Royal Magazine Photo Contest Winners

“Education is the movement from darkness to light.” – Allan Bloom

First Place

Shirley Dang

BSC in Environmental Science

 

“Think big, dream big, believe big, and the results will be big.” – Evan Carmichael

Second Place

 Rojan Ghasemzadeh

 BA in Professional Communications Program (Year 2)

“Lest you be fooled by my beauty, my caterwauling will keep you awake all night.” – Maggie Glidden

Third Place

 Maggie Glidden

 BA in Professional Communications Program (Year 1)

Album Review: Dan Mangan + Blacksmith, Club Meds

Review: Dan Mangan, Club Meds8.0/10

Arts and Crafts, 2015

Vancouver native Dan Mangan has quietly evolved into one of Canada’s premier indie troubadours.

From the quiet, unassuming indie-folk of his 2003 debut EP All at Once, to the orchestral swells of 2011’s Juno Award winning Oh Fortune, we have seen Mangan gradually add layers to his singer-songwriter balladry. With the highly-anticipated release of Club Meds—the first album credited to Dan Mangan + Blacksmith—we see his sound move further away from the established  template he has worked with over the past decade.

Mangan is now positioned as a bandleader rather than solo artist, freeing him and his band to experiment with soundscapes and song structures not necessarily found in his prior work. The reverb soaked, mid-tempo pieces that dominate the album are reminiscent of legendary former label mate Broken Social Scene’s more atmospheric work. These ambient tendencies are tempered by Mangan’s knack for witty lyricism and fat-free composition, ensuring punch isn’t sacrificed for moodiness. This carries the album through some of its duller moments.

Album opener Offred’s wistful electronics and lumbering, off kilter beat complement the sparse, emotive guitars and desperate vocals that fill out the mesmerizing track. It sets the tone for the rest of the record— a decidedly introspective affair—letting audiences know they shouldn’t expect another Robots or Road Regrets. Vessels unfolds similarly, with a huge amorphous piano riff acting as lede while a well-placed horn and guitar freak-out acts as kicker; an outstanding, moody slow burn. Mouthpiece—the most conventional track on the album—follows. Its shimmering, dense reverb, interlocking lead lines, and cutting gang vocals enhance the relentless guitar and drum attack evoking fear, anxiety, and uncertainty more successfully than Mangan has on prior records.

The album’s middle section is where Mangan and company fall flat at times. The pacing tends to drag, promising starts languishing in repetition or overreach. Kitsch strives for nuance and gradual progression, but crushes itself under the weight of its own ambitions. The clever guitar lead and gravelly vocals end up buried below a cacophony of repetition and messy mixing. The reach is admirable, but the result is an unsatisfying, mediocre dirge. War Spoils similarly flounders, Mangan’s vocals feeling distant behind the foreboding, droning atmosphere. It’s like Godspeed You! Black Emperor with none of the anticipation or emotional crescendo.

However, these missteps bring us to the thrilling conclusion of the album. The eerily aloof synth lines of the title track flow into the noisy, dynamic electronics and nervous rhythms of Pretty Good Joke, but the true peak of the record comes at its close. New Skies is a sprawling work, moving from an unassuming intro to a breathtaking climax of swirling horns and guitar that feels like the demons of Mangan’s soul being violently exorcised. The instrumental cluster-fuck and disorienting emotional rawness of the track is oddly reminiscent of 30, closer of Danny Brown’s brilliant 2011 album XXX. The appeal of emotional authenticity transcends genre taste, tradition, and tendency; it is what connects all great art.

Dan Mangan + Blacksmith have put together an album that, while imperfect, manages to move the sounds we associate with Mangan in brave new directions. It may alienate some fans, making it even more admirable. It’s boring when artists sit on their haunches; content to wallow in sameness and mediocrity, floating through their careers on autopilot. Club Meds is Dan Mangan’s rejection of stagnancy; a successful one at that. He and his band have managed to make one of the nascent year’s finest Canadian indie albums; besting anything Mangan has done before in the process. Adventure is a beautiful thing when it turns out well.


