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2 Centenary Pullout

Concrete Wednesday, May 26, 1999

Here's the lowdown on Concrete · your student newspaper . and the things you might have missed since it first rolled off the printing press

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ou've Come A Long Way, Baby" proclaimed Fatboy Slim recently. He wasn 't referring to Concrete, but he might as we ll have been. We've now reached the 100 issue milestone and have produced over 21 mi ll ion pages of newsprint - enough, if placed end-to-end, to stretch 5250 miles. it's all a far cry from seven and a half years ago, when a small three-man team launched a 20-page paper with their own cash from a small office in EAS. Since then Concrete has expanded to 48 pages and become the most successful media in UEA's history• something that has been recognised nationally

too: the paper won the Guardain/NUS Student Media Award for best student newspaper in 1995 and scooped best features writer and runner up news reporter last year.

"Concrete's editorial policy has always come down to just one thing · if it's of interest to students at UEA, then it goes in"

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But it's been on campus where the paper has been most enthusiastically received - over 98 per cent of you said you read Concrete when we last asked - that's a higher readership than any other studen t newspaper in the UK. Indeed, Concrete 's editorial policy has always come down to just one thing - if it's of interest to students at UEA, then it goes in . And Concrete has always tried to adapt to serve the student body of UEA best. Back in 1993, when a survey said you wanted an entertainments guide to Norwich , Concrete produced one - The Event. This paper was originally produced seperately from Concrete and was sold in the City and distributed free on campus. After ten issues it was incorporated into Concrete, after the workload of producing two 28 page papers proved too much for the small

editorial team - but it still continues to provide the best guide to entertainments in Norwich. At that time Concrete was still an independent private company -owned by the three founding students and was funded solely through adve rti si ng revenue. In 1994 though, the Union realised it would be a good idea to own one of the UK's best student newspapers and bought the paper. A strict condition of the sale though , was that Concrete would remain editorially independent. The news has certainly remianed vibrant, as has the rest of the paper. And ever since we started publishing , Concrete has covered every major news story to hit UEA from studen ts occupying the Registry in protest at rent increases to the axing and reinstating of the infamous Rocky Horror Show, while we 've interviewed the likes of Tony Blair and Damon Albarn , along with many, many more. Any student can write for Concrete - and hundreds of students have done so since we began. In fact , the paper has been the launch pad for many successful careers in the media. Polly Graham , the newspaper's first editor, now works on the Daily Mirror, while other Concrete alumni include Mark Austin , who now writes for the Sunday Times, and Jody Thompson , now NME's news editor. Concrete 's second

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editor, Peter Hart, is now Celebratory Editor at Bliss while his successor, Niall Hampton , works on Loaded. But the key thing at Concrete has always been to provide relevant material for UEA's student body - and now that we've reached 100 it's time to take a retrospective look back over the last seven years as well as forward into the future ... so read on ...

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Concrete follows in the footsteps of a long line of campus papers · take a look at the new s you could have read in years gone by relationships. On March 11, 1966, Mandate ran the headline 'Fornication Forbidden ' detailing an edict issued by UEA authorities saying that, 'Any student found in bed with a member of the opposite sex will be sent down immediately.' Mandate cont inued, 'Would-be - - -- -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - --' offenders, while grateful for the here was a time , in the not too dim warning, are a little irate at yet another and distant past, when UEA had a infringement of basic human liberties.' reputation as something of a radical Presumably the University was fighting a last university. The Union sided with the ditch battle against the oncoming age of free IRA, while occupations and strikes love - and apparently failing. were an almost daily occurrence. lt was Some things never change though. Students undoubtedly an interesting time - and quite were complaining about the Union Bar back then different to today. lt also certainly provided too, although, unlike today, it wasn 't because it some great news opportunities for the various looked too much like a Harvester restaurant. newspapers and magazines that have been Just one of the grumble came from an irate produced by UEA students since 1963. punter complaining of the •general chaos , filth , Yep, today 's Concrete is by no means the first obscenity and imbroglio'. newspaper to make its mark at UEA. That By the 1970's Mandate was no more. Instead, milestone goes to Mandate, set up In 1965. students were could get their news from 'Twice ', Although more concerned with the activities of a publication which ran from 1970-73, before the Union than issues of direct Interest to being superseded by the imaginatively titled students, taking a glance at Mandate today is 'Once ', which ironically, ran for just one year. quite enlightening. 1973 also saw the launch of 'Concrete ', a With adulthood still standing at 21 years old, publication completely unconnected with today 's campus tabloid. This version was drawn and UEA took it upon itself to act in a more parental crudely put together on photocopied paper - but role than it does today, and it made sure that students knew it's attitude towards inter-student it still covered a few issues of historical interest

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to today's student. In 1975, with the British mainland feeling the first effects of the IRA's bombing campaign , Concrete reported that it had been decided that 'The Union joins with the provisional and official IRA in condemning the recent bombings in Britain while recognising that the final responsibility for them rests with the British government. ' Clear thinking by the Union was obviously not a priority at the time.

