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Win a free meal for two in Zest Share a romantic dinner with The Campus Kitchen: Venue page 22 UEA’s Student Newspaper Issue 274 Free Tuesday 6 November




UEA LGBT+ survey: 50% not out to clubs Sophie Witts News editor A report by the Union of UEA students (UUEAS) has revealed that around half of LGBT+ students participating in sport at UEA feel unable to disclose their sexuality to their team mates. Of the students who responded to the survey, 52.8% of those participating in sport indicated they were not out to their team mates, with 13.9% citing themselves as “partially out”. The report indicated that there was a culture surrounding club and society events that prevented LGBT+ students from feeling they could be open about their sexuality, with 50% of respondents answering that at least, on occasion, they had felt the need to hide their sexuality when attending social events or training. When asked to specify reasons for this, responses varied, with students citing both the reactions of teammates as well as their own right to privacy as reasons not to be open. Writing anonymously, one student explained: “I like to stay private. Most of the team would feel uncomfortable if I spoke as


freely about relationships with men as we do with women. If I was in a long-term relationship with a guy I would probably feel more comfortable coming out.” Respondents also indicated that a lack of understanding surrounding different types of sexuality upset them. “[There are] stereotypes and assumptions that bisexuals are attracted to everyone and constantly horny or 'going through a phase/attention seeking'. People do not understand how I can be in a heterosexual relationship and bi.” Another student added: “People think it's weird to not be interested in sex. They always spout the same ‘but one day you'll see’ and it's really upsetting that they won't just accept it.” 120 students responded to the survey. Data acquired via a Freedom of Information request submitted by the Union shows that for the academic year 2011-12 4.18% of students identified themselves as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Other, whilst 8.54% “preferred not to say”. Union LGBT+ office Richard Laverick told Concrete: “The survey was our way Continued on page three.



Inside: News editor Philip Thomas quizzes Green Party leader Natalie Bennett on policies, leadership and her reaction to recent criticism. Turn to page 6.







2 Editorial

Editor-in-chief | Amy Adams Managing Editor | Chris Teale Online Editor | Harry Slater Deputy Online Editor | Luke Boobyer Advertising Manager | Kat Brook News | Philip Thomas & Sophie Witts Comment | Ciara Jack Global | Robert Norris Features | Lauren Cope Environment | Tim Miller Science & Tech | Rebecca Hardy Travel | Polly Grice Lifestyle | Emma Williamson Sport | Billy Sexton & Sam Tomkinson Copy Editors | Sidonie Chaffer-Melly & Charlotte Cox Chief Photographers | Elizabeth Margereson & Chloe Hashemi Distribution Manager | Steph Gover

Issue 274




News | Chris Thomson, Matt Tidby, Chris Teale, Elizabeth Jackson, Riccardo Monni, Michael Drummond, Sofie Cacoyannis, Philip Thomas, Sophie Witts Comment | Joe Ferris, Andrew Ansell, Ciara Jack, Yousef Balboul, Jess Collett, Peter Sheehan, Tim Rose Global | Yunyun Huang, Jonathan Parr Features | Joel Taylor, Amy Adams, Chris Holmes Environment | Tim Miller, Ella Gilbert, Madalina Epure Science & Tech | Becky Hardy, Michael Bolton, Amy Osterloh Travel | Kirsten Powley, Jessica Crisp, Zahra Essackje Lifestyle | Bex White, Sidonie ChafferMelly, Catherine Smith, Niyonu AganaBurke, Alice Edwards, Emma Williamson Sport | Billy Sexton, Dan Suen, Chris Teale, Sam Tomkinson, Dan Splarn Proofreaders | Charlotte Cox, Sidonie Chaffer-Melly, Kate Marlow, Madeleine Steele, Chris Teale, Amy Adams, Harry Slater

Concrete Online For extra content throughout the week, visit Contact with any questions.

Could you be on page two? Here at Concrete we love to hear your thoughts and opinions. If you want to get in touch about anything at all, why don’t you send us a letter addressed to the editor? Just email Amy at

The Editor’s Column

So we have reached Week 7, and coursework deadlines are no longer theoretical concepts you don’t want to think about, but have become terrifying realities. I’m sure you’ll agree that things are beginning to look a bit apocalyptic. This is not as excessive as it sounds. The US are not only dealing with the horrific after-effects of hurricane Sandy, but also the prospect of Mitt Romney as president. By the time you read this, you may already know how it went down, but at time of writing he and Obama are roughly equal in the polls, and that is scary enough. Of course, there are always happier news stories to restore that dwindling faith in humanity. Last week, the BBC’s heartwarming saga of “Hedgehog trapped in crisp packet” kept us all on the edge of

our seats, but thankfully reports confirm that baby Crispian is doing just fine. Thankfully, Concrete has plenty to keep you occupied between essays. We’ve already cranked up Christmas music once here in the office, and Lifestyle is marking the post-Halloween blues by teaching us how to make a Christmas pudding. If it still feels too soon, we have interviews with exEngland rugby captain Phil Vickery and leader of the Green Party Natalie Bennett. Meanwhile, over in Venue, Film have a fantastic double spread on all things Bond and Gaming is reminding us all of those Saturday mornings in front of SM:TV Live with a review of the latest Pokemon game. As always, have a great week, Amy Adams Editor-in-chief

An open letter to students ... If you believe that the way this country is run is fair, then you have no reason to participate in the national demonstration. However, you should consider some of the following facts. In the UK, currently, 22% of 16-19 year olds are innumerate, 17% are illiterate. In Norwich, 30% of children are living in poverty. In cities like London and Manchester this number climbs to 50%. Last year, EMA, which helps poorer young persons afford their education, was scrapped. The NHS is set to be cut by £5bn each year for the next three years. In 2011 social care was cut by £900m, higher education was cut by £2.9bn and funding for domestic abuse refuges were cut by 31%, despite an average of 230 women being turned away each day due to lack of resources. All of these cuts were made

in the same year that 98 of the top 100 biggest businesses were able to avoid tax legally, a practice which added up to around £70bn. If you are comfortable with these facts then you have no reason to join us on 21 November. If you would like to demonstrate that these things are not okay, that you want them to change, and that you are not going to apathetically allow these issues to continue, then you should book your place on the coach now. The Demo is on Wednesday 21 November and the Union will be providing free coaches to and from London. You can book your tickets at ueaticketbookings. or by visiting the Box Office. Thank you, Sam Clark UUEAS Community and Student Rights officer

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Address Union House University of East Anglia Norwich NR4 7TJ Editorial inquiries / complaints Got a story? Telephone 01603 593 466 Websites

Concrete welcomes all letters and emails, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Letters should be addressed to the editor-in-chief, and include contact details. All emails should be sent to We will consider anonymous publication, and reserve the right to edit for length and clarity. Anonymous article submissions are permitted. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the newspaper. No part of this newspaper may be reproduced through any means without the express permission of the editor, Amy Adams. Published by UUEAS Concrete Society ©2012 Concrete BMc ISSN 1351-2773



Issue 274


Attendance Russell Group monitoring faces funding policy set shortfall: UEA Campus Sophie Witts News editor

UUEAS to support anti-EDL march Campus Sophie Witts News editor Union Council has voted to align the Union UEA Students (UUEAS) with the anti-fascist We Are Norwich campaign. Responding to plans by the English Defence League (EDL) to march in the city on Saturday 10 November, We Are Norwich have co-ordinated a peaceful counter demonstration to take place simultaneously. Both groups will march on City Hall, the EDL beginning at Castle Gardens, whilst We Are Norwich will meet at Chaplefield Gardens. The UUEAS policy states a commitment to multiculturalism and equality, and that “opposing fascism is therefore in all our members interests. The UUEAS stands

in solidarity with all community groups and trade unions opposing fascism. We should encourage students to unite with the community against the EDL and other such groups.” The EDL announced plans to march following a decision by Norwich City Council to ban the distribution of leaflets by a United Reform Church bookstall, citing islamophobic content. A video posted on the EDL’s East Anglian Division Facebook page claims the ban was unfairly instituted following a single complaint “in a city with a population of thousands,” and that the group is “appalled at Norwich City Council’s actions.” Previous EDL marches have been frequently marred with violence, and police have promised a “substantial” presence on 10 November.

The Union of UEA students has amended its policy on attendance monitoring to back a system that it believes is supportive rather than punitive towards students. Under current plans students from 2013 would face a stricter attendance system, introduced by the University as a means to improve overall academic performance. Those that failed their module and had over 20% recorded absence would be unable to re-sit any work, and in the case of compulsory modules would not be allowed to continue at University. The Union originally opposed the planned attendance monitoring in any form, but has redefined its stance to back a system it believes is fairer to students. Speaking to Concrete, Union Community and Student Rights officer Sam Clark explained: "The change in policy regarding attendance monitoring demonstrates the Union's belief that students should be supported in their learning. The University should be able to identify people with poor attendance in order to find out why they aren't engaging with their studies, whether it be because of health issues or poor teaching quality. Attendance monitoring should not, however, be used to punish students who are already struggling. Failing your class is punishment enough; the University should not then also take away your right to retake.”

unaffected Campus Philip Thomas News editor Russell Group universities could potentially face an £80m funding shortfall, after some elite institutions struggled to meet student recruitment targets during the clearing process. Commentators have blamed the shortfall on government reforms permitting unlimited recruitment of undergraduates with AAB grades or above at A-level. The government has since outlined an ABB admissions policy, in an attempt to prevent a similar problem next year. Director of the Russell Group, Dr Wendy Piatt suggested the financial implications are insignificant. She told BBC Radio 4’s documentary Universities Challenged that “having far fewer students than planned does create a real financial hit.” UEA is unaffected by the national shortfall, but David Giles, head of admissions, said: “In a particularly challenging year for the higher education sector, the University of East Anglia met its admissions targets within just 30 places – a small shortfall which we have managed carefully in order to maintain overall quality. This suggests applicants continue to recognise UEA's excellent academic reputation and outstanding student experience.”

LGBT+ survey results revealed Continued from front page of localising national surveys and statistics to get a real feel for the needs of LGBT+ students at UEA. [The results were] on the whole very positive but highlighted ways which the Union could improve long term, and backed ideas of how to increase participation in sport and create a culture of ‘safe space’ at UEA.” Another key finding of the report indicated a high level of support (73.1%) for the installation of gender-neutral changing and washing facilities in both the Sportspark and the new Colney Lane redevelopment. Laverick informed Concrete that he would be meeting with the director of the Sportspark to address the issue, and that the Union was working with UEA to provide similar facilities at Colney Lane.

He clarified that the gender-neutral facilities would mean providing cubicle changing rooms, similar to family changing. “Whilst some changing rooms have one or two cubicles, to be seen as the only person using them can cause stigma. By having a blanket policy on noncommunal changing and showering, we are ensuring that all people, regardless of gender or sexuality, can take part in sport. We also recognise that religions such as Islam would not feel able or comfortable to change in the same area as another gender. Therefore again this would mean working with all parties to find suitable solutions.” The Union has similar plans to introduce gender-neutral toilets in Union House, which would either consist of single units or be modelled on existing women’s toilets. The plans would not mean the complete

removal of existing gendered facilities. Laverick said: “We would point out that toilets on trains, and in student housing are all gender neutral, this is not a new idea. The issues faced by trans* students and those not identifying as male/female are real and present and it is our obligation to help them.” When asked to detail steps the Union would be taking to address the report’s findings, he explained he would propose setting up campaign called “It’s ok to be gay at UEA” and would seek the backing of both celebrities and Norwich City FC. There was also the potential to set up an “equality marks scheme” based on a successful model at Liverpool Hope University, in which clubs and societies are graded according to their efforts to make their club a “safe space”, as well as tackling

issues such as homophobia and sexism. Furthermore, on 2 November the presidents and representatives of each club signed the Sports Charter on Homophobia and Transphobia, which is displayed on a large poster to be framed and displayed in the Hive. Laverick added that he would welcome further comments from clubs and societies: “I am very keen to hear about their ideas of how to develop a good sense of safe space.” The Union’s full report is viewable at lgbt--student-experience-repor.pdf. For further information, contact LGBT+ officer Richard Laverick at All written survey responses by students were submitted anonymously. Sophie Witts


UK’s top 100 student brands revealed

National Riccardo Monni News reporter YouTube has been named the number one “most loved” brand among the UK’s student population. Researchers compiling the “Youth 100” report also identified Wikipedia and Cadbury, which came in second and third position respectively, as particularly desirable to UK students. Brands such as Wetherspoons, Durex condoms and Jagermeister were outranked by high street baker Greggs and Cancer Research . Students were sent an online survey asking them to choose a response of “love”, “like”, “no feeling”, “dislike” or “hate” to each brand from a shortlist of 220. Social networking site Facebook reached 18th position in terms of favourability, while multi-national drinks giant Coca-Cola ranked 37th. YouTube’s parent company Google, attained fourth position in the report, which featured brands as diverse as Hellmann’s mayonnaise company and PayPal.

