A Review of Open Windows by Michèle Massé

 

 

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In today’s lively LGBTQ+ community it can be easy to think that youth culture is primary representative of the movements’ ideals. However, Open Windows, screened by The Scottish Queer International Film Festival, challenges that assumption. This documentary, about four lesbian women in their seventies, challenges stereotypes and offers increased visibility to the older generation’s past and present experience. Although the film highlights a bygone era where terms like “lesbian” weren’t common, the message of the film is progressive. Overall, it is a call for the present LGBTQ+ movement to recognize the strides lesbians made in the past and to acknowledge those strides both in policymaking and in the community.

 

Preceding Open Windows, the short film Are We Being Served? was screened with LGBT Health and Wellbeing’s group, LGBT Age. This short film works very well as a way of culturally linking Scotland’s individual experience to the generational LGBTQ+ issues explored in the main feature.

 

Open Windows begins by following the narratives of Boti, Empar, Micheline and Jocelyne from their initial realizations of being different, to the trials of finding love as a lesbian, to the battle of feeling old versus looking old. Micheline and Jocelyne portray a dual experience of uncovering their own sexualities together. They fall in love at the ripe age of 69, an experience they insist is the cure for old age. Boti and Empar, on the other hand, approach the issue of aging by addressing the mental process of paying attention to one’s sexual desires and acknowledging them regardless of age. However, the film ultimately turns towards the women’s defining experiences with activism to emphasize the need for lesbian visibility.

 

As part of a generation that defined the LGBTQ+ movement, the four women in Open Windows represent voices that cannot be ignored. The film gives a final message that not only do personal narratives increase understanding of the LGBTQ+ community as a whole, but that communication between the old and young members of this group is absolutely vital.

 

Reviewed by Gina Pieracci

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Diwali: The celebration of light on a cold winter’s night

Rio Madan

 

The history behind Hinduism’s happiest festival and how it is celebrated right here in the west end of Glasgow

 

 

Every year our Hindu community illuminate Glasgow as they unite and celebrate Diwali, Hinduism’s biggest and brightest festival. In previous years, Diwali celebrations have been nothing short of spectacular. From fire jugglers and fireworks to traditional Indian dancing and storytelling, Diwali immerses Glasgow in vibrancy and excitement. Diwali is known as the Festival of Light and represents the start of the Hindu New Year.

 

 

 

Diwali literally translates to ‘row of lights’. It lasts for five days with the leading festivities taking place on the third day. Diwali commences on the thirteenth day of the dark half of the lunar month, Ashvina, and ends on the second day of the light half of Karttika. This corresponds to one of the main themes represented by Diwali, the transition from darkness to light where darkness signifies ignorance and light signifies knowledge.

 

 

 

The similar theme of good triumphing over evil also holds great importance during Diwali, emanating a joyous atmosphere throughout the celebrations. This past year, the third day of Diwali was celebrated on October 23rd.

 

 

 

The festival of Diwali has a vast and vibrant history and its origin is rooted in Hindu mythology. One of the most memorable reasons for celebrating Diwali is in commemoration of the Ramayana. This historical tale honours Rama­Chandra, the seventh incarnation of the god Vishnu. It is believed that on this day Rama returned to his Kingdom of Ayodhya with his wife, Sita, after fourteen years of exile in the jungle. During this time he fought and won the battle against the demon king Ravana, who had kidnapped Rama’s wife.

 

 

 

At home, Hindu families irradiate each room with candles and lanterns and enjoy firework displays as the light symbolizes Rama’s victory over the evil Ravana. Bathing the home in light is said to dispel anger and ignorance, and more importantly, glorify the divine light of God.

 

 

 

Another prominent aspect of Diwali is the worshipping of goddess Lakshmi. She is the female counterpart of Lord Vishnu and is known as the female energy of the Supreme Being. As well as embodying beauty and purity, Goddess Lakshmi also means ‘Good Luck’ so is the goddess of wealth and prosperity, both material and spiritual. Hindus leave the windows and doors of their homes open so that Lakshmi is able to enter. Rangoli patterns are also drawn on the floor near the entrance of homes. Rangoli is a type of folk art from India created from coloured rice, coloured sand and dry flour. The most popular Rangoli pattern of Diwali is the lotus flower. This is because images of Lakshmi traditionally show her either holding a lotus or sitting on one and so this particular Rangoli design is said to encourage the goddess to enter the home and bring good luck for the New Year.

 

 

 

With Diwali marking the Hindu New Year, the day is viewed as a fresh start. It is traditional to clean the house and exchange gifts between family and friends. It is also auspicious to buy silver jewellery for the women of the house. Although the meanings of Diwali, its symbols and rituals, and the reasons for celebration are innumerable, this day always remains a joyous one for those celebrating. The Hindu Temple in Glasgow, located at La Belle Place, was the hub of excitement for the Glasgow Indian Community this Diwali.

 

 

 

Families of all generations, students from India and visitors gathered at the temple to celebrate this auspicious occasion. Divas (clay oil lamps) were lit by everyone and allowed us to remember and reflect on the purpose of this festival. Grand offerings of sweet delicacies were also placed before the Gods.

 

 

 

The priest then invited all devotees to worship the Divine Goddess Lakshmi to achieve blessings of wealth and prosperity. The atmosphere throughout was one of joy and happiness as families, friends and strangers greeted one another. The Diwali celebrations spilled into the night with a spectacular fireworks display in Kelvingrove Park, enabling all participants to commemorate their faith openly with pride and joy.

 

 

 

During the lead-up to Diwali, all Glasgow schools are invited to visit the Hindu Temple and participate in what can only be described as an Extravagant Diwali Workshop. Female pupils dress up in saris, bangles and bindis while male pupils learn the art of turban dressing. There are yoga sessions and Bollywood dance lessons, with teachers joining in the fun. The pupils can also visit the worship area where the priest presents a basic knowledge of the Hindu religion coupled with a brief definition of what the deities represent; allowing students to learn about Hinduism and the significance of Diwali.

 

 

The Hindu temple opens its doors to visitors all year round, encouraging people of all faiths to enjoy the festivals and celebrations of Hinduism. Without the community of Glasgow, the unity and joy that echoed throughout the temple this Diwali would not have been possible so thank you to all who celebrated.

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Jazz, Soul and….Dub?

 

 

Meredith Stewart

 

 

Submotion Orchestra are a seven-piece band, with soulful vocals and smooth jazz solos, however, they contain a surprising element — dub. 

 

 

At 8:50pm on the 7th of November, King Tuts Wah Wah Hut was buzzing with excitement.

 

 

Submotion Orchestra, an outfit hailing from Leeds, started their tour of their third album, Alium, at King Tut’s. There was definitely a sense of anticipation in the air. The band came on with lead singer, Ruby Wood, entering last. Her sensuous vocals reverberated through the room, and suddenly, the floor began to vibrate with a deep, smooth throbbing.

 

 

Electronica is a typically unconventional pairing with jazz and soul. The band says on their website that their sound is a ‘fusion of bass heavy electronica, jazz and soul’.

 

 

Since their first album (Fragments, 2009) their music has followed this unique amalgamation of sounds, gathering a large crowd following with tracks such as ‘Finest Hour’ and ‘Blind Spot’. During the performance, the band plays their much-loved song ‘All Yours’, to which the crowd sings back. Ruby’s vocals were engaging and she regularly checked up with the crowd and kept the energy high.

 

 

They also played a variety of songs from Alium, including the energising ‘Trust/Lust’ and the mellow ‘City Lights’. Their sound did not deviate so much from their other albums—during an interview I conducted with Tommy Evans, the drummer, he stated that it was more ‘an extension’ of their last album.

 

 

The band made sure to include many jazz solos in their live performance. Bobby Beddoe regularly blew every fibre of his being into his trumpet, providing the audience with sleek and exuberant intervals. Tommy on the drums provided eye-watering, fast rhythms, occasionally having his own solo and leaving the crowd more than impressed. Despite being a relatively large band, throughout the performance they were tight and everything ran smoothly with the help of the band’s producer and engineer, Dom Ruckspin. There were a lot of synthetic tracks on the album, which added to the performance and enhanced the electronic element of the sound.

 

 

After their encore, the band politely wished the audience goodnight. I turned to my friend and we discussed the undoubtedly great performance that we had just witnessed.

 

 

Alium is out now.

 

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Interstellar: A Review

Arnaud Brebion

 

Directed by Christopher Nolan, interstellar was this Autumn’s blockbuster. Involving intersecting themes of the importance of family ties, the struggle between nature and human control and love defying time, the film is ambitious in its content and form and won’t leave you indifferent.

 

 

Interstellar is set in a pre-apocalyptic era on earth where food is scarce and extreme changes in climate jeopardize humanity’s survival. Protagonist Cooper: loving father, and former space pilot, is enrolled to go on an interstellar adventure, having to leave his children behind, in search of a planet that can sustain life.

 

 

The film by Christopher Nolan was undoubtedly going to be discussed and controversial – Why? – Well, this is a Christopher Nolan film, and used to be Spielberg’s project before passing it on to Nolan. Just like any of his films, Nolan likes to deliver a definitive work of art, to play with the viewers’ mind and feelings, and to titillate the most skeptical of us – any memory of Inception’s final scene?

 

 

Interstellar created a real fuss in the distributors’ area with the option of viewing in six different formats: Digital, 4K Digital, IMAX, 35mm film, 70mm film, IMAX 70mm film (ordered by ascending quality). You, dear audience, will have the dilemma to choose which format to watch. Just like Gravity, Interstellar will suffer from a later screening in DVD or Blu Ray, so, try and see it on the big screen as it was intended to be!

 

 

I found the film brilliant, but not flawless. The opening statement is original: Earth is not hospitable. It is implied that mankind is the reason for this ecological disaster, but the real threat here is Earth itself.

 

 

Mankind was born on Earth. It was never meant to die here’, states Cooper. ‘We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars, now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt’.

 

 

If one of the subthemes of 2001: A Space Odyssey, was to wonder about ‘how far should man go’, Interstellar wonders about ‘how far could man go’. The implied statement here being that man is a pioneer, and explorer, and that there are no boundaries to the knowledge humans can acquire. Yet, the comparison with 2001 stops there. Kubrick’s film was more of a quiet book of images demanding high involvement to notice the connotations, while Interstellar is a popular entertainment aiming to inspire people with off-the-cart visual imagery and wordy monologues. The vastness of space has always been a vector of introspection. By being such a grandiose show, Interstellar could lack some individuality. Where movies such as Solaris (2002 remake by Steven Soderbergh) depend completely on its characters, Interstellar does not fully reconcile intimacy and greatness. It is interesting to notice that both films are cradled by Dylan Thomas’ poems. Coincidence? No, thank you, sir.

 

 

This slight lack of focus on the characters gives the impression of an unfinished performance by Matthew McConaughey. While a couple of scenes (no spoilers) truly take your breath away and make you want to cry out loud, McConaughey does not reach the grandiose he had in Dallas Buyers Club and Mud. McConaughey is a tremendous actor, his performance in Interstellar is solid and relevant, just not as fascinating as it could have been.

 

 

Some may argue that Nolan skims over some aspects of the script, especially in the last act of the film (which is unusual for a film that lasts 2 hours and 49 minutes). Fulfilling, tiresome, mind-blowing, non-credible, you name it. But do make your own opinion of it. We will still be talking about it months from now. In a film messing with our mind by talking about quantum mechanics, time-relativity and the fifth dimension, there was one simple message: love is the one thing that transcends time and space.

 

 

 

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Body Dysmorphia in Men – A Big Issue

 

Jill Craig

 

 

It’s an age where we’re supposedly concerned with healthy eating, everything in moderation and regular exercise. Channel 4 seems to delight in the many weight-obsessed shows such as Supersize versus Super skinny and Embarrassing Fat Bodies, which fascinate and repulse us in equal measure. So you would think that we would finally have gotten the balance right. Wrong.

 

 

I went for coffee with a friend recently, although ‘going for coffee’ is a term loosely used. I had a caramel latte and (note the pronoun) he had a protein shake. His hands were shaking, and I’m not an intimidating person – he later admitted to me that he was on fat-burning pills. Apparently this was one of the side effects.

 

 

It sounds surprising, and all the more so because said friend is a man. But actually, it’s not uncommon nowadays for men to become obsessed with their weight, to begin calorie counting and caring a little, a lot, or too much about what the mirror and scale are reflecting on any particular day. It seems that, as a society, we’re not good at seeing it as a problem, much less understanding it. And to make the situation all the more difficult to deal with, it seems to be much more of a taboo for a man – especially a hulking, heavily built man – to seek help. For many, it seems as if it’s not even in their vocabularies.

 

 

In this supposedly health-conscious society, ‘body dysmorphia’ is a term, which is easily, bandied about- it’s just not one we usually extend to large, muscular men. I have several female friends who have dated men like this, and who bemoan the time spent in the gym rather than with them and the obsessive eating habits. Worse, we used to laugh at the photos posted online (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, you name it), finding them utterly ridiculous. But imagine being in this situation – spending all your time, energy and money obsessing about your looks, body and weight, missing important events and avoiding certain foods and restaurant situations at all costs. It sounds familiar, doesn’t it? It’s something we associate with anorexia or bulimia. But there’s a new term for what is a sort of reversal of anorexia (although many of the signs are the same): muscle dysmorphia. The Internet even has a nickname for it: bigorexia.

 

 

The nickname may sound ridiculous but the effects are anything but. Muscle dysmorphia afflicts at least 10% of male bodybuilders, and they describe themselves as chronically anxious that they appear puny and weak – but it’s hard to obtain accurate statistics, given the fact that there are many who won’t admit to it. Harrison G. Pope Jr. MD. of the Maclean Psychiatric Research Leader in Belmont, Massachusetts has described Muscle Dysmorphia as a sort of anorexia nervosa reversal. He thinks that men are beginning to feel the effects of the idealised images society projects, and if you look at the changes these images have undergone; from (big but still attainable) body shapes such as James Dean and John Wayne to the ridiculously large body shapes of Rambo and the Terminator, it’s easy to see how this could be a growing problem.

 

 

As yet, there is a gaping hole in the fields of comprehensive studies and research into muscle dysmorphia. This also, unfortunately, means that help is rather limited. These are men who are pushing themselves with punishing workout regimes, sometimes in spite of injuries or other work and social commitments, and some report the use of anabolic-androgenic steroids in an attempt to get bigger. For most, the lengths these men go to are not only extreme, but also practically unimaginable. Edward ‘Spyk’ Gheur, a former Hollywood stuntman, used to consume 10,000 calories per day, and spent six hours per day, six times a week in the gym. Frankly, I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

 

 

There are misconceptions abound here: that these men do not need help, or that they are simply vain. Reportedly, normal weightlifters admit to spending forty minutes per day thinking about body development. Men with bigorexia find their thoughts occupied by such concerns for five hours or more daily.

 

 

As a society, it is time that we realise that the images we project effect more than women. Everyone is vulnerable, whether the person in question is an 8-stone woman or a 16-stone man. When we look at the scales or in the mirror, just when are we ever going to get it right?

 

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Fear , Loathing and Penny Whistles; How the Independence Referendum and Commonwealth Games could end Glasgow’s Orange Walks.


