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Note from the Editor
Hello Boys and Girls!
Welcome to issue 2 of Concourse. A lot has happened since the last issue. Concourse now has a committee, we had our first ever cover shoot as well as showcasing some of our new writers for the first time. Keele’s got talent and our aim for this issue was to highlight some of these talents for you. I hope these very talents will inspire and entertain you and maybe spark a little flame inside yourselves.
Society Originally formed by a group of friends who enjoyed the obscure pub sport of foosball, Keele University Foosball Society (Keelefoos) has gone on to become one of the titans of the game and is firmly recognised as one of the most prestigious foosball societies in the UK.
By Freddy Dammé
Committee and Contributors Chief Editor
Marketing and Advertisement Secretary
Keelefoos members are encouraged to compete in national tournaments against some of the best players in the world. With over 40 individual honours won by members, Keele are also the first winners of the newly founded University Championships held in Bath this year. We had to play against other top universities such as Warwick, Oxford and Bath but in the end managed to emerge as champions! We are also proud of President Alex McDonald and V.P. Joshua Moore who were selected to represent the Great Britain juniors’ team and Sarah Brice, founder and ex-president, who was selected to represent the women's team at the 2010 Table Soccer World Cup in France. Their experience of playing at the top level will be beneficial for us in years to come.
Deputy Chief Writer
Keelefoos has also done its best to promote the game on campus, providing tables, free-of-charge at Barnes, Horwood and Holly Cross social spaces which are regularly maintained. We have also organised international tournaments attracting hundreds of the best players from across the world to Keele, something that we intend to do so again in the future.
Non Portfolio Officer
Head of Photography Matt Thompson
Whether you are a newbie looking for a bit of fun playing an awesome game, or an experienced foosball maestro, we encourage you to play the great game of foosball and join us at Keelefoos!
Writers Jack Mills Davidson, Alyson Bird, Alex Hitchman, Ify Hallem, John Morris, Rob Hutchinson, Chris Dillon, Victoria Taylor, Georgina McGibbon, Nici Hale, Amy Dowd, Hannah Wood, Andy Irwin and Chee Meng Au.
- Contact –
Website: www.keelefoos.co.uk | E-Mail: email@example.com (Meng)
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I’ve just had the closest thing to an argument with Freddy Dammé that I’ve had during our friendship. The tiff, relevantly enough, was about experience. More specifically, it was about student experience. More idiosyncratically, it was about a Keele student’s experience. At our first – very well attended – press meeting we put it to our budding writing team that we wanted to cover a set of experiences relevant to Keele students. We wanted a Fresher’s experience, an off-campus experience and so on and so forth, you get the picture. Anyway, the writing deadline came, and with it, a rush of articles for me to edit. Six and a half hours later (I shit you not Keelites) I emailed everything I had to Freddy – who incidentally was sitting next to me on our sofa, which smells of dog. I went to burn something to the inside of my non-stick frying pan while she sifted through the articles. I walked back into the lounge of our little house having left a suitably foul smell in the kitchen, and the following is a paraphrasing of what awaited me: “why does everything have to be about getting pissed all the time, is this how we are portraying students? Not everyone goes out every night!” I was suitably irked by this reaction. I’d spent the bulk of my day being her bitch and I took what she said quite personally, even though she hadn’t been remotely personal, she had in fact simply been her usual honest, earnest – not to mention highly demanding – German self. So I sat and thought about this, trying to piece together the Keele experience, and I realised how absolutely right she is (don’t tell her). I’ve made two Fresher friends. One of them feels a long way from home and did a very brave thing in admitting he was struggling to adapt to the move. He sought out a friend of mine who will remain anonymous, and she sought out those of us she thought would be able to cheer him up and give him some encouragement. We all went out and, I think so anyway, had a lovely night. I hope our company hasn’t frightened him too much, but he left me and my anonymous friend with something to ponder: not everyone just drops comfortably into the university niche. In fact, with the exception of the handful of Super Kool Kidz, none of us do, we all have to work to find our