Man arrested for violent city assault National Chris Thomson News reporter A 44-year-old man is currently being held by Norfolk police in connection to a violent assault in the Fairstead estate, in the north of the city. The victim, a 37-year-old man, was found by paramedics with serious head injuries in the early hours of last Friday and has since been transferred to Addenbrooke’s hospital, Cambridge in what was described by Norfolk police as a “critical but stable” condition . The suspect is currently being held in King’s Lynn police investigation centre waiting questioning.

Issue 274



Further criticism for tuition fee rise National Michael Drummond News reporter Labour has attacked the government’s policy on tuition fees amid claims that there is a £1 billion deficit at the core of the scheme. Labour’s higher education spokesperson, Shabana Mahmood, said the report exposed “the chaos, confusion and incompetence at the heart of the Tory-led government’s policy to treble tuition fees to £9,000.” The increase in tuition fees, brought in by this government, has proved unpopular amongst students and led to a dramatic fall in deputy prime minister Nick Clegg’s popularity. In a recent report, the respected think-tank the Higher Education

Policy Institute (Hepi) has criticised the government’s current higher education policy. It claims that the cost of the changes has been “seriously understated” and that the new system is at risk of costing the taxpayer more than the old one. Universities minister David Willets reacted to the claims, arguing that evidence points to the reforms actually saving money. In an article for The Independent, Willets cited that the contributions from taxpayers will fall. Furthermore he listed a “treble” of benefits of the new system: tackling the deficit, securing the relevant resources to ensure world-class tuition in universities, and delivering more support for students from underrepresented backgrounds as a way of improving social mobility.

Mr Willets went on to state that both the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) agree that the government’s higher education reforms will save money. He also discussed a Hepi claim that the average figure for tuition fees is now to a tune of £8,200, more than the government’s original prediction of £7,600. He responded that “students are not obliged to take out a loan for the entirety of their course.” In the closing lines of his article he accepted that there is always a margin of error, but that he thought that HEPI had assumed the worst. The president of the National Union of Students (NUS), Liam Burns, said: “The coalition got their sums badly wrong and have left a mess that will take years to fix.”

Elizabeth Margereson

More cuts to Norwich drinking hours Norwich Sofie Cacoyannis News reporter

Cuts to Norwich drinking hours look set to be enforced following a rise in late night crime. Since a decision in 2009 permitting clubs on Prince of Wales Road and Riverside to stay open until 4am, police have recorded a 64.8% rise in instances of common assault and 10.6% increase in violent crime, costing the force an estimated £21.8 million. Several nightclubs and bars have already voluntarily agreed to stop serving alcohol at 4am, but police have requested

the council introduce an Early Morning Restriction Order (EMRO) which would make the ban legally binding and assist in tackling disorder. Superintendent Paul Sanford, Norwich policing commander, said: “It is estimated that 48,000 officer hours per year are spent patrolling the Norwich night time economy.” The council's licensing committee approved plans to cut last orders to 2.30am or 3am on weekdays and 3.30am or 4am at weekends. The full council will vote on which hours to enforce on November 27. Norwich North MP Chloe Smith joined the police on their Saturday night patrols this summer and acknowledged that places

such as Prince of Wales Road did have an important role to play in the city’s economy and that she hoped the introduction of minimum pricing on alcohol, which the government is consulting over, would stop people “pre-loading” on alcohol bought cheaply in supermarkets and off licences before heading into the city centre. Some bars and pubs outside the night time economy area which want to open for longer and do not have a history of crime and disorder could be able to apply for an exemption. If approved, the earliest the order would be enforceable is likely to be March next year.



Issue 274

Kung Wafou: Norwich nightclub owner sentenced over assault Norwich Chris Thomson News reporter

Facing Paxman in 2007

University Challenge trials held this week

Campus Elizabeth Jackson News reporter This year's trials for UEA's University Challenge team will be held on Friday 9th November in LT2 on campus.

The television show, hosted by Jeremy Paxman, sees universities compete across academic and cultural fields. UEA has not qualified for the show since the 2006-7 series where the team went through to the second round but were defeated by the University of Warwick 160-165.

Nick Griffin interview sparks NUS fireworks National Matt Tidby News reporter Controversy has stirred between leaders of the National Union of Students and Leeds University publication The Leeds Student after the paper published an interview with British National Party leader Nick Griffin. Speaking to Leeds student James Greenhalgh, Griffin explored his views on race and homosexuality and described the sight of two men kissing as “creepy” saying that “children will die” if civil partnerships are allowed to “undermine” the institution of marriage. NUS Black Students officer Aaron Kiely responded by issuing an open letter to the paper demanding the interview to be immediately removed, claiming that by publishing the interview The Leeds Student risked “giving legitimacy to a fascist organisation” and contravening an NUS Policy of “No Platform” for fascist views. Editor Lucy Snow responded in The Guardian, citing the NUS’s position as “laughable” and claiming that “it insults


student’s intelligence to insist that they must be protected from extreme views” and that they had “given Mr. Griffin enough rope to hang himself’. The exchange was followed by comments from NUS President Liam Burns, who refused to sign the letter. He emphasised the NUS’s “No Platform” stance but acknowledged that as a democratic organisation it was up to the individual affiliated university’s Student Union and the students they represented to shape and determine policy, not to have it dictated to them. He added: “we must also ensure [that] those students that rightly found the article offensive know that they have our support in using their voice in their union’s structures.” As yet there has been no response from Kiely, or further official response from the NUS as to the difference of opinion between their two officers. The Union of UEA Students has long stood against the NUS policy of “No Platform”, stating on their website that: “in order to discredit illiberal, extremist or racist ideologies it is necessary to openly confront these ideas and not merely pretend that they do not exist.”

Foud Olare, the owner of the now closed Wafou bar on Prince of Wales road, pleaded guilty to a charge of common assault at Norwich Magistrates Court last week. Wafou was closed earlier this year following concerns of consistent breaches of licence and disturbing of the peace around Olare’s establishment in the early hours of the morning. Ashley Thomas had provided services to Wafou nightclub, which Olare believed to be of a poor standard, resulting in Olare withholding payment from Mr Thomas after his premises flooded. Prosecutor Andrew Nicklin told the court that Olare had approached Thomas when his van stopped whilst Olare was walking on Dereham road. A violent struggle ensued as Olare

began “swinging punches at Mr Thomas, lunging at him and performed some sort of karate kick,” said Nicklin. The ongoing struggle between the two saw them topple over into a front garden, in which Olare picked up a coping stone with which he used to strike Mr Thomas round the head, the force with which caused the stone to break into two. Thomas was left badly beaten and concussed. Olare allegedly threatened to kill Thomas, punching him and pulling at his hair, before police arrived to break up the violence. Robert Barley, defending Olare, added that the altercation was “not an unprovoked attack” as this was not the first run-in between the two men Olare was given a 10 week sentence, suspended for 12 months, the court also ordered him to take 120 hours of unpaid work, pay £100 to Thomas in compensation and £200 in prosecution costs.

Greater research into energy efficiency needed Campus Chris Teale News reporter New research from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at UEA has argued that more needs to be done to develop energy efficient cars, buildings and appliances to combat climate change. The report published on Friday 2 November in Nature Climate Change shows that double the amount of work is being put into developing energy supply technology than on improving the efficiency of energy use. The research was led by Dr Charlie Wilson with a team of scientists from Austria and the USA and found that innovation, policies, and resources were allocated in favour of

Elizabeth Margerson

new energy supply technologies at the expense of efficiency in energy end-use. Dr Wilson said: “About two-thirds of all public innovation efforts are directed toward energy supply technologies. It is vital that innovations in renewable energy supply continue, but the imbalance in spending needs to be redressed urgently to mitigate climate change. Evidence strongly suggests that energy end-use and efficiency currently stand as the most effective ways to mitigate climate change.” The report found that efficiency in energy end-use is more important than in supply technologies, as it engages higher levels of private sector activity, offers higher potential cost reductions and provides higher social returns.


Issue 274



INTERVIEW: Natalie Bennett Natalie Bennett, the new leader of the Green party visited UEA on Wednesday 31 October, during which she gave a talk on fair pay. The former journalist and Guardian Weekly editor is originally from Australia, and replaced Caroline Lucas as leader following an election in September. Ms Bennett’s talk emphasised that a living wage and fair pay is vital to social equality, stating that disproportionate salaries remain a problem; she cited the UEA Green party’s 10:1 campaign and suggested that the university’s vice-chancellor’s salary of £290,000 was unwarranted and unfair. Additionally she highlighted that present immigration and employment regulations are inadequate, and are open to abuse by employers who exploit an underpaid immigrant workers.

“If you have the situation where you have got few bankers employed in the city, and large supermarkets and multinational service firms paying minimum wage, that just doesn’t create graduate level jobs.” Ms Bennett continued to discuss public attitudes towards immigrants and disabled people, and was critical of NHS reform. She maintained that free higher education provision was viable and had been verified by Channel 4 News. She also proposed that railways be renationalised in order to improve service and reduce operational costs to the tax payer. Finally, she endorsed a “fairer economy” that protects the environment whilst reducing waste and adopting

Cadi Cliff

Cadi Cliff widespread renewable energy. She dismissed the government’s austerity measures, advocating a crackdown of multinational company tax avoidance and the establishment of a diverse manufacturing economy. Ms Bennett spoke to Concrete about her experiences as Green party leader so far, describing it as “delightfully mad and hectic. The good thing is I’ve very much been in demand; I’m been going around the country visiting large groups of students and people starting new Green parties, really driving ahead with getting more and more Greens elected. It’s absolutely great if a little exhausting.” When asked about the viability of Green economic policies in light of the budget deficit and national debt, Ms Bennett said: “We’re not going to deal with the deficit or the debt by throwing more people into unemployment, by cutting back on essential services, by failing to invest in things we need like public transport and energy conservation. “The way we ultimately tackle that is by getting our economy healthy, rebuilding our manufacturing, returning

food production to Britain and setting up healthy local economies. “Until we get to the right conditions to gradually get that debt down over time, cutting is just totally counterproductive.“ Ms Bennett was next asked how the Green party would deal with graduate unemployment. She said: “If you have the situation where you have got few bankers employed in the city, and large supermarkets and multinational service firms paying minimum wage, that just doesn’t create graduate level jobs. “What you need is small local firms and businesses in a range of industries, from producing clothing to furniture and a range of cooperatives. That creates interesting and satisfying graduate level jobs.” Ms. Bennett discussed how her party would change public perceptions, stating that: “The Green party has a unique message, and we occupy a huge political space that is not occupied by any other party. “Sadly the Labour party isn’t speaking up for the unemployed or the disabled. It doesn’t take money necessarily – we’ve got ideas on a publicly owned and operated NHS, our opposition to Free Schools and on renationalising the railways. “We have really original ideas and the space to express them.” When asked about the resignation of Nelson Ward Green party councillor David Rogers, Ms Bennett said: “I’m very sorry that David Rogers left and I know the local party is too.

