MUSIC INTERVIEW WITH THE CRIBS
FILM THE MASTER
TV TELEVISION LIFE LESSONS
PIPPA MIDDLETON: ENTER SHIKARI celebrate
20 QS SCROOBIUS PIP
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MUSIC NEWS Alt-J surf to victory at Mercury Prize with their album An Awesome Wave.
Dave Grohl drumming on new Queens Of The Stone Age album.
Obama invites One Direction to play White House for his daughters.
Alabama Shakes were approached by an X Factor talent scout.
York’s favourite live music venue, Stereo, is to leave Gillygate this November.
It has been an odd year for the band that formed at university in Leeds back in 2007. They’ve gone from strength to strength and were the favourites to win long in advance, beating the likes of Django Django, Plan-B and The Maccabees to the coveted prize of £20,000. After accepting the prestigious award, the band said to their audience: “We might just thank everyone in team Alt-J who has ever made a difference to us. And our parents... Thanks for not making us get jobs!”
QOTSA frontman Josh Homme has announced that the drummer has returned to play with the band once again, Grohl also drummed the band’s 2002 release Songs For The Deaf. Speaking to Zane Lowe, Homme said: “[Grohl] and I have this wonderful musical relationship which we don’t have with other people. It’s a very cool and comfortable position.” The band are currently putting the finishing touches to their 6th studio album, expected for release next year.
According to The Daily Star, the recently re-elected US President Barack Obama wants the boy band to play a special gig for his daughters, as a thank you for their support throughout his campaign. The band have reportedly made over £100 million in the past two years. They also controversially compared themselves to The Beatles, sparking a cascade of hatred. One Direction’s new album Take Me Home is set for release this month. Unfortunately, for now, the band’s direction is not home.
American rock band Alabama Shakes revealed at the weekend that they were approached by a researcher for the US version of the hit reality show. Lead singer Brittany Howard explained to The Independent: “They heard of us through the internet and started sending me emails which kept going into my spam folder. One day she called me to ask and I told her, ‘No, I’m not going to do that.’” She continued to explain her disdain for reality shows, saying they were “kind of fucked up.”
One of York’s oldest and best live music venues has been forced to close. The venue said: “Our last gig in our current home will be Tuesday (20th)… we realise that there will be some unfortunate cancellations of events but we will do our best to help these move in the short term.” Stereo thanked its customers and artists, remaining hopeful for the future: “Our plans from here are to have a couple of week’s holiday and then start knocking our new place around and get ready to open for the New Year.”
opinion TECHNOLOGY KILLED THE REALITY STAR KATIE MOLLOY RE-EXAMINES THE STATE OF REALITY TV AND ITS IMPACT ON THE MUSIC INDUSTRY
t’s Saturday night. People are crowding around their television sets listening to Gary Barlow destroying another hopeful’s chance of being the next ‘big name’ in the music charts. As I watch despair wash over this poor woman’s face, my sad mind questions the impact these contestants feel they could have in the world of music and, slightly more tragically, the impact they will have. Upon listening to the twentythousandth rendition of ‘Hero’, it is difficult to see how this is going to have any chance of surviving the cut-throat music business today. It is fabulous if you are talented, have an image and can sing in tune (although the latter seems to not be a deciding factor these days), but you have to have something different, edgy, noticeable. In an age where self-advertis-
ing is quite accessible due to the wonders of the internet, one questions why these reality shows hold a sense of importance in our music culture. From 2002, before people started to get ever-so-slightly cynical, the winners of said TV shows were guaranteed the prestigious Christmas number 1 spot. Something that other artists before them would have campaigned for months to achieve. Is this due to the musical value? Does every-
one love to hear Alexandra Burke blasting out Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ more so than Jeff Buckley? This new phenomenon has created huge names in the music industry. However, it is not usually the winners we recall. Who remembers Michelle McManus, winner of the second series of Pop Idol? Not many. Yet I am sure that many more remember the time when Sharon Osborne poured a
“NOW THAT MUSIC IS FAR MORE ACCESSIBLE, THE SHOW’S ONLY REAL GIMMICK IS ITS ENTERTAINMENT VALUE. THIS DISTRACTS FROM THE MUSIC... DOESN’T THAT DEFEAT THE WHOLE OBJECT?”
glass of water over Louis Walsh. The focus on the judges and all of their squabbles is great publicity for the programme, but really doesn’t achieve anything for the music industry now. In the years of X Factor: the first generation, Simon Cowell and his high-waisted trousers completely dominated the top 10. His publicity on the X Factor meant that all artists associated with him had a boom, restricting other artists’ and producers’ influence. However, now that music is far more accessible through technology, the show’s only real gimmick is its entertainment value. This distracts from the music... and doesn’t that defeat the whole object? The music industry today is dominated by technology through downloads, Facebook advertising,
YouTube views and Spotify. The stunt of appearing on these shows now doesn’t guarantee publicity, but fuel for the judges to make their point in a brutal and slightly hilarious manner. The music is not important anymore, it’s the entertainment that counts. KATIE MOLLOY
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upcoming gigs singles
admiral fallow THE DUCHESS/7.12/7.30/£9
After a summer of successful festival performances, the critically acclaimed Scottish indie-folk five piece embark on a UK tour. Like Mumford & Sons but better... LISTEN: ‘Squealing Pigs’.
tent Iggy Pop-esque guitar riff, one was hopeful this would represent a departure from Example’s recent tried and tested recipe for chart success. Yet, once one hears the first synths in the chorus it becomes clear a drop is imminent. This being said, the rhyming couplets so typically employed by pop singers here do not come across as forced and the dark lyrical overtones of the rap section work well following the sinister synths and the viscous dub-step in the chorus. The song is further redeemed by the catchy bridge hook, which is enriched by a couple of enjoyable echo effects, and the powerful emotional vocal release in the chorus. WILL BARNES
fawn spots STEREO (TBC*)/25.11/7.30/£7
Local boys Fawn Spots are becoming quite established in the city’s music scene. Described as “a must for fans of early college rock, eighties American punk and lo-fi/noise.” [+Ice Age, We Sleep In This Machine] *Due to Stereo’s relocation, venue subject to change.
gentleman’s dub club THE DUCHESS/6.12/7.30/£8
Formed in Leeds, one of the top live ska/reggae/dub bands in the country return to York, and after performances at the likes of Glastonbury and Latitude the all-male nine piece should have a decent set lined up. LISTEN: ‘Fire’ [+ Irie Vibes DJs]
up the racket FIBBERS/EVERY FRIDAY/11-4am/£1 GL
York’s longest running and best alternative club night. Great music and cheap drinks, with DJ Robbie Major playing tunes at your request. Up The Racket is the best indie night for miles.
catchy and melodic guitar riff emerges from calm and atmospheric chords to release a burst of energy highlighted by the drums in Peace’s follow up single ‘Bloodshake’. Described by Zane Lowe as “the hottest record in the world,” this single has clearly hit the same spot that their debut single ‘Follow Baby’ did, ensuring new success for the band from Birmingham. Their advanced vocals are almost hypnotic, and teamed with the math-rock accompaniment create a perfect combination throughout the whole track. An instrumental at the end of the track shows off the band’s musical talent, through polyrhythmic drive and some pretty epic guitar skills. A single for rockers and those with an eclectic musical taste, ‘Bloodshake’ is definitely a track worth checking out. KATIE MOLLOY
Indie newcomers Peace have been exciting the music scene over the past few weeks, following the release of their EP (see right). Described as “like a better and less pretentious Foals,” these guys are well worth the £6.50. [+ Virals]
Want to write for Music? Or perhaps you want to advertise for a band member or musical project? E-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
his latest offering from hip-hop artist Example, whilst flirting with the alternative rock genre, ultimately descends into a dubsteppy club tune which you will no doubt hear next week in Tokyo. Beginning with a po-
oals’ newest Single ‘Inhaler’ is much more melodic than their earlier work: moving away from the math-rock inspired guitar rhythms to a less experimental brand of indie rock. The song is executed well but in the change of style some of the more defining characteristics of the band’s work are lost. No band wants to carry on making the same music forever, and this single shows the progression of the band. The song’s driving guitar part and haunting vocal line don’t leave the listener with nothing of interest: but all in all I would have expected something more experimental from the band. Their influence on indie rock has been substantial and I would hate to see the band move away from the forefront of the music scene to a more mainstream position. MICHAEL COOPER
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ALBUM REVIEWS Crystal Castles III
Robbie Williams Take The Crown
he thrashing electronic blare created by electro-punk Canadians Alice Glass and Ethan Kath is back with a vengeance in their new album, the predictably titled III. Unlike previous efforts, their eponymous debut album and their tricky second album II, this record has a definite sense of continuity. The tracks are effortlessly knitted together to create an album which feels curiously whole, and shows a confidence exuded by the pair which was perhaps lacking before. Kath and Glass are masters at instilling a sense of unease and dread in their music. Just one look at the track listing and it is plain to see the subject matter and inspiration for the music is dark - titles such as ‘Plague’ and ‘Transgender’ serve to prove this, and show vulnerability perfectly pulled off by the headstrong yet clearly fragile Alice Glass. The very fact that the lyrics are almost completely incomprehensible heightens this sense of unease. Undeniably, Crystal Castles are an acquired taste and, undeniably, III is an album which demonstrates sounds and creative elements that have been previously demonstrated time and again in previous records. However, for fans of the band, hearing this album for the first time will surely elicit an excite-
ment similar to that of hearing ‘Alice Practice’ for the first time. It encapsulates all the best elements of their past experiments and condenses them down to thirty-seven minutes. There is plenty of variation within these minutes, too. From the intense two minute freak-out of ‘Insulin’ to the more tender and spiralling sounds of ‘Pale Flesh’, the album is an attempt to capture the best of what they have previously achieved, from the delicate sounds seen in ‘Tell Me What to Swallow’ to the thrashing punk attitude of ‘Doe Deer’. The album, then, is a must-have for previous fans of the band, and will surely become frequent listening material for the coming months. For those who are yet to experience their sound, start listening with an open mind, and immerse yourself in the best of what this band have to offer. LOUISA HANN
