TheCheeseGrater The Other Student Magazine of University College London Union
No. 16 February 2008
THIS MONTH Down Your Union
Celebrating diversity the UCL Union way! p.2
Inside Martha Stewart’s vagina p.3
Breathing (un)easy UCL’s out-of-date asbestos register p.4
Which celebrity racist is wielding a poppadom in the library? p.5
Sticking it to the man, yeah? p.5
Unsuccessful Gay Man How could you resist? p.7
Slade School to Close
Lecturer admits, ‘we got it all wrong’. p.8
Why the Provost is burying his moustache in the cement See page 6
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Down Your Union
It’s business as usual at UCL Union, what with celebrating clichés, painting railings, and making sure that nothing gets done. Kat Lay
One Word: Weak THERE HAS BEEN much hilarity in ucl union’s bars and cafes as students try to work out exactly what’s being represented by One World Week’s logo – the consensus usually being a student practising yoga, a lesbian couple, a woman in a burka and an amputee. All of society’s richness and variety neatly captured then. A quick glance at the OWW programme raises the question of what exactly is happening especially for the event. A plea for participants was sent round to clubs and societies asking if anyone was doing anything that “would fit in with the aims of the week” – however tenuously, one can only assume. All the better if it could be parcelled up a bit sexily: ‘Naughty Nature: Birds Do it...’ was the offering from UCL Museums and Collections’ presenting an evening, um, looking around the zoology museum. Woop. Societies hoping to get extra publicity for their events by having them included in OWW would have been rather disappointed. The Balls! Bloomsbury Theatre show was advertised on the wrong date, and the listing for Rare FM’s show on OWW failed to include the time. Perhaps the real winner was UCL’s PR department. The event provided a neat excuse for the Provost to give his usual speech on ‘inclusion’ and ‘diversity’ at UCL, and to show the Centre for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching’s film “Global Citizenship and Leadership at UCL: Your Life, Your World, Your Future.” So what was the point? “One World Week is about celebrating diversity and exploding myths so that we all get a chance to see the world through different eyes. The aim of the week is to offer insight
under one piss-portico and inspiration from the experiences of the UCL community related to themes of culture and religion, sexuality and gender, disability and the environment.” So who can explain the clichéd use of rap music to explore racism? And does a ‘latinolicious’ party with a tequila cash bar really explode the party myth of the South American continent and expose the huge problems in the region – street children, prevalent domestic violence and corrupt governments to name a few? Ay caramba!
Recognition is Rare The exciting Annual Student Survey, which rates UCLU media and information services, is proving a bit confusing, especially for the newly billed ‘Union service’ which is Rare FM. The station has been lobbying for years for Union management to acknowledge the service it provides, more often than not being knocked back with a terse “nobody listens.” The inclusion of Pi on the list seems fair enough, given that the M&C Officer edits it, but Rare FM has always been told it’s a society and nothing
more. Be careful what you wish for - it seems nobody warned Rare that their new title would mean they were up for judgement by the student body.
Agenda Bender It seems the quorum disease at UCLU is contagious, with the Union’s Annual General Meeting forced to close, having achieved... absolutely nothing. The problem this time was a motion calling for UCL Union to enter into twinning arrangements with universities in Gaza and the West Bank. Proposed by the Friends of Palestine, the whopping four-page motion gave a long list of the Israeli Government’s negative actions in the occupied territories. The motion was meticuously sourced, quoting from the UN, the International Court of Justice (and, er, an article written by the proposer for London Student’s comment section). Indeed, it was so focused on being factually accurate, it left out the important “This Union Believes” section. However, the proposers failed to understand that facts can be interpreted in
different ways; Jewish Society felt the motion’s presentation was over-emotive. So how best to deal with it? Simple; prominent JSoc member Oliver Swerdlow ran in at the last minute, called for a quorum count (secure in the knowledge there weren’t enough people in the room), and immediately left again. But the farce goes far beyond that. The motion had been put in as an ‘Emergency Motion’, which meant it should have been dealt with at the end of the AGM under ‘Any Other Business’. Yet the proposers got it moved to the top of the agenda. Leaving aside the question of what effect a UCLU motion supporting Palestine would have (the Israeli government have been ignoring SOAS Union for years), the Palestine motion’s top-billing, meaning the inevitable quorum was called very early on, meant that nothing else was discussed. That’s right, not the motion which actually concerns the running of the Students Union (formalising the Postgraduate Association in the Union’s constitution), nor the motion about the Provost’s stance on lifting the cap on topup fees. Democracy in action at UCL again then, eh?
