There is a bit of trend in comedy jumpers this season. You only need to check out River Island’s selection to see how prevalent they are. If you want knitwear that doesn’t have to be teamed up with paper hats and plastic cracker jewelry that you can wear all winter long then check out this lot.
These are our favourites of the season. All classic jumpers. All very stylish and a little more conservative than our last selection.
Bit chilly out, isn’t it? If you’re still running about in flip-flops and short sleeves then a) You’re mental and b) take a look at the calendar, it’s the middle of October!
Global warming may be jumbling up the seasons like a misguided game of drunken Twister, but winter’s definitely kicking in now. If the change in weather has caught you by surprise, have no fear! We’ve put together a round up of our favourite trophy jumpers for the season, meaning you’ll be able to make a statement with your knitwear while saving the pennies keeping the immersion heater switched off.
Words like ‘dapper’, ‘gentleman’ and ‘tailored’ spring to mind when looking at the Alexander McQueen Autumn/Winter 2012 collection. But then there is also ‘avant-garde’ and ‘unique’. Either way, the collection oozes of Britishness with a twist, perfect for the modern gentleman.
It’s here! Rumoured for pretty much as long as the iPad itself has existed, Apple have finally lifted the covers off the iPad Mini. And guess what? It’s smaller, lighter, and offering all the usual iOS apps and goodies that we’ve come to expect from Apple’s full size slates!
Looking much like an oversized iPod Touch, it fits comfortably in one hand at 7.9 inches diagonally across, but at 7.2mm thick is a quarter thicker than the newly announced fourth generation iPad. It still manages to be 53% lighter than the new iPad 4th gen though, at 0.68lbs.Available in black or white (with a silver back on the white version and built from aluminium), it has a resolution of 1,024×768, the same as the iPad 2. With a thinner bezel, it’s more squat in shape than previous versions, but offering 35% more display area over the likes of the Google Nexus 7.
Under the hood you’ll find a dual-core A5 processor, the same as previously found in the iPad 2, and there is also a FaceTime HD camera and 5-megapixel iSight camera on the back with 1080p recording.The Lightning connection introduced with the iPhone 5 is used for charging and connecting to a computer for iTunes transfers, while LTE 4G wireless joins dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi.
Battery life remains impressive at 10 hours average use from a single charge.
iOS 6 is the operating system of choice, giving access to some 700,000 apps (and 275,000 iPad-specific ones) and iTunes movie and music content. No word yet on whether apps will have to be optimised for the new smaller display, but it seems apps should scale down without too many problems.The iPad Mini will also launch with a new version of iBooks that features continuos scrolling (more like a long web page) rather than flipping through individual pages. There’s also improved sharing options, letting you tweet or ad statuses to Facebook by highlighting book passages.
“iPad mini is every inch an iPad. With its gorgeous 7.9-inch display, iPad mini features the same number of pixels as the original iPad and iPad 2, so you can run more than 275,000 apps designed specifically for iPad,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.
“iPad mini is as thin as a pencil and as light as a pad of paper, yet packs a fast A5 chip, FaceTime HD and 5 megapixel iSight cameras and ultrafast wireless―all while delivering up to 10 hours of battery life.”A new range of Smart Covers for the iPad Mini were also revealed, priced at £35, dropping the metal hinge and coming in pink, green, blue, light gray and red shades.
In the UK, iPad Mini Wi-Fi will sell for £269 for the 16GB model, £349 for the 32GB model and £429 for the 64GB model. Pop £100 onto the end of each of those prices if you want a version with a 4G connection.In America, the iPad Mini is starting at $329 for the 16GB Wi-Fi only model, a 32GB iPad Mini is $429, with the 64GB version available for $519. If you’re after LTE connectivity, add $130 to the price of each model.
Wi-Fi only models will launch on November 2nd. Models with a cellular connection will land two weeks later. Pre-orders kick off on October 26th.
So what do you think? Will you be picking up an iPad Mini? Or does the Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire HD Android tablets still hold sway over your 7-inch loving heart? Let us know in the comments below!
See gallery below for more iPad Mini images – ALL IMAGES: PRESS ASSOCIATION
The iPad mini, at left, is shown next to the 4th generation iPad in San Jose, Calif., Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012. The device has a screen that's about two-thirds the size of the full-size model, and Apple says it will cost $329 and up. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Green is the new black over at Levi’s, who’ve just revealed the WasteLess jeans range for Spring/Summer 2013. Revealed at a slick launch bash at London’s Farmiloe Building in Farringdon, Brandish went down for a sneak peak at the new eco-freindly denims.
