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issue 7 23 March 2011

Peter Twomey chats to some of TCD’s finest musicians David Doyle sits down with Michael Colgan, Director of The Gate Theatre and Trinity alumnus All this and so much more!

Meet me in the Parlour Rachael Shearer checks out the JCR’s new look


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A reader confesses to Megan and Luke: My girlfriend wants me to go to New York with her this summer; my friends are all going InterRailing. Which should I choose?

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ew York! The Big Apple! Gotham! The World’s Most Exciting All Year Round Vacation Centre! I’ve never been to New York, but try this fun game: when somebody who has been there shites on about how vibrant and exciting it is, see how many clichés you can sneak in to conversation before they twig. “Oh you were staying in Williamsburg? I’ve heard you can get burritos at any hour of the night in that area...why, it almost sounds like the city that never sleeps!” “Really, you had an unpaid internship at Vice? You made it! And the thing is, if you can make it there, you really can make it anywhere.” But, turning to your dilemma- I have to tell you that if you want to hang on to her, you’re more or less obliged to go with your girlfriend on this one. If you choose The Lads she will never let it go, reminding you of it mid-coitus and using it to extract expensive jewellery from you in that shrewish way women have. New York is also almost certainly a more interesting place to spend a few months than the fabled Irish bars and hostels of InterRailing. How and ever, if you do choose thusly, your mates will ply you with stories of their elaborate and fictional sexual conquests, their legendary ability to drink a load of pints with the goddamn lads, that brilliant time Bobby shat in his shoe etc.

So really you must decide what is more important to you- your girlfriend (who could be a total bitch for all I know, or a massive ride who tells great jokes), or planting your seed in the befuddled drunks of Europe with da boys. Either way, you haven’t got a lot to complain about have you? Go away and come back to me with a real problem like pregnancy.

Go away and come back to me with a real problem like pregnancy Megan Nolan More bullshit. Go with your friends, you obviously want to. Tell her she will be lucky if you ever return to her, having banged every chick east of the Danube. Let her go to New York and pretend she is a character from Sex and the City. But she is much less interesting than them, though maybe that is why you are with her in the first place.

Interrailing is not the time to be worrying about some moany bitch. It’s a time for action, or at least reluctant onanistic inaction. Leave her at the airport, wishing her well, Oh yeah sure have a great time, give us a kiss, I’ll see you soon, I’ll miss you, love you so much. Then when you are next at a computer, send her a message on Facebook telling her it’s over and that you have no real interest in seeing her again. Sorry about you, love, as they say. Finally (as this is the final Agony column), I would like to say that, despite what you might think, my tenure as Sex Expert ’11 has done very little to win me romantic success with The Ladies. I’ve found the reaction of most girls who learn of my position to be a condescending scoff. A waste of time? Hardly. But certainly something to show the grandchildren, while smuttily muttering, “Yeah that’s right, kids. That was your old grandfather one day. Smokin’ bluntz and stretchin’ cuntz 2011. God, but those were the days.” But then they’ll probably be out “galavanting” with ecstasy pipes and “double penetration”. Have a sexy summer. Don’t believe the hype: always wear two condoms at once, for safety. Luke O’Connell

Check out our interview with Barbara Dawson, Director of the Hugh Lane on pages 7 - 9!


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In this issue…

EDITORIAL MICHELLE DOYLE

In this issue David Doyle chats with Michael Colgan, Director of the Gate Theatre and Trinity Alumnus about his time in Trinity as well as his role in the acting world

Fashion and beauty Perfume: the story of a murderer Colin McGrane may be a celeb-loving diva but where celebs and cosmetics collide, things can only take a turn for the worse. And the smelly. 04

College life Chilling at The Parlour Rachael Shearer heads to The Parlour, the new backroom / chill out zone in The JCR and for once has no criticisms! 05

fashion Work it, gurl Beth O’Rafferty chats to Hannah Little, Fashion Society auditor about the Fashion Society’s first year as a recognised society in Trinity 06

Art Interview Matthew Taylor chats to Trinity Alumnus Barbara Dawson who, since studying History of Art and Architecture in TCD has moved on and up to The Hugh Lane Gallery, becoming the director of Dublin’s most coveted art museum 07 - 10

Books The right to write Only a short walk away from Trinity College Fighting Words, a centre established by Roddy Doyle has been set up and is in full swing. Its aim? To foster a love for writing and story telling in people all ages 11

Theatre After Front gate David Doyle sits down with Michael Colgan, Director of the Gate Theatre and discusses his time in Trinity, his tenure as DU Players Chairman and his hold on the acting world since he left college 12 - 13

Film Cuts to film council’s budget Fionn Fitzpatrick shakes his head at the abolition of The UK Film Council and laments the effect this will have on Irish film and Irish acting 09

Music Music in Mouth Peter Twomey chats to the creme de la creme of TCD musicians and asks them what this academic year has had in store 15- 19

Culture Grand Design Rosa Abbott looks at The Designing Dublin initiative which attempts to educate Dubliners on some of the best loved, least known spots in the city 20

reviews Dublin Bus Signs, Crackbird, Beady Eyes and The Wind Up Girl 21-22

Back Page columnists Rachel Lavin elaborates on The View from Halls while Josh Plunkett tells readers where to go 23

Hello readers and welcome to the last instalment of UTCulture this year. What’s that? You’re devastated you say? Well fret not; I anticipated feelings of displacement tinged with dejection and despair and for that reason UTCulture has bulked up and filled out to a whopper 24 pages. Awesome, I know. Anyhow, now that I have your attention my orders are that you find a comfy seat, lay back, cross your legs and feast your eyes on the excellent articles that found their way onto these pages. Alternatively, for those of you escaping the library and whose brains may implode if they have to read yet another sentence, my advice is scan the pictures and indulge in the visual aspect. When all else fails, look at pretty pictures. Anyhow, whoever you are and whatever reason you’ve picked up this issue, I hope you enjoy it. In fact I can guarantee that if you enjoy this half as much as I did making it then you are in for a serious treat. Moving on though, while I have this huge space to fill and, if I’m honest, not a whole lot to say, I’d like to take a paragraph to issue one or two notes of thanks - what with this being the last issue and all. SO, to my fantastic section editors: thank you so much for your hard work, constant dedication and for furnishing these pages with content, issue in, issue out. Seven issues later and not one of you has let me down or left me in the lurch and for this I consider myself extremely lucky as well as wholly grateful. Dargan, our resident photographer, you get nowhere near the praise or credit you deserve and without you this magazine would be a hideous, pixelated mess. And lastly to Tom who gave me this opportunity, an opportunity that I have relished from start to finish. I must admit that it’s pretty sad to see UTCulture go. Next year however it will be back with more pages and a bigger editorial team than ever before so watch this space! In the mean time, best of luck to all those sitting exams and enjoy the last few weeks of college term. OH, AND ENJOY THE ISSUE! Michelle


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Perfume: the story of a murderer Rihanna may advocate that ‘sex in the air’ is a rather delicious smell in new song S&M but as anyone with a shred of common sense will tell you, that’s just wrong and - whatever you do - don’t bottle that smell and sell it on as a luxury perfume! BY COLIN MCGRANE

