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Feb 09 Issue 195

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Spotlight

HOLLIE PRICE INTERVIEWS:

LATE OF THE PIER B

ackstage with Late of the Pier is like a little suburban garden party: a selection of silver cutlery, cheese and pineapple cocktail sticks and plinking piano music in the background. Except the cutlery is strewn about the furniture, a hip Ron Weasley figure (drummer Ross) is eating not cheese on sticks but a packet of M & S Finest cheese slices no less and singer Sam is debating the issue of “pineapple pieces in brine” (which don’t exist…but he thinks they do…hmm). And I might have added the piano bit to make it all sound nice. The four lads from Castle Donington shot to an ‘unforescene’ level of acclaim last year with the release of their album ‘Fantasy Black Channel’. “We lived in a little village where everyone knew your name”. In this day and age, when the ‘musical set’ of similar groups and a bunch of savvy mates in London is key to success, it’s this out-of-town background that puts them on the good ol’ scene map: “we’re the only Midlands band really”. So the village lads paraded their glam and thrash through the streets of London making their name as the “commodity” of the music scene, rather than just another ‘set’: “We were never really connected with anything in London...we all have mutual respect for singer-song writers like Laura Marling, but we’re a kind of commodity that was special for people because we’d just kinda come and zap them every few weeks and leave and then come back a few weeks later”. The boys claim they’re not ‘scene’ in the slightest: “We get labelled as underage scenesters but we don’t think that’s true”. “There are obvious bands that we like, like Soulwax and Justice. Metronomy have really pushed the boat out at the minute, just the way they do things is quite different, it’s really admirable”, but “we’re not really one of those bands that hangs around with people just to be ‘scene’, we don’t hang around with people to be cool or anything like that, we just hang around with people if we genuinely like them as people. We’re quite into skilled people - we like people who are amazing to talk to. We like them if we know they’ve got a real knack at something. And I defi-

nitely look up to Bono, for one”. I think they were joking about the last bit. Probably. “It feels like we’ve been touring for ages,” so Late of the Pier are pretty much gig-playing machines by now, “averaging two festivals a weekend from May to October. We pretty much did every one of them last year... this year we’re doing very few”. For now the glam, glittery Donington crew are on a continuous touring, gigging loop. “We just kinda switch between studio and tour…we don’t really write on tour, it’s always been like that, we just don’t function progressively as a band on the road, we find and we want to do this it a bit disruptive album justice”. Don’t be sad little Late of the Pier lovers though, the new album’ll be coming up soon. “We’ve got a few ideas for the next one but we haven’t really started thinking about it. After the first album being quite loose, we were gonna say 'this is the direction of the second album' but you do kinda naturally find a new direction. The new songs seem to be saying something quite different; I’d say we’re growing up a bit. They’re a bit more grown up but they’re a bit more unhinged.” All in all, they’re pretty serious about the whole thing, not cut out for the everyday ‘Skins’ variety of angsty fun. The boys live wary lifestyles even if they are frenetically frantic on stage. Sam remains sceptical about anything that could damage his voice: “Losing your voice is like being trapped inside a little box” and Ross lives in a constant fear of breaking a finger. “I’ve never broken a bone in my life, I’m always really careful about what I do, even if I’m really drunk. Even if I’m doing something really stupid I’ll stop and be just like 'oooh is this a good idea?' It’s a cautious lifestyle”. So perhaps they’re just not the Skinsscenesters they’re made out to be, and just hardworking Midlands lads. But they do muck about a bit sometimes, although mainly with… ummm…

words. “We made our stage names up when we were feeling a bit silly. They’re the same as the band name really, just came out of thin air. ‘Late of the Pier’ just came from us messing about, being bored. Words are funny…aren’t they? Words are funny”. Yes well, words are funny. And funny times continue to their wardrobes, with velvet capes and all white skinny-jean Borrell-esque ensembles, Late of the Pier are defining style for a whole new generation of scenesters. “Some of us think about how to dress on stage, some of us don’t. But Latin glam thrash is pretty spot on..it’s part of us really. I think it’s more to do with the clothes we wear than the sound though. Latin glam thrash is pretty much how we dress really. It’s “another opportunity to be creative”. As are their infamous dance moves, which have previously compared to the Rocky Horror Show. “Nah, we don’t really have choreography… like, now ‘move into the centre, move out to the sides’…that would just be stupid.”

"LATIN GLAM THASH IS PRETTY MUCH HOW WE DRESS..."


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features- wherein vision tackles the biggest issues in music... JACKO is BACK-O! the debate - Is popular music too commecial?

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his year has been chosen by some of the greatest acts ever as the moment to attempt to relive their former glory, giving those who were alive at the time a chance to relive their youth and those who weren’t an opportunity to experience in all its live wonder music they’ve grown up listening to. This is, of course, a reference to Michael Jackson’s announcement that he is to perform 50 shows at the O2 arena as his final UK tour, as well as The Specials’ 30th Anniversary Tour. Michael Jackson’s tour is being hyped as the final chance to see the greatest performer, quite frankly ever, sing, dance and moonwalk his way back into musical respect and show that he is more than just a tragic freak-show. And it might, just, work. It was the O2 arena that Prince used in 2007 to project himself back into musical credibility (and a degree of financial rectitude) after a similar, although much less extensive, period of personal turmoil. However, Jackson hasn’t performed a series of concerts live since promoting ‘HIStory’ in 1996-7 best of, and even then many of the shows were mimed - his throat simply did not have the range to pull off his songs any more. His singular performance since, in 2001, raised questions about his ability to pull off his trademark dance moves, which can’t have been helped by his transition over the half-century mark. Further, given his inability or disinclination to turn up to a press conference, previous shows or even court on time, he is likely to test the amenability of an audience before putting one well-fashioned foot on the stage. There’s also the matter of venue size - Jackson is performing at the O2 arena (capacity 20,000) despite having pulled out of pre-recorded ‘American Idol’ in 2008 on the grounds of nerves. It’s therefore slightly doubtful that he’ll even turn up. It would be wonderful if Jackson could prove himself to be more than just a media spectacle but, in all honesty, he’s probably going to rely heavily on audience understanding that he’s nothing like the showman that he once was, but could really do with some more money before it’s too late. This doesn't, however, suggest discounting seeing older singers or bands because ‘they’ve had it once and when they pass a certain mark and are just cashing in on former glory through performances of pyrotechnic-enhanced-train-wreckage’. Some (thinking Madness and, possibly pushing it but here goes, Madonna) are still amazing live. They could give almost any band vast insight due to their wealth of experience, and it shows in their ability to play the audience. The Specials are of this ilk. Unlike Michael Jackson, their individual members have continued to perform in other groups since the band split. Neville Staple (vocals) alone can still get audiences of academy capacity with over a forty year age range dancing nonstop through gigs of up-beat original ska. With every hope to be proved wrong, this year won’t be marked by Michael Jackson’s success in extracting himself from the has-beens of music. However, whilst the ultimate creator of jaw-dropping spectaculars looks unlikely to re-enter the musical loop, there’s still every likelihood that reforming outfits who haven’t forgotten how perform to again will be wowing the world with their music.

By Kate Missenden

Joseph McDermott says yes...

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here is no denying that the fuel of the music industry is nothing more than cold, hard cash. While we might like to think that the industry thrives on creativity, critical acclaim or artist integrity that would be a naïve view; it’s sad but true that with regards to music, money talks. Although many bands start out with the ethos that it’s ‘all about the music’ it soon becomes all about the money. It is understandable, after all the band wants to make music as a career, not as a hobby, financial backing is the only way that a band can devote themselves entirely to their song-writing. In theory this should lead to our charts being filled with brilliantly written songs, each more fresh and exciting than the last. In practice this is certainly not the case; the charts are filled with the same old filler pop, and its becoming duller and duller. Record companies can’t afford to invest in music that won’t sell so instead of looking to fill the airwaves with risky singles they pour dollar after dollar into 'radio friendly unit shifters'. In our current economic climate, major labels simply don't see it as viable to gamble millions on a record that could shock and repulse as easily as it delights and inspires. The great irony is that by sticking so ridgedly to formulaic pop the public quickly become sickened and bored, new releases no longer ‘delight’ us and wading through the charts becomes a chore rather than a pleasure. One of the worst examples of commercialism creeping into music occured in the March of 2007. Atlantic Records announced that they were dropping Goldie Lookin Chain from their label. Atlantic cited poor sales of their second album ‘Safe As Fuck’ though GLC believed that the album had been badly promoted and they were dropped in order to secure funds for a contract being offered to James Blunt. Blunt’s following album, ‘All the Lost Souls’ may have been a commercial success (according to GLC it was ‘bought by forty-five year old housewives up and down the country’) but it was far from a critical success, reviews rarely gave it more than half-marks. The problem was that we'd heard it all before; there's nothing on this album that we hadn't already heard on 'Back to Bedlam'. In essence we'd sacrified Goldie Lookin Chain, one of the strangest, most innovative bands of the decade in favour of some one trick pony. The sad thing is that major labels won't change, everyday more bands are dropped simply for stepping outside of the box and experimenting with public opinion. Although smaller labels can provide an artist with the freedom, they simply don't have the financial clout to change the face of music. Do yourself a favour and shun the major labels, steal singles from Spotify and invest your money in albums which sound unlike anything you've heard before. Fighting commercialism is the only way to ressurect original music.

Hollie Price says No...

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mmm. It’s not a good start but I have to be honest…I don’t really know what being too commercial means. Surely if you’re in a band and it’s commercialised, it’s a good thing. If a song’s a Saturdays cover or a Fleet Foxes beauty, it doesn’t matter if the rest of the music scene’s too ‘commercial’. As long as people can sway along/jig about/ nod like a crazy thing then you’re all good. Yeah it all gets a bit silly when you have to start chugging cola-based products while cycling round a supermarket in sparkly hotpants… yeah Duffy, I'm talking to you. In this day and age, there’s definitely some bad bits of being commercial and it turns out that, apart from all the X-factor Alexandra Lewis/Leona Burke same old same old debacle, people are actually getting some taste due to the newfound access to music. The music scene today’s a bit like Wacky Races. Yeah, there’s your Dick Dastardly Duffy, but there’s the good guys too. You’ve got your Friendly Fires types as the Ant Hill Mob and Florence and the Machine as Penelope Pitstop. Elbow - leading the Music may be too commercial but charge against this is no bad thing when there is such a wide variety of characters, commercialism songs, bands and albums out on the track. The same old ‘commercial’ debate is getting a bit old; when it’s commercialism which has meant so much new talent and pretty great songs have drifted into the mainstream, why is it such a bad thing? It’s not all manufactured these days. Back in the day, those ‘a-bit-different’ singers like Bon Iver or wacky bands like Guillemots or MGMT or Late of The Pier wouldn’t have been given a second look. Now there’s a whole trend of searching out the newest songs and there’s too much variety about to be moaning about popular music being too commercial. You only have to give Radio One a little old listen to hear the influence of indie, folk, drum and bass, dance and quite a bit in between or to flick through NME to see…well alright quite a bit of skins-scenester shenanigans but least it’s not commercial. It’s not the best thing when a band like Elbow get shoved into the limelight with one Mercury Music Prize after touring and making albums for years. Then it’s all suddenly about being commercial. But then, the commercial nature of music means that bands like Elbow get the exposure they deserve at the end of the day. So although commercial didn’t work for them for all those years, after 'Seldom Seen Kid' and a Brit award no less, it’s kinda working for ‘em now. Whether music’s too commercial or not, you should be able to tell the good tunes for yourself at your age y’know. You’ve got your ‘fave band’, you’ve got the right threads for your crowd so don’t worry about the ones who follow the commercial crowd and are making like a can of fizzy pop and falling for Alexandra’s charms. Oh my. There’s no point in moaning about music being too commercial. If you don’t like it, go out and find your own musical scene, there’s enough little ones out there.

