In this article, I shall endeavour to provide a well encompassed collective of films to get you psyched for the spookiest night of the year. Indeed, the final day of autumn may not be as popular as a certain December holiday, certainly in terms of material gain. But it is one of the key points on the calendar, as the countdown to cold begins. Thus, I think it is necessary to mark such an event and change in the best possible manner; by viewing a selection of classic horrors and timely flicks. Whilst this list will be predominantly made up of horror movies, I have thrown in the odd surprise for those who may not be as fond of the cinematic staple.
Those of you who have read my previous articles will have picked up on the fact that I like to include a film, which may have fallen by the wayside in terms of modern mainstream popularity. Albeit, I don’t make a conscious effort to nip into my hipster bag of tricks, this one certainly would be there if said container existed. An absolute classic from the German Expressionist era, and probably painfully familiar to Film Studies students, both past and present (myself included)! Whilst it is a silent movie, this vampire piece is excellently paced with stunning visuals and is genuinely creepy. Present day cinema owes a great deal to early filmmakers like F.W Murnau and Fritz Lang, for whom without, the emo endearing style of Tim Burton may never have been born.
The Beetlejuice (1988) director pays homage to the famous era in the equally dark Batman Returns (1992), naming one of the main villains, Max Shreck played by Christopher Walken, after the actor who portrayed Count Orlok in 1922. It is crazy now, looking back at how much a seemingly primitive style of visual art had such a major effect on how we see cinema today. Had it been without Conrad Veidt playing Gwynplaine in The Man Who Laughs (1928), Bob Kane would have never been inspired to create the Joker or we may never have even gotten Tim Burton. If you enjoy watching this silent hit, or if you need a little extra insight for studying, I recommend checking out semi-fictitious metafilm Shadow of the Vampire (2000), chronicling some of the events surrounding the filming of Nosferatu, starring John Malkovich, Willem Dafoe and Cary Elwes.
As the saying goes, ‘Like a fine wine, things only get better with age’. I would gladly lobby for that adage to be altered to “like Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, it got better with age”. The Englishman is, without doubt, my favourite director of all time. The master of suspense carefully crafted his stories wonderfully, justifiably attaining the complimentary nickname. This movie is definitely the best of the bunch. One of his few out and out horror films, this picture does everything right. From playing with audience expectation to flawlessly creepy tension building, this classic is both thrilling and occasionally frightening. Like W.B Yeats professed, not all things from the past can be bettered; this case was certainly proven in 1998 with Gus Van Sant’s shot for shot colour remake. Also, it is worth consulting the second instalment, despite not being directed by Hitchcock, Psycho 2 (1983) is a reasonably solid sequel, especially when one considers the quality of its predecessor.
Certainly, not included due to its name, this film is probably the ultimate October 31st choice. I have watched this on the previous three Halloween nights and this year probably won’t be any different. Unlike, the latter entry, admittedly this picture hasn’t quite stood the test of time, at least not to the same degree. Its visuals are quite dated and I can understand how some people may not be able to take it so seriously. But, if you can get past the bellbottoms and trendy hairdos, you will see that there are few who argue that this is John Carpenter’s greatest work. It is overflowing with atmospheric tension and an irresistible charm, which is wonderfully engaging. Plus, there is a reason its timeless score is so iconic, it is the purest sound of Autumn and fear combined.
The Shining (1980)
Whether you refer to it as psychological thriller or horror, auteur Stanley Kubrick’s flirtation with the horrific is a masterpiece. From the opening, with the aerial shots emphasising the isolation of the Overlook Hotel to the closing credits, the audience is met with sophistication, which one doesn’t often expect nor receive with this kind of movie. Jack Nicholson doesn’t even have to open his mouth to be creepy, one simple elevation of his eyebrows and we’re hooked. Some may complain that the film is so slow to really get moving, but in my opinion it is necessary to truly build the foundational tension for this slow burner. Also, the legendary “here’s Johnny” line was totally improvised, further cemented the worth of Jack Nicholson to any film. Like Hitchcock, I would truly implore all readers to check out the filmography of Kubrick, especially The Killing (1956), A Clockwork Orange (1971) and Full Metal Jacket (1987).
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Truly my favourite horror movie ever, for so many reasons, I can’t nor won’t include them all. There are very few films of any genre, where every aspect and detail is thoroughly thought out. For instance, I love how blockbuster powerhouse James Cameron conjured the idea of the terminator cyborg in a feverish nightmare whilst isolated in a hotel abroad. Wes Craven’s envisioning of dream monster Freddy is no different. For starters, he was bullied in school by a peer called Fred Krueger. The famous green and red sweater adorned by said bogeyman, was fashioned based on a concept the filmmaker had discovered in regards the human retina’s inability to differentiate between the two colours when placed side by side. The setting for the suburban terrorising was to take place on Elm Street; the name of the street where Craven used to teach and also the street name on which JFK was assassinated. Finally, the core hypothesis behind Kruger’s reign of evil, came to Craven via a series of uncorrelated articles presented by American media in regards Asian adolescents who were afraid to sleep for fear of inevitable death combined with a childhood memory of a stranger staring into his bedroom window during the night. Alas, it is clear that I find this film and its many quirks highly fascinating. Audiences need films such as this to restore faith in horror; not remakes or reimaginings but rather original ideas executed well, not lousy cheap scares like Annabelle (2014).
