Friday 9 May 2014
Inside: C+ investigates The NUS Referndum
Ghetts on the violent reputation of grime music
Marina Fiorato on Italian culture and reimagining Shakespeare
Cherwell Independent since 1920
2nd Week Vol. 272, No. 3
Students protest at Campsfield hunger strike
Joe Iles Editor
Ella Richards Deputy Editor
OVER FIFTY DETAINEES at Campsfield House, an Immigration Removal Centre near Oxford, are reported to have gone on hunger strike this Wednesday. A number of students gathered outside the centre on Thursday night to show solidarity with the strikers. According to a press release on the Close Campsfield website, “Once again, detainees at Campsfield are on hunger strike. The hunger strike began this morning (7th May) with the simple demand to close all immigration detention centres in the United Kingdom. Detainees believe their detention is a breach of their human rights”. The strike follows similar action in Harmondsworth migrant prison near Heathrow on Friday 2nd and in Colnbrook detention centre on Tuesday. A spokespoerson for the Campaign to Close Campsfield commented, “Our job is to support the detainees, because their voice is more telling on rare occasions it gets out. We call on all people concerned with basic human rights to support them.” Continued, p, 3
Union in disarray following President’s arrest
The problematic symbolism of the Mayank Banerjee acting Union President after Sullivan’s arrest on Wednesday ‘Itsu woman’ Alex Stronell News Editor THE OXFORD UNION has been rocked this week by the arrest of President Ben Sullivan on suspicion of rape and attempted rape. Addressing the audience at a debate on Thursday night, Presidentelect Mayank Banerjee announced that, “I am the acting President of the Oxford Union until further notice. “It would be useless for me to pretend that tonight is business as usual.” Sullivan, who is studying History and Politics at Christ Church, was taken in for questioning by Thames Valley Police early on Wednesday morning. Thames Valley Police later confirmed that, “A 21-year-old from Oxford has been arrested today on suspicion of rape and attempted rape.”
In a statement to Cherwell, the Dean of Christ Church, the Very Revd Christopher Lewis, commented, “We have nothing to add to the police statement, which is that ‘a 21 year old has been arrested today on suspicion of rape and attempted rape’, except that the person concerned is a member of this college.” Sullivan was released on police bail without charge the same day. He had been due to face Union members in an open meeting on Thursday, but this was cancelled following the arrest. Sullivan’s authority was challenged earlier in the week as the Standing Committee revoked a prior decision to cover £1000 + VAT of legal expenses against student website The Tab. Sullivan agreed to cover his own legal costs following the presentation of a Special Adjournment motion signed by Union Members in protest. Tensions came to a head the fol-
lowing day, when Union Librarian Kostas Chryssanthopoulos walked out of a Union debate following an impassioned speech that criticised the President’s leadership. He said, “I refuse to sit next to a President who does not believe in freedom of speech. And I refuse to sit next to a President who has lied to members and tried to cover it all up with our money.” Chryssanthopoulos resigned the following day. In his resignation letter, he stated, “I refuse to hold this position any further, having suffered repeated and continued attacks which have been personal from the start.” In a statement at the time, Sullivan told Cherwell, “I am extremely sorry that Kostas has resigned. It is a great shame that our friendship has ended in this manner. The Union is grateful for everything he has done for the society and I wish him all the best for the future.”
Sullivan will remain on police bail until 18th June. In his speech to the chamber on Thursday, Banerjee, acting as Union President, said, “I would just like to clarify one important point. We live in a country with a legal system where a person is innocent until proven guilty. Ben Sullivan has not yet been proven guilty. This may change in the future and if it does I sincerely hope he is punished to the full extent, with the full force of the law. However, this is not the case at present.” The Thursday debate continued as usual, although a Summer Drinks event was cancelled. OUSU Women’s Campaign and It Happens Here have since published an open letter to the Oxford Union in The Oxford Student in which they invite members of the committee to attend OUSU sexual consent workshops.
Comment, page 9
Our relationship with culture is strikingly visual Culture, page 24
Drenge talk about the isolation of music Music, page 28
Cherwell | 09.05.14
2 | News
Students live below the line
THIS WEEK, STUDENTS across the University have challenged themselves to live on £1 a day in order to raise awareness of extreme poverty across the globe. The Live Below the Line programme in the UK has so far raised over £500,000 for the world’s
leading anti-poverty charities. Some students taking part in the challenge arranged themselves into college or society teams to tackle the challenge. Evie Sparkes, from the Hertford College team (pictured), told Cherwell, “Living on £1 a day has been
challenging, but it’s nothing compared to the struggle that 1.2 billion people face everyday. We’ve had a limited choice of food, but living in poverty means limited opportunities in many aspects of life. It’s been a great opportunity to re-evaluate
‘Yes’ and ‘No’ campaigns to battle it out over NUS
Respective campaigns select their leaders ahead of the NUS affiliation referendum in 4th Week Nikita Makarchev News Reporter
CAMPAIGN LEADERS FOR the rival campaigns, ‘YES2NUS’ and ‘Believe in Oxford’, have both been chosen by unopposed election. OUSU President Tom Rutland, who heads the campaign to keep Oxford affiliated with the NUS, told Cherwell, “I’m excited to be leading the campaign. Whether it’s the access funds worth hundreds of millions of pounds NUS have saved from the cuts, the liberation campaigns they champion for LGBT, BME, disabled and women students, or the discounts over 2000 of our students enjoy with their NUS Extra Card, Oxford students benefit by being part of NUS and having representation for students nationally.” Around 10 people attended the “Yes” meeting. Among them was OUSU President-elect, Louis Trup. Supporters of staying affiliated have emphasised the series of positive initiatives that the NUS has undertaken this year, including the securing of £45 million in postgraduate student support and saving hundreds of millions of pounds of undergraduate access funds from proposed cuts. They also point to the fact that the NUS has provided OUSU with two grants of £1,000 this year, one for environmental work with the University, and one for its Student-led Teaching Awards, in addition to a further grant of £2,000 to start the OUSU Women in Leadership Development Programme. Rutland commented, “The NUS has been an invaluable source of support to me and the officer team over the last year, and I know that next year’s team are keen to remain in and receive the same support. Disaffiliating from NUS would cost Oxford students money, isolate
us from the national student movement, and weaken both unions. Hopefully when Louis Trup and I agree on something, it’s good for Oxford students - vote YES2NUS!” Meanwhile, the campaign in favour of disaffiliation from the NUS is to be led by Jack Matthews, Geology DPhil student at University College, and Eleanor Sharman, a Philosophy and Theology undergraduate at Oriel. Sharman told Cherwell, “What unites its members is a passion for change. A community has formed from common goals: denying the NUS’ claim to represent students at Oxford, and demanding that it open its doors to transparency. Believe in Oxford is a campaign financed exclusively by students here (with a donation cap of £25). It will only spend money that individual members of the University are willing to give.” The disaffiliation campaign is not opposed to the NUS in principle, but objects to the current state of affairs. Matthews remarked, “For
three years I have worked tirelessly to reform the NUS into an open organisation that actually works for students. What I have encountered is a body that has no interest in change, and that seeks to preserve the cosy arrangement of the status quo, to the detriment of its members. “It’s time for us to stop wasting tens of thousands of pounds to an organisation that simply doesn’t care about our views. I believe in Oxford, and I believe in the strength of our Student Union – that’s why I will be voting ‘no’ to NUS.” This is the first year that there has been a referendum in Oxford over NUS affiliation, after the University ceased to earmark funding specifically intended for NUS affiliation. OUSU is now free to decide whether this money is to be used to continue its relationship with the NUS. The referendum on NUS affiliation, open to all students, will be held from Monday to Wednesday of 4th week.
our attitudes towards extreme poverty and has encouraged us to think about how we can be involved in bringing it to the end, even at university through the work of Just Love, OxHub and RAG”. Alex Stronell
The week in figures
£519 Amount raised by Cherwell’s ‘Live Below the Line’ team
10 Number of days until the NUS affiliation referendum
40 The time in minutes it takes to get from Radcliffe Square to the Headington GUM clinic
09.05.14 | Cherwell
News | 3
“Too many homosexuals in Parliament” says Oxford MEP candidate Ex-Somerville student lashes out at the number of gay MPs, attacks Amnesty International Tom Calver News Reporter FORMER OXONIAN AND Oxford MEP candidate Julia Gasper has infuriated members of the University with her comments that there are “far too many homosexuals in Parliament”.
I call for the banning of Grindr and similar networks that damage public health Gasper, who is an MEP candidate for South East England, also stated that networking application Grindr should be banned, having previously called the gay rights movement a “lunatic’s charter”. Dr Gasper, who studied for a D.Phil in English Literature at Somerville College, had previously been a UKIP chair in Oxford, and stood down in January 2013. The comments, which appeared on her blog ‘Newsflash from UK’ in April, were made in reference to allegations that Grindr was used during the 2011 Tory Party Conference to advertise a sex party. She also claimed that, “There are far too many homosexuals in Parliament. Even the Speaker of the House of Commons, Nigel Evans is under investigation for sexually harassing other men. “They are only 1.5% of the population, a proportion that justifies about ten MPs in total,
yet there seem to be hundreds of them, all in important positions and giving each other favours. That is a violation of democracy”. She continued, “I call for the banning of Grindr and similar networks that damage public health.” OUSU’s LGBTQ rep Dan Templeton voiced the disappointment of University members, stating that it is “unfortunate that candidates such as Julia Gasper feel as though homophobic comments will help their election campaigns, especially in the light of previous comments made by political figures in Oxfordshire. “Incidents such as this remind us that though we can celebrate the advances of the LGBTQ community, there are still those that hold alarming prejudices and wish to actively discriminate against LGBTQ people.” As well as describing her statistics on the percentage of gay people as “absurd”, Templeton responded to her previous comments that LGBT History Month organisers exaggerated the level of persecu-
Patten to stay on as Chancellor Lord Patten resigns from BBC, but will remain University Chancellor Tom Hall News Editor LORD PATTEN HAS confirmed that he will be staying on as Chancellor of the University, despite stepping down as BBC Trust Chairman. He has recently had major heart surgery, and explained in a statement that he was resigning with immediate effect on the advice of his doctors. “I have concluded that I cannot continue to work at the same full pace as I have done to date, and that I should reduce the range of roles I undertake. “On this basis I have decided with great regret to step down from much the most demanding of my roles – that of Chairman of the BBC Trust.” A statement from the University stressed that he would continue his unpaid role at Oxford. A university spokesman said, “We are pleased that Lord Patten intends to continue to serve the University in the role of Chancellor.” The news comes a
week after Patten received criticism in an open letter from the BBC Radio Forum to culture secretary Sajid Javid, claiming that he had been, “distracted from serving licence-payers properly” by his other roles. The letter added, “He has been a dreadful advertisement for the BBC due to his astonishingly patronising approach to anyone who has ever questioned him on any matter relating to the BBC.” As well as being Chancellor, Lord Patten, is an adviser to three private firms, including Lockheed Martin, where he is a non-executive director. Patten has attracted controversy during his time as BBC Trust Chairman. He had been at the BBC for a year when it was revealed that a Newsnight investigation into sex abuse by Jimmy Savile was cancelled just before broadcast. In the next month, Newsnight incorrectly accused Lord McAlpine of child abuse. One month later, an audit revealed that in the three years running up to December 2012, the BBC spent £25 million on redundancy payments to high-ranking staff. On the day of his resignation, Lord Patten pulled out of a planned engagement at the Oxford Union, citing health r e a sons.
tion of gay people in the Holocaust, and that gay people need to “stop complaining about persecution” and start expressing “gratitude to straight people, on whom they are reliant to be born”. He told Cherwell, “Perhaps she should instead focus her efforts on helping a demographic that were murdered during the Holocaust, and which continues to face prejudice in the modern day, and also on improving the representation of all sections of society in Parliament”. Jesus College Equal Opportunities rep Douglas Cameron-Hobbs, however, remained cautious about giving Gasper’s comments publicity. He said, “A balance needs to be struck; whilst we need to expose such abhorrent bigotry for what it is, we must also be careful to prevent people like Dr Gasper from using the media as a forum to air their despicable views.” Meanwhile, seperate comments made on Dr Gasper’s blog with regards to Amnesty International have attracted criticism from their supporters within the University. Last m o nt h , she accused
the charity of having been “hijacked [...] by dubious people with a range of increasingly dubious agendas”. She launched an impassioned attack on the charity’s support of reproductive rights (including abortion), and their decision to oppose the criminalization of sex work. She stated online that, “Instead of campaigning for victims of political tyranny, it started to follow trendier causes of the permissive era”. Addressing the charity’s stance on prostitution, she claimed, “Amnesty has now gone so far downhill it is hardly recognizable. It has published a new policy document calling for the legalization of prostitution world-wide. It is calling prostitution ‘Human Rights’. In this document, we find a gruesome hotch-potch of left-wing euphemism and ethical deformity”. She also alleged, “Equal right of access to prostitution is now proclaimed to be a Human Right! Yes the old, the ugly, the poor and the disabled must according to the new Amnesty, get their rightful entitlement to some ‘sex services’ from ‘sex workers’ to enhance their ‘quality of life.’ The grossness of this is beyond belief”. A spokesperson for Oxford Univresity Amnesty International told Cherwell, “We fully support Amnesty International’s protection of reproductive rights and the rights of sex workers. “Amnesty is primarily focused on the protection of human rights, of which both reproductive rights and the rights of sex workers are key. This is relevant to the decriminalisation of prostitution as this helps to reduce the persecution of and violence towards sex workers themselves”. Gasper, declaring that she “didn’t want anything to do with the Cherwell newspaper”, refused to comment on her various claims.
Campsfield detainees on hunger strike Students show their support for striking detainees at the centre Continued from page 1... Speaking to Cherwell from inside Campfield, a 27-year-old detainee originally from Pakistan said, “The way we are being treated is a breach of our Human Rights according to organisation such as Amnesty International. I have been kept in the centre for six months — it is like spending half a year in prison when you have committed no crime”. There has been significant student support for the strike, with a number of students demonstrating outside the centre on Thursday evening. Amnesty International Oxford President Rose Brewin commented of the demonstration, “This evening we gathered outside Campsfield detention centre, to show solidarity with those on hunger strike. Members of the campaign to Close Campsfield were joined by campaigners from Bail for Immigration Detainees, Oxford Migrant Support and Oxford University Amnesty International. We had a very positive response from the detainees, who joined in our chants and reiterated their demand for freedom. However, as migrants are held behind 20-foot high fences topped with barbed wire, we were unfortunately unable to see the faces of the people we were talking to. Kathryn Hayward, from Oxford Migrant Solidarity, was critical of the centre, commenting, “Immigration detention is administrative not penal. I do not think that it is necessary, just or humane to indefinitely detain people in centres such as Campsfield House solely on the basis of their purported immigration status, as determined by the UK Border Agency. It is well known that there have been suicides, incidents of self-harm and allegations of abuse at Campsfield House and other UK detention centres such as Yarlswood. I fully support action taken by people in immigration detention to highlight the injustice of their situation and to call for change. The treatment of people in immigration detention is unconscionable and
ought to be of concern to us all. It is not an exaggeration to say that fundamental issues of justice, liberty and human dignity are at stake. “ Jo Hynes, Oxford Amnesty Secretary, commented, “Immigration detention is a blatant abuse not only of basic human rights, but also of the strong tradition we have in the British justice system that anyone in jail, which is effectively what Campsfield House is, is put before a judge or magistrate before. Immigration detention systematically abuses these rights”. The demonstration also follows Lincoln College JCR passing a motion to condemn Campsfield. Niamh Healy, who proposed the motion, told Cherwell, “I believe that the conditions in which detainees are held in Campsfield - without charge, without time limit, without proper access to legal representation – constitute breaches of internationally recognized human rights. The UK cannot properly fulfill its international human rights obligations while current levels of immigration detention are sustained. The motion that our JCR passed on Sunday asks our Head of College, the Rector, to sign an open letter to the Prime Minister appealing for the early release of Campsfield detainees.” Campsfield House declined to comment.
4 | News
Cherwell | 09.05.14
Doubts over Oxford ranked second-to-last for social mobility Research shows Oxford performs badly in a league ranking universities on social mobility humanities centre funding Dorothy Finan News Reporter A QUESTION MARK hangs over an ambitious multi-million pound building project that plans to bring humanities subjects together in the Radcliffe Observatory quarter. Quoted in an Oxford Mail article, Mike Wigg, university Director of Capital Projects and Property Management, told the Jericho Community Association that “some of the ideas are under reconstruction” due to the “massive” cost. According to a brochure published online, although the central University has already agreed to invest £70 million to fund the extensive construction of the building, there is a funding gap of “around £100 million” that still needs to be filled by donations. In the campaign brochure, Professor Sally Shuttleworth, Head of the Humanities Division, urges prospective donors to contribute to the new Humanities building, saying that it will “only be possible with considerable philanthropic support”.
The project will only be possible with considerable philanthropic support With the site of the prospective library and teaching facilities between Walton Street and Woodstock Road currently boarded up, the section dedicated to the new humanities building on the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter website describes the project as “on hold”, despite planning permission having been granted in as May 2010. The brochure goes on to describe how English, History, Philosophy and Theology, Linguistics, Modern Languages, and Oriental Studies would all move into facilities within the proposed site, next to a new “unified” humanities library which would consolidate all the former subjects’ collections. The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art as well as the Music Faculty, would also transfer to new, purpose-built facilities in the quarter. University Media Relations Officer Matt Pickles told Cherwell, “over the course of this year the Humanities Division and Bodleian Libraries are opening up a wide ranging debate about how to realise the original vision for the site. We will have more to say once this discussion has been completed”. Bennetts Associates, the architects behind of the project, have recently been responsible for the design of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s new theatre in Stratford Upon Avon.
Esther Hodges News Reporter RECENT RESEARCH suggesting that Oxford University and other top institutions perform badly when it comes to social mobility has been condemned by the Russell Group Director General. The research was conducted by CentreForum, an independent, liberal thinktank that aims to develop evidence-based, long-term policy solutions to the problems facing Britain. The report claims that institutions such as Oxford and Cambridge would do poorly in a league table which ranked universities on the number of students from poorer backgrounds who go on to gain graduate employment. A social mobility league table released as part of the report put institutions such as Edge Hill University and Huddersfield University near the top, whilst leaving Oxford, Cambridge and St Andrews trailing at the bottom (with Oxford coming in at second from last). The report, written by Professor Michael Brown, former Vice-Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University, recommends giving
all students tuition in presentation skills, IT, and building relationships, as a core part of their degree. It further suggests that the UK’s top universities are especially in need of this provision. Professor Brown, who worked with CentreForum, the liberal think-tank with close ties to Nick Clegg, to write the report, said that selective universities, “do not necessarily deliver the best professional graduate outcomes for disadvantaged students”. However, the report’s findings have been met with derision by Russell Group universities who have suggested that it makes “very strange assumptions” about social mobility. Dr Wendy Piatt, Director General of the Russell Group, has said that the report “fails to recognise that those students from more disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to complete their degree at a Russell Group university than they are at other institutions.” Indeed, Oxford has one of the lowest dropout rates in the UK. Figures published in March 2014 by the Higher Education Statistics Agency show that only 1.2% of Oxford students dropped out, compared with the national average of
6.7%. She further stated that the report focused largely on students who were six months out of their degree, resulting in its marking down of students who had gone on to further or graduate study. This suggestion was supported by an Oxford University spokesman who told Cherwell, “Thirty per cent of Oxford undergraduates continue their studies after graduation, but these students are given a much lower weighting in this analysis than those who go straight into a job, even “non-professional level work”. “Ninety-five per cent of all Oxford leavers are in work or further study six months after leaving,” she added. The spokesman went on to say, “We have carried out our own analysis of the destinations of four years of Oxford undergraduates and found no statistically significant difference between the proportion of leavers in a graduatelevel job who are from the most disadvantaged backgrounds and those who are not.” A second-year Keble student, while agreeing that the report appeared to have some big flaws, went on to suggest consequently that Oxford needed to do more to encourage poorer students into applying to Oxford in the first place. “The research does seem to have missed out a few of the facts,” he commented. “However, Oxford could certainly be doing more to encourage students from poorer backgrounds to apply – it turns over £1 billion every year, yet a miniscule proportion of that money goes into access schemes. “I’d be interested to see if Oxford has fewer poor students going into graduate employment simply because it has fewer poor students in the first place.”
University gets D grade for sexual health provision Recent survey of 50 universities conducted by Superdrug calls Oxford’s services into question Megan Gibbons News Editor OXFORD UNIVERSITY HAS SCORED 3 D’s in a Sexual Health report card published online. The report card is based on research conducted by dred.com – an online doctor service – in conjunction with the Superdrug Online Doctor Service. They assessed and ranked 50 universities, using a combination of research methods, including mystery shopping, web research and an online survey. The study was conducted between January and March of this year. The report card grades the universities on a number of topics, including sexual health information found on campus, access to contraceptives and sexual assault service. Out of 50 universities studied, Oxford came 25th, behind Cambridge (6th), UCL (10th) and Durham (19th). Bristol University came first, scoring 80 points out of a maximum of 100, despite getting a “D” for its sexual assault service. Cardiff University came last, scoring only 38, a “fail” grade. Oxford scored 3 D grades in the areas, “sexual health clinic services on or near campus”, “clinic drop-in availability”, and,“sexual health information on website”. However, it also scored an A grade for sexual health events and STI testing and B grades for categories including, “sexual health information found on campus” and “access to contraceptives”. The largest area of criticism was over the availability of sexual health clinics to students. In order to receive a full range of sexual health services, students currently have to go to the Genito-Urinary Medicine (GUM) Clinic at the Churchill Hospital, near Headington, which is two miles’ walk from Oxford City Centre. The company said, “with STI infection rates on the increase and public funding for essen-
tial services being cut, the Sexual Health Report Card aims to raise awareness of the importance of student sexual health.” A survey by Cherwell C+ in March found, “Only 61% of Oxford students always ensure that they or their partners wear protection during sex.” But it also found that only one in 20 Oxford students have contracted an STI, lower than the national average of around one in four. Simon Lea, business development manager for Superdrug Online Doctor, commented on the report, “This comprehensive Report Card shows that for students specifically, many of whom will be in the ‘most at risk’ group for contracting STIs, access to relevant, up-to–date information can be hit or miss. “Only through a combination of service innovation, and people willing to try something new to tackle these problems, will we be able to
reduce the rate of STI infections on University campuses.” A University of Oxford spokesperson said in response to the news, “We note the findings of this survey and would like to make students aware that information and advice on sexual health is readily available at college level through college doctors and nurses. “Clinical services, including drop-in servicesw, are available locally through the NHS. Further information can be found at www.sexualhealthoxfordshire.nhs.uk.” Colum McGuire, NUS Vice-President for Welfare, said, “NUS represents seven million students UK wide, and sexual health is a reality that each needs to be aware of. “We recognise the importance of providing easy to understand, accessible information like the sexual health report card to safeguard sexual health.”
