Your Free Union Magazine November 2008
Straight from the Big Top
Illustration: Murray Somerville
Hey everyone, welcome to the second issue of Spaghetti Junction this academic year! I hope you all enjoyed the Freshers’ edition and that you are ready for another great issue (if I do say so myself). As ever, we have coverage of all the latest Union happenings, as well as all the latest music, film and DVD reviews. For all you avid readers out there, we have a book review for you. So make sure you check it out, so that when you head down to Waterstones to pick up whatever it is on your reading list, you will know what’s hot and what’s not outside of all that ‘academic’ literature! If after all that book related excitement you are feeling peckish, be sure to check out Natalie’s Cookery Corner for some cheap and tasty recipe ideas. So, that’s it from me and the team until January when we shall be back with our Winter special. See you all then! Roxanne Carmen Hawker Editor: Roxanne Carmen Hawker firstname.lastname@example.org Editor-in-Chief: Jennifer James email@example.com Deputy Editor:Natalie Marchant firstname.lastname@example.org News, Current Affairs, Features & Student Groups Editor: Georgie Campbell email@example.com Design & Graphics Co-Editor: Jak Flash firstname.lastname@example.org Design & Graphics Co-Editor: Poppy French email@example.com
Documentary 4 New Street Station 8 Scratch Radio 9 Union News 10 Recycle 12 LGBT 13 Charity 14 Jew Society 15 City North 16 Food Miles 18
FEATURES Sports 21 Stampede 22 Big Squeeze 24
STUDENT CULTURE Beauty 27 Fashion on Campus 28 Natalie’s Cookery Corner 30 Student of the Month 32 Study Tips 33
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT Bands in University 35 Reviews 36 Horoscopes 42
UP front documentary
Heart of the
ow, I can’t quite tell what the driving point was for me to write this article. I’m not charitable and my general outlook is you get out what you put in. I was always under the impression that people who where homeless never tried hard enough to be homed. For whatever reasons they came to live on the streets, it was their own fault and, if they really wanted, they could get a job and find somewhere to stay. I feel the real reasoning for this is the fact that I moved out when I was 16 with little financial help from my parents, so if I could do it, why couldn’t everyone else? We’ve all stuck our nose up at
In this article Jak Flash investigates one of the greatest social divides in Britain; looking into those who have no home and the ramifications this status can hold.
the man who comes on the bus in his dirty ragged clothes, smelling of urine, bottle in hand, shouting obscenities to each passer by, and I imagine it’s true for most of us that we pick up pace whenever we see someone in our path selling the Big Issue. Before they’ve even asked, you’ve made the decision you don’t want it and respond with some minimal dismissal. Homelessness is a social category for people who do not have a home, if you live in a hostel you are also considered homeless as they are only short term abodes. There are an estimated 100 million people world wide who are homeless, however it’s difficult
to give exact numbers and find statistics that detail on the number of people who are homeless in England. This is because you don’t register as being homeless, its just something that befalls you. A report was created in 2007/8 detailing the reasons for homelessness and grouping them into percentages. It was also speculated that approximately 500 people sleep rough each night, although many people argue that this statistic is much lower than the actual reality of those without fixed residence. So I wanted to investigate what homelessness was and open the doors on these social outcasts.
Hostel today, gone tomorrow T
o begin my research, I wanted to find out what help was available and where homeless people could stay so, using the Birmingham City Council website, I sought to find some local hostels so I could investigate the living conditions there. The first thing I noticed from the list was that 7/9 hostels only housed men and each hostel had a specific age limit. From the list, I contacted Milner Court hostel (just outside of Digbeth) that specifically homes men aged 16-21. I found this one particularly relevant, as it’s an age range applicable to a lot of university students. I rang up and arranged a visit and, although they seemed very busy and eager to maintain the confidentiality of the residence, they managed to fit me in. The man I spoke to on the phone helped me to find the hostel by giving me directions and saying: ‘you won’t miss it, it looks like a hostel’. In my mind, I envisaged a shabby old council building in desperate need of fixing up, with bars on the windows and those common place council design signs. However, I was faced with something contrary to my previous belief. Here before me was a brand new building with a modern design, clean walls and intercom doors. I was quite shocked at how high the building’s quality was. It turned out that some time ago a Milner Court is funded by ‘The Supporting People programme’ which helps people indeed improve their quality of man named Reverend Milner set up life by providing a stable environment helping them to live independantly. a night shelter in Digbeth
UP front documentary that was called The Boot. Then, on the grounds where Milner Court stands, a second shelter was establishedThe New Boot. Last December, the shelter was revamped and renamed Milner Court Hostel after the Reverend who set up the initial shelter. 11 members of staff run the hostel with its 25 bedrooms, which are pretty much always in use. The hostel allows its residents to stay there for a maximum of 28 days, and provides them with breakfast, an en suite shower room and kitchen and, I must say in my opinion, the quality of these rooms was far beyond that of Hamstead Halls. The hostel isn’t just a place to relax and get away from it all though, you’re given a key worker and provided with help to set up benefits and things in order to get your life back on track. There are many reasons that people may find themselves staying in a hostel; for Milner Court I was told common reasons are such things as family breakdowns, people seeking asylum and people released from custody. There are restrictions in this hostel though, not just anyone can stay here. They will not admit anyone with previous arson, sexual or violent offences. Milner Court has established a close bond with the police who will arrive almost instantly if there is even a hint of trouble. To get a place in a hostel you first have to attend a meeting in the St. Basil’s Link, which is located near the Gosta Green campus, and then receive an interview/induction at the hostel.
I feel that the homeless have a stigma attached to them that we aren’t willing to easily investigate or question. Before writing this article, I had little place in my life for these people and disregarded them as something I didn’t have time for. When faced with a homeless person, many of us presume upon first sight how that person may have come to the position they’re in. Generally, I feel the initial reaction is just to apply excessive drunkenness to loss of belongings and home, but what we have to remember is that these situations can be very complex and fighting our personal demons can often be a battle lost without the correct help. Affordable housing, unemployment, lack of healthcare, drugs, mental illness, domestic violence, prison release, natural disaster and eviction are some of the many reasons that may leave a person without a home, left to seek refuge upon the streets, in doorways and train stations. Once the onset of homelessness begins, it can be a dangerous and tragic spiral, with the few hopes you have dwindling away. On the street, you are without proper healthcare and the nights can be cold, the floor is dirty, your five a day fruit and veg will be out the window along with all proper nutrition. You won’t have the opportunities to have a good education and won’t be suitable for employment. With no bank to save your money and no technological communications, you’re pretty much a social outcast but, things can get worse because the moment you’re on the streets, you’re subject to discrimination and possibly violence, regardless of the reasons you have to be without a home. I imagine most of us come from loving parents and have a lot of support from our families ‘back home’. It may be that the guy you see on the street was thrown out by his family and now without a fixed residence is unable to continue the education that we’ve take for granted.
you’re pretty much a social outcast, but things can get worse
It is possible for the homeless to take the first step though. There are charities and businesses available that help the homeless to better their living conditions. The Big Issue for example, is a business that helps the homeless to raise money for themselves. The homeless have to register and then are given 10 free magazines to sell. After this free instalment, they have to pay for the magazines which cost 70p and retail at £1.50. “Because we deal with vendors in a commercial way, we help give them the skills they need to get on in a commercial world. Our philosophy is to give people ‘a hand up, not a hand out’, and provide them with a way to earn a legal living and get their lives back together that requires input and hard work from them.” www.bigissue.com The Big Issue helps people to help themselves. It’s their starting point to get off the street. Now I myself have heard Big Issue vendors receiving verbal abuse like ‘Oh, go get a job!’. Well, this is a job! It is near impossible to get employed without a fixed residence, bank account or legal documents, so this is the only chance people have to help themselves.
UP front documentary I wanted to find out what it was like to be homeless by asking someone who was currently in that position. Not just anyone though; someone who was making an effort to do something about it. With a brief knowledge of what the Big Issue does after acquiring the information from their website, I set out in search of a distributor. I came across the young Daryl Tustin selling the magazine outside of New Street Station. I asked him if I could interview him and told him I would give him some money for his time. He was willing but keen not to waste too much time, time that could be spent selling the magazine. I was always sceptical whether anyone actually brought the BI but sure enough, as I was planning my questions, a woman came over an bought a copy.
