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degrees north #32 nov/dec 2008



The best new band in Britain - DN Interview ALSO INSIDE: The Subways - Sex, yes, sex - Apologies (not ours) Steve Cram - US election - Music, film and game reviews and much more...

18 - Meet the DN Team

22 - Stuck in the 90s

27 - The Subways Interview

26 - Quantum of Solace Reviewed

32 - Olympian Joanne Jackson


degrees north November/December 2008 Issue 32 04 Competitions Get your hands on some ace stuff. 05 Editorial The Editor’s welcome to DN 32. 06 Columnists Chappers and Briggsy tackle today’s music scene and the Turner Prize. 08 News from the SU The latest news from the Students’ Union at the University of Sunderland. 10 Politics Chappers Baracks our world [sorry Ed], with his take on the US elections. 11 Steve Cram Our new Chancellor talks to us about the Uni’s CitySpace development. 12 How to... Apologise DN’s guide to saying “Sorry”. 13 Horoscopes What’s in your stars this month? You might find out here...or not. 14 Winter Survival Guide King prawn risotto? Apple and blackberry crumble? Yes, please!

15 Why so S.A.D.? Depression is no laughing matter. 16 (Safe) Sex in the City A look at sex and the hidden dangers. 17 International Trips Everyone loves a school trip. 18 Meet the DN Team How self-indulgent is a whole twopage spread about us? Very. Oh well. 20 Culture A short story and some poetry make for a classy section in the issue. 22 Tied to the 90s Why are so many bands stuck in the last decade of the 20th century? 23 Glasvegas Our cover stars’ guitarist, Rab Allen, talks to our beloved Editor. 24 Music Reviews Album and live music reviews, including Keane, Oasis and Dartz. 26 Film Reviews The new James Bond flick, HSM 3 and Simon Pegg’s new film reviewed.

27 The Subways The Essex trio discuss the problems they had making their new album. 28 Frank Turner DN talks to the folk singer about his new single. It’s for charidee, kids. 28 The Research An interview with the Wakefield band 29 Game Reviews Two new footy games are out. Pro Evo and Fifa 09. But which is better? Only one way to find out...FIGHT! 30 Wild Beasts Stephen Milnes talks to the craziest named band in this issue of DN. 31 Gig Guide The DN guide to what’s happening in the North East through to February. 32 Joanne Jackson An exclusive interview with the Olympic Bronze medal winner. 33 David Pepper Sunderland University kickboxer tells us his dramatic story.


DN Competitions

Competitions Win the debut album by the Saturdays – and more!

The Saturdays: They’ll wear any colour dress, as long as it’s black. Maybe they’re mates with Glasvegas? Here at DN, we get sent a lot of stuff. Now, naturally, we take some of it for ourselves – like the Miley Cyrus album I spotted Mike squirreling away when it came in. But there’s always leftovers. And because we’re generous, we’re giving you the chance to win some of it. This month, we’ve got comic author PG Wodehouse books to give away (yes, we tried to give them away last time with no success) as well as CDs by Tom Jones and the Saturdays. I’m sure you’ll agree, that’s a startling mix that would probably masquerade happily as an

entire Christmas shopping trip for someone tight. So, I hear you scream, how do I win this almighty collection of swag? Easy. All you have to do is make us laugh. a UoS hoodie!

Send in your jokes and other assorted funny stuff to and the very best will win the albums and the books, as well as anything else we find lying around the office here at DN Towers.

The kind people at the SU have donated us a University of Sunderland hoodie to give away, in the colour and size of your choice..

I can actually see a rather flash Jack Daniels guitar-shaped keyring I’m thinking of having for myself, but you can have that as well.

To win, take a pic of yourself with DN, or wearing a UoS hoodie (or both!) in the most exotic / strange / exciting place you can think of and send it to us at

See, how nice are we?!

Winner announced in Easter issue.



Degrees North magazine * USSU, Edinburgh Building, City Campus, Chester Road, Sunderland, SR1 3SD 8 (0191 515 2957 Editor Jamie Smith Deputy Editor Adam Chapman Production Editor Mike Carter Features Editor Lucy Duffield Entertainments Editor Stephen Milnes Photo Editor Hal Ridge Web Editor Scott Goodacre Contributors David Allison, Kat Baggott, Nicola Bramble, Matthew Briggs, Laura Burrell, Adam Clery, Pete Connify, Charlotte Foster, Mark Grainger, Paul Michael Hillman, David Peddie, Monica Stoffel, Lisa Tweddle. Designers Mike Carter, Adam Chapman, Peter Gillon, Stephen Milnes, Jamie Smith, Monica Stoffel. Thanks To Allen, Sue, Steve and all the staff at the Students’ Union and Potts printers. The views expressed in this magazine are of individual contributors and do not reflect the opinions of the University of Sunderland Students’ Union. The Union’s official views and policies can be found at Content is not permitted to be reproduced without consent of DN magazine.

Editorial DN


to Issue 32 of Degrees North. Welcome to the new look DN. We hope you like it. I won’t bore you with the reasons we’ve overhauled it, but suffice to say we prefer the look of it now. We hope you do. We’ve got a stonker of an issue for you this time out, having pulled out all the stops to get some great interviews in the mag. You’ll have already seen the cover stars are Glasvegas, who are quite possibly the country’s biggest band at the moment, and we’ve got a great interview with them on page 23. The Subways are ace as well and you can see what they had to say for themselves on page 27. Other musicky people we spoke to this time include soon-to-behuge Wild Beasts and folk hero Frank Turner. Read all about them on pages 30 and 28 respectively. At the centrepiece of this issue, we break one of the unbreakable laws of journalism by featuring ourselves. Yep, we know it’s shameless, but we thought some of you might be interested in who we are and what we do. We’re also going all upmarket, featuring some fantastic culture-y stuff for your reading pleasure. Pete Connify’s short story on page 20 is well worth a read and if poetry is your thing instead, there’s even some of that to keep you musing life’s great mysteries. And, as ever, you can find out what the crew at the Students’ Union have been up to by flicking over to page 8. We’ve also made the conscious decision not to even mention the whole Jonathan Ross/Russell Brand saga, as we reckon everyone is totally sick of it. As usual we welcome your feedback on everything in the mag, good or bad. Drop us a line at to have your say, or if you’d like to get involved in the production of the magazine, or the website at www. .

Jamie Jamie Smith, Editor

Degrees North IS NOW RECRUITING! Looking to get some work published? Want to bulk up your CV? Just think you can do better than us? We’re willing to give you that chance. Drop us a line at and we’ll take it from there. You can also come along to one of the weekly DN meetings at Campus @ Manor Quay, every Thursday from 5pm and meet us in person and buy us beer and stuff. What are you waiting for?


DN Opinion

Chappers Adam Chapman thinks that today’s bands should be speaking out while they’re rocking out.

For some bizarre reason known only to the show’s producers (and blatantly not even known to Jeremy Paxman), the BBC’s flagship current affairs programme Newsnight chose to interview Dizzee Rascal following the election of Barack Obama to the White House. There was some tenuous link to hip-hop and how the rap establishment had been instrumental in Obama’s historic win, and you probably can’t argue with that. It did get me thinking though: Whatever Happened to My Rock and Roll?

same time (only after we’ve explained to a generally moronic and apathetic public that we’re using ‘great’ as a pejorative), with religious nutjobs trying to outdo each other in the Rank Stupidity and Death to Innocent Civilians stakes, and inflation threatening to go through the roof. Don’t get me started on the price of chicken. But I digress. What annoys me is that something somewhere is clearly going quite tits up, but on my radio some berk’s telling me that she’s so lovely, she’s so lovely, she’s just so

I can’t say I’m a huge fan of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, but the grungy trio’s lament was a worthy one and in times like these, we truly need rebellion and inspiration. The Kanye Wests and Dizzee Rascals of this world are all well and good, but where are this generation’s Sex Pistols?

be a simmering bastion of political dissent. Rock music should be rocking against racism one day, and then swearing loudly on live telly the next. However, British music is generally a lethargic mess of indifference that only gets its arse in gear when those involved can make money from a cause they, in all honesty, know nothing about. Moody teenagers find solace in rebellion. Where’s the rebellion in the homogenized NME dirge-rock that they’re force fed now? Once they had the Clash or Nirvana, now they have the Kooks. And we certainly can’t rely on Luke Pritchard to point out that the only way ID cards will save us from terrorism is if they’re nine feet by seven feet and made out of Kevlar (so we can hide behind them the next time some madman sets fire to his shoes on a 747).

When this generation shows our grandchildren the popular music Innovative new of our day, what will music and fashion they think? Will they be always comes from inspired by a Lennon or times of depression: Stummer type figure, rock and roll, punk, or be too busy scratchelectro and hip-hop ing the microchip that’s all emerged from The Maccabees: Symptomatic of the current music scene. implanted in their face moments of sheer sodding lovely. because we were a generation that didn’t care, crapness, and it should be obvious to most British music appears to be full of diet-Liberand looked to Reverend and the Makers for people now that we’re on the edge of Sometines dross, bands who think they’re saying social commentary? A generation that failed thing Very Shit Indeed. something important and sticking it to the to see the irony of watching Big Brother, as man, but in reality merely continue to pick up everything fell apart around us? You know the line in Fight Club about how our generation has no great war, no great major label pay cheques and sing about nothing at all. I’m not sure if the lack of activism amongst depression? That our Great War is a spiritual musicians is a result of the aforementioned war, and our Great Depression is our lives? The greatest musicians have long spoken for apathetic and moronic public, or the root of the disenfranchised and the jaded, from John it. It’s a chicken and egg situation, but chicken Pretty soon, we’ll see how much of the proLennon and Bob Dylan to Public Enemy and is too bloody expensive and we’re looking to verbial hits the fan when we experience our Arcade Fire. Rock music in particular should the Hoosiers to save us. Great War and our Great Depression at the


Opinion DN


Matthew Briggs gets his teeth into some culture-y stuff, with a look at this year’s Turner Prize... December is fast approaching, which means it’ll get colder, wetter and generally gloomier. The only things we have to take our minds off the unremitting bleakness of the month is Christmas, the annual excuse to lie to small children by telling them a fat bloke with an environmentally friendly form of travel (flying reindeer don’t give off that much CO2, do they?) is going to sneak into their houses and give them free stuff, and the Turner Prize, which manages to convince a vast swathe of the general public that elephant poop smeared across various objects is art. For those who don’t know what the Turner Prize is, it’s the British art industry’s nod towards the pretentious. The moment when the nobodies of the art world get a couple of column inches about them and their usually baffling work. They sit smugly astride the trundling twit-wagon of Britart while journalists either pour scorn or throw superlatives at them.

fellow panel members during a live televised debate about the prize, propelling her from little known detritus merchant to full-blown Britartist superstar. She was herself nominated for the prize in 1999, but missed out to the aforementioned Mr McQueen. The Turner Prize is always slagged to high heaven by certain lippy know nowts – such as myself – but usually they have enough supporters to fend off their detractors. This year however, the boot has well and truly been put into everyone involved. The Telegraph calls the shortlist “opaque” and “irrelevant”, the Times says the installations are “inscrutable junk” and the Financial Times implores its readers not to bother heading to the Tate to see the exhibition, before calling it the worst in the history of the award. Now you’ve had your appetite well and truly whetted by those ringing endorsements, let’s have a look at the inconsequen-

Yep, it’s the bastion of the downright bloody ridiculous. If hour-long films of actors dressed as police officers, standing completely still is your bag then you’ll love it.

tial muppets who are inevitably going to confuse the hell out of Sun readers all over the country. Battling it out for the £25,000 prize this year are Runa Islam and her video installations; Mark Leckey, a Justin Lee Collins look-alike who lectures you for the best part of an hour while dressed as a woman; Goshka Macuga who has entered what looks like a broken revolving door into the competition and Cathy Wilkes, who seems to have stolen the mannequins from her local New Look. Unsurprisingly, the Turner judges have shunned the idea of including a painter on the shortlist. I say unsurprisingly, because it must be a bloody decade since someone who has actually picked up a paintbrush was given the opportunity to show off their work at the exhibition. Of course, all the installations represent something. I’ve no doubt we’ll hear that it’s all about the breakdown of society, the media, the throw away culture we’re all living in and other such garbled pseudo-intellectual bullshit. Stop me if I sound too cynical about the whole bloody thing, but I fail to see how some of the stuff on show can represent anything at all, let alone provide some form of up-to-date social commentary.

Previous winners of the prize include Gillian Wearing, Steve McQueen and Damien Hirst, the latter being the only one you’ve probably heard of and probably the only one who isn’t derided outside the modern art scene. Aside from the dubious artistic merit on show, controversy follows the award round like a particularly weak fart. The most infamous incident occurred in 1997, when the snaggletoothed Tracy Emin got drunk, swore like a docker and insulted her

I suppose you could argue that’s the beauty of it – it allows you to make of it what you want – but that’s frankly rubbish. You could say that about any collection of objects thrown into the centre of a bright, white room.

Arty Farty: Goshka Macuga’s ‘broken revolving door’ piece, the *ahem* cleverly titled Haus de Frau 2.

You can dress it up all you want with fancy language and indepth debates, but the Turner Prize is not rocket science. It never has been and it never will be.


DN News You might think with the madness that is Freshers out of the way, the Exec may now be able to rest on their laurels, but that’s not the case. Jamie Smith caught up with them all in a rare quiet moment between meetings.