place and what we want. The other Fresher Friend misses her boyfriend a lot. She also lives off-campus. Imagine, all those of you who live(d) on campus during your first year, coming to Keele and living outside the bubble. I can only imagine that it makes the whole experience even more disorientating, especially at first. I’ve stood in the bus queues, I’ve had over £5 worth of library fines to rush onto campus and pay off so that I can renew my loans. I’ve also felt completely out of it. It’s not so good. That said, there are also a lot of positive aspects. You form your own little family off-campus, you can go home at the end of the day and you get very good at “pigeon-dodging” on the streets of Newcastle. Morrisons and Sainsburys are just a carrier-bag-drag away. Being a postgraduate, I am acutely aware of the confusion experienced by international students, even more so than I was as an undergraduate. They are the bravest of the lot. I chickened out of study abroad (I also couldn’t afford it) in my second year. I would have gone to the USA, where the first language is English, albeit silly English. I have nothing but admiration and I can only imagine how difficult it can be to get into the swing of things in this strange little place with its Select and Save, its bad coffee (Barista excluded), odd enrolment procedures and 64-page forms asking for your mother’s maiden name and bra size. Essentially, I’m trying to say that my boss got me thinking. Everyone has a story to tell, every experience is different. Plenty of you have part time jobs, plenty of you commute from home, plenty of you join societies and plenty of you don’t. Some of you have no idea what you are doing here. I didn’t. I can’t scratch the surface and I’ve probably gone on too long. Suffice to say that this issue of Concourse has made me “get” how diverse this place is. We’re going to show that off this year, Freddy and her new committee, me and my team of writers – who I would like to thank very much for their contributions. Together, with every issue, we’re going to get better and better at writing with you in mind. We’re Keele students; we’ll never be short of things to say.
By Andy Irwin
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Ever thought of living life without the hassle of shopping for food or the worry of paying for the energy you use? Enjoying home cooked meals using home grown vegetables in the evening, elaxing in the garden over a pint of your home brewed beer? All this may sound quaint and unrealistic, but the University of Keele is giving students the chance to do all that on campus! Last Christmas James, Carl, Scott and I, all undergraduates studying for a BSc in Environment and Sustainability, figured there could be immense value in immersing not just our heads, but also our hands in the issues our course covers. We decided to ask our course tutors for some support in making it happen and were bowled over by their enthusiastic response, as they immediately saw this initiative not only as a chance to expose students on our course to practical implementation of ideas around sustainability, but also linking the initiative more generally to the idea of living, learning communities, with potential application to students across a wide range of courses and faculties. Thus this project could be a pilot, with many more such Sustainable Student House Initiatives (SSHIs) developing over the coming few years. The University of Keele have given us generous support, allowing us, after negotiations by our group, to rent a house with a garden and land at the back in the Barnes area of campus. Since then, the Key Fund, supported by ex-Keele students (Keele Alumni) have supported us with a generous grant for purchasing garden tools, a greenhouse and other assets to make the project
Over the coming months we will be digging over the garden in preparation for planting vegetables in the spring, installing a large greenhouse bought with grant funds for hothouse plants - melons, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes – and getting a compost pile going to provide fertile soil for the future. Our plans also include the establishment of links with local allotments and the Union Farmer’s Market, which we hope will allow the university to provide its students with locally sourced vegetables. And we plan to cut our energy use significantly via increased insulation and the installation of basic energy saving devices. In order to provide us with the sustenance necessary to continue the good work, we plan a steady supply of sustainable home-brewed beer throughout the year. There are academic angles to the project – we not only have to account for the house finances but also its energy inputs and outputs - we have undertaken to produce sustainability accounts as well as financial accounts, which we anticipate will feed into thinking for the university as a whole as to how best reduce energy bills across campus - saving the university and students cash via the use of sustainable technologies that we can show really add value. We wouldn’t say our little project is going to change the world, though it could be an enjoyable step in the right direction. We believe it will prove valuable and grow. We'll look forward to updating you through a regular column in Concourse on how the project is going.
