authoritarian presence rears its ugly head, art naturally rises up in opposition. Art is the bastion of free thought and expression, and under this chaotic new administration this will not change.”
audiences have wanted to see. Distractions from the day-to-day, nothing more, certainly nothing surprising. Expect this to change, however, and soon. A common enemy has emerged, one born from our own fears of the political establishment. It’s no mere happenstance that Game of Thrones became the world’s most popular television series – wrapped up in a fantasy adventure is a grim portrayal of a fractured, shifting political dynasty, surely a self-conscious critique of modern politics. As with an earthquake, the aftershocks of this election will be felt in every sphere of our lives. The art-world, despite how lofty it often claims to be, still rests firmly atop the everyday-world, the one where we buy our groceries and pay our taxes, the one where we meet friends for coffee or a night out, the one where we fall in love. Artists live here too, we must remember, and must face these new challenges and dangers with us. Their work will be influenced by these changing times because creativity naturally reflects its surroundings. Trump will change the face of art – of film and television especially, for their wide market shares and spheres of influence – for better or for worse. There is now an impetus to create work that has the potential for change. Expect outsider film-makers to flourish under the pressure, to shed some of its pretention in favor of pointed critique, for the sake of bluntness, of boldness. Expect independent television series, like
those purchased by HBO or Netflix, to embrace their subversive tendencies and to go after the establishment, knives out. Do not retreat into nostalgic fantasy worlds of in response to this coming change. Finding some comfort in Harry Potter flicks is a harmless enough thing, but the wider world of expression demands your attention now more than ever. Especially as Hollywood and mainstream television networks like ABC are likely to carry on as if nothing had changed; such hulking entities are always slow to shift with the tide. When we say that events in our lives remind us of scenes from our favorite movies – as countless social media posts suggest, this election has merely been the arrival of Voldemort at Hogwarts – we are really allowing the timeless dialogue of art and reality to open itself to us. This is important; the outpouring of emotion that such films elicit is what gets us through such trying times. We remind ourselves that, ultimately, fact is stranger (and far more dangerous) than fiction. So please, let’s not pretend nothing just happened. This is not a call for political action – this is certainly not the time or place for such a statement. However, this is certainly a call for awareness, a call for certainty in a “post-truth” political era. Read, observe, watch, listen, and engage. Keep your finger on the pulse of humanity. There are universal truths we can uncover in the art all around us if only we allow ourselves to be mindful of its presence.
Marvel’s Cinematic Universe: L ittle R oom F or D i v ersit y Following the release of the latest Marvel Film Eithne Dodd argues that attempts at diversifying their films have gravely missed their mark. Doctor Strange, released just three weeks ago, is the 14th instalment in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film recently received backlash for the casting of Tilda Swinton as “The Ancient One,” – a controversial decision as the comic book character is traditionally an Asian male and the actress is not. This decision has puzzled and dismayed fans of the franchises. It’s shocking to imagine that Marvel could not have enticed Asian Hollywood heavy-hitters like Ken Wantabe, Chow Yun-fat, or even Jackie Chan to play such a prominent and lucrative role. Logic suggests that they could have; instead, it is likely that the studio had other metrics in mind. Marvel have previously been criticised before for not having enough women, heroines in particular. Tilda Swinton’s “Ancient One” was simply an addition to their stock suite of recurring female characters – Pepper Pots, Jane Foster, Agent Carter, and Maria Hill. Swinton may be a strong, wellknown actor, but in their casting decision Marvel continued a fatal trend in ignoring potential intersectional roles in their films. Everyone has a multifaceted identity which reflects how they are viewed by society. Intersectionality is a theory used to distinguish different strands of classification from one another, and it shows how the layering – or intersection – of multiple qualities which society deems negative can compound and magnify discrimination. Women of colour face an entirely different sort of discrimination than both men of colour and white women, one that drastically limits their access to opportunities both onscreen, and in their daily lives. Swinton follows after the marvel heroines of Black Widow and Scarlet Witch, and precedes two soon-to-be superheroines, Captain Marvel and the Wasp. All of these women are white. Meanwhile the MCU now boasts leading roles for several black men; following Nick Fury we now have War Machine, Falcon and Black Panther. However, the same problem of intersectionality applies. Where are Marvel’s black women? To be a woman is one thing, and to be of a racial minority is another; Hollywood has problems with both, but when put together there is little hope of overcoming these intersected prejudices.
Most of the non-humanoid characters are even played by white men. Paul Bettany plays Vision, James Spader plays Ultron. Bradley Cooper voices Rocket Racoon, Vin Diesel is Groot, and Seth Green is Howard the Duck. Zoe Saldana played the alien Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy, but even this can be seen as a failure in representation as her blackness is masked entirely by her green skin. Marvel has failed to maintain acceptable standards of diversity. While men in the MCU vary in race, age, and even disability, all of its women are white and of similar, youthful appearance. The issue of intersectionality is as old as film itself. When we think of household names from classic movies, there are far more men of colour than women. Marvel has opted to embrace this bitter legacy, and it does not do so alone. In an earlier issue, we featured an article on Ghost in the Shell’s 2017 remake, featuring Scarlett Johansson in the role meant for an Asian lead. Similarly, DC’s Suicide Squad
intersectionality. By not involving women of colour, Marvel aids wider society in making their contributions invisible. Moreover, in a creative sense, the studio is hampering its own characters’ potential for growth. Scarlet Witch is a refugee whose home was destroyed and her family lost, but these character-defining qualities are lost as Marvel simply adds her to their list of female heroines. By simply adding more white women both Marvel studios and their fans have neglected a wider issue. It is not enough to simply put more women in their movies. Diversity means more than a single group of people – it means all of them, especially those who face intersectional discrimination. All MCU characters so far are heterosexual. There are no mixed race couples. While Captain America, Spider Man and the Scarlet Witch all grow up poor, “To be a woman is one thing, and to they receive money from Shield or Tony be of a racial minority is another; Stark, thus removing the Hollywood has problems with intersection of class from their films entirely. both, but when put together there There are four main magicians in Doctor is little hope of overcoming these
“By simply adding more white women, both Marvel studios and their fans have neglected a wider issue.” Strange: a white man, a white woman, a black man and an Asian man. This organization appears as a model for Marvel’s thoughts on race and gender as a whole. Bringing together actors of different races is of course an important thing; however, this mere gesture towards true diversity is not enough. It is not enough to simply take “one of each” and then declare that you’re done. Gender relations and race relations as well as social class, age, and a number of other factors are inextricably linked together. When Marvel seeks to separate these intersecting classifications, they allow the reality of their characters to disappear. Audiences will see less authentic characters and comic fans will have their expectations betrayed by their cinematic counterparts. When intersectionality is ignored, nobody wins.
intersected prejudices.” featured an eclectic cast of characters, including men of diverse races and men cast as crocodiles, while the women of the group remain paleskinned. This is not an acceptable way for a studio to respond to complaints of a white male orientation. Marvel have responded to calls from critics and fans for more strong women in their films, so more were put in; they had no black heroes, so they added some. Marvel seems to think that they get cultural sensitivity “points” for exhibiting minimal effort to diversify their films. The MCU has become more diverse over its lifespan but it has failed, and continues to fail, to address
Marvel’s 2016 release Dr. Strange starring Tilda Swinton and Chiwetel Ejiofor
Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Katie Lalwani Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them marks a triumphant return to J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world. This time, we find ourselves in 1920s America. Newt Scamander, a British wizard and ‘magizoologist’ comes to New York with a case full of magical creatures. These creatures manage to escape, causing havoc throughout the city. Meanwhile, trouble is brewing amongst the American wizarding community. The dark wizard Grindelwald is on the loose and stirring up trouble. A radical anti-wizard group called
“It is difficult to find fault… dazzling cinematography and a lovable cast of characters, both human and beast, keep the magic alive.” the Second Salemers, who want to expose and wipe out the magical world, are gaining momentum. And a dark magical force known as an Obscurus is causing destruction, which threatens to expose the magical community
to the “no magis” (the American equivalent of Muggles). This film is far darker than the original series, coloured by the grim political undertones apparent throughout. Adults, rather than schoolkids, take centre stage here. Eddie Redmayne truly shines as Newt, a wizard who struggles to befriend humans yet understands so well the creatures he looks after. Dan Folger brings wit and charm to the loveable Jacob, a “no magi” who finds himself unwittingly involved in helping Newt recapture his beasts. Completing the team are the courageous ex-auror Tina (Katherine Waterston) and her sister Queenie (Alison Sudol), an enchanting character who can read minds. The beasts themselves are truly extraordinary. An array of imaginative creatures are featured, including Nifflet, a treasure-loving platypus-like beast, a charming little plant like creature called
Picket, and a silver-haired monkey which can turn invisible. The CGI work which brings these creatures to life is masterful. It is difficult to find fault in Fantastic Beasts. Perhaps too much has been packed in, making the film feel overwhelming at times. Despite this clutter, dazzling cinematography and a loveable cast of characters, both human and beast, keep the magic alive. With four more movies on the way, we can certainly expect great things to come. This is truly an exceptional film, one that marks the beginning of a new era of magic.
In A Nutshell: Fantastic Beats is a dazzling spectacle which will satisfy Potter fans, as well as cater to those new to the wizarding world.
Directed: David Yates Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Dan Folger, Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol Release Date: 18th November Runtime: 133 minutes
Review: Moana Louise Flanagan
Directed by: Ron Clements, John Musker Starring: Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Jemaine Clement, Alan Tudyk, Nicole Scherzinger Release Date: December 2nd Runtime: 103 minutes
DISNEY’S latest animated feature takes place on the mythical Polynesian island of Motunui, where a young girl must save her land from annihilation. The film introduces 16-year old Auli’i Cravalho as the central character Moana, a strong-willed teenage girl at the cusp of becoming leader of her father’s tribe. However, her free spirit and adventurous nature call her to the sea, where she is entrusted with the stolen “heart” of Tahiti, which leads her on a thrilling voyage across the ocean.