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irst of all, let me start by saying how much I empathise with today’s celebrities. The recession is in full swing, property values are plummeting and we’re all feeling the pinch – even the glitterati. Yes, although it may be hard to believe, the bills do indeed come through Beyonce’s Swarovskicrystal-encrusted letterbox just like everybody else’s. And with the music industry no longer as lucrative as it once was, todays celebutantes have had to branch out into wild new places in an effort put organic, handreared fillet mignon on the table. When faced with such a prospect, the likes of Rihanna and Britney Spears could go down any number of the usual routes in order to bring in a little extra dosh – they could go consider getting another job, reducing their day to day expenditure or maybe even downsizing. Or they could go down the road that we have all contemplated taking from time to time – releasing a poorly produced and excessively marketed celebrity perfume on the back of an international cosmetics giant. The plan is brilliant, and in order to think of it, todays celebrity masterminds must be commercial geniuses – or so I thought. Although there has been a recent increase in the amount of celebrity backed perfume brands appearing on the shelves, it seems that this is no new practice. Way back in 1987, the ever youthful and always natural beauty Cher decided to hop onto the smelly water wagon by releasing her very own fragrance entitled – ‘Uninhibited’. However despite the use of a glossy advertising campaign and brand packaging so tacky that it would make Jordan look demure, the public failed to respond to the perfume and it vanished from airport duty free shops after only two years. Since then however, celebrities have been far more successful in their attempts to bottle their own affluent and egotistic aromas. Take for example Jennifer Lopez. Lopez’s first fragrance ‘Glow’ was released in 2002, and since then she has spawned a hugely successful perfume line, being

sold in countries all over the world. Similar success stories are evidenced by Aussie songstress Kylie Minogue, who has herself released a catalogue of scents, each one proving wildly popular. The most recent celebrity to force her scent on the world (boy does that sound disgusting) is none other than Ms Katy Perry. Earlier this month, Perry unveiled her debut fragrance entitled ‘Purr’. The scent is cleverly contained inside a cat shaped bottle fashioned out of hideous iridescent purple glass and looks more like a paperweight from an Egyptian themed Las Vegas casino than a perfume. But putting the garish packaging aside,

I’m slightly curious to find out exactly what ‘Purr’ smells like? According to Perry, the fragrance is inspired both by her personality and by her love of cats. With this is mind, I’m rather expecting the smell to resemble that of a stray tabby cat who has been rolled in candy floss and force fed straight vodka through a funnel. Sadly, according to the perfumes scent notes, this is not the case. According to reviews, ‘Purr’ is a mouth-watering blend of peach, apple, coconut and rose. Definitely a plus if you are one of those people who likes to bathe yourself in a vat of Del Monte tinned fruit salad before you hit the town.

If only someone had told Ms Perry that the phrase ‘don’t bottle things up’ could be meant literally as well as figuratively. Image by Sinead Whitty

But don’t get me wrong, I am a BIG Katy Perry fan, and even as I type this, the soothing notes of ‘California Girls’ are emanating from my stereo. While Perry is in no way forcing her fans to rush out and buy her perfume (although I’ve totally pre-ordered a bottle online), it is undeniably difficult to appreciate Perry’s ‘Purr’ as a legitimate product when we have seen so many celebrity endorsements in the past. Nevertheless, Katy Perry’s perfume has thus far been receiving generally positive reviews, and I suppose that it is understandable that someone like Perry who is young, beautiful and talented can stand to gain from releasing a perfume targeted at her mainly young fans. However there are some celebrity perfume endorsements which I simply cannot forgive, case in point: Ms Celine Dion. In my eyes, Celine can do no wrong. Along with the maple syrup that I put on my porridge and Ryan Reynolds, she is Canada’s greatest export. But when Dion released her own line of fragrances in conjunction with Elizabeth Arden, I couldn’t help but feel a little let down. While I’m sure that ‘scent of Celine’ (It’s not actually called that, although it would be kind of cool if it was) is as amiable a scent as any, it is slightly depressing to see someone so talented and so established going down the road of endless endorsements. I understand that Celine needs to make ends meet, but I cannot shake the feeling that the world of endorsements is becoming increasingly intermingled with the world of celebrity. In the end, you can’t blame Dion, or any celebrity for that matter, for using their notoriety to sell merchandise (after all, they are essentially business people) but when I can walk into Arnotts and pay €40 to smell like Rihanna, then things have gone too far. Although judging by Rihanna’s claim that she loves the smell of ‘sex in the air’, I’m none too keen to sample her soon to be released fragrance.


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Chill time at the Parlour What began as a dingy backroom in the JCR has been converted to a ‘domain of chill’ that has attracted swarms of Trinity students from across the campus. So is it any good? BY RACHAEL SHEARER The Chill-central zone also sports a charming interior. Check it.

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f there was anything missing from Trinity that further hindered our endless desire to procrastinate and generally faff about, it was something like The Parlour. Cold days that left us shivering by the cricket pitch or going numb in the various smoking areas eventually won the battle and herded us to the library in search of warmth. Not only does The Parlour provide such enticing safety from the elements that we have so striven to avoid, but it entertains us too. What began as a dingy backroom in the JCR – a space in itself normally reserved for the Hamilton kids, being too far a trek for Arts bums – has been converted to a domain

The atmosphere is very chilled, comfortable and serves to distract you from what you are supposed to be doing of “chill” happenings that appeal to Trinity students, enough so to drag them from all ends of campus to

the various treats in store. Initially, the JCR team wanted to set up the space for small gigs, but when they collaborated with the man behind “Ponderbox”, “Electric Relaxation” and so on, Niall Morahan, they realised their opportunities were endless. With a committee drawn from inside and outside the JCR, the Facebook plugging began. Eager future attendees were invited to follow the progress as photographic evidence of numerous artistic endeavours to convert the room into a stage for an assortment of student talent appeared. “Construction”, as the album was called, revealed glimpses of bronze chairs, upsidedown tables, painted limbs, nips, faces and cups. We had no idea what to expect. What we were greeted with during the launch week was a pleasant surprise. While the place currently lacks a bit of colour and is still quite obviously in its early days, Niall maintains that “the place itself will be a continual work in progress... sometimes the journey is its own destination.” The journey, as it stands, shows a lot of promise. Mostly black and white, but well lit, with some comfy couches and those slick (although unnervingly shaky) bronze chairs, the atmosphere is very chilled, comfortable and serves to distract you from what you’re supposed to be doing quite well. The art displays inside, while impressive, aren’t just on the walls – I reckon my favourite part of the entire decor was the tables which are covered in pages of old, rubbish

books. Stolen from an unfortunate old bat who owns a mysterious bookshop in Goldsmith where the

They’ve started as they mean to continue – no bang, just a calm ease into the ”journey” ahead books themselves appear in hallways as opposed to shelves, the pages vary from bad poetry to diagrams of some kind of scientific nature – a nice touch to the room. The idea behind The Parlour is to try out ideas and displaying talent in an arena unlike ENTS where the focus is big crowds, profit and general mayhem. They also hope to collaborate with other societies as they already have with Vis-Art and Digital art. They are reportedly “delighted” with the success of their opening week which gave students an idea of what’s to come in the future of The Parlour. Every day saw various students bopping in to demonstrate their DJ skills – arguably encouraging the very becoming attitude that everyone who likes

music can, in fact, be a DJ, but very entertaining all the same, and those who did play music had obviously been chosen wisely as each set contributed to the chilled atmosphere of the venue. To pass the evenings, various arts films were shown such as all 5 of Francois Truffaut featuring the character Antoine Doinel, to name but a few – an apt addition to the artsy vibes. The future of The Parlour looks bright as they plan to continue to spread the word and run some interesting events focused on art, comedy, music, drama and film, as well as some more food-orientated shindigs which are rarely seen around college these days. Their first “taste” of this kind of event went down a treat on Pancake Tuesday with a seemingly endless supply of pancakes popping around the room with a delightful array of toppings. Lovely. So, it seems The Parlour is going to be quite the success in the upcoming year as they’ve started as they mean to continue – no bang, just a calm ease into the ”journey” ahead. It’s almost too easy to spend hours there as DJs change over and new people come and go. Tip: Getting a spot in one of the leather couches is pretty key to aid optimum food, art and music enjoyment plus chills. They’re still on the lookout for more people to get involved and encourage people to check them out or contact them on Facebook. Watch this space.


