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The Winter Issue November 2010

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Important Police Message


On Friday 5th November an email was sent to a number of University security staff and Student Union staff members with information about two incidents were an Asian male had sexual assaulted two students near the university. Due to excellent work done by the university security staff, who detained the male after they observed him loitering around the location. The security staff detained the male until police arrived and placed the male under arrest. This male was arrested days after the security team received the email. The male was questioned and released on bail pending further enquires. The police are extremely grateful for the hard work done by the security team and their continued commitment to keep the students safe. The next day another male was arrested for exposing himself near the university campus. He also was questioned and

released on bail pending further enquires. Police are appealing for victims to come forward, as we do take this kind of crime seriously. Local university based officer, PC Tracey Pickering, would like to remind students of their own role in staying safe... • Where possible, please remember to stay on well lighted and populated streets. • Stay together in a group as there is safety in numbers. • Be aware of your surroundings Remember you can visit the safer students website for more safety tips and advice As always, if you have any concerns or problems, please feel free to contact either PC Tracey Pickering ( or your security team on 0121 331 6325. Lastly, you can now follow us on Facebook. To receive daily policing news, updates and interaction, please click ‘like’ on birminghamwestandcentralpolice

If you have been a victim please contact either your security team or the police on 0345 113 5000.

EDITOR’S NOTE Well it’s that time of year again people, Birmingham’s chock a block with merry shoppers and your bank account is slowly dwindling, ‘tis the season to be jolly of course so we just had to bring you a jam packed festive issue of SJ. If you’re a bit stuck on what to buy your other half we’ve got a nice bunch of stocking filler ideas, as well as how to make your own decorations and some tasty cocktails to make a joyous toast with too. In amongst the festive cheer, there’s also the usual bits and bobs so flick to the centre if you’ve been to any Union nights to see if your face has made it onto our pages. We hope you enjoy your read as much as we did putting it all together. So once again from me and the team, put those books down, place your best pair of antlers on and have a very Merry Christmas!

Laura Townsend Editor

Editor-in-chief: Kat Higgs Editor: Laura Townsend Design Editor: Joe Taylor News and Features Editor: Katie Fox Arts and Entertainment Editor: Chris Smith

Up Front

4 – Union News 6 – Style hunter 8 – Festive gift/decoration making 15 - Christmas Cocktails 16 – Student of the month

Student Culture

On The Cover - Zoe Price Second year Vis Com Graphics A Classic Cool Wintery Wonderland

20 - Cookery Corner 22 - Flirt photos 24- No Ifs, No Buts, No Education Cuts! 34 – Live reviews 40 - Top ten Christmas films 42 – Ho ho ho-horoscopes



Union News ....................... Your Official Union Update

....................... November/ December 2010

New Media Centre in Action! Students who are involved with Media Groups can now benefit from the new Media Centre situated in the Union Building at City North Campus.

Here is where you will find all three Media Groups; Spaghetti Junction, Scratch Radio and Tiger TV, busy at work on their next project. Communications Officer Kat Higgs said: “ We’re lucky enough to have some of the best creative students out there at Birmingham City University. With this new Media Centre, there’s no reason why our Media Groups can’t achieve even more this year.” You don’t have to be on a media-related course or have any experience to be a part of Media Groups. Group leaders offer free training to all those willing to get involved. Interested in joining Media Groups? Email Kat at or pop into the Student Activities Centre next door to the Media Centre!


Make the most out of your student cash by using an NUS Extra Card for your all Christmas shopping! With discounts at stores such as,, New Look, ASOS and the Apple Education Store, what are you waiting for? Grab yours from the Union Building at City North and online at nusextra.

Snow Ball

Ticket Deadline

All payments have to be made in full by November 30th! So that’s not long! Visit birminghamcitysu. com/snowball to secure your tickets quick for the most festive student party in town. Celebrate with your friends and housemates at this year’s Snow Ball. Great entertainment, great food and great fun!

............... . Moving Soon? Housing Fair Here to Help!

Where do I look for accommodation? What landlords are accredited? Can I have my housing contract checked before I sign? Will my house be safe? Will I get my deposit back? All your questions will be answered at the Housing

Pssst... We will have our

very own Students’ Union Letting Agency opening in January located in the Union Building. Keep your eyes pealed! More info soon!

Fair in Baker Hall, City North Campus on Friday January 28, 11am-3pm.

Speak to accredited landlords and agents and get advice from: The Students’ Union Advice Centre Accommodation Services Midland Landlord Accreditation Scheme, Birmingham City Council, Private Tenancy Team and West Midlands Police.

We Marched...

...52,000 steps forward! The NUS/ UCU nationall demo was enjoyable with three coaches of Birmingham City students amongst 52,000 demonstrators. A small minority of people attempted to ruin a peaceful demo with their shameful behaviour. The Union heavily opposes an increase in tuition fees and education cuts but in no way supports the disgraceful actions of the minority. See Kat Higgs’ account of the day on Page 24 along with some great pictures the media haven’t shown you!

....................... Flirt! Christmas Party! It’s the Flirt! Christmas Party! Saturday December 11, 10pm - 3am at Bar42.

Join in the festive fun and there’s a free Santa hat on the door! This exclusive, student event is just for you and your closest mates. We’ll be bringing you the coolest anthems as well as some Christmas favourites! With entry from £2 & drinks from £1, plus, every penny spent in Union bars helps support your Union. What more could you want from a Saturday night?






Whether it’s your boyfriend, dad or brother, there’s bound be a male you’re buying a present for this Christmas. Agonise no further, and simply take a look at the ideas below.

Cookies or cake

Lots of people say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach- well, they can’t all be wrong. Bake a yummy Christmassy cake or a batch of cookies, and wrap them up in some nice material. Add a bow and personalise the label- he’ll love it! If you can’t cook, buy some cookies but wrap them up like you made them yourself; it’s the thought that counts!