One of the main parts of Education and Welfare officer Ciara Murphy’s job is to run campaigns that raise much-needed money for charity. This month, the main event was a pink night, where money was raised for a breast cancer awareness charity. Around 20 volunteers dressed up and spent the day collecting money from students, with the final total a highly impressive £1642.59. Of that money, the LGBT Society raised £115.19 and £289.55 came from sales of hoodies, donated by SU nightclub Campus. £15.90 came from pennies, proof if ever you needed it that every penny really does count and that if you look after the pennies, the pounds will look after themselves.

She’ll be planning events alongside new Exec member Danielle Reed to run during Rag, which will take place between Monday 23 February and Saturday 7 March.

Dates have not been confirmed yet, but the event will happen in December and the lucky charity chosen to receive the funds raised is the British Heart Foundation.

Details are still sketchy at the moment, but the Exec team are working hard on putting together a cracking schedule that will be loads of fun for everyone, as well as raising great amounts of money for charity.

More recently, the Students’ Union has run a Nightline Awareness Week. Nightline is a free phone line for students wanting any advice about anything at all, or if they simply want someone to talk to, as they are feeling lonely.

“We’re hoping to sort out a balloon release and a firework display for the opening and closing ceremonies of Rag,” said Ciara.

Nightline will run alongside the Students’ Union’s Talk to Tracy scheme that runs throughout the year (turn to page 15 for more details).

“Everyone was really generous. We smashed last year’s breast cancer total,” said Ciara. The University’s Dance Society performed on the night in Campus and students were encouraged to wear as much pink as possible, so if you were wondering what that was all about, now you know! “We’re really looking forward to raising loads of money during Rag,” added Ciara. Rag stands for Raise and Give, and the Students’ Union here at the University of Sunderland will be running Rag events for the first time in years next year, something Ciara has pushed hard for.

Get in touch!

Nightline will be running throughout December from 6pm-8pm. To find out more, or to volunteer to work with Nightline, contact Nightline President Craig Priestley by e-mailing nightline@

Pic courtesy of Debbie Sykes-Waller

The next opportunity for students to get involved in raising money for charity through the SU will be a seasonal event and one that always proves popular, the Santa Dash. No, it won’t be a race (although that would be entertaining), but volunteers will be dressing up as everyone’s favourite Saint to get you digging in your pockets for change.

The SU is also planning to run a Boomerang. President Greg du Bois said: “Boomerang is a fund-raising event that has been done by the universities at Newcastle and Northumbria in the past, so we’re jumping on the bandwagon. “Groups of entrants are required to get as far away from Sunderland as possible, and back, without spending any money on transport.” The record so far is New York… Anyone who wants to help out with Rag events, contact Ciara or Greg.

Greg du Bois, President, Steve Corr, Vice President, Comms & Finance, Ciara Murphy, Education & Welfare Officer,

As always, the Executive Committee at the Students’ Union are available to answer any questions you may have. You can pop in to see them at any time during office hours by visiting the SU offices in the Edinburgh Building on Chester Road. You can also speak to them by calling the SU (0191 515 3000).

Gavin Barnes, Sports & Activities Officer, Pip McDonald, International Officer, Danielle Reed, Entertainments Officer,, Dan Frost, LGBT Officer, Hannah Hunter-Reid, Societies Officer, Mark Nailess, Student Representation Officer,


News DN


DANIELLE REED DN: How does it feel joining the Exec? DR: It’s great, I’m friends with most of the Exec anyway, so it felt right that I would come in the office to actually do work, rather than sitting distracting them!

Executive Commitee and helping with organising days and nights out for the Union and making sure people are taking full advantage of the social side of University. I also work closely with the Education and Welfare Officer [Ciara Murphy] to help organise fundraising and charity work and will be helping especially with Rag in February.

DN: Why did you want to join the SU? DR: Well, I did the Freshers’ welcome team as part of Freshers 08 [You may have spotted the orange t-shirted people around during Freshers - Ed] and I really enjoyed getting to know the students and made so many new friends along the way and I love the entertainment and fundraising side, so thought it was only right to go for the Ents and Campaigns Officer role.

DN: Why are you right for the job? I think I’m the right person for the job as I am outgoing, friendly and up for a laugh! I’m usually spotted on many a night out, usually with a drink in my hand, but I actually can be serious and get my head down to help organise things within the Union. I have been at the University for a while now and I just want people to enjoy their University years just like I have!

DN: What does your role involve? My role involves working with the

DN: What events are you planning? Well, there is a lot in the pipeline at the

Hi guys,

time here at the University of Sunderland.

DN: What are you studying? DR: I am in 3rd Year, studying Journalism.

LGBT For those of you who don’t already know, my name is Dan Frost, I am the elected LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Trans-gender) Officer on your Exec this year. Throughout the year, I will be working with the LGBT and Friends Society, which always jumps at the chance to get involved with any campaigns we are running. Just recently, they raised a splendid £115.49 for Breast Cancer in 5 hours, as they walked around Sunderland in their pink PJs! Thank you everyone who took part in that! The society aims to provide a door for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gender students to get to know one another and be themselves in a social environment, to make sure its members get the most out of their

In the last issue of DN we introduced you to this year’s Students’ Union Executive Committee. This issue, we introduce a new member of the Exec to you, the new Entertainments and Campaigns officer, Danielle Reed.

moment, but all I can say at the minute is watch this space, It’s going to be a good year for entertainment this year! DN: What involvement have you had with the SU before? I have only been involved with the Union for the past three months, working with the Freshers’ welcome team and the Breast Cancer campaign in October. I also worked for the Union a couple of years ago when the old Manor Quay and Wearmouth Bar were around. DN: Why should students contact you? DR: Students should contact me if they have any suggestions for themed nights out or any suggestions for the Union ents. Everything will be taken into consideration, I promise! And especially if they wish to help in Rag, which I can guarantee is going to be an unforgettable 2 weeks!

Although the society is here LGBT: Katie Byram, Matt Grant, Hazel Jackson, Dan for lesbian, gay, bisexual and Frost and Debbie Sykes-Waller trans-gender students, all students are welcome to sign If you haven’t joined already, it costs £5 for up as long as you’ve got an open mind. the year and is definitley worth it, as you cannot attend trips if you have not signed We have connections with Newcastle, up, and we have plenty more planned. Northumbria and Durham societies and often get invited to their social events. A big thank you to Co-Presidents Katie Byram and Matt Grant and Events Officer For Halloween, we ventured to Durham, Debbie Sykes-Waller for all their hard work where we boarded a party boat and so far – Keep it up ! ! everyone had a great time. The society did a great job at Freshers’ Fayre, recruiting over 50 members.

Love Dan x


DN News

Palin into insignificance The recent US elections weren’t just about getting rid of Bush and welcoming in the Obama era. The Vice-Presidency was just as important, as Adam Chapman explains... Tuesday November 3rd was one of the most important days in most of our conscious lifetimes.

sabre-rattling with the Great Bear without even bothering to take office first.

Unless you’ve been under a rock, or illegally detained in Guantanamo Bay, for the last six months, you’ll have been aware that that day saw the culmination of the race to be the 44th President of the United States, a showdown between Republican war veteran John McCain, and the first black person to ever gain the nomination of one of America’s two main political parties, Barack Obama of the Democratic party.

And it’s handy that she could see Russia, and therefore knows where it is, as her standards of geography were found wanting when she was prank-called by a Canadian radio DJ pretending to be French President Nicholas Sarkozy. After the DJ admits the prank, and to being from Montreal, she hands the phone back to her assistant and can be clearly heard telling her it’s a radio station in France. France! Bloody France!

The battle for the White House is always a hotly-contested one, and one with major implications for the rest of us, as whoever wins instantly becomes the self-styled Leader of the Free World.

Not having an in-depth knowledge of the geography of rural Cambodia may be forgivable, but surely American politicians should be familiar with Canada?

And this time, the world looked on with even more baited breath than usual.

Still, you could argue it was a momentary relapse whilst under pressure. And that may be true, but it wasn’t her lack of basic common sense that was most worrying, but her politics: her awful, gun-toting, hypocritical, small town politics. She truly did put the mental in fundamental.

Because for the past been President.

eight years, an absolute moron has

Luckily, Dubya has served as long as US law allows, and is now forced to step down, leaving behind him a divided America, embittered by a vastly unpopular foreign policy, and economic meltdown at home. Indeed, it is the recent financial crisis that many Republicans have blamed for their losing the election, ignoring the years of financial downturn Bush had presided over long before the ‘credit crunch.’

See you in 2012? Sarah Palin waves goodbye to the Oval Office.

Palin claims to be ‘pro-life’, or ‘anti-abortion’ to those of us who realise such a phrase suggests people on the other side of the fence must be ‘pro-death’, and yet she loves guns, which I’m pretty sure kill quite a lot of people. And, surely, this love of life and all of God’s cuddly creatures also contradicts her love of, well, shooting them, then slicing their heads off and sticking them on her wall? My favourite, and I use that word loosely, Palinism though, is her fervent belief in creationism, the literal interpretation of the Bible’s version of events regarding the beginning of the world, and the idea that evolution did not happen at all. Palin’s once beautiful home state of Alaska is currently being drilled left, right and centre for oil. The oil that was formed by billions of dead creatures, over billions of years of, erm, evolution.

Others though believe they should look a little closer to home for the reason they capitulated to a resurgent Democratic party: towards their choice for Vice-President, the Most Dangerous Woman in the World, Sarah Palin.

Fortunately though, many believe that it was McCain’s choice of Palin as his running mate that alienated a lot of the floating voters, independents and conservative Democrats who may have considered voting for him. Once they saw her as the crackpot she undoubtedly is, there was only going to be one winner.

A woman whose entire campaign appeared based around her wardrobe, the fact she’s a ‘hockey mom’ (presumably the ubiquitous ‘soccer mom’ phrase was too ‘foreign’ for her), and that she ‘can see Russia’ from her home state, Alaska. As if American foreign policy wasn’t scary enough to start with, the daft bint renews Cold War


Therefore, we must all perversely say a big thank you to Mrs Palin, for ultimately being a massive reason we’ve waved goodbye to eight awful years of Republicanism and the religious Right.

News DN

Steve Cram

In June, the University appointed North East legend, Olympian and all-round good egg Steve Cram to be the new Chancellor. Nicola Bramble met him to discuss what his role entails and the Uni’s new CitySpace development.

Steve Cram: Keeping a close watch [Geddit? Oh I give up - Ed] on the new sports facility at City Campus. For those of you who don’t know, and I suspect there may be a few, Steve Cram is the new Chancellor of the University of Sunderland, following the resignation of David Puttnam earlier this year. I have an even larger sneaking suspicion that there may be slightly more of you who do not know who Steve Cram is and why this is such a positive move for the University. Steve Cram was born and bred in the North East, gaining a degree in Sports Science in 1983 from this very University. He went on to become one of the world’s most dominant middle distance runners in the 1980s along with Seb Coe and Steve Ovett. His list of achievements seems almost endless – winning six gold medals and breaking world records for the 1500m, 2000m and the mile, among but a few. Although he took it somewhat for granted at the time, he counts the record for the mile as his greatest moment, as it saw him join the roll of honour with a very elite group of athletes. Now, just to top it off, he’s the Chancellor of the University placed just around the corner from his beloved football club Sunderland AFC and – as if to remind himself of the proximity – the room to which we

were led into for the interview overlooked the Stadium of Light in all its glory. Cram describes taking on the position of Chancellor as an honour, but one which comes with a great deal of responsibility. He adds that he wants to be able to fully commit to the job and this is evident in the approach he is planning to take. As well as this, he sees the role as an opportunity to have a stronger link with the city that is so important to him. It is Cram’s aim to change the role as it has been perceived before – not merely turning up to the special occasions a couple of times a year. He says: “I’m not a big ceremonialtype person, but I understand there will be ceremonial duties that I have to perform.” Rather, he sees the role he has taken on as being more active and hands-on: “I want to be accessible – someone who is seen around and is part of what is going on.” It is another target of his to try to develop sport within the University by building partnerships with organisations and businesses outside of the University. He wants to promote a stronger image of Sunderland University not only to prospective students, but also to companies from the rest of the country in order to encourage them that the North East is the place to be.

Just this week, Cram has been viewing the progression of the University’s £11m sports facility CitySpace, which is expected to be completed in 2009. He said: “Not only will it provide a modern space which combines sport and socialising for students and staff, but the new look campus will attract members of the wider Sunderland community.” He added: “Our plan for the City Campus places the University of Sunderland at the heart of the city’s continuing regeneration. “When placed alongside other regeneration plans outlined for the city, you get the feeling that Sunderland is going to be an even greater place in which to live, work and study.” However, not too keen to be seen as someone who only cares about the sporting side of things, Cram is quick to point out that: “I’m as passionate about education as I am about sport.” He simply feels, knowing what student life is like from his own experience, that a more active lifestyle should be promoted to the students. Here’s to the new era and the hands-on approach. Let’s hope we do see him about because, to paraphrase the man himself; I’ll be brutally honest, if you’d asked me who the Chancellor was last year and what he did, I wouldn’t have had a clue.


DN Feature

How do I

apologise ?