By Jack Mills Davidson
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Stokie Dictionary As you’ve probably all noticed by now, Stoke, like many cities in the north, has a regional dialect. So to give you a helping hand this is a dictionary of some of the common Stokie phrases you’ve probably not come across before. Ay up: Hello Ow at?/ Ow Do?: How are you? Orate?: Are you alright? Canna/dunna/wunna: Can’t/ don’t/ won’t Cost kick a bo agen a wo an ya ed till it bosts: Can you kick a ball against a wall and on your head till it bursts (not that you’ll ever hear/need to use this phrase, but it’s fun to say) Duck: Term of endearment but also used instead of words like love at the end of the sentence. Everyone calls everyone duck around here, so it’s not an intimate term of affection. Don’t take offence either as it is highly unlikely that you resemble an actual duck. Mar Lady: My lady/wife. There is a comic strip in the local paper called ‘May un Mar Lady’ if you’d like to become fluent in Stokie. No one really has an accent that strong anymore, but it’s fun trying to work out what they’re saying. Nanight: Night night Oatcakes: These are not cakes made with oats. The best way to describe them is pancakes made with oats but this isn’t quite accurate. If you’re new to the area, you need to try them. They are the local delicacy and originate from the Stoke and Newcastle area. We know local people who’ve gone to universities in other cities and have their parents send them oatcakes - they’re that popular. The most popular filling is cheese but Hannah recommends trying them with chocolate spread too. They taste better warm and the fresher the better. Piece: Sandwich (not used by many people anymore though) Sommat: Something Tak: Take Dunna worry, ye'll be talkin like a Stokie in nae time.
By Amy Dowd and Hannah Wood
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5am 5 a.m Last week, KUSU made news. The Union announced that it has received permission to extent its opening hours to 5 a.m. Keele students have reacted differently to these measures taken by the KUSU which have led to Keele University being termed â€˜party havenâ€™ by one national newspaper. Concerns were particularly expressed by on campus students as some may fear late night disturbances due to fellow students returning from nights out at the Union. Others welcomed the extended hours with open arms. KUSU has quickly reacted to concerns by releasing a press statement. Therefore the opening hours extension will mainly be put into action for the big nights such as Winterfest or Woodstoke. Additionally, the Union bars will only be allowed to serve alcohol until 4 a.m.
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Graduate Experience Any mention of a KUSU Annual General Meeting is often enough to turn even the most active student to sleep. It is, however, a pretty big deal. It is the meeting where any activity of the Union can be, and is, discussed which ultimately leads to specifying exactly what the Union can and can’t do. The Union not only runs nights out – it also provides a huge number of services for students. It is the main platform for the Sabbatical Officers to discuss what they have been doing and plan to do to for students at Keele. It is also the platform where the financial situation of the Union is presented.In short, it is the place where the Student Union gets its mandate for the actions that it performs. If you want the Union to support or condemn the Government cuts, to focus on saving Philosophy at Keele or discuss the Union’s redevelopment, it is here where it will be debated. It can get heated and exciting, or occasionally it can be bureaucratic and dull. They might feel threatening to attend, but if you do you’ll get a real insight and a say as to what your Union does on your behalf. Last Tuesday, after an impressive video of the Union redevelopment plans the evening proceeded with a delegation of socialist students proposing motions which met with quite heated opposition from members who can only be described as ‘definitely not socialists’. The motions followed: KUSU support for potential union action by Keele UCU and UNISON (the lecturers’ and auxiliary staff’s unions respectively) was passed, as was confirmation of the Film Society (KUFS) constitution and Women’s Society being recognised as a Student-Led Service (SLS). Rejected were motions for KUSU to oppose all Government cuts or to promote protests. There was also an emergency motion attached, and it is this whichthe rest of the article focuses on. There has, recently, been a call for the KUSU to repeal its ‘No Platform’ policy, whereby if someone harbours extremist views they would not be allowed to talk at the Students Union. Fair enough, you might think Incidentally, it was revealed at this AGM that the constitution didn’t actually contain this policy (it had expired and no record of it had been kept) so as a union we’ve actually had no basis for enforcing such a policy. This subject, of course, is very much down to personal opinion. Some might (and very convincingly) argue that the Union should
