Issue 45 – Autumn 2014
I HATE THESE
BLURRED MINES MIDSUMMER The Cheese Grater Digs Into UCL’s Mining Industry Connections. Ollie Phelan Anti-mining campaigners were left to dig themselves out of a hole last Thursday as their proposed talk, hosted by Fossil Free UCL, was cancelled at the last minute, forcing organisers to find an alternative venue at SOAS. The speakers, who had travelled from Colombia, Indonesia and the Phillipines, are currently touring the UK with the London Mining Network (LMN) to highlight the destructive activities of mining company BHP Billiton, who have a
whopping £6 million association with UCL. Along with Fossil Free UCL, LMN had organised a meeting to bring the university’s close relationship with the company to light and deliver letters voicing their concerns to the provost. Their plans were foiled, however, when their their room booking, which was organised weeks in advance, was cancelled with little explanation and their speakers were not permitted to appear on campus.
Pekka Piirainen from Fossil Free UCL cast doubt on the idea that the cancellation was due to bureaucratic error, saying “It smacks of bullshit considering it shouldn’t take two weeks to do a simple background check.” “Clearly UCL wants to close its eyes to the human rights abuses and the societal and environmental destruction done by its corporate donor. I’d imagine this played into the Union’s reluctance to let the speakers tell their stories at UCL” Continued on Page 3.
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Down Your Union Norma de Plume
Ooh-Aah Malia! NUS Black Students’ Officer Malia Bouattia whipped up a storm of controversy recently when she led a bloc at NUS’s National Executive Committee which defeated a motion to condemn terror group ISIS. Reportedly, Bouattia was concerned that “condemnation of ISIS appears to have become a justification for war and blatant Islamaphobia”. Bouattia personally condemned ISIS, and resolved to put forward a motion at the next meeting of the NEC which will officially condemn ISIS, but “will in no way pander to Western imperialistic intervention or the demonisation of Muslim peoples.” Despite this, and following the reporting of the story in several significant publications, such as The Daily Mail and The Independent, as well as The Tab, Bouattia received a torrent of online abuse, including rape and death threats on Twitter. In response to this abuse, several student unions, including UCLU, have come out in support of Malia, and have condemned the treatment she’s received. BME officer Hajera Begum drew further ire by tweeting “#istandwithmalia because she represents me and my Black brothers and sisters. NOT you white lefties.”
Bello, and Welcome. This year’s UCLU Welcome General Assembly failed to reach quoracy, in accordance with a long tradition of failed General Assemblies. The last time a sufficient number of Union members bothered to congregate up was in 2011 (CG 31) at an Emergency General Meeting to discuss blockbuster controversial motions on abortion, Israel & Palestine, and a proposal to No Confidence the then Provost Malcom Grant. This time, however, it seems that a motion on
“Palestine – Israel: building solidarity”, as well as motions on free education, housing, and a last minute Bello-related proposal made by David Dahlborn (including several low-quality puns), were not enough to attract even 0.5% of the university’s students. Even grassroots efforts by attendees to go around campus, asking students if they cared about the Israel-Palestine conflict didn’t bear fruit. In the end, the meeting was about 20 people short of reaching the required attendance leaving the more than 140 people who had turned up with a distinct feeling that there might have been better ways for them to spend the evening. After last year’s failed WGA, the Democracy and Communications Officer at the time, Dan Warham, called off all General Meetings for the rest of the year (CG 43), presumably to avoid further embarrassment at failing one of the most visible roles of his job. His successor Hannah Sketchley has told The Cheese Grater that “this was probably the worst possible outcome, but instead of cancelling the next one, I’ll just build it more.”