Apologising can be so much more than simply uttering the words “I’m sorry”. There are as many ways to apologise as there are situations that need apologising for. Monica Stoffel takes a look at what methods work best and why it’s so important to go through this awkward, meaningful task.


f you are mature enough to take responsibility for your actions and realise you owe someone an apology, then congratulations, you’ve just won half the battle. But you’ll never gain a full victory if you can’t actually go through with it. Some people will find it more difficult to acknowledge their mistakes than others, but this is not necessarily a personality defect. There are many times when we say or do things in retaliation for being hurt in a previous row, so pinpointing who is at fault is not always clear and will lead to both parties believing they deserve the apology. In many cases, they do. For instance, one person may rationalise their bad behaviour because of something the other person did and may not think what they did is also wrong. This is what is meant by the old adage, “Two wrongs don’t make a right”. In this situation, the people involved should start from the beginning and discuss each event individually, apologise

where necessary and think of ways to keep the problems from reoccurring. If you want your apology to be effective, you must be sincere. If you are only going through with it because you think you have to, you are not doing anyone a favour and you will be found out.

When is the best time to apologise? Similar to baking, time is of the essence with apologies. Waiting too long could make the other person think that you are just apologising as an afterthought and you don’t really mean it. This is dangerous and could sabotage any future attempts to make amends. However, in some of the more heated situations, giving the person a ‘cooling off’ period to settle their emotions could be in order. Try to use your own knowledge about the person and the situation to determine this.

Get creative: If you have trouble expressing your emotions, let the little crocheted monster do the talking.


“If you can’t take responsibility for yourself, you will end up like Jeremy from Peep Show, or you will become a politician.”

Feature DN How should I apologise? In many circumstances, meeting the person face-to-face is best as it puts the pressure on you to appear and sound sincere. If you are genuinely sorry, make sure that comes through in your tone of voice, mannerisms and choice of words. For instance, say, “I need to apologise to you for...”, and not, “I guess I need to apologise to you for...” It might seem like the same thing, but saying “I guess” will cast doubt over anything that follows. After you have made the apology, allow the other person to vent their frustrations. When they have unleashed everything they had bottled up, they will begin to feel a lot better about you. Now, move forward by acknowledging what they said and discussing how to stop the problem from happening again. Then finish off with a handshake, a hug, a kiss or anything else that will make both of you feel better. If you can’t apologise in person because they live really far away, the next best option is to phone them. If, for some reason that is impossible, then an email or letter is acceptable. Make sure you are clear about what you are apologising for, without rambling on too much about irrelevant things, then wait for them to reply. Never apologise for a major blunder through text, because if you can text someone, you can ring them, which makes it the lowest form of communication known to man.

But what if I really messed up this time? Well, they may never forgive you if it’s really bad, but if you think you have even a small chance, you must try. They might just tell you where to go, but it would be worse to never know whether or not you could have saved the relationship. Actions can say more than words, so don’t be afraid to do something creative that will catch them off guard. For instance, think of an inside joke that you share or an unforgettable moment that you’ve had with them and try to recreate that with the apology. This is called ‘positive association’ and it works when memories are tied up with positive emotions. Draw upon that special memory and they may once again associate you with a time when they were happy. You must remember this: if they feel sad or hurt, they must really care about you, so they probably want to forgive you, but are afraid of looking like a doormat. Because of this, it could be just as difficult for them to accept your apology as it is for you to make it.

Why do I have to apologise? Because it demonstrates to the other person that you value your relationship enough to put your ego on the back burner and see the situation from their point of view. It also shows them that you might make mistakes here and there, but you are not a complete marshmallow, because you know how to take responsibility for your actions. Apologising may initially make you feel awkward, because you are confronting your own guilt on a particular issue, but, in the long run, your ability to do this will mould you into one of the coolest people alive. If you can’t take responsibility for yourself, you will end up like Jeremy from Peep Show, or you will become a politician. And, if that’s not enough to keep you awake at night, I will reiterate – if you constantly refuse to take the heat when your turn is up, you will only prove to others that you are immature, hollow and a waste of a human life. So don’t kid yourself, there’s a lot riding on this.

dn horoscopes We’re not the greatest psychics in the world at DN. We can see the future, but we generally have to wait until we can refer to it as “the present”. Adam Clery on the other hand is known to his mates as Mystic Adam, for reasons which will become obvious as you check below for your stars. Capricorn: Today you will get the sudden taste of orange in your mouth. If you don’t like orange – don’t panic! It might taste like something completely different, like sausages. Or beans. Yes, it could be beans. Aquarius: It will not have escaped your attention that most of your body weight is shifting slowly in one direction. This could be good, could be bad, but will definitely play havoc with your wardrobe. Pisces: There is something building up ahead. I am not quite sure what it is or what it has to do with you today... ... But it’s definitely coming. Aries: Oh god, I just can’t tell you. Seriously, you wouldn’t feel any better for knowing it was coming. Just make sure you have the next few days free and plenty of anti-septic. Taurus: Bovine tendencies may start to come out today as you...MOOOOOO!!! Excuse me. Today is going to be like most days, certainly in terms of its length and the frequency of sunrises to sunsets. Gemini: “Love in spoonfuls” is a great way to sign off a flirty text message, but many people find that a spoon is a tricky instrument to use during love making. Not you though, stud. Cancer: Moving house is very stressful. Not that I’m saying that’s what you’re doing or even planning to do. But it is stressful, you have to agree. Be wary of strangers with no distinguishing features. Leo: Your sub-conscious is going to play tricks on you today and you will slowly begin to re-remember all those things you’ve managed to block out. Including the incident with the kitchen glove and the ostrich. Virgo: This week might be a good time to try and change who you are on the inside. This is not as easy as it sounds, however, so just paint the roof of your mouth. Libra: I’m sorry to tell you this, but you will not find what you are looking for today. Instead, you will find that picture of the chimp sitting on the toilet reading a newspaper you thought was hilarious. Scorpio: Testing times are on the horizon that will interfere with your romantic plans. By testing times, I mean exams and the object of your desire will not like you because you made the questions too hard. Sagittarius: Career ahoy! Mars finally moves into an economically prosperous location for you. If, like me, you don’t want any more money, buy a Snickers instead.


DN Feature

DN Winter Warmers DN kitchen queen, Kat Baggott offers us two mouth-watering recipes to warm your cockles this winter.

No, I’m not talking about a red-hot curry from your local Indian takeaway, although the idea does sound tempting. University is all about experimenting in different areas, and cooking and baking is a great opportunity to express yourself and let others enjoy your tasty treats! So, as it is almost winter, I am going to provide you with a few healthy recipes that will hopefully tickle your taste buds and enable you to have a bit of fun in the kitchen!

King Prawn Risotto – (Serves 4)

Apple & Blackberry Crumble – (Serves 8)

- 1 x red onion, finely chopped - 2 x garlic cloves, crushed - 600ml (1 pint) vegetable stock - 225g (8oz) Arborio risotto rice - 450g (1lb) peeled king prawns - 150ml (1/4 pint) tomato passata - salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

- 3 x large cooking apples - 1 x lemon - 1 x punett of blackberries - A bag of pre-made crumble topping - 2 tsps of ground cinnamon - 2 tbsps of caster sugar

Directions: - Preheat a non-stick frying pan or wok. Add the onion and garlic and dry-fry until soft. - When the onion is soft, add the dry rice. Gradually stir in about 450ml (3/4 pint) of stock, allowing the rice to absorb it before adding more – this will take between 15 and 20 minutes. - Add the prawns to the rice mixture. Stir in the passata. Cook the prawns for 10 minutes. Adjust the consistency with water or extra stock, if necessary, and season with salt and pepper. - Spoon into warm serving bowls and serve immediately.

Brain Food?

- Preheat the oven to 200C, 400F, Gas Mark 6. - Place the crumble on a baking tray and toast lightly in the oven for 10 minutes. - Peel and core the apples. Chop into small pieces and place in an ovenproof dish with lemon juice and caster sugar. - Add the blackberries and mix with the apple pieces, taking care not to break up the blackberries. - Mix together the toasted crumble, sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over the fruit and place in the oven. - Bake in the oven for 15–20 minutes until golden brown. - Remove from the oven, dust with icing sugar and serve hot with low-fat custard.

Fat, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals play equally important parts in the growth and functioning of the brain, which is why it’s important to have a healthy and varied diet.

By Charlotte Foster

Food directly affects the performance of your brain. Research has shown that by including particular foods in your diet you can boost your IQ, improve your memory and concentration levels. Some students eat particular things before exams and during assignments with the belief that it helps their performance. A common choice is sugary foods like, chocolate which might make you feel better but don’t release your brain’s full potential. Thinking is a biochemical process and for brain cells to effectively communicate with one another they require chemicals called neurotransmitters, which are found in all food groups that we eat (or should eat).



Fatty acids found in omega-3 in particular have been shown to boost brain power. It can be found in foods such as oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines, and fresh tuna), leafy green vegetables, pumpkin seeds and other food sources. A lack of omega-3 fats has been shown to contribute to poor memory, learning disabilities and depression. I guess this explains why the national recommendation is to eat two portions of fish a week; to maintain your omega-3 intake and a healthy body and brain. It’s always healthier to eat the nutritious food itself but there are alternatives. If you want your rightful omega-3 intake then check out the fish oil supplements in supermarkets or Holland & Barrett’s and keep your eyes peeled for the sales.

Feature DN

WHY SO S.A.D.? Depression is a word that is bandied about more and more these days by people with little or no idea what it actually means to be depressed or to be suffering from depression. Nicola Bramble finds out more...

How often do we hear someone say: “Oh, I’m depressed…” when they are feeling a little bit down, or have a mild case of the blues, without really understanding what they are saying? Conversely, how many people out there pose themselves the question: “Am I going mad?” without comprehending why they feel that way? This time of year has been recognised as a particularly difficult one for students – many of whom have left home for the first time, have to make brand new friends and have the added pressure of a higher workload than experienced before, while trying to pay their own way. All of this thrown in the mix together can eventually lead to feelings of isolation and vulnerability, which can become a downward spiral into depression. Research has shown that, at both the start and end of the academic year, suicide rates amongst students rise dramatically. The Students Against Depression website at seeks to combat the effects of depression by setting the record straight on the symptoms, why a person could be feeling depressed and what could be done about it. Most importantly, it asserts the fact that you are never alone in the way you feel. The site lists the warning signs as being: “Persistently sad, anxious or empty; having a loss of interest; a feeling of lethargy or decreased energy; suffering from irregular sleep patterns; undergoing appetite or weight changes; feeling restless, having poor

concentration, feeling hopeless, pessimistic, helpless or worthless,” and, in more extreme cases: “Having thoughts of death or suicide.” The information it provides seeks to help a student cope with the lifestyle expected of them throughout the year, by offering stepby-step guides on how to get help, advice on helping others who may be depressed, the key issues and a “Desperate right now?” section which imparts advice on what to do if feeling suicidal or if instant help is required. The website also communicates stories of other student sufferers – their own experiences and how they got through a traumatic time in their lives. As well as this, there are sections within the site which look to address the more specific and also quite common problems that a student may be facing, such as those of finances, accommodation, study and relationships. This gives guidance right from the beginning of University through to the final year exams and, as someone facing the prospect of a tough final year right now, the advice is invaluable. The Students Against Depression website was originally launched in 2005 and is sponsored by the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, set up by the family of a student who committed suicide, in order to raise awareness. It is run in conjunction with the Association for University and College Counselling (AUCC) and won the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy Award for Innovation in 2006. Peter Hughes, the Head of Counselling

for the University of Sunderland, states: “Sometimes a student is frightened by the symptoms they experience. Websites such as ‘Students Against Depression’ help to normalise the symptoms.” However, the University offers its own help for students that require it and, in explaining this help, Peter seeks to distance the problems students suffer from the word ‘depression’: “From a counselling perspective, the symptoms that medical practitioners identify as components of depression are natural responses to the circumstances in which a person finds themselves. “‘Depression’, which isn’t a term I am eager to use because of its use by medical practitioners, is a natural and healthy response.” The counselling service that the University provides takes a different stance on the treatment that is offered. The focus is on the student’s lifestyle and managing all of the everyday and greater demands on them so that they are then in control, rather than purely fixating on the symptoms. Mr Hughes added: “Students who have no wish to manage their lives better visit their GP for anti-depressant medication. Fortunately, a slowly increasing proportion of GPs insist that such patients have counselling either instead of or as well.” Those who feel that they, or someone they know, need help, should visit the University Counselling Service website at: http://, telephone 0191 515 2933 or e-mail

Talk to Tracy

Tracy Simmons, Student Contact Officer at the Students’ Union (otherwise known as “Talk to Tracy”) offers an informal and confidential support service to all students. If you have a problem (personal or academic), but you are not sure who you need to speak to, Tracy can signpost you in the right direction for support. Tracy is also a useful source of information if you want to find out about the different ways you can get involved in University life and meet new people. You might also want to “Talk to Tracy” if you have missed lectures or are not sure whether the course you have chosen or the University is right for you. Tracy can guide you through the options available to you. To contact Tracy: Telephone: 0191 515 3582 Email: Location: Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays, Wearbank House, St. Peter’s Campus (next door to Campus) Tuesdays & Thursdays, Students Union office, Ground Floor Edinburgh Building, City Campus


DN Feature

Wrap Up Well This Winter The Students’ Union’s Education and Welfare Officer Ciara Murphy, and Health and Wellbeing Adviser Barbara Scullion talk to Charlotte Foster about the importance of sexual health and what the University of Sunderland is doing about it. The Department of Health is working towards reducing the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections, HIV and under-aged pregnancies. It has found that alcohol and drugs greatly affect sexual behaviour and, with a student’s lifestyle generally involving an immeasurable amount of booze, they are at particular risk. Sex education is something that is lacking in Britain, which is evident from people who still believe that STDs lurk on toilet seats. “It’s a popular myth,” said Barbara, who goes on to explain that it’s one of the reasons why they work to educate students on sexual health by supporting awareness campaigns and alerting students of the services that are available at the University and in the local area. Ciara points out: “A lot of STDs can cause serious health problems that are preventable because they’re so easily treatable.” The University encourages students to get tested and even has its own Family

Planning Clinic in The Gateway which is open every Tuesday between 12noon-2pm for appointments and drop-ins. The clinic is run by family planning nurses who provide information, advice, contraception, testing and referrals. The clinic provides ‘pee-in-the-pot’ Chlamydia tests, which are simple, convenient and readily available upon request, throughout the year. The pack requires students to provide a urine sample, which they then post to be tested at the Microbiology Department at Sunderland Royal Hospital. The student is given the option of getting their results by text, email or post. This more convenient way of testing was introduced because of the rising numbers of STD cases – chlamydia in particular. “It’s the most common STD in Britain, because young adults are sexually active earlier, which can increase the risk of STDs,” explained Barbara. Although there are no symptoms, it can lead to infertility if left untreated.

