LENNY ABRAHAMSON music BEADY EYE LITTLE MATADOR LISA STANSFIELD games GOAT SIMULATOR REVIEW METAL GEAR SOLID V REVIEW FASHION FESTIVAL WEAR CULTURE EAVAN BOLAND
letter from the editors
What’s hot & What’s not What’s hot
What’s not hot
Scottish Islands Explorer—What’s Scot and What’s Not
Rope Aficionado—What’s Knot and What’s Not
The UK’s only magazine devoted to exploring the islands of Scotland never fails to impress this discerning Scottish island explorer. Among its 52 pages of all-out Scottish island glory, the print edition features a stellar round-up of what the most Scottish things in Scotland are this week; finally giving national treasures such as peninsulas, tartan, boatmen, alcoholism, archipelagos, feral natives and local algae species the recognition they deserve on the UK island-based print media circuit.
Please don’t cry! This isn’t goodbye. Well, it sort of is. Before we sign off for good, we (the Otwo Editors) would like to individually take the time to thank the many people that have helped with the production of what has been an absolutely wonderful volume of Otwo, and making this year the best of our time in UCD. Rebekah, you have been the resident hipster of Otwo, an utterly monumental task to say the least. Although many scoff at your yoga pants and scarves, nobody could doubt your ability as a writer, creating some of the warmest and heartfelt articles of the year. Throw in a festival line up of interviews, and in an outrageous quantity, you have continued the incredible lineage of music editors at Otwo. Niall, it mustn’t have been easy taking over Games with Steven watching your every move, but you have continued the flight of the newest section in Otwo, that is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with. Continuing with Games’ absurd level of productivity, and with an inspired focus on the indie gamer, it has been a pleasure having an endlessly quotable be’baller like you on board. Laura, everyone knew your ability as a writer, having come onboard as TV Editor last year and in your very first year with Otwo. We truly believed we held the best magazine team in the country, and your work as Film & TV Editor this year has been proof of that. Every insightful feature, your brilliant centre in issue four and your thrashing of all of us in Fatal Fourway meant not only an amazing year for us, but also allowed us a chance to see one of the technically best writers in action. Emily Mullen, you are the queen of fashion. Every single issue, one of the delights of Otwo is checking out the absolutely beautifully well-made shoot and the even brighter gem that is #winning and #binning. The work you, Christin, Rory, Joanna, James and James, and all the countless models have done can never be repaid, and we want to thank all of you for being the best fashion team we could ask for. Emily “Two Naggins” Longworth, you are the most uniquely talented person to have ever written for Otwo. Without a doubt, you have been the heart of Otwo, and are in our eyes the Colour Writer of the Year. From helping out the huns, teaching us the varying degrees of everything and being the dark horse of Fatal Fourway, Otwo will never be the same without you. To our many columnists this year, we would like to thank you for doling out your intrepid wisdom for our young readers. Foil Arms and Hog, @tila, Orla Gartland and Mittens; in your own ways, you have all been our spirit guides through UCD and life in general. To Laura Woulfe, our Culture Woulfe, thank you so much for your intelligent look into a side of life that we at Otwo hope to continue to promote and explore. To our many contributors, Otwo wouldn’t be possible without you, and you all should be proud of your work. Thank you for the countless reviews of some random album, attending film screenings at 10am, and transcribing endless interviews. We couldn’t have done it without you.
What Frank did, Jack & Steven
Although intended to be an on-hand guide that brings clarity and boundless enjoyment to the wild ways of knot tying, the What’s Knot and What’s Not feature has managed to become the most notoriously ropey contribution to knots ever. Often times including superfluous double negatives, and not not featuring far too many typos in which they themselves have confused ‘knot’ for ‘not’, the article invariably unravels like a poorly-tied knot within the first few lines.
Horse & Hound—Yay or Neigh
Angler Quarterly—What’s Caught and What’s Not
The editorial staff of Horse & Hound never originally envisioned a fad-based review column being part of their publication, it simply didn’t fit in with the demure and outdated bollox that the magazine otherwise embodied. But overwhelming demand from pun-loving hunting punters for a fortnightly breakdown of the latest in equine and canine news brought the column into existence, increasing the magazine’s readership tenfold and proving that Horse & Hound still brings a lot to the stable.
We can appreciate that a monthly review of fishing fixtures would be hugely beneficial, but for that it’d probably have to include some sort of feasible factual reference or evidence. Instead, Angler Quarterly has compiled a selection of crudely drawn cartoon fish with seemingly inconsequential statistics superimposed on to them. Numbers may not be derived from actual fish-based studies either. You’d be coddin’ yerself reading it.
High Times—What’s Tokin’ & What’s Jokin’
Yacht & Yachting—What’s Yacht and What’s Yacht
Before High Times commissioned this regular column, it was hard times for the spliffing community. Sessions paid witness to countless incidences of stoners forgetting what or how they were smoking, and ultimately disbanding the 420 dream for the pursuit of snacks. What’s Tokin’ and What’s Jokin’ has served as the voice of reason to a baked generation, with a reported 70% decrease in mistaking miscellaneous conical items for blunts at the session since its formation.
If you were looking for a concise review of the latest trends in yachting, look further, because none feature in Yacht & Yachting magazine. Their What’s Yacht and What’s Yacht article fails entirely to distinguish good from bad, ultimately describing everything as “yacht.” The article is also constantly outshone by some of the magazine’s better content, namely Mast From The Past and #EpicSail. It’s so yacht that it leaves the reader with an overwhelming feeling of yacht even long after they’ve put down the yacht.
It’s that time of year when you promise yourself that next year it will be different. Next year you won’t leave your assignments until the last minute again. Don’t worry, you might not even make it to next year.
During the next full moon, a drunken child will run up to you in the street and shout a Game of Thrones spoiler at you. Now you must run up to someone else and spoil their day and text MITTENS to 50300 to donate money to me.
Taurus So, you somehow stumbled over the line and got elected to be some shmuck in UCDSU. RON was certain he’d somehow force his way into office this year. Looking into your future, Mittens sees only one word: “recall”.
Gemini Finally the time here. Mankind (and Mick Foley) be punished for all the instances of incompetent owners washing their cats in the bath. What sort of monsters are you? Who washes their cat? We are the superior species! We are in charge! You cannot clean what it already pure!
Cancer Did you know that there is a penguin out in the world who walks to the shops to buy fish for its dinner while wearing a penguin backpack? Remind Mittens how much of your diet is reliant on frozen pizzas.
Finally, four months off! bye bye, jerks!
Scorpio Yo-yos will be back in fashion any moment now. Seriously, what are you doing wasting your time reading this column? Go buy yo-yos at the Yo-yo and Hair Extensions Emporium on Dorset Street. The best time to go is around noon.
Sagittarius Mittens knows that the whole Ukrainian saga is bumming you out. Cri-me-a river, right? Well, you’re in luck since the liberal media will all of a sudden stop caring this week and move onto reporting about a penguin who goes shopping wearing a backpack.
Capricorn Once you have finally come to terms with yourself, you will give up on your failed Tinder experience. But just as you go, everybody’s pictures are swapped with ones of Nicholas Cage. You might have a shot now.
Aquarius At the height of midday, outside the Yo-yo and Hair Extensions Emporium Now is not the time to take risks, just on Dorset Street, a person will hastily don’t sit back and let anyone tell you cross your path and run into the shop what to do. Don’t be afraid to take buying yo-yos in a panic. They are charge of a situation in your life, but your next target. Don’t let me down remember to listen to the wisdom again, number four. that others have to share. Sometimes you need to take a leap of faith. Virgo
Mittens knows that you are actually Spider-Man. And news alert you stupid jabroney, everyone doesn’t think that you are amazing at all. In fact you are the Quite Average Spider-Man. Spiders suck. Also, aren’t you missing like six legs?
Pisces Didn’t I predict you’d die already? I didn’t expect you to last this long... You still want a horoscope? Eh... What did I say to Libra? Yeah just use that, but make it sexy.
index 2 Regulars
——————————————— In the final letter, the Otwo editors get all sappy. You should read it and laugh at their emotions. What’s Hot & What’s Not gets all intense and discusses What’s Hot and What’s Not Hot in the world of What’s Hot & What’s Not columns. Finally, Mittens has one last batch of advice for you people before she curls up in a ball due to her utter distaste for the world. Much like you, post exams.
4 5 6
——————————————— So this is it, your last glimpse of your favourite page, the contents. I can just see you choking back those tears now. Parting is such sweet sorrow, but we’ll always have the memories of those great times we spent together. Oh, and Niall Gosker rants about his persecution at the hands of internet service providers.
——————————————— In Music this issue, current Beady Eye guitarist and former Oasis bassist, Andy Bell, stops by for a chat. Little Matador and Lisa Stanfield also came by to help us close out the section for the year. In the final Radar, NME award-winning band Eagulls swooped by and in album reviews, everything from Thumpers to Todd Terje is reviewed. Finally, Orla Gartland has one last deep and meaningful column for ya’ll.
——————————————— A veritable bonanza of games content awaits you. Getting a hooves-on experience of what could just be the game of the year, Karl Quigley reviews Goat Simulator. While Niall Gosker also gets to grips with Hideo Kojima’s latest magnum opus, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, as well as taking a look at how games need to break out of their current narrative constraints to realise their full creative potential.
——————————————— In the final centre feature of the year, award-winning Irish film director Lenny Abrahamson talks to Kevin Beirne about creating a new band in order to make a movie and his experience of the Sundance Film Festival.
Travel & Drink
——————————————— On the centenary of the assassination of Franz Ferdinand (the Austrian archduke, not the Glaswegian rock band) in Sarajevo, Ciara Leacy outlines all the dos and don’ts in the BosniaHerzegovinian capital city. Red Hook’s signature Extra Special Bitter also gets showcased as this issue’s beer of the fortnight.
——————————————— Within our Film Features, Laura Bell questions the validity of the evolution of music documentaries and their contribution to a historic genre and Steven Balbirnie shows that anime isn’t just for kids. In our reviews section, the latest instalment in the Cop to the Future franchise, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Divergent all get the Otwo treatment, as Ciaran Bruder has a look at the Top Ten drunks in Film & TV.
——————————————— In their final respective columns, Foil, Arms & Hog remind you one last time the many ways that you too can avoid not dying. @tila, before she rides off into the moonlight (or an ether induced hallucination), helps out you absolutely stunna huns.
Soapbox— Internet Service Providers
——————————————— Looking for that balance between looking stylish at this year’s festival season and not breaking the bank? Well, Otwo’s Fashion section has the answers for you as we showcase the best (and cheapest) way to bolster your wardrobe for Electric Picnic and the likes. Also, the best style on the Belfield concourse is featured and Emily Mullen is here to breakdown what is #Winning and #Binning one last time.
——————————————— The legendary poet Eavan Boland talks to Seán Hayes about teaching poetry, her upbringing and being a techie, while the last chapter of Culture Woulfe takes in the Douglas Hyde Gallery’s showcase of Mongolian folk drawings.
——————————————— Keep some tissues handy for this teary final instalment of Fatal Fourway as the crew debate the best goodbye. Without Fatal Fourway where will you go? What will you do? Frankly m’dear, Otwo doesn’t give a damn.
Borderline manic after repeated internet calamities, Niall Gosker is sick of ISPs and their wily ways The internet; bank of knowledge, facilitator of communications, arbiter of video gamesmanship, and proprietor of fine feline related imagery. Given its unbelievable usefulness, it really isn’t surprising that it’s become such a pivotal part of our daily lives. It’s a shame then that most of us are forced to endure Eircom’s ineptitude. An even bigger crime is that both they and the many smaller internet service providers that make use of their lines are filled with such remarkably incompetent, buck-passing drones. My tale of discontent with these so called service providers began many years ago in a pre-Facebook (nay, pre-Bebo) era, but in the interest of time, let’s say this particular song of idiocy and foolishness started last December when lo and behold, an early Christmas miracle was bestowed; finally fibre broadband was available in my area. Or was it? What I really appreciated about soulless technician no. 584 was how, after installing the new socket, he performed exactly zero tests to ensure all was working correctly. He must have used his powers of the second sight to foresee the impending screw up, opting to bail before things got ugly. The Eircom road crew forgot not only to move the line onto a nearer cabinet but didn’t bother to check if this would even be possible. Turns out it wasn’t. I’m still connected to an exchange two kilometres away despite there being a newly installed cabinet literally (yes literally, not figuratively) right across the road built for the express purpose of providing fibre to this area. I accepted the situation and got on with my life until the modem provided committed seppuku, taking the humane way out. I can’t blame the poor guy, sending and receiving bytes across such a shoddily maintained network must have been torture. I’ve become a veteran caller to tech support and have witnessed its devolution from mildly irritating to madly infuriating. It was bearable when on hold meant blissful silence, but since the introduction of disgustingly cheerful waiting jingles I’m forced to think happy thoughts repeatedly, praying it’ll all be over soon. I am once again without internet access, this time the result of a freak line fault. Every blink of the DSL light failing to sync is a crippling blow to my psyche. Enough is enough I say, we need to show solidarity and send a message. I propose, every Monday for the next ten weeks we all disconnect. And by all, I exclude myself from that; I need that contention free bandwidth to catch up on Game of Thrones, I think I’ve earned at least that for my troubles.