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Work it, gurl! The Fashion Society has developed a great presence on campus despite only being alive and active for one year. So what shall the future hold for TCD’s newest society? BY BETH O’RAFFERTY PHOTO: DARGAN CROWLEY-LONG

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he TCD Fashion Society has just finished up its first year as a fullyfledged society, with their AGM (upon time of writing) being only two days away. In light of this changeover, UT Culture sat down with Hannah Little, President of the Fashion Society, to ask her just what the Fashion Society had achieved in its first year: “Well, seeing as it was our first year, our main aim was to get our name out there. It was hard as well. No one in the society had ever been involved in a committee. We were kind of finding our feet, myself particularly - out of nowhere I had become the Chair of a society. I had to organise my committee (who are also my friends!), Freshers’ Week, events… The whole thing was just really, really difficult. “At the start of the year, we all met and set out our aims for the society that year, the overall concern of the society being to promote fashion in any form that the students wanted. “It was also one of our big aims to get a fashion show running again which took a huge amount of focus, but we achieved that as well as a lot of other stuff as well. Over the year we had swap shops, movie nights, stuff like that. We certainly enjoyed that but as regards to our achievements this year it was really just basing ourselves because we were still a provisional status society. Other than that I think we’ve layed down a really firm groundwork for the committee of next year, which is certainly an accomplishment.” And if you could have done anything differently this year, in regards to the aims and

spreading fashion around campus, what would it be? “I think I probably would have co-ordinated with other societies more. From what I’ve seen that works really well, for example Trinity Arts Festival (TAF). “I judged an event at TAF which was a charity fashion show and I think that cross-collaboration between societies works really well. “The thing about fashion is it’s not limited, it spreads, particularly in Trinity. It’s very obvious simply from walking around that fashion is quite prominent throughout college; the interest is not just limited to members of The Fashion Society. “One of the greatest challenges this year was trying to prove to people that the society was not a little niche thing, convincing people that we weren’t there to judge what everyone was wearing. A lot of people made jokes about the Fashion Society, referring to us as the ‘Fascist Society’ when that simply was not the case! “This year a lot of the focus went into the fashion show and I think the advice that I would give, and that I will give the committee next year, it just to broaden it out, to make little events as well as the fashion show. I think running competitions is very important, possibly making a publication, stuff like that.” You mentioned the fashion show, swap shops and movie nights but what other things did you do on campus to raise the profile of the society seeing as you were so new? “The EGM we had at the start of the year was really well received; we were excited by the amount of people that got involved.

Over the year we teamed up with the Trinity Arts Workshop to get Peter O’ Brien in to do a fashion illustration course. And because so many people were interested in the fashion show we made it as collaborative as possible, an effort which combined the forces of our committee as well as our members. The whole thing turned out really well and everyone was really proud of what they had helped to create, the committee and the members so that was really great!” So, we take it that the fashion show was the highlight of the Fashion Soc’s year, then? “Oh, definitely! I don’t think anyone realises how much work it involved. We were planning it from the very start and we had no funding from the CSC (Central Societies Committee) whatsoever. We had to seek out sponsorship ourselves so seeing it work as well as it did was really encouraging even if it felt like an uphill struggle.” You won’t be President next year so where do you think the

Fashion Society is heading in 2011-2012? “Hopefully to a bigger reputation on campus, I hope it’s not a society that dwindles out as a oneyear thing. I think judging by the interest that was generated over the past year, what with people getting involved in the fashion show, that it is something that will carry on and that a lot of people are passionate about. “Our AGM is on Monday (14 March) and I’m really interested to see who goes for what. As regards to Chairperson, it was such a challenging year and I feel like I should pass the torch on but it is worrying me, I don’t know who’s going to go for it. “I will have involvement in it next year and we’ll see what the committee do, what they make of it, it could be completely different, I don’t know how it will go.” Just on a final note, seeing as you’re head of the Fashion Society, what do you think makes great personal style? “What makes great personal

style? I think it’s a combination of wearing what suits you and what suits your figure, not just going with what’s in trend. “I worked in Topshop for two years and I bought so much clothes that I’ll probably never wear again. I think it’s about not being a slave to what’s in fashion. When something new comes out I’ll know whether it’s going to look good on me or not. “I think as well that it’s better to work with a budget. There’s no point going out and buying something and then realising that it was a stupid decision and resenting the thing. I think it’s so much better to pick up little pieces in places like vintage shops, second-hand shops, stuff like that. I’ve made a rule for myself recently, I don’t buy anything over €30 unless I really, really want it which is actually quite often! Not being a slave to fashion is really important because fashion changes so quickly and spending lots of money on it, well, there really isn’t any point.


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Dublin City Canvas Barbara Dawson, Director of The Hugh Lane Gallery and Trinity alumnus invites UTCulture into her office to chat about the College’s contemporary art collection and how a dislike for chemistry kick started her career in the gallery world MATTHEW TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHER: DARGAN CROWLEY-LONG


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he Hugh Lane gallery stands as a huge Georgian Mansion nestled between terraced red-bricks on Parnell square, the austere edifice of which conceals behind it what is arguably Ireland’s greatest collection of Modern Art. Its permanent collection contains the works of some of Ireland’s most famous artists including Jack B. Yeats, William Orpen and Francis Bacon to name a few, and also international art such as that of Manet, Monet and Renoir. It is, therefore, no mean feat to rise to become its Director. The current Director is Barbara Dawson, a woman as charming as she is formidable, and judging by the depth and breadth of our interview no intellectual slouch either. “I graduated from Trinity in 1982… I did an H.Dip in Education, and then I went to the National Gallery with an idea to developing an abstract for my Masters, and I kind of just kept going in the museum world”. At this point, I must confess I was a little surprised, having always assumed that art was one of those vocational things (like taxidermy). “I suppose I wanted to learn something I didn’t know. I hadn’t studied art in school, in fact I studied chemistry, and if you studied chemistry, you didn’t do art so I

Art doesn’t look like a tree, it doesn’t look like a person, it is simply art and that phenomenon makes the psyche richer because it’s the uncertainty that’s interesting

thought this [art] is something I want to know. As well as this I had always been interested in the fine arts”. This goes to emphasise a central point that many of us Trinity students have always believed; that it’s ok to learn something just because you’d like to know it. Too often Scientists, Engineers and Economists thumb their noses at Philosophers, Botanists and Art Historians but we romantic few are contented with our education. And if you have to learn something seemingly useless, where better to learn it than Trinity? “Well your [learning] environment is very important” says Ms. Dawson. “The Douglas Hyde was there, the library, even the 18th Century Architecture, so it was really if you had the curiosity, the environment was there to nurture it”. Our conversation turns to the 50th Anniversary of the Contemporary Art collection in Trinity, which is supported by the Hugh Lane, the two collections having many artists in common. “I’d like to ask you how visible is the collection to you as a student?” Eek, appalling scrambling of notes, searching the photographer’s equally blank stare for potential answers, until eventually we reach a collectively meek reply:

“Fairly”. “The nature of art work is that, obviously, it has to be inside and on view… But it’s nice to have them there and to have them wash with you, or just to see art works on the wall… It’s very important and a very important part of the cultural life of the University and of course George Dawson, the Contemporary Collection’s founder (no relation regrettably) did have a wonderful collection”. Feeling a little demoralised in my ignorance of these great works of art right on my doorstep, I move quickly and (if I do say so myself ) tactfully to a more sociological element. It is quite amazing to think that in 1959, in a country ruled by Bishops and Conservatives that George Dawson, even if he was a professor in Trinity, would have been able to establish a collection of modern art. “Any Patrons of contemporary practise are worthy of note and particularly at the end of the ‘50s where the greatest concerns were, coming out of the depression, agriculture and business so it is worthy to note that Trinity was a great patron of the contemporary arts. The space for the Douglas Hyde, as it was then the University Museum, was also pioneering, as it still is, and gives a good reflection on Trinity”.

By now, we were all feeling a bit Trinity-ed out, and so moved on to more general questions of Aestheticism. The question was posed: How important is Art to every day life? “I think it’s central, art is central to your life. It is just impossible to park it over there in some periphery and then to get on with things. Art is in the centre and any real art is central. I’m not talking about interior decoration… I mean art! “If you see the exhibition we have here at the moment, Richard Tuttle,” which on an author’s sidenote is fantastic “as well as seeing the permanent collection, the art can be nothing else. It doesn’t look like a tree, it doesn’t look like a person, it is just simply art and that phenomenon makes the psyche richer because surety is not of interest, it’s what you’re not sure of that’s interesting. “In a learning institution, in a scholarly institution, in an education institution, by which I mean a place where you are absorbing laterally things that are going on around you as well as doing a particular subject, I think that art can be of enormous importance and influence. Sorry if that’s rambly.” Modesty over Brevity as we always say at UTCulture. “I think that the artificial divide;

that you’re either scientifically orientated or you’re artistically motivated is the greatest load of rubbish, and I think that if you, philosophically, accepted that art is central to everyday life, it’d be far easier and we could just get on with things”. Take that you Hamilton-Science nerds! I mean, eh, yeah. It’s about time we had some brotherly love between the Hamilton buildings and the Arts block, and Barbara Dawson’s the one to bring it. Though I left the interview feeling decidedly less knowledgeable about artistry in Trinity, I think that Ms. Dawson crystallised many of the things that we feel about this great college of ours. Firstly, that there is a wealth of art and extra education at our discretion, and that all too often we drift from Bus Stop to Lecture Hall without pausing to take it in. Secondly, that these few years gifted to us for the purpose of in depth education are all too often wasted on studying what is immediately practical as opposed to what is pleasurable, and Thirdly that more of us need to let a bit more ‘art’ into our lives. As a final thought, to anyone who has ever been told that there is no career to be made in studying Art History, you should visit Barbara Dawson’s office; it’s bleedin’ massive!


