TV TRANSATLANTIC REMAKES
THE CASUAL VACANCY
MUSIC NIGHTLIFE FILM TV BOOKS TECH SPOTLIGHT 20 QUESTIONS
MUSIC IT HAS BEEN FIVE YEARS SINCE LED ZEPPELIN ROCK AND ROLLED.
NEWS the stones are rolling again Earlier this year the band announced that they would be releasing a greatest hits compilation, entitled GRRR! It is an all out tour of the Stones’ work, even containing two new tracks alongside the other 48. One of those tracks is available to buy now; ‘Doom and Gloom’ is a throwback to earlier work - there are hints of ‘Gimme Shelter’ but an overall heavier feel. Set for general release in November is ‘Crossfire Hurricane’, a documentary film charting 50 years of the band. All this follows the tide of excitement created by the band’s decision to play a series of one-off gigs in London and New York next month. All 30,000 tickets sold out immediately, but there is still hope; rumours have been circulating that the band could headline Glastonbury 2013, something that they’ve never done. That would be a welcome return for the festival following its routine sabbatical, but also a dead-end for the Stones... Is there anything left to do once the world’s biggest band has headlined the world’s biggest festival?
SINGLE REVIEWS muse ’panic station‘ ‘Madness’, the first single to be released from Muse’s new album The 2nd Law, was a stripped-down, yet solid, electronic offering from the space-rock trio and a welcome turn away from their signature pretension towards a more sedate form of introspection. However, its successor ‘Panic Station’ seems to have fled back up the supposed ‘new path’ the band were to take, and is much the worse off for venturing into new territory. This lame (this really is the only word to describe it) quasi-electro-funk mash-up attempts to return to Muse’s signature grandiosity but falls painfully short of the mark, with the song building up to a messy cacophony of cheesy trumpets and uninspiring guitar work to a backdrop of uncharacteristically weak vocals from frontman Bellamy. Altogether, it is less ‘breaking new ground’ than hammering at it desperately with a shovel . . PHILIP WATSON
Following their one-off reunion concert at London’s O2 in 2007, fans have been left in suspense in regards to the band’s future. Last month it was announced that they would release the concert as a film entitled Celebration Day. Good news for the 19,980,000 fans that applied for tickets but missed out. The film premiered this month and hit cinemas from October 17th. The DVD will be released on November 19th.
POP FAVOURITES GIRLS ALOUD CONFIRM 2013 GREATEST HITS ALBUM The five members reunited at a press conference in October where they also discussed the release of their new song ‘Something New’, this year’s official Children In Need single. The tour begins in Newcastle on February 21st and lasts until March. The album, titled Ten to mark ten years since the group formed, is released November 26th.
X FACTOR STAR HITS WEST END X Factor winner Joe McElderry is to represent his generation and star in The Who’s musical, Tommy. The singer had the chance of a Christmas number one pulled from his grasp after an X Factor hate campaign famously relieved the show of its long-assumed winner’s crown, with Rage Against The Machine’s ‘Killing In The Name’ aptly taking the seasonal top spot instead. First performed in 1969, the show is about a deaf, dumb and blind kid called Tommy who shocks everyone by becoming a ‘Pinball Wizard’.
dog is dead ’talk through the night‘ ‘Talk Through The Night’ is the new single from Nottingham-based indie-pop band ‘Dog Is Dead’. It is taken from their debut album All Our Favourite Stories. This song is a classic example of what this up-and-coming band is capable of; from the singing guitar melody to the light hearted feel and especially the unique vocal style from the front man, Robert Milton. The song also portrays a more individual sound from the band; the vocal harmonies are almost reminiscent of a gospel choir, showing a sense of ingenuity within their sound. The contrast between this single and their last single ‘Two Devils’ is quite apparent and gives a lot of hope for those of us who have been waiting to see Nottingham produce a successful band. MICHAEL COOPER
villagers ’the waves‘ The Villagers’ newest release has a far more electronic feel than we’re used to - a synthesised pulse sets the tone from the offset, and yet when combined with Conor O’Brien’s voice, which seems so much more suited to an acoustic backing, it creates an innovative and surprisingly effective sound. The track takes a twist halfway through as the gentle electronics are overpowered by lengthy guitar swalls and the song builds towards its busy swan song of a crescendo . ALEX FINNIS
RE-PLAY Each edition we revisit a classic track. This week: Whitney Houston ‘I Will Always Love You’
20-years-old this November, Whitney’s version of ‘I Will Always Love You’ continues to eclipse the Dolly Parton original. The song was recorded for the soundtrack to the film The Bodyguard but it enjoyed its own success as a standalone single, spending 14 weeks atop the US single chart, a record at the time. Picking up numerous awards and great critical acclaim, it remains one of the most heartfelt and memorable power ballads of all time. Whitney, we will always love you.
MUSIC NIGHTLIFE FILM TV BOOKS TECH SPOTLIGHT 20 QUESTIONS
Cover artwork can make or break an album. With only a single photo to represent the album, there’s serious room for error. Martin Waugh delves into some of the most famous album artwork, explaining their production and the history behind the covers
THE BEATLES ABBEY ROAD - 1969
UNDERGROUND & NICO - 1969
There’s no better place to start than with possibly the most famous album cover of all time. Surprisingly enough, the cover shot was taken on Abbey Road, home to EMI Studios London. The band is seen crossing the street - Lennon in his famous white suit, McCartney barefoot - at 11.30 in August 1969. The photographer Iain Macmillan was given only ten minutes to photograph the band, with one policeman holding up the traffic. The American tourist standing on the right pavement was unaware of his significance in the photo until he saw his wife’s copy of Abbey Road a year later
With a debut as groundbreaking as VU’s, the band needed artwork equally as innovative to accompany the record. Luckily Lou Reed and co. were good friends with Andy Warhol who lent this print of a banana. Early copies of the album invited the owner to “Peel slowly and see”; peeling back the banana skin revealed a fleshcoloured banana underneath. A special machine was needed to manufacture these covers (one of the causes of the album’s delayed release), but MGM paid for costs figuring that any ties to Warhol would boost sales of the album.
THE STROKES IS THIS IT? - 2001 Photographer Colin Lane “wanted to take a sexy picture”, so when he caught his thengirlfriend walking out of the bathroom naked, he, naturally, went for his camera (and a black glove, left behind by a stylist). The model, only recently revealed as the girl in the photo , describes “walking around the house – he was like, put this glove on. I walked over, boom, that was the shot.” According to Lane she was thrilled that the photo made it onto the cover: “she was a very rock ‘n’ roll girl so it’s a big feather in her cap to have her ass on The Strokes’ cover.”
NIRVANA NEVERMIND - 1991 With Cobain’s original artwork ideas “too graphic for the recording company” the band’s manager contacted Rick Elden and commissioned him to photograph something more appropriate. The resulting image is of Elden’s baby son, Spencer. He explained his thoughts behind the concept: “babies have a gag reflex, if you blow in their face they hold their breath. So that’s what I did, Spencer was in the water for about two seconds.” Spencer is rumored to like Nirvana, but has never met any of the band members.
led zeppelin iv - 1971
DAVID BOWIE THE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS - 1972 In the album’s opening track, ‘Five Years’, Bowie sings: “And it was cold and it rained so I felt like an actor” so introducing his infamous alterego, Ziggy Stardust, but also recalling the photo shoot for the cover. Clad in the same jumpsuit worn in his TV debut on Top of the Pops (here hand-coloured turquoise by the sleeve artist), Bowie leans almost uncomfortably on some boxes outside furriers K. West, Heddon Street, London. The contrast between glam rock and ordinary life is entirely appropriate for the ensuing story of Ziggy. The building in the background was interestingly London’s first nightclub, The Cave of the Golden Calf. This year a 40th anniversary plaque was unveiled to commemorate the site. The back of the vinyl sleeve reads: “to be played at maximum volume”.
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The 19th century oil painting on the front of the album was allegedly purchased from an antique shop in Reading, Berkshire by Page. Then fixed to a decaying concrete building, it is said to represent the dichotomy between the country and the city. Page said: “It represented the change in the balance which was going on. There was the old countryman and the blocks of flats being knocked down. It was just a way of saying that we should look after the earth, not rape and pillage it.” The typeface for the lyrics to ‘Stairway to Heaven’ printed on the inside sleeve of the album were also Page’s contribution. Originating from an old arts and crafts magazine called The Studio (also 19th century), Page decided the lettering was interesting and commissioned someone to create a typeface.
MUSIC NIGHTLIFE FILM TV BOOKS TECH SPOTLIGHT 20 QUESTIONS
ALBUM REVIEWS FOLKS
BAT FOR LASHES
I See Cathedrals
The Haunted Man
nfluenced by everyone from Dr. Dre to John Lennon, new band ‘Folks’ have been causing a storm in the music industry and recently played at York’s very own Fibbers. A mix between ‘The Black Keys’ and ‘Oasis’, the band’s debut album I See Cathedrals showcases an obvious musical ability and an exciting range. From the beginning, ‘Folks’ set the tone of bass filled rock’n’roll in ‘My Mother’, with its gripping, swaggering riff, and continue to deliver a sequence of fast paced, guitar-filled sounds that demonstrate what they seem to do best: great guitar pop tracks. Frontman Scott Anderson creates a classic sound in a mixture of tracks that hint heavily to influences such as ‘Arctic Monkeys’ and ‘Kasabian’. Another band performing with a signature British style that has already seen huge success, ‘Folks’ pull this off well and slip easily between rock and pop. The six-piece from Manchester have already toured with Miles Kane and have confirmed dates on the Band of Skulls tour in November. As well as this, they have recently collaborated with brand Dondup for Italian fashion week, giving the brand the edge that ‘Folks’ seem to deliver.