DARYL TUSTIN So how did you become
homeless? I was in a children’s home since I was younger like, and then when I left the home I moved into a flat, and err I ended up going to prison and they didn’t pay the rent whilst I was in prison, and I come out of prison and I lost my flat basically. And since then I’ve been homeless. For what reason did you go to prison? Because I got involved with drugs and that. Do you live in a hostel now? No, err, I was in the salvation army for three days right, like in an emergency room but they ain’t got no permenant spaces to I had to move out. But I’m trying to get
into a hostel but there’s never no spaces at salvation army like and I’m on a waiting list to get a council flat. Does selling the Big Issue help you alot? Yea it can help me. If I haven’t got much money one day I’ll like just go and buy like two copies, that’s like £1.40 and I can make like a couple of pounds, you know what I mean, just so I can get something to eat and that. How long do you work for? I just do it once a week sometimes, you know what I mean? Once or twice a week. And how old are you? I’m 23. Have you been to school before? Yea, I did do school. Whilst I was in the childrens home they used to get a private teacher to come in. I did really well at school but I didn’t take my GCSE’s but I can read and write perfect. And I’ve got a forklift licence aswell. Do you have any plans for the future? Yea, I want to get a job. I want to start fork lift driving again, but I just need to get a permenant place to live first, before I do that. And I want to get settled down with a girl and that. Is it easy selling the Big Issue? Err, not... it is and it ent because some people come up and give you a bit of stick, do you know
what I mean, saying ‘oh get a job’ and all that sort of shit, but I’m just trying to do my best. So you don’t feel you deserve to be treated like that because they don’t know anything about you? That’s what I mean, they don’t know my life’s background. I don’t want to be doing this but some days it’s my only option to get some food, but sometimes I can go to like places to get free meals and food and stuff like that. So some days I’m alright, but some days when I get stuck I just fall back to this. So it’s good, you are trying to help yourself, you don’t want to be homeless: No, and I’m on a Methadone program at the minute. So I’m not doing drugs at the minute. I’m on Methadone yea. What drugs were you on, was it Heroin? Yea, Heroin, yea. Any other drugs besides that? Just crack Cocaine as well. I used to do that as well. How did you get onto that? I started off smoking Cannabis when I was younger and then started doing Speed then ecstacy which led onto Heroin and Crack Cocaine. Was it easy to get hold of? Yea, so easy to get hold of. It’s easier to get Heroin than it is to get Cannabis these days.
It seems that drugs are the root cause for Daryl’s homelessness. My previous association with homeless people and drugs would have put me into the mindset of giving him little pity. We may think that someone who uses ‘smack’ deserves what they get for using such a dangerous and dirty drug. However, after speaking to Daryl, I realise that he didn’t initially intend to be a Heroin user. He started on speed and ecstasy which are common place recreational drugs for a number of university students across the country. For whatever reason he felt the need to try Heroin, he did. It could have been peer pressure, it could have been curiosity. I for one know how easy it is to accept drugs when people you know are offering them out. Heroin is an strong drug that creates a physical addiction. It changes the chemicals in your body until it comes to be that your physical being is reliant on its intake. Holding back from Heroin can create some aggressive withdrawal symptoms, so it’s not something you can easily quit. It’s a pitfall that many vulnerable people can easily fall into. What I did like about Daryl was his personality and his willingness to help himself. He’s out there selling the Big Issue because he can’t get a job without somewhere to live. The life he leads is not the one he wants. He’s just a young guy like you and me trying to make his way in the world, however difficult that may be.
UP front documentary My next mission was to find someone who’d been homeless and managed to build up a life away from the street. Luckily I managed to find someone with a direct relevance to the student body; a photography lecturer named Paul O’Donnel, who works at BIAD. Paul was willing to give me some of his time so he could tell me his story of how he’d been on the streets, and overcome them. Paul O’Donnel had no great fears of living on the streets because he had a lot of previous rock climbing experience, that had given him knowledge on how to sleep rough. A common spot that he’d taken to staying in was Hebdon Bridge Railway Station, which I imagine was a safer bet than a random doorway. He did have the option to stay at his relatives, but with the grief and guilt that they would give him about getting a job he felt pressured, and found that the streets were more inviting. This is a problem that we never really take into account. We all know how stressful family is and sometimes the only option is to get away from them. Whether it be to move out or take to the streets, there isn’t always someone you can fall back on. As I speak to him, he jokes and tells me that the most curious place he’d ever slept in was on the back of a lorry that was carrying large concrete drainage tubes. When he’d climbed in in order to take refuge, the lorry was stationary and the carriage wasn’t attached so it seemed like a reasonable shelter. Eventually though, he was awoken by the rumbling of engines as the lorry began to drive away with the carriage in tow. So with a quick dose of courage, he made his agile dismount from the moving vehicle. I suppose it’s a key fact to take into account that when you have no fixed residence, you don’t know where you’ll be sleeping next and how it is you’re going to be woken up, and what you’ll be faced with when you do. We have to remember that not everyone is caring and understanding. If someone finds you sleeping on or in their property, they may not welcome you with open arms. Paul told me that he was on the streets all through the year,
so I was curious to know what the weather conditions had been like, as he would have had to endure the seasonal variations. Luckily for Paul, with his previous rock climbing experience, he had attained a good quality sleeping bag that kept him warm so the weather was never too much of a issue. For Paul times were different, we’re talking 30 years ago here when he was about 25 and most of us weren’t even born. We all think we’re strapped for cash now, scrapping away at our loans and tunnelling into our overdrafts. Well, living on the streets means you have serious financial issues. Paul would work short jobs on places like farms, and to endure this labour you needed energy. The first thing the farmer would do is feed you. Getting this free meal would have been a great benefit. Living without a fridge and cupboard space means you can’t stock up on your local supermarket bargains. After working and gaining a small wage, Paul informed me that the first thing he would do is take his money and go on a ‘bender’ around Manchester. I suppose that if you are living on the street, the last thing on your mind is starting a savings account.
All work and no play etc etc. Now of course Paul is sat before me in the photography office, eating his sandwich, drinking out of his large Guardian newspaper mug, right next to a Mac, so it’s a safe bet that he’s no longer homeless. I enquire into how it was that he managed to escape the tumult of the street and return to society. It turns out that back then, public baths weren’t uncommon so maintaining a level of cleanliness wasn’t such an issue. After a good scrub, Paul would ‘hang around’ Rochdale Art College in North Manchester. He managed to fix himself up with an art student and eventually moved into her flat! I guess this was a lucky break as I can’t imagine things would turn out so rosily in today’s judgemental society. There’s a man I often see sat on the Gosta Green walkway, and there’s no chance I’m inviting him back to my house! A long time has passed since Paul’s time living on the streets. He works as a lecturer in Birmingham City University, he’s managed to secure a family, (and a narrow boat it seems). So all is not lost. Being homeless isn’t the end of someone’s life. They can rejoin society and escape the stigma of being a bum.
In writing this article, I set out on the task to broaden my own knowledge of the homeless, to give me reason to give them my time or help. By doing this, I’ve come to the realisation that these people are people too and no matter how cliché it sounds, we’re all human and deserve equal treatment. Don’t run out and give all your money to charity, but next time someone asks for help, consider their situation and how much they’re doing to help themselves and what you can do to help give them the opportunities you’ve had.
UP front new street station
BRAVE NEW LOOK “Don’t we Brummies deserve to travel in style?”, I hear you cry! We are the second biggest city after all! Well, with over 35 million people travelling through New Street Station every year, it was fair to say that the place was in need of a good lick of paint. But, boy, they have not stopped there! Birmingham City Council, Network Rail, Advantage West Midlands and Centro have all clubbed together to give our station the £600 million pound makeover that it desperately needs. The BIG revamp; also known as the Gateway Project is full of new, visionary and breathtaking designs. Chairman of Gateway Funders, Cllr Mike Whitby said: “The Birmingham Gateway, which will support over 52 million passengers a year, demands a world class architectural vision to embody the rebirth of New Street Station.’’ The daring reinvention was revealed to Birmingham City passengers in September, including plans for three high tech digital displays that will mark the main entrances to the station. New Street station will not be missed that’s for sure! It is expected to be three times the size it is now, and as if that wasn’t enough; the entire station will be covered with reflective metal. So finding it is easy, navigating your way around it may be slightly trickier though. Not only will it impress the parents when they finally make it up to bring you some home cooked food, but your mates will be gagging to come back. This is another string to Brum’s bow in making this city one of the best for its construction and design achievements out there. The development will also bring economic benefits by creating an estimated 10,000 new jobs for the people of the city. Chief executive of Network Rail, Iain Coucher said: “We listened to the people of Birmingham and made New Street a top priority – with this new design we can be sure of a top class station for the millions of people who use it every year.” Maybe going home won’t be such a drag after all? We can now travel in STYLE! Kirsty Booth
Scratch radio, the Universityâ€™s own radio station will be on air 24/7 starting from early January. The studio is open for registered volunteers now until December 6th for studio training sessions, and to pre record shows ready for the launch in January. Whether presenting, promoting, production recruiting, or just spinning some wax is your interest. Scratch is more than welcome for you to get involved. Also, if your interested in music, radio or working in the music industry, by registering with us as a volunteer will prove beneficial to you and will put you in contact with other like minded people within the University and in the business. Three is the magic number (just like De la Soul preached); in order to become a volunteer. 1.
