The University Times
The University Times Magazine
AN INTRODUCTION TO GLOBAL BASS
EOIN HENNESSEY TALKS TO INTERNATIONAL MC AND PRODUCER CABALLO ABOUT THE TRANSNATIONAL PHENOMENON THAT IS GLOBAL BASS
TALLAFORNIA, HERE WE COME
LUKE O’CONNELL EULOGISES THE END OF THE HIP AND RELEVANT TV3 SHOW
CARNAVAL IN RIO
WHAT WE WERE MISSING ON PANCAKE TUESDAY BY RENATA FARO
EMIGRATION: AN IRISH RIGHT OF PASSAGE? DAVID WALL COMES DOWN AGAINST THE SUPPOSED INEVITABILITY OF EMMIGRATION
VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION
TOMMY GAVIN MET WITH THE PEOPLE BEHIND BODYTONIC; THE COLLECTIVE OF DJ’S WHO RUN THE BERNARD SHAW AND THE TWISTED PEPPER
HARRIET BURGESS INTERVEWS THE BAND THAT IS ACTUALLY BRITISH
LOITERING WITH INTENT
15 10 19
Louis Ryan gives IS Services the inevitable pen lashing thats been coming to it.
Cover Photo courtesy of Left4Rave Back Cover Photo - Elizabeth Fernandez
REVIEWS FILM REVIEW
Vladimir Rakhmanin reviews Martha Marcy May Marlene, and Darragh Haugh reviews HBO’s Game Change
IN FOCUS A photo-essay by George Voronov [SIGH]
Eoin Hennessy reviews all the latest albums and EP’s.
Craig Reynolds on coming to terms with his father’s stroke.
n my first editorial for the University Times Magazine, I wrote about how we were going to try and cover the goings on in Trinity and Dublin in an interesting an informative way. IW am extremely proud to be able to write six issues later (seven if you count the Big Ball Manifesto) that we never stopped trying. There is a responsibility that comes with editorial control, towards a vision of what you can be doing and what you should be doing. The purview of the UT Magazine as I understand it, is to make a magazine that people would want to read, to provide a platform for high quality articles that wouldn’t get printed otherwise, and most importantly, to have something to say. We’ve been very clear about our agenda here at the magazine, and that has always been to say that there are interesting things happening, let us show you some of them. We’ve tried extremely hard to leave the office and provide original content you can’t already read ten versions of online, and to give coverage to the people labouring under the attempt to make life more interesting for themselves and everyone else. We’re not interested in the superficial or the merely famous, we want to go and find out about the weird and the wonderful, and then to be able to report back on it and say “Look!” What we have absolutely tried not to do is provide more of the same. The whole idea of more of the same being a good thing is contemptuous and offensive to us, as is the idea that things are as good as they can or should be. There is always room for improvement, and anybody who believes otherwise has a corpse in their mouth. My greatest hope for this and the previous issues of the magazine it that they age with time, and become dated, so that we can say that insome way, this edition of the magazine reflected the time it produced it. We hope you enjoyed it.
Laura Morley discusses the growing place of androgny in fashion
CONTRIBUTORS Editor: Tommy Gavin Deputy Editor: Luke O’Connell
Creative Director: Dargan Crowley-Long
Photographers: George Vo-
ronov Illustrator: Sadhbh Byrne, Sinéad Mercier, Jay McDonnell
Eoin Henessy, Renata Faro, Darragh Haugh, Vladamir Rakhmanin, Laura Morley, Harriet Burgess, Craig Reynolds, Louis Ryan
LOITERING WITH INTENT...
LIVING WITH STROKE Craig Reynolds on coming to terms with his father’s illness
read recently that stroke is the third-biggest killer in Ireland, and the largest cause of acquired disability. I’ll admit, that besides the inescapable tinge of helplessness that I felt for our country’s insalubrious condition, I indulged in a selfish comfort that came from the knowledge that others are in my position; it’s nice to know you’re not alone. My dad is a victim of stroke; an aneurysm in his heart created an embolus, basically a lump of clotted blood, which travelled through his bloodstream towards his brain, cutting off the flow there, resulting in a stroke. It struck him while jogging in the Dublin mountains eight years ago, he went weak and collapsed, becoming an utterly different person in the process. In his youth, he was an ebullient, charming, impulsive character. He made his living from a number of companies he set up in the tourism and printing industries, as well as a lot of design work (he did the covers for the first Hot press issues and was the design-
er for Magill magazine). Music and writing were his passions too, he wrote a couple of poems in his twenties, and would listen to Leonard Cohen and The Waterboys obsessively. I can of course go on with the interminable traits that defined him, just as you can with anyone, but I’ll cease from this character description as it sounds like an obituary; he’s still alive, but the difference between the man of then, and the man of now, is startling. Fortunately, his stroke didn’t completely incapacitate him, he can still move about by himself - I know others aren’t so lucky - but he moves slow. His left foot drags along the ground as if to anchor him where he stands, and thus hills of the slightest ascent tire him to the point of exhaustion, making the shop up the road a hugely daunting prospect, and hills going the opposite direction are as equally foreboding with his legs not strong enough to control the pace of his descent, once resulting in him crashing on to the footpath and splitting his forehead open. But the physical detriments are a minor issue in comparison to how it has affected his mind. The first thing an observer would notice is the whimpering, a very audible mix of what seems like laughter but is marred by what seems like sobbing, so that it leaves the observer in a very uneasy state. The first thing an interlocutor would notice is his inability to hold a conversation. When the whimpering is not interrupting, which seems to be evoked when he’s questioned, his understanding of the direc-
tion of the palaver does. This is especially true when the numbers involved in the dialogue exceed two, say at dinner with my whole family including my three sisters. What struck me the most from the myriad of acquired symptoms however, was how it has fundamentally altered his personality. My dad had been at one point, an extravagantly optimistic individual, sometimes to the point of insanity, but positive none the less. The stroke has ripped that from him and left in the cavity an incredibly bleak outlook on life, that is no way idiosyncratic of the man, even in spite of his situation; it’s as if the stroke has its own personality, a parasite that attempts to reinvent its prey. For the seldom times when his thoughts and emotions manage to escape in a lucid and concise construction from the firm grasp of the stroke, they are self-deprecating and tragic. He thinks he has failed where he has not, and is to blame where he cannot be. I remember how it first affected me when I was young: my teenage selfconscious thought process concluded that my peers in school, on hearing this story, would shun me from their activities, and I would be forced to sit alone at lunch. I hid it from them for years, my best friends included, until one day I thought fuck it, and told my closest circle of friends; things progressed and now I’m writing for my university paper about it. It was a pivotal moment in my life, it was when I realised how cathartic and pleasant sharing was.
LITTLE ASS BURRITO BAR
t was not so long ago that the space currently occupied by the Little Ass Burrito Bar was Extreme Pizza, but it unfortunately had to close for lack of business. The space was notorious for being hard to get people to go to, so it was with audacity that Little Ass opened there, and by all accounts it’s doing well. The name is unfortunate, and nowhere as good as Extreme Pizza. Nobody’s appetite whetted by the slogan “Want some ass?” so it is hard to decipher what demographic they’re trying to cater to, but that is all beside the point. The question is; how are the burritos? The answer: alright. They can hardly be faulted for service, there is a certain amount of admiration due to a burrito bar that stays open late on the weekend, the late night burrito crowd on a Saturday night in Rathmines is rarely a glamorous one. The staff are friendly and willing to engage which is also a plus. The ingredients then, of the Little Ass burrito have their merits, but ultimately fail to impress. They have some in-
Service/Atmosphere -- 4 Ingredients --3 Flavour -- 3 Construction -- 3 Value -- 3 Overall -- 16/25
teresting offers, like chorizo and feta, or their Sweet Potato burrito, and while there is nothing wrong with any of the individual ingredients (apart from the occasional tendency for the rice to be slightly watery), the end result is a burrito that tastes good but not great. There is no complexity to the flavour, and you rarely taste anything other than one ingredient at a time. If you’re hungry and you want a burrito, you’ll certainly get a burrito, but it’s not exciting in the same way that other burritos might be. Their construction is rarely messy and you won’t find it falling apart in your hands, and to their credit, you do generally get your money’s worth in terms of volume. It’s a shame they took the chorizo burrito off the student menu, because it is by far their best burrito, but again, in terms of value, there is not much you can say against Little Ass. Follow the University Times Magazine on Facebook to find out when we will award the University Times Magazine’s Pendiente Burrito Award.