09.05.14 | Cherwell
News | 5
St Cross in planning appeal St Cross is appealing the Council’s decision to disallow extension Stan Lalanne News Reporter ST CROSS COLLEGE has lodged an appeal against Oxford City Council’s decision to reject its recent planning application. St Cross applied last year to construct an extension with 53 new bedrooms, a lecture theatre, library and seminar rooms. The planning application for the extension was rejected in October, on the basis that, “In a sensitive historic location... [the project] would have an unacceptable impact on the special character and appearance of the conservation area in which it lies.” Cherwell understands that at least eight of the original objections to the proposals came from Oxford academics. St Cross mentioned in its appeal that it is currently able to accommodate only 3% of its students and has the lowest number of library spaces per student of all Graduate Colleges. It also noted that the dining hall is currently unable to provide daily breakfast and dinner
due to the low levels of students living on-site. Oxford City Council has responded with an 80 page document and will defend their decision. The Oxford Civic Society has also objected to the appeal, claiming that the extension will have negative effects on a Grade 2 listed historic wall and reduce sunlight on Pusey Street. The Society has requested to speak at the hearing. Brendan Riley, a student at St Cross, told Cherwell, “Top-notch facilities are an integral part of the academic mission and to the future of the college. I hope there will be a positive resolution to the current impasse.” Another student commented, “St Cross is in urgent need of first-rate facilities to remain competitive with bigger, more well endowed colleges. A new quadrangle will go far to address this deficit.” However, not all St Cross students are in favour of the expansion. One graduate anonymously commented for the Cherwell, “I think it is ugly, and though modern architecture has its place, it does not fit well in Oxford, or with the other buildings on the site”.
Somerville JCR purchase a butterfly farm Somerville launches butterfly farm to “actively help local environment” Rowan Borchers News Reporter IN A JCR MEETING on Sunday, undergraduates voted to build a butterfly farm in college and organise a launch event, in acknowledgment of a recent decline in abundance of butterflies over the last few decades. The motion stated, “this JCR believes that a butterfly farm is a simple and effective way for students to engage with this issue and actively help the local environment, especially due to the proximity to port meadow, Uni parks, and our own quad. “Butterflies enhance the college environment as a whole, aesthetically and colecologically, and the lege environment is perfect for butterflies, with the gardeners cultivating flowery plants all year, and in the butterfly seasons of spring and autumn.” Rachel Backshall, Environmental Ethics Officer, proposed the motion. She told Cherwell,
“The idea came from a friend of mine who I work with at a veterinary clinic during the holidays. Her daughter had a butterfly farm at home, and it helped fuel her interest in animals, insects and the environment. “Although we are not all 10 years old, sometimes it can be healthy to revert back to our ‘childish’ past, especially when working in such a high stress conditions as we do in Oxford,” she said “I hope that this butterfly farm will have a positive affect in Somerville, with students being encouraged to engage with these creatures at first hand, and to consider their place in the world,” The butterflies which will be used in the project, the Small Tortoisehell have been particularly badly hit by the recent decline, with a 64% collapse over the last ten years. Backshall explained, “It is hoped that the college environment, with relatively few birds and flowery plants throughout the year, will be conducive to supporting these butterflies.”
EDITORS Max Long (Magdalen), Joe Iles (St Anne's) email@example.com DEPUTY EDITORS Robert Walmsley, Delia Lockey, Jack Doyle, Samuele Volpe, Ella Richards NEWS EDITORS Alex Stronell, Megan Gibbons, Tom Hall, Charlie Atkins (Broadcasting) NEWS REPORTERS Rohan Arora, Nick Hilton, Rowan Borchers, Leandra Bias, Ellen Brewster, Will Carter, Rebecca Grant, James Rhodes, Nikita Makarchev, Joe Hill, Stanislas Lalanne, Esther Hodges, Jennie Han, Joel Mann, Georgia Latham COMMENT EDITORS Alice King, Nick Mutch, Sybil Devlin (Blogs) INVESTIGATIONS EDITORS India Miller, Jessica Hao LIFE AND STYLE EDITORS Chloe Ingersent, Erin Goldfinch, Tess Colley (Broadcasting) CULTURE EDITORS Emma Simpson, Luke Barratt, Joel Casey (Broadcasting) FASHION EDITORS Leah Hendre, Niluka Kavanagh (Broadcasting) SPORT EDITOR Jonathon Turnbull PUZZLES EDITOR Aneesh Naik BROADCASTING EDITOR Lily Taylor FOOD AND DRINK EDITOR Elizabeth English ART AND BOOKS EDITORS Isaac Goodwin, Joel Nelson FILM AND TV EDITORS Marcus Balmer, Oliver Johnson STAGE EDITORS Jordan Reed, Naomi Polonsky MUSIC EDITORS Rushabh Haria, Helen Thomas DEPUTY COMMENT EDITORS Niamh McIntyre, Tom Carter, Samuel Rutishauser-Mills, Cameron Joshi, Rachel Dobbs, Evy Cavalla DEPUTY LIFESTYLE EDITORS Emily Brown, Natalie Stumpf, Sara Semic, Emma Cookson, Rhiannon Gibbs-Harris DEPUTY BROADCASTING EDITORS Tess Colley, Lakmini Wijesinghe DEPUTY FASHION EDITORS Rebecca Borthwick, Nam Phuong Dinh, Sara Sayma, Jack Davies, Antonia Whitton DEPUTY SPORT EDITORS Jamie Farmer, Jacob Rabinowitz PHOTO EDITOR Kathryn Hodkinson PHOTOGRAPHER Alexander Benn ILLUSTRATOR Sage Goodwin NIGHT LAWYER Jo Lyall BUSINESS TEAM Holly Jackson, Rohan Arora, Stephanie Austera, Emma Lipczynski, Elizabeth Rutherford, Anju Jacob OSPL CHAIRMAN Jonathan Adams (firstname.lastname@example.org) MANAGING DIRECTOR Kalila Bolton FINANCE DIRECTOR Minyoung Seo COMPANY SECRETARY April Peake DIRECTORS Rowan Borchers, Hugh Lindsey, Christina Maddock
For advertising and business enquiries, please do not hesitate to contact us via email@example.com or on 01865 722780. More information can be found on www.ospl.org Cherwell subscribes to the codes and practices of the Press Complaints Commission. The Editors welcome your comments and endeavour to print corrections where appropriate. Oxford Student Publications Limited 7 St Aldates, Oxford OX1 3BS. We reserve the right to edit letters for length and clarity. Published by OSPL ©2014 Printed by: Mortons Print Ltd.
COMMENT ‘Big Smile, Small Tummy’: why the ‘Itsu woman’ is symbolic Lauren Collee Contributor
n the 27th of September 2013, Itsu opened their £1m 2-storey restaurant on Oxford’s Cornmarket, the most recent project of Julian Metcalfe, founder of Pret-aManger. At first, the concept sounds innocent enough, perhaps even progressive. In a world where cheap mass-production of low-quality, high-fat food is leading to soaring levels of obesity, Metcalfe steps in bearing bowls of brown-rice and salmon, paper-thin sheets of packaged seaweed and an array of broths, iceteas, tonics and potions to pacify the growling stomach and purify the soul. A butterfly flits over the logo in the promise of a “butterfly light” lifestyle, a breath of fresh air and a ray of light amid the heavy onslaught of burgers and caramel sundaes. Described as “asian-inspired”, Itsu began as an independent sushi restaurant. The chain, however, has chosen a much more mystical way to describe its Japanese influence: Itsu “celebrates the flavours of the Far East”, the website declares, while the right side of the page is taken up with the image of a beautifulblonde beach-volleyball player in a bikini. She is the archetypal ‘Itsu woman’, and her face and body are papered over the packaging of every product. Itsu is not the first to harness a very vague, western grasp of Eastern Philosophy. Many other companies have latched onto a kind of ‘Zen’ as their primary selling point; an ideal unity of body and mind. But the pursuit of ‘inner peace’ is crammed into the confines of an increasingly anxious, obsessive, calorie-counting quest for a perfection that has nothing to do with a transcendental Nirvana. One can’t help but remem-
ber the pretence of ‘togetherness’ that was shattered with the story of the Lululemon murder in Maryland, 2011, where a saleswoman at the sports-and-yoga-wear store hacked her coworker to death with a series of tools used for mannequin maintenance. The story is extreme to say the least, but hints at a wider trend. With the increasing pressure of modern city dwelling, we see an increasingly desperate pretense of Zen-like composure and wholesomeness. Are we becoming less tolerant of weakness? The Lululemon manifesto, as published on the store’s website, is a disturbing combination of phrases from some stringent self-discipline regime, “sweat once a day”, and those that could easily find their way into the breathy speech of a trained Lululemon yoga instructor: “love… listen, listen, listen”. “Stress is related to 99% of all illness”. “Living in the moment could be the meaning of life.” Itsu’s Facebook page is similarly plastered with posts such as, “all we
on the go
App available for iPhone and Android Alice King Comment Editor
are what you eat”, for all its wisdom, becomes urgently dangerous. We happily mistake the slogan ‘Itsu’ as “It’s you!” and the slogan ‘Eat Beautiful’ could equally read as “Eat, Beautiful”. It makes no distinction between the consumed and the consumer. Julian Metcalfe does not only offer us beautiful food, but the promise of beauty itself. The Asian-insipired chain was originally named ‘Tsu’; a katakana character that has no meaning in itself, but is used to
Suddenly, the age-old saying “you are what you eat” becomes urgently dangerous shorten or modify the previous character. It was quickly renamed ‘Itsu’, which in Japanese can be loosely translated as ‘when’. Maybe we can fantasize that this the key to understanding what gives the ‘Itsu Revolution’ its decidedly eerie quality. Beauty is a process of self-modification – the ‘Tsu’ that replaces the original. We do not “live in the moment”, as the Lululemon sales department instructs, but in a distant ‘when’: the ideal, beautiful you of the future. “Big Smile, small tummy” is the instruction on the back of Itsu’s 32-calorie seaweed thins, as if the two were co-dependent. The big-bellied Buddha has been exiled from the modern quest for Nirvana. How do we distinguish between a genuine concern for mental and physical wellbeing, and a marketing campaign that employs the age-old promise: ‘you’re not goodenough… but you could be’?
can do on this cold, rainy night is dreaming of warm sunny summer days, green grass & walking barefoot…”. We are transported to a happy, carefree, fairytale-land of butterflies and looking-glasses. The restaurants have toadstoolshaped lampshades. The names of his dishes sound like something devised by Dr. Seuss - no one can deny the joy of singing out “I’d like an Itsu hot-potsu”. It is strangely enchanting. Metcalfe is a gifted illusionist. His picture in the media is constantly shape-shifting; now flanked by two semi-naked women holding volleyballs, now leaning against the counter with a khata scarf draped casually around his neck - the very image of ease and tranquility. Meanwhile, young girls wander into his restaurant, starry-eyed, like Alice down the rabbit hole. They see their reflection in the blondehaired women that stare back at them from the packaging of every meal and whisper ‘eat me’, ‘drink me’. Suddenly, the age-old saying “you
t’s true that getting wasted every single night will get you nowhere fast, as far as your degree is concerned at least. Heavy drinking can be harmful to your energy levels, your general wellbeing and, quite often, your dignity. However, it’s more than possible to enjoy the university drinking culture without going to excess. Sure, we’ve all heard of someone who has been sent to hospital, found themselves in a fight, or been banned from one of the many establishments in town because of their drinking habits – but like other things that become available to us as adults, alcohol comes with the condition of responsible use. Personally, I am a fan of doing everything in moderation. While this does mean saying no to a week of Camera Tuesdays, followed by Park End, Bridge and Wahoo before crashing over the weekend, it
Is there any benefit to
Alice King and Nick Mutch talk about th doesn’t mean going teetotal either. There’s a lot to be said for having a couple of drinks during or at the end of the week. It’s no secret – alcohol lowers your inhibitions. That beautiful person you’ve seen at the bar but are far too scared to talk to? Double vodka red bull will sort that out for you. Worried about your awful dancing and your tendency to be just a little bit weird? A couple of ciders down, you really won’t care. I mean, how many of us can say we didn’t need a bit of booze during freshers’ week to fight the awkwardness that filled our halls? Alcohol simply makes everyone a bit more interesting – or you a little less likely to notice if they aren’t. In all seriousness, we all need a way to relax. After essays, tutorials and lectures at the crack of dawn, we’ve more than earned ourselves a few drinks in the evening. Drinking is a social activity and brings us out of the libraries and musty bedrooms into communal spaces, giving us the rest we need and the interaction we crave.
Lying in bed watching Game of Thrones might be good, clean fun, but it won’t leave you with a funny story to tell or a weirdly shaped scar to show off. Certainly, among some groups there is a culture of excess – see the sad rugby “lads” who always feel as though there’s something to prove and the exclusive drinking societies that are far too cool to interact with the rest of us – but as an individual, there’s no need to replicate this. Getting a bit too merry once or twice won’t do much harm, and will land you with some brilliant pictures to look at in the morning. There will be times when you’ll deeply regret the amount of time you spent drinking at university – namely during the 9am tutorial when the room is spinning and you smell like the curry sauce from last night. But drinking at university has only helped me enjoy my time here more. They say that you can’t buy happiness – but you can certainly rent it from the bar staff for a couple of pounds per pint.
Comment | 7
09.05.14 | Cherwell
firstname.lastname@example.org 7, St Aldates OX1 3BS @Cherwell_Online
Letters to the editors
Below the Line
Hardly anyone is going to vote in the upcoming NUS referendum, just as barely a quarter of the University voted in the OUSU elections last autumn and even fewer really know what role any of the two institutions play in students’ lives. But this kind of blind apathy doesn’t mean that the NUS doesn’t work for students, and neither does it mean that we should terminate our relationship with them. There are certainly huge problems with the NUS. Their insistence on making self-righteous proclamations on broad political questions which are of no direct relevance to the majority of those they represent is frankly a waste of time. Even a left-leaning editor is willing to concede that the NUS has too much of a leftwing bias at times, and the idea that delegates actually represent students’ interests is absurd. However, the NUS also does a lot of good work; it ensures that students are adequately represented as a united body at a national level, and fights to defend students’ rights. This editor believes that, fired by the recent anti-EU UKIP mania, the Oxford right have decided to seize boisterously on the first opportunity to rally behind a ‘No’ campaign, without really considering its consequences. “Believe in Oxford” (Seriously – that’s actually their name) are using the same kind of diatribe that is used by the worst kind of eurosceptic. Perhaps this is the rise of the NUSceptics. Soon we’ll be told that a horde of nasty NUS delegates from Coventry or Nottingham are going to migrate to Oxford and take our jobs – and maybe even cause some flooding too.
This week Oxford has almost certainly been hungrier than usual. Dozens of students across the University have foregone the luxury of hall, stayed off the more expensive items in Tesco and have been living below the line, surviving off just £1 a day for 5 days. The Cherwell staff have been among those students, and the experience has been eye opening. Not someone who copes well with small quantities of food, this editor approached the daunting task with some trepidation. But the week started well – the amount of food that it is possible to buy from Tesco’s for less than £5 is truly surprising. A kilo of rice is, after all, only 40p, and 500 grams of pasta just 20p We even had money to buy peanut butter, which has been comparatively luxurious (the Value version really is highly recommended). Nevertheless, it has been a challenge, and the lack of nutrition has left this editor feeling in a state of constant exhaustion. But the physical difficulties have only been part of the experience. Food, as a necessary condition for human survival, has always been deeply integrated into society. The most common images in cave paintings are those of food. Living Below the Line has highlighted to this editor just how much our society revolves around eating and drinking. Whether it’s going for a coffee, having a beer in the evening or cooking lunch with friends, there is something universal about food – that is why the campaign is a success.
Bursar Nothing to do I don’t want anything to do with the Cherwell Newspaper.
I’m just wondering what happened to the podcast series, Cherworld? It was my favourite bit of Cherwell content and would really like it to carry on!
Assuming you guys will need a stiff drink once this issue’s done. This cocktail is a good one.
It cost £25,308 to affiliate to NUS last year. And its going to go up even more (sic). Believe in Oxford
Cai Wilshaw Ball Props Cake I just wish that we could all get along like we used to in middle school. I wish that I could bake a cake made out of rainbows and smiles and we’d all eat it and be hap-
he pros and cons of uni drinking culture
xperience has taught me and many others that for all the temporary enjoyment alcohol brings to university, it is in fact a most insidious poison that many campuses would be so much better off without. The culture of alcohol abuse at universities is farcical and juvenile at best, and deadly at worst. A University of Sheffield study found that there is a consistent and strong correlation between the increase in the pricing of alcohol and a drop in violent crime. At universities, alcohol is considered to be a major contributing factor in a majority of serious crimes and injuries. If you drink, you are more likely to assault or be assaulted, engage in risky sexual conduct, and become seriously injured – that much is fact. After only 3 drinks you are eleven times more likely to be involved in a car crash than a sober driver. In the age of social media, drinking to excess
Where’s my gate?
drinking at univerity? Nick Mutch Comment Editor
py... I just have a lot of feelings.
can even cost you your job. As students, we are often told that we need alcohol, how could we have fun without it? It’s our most important social lubricant! This is a pathetic excuse. It is in fact a social crutch that many use to mask the symptoms of shyness or insecurity while doing nothing about the causes. Yes, it is easier to talk to people when you are drunk, but you present to them your most boorish, charmless self rather than your charisma, intellect or natural personality. Anyone who has ever seen a video of themselves inhumanly smashed knows this is true. Alcohol gives you a false, fleeting courage that is a pitiful substitute for the real thing. Learning how to be sociable and confident while sober is difficult, but the rewards are far greater than the temporary buzz from alcohol. More importantly, time spent getting yourself absolutely wasted is at the expense of all other productive activity you could be doing. Alcohol impairs your brain’s ability to process new information, as anyone who has ever had a wretched hangover
I have ten items in my amazon basket and they’re all like pipes and monocles from Delia Lockey’s wishlist “ball props”. Anna Leszkiewicz
Tweet of the Week
No can attest to. It makes it much harder to exercise or work out, and for those prone to mood disorders or depression, it makes it much harder to control one’s emotions. The relationship between alcohol and mental health issues is an ugly, self-perpetuating cycle of misery which students are particularly vulnerable to. I am certainly not in favour of banning alcohol. Firstly, I am aware that prohibition does not work, and secondly, I do not think that occasional indulgence is intolerable. It’s true that drinking to excess can be a great deal of fun. But the benefits of having alcohol on campuses are nothing compared to their costs. If I could somehow flick a switch that would turn off the supply of alcohol in the world, I would do it. I think the most dangerous part of our drinking culture is the fact that our first week of university is dedicated to getting hammered, creating a continuing impression that getting excessively drunk is a sign that we are “fun” or “laddish”. University should be a place where we come to enrich ourselves, not poison ourselves.
REPLY If you would like to respond to any of the features in this week's edition, contact the Comment section at comment@ cherwell.org
Cherwell | 09.05.14
8 | Comment
Brian Myers tells Alex Stronell of OXSTEW North Korea’s inconvenient truths THE
All Souls College to reform strict entrance examinations
he Dean and Fellows of All Souls last week voted unanimously to reform the research College’s notorious entrance examinations to a system which has been described as ‘more accurate, scientific, methodical, and even better at keeping out the unwanted and undeserving’. From Michaelmas of 2014, candidates hoping to secure a place at All Souls will no longer face the dauntingly open-ended examination questions, such as ‘Explain language’, ‘Describe the sensation felt when you walk into a room, forget what it was you went in for, and then think of the thing that you went in for as something to do in there while you try to remember without realising that that was the thing you went in for all along, and then realising everything as you walk back out again’, and ‘Did you leave the oven on when you left the house this morning?’ for which the institution is famous.
