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Oscar Hopefuls: Argo


When Good Will Hunting came out, it was always assumed

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that it was Matt Damon who did all the graft, and Ben Affleck was the one who was hanging on to Damon’s brilliance – but now, it is being said, maybe it was the other way round. Argo is an incredibly astute work that has all the hallmarks of a brilliant director, especially one with so little directing experience.

The plot is preposterous – in Iran in 1979, protests have broken out and the US embassy is overthrown by the violent mob, with most of the staff taken hostage, with relations between Iran and America suggesting that these hostages may well be killed. However during the confusion 6 staff escaped and are hidden by the Canadian ambassador in his home. While outside anyone accused of being American is killed on site, inside they wait, hoping not to be discovered. Back on US soil, it is decided to try and sneak them out, with their only possible option being a heavily guarded airport. And so fake Canadian identities are constructed to allow them to sneak safely onto a passenger jet, under the pretence that they are supposed to be location scouts for a Sci-Fi movie. With silly looking aliens and crack-pot nonsense. Called Argo. And most ridiculous of all – it’s based on a true story. It really did happen.

Knowing this changes your entire perspective – farce is replaced with tension, humour with fear, as the covert mission faces obstruction after obstruction – the structure and production of the final quarter of an hour has got to be one the most well conceived and nail biting experiences I’ve had thanks to cinema in years.

Oscar Hopes

Having already won the “movie cast prize”

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at the SAG, it is clear that Argo has the potential to win big. It really is a staggering film, and few would argue if it ended up getting the Best Picture nod. But. I don’t think it will. It’s nomination categories aren’t across the board, which suggests, and where they exist there are other nominations that seem stronger in each category. The main award looks set to go to Lincoln, and I would even push Silver Linings Playbook ahead in the queue (yes, it really is that good). Elsewhere, the best supporting actor nomination is a damn dense pack of

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leading stars, and there was little truly remarkable about Alan Arkin’s role to suggest the night will be his. Next in line are more technical awards – editing (which I feel Life of Pi must be in with a shout) original music (which is fairly unremarkable, and certainly doesn’t stand out as significant, while up against Skyfall) sound editing and mixing (which equally fail to stand out as significant for Affleck’s film) before finally best Adapted Screenplay. If it has a shout, it could be that – but again, it’s a tough, tough group of nominations, including Life of Pi (filming the impossible) Beasts of the Southern Wild (which is so delightful it makes you want to weep), Lincoln and once again, Silver Linings Playbook. As much as it deserves to do well, I have to say, I don’t think Argo will win anything – despite the fact it is a brilliant piece of cinema.

Review: I Give It A Year



I Give It A Year

Opening with a montage depicting Nat (Rose Byrne) and Josh’s (Rafe Spall) whirlwind romance that climaxes on their wedding day, “I Give It A Year” is the phrase uttered in the aisles by Nat’s sister (Minnie Driver) which gives this let-down its title. It is overtly clear that Nat, a shallow, career-driven bore, and Josh, a slobbish lad and struggling writer, were doomed from the moment Josh’s obnoxious best friend (Stephen Merchant) sidles into wedding proceedings with an untimely dance number and the best man speech from hell. From thereon, I Give It A Year treads the beaten path of the romantic comedy formula except (TWIST!) the story follows their journey to divorce rather than cathartic smooch [in the rain/on a train platform/in the departure lounge].


Working Title Films are a production company famed for defining the British ‘rom-com’ through their relationship with Richard Curtis. The unbridled success of Four Weddings and Funeral, Notting Hill, and Love, Actually catapulted Hugh Grant into super-stardom and forever gave hope to mumbling fools that they could pass off their social ineptitude as kitsch British charm. Surprisingly, given their track record, Working Title’s latest picture, I Give It A Year, offers an antidote to the tyranny of the rom-com with an unlikely bedfellow in Dan Mazer (Ali G, Borat, Bruno) being given free reign to make an attempt at subverting the well-trodden genre. Unfortunately, the lasting impression left by I Give It A Year is that the only thing worse than a formulaic rom-com is a formulaic anti-rom-com.


There are a plethora of problems with I Give It A Year. For a film trying to throw shade on rom-coms, it, bizarrely, ticks all the boxes of the formula admonished by Mazer with the pretence that it is somehow better than the films it pokes fun at. It feels as if I Give It A Year is expecting a pardon from its audience because it makes self-aware nods and winks to the camera about the constraints of the genre but, ultimately, it is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. In the second act, the story splinters as Nat and Josh are conflicted by love interests which threaten their already broken marriage. Nat is pursued relentlessly by the teeth-gratingly suave Guy (Simon Baker), a business contact who makes it clear that he simply must have her, whilst Josh is re-awakened to the existence of his ex-girlfriend Chloe (Anna Faris), a selfless Earth mother type.

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From this point the film plays out like a standard rom-com with the added complication that the focal characters are already in a relationship. The problem this poses, a problem which fundamentally undermines the whole film, is that it is not a particularly endearing proposition to see romance unfold through estrangement and deceit.


There is a lot to be said about the farce behind trying to make characters ‘more likeable’ to an audience but if there were ever a justification for creative meddling then I Give It A Year would be exhibit A. With the exception of the demure Chloe, whom Anna Faris is clearly miscast for, each character is reprehensibly awful and no amount of wise-cracking and in-jokes can save the film from being a disappointment.


Mazer’s rebellion against the genre is a fun concept but it is one that hasn’t translated well onto the screen as flipping the tropes of romantic comedy is, basically, the equivalent of being trapped with an arguing couple falling out of love for and an hour and a half. Despite a few truly funny flashes, the cathartic set-pieces fall some way short of a pay-off that is satisfying. Working Title Films have been unfaithful to the formula that they helped redefine but hopefully Richard Curtis can forgive them for straying with this one.