obbie certainly seems to be trying to make a statement with this album. Just look at that cover. Royal blue background. Williams’ expressive face painted gold. You’re not likely to miss that on the shelf in HMV. The title too is beaming with confidence; Take the Crown suggests an effort to reclaim the title as King of Pop. This is Robbie’s first solo album since his Take That reunion, and it seems to be an attempt to keep the Robbie brand afloat before he became entirely subsumed by the boy band. But don’t think this is a rebellion from the group. There has been collaboration with Gary Barlow in the writing and production stages for some of the songs, and the album is better for it, keeping Robbie in check. The big single track on the album, ‘Candy’, was deftly described by one Vision colleague as ‘musical crack’. You know it’s bad, you know you shouldn’t. But when you do give it a listen its hollow thrills have you going back for more. It is bold. It is brassy. And lyrically, it is nonsense, but who cares? It will make you smile. If you have resisted it so far, just wait... Some of the centre tracks, including ‘Hunting For You’ and ‘Into the Silence’ will likely become the underrated jew-
Brian Eno Lux
The Staves Dead & Born & Grown
ead & Born & Grown is the debut album from folk singersongwriter sisters The Staves. It’s definitely a modern classic of the folk genre, which was brought into the wider musical sphere most prominently by the likes of Mumford and Sons and Laura Marling to mention a couple of names. The sisters from Watford bring a diverse musicality to this album. The vocal harmonies are brilliant, all three of them sing and it’s one of the most charming things about this genre that I don’t believe there is enough of in popular music. One of the stand-out of songs of the album is ‘Tongue Behind My Teeth’, which is great in its simplicity. The driving stringed bass line and the solid guitar part are slowly embellished by layers of vocal harmonies, drawing towards a climactic finish. This song very much defines the best elements of the album; a lot of artists try and fill out their albums with string sections, trumpets and sampling. The Staves have kept it very simple and stripped back and there is a lot to be said for that. This is also shown very well in the title song of the album ‘Dead & Born & Grown’ which is just guitar and vocals. They clearly have
els of the album. In songs like this and ‘All That I Want’, he isn’t straining his voice too much by trying to keep up with the relentless pace of cheese or the high-notes of his ‘inspirational’ tunes. The only real misstep is ‘Hey Wow Yeah Yeah’. As the title may suggest, it is a random putting together of words vaguely related to partying. This is an example of someone trying far too hard to be cool. ‘Clap your hands now if you wanna wanna’. Err... if I wanna what? Robbie, you’re scaring me. Against my better judgement, this album receives a solid three stars. It’s hard to fault the King of Pop for being too ‘poppy’. Despite all the bad things I could say about ‘Candy’ the number of plays it has received on my iTunes will be an eternal embarrassment to me and that’s to Williams’ credit. Oh, the shame! I thought I was cool. JOSHUA TREACY
enough confidence in their sound to feel that they don’t need all the bells and whistles. They just say what they want to say. The similarities to other singer-songwriters are very notable. The guitar playing style of Jessica Staveley-Taylor does draw many parallels with Laura Marling. As much as I like this album, my biggest criticism is, although it is extremely well executed in all that it is trying to achieve, it doesn’t push any boundaries, which is unfortunate. Clearly the sisters have a lot of musical talent and, if they put their minds to it, is isn’t beyond the realms of imagination that they could have come up with something slightly more innovative and creative. This is a very good first album from The Staves and a solid platform for them to continue making good music. MICHAEL COOPER
even years after the release of Brian Eno’s last solo effort Another Day on Earth, fans will finally be rewarded for their patience with his latest release. The king of ambience’s most recent project, named Lux, is a 75 minute long composition inspired by an art installation at the Great Gallery of the Palace of Venaria in Turin, Italy. Eno is known for being groundbreaking in the world of music; another of his solo ventures, Thursday Afternoon was the first to be specifically crafted for CD and was an hour long. To be able to listen to it in full without having to flip a tape over was a crucial feature to absorb the full ambience of the piece according to its composer. It is clear to see that Eno still has this continuous, flowing mindset when composing his material as, although Lux is split into four tracks, it is hard to tell when one ends and the next begins. The signature random piano notes, bursts of trumpet, striking guitar chords and sprinkling of simple snyth melodies are back in full force from the outset, setting you up for a continuous stream of chilled out vibes. With the second track, ‘Lux 2’, shifting the focus to more ominous undertones, it would make perfect sense for
this album to be the soundtrack to a film (suggesting that Eno is reverting back to his earlier works) or even a television drama like those on ITV. The album as a whole shows Eno doing what he does best: creating atmosphere. By having what could be construed as ‘empty space’ and a lack of specific direction, Lux allows the listener to create their own meaning which is something Eno’s fanbase (the deep thinkers and creative among us) highly value. Unless you’re a die hard Eno fan with a huge passion for what he does, I wouldn’t recommend giving this album 75 minutes of your undivided attention. It’s probably best played as background noise whilst reading, staring out of the window on a train, or possibly even napping - it just doesn’t quite capture the imagination. STEPH BARNSLEY
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THE CRIBS LOUISA HANN talks to indie music giant Ryan Jarman
t was difficult to know what to expect from an interview with Ryan Jarman, front man and recognisable face of The Cribs. A band of three brothers who throughout their careers have gained both fervent praise for their quasi-punk sounds and a certain amount of vilification for what some critics perceive to be a kind of ‘lad rock’. On meeting him in one of the York Barbican’s unusually large dressing rooms, he appeared surprisingly slight, humble and edging on nervousness. Very different to the Ryan Jarman I knew from watching live performances and videos, in which he appeared a man in control of his rock star image - confident and ironic, with just the right amount of surliness to top it off. I naturally opened the interview with a question about their latest album, In the Belly of the Brazen Bull, inquiring about whether he felt it was more mature since the days of their debut album and The New Fellas. Jarman winced at the word ‘mature’ stating that it was “just another way of saying you’re becoming boring.” However, he concedes: “I definitely connect more with this record. Our first album held a certain kind of naivety, and our second was very angry, the result being very much a knee-jerk reaction to this. The new album is certainly more comfortable and representative of who we are.” This can certainly be seen in the calibre of their latest output - they are unafraid of creating brilliant pop records, disregarding any need to create something overtly experimental. This can be seen in the first single off this album, ‘Chi-Town’, a pumping, poppy, shouty track which captures just the right amount of raucous fun The Cribs are so praised for. A wry smile comes across Ryan’s face when I ask about the pleasingly alliterative title of their latest record: “I got the
“We’re so emotionally invested in the band now, we have so much empathy with each other... If anyone were to slag off one of my brothers, I’d want to defend them.” idea from a book I was reading on tour back in 2006 about certain methods of torture, and this brazen bull thing was the most sinister. People were roasted inside these things! I was just amazed at how people could be that twisted and that fucked up.” A slight dissent from some of the upbeat vibes of the album then, but an interesting one and typical of the great imaginations of the Jar-
mans. Ryan takes some pleasure in adding that “Johnny [Marr] hated the name. He couldn’t understand why you’d want the word ‘belly’ in an album. But now he’s gone we just decided to go for it.” The recent departure of Johnny Marr (of The Smiths and Modest Mouse fame), is something the band are clearly taking in their stride. I ask whether it is sometimes hard to fill the guitar parts Johnny played in their live shows. “It’s nice to have an extra guitarist,” he muses, “but we’re used to having two now and we have an extra guitar player on the road with us if we need any filler bits.” It seems to me that as long as the Jarman brothers are together then The Cribs are strong. On asking whether the siblings get along well together considering how much time they spend together, Ryan ardently replies, “We’re so emotionally invested in the band now and we have so much empathy with each other that it makes the running of the band very easy. If anyone were to slag off one of my brothers, I’d want to defend them.” This rather sweet sentiment is something that seems fundamental to the band’s success the music they have produced over their decade long career has been consistently good, and supporting each other through the touring and
writing process has inevitably helped this. The fame of The Cribs has undoubtedly reached new heights of late, proved by their sold out shows and increasing media attention. Because of this, I ask whether they miss the days of relative anonymity, when they played shows without people recognising them. Ryan sighs slightly and nods, “It’s quite annoying now we can’t go out after shows. We used to go straight to club nights after a show but now if we did that people would think we had certain motives - as if you’ve gone out simply for people to recognise you.” Despite this, Ryan still speaks fondly of some of his most avid fans: “There’s this guy with my face tattooed on his arm. I mean, that’s pretty cool. Fans can get too protective, though. When Johnny joined officially there was quite a lot of uproar from fans on the internet.” This protectiveness is what seems to come with the territory with a band like The Cribs - a tight group of brothers with a penchant for punk, they cannot be replaced by anyone, which is perhaps essential to their success. I ask Ryan what the future holds for the band as, despite the success they are currently
riding on, presumably
not be easy to keep their material fresh and hold on to all of their fans. “Well, we’re carrying on with playing shows for the moment, and there is some material
“We used to go straight to club nights after a show but now if we did that people would think we had certain motives - as if you’ve gone out simply for people to recognise you.” left over from the last album for us to do something with. I’m working on a solo album as well.” In this way, there’s plenty for the Jarmans to be getting on with, while at the same time pursuing new projects. My instinct tells me that Ryan’s solo material will be a pleasantly unexpected surprise, as his demeanour suggests perhaps he is holding back a more gentle side to his music, something that is often known to come out in solo pursuits. Either way, there is no stopping The Cribs, a band who have surely earned their place in the rock and roll canon. LOUISA HANN
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LIVE REVIEWS spector
METRO ARENA, NEWCASTLE