By Mike Westwick

Connect with Mike on Twitter @westwick_m

 

The Royal Horoscope: January

Are you curious to find out what’s in store for you this month? Look no further…

Aquarius: January 20 – February 18

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, Aquarius. The full moon on the 4th will help you to feel more comfortable with opening up and asking others for help. Once you ask for help, you will be ready for the New Year and a new you.

Pieces: February 19 – March 20

You are a very mellow person, Pieces, but you are not afraid to show your every emotion: good and bad. This will be no exception when Mars and Neptune meet on the 19th. Before then, try not to get flustered and aggravated when you get in a sticky situation between friends.

Aries: March 21 – April 19

January has many good things in store for you, Aries. The full moon on the 4th will bring you luck in the New Year. Your New Years resolution will be easy to achieve, as long as you stay patient, my ambitious Ram. This will bring you confidence as the Sun moves into Capricorn on the 20th.

Taurus: April 20 – May 20

You are a very private person Taurus—and you prefer to keep it that way—but you have been dying to get something off of your chest. Mars will help to give you courage to be open about your feelings towards a special someone until the 12th. Your ruling planet, Venus, is moving into Aquarius making this your powerhouse month for communication.

Gemini: May 21 – June 20

Gemini’s are always ready for anything. You expect the unexpected, which will be very important this month when the moon moves into Gemini on the 1st. You will be ready for anything and everything, making you the life of the party. It is important to keep this momentum as Mercury will try to slow you down on the 21st. 

Cancer: June 21 – July 22

Balance is a key aspect of a Cancer’s everyday life. When the full moon moves into Gemini on the 4th, you will feel rejuvenated and ready for the New Year. With your newfound peace of mind, you will be able to focus on developing new friendships and building on old ones. 

Leo: July 23 – August 22

The cosmos are aligning in your favour, Leo. The sun will help you focus on taking care of yourself this New Year—something that you have not done in a while. It is time to relax and look back on your year, while setting goals for the New Year. This reflection will bring you newfound knowledge about yourself when Venus is in Aquarius from the 3rd to the 27th.

Virgo: August 23 – September 22

You are a social and outgoing individual, Virgo. These traits will be enhanced when the sun moves into Aquarius on the 20th, making you very flexible and ready for a fresh start this New Year. With a fresh start comes a new opportunity to communicate and enhance your friend list.

Libra: September 23 – October 22

It is time for you to relax, Libra. It has been a very stressful year for you, but that is behind you now. Venus will bring you comfort this month, starting your year off with a good mindset. This feeling will be enhanced when Mars is in Aquarius on the 12th.

Scorpio: October 23- November 21

Luck is on your side this month, Scorpio. You can do anything and everything you want. This truth will bring you positive energy and enthusiasm starting on the 12th. Try to keep this energy as the sun moves into Aquarius and slows you down on the 20th.

Sagittarius: November 22 – December 21

Your family and friends are extremely important to you, Sagittarius. The moon is colliding with Gemini and is helping you to focus on your relationships. Mars will bring you the chance to spend more time with your loved ones until the 12th—use this time wisely.

Capricorn: December 22 – January 19 

It is very rare that you are at a loss for words, Capricorn. This month you will have to work on your communication skills when the sun is in Capricorn until the 20th. This practice will help you to rekindle with a blast from a past this New Year.


Horoscopes brought to you by BAPC’s resident “astrologist”, Kate Church.

Recipe: Poutine

 

HISTORY OF POUTINE

There are many, unconfirmed claims to have invented the poutine, dating from the late 1950s through to the 1970s, in the Victoriaville area—about one hour outside of Montreal.

One thing is for certain: poutine was born in rural Quebec in the 1950s.

The most widespread story is that poutine originates from a restaurant called Le Lutin qui rit in Warwick, in the Arthabaska region. In 1957, a client named Eddy Lainesse purportedly asked the cook, Fernand Lachance, to mix the cheese curds with the fries.

