Wow, it’s barely even April – am I really already writing a preview for the Fringe? That’s ladies and gents, Tickets have already gone on sale for August Festival shows taking place at the Stand – probably the première venue for comedy in the UK. Jumping the gun by quite a significant margin this year it seems only right to approach these shows now while the digital ink of their announcement is still fresh – and some of these shows are likely to be sold out soon, so well worth getting in there while you still can! Big Names As usual, The Stand will play host to some of the most well respected names in comedy. Top of the list this year, as with most, will be Stewart Lee’s “Much a-Stew About Nothing” which will be working on material for Series 3 of his Comedy Vehicle, while his former double-act partner Richard Herring will once again be hosting his daily podcast from the venue. Simon Munnery returns from his curious and genre defining show last year “Fylm-Maker” with what one can only assume is the more; last year’s attempts to use live video as part of his performance was a delightful experiment in a new medium which, although still genuinely brilliant, felt like a peek into a genius trying to work out what they can do with a new toy; like an alchemist carefully measuring comedy and art there might never be the guaranteed outcome, but it will always be worth being part of just in case. Alexei Sayle, who you should recognise as the landlord from the Young Ones if nothing else, is the act this year returning from years in the comedy wilderness with his first, and much anticipated, full length stand-up hour in 17 years. Tony Law too is now a big name among those in the know, and fast becoming a recognised face from bits of TV – and is easily deserving a position alongside these greats. Future Brilliance Local Acts Newer Names Katie Mulgrew and Tony Jameson both debut (I think) with shows this year, and are already regular hosts and acts at the Stand throughout the year – and important members of their recently launched Newcastle branch. Jameson’s premise this year, the equally agonising and joyous experience of Championship Manager, has already struck a chord with audiences, selling out at the Glasgow Comedy Festival, and is likely to perform equally well; I’ve not, but he is a very. Similarly, Mulgrew’s stage presence is always at home with audiences
Welcome to a new venture for Nanu Nanu – a small blog about starting up with how the hell to get your head around the basics photography. This series will follow our own attempts to get to grips with cameras, and how to use them properly, as and when we learn them. This will by no means be an extensive account of what you need to know but try to break down the complexity into laymen”s terms, and we will post links to places that offer more details when we have them available.
So you”ve just got a camera – what the hell do you do now?
So many buttons, so little time to press them all (and so many fears that what you will press will ruin everything) – but worry not, we are hear to help. Here are a few things to do before you get started!
Step 1) Look through the instructions – I know it”s boring to say it, but it will tell you most of what you need to know about what the camera does. What struck me as a first looked through the guide, was the amount of settings one could go through without even touching individual buttons, just from the main knob – so let”s take a look at what they do and how to use them.
Most cameras have a dial that you turn to different modes, with little pictures next to them which change the way the camera takes photos. Within these different types of modes there aretwo major distinctions between them – some are creative and some are basic preset modes. The first bunch, the so called “creative” appear on the dial as letters – could be things like M (Manual), Av (Aperture Priority AE), TV (Shutter Priority AE) and P (Program AE). Don”t worry, we are going to go through these modes one by one, and not use the technical jargon. The “basic” set of modes are more obvious and are set up according to specific needs. These may differ a lot depending on the camera model, but are more self explanatory.
The basic set are your off the peg options that you can just click your camera into the right gear and get shooting. Here we go through some of the modes and what they can be used for:
A – Scene Intelligent Auto – a “fully automatic shooting mode with auto scene detection” where many of the features of the camera are set automatically according to the scene you are in. Auto-flash, Brightness, Flash, Color tone are set according to where you are. This mode is ideal for when you don”t know what you want, and is great for learning the very basics of how to shoot, composition and so on.
Flash Off – flash is disabled. If you have a flash that pops out, this will prevent that from popping out, and even if not, will make sure that the flash is not on for any shot you make. This is ideal for when you are in museums, galleries and other places where flash photography is prohibited. Importantly, without a flash you will have to rely on natural light, and this has a massive effect on how your images will look. Without meaning to go into details, the camera itself warns me when I”m in this mode that my images may become shaky – this is because in low light areas it will take longer for enough light to get into my camera so I can see anything, so even the slightest nudge when I”m taking a photo will make the image change slightly.