t felt remarkably like the mid-nineties on walking into the Duchess on November 5, as the support band for Spector, new ambient grunge rockers Splashh, entertained the crowd. Their sound was somehow particularly fitting in the venue’s surroundings, as it resonated through the rustic arches and created a brilliantly nonchalant vibe, the band members clearly aware of the strength of their songs. This band are certainly ones to look out for in the coming months, and their tour with Spector has inevitably opened up a few more opportunities to gain fans. Spector were, of course, the main spectacle in the proceedings, and everjovial frontman Fred MacPherson took to the stage in his signature geeky yet endearing way, busting his lip on the microphone in the process. Unperturbed by this, MacPherson hyped the crowd up, musing: “I can’t believe we’ve got so many of you out on a Monday, York knows how to party.” Certainly, there was a considerable crowd and there was an immediate thrust of energy from the people in the front row when the first songs were played. The quality of the songs, however, was not always particularly inspiring. After the sounds of the
brilliant support, Spector’s songs fell flat somewhat, their indie-pop nature seemingly making them seem a little worn out. Although the crowd at the front adhered to the standard expectation of jumping, writhing bodies, and were clearly enjoying themselves, it was clearly difficult at times for the band to keep this going, as newer songs were played and interest began to dwindle. Particularly as the newer songs could not maintain an audience through their own merit alone. The band played a decent set for a Monday night at Fibbers, and cannot be faulted for appealing to a certain young crowd who were for the most part highly entertained. However, the longevity of the band is questionable seeing as a lot of what makes their shows entertaining is in the nature of the band members’ personalities and not so much in the merit of the songs, which perhaps err too much on the side of bland with their attempts at indie pop. LOUISA HANN
ith the lights still on, the packed crowd of Newcastle Metro Arena barely batted an eyelid when a few men wandered onstage, assuming they were stage crew fiddling with guitars. It wasn’t until “Coming out of my cage and I’ve been doing just fine,” belted out from the front man that anyone started to pay attention as the band jumped straight into one of their most famous hits. Selling out a world tour in less than an hour, when the lights finally dimmed, The Killers demonstrated a well earned reputation as modern day musical royalty. After an average performance from support band Tegan and Sara, the acclaimed rock and roll band from Las Vegas followed by playing ‘Smile Like You Mean It’, before demonstrating several lesser known songs from their new album Battleborn. A constant flow of hits followed, playing to an incredibly energized audience. It’s safe to say, The Killers have reached the height of their career, easily filling arenas and astounding crowds with energetic performances globally after selling over fifteen million albums. Guitarist Dave Keuning performed some phenomenal guitar solos to a
THE COCKPIT, LEEDS
ight on the edge of the wild North Sea, with freezing winds and lashing rains, Jack White brought rock to the town of Bridlington. This oblique corner of Northern England couldn’t be further from the tepid and dusty climate of the American deep south and White’s homeland, but the winding queue of hardy northerners, braced against the winter night waiting for the doors to open, were a testimony to this this iconic musician’s far-reaching popularity. Playing tonight with his all male band (he alternates every gig with either all female or all male support), we entered the world of Jack White, where guitars and sheer musical talent rules, and the days of unbearably bland indie are instantly forgotten. First impressions are of Sweeny Todd meets Jimi Hendrix, bound together with that achingly original vocal which brought The White Stripes mainstream success. Watching his band as they centralise around him, it was fascinating to see how their gaze never left his face, waiting for the tiniest signal for a tempo change, a pause, a solo, a new song. It was never a concert of multiple performers; there is only one person everyone was watching
stunned audience, with fantastic curly hair that would make Justin Hawkins jealous. Despite losing the moustache and lacking the conventional ‘rocker’ appearance, frontman Brandon Flowers seemed to be in a good mood, happily talking to the crowd about the band’s American roots and their own surprise at global fame before slowing down to play ‘A Dustland Fairytale’, with only a keyboard, leading to sobs from a friend standing next to me. At capacity, 11,000 people chanted the refrain, “I’ve got soul, but I’m not a soldier,” as fireworks lit up the stage and confetti covered the crowd. The encore finished with ‘Jenny Was a Friend of Mine,’ and like any good front man, Flowers saluted the crowd. After a high five, I can confirm that Mr Flowers has lovely hands and although previously I would never have considered myself a diehard Killers fan, I have definitely been converted. LAURA MCCARTAN
and his talent and intensity was as obvious as it was hypnotic. Not being too familiar with White’s latest release – solo record Blunderbuss – I had wondered how well I would connect with the new songs. Although his stage presence would account for at least part of the success of the show, it was White’s song-writing which stuck with me long after the night was over. It is an act which has matured over time, from the raw stripped-back sound of White Stripes duo, to more mainstream Raconteurs, to this solo work which encompasses jazz piano, bass and drum solos and harmonicas surrounding the guitar talent which earned White a top 20 slot on The Rolling Stones’ top 100 guitarists of all time. It was a true privilege to witness. Finishing with an understated but heavy rock version of ‘Seven Nation Army’, White proved beyond all doubt that he has carved out a niche for himself in today’s music market of electronica and pop, where guitars still work, and they work bloody well. NINA PULLMAN
ith tickets completely sold out, one could feel an almost tangible buzz of anticipation throughout the crowd as we waited for indie-pop quartet Alt-J to take to the stage at the Cockpit, Leeds. The venue oozed an underground indie vibe well suited to both the crowd and the band - small enough to allow a feeling of intimacy, while being large enough to hold a respectable amount of fans for a band as fresh-faced as Alt-J. Opening with ‘Intro’, the band elicited a remarkable chorus of cheers, testament to the meteoric expansion of their fan base in so short a period of time. Frontman Gus Unger-Hamilton greeted the crowd emotionally, expressing the band’s obviously sincere gratitude for both the fans’ enthusiasm and their delight in returning to play in their hometown. They kicked off in earnest with fan favourite ‘Tessellate’, which they performed flawlessly; Unger-Hamilton’s vocals may have sounded even better live than they do in a studio, and the ‘broken’ piano sound that characterises the song thrilling reverberated around the walls of the Cockpit. The gig continued in a similarly excellent fashion with the band perform-
ing the entirety of their debut smash album An Awesome Wave in a different order. About three-quarters of the way through the set, with my hipflask now almost entirely empty, I became rather over-excited when guitarist/bassist Gwil Sainsbury removed his trousers at the behest of the crowd to reveal a pair of long-johns, in which he remained for the remainder of the gig. While a little peeved that ‘Breezeblocks’ was not saved for the encore, the lesser-known final song of the set ‘Taro’ is astonishing; while it may not have the catchy element that ‘Breezeblocks’ possesses, its gentle, almost understated guitar rhythms proved to be a shrewd choice by the band, as the fans (myself included) lapped it up to raucous shouts, cheers and whistles of approval. Here was a gig that was free from gimmicky, over-the-top lightshows and similarly needless tricks, where the music was the main focus, as it always should be. To echo the sentiment of an inebriated fan expressed loudly during the gig - “Now that’s fucking music!” PHILIP WATSON
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Have you ever wandered around town in the daytime, hungry like the wolf? And on passing some of your regular evening haunts, noticed that they apparently exist in the daytime as well? No? Well, Vision has at least. York boasts an abundance of bars and clubs which serve food (and drink of course) in the daytime. So it was with curiosity and a hint of trepidation that we sent Alex Finnis and Dom MckinnonGreen to find out more...
While Dusk is clearly much more famed for its 2-for-1 cocktails in the evening, their lunchtime menus are certainly nothing to be ashamed of. They have an exhaustive bagel menu, by which we’re yet to be disappointed. There’s even Hoi Sin Duck for Pret fans. Sandwiches, burgers and even rump steak are on the menu, all for very much under a tenner. There’s also a really tasty range of vegetarian options. All in all a perfect, comfortable choice for a chilled light lunch, and drinks too if you’re that way inclined. Free WiFi is on offer on top of this, which is always a bonus.
With a pretty out of the way location on the edge of town, Loop is the sort of bar that needs to have a draw to it to survive. Whilst previously a bit dull, it was revamped over summer turning into arguably the best sports bar in York. The food is both good and cheap; you can get a beer and a plain burger for a fiver on match days. But if you prefer your burgers with a bit more character then their menu boasts a wide range of more exciting options named after footballing heroes, as well as a solid range of steaks, vegetarian options, and the occasional free buffet! A great choice for the hungry sport-lover.
HOUSE PARTIES I f bouncers at all the clubs recognize you by name at this point, it is definitely high time to consider finding some new alternatives to going into town every night. Going to a house party is not only much cheaper, considering you can mix your Morrisons savers’ vodka with lemonade that costs 35p instead of buying overpriced doubles in Revs, but also so much more fun. You have, or could achieve with a little persuasion (or rudeness), full control of the music, and can adjust its level depending on whether you feel like dancing or just having a chat. Being in a house full of people you know also means that you will be able to avoid all the pervy middle-aged men as well as the girls that wear more make-up than clothes. Another plus side of a house party is that unlike in most clubs, it is practically impossible to lose all the people you know, and if you actually manage to, the first person to your right will probably have seen them just a minute ago. This person to your right though, might even be a nice person to talk to, and is not just here with the mission of getting with someone from every college.
You should also take it into account that house parties are always free (unless you have super stingy friends), therefore you can come and go as you wish, no stamps required. Another plus of the no-stamps situation is that there is less evidence of your embarrassing antics for the next day. Therefore you needn’t put up with the knowing looks of the girl in your seminar that has done all her reading, had eight hours sleep and yet feels she knows your situation well after that one night she went to Willow during freshers... Also, don’t forget that there will be no never-ending queues in the rain or waiting half an hour to get to the toilet. If the party is really good or you are just drunk to oblivion, you can dance or just wander around for as long as you wish: your night does not have to finish by the time the lights go on in Willow. When you are finally ready to set your glass aside and sit down, there is no need to stumble to a takeaway just to stand in one more queue as food is right there for you in the fridge. And so, once you finally fall into bed, you will be happy you did not go out that night, especially if the party is at yours and you don’t even need to walk the short journey home.