What we really want to see at All Souls is evidence of brain activity Instead, would-be members will be asked to lie on a table as Fellows of the College shout academic terminology at them, and advanced brain imaging technology measures their brainwave activity. “We’re interested in people who can think on their feet,” said Dr Lynda Snell, Fellow for Admissions. “Well, not literally, of course—you’ll be strapped down with electrodes on your temples. But what we really want to see at All Souls is evidence of brain activity, of cognitive capacity. It won’t be enough just to have a couple of spikes in the scanner screen while a man in a gown asks you ‘Which black hole is the best black hole?’ - successful candidates will have their neuronal activity going wild.” The proposed changes have been widely reported, with some commentators raising concerns about the potential of the new system to discourage talented applicants from applying. However, the College Warden has been keen to set the record straight. “The newspapers and other ill-informed sections of the media often describe the All Souls Entrance Examinations as though they were extraordinarily obscure, opaque, and riddling methods to dissuade normal people from applying and prevent those we don’t believe are suitably worthy from getting in,” Professor Bernard Wystanhugh told reporters yesterday from his mahogany armchair, as with one hand he distractedly flicked open and shut his snuff-box and with the other he idly toyed with the mangled corpse of the University’s reputation for a meritocratic admissions system. He continued, “In that, at least, they’re absolutely correct, and it is in response to the dispiriting trend of transparency and openness that the Fellows of All Souls have been forced to resort to the drastic action of voting for change— something the College has been opposed to as a matter of principle for many years.” Cambridge University, meanwhile, is believed to be considering a move away from the interview system completely, in favour of a televised national competition organised by Simon Cowell and sponsored by Starbucks. Xan Terracotta
Alex Stronell News Editor
rian Myers, Associate Professor of International Studies at Dongseo University in South Korea, believes that the West has not quite come to terms with the inconvenient truth about North Korea – namely, that the regime is actually quite popular, and well in-tune with what people are thinking. At first, I am somewhat taken aback by what Myers says. With the catalogue of horrific human rights abuses, stories of prison camps and unimaginable torture that the UN published in its report on North Korea earlier this year, it seems very difficult to imagine that this is not a state which controls its people with an iron fist. But Myers believes that North Korea neither has the money or the technology to police its citizens Nineteen Eighty-Four style;ther, Myers says, the oppression is based upon tapping in to popular consciousness. In fact, Myers believes that “Kim Jong-Un looks enviously upon the wealth of personal information that social media provides Western leaders on their people” - and aims for a similar close relationship with his populace. Why, if the regime is so in-touch with the North Korean people, is the government so hardline? Why the command economy, why the military-first policy? Aren’t the things that people really want healthcare, pensions - or at least clean water and enough to eat? Myers ex-
Kim Jong-Un looks enviously upon the wealth of personal information social media provides Western leaders plains, “I think our inability to understand it is our inability to understand what motivated people in the world sixty or seventy years ago”. “The whole point of national life was not economic growth, even as late as the 1920s and 1930s. The whole point of the state was to protect its citizens from foreigners, and to induce a sense of pride in belonging to a certain state. This way of thinking that we have now is actually
something quite new in historical terms.” He continues, “A country like Prussia, for example, which was really the North Korea of the 18th century, was considered a very successful state by people. It had a powerful military, the world respected it, the fact that its citizens were one or two meals away from starving to death didn’t bother anyone.” “So I don’t think that it should be that hard for us to understand that sort of mind set continuing into North Korea today, especially considering they’ve never actually experienced democracy. They went from Japanese fascist rule, basically, into this North Korean state.” After the Second World War, the Korean peninsula was divided in two by the Western allies and the Soviet Union, across the 38th parallel. North Korea underwent a transition from Japanese fascism to the Soviet-supported regime of Kim Il-Sung. But with time, Kim IlSung purged the pro-Soviet elements within the government, and established a new, racebased nationalism related strongly to fascism . In Meyers’ eyes, North Korea subsequently cannot be a socialist state. Rather, it is a farright state which survived the fall of communism by clinging to the state-sanctioned ‘Juche’ ideology. This is the key to the country’s survival, Myers says. “Had the North Koreans not created this myth, had they said the whole time ‘we’re Marxist-Leninists’, just like the Soviet Union, then the fall of the Berlin Wall would have probably led inexorably to the fall of North Korea as well. So this myth did perform a very important service, and it continues to fulfil an important service in making the North Koreans believe that they have some sort of key to wisdom that the rest of the world doesn’t have.” ‘Juche’ is normally summarised in the Western media as a commitment to national selfsufficiency, much like the autarky of the Nazi state. But, Myers says, ‘Juche’ is not understood by the population, nor is it meant to be; it’s simply a tool to support the personality cult surrounding the Kim family, who have ruled North Korea since the peninsula was divided. “Kim Il-Sung’s selected speeches are dozens of volumes long, and some people take that as an indication of how important the ideology is. It’s quite the opposite. The fact that the North Korean people do not have a portable canon of Kim Il-Sung’s teachings shows you right there that doctrine is not at the centre of this thing, it’s biography.” We turn to the UN; I am curious as to whether the recent report on the state of human rights is responsible for the torrent of abuse that North Korea recently hurled at the South Korean President, Park Geun-hye. Last month the North’s committee responsible for relations with the South described the new President as a “crafty prosti-
tute”, “animal” and a “bitch”. Myers is dubious; he tells me “I don’t think they’re that affected by what the UN think. They have a different definition of human rights - it’s the sovereignty of the nation as a whole, not the rights of the individual – that matter.” Rather, Myers thinks the torrent of abuse directed at Geun-hye is indicative of the North losing all hope of reconciling itself with the South Korean left, and as such is abandoning any pretence of dealing with the South rea-
The problem with insulting a South Korean female president is that you can’t do it without sexist language sonably. With the South Korean population rapidly aging, the left wing is becoming more conservative, and increasingly less likely to deal with the North. “They were holding back for a while there, I think, in their criticism of her,” he observes. “The problem with insulting a South Korean female president is that you can’t do it without sexist language. You know, to call a man a ‘bastard’ is fine, but to call a female president a ‘bitch’ is sexist.” Our discussion moves on to the potential for the North Korean regime to come to an end. Depressingly, Myers is sceptical that change is on the horizon, even though he believes it is naive to say that North Koreans are not aware of what life is like outside of the country. Rather, he says, “People are psychologically invested in the way the system is now.” The interview ends on a disturbing note: if regime change is to come, it will parallel what happened to the military junta in Argentina, i.e. the regime will have to be discredited by losing a war. “I tend to think that the North Korean regime has induced a kind of missile fatigue, a nuclear test fatigue, in their people. If it cannot achieve the same propaganda results by conducting the sixth, seventh, eighth nuclear test, or eighth, ninth, tenth, ballistic missile test, then they’re going to have to do something more dangerous - another attack, perhaps, on South Korean territory.” “If they lose that conflict then the people would turn on the state immediately, because then they would have nothing left. A militaryfirst country that does not hold its own on the battlefield or in military terms has no reason to exist.”
09.05.14 | Cherwell
Comment | 9
UKIP are filling the role of the Liberal Democrats Eleanor Newis Deputy Comment Editor
o, we all find UKIP amusing. MEPs campaigning on the basis that their jobs shouldn’t exist: surely this is the stuff that satire is made of. The latest purple and yellow assault – I’m sorry, leaflet – slipping through doors all over Oxford gets better. It comes with a set of instructions entitled “How to vote UKIP on May 22nd to get our country back”. It actually goes from one to four detailing the stages one must go through to get our country back; it even has a picture in case you get to the polling station and don’t understand how to regain the great land of Albion from the EU hordes. Underneath the silliness of UKIP’s EU hatred and nationalism however, there is something more interesting going on. The recent rise in UKIP support and the rhetoric of their European Elections campaign is reminiscent, not of fellow BNP extremists, but of the party they continually lambast for being pro-EU: Farage’s PR machine is built the same way as the Liberal Democrats’ 2010 election campaign. Last month’s LBC debate highlighted this. Nigel Farage played the “I’m new and I’m not one of them” card that Nick Clegg used back when we were blissfully unaware of what the Condemnation would bring. Now that Clegg’s stint as a career politician has taken a turn for the worst, Farage is free to take the outsider stance. He now remembers audience members’ names, repeating their questions and insisting on his own normality until he turns blue in the face. And it worked: the YouGov poll after last month’s debate gave victory to Farage by 57% to 37%. This 20% difference must have cut deep with the Clegg cohort, former top dogs of post-TVdebate headlines. This wasn’t just a media fluke. Similarly to the Liberal Democrats, UKIP have been working quietly away long before anyone took any notice; like the Lib Dems in the 1980s and 1990s, they have concentrated on local sup-
port, garnering council seats and building community projects. They are far better organised than anyone expected them to be. We’re not talking Westminster seats and government, but after coming within 2, 000 votes of victory at the 2013 Eastleigh by-election, it looks like they are set to give the three main parties a scare. Of course, UKIP are a less likely election prospect than even the Liberal Democrats ever were, but this seems only to make them more attractive to voters massively disenfranchised with Westminster politics. Some argue that UKIP’s rise is down to the unpopularity of the three main parties and a growing distance between politicians and the electorate – plus the Tories’
failure to deliver on immigration and Europe. This argument holds a lot of water: UKIP are benefiting from “left behind voters” in a similar way to the Lib Dems in 2010. They are presenting themselves as the new kids on the block: a recent Opinium/Observer poll noted that “UKIP appears to be draining support from all of the three main parties”, as the difference between Labour and Tory poll ratings fell to just 2%. Farage is of course the only politician who can now play the “I’m new” card: he casts himself as a former businessman who entered politics to stop what he calls “open-door immigration”. The aforementioned leaflet assault on an Oxford letterbox lists UKIP candidates for
the European elections by stating that they are “NOT CAREER POLITICIANS”, saying one is a “finance professional”, and one a “journalist and author”. Farage himself is listed as “former city trader”. Whilst initially this looks obvious and trite, UKIP’s strategy, sparse on detail and big on EUbashing does seem to be working; the usual rules of media damage also don’t seem to apply to them. Farage’s own expenses scandal, contrary to the Maria Miller case, seemed to run like water off a duck’s back. Those startling tweets which (if misquoted in an inconvenient manner) imply that UKIP actually want to deport Lenny Henry haven’t done much damage either. The relevant person was booted into resigning, and things are already beginning to die down. The Opinium/Observer poll showed this: UKIP remain unchanged at a rating of 18%, despite the coverage of their latest foibles. The biggest reason for this is that it is unlikely UKIP will ever gain any power beyond the institution they want destroyed. It’s the same principle that helped the Liberal Democrats to surge in their 2010 entrance into government. Clegg’s party can no longer make the same argument: by 2015 they will have been in government for a full term, be partly responsible for whatever economic state we are in, and have to answer to dissatisfied voters. The forecast, judging by their current poll ratings of (drum roll) 7%, is not good. UKIP have a massive advantage: they are the new outsider party. All they need do now is keep their campaign simple, monosyllabic and printed on colourful paper, and they could be onto a European Elections winner. Whilst the likelihood of UKIP entering Westminster anytime soon is still doubtful, their rise will certainly continue. With all this in mind, I’m predicting a surge in popularity followed by a promise to abolish tuition fees, followed by a media backlash, lynching of Farage and the party’s self destruction. Seriously though, Farage is on the up: the role of the outsider is the most enviable one in British politics, and UKIP are playing it for all it is worth.
The Campaign Otamere Guobadia, Editor of No HeterOx**
No HeterOx** and queer liberation
o HeterOx** is a queer and trans zine for the Oxford community, started by my friend Alexander Beecham and me. Our manifesto states, “Queer sounds are drowned out by the sermonising voices of the majority, and yet there is so much liberation and richness to be found in queer thought, and in queer discussion and in queer art and poetry and culture.” This is something we sincerely believe. We lace our shoes with rainbows, we ring
No HeterOx** must be antiassimilationist out wedding bells, and we strive to assimilate. The modern day queer rights movement has now undergone the most shameful reductionism, with the “we are
just like you” rhetoric of marriage equality and the rainbow flag flying above Whitehall. The face of the queer rights movement today is white, gay, middle class and, ultimately, easy to swallow. Marriage equality is being hailed as the Holy Grail of a civil rights movement, so, necessarily, No HeterOx** must be anti-assimilationist. The very people that mainstream queer discourse tries to silence are the people that have paved the way for gay men to hold hands in the street. The trans women that picked up bricks at the Stonewall riots did not do so for our right to assimilate quietly. There exists a mainstream belief that the right to same sex marriage “will finally legislate us wholly human”. The quote comes from a spoken word poem called ‘Marriage (Queer Rage)’, penned by a group of Stanford LGBTQ students of colour and criticises this train of thought. This very belief is flawed. The end goal of our civil-rights movement should not simply be queer assimilation. Assimilation prescribes a queer norm; that to espouse one’s fundamental
difference is dangerous. Cuddly notions like “we are all just part of the human race” erase an important struggle and allow us to ignore the intersectional nature of oppressions, leaving behind those who cannot or do not want to assimilate.
I do not want equality, I want liberation Those at Stonewall did not riot for our right to assimilate. The phrase LGBTQ is hard to swallow for a reason – we are hard to swallow. There is this bizarre notion that modern-day revolutionaries must come cap in hand, preaching equal rights and pride with sweetness in their eyes and in their voices – but these issues are personal. Words hurt a lot less than bricks do – and I want people to remember that once upon a time queer people threw
those too. I do not want equality, I want liberation. No HeterOx** exists in the gap between ‘equal’ marriage and the steadily erased victims of a mainstream queer rights movement. We exist to drag everyone and ourselves into the light, to retell the stories that have been told about us. In the shadowy, un-pretty parts of our movement where LGBTQ asylum seekers are routinely humiliated and given effective death sentences. In a world where black trans bodies are under attack, a world where LGBTQ youth are disproportionately homeless, and predisposed to mental health disorders. We want to add colour to a whitewashed movement, appreciate the inter-sectionality of ours and the oppression of others, kick patriarchy’s ass and look damn good doing it. We want to write our own history. If you’d like to find out more about No HeterOx**, find us on acebook or at: noheterox.tumblr.com If you’re interested in contributing to the zine, please contact: email@example.com
Engravings around the edges of coins were pioneered during Sir Isaac Newton’s tenure as Master of the Mint. Today, the words around the edge of the £2 coin- ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’- quote Newton himself, as he takes a cheap stab at the diminutive stature of his great rival, Robert Hooke!
Which of these is the correct definition of this word?
Spot the connection:
1. A small moment of panic 2. A loose cluster of flowers 3. A catalogue of minor deities in Hinduism
1. A famous former Liverpool bus terminus 2. The first ‘bicycle’ 3. The first adhesive postage stamp
CRYPTIC CROSSWORD Across 1. Leaf insect parade (7) 4. Unwelcome movement in Anti-Christmas brigade (3) 7. Arcane topics in sealed tomes (6,5) 9. Scope of toe is troubling in diagnostic checker (11) 12. Non-conformist has open heart (10) 14. Rebuild about inmates’ lorry (rear end is replaced by car) (11) 16. Could be the end of spring? (3) 17. Y’all be south-lovers? Darn it to smithereens! (7) Down 1. Calm down if in state of rapid motion (6) 2. Shapely Rigel endlessly confused with comet (9) 3. This is one mean, troubled creature! (7) 5. Support actors dispose of mould (4) 6. Where to write to a teletubby (2) 8. Play ‘Poet or Pun’ and get lucky! (9) 10. Antiquated exclamation, for example “Rome’s wealth!” (7) 11. Confront us with bottomless liquid, say? That’s rank! (6) 13. Get a degree right on time, get back in the streetcar! (4) 15. Dynastic order of sacred mantra (2) Email Aneesh Naik at firstname.lastname@example.org for clues or solutions
SUDOKU Difficulty: Hard
PROFILE Niamh McIntyre talks grime and disillusion with musician Ghetts T
o quote from the sample which begins Ghetts’ first studio album, Rebel With A Cause, “The rebellious spirit unleashes the strengths in passionate individuals. Their frustration, resistance and defiance formulates an uncontrollable, yet undeniable energy”. To those unfamiliar with the genre, the suggestion of grime’s political or subversive content might be unexpected. Its culture of clashing, violent lyrical content leaves the genre open to the ubiquitous criticism of ‘glorifying’ criminality rather than analyzing its motivations. For some, a perceived over-emphasis on the egotistical MC and a love of wordplay for its own sake also superficially vitiate grime’s progressive agenda. These are unimaginative criticisms which have been levelled at any movement which has its roots in urban, black, working-class culture, most notably hip-hop. However, since Chuck D’s famous description of rap music as ‘the Black CNN’ when Public Enemy were at the height of their power, the radical potential of US hip-hop is something to take seriously. This praise of unflinching social commentary has rarely been accorded to grime or UK hip-hop by anyone outside its community: Ghetts’ album name, and repeated reference to Biggie, one of hip-hop’s most prophetic voices, shows that this is something he is determined to change. Perhaps this discrepancy can be attributed to grime artists such as Wiley only reaching wider public consciousness with commercial hits, or others like Dizzee Rascal abandoning the genre entirely. This is something Ghetts claims he’s always tried to resist.
I was like, are we forgetting why all these people are rising up? “After Tinie Tempah dropped ‘Pass Out’, I was having meetings with labels and they were all saying ‘You need a Pass Out!’ You can combine both, Wiley combines both very successfully, but for me it compromises the music,” he says. Ghetts is excruciatingly aware of the expectations and misconceptions of non-commercial grime. For this reason, despite being around since the heady days of early noughties grime, organizing the Fuck Radio DVD which is symbolic of the movement’s early energy, and releasing mixtapes, Rebel With a Cause is his first studio album. Ghetts has aimed to buck the trend of the MC whose commercial success - “making tunes for radio, for TV” - is removed from anything with more integrity. Obviously, not every song or artist associated
with the genre is concerned with bold social commentary. Grime is often less serious. But at its most thoughtful and meditative, as well as at its darkest, most violent and most nihilistic, the expression of rage against all forms of authority and of alienation from wider society becomes protest and creates a community of voices that are routinely ignored. So-called ‘glorification’ of violence, drugs and aggressive materialism is a myth designed to demonise grime culture. These themes exist because they are, for many, a fact of life. Often this anger is accompanied by the bitter awareness of being marginalized, as in Wiley’s cult-classic ‘Gangsters’, where “the Government tried to destroy my race, but them man turned into gangsters”. The discussion of whether grime is politically detached or engaged has clear parallels with the debate about the motivations behind the 2011 London riots. The riots loom large in Rebel With A Cause, resonating in lyrics such as, “All I acquired from the riots/Is people sick and tired of being quiet/Dying to be heard/ That’s why there’s fire in my words”. The same perspective which condemns grime as apolitical would similarly see the riots as the ‘apathetic’ actions of an opportunist, criminal underclass. This ignores the fact that a section of society felt sufficiently alienated from their own communities to smash, loot, and burn them. Ghetts speaks volumes about our political landscape: “At the time when I was making the album the riots was going on. And I felt like what the media focused on... was the looting. I was watching the news so much and it was drifting away from what all this was a reaction to. Don’t get me wrong, it got out of hand… but I was like, are we forgetting why all these people are rising up?” It is for this reason that Ghetts tells me he is not a “political” rapper: I can almost hear him miming his own quotation marks around the word, to signify that he does not identify with any narrow, traditional sense of the term. He clarifies, “I’m a reflection of what I see… my surroundings are filled with violence and drugs.” This is the true social force of grime - its ability to, in the rapper’s own words “reflect reality”. Ghetts says he’s “glamourizing nothing”. Rebel With A Cause is a highly personal experience of life and death on an East London estate. Ghetts describes disillusionment - “living life like ‘fuck it’/living life like there’s nothing” - and of routine victimisation by the police - “before I ever stepped foot in the courtroom I was a victim of judgement/Man like me, I’ve been licked by a truncheon, sprayed by gas/ Beat up, handcuffed, lashed in the van”. When I ask him if he thinks there is a culture of fear around grime, he cuts me off before before I’ve even completed my question: “There is, absolutely.” We discuss the recent cancellation of the
a n d m o r e G worrye ag ingly, as “a S n: notorious rapio at per who rhymes r t us about killing rivals in Ill drive-by shootings”. “It’s how the media portray us,” he says. “And in recent years we have not had the know-how to deal with that.” However, he also sees Rebel With A Cause as an achivement of personal emotional maturity. The album describes fatherhood and redemption alongside the vivid portrait of his community. While Ghetts keeps the vitriol of early lyrics such as “I’m a greengate gunhappy goon/ And before 2007 ask anyone, I never had one happy tune”, he can take a more detached and analytical approach, combining an aggressive flow with an intimate reflection on his content: “I put out certain songs that allowed [the media] to label me. As much as I blamed them for not digging deeper I blamed myself. This is one scene of a whole movie”. Over the course of our interview, he constantly refers to grime as “our culture”. Ghetts humbly describes his own work as “just talking about the negative stuff that happens in my area”. But in doing so, he affirms his own power to powerfully focalize the experience of being alienated, demonized and feared. d oo
JustJam event at the Barbican by the Metropolitan police. The day after our interview, Skepta is mysteriously barred from performing at the Indigo2 arena, despite having played
It’s how the media portray us. In recent years we have not had the know-how to deal with that. there on numerous previous occasions. Ghetts mentions a Sun article which referred to him, almost cartoonishly, as a ‘gun-rapper’,
LIFE&STYLE John Evelyn
Alas, my illustrious Diary is redundant this week. Imagine the indignity, imagine the shame, to have awoken this morn to the sight of Daily Mail headlines doing my job for me. Oxonian scandal had made the front page and it was not I that was reporting them, but the national press. Their source – horror! – was a different red top upon which the Mail’s minions evidently keep Tabs, a publication preceded by a reputation for the outrageous Hachary it inSpires. The micro-economists amongst you might understand. This week, supply of scandal has come close to out-stripping demand. The output of the Gossip Mill has soared; the Rumour Market has been as flooded as Christ Church meadows in January. Across the city, muttered hearsay and whispers of disgust hang heavy as hayfever, levels of outrage second only to the pollen count. Such an excess of public indignity has resulted in something of a slump – when Oxford is gripped by allegations as appalling as those we discovered yesterday, any gossip I repeat will be mere trivia and titillation. It has Ben an Arresting experience, however, to hear of a reputation so Sullied. Relating any gossip beyond the current presidential crisis might well be Guilding the lily. It must be noted, however, that the chair of another esteemed Oxford institution had a much Lock-ier weekend. It was a different sort of Union, in the portaloos of a minibus rather than a police cell on St Aldates – a rather Kazmikaze consummation, but the pair had a Ball nevertheless. A very good Dealia for both - we’re sure she’s Cooking up something good for the crewdate. Another tit-bit I must Disclose, moreover, concerns one staff member’s Monday night trip to Never-Never Land and the romance that Popped up beautifully Well from within the dark and Cave-like depths of Cellar. Though the Deputy in question declined to Comment, rumour has it that she found her way home with a certain Lost Boy (who turned out to know his way round quite well...). Itsu nice when these things happen. Hit me with gossip.
Got gossip? Email email@example.com with the juicy details!
It was all just too much for this poor clubber. God knows how many Jaeger-bombs have rendered her incapable of using her own legs. Never fear, though, for her knight in shining armour (or should it be ‘Wahoo T-shirt’?) is here to save the day, conveying her through the quagmire of randy drunks who populate Wahoo’s top floor of a Friday night. However, he is not quite chivalrous enough to shield her from the unforgiving glare of the club photographer or the moronic posturing of the would-be photo-bomber behind them.
Isobel Wilson Regent’s Park, 1st Year English Smooth-talking girl seeks serendipitous romance Of all the ways to make a bad first impression, I definitely think I managed to tick off a few: giving him a time slot of precisely one hour, forcefully turning down an offer of punting and, to top it off, not being the girl he was originally told he would be going on the date with. After a panicked Facebook message from Emma, Deputy Editor of lifestyle, the night before, I wound up on a blind date with a guy expecting someone else. I can only hope he hadn’t invested too much time in Facebook stalking her profile… Despite this I actually had fun! Jamie was easy to chat to and there weren’t that many awkward moments (apart from him admitting his penchant for crashing Oxford balls). I think conversation may have lagged, however, if we’d dwelled on academic subjects for too long; being from a humanitiesonly college, the only input I could give on physics was my dependence on my contact lenses. Not exactly an enthralling conversation topic. All in all though, it wasn’t half bad for a last minute set up.
