The Cheese Grater The award-winning student magazine of UCL Union
Issue 33 - February 2012
THIS MONTH Mohammed No Cry This month we’re talkin’ Dawkins p.3
DOWN YOUR No. 25 March 2010
Once more with feeling! Your Union is pro-Provost, pro-choice and still quite provocative
The vote that rocked p.4
Delia Comes First
Expect the unexpected... egg p.5
Hot Crossed Puns We send you to the recipe corner p.6
UCL Library’s very own Rat Pack p.6
Ed’s Willy Banned Stiff thoughts from the erected leader p.7
“The Spinning Hannier” A Cheese Grater Review p.8
O. Webb and H. Sketchley UCLU faced one of the most controversial sets of referendum questions in its history as decisions raged over whether the student body has confidence in Professor Malcolm Grant as Provost (it does), whether the Union takes a pro-choice stance (it does), and whether it should be members’ meetings that decide international issues (it should). After all those results spoilers, read on for the dirty tricks, lows and blows of the campaigns...
No Yes Provost After a fortnight of hard campaigning, the UCLU referendum dished out a big hearty bowl of confidence in the Provost, only for it to be immediately spat in by those crying foul play by UCL management. The pro-Grant campaign won motion one (Does UCLU have confidence in Malcolm Grant as President and Provost
of UCL?) by a significant margin, achieving 1,699 votes to 1,185. Alex Nesbitt, pro-Grant campaigner and former Medical and Postgraduate Officer said “the result is a credit to UCL, its students and the campaign team who worked so hard to get students to vote. Although I share the view of many of the team that this is a question that should not have been posed in the first place, it is important that students have the opportunity to put forward their own views and arguments”. (Cont’d on Pg 2)
2 The Cheese Grater February 2012 (Cont’d from Pg 1) Hannes Ansorg, pro-Grant campaigner and Economics and Finance Society President, called Grant “a remarkable man doing a remarkable job”. There was disquiet among the NoProvost camp at the result of motion one. Michael Chessum, former Education and Campaigns Officer and poster boy of the Left, said on hearing the news “I’m getting tired of student politics, not because I don’t like democratic politics – I’m OK with the idea of having to win people over. I just don’t like it if the people you have to win over are deranged public school boys with no arguments or thoughts”.
Abort! Abort! By supporting motion 2 UCLU declared itself pro-choice by a large margin (2,001 votes to 818) and becomes affiliated to Abortion Rights, a national pro-choice campaign group. The Union will now step up its campaigning and information on abortion. Whenever a UCLU society discusses termination they must invite both pro-choice and pro-life speakers and an independent chair. Annie Tidbury, pro-choice campaigner, described the result as “a good day for common sense”. Anti-motion two campaigner Diana Doat said: “We are concerned that this could set a precedent for other such divisive issues at UCL. Societies such as Catholic Society, who by their nature are pro-life, are now no longer able to express themselves without first warning the Union and inviting a prochoice speaker in order that the so-called ‘balance’ can be imposed.” The result caused uproar from the national campaign LIFE. Spokesperson Michaela Aston said: “The language used here suggests that closed minds, illiberal attitudes and petty intolerance are behind these motions. Many student unions around Britain have been adopting policies to restrict the expression of pro-life views. UCLU are now taking this petty authoritarianism a step further, pursuing a vendetta against pro-life groups with the weak justification of ensuring ‘balance’.”
One Union, No Palestine! The result of motion three saw UCLU overturn support for the international Palestinian Right to Education Campaign and ensured that all future decisions on international issues will be decided at members’ meetings or referenda. It was a close race, with 1,337 yes votes and 1,005 noes, as well as a whopping 833 abstentions. UCLU Friends of Palestine Society President Layth Hanbali blamed his campaign’s loss on these abstentions, saying it showed that the motion was “confusing”. Proposer Benjamin Rodin,
said “We’re happy that the students who did paign for Medical and Postgraduate Officer vote chose to reject the authoritarian tenden- quite tricky. cies of Union Council”.