CA – Creative Auto – Auto mode for easy setting of Image Brightness background blurring, flash, and everything else. This mode seems ideal for when you want to start messing around with the little buttons and features without going to far wrong.
Portrait – This is the mode you would use when the subject of your image is a person. This setting blurs the background, so that subjects stands out, and smooths skin textures and hair – making your image more flattering to people (I assume)
Landscape – this has a wide depth of field meaning that a lot more of the image is kept in focus (not just the background or foreground)
Close-Up – for capturing things incredibly close to the lens, typically flowers, insects that sort of thing. This sort of thing is ideal with “Macro” lenses, and will give really high quality images to things that are small and super close to your lens.
Sports – For shooting subjects in motion – the important thing for this is that includes a continuous shooting mode that keeps the subject in focus
Night Portrait – For taking portrait shots when the background is dark and full of illuminations (stars, lights at a fair, that kind of thing). When this is being used, as is similar to the non-flash mode) it may cause blurry images, so recommends the use of a tripod – or a very sturdy hand!
Handheld Night Scene – a shooting mode for at night which doesn”t require a tripod. This uses four separate shots taken almost at once to create a single stable image. This is very useful for taking simple images when you don”t have the use of a tripod (and frankly at our level – who does!).
HDR Backlight Control – combines three shots at three different exposures to improve the high light and show detail. Again, this will only work if you have a tripod, but what it does is when you take a photograph which has some light elements and some dark elements, it will take image on three different settings and amalgamate them into one image, so that things that are in shae are not simply blacked out or too dark to see, where as parts of the photo that are very bright aren”t over saturated in white light.
The creative set I would describe as more useful when you want to tweak and play around with the more complicated things available to you.
This week, the world – or at least predominantly that of the British Press and Public – are waking up to the realisation that companies are avoiding tax. Corporations such as Amazon, Google and Starbucks are not only avoiding tax, but avoiding it within the framework of the law, and at an unprecedented scale.
Rather than try and judge the morality of taxation, an issue that is being written about endlessly by real journalists, I want to explore this subject using the contribution of the internet in this debate. What very few are mentioning is the fact that these problems are not local. They exist everywhere and can be explained through a different problem – the problem of the digital globe, and the bizarre notion of nations.
In the case of Amazon and Google, these companies are clearly based online. Although they have a very real presence in the world – especially substantial is Amazon’s incredible network of distribution centres globally, but google’s own data centres are as equally “present” despite making their money through immaterial production – they are vast conglomerates with a very international, digital footprint. Seen in this way, it makes sense then to include Starbucks in this debate – even though their web presence is that much more limited than Google or Amazon, they have a similar sense of international dominance and scale that enter into our debate. In order to move towards some sort of understanding here, we must begin to unveil what – the erosion of national boundaries through an international medium.
What I would like to argue here is simple – our use of the internet is in some sense international and as we do more and more online the ramifications of this will emerge, and in fact are already emerging, in what we do in real life. Whether this would have taken place without the internet through globalization, a tricky term which I will facetiously reduce by which we all eat the same burgers and spend money at virtually the same shops on similar looking high streets, is not particularly important as it is a world we cannot know. However, I would like to argue that the way this process of globalization has taken place online makes it’s appearance far less visible, and it is through this that we have slipped into a globalized world, while elsewhere we still hold onto modernist notions of nations and states.
