Illustration: Patrick Greenfield
ALT-J ANNE FINE ghostpoet IRON MAN 3 winter of our discotHeque
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MUSIC NEWS Man responsible for some of the most inspirational album artwork of all time dies aged 69.
Daft Punk officially release an official version of ‘Get Lucky’ on iTunes.
Black Sabbath reveal new single ‘God is Dead?’ in anticipation of their upcoming album, 13.
The Horrors and The Cribs set to release Live EPs in celebration of Record Store Day on May 20th.
New Twitter app created for music fans to keep up to date with new releases of their favourite artists.
Storm Thergerson, wellknown for his artwork featuring on such artists as Pink Floyd, Led, Zeppelin, Muse and Peter Gabriel, has died at sixty-nine after a long battle with cancer. Perhaps his most famous work was that featured on Pink Floyd’s seminal album, The Dark Side of the Moon. The bands guitarist Dave Gilmore has said in a statement that the artist’s contribution had been an “inseparable part of our work.” Thorgeson’s death was said to be a peaceful one.
Initially, the legends of electronic music released a oneminute version of the track online to tantalize their fans. However, this led to a series of fakes purporting to be the real full-length song being posted online. This is one of a collection of stunts pulled by the band in anticipation of their as yet unreleased album Random Access Memories, set to emerge at the end of May. The song features discofunk legends Nile Rodgers and Pharrell Williams. See single reviews for Vision’s opinion.
Black Sabbath have revealed their new song, ‘God is Dead?’ ahead of upcoming album 13, set to be released on June 11th. A second song, ‘The End of the Beginning’, is set to be premiered on the season finale of TV show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, which will be aired on May 15th. The new album is the first that Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler have recorded together since 1978 album, Never Say Die! and marks a new stage in their colourful careers. It will be released in multiple formats.
Rock giants The Horrors and The Cribs are both set to release limited-edition live EPs in celebration of Record Day, along with Twin Atlantic, having all performed live as part of Jack Daniels’ JD Roots gigs which occurred in 2012. The records will only be available from independent record shops, and will all have a very limited run, producing only five-hundred copies so will be very rare collectors’ items. These releases are some of many rare and limited edition records for RSD.
Internet giants Twitter have included themselves in the highly lucrative online music business by launching a new music service which allows fans to keep up to date with their favourite aritsts and discover new music they may enjoy. Entitled the ‘#Music app’, the service will show users all the songs which the people they follow have recently tweeted, and let them listen. Twitter has linked up with three other music services for the launch: Spotify, Apple iTunes and Rdio.
THe sad death of the music publicist KATIE MOLLOY looks at bandcamp: the website shaking up the music world
here was this one time, at Band Camp... BandCamp. No, not the one that our beloved American Pie has made infamous. A new BandCamp. The kind that will give artists a new power and sense of ownership over their music. A shiny way to upload, publicise and sell your work without the aid of a publisher. The music business and the evolution of technology resulted in the production of music changing rapidly over the past ten years. We have seen the decrease in production of vinyl, the death of cassette tapes and the decrease in sales of CDs. It is not just the medium in which we buy our music that has seen an evolution because of technology.
There was a time where prospective artists would wait to be called into a room with a suited man in a leather chair called a ‘publisher’ to have their image, repertoire and sound scrutinised. It was he
artists to upload their stuff with a small promise of getting viewed and noticed, not just by the public, but also by scouts of the suited man. Depending on the popularity of said artist, they would then
“the americans have devised a way to cut out the middle man with the new website: bandcamp. who would decide if it was worthy to meet the eyes and ears of the public and, if so, would provide them with the means of doing it. This was made less exclusive with technology. The boom in popularity of YouTube has allowed prospective
have more means to ask for aid with the production and publicising of their music... which is excellent. However, the Americans have devised a way to cut out the publishing middle man with the new website, Bandcamp. With its tagline
‘Discover amazing new music and directly support the artists that make it’, it essentially does what it says on the tin. With handy tutorials available, it has a unique accessibility to artists, allowing them to upload their work with a price and a format tailored to how they want it. They have ultimate control and ownership over what is theirs. Now, I’m not saying that this is going to take over publishing companies by tomorrow, the market for it is still niche. It is certainly a revolutionary way for artists to promote themselves and will definitely see a rise in the next few years. Totally worth a look. Check out what all the fuss is about at www.bandcamp.com KATIE MOLLOY
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yorkshire festivals With the festival industry saturated with new festivals, it can be diffcult to decide which ones are worth going to, and which ones are worth travelling to. Here are a few of the best to take place in our very own Yorkshire...
Lucy Rose ‘shiver’
Queens of the Stone Age ‘my god is the sun’
beacons festival Taking place in the beautiful Yorkshire Moors, Beacons festival promises to bring a wide selection of new and upcoming bands. With its modest price and excellent line-up, this is not one to miss. Dates: 16th - 18th August.
lthough hardly a kick start to your summer soundtrack, the final single, ‘Shiver’, taken from Lucy Rose’s debut album Like I Used To is definitely a noteworthy track to add to your collection. ‘Shiver’ is an almost heartbreaking tribute to lost love with sweet vocals to tell the poignant tale and a delicate guitar melody to match. The reminiscent nature of the song easily allows you to get lost in it. Backing vocals accompany Lucy’s angelic voice at just the right moment in the track, echoing a thought that everyone who has ever regretted a break up must have had: “if we turn back time, could we learn to live right?” A beautiful send off to a beautiful album, I can’t wait to see what Lucy brings to the table next. STEPH BARNSLEY
t’s been 6 years since Queens of the Stone Age were last on the scene, so it is with no small anticipation that they unleash new single ‘My God is the Sun’. Given the extended layoff, a faint creakiness would be forgivable, but there are no cobwebs here. Dave Grohl leads the charge with obvious glee, his Keith Moon-esque opening spinning into a barrage of heady bass, queasy guitars and Homme’s trademark desert drawl. It’s all very familiar territory but it works like a charm. Indeed, whilst other acts have re-hashed old ground to diminished returns, QOTSA still sound fresh and lively. It’s a bit like seeing an old mate for the first time in years and realising you still laugh at the same old memories. It’s damn good fun. THOMAS SHUTT
Price: £69 Adult Weekend Ticket.
Main Acts: Darwin Deez, Edwin Collins, Gaz Coombes.
Nile Rodgers produces an infectious and uplifting nu-disco tune that is destined to be a popular summer hit . Pharrell Williams’ smooth vocals provide a distinctive tone alongside Rodgers’ rhythmic guitar playing, topped off towards the end of the song with the signature robotic tunes and voices of the French electronic duo. Bringing to mind classic songs such as ‘One More Time’, this all adds up to create a disco vibe and groove reminiscent of ‘70s pop. Catchy, funky and a definite song to dance the night away to, ‘Get Lucky’ brings something new to the electronic dance scene and creates a great lead single to their upcoming album, which promises to produce many more dance hits. DIANA RIGG
Price: £84.50 Adult Weekend Ticket Main Acts: Django Django, Solange, Local Natives
YO1 festival York’s very own YO1 Festival is imminent. Read Vision’s previous guide to the best acts to expect at this one-day festival, and enjoy the best York has to offer. Date: 5th May. Price: £20 Adult Advance. Main Acts: Rudimental, AlunaGeorge, DJ Yoda.
deer shed festival Run by family and friends, this quaint festival held in Baldersby Park near Thirsk has won numerous awards since its creation, and promises to provide inoffensive, laid-back entertainment suitable for any festival-goer. Dates: 19th - 21st July.
bingley music live For those on a tight budget but still looking for the big acts, this festival taking place on the bank holiday weekend is perfect. Dates: 31st August - 2nd September. Price: £45 Adult Weekend Ticket. Main Acts: Primal Scream, The Cribs + more tba.
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rand new off their highly anticipated album Random Access Memories, Daft Punk’s latest lead single ‘Get Lucky’ featuring hip hop legend Pharrell Williams and legendary guitarist
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ALBUM REVIEWS BONOBO
JAMES BLAKE OVERGROWN
THE NORTH BORDERS
vergrown is English electronic musician James Blake’s latest offering. Produced by his own record label, this album explores his creativity and versatility. Blake’s voice is moving, filled with emotion and a rare ability to experiment with pitch and tones; switching from a high vibrato to deep and powerful tones, showing off his classical training. The album opens with ‘Overgrown’ which explores the unique quality and range of his voice. It starts with simple piano chords and light percussion that gives his distinct voice emphasis and a vulnerability. Throughout the song the backing intensifies as he explores the possibilities that electronic music can offer until it almost overpowers his voice which draws you in and keeps you intrigued for the rest of the album. And it doesn’t disappoint. Each new song brings unique twists that take some getting used to as he introduces you to new aspects of the genre that you wouldn’t expect as he explores dubstep, RnB and house influences.‘Retrograde’ has become the stand out track with its unusual combination of synthesized backing and soulful humming. The production earns it the accolade of Blake’s breakthrough song.
