Upon flicking through the channels one could be afforded the mistake of thinking that ‘The Island’ was merely a Get Me Out Of Here and Survivor mishmash given a ‘Bear Grylls TM’ lick of paint and stamp of authority. Anyway, who could argue with my cynicism giving that Channel 4, once the home of groundbreaking and innovative programming, today churns out such eye-opening documentaries such as ‘My Granny the Escort’ & ‘The Complainers’ as well as reality TV gold such as ‘Made in Chelsea’ & ‘Gogglebox’.
However, my initial pretentious snubbing of The Island gave way to curiosity shortly followed by complete obsession after watching a 28-year old actor and 60 year-old dental business consultant team up to capture, kill and eat one of the jungles most feared animals, a cayman. The unity that bonds two completely different men when slaughtering another species for a Channel 4 production is heartwarming; and when a 21-year old chases down and throws a rock at a group of rare birds in any other setting he gets an ASBO. On ‘The Island with Bear Grylls’ it is a beautifully tragic metaphor of their struggle…
Top banter aside, what makes the program stand out from the current dross on our airwaves is not just the harsh reality of the show but its core structure that focuses on survival. A Bear fan or not, his words of wisdom that he interjects with cannot possibly be more annoying than two Geordies with big foreheads. I don’t even mind the hideously unsubtle product placement of his Bear Grylls TM knife collection. I WANT THEM.
What really makes this program great is that there are no ‘prizes’. Nobody ‘wins’. Nobody is voted ‘off’ and there isn’t a panel of moderately famous ex-survival experts with big red buzzers ‘judging’. Upon writing this review four, one hour long episodes have been aired and I still don’t know half the mens names. And I don’t care.
As with any piece of edited footage, it can be hard to cast judgement over certain arguments in camp. Action-man Rupert is disheartened at certain lazy camp members such as Craig (The Welsh one) and wants to go hunting for crocodiles at night, what could go wrong!? Ryan and Dean (the Gay one) feel like Rupert and Tony (The old one) are bullying people and being overly argumentative. The truth is, we don’t know exactly what is going on down there. It could even all be fake. Truman Show-esque. But my advice is this, lets get rid of our big red buzzers, stop judging and enjoy 13 men have a horrible time whilst we sit in front of the TV whilst consuming far too many calories than it is recommended to do so.
Isn’t that what Bear would have wanted?
Bombay Bicycle Club – So Long, See You Tomorrow 8.5
Steadman and co’s 4th album in 5 years is a culmination of all their previous works, plus more.
The opener, Overdone, introduces the electro-hiphop-indie rock record in dramatic style and the album bounces from every cornerstone of the bands recent cultural voyage. Singles Carry Me and Luna strike distinctly different chords and act as metaphors for the album on a whole. Home by Now‘s beat sounds like something straight out of GTA: San Andreas and Feel is an absolute Bhanger! (listen to it and see what I did there!!). The London four-piece have delivered a very good album no doubt, but the record often feels disjointed and the eclectic mix of sounds is, in fact, its downfall.
The Family Rain – Under The Volcano 7.0
Anthemic choruses and heavy riffs in a very safe record that is still worth a spin.
The Walter boys from Bath have delivered a catchy first album that rarely strays from its Brit-pop/ indie rock path… and it’s far from groundbreaking. The band have recently supported Jake Bugg, Miles Kane and The Courteeners and that should give you an insight into the sort of sound they are going for. The album never reaches the heights of debut single Trust Me… I’m a Genius and the whole record just feels unbelievable, unauthentic and same-y.
Katy B- Little Red 8.0
Baby Katy delivers a fierce woman of an album that merges all aspects of London clubland.
Kathleen Anne Brian’s second album manages to retain an authentic sound and feel whilst simultaneously providing exciting, innovative tracks. Labelled as a Dubstep temptress after reaching mainstream success in 2010 with Benga-produced Katy On A Mission, it could of been easy for the pop star to rest on her laurels. However, with just the right splash of funky house, drum’n’bass, warbling and crooning this album is sure to feature in nightclubs for the foreseeable future.