“This happens to big parties, you lose some people along the way, you find that their style and your style just don’t fit together.” Mr Rogers revealled that he was disillusioned with what he called the party’s “profoundly undemocratic” method, suggesting it attracted a “dangerous combination” of the “gullible and authoritarian” into its membership. Ms. Bennett reacted to his accusation, saying: “The Green party believes in consensus decision making if you can achieve that – basically you don’t wait until you’ve got a majority and then say that’s the decision and move on. “You keep exploring the issue, seeing if you can find a form of resolution or direction that everyone can sign up to, and that actually produces better decision. “That’s a way of moving forward, I don’t know how anyone can conceivably think of that as authoritarian. It’s a way of finding a solution that’s acceptable to everyone.” Finally, Ms. Bennett was asked what her future plans were, and whether more

“We’re setting ourselves up to be strong contenders in 2015 - we are the only true opposition party, so there are huge possibilites available to us.” Green MPs will be elected at the next general election. She said: “Policy is made by conference, and so it’s an entirely democratic process. We haven’t hit the agenda deadline for spring conference, so I don’t know what exciting ideas the members will have come up with, but I’m sure there’ll be some good ones in there. “At the moment we’re focusing on the next two years, electing more local councillors and MEPs in 2014. Combining that with the election of Caroline Lucas as our first MP in 2010, voting Green in a general election will be a less exotic and more normal choice available to the electorate. “We’re setting ourselves up to be strong contenders in 2015 - we are the only true opposition party, so there are huge possibilities available to us.” Interview by Philip Thomas

To read the interview with Natalie Bennett in full, go to



Issue 274


I beg your pardon, Mr. President? Joe Ferris Comment writer President Obama has puzzled political sectors with a surprise remark describing rival candidate Mitt Romney as a “bullshitter”. The interview will be published this week in Rolling Stone magazine. Obama appeared to be referring to Romney’s change in policy with regard to economic issues, contraceptive care and equal pay, parodying him with the mock medical condition “Romnesia”. So with an already popular sound bite, was Obama’s “bullshitter” remark just a momentary slip? It would be naïve to think so. Obama is no fool, and you can bet he recognised the weight of such a comment long before he made it. So has he gambled here with a tactical comment? Absolutely, and it’s

not the first time high profile politicians have done so. You don’t even need to look beyond our own soil to find one. David Cameron once famously swore twice on Christian O’Connell’s Absolute

Radio show in 2009, and was widely criticised for appearing to try to appeal, somewhat unsuccessfully, to younger voters. The facts are uncannily similar. Rolling Stone has an audience considered

“younger” just like Absolute Radio, and both leaders never publicly use such language. So apparently things change with an audience younger than 40, and it suddenly becomes appropriate to swear “just like the kids.” It’s obvious that highprofile figures have a vocabulary that extends beyond juvenile language, yet they seem to think a younger audience is too stupid to realise that. This comment will reach all audiences, and has high potential to backfire. At time of writing there’s a close race in the polls, with Romney up and Obama down, so now isn’t the time for any slip-ups. If the remark goes wrong, the young will be patronised and the old will be offended. For the Democrat voters, it may be a hit, but for those yet to be converted it’s a probable miss. However, if we can forget that dinner party speech from Romney, and the “legitimate rape” comments from Todd Akin, it shouldn’t take more than a storm to forget a bad choice of words from the president.

A-level reforms won’t meet students’ interests or capabilities Andrew Ansell Comment writer After Michael Gove’s GCSE reforms that sought to put a stronger emphasis on the international baccalaureate, A-levels are set to follow suit. Gove’s planned shake up of A-levels are in a response to universities’ criticisms that students’ educations are not rounded enough. The reorganisation of A-levels will require students that choose to study a humanities subject to also study a contrasting discipline such as mathematics. In addition, the reforms will introduce the task of a writing a dissertation of up to 5,000 words. Not unlike the education minister’s previous policies, under examination his plans produce reservations. There has been no public consultation on replacing A-levels leaving it unlikely that any change to A-levels will be comprehensive. It should be acknowledged that Gove’s plan to require students to choose a variety of subjects at A-level implicitly concedes that education at GCSE level is not satisfactory. Students fail to leave their GCSE education with an adequate level of knowledge, otherwise reform

would retain a students’ ability to be free to pursue the subjects of their choice no matter how narrow. At A-level, a prospective undergraduate’s future is at stake; every UCAS point counts. Forcing students to choose a subject they have little interest in or are weak at will harm their final grades, ultimately having a negative impact upon their standard of higher education. This said, plans to diversify A-level education do have merit. The concern noted above can be remedied should students prior to GCSE study be informed that at A-level they will be required to choose a range of subjects. This would give students an adequate amount of time to cultivate an interest and knowledge in a range of subjects. Gove’s planned dissertation in response to calls from the elite Russell Group offers nothing new. The current option to complete an extended project already gives students the chance to write an extensive essay around a subject of their choice which also contributes to a pupil’s final UCAS score. The length of this dissertation appears to be ill thought. Undergraduates, until writing their own dissertation, are required to reach a word limit in essays which falls far below Gove’s 5,000 word limit for A-levels. It

is folly that Gove is preparing A-level students to complete an assignment that universities do not demand of undergraduates. In the House of Commons, Gove’s plans achieve cross-party support from the shadow education minister Stephen Twigg who gives Labour’s backing.

Twigg nonetheless holds a concern over Gove’s plans that they ignore subjects such as engineering and computing that are crucial to a modern economy. These are reminiscent of previous criticisms of Gove’s reforms during this parliament, which argue that he does not appreciate vocational or expressive arts disciplines.


Issue 274

Gove, must try harder Jess Collett Comment writer Michael Gove wrote a very long apology to his French teacher about how he was such a ruffian in his classes. He wanted to say how sorry he was for behaving like any other teenager in any other secondary school. You know, generally having an attitude and ego the size of the continental US. I’m sure that very few of us can claim to have been perfect during our time at school, but now Gove has outdone us all in his saintliness. He has stood up and said that he was very, very wrong to be like that. To compound my need for a sick bucket, the teacher wrote back a letter so gushing in praise that it must have been composed on a side of fudge with syrup as ink. He said he had already picked out Gove as a future Conservative leader, noting an early-developed dislike of plebs. Gove claims that this is part of a sweeping new wave of respect for teachers. He totally loves the teaching profession, and threatening to take away their unions and

to fire all the head teachers in Britain is really just linked into liking them so much. As much as I dislike him, I can understand why he did this. He is in charge of reforms which have variously insulted and demoralised teachers up and down the country. He wants to give the impression that he has an understanding and respect for the profession - to which I give an “F” for effort. If you want to make a big deal about being so contrite, and saying that teachers have a hard job, then why not apologise to all your teachers? Then you can bask in the warm glow of so many compliments along the lines of “sharp wit, strongly-held beliefs, backed by apparently limitless general knowledge and keen debating skills, which resulted in the downfall of many opponents.” And leave the rest of us wondering how you can be such a keen wit in French and yet such a befuddled mess in English. Or better yet, you could write an apology to all those teachers who are in fear for their jobs. Still smarmy, but more effort involved.

Radio wrong direction Tim Rose Comment writer Last week prompted the news that Radio 4’s Today Programme had overtaken the Radio 1 Breakfast Show in terms of listener numbers. What may have been seen as incredible in the past is now totally unsurprising given the depths Radio 1 has plunged to in recent months. Who wouldn’t prefer the dulcet and informative tones of John Humphries to the inane One Direction fanboy natterings of Nick Grimshaw? Grimshaw’s elevation to the Breakfast Show appeared to be based around the crazed idea that all young people are preteen One Direction fans, when in fact most of the target market actively despises them. The same can be said of other terrible artists relentlessly promoted by Radio 1, such as Connor Maynard and Justin Bieber. There is clearly a place for a popular music station, but most young people actually have taste in music, which would more than preclude listening to most of the music Radio 1 plays. Nick Grimshaw seems an even weirder choice when his limited DJing ability is considered. He was completely forgettable when he played Propaganda in Norwich last year, and had never hosted



his own daytime Radio 1 show, prior to being given the Breakfast Show job. Far more suitable candidates were also overlooked. UEA legend and allround great guy Greg James combines youth with being a great DJ, and is not openly a One Direction fan. In addition, Zane Lowe is continually fantastic and loves almost every genre of music. His level of disdain when recently being forced to promote a one hour long documentary on Mesut Ozil - a lookalike Connor Maynard - was a joy to behold. Given the relentless drive to decrease the age of its audience, the only hope for sane music-loving young people is that imposing Grimshaw will lower the audience numbers to such levels, that Radio 1 are forced to replace him with either Zane Lowe or Greg James. Even a return to Chris Moyles would be preferable to what listeners are subjected to at the moment. However there is a more immediate solution to the Radio 1 problem: switch it off. Or alternatively give Radio 4 a go. You won’t be the first person.

Starbucks: ‘Totally committed to the UK’? Peter Sheehan Comment writer Starbucks says that it is “totally committed to the UK”, but a recent investigation by Reuters found that the company has not paid a single penny of UK corporation tax since 2009. And in 14 years of selling mediocre coffee in this country it has paid just £8m corporation tax, despite sales topping £3bn. That’s a smidgeon over a quarter of one percent. Clearly Starbucks does not believe in expressing its professed commitment in monetary terms. In a curious rebuttal on the company’s blog, Starbucks’ UK managing director claimed that employees’ income tax counts as part of the company’s contribution. However, this was later removed, presumably when somebody more intelligent than him pointed out that employees’ tax is paid by, ahem, employees. As such, it does not cost Starbucks anything. Charmingly, said blog post still maintains that VAT payments count as company tax, despite even a modestly trained baboon knowing that this is paid by consumers. Either Starbucks’ management are mindblowingly dense, or else we’re all being taken for a ride.

Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, Starbucks is not the only company that currently finds itself brewing in fiscal hot water. The Sunday Times recently claimed that eBay paid £1.2m of corporation tax last year when it should have paid £51m. That’s a forty-fold reduction. What’s more, questions are now being asked about Amazon and Ikea, while Vodafone is still the subject of ongoing protests about its surprisingly small 2011 corporation tax bill. The government estimates that tax avoidance left it £32bn poorer in the last financial year. To put that in context, £32bn is over half the 2010-11 education budget. So tax avoidance is an expensive problem, but the trouble is that much of what allegedly goes on is perfectly legal. For example, eBay is said to be taking lucrative but law-abiding advantage of friends in Switzerland and Luxembourg. Closing loopholes such as this is an urgent priority. And if the government is sincere in wanting to spread the burden of deficit reduction equally, it cannot turn a blind eye to the chancellor’s light-fingered, bigbusiness friends. Businesses benefit from society as much as individual citizens do. For instance, their employees use publicly funded infrastructure, among many other government services, and this contributes to productivity. Companies should contribute their fair share in return. Making sure this happens is a fundamental step towards a society that we’re all in together.



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Too liberal to stop Page 3, Clegg? Ciara Jack Comment Editor The Wolverine-like, obstinate, fearless leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg is just ruthless when it comes to making decisions. Sure, we know him for constantly biting at the heels of the Conservatives and perpetually speaking his mind. He certainly isn’t one for being so shaky that he can’t even dip his toe in the water of public opinion, before making a decision. Well, recently, it would seem he didn’t dip his toe in the water at all, as his opinion on the petition to ban The Sun’s Page 3 came as a bit of a shock to liberals everywhere. He claimed that banning Page 3 content would be “deeply illiberal.” I’m going to have to disagree with Nick here. Tits aren’t content. They might be entertainment for some, but they’re not news, they’re not lifestyle and they’re definitely not sport. The small captions, often stating things such as

“Lauren, 20 from London, thinks the EU might be a good thing,” are merely vox pops to prevent it from simply being a page torn out of a porn mag. In terms of principles, Nick Clegg was almost onto the right idea. It is a very sensible and liberal philosophy that the government shouldn’t dictate what is published in the media. The freedom of the press, although often susceptible

to backfire, is something that makes our newspapers of various political leanings something to be cherished. But, the argument that Nick Clegg has missed here is what really defines content, and the attitude towards it. The bigger picture is one of objectification and poor excuses. It has almost become an institution in its own right, and the reasons for looking at Page 3 aren’t for obtaining useful

information in the week’s news. If they want news, why not go to the news pages, or read through a newspaper? If a woman with enhanced breasts and a fierce pout telling you what she thinks of the news is the syrupy coating on a dry piece of politics, then surely there are other alternatives. Jon Snow doing his Big Fat Quiz of the Year lyrics as a permanent feature would be a start. There are of course many other arguments for banning Page 3, and as a feminist I have many I could fire at Clegg. But my main issue with Clegg’s statement is that it is an excuse for the editor of The Sun to sweep aside the petition. After all, if political backing would have strengthened support, political dismissal is just as powerful. As for his remark that Whitehall doesn’t need a “moral policeman or woman telling people what they can and cannot see,” maybe some morals concerning the image of women in tabloids wouldn’t go amiss. The liberal stance for banning Page 3 has forked, but it would seem Clegg’s path may not sit well with voters.