THE VISION STEREO...


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Joseph McDermott

invaders must die- OUT NOW

LA ROUX he Prodigy, famed for classics like 'Smack My Bitch Up' and T 'Firestarer',are back. And they’re as tight as ever. They have displayed their talent in abundance, yet surprisingly this is their

first to have reached theprestigious number one spot. While none of the songs on this album can compare to the furious 'Firestarter',there are still some great tracks. The top 5 single 'Omen' is amazingly catchy and has the potential to become a staple of sweaty club dancefloors. Another is Warrior’s Dance'. The mysterious intro builds into an epic song that’s just crying out to be single number two. There are fewer guest artists on this album compared to others, but it’s worth noting that Foo Fighter’s Dave Grohl drums on a couple of tracks. This album should be heard as a complete work, to listen on shuffle is to interrupt the magic, similarly turning it down only dulutes the sheer quality of this album. The tracks blend to create a fantastic Prodigy mass. In some ways, that’s a criticism - in places, it’s a tad repetitive, yet in other ways the consistency gices a great flow to the album. I’m undecided. Every listen seems to change my opinion. If you're already a fan of the Prodigy then you will not be disappointed by this album. However if you didn’t like them before, then this probably won’t convert you. On first listen this does not make much of an impact, but keep trying and you will be rewarded. It is The Prodigy doing what The Prodigy do best.

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SARAH RICHARDSON

'In For The Kill' OUT NOW The latest release by La Roux, a rising star of the synth-pop scene, is a perfect mix of catchy electro and stunning vocals. Simple instrumentation allows a showcasing of pitch perfect singing, enhanced by the rhythmic twists of her clever lyrics. Right from the off ‘In For The Kill’ is bursting with beats that call to mind the heyday of 80’s pop: highly polished and undeniably addictive. I can guarantee that La Roux will be huge in 2009.

PAPA ROACH

'Hollywood Whore' The Canadian metal heads return, and its like nu-metal never died. While ‘Hollywood Whore’, a satirical and cynical look at temporary fame, may lack musical finesse it can’t be accused of lacking passion or intensity. The lyrics are nothing more than a rolling list of clichés but once again they are delivered with a savage fervour. If you still love the Papa Roach of 2000 then you’re going to enjoy this latest release. The distorted power chords and screaming are both present and accounted for, proving that the band haven’t mellowed or indeed progressed since their inception (nearly a decade ago).

METRIC

'Help I'm Alive' OUT NOW

THE NOISETTES

THE HOURS

WILD YOUNG HEARTS

SEE THE LIGHT

30th MARCH

20th april

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hingai Shoniwa’s silk-smooth vocals soar into the sky, alongside swooping strings, and it’s immediately clear that the Noisettes have returned with their second album. OK, so the subject matter of 'Wild Young Hearts' is nothing groundbreaking, a collection of songs about men, love and loss. But here, they’ve enhanced their energy indie-motown sound from their ‘07 debut effort. “Don’t Upset the Rhythm” – yes, that song from the Mazda advert – might add a harder-hitting club edge to things, but the Noisettes prove again that they are best-suited to meaningful melodies. “Every Now and Then”, with its soft, undulating tune, allows heart-shaped-afro-styled Shoniwa’s pen to flow with wistful lyrics alongside her stunning voice. Still, it’s good to know this trio aren’t all quite so blandly lovey-dovey when it comes to their experiences. Proving that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, Shoniwa’s powerful, angry energy is something to behold in “Saturday Night”, a Vodka-Red Bull of a song with its welcome, lusty synth-energy kick: “I light you up and smoke you down / And watch your walls tumbling down.” These tunes do have the potential to get a bit samey after a few hearings, but make no mistake, this is a decent album of quality and range.

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ANDY MCGRATH

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ee The Light' is about people, communication, and reworking the over-trodden paths of indie-pop. It opens with gently melodic keyboards which develop into anthemic combinations of tinkling higher registers, rhythmic bass and driving drums. Both individual tracks and the album as a whole are rolling hills of interchanging simple slow-movement and rich, unadulterated power. As the album progresses The Hours demonstrate their prodigious skill and creativity . Despite their huge variety however, the Hours begin to sound mildly monotonous around halfway through the album. Their obsession with the issues facing people and relationships appears to have resulted in them forgetting that communication can be something other than an ordeal. The Hours are overwhelmed by angst in every element of their music to the point of it virtually suffocating some of their greatest creativity in a mass overpouring of emotion. Heard as individual tracks, most of this album cannot fail to impress; 'Big Black Hole' and 'See The Light' are truly mesmerising whilst 'Car Crash' and 'The Girl Who Had The World At Her Feet' are fantastically dramatic. Yet, when combined in 'See The Light' they conflict and make for a slightly disappointing net result for a band whose earlier output seemed to indicate something more.

KATE MISSENDEN

The latest release by Emily Haines’ purveyors of electro pop, Metric, is somewhat a disappointment. The single manages to limp through three and a half minutes without actually displaying even one original thought. Beats, bass and guitar provide a prosaic and terminally uninspired backing to Haines’ meandering vocals. The song never really seems to get going. The press release calls the song ‘sleek’, this couldn’t be further from the truth: ‘Help I’m Alive’ is rambling, graceless and unforgivably vapid.

DAN BLACK 'Alone' OUT NOW

Described as ‘a culture clash of soul, hip hop, rock and electronica’ Dan Black certainly has a difficult job to try and live up to such an eclectic billing. However he manages it: fantastic soulful vocals stand in contrast to an innovative backing of stabbing beats and funky electronica, this is certainly the ‘euphoric out-ofthe-box hit’ we’ve been promised. Black’s self-imposed exile to Paris has certainly aided and inspired his music by adding a wild eurotwist to the harmonies. ‘Alone’ is a triumph and almost certainly the start of something big.


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The Foxes

THE NEXT BIG THINGS...

Raw, angst-ridden indiepunk. The Foxes are a perfect mix of youth and ideology.

AND ONE YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED... Dan Deacon Thunderheist Quirky, experimental electronica. Electo-crunk duo Big bass mixed with intelligent lyrics, every DJ's new favourite band.

YEAH YEAH YEAHS ITS BLITZ

U2 no line on the horizon OUT NOW

If with 'It’s Blitz!' you’re anticipating another raw, pop-punk treat you may be a little disappointed. The rawness that charged previous efforts such as 'Fever to Tell', and was promised in 2007’s brilliant EP 'Is Is', is somewhat absent. In its place comes a more cohesive and polished album than they have released before. The album is built around a series of slower, contemplative and occasionally ethereal tracks. Whilst at times trying, and succeeding to set up a tantalising tension within their songs this is undermined by a feeling of repetition between. Of the slower material, 'Runaway' is the most deliciously haunting. Dragging in places, 'Little Shadow' leaves Karen O’s voice to irritate, which in an album where her vocals are something like a phenomena is disappointing. There are elements to this album which scream stadium-ready, in particular lead single 'Zero' and 'Heads Will Roll'. Implicitly the album pulls together nostalgic 80s synth beats and traces of 90s dance, to foreground tracks such as 'Shame and Fortune' and 'HWR'. Expect a remix of “HWR” coming to a substandard indie disco near you in the next couple of months. Fuelled by an addictive chorus that builds to an awesome crescendo, this is floor-filler in the making. All the same, despite my misgivings about the occasional slip, such as the vaguely nauseating lyrics of 'Hysteric', 'It's Blitz!' is beautifully addictive and I know that this album will be top of my most played for the foreseeable future.

✰✰✰✰✰

Often seen as challenging and confusing, Dan Deacon is never dull.

SARAH STRETTON

To the musically primative U2 are the ultimate stadium rock band, their sweeping choruses and sky scraping guitar lines have helped shift millions of shamelessly middle of the road albums over the years. Yet to those in possession of taste, that rarest of commodities, they remain the subject of relentless ire. Personally, I would hate to be that fickle wannabe music authority whose tastes are a mirror image of the hyperbole drenched pages of the music press. However it just isn’t cool to like U2, and let’s be honest, they are hardly a band to whom the terms innovative, understated and stylish easily apply. As far as U2 albums go, this is a manageable affair. But it is just so predictable, the meat and potatoes riffs, the tribal style drums and the ear drum piercing vocals. And it is the latter with which my main quibble with U2 lies - yes I mean Bono, a man whose name spelt backwards ( O Nob) says all you need to know. How a man so shamefully untalented became so shamelessly arrogant has always puzzled me. ‘No Line on the horizon’ then, is a familiar story; The Edge and co’s commendable musical accompaniment is perenially soured by Bono’s frankly embarassing lyrical attempts - “Time is irrelevant, it’s not linear. Then she put her tongue in my ear oh whoaaa” being the most instantly cringeworthy couplet. The thing is, a man with a face like Bono 'sis never going to be seductive, so he should stop addressing doubtless peturbed young women with the line “Hey sexy boots” - it is about as arousing as a pensioner’s athlete’s foot ridden toes. The problem with U2 is that they just seem irrelevant, the combination of lyrical nonsense and music made for arenas shaped like aircraft hangers, make it incredibly difficult to connect with. With the thankfully developing trend in the mass recognition of innovation and quality (See Elbow’s Mercury prize victory, or MGMT’s growth into a commercially successful indie juggernaught), bland stadium rocker slike U2 need to up their game. Yet as you might have gathered - they haven’t.

