Page 1

Ready for a cracking New Year? Drugs & Alcohol survey results revealed on pages 12-13 of Features UEA’s Student Newspaper Issue 277 Free Tuesday 8 January




Union defers budget after questions from students University Philip Thomas News editor The Union of UEA Students’ annual budget was delayed after questions concerning the Chief Executive’s salary during Union Council on Thursday 6 December. Union councillor Cal Corkery challenged the fairness of an alleged pay package awarded to Chief Executive Derek Bowden, citing UUEAS redundancies and reduction in the wage paid to student staff from £7 to £6.50. Both measures were agreed by management committee, comprised of Bowden and the four fulltime officers, to reduce the Union’s budget deficit. The Chief Executive is responsible for the management of the Union and information regarding his salary isn’t publicly available, as the Staff Protocol section of the Union Constitution prevents its publication. In Union Council on 6 December, Mr Corkery highlighted that when the position was advertised in 2011, it offered a salary of “£65,000 upwards


dependent on level of experience.” He stressed that in a subsequent trustee board agenda, Finance Manager Lesley Hanner expressed the concern that “the decision to pay the new chief executive an extra £20,000 in salary would impact elsewhere in the budget.” Corkery explained that the Union’s Annual Report and Accounts lists one member of staff earning in excess of £90,000, suggesting it was “reasonable to assume that this member of staff is the Chief Executive.” During the Trustee Board meeting, 201112 Non-Portfolio officer Liam McCafferty noted that “the Chief Executive negotiated a higher renumeration package,” and claimed that this was “morally wrong” in light of wage reductions. Corkery expressed criticisms of the decisions made by the management committee regarding redundancies and Union staff wages: “One of the Union’s core values is supposed to be democracy, yet there has been no opportunity thus far for input from the student body.” Finance Officer Joe Levell responded to



Philip Thomas

Finance Officer Lesley Hanner, Trustee Board Agenda October 6 2011

Liam McCafferty, Trustee Board Minutes October 6 2011 Cal Corkery’s concerns, saying: “It’s really positive that students have shown passion for the running of the Union by asking for more information on the budget. It was discussed at the last meeting of the Trustee




Board and it will be reported on at the next meeting of Union Council.” The decision to approve the budget has also been put back to the next Union Council meeting, on Thursday 24 January.




2 Editorial

Editor-in-chief | Amy Adams Managing Editor | Chris Teale Online Editor | Harry Slater Deputy Online Editor | Luke Boobyer 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 277


News | Sophie Witts, Philip Thomas, Chris Teale, Amy Adams, Chris Thomson, Elizabeth Jackson, Kathryn Fox Comment | Matthew Protz, Zoe Jones, Harry Edwards, Andrew Ansell, Caitlin Gray Global | Robert Norris Features | Lauren Cope Environment | Madalina Epure, Chris Teale Science & Tech | Rebecca Hardy, Juliet Muncey, Josh Sutton Travel | Lauren Cope, Rachael Lum, Holly Maunders, Kirsten Powley Lifestyle | Emily-Claire Tucker, Bruno Gnaneswaran, Rhian Poole, Charlotte Galt, Sacha Reeves, Maddy Hutt, Imogen Steinberg Sport | Sam Tomkinson, Joe Boon, Edd Hornsby, Billy Sexton, Will Medlock Proofreaders | Charlotte Cox, Sidonie Chaffer-Melly, Amy Adams, Harry Slater, Chris Teale Photographers | Sacha Reeves, Issy Witcomb, Holly Maunders, Chris Teale, Tom Oliver, Rachael Lum, Philip Thomas, Laura Smith

If you have concerns about drug or alcohol use, the following helplines are available: • • • • • • •

Talk to Frank: 0800 77 66 00 UEA Nightline: 01603 503504 UEA Student Wellbeing Team: 01603 592761 Norfolk NHS Wellbeing Service: 0300 123 1503 Alcoholics Anonymous: 01603 621128 Drinkline: 0800 917 8282 Samaritans: 08457 909090



The Editor’s Column According to the Home Office, 12 million people have tried an illegal drug in England and Wales. The most common age for a “first try” was between 16 and 18 years old. And last year a report from the UK Drug Policy Commission (UKDPC), declared that the UK has 2,000 drug-related deaths each year and more than 380,000 problem drug users. Illegal drugs use – particularly that which is fuelled by addiction and more likely to lead to other crimes – is a huge social problem, and one which the coalition has recently disagreed over again. Following the report from the UKDPC, there were calls for a royal commission examining “failing drugs laws” and potentially introducing decriminalisation of some drugs. However, the idea was dismissed by PM David Cameron and home secretary Theresa May, while Deputy PM Nick Clegg was vocal in his support of it. Here at Concrete, we have used our

own survey to try and look at some of the perceptions surrounding alcohol and illegal drugs at UEA. The results can be found on pages 12-13. Of course neither I, nor Concrete, claim to condone illegal drug use. However, I do believe that – as with all things – knowledge is key. 61% of those who took our survey had tried some form of illegal drugs. Whether you’re a regular user, or thinking about experimenting, be sure to educate yourself about the substance, your body, and how to stay as safe as possible. Visit for confidential advice, or if you are worried about a friend. Alternatively, you can call UEA Nightline from 8pm-8am every night, or contact the Advice Centre or the wellbeing team at the Dean of Students office. Stay safe, and happy new year, Amy Adams Editor-in-Chief

News editor position available Do you have what it takes to help co-edit News? Concrete is looking for someone with their finger on the pulse and a dedication to student journalism. The position requires you to: • Source news articles for the paper and online • Run news meetings with writers • Cover breaking news • Write news articles to a high standard • Help produce the News pages on InDesign during production.

Tweet of the Week Lewis Weatherburn @LJWeatherburn

I’ve been on campus 5 mins and I’ve already seen the guy with the twisted moustache and got a free coffee #uea

Candidates should have strong organisational and communication skills, with an ability to work well as part of a team, and meet deadlines under pressure. InDesign training will be provided. Please send 500 words detailing your experience and what you would do with the role to You should also include an example of a news article you have written recently, either for Concrete or another publication.

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

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 277


Union enforces bank boycott University Sophie Witts News editor

The Union of UEA Students (UUEAS) has enforced a boycott of the Natwest/RBS group banning the bank and anything bearing their sponsorship from campus. The boycott has officially been in place since August 2011 but was brought to the attention of the Student Officer Committee in December after it was noted that terms of the policy were being breached. The original motion, passed in Union Council 2010, cited that the Natwest/RBS group supported and funded fossil fuel extraction and was therefore “incompatible with UUEAS environmental policy”. The Union Communications officer at the time wrote to the group chairman and the Chancellor George Osborne informing both that unless the bank adopted more ethical practices, the UUEAS would switch to a more “optimal” bank in 2011. Writing on the UUEAS blog, Finance officer Joe Levell stated that the Student Officer Committee was forced to review Union activity “to ensure that we are abiding by the policies as you, the membership, intended” and came to the interpretation that resulted in a “total boycott of all Natwest/RBS activity”. As a result clubs and societies will therefore no longer be able to apply for

additional funding through the RBS/ESSA scheme, despite many having done so for the current and previous year. Levell said: “the Student Officer Committee apologises for not discouraging clubs and societies to apply. Any club or society that continues in ESSA will be breaching Union policy and, as such, the club or society is in breach of their code of conduct.” Speaking to Concrete, UEA Korfball President Rob Bloomer said that “the issue was discussed at Sports Council and Korfball have since withdrawn from ESSA on the back of it. It is a great shame because the award pushed us to develop how we communicate with our members and look at ourselves more critically last year, and we were hoping to do the same this year.” The boycott will also mean that Six Nations Rugby and the Natwest cricket series will no longer be shown in the bar due to both being sponsored by the banking group. Bloomer added that this issue was raised at sports council to “show how imposing a blanket boycott on anything even sponsored by RBS is a bit ridiculous. Unfortunately the Union has taken the boycott very literally and has even determined to stop showing such sport. “If we’re saying that nothing sponsored by RBS can be affiliated with the Union then we could look not just at Six Nations

Rugby but also Andy Murray, whose sponsorship from RBS was extended in 2011 and the Manchester Pride March 2012 which was also sponsored by (the group). My point is that none of these things are evil or deserve boycotting, but the Union is looking at a blanket label of anything sponsored by RBS, which is a shame.” He added that Korfball were drafting a proposed amendment to the policy. Finance officer Levell explained that the ban was not definitive: “The Union is a charity that represents you and your

views; if you wish to change this policy in any way, you should contact your Union Council Rep and lobby them to submit an amendment to the policy. The Union’s staff and officers will always act as mandated by you, the members and are dedicated to ensuring that students’ voices are heard on these matters.” Concrete has learned that the campus branch of Natwest will be closing due to low usage and will be converted in the Co-operative bank. Natwest hold the lease of the building until October but are reportedly planning to move in February.

Students to receive Oompa Thump-a exam feedback Norwich Chris Teale Managing editor

University Chris Thomson News reporter The University has announced that students will now receive feedback on their exam scripts from this summer. The news will be welcomed by the Union who have campaigned on the issue for several years, with approximately 86% of students expressing that they would find exam feedback useful in response to a 2010 survey. The new legislation from the University will oblige all schools to provide generic feedback to students as a bare minimum, though the project may remain somewhat experimental in its early stages. Concrete has learned that Nigel Norris, the Academic Pro – Vice Chancellor, is keen to see different Schools trial varying methods of delivering feedback throughout the

year. Speaking to concrete, Josh Bowker, the union’s academic officer told us: “This is a huge win for the Union, we are incredibly pleased with this result and it has taken a long time to convince the University, through several generations of officers relentlessly lobbying the University, to implement this change.” Despite this success, some students may see the new agreement as an inadequate compromise. The 2010 Union survey also revealed that an overwhelming 80% of students would prefer the return of their script with individual feedback, whilst only 32% would consider more “generic” feedback helpful. This was acknowledged by Bowker, who explained “[the Union] hopes that generic feedback is just the beginning and that in the future the University seek to adopt a more individualised approach.”

Norfolk Police are seeking four people in connection with an assault on Prince of Wales Road in December, two of whom were dressed as Oompa Loompas from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The assault happened on Thursday 27 December outside Siciliano kebab house between 3.20 and 3.30am, with a 28-yearold man being approached by a group of three males and one female. Two of the males had painted orange faces and dyed green hair, while the female had a dress split at the side and dark hair. One of the males in the group pushed the man to the floor before he was then hit repeatedly, sustaining cuts to his face and two black eyes. A spokesman for Nofolk Constabulary told The Telegraph “perhaps they were taking part in a Christmas event. They may have been at a fancy dress party.”

Philip Thomas


Issue 277



First buses: we want your complaints

University Amy Adams Editor-in-Chief The 25/25A bus services were late 15% of the time from October to December 2012, and as often as 40% on 14 December, the final day of UEA’s Autumn term. Chelsea de Silva, regional PR & marketing manager for the South East and Midlands, cited several reasons for the delays when speaking to Concrete in December. Most of the problems related to the “teething time” following the system change in September. “One of the biggest issues we’ve had, not just on the blue services but on all of them, is drivers understanding 1) the routes 2) the new ticket machines, which were brought in August/September ... at the moment it’s just taking time for our drivers, some of whom have been with us 25-35 years, to go from one system to another. And it just so happened that that came in at the same time as the network revision. So that, tied in with the learning of the routes, meant there were massive gaps in between buses of late running.” Additional training for drivers has been provided.

