ELI COURT and Rory Mcgregor reveal all the latest music news and gossip
Adele's sex tape?
Missing: Jamie T
ADELE'S LAWYERS have confirmed that legal action will be taken against Public, a French magazine, for producing false images that made it appear as though the 23 year old singer had been involved in making a sex tape, which had first been posted on a French paparazzo's blog. Although she has not publicly commented on the subject, Adele is reportedly offended by these fake and explicit photographs. Her representatives were quick to confirm that she has never been involved in anything like it and they will be suing for making claims that are “untrue and grossly defamatory.” The tape was allegedly made by Adele’s former boyfriend who is said to have left her for his gay, male friend, and became the inspiration for many of her songs. It has already been a great year for Adele. She recently received six Grammy awards and won 'Best British Album' and 'Best British Female' at the BRIT Awards, so let's hope she won’t let this get to her too much.
INDIE MUSIC maestro Jamie T, whose real name is Jamie Alexander Treays, has been missing from the music scene for almost two years now. His unique sound incorporates elements of post-punk revival, indierock and UK garage and the 25 year old singer released two critically acclaimed and commercially successful albums; Panic Prevention (2007), shortlisted as a nominee for the Mercury Prize, and Kings & Queens (2009). He has won two NME awards for 'Best Solo Artist', in 2007 and 2010 and has attracted the likes of Lily Allen to work with him; she provided backing vocals to the B-Side of his track 'Sheila', 'Rawhide', in 2007. Despite this he has dropped off the face of the planet. If you visit any of his Facebook fan-pages – amongst the spam and people writing long letters of adoration, you will find Jamie T loyalists debating and theorising over where the man has gone. A performer taking a brief hiatus or retiring obviously isn’t something out of the ordinary, but the odd thing here is that there was no indication given that Jamie planned to stop. No update from his manager, no press release, nothing. As of late February 2012, if you visit his website, it hasn’t been updat-
Mark Evans WELSH ACTOR Mark Evans achieved theatrical success as Troy Bolton in the London production of High School Musical, Brad Majors in the UK National tour of The Rocky Horror Show and Curly in the UK National tour of OKLAHOMA! After reaching the final of BBC’s Eurovision - Your Country Needs You in 2010, performing in front of Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber, Mark’s career launched into the West End and he landed the role of Fiyero in the smash-hit musical Wicked early in 2011. Mark is currently embarking on his next big West End role, this time as Sam in Ghost, and is releasing his debut album The Journey Home.
RATED THIS WEEK Should Cher quit while she's ahead?
ed since giving details of his last appearance at Glastonbury in 2010. He has completely disappeared at what was the pinnacle of his success. It is anyone's guess as to why Jamie has decided to take this unexplained break, but the most likely explanation is that he has doesn’t feel like he has anything worthy of writing at the moment. Wherever he has gone, judging by his Facebook and Twitter page, many fans are becoming increasingly concerned and hope he makes a return to the music scene soon. With Panic Prevention regularly featuring in countless 'Best Albums of the Decade' lists, it seems the world is crying out for more of Mr. T.
I wasn’t sure whether I specifically wanted to pursue a career in musical theatre at first. I knew that I wanted to perform, and actually the thought of being in a boy band or pop group interested me most. But then, during my training, I discovered the challenge of having to tell a story through song and dance, all the time acting with sincerity and truth. It was at this point that I became very passionate about musical theatre.
CHER has been discussing the possibility of another tour with her fans on Twitter, despite completing her farewell tour that lasted a remarkable five years. She plans to perform her greatest hits as well as more recent songs from her newly released film Burlesque. At age 65 many would say is it time to call it quits and remember the glory days; but we say live and let live, she is by any standards a talented icon and never ceases to entertain.
John davies chats to THE west end star on his musical theatre roles
How would you describe your experi- If you could star in any musical in the ence playing the leading roles in Wick- future, which would it be? ed and Ghost in the West End? My main goal is to one day create a role in Both experiences were incredible and very an original musical. I would also love to different. Although Fiyero is the lead guy work in New York on Broadway. Of the muand the love interest in Wicked, the show sicals that already exist, I would like to play is centred on the two witches, Elphaba Chris in Miss Saigon, my favourite musical. and Glinda. I therefore had much less to do than in Ghost, where I barely leave the stage and I have a lot more responsibility. It's Sam and Molly's intimate story and to be given the opportunity to tell that story on stage every night is incredible. I am very proud to be a part of such an amazing show!
Who inspired you to pursue a career in musical theatre?
You were a finalist on BBC 1’s successful reality TV show Eurovision - Your Country Needs You. How has this impacted your career? It gave me the opportunity to be included in some high profile casting. Having value to your name and an ability to bring in the audiences is obviously very important to anyone producing a large scale musical, so it worked very well with me. Since then I have been fortunate enough to play a number of leading roles in the West End, which now means that I have a good reputation and CV.
What advice would you give to any aspiring performer? Ticket sales in the West End have never been at such a high, so I would argue that the production companies are not really suffering due to the economic crisis. There is, however, the age old problem of too many actors and simply not enough work, so my advice has been and always will be that if you're coming into this industry you need to have passion, bucket loads of self-belief, confidence and, above all, strength, because it is not an easy career and it most certainly isn't the showbiz lifestyle that many people perceive it to be! Having said that, I personally adore working in this industry and could not imagine doing anything else!
BRIT AWARDS 2012 Held at the 02 Academy in London, The BRIT Awards took place for the 32nd time on Tuesday 21st February. The BRITs are the biggest music awards ceremony in the UK, yearly rewarding British and international artists. This year held tributes to Amy Winehouse and Whitney Houston, and produced impressive live performances from the likes of Coldplay, Florence & the Machine, Blur and Adele. Amy Collins & Niamh Connolly take a look at this year's winners.
SINGLES Vision gives the low down on the singles everyone is talking about...
King Charles - 'Love Blood' British Male Solo Artist & British BreakThrough Act - Ed Sheeran Newcomer Ed Sheeran was the most nominated artist of the night and achieved two awards. Ed, whose debut album + combines guitar melodies with hip-hop lyrics, triumphed over chart rival Jessie J to win 'British Breakthrough Act'. The singer-songwriter’s success continued when he was named 'Best British Male', despite stiff competition from Professor Green, James Morrison, Noel Gallagher and James Blake. The ‘Drunk’ singer also took to the O2 stage, where he performed a stripped back but stunning rendition of his hit single ‘Lego House’. The 21 year old described the ceremony as "one of the best nights of my life."
Best Album Adele, 21 Fresh from her six-gong win at the Grammys, Adele made a triumphant return at the 2012 BRITs,where she was awarded in the most competitive category, 'British Album of the Year'. The 23 year old Brit School graduate was the first winner of the night when she won the 'Best British Female' award over former class-mate Jessie J, as well as Laura Marling and Kate Bush, and thanked her record label "for letting me be the kind of artist I wanted to be." Despite tough competition from Coldplay, Ed Sheeran, Florence & The Machine and P J Harvey, she deservedly won the 'British Album of the Year'.
Best British Group Coldplay The group, who released their chart-topping fifth studio album Mylo Xyloto last October, won the prestigious award over rivals Arctic Monkeys, Elbow, Chase & Status and Kasabian. This is the third 'British Group' award that Coldplay have achieved, giving the band a total of seven BRIT Awards. Coldplay frontman Chris Martin graciously dedicated the award to "everyone who listens to us." Coldplay justified their status of 'Best British Group' with their strong opening performance of ‘Charlie Brown’ at the 32nd ceremony. They provided a colourful visual effect and were deserved winners on the night.
Outstanding Contribution To Music Blur Legendary Britpop band Blur picked up the prestigious award for 'Outstanding Contribution to Music' at the 2012 BRITs. Despite their recent revelation that they previously declined the award, whose previous winners include the likes of Sir Paul McCartney and Oasis, the band closed the show with an epic performance of some of their greatest hits, and the longest set in the history of the awards show. Blur were joined by comedian Phil Daniels for their rendition of ‘Parklife’, and were accompanied by a full gospel choir for Tender’, before ending their set with ‘This Is A Low’.
t is impossible to dislike the wonderfully moustached, modernday-Shakespeare, King Charles. His songs are fuelled with energy and character; ‘Love Blood’ is no different. Listen to ‘Bam Bam’ and ‘Love Lust’ to get a feel for the eccentric vibe that he emits, it’s clear to see ‘Love Blood’ follows this distinctive trait. The track begins with a heavy modern riff and the female backing singers contribute to a '50s melodious sound that is reminiscent of the Grease pink ladies. I confess it’s a simple concept; ‘I’ve got love in my blood and I got you on my brain’, lyrically, is not poetically overwhelming, but they are immediately rewarding, which is all part of the enthrallment. NIAMH CONNOLLY
The Fray - 'Heartbeat'
he first single from their third album Scars & Stories is an inspirational track. With a style comparable to the best hits of Coldplay, its passionate lyrics and powerful music capture the emotions of the listener. I would contend that it is their best release since 'How to Save a Life', although this is not reflected in the charts; it reached only number 43 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and didn’t even break into the UK Top 100. The music video is also a must see, reminding us how down to earth this band is. JOHN DAVIES
Pinkunoizu - 'Parabolic Delusions'
Critics Choice The 'Critics' Choice' is the most recent category that the BRITS have created. The first was awarded to Adele, who beat Duffy to receive the highly acclaimed award in 2008. The award has boosted the careers of Florence & the Machine, who debuted her new single 'No Light, No Light' at this year's ceremony, as well as Ellie Goulding and Jessie J, who has just been announced as a judge on new talent show The Voice. It is one of the most prestigious awards in the industry as it is not judged by popularity, but rather, as the title suggests, by critics, making it a unique and sought after award. Emeli Sandé was announced as the winner at the 2012 BRITS. The former medical student's album Our Version Of Events, which features the hit single ‘Heaven’, recently reached No. 1 in the UK charts. It beat fellow shortlisted artists Maverick Sabre and the wonderful rising star, Michael Kiwanuka, to the award. Emeli has described winning this BRIT award so early in her career as being "beyond a dream come true."
he latest offering from the Danish quartet includes an upbeat vocal introduction and combines futuristic effects with a rapid beat to create a song that cannot fail to improve your mood. The song is assisted by the intelligent removal and addition of instrumental layers, allowing the guitars in particular to be more impactful. The low tone of vocalist Andreas Pallisgaard makes the melody easy on the ear whilst the chorus harmonies complement each other well. The combination of effects and instruments are refreshing and should appeal particularly to those who enjoy folk music and soft rock. WILL BARNES.
