Issue 262 | Tuesday 6 December 2011 | Fortnightly | Free
UEA’s Independent Student Newspaper concrete-online.co.uk
“Expect to hear a lot more from us”
Music School closure agreed TRAVEL Page 10
Visit Edinburgh this Christmas FEATURES Page 13
>> School of Music closure was agreed following a brief meeting of University Council >> People associated with the campaign attempted the force the hand of the Vice Chancellor by occupying the Registry for 11 hours, but their actions were to no avail >> The campaign refuses to be silenced and has pledged to consult higher bodies to support its position Chris King Editor The Save UEA Music campaign has promised there will be more to come as it looks to fight the agreed closure of the School of Music. Bill Vine, a leading figure in the campaign, promised that there would be more official rallies and large-scale protests, after a meeting of the University Council on 28 November rejected
the Royal Musicians’ Association (RMA) offer to send in four experts to assess the School’s viability. However, the struggle between those opposed to the closure of the School, and the University, which took on an insurgent nature in the form of the Registry occupation and poster campaign, also looks set to rage on in awkward tandem with the official campaign. Vine, interviewed by Concrete immediately after the closure was announced to have been agreed,
said: “They have a PR nightmare on their hands already, it’s going to get worse from them now.” Vine emphasised the peaceful nature of the campaign, and stressed that this would continue, but the conflict between the campaign organisers and associated sympathisers was particularly evident during the 29 November occupation. Despite an agreement to “do something” having been reached at an official Save UEA
Music meeting, coordinators of the campaign were “shocked” at the occupation, having initially planned a sit down protest outside the Registry. With the Union of UEA Students having aligned itself with the campaign’s objectives, it remains to be seen how this support will manifest itself in the future, particularly in the event of further insurgency. For details on the poster campaign and occupation, go to page 3.
Joey Essex interview LIFESTYLE Page 16
Clive’s Christmas tips
www.concrete-online.co.uk Tuesday 6th December 2011 - Issue 262
The fortnight’s news in brief Address Concrete Newspaper Union House UEA NR4 7TJ Email firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Contact 01603 593 466 Concrete is published by UUEAS Concrete Society ©2011 Concrete BMc. ISSN 1351-2773 Letters should be addressed for the attention of the Editor, Chris King. Letters must include contact details, but we will consider anonymous publication. We reserve the right to edit for length and clarity as necessary. 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, Chris King. Printed by Archant.
City on strike
Following the decision to shut the School of Music, the registry was occupied by protesters from the Save UEA Music campaign.
UEA has responded to a release of further emails connected to 2009’s Climategate scandal, which has alterted the national media.
As part of the national movement against government cuts, public sector workers marched through Norwich.
James Dixon reports, p3
Beth Wyatt reports, p3
Richard Joslin reports, p4
103 cafe shut Fancy a pint? Short back and thighs 103, the Unthank haunt which enjoyed popularity among the student population, has been closed. As reported on local news website South Norwich News, the cafe/deli, whilst successful, had suffered losses and was threatened by liquidation. For those who are missing “the poshest cheesy chips in Norwich,” it is hoped that it will be able to repon soon, with a number of buyers already interested in the cafe.
Since the beginning of November the Union bar has been exclusively selling Woodforde’s “Union Ale.” It bears a “bitter tang” and has citrus tones. James Dixon
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A Norwich nightclub is making plans to open a day-time barbers where the hairdressers will be naked from the waist up. Qube, a nightclub on the Prince of Wales Road, is looking to expand business with their topless barber idea. However, the proposal is contentious, with a Facebook group, entitled “Against Topless Barbers in Norwich,” already having been set up.
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NEWS A word from the editor We’ve finally entered December, and Christmas has at last arrived. Although for slaves to consumer capitalism and the power of advertising, the proliferation of high-street shop displays and sparkly television adverts, it’s been Christmas since midOctober. My grinch-like attitude towards this aside, I am both proud and a little saddened that we’ve already hit Issue six, and got through the first semester (relatively) unscathed. From the awful office music to the insanity of production Mondays, it’s been a blast so far. Concrete has come far this term, but the only way we can truly improve is for you to tell us what you want to read. We’ve got some great features coming up next term, including (fingers crossed), the ever-popular sex and drug surveys, so don’t forget us while you gorge and laze about over the festive period, because we will return on 17 January 2012. Chris King
d e i p u c c o
www.concrete-online.co.uk Tuesday 6th December 2011 - Issue 262
Silence before the storm
14:00 Members of the Save UEA Music campaign enter the Registry and begin an occupation.
16:00 More protestors storm the Registry and are caught in a scuffle with security. The Registry door key is snapped in the lock. Ga Chun Yau
16:15 Further security staff arrive at the Registry and are joined by Police Officers who position themselves inside and outside the building.
17:00 The first occupier leaves citing a need to use the toilet, as the occupiers are not allowed to use the Registry toilets.
19:00 Sandwiches, biscuits and chocolate bars are handed through the windows of the Registry to the remaining occupiers.
00:01 Occupiers voluntarily leave the Registry to applause from students and members of the Save UEA Music campaign.
James Dixon News Editor The Save UEA Music campaign was dealt a devestating blow last Monday (28 November) when the University Council agreed to the future closure of the School of Music. Upon hearing of the decision, members of the Save UEA Music campaign diversified their tactics by moving away from large scale protests to tactics based around more direct action. On 29 November, a day after the closure was announced, members of Save UEA Music entered the Registry at 14.00 commencing an occupation in the reception area. The occupiers were allowed entry to the Registry reception without challenge where they displayed a banner made of A4 pieces of paper which read: “Save UEA Music.” At around 16.00, protestors outside sought to capitalise on a woman exiting the Registry by attempting to enter as she left. This resulted in a minor scuffle with security as they tried to prevent the protestors’ entrance. During the disturbance, the Registry door key was accidentally snapped in the lock. A contingent of Norwich Constabulary officers were called to the scene following the skirmish where they stationed
themselves alongside campus security staff. The occupiers were supplied with water but were not allowed to use the Registry toilets causing the first occupier to leave the Registry due to the need to relieve himself. Union of UEA Student Officers provided food for the occupiers by passing sandwiches, biscuits and chocolate bars through the Registry windows. The occupation ended peacefully at 12.01 when the occupiers emerged from the Registry to a small contingent of clapping and cheering students. Save UEA Music issued a statement, following their emmergence , which stated that ‘“The University knows our campaign is not over” and that “we will continue our fight.” The following day, 30 November, on which national strikes and also an open day for UEA, a small insurgent group of Save UEA Music campaign took to distributing posters around campus. These carried a message which aimed to dissaude open day attendees from applying to the University. One poster read: “Come to UEA? And face your course being cut with no warning.” Another stated: “Welcome to UEA - a Uni that closes schools without consulting students.” The poster campaign
has proved contentious and split opinion. An anonymous reader on Concrete’s website commented: “So very small minority of students trying to give UEA a bad name? Pathetic.” When questioned about the posters, campaign leader, Bill Vine said: “Our official stance is that we are not commenting on it.” He later added “We don’t condemn these stunts though. This kind of thing will keep happening.” The Union have officially supported the Save UEA Music campaign thus far, and Union Communications Officer, Matthew Myles, voiced his opinion on the posters stating: “In terms of deterring students from coming here; if students are upset about this it is because it is based in fact. It’s a justified move.” Concrete spoke to Pro ViceChancellor, Tom Ward, who voiced his concerns and the university’s, about the posters: “It would be reasonable to ask the designer of the posters: ‘What does success look like?’ Because success with this campaign is capable of closing other schools.” Ward expressed his displeasure at the current landscape for higher education. He insinuated the university’s hand was forced and said: “Im as frustrated as anyone that we can’t control more of our destiny but we can’t.”
Background: the White Paper The White Paper is a document which outlines government proposals on higher education. Since the University chose to raise tuition fees to £9,000 a year from 2012, they are subject to restrictions from HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England) regarding the recruitment of students. The White Paper requires that the University must recruit a certain amount of AAB students. The School of Music has currently around 18% students entering with an AAB grade tariff. There are also research requirements that the School has suffered under due to being a small, specialist school. The new system is meant to inject dynamism to Higher Education, but has left many, including our Pro Vice-Chancellor Tom Ward, confused as to exactly what the white paper means for universities in the long term. Talking to Concrete, he said: “I don’t know what dynamism is. But I don’t think its stability.”
www.concrete-online.co.uk Tuesday 6th December 2011 - Issue 262
Vodka standards drop The Food Standards Agency is cautioning consumers against an illegal brand of vodka, which has been found in shops in Norwich and other UK cities. Drop Vodka, which contains 28.6% alcohol content as opposed to the 37.5% minimum legal threshold for vodka, is not registered by any British company, and has been shown to contain such harmful chemicals as methanol and Propan-2-ol.
Though only previously found in small independent retailers such as petrol stations and corner shops, there are fears that clubs and pubs may also have been targeted. Anyone encountering the retailing of Drop Vodka is advised to contact the Food Standards Agency Food Fraud Hotline on 020 7276 8527 or their local authority. Riccardo Monni Greg Mann
Strike action hits Norwich Richard Joslin News Reporter A public sector strike and rally in central Norwich surprised many shoppers last Wednesday lunchtime, while many public sector workers picketed their workplaces. Joining tens of thousands of people around the UK, over two thousand people took part in a political march and rally protesting against government policy, such as the plans to cut pensions and enact cuts to public services. With many different unions and demographics taking part around the UK, the TUC described Wednesday’s strike as “the biggest strike in a generation” contrasting Prime Minister David Cameron’s comments that it was a “damp squib”. The Public and Commercial Services
(PCS) union’s regional vice chair, Julie Bremner, described it as a “fantastic turnout”. Passing a few cheering picket lines along the way, the Norwich strike march started down Ipswich Road at around 11:40AM before proceeding into the heart of the city, marching down St Stephens Street, into Norwich Market, and holding a rally on the steps of the Norwich City Council building. Armed with protest signs such as, “2 year pay freeze – what a joke” and “Danny Alexander is a rodent,” the protestors were met by a variety of reactions. Many children who were off school for the day appeared bemused, while many adults cheered as the procession went by. However, the reaction was not all positive, particularly amongst the elderly, with one man bitterly shouting that they had “let the entire
country down”. Once everyone had arrived outside Norwich City Council’s building, the rally began. There were a variety of speakers, including a national executive of UNISON, a NUT representative, UEA’s Jack Brinded, and the organiser of the march, Julie Bremner. Borrowing from the worldwide occupy movement’s lexicon, Bremner stated that “we are the 99.99%” and in reference to George Osborne, Bremner defiantly boasted that “he wants us to pay, but we won’t pay”. The speeches gave the message that this was just the beginning of a protracted fight between the government and public sector workers, students. Former Labour Party Norwich MP Ian Gibson, told Concrete that the march was “one of the best marches ever,” and that they “can build on this.”
Queen’s prize awarded to Creative Writing Daniel Pirozzolo News Reporter UEA’s creative writing course has won one of the most prestigious education awards, which will be presented by the Queen herself. The news that the course had won the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education was announced on 24 November, at a reception in St. James’ Palace. Her Majesty the Queen will be presenting the award at Buckingham Palace this February. UEA vice-chancellor Edward Acton said: “I am absolutely delighted that UEA has come to be renowned nationally and internationally as a centre of excellence in this now thriving academic discipline. I believe we are still seen as a benchmark for others.” The course, when founded 1970/71, was the first of its kind in the country and is now widely regarded as the best in Britain. Now, four decades later, its alumni include Booker Prize winners Ian McEwan, Kazuo Ishiguro, and Anne Enright amongst many other successful writers. The programme has courses at undergraduate, postgraduate
and research level. The creative writing MA is widely regarded as the best in Britain and competition for places is notoriously tough. Prof David Peters Corbett, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, said: “Over the last 40 years, the programme has been host to a distinguished series of tutors and to a striking number of future successful authors who have come to UEA to study with them. “Creative Writing is a jewel in the university’s crown and this award is a wonderful acknowledgement of an intellectually dynamic feature of humanities at UEA.” The UEA’s director of creative writing, Andrew Cowan, said: “This is a tremendous accolade because it not only recognises UEA’s groundbreaking role in establishing creative writing as an academic discipline in the UK, and the unrivalled success of our alumni in achieving publication and major literary awards, but it also recognises the continuing excellence of what we do. “This is a very exciting time in the development of our programme, with many initiatives under way, and this award is hugely encouraging as we continue to innovate and expand.”
Taking the fight to the streets News editor Susanna Wood reports from the TUC rally on London’s Embankment, and reflects on the country-wide strike action Grey weather in London on Wednesday failed to dampen the electric atmosphere as over 50,000 strikers descended on the TUC rally. People from all walks of life gathered to make their feelings felt about the public sector pension cuts. Young and old, “we’re all in this together” was the phrase of the day in a piquant reversal of David Cameron’s catchphrase. The PM was under fire throughout the speeches, made by members of the 30 different Unions represented at the rally. the UCU’s Mark Campbell delivered a wellreceived speech, in which he estimated that 125,000 university lecturers were on strike. Talking passionately to the crowd, he talked of
the need for persistence in the fight for Higher Education, saying: “We will be out again in our millions until we win. We will not compromise.” Another popular speaker at the rally was the former London mayor, Ken Livingstone. He emphasised how private sector workers should also have fair pensions, and asked why MPs could cut public sector pensions when their own are in the region of £40,000 a year. David Cameron may have referred to the day as a “damp squib,” but the only really bleak moment of the day came from Livingstone, who pointed out a sobering statistic: suicides on the London Underground have doubled since the banking crisis.
www.concrete-online.co.uk Tuesday 6th December 2011 - Issue 262
CRU unfazed by “Climategate II” Plans unveiled to combat Beth Wyatt News Reporter Fresh email leaks have threatened to resurrect the scandal dubbed “Climategate.” On Tuesday 22 November, a folder was posted onto four blogs popular with sceptics of climate change containing 5,000 emails intended to discredit UEA’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU). As with the original release of emails in 2009, which were timed just before world leaders were due to meet in Copenhagen, these emails were released close to a climate change summit for optimum impact. This year’s meeting began in Durban, South Africa, on 28 November. Global warming critic Andrew Montford responded by saying: “What climate scientists
are saying in private is very different from what they are saying in public.” However, research director of the CRU, Professor Phil Jones, launched a staunch defence of his and his team’s work, describing the quotes as “cherry picked.” Statements which could be potentially damaging, such as “we’re choosing the periods to show the warming,” and the “basic problem is that all models were wrong,” were among those Jones attempted to contextualise. Regarding the first quote, Jones said: “The full email exchange reveals that we were choosing colours for a chart covering periods that showed warming.” The university also released a statement, on 22 November. It said: “These emails have the appearance of having been held back after the theft of data and
emails in 2009. “This appears to be a carefully-timed attempt to reignite controversy over the science behind climate change.” The impact of what the media has hesitantly dubbed ‘Climategate II’ appears to be slight, with key climate change experts backing Professor Jones and his colleagues. In addition, the emails seem less incriminating than the original Climategate documents. The 2009 scandal centred on correspondence which some argued suggested that the scientists had been deleting and manipulating data. As the university has reaffirmed, three investigations cleared the scientists of any serious wrongdoing. However, the Muir Russell review did question the seemingly secretive manner of the unit.
graduate unemployment Philip Thomas News Reporter Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg revealed last month a £1 billion scheme to tackle the crisis of rising youth unemployment. The new proposals promise to help the growing number of young people labelled ‘NEETs’ (those aged 16 to 24, not in education, employment or training), and in September statistics indicated their numbers had risen to over 1.02 million across the UK, provoking a renewed pressure on the government for a viable solution. University and college graduates are among those worst affected by youth unemployment, prompting the government to unveil its youth contract scheme. Beginning next April the scheme pledges wage incentives for employers amounting to the subsidy of 410,000 work and training placements, with additional support for work experience and apprenticeship programmes for the most disadvantaged. The government is keen to
encourage the private sector to employ young people in areas such as retail, construction and the green economy. Nevertheless, the contractual emphasis of the scheme means those withdrawing from a work placement could be penalised with the potential forfeit of unemployment benefits. On the issue of the youth contract, Nick Clegg told the BBC: “It provides hope to the many, many young people who, at the moment, are feeling, very anxious and uncertain about their future.” Praised by some business leaders, his announcement was questioned by the Labour party. In asking how the coalition government would fund the new scheme, they highlighted its similarities to their own future jobs fund. The Trade Unions Conference echoed this scepticism warning that young people could be exploited by the work experience initiatives. Concrete asked one student graduating from UEA next year what they thought about the scheme: “I think it’s a good idea and with increasing tuition fees could be a better alternative to starting university after school.”
A little taste of Italy Frances Mckeown News Reporter Laura Smith
Night reclaimed by UEA few Ingrid Kornstad News Reporter This year, for the first time ever, the Union paid for a coach for those students at UEA who wished to go to Reclaim the Night, a yearly march where hundreds of women take to the streets of London to take a stand against violence against women and cuts in benefits. Unfortunately, not many people made use of this opportunity. out of the 24 seats the Union had booked, only seven were filled. The London Feminist Network, who arranged the
march, is a women-only group, and created some contrversy by excluding men from the march. Of the UEA representatives, two were male and therefore had to follow the march from the sidelines. However, after the march, both women and men gathered in Camden Centre for a rally, eating delicious Caribbean food and listening to the speakers, before the evening ended with music and the opportunity to make use of the bar provided. Among the speakers was Selay Ghaffar, Executive Director of Humanitarian Assistance for the Women and Children of Afghanistan, stopping by during
her one week in the UK to speak about her organisation’s work and to express their support for Reclaim the Night. She was rivalled in applause by Femi Otitoju from Million Women Rise, who welcomed attendees to “the feminist revival” and stated her number one demand from politicians: a long-term strategy to end violence against women. Judging by the audience’s reaction, she was not alone in wanting this. However, the spirit of the movement was perhaps summed up best by NASUWT’s representative at the rally when she stated, to cheers from the crowd: “No, Mr Cameron. We will not calm down!”
A brand new “Jamie’s Italian” restaurant is set to open in Norwich’s Royal Arcade after the recent closure of the Waterstones bookshop situated there. The chain, owned by the celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver, is quickly expanding nationally with restaurants already established in Birmingham and Brighton. It is set to open by the summer with planning permission having been granted recently, and will create up to 120 jobs. The company has established a good reputation for investing in staff development, providing good working conditions and creating opportunities for young people. The council also reports that this opening will add significant value to the local economy and to Norwich. The opening will bring the second floor of the building back into use as a staff area, with
the dining area situated on the ground and first floor. There will be seating created outside the restaurant, as well as customer access to the balcony above the former ballroom, and a new bar area on the ground floor.
www.concrete-online.co.uk Tuesday 6th December 2011 - Issue 262
world News from around the world, brought to you by Concrete’s Catherine Hardy Germany
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for treaty changes at the next EU summit in order to create a “fiscal union” across the Eurozone, as part of an effort to solve the European debt crisis. This announcement has added fuel to accusations that Germany is trying to “dominate” Europe.
NATO commanders are planning an offensive in eastern Afghanistan, aimed at quelling insurgent groups based in Pakistan. This will involve an increase in aerial attacks on insurgent bases with the possibility of cross-border raids. The Pakistani military have been told that if they cannot eliminate the bases the US forces will step in.
Amnesty International and Free Tibet have warned Scotland’s first minister Alex Salmond to not let China’s gift of two pandas to Edinburgh zoo distract them from demanding better civil rights in the country. The pandas are on a ten-year loan and are the first pandas to live in Britain for nearly 20 years.
Jewish women in Britain and the US are being asked to send photographs of themselves holding signs saying “women should be seen and heard,” in a campaign against efforts by orthodox factions to remove female images from advertising billboards in Jerusalem. The New Israel Fund will then compile the photographs into posters to display.
The Gulnare Free Will Baptist Church in Kentucky has voted to ban interracial couples from joining its congregation, stating that they do ‘not condone interracial marriage’. The controversial resolution says anyone is welcome to attend services, but interracial couples cannot become members or be “used in worship services or other church functions.”
Concrete world focus: British Embassy in Iran stormed Phillip Thomas News Reporter Diplomatic relations between the UK and Iran faltered last week when staff were dismissed from the Iranian embassy in London, following the occupation of British diplomatic missions in Tehran by hordes of protesters. Foreign secretary William Hague ordered their expulsion and set the deadline for their departure by Friday, announcing to MPs: “If any country makes it impossible for us to operate on their soil, they cannot expect
to have a functioning embassy here.” Last month hundreds of protesters with the alleged backing of Iranian president Mahmood Ahmadinedjad stormed the UK embassy in the Iranian capital during an anti-Britain protest. Contrary to official explanations and apologies issued by the Iranian administration, the UK Foreign Office believes the regime-backed Basij militia group instigated the attacks and broke into the highsecurity compounds, ransacking offices and setting buildings alight. Embassy staff had been
evacuated beforehand. The foreign ministries of Germany, France, Norway and the Netherlands have taken measures to consult the security of their diplomatic missions. The recent animosity directed at Britain by Iran has arisen from recent trade sanctions imposed by EU and UN members, responding to concerns about Iran’s nuclear enrichment programme. The UN Nuclear Watchdog stated that Iran had performed tests “relevant to the development of a nuclear device,” however, Iranian officials deny these allegations, stating that the
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nuclear programme is peaceful. Meanwhile recent events have caused concerns for Iranians living in the UK, some of whom expressed their dismay at the embassy occupation and are worried about current affairs in Iranian politics. Deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg spoke resolutely, promising that diplomatic links with Iran would not be entirely severed, nor will the attacks lesson the international community’s “determination to try to find a diplomatic solution to the nuclear question”, whilst the Iranian foreign ministry described the
expulsion of embassy staff as “hasty.”
YouTubed News This fortnight’s featured video is a viral window into the upsetting world of intolerance. The online hit depicts a white woman racially abusing other passengers on a tram in central London whilst cradling a young child on her lap. The woman has since been arrested after being identified in the video. The video was uploaded on 27 November and has had over 10m views in its short lifetime. You can brave the vitriol and watch it yourself by searching for “My Tram Experience.”