Apply for the application form at firstname.lastname@example.org
Complete the application form
Return the complete application to email@example.com
There are various departments withing Scratch: Music Department - This department works in conjunction with labels, receiving and reviewing new releases ready to add them to the studio playlist keeping the stationâ€™s music at the forefront. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com News and Sport - Keeping Scratch up to date on the latest news regardless of the topic along with all the latest sports. firstname.lastname@example.org Promotions/Publicity - Keeping the station in the public eye, through various mediums. For more info contact email@example.com All three departments are keen to work with new students.
Get Involved if you want to be heard.
Illustration: Daisy Whitehouse
UP front recycling
Recycling Goes Green We have finally reached the last stretch; the end is in sight, but just how far away are we from reaching our goal? Ok, so maybe the recycling campaign isn’t moving along as fast paced as the 100m sprit, but you catch my drift. Progress has been made, I repeat, progress has been made. The Freshers’ Fayre not only saw pink fresh faced youths creeping around campus, oh no... a whole new light was shone on the recycling fiasco. Representation and Campaigns Officer, Hannah Newland said: “I hope that students noticed our proactive approach to recycling at the Freshers’ Fayre this year. “We had recycling bins outside Bar 42 and also made sure we had some large wheelie bins available to recycle all the cardboard boxes. This is a lot more than we have done in the past.” Now, don’t be fooled in thinking that is all that is being done. A few extra bins are, of course, a step up from our previous facilities, but it is not nearly enough to minimise the unnecessary rubbish produced by the students on all Birmingham City University campuses. With over 150 people expressing an interest in joining an environmental society at this year’s Fayre, it’s pretty obvious that we do want something more permanent and effective to be done. Birmingham City Students’ Union proved, once again, to be very active in supporting the students’ concerns. Hannah explained the plans to set up “the first ever People and Planet society meeting!” Attracting a lot of students at this year’s Freshers’ Fayre provoked a coalition between the Union and one student, named Aaron Carford. Working with other members of staff, Hannah and Aaron are the driving force behind our recycling campaign, so thumbs up and a pat on the back to them both! With recycling in the bag, and the Switch Off Scheme still running in student halls of residence, we should rest easy knowing our Union is making a difference. Georgie Campbell
The universities join forces for their common cause... and party!
L e s b i a n G a y B i s ex u a l Tr a n s g e n d e r BY Cherie Lyster
students were lucky enough to have their academic year kicked off with an innovative, inter-university Freshers night. Coalition, the organisation behind it saw Birmingham City University’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender society join up in partnership with other Midland’s universities to put on a spectacular night out! The night began at Glamorous on Hurst Street where LGBT students from across the Midlands gathered for the event, and they were dressed up military style (that was the theme). They received free goodie bags and enjoyed exclusive drink promotions and competitions, with Birmingham City University’s own Dan Porterfield winning a free bottle of champagne. The party, made up of LGBT Freshers and returning students then moved on to trendy club Chic, where the students were given free shots at the bar. University rivalries were left at the door as students from various LGBT societies met strangers and crawled home with new friends. The idea of Coalition began within our own LGBT society, with the motivation to create a more united front for student LGBT societies in the Midlands. For the first time in years, Midland’s LGBT societies will be working together on campaigns and club nights, this being the first of many LGBT events to come for Midland’s students. The night was a huge hit amongst the students who can’t wait for the next event, which is being planned for the end of November. They can also look forward to workshops and campaigns which will be taking place throughout the year. As a united group of Student LGBT associations and societies in the Midlands, Coalition 2008; whether it be for partying or campaigning, promises to be a force to be reckoned with. Facebook group: Coalition Birmingham
UP front charity
A HUNDRED CUP CAKES LATER...
Chocolate cupcakes, fairy cakes, rice crispie cakes and carrot cakes...I can only be talking about one thing- oh yes, the coffee afternoon held on behalf of Macmillan Cancer support. Monday 27th October hosted the most successful coffee afternoon that has ever been held at the TIC. In one afternoon, we raised £200, from the sale of cakes and beverages! We are very grateful to all those who participated and were generous enough to contribute. Margaret Mulhall, who holds the fort at the TIC and Gosta Green Student Union offices approached me about getting involved in this. At first, I just liked the idea of being involved in something and meeting new people. However, after doing some research I realised what this task meant. It meant Macmillan’s could have a greater chance of sustaining its unfailing support of cancer patients and families; from funding nurses to holding conferences that inform about cancer. I committed a lot of time making up mini leaflets and baking cupcakes. Avi Sehmi, Edna Bates and Graham Gambin all donated cakes to the event where Lewis Read, Kat Harris and myself served cakes and beverages for donations. A lot of people had a personal interest in the charity for the work they do. Before the day was over, I was made aware how important our collective was. I have every confidence that the effort was worth it and I would encourage people to get involved with volunteering. I know that for me, this has been one of the prominent highlights of my university life so far. It is a great way to extend your social network, hosting skills that sometimes go unnoticed, learning new ones and in doing so benefiting worthy causes. If you do want to get involved, contact the Students’ Union, there are loads of things that you can do. Doing new things and growing as a person are part of the university experience, and volunteering goes beyond this as it allows you to have a positive impact on somebody else’s life.
UP front jew society
A belief behind a belief
Judaism: itâ€™s a love hate relationship with me, especially being both Jewish and irreligious. The University of Birmingham has allow people to connect on both only educate others, but also to more than 800 Jewish students, a spiritual and social level. Just interact with other societies, both there are 100 in Aston University passed was one of the holiest at Birmingham City University and and 250 here at Birmingham City days of the Jewish calendar, Yom Aston and Birmingham university. University. Taking into account Kippur, a day where Jews all over JSoc have done events with those relatively small numbers, the world are to fast and pray for societies from both Birmingham in comparison to the thousands forgiveness for all their sins. This and Aston university, such as the of students that study at those involves spending the majority LGBTQ and LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, universities, the Jewish Society at of their time in a synagogue. So Bisexual and Transgender society) Birmingham City University tries inevitably, JSoc provided a service and Sports Soc, organising to involve all the universities and that no more than 50 people were football tournaments and so on. As colleges, in order to create one expected to attend, as many go we live in a country which is more large Jewish student community. home for this day. Yet, 175 turned liberal and accepting, it is more The general associations that up to stand together. This can important now than ever to show surround Judaism are those be interpreted as evidence of that we do care for social diversity that do not entirely associate JSoc influencing Jewish solidarity within our lives. with JSoc. The ideology that this throughout Birmingham. But after praising such a student society has, is based The arguments have been society, what realistic negatives around social interaction rather put forward however, that JSoc, does it hold? Well the main thing than religious intervention. With and for that matter any other I can think of is that the diverse club nights, football and poker religion-based group, is an number of people whom involve tournaments, to volunteering in the exclusive club that can be thought themselves in JSoc is limited, and old age home, it is more of a party to alienate other people. It seems we are in dire need of others who way of life. There are nights that it would be easy to disprove want to help raise the awareness JSoc in Birmingham are famous this idea as the Jewish Society of Judaism amongst us. I am a for within the Jewish Student ensures that it does volunteer Jew, someone who might not community of the UK; such as work with outside organisations be as religious as some, but Booze for Jews, a clubbing night â€“ packaging Christmas presents nevertheless, I am very proud of vast proportions - an event that for the needy, donating blood, of my heritage and have been most larger universities take part inter-society relations and so on. completely honest throughout this in. There is also Wasted Wej - an Also, technically, anyone of any piece. intense bar crawl throughout religion and ideology is able to In such a commercial and Birmingham. For those events join JSoc. Obviously the majority modern world, appreciating oneâ€™s alone, collectively about 2000 are Jews, but at JSoc, we have past and a lifestyle involving people came to party till the early an ideology of social and political religion is not something to go hours of the morn. So, it would acceptance, that we are soon amiss. It is part of an identity seem that JSoc is nothing but to delve into once university that few are proud of; you an excuse for getting drunk with has finished. I know I have met should never be afraid of being people of the same faith. However, numerous people who have said an individual, and following alternatively, JSoc follows up with that they have never met a Jew, or delving into traditions that many other events that celebrate and they seem so excited when I have been passed down from Jewish festivals as well; the most announce I am one. It is as if they generation to generation, even recent being Simchat Torah, are learning cold facts about some if it is for your own curiosity as which celebrates the end of us long forgotten religion, as though opposed to having to necessarily reading through the Torah (the Jews are some dead specimen believe. This is what JSoc stands Jewish Bible), which is read every on a Petri dish. People seem to for: making the statement that week at synagogues. In truth, the forget that there is still a large Judaism exists and will continue amazing thing about JSoc is that Jewish community within Britain to do so. it can bring together students from at the moment. So in turn, an all four corners of the UK, and important aspect of JSoc is to not Joshi Sallon
Pictures: Caron Taplin
UP front city north
It’s all going on up North City North Campus is situated around 3 miles north of Birmingham city centre, and easily reached via both train and bus services from around the local area. First impressions of City North Campus may leave you feeling blasé about university life. Admittedly, not much is appealing to the eye; drab, grey buildings surround the middle walkway and the ever-confusing quadrangle imitates a prison-like feel. Look closer however, and you will find that Birmingham City University’s North Campus boasts a wide range of facilities; both for academic related purposes and also social activities. To aid your educational development, the William Kendrick Library, situated near to the Students’ Union holds thousands of books, journals and resources to do with all aspects of your course. Study rooms are accessible on the 2nd and 3rd floor, both bookable and nonbookable. However, it is advisable to book a room in advance using the library website (http://library. bcu.ac.uk/) if you are to definitely get a vacant room. City North Campus is the University’s key campus, and houses the main Students’ Union
building, which includes Bar42, the Arc, several shops, SCRATCH radio station, Ria’s hairdressers and a Fair-trade coffee shop. Within the Students’ Union building you can join numerous sports teams, volunteering services and societies, such as hockey, football, netball and rock climbing. For more information on our Students’ Union, see: http://www.birminghamcitysu.com/. The Union organise frequent nights out, including the acclaimed Toons (at Bar42), Wednesdays Are Great (at Dragon Eye, now known as Sneak on Broad Street) and The Big Squeeze (at many pubs in the Broad Street vicinity) for which all you need to produce is your student ID card…and some money. The campus car park is accessed via Wellhead Lane (behind the front entrance to the campus) and you are advised to arrive early so as to secure a space and avoid disappointment. All in all, City North Campus, as the main campus for Birmingham City University, has a copious amount of amenities for your benefit. They are all there to assist you during your time at Birmingham City University so, why not use them? Emma Shilston
UP front food miles
A Meal Less Travelled With the environment and what we eat becoming a major concern for today’s society, Poppy French heads to Birmingham’s Wholesale market to investigate our food and where it’s all coming from.