I Give It A Year is released in the UK on Fri Feb 8th

Nanu’s look ahead at February

Frightened Rabbit

Week Beginning 4th


Tuesday, 18:00-19:00
HMV, Princes Street
Frightened Rabbit
Frightened Rabbit are celebrating the launch of their new album “Pedestrian Verse” with a gig at the HMV on Princes Street. Not only is this a good opportunity to see

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a good band play for free but possibly one of your last chances to see a gig in an HMV.

Wednesday, 15:30 or 18:15
£5.60 (£3.60 Students)
Jiro Dreams of Sushi
Last chance to see this wonderful documentary which sold out when it was screened at the Cameo last month.

Thursday, 18:15
£9.80 (£8.30 Students)
Song For Marion preview plus in person Q&A with Terence Stamp
Because he’s Zod. Kneel before Zod.

Thursday, 21:00-23:
The Stand
£10 (£7/£5 members)
The Thursday Show (Sean Percival and Richard Melvin)
A two hour comedy showcase in The Stand, headlined by Sean Percival and Richard Melvin. Apparently Thursday night is the new Friday, spend it watching this.

Murrayfield Stadium
From £15
Scotland v Italy
Tickets are still available for this Six Nations match and students can get them for half price. It is always a fun atmosphere at Murrayfield and even if Scotland loose there is plenty of beer and hotdogs on sale to enjoy.


Week Beginning 11th

Coming Soon

Week Beginning 18th

Coming Soon

Week Beginning 25th

Coming Soon

Oscar Hopefuls: Paranorman


I”m quite keen on a good animation. As anyone who has met me will attest, I have

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a small fixation with Wall-E, and hold many of its peers in high esteem – few higher than one of my all time favourite films “Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs”. As such, when it comes to animation, I have been around the block. Having only recently caught Paranorman I am happy to say that this surpassed whatever few expectations I had of this. What was a release that slipped past me last year as some loveless film for kids has become my surprise kids film of the year – filling the void left by my disappointed expectations of Brave.

Paranorman echoes much of the knowing humour of CWACOM, and similarly manges to balance it with a cracking, easy to watch masterpiece that kids will enjoy too. The story of Paranorman subverts the traditional children”s narrative while keeping thoughts critical. A child, Norman, is born in a world in which he does not fit. He is peculiar in his difference, and finds that his difference makes him special, but struggles to really his individuality into something positive.

The subversion comes in that his gift is that he can see dead people, sharing a peculiar skill that only his Uncle – a reclusive oddity that is shunned by the rest of the town – dares mention, and in a town built on a history of ghosts and witchcraft. Believing

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him to be deluded, his family hope he will break from his phase, and fail to see the truth that was staring at them all along – just how special he is.

The look of Paranorman is magical – managing to capture something of the ghostly quality of stop motion animation into an aesthetic that looks clean, and crisp – and is put to good use in a distinctive online casinos australia world. Filled with humour, Paranorman manages to amuse horror fans while keeping Kids interested with a tale that is just as dark as they could hope to cope with, while never overstepping or abusing its position. A very intelligent, funny and beautiful film that I would be happy for my kids to fall in love with.

Oscar Hopes

There is only one nomination and that is for Best Animated Feature, alongside Brave, Frankenweenie, Wreck-it Ralph and Aardman”s Pirates!, a collection of films which all have their charms. The category is such an oddity that it seems hard to try to rationalise how any decision can be made – are we looking here for animation and style, or should we be focusing on the best film which happens to be animated? The look and feel of Paranorman is so utterly distinctive that comparison seems impossible, but it certainly surpasses the almost clumsy Pixar offering of Brave, and Burton”s Frankenweenie unfortunately lags behind Paranorman while attempting to do something similar, but with a more tired invention. Wreck-it Ralph, still technically unreleased in Britain, promises to be as equally well written and different which means it may be the biggest competitor, if judged with this kind of criteria – in fact, both attend to fans of different cultures – Wreck-it Ralph indulging the fantasies of avid arcade gamers, while Paranorman is soaked in reference to trashy horror films and other low-art films, it might be worth considering which offends the Academies” sentiments the most! As it is, I would personally love to see Paranorman win, but almost all of the films in this category are equally deserving but for different reasons – but are unfortunately inseparable offerings due to their diversity (bizarre as that sounds). Potentially a very difficult category to predict.

Oscar Hopefuls: Life of Pi


So I have had the utter joy of experiencing both Yann Martel”s novel “Life of Pi” and Ang Lee”s film re-imagining in the space of a month, which means my experiencing of both texts has been intensified – a position in which I imagine many will find themselves. My thoughts as such centre strongly around the idea of the film as an adaptation, rather than as a film in itself – unlike other adaptations, this can hardly be ignored due to the nature of narrative that is central to both texts.

Not wanting to spoil either works, I”ll try and make this pracie spoiler free… Life of Pi follows the remarkable story of an Indian boy, called “Piscine” but nicknamed Pi, born into a family that runs a zoo. Raised against a background of a new, emerging India, Pi struggles as a child of a changing nation, who

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has placed himself within Hindu, Catholic and Muslim belief systems – but enamoured entirely by the notion of God, and his relation to it. However, his more rationalist family finds themselves in financial trouble, and so it is decided that the family is to move to Canada to start a new life. Having to sell their most exotic and most beautiful creatures, the family travel across the Atlantic in a freight vessel to care for the animals – but on the journey, shit happens and then we get the body of the film – so I won”t say any more. Unlike the actual film which played dramatic extracts from the movie on the actual reel – between the BBFC certificate and the start of the film, which was atrocious.

