Sunday, 29 December 2013

Support Helicon

This has been a hectic and exciting term for Helicon! With a (nearly) entirely new committee, we have developed a new look for the blog as well as bringing you our first arty event of the year, and compiling the magazine from all the amazing submissions we received.

Our magazine, released termly and made up of contributions from our readers, has been printed for the students of Bristol for over a decade. This terms issue, 'Lost & Found', will be released in the first week of next term, so make sure you follow us on Facebook to find out how to get your hands on a copy!

Here at Helicon, as much as we love digital - there is something to be said for sitting down an enjoying a proper printed magazine. We really need your support to enable us to keep printing Helicon, so that we can continue to produce a magazine showcasing your work which can be picked up, read and enjoyed off screen.

By becoming a member for just £3, you will help us achieve this. As a member you can also gain discounted entry to all our creative events and workshops (we have lots of exciting things in store for you in the new year!) and you can also sign up for the Helicon Book Club, details of which will be announced in 2014. Sign up to be member via the UBU website, and please help us to keep Helicon in print.

Have a very happy new year from all of us at Helicon - we are looking to bringing you lots more exciting developments in 2014!

Pictures via here and here.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Maddie On Things

Photographer Theron Humphrey travelled around the United States on a cross-country trip with his faithful pooch, Maddie. He took pictures of the coonhound in various situations (particularly standing on things, with great elegance). Simple as. Many of the photographs are hilarious, but others are more poignant and give us a real sense of the friendship between one man and his dog. Particularly amazing is Maddie's patience and poise as she is photographed, which was part of a larger project about rescue dogs that you can read more about using the link below.

Here's a selection of our favourites, but have a look at the whole lot here.


Monday, 16 December 2013

Words of the Week #18 - Nelson Mandela

The struggle, determination and inspiration that has been Nelson Mandela's life is and will be known and admired by our generation and generations to come. While incarcerated on Robben Island Prison, Nelson Mandela would read the following poem to other inmates. I hope we are able to find inspiration in this and strive to emulate the strength and compassion that Nelson Mandela and other who have fought for the same goals in our own lives. This is "Invictus" by William Ernest Henley:


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
- William Ernest Henley (1849-1903)

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Photostream Feature: Least Wanted

The police mugshot photograph was developed as early as the mid-nineteenth century, and it has since developed as an iconic photographic type in its own right. Formulaic and recognised the world over, it was developed at a when the Victorian fascination of labelling and categorising of people was at its height. Remarkably, the mugshot photograph has changed little in 150 years.

Today we bring you 'Least Wanted' - a photosteam that showcases historical mugshots. The collector of these images, Mark Michaelson has also released a book of these photographs, and he has amassed a collection of around 10,000 photographs taken from the 1870s to the 1970s. In theory, these photographs are formulaic and regular as we would expect from a mugshot. But in reality, every single one is unique - each face telling a different story.

When looking at these photographs, you can't help but imagine what sort of situations the arrested were involved in; faces look back at the camera smiling, blinking, scowling. It's also an amazing timeline of different fashions and hairstyles - the woman in the above photograph may have just been arrested, but her backcombed beehive remains perfectly intact and her expression speaks a thousand words. Some photographs have written details on them about the sitter, others reveal nothing. The photograph below is particularly fascinating -  claiming the arrested "likes to live big... will check into better type hotels and run up large bills" - which might give us a clue as to why he was charged.

Take a look at this fascinating collection of photographs here.


Tuesday, 10 December 2013

The Folk House Creative Arts courses for the Spring term open now!

The Bristol Folk House on Park Street runs a huge number of creative arts courses: Arts and Crafts, Pottery, Writing, Languages, Music, Dance, Drama, Fitness and Personal Development.

The Folk House is an education centre tucked away on Park Street- pretty much opposite Boston Tea Party there's a little alleyway that leads to a cute little courtyard. This is the Folk House, home to all these great art courses and also hosts live music events and art exhibitions in their café-bar.

Their courses are now open for enrolment for the Spring term, starting in January. I would highly recommend signing up for one-even the choices just under 'art' are endless and all equally tempting- Cartoon Making, Illustration and Print-making to name a few.

I signed up for Digital Illustration to get to know the computer programmes that graphic designers used a little better. It's a six week course and not too pricey at all.

Have a look at all the courses they offer here:


Sunday, 8 December 2013

Lost & Found: Weekend Viewing

You may have noticed that Helicon's line up has recently added film - alongside prose, poetry, art and photography! In light of this, and with our next printed issue to be released this month, here are a selection of 'Lost and Found' films for you to nestle down in front of this evening.

Gravity (2013)
If you haven't been to to see Gravity already, now is the time to go before it disappears from screens - it is definitely the kind of film best suited to the cinema. And if you're not the kind who normally goes for sci-fi films - ignore your instincts and see this. Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are flung into the dark depths of space after a disastrous collision and with all contact with Earth lost they must navigate their way back through the dark, terrifying darkness alone. With a handful of characters, and periods of little dialogue - this film will have you on the edge of your seat, covering your eyes as you realise how terrifying space really is (I found myself on a massive google hunt for answers after seeing this film - and came across this). Gravity is a visual spectacle, which sustains suspense until the very last minute.

Yossi (2012)
As far in genre from the above as possible, Yossi is a drama/comedy that is actually the sequel to a film called Yossi & Jagger. I hadn't seen the original film - and it didn't seem to matter at all, as Yossi is definitely a film complete in itself. The film follows Yossi, a lonely and closeted gay doctor working in Jerusalem who is struggling to come to terms with the death of his partner - whom he had served with in the Israeli army. After breaking the news of his relationship to his deceased partner's parents, Yossi embarks on a holiday to the resort Eilat - where he meets a group of young soldiers who help him move forwards from his grief. Yossi has a very modern feel to it and is an honest, funny and moving film that looks candidly at loss and the rediscovery of happiness. The trailer on YouTube is horribly cheesy and doesn't do the film justice so it's not included here!