Each pair of Levi’s WasteLess jeans is made from a minimum of 20% post-consumer recycled content, roughly 12 to 20 ounces per pair. The bulk of this will be made from recycled plastic bottles, be they clear, green or brown. Turn the jean’s inside out and the inner shade reveals what sort of bottles went into making your slacks.
“From the beginning, we have designed our products with purpose and intent. By adding value to waste, we hope to change the way people think about recycling, ultimately incentivizing them to do more of it,” said James Curleigh, global president of the Levi’s brand.
“This collection proves that you don’t have to sacrifice quality, comfort or style to give an end a new beginning.”
Indeed, the jeans look to be as comfortable as any Levi’s pair before them, feeling as soft to the touch as any traditional denim weave we’ve laid our hands on before.
Levi’s expect to put some 3.5 million recycled bottles into the WasteLess range next year, which will include 511 Skinny jeans, a new modern-looking 504 Straight Fit jean, and the Trucker jackets.
“With this collection, we’re doing our own small part by taking waste and making something new from it,” added Curleigh.
“We don’t just want to reduce our impact on the environment, we want to leave it better than we found it. We are committed to making products in ways that are good for people and better for our planet.”
The event also showcased other elements of Levi’s Spring/Summer 2013 range. Coloured denims continue to be on trend, with both bold and soft pastel washes (inspired by India’s spice markets) set to feature heavily.
In terms of the mens range beyond jeans, canvas boots and rucksacks in muted earth tones look set to feature heavily:
The witching hour is almost upon us! Yep, come the end of the month, the ghouliest ghouls and the creepiest creeps will stalk the streets in search of tricks and treats, as Halloween night descends over Britain.
While the 31st of October bash is more of a big deal in the States than it is over here, every year us Brits get more devilish in our fright night antics. Whether you’re throwing a party or putting together a haunted house to scare the bejeezus out of ickle trick-or-treaters, this Tech Digest guide to decorating your home in the most frightening way possible will get you screams and smiles in spades.
STEP ONE: Cover the walls
First things first, you’re going to want to cover up your lovely flowery wallpaper. Halloween comes but once a year, so don’t go crazy and start painting the place. Instead, head down to a local hardware store and grab some inexpensive black tarpaulin and pin it to the walls, or pin some black bin bags to the walls. If you shred the the bin liners and hang them from door arches, they make for creepy tentacle things too. STEP TWO: A bit of mood lighting
Your IKEA lamp shade just isn’t going to cut it in a haunted house, so take any covers off your lights for a creepy dangly exposed bulb. White lights wont do at all either; pick up some red light bulbs for a hellish, warm glow. They’re inexpensive and can be picked up from places like Maplins or even your local £1 Store. You could also buy a strobe light too, but they’re very expensive. For a cheap alternative, head over to YouTube on your Smart TV or by hooking up a laptop, and do a search for strobe lighting videos, like this one:
These can be then played through the telly stretched to fullscreen, downloaded and then set to replay over and over through your media player of choice for a far more cost-effective scare. Flashlights too dotted around in unusual places can cast strange shadows as well.
STEP THREE: Atmosphere
Nothing says “graveyard chic” like a bit of fog. You can achieve this two ways; either grab some dry ice, or get a hold of a smoke or fog machine. Dry ice is a pretty tough material to get hold of, is expensive, and can really damage your skin if not used correctly, so grab a smoke machine instead. They’re available from Maplins too.This one’s probably best if you’re building some kind of outdoor event, but it’ll work inside too, providing you keep an eye on how hot the smoke machine is getting. They can be very hot indeed, so handle with care, and make sure not to leave them near anything flammable, nor where someone could easily spill a drink over them.