‘Our Love Comes Back’ is the most gentle and emotional track with its fragility, and proves his worth as a lyricist. ‘Life Round Here’ also stands out with its catchy lyrics and easy beat that builds until Blake lets go with a spontaneous burst of synths and then stripping it back creating two different songs in one. Tracks such as ‘DLM’ show the power of a soulful but bleak ballad and feels like his most personal track, whereas ‘Digital Lion’ and ‘To the Last’ explore his wilder and freer self. The bonus track ‘Every Day I Ran’ is so different from the rest of the album that it’s a bold but oddly jarring move as you are shaken out of the atmospheric crooning of James to a heavier beat and contrasting voice of ‘Big Boi,’ an unusual choice and a disappointing end to an otherwise great album. ELI COURT
onobo, also known as the musical magician that is Simon Green, has recently released his fifth full-length album The North Borders, a collection of perfectly chilled electronic tracks and his best one to date. Bonobo appears to have permeated the electronic music scene silently and seamlessly, building up a small fan-base merely from his musical merit alone, with most critical acclaim resulting from his last album, Black Sands, and his latest work is set to be recognised among the mainstream. ‘The North Borders’ follows on from Bonobo’s previous work, incorporating the same trip hop and deep electronica influences seen in previous albums, but progressing the music’s sound: Green integrates more complex bass lines and jazz-infused influences, a combination which makes for something delicious and intriguing. The album’s stand-out tracks are by far ‘Cirrus’ and ‘Heaven for the Sinner’, which Green managed to get R&B quasi-legend Erykah Badu to feature in. ‘Cirrus’ blends dreamy percussive sounds with a trance-like beat and marks the greatest progression in Bonobo’s body of work, while ‘Heaven for the Sinner’ is an easy listen, its laid-
IRON AND WINE GHOST ON GHOST
agerly anticipated, New York trio the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ fourth studio effort comes in the form of the enigmatically titled Mosquito. The album artwork is a freakout in neon, yet is not at all indicative of the album it fronts. Mosquito can at one moment reach peaks of tremendous, frenzied energy such as in the title track - then in the next sink into a nadir of desolation. ‘Sacrilege’ is full of gospel bombast and is a powerful opener, while ‘Subway’, on the other hand, is a sad and gritty ode to city, with its monotonous overlay of the sound of a train proving to be very evocative. ‘Slave’ is a terrific track and features some of the YYY’s most darkly poetic lyrics to date, “It eats your soul, like tears you fall, my slave”. Zimmer’s strident guitar is as vicious as O’s vocals are tremulous and reserved - until the climax of the song, that is, when at which point she lets loose, spitting her words out as if they were poison. ‘These Paths’ resonates with an accumulation of barely-restrained vocal energy, but provides no cathartic release at its end as does ‘Slave’. Somewhat incongruously we then go into ‘Area 52’, where the album goes hay-
host on Ghost is the fifth studio album from innovative South American singer-songwriter Sam Beam also known as Iron & Wine. The progression of Beam’s style has been quite pronounced over the years and this album is a continuation of that trend. The development of a spare solo guitar, to more soul-funk-inspired big band music is quite notable – Ghost on Ghost is of course no exception, the musical diversity put forward by his previous album Kiss Each Other Clean is continued here. The song ‘Grace for Saints and Ramblers’ displays very well the lyrical prowess of the artist - and also it is a great example of how good Beam is at producing a catchy song without having to revert to the kind of clichéd stuff that plagues the charts. The song reminds me of the opening track on Kiss Each Other Clean in that it almost takes you by surprise that one man and a guitar as seen in Beam’s early work could reinvent his style so much to reach this point. This album is certainly less edgy than some of his previous work, which was at times was extremely unsettling. As much as I enjoy the change of pace of Beam’s new work I do feel something
YEAH YEAH YEAHS
back melodies flowing effortlessly and providing an intriguing listen before the more subtle tracks feature on the album. The record drifts into more subdued tones as the track-list progresses, with the penultimate track ‘Transits’ embodying this very feeling, which means the whole album finishes leaving you with a feeling of ethereality and intoxication. For an artist who has been working for so long in perfecting his new breed of electronic music, Bonobo has shown that the music industry is starting to open its mind to the possibility of a multitude of sub-genres. To the unaccustomed ear, The North Borders may seem a little strange or obtuse, but Simon Green holds no pretentions. This is honest, expressive electronic music at its very best. LOUISA HANN
G wire with a crazed synth-rock racket about an alien abduction or something equally weird. Ridiculous, true, but also great fun. ‘Buried Alive’ seems promising, but some regrettable sub-par rapping is out-of-place among the feeling of Mosquito. ‘Always’ and ‘Despair’ are so skilfully arranged that they become painfully bittersweet, and create a sense of an ending that ‘Wedding Song’ concludes powerfully and beautifully. Mosquito, in its range of emotion, is reflective of the very city that it is at once subject to and makes a subject of - it can be dazzling, larger-than-life, yet at the same time gritty and infinitely morose. This sweeping spectrum of emotion is the album’s strength, so Mosquito is best experienced as a whole because that’s exactly what it is - an experience. PHILIP WATSON
has been lost – the simplicity of his early work always emphasised the poetry in his lyrics. And as much as I like this album, I do not feel the lyrics are anywhere near as profound or beautiful as they have been in the past, especially those seen in ‘The Shepherd’s Dog’ and ‘Our Endless Numbered Days’. The lyrics do not stand alone the way they used to, which is unfortunate for an artist who I believe is one of the best lyricists ever. I would prefer he return to stripped down songs with profound lyrics than have more interesting instrumentation whilst sacrificing his lyrical talent in the process. Beam has also moved anyway from the sampling and electronic influences that we heard in ‘Kiss Each Other Clean’. All in all, I believe this album is good, but it certainly is not his best work. MICHAEL COOPER
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Alt-J Zoe Biles chats to ALT-J drummer Thom Green about touring, fame and recording their second studio album
n 2010 Alt-J were nowhere to be found, a band formed at Leeds University quietly rehearsing whilst preparing their debut album. In 2013, the band is everywhere. Currently on tour in the US playing to sold-out crowds and huge venues, that little album they were preparing has won the BBC Radio 6 Album of the Year award, the prestigious British Mercury Prize and gained three nominations at this year’s Brit Awards, including British Album of the Year. Alt-J have, quite literally, made it big, in a very small space of time. I caught up with drummer Thom Green as they were heading to play their biggest gig yet: none other than small, unheard of Coachella music festival… “It is amazing to think your music has such an impact all over the world”, said Green when I asked him about their current tour in the US. “In the UK you have so much more contact with the fans, with what people are saying about your music. To come over here and play to sold-out crowds is sort of mind blowing, something we’re still very much getting used to.” They will, however, be returning shortly to the UK, and I was keen to ask them what playing at home means to them, especially considering their local routes up North in Leeds. “Honestly, we have never really felt much like a local band. Yeah, we met at Leeds, but we come from all over the country, and actually never played much at the Uni when we started out. Having said that, it is always special to return home, and we know how proud Leeds University are of us, and we had a really amazing time there, so that makes playing there an awesome experience.” Even speaking to Green on the phone, I feel like I have gained a sense of their current lifestyle, as I hear distant guitar sounds in the background mixed with the
muted banter-fuelled conversation of the rest of the band. “At the moment we are on a massive seven week tour, travelling all over really. We are on the bus at the moment heading to San Francisco which is
going be wicked. The whole thing is amazing. In all honesty, it was hard to expect our music to go down well here; we thought it would take some getting used to, but the response has been over whelming.” With such a rapid rise to fame I ask how the band has coped with the changes that this has created, and how they intend to keep their integrity when facing such a manipulative industry. “It is definitely hard, even within the last year, so much has changed around us... the accolades and prizes have been amazing, but it has come with a lot of pressure and attention that is hard to comprehend when you have gotten to that point so quickly. I think most of all we just stick together. The one thing that hasn’t changed is that we’re four friends who love making music, and so we really try and take everything with a pinch of salt. If we forget why we started out doing this then I think that’s when it becomes dangerous, and we all know that. The music always comes first.” I then start poking around for details about their eagerly awaited second album, which certainly has a lot to live up to. “Well we have been writing non-stop for a long time, but because we have been so busy touring, we are looking forward to coming
back to the UK and spending some time in the studio. I think it’s also important to us that we don’t rush this, that we take our time and produce something that we’re really proud of.” I ask if anything has changed about their writing process since the making of their first album An Awesome Wave, and Green responds by saying “I think, importantly, the original ideas and motivation
“I think most of all we just stick together. The one thing that hasn’t changed is that we’re four for writing have stayed the same. We all have this shared intention to be as honest as possible with our writing... of course the stimulus changes when you go through different events and experiences, but our