At first Moana is reminiscent of Pixar’s Brave, but thankfully it soon surpasses it. Devoid of romance, the film makes for an uplifting comingof-age story concerned with a girl finding her place in the world, with the wholly relatable struggle of self-actualisation. Moana is, at its heart, a classic seafaring adventure. Moana fights against the odds to bring the stolen “heart” (a magical green stone) across the ocean back to Tahiti to restore sea and plant life to her perishing island. She is helped on her way by a goofy rooster named Hei Hei (voiced by Alan Tudyk), the extraordinarily egotistical 1000 year-old demi-god Maui (voiced by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), and the sea itself. These heroes encounter sea monsters, coconut pirates and a giant glitter-bound crab on their whimsical journey. Likable characters and good pacing compliment beautiful animation – vibrant colours and intricate tribal markings make for a diverse palette; a real treat for the eyes. Along with many of Disney’s previous offerings, Moana shares an inherent ability to balance the serious nature of some of its darker scenes with a hearty sense of humour. The feather-brained Hei Hei provides many welcome moments of comic relief
“Likable characters and good pacing compliment beautiful animation” throughout. However, Moana sometimes loses its individuality. Its music is one such point; while some songs are suitably epic, their lyrics are frequently weak, two-dimensional and ultimately forgettable, its score failing to live up to Disney classics. Moana also has a tendency to lean on a clichéd notion – that if you believe in yourself you can do anything – which after years of repetition has worn itself thin. This may be Disney, but even children may need a change of pace, and older audiences may find themselves looking for more thematic variety in the future. In A Nutshell: Despite missteps, Moana is a colourful and heartfelt film. It’s a swashbuckling adventure for all ages that manages to shun the tropes of Disney princesses past.
MOVIES MADE FOR CHINA
GRAPHICS COURTESy OF OWEN STEINBERGER
How far will Hollywood go to win over the strict censors of the world’s biggest audience? Orla Keaveney investigates.
THE idea of banning films seems out of place in modern media – more suited to a World War II or an Orwellian dystopia. While some see the growth of PC culture as a form of self-imposed censorship, direct government influence on the arts is considered a thing of the past. Even in Ireland, the days of the Catholic Church’s tight control of the media are a distant memory, though it’s sobering to remember that the Censorship of Publications Board has banned the sale of certain books as recently as last March. When China passed a law preventing the screening of films threatening the country’s “dignity, honour and interests,” it didn’t cause much of a stir in the west, though the call to promote “socialist core values” is eerily similar to Stalin’s infamous “social realism.” Chinese citizens might be missing out, but most moviegoers in democratic countries wouldn’t expect this legislation to affect their lives. Out of sight, one might think, out of mind. However, many underestimate the importance of the Chinese market to the global film industry. The Chinese educated middle class is growing rapidly; there are now more Chinese people in this attractive wage bracket than there are Americans in total. The disposable income of this demographic make them key players for international film distributors – it is now impossible for a film to top box office records without first “breaking China.” So when the government starts to dictate what can or can’t be screened in Chinese cinemas, you can be sure that Hollywood is paying attention. The biggest studios in the world have already
demonstrated their commitment to pleasing the Chinese. In June, Disney agreed to forfeit a 57% stake in Disneyland Shanghai to state-owned partners in exchange for the government’s permission to build the $5.5 billion theme park. Twentieth Century Fox’s Independence Day: Resurgence showed a conspicuous enthusiasm for MengNiu Moon Milk, a clear product placement for the Eastern market. Marvel’s latest blockbuster Doctor Strange saw a character’s nationality changed from Tibetan to Celtic for fear of upsetting Chinese audiences.
“Even Marvel’s latest blockbuster Doctor Strange saw a character’s nationality changed from Tibetan to Celtic for fear of upsetting Chinese audiences.” While these blatant pushes for international profits raise eyebrows, the drive to appeal to China has led to the casting of Asian celebrities like Angelababy and Fan Bingbing, a welcome reprieve from Hollywood’s tendency to “whitewash” its roles.
However, the Chinese government is well aware of its importance to the western film industry, and its tightened censorship laws show that they won’t let foreign studios profit from their citizens without restriction. Before this, the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT) already had unlimited power to edit any film screened in China – in 2006’s Mission Impossible 3, SARFT cut a brief scene showing underwear hanging out to dry on a Chinese clothesline, as they felt this depicted the country in a negative light. No genre is safe from the state’s scrutiny - this year, Zootopia was the highest-grossing film in China, earning Disney $230 million, making up nearly a quarter of the movie’s international gross profits. And yet the Chinese military condemned the animated family flick as “propaganda that promotes U.S. values and global strategy” in its newspaper, PLA Daily, warning citizens to be wary of its “bias and distortions,” even going so far as to call for a boycott of the film. This reaction sees filmmakers wonder: if a movie about talking animals can incite this much backlash, will Hollywood be able to tackle more controversial issues in future? China has been known to ban directors from entering the country for making films critical of its policies, and themes such as religion, ghosts and LGBT romances are regularly attacked by SARFT. As its population becomes more educated and tech-savvy, the Communist Party may go to greater lengths to suppress the democratic values that could threaten its one-party political system. There’s a very tangible risk that Western producers will begin to adopt more “China-friendly” ideologies to keep distribution rights in the country. Lower-budget independent films won’t have to face the demands of the Chinese censors, but
anything ambitious enough to aim for large Asian audiences may need to compromise on artistic integrity under the influence of the law. Ultimately, Hollywood must bend or break with these new restrictions, neither of which makes for a winning move. While history has left us cynical of the motives of media censorship, there’s no reason to believe that China wants to influence the worldview of anyone bar its own citizens. So while China might
“It is now impossible for a film to top box oﬃce records without first ‘breaking China.” be asserting its power over Hollywood, we’re still highly unlikely to encounter subliminal communist propaganda in the cinema anytime soon. At the same time, there will undoubtedly be contentions between Western and Chinese cultures in the films of the future as studios vie for common ground.
Zootopia, criticised by Chinese authorities for its bias towards uS values
I don’t know how long we’ve been driving for. Every time I ask, Mummy tells me to shush. It’s dark, and there is a whole load of other families in this truck too. I’d never seen most of them before, they came from all over the country for this chance. I know there is a girl my age sitting near me, she was already on when the doors opened for us. I remember thinking how nice the blue ribbon in her hair went with her eyes, which was an odd thing to notice, given the circumstances. I’m wearing a tracksuit. One that is so soft, its like pyjamas. That’s why Mummy told me to wear it, probably. She said I should try sleep every once in a while, but I didn’t want to. Even if I had my old teddy pulled close to me. It doesn’t make me a baby to have a teddy bear with me. Even the grown-ups are scared. Mummy twirls the ring on her finger that used to be her Mummy’s. Sometimes tears drip from her eyes, but she says its fine. Daddy pretends he’s not scared, but I know he is. The way when there’s a loud noise and squeezes my hand really tight, and the way he puts his arms around Mummy and me every once in a while as if we were his teddy bears. We’re lucky to be here. Mummy and Daddy sent away the application ages ago, but the process was means tested. I heard them say that when they thought I was asleep. I’m young, but I’m not stupid. I noticed the people that were leaving before us. The first person I knew leaving was an older girl in my dance class. Mummy said her Daddy was in a band, but I forget the name. Soon it was all the big houses that were empty. The worst part was this Christmas. We used to drive through Killiney every year to see the big Christmas trees that were in the huge windows of people’s houses. This year, everyone had already gone. The truck clutters to a stop, and Daddy’s arms are around Mummy and me again. I rub his arm to tell him I’m okay, because I think he needs that. When the doors screech open, the light hurts my eyes. Its night time, but there are lights that look as bright as the sun after not being able to see the end of my nose in that dark. “Out. Quickly now, get out,” a man with a big gun orders us. Mummy holds my hand so tight it hurts when we stand up, but I don’t complain or try to pull it away. As we march off the truck, the cold night air bites against my sweat damp skin and I shiver. We’re led over to these things that are kind of like cars. They remind me of the ones
that trollied people across the airport. I saw them when we went to Spain a few years ago, before all this happened. They shut the airports down soon after that. No one was allowed travel between countries, not that many people wanted to risk it anyway. I don’t know how the war started. It seemed like one day everything was normal, and the next, everything had changed. People said it was like the second Cold War. I don’t know what the first one was like, I think we were supposed to learn about that in school this year, but teachers sort of gave up on teaching from books. Most days we learned practical skills, mending clothes, survival skills, cooking. Other times we had drills where we’d have to run to our bomb shelter. Sometimes they weren’t drills, they were false alarms. Those were the scariest times of all. The queue of people is massive. There are two other truck loads of people besides us, and all of us are waiting to climb onto the little cars. When we are next in the queue, more of the soldiers are there beside the cars. They tell my Mummy and Daddy that I have to sit on one of their laps so I don’t take up a seat that someone else can have. I climb onto Mummy’s lap, putting the backpack with my belongings on it onto my front. Daddy holds his and Mummy’s bags on his lap. Teddy is wedged between my backpack and my chest. Two other families are pushed into the car too. One had just a Daddy and two older teenagers, and one with a boy that was younger than me sitting on his Daddy’s lap. I smile at him, but he’s teary and doesn’t smile back. There aren’t any seatbelts in the car, and it goes so fast I think I might fly off if it weren’t for Mummy’s arm wrapped around me. When we get to the ship, everyone is a different kind of quiet than they were before.
Even the little boy has stopped his tears. “So that’s where our taxes have been going,” the man with the teenagers says. The ship is bigger than anything you could ever imagine. It looks smooth, and gives off a soothing hum and I don’t know why it does that, but it makes me feel safe. “Over to the steps,” the driver told us. He had a gun too, and a big puffy jacket. We get off the car and I put my back pack on my back. Mummy takes her bag from Daddy, and she takes my hand again while Daddy takes our tickets from his pocket and hands them to the man by the steps. I wiggle my toes in my too tight shoes as I wait. I can’t wait to take them off when we get into our room. The man asks Daddy a lot of questions and looks at all the papers Daddy brought with him. When he nods, we walk up the steps that wobble in the wind. “Careful. Hold onto the handrail, good girl,” Mummy tells me. Her voice is quiet, but I am just happy to hear her after all those hours of not talking on the truck. Its warmer inside. A woman in an army uniform asks Daddy our last name, and when he tells her, she gives him a card with number on it. Its a long walk to our room, and it isn’t long before I start to drag my feet along the floor. Daddy used to give out when I did that, he said it would ruin my shoes. He isn’t giving out now,
though, just looking at the numbers on the doors as they get bigger and bigger till we’re at numbers I can’t even count up to. Finally Daddy’s thumping steps stop in front of a door. Home. For the next six months
Illustration : Meadhbh Sheridan
By Anna Graham
at least. He pushes the door open and lets Mummy go in first. I go in next and drop my backpack to the floor, already fiddling with the laces on my shoes. Its only when I have my shoes off that I take a look around the room. The walls are that same silver as outside, but there’s carpet on the floor at least. One, two, three, four. Four beds in this little room. I wonder if Mummy is going to have more babies for the other bed, but that wouldn’t make sense because Mummy doesn’t have a fat tummy. I move across the room and set my teddy on a nice looking bed. “Caoimhe, you’re going to share this bed with Mummy and Daddy, alright love?” Mummy says, picking up my teddy and resting it in the middle of the pillows of the big bed. “Why don’t I get my own bed? There are loads in here,” I whine. I’m not a baby, I should get my own bed. “Another family is going to stay here too,” Daddy said. He picked my backpack up from the floor and set it inside a drawer of the locker that sat beside our bed. “Another family?” I ask, frowning as I climb onto the big bed to grab my teddy again. The door opens and a man whose head almost hits the top of the doorframe comes in. He gives us all a small smile, but I just pull my knees further into my chest. Behind him comes in a woman with mismatched hair, blonde at the bottoms, but mostly brown now. A little bit of grey too. Then there’s a teenager boy wearing all black, and a girl that doesn’t look too much older than me. “We’re the McGings,” the Mummy of the family tells us. “How come she gets her own bed?” I ask, and I know my face is grumpy even though I can’t see it. “Caoimhe,” Mummy and Daddy say at the same time. “I just turned thirteen, that means I’m a teenager and I get my own bed,” the girl says, pushing her glasses up her nose. I know already I’m not going to like her. She looks like a know-it-all. Our conversation is interrupted by a bing bong sounding over speakers in the corner of the room. A robot like woman’s voice says; “Passengers please remain in your assigned rooms until further notice while we take off. Our destination is the colonies of New Earth, formally known as Mars. Enjoy your stay.”