As a film, I think Ang Lee has comfortably accomplished what many saw as the impossible – that is capturing the remarkable and dramatic events of the book on screen. Attempting such a thing before now would have been near implausible given the necessary direction of animals that feature heavily in the text, but now that the technology of CG has advanced, Lee has managed to create a film using what is available to him, but even massaged a remarkable attention to the themes through innovative use of these technologies. This is important, as it is not simply a great story which needs to be told – it is the story of a novelist hearing the story and struggling to find what he needs between the truth and a tale in what he is told. It is this element which helps to lend the work an important edge, as it is here that Life of Pi becomes an allegorical tale that centres around beauty and narrative – which are supposed to engage the viewer with the essence of spirituality. From a personal point of view, this notion of spirituality was weak in the original text, and thankfully this aspect of the work is underplayed in Ang Lee”s adaptation, but Lee has instead held onto the essential question of structure and narrative devices from the book. As far as this transition from page to screen, although there are a number of scenes and chapters missing which I would have liked to have seen included, it is at least unproblematic in this respect. If you haven”t read the book, I doubt you will find much to fault in how the story is told.

As usual for Ang Lee, what makes Life of Pi stand out is the exceptional cinematography which sets this film apart. Rather than linger on the isolation, boredom and survival that bleeds through the ink, Lee”s work is built to be beautiful, enriching the occasionally turgid text far beyond what it had described, and replaces it instead with an epic universe and its beauty. Composition, colours and reflections push the film”s true meaning into the forefront by using devices which are specific to that medium – eschewing a faux-documentary realism which other directors may have been tempted to employ.

However, seeing the film in 2D – but in high quality All of Caesars‘ qualities in Atlantic City are joining with 888 Holdings the Tropicana Resort chose Gamesys Limited the Trump Taj Mahal has an offer with  Ultimate Gaming while its sister-company, the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino  has an offer with Betfair. Imax 4k blah blah – some of the cinematography looked unwieldy. Yes, perhaps it isn”t the ideal way, but one could know exactly what the 3D experience would have been, and it would have been underwhelming, but most importantly it is the 2D version which will be kept and treasured for years to come – and ultimately, I can”t help but feel that the 2D version of the film suffers in an attempt to create a 3D experience.

As a side note, I was appalled to see that the screening I was in had a small insertion of clips from the film prior to the film – between the certificate and the start of the film no less – which was, frankly, utterly abhorrent. I may not be usual in wanting to avoid trailers and want to experience, but surely this must be a trend we have to ask be stopped? For almost all of the films I have actually ventured to a cinema to see, I have been punished and nearly had my experience entirely ruined by some cheap marketing footage pre-empting what is about to be seen – another feature of the cinematic experience which has to be ended if it is to maintain any competition to pirating the films.

Oscar hopes

As far as the impending award season – it”s up for a lot, but has some interesting competition meaning that it will almost certainly win something, but probably not one of the bigger prizes. As far as Best Film goes – I think it will struggle. It”s a long list of nominations, and each are brilliant in their own way, and many of the other films stand on their own as great films far greater than Life of Pi does, in my opinion. This isn”t a film I could watch again any time soon, where as some of the other contenders are fast becoming some of my favourite films of all time. However in the lesser categories there is a greater chance of success, with only the staggering work of Roger Deakins in Skyfall really challenging it for cinematography, and even direction Ang Lee might have a shout – although not necessarily for this film, but as a director in general (as so often becomes the case in the politics of the academy). Editing too is a likely win for Life of Pi, as it is very rare that one notices the editing in any film, and it”s intricate flat layering of material (associated with the 3D) mean so in this it has. This aside, even with 12 nominations, I don”t think it will pick up more than a handful of awards, with more technical elements of the piece really standing out against strong competition.

Oscar Nominations


We are going to be covering the Oscars in full here on Nanu over the next few weeks, including thoughts on all the big categories and an Oscar live blog on the night itself. Here are the big nominations: Best film

  • Amour
  • Argo
  • Beasts Of The Southern Wild
  • Django Unchained
  • Les Miserables
  • Lincoln
  • Life Of Pi
  • Silver Linings Playbook
  • Zero Dark Thirty

Best actress

Best actor

  • Daniel Day Lewis – Lincoln
  • Bradley Cooper – Silver Linings Playbook
  • Hugh Jackman – Les Miserables
  • Joaquin Phoenix – The Master
  • Denzel Washington – Flight

Best director

  • Michael Haneke – Amour
  • Ang Lee – Life of Pi
  • David O Russell – Silver Linings Playbook
  • Steven Spielberg – Lincoln
  • Benh Zeitlin – Beasts of the Southern Wild

Best supporting actor

  • Alan Arkin – Argo
  • Robert De Niro – Silver Linings Playbook
  • Tommy Lee Jones – Lincoln
  • Christoph Waltz – Django Unchained
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman – The Master

Best supporting actress

Best foreign film

  • Amour
  • No
  • War witch
  • A Royal Affair
  • Kon-Tiki


Nanu Lists of the Year: Best Film



To my shame, I've only been to the cinema a handful of times this year, and twice of those were in the IMax. Very few films have been worth the trip unless they are special and deserve to be seen in a cinema, as opposed to in the comfort of my own warm home. Both Skyfall and Batman made me want to and in both there was something to be experienced, and IMax suited them perfectly Both commented in part on something of our culture too – Batman played with notions of revolution and occupy, poverty and injustice (see Zizek), where as Skyfall tangentially discussed the increasing role of the digital in questioning authority and particular hierarchies of power. But both had their faults, and neither managed to capture my attention or do something that really made me think – but the re-release of Star Wars Episode 1 Phantom Menace in 3D really made me… just kidding. The cinematic experience of Beasts of the Southern Wild felt to me like something special. It told a story that hadn't ever been told before – and by many accounts maybe could never have been told before, for a community which is rarely given a voice – and employed magic and invention, over and above big budget action and explosions, in a remarkable way which made going to the cinema so much more essential.
Other Contenders: Cabin In the Woods, We Need To Talk About Kevin, Battleship



