Une Critique de Film : « Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky »

Ce film raconte l’histoire des relations entre la hautement « chic » Mlle. Chanel et le musicien M. Stravinsky. Il continue après la fondation de Chanel comme de grand couture des vêtements, mais Coco veut beaucoup plus !

Sept ans après le début de « Le sacre du printemps » les deux artistes  se rencontrent, et Coco invite Igor et son famille à emménager avec elle. Pendant qu’il composait à chez-Coco, elle commençait avec la création de son parfum signataire.

C’est un récit d’art, de liaison, et d’indigence ravageuse, et, malheureusement, comme une manière très voisine du film précédent, « Coco avant Chanel », il finit trop prématuré pour moi.

Quatre étoiles.

OMG OED LOL?

Unabridged article first published in Issue 21 of Salford Student Direct

A pox on thy kin, foul blaggards! Thou art nothing but a plague-ridden bugbear! You rapscallion, you!

These are just a few of the insults that, were we living in a time where Medieval English was used, would be ever so common to us today. Why aren’t they, however? Well, to put it simply, it’s because language evolves, and thank goodness it does!

Why, then, were so many people up in arms and crying about ‘the children’ when the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) decided to include ‘initialisms’ such as ‘OMG’, ‘lol’, ‘fyi’, and ‘imho’ into their publication, and in turn, the English language? And it wasn’t just the elderly complaining about such insertions to the language. People were exclaiming about the failing standards already in schools and how this would surely have a further negative effect. Well, if you want to go back and speak ‘good old fashioned’ English, be my guest. But you’ll be subjected to weird looks when you use insults such as those above.

Maybe it’s just the linguist within me, but surely we are not the minority who are rejoicing at this evaluation of modern terms entering, finally, into our standard lexicon? I say ‘modern’ terms, but it’s interesting to point out that through research completed by the OED, it has found that OMG has actually been recorded in use since 1917, the earliest example of which being in a formal letter. FYI has retained the same use and meaning since 1941, and perhaps our seniors are less accepting of the modern use of ‘lol’ because in their day, the 1960s, it was an acronym for ‘little old lady’.

Like it or not, these words are in use and have migrated from just the odd facebook message and e-mail into verbal communication. These acronyms have a cultural status within our language now, and that is why it is so beneficial for the OED to enter them into the records.

Additions to a language can only make it more open and viable, it is the depletions that you must be worried about, which is why I fail to see what the outcry is about. These acronyms are not replacing anything, they are additions to the other words already contained within our language. Further to that, if you don’t like it, you’re not being forced to use them, just to acknowledge that a vast majority of the culturally grown Britons do; the future leaders, teachers, and doctors of Britain. Prejudice and prescriptive attitudes have no place within language development, so well done to the OED for recognising this, where other language regulators *cough* L‘Académie Française *cough* have fallen into a time shift between the language they want to be used, and the language used by the rebellious population.

Furthermore, people should be happy. At long last they can use up those random scrabble letters and still play within the rules! Although, with the highest score available on a normal tiles alone being 9, it’s not too much to get excited about, but it would certainly beat my usual 0.


How Callum C’s It: Number 1

Callum's Corner

And that's how Callum C's it.

My first column, first published in Issue 21 of Salford Student Direct

Hello and welcome to the first ever edition of Callum’s Corner in Salford Student Direct. I am currently training up to replace current Comments Editor, Laura Johnson, for next year, and as part of my training I have been given the task of creating my first page spread. So, here we have it. I’d love to hear what you think and hope that you’ll all get on board next year with pieces for me to publish. But now, on with the column!

Uproar was heard across the world on the 22nd March when Apple pulled an application that carried out Conversion Therapy, or as it’s more commonly known ‘Reorientation Therapy’. The app in question, created by Exodus International and aimed at what they called ‘homosexual strugglers’, was removed by Apple from the iTunes store following an ever increasing petition by customers, although as there has been no official word from Apple HQ we are not sure whether or not this is the cause.