If the bloke you have in mind is anything like the boys I know, they’ll all be after the latest techno-gadget. Don’t worry if an iPad or PS3 is a bit out of your price range though! Check out sites such as, and They’ve got plenty of cool gadgets and you’re sure to find something perfect!

Something drink/ food related

It’s a well-known fact that most blokes love beer. If your recipient doesn’t go for beer, a bottle of his favourite poison will put you in the good books. Lots of shops bring out alcohol-related gift sets close to Christmas so you’re in luck! Got a straight-edge guy? A book about pubs might lighten his spirits, if he’s the reading sort. I’d suggest a book by Albert Jack entitled “The Old Dog and Duck”, which is all about the secret meanings of pub names! You can buy it in any bookshop or order it online. What if your bloke in question doesn’t drink? Well, chocolates wouldn’t go amiss, and they’re not just for girls! Grab some fancy ones from the Frankfurt Christmas Market in the City Centre or stick with the failsafe Cadbury/ Thorntons variety! Or better still, take him out for a nice Christmas meal as part of his present.



Worry no longer about the woman in your life

and what you’re going to get her for Christmas. Although you may not believe it, the thought really does count, but pick something that shows you know her. Still stuck? Take a look below.

Experience days

Many companies have now cottoned onto the idea of experience days as presents. These are no longer just for activities like skydiving or driving a racing car, now you can get spa days or theatre trips! Based all around the country and with many different ‘experiences’ to choose from, you’re bound to find something perfect near you.

Take her shopping

There’s nothing worse than buying a woman clothes she’ll never wear or that don’t fit. Instead, why not save a little cash and take the female in question shopping instead? You can even make your own ‘voucher’ with a personalised message and spending limit, then go shopping with her! This is also a perfect way of finding out for future reference what size she is and what she likes. And it’ll get you in the good books as she’ll get something she wants for a change!

Personalised photo gifts

If the gift is for your girlfriend, why not create a personalised collage of pictures of you together? It’s quite easy to print out some pictures and artfully arrange them in a frame, especially using the photo machines you can find nowadays everywhere- even in Asda! This also works if it’s a gift for your mum or sister. Photos of the family will give them something they can cherish forever, and if it’s for a mate it’ll remind them of all the good times you’ve had together. It doesn’t cost much, but it will really put a smile on her face.




MAKE YOUR OWN GIFTS When it comes to Christmas gifts, we know that it’s not always possible to afford that perfect present for everyone. If you realise that it’s too late to save money now, you may want to spend a little more time than cash so that you can give the greatest gift in Christmas history! Here are some ideas for how to make your own Christmas presents.

1. BATH SALT You will need a bottle or jar, Epsom salts, food colouring, perfume or essential oil. INSTRUCTIONS: Combine the desired amount of Epsom salts (enough to fit in your bottle or jar) with food colouring. Mix well so that colour is even. Add your perfume or essential oil and mix again. Spread the mixture out on a sheet of wax paper to dry for a couple of hours and then put it into the bottle or jar. Whilst the salts can be used right away, the perfume or essential oil will blend better with the salt if it is allowed to set inside the jar for a few days.



2.FELT BROOCH You will need a safety pin, felt fabric, reflective fabric, beads. INSTRUCTIONS: Cut a circle, square, triangle or any kind of shape you would like your brooch look like out of the felt fabric (make it two – as you will need one to hide the back of the brooch). Choose the design; sew some beads and reflective fabric on your brooch. When you are finished with the design, take the back of the brooch and sew them both together, decorate borders with some beads to make it look nicer. Finally just add the safety pin and your perfect gift is ready to surprise someone really special!

3. MIX TAPE – SPECIAL EDITION You will need an empty tape, recorder and your voice! INSTRUCTIONS: Just choose a couple of easy songs you can sing. Find the lyrics on the internet and start singing! Fun is guaranteed when recording and definitely when listening! To impress someone even more add your special greeting in the beginning. If you are not very keen on singing, you can pick fairytales instead.

4. SCRAP BOOK You will need a pretty notebook, some pictures and nice colourful pens. INSTRUCTIONS: Think of a story you can tell with the scrap book. Use pictures and write down your best memories of your recipient. Draw something on your own, give it to other friends or family members to add their comments. There are plenty of ideas out there to make the best scrap book ever, just be creative! This is something that the receiver can treasure forever and I can guarantee that the effort made will be 100% worth it! Written by Liene Mihalova



Design by Leonie Brückner

Christmassy Creations! The festive time of year is upon us again so here’s a few creations that you can get stuck into, dress your abode head to toe and save yourself some pounds at the same time! Bunting is a great way to use up any leftover pieces of material, what people in the know call ‘remnants’. Follow this simple guide to and you’ll feel all christmassy inside! You will need to get your mitts on these goodies: Selection of fabric Colourful threads Pinking shears (zigzag scissors, optional!) Step 1: First things first, you need to make a triangle template. Draw a square that measures 8cm x 8cm. Along the bottom, mark halfway (4cm in) and draw lines to connect the top corners to the bottom centre where your mark is. Cut out the large triangle in the centre. This is your template! Step 2: Grab your chosen fabric and lay it face down on a table. Draw around your template making as many triangles as you like depending on how long you’d like it to be! Each bunting flag requires 2 triangles. Cut out your triangles! Step 3: Sew it on up! Take 2 triangles and put them together (wrong sides matching up). Now, either using a sewing machine or by hand-stitching, stitch along all 3 sides of your triangle. Make sure to strengthen your stitches at the start and end of the triangle by backstitching. When you reach the corners, all you need do is swivel the fabric round with the needle down and continue your straight lines to create a more finished look. When you’ve sewn all your triangles, press them with an iron to secure the stitches and keep them neat. Step 4: Pinking shears will make your bunting less likely to fray and can also jazz them up in an instant! Step 5: This step sounds trickier than it is so it calls for bullet points! •Sort triangles into desired order •If using a sewing machine, place the triangles where they are easy to grab! •Take a piece of A4 paper and sew along the length of it •As you reach the end of the paper, feed in your first triangle, sewing along the top and over the line you’ve already sewn. •When you reach the end of that triangle, feed another in and continue this process. •When you reach your last triangle, feed in another piece of A4 and sew along its length. 12