The Students’ Union are attempting to make the pee-in-the-pot test packs more accessible to students, by introducing a dispensing bin in The Gateway. “That way students would be able to take the test pack whenever they wanted, without having to ask for them,” explains Ciara. Like the chlamydia tests, contraceptives are also readily available to students, in places like the Students’ Union office and the Bonded Warehouse, but you have to pipe up to pocket some. Some people are uncomfortable about asking for contraception or talking about sexual health in general, but when it comes down to your state of health and wellbeing, you really cannot afford to take chances and be bashful on the topic. Testing is not just for detecting STDs, but also for cancers, which are also treatable – if they are caught early enough. It won’t be long until the festive season hits and that’s when STD cases see a sharp increase. “We’re not saying don’t enjoy yourself, but be safe as well,” said Barbara.

Dates for your diary Monday 1st December – World Aids Day (The Gateway and St. Peters) Thursday 4th December – Stay Safe Campaign (The Gateway) Friday 5th December – Stay Safe Camapign (St. Peters) Week commencing 9th February – Contraceptive Awareness Week (dates and venues to be confirmed)


Feature DN


Every year, the Students’ Union here at Sunderland takes international students on trips around the country. DN Editor Jamie Smith accompanied 21 students on the first of this year’s trips, to the Scottish capital of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh: The group that made the trek. Despite my family hailing from bonny Scotland, I’d never had the chance to spend some time looking around the country’s capital, Edinburgh. For that reason, I jumped at the chance to accompany a group of international students last month on the first of this year’s city day-trips around the country.

Upcoming trips York 29/11/08, Manchester 07/02/09, Glasgow 21/03/09, Leeds 09/05/09, Liverpool 13/06/09

Edinburgh was beautiful. The famous castle dominates the city skyline. My view was, once you’ve seen one castle, you’ve seen them all, but Edinburgh’s is something else, towering majestically above the rest of the city. The city also boasts an impressive range of museums and exhibitions, many of them free and some of which I saw during our few hours there. My favourite was Camera Obscura, a dazzling show of clever light and camera tricks that made my eyes go funny for the rest of the day. The centrepiece of the exhibit was in its roofspace, with an interactive camera panning over the rooftops of Edinburgh, spying on its incumbents. The next trip will be to the old Roman city of York on Saturday 29th November. The trip will cost just £15, which includes transport to and from the city. Tickets can be purchased from the Students’ Union offices at City Campus on Chester Road. Particularly worth a visit is York’s famous Minster, where tours are available throughout the day. Or, if a good old scare is your thing, a trip to York Dungeons will be right up your street. I thoroughly recommend taking the chance to visit one of England’s oldest and most traditional cities.


DN Feature It’s an unwritten rule of journalism that you should never talk about yourself. But we’re a conceited bunch at DN, so we let David Peddie write a whole article about us! So, without further ado...

Meet The


The Seven DN Dwarves: What a bright bunch they are. But this was before they started making the magazine. Last issue, we met the Exec of the Students’ Union and now, into the spotlight we thrust the motley crew who have spent many a late night creating this beast of an issue and spent many more (and far later) nights enjoying the delights of Sunderland’s public houses. Most of the editorial team are in their last year here at University and so we asked them for a nostalgic look back at their time at Sunderland, with the lowdown on their antics and (lack of) memories, potential pitfalls (all involving the bevy) and their hopes for the future. First up, the gaffer, the chief, head honcho Jamie Smith. Jamie is 20 and hails from Burnley. Not too sure what the taxis are like in Burnley, but apparently they look remarkably like our very own Campus bus – or at least that’s what Jamie thought after a night on the tiles, when he insisted on paying the Campus bus driver who dropped him home. If you go on a night out with Jamie, get him suitably plastered and take him home in a wheelbarrow – there’s money to be made. Following his rise to the role of Editor, Jamie would love to use his powers and interview Thom Yorke for DN. “He’s mint and would actually talk about other things, rather than just plug his album.”


Just in case he doesn’t manage to persuade Mr Yorke, interviewing rock stars is something Jamie would love to do, following the completion of his Journalism degree. “I’d love to be established as a writer in any sort of field, but getting into gigs for free sounds like fun.” Indeed, and if you can get into the gig for free, you’ve got plenty of money to pay anyone you want to get you home. Taking the stylish photographs that grace our shiny pages is Hal Ridge, Photo Editor for DN. Hal, 21, is studying Journalism and Photography. When he’s not snapping away, he runs his own rallycross race team, which he hopes will continue to be a part of his life in the future. He would most like to interview either John Peel or the Dalai Lama for the magazine, but acknowledges that an interview with John Peel would be quite difficult. Therefore, expect a scoop with the Dalai Lama next issue and his views on the best pub in Sunderland. Hal’s most embarrassing moment at Uni was setting off the fire alarm in his Halls of Residence – most embarrassing, because he was sober and trying to toast a bagel. Features Editor Lucy Duffield adds a bit of sass to the editorial office of the DN Team. At 19, Lucy is also the youngest member and is studying English Education and is

looking to move into teaching English as a career, preferably to horrible hormonal teenagers. Perhaps she can educate them on the benefits of a Diet Coke after a night on the sauce, as Lucy swears it’s the best hangover cure. If you can’t get enough of DN Magazine, you can check out more on the website. Scott Goodacre, 21, is the man behind it, as the Web Editor. If possible, his dream interviewee for the magazine would be Kylie Minogue. Not to ask her anything in particular mind, simply to admire her, erm, personality. With his roots in Washington – the original one – Scott is not a frequent visitor to the city for nights out, but when he does he certainly likes to make the most of it, as his hangover the next day will testify. On finishing his Journalism degree, Scott would love to work for a music magazine and he is currently well on his way with a personal project. Check out www.themusicmagazine. for details. From Poole, in Dorset, Mike Carter, 21, is a long way from home and, despite not knowing quite how he ended up here, has absolutely loved his time in Sunderland. He’s had some cringeworthy moments, of course, as he explains: “I’m one of those people who has a habit of crashing

Feature DN


- Editor

Chappers - Deputy Ed

Mike - Prod. Ed


Steve - Ents Edito

Lucy - Features Ed

Say hello to my little friend: Jamie’s search for new contributers takes a tragic turn after he has the inevitable one too many...[I wasn’t even drunk - Ed] and burning during big presentations. The worst was when my nervous twitchings were taken by my one of my fellow group members as a sign to progress to the next PowerPoint slide. We’d gone through all the slides in about 15 seconds. Disaster”. However, as Production Editor of the magazine, Mike can’t have too bad an aversion to computers. Indeed, Mike would love to be involved with video games magazines and reckons reviewing Nintendo games would be a fantastic job once his time at University is up. On the subject of video games, Entertainments Editor, Stephen Milnes is keeping a low profile, following a severe thrashing at the hands of his housemate at FIFA 09 (see review on page 29). He says that this is one of his most embarrassing moments and so we will take great pleasure in publishing the memory in print. For the record, the score was 6-0. Embarrassing would be putting it lightly. When he’s not being tanked on FIFA 09, Journalism student Stephen enjoys drinking copious amounts of tea and listening to

music, of which he reckons the Flaming Lips are the best band on the planet and would love to feature them for DN.

Hal - Photo Editor

With his course in its final year, Stephen fancies working in radio in some capacity and is contemplating doing further courses after this year. Although he likes to take each day as it comes and who knows what opportunities may come his way. Like a shot at goal in FIFA. Last but by no means least, Deputy Editor Adam Chapman. “Chappers” rants on any subject to rankle with him have sometimes landed him in slightly awkward situations. We couldn’t possibly print what he said whilst walking into (what he assumed was) an empty classroom, only to discover it was full – and he was talking very loudly. The 20-year-old from Durham reckons that, when you find yourself in these situations it’s best just to go to the pub and drink to forget. The next day, Lucozade Sport and a double sausage McMuffin will cure your ails. It’s the best hangover cure according to Chappers – and he should know. Chappers has no intention of easing up on

Scott - Web Editor

h i s ranting and in five years can see himself “spouting crap to a wider audience from the pages of a vaguely respectable newspaper” or interviewing his heroes, Al Pacino and Niall Quinn. So there they are, the editorial superstars of Degrees North. Of course they are nothing without their supporting cast, the magazine contributers, but we’ll let them have their moment of glory for now.


DN Culture


Here at DN Towers we like to do things a little differently pages of pictures of us messing around or some other Down, a short story from Pete Connify, and then on the It had all come to a head. He couldn’t take the continual arguing any longer. He was aware that he was partly to blame but he couldn’t see beyond the bickering. Being asked to leave the marital house was a dent to his ego but he couldn’t see an alternative to that either. The most difficult thing was having to pass the dumbstruck figures of his two confused children, their pleading eyes, on the verge of tears, begging him not to leave. How could he explain to a seven year old and a four year old in terms they could understand? He could have sworn he heard a whispered, “Daddy” as he pulled the door closed behind him. It had started raining an hour before, long before the fight had erupted, but now the steady torrent was soaking his coat as he hurried to put it on. The drainpipe by the front door sang as the rain played rimshots down its length. He hurried to the car, fumbling for his keys. It was then he realised he had no idea where he was heading. He hadn’t packed so much as an overnight bag and he only had a few pounds in his pocket, but he knew it was already too late to go back into the house. He got into the car and to his relief it started first time. He wiped the gathering condensation from the inside of the windscreen, dropped the clutch and put the car in gear. Still with no idea where to go he decided to just drive and think on the way. He took a left turn, then a right. He took another right turn and then a left turn. He drove out of the town and headed for the countryside. He turned the heater on and pulled his damp coat closer around himself.


and had stopped for a break. His daughter, out playing, had come up to him unseen. He’d caught sight of her too late to hide the cigarette. She eyed it with a combination of fear and loathing. He had almost choked when she looked him straight in the eye and asked, “What’s cancer?” That had been the day he had given up, but he nipped the cigarette and kept it in the packet in the car just in case, and this was the case, plus it was a rainy day. He decided there and then that he hated metaphors.

quite right. The car suddenly shuddered again; the engine faltered, lurched and, after chugging and spluttering, stopped dead. He tried several times but the engine wouldn’t restart. With a resigned sigh, he opened the door and climbed out of the car. To his left he noticed a pair of enormous, ancient looking gates. They were towering wrought iron monstrosities mounted on monolithic pillars. Just visible through the gates was a huge mansion, but it was at least a mile away.

He’d been driving for almost two hours, indiscriminately turning left and right in an almost deliberate, yet sub-conscious attempt to lose himself. He didn’t notice the rain stop until the windscreen wipers began to scrape noisily across the glass.

He looked around left and right, but could see no other buildings nearby. In fact, he couldn’t see anything on the lane as the darkness was positively ink black. He squinted and waited for his eyes to adjust.

He could have sworn he heard a whispered, “Daddy” as he switched them off. It was many more miles further on that he noticed how low the petrol gauge was.

He looked at his watch, but it had stopped. He must have forgotten to wind it, a job he always did as he walked upstairs to bed but tonight there had been no such walk.

“Please get me to the next filling station, don’t you dare do this to me . . .” But right on cue the car began to misfire. Instinctively he checked the rear view mirror but there was only darkness behind him. He dropped the clutch and coasted down a slight incline.

He looked in the glove compartment and found an old, discarded cigarette packet. There was only a dimp inside and he remembered nipping it and putting it there.

As the road curved he noticed the junction to a lane and he eased the car into it. The lane snaked endlessly through the ever thickening trees. The overhanging branches clawed away at the visible remains of the sky.

He had been washing the car one Sunday

He somehow felt that something was not

He looked up and down the lane once more but could see nothing except a rather eerie looking mist which was moving towards him like a sea fret coming in. He felt drawn to the gates. They were ajar, which he hadn’t noticed before and as he edged between them they moved slightly and gave out a high pitched creak, but in the remote location it sounded more like a scream. The gravel path was wide and overgrown. The grounds either side were wild looking, but largely invisible due to the gathering mist. He could have sworn he heard a whispered, “Daddy” behind him. He had gone a few hundred yards towards the house before it even occurred to him that it might be deserted. He peered ahead. It looked abandoned. Dejected he turned back only to be faced with a wall of rolling mist. He couldn’t see two yards. The mist threatened to envelope him. Gripped with fear, of what he didn’t know, an overwhelming claustrophobic feeling took his breath away.