She is a storm Hair like rainclouds on the horizon eyes the colour of churning sea. lines around her mouth are ripples in the water When she laughs it’ll blow the roof off your house You will find yourself naked to her mercy She is a storm and You are drowning in her.
a scream, will startle birds, rising from, now naked trees, laid bare, by the winters breath.
The messengers came each morning To tell me of the ocean’s infinity, and of the lands across the sea. it’s much too early and their squawking Signals unrest at the nearby bay. in bed looking out of the window We see our enemies taking the crown and placing it on the tall new building Just over there. embraced in naked reverie we forget to hear For our ghouls – others have arrived and cities lie surrounded by faithless men. now all that is left is a little wooden bench Where men speak, and couples in lustful stupor ask no questions, and the smoke from cars, and gutters, encircles the purity that once had been. We ask them to return to tell me more of the sea.
The sky suffocates the humid air,
little clouds, of spoken mist, a fleeting occurrence, fade to nothing. Once pretty knees, grazed red, and in that place, of falling snow; stained with you.
in crowded alleys unaware of the town’s frustrated gasps, we walked, coming to rest in a lineal nightmare where my patience is slowly carved and mocked. Drinking in a pub lined with red elm, i invite distractions from affected conversations as not to overwhelm all my senses, by then disrespected. Suitably today is their last day here among the clutter and papers of months there’s a note saying ‘i’ll disappear’ and in picking it up he grunts. a chuckling cue brings me back from dreaming and actually here we stand, no half pints, looking for something redeeming at the moment i’m disinclined To find an object to mankind.
illustration : Meadhbh sheridan
Bridging a Gap, Finding Our Voice: An Interview With Activist Tonie Walsh
“The way to be a persuader of gay liberation is to be able to stand up on TV, in the media, in the newspapers, [be] out in the streets and say, ‘this is me, this is who we are, we are your brothers and your sisters, your sons and your daughters.”
In honour of World AIDS Day on December 1st, David Monaghan sits down with activist, archivist, and journalist Tonie Walsh, whose work in the LGBTQ+ community spans over 30 years. 16
TONIE WALSH has been involved in LGBTQ+ activ- made some noise before I arrived – but during today simply did not exism since the early 1980s, and has been a promi- fresher’s week, it wasn’t staffed.” Indeed, at this ist. Walsh elaborates: “back nent figure in developments made within and time the Gaysoc stand was staffed by Student in 1979… trans identity just outside of the community since that time. He was Union’s Welfare Officer, Brighid Ruane, due to the didn’t enter our lexicon or foundational in the evolution of the Hirschfeld homophobic environment of the campus. our conversations at the Centre, a Dublin-based meeting place for IreDuring this period, Walsh was dating a French time. There was a national land’s LGBTQ+ community, and the National LGBT woman who would later come out as lesbian: transvestite group running Federation (NXF), a non-governmental collective “the blind leading the blind,” he jokes. Discovering from the Hirschfeld centre, designed for the advancement of LGBTQ+ rights. the Hirschfeld Centre, which had opened in March but trans identity and the Alongside Catherine Glendon, he also became one 1979, became the trigger for his eventual coming concerns of our trans brothof the founding editors of GCN, Ireland’s foremost out: “I had been having sex with boys all through- ers and sisters just weren’t LGBTQ+ publication. out high school, but I just wasn’t ‘out’... I actually getting a look in.” Walsh’s interest in activism was inspired and did a personal ad – like the Grindr of its day – and Walsh’s decade-long inspurred on by his familial ties: “I grew up in a this guy came over to my granny’s house in Rath- volvement in the Hirschfeld feminist household,” he says. “I come from three gar. We had a bit of a snog and a fumble, and Centre would later inspire generations of feminism. My great-grandmother then he says, ‘do you want to go into this club?” his work on the Irish Queer was the founding secretary and manager of The club in question was the aforementioned Archive. The IQA was estabthe Gate Theatre. She campaigned for women’s Hirschfeld Centre, which was named for Magnus lished in 1997 and is a colfranchise in 1910… Her husband, Hector Hughes, Hirschfeld, a Jewish-German sexologist who be- lection of historical material helped set up the Socialist Party of Ireland [in came one of the earliest proponents of LGBTQ+ from Ireland’s queer past, in1918], and would have been a contemporary of rights in the Weimar Republic. cluding magazines, posters, James Connolly and Jim Larkin.” The club became the epicentre for the ad- pictures, badges and other Dissatisfied with the lack of momentum of the vancement of LGBTQ+ rights in Ireland, and such ephemera, with a view early Labour movement in Ireland, Hughes even- sported a dance floor, a women’s group, a youth to providing insight into the Cover of the very first issue of Gay Community News tually moved to London and became a Labour group, counselling services, and a queer cinema social, political and cultural (GCN). founded by Tonie Walsh and Catherine Glendon club. “I thought it was going to be full of freaks,” development of LGBTQ+ comsays Walsh. “[But] I arrived in the middle of a munities in Ireland. Walsh’s direct involvement He continues: “it’s inaccessible [to all but a slow set. It was all just so ordinary and fabulous.” with the movement during the decades in ques- few, such as] bona fide historians [like] Diarmaid Within six months, Walsh experienced a com- tion provided him with tangible links to such an Ferriter… You’ll see us a few of us making noise plete political transformation. “The lesbian and expansive history. “We have the administrative next year, people like Mary McCauliffe and Kathergay movement was about five years old at that records of all the major lesbian and gay groups ine O’Donnell from Women’s Studies in UCD, mystage… and the [National LGBT Federation] was a in Ireland since 1974,” he says. self, Elizabeth Kirwan who manages the National part of this second wave of activism, and it hugely Indeed, the archive contains material from Photographic Archive – these are people who appealed to young kids like me at the time.” the Alternative Miss Ireland contest, the GAZE came together to help find a home for the archive Despite this emerging ‘second wave,’ very Film Festival, the Sexual Liberafew LGBTQ+ people had the strength to stand tion Movement, the National LGBT up and speak out, as Walsh elaborates: “Ireland Federation, Gay Health Action, felt like a much smaller world, for a start, and it GLEN, Dublin LGBT Pride, GCN, and was! Very few people were living in [Dublin] city more. Although it contains such a centre, the city was derelict, [and] at this time of vast collection of material, very nascent queer liberation, very few were [fear- little of the IQA’s material has less] enough to stand up and be counted.” Only been digitised: “most of it is still a handful of vocal pro-gay activists emerged in in storage in Whitehall somethis period, including Senator David Norris, and where,” Walsh explains. future Presidents of Ireland Mary McAleese and Party MP for Aberdeen North, a seat he held until Mary Robinson, who with their combined efforts his death in 1970. “Politics ran…through every in the 1970s established the Campaign for Homovein of my family,” explains Walsh. sexual Law Reform, which sought to decriminalise There has been a history of activism in Walsh’s homosexuality in the Republic of Ireland. family, and he has had, in turn, a front row seat to While some gay people and their allies were the dramatic, chaotic, emotional and sometimes vocal at this time, trans rights as we know them frustrating narrative of LGBTQ+ progression within the state. He is keen to inform that, like most, he arrived from a place of misunderstanding and confusion surrounding his sexuality. “I came out when I was 19 [in 1979]. I was studying the History of Art and French in UCD… I arrived [to the college] expecting a hot bed of radicalism and I was instantly dissuaded of that… It just seemed like it was coming out of a grim decade. There was no gay presence on campus – Gaysoc [precursor to UCD’s modern LGBTQ+ society] had been founded two years previous -- winter 1976 -- and it had Images from the Hirschfield Centre in the 1980s, which became the hub of LGBTQ+ rights advancement in Ireland
“I grew up in a feminist household,’ he says. ‘I come from three generations of feminism.”
