Unlike the changing of the seasons from summer to autumn, and the slow shift of the leaves to yellow and brown, my obsession with Donna Tartt’s The Secret History stays evergreen. For the main protagonist, Richard, an outcast and classicist at Hampden College, obsession is his fatal flaw, reflecting the main theme of the novel.
If the arrival of week eight seems daunting, here’s a playlist to get you through the influx of work. This Tuesday the Vic plays host to the launch of 602 and the uni’s extended birthday with a special gin cocktail on offer and DJ Asquire, its the perfect mid-week celebration. If you’re feeling the Halloween blues, the book of choice this week ‘The Making of Zombie Wars’ by Aleksander Hemon should cheer you up. The comic book follows an aspiring writer of a script titled Zombie Wars as he engages in an affair and feels the consequences which seem to follow his own script. Released this Friday, ‘Kill Your Friends’ is a similar mix of comedy and outright killing. Set in the music industry of London 1997, the film follows Steven Stelfox (Nicholas Hoult) as he sacrifices his friends for his career with a great soundtrack and cast the films set to be a cult classic. Following a similar theme this weeks student-written play, ‘An Impromptu Performance’, follows a group of naive criminals who try and rob a drug baron. Whereas if ‘Ghost’ with Patrick Swayze is more your thing, check out The Great Pottery Throw Down on BBC2 this week. While it is yet another spin-off of the Great British franchise, the show promises some great art that reduces the judges to tears.
It’s week seven and time to dust off your dust sheets with Halloween on the horizon. Bond is back this week as Craig graces our screens once more in ‘Spectre’. While Sam Smith’s theme might leave a lot to be desired, the new 007 film is set to meet the high standards of its predecessor ‘Skyfall’. Also, returning to the screen is British favourites Ian McKellen and Anthony Hopkins in the BBC TV adaptation of Ronald Harwood’s play ‘The Dresser’. ‘The Dresser’ centres on the head of a Shakespearean theatre company (Hopkins) and his stage hand (McKellen) as they struggle to perform King Lear during the worst days of the Blitz in WW2. Back for another instalment is the Live Lounge hosted by Music is Love and STAR with a line-up of student musicians to enjoy with a coffee in Rectors this Thursday. New to the Barron is student-written play ‘Miracle Material’ which tells the story of Nat caught in a media storm and storm of different opinions after a freak accident. Also new this week is Colum McCann’s collection of short stories ‘Thirteen Ways of Looking’. Each of the three stories focuses on time in the present, memory and in anticipation through a missing child, a struggling writer and a nun suffering from dementia.
With post-raisin blues taking hold here’s a few suggestions to brighten up your week. Roleplay by Alan Ayckbourn hits The Barron stage this week, a light-hearted comedy that promises to deliver the laughs. ‘Fargo’ is back on our TV screens with a second series and new “true story” that will rewind back to 1979 with Kirsten Dunst, diner killing, UFO sightings and Ronald Regan. Also, stepping back in time is Jamaican born Marlon James’ ‘A Brief History of Seven Killings’ that won the Man Booker Prize last week. It focuses on the consequences of an unsuccessful plot to assassinate Bob Marley back in 1976 and is told from dozens of perspectives with technical brilliance as it breaks into free verse, streams of conscience and a nine page long sentence. This week’s film ‘Suffragette’ also made headlines via the protest at its premiere which goes to show the fight for women’s rights is not a distant issue. Also fighting for rights is Xavier Ball this week with its profits supporting refugees in East Africa. Xavier Ball is set to be a colourful end to your post-raisin week.
It’s the fifth week in St. Andrews and if the real world is hitting you a bit hard here’s a playlist to take you away. ‘Stories from Other Places’ is a collection of short stories from Nicholas Shakespeare encompassing different continents with different characters all in some way searching for an identity among cultural, religious and political tensions. Danny Boyle’s ‘Pan’ is the best escape from deadlines and responsibilities, designed as a prequel to the traditional Peter Pan stories, ‘Pan’ (starring Hugh Jackman) tells Peter’s story from orphanage to the saviour of Neverland against Blackbeard. Despite the ‘Bake Off’ having just finished, BBC are back with reality TV in ‘The Apprentice’ –time to take some tips on how not to impress a Lord in a boardroom. Debuting on the Byre stage with a leap for student drama is ‘Equus’. Though famous for its nudity, the play is a psychological story of a boy who blinds six horses and is set to challenge stage conventions. And finally, to keep your spirits high for Raisin weekend Itchy Feet are back to take you back in time with the swing, soul and ska beats of the 50s in the Vic this Tuesday –dust off your dancing shoes it’s going to be a big one.