DOWN sometimes, just to mix it up a bit. So here, instead of two gubbins, here’s some literature for you. First up, Break far side, some poetry from Laura Burrell. Enjoy.

He turned again and started to run towards the house. An upstairs light was on. “Thank goodness,” he thought, he had been mistaken.

dying flame he stared into the glowing red eyes, and the eyes stared back. He could have sworn he heard a whispered, “Daddy” as the match went out.

It seemed to take an eternity to reach the house. As he approached the ramshackle mansion it seemed to grow out of the ground before his very eyes. Without exception the windows were dirty, dull and cracked, but they glowed stark white, reflecting the mist behind him.

All he knew for certain was the undeniable; stagnant, sickly-sweet stench of decay which pervaded the whole place. His mind couldn’t have conjured that. Then he noticed the ticking. It came from behind the door to his right. When he looked it was a splendid grandfather clock. Tall and majestic, it dominated the hallway.

The shutters hung limply at the sides of the windows like wilted leaves. The whole house looked terminally ill. It was then that his heart sank. The upstairs light had gone out. The double front door was vast. It was twice his height and almost as wide. The paint on the door had long since lost all lustre and was dry as sticks, and where it was peeling, the weathered oak beneath showed through. In the centre of both doors was a huge knocker. Originally they had been roaring lions but years of rain and wind had worn them away so that now they resembled distorted, screaming human faces. Hesitantly he reached for the door and knocked. To his surprise the door moved slightly under his hand. He pushed harder and it opened. The door creaked like a coffin lid opening and a dank, musty smell spilled out. He called out as he walked in but only heard the echo of his own voice. He called out again but no-one came although he could have sworn he heard a whispered, “Daddy” from within. The entire inside of the house was grey with dust and cobwebs. The floor was wall to wall insects but his intrusion didn’t faze them. Rather than scuttle away from him the insects seemed to be standing their ground, defending their turf. He lit a match. Still they were motionless. Small rodent eyes glowed in corners but nothing ran. Nothing scurried into the darkness. Nothing moved. In the light from the

The carved, wooden stairway swept away from him to the left and rose around the circular entrance hall. Straight ahead and under the stairs he could see the flickering shadows of an open fire. He started towards it and was soon in a large room. An enormous chandelier hung from a dilapidated ceiling through which he could see the room above. The vast curtains were drawn over the windows and the only source of light was coming from the fire. The furniture in the room was all covered in dust sheets, which hung like shrouds. All apart from one wing-backed armchair which faced the fire. He could only see the back of the chair but a pair of shoes, the only visible sign of the chair’s occupant, was just visible below it. ‘Hello’, he said hoarsely but there was no reply. Cautiously, he stepped forward and rounded the chair. There, he saw an unkempt old man, holding an unlit pipe. He was slumped on the chair like an empty sack. Without moving his head the unkempt old man turned his bloodshot eyes on his visitor. Opening his dry, narrow mouth the old man whispered just one word, “Run!” By Pete Connify

Culture DN

POETRY CORNER By Laura Burrell

Sugar Coated Coffee Beans And all the world’s corrupt and the stage is just for us players You can watch us while you learn But its not a lesson to be remembered And with your pretentious stamp and stomp of strife You thrust your weight upon us Squashing us back into the cocoon of life But fret not my old friend I won’t be woven into your fabric Your rug is not my shade Nor my fit or colour or size So shoot me down Put me in the floor I’d rather be somewhere you’re not

The End For when I am gone and all hope is lost look to the sky to regain all you lust For the clouds tell a story bringing all you thrive nothing is gone it’s all revived For the sun is older than you or I telling the stories that lay in the sky For all you desire look there my friend tilt your head upwards never follow the trend

What do you think of the new DN culture feature? Like Pete’s story? Love Laura’s poems? Let us know by e-mailing us at


DN Entertainment

Tied to the 90s? Why do all good bands eventually become awful? Why don’t they do a Smiths or a Stone Roses and sod off before their talent leaks away? DN’s Web Editor Scott Goodacre tries to explain the worrying phenomena of bands that just won’t give up. For those of us who grew up during the 1990s, they’ll no doubt be fondly remembered for the growing influence of Britpop. This mainly came to a prominence as the 90s drew to a close – with Oasis, Travis and Blur battling it out for various awards and chart positions – back when the charts were cool, of course.

bour are on the decline and the once great duo (Travis and Oasis) are, sadly, confined to the scrapheap. Both new albums, whilst being full of the original charm that established them in people’s playlists, offer nothing new that you can’t find ten years ago. Even worse, where the bands are concerned, no-one new is going to their gigs. At a recent Travis performance, there were a lot of over 30s, and the only people younger had clearly been dragged along by their parents.

The 90s gave us arguably one of the greatest debut albums of all time – Oasis’ 1994 introduction Definitely Maybe and ever since they’ve struggled to match the dizzy heights of that first record. After giving their most recent effort, Dig Out Your Soul, a listen, I’ve come to the conclusion that they’ve had it. I have though, been thinking this ever since Standing on the Shoulders of Giants in 2000. Not that anyone has told the band, though. The new album has gone platinum and, like each of their previous three albums, has been heralded by some parts of the media as “the best album since Definitely Maybe”. Oasis themselves have even decided to join in the hype, with Noel Gallagher even name dropping Standing On... and Be Here Now in some of his interviews. Unfortunately for the band though, the record falls flat on its face. Dig Out Your Soul is just as awful as their previous four albums and, after a few months – when the hype dies down – I’m sure that everyone will come round to it. However, Oasis seem to occupy that ground where they’re simply “too good” to be criticised and messed with, when they grace us with another lacklustre album – and they’re not alone.


But what can they do? It’s highly unlikely that either will sashay down an electronica route and introduce some prominent bass, rap vocals, and Keane-style synths (we can only hope). Music has changed. Once-great 90s pop bands haven’t.

Pic courtesy of Ian Stafford

At least Blur realised this years ago and packed it in.

so rosy. They followed The Invisible Band with the depressing 12 Memories, then. in 2007, launched The Boy with No Name, before following it up with this year’s Ode to J Smith. Only the latter really attempts to scale the heady heights of their earlier work. These are two bands who have spent their whole careers attempting to recapture their glory days. With Travis, the latest album attempts to tune in on their debut Good Feeling from 1997, whilst Oasis have forever been trying to recreate Definitely Maybe. And if the bands themselves can’t do it, who can?

Travis had a pretty successful 90s, and even came up with an album that was once claimed to be owned by one in eight households nationwide. This was The Man Who, and it managed to spawn the classic Why Does it Always Rain On Me? which helped catapult the album to the top of the charts, following a legendary performance. The Invisible Band followed, and helped to further establish the band (despite this being released 2001).

With music though, it’s never as simple as just committing some words and a bit of music and waiting for the world to catch on. At the same time as Travis were beginning to pick up guitars and produce their first album, New Labour were sweeping the country and instilling an all-round optimism. Once this took hold properly, in 1999, Travis were at the forefront of British pop music and managed to come up with The Man Who.

Since then, however, it hasn’t been quite

Fast forward ten years though, and New La-

Pic courtesy of Ian Stafford


Entertainment DN

This one’s a special one. Glasvegas’ stock has been rising so quickly that by the time you read this, it will have probably broken the sound barrier and headed into the stratosphere.

But when Jamie Smith caught up with guitarist Rab Allen to talk stabbings, the colour black and a Christmas album, the band were merely the biggest selling British band in the country. Read on... It would be fair to say that the way music hype works is changing. The turnover of hype bands was astonishingly high not long ago, but all of a sudden the landscape has changed and the people in the know in the business are now putting all of their eggs in one basket. This year, undoubtedly, the basket clearly belongs to Glasvegas. Late last year, their signature track Daddy’s Gone crash-landed into NME’s tracks of the year list at number two and, since then, the Glaswegian four-piece haven’t looked back, despite the slight hiccup of missing out on a number one album to Metallica. Not that the band expected it in the slightest. Guitarist Rab Allen says: “We were delighted with number two. Metallica are one of the biggest bands in the world, we knew we weren’t going to beat them.” Since the album release, Glasvegas have played practically every night to increasing levels of devotion from their followers. Indeed, they’ve hardly been off the road for the last few months. Rab explains: “We’ll be touring for about a year. We’ve had two weeks at home since last November.” The band have developed an almost gimmick of never being seen in any colour than black, with singer James Allan recently taking to wearing sunglasses relentlessly.


Glasvegas: Caroline McKay, Rab Allan, Paul Donoghue, James Allen. But Rab says that there’s a less interesting reason for the lack of colour in the band’s wardrobe, “It’s just easier for when we go on tour, for washing! You open the suitcase and it’s all black.”

“James is very good at putting himself in the shoes of other people,” says Rab. “The events in the songs aren’t necessarily things that have happened to us, but things he’s heard about.”

It lends itself to a startling spectacle in the band’s live show. White light batters your eyes, with the only thing you can see being four near-static figures on the stage, totally lost in the music.

Glasgow is the rough sibling of cultured Edinburgh, more known for council estates and social deprivation, and it is this background that frames the background for the band’s work.

It’s a nigh-on religious experience. Rab adds: “Grown men are singing the songs back at us crying. The music is quite emotional for some people, especially lyrically.”

But, despite all the critical praise Glasvegas still, to be cliché-tastic, keep it real. The band likes to stay as down-to-earth as possible, employing the now famous Geraldine [the former social worker from the band’s breakthrough hit, er, Geraldine] on the merchandise stall.

Glasvegas live is an incredible experience. Rarely is there a second’s respite from the aural blast, emotion pouring from the band, into the crowd and back again. When DN sees the band, in a tiny room in Manchester, it almost, almost brings a tear to our eye. And we’re very, very tough. DN asks if the smaller shows are a better way to see the band live. “We’ve done some massive gigs that have been incredible. We played Brixton [Academy] and the sound was amazing. Anything indoors is good.” One of the most note-worthy things about the band is that they don’t shy away from dark themes in their output. The album [reviewed on page 24] covers, death, divorce, loss, stabbings and desperation, often in the same song.

Yet, with the world seemingly at their feet, Rab discloses to DN that there may not be another Glasvegas album after their upcoming Christmas album, which the band recorded in a Transylvanian church. “It [the Christmas album] is something James has always wanted to do. “But, if we don’t feel the material is better than what we’ve already done, we won’t release it,” states Rab plaintively. DN is gobsmacked. But with James, the band’s chief songwriter, churning out new songs as regular as clockwork and the band’s ambition lying somewhere in the stars, the name of Glasvegas is certain to be a familiar one for years to come.

A Snowflake Fell (And It Felt Like A Kiss) will be released as a download on December 1 on Columbia Records, and as a bonus disc on a re-release of the band’s debut album, Glasvegas. The tracklisting will be: Please Come Back Home; Cruel Moon; Careful What You Wish For; Fuck You, It’s Over; A Snowflake Fell (And It Felt Like A Kiss); Silent Night / Noapte De Vis.


DN Entertainment Kings of Leon

Thingymajig would reject as tuneless crap and its cousin To Be Where There’s Life is just as unimaginably dull. By the end, you’re just glad it’s over.

Few bands manage to release albums that are universally acclaimed. Kings of Leon are one such band. Every album has been fawned over. Only by the Night could’ve been an hour of them trying to fart Gaudete into a microphone and there would have been at least one reviewer who’d’ve discussed the merits of flatulence as a musical instrument.

Dig Out Your Soul passes by without much to make you care that this is supposedly one of Britain’s best bands. JS

Only by the Night RCA Release: 22 September 2008

Closer is an atmospheric romp, punctuated by haunting guitar noodling, followed by Crawl, hurling the band in to Led Zeppelin territory. While they have always been on the cusp of classic rock, they go all out here and pull it off spectacularly. Mega-hit Sex on Fire has shades of Semisonic’s Singing in my Sleep running throughout. It’s by no means their best, but it’s not without its charm. Use Somebody is a throaty anthem that sounds slightly ponderous compared to the rapidly fluctuating 17. Caleb’s almost apologetic vocals stand out. The music parts like the Red Sea to let him deliver, before washing back over him. Album closer Cold Desert ventures back into Closer territory. It tugs on your heart strings as Caleb, in his southern drawl, declares, “Jesus don’t love me / no-one ever carried my load / I’m too young to feel this old”. There isn’t any posturing here; it’s a passionate performance. MB


Dig Out Your Soul Big Brother Release: 6 October 2008 The Gallaghers have swaggered back into our consciousness with yet more claims that their new album is the best since Definitely Maybe. While Noel has been whoring himself to the media over the past two or three years, Liam has become more reserved and there’s little doubt that this has aided his songwriting. I’m Outta Time is a genuine masterpiece.


Seasick Steve

I Started Out with Nothin and I Still Got Most of it Left Warner Release: 29 September 2008 Much has been said of Seasick Steve, most of it very positive indeed and for very good reason. He is no young buck trying to revive an old genre because he is devoid of new ideas, as has been the trend in recent years. He is simply an American guy with one hell of a story to tell. His advancing years and the friendly face make him seem like a Grandfather figure. The album starts with Steve explaining, in his southern drawl, that “This song is really about nothin”. It takes in subject matter as far ranging as bugs that bite his legs, Chiggers, to the obligatory “my dog’s gone/died” blues song, One True. Walking Man is a more relaxed number played on an acoustic guitar. St. Louis Slim is a song that marches along with urgency. So much so it isn’t far from persuading you to get up out of your chair and join Seasick Steve on his journeys. Seasick Steve’s I Started Out with Nothin and I Still Got Most of it Left is a soulful, heartfelt record that few wouldn’t enjoy. SM


Glasvegas Columbia Release: 8 September 2008 Glasvegas have unleashed a beast of a debut. The heart of their appeal is emotion. Critics lambast their simple style, but the thing that makes Glasvegas stand out is the way they make you feel. It’s rare to hear an album that makes your spine tingle throughout.