STEP FOUR: More gore
This step is not for the feint of heart. To really send a shiver down the spine, you’re going to need to get some fake blood. Gallons of the stuff. The bathroom is always a good place to splatter some of the stuff as it is easier to wipe tiles clean than, say, carpeted rooms. For a fake blood recipe that doesn’t stain, try this concoction we found on Yahoo Answers (use at your own risk!):
Take a teaspoon or two of Arrowroot (a white powder used in baking that you can easily find in health food shops) and add to water heated on the stove. Stir continuously until the mixture becomes gloopy. Add a small amount of red children’s non-toxic powder paint and stir in. The mixture should now be bright red. Add a tiny amount of brown powder paint or coffee concentrate (make this by adding a small amount of water to coffee granules) to darken the blood as required. Store in a bottle or jam jar and thin by adding water to make the blood the required consistency as and when you need it.
Once you’ve got the bath all covered in red, try plopping some fake body parts in there, which can easily be picked up from joke shops. If you’re truly committed to getting some scares though, head down to your local butchers and ask for a bag of offcuts and offal. That’ll be all the weird guts and stuff they don’t sell, maybe even a pig’s head if you’re being truly messed up. It’ll be a really convincing scare, but also one hell of a clean up job afterwards. STEP FIVE: Demonic Decorations
With your haunted house starting to take shape, it’s time to start pulling together some of the finer details. Plenty of household items, if used correctly, can look pretty darn creepy. Gardening tools, for instance, look really weird and creepy if taken out of context and put inside your house. It might not just be flower bulbs buried with that spade, if you catch our drift.
But many decorations can easily be found in second hand shops and charity shops if you need to grab some more bits and pieces. Old photographs black and white, especially weathered or torn ones, can look really scary. And there’s nothing like a line up of old fashioned dolls to freak someone out with.
Then there’s the classics, like fake spiders webs, and of course a carved pumpkin. Brownie points for inventive designs, of course.You can pick up plenty of props from toy shops and joke shops too, but shop around and you’ll get some real treats. The Box O Zombies from Firebox is great, detailed little toys that you can dot around the house.They come in packs of 6, measuring roughly five centimetres each and cost £8.99. You’ll get a real chuckle out of your mates when they come across these hidden around your flat.Really just try to think out of the box and be a bit creative with it. Got an old bit of rope lying around in the shed? Then you’ve got yourself a hangman’s noose. An old sheet with holes in it? The world’s simplest ghost if you put a torch underneath it. Put your mind to it and you can make a dark, dingy den for just a few quid.
STEP SEVEN: Games
Once you’ve got people to come to your haunted house, you’re going to want to give them something to do. Bobbing for apples is a classic, so grab a decent sized barrel or container, fill it with water and apples and challenge your mates to pick a few out in under a minute. Mix a few red ones in with a load of green apples, and you can even offer a prize to those who can fish out the winning colour.Or go a bit more techy. The Ghost Hunt game available from Firebox is a bit like a Halloween laser tag; it features a little Billy Bones ghost toy that projects spectres onto your walls, and screams when you shoot them down with the included laser pistol. It costs £29.99 and will be great fun for little ones.
Bigger kids may want to test fate by having their fortune told. Firebox also sell a beautiful little set of Zombie Tarot cards for £13.99, featuring 78 wondrously weird designs.STEP EIGHT: Spine-tingling tunes
With the party ready to get started, you going to need some tunes. Try this Spotify playlist that we put together. It’ll put the bump into your night, Monster Mash and all:
Also, if you’ve got a spare iPod dock lying around the house, load up an MP3 player with some creepy sounds (chalk board screeches, crow calls, rustling wind, wolf howls etc) and hide them around the house. Friends will get a real scare when they hear a random scream coming from behind the toilet.
So how did we do? Creepy enough for you? Or did we wuss out like a toddler on a ghost train? Share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section below!
Gun sights darting from each edge of the screen. The iconic theme kicks in. A man in a tuxedo walks into view, turns to the camera. BANG! Fade to red.
BOND IS BACK! We’re just weeks away from the release of Skyfall, Daniel Craig’s third outing as 007, and the 23rd adventure for the world’s most famous spy.
Today’s also World Bond Day, marking the 50th anniversary of the release of Dr. No, Bond’s first silver screen assignment. With it comes the release of the latest Bond theme, “Skyfall” sung by Adele and written by the songstress herself along with Paul Epworth. It’s a return to the sweeping sound that characterised early Bond themes after a run of more rock-tinged tracks, but the classic sound hasn’t won everyone over. You can hear it in the video embedded below.