Foil, Arms & Hog Guide to Avoiding Death 3
In their final column of the year, Foil Arms and Hog tell you what situations to avoid in order to live forever (or at least until the end of your degree) The Doctors’ Waiting Rooms
Oh, where shall I go to get cured? I know the place where they make you wait for hours inside a small room full of other contagious people, perfect! That seems like the best plan I’ve heard in years. Give me a break! It’s better to have a cold than get cured of that cold and picking up the ebola virus during the process. Pregnancy
Men, if a woman looks pregnant, do not say anything, you have to be 1000% sure that she is actually pregnant; I mean you need to be looking at the ultrasound before you say anything. If you get it wrong, you will die. It is in fact rumoured that a large percentage of the men on the missing persons list made this mistake at some point close to their disappearance. Airports
Never stand still in an airport on your own. You could be removed by the authorities and maybe destroyed. Also be wary of teenagers using the baggage trolleys as go-carts. This was undeniably great fun when you were small and it’s no different for the next generation. They get carried away and the next thing you know a baggage trolley drag race goes horribly wrong and floors 87-year-old Meena Walsh returning home for the first time to Ireland since the Emergency. Ironic the first place she ends up back in Ireland is accident and emergency.
Don’t say annoying things. People will hate you and this only heightens your chances of dying of murder. Phrases to avoid include, “catch you on the flip side”, “it’s all in the taking part,” “things of that ilk,” “it’s not rocket science,” and “any spare change, please?”
If you end up here the first thing you should do is tell your cell mate the story of when you worked in a glue factory and the other workers, as part of a
@tila_da_hun Been dealing with da huns problems since 445AD… Ur resident agony aunt & Hunnic Emperor lol! Don’t mess wit my girlos or I’ll wreck u like I wrecked da city of Aquileia . xoxo. Tweet me!
Alrigh’ so c’mere my best friends been actin’ like a mad scobe recently… she keeps nickin’ me smokes, copyin’ me haircut and ridin’ me uncle. Bang of shcaldy offa her an’anyways! But like, her mate Liamo’s mate Bifto is doin’ this nite in the Shaw next month, ‘n like i don’t wanna piss her off ‘cos I wanna get guestlist? But she’s bein a massive cuntstresser, so I need te say sumthin? D’ye reckon if she sees me bitchin ‘about her here to de paper she’d just ever COP DE FOOK ON TO HERSELF?! Yeh?? (hack of ye Serena yer a bogey!!) Federa xx
Here listen, I know she’s yer bezzo an’ all but she’s some ferocious crusty hoor to be givin ye so much bollox to put up with. Like my brother Bleda was the same craic, just actin’ like a bag of dicks de hole time. Sure I member when we inherited de tribes we just threw a big filthy free gaff that went on fer like a week. That was grand and all but we had to start bargainin with Theodosius fer a few of the de girlos he took hostage. And de haaaack of me brother, he was still arsing around sellin’ hash out de back of the pillars of Constantinople when I was tryin’ to get the fuppin act together. I wrote into If You Khan Dream It you Khan Do It with Ghengis Khan just to be a passo aggro bitch about him, think it worked a bit ‘cos sure I ended up wreckin half of Europe lyk? Stay masso, ‘Tila xoxo
Dear Ms. Da_Hun,
This law firm represents Attila the Hun. You are hereby directed to CEASE AND DESIST ALL DEFAMATION OF u ok hun? ATTILA THE HUN’S CHARACTER AND REPUTATION. Attila the Hun is an educated, respected professional in the Hunnish community. He has spent years serving the community in his profession and building a positive reputation. Attila the Hun has learned that you have engaged in spreading false, destructive, and defamatory rumours about him. Accordingly, we demand that you (A) immediately cease and desist your unlawful defamation of Attila and (B) provide us with prompt written assurance within ten (10) days that you will cease and desist from further defamation of Attila’s character and reputation. Sincerely, Xionghu Eurasian Nomadic Legal Team
De absolute hack of yiz. I fuppin will in me hole! I’ll brick yizzer gaff if ye come here talkin’ to me lyk dis again! If ur lookin to get my twitter username yiz can suck the dick, I’ve been on twitter longer den ur betdown client and I’m way more craic than the mowldy aul wan that mailed me d’other week an’anyways. Scarlet fer yer gran aul one for having yer aul one like. And here would yiz gerraway from me with yer bogey agreement. I don’t sign dem ‘cos I’m not a complete spastic. Sure when me and the girlos were settlin’ de peace treaty with Anatolius I had no time fer his softcock contract, so we settled that shit de proper way by racing to shotgun cans. I’ll give yer man a shotgun race if yous aren’t gonna be complete shitehawks about it? Few naggins ‘Tila xoxo
practical joke, put glue on your chair and now your butt cheeks are permanently sealed together. If he doesn’t believe this story you need to go and find some glue. The African Cape Buffalo
Do not go hunting this guy. He holds a grudge, quite literally. The Cape buffalo actively stalks and hunts down the hunter that wounds it. Seriously, look it up. It’s like, looking for revenge. You don’t want to be looking over your shoulder for the rest of your life. You’re getting married years later and the priest says the “speak now or forever hold your piece” then ‘bam!’ The doors burst open at the back of the church and Mr. Buffalo is standing there with a “remember me, bitch?” look on his face, dressed like a commando and holding a chainsaw. Those buffalos-withchainsaw-situations never end well trust me. Don’t say annoying things
People will hate you and this only heightens your chances of dying of murder. Phrases to avoid include, “catch you on the flip side”, “it’s all in the taking part,” “things of that ilk,” “it’s not rocket science,” and “any spare change, please?” Laughter
It is the best medicine, except in the case of a brain haemorrhage in which case you should stop taking medical advice from your granny and get yourself to a fucking hospital.
So there you have it, yet another completely comprehensive way to staying alive permanently. For more funnies, videos and pictures go to www. foilarmsandhog.ie
Sarajevo—The Dos & Don’ts Take a trip to the heart of south-eastern Europe with Ciara Leacy as she shows you around Sarajevo, a city defined by diversity and conflict
Beer of the
Red Hook ESB
take a stroll along Mula Mustafe Baseskije. While walking along this street, you will pass a Catholic cathedral, an Orthodox church, a mosque and a synagogue. Sarajevo was for many years known for its religious and ethnic diversity, and it is streets like this one, where four different religions coexist, that give the city its nickname, the Jerusalem of Europe.
still bear the scars of shelling and sniper fire, and are a haunting reminder of the city’s past.
try some traditional Bosnian food. For lunch, cevapi (sausages served with pita bread) are available in any cafe and for dinner burek (meat pie) and zeljanica (spinach and cheese pie) are local specialities. Food is cheap and meat is eaten with practically every meal.
forget to visit the Latin bridge (Latinska Cuprija). The bridge itself is an interesting example of Ottoman architecture, but it was also the site of one of the most momentous turning points in modern history. On June 28th 1914, a young Bosnian Serb named Gavrilo Princip assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife Sofia on the road that runs right beside the bridge. The assassination was to spark off the First World War, the bloodiest conflict the world had ever seen at the time.
go wandering off paths if you’re exploring the hills around Sarajevo. Although the conflict ended nearly twenty years ago, many areas around the city are still heavily mined, and it is estimated that it could take up to seventy years for the country to be completely clear of mines. Most uncleared areas are clearly marked, but do exercise caution. Stick to paths and trails, and remember that if a building looks deserted, it’s probably like that for a reason.
take the time to travel out to the tunnel museum near the airport. During the siege of Sarajevo from 1992 to 1995, the only way in or out of the city was through a 1.5 metre high and 700 metre long tunnel dug underneath the airport runway. It became a lifeline for the besieged city, with food and tools travelling in and wounded and sick people being carried out. The original tunnel has collapsed in the intervening twenty years, but the remaining 25 metres and the museum beside the tunnel are well worth a visit.
leave without driving along the once infamous Sniper’s Alley (Ulica Zmaja od Bosne). The main boulevard in Sarajevo, this street was also one of the most dangerous places in the city during the siege. Many of the apartment blocks along the street
take the time to explore the city on foot. Sarajevan architecture has been heavily influenced by both the Ottomans and the AustroHungarians. The old town and bazaar, Bascarsija, in the centre of the city has heavy Turkish influences, with narrow cobbled streets and many small shops selling traditional crafts and food. The Bezistan is a covered market in the old town and with shops selling clothes, jewellery and antiques. Plenty of souvenirs can be bought here.
expect Mediterranean temperatures in Sarajevo. Even in summer, the city can be chilly at night and in winter the surrounding hills transform into world-renowned ski resorts. The Winter Olympics were hosted in Sarajevo in 1984 and the climate during the winter months is cold and snowy.
The letters ESB stand for so much more than Electricity Supply Board, as any beer enthusiast will tell you. Extra Special Bitter is a type of premium strength pale ale that has traditionally been very popular in England. Red Hook, who have been brewing in Seattle since 1981, however, prove that American brewers can more than hold their own against the English when it comes to brewing bitter, with Red Hook ESB being one of the finest on the market today. Don’t be misled by the name, this 5.8% ESB is anything but bitter. It has a crisp refreshing flavour with a hoppy edge. Amber in colour, this bitter pours well and should be served chilled; it is perfect for summer drinking and barbecues. The measure will be unusual for European beer drinkers as Red Hook ESB comes in bottles of 12 fluid ounces, but you can get used to it quite quickly. Steven Balbirnie
Goat Simulator The creators of this game originally entered it as a joke for an internal game development competition. Oddly enough, the buggy early prototype was received with praise and excitement. This convinced the studio to push the game into a releasable state, while keeping all the bugs. It can be compared to the older skating games like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, in which the player must do tricks and stunts to attain points and build a high score. However, in Goat Simulator, as the title suggests, players take control of a goat: an indestructible, magical-tongued, oddly intelligent yet unintelligent goat. And instead of doing tricks, you break stuff. The game takes place in the suburbs of a large city, which can be seen in the distance. It has everything a goat with destructive tendencies could want: a construction site, a small hillbilly racetrack, a convenience store, a gas station, a sacrificial satanic site, and plenty of people and houses. In other words, the usual stuff. As a goat, the player has the ability to run, jump, headbutt, and grab objects with their tongue. The world is literally your playground in Goat Simulator, complete with hilarious bugs and glitches that give it an unusual charm. Points rack up according to the amount of destruction and mayhem caused.