White Rabbits - 'Heavy Metal'
aving experienced the delights of 'Percussion Gun' and 'Kid on my Shoulders' from their previous albums; both very good efforts, it must be said that I had relatively high expectations for 'Heavy Metal', a track from their new album Milk Famous. Unfortunately, my hopes were short-lived. From start to finish the lyrics were bland and the music monotonous. Its failure to reach a climax was accompanied by my rapid loss of interest. I must also question the music video, which appears to be promoting drug use. JOHN DAVIES
BAND OF SKULLS
his is Lambchop’s 11th album and established fans will not be disappointed. Unlike most successful musicians, Nashville born artist Kurt Wagner does not feel the need to change genre drastically at every new album. Inevitably, his music has developed over the years, but he is still consistent in his unique songwriting style. The fourth track, 'Mr. Met', (the song which gives its name to the album), is strange but intriguing while 'Gone Tomorrow' is the most upbeat song you’re going to get on this album and is one of my favourites. It has a compelling beat and refreshing string arrangements which evolve over the course of the seven minutes. Track five, enigmatically named 'Gar', is relaxed with a slow melody in a range of styles played by a variety of instruments. Although five minutes long, this song has no words and at times, bizarrely, it reminds me of the music found in a lift. Not what you might think you want from an album, but it can be surprisingly relaxing. 'Nice Without Mercy' is again quite slow but full of feeling. His voice is
perfect for this song, enabling him to portray emotion even though the lyrics are about the menial tasks of daily life. Inevitably, the subject matter makes the track not the most exciting to listen to, but it is still worth a listen. The album shows daring experimentation with lengthy instrumental sections, open arrangements and a range of vamps and drones that enhance his unique, 1950s sound. His genre is hard to define as he explores such a range of styles from country to folk to funk and is never afraid to try something new, ensuring a surprise with each track. Although the album is definitely down to individual taste, the tracks are an enriching mixture of different styles and emotions; there is something there for every mood. STEPHANIE JOLLIFFE
port of morrow
alongside some of the more notable proponents of the genre, including Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and The Black Keys. It is only when aimless tracks such as 'Lay My Head Down' and 'Navigate' drift transiently by that this seat is snatched away, forcing them to sit down on the cold earth lamenting their shameful compromise. Therein lies their failing; the self-deception of hearts are evidently geared towards the arena of soul-shaking rock and roll while the music fails to live up to it. Nevertheless, despite flying under the radar since their underrated debut, this album is likely to propel the Southampton trio to fame and lead to greater things as they appeal to a wider audience and add something different to the music scene. RICH OXLEY
matt cardle Letters
igh Hopes abound for The Shins' first feature length album in five years, pressure indeed with fans waiting with bated breath since 2011 for any whisper of new work, but the American Indie rockers deliver magnificently with their fourth offering Port of Morrow. Tracks like 'Simple Song', the band's first single release, and 'No Way' delight and enrich the ear with the eponymous track displaying a decidedly bluegrass influence which perfectly frames the track's relaxed lyrics. Mercer’s vocals come across strongly throughout each piece; a considerable achievement when taking the tranquillity and peace that perforates each melody into account. Having released the album on Mercer's own label Aural Apothecary, via Columbia Records, you would expect a greater level of artistic liberty and this is delivered throughout with lyrics like “I know things can get rough when you go it alone” displaying a personal touch which reflects and creates a welcome personal intimacy between band and listener. In each track the band relays a
and of Skulls' second effort Sweet Sour tells the story of a band anxiously endeavouring to navigate the unmarketability of modern 'rock'. There is no longer any excuse for writing songs based around a mildly inventive succession of major triads and over-used guitar riffs; the genre has lost all cultural viability. Labouring under this anxiety, the blues rockers have combined the formula that seemed to have worked in their debut album Baby Darling Dollface Honey, with mellow, reflective, but for the most part forgettable, soundscapes. Whether by coincidence or true ingenuity, there are a handful of truly rousing, anthemic gems. The chorus of 'Bruises' leads us unwittingly into the realms of stomping '80s power ballads, before quickly regaining its dreamy innocence. 'The Devil Takes Care of His Own' and 'You're Not Pretty But You Got it Goin' On', each begin from swaggering bluesy premises, developing into furious and spirited head-shakers. At its best, the album takes its seat
connection that really makes us care whilst still retaining the personal significance that makes the album stand out. The hallmark of this album is the inherent beauty in simplicity, which consistently comes across. Whether through sound or lyric Port of Morrow achieves the seemingly impossible in retaining a hang loose nonchalance whilst still being poignant, significant and worth listening to. With a string of tour dates announced throughout Europe and America, The Shins have gone beyond their televised roots from song performances on Gilmore Girls, and Californian soap drama The O.C., with a modern twist on what makes the band brilliant. JORDAN LLOYD
hen Matt Cardle rocked back on the scene again this year, all tousled hair and uncomfortable stares pitched somewhere between broody concern and desperate communication of a painful bowel syndrome, you would be forgiven for having completely forgotten he had ever existed in the first place. Having not released any new material since December 2010, one can only assume that the reason for Cardle’s retreat from the public’s consciousness was something to do with putting that little bit of extra elbow grease into Letters. The problem is that all of it seems to have been poured into the construction of the suffocating wall of strings which feature on every track, which when combined with Cardle’s histrionic wail have the effect of desiccating all of the choruses. Every time a nice melody unfolds a piercing orchestral section emerges to hound it down. It's a shame the extra effort wasn't diverted towards the song writing dimension of the album, which reveals itself to be somewhat threadbare as
you realize that the sole theme of the album is the conveyance of sorrow for not being good enough for one’s love. This kind of puppy-eyed defeatism recurs on tracks ranging from lead single ‘Run For Your Life’ to swelling ballad 'Faithless'. It’s hard to criticize Letters as a whole because it’s not really different from anything anyone else who releases music in Cardle’s niche has ever produced. No edge, no hooks just the same safe, middle of the road approach. In fact, the album so lacks in anything catchy or standout that by the time my first listen was over I had forgotten Matt Cardle all over again and I’m almost certainly going to try and ensure it stays that way. ED FRANCIS
Spector RACHEL PRONGER CHATS TO INDIE ROCK BAND SPECTOR - a curious mixture of swagger, knowing irony and geekiness THE FIRST impression you get from chatting to Spector is that being a breaking indie band on tour for the first time must be both intoxicatingly exciting and mind numbingly boring. Which might explain why the band, as unfocused in their chat as sugared up seven year olds at a birthday party, prove to be incredibly skittish interviewees. One minute they’re hunting on a laptop for internet evidence that Nicholas Cage is a vampire, the next lead singer Fred is comparing his songs to pokeballs. It all makes for an entertaining chat but a sometimes less than enlightening transcript. The night I spoke to Spector backstage in The Duchess before taking to the stage they’ve only been at it for less than a week and already they seem both exhausted and wired. “It’s been awful, we’ve been drinking every night and getting really messy” says guitarist Christopher Burman. “Chris is on the hunt for a wife” interjects the be-suited and bespectacled Fred Macpherson, Spector front man and fittingly easily the chattiest. “We’re antigroupies by default. On account of them not existing yet. Most of our groupies at the moment seem to be older men, which is nice as well...” A curious mixture of swagger, knowing irony and geeky enthusiasm, Spector are pretty much indistinguishable from any other bunch of preppy young men, except perhaps with better suits. Entirely unbothered by the presence of me and my dictaphone backstage, they seem pretty much at ease with the curious limbo state of being poised on the brink of potentially career making experiences. Already hotly tipped in the 2012 critics polls, Spector only have a handful of singles to their name, having wrapped up recording on their debut album just a week ago. What singles though. 'Chevy Thunder' is an irresistible, pumping, Springsteen echoing festival anthem waiting to happen; 'Never Fade Away' a lushly romantic, reverb drenched slice of indie rock; 'Grey Shirt and Tie' strewn with gorgeous synthesised bells and a charming 80's sensibility. Although the influences are plentiful and obvious - Macpherson’s faux-geek styling and self-conscious wordiness are clearly modelled on Jarvis Cocker, the dense production indebted to the likes of Roxy Music and Ultra Vox - Spector wear these heady legacies lightly, with enough melodic power and foppish bombast to create compelling moments that justify the dizzying buzz.