Green and pleasant land The campaign that will hold most vividly in UCL students’ collective memory is that of the ‘Yes Provost’s’ banterrific, sports team dominated ‘lads’ who truly scraped the barrel of demagogic populism to secure votes. Tom Lewis, Student Trustee, best summed up the intellectual scope of the ‘Yes Provost’ campaign saying: “I was a green man partly for love of painting myself green.” The campaign also made a YouTube video featuring pictures of and statistics about Grant backed by LMFAO’s ‘Sexy and I Know It’. Tim Rees Jones, finance and Services Officer, described the ‘Yes Provost’ campaign as “moronic” and “lower than the lowest common denominator.” The anti-Grant campaign fought a grumpier crusade, endlessly showering disinterested students with dour leaflets and an ominous scatter-plot. However, few outside this leftist-clique shared their resolve to banish the ‘evil moustachioed overlord’, the hoi polloi generally responding to the zealots with little more than a yawn. There have been rumours that UCL Estates and Facilities staff deliberately took down the ‘No’ campaign’s posters while leaving the ‘Yes’ campaign’s untouched, but these allegations cannot be verified. Tom Lewis called the ‘No’ campaign “politically centred” and said that the ‘Yes’ campaign was about “competence” over politics. “Politics complicates everything. The main job of [Grant] is to raise money, funds and the name of a university. I realise in order to do this he has to be chummy with the right people and at the moment those are Conservatives.” We would remind Tom Lewis that once a public figure becomes ‘chummy’ with the government, then support for that figure becomes as entwined in politics as criticism does.
Hacked up Yes-Provost, No-Provost relations came to a head on the evening of 25 January in the basement of The Huntley. Gareth Chan, RUMS Officer (whilst under the influence of alcohol) confronted Michael Chessum, who was distributing leaflets. Chan approached Chessum, asking “Why are you here?” Chessum’s laughter was silenced as Chan pinned him down, ripped the leaflets from his hand and growled “You’re not welcome here”. UCLU security intervened before fisticuffs ensued. Chan claims that ascribing the word assault to the incident is “factually incorrect”, however his current ban from UCLU bars and cafes may make his rumoured cam-
It’ll be alright with Rex Knight!
Behind the scenes, UCLU Trustee Board’s relationship with College authorities has become increasingly fractious. On 9 December Rex Knight, Vice Provost (Operations), sent a letter to trustees highlighting technical irregularities with the Emergency Members’ Meeting on 1 December. Knight wrote that the referendum posed “potential huge reputational impact for both UCL and UCLU” and claimed that a no-confidence vote would “have a significant impact on the relationship, our approach to future investment and our view of the roles and responsibilities of the Union”. As the referendum went ahead, Knight waded into the debate again, sending out an all-student email mid-way through the voting period, co-signed by all Vice Provosts. It encouraged students to place their confidence in Malcolm Grant. This was swiftly followed by a rebuttal from UCLU. Knight’s email prodded UCLU to vote confidence in Malcolm Grant through cascading superlatives and well-worn clichés of “engag[ing] in debate” and “voic[ing] your opinions”. The 750-strong spike in hits on the UCLU website that followed the email is held by many to be a substantial determinant of the final confidence result. Rees Jones described Knight’s email as “a very unfortunate interference in UCLU’s democratic function”. An agreeably defiant James Skuse, Democracy and Communications Officer, added that the email was “illadvised” and “going towards interference”. Asked whether UCL acknowledged its interference in Union democracy, a College spokesperson said: “basically the answer is no!” adding, “It doesn’t seem unreasonable for the university to contribute to (the) debate” and “student politics have always enabled small numbers of individuals to pursue their interests, without having any impact on the life of the University”. UCLU Trustee Board is currently composing a response to this email. Grant himself has not met with sabbatical officers since 5 December, the only such meeting since the no confidence result at December’s EMM. Future meetings would be arranged when the officers indicate they would like them reinstated. The UCLU referenda and their Rex Knight sideshow attracted a whopping 14.73 per cent turnout - the highest since records began. With wounds smarting on all of the losing sides, student politicians can at last give themselves a pat on the back for drawing a degree of interest. We hope that the UCLU elections maintain such drama.