✰✰✰✰✰

MIKE REGAN


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ELBOW

O2 academy, sheffield 03-03-09

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oor old Elbow. The arbiters of musical taste have kept them waiting. It took five albums and eighteen years to achieve the mainstream success they surely deserved from the start; a Mercury Music Prize the reward for last year’s tour-de-force album, 'Seldom Seen Kid', and then the Best British Band gong at the Brits that followed a fortnight ago truly propelled them into the limelight. However, you get the impression that Elbow are happiest onstage, doing what they do best, sending delirious punters into sensual overdrive with their smooth melodies and intricate arrangements. As lead-singer Guy Garvey testifies: “the Brits were good- but it wasn’t our sort of party.” One thing is for sure, a cold and wet night in the Steel City most certainly is their kind of party. Elbow’s arrival onstage is heralded by the tumultuous trumpets of 'SSK' opener 'Starlings', and followed by more of their recent awardwinning material. One of the biggest cheers of the night is reserved for the arrival of Sheffield legend Richard Hawley, who collaborated with Garvey on 'The Fix'. However, the Sheffield crowd (most of whom are old enough to remember Hawley’s heyday) are truly sent into raptures by 'SSK'

shred yr face 2 rolo tomassi, fucked up, the bronx MANCHESTER CLUB ACADEMY

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EMMY THE GREAT leeds brudenell social club 20-02-09

28-02-09

don’t really get screaming” my friend announces ten minutes into the strained vocals of the first band of the night. This is a somewhat surprising revelation, given that we’re attending a leg of the second Shred Yr Face tour, for which the brand, after presenting trendy young noise mongers like No Age on its first outing last term, has come over all punk. The outfit to incite this epiphany are Sheffield’s finest purveyors of ‘spazzcore’, Rolo Tomassi. Sounding like the frantic clamours of an embattled spaceship, complete with the aforementioned screaming crew, they lack depth and direction but the pubescent band ooze charm and can’t help but endear. The next group up have an off-puttingly juvenile name, it’s true. But Fucked Up may also be the best band in the world today, so you should probably get over it. Delivering startlingly intelligent lyrics over crescendos of expansive noise that evoke ‘New Day Rising’ era Hüsker Dü, they combine a refreshing complexity with a unashamedly anthemic quality. Though perhaps suffering slightly tonight from the absence of their female backing vocals, lead singer Father ‘Pink Eyes’ Damien more than holds attention by himself: he bellows the lyrics to second song ‘Magic Word’ while idly toying with asphyxiation via an ad-hoc noose constructed around his neck using his microphone cord and a ceiling beam. Headliners The Bronx have produced three superlative albums of tight, brutal music which is free of the snobbery that seems to make some punk bands shy away from making their songs truly rock; and tonight they don’t disappoint on any of these fronts. Security are dismissed with twenty minutes to go in a gesture that is too unassumingly genuine to be scorned as some kind of neutered punk posturing, and the band thunder out the aural assault that is ‘History’s Stranglers’ through the swarms of frenzied kids who accordingly take to the stage. Perhaps tonight was not one for the unconverted: “I like them all as people” is the phrase my friend eventually lands on while searching for a diplomatic way to respond to the question of whether he enjoyed it. But for the rest of us, it veered dangerously close to perfection.

STEVEN WILLIAMS

standout tracks 'Grounds for Divorce' and 'Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver'- the soaring vocals of the latter track truly send a tingle down your spine when heard live. As any listener to Garvey’s 6Music radio show will know, his patter is good. You would not get an informal Q&A session in the middle of many gigs but Garvey’s easy charm pulls it off (he answers “what’s in the mug?” with “the elixir of eternal life- it doesn’t seem to be working”). After ending with the wonderful 'One Day Like This', Elbow are invited back for more, Garvey’s falsetto delivering with style in 'Weather to Fly' before pleasing the hardcore fans with beautiful older track 'Newborn'. Not your average rockers, members of Elbow come in various shapes and sizes, having incurred varying degrees of hair loss. However, like a good cheese they have matured over time and at last have achieved the commercial success to match their critical acclaim. Even if they areuncomfortable with their new position as a fixture in England’s musical elite, Elbow more than lived up to expectations with a live performance that proved to be a euphoric experience.

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hen Emmy came on stage, I almost didn’t notice. She didn’t make a thing of it. With a casual jacket all wrapped up round her, Emmy the Great appeared unassuming as she began to strum her guitar. She obliged her small club audience with a selection of songs from her debut album, ‘First

WILL WAINEWRIGHT

Love.’ And Emmy the Great certainly lived up to her name. Her opening song was ‘Easter Parade,’ a beautiful track that quickly captivated the crowd for both its wordiness and because its delivery was strikingly melodic. Emmy’s music, performed live, was as tuneful as it is on her records. And every one of her songs was delivered with the same charisma, and cute idiosyncrasies, that have made her such a likeable anti-folk songstress. She was cool, and composed, and at times a little cleverer than us. “You’ll like this one,” Emmy assured some rowdy people yelling at the stage. “It’s about T.V.” That particular one was ‘24,’ and like several of her songs it was melancholic but like all of her songs it was catchy, and you could tell it meant a lot to her. Other memorable performances include the quirky ‘First Love’ and ‘M.I.A.’ Another notable aspect of the gig came in the form of Emmy’s band mate Ric Hollingbery. Hollingbery also fronted the first of the two folksy support acts, The Pengilly’s. He played some ukulele, some guitar and even a violin solo, and stood out as an impressive stage presence -slash- really nice guy. It was a good show and you should have been there.

LISA MORRIS

FRANZ FERDINAND manchester academy 1

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06-03-09

t’s been a long while since I last saw a band receive such a rapturous welcome to the stage, but Franz Ferdinand did more than enough to repay the excitement that greeted them in Manchester. The opening trio of ‘Matinée’, upcoming single ‘No You Girls’ and ‘Do You Want To’ laid the foundation for a setlist filled with highlights from across their back catalogue. Most of their 80 minute set was packed with the punchy deliveries Franz Ferdinand are famous for, occasionally giving way to extended versions of songs, including the call-and-response during ‘40’’. ‘Take Me Out’ was powered through, dedicated to those fans who’d given the band support ever since their Manchester debut, supporting Interpol in 2003. Newer songs saw Nick

McCarthy trade his guitar for a synth, allowing the ever-reliable rhythm section to shine through, driving the songs forward with drums. ‘Bite Hard’, in particular, was electrifying. The encore was especially memorable, heavy beats accompanying a show of retro projections and wild lights. After ‘Ulysses’ and ‘Lucid Dreams’ shot by, ‘Outsiders’ climaxed with the whole band grabbing sticks and playing Paul Thomson’s drum kit, before ‘This Fire’ got the whole crowd jumping, crowd-surfers going over the top by the dozen. Not a bad night, all told.

PETE BURGESS


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THE RAKES

JOSEPH McDERMOTT TELLS YOU WHY:

H They tell daft jokes. As I walk into the empty venue I’m greeted by the band who asks: “Are you here for the interview?” I answer "yeah," and they reply with utterly straight faces: “the Morrison’s interview?” It’s a ridiculous joke but the without even a flicker of smile The Rakes have me thrown, I’m not sure why I’m here anymore! We end up staring at each other in a confused silence for the longest thirty seconds of my life until bass player Jamie Hornsmith begins to smirk and puts me out my misery: “Shall we start the interview,” he laughs. They’ve got some great stories. The hallmark of a good band is how well they tell their stories, and lead singer Alan Donohoe races through his anecdotes at a hundred miles per hour, virtually unprompted: “We were playing at an illegal warehouse party in London. It was full of techno DJs so I don’t really know how we got the gig. The DJs stopped and the announced “Yeah, ok The Rakes are playing now…” and they put on these massive, bright lights when it had been dark for the DJs. We started to play all our punk stuff and some guy jumped on the stage to try and switch our amps off so I cracked him over the head with my guitar. It was a pretty raucous punk-rock gig. We really ruined the atmosphere for all those people, off their heads on pills who had come out for a night of minimalist techno. We had to walk through the crowd at the end, it was awful… actually it was a really good gig, definitely memorable.” They write about reality. The Rakes are realistic when it comes to writing songs they know what their limits are: “initially we were known for writing songs about working and going out but seeing as we haven’t had a proper job for about five years we can’t really write authentically about that” laments Alan. It’s a commendable attitude in an industry where lyrics are almost always contrived and meaningless, but ultimately begs the question: what is ‘Klang’ (their latest album) about? For a moment I dreaded they might have reverted to my worst fear, instrumental indie! Luckily this isn’t the case; Alan continues “We were looking for universal themes that can apply for every man and every woman.” Blatantly this is a band who wants to make music relevant to our lives; this isn’t the soulless nonsense we’ve come to expect from the British charts.

Their new album was written with the strangest musical themes. All albums (or at least those worth a listen) are written within the confines of musical themes, according to The Rakes ‘Klang’ was written with two very strange ideas: “Musically the key words were ‘playful’ and ‘schizophrenia’, not madness but just having unexpected parts to the music, to keep it exciting.” We all know how important it is to keep music fresh and interesting and The Rakes aren’t afraid to take risks in combing strange new sounds with an energy that infuses all their songs with a fresh and fascinating tinge. They’re fighting to improve our music scene. Recently the band courted controversy by calling the London music scene ‘dull’ and comparing it to ‘wading through a swamp of shit’. When you consider the calibre of the bands when The Rakes started out (all of five years ago) the music scene was so much more bright and stimulating than it is now. Jamie explains that “with guitar music in the UK the scene has got a bit old. When we first came out the scene was exciting, bands like Franz Ferdinand and Bloc Party were just starting out while the Libertines had just split up; there were a lot of great bands kicking about. Now it seems a bit generic, top-man, skinny jeans all that sort of thing.” This band is on to something, it would take a brave man to try and argue that the latest group of indie boys are anything like as innovative as their predecessors. Alan pipes up “You can’t say that The Wombats are exciting or different.” He’s right isn’t he! They are a democratic band. Every member of The Rakes is equal. Theres no pecking order or heirarchy in the band: '‘The band is a bit of a democracy" says Alan. "If theres a Chris Martin in the band who just comes in and says I’ve written a song then surely the rest of Coldplay don’t really feel like part of a band. Everyone should have a part in a song or else you just end up as session guys." The band believe this approach is the best way to write the perfect tunes: "We try not to get bogged down in the tiny details. At the end of the day whats most important is the overall sound. It needs to be tight, new and full of energy."


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Vision's Top 5...