Photo credits (CW): Derek speirs via iqa, rté archives, seá gilmartin via iqa
OTwo//Tonie Walsh gay press, that’s how oppressive and repressive the situation was.” A decision made by the Carlow and Leinster Times, who printed the publication, also pushed the magazine into folding: they refused to publish the penultimate issue as it featured a safer sex ad of two silhouetted men embracing. This was largely because sex between men was illegal at the time. “There was nothing expressly pornographic about the image, but given the taboo around homosexuality and anything to do with intercourse, the fucking printers had a conniption and refused to print it. You can imagine, our brothers were dying horrible, shabby deaths, and we have a culture where condoms were still illegal, and the government [did not] engage with the reality of what was happening at the time – the Dáil first began to have conversations about AIDS five years after the first people began to die of it.” Indeed, the first AIDS-related deaths in Ireland were reported as early as 1985, but Leinster House only had its first conversation about the crisis in 1990. “All the time people were dying. There was hysteria in Ireland [among] very worried homosexual and heterosexual people.” Conversations about the AIDS crisis occur frequently today, but very rarely are they in the context of the European or indeed Irish experiences. Such narratives are made invisible, undoubtedly contributing to the rise of HIV in contemporary Ireland – in 2015 it was reported that there had been a jump of 25% in such diagnoses, with young people being most affected. The work Walsh strives to do in compiling and documenting indigenous LGBTQ+ history is vitally important to understanding the current problems such communities face: “gay liberation is the story of survival and hope,” says Walsh. “It’s the story of people, in some cases, living shitty, miserable
“Gay businesses refused to advertise in the gay press, that’s how oppressive and repressive the situation was”
[be] out in the streets and say, ‘this is me, this is who we are, we are your brothers and your sisters, your sons and your daughters.” This is the attitude he carried with him into his journalism career in the 1980s. He is one of the founders of GCN, the longest-running LGBTQ+ publication in Ireland, and his beginnings in the field came as a staff writer for Out, Ireland’s first commercial queer magazine, which was established in 1983. Out folded eventually, owing to a lack of funding: “gay businesses refused to advertise in the
“Gay liberation is the story of survival and hope… It’s the story of people, in some cases, living shitty, miserable lives, and being able to rise about the shittiness of their social and cultural environment, and find a way to better themselves, and better their world for themselves and other people”
Photo credit : Paula geraghty via indymedia.com
and were responsible for its transferral [to the National Library of Ireland] in 2008. We have to make it accessible [so] people can begin the process of rebuilding, of fitting all the locks into place that go towards building this historical structure… We only have an incomplete picture of where we are now.” The key to promoting LGBTQ+ awareness, Walsh claims, is to be out and vocal: “the way to be a persuader of gay liberation is to be able to stand up on TV, in the media, in the newspapers,
lives, and being able to rise above the shittiness of their social and cultural environment, and find a way to better themselves, and better their world for themselves and other people.” Walsh continues: “gay liberation is about how we coped with awful situations: people being beaten open, people being murdered and having [no help], people being kicked out of Garda stations when they went to complain about being set upon by a group of marauding, homophobic thugs in Phoenix Park or somewhere. [It’s about] young guys who were brutally murdered, like Declan Flynn or Charles Self, the RTÉ designer who was stabbed almost 30 times in his own home, and how his murder still remains unsolved because at the time the Gardaí just simply didn’t look hard enough or look in the right places. Dreadful stories of oppression and repression, but out of it there are stories of how we survived, and I think that’s important when we come to look at the problem in our midst right now with rising levels of STIs.” Between Wednesday November 30th and Thursday December 1st, in honour of World AIDS Day, the Media Studies department in Maynooth University will host ‘AIDS in Irish Media: Art and Activism’ for the second year in a row. On the last day of the event Walsh will launch his new project,
Tonie Walsh, speaking as grand marshall of Dublin’s 25th Pride Festival
OTwo//Tonie Walsh the Dublin AIDS Memorial, which runs parallel to his work at the IQA in addressing the gaps left by the erasure of LGBTQ+ narratives in Irish society. Walsh describes how such an erasure stemmed from blatant ignorance: “I had just turned 25 when people my age started falling ill and dying of AIDS… I stopped counting the number of people I lost at 43… When you went to visit your friends you were expected to put on rubber gloves and masks.” He continues: “the culture of engagement was
just infused with hysteria and fear, and massive amounts of ignorance underpinning that fear.” A group of gay men came together in May 1985 to form Gay Health Action. It was the first group in the country to develop a tactical response to the unfolding crisis. Walsh was involved in its early development but had to step back due to other commitments. “The GHA was responsible for producing the first leaflet on AIDS in Ireland,” he explains. “[They] got a small wedge of cash from the Department of Health, and then went for a reprint. Now remem-
ber this was the only [available leaflet on AIDS], the Department of Health hadn’t even produced information at this point, and remember that HIV was a death sentence at the time. The Department of Health balked at producing extra cash [for reprints] because the advice from the Attorney General was that, if they funded a leaflet that talked about male-on-male intercourse, it would be seen to be encouraging criminal activity.” Tonie Walsh revealed his own HIV status in a Facebook post on December 1st 2015, to commemorate World AIDS Day. In the image he holds a sign that reads, “I’m not proud to be HIV positive, but neither am I ashamed.” He joins fellow activist and friend Rory O’Neill (drag queen Panti Bliss) and former Mr. Gay Ireland Robbie Lawlor in the increasing list of notable Irish personalities who have publicly described living with HIV, in order to help alleviate the lingering stigma of the 1980s. “I spent what felt like a lifetime… protecting myself, and those around me, and trying to survive when so many of my best friends and lovers did not. I became positive just at the point when I could benefit from the latest developments in antiretrovirals… but I felt fraudulent that I’d become infected and was able to survive. It’s a twisted way of thinking, but unless you’ve been in a situation where you’ve lost a lot of friends and lovers, it’s difficult, and that’s why I want us to be-
“I stopped counting the number of people I lost at 43… When you went to visit your friends you were expected to put on rubber gloves and masks.” Walsh hopes the Irish government will fund his gin the process of reconciliation of that period, and that means allowing the stories of the survivors AIDS Memorial project and give voice to countless numbers of LGBTQ+ citizens who died during the [to be heard].” Walsh continues: “Rory [O’Neill] was one of the crisis. To date there is only one AIDS memorial in first people I told… I became positive ten years display in Ireland: a monument on Buckingham ago. I was actually raped.” Rape can have long- Street in Dublin 1. “That [area] was ravaged by lasting physical and psychological effects, with heroin addiction and, consequently AIDS,” Walsh self-blame and guilt acting as two of the most explains, “but to the best of my knowledge it’s the common. Walsh experienced such patterns him- only one in the country.” self: “I was hugely ashamed… Lesbian Line were doing a mental health weekend in Outhouse a ‘AIDS and Irish Media: Art and Activism’ will take couple of months ago… and they asked me to talk, place on November 30th and December 1st in and I thought, ‘I’m going to talk about the cor- Maynooth University’s symposium. Tonie Walsh rosive effect of guilt.’ This feeds into my rational will launch the Irish AIDS Memorial project on the for an AIDS memorial. Guilt, if it’s left unchecked, latter date at 3:30pm. The Irish Queer Archives can hugely damage people. I have lots of scars: Facebook page can be accessed at https://www. I’ve been attacked, knifed [across the face], I have facebook.com/IQAadvisorygroup/ scars on my head… And I’ve found myself in some very weird situations. My first relationship with a If you were affected by any of the issues highlighted in this article you can reach out to the following: man was very abusive.” Walsh’s consultant in St. James’s Hospital LGBT Helpline encouraged him to seek counselling. Instead he T: 1890 929 539 | W: www.lgbt.ie chose to talk about it in his own way: “I just sort of TENI Helpline (Transgender Support) blabber at everyone, and that sort of normalises it. T: 085 147 7166 | W: www.teni.ie There’s a difference between secrets and privacy… Samaritans Secrets corrode. I was angry… because I was not T: 1850 60 90 90 | W: www.samaritans.ie in control. It’s the classic victimhood that rape vic- HIV Ireland T: +353 (0)1 873 3799 | W: www.hivireland.ie tims and abuse victims actually display.” Sexual and emotional violence affects every Dublin Rape Crisis Centre community, and LGBTQ+ communities are no T: 01 661 4911 | E: firstname.lastname@example.org | W: http://www.drcc. exception. In a survey conducted by the Centers ie/ for Disease Control and Prevention in the United Aware (Depression) States in 2010, it was revealed that lesbian, gay T: 1890 303 302 | W: www.aware.ie | E: wecanand bisexual people experience such violence at email@example.com similar rates to their heterosexual counterparts. Pieta House (Self-Harm/Suicide Support) The problems for LGBTQ+ peoples are intensified T: 01-6010000 | W: www.pieta.ie | E: mary@pieta. by outside bigotry: a 2016 BuzzFeed article titled ie ‘This Is What Domestic Violence Is Like When Alcoholics Anonymous You’re LGBT,’ explains that many LGBTQ+ abuse W: www.alcoholicsanonymous.ie victims live in fear of being ‘outed’ by their part- Mental Health Ireland ners, and that many hotlines are not equipped to W: www.mentalhealthireland.ie deal with LGBTQ+ specific abuse. “I want to talk BeLonG To Youth Services about something that’s not talked about enough,” T: 01 670 6223 | E: firstname.lastname@example.org says Walsh, “and that’s abuse in same-sex rela- Gay Men’s Health Service T: 01 873 4952 | E: email@example.com tionships.”
Sing For Your Dinner! Luke Sharkey sets out to investigate why becoming a full time musician in Ireland in 2016 can be so difficult. ONE of the things worthiest of celebration in Irish culture is our music. For a relatively small nation, we have managed to produce unprecedented amounts of tremendous artists, some of which have been amongst the biggest bands in the world. That being said, not all of our best groups have an easy time making rent. Recently, much loved alternative-indie band Fight Like Apes released a statement announcing the disbanding of the group. The band cited “massive challenges” of a financial nature, sparking another wave of outcries from Irish musicians and industry spokespeople about the urgent need to support our musicians financially. This is not the first time we have heard such an outcry. So why is it so hard to make a career in music in Ireland? We are certainly a culture that loves live performance. A trip to any packed pub in the city centre of a Friday night is proof
enough; crowded around any small stage are groups of fifty and sixty people, urgently cheering on bands they hadn’t heard of thirty minutes beforehand. While it’s all too easy to become starry eyed about Irish culture, in light of truths like this we must also remain critical of it. If
“A trip to any packed pub in the city centre of a Friday night is proof enough; crowded around any small stage are groups of fifty and sixty people, urgently cheering on bands they hadn’t heard of thirty minutes beforehand.”
pubs are packing out three nights a week and drawing a decent crowd the other four, then surely there’s enough money to go around for everyone involved? The answer, sadly, is no. A quick check of ticket prices for venues that host up and coming bands offers an answer. It’s easy to understand why bands struggle to make their time worthwhile at €5-€8 a ticket. Even if a band were then to sell one hundred tickets, they might only make a couple of hundred quid between the lot of them after venue costs for an entire evenings work. This is also assuming that you don’t have to pay a support band, which is the case a lot of the time. So why are ticket prices so low? The answer is, of course, because of the consumer. A quick look at sales generated from recorded music paints an even bleaker picture. People tend to have some notion that streaming services rarely mange to provide a decent pay cheque for musicians but a look at the actual numbers can be a harrowing experience. Figures do vary depending on a number of circumstances, including what kind of deal an artist’s label has agreed to with Spotify. Typically, a stream will earn an artist be-
“Major labels have instead focused their marketing on re-issues of vinyl generation classics.” tween €0.0056 and €0.0079. Bear in mind this does not include any other writing royalties to be paid out on the music. While this system may work for artists with streaming figures in the millions, for the up-and-coming musician this kind of raw deal can be a fatal blow. The re-emergence of vinyl and, with it, the birth of the next generation of audiophiles is certainly a promising sign. Unfortunately, consumer trends have not thus far reached out to the purchasing of new music. Major labels have instead focused their marketing on re-issues of vinyl generation classics. After all, every new vinyl collection needs a copy of Sgt. Pepper or Blonde on Blonde. These are no doubt universally loved albums, but this shift in focus away from contemporary and towards Illustration : Joanna O’malley
classic is a serious blow to the economic viability of vinyl sales. A new vinyl can sometimes be priced as high as €25, so taking a leap of faith with a new artist can be risky. €25 is, after all, more than two months of a Spotify Premium subscription and with it access to one of the largest collections of music currently available. The Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO) are providing a vital service for musicians across the country. IMRO work to help artists
“We must ensure that we do whatever little we can in supporting our favourite Irish artists in the here and now.” collect royalties and to support creators’ rights, all in a non-profit setting. IMRO CEO Victor Finn has stressed that “it is important that government, the business community and industry work together to recast perceptions of music as a career and to ensure that the right supports and structures are in place to assist musicians.” The Arts Council of Ireland was allocated €58.59 million in grants last year, a figure which must be split between all of the arts. A report recently published by Deloitte states that Irish music alone contributes €470 million to the economy. Perhaps it isn’t unfair to ask our government to step up in light of these figures. All eyes on Heather Humphreys, our minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht. That responsibility cannot just be on one person, though. We obviously love music in this country. For many students, nights out can revolve around going to listen to a certain DJ in a nightclub or a specific band in somewhere like Whelan’s. The appetite is there. We must ensure that we do whatever we can in supporting our favourite Irish artists in the here and now. Whether that be turning up, buying merchandise, paying for downloads or giving Hunky Dory a miss and picking up a new Irish LP on your next trip to the record store. After all, Bowie is always going to be there.