Well Bond at 50 is as exciting as Bond has ever been, with Sam Mendes tackling the major characters in a way that hasn't ever been attempted in the on screen franchise. 2012 was a pretty big year for blockbusters with the Avengers tying together marvel films stretching back to Iron Man and blowing every nerds mind and load. I also had my first real IMAX experience with the fun and interesting if a bit early reboot of the Spider-Man series (better than 2001 Spider-Man, not as good as Spider-Man 2 and streets ahead of Spider-Man 3). Sadly I fund Dark Knight Rises dissapointing but after re watching it I realise that maybe its my own high standards for Nolan that let the film down (it is still slow and long). Out of all that however the best film I saw at the cinema this year was Jaws at the Cameo and the best film I saw at the cinema that was released this year was the brilliant Skyfall.

Skyfall Review


Given that I have seen a grand total of five new film releases this year, I am hardly a qualified film buff – but I’ll give it a go. In no particular order, those films were: The Perks of Being a Wallflower (cringe-inducing); Ted (awful); The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! (mildly entertaining); Last Shop Standing (fascinating but far too short documentary on the rise and fall of the UK’s record shops) and, my film of the year choice: Skyfall. Nanu contributors, including myself, gave Skyfall the once over here: and all I said there still stands.

Importantly, however, I’m still interested. In mid-December, months after its release, I found myself trawling the internet for interviews with the film’s stars and creators, desperate to find out more about their characters and the ideas behind the plot development. This desire for a fuller understanding and an even greater depth of character knowledge speaks wonders about how Skyfall truly is a departure from Bond films of the past – there’s a lot more to modern Bond than misogyny and gadgets.

(And, let’s be honest, I still can’t get the wonderfully homoerotic scene between Bond and Javier Bardem’s villain, Silva, out of my head…)


Moonrise Kingdom or Looper


This year has been unexpectedly good for Hollywood. With blockbusters like The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises and Skyfall being particular highlights of quality as well as the usual popcorn fair. Many of the films at the Edinburgh International Film Festival were also noteworthy. MNL 143 was my personal highlight from the EIFF. However my choice was made for me in February with the release of Cabin in the Woods. Not being the biggest horror fan in the world I was not expecting to enjoy this meta-horror, but Drew Goddard surprised with help from nerd god Joss Whedon. It was my love for Whedon's television work that drew me to this film but everything about this was cinematic while still very much keeping the charm of that previous work. Wanting to buy a ticket to see the film again as soon as you have left the screen is a rare feeling.


There has to be something pretty special about a film for it to warrant me paying to see it twice at the cinema. I am a student, after all. I first saw Bart Layton’s stranger than fiction (cliché, but true) documentary, ‘The Imposter’ at its UK premier at this year’s Edinburgh Film Festival. After allowing myself to mull over what

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I had seen for a couple of months, I just had to go and see it again on its general release.


The film is one part documentary, one part intense thriller, although at times it is hard to believe that there is any trace of reality in it whatsoever. The film documents the strange case of the disappearance of a 13 year old boy in his hometown of San Antonio, Texas. Three and a half years later the missing boy’s family receive a phone call to say that their missing son has been found…in Spain. Overjoyed to have found their missing child, the family welcome their son home with open arms. However, there is something strange about their newly-returned son, not least that his eye and hair colour have miraculously changed and that he now speaks with a French accent. Their son is not the sixteen year old boy they believe him to be, but Frédéric Bourdin, a twenty three year old French con-artist. Bourdin manages to fool not only the boy’s own family, but US officials and police in both the US and in Spain.

An incredible story wonderfully shot, The Imposter was my cinema highlight of 2012


CFAC – Day 26: It’s Finally Fucking Over/I’m Too Drunk and Full of Food To Move.

Nanu Advent Day Boxing Day

After a glorious day, and an even more delightful month, boxing day has returned. This is the only hangover no one complains about – except for those unhappy that Christmas is over. Now perhaps you have to indulge some extraneous family – and for some this becomes a war of attrition. Whether you are at home, and hoping to catch a classic, or want something to reflect your inner experience, my recommendation for today is…



The Great Escape (1963)

John Sturges, 172 mins

This is the pinnacle of bank holiday movies. Steve McQueen (not that Steve McQueen, this Steve McQueen) leads the resistance in a prisoner of war camp. If you are a Brit you know this film like the back of your hand. Oh god, the end. I’ve just remembered the ending. But my, isn’t this a long one add in the inevitable adverts and you’ll need to plan for a day’s inactivity!

If this isn’t on – which rumours suggest it isn’t – then maybe try to hunt down…

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17 (1953)

Billy Wilder, 120 mins

Less of a classic this side of the Atlantic, the american Prisoner of War equivalent is a story

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that has christmas and war at its centre. Subterfuge and espionage add tension to the film in an enjoyable war film.


Alternative to this, stick on whatever Santa left in your stocking. There are no fucking rules any more, why are you even here? Go Fucking Home! Stop reading this right now – if you are reading this then you are to blame. I’m not even writing this – I wrote this weeks ago and set it to auto-publish on boxing day, so you are doing yourself no favours by reading this.

Seriously, fuck the fuck off and go and enjoy your family. Jesus (literally).

CFAC – Day 25: Christmas Day

Nanu Advent Day Christmas Day

Merry Christmas one and all!

You”ve made it here at last. Have you opened your presents yet? Has santa been? are you at home? are you sitting comfortably? Are you drunk? Tired? Full? Drowsy?