The Government and the media are constantly bombarding us with messages about our health, with statistics like: “eat five portions of fresh fruit and vegetables a day” and “by 2050 60% of men and 50% of women could be obese”. [Department for Health] So, for the good of our health, we are encouraged to change the way we live. But with our tastes changing and becoming as international as they have ever been, how is the way that we eat affecting the environment around us? In the last century, our attitudes to food went through serious social and economic changes in the UK; with the world becoming a smaller place, all the taste sensations from around the globe became available to us. This also allowed the constant supply of our favourite fruit and vegetables from abroad. We are now able to have access to these all year round. This has left us in the situation where ‘half the vegetables and 95% of the fruit we eat comes from abroad’ [bbc.co.uk/ food]. With more recent concerns about the environment, a neologism has been coined (by Dr. Tim Lang, Professor of Food at London City University) to explain the distance food travels from field to the plate, known as food miles. Increasingly, food is arriving by plane as this saves valuable freshness time and, according to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
(DEFRA), airfreight generates 117 times more green house gases than shipping. However, it is important to note that food from abroad is often grown in much greener conditions than food from the UK. For example, green beans grown in Kenya are grown without the use of tractors, and the waste from cows is used as fertiliser. They also have lowtech irrigation systems in Kenya, as well as providing employment to many people in the developing world. Waste is also a huge factor in food, the environment and basic economics. Birmingham City Council has estimated that an average family throws out £420 worth of good food every year and, according to the Love Food Hate Waste campaign, this is the same as buying three bags of food and throwing one away. Obviously as students, particularly those living in halls, we cannot be described as an average family. But have a think, how much of your student loan ends up in the bin? Milk or fruit you brought too much of and then it went off before you could eat it, vegetables you didn’t know what to do with, or a meal you cooked too much of and then you threw the rest away. I certainly don’t want to preach as I myself am guilty of these things too but, with careful thought I have come up with some tips to help stop food waste, both benefiting the environment and your pocket.
UP front food miles
Get together with the people who share your kitchen, what foods do you have in common? Are there any meals you could make together and buy ingredients in bulk (often making them cheaper) and making enough of meal so you can freeze portions and eat when ever your hungry?
This should be the same with fruit and Vegetables find it difficult to eat a whole bag of carrots or bunch of bananas before they go bad? Then share with a friend.
I always end up with mouldy bread, but have recently discovered it keeps perfectly in the freezer, so you can have one slice whenever you want as it defrosts fine in the toaster. Frozen vegetables are also a good idea as they will keep for months in the freezer and you can just use a portion when you need it.
Enough of statistics though, as what do they actually mean to us students? Most of us feel that we need to be more responsible for the environment, whether it’s by joining in with Birmingham City Students’ Union recycling campaign, or taking the bus rather than driving. But how many of you have considered the notion that what you eat affects the environment? I wanted to know if my theories about people’s buying habits were on target, so I headed down to Birmingham Wholesale Market to meet up with Simon Hughes to investigate further. Birmingham Wholesale Market is a 21 acre site of Pershore Street, in the centre of Birmingham. In 1974, the market opened to trade in meat, fish, poultry, fruit, vegetables and flowers. The market provides goods for greengrocers, butchers, restaurants, and all
Only make you want. Think carefully about how much you want to eat before you cook it. Think carefully about the times you haven’t finished all a meal and thrown it away. Could it have been saved for when you were hungry later? Check out the lovefoodhatewaste website for information about portion sizes. aspects of the catering industry. The food suppliers have seen many changes in the habits of consumers. It goes without saying that we now do most of our shopping in supermarkets, and we now prefer our meat cut off the carcass in portioned pieces. Believe it or not, this has helped to reduce food waste. For example, lamb from New Zealand is now being sent over cut off the carcass and vacuum packaged, meaning more food for consumption can be sent over. The market also recycles. For example, for the products that come in Polystyrene, the packing can be reused or it can be turned in to briquettes, used in insulation. Also, all the pallets through- out the market are constantly reused and then sold back into the industry. I was also told of the new plans
for the market; the current site has become more difficult to update with recent consumer changes. So, the market will move to a new site with better composting, water and waste management systems. If you visit the Bullring market, you will find produce from the wholesale market on sale. The produce is more reasonably priced than the supermarkets. Although supermarkets are often branded enemies to the green consumer, with the excess of packing and rejecting of more organic shaped fruit and veg, it is still possible to buy seasonal and often local produce. So, whether you care about the environment or not, changing your attitude towards food and your eating habits could save you some pounds whilst giving the environment a little boost as well.
Pictures: Poppy French
Features rugby society
A game for thugs, played by gentlemen It was Oscar Wilde that said “Rugby is a good occasion for keeping thirty bullies far from the centre of the city.” And for his part, Wilde was right about one thing; Birmingham City Students’ Union Men’s Rugby team’s first game of the season was certainly miles from the city centre. However bullies they were not, they all played like gentlemen towards the team from De Montfort, who were of a lesser ability than our brilliant team. With a record breaking score of 138-0, it was certainly a one sided match. Our team was mostly made up of guys from last year, with some significant new players. When the game had begun, it was quickly realised this was
going to be a really easy game, and was seen as a training exercise, giving the whole of the 25 strong squad the opportunity to play. This certainly was a strong start to the season. The rugby team has been described as being one of Birmingham City Students’ Union most successful sports teams. Squad member Jimmy Moore spoke of how the team was a really social society with many nights out, as well as practice every Monday and Tuesday, with a match on Wednesday. If you want more information on the rugby team, login to the sports section of the Union website-www.birminghamcitysu.com
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The plains of Broad Street were open, and everyone was off on the prowl. However hunting wasn’t on the mind of every fresher; tigers were drinking with rabbits, lions were sharing watering holes with the lambs, we were certainly a serene bunch! But with the drinks starting to flow, the roars and howls could be heard all over Broad Street as the sold out Stampede made its way up to Dragon Eye, the home of the Student Unions’ Wednesday’s are Great. Here you furry lot pranced and preened in three rooms of fabulous tunes, the favourites for the animals! After such a grrrreat, evening we must say the biggest animal thanks to the stewards. The top steward being Elgan Hughes who got a free ipod & the worst steward Jodie Gibney who got a wooden spoon. With fur beginning to fade, there were certainly more than two sleepy beavers out, we all headed home, back to holes, nests and hutches for a well deserved rest.