Developer: Coffee Stain Studios Publisher: Coffee Stain Studios Platforms: PC
The game has received a mixed reception, ranging from positive due to the enjoyable and deliberately unpolished open world, to the negative, citing the reliance on internet popularity and the novelty factor as criticisms. However, while the game does push the unusual and possibly forced nature involving the title, it offers a very enjoyable few hours of play. During the game, the player may take part in several set piece events such as: an alien abduction, a satanic ritual in which the player receives demonic powers, the destruction of ‘Goathenge’, and becoming the King of all Goats. Naturally it’s also possible to acquire a jetpack or strap on some fireworks for a chaotic flight into the sky. Some may look at the game and think it is a cheap effort for some easy laughs and in one way they would be correct, but it’s easy to play this game and find an hour has passed with barely any warning. There are games some people play to waste time and relax and with its humorous abundance of bugs and glitches this is definitely one of them. For its relatively low asking price, Goat Simulator is worth the hours you may find rapidly disappearing playing it. Karl Quigley
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes Traditionally a new entry in the mainline Metal Gear Solid series is a landmark release in the early lifespan of any new generation of consoles, representing both a major leap forward in technology and the stealth genre. In this context, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes lands in an odd place. This isn’t the complete fifth installment of the franchise, but rather a brief sampler, a taste of what Kojima Productions are hoping to follow through on when The Phantom Pain ships sometime in the next year or so. It’s a short but mostly sweet experience, demonstrating a slew of wise game design improvements, making for what is surely the best playing entry in the series’ history. This is a direct follow up to 2010’s Peace Walker, travelling further down the prequel path and origin story started in Metal Gear Solid 3. Big Boss acts as protagonist again, although veteran voice actor David Hayter has controversially been replaced by Kiefer Sutherland. It’s an undeniably jarring change initially, but one that quickly begins to make sense, with Sutherland providing an unsurprisingly great performance. Whether or not he can trump Hayter’s iconic voice in the long-run remains to be seen. Apart from the relatively brief opening and closing cutscenes, both of which are executed with all the panache expected from series creator and visionary Hideo Kojima, there isn’t much narrative here. Kojima’s aim of a darker tone sets it apart from previous games although his lack of subtlety
in exploring sensitive topics might prove off putting to some. Crucially, Ground Zeroes plays extremely well. Its control scheme is more accessible, but not at the cost of having to sacrifice depth. Clever additions like the ability to tag enemies and the moving of the codec screen into the game world are well conceived and implemented. Visually the game is inconsistent, as presentation is limited by Ground Zeroes’ insistence on being a cross generational title. The PS4 and Xbox One versions do, however, run at a very welcome and rock solid 60 frames per second. The lighting and weather effects are superb but muddy textures and borderline placeholder looking animations, along with a general lack of polish, hurt the overall presentation significantly. On a technical level, this definitely isn’t the dazzling showcase it should be. Ground Zeroes’ perceived value is entirely dependent on what individual players are looking for. Those wanting the next big step in the series’ mythology will be unavoidably disappointed, with only a single main mission lasting between one and two hours. However, those seeking a taste of the tone and gameplay to expect in the future, along with a highly replayable (albeit small) sandbox to experiDeveloper: Kojima ment in, will be more than satisfied. Niall Gosker
Productions Publisher: Konami Platforms: PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360
Low stakes, high drama Video games need to break out of their rigid power fantasy narrative loop in order to reach their true storytelling potential, argues Niall Gosker
The vast majority of video games that feature a prominent narrative component can usually be boiled down to battling a world ending evil and in the process of this, becoming the saviour of humanity. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this template, one that has sustained the medium for a long time now. However, it has become too much of a crutch to lean on and the expectation of its implementation, combined with its ease of use, is stunting the growth of narrative potential in video games. The way to high-power drama is in fact, low-key stakes. The grand hero story is certainly not unique to games, but it seems to be much more consistently prevalent here than in other forms of entertainment. Perhaps it is acting as a holdover from the primordial days, where simplicity in game design was made a necessity by technological limitation. If running from left to right and stomping on enemies’ heads is the primary gameplay mechanic, then something as straightforward as saving the princess and in turn, the kingdom, slots in just fine. There’s so much more that can be achieved now though. If there truly is the possibility to go deeper then why do so many developers stick with a formula that has evolved into something closely resembling a Hollywood blockbuster? It’s likely due to simple risk assessment, with the cost of game development having increased in recent years. It makes sense then, that most of the experimentation has occurred within the independent community, where sales forecasts are often of much less priority and risks can be taken. Richard Hofmeier’s Cart Life stands as a shining recent example of what can happen when the player is placed in the shoes of an ordinary person and asked to live out the common and banal, a street vendor of food in this case. It is described as a retail simulation, but the unique circumstances of the different playable characters’ lives outside of work play a big role too. The single mum has to pick up her child after school every day while the dream-seeking immigrant has a cat to feed and take care of. These responsibilities, and more, are placed on the player and have the effect of transposing them with the game’s characters in ways far more effective than is usually seen. Papers, Please from Lucas Pope has a similar approach although uses a wider lens, without losing the deeply personal feeling that is essential to such stories. A dystopian totalitarian setting isn’t exactly foreign to gaming, but how many feature a protagonist grinding away at the desk of immigration control? Excessive attention to detail in document examination is demanded in what is certainly a novel gameplay mechanism while the desperate pleas of would be citizens and the troubled fate of the player’s family ground everything in distinctly human sensibilities.
Telltale Games’ deserved award-winning The Walking Dead from 2012 shares a good deal of DNA with Papers, Please. Like the latter, it takes a common gaming trope, the zombie apocalypse, and channels it into something of its own. It does this by adjusting focus, worrying not about the salvation of the world, but by presenting a set of well-realised characters who simply want to survive. The Walking Dead wasn’t only a critical success, but it managed to sell extremely well too, standing as a satisfying midpoint between widespread appeal and defiance to compromise artistic vision. The 2014 BAFTA award-winning Gone Home is another wonderful example, deliberately toying with players’ expectations of tired tropes and ultimately brushing them aside, making for a story that is all the more remarkably affecting for it. While indie games may be spearheading the movement, there has been the occasional big budget blockbuster that has attempted to blend both traditional heroism and rich character relatability. BioWare’s sci-fi trilogy Mass Effect is very much an evolution of the company’s earlier philosophy of grounding the epic in the personal although here they attempted to take it a step further. In many ways they succeeded, with the crew of SSV Normandy rightfully taking their place as some of the most memorable characters of the generation. Ask fans of the series and the majority will say that their favourite moments were the smallest ones. These one-on-one interactions have little consequence in the grand scheme of the galaxy, but by tapping into a human universality, create an emotional bond that resonates more powerfully than the vanquishing of any malevolent force. It’s a terrible shame that the series ultimately favoured grand over granular. It is entirely possible that the reason this low-key drama ends up so effective is because it stands in such contrast. If the impossible occurred and the polarities somehow flipped themselves, would the same sense of fatigue set in with low-key games? Without actually having been through the scenario for a considerable amount of time, it’s difficult to predict. Even if the outcome were a disappointingly familiar one, it would undoubtedly result in many new and previously unthought-of experiences. The epic might then be seen as a welcome return rather than as a lazy excuse. Perhaps the biggest barrier to storytelling in games evolving is the narrow and limiting definition of what does and doesn’t constitute a video game. There’s a seemingly constant anxiety to have things fit within stiff boundaries, boundaries that are limiting growth and hurting the medium. These boundaries need to be relaxed if games are ever to reach their true unique narrative potential. If they are, there might be a midway point between the two extremes that can satisfy both those who wish to retain the traditional and those who seek something genuinely new.
If there truly is the possibility to go deeper then why do so many developers stick with a formula that has evolved into something closely resembling a Hollywood blockbuster? It’s likely due to simple risk assessment, with the cost of game development having increased in recent years
A noteworthy genre In an age of pop divas and preened boy bands, Laura Bell examines the devolution of the art of the music documentary, and the rise of the new breed of feature film
IN 2009, Michael Jackson’s posthumously released documentary, entitled This Is It, broke records worldwide. Not only did it become the highest grossing documentary of all time, raking in an astounding $261,183,588 at the box office; This Is It served to assert once and for all that the music documentary could be a cinematic force to be reckoned with. Combining timeless star power, the modern obsession with celebrity culture, and blockbuster level production values proved every strobe light, pre-show meltdown, and costume change worth their weight in gold. Following the old adage that you’ve got to spend money to make money, This Is It cost $60 million dollars to put together, dwarfing some classic action movies like Resident Evil at about €33 million, Sin City at $40 million, and even The Terminator at a humble $6.4 million. In fact, This is It came in at $5 million dollars under the budget of 300, the highest grossing film of the last decade. It can hardly be denied that documentaries of this scale blur the line between scripted and reality; it remains to be seen whether there’s really a line at all. Looking at the success of sugary sweet 3D pop
flicks like Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: The Best of Both Worlds Concert, and Katy Perry: Part of Me, it seems hard to believe that the world of music documentaries was once rooted in a technique far grittier and distinctively reactive. The Rolling Stones’ 1970 tour documentary Gimme Shelter dealt primarily with a disastrous end-of-the-line concert at the Altamont Speedway, California, at which a young man named Meredith Hunter was stabbed six times by a Hell’s Angel while trying to force his way onto the stage. The picture also documents a vision of a music industry that is so much less carefully constructed and indeed protected than it is now. Gimme Shelter, with a truly ironic bunch of Hell’s Angels as security, unabashedly shows just how badly trying to be rock and roll can go, via footage of Mick Jagger getting punched in the face and the lead singer of Jefferson Airplane getting knocked out by a biker who was inexplicably armed with a pool cue. Glee: The 3D Concert Movie, Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience, and One Direction: This Is Us, amusingly described as “a motion picture event,” would go on to reach such heights of inauthenticity
that they would make the semi-realistic conduct of the Beatles look obscene in its candour. This Is Us (or 1D3D) was directed by Morgan Spurlock of Supersize Me fame and seemingly sought to present the five boys, styled and groomed within an inch of their lives, as rebel rock stars who each just happened to audition for a spot in a manufactured band on a prime time reality show. Their presumably earnest film more closely resembles parodies like The Beatles’ A Hard Days Night, Spice World, and most notably, This Is Spinal Tap, all without possessing even one iota of self-awareness. Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never, a movie that outwardly devoted its 105-minute runtime to curating the Belieber brand while making no allusions towards constructing a coherent or dimensional narrative, was so successful that it warranted a 2013 sequel in the form of Justin Bieber’s Believe. This follow up was a narcissistic opus to a vague notion of talent that carefully portrayed an inarguably out-of-control child star as a paragon of humility and raw emotion, squirrelled away in a studio writing G-rated songs about the joys of
dating pubescent girls. Documentaries like Beyoncé’s Life Is But a Dream, developed with HBO and co-directed, co-written, and co-produced by Beyoncé herself are seemingly the closest a modern “rockumentary” can get to its pre-IMAX predecessors. The film, with production values as high, if not higher than an episode of Game of Thrones, is styled as a confessional look into the diva’s undeniable ambition, dedication, and heart. Ultimately, however, Life Is But a Dream lives up to it’s title, uncovering stage makeup to reveal only a shadow of what lies beneath; an artfully imperfect, glossy advertisement for the cleansing power of luxury and status, and most importantly, a truly convincing piece of PR. Where the music documentary was once an art form in its own right, with musicians and managers starring simply as players in an overarching drama about the music industry, changing values and contemporary culture, it has now become a key component in branding pop stars as ‘personalities’, affording musicians the power to write themselves into legend. All artfully preserved in 3D.
