NOVEMBER 19, 2013
The University Times Magazine
ONE BIG HAPPY FAMILY?
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NOVEMBER 19, 2013
The University Times Magazine
Features 5 Labour: One Big Happy Family? We report on internal conflict in the Labour Party, with interviews with party members. BY JAMES BENNETT
9 Childhood Friends PHOTO: DYLAN BROCKMEYER FOR THE UNIVERSITY TIMES
A fashion photo shoot based on iconic children’s literature illustrations at locations around Trinity.
14 Spreading the Word We investigate Christian media in Ireland, with interviews at Spirit Radio, RTÉ Religious, and Alive! BY JANE FALLON GRIFFIN JANE FALLON GRIFFIN 14
Death Grips Logos
“On these pages you’ll get comments like: ‘OMG gorge! xo’ or a simple ‘<3’ ”
Carrie Blue is the Warmest Colour
What We’re Listening To
LEANNA BYRNE 23
21 Love/Hate: Hit/Miss? BY JACK O’KENNEDY
17 Queer Hip Hop BY MOLLY KING
22 Moins cher, plus chic ... BY ELIZABETH BRAUDERS
Costumes Parisiens at The Chester Beatty Library
16 Who is in Control? BY VLADIMIR RAKHMANIN
17 Art School Took my Virginity BY CHARLOTTE RYAN
BY JENNIFER PARSONS
23 Sigh: So Kill Me BY LEANNA BYRNE
Cover: Parliamentary Labour Party photo, used under license.
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ZARDOZ HEAD ILLUSTRATION: LAURA FINNEGAN
N SATURDAY the 9th of November, approximately two-hundred young people gathered in Liberty Hall to discuss how the youth movement “We’re Not Leaving” could move forward. Various issues were discussed, such as youth unemployment, internship culture (including exploitative schemes such as Jobsbridge), and the cost of thirdlevel education. The groups present also discussed strategies for potential campaigns on these issues. The success of We’re Not Leaving will depend on the level of engagement it can muster up among young people on a national level. It must capture their imaginations, and convince them that it is not just another group of passionate yet powerless activists. The idea of stability is constantly evoked by the current government. It is their conceptual anchor whenever they have to defend austerity in the media. Enda Kenny’s international reputation seems to have become that of a stoic and resolute captain, determined to steer his ship clear of stormy waters at all costs. He is trying to make this
The University Times Magazine EDITOR James Bennett catch on in Ireland too, but it is not working to the same extent. Beneath the image of stability that is so enthusiastically promulgated by the government and some media outlets, there is a real fragility. We are about to exit the bailout and return to the markets after years of having our financial decisions made for us by others. Things are not as stable as they seem in domestic politics either. In this issue we have a feature about internal conflict in the Labour Party, one of the main forces in Irish politics. Ireland is going through a period of significant change, both social (issues such as abortion and marriage equality being discussed more than ever) and economic (we have lost and supposedly recovered our economic sovereignty in the space of five years). Old certainties are being questioned. The generation that is coming into its own now is the first to grow up with the internet. Throughout their lives they have had access to more information that their parents could have dreamed of. All that remains is for them to be convinced that things are not as rock solid as they appear.
CREATIVE DIRECTOR Edmund Heaphy DEPUTY/MUSIC EDITOR Eoin Hennessy ONLINE EDITOR Clementine Yost FILM EDITOR Jack O’Kennedy
In other news, we’ve completely redesigned the magazine so that it is more clear, coherent and consistent. To do this, we’ve streamlined the colours, fonts, spacing, and created a new — yet familiar — brand for UT Magazine. We hope you like it.
FASHION EDITOR Elizabeth Brauders PHOTOGRAPHERS Dylan Brockmeyer & Hayley K. Stuart WORDS Jane Fallon Griffin, Vladimir Rakhmanin, Charlotte Ryan, Molly King, Sean Nolan, Eoin Moore, Jennifer Parsons, Leanna Byrne
JAMES BENNETT EDITOR
“We are now entering quite an uncertain phase.”
The writer of the article ‘Casting Christian Grey’ was not credited in the last issue. The piece was written by Jack O’Kennedy, Film Editor. The University Times Magazine welcomes suggestions, comments, and complaints about errors or omissions which warrant correction. These may be addressed to the editor of the magazine by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
MICHAEL MCGRATH, FIANNA FÁIL FINANCE SPOKESPERSON REGARDING IRELAND’S BAILOUT EXIT
“I would not personally argue for fourteen but I think we should seriously be looking at fifteen so that we can draw a line in the sand.” PROFESSOR JOHN ASHTON, PRESIDENT OF THE FACULTY OF PUBLIC HEALTH IN THE UK, SUGGESTS LOWERING THE AGE OF CONSENT.
If you are dissatisfied with a response from the magazine, you may reach the editor of The University Times by emailing email@example.com.
YARMOUK PALESTINIAN REFUGEE CAMP IN DAMASCUS, SYRIA.
22 billion times a day HOW OFTEN FACEBOOK LIKE BUTTONS ARE SEEN BY PEOPLE THE WORLD OVER
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E.U. 3.23% IRELAND 3.95% GERMANY 1.89%
In a cafe it’s fun to do loads of fake sums on a napkin in a panicked hurry and then pause, look up, say ‘Oh my God’ to yourself & run out. @ADAMHESS1
LONG-TERM GOV. BOND YIELDS
James Bennett investigates the current state of the Labour Party. Interviews with former Labour councillor Cian Oâ€™Callaghan, and Joanna Tuffy, TD.
Grand Canal at night by William Murphy. 5 | MAGAZINE
was something that I had been thinking about for about half a year. It arose after the second regressive budget. Two budgets in a row had made Ireland a more unequal society. Whatever about the context we were in, I felt that this was no way that the Labour Party should be going.”
ian culture, the subtleties of everyday relations between the party and its members, seems to interest him more. He feels that Labour, which is usually considered to be the most democratic of the mainstream Irish political parties, has stopped valuing its core members. He cites various pieces of anecdotal evidence to back up this accusation:
These are the words of Cian O’Callaghan, a councillor and former mayor of Fingal, who left the Labour Party in July this year. Twenty six councillors have left the Labour Party since it entered into government with Fine Gael. This is almost ten per cent of all Labour councillors. The party has also lost five TDs, one senator, and one MEP. O’Callaghan puts this down to two principal factors: the party’s role in government, and its increasingly authoritarian style of dealing with its own members. He believes that the Labour Party as an organisation has become more undemocratic in recent years:
“Labour is traditionally quite a democratic and open party. It was always tolerant of a broad range of views: from the radical left, right through to the political centre. It always worked on the basis that it was a coalition of multiple different strata of the left… However, the last conference I was at was in Galway a year and a half ago, and it was the worst party conference I have ever been to. There were Labour Party members ejected from the conference by the security firm that had been brought in. One of them didn’t have the proper documentation, and even though he had campaigned for the party for years, he was thrown out. There was somebody else who was seen talking to a protester outside the conference and security threw him out.”
“There is no internal culture of democracy. Any attempt by anyone to dissent is trampled on … The internal culture of the party in its most recent period has been the most authoritarian and stifling that I have ever seen.” When I asked if this allegedly undemocratic culture in Labour is reflected in structural changes to the party , or if it is simply manifest in the way the party deals with members in a day to day basis, O’Callaghan says that both aspects are important. In terms of structural moves away from democracy, he cites the new party constitution brought in by Eamon Gilmore in 2009: “One of the first things that Gilmore did as party leader was to introduce a new constitution for the Labour Party. And in that, he centralised power. He got rid of the national executive as it was. We used to have around twenty or thirty representatives on it. It was a broad group of people with representatives of groups such as Labour Youth, Labour Women, Trade Unions. That was abolished
O’Callaghan is also very critical of Eamon Gilmores personal style of leadership. Although he says he has known Gilmore for a long time, and “would have a lot of time for him”, he feels that Gilmore has not taken to leadership well. He recalls members being chastised by party officials for not having their photo taken with Gilmore after events: “They got given out to afterwards for not being in the photo with him. They were threatened with having running mates added on in elections. I mean, who cares about a photo? It’s absolutely ridiculous what’s going on.” He also cites an incident at a meeting for grassroots Labour Party members in Malahide: “[Eamon Gilmore] was taking questions from the floor and when he was getting difficult questions he was shouting back at those who were asking them. He was being quite nasty and unpleasant, which then stopped anyone else asking questions, and
allows problems to be addressed. When you shut that down, people can’t raise problems and things get worse. The situation seems to be deteriorating quite fast. Ten per cent of the councillors have left. That’s why you see people leaving who have been party members for up to thirty years, who would
paign for Labour Policies in my view served a useful role as a rallying point for grassroots Labour Party members who were opposed to the regressive direction of the party in government. There was a good level of engagement from grassroots activists and I know that the Campaign for Labour Policies is still
“There were Labour Party members ejected from the conference by the security firm” and replaced with a six-person executive of three men and three women elected at the party conference. So it’s almost impossible to get elected onto that.” I pointed out to O’Callaghan that this constitution was voted in by Labour members at the party conference, asking if they really had the right to complain when they did have the option not to adopt it: “Yes it was voted on at the party conference. But when the party leader goes to a conference with constitutional reforms, and the leader is new and popular, a lot of the members feel like they don’t have a choice but to go along with it because they don’t want to embarrass their leader by voting against his reforms.”