Give it a Rest Students are notoriously gullible - or at least, that seems to be the view at UCLU HQ. The Union’s Give it a Go scheme “inspiration for your free time” offers the exciting chance to, erm... paint some railings. Part of the February programme asks for volunteers to paint rails and doors on the outside of a Mornington Crescent community centre. Volunteering is always a nice thought, of course (especially for the CV), but closer to home Stage Crew are always looking for people willing to wield a paintbrush. Still, the event’s main selling point? “Paint and brushes are provided.”
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Beyond the beef curtains
Ryan Daily discovers there’s fun for all the family at Martha Stewart’s Scenic Vagina! LOOKING FOR something fun to do with the family? Bored of taking the same trips that your parents forced upon you years ago? Good news! Martha Stewart has just opened up her vagina to the public! Yes! Now you and your loved ones can spend a splendid vacation inside Martha Stewart’s Fantastic Vagina! It’s bigger than Disneyworld and closer to home. Ride a runaway train as it scales along Martha’s labia; a forbidden zone that not even the bravest of men dare to tread! Be dazzled by the Cervix Spectacular; a 20-minute musical extravaganza of song, laughter, and some of the best colour schemes money can buy! And did someone say fun for all ages? Your wee ones will have a hysterical time as they meet Elmo,
Fozzie Bear, the Bandersnatch and all their favourite characters in Storybook Tube! And prepare your sunglasses, because our star is out all hours of the day! For who better to lead you through Martha Stewart’s Scenic Vagina than Martha Stewart herself? She’ll take you through her Mysterious Forest of Pubic Hair, on a cable car over the Ruins of the Hymen, and then to her own personal estate for the yummiest sugar cookies this side of the Mississippi! Why delay? Book your tickets now! Parking is available at the Clitoris Car Park (fully signposted). Opening soon: EuroVagina, featuring Moira Stuart.
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Don’t hold your breath
UCL has known about the asbestos lying across college for over ten years. So why hasn’t it been removed yet? remained. The debris consists of amphibole asbestos, the use of which has been illegal in the UK since 1993, although Estates & Facilities put the debris down to the adjoining Robert’s Building, which was constructed before asbestos laws came into place.
Alex Ashman SINCE THE FIRST UK anti-asbestos laws were passed in 1993, UCL has been struggling to rid its buildings of as much asbestos as possible. Fifteen years later, and despite much surveying and removal work having taken place, The Cheese Grater is unnerved to find that many buildings still harbour badly-damaged pieces of the cancer-causing substance, and is starting to wonder if College is only concerned with toeing the legal line. Examples of asbestos-containing materials in UCL’s buildings range from lift shaft components to toilet cisterns and air duct parts, with the most unusual finding made by inspectors being
A microscopic shot of asbestos, and the Engineering building in Malet Place, which is listed on the asbestos register. a bag marked “asbestos” found in the Windeyer Building. 26 Bedford Way, which is home to
The Cheese Grater Magazine 2008 Publicity Stunt
The Benazir Bhutto Assassination Re-enactment and picnic
Free Pakistani cuisine, and hijabs for the ladies; explosives not provided, but by all means bring your own.
Come and join us for an afternoon of hilarity on Wednesday 20 February at 1.30pm in the Quad With special guest speaker: Martin “in his dad’s shadow” Amis
the Psychology and Geography departments, is one of the most asbestos-ridden buildings, with over 600 offending items spread across eight floors. The law requires that steps are taken to locate and document all asbestos in workplaces, following which all reasonable efforts should be made to either remove or seal-up any asbestos in order to prevent or at least reduce exposure to employees. While UCL hire contractors to remove the offending items in a piecemeal fashion, a quick look at College’s asbestos database reveals that a number of damaged objects earmarked for removal some time ago are still present across the campus.