I dare you to say his name five times! Despite the fact that it isn’t real, is just a movie and a mere hackneyed urban legend, I still have my apprehensions. This movie is a great deal more sophisticated than the general critical consensus would have one believe. Probably somewhat overshadowed by writer Clive Barker’s earlier cult favourite Hellraiser (1987), I definitely feel this feature offers up a great deal more depth than Pinhead and company. First off, the casting of Tony Todd as the title character is perfect, his demeanour, stature and distinctive deep voice are all mesmerising. Yet, a key part of my fondness for this film is an aspect, which probably isn’t, mentioned enough. The racial themes and overtones, add a dimension of substance, which lifts the film from the category of ‘forgettable’ to classic status. The ending, I feel let’s it slightly down, but I think that overall it is but a mere stitch on the tapestry of an overall highly commendable watch.
Hocus Pocus (1993)
The first of the non-horrors to show up on this list, but dissimilar to the majority of children orientated films of the day, this movie can have equal appeal to adults. It is unique in its simplicity, bringing together a host of likeable antagonists and protagonists all combined with wit and fun. Its level of humour is perfectly measured, never allowing it to overturn the essential dark elements of a Halloween flick. The three witches played by respective stars Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy are incredible. Their malevolence is endearing yet not overburdening to the point that we forget that they are essentially the villains. Hocus Pocus is a cinematic embodiment of Halloween for kids both young and old. You will laugh, sing and may even be frightened but one thing is for sure, you shall be entertained - I put a spell on you!
The Nightmare before Christmas (1993)
Growing up, whilst out trick or treating in our vast housing estate, my friends and I would debate which holiday was better, Halloween or Christmas. I think this film embodies such an argument, thus making it ideal viewing for both holiday occasions. An emo favourite, what has always fascinated me is its ability to retain a level of simplicity while portraying a depth, which is also enticing to adult audiences. The eclectic cast of characters is nothing short of wonderful, truly epitomising imagination. Whilst Tim Burton was not in the directorial hot seat for this dark outing, his stamp is all over it. 1993 marked a significant year for children’s horror cinema, with the cartoon network movie The Halloween Tree, also gaining critical acclaim thanks to its admirable universal appeal. Every time I think of this Burton project, I can’t help but make comparison with Martin McDonagh’s In Bruges (2008). A startling comparison indeed, but how McDonagh created his two lead characters based on his own conflicting opinions of the Medieval Belgian city and those previously mentioned childhood debates in regards Christmas and Halloween is a contrast which shall always captivate. I think it’s most refreshing when films uses maximise imagination and creativity in a bid to make something truly original. Also, I shall always be enthralled by legitimate comparisons made between films, which may appear to be totally unrelated at first, but upon further analysis contain similarities, which are covertly present.
The tonal inconsistencies of this film actually work in its favour. Usually, if said balance is imperfect, it can have a devastating impact on the overall product. Such was my feeling towards recent thriller Gone Girl (2014). However, in a rare turn of events, Scream’s mix of traditional slasher horror with black comedy and satire, reinvigorated the horror genre in its weakest period ever. Following a string of critical stinkers, director Wes Craven was also in need of a lift. Also, throughout the Scream series, one can really notice how Craven uses its scripts to highlight the clichés in the genre and his frustration with the seemingly unwavering trend. I love how Craven blended elements from past films such as When a Stranger Calls (1979) and Friday the 13th, with altering trends from the then, present day.
If it’s Halloween, it must be Saw. I am truly fed up with people who have begun doubting the credibility of the James Wan original, due to the ridiculous number of inferior sequels that the financially successful franchise spawned. Often, relegated to mere ‘torture porn’, this film was a trendsetter, which brought scary movies into the 21st century. Made on a shoestring budget, it still managed to attract legitimate stars Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon, 1987) and Cary Elwes (Kiss the Girls, 1997). Of course, with each annual sequel the budgets went up and quality in the opposite direction, but I don’t think that fact should be allowed overshadow what set the ball in motion. A really innovative concept teamed with mystery and suspense made for an original hit which will be sure to stand the test of time. Admittedly, not for the faint hearted, but this movie is definitely worth it. Game over!
Fundraising for a charity can be a hugely fulfilling experience. Whether it’s shaking a bucket with mates, going on sponsored walks or runs, or organising table quizzes, it’s a great feeling knowing that you’re raising funds for a worthy cause while having the craic with your mates at the same time.
Having been involved in fundraising since his secondary school days, Paddy Thunder decided to take his charitable efforts one step (or 7,000 kilometres) further when he and a couple of pals embarked on an epic four week journey to far-off Mongolia in a clapped-out 1999 Nissan Micra.