So what is the very best Bond song ever? We’ve pulled together our favourite Bond songs at Brandish below. See if you agree with our choices! Though our license to kill probably means you should think twice about disagreeing with us…
Carly Simon – Nobody Does It Better
The best Bond song ever? If it was down to the amount of times it had been covered by other artists, this one would definitely stand a good chance, with everyone from Radiohead to fictional North Norfolk radio host Alan Partridge (AKA Steve Coogan) putting their spin on the tune. The title song to The Spy Who Loved Me, it’s a classy, soulful track that stands up as a great pop song in its own right.
Louis Armstrong – We Have All The Time In The World
If ever there’s been a Bond song that’s transcended categorisation as purely a Bond theme, it’s got to be this one. What a beauty! Louis Armstrong’s last recorded track, it’s actually the secondary theme for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and soundtracks one of the warmest, most heart-warming endings in Bond history. It’s easily the best song on the list, but does that make it the best BOND song? We’ll let you decide that.
Duran Duran – View To A Kill
A definite change of pace for the series, Duran Duran’s theme swaps strings and brass for new romantic synths. It still manages to retain the suave Bond style though, and marked a new modern direction for the ever-changing Bond.
A-Ha – The Living Daylights
In the same vein as the Duran Duran track, The Living Daylights has a killer pop hook, and is one of the punchier Bond songs written.
Nancy Sinatra – You Only Live Twice
Kicking off with unforgettable lush strings, You Only Live Twice is the sound of Bond at his most dashing. Even heavy sampling by Robbie Williams can’t sully this song.
Paul McCartney and Wings – Live and Let Die
Wings: only the band The Beatles could have been. Here McCartney rocks out to one of the most instantly recognisable Bond songs, with an excellent riff and almost jaunty breakdown. Typical McCartney then. We actually prefer the Guns N’ Roses version though. Whatever. So shoot us.
Shirley Bassey – Diamonds Are Forever
Shirley Bassey, regular Bond songstress, laid the foundations for what we now consider that Bond theme “sound”. Though many point to Goldfinger as her best, we prefer Diamonds Are Forever. It sounds more modern, and in our opinion has aged better. Which is probably why everyone from Kanye West to the Arctic Monkeys have played about with the track in some way or other in recent times.
Tina Turner – Goldeneye
Not the biggest Tina Turner fan in the world, to be honest. You have to be a 50+ housewife to like much of the stuff she’s done since her 1960s R&B heyday in our opinion. But when she’s on form, she’s got a cracking voice, and she totally nails it with Goldeneye. Little known fact, but this one was written by U2′s Bono and The Edge. Listen to those strings again and you can definitely imagine a reverb-laden riff by The Edge taking the lead instead.
So what do you think of our choice? Do they leave you shaken or stirred? Let us know in the comments below!
Last night Amazon’s Chief Executive Jeff Bezos unveiled a number of highly anticipated new Kindle products and although they’d already been revealed in a US TV ad earlier in the week, the three new Kindle Fire tablets and Paperwhite eReader didn’t fail to impress us.
Here’s a quick and dirty guide to the main announcements from Amazon:
The Kindle Paperwhite is an eReader with a capacitive touch display, which is totally different to standard black and white Kindles because it’s got a high resolution screen with 62% more pixels, 25% increased contrast, a 212 ppi display and a built-in light for reading in all kinds of conditions.
Jeff Bezos said at the event in California yesterday:
“Paperwhite is the Kindle we’ve always wanted to build — the technology didn’t exist to build a display with this level of contrast, resolution, brightness and battery life, so our engineers invented it.”
The device has a pretty impressive 8 weeks battery life too, which Amazon claims will last even with the light on the whole time. There’s also built-in Wi-Fi (and free 3G connectivity in some areas), Whispersync technology that works for audio too and a new feature called Time to Read, which tells readers the amount of time it will take them to finish reading a certain chapter or a whole book based on reading speed.
The Paperwhite is 9.1mm thick and 7.5 ounces.
We’ve only got US details about the new Kindle Paperwhite for now, it’ll come in at $119 and the Kindle Paperwhite Wi-Fi + 3G is $179.
Kindle Fire HD
This high-resolution iteration of the Kindle Fire comes in two new sizes, 8.9″ and 7″. The larger version has a 1920 X 1200 pixel resolution and the 7 inch model has a 1280 X 800 resolution.