Most Pathetic Superheroes

FROM NIPPLES TO NOLAN

5.Catwoman

David Elliott CHARTS THE EVOLUTION OF THE SUPERHERO Heath Ledger’s posthumous Supporting Actor Oscar win at the 2009 Academy Awards was undoubtedly a significant event. Having first emerged from The Dark Knight in a haze of Heath-mania (understandably, given Ledger’s undeniably volatile portrayal of the Joker), people were now beginning to wonder to what extent his performance would be judged in the context of his tragic death. However, nobody seemed to realise that 10 years ago, any suggestion that a supporting actor in a superhero movie could be nominated for an Oscar would have been deemed preposterous. Circumstances have changed. A superhero movie of the modern day is a different beast. To be a successful supervillain, you need to be ambiguous. To be a successful superhero, you need to be not a hero at all. Or, as Hancock and Superhero Movie have so disastrously made clear, not funny at all. But I’m getting ahead of myself. The superhero tradition, now perhaps mutated for good, began a long, long time before Christopher Reeve ever even came within striking distance of a pair of red Y-fronts. The tradition stretches right back past Robin Hood, who incidentally also harboured a love for wearing tights while fighting crime, to Hercules himself. Of course, Superman is our modern day Hercules, a hero from another world, blessed and cursed with both mind-blowing powers and the somewhat tragic obligation to use them in the defence of an (to him) alien population. Superman was soon joined by Captain America, Batman and the Fantastic Four, all with similarly unshakeable moral compasses, in the bewilderingly camp battle against eternal evil. Richard Donner’s Superman, released in 1978, was the first big-screen outing for the big guy, and subsequently pushed a whole host of these costumed adventurers into the cinematic limelight. From innumerable Superman sequels to Tim Burton’s gothic interpretation of Batman in 1989, the viewing public couldn’t seem to watch this glut of superhero movies quickly enough. The 90s saw the ‘dark’ superhero emerge from obscurity, spurred on by the likes of the Crow and Spawn, in a legacy continued to this day with Guillermo del Toro’s self-explanatory Hellboy. It seemed perhaps that Hollywood was beginning to catch up with the moral ambiguity of the ‘graphic novel’, either the comic’s older brother or a pathetic attempt to give cartoons some literary credibility, depending on who you ask. Joel Schumacher, disastrously, didn’t notice and crapped out the Arnie-tastic Batman and Robin. Sam Raimi had a brief misjudged fling with the dark side in Spiderman 3, but, having struggled through the soggy mess of Elektras and Ghost Riders, it took Christopher Nolan’s reboot of the Batman franchise in 2005 to let the world know that superhero movies now warranted serious Academy attention. But there was one comic that producers dared not touch. Alan Moore’s Watchmen had, in 1986, utterly revolutionised the concept in a complex and relevant psychoanalysis of costumed superheroes. And no-one noticed. Long-considered unfilmable, it has only now made its way onto our screens. Whether it will be as revolutionary as its parent comic remains to be seen, but one thing is sure: the adolescence of the cinema’s superheroes has passed, and Watchmen’s conflicted, often fascist and sex-obsessed protagonists provide a more realistic model for the modern vigilante than George Clooney in a nipply Batman suit ever could.

As a supervillain, Michelle Pfeifer’s Catwoman was purr-fect: sexy, sophisticated and complex, everything Halle Berry’s bland, make-up hating, do-gooder, whose sole superpower seemed to be the ability to become CGI whenever she was required to do anything more complicated than walking, was not.

4.The Blob Technically, not a superhero but a supervillain, the Blob deserves a place on this list becasue he's effectively just a really really fat guy who happens to be a little bit evil. This McFlurry-slurping malcontent will be making his first big screen appearance later this year in X-men Origins: Wolverine and will be played by Kevin Durand; apparently Chris Moyles was unavailable.

3.Cyclops Ok, so having the ability to shoot lasers from your eyes is quite cool. Cyclops however manages to completely suck the fun out of this by being so straight laced and sanctimonious all the damn time that he ends up seeming like a kind of spandex clad Chris Martin.

2. Nite Owl Paunchy, middle-aged and unable to have sex unless he’s wearing a latex costume, Nite Owl couldn’t really be less cool if he tried. The best thing that can be said for him is that he seems like a nice guy.

1. Robin Other than Batman, does anyone actually like Robin? From geewhizzing buffoonery in the 60’s to square-jawed inanity in the late ‘90’s, this is a character whose onscreen incarnations have never failed to annoy. It will be interesting to see if/how Christopher Nolan’s juggernaut franchise tackles this jumped up little clown.

Charles Rivington

Do film adaptations of books always ruin the source material? Laura Cress says...

YES With the release of Watchmen, it seems only fair to pass judgement on the increasing laziness of Hollywood in plucking well established books, plays and comics and then destroying their beautifully crafted wordsmithery by simplifying the story by roughly 1,000 Simplars (the units of dumbing-down). This may be harsh to point out, since there have certainly been many critically acclaimed book to film adaptations, such as Oscar winners like Lord of the Rings. The fact is, however, that even well made films lose something in their transformation from book to film – Tolkein’s trilogy stretches for approximately 1,000 pages, whereas the films run under ten hours. Therefore, whilst for some of the better efforts, ‘ruin’ seems a harsh word, essentially a book to film adaptation cuts out the parts which would make the film annoyingly long but for a reader creates a much more detailed character or place. Perhaps surprisingly for some the most annoying adaptation for this lowly film watcher is Fight Club, ‘surprisingly’ because many have no idea that it’s a book at all. Upon reading Chuck Palahniuk’s novel, it soon becomes clear that the film has taken every single line from the book and then pasted them into Brad Pitt’s mouth. It may seem odd, arguing that adaptations never work because they miss details, then complaining that Fight Club doesn’t miss anything and is worse off for it. However it does grate that if I decided to blurt out suddenly, “I am Jack’s raging bile duct”, apart from edging away, most people would now connect this only to the film, not the book, even though essentially they are very much the same. Spare a final thought for Stephen King: he thought Kubrick ruined his novel The Shining so much that he decided to make his own version; now not only does nobody associate his book with the title, but his film is also ignored.

Tom McDermott says...

NO

There exists today a large, and in my opinion unjustified, stigma against films which have been adapted from books. I can think of several reasons for this. Firstly, when people see the words “based on the novel…” on a movie poster they almost immediately expect a shot for shot remake of what their imagination has already produced; something which is completely beyond the realm of possibilities for even the most prolific filmmakers.Secondly, people do not realise that although there may be some crossovers between book and film they are really very different formats. Finally, perhaps the most important reason for the bad reputation of book adaptations is that only the failures stick in people’s minds. People quickly forget films like The Prestige and Shrek which not only do justice to the books but improve them immensely, dropping unnecessary plot lines and bringing new levels to simple ideas respectively. Not many people realise that for five of the past ten years, films which have been based on books or short stories have won the Best Picture Oscar. Are these awardwinning films ruining the books on which they are based? Surely not! Often bookworms decry the fact that films divert from the original story or missing out or, more controversially, adding in a detail here or there but again this isn’t something to get upset about; film adaptations need to be more accessible so that more people can get pleasure from them. Films such as the Lord of the Rings Trilogy quite often prove to be adept at navigating the line between pleasing the fans of the books and drawing in new viewers, not an easy task but done well a surprisingly large amount of the time.


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Gran Torino

D

Watchmen

Dir. Clint Eastwood

uring its development a rumour surfaced about Gran Torino which made me extremely excited about it: that it was the final instalment in the Dirty Harry franchise. Even though this proved to be false it is undeniable that the gritty spirit of Harry Callahan is being channelled through Clint’s latest character, Walt Kowalski. Walt is a character that, despite his surly demeanour and unapologetic racism, it would be very hard not to sympathise with. His wife has recently died; he is constantly disappointed by a family with whom he has nothing in common and the neighbourhood he has lived in for years is slowly being taken over by immigrants and gangs. People looking for a gun-toting action flick about gangs and vigilantes will be disappointed but that is no reason to completely write off the movie. The character driven story unfolds slowly, with Walt going from reluctant to have any part in the lives of his new Hmong neighbours to taking his young neighbour, Tao, played by Bee Vang, under his wing after a failed attempt to steal his 1972 Gran Torino. The news that this was Clint’s final role as an actor will, I am sure, be greeted by a great deal of sadness but he has certainly gone out on a high. The role of Walt Kowalski is perfect for Clint and as such his performance is pitch-perfect. No other role would have allowed such a feeling of satisfaction in the hearts of fans at the end of such a distinguished career.

✰✰✰✰✰

Tom McDermott

The International Dir. Tom Tykwer

Dir. Zack Snyder

W

atchmen, as you probably already know, is Zach Snyder’s cinematic adaptation of Frank Moore’s mind-expanding work of genius which happens to be in comic book form. The plot, which spans at least four decades and deals intimately with a vast number of characters, is almost impossible to sum up but on a very basic level it’s a kind of sprawling murder mystery set in a alternative 1985 amongst a group of ex-costume heroes. Given how insanely complex the book is, I had always agreed with Alan Moore’s assessment of his novel as being inherently ‘unfilmable’ but after seeing Snyder’s incredibly faithful, bordering on reverent adaptation, I almost want to change my mind... almost. Snyder’s film does a lot of things right. The dark noir atmosphere in the scenes in which masked misanthrope Rorshach (the fantastic Jackie Earle Hadley) pounds the streets of New York is spot on surpassing even Christopher Nolan’s Gotham City and the music, which includes Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and Wagner’s ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ (used to chilling effect in the Vietnam scenes), creates a very effective sense of time and place. The thing that is most impressive about Snyder’s film though (but also arguably its biggest failing) is its meticulous faithfulness to its source material and, if you have read the book, you will probably spend much of the film as I did, geekily rejoicing at the inclusion of minor characters or the many frames of the film that have been lifted unchanged from the novel. If you haven’t, you will probably spend much of the film’s impressive running time desperately trying to understand what on Earth (and Mars) is going on. Having said this, Snyder does stray from the source material in two ways. The first is in the violence; the book was never going to be a Disney cartoon but the film seems to be pandering to a desensitised, blood-thirsty audience by including many scenes of grotesque violence that weren’t in the book and even changing scenes (such as a key scene in Rorshach’s back story) to make them more violent. The second deviation is a brave stroke of genius but as it concerns the ending is almost impossible to talk about without spoiling the film. As I mentioned earlier, Moore’s book was often thought to be unfilmable and in a sense Snyder’s highly impressive film, which although far from the travesty many fans were expecting, proves this by being the best film anyone could possibly have made using the source material but still being an overlong, confusing yet highly ambitious mess.