Illustrations: alex Hovey
Illustration: Alex Hovey
Features big squeeze
Features big squeeze
With faces ranging from Heath Ledger’s ‘Joker’ to finely painted designs, we all headed out to Broad Street for some serious clowning around. From crocodiles to conjoined twins and everything in between, you were certainly a well-dressed bunch! After a perfect performance through the bars of Broad Street, we sauntered into Walkabout where the shenanigans continued. With the dancing moving into some impressive amateur dramatics you were all at your best and we at Spaghetti Towers were impressed! With make-up beginning to slide and comedy flowers starting to wilt, having left the clown cars at home, we all headed back in taxis, trying to fit the clown feet and balloon animals in the door; where we all headed off to bed to dream of the next fancy dress encounter...
Student Culture beauty
kay, so not only have those wild nights during Freshers’ (together with somewhat excessive binge drinking) taken their toll on our skin - but we now have to face up to the facts. British weather is getting greyer (if that’s possible) and with autumn round the corner our skin craves a little TLC! But girls (and boys for that matter), don’t lose all hope just yet. We have hugely appealing tips to retain moisture for chicks on the move! We could just sit back and blame the weather or Mother Nature – but wisen up kids! Central heating and air conditioning. These may be technological marvels but they’re dermatological disasters! We are often unaware of just how much moisture is drawn out of the air and our skin as we resort to central and air conditioning to keep us warm. Too much ‘cleanliness is next to godliness’! When it comes to retaining moisture within your skin, water can appear to be the enemy. Inside your skin it keeps the cells plump and moist, but it has the opposite effect when you are met with it on the surface. Stripping your skin’s natural oils whilst believing you are ‘deep’ cleansing is a common mistake. Even if you suffer from the odd nasty spot it is important to retain a comfortable moisture balance so aim to get ‘soap free’ products.
Using a PH balanced face wash will maintain your skin’s natural oils while removing dirt and impurities. Ensure you use warm water as hot water will take away the skin’s natural moisture. Increase your water intake. This is the most important and cheapest way to stay hydrated and it keeps your hangovers at bay! We are expected to consume at least two litres of water per day, and with the typical student’s busy day to day lifestyle, juggling social activities with education, surely we would need to consume more? And if you use radiators to keep warm, then a bowl of water will soak up the heat instead of leaving it all to your skin to soak up! Skin around the eyes is the most delicate and is often the first place to collect fine lines and, much to our disappointment the area that reveals tiredness and exhaustion. Using eye creams is essential this month and will ensure the area causes no discomfort. Top Tip: Mix a little eye cream with your favorite concealer and apply around the eyes. This will give you a natural coverage leaving the eye area hydrated for longer (even in attempting to cover up last night’s drunken antics/ facing a hangover during the following morning lecture!) Chapped lips happen to the best of us and it doesn’t help when it’s self inflicted! Last night’s snogging may have left them a bit rough round the corners but not to worry, thanks to Dermalogica’s climate control lip treatment. Shea Butter, oat and lavender extracts enhance the barrier function of the skin. Not only will your lips stay looking luscious and tasting great but the lavender acts as an antiseptic barrier making that pout extra sexy for that special someone! Written by Roshan Adam For Roshan Adam’s Top 5 Beauty Buys visit the Spaghetti Junction fan page of Facebook by searching ‘Spaghetti Junction Student Magazine’.
Picture: Alis Pelleschi
Student Culture fashion on campus
We’re more than a month in now and you crazy cats are still parading down the catwalk we call university life, and that’s what we like to see! This issue we’ve hunted down some of the fashionable folk from Birmingham’s Institute of Art and Design at Gosta Green. So people, feast your eyes on this sauve of students and maybe next time you’ll find yourself amongst these colourful pages.
Amy Fashion Design Glasses- D&G Jacket- Charity Top- H&M Trousers- H&M Shoes- H&M Amy happens to be a culinary genius with Sushi as her speciality!
Amy Studies at BIAD Dress- Punk Shop Shoes- Punk Shop Top- H&M Scalf- H&M If you need your room redesigning don’t worry, call in Amy, she’s on speaking terms with Kevin McCloud from Grand Designs!
Studies at BIAD Dress- Miss Selfridge Top- Topshop Shoes- Office Scalf- Market
Studies at BIAD Scalf- Market Jeans- H&M Jacket- Charity Top- Charity
It’s not just the sauce that’s from Worcester, so’s this spicy number!
Forget your Prozac? It’s okay, Lisa loves to make people smile!
Student Culture fashion on campus Stewart
Studies at BIAD Shirt- River Island Jeans- H&M Trainers- Schu
Illustration Top- Topman Shirt- Topman Jeans- Topman Shoes- Converse
Stewart wouldn’t shave his head for less than £1m. Sounds like someone’s in need of a reality check!
Beam him up Scotty because Daniel loves to draw Sci-fi!
Fashion Shirt- H&M Skirt- China Shoes- China
Fashion Hat- Taiwan Top- Forrina Jacket- China Jeans- All Saints Shoes- J.U.S.T.
And you thought Poppy and Jak were sleepy beavers, well June can sleep for 16 hours!
Visual Communication Hat- Topman Jacket- Topman Top- Topman Jeans- Topman Shoes- Converse Antony’s a talented young fellow, with the ability to down a pint in three seconds. That’s quite an achievement!
Noodle bars watch out. Linda’s not picky she likes all the noodles she can get her hands on!
William Studies at BIAD Coat- Debenhams Trousers- Topman Trainers- Hong Kong Jumper- TK Maxx William doesn’t like to see food go to waste, he’ll even eat the chicken’s feet!
Student Culture natalie’s cookery corner
Natalies Cookery Corner Hey all, I hope you like these scrumptious meals, that all use cheap and eco-friendly ingredients; in keeping with the theme of this issue of reducing your carbon footprint! So, you can keep the environment healthy as well as yourself! Enjoy!
Toad in the Hole with Mashed Potato(40 minutes)
This is a favourite of my flatmates and I and it is also a great winter warmer. It can use either pork or vegetarian sausages, and is best served with creamy mash, gravy (and some vegetables)! 1 120g flour (sifted) 2 240g sausages 3 2 eggs 4 300ml milk 5 Pinch of salt 6 Large knob of butter Here’s how you do it: To make the batter, put the sifted flour, eggs, milk and a pinch of salt into a mixing bowl and beat well until bubbles appear in the mixture. Take the sausages, brown them for about ten minutes at a high temperature in a frying pan with some oil. Heat the butter in an ovenproof dish or baking tin and pour the batter mixture into the dish. Then drop the sausages in the batter. Cook on 200 degrees for about 40 minutes. While the toad in the hole is cooking you can make the mash! It takes 20 minutes in total. You’ll need: 1 3 pounds potatoes 2 water to cover 3 125ml to 175ml milk 4 6 tablespoons butter, room temperature 5 3/4 teaspoon salt 6 1/8 teaspoon pepper Peel the potatoes and cut into large chunks. Boil water in saucepan, and put ¾ of the teaspoon salt in the water. Cook the potatoes in boiling water with a lid for 15-20 minutes until they’re tender. Drain the potatoes. Mash in a large mixing bowl until no lumps remain. Add milk in small amounts, beating each time, until correct consistency. Add the butter, ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper, beating until mashed potatoes are light and fluffy. Makes enough mashed potatoes for 6 to 8 people.
SPAGHETTI junction Picture: Jak Flash
Student Culture natalie’s cookery corner
Flapjacks are very quick to make and satisfying for any sweet tooth. Below is the basic recipe, but of course you can experiment and put in nuts, dried fruit, or chocolate chips if you fancy! 1 225g Rolled Oats 2 75g Brown Sugar 3 3 Tablespoons (75g) Golden Syrup 4 100g Margarine Here’s how you do it: Put the oven onto 180 degrees and grease a baking tray. Mix the margarine, sugar and golden syrup and heat gently in a saucepan. Once the mixture has melted, pour in the oats and stir. Then place mixture into the baking tray and press down firmly to ensure all the mixture will be stuck together. Cook in the oven for around 20-25 minutes. Take out the oven and let it harden a bit. Then cut it into sections before it completely cools. When cool remove from the tin and eat!
Macaroni & Cheese (20 minutes)
Everybody’s favourite! Simple, cheap and tasty. Lots of cheese...how can you go wrong really? This recipe serves four people – so you and your friends can have a quick meal – as it’s ready in about 20 minutes! You’ll need: 1 250g macaroni 2 40g butter 3 40g plain flour 4 1 pint of milk 5 250g cheddar (grated) 6 50g parmesan (grated) Here’s how you do it: Cook the macaroni according to the instructions. At the same time, melt the butter in a saucepan that’s bigger than the one you used to cook the macaroni in. Add in the flour and mix together. Then gradually whisk in the milk and cook on a low heat for 10-15 mins. Pre-heat the grill at this time. Add 175g of the cheese to the sauce and make sure it is all melted in. Then add the macaroni and mix it all together. Then, transfer it to an ovenproof dish and sprinkle over the remaining cheeses, then place under the grill. Leave it until the cheese on the top is golden and bubbling. Then serve and enjoy! Yummy!