Both devices have super durable Gorilla Glass with a laminated touchscreen that Amazon claims will reduce glare by 25%.
They also have stereo speaks and an HDMI port for connecting up to other devices.
The Kindle Fire HD also has two wi-fi antennas and Mimo (multiple-input and multiple-output) technology to improve internet speeds and connectivity. The bigger tablet can also be bought with 4G connectivity with a heftier price tag over in the US.
The 8.9″ tablet comes in at $299 / £159 and the smaller 7″ version is £159 for the 16GB version and £199 for the 32GB version.
The current Kindle Fire product has now been improved with all of the best features but with a faster process for 40% better performance, twice the amount of memory and a longer battery life too.
Well Prince did it. And now it seems that Snoop – real name Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr. – has done it. The artist formerly known as Snoop Doggy Dog, then Snoop Dogg, wants to be known from this day forward as Snoop Lion after undergoing a spiritual rebirth during a stay in Jamaica.
In this video, we see Snoop – wearing his adidas Chile 62 tracksuit – along with his giant dreadlocked Lion introduce adidas’ latest Space Diver trainers from the top of a very tall Foot Locker building – as you do.
Inspired by basketball, these hi-top trainers feature a unique reversible strap and are available in two different colour ways: navy with pops of green and accents of silver leather; or white/blue/red in bold white leather with pops of red and blue.
The Space Diver trainers line will be available exclusively at Foot Locker stores from this month while the next products in the line up are set to be a windbreaker jacket (in black or grey) and a Chile 62 jacket track top in black nylon.
Want to win a pair of Space Diver trainers? Well adidas and Foot Locker have three pairs a day to give away to those who tweet about how they would them feel using the hashtag #inmyspacedivers. For more information about the competition visit http://unr.ly/PYphXb
You can see Snoop Lion introduce the Space Divers in this video below:
For more information on the Space Diver range of trainers visit adidas and Foot Locker websites.
The variety of styles, colours and looks of formal shoes is growing day by day. Long gone are the days of just being able to choose between a black pair and a brown pair, and having to have shoe laces, too. Here’s a look at some of the many new and traditional faces of formal shoes.
Here’s an example of the traditional formal shoe, I just mentioned, right? Wrong. It has much more to it. A traditional formal show with a contemporary twist:
The subtle studs and interesting soles make this shoe ideal for the young entrepreneur who wants to dress for business, but keep his rogue flair intact.
Bold colours are becoming ever more acceptable in formal shoe wear, and it’s also highly popular. These flash red formal shoes can be worn to a posh dinner party, as well as to a wedding to really show off with your style.
Having no laces on your shoes would’ve not that long ago been completely unacceptable, as only six hole shoes were deemed as formal shoes. These no lace and more loafer styled shoes are very popular due to their boot like appeal.
These Jasper boots are borderline formal. You won’t get away with them at a business meeting just yet, but times are changing so keep an eye out for these two leather style ankle boots.
Team GB really lucked out when they managed to bag Stella McCartney’s superb skills for the design of their Adidas Olympic kit. But for some nations, the Olympic catwalk has not been so kind. Forget the empty seats at many events – for Brandish it’s been far more distressing spotting the sportswear sins some nations have forced upon their top athletes with their official kits. Here we highlight our pick of the worst five, including Team Russia, Team China and Team Germany. Scroll down to check out our picks!
The red and white squiggles of Team Russia's kit are supposed to be inspired by Moscow's street art. But these kit catastrophes couldn't be any further from the cutting-edge wit of street art if they tried. Perhaps they're a cast off from axed KGB camouflage gear from the seventies. You'd have blended in with Cold War-era wallpaper with ease in one of these tops.
Hidden a few streets away from Latimer Road station, tucked inside a studio unit on the corner of a housing estate, is one of London’s finest hidden grooming gems. Carter and Bond, established in 2002, offers traditional cut and shave services of the highest quality, as well as a store touting a range of superb male grooming products sourced from across the globe.
Entering now its tenth anniversary year, Carter and Bond’s focus on quality, hard-to-come by goods is spearheaded by managing director Joe Cotton, whose time in the armed forces helped cultivate an appreciation for the finer points of men’s grooming practices.
“We’ve found that people want to go back to quality products that they can trust and traditional grooming and shaving regimes that were being lost,” explains Cotton.