approach has stayed the same, and this is so important to us.” As for their upcoming plans, the band are itching to return home and spend some time with their families and friends, but it looks like they won’t be planning a vacation any time soon. “Pretty much as soon as we’re back we start our headlining tour, before a short visit to Europe and Australia. We hope to be finished by November which means a solid block of time in the studio and hopefully releasing the second album next year”. As well as that, Alt-J are going to be busy this Summer with a jam packed festival season, featuring Reading/ Leeds and Latitude, which they featured at last year with amazing success. “Latitude last year was definitely a turning point for us, it was the first moment we realised we had such a huge fan base, and so returning this year is going to be amazing.” I leave the phone feeling a mixture of starstruck and incredibly at ease, as though I have just spoken to royalty but don’t really know it- and I realise this is the effect Alt-J have. The sky is the limit for this small, down to earth band, who still, truly, sound like they remain unaffected by the fame they have achieved. ZOE BILES
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LIVE REVIEWS frank turner
19/4/13 leeeds university
10/4/13 02 academy shepherd’s bush
hen Frank Turner comes on to a stage at a gig, it is not merely a normal reaction from the audience. He is greeted on to stage by a roaring crowd which radiates excitement It’s characteristic at his gigs for the crowd to usually chant every single word they can to his songs but there was a dramatic difference here. Frank opened with a new song. As a seasoned Frank Turner fan, him opening with ‘Four Simple Words’ completely threw me and also the majority of the crowd. That was up until the realisation that like almost every Frank Turner song, you could pretty much learn the chorus the first time of hearing it and be able to join in with the crowds congregated screaming. Fortunately, however, Frank didn’t stick to new songs and only dotted a few throughout the gig. It was an odd choosing by my judgment however; it stunted the rhythm of the gig as did Frank’s solo performance of ‘The Real Damage’, ‘Song for Eva Mae’ and ‘Anymore’ in the middle of the gig. The solo was heartfelt but you expect something different when you go to a Frank Turner show. But he did bring out the classics as well. ‘The Road’ and ‘Reasons Not to Be an Idiot’ were but a few
of the massive crowd pleasers. Never before have I seen a crowd so infused and united. It was akin to some sort of worship at several points. Frank unwittingly started the ‘STEVE!’ chant at one point, which proved a good laugh. The best part about any Frank Turner performance is the ability to be almost unified under the banner of ‘Turnerites’ and that was no less apparent than when he played ‘Photosynthesis’ where everyone abided by the rules of the sitting game, managing to get at least one thousand people to sit down. I would implore anyone to go to see him live and although new songs and a rather self-indulgent solo stunted this show in places, overall, it still had an absolutely buzzing and friendly atmosphere, with Frank’s classics shining like they never have before, completely captivating the audience. ALEX KILLEEN
leaving the rest of the gig with a slightly bitter scent. Quite literally. Despite this, the band dedicated one of their songs, ‘Bridge Burn’, to a fan who had recently passed away, which was a particularly heart-warming moment for the crowd and restored one’s faith in the humanity of bands, who it can sometimes feel simply see their gigs as a means to earn some money. To some extent, the band managed to claw back the excitement they had roused at first with perhaps their best (and most well-known) track, ‘Dancing Song’, a traditional belting indie romp which managed to get everyone dancing. However, overall the night had a distinctly apathetic feel, which not even the kookily arranged percussive instruments hanging from the stage ceiling or the explosively voluminous hair of the bassist could resolve. LOUISA HANN
vision’s GIG DIARY
14/4/13 the cluny, newcastle
irmingham boys Peace have made it big. Their debut EP Delicious gave substance to the rising B-town scene, with Peace becoming its representatives. The band consists of brothers Harry and Samuel Koisser, on vocals and bass, with Douglas Castle on guitar and Dominic Boyce on drums. In Newcastle’s cosy, off-beat venue The Cluny, the boys certainly stuck the right notes, with the crowd’s energy revealed just how popular Peace have become. The boys have been compared by critics so far to acclaimed bands Wu Lyf, The Maccabees as well as Vampire Weekend. Opening with single ‘Wraith’, the song was met with cheers - the crowd mouthing every word back to the stage. The song’s distinctive guitar riff playing off the smooth rhythm, with lead singer Harry’s mystifying refrain, “you could be my ice-age sugar” completing a perfect live performance. The boys play through their new album In Love (“the best album we ever made”) with confidence and charisma that even some of the most established bands would find difficult to match. This is a band that couldn’t be more comfortable with what and who they are. For a scene that’s sprung out of no-
ittle Comets are a northern indie rock trio with a string of small hits. As their name suggests, they are a pretty inoffensive band: perhaps not the most exciting musically or experimentally, but with a decent repertoire of songs to play when it comes to live shows. It was with this knowledge that I went to see them at London’s o2 Academy in Shepherd’s Bush. The band started out well, beginning their set with ‘Tricolor’ and ‘Tense/Empty’, songs which proved their musical capabilities, with interesting melodies sing-along lyrics which the crowd fully seemed to appreciate. The set then went into more dance-oriented tunes, which seemed to be fully appreciated by the young teenagers at the front, who managed to create a large albeit tentative moshpit. By the time the Comets had reached their seventh song, however, ‘Waiting in the Shadows in the Dead of Night’, there was a distinct sense of apathy which descended on the room. At this point, many of their songs did sound to start distinctly similar, the excited denim-shirt clad teenagers at the front started to calm down and a man managed to vomit most of his stomach contents onto the middle of the venue floor,
Yeah Yeah Yeahs / 2nd May / Leeds o2 Lucy Rose / 3rd may / duchess where (well, Birmingham obviously), the public have grabbed hold and not let go of this wonderfully charming foursome. One of the most refreshing things about this band is their ability to traverse multiple styles of song. Their catalogue runs from the primal ‘Follow Baby’ to the hedonistic indulgences of ‘1998’. “If you’re not happy wearing denim, you’re the devil in disguise” sings Harry as a fan hurls a Newcastle United shirt onto stage, Doug happily adorns; paired with his jeans, of course. A sense of fun is one of the cornerstones of B-town, and Peace don’t disappoint. A gig steeped in energy with that illusive ‘buzz’ roaming the atmosphere. The band have proved that they are fun loving, great songwriters who are anything but peaceful. MARTIN WAUGH
Y01 Festival / 5th May / Racecourse Alt-J / 10th May / Leeds 02 Miles Kane / 14th May / Duchess Dutch Uncles / 21st May / Fibbers
MUSIC STAGE FILM TV BOOKS TECH SPOTLIGHT 20 QUESTIONS
Drama this Term WEEK
orest is written and directed by York University student Georgia Harris and produced by Tom Keefe. It revolves around the protagonist, Little One, as she attempts to come to terms with her fears. She meets a host of eclectic woodland characters who help her along her journey of self-discovery as she travels through the Forest.
erence Rattingan’s 1948 play The Browning Version follows the final teaching days of an ageing classics teacher as he battles illness and insecurities, worrying he will become obsolete. The production, directed by Alec Burt, explores the teacher’s relationship with Tapler, one of his pupils, as his life crumbles around him.
After the End
fter the End is directed by Flora Ogilvy and written by award winning playwright Dennis Kelly. Set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland after a terrorist attack, the play takes place in a bomb shelter. It sees what happens when two people are in close proximity for a long period, as tensions begin to fray.
The Browning Version
Little Women: The Musical
ouisa May Alcott’s Little Women is also a musical. Directed by Lily Cooper, Little Women focuses on the lives of the four March sisters: Jo, Meg, Amy and Beth. The musical watches the four sisters as they grow up and enter the world, making their mark and deciding who they want to become.
Winter of Our Discotheque Sick of traipsing to the Drama Barn every week? Want an excuse to get off the duck filled campus and see a bit of theatre featuring your University compadres in the actual town of York? Well here’s a treat for you. ‘Winter of our Discotheque’ is new black comedy written by Tess Humphreys and directed by University of York students Tess Humphreys and Daisy Hale and produced by Laura Stratford. When Laurence Waugh arrives at disreputable public school ‘The Hastings’, having been expelled from Eton under mysterious circum-
stances, he is ready for a fresh start. But greeted by a drug-addled roommate and a cold and conniving Head Girl, he quickly realises this is going to be a long year. The play promises twists and turns and to defy any expectations you may have. It has an all University of York cast and will be on at the Friargate Theatre from the 3rd and 4th May. Tickets are £8 for adults and £6 for students. For more information and tickets visit: www.ridinglights.org/discotechque.
With exams looming and the summer still just beyond reach, Stage give you a stress free guide to the student theatre you can expect from this busy term. WEEK
The Knight of the Burning Pestle
he long neglected Knight of the Burning Pestle by Francis Beaumont will be directed by Kate Stephenson. Watched by Samuel Pepys who “it pleased not at all”, over the years Burning Pestle has seen a revival and a new critical appreciation. This riotous comedy includes green grocers, metacomedy and inappropriate jokes aplenty. WEEK
eek 6 sees the production of absurdist playwright Eugene Ionesco’s The Lesson directed by Joe Lichtenstein. Part of the catalogue of the Theatre of the Absurd, The Lesson explores the bizarre relationship of the professor to the pupil. All expectations and plot predictions you hold at the start will be blown away by the end of the play. WEEK
he iconic Hedda Gabler is often billed as the ‘female Hamlet’. Written by Henrik Ibsen, it will be directed by Jordan Licht and Max Adams. Hedda Gabler is bored of domestic life, so takes solace in destroying the lives of people around her. Does she have a mental illness? Or is she marginalised in a patriarchal society?
or the first time ever the York Drama Society will be putting on a performance of Shakespeare outside in Week 10. Watch this space...