SPAGHETTI junction Picture: Poppy French
Student Culture student of the month
STUDENT OF THE MONTH Studying down at Bournville, Rachel Anderson is sewing up a storm. Recommended by her elective teacher for her outstanding textile work, Rachel talks to Spaghetti Junction about her work, her prizes and her future. After winning £500 for her Alice in Wonderland inspired collection, Rachel continued on at Birmingham City University, where she is currently taking her second year. Why did you choose to stay in Birmingham to take your degree? After college I wanted to do the foundation course, and I was told Birmingham City University was the best place locally to go to. So, after the foundation course, it just seemed like the obvious place to study as I was already there. Why did you choose to do Visual arts by negortiated study? I was initially enroled on the Textile Design course- but then at the end of the foundation course, my work started to become more fine art/textiles, which I felt the textiles course wouldn’t accomodate for. The Visual arts course allows me to work with textiles, but also allows me to work in a more fine art sense, which is much better suited to what I do; plus I get to write my own projects, so I focus on what I want. How are you finding the course, and do you feel it’s helping you to develop your skills? I’m really enjoying the course as a whole- considering the fact that it wasn’t a course that I initially considered, I think it has definitely worked out to be the best course for me. The tutors really encourage you to push your work further, and to incorporate different disciplines within your own work, which I think has really helped me push my skills forward and helped me to develop my ideas. How long have you been interested in textiles? I did fashion at secondary school, but I started to be really interested in textile based art whilst I was at college. I think the foundation course really helped me to realise where my interest lies, and since then I have just kind of developed my interest in textiles. You won £500 at the end of your foundation course from the Royal Society of Decorative Arts, what did you have to do to win that? I won it for my end of year project, which I based around the children’s story Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. I created the key characters from the story out of textiles and kind of ‘recreated’ the Mad Hatter’s Tea party, which is one of my favourite projects I have done. It was a real surprise to win the money. I was really pleased though, and the money helped me buy the materials for last year. After finishing your degree what would you like to go into? I’m still really unsure as to where I would like to be in the fututre. I’m kind of using this year to explore the possible careers I could take, though at the moment I am quite interested in costume design, which is something I’m going to look into.
32 Picture: Jak Flash
Student Culture study tips
Essential Study Tips for the Modern Day Student So, we’ve realised by now that things are changing. No more do students lock themselves away in dark and dusty rooms for three years with their heads buried in an old leather-bound book. Oh no, times have changed and so must we. Of course, I’m not condemning books, far from it! Books should be every student’s best friend. But choosing the right book, learning to skim read and effectively summarise can prove challenging at the best of times. So here goes... essential tip of the day: read the ‘contents’ page. It may sound simple, but believe it or not, most students pick books solely by their title or blurb. Academic books and journals are not written in a confusing way on purpose, but after combining several studies it would be hard to summarise the entire book in a two paragraph blurb on the back cover. Reading the introduction and conclusion can normally give you an idea what the article or study is about, avoiding wasted time reading something that is totally irrelevant. Effective studying can make the ideal student, but how do we go about retaining the information? Does the answer lie within your diet? Actually, yes! Believe it or not, what we eat does affect our memory. So, tip number two: eat fresh fruit and vegetables. I know, I know, you don’t want to be nagged at to eat healthily, but it will honestly affect your studying. Dark green, leafy and root vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots and sweet potatoes are especially good for you. If the green fingered approach is not your thing, whole grains (such as brown basmati rice or oats and rye) oily fish (such as sardines or mackerel) or even eggs have been proven to give your memory a boost. You’ll by wishing you’d paid more attention to this advice when sitting in an exam with “writer’s block”. So get down to your local supermarket and stock that fridge! So we’ve got the body and brain sorted, but what about group work? This is a tricky one. You either like or you hate it. But there are ways to work through it without tearing out your hair. If you prefer individual work, it will help to divide the group into sections. Working on a single section will allow some individual work, whilst collating together as a group for the overall project. If you are the complete opposite and prefer to work in groups, you will of course suffer on individual assignments. To conquer this... talk to a classmate about your work. Getting advice from someone else provides similar support as in a group. With these tips in tow, everyone can become the “Student Idol”. Eating healthily and reading the correct material may seem simple but it will help. So, armed with essential tips, you will overcome anything your course can throw at you. Georgie Campbell
SPAGHETTI junction Picture: Alis Pelleschi
Words & Picture: Jak Flash
Arts & Entertainment bands in university
A child in the eyes of the Lord
Solo artist Kneale Brown takes it as it comes. He’s not seeking fame or money, he seems to be in it for the music alone. He’s studying Music Tech, which he doesn’t see as being a course that will throw him into the music industry and believes if it does happen, it’ll be purely by accident. To him, a degree is more like an experience, not something that necessarily puts you into a career. He’s under no delusions about his future and it’s this honesty and openness that makes him so inviting. In the expanse that is Bar42, Kneale played to a small crowd, strumming away at his guitar, playing something he calls ‘acoustic pop’, although from the lyrics and the intensity he brings across in his voice, it’s clearly something deeper. With the crowd spread across the room, Kneale calls everyone in telling them to bring their chairs, making the whole set a lot more personal. He’s got a great vocal range and it’s clear he’s dedicated to the music as it rides through him. We see him briefly lift off his seat, carried away by the momentum of the music and, playing his new song Fresh brings the tempo of the music up. He’s currently recording it with a guy called Sidney Kabul from the Conservatoire, and hopefully it’ll be released onto his Myspace in coming months. It’s definitely something to look out for.
During his performance, Kneale stopped to talk to his listeners. It was already personal with us sitting so close but still Kneale persists in reminding us that he’s human, just like the rest of us and he’s here to share the music. He discarded the microphone and preformed directly and if anything, it increased the vitality of his melodic ballads. He started singing at school and was asked to join a band by his friends when he was 14, which is where he learnt to play guitar. Clearly with time and practice his talent progressed, bringing a new perspective to a variety of music. He used to like a lot of 60s bands like The Doors but, since coming to university, his taste has deviated into the works of processed beats from the likes of Aphex Twin and Björk, leaving us with the artist that he is today. He took a year out before coming to Birmingham City University and played an assortment of gigs with Indie and function bands, whilst managing as many short or free college courses that he could. He believes not that music should be free, but that the artist should really work for what they earn. Instead of paying a great expense for an album, Kneale would prefer to give you his music for you to enjoy. www.myspace.com/knealebrown
Arts & Entertainment live review
See that girl over there? She’s been to every single gig we’ve played this tour.