Problems with congestion also caused lateness. Norfolk County Council are planning to introduce bus lanes to Grapes Hill and the Chapelfield area in 2013 to help alleviate the problem. De Silva also referenced a change in the County and City Council’s traffic monitoring system over the festive period, accounting for the high December delays. While in past years traffic officers were employed to direct traffic away from the car parks, this did not occur last year, leading to heavy queues around areas such as Chapelfield Road. De Silva summarised: “Buses are caught in massive congestion which, to add to the two issues about the ticket machines and the learning of routes, is just causing us to be later and later.” Responding to the complaints made to Concrete (“Backlash over buses” published in issue 275), de Silva urged students with bad experiences to complain to First Group, who investigate every complaint made against them. “We literally are probably the one business that welcome complaints ... We don’t know if a driver’s swearing at passengers unless people tell us. Otherwise he’s going to stay in service and [continue acting that way].” She later clarified: “I

think the biggest message ... is to get everyone to tell us, tell us, tell us. If they’re not happy, if they are happy – which I’m sure is rare – if they want to complain, if they want to make a suggestion: tell us, because we can’t do anything about it or listen to you unless you do.” She also said that students who wished for a refund for their bus pass should contact First with as much detail about their experiences as possible. Dawn Dewar, transport co-ordinator at UEA reaffirmed this statement: “I’ve always pushed people to complain and I tell them make sure that if you’ve got a ticket, hold on to it so you know which bus if it’s something to do with the driver being rude or that particular bus being late. And if you haven’t got that then as you get off just try and mentally note the registration number.” She also highlighted the bus forums which take place quarterly and allow students to voice their opinions on buses directly. Additional buses to the 21/22 routes introduced from 6 January are also hoped to improve matters for those living in the Bowthorpe area. Alex, a third year law student from Bowthorpe, said: “While it shows that

head office are actually trying to fix the problems, I'm not convinced it will actually make a difference. The drivers have presumably already been trained not to be rude, so even with extra training, they're probably set in their ways. The extra buses could help, but I imagine they'll just end up bunching together, so we'll have to wait and see.” To make a complaint against First buses, email contactus.fec@firstgroup. com.

Laura Smith

UEA staff recognised in New Year’s Honours National Philip Thomas News editor

UEA lose University Challenge final University Chris Thomson News reporter Four UEA alumni made it to the final of University Challenge’s Christmas Special broadcast on BBC2 on 3 January. Graduates John Boyne, Razia Iqbal, David Grossman and Charlie Higson were ultimately beaten by New College Oxford by 205 points to 110 but made a valiant effort nonetheless, being congratulated by host Jeremy Paxman for being “jolly

entertaining”. The university posted a message on its official Facebook page saying “bad luck to Team UEA last night on University Challenge who were defeated by Oxford” but that they were “very proud of them for getting us through to the finals”. The team correctly answered questions about a variety of different topics including rivers in Africa, the word “omnishambles” and the probability of getting a reindeer shaped chocolate in your advent calendar.

Academics and directors from the University of East Anglia were recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours list. Among the four recipients was Professor Ian Bateman from the School of Environmental Sciences, who was awarded an OBE for his services to environmental science and policy since the 1990s. Professor Bateman said he was “incredibly honoured and humbled” to receive his award. He said: “I am particularly proud to be a member of the School of Environmental Sciences - in my opinion it is the best institution of its kind in the world. “It recognises that to understand the crucial yet complex relationship between humans and the natural environment we need insights from all disciplines.” Meanwhile, Emeritus Professor David Howe from the School of Social Work was recognised with an OBE for services to vulnerable children and families. Prof Howe said: “I couldn't have

been more surprised and delighted when I heard the news. I have been deeply touched by all those who took the trouble to sponsor the submission all without my knowledge! Of course, it would never have happened if I hadn't been given the opportunity to work in a great school with the support and stimulus of so many talented colleagues over so many years.” The former director of partnerships, Erica Towner, was made an MBE for services to higher education, including her contribution to widening participation and her work with UEA’s partner colleges. Former Sainsbury Centre director Nichola Johnson, was made an OBE for services to museums and cultural heritage. UEA Vice Chancellor Prof Edward Acton said: “I am delighted to hear that the valuable contribution of UEA research to the wider community has been recognised in the New Year’s Honours list. “Ian and David have led the way in their respective fields of environmental science and social work, and Erica has played a pivotal role in building lasting relationships with our partner colleges. I send each of them my warmest congratulations.”



Issue 277

Antiques Roadshow coming to UEA University Sophie Witts News editor

Chris Teale

Union ‘Megashop’ planned National Kathryn Fox News reporter Plans are in place for the UFO and Union Paper Shop to merge into a single “Megashop” in a bid to cut costs and tackle the large Union deficit. With the accommodation office moving from its current location to Broadview Lodge, there would be


plenty of space for such a conversion to take place. A representative of the Union backed the project, stating that a “new Union outlet will provide more funding for the Union to spend on our charitable objectives, things like student representation, clubs and societies and the Advice Centre.” Once approved, the Union hopes that the changes will be ready for the next academic year.

UEA is set to hit television screens when it plays host to the BBC programme Antiques Roadshow in the summer. Arriving on Thursday 25 July, the roadshow will be based in the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts (SCVA) and UEA staff and students are encouraged to bring any items they would like valued. Since 1979 the program has featured multiple appearances of UEA graduate and antiques expert Paul Atterbury, who studied History of Art as an undergraduate. Each of the programme’s valuation days attract an estimated 2,000 visitors and those planning to attend are warned to expect long queues.

News 6 58% of undergraduate students affected by financial worries

National Elizabeth Jackson News reporter Almost half of undergraduate university students regularly worry about meeting basic living expenses such as rent and utility bills, according to the results of the recent NUS Pound in Your Pocket. The survey was launched in 2011 and published December 5 2012, and was participated in by almost 14,500 students across the UK. The results of the study show how much financial problems impact many students’ day-to-day lives, as 41% of higher education applicants between 2009 and 2011 were entitled to full maintenance grants. Findings suggest that students from poorer socio-economic backgrounds suffer the most, with 49% of those students who had considered dropping out of their university course citing financial difficulty as their main reason. Problems were also identified in the methods and delivery of financial support available to students. Results showed the need for smaller, more regular student finance payments to make it more

Issue 277

convenient for students to pay bills. 58% of undergraduate students said that they did not feel able to concentrate on their studies due to financial worries. 28% of higher education participants worked part time to cover living costs that weren’t covered by their existing financial support, but crucially the study linked this to external results showing that such work decreases course participation, increases stress, and increases their chances of gaining poorer overall results. The report also criticised hidden course and transport costs, which was shown to have a negative impact on student wellbeing. Additionally, it also highlighted the need for the current means testing to adapt to modern household structures. Major flaws were pointed out with the financial assessment of individuals with separated or divorced parents that both financially supported them, or those with parents who had live-in partners that did not support them. The NUS hopes that the survey’s findings will help to prompt discussion about policy-making, looking to “reform the pattern of payments or improve the way that discretionary funding works,

You could be your own boss If you’ve ever thought about choosing your own route through life or doing something you’re passionate about, then you might want to think about starting an enterprise, either while you’re studying here at UEA or once you’ve graduated. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never thought about starting a business before: the SEED Team (part of Careers & Employability) can support you to develop your idea through workshops, mentoring and funding. You don’t have to do it alone, either – you could work as part of a team with a group of friends. Our workshops and mentoring advice will help you to understand how to make the leap from idea to action, covering all the steps you’ll need to take – and if you’ve got a great concept, we have a range of small grants of up to £500 to help you get it off the ground. This funding can support things like a market research report, attendance at an event or the purchase of a small piece of equipment. The grants are quick to


introduce tighter controls on the costs students face, and to make sure that public sources of support interact in a much more holistic way with paid work and with the benefit system.” They also hope to persuade academics and the government to invest in more research in these areas. Sarah Brodie, a student advisor on finances at UEA, said: “Going to university is an investment in students’ future, career and earning potential. “Most students do need to budget carefully and there are tuition fees to pay, but not upfront. The government provides


agree, easy to access and managed by us so that you don’t have to worry about anything apart from working on your venture. If you’ve got more ambitious plans, we can offer larger grants of up to £3,000 for things like covering business costs and expenses (although not wages) to help you get trading. These grants have been provided with support from Unltd, HFCE and Santander. All funding allocations will be supported with mentoring and access to space in our enterprise hatchery. If you’d like to access this funding, come and find out more at our Business Start Workshops taking place on 30 January at 2pm and 13 February at 5pm. For more information, email us on info. or visit www. For further careers information, visit

loans to help with both fees and living costs, which students don’t have to pay back until after they graduate - and only after they are earning more than £21,000 a year. “Students from low income families are also eligible for living cost grants from Student Finance England. These grants are worth up to £3,354 and don’t have to be paid back. “The University also provides a number of bursaries, scholarships and other awards which don’t have to be paid back. We also provide emergency financial help to students in difficulty.”



Issue 277

Legalise them or not, the classification of drugs needs to change


Matthew Protz asks why there is a mis-match in classifying drugs, and explains how this could be misleading American states that teach pupils to abstain from sex have higher pregnancy rates than those which teach contraception. The moral of the story: rather than trying to control people’s behaviour in a way that isn’t possible, give them the best available information so that when some indulge in the inevitable, they do it in the least harmful way. This is far from the way in which issues surrounding drugs are dealt with in the UK. Take, for instance, the illicit substances MDMA and cocaine. Both come in powder forms and are enjoyed on nights out, making it easy to see how people might consider them on an equal level, perhaps having taken one, experiencing no adverse effects and seeing no harm in taking the other. Neuropsychopharmacologist David Nutt and a team of experts devised a list of Britain’s most harmful substances based

on these two main factors of harm caused and likelihood of dependence. One of the previously mentioned substances came in at number 18, as there is no strong evidence for long-term damage and it is not addictive. The other came second, behind only heroin, due to it’s massive potential for physical and mental harm, being one of the most addictive substances known to man. If we had been properly educated on drug use, there would be 100% accuracy in deciphering which of these substances is which, with no hesitation to answer given the enormous discrepancy between the two. But from discussions I’ve had with people, this is clearly not the case. I’m sure many people reading this are either unsure or not entirely confident in their ability to answer correctly. Nutt’s study found cocaine to be the second most dangerous drug with MDMA

coming in at only 18. Why then is it people are so unaware of this division? Perhaps that they’re both class A drugs according to a classification system that “as a scientific framework for assigning the relative weights to dangerousness of drugs in the UK it doesn’t have a lot going for it,” according to Dr John Marsden of the Institute for Psychiatry. Or maybe because much like the American pupils taught simply to abstain from sex, we’re told that all drugs are bad and we shouldn’t do them, meaning those who inevitably enter the world of drugs do so unaware that they are likely to damage themselves. Yet when it comes to alcohol (ranked


Looking to boost your CV? If you are a UEA student with little or no work experience, the Springboard Campus-based Internship Programme is here to help you increase your workplace confidence, develop transferable skills and boost your CV. Launching to UEA undergraduate students in January 2013, the Springboard programme offers you the opportunity to secure an internship on the UEA campus for up to 12 weeks, for between four to 12 hours per week. It’s the perfect opportunity to increase your skillset and improve your CV while you study. The potential benefits of this programme are wide-ranging. You will have the opportunity to learn new skills and apply them within a professional setting, gaining valuable exposure to the world of work and helping to grow your confidence within a workplace. There are many different types of possible internships, for example: • Planning and conducting research, including market research • Developing marketing materials • Maintaining social media outlets and analysing their usage • Planning and managing an event

Springboard will also enhance your CV and covering letters with evidence of experience, and provide you with a professional reference to complement your academic reference. You can complete the internship to fit around your study commitments (during normal working hours) and receive a bursary equivalent to the National Minimum Wage. In addition to all that, you will have access to workshops and careers support throughout the programme. To be eligible for this fantastic opportunity, you must be a full-time UEA undergraduate student currently possessing little or no professional workplace experience. However, you will still require commitment and enthusiasm! If you are an international student, you must also ensure that the internship hours do not contravene the terms of your visa. For more information, please call 01603 593917, e-mail internship@uea., or go to Opportunities will be advertised from January 2013. For further careers information, visit

fifth in Nutt’s list) or tobacco (responsible for one fifth of UK deaths), we’re then told we can use them if we’re responsible, creating herds of liver, lung and brain damaged people convinced what they’re doing is fine because those in charge have arbitrarily declared these substances OK. As Amanda Fielding, founder of the Beckley Foundation put it: “it’s a fact of life that people have always altered their consciousness and they’re going to continue doing so and therefore we as a society need to get a very firm grip on the relative harms of the difference substances which we need to teach to our children, and rather than forbid we need to educate.”