✰✰✰✰✰

Charles Rivington

A

few years ago there didn’t seem to be much hope for the action thriller – Bond just didn’t cut it anymore and it was hard to see where the series could go from the terrible Die Another Day. Step in Mr Jason Bourne and a slick, realistic feel that blew all ideas of unnecessary explosions and ridiculous gadgets out of the water. Now look to the present; where after an excellent Casino Royale and a bemusing Quantum of Solace there seems to be a similar lull. Is The International the next Bourne Identity, is it about to revolutionise the genre once more? The short answer: hell no. The desperately-trying-to-be-realistic story of an Interpol agent, Clive Owen, who, after witnessing the murder of a colleague, teams up with a US District Attorney, Naomi Watts, in order to topple one of the world’s largest banks secretly steeped in corruption is laughable, especially due to the current economic climate where banks are about as powerful as two day old kittens. However, whoever judged a Bond film for its accurate portrayal of the world? The film does go some way in seducing the audience into ignoring the fairly bland plot, for as globe-trotting adventures go, this is quite a treat for the eyes. Director Tom Tykwer leads us across glittering Central European landscapes and bustling city streets that on occasion evoke the feel of Michael Mann’s LA in Heat; alive and often very atmospheric. One particular shoot out in the Guggenheim in New York is particularly memorable as bullets fly across the screen and scenery gets torn up, creating an unrelenting yet riveting set piece. It is a shame, therefore, that crowded around this set piece is mindless exposition. The script here is clunky at best, with Eric Warner Singer writing such “epic” lines as “Sometimes you find your destiny on the road you took to avoid it.” Other than stealing ideas from Robert Frost’s poetry, Singer’s script really slows down the pace of the film, so that frankly Owen and Watts do well enough just to make their characters vaguely interesting instead of completely soulless. It does get fairly tiring, however, seeing Clive Owen walk towards the camera with a brooding/menacing face – this is not a film that is going to give you the benefit of a brief chuckle now and then, unless you indulge in a game of count the number of brooding/ menacing facial expressions. All in all, this is not the street wise thriller some may have been looking for, and probably would be best experienced on an HD screen with the sound turned down to zero.

✰✰✰✰✰

Laura Cress

Experiment With...

Dir. Lee Tamahori

T

hink you know New Zealand? Well, forget everything Lord of The Rings and those annoying adverts on TV have taught you; New Zealand, like anywhere else, has problems. Once Were Warriors is a domestic tragedy from the raw heart of the Maori underclass. It depicts the barren lives of a family locked in a cycle of violence, poverty, crime and drinking. Beth Heke (Rena Owen) is a strong willed mother who wants to provide a better life for her children but when faced with the harsh realities of life in a South Auckland slum is consistently seduced by the escapism of drink. Jake, her husband, perhaps one of film’s most fearsome characters is a man filled with resentment, hate and a feeling of inadequacy that frequently manifests itself in bouts of fury. Grace (Mamaengaroa Kerr-Bell), their eldest daughter is the real heart of the film; she seems to grasp the futility of the family’s existence and wants to break free through education whereas her brothers turn to gang culture and crime. The film explores the effects of traditional indigenous culture forced into urban society, coupled with the problems of social deprivation that often face poorly educated groups with differing value systems. The final scene shows that it is not Maori culture that is at fault but the mismanagement of their integration that has failed to expose the nobility and power of their culture. Under the careful direction of Lee Tamahori Once Were Warriors is a truly shocking movie. Its violence and scenes of social deprivation appal even today’s desensitized audiences. If you can endure the scenes of brutal realism what emerges is a film that will leave you moved, emotionally drained and hopefully more appreciative of dark aspects of not just a localised issue but one that is global.

Andy Nichols


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teleVISION

i want to go home now....

TURN ON...

The BBC is a beacon of British broadcasting. So why is it that when I go abroad and I watch BBC it is utterly shit? By Scott Bryan

I

am going to start this article awfully posh, public school... When I was in Singapore… yahh harrr, (I warned you I warned you didn’t I) I felt rather homesick in my hotel. I had just arrived, I was dehydrated (I didn’t realise that turning up in a tropical country near the equator wearing a coat wasn’t helpful), confused (there was an oriental market and prayer centre next to an O’Brien’s and a Marks and Spencer’s) and robbed (I stupidly packed HP sauce into my hand luggage leaving Australia and I was subsequently questioned about terrorism charges by border patrol). I was tired. By myself. In a different country, in a different continent. I didn’t feel that well. In fact I felt truly shit to be frankly honest. So low and behold as I was scrolling through my hotel TV channels (sadly the sexy sexy channels were blocked as I was informed by the hotel receptionist that I didn’t give my credit card in as deposit for the room) I was pleasantly surprised that I had BBC World News and BBC Entertainment at my disposal. A bit of glee hit my face. It really couldn’t be... BBC World?! Wow... BBC! Just what the doctor ordered. It is Britain in a 14 x 38 screen… The best of British programming (including ITV being sold off to the general public for £23.60. Amazing. and Channel 4), Newsround, Betty’s Hotpot, Queen’s English This is then followed in the listings by the world-renowned accents and nature programmes by Attenborough. For once I Location Location Location Location Location Location was genuinely excited. I stretched, saw the TV remote on the Location (x55). A show that is just genuinely dire, as Phil and side cabinet next to my bed, reached over, reached just a little Kirsty show a receptionist from Stoke a three bedroom buntoo much, fell of the bed and landed face first on the floor. galow in Leamington Spa which has got a nice balcony and easy access to available schools. A few observations can be In the next few minutes I thought that I had mild concussion and was suffering from hallucinations. No... that couldn’t be… made here. Firstly why would anyone outside the UK actually that couldn’t be David Dickinson on the TV can it? I am abroad care about these people’s relocation? Secondly does anyone in Singapore, America, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Bangalore, Auckland in Singapore. There is no place in programming for David Dickinson. That couldn’t be right. I dazed at the orangeness of and Thailand know where Leamington Spa is? More importanthis face as he was holding a small kitchen clock to the screen in ly does anyone actually want to know where Leamington Spa a car boot sale near the M3. At this time I was still on the floor, is? I don’t even know where Leamington Spa is. All that I know my face looking up to the screen at a sideways angle… I truly is that it has many three bedroom bungalows with easy access thought I was seeing things. It had been a weird day so far, but to nearby schools which I frankly don’t give a rat's arse about. not as weird as this. These ruddy generic dire British shows just get spurned out I got up, picked up the to these netnearest English works, which speaking newssomehow THERE IS 'HOW CLEAN IS YOUR HOUSE?' WHICH MAKES BRITAIN LOOK blends all of the paper to hold and had a look elements of telat the schedevision we most DIRTY, 'JORDAN AND PETER' WHICH MAKES BRITAIN LOOK INBRED... hate into kebab ules. Fuck me. Where vomit inducing are the chunks of foreign channel fun. There is How Clean is your House?, which just good programmes that should resemble Britain as a well known TV show maker? From memory using that day as an e makes Britain look dirty and gives the perception that we roll xample, the schedule starts at 8am when there is an hour of around in our own filth, Jordan and Peter which makes Britain look inbred, Last of the Summer Wine which makes us Brits Dangerfield (a pointless programme that gets me confused with Dangermouse), followed by the direness of Hotel Babylon, then look like we have the ability to laugh at absolutely anything Dangerfield again (the same ruddy episode), then Absolutely that appears on the screen (whether its old people, the setting Fabulous at half eleven in the morning. This was then followed or the fact that we all drink tea) and then 10 Years Younger, by Top Gear which was fine, then Absolutely Fabulous dashed which makes us just look like freaks, morons and just plain on in case you missed it the first time round, then Last of the shallow. I am not saying that these programmes should not be Summer Wine, then Hotel bloody Babylon again! No what on shown abroad because of a need for arrogant self pride or inorearth is actually going on here? Why does the BBC believe der not to appear nationally weak. No, it is because all of these that people have a short term memory loss and can’t actually programmes are shit. remember the monumental shit programme that has just been The only saviour is BBC World News. It’s like BBC News. It shown? has the pips at the top of the hour and the common news logo Since I went to Singapore two years ago the BBC has decided (you know the one that looks like an orange is being peeled to launch another television station… BBC Lifestyle. And what and used as an accordion). Still every 15 minutes it cuts away is this great symbol of BBC pride and British high standard to a baffling news menu. I take it that in some countries this of programming that has launched the likes of Planet Earth, is time for BBC commercials to be shown, but why the viewers Doctor Who, QI, Pride and Prejudice to our screens showing? who don’t get this privilege have to watch a reporter saying Cash in the Attic. Cash in the bloody Attic. A show is transmiton screen in a promotion ‘Yes well we all know and like clog dancing here in Amsterdam. But where are clogs made? And ting up to 285 million viewers around the world a couple from why are they made out of wood? And why do people from the Doncaster Netherlands wear them? And why do some people call this who want to get rid of country Netherlands while others call it Holland?’ Find out in ‘Clogging all over the World’ on BBC World News every 6.30 on their daughGMT. Then they somehow manage to squeeze the whole weathters clutter when she er of our entire world ecosystem into thirty three seconds. The weather map simply glides over the world without a care. pisses off to Alex the weatherman is simply lost saying ‘London: sunny and University. This is a procold. France is nippy. Then to San Francisco where it is hot. Bangalore: chilly. East Coast Australia: hurricane. Watch out gramme that spends forty for that. BYE!’ five minutes So back in that Singaporian hotel room, I eventually gave up with Ab Fab, pointless news and weather and then turned dusting off dollies and it over to their own state news followed by a dreadful domestic Sylvanian soap that made me feel like I should stab my own eyes with the Families that complementary biscuits found with my free tea in my hotel look like they room. The show was shit, but at least we didn’t make it. deserves to be in a skip,

...TURN OFF STOP YELLING AT US PLEASE! Believe it or not but here at Vision TV Towers (a subsidiary of York Vision Ltd.) we actually listen to your views from time to time. Lucky old you this is one of these times. Hollyoaks is back. Woah baby baby!

Over the next week the bizarre love triangle/squares/god-knows-whatshape continue to rotate and gain more and more members. Hannah continues to fall for Justin yet remains fooled by Ash’s smooth talk, whilst Leila realises that she still loves Justin and asks Elliott (the most unlikely stud ever) to remain silent about their own drunken kiss. Meanwhile tension builds between bisexual trio Kris, Nancy and Ravi, leading up to the moment we have all been waiting for when Nancy catches both her men in the act.

In terms of the younger and weirder characters, yet more problems occur in possibly the most annoying triangle involving Newt, Anita and Lauren with a bit of meddling by the newest McQueen family member, the very orange Theresa. Newt and Anita finally kiss, making Lauren increasingly more irritatingly Emo, however Theresa pushes her to go further with him and nothing goes to plan when they are walked in on by Darren.

Beyond these bizarre and mixed up relationships there is a slightly more amusing storyline involving Darren’s new job as a toilet attendant and Cindy having to accept this. Nancy also manages to get punched by Jacqui, which should make for some good entertainment as there does seem to have been a bit of a lack of good oldfashioned McQueen violence recently. SOPHIE GRENCIS


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GAMES Game of the week Kevin Day reviews and recommends the new Street Fighter for anyone who wishes to release their repressed rage.