Illegal For instance, asbestos debris in the basement of UCL’s main building recommended for removal in 2005 was still present when the inspectors returned two and a half years later. Meanwhile, an air duct in the New Engineering Building (opened in 2005) was reported as having been cleared of asbestos debris in June 2006, and yet a later survey found that asbestos still
Of particular note is the UCL Bloomsbury Theatre. Some, if not all of the concrete beams above its oft-used lighting rig are covered with highly-damaged asbestos debris, a fact that has been known since June 2005 when positive samples were taken from twelve different spots. Despite this, the inspectors later returned to find that no steps had been taken to remove or encapsulate the debris. On hearing about this, one thesp remarked “oh that’s good, isn’t it” and pointed out that the area wasn’t “usually inaccessible” as the reports stated. Elsewhere, damaged lumps of asbestos-containing material which could have been made safe by sealing them away have been left exposed. Examples can be found in Astor College residential hall, the medical school’s Rockefeller Building, the Union building at 25 Gordon Street, and in a sprinkling of rooms in the recently-refurbished Foster Court, home to UCL’s language departments. When asked, Estates & Facilities confirmed that College’s asbestos database is up-to-date, and stated that their program of asbestos removal and encapsulation is “on-going”. While they have made a degree of progress, it seems that Estates & Facilities are being a little lacklustre when it comes to removing dangerous materials that they have known about for some time.
Contributors: Alex Ashman, Alex McKenna, AS, Christina Ravinet, Claude McNab, Devin Toohey, Gareth Spencer, Hannah Hudson, Jenni Hulse, Josh Worth, Ka Bradley, Kat Lay, Mister Chatterbox, Richard Soames, Ryan Daily, Scary Boots, Sam Steddy. This issue is dedicated to Mark Ravinet, with thanks and admiration for all his hard work.
February 2008 TheCheeseGrater 5
NOT AGAIN, RARE FM! Everyone’s favourite radio station has recently celebrated their move to a new studio at 25 Gordon Street. However, in terms of competence, some things never change. Before the move, all the studio equipment was diligently security-cabled to make sure no one else could get into it. Yet, upon arriving at their new home, Raresters discovered that no one actually had a key for those cables. The result was a member of Stage Crew having to saw through them to release the equipment, rather nullifying the point of it in the first place... A fantastic new edition of the much loved detective classic, this is CLUEDO - CELEBRITY RACISTS!
Hours of fun for young and old alike, as you try to decipher which of these famous faces has successfully murdered their chances of a career. Will it be the dashing Colonel Kilroy-Silk, viciously wielding a copy of the Daily Express in the Billiard Room? Or perhaps the enchanting Miss Goody in the Library... Suitable for ages 5+
CLASS WAR AT UCL
ORGANIC INTELLECTUALS AFFIRM THEIR RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE IN CIVIL SOCIETY, WITH DRAMATIC SIT-IN Jenni Hulsci 91 years since the Russian Revolution, the infallible dogmas of yesterday still beat like a tribal drum in the asphalt jungle of the modern world, sounding the continuing death knell of the capitalist classes (Vol. III, Capital.) Nowhere do the primitive palpitations of Revolution resound so clearly as in that throbbing organ of radicalism, UCL. Your humble correspondent spoke with one of the guiding lights of the burgeoning underground movement.