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Richard Tuttle: Triumph is a site specific exhibition and collaboration with the artist. Curated by Barbara Dawson and Michael Dempsey this exhibition will be showing in the Hugh Lane Gallery until 10 April 2011

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The write to right? Fighting Words is a new centre founded by Roddy Doyle and former Amnesty International Director Sean Love. The centre’s aim? To inspire a love of story telling in people of all ages BY RYAN KENNY

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n college, writing means essays. And essays mean deadlines, word counts, and desperate, coffee fuelled all-nighters. It means trying to sound like we know what we’re talking about, trying to get enough information across, to shoe-horn in enough quotes. One thing it almost never involves is story-telling. Which is a shame, because, however much it may feel like being part of a bad Failte Ireland campaign to admit it, Ireland has always been a nation of storytellers. Our celebrated greats, Joyce, Wilde, Beckett, Yeats, and all the others who tend to have things named after them, are, for all their fame and glory, not so different from the rest of us. Every day we all ask, and answer, the question “What’s the story?” No more than fifteen minutes from Front Arch, the Fighting Words creative writing centre on Russell Street is helping to connect those who walk through its doors back to that culture of story-telling. Founded by renowned Irish author Roddy Doyle and former Director of Amnesty International Sean Love, and inspired by American author Dave Eggers’ 826 project, the centre has gone from strength to strength since opening its doors in January 2009. With over 20,000 satisfied students so far, and their primary and secondary school workshops fully booked for the year by the end of their first week taking bookings, they must be doing something right. Although they provide a range of other evening, weekend, and mid-term workshops, covering everything from screenplays to song writing, the main focus of the centre is the creative writing sessions which take place each morning and afternoon, four days a week. Each morning a class of primary school children arrives in the bright, booklined front office, before being taken through the ‘magic’ revolving bookcase to the centre itself. Seated on the colourful beanbags spread across the floor, they are told by the volunteer leading the class that they will be spending the morning writing a story, and

initial hesitance is quickly overrun by enthusiasm, and soon ideas and fragments of stories, “Captain Wartburger and the Magic Lotion”, “The Legend of Noel The Squirrel”, “he wants to own the world’s biggest ball of string” are flying across the room. Once the beginning of the story has taken shape, the second half of the morning is spent in writing their own endings to the story, and at the end of the two hour period, each student is presented with a printed copy of their story, complete with illustrations and their photograph on the back. The afternoon session with secondary school students runs along similar lines, but with most of the tricks used to get the younger children involved (the revolving door, the editor’s voice) stripped away. Instead, the opening hour often begins with two volunteers given a scenario, for example two friends in the middle of a misunderstanding about a concert ticket, and are asked to act it out, with their dialogue then forming the basis for the beginning of the story. The centre is operated almost entirely on a voluntary basis. A permanent staff of four coordinates all the activities and the volunteers, but volunteers run almost all of the classes. Thanks in part to the involvement of one of Ireland’s leading writers, some of these volunteers include people like John Banville, Eoin Colfer, Christy Moore, and Paul Durcan, to name but a few, who have all run workshops in their particular fields. But the day to day operation of the centre, and its ability to achieve its mission of “providing somewhere that encourages creative writing in all its forms, everyone is welcome, and everything is free”, depends on ordinary volunteers, many of whom are students, escaping for a few hours from the endless cycle of word-count focused, deadline driven, storyless, essay writing.

In two hours’ time these tots may well have been published by the cantankerous editor lurking behind the bookshelves... that, if it is very good, it might just be published by the mysterious and cantankerous editor whose voice barks out at them from behind

another bookcase. The one condition: it must be entirely original. The first part of the morning is spent collaboratively, creating the

building blocks of the story. By brainstorming and voting on ideas for a main character, a best friend, a greatest wish, and a greatest fear,

For details about the centre or how to get involved see www.fightingwords.ie or email sarah@fightingwords.ie.


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After Front Gate Michael Colgan may be one of the most revered names in theatre but that didn’t stop the alumnus from taking time out of his busy work schedule to discuss his time in Trinity, his role in the Gate and the ‘attractive girl’ in DU Players who instigated his career in the theatre

BY DAVID DOYLE

T

here are few names more important in the theatrical world than Michael Colgan, current Director of the Gate Theatre, and certainly none who have had such sustained critical success throughout their career as he has. His career at the Gate which has spanned over twenty-five years has seen him oversee the hugely important Beckett and Pinter Festivals as well as numerous award-winning productions. However the groundwork for this success doesn’t lie in stage schools or drama college but rather in DU Players and this month, Michael has taken time out of his hectic schedule to talk to University Times Culture about his time in Trinity, his current role at the Gate Theatre and to share his opinions about the Irish theatrical world. When Michael first entered Trinity in October 1968 he thought that the moment would have “a major influence” on his life and in hindsight it did fundamentally alter the direction his life would take. Prior to starting in Trinity, he had no experience and indeed no real interest in the theatre but his involvement in Players was to alter his route through life and start him on a journey that would see him rise to the pinnacle of Irish theatre. You might think that it was a love of theatre or a burning creative passion that led Michael to Players’ Theatre but in actual fact it was an attractive girl that first led him into the society. He explained, “My first year was spent telling lies to girls and playing poker in the junior common room. It was a good life because my ability to keep a straight face worked well for both scenarios. At the beginning of my second year, in fact, during freshers’ week, I was losing heavily in the Common Room and came out for some air. They were giving free


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Michael Colgan (left) with playwright Brian Friel (right)

coffee downstairs at number 4, some society or other. Only when I went down did I realise it was Players. Some attractive girl asked me to come to a meeting on Thursday night. I said yes.” It was that decision to go to the meeting that led to Michael’s first theatrical production in Richard Fegen’s production of Andorra written by Max Frisch which he signed up for the non-speaking role of a black shirt opposite Paul McGuinness. The role required nothing more than looking like a fierce soldier but it marked a seminal moment in both Michael’s theatrical and personal life, something which Colgan himself acknowledges, remarking, “Andorra meant a great deal to me. It starred Susan FitzGerald who became my wife and besides Paul McGuinness, it also starred Paolo Tullio, both of whom have been my best friends for 40 years.” However this friendship with McGuiness was often tested as they both carved out similar niches as directors and indeed once McGuiness declared his intention to run for the position of chair of Players, Colgan actively began campaigning for the only other contender in the race. However on election day, much to his surprise, someone nominated Michael for the position and despite having no intention to run, he found himself elected chair of DU Players and it was this position that granted him his first insights into professional theatre during his first summer

as chair. “That summer the Artistic Director of the

I said I was going to be a Psychologist. He said “You will do nothing of the sort. You will join me in the Abbey Theatre”. More than a year later, when I got my degree, I telephoned his office, and he said, “You will start on Monday”. And I did.” Abbey, Thomas McAnna, rented our tiny theatre for a week. I asked all of my committee to