2011: a reflection As the year comes to an end, Comment editor Joshua Resoun looks back on all that has taken place This year we’ve seen a deepening of the financial crisis, prolonged protests, the driest summer and soon to be the driest winter on record. The Middle East has been racked by a series of popular uprisings, a movement against the capitalist system has sprouted all over the developed world, and to top it all off, the long-awaited Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was finally released. So that last one is probably of least significance, but the diversity of events which took place in 2011 is mind boggling. Looking back though, you can identify one trend above all overs, and that is the spread of liberal democracy. Francis Fukuyama identified that liberal democracy was the “end of mankind’s ideological evolution”, and eventually, if enough time passes, all nations will come under its sway. After this year, it would seem that Fukuyama’s prediction is steadily coming true. The Arab Spring has resulted in free political elections – as surprising as it is, those in Tunisia and Egypt haven’t seen any major scandals – for the first time in generations. Even as I write this, the citizenries of countries such as Syria are still fighting for political freedom in the form of liberal democracy. It is not because liberal democracy is the best system of government out there, rather, as Winston Churchill remarked, “democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.” It is because, compared to authoritarian systems, liberal democracy offers the space for peaceful change, and through electing a different political party, you can change the way the country is run. Of course, it isn’t faultless, and a fairly big one has been highlighted by the Occupy movement. Liberal democracy is, by nature, focused on the
free market, and as such it is in the state’s best interest to keep business happy, unfortunately, this does tend to result in a degree of inequality of wealth. However, the election process can change this by putting peaceful pressure on governments to make amendments to the system that bring greater benefits to all, and liberal democracy is unique in that the people do hold the power. I’m sure many of you are shaking your head at this point, thinking to yourself, “but governments don’t listen to the people,” and that is true to an extent, but the election process is not to blame. Rather we should be blaming the continuous eruption of social discourse which reinforces the status quo. Without drawing this out any further, I would just like to finish by saying that liberal democracy has spread quite exponentially throughout 2011, and I hope this it continues. Moving from one depressing point to another, the continuation of the financial crisis is beginning to sound like the Never Ending Story, just without the cuddly looking dragon and giant turtle (or is it a tortoise? I really have no idea, I’ve never watched it). I’m not going to attempt to make a suggestion as to how we solve it. I’m not an economist, and I’m sure better people than me are trying to fix it. What I would like to say though is that the financial markets are, at least in part, based on confidence. We’ve heard how “market confidence has waned in recent months” from every reputable news source out there (and by reputable, I’m not including the tabloid presses), so surely it can only sound reasonable that we all stop saying how bad things are, and just say: “things are ok.” Yes, we’re not as well-off as we were five years ago, but we’re still miles better off than those living in Somalia, China, and
even Romania. By continuously saying everything is crap, we’re just pushing market confidence down even more, and therefore making things even worse for ourselves. It’s just a thought anyway; I’m sure those doing “real degrees” will be able to correct me if I’m wrong. The world has, in part, gone down the drain a bit over the last twelve months, but I like to think I’m a “glass half-full” kind of guy, and for me, 2011 has been a great year. Obviously, as you may have guessed from the start of this reflection piece, I was slightly too excited for the release of Skyrim, which, despite the numerous bugs present in it, is a fantastic game. Perhaps my summer is of note though, having spent several weeks working in a summer camp (I maintain that Camp Wah-Nee is the best camp out there) but I also received the opportunity to be an editor for Concrete, which has been, despite the music taste of my fellow editors, a great experience. It is here then that I would like to say a massive thank you to all of my writers, without them I would have a pretty dull section come release date. I would also like to say a thank you to all of Concrete’s readers, we write for you, we put in a huge amount of effort, energy, and enthusiasm to make this paper, and it is all for you, the reader. All I would suggest is that you look back over 2011, and make a list for yourself about all the good that has happened this year. I know it’s hard to do, what with budget cuts, rioting, protests, closures, job losses… Ok, so the list of the bad is quite long, but there is some good out there, honestly. Finally, without sounding overtly sappy, I wish you a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.
www.concrete-online.co.uk Tuesday 6th December 2011 - Issue 262
Feminism can look good Deputy editor Hannah Britt offers a rebuttal to the claim that women only dress up to attract men
On the Daily Mail website this week, there was an article asking why young women dress like skanks on a night out. Consider this a rebuttal. The aforementioned article argued the only reason why we girls suck ourselves in and push ourselves up when we head out on the town is to attract men. I disagree. Apparently, girls dress like skanks all in the name of “confidence”. Confidence... May I ask what is wrong with that? Surely we should encourage confidence in our fellow females, not belittle them? If we want to wear hot pants in December because they make our legs look fabulous then, dammit, we will. If it takes a bottle of fake tan and a short skirt for someone to feel good about themselves, do we really have any right to judge them for that? Would we rather they sat in their rooms in old trackie bottoms and baggy jumpers, miserable and too selfconscious to go out? I sincerely hope not. If someone wears Lycra, it does not automatically make them cheap. Perhaps they find it to be an affordable alternative to satin. Perhaps they just haven’t read Vogue in a while. Clothes do not a person make. If a girl wears a tight dress it does not signal that she is about to give a blow job to a boy she’s just met in a corner of the LCR (well, probably not anyway…), she’s going out to dance to Beyoncé
with her friends. The other day, I was laughed at by my housemates for going for a run wearing a bin bag. “What are you wearing?!” they asked. “Quite clearly, a bin bag,” I replied. Now, I obviously didn’t don said bin bag for anyone else’s gratification. I wore it because I’d remembered hearing somewhere that it makes you sweat more when you exercise and thus lose more weight. My bin bag is another girl’s boob tube. What I am saying is, if we girls want to dress like ‘sluts’ (your misinterpretation, not ours), it certainly doesn’t mean we are sluts. Don’t judge us. We may, correctly, draw the line at girls donning crotch-less pants and nipple tassels on a night out. There is a time and a place for that, and Lola Lo’s is probably not it. However, if I don’t wish to cover up, does that make me less of a feminist? Or more? My feminist mother burnt her bra, and proudly bounced her way through the unenlightened 70s and 80s as she clawed her way up the corporate ladder ; no-one who met her then would have dared to think she was doing it because she was a “skank.” It was a visible sign of the freedom she was fighting for. So let us not judge. We should embrace freedom of expression. It was hard won, and the battle is not over yet...
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www.concrete-online.co.uk Tuesday 6th December 2011 - Issue 262
You won’t feel a thing, it’s just a little prick With Andrew Lansley introducing yet more changes to the National Health Service, Ciara Jack doubts the future sanity of NHS patients Did George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four or the film V For Vendetta ever make you ponder the ominous notion of a police state? Well that was the nightmare that Andrew Lansley decided to inject into the NHS recently. In order to gain access to different channels on hospital televisions, patients must pay, otherwise facing continuous rolling footage of Lansley talking. In said video, he reminds patients that their care “really matters to me,” although
apparently not their sanity. Surely this is just rubbing the salt into the wounds of ailing patients. If anyone is capable of making one splash vegetableflecked bile into a tin bowl it’s Lansley himself. At least the mobile patients will be capable of getting up and turning it off. Some are bound to be less fortunate. Perhaps someone in full plaster-cast with their legs suspended up to the ceiling, anguishing in silence, will be wanting to shout through their tiny air-hole in the plaster: “Oh
Olympic culture Jess Collett laments the BBC’s choice of cultural programming for 2012 The BBC have announced their cultural programming for the Olympics, and I’ll give you one guess as to what our summer 2012 schedules will be dominated by. Yes, you’ve guessed it, Summer 2012 will be one of intense Shakespeare, special editions of QI, Antiques Roadshow, and I don’t know, a time travel edition of The One Show so we can all revel in how brilliantly amazing the Bard is. Yeah, I’m not too pleased. This is not me saying I despise Shakespeare, because, like everyone else on the face of the planet I know how good his plays are, which is my point exactly. Everyone knows Shakespeare equals English culture, so for the BBC to come up with a Shakespeare season is perhaps the laziest, least imaginative thing they could have done. Don’t the Olympic team represent Great
Britain? My meaning is that we should really have something that displays the cultural identity of all the countries that make up Great Britain. When I think of Scotland or Wales, I don’t go: “Ooh jolly William Shakespeare.” I think Dylan Thomas or Robert Louis Stevenson, works by whom would both make fantastic programmes next summer. Documentaries about actual British culture have been shoved onto BBC4, a channel which is like the aunt who ran off at the age of 63 with a 20 year old guy from Spain who wears leopard print; no one wants to talk about her, but we’re all sure she has some fantastic stories. The official music will be provided by Elbow, who of course represent happiness, joy and excitement. If you didn’t already know.
please god make it stop!” We can’t have a government which is responsible for causing a shortage in painkillers and narcotics, due to patients demanding amputation strength anesthetics to numb the pain of watching this footage. Andrew Lansley has failed to spot the desperate irony of wanting to introduce Conservative principles, but with a big brother-style state endorsement. The NHS can be remedied, but Lansley will never hold the cure.
Money speaks, diversity walks Richard Law discusses the closure of the School of Music, and how a world of specialised institutions is one which should be avoided There inevitably comes a time in every student’s life when they hear these words: “a real degree”. The phrase has been of particular currency of late in the form of a snide, lazy criticism of a “real” protest against the closure of the School of Music. I confess, I find the phrase at the very least to be lacking in clarity, if not to be utterly meaningless. I suspect its users do not mean to suggest that upon graduation the music student will receive a forged degree, given by some powerful prankster at UEA. Although, when the time comes, our freshers may well be justified in feeling short-changed. Perhaps they are kindly expressing concern for their fellow students’ career prospects, but they needn’t, since the UEA website makes clear that – excluding professional schools – the School “has the highest graduate employment record within the University”. Or maybe they have reached the conclusion, obviously after thorough research, that music
is not an academic discipline. Admittedly, we must concede that LMFAO didn’t need music lessons. By implication, are we to understand that these people are in favour of a UEA that is a more specialised university? Let us for a moment take this proposition to be true. UEA outperforms many universities that specialise in music both in terms of course and teaching satisfaction. Similarly, Drama possesses a superlative record in student satisfaction. Not only is UEA often outperforming them, but specialised institutions seem to be, by definition, contrary to the interdisciplinary relationships prevalent in courses. Music is highly mathematical, bridging and crossing both sides of the brain. Literature is a mongrel of subjects, for instance, History, Psychology, Sociology. If a purebreed subject is of greater worth then it must have advantages other than the valuable prospects, knowledge, and experience
gained in these courses that prosper in universities offering variety. The fact is we all, by virtue of being here, are approaching the summit of our subjects. I dare say some readers will have turned their noses up at my previous examples, which are distinguished by their allegiance to the dreaded cult of arts and humanities. Such a prejudice is inextinguishable and spreads with little opposition in this culture of ideological attacks on the arts, symptomatic of an emphatically capitalistic perspective of our educational institutions. It is for this reason that even more disheartening than the Save UEA Music campaign’s loss is the unshakeable feeling that they never were going to win: money speaks louder than words; profit takes precedence over students. Soon, UEA will cull an indispensible part of its culture. But, that said, if higher education simply and singularly denotes a continuation of academic learning then perhaps specialised universities are functional. I suspect that for most of us higher education means this and much more. Perhaps one of the greatest times of our lives, the very greatness of which is achieved through a variety of culture, community and opportunity that we will likely never experience again. However, if we are quick to gratitude, we ought to be quicker to defence.
www.concrete-online.co.uk Tuesday 6th December 2011 - Issue 262
Beyond our means: an overdraft culture With the next instalment of student loans on the horizon, Rebecca Goodacre looks at the peculiar scenario of students living on the overdraft limit throughout their time at university Money is the bane of student life. It’s the difference between whether you’re going out tonight, or staying in eating Tesco Value fish fingers wrapped in a duvet because you can’t afford to turn the heating on. As the numbers on the bank statements dwindle, for some it means the good times are over. No one wants noodles with ketchup but it happens to the best of us. But for many others it just calls for back up support in the form of a student saviour: the overdraft. The overdraft is the darling of the student world. It’s the light at the end of a very bleak financial tunnel. You can do anything with an overdraft. The numbers might say -£340, but your social life says top notch. And plus, it doesn’t cost you anything, it’s just like borrowing a tenner off your mum, if she were a bit more generous that is. Except it isn’t
Just a loudmouth? George Hamilton-Jones looks at the bigger debate behind Jeremy Clarkson’s most recent outburst Britain’s most famous motor journalist, and Top Gear lynchpin, recently joked that he would like to see participants in the recent public sector strikes “executed in front of their families.” The outburst took place on The One Show, and received thousands of complaints from viewers. Deliriously unprofessional and individualistic, Clarkson can be highly appealing. The sense of power at being able to tell large organisations, do-gooders and bureaucrats to get stuffed is seductive but, as he sometimes fails to remember, he works for the BBC. While it is consistent for Clarkson to go after public sector workers given past utterances, he fails to acknowledge his profitable relationship with the same in doing so. With this and his claim that Mexicans are lazy, Clarkson follows the Ricky Gervais “mong” controversy. More than the Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross affair, Gervais and Clarkson are responsible for quite nasty sentiments expressed as jokes
under the guise of bucking political correctness and challenging the bounds of public discourse. With plenty of media outlets to choose from, offense can feel like a choice. No need to watch anything offensive. Choice is great, but if taking offense is the province of the offended how do you hold people responsible for their message?
“It is consistent for Clarkson to go after public sector workers, but he doesn’t talk about his relationship with the BBC” I believe that empathy is the key. When debates like this rear their ugly head I try to remind myself of this central point. Maybe “offense” is getting outdated, and with it defensive tendencies like political correctness but surely we should take opportunities like this furore to reaffirm our commitment to understanding each other.
really like that at all. Some say student life is like living in a bubble, and when it comes to finances most of the time that’s true. When our student loans arrive at the beginning of every semester, it’s as though a friendly stork dropped by and just fancied giving us a whole lot of money. But from previous experience, things involving storks never turn out to be quite that simple.
out on a Saturday night in this season’s fashions, well, chances are you’re not living within your means either. There’s a reason our loans aren’t enough for the latest trends and late night drink deals. Life as a student isn’t financially
easy. If it means getting a job, then get a job. A lot of the time it’s about compromise and making do. It’s an important lesson to learn in life: money won’t always be freely available, so why should we think it is now?
“The overdraft is the darling of the student world. It’s the light at the end of a very bleak financial tunnel” The reality is that we’re in a financial crisis: a crisis caused by people, companies and governments not living within their means. And if you’ve been in your over draft for the best part of two years, and are still
More than just sweet FA Sports editor Chris Teale argues why the FA Cup is still football’s greatest cup competition There is no better cup contest in club football today than the FA Cup, despite the criticisms levelled against it. The competition sees amateurs and professionals standing toe-to-toe on the field, for ninety minutes football equals with crowds of tens of thousands cheering them on. Where else could painters, decorators and taxi drivers play on the same pitch as their professional counterparts? The “romance of the cup” still rings true, especially in the relatively early stages of the competition, long before the top teams come into play in the third round. The human interest stories that emerge from the tournament dominate headlines, and these are often fascinating, resonating strongly with amateur enthusiasts across the length and breadth of the nation, who often have to balance work and family in order to play a game of footy every Saturday afternoon. This year’s second round was no different. AFC Totton of the Southern Premier League would have only dreamed about reaching
this stage of the competition, especially as they started in the first qualifying round, having to win five games in order to get this far. For them to welcome Bristol Rovers, a team three divisions above them, would have been beyond anything they could have imagined in their opening game at home to Fleet Town on September 17.
“Where else can painters, decorators and taxi drivers play on the same pitch as their professional counterparts?” For AFC Totton, their manager a delivery driver by day, and star striker a student at Portsmouth University, having the chance to compete alongside professional footballers is something that they would not be afforded in any other sport. While they are grateful for the guaranteed £72,000 that comes from television revenue, this club in particular are a prime example of how the “romance of
the cup” is still alive and kicking. Let’s take another example: Redbridge FC. They began their FA Cup campaign at home to Cockfoster’s in the preliminary qualifying round on September 3, and their manager is a taxi driver by trade. They may have been demolished 5-0 away by Crawley Town, but they still exit the competition with their heads held high, having been the lowestranked side in the competition, playing against the so called “Manchester City of the Football League.” Some have suggested that the FA Cup has lost its magic, due to the dominance of the Premier League and the Champions League in the English football media, and many clubs fielding weakened teams to avoid damage to their league campaigns. However, if you asked any of the amateur teams, they would say the FA Cup is still important, and often the highlight of their seasons. Football is certainly the great game, and the FA Cup is the tournament to prove it.
www.concrete-online.co.uk Tuesday 6th December 2011 - Issue 262
Edinburgh, the fringe city
Rachael Lum bravely investigates Edinburgh’s literary past following its ghostly streets and its famous authors’ old haunts to discover both the light and the dark side of Scotland’s cultural capital Robert Louis Stevenson had Edinburgh in mind when he wrote The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Its literary connections were what brought me to the “city of literature” last summer, the capital of Scotland that inspired art with its duality. The bright and pleasant side of Edinburgh can be experienced in its unique museums and galleries located around the city centre. Obscurely hidden in Lady Stair’s Close is The Writer’s Museum, which exhibits the possessions and rare editions of books that once belonged to three celebrated Scottish writers: Robert Burns, Robert Louis Stevenson and Sir Walter Scott. Strolling through the city centre at our own time proved to be rewarding as we chanced upon many other amusing sights. The
Museum of Childhood, for one, is a depository that traces the evolution of childhood toys and objects from the 18th to the 21st century. Art lovers should visit The Elephant House, a quaint little teahouse and restaurant frequented by contemporary writers such as J.K. Rowling. It boasts large crowds that were ardent (as much as we were) to have meals at the birthplace of Harry Potter. Instead of waiting in the queue, however, we decided to have lunch in a lesser-known pub, aptly called Jekyll and Hyde, notable for the Gothic ambience created by its remarkably detailed interior design. As night descends, Edinburgh morphs into eerie streets characteristic of Mr Hyde’s haunts. Not called a city of
secrets for nothing, it did not take us long to learn about its dark past, from the oppression of the poor through the Poor Law to the unorthodox witch-hunting and persecution. The underground South Bridge Vaults are located down below the Old Town, rumoured to be haunted. There are five-star guided tours held within these vaults, dramatically conducted with as much historical authenticity as possible, although it is not for the superstitious or faint-hearted. Up on the streets there are various other evening tours that delve into Edinburgh’s bloody past. The guides, dedicatedly dressed and acting in character, share the tales of famous criminals and victims of the gallows and the guillotine in Royal Mile, a stretch of busy streets which people
would otherwise walk past in ignorance. We maximised our activities by purchasing two-day Edinburgh passes at about £39 (one-day and three-day passes are available at different rates). The smart card gave free entry for over 30 attractions and discounts all around the area. Although it does not include entry into Edinburgh Castle, the pass is sufficient for one to visit galleries, the Camera Obscura, Dynamic Earth, the Edinburgh Dungeon and more without having to worry about the entry costs. Edinburgh, the Unesco world heritage site, embodies the juxtaposed elements of light and darkness in the city. They form the literary fascination that drives culture vultures to hover in the city year after year.
Essential Edinburgh Getting there
>> Edinburgh’s Waverley rail station is six hours 15 mins from Norwich via Peterborough >> Tickets two weeks in advance with a raildcard are around £70 open return
>> Edinburgh has a fantastic range of hostels with dorm rooms from just £6.50 a night >> The Castle Rock Hostel is opposite Edinburgh’s famous castle and was voted hostel of the year for the past three years
www.concrete-online.co.uk Tuesday 6th December 2011 - Issue 262
New Zealand: lord of the tourist traps Although touring film sets is big business in New Zealand, middle earth isn’t all it seems, says Rachel Greene-Taylor Imagine you are staring up at a big dirty quarry covered with cranes, whilst a man tells you that this is where Peter Jackson filmed the battle of Helms Deep. In the back of your mind the $90 that you spent on this Lord of the Rings tour in New Zealand goes up in metaphoric flames, but that is trivial compared to the crushing ache of disappointment. The three people that you managed to persuade to join you on this tour are looking at you with a mixture of anger and disbelief. The visions of Arwen sauntering through Rivendell, a Nazgul attacking Minas Tirith and Gimli puffing along the fields of Rohan with his axe, quickly evaporate. After paying $90, I almost expected to bump into Treebeard. Throughout the day we were given staffs to imitate Gandalf; blonde wigs, elf ears and a bow and arrow to imitate Legolas. We even rolled down hills to act out hobbits escaping from ring wraiths, all in places around Wellington where they were
supposedly filmed. The salvaging point which the group were anticipating was the gourmet lunch but although we didn’t expect a three course meal with real silver cutlery, we certainly expected more than half a cold subway on a picnic bench. At various points throughout the day I wanted to find Mount Doom and throw myself into it, alas, that did not exist either. Although the whole tour was a complete shambles, I cannot avoid the fact that it was hilarious. However, this was a man’s livelihood, and like other times when you know that laughter is extremely rude, the fact you have to hide it sends you into a vicious circle of hilarity. So, if you want to see the wonders of Hobbiton and Gondor then I suggest you find an Imax, for the experience would be a lot more in touch with reality. Damn CGI, damn my naivety, but thank you Mr. Tour guide for conning us into one of the funniest days of our lives.
Guiding your gap year plans Top 3 - Occupy locations Are you planning a gap year after you graduate or planning on working or volunteering abroad this summer? You’ll be needing the Gap-Year Guidebook then. Guidebooks have become an integral part of modern travel, whether it’s the latest Lonely Planet or guides that offer advice on everything from immunisations to visas. Now in it’s 20th edition, the Gap-Year Guidebook has been described as “a must for anyone taking a year out” by the Telegraph and with its mine of information and travel company contacts it’s like a Google search condensed into an easy-to-read book.
The internet can be a confusing universe of information, but the Gap-Year Guidebook does the sifting and sorting for you, with a bright design and clear layout. Gap years cover a huge range of opportunities and there are a million companies that will offer you anything from the chance to find internships in America over the summer, to year-long volunteer placements at charity projects in Africa. There are also plenty of options for gap years in the UK, with ideas for seasonal work, volunteer placements and information about further study and skill enhancement. Gap
years are much more than just “discovering yourself” on a beach in Thailand! Win a copy of the Gap Year Guidebook! To be in with a chance of winning simply answer the following question:
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Whilst traveling through the outback, Wilson, our much-loved cameraman, started to slow down, only 40km outside of any civilisation. We didn’t know what was happening but we knew something was wrong. Over the space of the day we were jump started over 15 times by different cars. Thankfully every car that passed us on the road
1) Occupy Hawaii
America’s island state has garnered huge support throughout the islands with almost 5000 ‘likes’ on its Facebook page and seven Occupy locations across three of the major islands.
2) Occupy U.S Virgin Islands
The Unired States Virgin Islands may only make up 133 square miles but that hasn’t stopped two Occupy movements forming, one on the island of St Thomas and the other on St John.
