The Snail Review: Masterpiece or primary school art project?

I can’t claim to be well informed about art but you can’t help but wonder what the big deal is about colored chunks of paper.


The Snail by Matisse
The Snail on display in the Tate Gallery


Staring deeply into the pigmented paper upon which sits 12 roughly cuts out pieces of colored paper, the edges adorned by an uneven orange border. All throughout wondering, “What is this, why is this famous.” I don’t get it, perhaps I never will. What I will say is that considering this comes from an artist who gave us true masterpieces such as “Woman Reading” and “The Dance”, it’s hard to see how this can even be mentioned in the same breadth.


Matisse moved from painting to what became known as gouaches decoupees such as The Snail in the 1950. Arthritis had confined him to his bed where his assistants carried on his work under Matisse’s instructions. The Snail was created in 1953 just one year before Matisse’s death.


There is not doubt there is artistic value somewhere in The Snail, the hard part is not acknowledging that, rather trying to work out what and where exactly it is. The more I stare at it, the more I get lost trying to work this out. Perhaps that is the point, staring so deeply into that you mind your own meaning within the brightly colored paper.

Assassins Creed Rogue Review

Ubisoft’s seventh instalment provides a wonderful continuation in the Templars vs Assassins saga, this time with a twist in the long running historical action series 


4 star rating 

The prospect of a video game series releasing a new title every year is nothing new. It often proves a saga’s biggest problem as they suffer from franchise fatigue. FIFA has managed year to year to provide a solid if not spectacular update to its football game with the occasional masterpiece to keep it fresh. Ubisoft’s Assassins Creed is that in reverse, each year’s addition is exceptional and 2014’s Rogue is no different.



You are Shay Patrick Cormac. A rough Irish assassin from a troubled background who finds meaning in the liberty that the assassins fight for. However, after being sent on an assignment to Lisbon to retrieve a powerful “piece of Eden” Shay, unaware of the true power of the artefact causes a huge earthquake to hit the city killing thousands of innocents, the people the assassins are sworn to protect.

Assassins Creed screenshot
Shay in action


Horrified at what he sees as his his mentors blasé attitude, Shay abandons the assassins, throwing in his lot with the Templars, the sinister group intent on providing “peace through control.” As you navigate through a series of missions to hunt down your former friends, you embark on a slightly fictionalised version of history set against the backdrop of the seven-year’s war in the US. You meet real life characters such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson interacting with them as you go.


The game is a beautiful link in the series. It provides brilliant context to Assassins Creed III released in 2012 but for which it serves as a prequel. Likewise, a wonderful sequel to 2013’s Black Flag. As ever with Assassins Creed, the graphics are the envy of the gaming world. Only bettered by Rockstar’s 2010 Red Dead Redemption. The mix of land and sea along with numerous side missions will keep you glued to your controller for hours.


Assassins Creed screenshot
Shay kills an assassin with his sword and dagger


Assassins Creed Rogue is available is Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft PC now

See the trailer here

“It was bloody cold” – LSBU disabled door becomes handicapped.

Faulty door leaves university receptionist with a bit of a chill


The main door leading from LSBU’s London Road campus to Elephant and Castle Studios broke down at midday on Monday. The faulty door doesn’t close properly meaning cold air blows in making life a misery for the nearby receptionist Zulfi.

He told us that “the broken door had mainly affected me as the door
doesn’t close properly and it’s bloody cold” The issue has been reported to the London South Bank University’s main maintenance contractor CBRE who have been contacted many times but as of yet, the problem has still yet to be resolved.

The problem with the main reception door comes on the back of the entrance door to the rear of Elephant studios being smashed. Repairs on that door have only just begun after more than two weeks.

A Truely Great Performance.

London South Bank University FC demolish Greenwich 8-1 for their 4th successive win.


It was a game to remember for London South Bank University FC at Burgess Park on a blustery day that saw them smash 8 past a woeful Greenwich defense. Already 5-0 up at half-time, LSBU were on the front foot from the very start. One up from a 2nd minute penalty and hitting the post just 60 seconds later. It set the tone for a 90 minute onslaught that saw an own goal and two different Harry’s both scoring twice, in the case of right-back (yes right-back) Harry Thompson scoring two absolute pearlers.