T he S tuff O f S ustenance Dublin indie-duo We Cut Corners sit down with Conor O’Boyle to discuss their new album, getting a quick sugar fix and the dynamic that the two share.
“When we started writing this record we had an idea of how we wanted it to sound and it was big, it was polished and it was professional.” MANY students find it difficult to imagine their teachers as real human-beings, complete with lives outside of the classroom. Enter Conall Breachain and John Duignan, two primary school teachers leading a double life as Dublin indie-rock band We Cut Corners. In the run up to the release of their studio album, The Cadences of Others, OTwo managed to catch the two piece during a break from packing up their vinyl pre-orders of the album. “It’s sort of Christmas Eve for us as a band,” enthuses guitarist Duignan. Breachain, lead-singer and drummer, adds that “it’s all a cause for celebration. We’re thrilled more so than ever with how it’s turned out.” And so they should be. The Cadences of Others is a beautiful record from start to finish. The band have retained their ability to write a triumphant high-energy rock song, but on this record have delved deeper into music thoughtful and empathetic. It has been five years since We Cut Corner’s debut album Today I Realised I Could Go Home Backwards. What has changed between then and now? One difference is the development of their sound. “The first record was all about capturing what we did live… Jimmy Eadie [producer] came to see us live before he started working with us and he saw a rawness and a real energy to our live performances that he wanted to replicate.” This can particularly be seen on tracks such
as ‘The Leopard’, whose rawness seems a world away from the lushness of new single ‘Oh’. “When we started writing this record we had an idea of how we wanted it to sound and it was big, it was polished and it was professional.” The Cadences of Others is also significantly longer than their previous two albums, both of which clock in at just 27 minutes. “We didn’t feel the need to keep everything to its absolute briefest this time,” Duignan explains. As a young band trying to release material, the temptation to release the shortest, punchiest songs is understandable. “When you’re hungry,” he surmises, “you tend to go for a quick sugar fix, which is satisfying in the short run but in the long term it doesn’t sustain you as well as it could,” There’s definitely a certain lushness on this album not previous heard in the We Cut Corners catalogue. The album was recorded in the brick chapel of St. Patrick’s College, the university where the two met and started playing music together. The recording location adds a layer of warmth to the recordings but also a reverence. The band have also expanded their horizons in arranging songs with the addition of bass guitar from Conor O’Brien of Villagers, the Fratres string quintet as well as brass members of the Booka Brass Band. One of We Cut Corners major strengths is the visual fluidity of their lyrics. On this album,
the words are interwoven with an intimate sense of self. Duignan reveals that this was a struggle when writing the album, admitting that he found himself asking, “are people going to listen to this and have an adverse reaction?” to each song on the record. There is, obviously, a necessity in keeping songs personal; discerning listeners know when lyrics are faked, but the possibility of offending loved ones is real. The case in question here is of single ‘On Avoiding People’, which closes on the haunting refrain of being terrified when you’re with your own friends. Duignan has settled on the philosophy, however, of ignoring the fear of being outed and to just “take something that’s potentially very revealing and just stick it in a track.” One of the reasons the band decided to do a vinyl release on top of the traditional CD and digital platforms is the free flowing nature of the album. “We’re really delighted with how the vinyl records have turned out,” they both confirm. Their efforts have clearly paid off, despite revealing on a recent Facebook post that they’d poured “all our savings” into this packaging. Vinyl is no easy task for a band on an independent label. On top of the release of the album, We Cut Corners have also just completed a stretch of shows around the country with gigs in Dundalk, Cork, Galway, and Dublin. As a result of
“We made the decision to not take the big ensemble on the road with us. John and I have always been about the dynamic created between myself and himself on stage.” the orchestration and increased instrumentation, translating these new songs to the stage was one of the more challenging aspects of the album process. “Orchestral arrangements on the record were a big part of it,” Breachain admits, “however, we made the decision to not take the big ensemble on the road with us. John and I have always been about the dynamic created between myself and himself on stage.” And why change the record if it isn’t broken? This dynamic and bond has served the two lads well from their early days in college, and it looks like their success is only going to continue for some time.
RADAR : S p u d g u n
Dublin Gig Guide Sinead Mulcahy gives you the run down on what’s going on around Dublin this December.
Intergalactic wayfarers SpudGun chat with Luke Sharkey about their new single, the dangers of your spaceship developing selfawareness and eating all the falafel. ONE of the bands currently tearing up the Dublin music scene, SpudGun have built a reputation around their cosmic live performances and psychedelic sound. Having just released their new single ‘We Share This Space’, the band are seeing increasing numbers of fans eager to experience one of the most captivating shows out there right now. We begin our conversation by talking about the balance between drawing inspiration from the good and the bad. “I think the bad stuff is sometimes easier to represent in a quick and aggressive manner, elements of which can be seen in ‘Sandpaper Teeth’” they explain. “The true beautiful moment, the things that captivate you more, [we]
“One thing I managed to salvage from the ship was a blow-up doll that was kind of in the likeness to my deceased wife, who was actually a blow-up doll.” find are more inspiring for creating a piece that you’re truly happy with.” Are they happy with ‘We Share This Space’? The group admit that, “we’re just happy and confused that people seem to like it so much. We mostly recorded it ourselves in our really small rehearsal room, which is in our spaceship, with the help of our curly haired human friend Joe McDonald.” The band were making the best of the bad situation they found themselves in during early-January this year. “It says in the logs that we came here when Alex poured some fish oil into the ship’s engine. Basically the omega3 reacted with the engine and it didn’t want us
in it anymore. Don’t ever let your space ship develop self-awareness,” they warn. Spurred on by the success of their first few gigs, the band have grown to love playing in Dublin. “We gave it a shot on stage. We didn’t know how anyone would react to hearing us tell our memories in between playing songs.
“We mostly recorded it ourselves in our really small rehearsal room, which is in our spaceship.” One thing I managed to salvage from the ship was a blow-up doll that was kind of in the likeness to my deceased wife, who was actually a blow-up doll. I think that helped people relate to us.” And why wouldn’t it? Earthlings do love sex after all. So what’s the plan for the coming months? The answer, in short, is plenty of hard work. “We haven’t pulled out all our space tricks yet,” they tease. “We’re working on what we can bring to make the viewers’ experience more enjoyable. We’d like to get an album out by summertime next year — summertime is going to be special.” The band are aware that time is pressing onwards, however, admitting that: “we’re not going to stay on Earth forever”. Maybe the band are just here for a good time but we’re definitely excited to see and hear what they do next. “We like Earth more now than when we first came here”. Any reason in particular? “Well I want to stay here at least until we eat all the falafel.” As good a reason as any for our space travelling virtuosos. ‘We Share This Space’ is available now on SoundCloud.
WYVERN LINGO - December 3rd - The Button Factory The Bray pop trio will play a live show in the Button Factory as part of their nationwide tour. Fans of Hozier will be familiar with Wyvern Lingo, as they supported him on his most recent tour, and feature as backing vocalists for some of his music. The band use vocals, guitar, bass synth, keyboards, and drums to create a fresh sound, drawing on the genres of pop, R’n’B and rock. The three childhood friends share writing and vocal responsibilities, which allows for passionate and personal live performances. Much of their music features complex vocal harmonies, a highlight of their live shows as the three voices blend effortlessly together to create a rich, haunting sound. At €17.50, it’s well worth it to see one of Ireland’s most exciting new talents.
HYPNOTIC BRASS ENSEMBLE - December 11th The Sugar Club HBE, an eight-piece brass band, are set to return to this intimate setting, their “home away from home”, for four shows this December. These eight Chicago brothers, who grew up in an extraordinarily musical family, offer a hip-hop influenced style of jazz. Hot Press hailed the loud, resonant sounds of the band’s live performances as “bordering on a culture shock.” Each night, the band will perform a set based on their roots and new release Sound Rhythm & Form, which is inspired by the energy of the stars, planets, and galaxies. Regardless of musical preference, the night promises to be an incredible, mesmerising experience as their “spiritual jazz set” will be performed against a backdrop of live visuals of the universe. Certainly one not to be missed.
RED HOT CHILLI PEPPERS - December 20th-21st - 3Arena On the foot of their eleventh studio album The Getaway, RHCP will make a muchanticipated return to Ireland as part of their massive world tour. RHCP are one of the most successful rock bands of all time, with 6 Grammy awards and a place in the ‘Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’. Their new album, which was produced by Danger Mouse, has not disappointed with generally favourable critic reviews and huge commercial success. Their funk-rock musical style draws on psychedelic rock and punk rock, and with a career spanning over three decades, RHCP concerts draw a multigenerational crowd of fans lucky enough to have gotten tickets. Set-lists from their latest shows indicate those fortunate few will be treated to a mixture of new singles like ‘Dark Necessities’ and older classics like ‘Dani California’ and ‘Can’t Stop.’
