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Browsing: Arts & Culture

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…

Another great British institution in the filmmaking world is the world renowned Aardman Animation Studios based out of Bristol. Just like the portrayal of the plucky inventive Brit in the classic war films, Aardman has slowly built a name for itself over the past few decades by their incredible attention to detail and top-quality filmmaking. Since their first feature length effort in 2000 with Chicken Run they have only released 7 more films, but every single one of them has been a top-quality joy to watch. Unlike any other animation studio (including the gold standard of Pixar), Aardman is the…

On October 14th 2019, the winner of the annual Booker Prize was announced with the shocking twist that it would be shared with two authors instead of one. Winners of the award were Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood for The Testaments (a companion novel for The Handmaid’s Tale) and British author Bernardine Evaristo for the book Girl, Woman, Other. First established in 1959, within the 50 years that this prize has been awarded, it has only been shared twice before, in 1974 and later in 1992. However, after the second time, the rules for the Booker Prize were changed so only…

Bookish podcasts to listen to when you want to hear thoughts on everything book related Sometimes after you read a book the one thing you want to do is discuss it, or maybe you like to see discussions of anything book related, including the writing process. However, sometimes finding the people you want to discuss these things with can be difficult, as the people you know may not be as avid in their reading as you. So, to help solve that issue here are a few podcast suggestions that are perfect for this situation. 88 cups of tea This podcast…

After Halo, Bungie began working on Destiny: a sci-fi rpg looter-shooter which showed promise in the teasers and trailers building up to release: upon release players were frustrated at the lackluster campaign, lack of activities and little post-launch support. The one thing people found redeemable about Destiny was the endgame experiences: the Vault of Glass raid on Venus and the Nightfalls, which were strikes ramped up to 100 in difficulty. Once the first wave of DLC hit, Crota’s End and House of Wolves, the player base maintained itself only with hardcore fans: casual players didn’t really get to experience a…

One of the first games I played on the Xbox One back in 2014 was Sunset Overdrive: an open-world third person parkour shooter from the minds of Insomniac Games, who also developed Ratchet & Clank as well as Marvel’s Spider Man for the PS4. As this is one of my favourite games of all time, if not my number one choice, I decided to revisit the game to see if it was as great as I remember. Spoiler alert: it was.  The game puts you in the shoes of an unnamed character working at a concert for a world-famous energy…

Within the popular music of the 1980’s, Prince arguably had no challenger in the United States. Able to combine an immediately loveable style with sharp song writing, as well as creating prominent singles for albums like 1999 or Purple Rain Prince wrote a huge range of significant hits for other pop musicians. The latest in a huge unseen back-catalogue that is being posthumously released by Warner Brothers Records; Originals is a compilation of original versions of songs he gave to other musicians. The first thing to really mention about Originals is that it isn’t just a set of demos or…

June marked the 40th anniversary of one of the most iconic debuts of all time. Atmospheric, solemn and tortured, Unknown Pleasures may not have seen chart success upon its release but is now remembered as one of the most influential and impactful releases from the explosion of punk and the subsequent post-punk movement that sprouted from the initial wave, inspiring artists from contemporaries such as The Cure to later artists like Radiohead or Bloc Party. The Manchester band’s debut has such a legacy most notably in my view for the desolate and reverberant production from Martin Hannett, with even the…

Even within a fairly diverse and eclectic alternative scene of the 1990s in Britain, Stereolab stood out. Mixing a love for the raw and uncompromising attitude of The Velvet Underground with the melody of French pop in their early recordings, within a decade they had blossomed into a band capable of making deceptively complex, vibrant pop. Pretty much the only constants in their career were the sweet bilingual vocals and political lyrics of Laetitia Sadier alongside the guitarwork of Tim Gane, but they had a distinctive yet constantly progressing brand of music because of this. Their comeback tour, coming to…

This Is Not A Safe Place – Ride As a band managing to blend a noisy, wall of sound approach to rock music alongside pop melodies, Ride were a band beloved during their short heyday in the 1990’s and welcomed after their comeback album Weather Diaries in 2017. This Is Not a Safe Place is their second album since their return, and is by no means a poor relation to their more acclaimed previous material, in fact featuring some superb alternative rock. Opener R.I.D.E is one of the most unique songs on this album, with a synthetic vocal and one…

Released in February 2019, Taylor Jenkins Reid’s new novel is one to make you laugh, cry and feel every emotion in between. Daisy Jones and The Six is a novel that, just like your favourite song, is one to stick with you for a long time. Everyone who knew something about music, or even if they didn’t, knew about Daisy Jones and The Six. They sold out arenas from coast to coast and their music helped to define the era. Every young girl in the 70s idolised Daisy, however on the 12th July 1979, the last concert of their Aurora…

There has been a new call by TV executives for an independent regulator to pick guests for reality television appearances, instead of networks choosing contestants, which may lead to networks selecting guests who will make the best television, despite any potential effects the shows might have on the contestant’s health. This comes following the death of Steve Dymond, a guest on the Jeremy Kyle Show, and the suicides of Love Island contestants Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis. On BBC Radio 4, managing director Jonathan Stadlen said: “I think we need some independent body to try and help us to decide…

On the fourth of January 2019, National Trivia Day, nobody expected this historic, surprising, and actually very unasked for tweet, courtesy of Pottermore’s official Twitter account, J.K Rowling’s official post-book source of content for her Harry Potter series. “Hogwarts didn’t always have bathrooms. Before adopting Muggle plumbing methods in the eighteenth century, witches and wizards simply relieved themselves wherever they stood, and vanished the evidence. #NationalTriviaDay” This tweet caused volumes of internet scorn, from incredulous fans who never wanted to know such a detail, to an outpouring of despair-filled memes. No-one wanted to know this, and yet Rowling chose to bless…

At most festivals, that inceptive splosh of rain is an unwelcome incidence. Contrarily, at Green Man, a curtain of drizzle before those majestically noble Brecon Beacons is gorgeously aesthetic. Admittedly, this wonderous spectacle didn’t abate the merciless deluge. But it did distract me from my damp socks. Following recent years of relative radiance, the festival’s 17th outing was probably due some weather worthy of watery wellies and muddy macs. Though, no matter the volatility of the British skies, you’ll never be short of warmth at Green Man. It’s exuded by all who loyally flock to dwell in the verdant valleys…

The annual UniBrass contest returns to Bangor University on 8th February 2020, marking 10 years for one of the largest Brass Band contests in the UK. University brass bands from around the country will be welcomed to Bangor to compete across two sections; the Trophy and the Shield. Full details about the contest and the venues will be announced in due course. The UniBrass Organising Committee are hoping to make UniBrass 2020 “the biggest contest yet.” The contest began in 2010 at Lancaster University. It was also held at the University of Warwick in 2014, and in Yorkshire for two…

Seemingly mundane personal documents can weave a rich history between a person and the world around them. The archives and special collections are celebrating a Year of Discovery during 2019. The aim is to present “inventive individuals, adventurous Welsh men and women and new exciting resources for researches in the Archives”. As introduced in the previous issue of Seren, the Archives are in the process of acquiring a new collection titled “The Paget Papers” and are helped by myself, an undergraduate intern, to process the new accession. As three months have passed so far, I want to talk about a…

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