Eoin Hennessey talks to international MC and producer Caballo about the transnational phenomenon that is global bass.
An Introduction to
GLOBAL BASS 4
o you think it’s possible that the greatest information resource humanity has ever produced might have had an effect the way music made and spread? Global Bass, or Transnational Bass as it is sometimes called, is a musical style and culture that could not have come about except through the internet, being created from a huge array of various genres from around the world. Under the Global Bass alone you can have Dancehall, Dubstep, Cumbia, UK Funky, Drum & Bass, kuduro, and much more. This style of music is being pioneered by blogs such as Tropicalbass.com, Maddecent. com and Generationbass.com, and one of the champions of the scene is Colombian MC and producer Alberto Caballero, aka Caballo. Caballo has worked on all of the aforementioned blogs and is still writing for Mad Decent and Tropical Bass. Now residing in Toronto, Caballo works at getting the Global Bass trend a bigger audience through the medium of Soundcloud.com posts, YouTube videos and articles on the web. While artists like Diplo (pictured) and M.I.A. have reached the mainstream with elements of Global Bass, Caballo still does all of his work with underground artists to try help them reach the top. To Caballo, Global Bass is “taking your own musical roots and adding influences from outside”. In this sense, it seems as if the scene has the power to incorporate elements of almost all musical styles. Its roots lie in Caribbean music such as Dancehall, although it has now blossomed to include music from all over Europe, Africa and South America. “Everything happened so fast so it’s really hard to record who started it first” recalls Caballo, “although the first genre was no doubt dancehall,” and Global bass was generated by a series of remixes. “Somebody did a Balkan remix of a Dancehall tune, it got
really popular and then someone did a Dubstep remix of that remix and that song became super famous and then somebody did a Cumbia remix of that!”. This mixing pot of genres is really what defines Tropical Bass and its world influences. In recent years, Dancehall has seen a surge in popularity with Beenie Man and Diplo’s Major Lazor taking the forefront. “Dancehall is the only [Global Bass] genre that has gone into the mainstream, all the rest are of the mainstream but not as much as dancehall”. Dancehall is still evolving with new artists such as Stylo G, Murlo and Anthony B. However, one of Dancehall’s leading names, Vybz Kartel, is currently imprisoned for drug possession, illegal possession of firearm and conspiracy to murder. Despite this though, the Dancehall scene continues to keep booming and evolving into new territory. Dancehall is now being closely followed by another genre in Global Bass. Moombahton, which generally can be defined as Dutch House slowed down to 108 bpm with added layers of percussion, is now taking centre stage. The genre, which was invented in New York by Dave Nada in 2010, is “going to be famous”, claims Caballo. Despite plugging the genre for almost three years now, Moombahton has only recently seen a surge in popularity thanks to names like Dillon Francis, Melé and Dazed Dog. Moombahton has even developed a new subgenre called Moombahcore, which incorporates Dubstep sounds and harsh beats. When asked about the obscene number of genres in Global Bass, Caballo says “we live in a world which needs to label everything” and that all blogs like Tropical Bass and Mad Decent do is help people define what they are listening too. Caballo’s job involves looking out for what is going to be the next big thing in the Tropical Bass world, along with know-
ing where the future might take the culture. “It’s really hard to know what the future is. We’re constantly trying to nail it. Something that you were talking about in 2009 may have to be brought back in 2013 because it was so ahead of its time when it came out”. The pressure of deciding what may or may not be popular doesn’t seem foremost on Caballo’s mind as he claims to only do the blogging for the love the music. When talking about his own production his passion is palpable, although he manages to keep a level head in knowing whether something is way too out-there for the public. “I personally did an album with electronic music and death metal. I find it awesome but only the future will say whether it’s cool or not. I didn’t even blog it because I don’t find it suitable for any audience”. While his blogs contain some of the newest, most original sounds on the web, he still seems disappointed at the fact that he hasn’t got the time to listen to all the promos he’s sent. “I’m sure that every day I delete lots of great things, whole albums even. I got Schlachthofbronx’s promo album but I haven’t been able to listen to it, it’s on my to-do list but I’ve just been busy with my own stuff. I wish I had the time to look for this 17-year-old kid from Dublin who is an excellent producer and no one has heard him. He’s got an excellent pitch, a laser sound and his music sounds like Darth Vader’s fart. I could say ‘I blogged him first’ but I personally haven’t got the time or the passion to do that sort of thing any more”. Although Caballo has only been working on Tropical Bass and Mad Decent for the past three years, he has still had a huge impact on the nature of the scene. While Global Bass may not have quite so much of a following in Ireland, according to Caballo, the scene has taken over in the UK. “The UK is the core of the whole thing but until it reaches America it won’t reach the public. Benga and Skream have been making Dubstep forever but not until they reached America did it get full attention”. Undoubtedly the biggest name in the Global Bass culture is Mad Decent owner Diplo. His recent work with Usher on the track “Climax” is more of a stray away from his normal productions. “Sometimes we can see [Diplo] working with very high profile people but the next day he could be working with an unknown producer from Ghana”. While it may not be as well known in Ireland yet, nights like Goulash Disko in The Twisted Pepper and Afrobeat Vs. Reggae in The Mezz are showcasing this Global Bass phenomenon. Its huge variety of genres from Balkan to Dub, from Garage to Reggaeton, means that Global Bass is certain to break out in the next few years.
TALLAFORNIA, HERE WE COME Luke O’Connell eulogises the end of the hip and relevant TV3 show Tallafornia.