The Orange Walks and the Independence Referendum

There are only three certainties in Scotland this year; Death, taxes and the omnipresence of the Independence Referendum. Campaigners from both sides of the vote have tirelessly canvassed, debated, trolled, protested, donated and recruited in what is arguably the largest and most exciting event in recent Scottish history. Unfortunately, the debate on Scotland’s future could become a political bed-sheet waved right at an angry orange bull.
The rub lies in existing issues. For although the Orange Order may seem little more than silly hats, penny whistles and a slightly longer journey to work, religious differences have given it a violent side leading to frequent clashes with the police. As much as the majority of arrests – for drinking in public and antisocial behaviour- can be filed as the inevitable by-product of a large gathering of people on a sunny day in Glasgow, it remains impossible to disguise the link between Orange Order disorder and Sectarianism. ‘ScGlasgow’s East End in summer can be stunning, but it’s no place to nurse a hangover. Each weekend the early afternoon is filled with the whistles, drums and Sunday best suits of the Orange Order. Divisive, fiercely Protestant and strongly unionist, the Order is most active during the ‘marching season’, a series of walks primarily in Northern Ireland and the West of Scotland culminating on the 12th of July, the anniversary of William of Orange’s victory over James II way back when.
This year, the marches in Glasgow are juxtaposed against two major socio-political events – the Independence Referendum and the Commonwealth Games, each with the potential to exacerbate longstanding issues surrounding the parade. And as calls to close down the parades continue, could 2014 be the Order’s last tango on Clydeside?
otland’s Shame’ is a longstanding issue in its largest city, stemming from historic discrimination against Catholic immigrants. Today it is reflected in trouble between fans of the Old Firm clubs -the traditionally Protestant Rangers and Catholic Celtic – and their political allegiances; Celtic fans anti-fascist and pro-Palestine in the current Israel conflict, Rangers the opposite. With Celtic’s stadium and supporters pubs situated in the East End, the walks are tense affairs at best; at worst, this tension quickly gets nasty.
But how does this tie in with independence? Well, essentially, an already politically charged radical organisation (to put it lightly) involving itself with a huge, impassioned movement spells nothing but trouble. The warning signs are present. As expected, The Order has registered as an official supporter of the No Campaign, actively displaying this in brazen WordArt during marches. Their involvement, it seems, couldn’t be further from ‘compassion, peace and stability’: The official Better Together campaign has already publicly distanced itself from the Orangemen; Sam McCrory, widely suspected of plotting to murder senior IRA members, has voiced fears that the Order could disrupt the No campaign by alienating Catholics and centre-left Scots. When a star of Danny Dyer’s Deadliest Men tells you to calm down, it’s obvious there’s a problem.
There’s more than the No Campaign’s reputation at risk. With their reputation for disruptive sectarianism ,the Order already face strong opposition within Glasgow – with a petition calling for their ban as ‘discriminatory supremacist Orange hate marches’ gathering over 4,500 signatures – and the IndyRef could trigger genuine conflict. Indeed, it is not far-fetched to speculate that fears of reactionary violence played a large part in Better Together’s choice to ostracise the Order.
It has been argued that the order are actually playing the classic antihero in the independence tragic-comedy, enfranchising ‘tens of thousands in housing schemes across the country’ who would previously never bothered to vote. Surely there is a better way of doing this than through an organisation built on religious discrimination? It seems more likely that the Order’s involvement in the independence campaign will cause greater unrest at the marches.

The Orange Walks and the Commonwealth Games
As the locals debate and speculate ahead of September the 18th, Glasgow City Council has been gearing up for the Commonwealth Games. Fronted by the ‘People Make Glasgow’ campaign in a bid to present a progressive and united city, government funded graffiti, Salmond Cycles and repainted shop-fronts have all emerged as part of an increasingly dubious regeneration programme. With less than a month to go ‘til the competitions start, the council will be understandably keen to avoid any negative publicity; the marches will be a major cause for concern, and it is likely there will be a heavier police presence in an attempt to deter troublemakers.
This creates problems in itself. Over-policing at the Orange Walk could leave the city appearing divided, its elected officials paranoid. Under policing could give the red tops a field day. It’s some conundrum, and GCC and Police Scotland will have to be spot on with their crowd control when the 12th of July comes around -even more so than previous years. And if the marchers fail to live up to the grand words on their anti-independence flyers, decisive action may have to be taken against them.

Since their conception, the Orange Parades have been a permanent bone of contention in Glasgow. Sympathisers see them as a way of expressing freedom, religious and political pride; others see a volatile and incendiary danger. This year as violence at parades continue, political tensions exacerbated by the IndyRef grow – and with the walks carrying strong potential to disrupt the squeaky-clean Commonwealth image – the bell could finally toll.

James McAleer

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“Spotted: Glasgow Uni Library” and Sexist Student Culture

GUM uni library

 

 

In an ideal world, the idea of university “Spotted” pages would be quite mundane, possibly even benign. A unique way to interact with your fellow students, I imagine it would foster a sense of community hitherto unknown on Facebook, full of bright, well-adjusted individuals poking light fun at other equally bright, well-adjusted individuals without fear of reprimand or causing offence. After all, the posts on these pages would all be in the name of good fun, and I doubt anybody would make complaints against something so obviously well-intentioned and inoffensive. No harm, no foul, right?

 

Unfortunately, we don’t live in such a world – this fact made clear by the huge debate currently raging over the state of the “Spotted: Glasgow Uni Library” Facebook page. So what exactly is the problem?

 

After a brief hiatus around Christmas time last year, the infamous “Spotted” page recently resumed regular posting for the exam season. The admin staff had swelled to seven members, and the page’s popularity was higher than ever – roughly 10,500 likes, which, as frequently pointed out by the page admins themselves, is a significant proportion of Glasgow University’s 25,000 students. However, things quickly turned sour. Among the admittedly sketchy regular chat-up lines and solicitous remarks from wannabe Lotharios, some truly seedy and explicit content began to emerge. After outcry from students and the Isabella Elder Feminist Society, these posts were hastily removed and the admin staff cut down to the original two. However, the current admins of the page will admit to no sexism or foul conduct beyond possible revelation of identity, as they have said in a letter to the university, which can be found on the Isabella Elder Feminist Society Facebook page. Many contributors and followers of “Spotted”, as well as the admins themselves, seem to think that the charges raised against them are nothing more than the petty gripes of “moany feminists”, seeking to ruin their fun. When I spoke to one of the admins of the page, he told me they “are infamously an oversensitive school of thought who jump at the chance of possible offence to their gender”, and that the page had “no other intention than light hearted humour”.

 

And, well, I do believe that they had no consciously malicious intent when they started the page. By their own admission, they just wanted to “get in on the act” and jump on the bandwagon of similar pages hosted by students of other universities. However, their opinion of feminism reeks strongly of reactionary defensiveness, and, honestly, a complete ignorance of the way that oppression actually operates in our society.

 

At the end of this conversation I was asked not to “label [Spotted: Glasgow Uni Library] as sexist”, as though the term “sexist” were nothing more than an uncomfortable, embarrassing handle unfairly given to someone completely innocent, and undeserving of all suspicion. It’s a word nobody wants to hear, and which nobody wants to think about. But the truth is that we have to think about it. The truth is that people are sexist, that some actions are sexist. The truth is that each and every one of us participate in a sexist culture, and perform sexist actions, whether consciously or unconsciously, on purpose or not.

 

And let me be clear on one other thing: sexism is not a two-way street. It is true that prejudice against all genders exist, it is true that someone might hold a grudge against you, or demean you, just because you identify as a man. However this is not endemic to our culture. Misandry does not exist in the same way that misogyny does. A common way of defining oppression is “prejudice plus power”. Put simply, what this means in the context of our very own Spotted page is this: when an anonymous post such as “To the Hugh Jackman lookalike who always sits by the level 4 keyboards: get your claws out and rip my clothes off”, obviously aimed at a man, is posted, no one feels threatened. There’s very little precedence (note: not none) for men receiving such comments on a regular basis, or being made to feel ashamed for sexual comments aimed at them. The person this was aimed can probably take this as the humorous post it was intended to be, and leave it there. They may even feel flattered. The problem is that men seem to think women should take these comments in the same way, without realizing that women spend every day of their lives under a barrage of inappropriate comments, are groped, dismissed, harassed, catcalled, belittled – all because of their gender. One in four women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. And we are all aware of this. The risks for men are much lower. Because of this, guys, I’m sorry, but no one is going to take your post about masturbating over a girl in the university library toilets – without her consent – as a compliment. It’s just another unwanted reminder that women are always being watched and assessed for their sexual availability, that they are not even safe in a learning environment – that they can never fully relax in a public place. If you think women should just “get over it” – congratulations, you have about the same empathetic capability as a small reptile.

 

If you think that I am exaggerating, I’ll direct your attention to this post, made in November of last year:

 

“To All of the Girls: Usually at this time of year you stop making an effort to look nice due to the increasing pressure of imminent exams and the constant onslaught of freshers’ cocks you have taken over the course of the first semester. But this year I am very glad to say that the overall standard has been consistent and incredibly high. I just wanted to mention my appreciation (and I’m sure I’m not alone here) of the eye candy that has helped me through the hard weeks of study so far this year and for the rest of the hard weeks to come!”

 

Please don’t try to dismiss this post as the exception to the rule. If it was the exception, it would be something to be laughed at, and dismissed. Instead, it is comments like these which are at the crux of this debate.

 

No matter how much the admins have tried to water down the content to avoid scandal and keep the page running, they cannot control the slew of misogynistic comments posted by their followers, who evidently don’t seem to care about their anonymity as much as the admins of the page think they should. Throughout the page, and especially on the “Spotted:Glasgow uni sexism” page set up to combat it, those who oppose distressing content are variously referred to as “moany feminists”, told to “ grow the fuck up and take the pole out your arse”, and exposed to callous “jokes” like “sorry I couldn’t reply sooner, had to shout at my mum to do the dishes then go beat my wife.” It would take some hefty denial and exhausting mental gymnastics to convince yourself that those concerned for the safety of their fellow students deserve such harassment, especially since the requests of the Isabella Elder Feminist Society have always been calm, reasoned, and more than willing to negotiate. In an email, they wrote “We are not necessarily against Spotted pages in general but feel that the Spotted Library page has repeatedly and consistently posted material that is of a particularly threatening and frightening nature…which isn’t acceptable.” That seems fair enough to me, unless, of course, you disagree that the nature of the posts are threatening or frightening at all. But hang on, didn’t I just showcase the amount of vitriol levelled at women (which “feminist” is clearly synonymous with) on a daily basis? “We don’t believe that people who are continually complicit in making female students feel unwelcome at this university are in any position to critique feminism”, wrote the IEFS secretary. “They only emphasize its need to exist.”

 

As I’ve said earlier in this piece, it’s not necessarily the concept of a “Spotted” page which is concerning. It’s the way the page has been handled, and the way it’s been used by its contributors, both anonymous and not, which point to a larger problem in student culture country-wide. The fact is that there are young men and women who are grossly misinformed of what constitutes sexism and harassment, who truly believe that they’re not hurting anyone, and that feminists are just oversensitive harpies spoiling the fun for everybody else. The fact is that there are people at this university who are willfully ignorant of the hurt they cause, refuse to educate themselves on even the most basic tenets of human decency, and would rather humiliate and silence anyone who dares call them out on it than even consider the fact that they may be in the wrong. Their education may have failed them as children, but they are now (supposedly) adults who can and should be critical of their own words and actions, and willing to learn rather than stick to childish instincts. This is a university after all, not a playground.

Words – Ruthie Kennedy

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Review -Sarah Lucas at Tramway

GUM lucas

 

Sex, Death, and Sarah Lucas:
a short review of an exhibition’s preview.

 

Among the words most commonly used to describe Sarah Lucas’s practice is, probably, ‘shock’. Indeed, on attending the opening of the artist’s retrospective at the Tramway last week, shock was my initial reaction too – the problem is, I wasn’t really shocked for the expected reasons.

Lucas (b. 1962) is an artist who, emerging as one of the key figures of the Young British Artists group, gained significance in the 1990s and is now well known for critiquing many of the stereotypes around gender and sexuality through her provocative representations of the body. Yet, surrounded as my friends and I were by phallic representations, I did not once think of sex, of “masculine clichés,” or of the issue of cultural stereotyping. What was it then that shocked me? It was precisely the inability to be shocked, my very lack of feeling.

 

One way to explain this response would be to acknowledge that we are today experiencing a cultural moment very different from that of Lucas’s emergence, so sexual images cannot be as shocking. However, it seems to me that to argue this would be to enter the limitless conversation on whether problems such as sexism are indeed now resolved, of whether women and men are now treated as equals, and the list goes on. What is more, it was not that those who attended the opening (including myself) did not appear touched by the artist’s themes that I thought was problematic, but that we were actually enjoying ourselves. In light of this, Lucas’s gigantic masturbating hand (the first thing to catch your eye as you enter the gallery), endlessly moving up and down as it was, appeared to me to speak not about sex or masculinity, but of the situation of contemporary art; rather than a comment on wanking, it struck me as itself an artwank.

 

As Robert Heinlein noted in his Stranger in a Strange Land, more like love than like masturbation, art is an experience which prescribes two positions, the artist and the perceiver, and it is through the communication of the two that artworks have a life. In much of today’s art-viewing, however, engaging is of secondary importance; simply by being close to the art of some “known” artist, us visitors get to feel significant, complicated, intellectual – and nowhere is this self-pleasuring more apparent, than when a group of ‘artsy’ people stand drinking wine next to Lucas’s very blunt and very mastrurbating hand. So, although one could say that I am, here, focusing on the ‘sex’ part of the exhibition – for there was also a ‘death’ part, the two themes being separated by a diagonal wall in the middle of the gallery space – the way I see it, the two are not in juxtaposition. In point of fact, take away the pleasure and masturbation becomes all about death; it is no longer (pro)creative, it hints at nothingness.

 

To conclude, what I am trying to say is not that Lucas’s art is not about what it depicts but rather that, in her cynical approach, the artist can be seen at Tramway to also speak of the art world’s own exhaustion, and of its inability to give back what it takes from art.

 


Sarah Lucas’ retrospective is running at Tramway until 16 March 2014

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Unlock Art: Bringing Performance Art to Life

 

Scottish actors Alan Cumming and Peter Capaldi have confirmed they are to take part in a new series of online art films which aims to unlock big ideas that have shaped art history.

 

‘Unlock Art’ is a collaboration between Tate and Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts, and offers the culturally curious a stimulating, imaginative and witty introduction to the world of art.

 

In Unlock Art: Bringing performance art to life – the first film in the series writer, comedian, actor and art enthusiast Frank Skinner explores Performance Art and its origins; from DADA and Surrealism through to Yoko Ono and Joseph Beuys. The film also explores how Performance Art has helped to challenge oppressive regimes, and how it makes us question the way we perceive the world around us.

 

This is the first of eight films which will be released on a monthly basis. Viewers will be taken on an engaging journey through various art movements and themes, from the history of the nude and humour in art, to Surrealism and Pop – offering the need-to-know facts, and making the arts more accessible to a wider audience.

 

Unlock Art is part of Le Méridien’s ongoing commitment to provide a new perspective on the hotel experience through a curated approach to culture. Its support of the Outset/Frieze Art Fair Fund to benefit the Tate Collection, which is in its sixth consecutive year, enables Tate to buy work by emerging artists at Frieze

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Event: OXJAM WE’RE SKINT, THEY’RE SKINTER – SATURDAY 5th OCTOBER

A team of volunteers are set to run a one day 15 hour charity festival in 5 venues across

Bath Street and Bath Lane in Glasgow city centre on Saturday October 5.

In 2012 the Oxjam We’re Skint, They’re Skinter volunteers delivered a Festival for a Fiver

in SWG3, Distill and The 78 Café Bar, this year the festival has moved to the city centre

and will take place in The Buff Club, The Buff Low Café, Flat 0/1, Lucky Seven Canteen and

Kushion.

Oxjam We’re Skint, They’re Skinter, part of Oxjam – Oxfam’s month-long music festival,

started in January 2012 when volunteer Founder Lindsey McGhie decided to run a local

music event for charity. The name, content and price of the event were all crowd-sourced

by the people who connected with the festival through social media and the festival

website.