I DONT CARE. The doctor prescribes this…



It”s A Wonderful Life (1946)


Frank Capra, 130 mins

There is no two ways about it, this is the film to end all Christmas films, with James Stewart taking the lead as our suicidal protagonist. It”s a long, dark, bleak film and I make no apologies for this – nothing will make you feel better about yourself and every gluttonous sin you have achieved today alone than watching this film. More to the point, many of you reading this no doubt will not have seen this masterpiece, and would have instead watched some other buntless brokenfist of a film (n.b. these are not real words so don”t look em up). This is a great film that is a classic for good reason, and like Cassablanca and those that meet similar fates, deserve your time at least this once, and then again every year. Please watch this film, and bring you family round the screen to share in the glory that is It”s a wonderful life


But if you can”t do that for some reason, then I have begrudgingly permitted an alternative film for today which is…



Shrek The Halls (2007)


Gary Trousdale, 21 mins

If you aren”t going to watch it”s a wonderful life, then you want something so totally the other side of things and Shrek the halls is this. Where It”s a wonderful life has good performances, this has Eddie Murphy playing a donkey. I like Eddie Murphy, but this isn”t Eddie Murphy. This is a fucking Donkey. It isn”t a good film at all so I may as well have said “There online casino is no alternative film” today – I”ve made this alternative film so god damn awful that it is not an option. You have to watch It”s a wonderful life? okay? How dare you enjoy yourself n christmas day when one of themost beautiful and depressing films is playing in ther other room. And no, this does not allow your children to watch something other than it”s a wonderful life – i”ve even taken away the dvd from the box so there is only one film to watch.

Trust me on this, if you”ve never put yourself through it, go and fucking do this now.

Okay if you really do want to watch an alternative, I will only recommend this once – it”s another black and white film (hear me out) and it”s called “The Shop Round the Corner”. Don”t google it, don”t look it up – just find a copy and watch it. No peaking.

CFAC – Day 24: Christmas Carol

Nanu Advent Day 24

(sings) Christmas Eve, Christmas Eve, Christmas All The Way! Oh What fuan.. meh.. blin blurgh to.. a…. on a CHRISTMAS CHRISTMAS DAY HEY!(ends signs)   We’ve finally done it – we are here, the end of this turmoil and heartache – Christmas is here to stay (for the next 48 hours at least). Relief spreads across your chin like the nutella from a knife you secretly licked and forgot to check in the mirror. There’s nothing left to do, except eat, drink and be merry. Classic Christmas begins here – and with that comes the last mention of Dickens… I promise.  

Christmas Carol (?)

When I decided this would be the day for watching a Christmas Carol properly, I could imagine how many – but perhaps I did not envisage how many would be contenders for the crown of the best adaptation. Do you choose the Patrick Stewart version in the made for TV wonder, or perhaps let Mickey and pals shore up your xmas eve?

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Some of you may even prefer to give Jim Carrey his due for the recent animation hybrid Christmas Carol thing or else have a punt with a more recent Disney animation with Simon Callow and Kate Winslet which can’t be that bad. Kelsey Grammar even gave it a punt. Regardless of which you choose, please tell me you will watch one – and I think I’m going to stick my neck out and recommend you watch… this one, from 1951 with Alistair Sim, because it’s dark. Fucking hell there is even a Henry Winkler one. AND one with William Shatner in it, with co-star Gary Coleman as a spirit and all. Christ alive, you have so much choice!   But let’s suppose for a second that you don’t want to watch a Christmas Carol. Then why not check out our alternative Christmas film for today which is…    

Blackadder’s Christmas Carol (1988)

  Richard Boden, 43 mins Listen, you are watching some version of A Christmas Carol tonight if it’s the last thing I fucking do. And as you’ve already seen the Muppets earlier in the month (and even if you missed our original post no one can last this long without seeing it, surely?) then you may as well watch something equally joyous and brilliant. Blackadder it is then. Rowan Atkinson’s character sits perfectly into this Dickensian world, and suitably sends up the story while at the same time adhering to it’s principles, of a man without Christmas in his heart in a world that demands it. Curtis and Elton make this script something to be adored, and a real treasure for those who throughout the year endlessly watched repeats of the four short series of the show.   Although that Henry Winkler version does sound tempting..

Mike Nisbet In Session

Mike Nisbet

Last Wednesday, we welcomed Mike Nisbet, a bluesy singer-songwriter from Oban whose performances draw “Dylanesque” comparisons. After spending over a year living between London and Glasgow, sings about life on the road and feeling as though he has no home to return to. Mike played three songs for us including the brand new track “Travelling Blues” which will feature on his upcoming second album that he is hoping to release by the end of 2013. Plus there is some good chat about his thoughts on performing, song-writing, plus a new idea for a guerilla art installation.

Keep an eye on Mike”s website, Twitter, and Facebook for more news about upcoming gigs and album recording efforts.

casino jameshallison 4px; color:#02a0c7; width:472px;”>In Session – Mike Nisbet by Radioblagger on Mixcloud


1. Not Long (Live for In Session)

2. Colorado Girl (Live for In Session)

3. Travelling Blues (Live for In Session)

In Session broadcasts live on every Saturday from 6-7pm featuring a plethora of the hottest new music from the Scottish scene, a roundup of recent and upcoming gigs, and, of course, a guest performing live in the studio.