t saddens me to learn that there are still people who haven’t seen a single episode – let alone followed it with fervour – of the seminal and peerless TV triumph Tallafornia. All human life is there. By the time you read this, the final episode (for now, one hopes) will have aired. It was, undoubtedly, the finest debut season since HBO’s The Wire, blending humour and pathos, love and hate. Above all, it was a sharp commentary on Dublin life, and asked us q uestions of ourselves such as what it means to be a young person in urban Ireland in 2012. I was delighted, then, to hear that David Norris, the failed and weird presidential candidate, had piped up on the subject in the Seanad the other day. It was going to be good no matter what he said. He was quite right to describe it as “compulsive and repulsive viewing”, although I suspect he meant that to be pejorative. “The type of language, I have to say, is something which even in my neck of the woods I wasn’t entirely familiar with on a habitual basis.” What a snob! The language in his beloved Ulysses isn’t something which even in my neck of the woods I am entirely famil-
iar with on a habitual basis. He has called for a debate on “standards in Irish life and values” after watching a bit of the show. Jay, the blonde male stripper who provides most of the homegrown wisdom and down to earth morals of the episodes, responded to this jibes by saying it was simply a publicity stunt by Norris but thanked him for raising awareness of the show just in time for the final episode. The title, a clever pun on the wellknown US state California, is defined in a faux-dictionary style at the beginning of the show as “the growing spread of west Dublin culture”, a culture which Norris presumably knows little about. Whatever about the show in general, Norris must surely have appreciated the natural televisual talent of the show’s anti-hero Cormac Brannigan, an obscenely big weight-lifter who moonlights as a Dublin taxi driver. He is a modern Heathcliff: muscular, brooding, solipsistic and suspiciously tanned. A Rathcoole native who acts like David Brent on steroids, he considers himself above some of the others in the show, much like Norris, and recently told Herald Dubliner
“there were a few different classes in the house and that caused a bit of conflict.” He hit out at the idea that the show was bad press for Tallaght and. in an astute remark which might be worth listening to by Norris, said “And I’m like, ‘How am I making you look bad? Do you not go down to the Plaza [the popular Dublin nightclub] and get locked and probably start a fight? I’m not doing that, so I’m making you look good, so just shut up you fool!” His Facebook page (which I attempted to add a fortnight ago but have yet to receive a confirmation notification) lists his favourite things as “babes, BMWs and bodybuilding”, none of which, one imagines, would be in Norris’s Top 10. It was suggested by James Joyce that if Dublin in 1904 were obliterated, it could be reconstructed perfectly based solely on Ulysses. Well, if west Dublin in 2012 went instead, let Tallafornia be our blueprint. It juxtaposes the sublime and the ridiculous, the spiritual and the mundane, and all in 30 minutes per week of entertaining gold. One of the main reasons that Tallafornia was such a hit with middle class Dublin might be a smug superior-
ity complex. It feels good to watch those less fortunate than you making idiots of themselves, especially if the producers are on your side and are fully compliant with maximising their supposed idiocy. But it’s good to watch anyone making an idiot of themselves on TV, regardless of class, as we saw in the glorious presidential election last year, which was essentially one eternal episode of Tallafornia with a different cast. Seven non-entities attempted to become famous at any cost but were savaged by those on the other side of the camera. It was all pre-rehearsed and the level of backstabbing and mud-slinging was unprecedented, as with Tallafornia. Doesn’t Norris see this? Doesn’t he see that Tallafornia is the zeitgeist of modern Ireland in a way that his or his opponents’ campaigns could never be? A new season of the presidential election airs only every seven years; on the bright side it should be less than one year until we see the Tallaght Seven return. By then, maybe the Seanad won’t even exist and Norris will be out of a job, but, one hopes, Cormac will still be cruising around in his BMW and picking up babes, before politely asking them for the fare at the end of the journey.
Carnival In Rio
Forget the big expensive parades, the half-naked women dancing with huge feather ornaments on their heads and all the tourist stereotypes that come with those images. Let Renata Faro tell you what Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro really feels like.
L ast year, I was taking the elevator at the building I live, as I always do. It stopped on the 2nd floor and as the door opened, it took me a moment to realise that the person stepping in was my neighbor. This serious man in his mid-sixties (and not a fan of my parties on the 3rd floor) opted to shun his usual grey suit, and instead had donned a blond wig, a huge bra, and a tiny green dress that accentuated his curves. The make-up on his face seemed to draw inspiration from the 1980’s, and the everywhere else was glitter. Apparently, I shouldn’t have been shocked by this moody transvestite walking in, because after seeing me, he just nodded, said “good morning” and kept his usual frown. It was all very natural for him. This memory is pretty much what Carnaval means to me: a week when the rest of the year is forgotten and the usual social decorum is thrown out the window. Everything works under the “Carnaval Law”, therefore anything is possible.
Since the beginning of the 1990’s, Rio has been experiencing the return of what we call Carnaval de Rua, or ‘Street Carnaval’. It’s the Carnaval that happens on the streets – and it’s free for anyone who wants to be a part of it. The interesting thing though, is how it happens; during the whole celebration week and the weekends that precede it, the city is taken over by hundreds of bloc parties that appear on every sin-
gle Rio neighbourhood. Some of them are small, being just for friends, family and neighbours, while others can have hundreds of thousands of participants. Some are very traditional, dating from as far back as the 1920’s, while others are only one or two years old. Yet, what they all have in common is the loud music coming from a Samba band (on foot or on top of huge vehicles) surrounded by people wearing costumes, dancing, drinking and generally having a good time. Anyone can apply to host an official bloc party that will have the City Hall’s approval to close up a street at some point during the holiday and last Carnaval, the official number of bloc parties on the streets was 542. Before it’s recent revitalization, the street Carnaval had lost a lot of space to the big parades organized for television. That coincides with when the stereotyped version of Brazilian Carnaval was built outside of the country. What is happening now though, is that the traditional street party idea of Carnaval has been seized back by the younger generation, who have combined the old traditions with their modern day cultural sensibilities. The result is a crowded city, and an explosive week of freedom and reckless fun. Despite the hellish temperatures reaching as high as 45˚ C, the 2012 Carnaval in Rio registered a record-breaking 5 million party-goers. The previous year, Cordão do Bola Preta, one of the most traditional
blocs, alone had over 2 million people following its relentless band. If you find it hard to picture that many people in one place, picture almost the entire population of Slovenia getting drunk and dancing samba. It should be obvious then, that Carnaval is not easy. You have to be physically and mentally prepared for this intense party marathon. Each bloc party lasts around 3 hours, and the average expectation is to attend at least 2 or 3 per day. The celebrating starts in the morning and can last until 4 a.m. the following day. You have to plan for strategic breaks along the week to make it possible. The more methodical folião (person who attends Carnaval parties) tends to have elaborate schedules and timetables of the bloc parties carefully organized by day and priority. You are lucky if your friend is one of these people. But on the other hand, if there is one thing I love about Carnaval, is the spontaneity of it all. You never know how your day is going to end. There are those days when nothing works out: you lose your friends in the crowd, the sun is too strong, you arrive late at all the parties which causes a domino effect of, at which point it is better to call it a day and pray for the gods of Carnaval (we actually use that expression) to give you a blast the next time. Believe me, the gods of Carnaval can also be merciful. The following day you might be able to meet your friends on time, follow great blocs with great music one after the other, dance yourself to exhaustion and have such a great experience, that by the time it ends, you realize you’ve just had one of the best days of your life. The traditional marching tunes are the root of Carnaval and are easy to learn. The words and beats are often repetitive and cyclical, which is helpful when dealing with an extremely large group that is supposed to be singing together. It’s like the encore of a concert, where the chorus lasts twenty minutes because the crowd won’t stop singing along. One of the more interesting ways Carnaval is changing, is that many blocs are taking other rhythms or contemporary songs and adapting them to the Samba beat and its characteristic African drums. There is a bloc called Bloco do Sargento Pimenta (Sgt. Pepper’s Bloc), which plays a huge set of Beatles songs in Samba style. It has become quite famous and had over 60 thousand followers this year. Bloco Cru (Crude Bloc) is another example, giving classic rock anthems by Queen, AC/DC,
Rolling Stones and many others a new perspective with a mix of deep drums, tambourines, agogos, cuicas and other typical Samba instruments. Soul and Funk music, commercial Hip Hop hits, Country… It can all be remixed live for the benefit of the party. The names of the blocs are also a part of the festivity. They tend to be very creative, usually with sarcastic wordplay and referring either to the area where it was created or to the group of people who created it. There is, for instance, Suvaco de Cristo (Christ’s Armpit), which was created in Jardim Botânico, a neighbourhood located under the hill that supports the worldwide famous statue of Christ holding his arms wide open. As for the Bloco das Carmelitas (Carmelites Bloc), legend has it that once, when the bloc party was passing in front of the Carmelites convent, one of the nuns jumped over the fence to loose herself in Samba. That is why, until today, most of the participants wear the Carmelite veil to keep the mischievous nun unidentified. Street Carnaval reflects a lot of the culture of Rio. It mirrors the beach lifestyle of always gathering on the outside, and the diverse mix of people with different tastes and backgrounds sharing the same spaces. Despite the elements of contemporary culture involved and because it is a traditional party, Carnaval can also be very innocent. The lyrics for the marching tunes are old and simple, and every Brazilian knows them by heart. There is also a very mixed public: old, young, poor and rich; they are all at the same place, singing the same songs. It is a simple kind of joy and you might feel extremely happy just for being in the sun, with a great view, singing to old tunes while surrounded by people doing the same. Or maybe it’s just the beer talking. Street Carnaval is one of the simplest, easiest ways to have fun – and a very effective one I can say. That is why I say: forget the big produced parades that basically run a whole economy around them. Real Carnaval is for free. It is for everyone: old, young, moody neighbours. There is a song that says that Carnaval is the 8th world wonder and no one deserves to die without experiencing it once in their lives. It is a celebration of nothing and everything at the same time. It’s a week when nothing else matters, not even your terrible dance moves, because, as we say it here, “it all ends in Samba”.