The Virgin Suicides (1999)
The visuals of The Virgin Suicides will stick with you long after you've seen it. Directed by Sophia Coppola, it is visually beautiful despite its dark subject matter and has an eclectic, fitting soundtrack to match. We are given a glimpse into the lives of the Lisbon family, whose four beautiful teenage daughters are intent on rebelling against their strict, religious parents following the death of their sister.
 Seen through the eyes of the boys who are charmed, confused and fascinated by the sisters, The Virgin Suicides plays on themes of the American Dream and the teen-highschool genre in a unique and disturbing way. Furthermore, it features a young' Josh Hartnett with the best 1970s haircut you could possibly imagine - a reason to see this film in itself.


Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Hitler, the Tiger and Me

Last week BBC's latest episode of the Imagine.. series was about one of the nation's best love children's writers Judith Kerr, famous for her Mog books and 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'. 
Not only did it showcase her incredible achievement over the years but revealed her troubled past. In 1933, at the age of nine Judith and her family left Berlin fearing the growing influence of the Nazis and her father's increasing vulnerability as an outspoken Jewish intellectual. Beneath the cheerful illustrations we are so familiar with lies a heart-breaking past.

The documentary is brilliant and it is so interesting to see into the world of such a prominent author who has a place in many of our childhoods.The documentary Hitler, the Tiger and Me is still available on iPlayer and definitely worth a watch!

Lily x

Monday, 2 December 2013

Words of the Week #17

Helicon’s latest edition “Lost and Found” is taking shape as we speak and throughout the last previous weeks, in between the editor meeting and final choices for the front cover, this particular poem has been playing in the back of my mind.

Right now, when we are so close to publishing this year’s first copy of Helicon, it seems an apt moment to present “The Author to Her Book” by Anne Bradstreet for this” Words of the Week” post.

Make sure to pick up a copy of the latest Helicon Magazine in and around Bristol soon!!

The Author To Her Book

Thou ill-form’d offspring of my feeble brain,
Who after birth didst by my side remain,
Till snatched from thence by friends, less wise than true,
Who thee abroad, exposed to public view,
Made thee in rags, halting to th’ press to trudge,
Where errors were not lessened (all may judge).
At thy return my blushing was not small,
My rambling brat (in print) should mother call,
I cast thee by as one unfit for light,
Thy Visage was so irksome in my sight;
Yet being mine own, at length affection would
Thy blemishes amend, if so I could:
I washed thy face, but more defects I saw,
And rubbing off a spot, still made a flaw.
I stretched thy joints to make thee even feet,
Yet still thou run’st more hobbling then is meet;
In better dress to trim thee was my mind,
But nought save home-spun cloth, i’ th’ house I find.
In this array ’mongst Vulgars mayst thou roam.
In Critics hands, beware thou dost not come;
And take thy way where yet thou art not known,
If for thy Father asked, say, thou hadst none:
And for thy Mother, she alas is poor,
Which caused her thus to send thee out of door.

Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672)  

Sunday, 1 December 2013

The Turner Prize 2013

December means one thing for contemporary art: The Turner Prize. Established in 1984, the Turner Prize has been awarded every year to a contemporary British artist, under the age of 50. The nominated artists this year are David Shrigley with his darkly comic drawings and objects - of which the headless ostrich above is one; Lynette Yiadom-Boakye's imaginary portraits are created as an alternative outlet for her writing; Laure Prouvost's playful, personal and sensory film/installation work; and Tino Seghal's 'experience' that engulfs and engages with the visitor in the pitch black. Tate has put together a selection of films featuring the artists and their works that can be viewed here.

Jude Law presented the award to last year's winner, Elizabeth Price. Although Jude is normally a welcome face on screen, his presence here did feel a bit... well, random. However he did made a convincing speech about the place of art in British education, focussing on the government's cuts in art eduction within schools. As he puts it, "If we deprive a generation of cultural skills, we lose a generation of cultural leaders."

The Turner Prize has had an undoubtedly positive effect on the British consciousness, in that it creates huge publicity and discussion around art institutions, art education and contemporary art. Those who might not be inclined to ordinarily visit an art gallery suddenly might be. However one of the most thought-provoking things to come out of the Turner Prize is the big questions it raises about modern art: what kind of art is being produced in 2013? What kind of art do we want to consume, and what makes us feel uncomfortable? Elephant dung, a certain unmade bed and a plain room in which the lights switched on and off have all been featured by the competition. It is, inevitably, shrouded in controversy.

Banksy's opinion on the Turner Prize, stencilled onto the steps of the Tate.

Matthew Collings, who received a commendation by the prize for his work in 1997, wrote an article three years later and made comment on the status of contemporary art and the Turner Prize.

"Today's art isn't about intensity on any level and no one expects it to be... The art has shocks to make it noticeable, and the shocks are often funny, or at least they make sense. Anyone can get this art, after the initial jarring feeling... Turner Prize art is based on a formula where something looks startling at first and then turns out to be expressing some kind of banal idea, which somebody will be sure to tell you about. The ideas are never important or even really ideas, more notions, like the notions in advertising... Today's art is a kind of hell."

Tune in to the presentation of the awards, this Monday 2nd December, at 7.30 on Channel 4 and you can form (or confirm) your own opinions on the works and on the competition as a whole. The work will also be on exhibition for the first time outside of England - in Derry-Londonderry until the 5th January 2013.