GABRIELE PUMERYTE & JESS DAVIDSON
Also more famed as a bar, the food here is quite frankly incredible. Interestingly, the food is themed around Asian fusion food, so if you are a fan of Thai noodle soup and curries, then this is your place. This is however a generalisation. There is in fact a very wide variety of influences from within East Asia, and of course there’s a delicious drinks menu too. My personal favourite is the Burmese Hill Station curry, which is delicious with a lethal kick. It’s more expensive than some of the other places here, but it is better for a more complete (and delightful) meal. This place is by no means just for drinking.
What can we say? Word on the street is that if frequented sufficiently early enough in the evening, a menu for Willow food can be obtained, despite the alleged loss of a food license a few years ago. As in real food, no joke. With small volumes of Dutch courage accrued, we attempted to eat in this establishment. However,we were told on the door by Tommy Fong to ask at the bar, then the bar rather paradoxically told us to ask Tommy. ,enigmatic as ever. So who knows? One day, it just might happen. We will keep trying and keep you posted. For now, it’s just prawn crackers for us.
f you are trying to save the pennies, a night out might not be your best option, but let us have a look at the social wealth you could gain if you chose to venture out to the clubs and bars of York. Consider the club environment. It’s dark, the music is really loud and it’s crowded. During the day this isn’t anyone’s idea of comfort, but when you’re drunk and on the pull these things definitely work to your advantage. Dim lights manage to cover all manners of sins, from the flashes of your underwear, to the tear tracts running down your face from getting too emotional, to the Willow stamp on your forehead that you decided oh-so-cleverly to get before venturing into Tokyo, Kuda or Revs. The music might be too loud for conversation in clubs, but does anyone really want to hear your drunken ramblings on how unhygienic communal prawn crackers can be? Not to mention your attempts at harmonising with Brandon Flowers during ‘Mr Brightside’… It’s best if your drunken tones aren’t recorded for viewing the next day, as they inevitably will be at house parties if you try and cover anything by The Killers. During these winter months no-one
GOING OUT should complain about some extra body heat either, even if it does originate from the armpits of strange, sweaty sportsmen lost on their way to/from Ziggy’s. Plus, an over-crowded dance floor limits the opportunity to attract the humiliation spotlight when that drunkensuperman-complex hits. One minute you could be clearing space to do a worm, with endless strangers cramming around you to photograph your attempted idiocy, and the next they will have flocked away to watch girls doing slut drops in the corner, forgetting you and your useless party trick. Performing such ridiculous dancing at house parties is much more dangerous, as it will be surveyed and judged by your soberer friends and used as humiliating blackmail. By going out you increase the possibility of seeing someone in a much worse scenario than you and can cling to that memory in the morning when you battle with the self-loathing hangover. If you want a night where you can get embarrassingly trashed, without too much of the next day humiliation then going out is definitely a better option. And you don’t even have to worry about tidying up!
MUSIC NIGHTLIFE FILM TV BOOKS TECH SPOTLIGHT 20 QUESTIONS
film FAN FICTION?
Joaquin Phoenix has shown his versatility from Roman overlord to mumbling drunken wreck. Vision explores...
H O T
Joanna Barrow looks at four controversial theories to explain underlying mysteries in popular films...
Walk the Line (2005) Superb singing & even better acting, Phoenix plays Johnny Cash in what many believe is the defining role in his career.
Gladiator (2000) The role most remember him for, Commodus is acted with enough treachery & venom that you can’t help but hate him.
I’m Still Here (2010) A mockumentary about Phoenix’s foray into rap, the actor stayed in role outside of the film, but with a mixed payoff.
any fans believe that The Shining is a veiled apology for filming the faking of the Moon landing. The characters Jack and Danny represent Kubrick’s practical and artistic side. Jack (Kubrick) makes a deal with the manager of the Overbrook Hotel (America) to protect it during the winter (Cold War). Then, more specifically, the haunted room in the book is 217,
but in the film it’s 237, supposedly changed to represent the 237,000 miles between the earth and the moon. Instead of the creepy girl twins, in the book there’s only one child, this was apparently changed to reference the Gemini Program. Finally, and this time pretty indisputably, Danny is wearing an Apollo 11 jumper in that scene, which is a reference to… well, Apollo 11.
FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF
he Ferris Bueller Fight Club theory: Ferris and Sloane are imaginary. As Ferris tries to explain, he will soon be graduating school and growing up: probably growing out of his “imaginary friend” phase and move into the ‘real’ world of jobs, colleges and adulthood. H i s “day off ” with Ferris and Sloane is the last chance
Cameron will have to enjoy childish things, as he grapples with the concept of becoming a man. Consider that Ferris wears a different outfit in each scene before he and Cameron go to pick up Sloane, and whenever Mr Rooney and Ferris have a conversation with each other, only one of them speaks throughout the entire conversation - the other is completely silent. Another thinking point; remember the references Ferris makes to John Lennon being The Walrus? “I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together...”
C O L D
8mm (1999) Made by Schumacher, Phoenix is an adult video store employee in a bizarre film more about violence & depravity than plot.
ease their transition to the next world they descend down the stairs to emerge to cheering crowds and drive off to the afterworld in the ectomobile. Ghostbusters II shows their life in purgatory, where they relive the events of the first film where the details change even though the basic foundation remains intact (Gozer becomes Vigo, Stay Puft the Statue of liberty, etc.).
t’s darker than you thought: One theory suggests Marlin’s whole family, including Nemo, were killed at the beginning of the film, and he imagines one son survived. Nemo is then an allegory of Marlin’s journey through the stages of grief:
Denial He won’t let his son go to school because it’s not “safe.”
to “let go” and let things be the way they are. Almost everyone in the story tells the father he has to “let go” of his son. His travels take him to the Land Down Under (aka Underworld). The movie ends with him saying goodbye as his son visually disappears into the void. Finally: “Nemo” means “nobody” in Latin.
He scolds his son for venturing out of his control.
Bargaining He puts up with an amnesiac travel buddy to help him find his son. Despair
He sees his son flushed down the drain.
The Village (2004) Another ridiculous and poorly thought out concept by Shymalan, even some solid performances couldn’t save this film.
he theory goes that the Ghostbusters actually die on the roof at the end of the first film. They couldn’t have survived crossing the streams and the resulting explosion. It’s their ghosts that free the spirits of Dana and Louis, who also died at the same time as them from the charred corpses of the terror dogs. Together, in a shared vision created from their subconscious, to help
previews Seven Psychopaths
Marin McDonagh’s first film since his hit In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths is another darkly comic thriller which explores Las Angles’ underworld when a struggling screenwriter (Colin Farrell) somehow gets involved in kidnapping a gangster’s precious shih-tzu. Seven Psychopaths has already received a fantastic critical response in the USA so is definitely one to watch in December.
Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) upcoming film is another historical drama, this time adapting the successful stage musical based on Victor Hugo’s classic novel set in 19th-century France. With a cast of Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway and Helena Bonham Carter if it lives up to its buzz then Hooper will be looking to claim yet another Oscar this year.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The Life of Pi
The most anticipated prequel since The Phantom Menace, Peter Jackson’s return to the work of J. R. R. Tolkien is the sort of event that has people queuing outside cinemas all night dressed as a dwarf simply to get the best seats. Featuring the additions of Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch to the cast, if it’s as good as his first three films in Tolkien’s fantasy universe, The Hobbit will smash box-office sale records whilst picking up plenty of awards.
Pi Patel is the son of a zookeeper who decides to transport the family, and their entire menagerie, to Canada by sea. But a shipwreck leaves him and assorted animals on a single lifeboat, fighting for survival. Ang Lee’s (Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon) screen adaption Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, one of the most commercially successful novels ever to win the Booker prize, is sure to be nominated for best picture this year.
MUSIC NIGHTLIFE FILM TV BOOKS TECH SPOTLIGHT 20 QUESTIONS
Joshua Treacy reviews:
The Master Dir. Paul Anderson
his drunken drawl regularly slipping into incoherence, the demons he carries are ever present. Special mention must also be given to Amy Adams who plays Dodd’s young pregnant wife, Peggy.
he Master is a film that deserves 4 stars, but I can guarantee that there will be floods of people that dislike it. A slow paced character study dealing with mental illness and religious cults is not to everyone’s taste. When asked to describe the plot, the director, Paul Thomas Anderson, says the film is “high on character, low on story”.
Displaying a repressed sexuality that is common in the ‘50’s housewife’ evocation, but charged with a gritty determination and an anger integral to the central plot. The most outstanding sequence of the entire movie is that of psychotherapy in the house in Arizona. Freddy undergoes a series of ‘applications’ which I can only describe as Freudian torture. Simultaneously excruciating, mind-bending and fascinating. I was so engrossed by it, I have absolutely no idea how long this part of the film went on for, seemingly instantaneous and never ending.
We follow Freddy Quell (Joaquin Pheonix), an American WWII veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress, as his alcoholism and sexual obsession prevent him from re-entering society. Serendipitous he finds himself on the yacht of Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymore Hoffman), the eponymous ‘Master’, based on L. Ronn Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology. The film then focuses on their relationship as Dodd welcomes Quinn into his family as they attempt to spread the ‘Cause’ (i.e. Scientology, thinly veiled) across the nation.
Do not be put off by the trailer. Even watching it now after seeing the film it feels somewhat flat and lifeless. It lacks the essential electricity the film had throughout that kept my hairs on end. The familiar 50s pastels colouring, in the context of the entire film, have the same effect as Hoffman’s creepy paternal humour, they make you feel the unease in the ordinary.
Their relationship is taut in the extreme. Both appear to have everything to lose and little to gain by association with one another, but they put themselves through it anyway. Freddy is a scoundrel with a sailors roaming spirit and Dodd is the deluded and domineering leader of his flock who is likely ‘making it up as he goes along.’
It is a film that asks the question ‘Who and what should we take seriously?’ A threat of becoming a “sworn enemy in the next life” carries the weight of the narrative, but the police are merely ‘silly’. Similarly, it is a film that requires the audience to take it seriously. Nearing a running time of two and a half hours, The Master does have the potential to bore, but stay with it you will enter the dark and interesting recesses of the psyche of America’s recent past.