 

 

Building on the success of last year’s Festival for a Fiver, the 2nd annual even will see a

variety of stalls, acoustic singer/songwriters, an assortment of Scottish bands, an Oxfam

pop up shop, pop up barber, and a ‘never been done before’ After Party across Flat 0/1 and

Lucky Seven Canteen. The event will also see performances from Michael Cassidy, Vagabond

Poets, Mono Six, Mickey 9s, Galoshins, We Found Out, Ifoundation, Anna Shields, Darrell

Muldoon and many more talented Scottish musicians bringing together a variety of Glaswegian

sounds to help raise money to fight poverty across the globe. All musicians are donating their

performances to Oxfam.

 

 

The festival will be open from 12noon until 3am on Saturday October 5. It’s absolutely free

to everyone from 12noon-7pm, £5 for 12noon-11pm and £7 for 12noon-3am when tickets

are bought in advance from Ticket Scotland. There will also be limited tickets available at the box

office on the day.

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Interview: Kowton at Dimensions Festival
Kowton

Interview: Kowton at Dimensions Festival

Kowton
Kowton- photograph by Kenneth Shaw

GUM caught up with Kowton, the Bristol based, up and coming DJ/Producer who dominated the Mungo’s arena at Dimensions. His sound nods towards techno and house but like many great artists it is difficult to pigeon hole him and his set reflected his plethora of influences. Alongside Peverelist he is behind the Livity Sound a label; which holds wax in high regard and pushes limited, vinyl only releases. Despite being Bristol based, Kowton has strong ties to Glasgow, having played alongside Off Beat at La Cheetah and most notably his release ‘TFB’ on the All Caps Label.

 

 

What was the highlight of Dimensions for you?

Just playing there was amazing, each time was a highlight! Whether it was as Livity Sound, on the boat or at the Mungo’s stage on the Sunday, each set went really well. The amazing location adds so much to the atmosphere; I can’t imagine I’ll get to play anywhere as unique or intimidating as the moat for a little while.

 

Were there any downsides to Dimensions?

The food off site was horrendous every time we ate – I think a couple of people even got ill from it at one point. The Hessle crew maintained there was an amazing fish restaurant somewhere but we never found it.

 

How does playing at festivals differ from clubs- do you alter your set accordingly?

I think its important to be a bit more fun really, if there’s ever a time to be a bit more obvious and draw for the anthems its at a festival. Obviously you want to stay true to your sound but playing DJ tools to thousands of people can come across a bit dry at times.

 

Who did you enjoy seeing the most?

Scion and Tikiman was fantastic, I’m as much of a fanboy as everyone else when it comes to them. I thought everyone on the Hessle stage on Friday was sick, Funkineven smashed it, Anthony Naples killed it on the boat and Chris Farrell finished the Mungo’s stage perfectly.

 

The Subdub boat party was the highlight of my festival; did you manage to catch any boat parties yourself?

We did a little Idle Hands one with myself, Peverelist, Ron Morelli and Chris which was super fun. It had sold out but wasn’t rammed so there was plenty of space and the music was great throughout. From there we headed straight onto the Hessle boat and that was great too.

 

Do you reckon you’ll be back next year?

I hope so! Please book us again Simon, please…

 

Finally, what is your top festival tip?

Pedlo’s with water slides! I don’t really like slides or water but those were ace.

The Livity Compilation drops on the 14th October and you can catch Kowton alongside Peverelist and Asusu at the Livity Sound night at Sub Club on Friday 18th October.

 

http://www.residentadvisor.net/news.aspx?id=20612

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kowton/423436710022

 

– Lucy AB Molloy

 

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Review: Dimensions Festival

After a 3 hour flight, 5 hour transfer and 10 bottles of water I finally arrived at the Dimensions site in Pula, Croatia. It was definitely worth the journey. The festival is split between an abandoned fort, a well-equipped campsite and a beautiful beach.  It felt like paradise.

 

Beach: Alexandra Embiricos

 

Asides from the reasonably priced ticket (£135) and beautiful location the real attraction of the festival was, of course, it’s line up. As I stared at the program, I’d never desired quite so much to be able to clone myself.   Over the course of 4 days I saw the likes of Benji B, Daphni, MPortico Quartet, Mala and Kowton and that’s to name a few. It wasn’t just the acts that were of a high calibre, the sound systems and production were like no other. As I drifted from stage to moat to ballroom, I felt seriously spoilt. The diverse nature of the music policy meant that I never got bored.

 

Dimensions Ball Room : Benjamin Eagle
Dimensions Ball Room : Benjamin Eagle

 

As a new addition to this years festival, Dimensions kicked off with an opening concert set in a beautiful amphitheater just a short taxi or boat ride away from the site. Andrew Ashong began proceedings, followed by Portico Quartet, Mount Kimbie and finally Bonobo. It was a very relaxed affair and the perfect way to begin a week of madness.

 

Opening Concert : Dan Medhurts
Opening Concert : Dan Medhurst

 

This festival is truly designed for 24 hour party people. During the day there were beach parties, which provided a soundtrack for the sunbathers, and the music in the main arena lasted from 10pm-6am.  Throughout the weekend there were a series of boat parties curated by labels such as Idle hands, and Eglo Records and NTS Radio. I boarded the Subdub boat, which featured Mungo’s Hifi, Brother Culture, Author and Iration Steppas. Those four hours were hands down the best part of the festival; the music was on point, and the atmosphere was amazing.

 

Boat Party : Alexandra Embiricos

Boat Party: Alexandra Embiricos

 

Whilst the boat may have been my highlight, it was closely followed by the hotly anticipated Three Chairs, a collective started by Moodyman, Theo Parrish and Rick Wilhite. On the Saturday night Marcellus Pitmann joined them in the Courtyard, where they went b2b for a record 9 and a half hours. The hype surrounding this crew was entirely justified and the crowd remained consistent throughout, dancing, chanting and drinking right through until 6am.

 

Moodyman: Benjamin Eagle
Moodyman: Benjamin Eagle

 

Another positive note to Dimensions was the clientele. With just a 5k capacity, the festival felt intimate and the atmosphere was incredibly chilled. At no point did I see fighting or aggressive behavior that is common at other festivals and the security and staff were pleasant. The only real downsides to the festival were the prices. Croatia is a relatively cheap country but the food and drinks prices on site were well above local rates. However it is possible to bring your own food and alcohol onto the campsite, so I would recommend stocking up at your local supermarket beforehand. There is also a token system instead of money which a lot of people complain about, but it didn’t really bother me – do note that you can’t change tokens back so its best to change a little at a time so you don’t end up with more than you need at the end.

So, if you’re a fan of techno, house, reggae and disco and you want a tan whilst listening to some of the world’s finest musicians look no further than Dimensions Festival.

 

-Lucy AB Molloy

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Glasgow’s Big Night Out

 

We enjoyed this episode of VICE’s six part documentary series ‘Big Night Out’. As part of Noisey’s nationwide examination of nuanced music sub-cultures, intrepid explorer Clive Martin embarks on a brave journey into the pumping depths of Glasgow’s gabber scene. The episode documents Angerfist’s recent appearance at  Make Do and the ensuing 200 BPM frenzy.

 

 

 

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Review: Metamorphosis, Edinburgh International Festival

Having stunned audiences at the 2011 Edinburgh International Festival with a one man performance of King Lear maverick dramatist Wu Hsing-kuo and the Contemporary Legend Theatre returned to the capital this month to perform Franz Kafka’s iconic novella Metamorphosis.  Gregor Samsa the travelling salesman awakens one day in horror as a giant insect and struggles to cope with his feelings of alienation from the rest of the world.

 

As with his portrayal of Lear, writer-actor-director Wu dresses the stage with his own blood, the sheer endurance displayed by the 60 year old during his extremely physical performance belies his deep commitment as an artist and his obsession with the author.

 

Crossing boundaries in all respects; the inclusion of multimedia elements pushes the limits of theatre, while the cross cultural exchange between the 20th century European text and Oriental spirituality alleviates and resolves much of the futility and hopelessness the original narrative evokes. Scripted entirely in Mandarin Wu’s haunting singing is accompanied by translated English subtitles. The simplicity of the spiritual aphorisms of the Mandarin script juxaposed with the complex physicality of Wu’s performance embodies the concept of Saṃsāra, cyclical existence caused by selfishness and the traps of modernity. Only by coming to terms with the absurdity of reality can Gregor escape. As Kafka says “There are only two choices in life. Be yourself or put up with reality.”

 

Kafka’s monstrous carnation of the beastly insect-man represents a conceptual portrait of Western psychodrama. His flickering antennae and scuttling legs are the Frankenstein collage of the 20th century crisis of consciousness, yet Wu’s finds redemption. After waking up cocooned in insect costume convulsing at the thought of himself he emerges enlightened in stripped, white form as his emancipated soul soars over the mountain, exiting the cycle in the mouth of a bird. The transformation is clear on stage, however the narrative seems to lack any outstanding climatic point until the drawn out ending of the performance.

 

The man-insect lives in woeful solitude in the confines of his bedroom while his hateful father and wailing mother and sister intermittently interrupt his melancholy self-searching by rapping loudly on the ominous door center stage. Repulsive to those around him, Gregor’s existence becomes that of a pariah. The stage focuses on the looming ice mountain where Wu writhes and squirms in his new arthropodic body as the astonishing visuals by Ethan Wang drape the deconstructed set with pulsating Rorschach blotches, falling Surrealist apples and a superimposed Kafka. The awesome visual beauty projection of visuals onto the set while Wu dances compellingly in Peking Opera style alongside a haunting  score lulls the viewer into a psychotomimetic trance.

 

The production is 100 minutes long without interlude, the audience feels the crushing weight of Gregor’s condition on their own shoulders and so his eventual death comes as a relief, ending both his struggle against the futility of human existence and the viewer’s own desire for the final curtain to fall. While indeed the production does pose a challenge, Wu’s creation is undoubtedly mesmerising and contains a welcome element of hope and the chance of peace, something Kafka’s original text withholds.

 

-Hailey Maxwell

 

 

 

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Event: I Hate Fun Presents: Bloom

Local grime heavyweights I Hate Fun  bring Belfast producer Bloom to Glasgow for his first Scottish show this Saturday at St Jude’s. His staggering debut track Quartz shot the Irishman into critical acclaim last year and his arrival in Glasgow follows the release of his much anticipated Maze Temple EP on Visionist’s growing Lost Codes. Part of the new wave of grime producers and  a beacon of unadulterated talent, Bloom pushes for progress in the genre, re-establishing to those in doubt that instrumental grime is still relevant and experimental.

Bloom will be playing with support from kindred spirit Inkke and the I Hate Fun residents in Saint Jude’s 11pm-3am.

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Secret Garden Party

This year’s Secret Garden Party saw the multi-media event taking over Mill Hill Field near Huntingdon for the tenth time since it’s launch in 2004, with a wealth of eye-boggling, mind expanding, gravity-defying stages and art installations spread across idyllic country fields. Despite its status as one of Britain’s must-go summer music festivals, music has always been secondary to the ethos of SGP with it’s wonderful mixture of family orientated entertainment, old-school yoga and meditation tents, and pure Dionysian hedonism.

The location of this annual fling is a highlight, with several installations remaining on the grounds of Abbots Ripton for the duration of the year. One such example is the 25 foot straw fox, dubbed The Urban Fox and standing since 2012, this year it was decked out in a native American headdress and feathers, bushy tail curving around the small mounds and hills that characterise the area. The Pirate Technics, a group of artists and engineers from across the UK, were responsible not only for our urban fox but also the ‘Middle of the Lake’ installation in SGP, which this year featured a wonderfully crafted ship being pulled under the placid glass surface of the lake by a giant kraken. The beauty of the Secret Garden Party is its ability to completely transport the individual, just an hour away from the busy metropolis of London the flags and lanterns of the festival are a sight for sore eyes, made all the more beautiful by the knowledge that after four short days- it will all be over. Such is the symbolic power of the lake installation, which on Saturday night was burned down amid a half-hour musically coordinated fireworks display. After bursting into flames amongst a cacophony of lights, colours, and classical music, the smoldering wreckage of the ship had many hundreds of festival-goers transfixed for long after the display finished.

The wealth of art installations at the Secret Garden Party are designed to be interactive, commissioned by Secret Arts and funded by grants via Secret Productions, it is an excellent platform for both emerging and established artists. ‘Lûz’ by London based Les Méchants was more blinding than eye-catching, a giant silver triangle standing tall and reflecting light back at anyone who dares look too long. The interest in this piece is that it is instantly transformed when entered, from outside the symbolic rectangle- lacking everything but the eye of providence- inside is a chasm of kaleidoscopic colour. Its mirrored interior reflects the geometric painted patterns making them appear infinite, a meditation on light and the subjective nature of sight, the colours of the installation change as you move around it revealing new geometric landscapes with every step. 

Another favorite was the subtle Roborigami installation next to a bridge where the serene lake gives way to a gently splashing waterfall, the collaboration between artist and robotic scientist Coco Sata and Ad Spiers gives way to something a little bizarre and melancholic with the angular red and yellow sculptures seeming strangely at home amongst the flora and fauna. Deeper into the wooded area of the festival you come across the Labyrinth, through surrealist doorways and into a winding wooded path marked by disorientating signs such as ‘exit this way ↑↓’. If you stop to look hard enough you can even find a fireplace to crawl through, leading you into a small clearing decked out with lights and comfy sofas, a perfect place of refuge in the center of delightful confusion.

The contrast between the man made and the natural at the Secret Garden Party has always been a point of fascination, taking a naturally stunning location and molding it into a massive production which caters to thousands of people, while still retaining it’s ethereal beauty, is no easy feat. ‘The Temple’ by An-Architecture managed to do just this, combining natural materials with the landscape to create a functional platform for revelers to swim, walk, and climb to. Located in the middle of a small lake it rises like a natural refuge from the water, with its angular architecture creating new frames of reference to view the landscape from every new position. Just like the festival itself, this piece combines art and architecture, organic and synthetic, and is never experienced the same way twice.

Continuing on the thematic dualism between city/country, organic/synthetic is a piece by Tetsuro Nagata and Guy Woodhouse dubbed ‘Twilight Tweets’. Located in the Labyrinth these mechanized owl sculptures hang in groups high on the tree-trunks, seemingly dead during the day, at night they begin to transform and interact with passers by and with each other, moving like liberated cuckoos from a cuckoo clock and emitting a glowing blue light. If this is a subtle reference to social media these captivating sculptures unfurl their wings during the night onto which short films of the day’s revelry are projected, connecting hundreds of strangers who walk through the area to each other via a disorientating and beautiful array of looped videos.

If birds are your thing, then one sculpture shocked and delighted me. Standing inanely on a hill overlooking the main field a giant yellow sculpture of a character strangely reminiscent of The Muppet’s own Big Bird, who observes the scene through bleary eyes. Dubbed ‘Lucky Shit’ this strange concoction of humor, childhood memory, and wacky surrealism is so interactive that it poops yellow goo at an undisclosed moment in the festival, dousing whoever is underneath. Thought up by collective Hungry Castle, the towering sculpture plays on this year’s Superstition theme by giving a certain Gardener a lucky bird shit to remember.

The transformative quality of the Secret Garden Party is something to experience, from the first couple of days drenched in sunlight with people wandering around in absurd fancy dress, to the rain soaked Saturday night, things can change in an instant. After emerging from my tent in the North camp where I had sheltered from the rain, looking over to the main site I could see hoards of black silhouetted figures loping nimbly against green and blue back-lit trees, with lasers bursting from the stages onto the rain falling from the clouds. It seems that at SGP, everything can be turned into art.

-Alexandra Embiricos

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Glasgow Pride 2013

 

Glasgow’s largest annual LGBT celebration will take place again this weekend as Glasgow Pride comes to town.

The festivities will begin with the annual parade around the city centre with Glasgow Green as the epicentre. Many  attendees will be standing in solidarity with the international LGBT community in protest against Russia’s recent displays of homophobic atrocity. Pride in the Green is the place to be through the day providing the biggest entertainment in the form of Heather Small, with a variety of other stages and activities.