stopped a proper debate from happening.” The motif of stifled debate is one that occurs repeatedly in Cian O’Callaghan’s speech. He draws attention to the fact that approximately “25 critical and dissenting motions have been excluded from this year’s Labour Party Conference” as reported in The Phoenix last month. These motions mostly came from local Labour branches, and called for a review of the party’s role in government. One of these motions, from the Dublin Bay North branch of the Labour Party, can be seen on The University Times website. O’Callaghan feels that the rejection of these motions from the conference agenda shows that Labour is not comfortable with its own actions in government:
The more tacit move towards an authoritar-
“Shutting down debate is dangerous. Debate
have never thought of leaving. They feel in their absolute gut, even though their politics would be quite moderate, that what’s going on is totally wrong. You have a situation where people who are wealthy are being protected, and the most vulnerable are being attacked. That’s why political dissent is being stifled - because the people who are making these decisions can’t possibly defend them…” O’Callaghan mentions efforts that were made to reinvigorate debate within the party. Two internal movements were set up: the Labour Members’ Forum, and the Campaign for Labour Policies. He believes that these groups made a good effort to instigate change, but to no avail: “The Labour Member’s Forum and Cam-
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pushing internally within the Labour Party for a change in direction. Personally I think that both organisations ran their course when it became apparent that the party leadership was completely unwilling to listen to any dissenting voices within the Labour Party… When twenty-five critical and dissenting motions were excluded from this year’s party conference, I felt that internal Labour Party democracy had been reduced to a farce and that it was better for grassroots activists who are committed to core social democratic values to put their energies elsewhere.” I asked him about the general atmosphere within the party and whether it has changed since the beginning of the coalition. He says that it is not as good as it once was: “There was a positive, friendly atmosphere in the party up until a few years ago. The atmos-
est party in opposition, but then on the other hand you wouldn’t be able to achieve things. But I don’t look back and say ‘What if…’ Because the fact of the matter is that we are in government. There were merits to both sides.” When I asked Tuffy about backlash against Labour for its role in government, she had this to say: “Some of it is justified. I can sym-
“The new party constitution was a compromise document … I think some of the things in it were a mistake”
phere is definitely down, because fundamentally, they don’t believe in what they are doing. They know that it is wrong. If you don’t have a bit of belief in what you are doing, especially in politics, you are in real difficulty, because you’re not motivated. You’re not able to look at yourself in the eye.”
they have done over the last few years is they have marginalised people in the party who are young and politically talented. When it comes to rebuilding the party, some of the best people won’t be there, because the party have seen them as threats and kept them at bay.”
He also cites the departure of Michael D Higgins from the party when he became president as a symbolic turning point for Labour: “He was a political father figure. Everybody respected him. He was great in terms of ideas. He always gave the best speech at the party conference. They always had to make sure he wasn’t on too close to the party leader because it would have embarrassing.” I asked him about his own relations with for Labour Party colleagues. He says that while he still highly respects many of those still working within Labour, the dynamic has changed, and he is not as close to them. When I asked if many more people will leave the party between now and the next general election , he is doubtful: “Of the TDs that are in there now? No. They have voted for three regressive budgets and broken all sorts of commitments. At this stage they are effectively locked in.”
Cian O’Callaghan’s insights into the recent internal culture of the Labour Party are valuble information. The picture he paints is one of an organisation struggling to come to terms with the pressures of power, and alienating its base members in the process. There is clearly a problem within Labour. The sheer amount of departures from the party since 2011 are testament to this. However, his words should be taken with a pinch of salt. There is a personal dimension to this that is extremely hard to quantify. He himself is an ex-member, and no doubt is extremely
He is also sceptical about a new figure coming to the fore over the next few years to rebuild the party’s reputation: “They are in difficulty on that. Because one of the things that
For these and other reasons, I also interviewed Joanna Tuffy, a sitting Labour TD for Dublin Mid-West. Tuffy was against entering into government with Fine Gael in 2011, and still believes that this would have been the right decision. However she believes they must accept the reality of the current situation and deal with it as best they can: “I felt that if what we were getting was not strong enough in terms of the Labour side, I would prefer Labour to lead the opposition. That was my thinking at the time. I can understand why people wanted to go into government. I know from canvassing that a lot of people were very eager that we would get in there and balance out Fine Gael. The majority decided and that was the decision. You have to make the best of it. I would agree that what the government could do would be better with Labour in it. There were good
pathise with some of it. But if we weren’t in government it would be worse. Labour would have an influence on many of the good things being done by this government. One good thing would be the decision to keep basic social welfare rates the same.” I pointed out to Deputy Tuffy that basic social welfare rates were not kept the same for everybody. They were in fact lowered for those under twenty six years of age. As she acknowledged herself, she was uncomfortable with this measure. In her response she started approximately twenty sentences and finished one: “For young people … I know. Well, unfortunately, although I suppose … If the government does keep … If it does provide the alternative to young people genuinely … Where if money is genuinely … And you could say that that’s positive discrimination for young people … If youth guarantee is implemented … I know … I’m uncomfortable around that. But on the other hand when you weigh it up with … If the government does deliver in terms of what it’s saying it’s going to deliver … In terms of … If there really are places out there for the young people … You know what I mean … And if the money is put into that next year … It’ll have to be done very quickly … It’ll have to be done for January or whatever … And you could say that young people are being discriminated against on the one
“internal Labour Party democracy had been reduced to a farce” personally frustrated with the party. This in no way invalidates what he has said, but perhaps warrants a more nuanced approach to the comments made.