This makes sense if we look at what we do at a very simple level. Our mundane use of the internet – in the sense of the usual and the everyday things we do, as opposed to simply being “boring” in any sense – is seeing us stumble into international quagmires on an almost daily basis, but we very rarely realise it. Through the internet, physical limitations of geography are being undermined, and in many ways the process is visible – most noticeable in our ability to converse with friends in other cities with more ease and convenience than was possible pre-internet. Skyping someone or chatting with a friend you wouldn’t otherwise see, is an act that barely deserves recognition – and our participation in markets and commerce are becoming this way too. If we are becoming internationalised, the most profound of these movements are taking place without us noticing – by virtue of simple, and unwitting actions as opposed to any progressive or constructive liberal sense towards active cohesion – and as such we must begin to consider our emergence world through an international legal framework. But just how international is the internet?
Understanding that the internet you and I read is very much slanted towards a particular notion of universality is easily exposed when you consider typical use of the internet for people in the UK. For example, one might stumble through links to see unattainable items on amazon.com that aren’t available on amazon.co.uk – and in the case of dvds even if they can be bought, they are locked to a particular region that you have to circumvent if you want access. There are other limitations that prevent access – not having an american bank account will be problematic in shopping abroad, and even if you can use your own services, a certain amount of conversion takes place behind the scenes. In this moment, the barriers of nationality become overt, but are rarely treated as rational. These limitations are entirely artificial, and present inconceivable barriers to transactions which would otherwise be simple. In a basic sense then, we can see that there are parts of the internet that are privileged by certain factors.
But what if you were intentionally looking for something outside of your world? For example will tend to see the part of the internet that writes in your language, forgetting the diverse networks of material available in other languages. One could access google.fr if you wanted to, and explore a world which is built towards searching French websites, or francophone sources. Interestingly here, one is not defining the international through nationality, but through classification by language. The French part of the internet is as much Canadian and Algerian as it does belong to the digital world of France.
Despite this, some notions of nationality still exist, particularly in nation-specific domains that are controlled by specific jurisdictions. The .fr domain is one such example, as too is .co.uk. In Chris Morris’ brilliant British comedy Nathan Barley, registering a domain in the Cook Islands allowed one to register the crass “Trashbat.co.ck” in a practice now commonly echoed in a number of start-ups hoping to make, quite literally, a name for themselves – especially in URL shortening services who try to use .ly (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya) and .io (British Indian Ocean Territory) that have become trendy. The fact that many of these fall under the jurisdiction of these states – and as such must abide by whichever arbitrary rules the states desire – are ignored and often foolishly, with the popular domains of unstable states in danger of succumbing to the whims of geo-politics. In this sense, we can see once more notions of geography and national specificity thrown aside in small, and simple acts that are motivated by notoriety and commerce far more than they are by national allegiance in the new digital world.
But through this it is worth trying to understanding more coherently how the internet works technically for cutting through simple appearances of a global network. Borrowing from a ELI5 thread on reddit, the internet can be understood as a series of rooms, in which people can communicate if those rooms are connected. Now, to communicate with certain rooms, you need special messages, and importantly you don’t need to know where the room is, but simply know where to hand over the messages to get it to another room. In each room there is a book in which builds a knowledge of how to – and messages can be exchanged with other rooms to get
Basically, servers across the world host the websites you view, and the jurisdiction of each country relates to the physical geography of that server. When you make an attempt to access any website, a request is sent to that server to access the information. Between you and that server however is an ISP (Internet Service Provider) who themselves. hosts their own; and . A good example Google#s attempts to enter the chinese market caused much – the fact that they were asked to . Although accessing international .
It’s because of this that we see odd things happen that are tied to specific nations. For example Syria just this week plunged themselves into an internet blackout, a rather precarious and scar moment.
In much the same way that in an emergency, you’ll notice the mobile networks go down, the same can be said the infrastructure that upholds the internet. As much as simply unplugging the entire thing, at a national network level, or traffic can be prevented, surveilled or
Tor is an interesting project.
Control in this ; the region locking system is an interesting one
One arguement made on Radio 4 tired to eliminate the need for corporate tax at all – tax, they claimed, could not be paid by an entity like a – but in this same arguement he tried to claim that tax could only be paid by, defeating the sense of impossibility at all – his idea was a complex way of saying the people. The real problem however is that – stockholders and higher end employees have far more access to less physical geography. Someone who buys a coffee can only do so where they are, and similarly . The company itself is a diverse and complex network of arrangements, as too are the invested parties . In this sense, money permits a different kind of mobility that is presented in some ways to the consumer through the internet.