The rollercoaster experience saw them meet a helpful family of Austrian rally car enthusiasts, some death-defyingly friendly Iranians, and even an Irish-speaking native of Outer Mongolia. And best of all, it was all in aid of the Fr Peter McVerry trust, a foundation which helps homeless people who are looking to get their lives back on track.
“Through doing the annual Christmas time Sleepout on the streets of Dublin with Belvedere College and the McVerry Trust, we found that the homeless people themselves had such a high opinion of Fr Peter McVerry,” says Paddy, who managed to recruit flatmate Lorcan Smith and fellow DCU head Diarmaid Keane to join him on his three-man Micra Management team that set off from the London starting point on July 20 last.
“Talking about him they were saying how they know Fr Peter personally, and how he’s always on the streets interacting with them. That’s the reason why we went on to raise money for the trust by doing the Mongol Rally,” adds Paddy.
It was a gargantuan task that faced the lads right from the very off, and their efforts weren’t helped by a complete engine failure in a remote region of the Austrian Alps within the first three days. The car had been spluttering for a while already, but when the intrepid trio heard a massive bang, they knew they were in real trouble.
“We knew it was dead then. We went to a truckstop nearby; he checked it and found a massive hole in the engine and we were told that it was completely gone,” says 26 year-old Paddy, a communications graduate who now works as an art director with an advertising agency.
“We had to try and find an identical ‘99 Nissan Micra engine, and we were in the middle of nowhere so we really thought that we didn’t have a hope. Then we found these guys who spoke German; they checked the equivalent of DoneDeal over there, and they found the exact same engine within 50 kilometres which we just couldn’t believe.”
Once they heard what the guys were up to, the Austrian family who owned the engine stayed up all night and used their expertise on rally car repair to fix Paddy’s Micra, and gave him and his crew a hefty discount at the end of it all.
From there, team Micra Management set off on their journey through the Czech Republic, Serbia, Bulgaria and Turkey before they were afflicted with another major headache in the middle of a Turkmenistan desert. The entire axel and wheel had become detached from their plucky but road-weary Micra, leaving the lads with a 12 hour wait in 40 degree heat before their Turkmen tow truck driver kindly agreed to let them stay overnight in his house, and got his mate to fix their car for free.
Then it was on through Uzbekistan, before a memorable trip through Iran left the Micra Management crew with fond memories of the country’s inhabitants.
“Hands down, my favourite country was Iran. The people there are by far the friendliest people around. As we were going along people were sidling up beside us in their cars, leaning out the windows and giving us gifts going at 120 km/ph . Once they saw that we were foreign, they were giving us chocolate, biscuits, coffee etc. so at the end of every journey we had a car full of gifts!” says Paddy, who reserved special praise for one particularly dedicated admirer.
“This guy had spotted us on the road with the Irish flag miles back, and he then went home to pick up his son who spoke English, and they literally chased us to say hello. They offered for us to come back to theirs, so we went back- two hours in the wrong direction- and we spent the evening with this Iranian family who cooked us an amazing dinner and we watched telly with them after.”
Our favourite person of the trip. This man in Iran has a globe for an office! pic.twitter.com/xc0Ao2vsbi— Micra Management (@MicraManagement) August 18, 2014
To top it all off, Paddy and his mates were treated to the most random of encounters as they conversed as Gaeilge with a Mongolian man clad in a Chelsea shirt while on the finishing strait.
With some donations still to come in, they expect that the amount raised from their odyssey could top a whopping €3,000. According to Paddy, it’s all well and good having the banter of a lifetime on a road trip, but it’s also a great feeling knowing all that effort went to a good cause.
“Volunteering for charity is something that can be totally life-changing. To get all the experiences and meet so many new people, it’s an amazing thing to do. You can go on all sorts of holidays and they’re fun, but some of the experiences you get on these types of trips are so much more meaningful and fulfilling than what you’d get elsewhere.
“You’re having such an amazing time, but you’re also benefitting other people at the same time, so it’s a win-win situation for all involved.”
If you want to let it go and enjoy some fantastic films while you're at it then you'd better head into the west for the the 20th Junior Galway Film Fleadh.
The festival kicks off on November 12th in Galway city and the programme is jam packed with events and screenings that'll keep every type of film fan happy.
As always, there'll be a strong World Cinema programme thanks to a collaboration with IFI Education. You can expect to see the always popular French feature, two very different German movies, and an affecting Spanish drama from Guatemala about three young immigrants’ journey to America.
There'll be plenty of work by some talented young people on show too: The Future Filmmakers Shorts Showcases will screen the very best in student and young people’s short films from all around Ireland.
Those with the cúpla focal can enjoy a selection of Irish language screenings including the highly acclaimed Torthai na Daoirse. The film focuses on the Dunnes Stores apartheid strikers and won the Best Documentary award at the 26th Galway Film Fleadh.
The annual Story Pitching competition is still open for entries for any story ideas from under 18 year olds. Everyone is invited to attend the Story Pitching Finals and hear the pitches performed on Thursday 13th November at 12.30pm in the Town Hall Theatre.