"WE SEE ENTERTAINMENT AS SOMETHING THAT IS AS VALUABLE AND IMPORTANT AS ART" Which is a good job because when I ask them to describe the pending album the best Macpherson can come up with is “jaunty, jaunty, jaunty” before giving in and playing me a couple of snippets on his laptop. Not exactly the hard sell. How was the recording process? “It’s never going to
be over” Fred asserts ominously. “It’s like leaving the gas on in the house and then you light a cigarette and the whole thing goes up.” Now there’s an arresting metaphor. So, it could spontaneously combust at any minute? “It’s a gas leak. A musical gas leak. So be prepared to watch it blow,
"IT'S A GAS LEAK. A MUSICAL GAS LEAK. SO BE PREPARED TO WATCH IT BLOW, UK! OR POISON YOU TO DEATH AS YOU SLEEP" UK! Or poison you to death as you sleep.” As I try to steward the conversation into a more relevant direction I feel sometimes more like a harassed lollipop lady trying to steward my wards away from danger than a writer. Nonetheless I do manage to get some telling soundbites off
acts later in the evening and receives a mixed, mainly perplexed response from the hipster crowd (for the record, I loved it). Shickle’s unashamedly populist playlist is indicative of the band's relaxed view towards the occasionally stigmatic pop label. Macpherson insisted that the debut of 'Chevy Thunder' be introduced on Radio One by Harry Styles, and he makes no bones about being a One Direction fan. “Did you know that ‘That’s What Makes You Beautiful’ has just broken the top ten in America? They’re the first British boy band to break America since the Beatles,” he excitedly asserts. “I just like the state of British pop music now. It feels almost like a kid who’s had so many sweets, so much saccharine and artificial flavours that he’s just running around like punching their dad in the face or something.” Later in their tour Spector are supporting Florence and The Machine, and Macpherson is similarly evangelical about Florence’s chart appeal. “She’s just a kind of modern artiste I guess, for want of a better word,” says Macpherson. “A pop star who’s not some sort of X Factor thing,
wouldn’t call it failed romance but a kind of... aborted love affair. Not aborted... not failed romance... what’s something when you don’t achieve... attempted romance I guess. It’s hard to be romantic in 2012.” “A good way of having a physical embodiment of music is, I think, seeing Fred trying to be romantic” chips in guitarist Chris Burman. “Absolutely”, Macpherson agrees. “It ends miserably! It is good though, what I feel like is if you are in a relationship you go through things that are difficult and exciting and happy, it’s good then to take those experiences and try to use songs as kind of like talismans attaching them to you to try and deal with these situations. For example, if you decide to bludgeon me over the head with your Sony recorder, I could try and deal with that, I could write a song about it and then it would continue to sort of exist in the song...” Macpherson’s eyes light up as he hits upon a suitable simile - “it’s like a Pokéball in Pokémon!”- and the interview rapidly tails off into a spectacularly geeky discussion of the relative values of individual Pokémon, that dominates for a good few minutes before I eventually manage to steer the conversation back to the straight and narrow. Spector may be positively foetal in career terms, but they’ve already had some memorable experiences. A particular highlight was their appearance on Later... With Jools Holland alongside such solid gold musical legends as Björk, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Noel Gallagher, but
"RIGHT NOW THERE'S ONLY ONE THING ON MY MIND AND THAT'S ROCKING YORK TO ITS VERY HINGES"
the band before the conversation tails off into more surreal nooks. Contrary to popular belief the band claim not be named after notorious genius producer Phil Spector, but when I try and get an alternative explanation the conversation somehow segues into a debate about whether Eastenders’ Phil Mitchell has ever killed anyone, and the thread gets lost. I wonder how they feel about the constant comparisons to musical luminaries such as Cocker, but they become oddly cagey when the subject is broached, with Macpherson offering simply a reticent “fine” in response. They’re much more comfortable when I ask what they actually listen to. “There’s going to be a mix we’re going to play before we go on, and that’s revealing,” says bassist Thomas Shickle. “It’s mainly my music." "Is that a hand-made mix?" "Yeah, I made it in the van yesterday. They didn’t like it in Leeds.” "Did they throw things at you?" “There were definitely at least four people singing along to Taio Cruz. So there you go.” The mix, which seems to mainly consist of early noughties R’n’B hits mixed in with random dubstep, is played in between
but comes from the world of indie. She’s managed to come into the mainstream, and that’s a sort of cool, rare thing to happen... I respect that massively.” Macpherson makes no attempt to disguise his own ambitions for mainstream success. “We see ourselves as a pop band in that we see entertainment as something that is as valuable and important as art, as creativity. If we were making music solely for ourselves it would be different, but we’re making music for our audience, we want to entertain an audience whilst having fun and entertaining ourselves, but I think that’s the difference between a pop group and a group that exists with that idea that if people like us then fine, but we’re just doing it our way. I want lots of people to like our music so I think about that when I’m writing.” Rather charmingly, when facing a serious question about their music, all pretence of bravura melts away, and they seem much younger. When I ask if Spector see themselves as a romantic band Macpherson seems rather flustered as he attempts to articulate his response. “The lyrics are always inspired by a kind of... I
Macpherson claims to have been more impressed by the host. “He played piano on 'Cool for Cats', which is more than anyone who has ever been on the show has done. So he gets the last laugh.” Do the band have any other burning ambitions for the rest of their career? “It’s not something that I want to do, it’s something that I know I’ll do. I’m going to meet Madonna,” insists Burman straight faced, “I’ve never met her but I know we’ll really get along, and when that happens I’ll know I’ve arrived.” Otherwise the band insists the plans just to make a lot of money then escape to a tax haven. “And I’ve signed us up for a three month stint in Las Vegas” Burman quips. At this early stage it’s impossible to predict whether Spector will triumph in the mainstream or drown in their own hype. Only time, and the new album, will tell. Nonetheless, if they keep on making the sort of addictive, irresistible indie rock they’ve managed so far then they’re certainly in with a shot. But in the grubby backstage area of The Duchess, they seem to be doing their best to take each stage as it comes. As Macpherson quite rightly signs off, “right now there’s only one thing on my mind - and that’s rocking York to its very hinges!” RACHEL PRONGER
LIVES... RAMS' POCKET RADIO STEREO, YORK
here is a buzz of anticipation as the stage is set up for Rams' Pocket Radio; the piano takes the central position, surrounded by an unusually high number of strategically placed drums and what seems to be every type of pedal on the market spread out for use of the bass. Radio One are among those who have been singing the praises of this unique quartet from Northern Ireland, who impressed crowds at Glastonbury last year and have since been played by the likes of Huw Stephens and Fearne Cotton. Bold and wide-ranging piano chords open the set and are the backbone for the rest of the night as Peter MaCauley, the song-writer, pianist and singer remains the man at the centre of Rams'.
Songs open dramatically and build to an intense plethora of piano, bass and drums, with all four band members playing with equal passion and often freestyling into a spiral of sound experience. Clashing female harmony, above MaCauley’s soulful lyrics from bassist Shauna Tohill, often adds yet another level to the many-layered feel to Rams’ music. MaCauley’s charisma, melodrama and talent on the piano have elements of a Jamie Cullem performance, while the heavy bass brings a rock-like feel to the music, perhaps reminiscent of early Queen. The band are currently half way through their UK tour, which began as an impressive support act for Snow Patrol and has prompted DJ Tom Robinson to claim they are "about to scare the sh*t out of every other piano-based band out there". I get the feeling their magnetic energy and performance would be wasted on CD; live is definitely the way to experience them for the first time. It is easy to imagine this band dominating much bigger stages in the not-so-distant future, but for now, they gave York a night to remember. NINA PULLMAN
zico chain fibbers, york
zealia Banks, Tribes, Two Door Cinema Club and Metronomy played to a packed out arena, with Banks opening. Her set started at 6.30, which seems to be pathetically early, and this most definitely took its toll on the feisty New Yorker’s reception. Her punchy, lewd lyrics - a paean to the joys of cunnilingus - fell upon the ears of a sober crowd who were yet to be warmed up. Even as 212, her filthy internet hit which rapidly went viral, morphed into the Prodigy’s Firestarter, the crowd felt limp. This was a big shame seeing as Banks herself, who recently topped the annual ‘Cool List’ compiled by NME, was every bit as buoyant as she comes across in her videos. It felt as though her short, sharp set went to waste; we couldn’t help but wish that she’d played later on in the evening. The next act was the four piece indie group, Tribes, who unfortunately had no spunk about them whatsoever. After a generic, uncharismatic set from the Camden ‘scenesters’, which sapped up the little energy there was in the arena, their frontman decided to start crowd-surfing. The clock still hadn’t struck nine...
A stumble stage-side and down a pint of what looked like battery fluid but was probably Lemsip. Despite being poorly, Glithero’s vocals were remarkably on par. 'New Romantic' was a highlight, boasting a melody robust enough to survive nuclear fallout whilst the wild fury of 'Rohypnol' was felt in the ribcage of every audience member. Still, the ferocity with which Zico Chain attacked the set could not be sustained; the band were forced to finish early. Determined to go out with a bang, 'Where Would You Rather Be' was a crowd-pleasing finale, whilst the lyrics "I’m not completely sure / If I can take much more" were aptly visible in Glithero’s cadaverous complexion. Still, none were disappointed. As the lights went up a fan was heard gushing “I’ve waited three years to see them live – even when they’re ill, Zico kick the arse of every other rock band around." I couldn’t agree more. ALYSIA JUDGE
s I slipped into the centre of the crowd, it became quickly apparent that I was representing a minority of more youthful spectators gathered to watch Seth Lakeman in Fibbers. The audience was wonderful and eclectic, and the venue struggled to live up to the mix of mud-covered, ale drinking country folk, the tattooed and bearded crowd, the splattering of families and the yummy mummy clan enticed by Lakeman’s handsome face and wholesome lyrics. But if you closed your eyes and imagined the sickly-sweet smell of hot cider and faint aroma of hay reminiscent of a remote British folk festival, the atmosphere was spot on. For the first half an hour of his set, Seth warmed up with a mellow guitar based selection from his upcoming album Tales From The Barrow House. The songs were fun and enjoyable and Seth did not lack in presence, but it wasn’t until the last five or six numbers that he and his band unleashed the full power of their blues infused, lyrical folk offerings. The energy in the packed room soared as the tunes became livelier, building to two stand out numbers Seth introduced as "old favourites": 'Lady of the Sea’ and ‘Kitty Jay’.
For us, it was Metronomy that saved the night. Although they finished with their popular song 'The Look' their six minute tune 'Some Unwritten' was a favourite of the night as the crescendo was perfect to listen to live. 'Everything Goes My Way' was another highlight as the female drummer took to the microphone. Two Door Cinema Club finished the evening, and although most of the crowd seemed to know all their catchy songs such as 'Undercover Martyn', 'I Can Talk' and 'Something Good Can Work', our hearts longed for Metronomy to grace that stage once again for a well deserved encore. OLIVER WESSELY & OLIVIA HEAD
02 ACADEMY, LEEDS
ico Chain seem to be locked in a perpetual struggle with that fickle lady, Fate. After she swindled them out of everything they had, they have clawed their way back into public consciousness and are on the first legs of their UK tour promoting their incredible new album The Devil in Your Heart. With a shiny new record label and fire in their bellies, Zico Chain are hard rocking beacons of optimism. It's cruel then, that a twist of fate threatened their set last Friday. The air of Fibbers was thick with the usual, pungent aroma of sweat and Desperados, but as the clock ticked slowly towards 10.15pm a new pheromone entered the fray: anticipation. As Zico Chain took the stage, a group of hardcore fans surged to the front, eyes wide, fists clenched in preparation for some serious air pumping. On stage, Zico Chain’s frontman Chris Glithero’s fists were clenched for a different reason as he steeled himself to sing against the flu virus assaulting his vocal chords. Illness aside, the set was a perfect mix of Zico classics and new material. Band mates Ollie Middleton and Paul Frost were pillars of support for their front man, playing energetic fillers between songs so Glithero could
NME AWARDS TOUR
In both Lakeman demonstrated his near virtuosic fiddle skills as he performed with an obvious joy which threw him apart from other live acoustic acts I have seen in the past. It was clear that this was music best performed live and what Fibbers lacked in atmosphere, it made up for in intimacy allowing Lakeman’s gritty violin riffs to carry around the room to each and every one of his audience. I didn’t come away humming any catchy tunes, but had been infected with a little bit of that joy which bound the band and the music together in an uplifting and impressive performance. LIVVY HARMAN
THE LIST When you graduate from uni the time comes for you to get a job and grow up a bit. Until then, the late nights and parties are something to indulge in and make the most of. Once your time at uni is up all you have left is the memories, and with that in mind there are a few things to do before you graduate...