EMIGRATION: LIFESTYLE CHOICE OR NATIONAL FOIST?
Words- David Wall Illustration - Sinéad Mercier
ccording to the biography of Ferdinand Columbus, Christopher (his old man) came to Galway in 1477 and saw there the bodies of a man and a woman who had washed ashore on wooden tree trunks. Their exotic appearance led him to believe they had been drifted eastwards towards Europe on the Atlantic currents, giving him evidence for a westward passage to India. Now that’s what I call forced emigration!
driven by a desire to see another part of the world and live there’.
At least it might be only case of forced emigration we know of if we are to believe recent comments from minister for finance Michael Noonan. In January, he commented that emigration was ‘a free lifestyle choice,’ and that, Ireland being small, ‘a lot of people want to get off the island’. ‘It’s not being driven by unemployment at home’, he said, ‘it’s being
As we arrive at the end of another college year, with a new waft of graduates about to enter the ‘real’ world after up to four years of recession insulation inside the college walls, it seems an apt time to reflect on the prospects of college leavers in the near future. I wanted to find out if people agree that emigration is still a lifestyle choice - a chance to expand their experi-
With such comments emanating from government, one wonders if they are not quietly happy with the efflux of people from the country. Unemployment currently stands at 14.5%, but with 75,000 people emigrating in 2011 and another 75,000 expected to leave this year, the figures could be much worse.
ence of work and of the world - or do they feel that in fact Ireland has let them down and provided them with no opportunity to stay in a country which they love. What doesn’t seem to be on the media’s agenda is how unemployment is disproportionately affecting young people. Youth unemployment currently stands at double the national rate (30%). Young people are the most likely candidates for emigration, having fallen into the gap of not gaining work experience when there were jobs to be had. If so many weren’t willing to take the boat, the government’s official figures would be an international embarrassment. Whereas the crisis was caused by the excesses of our parent’s generation, it is recent graduates who must leave in order to rebalance such excesses.
We find ourselves in a country which can provide almost no realistic opportunities for people under thirty. The public service is barred for employing people, and the private sector has been shedding jobs and wages for four years now. The recent graduate can only realistically get experience if they are willing to work for free. As a small open economy, do we simply need to accept that we use migration as a pressure valve in the bad times? Is it simply the truth that we cannot sustain enough employment for a population of 4.5 million people unless we have an artificially created bubble? If so, we should simply get packing our bags and accept it as part of what being Irish consists of, as much as bacon and cabbage or a fondness of chancers. At the beginning of this month, the annual Working Abroad Expo was held in Dublin and Cork, offering the prospect of jobs around the world. Over that weekend, 20,000 people turned up to the RDS, and the organisers had to close the doors early due to the unexpected demand. Some queued up for five hours before the doors opened, and those that turned up after 2.30pm on Friday were turned away, in spite having paid €10 for the privilege. What is the government actually doing to tackle youth unemployment? Kevin Culhane is one person who has availed of the new government initiative to retrain people in the I.T. industry. Originally a civil engineer, he finished a masters in project management in Trinity in September 2011, and since then has been determined to stay in Ireland. He applied for many jobs at home since, but got as far as one unsuccessful interview. When the government announced at Christmas that they would be facilitating free places in higher diploma in computing courses, he felt this was his only way of avoiding the boat. He applied in February and the course started two weeks later. Despite reservations at the ad hoc creation of the course, he says that so far he is happy with it. With any luck, an illustrious career with Google awaits him. However, while some lucky one’s like Kevin can retrain for free, this initiative seems like small beer compared to the scale of youth unemployment. Many like Kevin are determined not to leave the country they love, but there are only so many years that
people in the prime of their ability can hang around on the dole waiting for a miracle to happen.
...we should simply get packing our bags and accept it as part of what being Irish consists of, as much as bacon and cabbage or a fondness for chancers.
I myself was a ‘lifestyle choice’ emigrant before choosing to come back to Trinity to study. I left when all you needed to get a job was to turn up to an interview semi-sober. But I wanted to see what life was like outside. When I had enough of that, I decided to come back to study, because otherwise I would have no excuse for returning home. But as my course quickly passes, it’s becoming obvious that next time it won’t be lifestyle choice that sends me abroad, and I’ll be joining the ranks of the forced emigrants. Last Thursday evening I met an old friend for this ‘emigration drinks’. Niall has worked as an architect for a number of years but work has dried up, and he can no longer afford to hang around. His girlfriend has a good job in Dublin, but will be packing that in to join him on the journey to Australia. Niall is one of those who definitely isn’t a lifestyle choice emigrant. A true Dub, he loves the Irish people and culture, and his group of family and friends, carefully nurtured over the years. With no connections in Oz, they plan to travel around at the beginning to ‘see where they could live’.
While the night is boisterous with the old group of friends back together, I can’t help noticing the melancholic glaze of his eyes throughout the night. Perhaps he was drinking in the warm atmosphere of being surrounded by friends for the last time; something he’ll find hard to replace in Australia. Most likely he was bitter at feeling forced out of a place he loves. It is due to forced emigrants like Niall that I feel angry at our current situation. Yes, Noonan is right, many do leave to expand their horizons, be there good times or bad. But others like Niall are deeply enmeshed in Irish life and culture, and feel no urge to explore foreign lands. When these people are being forced onto the boat, then we really need to look at ourselves, many of us who remain who have no such love for this country. I for one reject the notion that my life should not be decided by me, and that every few years when a down cycle comes along I should be cast out across the world. Other countries are expected to resolve what our own seems unable or unwilling to do. We have a right to craft our own lives and not be the mere puppets of economic tides. We should never accept emigration as an integral fact of being Irish.
IN FOCUS George Voronov visited an underground art gallery and artist hangout in Berlin.
VANGUARD O Tomm the c y Gavin m o e on a llective o t with Bo f DJ’s ques dyto t to k n eep t and prom ic; hings oters inter estin g.
F THE REVO
n the surface of things it would be all too easy to bemoan the state of Irish nightlife. There are fewer clubs than there were even five years ago, and the recent closure of POD with the expectation that it is to become a competitor of Coppers is enough to justify a full scale nuclear quarantine of Harcourt Street. However, there are those who are trying in the face of adversity to make things better, and none more so than Bodytonic: the collective of DJ’s and promoters who run the Twisted Pepper and the Bernard Shaw. Driven by an attitude that “It doesn’t have to be this way”, they have spent the last ten years grinding away at trying to make space in Dublin for the music they love.
