Who’s got your vote?
C OURIER THE
Ricky on the Road to ruin thecourieronline.co.uk · Issue 1240 Monday November 28 2011
The Independent Voice Of Newcastle Students
• Halls set for demolition
Wills Robinson News Editor Kat Bannon Editor
The iconic Richardson Road halls of residence are to be demolished as part of a proposed University accommodation strategy. The �lats, that currently house over 900 students, will be knocked-down and rebuilt in three stages as part of large scale programme of improvement to Halls of Residence across campus. With a reputation as one of the most lively and sociable student environments not only within Newcastle University, but across the country, the destruction of Richardson Road will come as a shock not just to current undergraduates, but past students dating back to it’s �irst residents in the 1970s. The strategy will see the overhaul of the current design of Ricky Road, creating entirely en suite facilities. This falls into larger plans across all the university halls of residence to make 50% of the Universities’ accommodation en suite. The project projections suggest rent prices could increase by approximately £10 per week, increasing the yearly cost by around £380. Further changes include the provision of at least one shower between every three residents and wash basins in even the most basic residences. In an interview with The Courier, the point was raised to Newcastle University’s Housing Manager Paul Bandeen as to whether this was an operation in pro�it over student expe-
rience. However, Bandeen suggested that the rise will still mean that Newcastle accommodation remains one of the cheapest: “We’re currently in the lower quartile of accommodation rent prices in the country and that’s the position we want to remain.” The strategy also includes the demolition of a major part of Henderson Hall and the refurbishment of Old Hall, alongside investment into all of the other accommodation sites. New student accommodation will also be built at Kensington and Park Terrace, which are currently occupied by University of�ices. This speci�ic project, including the initial demolition of the current building, will cost the University around £9.5 million, and is set to be completed in 2014. Explaining the reasoning behind the strategy, Bandeen stated that the halls, better known to students as Ricky Road, had “reached the end of its lifespan. “Richardson Road is starting to fail in a number of ways, such as infrastructure, utilities and heating. All we will do now [if it is not demolished] is spend considerable amounts of money standing still, which we don’t see as a viable option. “We can’t do anything within the �lats themselves because of how it is constructed. Continued on Page 4
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Movember-ing on up for charity: the month of the moustache
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THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
News Editors Wills Robinson and George Sandeman Online News Editor Helen Lam email@example.com
Former Courier writer wins 4 Guardian Reporter of the Year
UCU on strike
Newcastle lecturers walk out in reaction to dispute against pension cuts
Grad jobs rising
Figures suggest things are improving in the job market; but are they?
Should charities court celebrities to be the faces of their campaigns?
Still a free press?
Why politicians should leave the media to regulate themselves
The Raiders plunder the �irst points in the Stan Calvert 2012 cup
Catch up on the latest Intra Mural rugby from Close House
Wills Robinson News Editor Former News Editor of The Courier Simon Murphy was named ‘Reporter of the Year’ at the 2011 Guardian Student Media Awards last week. Murphy, who is now studying an MA in Journalism, was a sub-editor for two years and wrote from his �irst year till he graduated. Some of his pieces last year included exposes on University expenses and Honorary Degrees. On winning the award, he said: “I’m hugely honoured to win this award, but I couldn’t have done it without help and support of everyone I’ve worked with on The Courier. I will always count my time on the paper as some of my best experiences at university – I miss it already. “The articles I wrote were about holding the University to account – as far as I’m concerned, that’s what journalism is about. I know The Courier will continue doing that because it’s full of good people with bags of enthusiasm who are willing to sacri�ice sleep and essay deadlines every week to keep it all going.” In July, Murphy also took home the NUS ‘Student Journalist of the Year’ after his investigation into the expenses claims of the University management, totalling almost £150,000. By exposing the University management to account, it gave students evidence that they could ultimately use to hold the
Simon Murphy receiving his Guardian Student Reporter of the Year Award Photography: The Guardian
administration to account. NUS President Liam Burns commented: “As News Editor of The Courier, Simon has not only produced high-quality, compelling content but has used his outstanding journalistic skills to uncover exclusive stories, tackling important student issues.” There were 648 entries across nine categories, with a panel including Channel 4s Jon Snow and The Times’ digital editorial director Tom Whitehall.