Food fuelled fun
When on a night out, whether it's before, during or after, at some point you will begin to crave food. Here Ben Huckle and Oliver Wessely explore some of the gems of York's Nightlife cuisine.
MIRCHIZ Mirchiz brings you fine Indian and Bangladeshi cuisine at an affordable price. The restaurant, situated a little outside the city walls, offers a unique BYOB option, giving students a great opportunity to save. Sponsors of a variety of campus college sport teams, Mirchiz caters for large groups ready to hit the town afterwards. NIGHTLIFE SAYS: For just £10 per person, a large group of us received poppadoms, a main, rice and a naan, all brought out to us remarkably quickly. It was all washed down with a nice bottle of cheap supermarket bought wine! In terms of value this is a great option, filling you up and allowing you to drink whatever inexpensive booze you desire.
WILLOW Pay for a shot of tequila in Willow with a £50 note
Eat a whole 16" Efes Pizza
Yes, Willow once was, and kind of still is, a restaurant, despite what the disco balls and foam might otherwise suggest. If you are indeed feeling peckish during the night out, but want to continue the great time you’re having, forget about the prawn crackers, and get yourself a meal. What Willow lacks though is privacy (as well as hygiene, morals, and dignity). It is not the place to take someone before or after the night out, but during you can just about get away with it... NIGHTLIFE SAYS: Went for the veggie option, mainly to stay away from meat, safe I thought. The price, £7.95, was a little pricey considering the pound tequila but the ‘stir-fry’ came with chips as well, so I’d hit the jackpot. There was of course the extreme novelty value of eating in Willow, but I don’t think I’ll be asking the owner Tommy or any of the bouncers for the secret recipe anytime soon.
YORK HOGROAST Roll down Clifford's Tower
Dance alone on the stage in Tokyo/Salvation
Stay in Willow until closing time
Initiate a full on rave session in the cab ride home, preferably on the party bus
Go home in someone else's clothes
If, like many students, you stumble out of a club in the early hours in search of food you will likely head straight for the nearest van, be it Oki's or Deniz Kebab. What these fail to offer in quality dining they make up for in convenience and when sufficiently intoxicated seem like a perfectly adequate meal. However, there is a far more upmarket alternative for those who are not quite at the stage of wanting to consume their body weight in grease. York Hogroast offers tasty and fresh roast meat sandwiches at resonable prices until late and is a more enjoyable and healthy than the standard student stops. NIGHTLIFE SAYS: This is not just a sandwich shop. This is a glistening feast of succulent meats that are hand carved before your eyes served with oozings of your favourite sauce. Opting for the traditional, I ordered the roast pork with a side of crackling and apple sauce... and I will have to end here. No words can describe heaven. I repeat, this is not just a sandwich shop.
The World's most bizzare hangover cures For many students, being able to function properly after a night out is essential in being able to keep up with work, sporting and social commitments. Sometimes perseverance alone is not enough and most students have their own ways of picking themselves up, be it a bacon sandwich or a Berocca. Here we look at the more unusual cures from around the world. These are the cures even desperation would struggle to lead you to.
•Swim to the bottom of the new Hes East lake •Ass-grab Konrad •The naked Willow run
Tea with Rabit Droppings Origin: USA
This is one from the cowboys; tea brewed with rabbit droppings. The major concern with this ghastly concoction is that for it to have come about someone must have tried it. The problem with this concept lies in the fact that it's so unpleasant not even a killer hangover could convince someone to try it.
Lemon Under the Arms Origin: Puerto Rico
This unusual concept claims rubbing a zesty half lemon under your 'drinking arm' before a night out will prevent a hangover the next day. It would appear this theory has no scientific backing, and whilst it may offer a new alternative to deodorant, going out with a soggy armpit probably isn't the best way to start the night.
Deep Fried Canary Origin: Rome
The ancient Romans believed eating a dead canary for breakfast could offer relief to your hangover symptoms. How this came about, or even why they decided to pick on a poor little bird is unknown. However, there is nothing to suggest eating a canary will offer you any more nutrition than if you deep fried a different animal that society would allow you to eat.
FILM With Tom Hardy now a Hollywood heavyweight, Vision looks back over his career beginnings...
H O T
Director's Cut: Quentin Tarantino
Maddy Pelling takes a closer look at one of the greatest directors in cinematic history, Quentin Tarantino, and encourages you to look again at his best known movies. She looks at his ingenious blend of styles and gives recommendations to the first-time Tarantino virgin...
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Tom Hardy lived in the gym for weeks to put on enough muscle weight for this biographical crime flick.
Next is another cult crime film; Reservoir Dogs shows the events centering around a diamond heist that goes wrong. Interestingly, Tarantino doesn't show the heist itself, a decision that only adds to the atmospheric tension of the film. With a star-studded cast, it is Tim Roth who stands out as Mr. Orange. Empire named it as 'The Greatest Independent Film of all Time.' Look out for Tarantino's cameo appearance.
Kill Bill Vol. 1&2 (2001-2) Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011)
Hardy gives an engaging performance as Ricki Tarr in this award-winning film.
This blend of spaghetti Western and kung-fu makes for a roller coaster of a revenge flick. The premise is simple; The bride (Uma Thurman) finds herself in a coma after she and her guests are attacked at her wedding rehearsal. The reason? Bill, her true love and head of an assassination group to which she belongs, foils her plans for a normal life after she leaves him. What he didn't anticipate was her survival. With extreme violence and gore at every turn, this is not for the faint hearted.
Pulp Fiction (1994)
His most famous crime movie, Pulp Fiction is an incredible achievement for director Tarantino. Co-written with Roger Avary, this film delivers a full blown, violent, shocking and foul-mouthed punch. John Travolta and Uma Thurman are matched perfectly as Vega and Wallace. In typical Tarantino style, the non-linear narrative jumps from past to future, from storyline to storyline, adding layers of interest to a spectacular film.
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
This re-imagining of allied resistance to the Nazi regime is as ridiculous as it is gripping. Brad Pitt leads a strong cast (Michael Fassbender, Christopher Waltz, Diane Kruger) as the head of an elite group of 'Nazi Killers' who go around scalping the heads of unfortunate Nazis. With a standard level of Tarantino violence, Inglourious Basterds is hilarious and a wishful rewriting of history in which Hitler gets machine gunned to death by some grinning Americans. Not to be missed.
Oliver Twist (2007)
C O L D
A younger Tom Hardy gives a truly terrifying performance as Dickensian villain Bill Sikes. Look out for his co-star Sophie Okonado as Nancy.
Wuthering Heights (2009)
Whilst Hardy brought suitable broodiness to the iconic male role, the TV film cast ultimately let him down.
Next Year's Oscar Predictions With The Artist stealing the show at the Oscars, what films are expected to be in the frame next year? The Great Gatsby A take on Fitzgeralds 1920's classic, high expectations rest on DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan's new film. The Hobbit Peter Jackson's new epic, starring Martin Freeman, is similarly tipped for greatness.
Hardy is Handsome Bob in Guy Ritchie's gangster movie. The film was released to good reviews, but Tom's performance was lackluster and twodimensional.
Lincoln Two men who love winning Oscars: Steven Spielberg and Daniel Day Lewis. A match made in heaven for film fanatics and Lewis groupies everywhere.
No longer a rUma Kill Bill star Uma Thurman has announced that she is expecting her third child with her on-off boyfriend Arpad Busson. She already has 13 year old daughter Maya and 10 year old son Levon with former husband Ethan Hawke. Don't tell Bill.
From one dictator to another... Sacha Baron Cohen caused outrage on the red carpet this month when he turned up to The Oscars dressed in a provocative outfit modelled on Gaddafi. He was eventually asked to leave after he sprinkled ashes out of an urn with Kim Jong II's face pasted on it. It looks like his new film The Dictator will be as controversial as our favourites Borat and Bruno.