Lead single The Shock of the Lightning rattles along without anything to distinguish it from a raft of similar stuff out there. For years Oasis have been subOasis, but now it seems they’ve resorted to sub-Libertines guff, the Horrors-esque organ that irregularly smatters the album bordering on the offensive.

Flowers and Football Tops tells the story of murdered Glaswegian teen. The refrain of You Are My Sunshine, set to ‘wall of sound’ guitars, is almost too much to bear. Geraldine follows before album stand-out It’s My Own Cheating Heart. Incredibly personal, James Allan performs a vocal that gives even Morrissey a lesson in self-abuse.

Right at the heart of the album is a real stinker. (Get Off Your) High Horse Lady is something even Joe Lean and his Jing Jang

Tales of divorce, stabbings and murder all punctuate the record. It might not appeal to Middle Englanders in the Cotswolds

but, for many, the lyrics will hit hard. Daddy’s Gone details a messy divorce from the child’s perspective. Allan’s repeating of the line “He’s gone” is a real hairs-on-the-neck moment. Stabbed treads the fine line of mawkish and melancholic dangerously and, as a result, is probably the weakest track on the album. The album closes with two gentler tracks, bringing the record to a natural conclusion. Most debuts have the odd clunker, but this one is solid gold. It brims with courage and a screw you attitude; it fills you with joy and sadness at the same time. It is simply stunning. JS


Perfect Symmetry Island Release: 13 October 2008 Having begun life as a fresh-faced piano band, singing about love and loss, getting to #1 in the process, Keane have pretty much secured their careers. Their troubles following their first and second albums were well documented and, after a radically different sound in Under the Iron Sea they’ve shaken off their image in favour of something more retro. The result is Perfect Symmetry. If you’ve heard the Q award-winning Spiralling then you’ll be halfway there. However, the extra minute added on the album version tries valiantly to undo that initial hard work. For a pop album that lasts 50 minutes, dragging out your biggest song to date isn’t a great idea. Next single, The Lovers are Losing, is relentless in its pursuit of the perfect pop groove. Again and Again sounds like it would be most at home in the late 80s, while the title track is pure Keane. A build-up of some superbly crafted piano work kicks off proceedings, before the darker edges engulf the song. This isn’t your average throwaway sunshine stuff, they’re trying extremely hard to provide meaningful lyrics and music you can tap your foot to. Playing Along is far rockier than their initial efforts and Pretend that You’re Alone is a late highlight. Black Burning Heart - with a cringe-inducing French verse - could do with being skipped altogether, and Love is the End is a rather lacklustre attempt to squeeze a ballad in right at the death. For the most part, Keane succeed in completely avoiding any of the initial guesses about the new album. The best part of Keane’s output to date is that there’s an entirely new sound coming out of every album and they’ve shown there’s more to them than meets the eye. SG

Entertainment DN Foals


Kendal’s Wild Beasts (see interview on page 30) are tonight’s support. They open with the popular single Devil’s Crayon, taken from their debut album. From the reaction of the crowd, it’s clear they are gathering a rather faithful following with many bouncing around, singing and clapping along.

One train journey, two aching feet and an impromptu set list later, I’d just had my first Dartz experience. Tonight’s venue was Sunderland’s White Room, a small intimate venue which allows for a gig of similar proportions. The band themselves looked at home with this set up, which was reflected in a great show.

There’s a strong feeling of all the things about a circus that are simultaneously disturbing and endearing to their music, like a slightly off-kilter merry-go-round or unnerving clowns. There’s certainly an underlying darkness to their songs, both lyrically and musically, but they are constructed in such a fashion that the subject matter and atmosphere draw the listener in, rather than dissuade. The haunting harmonies and the seamless switching between the falsetto voice of front-man Hayen Thorpe and bassist Tom Fleming’s tenor tones give them a choral, almost operatic quality which lifts the songs and the listener’s spirits.

As a native Middlesbroughian, if that’s even a word, it brought me great pleasure to learn that Henry Dartz is from Guisborough, which just happens to be the lovely picturesque market town where my college (and coincidentally his) was situated.

Carling Academy, Newcastle 7 October 2008

Headliners Foals have been exploding in popularity over the last 18-24 months, yet manage to separate the nation’s opinion like a jar of Marmite; you love them or you hate them. The venue by this time was absolutely packed, quite why is beyond your DN correspondent, but annoying, pretentious, repetitive and dull as I find these former art students, it’s very hard to argue with the 2,000+ adoring fans in the Carling Academy tonight. Latest single Olympic Airways, no matter how much it sounds like a Minus The Bear song that was left on the cutting room floor, is infectious and a welcome change when held alongside the Oxford outfit’s previous singles and it gets one of the biggest cheers of the night. Excited noise also greets the older, more interesting tracks Balloons, Matheletics and Hummer and depressingly predictable album hits like Cassius and the initially promising, but ultimately frustrating, French Open.

The White Room, Sunderland 18 October 2008

This being my first Dartz gig, it was a special night for me. Opening with The Arrival Building Alnerique, a track from their new mini-album, which is absolutely fantastic. It is likened to the musical types of Death Cab for Cutie, and the similarities shine through completely with the opening track as it makes the listener pay more attention to the lyrics, rather than the music, with acapella-esque beats this song cannot fail to please. As the night continued, we were treated to more new tracks, such as Oskar and Ofelia and The Clandestine Choir which were incredible. The album has been named Steve Lamacq’s alternative Album of the Week, which is a huge achievement for the group, alongside multiple other positive reviews.

The band finished their set with the aptly named The End, Moving On, which fell into Easy Lover – another crowd pleaser. So would I go and see Dartz again? Once, Twice, Again. Every time. LD

The Week That Was Campus, Sunderland 1 November 2008

Despite the disappointingly small crowd in a rather large venue, tonight’s gig seems very homely. A far from capacity crowd should seem lost in a location as cavernous as this, but the amicable The Week That Was provide enough charismatic crack and impeccable musicianship to make us all feel a little warm inside, aided by acoustics that appear light years ahead of the bar’s MQ days. It seems like most of Sunderland’s indie fraternity had also turned up to this homecoming show, the band’s references to departed club night 2K1 (and, indeed, Manor Quay) getting a few cheers, and the Futureheads’ Jaff providing us with a pre-gig chuckle at his lanky frame chatting to the not-very-tall-at-all Week That Was frontman, Peter Brewis. The Field Music man’s side-project comprises of many more mackem musicians than are on display tonight, a myriad of talent who turned the eponymous debut into a multi-instrumental, nostalgic joy, but most of them are in attendance. Indeed, it turns out I’ve spent the night standing next to one, a fact that only dawns on me when she shyly takes the stage to provide sumptuous backing vocals on Come Home. Playing that debut record in order works wonderfully, partly because it’s an album that flows so well to begin with (it is a concept album, after all), the music only slowing so they can talk to friends in the crowd, politely mock whoever decided to leave the cricket on that massive screen beside the stage, or flit between instruments.

The set highlight was Red Socks Pugie, one of the few songs that showcase Foals’ ability to make songs with a bit of adventure to them. It combines the toe-tapping use of the off beat, relaxing guitars and synths with catchy, chantable lyrics. Much like most of their tracks but there’s something about this one that’s more tolerable, even enjoyable. It was an odd one, both aggravating and gripping. Foals are one of those bands you love to hate and hate to love, but the likelihood is, whether you want to admit it or not, they will eventually win you over. SM

Interspersed in the set between new songs, were fan favourites St Petersburg, Fantastic Apparatus and Once, Twice, Again, which changed the atmosphere of the room completely.

Or get new drum sticks, after managing the smash them to bits inside the first song, Learn to Learn. The Week That Was may be a local band, but they’re only ‘local’ in the most literal sense of the word. They should be huge: sophisticated pop music like this deserves a bigger audience. AC

Dartz: Their frenetic live show is helping to boost their reputation.


DN Entertainment How to Lose Friends and Alienate People Simon Pegg is not Hugh Grant. Or Tom Hanks or Colin Firth. Simon Pegg is Shaun (of the Dead variety). Or Tim from Spaced. Simon Pegg is definitely not Toby Young. And that is where the premise of this film falls down. Based on Young’s book about his experiences as a writer at Vanity Fair in New York, How to Lose Friends follows Young (renamed Sidney for the purposes of the film) from his roots as editor of a lowrung but high-brow satirical, anti-celebrityculture magazine in London to the heights of the glitterati in New York. The film charts Young’s rise from campaigning social outcast and moralistic hack to sycophantic main man at Sharps magazine (a thinly veiled Vanity Fair). It also tracks the loss of his journalistic morals and principles and his redemption. Which is all very well, but someone has seen fit to try and stick a traditional romcom in the middle of all this. Young (Pegg) only sets out on his rise through the magazine’s ranks in order to bed rising starlet Sophie Maes (Fox), in spite of the presence of girl-next-door co-worker Kirsten Dunst. How to Lose Friends is really two films – a traditional rom-com, and a satire on the press and celebrity culture. Unfortunately those two films don’t really sit very well together. And this is where Pegg falls down. The satire on the press requires Pegg to be Toby Young – obnoxious, self-centred and highly objectionable. Unfortunately, he just doesn’t manage to achieve this sufficiently and comes across as being, well, Simon Pegg. There are a couple of scenes where this obnoxiousness comes out – when interviewing a musical star for instance – and the crass nature of his questions just doesn’t sit right with the rest of his character which is, generally, a normal guy overawed by his new surroundings. Equally, the rom-com element of the film falls down, principally because you end up wondering why exactly Kirsten Dunst’s Alison would have anything to do with Young. A staple of rom-coms is the opposites attract / hatred turns to love theme (You’ve Got Mail), but this just doesn’t seem to sit very well in this film. So, while there are two potentially great films here, the end result is one fairly lukewarm effort. It is entertaining in its own right, although the laughs are more through cringeworthy moments of buffoonery


than out-right comedy, but it could have been so much more. Just watch out for Jeff Bridge’s turn as the boss at Sharps who steals the show right out from under Pegg, although, as with so many parts of this film, you end up wondering why he doesn’t just sack Young and be done with it. PMH

High School Musical 3: Senior Year. It is a fact that I have taken great pains to avoid HSM1 and 2 (that’s what the kids call it). Unfortunately, with the third instalment being the first to hit the big screen, there was no avoiding it; watching films being one of the high (and sometimes very low) points of working in a cinema. HSM3 is the story of Troy (Zac Efron), Gabriella (Vanessa Hudgens) and friends in the final months of their senior year at East High. While the two young sweethearts face going to college a thousand miles apart (believe me, this is entrenched into your brain during the movie), there is also their last musical to stage. The songs are upbeat and heartfelt, the plot light and fluffy, there are some mildly funny moments and it’s all good, clean fun. However, ‘light and fluffy’ becomes vacuous, insipid and, at times, preachy and idealistic. Kids and fans of the first two films will probably love it. If you’re anything like me, though, keep on trying to avoid it. Even if it is just to prevent you muttering the relentless: “Sixteen, sixteen, sixteen seconds to go…” for the rest of the day. NB

Quantum of Solace Before Jason Bourne came along the Bond franchise was happy to potter along with its pantomime villains, vast set-pieces and preposterous gadgets: a little bit camp and full of innuendo, Bond was in danger of turning into a parody of itself. So, Bond reinvented himself. Out went Brosnan, Q, and the innuendo. In came Craig, realism and emotion. For the first time, Bond had a personal back-story and a blank canvas to work with. And the result, Casino Royale, was a sensation. So now, in case you’ve missed the blanket marketing, here comes the follow up, Quantum of Solace. And, following the trend set by Bourne, it’s a sequel. Picking up the story just after the end of Casino Royale, Quantum follows Bond as he hunts for those responsible for the death of his beloved Vesper. He encounters the ultra-secretive Quantum organisation, a sort of twenty-first century Spectre, who see oil and water reserves as the worlds most lucrative assets

His hunt takes him to Austria and Bolivia and sees him thwarting a coup, dabbling in international diplomacy and helping his latest Bond girl get revenge on those responsible for the death of her family. Craig puts in another decent turn as Bond, though he doesn’t need to do much more than run, jump and look threatening. Olga Kurylenko is under-used for the first half of the film and, relieved of the sex scenes granted to most Bond girls, but makes a decent job of running and jumping with Craig. It is Mathieu Amalric, however, who puts in the best performance as the quietly threatening, and a little sleazy, Dominic Greene, apparent head of Quantum. The film opens with a senses-battering car chase and keeps up a good pace. As always with Bond, there are plenty of twists and turns along the way. The problem with Quantum is that the plot, while on paper very clever, is overly complex for the short running time and, in any case, is buried beneath a ton of shouty chase sequences and fights. Following Casino Royale was always going to be difficult. But the producers seem to have made life unnecessarily hard for themselves by insisting on the big special effects and the long drawn out fight and chase sequences. Much of the emotion Craig brought to the role the first time round is squeezed out for his second outing so audience engagement with the character, so vital in giving Casino Royale that extra edge, is made all but impossible. To use a musical analogy, this is the ‘difficult’ second album”. It contains all of the brash energy and noise which made the first so popular, but little of the quiet emotional depth which made it so special. Not the worst Bond ever made, nor the best, but certainly a disappointment after the promise of Casino Royale. PMH

Entertainment DN


t’s three years since teenagers Billy Lunn, Charlotte Cooper and Josh Morgan released their debut album as the Subways.