things in the programme for government, but I think that to go into government Labour should set a very hard bargain … I still think I did the right thing. It’s difficult to know. If we were in opposition we would be the larg-
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hand but there is positive discrimination with youth guarantee on the other.” I asked her if this discomfort around the youth dole cuts was personal to her, or was
something that was being felt in Labour on a wider level. She said there was probably a general dissatisfaction in Labour about this measure, but that the justification for accepting it was the upcoming youth guarantee: “Obviously it would be better not to have any cuts. An argument has been made that one of the reasons is to make sure young people aren’t long term unemployed. A lot of research shows that the longer you are unemployed as a young person, the worse start that gives you in terms of your career. The idea is to really push young people into training or work experience. Maybe we just need to give it a chance. If the government delivers what it says it will in terms of the youth guarantee… And there is money coming from Europe… I can understand people being concerned about this thing of discrimination against young people. But if it’s compensated for with the youth guarantee, and if it works and people are happy with it… I think it’s a matter of wait and see.” This “wait and see” attitude is a recurring theme for Joanna Tuffy. She agrees that things aren’t going extremely well for Labour right now, in government and within the party, but insists they must struggle on. On a parliamentary level, Tuffy blames the Programme for Government for restricting Labour, but acknowledges that much negotiation is taking place: “I think our hands are tied by the programme for government... There was a thing in that about not raising income tax and Fine Gael are digging their heels in on that. But there is a huge amount of negotiating going on. Joan Burton would have managed to get down the amount she had to cut.” In terms of the struggle within Labour itself, when asked
if she believed the party had become less democratic, she replied: “I think so.” She agrees that Labour rejecting approximately twenty-five critical motions from its conference agenda was stifling debate: “I think it is. I think the conference should be all about the members… There’s no doubt that there is tension between people at the top who want to manage the conference, and the members.” Of Eamon Gilmore’s new party constitution, she says: “It was a compromise document … I think some of the things in it were a mistake.” Tuffy particularly criticises the less open candidate selection processes. Despite all this, she is committed to the aforementioned “wait and see” approach. She believes that there is room for Labour to up its game over the next two years. She cites initiatives like free GP care, and states that Labour would like to do more along the same lines. She says she believes in fully state-funded third level education. The im-
to fight as hard as you can to use whatever influence you can… Labour itself stands for something and I wouldn’t want to abandon Labour. My loyalty is to the Labour Party and I want it to be there for the future. It’s going to be tough for us. We’re going to have a big fight on our hands with the upcoming elections… I would like to work with the Labour Party to build it for the future beyond government, so that it’s more on the ground, more grassroots.” She is adamant that she can achieve more in the long run by voting for measures that she does not agree with: “It’s difficult. I suppose by weighing it all up… And the thing of fighting from within … You can see with the people who have lost the whip. Where do you go then? What do you do? What influence can you have on the Labour Party. I certainly don’t want to be attacking Labour. I want to be fighting from within. The Labour Party has a future as far as I’m concerned … Labour has had its ups
they have… I think we have ceded to much ground to the right wing point of view. We have a good influence in terms of ideas, but I think we have ceded too much ground.” Joanna Tuffy knows that Labour is in a tight spot. However, she seems to be ready for the fight ahead: “If we really work hard on the local aspect, I think we can do better than people expect. I still think our core vote is there. We need to take on board a lot of what people are saying to us. Especially people who would be loyal to us, but would be a bit disillusioned… Things are not as bad as people are portraying it. Our voters are much more sympathetic. They might not like some of the stuff but they do see the dilemma Labour is in.” Cian O’Callaghan claimed in his interview with me that “a very senior figure” in the party told him that Labour entered into gov-
JB: Have the core principles of the Labour Party been lost? JT: I think they have.
plementation of all these things depend on economic conditions becoming more favourable in the near future, and that is where the “wait and see” comes in. Loyalty very important to Joanna Tuffy. It comes up again and again, especially when I mention the councillors and TD’s that have been lost: “The bottom line for me is I’m really loyal to the Labour Party. I didn’t want to be an independent TD. And you just have
and downs. It has been a marginalised force very often in Irish politics. So you have to stick with it and do the best for the party. I am always fighting for my point of view, but I don’t always win.” It is clear that Tuffy is fiercely loyal to Labour. She refers to Larkin and Connolly, and the fact that “Labour stands for something.” I asked her if she felt like the party’s core principles had been lost: “I suppose in some ways
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ernment with a plan to retain twenty of its thirty-seven seats. Joanna Tuffy denied this. Whatever the case, it looks almost definite that they will sustain some losses. The extent of these losses is what will be decided over the next two years. Next year’s local and European elections will in one sense be a dry run of the 2016 general election. To perform to their full potential at the ballot box, it looks as if Labour will have to do some internal soul-searching first.
The Mad Hatter is Aisling Reina, styled by Kat Clinch. All clothing stylistâ€™s own.
FRIENDS These figures have been present in the imaginations of children for generations. We have brought them to life with a high-fashion twist.
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Sleeping Beauty is Hazel Scully, styled by Kate Bauer. Slip, Harlequin Vintage. All other clothes are stylistâ€™s own.
Veruca Salt is Elizabeth Brauders, styled by Rachel Lavin Fur Coat, Tahiti Vintage Marabou feather hat, Harlequin Vintage
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Alice in Wonderland is Erica Coburn, styled by Lucy Mulvaney. Dress, Players Theatre. Bows, Beaux Bows.
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Little Red Riding Hood is Ciara McEvoy styled by Rachel Lavin, Lucy Mulvaney and Aisling Ennis. Dress, Beaux Bows. Cape, Players Theatre.
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Le Petit Prince is Connor Dalton, styled by Elizabeth Brauders. Trousers, Harlequin Vintage. Braces, Harlequin Vintage. Bow, Beaux Bows.
Make up artists: Amanda Oâ€™Dwyer Tee Elliott Niamh Costello Photographer: Hayley K. Stuart Special thanks to: t"JMCIF4UBGGPSEBU Beaux Bows t.S4JNNT Traditional Sweet Shop t5BIJUJ7JOUBHF t5IF)BSMFRVJO 7JOUBHF t%BSB.D&MMJHPUUBOE Players t$POUBTUJD4FBNTUFS
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SPREADING THE WORD JANE FALLON GRIFFIN INVESTIGATES CHRISTIAN MEDIA IN IRELAND
Rónán Johnston of Spirit Radio Photo by Dylan Brockmeyer for The University Times
montage of images of middle-aged Irish people gazing pensively towards a streaming light source to the sound of church bells. This, for many Irish people, is what springs to mind when “RTÉ” and “religion” feature in the same sentence. Therefore my first line of enquiry into the world of Irish religious media was to identify and locate the person responsible for compiling these images. The man behind the angelus is Roger Childs. He is the religious editor of RTÉ, and is responsible for spiritual features on both RTÉ radio and television. A Cambridge graduate in English and past pupil of the esteemed BBC production graduate scheme, Childs’ impact in religious media spans a variety of organisations, with his multiple awards reflecting this vast experience. Expecting a defensive response, I asked him what place the angelus, signify-
ing the catholic call to prayer, had on the national channel of a modern society. Childs didn’t defend the presence of the angelus in national broadcasting instead he denied its existence. He maintained that RTÉ did not and never had broadcast the Catholic angelus but rather that the idea of such was public interpretation. Traditionally the angelus is not merely a ringing of a bell but rather the reciting of a prayer. This prayer has never accompanied the slideshow that is broadcast daily at six in the evening. “To the person of faith it’s a moment of prayer and to the person of no faith it’s a moment of peace,” Childs explained, drawing on the opening line of Max Ehrmann’s 1927 poem Desiderata (“Go placidly amid the noise and haste”) to illustrate his point. Childs claimed that this one minute segment out of the seeks to create a “meditative space” rather than a source
of cultural isolationism, as it has been perceived by atheists and other religions alike. He also pointed out that in recent years efforts have been made to make this reflective space more inclusive with the intermittent images of church steeples and crucifixes being replaced by those of contemporary settings such as offices, homes and cityscapes. On closer inspection I did indeed find this to be the case, contrasting the 2002 version with that of 2009 and finding the latter to be more of a reflection of the rush of everyday life rather than an indication of a sacred hour. RTÉ Religious strive to create an all-inclusive selection of programmes of a religious nature by producing pieces representative of the variety of faiths within the country. Childs explained how the previous week had seen the production of a programme depicting the
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Shi’a Muslim day of Ashura indicating that other faiths also feature. Other programmes following this precedent for more inclusive coverage include iWitness and The God Slot, which hosts discussions between religious and atheists alike. Childs did mention however that while broadening the boundaries of Irish faith broadcasting was understandable that the call for secular broadcasting was less so. He voiced the opinion that the idea of secularism is not in fact a neutral stance as it has been perceived and furthermore that those calling for it do not reflect the mass wish of a society in which during the 2011 census only figures of 3,905 and 3,521 identified themselves as atheist and agnostic respectively. Childs therefore rejected the notion that secularists could claim to be representing the modern day Irish population. His desire to portray the views of the inhabit-
of wine skins to best serve the needs of the wine explaining that the method of religious engagement must change along with generational differences in society.