Keen to put pressure on their opponents early, LSBU were straight out of the block. Before anyone even had a chance to settle down, Scott Clampin-Dance was pushed to the ground giving the referee no choice but to award a penalty which was duly tucked away by Amin Martinez. Almost straight from the restart, LSBU were almost two up. A ball of real quality was played through by Harry Carrey and was pounced on by Bas Eltigani but he unluckily saw his effort rebound off the post.


After that, Greenwich were able to settle more into the game after their early shock it took until the 14th minute to even warm the hands of LSBU keeper Joe Cook, a tame shot from distance was as good as it got for Greenwich. That weak effort only spurred LSBU on. Martinez looked set to add to his early penalty, a brilliant swivel and volley in the box only to see his shot cannon off the crossbar.


With the woodwork still shaking, LSBU stepped up to transform the score from 1-0 in the 20th minute to 5-0 just 13 minute later. After Greenwich’s keeper pushed a shot from Callum Bedward wide of the post, the resulting corner saw bed-loom in the Greenwich box and as the ball found its way back into the 6 yard area, it bounced off the head of an unlucky Greenwich defender looping painfully over the keeper.


After hitting the crossbar yet again, this time directly from a corner, LSBU ramped up the pressure again. An excellent through ball by Ricky Hehir resulted in the Greenwich keeper forced into another good save to deny Eltigani. But further chaotic defending from the following corner saw Harry Carrey lose his man and bury his header into the back of the net. Only two minutes passed before a strike that prompted many to rub their eyes in disbelief when the other Harry (Thompson), pinned on the edge of the box side to goal, volleyed a sublime effort over the keeper, prompting wild celebrations among teammates. 


There was still 10 minutes remaining in the first-half when Carrey, effortlessly lost his marker from a throw-in and cantered into the box, placing a lovely finish into the bottom corner for his second and LSBU’s fifth without reply as the first 45 came to end, temporarily relieving Greenwich.


A job well done at half-time, LSBU get a well done from the boss.


When the second-half kicked off, Greenwich attempted to reclaim some honor. However Cook was on hand to push away a dangerous free-kick only 60 seconds in. Although the game was played at a much lower tempo for most of the second half, it burst into life again on the hour. Captain left-back Matt Clarke received the ball in his own half. He set off with the ball releasing Carrey down the left who continued the run, serving up a glorious cross. Clarke who had surged into the box received the ball, got it out from underneath his feet and buried it into the bottom corner for LSBU’s sixth.


The game had been so one-sided, it was a complete shock when Greenwich got on the score sheet. The Greenwich winger powered into the box and drilled a well directed shot into the net from a tight angle. However rather than spur some kind of comeback, it only succeeded in making LSBU angry. So much so that they responded like that had all day. With goals, two more of them. First Harry Thompson after having already scored one worldy in the first-half, found himself blessed with a second quality strike. Having the ball laid off to him from just outside the box, he curled the ball first time into the top corner to make it 7-1.


There was still plenty of time for Bas Eltigani to get the goal his play had deserved all day. And it may even be a contender for goal of the day. A deep ball from Martinez found Eltigani out wide on the left wing. With no support ahead of him, he went alone, eased past his marker and from a tight angle, slid the ball in at the near post.


Scoring was finally complete at 8-1 when the referee brought the game to an end. A truly spectacular game an almost faultless performance from LSBU. They pressed and harried Greenwich when they were on the ball. On the attack, the fluid play of the forward players such as Clampin-Dance, Carrey, Martinez and Eltigani in the first-half was simply too much for Greenwich to handle. LSBU scored at will and took pleasure putting their opponents to the sword. 


Two of LSBU’s goalscorers Amin Martinez (L) and Bas Eltigani (R)

Strictly Come Dad Dancing

From Labour’s political bruiser to Strictly’s heart melting twinkltoes, Ed Balls proves there is life after frontline politics.


Michael Portillo may have his train programs but it’s Ed Balls that is showing former politicians that life after Westminster doesn’t have to be a dusty lobbying or consultancy jobs. The scandal of former ministers walking straight into big business after being booted out of office would be solved if they just had half the balls that Ed does.