How to Buy Your Tickets Tickets for all these shows are available from 12-2pm Monday-Friday in Vanbrugh Stalls during their production weeks. Otherwise visit the DramaSoc website to purchase tickets online: www.dramasoc. com
Angels and Insects
York Theatre Royal For 11 Apr - May 04 something £8 Student & U25s different...
Tales from Wrestling Past
York Barbican May 1 £22.50£32.50
Birmingham Royal Ballet
York Theatre Royal 14 May -15 May Tickets £10- £22
MUSIC STAGE FILM
BOOKS TECH SPOTLIGHT 20 QUESTIONS
FIL Born on the Fourth of July
The Last Samurai
Knight and Day
Tom Cruise’s career-o-graph
Sophie Taylor names her top five films of the late, great Richard Griffiths, the school drop-out who became a Hollywood star with a career spanning five decades.
RICHARD GRIFFITHS: SCREEN HERO
Chariots of Fire
Griffiths is perhaps best known for his role as the predatory Uncle Monty in Bruce Robinson’s 1986 cult classic. Withnail and I is a semiautobiographical dark comedy starring Richard E. Grant as the out-of-work actor Withnail, who, along with the story’s narrator, Marwood, make the unwise decision of leaving their Camden home for a cottage in the Cumbrian countryside. Upon Uncle Monty’s abrupt arrival, he makes a sexual beeline for Marwood with hilarious consequences. Complete with its Jimi Hendrix soundtrack, the film captures the intellectual and economic strife of the late 1960s.
Hugo tells the tale of a 12-year-old orphan fated to live an invisible existence. Hugo sets himself the secret task of restoring a mysterious automaton that his father left him unfinished before his untimely death. The film is a puzzling but beautifully-shot tribute to the film industry and a nostalgic exploration of childhood imagination.
The History Boys follows eight working class grammar school students all vying to win scholarships to Oxbridge in the early 1980s. Griffiths plays the eccentric teacher, Hector, alongside Stephen Campbell Moore, and it is under his guidance that the class grapples with questions ranging from their sexuality to the causes of World War II whilst preparing for their final year exams. Heart-warming with a genius, sharp-witted script from Bennett.
star. Previously appearing in Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises as Catwoman, Hathaway would be playing the female lead in Interstellar alongside Matthew McConaughey. The film is set to be released in November 2014, though plot details are still scarce.
Tom Hiddleston in another comic book movie? After starring as Asgardian villain Loki in Marvel’s Thor and The Avengers, rumour has it that the classically-trained British star might have his eye trained on the lead role in the reboot of The Crow. Previously a 1989 comic book and a 1994 movie, the latest
Withnail and I
Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahamsplay the roles of a Scottish evangelical and Cambridge-educated Jew who ran for Great Britain in the 1924 Paris Olympics. This is a truly inspiring film about human limits, sacrifice and overcoming adversity. Chariots of Fire scooped four Oscars and has perhaps one of the most famous opening sequences in film history.
The History Boys
Anne Hathaway joins Nolan’s next project The Dark Knight and Inception director is famed for working with a familiar troupe of actors. Christopher Nolan’s latest mysterious science fiction project Interstellar appears to continue this trend, as Anne Hathaway is reportedly in talks to
version of The Crow will be directed by F. Javier Gutierrez, although the project has languished in development hell for several years. Bradley Cooper and James McAvoy were considered for the main role.
Sleepy Hollow is Tim Burton’s take on Washington Irving’s historic legend of the headless horseman. Set at the turn of the nineteenthcentury, Johnny Depp plays the role of Constable Ichabod Crane, who is investigating a series of deaths in the Hudson Valley, whilst Griffiths plays Magistrate Philipse.
Warner Bros. moves ahead with The Shining prequel The Shining, Kubrick’s beloved adaptation of the Stephen King novel of the same name, has been cited by many as one of the greatest horror films ever created. It has been immensely successful since its initial release in 1980 and so it should
come as little surprise that Warner Bros. have begun development of an expansion to the franchise, due in September. The Overlook Hotel will reveal the background story of the titular vacation spot from The Shining.
Cameron Diaz to join Jason Segel in Sex Tape? In a move which has prompted countless misleading headlines across the world, Cameron Diaz is in talks to star in the upcoming movie The Sex Tape. It would see her return to the big screen alongside her Bad Teacher co-star and director: Jason
Segel and Jake Kasdan respectively. The story centres around a married couple who re-install a bit of passion to the relationship and misplace their rather intimate video. The race is on the find out who, if anyone, has taken their precious sex tape.
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BOOKS TECH SPOTLIGHT 20 QUESTIONS
IRON MAN 3 The strength of the Iron Man series has always rested on one thing: Robert Downey Jr. and his wise-cracking not-so-alter-ego Tony Stark. This time around, Stark is humanised like never before. He may be Iron Man, but the squishy bit inside the armour feels the strain exerted by his last outing in The Avengers. His fatigue mirrors that of the audience: after the alien-battlingextravaganza of Whedon’s 2012 romp, will future adventures be able to reach the lofty bar set? The answer is yes. A partial yes. Stark is still the best thing about the franchise, and paired with Lethal Weapon scribe Shane Black in the directing chair nets him more self-satisfied one-liners than ever before. It’s the Tony Stark show. But more so. In fact, Iron Man 3 is probably the funniest Marvel film so far but this reveals itself as a double-edged sword - some of the gags are
In brief The Tony Stark show. But more so.
igins, and so hopes were high for an imposing figure. Kingsley doesn’t disappoint: The Mandarin is well-realised and thoughtfully placed. Pierce, on the other hand, starts strongly but by the film’s conclusion has devolved into bouts of painful melodrama. The film fares better in its portrayal of Stark’s inner demons. His brush with nu-
clear death in The Avengers has left him with crippling anxiety issues which are most unbefitting of a superhero. His befriending of the troubled 10-yearold Harley (Ty Simpkins) provides both a perfect mirror for Tony’s man-child tendencies and gives Black room to flex his buddy cop movie muscles. The computerised effects retain the high standard of the other Marvel films, and builds to a suitably massive conclusion. Still, by the end it all feels about as mechanical as Stark’s armour. The stakes quickly evaporate and the ending feels a little vacuous. The best sections of Iron Man 3 are when they feel brave enough to push the series in new directions, like in the segmentation of Tony’s suit. Watching him fight off a room full of bad guys armed with only one gauntlet, one boot, a liberated submachine
Olympus has Fallen
ia (Jane Levy) is brought by her five friends to a remote cabin in the woods in order to kick her heroin addiction. At first, it difficult for her friends to take her wild ravings seriously, but it eventually becomes all too clear that evil forces are underfoot. Evil Dead is a more polished, bigger budgeted, psychological remake of Sam Raimi’s 1981 cult classic horror. Unlike most remakes, this film works not only in spite of, but also because of its precursor. The backstories of characters work well in the beginning to build up the false sense of security that Mia’s hallucinations are a product of withdrawal before swiftly unravelling into a theatrical thriller that is as claustrophobic as it is choke-on-your-popcorn terrifying. There are also a number of stylistic pointers to Raimi’s original for those more hard-core horror buffs, with a reshoot of the infamous ‘treescene’ and a chainsaw making an appearance in the gruesome finale. The film bursts at the seams with eerily realistic gore and body horror. The premise of a naïve group of teens staying overnight in a deserted cabin in the woods perhaps seems a bit too formulaic for a current movie of this genre, but a combination of side-splitting horror and humour means that this remake still manages to pack as much bite as Luis Suarez. Fuelled with plenty of gore, rich visual direction, and a runaway performance by Lou Taylor Pucci, this film will not sink into the oblivion of Sam Raimi’s shadow. In fact, it’s dead good. Sophie Taylor
gun, and a bottomless supply of wit is utterly superb. Again, the film is made by Stark and what makes him different from every other hero; it’s most satisying when his intelligence gets him out of slippery battles, both physical and mental. Iron Man 3 occasionally forgets this, and the film as a whole suffers. It’s still a solid start to Phase Two of the Marvel movies, but it’s difficult to not feel a little disappointed. Jamie Macdonald
+ More Robert Downey Jr. + Cheesy one-liners + Great postcredits scene
- Disappointing conclusion - Cheesy one-liners - Guy Pierce
ike the pesky Germans and the Russians before them, the Jihadists have finally been usurped as the stock Hollywood villain. Evil North Koreans are on the scene now, and guess what: they’re here to slam a big plane into the White House lawn. When recently widowed president Asher (Aaron Eckhart) is taken hostage it’s up to painfully generic bodyguard Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) to come to the rescue. I’ll get this out of the way right now: Olympus Has Fallen isn’t completely terrible. It’s maybe 70 or 80 percent terrible. The whole thing is just incredibly silly, totally implausible and very badly written. The film also displays a complete lack of confidence in its audience, subtitling each scene with unnecessary location and character detail and peppering the dialogue with clunky exposition. Lazy. Some credit to him, director Antoine Fuqua brings skills to bare in a cloying but unexpected first act and a taut middle section, where a Die Hardesque cat-and-mouse chase around the crumbling White House gives the wasted Butler a chance to shine. It’s really not enough to redeem the film though, especially given the rest of the action has to stand or fall on some utterly awful, sub-Atari-level visual effects. It’s been said that when a film becomes so bad it can actually transcend its own flaws and become good again, and broadly speaking the same could be said of this. Just go into the film expecting a comedy and you might end up having a good laugh. Thomas Shutt
Director: Shane Black. Starring: Robert Downey, Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow.