Some might (and very convincingly) argue that the Union should be a safe area for all people regardless of ethnic background or sexuality, and should never invite people who could potentially offend or threaten into this safe area. Others, however, would argue that as a university we should allow deliberation on all subjects, and it is not profitable to ignore these opinions – especially in Stoke-on-Trent, which was (unfortunately) a strong BNP area. Whether you agree or disagree is not the point – the point is the motion that the AGM passed. It states that no “individual who is known to hold racist or fascist views from entering the union premises”. This means that students can be blocked from entering the Students Union. This means that no-one deemed racist will be able to access the vital services the Independent Advice Unitoffers.Indeed, we might disagree with their opinions, find them disgusting, but it does not mean that if they keep their opinions to themselves they should still be excluded from the services that the Union provides, and the services that they, as a student, help pay for. It also means someone has the horrible job of trying to define what racism or fascism is. The OED states that racism is the belief that “each race possesses characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race,” and that is “any form of right-wing authoritarianism”. These are remarkably vague terms (and ones that, I might add, in no way prevent homophobia), and ones that drive deep into the psyche of our society. I would challenge anyone not to have any kind of subconscious bigotry or racism – they may not act on them, they may feel ashamed of them, but to suggest that no-one has these thoughts is plain wrong. And suggesting that if they do hold these views, they should not be allowed to access their Union is wrong. The Union is a student service for its students, and these services should never be compromised, regardless of a student’s personal beliefs.
As a university student I spent four long years reading depressing newspaper headline after depressing newspaper headline, telling me how unemployment was rising, more graduates than ever were out of work and finally that I would struggle to find a job. Each time I shrugged my shoulders and smiled, how hard can it be? I have a BA in politics and American Studies, chief-writer of my university newspaper, Iʼve worked the entire time Iʼve been at university and Iʼd participated in so many extra-curricular activities that it would take my entire Concourse word-count just to list them...so why wouldnʼt I graduate and have my pick of top jobs? So foolishly I continued to work and study (and perhaps party a little too much) and put off applying to the grad schemes and the jobs until after my dissertation as I truly believed that my focus should be university and not the job hunt...truthfully folks? I failed miserably. If I can offer one piece of advice to you all, look for jobs early and look for them fast. There are jobs out there but they fill up quickly and I can guarantee that those that wait until after graduation to start the tireless job hunt will remain disappointed for quite a while. After speaking to several of my friends their experiences seem to have been the same...wait until after graduation, apply for everything that pays a decent graduate wage and wait for the rejection letters to come pouring in and the bank balance to dwindle pretty rapidly. Looking back I wish Iʼd spent my final year of Keele setting up my future; applying for graduate schemes (milkround.com are a great place to start, sign up to their emails as they find great graduate schemes), looking for jobs and interviewing everywhere (whilst I still had the student loan to cover the expenses) and perhaps most importantly visiting the careers advice centre to find out what my options were and the best way to find my career and not just a job to pay the
After the excitement of handing in that dissertation or final paper has gone and the thrill of graduation is over, many graduates are left with the feeling of what now? Donʼt be one of those graduates that sits back and doesnʼt have a plan, be the kind of graduate that says love:Keele, but what lies ahead will be just as exciting.
By Nici Hale
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By Alex Hitchman, Keele Politics Society
One of the biggest apprehensions
uneasy, and can make you feel there is
regarding University is the ability to make
something wrong with you as a person.
friends, be it classroom acquaintances,
There isn’t. The joy about coming to
housemates or BFF’s. I can disclose that,
Keele is there are friends out there
from personal experience, this can be as
for you to make, you just might have
simple as turning up on the first day of
to plunge into the deep end to find
Uni or it can be an unfortunate
them, whereas some people are lucky
enough to merely dip their feet in.