The uproar has been made by Christian* activists calling that their right to freedom of speech has been subverted and that Apple were wrong to remove such an app. They claimed that GLBT rights activists were hypocrites for calling for other groups to be more tolerant of their views whilst being altogether intolerant of others. Their argument rested at the simple stance of ‘If you don’t like it then don’t download it’. However, is it an infringement on freedom of speech in matters of private corporations? Furthermore, can you classify an application based upon faux-science, proven to have made those subjected to it commit suicide, an act of freedom of speech? I’d be interested to hear your views on the matter. Where is the line drawn in your opinion between hate speech and free speech?

Moving on, and the United Kingdom has been bathed in a golden glow as the sun finally made an appearance, and with the UCU strikes underway it gave a  large proportion of students time to enjoy it, as hordes migrated onto the green fields near University House to soak up these first rays. Of course, where sun comes into play we also have various fashion disasters… What is it with people and the slightest bit of sunlight that makes it socially acceptable to wear shorts, trainers, long sleeve jackets, and black dress socks? What on earth passes through a person’s mind to make them think, before they leave the house, ‘Yes. This is totally chíc and acceptable.’? Please, for the love of god, just don’t do it. You may as well have just put on socks and sandals and run down the Broadwalk naked. Both scenarios leave me wanting to poke mine eyes out with a searing hot pin.

*In the minority, it must be said (thankfully), and not a true representation of contemporary Christianity.


The Importance of Being Artist(ic)

Unabridged article first published in Salford Student Direct: Issue 19

Following a jolly jaunt down to London the other week, I ended up enjoying the sites of the Tate Modern. Now I’m no stranger to art galleries, but trying to cast my mind back to the last time I was in the Tate is nigh on impossible. The year evades me, as does the art I saw. I verily enjoyed myself, and would highly recommend it for any of you who currently have plans to visit London in the near future, especially with the current exhibition in Turbine Hall of Ai Weiwei’s Sunflower Seeds. Now if you’ve not heard of this exhibition, it’s simply astounding and available until May this year. Over 100 million hand-painted, porcelain sunflower seeds litter the floor. Another piece of amazing, tactile art.

At least, it was tactile until recently when the executives at the gallery were ‘advised’ to ban members of the public from walking on the stones. Not because of the weight, porcelain is a highly versatile and sturdy form of clay. No, it was indeed because of the potential health risk proposed by the dust that was formed from so many of the little sculptures. Now this is all very well and good, but health and safety has once more placed a firm barrier between something that was designed to be a thought-provoking, interactive piece. The piece still remains amazing, immense even, due to the history behind it. Two and a half years work by 1, 600 people to create this sea of uniqueness. But without the interactive value, the reason for the inspiration of awe one receives is changed.

I’d not really thought that much into the prohibition on the featured piece until later on into the gallery where I saw two pieces by German photographer Thomas Struth. Struth’s photographs were of people, as common as you and I, enjoying some of the greatest pieces of art the world knows. Struth had immortalised the spectators, their thoughts and views of the art before them, and had made the art interactive. Indeed, it was bizarre standing and looking at a piece of work that was of people looking at a piece of work, and then a question popped into my mind. What if Struth was here now and was taking a picture of me and the other viewers viewing his piece of viewers? I too would be immortalised, I would become a part of the original famous work. But why, Struth? Why? What use do these photos hold? For me, these photos affirmed the fact that in modern times, art needs to be interactive. It’s not so much a case of pushing boundaries; we, the spectator, have always been a part of the art. Struth has just informed us of this in a way that we can perceive, in an interactive revelation of the mutuality of art.

This then countered my original reasoning that modern art needs to be interactive, for all art up until now has been interactive. Literature, music, sculptures, paintings, architecture. The interactivity does not come from the tactility, but from all of the sense and thoughts you have when you read, hear, or see.  So the disappointment at the ban on Weiwei’s piece was slowly banished as I realised that, despite not having walked upon it, nor touched one of the ‘seeds’, I had still been a part of it. Just as, later on, my friend and I had been a part of each and every piece on show. Perhaps not immortalised in the same sense as those found in Struth’s work, but far more personally. And when that’s just not good enough, I’ll just have to buy some of the sunflower seeds when they go up for sale at the end of the exhibition.