mere centimetres away from being in farcical territory. Tony’s tech fails on him? He’s supposed to be the smartest guy in the film. That’s funny. It fails on him every single time he uses it? Not so much. Antagonists come in the shape of Sir Ben Kingsley’s Mandarin and Guy Pierce’s Aldrich Killian. The former is Iron Man’s nemesis from his comic book or-
or those with a sci-fi thirst Tom Cruise’s latest film Oblivion would appear to be a solid bet. What we are given is a post-apocalyptic bore. The slow-paced plot begins in 2077; Earth has been abandoned after an alien attack. Tom Cruise plays Jack Harper, who is tasked with tying up loose ends before Earth’s population can move to another planet. The job description involves fixing electricity-harvesting drones, and eliminating any alien scavengers. Jack is accompanied by partner Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) whose character is essentially a controlling futuristic stepford wife. The first half of the film feels the need to move at a snail-like pace in order for the audience to get their head around these convolutions. Cruise is stiff and his delivery of humorous antidotes fails terribly. The storyline takes a slight turn for the better when Jack meets Julia (Olga Kurylenco) whom he recognises from flashbacks about the Earth prior to invasion. Morgan Freeman’s character ‘Beech’ then appears and reveals there is a hidden truth about the invasion, which is unsubtly hinted at throughout the film. On the upside, director Joseph Koskinsi again demonstrates his talent for producing visually impressive sci-fi films. If looks were everything then this would be a welcome addition to the genre. However the plot, script and majority of acting feels forced to fit certain generic expectations. It is a classic case of style over substance. Give me Wall-E any day. Katherine Hibberd
MUSIC STAGE FILM TV BOOKS TECH SPOTLIGHT 20 QUESTIONS
TELEVISION Veronica Mars: The Movie
KARL TOMUSK looks at the Veronica Mars movie with all its bells and whistles
eronica Mars, the critically acclaimed drama following the exploits of teenage sleuth Veronica Mars, has been resurrected after fans pledged over $5.7 million to fund a movie based on the show. The show, starring Kristen Bell as its eponymous hero, was a critical success despite its failing ratings and relatively short lifespan. It created a cult following—which includes high profile admirers such as Stephen King, Joss Whedon, and Kevin Smith— with fans praising its originality and ability to combine teenage drama with a 50s film noir s e n s i b i l i t y. Now that fan base has banded together to ensure the creation of a Veronica Mars movie.
In March, creator Rob Thomas (also known for shows such as 90210 and Part y Down) started a page on Kickstarter, a website w h e r e people can ask for donations for various projects. H i s goal was
simple: to raise $2 million in a month and convince the Warner Bros. that there is a market for a Veronica Mars movie. Warner Bros. had stated they would help finance the project if Thomas could produce an initial sum of $2 million, and within minutes fans began pledging their money in droves. Initially, it seemed like a formidable goal, with no certainty about who would donate and how much anyone was willing to give. But those fears quickly subsided when, in less than 12 hours, Thomas and his team reached their goal. Over the following month, the project set quite a number of records for the site. According to its webpage, it was the fastest project to reach $1 million and $2 million, the third highest funded project, and the project with the highest number of backers, with over 91,000 people pledging their monetary support. It was a definitive demonstration of the power of loyal fandom coupled with
the internet. The unbelievable response to the project and its tangible outcome has, naturally, led many to wonder how something like this could be applied to other shows. Most notably, fans of sci-fi series Firefly have contemplated raising money for a revival of the show, which ran for only one season and a movie. However, Joss Whedon has denied any plans to pursue this. Of course, raising money for a single film is quite different to trying to revive an entire series. The Veronica Mars movie is set to be released in early 2014 and Thomas has promised the return of most of the show’s main characters. As a fan of the original series, I’ll be first in line for what will surely be an extravaganza of flashbacks, voiceovers, and Kristen Bell singlehandedly outsmarting the entire population of Neptune, California. It will be a good reminder of why Veronica Mars and I used to be friends, a long time ago.
Series-ly Super Soundtracks Where would TV be without great music? Abba Greatest Hits There are very few times when Abba is appropriate for anything, but the Community episode ‘Epidemiology’ is an obvious exception. There’s nothing quite like watching the cast run for their lives to sound of ‘Gimme Gimme Gimme’.
1986: Blackadder Laurie’s first notable appearance on TV was in Blackadder, where he played a number of different characters. The show featured other notable British comedians such as Rowan Atkinson and Stephen Fry.
1989:ABitofFryandLaurie Once again teaming up with Stephen Fry, Laurie’s new sketch show ran for four series and gave us 26 episodes of wordplay, non-sequiturs, and musical humour.
The Beatles Tomorrow Never Knows
1990: Jeeves and Wooster
Mad Men’s soundtrack always invoked a sense of the 1960s, so using the Beatles seemed inevitable. ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’, used at the end of season five’s ‘Lady Lazarus’ was the musical highlight of the series, encapsulating its tension, drama, and sense of uncertainty.
Starring Fry and Laurie in an award-winning adaptation of P.G. Wodehouse’s short stories, Jeeves and Wooster helped cement their reputation has masters of comedy.
JoanJettandtheBlackhearts Bad Reputation
Scrubs was always creative in its use of music. However, during the comedy’s 100th episode, ‘My Way Home’, that music use went above and beyond. In a homage to The Wizard of Oz, JD spends the episode trying to get back home whilst listening to Toto. Clever.
Freaks and Geeks, the high school drama set in the early 1980s, would have been incomplete without its iconic soundtrack full of teenage angst. ‘Bad Reputation’ was a perfect theme song for the series, capturing the drama’s themes and tone in a matter of seconds.
Quintessentially British and mistakenly American, let’s look back on Hugh Laurie’s illustrious career!
2004: House The astounding critical and commercial success of House brought Laurie international fame. For better or for worse, he is now recognised as the sarcastic American Sherlock Holmes.
2011: Music Career Laurie released Let Them Talk, an album of classic blues staples. Receiving a positive critical reception, it became the best selling blues album of the year and showcased his musical talents.
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Vision’s TV team recommend the sci-fi shows you need to watch
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Despite getting off to a very rocky start, the show became a critical and commercial success. Watched by tens of millions and lauded by critics everywhere, it’s no wonder Wikipedia has an entire page dedicated to the show’s awards.
There aren’t many shows that have the ability to combine science fiction, drama, and a timeless message in the way The Next Generation so masterfully did. Its themes are still relevant and even if its style feels dated, its stories never do. I recently watched a few episodes for the first time in years, and I was astonished by how easy it was to immerse myself in that universe again. Although the mythology is immense and allows for meticulous analysis, every episode stands alone in its story and message. So whether you’re looking for a sci-fi show to mull over for years or you have a few hours to spare and want to watch something that’s both familiar and exotic, TNG really does have something for everybody.