A lbum reviews Woman
We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service
A Tribe Called Quest
What Are You
The LGBTQ+ committee share their current favourite tracks with OTwo
Just when you thought disco had finally hung up its sequinned pants, French electronic duo Justice have returned from their mysterious sabbatical to gift us with their third album Woman, which is worth every last second of the five-year long wait. The album is 54 heady minutes of psychedelic funk blended with a side of disco and a heavy house beat. Those familiar with Justice will remember them for such catchy songs as ‘D.A.N.C.E’, ‘Genesis’ and the iconic remix of Simian’s ‘Never Be Alone’ as ‘We Are Your Friends’, which inspired the title of the 2015 Zac Efron flop We Are Your Friends. Woman might be Justice’s best effort yet. It’s an album that will have you on your feet for its duration. All 10 tracks are memorable; there is no lapse in the wave of disco that hits you for just under an hour - no filler. ‘Safe and Sound’, the lead single from the album, first released during the summer, is a slow burner that gradually transforms into a fire. The song drastically changes after the first minute, granting possibly the best musical surprise you’ll hear for some time. The song combines a repetitive, funky bass hook with airy, almost choral vocals. An unusual combination that works incredibly well and will send you on a bullet train back to the 80s with its addictive bass and arcade-game sound. The other two singles; ‘Randy’ and ‘Alakazam!’ are equally as strong. ‘Randy’ has powerful drums that will grip you in the initial seconds and never let you go, whereas ‘Alakazam!’ lives up to its mystical name with another hypnotic bassline. Woman plants Justice firmly back on the scene as the pioneers of nu-disco.
ONE of the struggles of new bands today is a very simple one: how to choose a name that sums up everything about the band? Meltybrains? (the question mark is mandatory) have made short work of this. Their intelligent, specific, and downright bizarre sound is captured incredibly well on their new EP Kiss Yourself. The band came to be as a result of a number of demos of experiments with voice altering technologies, using everyday household literature such as bills and deodorant cans as lyrics. Since then the band have expanded into a vastly experimental electronic outfit. To gain some sort of insight into what to expect of opening tracks ‘Know My Name’ and ‘Step’ start with James Blake, then go a few kilometres further left of field. The vocals here take precedence with duelling synthesised voices being the focal point of the tracks. ‘Creola’ has a much heavier dance vibe thanks to the incredible rhythmic intricacies created by drummer Micheál Quinn. On this track as well as on ‘Unwarranted Laughter’, vocals are held back and used more as another instrument than as the carrying force. The hypnotic drum beat and ever increasing crescendo of closer ‘Oh, Earth’, holds the listener in a dark trance, as the chaos and dissonance of the song grow to an earth-shattering conclusion which then fades back to silence, leaving the listener satisfied but excited for what Meltybrains? have to offer next. If you’re willing to try something different and don’t think music needs a strong pop sensibility to be enjoyable, this could very well be for you.
In A Nutshell: This album definitely does them justice.
In A Nutshell: Experimental electronic music that demands the listeners’ attention and refuses to let go until the end.
We Got It from Here… is the first LP from A Tribe Called Quest in eighteen years, and it is set to be their last. The album features contributions from all of Tribe’s original MCs: Q-Tip, Jarobi White, and Phife Dawg, the latter whom sadly passed away in March. DJ/producer Ali Shaheed Muhammad appears to have also had some involvement, although his name is absent from the album credits. Q-Tip and Phife sound as fresh as they did in their youth, and the less well-established Jarobi excels, with nimble, lyrically dexterous verses on opening track ‘The Space Program’ as well ‘Dis Generation’. In addition, the album features a slew of great guest appearances, and the interweaving of different personalities creates a charming sense of community. ‘Dis Generation’, for example, has Q-Tip, Phife, Jarobi and Busta Rhymes all playing off each other within a single verse – like a roundtable discussion. As long-time Tribe collaborators, Busta Rhymes and Consequence each appear on several tracks, and sound entirely at home. André 3000 is as impressive as ever in his back-andforth with Q-Tip on ‘Kids…’, while Anderson Paak shines on ‘Movin Backwards’. Unsurprisingly, much of the record’s content is overtly political: ‘The Space Program’, for example, offers a metaphor of white people flying to Mars, leaving people of colour behind. The chorus of ‘We The People…’ has obvious significance in the year of Trump’s election: ‘All you black folks, you must go / all you Mexicans, you must go…’ Phife’s death is, of course, felt throughout this record. There’s a real poignancy in the way the other vocalists interact with him, and among several tributes, ‘Lost Somebody’ is particularly moving. Album closer, ‘The Donald’, ends with the words ‘Phife Dawg’. It is fitting that they are the last we will ever hear from A Tribe Called Quest.
“Where Is The Love?”
Black Eyed Peas Philip Weldon, Auditor
“Running Up That Hill” Kate Bush Megan Cassidy, Freshers’ Rep
“Get Back” Orla Gartland
Ruth Murphy, OCM
“Sometimes” My Bloody Valentine
Dalton Doherty, Treasurer
“We Are Beautiful, We Are Damned” Los Campesinos Jay Campbell, Secretary
In A Nutshell: With their swan song, Tribe justify their spot in the pantheon of hip-hop. Cian Montague
Seasonal Sparkle Models: Tara HanneďŹ€y and Yewande Ogunnaike Photographer: Camille Lombard Stylist: Ailbhe Keenan Shoot Coordinator: Katie Devlin
OTwo//Fashion Pink top, green and white top, black coat: Om Diva
Pink top, green and white top, black coat: Om Diva
Black jumpsuit, leopard print jacket, sparkly dress: Folkster
The Rise of the Celebrity ambassador Shane Cullen examines the new wave of celebrity ambassadors in fashion and how they’re changing the game. Collaborations with fashion designers
FASHION houses are always on the
has seen bigger brands such as Dior
son Presley Gerber and Stephen
search for the next big thing when
and Dolce & Gabbana giving it a go
Baldwin’s daughter, Hailey. The catwalk
and celebrities have become personal
it comes to keeping on trend, so
for themselves. From the classy to the
presentation was far from subtle, with
and more creative than ever before;
what new additions are they making
crazy celebrity collaborations, this may
pieces modelled including a pizza box
stars are no longer just a clotheshorse
now? The most recent move in
just be fashion’s boldest change yet.
dress for the ladies and a leopard print
on the red carpet. Creative director
suit jacket for the gents.
Olivier Rousteing has seen a sales
fashion is celebrity ambassadors and
Catwalks aren’t exclusively for
endorsements. your favourite singers,
runway models anymore — new age
actors, reality TV stars and youTubers
celebrities are making waves in fashion,
of famous faces with unapologetic
between 2013 and 2015 thanks to
are all being snapped up by labels
in turn paving a new route for fashion
boldness. Jeremy Scott’s Moschino has
projects with kanye West and styling
to appeal to the ever growing youth
houses to explore. Back in October this
become almost as well known for its
demographic, and the success from it
year, Dolce & Gabbana brought a young
daring range of clashing neon colours
and fun image to their Spring/Summer
and prints as it is for ripping up the rule
designer projects is a fresh and
2017 collection which they cleverly
book of gendered clothing.
innovative move for their image and
“Catwalks aren’t exclusively for runway models anymore.”
marketed as #DGMILLENIALS.
This is far from the only collaboration
Last year, Scott teamed up with two
The Italian duo’s “Tropico Italiano”
of pop’s leading ladies - katy Perry and
launch included a youthful star-studded
Miley Cyrus - for individual projects. The
line-up including Cindy Crawford’s
American designer worked alongside Cyrus on outfits for that infamous MTV
photo credit: dakota broMhaM via Flickr
Video Music Awards show, and in an interview with ELLE magazine, said that close friend Cyrus was “one of the most genuine individuals” that he had ever met. The power and influence of hiring a celebrity ambassador for campaigns is anything but a redundant move. The
increase of up to 50% at Balmain
Getting celebrities on board for
fashion. With more emphasis on both
“The process of choosing the famous face is a careful decision — the designers know from the outset who they want.”
process of choosing the famous face is a careful decision — the designers know
designers and celebrities building up
from the outset who they want, and
a creative relationship, it allows for
have their ear to the ground when it
more avenues for future exploration.
comes to keeping track of pop culture.
Rousteing and Scott have opened new
This is exactly what Balmain have done,
doors for their label by the addition of
getting kim kardashian and her family
their famous friends, who look certain
on board, forming the “Balmain Army.”
to keep fans eager in the long-term.
had its own role to play in this revival.
Today’s dungaree-clad youths are
power has returned to the youth. It is
Resurgence of past trends is no new
reacting to a similar political condition.
trendy to be politically engaged, reject-
concept, but why has grungy minimal-
Our style inspirations are no longer
ing the stuffy conservatism of older gen-
ism returned to our wardrobes less than
the rich, pre-Recession socialites Paris
two decades since its debut?
Hilton and Nicole Richie, who dominated
Miley Cyrus and Jeremy Scott at NY Fashion Week
The 90s Re-Run In the midst of a streetwear resurgence, Alice Kelly investigates the return of 90s fashion. “WHAT goes around comes around” isn’t a term generally applied to mom jeans and chokers, but with today’s high street store windows mirroring those of
90s fashion first emerged as a youth-
magazines with their Juicy Couture
ful movement, dabbling in rebellion due
tracksuits and Louis Vuitton handbags
to its roots in gritty streetwear. Marc
until the 2008 financial crash.
Jacobs and Alexander McQueen were pioneers in this “too cool to care” trend,
“Why has grungy minimalism returned to our wardrobes less than two decades since its debut?”
90s streetwear, both then and now, is deliberately deconstructed and does not
“Band t-shirts are the Abercrombie & Fitch of 2016 pre-teens, and Adidas is as fashionable as Gucci.”
intend to boast wealth and status. Band
erations in favour of a laid back liberal
t-shirts are the Abercrombie & Fitch of
approach, and what better way to show
2016 pre-teens and Adidas is as fashion-
this than in a personal style that fits the
able as Gucci due to the rise of the
Sporty Spice inspired athleisure trend. Rejection of embellishment and
However, in the same way that a well-intentioned Cher Horowitz changed
luxury has become popularised with the
to the mean-spirited Regina George as
phrase more fitting. The 90s are back in
introducing their new breed of effort-
rise of youthful brands like Vetements or
the millennium drew to a close and the
a big way, with those of us born in the
lessly chic models such as kate Moss,
even kanye’s yeezys, favouring shred-
boom years came upon us, 90s fashion
era of Spice Girls and Clueless acting as
who became the face of the 90s era.
ded and oversized items made from
will inevitably leave us again. It’s diﬃcult
synthetic fabrics. Minimalism is not only
to determine the longevity of a trend
climate of the mid-90s, after Reaga-
necessary for economic reasons; it has
but if it’s politics that bred 90s grunge,
runways; Netflix brought back classic
nomics and the George Bush Senior
become a trend in itself. The simple silk
what does our current political climate
90s sitcom Full House, Neo-Nirvana
administration had widened class divi-
slip dress is the latest 90s trend to make
forecast for the future?
grunge bands are being blasted on our
sions with tax breaks and federal deficit.
its return, worn now by kendall Jenner
radios and a Clinton presidency was
young people demanded change and
instead of kate Moss.
a possibility once again. Fashion is as
rejected excess, as is evident in 90s
influential as it is reactionary, so it has
twenty years ago it’s diﬃcult to find a
the leaders of the movement. The return of 90s isn’t limited to the
Grunge was sparked by the political
The result of this fashion era is the same as it was twenty years ago: the
Let’s just say that, despite its 2014 sale and closure, Juicy Couture has recently announced its capsule collection comeback… thanks Trump.
doinG it in stYle
As the outgoing First Lady graces the cover of Vogue, Katie Devlin discusses the weight of calling Michelle Obama a style icon. LAWyER, writer, activist, humanitarian,
individual contributions or character.
wear them. Someone who brings mean-
wife and mother are just a few of the
However, the very fact they were ever
ing to fashion.
titles held by Michelle Obama over her
referred to as icons infers that they
eight-year tenure as First Lady of the
were never just fashionable celebrities.