Step 6: Just like perforated paper, you will be able to tear away the paper from the thread. Using the paper means the thread is bound and more secure. Don’t have a sewing machine? Try hand-stitching, gluing (or even stapling discreetly) your bunting to a piece of ribbon, hemming tape or onto a co-ordinating strip of fabric. Ta-daa! You’ve made a mini-bunting that is reusable and oh-so-cute and kitsch! Bunting is not just for Christmas, why not have a go at other holiday-themed decorations?

Decoration Money-Saving Tips! Baubles: If you’re like me, when it comes to baubles, you believe, ‘the shinier the better’ but may not have the funds for those amazing ones you saw in Selfridges. How about buying a box of plain baubles and getting creative? Just think, all you’ll need is glitter glue and a few sequins and you’ll not only have saved a few bob, you’ll have a unique Christmas tree that’ll be the envy of your student halls! Crackers: You may love the plastic yo-yo and fluorescent comb you get out of those store-bought crackers but it’s another fantastic opportunity to get creative. Hunt out DIY cracker kits which provide you with all you need to make the actual cracker (including horrendous jokes and hats) and then you can add in whatever you please! Maybe your favourite sweets or a home-made decoration! I have a vision of my house covered in bunting this Christmas! As well as decorating your own home, these goodies would make fantastic presents and the recipients will know that a bit of effort and creativity went it to making them! Merry Christmas Everybody!

by Bethany Palfreyman design by Danbi Lee


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Christmas can only mean one thing - PARTIES. Let’s face it, we’ve all had our fill of cosy winter evenings with hot chocolate, bad movies and pyjamas. But it’s time to throw on the glad rags and paint the town – It is Christmas after all. Whether you’re celebrating by dancing the night away, or throwing your own Christmas bash, you’ll need to know how to make the perfect Christmas cocktails. And Spaghetti Junction is going to show you how!

Written by Amanda Johansson Designed by Amy Evans

The Snowball Ingredients: 2 shots of Advocaat Lemonade Lime Cordial Add a dash of lime to the Advocaat, pour into a glass filled with ice and then fill to the top with lemonade. Couldn’t be simpler!

Christmas Champagne Cocktail

Double Chocolate Martini

Ingredients: Champagne or Sparkling Wine 1 Shot of Cointreau 1 Shot of Mandarin Vodka 1 Sugar Lump

Ingredients: 1 Shot of Vodka 1 Shot of White Chocolate Liqueur 1 Shot of Baileys

In order to make this gorgeously sugary drink, fill 3/5 of a glass with either the champagne or sparkling wine then the other shots and sugar lump. The glasses can be garnished all kinds of ways – tangerines, sugar and even maybe throw a bit of tinsel around the glass to really give it

It’s chocolatey, creamy AND alcoholic? What more could you ask for?! Simply mix all of these ingredients in a cocktail shaker, pour over ice into a martini glass and that’s it! The cocktail is ready to be enjoyed. A nice touch would be serving with a flake or any other chocolate.

that Christmas feel.

Candy Cane Ingredients: 1 Shot of Vanilla Rum 1 Shot of Strawberry or Berry Vodka 1 Shot of Peppermint Schnapps 1 Candy Cane Here at SJ, we are completely sweet toothed, and currently adoring this Christmas inspired sugar-overload of a cocktail! Shake the ingredients well and pour over ice. Don’t forget to garnish the glass with sugar and serve with a candy cane!






Bless us students; we do get a bit of a bum deal don’t we? If we’re not in the papers for being lazy bean-munching spongers, we’re in there for being perma-drunk, memorial-desecrating louts with no sense of social responsibility. If only those journalists knew the truth eh? Y’know, that we’re actually unwashed squareeyed last minute deadline-meeting Jeremy Kyle devotees.

Of course, I’m generalising, and students are actually a pretty industrious lot, especially supremely talented. An example? This issue’s be to n those who happe at Student of the Month, Glen Croft, who happens to be awesome World the in 16th came ly recent he that fact, in me Archery. So aweso other University Archery Championships in China, placing above every . Blimey team. Britain member of the Great


I caught up with Glen to discuss his achievements: When did you first take up Archery, and what inspired you to? I first took up archery in 1999, just before I turned 9 years old. It was my dad and brother, who had started the year before, who got me interested. When did you first take up archery at a competitive level? Throughout my first 5 years of shooting, my brother was better than me by far. I saw him shoot for England, and then in 2004 shoot for Great Britain in the Junior World Archery Championships held in England. It was then that I was inspired and wanted to get serious. I’ve shot for Great Britain ever since. How do you prepare for a match? Archery is all about repetition; in theory it doesn’t matter how you shoot



the arrow as long as you can repeat that very same action every time. I prepare by shooting 200 arrows every day, so I can feel really confident in the shot and it is firmly embedded in my muscle memory. This is my general training routine anyway, alongside four hours of gym work every week and my personal routines for preparing myself