3) Occupy Barnaul, Russia
Surely some of the hardiest Occupiers are located in Barnaul in Western Siberia, Russia where temperatures average around -10 °C in December. stopped to offer a jumpstart or some kind of refreshment. I think they must have just thought: “Oh, just more stupid English tourists not realising what they are getting themselves into!” In the early hours the next morning we managed to drag Wilson into a tiny town called Halls Creek. The next day we did it all again. By the following night
the adventure factor had started to wear thin. It was getting dark and civilisation was nowhere to be seen. We were in the middle of one of the remotest places in the world with no lights and no power. And to make things worse there was a massive storm brewing. It was just like a horror movie! Kimberley Sparkes
www.concrete-online.co.uk Tuesday 6th December 2011 - Issue 262
Labour’s Clive also cares... After having been formally chosen as the official Labour party candidate for the South Norwich constituency, Clive Lewis spoke to James Dixon and Susanna Wood about beginning the fight against Simon Wright
ould you tell us a bit about yourself? I was born in London, I left when I was three and moved to Northampton. I went to state school, a comprehensive. I was the first in my family to go to university. My dad’s from Grenada. I’ve been back there a couple of times, it’s lovely. I got on the BBC News training scheme after the NUS, worked on my local newspaper for a time and then travelled around with the BBC for a while. I became chief political reporter for the BBC politics show, East. Then I went off to Afghanistan with the reserves. That was quite tough. I had bit of a hard time when I got back. I’m looking to move into the Golden Triangle. I live in Norwich North currently and now seems as good a time as any to move into the heart of the constituency. I’m single at the moment and I’ll try and resolve that if I can find the time. I’d like to have a family. I run, I play squash. UEA is a massive cohort for Norwich South’s constituency. That’s right. It has been instrumental in the fates of quite a few MPs. Do you have any plans for involvement with UEA in your run up to the election? In terms of specific plans, I’ve been elected for two weeks so it’s early days, however I was elected on a platform of community campaigning. I think sometimes that the campus is one part of student life but the vast majority of students live in the Golden Triangle area, so they’re part and parcel of the community. This is the heart of my constituency and a number of community campaigns I am looking to run will always want to involve students. I think sometimes people obsess about the campus, but actually the student community is probably out there in reality and we need to try to bring students away from the perception that you’re on campus and therefore not part of the community. What sort of an alternative do you think you would offer to Simon Wright? I’m not part of one of the most
right wing governments we have seen since WWII. I think I offer principled politics. I think I offer a sustainable left wing alternative to Simon Wright, but let’s not forget: there will be other candidates in the election. Although he is the incumbent MP. You served a tour of Afghanistan in 2009 as a member of the Territorial Army. How do you think this will affect you as a prospective parliamentary candidate? I was the vice-president of the NUS and the president of my student union so apart from that and apart from the work I did with the BBC politics show, I don’t have any elected political experience. I have life experience and it’s not always expected that someone who considers themselves a socialist will also serve in the army. Why I did it is something I could talk about at length: it provided me certain attributes and skills, and given me certain experiences which I will rely on in later years and I rely on now. I think, in terms of how people perceive the armed forces, they are an integral part of our country and our institution itself. Let’s not forget, it’s not the military that decides where we fight. It’s the government, democratically elected governments, but I would like to think most people view it as a positive and I’m very proud of the time I served in the army. You took part in Operation Black Vote, an MP shadowing scheme. Alongside your life experiences, do you think this makes you a more representative candidate for Norwich South? I don’t think there has ever been a black parliamentary candidate or black MP in Norfolk, so in that sense it could be a first. I first came to Norwich in 2001 with the BBC and I remember when I came here, I couldn’t quite work out what was different. I was sat there down on Gentlemen’s Walk and I was looking around thinking “Something’s bugging me, what is it?” I realised after 15 or 20 minutes that there were simply no black people, and that has changed considerably but
it is still a predominantly white city. I think the vast majority of people will see and judge me on my abilities as a candidate and whether I can represent them. Do I have policies that they want to buy into as opposed to where my dad came from? I think what is most important is where you are at and what you are doing now. You have quite a strong union backing from the GMB, Unite and the East of England cooperative union. Are you connected with UCU or NUS? The Labour party itself has a connection through our youth officer, Tim, and he is here on campus. One of the reasons Labour lost Norwich South was because Simon Wright made certain promises. Charles Clarke was obviously in a slightly weaker position in that he had been in government when tuition fees were introduced, and I can understand student anger over that. Some, not all of them, will have made him pay for it in terms of voting for Simon Wright. Unfortunately, now I think they realise that that was perhaps a mistake. So you were in support of the 30 November strikes? 100%. I don’t think any of those public servants would have wanted to disrupt their pupils, patients or anyone’s lives but I think in the long run, it’s not just an attack on pensions, it’s also a wider attack on public services. On health, education and the privatisation of both. Simon Wright is part of a government that has no mandate to privatise
education or health. That was not in their manifestos, and they have no right to do it. What happened on November 30 was all part of that process, it’s inextricably linked. Have you been following the Save UEA Music campaign? Yes, I sent a statement of support to [the campaign] because as far as I saw, it was a fantastic community movement. I tried to explain that you need a little bit of analysis of why this happening. With the removal of the vast element of core central funding from government, universities are now almost entirely reliant on £9,000 fees. The government has in effect created a pure market in higher education and they’ve looked at the balance sheet and the music department doesn’t stack up financially. In a market system, you have winners and losers and unfortunately, according to this system the UEA music department is the first casualty. Graduate job prospects appear grim at the moment so this is a great worry for students too. I remember when I was in my second year we had a careers talk saying: “It’s grim out there kids, it’s tough and when you leave next year it’s going to be hard to find a job.” I guess not being the party of government, all I can do is sit on the sidelines and say what I think they should be doing. I think an increasing number of people are beginning to say to themselves there has got to be a better way of running the economy. One that isn’t simply market based, I think there has to be more intervention from the government. I still believe in
capitalism as a means of generating wealth and income. I believe in business, I believe businesses should be supported but there needs to be, what I would call a “good society,” where we all take a responsibility. How would you look to combat the Greens, who have a strong presence in Norwich South? Since 1997, the high watermark of the Labour vote here, we have lost about 13,000 voters and 10,000 votes to parties claiming to be more left-wing than us, namely, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens. Voters didn’t leave us, we as the Labour party left them. I think some of the Greens’ politics are good politics and I won’t deny that. Labour party politics and my policies will always want to have sustainability and environmentalism at the heart of them because as a socialist, I believe people need a sustainable, clean environment to live in and socialists are natural environmentalists, they have to be. I don’t have an issue with the Greens but I don’t think they are politically relevant. Come the general election, I think people have a clear choice between Labour and Simon Wright and the Tories. The Greens are not going to perform in the next general election. If you vote Green, you are voting for the Liberal Democrats or the Tories. Could you tell us a bit more about the compass initiative? Basically, it has been designed by a series of economists who want to take a different approach as to how we are looking at the economy. If I can sum it up in a nutshell, if we want to have a better society, a less divisive society, a more equitable society then what we need to do is begin to move away from a deregulated lay-markets, deregulated energy markets, deregulated banking systems. What’s your favourite biscuit? Oh, that’s a really good one. It’s between two, Viscounts and actually, if there was a platter of biscuits on the table, I would pick a fig roll.
www.concrete-online.co.uk Tuesday 6th December 2011 - Issue 262
Joey Essex: Behind the fake tan When Hannah Britt met Joey Essex, star of The Only Way Is Essex, things did not go to plan
ake tan applied and false eyelashes in place, I arrive at Project in downtown Norwich for the start of their Reem Party. In a few hours, the stage would be graced by none other than Joey Essex, the beloved star of The Only Way Is Essex. But, before he goes on stage, I am going to interview the man himself for Concrete. Famous for quotes such as, “Who’s the prime minister of Essex?” in all honesty, I was not holding out much hope for a deeply intellectual interview. However, nothing could prepare me for the disaster which was about to unfold. “Follow me girls, I’ll set you up in VIP,” sounds like the start of a good night, right? Wrong. I am sipping on my third (or maybe fourth) cocktail when a buzz goes round the room: Joey is in the building. I am ushered out of VIP and into the backstage area. Joey is in the bathroom. I wait. My eyes wander to a table, there’s a list of things Joey would like upon arrival to the club. On the list there are Dairylea Lunchables, pineapple juice, vodka and ready salted crisps. What a diva. When Joey emerges he is a vision of orange. He looks tired; his face is puffy. He is, however, glowing. Not as one would glow after an expensive facial, but as would after a nuclear radiation leak. He is wearing his signature outfit: a tight, white t-shirt and even tighter denim shorts. He is smaller than I imagined. I feel like the jolly green giant standing next to him in my six inch heels. I wish I’d worn flats. I usher him to a sofa. We sit. The interview begins. I tell him it’s fantastic to meet him, that I love TOWIE, that I’d once seen him in Sugar Hut in Essex and that the excitement I felt that day was a close second to Christmas. Joey looks blankly at me, “I like your watch,” he says, “it’s well reem.” Brilliant, Joey likes me already. I have a good feeling about this. Unfortunately it doesn’t take long for that feeling to fade. “Er ... wait what?” Joey says in answer to my inquiry as to his opinion
of the economic situation at the moment. He scowls at me. Fabulous. I take a different tact and ask him about vajazzles. Now, for those of you that have yet to have the pleasure of watching TOWIE, a vajazzle is when one has little gems (crystals, not lettuces) placed in an aesthetically pleasing pattern around one’s private parts. What a lovely idea, right? Don’t worry, I won’t be offended if you put your issue of Concrete down while you rush out and get one. But back to Joey. Upon the mention of the word vajazzle, Joey is back in the game. Clearly in his comfort zone, his little puffy face lights up: “I ain’t never looked at one really, Sam never got one when I was with her. But love hearts are the best.” So there you have it ladies, the way to Joey Essex’s heart is by framing your bits with a spangled love heart. Sod Kate Adie, this is hard hitting journalism at it’s very best. Joey’s enthusiasm is short lived, however, as he stumbles over the use of the word “inspiration” in my next question. “What do you mean?” he asks, bemused, when probed about the inspirations behind his style. We look at each other in silence for a moment. I wonder if he’s joking. He’s not. I think of another way to ask him, speaking slowly so he understands. Somewhere deep inside his brain a low watt light bulb flickers: “I just wear what I want to really,” he says. I begin wondering if interviewing a potato would be more interesting when Joey suddenly stands up, making me jump, and points at himself. “This is called Joey Essex,” he shouts, “that’s it.” He sits back down. When asked what he
thinks of Norwich, Joey says he has “only been here for five minutes,” he thinks it’s “reem” but doesn’t really know, he doesn’t think he’s ever been here before. The light bulb flickers again. “Fuck, are we in UEA?” I
Joey picks... Snog Lucy Mecklenburgh Marry Sam Faires Avoid Lauren Goodger nod. “Is UEA near Norwich?” Is he being serious? Oh, wait, he is. Nice one Joey. Very reem. Thanks to Mr Essex, the word “reem” has entered the vocabulary of the TOWIEwatching public. One could say that Joey Essex is
the modern day Shakespeare. Sort of. The word in question is actually a Swedish slang term used to describe an incredibly sexy and talented individual. I, however, am starting to prefer Urban Dictionary’s definition of “reem,” which is something along the lines of: “saying this word automatically gives others permission to belt you around the face with a shovel.” But what does Joey think? Keen to get the Essex Shakespeare’s view, I ask him. “I just heard it in south London. I like it. It’s reem,” he replies. I ask him if he knows that its roots lie in the Swedish language. “What do you mean?” he asks. I try to explain. “What?” he asks again. I give up. I begin to wonder if Joey would buy a dictionary if they introduced the word “reem” into it. Probably not. While I’m musing this, he gets up again. “Is it me or is it hot in here?” he asks. I tell him that I’m sorry but I can’t help being so hot. I laugh at my own joke. Joey looks at me blankly. He turns around and heads towards the bathroom. I, naturally, follow. I tell him to run his wrists under some cold water to cool himself down, he asks where we heard such a stupid idea, I tell him that I don’t know, but I might have seen it in a rubbish TV programme on ITV2 . After a few minutes, Joey’s wrists are cool enough for us to leave the bathroom. Fantastic. Is he ready to answer my questions again? Of course he’s not. He comments on my watch again, which is bright orange. Maybe he’s feeling inspired as to his next shade of fake tan. Or he would, if he knew what the word “inspired” meant. He picks up the copy of Concrete I’ve brought with me and takes a picture of it on his phone. “What’s this?” he asks.
He seems agitated. He gets up again. I tell him he seems nervous. He tells me he’s not. I try another question, what type of girl does Joey Essex go for usually? “They’ve just gotta be reem man.” Fabulous, I think, this interview is going to change the world. The way Joey Essex is portrayed onscreen is as a dim but charismatic young man with a heart of gold. “I’m just myself on it”, Joey says of his onscreen persona. Bollocks. He must be happy with the way the producers of TOWIE edit the programme because so far the only characteristic I can vouch for is that he is dim, very dim. His favourite food must be dim sum. If he was a household appliance, he’d be a dimmer switch. His favourite political commentator (if he had any idea what that means) would be Jonathon Dimbleby. At this point, Joey sits down and starts picking at his knee. He tells me it hurts. Now it’s my turn to look bemused. This interview just gets better and better doesn’t it? Michael Parkinson eat your heart out. I tell him it’s probably an ingrown hair. “What’s one of them?” asks Mr Essex. I explain. “It’s hurting, do something,” he says. I tell him that I don’t really have much experience in dealing with the pain caused from ingrown hairs. Bloody hell. “I need to go outside. I’m boiling,” Joey looks visibly flustered, he is beginning to sweat. “I can’t handle this, I’m hot,” he says. Then he gets up and I watch, incredulous, as his little orange legs scuttle out of the door. I’m speechless: something which doesn’t happen often, let me tell you. Tucking Concrete under my arm I go to follow. My path is blocked by Joey’s security guard. Even in my heels, he is a foot taller than me and about eight times as wide. I contemplate taking a run at the door but I decide against it. He could snap me like a Toblerone. “Joey’s not doing anymore interviews tonight,” is all he says, his arms folded. Brilliant.
www.concrete-online.co.uk Tuesday 6th December 2011 - Issue 262
UEA Music: 1965-2014 Josh Bowker provides a near half-decade tribute to the School of Music At 11.40am on 28 November, the last post was sounded in the Square, mourning the decision to close of the UEA School of Music, made just a few hundred feet away in Council chambers. The music was audible to those who had made the decision, and as the Chaplaincy placed signs in its windows proclaiming “Play on” it was difficult to contain the sadness. A protest that had started in absolute silence began to assume a distinctly funereal air. It is hard not to treat the School of Music as sentient. One of the oldest schools in the University, it began its life in 1965 as the School of Fine Art and Music in the prefabricated site where the village now sits. The dedicated School of Music was born amidst the brutalist architecture of campus in 1973,
and has over the years enjoyed a colourful and quirky history. The school was commissioned by the then Vice Chancellor, Frank Thistlethwaite. It was with collaboration from the prominent composer Benjamin Britten and also Imogen Holst, daughter of Gustav, that Thistlethwaite set about the creation of the School, attempting “To bridge the gulf peculiar to this country, between universities and music academies.” The School has long been held in high regard. It enjoys an almost unparalleled reputation in the sonic arts. It was Denis Smalley, Studio Director (1987-1994), with his reputation as a composer of electroacoustic music who brought a focus to this, particularly in the postgraduate community.
Indeed, his first PhD student was current senior lecturer in music Dr Simon Waters. But it is not just Waters who has gone on to direct a studio in an institution of learning; many alumni from UEA now not only teach in, but run studios with a similar ethos in universities around the globe. With UEA as the blueprint for these institutions, it is no wonder that the School has long been seen as the leading light in its field. However, the University hasn’t merely excelled in the field of electroacoustic composition. It has produced performances of Rameau operas at the Southbank Centre, is strongly connected with Chamber Orchestra Anglia, and has enjoyed excellent links with the Aldeburgh Music Festival. When designing the course
Thistlethwaite prudently observed to Britten that to establish music “as an academic discipline, on all fours with the other humanities, the emphasis will inevitably be on music history and criticism.” Fortunately, a more well-rounded course was developed. The School became a place where all varieties of musical study could be undertaken. The original brochure boasted: “Whether as conductor, performer, composer, critic or musicologist, each takes a very active role in the teaching programme.” This is an ethos which has continued to the present day. It is the forward thinking and teaching of the UEA music department which made such a performance possible. There is something about the School that makes those who
study and work there hold it dear. Upon news of the intended closure, emotional messages of support containing fond memories from past students flooded in. Simon Waters has been a presence in the School for many years, but it is one of the original lecturers of the School of Music, the late Professor David Chadd, who was most fondly remembered. Since his untimely death in 2006, the University has not sought to fill his chair, instead the department functioning under a series of acting heads. This closure will undoubtedly leave a great void within the arts, and it is all that the faculty and students can do to document its history as best they can in order ensure that this department does not fade from memory.
To read Josh’s full tribute to the recently closed School of Music, visit www.concrete-online.co.uk
SENIOR RESIDENTS 2012-2013 The Dean of Students’ Office is recruiting enthusiastic, mature and capable people to join our team of Senior Residents in September 2012
Senior Residents will work closely with staff in the Dean of Students’ Office to deliver high quality advice, guidance and support to students living in residences and to facilitate the development of a well-integrated residential community.
In return for rent-free self-contained accommodation comprising living room, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom, Senior Residents will: • promote the well-being and good order of students in residences and strive to create a positive living environment; • play a key role in the welcome and induction of new students and support students’ transition from home to university life; • provide a duty system which guarantees students can access help and support out-of-hours and at weekends. The role of Senior Resident will be rewarding and represents an excellent personal and professional development opportunity for those able to respond to the challenges. Comprehensive induction and in-service training will be provided to the successful applicants. Application Deadline: 12pm on Wednesday 4 January 2012
For more information visit the Dean of Students’ Office or go to www.uea.ac.uk/dos : Life in Residences
www.concrete-online.co.uk Tuesday 6th December 2011 - Issue 262
The Christmas consumerism controversy Becky Hazlewood looks at the often overlooked environmental impact of the festive season After spending the last couple of months turning a blind eye to the tinsel clad shop dummies and squinting against the blue and silver glare of shopping lanes illuminated in festive anticipation, December is finally is here and it is time to soak up the Christmas spirit. As much as there is to love about Christmas, be it the cheesy music, social gatherings, roaring fireplaces or hustle and bustle of the city centre, there is one element of the season which can niggle at the conscience. There is no escaping the fact that Christmas is a consumption fest. This does not just mean the
guilt that comes from the glut of mince pies, roast dinners and (it goes without saying) far too much mulled wine. Consumption reaches its peak in December. Electricity demand soars whilst homes and shop fronts compete for the most eye catching light display, and everybody begins the mad rush to find that perfect present for their Aunty Lyn, Uncle Pete and Cousin Bob. Of course, there is absolutely no problem with presents or a few fairy lights. In fact, Christmas shopping is my all time favourite activity. You can’t beat the thrill of running round like a headless chicken on Christmas Eve
hoping for a last minute flash of inspiration before the shops shutter up for two days. The only troubling part of the holiday is the huge piles of empty packaging and wrapping paper that accumulate on every doorstep on boxing day; the unwanted presents which get shoved to the top hand corner of your wardrobe, not to be pulled out for another decade, and the huge amounts of food that get left to fester in the fridge when no one can face another Christmas dinner. Although each household’s contribution may be small, altogether the festive footprint
is pretty significant. So put your feet up, snuggle up with a glass of mulled wine and turn a thought this year to the environment by checking out our top tips for a climate friendly Christmas.
Biodiversity of the Broads: a matter of national importance Chris Teale Turf Writer A UEA study, commissioned by the Broads Authority, has shown that the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads are a host for a quarter of the rare animal and plant species in the United Kingdom. The study, carried out by the School of Environmental Sciences, is believed to be the first complete audit of the species present in the Broads. It combined data collected from research over the last 12 months by the team from UEA with records dating back to the 17th century. The study identified over 11,000 species living in the Broads, of which over 1,500 are rare and would probably be extinct were it not for the existence of the Broads. It also discovered 66 species that have not been seen anywhere else in Britain, despite the area making up only 0.4% of its land mass.
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Despite the possibility of hundreds of species having disappeared, after not being recorded in over two decades, the discovery of species such as the previously unrecognised Broads Dolly Fly, the Slender Amber Snail and the Scarce Marsh Neb shows the ecological importance of the Broads. The research found that 63% of the 1,500 rare species are reliant on the freshwater in the Broads, which may be problematic if sea level rise encroaches as predicted, due to climate change. However, Dr Hannah Mossman of the School of Environmental Sciences is confident of preserving many of the species, and said: “This study has shown we can identify which of the hundreds of rare species are most threatened by climate change, and that we can map these to show which parts of the Broads could be priorities for protection from sea level rise, based on their vulnerable biodiversity.”
Climate-friendly Christmas tips 1) Save cash by checking the charity shops. You could find a weird and wonderful gift and contribute to a good cause. Plus, buying second hand means you’re also helping the environment by reducing, reusing and recycling unwanted items. Score. 2) Instead of buying a load of mass produced tat to hand over to your family, why not put on your artistic hat and fashion a homemade gift? Try knitting, print some treasured holiday snaps and make a frame, or give glass painting a go. It’s amazing what you can create with items you already possess. You’ll save money and look twice as thoughtful, clever and creative! 3) Think outside the box and invest in an experience. Companies such as Groupon offer great savings on spa days and massages. If you want to contribute to conservation how about adopting an orangutan, elephant or dolphin? And for the person who has everything (even an elephant) you can buy a goat for a family in poverty, and give them a yearlong feel good factor. 4) Fairtrade? Organic? Ecofriendly? When it comes to food all those claims can be confusing and not necessarily environmentally beneficial. If you want to cut your carbon footprint then source this year’s dinner from your local fruit and veg shop. Chances are you’ll get better quality produce that won’t have been flown in from Madagascar. 5) According to estimates, enough wrapping paper to cover Guernsey is thrown into our bins every Christmas. Not to mention the 1bn Christmas cards which end up at the dump. If you want your presents to stand out under the tree then wrap them in old newspapers (excluding Concrete, these are sacred!) and cut out pictures from old cards to use as labels. Worried about them looking dowdy? Bling them up with a bit of glitter!
www.concrete-online.co.uk Tuesday 6th December 2011 - Issue 262
Have yourself a very student Christmas Lifestyle writer Lauren Cope reminds you that the holiday season doesn’t need to empty the bank With cash running low as the end of semester nears, Christmas presents can be an unnecessary drain on funds for students. This doesn’t mean skimping on presents for loved ones: it’s all about being a little bit smarter with money. Here is Concrete’s
guide on how to be a savvy student shopper at Christmas. Firstly think homemade gifts: the nicest gifts are the ones that come from the heart. Photo collages, homemade gift boxes or a scrapbook are affordable, easy to make, and will mean
more than anything bought from a shop. Making them will be fun as well and will get the festive spirit flowing. Another great option is “Secret Santa.” deciding how many friends a budget can include is an awkward situation,
so avoid this by organising a Secret Santa. Buying one gift is easier on the bank balance and saves planning, resulting in a nicer present. Agree a price limit and arrange a get together before the holidays. Shops around Christmas are bursting with promotions and offers: buy one get one free, discounts on Christmas ranges and at shops such as Debenhams and Boots, three for two. Friends don’t have to know that their present came as a freebie, but the bank balance will be satisfied. Instead of spending £20 for a friend, why not spend £10 and get someone else to chip in? It is still a good quality present but at half the price. As students, everyone understands how tight money is, so make the most of this! Christmas is undoubtedly the most expensive period of the year, but being frugal with money can cut the price significantly and leave a little money for the January sales.
The best way to escape a problem is to solve it
recommends Our regular agony uncle, Clive Ashcroft, shares some of the best gifts to add to your list this Christmas
Earmuff headphones: The perfect accessory to keep you warm and block out the noise on your bus journey!
Kindle: Why not kick back and relax with your favourite book on the back seat?