Following the old adage that you’ve got to spend money to make money, This Is It cost $60 million dollars to put together, dwarfing some classic action movies like Resident Evil at about €33 million, Sin City at $40 million, and even The Terminator at a humble $6.4 million
Warning: The following contains adult themes Animated features have developed far beyond being the lone preserve of family films, writes Steven Balbirnie
Since the release of the first popular feature length animated film, Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, it has been traditionally assumed that animations strictly cater to a child audience. However, roughly the past two decades have seen the major studios such as Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks deliberately attempting to broaden their appeal to include adults through the use of pop culture references, double entendres and by evoking feelings of nostalgia in features such as Wreck It Ralph and Toy Story 3. It is often overlooked though, that there has been a less publicised and simultaneous movement by some studios and directors to develop animated features for an exclusively adult audience. While there has long been a small core of animators focusing on more adult themes, it has really been the turn of the millennium that has seen the maturation of the genre, with a turn towards adult animation dealing with complex and weighty subject matters in an experimental and exciting way, and away from X-rated capers such as 1972’s self-consciously offensive Fritz the Cat, or more recently the likes of South Park. In many regards, Japan has blazed the trail in this movement, which is unsurprising considering the country’s longstanding respect for the animated artistic medium. Not only has the gravitas that Japanese animators have approached their subject, exercised an influence upon their fellow animators internationally, but also upon live action filmmakers. Mamoru Oshii’s 1995 cyberpunk thriller, Ghost in the Shell, is often credited due to both its distinctive aesthetic and its engagement with philosophy as being a key influence on the Wachowski brothers’
creation of The Matrix. However, Ghost in the Shell also deserves recognition for its nuanced approach towards sexuality and gender identity, dealing as it does with characters who, despite their gendered appearances, lack reproductive capabilities due to being cyborgs. 2006’s Paprika is another anime that deserves a mention in this regard. The final film from director Satoshi Kon, Paprika delves into the psychoanalytical depths of lucid dreaming, and Christopher Nolan has cited Paprika as an influence behind Inception. Japanese directors are not the only ones to use animation as a vehicle for exploring powerful themes and sensitive subject matter, however. The global reach of this approach is perfectly exemplified by two acclaimed animated features; 2007’s Persepolis and 2008’s Waltz with Bashir. Persepolis is based on the graphic novel of the same name, by the Iranian writer and artist Marjane Satrapi. Based on her life, it is a coming of age tale set against the backdrop of the Iranian Revolution as Satrapi struggles with her identity through persecution and exile. The film was co-directed by Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud, and was jointly animated by French and American studios. Persepolis matches the visual style of the original graphic novel with shifts in the presentation used to delineate breaks in the chronology; the present appears in colour, Satrapi’s past in black and white, while the sections of historical narrative are presented in the style of an old-fashioned shadow theatre. Such visual changes not only ensure that it is never confusing for the audience when the action takes place, but the different styles of presentation
also capture the character of these respective eras. Waltz with Bashir is an Israeli animated documentary film dealing with director Ari Folman’s experience as a soldier during the 1982 Lebanon War. The film chronicles Folman’s attempts to regain his lost memories of the war and to come to terms with the consequences of his actions. It is remarkable for both its innovative approach of combining traditional animation and flash animation in its presentation, and for the manner in which it tackles post-traumatic stress disorder. Understandably, Waltz with Bashir became the first animation to win the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Aside from using animation to delve into complex topics, which may be more difficult to represent through more traditional cinematic techniques, animation can also be utilised to establish a tone or implement a mechanic that would be awkward in a live action setting. Christian Volckman’s 2006 neo-noir Renaissance, perfectly illustrates how a visual style can be integral to setting the tone for a fictional cinematic world. Affectionately nicknamed Seine City by some, Renaissance is set in Paris in the year 2054 where shady corporations have become more powerful than governments. The film’s distinctive style was created through a combination of motion capture and computer graphics, predominantly presented in black and white though with the occasional use of colour to emphasise a key detail. This technique lends itself commendably well to the desired atmosphere of the gritty futuristic setting. Perhaps the most intriguing and innovative
examples of American adult animations are Richard Linklater’s features, Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly. The rotoscoping technique used for these feature films exhibits how animation can exceed the limitations faced by live action in regards to tone and mechanics. The layering of live action footage with animation lends an uncanny and surreal feeling to Waking Life, which compliments the film’s themes of metaphysics and existentialism. Linklater’s use of rotoscoping also comfortably fit his 2006 adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s novel, A Scanner Darkly. Dealing with the issues of deception and identity in a dystopian near future setting where most of the characters are on hallucinogenic drugs, A Scanner Darkly’s visuals lends itself to this unhinged, paranoid atmosphere. The visual style also enables the implementation of a core mechanic central to the plot, the ‘scramble suit’. The ‘scramble suit’ is a fictional technological innovation, which causes the wearer’s physical appearance to constantly shift thereby rendering them unidentifiable. It is hard to imagine this mechanic having worked anywhere near as well in a live action adaptation. The past decade has clearly proven that animation has matured as an artistic medium, entirely capable of dealing appropriately with exclusively adult themes. In some cases, notably Linklater’s work, it is perhaps a more appropriate medium for approaching issues such as substance abuse or the subconscious. If anything, animation opens up wider creative and technical possibilities for filmmakers and it will be exciting to witness the further development of the already burgeoning adult-oriented animated genre.
Japanese directors are not the only ones to use animation as a vehicle for exploring powerful themes and sensitive subject matter, however. The global reach of this approach is perfectly exemplified by two acclaimed animated features; 2007’s Persepolis and 2008’s Waltz with Bashir
Divergent Divergent is an American science-fiction film directed by Neil Burger and based on the novel of the same name by Veronica Roth. The film’s main protagonist Beatrice Prior (Shailene Woodley) lives in a post-apocalyptic version of Chicago where people are strangely divided up into factions based on their personality traits and personal preferences. The film has been likened by many to the Twilight series, although the similarities really are minimal for the most part. While Twilight has very much an almost supernatural and surreal feel, Divergent is more futuristic and action-packed. Combine that with the Junkie XL/Hans Zimmer composed score, which is a tad cringing yet impossibly catchy, and you have yourself a real crowd-pleaser. The film itself has done really well early on in the box office worldwide. It grossed $22.8 million in its opening day and ranked first on its opening weekend in domestic and worldwide box office rankings. Clearly the crowds have gone to see the film, and perhaps that is no small part due to the cast and crew. Director Neil Burger has had success previously with films like The Illusionist starring Edward Norton, and the 2011 thriller Limitless which starred Bradley Cooper. Woodley is excellent in the leading role and seems to grow in confidence towards the later scenes of the film. Theo James plays the role of Beatrice Prior’s love interest in the film, and his dark good looks undoubtedly add to the thrill of the film. Ashley Judd is imposing as Beatrice’s mother, while the irrepressible Kate Winslet is unusually unpleasant and unforgiving as the so-called villain.
In this particular futuristic and dystopian society, people are divided into five factions, each of which say a lot about their own personal character traits. They are: abnegation (selfless), amity (peaceful), candor (truthful), erudite (intelligent), and dauntless (brave). Born into abnegation, Prior has never felt comfortable in the group and when the time comes to decide her own fate, she chooses to become a member of the lively dauntless, disappointing her parents in the process. She soon realises, however, that she is divergent, in other words unsuitable for any particular faction and someone that must be wiped out, and fast. This inability to live up to parents’ expectations is a key theme in the film, which highlights the way in which some teenagers can be pressured into living lives they didn’t choose. The film combines action, romance, futuristic graphics and tough moral decisions and these powerful ingredients serve up a very attractive end product that is hard to ignore. The novel by Veronica Roth has two sequels entitled Insurgent and Allegiant. Both are now set to be made into motion pictures, with Insurgent set for release in spring 2015. Allegiant meanwhile, will be split into two separate films in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
Director: Neil Burger Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ashley Judd, Kate Winslet Release Date: Out now
In a nutshell The futuristic action alone is enough to make it enticing; ignore the so-called Twilight similarities, this one is definitely worth a watch. Shane Hannon
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Director: Marc Webb Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, Paul Giamatti Release Date: April 16th
Even for most Spider-Man apologists, for whom Peter Parker can do little wrong, Marc Webb’s 2012 reboot of the franchise was poorer than the guys Stan Lee stole all those ideas from. Sure he did some things right, like the developing a more fluid combat style than we’d seen previously in comic book movies, as well as really capturing Spidey’s penchant for shooting one liners during action sequences. Apart from those two points, the movie was trying too hard to appeal to young people. “What do young people like?” “Skateboarding montages and Bing!” Well, Otwo can confidently say The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a far, far better film. The sequel finds Peter Parker, again played fantastically by Andrew Garfield, adjusting to life as costumed crimefighter and boyfriend, while dealing with the ramifications of the first movie. Just as it seems like he might be getting his shit together, a new “product of science experiment gone wrong” arrives on the scene and things get kind of explosion-y. (Aside: Poor New York, always getting it in the neck, isn’t it?) Eyebrows were raised at the casting of Jamie Foxx as Max Dillon/Electro, but fear not, he manages to pull off oddball chic more than adequately. Mirroring Peter Parker’s own life Dillon is a misfit, bullied by his peers and hoping to be accepted by those around him. Foxx’s Electro is the primary antagonist for most of the film, before briefly teaming with the
Green Goblin, played by a meth-addicted mid 1990s Leonardo DiCaprio (Dane DeHaan). Paul Giamatti completes the triptych of villainy, putting in a delightfully hammy performance as the Rhino. There was a fear coming into this movie that it would suffer from the same cluster muckery that the third entry in Raimi’s Spider-Man series experienced when trying to juggle multiple super-villains at the same time, but Webb manages to avoid this skillfully. It must be said that this is the most aesthetically pleasing of Spidey’s big screen outings. Most people would be inclined to say the 3D version of movies add very little, other than headaches, to the overall cinema experience. However, the Sony 3D technology used by Webb and his team genuinely enhances the visual experience. Filled with nods to the source material as well as setting up future sequels brilliantly, it will be interesting to see if BJ Novak’s character returns or if it was just another nod for fans. The Amazing SpiderMan 2, however, still renews fans’ faith that Sony can compete with Disney/Marvel when it comes to big screen adaptations of our favourite superheroes. In a nutshell A return to form for everybody’s favourite wall crawler. Youthful, fun and relatable angst ahoy! Slick Williams
Top 10 Drunks Cop to the Future and Back in Film History
Again V: Back In Blackface Director: David Reilly Starring: Rachel Weisz, David Jason, Jon Hozier-Byrne Release Date: Jamesuary 2014
“It’s like Mick Jagger sang, ‘I am far from satisfied’“, quibs Det. Harvey Price unironically as Pompeii burns before him. Hollywood’s favourite time travelling, dreidel-spinning private eye is back. Jon Hozier-Byrne returns for the fifth time in the role that won him the Academy Award for Best Actor in 2013 (He won the trophy from Daniel Day-Lewis in a little publicised poker game while remaining in character). In the fifth instalment of the acclaimed time travelling series, Price is approached by a mysterious femme fatale (Rachel Weisz) and tasked with retrieving a lost family heirloom. The artefact in question turns out to be the love letters of her great grandfather James Joyce. Without any explanation, the letters have fallen into the hands of the evil Baron Kel Anflynn (David Jason) who hopes to channel the raw sexual energy found in the letters to bring about the fall of every great civilisation. Not content to accept how the various civilisations met their demise, Anflynn travels back in time exposing fan favourites the Romans, Greeks, Persians, and Egyptians to the bawdiness of Joyce’s letters. Riots ensue across time, and there’s only one man for the job. And this time he’s brought his dad. Price travels to the aforementioned civilisations, as well as revisiting the first, second and fourth Cop to the Future films. This would appear to confirm fan theories that the third movie isn’t canon. Amidst all of the time jumping, Reilly finds time to include his trademark Irish nationalism through Harvey Price and Theobald Wolfe Tone, played here by debutant Michael D. Higgins, spray-painting “Queens R Gay” on the side of Windsor Castle. It’s not all explosions, however. A romantic subplot culminates with Price and Amelia Earhart joining the mile high club, as Orville Wright concentrates on keeping his biplane in the air. Like the rest of the series, Back In Blackface has its problems, the most evident of which centre around Harvey Price’s father. In a bold move, director David Reilly chose to cast Hozier-Byrne as Price’s father, also named Harvey. Ultimately the gamble does not pay off due to the fact that both characters are constantly referred to only on a first name basis. Hozier-Byrne’s refusal to wear any form of makeup or prosthetic only confounds the situation
further, as it is very difficult to tell the characters apart. No sooner does the viewer figure out which Price is which, Reilly throws in a 40 minute shopping montage featuring a number of outfit changes. While some may not see the merit in such a scene, the money received from Primark for the product placement was used to gain Conor O’Toole temporary parole in order to reprise his role as Veloci-Rapper. The multi-award winning* O’Toole shows that no amount of jail time has damaged his natural rapping ability, as he spits out an emotional performance, imploring Price to “stop the ice age just one last time”. (*Heat magazine’s “Best Rehab Stint Summer 2011, 2012, 2013”) While the film conforms to the current Hollywood trend of being made in order to prevent the movie rights reverting back to Marvel Studios, it doesn’t feel like any less love or care has gone into the production. Great efforts were made to reconcile HozierByrne and Chevy Chase, despite the latter’s lack of involvement in the picture. This just shows the lengths Reilly is willing to go to ensure his stars are happy. Despite the obviously large budget, it feels at times that the finances were mismanaged. One example of this is the near hour-long space station chase, culminating with a dagger fight on the wreckage of the actual Hubble telescope. While this scene leads into the opening credits nicely, this money would have been better spent recreating ancient Egypt, rather than having to film in the Egyptian wing of the British Museum without permission. Guerrilla filmmaking at its purest and featuring a notable, if accidental, cameo from Mickey Rooney, this scene is memorable, but feels like a few more dollars would have really made it shine. At a mere nine hours, Back In Blackface is the shortest of the Cop to the Future series, but by no means the longest. Don’t let the feature-length end credits dissuade you from staying, as the post credit scene features Price watching the entire final episode of Breaking Bad, which was great. In a nutshell There won’t be a dry boner in the house. David Reilly
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Joe Clay—Days of Wine and Roses Joe Clay is the personification of the suave 1950s alcoholic, who eventually drags his new wife into his habit and into the gutter.