It was informally founded in the early 2000’s by Trevor O’Shea, who used to call it “the lonely hearts club for house music lovers.” A lot of blood and sweat went into getting Bodytonic off the ground, and the trial by fire has come to strongly inform the way that they operate. One of the newer members of the crew, Eimear Fitzmaurice said that “if Bodytonic is going from A to B, we’re going to hit Z before we get there. You get an idea and you could just do it, or you could sit around the table for an hour and talk about how to make the idea better, and fight and give everyone a headache, and then go and do it better than it would have been. If it was easy it would be boring.” The club scene had been handed its death notice around the time Bodyton-
ic was getting started, so on paper, they were starting at the worst possible time to be running a club night. The first wave of clubbing in Dublin from the 90’s had fizzled out, promoters were turning away from dance music, and late bars started opening which took a lot out of club revenues. John Mahon who is generally in charge of looking after the Bernard Shaw recollects that “it used to be that having a DJ was enough, and eventually that got boring and oversaturated, so clubs were closing up all over town.” With that in mind, it’s not surprising how long and difficult it was for Bodytonic to get off the ground especially given that they were pushing something that is statistically unpopular to begin with. “In a very simplistic way, people who care have always said that Dublin is a techno music town and Cork is a house music town. The music that we do always was, always will be, and still is a very niche thing. Dublin is practically a village, so given the small size, you’re really scrapping over a few hundred people every night. It’s always been unpopular music, it’s not chart, it’s not commercially easy to find, and that’s where the buzz is and that’s what we like.” Things didn’t really come together until 2003 when Bodytonic threw a successful beach party in Howth, and brought Derrick Carter, a hugely influential
house DJ, to RED BOX (where Tripod was), and people who knew who he was were aware of the significance. After that, they started running a popular night in Wax on South William Street, and things turned around. In 2005 then, they started looking into trying to make a living out of Bodytonic, and it became a full time enterprise, and “things significantly changed. We started looking at it as a business, and running it like a business. There was no more going out with the takings in our pocket and not coming back for three days. We went from being sub-contractors in other people’s clubs, to opening up our own space where we could have full creative control.” Out of that spirit of progression, Bodytonic moved into the Bernard Shaw on Richmond Street. They initially signed onto a twelve month lease, because from the point of view the landlord it was better to have somebody looking after it rather than keeping it vacant. From there, they were able to run popular nights in POD which was across the road, use the Shaw as a feeder. 12 months became 24 months, and it became increasingly obvious that they weren’t going to be leaving any time soon, which also allowed for more investment into the Shaw on their part, knowing that they’d be around to see a return. “It’s still a constant heartache
this place, it’s not designed to have multitudes of people in here all the time, it was designed to be a bar for aul’ fellas. But we needed a space that we could say if we succeeded it was because of us, if we fucked up, it was because of us. Sometimes I’m in a taxi or something and the taxi man will say it must be really hard, but it’s not. Its hard work, but it’s not hard.” The opening up of the Twisted Pepper on Middle Abbey Street was the next big step. They knew clubs intimately and had a few years’ experience running a bar, so the next logical move was to open their own club, and all of a sudden realised that what had worked in POD wasn’t working in the Twisted Pepper, and found they had to bring in acts, as opposed to building up their resident DJ’s as they had always done in the past. Conor Lynch, who is a promoter for the Twisted Pepper, as well as managerial work for the Bodytonic record labels Scribble and Pogo. “The whole ethos of why we opened the Twisted Pepper is because we wanted somewhere that would have the standards we believed in; a really high-end quality sound system, bouncers that weren’t dickheads, bar staff who are attentive to detail and treat you with respect.” The Twisted Pepper has become the most important club in Dublin for bringing niche and underground acts over, but what is most interesting about it is how it’s used beyond being a nightclub. During the day, the Twisted Pepper runs The Loft bookshop, The Elastic Witch record shop, a café bar, and the Boxcutter Barber, which keeps a PS2 for those waiting. It seems odd, but Conor made the convincing point that “the first step is just asking ‘Why not?’ The idea of having a barbershop, it sounds mental but it does make sense. That’s the new frontier of business; being more creative with your spaces. Instead of having a big dead empty space in in the Twisted Pepper until seven or eight o’clock, why not fill it up with the best of what we’re into outside of music, or what can work there. We could have some shitty clothes shop, but we’re into music so we wanted a record shop, we’re into books so we have a bookshop upstairs, and we’ve gotten into food and coffee because we met somebody who cares about them and is now using that space.” Rachel, who does the Boxcutter
Barber, said that if she was just opening a barbershop in her own space, she wouldn’t have done it, but because it was with Bodytonic, she was more willing to take it on. “They’re really sound, and having Gib who does Elastic Witch, and Rob in the bookshop, we’re kind of like a little unit. I don’t think there’s anywhere really like this in Dublin.” This openness to new ideas is one of the most defining aspects of Bodytonic. Partially because they’ve practically had it beaten into them that the best way to survive is to constantly be able to adapt and incorporate new ideas, but also because its existence arose out of a sentiment of communality among fans of the same kind of music that never had much of a home in Dublin. One of the reasons they started doing what they do was because other people ignored them or didn’t give them the chance. John Mahon described that “meeting new people is the cornerstone of what we do. I’m absolutely open to new ideas, the crazier the better. Without that, we have nothing.” That openness, and attempt at keeping an open shop even extends to potential competition; “You have smaller bars and venues, but we’re kind of out here on our own. You have the guys at U bar and Emergence (a collective of artists, promoters, and DJ’s) and they’re coming on strong and that’s great because we hate being out here on our own. You need people doing and trying things, it keeps us sharp, it keeps them sharp, and it’s better for the customer. Something that kept independently coming up in conversation was just how hard they work at what they do, and their nonchalance about it really is striking, how willing they are to make mistakes, and you realise that these people really sincerely care. That’s the only way they can so wholeheartedly embrace the mantra of “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” They’re trying really hard, and working 50 hour weeks, to make Dublin more interesting, and to help people with interesting ideas succeed. As Conor put it; “The worst thing possible to happen is when you have people with good ideas sitting at home and doing nothing with it, because there isn’t a door open for them.” Long may they continue to open doors.
ALABAMA Interview by Harriet Burgess
f anyone thinks that politics and religion aren’t suitable subjects for rock ‘n’ roll they should check out Alabama 3.” The Times This pithy quote sums up my disposition regards Alabama 3, after talking to Rob Spragg, aka Larry Love, one of the band’s founding personas. It was an education. This band are wrongly categorized as one track wonders- the group achieved international fame when the producers of cult TV series The Sopranos chose its track ‘Woke Up This Morning’ for the show’s opening credits. I guarantee you everyone; literally everyone alive in the nineties could sing it back to you. However, we revel in ignorance as we happily hum the tune. Little do we know that the potent lyrics were inspired not by a New Jersey mobster, but of a woman suffering domestic violence. Presenting a snippet of their zany and highly stimulating viewpoints.
