Bask in the glow of the Female Warrior

For years, wrestling has been seen as a man’s world. A place where David meets Goliath, where musclebound alpha males meet in the middle of the ring to settle the score.

Whilst women have been featured, often the emphasis would shift from athletic competition to beauty pageant, with wrestlers acting as eye candy and fighting in sexually fuelled storylines and matches. However, the diva-driven days of old have slowly been left behind, and the age of the strong female competitor is upon us.

Wrestling giants WWE, once responsible for such content as the “bra and panties match” and forced lesbian love affairs are now working to right the wrongs of the past, holding women’s only pay per views and creating a female tag team championship tournament – the first in the company’s history. Former UFC champion Ronda Rousey made the jump to the wrestling company last year, and is rumoured to become the first woman, alongside Charlotte Flair (daughter of legendary hall of fame wrestler Ric Flair) to headline the company’s global attraction, Wrestlemania.

These changes are set to make a positive impact on the portrayal of women throughout the industry, from the top of the mountain at WWE to the path along the way.

Glasgow wrestler Emily Haden has spent the last seven years honing her craft up and down the country, recently taking part in an all-woman battle royale at the Jam House, in Edinburgh. Reflecting on changes in recent years, she is glad of the positive steps forward.

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(Credit: Emily Hayden)

“Oh, I welcome the change!” She exclaims “It’s great to see women presented with the same opportunities as our male counterparts. Wrestling has always been a male dominated sport so I find it exciting to see women being given the chance to go from ‘Bra and Panties’ matches to a TLC match for example. The sky is the limit these days to what else women can do. There’s been so many women within wrestling who have been breaking down doors and shattering glass ceilings so it’s about time we see the big pay off.”

Growing up, Haden rarely missed a show of Monday Night Raw, WWE’s flagship programme. Watching as a young girl, the show portrayed the female characters a lot differently in the early 2000’s than they do in 2019.

“Women were always sexualised and used as ‘eye candy’ for the men in the audience” Emily recalls “whether it be a valet/manager spot or with matches like Bra and Panties, Evening Gown and Playboy matches”

But there were a few diamonds in the rough, strong women attempting to break the mould and make a change in what was considered a “Diva” era.

“We did have women like Lita, Trish Stratus, Victoria and even more recently, A.J. Lee, who were strong women. Yes, they weren’t afraid to be sexy with photoshoots and whatnot but they stood out for their in-ring talent as well as their looks.”

The showcasing of WWE’s female division has reverberated throughout the entire wrestling community: more and more female showcases are appearing in many companies around the world, including Fierce Females, an all-women wrestling promotion based in Glasgow.

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(Credit: Mrs Wilson Photography)

Emily doesn’t believe that this equality was an overnight sensation, rather years of pioneering young women. “I’d like to argue that there is no specific point in which a positive change started happening, I feel like this has been building up over the course of many years through a variety of strong, empowering women paving the way for future wrestlers to become trailblazers in their own right. Every one of them helped to make this women’s revolution possible.”

The future looks bright for women in the wrestling industry, now held on an equal pedestal in such a male dominated industry. Emily is proud to be a part of the wrestling scene, but aware that the fight isn’t quite over yet.“Women are being given great opportunities especially after having to fight so hard to get them. I feel the hard work isn’t done though. I feel we still have some work to go before we can say we have evolved from ‘this is great for a women’s match!’ for example. There should never be that factor taken into the calibre of a match.”

Thanks to the trailblazers that came before her, and the empowered young women she stands with, Emily believes that there is unlimited potential for women who stand inside the squared circle in 2019.

“The sky is the limit to what can be achieved and we’re just getting started. I can’t wait to see the journey that wrestling will take with this women’s revolution”.

Female wrestlers have also broke through to popular culture in the movies, with recent release Fighting With My Family documenting the rise of WWE superstar Paige. Read our review here.

EN4News in Numbers

In a world of constant news bombardment, some info can fall through the cracks. We’ve assembled a list of interesting factoids so you don’t have to worry about missing out! This weeks list includes some special International Women’s Day facts. 

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(Credit: Jade du Preez)

Review: Derry Girls

The girls from Derry are back, and they might be even better than the first time around.