Follow In Session on Twitter

Like In Session on Facebook

Download our free/charity mixtapes which compile every artist featured on In Session 2011 and 2012 here –

Review: Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse

Frightened Rabbit

Pedestrian Verse cover “There is light but there’s a tunnel to crawl through” In an interview with Lily and me for In Session in August last year, Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison explained that ‘Pedestrian Verse’, the band’s fourth studio album, was going to be a necessary step out of his comfort zone. This was not because the band were partnering with Atlantic Records, their first major label, having called time on an illustrious relationship with Fat Cat Records which spawned three records, including the sublime ode to

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embittered lovers ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’. No, Pedestrian Verse marks the evolution of Frightened Rabbit, the band, as Scott relinquishes his monopoly over songwriting to produce a more collaborative record. “With the last one,” he told In Session (the interview in full can be found here), “I started to get bored of my own habits in writing.” Scott referred, by “the last one” to the warmly received 2010 release ‘The Winter of Mixed Drinks’. “In opening the writing up – not the lyrics, the music – to the rest of the band, it’s a lot more interesting and you can hear everyone else’s input. It’s a lot less my project and more of a band now really.” Pedestrian Verse certainly sounds like a Frightened Rabbit album only… different. The great appeal of Scott’s songwriting remains omnipresent and, like Midnight Organ Fight and The Winter of Mixed Drinks, the band continues to marry, to quote Scott, “uncomplicated music with reasonably complicated themes” and “weird, twisted lyrics to what is essentially a pop song”. Fundamentally, the band’s affinity with musical juxtaposition remains in songs like Backyard Skulls, an anthemic ditty about macabre suburban secrets sung over an exuberant backing track. However, Pedestrian Verse truly reflects the band maturing in their sound, moving towards a richer, symphonic arrangement which one assumes has been brought forth through a combination of the new collaborative songwriting process and major label influence. Frightened Rabbit’s musical arrangements now experiment with pacing, tone and a touch of reverb. Pedestrian Verse sheds the folk influences from their sound and eases towards gloomy anthemic rock songs. That is not to say that they are on their way to standing alongside The Twilight Sad in that respect, far from it. At a stretch, you can hear echoes of Interpol lurking in the chorus of the devastatingly bleak ‘December Traditions’ as Scott refrains: “It’s not the answer, I’m just begging to be told/ What do you need, what do you need from me?” December Traditions best demonstrates the pacing at play, as the backing drums and guitars hold the line throughout Scott’s lonely lament, before staggering out in defiance: “Love’s labour stains a linen sheet/ The ghostly body who makes his bed beside you/ Is slowly losing teeth”, Scott sings. The changes are numerous yet subtle, but they reveal themselves quite clearly when held up to the light of the band’s previous offerings. Production values have noticeably increased, naturally. Stand-out songs The Woodpile and State Hospital sound slicker, grander, with an almost cinematic quality behind them that drives lyrics through your chest as the songs unfold with orchestral flourishes. I can’t help but think songs like those and the extraordinarily blunt album closer Oil Slick (blunt even by Scott’s standards) would have lost their impact if they had come during The Winter of Mixed Drinks, where the poppy backing got out of hand. The pacing is very deliberate on Pedestrian Verse and the instrumentals are now over their identity crisis; the band saves the raucous energy, using it only when necessary, in favour of a more reserved slow build that champions the band as whole. Pedestrian Verse is an album of songs that beg to be sung on the grandest stage. It signals a triumphant return to the dizzy heights they set themselves with The Midnight Organ Fight. Good to have you back, boys. originally posted on

Martin Livingstone In Session

Martin Livingstone In Session

Last weekend we welcomed Martin Livingstone of The Changes into the studio to sing us a few songs which will soothe the ears of fans of Oasis, Ian Brown and Ocean Colour Scene as well as telling us a few tales amassed from over a decade of experience in the music industry.

Martin Livingstone”s next live appearance in Edinburgh will be at the Wee Red Bar on April 19th for a charity event.

You can keep track of Martin on his personal website online casino or by following his band The Changes via or their Facebook page.


In Session – Martin Livingstone by Radioblagger on Mixcloud



1. Time To Deliver (Live for In Session)

2. Dream Until The Sun Goes Down(Live for In Session)

3. Smile Again (Live for In Session)

4. Quickbeam – Seven Hundred Birds


In Session broadcasts live on every Saturday from 6-7pm featuring a plethora of the hottest new music from the Scottish scene, a roundup of recent and upcoming gigs, and, of course, a guest performing live in the studio.

Follow In Session on Twitter

Like In Session on Facebook

Download our free/charity mixtapes which compile every artist featured on In Session 2011 and 2012 here –

Nanu Spotify Playlist: International Women's Day


To accompany International Women”s Day today, Elyse has compiled a bumper six hour, all-female playlist for you to enjoy. There”s a bit of everything – from hip hop to riot grrrl, electro to pop.

Have we missed your favourite fierce and empowering

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Limbo at The Voodoo Rooms (Saturday 9th March)

conquering animal sound

Saturday sees the return to Edinburgh of Conquering Animal Sound who are launching their new album On Floating Bodies marking their first full length release on Glasgow’s Chemikal Underground Records. Thus far we’ve heard “The Future Does Not Require”, a track that loops and meanders through similar ground as their Scottish Album of the Year nominated debut Kammerspiel and the equally brooding and uplifting “Ultimate Heat Death of the Universe”. The latter is much more immediate than anything previously released by the duo, it is however no retreat from the layered and complex style that made their previous album so intriguing but rather it brings their genius to the fore. Their live performances allow a brief insight to how these textures and hooks are crafted together which makes them all the more immersive. Curated by Edinburgh live music staples Limbo at the city centre’s Voodoo Rooms with Perth”s Puma Jaw and rising Edinburgh electronic soloist Plum completing the line up it’s Accreditedthe idea that you need a productto achieve a healthy liver. a bargain at £7. Listen to Ultimate Heat Death of the Universe below and click here to for ticket pre-sales.

Fake Major In Session

Fake Major In Session

In late February, David McGinty and Richard Ferguson, formerly of In Session favourites Endor, popped into the studio with Lily and me ahead of their third ever

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gig in their new pairing as self-proclaimed four-armed singer-songwriter “Fake Major”. As well as performing three new songs, we discussed what drove Endor apart, what makes them a good pairing, and managed to reveal the details of their debut EP due for release on Comets and Cartwheels in April.