be around so that we could give an excellent service and justify our huge rental – I think it was 25 pounds! Nobody turned up and for a week, I was Mr McAnna’s trustee assistant; running up and down ladders, buying his cigarettes, painting bits of scenery and happily doing all that was required. At the end of the week, McAnna a well-known republican asked “What will you do when you leave this Protestant establishment?” I said I was going to be a Psychologist. He said “You will do nothing of the sort. You will join the Abbey Theatre”. More than a year later, when I got my degree, I telephoned his office, and he said, “You will start on Monday”. And I did.” Colgan did indeed start on the Monday and worked at the Abbey for five years before joining the Irish Theatre Company and then the Dublin Theatre Festival before becoming the Director of the Gate in 1983. It was at the Gate that Michael forged a hugely successful career, becoming one of the most well respected men in theatre but he’s not content to merely rest on his laurels and is constantly striving to achieve new things. One of his current projects is the Gate Lab which seeks to be a forum for writers, directors and actors in which they can experiment and workshop. Colgan wants it to be a place in which people can “explore in an environment where it is ok to fail”, something which is crucial for the future of Irish theatre. Indeed this latest initiative is crucial in

combating what Michael sees as the primary problem for Irish theatre, not having the systems in place to channel what he views as the immense talent that the Irish theatre world produces. Worried about losing yet more acting talent overseas, he wishes to see the reduction in the amount of luck needed to forge out a successful career on the stage in Ireland. To do this, he suggests that “the city needs more venues of a smaller size (I can’t think how bereft we would be without Project) and I believe that the Arts Council should initiate and subsidize a proper mentoring scheme. The talent is there, we just need to know how to channel it.” Indeed Michael sees student theatre as being of crucial importance to the future development of theatre in Ireland, suggesting that there is “nothing more important” then it. Indeed it is clear that Michael wouldn’t be where he is today without the student theatre movement, it gave him his first taste of theatre, his first job in the professional theatrical world and perhaps most importantly the skills needed to forge out the hugely successful career that he now has and it is clear that Michael hasn’t forgotten the huge and lasting impact that Players has had on his life, saying “ it was certainly Trinity Players that taught me that this was the life for me and sent me on the right road.”


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Cuts to Film Council’s budget The UK Film Council may have been one of the main backing bodies behind the hugely acclaimed King’s Speech but that hasn’t saved it from massive government cuts. A huge blow to British film no doubt, how will this affect Ireland and Irish acting? BY FIONN FITZPATRICK

T

he success of Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech has been an amazing story. Produced by an independent British production company, See-Saw Films, it was released quietly last September to several festivals where claims of Oscarworthiness began almost immediately. What followed was a rolling snowball of hype and acclaim, resulting in box office figures to rival Toy Story 3. By the end of last month, without a moment to catch the breath, The King’s Speech had claimed four Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director for Hooper, and Best Actor for Colin Firth. Critics spoke of how Britain had made a statement to Hollywood; the British film industry was positively beaming with pride. Mere weeks later and the same industry is coming down from its collective high. The reality of The King’s Speech is it could stand alone, not as a benchmark for future projects, but a reminder of what could have been. Last July, the decision was made by the British government to abolish the UK Film Council. The UK Film Council was set up in 2000 to help promote, develop and invest in British film. Their influence has been massive, not least because of the lottery money allocated to

them that helped significantly support commercially-driven British films; commerciallydriven British films such as The King’s Speech. The Film Council invested about £1 million in Tom Hooper’s film. Without the UK Film Council, The King’s Speech would never have been made.

It can’t be understated how important British film is for our best acting talent British film is hugely important for Irish filmmakers, scriptwriters, actors, etc, and naturally they will be supporting anti-abolishment campaigners for the UKFC. The body has been massively important for the Irish film industry in the past, investing over €500,000 towards The Wind That Shakes The Barley starring Cillian Murphy, and €300,000 towards Hunger starring Michael Fassbender; the former winning the Palme D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in

The recent success of The King’s Speech starring Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter has unfortunately failed to save The UK Film Council which will be taken over by the British Film Institute later this year

2006. It can’t be understated how important British film is for our best acting talent, from Aiden Gillen and Cillian Murphy to Michael Fassbender and Brendan Gleeson. The UK Film Council will be taken over by the British Film Institute (BFI), a charitable organisation that will immediately have its resources slashed by 15%. It remains to be seen whether they can carry on the good work of the UK Film Council in promoting, developing and, most importantly, investing in British film. However, one sure positive to have come from the success of The King’s Speech is the decision by major studio giants Pinewood Shepperton to work with four British films every year, investing a 20% stake in films that have a budget of about £2 million. These films will have access to the many ancillary services provided by the major studio, home to the James Bond and Harry Potter franchises. Perhaps the support of major studios is the way forward for independently financed British films. Whatever happens with the British film industry over the next few months and years, the Irish film industry should be paying very close attention. Britain have obviously decided in times of economic crisis and the need for cuts that culture

and the arts are the most disposable aspects of public life. Should Fine Gael and Labour decide the same is true of Ireland, the effects would be even more damaging. The Irish Film Board is a body that has supported the indigenous industry of Irish filmmaking since 1993, helping produce such films as the aforementioned The Wind That Shakes The Barley, Intermission and Man About Dog. These films and more have helped Ireland’s best on-screen talent break through to the international stage. Were it not for the IFB, who knows where Colin Farrell would be today. As well as assisting indigenous projects, the IFB also looks after international producers and directors who need information on filming in Ireland, tax incentives, crews, equipment etc. Their influence has seen the likes of Braveheart, King Arthur, and Reign of Fire filmed in Ireland. Economically, this is all hugely significant. In 2008, the Irish audio-visual sector was valued at €557.3 million by PwC (Pricewaterhouse Coopers) and responsible for over 6,000 employed. It was estimated the same year that 18% of all tourists visited Ireland as a result of Irish film. The support of indigenous filmmaking is important for Irish culture and Irish identity, and this

should not be ignored, but its effect economically is interesting. This is a positive growth industry with real talent and firm infrastructure. This month, US Irish Film Festivals will be taking place all across America. Unsurprisingly, the biggest of these will be the Irish Film Festival Boston which is in its 12th year. An Bord Snip

18% of all tourists visited Ireland as a result of Irish films Nua proposed in 2009 that the IRB be abolished and their enterprising efforts be moved to Enterprise Ireland. This would not just be a disappointment, it would be a tragedy. Irish film is growing all the time and the talent this tiny island has consistently produced over the years is staggering. Let’s hope our filmmaking is not the victim of short-sighted, ignorant government cuts. We’re just too damn good for that.


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Music in mouth With the passing of another college year it is necessary to look back and evaluate the standout musicians of 2010 - 2011. TCD has a strong tradition of immensely talented and popular musical acts and it was indeed difficult to whittle down the selection to a mere four acts. The four selected here consist of the over-achievers of 2010 - 2011 and represent the very best Trinity has to offer, each extremely deserving of their celebrated place. By Peter Twomey


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Robbie Kitt

Having begun the academic year with a performance at Electric picnic, Robbie Kitt’s fledging music career has gone from strength to strength, culminating in the Orchestral Society’s two-date sell-out show in February with Robbie sharing lead vocals in the illustrious Daft Punk gig (which recently won Best Event at the CSC awards). Are you pleased with the direction your music has taken since September? “With regards to Spilly Walker, we haven’t been that active, not since September. We played Electric Picnic at the end of the summer, our third time playing the festival, but since then we haven’t been doing much gigging. The real focus has

been on finishing the album. Dave went off to have it mastered in France and it’s pretty much ready to be released at this point. We’re playing a gig on the 15th of April in The Grand Social. It’ll be great to get Spilly back on track as David (Kitt, brother) and myself have been working on some of the material for almost three years now, on and off. Other than that, I’m working on my own stuff and hopefully starting a collaboration with my good friend Joseph Kielthy who has recently released an EP that is available online called “get going” and will be available in CD form next month all under the moniker Rhino Magic.” What has been the

highlight event, this academic year? “I suppose it was the Daft Punk gig. Despite being able to actually participate in the event (which was an amazing experience!) Daft Punk’s ‘Discovery’ has been my favourite record ever since its release. It came together fantastically well, which wasn’t a surprise what with the amazing musicians involved, and the vast amount of talent shared amongst the different music societies in college. Lots of credit has to go to Rob Farhat (Orchestral Society Auditor). He put in a massive amount of work, but also really understood what needed to be done in transferring a purely electronic record to an orchestral setting.”