Eleanor Francis is amused but not amazed by this romantic spy-flick...
ithin the first 10 minutes of This Means War my head was already in my hands. Several ‘baddy’ Europeans had died, the two action-man leads (Chris Pine and Tom Hardy) had swapped shameless innuendos and I had settled down to suffer through what was undoubtedly going to be a car crash of a movie. However, 80 minutes later, I found myself pleasantly surprised. Whilst This Means War will never be making any ‘Best of 2012’ lists, it was by no means a total trial, and was actually a bit of a laugh. Tuck and FDR (yes, that is what he is actually called) are two CIA agents cum-best-buds who both fall for the same woman, Lauren Scott (Reese Witherspoon). They then each proceed to spend a large chunk of CIA time and resources in stalking the unsuspecting Lauren, reading her official files, eavesdropping on her private conversations, and at one point even invading her home in order to aid them in their attempts to date her. This is where most of the comedy is meant to derive from, and it is amusing – if you can forget that what you’re watching is quintessentially a gross invasion of privacy. Lauren’s married best friend Trish (Chelsea Handler) is behind most of the decisions Lauren makes about how to handle her two dates, persuading her in some faux-feministic way that she’s creating a victory for women by dating both. The vast majority of Handler’s
Dir. David Wain
Dir. Nima Nourizadeh
anderlust is rather more risqué than you might expect from a cast line-up which features rom-com favourite Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd of Knocked Up and The 40 Year Old Virgin. Lynda (Aniston) and George (Rudd) are a married couple who choose to shack up in a hippy 'love' commune called Elysium after George is fired from his job in New York. There are some good one-liners here, and the film does manage to provide something of a social commentary through its humour. Lynda and George initially move in with George's brother and his wife, whose dysfunctional marriage ("thank god for wellbutrin") is portrayed in a way that is sobering as well as entertaining. But the real focus of Wanderlust is Elysium, which proves to hold a wealth of transgressive comic potential - cue jokes about sex, drugs, race, sex and more sex. Some of them are even quite funny. If you want an insight into the darker side of deciding to embark on subsistence living cult-style, see Martha Marcy May Marlene. If on the other hand you want to watch an amusing and light hearted take on new age hippydom, then you can't really go wrong with this. Even if the dope smoke does looks like it's coming from a white filtered cigarette.
rom the creators of Superbad and The Hangover, Project X sadly fails to live up to such comical heights. The plot revolves around three senior high school students (Thomas Mann, Oliver Cooper and Jonathan Daniel Brown) who attempt to make a name for themselves by throwing a house party. As the night develops, things spiral out of control as word of the party spreads. The film is shot from one of the character's personal camcorders, instantly providing a sense of realism. But when the overly ridiculous nature of the party ensues, such style fails to work. The three main characters are blatantly modelled on the famous ‘Superbad trio’. Whilst mirroring each character trait, their comedic banter comes across as loathsome. They simply appear to be unpleasant individuals. And then there comes the plot. Or rather the lack of it. Essentially the film consists of teenagers getting drunk, taking drugs, and vandalising the neighbourhood; an entirely unoriginal attempt to replicate the greatness of Superbad. Is it funny? In parts – yes. But such humour is scarce. The main emotion induced by Project X is one of sympathy for the parents whose house has been burnt down. MATIJA PISK
Dir. McG lines were overly vulgar and out of place in a film that had generally kept a family friendly tone (except for, y’know, the whole stalking thing). Most of the action scenes are provided by the subplot of the Russian terrorist, Heinrich, who FDR and Tuck are meant to be investigating and capturing. Although most of the budget and man-time for this mission is devoted to planting microphones in Lauren’s light fixings and potpourri baskets, the hunt for the fugitive does give a good excuse for the heroes to engage in some random, slow-motion gunfights just in case the audience had forgotten that they were meant to be watching something with action. When I first saw the billing for This Means War I immediately had high hopes. There was nothing new about Witherspoon’s performance however; she obviously wasn’t being stretched, and was (dare I say it) just going through the motions. Hardy and Pine had great chemistry as Tuck and FDR, at times better chemistry than with Lauren, and the funniest parts of the films undoubtedly came from their interaction. But after Hardy’s inimitable performance as Eames in Inception and Pine’s stellar success as Cap. Kirk, I think both actors were taking quite a step back with this movie. It was entertainment, I’ll give them that, but it isn’t something I’m going to rush and buy when the DVD comes out (which I predict might be sooner rather than than later).
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
What's on at
Dir. John Madden
he Best Exotic Marigold Hotel follows a group of pensioners as they go to India to stay in a hotel built for the elderly, run by Sonny (Dev Patel). I dragged a few of my reluctant friends along to watch this and, like them, you may be wondering why you would want to go and watch the geographical displacement of seniors for two hours. Well, the biggest strength of the film lies in its fantastic writing. The humour is diverse and dextrous; not entirely playing to a set of safe, established gags such as crude sexual innuendos or the inability of your grandmother to work a computer - instead it is intellectual and dry. It's impressive that the writer managed to flesh out each character sufficiently with enough development that by the end of the film, no individual feels particularly unfulfilled. What’s most interesting is that there’s not one main protagonist the film focuses on – they all stand on a level pegging. TBEMH is a quaint and charming comedy-drama, which avoids the trappings of sentimental films with witty dialogue and strong character development. It still is largely predictable, but this is forgivable because of how downright lovely it is. The real strength in this film lies in the fact that while I’m far away from being the films target audience, it still does its job perfectly.
Martha Marcy May Marlene Challenging thriller of the year Showing during March
House of Tolerance Highbrow skin flick Showing during March
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V is the perfect escape after long days listening to dull lecturers and trying to contribute in seminars you never really cared about. Gripping storylines transport us to a world of ridiculousness, where we accept a time travel hub in the middle of an island, or believe it is possible for sinkholes to randomly appear in the middle of Seattle. As the show goes on, we start to invest emotionally in our favourite characters, eagerly waiting for the next episode. As always, these shows must come to an end. It's a sad fact, but some shows have embraced this and gracefully bowed out, while others try to cling on to what once was. This tends to lead to the ultimate question – when is the right time for a show to end? Popular sitcoms such as Sex and the City and Friends got their timing just right. The former ended whilst retaining the integrity of the characters throughout its reign on TV, keeping storylines shockingly crude; yet never lowering itself to unnecessary sexuality. Although Friends kept on going until one could sense that the fluffy fantasy bubble was about to burst, it still proved to be captivating. Both of them managed to leave us wanting
humour, just about survived the ascension of its main characters from interns to doctors; yet to be honest,
it really should have stopped once JD left. One Tree Hill's storylines became far-fetched after its groundbreaking first four seasons, as the original concept was milked for all it was worth. Ever dwindling viewing numbers should have shut this production down well before its upcoming eighth season finale. There are also current series, which I avidly follow, whose time, I know deep in my heart, is fast approaching. Grey’s Anatomy, a favourite of mine, reuses the familiar concept of a hospital as a backdrop to a deep and intricate web of personal drama. I have often found myself sobbing at the screen. Denny’s passing is still one of the most heart-wrenching episodes of any drama I have ever seen, or Teddy’s husband on the operating table at the mercy of Christina’s scalpel. However, the storylines are becoming more erratic as the daily catastrophes become even wilder, because anything vaguely normal would just be too boring to air. It is no longer
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more of our favourite characters. I yearned to see how Ross and Rachel would fare or to once again hear an utterly inappropriate yet fantastically open conversation between ladies who lunch. Shows choosing to end themselves at the right time are unfortunately hard to come by. Take Scrubs, for example, loved for its zany, witty
possible to exploit Meredith’s fragility, as by now she should be shattered – how she is still whole defies belief. No matter how much I don’t want to admit it, this show must go, before it becomes a shadow of its former brilliance. Then there is the case of the cult classic that I feel no one wants to admit should not be causing our LED screens to light up yellow anymore. The Simpsons, once hailed as comedic genius, recently aired its 500th episode, to little applause from me. Nowadays it has begun to repeat the same gags that made it famous, and recognised as a breath of fresh air, attracting cameos from celebrities and world leaders alike. Yet the producers are revelling in the mounds of gold this franchise has brought them, obviously not knowing when to let go. Should it then be common practice to give shows an end date, so that they are not tempted to wring a franchise out to its bitter end and taint memories of the whole series? I would much rather stop watching my favourite show because it has been killed off than have my interest in it die. Hopefully producers will start to see it this way more often too, so that we will not be subject to watching the falling of a star on the small screen once more. But unfortunately if a show's a money-maker, it's not going to end any time soon.
Nibblets of the crunchiest TV news this week... The Voice judge Danny O'Donaghue is ending comparisons to The X Factor, stating that they aren't looking for novelty acts but talented contestants "who wouldn't audition for the The X Factor for fear of being ridiculed." Pointless Celebrity has beaten All-Star Family Fortunes with a staggering 4.68 million views on its second series debut. The celebrities included Christopher Biggins, Lesley Joseph and Joe Pasquale. With celebrities this good, no wonder it beat everything else! There is no film in the works for Downton Abbey. Hugh Bonneville has said the wrong idea has been taken from Downton creator Julian Fellowes talking to Hollywood producers at the Golden Globes. A charity version of Take Me Out is on the way, and Paddy McGuinness is hoping that male suitors will include Chris Moyles, Peter Andre or ''the little one from JLS''. The girls have to donate money to charity and maybe win a date with a lucky celebrity! TOWIE stars Lauren Goodger and Jessica Wright have taken their on air spat to Twitter, with Wright calling Goodger "manipulative and weird" and Goodger replying, "actually shocked when u known some1 so long n there that sly 2 lie n play victim!" [sic]. Alesha Dixon said she quit Strictly Come Dancing because she wants new challenges, and BGT "is the one show that enables and encompasses all that." Eva Longoria has ruled out any hopes of reprising her role as Gabriella in a Desperate Housewives movie, saying she would "like to close this chapter" in her life.
Remotes at the ready - our tv picks for the week The fangtastic teen drama is back and sexier than ever. We're hoping the love triangle finally comes to an end, because quite frankly it's starting to become annoying.
is A Surpr
pire The Vam
Tuesday, ITV2, 9pm
Take three feckless fathers and a classroom full of sticky screaming children and watch as chaos ensues.
Wednesday, C4, 8pm
An up-to-date Friends, but with better dynamics. The void left has been very much filled.
Thursday, E4, 9.30pm
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1) Which song do the original Skins cast perform in the final episode of series 1? a) 'Pokerface' - Lady Gaga b) 'I’m a Slave 4 U' - Britney Spears c) 'Wild World' - Cat Stevens
7) Who makes a cameo appearance as a school councillor in series 3? a) Will Young b) Gareth Gates c) 50 Cent
10) Which food does Adam leave for Cassie when he leaves New York? a) Jelly b) Baked beans c) An apple
2) Which famous actor and comedian plays Tony and Effy’s Dad? a) Greg Davies b) Harry Enfield c) Hugh Dennis
9) What was the name of the song that Freddie’s sister Karen sang in the talent show? a) Ass to ass b) Sexual Excitement c) Pleasure Playground
11) What country does Thomas come from? a) Wales b) The Republic of Congo c) Jamaica
3) What subject does Angie, Chris’s love interest, teach? a) Biology b) Child care c) Psychology
8) Which design features on Tony’s duvet cover? a) Finding Nemo b) Naked people c) Star Trek
12) What does Cook yell at the end of series 4? a) “I’m a Bi*ch!” b) "I'm Cook!" c) “I’m hungry!”