Cuts to housing benefit shake foundations Yousef Balboul Comment writer Since the coalition came into power in 2010, young people have not had the best of times to say the least. Lots of schemes helping young people have been scrapped, such as the education maintenance allowance for 18 year olds and the trebling of tuition fees to £9,000. Another idea which could hammer young people was put forward at the Conservative conference. Specifically, the housing benefit being scrapped for under-25 year olds as part of Osborne’s plan to cut £10bn in welfare expenditure. The argument for cutting housing benefit for under-25s is the belief that rather than seeing work as a way for them to get a property, young people receive benefits instead. The Conservatives argue that people of a young age should stay at home and save up in order to get on the property ladder. In an ideal world, this would be great. If only all were under the same circumstances and lucky enough to have parents who were willing to let them live in their household. Housing benefit also helps the younger generation gain independence while working; the benefit allows the rent to be paid if they do not have enough

income to pay for it. It allows young people the responsibility of having a flat, which in turn leads to greater independence away from parents, and from the state. Which is surely what the Tories want? The Conservatives have this irrational argument that if you are on any benefits at all, you are lazy and you should be punished. Granted, there are a tiny minority who abuse benefits

and should face a penalty. But when a benefit like this helps young people gain independence, then surely it should be applauded. Instead of cutting this benefit, why not stop the reason people get these benefits in the first place? For example, one cause is the lack of houses from successive governments, and that there are not enough new houses being built. The government thinks that stopping

rules on extensions is the answer, but they need to invest in housing so that people who are less well-off can aspire to get on the property ladder. With young people being targeted as a demographic to cut the deficit, this is just another nail in the coffin for young people’s aspirations. With youth unemployment affecting over one million people, it is no wonder why so many young people are lost for hope.

Global 10 International student blues

Yunyun Huang Global writer Every year at the beginning of the new semester it’s a common scene at the airport to see many parents sending their children to study abroad. The students carry heavy luggage and say goodbye to their parents and friends before leaving to begin studying in another country. Different architecture, a different lifestyle, an unfamiliar language, homesickness, new food and a very different style of education can make it difficult for international students to fit in. This can lead to loneliness and even depression. Zheng Zeng, a student from China, said: “At the beginning I felt very sad and could not adapt myself in the new environment here. “I don’t like the food here and I find it hard to make new friends. I can’t understand what the teacher and my classmates say. “Every week I have lots of key reading and work to do outside of class. All of this puts me under a huge amount of pressure. “I still remember the first time I called

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my parents after going aboard. I couldn’t say anything and kept crying. I wanted to go home immediately. “However, I’ve begun to adapt to the life here and now know how to arrange time effectively. I now try my best to get involved in the local life here at UEA. “Now that I’ve chosen to study aboard I need to keep going, not only for my parents but for myself. This is my responsibility.” Astrid Heidemann Simonsen, international officer for the Union of UEA Students, agreed that the language barrier can be a big problem, but students do have the opportunity to practice their English in a friendly environment at UEA. International students can join the free English language classes offered by UEA, or join the Conversation Club to practice their language skills with native Englishspeaking students. She went on to say that UEA Nightline is a good way for international students who are struggling with depression to get some help. Students can also go in person to talk to the friendly volunteers if they feel it would be easier for them than speaking over the phone.

The key thing to remember is not to struggle alone. Despite the fact that most international students will want to integrate with home students, there is nothing wrong with students who speak the same language helping each other. Always receiving help in English can be difficult if it’s not a student’s native language. Sometimes seeking help from other international students can be a very

useful thing. For many international students, studying abroad is a part of growing up. It will have been full of difficulties and confusion, but looking back on their experiences; it will have been a great achievement. For further information on the help available, visit students/International.

The effects of the US election Jonathan Parr Global writer By the time this aritcle goes to print, Obama’s second term or Mitt Romney’s presidency, will be hanging in the balance. Students at Westminster College described the mood in the country as

tense. They claimed that job growth, one of the crucial factors in both nominees’ campaigns, is expected to increase significantly in the next four years regardless of the outcome. However, whoever is in office will get the credit for this, consequently giving the appearance of legitimising their party’s position for years to come.

One student went on to say that the perception of policy success that will follow during the next term will shift the partisanship of the country as a whole. This would mean that the mentality of party loyalty over issue-based voting would become even more evident as a result. Dr John Langton, political science teacher at Westminster College, Missouri, USA, gave some insight into the workings of America’s Electoral College system: “In American presidential politics, voters are not actually casting their ballots for a candidate but rather, in each state, for a slate or set of ‘electors’ who are pledged to a candidate. In each state, whichever slate gets the most votes will become the electors for that state.” The Electoral College then votes for the nominee. In the event of a tie in the Electoral College vote, the House of Representatives will vote for the President. These are defined by state, with each having one vote. The Senate will vote for the vice president. Langton went on to say that this could result in a Republican president and a Democratic vice president, due to the majority of Republicans in the House.

A congressional research service report for Congress numbers 240 Republicans to 197 Democrats in the House of Representatives. In the Senate, the same report numbers 47 Republicans, 51 Democrats, and two Independents, a majority for the Democrats.

“In the short term, there may be an extended period of bureaucratic shuffling to decide upon the outcome, and then the obvious impact of the next president upon existing issues and policy” November 6 will not have been the end of the election. In the short term, there may be an extended period of bureaucratic shuffling to decide upon the outcome, and then the obvious impact of the next president upon existing issues and policy. In the long term the entire political consciousness of America could change due to factors already in motion that are now inevitable.

Features 11 Is the battle for freedom lost? 06/11/12

Issue 274

Features writer Joel Taylor considers the balancing act in our right to freedom of expression

On the 8 October this year, 20-year-old Matthew Woods was sentenced to three months in prison for making “grossly offensive comments” on his Facebook page about missing girls April Jones and Madeline McCann. In March, Swansea student Liam Stacey was given just under two months custody after posting several racist and inflammatory tweets about Fabrice Muamba, as well as the arrest of a young man who taunted Olympian Tom Daly about the death of his father. Whatever you think on these arrests and the length of the sentences, should the right of free speech have protected them completely? “Freedom” is a very evocative word, both emotionally and politically. You would be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t think that people should be free and autonomous - free to live, free to think, free to believe, free to speak. However, ask the same people a different question and you may find that they don’t think people should be free after all - free to keep ludicrous expenses claims private, free to hire a woman over a man because she’s attractive, free to insult or offend or disgust. Freedom is not a simple dichotomy: it is not black and white. What is clear is that, as good as fundamental human rights sound, it would be disingenuous to think that they

could all be enforced without any kind of balancing act. The right to privacy often causes clashes when the press invoke the right to free speech. Think back to the MP expenses “scandal”, or to Max Mosley and his Nazi orgy. In both cases, damaging private information about individuals was published in the media. The question on which both cases seemed to hinge, however, was if there was an element of public interest in the release of that information. It was held that, unlike with MPs expenses, there was no real “public interest” in Max Mosley’s private sex life, and he was awarded £60,000 in damages. How does this balancing act translate onto tweets, emails, posts and prose? In the UK, the right to freedom of expression is governed by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which grants “the freedom to hold opinions and to impart information and ideas without interference by public authority”. However, the necessary balancing act is also present in the Article, which gives accepted exceptions to this right, among them national security, the prevention of crime, and the protection of health or morals. These exceptions are broadly given so as to effectively restrict that speech which Europeans may consider dangerous or

hurtful. From this definition of freedom of expression, it seems clear that the law was justified when it took action against Matthew Woods and Liam Stacey. But was the action it took itself justified? While Woods was pleading guilty in court, the director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, was meeting with journalists discussing whether people like Woods should face charges in the first place. He made it clear that, while the crown prosecution service (CPS) cannot themselves grant immunities, they also do not have the ability to prosecute every person who sends an offensive communication. What mattered, he explained, was whether the message was so “grossly” offensive as to warrant criminal proceedings. It is not the job of the criminal law to protect the public from mere bad taste or controversy. In fact, in September the CPS declined to prosecute semi-professional footballer Daniel Thomas for a homophobic tweet he made regarding diving partners Tom Daly and Peter Waterfield. Reasons included Thomas’ intention to be humorous; that he did not intend it to go beyond his friends and family; and that he took quick action to remove the message. Reading this, it is hard to understand why Woods was prosecuted, as the circumstances in

which his message was made seem to be similar and if, as Starmer QC implies, it is irrelevant that the message was simply more distasteful. However, by pleading guilty Woods never got the opportunity to test this in court. Outside of the EU, the picture changes. There are serious breaches of the right to freedom of expression in countries where political discourse is not so actively encouraged. This came to a political head in March this year when three members of the Russian “feminist punk-rock collective” Pussy Riot were arrested and charged with hooliganism after staging an anti-Putin performance in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. All three were convicted and two have since been sent to forced labour camps. Although domestically little interest was generated, there was international outcry. Most of this was due to the way the women had been treated and concerns about the legitimacy of their trial. The US, however, did express concern and asked Russia to “review this case and to ensure that the right to freedom of expression is upheld.” In essence, free speech is the lesser of two evils. The ECHR was drawn up in Europe after the second world war to go some way towards ensuring that never again would such a politically oppressive and destructive regime like the Nazis suppress and control a nation as they did. It would seem, then, that in the minds of those that drew up the convention, the right to freedom of expression was intended to be for political purposes: to allow people to criticise governments and their politics; to benefit the general public. It is not here to give people carte blanche to offend whomever they want, whenever they want. Salman Rushdie said of the freedom of expression that “Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.” This writer must respectfully disagree. A high threshold must be set for speech to be protected as a fundamental human right, and mere criticism and insults does not cross that threshold. However, merely offensive posts such as those of Matthew Woods or Daniel Thomas should warrant action from the criminal law. While they are not valuable enough to be protected as a human right, they do not fall below the criminal standard. While the law in this area is sufficient and correct, the whim and outrage of the general public has far too much influence on the CPS. When the tabloid media gets scent of an “outrage”, it would be too politically damaging for the CPS not to press charges, and this is wrong. We, the public, are almost the greater danger to human rights.


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UEA accommodation: are we doing enough? Editor-in-chief Amy Adams questions whether enough is being done for those who are left stranded

Looking for a place to live can be stressful, but it was especially difficult for one Japanese student transferring from INTO this summer. “[UEA] said they can see I have already applied for a room, but they said I have to wait. But other students had already got a room,” said Katy*. Despite believing she had correctly applied for accommodation, she was simply told to wait whenever she got in touch with the University to ask about its progress. With national visa delays from the UKBA meaning she could not even reach the UK, Katy called on friends for help. However, confidentiality rules meant they were also unable to find out any information regarding the status of her application. Once term began, Katy had to stay at a friend’s house when she finally reached Norwich, and find a house with strangers through Home Run. Despite an accommodation guarantee for all international students, she was never officially rejected from UEA accommodation to her knowledge, meaning living arrangements were left until the last moment. Following the experience, she admitted: “My image of UEA has changed.” Concrete asked UEA accommodation manager Paul Bailey about INTO transfer

students slipping through the cracks in this. “It’s really unusual and both admissions and the accommodation office spend quite a lot of time on this. We have sessions actually at INTO telling them what to do and taking them round on tours round the residences and through the process, so I’d be really concerned if somebody has fallen through that.”

“It’s like having seats on a jumbo jet ... You always overbook a little bit because you know that there are always going to be people who drop out and don’t come.” Union of UEA Students International officer Astrid Heidemann Simonsen explained the difficulties of finding a house for international students. “It is less of a problem with landlords on the Home Run list, as they usually don’t have requirements such as a UK-based guarantor, which is a huge problem for an international student who often won’t know

anyone in the UK before coming here. But there are also other problems, such as not being in the country to go on a viewing, and often not having a UK bank account before you get here. “There have also been some experiences with landlords stating directly that if they are looking to rent their house quickly, they would prefer a UK tenant, because they find it easier with a native speaker, it will be easier to talk on the phone.” Every year, there are always students who may be left without on-campus accommodation for various circumstances – although guaranteed a room if UEA is your firm choice on application (2012/13 was the first year without a guarantee for insurance students), those who come through clearing can also have problems. While the Union’s Home Run and housing advice centre are extremely helpful when finding private housing for these students, it can still be an extremely stressful time. This year, a demographic shift in science foundation year students meant that there were fewer local and mature students accepted onto the course, meaning 22 students who were guaranteed rooms in UEA accommodation had to be relocated to the private sector. Similarly, 60

postgraduate international students were housed in Broadview Lodge, where they had to share the Nelson Court common room kitchen. However, they are gradually being relocated by the university. Addressing the issue, Simonsen said: “The most obvious help that should be given in my opinion is that international students should simply have a higher priority for getting UEA accommodation, as that would overcome all the problems at once. Alternatively, they should at least be told very clearly and very early if they are not going to get a room at UEA, or if they are not certain to get one. “[...] If any student, international or not, has been clearly guaranteed housing from the university, and does not get it, they are, in my opinion, the university’s responsibility. You simply cannot leave any student on the street or to pay for a hotel themselves. “We have even had statements from some international students saying that they were considering not coming to UEA at all because finding a room was so stressful. This is completely unacceptable.” But why is there an oversubscription of rooms ever year, and why hasn’t the problem been solved? Head of admissions

David Giles explained that there are always going to be shifts between the number of students offered places and the number who eventually require rooms. With a drop-out rate between 2-3% and local or mature students who are less likely to stay on campus, it is always necessary to overbook. “They just don’t all come. We would end up having empty beds every year if [we didn’t], it’s like having seats on a jumbo jet. You always overbook a little bit because you know that there are always going to be people who drop out and don’t come ... It all depends on their behaviour really, and also the results they get.” Although explaining the various events the university put on to try to support international students, Giles said: “We’d really love to have the feedback if there’s things that people think that we could do better. We would always want to make them better I think, from a customer service point perspective, and from helping our students make the transition from their home country to England, UK and UEA. “We want that to be as welcoming an experience as possible, and if there’s things that we can do better, then please do tell us.”