February 2012 The Cheese Grater 3
Godless Scum of Gower Street Dawkins smites Union and Atheists get upset Hannah Sketchley The President of UCLU Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society has resigned after becoming embroiled in a censorship row with Student Activities Officer Amy Evans. Evans requested that the society remove a cartoon taken from the popular “Jesus and Mo” web comic from online publicity for a society event. It depicted Jesus and the Prophet Mohammed sitting at a bar together, although its creators maintain the Mohammed shown is a “body double”. Both Evans and Ruth Siddall, Dean of Students Welfare, were still receiving complaints from students offended at the depiction of the Prophet up to a week after the original use of the cartoon, however only one person has complained directly to the
society. Asked whether he felt it a good idea to have used the image, former UCLU ASHS President Robbie Yellon, said: “When we originally put up the image no-one thought it would cause offence. This spiraled out of control once the Union asked us to remove it. Our voices won’t be stifled just because others might find them offensive.” Defying Union requests, the cartoon remained on Facebook until the event it was advertising had passed. An online petition of support for ASHS garnered over 4,300 signatures, including one from Richard Dawkins, who commented that the cartoons “could offend only those actively seeking to be offended.” In a statement given by UCLU, James Skuse, Democracy and Communications Officer, said
Jesus and Moo
that students must “understand the balance between freedom of expression and cultural sensitivity,” while the ASHS have promised to show a little more consideration in future publicity. Yellon sees his departure as the result of his growing workload rather than any Union interference in the running of his society, however Michael Paynter, secretary for the National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Student Societies which supports the ASHS, said to the BBC: “Robbie stepped aside because he signed up as president to organise events and run a student society. He did not appreciate the stress he would be under when dealing with a controversy like this, so he wanted to make way for someone else.” UCLU’s sabb team has
developed a worrying reflex this year, leaning heavily and quickly towards censorship when any offence is caused (see CG 30, 31 and 32). Unfortunately, this often seems to overrule reason – Jesus and Mo cartoons have been published bi-weekly online since 2005, and using such an image on a Facebook event for atheists is hardly splashing controversy in the devout’s faces. The stiff reaction to the request for removal (several members of the society made the offending image their profile picture) only highlights the fact that Union intervention often does more to fan flames than extinguish them. Furthermore, censorship of platforms such as Facebook which are entirely externally hosted only reaffirms the hypocrisy of those in the sabb suite who were elected on anti-censorship platforms.
SOCIETY BITCH In a previously unheard of attempt to acquire practical know-how, one aspiring Rare FM DJ decided he’d test his studio skills by dis- and reassembling the whole technical setup like a soldier does his rifle. Unfortunately, he had “no fucking idea” how to put it back together and was subsequently banned from the studio. We’d have more sympathy for him but, according to a Rare FM insider, he’s “a bit of a dick anyway”. Some Apple-branded tat has been stolen from the otherwise luxurious Union Media Suite. A keyboard and power supply were pilfered, strangely leaving behind the four expensive Macs. The sabbatical officers hold these computers in high regard; given any opportunity the Student Activities Officer will gleefully regale you with their sickeningly twee names such as “Ronald MacDonald” and “Macaroni”. The ULU AGM – also known as the pinnacle of student democracy’s calendar year – held last December failed to meet quorum. A grand total of five of ULU’s 100,000 strong membership had nothing better to do with their Thursday evening than turn up… and you thought UCLU was bad. RUMS Union’s move from Huntley Street to shiny new digs on Gower Street, hailed by Pi Magazine’s robust investigation as “better than the old one” (see Pi Magazine 688) didn’t produce winners all round. UCLU Photosoc, whose dark room was based in the basement of the Huntley Street Union, were forced to sell roughly £2,500 worth of equipment to Imperial’s Photographic society for peanuts (under £500) because of the move. The new premises had no room for poor old Photosoc; they now have to share the archaeology department’s cramped darkroom, which is also used as a kitchenette.
4 The Cheese Grater February 2012
O Captain! My Captain! Italian cruise ship has confidence in captain physical comedian touring wearing scarves,” said one
Claude McNab with the Chuckle Brothers particularly bellicose crab. Speaking from the Mediterranean sea bed yesterday, the luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia announced that it has full confidence in its captain Francesco Schettino. “Schettino has the best interests of the ship, its passengers and crew at heart,” the ship claimed. “It is clear that his new job as a
will not distract him from his core role of driving the ship onto rocks and sinking it.” A number of fish, clams and other aquatic life forms have cried foul following the vote, administered by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. “I’m sick of this ship being dominated by stupid public school seahorses
One starfish, suckered to the wall of the engine room, described the ‘Yes Captain’ campaign as “shit wet fish”. “Schettino made the Costa famous,” said a chubby prawn. Schettino is yet to comment, believed to be too busy rehearsing for ‘Oops I Fell Into the Lifeboat’ at the Bridlington Playhouse.