Paul Kemp—The Rum Diary
The only actor to make this list twice, Johnny Depp seems to just embody alcoholics so well. Here, he plays an alcoholic journalist who becomes embroiled in a land corruption scandal, which he navigates from the bottom of countless bottles of rum.
Wong Fei Hung—The Drunken Master This outrageous twist on the martial arts genre sees Jackie Chan travel to learn the ways of Drunken Fist Kung Fu in order to stop an assassin. More like crouching tiger, hidden naggin.
Mickey Rourke plays Charles Bukowski, a lonely drifting alcoholic who is kicked out of a bar and embarks to find a new one, meeting a woman along the way. Typical night out then.
Ben Sanderson—Leaving Las Vegas
Kudos to Nicholas Cage, who puts in a great performance as Ben Sanderson, an alcoholic writer who arrives in Las Vegas to drink himself to death, before forming a friendship with a prostitute. It takes all sorts.
Bad Santa? More like Bud Santa. Thornton plays an ex-con named Willie who, when not consuming copious amounts of alcohol or embarrassing himself publicly, finds the time to rob department stores on Christmas Eve.
Jack Sparrow—Pirates of the Caribbean
Jack Sparrow, the erratic and utterly watchable pirate from Pirates of The Caribbean, inspired a generation of people to quote ‘Why is all the rum gone?’ at every party and night out.
John Blutarsky— Animal House
This list wouldn’t be complete without a frat movie in it, and John Belushi takes third place with his turn as John Blutarsky in Animal House, the drunken leader of a crusade against an enemy frat house. Never far from a beer nor afraid of public urination, Blutarsky is the toga wearing father of college movies.
James Bond—All 23 Films
The original alcoholic, who inspired one of the most famous movie quotes of all time, stands as the most famed character on screen to ever pick up a glass. Throughout his various incarnations over the years, James Bond has always stood as the ultimate international spy, never without a Vodka Martini in his hand.
Rooster Cogburn—True Grit
Tops the list purely for his impressive ability to consume alcohol and still shoot a bottle from 30 feet in the sky. Not to mention his part in the tracking down the murderer of his employer, Mattie Ross, in this Western revenge thriller. An inspiration for drunks on a night out everywhere. Ciaran Bruder
“I can’t say I ever enjoy watching a film I have made for the first time with an audience.” Critically acclaimed Irish director Lenny Abrahamson chats to Kevin Beirne about his new movie, Frank
Few people have had more influence on the Irish movie scene since the turn of the millennium than Lenny Abrahamson. Even if you aren’t familiar with his name, Abrahamson’s work has lead the way in Irish cinema for the last decade. After his directorial debut in 2004’s Adam and Paul, people began to take note of the Dublin-born filmmaker, as he received the Irish Film & Television Award (IFTA) for Best Director. Since then, he has followed up this early success with two more IFTAs for Best Director thanks to his work on 2007’s Garage and 2012’s What Richard Did.
Our Frank is not [Sievey’s] Frank… The Frank of the film is a mashup of many outsider musicians; Daniel Johnston, Zappa, Beefheart. But we kept a version of the head and the film is definitely true to Chris Sievey’s maverick creative spirit
Abrahamson has cemented his place as an Irish cultural icon with these films, as each contains a social commentary that many have compared to the works of the great Irish writers like James Joyce. His latest movie, Frank, has already received an Official Selection at the Sundance Film Festival. “The film follows Jon, played brilliantly by Domhnall Gleeson, a wannabe musician big on ambition but short on talent who longs to get the hell out of his boring English seaside town and live the rock and roll dream,” explains Abrahamson. “He thinks his wish is about to come true when he accidentally becomes the keyboard player in Frank’s band, The Soronprfbs (don’t even try to pronounce it; I can’t!) but discovers quickly he’s in way over his head.” So, what is so special about the titular Frank? Well, for one thing, he wears a giant fake head at all times. Fans of Chris Sievey will recognise this as sounding an awful lot like Sievey’s alter-ego Frank Sidebottom. While Sievey’s Frank was the inspiration for the character, Abrahamson says, “Our Frank is not [Sievey’s] Frank… The Frank of the film is a mashup of many outsider musicians; Daniel Johnston, Zappa, Beefheart. But we kept a version of the head and the film is definitely true to Chris Sievey’s maverick creative spirit.” This spirit is kept largely thanks to the writing of the infamous Jon Ronson and Peter Straughan. According to Abrahamson, “Back in the 80s Jon [Ronson] was the keyboard player in the Frank Sidebottom Oh Blimey Big Band.” Ronson’s intimate knowledge of the original Frank allowed him to create a new character while still maintaining hints of the Sievey’s most famous creation. Although the character of Frank, who is played by Michael Fassbender, is based on musicians from the 70s, 80s and 90s, the film takes place in the present day, with tweets from Gleeson’s character narrating the film somewhat.
“In an early draft of the film (the draft that was current when I got involved with the project) the action was set in the 80s and was narrated by an older Jon looking back on his time with the band. I was keen to lose the flashback structure and so we made the story contemporary and this meant the straight voice over no longer made sense. But we missed Jon’s voice. “The idea of using Twitter came to me when I spent a few days with Jon Ronson at the music festival ‘All Tomorrow’s Parties’ and I discovered what a big tweeter he is.” This innovative technique added an extra dimension to the film and allows the viewer an insight into the mind of Jon. In this way, the movie critiques the alternate personas we all create for ourselves on platforms like Twitter and Facebook, only sharing the information we believe will make us look cooler. “The great thing about hearing Jon via Twitter is that we get to play on the difference between how he presents himself and how he really is. It’s a chance to poke fun at the way people glitz up their lives and big themselves up on social media. Frank is partially about the tension between authenticity and self-promotion so all this seemed fitting.” The film carries this theme throughout, as we see the contrast between Jon and Frank, who are almost complete opposites in terms of what they want from the band. “Jon, like many people who aspire to work in music or film or whatever, is more drawn by the fantasy of success than compelled by a burning creative need to express himself. He’s also a victim of the contemporary mantra that if you want something enough you can have it. “Frank, on the other hand, has the creative stuff in spades and is utterly obsessed by, and driven to create, music… What he doesn’t have is the stamina, the constitution to handle all the pressure of reaching a large audience. One has the stomach, but not the talent, the other has the talent but not the stomach.” Realism is something that Abrahamson values in his films, and so when it came to casting the members of the fictional band, the Soronprfbs, it was vital that the actors could play the part fully. This meant learning how to play all of the songs. “Myself and Stephen Rennicks, the composer, made a rule that the actors must really be able to play the instruments; no faking it, no miming to playback. So casting was doubly hard; we had to find great actors who could also play,” explains Abrahamson. “Apart from Carla Azar, who is a world class drummer, [the cast] are not professional musicians and so we had a lot of work to do. First of all we had to get a handle on what they could comfortably play, and how much they could realistically improve with practice and teaching in the lead up to the film. Stephen [Rennicks] had to factor all that in as he designed the music. “As we got nearer the shoot we sent songs and pieces to the cast to learn and practice and then got them together in a studio in Dublin for a week of intensive rehearsal just before we began filming. They were great and lucky thing is they all really bonded and became very tight, personally and musically. Having gone through the whole process of making the film they would now be well able to function as a real band out in the real world.” It is high praise, but it is no surprise, considering the calibre of the cast. Academy Award nominee Michael Fassbender’s version of Frank is somewhat more attached to his mask than Sievey’s, and Abrahamson refuses to disclose if he ever removes it. “Despite what I’ve read in the media, I never say whether he ever takes off the head. You’ll have to see the film to find out… Generally, and I know this will be hard to believe, we all somehow got used
to the head and I fell into a way of thinking about Frank in scenes that became very natural.” It can’t have been easy to sell the performance without the use of facial expressions, although Frank does comically say some of his expressions out loud, much to the annoyance of Maggie Gyllenhaal’s character, named Clara. But managing a star-studded cast is not something that ever daunted Abrahamson, and appears to have enjoyed working with people who had a similar vision. For the film’s showing at the Sundance Film Festival, the crowd were given Frank masks to wear, although he admits that, “They only wore them briefly before the film began; I asked them to during my introduction so we could grab that photo. “Still, even surrounded by actual human faces, it was a very intense experience. I can’t say I ever enjoy watching a film I have made for the first time with an audience. I find it horribly nervewracking. It went down well though, the reviews were great and it was picked up for distribution in the US by a very good company. So, all in all, Sundance was a successful festival for us.” Despite the big names, however, Abrahamson still remembers where it all began. In fact, Ed Guiney, one of the producers of Frank, is an old friend. The two met back when they were both studying in Trinity College, where the pair co-founded the Trinity Video Society. “I know it’s very unusual in the film world to have relationships this longstanding and I’m aware of how lucky I am. I rely on Ed hugely and I trust him completely.” The two have previously collaborated on Garage and What Richard Did, so one can’t help but be excited for the duo’s latest endeavour. As for Abrahamson, he is already looking forward to his next project, an adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s coming of age novel, Room. “It’s a brilliant novel which is very challenging to put on screen. It’s early days in our preparations but I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in
Jon, like many people who aspire to work in music or film or whatever, is more drawn by the fantasy of success than compelled by a burning creative need to express himself. He’s also a victim of the contemporary mantra that if you want something enough you can have it
The great thing about hearing Jon via Twitter is that we get to play on the difference between how he presents himself and how he really is. It’s a chance to poke fun at the way people glitz up their lives and big themselves up on social media
properly, I hope in the autumn.” For now, we can enjoy the “playful, freewheeling heart” of Frank, although in classic Abrahamson fashion, he promises, “to sneak in its darker subject matter under the viewer’s radar.” We wouldn’t have it any other way.
Frank (starring Domhnall Gleeson, Michael Fassbender and Maggie Gyllenhaal) is out in cinemas nationwide on May 2nd.
Second Bite of the Apple Beady Eye guitarist, Andy Bell, takes time out from his Japanese tour to talk to Seán Hayes about living with bandmates, his time in Oasis and one particularly good night out
“It was ace. I’m very proud of it.” It seems a shockingly simple response yet this is the reaction of Andy Bell, former bass guitarist for Oasis, to 70 million records, three Grammy nominations, 15 NME Awards and six BRIT Awards. There aren’t many bands that can match the success and controversy that Oasis has incurred since their inception. For almost 15 years, Oasis stormed the charts with eight number-one UK albums and 22 Top 10 UK singles; a world record. The band regularly made headlines for both their disputes and wild partying lifestyle. Yet Bell’s reply, again, is surprisingly simple. “The aims are always the same for me, just to make great music.” Making great music has always been a lifelong ambition of Bell’s. “I never remember wanting to do anything else. I used to sit and draw record sleeves for imaginary bands.” Speaking about his childhood and musical beginnings, Bell recalls, “My parents had a little stack of vinyl albums. It was mainly classical music, but there were some pop records, The Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel. I used to listen to them all the time. Those records were very influential in shaping my taste.”
Bell’s musical ambition has clearly paid off. Before Oasis, he had been a founding member of Ride, a band that spearheaded the shoegazing genre in England. Bell describes the experience of being in the band as an exciting, but intense time. “When Ride started, we were living in the same house. It just takes over your whole life. We were four kids with the same brain, who liked the same music, felt the same way, were always together.” Ride found more success with critics than with mainstream audiences. Critics and media dubbed the Oxford-based band as one to watch for the future. Bell admits that the positive praise, in the beginning, gave the band the confidence to experiment with their sound. He is wary, however. “Too much positive press encourages you to believe your own hype.” Ride ultimately disbanded in 1996. Bell is almost philosophical about the breakup. “It felt like it had run its course. There’s something perfect about four albums and then bang, you’re gone.” Leaving Ride allowed Bell to move onto new projects. He formed indie-rock band Hurricane #1 in 1996, however, he is probably most recognised for his time spent with Oasis. Bell joined the band as
bass guitarist in 1999, at the height of their success. Having played lead guitar in his bands up until this point, Bell had never played bass. On top of learning a new instrument, Bell had to learn the entire Oasis catalogue, ahead of their upcoming tour. “My audition was the first time I played with the bass. I then spent the next few weeks at home with headphones on, and a bass guitar strapped to me at all times.” Despite the odds, Bell persevered and succeeded. “I made sure I made all the mistakes in private. Then I went on tour, and made it look easy.” At this point in the conversation, Bell offers a glimpse into the life of the band’s notorious party lifestyle. “We had been locked in the studio for weeks and finally decided to have a night out, and it became a real blow-out.” After going to a gig, with no less than the members of Biffy Clyro, Bell describes the events that unfolded. “One of us discovered this reggae club. We all piled down there. There was dub reggae pounding out. Me and Noel, pissed up, ended up backstage. “Back there, the rooms were so smokey we couldn’t see anything except all these dudes just
smoking huge blunts. Finally, the smoke cleared, and we’re on stage. Luckily, before either of us had to do anything, the club seemed to empty out really quickly. Basically, the club had been raided by LAPD. We all got split up and ended up leaving the venue by different doors.” In 2009, Oasis dramatically ended with Noel Gallagher leaving the band. The remaining members went on to form Beady Eye, who Bell is currently touring with in Japan. Bell describes the decision to continue playing together as a “natural progression.” The band released their second album, BE, in 2013 to positive reviews, with many critics suggesting that the music matches that of Oasis in their heyday. While Bell does regard Beady Eye as a separate project to Oasis, he admits, “Every band is different, obviously, but also I’ve learned that in some ways, every band is the exact same.” In closing, Bell has some words of advice, “I’m a believer that you learn more from failure than success and in my life I’ve had a fair share of both. It’s inevitable to make mistakes now and then, but that’s just a sign that you’re moving forwards. The main thing is to keep the faith.”