If you have a burning issue then Clive Ashcroft is the man for the job. Contact him at: email@example.com
“The Naked Truth” Dear Clive, I have three male housemates and we all get along really well. Unfortunately they have developed this prank where every Monday they undress and dance around in my room. It was funny to begin with but now it’s starting to make me uncomfortable. They are even escalating it by inviting others to join in. I’m worried I may get so irritated I will end up using my martial arts training. What should I do? Thanks, Phil. Dear reader, Imagine some nuns sitting in your room when your housemates burst in, now that would be funny! Seriously, please talk to your friends and explain you feel uncomfortable with the situation and you may consider moving. May I suggest a lock on your door to maintain your privacy? Good luck Phil!
“Lonely this Christmas” Dear Clive, I am looking for some relationship advice. Last year I was seeing a girl who unfortunately is now on a year abroad. We still talk regularly over Skype and we still have very strong feelings for each other. I really like this girl, Clive! Christmas is coming up soon and it’s her favourite holiday. I haven’t got much money so visiting is out of the question, how can I make this festive season a special one for us? Regards, Anon. Dear reader, It sounds like a long term relationship could be blooming... and an engagement ring is looming! Could it be that this is the right time for that very special moment in your lives? Wishing you both every happiness for the future and a very merry Christmas! Good luck and take care.
Retro Sweet Box: If you are peckish, tuck in to these delicious sweets, ideal for those longer journeys in to the city centre.
Counting Money Box: Save your change from your bus fare and watch your savings shoot up!
The war of the Advent adverts The ultimate question is: who wins the battle for the best Christmas advert of 2011? Freya Barry Lifestyle Editor “Build it and they will come,” so opens one of the most repulsive and offensive Christmas adverts ever. Give us back Kerry Katona and seasonal hoisin duck dips, and all is forgiven. Instead we are presented with a Christmas dystopia. The setting is a provincial town somewhere in middle England, with Freddie Flintoff as our guide and the creator of this strangely authoritarian market place. Is the England cricketer really the first thing people think
of at Christmas? It only gets worse from here. Like a Christmas Pied Piper, dancing to the tune of Take That with many very irritating children in tow, Freddie tours us around the market place. While being surrounded by unbearably irritating children may be festive, the “Christmas quiche” Freddie is reminded by one of the sprogs to buy is most definitely not. The world envisioned by this advert becomes increasingly sinister with a mixture of Bruce Forsyth, the butchering of the Italian language and the fact that “Turkeys are only available until 20 December.” Under
the tyrannical rule of Freddie Flintoff, last minute buying is not an option. However, even this grotesque image of Christmas cannot cannot be worse than the hymn to consumerism that is the the Littlewoods advert. This advert contains ill-advised rapping, more incredibly irritating small children and gratitude towards their lovely mums, who placated their nearest and dearest with gadgets and trinkets. In the light of the recession this message of showing familial love through the purchasing of expensive gifts is tasteless and offensive. Bah, humbug.
www.concrete-online.co.uk Tuesday 6th December 2011 - Issue 262
Have an Appy Christmas Lifestyle writer Emma Williamson counts down the top ten Christmas apps bringing cheer to iPhones in 2011
Impress your family this year with the latest kitchen gadget, TurkeyTimer. This app will not only time your turkey, but will also track the approximate internal temperature and how close it is to being cooked (£0.69)
Santa Tracker 2011 functions as both a countdown to Christmas and a “tracker” of Father Christmas’ journey. From 11am on 24 December, users can follow Santa’s journey across the globe, tracing his deliveries via his carefully devised route (£1.49)
Yet to be released, Apple’s annual 12 Days of Christmas offers users a free download from iTunes every day between 26 December and 6 January. Previous years have offered films, music videos, games and music (Free)
Robot Unicorn Attack Christmas Edition. A unicorn, The Darkness and an arctic landscape. This seasonal twist on the infamous Robot Unicorn Attack game will entertain 365 days a year (£0.69)
5. Jess Beech Lifestyle Writer Despite all the other signs that Christmas is on its way, it is never truly here until that tubby man in a red suit hits the TV aboard his Coca-Cola truck. With advertising this strong, we are all inclined to throw down our mulled wine for a glass of Coke, and those crafty geniuses even managed to persuade Santa to swap his green suit for red. This year, to excite us even more, they are sending a Coca-Cola Christmas truck around England, which will be hitting Norwich Riverside. This year John Lewis has released a competitor for most iconic advert. Love it or hate it,
it’s been said to make even grown men cry, and caused a heated debate. For those of you who have not seen it, the advert tells the story of a little boy’s impatience as he waits for Christmas Day. Including, amongst other things, lots of stroppy faces, table tapping and staring out of windows. The best part of the advert has to be the many adorable dressing-up outfits, the Gruffalo being a favourite. While the music does fall on the very thin line between dramatic and creepy, it is hard when watching it not to be reminiscent of a time when Father Christmas was real and December meant pure excitement, not coursework deadlines. Although the advert sparks nostalgia and is undeniably
cute, the Christmas reality for this writer was not about sharing. Christmas was about demanding the entire Argos catalogue and then playing with the boxes of presents. It was not about giving presents to other people. Either way, the advert gives a heartwarming Christmas message, which maybe I should take on board now that I am a bit older and wiser. My favourite advert this year is Marks and Spencer, simply for their skilful editing in managing to remove and replace the X Factor contestants. It had to be done though, because let’s face it, the image of Frankie Cocozza with coke up his nose really does not scream Granny and Grandad’s Christmas presents.
Elf Ur Face and those of your friends with this fantastic free app from TinyCo. Adornments include Santa hats, red noses and gingerbread men. What better way is there to embarrass your loved ones? (Free or £0.69 for Elf Ur Face Pro)
With over 60 festive recipes, Great British Chefs – Feastive HD is a great accessory to the Christmas kitchen (£1.99)
Reminders comes installed on i0S5 and serves as a valuable tool to the savvy seasonal shopper, functioning as a wish list as well as a shopping list. (Free)
Amazon Mobile places all of Amazon’s conveniences in the palm of your hand. Allowing free browsing, purchases and order tracking, this app certainly eases the pressure of the festive rush (Free)
MyVoucherCodes is an indispensable app for your Christmas shopping. Using GPS, this app locates the closest deals to the user, including 10% off Hotel Chocolat and Menkind (Free)
Finally, if you over indulge this season Calorie Counter and Diet Tracker by MyFitnessPal is a fantastic aid to losing those extra pounds (Free)
www.concrete-online.co.uk Tuesday 6th December 2011 - Issue 262
Campus wish list: what are your 2011 Christmas hopes? Armed with decorations, Santa’s little Lifestyle helpers ask students to share their festive wish. Read on below to find out what they said:
From left to right, and top to bottom: 1) “Snow!” 2) “That everyone comes to see Twelfth Night on the 7/9/10 December at the UEA Drama Studio!” 3) “To learn to keep my eyes open in photos” and “a skateboard”
4) “For all my friends in the UEA Pirates to be happy.” 5) “Not to fail any of our exams” 6) “An iPad....” 7) “A big audience at the Fractured Discourse Christmas extravaganza”
Recycle with Lifestyle: Concrete wreath Jessica Ball
Lifestyle editor Rianne Ison makes this beautiful, eco-friendly Christmas wreath, using only old Concretes, a wire coat hanger and some string As the academic year draws to a close, it is a great idea to collect all those old issues of Concrete that you have stored in your bedroom and get creative! Over this semester we’ve been showing you new ways to re-use your wellthumbed Concretes, and enjoyed seeing your interpretations of our recycling challenge. This Christmas, why not try making your own Christmas wreath to hang on your bedroom door. You are being environmentally
friendly and getting decorations for free, so give it a try. Tearing up old newspaper is also a fantastic way to relieve any deadline stress as week 12 approaches. Don’t just stop at this, the festive season is the perfect time to go craft mad. Try handmade Christmas cards, Christmas hats, or
if you really want a challenge a Concrete angel! It’s simple, follow this step by step guide, and you’ll have your own Concrete Christmas wreath in no time at all. Stretch the wire coat hanger into a round shape. To make the paper flowers cut your Concretes into eight inch squares, three or four sheets thick. You will need hundreds of these, so keep cutting. Fold the squares like a paper fan but make folds oneinch to one-and-a-half-inches wide (about three or four folds per square). Fold the fan in half
and wrap around wire. Wrap the string around the newspaper as close to the hanger as possible. Repeat until the hanger is full, and join the ends. When it’s complete, personalise it using as much glue and glitter as you can get your hands on. Photos also make a nice touch. Remember to keep tweeting us (@Concrete_LifeS) and emailing concrete.lifestyle@ uea.ac.uk, as well as recycling your Concretes. We’re looking forward to seeing any “Recycle with Lifestyle” ideas you have for 2012.
www.concrete-online.co.uk Tuesday 6th December 2011 - Issue 262
Sugar and spice: a selection of festive treats Candy cane swirl A completely irrestible addition to any Christmas event. Add this festive cocktail to the menu for a christmas party you’ll never forget, that is if you can even remember. They’re fun and easy to make, far better than a bottle of Tesco value white wine. (Please note: Concrete takes no responsibility for any damage caused to trees or toy reindeers after consuming these drinks). Ingredients: For the mint infused vodka: > Fresh mint leaves, destemmed > 1 bottle vodka For each cocktail: > 1 tbsp crushed candy cane > Double shot of mint infused vodka > 2 tsp Brandy & Benedictine > 1 tbsp single cream > Ice > Peppermint stick The mix: Mint infused vodka: Thoroughly wash the mint leaves and place in a large bowl or jar. Empty the vodka on top of the leaves and then crush them slightly to release the flavour. Cover this and then leave in the fridge or freezer until you’re ready to make the cocktail.
The cocktail: Place the crushed candy cane bits into a pint glass. Crush the candy cane slightly more in the glass to break up any bigger pieces. Add the (strained) vodka, brandy and cream, then stir. Pour into a shaker with the ice. Shake lightly to chill then strain the mix into a glass full of ice. Add a peppermint stick and stir. If you have any mint left over add it to the glass to garnish.
Must-have mulled wine If you would like your Christmas party to at least begin with dignity, mulled wine is the perfect tipple to get your guests warmed up nicely. Warming, mellow and sweet, it's reminiscent of Christmas markets, walks in the snow and Boxing Day with Nan. However many times this writer gets told that German Glüwein “ist besser,” this recipe from staunch Norwich legend Delia Smith is pretty much foolproof. No ready made bottles from the Co-Op here; they're tempting, but trust us, your home brew will be so much tastier (and more alcoholic). What's more, it is guaranteed to make your house smell like Christmas.
1 cinnamon stick/1 tsp ground cinnamon 2 tsp ground ginger 1.5 litres water Method: 1. Find the largest saucepan in the house. Two average sized ones will be ok, but make sure you split the ingredients equally. 2. Put all the ingredients in the pan and bring to the boil, stirring continually.
3. Once the sugar/honey has dissolved, bring the heat right down so it is barely simmering. It is very important to turn the heat right down, because otherwise the alcohol evaporates. 4. Put your feet up for 20 minutes while the mulled wine softly simmers, before serving in mugs to your grateful companions. Susanna Wood
Ingredients: 2 bottles cheap red plonk - this is not the time to be a vino snob. Go for the cheapest you can find; Sainsbury’s do a wonderful house red in a plastic bottle which is probably the best value Hasina Allen for money. 1 orange, stuck with cloves (Essential for that Christmassy Tip: For variety in style scent) and taste, try this recipe 2 sliced oranges out with yellow and 2 sliced lemons 6 tablespoons honey or blue striped candy cane granulated sugar
Cha-cha-chai Christmassy cookies Ingredients: 190g flour ¾ tsp baking powder ¼ tsp baking soda ¼ tsp salt 6 tbsp (¾ stick) butter, softened 95g packed brown sugar 1 egg 2 tbsp molasses 8 tbsp cup chai tea For the icing: 4 tbsp (½ stick) butter, softened 110g cream cheese, 1 tsp vanilla extract 256g powdered sugar 2 tbsp powdered spiced chai mix The cookies: 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 2. Roughly mix together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.
3. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar until throughly combined. Stir in the egg, molasses and chai tea. Have no fear if the mixture appears curdled, it’s just a part of the process, it bakes up deliciously in the end. 4. Add dry ingredients and mix until the dough is combined. 5. Drop round spoonfuls onto cookie sheet and space about 2” apart. Bake for 20 minutes. 6. Make sure to check on them reguarly. When done, set aside to cool while you make the icing. The icing: 1. Blend the butter and cream cheese together in bowl or stand mixer. Stir in the vanilla. 2. Add powdered sugar and blend until it has reached a
smooth and creamy consistency. 3. Stir in spiced chai mix until fully combined. 4. Spread the icing on top of the room temperature cookies. 5. Sprinkle them with some cinnamon and sprinkles and, in case they weren't already cute enough, serve them on a cake stand if you have one! Ally Kayler
Tip: These really are delicious when eaten fresh from the oven. Hot, gooey and completely irresistible. Nobody will blame you for not wanting to share them!
www.concrete-online.co.uk Tuesday 6th December 2011 - Issue 262
Spend Easter in China Robert Norris International Writer The Study China programme has been running since 2007, sending hundreds of full time students from the UK to various parts of China annually. Upon arrival, students are sent to one of the many elite universities in China such as Beijing Normal University and Zhejiang University in Hangzhou. At these universities students are taught Mandarin and will embark on a number of cultural activities such as calligraphy and Tai Chi classes.
“The trip is a once-in-alifetime oppurtunity to explore the rich culture China has to offer and to make lifelong friends with the Chinese students you’ll meet once there”
The Scandanavian way Isabelle Carty International Writer Scandinavia is a cultural and historical region in northern Europe that includes Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Sometimes the term is also taken to include Iceland and Finland due to their historical association with the Scandinavian countries. The now commercialised western Christmas traditions of a decorated tree surrounded by presents and Santa Claus are immediately recognisable worldwide. However, in Scandinavia, celebrations are a little different. In Sweden, Christmas celebrations begin on 13 December with Saint Lucia Day. Christmas trees are set up two days before Christmas. Homes are decorated with gingerbread biscuits and red tulips. Christmas Eve (24 December) is known as
Julafton in Swedish and locals will form processions to church with lit candles. There is a festive dinner on Christmas Eve and one popular tradition is to serve Risgryngrot, a special rice porridge with one almond in it. The person who finds the almond gets to make a wish. After the meal, someone dresses up as Tomte, the Chrismas gnome who looks a little like Santa Claus and hands out presents while singing funny rhymes. In Denmark, the mischievous elf, Nisse, plays pranks on people during this festive season. On Christmas Eve, many Danish families will leave rice pudding to appease him. The traditional Christmas starts on 23 December, with hot cinnamon-laced rice pudding (Grod) served with a knob of butter. Children are not allowed to see the Christmas tree until dinner time on Christmas Eve (Juleaften). On Christmas night in Denmark, families gather around Christmas trees, exchange
presents and sing carols. Norway also has an elf called Nisse who is a known trickster but has goat-like attributes and is considered to be a guardian of animals. For Christmas, a special biscuit called Sand Kager is eaten and children go from door to door asking for treats in the afternoon. In Iceland, there are 13 Santa Clauses. Each has a different name, character and role. Icelandic children place a shoe by the window from 12 December until Christmas Eve. If they have been good, one of the Santas leaves a gift. Bad children receive potatoes. Whether there are mischievous elves or jolly men in red suits to facilitate the festivities, one thing that remains constant throughout Scandinavia and the rest of the Christmas-celebrating world is the spirit of Christmas. "Merry Christmas,” and “Happy New Year!” Or as they say in Swedish, “God Jul... Och Ett Gott Nytt Ar!"
This may sound expensive, but Study China is a government funded programme which means that other than flights, travel insurance, visas and food expenses, everything else in the programme is free of charge. Your accommodation will be completely covered by the programme. The trip is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore the rich culture China has to offer and to make
lifelong friends with the Chinese students you’ll meet. Unfortunately, the number of applicants for next year’s programme in April has seriously declined. There are 280 places available on the programme, and so far there have only been 190 applicants. Andrew Taylor, the organiser behind the Study China programme stated: “We’re seriously down on applications for the next programme. Although it is quite usual for everyone to leave it until the last minute to apply, we’ve not got long until the closing date.” Next year’s programme also offers an alternative option to just study at a Chinese university. There are 40 places for students to partake on a special internship programme in either Beijing or Zhuhai, which will allow the applicants to gain firsthand work experience in China. The programme currently exists due to government funding and if all the places are not filled up it is possible that the programme will be stopped. The end of the Study China programme would come at a great loss, not just for students, but also for the continuing relations between some of China’s and the UK’s finest universities. If you are interested in applying for next year’s trip the deadline for applicants is 21 December 2011. Visit studychina.org.uk for more information.
Following last week’s tragic news of the death of former Premier League footballer Gary Speed, calls have been made to raise awareness of the problem of depression within the sport. The former midfielder was found dead in his home on Sunday morning after hanging himself. While it is unknown whether Speed was depressed, the Professional Footballers’ Association plans to send out booklets on the subject of handling the condition to all ex-players. Narrow-minded views on depression are still worryingly present within society today, which makes it painfully obvious that more needs to be done to understand the condition. Such attitudes were expressed by the QPR player Joey Barton, who Tweeted: “Suicide is a mix of the most tragic, most selfish, most terrible (and I want to believe preventable) acts out there.” This comes after former Premier League striker Stan Collymore detailed the current battles he faces with depression. Whatever your opinion of Collymore, he correctly asserts that: “the stigma around this illness suggests that sufferers all of a sudden become useless, maudlin, and unable to function.” Sadly, depression is still seen by some as a taboo subject, which is off-limits. We must accept the frailties of the human mind and acknowledge that there is nothing wrong in asking for help. Until this deep-rooted attitude changes for the better, we can expect similar tragedies to keep occurring. Matt Scrafton
So You Think You Know Trampolining? When people think of Olympic sports, they often focus upon the blue riband track and field events that create lasting legacies. Often overlooked are the lesser known events such as trampolining, which potentially stops hundreds of people experiencing an exciting and vibrant sport that is totally unique. UEA trampoline club is forward-thinking and friendly, welcoming males and females of all abilities to receive expert tuition from their two coaches who guide members through new skills and routines. The club also has an active competitive element, recently competing in a national event at Loughborough University and plans are in place to participate in BUCS in 2012. Trampolining has been one
of the first sports clubs to be able to take advantage of the new gymnastics centre at the Sportspark, adding a twohour session on Wednesday afternoons (2-4pm) to their regular slots of 5-7pm on Mondays and Thursdays in the Sports Hall. Trampolining also has a strong social scene, with President Kristofer Dunn remarking that they have two Christmas socials organised and a second ice-breaker social next semester to welcome new members. Trampolining promises to be a real crowd-puller at London 2012 due to its venue of the O2 Arena. Why not experience such an exciting sport on your doorstep at UEA?
www.concrete-online.co.uk Tuesday 6th December 2011 - Issue 262
BUCS results Wednesday 30th November 2011
53) Oxford Brookes 363 pts 54) Bangor 346 55) Lincoln 345.5
UEA Men’s II Northampton II
60) UEA 337
57) LSE 329.5 58) Coventry 320 59) Liverpool John Moores 318
Derby I UEA Women’s I
UEA Form Guide Top 10 Women’s Hockey (WWWWWW) Women’s Netball I (WWWWLL) Men’s Table Tennis I (WWLWW) Men’s Lacrosse (WLWWW) Men’s Rugby II (WWLWDL) Men’s Football I (WLLWDW) Men’s Football II (DLWLWW) Men’s Rugby I (WLLWWL) Women’s Tennis I (WDW) Men’s Fencing I (WLW)
Rugby Leicester I UEA Women’s I
Table Tennis Imperial I UEA Men’s I
Tennis Warwick II UEA Men’s I
Ruthless Rugby slaughter Staffordshire Matt Scrafton Sports Editor
Men’s Rugby I Staffordshire II
UEA advanced to the last 16 of the Midlands Conference Cup after a straight-forward 94-12 victory against lower league Staffordshire. The visitors, who play their rugby in Midlands Division 4A, were no match for a clearly superior UEA side, three leagues ahead of the team from Stoke. Despite suffering from injuries to a number of key players, the hosts were rarely threatened and the victory was never really in doubt, despite a lacklustre fiveminute period in the first half where Staffordshire threatened a comeback of sorts. UEA got off to the best start possible, with Adam Bramhall scoring two tries in quick succession after showing good pace to evade a number of halfhearted tackles. UEA made a number of opportunities for themselves after successful rucks in the centre, creating space in
the flanks for the wingers to take advantage of. When Connor Sutherland scored a simple try under the posts to make the score 19-0 early on, the game seemed virtually over. But the visitors reacted positively to their latest set-back, and put together a number of promising periods of possession. Their pressure finally paid off, as they bundled over the tryline to cut the deficit in the scoreline. The try reinvigorated Staffordshire, as you could tell from their improved tackling,
whilst UEA were punished by the referee as he awarded a number of penalties against the sky blues. After a UEA line-out near their own 22 was intercepted by Staffordshire’s fly-half, he sprinted away and ran the ball home in the far corner of the pitch. Despite the missed conversion, the score was now 19-12 and it seemed as if they were firmly back in the game. However, the away side’s good spell of play only lasted for a short while, and UEA dominated from this point
onwards. Bramhall ended the match with four tries to his name, while both Shaun Cahill and Mark Perkins scored two each and fly-half Sam Wilkinson racked up plenty of points with his boot. The second-half turned into a procession for the hosts as Staffordshire struggled to get out of their own half, with tries coming at a consistent rate. Following their impressive victory, UEA will now face an away trip to De Montfort I in the last 16 of the Midlands Conference Cup.
www.concrete-online.co.uk Tuesday 6th December 2011 - Issue 262
Canary Corner England get lucky in Euro draw
by Mike Tomkins Norwich continued their bid for survival with two hugely contrasting results. Whilst they were able to claim a win against QPR, the Canaries were ultimately given a reality check by Manchester City. In the QPR game, Norwich looked more promising in the early exchanges, and went close through Steve Morison. It seemed almost inevitable then that the Canaries would score first. Russell Martin soon pounced on some hesitant Rangers’ defending to grab his second goal of the season, and put Norwich into the lead. QPR had previously picked up nine points on the road this season, and levelled midway through the second half through Luke Young. However, such is the Canaries’ endeavour so far, they pushed on and were rewarded with a second. Captain Grant Holt was in the right place at the right time to convert Wes Hoolahan’s cross for the winner. Holt is proving to be an important asset to Paul Lambert’s side this campaign, scoring his third successive goal as a substitute.
Despite some nervy moments, City managed to hold on for an important three points. Carrow Road may be crucial in their survival bid, with three of their four wins coming at home.
“Holt is proving to be an important asset to Paul Lambert’s side” The next fixture for Paul Lambert’s side was against the Citizens, and the difference in opposition showed as they were handed a heavy 5-1 defeat. Although City only led by one goal at half time, they were to show their superiority by grabbing a further four in the second half. Steve Morison managed to net a consolation strike, but it was a one sided affair. The Manchester City result may have dented Norwich’s confidence, but they should not be too disheartened. On the balance of the season so far, the Canaries have shown strong survival credentials. Besides, many teams have been defeated heavily by Roberto Mancini’s men.
