Diary of a house party: ‘10.45pm. There’s a man at the door. We definitely didn’t invite him. He has a Leicester City Council logo on his outfit. Ah. We’ve fudged up.’

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By James Cannell

House parties. We have all been there, whether it be invited to one, next door to one or hosting one. I usually find myself being the latter. However, for the first time in my partying career, I have found myself facing my toughest challenge yet: a noise complaint. Here’s how it happened.

8.30pm

The door opens, and students come pouring into the house. Now I am accustomed to large crowds in small places. I excel in them. But through some lunacy, myself and my two other house mates thought it to be a good idea to invite at least 30 people to our, narrow, thin-walled house. Within the hour, our two- to three-person sofas are working at double capacity and the arm chairs faintly resemble refugee camps.

9.30pm

The alcohol is flowing, the drum and bass music is pounding and my sorry attempt to retain control is dwindling.

It’s not a problem. “The best parties are always the ones you can’t remember in the morning,” a friend of mine always says.

There’s another party happening next door. Just over the fence.  At this point, one of my house mates takes the initiative to make first contact with them. With a mighty heave, during which I am almost positive he has put his back out, he lifts the fence from its rightful place. And so, the parties merge.

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Image by Thomas Breher from pixabay.com

10pm

The merge isn’t a problem for me either. I am all for new faces. It’s just the fact that the party has not dispersed between the two houses, but we’ve added to the number of heads in my living room.

At this point, a game of ‘civilised’ beer pong has begun.

I say ‘civilised’ in such a way because the level of competitive chanting was something similar to Donald Trump shouting nonsense at an innocent journalist who was just minding his own business.

The game ends with me landing the final shot into the cup. During the celebrations, a drunken friend decides to chock slam another through the beer pong table, which is actually a door that we had found on the side of the road. Because of the fact it was a fire door, the two ricochet off the table, like a tennis ball against brick.

10.15pm

Upon closer inspection, we realise the table is in no fit state to continue the night. Because me and my fellow housemates didn’t buy the door/ table, we have no monetary or emotional tie to it, but that didn’t mean its retirement is any easier. In a moment of mourning, the music switches to The Sound of Silence. A dramatic change from the heavy, bass from before. A reverent hush is demanded as all 45 plus people are urged to file outside and pay homage to the table. Not the most unusual thing I have ever done, but maybe the most meaningful thing I will do tonight. It’s at this point that my stupid, drunk brain thinks it would be a good idea to set off a firework.

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Image by PublicDomainPictures on Pixabay

10.20pm

As the song comes to a close, I stand in front of the crowd, firework in my hand. I raise it to the sky, the fuse is lit, the fuse makes contact with the firework, it ignites.

At this point I realise reading the instructions would have been a good idea. See this firework is attached to a stick. I’d assumed that the firework would shoot off the stick. It didn’t it. It went off in my hand. At head level. The damage is minimal, luckily. Everyone laughs it off and the party continues.

10.45pm

Now as many students may know, 11pm is when you should quieten down the music. No more loud noises, right?

Turns out noise complaints can be made any point. I discover that after cleaning the soot off my arm.

There’s a knock at the door. With one house mate passed out upstairs and the other calming down a hysterical girl, it’s left to me to answer the door. There’s a man stood there. A much more mature one. Someone we most definitely didn’t invite. Ah. We’d fudged up. The reason I knew this instantly had to do with his outfit. Smart but causal, but with the Leicester City Council logo on it.

11pm 

The party has been shut down. Someone has complained about the noise we had been making. Whether it was the firework so close to the ground, or just the heavy bass we’re not sure. All we know is that it’s over, and we are to expect a council hearing soon.

Still, it had been one of the best parties we’d had and yet, come tomorrow, we will be  very much able to remember it.

Well, maybe. We decide to throw caution to the wind and go out.

Hunt Showdown review: Zombies, hellhounds and guts galore

By James Cannell

Hunt Showdown creates an atmosphere that Pennywise himself would shy away from. From the terrifying enemies to the panicked encounters with other players, the only thing scarier than the gameplay is the waiting times.

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The game focuses on bounty hunters who hunt down monsters, kill them, banish them and then successfully escape. Of course, it isn’t that simple, the world is overrun by monsters as well as other bounty hunters trying to kill you to take the bounty for themselves.

Crytek has outdone themselves this time, the game is loaded with as much potential as a Springfield sniper. Since its release, it has given players a chance to hire female hunters, as well as adding even more terrifying night-time missions.

The 1890s setting is reminiscent of classic games such as Red Undead Redemption and Left 4 dead. The capabilities for both PvP, as well as PvE, have added fear no many other games can match, along with the threat of permanently losing your character, there is no doubt this game raises the states to the next level

With clever map design, and an endless roster of potential playstyles, there are tactics that can suit anyone, whether it is all out-melee attack, stealthy hit and runs or even long-ranged sniping. Expect the unexpected.

And that, like any new game, includes bugs. With waiting times that can exceed nearly five minutes there is even more of a reason to play it safe, and not die. Unfortunately thanks to the limited capabilities of consoles, it’s impossible to see an enemy if they stand over 30 meters away.

The clunky action ironically gives the game an extra level of terror as players frantically attempt to showdown against each other and their bounties. It becomes easy to be overwhelmed by even the simplest enemies.

Originality Crytek revitalised their development of the game in 2014, then was released in early access in 2018, it is clear that Hunt Showdown is the living example that waiting is better than rushing.