Fake Major”s next appearance in Edinburgh will be in support of Panda Su at Electric Circus on April 5th. Advance tickets are on sale Slot Machines now – link.

You can keep track of Fake Major on Twitter, Facebook, and their website.


In Session – Fake Major by Radioblagger on Mixcloud



1. Little Researcher (Live for In Session)

2. Camera (Live for In Session)

3. Fiction (Live for In Session)


In Session broadcasts live on every Saturday from 6-7pm featuring a plethora of the hottest new music from the Scottish scene, a roundup of recent and upcoming gigs, and, of course, a guest performing live in the studio.

Follow In Session on Twitter

Like In Session on Facebook

Album Show 17th February: Lana Del Ray and Wilco

Album Show Wilco

The Album Show

17th February by Nanu Nanu on Mixcloud

Tedx University of Edinburgh: Dee Isaacs Interview


Tedx University of Edinburgh is a series of talks taking place today at 2pm in Teviot. The topic up for discussion is “Global Challenges Grounded Solutions” and the speakers range in disciplines from law to inorganic chemistry to music.

The tickets sold out in less than 15 minutes but there are a few other ways you

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can watch the event. For more information check out the Facebook event here. You can also watch live from home on the Tedx website right here.

Elyse caught up with Dee Isaacs ahead of her presentation. Check out her interview below. We will be discussing the even on Nanu Live this weekend.


Dee’s latest project is the Conference of the Birds at the Botanic Gardens from 6-9th March at 7pm.

In Session’s Series Two Mixtape

In Session 500x333

Around this time last year, we released a charity compilation under the title of In Session’s Series One Mixtape. We had had a stormer of a rookie year in 2011, achieving far more than we thought possible for people with little to no contacts in a Scottish music scene that was showing signs of the revival it seems to experience every five or so years. Having gained so much from that experience, I thought it would be a nice thing to release a free mixtape for the benefit of the fans that had encouraged us and the fantastic musicians that had so generously offered their time to the show. At the time of release, there was some uncertainty as to whether we could continue to produce a show that may have fluked a decent first series. The thought of there being a series two mixtape was somewhat fanciful and, if so, who we would have on it would take some effort to match the first one. But here we are. I have written this little preamble to the main event as we, Lily and I at In Session, are in very much a similar position as to where we were last year. We have, again, surprised ourselves with what we have achieved in the last twelve months; and I must stress that ‘achieved’ is used liberally as essentially we just pestered our favourite bands enough and not too much until they agreed to have a chinwag and play some songs for us. What is different this year is that we are comfortable with the uncertainty that paves the future of the show. An in-joke Lily and I shared at the end of series one was that the ultimate aim of the show, a show that showcases Scottish music, would be to welcome Frightened Rabbit in session. Well we did that; so we had to reassess. There are no targets anymore, only people whose music we love

and whose brains we want to pick between songs like Sylar in his pomp. Scottish music is as rich and exciting as it has been for some time and I consider myself fortunate to be entrenched in that environment as a small platform for some terrific people to people showcase their talents. So, to everyone who has supported us by performing, listening, or saving the show when my technical guesswork doesn’t quite work for some reason, thank you. Now that the sop out of the way, we are immensely proud to present to you In Session’s Series Two Mixtape! Like the first mixtape, this is a completely free compilation for you to savour but there is the added option there for you to contribute some money that will all go towards the charity Shelter which would be greatly appreciated. Whatever you choose to pay, you will find the same 24 songs on the mixtape, a selection whittled down from a possible 40 with the self-imposed rule of there being no more than two songs per artist. Every artist that performed a song either in the studio or on location is featured in the compilation and I do believe that what we have ended up with is a bit of a belter. Tracklisting:

1. Michael Cassidy – 15 Years 03:29 2. Blue Sky Archives – Bitches 03:41 3. Dead Sea Souls – Charlie Brown (Coldplay cover) 02:40 4. Seafieldroad – Circle The Wagons 03:14 5. Blue Sky Archives – Dear Middle-Aged Ponytail 04:06 6. Quickbeam – Empty Space 02:46 7. Meursault – Fib 02:58 8. Seafieldroad – Findhorn 03:08 9. Zed Penguin – Heathens 02:29 10. Trapped Mice – I Don’t Want To Get Over You (The Magnetic Fields cover) 01:41 11. Loch Awe – I Will Drift Into 10,000 Streams 05:20 12. Kaiho – If Jesus Was My Swimming Instructor 02:50 13. Loch Awe – Little Tricks 04:12 14. Dead Sea Souls – New Vibe 03:08 15. Trapped Mice – Night of Broken Glass 04:37 16. Meursault – Pretty Good Day (Loudon Wainwright III cover) 03:50 17. People, Places, Maps – Sarah’s Song 03:11 18. Frightened Rabbit – State Hospital 03:54 19. Kaiho – The Knife (Grizzly Bear cover) 02:51 20. Frightened Rabbit – The Modern Leper 03:38 21. Sebastian Dangerfield – The Sycamore Tree 04:09 22. Zed Penguin – This Town 04:04 23. Michael Cassidy – Tonight You Belong To Me 01:10 24. Sebastian Dangerfield – untitled 03:46

You can download In Session’s Series Two Mixtape right now from   I was a bit flabbergasted whilst putting this together to see that we have recorded nearly five hours of session songs…. five hours! I’m not sure what we will do with the spare tracks yet but they are all available from the podcasts on our Mixcloud. Meanwhile, we’re already putting together the Series Three Mixtape following sessions with Simon Herron, Adam Stafford, Hiva Oa, and End of Neil. We’re going to keep pestering the people we love and we’re going to keep doing this for as long as we can. It’s bloody fun! Please follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook for more regular updates as we’d be the first to admit that we are not the most reliable bloggers.   In Session broadcasts live on every Saturday from 6-7pm featuring a plethora of the hottest new music from the Scottish scene, a roundup of recent and upcoming gigs, and, of course, a guest performing live in the studio.