The weekend will also unify smaller  student lead organisations pushing for equality in Glasgow. Local queer collectives TYCI  Lock Up Your DaughtersBlitz are joining together with monthly gay night Birdcage for Alternative Pride Party with Floyd at Saint Judes on Saturday night.

Stand up and support equality this weekend!

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Review: Thursday Till Sunday

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The narrative is stripped back to the geological essentials, the film is as contained within the confines of the family car, the occasional leg-stretches through deserts and streams, but also rooted within the little tin space. There is little dialogue, and the dialogue that is present has the same sparsity as the Chilean landscape, it is barren and without the safety of a resolution, we as the audience are left to interpret the real reasons behind the holiday, and like the curious scrutiny of Lucia, we grab at the scraps of information as they are sporadically offered. Perhaps this lack of communication, this kind of withholding by the film, is reflective of the problems in the parent’s marriage. They communicate primarily with looks, shrugs, snubs, but very rarely words. Certainly, the very journey itself feels like it’s filmed with a chronological minuteness, with the mantra of naturalism strictly observed and the muted confinement in the car creating a vacuum of suspended activity. This is flared up ever further through the denial of a soundtrack, no big emotional plot arcs, and the final refusal to completely explain the divergent roads Ana and Fernando are taking.

 
It is completely unsurprising, and a testament to Sotomayor, that the children, Lucia and Manuel, were not given scripts, but rather were reacting to the situations the adult actors were creating. It is this raw energy, the irrepressibly uncertainty, of Lucia that really haunts the film; she is silently crying out for her parents to facilitate the safety of the next line, of the future. It is the uncertainty of the family dynamic changing during a divorce that often causes the most pain, the fear that happiness and security is now a thing that has driven past and can only be seen in the distance, obscured by a cloud of dust. Indeed, as viewers we are thrust into Lucia’s perspective of anxious uncertainty, seeing the narrative slowly evolving, the little snatches of comprehension and truth we can discern feeling like semi-precious stones glinting through the dusty silence of the Chilean landscape. The camerawork too reflects this stasis, with long, static shots in which the action almost seems incidental, the camera being so reactionless (or perhaps contemplative). We become so accustomed to this steady gaze that we really feel the movement the few times it does become handheld and uprooted.

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Review: RDGLDGRN

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Last night GUM headed down to O2 ABC to catch RDGLDGRN’s Glasgow debut on the first leg of their European Tour. Fair Fax Records’ hottest Hip-Hop signing garnered support from a small but enthusiastic crowd. Considering the quality of their music and their collaborations with the Legendary Dave Grohl and Pharrell Williams, I was surprised that the venue wasn’t packed out. By the way this band is going, I suspect next time they hit town tickets will move faster than Usain Bolt.

The headliners took it upon themselves to come and chat to the crowd before they hit the stage and Red remarked they were ‘humbled to have the opportunity to tour and play to their fans, seeing as a couple of years ago they’d been unemployed jamming in their mom’s basement’. Working with Pharrell had been ‘an inspiring and easy process as they arranged the basics of track within just 25 minutes!’

The warm up was provided by Hector Biserk an unpretentious albeit unlikely combo of a bassist, drummer and MC who’s tracks ranged from angsty anti government ‘Police State’ to the relentlessly catchy ‘Let it go’. Think Jamie T x Rage Against the Machine coated in IRN BRU- you can catch them live at the West End Festival on the 8th of June.

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By the time RDGLDGRN appeared everyone had drifted away from the bar and onto the dance floor. Their set was eclectic and energised. The lyrical dexterity of MC Green was intermixed with Gold’s rock infused bass and Red’s softer vocals with drums provided by ‘White Face’ (who’s name stems from a tongue in cheek, PC defying homage to Dave Grohl). They were totally comfortable on stage and it felt as if we were overlooking a jamming session in their backyard. There is something instantly likeable about RDGLDGRN and they would be ideal for a mid afternoon slot at a summer festival.

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After the gig the guys were keen to see more of Glasgow, so we took them down to La Cheetah in the hope of giving them a taste of Nightwave’s new night ‘Nightrave’. Unfortunately it proved too popular by demand so we headed to Subculture, where Domenic spun quality techno until the early hours. They certainly enjoyed themselves and we can’t wait till they’re back in town. In the mean time You can check RDGLDGRN’S latest single ‘Million Fans’ here:

 

 

 

Words: Lucy Molloy

Photos: Matthew McAndrew: http://matthewmcandrew.com/?p=3123

 

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All work and no Play-list

Death by revision

Revision: making me feel like a moron since day.
Unfortunately with exam period looming- unless you’re hell bent on failing/ one of those people who get away with doing nothing there is just no avoiding it.
So whether you’re hauling ass to the library or cowering in the corner of your room struggling to read your own handwriting- this is the playlist that may just get you through.

Disclaimer: Not substitute for actual intelligence

 

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Review: Spring Breakers

*Warning- Spoiler Alert*

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‘Springbreakers’ follows four college girls who long to escape the confines of their painting-by-numbers life and journey to the Mecca of hedonism that is Spring Break in Florida. They fund their trip by robbing a local diner and quickly realize that crime can make all their dreams come true. Once they get to Miami, all of their depraved fantasies come to life; pool parties, copious amounts of alcohol and drugs and glorious, sun drenched beaches. The film takes a dark turn when they meet an up and coming crime lord/rapper called Alien (James Franco) who leads them further down the slippery slope of crime.


‘Springbreakers’ shirks conventional storytelling to revel in the neon fantasy world created by Harmony Korine, and the viewer is treated to an explosion of colour and noise like a waterfall of skittles. Korine continues his focus on nihilistic communities that have been central to all his films, but takes an aesthetic left turn by replacing VHS home video visuals for glamorous HD slow motion photography. The result is stupefying. The overwhelming visuals follow the most basic of formulas: TITS,ASS, GUN, BLUNT, BLUNT, GUN. At first, the audience is completely titillated by the slow motion footage of parties but as these images continue and persist, they eventually erode the surface of the sun kissed, party utopia to reveal a vapid world of senseless violence.

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Album Review: My Bloody Valentine – m b v

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Never before have so many bearded men in their mid-thirties cried from a combination of  sheer joy and frustration. Picture the scene: it’s been 22 years since My Bloody Valentine’s last album, 1991’s hugely influential Loveless. Since then front man Kevin Shields has repeatedly waved the possibility of a follow-up in front of what must be the most patient fan base in the history of modern music; and then, out-of-the-blue, the band flippantly announce over Facebook that the new album is ready to order via their website. Now, MBV inspire a very particular type of diehard fan, the kind of dude that knows the exact combination of effect pedals used on the band’s whole back catalogue and is more than willing to share this information with you on Youtube. So, when the much anticipated album came to their attention, they flooded MBV’s website in their thousands causing it to crash until the very early hours of the morning – cue the tears.

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Chillies West End: Food Review

GUM was delighted to be invited to Chillies West End, an exciting Indian located on Woodlands Road, to promote the new student deal they have just launched. The invitation coincided nicely with our new food and drink section, which seeks to promote affordable dining for all us broke foodies out there. The deal sees students walk out with 10% off all sit-in meals from Sunday to Thursday, and 10% off take-away throughout the week. A valid student card must be shown on order.

On entering Chillies one is greeted with a warm decor with dark woods and brick inlays offering a casual yet chic ambience. The open kitchen particularly grabbed my attention given the energetic cooking style Indian cuisine offers. The staff were friendly and prompt, with our waiter gladly offering suggestions and explanations of the origin of certain dishes as we sat down to order.The venue has a BYOB policy, but on the occasion that you decide not to drink the smoothies and lassi’s are exceptional. We ordered a mango lassi and a pineapple and ginger smoothie to start, the aforementioned being rich and bursting with flavour, and the smoothie wonderfully balanced with a good kick of ginger. They were so good we ordered a third smoothie with the unusual combination of banana, pistachio and yoghurt, which didn’t disappoint.

 

Smoothies2

The starters offer a range of tastes and textures with a varied origin. The Desi Chilli Puri, the combination of spiced chickpeas on a crunchy pancake was well balanced with the tart mixed pickle. This was followed by two standout dishes, the house speciality of Charcoal lamb Chop, chargrilled with a warm heat cooked in a traditional tandoori oven. It is the chef’s own recipe which draws from North Indian cuisine that is characteristically more dry than the curries we normally associate with Indian here in the UK.

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Films: Django Unchained

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‘Django Unchained’ will be released in British cinemas on Friday the 18th of January but it has already stirred up a lot of controversy in America. The film follows recently freed slave, Django (Jamie Foxx) team up with the eloquent dentist cum bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Christopher Waltz) as they track down and free Django’s wife. Waltz turns in another dazzling performance, audience and director alike are wooed by his eccentric sense of humour which slightly overshadows Foxx, who, for the most part goes for more of a laconic tough guy caricature. The balance works well and helps Tarantino deal with the issue of slavery in smart ways as Schultz teaches Django how to read and shoot to further his emancipation. However it is DiCaprio who steals the show as the southern debonair, Monsieur Candie, who couples charming wit with sadomasochistic racism in a captivating performance. DiCaprio has been stifled in recent years as he constantly returned to psychologically disturbed roles in an attempt to pick up an Oscar that to this day eludes him, but he seems rejuvenated playing out of type as the Southern gothic villain with high energy and a dandy flair.

Quentin Tarantino has made a name for himself by taking forgotten, worn out relics and breathing new life into them. He salvaged the careers of John Travolta, Pam Grier, Robert Forster, David Caradine and put them back in front of the camera with a renewed hunger to lay down the performance of their careers (in the case of Travolta, he came up against fierce opposition with the Weinstein Company, almost jeopardizing the completion of Pulp Fiction). He took expired genres like the 70s Hong Kong revenge film, grind house and the ‘dirty dozen’ and charged them with his witty dialogue and vivid violence. The only misstep in ‘Django’ is the fact that the western genre has already been updated for modern audiences and once again exhausted by shows such as Deadwood, games like Red Dead Redemption, and films like Cowboys vs Aliens. So the awkward scrolling inter titles and long shoot-outs are a part of a ready-made style as opposed to one unique to Tarantino.

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Christmas Cheers and Tears: Top 10 festive movie scenes

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1. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Ah to be this excited about Christmas once again. Snow. Trees. Lights. Santa. This is the joy of the Christmas season personified, in all it’s abundance, saturation, and sensory assaulting-ness.

2. Meet Me in St Louis  (1944)

This film is major Hollywood mush, however that’s not necessarily a bad thing during the holidays. Following the Smith family, fronted by Judy Garland as lead sister Esther, through the seasons in turn-of-the-century St Louis, the Christmas portion of this Technicolor cheese-fest ranges from fully-fledged gaiety at the dance (Sub Club it ain’t) to the melancholic lullaby in this clip. Fueled by the fantasy of a nostalgic utopic society before the evils of the 20th century really got going, when put into context, this film can be seen as a conservative encouragement to Americans during WW2. Looking at it now, it’s undeniable that the overt naivety never really existed in an honest way, its manufactured nature is irrepressible. But when we watch it with this knowledge, it’s far easier to enjoy as a piece of familial and social fantasy, rather than something actually aiming to reflect reality.

3. A Christmas Carol (2009)

(Fezziwig’s party)

http://movieclips.com/fEZsY-a-christmas-carol-movie-joy-to-the-world/

A story that has been idiomized into our consciousness through the countless re-imaginings of it, the 2009 motion-capture version of A Christmas Carol certainly has its flaws. However, it is unmatched in it’s opening panorama through the streets of Victorian London, presenting in the most Dickensian way all the socio-economic variation of society, from the Christmas Card stuffed windows of the middle classes, to the urchins and beggars, to a banquet brimming with seasonal excess. Although this scene is rooted in the tint of rose-washed Christmas pleasantries, it succeeds in its juxtaposition of poverty and decadence, illustrating the political consciousness that Dickens’ work is founded upon.

4. The Lion in Winter (1968)

Katharine Hepburn in this movie deserves nothing less than the word; wow. Henry II (Peter O’Toole) has allowed his imprisoned with Eleanor of Aquitaine (Hepburn) out to visit for Christmas and by gum is she going to do everything to attempt to overthrow him. Yes, it’s medieval times but the basic familial dysfunction is just as relevant today as it was back then. Ok, so maybe, you’re not all physically trying to stab your brothers, plotting to have your dad dethroned, or pitting your children against each other, but the politics of this film is basically a fancy allegory for saying that Christmas can be a tumultuous time for one and all. Just don’t cut each other please.

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Mixtape: What you don’t want for Christmas

Ok, it’s that time of the year again. In December everything revolves around that one day that some guy wound up in a manger. Personally I love Christmas but I’m not a fan of Mariah Carey at the best of times, and despite avoiding most public places since mid-October I still can’t help but catch myself singing THAT chorus. At a loose end and with no friends within a 50 mile radius left to turn to, I did the only thing I could – begged London based, Kezokichi to rustle me up a techno remedy to blast those cloying ballads away.

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Review: Grassroots

Stephen Gyllenhaal’s new political comedy, Grassroots, hits cinemas at the perfect time. Based on ‘Zioncheck for President’, the memoirs of lead character Phil Campbell, it charts the progress of his friend Grant Cogswell; a young and inexperienced idealist with one ambition. He wants to bring social equality to Seattle by developing the city’s elegant monorail, with the help of some fervent students and a polar bear suit.

When Cogswell, an unemployed music critic, decides to run for a seat on the local council he encounters a range of problems. He is a single policy candidate with no political prowess, no funds, and only Campbell as his equally inexperienced campaign manager. GUM had the chance to speak to director Stephen Gyllenhaal, who reflected on his motivation in making the film. “I loved the idea of two white slacker dudes who had no business going into politics, and not only doing it, but trying to unseat the only African-American council member in Seattle. Everything about it seemed wrong”. Certainly, the fact that Cogswell specifically targets African American Richard McIver does not go unnoticed. While Joel David Moore’s Cogswell is sometimes too idealistic and too one-dimensional, Jason Biggs’ portrayal of Campbell shows the great emotional journey of a character who only agrees to help his friend because he was recently fired and is struggling to get off the sofa.

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A night In New Orleans

And it was just like the movies…

New Orleans, Nola, the big easy. You can call it what you will. In the end, this city is anything you want it to be. After a few gin fizzes I was ready to believe I had waltzed straight into the thirties. The rest is a spinning whirlpool of flashing lights, a French man, and hotel lobbies.

The city is built on stories. Unfortunately, the jazz is a myth. If you’re looking for music New Orleans has little to offer. But that was pushed to the back of my mind as soon as I found the casino. I wandered around for hours watching the dark, serious faces shoving bills into neon machines, the fat polo shirted men who could barely move their arm to pick up their winnings. It was all fun and games until I stopped to listen to the repetitive background music and began to notice the constant surveillance. So I moved on.

We caught an arts festival, this city is a constant source of entertainment. The gallery was full of waistcoats and expensive shoes. As I stood looking at a painting of the devil running down a street holding a bottle of liquor and a bag of money, a drunk fifty-looking woman stumbled toward me. ‘You can find him here honey’, she said, ‘he’s everywhere in this city’. She was right of course, but as long as you don’t outstay your welcome, it’s easy enough to avoid a serious encounter.

Later we joined the tail end of a marching band which had stopped the traffic, put on our blue shiny beads and headed off to a few bars… At the hostel the next morning, it was story time again. The Australians had ridden around town with the locals, taking pictures with a gun. The Belgians had snuck into a penthouse to watch the sunrise, performing for the security guard. The French had woken up in a parking lot at 9am trying to piece the night back together. And I sat wondering who had driven me home. I’m pretty sure he was Mexican.

The truth is, no one here could care less.

Words: Lucy Cheseldine

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Reply to James Gaddis article in GUM, issue 02

In the Winter 2012 issue of GUM, James Gaddis relates two anecdotes in what seems little more than an excuse to deride pornography. All under the guise of his concern for the demise of positive attitudes to sex, though he doesn’t indicate where this slide began – porn is as old as art, after all. I like pornography, in all its great variety, and as someone who’s also seen the music, mainstream film and computer games he’s enjoyed blamed for all sorts of social trends, I feel compelled to respond.