Another story relates to a long-standing restaurant called Le Roy Jucep in Drummondville, Quebec. The story claims that in circa 1964, restaurant owner Jean-Paul Roy saw some of his customers putting cheese curds on their French fries and gravy; this gave him the idea of creating the mixture himself and offering it on the menu. Jean-Paul Roy is the first person to have served poutine as we know it today. Authentic Canadian poutine features deep-fried potatoes, gravy, and white cheddar cheese curds tossed together into one dish.

Poutine has become increasingly popular in the last few years.

Although many people outside of Quebec pronounce poutine as “poo-teen”, the correct pronunciation—at least in Quebec—is “poo-tin”.

IMPORTANCE OF POUTINE

The poutine grew popular in the small towns of southeastern Quebec before arriving in Quebec City in 1969, and in Montreal in 1983. At that time, poutine became a common offering on menus in Quebec.

As poutine’s popularity spread, various iterations began to appear, such as Italian poutine (made with spaghetti sauce in place of gravy, or sausage), veggie poutine (made with mushroom sauce and vegetables) and Irish poutine (made with lardons). It now comes in a plethora of modern variations from duck confit to pulled pork, and is even served in fast food restaurants nation-wide.

Poutine is becoming a symbol of regional cultural diversity in Quebec.

HOW TO MAKE POUTINE

Making authentic poutine is not simply a matter of getting French fries, adding cheese, and pouring gravy on top: There are certain requirements for each of the three components in the meal.

1.  Prepare the gravy.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook, stirring regularly for about 5 minutes, until the mixture turns golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for a further 30 seconds. Add the beef and chicken broth and bring to a boil, stirring with a whisk. Stir in the cornstarch and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Taste and add additional salt, if necessary, to taste. Make ahead and re-warm or keep warm until your fries are ready.

2.  Prepare the fries.

Choose potatoes that are good for frying: new red potatoes are ideal. Prepare potatoes by rinsing and cutting into 1/2-inch thick sticks. When ready to cook the potatoes, heat the oil in a heavy skillet or deep fryer. Add the potatoes and fry until a crispy golden brown. Set on paper towels or cloth towels to drain.

3.  Add the cheese curds and gravy.

Add fries to a large, clean bowl and cover with fresh cheese curds. The best curds are real Quebecois curds. Finally, top fries with hot gravy.

OPTION: Be creative and add meat and/or vegetables. 


By Song Zhe
Royal Roads University Student

A Very Newd Experience at “Big Fun”

We stood there completely naked.

It was 2 a.m. in Tokyo and we were in a bathhouse with 100 Japanese women—fully nude. If this isn’t stepping outside of one’s comfort zone, I don’t know what is. How did we end up here? Let’s rewind two hours and I’ll explain.

The women at the information desk giggled as if we should have booked this hotel five years in advance, “No, sorry, hotel full,” she said in her broken English. “Are you sure, totally full?” I pleaded, my eyes full of sleep and my body begging to be horizontal. We had been traveling for 24 hours and there we were standing in the Tokyo airport at midnight, with no place to stay. The trains were done for the day and a taxi to anywhere would cost us about the same as a kidney sold on the black market. We wanted so badly to bite the bullet and go to the nearest plushy airport hotel, but refrained as we could already hear our credit cards screaming. We eyed up the white tile floor and single metal bench that made up the arrivals area, before deciding this was not an option.

The sweet woman at the information desk—bless her heart—suggested we go to Big Fun. She proceeded to rummage through a pile of papers and pulled out a pamphlet that was 99.9% in Japanese aside from “STAY 3300¥”. I did the quick math in my sleepy brain and realized that was only $33 Canadian. Now we’re talking! All we needed to know was what exactly was Big Fun?  Due to the confused look on our faces, she tried her best to explain in English what it was, “Nice reclining chairs, big bath, free shuttle”. We liked those words and decided the Big Fun option was really our only option. I waved the Big Fun pamphlet at anyone who would look at me and attempted to find where this alleged shuttle bus was hiding. We finally found it—only God knows how—and piled on the bus at 1 a.m. with 50 Japanese people; they looked at us like we were from another planet and we kind of felt like we were.