Fr. Brian McKevitt of Alive!
ants of Ireland stretches into his hopes for the future of RTÉ Religious which he explains through the acronym RICE. Through his position as editor he hopes to reflect, interrogate, celebrate and explain the religious elements of Irish society. In terms of religious radio, Spirit FM, which located in Bray’s radio centre, commands the greatest presence on Irish air. It spans several counties and music genres. Funded almost entirely by listener donations through their quarterly pledge drives the station’s future relies on their listenership and the small sum raised through advertising. Initially an online radio show with an average listenership of forty people, the station gradually expanded, studying the methods of the big players of Christian radio such as Premier in the U.K and K-love in the U.S. Their stance as a Christian radio station sees them emphasising the common denominators between their various Christian listeners, downplaying the dividing factors and emphasising the Trinity and Jesus. Crew member Áine Carvil says that “the message is in the music.” The station plays both Christian rock and secular music with positive messages performed by suitable role models. However, excluded from playlists are songs with themes of homosexuality such as Mackelmore’s “Same Love” as the message contained is contrary to church teaching. Carvil describes the secular music used as “crossover music” in that the song’s lyrics could be interpreted in a Christian context. This suitable secu-
lar music gets forty percent of the airtime, while Christian rock gets the other sixty. Artists such as Rihanna and Miley Cyrus are blacklisted regardless of lyrical content, as their conduct is not deemed acceptable by the station. They pride themselves on being “family friendly.” Carvil describes the station as “a gentle tool of evangelicalism” with a “drip feed bible message” - nothing too overwhelming and in line with their idea of living Christianity. The station is not intended to be explicitly Christian and this is most likely the reason why many non-religious people are surprised after listening to a number songs to discover an evangelical message indicating that they have been listening to a religious broadcast and not what seemed to them to be a selection of uplifting songs. Their range of interview guests and topics could also pass for secular broadcasting most of the time. For example, they recently had an on air discussion about diabetes. The idea that the station is portraying how “Christianity should be lived” extended beyond the recording studio and into the offices of Spirit FM. The team pray together daily seeking guidance for the future of the station and expressing their appreciation for its success so far. They kindly included me in their communal gathering and prayed for guidance for me in writing my article. In terms of the future of spirit, DJ Richie Gardner strives to do on location broadcasts from the annual Irish Christian Rock festival Summer Madness. While explaining the importance of the media in informing young people, CEO Rob Clarke referred to Jesus’ teaching on the suitability
Finally I travelled to St. Mary’s Priory in Tallaght to interview the editor of the free Catholic paper Alive, which arrives through many letterboxes at the beginning of each month, and is also available in plenty of church porches. Unlike Spirit FM, there was no mistaking the religious backing of the paper. I stepped through the gate and was faced with a large church surrounded by the rest of the priory’s buildings set amid greenery and facing onto Tallaght village. The paper’s editor Fr. Brian McKevitt greeted me and our conversation began. On the subject of atheism, he informed me that his most popular article had been entitled “Atheists are Losers and Hopeless.” He explained this by saying that there can be no hope for their lives. If they are incapable of believing in an afterlife, they are in his opinion losing the opportunity for hope. Discussing the growing popularity of atheism among college students, Fr. McKevitt feels young people seem to emerge from university with a set of less intelligent ideas than those with which they entered. Alive was set up in 1996 on Fr. McKevitt’s initiative. He sought to issue a national catholic paper where one had not previously existed. The stated aim of Alive is to spread hope and assure the reader of God’s love for them. McKevitt says that funding for the project comes from a combination of donations and advertising profits. Fr. McKevitt feels that Irish media has been unfair at times in their treatment of Catholicism and he felt that Alive could offer another perspective, challenging ideas and offering alternatives. He attacked what he describes as the “tremendous group think” among western media. He believes there is an absence of thought and an infliction of a “culture of despair” on modern society. Despite having reservations about the paper’s ideology I respected that the 240,000 people who read alive on a monthly basis possibly share some of its views, although I hoped that the readership were more tolerant in society than that of the forceful tone of the paper. Ireland’s religious media continues to grow in response to the demands of the market it serves, a market whose future all three organisations are optimistic about. It comfortably holds its own amid secular sources of information and entertainment entertainment, even though many question its place.
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Who is in control? Vladimir Rakhmanin examines the nature of free will and choice in The Stanley Parable, a recent experimental PC release. Waking up in an office, you are surprised to find that all your co-workers have gone missing. You leave your desk, and walk through a corridor of bland desks and general office equipment. A pleasant-sounding British man is narrating your actions as you move along, but you don’t question this – after all, you’re only playing a video game. Soon enough, you find yourself in a room with a set of two open doors. The narrator announces that the character you are controlling, Stanley, went through the door on the left. What do you do? Do you obey, as you would in any other game, to progress the story? Or do you attempt to go into the other door, to try and ‘break the game’, to see what happens? The game is best experienced fresh. As there will be spoilers in this article, I would advise you to play the game first, then continue reading. This premise of the illusion of choice in video games is the main theme in The Stanley Parable, an expanded remake of a Half Life 2 mod recently released on Steam.
Choice has become a hugely popular mechanic in modern video games. Games like the Mass Effect series and RPGs developed by Bethesda (Fallout 3, Skyrim) introduced the concept of moral choices and multiple endings into the mainstream, for better or worse. These games, amongst many others, give you the freedom to act in any way you see fit – you can try to be a hero, and save those in need, or you can be a villain, using others for your own selfish needs. Or at least, that’s what these games claim to do. The Stanley Parable asks some simple questions – in any given video game, are you really free to make your own decisions,
if every outcome has already been planned by the developer? Is the freedom promised to you nothing but an illusion? Are you just picking one of several branches laid out for you, like a rat in a maze? By answering these questions, the developers of the game managed to create the most subversive experience since the original Bioshock; although if Bioshock broke the fourth wall in its iconic twist, The Stanley Parable demolishes it with a sledgehammer. Over the course of the game, the narrator will speak to you – and by that I mean speak to you, the player, constantly acknowledging the fact that you are sitting in front of your
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computer playing a video game. The multiple endings play with your expectations of what video games should be. In one narrative branch, if you constantly disobey the narrator, he becomes offended: saying that you’d rather play a different game to the one he’s providing you with, he drops you into a level from Minecraft. Another ending has you locked in a room with a ticking time bomb – around you are various buttons and switches. Naturally, you begin to press them, trying to find something that will disarm the bomb – but there is no escape. You will always die in that scenario. You assume that there is a solution to the puzzle just because this is a video game, and video games are meant to be about empowerment, about overcoming obstacles. Then again, The Stanley Parable isn’t a regular video game. Because this is a remake, the developers of the game added some new content that ridicules modern video game clichés. One of my favourite moments was when the narrator forces you to complete mind-numbing tasks, such as clicking on a door 50 times, in order to earn a single achievement. This highlights the absurd lengths we often go to earn what are meaningless rewards. Why would any sane person click on a door for 10 minutes to earn a tiny badge of recognition from the game? It’s absurd when you stop to think about it, but so many people, myself included, would bend over backwards to collect the little trinkets. All of these things might make The Stanley Parable sound like a cold, boring exercise in post-modernism, but it is far from it. The last time a game made me laugh this hard was Portal. The developers managed to pull off quite an incredible feat – they deconstructed the modern video game industry while still keeping a light, humorous tone. The Stanley Parable may not be the best game of the year, but it’s certainly the most interesting one. And, in case you were wondering, the broom closet ending was my favourite.