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Belleruche True Thoughts Album Launch

Belleruche

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tucked down an alleyway just off the busy Shoreditch high street, The Hoxton Pony was the ideal venue for the launch of one of London’s finest 3 piece electro outfits Belleruche. By 7.30 the basement- which boasts a Funktion One soundsystem was packed out with mostly 20something hipsters cradling complimentary champagne. Whilst we were waiting the resident Dj kept everyone entertained with laid back house and techno.

When the band eventually took to the stage they were met with a warm reception, having yet to see Belleruche live I was intrigued to see what their performance would involve. There’s no other way of saying it, but the make-up of the group is weird. Picture a sultry female solo singer clad in a glitzy black dress, a geeky Dj glued to his synthesiser and a stereotypical bassist hidden behind a shaggy mop of hair. Undoubtedly a strange mix, but for some reason – much like a bloody mary – it just works.

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Rubix Glasgow: A new night a Sub Club

Words by Tom Clarke.

Thursday the 22nd of March saw the launch of a new club night at Sub Club. The name of the night is Rubix and the organisers are Joshua Plotnek, Abraham Parker-Clare, David Shields, Daniel Bartling, James Oglethorpe and Calum Lindsay. All are second year students at the university of Glasgow and this is there first ever night.

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REVIEW: The Maccabees – Given To The Wild

Since 2007 and their debut Album ‘Colour It In’, The Maccabees have come a long way from singing about wave machines and ‘Toothpaste Kisses’. Their third album ‘Given To The Wild’ was released on Wednesday the 9th of January and has proven evidence of the band’s observable maturing since their adolescent, harmless debut.

‘Given To The Wild’ entered the UK mid-week charts at #1 before debuting at #4 on the official weekend charts, the band’s highest ever placing album. With this record, there are remnants of the old Maccabees, there is an essence that holds this album and the last together however, with it’s bigger, more anthemic sound and subject matter – as well as the hype factor off  the back of their last album obviously – it’s no wonder that this album is looking to propel them to new heights.

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Album review: A Place to Bury Strangers – Onward to the Wall

A Place to Bury Strangers, the current flag-bearers of American Noise, will be releasing their latest Ep Onward to the Wall this month (7th of February) on the record label Dead Oceans. With the release of this new extended player, a short 5-track explosion, a slightly new feel is noticeably present. Although not far removed from their trademark sound of surfy, grimy, feedback driven rock, the sound has been sculpted into something typically reckless, yet more mature, without losing its chaotic charm. There seems to be more control on the Ep’s five tracks with lead singer and song-writer Oliver Ackerman venturing up new and unexpected sonic avenues.

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Bar Soba Byres Road – Review

After 12 successful years at Mitchell Lane in the Glasgow city centre, it’s time for pan-Asian restaurant Bar Soba to take on the West End. GUM headed down to the launch party to check out this new addition to the already restaurant dense Byres Road. Situated just below University Avenue, at the site of what used to be cocktail bar The Blind Pig, Bar Soba is just around the corner from the university. With a trendy interior, drink promos and discounts, it is clear that Bar Soba seeks to appeal to the student crowd. Deals worth checking out is their 2 for 1 mains for students, Monday to Thursday before 5pm and the all day Sunday to Wednesday drinks promos which include Stoli, Beefeater, Havana and Jim Bean + mix at £2, a pint of Carling at £2 and Apple and Ginger Mojito at £3.

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Review – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

With the months and months of hype surrounding this film, it arguably removes the need for reviewers to harp on about how ‘you MUST go see it, now!’, but for what it’s worth, you must go see it…. Now.

If, like me, the book passed you by and you thought you’d wait until someone jumped in and digitised it (an English version anyway) to see what all the fuss was about, then I can assure you that, after watching this, you’ll get it. I also learned while eavesdropping on a gentleman conferring with his lady friend during the sticky floor shuffle we all partake it when exiting the theatre, that this so called ‘Hollywood’ version is surprisingly accurate to the novel. As mentioned previously, I haven’t read said novel so I can’t really comment, however I can assume that the overall premise is the same – adding to her own personal and financial problems, Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), a troubled and antisocial young computer hacker is called upon to assist recently smeared journalist, Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig), in his search for the truth behind the disappearance of Harriet Vanger who went missing 40 years ago and is presumed dead. Their inquiries lead them further and further down the rabbit hole of the Vanger’s sinister and shrouded past, until they find themselves so far in that they aren’t permitted to turn back.

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GUM’s Choice of Tracks and Albums 2011

Here, a selection of our music contributors put forward what they consider to be the best musical offerings of 2011. But who are we to put them in order? So here they are, lined up as equals and open for your interpretation. Feel free to defend, argue or add your own favourites in the comment box below – Because there’s nothing quite as contentious as an end of year list…

[TRACK] NY Is Killing Me by Gil Scott Heron and Jamie xx from the album We’re New Here.

An outstanding rework album, We’re New Here exhibits new Electronic music’s capability to be confessional, injected with pathos, and still able to flood a dance floor with sub-  bass and addictive manipulated vocal samples. Now a tribute to the late Gil Scott-Heron, this album is a template for minimalist perfection – affirming that the clock is ticking on populist Dubstep. Mixed seamlessly NY is Killing Me in particular is a credit to Jamie XX. With a drop that Skrillex’ ugly sound could only dream of, and a soul that exudes 1960s provenance; this is how Electronic music should be done (MJ).

[TRACK] Bed of Nails by Wild Beasts from the album Smother.

A hint of Twin Peaks about it, Wild Beast’s third release, Smother marks a move towards the ethereal. Bed of Nails exemplifies this new musical manifesto; smouldering lyrics, murky vocals and a haunting electronica pulse –part of a new breed (The Horrors, The Rapture, Outfit) in a sea of tired pop. Maybe Domino Records’ first great release since the mid-noughties’ indie alternative blitz (Franz Ferdinand, et al.) (MJ)

[ALBUM] Sam Baker’s Album by Samiyam.

This album was dropped back in June, all hazy and swaggering. Samiyam (AKA Sam Baker) created a collection of crisp instrumental hip-hop that was acutely delivered yet still deliciously woozy – as ready for the club as it was for chilling in your room half cut. With jazz influences, it is a welcome break from the other more bombastic trends in electronic music. As a whole, Sam Baker’s Album flows with an apparent effortlessness that makes it completely attractive. Also spectacular live back in November. (MD).

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Some Musical Trends of 2011

Probably meaningless, definitely biased.

1.  Mainstream Dubstep. The word ‘Skrillex’ perhaps became the most divisive word of the year in music. Run of the mill chart music was infiltrated by bombastic, mutated versions of this genre, often with unexpected remixes (eg. Korn). For some, endless bass drops and grating wobbles are the thing of ecstasy, for others it causes a teeth grinding disdain ‘towards the watering down of an ‘underground’ scene’. It certainly brings out the Frasier in people.

 

2. More, more and more – MAXIMAL electronic music.  Producer du jour Rustie rose to the top in 2011 as the figurehead of this attack on the boring. In his album ‘Glass Swords’, he brought intensely layered synths and crazed melodies, with every aspect being multiplied to the nth degree. This is the music of a coked-up Sonic the Hedgehog, it is pure hyperbole. Pitchfork of course wrote an immensely long, detailed, socially relevant piece on it but that makes it so much less fun.

3. High-pitched female vocal samples. The more twisted and obscure the better.  Blawan’s ‘Getting Me Down’, Hudson Mowhawke with ‘Thunder Bay’, the list goes on and possible culminates with the mega-hyped ‘Ordinary Things’ by xxxy. It often gives a more sensual tone to tracks which without Brandy squealing over the top would be lacking in humanity and catchiness. However, it seems to always verge on the ridiculous and has it now gone as far as it can?

4. Folk saturation. Mumford and Sons, Laura Marling, and about 3896 emerging new bands adhered to the formula of acoustic guitar, wistful lyrics and super twee image. Yes, it’s lovely and tame, but in the same way that you can’t really dislike a kitten. Enough.

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Review: Much Ado About Nothing – “Men were deceivers ever.”

‘Men were deceivers ever’, sings the ethereal voice of Claire Wallis sucking the audience into the world of STAG’s stunning production of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’. This modern take on Shakespeare’s adored classic, directed by student Joshua Payne, takes the story of love, lies and deceit to new levels.

We are thrust into a land of criminals and con-men led by the infamous Donna Pedro and Leonato. Don Pedro’s change of sex is an interesting alteration by Payne, but works well in giving the language of the play a greater degree of sexual tension. The pair, together, equate to the mafia of the business world. With an aura of power and cunningness oozing from their presence, especially from actress Harriet Bolwell (Donna Pedro), they decide to take on more than just the money – It is cupid’s turn to be fleeced. Fraud and lies work for business, and the pair use the same devices to concoct a loving match between the striking Benedick and Beatrice. This match, based on a web of lies, surprisingly works out for the better. The love of fellow characters Claudio and Hero, however, a love based on truth and real feelings ends disastrously with devastating humiliation for bride Hero, and agony for both. Hero, played by Isabel Otter-Barry Ross, is the perfect sobbing bride, accused of an adulterous act she did not commit. Deceit has once again played its part, this time under the control of the sexual deviant Josephine Pedro, Donna Pedro’s villainous sister. It becomes clear that not only are lies used to the business world outside this gang culture, members are also untruthful to each other. Every relationship is poisoned by deceit.

 

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Mid Week Mellowness – A new GUM playlist

In this consciously upbeat dedication to ambient pop and acoustic, Jassy Earl takes us through some of her favourite current tunes that will definitely make you want to forget about that crappy Thursday and retreat to the woods…

[ONE]  Ben Howard – The Wolves

It may seem an obvious choice but raving earlier over Ben Howard’s debut, I was astonished to be deafened by replies of “who?!” If you haven’t heard of him yet, it begs the question as to whether you’ve been tracking down polar bears in the Hebrides or have indeed lost your hearing after too many night on Sauchiehall Street. His album Every Kingdom is an intimate beach side jam and a layering of folk and mainstream pop; a showcase of raspy voice and magnificent guitar virtuosity. It’s a sound comparable to Jose Gonzalez’ and is definitely about and beyond the hyper-popular appeal of Ed Sheeran. There’s believability and a raw emotional loading. The Wolves itself is haunting and soulful amongst complicated guitar patterns and military drum beats; and empowering antherm that should be the top of your Most Played list.

[TWO]  Lucy Rose – Middle of The Bed

After supporting Ben Howard on Tour, Lucy Rose is one to look out for. She finished her A-Levels, lent her vocals toBombay Bicycle’s ‘Flaws’ and has continued to follow in the footsteps of Laura Marling and Emmy the Great, who have spurned a new generation of female singer-songwriters. Beautiful lyrics, acoustic melodies and a subtle husky tone loaded with beautiful harmonies and simple storytelling lyrics makes the track a catchy one. It’s also worth checking out Don’t You Worry –  more sombre, but still magnificent.

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Theatre Review: Vanishing Point – Saturday Night (Tramway Theatre)

Vanishing Point returned to the Tramway with a show reminiscent of ‘Interiors’, their last production. Separated from the stage by a panel of glass, the audience survey the action as if they were looking into a block of flats. Privy to no character dialogue whatsoever, we only hear sounds such as the television set, a hoover and a guitar being strummed. In the two flats we are allowed to see, the muted actors perform in mime. Above the main point of action, an old woman sits in a small room for the entire performance watching a television in the dark. Beneath her a young couple give a display of their life.

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Review – Foreign Office @ SWG3

No, not the oh so British establishment that reminds daft tourists to take their Malaria tablets on their gap year! There is no baldy William Hague here.

Foreign Office make music embedded deep in new wave and post punk with plenty of spiky guitars and addictive, funk rooted  rhythms. The gig was a brisk romp through their catalogue which is heavy in memorable, poppy hooks and joyful synth stabs. Lyrically, Foreign Office seem to be constantly yearning –  it’s all begging and pleases, something which seemed appropriate on the night – Please let there be more people, “I’m on my Hands and Knees, PLEASE”** The sparse audience however, were appreciative and eager to embrace what is importantly still a fairly unrecognised band.

But with a tour supporting Young Knives (a match made in heaven), Foreign Office are a band that are unlikely to be left on the art rock waste pile. Their remarkable similarity to the ever-popular Rapture – in their sound, look and influences – will probably be another aid to their career. It can’t then go unmentioned that The Rapture are playing the same venue a week later – it seems like the aesthetically-concerned SWG3 are pinning their colours to the wall in their recent venture into gigs. But, as un-riotous as this night was, it felt like a taste of what is to come from Foreign Office who hopefully after this tour will gain some well-deserved recognition.

**Have a look at their most recent single “Hands and Knees” here (hopefully the hilarious tenuous reference makes sense now..)

Words by Megan Donald

Photos by Jassy Earl

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Andrea Marini at Mono – An Interview

Contributor Alexandra Embiricos went down to Mono to listen to Glaswegian singer songwriter Andrea Marini and attempted to unpick his charmingly modest personality and hard work ethic.

Andrea Marini would appear to be more at home performing in a western than at Mono on a rainy Glasgow evening in September. But despite his name, inherited from his Italian father, Marini is disarmingly Scottish. What on stage sounds like Cash in one of his softer periods, becomes a charming Glaswegian chirp. Just in case there’s any doubt, when a musical admirer asks to buy him a drink, he takes whisky over water.

I don’t feel like a really confident salesman, I made a sale earlier on- I’ve sold one.” He jokes, “we made it mostly in peoples living rooms, the clock wasn’t ticking so it was good for us” he says about the three year period it took to record the album, compromised completely of original songs.

“A lot of the time was just spent with the recordings, listening to them over and over, getting them right, and it’s a luxury that you have with a debut album. The most important part of the three years is that you make a lot of material and you cut it down. If you listen to the record it’s got quite a lot of space to it. I don’t think that it would have the space that it does if it weren’t for the lengthy period it was recorded over”.

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Live Review: Connan Mockasin @ King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut

On 25th September, contributor Tom Clarke lent his ear to the new boy of psychedelic odd ball pop.

    This is the first night of Mockasin’s tour and it’s ramshackle, hilarious and utterly brilliant. It’s also his first headline tour ever, something that Connan marks out to the audience; “this is different, you’re listening to me”. Pretentions and hierarchies are thrown out the window when he asks if he can lower his mic stand off the stage and sing from within the crowd. His humbleness in front of the audience and the fact that he bridges the gap between them and himself, may give the impressions of shyness or a lack of confidence but these would be completely misplaced. Connan Mockasin does exactly what he wants and knows exactly what he is doing and as he glides through the nine song set that includes eight of the ten songs featured on his most recent  album, ‘Please Turn Me into a Snat’. There is a wild energy running between him and his two band mates, who hang on his every movement, looking for indications and directions, when to change, when to speed up. Connan is obviously in charge and these songs have no set in stone layout. Connan Mockasin’s band is usually a five piece but tonight the missing band members are made up for by Mockasin by way of the crowd who he has singing and clapping at particular times to fit the songs and in effect produce a fourth or fifth instrument.

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Theatre Reviews for Arches Live

GUM checks out some of the plays at the 2011 edition of Arches Live. Read, enjoy and keep a look out for our next print issue for a story of a rather unusual theatre experience…

“Songs For A Stranger” by Nichola Scrutton

A soulless twenty minutes ended with half the audience standing unmoved and the other half covering their ears. When the applause came, it seemed more an appreciation of the vocal versatility the performers had just demonstrated, unrelated to the piece’s depth. The two females on the stage improvised to a soundtrack of multi-layered electronic music trying to create a song to reflect feeling like a stranger. The range of sounds they were able to make with their mouths and voices was remarkable, but it took a strong use of the imagination to escape the fact that all that faced us on the stage were two women making interpretive sounds and screams into two microphones. Had this piece been an improvised exploration of the theme in the rehearsal room, it would be hailed as brilliant. Had it been released on a CD it would have been labelled interesting and challenging. Yet as a performance it meant very little apart from sour ears.