“A lot of people were finding that they weren’t getting the satisfaction they wanted from the mass market, high street products. It’s all just cheap and nasty foams and gels out of aerosol cans, full of chemicals and propellants and razors with 3, 4, 5 or 17 blades with cartridges that you need to take a mortgage out on to be able to afford.
“Whether it’s in architecture or fashion or cuisine, there’s a desire now to rediscover a bygone era, to look at how things were done in the old days. We cater for that desire in male grooming.”
Though rising rates recently forced a move from Carter and Bond’s Royal Oak home to its current location, the new shop retains the charming decor that helped make Carter and Bond so dear to its loyal customers. Model Airfix planes litter the barber’s showroom, piles of Commando comics are stacked in every corner and tin robots gaze at you from atop glass-fronted, brush and blade-filled cabinets.
It’s a unique spin on the traditional grooming emporium, but Carter and Bond’s skilled barber Mustafa’s cut and shave work is as solid as it comes. Specialising in styles from the 1950s and 1960s, a cut at Carter and Bond is a friendly, warm and carefully considered affair, while the 30-45 minute full facial and hot-towel shave is the ultimate in men’s pampering.
“As the male grooming boom took off in the mid 2000s, there were lots of bandwagon brands popping up,” explains Cotton.
“Most of them didn’t last for ten minutes. So I became cynical and skeptical about these brands and became a lot more confident in the brands that have been around for decades or hundreds of years, particularly old English brands and their equivalents in other countries.
“Because these brands are quite niche and not widely available, we find our customers are very loyal.”
In a world of flash-in-the-pan fashions and trends, Carter and Bond’s classic take on grooming style looks set to stand the test of time.
“Both online and offline, we’re in a minority,” says Cotton.
“We’ve got our speciality; there’s not many people that do what we do, and the way that we do it, and I think our customers like and appreciate that.”
The Carter and Bond barber shop can be found at 15-17 Baseline Studios, Whitchurch Road, London, W11 4AT. Open Monday to Friday and Sunday, the shave and cut services are available Wednesdays and Sundays. While you can turn usually turn up without an appointment, you’re encouraged to book roughly a week in advance, especially for Sunday sessions.
A wash and cut costs £22, a standard shave costs £27, while the full facial and shave costs £35. Double deals for cuts and shaves are also available.
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES IS ALMOST HERE! One of the most hotly anticipated movies of all time, it’s the final part of Christopher Nolan’s epic Batman trilogy which elevated the potential of comic book movies to Oscar winning heights.
While Nolan’s take on the caped crusader is now widely regarded as the definitive silver screen offering, the debate as to which actor donned the Dark Knight’s cowl most convincingly rages on. From Adam West through to Michael Keaton to George Clooney, Batman’s been played by a fair few thespians since being first created by Bob Kane back in 1939.
But who was best? Brandish enters the Batcave in our definitive rundown to uncover the finest Batman of all time.
Adam West: 1966 – 1968
KAPOW! Adam West stared in the 1960s super-camp Batman TV series, and a few TV movies that followed it. Far from the high-tech wizardry we expect from Batman today, West’s Batman wore just a spandex suit and a “groovy” navy cowl. His slow and measured voice showed a Batman almost always totally in control, while the show’s colourful comic caption flashes during fight scenes have become iconic. Though the West-era Batman gets a lot of stick for its playful tone, many forget that it’s a pretty-much bang-on representation of the “Golden Age” era comics that inspired it. It was a simpler time, when we could totally buy into ridiculous gadgets like “shark repellant”, which Batman just so happened to always have whenever he was jumped by one of the aquatic beasties.
Michael Keaton: 1989 – 1992
It took a long time for the dust to settle after the West-era show, but the late 1980s saw a massive resurgence in popularity for Batman, mostly thanks to comic book writer Frank Miller’s massively influential The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One comics. The Tim Burton-helmed Batman films that followed, starring Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne and Batman, were perhaps the movie adaptations that came closest to the gothic feel of the comic books.
It helped that Michael Keaton was not only a great Batman, but an excellent Bruce Wayne too. Though not focussing massively on Wayne’s traumatic childhood, Keaton always effectively gave off a feeling of loneliness that is central to Batman’s character. He pulled off action scenes excellently too; the opening action scene in Batman Returns in which Batman faces off against the Penguin’s clownish thugs is superb, with Keaton’s comically timed use of gadgets giving Batman the much-needed cool factor. Though sometimes overshadowed by stellar villains (both Jack Nicholson and Danny DeVito made for amazing Jokers and Penguins respectively), Keaton had it all.