4) Which university was the filming location for Tony’s Open Day visit? a) Exeter b) York c) Bristol
13) What instrument does Jal play? a) Clarinet b) Keytar c) Banjo
5) Which well-known comedians make an appearance as the twins’ parents in series 3? a) Dawn French and Lenny Henry b) Michael Macintyre and Miranda Hart c) Ronni Ancona and John Bishop
14) What is used to supplement the cake in Pandora’s sleepover? a) Chocolate Chips b) Marijuana c) MDMA
6) Which American college are both Thomas and Pandora accepted into in Series 4? a) Yale b) Harvard c) NYU
15) Who does Nick cheat on Mini with? a) Liv b) Alo c) Franky
Answers: 1)c 2)b 3)c 4)a 5)c 6)b 7)a 8)b 9)a 10)c 11)b 12)b 13)a 14)c 15)a
Think you know Skins? Give our Quiz a go and find out how big of a fan you really are.
Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents
Alcohol abuse, sexual promiscuity, and general shameless behaviour, all while your parents watch secretly. Trash TV at its best.
UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS This period drama is just the perfect fix until Downton Abbey comes back later this year. A great cast and some fab outfits, what more could you ask for?
Let's dance For Sports relief
Watching celebs prancing around the stage whilst donning tight lycra, all in the name for charity, is hilarious, but not in a good way.
VISION looks over the latest television
How I Met Your Mother Thursday 8pm, E4
ow I Met Your Mother has returned for a seventh season, and yet despite the show having picked up an impressive five Emmy Awards, we don’t seem to have made a great deal of progress concerning who exactly the elusive Mother is. While the group dynamic is holding up well in spite of Lily and Marshall’s move to the suburbs, it’s starting to fall short of E4’s promise that it’s ‘like Friends but without the boring Ross bits.’ The BarneyRobin-Ted love triangle is fast approaching Ross and Rachel levels of frustration, and Ted is every bit as boring as Ross ever was. Luckily Neil Patrick Harris as Barney makes up
for all manner of sins with his brilliant comic timing, ensuring that HIMYM fans will keep watching until the mystery of the yellow umbrella is finally cleared up. With Katie Holmes scheduled to don the legendary 'Slutty Pumpkin' costume in a bid to win Ted's heart, this series promises to be both fun and frustrating.
Big Fat Gypsy Weddings Tuesday 9pm, C4
hannel 4’s highly publicised Big Fat Gypsy Weddings has returned to our screens for a second season. Apart from weddings, the show has begun to focus on the importance of communions as a practice run for their wedding day. I was struck by how similar the young girls were to the ones on Toddlers in Tiaras. In both situations, the children are competing to look the best; they are made up to the extreme with fake nails, spray tans and buckets of makeup, except these girls don’t win a prize for all their efforts. These girls are obsessed with beauty; Nangirl, nine, thinks it’s “important to look good
for God”. We also begin to take a deeper look into the men's world with illegal horse racing and the prejudice gypsies face from both the police and law. Will this series bring a deeper investigation into the ideas that mainstream society has of gypsies? Or will Channel 4 continue to exploit our ignorance of this secretive community by playing up to stereotypes and entertaining us with girls dressed as neon marshmallows and boys as uneducated thugs?
One tree Hill At last, we can all breathe a sigh of relief, One Tree Hill is in its last season. It seems like this show has been on forever!
so not Keruschka Shunmugam
THE BEST OF WAUGH... VILE BODIES: A Twenties Romance charting the navigation of the rich and beautiful through the cocktails and catastrophes of English polite society.
SCOOP: A fantastically satirical portrayal of Fleet Street, the pursuit of journalism and social status with hilariously fleshed out character portrayals and events.
DECLINE AND FALL: Waugh’s first published novel, a darkly humorous satire on teaching and education exploring the scandals of Oxford society.
A HANDFUL OF DUST: T.S. Eliot's modernist influence is heavily present in this novel that showcases Waugh’s trademark wit and intellectual dialogue throughout.
BRIDESHEAD REVISTED: Waugh’s magnum opus, this novel explores the depth of love and friendship between Captain Charles Ryder and the delightfully eccentric Lord Sebastian Flyte. Jordan Lloyd
In Awe of
rivia question: who was the first author to write a telephone conversation into a novel? Answer: Evelyn Waugh, in Vile Bodies, 1930.
Born in 1903 to a literary family, Waugh was educated at Lancing Public School and later went on to study at Oxford University. It's easy to imagine him (growing up as he did amidst quads and spires and Sunday cricket) to be oldfashioned and consequently irrelevant. However, he was a thoroughly modern man, a great literary innovator, one who broke boundaries and loved to shock his audience. Reading one of his novels is a unique experience. He leads you by the hand through the noisy hustle and bustle of 1930s Fleet Street in Scoop, detailing every inch of the exuberant scene and making you feel the irresistible charm of the city. In the same novel, the reader is hurled into the hot, sticky tropics of a warzone - yet all the time, still laughing at the humour of Waugh's satire on the world of cut-throat journalism. Vile Bodies allows us a glimpse into the private world of the 'Bright Young Things' of the 1920s (which is the name of Stephen Fry's wickedly fun and aesthetically captivating screen adaptation of the book, from 2003). Through Waugh's precise narrative and acerbic wit, we gain entry to the legendary parties of the Roaring Twenties, packed with the glamour of bobs and sequins, cocktail dresses and cocaine. Waugh somehow distilled the world in which he lived - in all its beauty and ugliness - leaving for us an intimate, honest, but most of all thrilling account of life in inter-war England. If you've never read any Waugh, and you're not sure where to start, I have no hesitation in recommending his masterpiece, Brideshead Revisited. Completely different from his earlier novels, this is a more sombre story which attempts to recapture a twilight world past, which was, for Waugh, irrevocably lost in the brutality of World War II. From his army barracks, our protagonist Charles Ryder reflects on his youth experiences with the aristocratic Catholic Marchmain family, their beautiful house, and one gorgeous summer of innocence and beauty. Brideshead Castle rises from the pages in all its decaying splendour, with sun-kissed domes and rippling fountains; if for no other reason, you should read this novel if only to indulge in a few hours of the perfect summer. Additionally, the Downton set will certainly appreciate it for the drama of a country house - except this is a lot, LOT better.
ith the much-anticipated arrival of the Oscar nominated film adaptation of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, I wanted to bring attention back to Jonathan Safran Foer’s original novel that gave life to the new Hollywood version. The film is being advertised as a movie about September 11th and it is true that this is literature born out of a society drastically changed by 9/11. But the specific events of that morning take a backseat in this story. The real crux of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is more then a tale of the one heart wrenching tragedy that changed the world we live in. The novel follows the quest of nine-year old Oskar Schell to resolve the grief of his father's death - through the search for a box which only one key can open. This search is part of a
The book was first dramatized for TV in 1981, directed by Charles Sturridge. This adaptation is triumphant in its cinematography, musical score and casting. The young Jeremy Irons is a sublime Charles Ryder, effortlessly evoking the feelings of memory and desire which dominate the book. Lovers of the book: look no further for a faithful representation of the original work than this. A feature film was also made in 2008, starring Matthew Goode and Ben Whishaw. Whilst not so critically acclaimed, and not completely faithful to the book, it's worth watching for the superb visual aesthetics, which Waugh's imaginative writing easily lends itself to. It's worth pointing out, in this award season, that Waugh loved film and the fact that his books translate so beautifully onto screen is testament to that. The real star of both productions is the setting, the magnificent Castle Howard. This elegant house sits prominently in beautiful grounds, and it's just up the road, so is a 'must see' for York students. I've been there twice with my friends, once in summer and again in winter, and it is an extraordinary experience - a pilgrimage for any Waugh fan. Evelyn Waugh is as relevant today as he ever was. He strikes an exact balance between sentimentality and satire, and his books should be read and read until the pages fall out. To sum up what I love about Waugh, I'll end with that phone conversation, mentioned at the beginning: "Oh I say Nina, there's one thing - I don't think I will be able to marry you after all." "Oh, Adam, you are a bore. Why not?" Luke Walton
BBOC ‘Reconnaissance Expedition’ Oskar and his Dad created and had been left unresolved before his father was killed. Oskar is an eccentric kid. He wears only white, plays his tambourine incessantly and spouts a cornucopia of internet trivia. As a child he is not entirely believable - a tad too precocious, a touch too insightful, but as a narrator he is an engrossingly quirky and touching creature. Through his eyes we are introduced to a world full of oddities, tragedies and fancies. Many of them are virtual, some of them are imagined and a few are painfully material. Foer employs a stunning range of linguistic and narrative devices, not to mention extensive use of 'visual writing'. There are pages with only one sentence, and others crammed with so many words that the paper turns an impenetrable black. The fi-
Big Book on Campus nal pages of the book show images of a falling man flying upwards, but the representation is limited, both by the number of pages and the available footage. Safran Foer confronts his own aesthetic challenge - how to honour a grief that seems infinite in a confined artistic space through a consistent and powerful saturation of his text. This is one of those rare books that will change how you look at life and you will want to read it over and over again. It challenges not only what it means to be alive but what it means to be novel or a piece of literature. You will find yourself laughing as Oskar marches literally to the beat of his own tambourine, and you will cry as he struggles with the concept of death. Livvy Harman
Literary Events in York
Graphic novels are a peculiar genre of literature. As far as proponents of the great canon of English literature are concerned, they're just books with pictures or at most, highbrow comics. Until fairly recently, I had never read one. However, I had Waterstone's vouchers burning a hole in my pocket and decided that now was the time to give one a go. Usually my whims end in getting a takeaway or treating myself to a packet of hobnobs, but this one has ended in my discovery of a whole new way of reading. One of my most rewarding finds has been the sub-genre of 'political graphic novels.' This phrase might conjure up dystopian images of novels such as Watchmen and V for Vendetta, however I have discovered a whole range of biographically political novels, narrating personal stories from the Gulf War to the Holocaust. The Complete Maus tells the story of author Art Spiegelman's father and his experiences in Nazi Poland. The novel exemplifies the blurring of reality and imagination that the genre so easily allows. Spiegelman turns the Jews into
York Walk: A fascinating guided tour around the historical city with a focus on its rich literary heritage. York features in myriad works of literature; it is the birthplace of Robinson Crusoe and the iconic Minster was inspiration for Nicholas Nickleby. Other literary accolades boasted by York include the birthplace of W.H. Auden and the meeting place for Bloomsbury group. 29th March, £5 for students.
mice, the Poles into pigs and the Nazis into cats, visually encapsulating the 'cat and mouse' chase of the Holocaust. Another brilliantly simple and incredibly moving example of a political graphic novel is Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis, which charts the story of her own childhood and adolescence amidst the backdrop of the Iranian Revolution. There were so many wonderful things that struck me about the novel and have stayed with me since. The content of the novel itself gives vital context to much of the Iranian perceptions to which the Western world still adheres. It gives a much needed personal approach to questions of religion, nationality and identity in times of war. Persepolis is also a mind-bogglingly easy read. This is not to suggest that it is not incredibly powerful or moving, but simply that the engaging graphics absolutely captivate the reader - you will be at page 100 before you've even drawn breath. If you have never read a graphic novel before or have always been sceptical about the genre in general, try a political one. Not only will you be stunned by the beauty of the graphics and their narrative power, but you'll also learn something.