Back in 2003, the trio broke out of Harlow, Essex, after John Peel played one of their early songs and they won a competition to play at Glastonbury Festival. But, after the success of Young for Eternity, the next step of their career would be fraught with peril and the future of the band was brought into question . Billy suffered problems with his voice and had to have surgery, leaving him unable to speak for two weeks and banned from singing by doctors for six. “I was worried for my future, I was worried for my life!” says Billy, reflecting on the tough period. Then the band lost someone who was part of the Subways family, their A&R man, the man who had helped them get their record contract and who remained a friend of the band through their fledgling career. And, as if all this trauma wasn’t enough for the band to cope with, Billy and Charlotte, who had been a couple for the entire lifespan of the band, split up. But, incredibly, they seem as close as ever. The sexual tension once present at their live shows may have fizzled, but they’ve remained great friends – they had to to keep the band alive. The pair are as you would expect from their on-stage personas. Billy is passionate, excitable, fidgety and full of perfect soundbites, Charlotte more reserved and thoughtful. It is this balance that frames their writing process and gives the band their shape. But, when asked about their influences, the answer is surprising. Alongside obvious choices like Arctic Monkeys, Nirvana and Biffy Clyro, names like Johnny Cash, Neil Young, the Carpenters and Bob Dylan are mentioned. “[First album track] Mary’s the perfect combination of Oasis and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles”, states Billy. And, when I ask about current music, the pair are enthusiastic about, Future of the Left, and surprisingly, The Enemy. But when prodded about the current indie scene, Billy is typically forthright, “There are good bands, and there are shit bands, with a little

The Subways: Billy Lunn (vocals, guitar), Charlotte Cooper (bass) and Josh Morgan (drums). bit of grey in between. Obviously, Scouting for Girls and the Hoosiers are just shit”. “I’d rather watch a bad band than one that’s just completely boring,” counters Charlotte, who later controversially cites DN cover stars Glasvegas as one of the boring bands. So then, the album. All or Nothing splutters along at a million miles an hour, a sign of the desperation they felt to get the record made and out there, after such a long wait. The album title itself points to the situation the band found themselves in. It literally was, as cheesy as it sounds, all or nothing for the band. And they seem to have pulled it off. The live show is as frenetic as ever - “These songs from All or Nothing are made to be played live” – claims Billy, and you believe him. “The riffs are thicker and drum rolls pounded even harder, the vocals screamed louder than ever, the crowd going as mental for the new tracks like Alright and Girls and Boys just as much as the classics With You, Mary and Rock ‘n’ Roll Queen, which closes tonight’s set. And the lyrics have moved away from the tales of small town life from their debut album. “I just wrote lyrics that I felt compelled to say, that I felt I had to say, more analytical, more observant, because we’re growing up,

we’re seeing the world,” says Billy. But the band still feel they have places to go. Billy is open about his desire to write what he describes as a ‘megahit’, citing Be my Baby and Everlong by Foo Fighters as the kind of musical legacy they want to leave. “We have an obligation to sing out to the world. Fucking hell, I sound like Bono, how sucky is that!” says Billy. But, despite all the big statements, the band are just three young people having the time of their lives. “We’re used to having to prove ourselves and being the underdog. I don’t think people realise how astonished we are that people still come to the shows,” half-jokes Billy. But, while the Subways are still writing the big choruses, still giving crowds a great time and generally being one of Britain’s best young rock bands, the fanbase will keep on growing. Let’s hope, for their sake, that the third album is a bit more straightforward. The Subways second album, All or Nothing, is available now on Warner Bros Records.


DN Entertainment

DN Talks to Frank Lucy Duffield and Mark Grainger have a word with folk hero Frank Turner

Both a musical autobiographer and the voice of the disaffected youth, Frank Turner (pictured) is the rising star of the New English Folk scene. His latest single, Long Live the Queen, is taken from his Love, Ire and Song album, and is available now as a digital download. DN had a quick chat with him as he kicked off his latest UK tour in Leeds. Degrees North: So Frank, tell us about the single. Frank Turner: Okay, the single is a song called Long Live the Queen. It was a song born out of tragedy, shall we say. A good friend of mine, Lex, passed away last year. It was a bad time and I respond to things through song writing and it sounds like a really pretentious thing to say but that’s sort of what I do.We were going to use another single from the album and then we had the idea we could actually give the proceeds to the Breast Cancer campaign, a charity Lex worked

for herself, so the whole thing kind of fitted together. DN: How has the reaction been to the single? FT: Really good! It’s a song off the album anyway, so it’s not news to the fans as it were but we’ve had some crazy radio play going on. We’ve got like Radio One day time playlist and stuff. It’s funny because it’s not even the thing we were particularly aiming for, but it just sort of happened and now it’s like ‘ooh’, so yeah, we’ve very chuffed about the whole thing. DN: How do you think Lex would feel if this was the song that propelled you into the mainstream? FT: I think Lexi would sit up on her cloud or wherever

she is and laugh her arse off and say “damn straight!” DN: These past few years you’ve held a small festival in London for charity called Lexapalooza. Is it going to become a yearly thing? FT: Yes, Lexapalooza is a festival that is going on every year. I was talking to Evan, my best friend who was also a friend of Lex, who is turning it into a year round promotions company, which will be putting on gigs all year round. ‘Lexapalooza Presents’ is going to be the kind of tag. Lexi loved gigging, loved partying and having fun, so this is an appropriate way of commemorating someone. DN: In terms of new songs, have you got any recording plans for the next album? FT: Yes, many. The album is kind of done.Well, two thirds done in my head. I want to do the next one as an entire record. The first two albums are both kind of done like building stuff up with me recording everything separately and I want to record the next album with my touring band because we’re really good if I do say so myself! It seems like it would be a waste to not record with them. The plan is to actually do like a month of intense rehearsal and then hopefully record the album in like five days or something.

And then does some Research... The Research are an indie-pop band from Wakefield and one of DN Editor Jamie Smith’s favourite bands. He caught up with them before their recent Newcastle show to talk about their new album and the problems they had making it. Later tonight the Research will try to play a crowd-pleasing set of old and new material but fall slightly flat, and will also be heckled by fans of their old, keyboard-led direction throughout. It’s a shame, having signed a lucrative deal with EMI the band found themselves cast aside after their pop gem of a debut album Breaking Up was commercially unsuccessful. But for now they’re stuck chatting to me in the front room of The Cumberland Arms, a wonderfully cosy pub in Byker. They’re not too keen to talk about the EMI


break-up, singer Russell Searle preferring to enigmatically claim that “I just think we were victims of circumstance”. “The first album was a real stubborn effort from all of us – kind of a DIY album on a major label – and it wasn’t very successful, so I was open to suggestions”, he adds. The band recorded the follow-up album three times over three years, eventually split with EMI after various rows, and signed to uber-independent This is Fake DIY Records. The record, titled The Old Terminal, sees the trio dismiss their old sound entirely. Indeed, the live show features no other instrument other than the staple guitar, drums and bass. But it still sounds like an album made by the Research, even on I Would Like to be Forgiven, massively resembles fellow Wakefielders, the Cribs (their bassist Gary Jarman contributes vocals to the track).

“We got restless with it. We fell into a keyboard thing. We wanted to make a record we liked the sound of a bit more. I’m a 100% man, it was 100% keyboard on the first album, and now it’s a 100% guitar sound live.” But although it works well on The Old Terminal, which sounds like a wholly more mature and cohesive piece of work than Breaking Up, the older songs, such as crowd favourite and tonight’s encore She’s Not Leaving, do not translate particularly well to the new guitar sound. And the band admits that the current tour could make or break the band: “If there is no demand for more records by the Research, we won’t make any more records by the Research,” says Russell. It’s a sad end to the interview, but an inevitable one. Sad though it makes me feel to say so, the Research’s boat has perhaps sailed. Catch them while you can.

Entertainment DN Playstation 3, XBox 360 and PC RRP: £44.99

It would be far too easy to write Saints Row 2 off as a Grand Theft Auto wannabe, especially when its release has been timed so beautifully to coincide with a gap in the market between GTA titles.   To be fair to developers Volition, although the game is clearly influenced by GTA, Saints Row 2 is a very playable game in its own right. But, it is not the more recent GTA IV that the game appears to take inspiration from, but rather the previous

game in the series, GTA: San Andreas.   You start in the hospital wing of a prison ship, from which you have to escape. From there, you must go about reclaiming neighbourhoods that have fallen to rival gangs in your absence.   Along with the missions against three different gangs in the city (fictional, but based on Chicago and Detroit), there are numerous side-games, or activities, where the player is capable of various pointless, yet hugely enjoyable criminal activities, such as

impersonating a police officer, or driving an on-fire go-kart around.   An area of the game where the developers have not bothered reining themselves in is the violence, which has even led to New York police attempting to have the game withdrawn from NYC shops. New weapons include a sledgehammer and a chainsaw, with the effects from using the latter implement particularly gory.   All in all it’s all highly enjoyable effort, yet not for the faint hearted. The shooting system could do with tweaking, but on the whole the game makes a pretty good fist of appealing to gamers waiting for the next in the GTA series. JS

PES 2009 vs FIFA 09 (Insert “It’s a review of two halves” pun here)

Another year, another battle for your hardearned (or government handout) cash. As usual, the football lovers among us will be making our annual choice – FIFA or PES?   After a poor year last year, Konami hit back with a brand spanking new feature, Become a Legend. For once, PES is borrowing heavily from FIFA on this front, with the Be a Pro bit from the latter game the inspiration. You control just one player, with the aim of improving enough to make your chosen national team, once you’ve broken into your club side of course.   And unlike in FIFA the feature is a winner, with it taking a bit more effort than three games to break into the England side. As for the gameplay, it’s still not as fluid as it should be, but it still has that undeniable PES realism. More than ever it feels like real football.   But the bugbear with the series is always licenses, and this year Konami have still not splashed the cash. The player names are there, but the team names are all abominations like ‘Man Red’ and ‘Wearside’. And oddly, some of the major transfers of the summer are not included, such as Robinho’s move to City.   As always though, to borrow a football cliché, at the end of the day, Barry, PES is the one to sit down and play for hours on your own and FIFA is the game that you get your mates and some beers in for. It’s just the way of the world and it will never ever change. JS *Fifa 09 and PES 2009 are out now on all major consoles, priced from £24.99 to £49.99.

Let me begin by saying, I have always been, and probably always will be, a FIFA man. The fact Pro Evo/ISS Pro called Jamie Redknapp, Blueknapp when I was a nipper put me off the game for life.   The graphics are improved, general player movement is unbelievably fluid and realistic and EA Sports still manage to get pretty much all the official licensing (except Holland's) The menus are simple to use and stylish. The game, on the whole is infinitely enjoyable. It’s not without its problems, though. Trivial things, like largely awful music, the lack of teams like Nigeria and UEFA Cup champions Zenit St Petersburg, and the problem in Manager Mode with each new transfer taking the number 2 in your squad.   But there are also some irritating difficulties in-game, the most frustrating being player selection and awareness. This was always a problem on 2nd-gen consoles like the PS2, but we were told it would improve with new physics engines available in the next generation. That doesn't seem to be the case however.   It is difficult to notice any real improvement in player handling. When the ball is passed to a player, often AI on the receiving player causes them to stand still or run away from the ball.   So, with all those cons and so few new pros, a simple verdict? No. Despite its flaws, FIFA 09 is still a fantastic game. On a HD monitor it is truly spectacular with gameplay of such a high standard (barring the occasional player control difficulties) and improved realism that it is forgivable. It's not quite perfect yet, but it’s close. SM

Nintendo Wii RRP: £39.99 As jaded Nintendo ‘fans’ shun the Wii claiming that there aren’t any games coming out for the little white box worth playing, I wonder if they’re talking about the same Wii as me, because there’s a very obvious title which could so easily be overlooked this Christmas.   De Blob is a game which could be missed on store shelves in between the plethora of mini-game titles, which is a tragedy because it’s a cracking game and deserves more than just a cult status.   The game sees you play as a blob cleverly given the name, um, Blob - in one of the most vibrant Wii games to hit the console so far. Blob’s home world of Raydia has been taken over by the evil INKT Corporation and all colour and life has been drained from it.   As Blob, you heroically splodge your way around cities, restoring colour, life and (the best bit) music to the opressed grey overworld. Tasks range from speed and colouring challenges to enemy-swatting missions. As missions are completed and points mount up, more areas are opened up to our hero.   Behind these basic tasks though is an overworld fit for exploration and musical experimentation. De Blob takes a very simple concept but manages to fill it with a wealth of artistic potential.   De Blob could be the best Nintendo game which the company never actually made. Developers Blue Tongue have created a charming and creative title, packed full of artistic possibilities. MC


DN Entertainment

Wild Beasts

Wild Beasts: Chris Talbot (Percussion), Tom Fleming (Bass), Hayden Thorpe (Vocals) and Ben Little (Guitars) Down in the depths of Newcastle’s Carling Academy, in a dungeon-like dressing room lurk a couple of beasts from the bad lands of Kendal. One is a bassist, Tom Fleming, the other a drummer, Chris Talbot. They make up the rhythm section of the peculiar, but enchanting, young band Wild Beasts. They’re in the North East supporting Foals on their UK tour. In doing so, they are playing to some of the biggest crowds they have seen in their short lives as a band. Chris says: “We’ve played a few gigs of a similar size at festivals in the past but for a sustained tour it’s been our biggest. They’re taking a risk having us on board for this tour.” Tom adds, “I think they’ve got to the stage where they can pick their support acts. At times you get a little bit envious but at the same time you have to share in the love that they’ve got for us. Their audiences have been pretty open minded, they’ve given us the time of day which has been really good.” The band played many festivals this summer including Leeds, Latitude, Summer Sundae and a few in Europe too. Tom explains: “It seems like a million years ago now but it was great. Festivals are always a little more slap-dash than something like this but it is kind of nice, you almost just turn up and play.”