York University’s newspaper York Vision took home the coveted Publication of the Year while Birmingham University’s Redbrick was named Website of the Year, following its dedicated live online coverage of the riots over the summer. The Guardian Editor-in-Chief, Alan Rusbridger, championed the 2011 winners as producing “brave and amazing and important” journalism. Online editor of Redbrick Christopher Hutchinson said, “I feel ecstatic;
the whole team does. It’s amazing. We’ve had three years of fantastic ideas and fantastic work from everyone and this year’s been just as good.” He also said that the coverage of the riots attracted 186,000 online views in just two days. Rusbridger, when introducing the award, said the Leveson inquiry and phone-hacking saga had shone a light on “journalism at its worst” and that it was “very easy to get depressed” about the British press.
current Tory led government. CDE, a coalition of students, lecturers and staff, quoted second year undergraduate Tracy Bateman who said: “Willetts wasn’t here for debate, he was here to lecture us on destroying our universities. We needed to take this action to make our voices heard.” Some of the 20 students who took part in the disruption are now staging a sit-in protest. Robyn Smith, a PHD student participating, said: “We’re here in solidarity with the Occupy movement... and to build support for millions of striking workers on No-
vember 30th.” In response to the abandoned talk a spokesperson for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills said: “Everyone has the right to peaceful protest. However the minister is disappointed that he was not able to deliver his speech and answer questions.” The Cambridge Union Society has also condemned the disruption. Writing for the Huf�ington Post President Calum Macdonald described the protest as a “self-important and embarrassing strategy. “The hijack was a self-defeating and
disgraceful violation of free speech. It was the opposite of what any university should stand for - the free and rigorous exchange of ideas.” Liam Dale, Education Of�ice at Newcastle University Students’ Union. said: “Although I appreciate the reasons behind the (CDE) activists’ actions, I do believe the intimidating manner in which CDE carried out this protest was unacceptable. I �irmly believe it would have been more bene�icial to debate arguments constructively.”
Willetts walks out of Cambridge talk
George Sandeman News Editor
Universities and Science Minister, David Willetts, decided against giving a speech in Cambridge after protestors disrupted proceedings. The Cambridge Defend Education (CDE) group claimed responsibility for the disruption. In a written statement they said they had read out a letter to Mr Willetts, as he stood on stage, airing their grievances over the higher education reforms set to be implemented by the The Courier Editorial Team is:
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THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
Students take to the Dodgeball court to dive into their pockets for Pudsy
Students turned out in the Venue to dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge for Children in Need
Kat Bannon Editor In conjunction with the new ‘Go Play’ initiative, the Students’ Union last week hosted a Dodgeball tournament in aid of Children in Need. Continuing to prove itself ever versatile, The Venue was cleared of all diesel stains, pint glasses and the highly popular CCTV booth and transformed it into a three court dodgeball arena for three hours of nonstop, no mercy play. A total of nine teams took part in
the event with six or more members per team. Getting well into the spirit of the sport special mentions for team kit efforts must go to The Onsies and Lumberjacks (extra points for mopcum-wig spark of creativity). However, in terms of determination the Agrics provided most of the entertainment, although unfortunately their aggressive scare tactics weren’t met by their playing ability. Through over two and a half hours of play, three games took place at any one time, all proving highly competitive and unpredictable in the hard fought battle for that all-important