Democracy Inaction The Autumn Elections were held earlier this month, to little fanfare. The union boasted a ‘record’ turnout of 6.1%, with 1,968 students casting 2,919 ballots. This marks an improvement of more than 700 voters over last year’s even paltrier turnout. There were 64 positions on offer, mostly unimportant faculty rep positions - 18 of which went unfilled and many others went unopposed. A special mention is deserved for the Faculty of Arts & Humanities postgraduate rep, who earned the honour of being elected with just 4 votes, the least of any candidate. The most popular positions on offer were the vaguely responsible Student
Society Bitch Think Tank S ociet y’s We l c o m e Meeting last week was held on the Portico Steps, just as Hurricane Gonzalo hit the UK. Those who braved the foul weather in order to get their hands on the promised “free wine and cheese” were disappointed to be met by a block of Sainsbury’s Basics cheddar, and wine bottles which were rendered un-openable by the lack of a corkscrew. Meanwhile, inside the rather more sheltered South Cloisters, UCL Entrepreneurs Society was holding a drinks event where the budget for alcohol is rumoured to have stretched to nearly £900. Soc Bitch knows which party she’d rather crash. Urine Trouble? Soc Bitch has heard that UCLU Men’s Rugby society has been disregarding Union regulations prohibiting initiation ceremonies, by getting new recruits to drink pints of piss. No news yet if Bear Grylls will be playing for the boys in purple this year. Trustees and NUS delegates, gaining over a third of all votes cast. It seems many candidates might have stood for election simply for the £100 campaign budget. On a Monday in Phineas, that could get you a hundred 275ml bottles of Tuborg, which by our reckoning is quite a lot of beer. The union ran a series of events for potential election candidates titled ‘Thinking of Standing?’ Given the lack of interest displayed, it seems that students would rather remain sitting down.
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Shafted! Continued from Page 1 To rub salt into the wound, when the group of protestors tried to hand their letters to Michael Arthur, they were given the cold shoulder. Not a single member of staff appeared to meet the concerned party, and they were forced to entrust the letters to a security guard. Richard Solly, co-ordinator for LMN, told The Cheese Grater that the university had shown them “gross disrespect”. He continued, “Whatever the supposed explanations, this cancellation has had the effect of censoring those who are directly affected by the consequences of BHP’s activities”. The meeting cancellation is the latest controversy surrounding BHP’s investment in UCL. In 2011 it was announced that the mining leviathan’s charitable arm would be investing £6 million to help the university set up UCL Australia and, ironically, the Institute for Sustainable Resource (ISR) in London. The deal led to the resignation of the then Vice Dean of Research at the Bartlett, Professor Jane Rendell. In an interview with the London Student, Rendell cited her inability to find concrete information surrounding UCL’s decision to accept funding from BHP Billiton as one of the main reasons
for leaving her position. There are concerns that BHP Billiton has effectively set up two lobbying institutes, though Paul Ekins, director of ISR, assured The Cheese Grater that “UCL pursue research and organise activities unrelated to the company’s business”. However, UCL Australia has released several papers which coincide nicely with the aims and business interests of BHP Billiton and other funders, whilst a professor joined the ISR as “BHP Billiton Chair in Sustainable Global Resources” What’s more, BHP Billiton have an ethically dubious past outside of their relationship with UCL – as highlighted in the letters written by the anti-mining protestors, seen by The Cheese Grater. In Colombia, inhabitants were forced off their land by hundreds of armed police to make way for the construction of coal mines, and in Indonesia, indigenous people were subjected to coercive relocation from the forests they were managing. Their compensation, however, consisted of a measly Rp100 (about half a penny in UK money) per square metre and two community leaders who refused this compensation deal were imprisoned for 14 days. Solly expressed concerns in his letter that “the relationship [with BHP] may
No Room of One’s Own Gerard Westhoff & Ollie Phelan With the next stage of the Bloomsbury Masterplan commencing, much of campus has been turned into a building site. Large spaces used for such frivolities as exams, including the JBR and old refectory, have become ‘much needed’ additions to UCL’s many cafés. The Wilkins roof gardens and the quad are now home to large marquees that are being used for a variety of events, including hosting the roaming Garage theatre. The building works, along with UCL
renting out rooms to external users, has put a strain on the room booking system for clubs and societies. For the first two weeks of term most societies found themselves unable to book any rooms, unless they did so via senior union staff. Even once the system went live, many societies still reported trouble accessing bookings and a lack of suitable spaces. Some have even been forced off campus in the search for rooms, with the Bhangra and Karate societies among those having to pay for an external space. Last year, UCLU ended up paying more than £2000 for Karate to