"The Union joins w ith the rovi sional and official RA in condemnin9 the rece nt bombings m Britain while recognismg that the fina l responsibility for t he m re sts with tfle Brit ish government"

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Occupations were a popular activity at this time though - even the campus burger bar, situated on the site of today's Breakers 2 , felt the full force of starving students, who occupied the building when it raised its prices by 55 per cent. Concrete wrote that this was, " no isolated action by a group of militants" but a protest supported by most at UEA. At the time of writing it had lasted five days. The building, which had been closed by the University, was re-opened by the occupiers to provide an alternative catering service. " The Burger Bar has never been cleaner and an amazing wide range of helpers have been

there to help with preparing, serving and tidying up after meals," wrote Concrete 's reporter. Concrete, which had cost both 2p and 20p at various times , disappeared in 1975, although the mantle of campus newspaper was quickly picked up by Phoenix. This publication had more staying power and lasted for 12 years , folding in 1987. lt reported the almost annual rent strikes as well as other events, such as the interesting visit of prominent of Conservative politician , Cecil Parkinson. His speech was quickly interrupted by Union President, who called Parklnson a fraud before urging others at the meeting to walk out over half of them did! At this point, some eggs appeared, apparently out of nowhere, before being hurled at Mr Parkinson . The protesters certainly enjoyed themselves , even if the Conservative MP didn 't! Other activities in Phoenix 's era Included a number of UEA students turning Argyle Street into the 'biggest squat in Europe' and 'sloane ' students embarking on a Cannonball Run-style road race around 75 miles of Norfolk lanes - with several crashing their cars. Other newspapers around in the 1980s included Breezeblock, which published sporadically between 1982 and 1986 and Broadly Speaking, which came out In 1986 too. After Phoenix shut, UEA students were served by Insight (later lnsite) which shut in the early 1990s. And then .today's Concrete appeared on the scene ...


Centenary Pullout 3

Concrete Wednesday, May 26, 1999

Looking back over our·shoulders • it's time to cast a second glance at our pop predictions. Luke Turner finds out who was simply the best and who was bjorn again •..

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ne hundred issues - or seven and a bit earth years - is a long time in music, and throughout that time Concrete and The Event have been there to chart the earnings and the goings, the rise and the falls of bands and scenes, tipping some for greatness - not always with total foresight and cunning - and slating others to the dustbin of musical ineptitude. Since Concrete first hit the news stands we've seen the fall of 'indie', the rise and fall of Britpop and the explosion in mainstream dance music. There have been some constants though - even back in the very early days of Concrete a certain tribute band had already played UEA enough times to warrant the headline "Bjorn Again ...Again". Lord knows what kind of headline they'd need now. Even "Bjorn Again ...Again ... Again .." and so on into infinity probably couldn't even do them justice. Bjom Again aren't the only band to revisit Norwich though, and it is possible to chart many bands' roads to success by the venues they played here - with the up and coming e::::::::::= progressing from the smaller Arts Centre to the medium-sized Waterfront and then onto the gargantuan LCR. One million-selling band this theory applies to is the Manic Street Preachers. The Norwich Arts Centre has passed into pop folklore thanks to a certain incident that occurred there when Richey Manic carved the words '4 Real' into his arms in front of a cynical Steve Lamacq. And just after the release of their debut album 'Generation Terrorists, the Manics' played a Waterfront gig to rapturous reception - with Concrete there to report on it. 'Something is happening here tonight, something like a band delivering all they've promised and more,' we wrote on March 4, 1992.

The Manics then went on to sell out the LCR before the tragic loss of Richey and change in band direction, from confrontation to anthemic stadium doo doo. Concrete was also present at an early Pulp gig in the Waterfront Studio on June 4, 1992, where 'decked out in a flared velvet suit and brig ht purple shirt, frontman Jarvis with his deadpan humour and frantic dance steps tempts the listener into a tantalising maelstrom of kitsch and glam.' This was in the pre-Babies and Common ?eople days when Pulp were, let's face it, pretty rubbish, and had been going for about a century without any success whatsoever. Lesser people would have given it up as a bad. job, but Jarvis persisted and kept his purple suits and polyester shirts, · eventually turning them from Charity Shop s••t to Charity Shop Chic, selling buckets of

charges' actions, sheepishly explaining that, "they felt it was a bit like a prison cell ...but I suppose that's just rock n' roll." So there you go - the next time you're abou.t to get fined by the cleaners, just pretend that you're in a pleasant sounding electro pop band, shrug your shoulders nonchalantly and say ' I suppose that's just rock n'roll.' And then find yourself getting fined anyway. and going quietly bankers along the way. These visiting popstars have not always just been content to play the gig and go home though. Concrete's news pages have also reported much celebrity scandal and shame faced naughty behaviour. In April 1994 the seemingly gentle and fluffy loving Saint Etienne vandalised a Nelson Court kitchen after a gig - it seems they were unhappy with the standard of their accomodation. According to Concrete's news story, their crimes included 'Squirting tomato ketchup graffiti all over kitchen work surfaces and walls, wrenching lockers open to steal students food, leaving doors hanging off their hinges.' ' The band's manager attempted to defend his

alas, has apparently disappeared, only to be replaced by the now-vanished Richey Edwards. Then, back in 1992, a band called Suede played the Waterfront, wowing the audience with first single The Drowsers and new song Animal Train. They sadly split up, to be replaced by another band called Suede whose debut was entitled The Drowners, and had a song called Animal Nitrate.