T The influence of Noel Gallagher becomes more obvious as the album continues, and the feeling seems to be mutual as he recently asked them to perform two songs while sitting in for Dermot O’Leary on his Radio Two show. ‘Folks’ aim to cover everything from ‘60s psychedelia and expansive balladry to modern day sounds, and this is shown by the beat slowing down as the album progresses. From start to finish, I See Cathedrals experiments with a mixture of tempos and styles. Luckily for them, it appears to have paid off. ‘The Ship’ finishes the album with an incredibly poignant, gloomy track that screams of the potential of this band. They’re not yet the finished article, but watch this space, there is definitely a lot more to come from ‘Folks’. LAURA MCCARTAN
he hype surrounding ‘Bat For Lashes’’ new album, The Haunted Man, is undoubtedly not simply down to the quality of the music. On the cover of the album, the band’s Natasha Khan stands entirely naked, a naked man enwrapping her in a fireman’s lift, showing her delicate yet strong frame to the world. Perhaps this image is indicative of the new ‘Bat For Lashes’, stripped down to something more natural, strong and real. Certainly there is a sense of this in the music: Khan’s swirling melodies and hippy vibes seen in the last album permeate the entire tracklisting, but there is a more pared back feeling, Khan’s vocals having come on leaps and bounds since her last record. There are also more melancholic undertones that layer the tracks, perhaps suggesting a desire to be more serious with her musical endeavours, and create something beautiful and less ‘poppy’, something which perhaps could be said of Fur and Gold. The stand-out track of the album is undoubtedly ‘Laura’. The vocal talents of Khan are fully put on display here, the twirling and melancholic melody producing something truly beautiful. Despite this, the rest of the album does
MOCK AND TOOF
EGYPTIAN HIP HOP
Good Don't Sleep
ondon-based producers Duncan Stump (Mock) and Nick Woolfson (Toof)’s second album consists of dark melancholic beats that create a mellow flow and easy listen. Opening with the rhythmic ‘Confusion Time’, the first track features the slow and electronic tone that reigns over much of the album. Featuring the Switzerland urban artist Ghostape on many of the tracks, the vocals remain in tune with the music and add life to the dark instrumental beats. Although many of the beats consist of a dancelike feel, they are on a constantly relaxed and pending flow which creates a repetitive rhythm throughout most of the album. Tracks such as ‘Don’t Work, Don’t Care’ have notable instrumentals and the tracks ‘Get Out the Way’, ‘Walking the Streets’ and ‘Snowball’ stand out with more energetic and futuristic beats that exhibit more of the dance genre that their previous album Turning Echoes consisted of. These tracks create a more lively and techno feel but unfortunately do not dispel the grim undertone that dominates Temporary Happiness. Comparing this new album to their last album, songs such as ‘Happy
hat to expect from a name like ‘Egyptian Hip-Hop’? Hip-hop is all about the rhythm and lyrics, and you feel the groove, with its fantastic jazzy chords supporting the rap. However, this album is the antithesis of hip-hop. It is indie music, and some of the most “un-groovy” I have listened to. Most of the music does not move anywhere: it stays on a single chord for most of the piece with a monotonous broken chord played by a muted guitar synth sound. I wanted to reach through the recording and shout ‘Get going!’ As for the word ‘Egyptian’ in the name, the idea behind it is difficult to work out; perhaps they were trying to achieve a typically off-kilter name like ‘Bombay Bicycle Club’, which they certainly achieved, but they also left me at a loose end after I had listened to the album. It certainly isn’t hip-hop. It has a pleasantly echoey, ethereal vibe, but this is the kind of music you don’t have to listen to in order to know what’s happened by the end of the track. Having said this, there are three songs that are not bad at all. It’s a shame that they are the final three on
not live up to the calibre of ‘Laura’. The general feeling of the tracks are similar to that of this song, but they just miss out on capturing the same sort of magic. There are others which are well worth a listen: ‘Horses of the Sun’ provides an interesting percussive section and ‘The Haunted Man’ has an interesting set of lyrics which encompass the whole feeling of the album. The tricky third album has been well tackled by ‘Bat For Lashes’ considering her second album was largely brushed over by critics and fans. ‘Laura’ is a truly accomplished song and will surely get the radio-play it deserves. However, the shaky quality of a few of her other songs begs the question of whether Natasha Khan will keep making music like this for much longer. LOUISA HANN
Crash’ are similar to previous steady songs like ‘P2160’ but overall it does not match up to the hype and quality of Turning Echoes. The track ‘Everything is Known’ continues the slow blend of electronic and indie rock that conquers the album. Many of the songs share an all too similar style of sound however; ‘My Head’ and ‘Sleeper’ are both among the other examples of songs that show this. There are no songs that are unique in their own right though the album does become more appealing after the first listen. Not a ground breaking or memorable album, Temporary Happiness is a mixture of contrasting and experimental instrumental beats and vocals that differ from the mainstream sound that makes up most of today’s electro genre. DIANA RIGG
the album (‘SYH’, ‘One Eyed King’ and ‘Iltoise’) because looking at the Soundcloud play counter, listeners have got to the seventh track and decided that the music is too dull and switched it off. ‘One Eyed King’ is my favourite because it actually progresses through sections and the music develops. The bassline in particular is key in delineating the difference between intro, chorus and verse. ‘Iltoise’ is my second preference and third ‘SYH’, supposedly the track of the album. As an album it is depressingly boring. It is lacking melodic, harmonic, rhythmic and lyrical interest and varied musical ideas. But that means it is perfect music for chilling out to. It is not what I would choose to listen to, but the three tracks mentioned are worth a listen. WILL EDWARDS
MUSIC NIGHTLIFE FILM TV BOOKS TECH SPOTLIGHT 20 QUESTIONS
THE STAVES jack bradshaw talks to the new group of folk stars
hen I asked Camilla StaveleyTaylor whether or not The Staves would break into the charts and challenge the traditional pop girl bands, she said “You never know… maybe if we take our clothes off !” Well, that might work. But the three sisters from Watford - Emily, Jessica and Camilla - are a girl band with a difference. A unique sound harnessed since early childhood. Folk’s answer to the Brontës, according to some. Whichever definition you wish to take, they are something special, something up-and-coming and something to look out for. Speaking to Camilla, the youngest member, she told me the group are not entirely sure where they fit into the folk spectrum. “I don’t think we’re massively folky. We are the more singer-songwriter kind of folk like modern folk rather than traditional folk. I don’t really know how we fit into the scene; you don’t really think until you get asked about it!” Our conversation was taking place just minutes after their arrival at their Lisbon hotel, having shortly touched down in the Portuguese capital. A tour of Europe’s finest cities with American group Bon Iver awaits over the next few weeks, and it is easy to tell that Camilla simply cannot wait. “We’re going to lots of places we have never been before such as Zurich and Madrid, it’s going to be really cool. The experience of playing to crowds that size will be a real treat and a real challenge.” In fact, November is likely to be a thrilling month. Immediately after the European tour, The Staves will release their new first album, Dead & Born & Grown, on November 12th, produced by Ethan Johns and Atlantic Records label. This comes a week after releasing their stunning single ‘Tongue Behind My Teeth’, a powerful song with sumptuous vocal layers underpinned by a stirring beat. After the album is released, the group will be touring the UK and are planning performances at Bristol, Manchester and Edinburgh amongst many other places, although York is not on the cards just yet. “I think the album as a whole is kind of ‘us’. Some of the songs are ones we have had for a very long time and have been gigging, others have been finished in the studio and are very new. “There are not going to be any shocks – there are no guitar solos or any dubstep music on there. I would like to think it’s honestsounding and intimate, so that’s what you can expect.” The Staves were founded in 2008 and it is clear that a musical environment predomi-
nated from an early age, something key to their development as one of the UK’s best up-and-coming groups. “We had a circle of friends who would always play together, so if we went round to one of their houses it would get to the stage where someone would take out a guitar and
"THERE ARE NO GUITAR SOLOS OR ANY DUBSTEP MUSIC IN THE ALBUM. EXPECT IT TO BE HONESTSOUNDING AND INTIMATE.” we would always end up singing something. “It’s difficult to say when we decided to become a band. We would occasionally do the odd mic night in Watford, but the moment came when we realised that we couldn’t do proper jobs, and we thought
N I W
‘we’re a band now’. It’s not like we stopped and made a masterplan, it just started happening.” Shortly after this life-changing “moment”, Camilla says meeting Irish folk musician Fionn Regan was another critical step they took. “We were, and still are, massive fans of his and he’s a very special kind of character; he’s very quirky and puritanical in the way he looks at things. It gave us a reality check that you should always be like that and not to get distracted by the other things.” Then things just got better. In what was to later prove a valuable experience, the group met Ethan Johns and collaborated with the great Tom Jones, providing the backing vocals to his 2010 album Praise and Blame. You could argue the words “turning point” don’t do this period justice for The Staves’ later success. “It was a massive turning point and it was amazing to meet up with Tom Jones and Ethan and do some gigs with him – his voice is incredible. We recorded it to tape,
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Ethan really liked it and he ended up making our album with us.” Camilla also tells me that their experience touring the United States, and supporting The Civil Wars, among other groups, has prepared the band for even bigger things to come. “The America experience was really fun, we felt really chuffed driving across such a huge country and playing in so many different places. It felt like a real adventure. “We played in Dallas, Austin, Houston, St Lewis, New York… It’s been really cool to play a lot in the south then in the north because you see different sides to America.” As we reached the end of the interview, I asked what advice can be offered to aspiring singers in today’s music market, and how you can stand out from the crowd. “I think the best thing to do is play loads. Focus all your energy on gigging, writing and especially with folk musicians, embracing that there are lots of other people playing that as well, collaborating with them and inspiring each other.”
