Film preview: The Stone Roses -
Made of Stone

Published by Metro

Thursday 30 May, cinemas nationwide www.thestoneroses.org

VIDEO: The Stone Roses: Made of Stone - UK trailer

All Stone Roses fans will remember where they were on 18th October 2011, when band members Ian Brown, John Squire, Mani and Reni announced not only their reunion, but a world tour starting with two – becoming three – dates in Manchester (where else?), and their intentions to record a new album.

Unexpected was the return of these semi-retired indie legends, who had barely been on speaking terms with one another since their acrimonious split in 1996. Large swathes of the British music press raised a collective eyebrow, and hits such as I Am the Resurrection, Fools Gold and She Bangs the Drums – featuring the group’s trademark blend of psychedelic pop, dance-rock and funky basslines – once again rang out from pub jukeboxes nationwide.

And… ACTION. Acclaimed filmmaker Shane Meadows captured the newly reformed four-piece in their everyday lives as they rehearsed for their first comeback performance – in front of a 220,000-strong crowd at Manchester’s Heaton Park. Stone Roses: Made of Stone is the definitive account of one of the most influential bands of the past 25 years.

Insightful, emotional and amusing, it illuminates the personalities and friendships within this charismatic quartet, and incorporates the personal experiences of many who were touched by their music.

Tonight, the much-anticipated film is broadcast live across 100 cinemas in the UK, and will be followed by a satellite-linked Q&A session with Meadows and special guests.

Tickets for the Manchester premiere of the flick sold out faster than it took you to brush your teeth this morning (about 60 seconds), so you’ll just have to beg, steal or borrow if you have trouble snapping yours up – or else miss out on one of the cinematic events of the year.


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Dance preview: Scottish Ballet:
Matthew Bourne's Highland Fling
@ Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

Published by Metro

22-25 May 2013, 7.30pm (Matinees Thu 23 & Sat 25 2pm), £12.50-£42.50, Tel: 0131 529 6000 www.edtheatres.com

Matthew Bourne is to contemporary dance what Steven Spielberg is to film, what Lionel Messi is to football, or what Ben Fogle is to being Ben Fogle.

The multi-award-winning choreographer has changed the landscape of a traditionally elitist art form – capturing the imagination of a mainstream audience with a collection of enchanting and accessible pieces, including Mary Poppins, Edward Scissorhands and Swan Lake.

This run of Highland Fling, originally produced in 1994, marks the first time Bourne has allowed a company other than his own to perform one of his full-length works. And it’s fitting that Scottish Ballet be permitted to take on this particular gem, given its Glasgow setting.

A wonderfully imaginative twist on La Sylphide, one of the world’s oldest romantic ballets, Highland Fling follows the antics of James – a young Scot with sex, love and rock n roll on his mind.

Recently married to his beloved Effie, James’s addiction to excess finds him in the presence of a beguiling gothic fairy, his love for whom becomes a dangerous obsession. As he embarks on a fateful journey through Glasgow’s meanest streets and nightclubs, James is led into a magical world beyond reality and reason.

Scottish Ballet continues to break new ground by introducing innovative modern works alongside its vast classical repertoire, and this bedazzling show perfectly complements Edinburgh’s own beauty and elegance.


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Music preview: Trembling Bells @
Nice N Sleazy, Glasgow

Published by Metro

Friday 17 May, 8pm, £7, Nice N Sleazy, Glasgow.
Tel: 0141 333 0900. www.nicensleazy.com

VIDEO: Trembling Bells - Goathland
(live at Hyde Park Picture House, Leeds)

Since they formed five years ago, Trembling Bells’ Celtic-edged folk-rock, catchy choruses and colourful harmonies have reverberated around the UK.

In July, the Glasgow-based quartet head south of the border for an extensive tour with Mike Heron, once of 1960s psychedelic legends the Incredible String Band, but before all that comes a very special and surprisingly rare gig in their beloved Weeg.

“We’ve been steadily building a following around the UK since we first got together, but haven’t really played too much in our home city,” said the band’s founding member, drummer Alex Neilson.

“We’re very excited to be performing at Nice N Sleazy, which is such a Glasgow institution.”

Indeed, the Sauchiehall Street venue has emerged as more than just a preserve for ubiquitous drainpiped hipsters – these days you might spot the guys from Mogwai or Arab Strap darkening its doorways.