mentally before, during and after competition. What emotions did you experience at the Championships? Were there any nerves, or were you confident of your performance? This wasn’t exactly a new experience for me; it was in fact my 13th international competition. I felt confident through this and the training I have been doing running up to the event, but I would be lying to say I wasn’t nervous. The nerves are good, they help keep me alert. How did it feel to finish as the highest placed British archer at the Championships, especially as you were participating alongside some very wellrespected British student archers? The 3 other archers I went with are good friends of mine anyway, as we have all met at home competitions. I have even shot internationally with two of them. I wouldn’t say I was glad to beat them individually; I would have been very happy for any of them to place higher than me, as long as my own result was good too. But this result looks good for me going into next year when I intend to put myself forward for the Summer World University Games being held in Shenzhen, China. What does the future hold for your archery career? Next year I want to succeed in the Summer World University Games. This is a big event, and a special one for me as it is an opportunity to compete at a multi-sport event, great

preparation for the Olympics. I want to qualify for the 2012 Olympics and try out for the team, it depends how the next 12 months go as to whether I’ll make the team, but I want to at least learn something from the selection process so I can try again in 2016. The Olympic gold medal is my ambition, as well as medal opportunities at World Championships and World Cup events. What advice do you have for anyone looking to get into archery? Go to the national governing body website at, find your local club and get involved. It really is a sport for all.

Written by Chris Smith Design by Luke Kennedy



EVERY SATURDAY AT BAR 42 10PM - 3AM Entry: £3 / £2 with flyer before 11pm £4 Non BCU Students & Guests





Are you bored of eating exactly the same every Christmas? Would like to surprise your family and friends with something different this year? Then you need to read this for great ideas on Christmas meals from passionate Italy, enthusiastic Russia and of course, the traditional European gingerbread man!

Ingredients 125g unsalted butter 100g brown su gar 4 tbsp golden syrup 325g plain flo ur 1 tsp bicarbon ate of soda 2 tsp ground gi nger Cookie shape cu tters Writing Icing

Gingerbread Man 1.Preheat oven to 170°C, gas mark 3 and grease a baking tray. Melt the butter, sugar and syrup in a medium saucepan, stirring occasionally. 2.Add the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ginger into a bowl along with the melted mixture. Stir together to make a stiff dough. 3.Lightly flour a preparation surface and roll the dough to a thickness of about 5mm. 4.Cut out using shape cutters.

Ingredients 2 ducks, und Salt and freshly gro black pepper me 2 tablespoons fresh thy d 6 green apples, (peele and chopped) 60g butter 125ml water 125ml white wine 165ml sour cream

5.Place the shapes onto the lined baking trays and bake, for 9-10 minutes until golden brown. 6.Remove from the oven and when cool, decorate with icing how you see fit. Enjoy!

Duck with Apple Stuffing

1.Preheat the oven to 190oC and season the ducks with salt and pepper and rub it with thyme leaves. Stuff half the apple into the cavities of the ducks. Pierce the skin with a fork and dot the skin with butter. 2.Place the ducks in a roasting pan. Pour the water and wine into the pan. Roast in the oven for 1 ½ hours or until the juices run clear. Baste occasionally, adding water if needed. 3.During the last 20 minutes of cooking, place rest of the apples in the pan. 4.When the ducks are fully cooked, remove them from the oven and let them rest for 15 mins before carving. Mix the pan apples with the sour cream and serve with the carved meat.

by Adam JUNCTION Wilkes 20 Designed SPAGHETTI

Italy is usually mentioned in the same breath as love, passion, sun and holidays. If you’d like to taste some of that during your Christmas holiday, carry on reading and make your very first LOVE KNOT. It couldn’t be easier to make them and if you know how to deal with this dessert, maybe you can resolve a love knot of your own?

Christmas Love Knot Ingredients flour 2 ¼ cups s butter oon sp le b ta 2 r ing suga 1/3 cup ic 2 eggs dy oon bran 1 tablesp lt sa of A pinch ar for Icing sug g in dust

1. Make stiff dough with these ingredients, kneading it thoroughly, and adding more flour if it comes out too soft. Flour it and let it rest, covered. 2. Roll it out into 5mm thick sheet, and use a serrated pastry wheel to cut it into strips about 10cm long and 3cm wide. 3. Make a cut down the middle of each strip (so as to obtain two strips joined at the ends), twist the side strips without breaking them, fry them in hot oil or lard, and dust them with icing sugar when they’re cool. 4. If the dough has formed a crust, knead it again before rolling out. 5. Give to someone special!





Photos by Ioana Ramfir



No Ifs, No Buts, tion Cuts! No Educa Union Communications Officer, Kat Higgs shares her experience of the national NUS/UCU Fund our Future: Stop Education Cuts DEMO. The energy and excitement amongst the student protesters at the demo was overwhelming. Marching in a crowd of over 50,000 students all in unity was something you don’t experience every day! There were thousands of banners and placards all expressing disappointment, anger and betrayal and broken promises. The message was clear- students are being treated unfairly and wanted to DO something about it and stand up for equal rights to education. The march was enjoyable with 130 Birmingham City University students amongst 50,000 wanting their voice to be heard. Only a small minority of people attempted to ruin what was a peaceful demo with their shameful behaviour. Birmingham City Students’ Union heavily opposes an increase in tuition fees and education cuts but in no way supports the disgraceful actions of the minority yesterday. I’m so proud of Birmingham City 24


Photos by Ioana Ramfir

students for taking part in the biggest student march of a generation. I was looking forward to seeing the overwhelming number of students peacefully marching through the streets of London, standing up for future student generations shown all over the news. I came home to find headlines of ‘student yobs’ and videos of ‘riots’ what was just a minute part of such an otherwise magnificent day. It’s a shame that the media have decided to focus on the actions of a minority, which included students and non-students, young and old and University staff and overlook the fact that over 50,000 students and academic staff took to the streets of London to stand up for what is an unfair step backwards in the UK education system, for a more sensationalist, negative approach. As part of Birmingham City Students’ Union, I will continue to fight the rise in tuition fees and education cuts. It was their generation who caused this, so why should we pay for it? Written by: Kat Higgs (Union Communications Officer) Photos: Steven Lowry