MUSIC NIGHTLIFE FILM TV BOOKS TECH SPOTLIGHT 20 QUESTIONS
LIVE REVIEWS bloc party
lianne la havas sheffield leadmill 20/10/12
warehouse project, manchester 19/10/12
eforming was always going to be tricky for Bloc Party. Frontman Kele Okereke’s forays into the world of dance and electro music was perceived by critics as a dissent or escape from the dwindling cause of guitar music, while guitarist Russell Lissack’s projects with bands such as Ash seemed to have sealed the deal of their disbanding. However, the energy this band put into their live shows all those years ago reappeared into their set in Manchester, and reminded everyone what the hype was all about. The Warehouse Project provided a particularly apt venue for the band, the dripping, grey walls and industrial space fitting in perfectly with their London-centric sound. In fact, the whole evening felt curiously London based: electro band Plaitum, who took to the stage at around 10pm, would not have seemed out of place in a dingy east London venue, while the constant allusions to London in Bloc’s songs were greeted with cheers by the crowd. Bloc Party’s new album, Four, has been met with mixed reviews by critics, but the band rode on their relentlessly rocky sound, opening their midnight set with relatively new single ‘Octopus’, flashing strobe lights abound. As
an opener this was a particularly good choice by the band, as the crowd had been waiting for the set to start for several hours, slowly getting more drunk and more excited to throw themselves around. They indeed did this with gusto, spurred on by Kele and the buzzing atmosphere created by The Warehouse. This energy continued throughout the set, reaching a crescendo in Bloc’s rendition of ‘One More Chance’ midway through the set. The song is perhaps not one of their best, often overlooked due to its release being just after the questionable success of third album Intimacy, but somehow it was the resounding success of the night, permeating through all areas of the arena and lifting everyone up into the ecstasy Bloc was once renowned for three years ago. The sound of Bloc Party has certainly not died and this goes for their live shows also. There may not have been anything particularly new or innovative displayed in Manchester on the 19th, but their tour will certainly be a success with Bloc fans new and old alike, particularly with their new album to ride on. LOUISA HANN
nice moment of universal alignment happened to me while writing this review. Having spent the day watching videos of Lianne La Havas on YouTube, I realised that it is almost exactly a year to the day that she first appeared on Later… with Jules Holland. It was during the recording of this show that Justin Vernon/Bon Iver (who also made his debut British TV appearance on Later… three years earlier) asked her to join him on his US tour. Since then, La Havas has enjoyed wide ranging critical acclaim and commercial success. Even after a year, La Havas remains the same: fame is yet to hit her. There is absolutely nothing about her stage presence, or the music itself, that distances her from the audience. The low-key arrangements and kitchen-sink lyrics of songs like ‘Age’ or ‘Lost and Found’ show no delusions of grandeur. This means that her fans not only get her music, but they root for her as a person, something that was made clear by the constant exclamations of “I love her!” between friends in the audience. Her opening track ‘No Room for Doubt’ brought complete silence to the venue. Despite the lack of Willy Mason’s mournful backing vocals that fea-
the gaslight anthem
O2, manchester 18/10/12
the duchess, york 22/10/12
he last couple of years have been a breakthrough period for ‘The Gaslight Anthem’ as they made the step up to major label stardom. Their new record, Handwritten, was produced by alternative rock heavyweight Brendan O’Brien on Mercury Record. Yet in this performance there was a sense that this refreshingly grounded rock band were still struggling to come to terms with their ascent. At exactly 9.20pm, these New Jersey romantics walked on stage to great ovation, opening with a beautifully melodic rendition of their new song ‘Mae’. It was an understated yet powerful opener, and the band rattled through their first few songs, somewhat surprisingly. Fallon is known for his inter-song chit-chat, but it appeared that tonight he was a bit more reserved. Yet the music was undeniably superb, as the band played through older favourites like ‘The ‘59 Sound’, ‘Angry Johnny and the Radio’ and ‘Great Expectations’ as well as hits from the new album with a barnstorming rendition of ‘Biloxi Parish’ and a similarly heartfelt title-track ‘Handwritten.’ But it was difficult to detach oneself from the sense that this ‘fame’ thing is a bewitching notion for these ordinary men who are, unlike so many out there
ture on the album version, this was one of the most powerful moments of the night, with Lianne’s flawless yet expressive guitar work being the backbone around which her lullaby-ish refrains are draped. This was one of only three moments during the set that she was by herself, with an incredibly talented (and sharply dressed) backing band joining her for most of the set. The sheer skill and musicianship of everyone on stage came to the fore during ‘Is Your Love Big Enough?’, a gloriously playful pop-soul tune with a 6/8 groove and intricate drumwork reminiscent of Radiohead’s ‘15 Step’. This complex songwriting, heavily rooted in pop sensibilities, puts her more in common with Regina Spektor or Cat Power than her UK counterparts. Despite the more intimate moments, including the crowd-pleasing ‘Age’ as a set-closer, La Havas’ voice is clearly powerful enough for larger arrangements. Whether she chooses to stick to her stripped-back style or experiment with a more polished sound, she is likely to join the likes of Amy Winehouse and Adele as figureheads of authentic British female talent. JACOB HARRISON
I today, playing music because they love it. Fallon was humble in his thanks to the crowd, explaining that he found it difficult to know what to do with the adoration that they bestowed upon him. One must speculate that these troubles have been enhanced by the signing to a major label. It was particularly telling when Fallon, before playing ‘Handwritten’ B-Side ‘Blue Dahlia’, told the crowd that he believed this song most definitely should have made it onto the record. Did Mercury veto it? A pleasantly surprising encore consisted of a meaty cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘Changing of the Guards’, as well as a lesser known song of theirs ‘She Loves You.’ The final song was, as is custom, the fist-pumping ‘The Backseat.’ It was a fitting closing song to a truly enjoyable evening of good, proper, heart-felt music: a conclusion I have come to expect from these boys. However good the performance, though, there was just a little nagging feeling that all these New Jersey rockers are still getting used to life in the higher echelons of the musical world. WILL COOPER
n 2009, two lads from Leeds accepted an invitation from the Arts Council to produce a live dubstep project for the York Minster. Now, three years on, they have returned to the city to perform once again, only this time they’re joined by five more members and come equipped with two albums worth of material under the name ‘Submotion Orchestra’. And the venue is slightly less dramatic. In fact, you’d probably struggle to find a more contrasting building to the Minster than the setting of The Duchess, what with its low ceilings, sticky floors and complete omission of stained glass windows. But by the time vocalist Ruby Wood elegantly tiptoes into sight at the finale of set opener ‘Intro’, it becomes clear that the cramped atmosphere is a neat match for the band’s dark and atmospheric sound. It’s not long before the incessant heat forces Wood to remove her parka coat and reveal a sleek black dress. This unlikely combination in attire is mirrored by the accompanying blend of music being produced by her band mates: jazz harmonies and reverberating bass? Yet more unlikely is how well it works. The mixing of genres can easily appear forced and tacky – especially so live - but Submotion manage it effort-
lessly. This is testament to the varying musical preferences and obvious talent of each individual member. Jazz, dub, soul and dubstep are all weaved together to create a fresh and interesting whole that exceeds the sum of its parts. The experimental feel is emphasised further by stretches of mid-song improvisation, which carefully tread the line between engrossing spontaneity and mild selfindulgence. For all the genre-hopping and progressive free-styling, the most moving part of the evening is provided by ‘Sunshine’, a song built around the simple pairing of Wood’s dreamy vocals and Taz Modie’s melancholic keyboards. Wood is eventually drowned out by a crowd sing-along, providing a warm moment of mutual appreciation as the clearly humbled band complement the vociferous support. However hard it is to define Submotion Orchestra’s sound, tonight it was easy to enjoy. ALI MILLS
MUSIC NIGHTLIFE FILM TV BOOKS TECH SPOTLIGHT 20 QUESTIONS
classic revs poses
KUDA vs SALVO
The Epic Group Photo
For extra lad points, bring something novelty into the photo. A college provost is always a good shout.
Ah, the first term of the University year. Big changes are buzzing in the air. New lectures, new freshers and YUSU’s decision to drop Club Salvation as its official Tuesday club night, replacing it with ex-gypsy hotspot, The Gallery. Following “a million pound re-fit” and a tactical name change, The Gallery was transformed into Kuda, now the place to be on a Tuesday night. Was this a wise move from YUSU? Is the “multi-award winning” Kuda a worthy replacement for the “busiest and sexiest club in the city”?
JESSIE DAVIDSON & OONA VENERMO
PRICE Both clubs cost £4 entry with student ID, but once you’ve made it up that huge staircase in Kuda the drinks are slightly better value for money. Double Vodka and Kick Energy comes in at £2.80 whilst in Salvo doubles total up to £3 (all those 20ps you save can go to the Willow Fund).