She’s made us a new fan page and all...” Well, with fans like that, this band really must have something. What’s more is that they appreciate their fans and their devotion. Wednesday 8th October was a fine night for the Carling Bar Academy. Reading-based Indie band, Beggars, had arrived in Birmingham. The quartet have supported no less than The Courteeners, Babyshambles, and Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong at different points this year, and (at the time of writing) are currently on their own 21 day headlining tour of the UK that culminates at London’s 100 Club mid October. There wasn’t as large of a turnout as one could have expected for these boys, who have played to soldout crowds across the country, but this was not going to stop them from putting on a blinder of a set. There was an air of mystery in the room, as the band, who don’t behave like most other rising talents on the scene, quietly took to the stage and then gave the audience a
hearty set full of old and new gems. Their new material, such as Mays Lane, is more mature and reflective, showing the audience t h a t there’s a lot to c o m e from the band – having b e e n together for less than three years, but having known each other since childhood. This bond can be seen through their performance; Jamie Girdler along with his brother Justin and the two Dan’s -Webb and Starr, showcase songs about love, life, drugs and politics... that they make somehow tie together into anecdotes that you don’t want to end. “Lost in thoughts of past regrets, scattered thoughts and cigarettes/making plans you forget” introduce the song Someday too Soon and have a sort of melancholy grace, compared with the catchy lyrics of You and Me, one of their older tunes. After all, a band who can cover a
song as intricate as Leonard Cohen’s The Future and not fail miserably is a result that most could not achieve – yet they do, and they truly make it their own, replacing Cohen’s gravelly voice with Girdlers. T h e i r Myspace page lists a mountain of influences from Buffalo Springfield to The Kinks via the likes of The Beatles, The Libertines and Bowie. Through this, they’ve managed to forge their own completely natural sound that is like a breath of fresh air on the competitive indie scene. Oh, and just to top it off, they’re all good looking! A recipe for success? I think so... You’ll be hearing more of Beggars soon, trust me on this one. Find their blog on http://www. youngmodsforgottenstory. blogspot.com and more information on their myspace page, www.myspace.com/ beggarsband Natalie Marchant
Arts & Entertainment live review
When a gig starts at 7:00 p.m, and at 7:00 p.m you are the only one there-and I mean the only one there, you get a little bit worried. I’m talking like I wasn’t just first in the queue, I was the queue! Luckily for me (and Akala’s ticket sales I guess), more people arrived, the doors opened and I was in, out of the cold and wet! This was my second Akala gig and my first time at the Bar Academy, part of the Carling Academy family. The man himself wasn’t due on stage until 9:30p.m so there was a bit of time to kill. Luckily, there was a DJ on stage to keep the crowd entertained. I say luckily, what I actually mean is the man was awful! I have no idea who he was but I think I could have done a better job! It’s like dude, learn how to use the decks and you might get somewhere! As fun as it was listening to a bad DJ, myself and my fellow Akala fan Caroline decided that now was a really good time to go to Macdonalds. I have to say, in my whole life, I have never been so happy to see that big yellow ‘M’. After filling up on fries and milkshakes, we headed back to the BA where thankfully, the DJ was almost done. Time for the support act-a rapper named Sincere, who, I’ll be honest, I felt was anything but. He had some talent, but he was nothing special. Maybe I felt like that because I was comparing him to Akala...who knows? When Mr not so Sincere in my opinion sauntered off the stage, I felt like I was going to burst from sheer excitement! I knew what was coming next, the Shakespeare of the urban world... Akala! As the comparisons with Shakespeare suggest, this man is legendary. The crowd went crazy the second he stepped onto the stage. He performed tracks from his current mixtape (The War Mixtape Vol II), some of which were updated versions of his earlier work, like Roll Wid Us (featured on the Kidulthood soundtrack). Another highlight of the night was Bit by Bit, a track taken from his second album Freedom Lasso. He performed it acoustically which was a beautiful thing to witness. Also on the playlist were Electro Livin, Bulls**t and Freedom Lasso, all songs which get the crowd going, as well as a few freestyles thrown in for good measure. Then, the track that proves why he is referred to as Shakespeare, Comedy Tragedy History, where he incorporates all the titles of Shakespeare’s plays, as well as quotes from them. If that isn’t lyrical genius then I don’t know what is. His set had flown by, and I loved every minute of it. The last song of the evening was (of course) Shakespeare, one of my favourite Akala tracks, and with good reason. As amazing as Akala is, he is still very much an underground artist and I have no idea why. He is, by far one of the most talented rappers the UK has ever produced, if not the most talented. All of the self proclaimed greatest rappers could learn a few things from him...as the man says himself ‘Thou shalt not f**k with this’! Roxanne Hawker
Arts & Entertainment album reviews
Shakespeare said that music was the food of love…here at Spaghetti Junction, we say that music is the reason why Shakespeare said that. Clever, I know. Here are some of the latest album releases reviewed, just for you, enjoy!
After three platinum selling albums, Ashanti returned this year with her fourth album that has struggled to reach gold status, never mind produce a hit single. With The Declaration being labelled a flop, it could be said that her new release is the label’s way of countering their losses, as The Vault is a collection of unreleased tracks the former R&B sensation recorded during her early years; otherwise known as 2001 when Murder Inc. were still called Murder Inc. and people still bought Ashanti’s albums. The old recordings have been revamped as they have been paired with present day beats, created by some of the hottest new producers. Kidd Kold produces the majority of the album, adding irresistible, exciting beats, but the highlight comes from the single Let’s Do Something Crazy which was produced by newcomer Migs. It must be said that The Vault does contain some hidden gems, but it’s sad that Ashanti has to turn to recordings from her once golden era to keep her in the charts.
SUGABABEScatfights and spotlights
Despite scoring one of their biggest hits last year with About You Now, the babes have lost some of their sparkle, and are attempting to put some electricity back into their sound, with Catfights and Spotlights. The girls are touting the album as their most “mature” outing yet - no bad thing for an act now on its sixth album. More alarmingly, the group who’ve given us some of the best pop singles of the 21st century - Freak Like Me, Push The Button to name a few, are claiming to have moved on from pop. But no need to fear just yet- lead single Girls with its brassy chorus, is as radio-friendly as anything they’ve ever released. Highlights include new single No Can Do and Mercy which pays homage to the sixites. Catfights and Spotlights is a far more sensible album than we’ve seen before and is the sound of Sugababes growing up gracefully. 4/5 Lee Lawrence
OASISdig out your soul
Liam, Noel, Gem and Belly are back with their 7th studio album Dig Out Your Soul, along with new drummer Chris Sharrock (let’s see how long this one lasts!) They appear to have ventured towards a more psychedelic, slightly electronic, electric guitar and heavy drum lead sound you would expect to hear from Kasabian and, at times, The Chemical Brothers’ lighter stuff. The cynics may laugh this album off, but it’s a step in a different direction. Bag It Up, a song that will be recognisable for the lyrics: “got my heebijeebies in a little bag”...whatever that means, is definitely good. Watch out for I’m Outta Time, a song which took Liam Gallagher a self proclaimed nine years to write, in dedication to the memory of John Lennon. Overall, this is a respectable return to form from the Mancunians, with eight out of 11 tracks being worthy, the boys are a definite Oasis in the desert that is the music world... 4/5 Ash James
Arts & Entertainment DVD reviews
There is nothing better than completely ignoring your university work and settling down with a good DVD. With that in mind, Joel Harley has reviewed some of the latest DVD releases. Although, be warned, he seems to hate Family Guy...
THE HAPPENING Marky Mark Whalberg talks to a potted plant. A plastic one at that. People start to commit suicide because Mother Nature and her plants tell them to through the means of some chemical or something. Zooey Deschanel looks bewildered (and a bit stoned) throughout. And a man feeds himself to a lawnmower. Yes, the worst movie of 2008 is now on DVD! M Night Shyamalan’s The Crappening manages to out-terrible his entire back catalogue (including the one in the village and the one with the fish lady), with 90 minutes of idiocy, bad acting and ineptitude on all fronts. Pretty much everything here is awful, the only redeeming point being its unintentionally comic undertones. Seriously, there are some hilarious moments in this film. If you really hate yourself (and I’m talking an intense self loathing), buy the two disc special edition, which includes an extended cut. I don’t know about Mother Nature, but this film sure made me want to kill myself. 0/5
FAMILY GUYseason 7
Yes, they recomissioned it again. Season seven of everyone’s favourite Simpsons rip-off arrives on DVD, as original as ever. Sorry, did I say original? I meant fauxoffensive, unfunny and stupid. I could summarise some episodes, but the plots are interchangeable really, and just a collection of repetitive non-sequitors. There’s nothing particularly new, just a slew of the same old “remember that one time…” jokes, mostly without punch lines, and a reliance on FAT MAN FALL DOWN FAST and I REMEMBER THAT FROM THE 80s stuff, all served up with a side order of bad characterisation and extra servings of Seth Macfarlane’s horrible ‘acting’. There is also an evil baby with an ‘British’ accent, as well as a dog that can talk (and drive and read and write...) More of the same then. If you liked the first six seasons, then you’ll like this. Incidentally, this gets one star simply because it isn’t American Dad. Don’t get me started… 1/5
DOCTOR WHOcomplete series 4
Who would have thought that Catherine Tate could make such an endearing sidekick? Many were sceptical, but Donna Noble is a success. Her relationship with the Doctor (David Tennant) is great to watch, the pair making a funny, organic odd-couple act. It’s a refreshing change from the unrequited love-ins of past companions. Series 4 is consistently strong. Standout episodes include the library double bill, and the tense Midnight. Of course, everyone will be talking about the series finale, which reunites old favourites and characters from other series, as well as Davros and the Daleks. It feels a tad self indulgent at times, and the ending is a bit… easy, but these are minor qualms. It’s a cracking tale, and Doctor Who remains the last word in Saturday night family entertainment. Also included on the DVD is the Christmas special, and the Comic Relief thing. A good box set, with plenty of bang for your buck. 4/5
Arts & Entertainment film reviews
FILM REVIEWS Wondering what’s hot and what’s not at the cinema? We have reviewed some of the latest releases to hit the silver screen! So, happy viewing-but don’t blame us if your popcorn is stale, we just review the films not the cinema!