My audition was the first time I played with the bass. I then spent the next few weeks at home with headphones on, and a bass guitar strapped to me at all times
Around the world and back again Following the release of her comeback album, Seven, earlier this year, Lisa Stansfield talks to Killian Woods about telling stories with her music
Making a comeback in any stream of entertainment is difficult, especially when you have spent a decade out of the public eye. Many pop idols can’t come to terms with the fact that what they once knew as the music industry has been distorted into a different beast; an industry that has become an even more competitive dog-eat-dog arena. Brutal honesty with oneself is the key ingredient to teasing out whether it is time to take that leap back, and this is something that Lisa Stansfield has in abundance. It’s not simply gut instinct; Stansfield has looked in the mirror and asked herself, ‘Do I have anything to offer?’ And she wouldn’t be here if she didn’t. “I felt that it was right for me now and I didn’t feel it was right for me any time before that and I thought, rather than making it a really lovely album that because first and foremost, I make an album for myself. “If I don’t like it then I don’t think anybody else is going to like it, but if something is not going on at the time then it’s like flushing something down the toilet. It’s like waiting until everything comes around and then you just dive in and think this is my time.” Her hiatus has meant that she skipped an entire generation of fans to enthrall. Stansfield was at her peak in 1989 when she released ‘All Around the World’, with the record going gold in Great Britain and platinum in the US and continued on with a steady career, seeing more chart success with ‘In All the Right Places’ and ‘The Real Thing’. It is certain that the pressure of making a comeback doesn’t intimidate Stansfield, but she is torn as to whether the face of the music industry has changed much since she began her break in 2004. “I think it’s always the same, there are always two sides to every story and it is always very corporate driven artists that sort of feel like they don’t have any say in what they do. “On the other hand you have the opposite end, people who make up their own minds about what they want to do and I think it does boil down to strength of character. Someone else was saying, do you think people think it easy to go into these media driven X Factor competitions and I would say it’s sort of like taking the easy way out, but it’s the hard-ish route.” This hesitation in her approach to the modern music industry could be perceived as someone who is out of touch, but with Stansfield, it seems to boil down to something much simpler. She just loves talking about the creative process behind writing
the latest album than answer a clichéd question about ‘the state of the modern music industry’. And who would blame her? Stansfield says that although she was meant to be on a break, she couldn’t resist going back to writing songs, and with her husband/producer close by, the temptation was that bit greater. “Just writing, writing, writing all of the time. I really love writing songs. “I love telling stories. I suppose it’s like going back to being a child in a way, using your wild imagination to write stories and I don’t write personally about my own relationship with my husband. Sometimes I would look over there and look at people and make a story up. It’s so lovely to just look at people and wonder what’s going on.” In a sense, all this writing was going to waste. So, when Stansfield did return to release Seven, her comeback album, she was excited to see that people were eager to hear what she had been working on for so long. “It’s so rewarding. I honestly can’t believe that so many people still want it. When you see that, to me it’s quite humbling because it’s like, ‘Oh, fucking hell. All these people still want something.’ “It’s really weird because 20 years after we started out, we’ve got the same audience, because we’ve got the demographic that we had then, which was always from the age of like 20 to about 60.” The hype around her return has extended past albums flying off the shelves, though. Stansfield’s European tour last year was resounding success and again, she is quite touched that fans still want to hear what she has to say. This is a big aspect of Lisa Stansfield’s music; what she has to say. She always aims to tell stories with each song. “I think the songs have stories, but I’m not a preacher and I don’t want to be. “I just basically like to tell stories and I think it’s because when I was very young my mum equally listened to Motown and to country music, so it was a really weird mixture of the two. So, musically it’s very soul orientated and there is a lot of lyric content that is very like ‘Mmy man’s been bad to me’ and very Johnny Cash.” With nothing else firmly in the pipeline, Stansfield is brutally honest with herself again when she says, “You just have to see what happens.” Well, even if she doesn’t go on to release her eighth studio album, at least she’ll have another story to tell.
Lisa Stansfield’s latest album Seven is out now
It’s so rewarding. I honestly can’t believe that so many people still want it. When you see that, to me it’s quite humbling because it’s like, ‘Oh, fucking hell. All these people still want something.’
Bulls on parade Stepping out of the Snow Patrol limelight, Nathan Connolly takes a moment to chat to Rebekah Rennick about his latest musical endeavour, bull fighting and about living in the moment
While many musicians may find it difficult “It’s dirty, sleazy, vomit, dark, beautiful rock to shed the sound of their former selves, very music.” Attempting to describe any staple Snow Patrol track with such an assertive, ominous label, often creating new bands that echo their past, Little Matador is the rebellious, snarling result of dripping with darkened undertones, may be an Connolly’s determination to veer away from such indescribable feat. However, when in reference a path. to the band’s guitarist Nathan Connolly’s newest “I guess if you’re going to do something, it’s musical brainchild Little Matador, it hits the nail on healthy to change it up and work with different the head quite accurately. people,” Connolly says. “But I did know that I Striding into the role of lead-vocalist, Connolly, wanted to make a modern rock record, it was my accompanied by drummer Paul ‘Binzer’ Brennan, bassist Gavin Fox and guitarists Troy Stewart and Dave intention from the start. “It’s the same reason I asked the people that are Magee, Little Matador materialised from the year-long in the band to be in it because I knew that was what hiatus of the aforementioned Bangor quintet. they would bring to the table. I mean I knew exactly Yet, while it seemed Gary Lightbody was the what I wanted to start making, but things evolve sole member indulging in side projects during and change and you know other influences come such a time, behind the scenes Connolly’s vision through, but as far as I’m concerned we hit our goal of a new band was already under way. “Well, we in what we wanted to do.” started officially when we got into the rehearsal The band derives their name from Connolly’s space around late 2012. That’s when I kind of called penchant for the brutal Spanish tradition. “I had everybody to see if they were up for it.” Connolly explains, “I knew who I wanted to work an obsession with the imagery of bull fighting.” Following a summer living abroad, Little Matador with in the band and everybody said yes, so it was are certainly a far cry from the saddened riffs of just a case of getting everyone together and to see if things connected and if there was chemistry. ‘Chasing Cars’. “Technically at this stage, yes it’s a side project, There was, so pretty much from there we just started writing songs and started making the record but we’re kind of viewing this as a lot more long term,” says Connolly. His faith and belief in the band at the start of last year.”
is tangible, fuelling the already bubbling energy and chemistry spilling from its five members. “From the record we’ve made, we’re incredibly proud of it and as far as we’re concerned it’s the start and we hope to further it and put as much time and energy as we can into it. We already know we want to make another record, but we’ll concentrate on this one first.” Luckily, the expectant pressure that may have surrounded Little Matador to live up to past endeavours failed to reach the quintet. “Everyone’s been in different bands before, but the great thing about this band at this point is that there’s no expectation from us,” explains Connolly. “That gives us complete freedom because nobody knows what to expect, there was no pressure in that sense. It’s a beautiful position to be in. We can be ourselves and worry about all of that later.” That’s certainly what Little Matador has done on their self-titled album. Put together in an intense six weeks, it’s a gritty breakout record snapping at the listener to join their tumultuous riff-laden party. “We wrote a lot in the studio at the time. There’s maybe only three or two songs which I had from the start while the rest may have started from the start, but they evolved and changed into completely
Inspiration comes from lots of different things, but musically your influences come out eventually anyway because collectively and individually we all listen to a lot of different styles of music. You try to be in the moment as much as possible and worry about that stuff later on
different songs, which in the space of six weeks making the record, that was quite an amazing thing.” Connolly continues, “It also made it intense, but I think you need that with a record. It was tough, but a hell of a lot of fun. It was made under six weeks, but in the space of six months because of different projects and people in different bands.” The cohesiveness of the band’s relationship is evident on this fast-paced, energy infused record; echoing a band with undeniably similar interests and ideas. “Inspiration comes from lots of different things, but musically your influences come out eventually anyway because collectively and individually we all listen to a lot of different styles of music. You try to be in the moment as much as possible and worry about that stuff later on.” With a number of festival appearances lined up for Little Matador, their leather jackets and oiled back hair undoubtedly will be striding onto a stage near you in the coming months. “We just want to remain as honest as possible,” says Connolly, and this raw, darkened honesty is exactly what you’re going to get.
Little Matador’s self-titled debut album is out on April 21st
The concentration of groove that Norwegian DJ Todd Terje has injected into his debut album is one that would send any dance enthusiast into overdrive. On his first full-length installment, It’s Album Time, the mustachioed Scandinavian has cemented his reigning place in the dense world of disk jockeys. Ten years since he first arrived on the scene, Terje has become a reliable source of Balearic synth-infused classics. While many fans may be disappointed with the presence of previously released singles, including ‘Strandbar’ and the all mighty ‘Inspector Norse’, his new tracks hold all equal capability of following in their success. ‘Johnny and Mary’ welcomes Brian Ferry to the party and reveals another side to Terje. While Robert Palmer’s 1980 synth rock single was a bare assembly of punctuated beats, Ferry and Terje’s version drips with languid emotion and an aching heart. Terje showcases his tremendous ability at telling a story without singing a word himself. ‘Delorean Dynamite’ takes you on a rushing, wild journey of electronic euphoria. Falling just under seven minutes, it is a glorious moment of crashing, infectious beats, guiding you from your own universe to that of Terje’s. Similarly, ‘Swing Star (Part 1)’ is a building hum of excitement while its sister ‘Swing Star (Part 2)’ acts to slow the album’s quick pace and let you catch your breath.
Someday World is a master-class in stepping out of one’s comfort zone. Individually, Eno Hyde have influenced the most prominent bands for over 30 years, while still remaining relevant themselves. A feat not easily achieved in the modern industry. Together, Karl Hyde, the Underworld frontman who gave a generation its anthem in ‘Born Slippy’, and Brian Eno, the criticallyacclaimed ‘father’ of modern ambient music, have once again proven that experimentation is the key to longevity. Fresh and innovative, yet oddly familiar, ‘The Satellites’ kicks things off with a strong statement of intent, uniquely layering together opening riffs on synthesisers and saxophones. Following on, ‘Witness’ and ‘Who Rings the Bell’ are two of the more accessible tracks on the record, contrasting sparse melodies with sweeping choruses, while songs like ‘Mother of a Dog’ may be more of an acquired taste. The album’s standout track is undoubtedly ‘When I Built This World’; a futuristic onslaught of dissonant instrumentation and vocal echoes that’s hypnotic and virtuosic in equal measures. Hyde’s recent experience as music director for the 2012 Olympics has clearly left its mark as the penultimate tune is a killer build-up to the finale, full of texture and suspense. Certain tracks are unfortunately overshadowed by the intensity of others but, altogether, Someday World is an enticing album. Eno may have once described his ambient work to be “as ignorable as it is interesting,” but this collaboration has produced an inventive record that clamours for attention.