Your Humble Correspondent: Comrade Doyle, you recently staged a dramatic sit-in on campus, the likes of which have not been seen since the sixties heyday of Billy ‘the Red’ Renton. Would you say you were protesting against the parasitic and reactionary character of the bureaucracy or the anarchy of the market? Or both? Comrade Doyle: Er, is the class over? Did I fall asleep? Sports Night must have been messier than I thought. YHC: So your vanguard attempt at the radicalisation of the
student population was a reaction against the inhuman excesses inherent in capitalist society, including the use of illusional orgiastic carnivals such as this ‘Sports Night’, or the verbal gymnastics of the capitalist lackey politicians that distract the labouring classes from their daily enslavement to the dead labour of the machine? Or both? CD: What? YHC: Exactly. Together we must solve the riddle of the sphinx that guards the pyramids of bureaucracy and replace this acquisitive philoso-
WHICH CHEEKY CHAPPY was seen at a student Socialist Worker society meeting, mingling with the red-caps and telling people he was ‘curious about socialism’ and ‘politically ambiguous’? Stand up Starbuck Coleman – better known as the President of the Conservative Society. No doubt things got a bit hairy when someone spotted his ‘Back Boris’ embellished Oyster card…
phy with global egalitarianisation in a socialist context! CD: I’ve never been to Egypt! I’m not a socialist, what would that look like on my CV? YHC: You’re right Comrade Doyle. We cannot run away from the answers. We cannot hide behind the bike shed from the questions. Only through organised spontaneous Revolution can we stop sucking on the ice-cream we found in the back of the capitalist fridgefreezer! Let it be known that The Revolution is upon us and that the fig leaf of the bourgeois mentality shall be cast off, exposing its hairy knackers for all to see.!
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The folly of aggressive stupidity A new report on the School of Advanced Study has scuppered Malcolm Grant’s plans for University of London domination. His response to the setback is histrionics, sulking and a monastic silence. Mister Chatterbox
“Divide and rule, a sound motto. Unite and lead, a better one” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe READERS, IT WAS Francois de la Rochefocauld who said that great events, despite their interpretation by our leaders, are in fact usually the product of passion and temperament. Yet after so many petulant, cheap shots fired by our beloved Provost in his battle against the University of London, an element of sanity has been re-introduced by the esteemed head of University College. University College, Oxford that is. When the Times Higher Education was published last Summer, many members of the university were left fuming that Professor Grant had been so discourteous as to rant without letting them know. “Is the University of London going to collapse because Malcolm Grant has flounced out of the Constitutional Reform Working Group? The answer is no.” (See CG 11).
“Just one of Malcolm’s drama queen moments.” The Provost’s Summer outburst was dismissed as, “one of Malcolm’s drama queen moments… It is fair to say that Malcolm’s actions have led to people’s eyes glazing over when he’s speaking, even when he is right.” Staff within UL, and perhaps more significantly within college, have expressed their serious worries regarding the Provost’s provocative stance towards the university. And yet in recent weeks, Malcolm Grant has been
strangely quiet. The man, who has managed to achieve this pantagruelian feat, is the esteemed and distinguished academic, Professor Sir Ivor Crewe DL, MA (Oxon), MSc (Econ), the recently installed Master of University College Oxford. But first of all, a little background. Like the Spartans at Thermopylae, one body has stood between Professor Grant and his iniquitous plans for the destruction of the University of London: the School of Advanced Study. This is a research-led institution for postgraduates whose academic resources are available across the University of London, and one which does not compete for Research Assessment Exercise funding, to the shared benefit of all, sitting as the “jewel in the crown” of the University of London.
Vultures It is an epithet that makes senior members of that institute blush, and yet its future has been in doubt. In fact, the nature of the School would fundamentally change should it fall under the umbrella of a particular college. “Yet Malcolm seems to be wearing blinkers on this issue and cannot understand it,” said one academic. Senior members of the school expressed a hope that the issue would be resolved in 2008, when the review on behalf of the Higher Education Funding Council for England would secure the school’s (and its constituent institutes’) long-term future under UL. “The vultures can stop circling,” said one relieved academic. Vulture, surely? Professor Sir Ivor’s report pulled no punches. Not only did he define the school’s purpose as being in the “national interest”, but he has also recommended an immediate 10% increase in its direct non-competitive funding. He has also recognised the
school’s unique status in the UK as a “research facilitator”, which the colleges of the University of London have unique access to. Malcolm Grant has, rather strangely, been overheard saying that the school is irrelevant, a sentiment with which Sir Ivor obviously disagrees.