''Even "Bjorn Again .•• • Aga1n.. . " and A ga1n... so on into infinity probably couldn't even do them justice" UEA's students have managed to give these naughty popsters a taste of their own medicine though - fundraising society, RAG, kidnapped members of indie luminaries Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine and held them to ransom on the day of the band's Waterfront gig. Unfortunately for discerning music lovers everywhere though, the kidnappers let Carter go instead of going for the full-on 'we're sending bits of them in the post' style abduction. 'We wish it was the 60's' ty'pes, Ocean Colour Scene, also got their come uppance when they were involved in a fight at Norwich's Zoom -nightclub. Serves them right for writing The Circle. Bands have also been seen in Norwich on the verge of going absolutely huge: Oasis were tipped by Concrete in 1994 just before they played the Arts Centre for £4.50. And in a review of a Blur gig in 1993 we reported that, 'Blur introduced a new song which is good enough to get the message across that they are far from running dry.' This song was, of course, Parklife, which months later went on to be one of the first sparks in the rise of the Britpop phenomenon. In a similar vein, Elastica supported Catherine Wheel a! the now defunct Peppermint Park club for £5, and Radiohead played the LCR under James before later achieving the status of best band in !,he entire universe. But of course we haven't always got it completely right. When the Manic Street Preachers played the Waterfront their second guitarist was apparently called Ricky Edwards. He,

Some of our predictions have also been slightly off the mark. A preview of The Auteurs wrote that 'They're going to get bigger..,and bigger...' Sorry! What we really should have written was: 'They're going to be a slightly above average indie band who have no ambition and will probably split without a tear being shed.' Other quality boobs of note were an early demolition of the Verve, with the reviewer wondering whether they'd ever achieve anything, and a classic piece in which one none too perceptive writer predicted, 'I'm not being too melodramatic when I say that Orphic Soup could be as big as Oasis, or even bigger. Just remember where you heard it first.' So, we can't get it right all the time, but then that's rock n'roll for you. And one day, maybe Orphi Soup will release their Wonderwall-beating tune. Watch out Uam and Noel!


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With 1 00 issues in the bag, Concrete glances back over the seven and a half years since it began. Take a look...

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The Union's efforts to encourage students not to pay their rent thanks to price increases fail to work effectively - just 80 students join, far fewer than was hoped. Looking at it now, 80 people seems quite a few though - calls for a rent strike would probably fall on completely deaf ears today. Inside, a watchful reporter spotted that UEA was being used to promote Levis, since a postcard of the University was used on the jean company's latest advert - a collage of 'high impact' images!

Concrete appeared in colour for the first time and promised to stay that way. However, just three issues later it was back to purple, black and white .. .for another two years. The closure of Fifers Lane accommodation began as the residents of two blocks were kicked out even after the University had promised they could stay. Meanwhile, lan Smith, who plays Neighbours', Harold Bishop, says he understands why people "really want to kick his butt until his nose bleeds!"

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Concrete's controversial front page told the story of how a third year Norfolk Terrace student had electrocuted himself, while inside we reported how Livewire had scooped three awards at a national student radio award · ceremony. EAS lecturer, Roger Sales, weighed into the controversy surrounding the inclusion of Neighbours on GCSE English Literature courses, saying, ·that teenagers were "prepared to discuss issues such as gender and problems more deeply," thanks to the programme.

Concrete revealed that the University was considering building another set of new residences - today's Village. The site, which had been the home of the Student Union and · various teaching areas in previous years had been sold to developers five years earlier for £4 million. As we all know, the plans went ahead, and the idea put an end to any plans for a second phase of Nelson Court. Inside, we spoke to the Bare Naked Ladies and Stephen Fry talked about his favourite tight trousers.

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SYS is hit by a massive computer theft as police speculate that an international crime network is responsible after similar thefts in America. it is announced that every UEA student's favourite haunt, Peppermint Park, is undergoing a £1 million refit. Two years later though and the venue closed thanks to structural problems with the building. Features looked at how more and more students are working in the sex industry and predicted that the about-to-open Castle Mall would be a success. Hmmm.