BALLOT FORM Don’t you not think that the Captain shouldn’t have our confidence?
If you want the ship to not have confidence in the captain, vote NO If you don’t not want the ship to not want to not have confidence in the captain, vote YES
Hey, how’s it going? You’re looking good. There you are, drinking beer on a beach in Croatia. I went to that music festival too, the year before. Now you’re in a bikini, by the pool. Your midriff looks like a hardback book; you could bounce pennies off it, no ripples. You’re into horse riding I
see. Jodphurs suit you, snug as an arse in a rug. But mainly you just like getting drunk. There you are with your friends at that club in central, that club in East, that club in central. Your arms are around your mates and your makeup runs downs your face, but you still look great. You’re
surrounded by children at a Kenyan school. Stop singing kids, I can’t hear if you’re replying. Too busy in Thailand are you, pointing at a badly translated sign? Listen to me, I want you. Now you’re getting your A-level results. Jesus, I want to plug you. Stop performing in your school’s
production of ‘Blood Brothers’ and look at what I’m waving at you. Stop going to barbecues with your family and notice me. Do you know what? Go fuck yourself. You’re too young for me.
Contributors: John Bell, James Donaldson-Briggs, Leon Craig-Cohen, Rik Ganly, Sam Gaus, A Z McKenna, Claude McNab, Henry Naylor-Stead, Marina Merryweather, Adam Gillett, Will Rowland, David Simpson, Hannah Sketchley, Oscar Webb and Madeline Wee.
February 2012 The Cheese Grater 5
The Cheese Grater catches a glimpse of one of TV brainbox Jamie Karranâ€™s past papers
Delia Smith Lays An Egg An interesting event! 1. Delia Smith approaches the nest with hesitant steps, finally entering. There she sits quietly for a long time, often for half an hour or more. She closes an eye or calmly places straw on her back, steadily becoming more excited. Now and then, Delia Smith raises her tail and spreads the feathers on her bottom. These movements gradually become more regular.
3. Suddenly Delia Smith stands upright, her feet spread apart, tail raised, bottom-feathers splayed outwards and upright. As her vent opens slightly, a red membrane begins to emerge.
4. As Delia Smith lowers her bottom, her vent widens rapidly and the rim is stretched further. The membrane forms a pinkish dome around the egg 2. Under her tail is a small (which is not yet visible at this opening - a horizontal slit about stage). an inch wide. It is surrounded by a ribbed rim, arrayed with 5. Delia Smith strains at skin and feathers. This is called intervals. With each push the the vent. egg protrudes a little more. As
it is expelled, the membrane opens to form a scarlet collar around the wider middle portion of the egg. The membrane remains extended a little way from its ribbed edge. 6. The moist egg plops out. Sometimes it will emerge blunt-end first, sometimes point first. For a few seconds after the egg is laid, a small red cone of membrane remains exposed, but this is retracted almost immediately into the vent as it closes once again. Delia Smith stands high above the egg and rests. Her beak is open, panting after the heavy work.
This is my egg
6 The Cheese Grater February 2012
Healthy, wholesome and necessary alternatives to Pie Margaret Thatcher Milkshake
John Major’s Cheese on Toast
• 16 pints of good quality British school milk • 32 egg yolks • ½lb caster sugar • Two pints of thick double cream • Two large tubs of soft-scoop ice-cream • ½lb of Falklands reared lamb shank
• A handful of antidepressants • Half a dozen wet towels
• Two slices of bread, toasted • 3 large slices of mild cheddar cheese • Some butter
Method: 1. Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 5. 2. Get into the oven.
Method: 1. Roll up your sleeves and get stuck in with a firm whisk. 2. If your wrist should tire, stop being so feeble and limp-wristed. 3. Privatise the railways. 4. Serve in a black Asprey handbag.