*** This feature will feature spoilers. For a little guide on what to expect without spoilers, check out our introduction ***.
The two films we’ve chosen for this month’s double bill are not typical of the time they were created in – but stand as noteworthy types of the genre, despite often exceeding or expanding it. Even with the gaping chasm between them, combined they allow us to come closer to understanding what horror as a genre is – at least as can be found with a very gentle excavation of the form in mainstream cinema.
George Romero’s fantastic “Night of the Living Dead” is as close to classic horror as you can get. Released in 1968, the independent feature is often considered the original presentation of zombies to a mainstream audience, and this despite not actually mentioning zombies at any point. The voodoo zombie of older films here is replaced with a more modern monster, the stand-out somnambulists that walk and yearn for a new level of violence and gore, but which camouflage themselves amongst a more usual, contemporary setting. Even if it wasn’t the first – it most certainly is the most remembered film of the genre.
It’s notoriety can best be understood to its originality at the time it was created. Outside of a multi-million dollar culture of cheap thrills horror, Romero’s film could appear to be simply one drop in a tsunami of shite, but it is anything but. Before Romero’s masterpiece, horror took place in deliberately scary venues, with danger subdued and left to reside in the shadows. Romero’s monsters take what scares us, takes those creeping fears that are so usully buried, and brings them to the surface. Put simply, the Zombies, as we know them now, were not only coming to get you – but they were like you too.
The success of this formula bred with this success. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead began an entire genre of movies, not only from Romero himself , who’s “of the dead” series is perhaps the most well known, but also the equally loved “Living Dead” series from Dan O Bannon and John Russo, who base their series on the suggestion that the original film was a real event – and introduce zombies as an altogether more terrifying foe, communicative and essentially unstoppable in their quest to nosh on your brains. Even beyond this particular clique, Romero’s work has inspired countless other retellings, reimaginigs and spoofs – and all obsessed with the same, simple monster.
Our other film, Rec
Since remade from it’s spanish origins.
One commentator argues that this film
Most specific to Romero’s ouevre is the notable inclusion of meaning, as each new film points towards a new feature of contemporary society which is expanded upon by the traditional framework of the horror film. This is most clear to see in the original Dawn of the Dead, where Romero places the zombie hordes in a shopping mall who, framed by the incessant commercialism that remains rife in society, continue to enact the anaesthetized behaviours of their former selves. Rarely however, does this habit towards meaning get in the way of a fun, camply violent romp – and perhaps it is this feature of the film, in which we are shown our vices while enjoying something equally as empty and full of surface delight, actually contribute towards a further, more complex feeling for the audience in relation to the movie. When this is later remade, this confused space is rearticulated without any of the potency of the original, sealing any of this complexity away.
This leads us to where “Rec” and Romero collide most prominently, within the less well received Diary of the Dead, in which the protagonist’s make them film as part of a documentary. Their experience of this world is seen through the lens of a camera, deliberately shown through within the movie. Obviously inspired by the sort of film-making rekindled with the success of Blair Witch Project, by no means does Romero succeed with this attempt, but this doesn’t impact significantly – we know what to expect in the zombie genre as much as we know what to expect from this found footage ordeals; bizarrely, it could be argued that Romero doesn’t ever bring anything new, but merely repeats what we’ve already seen a thousand times before – but does so at a point in which our society is so overly saturated and aware of itself that to do so now merely repeats the symptoms of society itself.