F

However Street Fighter IV fails to achieve perfection due to some niggling issues – although there are eight levels of difficulty most players will initially struggle with the default setting as the AI tends to resort to ‘cheap’ tactics to win. The steep learning curve is not helped by slower gameplay which, combined with difficult controls, serves to make the game feel clunky at times. The online matchmaking system is flawed (it takes several attempts to join a match) and the boss battle rates as one of the most underrated and frustrating of all-time. All flaws aside, Street Fighter IV still makes for a great title that you’ll find wanting to go back to time and time again, and ultimately, a title best enjoyed with a couple of mates and a few beers. Four out of five hadokens.

ans of fighting games will be pleased to know that Street Fighter IV marks a solid return to form for Capcom’s franchise and takes its place as leader of the pack (bearing in mind a lack of real competition). The creators have retained most of the gameplay aspects whilst introducing some new elements (Focus Attacks and Ultra Combos) that add to the depth of combat. Graphically everything is well-presented with characters, backgrounds and effects now rendered lushly in 3D and designed to give an artistic handdrawn look. As such some may bemoan a lack of substantial innovation on part of the game but many would be hard pressed to change a winning formula. Newcomers and hardcore gamers alike will also be satisfied by eight levels of difficulty which cater for both ends of the spectrum. A wide variety of characters ensures that there is someone for everyone although some play far superior to others.

PC Classic - Civilization IV (PC)

C

ivilization is a turn based strategy game in which you attempt to survive through the ages; beginning as a settler in the early Stone age, aiming to expand your empire until you become the ultimate Civilization by the end of the Space Age. You can choose from a wide range of historically renowned Civilizations and leaders, from Caesar to Winston Churchill, Babylonian to English. Work your way to the top by creating cities, discovering new technologies, trade, religion, diplomacy and culture, and fighting other realms. Civilization IV is the latest and best in the series; with better graphics, more technological advancements, the introduction of religion and culture as well as far more Civilizations to choose from. The creators of the game have also included more wonders, resources and variety in the military. There are over 80 technologies in this new, improved game, starting with the basics; the wheel, the alphabet and hunting, progressing to the more advanced genetics, rocketry and beyond! You are given the choice to decide which technologies will most benefit your civilization; would you rather artillery or rocketry, horseback riding or writing, education or the printing press? Overall,Civilization is an engrossing and enjoyable game that is well worth a go.

Football Manager 2009 (PC)

F

irst things first – I am obssesed with Football Manager. At the height of my addictions, it would be the first thing I thought of when I woke up, and the last thing before I went to bed, and I would strive to play it at any free moment during the day. So surely the latest version in the hugely successful series, with up-to-date player stats, more accesible gameplay, and of course, the holy grail, 3D graphics, would be the same? Well, no, actually The players stats do seem fairer. Players who are pacy, but sometimes fail to deliver a final ball (step forward Aaron Lennon) have this refected in their abilities. Similarly, Paul Scholes has Paul Scholes’ passing skill, but he also has Paul Scholes’ tackling ability. The layout of the menus (always a potential problem on previous games) has been cleaned up, leaving us with a far more accesible style. So it’s all sounding fairly good so far. However, the major problem hasn’t been discussed yet. The 3D pitch. I don’t like it, even early Nintendo 64 games outclass it. Secondly, it causes the game to run much slower than previously, So it sounds, from the previous paragraph in particular, like I’m not a huge fan of this game. This isn’t true, but I just feel they could have made bigger steps and advancements this year. Hopefully FM ‘10 will provide dramatic, big improvements.

Mike Warren and Becky Riffel

Want to write about games? Email vision@yusu.org!

Rob Short


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VICTORIA LOVEGREEN and some resident pensioners delve into York's literary history

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he 28th February-15th March sees the celebration of York Literary Festival. This clearly sounds like the sort of thing a deputy book editor might like to get involved in, and so with such a combination of books, and freakishly good weather for a British March, I decided to head out on the Literary tour of York. Awaiting expectantly outside the gates of the Museum gardens I looked around at my fellow loiterers guessing if they were indeed queuing for the tour bus nearby, or were waiting like me to find out about all the hidden literary references to York that had occurred throughout the decades. Two middle aged women arrived and stood near the sign expectantly, an elderly couple joined us, as did a man with a Somerfield shopping bag, two confused tourists and a hippyish woman carrying music sheets. These were to become my fellow tour-goers. Fifteen minutes late our guide arrived, a sweet elderly woman with huge glasses and a notebook. Stepping into the gardens we began our tour. Gathered around this woman she read us snippets of modern author Kate Atkinson’s novel ‘Behind the scenes of the museum.’ This was not the museum we were stood in front of, which did have me worried slightly, but another of York’s museums, the Castle Museum. The extract the tour-guide had chosen did reveal why I was stood with this bizarre collection of people after all as it was a lovely description of the park. Moving out towards the ruins of the gardens the tour-guide began to talk of Mystery Plays, a medieval phenomenon of bible stories performed on

wagons which trundled through town stopping at random intervals to perform their piece. This age old tradition having been revived in York. Two of the local middle-aged women on the walk began reminiscing about their favourite show of all time when Robson Green graced the museum gardens with his portrayal of God. After much swooning over Robson Green which I couldn’t really participate in, we were promised a look at an actual oneoff copy of a Mystery Play held in the York archives, a treat for sure! But before the archives we stepped out from the gardens and after a short walk arrived at the Church of St Olaf, the patron saint of Norway. Although an interesting curiosity, the link to literature, apart from the Bible, was unobvious. It turns out the church was commissioned by the Earl of Seafield, the same earl whose son stars in Shakespeare’s own Macbeth! I couldn’t help but feel a bit underwhelmed, clearly a sentiment lost on the others who actually seemed interested. Sighing I left the church, trying to ignore the man with the Somerfield bag who had now started mumbling. Turning right at the end of the road we walked down a street of rather posh houses to a plaque signalling the home of WH Auden, famous writer and poet of, to name but one, ‘Stop All The Clocks’, famously read by John Hannah in Four Weddings

T C E J B U S G IN S S U C IS D A O

n a recent expedition to our capital, the freshly-shined city of London, I was treated with a few extra hours of spare time - as my sense of direction thrives on false confidence, I instinctively flipped open my little phone and found someone who’d have access to an array of internet mapping devices, in hope of discovering some time-wasting activity within walking distance. After a brief exchange of words, and my insistence that standing in the barriers to the premiere of Marely and Me (taking place at Leister Square) would be comparable to Chinese water torture, I was directed to a familiar and reassuring sight: Piccadilly’s Waterstones. After relaxing in their café, which involved consuming my own weight in whipped-cream from a chocolate drink that seemed hell-bent on inducing diabetes, I ventured upstairs towards the thinly-sliced wood pulp displays that clutch our inky dreams for all to see: books. Naturally, being a postmodernist feminist prose-poem enthusiast, I made for the Plath (whom I later discovered was buried in West Yorkshire, prompting me to consider a poetic pilgrimage of sorts to pay fair tribute) – however, my journey was altered after I spied the ‘We recommend’ shelf; a section of the shop normally reserved for book versions of popular films, ‘local’ poets talking about ‘local’ things, and however many abused children the global publishing conglomerates could bribe space for. On this occasion though, I spied a book titled ‘Wetlands’ by Charlotte Roche, and remembered that it’d been topping Amazon’s top-10

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and a Funeral. I was quite perturbed when our tour guide marched on into the house, now a chartered surveyor’s office, where she continued with the talk on the hallway where it was more quiet. The receptionist, with a perfectly polite but despairing tone shuffled us into a meeting room with a famous statue of the poet himself smoking plonked on top of a filing cabinet. Rather amused now by the chaos we seemed to be causing and the bitching of a surveyor to the secretary I heard on the way out, we departed for another site of interest. With bated breath I awaited our next location. This turned out to be the York archives where we saw the original manuscript of the scriveners play (named after the guild that performed this play in York) Here the archivist gave us a brief talk about how it survived when no others did, apparently because someone kept it in their pocket. There on the playscript, beautiful preserved, were the bored scribbles of the actor, as he wrote his name over and over again on the front cover. We were all warned to watch what we write as in future someone might try and study it like the scriveners play has been today. Lesson learned and seriously wishing that the man with the shopping bag would write down whatever he felt he had to tell me under his breath whilst invading my personal space, we moved on. The York Minster was next on the list of places to go, with an abundance of stories to tell we gathered in front of the Minster in the prime photography position. As lots of disgruntled tourists tried to get the best snaps they could

our attention was drawn to the window on the west side of the Minster called the window of the 5 Sisters. Charles Dickens apparently wrote about this window in Nicholas Nickleby, where the light was supposed to shine through the window and onto the grave of a small girl. The light, however would never shine through the window and there were definitely no graves. Hesitantly I asked the tour guide if it could be another window on another church. That’s a good point was her reply. My comment was lost on the others, who stared at me now, a little bit of malice at my audacity in questioning the tour. Shrinking into the back of the crowd, now being questioned by the elderly couple about my age, degree and accommodation we moved over to the York Minster Library. The final stop was crammed full of little facts. Lawrence Stone, best known for his novel ‘The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy’, ran up large fines at the Minster library his uncle lived next to. Also Coleridge apparently visited the city and hated it with all of its Christian pomp. Charlotte Bronte visited the Minster too on her way to Scarborough to recover from illness but died a few days later. There were many more tales, but sadly not enough room to write them all. The new places I had seen and the interesting facts I’d learnt couldn’t help but be eclipsed by my aging fellow tour goers. I can’t help but think it was a poor turn out from the under forties, we are students after all, intellect and fresh air anyone?

JOSEPH BURNHAM braves the strange world of Charlotte Roche's Wetlands...

chart recently (I keep tabs on what the popular masses are reading to remain reassured of their proletariat ignorance), and as such I figured it’d be an accessible read. Accessible it certainly was. If you’re unfamiliar with the title such as I was - allow me to enlighten you: one of the initial major passages of this book (as narrated by an eighteen year-old German girl) is the description of her external hemorrhoids, their affect on her anal-sex practices, and how she relates their appearance as a parasitic cauliflower. She continues to discuss the endearing topic of female smegma, and her dabbing it behind her ears to take advantage of its (alleged) aesthetically pleasing scent. That’s hardly the end of it – I’d relate her thoughts on the 'appropriate' uses of male sperm and her attempts to achieve a viral infection through the internal application of truck-stop toilet leftovers, but I think you get the idea. The thing to remember though, is that this isn’t some niche book written and self-published by an anarchic German writer available only by postal-order, this is a hugely significant best-seller. The fact is, whether through good reviews (the back cover had a critical quotation describing the narrator’s voice as similar to The Catcher in

the Rye’s Holden Caulfield mixed with that of The Female Eunuch) or sheer word of mouth that such a book exists, Wetlands has reached the international literary stage. What I’m curious about though is why the book promotes such a strong reaction, and whether this reaction relates more realistically to people’s simple fascination with being shocked, or whether real feminist undertones are woven throughout the novel - causing its popularity due to subconscious beliefs we hold about the female species. If we take the latter, which seems a far more interesting area to explore, then it raises some interesting questions: namely, are women ‘allowed’ to be disgusting in our society? Don’t get me wrong, I can’t see this being entirely a feminist issue – after all, if the book described a male doing similar activities, few would see it in a pleasant light. But then if the book was written about a man, I can’t imagine it’d be nearly as popular – surely it seems, on some level there’s a desire in our society to hear this extremely personal information from a woman’s perspective. And why does that desire exist? Is it refreshing, liberating, or a form of sexual voyeurism to hear these intimate details? No one said that women and men are reading the book

in equal numbers, so perhaps feminist hypothesis is merely a guise for what could easily be considered pornographic literature. The author, Charlotte Roche, quipped that she nearly wrote the book as a non-fictional manifesto to the women of Germany, before abandoning that notion as it’d appear overly arrogant. Instead, she suggested that the book is written in a fictional context to activate a full range of human sexual emotions, through subject switching from erotic to disgusting when one would be most vulnerable and receptive to it. In this sense, the author seems to condition the link between sexual arousal and full-hearted disgust, possibly producing the most effective cognitive contraceptive that’s ever seen the light of day; in short, it’ll take some time for your mind to want anything to do with sexual activity again. In my own view, I’m happily surprised that such a vivid work has achieved widespread success. Although I don’t think the story is a particularly good one, it still instills a vague sense of gratification on my part that the global public’s literary preferences are still open to taking risks in this rather diluted age of celebrity chief cookbooks and look-at-me-I’m-old-butI-used-to-take-heroin style (ghost-written) autobiographies. One can debate where this book features in a feminist sense, but at the very least it’s proof that there will always be a market for books that challenge cultural norms.