The performances in the film are incredible. Hoffman is, as ever, of the highest standards. His character, who makes up in grandeur what he lacks in modesty, introduces himself as “a writer, a doctor, a nuclear physicist, a theoretical philosopher; but above all, I am a man.” Hoffman brilliantly delivers a camp performance that tips into rage as and when his authority is doubted. And Joaquin Pheonix delivers a hauntingly off-centre performance with a stoop-shouldered physicality to match. Even with
People like Us
Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn 2
Dir. Alex Kurtzman Dir. Bill Condon lex Kurtzman's directorial debut fter watching the latest fix of teenagestars Chris Pine as Sam, a corporate vamp romance, credit must go to the buyer being investigated by the Fedfranchise’s producers for still attracting millions to watch another dreary adap- eral Trade Commission. When his father tation of Stephanie Meyer’s books. While dies, Sam is unaffected until he discovers teenage girls mourn the loss of good looking that the music producer had an illegitimate sparkly vampires on the big screen, the rest daughter. Sam befriends his half-sister and of us should breathe a sigh of relief that it’s her eleven year old son but keeps his true identity a secret, leading to misunderstandall over. The first half of the film is both bor- ings and screaming matches. People Like Us is predictable and someing and predictable. With the birth of Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward’s (Robert Pat- times boring. The film's plot would probtinson) horrifically CGI enhanced daughter ably be better suited to a TV soap, and its Renesme and the conversion of Bella into a talented actors are wasted on such a genervampire; there is plenty of opportunity for ic script. Such a formulaic storyline should a class in awkward breathing from Kristen have something else going for it, like a twist Stewart, while the Cullens stand around in ending or even some comedy, but People their modern abode exchanging pleasant- Like Us is completely flat from beginning ries and posing for the camera. Suddenly to end. However, the film is redeemed by its there is trouble in paradise when the Volturi make false allegations into the nature of the brilliant cast. Although the characters are written unimaginatively, the actors add child’s birth. With a realisation that an action scene is depth to otherwise one-dimensional roles. badly required, the film picks up a little with Michelle Pfieffer plays Sam's grieving vampire tribes from all over the world con- mother with the right amount vulnerabilvening for a showdown against the Voltu ri. ity to counteract her steely exterior and This penultimate scene is welcome provid- Elizabeth Banks is tough enough to prevent ing the audience with some decent spe- Frankie from being merely a damsel in discial effects and an unexpected tress. Overall, People Like Us is definitely not twist. “And then we continued blissful- a must-see. I managed to guess the entire the trailer alone and, ly into this small but perfect plot from all-star cast makes it piece of our forever. ” End- while its watchable, it’s so geing the neric that there is film with a quote from nothing in this the book the audience are film which you meant to feel touched, but won’t have instead it just reminds seen a milthem what a truly poor adaptation the film is. lion times.
Dir. Ben Affleck
rgo tells the story of how, in 1980, the CIA launched a rescue mission for six hostages hiding in the Canadian Ambassador’s house by posing as a film crew location scouting for a sci-fi film. If it weren’t based on a true story, it would be a ridiculous concept yet Affleck manages to achieve a beautiful blend of nerve-wracking action with well-rounded characters that manage to give the film that vital feeling of fun. It reminded me of Oceans Eleven in the way that all these quirky characters managed to work together to achieve something that seemed impossible. Alan Arkin and John Goodman give hilarious performances as the cynical Hollywood experts who help Affleck establish a phony film studio and even organise a press party to celebrate the film getting green lit. Affleck manages to perfectly balance the tenseness of the hostages’ situation with the witty repartee of the Hollywood men and this is partly thanks to the faultless script by Chris Terrio. The film shows the Iranian conflict with gritty realism, partly by using real footage and partly by shooting scenes as they were shot in newsreels at the time. I would urge people to stay watching through the credits to see all the shots that were purposefully recreated, including an eerie shot of a man being hung by a crane. Argo is a triumph in thrilling filmmaking, which succeeds in being one of the most enjoyable thrillers made in the last few years. Tom Bonnington
Times change, but advertising doesn't
dark knight (2008)
MUSIC NIGHTLIFE FILM TV BOOKS TECH SPOTLIGHT 20 QUESTIONS
Television TV’s Life Lessons Because we watch TV for good advice!
“Whenever I’m about to do something I think, would an idiot do that? And if they would I do not do that thing.”
“Nothing good ever happens after 2am!”
-Dwight Schrute, The (U.S.) Office
-Marshall Eriksen How I Met Your Mother
Facing Your Problems “I’m going to go and talk to some food about this.”
--Liz Lemon, 30 Rock
Ones to Watch Hunted Thurs, 9pm, BBC11
Dating “You know, when there’s three sprinkled donuts you don’t eat one then lick another!”
Boardwalk Empire Wed, 10.05pm, Sky Atlantic
-Troy Barnes, Community
The Perfect Chat Show SIAN GARDINER ponders over the ideal combination of guests for that colourful couch
he chat show can be a cruel mistress: the likes of Jonathan Ross and Graham Norton might make it look like all you need are a few poofs and a piano, a bit of banter and a celebrity shamelessly plugging their new book, but it can be a tricky formula to get right. Davina McCall learnt this the hard way, with the ill-fated Davina axed after just one series, and while the lovely Ruth Jones may be a great writer and actress, there’s something just a little bit awkward about her seasonal show. While the host has a tough job to keep conversation looking natural and draw entertaining responses from the most vacuous of guests, as well as those who simply appear to wish they were anywhere but sitting on that brightly coloured couch (Kristen Stewart, I’m looking at you), the success of a chat show ultimately comes down to the right combination of guests. With the onset of third year, and my youth slipping sadly away, I have become a convert to this minefield of middle aged entertainment. Which has got me thinking, what exactly would this perfect combination be? If you’ve ever been subjected to the networking exercise, “Who would be your ideal dinner guest?”, then you’ll know just how impossible a task this can be. It pains me not to be able to include my heroine JK Rowling, or perhaps the
charming George Clooney, but I’ll be good and stick to my television brief. So, if I were the next ‘Parky’ Parkinson, here are a few of the TV stars you might expect to see me interview: LENA DUNHAM My latest all consuming ‘girl-crush’, Dunham has written, directed and also happens to have starred in her very own indie film, Tiny Furniture, as well as hit HBO show Girls. At just 26, she has already found herself the topic of much stuffy critical debate, the latest of which is the video she made supporting Barack Obama’s campaign merging the concept of two adolescent experiences - losing your virginity and voting for the first time. Which no surprise had the Republicans out for her blood. Funny, articulate and outspoken, she is the stuff of chat show dreams. JON HAMM Charming, handsome and a master of self-deprecating humour, I struggle to think of a better potential chat show guest. I would be happy to simply observe Hamm brooding moodily on the sofa - which I have spent many a happy hour watching him do as star of the brilliant Mad Men. But it turns out in real life he has the ability to have a studio audience in stitches, demonstrating the comic talent he displayed in (far too) small parts in recent comedies Bridesmaids.
DAMIAN LEWIS My obsession with American spy thriller Homeland has transferred over to its affable, Emmy winning star, Damian Lewis. Americans are often shocked to find on hearing Lewis’s real life British accent that he is in fact every inch the Englishman, and it is indeed a novelty to be able to hear his Eton honed accent. Given that his specialities as an actor are subtlety and restraint, it is also refreshing to see just how animated and charismatic he is in real life. Across the pond they are fully signed up to the Lewis fan club and we need far more of him on B r i t i s h screens! The correct chat show combination is clearly a matter of taste - and my choice of guest may not be your cup of tea. So who would y o u choose? Anything goes, as long as your list doesn’t include Jeremy Clarkson that is.