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Pop band St Etienne scoop the front page after wrecking two showpiece rooms in Constable Terrace during the Easter holidays. Their antics included spraying the walls with ketchup, breaking into student lockers and covering the floor in spaghetti. The group were reportedly upset at not being put up in a five star hotel after their gig and their manager excused the behaviour, saying, "I suppose that's rock'n'roll'. Students also slammed the new 'Buzz Gum', is supposed to keep you awake, as a

E V E N T 1

The Event was launched in September 1993. Produced by the same team who created Concrete, the paper was sold in the City and distributed free on campus - completely separately from Concrete. lt was a great success for ten issues, before the workload of producing a 28 page Event and 28 page Concrete every fortnight became too much for the small team. This issue saw features on the Lemonheads, an interview with Harrison Ford and unrivalled news on events in Norwich.

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Waveney Terrace freshers had a nice surprise waiting for them when they arrived at their residences this year - bed bugs. The cre~py crawlies infested two blocks and left students covered in bites - some with as many as 27 and resulted in them being temporarily rehoused. The Union also came under fire for displaying a gay magazine with full frontal nudity in Union House, just weeks after banning Loaded because it featured "women sticking their tits our.

Concrete revealed the University's plan to charge students' guests £10 per head for grad~Jation, despite it being in the Sports Hall. A Union survey reveals that 85 per cent of students have little or no knowledge of what the Union does and many would rather spend the night at Ikon than a UGM. And two Concrete reporters spend a night out - one at a homeless shelter and another with the East Anglian ambulance crew, while Supergrass came under the microscope in The Event.

Accommodation bosses were left red-faced for the fourth year running as incoming students found themselves without the rooms they had applied for. The freshers didn't have to sleep rough though- they merely had to pay £10 per night for the privilige of staying in UEA employees' homes. And anyone unhappy with the quality of food in Breakers 2 quickly discovered why - the outlet's manager had resigned because of the shoestring budget UEA had given the restaurant.

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UEA were left red-faced after two students scaled the Registry and replaced the University's flag with another, emblazoned with the words 'Welcome to Disneyland'. The two pranksters, who wanted to remain anonymous, explained, "We were armed with two ladders, a rope, a flashlight and a lot of balls. And no one saw us doing it..." Concrete's features section tackled the porn industry, asking whether it really was as bad as campaigners made out. We also chatted to Whigfield about the weather!

The Event was relauriched as a pullout this issue, and has remained one ever since. We spoke to Gene, covered Brad Pill and reasserted our commitment to providing the best guide to entertainment in Norwich. We also gave 'Spaceman' by Babylon Zoo five marks out of five and the best of the Style Council one. Something wrong there, perhaps?

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Concrete, the purple paper was no more. Arise, the red (and soon to be orange) top! Yes, Concrete was relaunched for the first time in its history, with a change in news and layout style. We revealed that UEA was about to try and start charging £1 000 per year top-up fee-s to new students, before the Labour Party had even been elected and brought up tuition fees. We also interviewed a student drug dealer and examined how drugs were a normal part of life for many UEA students, while The Event took a sideways look at British rock.

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The Union-owned Waterfront and the convicted drug smuggler Howard Marks was given a roasting in the press by a local mum who linked her son's heroin addiction to his former use of cannabis. She accused the Waterfront, who hosted a set by the DJ, of promoting Marks' drug use. We also revealed how the Law Ball was being kicked out of Earlham Hall by the Council for the first time - leading to the debacle that was last year's ball. We also tested a new scent claiming to attract the opposite sex - with little success! ·

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Union Finance Officer, Ginge Kaye, found himself in hot water after boasting of his drug use to the Norwich press. The police attacked his comments, while the Union Executive split over the issue and one Officer declared that he should be sacked - they believed his comments had brought the Union and UEA into disrepute. The Event interviewed top Britpopsters, Blur, and heard them proclaim that they had "been braver than any other band in this country". No oversized egos at work there, then.

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UEA doe, Paul Coathup, made the front page after he told delegates at a conference that students smell of "damp, unwashed clothes, body odour, fried food and cabbage". Concrete and UEA magazine, Bucket of Tongues were also celebrating after they scooped best student newspaper and magazine at the Guardian!NUS Student Media Awards confirming that UEA's media was the best in the country. Inside, we hijacked Arthur Miller's 80th birthday...

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'Cod Off shouted this issue's front page, referring to UEA's decision to backtrack on a promise to open up a campus based chippy as part of the Breakers restaurant. Meanwhile, after a demo in London protesting against student hardship attracted 30,000 people, the NUS proclaimed that the apathetic student was something of the past. They were wrong though - other organisations put the attendance at about 10,000.

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Concrete celebrated the 50th issue by going for gold- quite literally. Yep, this issue was printed on gold paper to celebrate the occasion. Meanwhile, 175 people joined the Union's rent strike and 650 people turned out at the Union General Meeting to back the strike - the biggest turnout in recent memory. lt was especially impressive, considering that 1998's Annual General Meeting attracted just four normal students. As it was our 50th issue, we looked back at some of the higlights of the previous issues. A bit like we're doing now in facti

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Our exclusive front page story told of how two Union Sabbatical officers managed to break into Union House and the Grad Bar at night time, before setting off an alarm by tampering with a st~el shutter protecting the GSA's bar. Polly Knewstub, Comms Officer, was forced to resign after the bungled break-in, saying her actions were "giggling, ridiculous and overexcited". Freshers also got an eight page pull out introducing them to Norwich.