In the cover story for American
place to start. The effect of this icon title shows no sign of diminishing in her life post-
Vogue’s December issue, the focus is
White House. To her final state dinner
United States. One poised speech and
not directed towards trends or designer
as US First Lady, she wore a rose gold
sartorially innovative appearance at a
labels as one might expect from the
chainmail gown by Atelier Versace that
fashion bible. Instead, Obama speaks of
is destined to go down as one of the
the logistics of dressing, citing comfort
most iconic fashion moments of the
and feeling self-confident as the most
decade, proving that praise for style can
only serve to empower and not demean
time, she has been hailed as an inspiration and role model to girls everywhere, so is it right to add ‘style icon’ to that wide array of labels? In the midst of her vast achievements, should we really be underscoring her with praise of good taste? Mrs Obama has repeatedly been commended for her style choices, ranging
“Almost anyone dressed in her sophisticated and modish ensembles would undoubtedly end up on all kinds of best dressed lists or Pinterest inspiration boards.”
Acknowledging the many young girls who mimic her look or even dress any specific feature of her signature style, but rather her
edgy cuts and fresh shapes. In fact, suc-
The way they dressed and the status
ing channelled. People don’t
cessfully fusing tradition with modernity
it invoked reflected a wider respect of
just want to look like Michelle
is something she has done in most areas
their identity, their achievements and
Obama — people want to be
of her time as First Lady. The plain truth
everything they stood for.
like Michelle Obama, and imi-
Ironically, one way to illustrate this is
yet while she is always well dressed,
to compare Obama with her impending
looking nice does not a style icon make.
successor, Melania Trump. As a former
Almost anyone dressed in her sophis-
model, Mrs Trump is well accustomed to
ticated and modish ensembles would
the fashion standards that public figures
undoubtedly end up on all kinds of best
are held to — a fact not missed by
dressed lists or Pinterest inspiration
designer Jeremy Scott, who told Vanity
boards, but Michelle Obama talks the
Fair that “she looks good in clothes”, be-
fore adding “I don’t know if it will have
Throughout history, women such as Lauren Hutton, Audrey Hepburn and
as her for Halloween, it is not
overall demeanour that is be-
from bright colours and bold prints to
is, Michelle Obama always looks great.
the other aspects that make up an ac-
the same meaning for people.” Herein lies the secret to this elusively
even former First Lady Jackie kennedy
defined icon: it’s so much more than a
were burdened with such a title, and
well-known face with an eye for style
unfortunately have often been remem-
- it’s someone who wears their clothes
bered solely for this rather than for their
with purpose and doesn’t let the clothes
tating her style is the easiest
“People don’t just want to look like Michelle Obama — people want to be like Michelle Obama, and imitating her style is the easiest place to start.”
Campus Chic Name: Jodie Ryan Course: French & Music Favourite thing about your outfit? “I think my skirt, it’s my Mum’s”
Name: Conor Dee Course: Philosophy & Sociology Favourite thing about your outfit? “I like my Doc Marten’s. They’re a bit unconventional, so not the boots you see. I like them because I wore them for the Debs and everyone in Kerry thought they were weird.”
photos : Joanna o’Malley
Up and Coming:
Now on its fourth episode, Chris Hansen speaks to Melissa Ridge about his independently-run online publication, The Catullan. THE Catullan is an online literary magazine that features poetry, essays, articles, photography and short stories. It was launched on the first Sunday of September of this year by 2nd year English with Film student Chris Hansen. Explaining the significance of the launch date, Hansen explains: “I love the idea of having it on the first Sunday of every month. I went to a religious school when I was young and it was every first Friday you went to mass. I liked the idea of starting off the month with something, something special each month. I think that’s a dying breed because now you have to put up so much content all the time.” The Catullan began as a tentative summer project, but slowly took on a life of its own and, since its initial publication, has gained the interest of audiences from the United States to Zimbabwe. Hansen explains, “I’ve wanted to do a couple of different publications throughout the years. I was going to do a zine to start with one of my friends, but you just end up learning that
you shouldn’t really rely on people for your creative process. So really, at the beginning of last summer, I said, ‘Right, what am I going to do this summer?’ I remember I was like, ‘Let’s start this!” When asked about the origin of the publication’s title, Hansen explained that while it may sound somewhat inflated, it should not give people the impression the literary magazine is overly serious. Inspired by Catullus, the infamous Roman poet was known to be both vulgar and outrageous, in all the best ways. What really interested Hansen about this poet was that he was a revolutionary. In much of Catullus’ poetry, he was likely to call out poets that he didn’t like and this was something that attracted Hansen. He explains that, “one of my favourite poems of his is where he is just calling out this guy who he says just puts pen to paper… he is calling this guy an idiot, a lot like Kanye West.” The first episode was published on Facebook with a minimalistic design. “I had a very specific image of Catullus,” explains Hansen, “with ‘Catullan’ written in a very specific font. I gave it to the artist who did it, Zoe Raynor. She literally did what was in my mind.” Continuing, he admits that, “I like the idea of having it on Facebook and not having to go on a secondary site or having to click on a link. But unfortunately, it
“I said, ‘Right, what am I going to do this summer?’ I remember I was like, ‘Let’s start this!” 28
just didn’t work out that well, because it was a bit hard to read, so then it was published as a PDF and an ebook.” As much as Hansen has enjoyed the benefits of publishing online he has found that it can be a hindrance in some ways. He admits that, “with the physical [magazine] people can go and get it and it feels better to read it.” Hansen is wise, though, to the practices of modern-day life: “At the same time, though, right now I can reach so many people — we’re already international. A poet from Zimbabwe sent his stuff in for the second episode and he was telling me about his friend who is a photographer and is also from Zimbabwe and it’s just like really exciting that it can get circulated around there and everywhere.” Hansen explains that while most of the material he publishes has serious undertones, the publication itself never takes itself too seriously: “Most of the articles and poems that I’m publishing are fairly serious right now. There just happens to be a wave of very intense sort of poetry, but not even in a typical literary magazine way where it’s taking itself too seriously. That being said, it doesn’t always take itself seriously but there is a seriousness, it’s a bit sentimental. Because it is a monthly thing and not every week, and because I wanted to get away from online content like BuzzFeed and things like that, I do want it to be like something that comes out of nowhere and has a storybook quality in some way.” Hansen claims to be a very visually oriented
“The Catullan began as a tentative summer project, but slowly took on a life of its own” kind of person and so whether it is sculptors or photographs, he finds influences that remind him of the spirit of Catullus. The majority of poetry that he has published has been geared towards social issues and dealing in personal matters banishing all realms of convention. Explaining the process, he says: “I try to do two poets, two artists and one short story or article but hopefully those numbers will increase. I really love essays and I don’t think proper essays are given enough space.” In its first few months alone, the publication has grown and has garnered a significant following, due in part to its commitment to showcase previously unknown artists and writers. Yet Hansen already has big plans for the future of The Catullan. “Next year,” he reveals, “I would love it if there was a physical Catullan, whether that means it’s the end of Catullan and it’s a compilation type thing or I get advertisers on and it keeps going. I would love to have a dedicated readership and something in print — that’s where I want it to go.”
Censorship: The Assassination Of Art Jake McPartland investigates the dangers of censorship to modern society, an exercise widely-thought archaic, but with real present-day implications. THE word ‘censor’ goes all the way back to Ancient Rome where everything that was to be published had to meet the strict standards of the ‘Office of Censor’ in order to maintain the moral fibre of the citizens. The Greeks had to deal with censorship as well: Socrates was famously forced to drink poison in 399 BC as a punishment for polluting the minds of his students with unorthodox opinions. While this sort of idea-policing seems archaic, it is still a common problem in our modern world. In 1926, the Irish government set up the ‘Committee on Evil Literature’ to report on works of literature that were considered obscene by the standards of its members: three laymen and two clergymen. Their final report consisted of hundreds of books that were subsequently banned in Ireland. One of the most damaging effects of this committee was its role in banning all literature providing information on birth control methods, a law which was not overturned in Ireland until 1979, and up until 1995 all material about abortion was illegal to distribute within the Republic. One could be forgiven for thinking that these actions belong in the past, to a very different Irish society and culture. Censorship, however, has still exercised its presence in modern day life. In March of this year, another book was banned by the government. The book, The Raped Little Runaway, contains gratuitous scenes of the rape of a minor. The graphic detail contained in the novel prompted the Irish censorship board to mark it as the first
“The most famous novel of UCD’s proudest alumni, Ulysses by James Joyce was also victim to senseless censorship” illicit piece of literature in 18 years. Regardless of content, one cannot help but feel an ultimately unsettling, Orwellian “Ministry of Truth” feeling to the situation. The issue of whether a certain piece of literature boasts artistic merit is not one that should be decided solely by a section of government. The first novel in the immensely popular Song Of Ice and Fire series, A Game Of Thrones, for instance, contains the graphic sex scene between thirteen year old Daenerys Targaryen and her arranged husband, Khal Drogo, yet the book is available in every bookshop around the world. This raises the question of why one piece of literature can be considered inappropriate but a similar book faces no censure. One interesting counter to censorship is the phenomenon known as ‘The Streisand Effect.’ This refers to when an attempt to suppress
and censor information, in actuality, has the opposite effect on people who, in the nature of rebellion, seek it out and make it popular. The term itself was coined in 2005 when an attempt was made by the eponymous entertainer to remove a photograph of her home from the internet. This, of course, caused people who would never have had an interest in something so trivial to go and see what the fuss was about. Ultimately, downloads of the photo went from 6 to 420,000 in the space of a month. An example of this behaviour working in literature immediately springs to mind. In Harry Potter and the Order of The Phoenix, Dolores Umbridge bans the newspaper,
The Quibbler, containing Harry’s interview on return of Voldemort. Hermione points out to Harry that, “if she could have done one thing to make absolutely sure that every single person in this school will read your interview, it was banning it!” The most famous novel of UCD’s proudest alumni, Ulysses by James Joyce was also victim to senseless censorship like this. The book was banned in the UK and the US until the mid1930s. Publishers never tried to import it into Ireland as they knew that any attempt to do so would be met by swift suppression. Despite this initial obstacle the book became wildly popular as crafty readers found countless ways to sneak themselves a copy of what is now considered one of the high points of modernist literature. The practice of censoring the written word is deeply upsetting and troubling. It evokes images of Nazi book burnings and malevolent governments with façades of good intentions. One, however, does have hope for the future of fighting against censorship. The reading public must still be vigilant, though, and keep in check those who seek to restrict and suppress by censoring and policing what one should be allowed to read, watch, play, or listen to. As George Bernard Shaw once said, “all censorships exist to prevent anyone from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions.” With this mind, subverting censorship is the only way to progress as an informed, inclusive and free society.