There seems to be an interweaving lyrical theme throughout your music in that you talk about a preaching a gospel. What is the essence of this message you seek to spread? As a nine-person band, we draw inspiration from loads of different places. Revolutionaries like Che Guevara, Karl Marx and Rosa Luxembourg all influence us. So I guess the message we are sending out is to the young people of the world… Get up off your arses and do something for a cause! But of course, do it without causing trouble. And never trust bankers, that too. You guys unquestionably have controversial lyrics. No offence meant, but is this simply just to be controversial for the sake of being controversial, or do they have a deeper meaning? Our lyrics are controversial, but no, they’re not controversial for the sake of it. The controversy now, today, is about young people. A lot of this record is about young people today. We
were very interested as a group in the riots at home (referring to the London riots). The government was very quick to blame young people for what had happened; whilst bankers in the city were get away with blue murder, but for different reasons. With ‘Shoplifting 4 Jesus’, we worked with many young rappers, kids fresh out of college. The lyrics on this CD are all about the love we need to show for the youth of today. Basically, this record is like 2 fingers up to the middle classes, and the Establishment. Unemployment is so high at the moment; the government is quick to point the finger to the youth of today for society’s problems. We support revolution and rioting in a way. The internet is brilliant for organizing revolt against the establishments. It’s really important to us that the kids of today have developed a political conscience. Not a political conscience in a Bono kind of way, but a conscience with serious intention. What’s your song writing process like, as a group with multifaceted musical and philosophical interests? Well there are 9 of us, and we’ve been together for 15 years. Its weird, country western could become techno, and that then could become a ballad. We have been put into the genre of techno sound system, but I think we could just as easily be categorized as a blues and country western group. Each song is different really, and our music changes constantly. I could be raving along to something and an idea or a melody could just pop into my head. You gained notoriety as a group with the song “Got Yourself A Gun”. Is this song something you have now come to hate, in that some may categorise you as one hit wonders? No, we’re really proud of that song,
whatever the outcome may be. The song was just picked up by the producers of the Sopranos, which we are eternally grateful for! We didn’t write it with the intention of it being on the soundtrack, it actually has nothing to do with gangsters. We wrote the song from the viewpoint of a woman suffering domestic violence, who went on to shoot her husband. You may have heard of Sarah Thornton, it’s kind of her story (Sara Thornton was found not guilty of murdering her alcoholic husband, but was convicted instead of manslaughter. This at the time was a cause célèbre for women’s rights). It just shows how a song can be interpreted completely differently. Would you describe yourselves as completely anti establishment, or anti government even? Your lyrics allude to ‘they [who have] tried to stop us. They say we were too political, too ugly’. Who are they? We are essentially a group who are pro young people, and very much anti middle class. We have done a lot of work with MOJO, an organization supporting prisoners who have been wrongly convicted. Listen, we are the marmite of rock and roll, some people are going to love us, others will hate us. And we’re ok with that. Lastly… If you could change one thing about modern music industry what would it be? That’s easy- all bands would have to give away their music for free. That’s the way things are heading anyway, with downloading being the way it is. Every new band that’s coming out has to release a free track now by way of necessity. Look at Irish bands like Bipolar Empire, they’re setting a fine example. It’s the future, without a doubt.
Feature Film Review
MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE
By Vladamir Rakhmanin
By Darragh Haugh
t first glance, Martha Marcy May Marlene looks like a gentle arthouse film – the country house and the large body of water echo Ingmar Bergman’s Persona – however, the look of the film definitely jars with the plot. Martha… is a surprisingly intense psychological thriller about the effect of an ideological cult on a young woman named Martha, even after her escape. She is played by Elizabeth Olsen, who gives a stunning debut performance. The plot of the film is shown in a non-chronological order, and this format works well if there is a thematic reason for it. Martha… pulls it off effortlessly, and this is one of the strongest aspects of the film. The way the flashbacks are randomly intertwined with present day proceedings at the country house clearly reflect the protagonist’s mental state. She can’t function in a civilised society because of the grip of behavioural rules that she experienced at the ranch – hence the flashbacks. Some critics have said that this makes the film confusing and difficult to follow; personally, I think this was the director’s (Sean Durkin) intention. The confusion we feel when we can’t tell where or when in the film’s plot we are is exactly the same thing that Martha experiences. This leads us to the film’s greatest strength– its acting. While all the actors are great, especially John Hawkes as the creepy yet inviting cult leader, it is Elizabeth Olsen that truly puts the film together. Psychological thrillers, no matter how well-scripted, require a leading per-
formance that can properly reflect the disturbed mental state (Natalie Portman in Black Swan is a great example). Olsen pulls this off with ease – she has definitely become an actress to watch. One of the main merits of the performance is how well it reflects the title. While literally the title simply lists the different names Olsen’s character had acquired over the course of her life (Martha is her birth name, Marcy Mae is the name given to her by the cult leader and Marlene is the name all the women in the cult were forced to use when answering the phone), metaphorically it represents her fractured identity. The way Olsen shows these different sides to her character is truly spectacular - she has the uncanny ability to look any age, from 12 to 45; at times she looks as innocent as a child, at other times she looks disturbingly sexual.
The recent HBO production intimately chronicles the republican capaign of the 2008 presidential election is a fine if imperfect political thriller. Based on Mark Halperin and John Heilleman’s best-selling book, the film focuses entirely on the McCain campaign leaving the likes of Clinton, Obama and Edwards to mere passing mentions. Staring Juliann Moore as the scarily convincing Sarah Palin with supporting turns by Ed Harris’s John McCain and Woody Harrelson as chief campaign strategist Steve Schmidt. If you were looking for something like Travolta’s “Primary Colours” or the recent Ides of March, be prepared to be surprised. Although you might be expecting a grand standing political film thriller, the movie instead chooses to focus on the people rather than the politics, and little emphasis is given to the policy of either candidate, and ideological speeches are kept to a minimum. To this end the film relies heavily on achieve footage and re-enactments of real world events in order to give context. Obama himself only ever appears in news clips or speech recordings. This can be quite jarring at times at it primarily serves to remind us we’re watching actors. One particular section of the film depicting one of the most discussed moment of the campaign is particularly unnerving as we have a character being interviewed by achieved footage
of Katie Couric leading to an emotional disconnect and lack of heft. At times Palin is presented as a devoted and inspirational mother, a person too naive for high level politics, an emotionally unstable compulsive liar and even at times an ambitious media personality. It’s no wonder that Palins political camp has called the film a work of “political fiction”, and while the film is generally sympathetic to McCain for having to run against the charismatic Obama, it wholeheartedly condemns Palin as being at best selfcentred and ignorant, and at worst sociopathic. This strong character allows for an outstanding performance of 4 time Oscar nominee Moore, who adopts many of her subject’s mannerism perfectly, avoiding a mere imitation or the comedic style of Tina Fey. The film rests heavily on the ability of the actors, and is heavily dialogue driven. Harris at times looks surprisingly like McCain at times and it’s a shame he wasn’t given more screen time while Harrelson holds his own against Moore’s larger than life character, even if his is a more limited performance. If the film does have a political message it’s that celebrity and charisma were the most important issues in the 2008 election, and the republican campaign attempted to appeal to a lowest common denominator with Palin, whom they subsequently lost control of.
My main issue with the film was the ending. Many recent American films have begun to popularise the non-ending, where the plot doesn’t have a neat solution, or certain questions aren’t fully resolved. In the case of Martha…, I believe that the gamble of using such an innovative feature had not fully paid off. While the ending does invite us to think about what could happen after the credits begin to roll, I think Durkin could have given us some more subtle hints about the fate of the protagonist. Nevertheless, Martha Marcy May Marlene is a very well-made thriller that is more about a psychological state than a plot – and the film manages to convey this state very well, with great help from the leading performance. It will be interesting what both Sean Durkin and Elizabeth Olsen will attempt next.