1998·99

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Union Finance Officer, Chris Hall, was rushed to intensive care after the hockey team's minibus overturned on the way to an away game. His condition was said to be "serious". We also made our first serious cock up, with the words "Gambling Feature Headline" emblazoned across the page. Comedian Arthur Smith postulated that there was no anarchy and radicalism amongst students these days saying, "I guess students are all miserable now." You Arthur!

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The first ever Concrete hit UEA in January 1992 with news that Finals would be a thing of the past from the following September. 'Modular Mess Up?' we asked - and with good reason - the new semester based system had already been delayed for a year. Meanwhile, inside we revealed that Radio One was bringing Sound City, the music festival, to Norwich and that students would rather put condoms on their head than down below.

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This issue reported how two students suffered vicious beatings by the same gang in one night, with one being attacked just 70 yards from Porters Lodge. Inside we asked those founts of all knowledge, Norwich cab drivers, about life, the universe and everything and got some interesting responses. One said he'd been contacted from beyond the grave and told to sell his house...he did and four weeks later it collapsed!

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We revealed that University bosses were bidding to bring a state of the art medical school to UEA - with the ·result expected in June. The Vice Chancellor admitted that Village residents should have a bar and shops, while we spoke to journalist turned MP, Martin Bell and you wooed your Valentines in our love messages centre spread. The Event provided a step-by-step guide to making a romantic movie blockbuster, and postulated on the state of Britain's music award ceremonies -·concluding that they were decidedly naff.

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100 students demonstrated outside the Registry over UEA's ethical investment policy and delivered a 2500-strong petition to University bosses backing their protest. UEA was forced to set up a working party to examine the policy, and we were there to report on it. We chatted to Skint records about their revolutionary sound, while any would-be actor found some handy tips in The Event's guide to stardom.

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OK • seven and a half years of Concrete isn't a very long time. Who knows what might happen in the next 100 years? Well, some experts think they know and Paul Stokes spoke to them to see just where humanity might ~e heading•..

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redicting the future is a precarious task. Folklore has it that upon first seeing the telephone, a forward ¡ thinking American mayor proclaimed that, "One day there will be one of these in every major city!" Similarly, the first computer pioneers had no idea that their creations would one day be controlling everything from central heating to car brakes. These men developed the technology more out of intellectual curiosity than anything else, although they did make a half hearted prediction that every country might have one though some would have to share. Probably the most unrealistic prediction of all time though (aside from Nostrodamus' suggestion the world would end three years ago), was that of David Bowie and the other Glam Rock monkeys. Where's all the glitter, androgyny and platform shoes they thought would dominate today's space age? In the dustbin, along with many other misguided predictions about the future. In fact, if predictions of the future tell us anything, they probably reveal more about the time in which they were made rather than 20 years hence. For example, just look at Star Trek. The original series' mini-skirts, hair dos and US galaxy-dominance were not too dissimilar to the mini-skirts, hair dos and American attempts to win the Cold War that dominated the 1960s. And guess what? That just happens to be the decade in which the series was made. So, as we can see, guessing what might happen in the future is not only difficult, but also risks humiliation, either now or 30 years down the line. Indeed, such is the pace of technological change in today's world that computers experts won't even guess what will happen in six months time, let alone the six or sixty years that will allow you to grab a glimpse of humanity's destiny. Still, with a bit of observation, a look at the way technology has developed and changed in the past and a few educated guesses, it is possible to get an idea, not so much of the exact machines and gadgets that we can look forward to, but more about the wider technological and cultural shifts that might occur. And more importantly, we can postulate on how they might affect us, our children, their children and a good deal of other people's children. So here goes nothing ...

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t first glance it is unlikely that there will be too many major differences between today's world and that of twenty years hence. People are likely to behave the same and technology will be performing a relatively similar role to the one it does now. What will be different however, is that while technology will be doing the same sorts of jobs, it will hopefully be doing them a lot better. For example, twenty years ago we had the Sex Pistols on vinyl. While that still exists today, we now have technologically superior Cds playing the Offspring (although in the case of the actual music this is probably a step backwards). The likelihood then is that there will still be some kind of punk band around in 2019, it' s just that the way you listen to them might be completely different - unless you still hanker after that old fashioned two-dimensional CD sound. it has been suggested that the speaker-less hi-fi is just round the corner, with amplifiers vibrating the

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sound off walls and other objects in order to create a truly surround sound experience. Bear in mind that this must be a particularly big corneF to get around though, since this audio revolution has been talked up for a good few years now.