This week, over a year from when it first appeared on our screens, saw Lisa McGee‘s Derry Girls return to Channel 4.

Set in 1995, the Troubles serve as a grim background to the girls’ – and James’ – antics as they navigate their teenage years. Reintroducing Erin (Saoirse-Monica Jackson), our narrator, as she lies in the bathtub revives the comedic value these characters created in the previous season. Orla (Louisa Harland) walking in, and interrupting Erin’s imaginary interview with Terry Wogan, mirrors the first glimpse we had of Derry Girls – Orla reading Erin’s diary.

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The girls and James set off on an outward-bound weekend with the Londonderry Boys Academy (Credit: Channel 4)

The rest of the group – Clare (Nicola Coughlan), Michelle (Jamie-Lee O’Donnell), and their wee English fella, James (Dylan Llewellyn) – turn up before they all head out on their trip to “make friends across the barricade” with the Londonderry Boys Academy. Despite claims that the weekend away is all about “doing it for peace”, they all have their own motivations for bonding with the Protestant boys. Erin and Michelle want to experience the “moves” of boys who aren’t James – and James just wants friends who aren’t girls.

The outward-bound weekend gets off to a rocky start with the return of Father Peter (and his beautiful hair) who’s all too keen to lead a few workshops. He asks the group, “What do Protestants and Catholics have in common?” Obviously, he isn’t expecting differences – and only differences – to be shouted by the teens.

“Protestants keep toasters in cupboards.” “Protestants are taller.” “Catholics have more freckles.” And of course, Orla’s contribution into the chaos: “Protestants hate Abba.”

It’s not long before the Differences board is crammed full with many more of these quirky accusations. This scene is a hilarious. It’s absurd and witty, but there’s a few true issues hiding in there. McGee does something amazing with the humour of Derry Girls – she shows the Troubles through the lighter, and almost naive, perspective of teenagers.

Of course, it is only when darkness falls that the true motivation behind the girls’ decision to “make friends across the barricade” comes out in full force. They, and James, ambush the dormitory of a Londonderry group with music, drinks and that keen teenager’s belief that an epic party is about to take place.

It’s predictable that things do not go to plan. Orla and James end up overly latching on to their buddy, Clare tries to one-up goody-goody Jenny Joyce by going from workshop buddy to fully fledged Catholic-Protestant friends, Michelle finds out what her Londonderry boy’s bracelet means, and Erin…

Well, Erin fails at flirting with Dee, her Londonderry buddy – so much so that he thinks she was having a breakdown. It’s clear Erin still has a lot to learn.

The morning after the night before sees Clare dangling off a cliff edge, screaming that her buddy is “a fenian-hating madman”. As it turns out, the boy is deaf in one ear – and it isn’t Catholics he hates, it’s athletes. This causes a full-on fist fight between the boys and the girls, with Our Lady’s Sister Michael and Londonderry Academy’s Ms Taylor watching on as Father Peter tries to break the fight up. Only when the parents are called does Erin finally realise what they all have in common, and adds it to the Similarities board – they all have interfering parents.

And this is only the comeback from our favourite girls (and James – is it wrong if I just group him in with the girls?). Season two, if episode one is anything to go by, will be the craic.

Episode two will be aired on Channel 4 Tuesday at 21:15, and you can catch up on season one and the first episode of season two here.

Reality TV: A very real killer

Reality TV seems to have become an inescapable part of everyday life. You can’t move for news of what a Kardashian is eating or what clothes someone from Made In Chelsea was seen wearing.

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(Credit: Dean Leu)

People can make an insane amount of money from reality TV: there are deals to be made, paid advertising to be displayed and the odd magazine cover to grace. Talk about yourself on live television, make sure your life is interesting, maybe stage a big fight and you’re laughing. Of course this is all made easier by the ridiculous sums of money you’re paid for drinking some special water brand and appearing on our screens every single day.

