Tag Archives: Arts

Radio

Burst Radio (Bristol University Student Radio) is up and running!! I am really proud of how the first week is going, and would love if you nice people could give it a listen. There is a huge variety of programmes, so there is something for everyone.

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As well as presenting The Culture Club on Tuesday’s at 5PM (http://www.burstradio.org.uk/shows/the-culture-club/), I am also Co-Head of News this year. As well as being responsible for producing the pre-recorded news segments that play every hour, this year we have introduced a longer, live news segment at 1PM. This is the first time there have been ‘newsreaders’ on Burst Radio, and we are very proud of how it is going so far.

I think student radio has given me and everyone involved such valuable experience and I am so happy to have had the chance to discover what I think I want to do professionally post graduation.

Did you get involved in any extracurriculars that ended up being your career?

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Comedy Night @ The Anson Rooms (UBU)

One of the first Fresher’s events this year was a comedy night with Carly Smallman, The Noise Next Door, and Mat Ewins as compere. Seeing as I hadn’t managed to get to any of their shows in Edinburgh I jumped at the chance to see them for free in the new and improved Student Union venue.

As an MC Mat Ewins does a decent job of getting to know the crowd and embarrassing enough people to get everyone in the mood for audience participation. His actual stand up got a mixed response but generally went down well – indeed one of our favourite palindrome based jokes was his!

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Carly Smallman was great – a lovely mixture of stand up and musical comedy that she tried to relate well to the student audience, despite its more adult nature. Two of her songs were absolutely perfect. Firstly “Love song to myself” which was just lovely, and I think everyone should write their own. “I’m in love with my brother” wasn’t a complete hit with the audience, I think it was a little too twisted for some sensitive freshers, but my friend and I found it completely hilarious! 

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The Noise Next Door are extremely good at what they do – improvised musical and sketch comedy – plus are absolutely lovely guys! With lots of audience participation I was nervous the sets might not work with a load of freshers but everyone got in the spirit and we came up with some hilarious scenarios for them to act/ sing out. I think I prefer the acting improv that they do, purely because it seems less set up than the songs, which while equally impressive have a very obvious structure. What I really love about the Noise Next Door is that they put absolutely everything into each scene – they aren’t afraid of any accent or scenario thrown out, they are great even when corpsing, and their dance moves are fantastically over the top.

Overall I think UBU organised a great freshers event, that for once wasn’t based around drinking!

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Justitia @ Sadler’s Wells Peacock Theatre

I was lucky enough to be able to go to the press showing of ‘Justitia’* – the new production by the Jasmin Vardimon Company. Billed as a dance piece, I would say Justitia was more of a movement heavy physical theatre piece – there was a very strong crime story line running through the piece that you don’t often see in modern dance.

The concept of the show was really interesting – exploring the justice system, the audience were asked to be the jury in a murder trial, and were ‘played’ the various scenarios that may have lead to the crime. Being physical dance theatre, this was a hugely evocative and powerful way to explore such themes as rape, crimes of passion, marriage and abortion. There was also a sub-theme running through the whole piece about the power of words. During various scenes the court stenographer’s notes were projected onto a screen, questioning whether something happened because she wrote it or vice-versa. It is safe to say the whole piece had a truly harrowing edge to it.

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The set was phenomenal – there were 3 sections on a rotating platform, a living room, a dining room and one representing the court and a therapy room with chairs stacked into the wall. The space was incredibly well used, with doors allowing seamless movement between sections. Similarly the music was fabulously chosen –  a mixture of well known songs (such as Bridge over Troubled Water) and beautiful electronic music. And the Pac-Man theme song with a dubstep backtrack. That was very cool.

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In terms of the choreography there is very little I can fault. Each character had their own movements, and there were various motifs running through the piece that tied everything together. There was a perfect balance between straight dance sequences, more symbolic sections and proper physical theatre that allowed the story to be told without the audience every forgetting that these are dancers, not actors. My favourite character was the court stenographer. She had a very animalistic feel to her movements – everything was very low and smooth. The murder victim also had a very interesting movement style, which seemed to be based on a 70s sleaze-ball/ breakdancer which made for an hilarious combination. All the dancers were fantastic – it sounds silly but they were just SO physical; jumping, leaping and falling to the floor with incredible ease and lacking any fear.