The Pantomime Horse
Otherwise known as (for those with sick minds) the human caterpillar. Shotgun front!
MUSIC Hopefully, once you arrive in Kuda you won’t be at the Willow-level of drunk where the only music that you want is full-on old school cheese. The new club’s resident DJ Paul Bailey-Hague promises to give a “3 deck mash up” to those gracing the new LED decorated dance floor. Like Salvo, Kuda has multiple rooms for different music serving everyone’s taste or mood. However, the decor in Kuda (especially in the new Tiki Bar and the novelty of a VW bus) definitely draws more people into alternative club music than the sweaty space of Salvo’s upstairs “Room 2.”
STUDENT OUTLOOK The Teapot
Girls: when gravity gets too hard to resist, bend your knees with a hand on your hip.
It seems a universal view that Kuda has benefited from its revamp, with its new rooms and the ditching of the ballroom-style giving it an extra edge on other clubs in York. There are still some out there who prefer Salvo purely for old times’ sake, so it’s unlikely its Tuesday nights will suffer too much from the Kuda competition (in our generation, at least). A close competition, but it seems YUSU have made a smart move by officially introducing Kuda as the new Tuesday night hot spot. The novelty is clearly popular amongst students, with some describing it as “Revs meets Salvation, best of both worlds.” Hopefully Salvo will maintain sustenance from its new Monday night special. Not that it matters - we’re all going to end up in Willow anyway.
“Chirpse” The ‘We’ve Already Been to Willow’
When forward-thinking turns into one too many tequilas.
verb- to flirt with, to chat up, to talk to ‘That girl is well peng, I’m gonna go chirpse her.’ noun- being ‘on it’ with someone, the act of courtship ‘Look at Samantha on the chirpse. I thought she had a boyfriend? noun- a potential mate, the object of a mating ritual ‘Wait, wasn’t that Joe? Isn’t he your chirpse?’ exclamatory- the most satisfying use of the word ‘chirpse’. When Jake asks Chantelle about her weekend, you are shocked – you didn’t even think he knew what a girl was, let alone how to talk to her. You have no choice but to make it unbearably awkward for him by shouting: ‘Chirpse!’
Man After Chirpsing
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From slick spy to gun-toting gangster, Vision charts Daniel Craig's career...
H O T
In the tradition of using every holiday as an excuse to curl up in front of a DVD, Ruth Ramsden-Karelse suggests four different films to enjoy this Halloween...
Let the Right One In
Halloween Casino Royale (2006) Craig shines in this more gritty and realistic Bond flick which many consider to be up there with the best of the franchise.
C O L D
Hallowe’en Horror Flicks
Layer Cake (2004) Showing his darker side as a gangster in the criminal underworld, Layer Cake launched Craig's high profile career.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) Fincher's adaption was good enough that you didn't care that everyone had a Swedish accent apart from Craig.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) Most people have probably forgotten that Craig was in this critically slammed film, and I'm sure he plans to keep it that way.
If you want to celebrate your “inner freak” (rather than get too scared to sleep) but don’t fancy doing the Time Warp for the hundredth time, try this cult musical comedy-drama. It was adapted and directed from his own off-broadway production by John Cameron. Mitchell, who stars as Hansel, a “slip of a girly boy”, finds a way out of East Berlin through rock music and genital mutilation and embarks on a journey fabulous enough to get you howling along to the choruses of the (incredibly catchy) soundtrack, but also harrowing enough in places to justify a Hallowe’en viewing.
Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece of psychological horror sees a young and bearded Jack Nicholson get snowed-in at an empty old hotel, descend into madness and eventually try to murder his wife and very cute (if a little creepy) son. Some complain about the slow pace, some say it adds to the hypnotic quality which is exactly what makes the film so unnerving. If you’ve never been able to judge for yourself, book now for The City Screen’s 8.30pm Halloween screening and come find out why all the weird boys at school used to scream “here’s Johnny!” at you in the hallway.
N The Golden Compass (2007) New Line sank $180 million into this film, but the parallel universe kids-flick disappointed both critics and the box office.
This critically acclaimed 2008 Swedish romantic-horror film, set in the early 80s, follows two 11-year-olds through a gloomy snow-covered Stockholm suburb filled with run-down flats, violent bullies and estranged adults. The beautifully shot storyline rewards perseverance through subtitles and extended periods of artsy silence with a sweetly underplayed and refreshing alternative to the vampireromance dross which has dominated pop culture for the past few years – as long as you can deal with searching for the sweetness between severed limbs and pools of blood.
The original 1978 slasher film’s title alone makes it an obvious choice, and a good one if you want to scare yourself from babysitting or ever leaving the house. The low budget feel; Myers’ trademark mask was a spray-painted $1.98 Captain Kirk mask, and Carpenter’s wonderfully dated soundtrack anchor the film just far enough from reality that you probably won’t be too scared to enjoy a bowl of popcorn whilst watching. However, I’d recommend leaving it on the table rather than your lap as there are some brilliantly jumpy moments.
No more action For Spielberg In an interview with US TV programme “60 minutes”, Steven Spielberg has announced that he no longer has an interest in creating action films. Claiming that at this point in his career he could effectively make one ‘in his sleep’, the man responsible for revolutionary blockbusters such as Jaws and Jurassic Park says action films just don’t attract him anymore. Spielberg’s next film is a biopic of President Abraham Lincoln, played by Daniel Day Lewis and written by Tony Kushner.
Serkis of Animals Motion capture maestro Andy Serkis is set to make his directorial debut after announcing his interest in creating a film based on George Orwell’s 1945 classic Animal Farm. In a recent interview, he claimed that his version would focus more o n making it a family friendly experience rather than being hard-lined with the political element of the novel...
Pooled into a film? Just when you thought they couldn’t possibly make any more superhero films, fan favourite Deadpool is making his way onto the silver screen. After a period of unsettling silence, director Tim Miller has said that the wheels are now firmly in motion. The script was written by Zombieland creators Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick and the wise-cracking anti-hero will be played by Ryan Reynolds.
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S K Y FA L L
Dir. Sam Mendes
THE BEST BOND FILM TO DATE? Katherine Hibberd reviews I’m sure I speak for all dedicated Bond fans when I state that the build up to Skyfall, although exciting, was also clouded with apprehension. With the transformation, revealed in Casino Royale, of 007 into a muscular, rugged, and (shock horror) blonde icon of masculinity, the producers’ gamble paid off. Daniel Craig’s debut created the highest-grossing Bond film of all time. However, Skyfall’s poor predecessor, Quantum of Solace, left audiences feeling disenchanted as Bond lacked the suave nature essential to his character. Fans needed some form of compensation; luckily Sam Mendes took on the challenge giving us everything we wanted and more. After an almighty pre-titles action scene, with a tussle on the roof of a train, Adele’s chart topping theme tune gives us a flavour of the plot to come: modern with a nostalgic touch of the old school Bond. The beginning of the film is perhaps a little bit predictable: an intense Istanbul action scene, some harmless banter between Bond and M, and a fist fight in Shanghai involving some komodo dragons. The twist in plot, however, is unexpected and at first a little unsettling, evolving Skyfall into the most personal film in the franchise to date. Unlike Bond’s previous enemies, Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem) doesn’t desire to take over the world overnight. Instead he holds a personal
Paranormal Activity 4
Beasts of the Southern Wild
ver wondered what the end of the world would look like? The Bathtub is a town precariously perched on the wetlands of Louisiana, cut off from society by a giant levy built to protect those on the other side. But The Beasts of the Southern Wild is not your conventional disaster movie and we witness The Bathtub’s destruction not from a news helicopter’s perspective but through the powerful imagination of Hushpuppy, a young girl. This device lends the film the fairy-tale, hallucinatory quality that makes it so enjoyable. The Aurochs, the beasts of the title, are not mutant pigs but primeval creatures previously imprisoned within the ice caps, and not conjured up by CGI but played by real animals. The Aurochs, and similar flights of fancy, give the first half of the film a lolloping pace but quickly, in a mixture of fantasy and realism, the Bathtubbers are rescued against their will by those of the other side of the levy. After an hour absorbed in the chaotic life of Hushpuppy, the sanitised surfaces, glaring lights and aggressive whiteness of the shelter they’re moved to, feels sinister and disturbing. It’s not a place where an imagination like Hushpuppy’s can take root. There aren’t many films, like this, that can successfully marry adventure with grizzly monsters and serious questions on how we treat the dispossessed. Paddy Evans
t’s very fashionable to disregard sequels for the sake of it. Sequels, by their very nature, are derivative and essentially money-spinners feeding off an idea that was successful once. It’s almost too easy to write them off. However, Paranormal Activity 4 is simply one of the most brainless pieces of unimaginative horror that you could possibly come across. The first film was an excellent study in psychological horror. Its sequels are borderline self-parody with their ineffectual tactics. Devices like a knife being dropped from the ceiling onto a chopping board in front of the camera are not smart, subtle or appropriate for this type of movie. It’s akin to a friend jumping up at you from behind a couch. The art should be to psychologically unnerve the audience, such as when you hear the giggle of children from outside the tent in The Blair Witch Project. There are numerous instances of crude, in-your-face scare tactics and it proves that this franchise has completely run out of ideas. Perhaps an even bigger problem is the utter lack of continuity with the other films. The actress of the first film has moved to a new town with some boy called Robbie. No explanation of how she came to actually buy the house when she’s been a registered missing person for five years. Surely there’s going to be an estate agent that will lose his job over this?! Anyway, please don’t feed this dead, crusty franchise any more money. It’s not worth it. Tom Bonnington
The narrative-heavy sections of the plot, and lack of a true Bond girl, could be pinpointed as weaknesses of the film, but the incredible cinematography, star studded cast, exotic locations, and heated action scenes make for a truly captivating action-adventure. Where Skyfall really triumphs as a Bond film is not only as being strikingly British, but succeeding in fusing the old and new. Humour makes a much-needed comeback, mostly supplied by the return of Q played by a young Ben Whishaw. Although, as Q points out, Bond has evolved. There is no longer any room for exploding pens and invisible cars for one. While the franchise may be celebrating its 50th anniversary, Skyfall demonstrates that Bond is versatile and therefore timeless. The best Bond film ever? It’s certainly up there.