Outnumbered Fri, 8.30pm, BBC1
I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! Sat, 9pm, ITV1
MUSIC NIGHTLIFE FILM TV BOOKS TECH SPOTLIGHT 20 QUESTIONS
BOXSET BUCKET LIST Recommendations for the best shows that you have yet to discover:
My So Called Life M
y So Called Life is a cult 90s teen drama with an embedded realism that it’s safe to say we no longer see in many shows depicting adolescence today. Claire Danes stars as Angela Chase, and acts as the show’s protagonist and sole narrator. The show engages cleverly with her reflections and teenage thought processes: “My parents keep asking how school was. It’s like saying, how was that driveby shooting?” You don’t care how it ‘was’, you’re lucky to get out alive.” Generally speaking, the story lines feature the kind of issues you would expect from a coming of age series: arguing with parents, alcohol, drugs, rumours, skipping geometry class, sex. But it is also a show that depicts struggle, both for Angela as she comes up against the difficult aspects of growing up, as well as for her parents who also struggle in watching it happen. But what makes the show’s writing truly unique is the focus that is still given to other characters; giving you a full picture of the crucial people that make up her world. The dynamics shown between her and her parents are arguably the most interesting to watch. As Angela points out, “My dad and I used to be pretty tight. The sad truth is, my breasts have come between us.” The show also features a young Jared Leto complete with Backstreet boy hair, and way before he started wearing eyeliner as Angela’s love interest and eventual
“boyfriend” (if you can call him that). But perhaps one of the most charming aspects of the show is the close friendship Angela shares with her two best friends: the loveable and sensitive Ricky, and the wild and fascinating Rayanne. The show sadly only lasted one season, but the short duration seems fitting - Angela’s year in high school was a finite story to tell. Just like real life, some relationships mend, and sometimes friendships surprisingly come to an end. Rather than morphing unnaturally over many seasons, our “so called” lives move on. MELISSA GECZY
einfeld, the show famous for being “about nothing”, stars stand-up comedian Jerry Seinfeld as a fictionalised version of himself. The show from 1989-1998 and has been enormously successful in America, being named TV Guide’s best TV show of all time and E!’s ‘number one reason the 90s ruled’. Set in New York, Seinfeld follows Jerry, his ex-girlfriend Elaine, his neurotic best friend George and his insane neighbour Kramer. Episodes open and close with a few minutes of stand-up by Jerry Seinfeld, known for his “did you ever notice….” humour. Being a sitcom revolving around a group of thirty-somethings living in New York, Seinfeld always draws comparisons with Friends. But the two shows couldn’t be more different. Seinfeld’s creators always said they had one rule: “No hugging, no learning.” The result is a group of hilariously narcissistic and socially awkward characters who offend almost everyone they meet. Seinfeld’s hilarity comes mainly from its focus on completely trivial subjects, a lot like Jerry Seinfeld’s stand-up shows. Elaborate plots have no place in the world of Seinfeld, and episodes can revolve around anything from parking a car in a disabled spot to having to wait a long time to get a table at a restaurant. Its subtle writing is also a strong point, and the show’s writers received acclaim for man-
Jonathan Creek I
f you ever manage to venture away from How I Met Your Mother repeats on that worn-out TV set in your living room, you may have stumbled across an episode of Jonathan Creek, or, more likely, flicked straight past it. It’s a shame, because the late nineties BAFTA winning crime drama is a real mind-boggler. I have to admit I started watching the programme by accident. During a night flight a few years ago, after making the poor decision to watch Twilight: New Moon, I frantically changed channel to the Jonathan Creek Christmas special, ‘The Grinning Man’, which was ten minutes in. After a few minutes I was hooked, and watched all four series box sets once home. The cult show stars comedian Alan Davies, whom you may recognise as the ‘idiot’ sat next to Stephen Fry in QI. In Jonathan Creek he plays just the opposite: a mop haired sleuth, who happens to have super human logic. He plays the title character, a magician’s consultant, who is reluctantly brought in by the lovably manipulative crime journalist Maddy Magellan (played by the fantastic Caroline Quentin) and other assistants over the years to help solve various elaborately executed, seemingly supernatural crimes, using his knowledge of illusionism. The show is at
aging to write a whole episode about masturbation without once using the word ‘masturbation’. Cynical and completely bizarre, Seinfeld may not be for everyone, but if you’ve always hated overtly sentimental American comedies then you will absolutely love it. Arguably its greatest seasons are four, five and six as the characters gelled together perfectly. Such masterclasses inspired shows like Friends, Will and Grace and Sex and the City and defied the unwritten television rule that says that characters have to learn something or love anyone.
times fairly dark, yet is lightened up with comic moments, zany characters and romantic touches. I’d really advise curling up on the sofa to a bit of Jonathan on these winter nights, if you fancy a bit of a light brain teaser. See if you can figure out before Jonathan how each crime was committed. I honestly bet you can’t. What I can bet is that you will be gripped, and switching over from E4 much more often. SARAH CATTLE
e all know Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Most of us have watched quite a bit of Saturday Night Live in our time. We’re aware of The Two Ronnies, The Benny Hill Show, Robot Chicken, and MADtv. We have a well-defined understanding of what sketch comedy is - that is, until we witness Portlandia. On the surface, it’s merely a show that explores the tired subject of “hipster” culture. It’s set in a city obsessed with the 90s, hippies, and horn-rimmed glasses, inhabited by radical feminists and musical elitists. Every episode is a collection of loosely related sketches with recurring characters and topics that we all associate with that irksome subculture. But then just as we are about to lose the will to live Portlandia throws us a curveball. It’s impossible to explain what it exactly is that Portlandia does. Its aberrant style creates a caricature of life in Portland with an unabashed fervour that is both bizarre and hilarious. Punchlines (which are very rare), in particular come out of nowhere and catch the viewer off guard. Having said this it never feels “random” for the sake of being random. Regardless of whether they spend five minutes discussing how many different items someone can pickle or how amazing the
store that sells knots is, every sketch is a definite satirical critique of our indie music loving brethren. And every sketch will leave you thinking, “I don’t know what I just saw, but yes, I agree wholeheartedly.” There is no reason I can think of not to watch Portlandia, and even to learn to love it. Embrace your inner skinny jeans and Battlestar Galactica marathons, and behold satirical greatness. KARL TOMUSK
MUSIC NIGHTLIFE FILM TV BOOKS TECH SPOTLIGHT 20 QUESTIONS
Books Events Diary Thursday 22nd November, 7pm Jane Finnis Shadows in the Night Q&A, book signing - Waterstones, York Saturday 24th November, 1pm Ian Johnson The Witcher Keys Book signing - Waterstones, York Saturday 1st December Dan Fesperman The Double Game National book launch Saturday 1st December Lee Child Vengeance: Mystery Writers of America Presents National book launch Tuesday 4th December Tom Clancy Threat Vector National book launch Thursday 6th December Maureen Lee After the War is Over National book launch Saturday 8th December, 3pm Dava Sobel The Planets Book discussion - York Observatory Friday 14th December, 12.30pm Ian Rankin Standing in Another Man’s Grave Book signing - Waterstones, York Saturday 15th December, 12pm Rob Kirkup Ghosts of York Book signing - Waterstones, York
Fifty Shades of Sasha Sophie Taylor delves into ex-porn star Sasha Grey’s jump onto the ‘Fifty Shades’ bandwagon
ontinuing on with the recent explosive boom in erotic fiction said to have put the ‘C’ in literature (you will get the pun... eventually). American actress and former porn star, Sasha Grey is set to launch her new raunchy read in 2013, The Juliette Society. This is not just S&M, this is M&S S&M. Despite retiring from adult entertainment four years ago, Sasha Grey remains one of the most recognised names in the entertainment industry. The star of Entourage, The Girlfriend Experience and the interestingly titled Throat: A Cautionary Tale has put pen to paper for the release of her second book following the success of her first title Neü Sex in 2011. Harking back to the Juliette of the Marquis de Sade’s The 120 Days of Sodom, Sasha Grey’s new novel promises lust, libido, and as much Lycra as you can flick a whip at. The Juliette Society of Grey’s novel is a private gentlemen’s club in which only high-flying businessmen, bankers and brokers are admitted in to let off a little pent-up frustration after a difficult week of shouting at babbling incompetents in boardroom meetings. Grey outlines the plot as “set in a highly sexualised world with an assertive female protagonist,” who unknowingly stumbles across this dark elitist underworld. From this moment on, Grey’s heroine is able to realise her deepest, darkest fantasies, and brings a whole new meaning to the term ‘bedtime story.’ Grey describes The Juliette Society as similar to a Fight Club for sexual romps. Grey approaches her past and present work with an artistic earnestness which is remarkable, given the long-standing attitudes towards the adult entertainment industry. The actress is known to have adopted her nom de guerre (Grey’s real name is Marina Ann Hantzis) from Sascha Konietzko of industrial rock band KMFDM and from the titular character in Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. Grey certainly takes Wilde’s advice of yielding to temptation to a whole new level in her novel. Grey claimed that she was “not interested in trying to reinvent the erotic novel”, but looking forward to stripping it back to its raw essentials as “a salacious treatment of sex, particularly female sexuality, as something mysterious and sensual.”
The Juliette Society is now tipped to be one of the biggest bestsellers of 2013, and the next to join the long line of hot-underthe-collar novels following the craze that heralded Fifty Shades of Grey break the record of the most bought and most talkedabout book in the history of British modern literature. The ‘Fifty Shades’ franchise has seen some of the most hilarious and tactless merchandising ploys, including a line of baby suits printed with such slogans as, “Generation Grey” and “I’m A Fifty Shades Baby”. Clandestine Classics has also released a collection of sexed-up versions of the nation’s favourite novels, such as an indulgently homoerotic Sherlock Holmes, a spicily scintillating 2000 Leagues Under the Sea and a Wuthering Heights where Heathcliff and Cathy engage in a spot of bondage between aimless moor-wandering, all accompanied with Mills and Boons-style cover designs. Fortunately, not every renowned writer has had their life’s work so ruthlessly picked apart. The author Ruta Sepetys will certainly be amused at the enormous rise sales of her award-winning Between Shades of Grey, due to people mistakenly picking up her novel in bookstores. With women from the age of sixteen all the way up to those in their nineties caught up in this fiction furore and the numerous imitators, accidental or otherwise, that the novel has generated, the world seems to have gone fifty shades of crazy.
TOILET BOOKS: Gabriele Pumeryte suggests what to read whilst you go... The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Norton Anthology of Poetry
It is somewhat disturbing how much you can enjoy books like this one, especially in the toilet. Requiring very little effort from the reader, it transports you to a dystopian world, where detailed descriptions and well-developed characters make you feel as if you are a part of it. The Hunger Games deals with issues such as poverty and brutal social hierarchy, and follows the story of 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, painting a picture of the grotesque and dangerous world that surrounds her. The dramatic, although sometimes predictable, sequence of events is perfectly paced and not difficult to follow, so you will easily remember where exactly you left off from last time. Gripping from the first chapter, it will be a nice break from the pages and pages of complex required reading that you have to do for tomorrow.
It is best to have a heavy, brick-like anthology such as this one, but - if none of your housemates are studying English - any poetry book will do. As this book comprises of the best and most famous poems from various periods and movements, you can choose a poem based on your mood, go straight to favourites, or think of a number and see what you find on that page - it will be an equally satisfying read. You can pick a poem which is suited to you in length, as well as read the same one again and again for as long as you need. I would go so far as to say that the toilet is one of the best places to read poetry: there are no distractions and you have all the time you need to really think about all the hidden meanings.
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Does Pippa have much to celebrate?