The old saying goes, ‘if it looks too good to be true, it probably is’ and there sure are some downsides to a life in the limelight – lack of privacy, threats on your life and constant trolling on social media? It’s what you get if you want to have all that money! “Suck it up sweetheart, you’ve got it so easy with your mansion and 17 sports cars, you don’t live like the rest of us!” We’ve heard the same rhetoric over and over with each new face that pops up on our screens but nothing is changing, and the growing problem of reality star suicide isn’t changing. Between 2004 and 2016, at least 21 American reality TV stars took their own lives with suggestion unfurling about whether reality TV attracts more unstable people or whether it’s the aftermath of their new found fame that drives them to such actions.

The unstable theory is an interesting one. Ever thought to yourself, ‘I could never go on TV and have my every move followed like that’? Well for those people this theory makes total sense – they think that it takes a certain kind of person to live the reality TV lifestyle, and that person must be more unstable, more needy, and more self conscious. They must be different to us ‘normal’ human beings! We couldn’t possibly have anything to do with it! Wrong… and this is where the two theories intertwine. The second theory being that the aftermath of those 15 minutes of fame is what leads to a downward spiral. The paparazzi badgering, the maintenance to stay relevant and current, the harsh celebrity treatment, it’s no wonder that some celebrities find being thrust into a totally alien lifestyle can be too much. We treat celebrities like we own them and dispose of them easily because we know there will be someone else to fill their shoes. We stalk them on social media, in real life and on our TV screens, then we ridicule them in gossip magazines, Instagram and forums, and when they’ve had enough of our disgusting behaviour? We throw them aside because some new show has come along. And when you’re led to believe that this is your job, you have to perform or else the rent won’t get paid, you can bet your bottom dollar that they’ll play along. It’s a twisted tug-of-war against the humiliation of admitting defeat (that you couldn’t keep on top of the fame) or letting the reality TV mill defeat you entirely. It’s unsurprising that we see people struggle under the cast iron grip of fame in the modern era.

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Constant attention (both from the public and the press) can be detrimental to mental health. (Credit: Shena Tschofen)

Just because we see people on our TV screens doesn’t make them a pawn in our game – they might look like it, but they’re not Barbie dolls to be disposed of. You shouldn’t rip the arms off them and then leave them at the bottom of your garden, forgotten and used up. And yet this continues to happen, very few reality stars of last month are remembered, let alone those of yesteryear. Our harsh view of them should never drive someone to suicide, but we continue to overlook the scrutiny and continue consuming whatever the big bosses of Reality TV-Land have to offer us; another Kardashian series? Yes please! A new spin off of The Only Way Is Essex? Why not, it’s something to fill your Tuesday night void.

We don’t have to remember every single person that joins a reality TV cast, it wouldn’t be possible to, but if we treated them a little bit gentler and with a tad more respect, then those grim suicide statistics will drop. Some people will have underlying issues that we are not to blame for, but the incessant trolling and bullying has to go. Don’t poke the fire that has already claimed too many lives, don’t endanger more lives – just be kinder to others and remember that the reality you see is a loose definition, not necessarily a definite truth.

For more on celebrity privacy, read Luka Kenyon’s article on celeb social media.

Time for a Keychange

PRS Foundation’s Keychange initiative is determined to make the music industry more equal.

PRS Foundation is an independent charitable foundation, funded by PRS for Music, that aims to support new music.

With a wide range of grants and funding, PRS Foundation works tirelessly to support musicians of all genres at important stages of their careers.

Currently, only 16% of PRS members are women, which is why PRS Foundation continue to make a special effort to support the careers of female songwriters, artists and producers.

The Women Make Music grant was introduced in 2011 to support female songwriters and composers and to raise awareness of the gender gap in the industry by increasing the profile of women making music in the UK.

In a similar way, the Lynsey de Paul Prize offers solo female musicians funding and support, in memory of award-winning songwriter and producer Lynsey de Paul, who passed away in 2014.

The launch of the Keychange initiative is PRS Foundation’s most recent step towards an equal music industry.

Keychange is a talent support initiative that invests in women working in music from across Europe. Though 60 female artists and innovators were originally chosen to take part, the initiative has grown to support women across the music industry.

Keychange was founded in partnership with 7 festivals from across Europe and even in Canada, who set themselves a five-year goal of reaching a 50:50 gender balance on their stages. Keychange has continued to encourage festivals from across Europe to sign up to achieve a 50:50 gender balance at their events by 2022.