Fans of Disney's smash hit film Frozen are in for a real treat though, because the Fleadh will close with a massive sing-a-long screening and character costume contest. Everyone is invited to come dressed as his or her favourite character from Frozen - or any Disney character - and sing their hearts out to the lyrics, which play on screen. Prizes will be awarded for best costumes and loudest singers!
Competitions, discussions and workshops with filmmakers are just some of the highlights from the programme, which you can view in full at the Film Fleadh's official website. Copies of the programme are also available in locations around Galway city, including Easons and Charlie Byrne's Bookshop.
I am a 22 year old woman living with cystic fibrosis. Two years ago, my condition deteriorated so fast that I barely realized it was happening ‘til my own death was staring me right in the face. Let me also say that I did not ever expect that it would be a liver transplant I’d have, as liver disease is a very serious but less common feature of the condition.
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that primarily affects the lungs and gastrointestinal tract as well as the liver and reproductive system. If two carriers of the gene have a child then the child has a 25% (1 in 4) chance of being born with cystic fibrosis.
Because there is no cure, our daily routine involves time consuming treatments that help to keep our lungs clear as the build up of mucus can lead to recurrent lung infections that cause respiratory damage over time. While recently there has been positive developments in the treatment of cystic fibrosis showing significant improvement in symptoms in patients across the border, studies still show that lung transplantation is the best and most effective way forward for people living with CF.
I’ll never forget my friend Keely. She was the healthiest example of a girl with CF I ever knew. We wrote back and forth to each other on facebook as we could never meet face to face. She was younger than me and asked my advice from time to time. She attended a different hospital to me but I remember her telling me that she couldn’t breathe when she stood up and her doctor didn’t believe her. If I’m honest, she was young and I thought she may be slightly over exaggerating too. Her O2 was in the normal range, and she was hardly ever in hospital.
To look at her you’d say she was the picture of health. About two months later Keely was transferred to St. Vincent’s where I attended. She had one to one nursing and was on 24 hour oxygen. Immediately after assessment she was placed on the list for double lung transplant, but it didn’t come on time and she died. This illness is a cruel one and it never lets you forget that it can claim it’s rights on you at any given time, without shame or a hint of remorse. When it takes you, it doesn’t just take you, it takes your family, your friends, the nurses who looked after you, the nursing staff that fed you, the man who gave you his heart and the acquaintances you made that you never thought were important.
I never worried about what the future held for me ‘til I was facing the fact that I might not live to see it. In December of 2011, I was put on the list for a liver transplant and remained no.1 on the list for eight months in both Ireland and England. I was never a religious person but found myself praying more than Pope John Paul and making promises to God that I knew were unrealistic and I would never be able to keep.
Naturally, I became depressed and started thinking of ways to end my life, I felt so sick I didn’t think I could endure any more pain, physically or mentally and had some other personal stuff going on at the time. The only thing that stopped me from overdosing was a conversation I had with my sister two weeks before, and the fact that there had been two suicides in my town that week already. My family had been through enough and I didn’t want to be looking down on them drying their tears.
But desperation changes a person into anybody but themselves, it makes you do and say things you wouldn’t normally think of. I felt like I could not take anymore but I decided I had to take control and change my point of view. During the wait I had two major scares that set me back and made me inactive on the list. After that, I fought hard to stay well enough to have the operation but after the second scare, I honestly thought it was game over for me and had accepted it. Two weeks later I was brought into theater and my life changed from then on. It’s amazing what the brain has the capability to overcome.
I thought that these things only happened to other people and never me. I knew the likelihood of needing a transplant some day, I just didn’t ever want to believe it. And why did I get mine and Keely didn’t get hers? It’s not fair, but that’s life and life is not fair. Someday I will probably need a lung transplant (taking into note that I say probably because a part of me is in denial) but that’s a bridge I’ll cross when I come to it. Even now, I think I’m the only person in Ireland not freaking about Ebola… because somehow my mind still refuses to believe that anything like that could happen to me.
But anyone, any age, at any time, can end up needing a transplant. Sometimes there is no red light to give you the warning. Keeping so many friends in mind that have reached heaven’s gates before me, that waited on lists til they were wrongfully forced to draw their last breaths, I think of each and every one of them and know that I am lucky.
Last year, there was a significant increase in the number of transplants that took place throughout the country. A whopping 293 people received transplants last year compared to 275 in the year 2011 according to The Irish Kidney Association. It was a ‘record year’ for life saving operations and that is exactly why it is so important to continue to spread awareness about organ donation in Ireland, in particular amongst our young people. There simply aren’t enough donors for the volume of people needing organs, and all that it means is that people are dying because of it.
Currently in Ireland, you must indicate your wishes to be an organ donor before your organs can be retrieved and used for transplantation, whereas other countries are following the ‘opt out system’. I believe it will only be a matter of time before Ireland follows suit, but for now all we can do is encourage our fellow citizens that, morally, donating your organs is the best thing you could ever do.