Dodgeball Crown. Teams refereed during breaks in between their own games, sometimes creating much heated dispute not only over controversial decisions, but what the actual rules were. The final was a closely fought contest between the VIPs and Team Balls (Surf Club), watched from all those that took part as well as spectators from the bar upstairs. Fast and fierce, it was the VIPs that came out on top, much to the bitter disappointment of Balls. The VIPs can attribute their success to the last minute recruitment of Michael Holford
and Hussain Mirza. Mirza was also the deservedly awarded the Player of the Tournament. Despite not actually being a prize (nor generally intended to be up for grabs), the Chuck Norris posters from the walls were highly coveted, with multiple students asking nervously if they could have one at the end of the day. Overall there were 65 participants in the tournament who together raised £75. 63 for Children in Need. New to the Students’ Union this year the ‘Go Play’ programme is designed to get as many people as possible in-
volved in recreational sport, regardless of skill or ability. With no need to commit immediately it is the perfect opportunity to try something out for the first time, or reintroduce yourself to a sport you might have lost touch with. This term activities have included golf, handball, kayaking and touch rugby. After this tournament’s success more are to be arranged later on in the year. If you’d like to be involved and want to be notified of future dodgeball activity, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The idea originated in Adelaide, Australia, in 1999, when a group of men decided to grow moustaches over November to raise awareness for men’s health issues. In 2003, it was officially formalised, with the modest target of getting 30 men growing moustaches. The next year, the Movember Foundation charity was created with £22,400 being raised. From Australia, it spread to New Zealand and steadily across the world, with the amount being raised increasing staggeringly every year. In 2010 an impressive £48.5 million was raised, just about doubling 2009’s effort. This year it was announced that 1.1 million people are doing Movember, an astounding rise from the mere 30, 8 years before.
Movember highlights an important and depressing statistic that 1 in 6 men are likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer. This can be a socalled “below the belt” topic, which men often ignore until it is too late. Movember has undoubtedly raised the profile of prostate and testicular cancer, with many people growing moustaches purely for this reason. In 2011, Movember ambassadors include Justin Bieber, whose effort is fairly pitiful, and the far more impressive Snoop Dogg. The whole of the Stoke City football team also joined Movember. Second year Economics student, Tom Warren, decided he would add his own twist on Movember and speaking to The Courier said: “As
soon as I decided I was doing it [Movember] I thought how could I raise money; I didn’t want to do it purely for awareness. “The less attractive you are, the more money you raise. Not everyone can look like Tom Selleck, so I immediately decided to do handlebars.” Tom then took it a step further commenting, “I decided, once I raised £20, I would completely shave my head, hence my current resemblance to Tom Hardy as Bronson.” Ideas such as shaving your head, have sprung off Movember, now with a No Shave November, which allows women to participate as well. Tom remarked that he was pleased with how the Movember Foundation was set up: “Whilst you raise the money,
they decide which charity it should go towards, which is a massive help, as I would have no idea which of the prostate cancer charities gives the most back.” Movember is paired with The Prostate Cancer Charity, with 84% of donations going towards prostate cancer charities. Of the final 16%, 7% goes towards fundraising costs, 5% towards men’s health awareness and 4% towards administration costs.
Charities Tashin’ in on Movember
Over the last month, whilst walking around the University, you will have seen a bizarre array of poorly groomed facial hair. From the muttonchops of a red neck, to a prepubescent sprinkling of fluff, Movember is now one of the largest collective charity campaigns in the world. This annual, month-long, growing of moustaches is aimed primarily to help raise awareness of prostate cancer, testicular cancer and other men’s health issues. Since the ‘Movember Foundation’ charity was created in 2004, they have successfully managed to raise £106 million worldwide.