Issue 277



My name is Britain, and I am an alcoholic

While France has no precise word for “binge drinking”, Britain can’t seem to keep it together. Zoe Jones thinks we could do with some help. Zoe Jones Comment writer There is undoubtedly a culture in Britain that at the end of a long week it’s nice to unwind by knocking back a pint or two … or three … or four or five, and then maybe a few shots and Jägerbomb. Fine, so we drink to get drunk. As students we are subject to the force of our drinking culture, propelled by drinking games and, something I’m new to: drinking challenges. When someone begins to chant “we like to drink with Zoe”, mark my words I’ll get it down in eight. But if one more person puts a penny in my peach beer at the Fat Cat: one, I won’t do it because it’s stupid and I don’t know where that penny has been; and two, I like peach beer, ruin it for me and you expose yourself to a whole new world of pain. At this time of year there is a pressure to go out and have a good time. It’s as though it establishes how your new year is going to unravel. In Wigan there is a tradition on Boxing Day where the whole town goes out in fancy dress and essentially get absolutely hammered. When you unfortunately spend your

Boxing Night in A&E after a short-lived evening, you realise the extent of the drinking culture here. A list of drunken injuries included Batwoman with a head injury, Lara Croft with a broken wrist and Buzz Lightyear readying to have his

stomach pumped. And I ask you, is this how we really want to be spending our New Year, with no memory of the night before? When in 2005 it was issued that pubs and bars could open all throughout the

day if they so desired, it was said that the initial intent was to “spread out” drinking throughout the day to cultivate an alcohol appreciation culture like our European neighbours, rather than a “chug, chug, chug!” culture.

“A list of drunken injuries included Lara Croft with a broken wrist and Buzz Lightyear readying to have his stomach pumped.” In France there is no word for “binge drinking”; the closest translation works out as “excessive alcohol consumption”. Their alcohol is used to compliment food, not to compliment the fine looking gentleman you’ve had your eye on at the bar: “excoose me, I jus wanted to tell you *hic* that you hafe a fine lookin nnnose.” Is it time for change? If we relax our drinking laws like France and Belgium, does that necessarily mean we will have a more relaxed drinking culture? Or would Britain have to stand up and say “Hello, I’m Britain and I’m an alcoholic”?

A cultural drugs craze? How retro Harry Edwards Comment writer

Harry Edwards asks if the increasing conservative attitudes towards past cultural drug use, such as infamous 90s acid house, has not only made it a thing of the past, but has caused popular culture to be too safe.

From the rock and roll stars of the past, our current generation is left with the conservative tedium of Coldplay and Mumford & Sons. The possibility that any of them could roll a half decent spliff seems minimal. Increasingly it seems the dugs play a decreasing role in mainstream popular culture. For instance, despite the increased popularity of electronic dance music, infamous for its links to drug culture, the vast majority of the clubs instead now all lumber either to Mountain Dew-infused Americanised dubstep or painfully formulaic Alco-pop songs.

“We are left with the monstrosities of Nicki Minaj and Towie to rule the zeitgeist without a significant enough challenge from something that doesn’t murder brain cells with such abandon.” The decreasing popularisation of illicit drugs is now manifesting itself into popular culture. It may just be a cultural cycle, a reaction against the unprecedented hedonism of previous

decades. But in popular culture drugs seem ever more retro. Yet at the same time, in many respects much of popular entertainment has never

been more derivative, dull and downright depressing. And as much as one may wish to, this is something you cannot completely blame on the suffocating

presence of parasitic commercial interest. Although cultural oligarchs like Simon Cowell are certainly partly to blame. It would be wrong to draw a straight causal relationship here, however. You don’t need to drop tabs of acid or burn weed like Rastamouse to create great television or appreciate good music. However, the smaller presence of drugs in popular entertainment does speak of a wider conservatism embedded within this generation that is sterilising contemporary popular culture. We are left with the monstrosities of Nicki Minaj and Towie to rule the zeitgeist without a significant enough challenge from something that doesn’t murder brain cells with such abandon. The cutting edge of underground counter cultures to permeate the mainstream consciousness seems increasingly blunt. It is no bad thing it must be stressed that cases like Amy Winehouse are increasingly rare. But let’s also hope that something else can soon break the current malaise.



Issue 277


Fox hunting: back the ban civilised human beings. Fox hunting is a cruel blood sport which is as distasteful as bull fighting. As the legendary Labour MP Tony Benn acknowledged, cruelty to entertain is wholly abhorrent. Hunting foxes with hounds has been and remains a barbarous escapade of the wealthy.

Andrew Ansell Comment writer At the close of 2012 the environment secretary, Owen Paterson, dismissed any government move in 2013 to introduce draft legislation to repeal the ban on hunting foxes with hounds. Under the coalition agreement, government MPs are entitled to vote freely on repealing the legislation which made hunting with hounds illegal in England and Wales in 2005 and Scotland in 2002. The recent RSPCA prosecution of the Heythrop hunt, in addition to the host of hunts held over the festive period, throws the issue once again into topical discussion. Paterson nonetheless insisted that the policy remained a government intention. The government dropped any short term plans to repeal the ban because it knows it would be unable to win a vote. The more mellowed attitudes towards fox hunting among the new cohort of Conservative MPs would necessitate the government to enforce a very strong whip to have any hope of achieving a majority vote in the House of Commons. In such tough times, a move to re-introduce fox hunting with dogs would devastatingly expose the government as out of touch

“It is strongly supposed that David Cameron will make an election issue of the hunting ban prior to the 2015 election. “

with the concerns of those feeling the fierce and disproportionate impact of the government’s policy of austerity. The government tries to justify these policies by playing at class division over issues such as welfare, and a move to repeal the fox hunting ban will reveal a class priority that it would struggle to justify. It is strongly supposed that David Cameron will make an election issue of the hunting ban prior to the 2015 election.

The Conservative-led government may attempt to introduce a bill in the last session of this parliament, and upon its failure argue that if a voter desires the law’s repeal, then they should vote Conservative. While debating the Wild Mammals Protection bill in 1992, the now deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats Simon Hughes added the insight that hunting was not an appropriate activity for

The Queen’s cabinet visit: not a constitutional worry Caitlin Gray Comment writer As a tribute to the end of the Diamond Jubilee year, the Queen was invited to attend a cabinet meeting on 18 December. Accepting the PM's usual seat at Number 10, the Queen joined the meeting for around 30 minutes, seated between David Cameron and William Hague, while the cabinet were updated on a range of forthcoming parliamentary business. It is believed to be the first time a monarch has attended a peace-time cabinet since George III in 1781. For constitutional purists, the visit may be mildly troubling as it can be seen to muddy the waters of her role in the state. Professor Rodney Barker of the London School of Economics called the event “daft”, claiming the Queen may potentially “know things she is not supposed to know and hear things she is not supposed to hear”.

However, the Queen's role was as an observer, and cabinet meetings are often simply to confirm what has already been

agreed. The Queen and the monarchy must remain strictly neutral in political affairs, therefore her attendance was, for

A recent Ipsos Mori poll of almost 2000 people found 76% were against repealing the current ban, providing a credible indication of the public attitude. Given the indication of support for current legislation, the future of the hunting ban lays in the enforcement of the law. Champion of animal welfare, Baroness Smith of Basildon unfortunately regards it as unlikely that the government will take any positive action to uphold a progressive law passed by the last Labour government. Despite this, the successful prosecution of the Heythrop hunt, with very clear evidence by the RSPCA, illustrates the resources available to enforce the ban, and that enforcement is possible.

the most part, a symbolic gesture. Former Cabinet Secretary Lord O'Donnell stated: “I'm sure cabinet want to do this because they want to say thank you,” viewing the Queen as “the ultimate public servant”. The Queen does after all retain the constitutional right to be consulted, to encourage and to warn, and is kept up to date on political issues during weekly meetings with the prime minister, in which she is able to express her views on government matters. The idea that the Queen may have been crossing a constitutional line by attending cabinet has been largely dismissed, and while the Queen is head of state, her involvement in daily political decisions is typically formal rather than practical. Communities secretary Eric Pickles affirmed “We are her cabinet, we operate for her. She was sat in the seat where the prime minister traditionally sits and, given it's her cabinet, she can come any time she wants”. Bob Morris of UCL's Constitution Unit claimed that the visit “shows, in a way, she no longer matters, because no harm's done.” What the Queen's attendance may instead demonstrate is how irrelevant an institution the British monarchy has become in everything other than a symbolic sense.


Issue 277



Coca leaves: Not just used for cocaine Robert Norris Global editor The coca leaf is commonly associated with Bolivia’s culture and indigenous minorities. The leaf is commonly used to make tea, chewed to help alleviate altitude sickness in the country’s mountainous communities and is often depicted on post cards and key rings in souvenir outlets. Coca leaf extract is also used to make Coca-Cola. However, the leaves are also used in the creation of cocaine and have been the cause of controversy in diplomatic ties between Bolivia and the USA. The USA put pressure on the Bolivian government to try and decrease the farming and trade of the coca leaf during the USA’s prolific War on Drugs. However, the farming of the coca leaf has always been an integral part of the Bolivian economy and is the livelihood

of many people, especially those living in the Yungas, a stretch of forest along the eastern slope of the Andes Mountains. Throughout the 1980s, the government of Bolivia took measures to decrease the farming of the coca leaf to prevent it being traded abroad to make cocaine. Unintentionally this caused more people to become attracted to farming coca leaves due to the rocketing of its price. Between the years 1987 to 2003 a number of protests and violent clashes between those working in the coca trade and anti-drugs police took place across Bolivia. Some of the most violent of these clashes took place during the government of president Hugo Banzer from 1997 to 2001. Banzer adopted the Plan Dignity program of forced eradication when it came to the growing of the coca leaf. This caused a number of deadly conflicts between the military and coca growers. Since 2006, the government of the

first indigenous president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, has scaled back the forced eradication of the coca leaf. The Obama administration has also stated that the War on Drugs has failed in its primary objectives and that other ways of

combating the international drug trade are currently being investigated. Though the coca leaf is used to make cocaine, it is a significant symbol of Bolivian culture and growing the leaves are a way of life for a many people.