Because why not? Your organs are of no use to you when you die but could serve huge purpose to someone who is very much in need. The gift of life is the most selfless act a person can commit to of which it’s meaning and importance can have no limit on value. To receive it is the greatest feeling of all time. I can’t think of anything more satisfying than knowing I have benefited somebody else’s life.
I am sending out this message as a plea to anyone out there who is not an organ donor already to become one, and because it’s the least I can do as an advocate for the people that lost their lives waiting for organs that could have saved them. You could save up to 8 lives like mine and people like me, and that’s a pretty remarkable legacy to leave behind!
To become a donor, free text the word DONOR to 50050. Donor cards are available from local pharmacies and doctors surgeries and you can also indicate your decision to be a donor when applying for a driving licence. Don’t forget to discuss your wishes with your family.
I met a man, I fell in love. We parted and I let my hurt overpower my sense of right and wrong. I did an unkind thing to someone who is so important to me.
I had let myself become so bitter. I lost my mental health in my grief over a man.I had tied myself irrevocably to a man who didn't want me. While I know that this is not an excuse, the pain I went through needs to be acknowledged.
The feeling of complete worthlessness carried me. It was absorbed into the walls of my chest, every day, every night. I needed to feel closer to him, to have something else to focus on. Watching him, stalking him online and the people he was involved with made me feel closer to him. Even writing those words disgusts me.
I knew it was wrong, yet my desire to hold on overwhelmed me, more then can ever be explained. I did a sick thing. I tried to harass someone I love.
I wanted a reaction, a response. I'd lie awake thinking, how can he not know that I am in pain? I was heartbroken. I kept watching him, watching his involvement with others online, hoping one day I wouldn't have to watch, I could be a part of something with him again. I struggled to get through each day without vomiting from anxiety.
The anger I felt at myself for feeling this way worsened my mental state. I watched him have a relationship, devastated that he could while I suffered.
My pain and anger manifested physically. I vomited uncontrollably at least once a week from seeing this relationship unfold. I was devastated that he could have a relationship with someone else. Being nasty towards him online, using many different accounts, was my way of getting a response.
I wanted him to act, to be angry, to have some feeling toward me. However, I never, ever wanted him to be hurt by my actions. I didn't think my actions would hurt him emotionally, because I believed he didn't feel strongly enough towards me to be hurt. I would be devastated if someone hurt him, though I can see how that's hard to believe.
I never enjoyed observing him or being abusive toward him or anyone else. I was trying to get closer to him, which is just so disturbing. It made me feel creepy, obsessed and totally pathetic. My actions were cowardly, illegal. My bitterness had festered into vitriol, conveyed through the mediums of Twitter and Facebook. I was shocked that I could be this way. That version of myself is too warped even for me to understand.
It frightened me that I could be this way. I got no pleasure from it. I was just sick. I was guilty, isolated and completely consumed by the feeling of depression. I tried to attack his partners too. I didn't know these girls, it was nothing personal. I had never been a jealous person, I was only jealous of their closeness with him. I regret my behaviour beyond expression. I love him, yet this is not a sane display of love.
It is so unfortunate that I used something as wrong as harassment to convey real pain. I've been seeing a counsellor and focusing on getting healthy. I have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and Depression. I can't change what has happened, only learn from it.
Anyone who is dealing with mental illness or heartbreak, or both, please know that you are never alone. There are amazing organisations that provide discrete help, run by people who will listen and care for your wellbeing.
Speaking to a counsellor has really helped me. It is important to accept and acknowledge how you feel. Nothing is ever permanent: Pain, guilt, anger, all of these emotions will fade. Acknowledging and accepting our feelings, no matter how bad they may seem is always a brave thing to do. It is braver than hurting yourself or others.
We all have inner strength we never knew we had. It takes courage and self belief to find it, but it is there and it can be achieved. I feel guilty everyday, but I can cope with this guilt because that means I learned from my mistake. I am learning to forgive myself because I know that I utterly regret what I did.
If you are reading this and suffering, try to avoid doing things that are self destructive, try to act from a place of kindness towards yourself. Harassment, online or otherwise is never the right thing to do. Anyone in a similar situation should stop immediately pick up the phone, talk to someone. There will always be someone who will listen.
We are not defined by our mistakes, only our lessons.
Ever heard of the Order of Malta Ambulance Corps? Every year, many young Irish people between the ages of 10 and 16 join the ranks of the voluntary organisation as Cadets.
These Cadets become actively involved in the community helping vulnerable groups like the elderly and people with disabilities, but they're also trained in basic like saving skills including First Aid, CPR and Home Nursing.
Having those skills can make a huge difference to their own lives too. Just ask 16-year-old Ballinrobe girl Eimear Morrin. She used them to save her mother's life.
Eimear was at home and came downstairs to discover her mother lying unconscious in the kitchen. She'd had a brain aneurysm and wasn't in a good way but, thanks to her daughter's quick thinking, she survived.