A Cocktail - The Hunter S. Thompson • A quart of paint • A quart of unicorn blood • France • The self-esteem of a girl too young to properly handle live firearms • Three leaves from a Jabberwock tree
The filbert is the cherished nephew of the hazelnut that grows in the majestic bounty of North Korea. One day when the sun was round and hot, the wise and glorious Kim Jong-Il invented the filbert with only a copy of ‘Hard Day’s Night’ by The Beatles on Betamax and a small quantity of string in his pockets. The great land of North Korea was thenceforth blessed with plentiful filberts, and the people ate until they were round and soft like Americans. Kim Jong-Il then decreed that the filbert will contain all of your five-a-day.
• One filbert
1. Drink it all down and make sure someone has your bail money.
Method: 1. Eat the filbert.
Method: 1. 2. Put some butter on the toast. 3. Put the cheese on the buttered toast. 4. Warm the cheese on buttered toast until molten. 5. Serve with a glass of room temperature tap water. Salmon Rushdie • One salmon Method: 1. Catch the salmon. 2. Cut off the live salmon’s fins and tail, then behead it. 3. Throw stones at the fish for 15-20 minutes. 4. Plunge the salmon into hellfire for that charred on the outside, juicy on the inside effect. 5. Serve with an Ayatollah Salad (a Caesar without the sense of humour); don’t eat too often, as you’ll get fatwa.
Focus On: Rats Giant rats loose in UCL library
thing move out of the corner of lonely evenings I often come bastard child of a promiscuous
JD Becchio my eye. I got up to see what it down to the main library just sabb, I was abandoned in the liA terrible secret is lurking within the historic walls of UCL. No, not the Provost’s hidden stash of large print crossword puzzles in the executive bathroom, but a colony of super-huge rats residing within the main library. There have long been rumours of gigantic rodents living inside the university, but what was once dismissed as myth and fantasy has recently been confirmed as mind-blowing fact by a Cheese Grater investigation. Rebecca, a 3rd year English student, claims to have seen one of the creatures. “I was just checking my Facebook in the library when I saw some-
was, when this massive rat lunged at me from behind the bookshelf! No kidding - it was the size of a Labrador! Or maybe a Labrador riding a jet ski. It snatched the Yorkie bar from my pocket before fleeing down the corridor. They should be exterminated.” A UCL librarian refused to comment on the incident but did politely remind us that no food or drink was to be consumed inside the library. But not everyone who has witnessed the rats wants them removed. Postgraduate student Derek is fiercely opposed to any extermination program: “I love the rats. They’re my friends. On
to hang out with them and enjoy their company. Sometimes we race up and down the halls together. Occasionally, one of them will pretend to be a horse and I ride on its back, re-enacting battles of old. Just yesterday we played out the capture of the city of Harfleur by Henry V’s English army in 1415. ‘Once more unto the breach, dear friends...’ I uttered, as my rat cavalry heroically threw themselves into the photocopying room.” Some people have even closer relationships with the rodents. “I was raised by the rats,” says 24 year old Basil. “Born the
brary as a baby. It was here that the rats took me in and brought me up as one of their own. Suckling from the teat of mother rat, I grew strong and learned how to make my own way in the world. It’s thanks to them that I was able to realise my dream of becoming an Olympic gymnast.” Such tales cheer and repulse in equal measure, but finally give society the chance to bring rat parenting into the open after such a long period of denial. Support and assistance for anyone who was reared by rodents is available from the UCLU Rights and Advice Centre.
The Diary of Ed Miliband
February 2012 The Cheese Grater 7
25th January 2012 Edward Miliband MP “Am I pleased to see you,” I whispered in my research assistant’s ear, “or have I got a giant, erect cock in my pocket?” I quipped, wittily. “I’m not interested” she replied, flopping her papers on my desk. I could tell she was interested. As the blush spread across her acne-pocked cheeks, the heterosexual sex-tension was thick as bricks in air. She was interested, alright. Interested in my giant cock, probably. I was giddy with adrenalin after another brilliant Prime Minister’s Questions. “Did you hear what I said in there?” I asked, knowing that she definitely had. “No I didn’t,” she lied, in a way that said ‘yes I did and tell me more’. “I said that capitalism isn’t working. I said we need to rethink it. How bloody right am I?” ‘Edward, you fiend!’ I thought, smirking. ‘You’re a married man. Of course you could have any girl you want, but leave the interns in peace!’ After all, you never know if Clegg’s already ‘tagged’ them. And then you end up paying.