Atomic bomb comic strip artist passes away Robert Norris Global editor On 19 December Keiji Nakazawa, creator of the well-known Japanese graphic novel series Barefoot Gen, died of lung cancer. Barefoot Gen was a semiautobiographical account of Nakazawa’s own experience of surviving the atomic bomb, which was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945. A second bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki three days later on 9 August. Nakazawa and his mother survived the bomb, but his father, sister and younger brother all died. His mother was pregnant when the bomb fell and soon gave birth to a baby girl who later died of malnutrition. Soon after he graduated from high school in Hiroshima, Nakazawa went to Tokyo to pursue his dream of becoming a comic book (or manga, as it is known in Japan) artist. Initially Nakazawa avoided mentioning the atomic bomb in his work and often hid the fact that he was from Hiroshima to his friends and employers in Tokyo. This was due to the fact that atomic bomb survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki were often the victims of discrimination in Japan at the time. The burns on the bodies of many atomic bomb survivors, and a concern that radiation sickness from the bombing could be contagious, prevented many survivors from gaining employment. However, Nakazawa became an

outspoken critic over the treatment of atomic bomb survivors in Japan and the continued manufacture of atomic weapons after his mother passed away. When he collected her ashes after her cremation, he found that they contained no traces of bone. Nakazawa stated in an interview: “It made me shake with anger that the atomic bomb radiation deprived my mother ... of even her bones. “I vowed never to endure wars and atomic bombs.” This was a turning point for Nakazawa who began focusing his work on the atomic bomb. He created Struck by Black Rain, a graphic novel containing a number of short stories focussing on the

lives of those affected by the A-bomb; including one tale in which a young woman commits suicide due to her fiancé finding out she was originally born in Hiroshima and leaving her as a result. However, it was not until 1972 that Nakazawa created an autobiography in comic form, titled I Saw It. The short work became popular and was one of the first Japanese comics to be translated into English. He later began work on his most famous series of graphic novels, Barefoot Gen. Nakazawa became widely known across Japan as a result of Barefoot Gen’s popularity, which not only focused on life in Hiroshima after the atomic bomb, but also contained scenes criticising Japan’s

role in the Second World War. Nakazawa’s family were pacifists and Nakazawa was too, becoming an outspoken critic over Japan’s involvement in the war and the continued construction of atomic weapons. Barefoot Gen has been fully translated into English and released across ten volumes through the charity organisation, Project Gen. Project Gen consists of 20 people from different nationalities who have helped translate the work of Nakazawa into a number of languages including Russian, Norwegian and German. Despite the efforts of Project Gen, Nakazawa’s work remains largely unknown in the West, yet in his native Japan Barefoot Gen has been read by generations of children and adults. Miki Oden, a Japanese International Development student at UEA and president of the Japan Society said that she was shocked when she saw the animated film version of Barefoot Gen when she was in elementary school. “When I saw the animation in class I was shocked at the reality of how people were killed by the atomic bomb and afterwards suffered from radiation sickness,” she said. “Since seeing the film I believe there can be no reason to justify the use of the atomic bomb again.” Keiji Nakazawa died of lung cancer at the age of 73. As a result Japan, and the rest of the world, has lost one of the most important voices against the use of nuclear weapons.



Issue 277

Would you try them?


Features editor Lauren Cope warns of the dangers of drugs promising to help with your coursework It’s coursework time and deadlines are looming. But, it’s cold outside and watching another episode of whatever’s on TV seems much more appealing. When it seems far easier to get under your duvet and hibernate, the offer of a “smart drug”, to sharpen your mind and get back to work sounds like a great way out, right? Focusing on work, making revision fun and being sent into a Limitless, Bradley Cooper-inspired frenzy sounds to good to be true. A trend in the rise of performance enhancemet drugs Modafinil and Ritalin has been reported. Originally made to treat narcolepsy and ADHD, and sent out to Afghanistan for tired soldiers by the Ministry of Justice, more and more students are turning to the drugs for an easy way to get motivation levels up. A BBC survey revealed that a massive 92% of those who used the drugs would do so again. Smart drugs allegedly make you want to do tasks that you know must be done; they sharpen your concentration, boost the memory and aid problem solving, as well as making you feeling awake naturally. In short, they make mundane jobs like revision and coursework enjoyable. They’re not even expensive. A month’s supply will set you back around £30-£35: the price of two LCR nights. What about their legality? Ritalin is a class B drug, which means that if you are caught with it, you can face a five year prison sentence or an unlimited fine. However, Modafinil is not illegal. Although it is a prescription only drug, it isn’t a controlled substance and being caught in possession of it isn’t illegal. There are, of course, side effects. These can include anxiety, high blood pressure, insomnia and loss of appetite. The effects are inconsistent; one user reported severe dehydration and said it did little to help his concentration, just keeping him awake, while another said they would reccommend it if work was piling up. Both commented on the severity of the “sleep debt” - both set alarms the next day and slept through them. Pretty risky if you are using the drugs to cram the night before an exam. The pills seem to act as an appetite suppressant, many users noticing they lost weight while using the drugs. There have been no long term tests on the effects of smart drugs on normal, healthy people, so the inconsistency of these effects are concerning. “I was getting my work done quicker than I normally would have, but that was all I was doing. I didn’t have time

for food, time to talk my housemates or to take a break. For the purposes of my work it was great, but the sheer level of determination was a little frightening – particularly for those around me”, commented a UEA student who tried the drugs for his first year exams.

“I was getting my work done quicker than I normally would have, but that was all I was doing. I didn’t have time for food, time to talk my housemates or to take a break.” The ease at which they can be purchased seems to be a large selling point amongst students. Some have reported sellers being on their campuses and others say that “if you try hard enough”, a GP will prescribe it themselves. So, is it cheating? There are beliefs that although the drugs give you an advantage, it isn’t exclusive. The only

thing stopping others from purchasing is personal choice. One student even compared it to sleeping pills prescribed to students around exam time, allowing them to work better in the daytime. It doesn’t make you more intelligent or give you an edge others don’t have, it simply allows you to work harder. Of course, not everyone is as accepting of smart drugs. Despite some treating it with an “each to their own” philosophy, others have reservations. Emily, a second year psychology student, commented: “If you’re struggling so much that you need to resort to smart drugs, you probably shouldn’t be here. University is challenging academically, but that’s the way it should be.” Testing isn’t in place yet, but some universities are discussing how to detect students who have been using the drugs around exam times. Professor Barbara Sahakian, a psychiatrist at Cambridge University, told the Independent: “People are starting to think about drug testing. Some students who don’t use cognitive enhancers may demand it because they are concerned about cheating. Some admissions tutors are also concerned about it.

“A screening process should become necessary at exam time if use of performance-boosting drugs becomes a problem.” Union of UEA Student’s Academic officer Josh Bowker considers the concerns that lead students to turn to smart drugs: “The issue with ‘smart drugs’ is not the morality of whether or not this is cheating, it is that this is potentially dangerous. There are many dangers with using drugs such as Ritalin or Modafinil when you do not have the condition they are intended to address. “No student should feel that they need to resort to these kind of drugs in order to pass their exams, there is plenty of help out there if you are struggling academically. If you feel under pressure and like you need help with study skills, book an appointment with the Learning Enhancement Team in the Dean of Students office.” If you have taken drugs or are considering whether to, and are concerned about any reactions or long term effects, contact Frank drugs helpline on 0800 77 660 00 or NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 for advice.


Issue 277




Issue 277


The Concrete Drugs & Alcohol Survey 2013: The Results It’s the time of year when Concrete asks you some important questions about your alcohol and drugs use. The survey was taken by UEA students, with the predominant age group being 19-20. Are you surprised that 91% of respondents

have played drinking games like Ring of Fire? No, nor were we. How about that 61.4% of students have tried illegal drugs? Enjoy reading through the answers and keep your eyes peeled for the Concrete Sex Survey later this year!

YES Which drugs have you taken? Select as many as apply. LSD (acid) 7.3% Cannabis 97.1% Cocaine 26.8% Crystal meth 1.9% Ecstasy/MDMA 53.4% Heroin 1.5% Ketamine (or MKet) 23.8% Magic mushrooms 17.0% Poppers 21.4% Amphetamines (Speed) 15.5% What were your reasons for taking illegal drugs? Fun 81.1% Curiosity 81.1% Peer pressure/fitting in 14.1% Self-medication 9.2% Relaxation 40.3% Loosen social inhibitions 26.2% Other 5.3% How would you describe the experience? Good 63.9% Bad 1.5% Variable 27.3% Other 7.3% Has your attitude towards any illegal drugs changed since you tried them? Yes 51.2% No 43.4% Unsure 4.4% Prefer not to say 1.0% Have you had any medical problems as a result of illegal drug use? Yes 7.4% No 88.1% Unsure 4.0% Prefer not to say 0.5% Do you have friends who regularly use illegal drugs?

Yes 87.5% No 11.0% Unsure 1.0% Prefer not to say 0.5% If yes, does it affect your relationship with them? Yes 28.2% No 66.7% Unsure 4.5% Prefer not to say 0.6% Do you worry about the potential risks/ consequences involved with taking drugs? Yes 50.0% No 40.8% Unsure 8.6% Prefer not to say 0.7% If yes, do you feel the potential risks/consequences are a sufficient deterrent? Yes 52.0% No 41.3 Unsure 6.7% Has your attitude towards illegal drugs changed since arriving at UEA? Yes 31.6% No 67.8% Unsure 0.7% Do you feel there is an increased pressure to use illegal drugs since arriving at UEA? Yes 4.6% No 93.4% Unsure 2.0% Has using illegal drugs affected your degree? Yes 3.9% No 92.8% Unsure 2.6% Prefer not to say 0.7%

ILLEGAL DRUGS Have you ever taken illegal drugs? Yes 61.4% No 37.1% Unsure 1.5%


Did yo u not to make a con take dr s Yes 80 ugs? cious decisio .0% n Do you No 17.6 % risks/c worry abou Unsur t o e 2.4% taking nsequences the potentia l drugs? involv ed in Yes 79 Would .5 % y No 15.6 drugs? ou ever con sider t Unsur % aking Yes 16 e 4.9% .8 No 69.6 % If yes, Unsur % d e 13.6% deterr o you feel th ent? is is a s Yes 87 ufficien If yes, .8% would t No 11.2 get the you kn % ow wh m from U Yes 42 ere to nsure ? .9 1.0% No 33.3 % % Has yo Unsur u e 23.8% drugs r attitude to chang ed sinc wards illega UEA? Do you l e arriv h a ve frie ing at Yes 10 use ille n d .6 s g who re No 85.4 % Yes 44 al drugs? gularly .8% % U No 44.8 nsure 4.1% % Unsur e 8.8% Do you Prefer not to pressu feel there is say 1.6 a r % arrivin e to use illeg n increased If yes, g at UE al drug does it Yes 7.3 s since A? relatio affect y % n No 88.7 Yes 22 ship with th our .8 em? Unsur % No 63.2 % e % Prefer 3.2% Unsur not to e 12.3% say 0.8 Prefer % not to say 1.8 %

Which drugs did students consider most harmful? 1. Heroin 2. Crystal Meth =3. LSD and Cocaine 5. Ketamine =6. Ecstasy/MDMA and Speed

Concrete neither condones or condemns drug use. We promote a safe and reasonabe attitude towards consumption of alcohol, and encourage a reasonable attitude towads drug use. If you need any more advice, visit the FRANK website

8. Magic Mushrooms 9. Poppers 10. Cannabis

Of the 357 survey respondents, 46.3% were male and 52.3% were female. How often do you drink alcohol? Daily 4.3% More than once a week 45.4% Weekly 31.2% Rarely 15.6% Never 3.5% Would you consider this an acceptable amount? Yes 85.8% No 7.2% Unsure 6.1% Prefer not to say 0.9% Do you think your friends at university drink acceptable amounts? Yes 53.9% No 31.1% Unsure 14.4% Prefer not to say 0.6% Have your drinking habits changed since coming to UEA? Yes 68.2% No 29.2% Unsure 2.6% In what way? I drink more often 85.8% I drink less 9.0 % Other 5.6% Do you think your drinking habits have or have had an effect on your degree?


Yes 20.0% No 73.3% Unsure 6.7% Do you feel you have ever drunk to impress others? Yes 36.3% No 59.0% Unsure 4.7% Have you participated in drinking games (eg Ring of Fire)? Yes 91.0% No 8.7% Unsure 0.3% Do you feel like this increases the pressure to perform by drinking to excess? Yes 39.5% No 54.0% Unsure 6.4% Do you feel drinking has had an effect on your relationships? Yes 38.6% No 51% Unsure 10.4% Do you ever feel like your health has suffered as a result of drinking? Yes 23.4% No 69.7% Unsure 6.5% Prefer not to say 0.3%

66.5% of respondents considered heroin to be the most harmful illegal drug, with 51.0% believing cannabis is the least harmful.