Skip forward 30 minutes and we were at Big Fun: a building that looked like a mall. We followed the crowd of people and did what they did, having no idea where to go nor a clue what to do. We locked our shoes in individual shoe lockers, paid the nightly fee, and we were given bags that contained two towels and a set of pajamas. We were on our own, aside from the sweet Japanese front desk staff trying their best to use charades to tell us where to go. The signs around the building were thankfully in English and Japanese so between the charade attempts and the signs that said “relaxation room” and “women’s change” we kind of got the idea. We slowly realized that this was a bathhouse, or an onsen: something we later realized is very common in Japan. I had a distant memory that these onsens are to be entered completely nude.

Shay Daviau and Kristin Arneson
Shay Daviau and Kristin Arneson

To avoid being the odd ones out who went in naked when others were clothed, I attempted to peer into the onsen to see if everyone else was naked. Upon feeling creepy, we tried our best at charades and asked two young Japanese girls what to wear; they managed to explain that we needed to take everything off. We gasped at each other, shocked that we were about to go into a bathhouse, nude, with 100 other Japanese woman. The Japanese girls giggled and attempted to show us how to use the towel as some sort of a loincloth. We thanked them and stripped down to nothing but a towel that was the size of a face cloth.

There we were, amidst 100 Japanese women, completely nude. I think some people have nightmares about this kind of thing: being completely naked in a room full of strangers.

For us it was a large step, or rather a leap—straight out of our comfort zones and right into Japan.

We didn’t slowly ease into Japan like we thought we would, we had suddenly jumped in with two feet (literally). We sat there in the indoor hot spring baths, tried out the different types of saunas, and felt increasingly obese as we compared ourselves to the tiny Japanese woman. It was surprisingly relaxing after so many hours of travel, regardless of how far away from home we felt at that moment. Later on we found an actual—and much needed—shower, which luckily came with all the fixings: shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and even disposable razors. Unfortunately and unluckily, the showers were two glass walled cubicles smack dab in the center of the whole hot springs area. It felt like we were on display, and although slightly unsettling, we went for it anyways.

After our very public showers, we changed into our pajamas and went to the “relaxation room”. Picture this: a large dark room full of 200 leather reclining chairs, full of snoring Japanese folks. While we couldn’t find any chairs beside each other, we settled for two on either side of a snoring 80-year-old Japanese man. We were lulled to sleep by the buzz of snores around us.

I was told when traveling to “expect the unexpected”. Cliché as that might be, in my experience it has rang true more often than not. As unsettling and weird as something may be in the moment, I can assure you that a week later it will be hilarious.

A good story always comes from an experience that has a few quirks.

Stepping way out of your comfort zone is the only way to have interesting experiences, even if those turn out to be newd experiences.


By Shay Daviau
Royal Roads University Student

Concert Review: Mother Mother

There is no question what happened at the Royal MacPherson theatre in downtown Victoria on December 10th. Mother Mother came home, and an exuberant homecoming it was.

The band is now referred to as a ‘Vancouver band’ in the music press; their rabid Island fan-base knows otherwise. Originally hailing from Quadra Island, this band found their legs in Victoria’s vibrant music scene and built a strong following here.

They are in the middle of a run of three sold out shows at the theatre. One show had to be added when the first two sold out in a matter of days. This is a massive achievement for any band, let alone one who doesn’t sell out venues this size in far larger cities.

Toronto band Ubiquitous Synergy Seekers (USS), kicked off the festivities with a frenetic energy that carried their entire forty-five minute set. Ash Buchholz may have provided the vocals, but the undisputed frontman of the group was turntablist, backup vocalist, tiger onesie-clad, human clusterfuck Jason Parsons. I mean this in a loving way—the dude was everywhere. During the band’s biggest hit Shipwreck he whipped the crowd into a frenzied dance party sing-a-long that had all the kids losing their minds—the high point of their set.