Trembling Bells take to the stage off the back of last year’s release of their fourth studio album Marble Downs, a critically acclaimed joint effort with American singer-songwriter Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy.

Himself a musician who has a history of free and improvised sessions with several artists, Neilson revealed that tomorrow night’s performance will provide more of the same as the band invite their friends to join in the show on different instruments, and expand into a six-piece.

Support comes from two other Glasgow favourites – post-punk outfit The Rosy Crucifixion and Muscles of Joy, an all-female art-rock seven-piece.

“I requested these acts be on the bill as a mark of the eclectic and high-quality music this city has to offer,” said Neilson.

“It will be a night of local talent of international quality.”

Have you anything planned for Friday night yet? You do now.


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Music preview: eagleowl @ Pleasance Theatre, Edinburgh and the Glad Café, Glasgow

Published by Metro

Friday 10 May, 8pm, £7, Pleasance Theatre, Edinburgh. Tel: 0131 556 6550

Sunday 12 May, 8pm, £6, Glad Café, Glasgow.
Tel: 0141 636 6119

VIDEO: eagleowl – Into the Fold (2009 live session)

It’s taken eagleowl eight years to release their debut album. Eight years. That’s 416 weeks, almost 3000 days, or… like, loads of hours.

Describing themselves as a 'lethargic pop band', the two-come-six-piece got together way back in 2005 – the same year Liverpool won the Champions League, George W Bush began a second term as President of the United States, and the British economy was apparently booming.

So yes, this weekend’s launch of This Silent Year has been a long time coming.

Flying their flag somewhere between alternative rock, post-folk and shoegaze, eagleowl’s music is a warm glow of whispered harmonies and tender strings – a fusion of guitar, violin, cello, double-bass, organ, harmonium and percussion, riddled with imagery and melancholy. The sound is inherently Scottish, the emotion universal.

"A lot of the songs from the record have worked their way into our live set in the past year or so, but this is the first time we’ll be playing the whole thing," said the group’s guitarist, vocalist and founding member Bartholomew Owl.

"The diversity of both venues – Edinburgh’s Pleasance Theatre and the lovely little Glad Café in Glasgow – will mean each gig has a different feel. We’re really excited."

Whichever side of the M8 you call home, you simply can’t afford to miss this promising young outfit strutting their stuff in these two very special performances.


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25 Great Lines from Infinite Jest

Published by Sabotage Times

David Foster Wallace's 1996 novel Infinite Jest is the most challenging book I've ever read. Its plot is complex – touching on subjects such as sports culture, substance rehabilitation centres, depression, child abuse, family relationships, film theory, Quebec separatism and popular entertainment, and shifting between the experiences of a few dozen characters across different periods of time. It is printed in very fine text, which runs right into the far corners of its 1,079 pages, and has footnotes – which have footnotes.

Yet it glows with the most beautiful sentences and paragraphs.

Infinite Jest (the clue's in the title) took me the best part of a year to get through – one-third the length of time it apparently took its author to write. Here are its highlights, which you can enjoy in just a few minutes.


If, by the virtue of charity of the circumstance of desperation, you ever chance to spend a little time around a Substance-recovery halfway facility like Enfield MA’s state-funded Ennet House, you will acquire many exotic new facts. You will find out…

That chronic alcoholics’ hearts are – for reasons no M.D. has been able to explain – swollen to nearly twice the size of civilians’ human hearts, and they never again return to normal size. That there’s a certain type of person who carries a picture of their therapist in their wallet. That black and Hispanic people can be as big or bigger racists than white people, and then can get even more hostile and unpleasant when this realization seems to surprise you. That some people really do look like rodents. That certain persons simply will not like you no matter what you do. That over 50% of persons with a Substance addiction suffer from some other recognized form of psychiatric disorder, too. That purposeful sleep-deprivation can also be an abusable escape. That you do not have to like a person in order to learn from him/her/it. That loneliness is not a function of solitude. That it is possible to get so angry you really do see everything red. That evil people never believe they are evil, but rather that everyone else is evil. That it is statistically easier for low-IQ people to kick an addiction than it is for high-IQ people. That sometimes human beings have to just sit in one place and, like, hurt. That there is such a thing as raw, unalloyed, agendaless kindness. That cats will in fact get violent diarrhoea if you feed them milk, contrary to the popular image of cats and milk. That it is simply more pleasant to be happy than to be pissed off. That pretty much everybody masturbates. That different people have radically different ideas of basic personal hygiene. That, perversely, it is often more fun to want something than to have it. That having sex with someone you do not care for feels lonelier than not having sex in the first place, afterward. That God might regard the issue of whether you believe there’s a God or not as fairly low on his/her/its list of things if s/he/it’s interested in re you.