Art School Took My Virginity Charlotte Ryan
When you lost your virginity, it was probably embarrassing. Limbs didn’t move with effortless grace and synchronisation. She didn’t moan or enjoy it half as much as you’d hoped. He laughed at the worst possible moments. Your parents were only meters away watching Downton Abbey in the next room. You were bored, let down, irritated. Worse still, you thought that on the other side of this sexual precipice you’d emerge knowledgeable and mature. You may have believed this was the most unpleasant inaugural sexual experience you could imagine. If you haven’t lost your virginity, call this article perspective, because the above hypothetical situations have just been topped. When Clayton Pettet, a 19 year-old student from London’s Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, announced his intention to lose his virginity in front of a live audience as part of his performance art piece “Art School Took My Virginity”, a new standard for the most bizarre first-time story was set. The event is planned to take place on the twenty-fifth of January. Pettet and a male partner will be lightly covered with paint before having sex on a piece of canvas in order to create a lasting artistic tribute to their act. In this controversial way, Pettet hopes to start a discussion about society’s emphasis on the loss of virginity as a milestone in an individual’s life, and more specifically, whether or not this basic act has any true effect on us emotionally as well as physically. Responses have ranged from the celebratory to the cynical. Some are praising Pettet’s bravery for attempting something so personal in public, with others labelling it a publicity stunt and criticising his blatant desire for media furore. It must be admitted that the ultimate aim for most artists is to be discussed and debated. Pettet himself expressed a desire to try something new, something that hadn’t been done yet, though for many his piece blurs the line between “art” and sheer sensationalism. However, as a reflection on virginity, the very
nature of the piece itself undermines it. As one Trinity student said, “You can’t capture what it’s like to lose your virginity, something that’s such a private exchange, in a public act.” Is virginity too sacred to be desensitised like this? Shouldn’t each individual be capable of deciding how much importance is placed on their “first time”? Pettet doesn’t dispute that losing one’s virginity is an important event for many people, but rather the myth that it is a life changing experience, one full of significance and worthy of respect. As Hazel O’Brien, another Trinity student, says: “A lot of people seem to think that losing your virginity is going to be this magical, euphoric moment that turns you into an adult when really it’s more like ‘Ouch, that hurt a bit.’” Aside from the significance of the loss of virginity, debate has been purposely stirred regarding whether or not a same-sex couple’s first time can be counted as a loss of virginity, the key question being: “Is penetration the defining factor?” Trinity student Ali O’Shea points out “A huge proportion of gay men don’t have penetrative sex at all and they’re perfectly happy but still definitely having sex.” Stephen Fry, actor and gay rights activist, has publically stated he has never had anal sex. Now more than ever the time is right to regard the emotional above the physical when discussing sex. The romantic in me says that the significance of virginity stems from the implication of supreme love between individuals. Inevitably my somewhat quaint notions are fractured by the reality that the majority of people have lost their virginity to people they haven’t loved, which is okay. Sex that is loveless and still gratifying and valid is a pill too hard for some to swallow. Pettet himself said that ideally he would want to lose his virginity to someone he is “deeply attracted to, but not in love with”. Though an affront to every romantic fibre in my body, it’s closer to the modern idea of sex as something based on trust and respect rather than selfish gain. In the days of our
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parents, the mantra often trotted out was “If you loved me you’d sleep with me” forcing both men and women into situations they didn’t want. Despite being in the age of enhanced equality, it’s difficult to ascertain on which gender the most pressure is placed to “pop their cherry”. Women are traditionally valued on whether they’re virgins or not, caught in a vice between being labelled a prude or a slut with little swing space. Men on the other hand are pressured into sex by peers and society as a rite of passage. Unlike with women, for a guy the emphasis is then on maintaining his roster of conquests. At least for women, there’s a healthy network of other women willing to speak frankly about the pressure of sex and particularly of virginity. Succeed or fail, if Pettet’s art piece has one outcome, it should be to inspire more open discussion on sexuality. It’s well known that our sexual education in Ireland is dire. Mystery and guesswork around sex fetishizes something that is essentially a basic act, and creates unhealthy sexual relationships. If the forum is opened on sex and virginity people will doubtless feel less reticent to come forward with struggles or concerns of a sexual nature. Sexuality is an enormous part of our humanity. Why should we feel ashamed to talk about it? In spite of the media fuss surrounding his piece, it isn’t difficult to understand Pettet’s intentions. As he said about his virginity: “I want to lose it for change.” What may prove harder to comprehend for some is why somebody would wait for that special someone to sleep with for the first time. At the heart of it, it comes down to wanting to be wanted as you are entirely. For someone to wait for love, and to be ready, means that they are worth something to another person romantically and sexually. As one student said, “There is something very human in being wanted, and if someone wants to have sex with you, you feel wanted, even if only briefly.”
Logos Cold Fusion REVIEW EOIN HENNESSY After releasing three EPs over the past five years, young grime producer, Logos, has finally unleashed his debut album, Cold Mission. The East Londoner’s most recent venture is out on Dusk & Blackdown’s label Keysound Recordings and is a quintessentially modern instrumental grime record. Laced with gunshots, rain sounds and recordings of heavy machinery, one would be hard pressed to find anything more representative of the genre. Although much of the album sounds modern, Logos claims that he got his
inspiration through 90s hardcore and junglist legends 4Hero. Cold Mission was one of 4Hero’s aliases and along with paying homage to Digital’s “Special Mission” and “Mission Accomplished”, that’s how the concept for the album came about. Logos said of the album that he was interested in “tracing the links between classic Metalheadz productions and early grime, especially the more angular stuff Slimzee played, but integrated in to a roughly 130bpm club context”. The result is an eleven-track album consisting of
Death Grips Government Plates REVIEW EOIN HENNESSY It’s hard to know where to begin when talking about Death Grips. For most fans, it’s been a delicate love/hate relationship balanced by a mixture of good music and cancelled live shows. Over the past twelve months the band have been in a number of news stories, most of which have had nothing to do with their music. In November of last year the band were dropped by major label Epic Records when they released their album, NO LOVE DEEP WEB, for free online after Epic had put obscene amounts of money into its production. Then in August of this year the band failed to show up for their Lollapalooza
after show. All this would have been slightly more acceptable if it wasn’t a planned ruse by the band. Aside from this trick, the band have also cancelled an outragous number of shows since they first started touring in 2011. While cancellations may annoy the paid-up concert goers, the rest of their fans cannot be annoyed at their output of free music. Death Grips have continued to offer music for free with their most recent album, Government Plates. Released with absolutely no fanfare whatsoever, it is a pleasant return to what the experimental group do best; a savage assault of hardcore hip hop and beats.
hardcore breaks and brutal grime rhythms. Cold Mission opens with “Ex 101”, a spacey entry into the industrial sounds that are to follow. Rolling 808 sounds and floating synths entice the listener in with prospects of what’s to come next. The following track “Statis Jam” then begins with samples of birds chirping, normally an incompatible sound when we think of grime. This incompatibility resonates throughout the album. Although representative of grime, Cold Mission almost takes the genre one step further into more atmospheric and almost ambient territory. The disjointedness of each of the tracks is hugely reminiscent of the work of Jam City, S-X or Rude Kid yet with a Oneohtrix Point Never twist. “E3 Night Flight” almost sounds as if it was made for a Hype Williams or Tim Hecker album rather than anything else, its weird sparse rhythms sound nothing like what we’d normally think of as grime. However, despite his new take on the genre, it is these more ambient tracks that seem to let Logos down. “Swarming”, featuring upcoming producer Rabit, seems to drag on with much of it sounding like huge attempts were made to make it sound off key and ambient. The same can be said for the tracks “Cold Mission” and “Atlanta 96”. It’s only on the truly authentic grime songs, that we see Logos shine. “Seawolf” is an overpowering beast of a track, which sounds like a fantastically reimagined version of the underwater levels from the Super Mario games. Other tracks like “Wut It Do” and “Alien Shapes” also provide much needed raw power that the rest of the album so dearly needs. One feels like Logos is trying hard to impress on Cold Tonic. The world of grime instrumentals has taken off over the past few years so it’s now increasingly difficult to sound fresh and new. Although Logos may have achieved this, it may not be for the best. In Logos’ own words “2002 felt like a much simpler time.”
Although their drummer, Zach Hill, said he’d be taking some time off from the band in May in order to direct and soundtrack a new feature film, he obviously found some time to record eleven tracks with Andy Morin and vocalist MC Ride. The result is an amazing album full of experimental sounds and harsh vocals. The album starts with the insanely titled “You Might Think He Loves You For Your Money But I Know What He Really Loves You For It’s Your Brand New Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat”. A breaking of glass is followed by thirty seconds of screeching that eventually turns into a bass rumbling beat with MC Ride shouting verbal abuse at the listener. While it may not sound like the nicest introduction, this sheer brutality is really what makes Death Grips shine. That’s not to say that Death Grips haven’t
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WHAT WE’RE LISTENING TO Irene Kral Wheelers And Dealers Irene Kral’s cover of Dave Frishberg’s track of the same name is a joy to listen to. Released on Kral’s 1977 album Kral Space, this wonderful jazz-funk combination is hard not to love. Alan Broadbent’s jazz piano blends perfectly with Kral’s angelic vocals. A must listen.
Murlo Last Dance A fantastic track taken from Murlo’s forthcoming EP on Irish label, Glacial Sound. This instrumental grime record is reminiscent of the work of Zomby or Jam City yet with its own flare of originality. Dreamy chords weave in and out of one another while heavy claps showcase the producer’s grimey roots.