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READING PRIDE AND PROGRESSION Is period Literature becomming obsolete? Are contemporary novels replacing the idealised "classic"?

EMILY LABRAM SAYS...

SAMANTHA COWLEY SAYS...

YES

NO

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learned a lesson about modern literature from an elderly neighbour called Paul, who lived (and, I hope, still lives) in a house at the bottom of my garden. In my last year of school, I visited him. His house was narrow, with hundreds of winding stairs. Every conceivable surface was lined with books - all leather-bound, embossed with little golden numerals. He offered to lend me one, but I was too terrified of my propensity to drop crumbs and spill tea to even countenance the idea. After showing me around, Paul fired the question: “So, Emily, what do you like to read?” I waxed lyrical about some Jane Austen novel or other, but he was entirely unimpressed. “But what about modern literature?” Utter blankness. I finally dredged up Carson McCullers’ Ballad of the Sad Cafe. “Still over fifty years old. Surely you’ve read something published in the last decade? What about Philip Roth or John Updike?” I was rather flustered by now, and not without a slight feeling of resentment at the first-edition Dickens I’d spotted upstairs, which it seemed only he was allowed to have read. “I’m only seventeen,” I wanted to protest; “I’m applying for English Literature. I should be ploughing through Milton. Contemporary literature is a luxury; not a priority.” And yet here was a man in his eighties, berating me for being out of touch with modernity. Now although in hindsight I could have named a dozen modern authors that I love, this awkward little episode proved to me just how mal-adjusted my reading priorities actually were. I thought that any book old enough to be a ‘Classic’ must be by definition superior to the best-sellers in WHSmith. But wasn’t it true, on reflection, that with this attitude, I was slowly losing the will to read; that the Milton I dutifully placed on my bedside was gathering dust; that the only book I actually wanted to pick up was the annual Harry Potter? Consider that Britain publishes over 200,000 new books every year. Can one ever be justified in burying oneself in the ‘Classics’ when we are generating so much creative endeavour, right here, right now? It’s madness to trawl your way through War and Peace at the expense of enjoyment. If the only pleasure you get out of Middlemarch is the knowledge that ‘it’s Middlemarch,’ then the process is a futile act of self-denial. I lament the infrequency with which I read for pleasure nowadays; every time I look at my bookshelves my heart sinks. And even though some of my favourite novels have been period novels, this is surely due to the massive sense of achievement I feel after having weathered the storm of reading them. I know that many of us are aspiring authors ourselves. What on earth are we going to do when legions of literate young people dismiss our work in favour of Woolf and Thackeray? Besides, contemporary literature is more appealing in so many ways. It can combine the accessibility of Harry Potter with the so-called “importance” of Crime and Punishment, mainly thanks to the fact that the reader isn’t forced to acclimatise to a time period alien to his or her own. Moreover, if you still wish to be snobbish,you can opt for the Man Booker shortlist over Richard and Judy’s. Either way, by reading Salman Rushdie, Zadie Smith or Robert Harris, you encourage the creativity of living authors. And, as Paul later reminded me: there’s always the possibility of discovering a future ‘Classic’ for yourself.

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amuel Taylor Coleridge was said to be the last man who had and could have read everything. This is, obviously, completely false. By the time Coleridge was born there was already so much published material as to complete several lifetimes. Here in 2009 the average reader feels drowned by the number of books in existence. The need to have read the ‘Greats’ to have read Dickens and Shakespeare, Tolstoy and Milton yet at the same time to have cultivated an interest in some sort of niche genre in order to be considered ‘an educated person’ is immense. It is quite simply impossible and too often, I think people feel they must either reject 'The Classics' in favour of modern literature or stop reading altogether. I am even confused as to where to draw the line. What makes a book a classic and what makes it period. Period to most, and this is the BBCs fault, sums up images of corsets and breeches yet period simply refers to the collecting of literature into historical, age defined groups. The Classics then are books that some white-haired professors in honey coloured universities have deemed to be the great works, the defining pieces of an age. Yet there is a very good reason for focusing on the classics. They have stood the test of time. For a book to stay in publication it has to sell and so the fact that we are still reading Crime and Punishment or Great Expectations, even if it is because they are appear on so many reading lists, is a fact of economics over literary value. Literature for me is a quest of understanding. A search for new or different perspectives and it thus seems ridiculous to me to regard anything from before I was born because of irrelevance. You cannot deny the continuing impact of events such as the end of the colonial era or the Holocaust on modern society and modern Literature reflects this from Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children to John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas but how can we be expected to understand the issue of these novels if we reject their predecessors. Primo Levi’s If This Is A Man or Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Too often people’s reason for reading A so-called classics is misguided, born out of a sense of duty or for intellectual kudos that such reading brings. In his book Changing Places David Lodge invented a game called Humiliation. For self styled intellectuals the idea of the game is to name a book you haven’t read but by all accounts probably should have. The winner is he who humiliates himself the most having admitted to the greatest literary ignorance. However when I read a classic it is usually because it fits into the cannon of my interest. My personal taste for Dystopic Fiction has seen my reading bounce from George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-four (1949) back to Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1932) forward again to Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go (2005) and back, once again, to the genres arguable origin in Thomas Moore’s Utopia (1516) (admittedly that last one was part of my syllabus). Thus any classics I have read have been, with the exception of course books, for my enjoyment, chosen because of my interest in them and my own perceived relevance. Which, whatever you read, is the way it should be.

The BBC'S Favourite Modern Reads

The BBC'S Favourite Classic Reads

A Prayer for Owen Meany Captain Corellis Mandolin Perfume

John Irving

Louis de Bernieres

Patrick Suskind

The Count of Monte Cristo Gone With the Wind

Alexandre Dumas

Margaret Mitchell

Tess of the D'urbervilles

Thomas Hardy


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Drama Barn : No Change Needed

he latest offering from the theatrical types down at the Drama Barn is the successful American musical I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. The musical is a whistle-stop tour through those tricky old subjects of love and relationships – from awkward first meetings and first dates all the way through to falling in love (or not, in some cases), marriage, children, and growing old. Right from the very start, the audience is thrown into a series of unconnected scenes, all addressing different aspects of love and relationships. The characters presented are so varied, ranging from pushy, marriageobsessed parents to over-confident 'guys' out on a date, that it’s hard to believe that the whole musical is performed by a cast of just four people. With only a few quick costume changes, the performers transformed from irritating children to lonely pensioners, and everything else in between. The musical’s humour comes mostly from the bizarre collection of characters and situations it presents, and it shows the strength of the cast members that they managed to portray such a versatile mix of people so well, and make the audience laugh with every new character. Veronica Hare must be one of the few people with the envious skill of looking just as authentic as a small child as she does as an OAP. With such a strong cast, it would be difficult to pick out any one performance, and all four performers pulled off stunning individual roles. Special mention should go to Ed Lewis-Smith though, for his numerous hilarious performances - the mass-murderer serving a life sentence, and the typical man trying (and failing) to hold back the tears while watching a chick flick are just two highlights - where his facial expressions were enough to have the audience in hysterics. The play’s tagline is “Everything you have ever secretly thought about dating, romance, marriage, lovers, husbands, wives and in-laws, but were afraid to admit”, and it’s true that most of the musical’s humour comes from the audience being able to identify their own behaviour in the characters. This is especially true in the earlier songs of the performance, which reveal the panicked preparations for a first date, or the lies that we tell to impress someone new. Even something as small as a perfectly timed knowing look to the audience was enough to cause laughter. That said, the second, more serious, act in the musical also had some beautifully touching moments – Michael Hailes’s “Shouldn’t I be less in love with you?” caused a collective “aw” from the audience, and Nicola Carter’s solo performance as a divorcee struggling to cope with the rejection of her husband, while simultaneously trying to get back into dating game was spellbinding. The show couldn’t have worked without the talent of the musical team, and the band provided perfect backing for the songs. Small details like a musical quarrel between the violinist and piano player all added to the perfection of the performance. All in all, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, was a slick and hilarious production, and one that was well-deserving of it’s standing ovation from the appreciative and fully entertained audience at the end. It was Perfect, no Change needed.

EMILY HODGES

Photos by Michael Slater

42ND STREET W

hen a friend asked me to accompany her to York Theatre Royal’s production of the musical 42nd Street, I had little idea what to expect. It was not a musical I recognized, not like The Sound of Music or My Fair Lady. All I knew was that there was an iconic film of that name made in the1930s. Yet I was pleasantly surprised by the music, the spectacular dance routines and the authentic costumes, which not only reflected the era of the musical but drew me in from my back row seat. What was perhaps most extraordinary about 42nd Street was the fact that a large part of it was structured around the dramatic conceit of a musical within a musical. This masterfully portrayed the complex world of Broadway and the difficulties of trying to put on a musical production in the era of the Wall Street Crash. Based on the book by Mark Bramble and Michael Stewart, it follows one naïve young woman, Peggy Sawyer, (dressed, when she first appears on stage, in attire reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn’s costume as the reformed Eliza Doolittle in ‘My Fair Lady’), as she discovers the difficulties in rising to the top, in an increasingly elitist and competitive profession. She makes the leap from chorus dancer to the star of the show within just a few days, due to the orders of the ambitious director, Julian Marsh. Marsh is determined to put on a great Broadway production that will make him lots of money, while she is determined not to abandon her middle class roots for the glitz and glamour of Broadway stardom. Despite not recognising any of the music, it’s striking rhythms and melodies, which appeared in Harry Warren and Al Dubin’s songs, ‘We’re in the Money’, and ‘Lullaby of Broadway’, had me entranced as I watched these young actors, twirl, glide and tap dance across the stage, with outstanding showbiz flare. I was humming the tunes all the way home. It was certainly a production I will never forget.