Not your typical physicist Entertaining I’m happy staying single for now...
Jamie Heredge Christ Church, 1st Year Physics Quarky guy looks to break-in to a gal’s heart After dithering about where I’d take Izzy, I finally decided on punting. But when I met her outside Regent’s she told me she only had an hour, foiling my romantic plan. She directed us to a café called Greens, where she ordered a cappuccino and I ordered a hot chocolate – yes, it did make me look about 7, but I play by own rules and chocolate tastes nice. Sat on an unimposing sofa, we exchanged our general hobbies and interests. Unfortunately, she had just been to an OUSU meeting, but it was her first time and she assured me she wasn’t a hippy so I forgave her. However, OUSU did give me a chance to mention my radio show, which I haven’t done all term due to my play (did I mention I’m in a play?). I tell her about my ball-crashing prowess, and she warns against crashing her ball (but she conveniently told me how I could, so watch out Regent’s). Izzy made great conversation; there was no room for awkward pauses. But I don’t feel that a second date is on the cards – I’m pretty sure there was absolutely no flirting.
7/10 Above average Not enough chemistry
Are you tired of being single and alone? Volunteer for a Blind Date at firstname.lastname@example.org
Blues are by their very nature a rare breed, with a definite hierarchy in their ranks – rugby and rowing nearer the top, yachting and golf somewhat nearer the bottom. But all blues have one thing in common – a dedication to their sport that leaves little room for any other commitment, however casual it may be. They’re an exotic oddity on the Oxford social scene – for one thing, they’re actually vaguely attractive – but almost inevitably they spend almost all of their time in a team and rarely leave the nest, as their training schedules demand absolute adherence to a non-alcoholic lifestyle. That being said, when one encounters a Blue – as a rare, celebrated member of their old college team on an out-of-season crewdate, or just a random run-in at Wahoo, you’re in for a treat. Recently, one pounded shots with me like a champ before ripping his shirt open to the waist, slinging me over his shoulder and carrying me home like a sexy Neanderthal. Expect little-to-no sleep, a room decorated with trophies, protein powder and stash, and a solid high-five afterwards. In the morning, however, things were different – his body was incredible (goes without saying), but his face…? Unfortunately, I was not guaranteed the same luck. And there have been times when I’ve woken up alone as practice starts at 5AM, on a godforsaken river somewhere or down at Iffley gym – and oddly enough, seeing them blindly fumble their way into crumpled floor-stash which smells four weeks old isn’t that entertaining when they were inside you 20 minutes ago. Additionally, they’re always just too busy to be a place to ‘just crash’ when you can’t be bothered for the trek home after a fruitless night on the Park End cheese floor, or when you fancy a library break on a slow Sunday. All being said, Blues are a rare opportunity to shag someone who is actually fit, an extremely rare occurrence in Oxford – unless you’re a Blue yourself. In which case, please go back to the daily orgies that I assume happen behind the closed doors of Vinnie’s.
09.05.14 | Cherwell
Life&Style | 13
Shakespeare re-imagined: a novel choice Sara Semic speaks to author Marina Fiorato about ink and virginity in Beatrice and Benedick
he sunlight spilling onto author Marina Fiorato’s auburn locks and porcelain skin gives her a pre-Raphaelite air. I feel momentarily as though I am in Italy, speaking to one of the Renaissance heroines of her historical fiction novels. Marina’s books are steeped in Italian history and art, and her eyes light up as she tells me how, “all that burgeoning of art, and poetry, and every medium” that characterised Renaissance communities “seemed to have their moment.” She speaks of all the contemporary bloodletting, too, as well as the erudition and culture. “I think that’s what’s interesting. The juxtaposition of the culture and the savagery. That’s what the Renaissance is for me.” Marina’s latest novel, Beatrice and Benedick, narrates the past love affair of Much Ado about Nothing’s well-loved pair in an homage to Shakespeare (who turned 450 this April). Even this Shakespeare buff, who specialised in Shakespeare at the University of Venice after completing her History degree here at St. Peter’s college, tells me how the weight of Shakespeare’s genius was “very outfacing to start with”. Trying to take on his characters, she says, “felt like a very cheeky, audacious thing to do, because obviously they’re so wellestablished, and so well-written”. Ditching her first draft because it sounded “too much like Blackadder”, she allowed herself, and the characters, a freer reign. A turbulent sea voyage in the middle act leads Beatrice and Benedick to realise their mutual love. “I think you have to have that sort of darkness”, she explains. “We all get tested. I mean a lot of people seem to be blessed and have a lot of luck, but everyone has a little bit of something or setback, so it felt true to write it that way.” The stubborn nature and wit of Shakespeare’s Beatrice is seamlessly sustained, and we see just how tough and resilient she is.
“She decided to stand up for Hero rather than take everything she’d ever wanted, and I liked that about her.” The motif of ink has a crucial importance in the lives of all the characters, but especially for Beatrice; she is encaged by the lines of marriage contracts and certificates of virginity, yet liberated by the exchange of sonnets with Benedick. Whilst I was reading the book, I wondered whether this significance resonates with Marina’s own life. “Ink’s been my friend,” she tells me, “but for women in the past, ink has been a prison”. When writing about the marriage contract, she thought about the suppression of female agency in legal documents, which gets us both thinking about the interesting dichotomy even today. “Legally I’m Marina Bennett but when I write, I am Marina Fiorato, so my freedom, my identity, is my maiden name.” I ask Marina whether she thinks Be-
atrice would choose to change her name. “Not in a million years”, she says, like one would of a friend. It is this emotional investment in her characters’ lives that leaves her “feeling sad” having completed a book. The play’s Sicilian setting took the half-Venetian author out of her comfort zone, and drew her into the heart of the “very strange” cultural divide between North and South Italy. In Sicily, a woman’s reputation, “is and always has been extremely based around her chastity and her appearance,” she explains. “Women are much more emancipated now, but there are still behavioural codes that are placed upon them, and all of Hero’s tribulations in the book really feed into those Sicilian social codes,” which she says contrasts with a Northern play like Romeo and Juliet, “which is not really about Juliet’s chastity, but about rivalry and rival families.”When Marina did her research into clandestine marriages for her dissertation, she discovered the ordeals and public examinations that women like Beatrice underwent, to have their virginity checked. “You might even be in front of a court room and have somebody just stick their fingers in you, so it’s essentially an attack on your own personal space.” I ask Marina whether as a writer of Renaissance Italy she found her time at Oxford formative, or whether the course was particularly parochial. “Well, it was both those things weirdly”, she says. “I was working on clandestine marriage with Martin
The Science Column
hat is the most you’ve ever paid for a burger? Especially on a student budget, most people probably balk at more than £6 or £7, which starts to look like a pretty great deal compared to Professor Mark Post’s price tag of $250,000 per pattie. Of course, Professor Post’s burger has a few vital characteristics that set it apart from your average McDonald’s – it’s made entirely from stem cells, built up of 3,000 strips of artificial beef each the size of a grain of rice. Professor Post, a medical physiologist at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, presented this first ever synthetic burger for public consumption last August, the product of two years research and millions of euros’ investment from the Dutch government and Google co-founder, Sergey Brin. But why was so much effort put into creating synthetic meat when the haven of McDonald’s offers the perfect hangover cure for a mere £1.30? Post says it is because the demand for meat is simply too high to be supplied by old McDonald and his farm – the demand for meat doubled between 1961-2007, and by 2050 it is set to have doubled again. 30% of ice-free land is now used for growing food for livestock, and all those cows, pigs, and other delicious edible animals are producing 39% of the global methane 5% of the CO2. With the average Brit and American eating about 90 kg of meat per year, Post sees there being
an environmental imperative to create a new way to feed the masses. He says that, in principle, stem cells could produce 1 million times more meat than could be butchered from a single beef carcass (that amount of meat would weigh about the same as 230,000 cars – pretty impressive stuff!). Not only that, many want an ethical source of meat that does not involve killing an animal. Perhaps the meat would be healthier as well, if added nutrients can be added to the synthetic meat. But now for the kicker – what does it taste like? According to one food expert it was, “close to meat, but not that juicy” with another saying it had the “mouth feel” of a burger (these discerning insights lead one to think that maybe people are playing a little fast and loose with the term ‘expert’). So what is the future for synthetic meat? While able to make reasonably realistic burgers and sausages, high-quality steaks may be a way off as there is not yet a way to recreate that texture that comes from having a 3D network of blood vessels. There is also the potentially more difficult issue of people just not being able to deal with the idea of it not being ‘natural’ – the horsemeat scandal showed exactly just how much people care about knowing the identity of the dead animal they’re eating. Given that it’s likely to be 10 years before this technology becomes commercially available, you will definitely have plenty of time to decide what you think about – McDonald’s won’t be changing its beef sources any time soon.
My first draft sounded too much like Blackadder to see whether we could extrapolate any social codes from there, and Italy really spoke to Shakespeare, so he was sort of my conduit to the Italian Renaissance.” She tells me how there has been a strong lobby in Sicily to name the Italian Michelangelo Crollalanza as the author of Shakespeare’s plays, having allegedly written the source material for Much Ado about Nothing before coming to England and anglicising his name. I press her for her own view. “I do like these authorship debates”, she tells me. “There’s so much evidence permeating all his Italian plays that he knew so much about Italy - things that you wouldn’t really know from hearsay…. although I wouldn’t really like to take Shakespeare away from England because I feel like he is such a massive part of us.” Her vivid and sensory descriptions of the Italian settings make me wonder whether she’d ever try her hand at poetry, after illustrating and reviewing films. “I’ve never really felt the call, but maybe one day” she says doubtfully. “But I think if I look back on any of my earlier efforts it would be a bit embarrassing, so I’ll stick to books for now!”
Ingram at Brasenose, who was fantastic, but in a way, it was quite parochial and anglocentric, because I was dealing with particularly narrow bands of source material. But I was also working on Shakespeare as a historical source
ytham Woods – pronounced “whiteam” – lie at the northwestern edge of Port Meadow, on a hill which lies vigilant beyond the endless field. The hand-drawn map supplied to passholders in itself fuels the natural imagination: Rough Common, Healing’s Copse, The Singing Way, My Lady’s Seat, Five Sisters, and Marley Wood are all pencilled in among the crisscrossing lines denoting woods, paths and fields. These names all suggest familiarity and association; they hold in their very names decades of human exploration and attachment. Wytham Woods, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, are used by the University for biological research, and are meant to be one of the most studied areas of woodland in the world. It’s my birthday. We walk up to Wytham on a muted March evening, which wind and grey clouds threaten to damped. We pass Godstow Nunnery and make the slow climb to the wooden gates leading officially into the woods. It’s unusual being in a wood which is also a scientific laboratory. The area covered by the protected forest is only a few square miles – enough for a refreshing stroll but not quite sufficient to challenge muscles or breath. All around, birdhuts, used to monitor the great tit population, hang from old oaks, whilst in the open fields, nets are drawn over small patches of grass to measure their growth. Metal scaffolding stands skeleton-like among the upper branches of old trees.
There’s something comforting about being surrounded by trees. The perspective of looking through rows and rows of vertical boughs, sometimes, in the distance, matching up in a straight line, or otherwise opening up, allowing the eye to reach further, is cleansing. In such a forest there is of course much more than visual pleasure; there’s the sound of wind bending and creaking age-old timber, or the wiff of damp leaves, the smell of air, damp, imbued with life. The forest, as we walk along the Singing Way to the Great Wood, is quiet. All around us there is flourishing life, and yet a form of life which exists on a completely different timescale to the one we know. No wonder that forests have served as a source of contemplation and inspiration for so many centuries. As we enter the Great Wood, the large trunks of oak and ash make way for younger sprouts of hazel. The path winds down into a small valley and a light rattling sound fills our ears. The sound rises and falls like an eerie natural composition. At first wonderfully inexplicable, we soon discover that the sound comes from thousands of small metal circles nailed on to individual trees to keep track of their growth and position. A deer crosses the increasingly winding path, takes a brief, striking look back, before springing away. It’s getting dark now, and wearied limbs are calling for a much-needed rest. Soon boots hit tarmac again, and eventually we’re crossing Port Meadow’s deep mud, just as the rain, previously threatening and now lashing, drenches us to the bone.
14 | Life&Style
20p for Tesco Value 500g Spaghetti
le l i v er m So
vs ChristChur ch Regent’s 5
Alim Thawer and Trina Wilson
Amy Davy and Jai Kapoor
Joe’s Bargai n o f the Week
Houmous Girl stood forlorn in the midst of Tesco. Justitia, the Roman Goddess of justice, was traditionally depicted as holding a set of scales and a sword, emblemising the qualities of justice and honesty. Houmous Girl was holding a battered packet of ownbrand Weetabix, emblemising the quality of being completely fucking broke. Perhaps she should sacrifice a virgin goat to the eldritch gods of student finance. Otherwise it looked as though she would be spending the rest of term subsisting on a diet of strained baked bean juice, toenail clippings and whatever booze she could suck out of the rug in her downstairs toilet. At the start of term, that ASOS Marketplace crop-top knitted by hand out of the nipple hairs of Romanian nuns had seemed so very essential. At the bar in Bridge, those three shots of sickeningly purple syrup had seemed like a sensible micro-economic investment in an attractive capital asset. At Hassan’s afterwards, that tray of assorted rat trimmings had seemed like proof of a benevolent creator. And now, it was all gone. Obnoxiously Opinionated Guy maintained that money was a bourgeoisie affectation and a cancer on society: since he tended to make these observations in between sips of his tax-free Starbucks or from behind the Macbook mummy had bought him for his half-birthday, Houmous Girl had never taken him that seriously. At this point, staring down the barrel of Lidl, his opinions seemed a lot less obnoxious. She came to her senses to see Rower Lad lumbering towards her past the tubs of discounted taramasalata. His motives for venturing into the whole foods section of the supermarket were unlikely to be dietary: this was a man who counted Lambrini as one of his five a day. “Fancy bumping into you here,” he grunted unconvincingly. A gaze of smouldering passion is often metaphorically described as ‘undressing someone with your eyes’: Rower Lad was metaphorically right-swiping Houmous Girl with every lecherous glance. In vain she looked around for an exit. Shelves of falafel to her left, shelves of falafel to her right. Would there be any escape from the Valley Of The Shadow Of Park End?
Cherwell | 09.05.14
Somerville’s sultry stares or Catz’s kingly charisma? Vote now at www.cherwell.org
There are always plenty of tourists at this red trouser hot spot whose photos are begging to be bombed. At £8 entry, they should be grateful for a bona fide Oxford student thrown into the mix.
End up in a tourist photo
The Rad Cam
Many a tourist will try to press their lenses up against the windows of the most iconic of Oxford’s libraries - just make sure they catch you intently at work rather than stalking that guy from last night on Facebook.
Rob, 38, Homeless
Think you’ve got what it takes? Email lifestyle@ cherwell.org to enter the famously fierce competition
HUMANS OF OXFORD
Exam Schools (in sub fusc)
You could wear subfusc most places and wind up in the corner of a tourist’s photo, but being asked to pose whilst on the way to a 3 hour exam is always pretty galling. Make sure you smile!
3 Seco0 Inter nd view
Where are you from? Oxfordshire, although I was born in London. Do you like it here? Depends. At the moment, it’s not too great since I’m living in a disabled toilet. What are your thoughts on the students? They’re just people living here, you know. What are some memorable moments you’ve had here? Oooh, I’m racking my brains… I’ve seen quite a few celebs. Like who? Richard Branson. He took his wife out to Chutney’s. Snoop Dogg giving a seminar on cannabis. Oh and when someone told my girlfriend that she should “grow out” of her heart condition and that she wasn’t disabled because we were begging in the disabled toilet at the time.
“I am blinded by your glaring inability to look beyond the lame-stream .”
1 0 1
“You asked me once, what was in Room 101. I told you that you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world.” O’Brien
Bells, bells, bells Oxford may be thhe city of dreaming spires, but it’s also the city of seemingly a million bells, occascionally all ringing simultaneously. This may feature as a pleasant backing track akin to early morning birdsong for those residing in the far flung reaches of St Hugh’s, but for those in the centre any attempt at focused work on a Sunday is a futile endeavour. Try focusing on War and Peace when your skull is endlessly reverberating with the cacophanous efforts of enthusiastic bellringers.
Should Oxford students vote t
Ahead of the OUSU referendum, C+ investigates the Eleanor Sharman, campaign manager for ‘Believe in Oxford’
he NUS has many good qualities. It provides support for student unions, employment for students themselves and a platform for many of the politically-inclined. It is capable of co-ordinating students on a large scale, and its role is recognised beyond university circles. If the issue stopped there, this piece would be redundant. The issue does not, however, stop there. Nor does it stop anywhere near there. In fact, the issue stops about fifty miles and a plane ride away, because – put simply – the NUS isn’t working. The body’s role is to listen to students and represent them accordingly, to liaise with other SUs and organisations on students’ behalf, to enhance student welfare, and to represent minority groups. It is difficult, however, to imagine any body failing so dramatically to deliver. Five issues have been raised already. For brevity, this piece focuses on the initial three: listening, representation and mass co-ordination. Regarding the first: I have been a member of the NUS for a while. Never have I had so much as an online poll about my views. Getting to do the National Student Survey in third year is positively exciting. So is the NUS annual conference, perhaps. Elected delegates from across the country come together to determine policy. Sure, there are only 700 to represent two and a half million, and sure, the most first preferences that any Oxford NUS delegate received in Michaelmas was 253 of a possible 22,000 – but perhaps we could let that slide, if delegates represented our views accurately. Alas, it is not so. The majority of Oxford NUS delegates have neither the means nor the time to establish an accurate picture of student opinion. In most cases, delegates are dutybound to ‘represent us’ at Conference without any idea of what we think. Ask yourself about the last time that you knew the contents of a
A REFERENDUM will be held between Monday and Wednesday of 4th Week on whether OUSU’s membership of the NUS should be renewed for the academic year 2014-2015. The official question put to students shall be: “OUSU is currently affiliated to the National Union of Students (NUS). Should it continue to be affiliated: yes or no?” The decision to hold the referendum was made at 7th Week OUSU Council in Trinity Term 2013. The Education Act (1994) requires OUSU to decide annually whether it wishes to remain affiliated to external organisations such as the NUS. The decision to affiliate to the NUS was previously made by OUSU Council. However, due to changes in OUSU’s funding, a referendum is now to be held. OUSU’s membership of the NUS was previously paid for by earmarked funding from the University block grant. This meant that, if OUSU was not affiliated with the NUS, it would not otherwise get this funding. However, in its budget for the academic year 2013-2014, OUSU had its block grant from the University increased
motion at an NUS conference. Or, if your immediate friends aren’t involved, about the last time you were even aware that it was happening. Finally, co-ordination: the NUS has a role in uniting students and giving them a voice with the powers that be. It is easy to claim that only the NUS is capable of this large-scale work. But it’s not true. ‘Believe in Oxford’ is so named for a reason: in 2002, when tuition fees were introduced by the Labour government, the NUS stood paralysed by internal politics and in-fighting. It was Oxford’s own white paper that became the model for SUs across the country and around which every protest rallied. Oxford has a strong, clear voice of its own. By remaining part of the NUS in its current state, we are ceding that in exchange for – what? The ability to pay £12 for a discount card? The embarrassment of being ‘represented’ by people who refuse their political opponents a platform? The loss of £25,000 per year? This year’s affiliation fee is enough to fund OUSU’s Mind Your Head campaign 50 times over (or their Environment & Ethics campaign, or their Campaign for Racial Awareness and Equality, or their LGBTQ support). It is also enough to buy every student at the University
I understand what the NUS does for OUSU and Oxford students.