This being my final year at Keele, I
with the people you may not normally
to come back to the bubble, one of the
socialise with, and that is what’s great
main reasons being getting to know the
about coming to university, there are
people I would find myself surrounded by.
no cliques and no pressure, just
When I got to Keele it was, as usual, all
ever-expanding friendship groups. I
a bit hectic to say the least. Eventually, I
could never have guessed I’d be in
bumped into one of my flatmates in the
such a diverse group this year, a
kitchen and I was definitely feeling the
hockey-nut, a weirdo, a shopaholic, a
pressure of that first impression, little did
chav turned good-lad, a west-country
I know that a week from then we would
boy, a bizarre sandwich maker, a Fifa
be known as the ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ of
crazy Irish boy, a ‘yes’ girl and a
the group. Yes it seems like a leap going
sharp dressing medic. I definitely could
from the first meeting to ‘newlyweds’ in
not have guessed that I, the loud
a week, but if you ask my flatmates they
scouser, would become BFF’s and serial
will tell you that after the first week it
spooning buddy to an at first quiet girl
was like we had known each other for
from Leeds who is now as crazy as me.
Evidently, what I am trying to get
sort of ‘love at first sight’ scenario when
across is that if we freaks can all find friends at Keele surely anyone can!
it comes to making new friends at Keele; everyone and every situation is different. This is my fourth year at Keele, and while I made some good friends and met my boyfriend in first year, my second and third year proved a bit of a struggle concerning meeting new people. This can definitely make your time at Keele feel
Student Council - 18:00 - Chancellor’s Building
It is important to socialise, even
was both extremely excited and anxious
I am by no means preaching any
Upcoming Democracy dates
By Georgina McGibbon
1st November 29th November
UGM - 19:30 - KUSU Ballroom 15th November
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Our Favourite Childhood Stars: Where are they now? The Spice Girls’ ‘Spice’ Album. That was the very first CD I ever owned. Imagine 8 year old me (short, a bit on the chubby side, round thick glasses…. you get the picture) jumping around her family’s living room as Wannabe blared out from the stereo system. It had been a birthday gift from an aunt, one I hadn’t exactly been excited about getting originally considering I had never really paid much attention to the group before. But as time passed by, I actually grew to love the album, and could even sing-along to every single song on it (which I considered to be a huge accomplishment for some reason). And thus began my short-lived Spice Girls 0bsession phase…. Here I am, nine years later, wondering, “What ever happened to that CD?” It’s so sad how certain music albums we once described as the soundtracks of our lives end up abandoned under our beds or at the back of that cupboard no-one at home ever uses anymore. What’s even more depressing is how the artists that made these albums eventually disappear from the planet, bearing the dreaded status of a ‘has-been’ or D-class celebrity. So because I’m weird like that, I have spent countless hours in front of a computer, putting together a list of singers most of us grew up listening to as kids (unless you grew up under a rock, on the dark side of the moon or something). I call it….”Where are they now?” DISCLAIMER: Please note that I grew up in a different continent called Africa and contrary to popular belief, we did (and still do) have access to TVs, radios and Western culture. But nobody was listening to Atomic Kitten or Blue or any of those solely British-based groups and artists. So please don’t get too mad at me for omitting some singers you may have listened to when you were younger. 1) Spice Girls: Scary is a reality star with an amazing bod, Posh is married to my future baby-daddy (just kidding *nervous laugh*) and the others are around…somewhere. There was the reunion tour but I was pretty much over them by then.
6) Mariah Carey: Sidenote – I loved her! Married to rapper/ actor/ DJ/ TV show host/ music producer/ comedian/ talent manager Nick Cannon with twins (that the world still hasn’t seen yet) and a very successful music career. Her acting career on the other hand…not so much.
2) Sisqo: The Thong song guy. Former Celebrity Big brother contestant. Need I say more?
7) Christina Aguilera: A lot more relevant than Britney is considered to be now (in my opinion). She is still fabulous with that amazing voice that sends chills down my spine every time.