"Technology could allow students to take part in virtual seminars, drink coffee in a virtual Hive and beg virtual lecturers for virtual extensions" However, one thing that we have already seen happening, and will definitely continue over the next twenty years, is the increasing proliferation of computers. Being quite partial to the odd e-mail here and there, students are probably more aware than most about the improvements in computers. Networks have been constantly get1ing bigger and programs steadily expanding for years now today's student can e-mail someone on the opposite side of the globe and use the interne! to find out information or do things which could once only be done at the shops - like buying books. The net, most commentators agree, is ~till at a fledging stage and for all its claims of expanding knowledge and changing the way we live, pornography is still the thing the interne! is best known for. However, with the increasing amount of commercial interest that major

businesses have shown towards the web and the attempts of several software manufactures and interne! service providers to dominate and expand the arena, it's likely the internet will play an increasingly more important part in people's lives. With faster computers allowing greater access, it's possible that the average student will be using the web to buy their weekly shopping, catch up on the latest news, get hold of their lecture notes, and review all the relevant literature for that essay which was due in two days ago (some things surely never change). it's also likely that in 20 years we'll see improvements in computer hardware to _make our lives easier. Voice recognition software, which has so far posed programmers legions of problems, is currently rather cumbersome and often erratic. However, with a few years to eliminate all the bugs, students by 2019 will undoubtedly be talking to their computers. It'll certainly make for some interesting eavesdropping, especially when "'h.ll~. ..--..-._ they end up

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swearing at the thing for losing half of an 8000 word project. Also, improvements in display technology will not only produce perfect screens just a few centimetres thick and anything from a fingernail to a wall in size, but will make it possible to read from a computer screen without going cross-eyed after ~en minutes. So, while computers will not be replacing the book just yet - after all they've survived the last 50 years, so it's unlikely they'll kick the bucket in the next 20 - improvements in screen readability should encourage publishers and newspapers to make more use of electronic formats, or apublishing and e-books if you want to use the right lingo. Additionally, the presence of hidden computers is also likely to increase. lt is currently claimed that, excluding any actual workstations, there are on average four computer's in every room, occupying everything from microwave ovens to alarm clocks. In 20 years time this figure will rise; smart light switches, smart kettles, smart toasters will all work unnoticed in the future Norfolk Terrace room, enabling residents to enjoy that eternal student delicacy - toast - to a level of perfection that no student has ever enjoyed before. Unsurprisingly, there is a downside to all this technological advancement though. Our increased reliance on computers and electronic information sources might strengthen the hands of the


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companies that own the technology. Media and software barons are likely to occupy positions of even greater power - especially as the barriers between computer companies and media will probably be blurred beyond recognition by then (Microsoft is already buying up.cable and media companies). Will political parties start to compete, not for our votes, but for the favour of Microsoft? Brave New World here we come?

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degree structure, universities might sell their courses to would-be students who in return would get access to the finest minds of the age; universities would become information brokers with students taking pick and mix courses - a bit of a UEA course here, an Oxford course there, oh and an LSE one thrown in just for fun, all by plugging into their computers at home. And by the way, there's

ifty years on from our pre-millennial starting date and we will begin to see the more marked changes that technology will have on people's lives. Moore's Law, which predicts advancement in computer technology, states that computer power doubles every 18 months. Going by this, the computers of 2049 will be over a 1000 times faster tha[l they are today. With something that powerful, it is likely that they will begin to exert a different kind of influence on humankind, changing the way things are done rather then just improving upon the process. lt is likely that the impact of such power will have important considerations for both the way we communicate with each other, as well as the way society functions.

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being built. lt is hoped that this will lead to a DNA computer. But perhaps more scary is the fact that in 50 years time the marriage of computer and biological technology (ie humans) will be with us. Technologies to repair the body are constantly improving at present, with better and better prosthetic limbs. Brainwave interfaces are also being developed, raising the question : if we can use this technology to repair the body, why not use it to improve it? Most people's initial answer would probably 'because it

"With the military applications of biotechnology, such as built-in night vision or increased strength for troops almost certainly going ahead, will the civilian market be far behind?" A major difference that might develop concerns something that most students seem to care about, but very few have - money. No matter what happens with the European single currency or the World Bank, money will change. Coins and notes have already been challenged by credit cards and it is likely that students of 50 years hence will rely solely on their plastic (or whatever material they'll be making bank cards out of). We already see very little of what we earn - or in many cases owe - thanks to direct debit, visa, standing orders and the like, but the chances are that in 50 years we'll see none of it, which does seems a slightly unsatisfying prospect. You'd never have to worry about having the right change though. Something else we all know and love today, but might in fact be completely alien to tomorrow's students is the university campus. At the moment, students journey from the four corners of the globe in order to live on or near a campus, where they're taught and lectured for six months a year. But while many people enjoy this experience, technology in 2049 may well make this migration an extravagant and wasteful process. Growing fibre optic networks, expanding computer power and the improvements in virtual environment technology will mean that the class of '49 might not have even set foot in the same room as their lecturers and fellow students. With communications technology allowing students to take part in virtual seminars, drink coffee in a virtual Hive and beg virtual lecturers for virtual extensions, distance learning could become a viable reality. And it won't just be for the descendants of today's dedicated Open University television programme watchers (and videotapers, thanks to its three in the morning slot) . lt could well become the norm; after all residences and building maintenance could be seen as a burdensome distraction for universities, whose main purpose is teaching. Not only might you not need to be on campus, but future technology may mean that you won't have to take all your units at the same institution. With a country, or even worldwide common