If you wish to donate visit http://uk.movember.com/
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
UCU plan strike action over pensions Beth Staunton Members of the university lecturers union UCU (University and College Union) will walk out on Wednesday 30th November in a nationwide strike over a dispute about proposed changes to pension schemes. Newcastle University lecturers have also been balloted, and it has been confirmed that the industrial action will go ahead at this university. The dispute is over proposed reforms of the USS (Universities Superannuation Scheme) pension system that UCU members subscribe to. A University spokesman commented, “The changes are designed to address financial pressures on the scheme created by the improved life expectancy of retired members and other factors and they were implemented in October following a prolonged process of negotiation between Higher Education employers and the UCU after which the changes were approved by the USS Joint Negotiating Committee.” Barry Gills, president of UCU Newcastle University branch, commented on the nature of these changes stating, “There are a variety of them, but in essence it means that everyone, including existing members, must pay more, work longer, and receive less in their pension system. The trustees are painting a picture that there’s an under-funding problem, thus the need for higher contributions, which we dispute. It’s not a state pension, this is not public money. It’s a private pension system, collectivised; it’s the money of the members who have contributed throughout their careers. It’s part of our pay compensation for our work.” The dispute over pension reforms is not just in educational institutions, but also across the public sector. The government has suggested that it would be more “affordable” if
public sector pensions were linked to career average earnings rather than final salaries, a proposal unions have rejected. Around 26 public sector unions have committed themselves to a day of strike action on the 30th. It is unknown how many lecturers at Newcastle will turn out on strike, but UCU members have been abiding to a “work to contract” strategy since October. This is after a nationwide UCU ballot is said to have revealed that 90% that belonged to the USS scheme voted against the proposed changes and 77% voted for industrial action short of a strike. The “work to contract” strategy means that lecturers refuse to work any extra, unpaid hours outside their contract. Head of the School of Historical Studies, Diane Paton, commented to the Courier, “I’m glad that the employers have agreed to further negotiations with the UCU. If they negotiate sensibly, we may not have to strike after all. Everyone will be relieved if that turns out to be the case, but although we’ll regret doing so, union members will strike on the 30th if no agreement is reached.” Regarding the strike’s impact on students, the University has confirmed that it “will remain open on this day and is committed to minimising the impact for students of any strike action. Some staff may choose to take strike action, which may lead to some classes being cancelled. The University where possible will inform students by e-mail in advance of any cancellations.” Gills emphasised the connection between the lecturers’ strike and the student protests that we have seen over the past year, commenting “This is a time when we have government proposing the biggest shake-up in the higher education system for at least two generations so it’s not something that can be taken lightly. All the issues are inter-related. I think we saw in recent activity around changes proposed to public funding to education
Reforms in the new pension scheme has compelled the UCU to act and will strike this Wednesday Photography: Sam Tyson
that actually students and staff have a lot of common ground and can work together and support each other.” Laura Perry, president of Newcastle Students’ Union, remarked, “The Students’ Union supports this day of action that teaching and support staff have decided to take. These pro-
posed pension changes will affect any current post graduate students who would be looking to pursue a career in academia and they would face a much less favourable deal over their working lives.” Striking lecturers and sympathetic students will be at picket lines on
Wednesday morning before joining a mass TUC march, which will make its way from Gateshead to Newcastle and culminate at 1pm in a rally at Spillers Wharf.
ing demolished, with new accommodation to be developed in its place. “We have looked at the strategies of other universities and they have provided a lot of en-suites,” said Bandeen. “We, on the other hand, are looking to provide a balance at fifty-fifty as well
was such a great place to live for first year. It was really easy to meet people because everyone was really sociable and there were always events going on. It was also reasonably priced; personally I would have struggled to pay the higher rent prices at other halls. I would not have chosen to live anywhere else, it was an amazing experience.” Questions have been raised as to whether the management are overlooking the importance of student experience and placing the priority on aesthetics. Bandeen stated that, “People are making decisions on what they see. They are telling us what they see and that provides and influence on us because we need to provide what they want as well.” A testimony by third-year Sophie McCoid sums up her Ricky Road experience: “I can safely say that 2009/2010 was the best year of my life. I was a fresher at Newcastle University, miles away from home and best of all I was living in the infamous Richardson Road. The question, “what halls are you in?” when answered with “oh, Ricky Road” definitely got a wistful reaction
from ex second year inhabitants who had had to be dragged kicking and screaming into houses in Jesmond. Ricky Road has a reputation for being the party halls, and it lives up to this pretty well, in my year it did anyway. “The camaraderie of sharing a bathroom and kitchen with six strangers quickly made sure that these people became your best friends, generally for the rest of Uni and beyond. “The news that it’s going to be knocked down shocked and upset me. For years those halls have stood as a testament to everything that your Freshers year is meant to be, fun filled and a bit basic. To think that it’s going to be demolished is really upsetting and I feel incredibly sorry for those Freshers that wont get to experience the magic of it. “ Even though it is being knocked down, Bandeen stresses that some of the identity will remain and the good social environment will still be present: “It will still be called Richardson Road and the new accommodation will give people a better environment to enjoy themselves.”