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What was lovely about this piece, other than the sheer beauty of it, was that the entire company has just moved to Ashford in Kent, where the performance was created. The council has effectively given the company a disused sports centre where they plan to create a dance school and permanent rehearsal space for the company. Listening to everyone talk with such enthusiasm about this project was really inspiring and the work they are planning to put into the area and the community really shows how valuable creative spaces are. I was lucky enough to meet Jasmin, who is a wonderfully gracious and lovely lady, and I really wish them all the best!

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*Justitia was playing just for the week at the Peacock Theatre, but do look out for more performances from this very exciting dance company.

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A Suggestion

I wrote an article for my friend’s online arts magazine Palmarium entitled ‘The Rise of the Fool’. It would be lovely if you could give it a read!

http://www.palmarium-magazine.com/w13-riseofthefool.html

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September 16, 2013 · 5:36 pm

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré

I essentially decided to read Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy because I really enjoyed the film, and I always think it’s good to experience a story in all its forms. However, either I had not watched the film carefully enough, or they changed it drastically from the book – there was very little that I could correlate between the book and what I remember of the film.

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Nevertheless, I really enjoyed the book. It is a very cleverly written spy-mystery-thriller, the twists and turns were convincing enough not to be ridiculous. Not only was this aspect of the story really gripping, but the characters were wonderfully explored as well. I built up a sympathy for a lot of the characters, which I think can be an uncommon feature of a book of this genre. In particular, I found I really felt for George Smiley and Bill Roach, the characters who seemed most aware of others. The other aspect of the book that I enjoyed was the feeling of insight you got into the world of the Secret Services. Considering le Carré is writing an almost auto-biographical story of his own betrayal as an MI6 agent in the 1960s, the precision and detail in his descriptions of the workings of MI6 are unsurprising.

Overall I think Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is a really well-written, thrilling book that I just enjoyed a lot!

I have now just started Atonement, by Ian McEwan (continuing the theme of original books of films that I like), so watch out for my review of that!

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Subjectivity

*WARNING*: This is a rant! I very much need to write this down as it has been bugging me for a while, and where better to express that than the Internet, right?

At my Summer Ball Everything Everything were the headline act. I was over the moon about this, I really love both their albums and was super excited to see them. I understand, however, that they are not to everyone’s taste. And that is fine, music is a subjective thing, and it would be impossible to find a big act that absolutely every single person there would want to see. But one particular friend of mine was extremely vehement in expressing her dislike of them.

At our hall’s end of year BBQ a friend asked how the ball was. When it came to Everything Everything my friend piped up with “Oh they were rubbish, we saw one song and just went to the other tent.” In the interests of truth and variety I then said that I had actually really enjoyed them, but of course they are more my sort of music than for some people. I thought that would be the end of it, and we would move on to complain about the lack of bars (1 for 3000 people… not the best organisation!) But no: “No, they’re so bad, they’re boring, so mainstream and they cannot perform at all.” “Well… I liked them, I know some people don’t.” “They’re just so rubbish” – said to the girl asking, without any acknowledgment of me, or my opinion. (Just as a bit of background, and something that annoys me almost equally as the main problem discussed in this post: the girl in question is self-professedly ‘not that into music’, so her complete vehemence on the matter shocked me quite a bit; she is also very very far from being ‘hipster’, so I found it really quite odd that she would phrase her argument in terms of them being ‘mainstream’ – the favoured word of complaint for most hipsters.)

I do not mind if my friend doesn’t like the same music as me; music preferences are entirely subjective and just because I like something, it doesn’t mean that other people have to. At least that is how I view that sort of thing. Clearly my friend doesn’t, because of course her opinion on the matter is final, and there is no question of subjectivity. That is what really annoyed me – not once did she say “Well, I think” or “In my opinion” or even just simply “Well I didn’t like them at all”. There was just the final proclamation that the band was rubbish and that was that.

I intensely dislike that sort of attitude. It is impossible to state a fact about an opinion – let alone an opinion about something so subjective as music, or indeed anything under the hugely broad category of ‘art’. There are several instances in which I do not agree with my friends on a film, or a band, or a book or anything to which the only response can be an opinion rather than a statement of fact. And that is fine, if we all agreed on everything life would be extremely monotone. But thinking that your opinion should be taken as fact, and expressing it in that sort of way seems, at least to me, horrifically arrogant and ignorant. Without a sense of subjectivity we would go about life stamping out any variety and interest in the world, just to make sure everyone agreed with our own opinion. I would hate to live in a world where there was no debate, no difference, no subjectivity. And I would hope that the majority of people feel the same way, and in this case I’m not sure a difference of opinion is particularly favourable.

What do you think? Should people be more aware of subjectivity, or does an unrelenting opinion show strength?

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