Adam Plom Sports Correspondent On Friday evening (December 2), England learned their Euro 2012 fate, drawing a very respectable group of Ukraine, France and Sweden. Meanwhile, the Republic of Ireland were handed extremely tough opponents in the form of Spain, Italy and Croatia. In a typically prolonged process, the Euro 2012 draw was made amid a show of Cossack dancers and Europop singers, but the outcome was far more thrilling. England breathed a sigh of relief after missing the extremely tough Group B, which already featured the Netherlands, Denmark and Portugal. They could then celebrate evading Group C, containing Spain, the Republic of Ireland and Croatia. Instead, those places went to Germany and Italy respectively, meaning that Group B became the “Group of Death.” England can be very happy with their draw, despite landing resurgent rivals France. Co-hosts Ukraine and Sweden, regular opponents in international competitions, certainly weren’t the trickiest ties on offer.
Undoubtedly, England could have had a much more daunting group, and ought to be confident of advancing into the latter stages of the competition. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Ireland. Playing in their first European Championships since 1988, the Irish will find life very difficult in Group C, after drawing reigning champions Spain, Trapattoni’s home nation Italy and Croatia. The Italian will surely be hoping that Ireland can carry the confidence from their play-off victory into the tournament if they are to stand any chance of progression.
In what would have been a comic twist, Ireland almost joined the comically named “Group of Debt.” Before the draw took place, it was noted that a group could emerge of financially troubled Eurozone nations. In the end, however, the line-up lacked the most cash-strapped nation of all, Greece. The Greeks find themselves in Group A alongside co-hosts Poland, Russia and the Czech Republic, certainly the weakest group. It leaves fans with the uninspiring opening salvo of Poland vs. Czech Republic, when the tournament begins next year.
Lacrosse see off Lincoln in tight clash Lewis Dalton Sports Correspondent
Men’s Lacrosse I Lincoln I
Men’s Lacrosse defeated Lincoln 9-6 in last game of the year for one of UEA’s most on-form sports teams. They held off a spirited comeback from the away side in the second half to record another victory prior to the new year. Both Lincoln and UEA are known for being two of the previous season’s most physical teams, so tension was high between the two camps. However, UEA immediately went 1-0 up from the face off, with Ben Dickson firing off his trademark long range, underarm snipe from just in front of the restraining line. From here, goals began to flood the scoreboard, with fresher Ross Field scoring from
a flamboyant swim dodge to the shock and delight of the home team players. With this surprise goal came another, as Field scored once again, this time from a beautifully crafted split dodge, which sent his defender the opposite way, allowing for a free shot on goal. A final goal from Alex Watt, this one much in the same vein as Dickson’s earlier goal, meant that at the end of the first quarter, UEA were 4-0 ahead. The second quarter began with a sublime play between Lincoln’s two best players, with rapid one-two passes and a quick cut through the defensive lines, dissecting the UEA defence and bringing a well-deserved goal, taking the score to 4-1. However, Mikey Bolton, recently moved from ‘keeper to an attacking position, remedied this quick goal with a trademark of his own, darting across the crease, collecting a feed and dumping the ball into the back of the net
from in-close. It seemed that this game was going to be a walk over, especially with a second goal from Alex Watt and Ben Dickson, increasing the score even further. At half time, confidence was high on the UEA sidelines,
though not for long, as costly defensive errors saw Lincoln pull back five goals in quick succession with the UEA goalkeeper scoring an own goal from a miss throw, leaving the score at 7-6. This didn’t really reflect the way the game had
been played, however. Two final goals from Canadian Matt Laustrup made sure the game ended a little more how it had been played, with a 9-6 result. This leaves UEA sitting safely in second position in the league, behind high rollers, Leicester.
www.concrete-online.co.uk Tuesday 6th December 2011 - Issue 262
NBA agrees end to lockout for Christmas Kris Nelson Sports Correspondent After 139 days of bitter arguing, accusations and attempted negotiation, the news that millions of Americans had been waiting for finally broke on 26 November. The NBA’s selfimposed lockout had finally come to an end. The lockout situation is a phenomenon the majority of English sports fans will never experience, but in America it seems to be happening on a regular basis across the so-called “big-four” sports of basketball, NFL, ice hockey and baseball. An entire season of hockey was lost in 2004-2005 and this year’s NFL only just got the goahead, but it seemed for a long time that basketball would be the real loser with seemingly no end to a dispute revolving
around revenue sharing and the structure of the salary cap. During the lockout, franchises were unable to trade and sign players, or access facilities controlled by the NBA. As top players such as two-time all-
star and Olympic gold medallist Deron Williams defected to European leagues, American basketball was being shaken to its very foundation. Eventually, after claiming all pre-season games as well as a
significant portion of what would normally be the regular season, common sense has prevailed. Both parties have managed to reach a tentative agreement whereby teams will play two pre-season fixtures before embarking upon a shortened 66game regular season, beginning on Christmas Day. Finally, the world can get excited about basketball again. Star performers Chris Paul and Dwight Howard seem set for moves to new franchises, current titleholders Dallas Mavericks face a real battle to retain the championship and there is heightened interest within Britain as $50m man Luol Deng looks set for a key season at Chicago Bulls before leading Team GB at London 2012. The world can now finally start getting excited about potentially the most exciting season of basketball yet.
Netball ease to BUCS Cup win
Women’s Netball I Warwick III
Chris Teale Sports Editor Netball I are through to the last 16 of the BUCS Midlands Conference Cup after a highly impressive 60-18 demolition of Warwick III at the Sportspark. Given that the away side are in Midlands Division 4A, a full two divisions below UEA, they were always expected to struggle, and it was no surprise that an attacking onslaught from the home side saw them open up an early 6-0 lead. This
domination continued thanks to some excellent defence and rapid counter-attacking movement, to which the away side had no answer. Thanks to a number of intercepted passes and great rebounding, UEA found themselves up by a margin of 12-3 at the end of the first quarter. Their opponents had little answer to the home side’s great attacking play and stifling defence, and it appeared they would struggle for the rest of the game. The second quarter began much the same as the first, as Warwick had little answer to constant pressure by the home side, and UEA’s domination was even greater than in the
first quarter. The home side continued to rain in the shots and the goals, with the away side’s defence struggling to cope with a constant barrage of attacking play. It was all very comfortable for UEA, who went into the half-time break with a 31-5 lead, looking very strong and keen to continue their dominance. UEA managed to keep up the momentum from the first half as the second period began, and their good rebounding and interceptions continued, adding to their already impressive goal tally and margin. While Warwick managed to find a few more goals, their defence still struggled to keep the home side’s scoring under control, and found themselves still very far behind an impressive home side performance. Despite an injury where one of UEA’s players took a ball to the face, the home side were looking extremely comfortable at the end of the third quarter, with a 44-12 lead. The fourth quarter continued somewhat in the same vein, as UEA still managed to score numerous goals, and their movement was far superior to their opponents’. As their lead became even more unassailable than before, some slight handling errors began to creep
into the home side’s play, but the damage was done. At the final whistle, the scoreline of 60-18 did not flatter UEA whatsoever. Credit must go to Warwick, who continued to work hard throughout and kept pressurising UEA, but it is the home side who advances. Now, they face an away trip to Birmingham II, and will be hopeful of taking the momentum from this game into their next league match, again away, this time to Birmingham III.
Federer ends season with Finals victory Keiren Cordery Sports Correspondent Roger Federer overcame a brave fight-back from Jo-Wilfred Tsonga to win the ATP World Tour Finals for the sixth time. Federer beat his opponent 6-3, 6-7 (6-8), 6-3 on the way to a 17th straight victory. The Swiss looked to have the match wrapped up after going a set and a break up, but the resilient Frenchmen summoned all his strength to save match point before eventually breaking back to ensure a third set would be played. Unfortunately, Tsonga, playing Federer for the third consecutive Sunday, lost comfortably in the third.
“Defeats in the group will do little to overshadow Djokovic’s outstanding year” Federer was the only one of the “big four” to emerge from the group stages, as this tournament proved one too many for his competitors. Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal suffered from fatigue after a long season, while injury-prone British player Andy Murray was forced to pull out. However, defeats in the group couldn’t overshadow Djokovic’s outstanding year, in which he has won three of the four major tournaments. Nadal’s humiliating 6-3, 6-0 loss to Federer would certainly have been more painful for the Spaniard, but his season will conclude with the final of the Davis Cup against Argentina, despite complaints of fatigue. Murray, who suffered a groin injury during his straight sets defeat against David Ferrer, had a miserable homecoming at the O2 Arena. With notable performances from Berdych and Tipsarevic, and strong challenges looming from other players, he has his work cut out trying to capture that elusive Grand Slam in 2012. Ultimately, it was the consistency and class of Federer which shone through. At this point in time he appears to be immune to the injuries and fatigue which have plagued his opponents, and this has allowed him to end the season in triumphant fashion.
ueasport >> Rugby match report | p21 >> Lacrosse match report | p22 >> Netball match report | p23
Inside concretesport this fortnight:
• Mike Tomkins analyses the recent performances of Norwich City, while Chris Teale watches Netball I progress in the BUCS Cup • Matt Scrafton sees Men’s Rugby I dominate their cup match, and Kris Nelson reports on the end to the NBA lockout
Football enjoy ideal Derby Day preparation Billy Sexton Sports Correspondent
Men’s Football I Essex I
UEA needed extra time to secure a 4-1 victory over rivals Essex in a hotly contested Last 16 BUCS Cup encounter. It was a bright but chilly afternoon at Colney Lane as UEA faced Derby Day opponents Essex, with both teams hopeful of progressing to the quarter finals. Neither team took control in the opening 10 minutes, with heavy tackles coming in the centre of midfield from both sides. UEA looked promising on the counter-attack and opened the scoring 20 minutes into the game when Calum Hutcheon headed in from close range to put the hosts ahead. Essex fought on and produced some attractive attacking play but never looked threatening to the solid UEA back four. The home side came close to doubling their lead, seeing a curling shot glance off the crossbar towards the end of the first half. UEA continued with their attacking ethic in the second half, and Essex found it difficult to break down a calm and composed UEA defence. Utilising the pace of their wingers, UEA were able to frequently get inside the Essex 18 yard box, but with no clearcut chances, the score remained 1-0. However, Essex got back into the game with a strike from 25 yards out, as their skilful centre midfielder spotted UEA’s goalkeeper off his line and placed the ball into the back of the net to
Laura Smith level the score. Two consecutive saves from UEA’s ‘keeper after this kept the hosts in the game as a revitalised Essex pushed forward. UEA’s Danny Scott used his pace and power to dispossess a nervous Essex defender and neatly placed the ball into the back of the net, only to see his goal ruled out for a foul on the Essex player. The scores remained level
after 90 minutes, meaning extra time would decide the contest. UEA found themselves through on goal almost immediately and should have capitalised on this chance. However, they quickly rectified this, Jason Ayton sliding in at the far post to put UEA ahead for the second time in the game. Talented left-footer Josh Kelly put UEA two goals ahead after a horrendous defensive mix
up from Essex and could have scored again had it not been for an impressive save from the Essex goalkeeper. Ayton got his brace before the full-time whistle and the game ended 4-1, with UEA fully deserving the victory. They now face an away fixture at Brighton II in the quarterfinals of the BUCS Cup on February 1, and will be hopeful of progressing against the side currently sitting in second place
in Southern Division 1A. Men’s Football I return to league action in the Midlands Division 1A on January 25, when they are due to travel to face Warwick I, currently sitting in third place but only one point ahead of UEA, who are fifth. The result is also ideal preparation for Derby Day in March, which sees UEA travel to Essex to defend their title from last year.
Concreteâ€™s fortnightly culture pullout
issue 262 | 06/12/2011
arts | talk walt disney | p.11 film/tv | suggest some christmas viewing | pp. 19-20
Photo by Laura Smith
music | review livewire unsigned | p. 6
Wanted 6 Union Part Time Elected Officers (4 non-portfolio, Environment and Ethics) Contract period 1 year April 1012 - March 2013
We are looking for 6 UEA students of any age or nationality who have the dedication, energy and enthusiasm to volunteer help us take the Union forward in very uncertain times. If you are interested in making real change for students UEA gaining a unique experience that will set you up for virtually any career – then this might be the role for you. You will receive training, be able to attend conferences and gain a variety of work-based skills, experiences and development opportunities.
Wanted Union Full Time Elected Officers
Successful candidates will be expected to:
Contract period 1 year July 1012-July 2013 Salary: 16k Hours of work: variable
Support a variety of activists and volunteers
We are looking for 4 UEA students of any age or nationality who have the drive, energy and enthusiasm to help us take the Union forward in very uncertain times. If you are interested in representing the interests of students to the university and wider community, and improving students day to day university experiences, as well as meeting new people, being challenged on a daily basis and gaining a unique experience that will set you up for virtually any career – then this might be the role for you.
Wanted 6 Union Part Time Elected Officers (International, Mature, Disabilities, LGBT,
(Academic, Communications, Community and Student Rights, Finance)
The Student’s Union is an £11mn turnover charity run by students for students. We employ 100 permanent staff and up to 500 student staff. With the decline in alcohol sales in the LCR and Pub, the introduction of £9k fees the future will be challenging. Our full time Officers will help shape the future direction of the Union. Alongside you salary you will receive full training and offered fantastic development opportunities. You will be expected to: Successful candidates will be expected to Lead Union Campaigns and Democracy Improve the day to day experience of students at UEA Represent Students at University Committee’s Be Trustee of the Union AND the University* Be a director of the Unions two limited companies Support and train a variety of activists and volunteers *Finance and Communications Officers
Become a member of the Unions Student Officer Committee Implement Union policy agreed by Union Council Be a Trustee of the Union* Lead Union Campaigns and Democracy to improve the day to day experience of students at UEA *2 part time officers are elected by the Student Officer Committee to sit on the Unions trustee Board
Womens’, Ethnic Minorities)
Contract period 1 year April 1012 - March 2013 We are looking for 6 UEA students to represent our Equal opportunities groups on campus. If you have the dedication, energy and enthusiasm to volunteer help us take the Union forward in very uncertain times. If you are interested in making real change for your students peers at UEA and gaining a unique experience that will help you develop real skills – then this might be the role for you. Our equal opportunities officers represent the voices of their peers through campaigns, awareness, and bringing their own experiences to the Union If you are a students who self-define as Gay, Lesbian, bisexual or transsexual, a student with disabilities, from British ethnic minority, International, mature, or a woman and want to ensure that your peers a represented effectively to the Union and the University then we want to hear from you.You will receive training, be able to attend conferences and gain a variety of work-based skills, experiences and development opportunities. Successful candidates will be expected to; Become a member of the Unions Student Officer Committee Implement Union policy agreed by Union Council Leading Union campaigns based on the needs of their peers Support a variety of activists and volunteers
Wanted 4 NUS Delegates
Every year, the Union sends four elected NUS delegates to the National Union of Students’ National Conference. This year, it’s taking place in Sheffield from Tuesday 24 April to Thursday 26 April 2012. The role of an NUS delegate is to represent and vote in line with the policy of the Union of UEA Students. It’s a really good way to get involved with the national student movement, vote in the presidential and vice-presidential elections and represent the views of the Union on a national level. The Union of UEA Students is a registered charity England and Wales no 1139778
ssue 262 | 06.12.2011 ditor-in-Chief | Chris King | firstname.lastname@example.org
enue Editor | Alex Throssell | concrete.event.uea.ac.uk Muffgate was a laugh, wasn’t it? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then don’t worry. For everyone else who actually read the last issue of Venue and spotted the errors in Hannah’s Fashion article (I don’t know how you could really miss them), this is my chance to shout “Soz guys” from the balcony in Union House to all of you. Pages get lost, things don’t get proofread; it’s all part of the editorial experience on deadline day. We’ll live, I’m sure you will too. However... ... Intentionally ridiculous disclaimer: if any of you were particularly affected by the terrible content in the last issue, especially the shocking utterances of “vagine” and the like, please don’t hesitate to call Concrete’s free support hotline on 01603 593466. That aside, Christmas can fuck off. It’s barely December and people are going mental. Christmas trees in flat windows, tinsel appearing everywhere and some overly-twee woman ruining The Smith’s classic Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want on that John Lewis advert. It’s not cool. This issue of Venue is cool though. How about we celebrate that instead?
Alex Music | Editors | Alex Ross & Jordan Bright Music Contributors> Oliver Balaam, Jordan Bright, Christopher Ogden, Callum Pawlett-Howell. Wired | Editor | Josh Mott Wired Contributors> Josh Mott, Leo Hunt, TImothy Bates, Andrew Wilkins, Thomas Mott, Phillip Jones, Joe Fitzsimmons. Fashion | Editors | Hannah Britt & Milly Sampson Fashion Contributors> Hannah Britt, Jess Beech, Melissa Rushworth, Verity Snow. Arts | Editor | Emma Webb Arts Contributors> Emma Webb, Harriet MacDonald, Susanna Wood, Emily Pearse, Sarah Boughen, Rachael Lum
Film | Editors | James Burrough & Anna Eastick Film Contributors> A. J. Hodson, Callum Watson, Saul Holmes, Tim Bates, Eliot Fallows, Tom White, Leo Hunt, Matt Francis, Drew Nicol, Julia Sanderson, Kieran Rogers, Joseph Murphy, Beth Wyatt TV | Editor | Matt Tidby TV Contributors> Matt Mulcahy, Callum Smith, Ellissa Chilley, Beth Wyatt Competitions & Listings | Editor | Sam Tomkinson.
Photo by Laura Smith
Creative Writing | Editor | Ella Chappell Creative Writing Contributors> Matt Mulcahy, Abby Erwin, Katherine Duckney, Sarah-Joy Wickes, Ben Rogers, .
The Vaccines 30.11.11 UEA LCR
Hyperbolically held up by critics as the saviours of British guitar music, it’s easy to write off The Vaccines as little more than the overhyped indie band of the minute. This would be a tragic oversight however as, whilst they don’t revolutionise indie rock and roll, they do a far better job of it than any of their contemporaries. Proof of the chasmic divide between The Vaccines and similar bands came in the form of the evening’s support acts. Howler plodded out interchangeable indie tunes from the bottom of the bill as the sold out
LCR quickly reached capacity. Frankie & the Heartstrings stepped things up a notch, but unfortunately the only person who was really into their set was Frankie himself. Indeed before closing the set with their standout track Photograph, he raised his largest cheer of the night by remarking: “We’ll get out of your way as you’re only here to see one band.” It’s sad, but he’s right. Kicking off the set with If You Wanna and Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra), when The Vaccines band did finally hit the stage, they brought a volley of adrenaline with them. Just as tight
and punchy live as they are on the record, the formerly static crowd couldn’t stop moving and singing along. The band gets through songs just a quickly live as they do on the record too, knocking out hits for 15 minutes before even saying hello: that’s nearly half their album. As a result, it wasn’t the longest of sets, coming in at under an hour. A few non-album tracks helped stretch it out a bit, but none were just filler. The B-side We’re Happening was surprisingly well known and received and a pair of up tempo new tracks suggested
the second album is going to be more rock and roll than indie pop. Family Friend mellowed things out nicely towards the end of the set, showing off the band’s often overlooked penchant for dusky melancholy, and Nørgaard ended it with a bang. Overall it was a tough show to have too many gripes with but its length was a sore reminder that it’s going to take the all important second album to cement The Vaccines as a truly great live band. Oliver Balaam
Jordan Bright caught up with Freddie and Arni from The Vaccines before they played their show at UEA...
The Vaccines Interview
You’ve had to postpone gigs because of problems with Justin’s vocals. How is he now? What was the problem? Freddie: Yeah, he’s ok. Really it was just the fact that we’ve been touring so much. Vocal cords are really delicate anyway and I think with all the strain of the schedule we’ve had it shouldn’t have been a surprise that it happened.
You’ve mentioned a little about plans for your second album. Have you been working on new material? Freddie: Yeah, all the time. Actually, with postponing shows due to the issues with Justin we had a couple of months to work on things. Obviously we didn’t want to cancel gigs but we made use of it. At the moment we just have very little time. Well, we do have time now, just not time that we can use.
Albert Hammond produced your new single Tiger Blood, how did this happen? Arni: We got an email from him while we were in New York, it was completely out of the blue. At first we didn’t think there would be an opportunity, with his touring commitments and ours, but we both had time. We went over to his studio, driven by the most racist taxi driver in New York, and worked on the track
Are you looking to take a different direction? Freddie: Not actively. I think it’s just an organic progression. Arni: Obviously with the first album the whole thing was to keep things stripped down, back to basics. Freddie: We’re really proud of the first album, but at the same time we don’t want to just rerecord it. There will be a sense of continuity,
but there are other things we want to put into it. It seems hardcore and punk bands often start with an extremely basic sound and then move on, often because they’ve improved as musicians. Freddie: I don’t think we’ve improved much as musicians, we’re tighter, but there isn’t much time for practice. Arni: It does happen a lot, you do get people like Ian MacKaye who have very different, distinct sounds. Freddie: Yeah, if you look at The Clash, the way they changed in such a short space of time. For the Wetsuit video you asked fans to send in pictures. Now that your playing to much larger crowds is it important to maintain some kind of connection with fans, keep them involved? Freddie: Yeah, we’ve still got away without
paying them (laughs). Arni: It is important to us, you can’t talk to everyone anymore. Freddie: It just seemed like a good idea and it was much easier than shooting something. Is the design side of things something that interests you? Are you involved with videos, artwork, tshirts that kind of thing? Freddie: Definitely, we are very involved. All of it comes from us, we all approve what’s going out. The art that’s associated with music is a very important part of it. Are there any projects you’re keen to pursue, inside or outside of the Vaccines? Freddie: Of course. The only thing is that there is very little time to use. The Vaccines are always going to be the priority and it’s always going to be a case of putting all of our efforts into that first.