"I knew straight away to open her airways and checked her pulse and we were able to perform CPR, which I had learned through the training", she explains. "Never underestimate the value of getting the Order of Malta."
Eimear is just one of the many Cadets who've gained invaluable skills through the Order of Malta training and she's now become something of a mascot for their organisation. Her story has been entered into the Better Together video awards in the hopes of raising awareness about what the organisation does and encouraging more young people to follow in her footsteps.
You can vote for her story here.
For more information on The Order of Malta be sure to check out their official website.
Do you have a few unwanted bras hidden at the back of your underwear drawer? Well, crack 'em out because they could actually do a whole lot of good this Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The Marie Keating Foundation is appealing for girls and women across the nation to donate their unwanted undies in the name of breast cancer research. It doesn't matter what size, shape, colour or condition they're in either.
For every bra donated they'll receive €1 from Roche Products (Ireland) Limited, who are sponsoring the Give Your Bra for Breast Cancer campaign. All the proceeds raised will go towards the Foundation's work to raise awareness about the symptoms and signs of cancer and the healthy lifestyle changes that we can all make to help prevent it.
Getting involved in the campaign is really easy and there are plenty of different options available.
You can donate your bra directly at one of the nationwide drop-off points listed on the Foundation's website or send it by post to Bras for Breast Cancer, 5th Floor, Huguenot House, 35 - 38 Stephens Green, Dublin 2. You can send in as many as you want so be sure to ask your friends and family if they've any spare undies they'd like to throw in the envelope.
If you want to organise a larger collection in your office, school, shop or community centre then you can e-mail Fiona Sullivan (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more details about posters, collection labels and bra drop bins.
There's always the option of hosting a bit of a bra drop party too. For details about hosting a Girls Night In or to get your hands on a free Girls Night In pack you can contact the very same Fiona Sullivan or give the foundation a buzz on 01 628 3728.
And to think you thought that old off-colour white bra would never be of use again?
For more information on the campaign be sure to check out the Marie Keating Foundation's official website, and if you want to know how to do what's best for your breasts be sure to check out these handy tips.
Bloggger, Niamh, chats to Clara Rose about her career and work as a music therapist.
You hold a Bachelor of Music from Maynooth and went on to complete a two year Music Therapy Masters at the Irish World Academy of Music & Dance in UL. Was this all a 'master plan' or made up was you went along?
I wouldn’t call it a ‘master plan’ (does anyone have one of those?) But here is how it all happened:
When I was in 6th year in school and thinking about what to study in University I had a few ideas; Music, Film Studies, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy and Marine Biology were all on my CAO form.
I went for the BMus (Bachelor of Music) interview in Maynooth and began studying ‘pure music’. At this point I didn’t even know ‘Music Therapy’ existed. Then in third year I studied a Music Therapy module. I did some research into the area and the courses on offer. I became very interested in pursuing a Masters in Music Therapy from UL. After my degree I took a year out to get experience for the Masters in UL.
Had you always planned to study Music Therapy? Why did you decide to venture into that particular field?
Not at all, at the end of second year in my Music Degree I was reading the module list to make choices for third year and spotted a module in ‘Music Therapy’.
I began to get excited. When I saw this I thought; ‘What is Music Therapy? This actually exists?! It sounds like the PERFECT career for me!’ I began to research it and found that the only course in Ireland was the Masters in UL (this is still the only Music Therapy course offered in Ireland). You had to have either a Music or Psychology Degree and ‘relevant experience’ in the field of healthcare to apply.
I had the music degree and I kind of had the healthcare experience; my brother, Daniel, had Cerebral Palsy and loved music passionately. It was his way of communicating with the world. This really informed my experience of music, acting as a way of ‘promoting health’ in a person – singing with my brother, listening to music with him and dancing with him. It allowed him to ‘be’ in the world and to connect with others in a very special way.
After my degree I took a year out to ‘get experience’ to apply for the Masters. I got a job as a care assistant in a residential service for adults with disabilities. I really enjoyed this work and as a result, knew I was interested in working in the healthcare field as a music therapist.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?
Being a musician is not an easy job. You HAVE to love music as the rest of what it involves can be challenging, difficult, pride-swallowing work!
Being a musician means:
What advice would you give to students who are trying to become music therapists?
The first step is to ask yourself the following questions:
If the answer is Yes, then here are the steps:
What is a typical day for you?
I work four days a week as a music therapist. I work as a musician at weekends. Every day is different! Generally on my ‘Music Therapy Days’ I travel to two to three services per day, running group and individual music therapy sessions with clients. These services range from disability services, nursing homes and a hospital. In a week I see up to 100 clients. The earliest I start work is 10am, the latest I finish work is 8.30pm. I usually ‘dine’ in my car at lunchtime but if I’m lucky I might go to a coffee shop. On my late finishing days I have a big lunch and a late dinner. Always make time for food.
On a Friday I do Music Therapy or Music administration: sending emails, phone-calls, Music Therapy client assessments, post CDs, update ‘Clara Rose’ website, practice music or write songs. Some weekends I am off and others are busy with gigs. I tour around Ireland solo or with my band and in Europe. I toured Europe solo twice in 2014.