“I would not have chosen to live anywhere else” Continued from Front Page “I now believe that the accommodation is not fit for a young person who wants to come away from home in the 21st century. We need to provide accommodation to tick all the boxes. “This isn’t an exercise in trying to increase rental income, this is an exercise in trying to improve accommodation standards.” The strategy has also been branded as an attempt to provide a mixture of accommodation to meet the demands of different students. According to Bandeen, the current trends in student demand also include a drop in the desire for catered accommodation, which from September 2012 will only be provided in Castle Leazes and ceased in Henderson Hall. Further reasoning behind the strategy include the negative feedback Richardson Road receives on Open Days, as well as regular complaints in regards to room sizing and shapes of the rooms and noise levels from current students. “Whether people like it or not, the feedback at open days is negative,” stated Bandeen. “When people are allocated to Richardson Road, they
don’t want to live there.” Many would agree that the aesthetics of Ricky Road are not appealing, however, it is questionable as to whether this is the major issue. Third-year English Literature student Rachel Moon said: “After first visiting Ricky Road, I had decided that the flats were an awkward shape, the bathroom really needed a window and everything was too green. Consequently, I applied for Windsor Terrace and Victoria Halls and was less than excited when I received the news I would be living there instead. With hindsight, I am so grateful to whoever decided to randomly house me at Ricky Road. I loved the friendly atmosphere and would jump at the chance to return with my entire block. “Experience far outweighed appearance, definitely the best halls to spend first year in. “ Newcastle’s University accommodation is one of the cheapest in the country, and according to the management it will stay the same after the strategy is complete. Leeds University is also undergoing a similar re-development, with Boddington Halls, a residence renowned also known for its social life, also be-
Whether people like it or not, the feedback at open days is negative
in terms of prices. We are conscious that there are cost implications left, right and centre.” Prior to the redevelopment, the country will see a rise in fees, and with the building of new, and potentially more expensive accommodation, students could be faced with an increasing financial burdens as a result. Third-year Pharmacology student Clare Atkinson and previous Ricky Road resident said: “Richardson Road
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
Youth unemployment reaches a million Tessa Tyler Todd
Last week it was revealed that youth unemployment had for the first time since records began broken past the million mark. The figures that reveal 1 in 5 young people aged between 16 and 24 are out of work has sent shockwaves through Britain. Working Links, an organisation that delivers programs to help get people into work commented that “we risk creating a lost generation of young Britain’s.” Unemployment as a whole has risen meaning consumer confidence is low and with less money going into the economy, there are less jobs available. For young people who are starting out in the job market this makes it particularly difficult and many are at danger of entering into a vicious circle where they cannot gain experience without working, but cannot work without experience. One way the government are trying to rectify this is with the Work Programme, this scheme sees people doing mandatory community work in exchange for their job seekers allowance. Although this work is of benefit to the community and should be encouraged; the fact that it is mandatory could count as a negative on a CV. Vince Cable has revealed a new £1,500 incentive payment, which is given to firms to convince them to
hire trainees. This is a push on the apprenticeship market which aims to teach not only lifelong skills to young people but also helps them find work in their area of expertise. This payment will benefit around 20,000 young people. When you compare this to the million young people who are unemployed it seems like a drop in the ocean, but at least it is a step in the right direction. David Cameron also announced a £250 million pound funding pot. The money, which would be for vocational training, will be available for individual businesses to apply for, he said “I hope this radical new approach will encourage even more employers to take on apprentices and ensure the UK workforce has the skills we need to boost growth.” The worrying thing for graduates is that not much is being done to improve their job prospects. Although the situation is improving and graduate employment is better than a few years ago, with youth unemployment figures reaching such heights, more must be done to further improve these prospects. With the age bracket for youth unemployment being from 16 to 24 it is clear that graduates are still being affected by the slow economy. They too can participate in the above Work Programme scheme, but it is little comfort to those graduates worrying about getting a job to know that they could end doing community work for job seekers allowance. With