What do the results mean? Interestingly, only 68.2% of people’s drinking habits have changed since coming to university, with 85.8% of those drinking more. It comes as no surprise, however, that a massive 91% of respondents have played drinking games including Ring of Fire. Clearly not many of us have escaped the dirty pint. However, although many of those claim they drink more since arriving at UEA, throughout the course of university most commented that the frequency of their drinking dwindles, even if the consumption does not. Perhaps hard work and deadlines in second and third year mean students can only binge drink when they get the chance. One respondent claimed: “In first year I drank much more. Now I drink less but often in vast quantities”. When asked how alcohol had affected their relationships, many commented that it had been much easier to make bonds with new friends on a night out, while others said their drinking had a negative effect on their romantic relationships. Some commented they had cheated, others claimed they had more arguments when they were drunk or disliked the amount their partner drank, and one respondent just simply put: “I messed up”. It is interesting that 85.5% of people think their levels of drinking are acceptable, while only 53.9% think their friends are, possibly down to denial about the truth of their alcohol consumption. After all, few of us sit at home and really analyse how much we drink, and whether it’s too much - we’re students, right? When asked about illegal drugs, one regular answer throughout the survey concerned cannabis. A large proportion of respondents saw no reason for cannabis being illegal and happily smoked it. Even those who lived with parents who hated drugs, and were anti-drugs themselves, now think cannabis is more acceptable and the stigma surrounding it is unjustified. Many drew attention to the fact that alcohol is likely to impact you more negatively in the shortterm and is as expensive to buy, with one

respondent saying: “Getting high at home with some friends and eating too many Doritos is nowhere near as dangerous as being blind drunk on Prince of Wales at 4am”. One person commented that coming to university and trying drugs lifted the “darkness of the unknown” - they believe information given about drugs is misleading. One repsondent wrote: “The prohibition tends to make more people believe they are terrible, but in moderation they can be enjoyable breaks”. Others were more negative, one student saying: “Using cannabis semi-regularly (maybe once a month or so) gave me huge panic attacks. Feel nowhere near enough is known by students about the mental health effects cannabis can have.” Some of those who tried harder drugs including ketamine and MDMA said that although they experienced negative effects while on the drug (one respondent said they felt like they were “stuck inside a 1990s Windows PC with Paddy Considine”), they wouldn’t be adverse to trying it again. Unsurprisingly, the results for those who hadn’t tried drugs were hugely different. Concerning how illegal drugs had changed relationships, many described how they saw a different person while the friend was using drugs, such as becoming “paranoid” or “anxious”. Interestingly, it often was the illegal status of drugs that seemed to put people off, not the potential health risks: “They’re illegal and alcohol is bad enough!” The survey seems to highlight the difference in attitudes towards drugs depending on experience. Those who had little or none were largely very negative towards drugs, but those who had more (and even those who were anti-drugs before experimenting) spoke about the exaggerated risks associated. One answer neatly summed this up: “Attitudes towards drugs are not well informed if established without having experienced those drugs. By and large, however, experiencing the drug alleviates much of the fear of the unknown”.


Issue 277



Cocaine in Peru: a bad trip for all Madalina Epure Environment writer The health effects of cocaine and the social problems associated with its production and consumption are permanently at the forefront of our media. While extensively researched in academia the environmental impact of coca cultivation and cocaine production are no less important despite generating far fewer headlines. There is much evidence that both the cultivation and production of coca have a severe and irreversible impact on the ecosystems in which they are carried out. South American species account for the majority of the cultivated coca plants, with Colombia and Peru as the major exporters of the product. Coca is by far the most widely grown crop in the Peruvian Amazon region, with an estimate of about 200,000 hectares, although the actual numbers remain indeterminate. This means that first and foremost coca cultivation leads to large-scale deforestation. Aside from the land where

coca is currently planted, thousands of hectares are further deforested by the coca producers for subsistence farming, landing strips and laboratories, as well as the land other farmers deforest for their livelihood after leaving areas dominated by drug traffickers. Directly and indirectly, coca cultivation leads to around 700,000 hectares of deforested land, with severe environmental repercussions: soil erosion, lack of wood, timber, food, and so on. The mandatory burning of the debris left by deforestation brings with it other problems in addition to this, such as air pollution and topsoil deterioration. Coca production also leads to great alterations in the hydrologic system: through massive deforestation it leads to increased flooding, reduction in hydropower potential and blocks water transport routes. It also is a main cause of severe water contamination. This is because the coca plant is subject to a number of plagues and diseases which require biocides to control. In the case of coca, these substances are used excessively because of

the high profitability of the crops and farmer ignorance of the problems associated with their use. All of these substances end up in rivers, where they affect marine life to the extent where there are areas which can no longer support marine plants. Apart from damage incurred to the soil and hydrologic system in the area, coca cultivation is also responsible for the extinction of an incalculable number of species of jungle flora and fauna. The region of Peru where coca cultivation occurs is the area of the greatest genetic diversity in the country. Most of the approximately seven million hectares that have been deforested during this century in the Peruvian Amazon come from this region and coca cultivation has played an important part in this process of deterioration of the environment. In some cases, ecosystems of flora and fauna have been altered so much that they can no longer support life. In addition to this, coca-producing zones are often lands without laws, where the exploitation of forests, game and fishing is completely anarchistic. Even in parts where

public officials have managed to establish areas of conservation, the samples of genetic diversity are unable to develop and are invaded by coca producers and drug traffickers. A sad example of this situation is the case of Tingo Maria National Park, where “guachara”, a species in danger of extinction, has begun to feed on coca fruits because there is little other food available and honey bees have begun producing “cocaine honey” due to them feeding off coca flowers. The reality of cocaine production has more far reaching consequences in addition to those that everyone is familiar with.. Current efforts on the national and international front to eradicate coca production in Peru have been unsuccessful. While coca production methods have existed in South America for centuries, today the coca plant has become a symbol of destruction whose impacts on the environment will need complex methods of study and mitigation in order to reduce the impact on the environment and genetic biodiversity in the area.

Polar storms affect climate models Chris Teale Managing editor Polar storms could make a tremendous difference to climate predictions according to joint research by the University of East Anglia and the University of Massachusetts. They occur frequently in the seas near both poles, but are missing in most climate models as they are difficult to predict. However, research published last month in Nature Geoscience shows their inclusion could alter predictions about future changes in the Earth’s temperature. The storms are able to produce hurricane-strength winds which cool the ocean and lead to changes in its circulation. Professor Ian Renfrew, from the School of Environmental Sciences said:

“These polar lows are typically under 500 km in diameter and over within 24-36 hours. They’re difficult to predict, but we have shown they play an important role in driving large-scale ocean circulation. “There are hundreds of them a year in the North Atlantic, and dozens of strong ones. They create a lot of stormy weather, strong winds and snowfall. “We have shown that adding polar storms into computer-generated models of the ocean results in significant changes in ocean circulation . “At present, climate models don’t have a high enough resolution to account for these small-scale polar lows. “As Arctic Sea ice continues to retreat, polar lows are likely to migrate further north, which could have consequences for the northward ocean circulation – potentially leading to it weakening.”

Science & Tech


Issue 277


The science behind addiction Rebecca Hardy Science editor Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. The use of the term “brain disease” may sound out of place when used in the context of substance abuse, but even short to medium term drug abuse can change the brain structure and how it works. In general, most individuals take drugs for the following reasons, and you can see for yourself on pages 12 and 13 in Concrete’s Drugs and Alcohol Survey results that those who responded share similar views. 1. To feel good: Most drugs produce intense feelings of pleasure. This initial sensation of euphoria is followed by other effects, which differ with the type of drug used. For example, with stimulants such as cocaine, the “high” is followed by feelings of power, self-confidence, and increased energy. In contrast, the euphoria caused by opiates such as heroin is followed by feelings of relaxation and satisfaction. 2. To feel better: Some people who suffer from social anxiety, stress-related disorders, and depression begin using drugs in an attempt to lessen feelings of distress. Stress can play a major role

in beginning drug use, continuing drug abuse, or relapse in patients recovering from addiction. 3. To do better: The increasing pressure that some individuals feel to chemically enhance or improve their athletic or cognitive performance can similarly play a role in initial experimentation and continued drug use. 4. Curiosity and “because others are doing it”: In this respect adolescents are particularly vulnerable because of the strong influence of peer pressure; they are more likely, for example, to engage in “thrilling” and “daring” behaviours. Many drug abusers argue that it’s harmless fun and as long as they are still enjoying themselves then how much damage is being done? However, the initial effects that are perceived as being positive, can quickly escalate until users feel they need to take drugs simply to feel “normal”. Consider also how a social drinker can become intoxicated whilst having fun, but can then put themself behind a wheel and quickly turn a pleasurable activity into a tragedy for them and others. It is no longer harmless fun. But how exactly do drugs affect the brain? One of the key areas of the brain to look at when considering substance abuse is that of the limbic system. This is the area of

the brain that is responsible for controlling the “reward circuit” and regulates our ability to feel pleasure. Pleasure is very important in everyday life as it means we continue to do things that are essential to our survival, such as eating. This system is also responsible for our perception of the emotions we are feeling, which explains the mood altering properties of many drugs. Most drugs achieve this by flooding the reward circuit with dopamine, the same chemical that is used to reward humans after sex, eating and exercise. Drugs are chemicals and they work in the brain by tapping into the brain’s communication system and interfering with the way nerve cells normally send, receive, and process information. Some drugs, such as marijuana and heroin, can activate neurons because their

chemical structure mimics that of a natural neurotransmitter. This similarity in structure “fools” receptors and allows the drugs to lock onto and activate the nerve cells. Although these drugs mimic brain chemicals, they don’t activate nerve cells in the same way as a natural neurotransmitter, and they lead to abnormal messages being transmitted through the network. Other drugs, such as amphetamine or cocaine, can cause the nerve cells to release abnormally large amounts of natural neurotransmitters or prevent the normal recycling of these brain chemicals. This disruption produces a greatly amplified message, ultimately disrupting communication channels. The difference in effect can be described as the difference between someone whispering into your ear and someone shouting into a microphone.

Drug-driving test approved Do-you-think-he-saw-us? Josh Sutton Science writer A Florida fossils dealer has been caught by US authorities, trying to smuggle the bones of a Tyrannosaurus bataar into the country from Mongolia. The bones are around 70 million years old and thought to be worth around $1m. The dealer, Eric Prokopi, had illegally imported them into the country via the UK in 2010 and sold them at auction. He also admitted illegally importing a Chinese flying dinosaur, two Oviraptors and a duckbilled creature known as a Juliet Muncey Science writer The Home Office has approved the use of new drugs testing equipment for people thought to be driving under the influence of drugs. The kit uses mouth swabs to test for drugs and eliminates the time consuming process of calling a doctor and sending away blood samples to be analysed in a lab. Previously, this time consuming affair could mean that the suspects system clears of drugs and they cannot be prosecuted. These testing kits are being introduced under a wider government backed

crackdown on the use and abuse of illegal substances. During 2011, at least 640 accidents including 49 deaths, were caused by drivers using both illegal and medicinal substances. Under the new initiative, drug driving is its own offence and offenders will face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to £5,000 as well as an automatic driving ban of at least 12 months. At the moment, the kit is only effective when testing for marijuana, but scientists are looking into the possibilities of testing for other drugs. Another flaw in this invention is that convictions can still only be made with a blood sample for evidence.

Saurolophus. The Mongolian government is very protective of its fossils and it is illegal to remove any of them from the country without their consent. The court heard that Prokopi, 38, was arrested in October as a lorry arrived at his home loaded with fossils. The police also found another, almost whole Tyrannosaurus skeleton in his home, along with the other two. All of which is thought to be worth over $200,000. He now faces a maximum of 17 years imprisonment when he is sentenced in April.


