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September 24, 1998 - Image 27

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-09-24

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I

108- The chigan Daily Weekend fgazine - ThUtsdeay, Septem~r 24, 1998

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The Michigan Daily Weekend Magazi

Flurry of campus fairy tales usually leaves truth snowed

Rising popularity of Welsh pop revives Bri

By WIIam Nash
Daily Staff Reporter
Fact or fiction?
The University has myths and fairy
tales riddled all over campus from the
horrors of gracing the Diag's M to the
romantic persuasions of the West Hall
Arch.
Responsible for initiating incoming
first-year students to these and other

tales are the orientation leaders who
spice up the tours of would-be first-year
students with a dose of fantasy.
"All the leaders tell different
(myths)," said orientation leader Leeann
Benkert. "It was our place to go wild
and tell them what we wanted."
Benkert said the University's Alumni
Association provides leaders with a
"myth list" that gives them choices of

some of the long-standing campus fables.
Probably the most prominent and
practiced of these myths is that stepping
on the M in the diag will result in the
failure of your first bluebook exam.
"I don't believe in it, but I don't do it,
just in case," said LSA first-year stu-
dent Jenny Murphy.
Many students shy away from the
M before their first bluebook. But for

those who tempted fate, is the legend
true? Benkert, who is responsible for
spreading the myth to those who fol-
low her around campus, has a story of
her own.
"I avoided the M, but I remember one
night I got so frustrated while studying
for an exam," Benkert said. "It was rain-
ing and I stomped all over it."
The result?
"I didn't do too bad," she said.
Another popular campus myth cen-.
ters around the pumas who guard the
Natural History Museum.
In one version the pumas supposedly
roar if the Michigan football team beats
Ohio State.
The other, as LSA first-year stu-
dent Arun Gopal puts it, is that "if
you graduate from the school with-
out getting some, they roar."
The orientation leaders like to joke
that virginity is a scarce commodity on
campus and that "no one's ever heard
them roar."
Leaders also stretch the truth when
they tell incoming first-year students that

a bird's-eye view of the School of
Dentistry building yields a giant molar.
The truth:- Even star constellations look
more like what they are supposed to
resemble than the building does to a molar.
A model in the lobby of the building
shows the unique, but un-toothly
appearance of the structure.
Also, kissing someone under the West
Hall Arch, known as the Engin Arch, sup-
posedly guarantees marriage to that per-
son, according to another myth.
While love in all forms may
abound on campus, no one we could
find says that the Arch has anything
to do with it.
The reasons and origins of all the
superstition on campus is cause for
debate.
Murphy said she thinks it may be a
scare tactic to frazzle incoming first-
year students.
But Benkert said she tells the myths
to make incoming students feel like a
part of the tradition.
"I feel like a part of the UT of M cam-
pus is being passed down," she said.

By Stqph.. Brtz
Daily Arts Writer
Wales lists as its major exports coal,
iron and steel, various agricultural
products and, as of the past several
years, top-notch pop bands.
An unlikely hotbed of young talent,
Wales has produced a surge of bands
that specialize in creating some of the
most finely-honed, hook-laden ear
candy on either side of the Atlantic,
with The Super Furry Animals (SFA,)
Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, and Catatonia
as the three most popular contenders.
Ingeniously idiosyncratic. SFA brew a
potent musical potion that draws from
such various seemingly unrelated sources
as prog-rock, cheesy '70s metal, Pet
Sounds-era Beach Boys and, of course,
The Beatles. Throw in some weird, outer-
space computer noises and lyrical refer-
ences to famous scientists and unicorns,
and one would end up with a reasonable
approximation of their sound.
Zany lyrics and T-Rex riffs aside, SEA
pulls no punches when it comes to assem-
bling melodic song structures. Both its
1996 debut "Fuzzy Logic" and last year's
"Radiator" are filled to the brim with
more hooks than a fishing tackle factory.
SFA has been touring Europe exten-

sively and plans on putting out a new
record in early '99.
Following the lead of frontman Euros
Rowlands, Ggrky's Zygotic Mynci, like
SFA, combines bizarre psychedelia
with a remarkable pop sense.
But whereas SFA is quirky, Gorky's
is downright weird. From the cartoon-
ish, surrealist album covers to the eclec-
tic instrumental lineup (multiple key-
boards and a violin coupled with the
traditional drums bass and guitar),
Gorky's is strikingly different from the
rest of its Britpop peers -- so different
that the band's sound almost defies
proper description.
Gorky's sound spikes painfully beau-
tiful vocal harmonies with a Zappa-
esque madcap disdain for convention.
Flutes fade in and out, Gregorian
Chants appear, Martian synth lines usu-
ally pop up somewhere and everything
is at once fantastically hallucinatory
and dangerously infectious.
With three LPs, "Tatay," "Bwyd
Time" (pronounced "booty time" in
Welsh) and "Barafundle," as well as an
extensive collection of singles and EPs,
Gorky's, despite only having been
together for six years, has produced a
copious body of work.

The band has just released a new sin-
gle, titled "Let's Get Together (In Our
Minds)," and has a new album due out
by the end of the year.
Catatonia is simultaneously Tess
eccentric and more accessible than either
Gorky's or SFA. Led by Welsh chanteuse
Cerys Matthews, whose vocal efforts
resemble what Bjork might sound like
after smoking three cartons of Marlboro
Reds, Catatonia produces smart punk-
ish pop in the British tradition of
Echobelly and Elastica. Like those

bands, Catatonia's blend of rollic
guitars coupled with gorgeous v
proves to be a powerful formula ind
On its 1998 LP "Internat
Velvet,"and especially its brilliant si
"Mulder and Scully," a cry for love a
from those two FBI agents we all k
and love; "Road Rage,"'which is und
edly one of the year's best songs; a
am the Mob:' Catatonia emerge
Wales' brightest hope for world dot
tion.
While Gorky's, SFA, and Cata

TheI
Ea

PHOTO COURTESY MERCURY RECORDS
Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, from Wales, is an example of the unique, harmonious new
musical style emerging from the United Kingdom.
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