Empire Saints Chatting to Fiachra Treacy, Law student: Few bands receive the immense honour of appearing on the front cover of Ireland’s main music journalist institution, Hot Press. Empire Saints achieved just that last September having won The Guinness’ ‘Our Thursdays’ contest and now, with a debut album on the way, the future of Empire Saints looks very bright indeed. Are you pleased with the direction your

music has taken since September? “September was a great time for us as we got to play Arthur’s Day in Galway in front of 3000 people. Other bands on the Bill were David Gray, the Magic Numbers, Newton Faulkner, Imelda May and the legend Sharon Shannon. We got the opportunity to play there since we were the winners of the Guinness Our Thursdays Competition. It was probably only our

tenth gig too as we had only really started a year before, writing and trying to find our sound. Since September, we have been concentrating on recording our album, which should be released in April. We have also played gigs in London, Belfast and Dublin since, so we’re pretty pleased with the direction we’re going.” What has been your highlight of the academic year? It’s definitely been great

year for us and obviously nothing could top Arthur’s Day. There has been a few times when we have left the studio and listened to the track we were working on on the car stereo and felt great about ourselves but also on the flip side depression can kick in if it doesn’t sound good after spending a day mixing it. The highlight will hopefully come soon when we have a hard copy of the album in our hands.

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Gypsies on The Autobahn

Together for almost 5 years now, Gypsies On The Autobahn have been one of the main-stage acts in TCD since September. They have taken part in countless gigs around college and have built up a very established fan base. With the release of their debut EP as well as supporting numerous big time acts, it is clear that success beckons for these Dublin natives. Since September are you pleased with the direction your music has taken? Yes I’m very pleased with the direction we’re taking. We took a short break to concentrate on writing more music because when you’re constantly gigging it is too difficult to find free time to write, instead we’ve to focus

on practicing the set that we have. So now that we’ve more songs written, we’ve revamped the set and developed a whole new intensity and energy in our live set, which was part of our goal when we took our break. What has been your highlight of the academic year? The highlight of this Academic year for me has to be playing a gig in Captain Americas on New Year’s Eve. The crowd that came to see us was unreal and very receptive. They kept the energy up in the packed out venue and relit the flame back under us which we’d missed since we had to take a break to write more songs.


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Cloud Castle Lake

Since September are you pleased with the direction Cloud Castle Lake has taken? Dan McAuley: After messing around with the notion of a single and then an ep earlier this year, we’ve decided to just skip those and begin work on a debut album which we’ll be recording this summer. So in that regard, I’m very happy with the direction we’re taking. We can be pretty procrastinatory with stuff, so setting deadlines and putting ourselves under pressure is kind of necessary for us to do anything. But finally now, we’re beginning to start really looking at the tracks we have and trying to figure out a more comprehensive idea of how we want to fit into the whole music scene. We’re taking it a bit more seriously, I suppose.

What has been your highlight of the academic year? I think the highlight for me was doing a track for Quarter Inch Collective, which is a blog run by a friend of ours, for something called the Quompilation in January. He asked loads of really good Irish bands to cover a song from 2010 so we did Lost in the World by Kanye West because firstly we liked it but also because it would be something kind of different from what we usually do. Then we got as many friends as we could muster to come to Regent House in Trinity to play drums and sing. Turned out we had to do a lot of overdubs afterwards, but it was really refreshing and fun to try something we had little experience in and see what happened.


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Grand designs

Rosa Abbott explores the ‘Designing Dublin’ campaign, a group whose aim it is to remind apathetic Dubliners and the few remaining tourists that the Capital City is home to some serious gems

O

ver the last couple of months, a quietly dedicated group of people have reviewed, interviewed, assessed and considered the streets of Dublin, and the people who walk them. Their reason and message is clear – “Love the City”. This is all part of a new initiative called Designing Dublin, a project masterminded by the non-profit arts collective Design Twentyfirst Century (and made possible by the helping hands of many a volunteer). You may wonder why Dublin needs an initiative to encourage people to fall back in love with it, but according to statistics, the number of people visiting and using our city centre is steadily declining – airport activity has almost halved since 2008, and it feels like what flights remain are outbound, with no scheduled return. Either people are failing to find anything inspiring enough to entice them to get a bus in from the suburbs (or further afield), or they are flocking

Ireland’s shores for good, hoping to find greener grass in London, New York or Australia. Whatever the reasons for Dublin’s dwindling numbers, the Council are keen to reverse the trend – and called upon Designing Dublin to help them do so. Inspiring people to “love the city” again sounds like somewhat of a mammoth task though: surely one arts project, ran over the course of two months – no matter how effective it is – can single-handedly turn around the fortunes of a city on the brink of economic collapse. They do not have the resources to create huge new attractions, vast enough to prompt masses of tourists and suburbdwellers alike come flooding through the streets again – especially given said masses’ reluctance or inability to whip out their credit cards as they once may have done. But this is largely missing the point in the eyes of Designing Dublin’s enthusiastic strategists: the attractions are all there, in their eyes; they

just need to make people aware of them. “We’ve discovered that the only way to undertake that massive ask is by inspiring people to become re-aware of the city centre’s offerings and to help them flow through every experience with ease and delight so that they return again

It’s easy to put a city down, saying it has little to offer, but few of the people who do so will have truly tapped into the place’s potential and again to discover more and more”, they assert. Their most successful effort to raise “re-awareness” of the goods Dublin has to offer is their nifty map outlining ‘100 Exciting Things You Didn’t Know About the City Centre’, available in a

snazzily designed but static format, or on Google Maps, so you can pinpoint exactly where the attractions are (and read an extra snippet of information if you click on them). Some of these hidden gems are not so hidden, and will be very familiar to Trinity students: I don’t think many of us are unaware of the Rose Garden, and certainly not the Campanile – including the supposed curse the tolling of its bell is said to bestow. But from the beautiful (Blessington Basin) to the novel (apparently the Clock Bar has an aviary in its smoking area) to the practical (free STI screening in Saint James Hospital folks), the map chronicles many aspects of Dublin life that not everyone will be aware of. The truth is, it’s easy to put a city down, saying it has little to offer, but few of the people who do so will have truly tapped into the place’s potential. Leave no stone unturned before you leave Dublin behind. But making people aware of the good things in Dublin is only the start. There are also a lot of perceived negative aspects to the city that need to be addressed if we are to encourage people to spend more time here. A flick through the findings of Designing Dublin’s research reveals a myriad of excuses not to

head for the city centre. 48% of our population feel unsafe here after dark (and 10% would be intimidated enough to avoid visiting during the day) and parking is overpriced in the city centre – in fact, pretty much everything is: social attractions and drinks cost on average 8-11% more than they would outside the City. These problems are not unnoticed by Designing Dublin – they attempt to tackle them head on – but it will take more than an arts collective to address some of them, one suspects. But that doesn’t mean their efforts at regeneration are to be sniffed at. Perhaps it’s time we stopped dwelling on the negative and started to celebrate the places, characters, services and activities our city has to offer once more. After all, only by acknowledging the resources and untapped potential we possess as a city can we begin to harness that power and transform it into something tangible. So arm yourself with one of these maps, get on yer Dublin Bike and start to uncover Dublin’s 100 hidden gems for yourself – or even better, ramble around until you stumble across your own hidden gems... we’ll see you in the Clock Bar’s aviary, perhaps (well, hopefully not in St Jame’s STI clinic, anyway). Go on, Love Your City.