3) ‘N Sync: Justin Timberlake is Justin Timberlake.. JC Chasez is a judge on America’s Best Dance Crew. Lance Bass came out of the closet and is a bestselling author. Joey Fatone is a reality show host. And Chris Kirkpatrick is the voiceover for a character in Fairly Odd Parents. 4) Britney Spears: I was never a huge fan of hers to be honest. But I will commend her for her staying power. The woman has refused to leave the music industry and still sells millions of albums worldwide. 5) Westlife: Still pretty huge, still managed by Louis Walsh. I wonder how that’s working out for them. Anyone who sees star quality in Goldie from X factor ain’t having my money!
8) Will Smith: The Fresh Prince has starred in several box-office smash hits and still releases successful music to date. And is it me or has he not aged one bit? 9) Justin Bieber (ten years from now): A contestant on The Celebrity Apprentice. I couldn’t’ help myself… So there you have it… my list of nine of our favourite stars that will always have a space in our hearts and should receive some sort of gratitude for making songs that helped us dance our baby fat off, drove our parents crazy (“Turn that noise down! NOW! ”) and comforted us when it seemed like no one else could. By Ify Halim
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After a long summer of slaving away for ‘the man’ Sophie is a second year student at Keele University, from I was looking forward to my third attempt at Stafford, who studies law and criminology. She has always had a Fresher’s week and the chance to drink myself passion for music, since the age of eleven she has performed in stupid and dance like an idiot. My first year choirs, school concerts and old people’s homes; her first Fresher’s experience was a bit of a let down – I onstage performance being a rendition of winter wonderland. was a little love struck and a lot homesick so ended up back in my block, with tea and toast, by Her passion for music has driven her to start writing and singing 11 on the first night and continued to hibernate her own songs which have already, in a few short months, until about Christmas. Fresher’s Round 2 I took accorded her a large amount of positive attention including, in way too seriously and refused to venture to the April of this year, being signed to the music label Assorted union in case the reading I had smushed into my Records. brain over summer fell out. So this time round it was going to be the ultimate blow out. I can safely Sophie’s inspiration comes from all areas, she acknowledges both say that age does not bring wisdom. her mum’s and her singing teacher’s support as well as famous figures such as Martin Luther King. Musically, Sophie I managed to maintain a constant level of listens to modern pop and old rock; from artists such as Jessie J, remarkable drunkeness from the Friday before Noah and the Whale and her favourite singer Pink – who is a Fresher’s, until Wheatus/Gym Class Heroes. The major influence behind her music – to bands such as AC/DC and morning after Gym Class Heroes I woke up with Led Zeppelin. the shakes, a pounding head and a very scary bank statement so decided to chop off the However, her most important influence is the one closest to home, Fresher’s wristband before any more damage her boyfriend Josh Chick. They not only live together but he is could be done at the headphone disco. My liver heavily involved in her music. He duets with her on the track sighed with relief as I pinned the wristband on my Josh’s Song and is the guitarist and melody in most of her other tracks. Things are certainly looking up for Sophie; she has played the local scene but now larger and more prestigious venues are starting to notice her. She has already performed in the London Troubadour and later this month will be performing in the Birmingham o2 and the Cavern club in Liverpool.
wall to remind me of my achievement. The personal highlights of the week included waking up with bird poop on my new dress after a particularly heavy night of putting the world to rights on the grass in the Outback, a frisky fresher trying to lure me to his den with the line ‘I can make pasta and I play the banjo’ and falling over in front of a table of jeering lads and leaving my dignity on the floor with the rest of my drink. I must admit that I can’t remember much about the acts that played – although I do remember rocking out hard when Zane Lowe played some Slayer, and I do remember laughing a lot and having a pretty amazing week. It’s been hard to shake the Fresher’s feeling this year – I need to hit the books and stick to the coffee (without any kind of liqueur). Somewhere between my first, second and third attempt at Fresher’s week there is probably a comfortable middle ground in between hiding in the library for a week and throwing up in next door’s garden…fourth times a charm? By Victoria Taylor
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Is she overcome with nerves singing in these venues? Sophie explains that the worst part is the waiting beforehand, where the nerves get the better of her. But that quickly disappears when she steps on stage, when her first note ripples across the audience, when she becomes ‘lost’, focused on her music and delivering an amazing performance.