undermine UCL’s Charter” and that “accepting funding from a company which is so heavily involved in coal mining conflicts with UCL’s own Environmental Strategy”. Indeed, despite the university’s self-proclaimed aim that UCL will “conduct itself ethically and fairly, and in an environmentally sustainable manner, locally, nationally and globally” they also have more than £14.5m of investments (CG 41) in other fossil fuel giants such as Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Occidental Petroleum Corp and Cairn Energy. UCL’s current partnership with BHP Billiton lasts until 2016 and should BHP attempt to renew their funding, their bid will be assessed by the Gift Acceptance Committee. It remains to be seen whether the allure of corporate cash will motivate UCL to eschew ethical responsibility and pursue an ill-fated love affair with the mining and energy industry. When asked for comment on the sordid relationship, Piirainen, UCL’s answer to Al Gore, did not mince his words. “The UCL-BHP Billiton partnership is inherently corrupt and undermines UCL’s core values and academic research. It is nothing sort of grotesque – surely UCL’s founders would roll in their graves if they knew what had become of the university’s Benthamite vision.” rent out LA Fitness. Their current home is Bloomsbury Fitness, which means society members have to pay the full gym subscription or daily rates for each training session on top of club membership. President Phil Compton told The Cheese Grater how he doesn’t understand why they haven’t been given their former space, the Astor College sports hall, which would have been free for the society and its members. Once UCL inevitably train more baristas than barristers, societies should be able to find space to meet in the giant coffee chain that our campus is set to become.
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#myUCLyear: Marty Gunspurtz goes to Koko 11.30pm. I’m walking down an empty London street with a beverage canister of Beck’s clasped firmly in my hammy, clammy hands. A group of young men and women surround me, engaged in casual yet excited conversation. I’m trying to conceal my confusing erection. “What course are you doing, then?” a young man asks a gap-toothed woman walking beside him. “I don’t go to university,” replies the woman. “I work on the bins. I’m just going to the shops for Vimto and a copy of the New Scientist. What halls are you in?” “Art History” says the man. “No, wait, Ifor. Out in the sticks! Haha! Good to be in Camden though. I think my friends from home are racist.” “Ah nice,” replies the woman. They continue to walk. The throbbing silence assaults him like a coked-up lower-league footballer. It isn’t pleasant. He inhales, deeply, and sicks up a little more smalltalk. “So, haha, have you got a student Oyster card yet? Haha. Need to save money when you’re a student! I’m still a virgin. Haha.” Alas, the pallid, post-industrial woman has
sidled into Chicken Cottage. He presses on, down this empty Camden street. I’m behind him, looking at his arse. Together we’re heading to Koko, the plaqueencrusted aorta at the centre of the pusfilled circulatory system of Freshers Week in London. We go in. Koko is an abandoned theatre hall. Its only concession to its vaudeville past is the fact that it smells like the clothes George Formby died in. The grandiose surroundings associated our night with theatricality and masquerade - ours would be an evening of wonder, liberation and hubris. Don from Exeter, studying Bibliography, agreed. “Yeah, I really like it, S’great!”, he says with a perverse, unsettling softness, carefully placing his arm over my shoulders in an expression of manly affection. “Plenty of girls in thereee! Go on Matty, Manny. Whats you name again mate?” His rummy niceties splutter into and around my ears. Then the bouncers call him a cunt, pouring coffee into his eyes and kicking him out. Such is Koko. It didn’t matter. I didn’t need Don. This Ice-
breaker event was a fabulous opportunity for new university students to bond and cement potent friendships. I mean, I alone, a 32-year-old Maths teacher only pretending to be a student, met a multitudinous collection of wonderful people. There was Claire who is studying Freudian Archaeology, Justinia, a Marinated Sociology student who refused me a cigarette, and a very sweaty white boy from London Met wearing football boots with chinos. It was all so overwhelming. The heady, sinewy mix of friendship and R&B made it difficult to for me to contain myself. I stood in the corner and started getting with my arm just to make sure the old magic was still there. It wasn’t. By the time I’d turn round I realise all of my best friends have left. I don’t have any of their numbers, and nor have I spoken to any of them at any point during the evening. It is a long journey home to Amersham. I try to walk along the Metropolitan Line but don’t have enough credit on my Oyster Card. I fall asleep on the meat counter of a 24 hour Tescos in Ealing. It was a fucking mad one mate. Marty Gunspurtz’s current whereabouts are unknown.