Strongly Agree (10%) Strongly Disagree (26%)
The affiliation fee could buy every student two G&Ts
a gin and tonic. Twice. The NUS and Oxford could one day have a strong, beautiful relationship. For decades, however, our marriage has been uncommunicative and bitter. Relationship therapy (“change from within”) has been tried for so long by some of the most passionate and devoted individuals imaginable. It has achieved nothing. Divorce is a final and unwelcome resort. But it is the only way forward for us both. to approximately £500,000. As part of this, the earmarking of funds was removed. For the first time, OUSU now has full discretion on how its block grant from the University is spent. This means that OUSU now has the option of spending the part of its grant previously reserved for NUS membership elsewhere. In 2012-2013, NUS affiliation cost OUSU £25,308 and was projected to cost £27,987.80 for 2013-2014, at the time that the motion to hold the referendum was passed. A C+ Investigation in the 5th Week of Hilary Term 2014 found Oxford’s cost of NUS affiliation to be £26,118 in 2013-2014 – 3.26% of OUSU’s £801,318 budget. However, the cost of NUS affiliation as a percentage of OUSU’s budget will be higher in future years, as part of the current block grant given by the University to OUSU is a one-off deal due to a loss of £58,000 which OUSU incurred in 2009. The leaders of the respective ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ campaigns for the referendum were chosen on Sunday of 1st week. Nominations to lead either of the campaigns were open from Sunday 27th
April until Saturday 3rd May. However, both campaigns had only one nomination each. Current OUSU President Tom Rutland was elected leader of the ‘Yes’ campaign, while former Chair of OUSU Council, Jack Matthews, was elected to lead the ‘No’. Both candidates attended the NUS Conference this year, for which Oxford had five delegates. The NUS National Conference took place in Liverpool between 8th and 10th April. Motions passed at the conference, included motions to oppose UKIP, oppose the privatisation of student loans and introduce gender balancing for all NUS committees and delegations. Current NUS President Toni Pearce was also re-elected. The ‘No’ campaign has already begun campaigning on social media, branding itself ‘Believe in Oxford’. The campaign has so far attempted to ask Oxford students whether they feel the NUS represents them. ‘Believe in Oxford’ have also attempted to emphasise how cost of affiliating to the NUS, roughly £25,000, could be spent elsewhere. Matthews has previously campaigned
extensively for reform of the NUS, creating the website TheyWorkForStudents.co.uk. The website aims to ‘unlock’ the NUS by making the NUS’ governing documents more readily accessible, as well as providing information on how the NUS is run and the contact details of NUS officers. In a recent blog post, Matthews compared the idea of disaffiliation from the NUS to that of a “strike”, using OUSU’s payment to the NUS as an incentive for the organisation to change. ‘Yes’ campaign leader Tom Rutland wrote a note on Facebook in April laying out what the NUS does for students. The piece emphasised the importance of rallying and organising students together on a national level. Rutland also listed some of the NUS’ achievements in the past year, including securing £45 million in postgraduate student support and the training that they provide to Students’ Union officers. Cherwell has conducted a survey of 150 Oxford students to test students’ thoughts on the matter. The survey found that the majority of students currently favour re-affiliation, despite
on: The NUS Referendum
to be affiliated with the NUS?
e pros and cons of the National Union of Students OUSU is currently affiliated to the National Union of Students (NUS). Should it continue to be affiliated? Strongly Disagree (13%)
Not decided (33%)
Source: Cherwell Survey of 150 students Photo: NUS Conference at Liverpool being unsure of what the NUS does. The survey shows that 66% of respondents either ‘disagree’ or ‘strongly disagree’ with the statement that they understand what the NUS does for Oxford students, while a further 11% of students answered ‘neutral’. In contrast, only 10% of students said that they ‘strongly agree’ that they know what the NUS does. Even if this is combined with the percentage that ‘agree’ with the statement, that means that only 23% of respondents claim to understand what the NUS does. Most students surveyed currently wished to remain affiliated with the NUS, despite the majority of them not understanding what it does, with 47% of respondents answering that they ‘agree’ or ‘strongly agree’ that OUSU should remain affiliated. Importantly, 33% of students are still undecided about which way they will vote, meaning a large body of students have not yet formed an opinion on the issue. Furthermore, while our survey suggests that the ‘Yes’ campaign are starting with an advantage, the
majority of students still do not back actively reaffiliation. It appears voter turnout will have a major impact upon the outcome, with only 20.8% of the student population voting in the OUSU elections in Michaelmas. Given the extensive coverage this received and the more immediate relevance of those elections for Oxford students, the turnout for this referendum is likely to be lower. When Cherwell asked students whether they were going to vote in the NUS affiliation referendum only 38% said they planned on doing so. In addition, 34% of students claimed they did not plan on voting, while 28% responded that they had not yet decided. Therefore, even if most students are currently sympathetic to remaining in the NUS, whether they feel strongly enough to participate in the referendum will be a key determinant in its outcome. Voting will take place between Monday and Wednesday of 4th Week.
Tom Rutland, leader of the ‘Yes to NUS’ Campaign
epresentation and activism is how you improve students’ lives, whether at a college, university or national level. Oxford students come together in their common rooms to win low rent rises and proper welfare provision within their colleges. We work together as OUSU to win the right to resit Prelims and ensure that you don’t lose access to the counselling service and libraries if you have to drop out for a year. We fight with students across the country to successfully oppose cuts to vital access funds. If we didn’t work together, we’d be far worse off than we are right now. Just this year, NUS lobbying has saved hundreds of millions of pounds in undergraduate access funds from cuts (the Student Opportunity Fund and the National Scholarship Programme). They have secured £45 million of funding for a postgraduate student support scheme. And they’ve stopped the practice of universities being able to prevent you from graduating if you’ve got a £2 library fine leftover from your time here. There are more struggles ahead though: for example, the government is planning to cut the Disabled Students’ Allowance, a lifeline for disabled students that has been shown to improve degree outcomes. We’ve got to be a part of these campaigns to make sure all students — including those here in Oxford — have the opportunity to thrive at university. Don’t be fooled by the numbers. The ‘No’ campaign are talking about NUS membership costing £25,000, but this is a misleading figure. NUS Extra Card sales make us back just under twelve thousand pounds, a number that is growing by thousands of pounds each year. We also received two grants this year of £1,000 to run the Student-Led Teaching Awards and to do green work with the University – reduc-
ing the net cost of our affiliation to just over £10,000. When you consider the achievements of the NUS in the last year, including the support and training they provide to ensure your sabbatical officers are equipped to do the best job they can and the money individual students save through their NUS Extra Cards, it’s clearly money well spent. Over 2,200 Oxford students currently take advantage of the NUS Extra Card, granting them a massive array of discounts they wouldn’t otherwise be able to enjoy. Whether it’s online shopping, 10% off all food and drink at the Co-op, or the free cheeseburger at McDonalds, OUSU’s affiliation to NUS puts money back in the pocket of individual students. What’s more, you’re now able to have an NUS Extra Card for the first year after you graduate – meaning whether you’re taking a break between university and work, or moving into your first job, you can still save a ton of money by holding on to your discount for another
Disaffiliating from the NUS would cost Oxford students money year. Disaffiliating from NUS would cost Oxford students money, isolate us from the national student movement, and weaken both unions. We have a national movement of students making national decisions affecting us all. Oxford students have a right to be involved and have their voice heard in elections and policy decisions. My year as OUSU President has shown me the value of NUS – and when Louis Trup and I agree, hopefully we’re onto something good.
£26,118 How much OUSU recieved in income from the NUS in 2013/14
How much NUS affiliation cost OUSU in 2013/14
£7,500 Percentage of the NUS’ total income that came from affiliation fees in 2013
Does the NUS do enough? C+ takes a look at what the NUS does for students C+ asks if an NUS Extra Card is worthwhile
Do you plan on voting in the NUS affiliation referendum?
Aston Student’s Union Cardiff Metropolitan University Student’s Union
he NUS discount card has traditionally been seen as the most obvious benefit of NUS membership. However, with many shops and restaurants now offering a generic student discount and some Oxford colleges setting up their own discount schemes, some students are increasingly questioning whether having an NUS Extra Card is worthwhile. St John’s and Balliol both have college discount schemes, with the Oxford Union also negotiating ‘Treasurer’s Treats’ for its members at various businesses. These are perhaps more useful to Oxford students on a daily basis, considering the number of independent businesses in the city. On the other hand, access to these discounts requires membership of a college or society that operates a discount scheme and claiming to represent a market of seven million consumers is an obvious advantage for the NUS, when negotiating discounts; especially with national chains. By far the most valuable discount available with an Extra Card is the partnership the NUS announced in September 2013 with The Cooperative Food. They negotiated a discount of 10% for all Extra Card holders on their groceries from the Co-operative at more than 3,600 of their food stores. At the same time, given that many Oxford students eat their meals in their college hall, the usefulness of this discount may be limited. Other discounts which cardholders are entitled to, such as 10% off at ASOS or 20% off at Vision Express are also worthwhile. But it is questionable how useful or substantial some of the discounts the card offers are. For example, the offer of Virgin Balloon Flights for £89pp or 4% off holidays with easyJet Holidays are less appealing. Finally, the NUS Extra Card is not prohibitively expensive at £12, and can be used effectively if one is aware where discounts are available. This makes the loss of eligibility for the card Oxford students will suffer, if disaffiliation occurs, something that many are likely to consider when they vote.
National Union of Students
1922 The year the NUS was founded at a meeting held in London
The number of student unions affiliated with the NUS
The cost of an NUS Extra card, which gives students access to a range of discounts Sources: nus.org.uk
Student unions not affiliated with the NUS
Dundee University Student’s Association
Glasgow University Students’ Representative Council
Glasgow University Union Imperial College Union University of Southampton Students’ Union University of St Andrews Students’ Association
Source: Cherwell Survey
C+ investigates the alternatives to the NUS
isaffiliation from the NUS is certainly possible. The question confronting Oxford students is whether or not it would be desirable. There is no straightforward substitute to the NUS, as approximately 95% of all higher and further education unions are affiliated to it. However, there are two plausible alternatives. The first is to join an organisation like The National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC). The second is for OUSU to aim to ‘go it alone’ and try to perform the functions that the NUS currently does for it.
1. The National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts The NCAFC is a democratic, membershipbased organisation that was created in February 2010 at a convention hosted by the University of London. The NCAFC took a leading role in the 2010 protests against tuition fees – a role many students felt the NUS under Aaron Porter failed to provide. As the organisation is currently constituted, no Student Unions are currently affiliated to it. This is because members only join only on an individual basis. However,
James Elliot on how the NUS works and how to get involved
his year I was elected as one of the delegates to the NUS Conference, where I successfully proposed Oxford’s motion to change NUS policy on the public ownership of student loans. I was also elected to the NUS National Executive Council at the Disabled Students’ Conference. The NUS is Britain’s second largest member organisation – here, I’ll briefly explain how it works and how you can get more involved.
it is the only student organisation in the country, other than the NUS that currently has an infrastructure in place capable of organising national campaigns across multiple universities. The group is also thought to have many of the democratic and transparent structures that the NUS is sometimes claimed to lack.
2. OUSU OUSU has plenty of potential and is still growing as a students’ union. If Oxford students were to disaffiliate, it would be able to represent students on at least some level, and cooperate with the NUS, as and when Oxford students want it to. One of the unions that has done this is the Imperial College Union. A founding member of the NUS in 1922, ICU chose to disNUS policy is written by students. Here in Oxford, myself and others wrote a motion opposing the privatisation of student loans, which could lead to higher interest rates of repayment on loans for students. OUSU Council passed this, as did the NUS Conference – where the delegates of every affiliated students’ union were able to vote. Hundreds of other student unions did the same, across all the different liberation campaigns (BME, LGBT, Women and Disabled). This is how the NUS democratically decides how it will represent students – despite the diverse political opinions students have. For those who doubt how students can influence the NUS, this year, at Oxford, we’ve shown that we actually can help determine what the NUS’s policies are. From that point it is the responsibility of the National Executive Council, which is elected at the National Conference and at the Liberation Conferences, to implement these policies.
affiliate the following year, due to increased membership costs. Since then, it has repeatedly re-affiliated and disaffiliated. The ‘No’ campaign, christened ‘Believe in Oxford’ will be keen to demonstrate the leadership potential OUSU has shown in the past. For instance, in 2003, OUSU published a paper named ‘The Alternative Future of Higher Education’ that called for direct, progressive taxation to fund Higher Education through increases in income tax at the top end, as well as the introduction of a non-means tested living grant. However, that the current OUSU executive largely want to stay in the NUS should not be ignored.
As a result of Oxford students’ decisions, next year the NUS is going to be campaigning against tuition fees, for the living wage, for better rights for student tenants, among a host of other policies that students unions voted on. In particular, I’m focusing on stopping cuts to the Disabled Students’ Allowance, which mean lots of disabled students here in Oxford will lose specialist equipment they need to study. Finally, it’s worth mentioning that I don’t always agree with the politics of NUS, or the stances it takes. It’s a union of seven million members, and your view won’t always be in the majority in a vote. But I invite anyone genuinely concerned about the student movement, the state of education or education cuts to get involved. Write a motion for one of next year’s conferences or run to be a delegate. Behind all of the policy, the NUS’s strength can only come from students being opinionated, active and, of course, involved.
09.05.14 | Cherwell
Food and Drink | 19
Beyond Meat: futuristic food Liz English explores new sources of eco-friendly nutrition
ou may not realise it, but there’s a crisis looming amongst your Everyday Value chicken thighs and Kettle Chips. As the world’s population grows, there’s everincreasing demand for resources, and food production is one of the biggest drains. Meat production is one of the biggest causes of climate change, thanks to huge carbon dioxide and methane output, and there’s constant pressure to find enough land to grow crops to feed so many new mouths. This hasn’t gone unnoticed, and there are a large number of initiatives to counter the problem. Paul McCartney has been spearheading the Meat-Free Monday campaign, aimed at getting us to eat even a little bit less meat and thereby reduce our environmental impact. Others have been proposing a new and more efficient way of farming, using hydroponics (growing plants in containers floating on water) to make huge vertical farms – think of a leafy skyscraper and you get the picture. All this is great, and sure to have some effect, but what if we’re not thinking big enough? Or rather, what if it’s our concept of food altogether that is the problem? Interestingly, it is the dotcom entrepreneurs that are pushing forward such thinking. One such project is Beyond Meat. As the name might suggest, the company aims to remove the need for animal protein for good, but not through McCartney-style abstinence. Instead, they produce a substitute from pea and soy protein to give us our meaty fi x without an animal in sight. I know what you’re thinking – surely that’s what Quorn is for? Beyond Meat is different in that it doesn’t rely on fungi and actually tastes like meat. The texture is unnervingly realistic, which could
prove a barrier for seasoned vegetarians, but the concept is there. As we continue to develop more efficient farming techniques, the environment impact of eating ‘meat’ could become no worse than relying solely on plants. Rather more extreme, but certainly more interesting, is Soylent, a US startup that has raised over $2 million from members to fund the product. The concept is simple: a life without solid food. The idea started when three 20-somethings in San Francisco, California failed in their attempt to make it big in Silicon Valley. Down to their last few dollars, they realised that the biggest cost of living was food, and decided to apply a scientific approach to lower the costs. After much research, they broke down the nutritional needs of the average human into 35 components, and ordered each of these in powdered form. Mixed together with water, this concoction was enough to sustain them and a business was born. Since then, they’ve refined the formula and have been, along with hundreds of other pioneers, been living solely on this Soylent for well over a year with no ill effects. What’s so powerful about this idea is that they’re not simply selling a product, but actually giving away the formula for free. There’s a huge online database of new and interesting variations designed by the public and tested. The aim? To have a world without a need for food, a world in which cheap nutrients can be produced with little environmental and monetary cost before being made available to those most in need. We’re only on the cusp of this brave new world, and it may never come to be – but watch this space.
Recipe of the
Ingredients (Makes 1) 150g crushed biscuits 3 tbsp melted butter or margarine 200g tub of cream cheese 8 tbsp sugar 120ml whipped cream 2 tbsp lemon juice Fruit (optional) Method 1) Mix together the biscuits, butter and 3 tablespoons of the sugar, then press into a tin. If you can, use a loose-bottomed tin as this will make removing the cheesecake so much easier. If you don’t have a tin, Frisbees work just as well. 2) In a large bowl, whip the cream cheese, lemon juice and sugar, before gently stirring in the whipped cream. 3) Whip the cream cheese mixture for as long as your forearms allow to make the mixture as light as possible. 4) Pour the cream cheese filling into the tin and leave in the fridge to set. It’s best to do this overnight or for a couple of hours, but if you’re pushed for time then giving it 30 minutes in the freezer and 30 minutes in the fridge will do the trick. 5) Top the cheesecake with fruit to serve; I’d suggest some mixed berries with compote for maximum taste!
Cocktails with Cai Counter the stress of Oxford life with a lovely glass of The Monkey Gland As the trials and tribulations of an Oxford student’s life take their toll, you’d be well within your rights to want a stiff drink this week. If you’re at all like me, the mere taste of vodka or rum brings with it the ghost of night-outs past, and so perhaps it’s time to – pardon the pun – shake things up a bit. This week’s cocktail makes great use of absinthe, which isn’t exactly your average bop-juice fare. Not just famed for its interesting ingredients, the reason for the Monkey Gland’s strange sobriquet provides some fun facts over drinks as well. The Monkey Gland was invented by Harry of the New York Bar in Paris, the acclaimed creator of the Sidecar and the Bloody Mary. He was inspired to concoct the
drink by Serge Voronoff, a Russian surgeon with a rather peculiar way of doing things. Though nowadays men have Botox and Viagra to keep looking and performing as they used to, back in the 1920’s that simply wasn’t the case. Voronoff decided that one sure-fire way to combat ageing and impotence was to perform a transplant using the testicular glands of a monkey. Yup. Naturally, people quickly lost faith in the man’s mysterious method, and now his work is enshrined in cocktail form for everyone to enjoy. A splash of grenadine gives the drink its alluring
Review: LMH weekly formal
scarlet colour and, in the absence of absinthe, Pernod will suffice. You can find the drink in Angel’s Bar on Little Clarendon, and you can be sure that the exhausting walk up to North Oxford will be compensated by this short and sweet aphrodisiac. Ingredients 2 measures of gin 1 measure of orange juice 1/4 measure grenadine Dash of absinthe Method Swirl a dash of absinthe in a chilled cocktail glass. Pour the other ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into the cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange slice.
I’LL ADMIT, we may have a slight bias towards our college, Worcester, but there is no one who can give a better review than two people who have a combined total of over 100 formals. Dinner begins with an odd call and response of knocks and bangs between high table and hall staff at the door, followed by the second-longest grace in the University. Bread is pre-laid on the table and surreptitiously swapped to get one’s favourite type. The starter was the suspiciously-spelled gratinated fish – as dubious as the name sounded, it was surprisingly delicious. It was a delightful muddle of sea food, including salmon, cod and scallops, in a creamy cheese sauce, topped by crispy breadcrumbs. As a boneless dish, the fish knife was simply a pleasant detail. The braised steak for mains proved thick and juicy, yet tender, and the accompany-
Worcester formals have made us expect impossibly high standards. Ultimately, however, this was tasty but boring ing gravy with mushrooms was rich and flavoursome, with a satisfying savouriness. Unfortunately, the sides were rather dull by comparison; the new potatoes were disappointingly bland, boiled and buttered; nice but average. The spring greens were equally fine but boring, and regrettably lacking in the bacon bits promised on the menu. The dessert was Mango Delice, one of the many types of fruit mousse slices over a thin layer of cake that the Worcester kitchens like to serve up. The delice proved to be smooth and tart, served daintily with a swirl of cream and strawberry slice. It too however was fairly unexciting and missing the intense mango flavour I would have liked. Still, in the warm summer weather, it was refreshingly light and airy. I have to add the disclaimer that we may be biased in another way; so many Worcester formals have made us expect impossibly high standards. Ultimately, however, this Worcester formal was tasty but boring; the starter was delicious, the steak was succulent but with uninteresting sides, and an uninspiring but “nice” dessert. Isaac Goodwin and Gayatri Gogoi
PHOTO Bluebells in Bloom
FASHION Fashion Matters
From Catwalk to Closet: Nineties Growing up, so many of us watched Friends and Clueless and secretly wished it was still acceptable to wear above the knee socks and scrunchies. Fantastically, now we all can. The 90’s are back and in a big way. Most of us were still in our jelly shoes during that decade, but now it’s our chance to wear that co-ord skirt and top with pride. Get ready to practice your best Cher Horowitz “as if!”. LILAC ‘90s SQUARE CROP £8.00, MISS SELFRIDGE This is the must-have staple cami for Summer 2014. At only £8.00, this a cheap and easy way to inject the ‘90s trend into your wardrobe. We’re loving this for clubbing, paired with a skort. Alternatively, rock up to your lectures wearing this with a denim shirt thrown over for effortless grunge.
Cherwell’s fashion team explores ‘normcore’, the trend that everyone’s talking about.
ften described as “self-aware stylized blandness”, or “a desire to be blank”, ‘normcore’ is something which many have found hard to explain. Apparently “you know it when you see it.” But let’s dial it back a little. The phrase itself seems to have emerged out of nowhere this year, though the more fashion-conscious may have noticed that it really came to the fore around February, amidst the hubbub of the Autumn/Winter 2014 catwalk season. The ‘frow crew’ of celebs bandied it about in tweets and Instagram posts, while the culture vultures posted about it in the New York Magazine and the Huffington Post. Best Dressed lists tried to fit in the normcore street style, whilst still leaving the average viewer scratching their heads in wonder. What more in terms of clothing could fashion possibly have to define? As I write this, Metro has just posted a new headline claiming that, ‘Kate Middleton is fashionable! She’s the Duchess of Normcore.’ Ignoring how this headline is sourced from US Vogue who, as with many in America, hold a certain fascination with the British Royal Family, it’s evident that normcore is making headway as a ‘fashion movement’. As it stands, normcore is blankness of dress – the ability to be cool without obsessing about colour, pattern or cut. It is conventionality, nondescriptiveness, and yet it is also stylish in a way that transcends blandness. Are you confused yet? For the average reader, what is the difference between just dressing plainly and fitting into normcore? If you slap on jeans, a white T-shirt and an old pair of trainers, are you now part of the normcore crew? Whilst none of us have multi-million pound designers clamouring to give us stylish clothes, Kate Middleton’s style is not overdressed or extravagant in her everyday wear – there are no sweeping gowns, no flashy jewels, no diplomacy stealing heels. The recent Australia and New Zealand tour has shown the young royal family to be down to earth, and worldwide fashion mavens have made reference to Kate Middleton’s normcore styling. That said, it is arguable that normcore is not as new and revolutionary as it may seem. In the tradition of ‘downtime model style’ we can see the prevalence of the same elements that seem to define normcore – trainers, a simple tee, maybe a jumper or a baggy cardigan, jeans, and perhaps a few rips for a bit of interest. So if this sense of style has appeared offrunway before, why does normcore appear to generate so much interest now? Perhaps this can be attested to the growing prevalence of celebrity and media news outlets. Even twenty years ago, catwalk shows were just what they seemed. The focus was on the styles and designs of the designer only. Today though, with the increased celebrity culture and the hyped nature of million dollar adverts and endorsements, the names and faces that watch the show are just as important. Models, Freja Beha Erichsen and Edie Campbell, have been sighted outside various fashion shows, heralding the continuation of normcore culture through their simple, unassuming attire. To the ordinary Joe, it may just seem that the normcore devotee is a member of the well-dressed folk, a hyped version of the fashion world’s attempt to prescribe a name to something that should be otherwise recognized as ordinary (and by no means negatively), but whatever you make of it, normcore is here to stay. Aimée Kwan
CLUELESS METALLIC SILVER BACKBACK £24.00, OH MY LOVE LONDON This is the only way to carry round your copy of the Iliad this term! We’re welcoming back the 90’s with backpacks. Both practical and stylish, this metallic bag will add a touch of fun to your otherwise essay-crisis filled day. Keep the rest of the outfit simple, to avoid looking exactly as you did in 1996!
Images (Clockwise from top): Miss Selfridge, Motel Rocks, ASOS, OhMyLoveLondon.
MARY LONG SLEEVE CROP £25.00, MOTEL ROCKS motelrocks.com gets the 90’s trend just right. This sun and moon crop top is a Cherwell Fashion favourite. We can’t help feeling like Sabrina the Teenage Witch in this mystic print. With some silver earrings and high wasted denim levis, your outfit for this term’s No Scrubs will be sorted.