Cameo She’s Strange Some eighties funk for your ear holes now. Having released over twenty albums in his career, it’s Cameo’s 1984 album She’s Strange that stands out most. The title track is a seven and a half minute long masterpiece which was rumoured to be about Cameo’s obsession with transvestites.
tried to calm things down a small bit on Government Plates. “Birds” contains a fantastically smooth guitar line but with the insane MC Ride lyrics we’re so used to hearing; “FUCK THIS BIRD BITCH DRINK THIS BLEACH”. The track “Anne Bonny” is also surprisingly calm for the band. Other songs such as “This Is Violence Now (Don’t Get Me Wrong)”, “I’m Overflow” and “Government Plates” should remind the listener of the rawness heard on the band’s first album Exmilitary. However, some parts of the album do seem kind of thrown together, like last track “Whatever I Want (Fuck Who’s Watching)”. Despite this, Death Grips have yet again released an extremely compelling experimental album. Love them or hate them, they’re certainly doing one thing right.
Queer Hip Hop MOLLY KING “If I was gay, I’d think hip hop hates me”
Queer rap. Out gay performers in the hip hop world. Who’d a thunk it? But yeah, it’s a thing. In a genre where homophobia is endemic, acceptance of queer culture has been somewhat slow. And why wouldn’t it be? Rap and hip hop purport an exceedingly masculine image, and that hypermasculinity is at odds with so much of what makes up queer culture. Even in the past year or two, there have been numerous incidences of public homophobia from the hip hop corner. Chris Brown, the delight that he is, (in reference to Frank Ocean coming out as bisexual) reportedly commented saying ‘no homo’. Earlier this year the rather tempestuous (catty) Azealia Banks, called Perez Hilton a ‘messy faggot’. I reckon she really should’ve thought twice before lashing out at someone who can easily destroy a celebrity, should he feel the need. Perez gives as good as he gets. Claws definitely came out for that particular twitter spat. The most recent in this slew of homophobia was the controversy created by Eminem, by using the word ‘faggot’ on his track Rap God. “Break a motherfucker’s table over the back of a couple faggots and crack it in half’’, to use the exact quote. Sia, who collaborated on a track for Eminem’s most recent record ‘Marshall Mathers LPL 2’ has pledged to donate all the money from her collaboration to LGBT homeless youth, as a result of the controversy Eminem’s use of the word caused. Interestingly, she herself identifies as queer. While all this homophobic language is still rampant in hip hop, acceptance for queer artists in the hip hop world is becoming more commonplace. When Frank Ocean, whose Grammy award winning record Channel Orange shot him to fame last year, came out as bi-sexual, the hip hop world (Chris Brown aside) seemed to be supportive. Cynics might say it was a clever PR move on Ocean’s part to release his Tumblr post right as the album was coming out, with the amount of hype it caused. However, marketing ploy or no, it takes an amount of courage for black RnB artist to come out as gay or bi-sexual. Rappers like Tyler The Creator, Jay-Z and others were vocal in their support. As the years have gone by, less stigma is attached to gay artists in the hip hop and rap worlds. New York has been the stomping ground for the queer rap in the underground scene, and now the mainstream wants a piece of it.
It’s refreshing to see these voices break through a very macho, masculine world. And there’s no tokenism here. The standard is high, the music is good. I’ve seen Mykki Blanco perform twice in the last year, and as a huge hip hop fan, I was totally taken up with his performance but more struck with the feeling that I was watching something totally new, totally original. I’d never seen an explosive performance from a dude who came out on stage wearing no shirt, basketball shorts and pink lipstick. Drag and Rap are two art forms that really haven’t had much to do with each other until now. And it’s awesome. Mykki Blanco, real name Micheal Quattelbaum is a New York native who has turned the genre on it’s a head a little. His explosive flow is aggressive and dynamic, drawing comparisons to Lil Wayne (before he drank so much sizzurp that his brain stopped working) but absolutely emphasises the juxtaposition between the standard rap bravado and those flamboyant, ultra feminine aesthetics in drag culture. Check out his track Wavvy. Total tune. Mykki Blanco’s upcoming mix-
tape has been produced by electronic whizz kids Brenmar and Nguzunguzu among others.
much to say/she sat me on the couch looked me straight in my face/and said you’ll burn in hell or probably die of AIDS.”
A lady, who at this point needs little introduction, Angel Haze came to mainstream attention a couple of years ago with the release of her mixtape, Reservation. Now signed to Universal, her EP New York came out in October of last year and her anticipated debut album Dirty Gold is due out this coming January.With tracks like Werkin Girls and New York hitting six-figure play counts on youtube, and a major label behind her, hip hop is her’s for the taking. With extraordinary lyrical skills, her mastery of rap is beyond her years. She spits in an explosive blur, with songs that usually recount her troubled background.
Ojay Morgan, another New York native who describes himself as ‘black, queer and other’ came to mainstream attention when his track ‘Ima Read’ was used by designer Rick Owens at Paris Fashion Week in his show, on a continuous loop. The track is dark, eerie and addictive. The ‘read’ reference is what makes it interesting. While obviously being a reference to literacy (“ima take that bitch to college”), the track actually pays homage to the ballroom scene New York was famous for, where vogueing and drag culture were intrinsic. ‘Zebra Katz is influenced by the likes of Grace Jones, Missy Elliot and Andre 3000. He dilutes the darkness and aggression with high drama. Frightening, disconcerting, and fabulous.Recently signed to Jefrees, Mad Decent’s splinter label, of which Diplo is label boss,this guy is one to watch.
The 22 year old has always been open about her sexuality, identifying as pansexual. She recently spoke out about her sexuality, in her remix of Macklemore’s ‘Same Love’. Lines include “At age 13 my mother knew I wasn’t straight/she didn’t understand but she had so
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Also check out: Le1f and Cakes da Killa.
film Carrie SEAN NOLAN Carrie, starring Chloe Grace Moretz in the titular role and directed by Kimberly Pierce, is the most recent in a number of adaptations of Stephen King’s novel of the same name. In the years since Brian De Palma’s lauded film version, Carrie has been reincarnated as two musicals, a TV movie and an intended but never realised TV series spin off as well as a sequel to the 1976 film. However, despite a wealth of interpretations, De Palma’s film has remained the definitive adaptation of the text. Many have consequently questioned the validity of another version, especially one that was initially marketed as a remake of the Sissy Spacek starring original. Suspicions seemed justified when early previews suggested that Pierce had remade the film scene for scene, shot for shot. It’s a relief then in the opening sequence of Carrie when Pierce offers a very different take on the character’s origin, beginning with the scene of her birth. Thankfully the film, for the most part, continues in this vein, finding different ways to tell the story whilst remaining faithful to the original text. As one might gather from the first scene, the character of Carrie’s mother is more prominent in Pierce’s film and her relationship with her daughter is given greater emphasis than Carrie’s tortured interactions with her classmates.This shift works to the film’s advantage thanks to the strength of Julianne Moore‘s towering performance as Margaret White. Other departures are less successful, whether they might be considered brave (a subplot involving Sue Snell from the novel
Blue is the Warmest Colour EOIN MOORE Blue is the Warmest Colour is an evocative, romantic drama from seasoned French writer and director Abdellatif Kechiche. The film is a painstakingly paced meditation on relationships, sexuality, and the beauty and pain of all-consuming love, uniquely displayed through Kechice’s invasive and voyeuristic directorial eye. The film follows Adèle through over a decade of her life, and her relationship with the rebellious, irreverent, blue-haired Emma. Through her sexual awakening and subsequent relationship, Adèle comes into conflict with her friends, her relatives and their more traditional expectations of love and sexuality. But, unlike the graphic novel it is based on, this film chooses to focus not on
is resurrected) or simply logical (the use of modern technology in the story). The references to social media in particular are limp and come across as a lame attempt to make the film more palatable for a contemporary audience. The worst update by far is to the effects, used spectacularly and excessively but with an overly heavy reliance on CGI that makes them feel immediately dated. Thankfully the strength of King’s source novel transcends the film’s many issues. Of course, even a strong story needs to be played out by a competent cast and thank-
fully Carrie really delivers in that area. As already suggested the ever-reliable Julianne Moore is excellent as Carrie’s mother while Chloe Grace Moertz succeeds in being both creepy and sympathetic in a performance that crucially never feels as though she’s aping Sissy Spacek’s turn in the original. While most of the supporting players are adequate, the usually charming Judy Greer is painfully miscast as Ms Desjardin, the borderline abusive gym teacher who defends Carrie. Interestingly De Palma’s 1976 film version of the novel was the first adaptation of
Stephen King’s writing, which is now on of the most interpreted bodies of fiction in the world. With three film adaptations of other major King stories in the works (The Stand, It and the first of what could become a Dark Tower series) it is possible that Carrie could kick-start a new series of big budget and mainstream adaptations of his work. While the film’s box office in the US might not suggest as much, the reworking of Carrie, for all its faults, highlights the flexibility and endurance of its source material.
the greater context of the world around the relationship, nor does it attempt to make any broader political statements about gender or sexuality. Instead, Blue…hones in on in the largely wordless development of the slow yet fiercely burning passion that the two leads share. Much has been made of the numerous graphic and lengthy sex scenes. These sequences, widely criticised for their apparent excess and pseudo-pornographic qualities, are in fact some of the most beautiful of the entire film, serving as thematic anchors for the relationship that develops around them. Adele and Emma’s heated couplings give the viewer tangible evidence that the intense love in the film is backed up by an equally all-consuming physical attraction. If romantic films generally emphasise emotion over sex, and pornography tends towards sex minus the emotion, then Blue is the Warmest Colour can be seen as an attempt to resolve both significant halves of real, human relationships.