In a distant star system humanity is at peace after war with the Cylons, a race of cybernetic humans of their own creation. After launching a sudden attack on the human colonies, the Cylons decimate the human population, a race already teetering on the brink of extinction, leaving them to defend themselves with an already decaying military protection. Their only means for survival is to find Earth, the last colony in their empire. And that’s all the basic sci-fi background needed, for at its core Battlestar Galactica is a drama that is merely set against a science fiction backdrop. Touching upon subjects like political strife, and ranging from topics as distant and ageless as theology to military struggles, Battlestar Ga-
The premise of Black Mirror is to satirize our modern world and cover issues of privacy, mob justice, televisual spectacle, relationships and the movement of communication. The program ties all these strands together through our use of technology and offers a dark look at life set in the not too distant future. The show, as well as being dark, can be funny, shocking and to be honest, absolutely genius. Charlie Brooker explained the series and its title to The Guardian, noting: “If technology is a drug – and it does feel like a drug – then what, precisely, are the side-effects? This area –
high profile re-imagining of 1978’s Battlestar Galactica, the new edition quickly established itself as a giant among the rest of the Sci-Fi network’s programming. Brushing shoulders with featured classics like Sharktopus and Dinocroc vs. Supergator, it was surprising to see a show of such calibre emerge. Such was the depth of BSG’s lore that a mini-series was released before the series made its debut, where the ensuing storylines would follow through four seasons.
lactica lends itself to any desired viewing: as a political drama, a religious debate, or another sci-fi romp. But the truth is that at the heart of the show lies a bastion of humanity, an adventure that is bound by cerebral science fiction and a dark exploration of our culture. Simply put, the writing is spectacular, far beyond most things attached to the sci-fi label, and matched by the show’s stellar cast, considering the brave and massive scope of the writing’s themes. A personal highlight: James Callis, who plays Dr. Gaius Baltar. His character and the actor’s portrayal as the scientist who unwittingly aids the Cylons in their initial attack, is by far the most engaging aspect of the show.
targate SG-1 was my first introduction into the absurd world of televised science fiction. Moving beyond everyone’s childhood love of Doctor Who, Stargate vowed to defeat the world’s alien foe with highly classified and top-secret weapons and no improvised dialogue. With over 10 seasons I was kept occupied for the remainder of my youth absorbing the possibility of time travel and exploration of extraterrestrial life. The multitude of series is down to its originality and well written scripts.
ypical sci-fi shows like Star Trek or Battlestar Galactica just aren’t my thing. So when asked to write about a sci-fi show, I was stumped until I thought of Black Mirror. Although not your run of the mill sci-fi programme, Black Mirror is set in the future (sci) and of course it is fictional (the fi). Written by Charlie Brooker, the show takes an unconventional route in terms of series structure, offering two series, each made up of three episodes with unconnected narratives. Each episode, then, differs in style, characters, cast, director, plot and distance into the future. There is nothing consistent in its plot outside of its main themes.
tarring Sir Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard, The Next Generation was the longest-running Star Trek series, running for seven seasons. It follows the crew of the fifth USS Enterprise in its quest to find new worlds and “to boldly go where no one has gone before.” Thus, every episode pits the crew against an unfamiliar situation or a hostile group of people and, in so doing, explores issues such as religion or politics. The beauty of The Next Generation is how accessible it is. When we think of Star Trek, we often think of its sci-fi element: its expansive universe, its futuristic technology, and the sheer wealth of content, both canon and fan-made. But this is a show that caters to more than just the run of the mill science fiction fan. Each episode is, at its most basic, a story about people and society; something everyone can relate to. By sending its crew to unfamiliar places, Star Trek is able to comment on our present-day world’s problems in the most entertaining and poignant way.
between delight and discomfort – is where Black Mirror, my drama series, is set. The “black mirror” of the title is the one you’ll find on every wall, on every desk, in the palm of every hand: the cold, shiny screen of a TV, a monitor, a smartphone.” My advice to you would be to watch Black Mirror with friends and from the very beginning. Episode 1 is so brilliant and ballsy, with satire so audacious that I was left open mouthed and chomping at the bit to discuss it with someone, anyone! This is the genius of Black Mirror as a whole, the visions of the future that it conveys felt like brutal but possible realities. Like great satirists, Brooker isn’t just poking fun at culture but making a deadly serious point.
The first series begins with the search for life outside our planetary system and the rescue of scientist Daniel Jackson. An elite military Air Force Special Forces squad are transported through portals known as ‘Stargate’ where they encounter an alien race called the Goa’uld who live inside their human hosts and were responsible for transporting humans from Earth to populate other worlds. The Goa’uld’s love of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, the loin cloth and desire to possess unexplainable alien technology is battled against dry-cleaned camouflaged uniforms worn by patriotic defenders of Earth who throw their inexhaustible grenades and wield their armoured guns. Each series is an exploration of the char-
acters own fears and faults, new philosophies and religions and importantly new races and civilisations. It’s like the X-files, only Mulder patrols the borders of space with a sub-machine gun and not a pen and paper and highly elusive thinking. Highly entertaining plots, surreal set designs and well–written characters steer this military adventure into a memorable experience. By far, the best character and the one that demands the most respect because of his excellent facial acting, is Christopher Judge’s character Teal’c. A Jaffa (modified human engineered by the loveable Goa’uld) who’s only wish is to do the best possible good makes him the most electric and sombre best friend you’ll never have.
MUSIC STAGE FILM TV BOOKS TECH SPOTLIGHT 20 QUESTIONS
BOOKS BOOKS WHAT’S ON MY kindle...
BOOK REVIEW: The British Dream by David Goodhart
BOOK REVIEW: Les MisErables VS The Princess Diaries
NATALIE COX Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
I devoured it in a week and had to buy the whole DVD box set.
This Fine Life by Eva Marie Everson
avid Goodhart’s book, The British Dream, acts as a record of cautionary tales to politicians who will have to parry off similar immigration-related criticisms. Goodhart writes that the number of immigrants settling in Britain must be restricted to save the welfare state from voters who resent the use of taxes being used to help poor immigrants. Writing about “quite liberal-minded white people” informing him of “Pakistani Muslim neighbours not talking to them”, it becomes apparent where Goodhart stands on race relations. With such sensationalist themes, it is impossible to dismiss the feeling
that Goodhart does not have a balanced view on his subject matter. This, in turn, makes it even more challenging to take him seriously when he wonders if Islamophobia might actually be “based on a reasonable judgment about Muslim collective behaviour”. Goodhart admits that before 9/11, he “knew virtually nothing” about Islam and it’s evident that Goodhart knows about as much now as he did twelve years ago. However, some of Goodhart’s ideas are essentially delightful. For instance, his idea that St. George’s Day should be a national holiday - an English holiday for the English. Wait, what? The British Dream is a painful read and ultimately a vehicle for Goodhart’s right-wing perspective. Morenike Adebayo
If I had to define this book it would be as chick lit, but set in the Fifties.
fter Anne Hathaway’s performance in Les Miserables, I had to read Victor Hugo’s novel. 700 pages in and an in-depth description of the battle of Waterloo later, I needed a break from the intensity of Hugo’s surprisingly showtune-free opus. Sticking with the Anne Hathaway theme, I picked up The Princess Diaries: Mia Goes Fourth. Having thoroughly enjoyed the original trilogy of The Princess Diaries books by Meg Cabot, I felt that book number four could not fail me - I was absolutely right. Through Mia, the reader experiences the ups and downs of life with a mother married to Mia’s algebra teacher and a father of royalty. Whilst I loved the challenge of Les Miserables, reading it wasn’t relaxingit was more like falling out of a canoe in white water rapids. Great literature can tug on your emotions, and that’s what I love about the written word. But sometimes
our minds need a rest, like when we’ve spent ten weeks trying our very best to balance education with wine and the Bridget Jones drinking game. At these times, I settle down with Meg Cabot and Mia Thermopolis and give my mind a break by musing over the pitfalls of being a royal teen on the New York scene. Meg Cabot, I thank you: your books are like a Viking River Cruise for my mind. Lucy Walters
WaterstoneOxfordSt @WaterstonesOxfordSt The books are confused. ‘Why can we feel heat?’ they ask. ‘What’s happening? Are we on fire?!’ ‘No,’ I say. ‘It’s the sun. It’s... shining?’
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I had never read anything by Fitzgerald before, which, being a pseudo-English student, seemed very wrong.