Une Pluie D’Amour et D’Affections Unilatérales

Une Contrainte

Un Contrat,

Des formalités légales.

Dans un sujet qui n’suivit pas des règles.

Dans une matière qui n’eut pas des lois.

 

Bien sûr !

Il pleuvait sans cesse,

Avec vos bises.

Les bises bien reçues,

À l’époque où vous les envoyâtes.

 

Mais, maintenant,

Telle pluie me rendit

Carrément confus.

Abruptement perdu.

Mon cœur fut marqué

Par ta pluie acide, venimeuse.

 

Et puis !

Nous continuons,

Je continue péniblement.

Je continue d’exister tout affligé.

Tu continues à être.

 

Je comprenne,

Dorénavant,

Ou j’en suis.

Sans un dais

Contre la pluie incessante.

 

Mourning The Dream

Recently, in my downward spiral of faith and sexuality, I’ve taken to watching long stints of the ‘It Gets Better’ project. If you’ve not heard about the project up until now, then please go and check it out and pledge your support, likewise if you’ve heard about it and have yet to pledge. I would probably go as far to describe the project as revolutionary, and it does help. It really does.

How many of us have looked back and thought about how they’d change something in their past if they had the chance. If they were given that one get-out-of-jail-free card, that one time machine, that one wish… How many of us knew exactly what we’d change? How many of us hold regrets? I think it would safe to say, all of us.

Until very recently I would have openly said I’d change myself to be straight. Whether that meant going back to birth and having the ‘gay gene’ altered, or whether stopping my parents from splitting up so I’d have a more dominant male figure in my life to aspire to be like… Until recently, I’d do it. But not now, for I understand that that would change me in so many more ways. Sure, it would leave me to escape the fear of prejudice and growing up, the anxiety of telling my family and their response, and more importantly the heartache one feels when left in limbo. If I wasn’t gay, thoughts and memories of my first ever relationship wouldn’t plague me purely because it would never have happened. I wouldn’t cry whenever I thought about him, whenever I heard the one song that reminds me of him and us, I wouldn’t have allowed myself to have been so abused and mistreated.

But, if I were straight, would the risk not be there that it would happen then? What would be there to stop my female partner from cheating on me? What would stop her from taking advantage of me? The mere fact that it would be a conventional and ‘normal’ relationship? No, that’s not an assurance. And this just shows how much I’ve grown as a person since leaving the stifling community of my homeland.

Now, the only person in my family that knows about my sexuality is my aunt. I stayed with her recently whilst visiting London and am looking to move in with her and my uncle in the summer before my 2nd year at uni. As she was driving me to the train station on the Sunday morning of my stay, she opened up to me in the car about how upset she was about how even in this modern day I felt fearful to tell people about me and who I am. And it wasn’t so much that she agreed society was like that and I needed to be fearful, but more the fact that society still allows us to feel like that, truthful or not.

My father wants grandchildren. More importantly, he wants grandchildren from me. As his only son and the only boy of my generation I’ll be the one to carry on the family name. It hurts whenever he brings this up, despite me saying that I don’t want kids, because deep down… I do, but have come to the safe conclusion that I can’t have them. That hurts too, somewhat more deeply. It’s not so much a choice that stops me from having children, nor the biology, it’s society itself.

So I can leave him in his reverie of grandchildren and the extension of his family name in his archaic ways for the time being. Just like I can leave the rest of my family to sleep easily, allowing me to toss and turn as I think about it all. Whilst I mourn the dreams of what society deems me unfit for.

Lamentable as it may be, it can change. It can get better. Mourning the dreams, harboring the regrets… these things may not be necessary in time, but in the here and now they are.

It will get better.