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Sophie is getting noticed for a reason. Her songs pack a mighty punch. Her powerful voice thunders over expertly crafted vocals. Each note filled with an intense emotion that leaves the listener hanging on to every heartbreaking word. Sophie is certainly an artist to watch. Sophie Bohanan’s debut songs will be released on iTunes in November. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or Youtube by searching her name on the respective sites and listen to her music yourself. By John Morris
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Freshers Experience My roommate is lying on the stage in the ballroom. I am lying on top of him. Tony Lee squirts whipped cream on his crotch. I near its location, positioned in a 69, being egged on by the audience. I dive down and lick the whipped cream off. That is what Fresher’s week should be about. Doing the most stupid, embarrassing things you can, so you have something to laugh about the next day. But it is also so much more. Meeting people you have never met before. Faces which may become inspirations, forgotten or intimate to you. Fresher’s week, or at least my Fresher’s week, was filled with unforgettable experiences; whether partying hard to Gym Class Heroes, going deaf because I was standing too close to the speakers, or drinking so many Snakebites (out of sheer boredom on bingo night) that I got utterly wasted for the first time.
The society and sports fair gave me a chance to join societies that I would have never expected. Even if I ultimately decided, again, that sport was not for me. Model United Nations gave me a unique debating experience. My KUBE radio show allowed me to express (inflict) my music on fellow Keele Students and of course Concourse has giving you the chance to read about my experiences. Now, three weeks on, with Fresher’s a distant memory I am left thinking what word would best describe the madness that occurred. Perhaps the best word is the one that is used when things go wrong; or when you are overwhelmed. The word to describe it all: Fuck.
By John Morris
Whilst large parts of Fresher’s week might have revolved around alcohol, it was the parts where it was absent that will evolve me as a human being.
The Next Step After all of the drunken shenanigans during fresher’s week and our first socials coming to an end – if you can still remember what happened – the real university life is getting intofull flow. Waking up at 8am cross-eyed dreading a tutorial for 9am and havingnot done the reading for class is not what you should be slipping into a habit of. Not to scare anyone off but a minority of students fall into a procrastination orbit. The work piles up and deadlines start creeping, meanwhile, you’re sitting in your room playing Fifa and lounging around. From personal experience I had a habit in first year of bad attendance and fucked up sleeping patterns. Yes, waking up at 6pm is not a solid plan for university life no matter how comfy your bed is. Unlike school, lecturers aren’t constantly pestering you about work, so it’s
relatively easy to fall behind without someone kicking you up the arse to move up a gear. If you don’t want to fail a year through laziness, it will be best to insure you work hard as well as play hard in order to have the most fulfilling life experience! University life is best when you strike a balance. You're here to work and make the £20k worth it, but have a wonderful experience nonetheless and enjoy what you can out of it.
By Rob Hutchinson
‘We all know why we’re here’, support act John Macleod professed in the middle of his folky acoustic set and with commendable accuracy, as ‘The Rigger’ would soon become the setting for a track to track presentation of Dead Radio Society’s new EP ‘Plan Z’. But first the two support acts they had lined up had sets to finish. Macleod came on first, opening his act with ‘a love song abouttwitter’, before launching into a set playing songs spanning from folk to jazz, to those of us in the audience and not at the bar. His performance acted as a showcase for Macleod’s surprisingly versatile voice and playing style. The second support act ‘Dave and Joey’ were a clearly experienced and confident folk rock duo who, as well as being full of praise for Dead Radio Society, performed a more mainstream set of songs than Macleod, notably a cover of The Eagles and a particularly good cover of the Sessick Steve song ‘started out with nothing’. It was then Dead Radio Society’s turn to arrive on stage. Immediately cutting through the previous acoustic sets, they propelled themselves through the title track of their EP: a lively rock tune full of character which acted as a perfect introduction to the band’s set.