RODARTE ‘14 - www.style.com
Suit and Tie
PLEATED HAIR SCRUNCHIE £3.00, ASOS Scrunchies are fun, they don’t tug on our hair and can transform even the most boring of ponytails into something exciting.This may be your last chance to ever wear one again, you won’t be pairing one with a suit for your graduate placement at EY will you?
Summer Footwear Speaking from experience, when it comes to footwear it is easy to resort to the comfy, flexible pair of shoes we’ve worn for the past few summers because they can be worn with anything. And frankly, it’s no surprise. Considering the limited sunshine we enjoy in the UK, we ought to enjoy as much of it as we can, rather than deliberating over what shoes to wear.
Beginners: Whether you’re punting or picnicking, I would recommend a pair of boat shoes (practically every store on the high street is offering a pair this season). Sperry has a solid range, of which I would recommend this classic brown leather pair (Schuh, £85) – teamed with chino shorts (preferably blue) and a polo shirt, they’re suitable for any sunny day. Boat shoes were designed to be worn on marinas and yachts, and so can bring a summery look to any outfit, as long as you make the slight adjustments necessary – rolled up sleeves and trouser hems; neckerchief instead of a tie. However, we’d recommend steering clear of an overtly nautical theme.
Fashionistas: Now, for a truly individual look, forget about trying to match clothes – you need colour and you need to clash. Why bother with espadrilles which everyone owns, or boat shoes which are fashionable but practical? Go for these Hawaii Sunset Plimsolls (Topman, £25) – team with white, rolled-up trousers or shorts, and a crisp pastel shirt to match the tones in the shoes. To top the look off, either get a pair of short ankle socks which can’t be seen (available from pretty much every store) or ditch them entirely. While a good pair can have a great effect, why spend time trying to find a pair of socks matching your outfit? Summer means sockless, all the better to quickly get outside.
Art and Design Foundation student Lizzie Terry is on trend with her perfect combination of textures. The leather sleeves on her Zara coat contrast beautifully with her black suede boots, and the leopard print Whistles skirt keeps this look youthful and fun. We also love how she’s managed to work our favourite monochrome trend, while still keeping it age appropriate. The patterned skirt combined with the solid block-colours in the coat create a really attractive silhouette, and the black opaque tights and dark blue bag show she knows how to accessorize! Finally, her high pony-tail emulates classic off-duty model chic.
Model: Rachel Holmshaw Photographer: Leah Hendre Tree of Gondor Body: Black Milk Clothing, Jeans: MOTO Topshop, Cross-over Top: Forever21, Orange Bandeau: Primark, Shorts: MONKI, White crop top: ZARA, Leather jacket: Matalan, Black pumps: Clarks, Boots: New Look.
22 | Fashion Cherwell | 09.05.14
09.05.14 | Cherwell
Fashion | 23
theme... k’s e we
Beauty is truth, truth is beauty
Luke Barratt considers the overwhelmingly visual nature of our cultural consumption
poem, Ankylosing Spondylitis, which resembles on the page the twisted spine which it describes. Early novelists such as Laurence Sterne liked to experiment with ideas like this in their books. In his novel The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, Sterne uses numerous visual subversions of the traditional novel. A black page “mourns” the death of one character, squiggly graphs indicate the progress of the narrative line and at one point the author offers an empty page to the reader so that they can include their own description of a character’s beauty. And in our technologically advanced age, visuals have begun to play an ever-increasing rôle in various forms of culture. Every other film these days is described as a ‘visual spectacle’ for its special effects, its use of 3D, its CGI monsters. But visual effects have always been important in performance art. Ancient Greek actors wore exaggerated masks to show what emotions they were supposed to be feeling, for those audience members who were too far away to see.
he way something looks, no matter what it is, has huge relevance to the way in which we perceive it. What a person wears, the shape of their body and the complexities of their face can, whether they should or not, have a significant impact on how we view them and even how we treat them. This is no different in the world of culture. From 40,000-year-old cave paintings in Spain to the latest Captain America film, visual spectacle has always impressed us. And it’s not just man-made images and visuals that have an impact on us. The beauty of nature has long been a subject dear to Man’s heart. Frescos from Minoan Greece dated around 1500 BC include loving depictions of leaping bulls, mythical creatures and swimming dolphins. Like ancient David Attenboroughs, doubtless these artists were considered national treasures. Of course, some of the earliest art was devoted to the improvement of architecture. Designing impressive and beautiful buildings was, for the ancients, one of the best ways of displaying their power and Ancient Greek architecture remains to this day some of the most beautiful. Furthermore, one only has to take a trip to Canary Wharf to see that we still display our power through the impressiveness of our buildings. However, beauty for beauty’s sake is not the sole purpose of art. In Ancient Greece, most art was created as a form of worship — the iconic Parthenon in Athens and the Temple of Apollo at Delphi are prime examples. Some of the greatest works of art throughout history have been in the service of religion, from the Sistine Chapel and da Vinci’s The Last Supper to the first sculptures of Buddha, which began to appear in the 5th century BC (though none would represent him in a full anthropomorphic manner until the
1st century AD). Though religion would seem to be an inherently spiritual phenomenon, concerned with how one feels on the inside rather than how things look on the outside, visual culture has always played a large part in the worship of deities. Even aspects of culture which do not seem to explicitly involve visual representations are intricately tied up with what they look like. Yes, we’re not supposed to judge books by their covers, but it seems unlikely that Harry Potter would have been as successful if it had had a vomit green jacket with no writing or pictures. Even the look of the words on the page is important, as any member of Cherwell staff (who has obsessed over which of two almost identical fonts to use for the culture spread) would tell you. In poetry, it is often vitally important how the words are presented, such as Simon A rmitage’s
Saturday - Monday
What you call it, GARAGE!? The Cellar, 11pm
Hammer and Tongue The Old Fire Station, 8pm
Visitors (2013) The Ultimate Picture Palace, various times
Freerange presents the best from the underground garage scene. Join Charris & BIll, Dubloke and Naughty Nath to “explore old, new and future Garage in Oxford’s most bass friendly venue”. At £5 all night, this promises to be the sweaty, obscure kind of music-y fun only Cellar can offer.
The 2nd Tuesday of the month brings us Hammer and Tongue — the Old Fire Station’s very own spoken word night. Featuring two star performance poets as well as a poetry slam to showcase local talent. This promises to be an evening of verbal gymnastics, comedy and controversy.
Pygmalion The Oxford Playhouse, Evening and Matinee performances Bernard Shaw’s classic exploration of gender and class comes to Oxford in this major new centenary production. Led by BAFTA award-winning actor Alistair McGowan as Professor Higgins, this is a production “bubbling” with wit, style and humour — definitely one to catch before it finishes.
For three days only, Oxford’s indie cinema presents Visitors, Godfrey Reggio’s sinister 2013 masterpiece. Composed mainly of slow-mo shots of faces staring eerily into the camera, this is a Beckettian experience set to a Philip Glass score. Described by The Guardian as “a graceful, dreamlike experience” — perfect for alleviating the stress of the Oxford bubble.
Picks of the Week
In the Middle Ages, dramatizations of Bible stories demanded accurate costumes for the participants. Despite modern perceptions of the theatre as a place where one has to use one’s imagination, high-tech stages like that of the National Theatre show that technology is advancing the visual potential of plays as well. What’s more, concerts are getting more and more extravagant. Justin Timberlake’s The
Art aims to add or reflect the beauty already in the world 20/20 Experience World Tour involved an insane light show, massive visuals of Justin’s face and a section of the stage shaped like a bridge going above the audience. Lady Gaga seems to break one performance boundary or another, every time she takes to the stage. Visual culture is an expansive study, and the philosophy of aesthetics is a popular school covering many of the ideas about beauty and images over which the human mind naturally obsesses. The way our world looks is vitally important to us, and we are constantly transfi xed by its beauty. The aim of art is at its most simple level to add to or reflect the beauty already in the world, and as technology advances, the scale of visuals that we can create increases exponentially. It seems we will never cease to be entranced by wonderful and spectacular pictures both natural and man-made.
Culture | 25
09.05.14 | Cherwell
Milestones Cherwell picks out a key moment in cultural history. This
Black Comedy Peter Shaffer (1965)
From the playwright who brought us Equus and Amadeus, Black Comedy is a one-act farce written to be staged under a reverse lighting scheme — the title is a pun. It opens to a darkened stage, playing out in complete obscurity, until a record player causes a fuse to short circuit. The stage is then illuminated as the characters are plunged into a “blackout”. It is a visual paradox, creating a descrepancy between audience and characters as the balance of what each party sees or doesn’t see is confused.
Seeing Things Seamus Heaney (1991)
Heaney’s ninth collection is preoccupied with exploring the relationship between the imaginary and real. The poems merge mythical otherworlds where dead and living merge with images of Heaney’s own past. The title poem is a snapshot image of a boat ride to church, with “the deep, still, seeable-down-into water” holding the same terror as the waters of Hades. Heaney ends with telling us that ‘it was as if I looked from another boat’ — he surveys the domestic scene as though from a godly height.
Christ of Saint John of the Cross Salvador Dalí (1951)
In a parallel to “Seeing Things”, this painting from the godfather of surrealism depicts Christ on the cross from an extreme upward angle, as though from the perspective of God, or from the altar. Christ is seen floating in a black sky over a body of water in which can be seen boats and fishermen. Unlike the usual images of the saviour, Dalí’s Christ is devoid
week, Naomi Polonsky considers the influence of visual artist Bill Viola
eonardo da Vinci spent years of his life obsessively studying the structure of the eye and the difference between monocular and binocular vision. He questioned the way in which artists depict three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional surface. Ever since the Renaissance, artists following in da Vinci’s footsteps have examined the subjectivity of the human visual process and its effect on art practice. One artist who has revolutionised the way in which art deals with perception is Bill Viola. Over the last four decades, Viola has experimented with videotapes, architectural video installations, sound environments, electronic music performances and flat panel video pieces. Indeed, many consider him to be the father of video art. Viola received a BA in visual art and electronic music and his work fuses these two mediums, creating pieces which confront all the senses. His installations are all-encompassing environments that envelop the viewer in image and sound, exploring aural as well as visual perception. In one of his video pieces, Walking On The Edge, two men, side-by-side, are seen gradually walking towards the camera on the backdrop of a hazy mountainous desert. They seem not to be advancing, yet they imperceptibly become closer. Mid-way through the video they cross over each other’s paths. Viola plays with our perception as the exaggerated slow motion makes it difficult for the viewer to detect the gradual movement In this surreal mirage-like setting, the
figures walk in a repetitive continuum, seemingly without beginning or end, neither forwards nor backwards. Both the figures and the landscapes are obfuscated, which makes them seem transient and immaterial. Interestingly this piece has no sound accompaniment, which adds to the surreal sense of setting. In Ascension, the shot opens with a dark expanse of water, punctuated by a shaft of piercing sunlight. The tranquillity of this image is disrupted when a fully clothed man plunges into the pool, his arms raised to his sides like Christ on the cross. Dreamers consists of seven individual screens that depict underwater portraits of people who appear to be sleeping. These paradoxical moving stills are accompanied by the sound of water, gently gurgling. As ever with Viola’s work, the colours and textures are hyper-real. The ten-minute long clip evokes historical and religious imagery and raises metaphysical questions about the human experience. Viola often depicts the presence of humans in material worlds enclosed by water, fire or darkness. When exhibited these seven screens create an immersive subterranean environment. Viola incites experiences that are both intangible and inexpressible in language. The art is as much about the viewer’s reaction as it is about the piece itself. It is left up to the viewers to interpret the work through the lens of their own perspective. The artist does not see himself as the creator of stories, but rather as a “secret observer”, using his video camera to let the viewer into his process of perception.
of crown and wounds. Both this and the unusual angle of the painting allegedly came to Dalí in a dream.
Poetry Corner To appear in Poetry Corner, email a poem (at most 20 lines long) to email@example.com. Handwriting
It’s my scrawl, my coded cipher. Armed from the others with floppy t’s and blurred e’s. It used to be “sloppy” : ” Hand writing clinic for you I think Mr……..”, But now it is artistic “Wow what lovely writing, you can’t read it … but still”. So through my life I’ve strewn these snapshots, In the margins of library books and reluctant thank you cards. They go with me, a crumbling shadow on which to build my character with a thousand strokes and puppet strings.
The Cherwell Review We’re looking for contributions to our inaurgural literary supplement, The Cherwell Review, with the theme ‘Tradition’. Enteries may be in a variety of formats: reviews, criticism, interviews, art, photography and creative writing. The deadline for submissions is Wednesday 5th week . To find out more email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday - Saturday
Lord of the Flies Keeble O’Reilly Theatre, 7.30pm
Will Samson Truck Store, Cowley. 6pm
Wolf Alice The O2 Academy, Cowley. 7pm
The Wickerman (1973) Magdalen
Left to their own devices, a group of schoolboys discover the human heart’s capacity for darkness. BAFTA-winning writer Nigel Williams’ adaptation of William Golding’s classic novel is brought to life in a “refreshing and innovative” production from Screw the Looking Glass — the group who brought us Another Country, Judgment at Nuremberg and Caucasian Chalk Circle.
The hidden gem of the Oxford music scene, Truck Store is Cowley’s gorgeous independent record store and cafe, regularly hosting in-store performances from up-and coming artists. This weekend sees Will Samson’s “fragmented, ambient electronica and minimalist folk” — perfect for a chilled-out start to 3rd week.
Oxford regulars Wolf Alice are working their way up the city’s choice of venues. Tuesday sees the North-London fourpiece come to the O2 Academy in Cowley, in what promises to be a stirring performance of songs from their highly anticipated new album Creature Songs, which is out on the 26th May.
Magdalen brings us this classic British horror starring Edward Woodward and Christopher Lee. Considered a cult classic, the film centres on the visit of a police sergeant to an isolated island, the locals of which practise a sinister brand of Paganism — a creepy continuation of May Day.
Picks of the Week
26 | Arts & Books
Cherwell | 09.05.14
“Une seconde vie”: Matisse’s last artistic triumphs revealed Enyuan Khong takes a tour of the Tate Modern’s new exhibition on the modernist master’s cut-outs
here is a tension at the heart of ‘Matisse: The Cut-Outs’, one that pulls between childish simplicity and complexity; between exuberance and violence; between idealism and a certain kind of wistfulness. It is a tension revealed by the title of the exhibition itself: ‘cut-out’. This is a medium that belongs to the tactility and play inherent in a child’s experimentation with art, but one that has been combined with such sophisticated precision that makes it radical and new; full of bold possibility. The Tate’s exhibition recreates the spirit of creativity and flux in Matisse’s studio, a succession of hotel bedrooms in the South of France. Riddled with bowel cancer and restricted to a wheelchair, the walls became Matisse’s canvas — his “little garden” — as he filled it with the joys and wonders of the outside world. He described these final years as “une seconde vie”, a second life, a hint at the energy and rejuvenation that shines through his work. Paper coloured with different shades of gouache paint was cut out and pinned to the walls, creating formations and designs that were in constant states of change and renewal. They were never still, but imbued with movement. Fish and birds, intertwined in vibrant fauna, dive and circle around each other; circus artists leap and throw knives; mermaids undulate; smoke rises out of enchanted lamps. There is a poignancy in the sheer excess of life teeming off these walls, fluttering in the breeze from an open window, waving gently as people passed by, and the physical constraints of Matisse himself as he conjured up this magical world around him. The Tate’s rooms are filled with relics from these days: pins, heaps of cut paper shapes, colour scales of gouache paint and glass shards
this experimentation, that sense of heightened tactility, become more apparent when viewing the Jazz collection, and comparing the original mock-ups to their printed counterparts. The contrast in texture, juxtaposition of serrated and smooth edges, intertwining of paper — all of this is lost in print, where a smooth flatness replaces the maquettes’ bold physicality. The overflowing exuberance of this exhibition belies the tumult of the external and personal worlds that surrounded Matisse. He was hobbled by illness and left by his wife of fortyone years; his muse, assistant and lover Lydia
from his design for the Rosary Chapel in Vence. Photographs show the cut-outs as they first appeared in Matisse’s living quarters-cum-studio, jumbled up with the objects of every-day life. Film footage shows Matisse himself as he cuts seamlessly into paper, the shape growing, bending and curling around the scissors as he works. As we see from the beginning of the exhibition, the power of the cut-out stemmed from its ability to change and be transformed, from its power of experimentation. Two matching still-lifes (Still-life with shell) stand beside each other; one a painting, the other a collection of cut-out shapes. Matisse used the cut-out to experiment with the composition of his painting, right down to the edge of the table, evoked by a piece of string to be re-angled and re-po-
sitioned at will. It is a combination of precision and experimentation that appears again at the end of the show, in Acanthuses, which — according to the curators — appeared with the perforations of more than a thousand tiny pin-holes in them. Motifs echo throughout — not just thematically, but in the basic components of each image. Repeating shapes crop up in everchanging contexts: the bursting red heart and yellow stars in The Fall of Icarus adorn the body of The Clown, lending it a sense of scarring violence, while the two dancers from a maquette studying the ballet Rouge et Noir reappear in print on a magazine cover for Verve IV with the same erupting centres, red superimposed over yellow. The simplicity and rawness at the heart of
The Tate exhibition recreates the spirit of creativity and flux in Matisse’s studio Delectorskaya attempting to commit suicide; his daughter soon to be arrested and tortured by the Nazis because of her work for the Resistance. A dark wistfulness permeates these beautiful gardens of life and magic, evoking an unattainable idealism, a desire for an impossible paradise. When asked by the poet and writer Louis Aragon how such brilliance could have been produced in a time of such darkness, Matisse’s response was simple and sad: “I do it in self-defence”. These works will inspire unmitigated joy and wonder, but it is a beauty which does not come untouched by complexity or melancholy.
your Ashmolean Loading Know Joel Nelson meets the collection of Titians the Canon O Cherwell calls for new additions to the literary establishment
ou might not have realised, at the age of five or so, that the creator of the charming world of the rabbit in a blue jacket was, in fact, a master of horror and, more importantly, very, very funny. I certainly never did. But thinking back, and leafing through two rather dark tales, those of Mr. Tod and Tom Kitten, I realised that here are three villains who are, as Beatrix Potter dryly states, very “disagreeable people”. Mr Tod and Tommy Brock (the fox and badger, if anyone needs reminding) are two archetypal villains. Mr Tod is sinister and mysterious; no one knows where he will be next, he moves from house to house, terrorising the creatures around him. Like all true bullies he is a dreadful coward — his anger at finding the badger in his house is terrible: “when he was outside the house he scratched up the earth with fury. But when he was inside he did not like the look of Tommy Brock’s teeth”. Tommy Brock is a more revolting character altogether; indolent and filthy, “he grinned all over his face”. He grins at everything, constantly — could there, I ask you, be a more horrible trait in a villain? And then what of Samuel Whiskers, sitting in his lit-
tle den, ordering about Anna Maria and plotting the imminent end of Tom Kitten in the form of a roly-poly pudding. As Benjamin Bunny and Peter Rabbit creep up to the house where Tommy Brock is asleep with the stolen baby rabbits, they see, laid out neatly on the table, an immense pie dish, a carving knife and fork, and a “chopper”, along with a plate, salt cellar and mustard. The bunnies, it turns out, are locked up in the — at the moment cold - oven! Benjamin is looking on at the preparations for the eating of his children. But this horror is outstripped by Potter’s wonderfully understated wit. Consider, for instance, Old Mr. Benjamin Bouncer, responsible for losing the babies, watching Flopsy spring cleaning in an attempt to distract herself. “Old Mr. Bouncer, behind his chair, was wondering anxiously what she would do next”. Or the less subtle, but classic line of Samuel Whiskers “let us collect our property — and other people’s — and depart at once”. I urge everyone who loved Beatrix Potter as a child to go back, flick through, and laugh out loud.
n the one hand, we have the daring and often divisive exhibitions of Modern Art Oxford. We are also truly privileged to have two paintings by one of the unquestionable titans of world art, Titian. God knows why they are in Oxford. The Ashmolean is a strange museum. Its collections are first class and fascinatingly obscure, and it can often feel as though it holds a juxtaposition of random offerings. There are historical artefacts of major importance, but also displays of Nineteenth-Century spoons and casts of some of the most famous works of antiquity. Somewhere in the middle of these competing collections come the rooms containing European Art. The collection is small but outstanding. An Uccello, a Michelangelo, a Tintoretto and many fantastic examples of Late Gothic icons adorn the walls. However, it is the two Titians that truly distinguish this collection. Tiziano Vecelli was one of the giants of High Renaissance art. As lauded in his lifetime as he is feted in death, he was made a Count by Emperor Charles V in 1533 and, following Bellini’s death in 1516, became the leading Venetian
painter. He freed the brush from exact description of tactile surfaces and details, instead depicting light though colour and expression of feeling. By the time of his death in 1576, his admirers argued that, while Michelangelo was the greatest sculptor who had ever lived, Titian was the greatest painter. His artistic output was prolific and its impact profound. This artistic skill and respected legacy is clear in examining the Ashmolean paintings. Each is exciting, masterful and features the tactile colours that defined the Venetian Renaissance. Titian’s Triumph of Love is indicative of his mastery of colour and the subtle approach to painting that allowed him to transcend the viciously competitive Italian art scene and establish himself as the preeminent artist of his age. His other Ashmolean work, Portrait of Giacomo Doria, is indicative of Titian’s contribution to his medium. Even to the untrained eye it is an impressive portrait. Naturalistic, while also stylistically accomplished, it offers a penetrating glimpse into the personality of this successful merchant and diplomat — even though it is known for its painter rather than its subject.