USS has always been an exercise in style over substance. The batshit craziness of their live sets compensate for a somewhat banal brand of song-writing accentuated by the stereotypically aggro, modern-rock styling of Bucholz’s vocals. That being said, if you want a band to get a room of people ready to rock, USS is definitely the opener for you.

With USS’s priming, the anticipation was palpable as the house lights went down and the roadies got to work setting the stage for the headliners. The room exploded as the band walked out under cover of shadows and the first notes of Have it Out reverberated through the theatre. Lead singer Ryan Guldemond need not have sung the lyrics, the crowd would’ve had that covered. The relentless, driving keyboard and guitar riffs of hit single Get out the Way followed seamlessly. “I’m not antisocial, I’m just tired of the people,” Guldemond laments during the bridge of that song. He and the band seemed anything but tired of these people dancing at their feet.

In presiding over the crowd, the band did not forget about their long-time fans. There were healthy doses of fan-favourites peppered amongst the new material. The pacing of this was fantastic and demonstrated the evolution of the band since Touch Up. The fact that the crowd sung about disliking life in a ‘dirty town’ with equivalent zeal as living in a monkey tree showed their fans had come along for that ride.

The undeniable highlight of the night came when backup vocalist and keyboardist Jasmin Parkin emerged from behind her instrument to deliver a rousing, soulful cover of Lana Del Rey’s Video Games. Her voice was breathtaking—you could almost see the crowd’s mouths collectively fall agape. Talented frontman Guldemond’s step back from the spotlight, while unexpected, was ultimately thrilling—the element of surprise only adding to the brilliance of the moment.

The show was not without its flaws. While the band seems to be gaining confidence in their technical prowess, there were certain moments where this manifested itself in overzealous instrumental wanking. This detracted from the tight structuring that the band is known for on their studio albums. While this diminished the impact of certain songs, it’s not as if they went all Phish on us.

Petty grievances aside, the show wound up just as it started. The crowd remained ecstatic through the encore. Guldemond stopped for a moment; seemingly making eye contact with everyone in the theatre, and said “All the drugs are right here in this room;” words of thanks the crowd enthusiastically accepted.

As the band dove into Simply Simple, their final song, friends and lovers embraced and sang along. “I just want it to unfold, simply simple,” the chorus goes. This ode to simplicity was a fitting end to the night; seldom is a homecoming as uncomplicated and triumphant as this.


 

By Mike Westwick

Mike is a founding editor of The Royal and a student in the Bachelor of Arts in Professional Communication program. 

Connect with him on Twitter @westwick_m

The Cider Diaries: Tales of Cycling, Travel, and a Quest to Realize the Apple’s Deepest Purpose

Volume 1: An Unexpected Meeting
“So you’re with the…um…?”

“US Secret Service.”

‘Well, that explains the earpiece, stone cold expression, sunglasses, and poorly-fitting suit’ I thought to myself as I pressed shoulder to shoulder with the crowd, staring into the unflinching face of the United States’ finest.  Without intending to do so, myself and my cycling companions had found ourselves mere feet from Zoran Milanovic, Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia.  My fellow cyclist Tyler, clearly unnerved by the presence of secret service, tried to determine if his hands belonged in or out of his pockets by moving them in and out in furtive succession, prompting some cold stares from the watchful men with guns and little sense of humour.

We had woken up in tents nearby and cycled into downtown Gig Harbour, Washington on a cloudy late September morning to find the quintessential American chicken-fried steak breakfast experience.  Instead, we had unwittingly plunged ourselves into a throng of police, US Secret Service, the entire population of Gig Harbour Croatian enclave (all senior citizens), the political cabinet of Croatia, and ol’ Roarin’ Zoran himself.  Suddenly, we were unsure of how to proceed.  Seek out our greasy breakfast, or attempt to pull off the greatest unplanned group photo of all time?!  It’s not every day you come face to face with a head of state, after all.

The decision was quickly made for us, as Zoran was whisked through the crowd and into a waiting motorcade. Apparently the mid-morning mingle was over, and Mr. Milanovic was off to continue his tech tour across the U.S. Our window of opportunity over, we made our way to Kelly’s Cafe, the Gig Harbour breakfast spot, which was teeming with the Sunday morning breakfast crowd.