The next track, ‘Murder Song’, sounds as if Los Campesinos! have got hold of The Edge’s guitar pedals. As uninspiring as that sounds it proved to be one of the catchiest and most heartfelt performances in their roster. A succession of songs about spies (As singer/guitarist Sam Hayler pointed out ‘Most of the songs on the EP are about spies’), included a song actually called ‘Spies!’, a Queens Of The Stone Age - esque tune about a paranoia of being followed by, you guessed it, spies. The band finished their staging of ‘Plan Z’ on a high note, with what was in my opinion the best song on the EP, which had the indie rock styling that made Tapes ‘N Tapes (kind of) famous but still with plenty of their own identity. In-between various pleas for the audience to buy ‘Plan Z’, the band went back to their non-EP material, the highlight of which was the song ‘Misery Guts’, which was introduced as a track written ‘to cheer myself up, to little or no effect’ and which eventually led to the rest of the band shouting ‘shut the fuck up, misery guts’, tough love clearly not working in this case. The non-EP material seemed to be at a similar standard to the EP material, and the set closer ‘Mary Jane’ acted perfectly as a summary of the band’s sound; energetic, literate and personality laden indie rock. By Tom Challen, Writer of the Month
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‘All students should be in a band’, this is the one of the many conclusions that have been reached during the course of my interview with Joe Stretch. Joe is a writing fellow here at Keele, author of two acclaimed novels Friction  and Wildlife  and also member of the Manchester-based band (We Are) Performance. There is a pause as I consider his statement. I certainly couldn’t be in a band. I imagine my panic-stricken self, positioned next to a microphone in front of a large drunken student crowd, I won’t even allow myself to be dragged onto the Union stage for karaoke let alone perform in a band. I tell him I would be too nervous. ‘We all get nervous, I get nervous. The nerves are a good thing’, if this is true it certainly doesn’t affect Joe’s performance as lead singer which is displayed in the countless videos uploaded by fans to youtube of Performance’s live gigs across the country. ‘We have great fans, fans that love the music and turn up to the gigs wherever we go’. Possibly these fans will follow Performance to Germany which is where the band’s next live tour will begin, following the release of their next album, a compilation of previous hits. Performance includes members Joe Cross and Laura Marsden who are also currently in a band called Kiss in Cities. Performance could be described as an electro-dance pop act, they sing about dickheads, love and youth. Themes that also feature heavily in Joe’s books, I ask about these prevalent themes and their obvious significance to his work. ‘Well it’s current, it’s relevant. I mention dickheads…because I’m a dickhead, it’s the generational insult, I mean what’s yours? Douchebag?’ It takes me a second to realize that he isn’t actually calling me a douchebag, so I shrug. Before enquiring how he ended up being signed in a band in the first place.
‘I’d never thought about being in a band, until they asked, I’ve been friends with Joe Cross since we were ten. Then one day we were pissing around, recorded a demo in our bedroom, made posters with biros and went to a gig. Someone liked us, asked for a demo and soon that demo was being sent to producers and executives all over the world. We were then signed with Polydor, recording demos in real studios, being told we were great which was weird and scary. We even had our own French chef, Jerome’. Performance were subsequently named second in NME’s The 100 Greatest albums you’ve never heard list. This must be a bittersweet moment to discover that your creation was well respected just never delivered properly to the public. It turns out that a twist in the bands relationship was to blame for the failure to become truly successful, which according to NME would have been their destiny. ‘Being kept together makes music quite bad, the boring element is what is keeping you together, it’s like touring with a dysfunctional family’ but the band is still together now, still touring, still creating, still great friends, ‘which is really a great achievement in itself’ Joe states as he leans back in his chair, legs stretched to reach the desk. What is the point of being in a band, I ask him, ‘It’s about emotions to be created, deep feelings and ideas, which is what people should be focusing on. Which is why all students should be in a band’. I’m feeling relatively convinced by the end of this interview. Perhaps I would pick up a microphone and scream over a backing track, why not? If I get mentioned in NME even once, I think it would be worth it.
By Justine Denning