Film & TV | 27
09.05.14 | Cherwell
All the world’s a screen Marcus Balmer looks at how film has reinterpreted Shakespeare
Landmarks of cinema Psycho (1960) The setting. The music. The tension. Alfred Hitchcock’s greatest work is a masterclass in suspense and shock.
ilms are often considered to be definitive pieces of work. While the restaging of plays is passionately celebrated, peculiarly the industry of movie reboots has been vehemently decried by critics, supposedly symptomatic of a modern-day artistic slump. Despite the general disdain for the enterprise of re-interpreting narratives, the invisible culture guardians seem to grant exceptional ‘reboot privilege’ to one particular figure — William Shakespeare. This year, there are two major Shakespeare films in production. First is Cymbeline, a contemporary reimagining which moves this lesser known play from Ancient Britain to modern day New York. Starring Ethan Hawke and Ed Harris, Cymbeline is here cast as a grudge war between corrupt cops and a
If ‘reboots’ have worked so well for Shakespeare, why hasn’t it worked for the Hollywood movies? drug-dealing biker gang. Though it sounds ludicrous, one has to admit it’s intriguing. Second in line is the hotly anticipated Macbeth, led by a stellar double act in Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, this is an adaptation that promises to be electric. With such a plethora of Shakespeare retellings gracing our screens, one witnesses the potential for the reboot as an artistically satisfying endeavour. Admittedly, the ‘Shakespeare license’ has spawned some absolute shockers, and last year’s Romeo and Juliet that was head-thumpingly awful. However, 2013 also saw the bitingly funny and genuinely uplifting Much Ado About Nothing. Shooting the film at his home, in 12 days, with actors who are close friends, Joss Whedon’s monochrome vision of the woozy American elite is engineered with a profoundly personal touch. It’s entirely unlike the formality of Kenneth Branagh’s (equally brilliant) 1993 adaptation, but the world is certainly a better place for having both. By resisting the idea that any adaptation
could be perfect, the history of Shakespeare on film is a singular testament to the medium’s natural capacity for reinterpretation. For example, Lawrence Olivier’s 1944 version of Henry V is unashamedly patriotic, designed to resonate with Second World War Britain. Olivier famously compounded his nationalistic, glorious vision by only shooting the Agincourt battle when the sun was out. This stands in contrast with Branagh’s 1989 adaptation of the same play, which places Agincourt in a post-Vietnam world. Patrick Doyle’s heart-breaking score, the close-up shots of bodily wounds and the mud-strewn plain all underpin the film’s anti-war sentiment. The scene’s final shot is a stunning tracking shot as Henry carries one of these dead luggage boys across the array of bodies and away from the battlefield. The films are compelling in entirely different ways. However, it was Baz Luhrmann’s production of Romeo + Juliet in 1996, with its MTV sensibility and filmic thriftiness, that set the precedent for cinema as a bold means of reinventing Shakespeare. Consider how the film contains the story within a TV report — just another tragic news-item. It’s a bold opening, only possible in film, in which a seven second montage of 26 rapidly deployed images actually shows us the fated narrative of these ‘star cross’d lovers’, while a CGI statue of Christ is suggestively dwarfed by the buildings of Montague/Capulet business corporations. Cinema provides the opportunity for sensory assaults in a way which corresponds with Luhrmann’s violent, godless Verona. If reboots have worked so well for Shakespeare, why hasn’t it worked for Hollywood movies? Unfortunately, the process has commonly been a mindless case of profit seeking — which is a shame with a medium that is so ripe for revisiting and rewriting established narratives. Editing, special effects, colour blocking, cinematography, sound design — these are all dynamics used particularly effectively in film. They are devices that can be used to influence the way that we respond to a text. In production currently are remakes of 1994’s The Crow, 1990’s Jacob’s Ladder and 1986’s Short Circuit. If these projects were handled with the same care and adventurousness as Shakespeare’s texts have been, Hollywood remakes would be a cause for celebration rather than a sigh.
On cherwell.org this week...
his week, we previewed a local student short film showing at the Ultimate Picture Palace called Dan and Jon vs. The Funsultancy. A wonderful movie that demonstrates how student film-making is a thriving enterprise worth supporting. Our online reviewers also stood up for a number of films that have been generally derided in the national press. Wally Pfister’s
Transcendence was found to be a thoughtful and admirable sci-fi blockbuster, even if it was, perhaps, too intelligent for its own good. Also praised was John Curran’s Tracks. Despite suffering from a lack of narrative development, this story about the incredible life of Robyn Davidson is nevertheless a compelling and beautiful watch. Helped, of course, by the wonderful Mia Wasikowska.
Review: Blue Ruin
eremy Saulnier, director of Blue Ruin, is primarily a cinematographer. He is credited with performing that role, the direction, and the writing of the film, and it is not difficult to see how the three intertwine as visual and spoken cues are often complemented by aesthetic choices and colour palette. The first feature film Saulnier has had such control over, Blue Ruin is accomplished and compact, and refuses to compromise on his array of skills. Ostensibly, the film is a revenge thriller in which initially bearded Dwight (Macon Blair) parts the hair from his eyes and sets out to murder the man who has just finished serving a prison sentence for murdering his parents. His ritualistic shaving is the first moment of clarity in the film, occurring after about ten minutes of intoxicating blue washes, where the audience’s experience mirrors Dwight’s perspective. We watch him drift aimlessly through menial tasks, rummage through bins for food, and eventually settle down to sleep at night in his battered Pontiac, the “blue ruin” of the title. Once the news of the release of Wade Cleland, Jr. filters through, however, his existence is given purpose, and the film too gains direction. And yet, despite the obvious generic reference point, it would not be a spoiler to note that Dwight gains at least a part of the revenge he sets out for. The purpose of Blue Ruin is to dissect the aftermath of his revenge; examining whether any action that he manages to undertake actually furthers his cause in any productive way. On the level of its plot, Blue Ruin tests the validity of the adage that ‘revenge is a dish best served cold’ by forcing the audience to chew over every mouthful. Dwight wight might shave his mass of tangled facial hair in order to cre-
itchcock’s initial attempt at full-blown horror wasn’t a bad first try. Introducing so many references into the vocabulary of Hollywood, it is impossible to overstate how revolutionary Psycho was on its release. Even its iconic shower scene is more complex than is generally realised. Not only does the screeching violin soundtrack play as integral a role as the visuals, but in just 3 minutes it drastically challenged contemporary attitudes towards depictions of violence and sexuality. Though, sadly, now largely contrived due to the popularity of its many infamous moments, Psycho remains perhaps the most important horror movie ever made.
ate a disguise — he is startlingly transformed — but the lesson of the film seems to be that nothing can alter his pathetic core. One poignant moment of many in this darkly comic film is a scene that begins with Dwight attempting to reason with his sister through the translucent back door, while she potters around her kitchen. Even after discovering that he is a killer, Dwight gains no status in her eyes, and indeed gradually wilts as the film wears on; Blair is impeccably convincing in the role of a man caught up in something he has long since lost any control over. The film strips back many of the masculine, dominant characteristics we might typically associate with a revenge thriller hero, and challenges the clean conclusions of many similar genre flicks. Blue Ruin’s willingness to wallow in the failures of its protagonist simultaneously excites sympathy and pity, and Saulnier’s handling of Dwight’s narrative arc is sensitive. Ultimately, it is the distance he creates between himself as auteur artist and his project’s character that is most striking; his direction revels in the act of portrayal, rather than the subject it is portraying. Dwight’s flawed revenge is not smooth or clear-cut, and the humour Saulnier displays in enacting it — complete with a farcically messy headshot scene — is what steers Blue Ruin away from self-absorption. Like his symbolic, ruined Pontiac, Dwight’s failures are not romanticised, and neither are they indulged. They are spattered with the blood of revenge, and it gets everywhere. Matthew Main
acking singers lead an unusual existence, at once both on stage, yet behind the attention. And, as the tag line suggests, “Millions know their voices, no one knows their names”. 20 Feet from Stardom takes a well-deserved closer look at the lives of these lesser-known musicians, and tells their fascinating stories. Winner of the Best Documentary Oscar this year, 20 Feet charts
the careers of the leading backing singers for the greatest musical artists of all time, intercut with the praise of the stars themselves, ranging from Mick Jagger, to Stevie Wonder and Sting. Not only a fascinating look at a little-known but pivotal group of people in music’s history, 20 Feet from Stardom is worth seeing for its (unsurprisingly) stellar soundtrack alone.
28 | Music
Cherwell | 09.05.14
Drenge: all isolated and frustrated Rushabh Haria talks to Rory Loveless from Drenge about recent successes
Amen Dunes, Love
ove is the fourth studio album from Amen Dunes, the solo project of Philadelphiabased musician Damon McMahon. While his first solo effort under the mysterious moniker came as a result of Walden-style selfimposed isolation, it seems that this album of dreamy folk rock has been produced as a result of a more orthodox approach to recording. This fact may not be so obvious, given the characteristic wear of dissonances, reverberation and lo-fi distortion that many of the songs don, most obviously exemplified in the opening song ‘White Child’. In essence, the album makes for pleasant listening. McMahon’s highpitch voice is characteristically monotonous, often cutting through a repetitive guitar or piano riff. Apart from the odd choice of ‘I Can’t Dig It’, a song which doesn’t seem to fit with the rest of the tracklisting, the second half of the album is more interesting, musically and lyrically, a phenomenon that culminates in the title track. This, unfortunately is not saying much, given the bland lyrics detracting from the minimalist, pseudo-psychadelic charm of many of the songs. While Love has much potential, it feels as though the discord between these two features of the album lets it down. Kevin Harris
Kishi Bashi, Lighght
ighght, pronounced “light”, is both the title and content of a one-word poem by Aram Saroyan. Kishi Baski, AKA Washington-based indie pop artist and multiinstrumentalist Kaoru Ishibashi, is now using it as the title of his second release. The decision to use this as the title for his second LP is intriguing; there’s none of the apparent simplicity of the poem in his music. It’s busy and up-tempo, almost frenetic at times, but sounds radiant, as if the luminosity intended in Saroyan’s piece was given aural form. From the outset, staccato violin and vocals are spun and layered, to create a glorious anthemic sonisphere that screams of summer. However, the most wonderful thing about the album is how un-selfconscious it sounds. Saroyan’s poem sparked huge debate, not only about the merit of a one word poem, but also the question of what gives something artistic value at all. Ishibashi seems entirely uninterested in this question; he doesn’t care what you think pop music should sound like, and so becomes more sincere than some of his musical counterparts. It’s unconventional and ebullient; some of the most straightforwardly jubilant music I’ve heard in a while, and it’s infectious. Whilst the album fails to maintain these qualities towards the end, this does not affect the experience of the record as a whole. Adam Piascik
ory Loveless is on the autobahn to Berlin. For someone who used to be weighed down with the frustration of not being able to play in Sheffield, the success of his band, Drenge, comprising himself and his brother Eoin has taken them places they wouldn’t have imagined. When I ask him to describe the sound of Drenge, he candidly replies that “some people describe it as grimey and garagey — I’m not saying it’s unique — I’m happy to let other people categorise it in whatever way they want. We focus on the songs rather than align them to anything.” He also isn’t concerned at all about their relatively small following in the rest of Europe “We’re sort of working on the crowds in Europe — the more you play somewhere they bigger they’ll get. It’s pretty good to be frustrated when you’re playing, especially this kind of music, makes you work a lot harder, and do things differently.” Frustration is a buzz-word when it comes to Drenge. Fed up with not finding work or inspiration in their gap years, they decided to start playing music. “Our parents pushed us to do something — and we started jamming, keeping it up in between school work. People started picking up on the tracks in university, which was really cool.” But up until they received national attention after being mentioned by MP Tom Watson in his resignation letter from the Shadow Cabinet, they were faced with difficulties. “As we ventured out into the world, we realised how isolated we were. We found it really hard to play gigs in Sheffield to begin with, and that was a way we expressed ourselves. I guess it was just teen angst, not directed at anyone specifically. But it was as if we didn’t exist. We wanted to exist.”
And nobody could have anticipated their success. He admits that things are still slightly haphazard. “Everything has just been thrown together up to this point, so we’d quite like to plan ahead now a bit better.” Certainly their distinctively gritty brand of rock has developed as they have moved to playing music full-time: “The track listing on the album was chronological to how we recorded the songs. The last few were written about a year and a half after those at the start of the album. “The last few songs are more like the stuff we hope to do in the future, the ones I’m most proud of on there.” He states that, while it is difficult to speculate what kind of music they see themselves
playing in the future, he sees subjects moving away from angst and more towards personal issues. “It will have strong imagery in lyrics and emotion, but maybe less angry, harsh rock, and more thoughtful stuff.” Loveless also admits that there is still work to be done, “I’d say more and more the stuff we played early on has had an influence on us. It’s all about drawing on our experiences, such as playing in my dad’s jazz band at one point and doing gigs in village halls organised by one our teachers. I feel as although we’ve learnt how to play instruments a bit better,” he chuckles, “we’re still figuring out how to play together as a band.” Rushabh Haria
Her “lurve iyus oarsuhm!”
Where are they now?
hether you like it or not, there is no denying that Dolly Parton is an icon. Her impact on country music will be everlasting. Anyone who claims to have never enjoyed dancing to the thrillingly cheesy tones of ‘9 to 5’ on full volume is 100% lying. She once said “it takes a lot of money to look this cheap,” and sure enough, her platinum locks, love of denim and sizeable assets will forever make her the face of the genre. But with Blue Smoke marking the 42nd release by the Tennessee musician, it’s inevitable that not everything Dolly does is golden. In other words, Blue Smoke is bad. Very, very bad. Maybe Dollywood is running out of funds, or maybe the star needs some more botox. In any case, it feels as though Ms Parton’s latest release has come, not from the heart, but more financial requirements. Imagine: an intelligent monkey has been given a keyboard that perfectly assembles country songs when you press buttons that provide the ingredients, that’s Blue Smoke: completely devoid of creativity, or originality. You can forget about hearing any of the classic songwriting Dolly delivered
Blue Smoke is sort of enjoyable... as something to laugh at, not with. in her heyday. As I listen to the album to write this review, the friend sitting next to me asks, thirty minutes in, whether I’ve been playing the same Dolly Parton track in a loop. He even missed the cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘Don’t Think Twice, It’s
Dolly Parton, Blue Smoke
Cherwell delves into the later careers of one-hit-wonders so you don’t have to
T Alright’ amidst the swirl of country commercialism that coats each track. ‘Lover du Jour’ is an especially low point. Dolly sings addresses a “luhvurh boy”, and maintains she “is naht for yourh amoosement!” She insists that she is not a “starter” or “after dinner drink,” but the real deal; a filet mignon rather than prawn cocktail, so to speak. She even attempts to speak some “frayunch” herself, but reveals in a giggly vocal message as the music peters out that her “frayunch is oarfuhl,” but her “lurve iyus oarsuhm!” Christ. But there is no denying that ‘Lover du Jour’, though awful, is fun. And does Dolly Parton really try to be anything else? Granted, Blue Smoke is not a musical masterpiece or instant classic: there is no ‘Islands in the Stream’, or ‘Jolene’ and God knows, there is definitely no ‘I Will Always Love You’. But it is sort of enjoyable (in limited doses), if nothing else, as something to laugh at, not with. Helen Thomas
hey’re the 00s favourite Romanian redheads that left Louis Walsh speechless. This week Where Are They Now discusses the Cheeky Girls’ career after their seminal release, ‘Cheeky Song (Touch My Bum)’. They were an overnight chart topping sensation after auditioning for Popstars: The Rivals with a europop track written by their mother. However, it was not quite enough to avoid their now defunct record label, Telstar Records, getting into debt and failing to pay them £2.2 million. But with great bums comes great responsibility, and the Cheeky Girls have stayed resilient in the face of adversity. It’s been a reality TV roller-coaster for these two, having appeared on Braniac, The Weakest Link, and Snog Marry Avoid, where they were named “Transylvanian horrors.” They even auditioned for Britain’s Got Talent, but failed to make it to the semi-finals. Also, one of them went out with a Lib-Dem MP, and then got cautioned for stealing from her local Sainsbury’s. For some HTML goodness, check out www. cheeky-girls.co.uk. It hasn’t been updated since 2003.
09.05.14 | Cherwell
Stage | 29
From Page to Stage Review: The History Boys Luke Rollason chats to the directors of literary adaptations Naomi Polonsky is tickled and touched by Alan Bennett’s classic
his term will see two literary adaptations staged at the Keble O’Reilly, Oxford’s highest-profile student-only theatre. In an attempt to escape the method of interviewing that tells you nothing you can’t find out on a Facebook event, I met up with the directors of Lord of the Flies and Frankenstein (Dom Applewhite and Harley Viveash respectively) for an informal conversation about the nature, challenges and rewards of literary adaptation. LR: It’s a clichéd claim to say there’s a current ‘trend’ for literary adaptation, but it’s a convenient point for us to start, considering the huge popularity of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, and the theatre company Headlong’s adaptations. Do you think this is a new ‘trend’? HV: One of the things I’d been reading building up to Frankenstein was a book by Mike Alfred called Then What Happens, and the thing that he claims is special about adaptations is that they offer opportunities for innovation in theatre, because these are stories that are not designed originally for the theatre. That this transition isn’t natural or easy can lead to interesting choices. Often the very personal nature of a novel is something that’s hard to communicate on stage, like a story from one person’s perspective, and exploring ideas of perspective is something we are focusing on in Frankenstein. LR: The way modern theatre is made — as a spectacle — is highly influenced by how audiences are used to receiving stories in the cinema, and I’m wondering if you think adaptation in theatre is following a cinematic precedent for giving audiences what they know already? If books are so brilliant at telling a dense narrative, why put it on stage? DA: That is to imply that, if books are the pinnacle of telling narratives, then they are therefore untouchable. The thing with stage is, it’s so immediate, perhaps even more so than film, especially for actors. And both texts have been adapted before, as well as having their narratives reproduced by other texts. LR: Do you think that’s part of what appeals
It can get really indulgent if you ignore people’s preconceptions to you about staging an established literary text? I mean, both are absorbed into cultural consciousness but not necessarily read... HV: Well, for me those cultural misconceptions are really important, especially as we’re updating the text. We’re not creating a world in which Frankenstein already exists, but you have to be aware in a modern world there are already these versions of Frankenstein out there — you think of Frankenstein as Boris Karloff — and I think these have to be played with and addressed as much as the book itself, as another text that goes alongside it. DA: I think it can get really indulgent if you ignore people’s preconceptions. For me it’s more about trying to reinterpret, not necessarily what people already think about the characters, but more general stor y tel l i ng t r o p e s ,
because what’s central to Lord of the Flies is questioning what is good or ‘civilised’ and what is evil. LR: Talking about tropes, these are both texts that I think are very formative to our culture; we all studied them at school, and many of the more clichéd elements of both are only clichés because of these texts. What you’re playing with is not necessarily that text, but more how people relate to those texts; how that text has
People are protective about characters in novels because reading is so personal been interacted with and interpreted. DA: I always think no adaptation takes precedence over another — it can be the most amateur production, but it contributes to the conception of what the text represents and its cultural importance, however that person interprets it. HV: It’s not often done in Oxford, but I think the great thing with devising an adaptation from scratch is that it gives the play a lot of different voices. As the play goes on, we all work more and more in harmony and eventually everyone contributes to the same idea. What I hope we’ll create is a version of this story that is not a definitive version of it, but it’s an alternative version, that could only come out of the circumstances of being here, at this time, with these people. LR: To play devil’s advocate briefly, why call it ‘Frankenstein’? Doesn’t there come a point where you’re basically writing a new play? DA: I think it says immediately “there is more to this novel than what you think.” You’d hope that with every adaptation you explore elements you haven’t seen before of that text, but I think it’s important to acknowledge that this is a personal response, we should never pretend to be the definitive version, and nobody should be scared to say “well, I see it like this”. LR: What challenges or advantages come from a text with characters already established in an audience’s mind? Is it any different from working with an established playtext? HV: I think the difference is people’s assumptions about a play’s characters are often based on other performances; how that character should be performed, but people are protective about characters from novels because reading a book is so personal. With Frankenstein’s characters our source is less the novel and more our understanding of it; using improvisation to build these characters from scratch around the story. So, one of the decisions we’ve made is that the monster doesn’t have a physical deformity, but he accidentally makes himself a monster by interacting with people in a way he doesn’t realise is violent. Even when he has assimilated he acts in a very assumed way that is slightly unnerving. And that’s a distinctive decision but it’s a decision which we feel fits in with the story well. Lord of the Flies is at the Keble O’Reilly from the 14th-17th May Frankenstein, also at the Keble O’Reilly, is from the 28th31st May.
t’s not often that you go to a student production and forget that it’s not professional. And yet as I watched the Oxford Playhouse’s production of The History Boys I found myself thinking that the group of schoolboys and schoolmasters on stage were professional actors, if not the characters themselves. It’s hardly surprising that this cast boasts the crème de la crème of Oxford’s thespy talent when you learn that over 100 boys auditioned for the eleven male parts. Alan Bennett’s play, set in 1980s Sheffield, tells the story of a group of Oxbridge hopefuls undergoing an application process which involves fewer UCAS forms and more gay propositions than most nowadays. The play’s unlikely hero is Hector, an enigmatic teacher who believes exams to be the “enemy of education”. He is a source of profound inspiration to the boys, but has rather too strong a penchant for cupping their balls on his motorbike rides home. Benedict Morrison is flawless, portraying both Hector’s endearing and repellent aspects. Hector’s younger counterpart, Urwin, is brought to life by Harley Viveash, who also manages to convey the nuances of his character’s complex personality, through his witty rapport with the boys, who unfailingly end their interpolations with a condescending “sir”. The boys, Hector’s “ignorant little tarts”, are not only brilliant as an ensemble but also individually. Luke Rollason (Posner), Tommy Siman (Dakin) and Nathan Ellis (Scripps) all
provide strong performances in their lead roles. But even the smaller roles are delivered expertly. A special mention must go to Frazer Hembrow who makes a superbly convincing Rudge, a particularly ignorant little tart, who gets into Christchurch by merit of the fact that he is “clearly what the college rugby team needs”. I think we all know someone like that. The play is punctuated by Ellis’ musical interludes on the piano, which unfortunately sometimes drown out the voices of his costars. What the 2006 film fails to convey at times is Bennett’s wonderful and distinctive humour. The play, however, is brilliantly comic. As Posner reads out the definition of ‘otiose’ from the dictionary, a perfectly timed ball of crumpled paper hits his head. The director, James Lorenz, places the play brilliantly to demonstrate the ups and downs in the “long littleness of life”.