In regards to music therapy, what are the most challenging and rewarding elements to your job?
What was your career defining moment?
Music Therapy: September 2014: securing a HSE funded post at a Hospital and presenting about Music Therapy to the clinical team (Doctors, consultants, head nurses, therapists).
Music – there has been a few…
Is there anything I didn't ask you that you would like the readers to know?
As the saying goes; “If you love what you do, you never work a day in your life”. This is definitely true for me – I absolutely love what I do, I’ve been very lucky in life to have the gift of music and in all areas of my work I get to share this gift. I’m so grateful for this. As they say, ‘If you follow your heart, your dreams are never far behind’!
All too often, I come across promising movies riddled with a very common flaw: unlikeable characters. When one contemplates the likeability of onscreen characters, it is usually geared towards the protagonist or heroine. Yet, if the aforementioned role is to be portrayed favourably, they must ultimately go up against a believable adversary. Thus for me, a major factor in creating likeability is believability. Please don’t misinterpret my point, the ‘bad guy’ should not be conceived as anyway heroic or cool, but rather as detestable.
This list will attempt to culminate a collective of villains, who either make viewers’ blood boil with rage or skin itch with sheer repulsion. Therefore, unlike many similar lists available out there, this compilation will exclude anti-heroes or those antagonists who have eclipsed the popularity of their respective rival or franchise. Consequently, the likes of Heath Ledger or Jack Nicholson’s Joker or Anthony Hopkins’ chilling Hannibal Lector portrayals will be omitted from selection. If their face is on a t-shirt, their malevolence just hasn’t cut it for this list.
Charles Boyer as Gregory Anton, Gaslight (1944)
Whilst I shall always endeavour to highlight motion pictures that have fallen by the wayside in terms of modern popularity, this little gem’s plaudits alone assert its rightful place on this list. Our lead villain’s evil characteristics are not as initially apparent as the majority of the later entries; an element of his scheme which makes his demeanour all the more unsettling. Gregory keeps his fragile wife Paula, played by esteemed star, Ingrid Bergman; housebound claiming that she is mentally unstable. All the while, it is he who is responsible for his naïve wife’s psychological downfall. It is strange how psychosomatic tactics can almost outweigh those who utilise physical brutality as a means of gaining supremacy. Subtlety and pacing play a big part here.
Kurtwood Smith as Clarence Boddicker, RoboCop (1987)
In typical 1980s fashion, we are presented with a highly adult movie, which is strangely marketed towards children. Granted, the franchise went in a more child-friendly direction following its third instalment, from the outset Paul Verhoeven’s gore laden sci-fi extravaganza was intended to be a multifaceted satire on American and technological society. Unlike the syndicated 90s television programme of the same name, this picture raises hairs better than most horror flicks. In my opinion, this is attributed to two major reasons. Firstly, Basil Poledouris’ score complements the futuristic setting amazingly; it is both unnerving and exciting in equal measure. Secondly, Kurtwood Smith as Clarence Boddicker, a ruthless and psychopathic crime boss who takes pleasure in brutally taking the lives of countless police officers.
Kathy Bates as Annie Wilkes, Misery (1990)
The first female to appear on our list: in so very many movies female characters are presented as being insipid and void of any depth. Probably due to the fact that the film industry is dominated by a male majority but that is an argument for another day. Contrary to this ongoing and seemingly overt trend, Kathy Bates goes against the grain in this terrifying thriller, turning in a truly creepy performance as obsessed fiction fan Annie Wilkes, winning an Academy Award for her efforts. To this day, this film remains the only Stephen King adaption to take home an Oscar; even surpassing the memorable The Shawshank Redemption (1994) and The Green Mile (1999).
Ted Levin as ‘Buffalo Bill’ in The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Most fans when they consider said title, they immediately recall Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster in their respective parts. But as mentioned in the introduction, anti-heroes such as Dr. Lector are exempt from selection due to their obvious trendy appeal. There is nothing trendy however about Jame ‘Buffalo Bill’ Gumb, the sadistic onscreen serial killer who murders numerous obese women to fashion an outfit from their remains. Like Norman Bates in Psycho (1960) and Leatherface in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), this somewhat fictitious individual was based largely on notorious American murderer Ed Gein. It is this realistic dimension that makes this unjustly forgotten villain, appear that bit more unnerving.
Gary Oldman as Norman Stansfield, Leon: The Professional (1994)
Often recalled for being the movie, which offered Natalie Portman her feature debut, this Luc Beeson thriller has a place in the hearts of most serious cinema fans. A character who also holds such esteem, albeit for polar opposite reasons, is Norman Stansfield, played by English star Gary Oldman. For some, it is almost difficult to imagine the Jim Gordon actor playing such a despicable and corrupt individual - a surprise which probably bodes well for said performer abilities; having the range and capabilities to be the beloved hero, or in this case; the hated villain.