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One card, 4 benefits... Union 1 National 2 Local Discount Card Discount Card

3 Loyalty Card

4 Privilege Card

Buy online or at Union Reception, City North Campus Upgrade to ISIC (£1.99 extra) & enjoy thousands of discounts in 120 countries (£9 RRP)



Christmas is traditionally a fun time of year for most, however there is a minority going through a rough period. So therefore I think we should take a couple of seconds to consider how we can help. Macmillan Cancer Support is a charity created to support people affected by cancer. They provide cancer sufferers and their families with practical, financial and medical support. Cancer affects one in three people, from minor to incurable cases, so it is important that we try and do something to help the less fortunate.   So how can you help? Throughout the Christmas period, Macmillan Hospice holds a Lottery. Tickets are £10; this means that you will be entered into 10 weeks worth of draws which gives you a chance of winning £3,500. The money donated supports the services all year round; last year two million pounds was raised for patient care- how amazing is that!  To get involved email lottery@ or call 01782344321.

Another way you can support the charity is through Macmillan’s ‘Light up a Life’ fundraiser, which is a little more personal. If anyone has ever lost anyone to this horrible illness, then this really is a touching way to donate. The donation can be as big or small as you wish, and by donating, your loved ones name will be placed within the memory book at the Douglas Hospice and you will be invited to come and watch the lights be turned on in their memory. This a lovely way to reflect and remember the lives and love of those we have lost and find comfort in knowing that a light shines brightly in memory of those lives. You can get more information on this cause by going to the The final way you can support the charity is by purchasing some Macmillan Christmas cards. They’re £4.50 for 25 and all profits go to the cause; go to the website to find out more! So the message is: give a little and let people gain a lot. By Stacey James




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Friday 28th January 2011, 11am-3pm Baker Hall, City North Campus 28 SPAGHETTI JUNCTION

19/8/10 19

, , With jobs from every sector of public front-line services being cut, councils


it will never be a nice reality to face, but one that needs to be. Over the last thirteen years, the previous government spent money like it was a never-ending water fountain and now it has come back to haunt us in the form of the recession and increasing national debt. The UK was in grave danger of losing its AAA credit rating and things only getting worse. These spending cuts, as harsh as they are, have been implemented to try and save our crippling economy and bring it back to times of fruition. In order to reduce the deficit, spenig cuts have to made. Yes, it is likely that we will see fewer Police on the streets and yes, some of the council services will no longer be available or we will have to pay for them (luckily students don’t pay Council Tax), but will hit our shrinking pockets will be at the tills. That dreaded VAT rise is looming and we really need to be savvy at saving pennies. So do a little research as there will be items you don’t pay VAT on such as multi-packs of Walkers Crisps! So as horrible as the next few months are likely to be, just remember that this is in the best interests of us all in the long-run. Take heart in the fact that it will be people like us who will be leading us out of the recession and reaping the rewards.







The Arty Page Christmas Spesh! Exhibition: House of Fraser window displays Where? By Pigeon Park in the City Centre When? Throughout the Christmas season and its FREE!!! As everyone knows Christmas is just around the corner. To help embrace the festive cheer running through this issue of Spaghetti Junction, I have slightly modified my arty pages. Instead of the usual gallery review, or interview with an artist, I have this month found something quite new and not your typical art. Best of all, everyone can view the pieces and for absolutely FREE! As I was dashing through the City Centre in the week before my deadline (I’m sure we’ve all been there) I took a different route going back to University. Then as I looked to my right hand side, this gal-onthe-go spotted the most AMAZING window displays.

32 32


It was originally this breath-taking Snow Ice Queen display that made me stop in my tracks. The whole composition of the window, with the oddly hung picture frame that has a frosty vintage texture and, of course, a girl’s best friend (apart from chocolate)-DIAMONDS- grabbed my attention straight away. The mannequin’s hair is a perfect mess with a hidden bird and the dress is to die for! As I looked around me, I realised I was not the only one bedazzled by such a beauty. I then walked back to look at the windows I had originally missed only to see more wonderful creations. The next window was adorable. Giant Christmas crackers were descending from the ceiling and lying on the ground. The red snowflakes, huge reefs and cosy, homely gift selection made me feel like it was the week before Christmas.

Design by Ned Wilson

Next to this window were two of the most gorgeous interior designs I have seen. They were so chic and luxurious. The use of pewter gold, deep purple and the brightest set of twinkle lights really set these windows alight-pun intended! The next window was the cutest thing. It was the layout of a child’s bedroom, with a highly decorated Christmas tree and chest of drawers filled with toys! The mannequins did remind of Tin-Tin- I don’t know if this is the plan to co-inside with the new feature movie featuring Simon Pegg? I was treated to such an array of wonder, and I can’t wait to see what is next! So, when you are next walking into town, by House of Fraser, and any of your favourite high street stores, make sure you have a looky at the windows and get into the swing of Christmas!

Written by Micheala Rose Dowling Design by Leonie Brückner

IF THIS ISN’T YOUR BAG, BABY...THE IKON GALLERY HAS GOT IT GOING ON! If the Ikon Gallery is one place you have never visited, you really must. The contemporary and quaint space always has temporary exhibitions going on which feature the best of talents in visual communication, fine art and of late, exquisite illustration. A variety of media is represented, including sound, film, mixed media, photography, painting, sculpture and installation. Not only is the Ikon featuring amazing work in its main Broad Street spot, but it has now unleashed a new space called Ikon Eastside in Digbeth . It is in this area you will find fellow gallery space Grand Union and the Custard Factory is around the corner. Ikon Eastside has been presenting an ambitious programme of exhibitions, artists’ residencies, talks and events in Eastside since November 2005.