- pp. 200–205


An alcohol hangover was definitely no frolic in the psychic glade, all thirsty and sick and your eyes bulging and receding with your pulse, but after a night of involved hallucinogens Hal said the dawn seemed to confer on his psyche a kind of pale sweet aura, a luminescence.

- p. 218


Though Schacht buys quarterly urine like the rest of them, it seems to Pemulis that Schacht ingests the occasional chemical that way grownups who sometimes forget to finish their cocktails drink liquor: to make a tense but fundamentally OK interior life interestingly different but no more.

- p. 267


Schacht was just looping the d in mail fraud when Jim Troeltsch’s pseudo-radio program, backed by its eustacian-crumpling operatic soundtrack, came over 112 West House’s E.T.A.-intercom speaker up over the classroom clock.

- p. 308


Pemulis’s face is the face of a man who will someday need blood pressure medication.

- p. 333


F.F. had taken Gately out for eye-rattling amounts of coffee, after the incident with the table and the head. He’d listened with the slight boredom of detached Identification to Gately’s complaint that there was no way something he didn’t understand enough to even start to believe in was seriously going to be interested in helping save his ass, even if He/She/It did in some sense exist.

- p. 468


… Lucien finally dies, rather a while after he’s quit shuddering like a clubbed muskie and seemed to them to die, as he finally sheds his body’s suit, Lucien finds his gut and throat again and newly whole, clean and unimpeded, and is free, catapulted home over fans and the Convexity’s glass palisades at desperate speeds, soaring north, sounding a bell-clear and nearly maternal alarmed call-to-arms in all the world’s well-known tongues.

- p. 488


So then like strategically, at the Brookline Young People’s Mtg. over on Beacon near the Newton line on a Wednesday, at the raffle-break, at 2109h., Lenz moistens his half-gasper and puts it carefully back in the pack and yawns and stretches and does a quick pulse-check and gets up and saunters casually into the Handicapped head with the lockable door and the big sort of crib built around the shitter itself for crippled lowering onto the toilet and does like maybe two, maybe three generous lines of Bing off the top of the toilet-tank and wipes the tank-top off both before and after with wet paper towels, ironically rolling up the same crisp buck he’d brought for the meeting’s collection and utilizing it and cleaning it thoroughly with his finger and rubbing his gums with the finger and then putting his head way back in the mirror to check the kidney-shaped nostrils of his fine aqua-line nose for clinging evidence in the trim hair up there and tasting the bitter drip in the back of his frozen throat and taking the clean rolled buck and back-rolling it and smoothing it out and hammering it with his fist on the lip of the sink and folding it neatly into half of half its original Treasury Dept. size so that all evidence anybody ever even had a passing thought of rolling the buck into a hard tight tube is, like anileated.

- pp. 555–556


Mr. Green howls with bitterly professional practical-gag mirth and clunks over and slaps little Bruce on the back so hard that Brucie expels a lime Gummi Bear he’d been eating – this too a visual memory, contextless and creepy – which arcs across the living room and lands in the fireplace’s fire with a little green siss of flame.

- p. 580


… Green had gotten so uncomfortably fascinated and repelled and paralyzed by the Polynesian tunes that he’d set up a cabana-chair right by the kegs and had sat there overworking the pump on the kegs and downing one plastic cup after another of beer-foam until he got so blind drunk his sphincter had failed and he’d not only pissed but also actually shit his pants, for only the second time ever, and the first public time ever, and was mortified with complexly layered shame, and had to ease very gingerly into the nearest-by head and remove his pants and wipe himself off like a fucking baby, having the shut one eye to make sure which him he saw was him …

- p. 584


Stice, oblivious, bites into his sandwich like it’s the wrist of an assailant. The only sound at the table for the first few minutes is of forkwork and mastication and the slight gasping sounds of people trying to breathe while they eat. You rarely speak for the first few minutes here, eating. Supper is deadly-serious. Some of the kids even start on their trays while still in line at the milk dispenser. Now Coyle bites in. Wayne had made his entrée into a sandwich and lowers and bites. Keith Freer’s eyes are half closed as his jaw muscles bulge and slacken. Some of the players’ inclined heads are hard to see over the height of their food.

