So-called life: Liam O’Brien

Everyone has their favourite words, and when you write reasonably often, as I do in this very paper, you tend to repeat them. Mine are ‘beatific’, which I generally flip into the pejorative to mean ‘miserable’, and ‘burdensome’, which I use as a substitute for the ponderous, all-consuming malaise of everyday life.

I’m not the only guilty party. In the national press, particularly in magazines and weekend supplements (the eternal home of bad writing), words are repeated all the time. Is it possible to read a style magazine without seeing the nondescript ‘quirky’, ‘unique’ or ‘elegant’? Do you feel like slapping every writer who describes someone’s creative oeuvre, whether musical, artistic or otherwise, as ‘anarchic’?

Two of the most overused terms are those two bookends of the emotional spectrum, ‘zenith’ and ‘nadir’. A recent issue of a certain paper in the Berliner format had them both in surplus. But sometimes, these words are just necessary.

For over the next few weeks, the University of York will experience its own annual nadir, when students will be asked to accommodate the two-headed evil of Fusion and YUSU elections. Not simply accommodate, even, but to participate, to look at the myriad posters and feel urged to vote on something which, to most students, is of absolutely no consequence other than to mark our approval of mild-mannered personality cults and policy that veers between unrealistic and dull.

It is the duty of campus media, however, to help students make informed choices in the elections, and it goes without saying that they form the main news agenda in Spring term. Alongside election rumours though, Fusion’s PR have craftily conjured their show into a news item, and I must congratulate them for this bewitching effect.

The truth of it is that Fusion is a two-hour exercise in boredom, punctuated by the odd moment that provokes the mind out of somnolence, perhaps because you know one of the participants, or because you are horrified at the clichéd appropriation of a theme onto a basic dance routine or ‘modelling’ scene – there’s nothing like it when Fusion take an idea and really, err… amble around with it. The real thing to look out for is the ursine gait of the boys trying to model. That, and the stylists’ attempts to do something a bit ‘alternative’ with clothes sourced from such aspirational outlets as Moss Bros and Gap. I’ve enclosed a picture of how high street clothes (here, Topman) can be done well if the models are skinny (they won’t be), interesting (nope), and well-chosen (…).

Alas, our campus media has portrayed Fusion as some collaborative Marxist effort stimulated by a creative energy not seen since the Bloomsbury Group’s heyday. I’ll take The Yorker’s piece as an example.

Fusion’s ‘visionary’, and ostensibly celestial creative director, “manages to negotiate every last detail of the performance with an almost unearthly serenity.” Furthermore Head Choreographers Darcey Bussell and Gene Kelly “have brought genuine talent to this year’s committee [sic, because that’s not a phrase]”.

Why am I being so awful? Because in the past I’ve been so nice. I’m absolving myself from having given Fusion 3 and 4 star reviews before, reviews they weren’t happy with despite the fact they were far too generous. See it at your peril.

One comment

  1. 25 Feb ’10 at 1:11 pm

    myles preston's lover

    Liam you seriously need to brush that chip off from your shoulder. Were you rejected from fusion in the past for not being good enough? Surely as such a great writer you can find better stories than gaining some twisted pleasure in criticizing students who are actually raising money for charity. I hope you find some happiness in your life, there is no need to bring your misery upon the whole York campus.

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