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I’m not a Killers fan or a fan of Mr Flowers’ solo work, aside from thinking that he knows how to write some good pop songs that can be enjoyed when on a night out with mates. I ended up being dragged along to this show with my sister who had a spare ticket. I listened to Brandon’s solo effort in preparation and found that the album started off well enough with ‘Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas’, then just continued to plod along in first gear and stay there for the remainder of your listening. That’s not to say there aren’t some good tracks on there, but they just seem flat and seem to lack that snap, crackle and pop factor that some of The Killers more successful tracks have. ‘Mr Brightside’ I’m looking at you. So, you may guess my expectations were pretty low for the show. Well, you’re wrong; I’d heard several times that the Killers are a band that need to be seen live to be fully appreciated. When Mr Flowers took to the stage, he automatically got the crowd pumped from the get go with the track ‘On the Floor’, following that up with the single ‘Cross Fire’. This seemed to me like a mistake seeing as it’s the lead single; I thought Mr Flowers was about to peak far too soon. How wrong I was; the show went on to be executed brilliantly by Flowers, playing the part of Ring Master with his Carnival of Music Men & Woman. That’s not to say the show wasn’t without flaws. The aforementioned track ‘Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas’ performed stripped down live and seems to lose all finesse, which is what made it a good track for me personally on the album. Another weak point of the show was his encore of an acoustic version of The Killers ‘When You were Young’. It stole all momentum he had managed to produce throughout his set and left me feeling disappointed he didn’t try to go out on a high. This track is quite an energetic Killers track, it’s one of the ones that I quite enjoy singing at the top of my lungs with friends on a good night out. I don’t know if the decision to perform it acoustically was out of respect for his Killer band mates and he was trying to keep the original arrangement associated with them exclusively, or to please his fan base and play them a classic tune while applying a fresh approach. Either way it failed. A shame for what was otherwise an excellent performance. 3.2/5 By Steven Skerritt 34


When: Tuesday 19th October Where: HMV Institute, Digbeth

While reviewing Tinie’s album (or Patrick’s should I say!) last issue, I admitted this gentleman had cleverly converted me into happily listening to an entire album’s worth of a genre I would never usually pick, so when the chance to see him live was thrown my way, I was certainly not going to turn it down. After Disc-overy hit the top of the charts, it was the perfect timing to start his first official UK tour alongside support acts Chiddy Bang and Bluey Robinson. Held at the recently opened HMV Institute down on Digbeth High Street, he certainly drew in a big enough crowd to sell out his Birmingham show. Being one of the smaller venues in Brum, you definitely feel like you’re a lot closer to all the action, but be warned if you’re going anytime soon do not buy tickets for the balcony! You will either not be able to see, or forced to sit down for the entire show. Yes believe me . . . lucky for me I was standing! So enough about the venue and more about the music. Well Tinie did not disappoint, blasting out all his tunes from the album and adding in his own versions of Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad romance’ and Coldplay’s ‘Viva La Vida’ into the mix, he kept the crowd dancing and the ladies screaming. We were also treated to a special appearance from the Saturdays’ Rochelle who belted out a few notes on track ‘Invincible’. But it was ‘Miami 2 Ibiza’ that really got the masses up and moving like there was no tomorrow; Mister Tempah even removed his Ray-bans at one point to thank us all for coming . . . bless him! The man that really made the night though had to be Tinie’s DJ (I wish I knew his name), who kept the excitement brewing until the room was fit to burst, it was a gig with a real feel of a ‘night out on the town’. Tinie’s star has continued to rise over the past year, so when he’s back touring in February I suggest you buy a ticket, he certainly puts on an impressive show. By Laura Townsend

Arts & Entertainment album reviews


This is to be Rihanna’s fifth studio album, following the strong reception of “Rated R”. Its first single “Only Girl In The World” has already received high praise with its David Guetta type bassline and catchy lyrics- it’s definitely the signature dance track of the album. Although the samplers also indicate that “Raining Men” and “Cheers (Drink To That)” will deliver those up-beat pop songs we’ve come to associate with Rihanna.

However, she hasn’t completely moved on from her more explicit lyrics, especially with the track “S&M”- think a banging club progression on “Rude Boy” with ‘whips and chains’ (not my view, that’s from the actual lyrics). But alongside these, she also provides us with more poignant ballads such as “Fading”; clearly written in reference to her relationship with Chris Brown, with lyrics like “What’s a girl to do when she’s crying inside?”. Personally I think it’s her best work to date and will be hugely successful with existing fans as well as those who like their music diverse and fun. 4/5 Lauren Kierans

Kings of Leon - Come Around Sundown

If you have known and loved Kings of Leon before their last album “Only By The Night”, you will be pleased to hear that they have found their way back to their origins. For those who were fans of their powerful, unique and clear-cut sound that we learned to love with songs such as “Sex on Fire” and “Use Somebody”, prepare yourself for a disappointment.