'The Dickens Enigma'- John Bowen in Conversation: Professor of Modern English Literature at Keele University, writer for the Times Literary Supplement and Channel 4 Radio personality John Bowen appears at the city library to discuss the life and work of Charles Dickens. Questions and debate from the audience are welcomed; a stimulating event not to be missed by any Dickens fanatics. 1st April, £4. Souvenir D'Anne Frank: This poignant production explores the fascinating and tragic life of Anne Frank through the experience of a young Japanese girl and her adventures in a magical landscape of dreams and memories. Accompanied by live piano music, interwoven with songs and actual extracts from Anne Frank's diary, this promises to be a haunting and extraordinary theatrical experience. 30th-31st March, £7 for students.
TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY by John le Carré Le Carré's Cold War thriller reached a renewed level of visibility in recent months as a result of the succ ess of the all-star film remake that hit the silver screen last summer. The novel concerns the netw ork of the upper levels of the British Secret Service. The novel quickly delv es into the heart of the intelligence wor ld and doesn't disappoint the conspira cy hunting reader. This is one of the most rewarding features of Tinker Tail or Soldier Spy; it provides all the intr igue of 007 without the clichés and dodg y oneliners. A former spy himself, le Carré gives the novel immense credibility. He treads the line between stereotype and reality without a wobble. Smiley's (the protagoTHE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO by Steig Larsson This novel compounds murder, mystery, romance and family saga in a plot which simmers with underlying danger and intrigue. In the land which gave us ABBA, IKEA, blonde bombshells and Björn Borg, Steig Larsson instead delivers a Sweden that is corrupt to the core with echoes of a fascist past, commercial fraud and sexual violence. Financial journalist, Mikael Blomkvist, is called to carry out a project investigating the disappearance of Harriet Vanger, the teenage heiress who vanished from her family home forty years before under suspicious circumstances. With the assistance of Lisbeth Salander, a twenty-four year-old, tattooed and pierced delinquent, institutionalised from birth and endowed with a knack for computer hacking bordering on the genius, Blomkvist forms an unlikely partnership. The pair begin to unravel an
nist) world is one every reader feels they have imagined before, without being the stuff of fantasy. Smiley himself is deliberately 'nor mal'- middle-aged and overweight, he wears thick-rimmed glasses and has a wife whose chief plea sure in life is his humiliation. Pierce Brosnan he is not. It is the character of Smiley himself that makes TTSS so readable. He is both a very ordinary and extraordinary man. The reader is at once able to identify with him and be in awe of his quiet yet overwhelming brillian ce. The book is every bit as atm ospheric and gripping as the film, with the added draw of le Carré's unremitting ly sophisticated style and characterisatio n. TTSS and the disarmingly captivating George Smiley himself are impossible to put down. Sophie Wootton
enigma which has plagued the Vanger family for generations, opening up a multitudinous can of worms as well as a channel of dark secrets which lie at the centre of Swedish industrialism. Larsson produces a thrilling read, infectious and exciting, original and intelligent and a novel which deserves the hype delivered to it. Its brutal social criticism and brilliant character formation make up for writing which can sometimes feel a little too reduced in tone. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is a mystery of blockbusting proportions, so it was no surprise that the movie scooped up an Oscar at this year's ceremony. Larsson's real triumph in this novel is his portrayal of Salander; both beautiful and bad-ass with a terrifying faculty for vengeance which marks her out as one of the most vibrant characters of contemporary crime-fiction. Sophie Taylor
The Book Review: THE HELP by Kathr
The Help is a truly inspiring story of courage in the face of the adversity, hostility and racism Afr ican-Americans experienced in the 196 0s ‘Deep South’. Set in the town of Jac kson, Mississippi, this book tells of the domestic lives and experiences of Africa n-American maids, their daily struggle against victimisation, but also the dee ply touching and highly important rol e that they played in white households and family upbringing; becoming the ‘re al mothers’ to children neglected by ab sent parents. Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Ph elan, an ambitious young graduate and would-be-jour nalist (many can sympathi se, I’m sure) is the plot’s primary protag onist, along with the reflective midd le-aged nanny Aibileen and her headstr ong friend Minny; deeply troubled by the sudden disappearance of her childhood nurse Constantine and irked by her mo ther’s desire to get her married off to a nice respectable sen ator as quickly as possible, Skeeter in-
stead follows her dre ams, seeking down and interviewing the ‘help’ of her female friends and peers. Th e maids gradually disclose their tales, tragedies and triumphs, aspirations and injustices, revealing in Skeeter's ultimate manuscript the set of powerful and harsh home truths previously kep t in the utmost secrecy by their suspic ious mistresses. It is this strangled and starched atmosphere of female sou thern society in which Skeeter’s vin dictive and bullying Junior League Presi dent Hilly Holbrook (think Dolores Umbri dge but even more evil and pink) is in he r element, attempting to prevent and thwart everything that Skeeter, Aibileen and Minnie put their lives upon the line to change. Stockett gets right dow n to the roots of inequality, injustice and love, and produces a powerful no vel challenging the reader to find withi n themselves the universal virtues of truth, courage and determination. James Carr
Kirryn Mountford brings you...
Revolution or Armaggeddon?
Any Star Trek fan is likely to be aware of the 'replicator', a device that is used to conjure objects from thin air, most famously a hot mug of Patrick Stewart's Earl Grey tea. This fantasy is quickly becoming a reality; a new technology is in its genesis that is set to change not only the industries of manufacturing and design, but our everyday lives for better or for worse. We have seen a dramatic surge in 3D technology of late, and this is the next stage in the revolution. Forget the days of standing by a photocopier, idly examining your cuticles as it churns out sheet after sheet of flat, grey boredom. Enter the 3D printer. Low cost printing of objects from a digital file in three physical dimensions is not
only already here, but it's also getting cheaper. The machines work most commonly in one of three ways: some use molten polymers to create objects layer-by-layer, useful for creating plastic prototypes of simple things quickly and cheaply. The second method uses ultraviolet light to solidify liquids, with varying dimensions formed by limiting which parts of the liquid are exposed to the light. The third method is known as 'granular materials binding', in which powdered solids are fused together with lasers. Many are beginning to question one implication of this technology; for as long as we have had organised society, we have depended on physical goods to have inherent value - a cow could be traded with your neighbour for two sheep for example. But what if you discovered a way of making your own sheep at a lower cost? On the one hand, you would be able to keep the cow, but on the other you'd also put your neighbour out of business. The solution of this problem is the same solution that is forecast to be necessary as a result of affordable 3D printing the idea of intellectual property must apply to real-world objects - DRM (digital rights management) may soon be rivalled by PRM (physical rights management). In other words, your neighbour could own the blueprint of 'sheep', and making your own would become copyright infringement. The most interesting aspect of this is found in remembering similar revolutions in other areas that technology has
brought about. Take the music industry's battle with the Internet as an example. It is difficult (but fun) to imagine the equivalent with physical objects - there could be a Napster-style black market in designs of chairs, robbing Ikea of hardearned cash. 'Indie' designers may have a springboard for making their innovative new products cheaply available and accessible to many. Our perception of physical objects is set to change in step with their changing availability. Much as you now wouldn't buy four copies of a CD for four family members, but rather buy one and burn it, we might soon find ourselves buying one dinner plate, scanning it into our computer and making new ones whenever we need. While the reality is further from making a hot mug of Earl Grey from thin air, and closer to replacing broken oven knobs, this is something to watch closely.
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Not only does Dropbox give you 2GB of space for free, it gives you seamless syncing across devices like your laptop, smartphone, and PC. You download Dropbox, which sets up a folder on your computer, and anything in it spreads itself out to the web, and the devices we've mentioned. It's that simple!
3. Evernote Dan Cornwell
Amid Battlefield 3, Modern Warfare 3, and Mass Effect 3, it seems we've got more than our share of the magic number. Here are three more upcoming 'three's to be aware of.
A relic of old-school Japanese design, this game is fast, twitchy and very bloody. But will the developers Team Ninja have found a happy medium between retaining the support of loyalists and updating the game to current tastes?
Its 'Read Later' function acts as a bookmark for web content that you can log in and read on an iDevice, another computer, a kindle, or just print. It formats it beautifully, as if by magic, and makes keeping track of a range of online articles/journals a breeze.
Three-quel season continues...
This game promises more of Rockstar's unique blend of Matrix-style gunfights and film-noir style storytelling, and with the previous two submissions in the series being among the best and most influential games ever, there are high hopes here. 2
4. A Word Processor
What we've seen of this so far is very exciting. Back to the tropical setting of the first game, Ubisoft hopes to bring us back to an open-ended world that is the antithesis of set-piece driven blockbusters like the Uncharted and Call of Duty series. 2
: 17 ase
Note-taking no longer requires you to carry a pen or paper. Save trees (and hassle) by using Evernote to document absolutely anything and everything you need. It's clean, it's user friendly and it again syncs across devices. If you find yourself thinking "I'd love to remember that later," you need Evernote.