Other ‘Celebrities’ on the writing trend
Oona Venermo suffers a mental breakdown as Pippa Middleton explains how to make ice...
ippa Middleton is the latest in a long line of “celebrities” who, following a grand epiphany, have discovered their hidden talent for writing. She claims to have discovered her newfound fame “on account of [her] sister… and [her] bottom” a little startling but despite the “upsides and downsides,” Middleton tends to concentrate on the advantages, one of the most attractive which has been the chance to publish Celebrate. Definitely not capitalising on her sister’s marriage then.
selection of spooky cocktail ideas and a recipe for butternut squash lasagne do look appetising, and are easy to follow. Her ideas for party entertainment are even easier, suggesting telling ghost stories, bobbing for apples, face-painting and dressing up. Genius! The hints don’t end there: in her “Cosy Supper Party” section, Middleton’s tips include greeting your guests and offering them a drink. I’m so glad I read this book because prior to this I’d been rugby tackling my guests
So creative is she in fact that in her section about Easter she suggests hosting an Easter Egg Hunt. And for a children’s birthday party, Pass the Parcel. Where does she get these ideas from?! Middleton assures her readers that hosting a good party “needn’t leave you alarmingly out of pocket” and her budgetary approach shows in the Christmas section where her recipes for canapés include pheasant goujons and quail’s egg croustades followed by her Valentines’ Day recipe for gravadlax with dill mustard sauce. All ingredients people clearly have collecting dust in their cupboards.
Middleton’s first publication is a “comprehensive guide to homeentertaining” and promises to “reveal the secrets to hosting a successful party.” Considering her family’s background in the entertainment business, a guide divulging tricks of the trade seems a recipe for success. But alas no, somewhere, something went horribly wrong. Take a pensive-looking Middleton, throw in food snapshots with overuse of Instagram filters, not forgetting photographs of other people’s children - et voila! Welcome to the prelude of Celebrate.
as they walked through the door and offering them a complimentary nippletweak before dinner.
Middleton’s book has a fundamentally good concept, helping people with those all-important finishing touches and injecting some wowfactor. It’s just a shame she’s so patronising about it. In her section on birthday teas, she tells people how to make ice cubes. Because who knows how you were getting frozen water into your drinks before you picked up this book!?
Once I inside, the book is aesthetically well-thought out, with appealing fonts and a sensible format; each major celebration of the year has its own selection of recipes and helpful hints, from Easter and Halloween to Birthdays and Summer BBQs. So far, so good. Halloween is the first holiday Middleton tackles and her
The next festive holiday tackled is Bonfire Night, where Middleton tells her readers to create a bonfire away from trees and anything flammable, and divulges the secrets to making a good Guy – get old clothes and stuff with newspaper or straw. Gosh darn, she’s safety conscious and creative.
For a Recommended Retail Price of £25, I wouldn’t be surprised if this book made its way into the sale section of bookstores by December. But as Pippa does not include how to celebrate a failed book launch in November, she may want to stick to maintaining her perfectly pert posterior.
Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk Now a cult book, Fight Club is a page-turner that you do not have to take too seriously. The unnamed narrator tells his story, where strangest addictions and failed relationships intertwine in the most comedic way. Although seemingly superficial, the book is concerned with alienation, violence, crime and the modern definition of manliness. Its laconic style and simple dialogue ensure a fast pace throughout, keeping it funny and tragic at the same time. Because it is centred around ideas rather than plot it is easy to pick up where you left off;. It also means that you can start reading it at any random page. The relatively short chapters make it perfect for a toilet read, immersing you in the story for a perfectly measured amount of time.
Nicole Richie- Her first novel The Truth About Diamonds peaked at #32 in The New York Times Best-Sellers List.
Ollie Locke - TV’s Made In Chelsea star is set to publish his first tell-all book titled Laid In Chelsea. Not sure if this is pure trash or pure brilliance.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt - actor, director, producer and now author, his books are mainly comical quotes, yet retain the whimsical charm he himself provides.
Katie Price– Glamour model turned novelist, Miss Price published the first of her four novels in 2006. That’s right, four novels.
A Short History of Nearly Everything If you are feeling up for learning something new, put this one on your bathroom floor. Whereas Fight Club can provide you with a huge selection of quotable material you can use once back from your toilet break, A Short History of Nearly Everything will give you a random fact of the day you can throw in during any conversation. The book is built on surprising comparisons and fascinating stories, raising and in turn answering seemingly the most obvious questions. Avoiding complicated phraseology, this quirky history of the natural sciences is easily accessible to everyone and, thanks to its style, captivating enough to keep reading for as long as you need.
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Top tech tweet of the week:
Aaron Levie @levie
When things seem impossible, remember: Apple, Oracle, Sun and Cisco were once just a few people arguing strategy in a cramped room too.
The online video revolution
s we all know, the internet is a series of tubes filled with cats. However, now jostling for space with the talkative felines is a growing wealth of video content. Most students are no strangers to catching up with their favourite shows via the internet, but the streaming of entirely new content is a growing trend. Sure, we’ve had amateur content on YouTube for a while now, but more professional web videos are being uploaded with greater frequency all the time. This isn’t catch-up TV or endless re-runs of Countdown but fully-fledged high quality video content available to watch online. Screens are everywhere we look now, and the rapid increase of internet speeds has propelled internet videos to stratospheric levels of popularity. The online video revolution has begun. A watershed moment in this movement was surely the release of Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog in 2008. Written and
directed by Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly, it unshackled him from the mediating influence of TV network juggernauts. The result was a three-act superhero musical which was released entirely for free online. Whedon put up his own money to fund the project, eventually recouping it all from tremendously successful iTunes and DVD sales. It was a triumph for selfpublishing and evidence that there are ways to monetise internet videos with a little innovative thinking. Four years have passed since then, and content providers are now starting to think big. Two weeks ago saw the release of the first episode of the prequel to 2004’s sci-fi series Battlestar Galactica entitled Blood and Chrome. It is being worked on by a number of those involved in the original show and con-
tains similar production values. There’s only one difference: Blood and Chrome is being released for free on YouTube. Similarly, subscription streaming company Netflix are in the process of resurrecting cult show Arrested Development for release next year. The creator and all of the original cast have been reunited for a new season after it was cancelled after its third in 2006. What does the emergence of these big-name franchises mean? Well, don’t throw away your TV just yet but the future surely lies with on-demand content available on your chosen PC/smartphone/ tablet/iDevice. Online content isn’t just easier to access than
ever before, but is also helping to blur the lines between television and film to create new forms of content. Without networks, episodes don’t have to be of uniform lengths or have ad breaks. Creative control is returned to creators, leading to bolder and more experimental content. The online video revolution puts the power over what to watch firmly in the hands of consumers, and removes some of the boundaries between audience and creator. This is a paradigm shift driven by the internet age, one that will define the future of entertainment. Certainly worth taking notice of, if you can tear yourself away from the endless cat pictures, that is. Jamie Macdonald
Game reviews Halo 4 (Xbox 360) It has been five years since Halo 3. Five years since we last saw the Master Chief, drifting through space. Halo 4 picks up as faithful AI Cortana decides she must wake up our green-clad hero as they drift towards a mysterious artificial planet. From there, it’s business as usual as you’re asked to mow down hordes of colourful aliens with a wide variety of reliable weaponry. Only it’s somewhat different. From the sound design to storytelling techniques, everything has been slightly reworked. It’s Halo, but not as we know it. This is because Halo 4 marks the handover of custodial duties from series creators Bungie Studios to 343 Industries, and the beginning of a new trilogy. This game marks the introduction of new enemies dubbed Prometheans. Cunning and powerful, these ancient adversaries interact with each other in unique ways to make the player constantly rethink their strategy. The campaign is frequently stunning; 343 retains the core gameplay which made the series popular while mixing it up with new elements and features
such as the inclusion of a sprint ability by default. The story has seen a lick of paint, with plot threads pulled in from disparate ends of the Halo mythos. The cut scenes use performance capture technology and are frequently stunning; 343 Industries want you to care about the gold-visored protagonist this time around, and attempt a gutsy character study that goes way beyond what was achieved in previous titles. Multiplayer is the same story, it’s similar yet different. A host of weapons from previous games return, joined by some new friends like the superbly satisfying Railgun. Combat has been rejuvenated by the introduction of ordnance drops; rather than a mad dash at the beginning of each round for the shiniest toys. Weapon locations are far more unpredictable leading to more consistently exciting encounters. In short it’s great fun and should make a respectable assault on the top of the Xbox Live most played list. 343 have done the impossible on this one. It isn’t without fault (checkpoints are sometimes a little sparse, and the story is at times slightly baffling), but overall it marks a highly competent first attempt which more than lives up to the legacy left to them by Bungie. Jamie Macdonald
Tech talks... Yes, the Grand Theft Auto saga continues. With its latest instalment due out in spring of 2013, the fifth vicious, twisted version of Americana promises to be one of the year’s biggest releases, never mind the most anticipated. In order to get you inordinately pumped and to test your patience in expectation of the game, here are some of the latest big details announced by Rockstar:
The city of Los Santos will be bigger than that of Red Dead Redemption, San Andreas, and Grand Theft Auto IV combined. Of course, the obvious caveat to your childlike giddiness is the possibility of this meaning longer escort missions, with the added bonus of even more sprawling locations in which to lose your target. However, Rockstar cofounder Dan Houser insists players will not find themselves repeating similar missions over and over, so that’s good.
The game will feature three protagonists and you can switch between them at any point when not on a mission. Their names are Michael, Trevor, and Franklin. Michael is a retired bank robber; Trevor, a former business associate of Michael’s and a career criminal. Franklin, an all around criminal in his early twenties. Naturally, each character has his own personality, motivation, skillset and, of course, story arc. Missions will reportedly centre around heists.
Additionally, to maintain Rockstar’s tradition of a rich supporting cast, characters from previous iterations will be making an appearance in V, although GTA IV’s Niko Bellic won’t be one of them. Also, remember San Andreas? All the fun you had generally causing unreasonable amounts of mayhem and then escaping the crime scene on a bicycle. Or maybe you favoured the military jet, or indulged the businessman in you by hijacking a 747. Well, all of that is back and the vehicle roster includes a larger number of planes, helicopters, and even jet skis. Joshua Gisby
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SPOTLIGHT ENTER SHIKARI
chat to Rachel
he energetic, almost riotous gigs of Enter Shikari are one of the band’s most defining features, yet when speaking with Rob Rolfe, the drummer of Enter Shikari, it seems it’s just all in a days work for the four-piece band from St.Albans.“They’re always good fun – we basically go out on stage and aim to have fun and we find that if we’re enjoying it the audience enjoys it as well. We go out, play our songs and just rock out and have a good time.”