nly 25 years old and already 9 mixtapes deep, Big K.R.I.T. is definitely on the fast train to mainstream success. The Mississippi-born rapper’s most recent mixtape, 4EvaNaDay, sees him showcase his unbelievable beat crafting ability along with his patented smooth vocals. Throughout the 17 tracks, K.R.I.T. explores all manners of topics from his own girl problems in “Red Eye” to universal difficulties like alcoholism in “Package Store”. K.R.I.T.’s Southern pride is never too far from hand either as barely a song goes by without a mention of his “country folk” or of his “hommies down south”. Some of the lyricism may seem a bit repetitive at times, but with K.R.I.T.’s smooth vocals one seems to forget about it quite quickly. His vocals range from a nasal sounding Pimp C-like tone to a deeper, smoother Nate Dogg reminiscent range. However, it is the beats on the album which really give it that
Big K.R.I.T. - 4EvaNaDay
Cannibal Corpse - Tortuure
ne of the most famous death metal bands in the world, Cannibal Corpse, has just released their 12th studio album. Those of you who are familiar with the group will know that they change very little from record to record. The lyrics will always be vulgar, the drums will always be fast and the vocals will always be indiscernible. However, the band’s most recent album, Torture, sees the group take a slightly more creative route than normal. The 12-track album, while still containing Cannibal
Corpse’s trademark machine gun-like drums, experiments with new arrangements and sounds. Drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz has such precise percussion skill while still maintaining a recordbreaking speed. And for the first time, listeners can actually make out what lead singer, George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher, is saying. However this may not necessarily be a good feature as tracks like “As Deep As The Knife Will Go” and “Followed Home Then Killed” are fully exposed in full gory manner. Despite this,
cut above the rest. K.R.I.T. uses a huge range of samples to provide us with soul, jazz and pure hip hop instrumentals. The title track of the album sounds like a rehashed version of UGK’s “Int’l Players Anthem” while still sounding fresh and original. While one of the best tracks on the album, “Me And My Old School”, sees K.R.I.T. chop and slow down a vocal that would make DJ Screw proud. K.R.I.T.’s only downfall is his constant attempt to lift people’s spirits. While this may sound like a good thing, platitudes like “life is what you make it” and “you gotta play until the end” sound like something an angry personal trainer would say. The line “the only difference between a winner and a loser is a winner plays until he wins” is particularly cheesy. Aside from this, K.R.I.T. has made a fantastic mixtape and considering his consistency and constant output he’s definitely a rapper who will move on to bigger and better things.
Torture seems to be one of the most controlled albums Cannibal Corpse has ever made. While the album is still full of mayhem, it seems as if the band have made it in such a way that the songs are more calculated. The guitar and bass solos on the album are fantastically constructed, particularly in “The Strangulation Chair”, where bassist Alex Webster works his fingers to the bone to create a solo worthy of featuring on a John Zorn record. Torture must be one of the best albums Cannibal Corpse
has made in their 24-year history. One can appreciate the work and arrangements on this album even if one is not particularly fond of death metal (like this reviewer). All in all, Cannibal Corpse, have made an album that will bring something fresh to old fans while still maintaining that same sound they had over 20 years ago. However, 40-minutes of this sound is just about all this reviewer can hack in a month and while the album is good, it may take me a few hours to clean the blood out of my ears.
wedish electronic-pop group, Miike Snow, are back with a follow-up to 2009’s self titled debut. The three-piece band has been on hiatus for over three years now and their return to music has been highly anticipate. On their debut album, Miike Snow blended some of the smoothest electronic grooves and melodious pop vocals to produce brilliant anthemic songs like “Black & Blue” and “Animal”. Their most recent venture, Happy to You, sees the group return to that same sound that was heard on their first record. However, the world of electronic pop music has come a long way since 2009. Pop orientated electronic acts like TEED and SBTRKT have taken centre stage, while acts like Miike Snow have been left behind. Where SBTRKT and TEED have pushed out the boat in terms of catchy original chart music, Miike Snow seem unmoved from the sound they were producing back in 2009. Although, none of the songs on Happy to You are unbearable, they still all sound very similar to one another, with only one track having any hint of originality. Even if we discount the
Mikke Snow - Happy to You
Various Artists – Shangaan Shake
t’s almost been two years since Honest Jon’s released Shangaan Electro, an album comprised of South African new wave dance music very similar to Chicago footwork. The album received very little acclaim despite its originality in style and sound. However, Honest Jon’s have decided to reinvigorate the Shangaan name by releasing a collection of remixes by some of the best names in electronic music today. Shangaan Shake, which comes in at a staggering 102 minutes, is a journey into some of the weirdest sounds in the electronic world. None of the tracks on the album have names and are simply titled “… Meets Shangaan Electro”. The majority of the songs don’t sound like remixes at all, but instead sound like new compositions with occasional hints from the originals. The opening track, Mark Ernestus’ take on the South African group BBC, is a heavy techno ensemble with a throbbing bass line and subtle Afrikaans vocal samples, whilst enigmatic duo, Hype Williams do a spaced-out off key cover version of one of the originals. One of the highlights of the album is MMM’s bass-heavy techno version of a Tshetsha Boys’ song. While most of the
fact that the album isn’t original, we’re still left with a monotonous hour-long record that fails to get either the body moving or the mind pondering. Tracks like “The Wave” and “Pretender” try to mooch off the success of “Black Blue” by sounding almost indistinguishable from the original, while “Vase” and “Garden” sound like bad Vampire Weekend covers. That’s not to say that album hasn’t got any gems. The Lykke Li collaborative, “Black Tin Box”, is an ambient, perturbing song with excellent usage of steel drums. “Paddling Out” is an impressive future disco track with a catchy chorus and a great repetitive beat. However, aside from these two tracks, the majority of the album remains a bland, uninteresting collection of songs with very little texture. While Miike Snow may have graced us with a small handful of decent songs, a huge number of modern electronic pop artists have now surpassed them. If they manage to keep up with the times by the time their next album is released, they might be able to produce something more listenable, but until then they shall remain in 2009.
remixes stray away from the original footwork-sounding songs on the 2010 release, DJ Rashad & DJ Spinn’s remix is an all out quick fire footwork track laced with frenetic synth toms. The same can be said about RP Boo’s remix, which even goes so far as to constantly chop in a vocal of someone saying “footwork”. The more insane remixes on Shangaan Shake come from Actress, Peverlist and Demdike Stare. Actress’ second remix on the album sounds as if it is being played at the wrong speed, whilst Demdike Stare produce one of the most eerily sparse remixes on the record. The only disappointing moments on the album come from some of the best known names. Theo Parrish’s 12-minute remix is a bland disposable piece and Ricardo Villalobos’ & Max Loderbauer’s remix seems messy and out of place. Despite these two tracks, Shangaan Shake has a huge array of fantastic compositions from a wide range of talented musicians. To some, Shangaan Shake’s biggest downfall may be the huge variance among the remixes, however, if one keeps an open mind and embraces each genre, it might be considered one of the best remix albums in decades.