Three Playlists for Valentines Day

Nanu Nanu Loves You

Here at Nanu we love to help you in all aspects of your cultural life. Today is Valentines Day and that all important mood isn’t going to be set by the bunch of Tesco’s flowers and ready meal you bought on your way home, but fear not Nanu is here. We have

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three playlists for three stages of the evening. Enjoy.

Gentle Loving

Sexy Shuffle

Romance Is Dead

Nanu Maps: Vintage

vintage image

No matter how much purse strings tighten, vintage boutiques in Edinburgh are bustling. Vintage shopping allows the buyer to invest in classic, one-off items that will be worn over and over again; completely in opposition to the vacuous world of fast fashion.

Spread all over the Capital, vintage shops are a bit difficult to find if you don’t already know where they are; this only makes the discovery of a fantastic vintage piece even more satisfying. Vintage is the alternative way to shop and with bargains around every corner, it’s hard not to see the appeal.

The best places in Edinburgh to search for something unique, wearable and affordable (not to mention distinctly stylish) are mapped by Ellie and Elyse in the first edition of Nanu Maps.

View Nanu Maps: Vintage in a larger map

Those Were the Days Vintage

St Stephen Street

Situated in a surprisingly light and airy Stockbridge basement, TWTDV is a luxury, high-end vintage boutique. Each item is meticulously looked after – covers ensure beautiful beaded dresses remain in their best condition, while their extensive bridalwear collection is available to view up close by appointment only. As well as a fantastic selection of dresses and women’s tops, TWTDV stands out in terms of their accessories. Vintage handbags, which can often look worn, are pristine, and there is a wide range of jewellery – including the star attraction, pairs of Chanel earrings. A gem in Edinburgh’s vintage crown.

Chic and Unique Jewellery

Deanhaugh Street

Another high-end Stockbridge store, Chic and Unique has some stunning piece of vintage sparkle. Time periods from the 1900s to the 1980s are covered – and from regal jewelled brooches to fifties Bakelite plastic designs, you’re sure to find a special piece here. Each cabinet contains notecards, explaining the history of the designer, its consumers, and when the style reached the height of its popularity. This is a lovely touch, and exemplifies how much care has gone into finding jewellery for the shop . For something a bit more fun, Chic and Unique carries a beautiful selection of masquerade eyepieces – setting the tone of the shop perfectly.


Grassmarket; Teviot Place; Clerk Street

Armstrong’s is probably Edinburgh’s most famous vintage shop, having been established in 1840. A word of advice: for a first time vintage shopper, the enormous selection in their Grassmarket store could be a little overwhelming, so it wouldn’t be unreasonable to suggest having a look at one of their smaller shops first! In all three stores, retro inspired pieces sit alongside truly vintage items from every era. Dresses, kilts, coats and shoes are in ready supply, but it’s really their selection of cashmere that stands out, a wonderful pastel rainbow of jumpers and cardigans. Armstrong’s is the original place to go vintage in Edinburgh, and it remains one of the best.

Herman Brown

West Port

Herman Brown has the look and feel of a boutique. Its pieces are kept in excellent condition, from their 1980s t-shirts and sweaters to more luxurious eveningwear, resplendent with sequins. Their menswear collection is also kept in good shape, with cosy lumberjack shirts and denim jackets – often forgotten about in the world of vintage. As well as this, Herman Brown also places a lot of focus in their accessory collections. Clearly this is paying off, as their selection of clutch bags and vintage hats is the perfect accompaniment to their well-chosen clothing range.


Nicholson Street and Stockbridge

Dispelling the image of the traditional charity shop, Barnardo”s dedicates significant shop space to genuine, quality vintage clothing; the recent revamp of the Nicholson Street branch includes a casino online gorgeous window display of some of the best pieces. The vintage section of the shops boasts everything from 60s dresses, sequinned tops, velvet jackets and woolly cardis, the odd vintage dress pattern and curios. Barnardo”s has mastered the art of not looking like a charity shop which makes your good deed of the day feel even better.


Bread Street

This wee shop is an unimposing vintage boutique, close to Edinburgh College of Art. Neatly laid out pieces and welcoming staff create a comfortable and pleasant shopping environment. Garments ranging from the genuinely vintage to retro pieces are well priced and if you”re looking for something special, the shop assistant will be able to help you. A well stocked vintage men”s section towards the back of the shop with pristine shirts and woolly jumpers is one of the biggest draws for stylish boys and androgynous girls.



Striving against “the soul sucking monotony of fast food fashion” Godiva is an independent fashion boutique dedicated to producing, reworking and sharing unique clothing for men and women. Located far away from the high street, Godiva is aimed at the discerning fashionista, searching for one off, quality items. The boutique keeps the inviting feel of a vintage shop with suitcases to rummage through and a section of classic vintage-wear towards the back of the shop. However, it is the creative design aspect of Godiva which really makes it stand out from the crowd.

The Frayed Hem

Cockburn Street

One of the new kids on the block, the Frayed Hem hasn”t been open for too long but fits in well to Edinburgh”s vintage fashion scene. A good mix of vintage, retro and restored items are handpicked and lovingly cared for by knowledgeable staff. The walls are decorated with everything from winter coats and jumpers to kitsch brooches and handbags. A good selection of men”s tweed jackets and waistcoats keep the boys entertained, while stylish ladies peer over the cashier”s desk to examine a lovely selection of jewellery.