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Say ‘goodbye’ to those Monday blues

Ease into the week with GUM’s fornightly playlist.  September is creeping to it’s end and with October comes Official Autumn. But delay that extra wooly jumper and forgo the fervent beard-growing as GUM brings you tracks that will envelope you like a warm bath. If you’re always getting caught in the rain (but remain indifferent to pina coladas), have a listen and remind yourself it might never happen.

[ONE]  Julia Holter emerges with ‘Tragedy’, her most recent album that is simultaneously beautiful and terrifying. In track ‘Try To Make Yourself A Work of Art’, a cacophonous blend of elegant melodies and white noise create an abstract, droning backdrop upon which her sparse vocal are laid.  This is is the fine line between classical ambience and Dada-ist nightmare.

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The Night Post – Club nights not to miss in September

Get back into the swing of things as GUM lists the nightly musical events in September that just simply cannot be forgotten.

SUBCITY NIGHTVISION
14th September
10pm – 3am
SUB CLUB

Subcity Radio entices you to the Sub Club with a range of their best DJs. Expect darkness and fun.

[See the event page here]

MHA’S 3rd BDAY: BOXCUTTER (live), COSMIN TRG, FALTY DL, YOUNG MONTANA (LIVE)
16th September
9pm – 7am
LA CHEETAH

For Mount Heart Attack’s 3rd Birthday, city centre venue La Cheetah provides a spectacular line-up of stars from the world of techno and electronic music. Along with this, the night promises many thrilling extras including “4 total space babes, all dressed in the hottest outfits”….

[See the event page here]

VITAMINS 5
17th September
9pm – 5am
THE GOAT then secret location…

Relatively new and always thoroughly inventive, Vitamins brings another event which is positively laden with expectation. If Eclair Fifi and Auntie Flo (amongst many others) are not enough to seduce you, then the thrilling air of uncertainty surely must be.

[See the event page here]

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Do You Like Dancing? ‘Cos GUM does.

This is the first playlist for GUM online and it is going to aim high. After all, new year, new start. But for a while let’s ignore the looming stress of real life and allow GUM to bring you the antidote to reality. This collection of tunes is especially for all you new freshers out there – prime cuts that will have you dancing your innocent wee socks off and others that will gladly soothe you the day after. Welcome to Glasgow Uni and remember to forever gie it yaldae.

[ONE] Jamie XX can seem to do no wrong and perfects his particular breed of brooding dubstep night music in this mix for Fact Magazine. Expect emotional vocals upon elegant garage beats with glitchy, echoing interludes that are continually fascinating.

[TWO] Glasgow based producer Rustie has risen in popularity and respect over the past year and is now a definite high-flyer. This track is an invigorating introduction if you’re yet to be converted. Boundless inventiveness has led Rustie to making this true original with synth-heavy electro that will definitely charm your pants off.

[THREE] New York based band The Rapture have returned with their irresistible blend of punky dance rock – the indie disco God has clearly been hearing our prayers. House-like piano chords open this track and point the listener firmly in the direction of “NOW IS THE TIME TO PARTY”. Listen to this with glitter on your face and endless vodka-fuelled joy in your heart.

[FOUR] So no-one may actually know what is going on in Björk’s head but this first song from her soon to be released album goes some of the way in exploring her wildly artistic brain. Complex and delicate in it’s composition, the jury is out as to whether this track is sublimely relaxing or a bit disturbing. Either way, ‘Crystalline’ is fascinatingly beautiful and the video entrancing. One for the morning after.

[FIVE] Laura Marling this week released a new album of thoughtful ponderings set upon more complex orchestrations than just an acoustic guitar. Her folk leanings take a turn towards country with this single ‘Sophia’ which gently builds up into a rollicking, chirpy ballad. There’s hope on the horizon for everyone when listening to this.

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Confessions of a band manager: Jamie Webster, Instinctive Racoon

BY HANNAH CURRIE

Jamie Webster: Photo by David Gourley

“ It’s a difficult bloody thing, managing bands,” says Jamie Webster, the boss of Glasgow indie label Instinctive Racoon, almost as soon as he sits down. Immediately I’m suspicious. Firstly, because managing a record label is to music lovers what cake testing is to gluttons -a dream come true. Secondly, because the tour diary I’d read in preparation for this interview is somewhat at odds with his solemnity: “The party went on into the small hours and a couple of the boys managed to snuggle up to some smoking hot babes,” The rest of the diary is chock-full with fun times and debauchery, plus unspeakable antics which apparently he can’t print “for legal reasons”. (Though, given Charlie Sheen’s recent transgressions, I’d suggest doing so might boost his popularity ten-fold).

The tour to which Webster is referring was with Three Blind Wolves during their support slot for Frightened Rabbit. Webster has nurtured the act from its early days as a solo project by Glasgow singer-songwriter Ross Clark – whom he spotted at an open mic night – to its current success as the latest signing by Communion, the coveted label founded by Ben Lovett of Mumford and Sons. The bands also won Best Live Act at the recent Scottish Alternative Music Awards and are currently on an extensive tour of the UK. It all sounds pretty positive- so why the long face?

“The first time we toured Three Blind Wolves in the UK we probably had one good show out of seven. We weren’t getting paid, it was costing us a lot of money, and the band were going out onstage and playing to a small handful of people. It can be soul-destroying”. Ah, fair enough then.

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Subcity Introduces…HaHaHa
HaHaHa: photo by Sean Anderson

Subcity Introduces…HaHaHa

Frazer Graham – aka HaHaHa – is a DJ, music producer, self made label exec and all round good guy, whose relationship with Subcity Radio started three years ago when Frazer was a Business student at Glasgow Uni. His initial intrigue into the possibilities the station had to offer came after attending the Research Club parties with Benny Boom behind the decks (who, incidentally, recently enthused about Frazer on his Mixed Bizness blog<http://mixedbizness.co.uk/hahaha-1111-mixtape/>.) From helping out with visuals and putting forward production ideas, to joining this year’s Subcity events team, Frazer has quickly become a key part of the Subcity community.

HaHaHa: photo by Sean Anderson

Although his first live set as HaHaHa was only six months ago, Frazer has been  making beats since November 2009, alongside his other projects which include drumming for acclaimed Glasweigan band Vendor Defendor and making musical bleeps under the Alpine Ski Champion name. Six months ago Frazer decided to give up everything non music in pursuit of making the music he loves- as he explains:

“Some people think I’m an idiot for dropping out of uni with only a few months to go [till finishing] but when it’s a choice of doing something you love or something you hate I choose poverty.”

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Alasdair Roberts, an insight into music and music in film:
Alasdair Roberts: Image by Laurent Orseau

Alasdair Roberts, an insight into music and music in film:

Nina Schonberg

Glasgow University’s own Cut Filmmaking Network arranged one of their weekly activities on Tuesday (22/02/2011) in the Boyd Orr building. The network hosts workshops and projects’ nights every week, varying from prosthetics to camerawork.

 

Alasdair Roberts: Image by Laurent Orseau

This week, the network had invited Alasdair Roberts as their guest, a folk musician (based in Glasgow since 1995), to talk about his career, which has also included working on soundtracks for various short films. In the filmmaking scene, he is probably most well known for his work on the David Mackenzie film Young Adam (starring Ewan McGregor and Tilda Swinton) from 2003, for which he played guitar.

He told us that his focus turned to music when he was a teenager, around 15 years old and since then he has been involved in music in various ways, though his focus  mainly being guitar and vocals. Folklore and traditional Gaelic melodies are something he is fascinated in and this is reflected directly in his music. He has never been taught in music but rather he learned by ear, which is how he still approaches music today. He listens to a lot of music to gain inspiration and always thinks about how he could incorporate fresh aspects into his own music and through this also develop himself as a musician. He has a distinctive style in his work but he still says there are no definite sources of inspiration for him rather that they change through time.

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The Joy Formidable: Interview
R-L :Matt, Ritzy and Rhidian, Image:MusicRooms

The Joy Formidable: Interview

Inbetween their UK tour featuring a wee slot at King Tut’s, Mary Machin caught up with Rhydian Dafydd of Welsh outfit The Joy Formidable for a chat and insight into their creative mindset…

R-L :Matt, Ritzy and Rhidian, Image:MusicRooms

How’s 2011 treating you so far?
Rhydian: Pretty well, yeah. It’s all very early days but we’ve been itching to get on the road and get debuting tracks from The Big Roar live.

When it comes to playing something live for the first time, do you translate songs so their sound is varied from that of the record?
R: Yeah, absolutely, I think we do see the two as quite distant and it’s nice to challenge yourself and change things night to night. The live experience is something within itself, that’s the way we see it and I always think, why go and see something live that I can listen to on a record?

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NME Tour 2011 @ O2 Academy
Magnetic Man: Image by Alex Embiricos

NME Tour 2011 @ O2 Academy

3/11/10

NME Awards Tour 2011

The NME circus arrived in Glasgow for one night only, showcasing the talents of Everything Everything, Magnetic Man, and Crystal Castles. Alex Embiricos arrived ticketless to the O2 Academy, nabbing the last crumpled ticket on the streets, before being granted entrance to one of the most anticipated music events of the month.

The O2 was packed with a crowd of the young and the hip, a tangible energy buzzing with expectation even before any of the acts took to the stage. By the time Everything Everything stepped on wearing top down buttoned shirts and glasses, there was not a single space on the floor. Although the indie-pop four piece remained pretty static, the synth started up with a good backbeat of drums and heavy bass, emphasizing what was to come from two of the most exciting electronic bands around. The audience picked up on this teasing prospect and towards the end of their set the lead singers high pitched, feminine vocals had the crowd’s appetite whetted, and the enthusiasm escalating into a rhythmic jumping frenzy.

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Festival Preview: Celtic Connections

13/01/11

Celtic Connections emblem

Glasgow’s annual Celtic Connections kicks off today, bringing in the new year with one or two footstomps and plenty of willows being stripped to satisfy the ceilidh dancer inside you. Promising you 1500 artists at 14 venues over 18 days, there is certainly no shortage of talent and variety on offer.

Connecting people since 1994,  this festival is certainly no stranger to Glasgow’s circuit. Having seen numerous festivals come and go in Glasgow (including the sadly now defunct and wonderfully obscure Triptych) what makes this one so special?? Arguably it is the epitomy of what Glasgow music is all about. Diverse in nature and vibrant in performance, it is perfectly accommodated within the city. There can be few other places to witness americana, jazz and folk on the same stage at times!?

Along with a barrage of music workshops to get involved with, the performers this year include Scottish/Canadian supergroup The Burns Unit, The Walkmen, Alasdair Roberts, Lau, Roddy Hart’s Forever Young Dylan tribute, Seth Lakeman, Rachel Sermanni, Roddy Woomble and Fran Healy. (To name a few)

To get more of a flavour and a detailed taste of what is happening visit,

http://www.celticconnections.com/whatson

Dave Hunter

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The Lava Experiments: Interview

Alex Embiricos caught up with one of Glasgow’s up and coming bands, The Lava Experiments,  who supported Caspian and God As An Astronaut at King Tuts Wah Wah Hut on 9/11/10

“We were thinking of dressing up in clown suits, there’s nothing like playing melancholic music wearing a big pink clown suit.”

The Lava Experiments

 

‘The Lava Experiments are a band in the chryslis of change, not in the comedy of a clown suit.’ Originally the brain child of singer/ guitarist Fraser Rowan, the band began as a series of experimentations named ‘Lava’ in downtempo ambient electro and, as Fraser eloquently puts it, “some guitar orientated stuff”, which were entirely autonomous. But as it turns out an Icelandic jazz bad had all ready nabbed that title, thus with the addition of bassist Rory McGregor and drummer Alan Wond, The Lava Experiments were born.

So when I ask how they all met I was immediately dealt with “In a dark room, in a gay bar, we just felt things”, thus begins my highly entertaining interview with an interesting band, who no doubt have the required chemistry to pull off the mammoth sounds I heard the other night at King Tuts, with only three guys on a small, sparse stage. Sparse the stage may have been, but the crowd was packed in and intently listening to the layered synth, crunchy guitar and deep vocals which had formed so completely and emerged from the cocoon. Their audience, expecting post-rock, displayed much “nodding of heads, tapping of feet, and stroking of chins” in contemplative appreciation.

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The Tallest Man On Earth @ Arches 22/11/10

Dave Hunter & Kenneth Mulholland

If Dylan is the master then The Tallest Man On Earth (aka Kristian Matsson) is most definately his apprentice…

With one small stretch, The Tallest Man On Earth assumed control of a captivated crowd at the Arches. One man playing to a whole sell-out section of The Arches is an achievement in itself, and that was before he had even strummed the first chord. Thankfully, he does not disappoint an eager crowd. Opening with  numbers such as ‘I won’t Be Found’ off the acclaimed ‘Shallow Grave’ album released in 2008 proved that Matsson at no stage looked over-awed by the onlookers. In fact, he seemed to be more concerned about being flattened by an onrushing train ploughing through the famous venue. Thankfully we have yet to witness this occurence since The Arches was converted in 1991.

The Tallest Man On Earth, Image: Jon Behm

 

It must be said at this point that Matsson is a somewhat enigmatic character. Hailing from Sweden and singing like Dylan does raise the odd eyebrow. So does having a few songs which enjoy a very similar chord structure, but he definitely pulls it off. The more you listen to his songs the more you are convinced of his song-writing skills. Crowd favourite ‘King of Spain’ is a perfect example of his layered approach as he depicts a longing for identity, “Well if you could reinvent my name, well if you could redirect my day, I wanna be the King of Spain”. Playing an extended set was a welcome bonus and he even swapped strings for keys quite effortlessly in the process.

Having toured with the likes of Bon Iver in America, The Tallest Man on Earth is in serious good company. Long may it continue…

www.myspace.com/thetallestmanonearth

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The Phantom Band @ Oran Mor 21/11/10

Mary Machin

One of Glasgow’s most promising contemporary acts, The Phantom Band, have just completed a stint on the road promoting their not to be missed album The Wants, the follow up to critically acclaimed Checkmate Savage. Both albums hold their own in a comparatively dismal musical culture combining rustic, folky elements and more robust percussion sections. This in mind, it goes without saying that the atmosphere inside Oran Mor’s jam-packed depths is positively electric.

The Phantom Band (Source:The List)

Once the Scottish sextet hit the stage, it becomes apparent that there really is no stopping them when it comes to a live show (and Whiskey drinking), a fair feat indeed seeing as they’ve returned from a US tour prior to this month’s UK dates. Powering through a mixture of material from both albums, songs old and new spark the same ecstasy in the home crowd. ‘Crocodile’, ’Into the Corn’ and ‘Everybody Knows It’s True’ strike a particular chord personally and it’s hard not to wonder why The Phantom Band aren’t as well known as they could be. Still, judging on the elated faces that leave after an encore that sees the group get all folked up, it seems that for now, this much love should be enough.


http://www.phantomband.co.uk

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Squeeze: Chris Difford Interview
Chris Differs of Squeeze (Image credit: Rich and Laura Lynch)

Squeeze: Chris Difford Interview

Ahead of their Glasgow gig at the 02 Academy Colin Reilly caught up with the Chris Differs, frontman of influential New Wave band Squeeze and solo artist in his own right to discuss the latest incarnation of Squeeze, their new album and tour…

Chris Differs of Squeeze (Image credit: Rich and Laura Lynch)

Colin Reilly: Hi Chris.  How are you today?

Chris Difford: Okay

Colin: The tour has just kicked off.  How was the gig last night?

Chris: It was good.  Very good.

Colin: Do you find your audience is mostly older fans who have followed you since the begining or are there younger fans as well?