The most significant reason why this film fails is that it doesn’t speak to an audience of viewers as is usually understood, but an audience of new film-makers. The horror therefore is not in the flesh eating zombies, but the morality of filming, the naivety of those that approach the camera without knowing its potential violent affects. Because of this, many that watch the film feel above the horror, separated from its meaning as a kind of knowing spectator, where as the rest – a clearly diminishing number which are not truly inseparable from the “film-makers” I mean, what with our own tendency to capture and share many, often mundane, facets of our own lives – don’t find the traditional horror in the film authentic, or engaging. Therefore, it fails to engage any viewer as others in the series do, but fails in an ever shrinking space of uncertainty, a distance within which it could be claimed Romero is most astute, albeit merely ineffectual due to society’s flaws rather than the director’s own failure of vision.
This is where the baton is handed over – where a new breed of film-making can speak with this audience.
Undeniably, “Night of the Living Dead” shows it’s age, particularly when contrasted with the more modern horror style with which we have become accustomed. Everything from the cheap looking film stock to the dialogue and costumes scream that this film was made in a different era to today. The opening sequence, in which a couple end up stranded in a grave yard, has the hallmarks of every classic american – but it feels naff because it was so original, and as a result endlessly copied. That doesn’t say it isn’t any good any more – frankly, it still has the potential to be enjoyed beyond that naff, ironic experience that one can expect, simply as it is a well made film that stands the test of time to a certain extent.
This passage of time is worth touching upon again. Despite it’s originality and attention to social issues, in its original release, it was the film makers who were most criticised by the content of the picture – with a public supposedly unused to the “pornography of violence” on display, many children went to see the film without supervision, and the many more who saw this film from a distance, saw only it’s . Blinded by the apparent gratuitous violence of cinema and the shocking presentation of cannibalism, they failed to acknowledged the real horror taking place – the horror within ourselves.
One conclusion that needs to be drawn is that it should never surprise you how short sighted people can be, not because they are wrong necessarily, but because they only see things as they are now. In much the same way that those opposing inter-racial marriage are now rightly seen as moronic racists, those opposing gay-marriage today will in some future point be seen as the homophobes they really are. Not meaning to needlessly beat the drum of equality, but it is only through those pioneers who errode the fringe of consensus with cinema like this that we can grow and move closer. I’m not saying Night of the Living Dead
Hindsight is a remarkable tool for seeing the naked truth, and though there is no inevitable position in the future from which we can pretend to look back, there are social positions which in just over a decade of mainstream internet communication have already been eroded. Censorship is all well and good for protecting the young from things which will trouble them – but when adults are not allowed to discuss ideas openly, these taboos take on a repressive and dangerous power
This is why these films are important. Because they are, they go into places which we otherwise do not allow ourselves to go. They let us
Hell, without we wouldn’t have had the stupendous spoof Zom-Rom-Com Shaun of the Dead (which points throughout to seemingly hundreds of movies as diverse as and Rain Man)
How this film relates to social anxiety is played out in the final sequence – with the shocking. Despite the gruelling ordeal of the night before, he is dispatched like any other piece of rotting meat.
But people went to see it in their droves, becoming at that time, one of the most profitable horror films made.
Rather beautifully, due to an error by the distributor, the film now resides in the public domain, meaning anyone can access this for free. Download it, remix it, do whatever you like with it – as now it is our film.
Welcome back to the Nanu Book Club – this month’s book was
Vonnegut’s novel is a piece of science fiction that questions
Katy “It’s like I wrote down a list of all the big ideas that I like to wax lyrical about after 2 pints in the pub: time travel, free will, religious symbolism for a start. Then someone stole my beer soaked napkin list, fleshed out all the ideas and crafted them into a story which is really smart and finely tuned. Only criticism is, the ideas it presents are much more interesting than the characters representing them.”
Ellie “I got to page 102 and gave up on Sirens of Titan. I already knew that sci-fi wasn’t my thing but tried and tried to get to grips with the book. I like Kurt Vonnegut’s ideas and enjoyed the discussion at Book Club about the ideas behind the novel but it was the langague and style of writing that didn’t appeal. I understand that science fiction is a good medium for discussing complex experiences, like Vonnegut’s own experiences of war, but the straightforward, matter of fact way that the novel was written put me off. ”
Next Month: we’ll be reading James Joyce’s The Dubliners
Heads up that tonight Tony Law is going to be playing the Stand, doing the Edinburgh leg of his touring show “Maximum Nonsense”. This remarkable Canadian comic has been quickly working his way up the comedy ladder and fast nearing his rightful place amongst the surreal royalty of the circuit. His style won’t be for everyone, but I’d be surprised if you are reading this and don’t find him endearing, charming,
and frankly hilarious.