For anyone unaware, Livewire Unsigned is an annual competition run by UEA’s student radio station, Livewire 1350, that aims to promote local artists without a record label: the clue is very much in the name. Adopting a “battle of the bands” format, this year saw 5 bands fight it out in the Blue Bar: competing for the first place prize of two days recording at Future Studios and a music video produced by media students. Up first were Astral Void, the only band to be chosen by the public (gaining 74.9% of the vote to beat out The Promenade and Cassetto UK). As an alternative rock band, who cite Biffy Clyro and Foo Fighters as influences, Astral Void played a set that sums up their “back to basics” ethos of no-frills, yet high thrills. Tracks like Forever were simple, but maintained enough momentum to keep the audience interested, especially thanks to Chris Gedge’s extremely capable work on lead guitar. As Astral Void reached the tail-end of their allotted 20 minutes it was clear that while their setlist was lacking both variety and originality, it was underpinned
by a professionalism and showmanship worthy of praise. Next to take the floor were Port Isla. Essentially a folk-pop quartet, they naturally draw knee-jerk comparisons with Mumford & Sons: in reality they are more a potent blend of Fleet Foxes, The Shins and Belle & Sebastian. It was clear from the start that, as the closest thing to last year’s winners Inlay, Port Isla had a legitimate shot at victory. The bands setlist showcased their versatility and, as a significant contrast to Astral Void’s raucous opening, their emphasis on carefully crafted melodies added an extra dimension to the evening’s proceedings. The music of Port Isla was captivating, but essentially it did not translate well into a competition format: the band are probably best appreciated alone, rather than judged alongside others with strikingly different styles. The Reasons Why were placed in the middle of the bill. Formerly known as Alex Ross and the Reasons Why, the band underwent a recent name change after a rare lapse in the egomania of their lead singer
(Ed. Only because I’m amazing). Now fairly established in the local music scene, the three-piece are Alex Ross (guitar and vocals), Josh Bowker (bass) and Patrick Oddi (drums). Facing the additional challenge of a piercing fire alarm, The Reasons Why wasted no time in encouraging a crowd to join them down on the bar floor, providing a level of intimacy that had previously been missing between the bands and the audience. The band proceeded to knock out a tight, energetic set with consummate ease to place themselves at the forefront of the competition. Their material was direct and to the point and for the first time in the evening it was clear that it resonated with the audience. Kodeta (pictured) are in many ways the perfect act to follow on. A tense, energetic performance keeps the audience on their feet, but it’s songs like The Fight, creating a singalong though nobody had heard it before, that tip Kodeta over from being a good band into being a genuinely great rock trio. That generation of great British rock bands may have petered out (read Hell is
For Heroes, Reuben, Biffy) to be replaced by twee pop posers, but on this showing Kodeta have more than enough in the bank to put a stick of dynamite up the proverbial arse of this country’s music scene. The judges award them first place and it’s hard to dispute. Speaking of dynamite, Wild Front Tears are a bit of a shock. Conspicuously enigmatic through the internet before the event, their set struck the crowd like a very enjoyable slap round the chops. William Phillips’ vocal stylings will be compared favourably to Zac de la Rocha, and their cover of Bulls on Parade will only strengthen that, but Wild Front Tears are far more than a Rage tribute. Closing with a seven minute epic with guest female vocals won’t hurt that either. Their fan base agree too, earning them second place in the audience shoutoff. So, if you want that enjoyable slap round the chops, it’s worth checking out their wellearned headline slot at next year’s Hearing Aid concert. Jordan Bright
Photo by Chloe Hashemi
24.11.11 UEA LCR
23.11.11 Waterfront There lies an inherent struggle in constructing anything: an edifice may look graceful but it must hide enormous pressure in standing up. This was not a lesson lost on the Waterfront crowd when by the end of this concert Yuck and their support failed, adorably, to build
an on-stage human pyramid. Before this wry collapse, the band managed to put on an impressive show. Frontman Daniel Blumberg and his bandmates appeared oddly unresponsive as they opened with Holing Out, the singer’s head constantly slumped to one side as if feigning indifference to Max Bloom’s melodic effectspedal fuzz and Mariko Doi’s bass rumble. As Blumberg opened the ballad Suicide Policeman alone, one realised that their music does the emoting, with barbs of energy and honesty winking through lyrics which make listlessness sound incredibly accessible. “What’s up, y’all?” he quipped afterwards, downplaying the sentiment of this show;
the last of the tour for one support band. The band were at their most relaxed when chatting with the crowd, the comparable youth of their members explaining their self-consciousness as they sought to defend themselves behind humour. Yuck’s 90s indie sensibilities, so evident in Georgia’s bright tri-partite harmonies, the mellow Shook Down, the crunching dynamics of Operation and the screeching The Wall, give them a catchiness that is very hard to dislike. In a set entirely mined from their successful first album released earlier this year, Blumberg and co also played a few tracks added to the recent deluxe edition, the shoegaze-inflected The Base of a Dream is
The lights go down at the LCR and Thin Lizzy’s The Boys are Back in Town plays through the speakers, a more suitable song there is not, and The Darkness’ second Norwich gig of the year starts in emphatic fashion. They do not disappoint the sell out crowd from herein either, playing every song from 2003’s hit album Permission to Land and even breaking out the festive cheer early for the one audience member who calls out for their Christmas song. The Darkness certainly know how to put on a show, as the pyrotechnics nearly burn the eyebrows off the people at the front, ticker tape snow falls from the sky and looks of horror flash across the faces of the security as Justin Hawkins is carried through the crowd by them. After a five year hiatus the band and their songs are still as strong as ever. They focus primarily on their early work; only playing two songs from their second album and four new songs which still go down well. Perhaps the strangest song of the night is their cover of Radiohead’s Street Spirit (Fade Out) which enters into the territory of so wrong it’s right, as Justin’s falsetto vocals and 1970s classic rock sound reinvents, in the words of Thom Yorke “one of Radiohead’s saddest songs”. However, given thast tickets sold out in a few hours for their homecoming gig, the audience lacked the enthusiasm that you would expect. Apart from the opening of their hit single I Believe In A Thing Called Love, where the electricity was almost visible, they were relatively muted. That’s not to say that they weren’t enjoying themselves. This was still the best show that Norwich has seen for a long, long time and it reminds everyone why The Darkness were such a success and why they are so loved. Callum Pawlett-Howell
Empty hinting towards a moodier direction for Yuck’s next record. Rubber ended the concert, the dirge building in intensity around bending guitars and the almost detached drumming of afroed American Jonny Rogoff, Blumberg asking “Should I give in?”, before the song collapsed in glorious resignation, and the pyramid in light-hearted camaraderie. For a band whose songs explore the tribulations of trying to be cool, the bittersweet desire to be always well designed, Yuck themselves only continue to make that task look effortless. Christopher Ogden
It is that time of the year again, when every gaming website and magazine under the sun announces their game of the year, however Venue’s game of the year is the only one voted for exclusively by students at UEA. The Wired team of writers has declared their nominations. They cover a wide spectrum, including games from the three major home platforms, as well as a multitude of different genres. What is interesting is the inclusion of two fantasy role playing games in the form of Dark Souls and Skyrim, both superb games in their own rights. The lack of any conventional first person shooters is notable, has the Call of Duty era come to an end? Some of the games that narrowly missed out on the top five are Uncharted 3, L.A Noire, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and Infamous 2, all superb games but not quite good enough for the Wired team. Here are the nominations:
Dark Souls is the anti-Skyrim, replacing Bethesda’s often aimless open world with a meticulously crafted web of linear, interlocking paths. It is the only game in which one can be fatally devoured by a treasure chest. Developed by giggling sadists whose idea of fun is to pit the player against a hostile world of instant-death falls, booby traps and ravenous monsters without
a single sliver of advice on where to go or how to survive, Dark Souls is the first time Wired needed an online walkthrough. This is one of few games which contains dungeons and dragons and where it seems that the artists actually bothered to research medieval armour and architecture. Dark Souls contains the most ingeniously grotesque boss monsters since Resident Evil 4, and a combat system so perfect one
honestly can’t compare it with any game in recent memory. Original multiplayer features seamlessly integrate with the single player game in a complex system of hint messages, lonely co-operation and hilarious institutionalised grieving. Dark Souls is by turns beautiful and terrifying, engaging and frustrating, inspired and deeply satisfying. Leo Hunt
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
In the midst of one of the worst years in Nintendo’s history, Hidemaro Fujibayashi and his designers have, quietly and without any development issues, commemorated The Legend of Zelda’s 25th anniversary, not just by producing the greatest Zelda game, but by producing the greatest Nintendo game. It is the game to show motion control sceptics just how plausible the promises made five years ago about transforming the game industry really are. It is a game to show Wii
Batman: Arkham City
The Dark Knight found revitalised success in the video game market in 2009 with the release of Arkham Asylum. Following its success, the developers RockSteady announced a sequel where players would once again take control of the Batman in an open world called Arkham City. In terms of a superhero adaptation, Arkham City is one of the best of all time. It retains all the controls and movements of the original
Asylum but sprinkles it with new gadgets, environments and enemies to produce a highly ambitious and entertaining video game experience. The roster of classic Batman villains was substantially beefed up this time around with the likes of the Joker, Two-Face, Penguin, Mr Freeze, and the Riddler all making their mark. The open world experience of Arkham City gives players the freedom to either progress with the epic storyline, or explore the large
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
It is hard to write a nomination for such a gargantuan game without using several pages, a bunch of screenshots and a pie chart, but we’ll give it a go. The game is the fifth Elder Scrolls instalment from Bethesda and is set in the snowy province of Skyrim, which is in the grips of civil war. Skyrim itself is absolutely huge, with countless unique dungeons, caves and
developers that a weak graphics chip does not mean weak graphics if your aesthetic design is strong enough. Each new character, gadget and location, from the dozens of floating islands above the clouds, to dungeons in the darkest depths of the surface world, is sharp enough to remind you that the designers know what they’re doing. This is the game Zelda fans have always been waiting for, without even knowing they were. Game of the year? This is the game of 25 years. Timothy Bates
island suburb to complete side missions, or find secret trophies scattered around by the Riddler. Arkham City raises the superhero bar to new heights and firmly places the caped crusader at the forefront of game releases this year. Not only does it appeal to the die-hard Batman fan, it’s a game anyone can immerse themselves in and is a worthy contender for game of the year. Andrew Wilkins
ruins to explore as well as nine major cities. The cities range from Whiterun, which has a striking resemblance to Edoras from Lord of the Rings, to Markarth, an epic city made of towering carved stone buildings, roaring waterfalls and crawling ivy. When it comes to gameplay Skyrim is great improvement on Oblivion. The player can now equip whatever he wants in either hand, whether that is a sword in your right and a
ball of fire in your left, or a lightning bolt in your right and a healing spell in your left. The possibilities are endless in this incredible game; you can turn werewolf or vampire, massacre a village or marry the barmaid, smith a steel great sword or join the Mages guild. Skyrim is easily the most immersive gaming experience out there and is a profound contender for game of the year. Thomas Mott
Wired’s winner is Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. With more votes than the other three nominees put together, one of the most anticipated RPGs of all time was actually able to live up to the hype, providing one of the most expansive and immersive gaming experiences in history. Overall 2011 has been a good year for games, with superb titles like Portal 2 and L.A Noire gracing the earlier months, an extensive drought of titles over the summer, and then a mad rush of outstanding games over the last quarter of the year. As shown by our nominationas, the gaming industry appears to be breaking away from the grip of first person genre which has existed for the past three or four years. As the current generation of consoles draws to a close we look forward to seeing a broadening in the genre and game mechanics spectrum. Next year is expected to bring the announcement of the next Sony and Microsoft consoles, the release of the Wii U, and the release of Grand Theft Auto 5? It certainly is a great time to be a gamer!
Appy Corner: Minecraft
Preview: Star Wars: The Old Republic
20th December 2011 will see the release of Star Wars: The Old Republic. The story is set about 3,500 years before the events of the films, and 300 years after the events of Star Wars: The Knights of the Old Republic. In the newest instalment, the Jedi have moved from Coruscant back to Tython in order to seek guidance from the Force; they are being held to blame for the victory of the Sith in the 28 year long Great Galactic Civil War. The Sith have regained control of Korriban and have rebuilt the Sith academy. A fragile peace is held between the Republic and the Sith but conflicts soon arise. Players will be able to choose from a variety of races including human, Twi’lek and Cyborg (depending on which faction they choose at the beginning; Sith Empire or Galactic Republic) and a diverse choice of classes. Republic players will be able to choose from Jedi Knight, Jedi Consular, Smuggler, and Trooper. Meanwhile, Empire players can choose between: Sith Warrior, Sith Inquisitor, Bounty Hunter, and Imperial Agent. The usual light side/dark side dynamic has been tweaked to allow players from both factions to make their own moral decisions,
so it is possible to be a Jedi Knight with full dark side alliance. Each player will receive their own star ship that differs in correspondence with their class. With these you will be able to explore lots of the well-known worlds from the franchise including: Coruscant, Tython, Korriban, Nar Shaddaa, Alderaan and Tatooine, as well as other lesser known worlds. After criticism that the previous two instalments lacked in multiplayer options, Bioware has made SW:TOR an MMORPG. This allows for multiplayer gaming, but interaction with non-playable characters has not been eradicated. You will be able to have companions who will aid you in combat, form bonds with the NPCs and, in true Bioware style, even romance them. The recent beta testing has held good reviews from those lucky enough to get a place, and has shown a move from other popular MMORPG World of Warcraft. Star Wars: The Old Republic is guaranteed to be more than just a highly promising game: it is one which could dominate the MMORPG market. Phillip Jones
There can be no doubt Minecraft is one of the biggest success stories in gaming in recent years. Released by indie developer Mojang, it has clocked over 4 million sales before even moving past the beta stage. Most surprising is the fact it has gained such popularity despite being a very unconventional game. There are no victory conditions in Minecraft and no “end game.” It is more like a creativity tool than a video game. The player is simply given the means to craft and shape the game world as they see fit using a variety of tools, and the rest is left to their imagination. The player can level mountains, build a house or construct a mine. The only limit is their level of dedication. This has led to some very interesting creations by particularly committed people, with videos of working CPUs, sprawling metropolises and even a 1:1 scale reconstruction of Middle Earth circling the internet. Recently released on the App Store, Minecraft Pocket Edition is essentially a cut down version of the PC release. Monsters and animals have been removed, as has the ability to craft objects such as swords and pickaxes, but the core principle of Minecraft remains. You have a vast expanse of land in front of you, a variety of building materials at your disposal, and the opportunity to let
your creativity run wild. This will all feel very accessible and familiar to veteran Minecraft players, but newcomers may be left wondering what they are supposed to be doing, or how to go about doing it. However, despite the lack of an introduction or tutorial the controls are extremely intuitive. Using the touch screen to place blocks and move the player through the on screen D-pad can be quickly mastered and functions without any major problems. The graphics are as basic and as blocky as the full release but retain a certain cute charm. Overall, Minecraft Pocket Edition is a great buy for Minecraft fans who want to craft on the move, and a brilliant supplement to the full game. Joe Fitzsimmons
Retro Column Special: Final Fantasy Bosses Phillip Jones counts down his top 10... 10. Seymour Starting the list off is Maester Seymour Guado, the seemingly unstoppable character from Final Fantasy X. The team must fight this boss four times and then once more in the sequel (Final Fantasy X-2), before he finally stays dead.
Fan favourite Beatrix is Queen Brahne’s general in Final Fantasy IX. The characters face her on multiple occasions and she wipes the floor with them every time. She earns her place on the list for being undefeated and because players eventually get to wield her character for a short time, seizing a rare opportunity to play as a truly fearsome warrior.
Jenova is an other worldly life form whose DNA is used to create super soldiers in Final Fantasy VII. Jenova∙LIFE is an important battle as it occurs directly after the death of one of the main characters. The fight is tough and fraught with emotion for a fallen comrade.
Battles with Barthandelus in Final Fantasy XIII are a daunting task. He is a fal’Cie and therefore has unimaginable power. He will put your team through their paces before you defeat him. You’ll face him on three occasions, and will most likely have to attempt the battles multiple times in order to win.
Edea is the primary antagonist of the first half of Final Fantasy VIII. She is a powerful sorceress and seems intent on world domination. When the team face her, all they can do is hold their own until she ultimately totals them.
Ultimecia is the final villain of Final Fantasy VIII. She gains her place on the list because she travels through time so as to alter reality. The battle is hard as the team have to face her in three forms, each more difficult than the last.
ExDeath is the final boss of Final Fantasy V. His obsession with “The Void” makes encounters with him fairly amusing; which is partly the reason he makes this list. Battling him is challenging but you’ll struggle to find him intimidating
Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII makes the list at number two because his first form is possibly one of the most challenging in the franchise. His second form, however, is somewhat laughable due to the ease with which players can beat him.
Kuja is the mysterious antagonist of Final Fantasy IX who travels from his own world to Gaia to reap souls. The characters do not battle him until late in the story and although he is not the most difficult boss, his back story makes him interesting.
Kefka Palazzo from Final Fantasy VI is arguably the most popular villain. Renowned for his one liners. He develops over the game into a formidable enemy, and earns his spot as number one as he achieves his ultimate goal and causes apocalypse and becomes god of magic.
Glyndebourne On Tour - Theatre Royal Don Pasquale Donizetti’s Italian opera Don Pasquale has arrived in Norwich on its Glyndebourne tour for the very first time. Under the direction of Mariame Clément, the comedy tells the story of Don Pasquale who has disinherited his nephew because he is in love with the flirtatious Norina. Her brother, the manipulative Dr Malatesta, casts revenge on the old bachelor and tricks him into marrying Norina, making her entitled to half of his fortune. As her materialistic nature is exposed, a series of comic events follow as Don Pasquale gets more and more bewildered by his demanding wife. This comedy, first premiered at the Theatre Italien in 1843, is not as remote from our world as it seems. The stereotypical characters are not unrecognisable: Norina is obsessed with spending money, Don Pasquale is an old man seeking a young, attractive wife, and Ernesto resembles a sulky teenager with a messy bedroom to match. Mariame Clément saw its modern potential, but claiming that “the loss of elegance would be too great” she decided to place the 19th Century opera in an 18th Century setting, cladding her characters out in magnificent traditional costumes. Not only did the actors have spectacular voices but they acted exceptionally well, making the plot easy to follow. The revolving set created an imaginative way of seeing all the action simultaneously and the chorus provided welcome commentary throughout. The chorus, who were originally cast as servants, were transformed by Clement into
glamorous socialites. Dressed in all white traditional costume, it was almost as if they were watching an opera within an opera. Jonathan Veira, who played Don Pasquale was particularly excellent; his theatrical portrayal of the old fool didn’t fail to translate the comedy that was intended. His
Dear Santa... Concrete Arts
has been very
good this year, so please can we have...*
Illusions Richard Bach
The Sense of an Ending Julian Barnes
The Marraige Plot Jeffrey Eugenides
A Humument Tom Philips
La Boheme What better way to warm your cockles on a chilly November evening than watching what must surely be one of the most passionate operas ever written? Puccini’s melodrama was first staged in 1896, but remains relevant today, as its themes of youth, love and death are truly universal. As part of the Glynebourne Opera Company’s 2011 tour, La Boheme came to Norwich’s Theatre Royal on 15 October. The irony of the majority of audience members being over 50 was not lost on this writer, but it is testament to the emotional majesty of Puccini’s music that the entirety of the audience was swept into the drama of La Boheme’s world from the first soaring notes of the first act. Featuring stand out performances from Atalla Ayan and Keri Alkema as Rodolpho and Mimi respectively, the cast were able to bring a contemporary feel to this century-old opera. Lukas Jakobski was particularly good as Colleine, looking truly the picture of student intellectualism with his overcoat, heavy boots and stringy hair. Natasha Jouhl made for a pouty, preening Musetta, bringing some comic relief to the serious themes of the opera.
fast-paced duet with Andrei Bondarenko, who played Dr Malatesta, impressively stood out and completely absorbed the audience. There is no denying that Don Pasquale is as funny now as it was in 1843.
The Commitments Some of the most majestic moments in the production were the ensemble pieces, including a surreal market scene where raucous school-children and frantic shopping mothers dissolve into a nightmarish, glamourous procession: firebreathers and circus performance heightening the contrast between the garish Christmas celebrations and the austerity of the students’ lives. The famous final scene was truly heartbreaking. Beginning with the character’s jubilation at scrounging enough money for some cocaine, which they joyfully snort off dirty tabletops (drugs forming an apt metaphor for the heightened mental state that is described in the libretto to allow the men to escape from their direst poverty) the scene ends with Mimi dying in Rodolpho’s arms, the worst of all comedowns. While university life may not be as extreme as the melodrama presented on Puccini’s stage (one does not need to ask the Medical Centre to be sure that death from consumption is pretty unlikely here), La Boheme offers some reflection on the act of being young. Susanna Wood
The Damned United David Peace
The Tiger’s Wife Téa Obreht
England, England Julian Barnes
*you should read these too.
Why it’s Greased Lightening! The classic cheesiness of Grease hand-jived its way into Norwich last week with its all-singing, all-dancing cast sending its audiences back to 1950s America to follow the love story of Sandy Dumbrowski and Danny Zuko. Everyone left with smiles on their faces as they found that Grease really is the word. The band’s bright pink jackets created characters that could be felt throughout the production, giving an extra sense of involvement and enjoyment from the start Any musical fan will know the
Grease - Theatre Royal unforgettable numbers from this 1971 hit: Summer Nights, We Go Together and Shakin’ at the High School Hop, amongst many others which wowed audiences and captured the spirit of 1950s American youth. Although full of cheesiness, Grease fans will know that this is all part of the experience of the all-American musical. Fans seemed to love the catchphrase lines and celebrated songs that make Grease what it is: an entertaining and fun show. The choreography, by ex-Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips, entirely complemented the upbeat songs, reminiscent of those dance moves of the typical care-free all-American 1950s teenager. Although all the cast and creative team deserve full credit for the first-class performance, it is Richard Vincent who played the character of T-Bird member Doody who shone, with his excellent character interpretation and outstanding vocals. Other actors who deserve more recognition include Grease is the Word hopeful, Kate Somerset who played Rizzo, fellow hopeful Danny Bayne who played Danny and Jason Capewell who played radio DJ, Vince Fontaine. The box office draw, Rhydian Roberts of X Factor fame, played the heart-throb, Teen Angel. His vocals were effortless throughout his rendition of Beauty School Dropout, but putting this aside, his acting skills were
lacking, his interpretation of Teen Angel appearing overacted at times. Overall Grease is a fun and pleasantly cheesy musical in which the audience receives exactly what they wanted. Grease truly is a guilty pleasure. It is the show’s title and its memorable songs that draw the crowds; it does not need
This Week In Arts History ... 1901 If you have no idea who Walt Disney is, you are likely to have come from a different planet. Disney’s empire stretches from his canonical cartoon characters to awardwinning blockbusters and soundtracks to amusement parks all around the world. Who would have thought that December 5th 1901 had welcomed the cultural phenomenon of the world of animation? Born in Chicago, Illinois as Walter Elias Disney, the boy discovered his talent for art when the family moved to Marceline, Missouri, the town that became the model for Main Street, USA in his theme park. It was also here that he developed a love for animals, including a pet mouse that would someday become the muse for his greatest achievement. In 1917, he pursued art and photography in McKinley High School. Towards the end of the First World War, he worked as a commercial artist with cartoonist Ub Iwerks and later set up a studio in Hollywood with his brother. As a cultural paragon, he is an emblem of imagination and perseverance. Oswald the Lucky Rabbit was the brainchild of Disney
and Iwerks but Universal Studios forced them to choose between lower pay or losing the rights to the franchise. Picking the latter, he replaced the character with the international icon we now know as Mickey Mouse. This led to the succession of Disney as a multimillion dollar enterprise. Incidentally, the company regained the rights to Oswald in 2006, 78 years after the contract disputes. Disney’s persistence is also reflected in his decision to create their first full-length animation, which was initially quipped “Disney’s folly” by the entertainment industry. In 1937, the success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves began the Golden Age of Animation. Today this is followed by a string of feature films and songs that fall under the distinctive Disney genre. Even after his death in 1966, his vision continues to touch both children and adults alike. “I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing,” says Walt Disney, “that it was all started by a mouse.” Rachael Lum
nor benefit from any other gimmicks such as TV personalities or X Factor runner-ups. Grease remains a favourite musical to this day, almost 30 years after its debut. A wop ba-ba lu-mop, a wop bam boom!