2012 has been a spectacular year for Enter Shikari. The four-piece band from St. Albans has been on a constant tour since their recent album peaked at number four in the UK album charts in January. They have also collected Kerrang!’s ‘Best Live Band’ award, AIM Independent Music Awards’ ‘Album of the Year’ accolade and were voted the best act at the Leeds and Reading Festivals by NME readers all in the space of one summer. Vocalist Roughton ‘Rou’ Reynolds also was awarded ‘Hero of the Year’ by Kerrang! as Rob jokes, “I don’t know exactly quite how he is a hero but we’ve all had a good laugh about it!” Rob admits that the latest album ‘A Flash Flood of Colour’ is “very difficult to describe”. Fans of the band have always struggled to define a genre for their music and it seems Enter Shikari themselves don’t have a title for what they produce. “It’s kind of all over the place! It’s rockbased music with a lot of dance influence. I guess you’ve got to approach it with an open mind; it’s very diverse with lots of different influences in it. It can be quite passionate and aggressive at times and other times it can be very melodic and subtle and soft.” I asked Rob about the band’s dynamic considering it’s been almost ten years since the band’s formation. “We’re all obviously ten years older now than when we first
“It seems like the world is collapsing around us and it’s so interesting and we’re so passionate about it. it confuses me that other people aren’t singing about it.” started as Enter Shikari and we’ve all matured a lot…well…‘a lot’, I don’t know, maybe we haven’t matured at all, just got older, certainly. I think we’re still as close as we ever have been, we were friends before we got into the band which really helped us, we weren’t just stuck together like a lot of bands were which is where a lot of the tension comes from, because we’ve grown
up together we sort of know each others boundaries and know how to work best with each other.” Speaking with Rob amidst a tour that has seen Enter Shikari’s visit over 20 countries and which isn’t set to end until January 2013, Rolfe stated the band didn’t get tired of the travelling involved: “I’ve always been in love with travelling and that’s one of the most amazing things about our career is that we get to travel so much and this year we got to go to some places that we’ve never been to before, like South Africa, for example, and every time you go to a new place and you have fans out there who know your lyrics, it’s just incredible to think ‘how do these people know us? We’ve never been to this country before’. I guess that’s the power of the internet. But, they were really amazing, really receptive. We had a huge crowd in the festival that we played and it was just fantastic and great fun.” Despite the serious success of their latest album, Rob humbly admitted “I don’t really consider myself famous. I cringe every time I hear myself say the word. We just recently played in Russia where I think our fans are the most fanatical – they go absolutely mental out there, they completely swarm us and give us hundreds of presents and it’s really two different worlds; you come back home and you’re suddenly back to reality, back to real life and then you go away and you’re in this weird band/tour bubble. I still find it strange when people recognise me on the street or come up and
ask for an autograph.” When I questioned Rob about the best band they’ve toured with he didn’t hesitate to answer. “Hands down The Prodigy. I think they’ve been, for us as a band, one of our biggest influences and then when we got the chance to tour with them around Europe doing arenas it was just amazing, a dream tour for us. We bit their fingers off at the chance to get at it and it was absolutely incredible going out playing to 20,000 people a night and then also every night getting to sit back and watch our favourite band play. It was absolutely incredible.” Quizzed on their ideal touring partner, Rob chose a group outside of the box. “I suppose Noisia, they’re three guys from Holland, dance producers, and we’ve been meaning to do a collaboration with them for a while but for one reason or another it hasn’t worked out, but that would be great if it could take place.” It didn’t take much convincing on my part to encourage a York date on a future tour. “Definitely! We used to come to York quite a lot because Chris’ [the bassist’s] family used to own a little cottage there. I really love the town, it’s a gorgeous place but at the moment I have to say I don’t think we have anything booked, but that’s not to say that we’re never going to play there again.” Recently there’s been quite a lot of press on the band’s openness about political and social issues in their lyrics, penned by Rou. “It’s always been something we’ve
been very aware of and the more we find out about it, the more we travel, the more it influences us and we feel stronger about it, or more confident in how we feel about it. It turns round and comes out in our creativity… I’m kind of surprised that less people do [write about it], in a lot of respects it seems like the world is collapsing around us and there’s stuff that’s so interesting, that we’re so passionate about, it confuses me that other people aren’t singing about it.” After speaking with Rob it was clear that Enter Shikari’s fantastic success comes from the band simply having fun and doing something they love entirely and voicing their honest opinions on the world through their music. Undeniably down-to-earth and extremely hard-working, they really give back to their fans from high-energy shows and dedication to their music. Despite a really busy year, Enter Shikari definitely don’t plan to slow down as their December tour ‘A Flash Flood of Christmas’ brings the band back to the UK, although their take on Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’ isn’t likely to be on the set list. “To be honest I don’t think we have time to get anything special musically as when we come back from America we pretty much go straight into the UK tour. I’m sure someone’s going to have a Santa hat on at some point, maybe even some artificial snow – we haven’t really gone into the details of the production yet. It’s going to be a big party anyway that’s for sure, it always is.”
MUSIC NIGHTLIFE FILM TV BOOKS TECH SPOTLIGHT 20 QUESTIONS
S N O I T S E 20 QU
Roseanna Brear chats to legend of spoken word, Scroobius Pip about beards, beats and books... 1. Sorry for calling so early, what are you up to at the moment? Right now I’m preparing for my trek up Mount Snowdon for charity with some mates on Wednesday. I’m a bit scared - we’re doing the hardest route, which is six hours and it’s normally done in the summer. But we’re not idiots and I’m in reasonable shape. We’ve raised just over a thousand pounds in a week so I’m pretty pleased. 2. Which charity is it for? The Institute of Cancer Research, everyone else is not shaving for a month, but I already do that. 3. It sounds like a good break from all the hard work you’ve been doing lately. Yeah I’ve also been working on preparing for my upcoming Spoken Word Tour with Kate Tempest and Polarbear. 4. Where did you get the idea to do it? After Latitude, I realised the majority of my fan base haven’t actually seen me do spoken word and that’s where I come from. 5. Are you looking forward to it? I’m also really excited because these guys are really at the top of their game and it’s very rare that you’ll ever see them perform spoken word in the same set. They are some of the best spoken word artists around and they just blow my mind. 6. How did you meet Kate and Polarbear? Me and Polarbear are sort of the haggard old veterans of the spoken word scene now whereas Kate got involved a bit after us. She really is an incredible performer and great to work with. 7. It’s interesting to see spoken word poets like Kate put their work to music. Did you start writing your poetry for music or just for performance as slam? Music was my passion long before I got into spoken word.
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When I started writing I found I generally wrote in a rhythmic nature that lends itself well to music. Really, it was a natural transition for me to make from poetry to rap. 8. Do you prefer performing spoken word or music gigs? They both have their pros and cons. The spoken word stuff is always more intimate. Having said that, I love performing music as well and it tends to be more popular. Really I just feel lucky that I get to do both.
15. How’s your record label, ‘Speech Development Records’ going? It’s really great though it’s a bit daunting, as it’s just me really and a few people who help out. I don’t have an assistant or anything and it’s the first thing I’ve ever done properly on my own.
9. Do you enjoy performing at the summer festivals? I love running my spoken word event at Bestival. Mainly because I get to choose and book all the artists myself so I know I only have the best.
16. What have you released so far? We released my first solo album ‘Distraction Pieces’ on it last year and the response was amazing.
10. How did that go? It’s a bit off the beaten track so I’m always surprised by the number of people who turn up. Every year I say to myself, “oh it’ll be quiet because there’s so many good bands on”and every year more people turn up. I think that’s a real testament to the level of the performers.
17. Is there anyone else signed to the label? Anyone we should keep an eye on? Our newest project is working with the artist Jacamo Brown. He’s a dude. He works in a library and he’s one of those artists who would never have gotten out there if we hadn’t twisted his arm. Finally we talked him into it and it’s a beautiful record.
11. Given that your poetry is written to be heard. Do you see any point in publishing your poetry? A few years back I was repeatedly asked to publish a book. I thought publishing a book of my poetry would be a bit arrogant. I’ve never studied poetry or English Literature or anything. But when I finally agreed to publish my book – ‘Poetry in (e)motion’ - I decided to do it as graphic novel instead.
18. Last year you cut off your iconic beard for a music video and sold it on eBay. How much did it go for and what did you spend the money on? I think it went for just over £200. The money went straight into the label. It’s all about the label at the moment. Really it’s ridiculous to try and start a record label at this time in the industry.
12. Why did you choose that medium? I wanted to do something different that would act as a starting point and would engage people like myself to start reading poetry. And it even turned out to be a success, getting into Amazon’s top five graphic novels of the year, which was really overwhelming. 13. So you’re not a fan of the written word? It’s just a personal preference. When I read poetry I tend to impose my own delivery style onto someone else’s words, which I don’t think is really fair. I think really I would always rather watch the authors themselves perform it. 14. Are there any poems that you think benefit more from being performed? I checked out one of Niall Spooner Harvey’s books and it was cool, clearly well written, but it didn’t grab me as much as I’d hoped. Then I saw him perform his stuff live and it just blew me away.
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19. What do you mean? Illegal downloading just kills labels, they’re falling on the wayside daily. People try and excuse illegal downloading by saying that we make the money back through live gigs and merch but it really isn’t the case. The label won’t see any of that money. The small labels are the ones who care about the music and are finding the new artists. If illegal downloading continues, it’ll be the future bands that really suffer. 20. Finally, can you tell us the best piece of advice you were ever given? When I was younger I went travelling around America on my own and tried to live out there. I failed miserably but before I left my brother said to me “when you’re hungry, eat something, when you’re tired, sleep.” I think that’s something to live by. Scroobius Pip will be performing with Kate Tempest and Polarbear on his Spoken Word Tour at the Duchess on December 3.
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