Issue 277



San Fran: the city that knows how Holly Maunders Travel writer If you ask anyone what they think of San Francisco, whether they have visited the city or not, it will often be a list comprised of that iconic red bridge whose name slips their mind, the overpopulation of hippies and flowers found in that famous song, and something about cable cars going over some of the biggest hills you have ever seen. While these statements may be largely true, often overlooked are the smaller details which make San Francisco such a distinctive and enchanting place to pay a visit. The city is the only place where you can spend an afternoon for under £5 being a cake competition judge, sail under the Bay Bridge in a kayak, and also watch a movie on an outdoor screen with the city skyline as your backdrop. The resource behind these lovely cheap (and often free) things to do is the following website: Was this a oneoff occurrence? No, you can pretty much rely on the website as a daily guide to the life of a true San Franciscan. Some are food-related with free Ben and Jerry’s giveaways and food truck meetings - a collection of different food vans collated in one area of the city for all to descend upon during a Friday night sunset. Other offerings include those which are artbased, such as free gallery tickets; sportsbased with people using the city as their playground for a giant game of tag named

“Urban Battle Game”, and music-based which advertise free live sets across the city. While most urban areas have parks to compensate for their lack of rural proximity, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park stands alone as central to the definition of the city and a must-see to thoroughly explore. The park boasts a unique identity of its own through its beautiful lakes, waterfalls and fields combined with museums, a Japanese tea garden, a golf course, playgrounds, windmills and carousels to name but a few. The park also hosts many events such as music festivals, the traditional Dutch Queen’s Day, the charitable fancy-dress run “Bay to Breakers”, and was iconic during the 60s as a site for the Human Be-In, an event which focused on the key ideas of counterculture, preceding the Summer of Love. If you love the outdoors, surrounding the bay area are iconic hotspots such as Yosemite National Park, renowned for its breathtaking mountains, waterfalls and glaciers. Lake Tahoe, a vast once-in-alifetime location for ski and snowboard enthusiasts, is another stunning example of what Northern California has to offer. For those over 21 who like wine, there are also the expansive beautiful vineyards of Napa Valley. If none of these appeal then it is only a few hours drive down to Los Angeles, San Diego, and if you are brave enough, Tijuana in Mexico. San Francisco is one of the only places

which is truly multicultural in that it has a diverse population and equally varied activities. You can spend a year in this wonderful city and still have things you want to return to see. With a population of over 800,000 it is astonishing how well it accommodates

for such a variety of different cultures. It is possible to never have a boring moment, or replicate anything in the city. Can you wear flowers in your hair? Of course you can. And if you explore the city for all its worth, you will certainly leave wanting to come back again.

Holly Maunders

Great delights in the Bavarian capital Rachael Lum Travel writer

Rachael Lum

If you are eager to experience a traditional European winter celebration, there is much to be discovered in Munich. Many of Germany’s oldest Christmas markets started in Munich since the Middle Ages. Of the 20 scattered around the city, Chriskindlmarkt in Marienplatz Square is the most festive of the lot. Brightly lit and lively, you’d definitely get into the holiday spirit when you're indulging in sausages, sugary desserts and mulled wine while browsing their wares. The historic square has much to offer at any time of the year; the famous Glockenspiel plays in the tower once a day and you could climb up St Peter's Church for a different view of the city. Not far from the square is the Viktualienmarkt, the city's oldest openair market. Selling both fresh and exotic foods such as venison, rabbit, vegetables, wines and cooked goodies, the market is a go-to place for locals to meet friends over

a meal. The Englischer Garten is another gem for those who enjoy long walks, having picnics or watching the scenery roll by. At the heart of this garden is the Chinese tower, the area surrounding it housing a Christmas market in winter and a beer garden during the warmer months. River surfing is popular here so it isn’t surprising to see people hitting the currents no matter how chilly it is. It would also be worth spending a day or two in Füssen, a village roughly two hours away by train. Here , Neushwanstein Castle graces the hills of a breathtaking landscape. You have the option of getting to the top by bus, by foot or by horsedrawn carriage, so it is practically a fairytale experience in itself. Built during the 19th century with Romantic and Gothic features, it is easy to see how it inspired Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle. The capital city of Bavaria wraps its traditions around its modern backdrop, making it a lovely city to visit regardless of the season.



Issue 277

The Loire Valley: life in the lap of luxury Kirsten Powley Travel writer The amount of grand castles in the Loire Valley gives the immediate impression of living in a fairytale. It is easy to become consumed by the entrancing Gothic and Renaissance architecture travelling up and down the famous Loire Valley in the late summer to early autumn. Apart from the swarm of other tourists, the grounds of the chateaux make the perfect afternoon

stroll with your corgis. Steeped in history, mixed with its natural sophistication, a road trip through the castles and vineyards of central France is the way to squeeze out every ounce of its culture. The Loire Valley boasts over 300 majestic chateaux, some still privately owned, but others allowing people to roam free. The Chateau de Chambord and the Chateau de Chenonceau particularly ooze exuberance despite their displacement in a modern time.

When faced with such a luxurious beginning to a holiday, the only possible way to match castles is to drink champagne. And where better to do that then region of Champagne itself. It’s not all fancy houses with smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels accompanying the tasting of your champagne made by the locals, nor is it all glasses made of gold and prancing around in a vineyard as the birds help pick the grapes.


The people who make the champagne go generations back and they work hard. Expect to be led through dark, menacing rooms full of barrels where you start to question whether your infatuation with posh alcohol may have gone just too far this time. It is surely worth it to know the roots of what you are drinking and to be able to say that you have been to the place where the phenomenon of champagne made its name.

Rianna Hudson at the Li River in China

I know a great little place ... Photography Corner Every week our writers will tell you their favourite place in the world. This week, Lauren Cope describes her favourite bar in Amsterdam, Holland. My favourite bar in Amsterdam is sports bar Players. Located just off Dam Square on the famous Warmoesstraat (and right next to the Condomerie …) it’s surrounded by great clubs, making it the perfect place to start off your night. It’s lively, cheerful and reasonably priced (for Amsterdam!) promising drinks deals,

pool tables and an abundance of cheesy 90s music. The bar screens all major sporting events, but whether you’re a sports fan or not, Players is a must-do. Make sure you try one of their famous shooters! Players stays open until 3am on weekdays and 4am on weekends.

Issy Witcomb in Slovenia Are you a budding photographer? Here at Concrete we love seeing your travel pictures, so why not send them in? Just email them to


Issue 277



Breaching the legal and illegal drugs barrier Emily-Claire Tucker Lifestyle writer Think back for a minute about the drugs education videos everyone had to watch at some point during secondary school. If they were from the standard British curriculum, you would have been taught that any individual who has ever touched an illegal drug is inherently evil, and probably affiliated with Satan himself. Smoking and drinking, though frowned upon, were not quite given the same antiChrist status given to ecstasy (especially in the 1990s) or marijuana during our school ethics class. This approach to drugs education seems rather confusing when you start to look at the figures. In 2010, tobacco and alcohol were cited as the direct cause of almost three times as many deaths than all illegal drugs combined in England alone. Despite this, cigarettes and alcohol line shelves on supermarkets, whereas being caught with a joint of cannabis can earn you a police

caution lasting five years on your criminal record. America’s recent legalisation of medical marijuana in several states has highlighted just how big a taboo has been built around the drug thanks to its illegal status. Recently, a seven year old American girl suffering

from Leukaemia has been taking a gram of cannabis oil daily to counteract the devastating side effects of chemotherapy on her young body. The public outcry at a young girl being “doped” by her parents has been enormous, with a campaign even being started for the parents to be jailed.

The drug is legal and obtained through a pharmacy, and yet still evidently hugely taboo, but why?

“What are the factors which demonise a drug and call for its illegalisation? Anti-social behaviour? Fatalities?” The tags of “legal” and “illegal” carry a substantial amount of weighting in the public’s opinion of drugs. Methadone, a legal drug used to wean addicts off of heroin, has been suggested to be almost as addictive as heroin, and yet, as Methadone is legal, it is not considered to be as much of a risk. What are the factors which demonise a drug and call for its illegalisation? Antisocial behaviour? Fatalities? Instead of a relentless fear campaign against legal and illegal drugs, maybe instead we need to take a more educated, objective and scientific look at the substances our society both demonises and endorses.

Shattering society’s stereotypes of drug users Bruno Gnaneswaran Lifestyle writer A substantial number of people associate recreational drug use with teenagers, young adults and students. Consuming or abusing drugs are behaviours that can be seen in anyone, but the common misconception is that most drug users are people who embody different values to mainstream society or are typically deviant. Not all drug users are unemployed, or have had a poor upbringing, are school dropouts or sex workers. Although substance abuse may be prevalent in people with those risk factors, one must be aware, in particular government officials and healthcare professionals, that these pre-conceived ideas are not entirely true.

An unlikely bracket of people who don’t fall under the typical stereotype of drug users are successful urban professionals. They may run profitable businesses, write books or work for major charities. They may have a healthy lifestyle: go to the gym, cycle to work, have home delivered organic veg boxes and frown upon drink driving. However the use of pot, ecstasy, MDMA, cocaine and mushrooms is not predominantly surprising in this group of professionals.

“Not all drug users are unemployed, or have had a poor upbringing, are school dropouts or sex workers” The real appeal could be about the sharing of experiences or treating oneself, but it most not be forgotten

that individuals may be taking drugs to escape from the stresses of life. A perhaps surprising fact found by a recently published study is that one in four children live with a parent who has a serious drink problem or drug habit. The negative stereotype associated with drug use could make it difficult for some people to find help. Substance abusers will find it hard to admit that they are addicted to a drug if the common view of an addict is so undesirable and far from the truth. Some individuals could find it very difficult to admit they have a drug problem if they associate drug addiction with negative stereotypes. Governments and health professionals must ensure that there is more awareness about drug addiction and the different people it may affect.

This will make it easier for individuals to seek help and treatment. Conversely, it must be said that studying the demographics of addiction and drug users can be helpful in targeting those who are most at risk.

“An unlikely bracket of people who don’t fall under the typical stereotype of drug users are successful urban professionals” Drug use and addiction is becoming more and more prevalent in today’s society. We need to have a better understanding of the range of people it may affect and help must be provided to those who struggle with addiction wherever they may find themselves in society.



Issue 277

The trouble behind the UK’s drug taboo Rhian Poole Lifestyle writer

Drugs are gradually becoming less taboo subjects in society, and thus have become far more acceptable for younger generations. This is partly because popular culture serves to seduce the public. The media displays pop stars such as Noel Gallagher, Pete Doherty and Amy Winehouse who have all openly experimented with drugs. Noel Gallagher has even admitted in interviews that he spent £1m on drugs before abandoning that chapter in his life in 1998. He is also alleged to have claimed that he would allow his children to try drugs, but just in moderation. Smoking and alcohol are classed as drugs, due to

the damaging effects they have and their addictive qualities. However, as these substances are available to those over 18, does this mean that illegal drugs should be controlled in the same way? Why are class B drugs regulated in a different way? Many would argue that they are no more harmful.