Instagram In Words @Wordstigram
All the Twilight books and movies on a table. Caption: “OMG superfan! #twilight #movies #books #twilightsaga #teamjacob #abs #obsessed
BOOKS’ TWEETS OF THE WEEK Jonathan @JonathanOB_
I’d also like to start a proper book club where everyone goes to a pub and gets drunk and forgets to talk about the book and has a good time
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BOOKS EVENTS DIARY Wednesday 8th May Danny Wallace, Charlotte Street Book signing Waterstones, York 4.30pm Thursday 9th May Matt Haig, The Humans Book launch Waterstones, York 7pm Saturday 11th May Al Ewing, The Fictional Man Book signing Waterstones, York 12pm Saturday 11th May John Berger, And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos Book discussion York St Mary’s 3pm Thursday 23rd May Tom Harper, The Orpheus Descent Q&A, book signing Waterstones, York 6.30pm Thursday 30th May Andrew Motion, Silver Book reading York Theatre Royal 7.30pm Tuesday 4th June Dr Nigel Smith on Andrew Marvell, The European Marvell Talk University of York 5.30pm
THE BEST OF YOUNG BRITISH NOVELISTS 2013 G ranta magazine recently unveiled its Best of Young British Novelists 2013 list. Working with the British Council, Granta showcases, in more than 10 countries, a selection of twenty authors who it deems “will define a generation.” Authors featured on past lists include Kazuo Ishiguro (Never Let Me Go) and Iain Banks (The Wasp Factory). The list began in 1983 as a marketing stunt by Granta, which has also released lists for young American novelists since then and, more recently, those writing in Spanish. A new list is created every decade, usually amid some controversy, such as arose in 2003 when writers Monica Ali and Adam Thirlwell were included on the list despite neither having a novel published at the time. Thirlwell, now author of Kapow! and The Escape, is included on this year’s list, along with Zadie Smith, known for her postcolonial novels White Teeth and On Beauty. Like Smith’s novels, this year’s list reflects contemporary multicultural Britain,
with authors such as Bangladeshiborn Tahmima Anam (A Golden War) and Australian Evie Wyld (After the Fire, A Still Small Voice). Also a first, the list features more female than male authors this year, something that surely will be welcomed by an industry often accused of being male-dominated. The judges were looking for writers who were “fresh and bold – people with a sense of how to tell a story, a sense of the form and how to challenge it”. The Best of Young British Novelists 2013 are: Naomi Alderman, Tahmima Anam, Ned Beauman, Jenni Fagan, Adam Foulds, Xiaolu Guo, Sarah Hall, Steven Hall, Joanna Kavenna, Benjamin Markovits, Nadifa Mohamed, Helen Oyeyemi, Ross Raisin, Sunjeev Sahota, Taiye Selasi, Kamila Shamsie, Zadie Smith, David Szalay, Adam Thirlwell and Evie Wyld. Natalie Cox
YOKO ONO BOOK RELEASE J
une 2013 will see the publication of Yoko Ono’s sequel to her 1964 book Grapefruit, dubbed at the time by art critic David Bourdon as “one of the monuments of conceptual art of the early 1960s.” Her sequel, Acorn, is described by Ono herself to be “poetry in action with participation” - a form of “instructional poetry” extending and developing ideas prevalent in Grapefruit, her “book of instructions and drawings.” Grapefruit contains 150 instructional works of poetry, almost all in English and divided into five sections: Music, Event, Object, Poetry and Painting. S o m e poems are in dedic a tion t o
certain people, including John Cage and Isamu Noguchi. Acorn follows suit in instructional poetry as shown in “Line Talk”, one of the poems in the book, in which Ono offers options f o r wh a t “a line is: a) a sick circle, b) an unfolded word, c) an aggressive dot, d) what you want to erase or e) what you regret after you dish it out.” Short, simple and at times
surprisingly thought-provoking, Ono’s quirky poems are accessible and witty whilst offering some sound life advice to her readers, encouraging them to pay close attention to the world around them and to “Walk from where you live to where your friend lives. Be aware of the turns and the views while you walk.” Ono considered utilising the fortynine year gap between the two publications advantageously since she originally intended for Acorn to be an online-only publication, consisting of 100 “instructional” poems published daily over a period of time. However, she spoke of her delight that Acorn will be printed, stating “I’m riding a time machine that’s going back to the old ways!” The publication of Acorn may come as a surprise to some since a planned sequel is mentioned in Grapefruit. Grapefruit II was planned to be released in 1966 and would have contained 150 new pieces; however, this never materialized and Ono decided to make Acorn the official sequel instead. The book will be published by small-scale publishing house OR Books. OR Books will officially release Acorn in June. Oona Venermo
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Top tech tweet of the week: joshua schachter @joshu
starcraft isn’t realistic. you think you can just press a button and get staff? where is the headcount coming from!?
Are videogames growing up?
he year is 1941. Citizen Kane has just been released into cinemas. Despite its lukewarm performance at the time, critics would later revere this moment as a deeply formative one in the history of cinema. It marks, for many, the mo-
purely on the audience side of the equation. Introduce the unparalleled agency given to audiences of videogames and this becomes an entirely different prospect; each player’s experience is different due to contrasting interpretations, but also through the way every choice they make affects their personal narrative. They literally make their own stories. Of course, it isn’t quite that simple. There is still a designer at the helm, and constants still rub shoulders with audiencedriven variables. So maybe not everyone goes through a specific door, but everyone gets into the final confrontation with the butler. Still, everything the player does outside of previously scripted sequences is effectively of their own design. Take 1978’s Space Invaders. No two playthroughs of it have ever
been the same. The designer gives the player a set of rules: there are aliens. They’re a d v a n c ing down t h e screen.
agency which alters the narrative: Bruce Willis doesn’t ask the audience which direction he should go to wipe away Alan Rickman’s dastardly grin in Die Hard. Jump ahead thirty years to 2008. A little g a m e called BioShock has just landed o n
objectivist philosophies through an intricate and morally ambiguous narrative. It’s essentially a complex rumination on the destructive potential of human nature. Oh, and it also manages to pack in an intensely self-aware meta-fictional critique of its own genre. The tension between player choice and creator prescription is still at the heart of its narrative. The addition of this choice means that storytelling techniques have limitless possibilities in videogames, and can achieve
It still has a few teething problems
shallow mainstream successes rather than more satisfying but risky ventures. Experimentation is quashed in pursuit of ‘the next big thing’. Secondly, the most effective way to use videogames hasn’t yet been nailed down; it’s a youthful medium in every way, and it still has a few teething problems. We’re still waiting for ment when filmmaking the videogame equivalent matured into a distinct of Citizen Kane. Or are Forget all of the preconceptions you might have about videogames. Forget artistic medium. we? Citizen Kane’s relCall of Duty and Fifa and strip the medium down to its most basic level: a vidNowadays there’s a evance only came to the eogame is simply an interactive narrative. This is an incredibly potent concept new form of media vying forefront of film study when utilised in the right way. Imagine that two players complete a game sepafor attention. It has only years after its initial rerately. At one point there is a (virtual) door marked ‘do not enter’. One player been around for around lease. Perhaps BioShock turns away and leaves. The other player opens the door and finds a letter in a forty years, but is able will be held up as the desk from one of the central characters of the game asking their spouse for a to combine some of the title which signified viddivorce. Has one player had the same experience as the other? They’ve played most successful elements eogames maturing into a the same game, but one has a fundamentally altered understanding of the plot. of literature and film. distinct artistic medium. The way videogames difAs the industry figures ferentiate themselves is in the way they can reThe player the small screen. forms of expression una- out exactly how best to spond to audience input. has a weapon. This isn’t Space Invad- vailable to any other me- wield the tremendous power that they offer, vidWhile everyone has But even the ers. There aren’t even any dium. their own interpretation choice to go extraterrestrials to masSo where does this eogames will continue to after watching a film or left or right at t h e sacre. Instead, BioShock leave us? Well, unfor- become more and more reading a book, the flucopening of the game is is a thoughtful decon- tunately no-one seems affecting. Maybe videogtuation of experiences is an example of player struction of Ayn Rand’s to have the answer yet. ames have hit the KaneShelves are still clogged esque watershed moment, Practical applications remain fewTwo and a half A bit of research didn’t yield promising with countless titles in but no-one really realises and far-between. But what I failed to months ago, I results. Yes, you can use it to pay for your possession of too few it yet. BioShock has been anticipate was the sheer momentum heard of a startpizza at over one online pizza store, but redeeming features to of a bandwagon, particularly when up virtual currenthis new virtual currency seemed like little advance the art form. granted a sequel, subtimass speculation is involved. cy called BitCoin. more than the lovechild of an over-excited Violence is still a crutch tled Infinite. The potential In the 1630s, the Dutch went nuts Back then, it had computer scientist and a used by many in lieu of gaming is just that: inspeculating on the seemingly innorecently soared curious econoof solid storytelling, finite. All we have to do is cent commodity of tulips. Fortunes to a trading value mist. What and those which do try figure out how to bottle this particular brand were made and lost as the price of of $22 to 1 coin, of the something genuineof lightning. a bulb fluctuated from that of your elevenfold what it future? ly different often Jamie Macdonald average pretty little flower to that was worth just a fall by the wayof your average country estate, and month before. side. back down again. Publishers tend to put their With What’s more, in c a s h speculathe age of instant behind tion playing an trading, the currency is equally key role in even more susceptible to the price of a Bithuge price swings. A few Coin, what’s to stop the weeks ago, it fell from $260 to virtual currency becom$160 over the course of an hour. ing today’s Dutch tulip? So, is this to say you shouldn’t try Well, frankly, very little. Whilst the it out? Maybe I’m just bitter because security system behind the storage of the my cynicism cost me a potential coins is very clever, so are today’s hackers. 900% return over 2 months, or maybe If your booty gets plundered, you can’t I’m hoping for it to fail because the do anything about it – much like if your Winklevi (remember the twins from newly acquired tulip bulb failed to flower. The Social Network?) reportedly have a holding of $11 million. Mike Dunnett-Stone
They literally make their own stories
Just what is
It’s almost totally anonymous It’s tax-exempt It’s unique
What’s that worth to you? And, more importantly, what’s that worth to other people?