- p. 627


The milk dispenser stands alone against the west wall, a big huge 24-liter three-bagger, the milk inserted in ovaloid mammarial bags into its refrigerated cabinet of brushed steel, with three receptacles for tumblers and three levers for controlled dispensing.

- p. 631


One kind is low-grade and sometimes gets called anhedonia or simple melancholy. It’s a kind of spiritual torpor in which one loses the ability to feel pleasure or attachment to things formerly important. The avid bowler drops out of his league and stays home at night staring dully at kick-boxing cartridges. The gourmand is off his feed. The sensualist finds his beloved Unit all of a sudden to be so much feelingless gristle, just hanging there. The devoted wife and mother finds the thought of her family about as moving, all of a sudden, as a theorem of Euclid. It’s a kind of emotional novocaine, this form of depression, and while it’s not overtly painful its deadness is disconcerting and … well, depressing. Kate Gompert’s always thought of this anhedonic state as a kind of radical abstracting of everything, a hollowing out of stuff that used to have affective content. Terms the undepressed toss around and take for granted as full and fleshy – happiness, joie de vivre, preference, love – are stripped of their skeletons and reduced to abstract ideas. They have, as it were, denotation but not connotation. The anhedonic can still speak about happiness and meaning et al., but she has become incapable of feeling anything in them, of understanding anything about them, or of believing them to exist as anything more than concepts. Everything becomes an outline of the thing. Objects become schemata. The world becomes a map of the world.

- pp. 692–693


The vaporizer chugs and seethes and makes the room’s windows weep as Jim Troeltsch inserts a pro-wrestling cartridge in the little TP’s viewer and dons his tackiest sportscoat and wet-combs his hair down smooth so it looks toupeeish and settles back on his bunk, surrounded by Seldane-bottles and two-ply facial tissue, preparing the call the action.

- p. 700


Some woman just outside the door near the demi-maison’s front door, she laughed in the manner of an automatic weapon. Wet sounds were audible from beneath the rear leg of the dog with private organs, of which the head hid beneath the raised leg.

- p. 748


… It wasn’t until Madame Psychosis got to college and gradually acquired some psychic distance and matter for emotional comparison that she even began to see how creepy her reagent-Daddy’s regression had been, and not until a certain major-sports-star son’s autograph on a punctured football inspired more e-mailed suspicion and sarcasm than gratitude from home in KY that she began even to suspect that her lack of social life throughout puberty might have had as much to do with her Daddy’s intrusive discouragement as with her actaeonizing pubescent charms.

- p. 793


The quiet has a kind of menace. The whole cubular building seems to Hal to hold the tensed menace of a living thing that’s chosen to hold itself still.

- p. 798


Tears and other fluids flow and roll. The warm round leader Harv’s own eyes are a moist glassy blue. The CD scanner’s cello is now into some sort of semi-jazzy pizzicato stuff that seems oxymoronic against the room’s mood.

- p. 804


As Death’s explanation of Death goes on Gately understands really important vague stuff more and more, but the more he understands the sadder he gets, and the sadder he gets the more unfocused and wobbly becomes his vision of the Death’s Joelle siting nude on the pink plastic ring, until near the end it’s as if he’s seeing her through a kind of cloud of light, a milky filter that’s the same as the wobbly blur through which a baby sees a parental face bending over its crib, and he begins to cry in a way that hurts his chest, and asks Death to set him free and be his mother, and Joelle either shakes or nods her lovely unfocused head and says: Wait.

- pp. 850–851


He made whoever he got high with feel lonely. He got real, like, interior.

- p. 893


… It’s obvious the guy pathetically thinks this kind of limp condescending shit will impress her. Gately’s got to admit he would have tried to impress her, too, though, if she hadn’t met him by holding a kidney-shaped pan under his working anus.

- p. 921


… A blue forked bolt of pain from his sudden striking-out sends him back against his hot pillow with an arched spine and a tube-impeded scream, his eyes rolling back into the dove-colored light of whatever isn’t quite sleep.

- pp. 933–934


The intercom calmly dinged. He heard conversing people in the hall passing the open door and stopping for a second to look in, but still conversing. It occurred to him if he died everybody would still exist and go home and eat and X their wife and go to sleep.