In just over a year, more than 150 festivals have set themselves this target. PRS Foundation research showed that when the initiative was launched in 2017, female artists made up just 26% of the line-up in a sample of big music festivals in the UK.

Wide Days, XpoNorth, Sonica Festival and Celtic Connections are just some of the festivals in Scotland that have signed up to the Keychange pledge.

The Keychange manifesto was even presented at European Parliament at the end of 2018, outlining the current gender gap in the industry and suggesting ways gender equality can be achieved across the industry.

The important aspect of initiatives like Keychange is that the 50:50 target can be applied to many aspects of the music industry.

Vanessa Reed presented the Keychange manifesto to European Parliament. (Credit: @keychangeeu on Instagram)

PRS Foundation CEO and founder of the initiative Vanessa Reed says, “I think Keychange is a useful example of positive collective action stimulating and inspiring change”.

She adds, “There’s no reason why we couldn’t adapt this kitemark to represent new commitments from across the industry, for example for orchestras, promoters, trade bodies and radio stations. The way they approach the pledge is likely to vary but the principles will remain the same – aiming for a more balanced industry which will be better for everyone.”

For more about Keychange and a full list of festivals that have signed up in time for festival season this year visit keychange.eu.

EN4 News Movie and TV Round-up

Liam Mackay and Olivia Hill round up this week’s entertainment news. Topics include the Oscars and the latest movie releases.

For more discussion on the Oscars, check out our Oscars reflection podcast here.

You can also check out Michaella Wheatley’s review of Fighting with my Family, or Olivia Hill’s review of Netflix’s Paddleton.

From the big screen and the small screen, to your computer screen: Hollywood actors in video games

The Academy Award for best actor went to Rami Malek for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. You may also know him from the Amazon Prime original series Mr. Robot, or from the Night at the Museum films alongside Ben Stiller.

Gamers, however, will know him from his work on the 2015 horror video game Until Dawn.

Malek performed motion capture and voice acting to portray Josh, who invites his friends to spend the weekend at a ski lodge on the anniversary of his sisters’ disappearance, kick-starting a unique and interactive horror story.  He worked alongside fellow actor Hayden Panettiere who has starred in TV programmes Heroes and Nashville. 

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Rami Malek as Josh in Until Dawn. (Credit: Supermassive Games)

As video games become increasingly mainstream, more actors are taking on the challenge of acting in video games. Video game acting has evolved beyond voice acting, but is now a full performance. Here’s some of the most prolific actors who have acted in video games.

Sean Bean & Patrick Stewart

Sean Bean and Patrick Stewart both acted in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. This fantasy role playing game was the perfect setting for veteran English actors Bean and Stewart. Sean Bean played the illegitimate son of the emperor Uriel Septim (played by Stewart, who dies early on in the game), on a quest to claim the throne and defeat an evil cult. Having these actors involved is a testament to the calibre of acting skills that video games can attract.

Kiefer Sutherland

Kiefer Sutherland took on the established role of Solid Snake in the 5th instalment of the long-running Metal Gear Solid series. Sutherland has been in many films and television programmes, with arguably his most famous role portraying Jack Bauer in 24. His performance has special forces operative Snake was memorable. Even though almost every gamer has heard of Metal Gear Solid, Sutherland’s inclusion in the game widened the fan-base to people who had perhaps never heard of the franchise before.

Gary Oldman, Kit Harrington & Conor McGregor

The Call of Duty series has featured many famous actors over the course of the franchise. A fan favourite, Russian soldier Viktor Reznov, was played by Academy Award winner Gary Oldman (with the inclusion of Malek, that makes two Academy Award winners having appeared in video games). Oldman was excellent in his portrayal of the grizzled Russian sergeant in Call of Duty: World at War. Call of Duty’s characters can be quite two dimensional, but Oldman’s performance solidified the character in our memory. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare also features Game of Thrones’ Kit Harrington and professional MMA fighter Conor McGregor as villains.

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Kit Harrington in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (Credit: Activision)

Mark Hamill

Most children of the nineties and earlier will remember Mark Hamill‘s portrayal of The Joker alongside Kevin Conroy’s Batman in Batman: The Animated Series. This portrayal of The Joker has stuck in many fans’ minds and is now the iconic voice of The Joker. He reprised that role in Batman: Arkham Asylum and its sequels to critical acclaim. The work of Hamill and Conroy elevated these games from superhero beat-em-ups to fan-favourite Batman stories.