Dir. Josh Schwartz
Dir. Benh Zeitlin
vendetta against M (Judie Dench), subsequently bombing London’s MI6. Perhaps the scariest Bond villain to date, his sadistic, unforgiving and slightly camp persona make him terrifyingly unreadable. This also gives Mendes a welcome opportunity to create an overprotective motherson type relationship between Bond and M, and we are given an unanticipated look into Bond’s background with the final showdown set in his crumbling Scottish family home.
Dir. Josh Radnor
obody feels like an adult. It’s the world’s dirty secret, a fact we are constantly reminded of in Josh Radnor’s new semi-autobiographical, comedy-drama Liberal Arts. He does this through thirty-five year old Jesse, a man stuck in a soulless career wishing he could retrace his steps and being given the opportunity to do just that when he is invited to an old professor’s retirement party at his old liberal arts college. Jesse’s experiences at Kenyon College are explored through his relationships with the professors who initially sparked his love of literature and his confusing relationship with present college student Zibby, sixteen years his junior, who mirrors his enthusiasm for the liberal arts. Elizabeth Olsen’s performance as Zibby demonstrates her chameleon-like ability to fit into any genre. She easily creates a character who could appear cutesy and clichéd, whilst simultaneously charming and moving. The other supporting characters who stand out for their high quality performances are Richard Jenkins and Allison Janney, who epitomise the idea that one never truly grows up but instead remains the insecure, obstinate teenager they once were. Overall the film is funny, moving, and charming, as well as rare in its ability to appear intelligent without seeming pretentious. Josh Radnor’s character says that he loved Kenyon College for its ability to leave him with the “feeling that anything is possible”, and that is exactly the feeling that I left with. Cat Gobert- Jones
Spookily Similar Times change, but posters don't
seed of CHUCKY (2004)
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Television Ones to Watch
BBC: JIMMY SAVILE Newly-appointed BBC Director General, George Entwistle, is refusing to be interviewed by the Panorama team investigating the Jimmy Savile scandal. He has been advised he should only co-operate with the police, formal reviews set up by the BBC and the Commons Select Committee hearing.
Mon, 11pm, E4
Comedy drama from the creators of Peep Show.
I’M A CELEBRITY... GET ME OUT OF HERE! Posh style queens Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine have signed up for this year’s I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! The TV fashion gurus have resorted to the jungle after a string of successful fashion advice shows fell away to less lucrative appearances on the TV shopping channel QVC. 70th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBES US comediennes Tina Fey and Amy Poehler of Saturday Night Live and Mean Girls fame plan to ‘30 Rock’ the 70th Annual Golden Globes, replacing Ricky Gervais as next year’s hosts. It is likely to depart from Gervais’ somewhat controversial leadership for the past three ceremonies.
Homeland Sun, 9pm, C4
The lives of ex-CIA agent Carrie Mathison and Congressman Nicholas Brody continue to intertwine.
STAND UP TO CANCER Channel 4’s Stand Up To Cancer fundraiser has generated over £6 million for cancer research charities. The show saw celebrities, sportspeople and members of the public who are undergoing treatment for the disease campaigning to raise funds for vital medical research. CELEBRITY JUICE Keith Lemon will be looking to find a new squeeze to join Holly Willoughby as Celebrity Juice team captain as Radio 1 DJ Fearne Cotton is taking next year off after the birth of her first child with boyfriend Jesse Wood.
Television’s Titanic Journey
KARL TOMUSK looks at the disasters that are transatlantic remakes
hen I heard Gavin and Stacey was being remade in America, I groaned a groan worthy of the worst joke imaginable. And I would not be surprised if this happens to be that joke. Take a second to recall the remakes of The Inbetweeners, Skins, and The IT Crowd. What do all of these have in common? They are all horrific. Whether it’s a change in tone and content, as was the case with the first two, or an attempted carbon copy that was miscast (seeing Community’s brilliant Joel McHale stumble through Chris O’Dowd’s lines made my whole brain cry), remakes simply tend to be atrocious. But let’s not kid ourselves. It’s not because American television is somehow inferior to its transatlantic counterpart. Take, for example, That 70s Show, a guilty pleasure of mine, which was remade in the UK as a series called Days Like These. It was butchered in the same way The IT Crowd was: they took specific episodes from the original and reshot them, almost word-for-word, for a new audience. Needless to say, it was painful. So why doesn’t it work if both
countries have quality programming? There seem to be two reasons. First, the culture and humour don’t translate well. We can’t imagine the cast of The Inbetweeners as Americans. Their lives and their interaction tap into something very British. Likewise, seeing someone like That 70s Show’s Red Forman - who is supposed to be a patriotic American and a Korean War veteran - as a slightly overweight middle-aged British man takes away from the comedy of his character and the lines he delivers. More significantly, though, it’s because as fans of a TV show, we naturally love what makes it unique: its style, its characters, and so on. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that fans were outraged by a toned down version of Skins or an IT Crowd without Chris O’Dowd. They were subpar shows with uniquely shaped shoes to fill- a near-impossible task from the outset. On the other hand, there is the miniscule possibility that it could be a success. Just look at The Office. Regardless of any opinion of the US remake, it’s impossible to deny its success. Having spanned
nine seasons, a remarkable feat in itself, it helped revive the singlecamera sitcom in America. It’s an icon of US comedy. The difference here was the universality of the source material. Anyone can relate to working in an office, and by adapting the overall style and creating new characters, the writers took advantage of it and made a very successful series. The question, therefore, is whether Gavin and Stacey has that same widespread potential. Experience and my cynicism say no.
Downton Abbey Sun, 9pm, ITV
Series three continues with more upstairs/downstairs drama
Mon, 11pm, Sky Atlantic
HBO’s brand new comedy has finally made its way to British screens.
MUSIC NIGHTLIFE FILM TV BOOKS TECH SPOTLIGHT 20 QUESTIONS
BOXSET BUCKET LIST York Vision’s TV Editors SIAN GARDINER and KARL TOMUSK recommend the best shows that you have to discover
hile it may follow the life and trials of an unlucky in love 30-something, Ally McBeal is far, far more than a US equivalent to Bridget Jones, and the male population should not be put off by this premise. Set in a quirky Boston law firm owned by the entertaining duo Cage & Fish, the show uses the law as a backdrop to the surreal personal lives of Ally and her colleagues. Watching Ally, you come to doubt your decision not to have studied law - a career choice that according to this show will entail working alongside Lucy Liu, bizarre encounters in the firm’s unisex toilet, a fair amount of flirting and coming up against a young Robert Downey Jr. in court (whose stint as Ally’s heartthrob other half makes watching up to season four a must). Ally McBeal isn’t just any old courtroom drama: fantasy sequences that reveal the lawyer’s innermost thoughts mean you can expect to see Al Green pop up as a judge, or witnesses bursting into song. We also get to follow Ally beyond the courtroom, with trips to her therapist’s office, as well as frequent visits to the dance floor of the bar situated rather conveniently just below their office. Glee haters needn’t worry though – musical numbers and guest appearances
from the likes of Barry White and Sting are not overpowering, but an occasional treat. The show was a pioneer in its late 90s heyday thanks to its contemporary take on relationships, winning it an Emmy for best comedy, as well as two Golden Globes. A decade on, it is well worth revisiting the bizarre world of Miss McBeal and co., one in which she herself admits: “I like being a mess - it’s who I am.”