Val Kilmer: 1995
From Batman to Fatman, it’s hard now to remember how massive a star Val Kilmer was back in 1995. He was also a great Batman too, with his “chicks love the car” quip one of Batman’s most memorable silver screen lines. Val Kilmer came across as believably intelligent; in the scene where he shatters the dreams of a pre-Riddler Edward Nigma, you can totally believe he’s the head of the massive Wanye Enterprises empire. However, though his pretty-boy looks bagged him the girls as Bruce Wayne, he looked just a bit too pouty under the cowl.
George Clooney: 1997
Ugh. Batman and Robin. I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s my least favourite film OF ALL TIME. On paper, it all seems so right: Schwarzenegger as Mr Freeze, Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy, and of course, George Clooney as Batman. You’d think Clooney would be the perfect fit for Batman, but he proved to be terrible. Far too smarmy, Clooney had the chin to play the Bat, but failed to channel any of the vulnerability needed to effectively pull off all angles of the multifaceted crime fighter. And while the costume design wasn’t Clooney’s fault, the less said about Batman’s “nipple suit” used in the movie the better. For a few years now rumours have circulated that Clooney could return to play an ageing Batman in an adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns comic book, which could be great, as Clooney would make for a far more convincing middle-aged hero in our opinion.
Christian Bale: 2005 – 2012
Christian Bale’s realistic take on the Batman role, under Christopher Nolan’s superb direction, totally rejuvenated the Batman franchise. Here was a close look at a genuinely troubled Bruce Wayne, constantly dealing with the guilt he carried over his parent’s death. From stoney faced watchman to playboy billionaire, Bale’s performance covers all bases.
Bales commitment to the role is also legendary, training hard to pile on massive amounts of muscle after an astounding transformation verging on anorexia for The Machinist. He brings a much tougher physicality to the role than previous Batmen; you wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of a smack from Bale’s superhero sleuth.
Bale’s trademark Batman bark, often ridiculed, is just fine by us. Attempting to be more than a man, a terrifying symbol showing that crime won’t be tolerated in Gotham City, Bale’s Wayne completely embraces the theatrical. His aggressive tone would strike fear into the hearts of his foes, while also sensibly masking his true voice and identity. Nolan couldn’t have picked a better star for his take on Gotham’s protector.
WILDCARD – Kevin Conroy (Batman voice actor) 1992 – present day
Do you remember Kevin Conroy as Batman? Or even know who he is? Probably not, but you’ve almost certainly heard him. Conroy is the hardest working Batman on this list, having been the go-to voice actor for Batman in everything from games to animated TV shows for the last 20 years. For many comic book fans, he’s the best Batman there’s ever been, effortlessly moving between the reserved Bruce Wayne and the might of Batman better than any other person on this list. A true Dark Knight, New Yorker Conroy also helped with the clean up effort following the devastating Twin Towers attack of 2001.
THE BEST BATMAN OF ALL TIME IS…Ermmm…
Wow, it’s a tough one! For Brandish, it comes down to two actors, who we just can’t separate: Michael Keaton and Christian Bale. Both are perfect for the differing Batman visions they are a part of. Michael Keaton nails the morally charged, lonely eccentricity of the Batman comic books, while Bale’s realistic take on the Bat is so good that you totally buy into the real-world possibility of a billionaire moonlighting as a masked vigilante. When we’re after gothic gloom and outlandish thrills we’ll go for Keaton, but Bale’s tense troubled Bat gives us our intellectual kicks too.
The Dark Knight Rises hit cinemas nationwide tomorrow (20/07/2012)
Reunion shows aren’t quite the mystical occasion they once were. From the Pixies to Suede to Led Zeppelin to Pulp, long-missed musical heroes are now a staple head to the line-up of summer festivals.
The Stone Roses reunion, however, sits outside the realms of regular reunion shows . Following an acrimonious split, it’s been 16 years since the original line-up of vocalist Ian Brown, guitarist John Squire, bassist Gary “Mani” Mounfield, and drummer Alan “Reni” Wren shared a stage. With each member taken up with solo projects, other bands or ventures outside of music altogether, bassist Mani called reunion rumours “totally fantasy island”. It seemed like it was never going to happen.