Emily Pearse & Sarah Boughen
FASHION The Hotlist Smokin’ Eating chocolate for breakfast Officially acceptable at Christmas.
Christmas jumpers Now is the only time of year you can wear a reindeer on your chest.
Chokin’ Festive earrings Please stop dangling Santa from your ears. He has work to do.
on what to wear over the festive
This is usually the time to awkwardly bump into all the people from home you had blocked from your memory, and show them how well uni is treating you. Catching up with friends after a long time often ends up in a big night so dress accordingly. Dress flirtatiously: think leather trousers or shorts with floaty chiffon tops and boucle jackets to smarten the look. Or, if you’re feeling brave, go for a sequined mini with a white shirt or cute cropped jumper tucked into it. Statement bags are a must. Choose an oversized one in a clashing colour to brighten a monochrome look, or take the challenge and see just how much you can really fit into those teeny-weenie structured bags. Keep hair and makeup sexy but understated, maybe a high bun or loose waves with vampy deep red or pink lips and subtly shimmering highlighted cheeks.
If you can bear to get out of your festive onesie, a Christmas jumper is the next best thing. Alpine prints in festive colours, metallic knits and slogan jumpers are all over the high street right now. H&M, Topshop and Henry Holland at Debenhams all have a really good selection. Tuck these into miniskirts, or in order to fit in more dinner, wear them over leggings or stretchy body-con skirts and chunky tights. Patterned tights are also a really fun way to jazz up a jumper and skirt combo. Go for stars, spots, flowers or even stripes; comfortable but cute is the idea. If you’re venturing outdoors or having family over you can easily accessorise the look with a blouse collar poking out, or layering a pearl or fur collar over the top. This look will keep you warm but chic as you curl up with your box of Roses watching the Christmas specials.
Try to avoid wearing the offensive items that your relatives bought you to keep them sweet. Instead, go for something a little more dressy than Christmas day, but still capable of hiding a massive food baby. Boxing day tends to involve visiting family and many trips to the pub. Vintage floral midi-dresses look great with ankle boots and work well layered beneath block colour scarves and cardigans to keep you toasty. Alternatively, go for something which would usually count as party wear and dress it down. Think satin playsuits or embellished dresses with thick cable knit tights and pumps or boots. It’s also the perfect occasion to consider ponchos and large wraps, there are so many around with gorgeous Aztec prints in deep reds and creams. The loose fit will also hide a multitude of mince pie related sins.
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As we approach the party season, the question on every girl’s mind is always: “What am I going to wear?” As long as I can remember, and in fact dating all the way back to the 1920s with designs by Coco Chanel herself, the solution to this question has always been the LBD, the infamous little black dress. Short, simple, affordable and timeless, this dress is the essential wardrobe staple that all women swear by. However, as 21st century girls should we not be trying to shake it up and break the mould? Some might say that this is a rule that will never be broken, but dare I say it, I think there are other solutions to this problem: dresses that are equally as
to rework a classic classic in length, cut and colour as the LBD. The goal is a dress that can be worn time and time again, won’t ever go out of fashion and can be both dressed up and dressed down. Therefore, the search is on for a dress that is almost unremarkable, but one that fits well and, more importantly, can be accessorized to create any look you so desire. So, how about... The LBD: the long black dress. Cinch it at the waist, accessorise with a statement necklace, put that hair into a chignon and just add heels for that dramatic, show-stopping outfit for a night out on the tiles before we all disappear home for crimbo. Alternatively,
those who are nice
Still a classic: the Mulberry Alexa: £795
Chelsea boots, a leather jacket and tousled bed-head hair equals laid-back cool for that Christmas shopping date with the girls. Or, if you’re not feeling the length... The LWD: the little white dress. Tanned bare legs and killer heels create an instant hit for that work party or, on the flip-side, knee-high socks, brogues and a denim jacket equals campus-ready, for that oh so long day of studying before the final deadlines. Whatever dress it may be, make it classic, make it timeless, and make your LBD more unique than just that little black dress. Melissa Rushworth
is coming to town
making a list and checking it twice.
Alexander McQueen classic skull scarf: £165 Ill-fitting Christmas presents Is it rude to take back that bra your aunty bought you which was two sizes too small...?
He’s Slutty Santa outfits What are you going to do with them come Boxing Day...?
three days of
Spell check After last issue’s “Muffgate” we have become obsessed.
going to find out who is naughty
those who are naughty A sweater vest from the bargain bin at Quality Save: 50p
Kiss me? No thanks. Novelty tie from Poundland: £1
Lifestyle’s Rianne Ison: loving Concrete, loving Christmas.
Photo by Laura Smith. Thanks go to The Assembly House for the use of their venue.
Showering: Verity Snow
a harrowing experience in winter
discusses the art of “suction dressing” to combat the cold
8.30am. Tuesday morning. Outside temperature: 3 degrees. Indoor temperature: 3 degrees. Temperature of my nose: minus 3 degrees. I’m lying in my cocooned bedcovers considering the likelihood of attempting a shower. The shower is a place of constant fear: lovely getting in, absolutely abysmal getting out. The condensation literally drips down the inside of my bay windows, giving the effect that on this wonderfully sunny, crisp dry day that it’s raining ice inside. As booming buses drive by outside, the windows rattle, and shuddering drips fall on my face. I’ve decided it’s too cold for a shower. A morning like this I fear, for most of us, is the norm. We all know the joys of student accommodation, the single glazing, the landlord’s attempt at painting over damp
patches, as if that will really fix the problem. In the corners of my bathroom, those greenygrey patches of grime slyly creep out from underneath the plaster. You look at them, and think: surely something should be done … but instead you promptly ignore the problem, only guiltily reminded when I find myself rather depressingly hoovering up bits of wall. But once you’ve crawled out of your cocooned bed, and once you’re safely dressed (and by dressed I mean that kind of suction dressing, where you avoid all possible air vents by tucking your socks over your trousers, vest into trousers, that kind of thing) nothing feels like such an accomplishment. You’ve managed to smoothly and quickly move from the warm incubator of your bed into a new skin of clothes, without getting cold.
In this Christmas season, however, there are ways you can dress without looking like a walking duvet. Being practical and fashionable is one of the most satisfying looks you can achieve. I say this because there is nothing that provokes more bitchy remarks then those types that sacrifice their health in the name of fashion. Believe me I know, because I’m the one making the bitchy remarks. On nights out, those girls who shamelessly bare all, despite gale-force winds, lusty tramps, and the threat of pneumonia. You know who you are. It is important to realise it is possible to be both stylish and comfortable in the festive season. This is why I love Christmas fashion: it is both warm and extremely loveable. Even the most austere person is immediately softened by the flash of a festive tie, sock, or jumper.
The trick is to get it right. Don’t just buy that averagely designed grey jumper. Instead buy the averagely designed grey jumper with the Santa-fied penguin splodged on the front, and instantly you will have improved your look. Or with Christmas socks: don some tasteful snowflake-covered ones and you’ll feel instantly jollier. Or, if you’re super fashionable, one of those adorable novelty hats, the faux-furry cat/ mouse/bear ear ones. Honestly, nothing is cuter than the idea of a scalped rodent warming up your head. After all, it is the season of good will. My point is, generally speaking, I like dressing up for the cold outdoors. Because once you’re out of bed, you grab your big coat, crush on your bear hat, wrap your two metre long scarf five times round your neck, all you have to worry about is your nose.
Fireworks in Liverpool
Board With It All
Your eyes followed cracks in the ceiling as we lay there, you and me, in your bed. I waited. Waited for the sharp intake of breath, and the turning of your face towards mine. For the words to messily splutter from your lips like a sloppy death sentence. Such delicate lips.
It’s amazing how a tiny action can represent such importance. A reputation, a life’s work, a person’s passion, can hang in the balance of a tiny movement, just the gliding of a piece being pushed across a board. My life’s approach to the game had been like playing the game itself. Subtle and calm, yet always thinking several moves ahead. Making the right choices, the right decisions and the right moves. He had me. I knew he had me, and, more painfully, he knew it as well. He was staring at me across the board, the eyes trying to be calm and blank, but the traces of a smirk where in them. The pride and energy an athlete feels when he sees the finishing line. I had known how to play at two, that was Grandad’s work. Teaching me the different pieces and how they moved whilst I sat at his feet. I had missed studying because of it, going to competitions, or just hiding a book of techniques in my exercise book, so I wouldn’t have to listen to the teacher. Champion of the school club; the chairperson of the society, when I got to university. Working my way up the circuit, to this point. Apparently when you die, your life flashes before your eyes. That’s what this felt like. All that ambition; now there was just resignation. I couldn’t help the layout of the board – it had been a fair game, he had just played better. He was better. That’s all there was to it. What a horrible feeling, spending your whole life in first place, then being flung into second. I just pushed pawn at random. I didn’t care where it went, it didn’t matter anymore. Maybe, I thought, by some vain stroke of luck, I’ll have made the right move by accident, so random that neither of us had thought it through. It was possible, I suppose. His eyes darted down to the board, but the smirk remained. He moved his knight, and shrugged. “Checkmate.” Well, that was that then. Ben Rogers
And you know, I always thought of us as a child. A little bit of you and a little bit of me; a child who grows and makes mistakes and learns; a child who was bruised by those falling alarm clocks and scarred with paper cuts. He was abused, and learnt how to abuse. But he smiled. Yes, right up until the end.
As you looked at me then, somewhere in Liverpool people were gathering around a bonfire. They were laughing and clapping, and someone was lighting a fuse. Someone told them all to step back. They looked up and watched the colours splatter across a Liverpool sky in November; Gunshots. Gunshots. Sarah-Joy Wickes
Hasina: Fractured Discourse is basically what happens when five poets spend way too much time together! Since we all seemed to be performing at the same spoken word gigs in Norwich and knew each other from the Creative Writing Society it made sense to lump us all together under a group name. L.Eaves: As for what we are, that’s rather difficult to say; we’re still working that one through ourselves. I guess you could say that we’re a comedy group who use poetry as our medium. All our shows are based around poetry but at the end of the day our aim is to put on shows that make people laugh.
Fractured Discourse are the latest poetry collective to emerge from the concrete dungeons of the UEA! A quintet of stand-up poets whose work explores the finer points of modern life, modern death and pretty much anything else that takes their fancy. Venue caught up with them to find out a little more about this new group and their upcoming Christmas Extravaganza. First though let’s put a few names to the group, five to be precise, seeing as how Fractured Discourse is a quintet. Hasina Allen was once described as deceptively “filthy, but sweet”, sadly she is now described as neither, a part storyteller, part dictionary fanatic she splits her time between studies, poetry and helping to edit this very newspaper. Laurie Eaves’ chief activities include apologising, waking up and weeping profusely (usually in that order). His alter-ego, the performer L.Eaves spends its time writing performance poetry and wowing crowds with
incredible lyrical dexterity. Laurie denies all knowledge of L.Eaves’ proclivities. John Simpson Wedge is Norwich’s answer to Dr. Seuss. Exactly what that means he isn’t sure, but he likes the moniker so he’s sticking to it. When he’s not on stage he’s writing a PhD on why we should be nice to killer robots. Catherine Woodward is a Northern lass with a penchant for Pikachu poems and Ballads about Big Bird. Being a pocket-sized poet she finds it easy to spring out ninja-style and assault random passers-by with haikus. Chris Ogden completes the ‘Northern’ quota of Fractured Discourse, hailing from the delightful town of Salford. He is the group’s answer to Mr. Tumnus and can frequently be found stroking his neck-beard or acting shy. Anyway, on with the interview... What is Fractured Discourse?
How did the idea for Fractured Discourse come about? (and were you inspired by the success of other poetry collectives that have stemmed from UEA?) John: I’d performed a few gigs for Paul Knight in Norwich and when the Norwich Fringe Festival put out a call for acts he asked me if I was interested in doing a full 45 minute show. I figured that people would get pretty sick of me long before the end of the show so I asked L.Eaves and Hasina if they were interested in forming a group to put on shows. As for inspiration we’re all definitely inspired by our poetic forefathers so to speak, but that probably plays out more in our actual poetry. L.Eaves: Yeah, performing in Norwich meant we’d worked with poets like Tim Clare and John Osborne which is really inspiring. It was great to see that poetry was not only alive and well in Norwich, but that the Norwich crowd were taking things to a national level. It sort of gives you the feeling of, ‘if they can, we can too.’ What approach to you take to writing as an
ensemble? Chris: John sits down next to me and beats me until I’ve written something. L.Eaves: Seriously, he does. Catherine: As for the rest of us, we basically work out how the show is going to fit together then go off, write our own separate poems, bring them back to be critiqued and tweaked by the rest of the group and eventually we come up with a working show. We’ve seen fliers advertising your Christmas Extravaganza around the city, can you tell us a bit more about it? Chris: Well we’re going to be performing two shows, Sex, Death and Stuff which just has Laurie, John and Hasina in it, and our brand new Christmas show called A Very Fractured Christmas which bears an uncanny resemblance to A Christmas Carol, just with more poetry and jokes. Plus there’s support from the Creative Writing Society too. John: The whole thing will basically be a night of poetry and stand-up, taking place in Dragon Hall (across the river from the Odeon). It’s a new venue for us, and this is the first time they’ve hosted anything like it so we’re really excited. What’s next for Fractured Discourse? Catherine: Well that depends on how well the show goes! We’re definitely looking to do a Blind Date style show at Valentines next year, and we’d love to take it further afield. Who knows, maybe we’ll start with the Leicester Comedy Festival and end up at Latitude!
CREATIVE WRITING SPOTLIGHT
He sat almost perfectly still, index fingers hovering over the keyboard. His hands trembled ever so slightly, his chest moved in and out as he breathed. An exasperated sigh escaped his lips, right before his head slumped forward and his hands fell to the side of the laptop. He had been sitting at the computer desk for approximately two and a half hours, thus far having typed only three words that were promptly deleted: ‘The’ and ‘A’ and ‘The’ again. His right hand shot upwards, seemingly of its own accord, and ran slowly through his greying hair. He sighed again, loudly, briefly warming the air in front of his haggard face. The chair screeched against the floor as it was pushed back. He stood, legs aching, and stretched his arms out satisfactorily. His editor would not be pleased, but quite frankly he didn’t care. He just didn’t feel like writing today. He looked over at his drinks cupboard, then at the bookcase, smiling widely. No, he didn’t feel like writing today. He was going to get pissed and read some Kafka.
“As you reached out,” she says, “your shirt ripped.” It’s my favourite shirt too, and damn her for noticing. The sleeve caught on a nail on the bar and nearly ripped clean off. It’s a hot day and I’ve lost the effort to argue. I pick up my drink, hand her hers; she didn’t offer to pay. When we sit down, I fish an ice cube out of her glass and slide it around the inside of my collar. “What the hell did you do that for?” I drop it back into the glass, part-melted. “Disgusting.” “Then buy yourself another. And one for me while you’re at it.” By the time she gets back I’ve taken the shirt right off and I know she’s about to tell me I’ll burn. “You’ll burn, you know.” “We’re in the shade.” She picks up her glass and cradles it protectively. I watch the sea as it hurts itself onto the shore over and over again; it must really hate itself. Her sunglasses perch mockingly on top of her head and I want to rip them off and throw them in. There’s a white boat a little ways out. The manager comes over and asks me to put my shirt back on. “But this is the fucking beach.” He shakes his head with his lips pressed closed and she smiles away from us, as if she’s spotted a friend she’s waiting for and she’s not actually with me. I shrug the shirt back on but don’t button it and the manager leaves. He’s sweating, there’s a dark damp patch between his shoulderblades. The boat swings closer to shore, smaller than it looked. It’s pulling something, one of those hanggliders, windsurfers, whatever you call them, a tiny man dangling from a brightly coloured sail. As I watch and she drains her glass, the sail lifts up in the air, the man soaring, so high it makes your stomach lurch.
Q&A with UEA writers.
I dropped my suitcases and turned around. You had been watching from the entrance, with tears in your eyes and a strangled ‘Goodbye’ on your lips. But you weren’t there anymore.
This week - Sarah-Joy Wickes
What are you studying?
I’m a first year BA Scriptwriting and Performance student.
What’s your favourite word?
I use the word ‘languid’ a lot. It was from when I first read ‘The Picture of Dorian Grey’ and the word just kept popping up every couple of pages. Curiosity got the better of me and I looked it up. It’s one of those lovely words that sounds so much like its meaning.
How do you defeat writer’s block?
I like to read little anecdotes on the internet. I often skim through postsecret.com in search of inspiration. Otherwise, if the block occurs half way through a project, usually doing a bit of research sparks my interest again.
What inspires you?
Lyrics. My best work is usually inspired by a song or album. Bob Dylan is good for this, but i also get a lot of inspiration from artists such as The Antlers, Modest Mouse and Neutral Milk Hotel.
Who are your favourite writers?
I love Louis de Bernières. He has a really strong narrative voice. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin is my favourite book, mostly for the reason that you become so endeared to the characters - you feel like you know them to the point that you’re always rolling your eyes at the typical things that they do and say.
They were selling poppies on Platform Nine. A pound for a poppy, to remember the heroes of war. Those people who fell defending that which they loved. I bought two poppies, one for each of us. I will remember you.
To Kindle or not to Kindle?
Sloe Berries - Katherine Duckney I smile at what I think is nature’s cunning as I probe for the hidden bead-sheen sloes which tumble, preciously heavy into the palm.
they are meant to be found by the birds. They will send out the seeds. They are not protected like you think they are. Now come down from there, Kate.
There is a fierce heart in these leaves, isn’t there? There is a snapping Motherbird which shuffles the eggs in close, and takes my fingers to pieces with her talons of twigs when I try taking what is hers. It exists everywhere; now I am utterly sure that there is such thing as a love so natural it needs no mind.
Why is my love for you so sad now in the sudden Autumn? Why do my own thorns shroud you like the forest that kept the world away from the beautiful sleeper? I know that with the coming of the hearth colours, with the wind that sends scarves ribboning you will leave home again. We are picking these berries for the brandy and gin, and I do not want you to take it away and drink it by yourself.
But a frown sits strangely between your eyes as you watch me. I sense your diagram-knowledge of the earth standing warily on the path as I climb, as I wildly make, as I force a warm heart into the mouth of everything. No, no, you say softly, once I am too high,
So when your back is turned I bend to pluck a night-blue berry, and with my face in the leaves so you cannot see I whisper all my sorries; I felt that little cling as I pulled your fruit away, mother. I know that we should not, but we do all the same.
Definitely ‘To Kindle’. I was given one for my 18th and it has been amazing. Sure, you don’t get that ‘used book smell’ but I’ve never called myself a prescriptivist about anything. The books are cheaper, it’s easy to read (no squinting into the spine for that last word!) and if you go travelling then you have plenty of choice without the extra baggage. I definitely recommend them.
Do you prefer handwriting or typing?
For everything but extended works of prose I write by hand. My handwriting’s terrible, but the advantage of writing by hand is that I can make notes and scribbles all over my latest piece so that when I come back to it I know what needs changing.
What’s the weirdest thing that’s inspired you? There have been situations where i really should have been concentrating to what was being said and getting more emotionally involved with what was going on around me, but in my head all I’ve been doing it imagining how i would write this particular moment as a scene in a book.
Read Sarah’s flash fiction in this issue!
Director: Bennett Miller Country: USA Starring: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill
Starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill, Moneyball tells the true story of Billy Beane, the manager of Oakland Athletics baseball team. Beane, after losing three key players to richer teams, enlists the help of Peter Brand (played by Jonah Hill) who has a new recruiting strategy based on game statistics as a means of assessing player value, as opposed to the usual biased selection of the team scouts. People expecting the usual sports underdog story will be surprised as Moneyball cleverly plays to these expectations and then subverts them. There are a lot of moments where the script is seemingly heading in one obvious direction and then takes an unprecedented route. The script cleverly utilises Beane’s policy of never watching his team play an official match. In turn this helps to distance the audience from the activities of the baseball field and the clichés of sports on film to focus more on the characters. This is not to say that the film in any way neglects the sport of baseball, there are tense scenes on field, but the main focus is elsewhere. Perhaps one criticism viewers might have is the film’s tendency to reduce players to numbers and monetary values but, again, the film tries to elude these problems by
giving us a few scenes where both Beane and Brand confront the problem of dismissing and transferring players from a manager’s perspective. Pitt, as usual, exceeds in the role of Beane and, likewise, Hill gives a strong performance in a role that is surprisingly different from his previous roster of films. A special mention should go to Philip Seymour Hoffman’s phenomenally uncanny performance as the Oakland Athletics coach.
Sorkin’s script, creating a sports film that fully encompasses the trials and tribulations of an entire sports organisation. In this reviewer’s opinion, Moneyball is a genuine sporting film, giving a detailed overview of not only what happens on-field, but what occurs behind the scenes, particularly in the manager’s office. Fans of The Damned United will enjoy this as it treads familiar territory, only from an American perspective. A. J. Hodson
Martin Scorsese’s first foray into both 3D and the family picture is, at its heart, a film about the history of film-making. In this adaptation, Scorsese manages to capture the advent of film as a medium whilst simultaneously pushing the boundaries of contemporary film technology. His use of 3D is seamless and it stands as a testament to what it can achieve when it is used properly. Hugo depicts the story of a boy (Asa Butterfield) living in a railway station in picturesque 1930s Paris. With the help of Isabelle (Chloe Moretz), he unravels the mystery behind his late father’s automaton, embarking on an adventure to uncover a story about one of films great pioneers.