‘We don’t bite... unless you want us to’ Features writer Chris Holmes spends some time with one of UEA’s lesser-known societies The Deviant Society is, to most, an unusual looking group of people. As an outsider to the music, fashion and subculture, it is easy to see them as something they are not. Most students see the way they dress and carry on walking. This, like many other first impressions, is wrong. The secretary of the society, Sean, acknowledges their strange appearance to most, joking that they are a group of “freaks, geeks and perverts.” The reality of what the Deviant society is and what it stands for is a much different story. They started as a gaming society in 1993, and out of the members’ shared interest in metal music, came the Deviant society. Officially, the Deviants are an alternative music society. The members share more than a similar taste in music; ranging from Goth to punk and many

shades in between, the fashions and lifestyles of the different sub-cultures of rock and metal music are represented. The Deviants stand for far more than many people assume. However, much the same as every society, they have regular club nights at the Waterfront called “Deviate” and love a night in the pub. There is a bond between many of the members much stronger than their music tastes or appearance, which is bullying. Many of them have been the victims of cruelty at the hands of others. One Deviant described how his experiences of this led him to find solace in metal music. He found an escape into a different world, where all that mattered was the music. In the other members he found people who wouldn’t judge him like people had done before. The president of the society, Leifr, said:

“We are all broken goods,” and that the Deviants are a “second family.” It becomes very clear by spending a little time with them that there is a great solidarity between members. This means that not only are the friendships within the group very strong, but that new members (and strangers) are welcomed with enthusiasm.

“It is easy to see them as something they’re not. Most students see the way they dress and carry on walking. This, like many other first impressions, is wrong.”

Joseph, an honorary member of the society and fledgling Deviant, shows the true spirit and supporting nature of the society. He lost his mother and father to drug overdoses, at the ages of five and 14 respectively, and was placed into care. Whilst struggling with depression and Asberger’s syndrome, he struggled to find his place. With an abusive girlfriend who constantly tried to persuade him to attempt suicide, Joseph felt as if there was nowhere to turn. However, the Deviants welcomed him without passing judgement. When asked what the Deviant society had done for him, he responded that in it “I’ve found my friends, I’ve found my lover and I’ve found my siblings.” They’ve suffered their fair share of judgement, but the Deviants are more than

just a music society, more than a group of people with similar interests; they are group of close friends. The problems they have faced make them kind and generous towards outsiders and newcomers. Essentially, they are a society for and about music, but are also much more. So, if the society sounds like something you may be interested in look them up on Facebook and get in touch. UEA is one of the few universities to have a Deviant Society so don’t waste an opportunity to join something different. Don’t judge a book by its cover, and don’t be shy. As Sean the Secretary said: “Don’t worry, we don’t bite ... unless you want us to.” Anyone interested in joining the Deviant Society can find them on Socweb or search for “UEA Deviant Rock & Alternative Music Society” on Facebook.



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Ash dieback threatens entire population A deadly fungus is spreading across Britain, destroying ash trees and the biodiversity they support in its wake. UEA researcher Chris Panter warns of the impact on rare insect species, while our environmental specialists have developed an app to help save the trees ...

Tim Miller Environment editor A deadly epidemic is spreading across the country. Majestic ash trees, deeply entwined in European culture and wildlife, should be flushing with the colours of autumn. Instead, they are being reduced to 20 metre high sticks, stripped of all greenery, their dead and discarded leaves travelling on the wind to inflict further ash dieback. The Chalara fraxinea fungus, which spread to the UK from an ash tree imported from the Netherlands in February, causes leaf loss, the dying back of the crown and eventually death. The disease has already wiped out the vast majority of ash trees in areas of Denmark and has spread across Europe during last two decades. The threat is serious; ash trees are the dominant species in around 5% of Britain’s woods. UEA’s own Chris Panter has stated that the disease could have a knock-on effect on 60 of the country’s rarest insect species. He said: “if this disease removes many ash trees from the landscape, then it will impact the country’s biodiversity” and that “notable or scarce species may possibly be lost from the UK”. In addition to insects, he said, “ash is also important for many lichens and mosses and its seeds

are an important food for wood mice”. A move to ban ash tree imports from Europe two weeks ago has proved unsuccessful as the disease has gained a foothold in mature forests, including one in Norfolk. The cases in established woods were all found in the south-east of Britain, suggesting that it has spread on the wind. In addition to the import ban, hundreds of thousands of trees and saplings are being burned. As blame is cast in all directions, many have warned that the tragedy unfolding may be unstoppable. Forestry companies have called into question the necessity of ash imports and have dubbed the grant system that funds most commercial tree planting unpredictable and chaotic. Meanwhile, the shadow environment secretary, Mary Creagh, has stated that 25% cuts have crippled the Forestry Commission, rendering it unable to identify and tackle tree disease. The government has taken further blame; it has been revealed that warnings from years past were ignored and many argue that a ban should have been issued long ago, while the fungus was wreaking havoc across Europe. The British public are being asked to use their phones to help save the country’s 80 million ash trees. Environmental

specialists with UEA’s Adapt Low Carbon Group have developed AshTag (above), an app for smartphones used to submit photos and locations of suspected ash dieback. Infected trees are recognisable by lesions on their bark, dieback of leaves at the tree’s crown and brown leaves (hard to spot in autumn). The app is available for IOS and Android device users and can be found at

The ConDems: a climate of austerity

Climate, culture and development

Ella Gilbert Environment writer

Madalina Epure Environment writer

The 20 October TUC demo in London had all the ingredients of the student protests two years ago – minus the ambition and rage. In that time, it seems as if everyone has grown bitter about the process, and now sound like the old union heads bemoaning the Tory government in the Chandos pub in Trafalgar Square over their socialist rag. Marches, while they have a place, can be incredibly stifling. It seems hard superficially to relate so many different things to trade unionism, but after all the slogan “a future that works” certainly applies to something as far-reaching as climate change. Tax avoidance and climate change seem unlikely bedfellows but they are part of the same wider picture – climate change affects us all, though disproportionately the poor. Mitigation and adaptation require money, which isn’t going to be provided by the ConDems – thank you Mr Osborne – because they let the 1% dodge an estimated £95bn a year whilst cutting

public services and causing massive job losses. Of course in an “Austerity Britain” we must grin and bear it and talk about less controversial issues – like the weather. But even the weather is becoming controversial; the melting of ice sheets and changing ecosystem dynamics flood academic journals, not forgetting the “Frankenstorm” Hurricane Sandy, which undoubtedly has a worrying climate context. The magnitude and frequency of storms like this is projected to steadily increase with ocean warming and changing atmospheric conditions. The convergence of two unlikely political parties is reminiscent of the disastrous convergence of the two weather systems that made up the hurricane – catastrophe will ensue in both cases. However, I keep going to these things despite my scorn because I don’t want my fears of national and international destruction to be realised, and nobody can turn a tide on their own, except Moses.

Climate change and its effects on human society have been at the forefront of numerous discussions and scientific research in the last decades. While the perceived changes in climate and their impact on society have been regarded almost unanimously as negative in modern times, human history now appears to paint a very different picture of what climatic change could mean for the development of human society. Around 7000 years ago, the Chinchorro community of hunter-gatherers on the Atacama coastline witnessed changes in the climate which helped rather than hindered the development of their society. Regional climate records for the time indicate that the Atacama coastline saw a significant surge in rainfall which changed a usually dry desert into a land with significant water sources. This environmental development aided a primarily fishing population to thrive. Its population increased drastically and

spread as hunter-gatherer communities throughout the region. Along with their substantial increase in numbers they also became a more complex technological society. One such example of Chinchorro technological innovation is the development of complicated and ritualistic mummification procedures. One of the world’s earliest examples of mummification, this practice is believed to have been the result of an increasing population encountering naturally mummified corpses in the desert. This is thought to have inspired elaborate mummification styles among the Chinchorro, such as the painting of the skin with red ochre or black manganese as well as disassembling the body. While the exact birth-point of these techniques remains theoretical, the link between environmental change and the development of the Chinchorro society is strong. Instead of climate change leading to their collapse, it actually acted as a positive creative force towards the formation of a wide-spread, technologically complex society.

Science & Tech


Issue 274

Kindle Fire or iPad Mini?


Science editor Rebecca Hardy assesses the merits of two of the newest tablets to hit the shelves

Kindle Fire 1. Price The prices of the Kindle range are unrivalled for what they can offer, so are Apple just using their name to add extra to the price? • Kindle Fire: £129 • Kindle Fire HD: £159 • iPad: from £399 • iPad Mini: from £269 2. Flash Player Although an argument can be made that Flash player is dead, not everyone agrees and it is used by many educational websites. These cannot be accessed by iPads as they currently do not run the compatible software. 3. USB drive mode The Kindle Fire has much easier access to it as a storage device, and can be used as a USB stick to easily drag documents between your PC and the device. There are some hacks for this for the iPad, but native USB drive mode is supported, out of the box, for the Kindle Fire.

6. Amazon integration The integration between the Kindle Fire and the Amazon cloud is excellent. There certainly is an iPad-based App store and iTunes store, but their integration isn’t nearly as smooth. iCloud is still substantially untested and, to be fair, Apple has very little successful experience providing cloud services while Amazon provides them to the entire planet. 7. Size The Kindle is a compact seven inches and this allows for easy mobility. It’s possible to easily hold it in one hand like a paperback, carry it around without worrying that you’re lugging an entire window pane in your backpack, and even use it as a live shop reference when crawling around machinery, doing maintenance. It’s easy to hold in the hand, it’s easy to prop up on a pillow for bedtime reading or a last-minute TV show, and it’s just, plain comfortable.

iPad Mini 1. Build quality One of the notable things about the first iPod was that there was no obvious way to break it open, and the trend in all of Apple products, including the computers, is the same. As with all Apple products, the new iPad Mini is seamless and faultless in build quality. 2. Dimensions and weight This is worthy of mention because everyone has been focused on the Amazon Kindle Fire in comparison to the iPad Mini. If one compares an iPad Mini beside a Kindle Fire, you will be surprised to find that they’re almost exactly the same size in both width and length, though the iPad mini is thinner. The iPad Mini is considerably lighter than the Kindle Fire, with the stats coming in at 308g vs 395g. Even if you add on a Smart Cover, the iPad Mini will still be lighter.

and it is much easier to navigate your way through than with the Kindle. 5. Camera The mini has a five megapixel iSight camera with good resolution and a clean picture. 6. Keyboard Questions were raised about the ease with which one could type on a smaller screen keyboard but no such issues have arisen. In fact, many hard core fans are getting excited at the possibility of being able to use the screen in the portrait view and holding the device like a large iPhone. 7. App Store and iTunes With hundreds of thousands of applications exclusive to the iPad and thousands more that are compatible with across various Apple platforms, the choice is enormous and diverse.

3. Battery life Any user of Apple products will complain about the battery life, and obviously when comparing this to a Kindle there is simply no comparison. However, this iPad easily lasts into the nine hour mark, and with new lightening charging, it can quickly be recharged for another couple of hours.