But I was insatiable. “Oh, the capitalism line again” came her congratulatory response. From her monotone I could tell she was impressed not only by what I’d said but also by the tremendous size of my cock.
“Yes that one!” I grinned. “And then I said that Cameron probably knows all of the words to the Eton boat song, but none of the words to ‘Bits and Pieces’ by the Dave Clark Five. I think I proved my point.”
Massive cock (not pictured)
“I have to go, Mr. Miliband, there’s some casework I really should get on with. That problem with the bins back in the constituency” she mumbled, reaching for the rigid door handle, her fiery ginger locks catching briefly in her orthodontic braces. “Are you sure you wouldn’t rather reach for something in my trousers? I’ve got a bone in there for you, you bloody dog.” I like to treat them mean – it’s what they expect from such a powerful man. Suddenly aware that she might have misunderstood me, I swiftly added: “F.Y.I. by bone I meant my giant cock.” Haughtily, aroused, she heaved open the door, deftly pushing aside the large armchair I’d shoved in front of it. “Goodbye” she muttered, presumably inviting me back to her flat for sex. But I, Ed Miliband, had important work to do. When a nation needs saving, a man has to know his priorities. “Could you send one of the other interns in?” I shouted after her. “How about Gareth?” she replied. “Well, obviously not.” Gareth is rubbish.
8 The Cheese Grater February 2012
UCL Scarves: A Spotter’s Guide Spot all five and win a sense of superiority
Film Review: The Spinning Hannier
The latest film from the reclusive American auteur Brucie Hoops W R Growler
The Spinning Hannier opens with complete blackness. After an uncomfortable length of darkness, the camera begins
Brucie Hoops on set
to pull out first showing us a zip, then a pencil case, then the pencil case on a desk, then a person sitting at the desk with the pencil case on it, then the roof of the building, then the street, then the city, then the earth, then the galaxy until all we are left with is a point of light in the middle of the vast, empty universe. We cut immediately to a woman falling out a window screaming “Aaaarrrrghhh! The Spinning Hannier got me!” and the opening credits roll. This sequence takes twenty minutes and indeed the length of the film could deter someone not familiar with Hoops’s work. At 482 minutes, above the average length of the working day in the United Kingdom, it could not be said that it was a short film. However, this is relatively spritely compared to Hoops’s last work
Mr Malcolm’s Small Problem in a Big Well which lasted six days and consisted only of various photographs of wells accompanied by the drone of a lone tuba. The length is not a problem in The Spinning Hannier as Hoops manages the narrative effortlessly using a mixture of retrochronoligcal flashbacks, wacky dream sequences and segments where Hoops directly addresses the audience and explains what is actually going on. It is rumoured that after twelve years of pre-production the studio decided to slash the budget. Meryl Streep, despite being initially publicised as the main star of the film, has her role demoted such that all we see of her are short vignettes of her appearing at award shows, or on chat shows or occasionally being filmed from behind going shop-
ping. There is little doubt that the speedboat chase lost energy and excitement due to the fact that the actors were actually on body boards in a swimming pool and just hardly moving at all. Nevertheless, the film features some spirited performances. Hilary Pickles’ tear-jerking turn as a geologist who forgets how to count is already attracting attention from the Academy and the ever reliable Kurt Moose ably plays several corpses. Disappointingly, Uggie’s podgy brother Cruggly is woefully miscast as a golden eagle. It is clear that The Spinning Hannier is Hoops at his finest. Everyone left in the Curzon I was in emerged beaming on their way to the nearest wine tasting. As the Spinning Hannier would say, “Kiss my arse right this minute.”
UCLU Cheese Grater Magazine Society Student Publication of the Year - UCLU Union Arts Awards 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011
President and Editor: John Bell
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Postal Address: UCL Union, 25 Gordon Street London WC1H 0AY
Assistant Editor (Investigations): Hannah Sketchley
Assistant Editor (Humour): Samuel Gaus
The views expressed herein are not necessarily those of UCL Union or the editor.
Published on Feb 10, 2013
In this issue: Reclusive Auteur Brucie Hoops' new film; The Diary of Ed Miliband; Our Referendum coverage in full; UCL Karran's leaked past...