Releasing a somewhat melancholic album just as the spring has made its presence felt may seem to be an unusual thing to do, but that shouldn’t detract from the power of Fatherson’s debut. It’s refreshing to hear the Scottish-born Fatherson sing in their native accents, a tendency that many could certainly learn from. Famed for the power and energy of their live shows, the prominent presence of upbeat indie anthems testifies to this, but whether the atmosphere is captured with sufficient rawness and power in a studio setting is an important point for debate. Picking out the album’s highlight does not prove to be a challenge since I Am An Island’s shortest track ‘Dust’ stands head and shoulders above the rest of its companions. While it may fall into the clichéd formula of lo-fi production, falsetto vocals and a single guitar; it is the one moment on the album capable of provoking a meaningful emotional response on the part of the listener. I Am An Island is very much an album for the college student and twenty-something market from a thematic point of view; moving beyond teenage angst to entice the public with a slightly more sophisticated brand of sadness. With heavy debts to the long tradition of morose Scottish indie, Fatherson appear to be more than capable heirs to this heritage.
Galore may be the debut album from London-based alt-pop duo Thumpers, but it is certainly not the first musical collaboration between Marcus Pepperell and John Hamson Jr. The pair are childhood friends who, between 2006 and 2009, made up two thirds of the band Pull Tiger Tail. This album marks the return of their partnership. The album was recorded during the brief breaks Hamson Jr had from touring with Friendly Fires, for whom he played percussion and bass during their Pala tour, and it shows. Galore is very reminiscent of the sound of Friendly Fires, though much more laid back and less frenetic. It has a balmy, summery feel to it, which evokes images of fields full of people wearing tie-dyed t-shirts and wellies holding plastic cups of beer and cider. Galore captures the festival atmosphere, though it could do with more energy. All of Thumper’s signature tracks are here from ‘Sound of Screams’, which first garnered them online attention in 2012, to 2013’s singles, ‘Dancing’s Done’ and ‘Unkinder (A Tougher Love)’. While these tracks are enjoyable none of the other songs on the album particularly push boundaries, and given this it would perhaps have been more fitting for the seventh song, ‘Tame’, to be the album’s title track. Galore isn’t an outstanding or groundbreaking album, but it’s catchy and easy to listen to. Don’t be surprised if you see Thumpers popping up with this on the summer’s festival circuit.
In A Nutshell A powerful fusion of electronic and ambient that will intrigue established fans and hopefully persuade new ones.
It’s Album Time
In A Nutshell An accessible and gloriously groovy debut that showcases this Norwegian’s capabilities and unbounded potential. Rebekah Rennick
I Am An Island
In A Nutshell An album that will be regarded as a barometer of the millennial mood by the social historians of the future.
In A Nutshell Galore may not be gripping but provides a good soundtrack to lazing around on a sunny day. Steven Balbirnie
How would you like to be remembered? Penning her last column of the year, Orla Gartland ponders leaving a legacy
When I was told by University Observer editor extraordinaire Kevin Beirne that this would be my very last article, it felt strange. I took a few days to ponder over what I might write about. My first article documented my thoughts on beginning my gap year, so I thought I’d write my final piece about everything that went on in the life of Orla over the past few months. In the end I decided that might be a little too self-indulgent (just like referring to yourself in the third person, ugh. Who does she think she is?). For anyone that does happen to be interested though, I will soon be moving to London once and for all and continuing to give music a go! (Yes! What began as a gap year may just stretch out to a GAP DECADE). So, I began conjuring up other ideas for my final article, and a question came to mind, how would I like to be remembered? Pretty intense, I know. Perhaps I’m an overthinker or just easily distracted, but I moved beyond thinking about the article and began considering the question on a bigger scale. It consumed my thoughts for two whole days, and shit got deep real fast.
Word on the street is that at some stage, we all die. I could die tomorrow (most likely in some stupidly clumsy scenario, like electrocution by toaster), and if I did I think I’d be remembered by most as ‘that sarcastic, kind of annoying musician girl’. Heck, I’d take that, sounds pretty accurate. But I could do better! One thing that always makes me sad is when people are interviewed following the untimely death of a young person. We hear lines like, “they had so much ahead of them” and “they had so much left to offer.” That’s the kind of thing that makes me want to spend my days skydiving and traveling the world, leaving no box unticked. Though perhaps having good, genuine friends is a better measure of live well-lived than crossing off each section of a bucket list? Each to their own, I suppose. Some people would like to change the face of humanity in their lifetime; to invent, to help, to inspire. I think it’s so cool and ambitious to think on such a big scale. Me, I think I’d be happy touching
Word on the street is that at some stage, we all die. I could die tomorrow (most likely in some stupidly clumsy scenario, like electrocution by toaster), and if I did I think I’d be remembered by most as ‘that sarcastic, kind of annoying musician girl’. Heck, I’d take that, sounds pretty accurate. But I could do better!
just a few lives. If I’m remembered when I’m gone as a half-decent sibling or loyal friend, that’s a win in my eyes. Penelope Cruz was once asked how she’d like to be remembered, and she said, “I don’t want to be in any box. I don’t want to be one thing.” I love that. Even Lindsay Lohan herself leaked some wisdom with her answer to the same question, saying, “I want to be remembered for the work I’ve done, rather than the car accidents I’ve gotten into, the men that I’ve not dated.” Nice. Go on, get sappy, ask yourself how you’d like to be remembered. Try constructing a single sentence you wish would be spoken about you after you bail. Live a day where with everyone you interact, you ask yourself, “Will they remember me?” In the case of close friends and family, the answer is an obvious yes, but when you move to acquaintances, neighbours, and friends of friends it gets interesting. What would they remember you for? University Observer, it’s been a fun year of rambling. Thanks for having me.
Steadily flying the punk flag in an era of sugarcoated pop princesses, George Mitchell of Eagulls speaks to Sean Hayes about punk’s unrelenting presence
When I was young, it was always about the punk music. It was what I related to and listened to most
The term ‘punk’ brings to mind chaotic images of coloured mohawks, ripped jeans and leather jackets. It’s a style, more so than genre, that hasn’t received much attention and for a number of years been largely overlooked by mainstream markets and listeners. George Mitchell, lead singer of English punk band Eagulls, is only too aware of this fact. “I think punk is still as large as it always has been. It’s just some people choose not to work with these types of bands because they don’t appeal to everyday, normal people. But we luckily got the opportunity to put this sort of music to everyday people.” Hailing from Leeds, Eagulls are a punk band without the contrived appearance and stage presence. The type of music they play is something that stems from childhood experiences. “When I was young, it was always about the punk music. It was what I related to and listened to most.” Mitchell also experienced the punk culture first hand, going to many concerts and shows as a child. It seems strangely appropriate that when he talks about seeing “proper shows”, he’s actually referring to crowd surfing and throngs of screaming, crazed fans. In 2013, the band posted a controversial open letter to their website after the SXSW festival criticising “all beach bands” for being too pampered and having no grasp of how difficult it can be to make progress in the music industry. “Fuck you and all your mums and dad that pay for you to ‘do the band full time.’” While still receiving coverage about their comments, Mitchell seems eager to distance himself from it now. “People have come up with all sorts of weird thoughts about it. To be honest, it was like a five minute thing.” By distancing themselves, the band allows their so far well-received music to be appreciated for what it is. Having released their eponymous debut album in March of this year, the record has been noted for both its instrumentation and vocals. Talking about the recording process, Mitchell admits, “We intended to keep the live intensity of our music and keep the brittle sort of sound. We worked with a producer called Matt Peel. We just got on with him and things worked out well.” While Mitchell appears quite relaxed about the process, he’s clearly passionate about the work the band put in. “There was no outside input on our album at all. It was all down to us.” The band won Best Music Video at this year’s NME Music Awards. When asked about a particular highlight of the night, Mitchell suspiciously blames his “world’s worst memory” for his forgetfulness of the star-studded bash. He does admit, however, “It was strange. You’re just sitting down and you look around and see all these people. It’s a very weird experience to see all these faces that you see on the telly.” While punk music may not be everyone’s first choice, Eagulls have so far found steady success with fans and critics alike. With a full summer planned ahead as they hit the road, including a number of supporting slots with Franz Ferdinand, Eagulls’ flight seems to be only taking off.
Jamie Mann Studying Sociology & Economics
Wearing: Shirt – Vintage shop, Shoes – Nike, trousers – Penneys, Knitted Jumper – River Island, bag – bought at a reggae festival in California. Style Inspiration: London street style. Biggest bargain: An oversized shirt from Fresh Temple Bar for €15. Most expensive purchase: Barber jacket €200.
1 Aron Burk Psychology Jumper – Sheppard & Woodward, trousers – Levis, T-shirt – “Bought when I was 14”, Shoes – Puma Fashion inspiration: Floordrobe findings 2 Clair Parsons Law Shoes – River Island, Trousers – Zara, Top – Topshop, Scarf – COS, Bag – River Island, Necklace – Holy communion necklace, Cardigan – Topshop Fashion inspiration: Olivia Palermo
3 Clodagh McQuinn Teacher Shoes – Ecco, Jeans – Topshop, T-shirt – Benetton, Cardigan – Dunnes Stores, Earrings – Penneys, Jacket – Zara, Bag – Bought in France Fashion inspiration: Dresses for her shape 4 Enita Pecsi Commerce International Shoes – Penneys, Jeans – H&M, Bag – Hungarian brand, Jacket – Roxy, Cardigan – Designer store in Budapest, Shirt – H&M, Necklace – Urban Outfitters, Ring – Second hand store, Sunglasses – Ray bands Fashion inspiration: Personal taste 5 Ludwig Septier English Shoes – French brand, Trousers – Zara, Scarf – H&M, Coat – French brand, Bag – Kotia, Glasses – Tommy Hilfiger Fashion inspiration: Classy/casual words Emily Mullen Photographs Emily Mullen
Summer vibes With those deadlines and exams looming, Sarah O’Shea is here with some dry shampoo and a feathery-fringed bagful of pointers to help you dress for whatever festival the summer has in store for you
Shoes: River Island – €40 Shorts: Topshop Boutique – €55 Bodysuit: American Apparel – €45 Kimono: River Island – €55 Necklace: Joanne Hynes – €60 Sunglasses: Topshop – €15
With festivals all over Ireland releasing tickets and line-ups at an alarming rate, our thoughts quickly turn to what we are going to wear, aside from a black bag of course. Preparation is key. Even Kate Moss had her denim shorts and leather waistcoat at the ready before she embarked on storming Glastonbury. Though festivals usually mean three things for Irish women (wellies, willpower and wetwipes) a little bit of thought and preparation can go a long way. Packing for a festival can be distressing experience, as you find yourself caught between wanting to bring your new clothes and the realisation that they will be destroyed in a mudfight. That waging battle between being scared of ruining your new American Apparel Disco shorts, to feeling a little peeved wearing those five-years old rags that your mum assured you can be thrown straight in the bin when you get home is the quandary. Fret not, however, as it is still possible to look
fresh to death and mud-ready with the aid of a few key pieces. The Irish high street is packed with key pieces that can transform any dull outfit into a festival-ready chic, without the afflicting heartache of ruining any new pieces you may have whipped up the courage to pack. If there’s anything that sums up a festival wardrobe, it’s denim cut-offs, as seen here on our model Kiera. An old-school vintage pair of frayed or coloured Levis will fit the bill nicely and won’t make your debit card weep, either. Shop around and you’ll find yourself a thrifted gem of a pair that will last you all summer, setting you back no less than €20. High-waisted, rolled-up, pinstriped; whatever the style, make these your go to item for easy festival dressing. Not only do they take up virtually no space in your bag, they match with basically everything and considering denim is practically indestructible, there’s nothing a few baby wipes won’t do to rid of any unwanted mucky bum-cheek stains.
As for accessorising, floppy hats, leather belts, layered necklaces, body chains and rings, along with a good set of sunglasses will definitely set you high in the style stakes. Slinky leather rucksacks, satchels and headdresses are also welcome additions, by all means. The more colourful, feathered and embellished the better. From then on, having minimal time (and space) to get dressed in a 6 x 6 foot tent will prove easy as pie. Think monochrome bodysuits, like this American Apparel number featured on Kiera for ultimate style credentials. Kimonos like the River Island gem on Holly or printed culottes, cropped tops, delicate bodices and a trusty pair of gladiator sandals will also prove to be invaluable key pieces in mixing and matching various outfits. If you can collate a few niche elements as such, along with a bright matte lip, then you can probably expect to be street-style papped at some point mid-festival.