Chris: There’s a mixture these days.  Especially in America where there’s quite a lot of youngers fans.
The wit of the audience is generally growing.  Wits are larger, heights are dropping but the general age is a mixture which is really good.

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Album Review: Teenage Dream

Abbey Shaw checks out Katy Perry’s new album and the burning question is…is it an improvement on ‘I binned a cat and I liked it’ or something along those lines:

Image Credit: Capitol Records

Bubble-gum pop is not my thing. My friends so often complain that all of the music I listen to is nothing more than an incessant drone. Most of the time, I like it that way. There are, rare occasions when something so catchy and poppy will seep into my consciousness that, for a brief blip in time, I will agree that mainstream pop can be brilliant, leaving my cynicism behind. Katy Perry has most certainly won me over. She is most definitely pop but her powerful vocals and defiant attitude do give her an edge.

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Yorkhill Santa Cause
(image: http://www.edm2000.com/who_uses_edm2000.htm)

Yorkhill Santa Cause

by Lauren clark

I’m aware with this being October that any mention of Christmas is going to be met with irritable groans but I can assure you that my intentions are not to promote mince pies or any of that other premature festive hoopla that starts to creep in at this time of year. Instead I’m endeavouring to inform you about Yorkhill Santa Cause, an arts and music project that’s merely riding on the coattails of Christmas promotion to generate a little giving in us lot in order to raise money for Yorkhill Childrens Hospital.

This 8 week music and arts extravaganza will be

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PhotoSoc Adventures

Last Saturday, the GU Photo Society (did you know there’s a Photo Society? well… there is) went away to Clydebank and ascended the Titan Crane. Pictures were of course taken, and here are some of mine.

(at Partick railway station)

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IF YOU’RE ONLY GOING TO READ ONE BOOK IN YOUR LIFE, READ…

“The Master and Margarita” by Mikhail Bulgakov.

As sad as it is, not many young people in the UK know about this great Russian writer and Anna Martinen even dares to call him World-Literate. Even those leisurely readers, who are not interested in history and politics, can find something from the life and writings of Mr Bulgakov, as his works are incredibly clever and multi-dimensional.

Born in the end of 19th century, Bulgakov witnessed huge changes in the political landscape during his short life. While the majority in Russia were fascinated with the idea of a revolution and “the power of people” instead of royal rule, Bulgakov suspected that the future’s not going to be as bright as promised. He was a clever and educated man, extremely fond of his own beliefs and honour. People described him as the most honest person they had ever met and perhaps because of this trait Bulgakov never gave in to the political ideologies of his time.

He had to suffer under severe pressure for his resistance, though, put on him by comrade Stalin. The extraordinary attention Bulgakov gained from the Leader resulted not only in being bullied by secret agents, having his notebooks and manuscripts confiscated, plays taken off the stage just a couple of days before the show and almost all his friends arrested, but even in personal terrorising phone calls from Stalin himself. Imagine yourself being a writer, and say, Mr Gordon Brown calling you (too often) about a new essay or article you wrote (and no, I’m not comparing Stalin to Mr Brown, only in respect of grandeur). You can imagine what kind of moral pressure the writer was under.

It is worth contemplating why Bulgakov was ‘honoured’ with all that attention, instead of being sent to a concentration camp where many other dissident writers found their end. Stalin was probably impressed with Bulgakov’s writing talent and wanted to use it for his own purposes (but you can’t make the river flow backwards, can you?). The other possible explanation why Bulgakov’s life was retained is that Stalin needed to have an equal opponent to his ideas. By trying to break Bulgakov’s spirit, Stalin could prove to himself his own authority and power. But he never succeeded. Bulgakov eventually wrote the much wanted communistic piece, but unfortunately for comrade Stalin, he was not the hero of the work, more like an anti-hero.

Power is one of many themes that is to be found in Mikhail Bulgakov’s most famous work – The Master and Margarita. The structure of the novel is complex and multi-dimensional, coming off as a beautiful dance of several story lines that interweave with each other to form one harmonious image. Bulgakov cogitates about power and how it influences people today and in the past. The possession of power and how one uses it is crucial to the writer when portraying human nature.

Although the book is renowned for its ingenious political satire and rewriting of a Biblical tale, it can also be read as a romantic story about self-sacrificing love. The love between the Master and his Margarita is not just fiction and fantasy; the writer himself experienced a very passionate love affair and wrote this book as a mirror To his own life. But this is still not where The Master and Margarita stops unfolding its surprises…Sci-fi fans–this book is for you, too! Witches and the Devil, talking cats, magic- mystical powers of good and evil are all over this story. The book has strong connections to Goethe’s Faust and, similarly to the German writer, Bulgakov shows that nothing is one-sided, just black and white. The ‘negative’ protagonist (the Devil) is someone who connects the past, present and future into one accomplished picture. Certainly deeper than your usual fairy tale.

Bulgakov described himself as a mystic and satiric, and he lived and wrote up to that description. His work reflects his own time and life, retells the past, foresees the future, and not least – really opens us up for a discussion on human nature. With no doubt, Bulgakov possesses a great power over words and that is why everyone, who considers themselves a thinking being, should read this book. Take your time and stop the rush to think about life as Bulgakov did.

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NORTH, SOUTH AND ME IN BETWEEN

GLASGOW is the young Scot’s cultural capital, home of Irn Bru, legendary football teams and that statue with the cone on its head.  The Highlands are home of Nessie, the few people who listen to Scottish Country music for enjoyment and, well, not much else. MEGAN DONALD

Despite these regions being the most violently stereotyped in Scotland, there is a certain level of truth behind the preconceptions. Being a fresher straight from the cozy comforts of Inverness (the capital “city” of Highlands), Glasgow is the hilarious antithesis of my hometown and the cultural differences have become obvious to me in my short time at uni so far. Before arriving, my impression of Glasgow was based on Still Game, Franz Ferdinand and a crazy auntie who added “hen” to the end of every sentence. It was a daunting and confusing prospect for someone from a parochial town up North and like everyone else I was thrown in the deep end of Glaswegian culture. This first thing i noticed was the famous language: I was bewildered by the speed of speech and the amount of words Glaswegians managed to fit into a sentence. And they do actually say “pure”. A perfect example was when I bought an ice-cream and asked for a nougat wafer. “Can I have a noo-gah please?” – “No, you can have a nugget,” replied the man. I had been put in my place and had been bitten by the sharp Glaswegian humour for the first time. Yet this was nothing when compared to night I unexpectedly ended up in a Rangers pub in Maryhill. I’d heard it was a bit “jakey” but not understanding the language down here, “jakey” didn’t help me. However, when I arrived, it was quite clear what it meant. It was Saturday night and as I reached the place, i heard the faint, painful mumblings of Islands in the Street on the karaoke (it was John, who I later learned was Maryhill’s karaoke extraordinaire) combined with wafts of spilt beer and fags. My friend warned me not to even joke about religion and to drink Tennents, “cos that’s all there is”. Jakey indeed.  Overall it was a night of complete embarrassment for me: my different accent and inability to drink Tennents and generally understand the conversation didn’t exactly endear me to my new mates. But John did take pity and bought me some gin. Let’s consider now Inverness, the furthest North evidence of civilization in Scotland (No, Wick doesn’t count). Don the tartan trews, eat some shortbread, dance the gay gordons and stab a haggis!  The “city” of Inverness is seen as the embodiment of all things Highland. The programme, “Monarch of the Glen” brought the Highlands to a mass audience and pulled in tourists wishing see the legendary Glenbogle. Exaggerated as this is, there are aspects which are verging on the truth. Many people do speak gaelic and we do like a ceilidh and a drink. This describes a particular type of staunch super- Highlander known as a “tcheuter” and the further into the Highlands you go the more fervently they cling to traditions. But this idealised version misses out the underlying character which differs so much from Glasgow. Whereas Glasgow is seen as friendly, open and honest, the Highlands are more secularized and unambitious. Highlanders are proud of being different and old-fashioned compared to the central belt; or maybe it’s just a combination of ignorance and unwillingness to change.

Attempts have been made to bring Inverness up to date by naming it a “city” when really it’s just a fairly large town. There have been half-baked redevelopments, new shopping centres and awful street art designed to define “what it means to be from the Highlands”. For example in the centre, blocks of Caithness stone have been placed in the middle of the road with “contemporary virtues the residents felt should guide the city” carved into them. Oddly enough the virtues chosen were, “Perseverance, Open-heartedness, and Insight”. (Personally, I think this is either ironic or very, very hopeful). It means the young Highlander like me is confused about their identity having being brought up with traditional values but is now being told to be thoughtful and have a modern, open view on life: Inverness is a city now! So when you ask a teenage Invernessian how they are, they are likely to respond, “Well, yur see-een it…” And what you are likely to see is a guy called Murdo wearing a pair of trendy jeans, edgy haircut and an iPod…but I bet they’re listening to Runrig. (Runrig is a fairly well known Scottish country band – they’re naff but a bit of a guilty pleasure!)  Sometimes I feel like the Invernessian who managed to escape and I can’t believe how lucky I am to be in the big city. Eventually, I know I’ll adapt to the way of life in Glasgow after putting my foot in it a few times but I also know I’ll never completely betray my roots up in there in the Highlands.

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eBOOK-WORM

Iain Mitchell is puzzled about the eBook. If theoretically everyone decided that eBook readers were the way to go, surely they would be orchestrating the downfall of books as we know it?!?

On my last visit to Waterstones I noticed something that I’d never come across before in a book shop – an advertisement for electronic book readers, those oddities that apparently let you read books on a relatively gargantuan iPod-esque device. Though perhaps this wasn’t hugely odd in itself, it later struck me as peculiarly counter productive for a shop that deals with the physical object known as ‘book’ to be plugging something that renders such physicality unnecessary.

Admittedly, I hadn’t given much thought to eBook technology before, besides dismissing it as a surplus gizmo that was expensive and pointless, and a brief scan of the World Wide Web only served to reinforce my initial inkling. A brand new eBook reader capable of storing around one hundred and sixty eBooks will set you back near two hundred pounds; a seemingly silly investment when you could instead be spending that money on thirty books, if not more. And a quick dash to an online store confirmed my suspicion that the most popular eBooks (the Twilight series – let’s not get into that) were the same price as their physical counterparts, eliminating the one virtue I could think of, that with eBooks you could in theory eventually be saving money.

Recent news also fail to offer good publicity for the eBook phenomenon. Amazon was left red faced after they discovered they had accidentally put some legally unauthorised eBooks up for sale. Those unfortunate enough to purchase them beforehand and download them to their readers suddenly realised they had the books in question deleted without warning; surely quite the annoyance while halfway through Nineteen Eighty-Four!

But are these dismissals unfair? After all, 20 years ago we would have consulted the map in the glove compartment while marooned up the motorway rather than consult Sandra Sat-Nav, and bought our albums in HMV rather than download them on iTunes. Granted these are by no means fault-free either, after all it’s possible to lose music downloaded from iTunes if it isn’t backed up and anyone who has been overly-dependent on Satellite Navigation on a long journey can testify how bewilderingly useless it can become. But by and large these are innovations we have embraced, and surely now in 2009 if these novelties were suddenly wrenched away many of us would feel the loss?

In this era of technological splendour, why not let books succumb also? There are practical advantages of eBooks after all. For a start the convenience of having hundreds of books stored electronically would reduce the sheer mess that inevitably arises in the home of the keen reader (no more will that immortal phrase be uttered: “What on earth am I going to do with all of these Enid Blyton novels?”), as well as being good news for anyone who struggles to stuff the Norton Anthology of English Literature volumes one and two into their holiday suitcase.

And besides, as overpriced as I found the popular selections, there is a large selection of material online that costs nothing at all, such as books for which the copyright is expired and therefore falls inside the public domain. While it’s possible to read these for free on the internet using resources such as Google Books, surely reading it portably with a reader would be a far more practical and comfortable way to enjoy some Dickens?

As sigh inducing as it would be for some, perhaps having literature in an easily accessible (and occasionally free) electronic form would encourage more people to read in the first place? It’s certainly something that Nintendo seem to have caught onto with their ‘100 Book Collection’ for the DS which has lashings of Austen’s and Shakespeare’s stored on one tiny cartridge. eBooks aslo render self-distribution much easier for aspiring writers, making it possible for them to find an (albeit perhaps limited) audience they otherwise never would have.

Ultimately however, while I think the notion of electronic books isn’t without any merit, physical ownership just seems too important in our society for them to take over in a particularly meaningful way. Having a physical copy of something just seems far more meaningful, and we enjoy having things we can actually look at and touch. Having things done digitally may be convenient, but it takes away a segment of ownership that while perhaps superfluous, still remains important. For the same reason I don’t doubt that downloading music is a practice that will continue, but by no means are physical sales of records going to dissipate overnight.

Books (as in the paper bound with a spine, cover and back, not just megabytes) have been around for centuries. The Diamond Sutra, the believed oldest surviving book bares the date 868 AD, and in these 1141 years I don’t believe terribly much has changed. Besides, next time I’m at Waterstones attending Terry Pratchett/Stephen King/Katie Price’s new bestseller’s book signing, I fear I would look a bit silly asking them to sign my Sony Reader.


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A breath of fresh air…

…is all you want after a good night out seeing unsigned bands that Glasgow music scene is renowned for. Breathe in deep then before you go and listen to one of these four gems that we have found for you because you are going to be dancing for a while.

WORDS BY ROSE HENDERSON

Brother Louis Collective

Brother Louis Collective are a Glasgow six-piece who formed around captivating front man, Louis Abbot, in 2006. 

Making use of an exciting array of instruments including strings, clarinet and double bass, the band do not fail to impress. The combination of Abott’s prominent Scottish tones with the melodic voice of female singer Sarah Hayes provides a beautiful platform for projecting their heartfelt, honest lyrics. With words delving into friendships, family and life, these musicians seem not only intent on taking over our ears but also our minds and hearts. It is through this delicate mergence of voices and strings that Brother Louis Collective draw their audiences into a word of silent reflection, but just as easily snap them out again with an energetic and electrifying instrumental infusion. It is this powerful versatility that gives BLC their edge, and set them up as a band definitely worth catching live. 

Currently recording their debut album, Brother Louis Collective can be found at www.myspace.com/brotherlouismusic.

Sounds like: enchantment and sentimentality laced with real life.

Nevada Base

Catchy, funky beats? Music you can dance to? Nevada Base have it covered. The 4-piece Glasgow band fuse an exciting combination of electro sounds which will have you shimmying around your bedroom within mere milliseconds. Since forming in 2008, Nevada Base have been churning out this addictive electro pop, gaining them comparisions to bands like Hot Chip and Friendly Fires. With influences such as New Order and Human League, it is easy to see where the band have found inspiration to create their own pulsing synth beats.

Not only content with producing these vibrant tracks, the band also fuel our thoughts with lyrics about love, life and “mysterious women from space”.  

Nevada Base can be found on their impressively self-constructed website:  www.nevadabase.co.uk.

Sounds like: electro-magnetic magic.


Skinny Villains

Skinny Villains are another 4-piece who are thrashing their way into our eardrums, striving to make their mark.

The band plan on causing a stir and want to “shake things up” on the Glasgow music scene. Their exciting, thrilling tunes make this something they are able to achieve, and puts them on the map as a band certainly worth giving a listen to.

Stating their influences as being bands such as the Libertines (along with Jack Daniels…), we can understand how these musicans came to produce such an energetic sound, capturing a lively atmosphere which gives the impression that they will be a powerful and intense live act.

Check them out at www.myspace.com/skinnyvillains.

Sounds like:  four sweaty Scotsmen…

Vendor Defender

As far as vibrant, fresh new talent goes, Vendor Defender have it all. The three members came together in early 2008 and have since been creating their own unique brand of new wave, indie and pop. 