hanging onto your current computer box of tricks, because it's all likely to change quite drastically by 2049. The silicon in today's machines is limited to a 20 year life span, and those in the know are suggesting that we'll need an alternative material by 2049 - one that will be able to cope with the increased complexity and pressure of tomorrow's terminals. With computer chips etched onto the side of an atom allowing something the size of a calculator to possess more functions then the fastest computer today could dream of, computers will probably rely on a completely new form of data transfer. A prototype light computer already exists, while more interestingly, an adding machine which relies on enzymes has also

biotechnology, such as built-in night vision or increased strength for troops almost certainly going ahead, will the civilian market be far behind? The 2049 genetically modified, computer enhanced student may have enhanced hand/eye coordination, increased strength and dashing good looks. All very nice for him or her you might think, but if designer babies take off in the way any of the trends of the last 30 years have, then the chances are they'll all look identical anyway. And where's the fun in that?

2099 hings start getting a little vague predictions-wise when the magical one hundred year mark moves into anyone's sights. Without the discipline of really knowing what you're talking about you end up just taking flights of fancy. But one man confident and knowledgeable enough to speak

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about the end of the next century is Professor Peter Cochrane, head of British Telecom's development labs. Professor Cochrane is a futurologist who, although he is also making guesses, is close enough to the coal face to have a realistic stab at 2099. Life in a 100 years time is apparently going to get quite hectic, so much so that even the most socialite of Hive bunnies will need to pause for breath. According to Professor Cochrane, "You will meet more people in a week then you would have normally met in a whole life-time. You will know more, have access to more and a life that is much more immediate. You will be able to do more in a year than other people would have been able to do in a lifetime." However, coping with all this activity won't be a problem for 21st century boys and girls- in fact life might even be more relaxed . Research into artificial intelligence will, Professor Cochrane is certain, lead to an electronic lifeform that will take care of all sorts of time-consuming tasks, allowing tomorrow's citizen more free hours to actually get on with life. But these electronic household lifeforms might just be the unsophisticated side of some of tomorrow's developments. With the advent of intelligent computers (rather than just the 'dumb' boxes we have at present) the way we treat computers will change. Computers will develop some sort of 'human' rights which will mean that, according to Cochrane, "You will have as much right to pull the plug on the power supply to a computer as you 'd have to shoot a deer." Additionally, Professor Cochrane thinks that it is a "racing certainty" that our own grey matter will also be getting a leg up from memory chips implanted in people's brains. Clearly, life is going to be quite different in 2099, and the education students receive in order. to function well within it could also be almost unrecognisable from today's system . School children have always suspected that their teachers aren't quite human and the chances are that in 2099 they won't be. "I think that we will learn more from machines than people, that will be the biggest break through," explains Professor Cochrane. "For most of the difficult subjects we deal with, our rate of understanding is down to the limited artistry and vocabulary of human beings teaching us. In actual fact , with multimedia you can do a better job." Anyone who has ever complained their seminars are too big will also be in for a treat. "There will actually be a regression back to an Aristotlian type of school, where there will be a single student and a teacher. The biggest partnership will be between the student and the machine." And while personalised education might erode all hope of getting essay extensions, pulling a sicky will definitely be out of the question by this time. People will be generally healthier, and some diseases, like cancer, will be a thing of the past. However, our predictions of a clean bill of health for 2099's population could be spoiled by the sideeffects of any genetic engineering that takes place between now and then. "I have a sneaking suspicion that by modifying one part of the genetic string to change a human being will actually impact somewhere," warns Professor Cochrane. "lt could be something as simple as a parent saying I would like all my children to be blue eyed and blonde, and yes, that happens, but you then find that they are deficient in some other way either mentally or physically." But this is just one view of the future , and many would dispute some of Professor Cochrane predictions. Right or wrong, they certainly raise some very interesting questions about where humanity's going, how it'ss going to get there and what the fallout will be. Just don't bank on being around to see it! With thanks to the School of Information Systems Cartoons by Rachel Hunt