“At worst, the Provost has been compared to an ostrich burying his moustache in the cement.” At best the Provost has been compared to Nelson at the Battle of Copenhagen. At worst to an ostrich burying his moustache in the cement. “The report must have been terribly, terribly irritating for Malcolm to have read,” said one university source. Senior academics have pointed to the example of the Institute of Archaeology, which is now no more than a “glorified” department after being appropriated by University College Moreover, the school now has “power of purse” to shape the research collections in the UL library. Henceforth, thanks to Sir Ivor’s report, a certain amount of money is to be spent by the school to improve Senate House library. University insiders see this as significant, especially taken alongside a parallel report looking into library resources nationwide which refused to grant University College London library national research status while recognising the importance of UL library as ranking alongside those of Oxford and Cambridge.
Hearty Luncheon Many are now questioning where Sir Ivor’s report leaves the continuing reform of UL. One significant development has been that the Center for Research on
Women and Gender has recognised all members of colleges as members of the university, which (as insiders point out) means we all have a stake in its future, including Professor Grant. In addition many are now looking at ways in which academics can have a greater share in the university rather than it being just a top-down model. While Professor Sir Ivor’s report seems just to secure the school, in fact it secures the whole university. Despite Grant’s grandstanding, people are now asking if University College is one step closer to achieving its goals of destroying UL. With all the realism of Kaiser Wilhelm, looking forward to a hearty luncheon in Paris, Malcolm Grant is no nearer to achieving his stated aims. In fact, thanks to Sir Ivor, quite the opposite.
“He hankers after it like a spurned lover.” Now university commentators are left mystified, attempting to interpret Professor Grant’s latest actions. It had been suggested that when Imperial left the UL, he anticipated the collapse of the whole federal structure, with University College able to pick up the residuary property which the university owns. It is a collapse which has not happened and has thus lead to highly-strung exasperation, followed by his present monastic silence. It has been suggested that he has a rather unhealthy relationship with the School of Advanced Study; on the one hand he despises it publicly denying its existence, yet on the other he hankers after it like a spurned lover. Rochefoucauld also said “Passion makes idiots of the cleverest men, and makes the biggest idiots clever.” No further comment is needed, I feel.
February 2008 TheCheeseGrater 7
The bigger the net, the better the catch Ryan Daily reveals the Secrets of an Unsuccessful Gay Man at UCL Union I FINISH MY THIRD Big Mac, licking the extra secret sauce and burger drippings from my fingers. I feel my love handles and gut expanding just a little bit more. Good. The bigger the net, the better the catch. The grease is already preparing my rear to emit the sweetest of pheromones. No one will be able to smell it and not think of my soft bottom just waiting to be penetrated. I look in the mirror and inspect the full package. The tight Red Dwarf t-shirt, the bargain-bin sweatpants. Underneath lies an untamed, unwashed thatch of pubic hair, smelling like sweet week-old ham. Oh yeah. It’s Saturday night and while your average gay man is at home reading Virgil’s Eclogues
Secret No.1 : Learn to recognise the mating call by candlelight, I’m going out. I’m like a lone fox in an alleyway, looking for wheelie bins to
pick through. And I’ll get all the choice pickings. I head into the Union and
up to the second floor. I make my way over to a potential target. “How would you like to feel two-and-a-half rock-hard inches of pleasure?” I coo. Then some anorexic bitch walks over, hands him a Stella, and does something horrible with her tongue. Shit. I finally find a suitable target. A bronze Adonis in a tight skinny tie, with jeans practically painted on. He’s slumped in a booth, with a few empty pint glasses around him, eyes closed and mouth open. If that’s not a mating call, I don’t know what is. I lift him up and carry him to the toilet. I cum. Lots. All inside my pants. I put down my conquest. Man, I was good tonight. Made it halfway up to the toilet before shooting it all. A personal best.