One can only hope that, if Crytek continue to delight us with updates, Hunt Showdown will become one of the best horror games for the new generation of consoles. There are endless possibilities to be explored within the game not to mention the chances to play with friends, hunt monsters and panic so hard you lose 10 years of your life.

1917 review: modern, flowing and phenomenal

By James Cannell

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This means war: the poster for 1917

Sam Mendes’ 1917 is a masterpiece of artistic cinema with a tyrannical focus on cinematography. Its dramatised narrative and gut-wrenching performances are a solid reminder of the woes of war and a beautiful revitalisation to the war genre.

The Academy Award-winning film seemed destined for glory, with a cast list that could pack a punch harder than an artillery cannon. Unfortunately, each round of A-list ammunition seems to be locked, loaded and fired before the audience are given a chance to even recognise them.

The casting of George MacKay and Dean Charles Chapman as leading protagonists is ideal. It is uncommon to find such young talent to portray the reality of war, their desensitised opinions are both a breath of fresh air while also disturbingly calm to the whole situation.

The heightened pace of the film leaves little time for questions, and none for answers. Colin Firth’s character announces “your orders are to deliver a message calling off tomorrow’s attack” and that’s it; we’re away. Anyone in the audience with their hands up, wondering why they couldn’t just drop the message by plane, or send more than two boys will just have to keep puzzling.

Nevertheless, the film itself is such a spectacle we can overlook its blatant audience manipulation. Just as advertised, it delivers a seemingly flowing, uncut single shot. While you’re sitting there, with your hand up, waiting for your answers, you might want to try spot one of the 34 or more hidden cuts throughout the film.

1917 trades in the traditional war movie tropes in favour of a cinematic marvel, blending the tragedy of war with the glorifying immersion of the drama. The characters that are in the film for more than three minutes are genuine characters, ones who you believe to have families and loved ones. You cannot help but route for them.

Ironically some have criticised the British/American produced film, that focuses on two British soldiers fighting for the British and following the British ideologies of the time for being too British. The criticism that the film is nationalistic isn’t an arguable point, but rather a quintessential part of it, you cannot portray a British-centred film by focusing on the rights and wrongs of both sides.

Mendes’ snapshot of the First World War is far from perfect, however its pace and immersion leave little argue with. The acting plunges its audiences into the reality of war while waterboarding them with the kind of graphic detail we have come to expect from the genre.

Fundraising drive in memory of De Montfort University lecturer Andy Plaice is halfway to hitting its target figure

An appeal launched in the memory of an inspirational De Montfort University lecturer is halfway to hitting its target figure after just two days.

Maria Thompson aims to raise £1,325 in tribute to her husband Andy Plaice, who died on February 18 after a 10-month battle with a rare form of brain cancer.

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Her JustGiving page currently stands at £685. The money will go to Cransley Hospice, in Kettering, which cared for Andy in his final weeks.

Staff and students alike have been paying tribute to the “amazing, funny and kind” journalism lecturer, who edited the Melton Times and the Rutland Times before switching careers to teach journalism at DMU.

In a post on the JustGiving page, Maria paid tribute to the “amazing doctors, nurses and staff” at the hospice, who “supported Andy, myself and our two boys to live every moment we had left together and it’s unthinkable to consider how we would have got through it without them.”

Maria, who worked alongside Andy at both the Melton Times and the journalism department at DMU, added: “Please give what ever you can in Andy’s memory so other families facing the same terrible circumstances receive the same love and care we did.”

You can make a donation in Andy’s memory here.

Leicester Comedy Festival review: Jo Brand and guests at De Montfort Hall

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Review by Olivia Maclaughlin

Tonight’s line up featured Eshaan Akbar, Arthur Smith, Ivan Brackenbury, Hal Cruttenden, Jo Brand, a barking dog and a man in the front row who came to watch, and ended up on stage.

In a night supporting the Big Difference Company, the charity behind the comedy festival, the entertainment didn’t stop right from the moment the host Phil Nichol stepped on stage.

That isn’t to say there weren’t moments that weren’t planned. Like the dog, making an unplanned guest appearance by barking at the back of the room. Thinking on his feet, Nichol made it part of his act.

He made connections throughout the crowd, whether four-legged or not, especially a man in the front row, who became a running gag whenever Nichol returned to the stage.

By the end of this two-and-a-half hour fundraiser, Neil had been lured on to the stage, and was singing while the audience chanted for him.

The line-up all brought their own different styles, ensuring there was something for everyone.

Akbar was first on, and brought political commentary and self-deprecation to stage which appealed to the younger members of the audience, but brought a tut from one woman near me.

She was keener on Arthur Smith, the godfather of British comedy, who came pre-armed with crowd-pleasing puns and a comedy poem. But at the end he recited a poem about kindness which allowed for moments of sincerity and added another level to the show.

Sometimes using using a gag over and over again doesn’t work, but with Brackenbury it did. His hospital radio DJ act has been around for a few years, but his songs and simple one liners got us back in the swing of things after the break.

After this came Cruttenden, immediately confessing to looking like Mr Tumble. Well, the crowd was thinking it too. His routine mined a rich seam of gags from marriage and turning 50.

Last up was Brand, who appeared from behind the red curtain to thunderous applause, and commanded the room from joke one.

Never one to shy from cheek-blushing comedy, she tore into topics about weight and the menopause, along with her life with her husband and two daughters.

She’s a natural storyteller, and showed just why she has lasted so long in comedy.

A perfect way to end an hilarious night.