Placing such an emphasis on the sex, however frank its depiction, does a disservice
nothing in particular contribute to the demanding running time, but crucially the film is never a slog. Rather, it allows the viewer to spend more time in the two lovers’ world and watch them grow. If there is any place in which the film deserves criticism, it is its relatively uninspired and clichéd plot. Take away the stylistic flourishes and all that remains is a predictable and at times melodramatic story. However, it’s Kechiche’s artful embellishments that elevate the film’s tired narrative, and justify its flair for the dramatic. The film’s deliberately claustrophobic close-shots – combined with Exarchopoulos’ and Seydoux’s devoted and at times heartwrenching performances – give the viewer the impression that the love between the two characters is very real and right in front of them. In doing so, Kechiche imbues his epic love story with an unforgiving reality.
“Numerous long shots of nothing in particular contribute to the demanding running time, but crucially the film is never a slog.” to the 160 or so minutes of the film during which genitals are not on display. The camera is effectively wielded throughout, whether its watching scenes of unfolding attraction and intimacy or awkward family dinners and sleepy classrooms. Numerous long shots of
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LOVE/HATE: HIT/MISS? JACK O’KENNEDY
ove/Hate has always had a troubled relationship with animals. Since the hit RTÉ crime drama began airing in 2010, we’ve seen dogs pummelled to death, a swan punched and even mass pigeon executions. It seems strange then, that the shooting of a cat in the opening episode of season four ended up causing such an uproar which, fed by a farcical amount of media coverage, culminated with the “Love/Hate cat” appearing on The Late Late Show. Simulated animal abuse on screen is not a new phenomenon and the groups who decry its use would be better off focusing their attentions elsewhere. More than anything, the fact that the unfortunate feline’s demise became the water cooler moment of the latest crop of episodes highlights the fact that Love/Hate’s fourth series was a very patchy one indeed. If seasons one to three of creator Stuart Carolan’s show were about the rise of Nidge and the fall of Darren, then the programmes fourth outing is all about the walls closing in on our wisecracking protagonist, both literally and metaphorically. After sixteen episodes of wheeling and dealing, the crime lord with the slight frame but larger than life personality is beginning to think on his sins. Complicit in the murder of his former boss, responsible for his mistresses’ suicide and guilty of sending his closest friend to his death at the hands of the IRA, the “Nidge weasel” has racked up a significant body count. Nidgey (as Fran affectionately calls him) is now a haunted man, dividing his time between darkened hotel rooms and late night graveyard visits. Add to the mix the lingering threat of Dano and an increased interest from the gardai and what you get is a deeply troubled individual whose world is very much in flux. The introduction of D.I. Mick Moynihan and his crack team of detectives has been the most significant development of the shows fourth season. Up until this point, Love/Hate had been a one sided affair, choosing to tell its story from the criminal’s perspective only. The decision to introduce a bevy of new characters from the other side of the law this late in the game was a bold and not entirely successful one. Now that time is split fairly evenly between Nidge’s gang and Moynihan’s crew, we spend half the programme sitting in unmarked squad cars doing dreadfully dull surveillance. An inordinate amount of time was spent this season following Nidge and
his motley crew around Dublin, endlessly switching vehicles and hotel rooms and swapping out sim cards. This languorous tale of cat and mouse may be realistic but it sure doesn’t make for compelling television and was the main reason the season finale was such a terrific bore. Despite the teething problems with this sudden shift into cops and robbers territory, it’s clear what Carolan is trying to do here. By teeing up the kind, noble and by the book character of Detective Moynihan against the volatile and unpredictable Nidge, we’re being set up for some deeply ideological warfare. Aided by an admirably understated performance from Brian F. O’Byrne, the decent and unassuming Moynihan stands for law, order and moral obligation. His decision to storm the warehouse before the arrival of the drug shipment in order to save Tommy’s life puts him directly at odds with the harbinger of chaos that is Nigel Delaney. In Nidge’s world where allegiances are switched at the drop of the hat and pipe bombs are thrown around with reckless abandon, anarchy is very much the order of the day, something communicated rather heavyhandedly by the use of The Sex Pistols during Nidge’s bizarre jail cell freak out. Further problems with the show this go round can be identified through the use of its vast network of supporting characters. Peter Coonan has always been an absolute joy to watch as Fran, but the side plot involving his feud with a man whose wife he slept with, that escalated to attempted murder and the desecration of a corpse, was filler of the most obvious kind. We’ll let him away it though as he did us all a favour by taking out Andrew, the incredibly unlikable dentist with a sweet tooth for cocaine, prostitutes and eventually, drug smuggling. It’s unlikely many tears were shed when the upper class divorcee with financial woes that would make an Anglo banker blush was suffocated, stuffed into a suitcase and unceremoniously dropped into the canal. Then there’s the hapless, beset upon Debbie. For four years she’s been a prism through which the real world consequences of Dublin’s organised crime have been focused. A prostitute, money mule and heroin addict, the contempt with which she’s treated by her employers has always been painful to watch. Her eventual death by overdose was an inevitable one but it doesn’t stop her from being one of
the show’s more tragic casualties. After spending what seemed like forever trying to take Nidge out of the picture, Dano also met a grisly end this season, bleeding out in the countryside after being kneecapped by IRA superiors who felt he had tainted the movement. Lizzie, who was on Dano’s payroll also failed to gun down the “Nidge weasel”, instead clobbering an irate driver with a tyre iron before sitting down at the scene of the crime in one of the most ridiculous moments of the show so far. Finally there’s Tommy and Siobhan. With a decidedly stronger moral compass than the rest of his colleagues, Tommy is pretty much the only criminal in the show we can still unequivocally root for. Despite the bed hopping antics of his past, Tommy’s terrible condition after being beaten half to death by Nidge in season three renders his and Siobhan’s plight entirely sympathetic. As such things got unbearably tense when Fran took Tommy for a ride and things threatened to go a bit “Of Mice and Men”. Criticisms aside, Love/Hate still has a lot going for it. Tom Vaughan-Lawlor remains excellent in the central role, finding comedy amidst the drama whilst remaining an extremely dangerous and compelling presence. The show is also directed with a sure hand by David Caffrey who succeeds in creating a very believable picture of modern Dublin and the darkness at work in its underbelly. Going forward, what Love/Hate needs to do to regain the swagger we saw on show in previous seasons is to narrow its focus. Spend less time giving completely misguided abortion subplots to Aido and instead focus on the inevitable clash between Nidge and Moynihan. With his informers gone, his niece turned against him and allegiances built on very shaky foundations, Nidge is up against it. He finished the season a roaring, caged animal. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens when the weasel gets out of the box.