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Cringy and nonsensical BEADY EYE ALBUM: DIFFERENT GEAR, STILL SPEEDING

 Released: 28 February 2011

P

erhaps I should preface this by clarifying that I strive to be a - somewhat - impartial music editor and reviewer. Sure, I may gravitate more towards Springsteen or Tchaikovsky than the indie and dubstep currently dominating the popular music scene. However, allowing excessive subjectivity infiltrate my article is neither fair nor professional. These days, given the plethora of voices out there and the sheer volume of music, the mission of the writer has become just to create an optional path for the reader to follow. Regardless, this review is written with perhaps a single shred of impartiality and objectivity. Oasis will always be the band I set on a pedestal and against whom measure all other bands. Noel Gallagher may be an arrogant cretin just like Liam, but he is an imaginative wordsmith with a flair for rebellious writing, and this ensured Oasis 22 consecutive Top Ten singles. This record consists of the old failsafe sound which characterised, or marred, that of Oasis during their creativity lull; in other words, it sounds frustratingly similar to the slowpaced, uninspired drivel contained in Standing on the Shoulder of Giants. Debut single The Roller is infact a stowaway from the Heathen Chemistry sessions.The jangly guitars and lazy dronings of Liam dominate, and the album’s only saving grace lies in its inoffensiveness- there is an obvious lack of somberness and gloom. Liam Gallagher recently admitted: I find lyrics pretty hard. I clear my head and write the first thing that comes, if it rhymes with the next bit and gets me to the end of the song it’s a sense of relief. No shit. Beady Eye’s songwriting is rife with language that is as cringe-inducing as it is nonsensical. Run a lyrics search on Bring the Light to confirm the shocking repetition-abuse committed on the album.

With the exit of the primary lyricist, Andy Bell and Gem Archer have been granted a shot at the task alongside Liam. While it must be a feat for them, the result just isn’t good- we are offered nothing new. Outdated sound is lifted from the 60s and 70s, and then dumbed down. The frantic, dated piano riffs of Bring The Light is nothing short of headache-inducing, and Liam’s 7-minute Wigwam is only ‘epic’ in its successful staddling of both failure and self-indulgence. There are too many flaws to the record to ignore; the complete absence of creativity, fresh song writing, ablility to tackle twisted subject matter, and most prominently- the undeniably shameless attempt to mimick the Beatles’ and Lennon’s sound which results in its insulting. The worrying fact is that most bands release their best effort on the album first to boost sales. However, I’m sure that’s not the case with The Roller, and indeed Different Gear, Still Speeding as a whole. They couldn’t produce much more as lackluster as this... Or could they? Ultimately, the album at best could function well as an aural non-irritant; as background noise, its an easy, breezy listen. I may pop along to whatever stage Beady Eye play at Oxegen. Depending on my alcohol intake, I may stand at the periphery, shaking my head slowly in disgust, lamenting the glory days of Slane 2009. More likely, I will be manhandled by security who carry me out as I scream abuse and delare them sacreligious traitors. The takeaway message for Oasis fans and prospective listeners alike is this: Comparing Oasis with what has risen from its ashes is simply ineffectual. Noel is not in Beady Eye. Beady Eye is Beady Eye. Oasis is Oasis. And never the twain shall meet. Katie Abrahams

The new Dublin bus signs: kind of shit DUBLIN BUS SIGNS



M

aybe in 10 years’ time, history will look back on Enda Kenny’s reign as Leader of the Free World and say, whatever about his Five Point Plan or his

“GPS” (or magic) pinpoints the bus’s exact coordinates in the world

similarity to his predecessors, “by God did he make the buses run on time”. Like Mussolini before him, Kenny has singlehandedly revolutionised public transport in his country’s capital city, seemingly immediately after taking office. Of course, the plan was initiated over a decade ago (a decade!) by Fianna Fáil, but one cannot deny how quickly Kenny has fast-tracked their erection. With the ballot boxes barely emptied, 450 electronic signposts suddenly appeared all over the city overnight. “I will not rest until every bus stop from [Government Buildings] to Castlebar is fitted with a free-standing LED timetable,” Kenny is reported as saying to an excited journalist who asked him if he was exhausted following the rigorous campaign with the electorate. But are they any good? Well, they certainly look magnificent and are finished with a sexy chrome pole which has been fashioned out of the material as the Spire. The screen itself is simple but eyecatching, employing attractive yellow lettering with a font that looks specifically tailored for timetabling, having previously

been seen on those of Connolly and Heuston Stations.

Like Mussolini before him, Enda Kenny has single-handedly revolutionised public transport in his country’s capital city In theory, the prospective busser is presented with a list of imminent buses, identified by their route number and terminal location (as is already written on the front display of every Dublin Bus). Also provided is a time (in minutes), heralding each bus’s arrival. This is apparently controlled by something called “GPS” (or magic) which pinpoints the bus’s exact coordinates in the world. This explanation has gone largely unexamined in the dominant media but, when briefly quizzed, a spokesman for

the government said that it was “nothing to be worried about”. In practice, thus far anyway, the signs do not seem to be functioning very efficiently. In my local Rathmines stop, the screen is gormlessly blank most of the time. One hopes that this is merely a teething problem that will be addressed presently in the Houses of the

Who are these people, you might ask? Morons. Oireachtas. Until then, we will just have to play the waiting game, which some people claim to enjoy, not knowing when their bus will come, in some kind of twisted thrill. Some controversy has arisen over the absence of Irish language translations on the signposts. The Irish Language Commissioner has launched an inquiry following complaints under the Official Languages Act. Who are these people, you might ask? Morons with too much time on their hands who like to write about bus signage, obviously. Luke O’Connell


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A great work of science fiction THE WINDUP GIRL

 Written by: Paolo Bacigalupi

T

he Windup Girl, Paolo Bacigalupi’s first foray into novel writing, is a masterpiece of science fiction, deserving of a place alongside the works of giants of the genre such as Isaac Asimov, C. S. Lewis and Alastair Reynolds. Indeed, having won the 2009 Nebula Award and the 2010 Locus Award for Best Novel, and having been given an exalted place among the top ten fiction books of 2009 by Time Magazine, it has received recognition enough to encourage any lover of fiction to read it and give it a place of honour on the bookshelf. Inspired by recent scientific discoveries and hypotheses, the novel is set in 23rd century Bangkok, in a dystopian world affected by rising sea levels, virtually non-existent carbon fuel resources, frequent devastating plagues, and huge advances in genetic engineering. The Thai capital is inches away from the fate of Atlantis, barely kept from flooding by pumps and levees that keep the surrounding sea at bay. The story follows five very different inhabitants of this precarious environment, with widely differing aims and concerns: Anderson Lake, a westerner and representative of one of the tyrannous ‘calorie companies’ that control most food production on the planet; Hock Seng, a Chinese refugee employed by Lake; Jaidee Rojjanasukchai, a morally upright captain in the enforcement section of the Thai Environment Ministry; Kanya, Jaidee’s first lieutenant, defined by her mysterious and troubled past; and Emiko, a Japanese bio-engineered ‘windup girl’, created as a businessman’s slave and abandoned in Bangkok, where she is illegal and allowed to live only thanks to the bribes of an abusive club owner who she is essentially forced to work for. Bacigalupi follows these characters as their paths

intersect and their lives and dreams are altered by political turmoil in an already unstable society. As is the case in any great work of science fiction, he creates a situation both plausible and dramatically provocative,

prove an entertaining and thought-provoking read not only for science fiction enthusiasts, but for anyone who loves a stimulating, soul-searching story. Pablo Schofield Legoburo

As is the case in any great work of science fiction, he creates a situation both plausible and dramatically provocative, taking the reader to the very boundaries of morality by raising new and difficult questions taking the reader to the very boundaries of morality by raising new and difficult questions. However, perhaps the most praiseworthy aspect of the novel is that he does so subtly, through the situations and actions of the characters, never letting the moral undertone intrude upon the telling of a great story. So, with its ingenious setting, wonderfully varied characters, and enthralling plot, The Windup Girl will

Crackin’ good chicken CRACKBIRD

 9 Crane Lane, Dublin 2

Sandwiched between The Boilerhouse (Google it, but not in the library) and a “private gentlemen’s club” is not somewhere one would imagine KFC opening a

OM-NOM-NOM-NOM!