Preview: Lungs at Brasenose Lecture Theatre Jenni Ashby looks ahead to this play about different types of love
espite only seeing Lungs in the very early stages of rehearsal, it was clear that this is a production that is not only highly evocative, but one that has an exciting capacity for conceptual experiment as a compelling rehearsed reading. Duncan Macmillan’s Lungs acts as a conversation through time between two lovers. The unnamed man (Leo Suter) and woman (Emma D’arcy) struggle against one another and themselves as they consider, in particular, the implications of having a child and the frightening personal and global responsibility this may involve. There is something painfully intimate about the presentation of the play in its refusal to embellish. It takes place on a completely bare stage, absent of any props or scenery, but the intensity of the heated dialogue seems to fill the space as the passionate, but disconnected
Luke Rollason Mansfield
couple strive to connect. Whilst the bodily presence of Suter and D’arcy is engaging, it is very much their shifting voices that propel the performance by their constant conflict. The urgency of their fractured exchanges continually flickers between agreement and disagreement as they desperately strain for some sort of answer that always seems to be just out of reach. The tenderness and the everyday brutalities of their relationship is striking not just because of the rawness of the script’s content, which makes them so vulnerable by exposing their deepest fears and desires, but through its engagement with the audience. Director Howard Coase and producer Rebecca Roughan have placed great importance upon the collaborative nature of Lungs as a shared experience between audience and performers. This idea has informed their decision to draw the audience closer by having the seating encircling the drama as well as holding an open post-performance discussion. Roughan, who also produced 12 Angry Women with a similar sentiment, sees the recognition of this relationship and the promoting of a dialogue as a vital part of the theatrical experience and something to be very much encouraged. Considering the production’s promise, and that it is also free to attend, it seems that it would be a mistake not to go along.
Know Your Thesp After 2 years and 12 productions, Luke has finally been deemed worthy of this hallowed spot. He’s made Oxford audiences titter, guffaw, whimper and sob in productions ranging from Chicago to Caucasian Chalk Circle. Most recently he played a heart-wrenching Posner in The History Boys (see above). And he also just loves chatting about drama (see left). It’s been a long time coming but this goes out to you, Lukey baby!
30 | Sport
Cherwell | 09.05.14
Balliol men and women triumph in Korfball cuppers Jacob Rabinowitz reviews the Korfball cuppers tournament as part of our investigation into the more unsual sports
ll great projects begin on Wikipedia. Procrastination. Last-minute essays. The Wikipedia Game. It should come as no surprise, then, that the group of Balliol sportsmen and sportswomen destined to become Korfball Cuppers champions began their journey in a desperate attempt to work out what it was exactly they were destined to win at. You, lucky readers, will have to do no such research. Korfball, for those who have been living under a rock their whole lives / have no internet access, is a sport similar to netball, in which two teams of eight – four men, four women – face off against each other in an invariably epic clash. The aim, in a stunning
departure from ball-game convention, is to launch a ball into a net. In this case, the goal, or ‘korf’, looks very much like a netball basket. But if you’re thinking this game sounds really quite similar – if not identical – to netball itself, think again. Oh, yes, think again. Indeed, according to the South Australian Korfball Association – a steadfast and reliable source of knowledge over the years – there are “dramatic differences” between the two games. “Dramatic differences”, such as the fact that whilst a netball court measures 30.5m x 15.25m, the korfball court measures 40m x 20m. More substantially, whilst netball rings are positioned at the centre of each end of the court, the korfs
are situated one third of the way into each half. This, of course, allows for the 360-degree play all korfball fans know and love. Other differences include the lifting of netball’s restriction on shooting distance: whilst netball players may only shoot from within the goal circle, KorfBallers may shoot from anywhere within the attacking zone. Last Saturday, teams from seven Oxford colleges gathered at the Iffley Road Sports Centre to do KorfBattle. The ordinary scale of the game had been somewhat reduced – teams were to consist of four players as opposed to eight, whilst the court was to be halved. But make no mistake about it: this was going to be massive. On paper, New College looked strong, with a core of experienced korfball players, including the Oxford captain Sam Sharp. But paper counts for little in sport – with the obvious exception of the World Origami Championships. Indeed, a strong line-up is little help when the many temptations of Corpus Christi Ball lure much of your squad away from the court. Magdalen, too, would have been confident of securing the ultimate prize, with Oxford korfball players Ally Glennie and Alice Thomson forming the backbone of their team. At the other end of the spectrum, there was St Hughs, who boasted not a single regular korfball player. Tensions were high, as is to be expected in a sporting competition this prestigious. Would the experience of Magdalen or New prevail? Or would Hugh’s brave rookies discover a mass of hidden KorfTalent? In the end, the twists and turns that we have come to expect from korfball produced an unlikely winner in the form of Balliol. The Broad Street outfit fielded just one korfball blue – the highly talented Helen Davies – but what they lacked in experience, they made up for in sheer sporting ability, embodied in Frisbee enthusiast and general Adonis Will McCarthy. Balliol started brightly, with a 1-0 win over Brasenose. Univ, however, presented a stiffer challenge; neither side was able to break the deadlock,
with the result a scoreless draw. At this point, Balliol were reinforced by the appearance of James Kavanagh, of Oxford lacrosse fame. The Kavalry had arrived. Balliol dominated their next game, defeating a highly spirited Hughs side 3-0, with a trademark hat-trick from Davies securing the win. The next match was to be the decider. Balliol were now faced with a formidable Magdalen outfit, who had made their intentions clear by trouncing Hugh’s by a margin of ten goals. Balliol, however, had been strengthened by the appearance of netball blues Libby Stephens and Bethan Nichol. Some observers likened this to the SAS turning up to your Quasar party. The match was a tight affair, with the netball players struggling to get to grips with the subtle – or rather, ‘dramatic’ – differences between the two games. Balliol went one up, before controversy struck in the form of a disallowed goal from Magdalen on the stroke of half time. We knew there was going to be drama – but this was something else. Balliol ultimately held onto their lead, securing the title, to the jubilation of fans the world over. Korfball enthusiast and Balliol student Tabby Pinto had this to offer: “We got the tactics just right. At the end of the day, we just korfed the most balls. Simple.” Joe Wardropper, meanwhile, was confused by the whole affair – “I thought korfball was a Swedish delicacy”. After a day of unmatched sporting action and drama, Balliol had come out on top. In the words of the great Sir Alex Ferguson: “Korfball – bloody hell.” This week’s edition has taken a look into two of the more unfamiliar and unreported sports that Oxford has to offer. Korfball and Patball offer two examples of such sports. Korfball remains competitively institutionalised, whereas Patball (Page 31) seemed to be based on sporadic get togethers, much like flash mobs. This is part of Cherwell Sport’s investigation into unusual sports in Oxford: more coverage coming soon, including sports such as quidditch.
Tables and Results BUCS Men’s Cricket Premier B South
BUCS Women’s Tennis Midlands 1A
BUCS Men’s Fencing Premier South
BUCS Men’s Table Tennis Midlands 1A
Cardiff Met 1
BUCS Men’s Tennis Premier South
BUCS Men’s Cricket Premier A
BUCS Men’s Squash Midlands 1A
BUCS Women’s Fencing Premier South
Cardif f MCCU
Cardiff Met 1
09.05.14 | Cherwell
Sporting The Sporting Bio Rock Stars
This week Tom Calver discusses one of the Premier League’s most lively managers Alan Pardew Newcastle United Manager
porting Rock Stars are known for their exciting, entertaining and frequently erratic behaviour, either while playing sport or in the personal lives they lead – last week’s featured star Alex Higgins serves as an ideal example. This week, the spotlight is on Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew – both in terms of the focus of this column and with regard to his precarious managerial position. Having started the season strongly, Pardew only recently ended a six game losing run with victory over Cardiff at the weekend, and has been the subject of hostility from his own fans calling for his head. Pardew’s current situation is one that nearly every manager at any level finds themselves in at some point in their career. Yet Pardew’s volatile character, his frequent angry outbursts and, most recently, a headbutt on Hull’s David Meyler, all alter our opinions of the man. Over the past few seasons, Pardew has been no stranger to controversy. In 2006 he heavily criticised Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger for failing to field an English player before his celebrations in front of the man nearly ended in the exchange of blows. In August 2012 Pardew, now Newcastle United boss, notoriously shoved linesman Peter Kirkup in the Magpies’ season opener against Tottenham. The reason? He disagreed that Spurs should have been awarded a throw in. This January, cameras spotted Pardew calling Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini a “fucking old c**t!”, before his headbutt on Hull’s David Meyler during their 4-1 victory in March. Pardew’s outspoken nature and mild arrogance, however, seemed to come handin-hand with his apparent brilliance when, during the 2011-12 season, he guided the Toon to a European place. Few fans could blame his smugness as his signings Ba and Cissé scored for fun – a wonder-goal by the latter at Stamford Bridge, in particular, springs to mind when one thinks of the skill, flair and sheer audacity that Newcastle exhibited that season. His confident fighting-talk backed up by results encouraged fans to forgive, even delight in, his involvement in previous controversies, seeing them as proof of his lively ‘character’, his ‘passion’ and a by-product of his enthusiastic management technique. But now, in particular, his seven-game ban and fine for his headbutt of Meyler has coincided with a particularly poor run of form. Not having the manager on the touchline is understandably going to have a detrimental effect on the team’s performance, yet regardless of whether or not the two are connected, this latest headbutt has added fuel to the fire of Pardew’s critics. Fans love a ‘character’ when they are doing well, but when having a volatile personality coincides with, or in the case of Pardew, is partly responsible for a team’s decline, fans are less sympathetic. Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, a man known for his involvement in as much, if not more, controversy than Pardew, has been undeniably very successful as a manager at the highest level. Pardew cannot, at the moment, confidently boast that record.
Sport | 31
Oxford University Amateur Boxing Club in brief Jack Prescott looks at the history of boxing at Oxford and at some famous alumni
he history of boxing at Oxford – like many of the more absurd traditions - goes back to the late 19th century. The first ever sporting competition against the Tabs was a cricket match arranged by William Wordsworth’s nephew in 1827, who was to become the first double blue two years later when he rowed in the inaugural boat race. After deciding these classic gentleman’s sports were too polite, somebody set up a boxing club some fifty years later. With an establishment date of 1881, Oxford University Amateur Boxing Club has a claim as one of the oldest clubs still active in Britain and is undisputedly the oldest university boxing club. The first varsity match wasn’t held until 1897, however, and was a joint affair with the fencing team. Victories in the four boxing bouts were split evenly between the two teams, and the overall match was given to Oxford on the fencing score. The annual varsity match has long since separated from the fencing event and expanded over time to include nine bouts in total, with a full gamut of weight categories ranging from featherweight (57kg) to heavyweight (91kg). The rest of the sport’s history at Oxford isn’t entirely straightforward to say the least. It became a full blue sport in 1937 (and remains one of the fourteen ‘full blues’ today) but nearly disbanded in 1969 due to a lack of interest. The club was only saved from folding when then-captain Robert Nairac knocked on doors around the city the week before varsity to find enough willing brawlers to make up the numbers – needless to say we lost that match but by a surprisingly narrow margin. Nairac is perhaps more famous for being the most successful undercover operator to have worked for Britain in Northern Ireland in the history of the troubles. He successfully infiltrated the IRA for several years before being caught, effectively managing the operation on a freelance basis but was eventually caught and killed in 1977. Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot also boasts a blue, winning one of his two bouts against Cambridge in 45 seconds whilst a Rhodes scholar. Contemporaries of Ab-
bot have often remarked that he possessed a unique ability to block any punch with his face. As is often the case, the Cambridge clubs alumni pale in comparison. The most notable former light blue boxer is current BNP leader Nick Griffin, who was once knocked out in the heavyweight contest, which may have contributed to his eventual 2:2 and subsequent political opinions. OUABC have continued the tradition of being more tolerant than our rivals, introducing women’s boxing to Oxford in 2003. In the last ten years women boxers from Oxford have frequently outdone their male counterparts, having won several national titles for the club. Sadly there exists no Varsity spot for women due to a lack of reciprocal enthusiasm from Cambridge and the difficulty of establishing a long-running body of women. However, five women boxed competitively over the course of last season with many more participating at training This year saw Oxford take the Truelove bowl from Cambridge for the fourth consecutive year, levelling the overall tally and clawing back a longstanding deficit from the early 20th
century. The overall score stands at 51 victories each, with a further five draws. Today’s boxing team trains up to eight times a week in Michealmas and Hilary and competes up to three times a year. Boxing is unique amongst Blues sports as very few of the team have boxed competitively before university – hence the need for such an intense training schedule as the coaches often prepare students for a first bout in a matter of months. The sport doesn’t demand the same commitment from everyone however, and many students take part on a more casual basis. The club has won the last four Varsity matches but requires a steady influx of new boxers to fill in for those leaving. With the Varsity match almost a year off, Trinity term is often the best time to begin boxing. Training sessions are held on Mondays and Thursdays at 4.30pm and Sunday mornings at 8.30am. No former experience is required whatsoever and further information can be found from the men’s captain iain.holland@ stb.ox.ac.uk and the women’s captain claudia. email@example.com.
Patball: Oxford’s youngest street sport uncovered Cherwell Sport investigates the fastest growing, and fastest-paced, street sport in Oxford
atball is a non-contact competitive ball game, supposedly invented at Dulwich College, a public school South of the River Thames in London. However, the phantom sport has been seen in action in various locations around Oxford. Cherwell Sport has decided to look into patball as part of its investigation into the more unusual sports that the university has to offer, and this week’s investigation has taken us to the street. Otherwise known as ‘patters’, the game has cropped up in seemingly random locales in and around Oxford. No-one knows who first introduced the game into the university, but this week has seen over seventy hours of game time racked up by a select group of players around central Oxford. According to one interviewee, the game is often played in the dead of night, when pedestrians are off the street, sharing an uncanny elusiveness with that of Brad Pitt’s 1999 epic movie, Fight Club. The only equipment needed to play is a tennis ball, making it highly inclusive, something many sports throughout Oxford have sought to achieve. Similar to squash in nature, but with an open court, it is fast paced and at times dangerous. It also borrows from other sports such as Eton Fives, but the setting is what really makes it unique. The rules appeared simple, but were precise and intricate upon inspection, most of them ‘gentlemanly’ by nature, and all respected by the players. With anything up to twelve players on court at once, the order is announced at the start of a match. The aim of the game is to hit the tennis ball with the palm of the hand into the floor before it bounces off the
wall. It is then allowed to bounce again on the ground before the next player in the order must return it. When a mistake is made, the player gets a letter, and a player is out when they acquire PAT. Obstruction seemed heavily frowned upon by some, perhaps more veteran players, but your Cherwell reporter managed to integrate easily into the game, which was fairly simple to pick up. “You can actually get good really quick”, commented one player. Other rules, such as ‘one and twos’ discourage collaboration amongst players to knock another player out: you cannot set up the next player for a deliberately easy shot. The serve is supposed to be carried out in good will, allowing the game to flow, and to encourage lengthy rallies. As with any form of competition, tempers occasionally boiled over, with aggression being displayed in some moments. “The game offers a great way for us to get out of the library, but sometimes distracts us for hours on end, and is also played in the middle of the night”. After playing for around an hour on the Ship Street court, the range of playing styles was demonstrated by a group varying in body shape and size. ‘Baseline players’ are characterised by their low and hard slinging motion of the ball, and ‘soft touchers’ are known for their deft close play. The range of shots available was also surprisingly high, with the usage of the palm and the back of the hand both allowed. The ‘hook’ is characterised by a long lurching sweep under the eyes to create the biggest angle sending the next player in the queue as far away as possible. The dabber, performed mainly
by soft touchers, was often used to trick opponents, much like a drop shot in badminton. The players that I met on the Ship Street and Market Street courts have described the sport as both addictive and ‘rogue’. At one point during my investigation, a medium size crowd assembled to watch the players do their thing, with one member of the crowd asking to join in. Although an obstruction for some pedestrians and bikes, most people were happy to allow the point to be played before passing, emphasising the polite nature of the game. Having only recently erupted onto the Oxford streets, the group I played with asked to remain anonymous, but with hopes of expanding the sport, particularly in terms of court locations, they provided an email address: firstname.lastname@example.org, which anyone interested can contact. The official constitution of Oxford Patball is currently being drawn.
INSIDE: Jack Prescott on Oxford boxing Tom Calver on Alan Pardew
Saints stun Teddy Hall in last gasp Cuppers victory Jonny Inglis reports on the Anne’s/John’s 14-12 victory over Teddy Hall in rugby Cuppers final
eddy Hall might say they were robbed of victory; Saints will argue they earned it through dogged belief. But as Doran’s 83rd minute conversion struck the post, everyone was in agreement: they had just witnessed the most dramatic final in the tournament’s history. Starting the season in Division 3, a meteoric rise saw Saints promoted to Division 1. Teddy Hall are a giant of the college game, their appearance in the final each year has almost become a formality – for Saints though, it was the stuff of dreams. Having put an end to an incredible streak of cuppers victories once before, when victorious in 1998, it was only fitting that Saints should rise again to challenge Teddy Hall’s dominance. Despite a pack reinforced by 4 Blues, The Hall’s physicality from the onset pinned Saints in their own 22. Littlejohns caused havoc in the scrum at prop, and Bagley managed to steal almost every Saints lineout. With no set piece, Saints were forced to defend for the majority of the first half. Even with an injury to seasoned hooker Will Darby, the Hall’s forwards continued to dominate. Nevertheless, Saints gave nothing away, with monstrous tackles from man-of-the-match Nick Gardner. Discipline and determination saw forays into the Hall’s 22; an inspired pass from the back of Matt Booth’s hand almost saw Balai through to the opening try. Instead, the score came from Teddy Hall’s Oscar Valance, who punched a hole through the defence on the stroke of halftime. Robert Humphries added the extras: 7-0 to the Hall. As play resumed, it was clear Saints had every intention of staying in the game. Powerful running from Oboh took them to the Hall’s 5 metre line, before captain Phil Lucas crashed over for his 12th try of the season. Doran slotted the conversion to level the scores. Teddy Hall rallied with unstoppable force, proving too strong and organised for the Saints’ defence. A classy move ended with Adams Cairns scoring in the corner; an unsuccessful conversion left the scores at
12-7 to Teddy Hall. Now it was Teddy Hall’s turn to defend as Saints attacked with all their might. A tactical sub between Rickner and Scott added stability to the scrum, and a nifty break from Stockwell almost tied the scores. Teddy Hall were heroic in the tackle, causing Phil Lucas to fumble over the try line – victory seemed to slip from the Saints’ grasp. Teddy Hall sensed a historic win, sealing the hat-trick and cementing their squad amongst college rugby legend. To the dismay of a college outplayed and outmuscled, the referee signalled the last play whilst Teddy Hall were in possession. The cliché
‘never-say-die’ springs to mind, as both sides put their bodies on the line, diving into rucks and tackles alike. In a dramatic twist of fate, an eleventh-hour tackle from Lucas caused the ball to be dropped moments before it could be kicked out. Teddy Hall failed to react, and the ball was shovelled to James Baker, who showed unshakeable nerve to score in the corner. Miraculously, the score was 12-12. Paddy Doran, Saints Player of the Season, gathered his breath, the stadium was silent, struck dumb by shock more than anything else. This reporter took the trouble to discover what was on his mind, “I was fucking scared”. The
crowd watched with bated breath as the ball bounced in off the post: a moment of bewilderment, and then the pitch was flooded, as were the eyes of stunned Lucas. The final score was as wonderful as it was cruel, as deserved as it was unwarranted. However Phil Lucas’ thoughts sum it all up, “They had us at the set piece, and played some great rugby, but grit was the name of the game on Friday night”. Meanwhile, Lincoln proved too strong for Jesus in the Turl Street battle for the Plate, consigning Jesus to their third straight defeat in a Cuppers final.
Teddy Hall storm to victory in netball Cuppers final
Lydia Cooper reviews last week’s netball Cuppers and takes a look at the sport in Oxford
efeating their rivals Keble in a fast-paced match, Teddy Hall emerged triumphant at the girls’ Netball Cuppers tournament on Saturday 3rd May, which took place at the Community Arena in Marston. With twenty colleges entering teams, the competition remained as popular as ever, and an OUNC representative remarked that there was a “really great turn-out” from the supporting fans, who clustered round to watch the eight teams that made it through to the quarter finals, “We were so happy that so many people came to show support for their colleges and some of the hand-made signs were impressive.” Beginning with group divisions in the morning games, the teams were subsequently sifted into the eight college teams who played in the afternoon quarter finals (Teddy Hall, Keble, New, Oriel, Somerville, LMH, St Anne’s and Brasenose A). Teddy Hall displayed a strong performance from the outset, defeating Brasenose A in their quarter final match. Rosie Thomas, a Brasenose player involved with organising Cuppers, explained that they were happy to accept this result. “Our team met the outlandishly tall team from Teddy Hall and having lost a couple of members of the morning’s team to
finals revision, we unfortunately fell at this hurdle. Losing to the eventual tournament champions carries no shame, and we think Hall were worthy winners. Brasenose were proud to come away with our dignity and a little sunburn after a glorious morning.” After some fraught matches, Keble – last year’s victors at Netball Cuppers 2013 – went on to defeat New in the semi-final and their team posed a strong threat to Teddy Hall in the final round. In spite of the fierce competition from the Keble side, who had cruised through their earlier rounds, Teddy Hall snatched the title from the previous holders to claim victory at Cuppers 2014. Netball Cuppers is an ideal way to get involved with the sport at Oxford on a casual basis, as the official Oxford University Netball Club have a notoriously rigorous training schedule. Most college teams have a practice once or twice a week, plus friendly matches, and the opportunity is open to everyone. The tournament involved short bursts of intense netball as each half was only six minutes, with one minute half-time allotted and just two minutes between matches, and so the day resulted in a lot of exhausted but
happy players. The weather proved to be hot and sunny, and teams relaxed in the sunshine between rounds as all the games took place in one complex. Some colleges even had enough keen netballers for two teams: both Brasenose and Exeter entered an A team and a B team in the competition. However, not all college teams managed to make it to the tournament this weekend. Kim
Williams, Jesus netball captain, commented that, “Sadly we didn’t have enough players to pull together a team this year at such short notice, but a lot of our boys are keen to give it a try so we might get together a mixed team and have a go at Cuppers next month!” Mixed Netball Cuppers is due to take place on Sunday 8th June, and is run by the OUNC Social Secretary.