Liam Neeson

Liam Neeson appeared in Fallout 3 as your (the protagonist’s) father. He said that he was attracted to the role for the quality of the script and the considerable amount of dialogue. The studio that makes the Fallout games also created the Elder Scrolls series that has starred Patrick Stewart and Sean Bean. James’ (Neeson’s character) personality and stance was intended to resemble Neeson from the beginning, and the character model even bares slight resemblance.

Charles Dance 

Charles Dance always plays a good villain, and his appearance in CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher III was no exception. Dance played Emperor Emhyr Var Emreis, the most powerful man in The Witcher’s universe. The character was not dissimilar from Dance’s role as Tywin Lannister in HBO’s Game of Thrones. Emhyr is cold, authoritative, multi-layered and a fascinating figure in the Witcher universe – but it’s Dance’s voice talents which brought to life such an excellent character.

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Mark Hamill in Squadron 42. (Credit: Cloud Imperium Games)

The entire cast of Squadron 42

The upcoming game Squadron 42, however, beats all the previous titles at having an all-star cast. Actors include Gillian Anderson, Andy Serkis, Mark Strong, Mark Hamill and Liam Cunningham. Not a lot of information has been released about this game yet, other than it’s a science-fiction action game centred around space travel. However, the chance to see these actors working together is a very exciting prospect.

So long, Meadowbank

Meadowbank Stadium is home to many sporting moments etched forever in the minds of both athletes and spectators – including the 1986 Commonwealth Games. Understandably, there was a mixed reaction when the stadium closed its doors for the final time in 2017.

Some were happy to see the old, worn-down place go. After all, it’s set to be replaced by an all-new sporting facility in 2020. Others were left feeling dejected, nostalgically looking back at countless matches, competitions and general feel-good moments that took place in one of the city’s great sporting grounds.

2019 has seen demolition of the old stadium recently completed, as building work for the £45 million replacement is imminent. But there is one more thing that has been lost with the old place, one relic of Edinburgh’s artistic flair that hasn’t been at the forefront of the closure as much as its sporting accolades: the music.

Used as an occasional replacement for the nearby Usher Hall, Meadowbank was temporary home to a surprisingly elite list of musicians and groups known the world over. Scotland’s own Simple Minds headlined the 25,000 capacity space back in 1989, when the band were arguably at their peak, the same year they achieved their only UK number one “Belfast Child”.

Among a string of names to drop by the venue in the 90s was the legendary singer/enigma Prince, bringing his infectious grooves to the city in 1993. To think of Prince strutting his stuff just a stone’s throw from Easter Road today seems like a far-fetched fable, but strut he did. The gig was even presented in conjunction with Forth One. Prince on Forth One…wild.

The 2000s saw Meadowbank host the short-lived but critically-acclaimed T on the Fringe Festival, in which major acts would descend upon the sporting venue to perform as part of that year’s Fringe Festival. An impressive array of artists would grace the stage during those few years, including Muse, Foo Fighters, Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails.

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Idlewild, including Rod Jones (far right). (Credit: Mihaela Bodlovic)

Edinburgh’s own Idlewild opened for grunge pioneers Pixies at the old sports ground in 2005, sharing the bill with fellow Scots Teenage Fanclub. Idlewild guitarist Rod Jones reminisces about a magical moment, in which he got to share the stage with his heroes in his hometown:

“For us it was a really special moment, playing between two of our favourite bands in our hometown,” he muses. “I’ve always been a huge fan of both Pixies and Teenage Fanclub, and remember feeling fairly surreal – but excited – looking over to the side of the stage and seeing Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub) and Frank Black (The Pixies) watching us.

“I remember it being a pretty special night,” Rod continues, before mentioning another great bonus to playing a show in his hometown: “Always nice to be able to walk home from a gig!”

In recent years, the grounds have been used less and less frequently, with a 2016 Elton John concert marking the last time music would emanate from that breezy sports track. Gone, but certainly not forgotten, Meadowbank will hold a place in the hearts of many music fans who got to experience their favourite tune, their icon, or their bucket list band there.