From week to week, he has stumbled, tripped and wobbled his way into the hearts of the nation that have taken to him in their millions in stark contrast to the millions who didn’t take to Balls’ five point plan for growth during the 2015 election. Politics is full of what ifs. What if Al Gore had won those extra 500 votes in Florida and become president rather than George W. Bush springs readily to mind. What if the public had taken to Balls’ and Labour’s economic plan, he would now being residing in number 11 Downing Street trying to deal with the fallout of leaving the EU and Donald Trump as the next US President.


Put all that in front of someone and you can’t blame them for deciding to take up the sparkles and glitter and parade around doing Gangnam style in front of millions of people watching live on TV, surely beats treasury questions on BBC Parliament right? There would have been plenty of people who sighed when Balls was announced on the Strictly lineup, but no one can now say that he has had some kind of revival right in front of our eyes. The stark contrast between the Balls we knew bruising it up with George Osbourne and the infectious relationship he has with his professional dancing partner Katya Jones just has a way of making the sides of your mouth tilt upwards in that guilty smirk way. Perhaps not as much as the pure joy and delight Ed seems to display not only after every dance he stumbles through but mainly at the surprise every week when he realises the public actually like him for a change and keep him for another week of his classic dad dancing.



Ed Balls and dance partner Katya Jones dancing Gangnam Style


As entertainment goes, and lets face it, that is what Strictly is, it’s hard not to laugh when Ed rides the Gangnam pony on top of Jones, it brought the audience to their feet including Balls’ wife and current Labour MP Yvette Cooper who had that look on her face that was a mixture of, yes I’m proud of my husband but I know my work colleagues are going to take the piss on Monday. Well they may or they may not, but was is clear is that Ed Balls is here to stay.

Laughter solves all

In a week where the world took a sharp intake of breath, Adam Hills of The Last Leg always know how to restore a smile to your face


It’s fair enough to assume over the last few days that there are plenty of people quietly sulking, head slumped in hands wondering how the hell the world ended up where it was. Without pouring over all the depressing horror that the world has seen over the last few months there has always been one refreshingly cheery way to end your week.


The Last Leg now in its 9th series with its perineal Aussie host Adam Hills of course was originally spawned during the London 2012 Paralympics but its focus on disability issues has now given way to create the razor-sharp Friday night live satire show we now love.


Jumping straight into the main headlines of the week, unsurprisingly they weren’t struggling, Hills jumped straight into his clinical dissection of America’s next president. It is with such surgical hilarity that Hills along with his dependable co-hosts Alex Brooker and Josh Widdicombe brutally attack the rank hypocrisy of so many American’s upset with the result. As with every show, Twitter is vital to the shows comedy, the live nature of the show keeps both the audience and the presenters in touch with each other.


There is so much to love about The Last Leg, this episode epitomised why the show is so easy to love. This isn’t just three guys mucking about having a laugh among themselves, we have (or at least had) Top Gear for that. Hills taking to task a former Republican congressman turned radio host for saying that he would “grab his musket” if Trump lost then pointing out that on the day after the election the very same man posted that the “anti-Trump cry-babies need to accept the result and show respect”. Only Hills has the power and authority to deliver this single act of hypocrisy that would normally make you sigh and instead make you chuckle your worries away.


Satire is hard, it’s not enough to have a funny comedian. The Last Leg is superbly written, that fact the show goes out live only complicates things further. Nothing in the UK comes close to matching the cutting-edge satire of the Channel 4 show. Only Last Week Tonight with John Oliver over in the states offers the same level of hilarity. What makes these shows succeed is the mix of humour with moments that make you generally reflect. When Hills looked directly into the camera and said we should give Trump a chance as president but refused to give him a pass for the offensive language, noting the increase in hate crimes against minorities. The trickledown effect of these hateful comments has genuine impact on society.


It’s these occasional acts of genuinely sensible points mixed in with outrageous humour and for some reason the spontaneous appearance of Basil Brush along with the now famous “bulllshit buzzer” made famous by Nick Clegg that give the Last Leg its charm and it’s constant interaction with its viewers ensure it will only get stronger.