“Censorship, however, has still exercised its presence in Modern day life.”
“The reading public must still be vigilant, though, and keep those in check who seek to restrict and suppress by censoring.” Illustration : Meadhbh Sheridan
not Just a flasH in tHe pan As the spoken word scene in Dublin continues to ﬂourish, Ezra Maloney sits down with founder of Flash Poetry Nights, Tadgh Dolan, to discuss the Dublin poetry scene and how you can get invovled. AS the slam poetry scene in Dublin continues to expand, more and more event nights have cropped up all across the city. One such event is the Flash Poetry Nights, which began in February of this year. Although it may be the new kid on the block, it has seen a huge surge in popularity, securing a place at Body and Soul Festival, as well as being featured in the Irish Times and Hot Press all in the space of a year. Tadgh Dolan, founder of Flash Poetry Nights explains: “I competed at the intervarsity poetry slam and loved it. I was working at a restaurant at the time and I’d been talking to my boss, a big supporter of the arts, about competing at the intervarsity and he asked if I’d want to do something similar at the restaurant. I jumped at the opportunity.” First learning of slam poetry while a student in UCD, Dolan promised himself that he would one day perform in a slam after becoming interested in DEF Poetry Jam on YouTube. To this day, ‘The Sky Ain’t A Ceiling’ by Jill Scott, a poet on the channel, remains one of Dolan’s favourite poems of all-time.
Soon after, Dolan ticked slam poetry off his bucket list, competing in the UCD heats and going on to compete at intervarsity level in NCAD where, unfortunately, he was defeated. However Dolan did not let this deter him, reflecting: “I was definitely a newbie, and still am when it comes to slam. My real passion as I said is meeting creative people and organising Flash is such an incredible way to do that.” Dolan is passionate about slam poetry and it is evident that this passion translates to audience enthusiasm for the event, given the numbers that flock to Howth for the monthly slams. The event often crams in more than a hundred into the tearooms for a show. Dolan credits the poets themselves with the success and diversity of the Dublin poetry scene, saying: “I think a lot of it is down to the poets themselves. They are so giving with their work. They want to share, they want to inspire and they want to stir shit up.” He also believes that slam poetry can be therapeutic, that it gives a voice to minority groups who are often silenced and even simply be a way to vent about negative experiences or just things that irritate the poets themselves in daily life. “I think for Ireland, we need slam poetry. It gives women a voice to speak out about the huge gender gap in our country. It gives the LGBT community a platform to discuss all types of discrimination and above all else slam acts as a ‘fuck you’ to anyone who thinks that these issues don’t exist.” Of course this sudden rise in the popularity and practice of slam
“[Slam poetry] gives women a voice to speak out about the huge gender gap in our country, it gives the LGBT community a platform to discuss all types of discrimination.” 30
poetry hasn’t come out of nowhere in Ireland. Spoken word has been a popular art form for hundreds of years, dating back to the Celtic bards of
“It’s important for Ireland more than ever, as poets have often been some of the most effective activists in history.” long ago. “Ireland has a huge tradition of spoken word.” explains Dolan, “Think of the old Irish storytellers and how ingrained poetry is in our culture. It’s important for Ireland more than ever, as poets have often been some of the most effective activists in history.” The modern form of spoken word is often traced back to America in the 1960s and associated with the Beat poets, the Harlem Renaissance, and even the speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr. Fast-forward two decades and competitive poetry slams are being held nationwide in America, and now, as with many cultural phenomenon, it has reached our shores and Flash Poetry Nights, among many other events, have been born. With the tremendous success of poetry slams and the spoken word, does Dolan believe that his kind of poetry is leading to a decline in written poetry? “In my opinion it hasn’t. If anything
it’s elevated poetry in general. Most poets will tell you that written poetry is very different to slam. Written poetry is about solitude, being alone with your thoughts and getting them down on paper. Slam is more visceral and performance based,” Dolan surmises. Indeed, he believes that slam relies more on communication with an audience, explaining: “It’s not just about the written word, and I love that. I think it challenges all poets up to their game.” As the poets entering slams are often young first-time performers, what advice would Dolan hand down to aspiring poets given his experience as both a poet and host? “Just get out and perform,” he offers, “If you feel like you don’t have a voice in any area of your life, whether that’s college, a part-time job you hate, or a relationship you know is destructive, come down to our slam and get involved.”
“Above all else slam acts as a ‘fuck you’ to anyone who thinks that these issues don’t exist.” With the slam poetry scene still blossoming in Dublin, there’s certainly no end of talent yet to be revealed at Flash Poetry Nights.
For more information on how to get involved visit www.poetryireland.ie
FataL FourWaY Worst Christmas Song
The Beach Boys “I’ll be home for Christmas”
Wham! - “Last Christmas”
East 17- “Stay Another Day”
Bob Dylan – “Here Comes Santa Claus”
AT home we have a CD — a double album — a compilation of Christmas songs, which I was so eager to have ready for playing at the beginning of December, that it regularly slipped into one of the many abysses in my room around midJanuary. I always preferred CD 1 (the red one) to CD 2 (the green one), but my adored compact disc contains a flaw — a significant flaw: ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’, this version being The Beach Boys from 1964. It really is a complete mood killer, especially just after the joy that is Shakin’ Stevens telling us about how snow is falling, and Slade bursting out once more with a host of electric guitars. The promise of coming home for Christmas, being teased out so wonderfully throughout the song, the legitimate demands of mistletoe and presents, the Hallmark card of Christmas images and then, suddenly, out of the blue, no — actually it’s all just a dream. The deception. It’s like seeing a box of Roses at the top of a press, going to the effort of getting it down and then finding out that it is in fact, being used to store lollipop sticks or unstamped stamps, which is worse than finding out that only the coconut ones are left. The music itself is lovely, and very soothing, but maybe the super-harmonised Beach Boys just tip it over the edge. I mean, it works for ‘Little Saint Nick’ four tracks beforehand, but maybe it’s the knowledge that all five of them are deceiving you.
IT’S Christmas. It’s happy. And as such, songs and radios should be full of happy and cheery thoughts. “Jingle Bells.” “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday.” It’s the time where Michael Bublé is defrosted for his annual moneymaking scheme. That man could sing about your cat being in a car accident and you’d still feel warm and snuggly inside. Something which doesn’t make me feel like that is George Michael, and his ridiculously depressing anthem they call “Last Christmas.” This whiny bullshit is replayed over and over and over and over again. You already gave her your heart and she wanted a receipt. Get over it you whinger. Next time, maybe get her some socks, or a Radox set. “Once bitten and twice shy I keep my distance but you still catch my eye Tell me baby do you recognise me? Well it’s been a year, it doesn’t surprise me.” So George, having been rejected, is now following this woman. Why is he stalking her a year after giving his heart? I’m not surprised this girl hasn’t seen him in a year. She probably ran away as fast as she could. THIS IS WHY WHAM WEREN’T ALLOWED PLAY IN THE SNOW AS CHILDREN. And even the anatomical question. How do you give your heart to someone? Apparently, you don’t cut it out of your body and hand it physically. Otherwise George Michael would’ve just collapsed before writing this utter bollocksology.
WHAT comes to mind when you think of the nineties and early noughties heart throb boybands? That’s right, the inevitable spell in rehab after 15 minutes of spotlight and a handful of questionable haircuts. Yet, we often overlook the glorious mistakes these bands make before they implode. Ladies and gentlemen I present to you East 17’s “Stay Another Day” – the worst Christmas song of all time. For me, this is the song that plays on loop while you queue for 45 minutes in a drafty supermarket on Christmas Eve, fuming that you forgot about the cranberry sauce again this year. While the bells ring their last during the umpteenth chorus you remember why you always say that you prefer Halloween. Just what is it about this song that is so offensive? While it’s true that its tedious harmonies and sickly sweet production quality are the sonic equivalent of missing the bus you needed to get for your 9am, it’s really the place this song occupies in the Christmas canon that makes it so special. This is the slow dance at the end of the Christmas do, right before you realise you’ve lost your coat and it’s a half hour walk home. Later as you run your numb red fingers under the tap, looking for any signs of life, you realise that bitch from tills probably still has it. The chorus runs through your head. You can feel the hangover coming on and you wish you had someone to say ‘Bah Humbug’ to.
YOU know what the actual problem with Bob Dylan winning a Nobel Prize is? This is the same man who unleashed the magnificently terrible Christmas in the Heart upon us in 2009. Bobby D putting out a Christmas album seems like a spectacularly awful idea; but even more so when we’re talking about a 69 year-old Bob Dylan who has been smoking weed since before Yer Da was born. Ignoring the time-tested rule of “never start the show with a showstopper” Dylan explodes out of the gate straight away with the opening track “Here Comes Santa Claus.” A friend once loaned me the CD, and a bit like the VHS tape from The Ring, I hoped that Dylan would crawl out of my iPod and put me out of my misery. Gravelly, introspective Dylan is one thing, but listening to his 69 year-old version try to approximate an emotion that kind of resembles holiday cheer is downright terrifying. Hearing the words “here comes Santa Claus” slip out of his craggy mouth is like audio paint thinner. If you left this song on loop in a shopping centre, people would quickly embrace Satanism, just so they would never have to hear this song ever again. “Fill your hearts with a Christmas cheer/cause Santa Claus comes tonight.” Get the sharp knives ready, get a big fire roaring in the fireplace, don’t let Bob Dylan’s Santa Claus into your home. I hate this song. It’s terrible. I also love it. But it’s terrible.
A PERTURE //light/dark//
Annabelle Nguyen “Carousel”
Nikhil Wali “A Ray of Hope”
Annabelle Nguyen Musée d’Orsay
If you are interested in submitting photographs or illustrations for Aperture please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org Nikhil Wali The Custom House, Dublin