The fourth week is here along with the dark nights so here’s some recommendations to brighten up your week. The film, book and play of choice this week are all reworkings of Shakespeare. Jeanette Winterson’s book ‘The Gap of Time’ adapts The Winter’s Tale keeping the story the same while shifting the structure and adding a new modern setting. The new Macbeth film adaptation hits cinemas this week, Michael Fassbender takes title role in a modern post-traumantic stress meets warpaint and ‘Braveheart’ vibe. While the Barron theatre is about to become a psychiatric’s waiting room as Shakespeare characters are scrutinised in one-act comedy Antic Disposition. With the combination of coffee and acoustic covers, the second Star and Music is Love Live Lounge in Rector’s cafe is the event of choice this week. And it’s time for the last show stoppers and time we stopped wishing we were good at baking for a year as The Great British Bake Off Final is here.
It’s week three and a week of new releases and new perspectives on The Playlist. Ridley Scott’s new sci-fi blockbuster ‘The Martian’ is to be released this week featuring Matt Damon as a quirky botanist who becomes stranded on mars forced to survive with only a month’s worth of supplies. From Mars’ barren climate to the infertility of T.S Eliot’s ‘The Waste Land’ which has been rehearsed for the stage as the first Mermaids play of the semester. The multiple perspectives of Eliot’s poem leads toward the book of the week ‘The Girl on the Train’ in which the protagonist, who gets on the train everyday to pretend she’s still employed, tries to piece together the night a girl went missing. Also attempting to offer a different perspective is The Kennedys, the new series is based on Emma Kennedy’s life and her best-selling memoir about growing up on a Stevenage council estate in the 70’s. And if you’re craving the big nights of Freshers’ week, Music is Love are offering up something bigger and better this week as they present a night of electronic/ techno music in Club 601 which cannot be missed.
Week two and as we all begin to settle into the swing of St. Andrews life again it’s time to slow down the pace. With the return of both Doctor Who and Downton Abbey a much needed catch-up session is on everyone’s cards. If you’re after something more fast-paced head to the New Picture House and catch Tom Hardy as the Kray twins in the much anticipated Legend. As student productions are yet to begin, why not head to the Byre Theatre and watch Tribes; a drama based on a deaf central character blocked out of the world around him until he finds the tribe he belongs in through a love interest. Sebastian Faulks is doing what he does best is his new novel Where My Heart Used to Beat. The themes of war, love and illness become intertwined as the main protagonist confronts his life and the Twentieth Century. Also returning this week is the Lumsden Club Secret Garden Party with a new location and ‘day meets night’ theme. If last year’s event was anything to go by the Garden Party is the best way to round off your second week.
Week one is officially here and though Freshers’ week might be over there’s still plenty going on to keep you occupied. While this semester’s new plays are yet to be performed why not check out Blind Mirth’s first improv comedy show of the year. If comedy is your thing ‘Me and Earl and the Dying Girl’ is a tragicomedy that defies expectations offering a new angle on the theme of films like ‘The Fault in Our Stars’. On TV this week ‘The Gamechangers’, featuring Daniel Radcliffe, explores the hugely popular Grand Theft Auto game series, the boundaries it pushed and the opposition it came up against. Just as controversial is David Lagercrantz’s ‘The Girl in the Spider’s Web’. Written as an addition to Steig Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy the novel pays homage and seems to leave room for more. If you want to share your story this week, head down to Aikman’s for Inklight’s first open mic poetry session.
When you ask a child why he enjoys reading, he will most likely look to his Harry Potter and young adult dystopian literature filled bookshelves, and tell you that it’s because reading takes him to another world. On some level, this is the foundational reason we all appreciate fiction. It’s escapist. It’s foreign, interesting, controversial, romantic. And we’re naturally destined to enjoy it because it grows out of the Neverlands and Narnias of our childhood.