4. PC format document viewer Once again, out of the box, the Kindle Fire supports PC-format documents, ranging from Word files and PDFs, even to PowerPoints. Yes, there are add-on apps that will do this for the iPad (the excellent GoodReader is the best example), but the Kindle Fire supports it, without the need for these. 5. Amazon perks Amazon has a free lending library for books and an excellent free video watching Prime service for Amazon prime customers. This lets you view endless films and television episodes unlimited and for free.

4. Screen and scrolling The iPad Mini is bright, white, and the text rendering is good – and there’s no obvious pixellation. Kindle books look as good on the iPad Mini as on the Kindle Fire. Apple has always placed great priority on making sure that scrolling and navigating large lists and texts is as easy as possible. The Mini is no exception

Polar bear island

A dog’s breakfast

Michael Bolton Science writer

Amy Osterloh Science writer

Whilst filming a new series, the BBC have stumbled across a remote iceberg that is home to over 20 bears. The Peterman Iceberg in Baffin Bay, just off the coast of Canada, has become a polar bear hotspot and a hitherto unknown sanctuary for the endangered species.

Due to the rapid melting of the sea ice, it is thought that the bears will have had to head to the land during the summer in the search for food. As their usual hunting ground is the seal packed sea ice, it is very uncommon to find this many bears on land, particularly this far into the winter too. Operation Iceberg is being shown on Tuesday 30 October and Thursday 1 November at 2100 on BBC Two

It is well documented that eating breakfast in the morning is helpful, but did you know that the same also applies to man’s best friend? Many study and revision guides advise you to eat a good breakfast in the morning. This advice is the result of countless studies and led Dr. Holly Miller of the University of

Kentucky to wonder if the same was true of dogs. Her study involved two sets of domestic dogs, one set had recently eaten, but the other set had been denied food for 12 hours. A treat was then hidden among a series of containers and the dogs were allowed to search for it. The study in the journal Behavioural Processes showed that the dogs who had eaten breakfast found the treat in less time than whose who had not eaten.

16 Travel A walk on the wild side in Bali

Kirsten Powley Travel writer The flight from Australia to Bali was exhausting – the cheapest way to get there from Melbourne was to fly to Perth, then again to Bali. But I couldn’t have cared less given how relaxing it was once I arrived. The English wasn’t perfect in our hotel (luckily in Bali, you can opt for a

Issue 274


hotel rather than a hostel). But it proved an endless source of entertainment when one of the pool rules being “No Jiggy-Jig”. With a swim-up bar, room service and amazing weather, we were in no position to complain. As an animal lover, my highlight was going to Bali Zoo. True, zoos are everywhere, but zoos in the southern hemisphere are a whole different ball game. They allow you to get up close

Every week our writers will tell you their favourite place in the world. This week travel writer Jessica Crisp describes her favourite restaurant, the Crazy Crab in Reedville, Virginia

Jessica Crisp

In an age where chain restaurants have swamped America, the Crazy Crab in Reedville, Virginia has kept its traditional country charm. Popular for its relaxed, casual atmosphere, diners can enjoy stunning views across the creek and the sound of the tranquil waters lapping the wooden jetties and moored boats. Nestled in a remote corner of the Chesapeake Bay, this area is famous for its fantastic seafood and the Crazy Crab is the perfect place to get a taste. The specials board changes daily depending on what has been caught fresh that day and the crab cakes are to die for. Locals turn up in their boats to enjoy the delicious home cooking while the setting sun dances across the bay and country music hums softly in the background.

and personal with as many animals as possible. I can now say that I’ve kissed a crocodile, held a binturong around my shoulders (an Asian bear-cat which made my whole body move with heavy panting) and stroked a tiger. But the undoubtable highlight was the chance to ride an elephant. And feeding them afterwards was an unforgettable experience – their personalities shone as their trunks followed the food around

as if independent from their body. I can honestly say that I have never felt anything as smooth as an elephant tusk. It angered me that poachers would want to take these beautiful things away from such a magnificent but easily-targeted animal. On a day trip, we visited temples and rice fields outside Kuta – sadly, we weren’t there for the green season, when the colour stretches for miles. That was more than made up for by the food we were given by a lady who lived there: sweet potato chips and some delicious tapioca with brown sugar. I had to resist asking whether she could make some more for me to take home, or give me the recipe. I’ve been craving them ever since. Another unmissable attraction in Bali is the surfing. I’ve been surfing on and off for a couple of years now, but decided to take a lesson to learn from the gifted Balinese surfers. The waves were the best I’ve ever seen and unlike England and Australia, you didn’t need a wetsuit. Just you with the sun, cloudless sky and serene blue water. Even the slight breeze just added to the summer feel by wafting the smell of incense offered to the Gods by the Balinese towards you. The lesson was enlightening, as they did not just teach with the aim to get you standing up, but about the sea and boards, as if assuming you’re in this for the long haul. After one lesson, even the most reluctant student would be longing to get back on a board. There was a strong tourist vibe in Kuta, with people on the streets offering things like Viagra, but these were easy enough to avoid once you ventured out. Rumour has it that if you go to one of the secluded areas of Bali, the beaches are even more postcard perfect.

Photography corner

Holly Maunders at Yosemite National Park in California Are you a budding photographer? Here at Concrete we love seeing your travel pictures, so why not send them in? Just email



Issue 274


Croatia’s hidden beauty Zahra Essackje Travel writer Straddling the once unbridgeable gap between east and west sits the largely undiscovered and beautifully unspoilt Croatia, with its perfect blend of stunning coastline and intrinsic natural beauty. Many would have heard and possibly visited the cosmopolitan Zagreb, the historical Split or even the picturesque Dubrovnik it is possible to miss the true pearl of the Adriatic: Zadar. Getting to the centre of the old town is no hardship and requires no more than a 15 minute stroll or five minute bike ride along the sparkling, wonderfully clear sea against the rocky coast. The downhill approach to the old city invites the visitor to imagine toga-clothed Romans carrying out their daily routine wandering the narrow and winding Venetian-style streets. A casual roamer would occasionally find themselves at a square fronted by the façade of church, a ruin or Zadar’s unique “Five Wells Courtyard.” The real highlight of Zadar though is not a Roman remnant but an installation, indeed two installations of modern art. Nikola Baši’s Sun Salutation and Sea Organ, located on the meeting point of the seaside promenade and the dock, bring an added distinction to watching

the sunset – a favourite pastime of locals and tourists alike. The Sea Organ utilises the spontaneous variance in the wave formation to produce an ethereal sound – not unlike blowing across the top of a half filled glass bottle. This conjures up a raw, unrefined sound, which aptly reflects the untamed nature of the spectacularly crystalline sea. The eerie though strangely relaxing organ accompanies the second part of Baši’s masterpiece the Sun Salutation – a large circular collection of solar panels

loom over the coast, creeping all the nearer as hikers trek into the park. Nearby, sheer cliff faces close in tightly all around and it is not hard to imagine why the rock climbing community is so well established here. Many different and increasingly challenging climbing routes have been mapped, labelled with terrifying names such as “Psycho-killer.” The path winds gradually up and over the steep heights before flattening out into a shady, hazy valley. Many Croatians bring their families

“Despite being the site of the outbreak of the Civil War, Plitvice appears largely untouched by humans” which spontaneously glow after sunset and generate sufficient electricity to light up the entire harbour. Suddenly everyone becomes a disco dancer moonwalking over the lit up panels; all of a sudden active after the tranquil contemplation of the setting sun. An hour away from Zadar is the rocky, dramatic landscape of Paklenica National Park. Although there are guesthouses and hotels aplenty, many tourists choose to camp on the edge of the clear water, which doubles up as a refreshingly pure cool down after a long day of hiking, and a wonderfully serene surface to skim stones on. The Lord of the Rings-esque mountains

here for a potentially tough day out; with the possibility of bunking in the luxurious Mountain Hotel or winging it in the basic (but free) mountain huts. While Paklenica has geological beauty; Plitvice Lakes National Park has its own extravagant scenery. Despite being the site of the outbreak of the Civil War, Plitvice appears largely untouched by humans. The extensive wooden walkways do nothing to detract from the stunning magnificence of nature; they merely unobtrusively enable the multitude of tourists to marvel in the multi-coloured lakes, tumbling waterfalls and thundering cataracts. The entry ticket is in itself a map and includes a boat

journey across the central great lake and a charming return bus journey after that strenuous six hour walk. Croatia is a must-see for those who revel in unexplored and untouched natural beauty; alongside a smattering of Venetian, German and Croatian culture. And you had better get there quick as the secret is out! Getting there There are plenty of ways to get to Croatia, but air and train are the most convenient. By air There are main airports in a number of different cities including Split, Zadar, Zagreb and Dubrovnik which are served by airlines like Easyjet and British Airways. This month’s best prices start from just £71 from Gatwick to Zagreb with Easyjet. By train Croatia has daily trains running to many other European countries like Austria, Italy, Germany and Slovenia to name but a few. It’s little wonder Crotia is such a popular destination for people travelling around Europe, particularly with Interrail.


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Why we must remember Remembrance Bex White Lifestyle writer If you’ve grown up in the United Kingdom you’ll be more than aware of it, but if you’re just here visiting then Remembrance will be hard to miss. Suddenly poppies will appear

everywhere, from people’s clothing to their cars. It’s a day every year in which we take time to remember those we’ve lost in combat. Remembrance Day falls on 11 November, the day which in 1918 marked the end of hostilities in the first world war. Every year since this event, at 11am on 11

First year does count Sidonie Chaffer-Melly Lifestyle writer There are many times as a fresher that you will dismiss a lecture, excusing yourself on the basis that first year doesn’t count. While this may be true in terms of being marked towards your degree, there are still aspects of first year that are vitally important to the rest of your university life. The people that you form bonds with in those vital first few weeks are likely to become the people you spend the rest of your university career and possibly even beyond with. Whether they’re your flatmates or you become BFFs in the LCR toilets, it’s the friends you make in your first year that are likely to be the ones to stick with you. Although it technically doesn’t count towards your degree, getting into the swing of working around university coursework does take some getting used to. Having been lead through A Levels by

teachers, it may come as a shock the first time you have to trawl through the library searching for that perfect quote yourself. The learning curve in first year gives you a stable idea as to what will come later. Moving to a completely different city is never easy, especially when you’re doing it by yourself. However, that first year in halls will give you a base to explore and discover your new surroundings. By the time you come to look for your own house you will have a good idea of where and where not to go. Cooking your own meals and doing laundry can be a bit of a shock when you first have to take responsibility for your life. Having to do it whilst getting used to a completely new routine can make it even more traumatic. By the time you have the workload of a second year however, you will have hopefully managed to find the domestic god/goddess inside you. So although your first year may not count academically, it is a significant start to your university life – one that should not be dismissed as easily as that first lecture.

November, there has been a two minute silence across the Commonwealth, in honour of those we have lost, which over time has come to include the many lost in combat since the first world war. It is often marked with a parade in many areas, including Commonwealth countries that lost their men, with memorial wreaths

of poppies placed upon the local war memorial, which unfortunately became commonplace in most towns. The poppies that adorn these wreaths have become a widely used symbol of Remembrance Day. The summer after World War One ended saw poppies bloom upon Flanders fields, the site of some of the worst battles towards the end of the war. The bright red colour of the poppies was thought appropriate to mark the bloodshed that took place on those fields, as well as the flowers being a sign of how life has continued on. The day is just as important for us today as it was for our ancestors. We’re still losing people in modern day combat and for their families it marks a day when our country shows their appreciation for the lives that have been lost in pursuit of peace. As the anniversaries since the Great War pass, it is up to our generation to continue to mark our respect for those that have given their lives for our country’s cause. The Poppy Appeal will run in the weeks before 11 November where, for a small donation, a poppy can be bought and worn so individual members of the public can show their respect. It will be hard to miss them once they have begun selling - there are more people who wear poppies than don’t. When you pin on your poppy this November, remember the reason why you are wearing it, and the millions of lives you are commemorating.