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Slade to close Secret email discovered
From:John Aiken To:all-undergraduates @sladeschool.ucl.ac.uk Subject: Closure of Slade Dear all, I am sorry to announce that the Slade School of Fine Art will cease teaching as of next Monday, owing to startling revelations from the ghosts of various core figures of 20th century art, who have revealed this whole ‘modern art’ malarkey to be a terrible misunderstanding. Starting with Impressionism, the ghost of Claude Monet explained that he and his fellow Impressionists just had appallingly bad eyesight and were painting the blurs in front of them, genuinely believing the world had been suffused by some kind of depressing mist. Apparently the enormous quantity of ‘waterlily’ paintings were due to the fact that Monet was terrified of venturing into the splodgey mess the world had become and simply sat, with a flask, an easel and some cold chicken sandwiches, squinting myopically at that bloody Japanese bridge until someone remembered him and took him indoors. The shade of Picasso spoke for the Cubists, bravely admitting, “We just weren’t very good at painting. Sorry.” The story of the Surrealists has a variety of embarrassing explanations. Max Ernst appears to simply have been stark raving mad, whereas Giorgio de Chirico was just a little attention deficit, trying to paint conventional landscapes and then giving up half-way through, leaving ‘meaningful’ pictures of a train and some bananas. René Magritte’s ghost holds the most grievances, explaining between hysterical
Noam of the Ark Or, the story of the sons of Chomsky NOW THIS IS THE story of the sons of Chomsky, or Noam of the Ark, which was also named the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In the year 2008, Steven who is called Pinker, King of all the Psycholinguists set down to scripture ‘The Stuff of Thought’. And Steven came down from the Harvard and said, “Behold, the people shall speak not in confounded language. For I have solved linguistics. Once and for all. Even that bit about correlating ergative/absolutive case systems to nominative/accusative ones, for the disciple that is Bobaljik has shown us how, with ccommanding anaphors. In Inuit. And the precise syntax of ‘fuck you’. For it sort of means ‘may you be fucked’. Which makes it subjunctive-ish. To put it simply.” And so the people found that they were once again of one speech, greatly though this did displease the French. And speech was again perfect. For language was now no longer a mere
vessel of communication, and it did express with such clarity that the word for cat really did mean cat in all its essence. Humans, united again, did return to the plains of Shinar, intent on finishing the tower whose top may reach to the sky, even the tower of
Babel. This gave the Dawkins who is called Richard cause for great joy. “Let us make brick and burn it for stone, and use slime for mortar. Actually, sod that, let’s use proper metal and stuff. Try scattering that across the earth you bastard!” And Noam, who now possessed over 900 years, requested: “Can you put in an elevator please? Because I’m getting pretty old now”. Freed at last from the shackles of teaching linguistics to uninterested exchange students who spend lectures taking pictures of him on their iPhones, Noam rejoiced: “George Bush is a terrorist!” “Kiun la seksumi vi aspektis? Forfikigu!” spake the Lord as the Dawkins reached the gates of Heaven. “Mercy”, exclaimed Steven, “for I had forgotten about Esperanto, being, as it is, a non-organic language falling thusly outside of the study of human language”. And thus did the Lord most mightily stove in their heads, especially the Dawkins, who the lord did forever after name ‘la putinfilaco’. AMEN
sobs, “It really wasn’t a pipe! It was a chamber pot balanced on a hockey stick! It was one of those trompe l’oeils. I thought people might find it funny! Why didn’t you just believe me?” Apparently Dali joined through peer pressure and got a little carried away. Pop art, Andy Warhol assures us, was just “a bit of a laugh. It was pretty hilarious to see The Man buying what were essentially imcomplete comic books and badly photocopied photos splashed over with highlighter.” Since then, art has been a load of posts and neos,
which only goes to show we have no idea what’s going on and have been led right up the garden path. So students, you can all go and get proper degrees and enter the ranks of middle management, which you were probably going to do anyway but at least now you have no illusions about it. In the meantime, we are going to sit on the ruins of our reputation and wait for the next Renaissance. All the best, John A. Discovered by Ka Bradley
Monet waits patiently with his flask for someone to bring him indoors.
The Chomsky who is called Noam
UCL Union Cheese Grater Magazine Society www.cheesegratermagazine.org Small Budget Publication of the Year - Guardian Student Media Awards 2006 President and Editor: Hannah Hudson Treasurer: Scary Boots E-mail : email@example.com Humour Desk: firstname.lastname@example.org UCL Union Cheese Grater Magazine Society, UCL Union, 25 Gordon Street, London WC1H 0AY The views expressed herein are not necessarily those of UCL Union or the editor.
Published on Feb 10, 2013
In this issue: One World Week is given the once over; asbestos desposits across campus threaten students' health; the Benazir Bhutto Assassi...