“We did festivals outside the UK in Scandinavia and they’re obviously in extremely beautiful places and a lot more, civilised, for want of a better term. I’ve never been to a more organised festival than the one in Hove in Norway. By most standards it’s an absolute beauty spot but it’s just a normal town in Norway. It’s an incredible place. They have huge natural amphitheatres surrounding the stages. It’s in a forest essentially, it’s amazing. I think that’s Norway’s Glastonbury. There’s only 10,000 people there but in proportion to the population it’s a big cultural event.” It was in Scandinavia that the band recorded their album, as Chris told us: “We went up to Sweden for about six weeks. It was a really good time, we had great fun doing it. Probably how record making should be. It wasn’t painless but it was certainly enjoyable”. DN was curious about the band’s somewhat operatic sound, often changing between falsetto and tenor vocals. Is it deliberately different to what most people are likely to hear or was it something that just came naturally? Tom tried to shed some light on it: “Well obviously we want to stand out but we didn’t set out and say, ‘Right, this is how we’re going to sound’. Obviously you try and do the best you can and that is conscious but I think it’s a combination of things, we all listen to different things and we all try and play in a certain way.

The band are signed to Domino Records, one of the most respected independent labels in the UK, something which the band feel they’ve benefitted from. DN asked if they thought bands like Guillemots, British Sea Power and Elbow who are doing something a bit more inventive, get a fair crack at the whip when there is so much hype around specific sub-genres and styles, as we saw with the rise and fall of Nu-Rave. Chris says: “I think new bands now are under a lot of pressure to deliver a first album that sells stupidly well whereas bands you mentioned, specifically Elbow and British Sea Power, have been allowed to grow into bands who have become career bands and whose latter albums have been better, in a way.” Tom agrees, saying: “When you’re a band you really want to get your music out there and when you want to ‘sign a record deal’ it’s very easy to fall into the traps so we were as careful as we could be not to do that which is why we signed with a label like Domino. We took a risk on them and they took a risk on us and I think that’s quite important because we realise there are probably easier ways to make money than putting out Wild Beasts records.” With a cracking debut album (Limbo, Panto, out now) and an impressive live show, here’s hoping labels, bands and fans continue to take that supposed risk for a long time to come. SM

Entertainment DN

What’s on in the NE? Doors open at 7:30pm for all events unless otherwise stated. All listings are correct at the time of going to press.

The internet is a mine of useful information. But chances are while you’re in the middle of looking for some top gigs to go to, you’ll get distracted by The Book of Faces. So we’ve gone through it all and picked the very best of the bunch out for you. We’re nice like that. After a third series that split fans Noel Fielding, Julian Barrett and friends return to the stage for the third live version of their popular TV comedy The Mighty Boosh. Playing two consecutive nights at Newcastle Arena on Wednesday 26th November and Thursday 27th, an off-thewall extravaganza of weird awaits. Jesus’ favourite pop singer and clean-cut British Elvis Presley repost of the day, Cliff Richard, comes to town. One for the mums, the Christian Rock ‘n’ Roller will play Newcastle Arena on Friday 28th Novemeber. One of America’s finest pop-rock bands, Counting Crows, come to the UK, supported by the equally special Ben Folds. A top night of pure pop music at Newcastle Arena on Tuesday 2nd December will delight many. Doors open at 7pm Ever popular Welsh songstress Duffy returns to Newcastle, after a well received performance in the summer at Evolution festival on the banks of the Tyne. She’ll be taking the stage at Newcastle Academy on Wednesday 3rd December.

Arena-filling metal giants Slipknot return to the UK to tour their fourth album, All Hope is Gone, and will be in the region on Thursday 11th December at Newcastle Arena. Renowned for their intense live shows, this promises to be a cracker of a show for anyone who likes their music loud and angry.

in the country, and local heroes to boot, playing at a very special venue.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the city centre, everyone’s favourite toothless Christmas band the Pogues will be stopping their festive tour bus in Newcastle on the same day as Iowa’s Slipknot. Don’t be surprised to hear Fairytale of New York when they play Newcastle Academy. Antagonistic Gangsta-Rap superstar, The Game, whose hometown of Compton is also the home of the genre, comes on a rare tour of the UK, taking in the North East in the process.

Keane go out on the road for the first time since the release of their new album. With a new, upbeat sound it could be the beginning of a new chapter in Keane’s career and open them up to new fans. Catch them at Newcastle Arena on Tuesday 27th January.

He is arguably more famous for his feuds with 50 Cent and G-Unit but he and his entourage will be at Newcastle Academy on Thursday 18th December. Expect this one to be exceedingly popular. The 19th of December will see Sunderland’s rock royalty the Futureheads playing at The Sage in Gateshead. A great opportunity to see one of the best bands

Increasingly popular bluesman Seasick Steve will set out on yet another tour of the country in the New Year, stopping of at Newcastle Academy on Sunday 25th January on the way.

The American 1980’s-1990’s boy band New Kids on the Block reunited last year and come to Newcastle Arena with new material as part of their 10 date UK tour. They’ll be playing on Wednesday 28th January. Everyone’s favourite effeminate reformed heroin addict, stand up comedian and aspiring actor Russell Brand gives the region an elaborate wave as he passes through the region for two nights. He’ll be performing on Friday 30th and Thursday 31st January at Newcastle City Hall. Here’s hoping he doesn’t go making any more prank calls now... Compiled by Stephen Milnes

Rock’s hottest property, Kings of Leon, tour their hugely successful fourth album this winter and will reach the North East on Thursday 4th December when they play Newcastle Arena. Character stand-up legend Steve Coogan plays two consecutive nights at Newcastle’s City Hall in December, on Friday 5th and Saturday 6th. Coogan will be performing as Alan Partirdge as well as old favourites such as Paul and Pauline Calf.

The Futureheads: Playing in Gateshead on 19/12 and are in the next issue of DN.


Joanne makes a splash

DN Sport


Britain’s Olympic Team had a sensational time in Beijing this summer, finishing high in the medals table. Lisa Tweddle caught up with bronze medallist, Joanne Jackson, who as part of Team GB took part in a summer of sport she will never forget.

Making a splash: Joanne Jackson, pictured right, poses with gold medallist and fellow British swimmer Rebecca Adlington. This year’s Beijing Olympic Games were hailed as the most successful by any British team since the games first began.The team finished fourth in the medal table behind the USA and China. One of the athletes who added to Team GB's medal haul was 22-year old swimmer Joanne Jackson, who clinched a brilliant bronze medal behind team-mate Rebecca Adlington in the women's 400m freestyle final. She spoke to DN about the day she'll never forget. Lisa Tweddle- First of all, congratulations on winning bronze at the Olympic Games. You must be really proud of what you achieved.The women's 400m final was a very close race between yourself, Rebecca and American, Katie Hoff. Did you know you'd won a medal straight away? Joanne Jackson- Thanks! It was really strange, because I didn't think I'd won a medal to start with, then I remember looking at the score board and thinking “Oh my God, I've won a medal!”. It was so strange. It was all a bit of a blur. It was actually so close between first and fourth so I'm really glad I got the medal and not fourth! LT- Leading up to the Games, you must have been training especially hard. How many times per week did you train and can you describe a typical day? JJ- I did 10, two and a half hour swim sessions and three gym sessions a week and also core strength work before every session. A typical day includes waking up at 6am to go swim training followed by 1 hour in the gym. Then I go home, eat and sleep lots! Then I go back to the pool for more swim training! LT- That sounds like a lot of work! Do you get any free time to relax? JJ- Yeah, on a weekend I get to chill and do things with my boyfriend like going out for dinner or the cinema or staying in and getting a takeaway and a DVD, which I love doing.

LT- How did you become involved in swimming? JJ- I am from a very small town in Richmond, North Yorkshire and there wasn't much to do, so I joined the local swimming club with my sister, Nicola. I really enjoyed it and I'm glad I stuck at it, as now I have a medal around my neck which when I was younger was something I could've only dreamed about! LT- How do you feel your preparations went for Beijing- did you make any changes to your training or diet? JJ- I had a massive change before the Olympics. In May my coach got a job in Loughbrough so I moved down there with him. This was good for me because it’s where a lot of Team GB are based and I got to train in a 50m pool. My diet stayed the same because I don't think you should change those things before a major meet. LT- What do you believe you need to do to win the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games? JJ- I'm really wanting to carry on swimming till 2012 but I don't know what will happen there. There's four years till then so a lot can happen. The Olympics is a really strange place because a lot of people rise and fall. Going into them you never know what's going to happen or what time will win a medal. All you can do is give it your best and see what that gets you. LT- Your sister, Nicola was a World Champion #swimmer. What input does she have on your training/racing? Does she give you any tips? JJ- I used to look up to Nicola when I was younger. She was an amazingly talented swimmer. I used to love watching her swim and she's the reason I got into the sport because I wanted to be like her. When I won my medal, she sent me a text message and it meant so much to me that she had seen me swim. She was so excited for me. It is good having a sister who's been through it all, especially through the tough times because it’s nice to be able to talk to someone who has been through all of that herself.

Sport DN

DAVID PEPPER A magazine isn’t complete without a heart-warming tale designed to give you a nice, fuzzy feeling. But David Pepper’s story could have had a much less happy ending. David Allison caught up with the President of the Sunderland University kickboxing society to find out more. After receiving the terrifying news he had only a matter of months left to live, kick-boxer David Pepper is relishing the opportunity to compete again in the sport he says ‘saved his life’. The 21-year-old English and American studies student, who is originally from Worksop in Nottinghamshire, was told back in 2005 by doctors that he would ‘struggle to make his A-levels’. But miraculously, three years on, he is back fighting again. “I was fighting in a European competition in Sheffield when I took a knee in the chest from my opponent,” said David. “I carried on and won the fight, then found out I had a collapsed lung, which is nothing new, I get injuries like that all the time.

“I set up the kickboxing club last year and I’ve started coaching many people through that. We’re currently trying to get a team together to go to Canterbury in March for the BUCS competition, which personally I’m hoping will break me into fighting competitively again after the three-year gap.” It’s easy to see that David’s passion for his sport is a life-long obsession. He took it up at the age of five and has been fighting in open tournaments since he was 15. He has also suggested that his future post-university could lie within kickboxing. “Hopefully I’ll have a career in kickboxing, I never want to stop being a part of it. At my old gym immediately after my surgery I was coaching and I’ve enjoyed it, it’s definitely something I want to look into.

Doctors were, at first, baffled by David’s condition. Medical experts decided to operate within a matter of weeks, experimenting with a new type of surgery which held no guarantees of being successful.

The third-year student’s kickboxing career understandably had to take a back seat whilst he recovered from the operation. Only now is he looking to compete in full competitions again after spending the last couple of years coaching at the University.

“The student side of being a doorman is great, whereas in town you are always more likely to get a few idiots spoiling for a fight,” said David. “But I’ve never had anything too serious happen to me so far and I’ve enjoyed the experience.” Listening to David speak about his life since he started uni, it was impossible not to ask ‘how do you fit it all in?’. After being through such a traumatic ordeal and not knowing whether he would survive the surgery it appears he has made an unbelievable effort not to let it affect him. “I’ve got to say it is hard, training, working so late at night and then studying. Those early morning finishes at the Glass Spider are a killer when I have a lecture at 10am in the morning! It’s about trying to organise things to fit around everything else and sometimes that’s quite difficult.”

“But, immediately after, I was feeling very tired and generally unwell and after months of tests I was told I had a heart murmur which I’ve had since birth but wasn’t picked up at all.”

After 16 hours in theatre and five weeks recuperation in hospital, David was deemed fit and healthy enough to return home with his family. “I’d never had any other health worries before in my life, so to finally go home to my family was such a relief.”

spent the last two years working as a doorman at various bars and clubs within the city. He is now employed by the University to work as security at Campus, a switch which suits David down to the ground.

“I like passing on what I know to others, most people are happy to be taught so it’s possible I could move into it in the future. Once I’ve got Uni out of the way, I want a proper job though! I’m applying for the Police and that’s ideally what I’d like to do once I’ve done my degree.” During his time in Sunderland, David has

David’s approach to university life is made even more amazing when he says that only half a year ago doctors gave him the all-clear. “The doctors cleared me six months ago, although I’ve been told to be very careful and mind how I go,” he said. “I’ll still have to have check-ups every few years but hopefully I’ll be fine and I can get back into kickboxing.” He is now looking forward to the prospect of participating in the BUCS competition early next year as well as mentoring other competitors on the University team. “I’m getting a lot fitter through all my training and hopefully I can go as far as I was in competitions before my heart problem.”



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DN #32  

DN #32, online for your viewing pleasure.