It is true to say that it is more of a character study but this doesn’t make it any less of a baseball film. Instead, Moneyball successfully manages to diagnose the problems between various levels of a sports organisation, from manager, to coach, to the individual team players, delving into the psychology of such an organisation, which is something Venue hasn’t seen before in a sports movie. The focus is on the tensions between each of these levels off-field, in which lies the brilliance of Aaron
While the large sets are stunning and magical, and the slick camerawork breathtaking, the film is still dependent on its young actors. They do not disappoint, Butterfield carrying the story and Moretz, impressive with an impeccable English accent. Sacha Baron Cohen, as the station guard, is at his comic best and a whole plethora of colourful secondary characters are introduced, with particular mention going to Christopher Lee who is warmly received as a not-so-sinister bookseller. If there is to be any criticism it is that the early stages of the film are quite slow, and the latter stages may be lost on young children. Callum Watson
Among topics which any film maker would find difficult to tackle, cancer has to be pretty high on the list. It is a surprise then, that 50/50 does so with apparent ease. It comes as an even greater surprise that a large amount of comedy is tastefully integrated into the film. Director Jonathan Levine’s style seems unassuming, however, this simply allows both the script and the acting (both of which are generally excellent) to speak for themselves. Adam (brilliantly portrayed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is just an ordinary guy stuck in an awful situation, struggling to deal with the isolation which his illness imposes on him. Similarly, Anna
Kendrick impresses as bumbling young doctor Katie, contributing to both the comedy and drama of the film with a very natural performance. Only Seth Rogen fails to impress in terms of acting. He fills his typical jester role well, buts fails to do anything original or really contribute to the story. Other than this, the only real weak point of the film is the slightly clichéd ending. Despite these issues, 50/50 remains an effective and tasteful film which gives a heartfelt, and surprisingly original, perspective on the struggle against cancer. Saul Holmes
My Week With Marilyn
My Week With Marilyn is nothing less than what you would expect from a BBC film charting Marilyn Monroe as she ventures to England. Based on the diary of Colin Clark, the film follows Marilyn Monroe’s troubled visit to England to star in Laurence Olivier’s The Prince and the Showgirl. Monroe and third assistant director, Clark, soon develop a surprising and endearing relationship that is, as the title suggests, also rather fleeting. British countryside location and a large British cast managed to take a dark story and keep it relatively cheery. The aces in the deck of British acting
talent are Judi Dench and Kenneth Branagh. Taking on the impossible task of Monroe is Michelle Williams, one of the few Americans in the film. Williams captures Marilyn’s greatness, and her flaws, perfectly and pulls off a great portrayal. My Week With Marilyn is a charming and entertaining watch, particularly if you’re interested in Monroe’s life. However, sometimes the film seems out of its depth and feels too British to closely depict the stardom of Marilyn Monroe. You’d expect more glamour and more excitement, but instead it feels a little flat and slightly forgettable. Matt Francis
The Big Year
In The Big Year, Jack Black, Steve Martin, and Owen Wilson star as three intrepid ‘birders’ (that’s people obsessed with birdwatching for anyone who doesn’t know, which is probably just about everyone), competing to spot the highest number of birds in twelve months, thus winning the titular Big Year. And that’s about all that happens. The Big Year seems unsure of itself, its genre, and its audience, which taints the whole film with the kind of blandness that occurs when a film tries to appeal to everyone and ultimately no one. Being based around such an obscure premise does nothing to improve its universality. Non-
The Deep Blue Sea
This film is exactly the sort of thing you would be asked to study in an A Level literature lesson. The story follows the events of a unhappily married woman who tries to find love in the arms of a charming RAF pilot who never really let the war go. Director Terrance Davies has gone to lengths to make sure every word of every line of dialogue carries intense meaning and there are no throwaway lines. However, this results in very unrealistic interactions where characters overdramatise every line and action, seemingly aware they are being watched.
The tone and atmosphere is set through the mournful violin music and subtle emphasis on sound over visual. This ranges from the graphic sound of the wife (Rachel Weisz) vomiting following a suicide attempt, to the constant sound of a nearby playground to remind us endlessly she sadly remains childless. This film smacks of a director who lost his nerve halfway through. Themes hinted at in the beginning are stated outright in the third act. By the end we are being heavily hit over the head with them, and it’s painful! Drew Nicol
bird lovers will find the characters’ blind devotion to winning The Big Year hard to relate to. Furthermore, the key leads are all playing characters they have played before. Jack Black is still the likeable but unlucky misfit, Steve Martin is still the harassed but well-meaning family man, and Owen Wilson’s nose still steals the show with its distracting crookedness. Overall, the film just felt like it was lacking something. It wasn’t funny enough, moving enough, appealing enough, or inspiring enough to make any lasting impression. Julia Sanderson
Like dreams often are, Jim Sheridan’s Dream House is ludicrous, unfathomable, and convoluted. Daniel Craig plays Will Atenton, a man who relocates with his family to an idyllic suburban home. Here he learns about several murders that once took place and begins a search for the truth. Preposterously, Dream House’s trailer foretold everything that occurs in the first half of the film, eradicating any drama, or any point in watching the story unfold. For those that haven’t had this blissful foresight, the numerous twists are still painstakingly predictable. The film illuminates a concept that may have proven interesting but for
terrible execution, as the narrative descends awkwardly into a blend between the real and fantastical. If anything, it seems intent on frustrating the viewer, a point only accentuated by its ambiguous conclusion. Dream House longs to be a genre piece (there are clear horror archetypes on display), yet there are elements that could identify it as a love story, character study, or ghost tale, meaning it’s an unspecific and unsuccessful farce. Its only redeeming feature is a talented cast (that includes Craig, Rachel Weisz and Naomi Watts) who, try as they might, could never have saved this film. Kieran Rogers
The Popcorn Chart Top 5 Movies Never Made
Napoleon (Stanley Kubrick)
Fresh from the success of 2001, Stanley Kubrick began work on his dream project: a historical epic detailing the the life of Napoleon Bonaparte that he claimed would be “the best movie ever made”. Kubrick went to extraordinary lengths to meticulously research and plan the film, and he had decided that David Hemmings should play the Emperor. Although its cancellation was officially due to high costs, its not entirely clear why it was never realised. Kubrick expressed his wish to finish it right up until his death, but its possible that his vision was simply too much, even for him.
Dune (Alejandro Jodorowsky)
In 1976, Frank Herbert travelled to Europe to find out how cult legend Alejandro Jodorowsky’s adaptation of his epic space opera was shaping up. When he got there, most of the budget had been blown on preproduction. Salvador Dali had been cast at an astronomical fee, Orson Welles had agreed to star but was making extravagant and incredibly specific demands, Pink Floyd had been commissioned to provide the soundtrack, H.R. Giger was busy sketching designs and Jodorowsky’s still unfinished script would have resulted in a 14 hour movie. Fearing an incoherent mess, the panicked studio decided to pull the plug.
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (Terry Gilliam)
This entire list could be full of films that Terry Gilliam never finished, but his time travelling tale of a modern businessman and the 17th Century Spanish hero was his most ambitious and disastrous project. After struggling for years creating a screenplay and finding backing, he started work in 2000 with Johnny
Depp and Jean Rochfort as the leads. Within a month, production had been wrecked by floods, Rochfort was too ill to continue and the project collapsed. Gilliam is still determined to complete the film, and he’s proved before that he will face impossible odds to get his way.
Leningrad: The 900 Days (Sergio Leone)
Sergio Leone’s follow up to his sprawling crime epic Once Upon A Time In America was due to be an account of the gruelling, 900 day siege of Leningrad during the Second World War. Leone intended to cast Robert De Niro as an American photographer trapped in the city, who documents the entire siege and falls in love with a Russian woman, only to be killed on the same day as the German surrender. Sadly however, Leone died unexpectedly just two days before he was due to officially sign on for what could have turned out to be his masterpiece.
to look forward to this winter
For those of us with a particular distaste for the frosty weather winter brings, the cinema (unless one of those which is permanently cold) becomes a welcome refuge. It’s not the most festive place to spend your time but, nonetheless, December’s pick of films promise to see out 2011 in style. Hot on the heels of the Swedish adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s ever-popular Millennium trilogy comes Hollywood’s take on the first novel in the series. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo mark two is set in Sweden, but director David Fincher chose our very own Daniel Craig to play journalist Mikael Blomkvist, and The Social Network’s Rooney Mara for the role of computer hacker Lisbeth Salander. The two characters become embroiled in the mystery of a girl who disappeared 40 years previously. The trailer looks promising, but the adaptation does pose the question of whether it is necessary for Hollywood to remake foreign films. This debate also cropped up recently when Hollywood repackaged Sweden’s Let the Right One In as Let Me In. Niels Arden Oplev, director of the original Dragon Tattoo, certainly seems to think so, with his argument that Noomi Rapace’s Lisbeth Salander will never be beaten. Another highly anticipated release is Guy Ritchie’s second film featuring the masterful Sherlock Holmes and his loyal companion Watson. In Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, the inner workings of the mysterious Professor Moriarty are hopefully to be revealed, as Holmes once more battles against his adversary’s equally sharp mind. The
trailer indicates that Jared Harris, son of the late Richard, will be a more austere Moriarty, compared to Andrew Scott’s wonderfully psychotic version in the BBC’s modern adaptation, but that makes sense seeing as Ritchie’s production is set in Holmes’s usual home of Victorian London. A Game of Shadows also stars the aforementioned Noomi Rapace in her first English-speaking film, and Rachel McAdams returns as Irene Adler, one of the few people to outwit Holmes. Once again Robert Downey Jr. has made a fool of himself for our entertainment. In the first film we saw him handcuffed to a bed naked (aside from a well-positioned cushion), and in the trailer for A Games of Shadows he has disguised himself as a frightful-looking woman. One character who will probably never be caught in such a bizarre situation is Tom Cruise’s action man Ethan Hunt, soon to be back on screens in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. Hunt probably shouldn’t have returned to the Impossible Mission Force (IMF) as he and his team find themselves outcasts when the Kremlin is bombed. The US government formally shuts down the force, but allows its members to escape first. Hunt and his colleagues embark on a challenge to clear their names, knowing that if caught they face being charged with responsibility for the attack. With Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames also reprising their roles, Ghost Protocol looks set to entertain fans of the franchise once more, completing the hat-trick of Christmas’s must-see films. Beth Wyatt
Inferno (Henri-Georges Clouzot)
Annoyed by the arrogance of the French New Wave directors of the 60s, HenriGeorges Clouzot decided that he would put them in their place by outdoing them all. He began work on his own kaleidoscopic masterpiece, an ambitious tale of jealousy using state of the art aural and visual technology and narrative tricks conveying states of mind. An unexpected heart attack meant that Clouzot abandoned the project three weeks into filming, but its reputation as a lost classic was secured. To make things slightly better, the remaining footage was used for the fascinating recent documentary Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno. Joseph Murphy
Visit our website over the Christmas break for the latest film news and reviews
Christmas Classics recommends
films to watch over the
The Santa Clause (1994) The Santa Clause doesn’t get off to the most typical Christmas family movie start; Scott Calvin (Tim Allen), a disgruntled, divorced advertising executive, accidently kills Santa Claus. Before the kids in the audience have time to well up, though, Calvin and his young son are whisked away to the Christmas base of operations in the North Pole, and informed of the back-up plan, known as the ‘Santa Clause’. This is activated in the case of ‘The Big Guy’s’ death; whoever puts on the legendary red suit has nine months to get his affairs in order, then literally transforms into Father Christmas. As Calvin had already accidently put on the clothes, it’s a contract he can’t back out of, no matter how hard he tries to resist.
A lot of family movies have tried to recapture the magic of this movie by making the same ‘mean-spirited’ businessman character the emotional heart of the holiday. Literally, the film gets to have its cake and eat it too. Tim Allen dives into the role with aplomb, as a normal man trying to get on with his life, even as the fluffy white beard he’s just shaved off grows back beneath his fingers. It’s a film without any ‘bad people’ in it; there’s nothing there to harsh the Xmas buzz. It helps that this is easily the best Tim Allen film not to star an astronaut action figure. Tim Bates
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) Despite being one of those films which is nearly ruined by a small subsection of its fanbase (in this case goth kids who would probably buy Jack Skellington toasters if they were commercially available), The Nightmare Before Christmas has, for this reviewer, stood the test of time to become the ‘classic’ christmas film. In case you’ve never seen it, Nightmare is an animated musical film, centering on Jack Skellington, the ‘pumpkin king’ of Halloween Town. Growing tired of scaring children, Jack stumbles into Christmas Town and is entranced by the snow and joyful atmosphere. Jack decides that his Halloween cohorts will take over the production of
Christmas, with hilariously macabre results. Although the concept is interesting on its own, for this reviewer Nightmare is one of those things you have to see in motion. Animator Paul Berry (whose short The Sandman is a truly scary must see) brings his delightfully warped vision of Halloween Town and its residents to life. Nightmare’s art style has often been imitated, but for sheer charm it has yet to be bested. Throw in an adorable ghost dog and a menacing jazz singer boogeyman, and you have yourself a dark little gem of a Christmas musical.
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
The Muppets have always had the ability to bring a poignant twist to even the craziest story, and there’s no better example of this than the 1992 classic retelling of Dickens’ most famous tale. Paul Williams’ musical pieces work surprisingly well with the haunting mood and sometimes heartbreaking scenes (especially regarding the fate of Tiny Tim and the loss of Scrooge’s one true love, Belle). The Muppets themselves are cast perfectly with the grouchy Statler and Waldorf leaving their residence in the balcony to become the gruesome “Marley and Marley” and Gonzo the Great playing Dickens himself, narrating the story almost verbatim from the original novella. Even Michael Caine’s turn as the miser Scrooge hits all of the right notes, moving from an
My favourite Christmas film is undoubtedly Frank Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life, as to me it truly sums up the joyousness associated with the festive period. Made in 1946, it is considered one of Capra’s finest achievements. This reviewer has watched this film almost every Christmas and never found it boring. Whilst some find it a cheesy family film, to others it will always be associated with the excitement and joy of Christmas. The plot focuses on the life of George Bailey in the run up to Christmas as he struggles with thoughts of suicide. However, after meeting his guardian angel, Clarence, who shows him what life would be like if he had never lived, George is reminded why life is worth living. The film
angry, lonely figure and transforming over 90 minutes into a lovable man with some rather smashing singing chops. The area that the film really excels in, however, is its ability to deliver the heart of the original story. The meaning of A Christmas Carol is that family, friends and goodwill are fundamental elements of the festive period but these things aren’t limited to the winter months; indeed, Scrooge discovers (through song) that “wherever you find love, it feels like Christmas”. It’s only through watching and re-watching that you can notice all of the nuances and in-jokes, but you only have to see this film once to fall in love with it. Eliot Fallows
is quintessentially festive. George is a family man struggling to make ends meet, but the film shows us that money is not everything and that the true spirit of Christmas will always prevail. It is a well acted, touching film and most importantly of all, it has a happy ending that would make even Scrooge’s heart warm. A true Christmas classic. Tom White
STEP INTO CHRISTMAS
DON YOUR SINISTER POLYESTER SANTA BEARDS AND FOLLOW VENUE INTO THE EXCITING WORLD OF FESTIVE TV!
BBC2, 10pm, Wednesday 28th December
BBC1, Christmas Day, 7pm
Since first airing on BBC Four in 2003, QI has been the thinking person’s panel show. With an emphasis on giving “quite interesting’”answers before correct ones, and contestants being penalised for providing answers which are not only wrong, but pathetically obvious by quizmaster and national treasure Stephen Fry, QI is British broadcasting at its finest. The current “I” series has been one of the best to date, with the introduction of one question per episode to which nobody knows the true answer and an increasingly broader array of comic talent on the panel, including brilliant guest appearances from the likes of Professor Brian Cox and Ben Goldacre. The Christmas special, to be entitled “Icy,” will feature the talents of the ever-present Alan Davies, stand up legends Sean Lock and
Science fiction is not the genre of television you’d most readily associate with Christmas, but it’s hard to remember a time when Doctor Who wasn’t the most touted show of the BBC’s Christmas schedule. Its cross-generational appeal and slightly more upbeat tone than certain other shows’ Christmas specials have seen previous festive outings draw staggering audiences of as many as 13.3 million viewers. This year’s Christmas Special, entitled The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe is, pretty obviously, inspired by The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Previews suggest it will be as dark and complicated as the series that preceded it, but with a guest cast from mostly comedy backgrounds including Claire Skinner, Alexander Armstrong and Bill Bailey. There
The Bleak Old Shop
Ross Noble, and the first appearance of stage and screen legend Brian Blessed. Davies and Lock have never failed to deliver in the past, providing a slew of witty anecdotes and deliberately stupid answers, whilst Noble has gained a reputation for taking over the programme with his hilariously surrealist rants. The only unknown entity here is Blessed, but if his appearances on other similarlyformatted shows are anything to go by (check out his brilliant turn hosting Have I Got News For You), he promises to be both hilariously loud and uproariously inappropriate. Fingers crossed that QI stays on our screens until it finishes the alphabet; then every Christmas will be worth waiting for. Matt Mulcahy
Alan Carr: Chatty Man
BBC2, Monday 19th December, 8.30pm
C4, Christmas Day, 9pm
Victorian London and comedy: two things that no Christmas television schedule is complete without, but this year the BBC are treating us to a two-in-one deal. The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff is a new comedy that combines the two and promises a plethora of stars while they’re at it. Furthermore, with the bicentenary year of Charles Dickens’ birth incoming, it is perhaps more essential than ever for the nation to get its Dickens fix this Christmas. Devised from creator Mark Evans’ Radio 4 series Bleak Expectations, the four part series kicks off with a festive hour long special of “ridiculous Victorian adventuring”. Despite the award-winning reputation of the radio series, the television version will follow the hilarious drama and misfortune of a whole new set of characters. The impressive cast is led by Robert Webb in the role of Mr Jedrington Secret-Past, a successful shop owner who is thrown into prison in the first episode by Malifax Skulkingworm, an evil lawyer played by Stephen Fry, until they can pay off a mysterious debt. Alongside Fry, the Christmas episode will feature appearances from Pauline McLynn (Father Ted), Johnny Vegas and Webb’s comedy partner David
As another year draws to a close, the inevitable Christmas mania has once again foisted itself upon the nation. But forget that John Lewis ad with the cute little boy, all you need this festive season is a big dose of Alan Carr’s Chatty Man. Expect the usual hilarity, as Alan offers his guests dubious-looking drinks and asks cheeky questions no other interviewer would dare to. His light-hearted approach has gained him a wide audience and celebrities are queueing up to spend their televisual Christmases with him. There are no Americans in this episode, thankfully, as a few previous transatlantic visitors have been taken aback by Carr’s waspish sarcasm, leading to awkward moments. After all, Christmas is all about fun and cheer! Oh no, wait... It turns out that the recording of this year’s special didn’t quite go as planned, with Jedward tipping hair gel onto Gavin and Stacey’s Ruth Jones, who had to record her interview covered in the stuff. Oops. There have also been rumours of Jedward being bullied, so let’s hope that Alan eventually managed to unite his guests for a nice sing-song around the Christmas tree.
Mitchell. With the rest of the series featuring, amongst others, Tim McInnerny (Blackadder) and Sarah Hadland (Miranda), it promises to be a must-watch for lovers of British comedy. Only at Christmas do programmes with such a wonderous variety of stars appear, and if four criticallyacclaimed series of Bleak Expectations are anything to go by, Bleak Old Shop is not to be missed. The stars seem to be excited too. On the subject of the Christmas episode, Robert Webb said: “I’m really looking forward to working with my all-time hero David Mitchell. Apparently Stephen Fry is in it too, which is nice.” Ellissa Chilley
are few shows on television which boast the intelligence and ideas of Doctor Who whilst maintaining its mass appeal. Of course, it might be guilty of occasionally drifting into overly festive sentimentality at Christmas, but then criticising family-orientated Christmas television for being sentimental is a bit like criticising UEA for being grey. The good Doctor’s success shows no obvious signs of waning and it remains as funny, clever, and inspired as ever. For those yet to be converted, tune in on Christmas Day. For the previously enlightened amongst you, it looks like we’re in for another treat this Christmas. Long may it reign.
Or you could hope not, if festive bickering is more your thing. You know who you are. Cynics. In all their seasonal benevolence, Channel 4 have also granted us a New Year’s Eve extravaganza, featuring guests such as Gok Wan and JLS. After their hilarious collaboration on a previous episode, fingers crossed that Alan and the boys will serenade us at midnight. I’m sure there will be a somewhat atypical alternative to Jools Holland, at least. With the extended show also including sketches from an array of other stars and Alan himself, Chatty Man is set to be the definitive chat show this Christmas. Beth Wyatt
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2. A Christmas tradition rooted in the 15th Century (13)
6. Traditional meat for an English Christmas dinner (6) 4
8. Former Soviet Union of State who resigned on Christmas Day (16) 9. 5th Day of Christmas on the famous song (13)
10. Winner of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here 2011 (13) 12. Current female number one tennis player (17)
16. A yuletide drink (6) 10
18. The protagonist in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (15) 19. The star most searched for on Bing 2011 (12)
20. East 17’s Christmas number 1 (14) 15 16
1. US megastar recently turned 30 (13)
3. Third gift from the Wise Men (5) 18
4. Name of one of Santa Claus’ first reindeer (6) 5. Record Wales Rugby Union try scorer (13)
7. The colour of the bag for Nice ‘n’ Spicy Nik Naks (6) 20
11. Multinational Corporation specializing in optics and imaging (5) 13. Capital of Greenland (4) 14. Biggest selling singer of the year so far (5) 15. Social networking and micro blogging service (7) 17. First continent to bring in the New Years (7)
6 2 8
3 5 6 3
This week we are giving away tickets to see Shed Seven at UEA’s LCR on 14th December! To be in with a chance completed crossword to 12pm on Tuesday 13th contacted by telephone won.
of winning, bring your the Concrete office by December. You will be and email if you have
Name: Telephone number: Email address:
23 Tuesday 6th LCR Club Nights: Go Commando (10pm) Price: £3.50 UEA LCR The Fractured Discourse Christmas Extravaganza (7pm) Price: £8/£6 NUS Dragon Hall
DECEMBER 2011 Wednesday 7th Waterfront Gig: 101% Pantera presented by Metal Lust (7:30pm) Price: £10.00 The Waterfront Studio Media Ball (6:30pm) Price: £20 Ramada Jarvis
Thursday 8th Waterfront Gigs: The Beat (7:30pm)Price: £16.00 The Waterfront Shutter Island (7:30pm) Price: £2.80 Lecture Theatre 1
LCR Gigs: Professor Green (Date Change) (7:30pm) Price: £16.00 UEA LCR
Friday 16th LCR Gigs: Adam Ant & The Good, The Mad and The Lovely Posse (7:30pm)Price: £25.00 UEA LCR
Monday 12th Waterfront Gigs: Ginger Wildheart & Friends (7:30pm)Price: £12.50 The Waterfront
Saturday 17th Waterfront Gigs: Metal Lust Xmas Party feat. Guns 2 Roses + The Dirt + Bad Touch + Pole Dancers (6pm)Price: £12.00 The Waterfront
Tuesday 13th LCR Club Nights: The Christmassy LCR (10pm)Price: £3.50 UEA LCR
Sunday 18th Waterfront Gigs: Napalm Death (7pm) Price: £14.00 The Waterfront Swing into Christmas (7:30pm) Price: £12.50 (£10.50 concessions) The Forum
Take The First Step: Dancesport (7pm-9pm) Price: FREE Congregation Hall
Achtung! Cabaret (8pm) Price: £15 The Talk
LCR Gigs: Dappy (7:30pm) Price: £15.00 UEA LCR
Waterfront Gigs: The Doors Alive (7pm) Price:£12.00/£10.00NUS The Waterfront
Waterfront Club Nights: Color’s Xmas Bash! (10pm) Price: £12.50 / £9 NUS The Waterfront
UEA Drama Degree Programme presents Macbeth (7:30pm) Price: £6/ £4 NUS Uea Drama Studio
LCR Club Nights: The A List (10:30pm) Price: £4.50 UEA LCR
LCR Gigs: Shed Seven (7:30pm)Price: £18.50 UEA LCR
Waterfront Gigs: Oli Brown (7:30pm) Price: £14.00 The Waterfront
Waterfront Gigs: Vintage Trouble (7:30pm)Price: £9.00 The Waterfront
LCR Club Nights: Last Chance LCR (10pm) Price: £3.50 UEA LCR
Black Swan (7:30pm) Price: £2.80 Lecture Theatre 1
Source Code (7:30pm) Price: £2.80 Lecture Theatre 1
Monday 19th The Comedy Store (8.15pm) Price: £12.50 (£10.50 NUS) The Forum
Tuesday 20th Sleeping Beauty: The Pantomime (7.30pm) Price: £5-£19 Theatre Royal