The show has technically sold out, but there might be some tickets available on the door from 8.15, so if you want to see him, you’d best get down there sharpish! More info about the gig tonight here.
If you don’t get to see that, then Raconteur, a new and exciting storytelling night, will be on in Cabaret Voltaire tonight from 8pm tonight, inviting people to speak on the subject of “What are the odds”. It’s free so you can easily give it a go, and you could even end up on stage! For more information visit their facebook page.
of the most noticeable things about Trick R Treat is the surprising different types of horror united under one banner. We’ve compiled
Something about the American style of fear is built on a culture of slashers and serial killers – individuals who on their own terms, hunt their victims. These horror films focus on the very real fear of what people can do, and because of this they can tap into the real fears of being alone, often heightening the film watching experience. There are umpteen thousands of slasher films, with the formula repeated endlessly without much care or attention as they can be very cheap to produce, but many are some of hollywood’s most well received films – including “Halloween”, “Nightmare on Elm Street” and. However, one of the most significant films in this sub-genre is Wes Craven’s Scream series, a collection of films which seemed
to exceed the genre while defining and exploring them as part of the narrative – while also inspiring their own copycat murders. These films are incredibly self-aware, especially for mainstream horror but
If you want to find out more, the documentary “Cut to Pieces” is a fairly easy to watch documentary – and what’s more you can stream it on lovefilm.
The distinction between vampires and zombies has become more significant
It would be foolish to ignore the incomprehensibly succesful Twilight series, which deal with a different kind, but if you want a really
This post is part of our Nanu Film Trail for April – which this month is an anthology of horror. Looking at horror, it’s very easy to be lost in the culture of it without focusing on the effect it has. One of the questions we wanted to ask is this – what makes something scary? For our “free for all” this month, we choose something slightly unusual – a celebration of all the dark and creepy corners of youtube. A lot of what makes things scary are the circumstances within which you are experiencing things… turning off the light and turning up the volume both make a film feel that little bit harder to bare. But with new media comes new ways to experience horror – and nothing works better than stumbling through to the darker sides of the internet, where people have left their mark without leaving an explanation, uncertain shards glimpses into unanswered realities of an unknown world. There are many mysteries out there, tonight, let’s find them. How to make your own Creepy Youtube Horror Night For your own Creepy YouTube Horror night, you will need: One Laptop Some Snacks Some Drinks Some Friends A few links The recipe is simple – all of you sit together, turn the lights off, and put the laptop in front of you. One of you nominate yourself to be the curator for the evening. Pop yourself along to this reddit page, where some wonderful people have compiled an almost exhaustive list of videos on youtube that are considered by many to be of interest for this sort of thing. Amongst you, decide which sounds the most intriguing, and click play… and repeat! Importantly, as much as
this night is about exploring our fears, it’s important not to bully or go further than anyone in the room is prepared to go. Nothing spoils the night more than someone. This said, YouTube is fairly good at policing content which might be too violent or innappropriate, so although many of these are odd or freaky or even unknown, they are at least “safe” to a certain extent… For our attempt, the rules were simple – if someone read a title outloud, we watched it, and we soon learnt to keep
our intrigue to ourselves. For our sins, we kept a record of what we watched, and have made a playlist to get you started, which you might enjoy. Some of them are well-made horror shorts, some of them tread the line between hoax and horror, where others are just oddities from the past which now look odd and fun. We’ll find out about Finlay’s reaction to some of these later in the month. Have you given this a go? What videos worked for you, what videos didn’t work? Let us know in the comments, or get in contact on twitter.