Young people will be visiting the job centre more frequently if the current economic trend continues Photography: John Keogh
our economy set to worsen the government definitely needs to do more to improve graduate prospects. With the eurozone crisis set to worsen and have a huge impact on the UK economy, the government should give a bigger push to get more young people into employment; as this would be hugely beneficial to the economy. A new report published by The Prince’s
Trust and Citi Foundation showed that disadvantaged young people helped into work or self employment could boost the UK economy by millions, therefore by continuing with schemes to boost employment the government will see a definite improvement in the economy. However with consumer confidence low many are saying that the govern-
ment simply aren’t doing enough, only time will tell if we see an improvement but currently the future isn’t looking good. This is devasting news not just for the young people of Britain but for our national economy and how the current government deal with it will be detrimental to their success.
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
Fee exodus predicted: People may move to Scotland or Wales to escape rising fees Sophie McCoid A great fee exodus has been predicted in an official risk assessment of the different funding systems across the UK. The Higher Education Funding Council for England has predicted that those who live near the Scottish or Welsh borders may move into the devolved countries to escape the £9000 fees that England will charge from September 2012. Scottish and Welsh governments will have to fund students wherever they go in the UK, but will only be
Hadrian’s Wall, once the border between England and Scotland, has been replaced by tuition fees as the main dividing line Photography: Ewan-M (Flickr)
able to control the student numbers in their own country. This has led to questions of how long this system can continue, as inevitably the money will eventually run out. The disparity between how much students in the UK pay this year is the worst it’s ever been. English students will have to pay up to £9,000 a year anywhere they decide to study, including Newcastle, whereas Scottish students will continue to pay nothing to study in Scotland. Fees for Welsh students will be fixed at £3,465 regardless of where they study and Northern Irish students will be charged a similar amount but only if
they stay in their own region. The HEFCE paper on potential student flows warns that families, “particularly those close to the borders”, could seek to “domicile themselves in Wales or Scotland in order to benefit from favourable fee arrangements”. It adds: “This could have distortive effects on local economies and housing markets if it occurred with significant numbers.” Bob Osborne, emeritus professor of public policy at the University of Ulster, said: “If [a family] was living 15 miles from the Scottish border then you can see how they might try to wangle it.”
Professor Osborne said that for a family - who could have to pay up to £27,000 in fees in England for each child - moving across the border could make sense, particularly because Scottish house prices are relatively low. But he doubted there was going to be “a mass exodus of people from Surrey to Glasgow”. Osborne agreed that it was difficult to predict how many students from one home nation might opt to study at the UK’s Russell Group universities, potentially creating future financial difficulties for governments providing these subsidised loans. “You can’t stop the Scottish student
saying, ‘I’m off to Cambridge,’ even though they would be free to study in Scotland. This has immediate financial implications [for the Scottish government],” he said. Laura Grace, a third year Newcastle Biomedical Sciences student who lives near the Welsh border said, “I have a younger sister who is planning on attending university in the next couple of years, we haven’t thought of moving across the border, but I know her friends have thought about moving those extra miles away to save thousands of pounds. If you think about it, it does make a lot of sense”.