But it did. Though big bucks obviously exchanged hands, this was always going to be about more than just the money. There was unfinished (monkey) business to attend to. Laying down the soundtrack for a generation with their eponymous début album, The Stone Roses took years to put out so-so follow up The Second Coming. From then on in it was a slow slide towards destruction with near misses (such as their heartbreaking headline Glastonbury show pull-out caused, by Squire breaking a collarbone while mountain biking) punctuating the run-up to the band’s inevitable implosion. The band that invented “baggy” and rejuvenated jangly indie pop never got their just deserts.
It was with genuine jubilation then, not cynicism, that fans welcomed the news of a reunion in October 2011.
Saturday’s second Heaton Park homecoming show (30/06/2012) was a triumph, silencing any naysayers and showing a band perfectly at ease with their “legendary” status. If the first night had been methodical and careful, the second saw the band enjoying themselves, playing loose with extended jams and Ian Brown prowling the stage; the King Monkey had reclaimed his throne.
Kicking things off with their traditional slow-building blinder I Wanna Be Adored, The Stone Roses powered through a set of fan favourites which included their first album in its entirety.
Though every song was rapturously received, highlights came in somewhat unexpected places. Fans sang at their loudest during first album track Made Of Stone and The Second Coming single Ten Story Love Song. A well lubricated crowd of all ages was in good, friendly spirits (a rarity in enormo-shows like these), bobbing with baggy swagger to the grooves of Fools Gold, with Squire, Reni and Mani regularly jamming segues between each song.
Though banter was kept to a minimum, Brown kept an eye on a lively crowd, commanding the swarming pit to “pick each other up if you go down”, and flying into an anti-royal diatribe before first album favourite Elizabeth My Dear.
Ending the only way an epic Stone Roses set could with an extended I Am The Resurrection, fans cheered a united, hugging band at the close as fireworks blasted overhead and Bob Marley’s Redemption Song blared out of the PA. A fitting end; after years of fighting and will-they-wont-they reunion rumours, the band have risen phoenix like, redeemed, proving their enduring relevance and position as one of the finest bands to ever hail from British shores.
The set remained identical to Friday night’s opener, and also carried over onto Sunday’s show, likely in order to help director Shane Meadow as he prepares to edit together a commemorative DVD of the weekend. Hit the Spotify playlist below to hear the Saturday night set-list in full:
Earlier in the day saw fellow Manc hero Liam Gallagher declare The Stone Roses “the best band in the world” as he lead his post-Oasis project Beady Eye onstage for the main headline slot. Carrying Gallagher’s trademark swagger throughout, a genial crowd paid most attention when the band tore through a handful of Oasis classics including Rock ‘n’ Roll Star and Morning Glory.
Beady Eye were preceded by Professor Green, whose dubstep-tinged rapping was at odds with the rest of the line-up. Despite a short barrage from hecklers, Professor Green eventually won over the crowds with hits including I Need You Tonight and Just Be Good To Green which saw a surprise appearance from Lily Allen.
The Wailers managed to bring out the sun during what was a heavily overcast day. Though few remaining members of the original Bob Marley-era line-up remain, they enjoyed mass sing alongs to One Love and I Shot The Sheriff.
Hollie Cook, daughter of Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook, kicked off the day with a reggae/punk fused set welcomed by a crowd already fired up by a 16 year wait.
Rock ‘n’ roll can be broken down as follows: 10% fashion, 10% music and 110% HAIR. We know that adds up to 130%. That’s why we’re writing for a fashion site and aren’t quantum physicists. But it also acts to highlight just how important good hair can be in the making of a musical and cultural icon, and cementing the status of bona-fide rock ‘n’ roll stars. Where would Elvis be without his quiff? Or Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust without his…his unique style? On the dole queue, that’s where. Here, Brandish pick out the 20 most iconic hair styles in rock ‘n’ roll history.
Flaming red with a quiff up top and party mullet at the back, David Bowie's transformation into Ziggy Stardust was one of the most striking in pop history. With the sci-fi influenced Ziggy Stardust look, Bowie opened the floodgates for a whole sea of androgynous stars and, to a lesser extent, made homosexuality and bisexuality less of a rock 'n' roll taboo in the process.