Our excellent XL-sized breakfast aside, our journey to the far reaches of Washington’s Puget Sound region had a purpose aside from an impromptu political meet-and-greet.  We had travelled 200 km by car, and 65 km by bicycle across land and sea, to attend The Greater Peninsula Cider Swig the previous afternoon, a family-friendly celebration of ‘hard apple cider’, as our American friends put it.   The reason for this trip deserves an diary entry all to itself, but in short, myself and my friends were, are, and will continue to be, working professionals moonlighting as cider makers, and striving to develop a commercial product to meet BC’s growing thirst for cider.  Our trip to Gig Harbor, and other forays into Washington and Oregon States, have served as reconnaissance, competitive intelligence gathering, learning, and heck, some cider-fueled good times.

In The Cider Diaries, I will share some stories relating to the trials and tribulations of making cider, regional cycle tourism in BC and Washington State, and other tales associated with learning the craft.  Hopefully, you the reader can learn a thing or two about the Pacific Northwest’s burgeoning craft cider industry, and have a few laughs at the expense of me and my companions along the way.  In the words of ye olde cyder lovers: Wassail!  And welcome to The Cider Diaries.

Yours in fermentation and long-haul rides,

Eric D.

ericdouglas
Eric Douglas is a Royal Roads graduate and entrepreneur. His serialized column will explore the beauty in cycling, travel, and cider production in the Pacific Northwest. 

Winter in Malta

Nadine Biggs
Maltese Waterfront

“Why did you choose Malta?” That was the question I received from friends and relatives prior to my trip. There were a number of reasons I chose to spend my winter break traveling to the tiny island in the middle of the Mediterranean. A year round temperate climate, English as an official Language, cheap and reliable public transportation, and affordable accommodation all played a role in my decision to discover the Maltese Islands, but in the end, it was the picturesque medieval waterfront city of Valletta, and the medley of UNESCO World Heritage Sites that had the history buff in me eager to jump on a plane and start exploring.

Born and raised on Vancouver Island, I like to think that “Island Life” has a different pace, and I feel this was applicable to Malta as well. Although apart of the EU, the islands of Malta and Gozo did not have the hustle you get in most of Europe. With a population of just over 400,000 inhabiting the two islands, the main cities were busiest with the rest of the population spread out among a number of smaller cities.

We had two weeks to spend exploring and we wasted no time in checking off bucket list items. Visiting the 5,000 year old subterranean Hypogeum of Hal Saflieni. The Ġgantija Temples in Gozo. Eating gelato and traditional Maltese pastries while walking along the waterfront promenade. But some of our favourite days were spent off the beaten path. Unbeknownst to us, both Malta and Gozo provided endless unmarked trails and pathways weaving along the jagged rocky waterfront. Whether it was happening upon millennial-old Roman bee hives while pondering the shores of Gozo from the edge of Malta, or finding fossils while enjoying the warm Mediterranean sun on a dead end road, it was the experiences not listed in my travel guide that made me truly fall in love with the islands.

As a self proclaimed “foodie”, I was eager to delve in to whatever Malta had to offer. While the national dish of rabbit was not exactly to my liking (I prefer my bunnies alive), I happily overindulged in Ftira (Maltese style pizza), pasta and pastries galore. My favourite snack ended up being Pastizzi. Widely available from street vendors, cafes and restaurants, Pastizzi is a savoury pastry filled with either ricotta or mashed peas stuffed between many layers of soft flaky phyllo. At a cost of around 50 cents Canadian, it was a quick, cheap and delicious snack, and naturally became a staple of our diet.

When I returned home with stories and photos of coastal hikes along the turquoise ocean, 7,000 year old megalithic temples, retracing the steps of the Knights of Malta, and indulging in the traditional pastitzi and qasatata pastries, my friends and family were no longer asking “why” I chose Malta, rather they were looking in to booking a future trip for themselves.


Article by Nadine Biggs
MA Student, Intercultural & International Communications