Jeremy Irons as Scar, The Lion King (1994)
My first ever visit to a movie theatre was to see this Disney animated masterpiece. It was to be the first and last time I ever shed tears in a cinema. However, it could easily make the toughest of people shed more tears than an X-Factor contestant. Despite being primarily children’s entertainment, due to the basic morals taught and catchy musical numbers, this tour-de-force transcends genre and age parameters. Much like earlier episodes of The Simpsons, this film’s umbrella of appeal encompasses the entire societal spectrum. The Shakespearian style themes and characters are especially noteworthy, with the major one being Scar. Simba’s outcast Uncle tricks his nephew into thinking he was the cause of his good-natured father’s death.
Jonathan Hyde as Bruce Ismay, Titanic (1997)
Having persuaded the Captain to push the engines to their limits, in a bid to make positive headlines upon early arrival in New York, Ismay as director of White Star Line cannot accept that his seemingly unsinkable ship has fallen victim to the treacherous Atlantic Ocean. Thus, he completes an ultimate act of cowardice; climbing into one of the last remaining lifeboats as many women and children are left behind to die. Analysis of Irish poet Derek Mahon’s piece After the Titanic may however alter one’s opinion. If one is a fan of James Cameron’s box office smash, may I suggest consulting the monochrome A Night to Remember (1958), in my opinion the greatest cinematic interpretation of the fate of the renowned vessel.
Gerard McSorley as John Gilligan, Veronica Guerin (2003)
This Joel Schumacher picture is probably mediocre at best. For a more down to earth version of events surrounding the murdered journalist, be sure to check out When the Sky Falls (2000). However, after one single viewing of this title, one will always recall McSorley’s mesmerising performance as feared Dublin crime boss John Gilligan. One scene in particular, where Gilligan brutally pummels Guerin is sure enough to fill the most composed with rage and disgust - a stark contrast to Fr. Todd Unctious, the charming visitor to Craggy Island in 1996.
Peter Andersson as Nils Bjurman, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009)
I am always torn between whether or not I prefer David Fincher’s remake of the Swedish bestseller or Niels Arden Oplev’s original cinematic version. One thing is for certain though, in both movies, audiences cannot help but detest title character Lisbeth Salander’s legal guardian Nils Bjurman. The abusive authority absolutely oozes sleaze, viciously raping his client in exchange for rightful access to her finances. But in true hero versus villain style, Lisbeth gets her own back on the sadist, in a unique way, which is akin to her crafty mentality.
Woody Harrelson as Harlan DeGroat, in Out of the Furnace (2013)
Just to clarify, these lists I compose are arranged in chronological order of the respective movie’s release date and not in order of preference. I will allow you to reorganise them in line with your own particular tastes. However, I do implore everybody to check all of these films out. Our final spot goes to True Detective heavy Woody Harrelson as a callous drug dealer in small town America. Upon viewing this, I instantaneously was drawing comparisons between DeGroat and Clarence Boddicker. Both are too loathsome characters, which radiate auras of psychopathic tendency. Otherwise, this Scott Cooper picture is quite underwhelming, underutilising its stellar cast to a suitably luke-warm critical reception.
This survey about drug use amongst third level students aims to get a better insight into the nature and use of drugs in Ireland. It's completely anonymous and looks at areas such as:
So whether you like the occasional pint, need medication to cope with an illness, take paracetamol to deal with headaches, or sometimes engage in illegal substances, this survey wants to hear about your experiences, in order to gain better insight into the nature and use of drugs in Ireland.
It’s led by Tim Bingham and Colin O'Driscoll, Registered Psychologist (PSI, BPS and HCPC) in conjunction with Students for Sensible Drug Policy, and is aimed at students who have used any drugs.
It hopes that its findings will be able to better equip services to meet the needs to drug users. It takes around 10-15 minutes and is completely confidential.
The National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) have recently launched an amazing and important new campaign, that encourages young people to actively participate in the elimination of hate speech online.
The No Hate Speech Campaign has existed in Europe for a couple of years, and now it has officially launched in Ireland. It aims to provide young people with the tools to identify what hate speech is, stand in solidarity to those who are victims of it, and work together to fight against it.
But what actually is hate speech?
According to the Council of Europe, Hate speech “covers all forms of expression which spread, incite, promote or justify racial hatred, xenophobia, anti-Semitism or other forms of hatred based on intolerance, including: intolerance expressed by aggressive nationalism and ethnocentrism, discrimination and hostility against minorities, migrants and people of immigrant origin."
Basically, what this means is that hate speech is an expression or statement (which may be written, verbal, digital, or other), that offends, threatens, insults, or hurts an individual or community, specifically because they are a member of a certain social, ethnic, or cultural group, often one that is already socially excluded, marginalised or disadvantaged. You can check out our article on it here.
What does the campaign want to do about it?
As stated on their website, the campaign has the following goals:
Sounds great! How can I get involved?
Check out their website here for information on upcoming events you can attend.
Contact email@example.com to become a youth activist with them.