“Britain is the drug-taking capital of Europe” Rave culture embraces a diverse array of drugs, such as MDMA (ecstasy), methamphetamine, GHB, ketamine and mephedrone. All of these drugs carry considerable risk and can cause permanent damage to one’s health, with problems such as memory loss, sexual

dysfunction, brain damage and a tainted perception of reality. They can also cause permanent damage physically. It could be said that events like this actually popularise such drugs and suggest they are safe to use to enhance a “party” and a fun feeling. However the reality is there is no safe dosage guarantee and one cannot assume the drugs are pure. Channel Four’s recent programme The Drug Trials dissected one of the major drugs used at raves: ecstasy. It stated that over 500 million people take ecstasy and that Britain is the drug-taking capital of Europe. It followed a group of volunteers taking pure ecstasy over a sixmonth period and explored the risks and effects such as an energised buzz where surroundings become more intense, and


at the other end of the spectrum being panic attacks, paranoia and psychosis. However, the study did also highlight how, when the drug is used responsibly, it can help patients with post-traumatic stress disorder. The key thing to remember, when dealing with drugs, is to be educated, to make informed decisions and to be safe, whether the drugs are legal or illegal, and to assess their risks. The media should not use celebrities to glamorise drugs, instead they should be enlisted to promote drugs awareness and social debate, in order to educate. Drugs are not fully accepted in society and the battle for changes to legislation will continue. The way to regulate drug usage remains a complex and controversial issue.

Sugar rush: are we addicted to junk food? Charlotte Galt Lifestyle writer Ten years ago, US lawyers started lining up against fast food giants, saying their clients had been duped into becoming fat. At the time, the claimants were derided as weakwilled and gluttonous, so out of court settlements were made and the stories slipped from the newsstands. Now there is established scientific evidence that fast food acts on the brain in the same way as drugs. People who regularly eat a diet high in sugar and fat find it difficult to return to more nutritious meals. So perhaps there’s more to why you fancy that fizzy drink and burger after all … In 2009, neuroscientist Dr. Paul Kenny published work he had begun at Guy’s Hospital in London on eating behaviors. He discovered the part of the brain

triggered when casual drug users become addicted was the same in overeating rats. His research also showed that pleasure receptors affected in the obese rats were the same as those in human drug addicts.  The rats gorged themselves on high fat and sugar food, becoming increasingly fatter. According to the Department of Health, obesity costs the NHS £5.1 billion per year, around 5% of the entire budget. Increased waistlines bring a raft of potential health problems, with diabetes one of the most dangerous. Of the 76,000 diabetes-related deaths last year, 24,000 were categorised as “avoidable”. Failure to attend medical check-ups, as well as a lack of health education, contribute to complications in diabetes. However, regular exercise and eating a healthy diet are effective in avoiding complications. It sounds so simple, but why are so many

people failing? Last month, the University of Oxford and the University of Southern California published research revealing countries which used glucose fructose syrup had a 20% higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes. Alarmingly, this was regardless of sugar intake or weight. Glucose fructose syrup can be found in many foods including ice cream, biscuits, cereals and ketchups. It is an industrially altered fructose, which in turn becomes much sweeter than sugar. A side effect of the processing means that it interferes with the body’s ability to recognise fullness. In short, particular processed foods stop our body from recognising it is full, give us the same satisfaction as taking illegal drugs, and therefore increase our chances of getting type 2 diabetes by 20%. Dr Paul Kenny continues his work from

Florida at The Scripps Research Institute, saying: “If we can understand how and why food preference shifts so profoundly from less palatable healthy food, to high calorie ‘junk’ food, we may identify new treatments for obesity and type 2 diabetes.” As a society it is often said that the UK is 10 years behind America, and perhaps this is true. Whilst litigation is popular across the pond, we may plump for legislation instead. It appears the story is much more complicated than “calories on, exercise off.” Perhaps now the evidence is available, members of Parliament and other government officials should start to ask more questions about how certain ingredients effect our bodies, not only for the health of individuals, but for the health of the NHS as well.


Issue 277


German apple cake Sacha Reeves Lifestyle writer

2 tbsps of milk Half a tsp of vanilla extract

Ingredients 2 eggs 140ml of vegetable oil 400g of caster sugar 1 tsp of vanilla extract 260g of sieved flour 2 tsps of cinnamon 1 tsp of baking soda Half a tsp of salt 4 peeled and chopped apples

Method 1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C and grease a 9x13 baking tin. 2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and oil until smooth and lump free. 3. Add in the sugar, vanilla extract, sieved flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt and mix well. 4. Fold in the chopped apples. 5. Pour into the greased baking tin. 6. Bake in the oven for 50-55 minutes. 7. For the icing, combine ingredients in a bowl and mix with a fork until fluffy. 8. Allow to cool before icing.

Additional ingredients 250g of icing sugar 2 tbsps of softened butter


Sacha Reeves

Plum crumble recipe

Lasagne recipe

Maddy Hutt Lifestyle writer

Imogen Steinberg Lifestyle writer

Ingredients 300g of plain flour 175g of brown sugar 200g of butter (if you do not have butter, any kind of spread will do) 2 punnets of ripe plums (this recipe works fine whether they are fresh or starting to go a little soft) A sprinkling of plain flour A sprinkling of sugar 1 tsp of ground cinnamon 1 tsp of ground ginger 2 generous handfuls of raisins Method 1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C and grease the oven dish. 2. Make the crumble by combining the flour and butter between your fingers in a large bowl. At this stage it helps to add half of the sugar, as the crystals add more friction and speed up the crumbling. 3. Once it has reached a crumbly consistency, combine the rest of the sugar and put aside.

4. Next, cut the plums into halves, deseed and cut again so each fruit is quartered. 5. Put the plums into the dish. If they are freshly bought and a little hard, you can soften them with a little water in a pan over a medium heat prior to putting them into the dish. 6. Combine the raisins with the plums, as well as the cinnamon, ginger, and sprinklings of sugar and flour, making sure that all of the ingredients are distributed evenly over the fruit. 7. Now retrieve the crumble mix and scatter it over the top of the fruit making sure that it is all covered. For extra crunch you can add a last sprinkle of brown sugar to the top. 8. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until the filling is bubbling at the sides and the crumble is golden. Serve with cream or ice cream. 9. Alternatively, if you wanted to create a more dainty dessert perfect for parties you could use individual ramekins (or save the glass pots from Gü desserts and use those!).

Ingredients A packet of lasagne sheets 1 pack of minced beef or lamb 1 tin of tomatoes A couple of mushrooms, sliced A large onion, chopped A clove of garlic, chopped Mixed herbs A heaped tbsp of flour 2 tbsp of butter About 50g of of cheese, grated, plus a little extra for the top 300ml of milk Optional ingredients Ham Cooked bacon Peppers, carrots or courgettes Method 1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C 2. To make the meat sauce, fry off the minced beef and the onion in a pan together. 3. Add the garlic, tomatoes, mushrooms and mixed herbs.

4. Fill the tomato tin with water and add to the pan. 5. Leave it on a high simmer for 10 minutes. 6. To make the béchamel sauce, melt the butter in another saucepan. 7. Add the flour and mix together with a whisk, very briefly. 8. Add the milk slowly, whisking gently as you go. It does not matter that much if there are a few small lumps. 9. Add the grated cheese (but leave a little for the top) and stir it until it is all melted. Season with black pepper and nutmeg. 10. If at this point the meat sauce is still very wet, use a slatted spoon and leave behind some of the juice. However, if it begins to get too dry at any point, take it off the heat. 11. Layer the ingredients into the dish alternately: meat sauce, white sauce, pasta sheet, before ending with white sauce. 12. Put the left over cheese on the top and pop in the open for 40-45 minutes. Check on the lasagne packet to see if it says less time. 13. Serve!


Issue 277



American Football push for playoffs Joe Boon Sports correspondent

Editors’ column Sam Tomkinson Sports editor Even though looking in the past is understandable, 2012 was somehting of a spectacular, sport is always moving forward and thus 2013 will bring the same drama, tension and thrilling action that only sport can bring. In the preview I write about the must watch in professional sport so I shall use my column to focus on UEA’s 2013. Men’s Football I are in contention for promotion in a three horse race for the title. Women’s Football have not had everything their own way but look set to avoid relegation and will be striving for a comfortable mid-table position. Men’s Table Tennis continue to dominate in the Midlands 1A division, which includes universities such as Loughborough. They look set to win the league at a canter if they can hold off Birmingham. Women’s Basketball are also in a commanding position. An incredibly healthy points difference and other teams struggling to find similar form sees them top the table. Men’s Hockey I find themselves in a battle with Staffordshire for glory in the Midlands 3A division. UEA have the upper hand at the moment, however there is no room for complacency at this stage of the season. Women’s 1sts are not finding life as easy, due to the competitive nature of the division, finding themselves place mid table but will no doubt be able to rectify this. The headlines at the moment are disappointingly revolving around racism in football. This time, however, an effective protest has been made. What is irritating is that it took a brave stance by a player, not an international board such as Fifa or Uefa creating effective legislation. It may sound like a broken record but fines do not work. The more it is said the more likely things will change for the better otherwise football may start to lose the following younger generations for non footballing reasons. Hopefully, sooner rather than later, the beautiful game will start making the headlines for the right reasons instead of wrong.

The arrival of the festive break saw the UEA Pirates celebrate an early gift, as they drew the line under a series of four consecutive victories in the South Eastern Conference. Despite the best attempts of the British weather to dampen the occasion, the Pirates launched their season with a blistering win over the Westminster Dragons, second year quarterback Jack Anklesaria making his first start and marshalling the team to a 27-6 victory. The Pirates continued their pursuit of a playoff spot with victories over rivals LSBU Spartans and a triumph over the tenacious Canterbury Chargers. Rookies and veterans alike continued to produce performances worthy of recognition, the experienced linebacking corps of Tom Whipps and Steve Omanyondo strengthened by the arrival of Piers Harrison-Reid, whilst talented newcomers Eoin Byrne, Ben Roberts and Joseph Mumford quickly established their presence on the field. The Pirates brought down the curtain on 2012 with an irksome 25-12 victory over the Imperial Immortals, leaving the Pirates unsatisfied with a performance below their tough, selfimposed standards of quality. Outside of the BUCS league, the Pirates continued to prove their quality with six current players selected

by the coaching staff for the Great Britain University Squad trials, and it was with great pride that the Pirates announced the selection of linebacker Piers Harrison-Reid for the extended GB roster. The Pirates welcome the New Year full of a hunger for improvement and success that has been galvanized by their most successful start to the season in recent times. Their 2013 schedule takes the Pirates to rivals Essex to deliver retribution for their loss the

previous year, as well as a voyage to challenge the leaders of the conference as they target a famous upset against the presently top-ranked Hertfordshire Hurricanes. A bright start to the season, indeed, but the Pirates still have much to achieve if they wish to see their name triumphantly etched upon the national trophy. Which would see alll the hard work and commitment from the players and staff alike richly rewarded which would mark an outstanding season.

Tom Oliver

Men’s Hockey enjoy successful Autumn Edd Hornsby Sports correspondent UEA Men’s Hockey experienced an enjoyable autumn semester, although the club appears to be struggling a little in the league tables. The BUCS first team, captained by Louis Preston, top their league and are hoping for a return to an appropriate level next year. However, the novice second BUCS team has unfortunately not had such a

Tom Oliver

successful first semester, winning just one game so far. However, as members of the lowest league in the country, consolation has been taken that relegation is not an option. Saturday fixtures have been tough so far, with both the first and fourth teams playing in a higher league than last year, so results have been perhaps unsurprisingly low. The first team, captained by Dom Samways, have held their own however and are playing excellent hockey against

top amateur sportsmen from across the east of England. The fourth team, UEA’s development squad, started the season promisingly and have brought two new coaches in to help current coach Jamie Morris. The second team are also looking at relegation as the team have been plagued by absences. However, a fantastic push by Paul Bullard and his star player Jonathan Lang has left the third eleven in a promising position for promotion at the end of the season, creating a slightly embarrassing prospect of a leapfrog by the seconds over the thirds. The matches are only part of the story however, the club as a whole has been socially vibrant, relationships between the women’s and men’s clubs are excellent and this has helped maintain the fantastic social atmosphere the club is known for. With an excellent group of first years and two hard working social secretaries creating a plethora of events, members of the club can look forward to going on tour and Derby Day against the University of Essex in March. The club is looking forward to an excellent second semester.