The Followill brothers clearly lost something after their commercialised last album and were hoping to get it back with the back-to-the-roots album “Come Around Sundown”. Going back to your roots is generally a good idea, if only they had known where exactly they were going. Currently, it’s a jumble of ideas that have a red line of nothingness holding them together. It is the perfect album for people who need background music while doing their homework. One song lapses into the next and, without even realising that one song has ended and a new song has begun, you find yourself at the end of the album. 2/5 Mirja Gertchen 36 36


Arts & Entertainment film reviews

DVD/TV REVIEWS Inception Out just before Christmas, this DVD is a must have. Having seen this film twice at the cinema (and so tempted to see it for a third time), I cannot recommend this film enough. It is directed by Christopher Nolan, who directed the amazing ‘The Dark Knight’, and includes an all-star cast such as Leonardo Dicaprio, Ellen Page and Michael Caine. The film is quite complex, and it requires a lot of attentiveness to keep up with the pace of the film, but it is a worthwhile ride. It is difficult to summarise the plot in a quick easy way, so here’s the gist of it- The film follows the character of Dom Cobb, a highly skilled extractor who can enter the dreams of people and extract any secrets or information needed. The main job of Mr Cobb and his team in this film is the inception of an idea within a dream (hence the name inception). However, inception rather than extraction is extremely tricky and risky, as Cobb knows all too well. If the team succeeds in this task then Cobb can finally go home. I don’t want to say too much and spoil it for you guys. The movie has pretty much everything you’d expect in a film of this genre: action, romance, comedy and much much more. The film is thrilling, entertaining, suspenseful and not a total waste of 3 hours. In fact it feels less than 3 hours, that’s how good it is. It is completely unique. So, make sure ‘Inception’ is on your list for Santa. 5/5

Toy Story 3 ‘Toy Story 3’ could have been terrible. The rumours of Pixar not being involved, the top stars not returning and a weak plot involving Buzz Lightyear being ‘recalled’ all seemed to confirm it. It could have been a dollarsucking vacuum, a money-grabbing toy exploitation flick that muddied the sparkling memories of its mighty predecessors. Thankfully, it’s not at all. ‘Toy Story 3’ is a towering triumph of a film, a colossal collision between a fantastical child’s story and some genuinely heart-wrenching adult themes. It’s a film that fills children with wonder, a film that reduces grown men to tears, and a film that I defy anyone not to enjoy. Continuing the tale of a wooden cowboy called Woody and a plastic spaceman named Buzz, ‘Toy Story 3’ sees owner-of-many-toys Andy all grown-up and off to college. Needless to say, our plastic friends no longer get a look-in over mucky websites and parties, and are soon packed off to a daycare centre. Of course, after the initial glitz and glamour of their new surroundings, things aren’t all they seem… You don’t need me to justify why you should love this film really, because anyone with a heart should find even a shred of enjoyment from it. It packs more wit and humour into its runtime than most adult comedies can, it’s unafraid to throw in some dark moments (and trust me, it gets really bleak) and more than anything, it’s supremely entertaining. The perfect end to the perfect trilogy. 5/5 JUNCTION SPAGHETTI JUNCTION

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Led Zeppelin is an important band in Rock History; they fused Blues with Rock n' Roll. They introduced that swagger that makes all good rock worth listening to. John Bonham is single-handedly responsible for Hip Hop Beats. Without the talent and inspiration of Jimmy Page, there would be no Slash or any other number of guitarists. John Paul Jones, the often over-looked member, has managed to once again reach out to a new generation with Them Crooked Vultures; he is the secret ingredient in every good rock band. If it can be played chances are JPJ can play it. Robert Plant is the reason that every guy wanted to be in Led Zeppelin and every girl wanted to know Led Zeppelin. All of their albums are classics, but none so much as ‘Led Zeppelin IV’. In fact, the title was gained after its release but is also known as Four Symbols and The Fourth Album. The band, after not getting the best reviews from the music press for III, decided to release the album with only four symbols, each one representing each band member which are still recognised today. ‘Black Dog’, the opening track, kicks everything off superbly yet has nothing to do with a dog! It's a tale of seduction; apparently it's entitled ‘Black Dog’ because when it came to naming the track the lads could see a black dog outside from the studio window. ‘Rock And Roll’ has an unstoppable energy that burns throughout and the drums are infectious; they drive the whole track along at a thunderous pace. The band are obviously giving the music press of the time proof that, after the more laidback tunes found on Led Zeppelin III, they still knew how to rock. ‘Stairway to Heaven’ is a song that many music shops have banned from being played by novice guitar players when trying out guitars. It was potentially one of the most controversial songs of its time, with accusations that the lyrics played backwards were all about Satan's tool shed. Yeah right! ‘Going To California’ is a pretty laidback track and fits in well with its placement as the penultimate track on the album before leading into the pounding drums of ‘When The Levee Breaks”, a cover track, but that doesn't stop the lads making it all their own. The drums were recorded by having Bonham at the bottom of a set of stairs and then recording them from the top. This album is the first Led Zeppelin album you should buy. In fact, if you only ever buy one, it should be IV. Skerritt 38 StevenSPAGHETTI


The Book Review Shopaholic Series We’ve all been there; you’ve just splashed out on a pretty expensive new outfit. You’re feeling pleased with yourself, until you slowly pass yet another shop window. You were just on your way back home with your purse tightly closed. But the mannequin somehow starts talking to you, but you don’t question it. All you know is that you need that bag or those shoes to feel complete. Or maybe that’s just me? Either way, Sophie Kinsella has written not one, but six books on the subject of shopping a little bit too much. Of course, the whole book series isn’t about spending too much money. The book follows the life of lovable Becky Bloomwood, a financial advisor. Which is pretty ironic, as she can’t seem to manage her own money. Written entirely through her perspective, we are introduced to Becky’s family, friends, love interests and of course her love for shopping. Her ditsy and naive ways will make you laugh out loud. And if you weren’t really a fan of the film, I wouldn’t worry; the books are completely different. So if you’re looking for something to do, in-between assignments of course, I’d say pick up one of these books. They’re easy to read, hilarious and feel good. Written by Amanda Johannson



t! This very film has eigh is th nd as lly A ua y? ct Love A love stor sy pre-Christm resist a good on over the bu n g, nd ca in Lo m ho in ar s W ch . le Ahh us coup the while g follows vario times; but all at sy ee ch . British offerin w little . Aw romantic, if a d fuzzy inside period. Very ing all warm an el fe u yo e av le funny and will



The Santa Clause This Christmas caper stars Tim Allen (better known as the voice of Buzz Lightyear!), a divorced father who only goes and manages to knock Father bloody Christmas off the roof. Naturally he steps up and takes on Santa’s duties, gradually becoming more and more like the jolly fat man. Wholesome, festive family fun.