Parks and Recreation
arks and recreation is not a revolutionary show. It doesn’t redefine genres or expand creative possibilities in television. In fact, it was initially conceived as a spin-off of the US version of The Office. Don’t let any of that put you off, though. It is one of the best comedies currently running in the US. The series follows the parks and recreation department of the city of Pawnee, Indiana. Run by Ron Swanson, the Libertarian inspiration to every man in the world, and Leslie Knope, the overenthusiastic deputy director with slight feminist leanings, the office serves as a backdrop for this group of government employees. There are obvious connections to The Office, from the documentary-style filming to the lack of a soundtrack, but its originality lies in its tone and its wealth of characters. Consequently, what makes the show great is not the plot, which, while funny, isn’t necessarily very new; it’s the character arcs that develop from season two onwards. The show successfully portrays people whom we come to love. Between the newly iconic looming figure of Ron Swanson and the gradual growth of April Ludgate and Andy Dwyer, we want to see more of
them. The show explores and changes them in detail and refuses to limit them to catchphrases and single quirks. In short, they are funny, likeable, and interesting. So, besides Ron Swanson being the greatest character in any sitcom, there are a hundred reasons to watch the show. Most importantly: it’s hilarious.
hannel 4’s much overlooked cult comedy Green Wing is unparalleled in its absolute lunacy. Its surreal originality earns it a place amongst any of the past decade’s top comedies - albeit a place where you might have taken a few magic mushrooms. While the show gained a loyal fan base and favourable critical reviews, it never quite gained the viewing figures it deserved, and is well worth watching if you missed out the first time round. Based around the lives of the staff at the fictional East Hampton Hospital Trust, few other shows have provided me with quite so many laugh out loud moments. Its creators should be applauded for their ability to come up with some of the most bizarre, yet frequently hilarious scenes, which succeeded in making stars of the show’s hospital staff Tamsin Greig and Stephen Mangan (both of whom popped up more recently in comedy Episodes, alongside Matt Le Blanc). Yet some of the show’s best moments come from its lesser known stars. Mark Heap is brilliant as the spluttering, oversexed consultant radiologist Dr Alan Statham, who is sometimes seen prancing around in his underpants playing a recorder. Meanwhile, Michelle Gomez is the completely lunatic staff liaison officer,
who greets all requests for help with foul-mouthed tirades, and can be found pulling a camel down the corridor or attempting to take sperm samples from the comatose hospital heart-throb to impregnate herself with. Sounds a little out of your comfort zone? Do not be put off, embrace Green Wing’s sheer lunacy and you’ll find yourself questioning why on earth they never made a third series.
ravel to the idyllic town of Twin Peaks: home to scenic forests, peaceful people, and the sudden murder of a teenage girl. Who killed Laura Palmer? Special Agent Dale Cooper shows up to solve what seems like any other murder mystery. But it isn’t. As Cooper’s investigation continues, it becomes abundantly clear that there is something very, very wrong with this town. Some residents have visions of killers squatting by their beds; others have dreams of dwarfs talking backwards; and some still grease their hair back and drive trucks. To be fair, it was the early 90s. Creators David Lynch (Mulholland Drive and Blue Velvet) and Mark Frost take us on a genre-defying journey that is increasingly surreal and unsettling. The soundtrack, whilst as outdated as their fashion choices, creates a superb atmosphere that is both serene and sinister. The characters are either painfully melodramatic or clinically insane, serving as Lynch’s unashamed mockery of the state of TV. It doesn’t hold back on anything. When it’s funny, it’s hilarious. When it’s disturbing, it makes you regret ever learning to turn off the light. And while it was cancelled after only two seasons, Twin Peaks remains an in-
credibly influential TV series. The question “Who killed Laura Palmer?” led to a drama that, for better or worse, pushed every boundary, once again proving that it is possible to have complex cinematic television. Watching Twin Peaks is like watching the Wright Brothers fly: it’s not perfect, and it ended prematurely, but it set us in the right direction for the decades to come.
MUSIC NIGHTLIFE FILM TV BOOKS TECH SPOTLIGHT 20 QUESTIONS
Books Events Diary Friday 2nd November, 12pm Victoria Campbell Viking Gold Book signing - Waterstones York Saturday 3rd November, 12pm Eileen Rennison Yorkshire Witches Book signing - Waterstones York Saturday 3rd November, 12pm A M Crawford The Titan Prophecy: Rise of the Dark One Book signing - Waterstones York Saturday 10th November, 11:30am Gillian McClure Zoe’s Boat Book signing - Waterstones York Saturday 10th November, 12pm Trish Colton York: Not a Guide To Book signing - Waterstones York Saturday 10th November, 2pm Alan Bennett Four Stories Reading - Park Inn, North Street, York Saturday 13th November Ian McEwan Sweet Tooth National book launch Saturday 17th November, 12pm Simon Hartley How to Shine Book signing, Q&A - Waterstones York
Potter to Pagford Joshua Treacy explores JK Rowling’s career prospects... Everyone has read Harry Potter. Yes, it may be a book for children, but ask the nearest adult to you if they have read it, and they will almost certainly say yes (and if they don’t, it is probably because they are not a Muggle; magic-folk have different cultural references to us). It is the best-selling series of books in history. Naturally, JK Rowling has worked up quite a fan following. But, inevitably, the magic had to end. And with that, there was an unspoken feeling that Rowling’s career had ended too. How could another work be written in the shadow of those seven books? Yet, just over a month ago The Casual Vacancy was released. Rowling’s novel is set in the rural village of Pagford and follows the sudden death of a local parish Councillor. A wide cast of characters make up the novel, prompting comparisons with George Eliot’s work; they are calling it “Mugglemarch”. Much like the later Harry Potter books, The Casual Vacancy was hidden from critics until its release. You can understand why publishers were keen to keep certain details away from potentially loose-lipped reviews when it came to the boy wizard, but then one must assume that Rowling’s newest fictional endeavour was kept under wraps to prevent the deflation in interest that a poor critic response might give it. After a bit of Googling, you’ll find that the critical rating was generally that the book is good, not bad, respectable but no literary revolution. New York Daily’s angle on The Casual Vacancy was that it “isn’t dreadful. It’s just dull”. Theo Tait for The Guardian said “I could imagine it doing well without any association to the Rowling brand, perhaps creeping into the Richard and Judy Book Club”. Surely, many contempor a r y writers would consider this decent praise, but on the heels of Harry and the gang, it is somewhat underwhelming. Of course, JK is allowed to go
Kiki Bee dissects four greats from Stephen King, the master of horror:
More commonly known as a film title, King is the mastermind behind this dark adventure into the supernatural and its effects on mind and perception. Jack Torrance is desperate for a job and manages to gain a post working as a caretaker at a hotel during the winter months. He takes his wife and five-year-old son with him, and they settle into their new home – knowing that once the snow arrives, they won’t be able to leave and engage in society. Gradually, strange things begin to happen in the hotel and ghosts from the past release their negative energy on the family, possessing the mind of Jack in ways that ultimately lead to his psychopathic breakdown and becoming a harrowing threat to his wife and son. Unlike the film, which portrays Jack as a bit of a raving lunatic, the novel allows us an insight into his troubled past, his constant battle with alcoholism and focuses much more on the supernatural forces inherent in the hotel.
in a different creative direction and anyone who demands she keeps on writing the same thing should frankly spend a little less time on Pottermore. Rowling said herself on USA Today “I don’t mean this arrogantly, but if people don’t like it, well, that’s how it should be, isn’t it? That’s art. It’s all subjective. And I can live with that.” The world of Pagford is teeming with social issues including race, class, drugs, prostitution, suicide and rape. The allure of these topics is understandable after having spent 17 years writing for children, yet the dirty world to come from her pen have proved a shock to some HP fans. A quick search on Amazon books will show you that, about five weeks after its release, The Casual Vacancy can be bought in hardback format for £9.00, down from £20, its original release price. The Kindle e-book version, however, is a massive £11.99, 33% more than the hard copy. Rowling herself appears to be writing for the joy of it (good on her!); Having recently been estimated to be worth $1 billion, she’s not doing it for the cash. The bad guys, it seems, are the publishers who h ave milked it for all its worth and left Rowling with a dent in her reputation through purposeful mismanagement. Nonetheless, it will prove very interesting to see what kind of book Rowling gives us next.
Misery One of my personal favourites for the powerfully penetrating energy it gives to the reader, Misery tells the story of a delusional Annie Wilkes who finds and keeps captive her number one favourite author – Paul Sheldon, an author who writes a string of novels surrounding the character Misery Chastain. Discovering that Paul kills off Misery in his final book, Annie forces Paul to write another story bringing the character back to life, whilst tormenting and torturing him. Paul finds out that Annie is a murderer and tries fruitlessly to escape the house, but to no avail – Annie punishes him by cutting off his foot with an axe. The book ends in a violent struggle between the pair; one dies, one survives.
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TOP 10 BOOKS TO READ BEFORE YOU FINISH YOUR DEGREE “It’s short, interesting and gets you thinking. A perfect read to squeeze into a busy university life!” The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
Rachel Longhurst and Morenike Adebayo ask everyone from students to sabbs what their must-reads are:
“The dystopian novel at its best. It is thought provoking, brilliantly written and a world away from most fiction.” Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Helena Kaznowska, 3rd Year History of Art & English student
Morenike Adebayo, Vision Books Editor
“For all those economics students out there who are depressed about the amount of maths thrown into their degree, Freakonomics looks at every day life from a social economic perspective... It may make you think differently about seemingly normal everyday life.” Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen J Dubner
“Ostensibly a children’s book about the history of the world (unsurprisingly) but with a humour, generosity of spirit and belief in humanity that many more ‘sophisticated’ history books would do well to take note of. Informative, enlightening, moving - I can’t praise it enough.” A Little History of the World by E.H. Gombrich
Chris West, YUSU Student Activities Officer
Jess Petheram, 3rd Year Outdoor Society Chair
“A very important but also funny look at bad medical practice. It seems niche, but is also recommended in teaching scepticism when reading churnalism - even in broadsheets.” Bad Science by Ben Goldacre
“It’s the perfect way to cling desperately onto your childhood and hide away from the fact that you’re supposed to be writing essays or applying for graduate jobs. Short enough that even the student with the shortest attention span can make it to the end.” A Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Joanna Barrow, Vision Scene Editor
Alex Finnis, Vision Editor
“It’s quite a thought provoking and touching story which will make an connection with any reader. Telling of a young man who, since becoming an adult in the ‘real’ world, loses sense of the special things in life, its pages can sometimes seem to mirror you as a reader. It will make you reassess priorities you might initially feel comfortable with. I borrowed it from my dad’s girlfriend when I was immensely bored on the-off chance it’d be decent, and couldn’t put it down..” Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
Kallum Taylor, YUSU President “Really funny but also has cutting satire. There are quite a few French and philosophy in-jokes though.” Candide by Voltaire
Dominic McKinnon-Green, Vision Nightlife Editor
The Stand A meaty read at about 1400 pages, The Stand is one of King’s most well-known novels that explores the opposite sides of human nature. When a man-made superflu virus escapes a US army base, a pandemic breaks out that kills off approximately 99.4% of the world’s population. Gradually, the remaining survivors split into two groups according to hallucinogenic dreams they receive; either about Mother Abigail, a kind woman representing the good, or Randall Flagg, a brutally twisted individual representing the bad. These groups form at different areas of the USA, and as they become aware of one another and the threat they pose to their survival, the struggle between good and evil commences, ending in a massive explosion of death and destruction that uncovers the importance of embracing the opposing forces of humankind.