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The Interesting Adventures of Clare Balding Part 1 of 312: Balding OBE needs a plumber. Chalice Charnold Prancing about in her Channel 4 onesie, Balding feels at ease with the world. She opens the fridge, and takes out a carton of Reduced Fat Activia yoghurt. She lets it drop to the floor, as a statement. True beauty comes from within. If anyone should know that, it’s Balding. However, Balding is feeling a little bloated. She scoops it back up and eats it with her malleable hands. Waste not want not thinks Balding.
pauses for a minute. Balding reciprocates. Bacon takes all of his clothes off.
“I need a plumber”, thinks Balding. A plumber arrives. It’s film actor Kevin Bacon. Balding greets him with a raised eyebrow. Bacon walks straight past her, and asks for a tea, with two sugars. “Tea, three sugars”, Bacon asks incorrectly. “No” replies Balding. Balding is a staunch feminist. Feminists hate tea.
Bacon sends a text to George Clooney. Bacon’s on EE. They give him 10 percent off. “Hey George”, says Bacon. “Hey Kevin”, replies George. George always replies promptly. That’s why Kevin likes him. Allegedly.
“What d’ya need fixing”, asks Bacon. “My toilet won’t flush”, replies Balding, barely hiding the erotic undertones. “It’s overflowing with excrement”. Bacon
The microwave dings. Balding’s Tesco Everyday Value Cottage Pie is ready. Leaving Bacon naked in the hallway, she proceeds to swallow the pie whole. She spits out all the meat in one go. She doesn’t get any on her clothes. The only mess Balding makes is a mess tent for a homeless shelter. Balding’s good like that. Allegedly.
Balding points Bacon in the direction of the toilet. Bacon has mere seconds before the bathroom is flooded, with barely enough time to grill some chicken. Notably, he does manage to grill some chicken, but it is lacking his
Claire Balding smokes a cheeky bifter during her lunch break usual finesse. The bathroom floods. Bacon slides safely downstairs on Balding’s training toboggan. Balding lies on the sofa watching daytime TV. She has one boob out. Balding plays hard to get. She snap chats Angus Deayton. Bacon feels jealous. Bacon writes Balding a poem. It’s beautiful and sensual and delicate and sensitive. They Fuck.
Contributors: Hugh Bassett, Bo Franklin, Charlie Hayton, Geoffrey Hazelton-Swales, PK Maguire, Ben Munster, Jess Murray, Ollie Phelan, Luke Reilly, Anna Saunders, Gerard Westhoff
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Excerpts From The Diary Of Dale Winton 25th October: Much hype being made of the Chuckle Brother’s new “collaboration” with grime artist Tynchy Strider though I think it’s Barry who’s grimey! I recall first meeting Paul and Barry back in 1985, when I worked on their first television outing - ChuckleHounds. I was struck by the clarity and vivacity of their creative vision, and remember fondly them explaining in a pub why their interpretation of Kierkegaard’s theory of satire required them to film the show in cumbersome dog outfits and without dialogue. I was very amused to see Paul pulling out some of the same dance moves which made him so popular with young women back in the day, though I seldom saw him go to bed with anyone other than the late Peter Ustinov. 22nd October: Spent the day drinking
schnapps out of the bottle and watching old episodes of Supermarket Sweep. I used to be so beautiful. Had a wank by myself. 14th October: I was relieved to see that Kim Jong-un has reappeared after weeks of no public appearances. It’s always concerning to lose track of a close friend. I’ll send him a WhatsApp this evening to check if he’s alright. It will be a shame if he drops out of our camping trip to the Cotswolds next month. Sandi Toksvig’s already cancelled, and if Kim can’t come, it’ll just be me, Evan Davis and Todd Carty in a tent. Nobody wants that. 6th October: Went to Starbucks for a tap water. They spelt my name wrong on the cup. 1st October: Resolved to take a trip to Kidderminster to visit my aunt. Alas, I missed my coach. A tramp at the bus sta-
tion tried to explain game theory to me and, running away from him, I tripped over my own shoelaces. Everybody laughed. I went home and ate a whole cheesecake. Had a wank by myself. 29th September: Ran into a girl (to remain nameless in this publication) with whom I had a brief but sordid affair in the 90s. Supermarket Sweep was very popular with students of that generation, and as such I was always getting work at Student Union gigs. After one such event in Loughborough, and a couple of drags on what I now suspect to have been a particularly potent ganja cigarillo, I followed a rather charming thing back to her room, and we banged for hours. Anal, too. Now though, her flower has wilted with age, and a scrawny child clung to her shin, bawling for attention. She offered a quickie in the public loos, but I refused. I’m way past that sort of thing these days. I just went in and had a wank by myself.