MUSIC STAGE FILM TV BOOKS TECH SPOTLIGHT 20 QUESTIONS
S P OT LIG H T ghostpoet
chats to Milo
here is a beautiful, crackling hum to Obaro Ejimwe’s voice that permeates through his Mecury nominated album, Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam, and the telephone line as he offers me a cheerful “hello”. With a debut showered in every aspect of critical acclaim aside from the manifestation of actual awards, the self-styled Ghostpoet has been a bold figure on the fringes of the main stream since his 2011 ascent. It is easy to understand why. Rather than resting on the laurels of his striking appearance, his beard only bettered by that guy in TV On The Radio, and a name wrought with double meanings, Ghostpoet offered an ailing British hip-hop scene a lease of life. Peanut Butter Blues is an album bereft of the alienating swagger of rap and filled with a gentle, personal touch only enhanced by the oblique nature of his lyrics. Where lyrical genius succeeds often musical accompaniment suffers, but not for Ghostpoet. Beneath the east Londoner’s mumble tinged lines of “pork pies and men who wear things likes pork pies” lie minimal beats, piano riffs that ebb in and out of focus and dissonance. The obvious comparison is not Dizzy Rascal, a man with whom he shares geographical roots, but James Blake and Mount Kimbie. For Hip-Hop, that’s quite a big thing. By even noting the surprising musical company he keeps, I feel I am doing Obaro a disservice. Early in our discussion he bats away my attempts to define his music
in relation to any grander scheme. “It’s not because I want to be a loner, I just don’t feel the need to be part of a scene or part of a place or part of a genre. I just do me. I’ve never sought a place, I’m not really bothered about that. I want to be as wide spread as possible. I want to appeal to as many people from as many different backgrounds as possible. The moment I say “I am part of this” I restrict my creativity.” Despite this being the first time I’ve interviewed a musician, I am aware of the slipperiness of this answer. In a decreasingly solvent industry, the last five years seeing bankruptcy claim the likes of Tower Records and Macasounds, commercial success has been fighting an increasingly vicious battle with the leftfield. In a chart beleaguered with sure-fire capital investments, the musically disenchanted masses have flocked to the underground as a breath of non-auto tuned air. One only has to look back several months to James Arthur to understand the commercial potential of the tortured artist. Ghostpoet, however, cannot be accused of such cynicism. In the space of a twenty minute interview not once does he mention his new album, Some Say I Say I So Light, and seems genuinely pleased when I say I liked it. When I ask if he hopes to emulate the success of his breakthrough record, an album which not only saw him enter the warm circle of music journalism’s high regard, but narrowly avoided early destruction in Sony’s arsoned music depot, he deflects attention. “I don’t really have any
hopes. If anything, I just want to be able to carry on making music. If people like it, great. If they don’t, that’s cool.” Whilst sentiments of this sort are fairly common for artists at the top of their game, especially those waiting on feedback for their sophomore album, Ghostpoet’s new record has a quiet air of the unassuming, everyday that renders his bashfulness plausible. Much as Peanut Butter Blue’s title track aspired only to “live life and survive it”, its successor is imbedded with enough minor key stutterings and obscure
“I don’t really have any hopes. If anything, I just want to be able to carry on making music. If people like it, that’s great, if they don’t, that’s cool.” aural clashes to deter all but those willing to immerse themselves in Ghostpoet’s soundscapes. “I don’t see myself as a poet or a rapper, I see myself as an artist. I just see myself as an artist making sound. I make it and that’s what I believe. My mentality is just I want to make a record I want
to listen to. It’s partly personal. I try and make records that aren’t completely about me. I want to make records that are about feeling and emotions and people. I always start with the music. I have a skeleton. I try and work out what direction the music wants me to go lyrically. Whatever comes out comes out. I don’t try and go in a particular direction.” Such professed musical wanderings are best understood lying down, listening to his albums from start to finish. Despite lacking the clear narrative of Mike Skinner’s musical money woes, there is a vein of something that ties his records together and allows their alien sounds to be understood as the sharp reality the lyrics speak of. This notion of “something” is one befitting of Ghostpoet. Despite the name’s ability to suggest a multitude of ideas from authorial absence to a modern day rendering of classic poetic form, Obaro is quick to shoot down such theories. “I just made it up because I wanted a name that wasn’t going to say anything about the music. I wanted it to be a doorway that you go through”, he explains. Typically of an artist who can render the quietest, most unremarkable lyrics with profundity, Ghostpoet’s attempt to deflect my untrained journalistic light only unearths a deeper meaning. This is a reoccurring trend of the interview. My hopeful probing into his political stance, disguised in a roundabout question that includes the words “Plan B” and “protest album” is met with a resounding “No”. Hoping to steer the conversation to more familiar grounds, the ill thought out assumption that an artist who raps and who has the word “poet” in his name must have found his muse in GCSE anthologies receives similar repudiation - “I haven’t read any poetry since I was at school. Maybe I should.” Although initially turned flat by my inability to coax one of my favourite musicians into enjoyable conversation, retrospect tells me a breath-by-breath account of each song would’ve inevitably been anticlimactic. Not because each breath does not deserve an account, but because they are deeply personal; for both artist and listener. Whilst the likes of Rihanna are spoon feeding their audiences with lyrics seethrough to the point of invisible, Ghostpoet is a master of turning the smallest, most personal moments into universal fixtures of recognition. By means of evidence, I will leave you with a verse from ‘Finished I Ain’t’. If you enjoy it in anyway, even if that enjoyment solely derives from his mentioning of KFC, buy his new album. It’s like this, but better. “I want to shout out All those people who left me to mourn Who didn’t bite lips yeah I’ve got scorn KFC bucket-load born in the South but want to get North Now I’ve got dreams but they’re mixed up in the puddles of the mind. “And I need time.”
MUSIC STAGE FILM TV BOOKS TECH SPOTLIGHT 20 QUESTIONS
Q U EWITHS T I O N S Anne Fine
The award-winning author ANSWERS Oscar Pearson’s BURNING QUESTIONS 1. What is your earliest memory? Stepping off a log onto what I thought was grass, but turned out to be duckweed. 2. You have had over fifty books published to date, but what would you consider to be your best work? They’re all so different. For comedy, I’d say the Mountfield Family series. But I suppose The Road of Bones and The Devil Walks are two I’d clutch as I ran from a fire. 3. Did you ever imagine you could be this successful when you were first published? At the start, any author is simply thrilled that someone’s publishing the book at all. So no, I never imagined any of what has happened since. 4. Who is your best friend? It’s a toss-up between my partner Richard, who makes me laugh, and my Bernese Mountain Dog Lulu, who makes me walk. 5. Why did you choose to study Politics at degree level? I was so stupid at the end of school. I thought, ‘I don’t know anything about politics, so I’ll do that.’ But some of it must have taken because I did end up with a real interest in many aspects of politics. 6. And how important do you think your university education has been to your overall career? I don’t think the importance of a university education can be discounted. And I’m proud of the way that I do manage to raise important political issues in books like GoggleEyes, The Granny Project and The Road of Bones in ways that are comprehensible and accessible to young readers. 7. What are your plans for the future? More reading, and, with luck, more writing.
Music Editors: Martin Waugh & Louisa Hann Deputy Music: Michael Cooper & Katie Molloy Stage Editors: Kathy Burke & Rory McGregor Deputy Stage: Will Westerman & Sam Thorpe-Spinks
8. You were the second Children’s Laureate from 2001 to 2003; what did that involve? I was horrifically busy. I gave dozens of keynote talks on all sorts of subjects surrounding children’s literature. I helped Clear Vision set up their brailed picture book library, which entailed visits to high security prison brailing units. I put together three anthologies of poems for different age groups. 9. How did the role influence your time to do your own work? I never found a moment to do any writing. But everything I started is still rolling on, so it was all worthwhile. 10. Why was Enid Blyton your favourite author when you were younger? There is some childlike quality to her stuff that is compelling to very young readers. She turned a whole generation of children into proficient readers. 11. How long does it take you to ‘tweak’ or polish off a book? An adult book will take well over a year. A book for older children about ten months, and books for very, very young readers are pretty quick, once I have the idea. 12. If you weren’t a writer, what do you think you’d be doing? Sitting reading, I’d hope. 13. What advice would you give to aspiring writers? The same as Robert Louis Stevenson: ‘Read, read, read. Read everything.’
15. What is your favourite book? I don’t have ‘favourite’ books. I have so many author passions that the word no longer works on me. 16. Are there any maxims that inspire you? There’s an old Persian saying I quite like: “Riches are like manure. They do no good till they’re spread.” 17. If you could sum your career up in one sentence, what would you say? It was dead right for me. 18. What has been your happiest moment to date? You can’t beat mucking about with your own toddlers, doing nothing much. 19. Could you tell us a secret? I’m so horribly indiscreet that I don’t have any. 20. And what global issue would you like to see tackled today? The rich getting so obscenely rich at everyone else’s expense.
14. You were appointed an OBE in 2003 – what does that mean to you? I’m a republican, so I had very mixed feelings about accepting the honour. I still often wish I hadn’t.
Scene Team Scene Editors: Niamh Connolly & Zena Jarjis Film Editors: Jamie Macdonald & Sophie Taylor Deputy Film: Nick Burke & Katherine Hibberd TV Editors: Josh Gisby & Karl Tomusk
Deputy TV: Will Arkle & Ghazala Jabeen Books Editors: Alex Cochrane-Dyet & Morenike Adebayo Deputy Books: Rebecca Cowper & Oona Venermo Tech Editors: Jamie Macdonald & Mike Dunnett-Stone
Published on Apr 30, 2013