“As has been the case with many other people, this book has changed the way I see the world. It is a tour de force of a psychological writing, with a seasoning of behavioural economics, and it has revolutionised the way we understand topics as diverse as gambling to tennis and speed dating to divorce. Some of these may indeed lie in our path after we graduate, so having a flick through these pages would surely be a wise move.” Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
Jack Bradshaw, Vision Deputy Editor “It’s a really interesting book that lets people know the fundamental principles in all methods of storytelling, with a particular focus on film and television.” Story by Robert Mckee
Jack Morrow, 3rd Year Film student
The Green Mile Another of King’s books more well-known for its film representation, The Green Mile delves into the power of humans and how some of us can have magical qualities. Paul Edgecombe narrates the story, reflecting on his experiences working at Cold Mountain Penitentiary on Death Row and the prisoner he met there, John Coffey. Coffey has inexplicable ‘healing’ qualities, and Edgecombe and the other guards manage to sneak him out of the prison one night to go and cure the Warden’s wife, who has a brain tumour. Edgecombe discovers that Coffey’s alleged crime of raping and murdering two girls is actually false; Coffey is innocent, but allows himself to die on the electric chair anyway as he is ready to die and escape the cruelty of the world. The Green Mile is one of King’s more touching novels.
MUSIC NIGHTLIFE FILM TV BOOKS TECH SPOTLIGHT 20 QUESTIONS
technology microsoft surface... hit or miss?
n October 26th, Microsoft launched its first major foray into the tablet computing market, dubbed ‘Surface’, alongside its new operating system: Windows 8. It marks the first time Microsoft has dabbled in computing hardware manufacturing, and puts it in direct competition with Apple’s iPad. But what does this decision mean for consumers? More importantly, what does this mean from a student’s perspective? Is Surface a hit or a miss?
For those of us still valiantly striving to make it to graduation day intact and to the moment we can finally pry degree transcripts from our dear University, Surface is a God-send. The touch-computing revolution might have been given a kick-start a few years ago, but this is where it truly begins. Finally! A light, versatile tablet computer that runs a proper Windows operating system and is compatible with all of the software a student needs.
a balcony. Okay, that metaphor has definitely been tortured enough, but the point is that Apple released the iPad in 2010 and changed the tablet game forever. Surface doesn’t do anything that the iPad or any cheaper Android-powered tablets can’t do already.
Hit. Hey! Microsoft started the touch-
computing party back in 2007 with the Pixelsense tablet/table hybrid before Apple crashed it! Surface and other Windows 8 tablets are unique because they use a desktop operating system rather than something more suitable for a phone. Want to use Microsoft Office? It comes with Surface. Want USB ports? Surface. Want to install programs more complicated and more useful than Angry Birds? Surface is the way to go. The iPad is just a glorified e-reader in comparison; if you want to get any work done more rewarding than sitting in Starbucks with a smug sense of self-satisfaction then Surface is the right choice.
Miss. Microsoft is arriving way too Miss. At least the iPad doesn’t prelate to this party. The tablet scene was a non-starter, some guys were awkwardly trying to fold a laptop back on itself in the corner and no-one was having any fun. Then Apple walked in with the iPad; the equivalent of several kegs of beer and a massive sound system. Best night ever. All of the Android phone crowd turned up too, it was manic. I think someone jumped into a pool from
tend it’s something it's not. It was never meant as a computer replacement, something Surface is clearly aiming for. There’s just one problem; Surface comes with a type of Windows called 'RT', a somewhat misleading way of saying ‘not the full version’. What that means is that you don’t get a regular Windows desktop, only Microsoft’s ‘Modern UI’ screen
for which apps have to be specifically developed. You’re just as locked into a restrictive ecosystem as iPad users are, so if you want to get any so-called ‘work’ done as a responsible student you won’t be able to use Surface either.
Hit. Apple might brag about the size
of its app store, but people have been creating apps for Windows almost since computing began. Microsoft will be actively encouraging people to make as much software compatible with Windows RT as possible. Plus, the Surface Pro will be launched in three months. This will have the full version of Windows 8 pre-installed for the more demanding student, including a desktop which works with just about every program ever made for Windows. Photoshop on the bus, rendering on the train, 3D modelling in a lecture. The possibilities are end-
less. Additionally, for precision control, Surface has launched with covers which double as combined keyboards and multi-touch track-pads. Unlike the iPad’s cover which doubles as…a stand to angle it slightly? Seriously, what exactly does the £40 you put down for that thing entitle you to?
Miss. You want to talk pricing? The
iPad Mini, to be released on Friday, is £269, cheaper than the Windows RT version of the Surface. To differentiate Surface in any meaningful way you’ll need one of those £80 keyboard covers. That’s £80 on top of the already rather student-unfriendly price of £399. Instead, you could purchase the earlier iPad and a Bluetooth keyboard for around £340 and get essentially the same thing. And as for your precious Surface Pro, it’ll be out in a few months, yes, but the lowest price estimates put it at around £500-£700. Firmly out of reach of most students looking for a tablet to make work on the go a possibility. Microsoft have priced themselves out of the student market almost entirely, and have delivered a product both too similar to its competitors and too late to mount any sort of competition.
game reviews Dishonored (Xbox 360)
Dark Souls. Prepare to Die Edition (PC)
Player choice is paramount in this new shooter from Arkane Studios. You play as Corvo, a royal protector framed for the murder of the Empress. Once freed, you are set loose in the city of Dunwall with an arsenal of supernatural powers and one objective: clear your name. Leave a swathe of bodies in your wake or sneak around every opponent, the choice is yours. In fact, a zero-kill playthrough is entirely possible.
With a reputation that precedes it, Dark Souls' brutal mechanics are bound to intimidate a few gamers. However, for those willing to prevail against the homicidal nature of the game, the reward is unlike many and the new Prepare to Die edition is the perfect excuse for PC gamers to try it out.
Of course, I speak not from experience. When I played heads rolled. Blood spattered walls. Streets were lined with felled opponents. For me, the temptation to wreak havoc with Corvo’s extraordinary skills was just too strong. Armed with a sword in one hand, and the ability to freeze time in the other, guards dropped like flies. Why bother sneaking when you can fling the hapless fools to their doom? Or summon a swarm of rats to devour them where they stand? There are a myriad of methods to try out in the pursuit of justice, each more fun than the last. The real star of the game is the city of Dunwall itself. A twisted facsimile of Victorian London, plague rats swarm the streets and whaling ships clutter the waterways. There’s a softness to the way the light falls and a particular caricaturing of its denizens that turns Dunwall into a living painting. At times this serves up unexpected moments of beauty, while at others the disease and corruption of the city take centre stage. Like the wealth of choice available to the player, the world of Dishonored itself has a dualistic personality. Jamie Macdonald
As someone who attempted to beat the original Contra as a kid without the Konami code, I have no shame in admitting that Dark Souls humbled me. Repeatedly. Mercilessly. By increasing the difficulty and dread, the spiritual successor to Demon's Souls successfully incorporates dying as a core mechanic in the game, giving the player the chance to experiment (and cry) by attempting different routes and strategies, ultimately revealing the way to best bloodthirsty enemies. Towering demons sheathed in iron, a great katana-wielding wolf, and four disembodied kings all populate this rogue gallery hell-bent on banishing you from their world. It's not all despair, however; the understated beauty of Dark Souls lies in its world: with over 70 hours clocked into my main file I'm far from grasping the entirety of Lordran, along with the myriad paths for weapon upgrades (and the occasional loitering just to take in the incredible scenery). Couple this with a chilling and haunting soundtrack and you will probably have trouble prying yourself away from your computer for days to come. Joshua Gisby
MUSIC NIGHTLIFE FILM TV BOOKS TECH SPOTLIGHT 20 QUESTIONS
JUDI SHEKONI Rising film star Judi Shekoni chats to Tom Bonnington about filming The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 2, her love for British television and her new life stateside...
knowing herself “and knowing what kind of acting I can do.”
n 16 November, audiences will get their first taste of Judi Shekoni in the next instalment of the Twilight franchise Breaking Dawn 2. Born in Manchester, Judi has appeared in many British TV staples before relocating to Hollywood and achieving even more success. In many ways, she has achieved the ‘American Dream’, consistently succeeding in securing roles in popular American television shows and films. With her career reaching new heights thanks to her Twilight role the future is looking very bright indeed. Her British television career highlights include appearances in Casualty and Eastenders, in which she played Precious, the glamorous wife of gangster Angel Hudson. Upon my mentioning this, she could only remind me mournfully that she “missed The Bill.” Even more depressingly for her, she was unaware of its untimely demise in 2010, “I’ll never get my chance,” she wails.