It is this modern mix which gives the band their individuality, making them at once one of the most interesting and exhilirating new acts in a music scene dominated by bands which sound alike. Combine this with incredibly catchy tracks such as ‘Justin’ and ‘Dreamphone’, and you have band which seem almost unstoppable and entirely infectious.

Striking, exiting and most definiately unforgettable, Vendor Defender can be found at www.myspace.com/vendordefender. 

Sounds like:  Vendor Defender.

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NOTES ON CAMPUS RESTARAUNTS

GUM went on a restaurant-crawl and looked around in the many food facilities of Glasgow University.

THE HUB (Laptop friendly!)

Despite the debate that has arisen over the modern shiny outside design of the Fraser building, this place is extremely popular among students. People come here for the great variety of meals and real comfy couches, and to soak in some warmth and brightness which, surprisingly enough, has been achieved in our Scottish climate thanks to clever interior design solutions. The place is packed with tables in all sizes, and the feeling you get in the Hub is an obscure combination of being part of a big student commune and having anonymity still (because the place is so overcrowded).

ONE A THE SQUARE

Somewhat hidden from the main torrent of students, the atmosphere at One A is professional and subdued. This is a place where you can catch a glimpse of your professors in a less informal milieu (well, as informal as one might get under neogothic arches of the main building). We suggest eating at A1 to rediscover your motivation for studying. The only thing that really strikes the aesthetics among us is the clash between majestic mantle-pieces and plastic chairs. It’s a sin that’s prevalent in all rooms of the main building.

JOHN MCINTYRE CAFE

Lunch at John Mac will be quick and convenient when you’re craving for a coffee+sandwich and don’t have time to wait in line. You’ll find an adequate amount of free seating and are able to do your seminar reading as you’ll hardly bump into any of your friends here. The building’s strategically located and has its own ATM! Make sure you don’t get run over by the door when you first try to make your way into the building.

ROOM IN THE LIBRARY WITH SOME FOOD IN FRIDGES

This is a last resort for the hungry during a period of essay deadlines. Self service, three different kinds of sandwiches and a vending machine with waxy apples. Not appetizing, but then again they say you work better on an empty stomach.

THE QMU ‘FOOD FACTORY‘

The Food Factory is a modest dining hall on the second floor of the QMU with no remarkable dishes nor conveniences. So leave your high expectations at the oversize baggage counter. The sandwiches can easily cause nightmares to some people but

warm tacos with cheese and those well baked potatoes might even be worth climing

the stairs. On another good note, the view over the campus is quite noteworthy and lunch here won’t chew up your student loan.

THE CRYPT (GUM’s favourite!)

Despite a bright yellow advert on University Avenue, not many people find their way into the Crypt in Wellington church. This well kept secret has a particularly dreamy and mysterious atmosphere supported by a low ceiling, dim lights and warm smiles of happy serving staff. The Crypt can boast with home made soups and pastries (prices are well under the campus average), but if the menu nor those friendly smiles don’t get under your skin, maybe the piano with a “Play me!” sign will.

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THE FAIRYTALE NOW AND THENV

ANNA MARTINEN is meditating upon how the relationship between men and women has changed, comparing 19th century and nowadays.

Two centuries ago only few married for love. Marriage was a central block of the society: a financial deal that was to profit both sides, or at least one. Perhaps it was hard to find a soul mate in a marriage, but still, it was possible. And even if the couple wasn’t blessed with  a perfect understanding of each other, there was always  the possibility of being good friends and supporting each other for better for worse, until death does you part. Other relationships, such as keeping mistresses or lovers were condemned from an ethical point of view, but nevertheless much needed sometimes. However, a close spiritual connection was not the reason for those relations either.

Men and women are now seemingly much closer than 200 years ago. Or are they? If someone invented a time travel car and went Back to the Past, then he/she would note that the social structure in those times was simple: a man was a man and a woman – woman. The latter one’s only profession, for which she was trained and prepared by several generations of family members was ‘wife‘.

Nowadays, women can play male roles and vice versa. There are no distinct rules of behaviour or any strict codes for matrimony. Such richness of opportunities and freedom allows us to get to know our partners more and also affects gender role-spectre. This can be observed even in seemingly primitive part of life – clothing. Sometimes it can be very hard to say from distance, is it man or woman walking in front of you.

Considering such lucid borders of social codes, men and women should surpassingly be able to understand each other better and be closer to one another. But maybe 200 years ago, by being forced into relationship with no

possibilities but to stay in it, marriage was a much more intimate union than nowadays. Perhaps if you only have a choice of going in one door, your sole option is to get along well with your partner and make the most of it. After all, there’s noone else to rely on. Otherwise, marriage just wouldn’t work as an institution, just as canoe cannot be sailed with one person only.

Today, on the other hand, the temptation of new and better experiences, unlimited freedom of choice and will leaves people uncertain of themselves and their partners, so relationships are doomed to fail. That’s why many of us sail kayak instead of a canoe.

It seems that first impression can be wrong after all and liaisons two centuries ago were maybe much stronger than the ones today. Fairytales about Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty might be more lasting experiences of love than the affairs of Jennifer Aniston or the character  of Carrie Bradshaw. But of course I might be wrong, so the final judgement I leave for the reader to make.

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Alternative Festivals | Laura Doherty

campingillustrationkirathomasOk, so the recession’s crept its way into our summer plans and we’re being a little more wary with our cash. In the past we’ve been all too happy to chuck our hard earned overdraft in the direction of a certain domineering, beer-scented festival sponsor.but what should we be doing now we’re being a little more discerning with our financial moves this year? Laura Doherty wades through the portaloo spotted scenery of the summer’s festivals to show you where to invest your tent pegs.

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YIFIdelity

dsc_0015Y’all Is Fantasy Island’s latest album and third dollop of noise, ‘No Ceremony’ has been received as their most accomplished work yet. So why haven’t they been signed yet? Surely a band of such obvious worth cannot be beaten simply by the law of averages. With this in mind, Maitiu Corbett towed the treacherous trail out to Anniesland Cross to find out their views on the record industry, homicidal trees, and Jim, in a bath, naked.

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5th February 1889

In case you didn’t know already, GUM is 120 years old this year and so we felt it would be appropriate to mark the occasion with a look-back at previous editions of the magazine that Glasgow has grown to love. First up for inspection is the first ever edition of GUM. Published on 5th February 1889, it is a true blast from the past..

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Always Check the Label

picture-7Glasgow is famous for the quality and quantity of its musical output. GUM presents a selection of Glasgow based record labels, showcasing some of the most exciting and progressive labels working behind the scenes to keep the hordes of Glasgow musically satisfied.

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Global Conversations | Catriona Matheson

As we walked down the meandering, dusty passageway set in between towering, sandstone cliff walls, I felt like we were uncovering a secret. We were entering Petra – a unique, ancient city, sitting cosily in a canyon in the mountains of southern Jordan, which until recently, I had never even heard of.

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Life in the South Pacific | Catriona Matheson

Before me stood an all singing, all smiling, Hawaiian Shirt-clad Fijian four-piece band. I had just disembarked from a 22-hour flight, it was 5am and I had a splitting head ache, but I could appreciate the thought. These four Fijians, with their fantastic afros and enthusiastic bright, white smiles, set the tone for what would be a glorious week’s holiday on one of the planet’s most isolated paradises. 

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Frightened Rabbit | Ali Stoddart

“I’m a little bit anal and a little bit controlling”, proclaims Scott Hutchison, founder and central cog of indie pop troubadours, Frightened Rabbit.

“In my view it is completely necessary to have other people in the band and if I was on my own I’d probably be a little bit lonely.” Scott started the Frightened Rabbit project on his own, in his bedroom in Selkirk with an acoustic guitar and a 4-track. Yet in his quest to avoid loneliness it has slowly grown into the 4-piece we hear today on their second album ‘Midnight Organ Fight’.

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The Difficult Second Album Syndrome | Pete Myall

spring2008secondIn an industry built almost entirely out of lies, illusion and fabrication, the Difficult Second Album is perhaps not the greatest lie of all, but probably the least questioned. A band will appear from nowhere with some sharp threads and a couple of great tunes, and find a nation of rabid fans ready to lap them up. Their first album arrives, to considerable acclaim, and they tour, tour, tour. A couple of years down the line, though, things don’t seem to be going quite so well for them. There’s arguments in the studio, nothing seems to be going right, and when they release their next album, it sells a quarter of the copies of the first and is peppered with two-star reviews. A few months later, the band get quietly dropped from their label and resign themselves to lives writing advertising jingles. The Difficult Second Album strikes again. It’s quite sad, if you’re in the habit of feeling sorry for idiots.

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The Best Venues You’re Too Scared to Visit | Charlie Knox & Neil MacAskill

It can be kind of difficult telling your dad. “Son,” he’ll reply after an intimidating silence, “you’re dead to me now.” Your friends will begin to give up on you too, as you start to alienate them with talk of wonky microminimalism and your unrelenting obsession with all things Berlin. You’ll fail your degree due to your pathetic late night (check to see no-one’s watching as your fist pumps the air) clumsy spinning sessions. Fiona, the pretty girl who thought you were cool because you had a leather jacket and introduced her to Animal Collective, will stop coming to hang out, complaining that you don’t listen to anything that has a tune anymore. Everything you thought you loved will begin to seem a little less important.

But here’s the thing: there is nothing more triumphant, life affirming or, goddamn it, euphoric than the feeling of drowning in sweat, sin and bald-headed Glaswegians, fucking rocking out at one of the city’s finest techno nights. Admittedly, there are a few things that might put you off, ye of little faith: they can seem a little scary to the average skinny indie kid, and you may well be the youngest dude there. There might be rather more men than women (though techno is definitely not just a boy’s game), and it can be hard to convince your mates to come along at first.

But seriously, don’t worry. Your friends, family and girlfriend will all come back to you in the end. Techno will never die.
Symbiosis Quarterly, Soundhaus, £8/10

Symbiosis is, without a doubt, one of the best underground club nights in Glasgow. If you’re wanting a taste of proper rave then don’t hesitate to check it out. The main room is strictly filthy, bangin’ drum ‘n bass from residents Calaco Jack, Yellowbenzene & co, and the vibes are high-paced, futuristic and funky from start to finish. In the back bar, Obese cranks out jackin’ house and techno with residents Full Phat taking control of the sound. Symbiosis is student-friendly and the resident DJ team is one of the best in Glasgow. It runs ‘til 4am and the bar is open late: every Symbiosis night is guaranteed to be beast!
Monox 3rd Saturday of every month, Soundhaus, £7/9

Club Monox is run by Dan Monox who also finds time to run MNX records, work at Rub-A-Dub, and generally rock damn hard, both behind the decks and as part of the Flying Lurinskys. The night takes place every second Saturday or so in the Soundhaus. And if you like it a little wild then come on in for the best underground techno and some choice guests. Be warned: it all gets a bit messy.
Club 69 Saturdays, Rocksys Basement, £7

Hidden under a curry shop somewhere in Paisley lies this little gem. Run by one of the guys from Rub-a-Dub records, club 69 caters to an adoring crowd, throwing the best techno parties every Saturday night till the wee small hours. Though it involves a train out and a very messy taxi home, it’s definitely worth the effort and not as scary as it sounds. They recently played host to a full on Underground Resistance live show after their big pressure gig, and there’s definitely a feeling of being part of something special when this tiny little room is totally jumping. Hells yeah.
Pressure Last Friday of every month, The Arches, £20

Get your ass down to Pressure. Organised by local legends Slam, it’ll cost you £20 but there will be a bunch of stuff on in every arch, and smiles and hugs from strangers all round. Its open late and all the biggest and best names rock the house, with many stating it as their favourite night to play. Villalobos, Josh Wink, Adam Beyer, Richie Fucking Hawtin, Underground Resistance and, this month, Laurent Garnier – it’s all about Pressure!

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Plastic Fantastic | Jennie Skinner

winter2007vinylVinyl records, you say? Didn’t they die out around the same time as your dad’s hair?

The evolution of the music medium (from the cassette to the CD to the almighty blip that was the mini-disc to the mp3 and now to the USB stick) ensured that vinyl died a quiet death in the late Eighties and early Nineties, whilst no one but audiophiles and DJs mourned its demise. However, a revival is on the horizon for the vinyl record, with UK music fans discovering its inherent coolness all over again. Against all odds, the LP crate is back. Sadly, the same can’t be said for your dad’s bald patch.

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Why Nu-Rave is Wrong | Jennie Skinner

Perhaps it’s the total lack of sun we’ve had during this joke of a summer that’s making “nu-rave” look like a bad fashion choice. Or maybe it’s just the fact that the look has become so mainstream that everyone from the Beckhams to Big Brother contestants has been spotted sporting a bit of fluoro. Whatever the reason, day-glo brights appear to be fading fast, with summer sale racks crammed with enough neon to cause temporary blindness. Even bands considered nu-rave-nobility are distancing themselves from the tag. With the trend fading faster than Klaxons’ fluoro skinnies on a hot wash, has the whistle sounded for the last time on nu-rave?

The fluoro trend emerged from a recent music scene which gained popularity relatively quickly amongst the youth of the UK, with bands such as New Young Pony Club, Hadouken!, CSS and, most famously, Klaxons leading the neon-lit way. The old rave atmosphere fused with indie dance-rock to create a new genre of music the NME christened ‘nu-rave’. The fun, colourful DIY style sported by nu-ravers quickly stood out from the generic variations on the ‘jeans and t-shirt’ look adopted by other indie bands. Over the next year the scene exploded, with Klaxons gaining the #2 spot in the album charts with their debut, ‘Myths of the Near Future’. Although almost unheard-of outside the UK, nu-rave has become a major youth subculture here, and its corresponding fashion trend, like so many before it, owes its existence to popular music.

Fashion and music have always crossed creative paths, from the sharp suits and parkas of the sixties Mod to the kohl-eyed, black-is-best style-mantra of the ‘Emo’ (another media-induced tag). Nu-rave is no different. Indie kids imitating the style worn by nu-rave bands took the look to next-big-thing level at gigs and clubs where a rainbow of 80s fashions could be seen on the dance floor. At first it was a look only braved by indie scenesters, but within months designers were using it as inspiration for their summer collections. The couture take on nu-rave saw fluoro mini-dresses, oversized t-shirts, bold skin-tight leggings and neon accessories on every catwalk, with Prada, Luella, Christopher Kane and Alexander McQueen trying to get in on the game.

The neon trend tied in well with the sport-luxe look showcased by other designers, characterized by stretch fabrics, futuristic silhouettes and silver in every possible fabric. These two trends merged on the high street, creating a style both wearable and affordable for the average ‘yoof’. Nearly every large fashion-chain with a young demographic soon released a flood of day-glo apparel and fluoro-tinged accessories. Topshop’s ‘POP’ range led the way with a whole collection dedicated to the nu-rave look, and even Tesco signed a deal with designer Katharine Hamnett to sell a range of slogan tees of the type popularised by bands such as Wham! and Frankie Goes To Hollywood. The Me Decade of bad taste, clashing colours, and synthetic fabrics was well and truly back with stores such as New Look, H&M and online fashion store Asos.com making sure we all looked like extras from a Duran Duran video.

However, the trend’s mass popularity may turn out to be its downfall as indie kids, designers and high street stores are already moving on. Although the nu-rave scene’s DIY ethics are producing a diverse range of creative subcultures and bands, those who first sported the look are looking for the next big trend, relegating the newly-reborn “Frankie Says Relax” shirts to the clearance racks. The couture autumn/winter collections are lacking any seizure-causing brights and instead are awash with rich purples and bottle greens which will take precedence in the coming months.

It seems that although the nu-rave music scene is flourishing at the moment, the fluoro-fashion that it gave rise to is dying a very mainstream, high-street death. But what should you do if you have so much neon you need to wear three pairs of sunnies just to open your wardrobe? Perhaps it’s a good time to pack away your hot pinks, say goodbye to those glow-sticks and leave behind the neon nightmare: fluoro is now as dull as our Scottish summer.

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