Issue 274


Keeping bugs at bay: staying well at uni Catherine Smith Lifestyle writer It’s winter, it’s cold, and it’s dark. In other words, now is a germ’s favourite time of year. Being ill at uni can seriously set you back a few weeks with your work, and being stuck in bed while everyone’s having fun is depressing, so keeping your immune system up is serious business. Gone are the school days when being ill was a stroke of some serious good luck. Back then, illnesses entailed a whole day in front of the TV watching cartoons, our mums waiting on us hand and foot, and, of course, missing that long dreaded maths test. At university, however, illnesses are a completely different story. There are no luxuries to illnesses anymore - our mums aren’t there to look after us and missing lectures is extremely stressful, not to mention a downer on class participation scores. A good way to keep your immune system up is taking vitamin C regularly. You can buy vitamin supplements from the supermarket cheaply, or you can simply make sure you have an orange,

or glass of orange juice a day. You can also find vitamin C in peppers, kiwis, grapefruit, strawberries and, the ever divisive Brussels sprouts. Another good tip is keeping fit and active. Exercising keeps your body strong and makes you feel great. It’s scientifically proven to boost your immune system, making it easier for you to fight off germs. Irregular sleep patterns are part of the student lifestyle - you’re either up partying, or you’ve literally left writing your essay until the last minute. Going to bed in the early hours of the morning and waking up at twilight is not good for your health, let alone your overall mood, so keep a good sleep routine. Make sure you go to bed at a good time and wake up before the afternoon. A clear way to keep germs at bay is to keep your student digs clean and tidy. This may be hard if you live with a complete slob, but keeping surfaces and your kitchen clean is important to keeping germs away. Similarly, avoid people who are sick like the plague. Almost all cold and flu viruses are passed on by direct human contact, so if someone near you sneezes move away!

If you are unfortunate enough to get sick, make sure you email your lecturers and ask to borrow someone’s lecture

notes, but more importantly, take plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids, and stay away from others!

The vicious truths of the world wide web Niyonu Agana-Burke Lifestyle writer With the invention of social networks, particularly Facebook and Twitter, it seems nothing is private anymore. It is not just names, profile pictures and birthdays, but that status bar asking “What’s on your mind?” also seems to lure so many to divulge facts and feelings that one would normally keep private. That simple question appears to have facilitated the venting of anger, frustration and countless other emotions. Twitter is no better; the

status-centred format seems to create a feeling of autonomy that means Tweeters really let rip. It is not a coincidence that both Twitter and Facebook use a calming blue for their brand, so is it luring us into a false sense of security? It certainly doesn’t seem to be calming us down. Passive aggression is defined by the University of Conneticut as “nonactive forms of aggression.. when these behaviours are motivated by the intent of irritating or getting back at another person.” What is particularly interesting

about this definition is that it gives us insight into the motivations of the passive aggressive social networker - it would appear that they aren’t just venting, but seek to hurt or offend the indirect target of their tweet or status. Are we seeking retribution through social media? Do we feel better if our angry status gets more likes or retweets than theirs? Even celebrities are not above such forms of self-expression, with countless famous names being less than subtle with their anonymously aimed tweets. Many often erupt into full blown indirect Twitter

wars. From Piers Morgan, Rihanna and Cheryl Cole to Alan Sugar, they’ve all been had their own disputes on the internet. This behaviour comes from the same group in society that takes to the courts to demand super injunctions to stop other celebrities using Twitter to vent anger and expose their secrets, as we saw early this year with Imogen Thomas and Ryan Giggs. So why then do even those that call for more privacy, or are held in positions of esteem, as celebs often are, take to Twitter and Facebook in anger? A Stanford University paper explains that we have “social sanctions and internalized self-sanctions” when committing transgressions. Certainly a passive aggressive status raises few of the concerns of face to face confrontation. Perhaps the abstract nature of the internet and the imagined autonomy that comes with it means we’ve dropped those inner sanctions too. With one billion Facebook users, and 500 million Twitter users generating over 340 million tweets per day, passive aggression on social media is a daily occurrence. In Twitter and Facebook we seem to find the freedom to express ourselves fully, without fear of consequence. With so many people having access to what we type, surely it’s rather naïve to suppose the internet is a safer outlet than the real world?


Issue 274



Christmas pudding recipe Alice Edwards Lifestyle writer

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With less than 50 days until Father Christmas visits, the annual jingles, toy adverts and garish window displays have already began to slowly seep their way into our lives. Whilst Christmas shopping can certainly wait a while yet, there are a few things which do need to be given some thought before the festive season begins, and Christmas pudding is one of them. Extra savvy chefs may already have started to prepare their Christmas puddings, but if you’re planning on making your own this year, now is the time to start prepping. Who said students can’t cook? Adapted from Delia Smith’s Classic Christmas Pudding recipe.

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Ingredients Dry ingredients • 110g of shredded suet (vegetarian) • 50g of self-raising flour • 110g of white breadcrumbs • 2 tsp of ground cinnamon • 1 tsp of ginger • 1 tsp of mixed spice • 225g of soft dark brown sugar • 25g of almonds, chopped • Some 5p coins, or any other lucky charm Fruit ingredients • 245g of dried mixed fruit (sultanas, raisins and mixed peel)

275g of currants A small apple, peeled, cored and chopped ½ an orange, zested ½ a lemon, zested

Wet ingredients • 140ml of Guinness or alternative stout • 2 eggs • 2 tbsp of rum • 1 tbsp of whisky • 1 tbsp of apple juice • Brandy is also a nice addition, if you have some Utensils • Two-tier steamer • Large and small mixing bowls • Weighing scales • Teaspoon and tablespoon measures • Large pudding basin (1.2 litre) • Greaseproof paper • Foil • Elastic bands/string/sticky tape Method 1. Mix the dry ingredients altogether in the big bowl, sifting in the flour and spices. Leave out the coins for now. 2. Add all the fruit, including the zest of the citrus fruits. 3. In a second bowl, whisk the eggs and add in the alcohol and beat them together. 4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fruit. Mix and

Alice Edwards







combine very well until you get a sloppy mixture. Add, or get friends and family to add, the pennies or lucky charm, making a wish as they go. Cover the mix with a dry, clean tea towel to soak overnight. No need to refrigerate, just leave on the side. The next day, grease your pudding basin with butter and then pour in your mixture. Pop the kettle on and set up your steamer on a hob that isn’t going to need to be used for the rest of the day (for 8 hours). Cover the basin in layers (see picture). The first two layers need to be greaseproof paper, secured each time with whatever you have (I used sticky tape and then elastic bands), then follow them by a layer or two of foil, also secured. Fill the bottom of the steamer and





set to a nice simmer. Place the basin in the tier above and put on the lid. Leave to steam for 8 hours. You will need to check and top up the boiling water at the bottom. After it has finished steaming, carefully take the pudding out and leave it to cool on the side. Remove the layers of greaseproof paper and foil and re-cover with fresh layers. Make sure it is nice and tight this time as it will be like this until Christmas Day! Store in a cool, dry, dark place. When it comes to re-steaming – get your steamer back and, as before, steam for 2 ¼ hours with top-ups of boiling water when needed. Remove wrapping, slide a knife around the edge and turn out onto a plate. Serve with fiery brandy, brandy butter, cream, ice cream or custard, and a sing-song should you wish.

Banoffee pie recipe Emma Williamson Lifestyle editor When it comes to indulgent desserts, homemade banoffee pie has it all. Whether your aiming to impress the housemates, the other half or the parents, this recipe will guarantee you maximum brownie points. With a buttery biscuit base that would make Greg Wallace proud, a rich caramel sauce, a layer of fresh bananas, which is practically one of your five a day, and a dusting of dark chocolate to polish it off, this recipe is the perfect deadline day reward.

Emma Williamson

Ingredients • 250g of digestive biscuits • 100g of butter, melted • 50g of light muscovado sugar • 397g of dulce de leche (this recipe uses Carnation Caramel) • 5 bananas, peeled and chopped into slices or disks • 200ml of heavy cream, whipped • 40g of dark chocolate

Method 1. To make the biscuit base, place the digestive biscuits in a food bag and, using a rolling pin, crush them into a crumb mixture. Alternatively, blitz them in a food processor. 2. Place the crumbs, melted butter and brown sugar into a bowl and mix until the crumbs are coated and are well combined. 3. Pour the mixture into a 23cm tin or dish and press evenly into the base. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for 20 minutes. 4. Once 20 minutes have passed, remove the biscuit base from the fridge. 5. Pour the dulce de leche onto the base and spread it over evenly using a butter knife 6. Place the pieces of chopped banana over the caramel, ensuring the whole base is covered. 7. Cover the banana with the whipped cream, before decorating with a sprinkle of grated chocolate. Refrigerate for at least five hours (overnight preferably) before serving.


Issue 274

Canary Corner by Dan Suen

Editors’ column Billy Sexton Sports editor After all the turmoil that has gripped football for the past few weeks, it was a pleasure to see a goal-infested Capital One Cup round last week. The League Cup has been disregarded in recent years by numerous clubs and the majority of the Premier League tend to field younger, more inexperienced teams. However, last week demonstrated why League Cup football is some of the most exciting that is played all year and it is well on its way to stealing the cup magic away from the FA Cup. Both the Reading v Arsenal and Chelsea v Manchester United fixtures were incredible games, and were made even better with the extra time periods with the prospect of penalties. Isn’t it time the FA Cup adopted a similar structure? Replaying fixtures is all very well in that it gives the smaller teams in the competition an extra shot at trying to progress, but extra time and penalties certainly makes for a more dramatic and exciting game - epitomised by the Reading v Arsenal tie last Tuesday that saw four goals scored in extra time and six scored after the 89th minute. Even from personal experience, two of the best football matches I’ve attended have been League Cup ties. The first was a local derby match between Nottingham Forest and Notts County, where Forest scored in the 122nd minute to take the match to penalties. The other was just a few weeks later, when Forest took on Newcastle in a tie that ended 4-3 to the Magpies but was hardly short of drama and excitement as Alan Pardew’s side won the game in the last minute of extra time. Also, with a winter break being incresingly referred to as a future necessity, cup ties which go to 120 minutes kill two birds with one stone. League Cup football is an absolute treat and should not be disregarded as it has been previously. Discounted ticket prices allows for a cheap(er) evening of entertainment that contains all the agony and ecstacy a fan needs to enjoy football.



Following the home win against Arsenal, Norwich travelled to Birmingham to play the highly-anticipated match against Aston Villa, with the side meeting former manager Paul Lambert for the first time since he departed Carrow Road during the summer. Christian Benteke gave Villa the lead after 27 minutes, but the game soon turned in City’s favour as Villa defender Joe Bennett received a second yellow card. Norwich unsurprisingly dominated the second half, and their efforts were rewarded when defender Michael Turner equalised with 10 minutes left. City were unable, however, to find a winner in the closing stages of the match. The Canaries made it seven points from a possible nine in their last three games after a hard-earned 1-0 victory over Stoke City at Carrow Road. Bradley Johnson scored the game’s only goal with a header in the first half. The game was a battle from start to finish, and, despite producing a few decent chances, Stoke turned in yet another underwhelming away performance and Norwich deservedly emerged with all three points. Following the poor start

to the season, Chris Hughton and the squad seem to finally be adapting to each other and City are now out of the relegation zone. Elsewhere, City produced a dramatic late comeback in the Capital One Cup match against Spurs, coming out as 2-1 winners. Gareth Bale gave Spurs the lead in the second half, cutting in from the right and finding the bottom corner. The game, however, shifted when the likes of Grant Holt, Simeon Jackson and Alexander Tettey came off the bench. An own goal from Jan Vertonghen in the 84th minute resulted from Tettey’s shot and Holt’s header was eventually bundled in by Jackson three minutes later for a second. Norwich’s elation was confirmed in the 88th minute as Mark Bunn saved Clint Dempsey’s penalty. City will now face Lambert and Villa once again in the last eight at home. In other news, defender Elliott Ward has joined Nottingham Forest in an emergency loan deal with a view to a permanent transfer. The arrivals of Sebastien Bassong and Turner have meant that Ward has played for Norwich just once since Hughton’s arrival.

Men’s Volleyball dominate Nottingham Chris Teale Managing editor Men’s Volleyball recorded their first win of the season on 31 October as they took a superb straight sets victory over Nottingham I. UEA had already played Nottingham away from home and lost 3-1, but they took revenge on their opponents, beginning the opening set in confident fashion and roaring into a comfortable lead thanks to a combination of superb smashes and bad errors from their opponents. Nottingham had looked very confident before the game, but struggled to cope with UEA’s onslaught and failed to communicate effectively while making avoidable errors. Meanwhile, the home side combined superb attacking play with solid defence and turned on the style midway through the set to lead by as many as eight points. Nottingham tried to mount a recovery, but UEA were too strong and closed out the opening set by a convincing margin of 2513. The second set started badly for UEA, as Nottingham eased into an early 6-0 lead and seemed virtually unstoppable. UEA’s defence was not quite as effective as it had been previously, but they gradually made a recovery before gaining some momentum, finding their form once again

while more errors began to creep into Nottingham’s play. UEA kept the pressue on to win the second set 25-19, taking a commanding lead in the game. The third set was perhaps the closest, as the rallies became longer and both sides began to find their best form. However, despite some poor communication at times, UEA found themselves well ahead at 15-10 and looking good for a resounding victory. The away side tried to mount a recovery, but it was too little too late as UEA closed out the set with a 25-20 scoreline and took an impressive win. With this result, the side move up to second in the table with Nottingham falling to third. UEA face Bedford I at home in their next match, and will be encouraged by their form from the Nottingham tie.