On film sets, there is a lot of down time due to scene changes and location designing so what does she do to pass the time? “I read a lot of books on spirituality and the limits of human possibilities,” which sounds like good reading for an ambitious woman like herself, “and I found the Rich Dad Poor Dad books very helpful, especially if you come from a family that’s not very affluent.” A quick Google search showed me these books are extremely popular in the United States and try to teach the reader about financial independence and how it can be achieved. It demonstrates how Judi is always thinking about her future. The excitement in her voice is immediately apparent during any discussion of what lies in store for her after Breaking Dawn. Does she want to work with any particular director or actor in the future? “I’d really like to work with a director called Steve McQueen,” and here is where my interviewing skills are shown to be amateurish at best as I interrupt to squeal, “I love him! He did Hunger!” Judi giggles and replies, “Yeah he did, I love his films.” Despite my liking of McQueen, I was still somewhat surprised that she chose him as the first name she would like to work with. McQueen is excellent at doing small, artful character studies, which would indicate Judi sees her career going in a new and exciting direction. As she herself admits, her role in Twlight could be a platform for her to obtain more varied roles as an actress. Another director she admires is Quentin Tarantino: “I really love his films and the dialogue.”
Of course, despite Judi’s lack of a The Bill acting credit, she has achieved success in America on both the small screen and big. Blessed with stunning looks, she played a love interest in a King of Queens episode and a supermodel and potential suspect in an episode of NCIS. She says she always planned to move to America, as it’s the place with the most acting opportunities. Our question is, does she miss anything about the UK? “I miss the people and the sense of humour, the sense of community that you get up north and even British television. For example, I mentioned Blind Date and they didn’t know what I was talking about.” Apart from this appalling lack of British television knowledge from her American colleagues, Judi says she finds L.A to be a little unsettling at times; “It’s a transient place,” she muses, “a lot of people came out here to achieve their dreams and it just didn’t happen.” She thinks her positivity has contributed to not getting caught up in this cynical nature. “You need to really truly believe down to your bones, down to yourself, that you’re different; that the statistics, the odds and the percentages don’t count to you because you’re different.” It is unsurprising that self belief is a key facet in such a ridiculously competitive industry as acting. As Jack Nicholson once said “I learned a long time ago in Hollywood that the only person I should vote for is myself.” Inevitably, discussion moves on to her role in the next Twilight film. She plays Zafrina, an Amazonian vampire, who has the power to make others see whatever she wants them to see. Judi says her time filming it
was “one of the most enjoyable times of my life” and she is refreshingly honest in her knowledge that it will be fantastic for her career. Positivity emanates from every word as she recounts her love for the Twilight books and the director of the film, Bill Condon, who was behind 2006’s Dreamgirls (one of Judi’s favourite movies), amongst others. She remains confident that fans will react well to her portrayal of Zafrina. “I’m how she’s described in the book so I’ve got that going for me,” and she promises faithfulness to the books and cites the immensely positive receptions the film has received so far to validate her claim that this will be one of the best Twilight films yet. “It’s all been very exciting,” she adds nostalgically. It is a very rare breed of film that is more or less guaranteed to make money, and the Twilight films fall into that category.
Though William Goldman famously said of Hollywood: “nobody knows anything,” he had clearly not witnessed Breaking Dawn Part 1’s $138 million opening weekend. For an actress, this is a chance to be seen by millions. However, this does not intimidate Judi. Starting her career with the likes of Eastenders, it must have been a significantly different experience to work on the set of a $131 million film, yet she relished it. “The sets were perfect and you could take time to get things right and do it on a much bigger scale.” So does the filmmaking process interest her at all? “I’m interested in it from an actor’s point of view, especially the writing, but I have no desire to direct like other actors do. It just seems like a very complicated process.” With acting at the forefront of her agenda, Judi revels in the acting process and she thinks one of her strengths is
It was coming to the end of our interview and I thought it was only right to ask her if she had any advice for young actresses: “You need to believe in yourself in order to put in a really good character and to have determination and, of course, to work hard.” And that is exactly what Judi has done during her ten years in the industry. The impression I got from our short phone interview was that she was self-assured, ambitious and down to Earth. Her grounded attitude is what was particularly refreshing, in regard to her delightful British sense of humour and not speaking with dull sound bites. Also, it has likely been instrumental in her achieving her dream of becoming an actress in Hollywood. British acting certainly has a new star.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 2 is out in cinemas on the 16th November 2012.
MUSIC NIGHTLIFE FILM TV BOOKS TECH SPOTLIGHT 20 QUESTIONS
with Jo Barrow talks to the hit producer and DJ about everything musical... 1. Can you sum up your career in a few words? Hard graft and determination. 2. Who were your musical influences growing up? All over the place, to be honest - when I was a little kid, I used to like classical music, I got into Jean Michel Jarre, kind of like classical music played electronically. I hated pop music at that point but got into The Pixies, Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, people like them and The Cure got me into dance music. 3. What is your favourite track that you’ve been involved with and why? ‘Forever More’, on my album Next Levelism. I wrote the whole song by myself, usually I just write the chorus or part of the song, then I’ll write the rest with others, but this is the first song I did completely on my own. 4. If you could collaborate musically with anyone ever, who would it be? Jim Morrison from The Doors. I really appreciate poetry; people used to poke fun at him, saying it was faux poetry, but I just think that his lyrics are really descriptive and emotive. He’s an edgy character who it would be really interesting to work with. 5. You’ve been at the forefront of the D&B and dubstep revolutions, where do you think electronic music is going from here? I think it’s probably going to get a little bit less electronic, there’s probably going to be more of a resurgence of instruments over the next few years, everything moves in cycles and there’s been a massive dance explosion over the last few years so, yeah, I think guitars will start featuring more in the top 40. 6. You’ve recently begun playing with live musicians, what prompted you to do this? I put my live show together about a year
ago; it’s something I’ve always wanted to do since I started making music. I wanted a stage show as immersive and powerful as the records are. 7. As someone who has witnessed it from the beginning, what do you think of the huge influx in a dubstep sound – even Britney’s doing it! To me, dubstep, D&B, and certain kinds of dance music all fall into the same bracket, lots of new house has been influenced by that sort of sound. 8. Is it too ‘pop’? I don’t think there can be anything negative about becoming popular, I think people just hate having things put in their face. However, because of that explosion there’s more of an underground scene than there was before: that popular dispersion of the music is what helps people hear about it (that music scene) in the first place. It’s that which prompts people to dig deeper, to become true followers of the genre. 9. What are the three most played songs on your ipod? Probably my own stuff, I often listen to my own music. I also listen to Fleet Foxes and The Cure, alongside classical music, such as Mozart and Handel. 10. How do you treat yourself after your exhausting tour schedule? Probably just get drunk with everybody
Music Editors: Martin Waugh & Louisa Mann
else, I’m well behaved when on tour, it’s all about getting the show right. I work really hard most of the time, there’s a lot of waiting around before you do something, you can’t just go off and do whatever you want. There are certain nights near the end when we’ll just get drunk and go out with the crew but tour’s pretty full on most of the time. 11. What’s the most unbelievable thing that’s happened to you on tour? I met a guy in Adelaide recently who was telling me about his violent past at a party. He started showing this girl how to rip somebody’s face off with a knife, and I started laughing, but he was deadly serious, yeah, it was really weird. So many strange things have happened, I can’t think of one specific one. Arizona firing guns in the desert was cool. I also got stuck in Miami airport for 32 hours with no money or food. 12. Can you recommend any other DJs or producers? Jaguar Skills, he’s wicked, we’re a little bit similar in the way we do things, we play different stuff but we’re both multi-genre. I also like Chase and Status, Shy FX, Calvin Harris, Sub Focus, Flux Pavilion and Example. 13. Do you have a favourite venue? Majorca and Ibiza Rocks are always amazing gigs. It’s kind of a signpost that Ibiza is where the change is happening it’s diverse, you can play all kinds of stuff back to back, which is what Ibiza rocks is supposedly about, a mix between genres and that’s something that’s new in Ibiza and
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they’re showcasing that. 14. And what’s your favourite festival you’ve played at? V Festival. The organisation, line-up, everything about it was really well done, I played on two stages each day, played to about 40,000 people when I headlined in the arena tent, really full on but really cool. 15. Which artist’s back catalogue would you delete from the archives if you could? I wouldn’t, I think music is really personal expression, everyone’s got different tastes, 16. You’re an active Twitter user, who are your three favourite people you are following? Example always cracks me up, Dylan Francis is a good mate of mine, so I suppose I’m a little bit biased! Wiley’s also hilarious, probably for all the wrong reasons. 17. What track do you wish you had written? Levels by Avicii, partly for financial reasons (laughs). It’s really wicked tune, I heard it before it had a break. ‘We Found Love’ by Calvin Harris is also such a perfect tune. 18. When’s your next tour? DJ Fresh: Live begins on the 2nd of November in Nottingham. 20. What’s the best advice anyone’s ever given you? Be true to yourself, be the best you can be and do everything for the right reasons.
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