Read more EN4 News coverage of Meadowbank here.

Indie band The Frontiers talk about their origins, their progress and their future

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From left to right: Dylan, Keir, James and Ross (Credit: Black Ace Photography)

Ayrshire-based indie rockers The Frontiers spoke to us, as is the way of all good band interviews, in the smoking bit outside a nightclub after they’d finished their set.

The boys were friendly, enthusiastic, and very happy with how they’d done. We were also happy with how they’d done: it was a cracking show, even if The Frontiers were just supporting. The band’s sound is a great mix of stuff: a little indie, a little hard rock, and a little bit old school.

The more classic sound of their tunes is what really sets them apart: any band these days will talk about how they’ve been influenced by The Arctic Monkeys, but when The Frontiers mentioned their influences, the first thing out their vocalist’s mouth was The Jam. The Jam! Who listens to The Jam anymore? The Frontiers are basically as if your dad’s record collection had four kids with a trendy indie playlist on Spotify (speaking of, they released their first single on the streaming service last week). Those four kids, by the way, are:

The Band

Keir Mitchell – Vocals

Ross Phillips – Lead guitarist

Dylan Canniffe – Drums

James Campbell – Bass

 

EN4 News: So let’s start from the start: how long have you guys been playing together?

Ross: About a year and a half? Me and Keir have played longer, maybe three years.

Keir: Aye, just after school. Me and Ross were playing locally, but we wanted to do bigger gigs, and take it a bit further, so we like “we need a drummer now”. So we found Dylan, then found James through him. It’s been good, we’ve played good gigs in that year and a half.

James: We have, like King Tuts was only our third gig together!

EN4: Really! That’s a big one for such a new band. Do you play Glasgow a lot?

Ross: As much as we can.

Keir: King Tuts was only our third gig together, but I completely, completely bullsh—ed my way into it. Told them we’d be gigging for two years and that, then they made us headliners! To be fair, we managed to bring about 140 folk over, so it was pretty good. But it’s stuff like that that helps build a fanbase, moving past just friends and family.

Ross: That’s our main goal now, we’ve just recently passed one thousand likes of Facebook.

Keir: That’s a big thing for us too, because where we come from [Cumnock in Ayrshire], the music scene isn’t a big thing at all.

EN4: Do you know a lot of bands in Ayrshire? Is there much competition?

Keir: You could count on one hand the ones that are any good.

Dylan: Even less of them doing their own songs.

Keir: Aye, it’s mostly cover bands since it’s all pubs and villages.

EN4: So would you blame it on a lack of venues or a lack of interest?

Dylan: There did used to be a scene for it.

James: I would say that it’s also people in our area don’t really take music seriously.

Keir: Up here, folk will come see you play even if they don’t know who you are ’cause there’s a music scene. Down our way you’ve no chance.

James: Yeah, the heritage of Cumnock is as a mining village, so everybody back home really has a work mentality.

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From left to right: Dylan, Keir, James and Ross (Credit: Black Ace Photography)

EN4: So do you take inspiration more from Glasgow music scene, or bigger bands, or do you very much focus on your own stuff?

Keir: I’m personally a bit too much of a dreamer, so I like to follow what other bands have done more than anything else. What I mean is like you go to the venues and you play the gigs and the same stages as the bigger bands, but obviously in your own way with you own tunes.

Ross: The sound is a bit heavier in Glasgow than most our stuff.

Dylan: It’s hard to find somebody the same genre as us [amongst smaller bands]. Tonight’s probably the closest we’ll get to similar bands.

EN4 News: Do you think that’s because you’ve got a bit more of an old-school vibe in your songs?

Keir: Aye, there’s not anything like what we do in the charts. But it’s not that we’re trying to get it there, we’re just doing what we love. Even if it’s a style of music that’s maybe faded a bit.

James: Also, everybody brings different inspiration to the band, so it all kind of mashes together into something unique.

EN4: Is there anybody you all listen to and think “that’s how I want us to sound”?

Ross: It always changes for me. Week to week, honestly.