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Home Alone g left alone in the dream (turned nightmare) of bein This film makes real every child’s parents whilst his by ned ndo cute blonde lad, aba house. Macaulay Culkin plays the ce- wonder as (a pretty underplayed occurren they swan off to France for Christm in’s Culk ut abo about that?); and we’ll forget what the social would have to say yable enjo ty pret but es, plac slapstick and silly in adolescent misdemeanours. A little on the whole.

Jingle All The Way Deserved of an Oscar? Er, not real ly; but a Christmas staple, definite ly! This funfilled, festive romp follows mus cle-bound action man Arnold Sch warzenegger on the hunt for the season’s top toy- a Turboman, for his son Jam ie. The plot becomes a little far-fetched, but the Christmas sentiment is there. Did I mention it’s inadvertently hilarious too?

The Grinch This big bucks remake of Dr. Seuss’ book ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ is a classic Christmas tale with a kooky feel. The film is set in ‘Whoville’, whose residents, the ‘who’s’ (gosh this is confusing) live for Christmas time. The Grinch however, is a crimbo-hating creature living on the outskirts of the cheery town, hell-bent on spoiling the Who’s’ fun. Worth watching for Jim Carey’s performance as the Grinch alone.


Written by Katie Fox

Elf Intentionally a fa mily film with its tame PG rating, festive treat is a this must-see for com edy fans. Will Fe does a stellar job rrell of playing the ch ildlike elf, Buddy like Ferrell in Step (if you Brothers, this is de finitely for you!) wh is sent to New Yo o rk in the hope of saving his estrang father from Sant ed a’s ‘naughty list’. Heart-warming, hilarious and you can watch it with your younger sib perfect! lings-




It’s a Wonderful Life Here’s another classic from the 40s when Christmas was a more traditional affair. The film has initial dark undertones as family man George Bailey finds himself contemplating suicide one Christmas eve. Luckily, guardian angel Clarence is sent to show him what the world would be like if he didn’t exist. This one’s a little schmaltzy- but hey, isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

Nightmare Before Christmas ely Christmas has become something of an unlik Tim Burton’s gothic stop-motion tale ton, set out lling Ske Jack en Town’, led by the iconic classic. The residents of ‘Hallowe stunning with ue esq grot ly ious ifying results. Glor to take over Christmas- with horr imagery and a great score too!

The Snowman The Snowman comes in at a deserved second place in our Christmas ‘film’ countdown. The 26 minute-long run time means you won’t have to commit to a couple of hours away from your new presents and there’s less than a half-hour window for you to mindlessly scoff Quality Street- your stomach will thank you. Many may find The Snowman’s lack of dialogue un-engaging and prepubescent choirboys wailing away at ‘Walking in the Air’ a little cheesy; but I defy anyone not to be heartbroken by this magical story’s ending. Sniff.



The Miracle On 34th Street best (not strictly true, We’re talking the 1947 original, of course. The oldies are always the and white picture is black arming but we’ll entertain the phrase for now) and this heart-w fire. the over ts chestnu roasting perfect to watch on Christmas day whilst as a stand-in Santa at The Oscar-winning festive favourite follows Kris Kringle’s stint to doubt Kringle’s begins Macy’s flagship store in New York. The store’s Events Director r Susan believes daughte cynic’s the but Santa; mental stability- he claims to be the real is guaranteed Street 34th on Miracle The Nick. St. e bona-fid the that the kindly old man is e! to instil Christmas spirit into the most hardened Scrooges. A must-se



Designed by Amy Evans

by Steven Skerritt

Leo (Jul 24 – Aug 23) You will throw another log on the fire, only Aquarius (Jan 21- Feb 19) You'll come to realise you’re to realise it's your Granny's walking not the messiah, you're a stick. Looks like you’re very naughty boy. getting coal again this Xmas. Pisces (Feb 20- Mar 20) You'll find out that country Virgo (Aug 24 – Sep 23) retreat you've booked for If an angry man with a Christmas is nothing more than beard and a big sack a stable. comes to your door, it means you left the fire burning. Libra (Sep 24 – Oct 23) Aries (Mar 21 – Apr 20) You will realise It's a Wonderful If you see a Reindeer with a Red Nose this year, it's Life this Christmas. probably the one you suckerpunched in that bar. Taurus (Apr 21 – May 21) You will get exactly what you asked for…as long as it can be bought in Poundland or the forecourt of the local petrol station.

Gemini (May 22 – Jun 21) You'll be visited by Satan on Christmas Eve after a mistake at the Post Office.

Cancer (Jun 22 – Jul 23) You will become the world record holder for most sprouts eaten in one sitting. 42


Scorpio (Oct 24 – Nov 22) Remember it's a time for giving this Christmas… so don't forget the receipt so it can be returned for something worth having. Sagittarius (Nov 23 – Dec 21) If you get coal for Christmas, just think how cheap your energy bills are going to be in the new year. Capricorn (Dec 22 – Jan 20) You'll make a new year’s resolution and probably have broken it by the month’s end. Ah well, there’s always next year.

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November/ December 2010  
November/ December 2010  

Spaghetti Junction is the Birmingham City Students' Union official student-led magazine. Welcome to the 2010 WINTER ISSUE!