Shoes: River Island – €70 Denim shorts: American Apparel – €60 Swimsuit: American Apparel – €35 Hat: H&M – €11.95 Sunglasses: Topshop – €20 Earrings: Vintage shop – €6 Backpack: River Island – €40 Belt: 9Crowstreet – €17
#winning or #binning #winning
T-shirts with hoods Pastel jeans An easy alternative to looking slightly summery. Wear instead of standard black jeans and bish bash bosh they will have you looking ever so slightly summery #notreadyforshavingandtanningjustyet
Even the description of this item of clothing doesn’t make sense; a hood a thing that is warm, attached to a t-shirt which is there to be worn when it is too warm. #nobutreally #KantwithacapitalK
White liner Whoever or whatever YouTube channel informed the women of Ireland that putting white eyeliner along the bottom of their eyes was a good idea, should rightfully be sanctioned. #itdoesntlookwellitlookstroubling
The queens bling
Sunglasses: ASOS – €17 Shorts: River Island – €40 Jacket: River Island – €70 Swimsuit: American Apparel – €40 Sandals: River Island – €45 Ring: Topshop – €7
She might have bought her jewels with profits made off selling our potatoes to the French during the famine, but that old hag got swag. #wewontdrinkursoup #imgonnakeyyoureffincar
Sandals: River Island – €40 Shorts: Fanci’s Closet vintage shop – €15 Belt: 9 Crow Street – €12 Top: River Island – €28 Bag: River Island – €40 Earrings: Dublin Vintage Factory – €6
zooey Dechanels Tommy Hilfiger fashion line Great, more pleated dresses, patterns and OMG am I not just like so quirky and unassuming, do you like my fringe? #whywereyousomeantotheladin500daysofsummerlike #ihopezooeydoesntreadtheuniversityobservercozshemightwanttofightmeidbatterhertho
Damon Albarn’s hash hat What better head wear to place upon your skull whilst smoking drugs through your lovely lungs? Tanks Damon. #hashhat ftthejointandfillmylungswiththatthicksweetpuff
Jessie J’s face Make-up Assistant: Kine Good Stylist: Christin McWeeney Models: Hannah Durkan and Rebecca Durkan Photographer: James Brady
#iwouldnttouchherwithyoursm8 #knackerwhogotfamousmuch #iheardshesplayingthetrinityballnextyear
Laureate of our time
Douglas Hyde Gallery—Mongolian Folk Drawings
In her final column of the year, Laura Woulfe visits the Mongolian steppe at the Douglas Hyde Gallery’s current exhibition This interesting little exhibition brings to Dublin’s city centre a fascinating display of old ink drawings from Mongolia, most of which are related to Tantric Buddhism. The pieces in the collection include astrological charts, music notations, casual sketches and pages from manuscripts. One of the first pieces in the exhibition is described as a “labyrinthine mandala, meditational diagram” and shows a complex maze carefully executed on a fragment of paper. The complexity of this mandala along with others in the exhibition is fascinating and illustrates the very deep spirituality that inspired these ink drawings. Together with an astrological chart, featuring the emblems of the various zodiac signs drawn delicately around the circumference of the chart, the mandalas and the musical notations also on display are evidence of distant thoughts that were cultivated intellectually, creatively and spiritually. The other drawings in the exhibition, whether of animals, portraits of dominant figures or scenes representing Mongolian myths and stories prevalent in folk culture, are meticulously drawn and lavishly detailed, which fuse to capture your attention aesthetically and maintain it by appealing to the imagination. A drawing of a Buddha who is perched upon a pedestal lined with leaves and surrounded by the sun’s rays, scattered clouds and accompanied by a rearing horse shows just how skilled these Mongolian draughtsmen were. Another drawing found in the corner of a piece of parchment suggests that it was a doodle of sorts rather than a carefully planned drawing. This corner drawing shows a soldier on horseback holding a flagpole and flag that billows in the wind, perhaps a visual representation of a memory of military victory, representing another element of the multi-faceted Mongolian life the exhibition portrays. Two of the drawings in particular are quite gruesome, but this only adds to their fascination.
The variety of different examples of Mongolian visual culture that this exhibition consists of means that it is particularly enlightening about Mongolian folk history for an exhibition that houses a total of no more than thirty pieces
One depicts a wolf attacking a naked hag close to a skeleton with glowing red eyes staring from the skull and a dismembered leg lying nearby; the wolf’s first victim. Equally unusual is an image of distorted human bodies elongated and contorted to a dreamlike background, which is almost a premonition to the work of the modern surrealist artist, Dali. The variety of different examples of Mongolian visual culture that this exhibition consists of means that it is particularly enlightening about Mongolian folk history for an exhibition that houses a total of no more than thirty pieces. As a result, located in the Douglas Hyde Gallery just within the Nassau Street entrance of Trinity College, the Mongolian Folk Drawings exhibition makes a very rewarding visit.
Douglas Hyde Gallery, Mongolian Folk Drawings, free admission, closes May 21st
A couple of years ago, when people were upset that the work didn’t come up [on English Paper 2], I remember being very surprised at how personal people felt it. I was very sorry for them
After accepting her UCD Law Society Honorary Life Membership, Eavan Boland talks to Sean Hayes about her accent, anorexia and embracing technology
The name, Eavan Boland, has different meanings for different people. To many, she is one of Ireland’s best-known and loved poets. While to others, she is the poet who never showed up on English Paper 2. She greets with a surprisingly powerful handshake and, although seated in a room surrounded by students and academics, Boland naturally commands attention. The room falls silent as she reflects on what her most recent award, an Honourary LawSoc Life Membership, means to her. “I’m honoured when my work is mentioned. I’m honoured when people read it and I don’t have a much more complicated attitude than that.” Boland speaks with an accent that reflects her life. Born in Dublin, there is no denying her Irish roots. However, having moved to London with her family, she admits that her time spent there had its influences. “It affected the way I say certain words. Unfortunately, poetry is one of them. I say poetry the English way, not the Irish way.” From London, she moved to America and as a result, words such as “literature” and “Stanford” have been touched with the American twang. Many young people will be familiar with Boland through the Leaving Cert. As one of the poets on the English course, Boland has mixed views about the exam. “A couple of years ago, when people were upset that the work didn’t come up, I remember being very surprised at how personal people felt it. I
was very sorry for them.” She offers an alternative. “The system is not right. People should study poets, and get their chance to write about all or any of them.” Boland’s poetry has been noted for its topical subject matter. She takes time to talk about one particular poem, Anorexic. “I wrote that poem almost 35 years ago. At that time it was so much rarer, you couldn’t hear of it, you didn’t know it. I’ve been very sad, sometimes, to see people take up this poem and apply it to their own lives.” She is hopeful, however. “People are able to get through it now more than they were some years ago. There’s more support for them now.” The conversation turns to recent developments in modern technology. Boland proudly tells the room, “Well I’m very techie. When I was younger, I could build computers.” She views tablets as positive developments. “My kids had these back-breaking backpacks. In four or five years time, we’re never going to see that again. Children will go to school with their textbooks on their kindles. That’s a great advancement.” Boland seems wiser, but does not appear any older, than her 69 years. She is sharp, witty, and indulgently interesting. Now living in California, she shows no signs of slowing down. She still teaches creative writing at Stanford, while her poetry will continue to be appreciated for many years to come.
Fatal Fourway Best Goodbye
Frank Drebin— Naked Gun 33 1/3 Emily Longworth “Cheer up, Ed. This is not goodbye. It’s just I won’t ever see you again.” These heart-rending words from Lieutenant Frank Drebin at his own retirement party rank high amongst the greatest silver screen farewells of all time, on a par with Casablanca’s, “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship,” The Truman Show’s, “In case I don’t see you; good afternoon, good evening and good-night,” and Black Dynamite’s “Now you know why they call me Chicago Wind, fool… because I left yo’ ass blowin’ in the breeze!” Handing in his badge and his gun, Lt. Drebin gives
a poignant rendering of his time on the force. “Well... We shot a lot of people together. It’s been great.” To the dismay of his colleagues, he seems to have lost his former vigour for the mindless gunning down of criminals. Will anybody ever love shooting their way out of a problem the way Frank Drebin did? Probably not. Surely nobody will earn a ‘3,000 dead bad guy, 432 wounded’ banner at their own retirement party, and don’t call him Shirley. And with that, I’d like to bid all five of the people who read this column farewell. It sure has been a month-filled year. And I just want to tell you both, good luck, we’re all counting on you.
Hannibal Lecter— The Silence of the Lambs Steven Balbirnie Ultimately all good things must come to an end, whether it’s a damn fine film or a bizarre popculture contest between four deranged individuals. So before I ride off into the sunset and have to say so long, auf wiedersehn, sayonara; I have just enough time to make the case for the best goodbye in film. The best farewell is, of course, that which Hannibal Lecter played (by Anthony Hopkins) gives to Jodie Foster’s Clarice Starling at the end of The Silence of the Lambs.
In the final scene, Clarice is at her FBI academy graduation party after having survived the horrors of Buffalo Bill’s creepy dungeon, when who should phone her? Only everyone’s favourite cannibal; Dr Lecter. In a brief exchange, Hannibal promises not to pursue Clarice and regrets that he can’t chat to her for longer as he’s “having an old friend for dinner.” As he utters this we see Hannibal carefully watching the odious Dr Frederick Chilton as he disembarks a plane in the Bahamas, making this line both the most chilling and most clever way of saying goodbye in cinematic history. It’s been fun, peace out friends.
E.T.—E.T. the Extra Terrestrial Jack Walsh
It was also directed by Steven Spielberg. You know, the man who has used terrifying things to teach you about America over the last thirty odd Here at Otwo towers, we like to organise years and invented nostalgia. ourselves a lot like an after school special. You No other movie has a goodbye scene that know, those things that don’t exist nor have ever will make you cry while an ugly puppet badly existed in Ireland. points at a child and gurgles what is the fondest Anyway, after school specials usually teach you something, and maybe for once on this page, of farewells and then gets in a gigantic metallic disco ball. we can finally teach you something. As Otwo begins to make its ascent on its E.T. (the ultimate New Year’s Day movie) has the best and most emotional of all the possible flying bicycle for the summer, all of us would like to remind you (with our disfigured fingers from goodbyes made between small children and bashing out 12 issues) that we will be right here an alien resembling a bag of glue left out in *points at the nearest skip*. the sun.
Han & Leia—Star Wars VI: The Empire Strikes Back Laura Bell Darth Vader seems, to me, like an organised guy. The type of guy who makes lists, maybe. Unfortunately, I don’t think the fact that the Alderaanian Medical Association issued a warning about the danger of inhaling carbon-freezing smoke would rank very highly on any of them. This is because old Darth had seemingly no qualms about suspending Harrison Ford in a big unflattering block of carbon; forcing one of the most tender farewell scenes of all time. Combining incredible acting, an inspired script, and sublime atmospherics, Chewbacca’s plaintive
wail in this scene, which in a Back to the Future type scenario would have definitely inspired Marlon Brando to take a different angle on the whole “Stella” thing, is the perfect soundtrack to this poignant moment. And undoubtedly giving everyone in Cloud City a deeply upsetting noise headache. And honestly, any goodbye worth its Arcturian crystals has to feature that shifty-yet-suave vibe that only Lando Calrissian can bring to the table. That Han replies to Leia’s passionate declaration of love with the classically understated response of “I know” is just the icing on this metal-alloy cake. As the age-old adage goes, “That’s no moon, it’s a space station!” Or something.
The Back Page “The rooms were so smokey we couldn’t see anything except all these dudes just smoking huge blunts. Finally, the smoke cleared, and we’re on stage. Luckily, before either of us had to do anything, the club seemed to empty out really quickly. Basically, the club had been raided by LAPD” Andy Bell, Beady Eye guitarist reminiscing about partying with Noel Gallagher in a reggae club
“What am I proud of? Probably that despite the slapstick madness and deliberate absurdity of lots of what happens the film, it still somehow manages to connect with its audience emotionally and there are ideas in it, and great music (all played live by the actors/band), and a man in a fake head” Lenny Abrahamson talks about his new film, Frank
The amount of days until the summer exams start. Assuming you’re reading this on the day of printing, of course
The amount of points separating defending champions Manchester United and leagueleaders Liverpool in the Premier League this season
The amount of volumes of the University Observer that have been published
“A couple of years ago, when people were upset that the work didn’t come up [on English Paper 2], I remember being very surprised at how personal people felt it. I was very sorry for them” Eavan Boland on the 2010 Leaving Cert