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Browsing: Arts & Culture

I’ve been quite a big fan of the Pokemon franchise since I was little, however as a child I didn’t play any of the games and instead was an anime-only fan of Pokemon. My first game in the franchise was Pokemon Let’s Go! Pikachu, a remaster of Pokemon Yellow, so I went into Pokemon Sword & Shield with very little knowledge or experience.  The first thing that surprised me about this game was the world design: the new Galar region is heavily inspired by Great Britain and the different influences of British culture and lifestyle is seen throughout the…

For as long as I can remember, any and all discussion involving video game consoles have been split into three groups: Xbox, Playstation and Nintendo. There are some who enjoy all of these, but for the most part, there is a heated debate as to which is the best of these platforms, so I thought I’d delve into my own opinions about each console in this generation, as next year we’ll be seeing a new generation of consoles introduced.  Firstly, I’d like to talk about Xbox. Xbox has been an incredibly successful company when bringing out consoles, games and…

With the looming prospect of Brexit overshadowing daily life at the minute, us at Seren along with the majority of informative news outlets up and down with the country are naturally spending a vast majority of time discussing this big issue that will affect us all. In fact, this issue is going to be heavily influenced by the whole political climate as we hurtle towards a ‘No Deal Brexit’, and unlike another unstoppable cataclysm in the form of the asteroid from Armageddon, we unfortunately do not have the luxury of sending in Bruce Willis to save the day. Although the…

With the release of the latest instalment in the Star Wars saga almost upon us, I believe that now is the perfect opportunity to look back upon the Skywalker story, from the genesis in 1977 through to its supposed conclusion over forty years later. We will look at the highs and the lows over the decades, and have a look at how the imagination of George Lucas created one of (if not) the biggest properties in global popular culture. Although the Star Wars brand has transcended mediums from books, video games, television shows, and everything else you could think of,…

2019’s been a big year for the Walt Disney Company, releasing five live-action remakes of their animated classics within nine months. Although Disney has been releasing live-action remakes of their content since 1994’s The Jungle Book, this recent trend arguably kicked off with 2014’s Maleficent, with the company re-hashing their classics for a newer audience. But there’s a bigger question here, especially in an age where animation is gaining respect as an art form: “but why?” Well, to answer that question, we must go back a long time ago, in a kingdom far, far away… America, 1984. Michael…

Amongst the latest offerings from the West End’s National Theatre, one that promised to send audiences into fits of laughter was the unashamedly honest Fleabag, brought to Bangor’s very own Pontio cinema and broadcast live nationwide on 12th September, followed by two encore screenings on 29th September and 5th October. For those who are not already familiar with the hit BBC comedy of the same name, its creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge showcases her extraordinary talent through her own original screenplay, while also acting out the one-woman show in an innovative dramatic monologue directed by Vicky Jones. Having adored the TV series…

Every year in late October, the charity poppy sellers set up shop in supermarkets and in schools all across the country, handing out the traditional paper and plastic poppy, now a symbol of remembrance of those fallen in war. Poppies have also expanded out, now with the classic design being sold on dresses, umbrellas, and even jewelled versions to be found in traditional retail stores. But where did it come from, and how did we get here? The story goes that in 1915, a young Canadian doctor named John McCrae was serving in Ypres and was inspired by the poppies…

The first recorded “invasion narrative”- a story or piece of work depicting an invasion or post-invasion world- followed the mass media sensation caused by the Franco-Prussian War in the 1870’s, where after an invasion of France, the various German states unified to create the massive European superpower of the German Empire. ‘The Battle of Dorking’, was a short novel depicting a successful invasion of Britain by a German-speaking enemy, as told by an elderly grandfather to his grandchildren, who are now the heavily-taxed lower-class citizens of a colony. This story was a national sensation and a national controversy, with many…

Photo Credit: Rhys Churchill Directors Calee Sears and Sian Billington must be incredibly grateful for having such a talented cast at hand. Ema Lewis (Viola) and Lenita Mathias (Olivia), especially, are full of potential and it’s a joy to watch them perform. Their performances are subtle but poignant, and despite the difficult and archaic script they manage to keep a sense of naturalism. Lewis’s strengths are her timing and brilliant facial expression, while Lenita effortlessly pulls of the regality of her character. It is her first attempt at theatre and I truly hope to see more of her in future…

One artist I personally hadn’t heard prior to the last month was Alexander Tucker. As a member of the electronic collective Grumbling Fur, Tucker has spent the last decade mixing electronic and acoustic sounds and his 11th album does certainly sound accomplished in this regard at least.  Guild of the Asbestos Weaver is a droning, relentless take on synth-pop, held together by Tucker’s beautifully sombre vocal style. This really isn’t better summed up than by the opener, and only single, Energy Alphas. You are immediately greeted with a thick synth bassline and Tucker’s increasingly urgent vocals pushing the song on.…

For many of 20th Century music’s earliest forms, integration into the modern music scene hasn’t been too difficult. Classical music still rings through the ears of many movie goers, with pieces from Hans Zimmer or Alan Silvestri still captivating, alongside more modern innovators like the minimalists such as Phillip Glass or John Cage. The blues still has millions of listeners, whether in the streamlined yet hugely popular albums of someone like John Mayer or Joe Bonamassa, or in the bluesy alternative rock sound of the White Stripes. This influence, even arguably through the integration of soul and R&B into popular…

When discussing those who sat on the fringes of rock, Iggy Pop has few equals. From the rampant, drug-infested chaos of his band, The Stooges, to the sobering darkness of debut solo album The Idiot, Pop is among the most unique and inventive musicians of the 1970’s. His last solo album Post Pop Depression, a collaboration with Queens Of The Stone Age’s Josh Homme and Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders, showed an artist capable of blending effectively into the modern alternative rock scene as well. Free is another intriguing step for Pop, enlisting the help of ambient artist Sarah Noveller…

All Mirrors is the fourth album by American singer and songwriter Angel Olsen, and it is important to note that this album is not just Olsen. For this record, she recruits the help of a small orchestra, with instruments like violins, cellos, violas and trombones to help give her backing throughout the record. The opening track ‘Lark’ is a spectacular opener, using the orchestra and Olsen’s voice to build suspense until the track reaches a spectacular climax. There is nothing about this record that feels rushed, and no song feels like it’s simply been added to help extend the run…

After a career straddling the Britpop and Psychedelic Revival movements with his band Super Furry Animals, North Wales local Gruff Rhys has continued to delve into a huge range of different sounds and cultures, culminating with the curation of the Bethesda-based Ara Deg festival in support of his new album, Pang! Whilst I personally only attended the final night of a 4-day festival that also included art pop singer Aldous Harding and electronic experimenters Bitw along with art exhibitions and more, the final night at Neuadd Ogwen seemed to be the perfect summary of an event that really only an…

We see no reason, why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot! This is a rhyme that has immortalized Guy Fawkes’ attempt to blow up parliament in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Every year, we celebrate bonfire night with fireworks, sparklers and majestic displays. With many forgetting the story behind it. The Gunpowder Plot was a plan to blow up the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament on the November 5th1605. The 17th Century was a time period that saw a lot of Catholic persecution, the aim on the Gunpowder Plot, which was organised by Robert Catesby was…

Part 3: The Attack! A group of soldiers crouch in a trench. There is the signal! They leap over the parapets. Next shot: they climb over barbed wire as they move on and ultimately disappear in the midst of battle. Some do not even make it out of the trench, others fall while approaching the enemy. The audience was shocked and impressed at the same time and the film was a huge success. Everyone wanted to see the documentary that showed the reality of war in northern France. Within the first six weeks after The Battle of the Somme had…

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