BURN AFTER READING Low-level CIA data analyst Ozzie Cox (John Malkovich, on fine, sweary form) quits his job, just as his wife (Tilda Swinton) decides to take her affair with her horny lover, Harry Pfarrer (George Clooney) to the next level. Things get complicated when a couple of blue collar gym workers (Frances McDormand and Brad Pitt) find Ozzie’s bitter memoirs in a changing room. Mistaking them for something important, they decide to blackmail Ozzie. Things escalate, strangeness ensues and John Malkovich swears a lot. The Coens have assembled a great cast. Clooney and Pitt remind us that they still know how to act, with George giving the serious political plap a rest, and Brad stepping out from under Angelina’s big pouty shadow. Pitt, particularly, is a revelation. His character is a bouncing, childlike fool with bad highlights. Every moment he’s onscreen is a great one. Clooney gurns like crazy beneath his slightly iffy beard. Unfortunately, this over-the-top brainlessness from all involved hurts the film slightly; full of characters that are all idiots, deviants and crazies, who are we supposed to root for? Really, there’s
no one to care for. Even McDormand’s sad gym instructor is a tad too selfish to invite sympathy. Many people won’t like Burn After Reading simply because it isn’t No Country For Old Men. Next to that particular masterpiece, it inevitably comes up short. But in of itself, this is a funny, clever and original piece that’ll have you thinking about it for days afterwards. You’ll enjoy it, but you’ll question why. It’s fun, but disposable. The title, perhaps, is somewhat apt then… 4/5 Joel Harley
THE HOUSE BUNNY Shelly (Anna Faris) is a big Bunny on Campus at Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Mansion. With her 27th birthday approaching, Shelly eagerly anticipates the fulfilment of her dream: of being the centrefold of the month. Sadly, her dreams are dashed when Shelly learns that she is being booted from Bunny land for being too old. She finds herself with no family or place to call home. Desperate for both, she stumbles across the socially inept sisters of the Zeta Alpha Zeta sorority. With no hope of attracting new pledges and the consequent threat of losing their sorority, the girls of Zeta take in Shelly as their new “house mother.” Shelly immediately sets to work, helping the Zetas bring out their inner Glamazons whilst also catching the eye of Oliver (Colin Hanks), who forces her to realise that it will take more than the Playboy Mansion and her bunny ways to win over a good man. Finally (and perhaps somewhat predictably), Hugh Hefner calls to offer Shelly her dream centrefold shoot. It is then that she must make a decision: fulfilling her dreams and returning to the family that loved her best or leaving that behind and saving her new sorority
family that needs her most. Faris (who co-produced the film) is a comic delight as Shelly, with a perfect blend of sexy charm and sweetnatured cluelessness. Supported by an excellent cast of fresh faces, The House Bunny is an irresistible tale of inner beauty and “sisters” sticking together. Its tag may read Legally Blonde meets Mean Girls but strip away the second hand attire, and The House Bunny manages to stand on its own thanks to Anna Faris’ comic genius. 4/5 Lee Lawrence
Arts & Entertainment theatre & book review
THEATRE & BOOK REVIEWS
For those of you who are a bit more cultured, we have both a book and a theatre review. So, when you have read the book, you can pop down to the theatre for some general thespian type activities. Woohoo!
BLOOD BROTHERS Blood brothers are two males related by birth, or men who aren’t related by birth, who swear loyalty to one another. The musical tells a story revolving around twins who were separated at birth. The twins’ different backgrounds take them to the opposite ends of the social spectrum, one becoming an Oxbridge graduate and the other ending up on the dole. With a twist of fate, the brothes become best friends and both fall in love with the same girl. Ultimately, this conflict leads to their tragic death. The mother of the twins, Mrs Johnstone, was played by Niki Evans who was the runner up of last year’s X Factor. She had a fantastic voice and an amazing stage presence. She also had a very convincing scouse accent even though she’s actually from Birmingham. Niki played the part excellently and you could really empathise with her character. The actors who played the twins, switched flawlessly from hyperactive children to troubled adults and had such good chemistry that you would actually believe they were brothers. The narrator worked well alongside the storyline, flittering around the characters as though he was a conscience or a shadow. I wasn’t however, overly impressed with his singing voice. I didn’t know the storyline before seeing Blood Brothers at the Hippodrome. This made me a bit apprehensive about it, but I thought it was well performed and you could easily relate to the characters which made it even more moving. The
musical was also humorous throughout which complimented the dramatic storyline. They even made a joke about the fact they’d used the same actor for the milk man and the doctor. Blood Brothers had a justified standing ovation. However, I wouldn’t recommend it if you don’t like loud bangs, or if you know the story well and aren’t accustomed to change as the ending is apparently different to the play. I also felt it was quite abrupt to finish, which spoiled the atmosphere, but overall I think it’s a musical that is definitely worth watching. Kirsty Dronfield
GONE FOR GOOD harlan coben This heart stopping thriller is not one to be left on the bedside table for too long. Full of unexpected twists and turns, it will not only impress every student out there but is guaranteed to leave you looking for more Coben novels. After eleven years of being known as a murderer’s brother, Will Klein’s life finally seemed to be getting back on track. The Klein family were left at the centre of an international manhunt, when a young girl was found brutally strangled in her basement close to the family’s home. Will’s brother, Ken found himself in the frame but disappeared and had not been seen since. Convinced his brother is dead, Will tried to get on with his life, securing a job and a girlfriend, but the cracks began to show after his mother reveals Ken is still alive, over a decade since his disappearance. Shocked and heartbroken by his mother’s news, Will’s life shatters as he discovers his new girlfriend Sheila is missing. Determined to find her, Will crosses over to a side of town he swore he would never go to again. Looking under every stone in the New Jersey for clues as to Sheila’s whereabouts, Will stumbles across some life changing information... that Sheila is wanted for a savage double murder herself. Is history repeating itself? Will everyone that gets close to him become a villain? Georgie Campbell
Arts & Entertainment horoscopes
by joel harley
SCORPIO (Oct 24-Nov 22)
A particularly vicious bout of flu is in the air this month, so you might want to watch yourself. I’d suggest carrying a gas mask in your bag, just in case. Also handy for dealing with those fellow students who aren’t too up on their personal hygiene.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov 23-Dec 21)
Ho hum, you lot don’t live very interesting lives, do you? It’s like trying to read biscuits. Those ‘nice’ biscuits with the word ‘nice’ printed on them. Spice things up a bit: go join a fight club or something.
CAPRICORN (Dec 22-Jan 20)
TAURUS (Apr 21-May 21)
Destiny hands you a key. But not a proper one: one of those metaphorical things that don’t mean anything really. I know you’re disappointed, but pretend to be happy anyway. Hopefully next time it’ll be keys to a Bentley.
GEMINI (May 22-Jun 21)
Nipping into a public toilet, you might recognize a certain phone number on the cubicle wall. If you don’t, give it a call anyway. It’s the number to my psychic hotline. Calls charged £1.50 a minute. Downmarket, maybe – but do you know how much newspaper advertising costs these days?
You remember I said you were gullible before? No? I did, take my word for it. Anyway, double that for this month, because people really start to take advantage. Maybe it’s because they read it in a previous issue. Incidentally, did you know that gullible isn’t in the dictionary?
Your love life is looking up this month. No not there, I said look up. It’s parachuting at you from a great height. So, uh, take cover. It’s raining men, hallelujah. Or not, depending on your sexual orientation.
AQUARIUS (Jan 21-Feb 19)
Leo (Jul 24-Aug 23)
Your obsession with a certain Indie comedy programme sees you earmarked as an idiot this month, so stop spouting stupid catchphrases like you invented them. Get into My Family instead. People will think it’s ironic and hey presto, you’ve invented “the next big thing.”
PISCES (Feb 20-Mar 20)
Like a cat chasing its own tail, you’re not going to catch that prize no matter how hard you try. And, like a dog chasing traffic, there’s going to be a messy accident if you don’t give it up.
ARIES (Mar 21-Apr 20)
I know what you did last summer. And you’re gonna have to pay generously to keep me quiet. That thing you did with the… thing… and the hooks? Damn, that was harsh. Like I said… generously.
CANCER (Jun 22-Jul 23)
Love life looking a bit gloomy? Hit the town with a few chums and paint it red. There’s no guarantees you’ll pull (what am I, psychic??) but you’ll have a good time, all the same. Think Sex and the City. Only the city’s Birmingham and the sex is a bit rubbish.
Virgo (Aug 24-Sep 23) The answer, apparently, is yes. I know that’s not very helpful, but cold reading isn’t easy, and I’m not very good at it. Just keep asking questions, and sooner or later you’ll get whatever it is you’re after. Possibly.
LIBRA (Sep 24-Oct 23)
Oh no you didn’t!!! Actually, no, you didn’t. And now you’re going to regret it for the rest of your life. A little downbeat perhaps, but them’s the breaks. I just tells it like I sees it.
Check out the Spaghetti Junction fan page on Facebook Search “Spaghetti Junction Student Magazine” on facebook to find the fan page. Not everything we want to go into the magazine can fit, so we’ll be putting more articles, reviews and updates onto Facebook. You’ll find all the photos we take at events on there, as well as illustrations and previous cover shots. It also gives you a chance to tell us what you think. So get online, and become a fan! Although we try our hardest, not all the pictures in this magazine are origionally sourced froms us. If we haven’t directly referenced them in the magazine you’ll be sure to find out where they come from on the Spaghetti Junction Student Magazine fan page on Facebook.