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fashion Moins cher, plus chic ... ELIZABETH BROADERS It has happened to us all, we fall in love with the lipstick, or eyeliner, or perfume, and find ourselves frantically googling for a cheaper alternative online at two in the morning. Sometimes we find the elusive dupe, but it’s never quite the same. Maybe it comes in the same colour, or a similar bottle, but there’s just something not quite right about it. More often than not, the sense of disappointment is just the lack of perceived glamour. For me, there’s an excitement attached to splurging fifty euros on the fancy lipstick in the nice tube, in the shiny packaging, in the little bag all tied up with the bow. Price doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with quality though, and there are certain products that definitely agree with the student budget, and actually eclipse their high-end competitors. 1 Rimmel London’s liquid eyeliner first came into my life as a Junior Cert student trying desperately to be Holly Golightly, a massively questionable role model now that I think about it. The product has proven to be a lot more reliable than the character, and even though I have tried almost every other brand
A PLATE FROM JOURNAL DES DAMES ET MODES
2 and I have fallen in love. It’s not on sale here, but next time I’m in need, I plan to pick some up on amazon.com where you can find it for roughly €5. Even with shipping, it’s still cheaper than any designer brand, and most pharmacy ones, and I promise you, it is worth it. It’s black, it’s buildable, and it’s broken my habit of nervously checking my under-eyes in the reflective parts of my phone on public transport. Finally, there is 3 Bourjois’s Little Round Pot blusher. This recommendation is slightly different to the above in that I wouldn’t say it’s better than the more expensive brands, but it’s definitely on the same level. Pigmentation, colour range, and lasting power are excellent. They’re quite heavily perfumed, but I’m a fan of the scent; for others it might be a turn off. On the whole, the quality is way better than what you would expect for the price. Just don’t use the tiny brush that comes with it, it’s nowhere near big enough to apply a flattering glow.
at this stage, I keep returning to Rimmel. The product glides on easily, starts flaking only after the longest of days, is the blackest of blacks, and the applicator is undoubtedly the easiest to use. It dries quickly, but you still have enough play-time to clean up mistakes, and it’s just so cheap! The next product is another one for eyes, 2 Covergirl’s Clump Crusher mascara. As a contact-lens user, I find I am constantly touching, rubbing or scratching my eyes, especially in changeable winter weather, and I have gone through countless mascaras trying to find one that didn’t turn me into a panda. Every single high-end brand failed me completely, waterproofs included, although Benefit’s They’re Real does hold up quite well. On a recent trip to the States, my mum picked up Clump Crusher on a whim,
While you may not get the luxury high from the makeup aisle of Boots, the products will surpass your expectations, and even if they don’t, you can take comfort in the small price tag. At the very least, you haven’t spent half your weekly budget on lipstick. Not that I’ve done that ... often.
“Costumes Parisiens” at the Chester Beatty Library JENNIFER PARSONS Located in the grounds of Dublin Castle, The Chester Beatty Library boasts an extensive collection of artefacts from Asia, the Middle East and Europe. There are two permanent exhibitions on display at the museum, Arts of the Book and Sacred Traditions. The current temporary exhibition is Costumes Parisiens – Fashion Plates from 1912-1914, which was opened in October by leading Irish fashion designer Louise Kennedy. Over 150 illustrations are on show at the Costumes Parisiens exhibition, which provides a glimpse into the world of fashion that existed in France during the last few years of the Belle Époque before the outbreak of World War I. These beautiful illustrations first appeared in the publication Journal des dames et modes which was first published in 1912 by the Italian writer Tom Antongini and was acquired by Beatty on moving to London that same year. It is believed that his decision to purchase this publication was influenced by Edith Dunn, his second wife, who was an important collector of European paintings herself at that time. An image taken of her between 1910 and 1913 appears at the exhibition. The illustrations on view at the Chester Beatty Library show the rich colour and striking designs of the day, which were a labour intensive and costly undertaking. The process began with sketching and then engraving the design onto copper plate. After the black and white image was printed, colour was painstakingly added using stencils, sometimes a hundred being used per illustration.
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The Journal des dames et des Modes, published between 1912 and 1914, produced in the region of 186 prints during this period. It contained fashion prints illustrated by artists such as George Barbier and Bernard de Boutet de Monvel. Barbier was a highly regarded illustrator of haute couture and produced fashion plates for the famous Parisian couturier Paul Poiret. Poiret was highly influenced by the Ballet Russes and the Orientalist movement. The images produced by these artists give an insight into the influences of Art Nouveau, Cubism and Orientalism on the fashion of the day.
“colour was painstakingly added using stencils, sometimes a hundred being used per illustration” The illustrations show couturiers opting for draping over from the tight corseting that had so restricted women’s movement. Some contemporary costumes on loan from the Ulster Museum in Belfast are also on display at the exhibition, showing the colour and detail of the fabrics used. The exhibition, which runs until 30 March 2014 is well worth visiting in order to get a window into fashion and culture before the outbreak of World War I and to view the beautiful work of exceptional illustrators.
So Kill Me LEANNA BYRNE
IT HAS BECOME a running joke between me and a few friends that when I see somebody liking or sharing a post from the blog So Sue Me, I slam my fist on the table, throw my head in my hands and let out that wonderfully overused phrase: “This is what’s wrong with Ireland.” I usually continue by reading the blog post out in a really exaggerated high-pitched voice while posing with a hand placed on the left side of my hip. I believe it’s called the “teapot”. For those not familiar with So Sue Me, it is a fashion and entertainment blog, which also happens to be the most popular blog in Ireland. For the most part, it’s just a joke. I am just trying to rip the piss out of the whole selfie, Instagram, taking-photos-of-yourself-and-sending-it-to-your-friend-for-her-to-upload-on-her-page culture. I mean, self-involvement is fairly easy to make fun of, especially when it’s all over social media. Then again, when I browse through the pages of So Sue Me, the idea that what’s being promoted here is fundamentally wrong seems glaringly obvious. When you go onto the website it has all the glitz and glam that you would expect from a Bratz dolls music video. The background consists of a black velour wall with a red carpet trailing up the side. As a header, spotlights shine down on the sparkling block capitals: SO SUE ME. The blogger herself, Suzanne Jackson, poses proudly with a pair of glasses tucked into her mouth suggestively. Underneath the title are three words: fashion, beauty and showbizz - because that’s all that there is to life, really.
Ms Jackson with a face full of makeup, her head cocked to the side and her mouth just slightly open is sure to get over 300 likes on Facebook. Of course, So Sue Me replies to the odd comment with the same kind of depthless sentiment and a signature “x”. No banter, no conversation, just really mundane and flat replies. So what’s wrong with Sue’s mission to share her personal style, or her five star reviews on every salon that she’s invited to? You could easily make the argument that just because some young women aren’t into the content of this blog, that doesn’t give them the right to make fun of those who are. It’s a fair point. However, at the heart of this blog and Jackson’s social media posts is a selective look at womanhood, a restrictive idea of what a woman should be. What the So Sue Me blog is giving us is a woman who eats, breathes and lives as a consumer. She is nothing more than the value her clothes or her beauty regime holds. A Barbie doll that is quite content living in the isolated confinement of the Dream House. With so few women as opinion leaders in the media, it is disappointing to see that one of the most influential female bloggers is one who conforms to a predetermined concept of “female.” The conversation is limited to those three themes (fashion, beauty, showbizz) which shine like a beacon underneath the blog’s header and each of them is more obsessed with the acquisition of things than the next. All the Instagrams of her new shoes and all the posts about what beauty products she’s using are completely in line with what women have been marketed as. Sue’s not painting an original image at all, despite how much she might claim to have a unique style. It is simply made up of the ‘Ms Consumers’ that we are exposed to everywhere in the media.
“it is disappointing to see that one of the most influential female bloggers is one who conforms to a predetermined concept of ‘female’.”
Apart from the fact that all you can see when you scroll down the page are riveting posts about how to clean your makeup brushes or pictures of Suzanne perched on her white Audi, what really gets me how this stuff is received online. Suzanne Jackson is not lying when she describes herself as “Ireland’s most successful blogger” with over 350,000 international readers, 91,000 likes on Facebook, and massive followings on Twitter and Instagram as well. You would think that her blog posts about “What Sue Wore” on nights out in Everleigh Gardens, or YouTube videos on her latest shopping spree in Penneys would be laughed at. Wrong. On these pages you’ll get comments like: “OMG gorge! xo” or a simple “<3”. Sometimes people ask where she finds her “fab dresses” or else just compliment her perfect figure. A selfie of
What’s worse is that we’re buying into this. We celebrate the signature poses and “peace and pouts” that have become staples in young women’s portrayals of who they are to the world through likes and comments. The issue with this is that by worshiping self-involvement we are feeding the notion that our worth is only the sum of a number of visuals that we create. By accepting the image, we accept that it is all we have to offer. Yet, the thing is, women have a lot more to offer than what is in the contents of our handbags - or even what brand that handbag is for that matter. There is a definite need to stop liking these blog posts, stop treating self-involvement as the new black, and realise that your value is much more than than the sum of your selfies.
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