Emma Burbidge


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TECKTONIK ERUPTION ...Maks Fus-Mickiewicz explores the dance thats sending shockwaves through France

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ecktonik is a fresh new electro dance style born out of the thing. It was time for me to put into action the talked about ‘80% suburbs of Paris and is now taking over the world. That is arms, 20% feet’ dance formula. The high levels of energy needed if you believe the creators to achieve this movement of Tecktonik’s press releases. mean it’s even more popuThe style described as an lar at fitness centres than " Tecktonic dancers are self regarding ‘arm splaying –crazy mulat dance schools. Needless to say swiveling my feet and let hair’ display has been consumer slaves " arms around at this rate was around since 1997. Started especially hard due to the sevby ex-Merrill Lynch investeral sambuca shots needed for ment banker Alexandre Barouzdin, the Tecktonik brand is now a registered trademark. dutch courage. Then again the ‘philosophy’ behind Tecktonik However it’s only recently come to the attention of the public is against drink, drugs and violence. They’d rather you stuck to outside of France. their branded energy drinks. Anyway, as my elbows swiveled Watching videos of Tecktonik disappearing behind my head I disdance sessions on YouTube is a covered that so too had the friends highly disturbing experience. You’d I’d brought with me for a laugh. be forgiven for thinking you were Frankly I felt as if I had farted out entering a nightmare, where teenagmy soul. ers throwing elbows up in the air at How could the nation that random are surrounded by crowds brought us Daft Punk, Picasso, the open mouthed in awe of what they Can-Can and fine dining have been are seeing. Unfortunately it’s not reduced to the idiocy of Tecktonik? a joke; the creators of Tecktonik A number of explanations are given. have even bestowed certain meaning The most prevalent being the power upon precise foot swivels. Further of YouTube. You’ll find more minmore, if you try and hold your own utes dedicated to footage of people break away style, you could be sued dancing Tecktonik than words printby the Tecktonik brand. The exciteed on the subject. Through high editment of free flow dancing that we ing speeds combined with popular all love and know is subverted for music the videos enable a brand to the strength of the brand image. The control the way it’s perceived very Tecktonik dancers are self regarding precisely. Moreover the Tecktonik consumer slaves oblivious to the partarget audience was always the highadox of their uniform individuality. They all wear fluorescent ly impressionable 13 to 20 year v-neck t-shirts, neon gloves and go to a Tecktonik hairdresser old teenagers. Now grown up for their Mullet/Mohawk. They buy the Tecktonik Adidas train- and fed up many French peoers their Tecktonik friend wears in the latest Tecktonik dance ple have come to claim that video. Then they meet at their tacky neon enablement hive, the Tecktonik’s origins reside in Metropolis club in Paris, where creator Barouzdin, shovels piles Holland. They would rather disof banknotes into a giant furnace, to the uncomprehending joy of miss it’s Parisian origins than his eyes. accept this embarrassing dance Being the culture as a product of French " I felt as if I had farted dedicated jour- consumerism. nalist that I am I out my soul " decided to head to The Duchess where the Indie-pop vibe is similar enough to what Parisians describe as Dirty-Electro-House music. Look up artists such as YELLE if you’re into that kind of

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What Not To Miss... TWELFTH NIGHT York Theatre Royal 25th April to 16th May Directed by Juliet Forster Shakespeare's classic tale of cross dressing and mistaken idenity comes to York. Student tickets are only £5 or FREE through http:// www.yorktheatreroyal.co.uk/fti. shtml .

INDIAN FESTIVAL% National Railway Museum 4 th - 17th April Bollywood has come to the National Railway Museum! The annual Easter Festival has an Indian twist this year and there’ll be plenty for visitors of all ages with dancing, music, henna style hand painting and Indian-inspired craft activities. Admission is Free

e r u t l u C e g e l l Co I

n the south-westerly corner of the realm of The University of Spork lies the gilded city of Jamestonia. Characterised by tall clean towers, leafy courtyards and ensuite bathrooms, Jamestonia oozes sophistication. Be warned though, this seemingly tranquil settlement is guarded by a battalion of demonic black swans who are said to be under the control of an evil empress. These creatures are so vicious and completely lacking in humanity (partly on account of them being birds) that they often attack travellers who come in peace and have even been known to brutally slay the occasional resident. The people of Jamestonia (or Jacobites as they are known) are a simple minded yet well spoken people who worship at the altar of an evil corporate druid known as Jack Wills. Before arriving at Jamestonia, many of them will have first embarked on a ‘Year of Trails’. This will no doubt have been ‘the adventure of a lifetime’ and will often have involved spending many pieces of gold in order to travel to a far off land and spend months building a wall with a group of people who are so similar to them in terms of background and outlook on life as to be almost indistinguishable. They will invariably describe these people as ‘amazing’. The Jacobites have a long standing rivalry with the cave people of Gildricke who live in a disused prison to the north. The Jacobites will occasionally see these wand waving warlocks in the Mead Hall of Madame McQ, an ancient institution that the Jacobites are forced to use as they have no mead hall of their own, a fact they are constantly reminded of. Here the two peoples will partake of various libations whilst conversing with each other about potions, drawbridges or Hollyoaks. These meetings may appear affable but are in fact a complex form of espionage that, if truth be told, is yet to be understood by this particular anthropologist.

PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION

By DAVID F. RICHIE

Jamestonia also houses a dark coven of witches who claim to have the ability to read minds. These blood-thirsty creatures are known to capture unsuspecting travellers and then subject them to a series of hideously demeaning tests. They will then mock them mercilessly for their failure to recall long series of numbers whilst being pelted with rocks. The few travellers that escape this tower of humiliation will leave as mere shells of the people they were when they entered and will often also be late for seminars. Overall, Jamestonia is a dangerous yet beautiful settlement that, for the brave traveller, is well worth a visit if only to see the vaulted kitchens and ensuite bathrooms of which its residents are so proud.

Charles Rivington

The Bar Convent, 17 Blossom Street. Saturday 18th April, 7pm 'til 9.30pm The exhibition will have a range of black and white photographs from the 1950’s onwards and will include London in the swinging sixties as well as hand made Venetian masks and costumes. All the money raised will go straight to the Hospice and there will be free drinks and nibbles.


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Worth the trip!

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Campus The heat is on for what could be the biggest televised academic contest yet... Yes, a brand new team of students are putting their brains on the line against a select group of university staff. With the staff shamed last year, they will be wanting revenge of the most intelligent kind. This once in a term-time opportunity takes place on 19th March (that’s Thursday Week 10 to you and me), at 7.30pm in V/045, and is most certainly not to be missed. Entry to enjoy the biggest academic showdown since Galileo took on the Catholic Church, is absolutely free!!! Donations to RAG would be well appreciated but are not compulsory. Hosted by SU President Tom Scott, along with Student Development and Charities Officer, Jamie Tyler, this promises to be very entertaining. Let the academic warfare rage….

As we all know, the last Gallery night before the end of term is usually a massive blow-out, with people letting their hair down and getting the drinks down to rejoice in what has been a semiproductive term. So to kick-off the night, the resident DJ from the Gallery will be spinning the decks in the Courtyard to give you a sufficient warm up, ensuring the pulling done is that of the opposite sex and not your party muscles. Taking place on the 19th March (Thursday, Week 10) at 8.00pm, this is the best way to guarantee you can have a few beverages before you strut your funky stuff, without completely maxing out your overdraft. Queue-jumpers and entry tickets are available from the bar, so there really is no excuse.

beyond... Get your tickets now for...

Finley Quaye Twelfth Night Fibbers York Theatre Royal 20th March 2009 25th April-16th May (next term) Tickets £12 (£14otd) Tickets from £10 Nothing quite beats going to the theatre, and there are few better playwright’s works to go and see than old Bill Shakespeare, so get down to the Theatre royal to see Twelfth Night. One of my personal favourites among Shakespeare’s plays, this is a comedy about love and mistaken identity set in the mythical kingdom of Illyria. Go on, pretend you’re cultured, even if just for one evening!

The Mobo and Brit award winning reggae artist plays at York Fibbers this Friday. Mr. Quaye is probably most famous for his song Dice, which featured on the popular T.V. shopw The O.C. His brand of chilled but soulful reggae music is very easy on the ears. After a hectic ten weeks of spring this gig could make for a nice relaxing last day of term. A highly recommended live act.

www.fibbers.co.uk

www.yorktheatreroyal.co.uk

Check out the York picture house web page for more details: www.picturehouses.co.uk

Andy Carthy aka Mr. Scruff is a bit of a legend on the U.K. dance music scene, famous for his marathon sets (he's playing from 10-3 on this occasion!) along with his eclectic mixes and quirky self-drawn screen animations. He's guaranteed to get you moving as he spins the turntables long into the night!

Live at Leeds Festival 2009 Various venues across Leeds 1st-3rd May (week 1 next term) Tickts £10 The popular Leeds music festival returns for another of its annual examples of why the city is one of the most happening in Britain right now. This celebration of new music has numerous exciting acts booked including The Maccabees, Grammatics, Little Death, Baddies, Wintermute, Fionn Regan, Dinosaur Pile-Up, Pulled Apart By Horses and many more.

www.yusu,org.uk has a list of event times and dates of all YUSU events.

“The Young Victoria” has been talked about a lot recently. It displays the story of Queen Victoria’s early rise to power and her legendary marriage to Prince Albert. Featuring drama, romance and just enough politics to make sure it’s not a complete chick-flick, this film displays some of Britain’s finest talent, and is a definite for fans of royalty and history, plus those who just want to see a good film. It’s showing at numerous times between Wednesday 18th March – Thursday 19th March and stars Rupert Friend, Jim Broadbent and Emily Brunt.

Mr. Scruff Leeds University Union 19th March Tickets: £10.50adv

www.leedstickets.com

At the pictures Although the cinema may not be your first choice at this time in the term, let's not forget that Orange Wednesdays are eye-openingly cheap at the City Screen if you have a mate with an Orange phone. “Watchmen” (18) has been greatly anticipated, and is showing between Tuesday 17th March – Thursday 19th March at 12.30pm, 4.00pm and 7.40pm. This adaptation of a massively popular graphic novel of the same name, features a group of superheroes in an alternative 1985 America. When one of the heroes is murdered, vigilante Rorschach sets out to kill and discredit all present superheroes. Starring Billy Crudup, Malin Akerman, Earle Haley and Matthew Goode, this film has potential to be great.

LISTINGS

www.efestivals.co.uk/festivals/liveatleeds/2009/

Vision cannot be held responsible for any percieved lack of fun during any of the aforementioned events

Scene is:

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