Elizabeth Margereson

Steve Rider fears for BBC Sport’s future Billy Sexton Sports editor

Steve Rider, renowned for presenting Formula 1, addressed a small audience at Jarrolds in Norwich as he introduced his new book My Chequered Career. Before signing copies of the book, Rider gave a talk on the current state of the sports broadcasting industry, particularly BBC Sport. The most intriguing part of his talk was centred around how the BBC are not the powerhouse of broadcasting that they used to be a few decades ago. He ascertained that there existed no challenge to BBC Sport’s monopoly on test cricket, Formula One or Premier League football during this time. Rider is worried for his former employers and labelled their broadcasting of the Olympic Games in the Summer as their “swansong.” However, the unique thing about the BBC is that they are able to deliver audiences reaching 15 million, a potential only other sports broadcasters can dream of. Rider wants to see the BBC exploit this strength with the funds they have, rather than spending millions each year being a junior broadcaster of Formula One and playing second fiddle to Sky Sports. He is afraid that the direction in which sports’ broadcasting is heading is that within 10 years everything will be on pay-per-view. When posed the question of where the future of the BBC’s coverage of Formula One lies, Rider praised the BBC for their incredible work on the broadcasting of Formula One since they regained the rights at the start of the 2009 season. On the issue of the BBC conceding 10 live races to Sky, however, Rider pointed out that the BBC were not wise enough when dealing with Bernie Ecclestone. He argues that the BBC overpaid £12 million for the rights instead of negotiating with Ecclestone, which could have given them more financial flexibility in the future and would also not have caused upset among the terrestrial audience when the split deal with Sky was announced. It’s a simple case of the BBC getting their sums wrong. With the BBC losing Jake Humphrey, Rider sees a further step back as inevitable and cannot fathom how easily they let the young presenter leave for BT Vision. Whoever the next anchor is will reveal how committed the BBC is to Formula 1, and Rider sees Lee McKenzie as the frontrunner to step in to Jake Humphrey’s shoes. It was a pleasure to have been in the company of somebody so knowledgeable about sport. Steve went on to retell his tales of conducting strange interviews with Nigel Mansell, as well as his memories of the late Ayrton Senna and golfer Seve Ballesteros.



Issue 274


INTERVIEW: Phil Vickery Phil Vickery was an key player in the England team that won the Rugby World Cup in 2003 and then captained the national team to the final in 2007. Recently he came to Norwich to promote his clothing range, Raging Bull. Here’s what happened when Billy Sexton and Sam Tomkinson asked him a few questions … What is the best moment of your career? It’s interesting. The obvious one would be winning the World Cup in 2003, captaining England and getting to the final in 2007 and playing for the British and Irish Lions. Throughout your career you have so many little highlights and some of those aren’t the things which people would think of. The first time winning the Heineken Cup with London Wasps I remember carrying my daughter, Megan, around the field in front of 80,000 people at Twickenham as a European champion. That was a special memory. My first cap playing for England against Wales in 1998 was just phenomenal because I never thought for one second that I’d ever represent England. I was happy at home milking the cows in Cornwall. Being 21 and running out at Twickenham, I genuinely lived the dream. It’s been fantastic. The World Cup in 2003, it wasn’t just winning it and winning it in Australia, it was the people that you play with, the coming home, the open top bus through London, going to Buckingham Palace – it’s not just the actual game, it’s what it means to the country. Even today when people stop you and say “22 November 2003 – greatest day of my life, thank you.” It’s been great and you can’t choose one, but obviously winning the World Cup and playing for the Lions was sensational. I’ve been very, very lucky. The worst moment of your career? The worst moments for me come from operations and injuries. Those are the bad times and the low times. I always hate losing - I don’t think anyone likes losing, all losses hurt. It’s lonely because when you’re in the limelight playing well everyone’s always praiseworthy, but when you’re injured no one really understands the pain and the heartache you go through to get back. I’m lucky to have my family around me. It’s frustrating when people say “oh, you’re injured again” because as a player you never want to be injured, but sometimes people say it to you like it’s your fault but I can’t help it! It’s not for the lack of effort and definitely as a sportsman the lowest times were the injuries for sure. Would you have liked to have played

playing for England against New Zealand. Mark Allen was known as the Bull. Clive Woodward was asked at the time, “How are your team going to cope with the Bull?” and Clive replied “Well we’ve got our own bull, the Raging Bull.” That was how it started and we did bits and pieces for rugby clubs. We then started doing leisurewear in 2005, 2006 and we’ve gradually grown from there. It’s a bloody tough industry! When people say something’s easy, it’s easy for a reason. If you want to get along in life you want to be proud of what you achieve. From being sat around the kitchen table talking about an idea 10 years ago and then sat here today in a House of Fraser store with my clothing brand, it makes me feel so proud and I’ve got such a good team of people around me.

anywhere other than prop? Well I started off at number eight, got a bit fatter and went to second row and then got a bit bigger and went up to the front row and that’s where I stayed. Playing in the front row, particularly in my era, I liked to play and understand the whole game. My passion is confrontation and believe me, when you’re in the scrum and looking someone in the eyes and they want to hurt you and you want to hurt them – I love that fear. What I love about rugby is that for different positions the game is different. A fly half will be wondering what the weather’s like, whether or not it’s raining. Whereas for me it’s emotion, it’s confrontation, so I thrived on that. Hand on heart I wouldn’t have wanted to have played anywhere else – it fitted my psyche. How much longer do you think you could have played were it not for the neck injuries? It’s a difficult one. I started young and was playing senior rugby at the age of 17 and 18, so I started young and finished young at the age of 34, but that was after three back operations so I actually did really well. I would have loved to have gone to the 2011 World Cup, but after what happened I’m glad I didn’t go! What is sad is when people come back and you have to ask, “why are you still playing? Is it because of money?” Don’t get me wrong, people have different reasons but I can look back at when I finished and be happy. I always needed something running alongside rugby, like Raging Bull, otherwise it would have eaten me up. I needed other things and I just don’t want to be remembered for that, I want to go on and do something else. How do you rate England’s chances for the 2015 World Cup?

I think the important thing with England since Stuart Lancaster took over is getting a nucleus of young guys, who in a couple of years’ time are going to be on 20 or 30 caps. It took me about 18 months to get a dozen caps and understand what was going on. It’s like when Sir Clive started in 1998 and got 25 guys as a nucleus. I think for me, this is the time for the England team to really move on. But the thing about sport is that we can all sit here and have our opinions on players and we’d probably only agree with three or four. I think there’s a great recipe for success at England. You’ve got a coaching position at Worcester, would you ever like to be involved in the England set up? Anything to do with England I’d love to be involved in, but I made a conscious effort when I finished a couple of years ago that I didn’t want to jump straight back into rugby. Of course I’m a big fan of the sport, I love the game as much now as when I started. Richard Hill from Gloucester rang me and asked, “what are you doing next year?” He offered me the chance to do a bit of scrum work with the younger lads and a bit of mentoring, to give an outside view on the team. I do two half-days a week and I really enjoy it. I don’t pretend to know it all because I don’t, but I can pass on knowledge and help whoever it may be to move forward. Would I like to be involved 24/7? Probably not because the game is spitting out coaches at the moment and I don’t want to go through that again for a little while. I want to start at the bottom and work my way up. How did you get in to the fashion side of sport? Raging Bull started in 1998 while I was

Raging Bull has grown from strength to strength over the past couple of years. Is it exclusively rugby based clothing or are you looking to expand? There’s always an element of the rugby side because that’s been our heritage, but when you look at the ranges from when we started and where we’re at now and looking ahead as well, a mistake would be to want to do everything and then end up doing nothing particularly well. For us, it’s about the constant challenge of developing. All the time we’re sat down we’re talking about what needs changing, what needs developing, looking at cuts, looking at stitching and we don’t want to lose what we do and have done so well. We notice you support the Wooden Spoon charity. Could you tell us a bit more about it? Wooden Spoon is a rugby charity for children who are disadvantaged and disabled. Since 1983 they’ve raised over £18 million, which is phenomenal. Wooden Spoon in Devon have only been going 10 years but they’ve already raised £1 million, just phenomenal. It’s great to be a part of and the teachers, helpers and assistants are just brilliant people, it’s inspiring. Who’s scarier: Martin Johnson or the Masterchef judges? The Masterchef judges. Gloucester or Wasps? Gloucester. Ruck or maul? Ruck. 2003 or 2007? 2007. In the 2007 final, was it a try? No.


Concrete Sport UEA


issue 274 6 november 2012

PhilVickery interview

Elizabeth Margereson

Women’s Rugby triumph over Worcester Dan Splarn Sports correspondent Women’s Rugby welcomed Worcester to Colney Lane for their fourth Bucs Midlands Division 1A game of the season on 31 October and emerged 36-10 winners. UEA came into the game on the back of successive defeats at the hands of Warwick and Bedford but were impressive from the outset, imposing themselves on their opponents straight from the kick-off. UEA’s high tempo seemed to catch Worcester cold and the home team were rewarded with a try after just two minutes, as outside centre Londyn Gage scored after some neat passing along the back row. UEA sought to build upon their quick start but Worcester gradually began to assert themselves on the game with some possession of their own. The visitors were able to build some pressure on the UEA defence and were rewarded on 18 minutes, with their number eight scoring a try to level the scores at 5-5. UEA searched for a response to this setback and were quickly back into their stride, only just failing to capitalise on an overlap in the 30th minute. The hosts were back in front two minutes later however, as inside centre Nina Crowther weaved through the Worcester defence to score a fantastic individual try under the goalposts. Rebecca Moore added the conversion to make the score 12-7. UEA were at it again with the final play of the half, as Moore, Crowther and Gage

combined to add another try to their tally and head into the break 19-5 in front. UEA started the second half in a similar fashion to the first, penning Worcester back deep into their own 22 and hitting their opponents with another early try courtesy of Gage. The hosts now had a spring in their step and extended their lead even further three minutes later, as Crowther left three Worcester players in her wake to score another try and establish a commanding 31-5 lead which effectively ended the contest. Worcester could have lost their discipline or let their heads drop but they came out resiliently, determined to reduce the deficit. They enjoyed a great deal of possession as the second half wore on but UEA’s forwards were equal to everything that their opponents threw at them, standing firm in defence and denying the Worcester backs the opportunity to run with the ball in hand. Worcester continued to knock at the door and eventually broke it down in the 63rd minute, their number eight scoring another try to reduce the arrears slightly. UEA responded once more five minutes later, with Crowther completing a hat-trick of tries to make the final score 36-10 to the hosts. UEA will take a number of positives from this display, the backs attacked with a real sense of purpose and linked together well, whilst the forwards provided a solid platform for the team in defence and at the rucks. The team will look to build on this momentum at home to Nottingham Trent on Wednesday November 7.

Bucs Fixtures 7 November:

Page 23


Men’s Badminton I v Nottingham III Men’s Football I v Bedford II Men’s Hockey I v Warwick III Women’s Hockey I v Lincoln I Men’s Lacrosse I v Birmingham II

Elizabeth Margereson

Women’s Lacrosse I v Northampton I

Page 22

Netball II v Lincoln I

Steve Rider talks sports broadcasting

Women’s Rugby I v Nottingham Trent I Men’s Tennis II v Lincoln I Men’s Volleyball I v Bedford I Women’s Water Polo I v Imperial College London I

Page 22

Concrete - Issue 274 - 06/11/2012  

Main story: UEA LGBT+ survey - 50% not out to clubs. Plus, an interview with former England captain Phil Vickery.

Concrete - Issue 274 - 06/11/2012  

Main story: UEA LGBT+ survey - 50% not out to clubs. Plus, an interview with former England captain Phil Vickery.