8 Centenary Pullout

Concrete inspects the celebrity archives and extracts some choice cuts from past interviews ... In May 1997, Howard Marks , the world 's most famous cannabis smuggler, stood for election to Parliament in Norwich North on the single issue of the legalisation of cannabis . Marks , famous for his cunning disguises (such as droopy moustaches') . spoke to Concrete for an issue published on Wednesday, February 19, 1992. Marks on vegetables: I would like to see marijuana treated the same way as cabbage. lt costs virtually nothing , there are no mega-companies moving it around and it's quite simple to get. As a result of the law, the trade is being dealt with by criminals, which is a problem. Marijuana is actually very cheap and there is no need for kids to be giving all their money to crooks. Marks on how the legalisation of cannabis is more important than practically anything else: My platform represents a wide range of feeling. If someone votes for me , it could be because they're paying too much for their dope or because they're fed up with kids dying from poison. By making an impact in a marginal constituency such as Norwich North , I hope to frighten the Labour Party into adopting legalisation. I suppose I would [vote for an extreme right wing party if they legalised cannabis) but I'd be making a huge sacrifice by doing so. I would hate to see an extreme right wing party in power, but my reasoning is that it would wake people up to the legalisation issue. Marks on the morality of smuggling and his shady fellow smugglers: lt never bothered me. In a way, I was exposing the ridiculousness of the whole thing . To begin with there were more people [smugglers]like me. But as time went on , violence began to come into the equation and I wasn 't very comfortable with that. Still, there remained enough people who I could happily operate with .

JAMIE THEAKSTON Child star, John Holmes, who played Luke 'Gonch' Garndener in Grange Hill, attended UEA between 1991 and 1995. In his final year, John was Union Finance Officer and spoke to Concrete about his time on the kids school soap. The interview was published on November 29, 1995. Gonch on fame at UEA:

You can react two ways to the fame ; you can either be really arsey yourself if people are talking about you behind your back or shouting nasty comments across the room at you , but I've always thought it was bit of a waste of energy to get affected by it really because you can 't stop people doing it. By far the most common way that people express any kind of acknowledgement of who I am is basically by talking about you behind your back, rather than coming up to you and saying , "You're in Grange Hill, how about it?" I'm sure there are lots of people here at UEA who know I'm in Grange Hill who talk about me with their friends who wouldn't come up to me and say anything .

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Television presenter and sex symbol, Jamie Theakston , came to UEA in February 1997 to report on the NME Brat Bus tour for The O-Zone. Concrete caught up with him in this interview. Jamie on Madonna: Interviewing Madonna was funny because normally when you interview people you try and talk to them beforehand and try and find out if they're cool. But you don't get the chance to do that with Madonna because she always has about five million people around her and you are given maybe 25 seconds to ask all the questions . You don't get the chance to get any sort of rapport going . I tried to crack a few gags with her beforehand but she had absolutely no idea what I was going on about. She was like "Who is this idiot boy!" You ask her things and she's friendly enough but that's it. There's no mucking about with it.

Gonch on Grange Hill and the money: I suppose you think, this is a top ch ildren's TV programme, a job for five years, a bit of money, working with people you like, time off school and so on. All those things were attractive about it. The money wasn't particularly good in the first two years , but once you reach sixteen and start getting adult money, for someone who was still living at home , it seems quite good.

There was never anything going on between us. I think the whole thing was mainly to do with when we first started doing the show together and it was just an easy angle for people to get hold of. Anyway, Zoe has always been taken and had lots of boyfriends. I guess I'm more like her brother really. She's always got something major going on her life, every minute of the day. Zoe's like a bundle of nerve endings. She's brilliant and mad at the same time, I think.

Gonch on Dani Behr: Dani Behr fancied me. When I was in fourth or fifth year, she was an extra on the programme for a year and she would have been 13 when I was 18. She looked up to me you see; I was always the father figure because I was the eldest of all the people in it.

ust id. And we 've never had any complaints about it either, until this week! A band called E-Male were on a few weeks ago and they rang up to complain about the way we treated them. No one had ever moaned that we had been rude about a band before, because it's all part of the fun. We're always quite ca reful because there's a way you can do that sort of thing where you 're just unpleasant and offensive which isn't going to work. You end up with a piece which is just crap . And there's a way you can do it when you make them feel as though they're a part of fun themselves. So we don't say you 're crap and you can't sing ....unless you 're E-Male!

On May 1, 1996, Tony Blair was knocking on the door of Number 10 Downing Street, and his party was assuming the air of a government in waiting. With unintentional foresight, Concrete published an interview with the Labour Party's leader exactly one year before his election as PM . After two years of Labour government, take a look at the promises he made and whether he kept them.

Let me make one thing clear: the Student Loan Scheme has been an absolute disaster. Some students are starting their lives in debt in circumstances where that is a considerable disincen tive to go through the system. My bottom line is that our guiding principle must be the fact that nobody should be disqualified from getting into university on the basis of the means of their parents. Tony on the welfare state (before means tested disability allowance was passed in the Commons): We need to provide some sense of social cohesion. A welfare state which is actually going to deliver opportunity to people. A National Health Service that is back run as a proper health service for the country, not fragmented , privatised , commercialised and broken up. A country in which our education and public services are really services, not just for a small number of people , but for the nation as a whole.

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Concrete centenary pullout 100 26 05 1999