Keir: I love music that much, one day I’ll be like “I want to sound like The Jam”, the next it’ll be someone else.

Dylan: Yeah, you don’t just take one thing, you’ve got to take it all in.

EN4: Completely different topic: where’s the name from?

James: I dunno, the name was there before I was!

Keir: If you want me to be honest, it’s not a good story: I was watching a film called “The Frontiers” and I thought, that’s cool man! Me and Ross had a name before, but it was a bit dodgy. (Laughing) We’ll not go there!

EN4: So what do The Frontiers have coming up? You’ve got a tour planned?

Keir: It’s called the “It’s Alright Tour” after our single which we just released today. That’s doing really well, already a couple hundred downloads.

Dylan: The gigs are the 29th, 30th and 31st of March, in Hamilton, Bathgate, and Glasgow.

Keir: We’re in The Record Factory in Glasgow in June as well, but that’s gonna be our sort of second stage. It’s all just about promoting the single, which is tough for a band without management. We kinda fell into a lot of stuff playing here in Glasgow, actually: someone heard us and liked us, and told us “I’ll record your single for you and send you on tour.” And well, we weren’t really gonna say no!

EN4 News: More recording coming up too?

Ross: Nothing booked, but we’re definitely gonna get on that.

Keir: Yeah we have plans for an EP at some point, and hopefully get our main songs recorded in the summer, so watch out for that.

Fictional King, Real Life Horror

A writer’s worst nightmare – your debut novel inspires the death of 8 people and has to be pulled from shelves 20 years after it was published.

This very scenario became a sick reality for Richard Bachman, who published Rage in 1977, but discontinued its printing in 1997 after it became infamous as fodder for school shooters. The book follows a mentally challenged boy who holds up his school after he is expelled. He shoots several teachers and takes his classroom hostage, creating an impromptu therapy group with his fellow students. All present begin to realise that each hostage has divulged a secret except for a one, so they all turn on that student when they realise that none of them are really there against their will. After beating the lone hostage, the shooter attempts suicide by cop, which fails. He is then found not guilty by reasons of insanity and sent to a psychiatric hospital.

In the real world, things started relatively tame – the first two shootings were more like hostage takings but both had a copy of the book in their possession or had a reported fascination with it. Then 1993 saw the first fatalities – Gary Scott Pennington fatally shot his English teacher and then the school’s custodian in Kentucky. He had written an essay on Rage just before the shooting and was angered when he was given a C grade from the teacher that he had killed. He was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for 25 years.

Three years later, another shooting. This time Barry Loukaitis killed three people before he was wrestled to the ground and disarmed by a gym coach who volunteered to be his hostage for safe passage out of the school. It is believed that Loukaitis quoted Rage, but he actually reportedly said, “this sure beats algebra, doesn’t it?” after fatally killing his algebra teacher.

RESOLUTION

Infographic (Credit: Jade du Preez)

The next year, Michael Carneal shot eight students at a prayer meeting in a Kentucky high school – three of them died. Carneal had a copy of the Bachman omnibus including Rage in his locker, and this was the straw that broke the camel’s back. He took the book off the publication line in the US, although it remained in circulation in the UK for a while longer. In a story that warps fiction and reality, the water grows murkier – Richard Bachman isn’t who he says he is either. He’s actually Stephen King, famed horror novelist who started writing under the pen name of Richard Bachman for two reasons.

Ragebachman

The 1st edition cover of the novel.

He wanted to see if he could replicate his popularity under a secret identity because he was unsure of whether his success in horror was due to talent or luck (he had a deep addiction to alcohol and drugs from the 70s to the late 80s). At the time most authors were only allowed to write one novel a year but King is known for his ability to write several novels a year. It is also said that he wanted to write several novels each year without these restrictions, but he did not know the devastation his debut would cause.

Whether such horrific acts would have taken place without the presence of Bachman’s novel will never be known, but in 2018 one school shooting occurred roughly every eight days in the US so the novel’s removal from shelves seems to have done nothing to deter some minds from picking up a gun. Atrocities like the Parkland Shooting still happened, and 113 people were killed or injured last year in the US in mass shootings. Even without the book, there probably would have been some other novel or film or music that someone unstable enough to commit such a crime could place their blame on.

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