Issue 277

2013: A preview of the sporting year


Sports editor Sam Tomkinson provides a preview of a range of sporting events in 2013, ranging from the African Cup of Nations to the Tour de France It is going to be difficult for 2013 to match 2012 in sporting terms. Last year saw the Olympic and Paralympic Games take place in London and these will live long in the memory. However, there is much to look forward to this year. TENNIS In January there is the first grand slam of the year and with Andy Murray as US Open champion, there is a lot of interest in the upcoming Australian Open. His mother Judy has stated that 2013 will be even bigger for the Glaswegian as he looks to achieve more success. Every tennis fan in Britain will be hoping that he can rectify the heartbreak of July and finally win at Wimbledon. There is also the continued progression of Britain’s women, as Heather Waton and Laura Robson go into Melbourne Park with world rankings of 49 and 53 respectively. Watson won her first WTA tournament, the first for a British woman in 24 years, and Robson won the WTA Newcomer of the Year award as well as a silver medal in the Olympic mixed doubles with Murray. These two now have ambitions of breaking into the top 20 in 2013. FOOTBALL The African Cup of Nations starts this month with some of the Premier League’s finest representing their nations. Players such as Yaya Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor will be gracing the pitches of South Africa in a bid to win continental glory for their national sides. This will affect the outcome of the Premier League which is shaping up to be another classic. The Manchester sides continue to have a firm grip on the top two spots, however Chelsea have put together a quality squad with a strong blend of youth and experience that is capable posting a title challenge, especially if Rafa Benitez can get Fernando Torres firing again. Norwich City so far look as though the faith shown to the players who gained promotion will once again achieve a solid mid-table finish. At the other end of the spectrum QPR have hired Harry Redknapp to try and extinguish any thoughts of relegation and provide the sort of performances that owner Tony Fernandes expects to achieve. Aston Villa also look set for a relegation battle as former Canaries boss Paul Lambert tries to achieve results with a young squad. Great Britain’s women’s Olympic side turned some heads in London with a historic victory against one of the pretournament favourites Brazil, boasting the five-time winner of women’s footballer of the year Marta. In July 2013 England

will compete in the Women’s European Championships in Sweden and will be expected to be competitive, with an outside chance of winning. Meanwhile, there are two English clubs remaining in the Champions League: Manchester United and Arsenal, and one Scottish: Celtic, who all have mountains to climb if they are to progress into the quarter finals. NFL and RUGBY February will see the climax of the NFL with the Super Bowl up for grabs, after the Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons achieved the best results in the regular season. February also sees the return of the Six Nations. Last year’s Grand Slam champions Wales struggled during the autumn internationals and have dropped down to ninth in the IRB World Rankings. They will need to rediscover their previous magic if they are to retain their crown. England, buoyed by their historic victory over New Zealand, will be confident of challenging for the title. Stuart Lancaster is starting to develop a young squad that is looking strong enough to compete for honours in the 2015 World Cup. England’s women are firm favourites in their own Six Nations competition having won the last seven championships and six Grand Slams. The Aviva Premiership looks set to be another three-horse race as England’s power houses Harlequins, Leicester and Saracens fight down to the wire. Gloucester are still in with a shout as favourites to clinch that fourth playoff spot. In the Pro12, Ulster are runaway

leaders and don’t look like being stopped. Heineken Cup champions Leinster have a mountain to climb if they are to defend their title as French sides Toulon and Clermont Auvergne continue to dominate in the group stages, though there is still a long way to go so nothing is a certainty. In June the Great British and Irish Lions tour Australia looking to bring success for the first time since the tour to South Africa in 1997. Late in the year, England host the Rugby League World Cup. England are the leading side in Europe, however it will take a gigantic effort to disrupt the southern hemisphere’s dominance of the sport as current champions New Zealand and nine-time champions Australia will be favourites. FORMULA 1 March sees the Formula One season commence. Sebastian Vettel has been ruling the roost for the last three years, however Fernando Alonso will be aiming to put a halt to this dominance. The biggest talking point, though, is how Lewis Hamilton will perform at Mercedes GP. Mercedes came fifth in the constructors’ standings last season which indicates a drop in the standard of car for the former world champion, compared to the McLarenMercedes team’s effort. Mercedes claim that in three years’ time they will be the leading force in Formula One, yet this is speculation and many critics suggest that the increased pay rise was the reason behind his move as opposed to a desire to challenge for the world championship.

GOLF April brings the first golf major of the year at Augusta, where The Masters is one of the most prestigious individual awards for golfers. It is not the most lucrative but to win the green jacket is a tremendous honour. The defending champion is Bubba Watson, who lit up last year’s tournament with his exuberant brand of Bubba golf, however he will not go in as favourite. Rory McIlroy has been in fine form and tops the world rankings, and will be looking to right the wrongs of two years ago where his meltdown became infamous. Tiger Woods can never be discounted; the world number three always brings a presence to these events and has been a winner on four occasions. Englishmen Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter will take heart in knowing that Ernie Els was able to win the Open Championship at Lytham aged 42 as they strive to break their major ducks. Muirfield plays host to the Open for in July, with the US Open taking place in June and the PGA Championship in August. CRICKET In cricket, England look to regain their number one test status with a tour to New Zealand and back-to-back Ashes series in a calendar year for the first time ever. Having performed exceptionally in India this England team will be full of confidence. However when Kevin Pietersen is in the side controversy is never far away and England hope that there will be nothing that will distract them. The ECB have decided that split captaincy is not enough and Ashley Giles will take over the reigns as coach of the One Day International and T20 international squads. With international experience in his playing days, as well as success as director of cricket at Warwickshire and an England selector he will be confident in his new job. England’s women’s side have stated that previous final heartbreak will be used as motivation for their T20 campaign in Sri Lanka. They go into the tournament as one of the favourites with the outstanding batting of Sarah Taylor being a key factor. CYCLING In late June the 100th Tour De France takes place, starting in Corsica for the first time. It has now become an event of increased interest for the British public ever since Sir Bradley Wiggins won the yellow jersey last year. This year Team Sky, without Mark Cavendish, plan to seek glory with both Chris Froome and Wiggins. Rivals Alberto Contador and Cadel Evans will be looking to disrupt the British pairing.


Concrete Sport UEA

Men’s Rugby set for September return Billy Sexton Sports editor The Men’s Rugby club at UEA is set to return in September 2013. The wheels for this return have been set in motion, with applications to become a committee member closing on Sunday 13 January. The new committee will be responsible for ensuring the club is ready to hit the ground running in September. An open forum was held in December and aimed to seek out those interested in committee posts in order for an organised club to be present at the start of the next university year. Successful applicants for committee posts will have the opportunity to attend a Leadership Academy at Cambridge University organised by the Rugby Football Union (RFU), which will offer support and guidance on how to run

the club successfully. UEA Director of Sport Phil Steele and members of the former men’s rugby club attended the forum alongside members of the women’s rugby club, touch rugby and American Football. Attendees were adamant that a repeat of past behaviour – that led to the club being suspended from all activity for this academic year – would not be tolerated. Mr Steele commented: “I support the re-emergence of the club alongside and not without the formation of a plan to develop the club within some very clear guidelines to safeguard future performance and conduct of those involved. “As discussed at the meeting, this may come with some support from the RFU which should help establish good practice from the outset.” The forum discussed how many teams

would be established and also whether or not participation in local leagues is necessary. The club will enter in to the lowest tier of the university league and so local league participation could be essential in order for the team to face stronger competition. The forum also discussed issues of coaching and there was a clear desire for the future coach to be committed to all teams, not just the BUCS teams. Other concerns included the provision of transport to local league matches as it was often the case in the past that teams had to rely on players with cars in order to arrive at venues. There is certainly a mood among those involved that a lot of positives can be found in the re-establishment of the club, as progress towards having a men’s rugby club back at UEA continues.


Issue 277 08 January 2013

2013 Sporting Preview

Lionel Messi: A natural talent? In a special drugs feature, sports correspondent Will Medlock looks in to Lionel Messi’s adolesecent steroid treatment A calendar year may be finite but Lionel Messi’s limitations in 2012 would be anything but. 91 goals is an impressive feat regardless of the quality of the competition; Messi’s goals were spread across Europe as well as for the Argentinean national side. Such is the brilliance of the Barcelona number 10 that it has often felt appropriate to coin a new superlative in order to do justice to his achievements and separate him from the majority. For many, Messi is the Pele of his generation, perhaps better, depending upon who you ask. Regardless, it is unanimous that he is a special player exuding brilliance at the height of his game. Though such unrivalled quality, as South African athlete Caster Semenya may tell you, is often greeted with an ounce of scepticism by those not convinced that what they see is what they get; there would be those who may suggest that what Messi has got was given to him under unnatural circumstances. It is no secret that, as a young boy, Messi suffered from a condition known as growth hormone deficiency; a diagnosis that accounted for his strikingly diminutive stature as a child. Fourteen years on, Messi’s slightness has become part of his charm. However, before he was even an adolescent, concerns mounted over his physicality on the pitch. The steroid injections required to ensure a young Messi didn’t become a wasted talent were funded by Barcelona after the club’s personnel director Carles Rexach became convinced, and similarly assured those in high places in Catalonia, that a floppy haired Argentinean was worth a punt. Ask any coach and they would support

Messi by stating that natural talent cannot be bought or affected, only nurtured. The culmination of Messi’s finest year has by chance coincided with one of the greatest furores in sporting history; an injustice sparked by Lance Armstrong’s doping. One of cycling’s most prestigious participants has, rightly, had his once great name tainted after allegations of cheating were revealed to be true. The powers that be in cycling asserted that Armstrong “deserves to be forgotten”, so why is Messi’s steroid use dismissed so nonchalantly? The answer appears a fairly simple one; Messi was at a significant disadvantage to those around him before the injections. He was merely trying to compete on a level playing field rather than, like Armstrong, pull away from the competition through unnatural means. Messi remains one of the world’s most loved and most watched players because he has an, almost, unrivalled natural genius. Home video footage on YouTube of a 10-year-old Messi working his magic on a 5-a-side pitch corroborates that his genius is pure and that the steroids that he would ultimately consume were not to improve him technically, rather to allow him to fulfil his potential. His taking of steroids has not been kept under wraps because he has done nothing wrong. That is why, in many people’s eyes, he remains one of football’s greatest gifts.

Lionel Messi stats:

Goals in 2012: 91 Goals for Barcelona: 79 Goals for Argentina: 12 Scoring average of a goal every 63 minutes Most goals in a La Liga season: 50

UEAFormIndex Team P W % 1 2 3 4 5 6 6 6 9 10 11 11 11 11 11 16 17 17 17 17 17 17 17 24 24 26 26 26 29 30

T-Tennis M1 Basketball W1 A-Football M1 Lacrosse M1 Cricket M1 Hockey M1 Rugby W1 Badminton W1 Volleyball W1 Volleyball M1 Lacrosse W1 Golf Football M2 Squash M1 Netball W1 Basketball M1 Tennis M2 Tennis W1 Football M1 Badminton M1 Fencing M1 Football W1 Netball W2 Cricket M2 Hockey M2 Hockey W1 Tennis M1

Futsal M1 Fencing W1 Water Polo W1 31 Water Polo M1

6 5 4 6 4 6 6 6 3 5 6 6 6 6 6 5 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 5 5 6 6 6 6 3 2

6 5 4 5 3 4 4 4 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0

100 100 100 83 75 66 66 66 66 60 50 50 50 50 50 40 33 33 33 33 33 33 33 20 20 16 16 16 0 0 0

Page 23 American Football: Their season so far

Page 22 Mens’Hockey: Their season so far

Tom Oliver Statistics collected from the UEA team form page on

Page 22

Concrete - Issue 277  

Questions over the Union's budget delay its approval, and the results of the Drugs & Alcohol survey are published

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you