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A Korea in The Music Industry Russel Kant Following weeks of speculation Kim Jong-un’s mysterious disappearance can finally be explained. Last month The Cheese Grater’s Music Editor, Jim Tonze, tracked down North Korea’s Supreme Leader to a studio beneath a derelict Dalston railway arch. Kim has been working on a debut album with his band Song.Un., their name a characteristically subversive nod to North Korea’s military-dominated domestic policy Seon’gun. I find him sat on a battered Grand Marshal amp, dressed in his trademark military-style jacket scattered anarchically with pins and medals. Song.Un’s first single, released in the UK as Intercontinental Ballistic Hypeman, failed to chart. It sold just a few hundred copies, possibly due to it only being released on limited edition vinyl. I ask Kim if North Korea’s state opposition to capitalist markets prevented a wider digital release. “No, we just wanted to be less Saturdays and more Sonic Youth, yeah? Also most people in North Korea only have gramophones.” Kim, who cites influences as diverse as Bowie, New Order and the Song and Dance Ensemble of the Korean People’s Army, describes Song.Un’s sound
as ‘Janelle Monae and [Vampire Weekend’s] Ezra Koenig rutting over Seinfeld’s dope bass licks’. Has his overwhelming popularity in North Korea driven him to London? When I point out his slicked back, ‘teddy boy’ style haircut, which has become ubiquitous among North Korean men desperate to imitate Kim, he gives a knowing smile. “At first it was kinda cool, you know, having all these kids trying to look like you. Then I saw Psy had gone for a
Kim poses with his new bandmates. Left to right: Kim Jong-Un, Quattro, Ranold McBurgerKing, Richard Keith.
similar thing, and I thought ‘Hey man, I’ve fought to get away from all those bullshit K-Pop clichés’. I needed a break, if only for the sake of my creativity.” At this point I acknowledge the bright yellow walkman hanging from his neck. The Sony branding is covered with a red star sticker and a mixtape is visible through the perspex: “Do you find older technology brings more of an analogue experience to your music?” Kim looks shocked: “What, this!? This was a gift from the Politburo, more advanced than any western technology. Look, it changes sides automatically when the tape runs down!” At this point Kim fiddles with the walkman, his chubby fingers unable to isolate just one button, and the tape begins to rewind. “Well, you get what I mean.” Song.Un’s album You Will Always Find Me Purging The Kitchen At Parties is released on December 13th, although it has already gone multi-platinum according to The Korean Central News Agency.
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YOU WON’T BELIEVE THESE OUTRAGEOUS LISTICLES!
Home > Politics > You Won’t Believe Mirriam Webster defines a listicle as “The word you’ve entered isn’t in the dictionary”. Whatever, grandad! On the trendier parts of the internet, listicles are all the rage! They combine all the joys of funny gifs and hilarious memes with a list of different items. Loads of fun for the whole family! But sometimes, they can be taken too far, and that’s bad. Here at Pi Politics, we’ve done the work for you and collated a list of the worst examples of listicles. But don’t worry, we’ve spiced it up with some funny pictures so you won’t get bored!
1. ‘Scary, Scary Make-Up’ - Pi Online, October 24, 2014
UCL UNION CHEESE GRATER MAGAZINE SOCIETY President—Gerard Westhoff Editor—Charles Hayton Investigations Editor—Ollie Phelan Humour Editor—P.K. Maguire
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© UCL Union, 25 Gordon Street, London WC1H 0AY. The views expressed herein are not necessarily those of UCL Union or the editor.