Androgyny in Fashion
T By Laura Morley
he word “androgyny” is used to describe the removal of male or female characteristics in order to create a person devoid of distinctive sexual attributes. Fashion has experimented time and time again with the idea of the genderless person- but is it the lack of a defined gender that enthrals us? Or is it the possibility that the person could be either? Andrej Pejic, an Australian male model, was initially scouted after he was mistaken for a female, and following the discovery of his true gender, shot to fame on the strength his long blonde hair and delicate, feminine looks. Agyness Deyn, on the other hand, represents androgyny in female models, using her boyish looks and charm to land hugely important fashion contracts with the likes of Burberry and Giorgio Armani. But androgyny isn’t a modern trend, but instead something which has accumulated throughout the decades, and gradually become what it is today. The 1920s was a period of true liberation for the western woman. She began to experiment with makeup, and she drove a car. A long-stem cigarette dangling from her acrimonious pout seemed to be a permanent fixture, and you never knew whose bed you’d find her in. She consumed far too many cocktails and listened to jazz on repeat. She was brash, she was bold and most of all, she rebelled against everything she had been taught, rejecting the social norms which had been so carefully set in place by the generations gone before her. When a new transatlantic culture descended at the end of the first World War, it was the ‘flapper’ who emerged. An entirely new genre of youth, this young woman was a result of the social and political turbulence that she had lived through. Now an independent individual, she refused to endure the male-dominated society of her female ancestors. The fashion statements of a flapper almost stood to emulate that of her male counterparts. Gone were the days of boned corsets, as the flapper often used long strips of cloth to minimise the appearance of her breasts. Bobbed hairstyles were adopted and hemlines suddenly rose to just below the knee, often giving way to a peep of silk stocking. Though these women embraced androgyny, they did so to prove to men that they were capable of functioning as equally
valuable and important citizens: holding down jobs, voting and making decisions for themselves. The flappers was the pioneer of the progressively blurring lines between masculinity and femininity, though in paradox, she could flaunt her sexuality and exercise new sexual power, the likes of which she had never experienced before. Popular culture truly returned to androgyny in the 1970s, with the rise in popularity of celebrities like Boy George, Prince and spandex-wearing, mullet-sporting, cokedup David Bowie. The release of sexually explorative films like Rocky Horror Picture Show which starred an ambiguously styled Tim Currie playing “sweet transvestite” Dr. Frank-N-Furter, fully defined the 1970s as a decade of sexual flamboyance and exploration. The simultaneous British glam-rock explosion uncovered the connection that working class youths felt with these “gender-benders”, as unclear sexual identities suddenly became far more rebellious than drug use or violence. As far as high fashion was concerned, influential designer Yves Saint Laurent became hugely involved in furthering popularity of the androgynous look, encouraging minimalist, masculine styles for women. Having created ‘Le Smoking’, the first tuxedo-style suit for women, in 1966, YSL provided women with revolutionary fashion choices, giving them the option of wearing whatever they pleased for the first time in history. Androgynous fashion is something which is well integrated into the society we know today, with menswear-turned-womenswear items like blazers and oxfords becoming commonplace. Androgyny is eclectic and intriguing. It takes what we expect from fashion, and turns it upside down, and has earned it’s status as something which never goes out of style. Androgynous fashion once again had a dominating presence on the catwalks at February’s London Fashion Week 2012, proving to be the centre-point of the collections of several renowned designers, including Paul Smith. In the twenty-first century, it seems that sexual boundaries barely exist, and houses like McQueen, Gaultier and Givenchy, to name just a few, have ensured that androgyny is no longer taboo, but a fact of life.
IS SERVICES by Louis Ryan
ith a ‘step-by-step’ connection guide so achingly extensive that it would comfortably exceed the word-limit of this article, TCDconnect is surely the most shockingly onerous network service vehicle ever proffered to a student body, anywhere. Part-booklet, part-virtual manual, the TCDconnect service outlines more than a dozen individual steps which, if followed attentively, will furnish the diligent seeker with “fast, secure internet access”, so that they may enjoy glorious virtual boons on the TCD campus. With regard to Irish Universities at large however, it should be noted that this torturous “Fort Knox” style of authentication practice is unusual to say the least. UCD striplings, for example, need only supply a college username and password, and bob’s-your-uncle they’re away and connected to their student network. Indeed one such stripling, upon reading the lengthy online portion of the “TCDconnect guide for students” that I showed him, was heard to remark “surely, a joke?” as he shook his head in disbelief, and continued to enjoy his unrestricted McDonalds Wifi. A probing of the mass outpouring of grief that surrounds this network, along with a few other little gibes at IS Services, now follows. Some time, take a spell to go and find the TCDconnect network clinic (199 Pearse St.— take the humble, bunker-like side entrance with the green door). Here you can sit, gaze, and marvel at the hordes of nervous, sometimes tearful, Trinity students waiting like addled drug addicts for a cyber-fix from the I.S. pros. Overwhelmed by the labyrinthine task of connecting to the network, these poor, exhausted souls have had to “book in” to one of the four network clinics (also known as “troubleshooting clinics”) that take place in 199 Pearse St. every week. For many this is not their first time, nor their last. I spoke to one of them. We stepped outside the clinic. I extended a magnanimous hand. Here’s a tasty gob from the interview with this troubled female adolescent that followed. Sadly she refused to be indentified for the purposes of the interview: “Who are you?” I asked punchily. “Remember; I can’t tell you” she replied, calmly. “Ok” I conceded. “What brings you here?” I quizzed her. “I think my Anti-Virus software must be out of date or something, because I can’t get connected to the Trinity network at the moment. I’m here to get it sorted, but it takes so long! First you have to book it around your schedule, and then when you get here there’s only two staff working here!” “First timer?” “I wish!” she chuckled noiselessly. “No, I had to go through the same rigmarole as everyone else in getting connected to the network in the first place, but in fairness the network clinics have come a long way since then, the queues used to be a lot worse. Still though, I just don’t see why it should be so difficult to connect in the first place! It’s just Wifi, but they’ve made it so complicated that it seems that half the students trying to connect have to come to this clinic before they get on, and that’s just wasting everybody’s time.” Whispering, I provokingly asked her what words she would use to describe this TCDconnect network service, and suddenly her brow fur-
rowed and she rapidly spat out the words “atrocious, dire, shoddy” with astonishing vitriol. “Anything else to add?” “No, that’s just about everything.” Just as she thought she was free to leave, however, I hit her with it. “What about the rumours?” She looked baffled. “What rumours?!” It is no great secret, and lies beyond the scope of this article, that rumours of ink-fanged, oversized ‘Comp Doctors of Death’ repeatedly subjecting defenseless Junior Freshman students to hideous, unspeakable cyber-rituals have been spreading across college like wildfire over the last few months. I posited it to her. “That’s ridiculous,” she says, “the people that I’ve come in contact with have been kind, helpful and of a distinctly average size. ‘Comp doctors of death’ is certainly not a term I would use.” ‘Comp Doctors of death’ or no, this anonymous female adolescent’s complaint of TCDconnect torment is hardly an isolated incident. Indeed in a survey among Trinity Students undertaken by I.S. Services pertaining to the TCDconnect service, 65.8% of the 820 students surveyed found it either “moderately difficult” or “very difficult” to register to the network, while a threadbare 6.7% found it “very easy” to register. And despite the recent I.S. services initiative of online booking for the Death Camps (I should say network clinics), of the 349 students surveyed for “How did you register to attend a TCDconnect service troubleshooting clinic?” a whopping 70% said that they had done so “via the helpdesk walk-in service”, while only 30% said they had done so “via the online TCDconnect booking service.” Let us now examine about the miserable fate of the whopping 70%. 18 minutes. Let me repeat that once more for emphasis. 18 minutes. According to the IS Services “Key Performance Indicators”, that was the average queuing time for the I.S. services “helpdesk-walk in service” in the month of January 2012. That’s a LONG time. Factor this into the shambolic, puzzlingly irregular opening hours (mon, wed, fri 10am-1pm; tues, thurs, 2-5pm), and you get risibly low averages: 10 people seen per day, 40 people seen per week, many of whom are redirected to one of those godawful “troubleshooting clinics” in any case. But what is there to do to pass the time while you wait 18 minutes? Amusements are, admittedly, few and far between. Two friendly vending machines are worth a look, as is the white Is Services screen displaying sapless, inoffensive bulletins, while light banter with the ever-present Áras an Phiarsaigh security personnel can make 5 of the minutes seem like 4. On the whole, however, it is an extraordinarily dull affair, and queuers with a growling stomach should be warned that the modest canteen is best described as a poor relation to the two vending machines; a packed lunch is advisable. So what lies in store for the next generation of Trinity youngsters thirsty for effortless network connection? With the hacking abilities of a certain Junior Freshman student grabbing international news headlines last week (mug-shot and all!), one can only speculate that a sadistic IS Services cyber-tome, packed full of cryptic, void TCDconnect steps, is to follow.