- p. 973


The umpires on the U.S. junior tour tend to be retired high-school principals whose only renumeration is the chance to exercise again some slight authority over the young.

- p. 1030 (n. #158)


Sometimes at odd little times of day the E.T.A. males’ locker room downstairs in Comm.-Ad. is empty, and you can go in there and sort of moon around and listen to the showers drip and the drains gurgle. You can feel the odd stunned quality customarily crowded places have at empty times.

- p. 1066 (n. #324)

If getting through that felt like a Herculean effort, then try reading the whole thing...


A Barbie Girl, on a Barbie Ship

Published by MSN

Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas takes children’s experiences on cruise ships into unchartered waters, writes Steve Clarkson

There’s a lot about the world’s largest and most innovative cruise ship that knocks you for six. Its 16 passenger decks. Its seven neighbourhoods. Its basketball courts and swimming pools. Its living, breathing Central Park. Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas is so ostentatiously epic, you sometimes find yourself staring at vast expanses of it – hypnotised by its majesty. But for the kids on board, the show is stolen by a pop culture icon. The Barbie Premium Experience was rolled out to Royal Caribbean’s entire fleet in March, joining a repertoire of themed cruise packages – including Star Trek and Harry Potter – that have sailed the seas in recent years. Signing up to this optional extra meant that my six-year-old niece Jessica, girlfriend Molly and I began our week by opening the door of our stateroom to a mountain of Barbie paraphernalia – blanket, handbag, pillowcase, toothbrush, toiletries and, of course, several dolls and a swathe of fashionable outfits.

Would anyone judge me if I take these home to wrap for this year’s Christmas presents? was my first thought – and in the minutes that passed as I unpacked our suitcases, I mentally allocated each complimentary item to various little people in my family. However, Jessica’s fixation on one of the Barbies suggested she had other ideas. Within moments she wanted everything. On our way to the invitation-only Tiaras and Teacups Party, where Jessica and the other Barbies-on-board would be learning table etiquette in the ship’s elegant main dining room, I held Jessica’s Barbie bag while she fiddled with her shoes. A man passing by clocked me and, clearly assuming I was her father, offered a knowing smirk.

I saw him again a few minutes later at the event, where I felt the need to explain myself. “Oh, you don’t have kids of your own?” he responded, helping his five-year-old daughter Eva pour herself some pink lemonade from a dainty china teapot. “That’s too bad, this place is perfect for them.” Seeing Eva, Jessica and the other girls forge some early friendships while being served a selection of French pastries went some way to illustrating his point.

The fact that cruises dedicated to children exist at all might surprise parents who have never holidayed in this manner – but even seasoned veterans will be blown away by Allure’s impressive catalogue of events available for kids.

It’s not just about Barbie, either. For little ones too old, too young, or too indifferent to plastic dolls, there’s a host of excitement on offer at Adventure Ocean – a fully staffed state-of-the-art activity and education programme for children of all ages. For six-month to three-year-olds, there are brand new toys. For three to five-year-olds, puppet shows. Six to eight-year-olds can enjoy hanging out with DreamWorks characters like Princess Fiona and King Julian, while nine to 11-year-olds might find themselves occupied with talent contests and the latest video games.

Adventure Ocean is more than just a child drop-off facility – it’s tailored to whatever interests your young ones could possibly have. Children are also given an enriching opportunity to make friends with others their age from potentially 50 different countries – indeed, one of the most wonderful things I’ve ever seen was Jessica and her Canadian friend Lizzy successfully teaching a Chinese girl a clapping game while reciting the nursery rhyme Miss Susie, with no adult intervention needed.

And often, as we discovered, kids having fun prefer it if adults don’t intervene at all. Open from breakfast ‘til the early hours, Adventure Ocean gives them a break from their parents, and parents a break from them, at almost any time of day or night.

Even with temperatures in the high thirties, children don’t really do sunbathing. So, as Jessica was involved in rehearsals for a play called Pirates, I lay baking in the Caribbean heat – wetting and turning the pages of my holiday book, not with my own saliva or perspiration, but with the condensation from the outside of a slender glass of a crushed-ice cocktail I bought from the poolside bar. Simultaneously, Molly was having a facial at the excellent spa facilities. Everyone was a winner that afternoon.

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