new outlet, but who are we to judge? And this is not KFC. “Crackbird,” I thought to myself. “What a trendy name.” And I was right. Joe Macken’s new limited-edition restaurant in Temple Bar is as trendy as they come. It plans to remain open for no longer than 12 weeks apparently, more than likely because it’s arguably a novelty niche and man cannot live on chicken alone. Or maybe it is because hipsters will be extinct by then. With the same manager as Rathmines’ superb Jo’Burger, it was never going to be a pipe of Popcorn Chicken that was on offer here. Much has been reported about the ‘#tweetseats’, where a large table is reserved for the self-obsessed users of Twitter who can dine for free if they are lucky. For everyone else, it’s standard restaurant procedure. My co-diner John, with whom, fate had decided, I would share a whole chicken that evening, for better or worse, until bone do us part, appropriately enough styles himself somewhat on King Henry VIII, with the kind of red hair that is an endangered species this side of the Shannon. I say ‘appropriately’ because Henry famously loved southern-fried-chicken and even dressed sort of like a proto-hipster, if you stare at him long enough. John was literally drooling at the prospect of an expenses-paid bucket of chicken and luckily we didn’t have to wait at all to get a table. It would be easy to be mean about the decor and atmosphere about the place, but I won’t be, because it genuinely works and is refreshingly unpretentious. Also, it reportedly cost less than €15,000 in total to set up, and still looks great. The menu is so spot-on that you wish every restaurant discarded 90% of their humdrum offerings. Quality over quantity, etc. If I want a smorgasbord of

options of dishes that taste identical, I’ll go to my local Chinese. Here, the only real choices were half- and fullbird (for one or two people, respectively) chickens in two styles. We split a “Skillet fried buttermilk chicken” for €17.95 (the other option was “Super crisp soy garlic”) with a €1 “Burnt lemon and whipped feta” sauce. Wings by the dozen and “chicken-crunch” appetisers were also available, as well as €3.75 salad sides, and that was about it. The drinks menu was equally impressive, with very reasonably priced and attractive-sounding freshly made juices. I got a lime-ginger spritzer (€2.50) which must have been well over the size of a pint. And it was fucking delicious. Speaking of fucking delicious, our chicken arrived in a bucket not long afterwards, carved up and ready to be gnawed and sucked upon like hungry perverts. The lemon and feta sauce was gorgeous and the crispy batter made my mother’s roast chicken seem like a waste of time. It was a tremendously satisfying feed altogether. If I had to make one negative point, it would be the obvious one: why are there no chips on the menu? I can guess what their response would be. As Henry Ford said, “You can have any colour you like as long as it’s chicken.” It’s fair enough – you go to Crackbird to get chicken and, fuck me, they give you chicken. Luke O’Connell


23

WHERE FOODIES EAT by Joshua Plunkett It’s the last article of the year. So instead of doing a recipe or a piece about how much I like pizza or fried chicken, I am just going to write a short list of all my favourite restaurants. Whether or not this is any use to anyone is debatable but you can be sure they are all awesome and you’d really enjoy eating in any of them. Probably most likely and definitely maybe my favourite restaurant is Momofuku Ssam Bar, I will pretty much rave about anything with a Momofuku logo on it. Whether this is down to branding, trust or some other weird reason I don’t want to know about I’m not sure but I think David Chang is doing some really special food. Momofuku have a bunch of places now around NYC and are opening places in Toronto and Sydney. Ssam Bar’s food is awesome, it’s hard to say exactly what they serve but they say it is ‘delicious American food’. It’s got American and Asian influences, namely Japanese and Korean. If you get the chance over the summer try it out. It’s the business. From here on in there isn’t really any order. Next up is the Sportsman in Kent. It is a pub with a Michelin star. It is on the sea in a tiny little place called Seasalter. Stephen Harris, now in his fifties only started cooking when he was 32 and is self-taught. The food at the sportsman is really special, at its core it’s just ridiculously tasty, Harris cooks rustic homely food, there is something always confident and no nonsense about it, yet at times it is good enough to be considered 3 star. It’s crazy good value. If you can go, try to during the week and have the tasting menu for 55 quid. Noma has to be on the list, purely because of the sheer impact Rene Redzepi’s cuisine has had upon the entire gastronomic world, it is a place which has restricted itself to the Nordic region and then explored within that framework. Noma forage for wild herbs and plants, they have created an entire new cuisine which reflects the land around them. It’s

been labeled ‘New Nordic’, ‘New Natural’ or ‘Terroir’ cooking: despite the silly names it’s an important visit for anyone seriously into food. Robertas in Brooklyn is crazy awesome, I mentioned it in the piece about pizza. Robertas during the day does pizza and things like fried chicken and omelets. For dinner Carlo Mirarchi creates a really vibrant, new and refreshing Italian cuisine. Take Straciatella, wild Osetra caviar, pistachio, gooseberry as an example. If you’re in NYC make sure you go. Next up is Le Chateaubriand in Paris. Inaki Aizpitarte is a Basque who learnt to cook at 26 in Tel Aviv while working as a dishwasher, he is also a complete boss. Le Chateaubriand is part of a new movement in Paris, it’s been labeled ‘Bistronomy’. The idea is that it is gastronomic food at bistro prices. Aizpitarte’s food is crazy creative and different. There is no mad science going on, which is a good thing in my opinion, it uses nice techniques, is always creative, interesting and delicious (well, most of the time, but we are all allowed to have an off day, right?). I wanted to include St John Bread & Wine in London, their outrageously talented chef James Lowe has just left to start working on his place, but it’s still worth a visit. It does wonderfully simple, no nonsense and at times elegant (No nonsense and elegant at the same time…? God knows but it is.) British food served in a sort of small plate tapas style. Last but not least is Juniors on Bath Ave. I feel like I’ve mentioned it in every single thing I’ve written for UT and the whole thing has just been a subtle advertising campaign. But go, its whopper, lunch and brunch are great. They even have a really hot Swedish waitress at the moment, which for me is more than enough reason enough to go in the first place. Thanks for popping in, It’s been a blast.

Editor: Michelle Doyle Art: Rosa Abbott Books: Ryan Kenny Fashion: Colin McGrane Film: Fionn Fitzpatrick Reviews: Luke O’Connell Theatre: David Doyle Travel: Ines Novacic Photographer: Dargan Crowley-Long Cover image: Sam Horgan, Dargan Crowley-Long Lead Illustrator: Sam Horgan Illustrator: Sinead Mercier Sinead Whitty Published with The University Times TCDSU 6 Trinity College Dublin 2


Vote

24

for Provost

After the students have cast their vote in the upcoming election, it turns to the staff of the college to have your say in who will be the next Provost of Trinity College. The next ten years will see the college face numerous challenges. As Provost, this is how, with your support, we will meet them head on. The Economy of the College Our current situation is this: • We face a projected deficit of €80-100 million by 2015. • The government provides 90% of College’s funding, and will not change its funding model to suit Trinity College. Once we accept this reality, we can put in place the appropriate policy response. My proposed strategy is fourfold: • Scrap College’s defunct strategic plan and put in place a realistic emergency plan. • Open up the college to more international students who aspire to study at Trinity, while retaining the number of places available to students from Ireland. • Aid and assist our academics to secure research funding outside of the Irish state. • Increase philanthropic funding, sponsorship, naming rights, and other sources of funding. There is no simple catch-all solution to the uncertain financial future of Trinity College. When we do get through it – and we will – it will have been because we have gone down multiple avenues to do so. My considerable international experience provides me with the ideas and drive to lead these efforts. College and the Community Many things differenentiate Trinity College from other higher education institutions in Ireland. Our location is one of them. The Trinity VDP (St Vincent de Paul) society positively affects the lives of thousands of people in Dublin. Their example is fantastic. It is an example that College should be setting and further building upon. We have accomplished great things with initiatives such as the TAP (Trinity Access Programmes), but we can and must do more. The Provost should be at the front and centre of our interactions with the local community, and as your Provost I guarantee that’s exactly where I will be. Aiding our academics In comparison with some other universities such as Edinburgh, Bristol and Kings College London, Trinity College educates 50% more students with only two-thirds of the resources. Considering this, along with the administrative burdens and other obstacles, it really is nothing short of astounding what our academics have achieved. I will ensure that the centre of College focuses on relieving this administrative overload while introducing the following systems: • A world-class student administration system and IT system. • A policy on sabbatical leave that further frees our academics, akin to the leading universities in the world. • A transparent, fair and equitable promotion system that rewards academic achievement. The potential within our walls is limitless. To harness it, we must work together – all staff, students, alumni, and others that share our vision and values. We will together tackle all challenges head on.

These are some of my policies to advance Trinity College through these difficult times. More details are on my website at www.colmkearney.ie.

Colm

On 2nd April, I hope I can count on your support.

Kearney

UTculture issue 7  

The University Times' culture supplement

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