It's self explanatory but nonetheless we couldn't write about what's essential without the obvious. Nowadays you can stay well clear of Microsoft for your essays with the likes of Apple's Pages, OpenOffice.org, Google Documents etc. An essential.
5. Twitter There are a lot of professional people on Twitter and depending on what career path you may be following, it's a fantastic idea to see what they're reading, discussing, etc. Make twitter the starting point for your career research. Alternatively, you can destroy any intellectual credibility and follow 'The Bieber' ...
Anthony Horowitz chats to Harry Pick A nthony Horowitz may well be Britain’s busiest writer. He has put his name to over fifty titles and projects in just over thirty years, from the gripping Alex Rider spy thrillers to hugely popular TV series such as Midsomer Murders and Foyle’s War. To many, Horowitz is simply the writer of our generation. When I got the chance to speak to Horowitz, he was quite contentedly slogging away at a re-draft of a new novel, Oblivion, whilst working on three scripts for film and television. The looming workload clearly does not faze someone with such a passion for his craft. “I love words. I love the pure physicality of writing,” he enthuses. Horowitz engaged with words from a very young age; during his time at a “particularly foul and abusive” preparatory school, Orley Farm, writing became an escape. After fighting through the difficulties of his early educational environment, he began a BA in English & History of Art at the University of York in 1974. It would be the drama societies that would come to define Horowitz’s time at the University. He remembers with pride his first play (titled Castaways) being performed at the still standing Drama Barn. "It made me initially want to go into theatre, I had no interest in writing children’s books. It is a peculiar hiccup in my career that has led me down an unexpected path.” After leaving York behind, “disappointed” in his degree classification, Horowitz entered into advertising. The job was purely to fund his writing and, channelling that sense of adventure his characters so often display, he notes with sadness how he wished he had “taken more time after university to get into adventures, into hardships, simply to have more experience to bring to my writing.” However, he admits that one novel "Raven’s Gate, the first 'Power of Five' novel, was based on places I visited in York and around Yorkshire whilst I was there.” Experience eventually came for Horowitz through the pure slog of reading widely and writing extensively. To Horowitz, directly understanding what you are writing about is the essential ingredient in good prose, “Just three weeks ago I was in Antarctica researching for a new book. I try and visit every location I write about.” As Horowitz continues to sketch out some other cardinal necessities for good writing, such as talent and selfendurance, it's life experiences that stick out as having fundamental importance for his own philosophy of writing. Diverging slightly, I was tentatively interested to hear Horowitz’s response to a pessimistic account of the future of publishing I had encountered in The Guardian, haranguing an industry "ruled by accountants" and lazy new writers. The crux of the piece was dismissed by Horowitz, who expressed his hope for the vitality of the industry – even with dan-
gers the free spread of information online poses to traditional publisher’s profits. “It is a changing field. By and large the internet is a force for good, though of course it will make a huge difference to areas such as quality and standards, but anything that gets books into people’s homes is a cause for hope.” Even so, it is evident Horowitz is a writer firmly in the mind set of Generation X and that he retains an archaic loyalty to the traditional platforms that have given him immense success. However, despite this faith, his work has pioneered a very 21st century trend in writing. Horowitz’s prose appears to transcend form; its dramatic plot twists, fast paced prose and shifting action-packed narratives invites conversion onto the screen and often reads like a structured script. “When I write, I think of myself as a camera. Looking down from a high angle on a school, as Alex [Rider] goes in, then cut to a close shot as he comes into the classroom, etc.” However, “Fundamentally, when writing, ‘a book is a book’, ‘a film is a film’.” Perhaps, he suggests, his works have such adaptability because he always works on a script and a book at the same time. Yet, although he has enjoyed massive screenwriting success, his novels have struggled to make the transitions from page to screen. The film version of Stormbreaker, the first book of his famous Alex Rider series, received disappointing box office takings and lukewarm reviews, halting plans for a film series. Horowitz does not hold back when he attempts to explain the failure, “The film was not terrible. It was a hot month [and] a rather bad but massively successful Pirates of the Caribbean film had been released. The casting was often off, too. Mickey Rourke was a disaster choice.” Perhaps, I conjectured, it was because his initial audience had grown up. By the time the film was released in 2006, those who were among the first to eagerly pick up copies of Stormbreaker were approaching late teens. Begrudgingly, Horowitz admits, “you had moved on.” Such career stalls have not deterred those in the industry from looking to Horowitz when commissioning work. His most notable current projects include the recent release of a new Sherlock Holmes novel The House of Silk and his work on the Tintin franchise with Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson. Talking of taking up the legacy of Holmes, the first new novel to be endorsed by the Conan Doyle Estate for decades, Horowitz displays his usual admirable sense of self confidence. “I knew I could do it. I have always read Victorian litera-
"There are only so many gadgets, only so many bad guys, only so many insane schemes to take over the world you can invent." ture, it is a canon of work I first really got involved with during my studies at York.” However he is plainly intimidated when discussing the movie moguls he is working alongside on Tintin. “I am very well aware that I am sitting between two mountains of cinema and I am the goat in the middle; probably a sacrificial goat, as I may be fired as one often is in this business.” Before ending the interview, I had to touch on Alex Rider; as a fan of the novels from a young age, I had to admit my reading of them ceased after Ark Angel in 2005 as I moved onto more ‘adult’ fiction. Last year, Horowitz retired Rider in his ninth and final novel, Scorpia Rising. “It was time to move on. There are only so many gadgets, only so many bad guys, only so many insane schemes to take over the world you can invent.” Why does he think the Alex Rider series achieved such success – what was its USP that made it shift so many copies?
He is coy and surprisingly modest at this point, simply attributing his success to the fact that “no one was writing something like this for teenagers at the time.” There is a very tangible sense of sadness that tinges his acceptance of Alex Rider’s inevitable end. He still categorises it above all his other works as his most profound success, fundamentally because “they seem to have introduced a whole generation of children to reading, which I think is a reasonable thing to have done with my life. I’m quite proud that probably one molecule of some of these children’s future success may be down to me.” After you speak to Anthony Horowitz, there remains little doubt as to why he has achieved so much. He is articulate, dynamic and possesses an ability to engage and immerse you in what he is trying to convey; a good writer's essential qualities. Yet Horowitz’s ‘X Factor’ is that he also has the confidence to back up his ability; he never shirks from a project and never doubts his talent. At a time where many York students worry about that scary buzz word ‘employability’, we can learn some simple truths from one of our most successful alumni; embrace your talent, take on every opportunity and experience and be willing to endure the long fight to achieve your ambitions.
. . . S N O I T S E U 20 Q James Acaster
1. What is your earliest memory? Watching a live action film of Pinnochio, halfway through the scene where he's singing about having no strings and the fox is dancing with him. That's how I remember it anyway. 2. Snog, Marry, Avoid: Dame Edna, Lady Gaga, Russell Brand. Snog Gaga, Marry Edna, Avoid Brand. But only because you made me choose, I don't know what any of them are actually like, that could've been a poor decision. 3. What’s your guilty pleasure? Some Limp Bizkit songs. 4. If you were a comic book character, who would you be and why? Rodger the Dodger because I've always wanted a name that rhymes with one of my attributes.
9. What makes a good comedian? Loads of things, but I suppose being funny and unique are very important. 10. Marmite: Love it or hate it? Leaning more towards love it, but I don't eat it that often. 11. What’s the best one liner you can think of ? I slept on the streets last night. Fortunately Mike Skinner is surprisingly comfy.
One of the most critically acclaimed young comedians in Britain, James Acaster, has taken the UK comic scene by storm. After touring with Josie Long and Milton Jones he then appeared on Russell Howard's Good News, entertaining the nation with his blisteringly witty, anecdotal humour. Be sure to catch him in York in May, but in the meantime we caught up with him for a quick-fire round of 20 Questions. 12. What’s your most played song on iTunes? Hold on, I'll check... 'Against Me' by Why? 13. Do you have any pre-performance routines? Empty pockets, have a drink of water, make sure shoelaces are tied, stretch. 14. The zombie apocalypse has arrived: what do you do? Get a gun and shoot a lot of zombies
5. In five years’ time I will be… Wondering where the years went.
7. You were a musician before turning to comedy, what would be your X-Factor audition song? 'Rollin' by Limp Bizkit and I would dress exactly like Fred Durst and act like him too, just because it would amuse me.
Film Editors: Maddy Pelling Abigail Richards
Scene Editors: Alysia Judge Jordan Lloyd
Deputy Music: Nina Pullman Will Barnes Deputy Nightlife: Oliver Wessely
16. Weirdest thing you’ve ever overheard someone saying? "Follow me, man, I swear it's not another one of my traps". 17. What’s your biggest achievement? Chief Scout Award, 17th Kettering Scout Troop, 1999. 18. There may come a day, in an awful future, when one has to tweet their CV and include as much information as possible in 144 characters. What would yours say? James Acaster worked at a theme park then in 2 kitchens then a special needs school then was a drum teacher then became a stand up comedian.
20. And finally, as a comedian who must constantly write jokes, is the pen really mightier than the sword? No. Swords are really dangerous and you can kill people really badly with them, I think it's unwise to try to belittle anyone who owns one.
8. What’s your chat up line of choice? I honestly don't have one, unless calling them a dickhead when it's completely undeserved and then hoping she finds it funny is a chat up line, in which case my chat up line is "nice one, dickhead".
Music Editors: Niamh Connolly Eli Court
15. Horror movie or romance? Romance, I can't help myself.
19. Worst hangover of your life: How? Where? When? Why? I had been out celebrating a friends birthday in Soho, I had to get off the bus twice on the way home to be sick, I was meant to go Christmas shopping the next day but slept for most of it because every time I tried to get out of bed I felt atrocious. I believe I caused this by drinking a table of drinks that were unattended but not mine in a nightclub.
6 If your life didn’t revolve around comedy, what would you be doing? Eating healthier and sleeping regularly.
Nightlife Editor: Ben Huckle
in the head. Once you get past the initial fear I'm sure it's a lot of fun.
Deputy Film: Matija Pisk Tom Bonnington
Books Editors: Sophie Taylor Philip Watson TV Editors: Morgan Collins Keruschka Shunmugam Technology Editors: Dan Cornwell Kirryn Mountford Deputy Books: James Carr
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