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
Minister suggests that tuition fee rise should be seen as a tax and not a debt Morgan Ayre
When the coalition unveiled its plans to treble university tuition fees, the Liberal Democrats bore the brunt of the anger. However, in a recent Guardian interview, the Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts, has revealed his support of the rise. Mr Willetts sees the increase in fees not as a debt, but a form of income tax; he claims that students and parents of students have no need to be frightened of the £9,000 figure. This is due to the fact that the graduate repayment scheme works in a similar fashion to income tax; if graduates are earning under £21,000 a year at any point, repayment stops. If earnings go over £21,000 repayment is 9% of earnings, which would mean that those on a salary of £25,000 would pay £30 a month. Mr Willetts believes that the repayment of loans is simply a “flow of payments over a lifetime.” Despite the reassurances from David Willetts and other coalition members, a lot of incoming students do not welcome the expensive fees some institutions will be charging. UCAS has revealed that university applications are down by 12% this year and it is highly likely that the change in the finance of higher education is a key factor. Some students will naturally be basing their choices on the size of debt they will have, rather than the quality of education they will receive. Apart from the increase in costs, the fees are not fixed and are at the institution’s discretion, leading some to continuously change the amount they will charge per year. This adds another level of frustration for students who are now under pressure to submit applications quickly, as some universities have decided not to charge the full £9,000 they intended to. There have been suggestions that the British education system will become more elitist, similar to the US Ivy league style of education, with the wealthiest students gaining a higher standard of teaching and environment. The creation of the New College of the Humanities, a new private £18,000 per year university in London with some of the world’s leading
experts such as Niall Ferguson and Richard Dawkins, illustrates the potential shift. While David Willetts is a supporter of the higher tuition fees, he is also a believer in variety when it comes to universities. Therefore, when asked about New College of the Humanities, Mr Willetts simply said that he believed in diversity. David Willets has also advocated the creation of universities out of old office blocks to vary education. One Newcastle student, Bex Lambson, is not convinced by any of Mr
Willett’s arguments. She believes the huge jump in costs alone will put people off and make them think “why now? Why that much?” Bex further sees his calls for diversity as a “contradiction, because it is not the most intelligent that get a good university but the richest. “Private universities and even converted offices will really increase the gap in inequality in society; you will go to the cheapest you can because you can afford it.” Another Newcastle student, Susan Swain, does not think that Mr Wil-
lett’s calls for diversity in terms of private and non-private universities will catch on. Speaking to The Courier, she said, “We’ve got enough universities as it is.” Susan also went on to explain how she believes that the top universities will be harder to get into. David Willett’s interview was an attempt to reassure students and to justify the large gap between what could be the very best to the very worst universities. However, the debate continues, as a lot of the public are still not convinced.
Universities and Science Minister, David ‘Two-Brains’ Willetts, was part of a generation that were given grants to enter higher education Photography: bisgovuk (Flickr)
“Debate now making War and Peace seem as long as a Penguin book” Phillipa Hull Commentary
I think David Willetts is correct in that students should view the repaying of student fees as a graduate tax of sorts rather than a debt. I also think the view that increasing fees will prevent poorer students from going to university is a myth. That is not to say some won’t be deterred but the assertion that increased fees will prevent them full stop is a fiction. Nobody needs to pay for tuition fees up-front and the costs of living are covered by the maintenance loan. The size of this maintenance loan is based on an individual’s household income so people from poorer backgrounds will have access to more money. Furthermore, the fact that the size of repayments are based on the size of your income, rather than a flat amount, means repayment is far easier to cope with than a conventional bank loan. For example, you might be expected to pay a 10% contribution of your annual income in repayments, but not a flat £5,000 regardless of your income. I also believe the creation of private universities like the New College of Humanities will not adversely affect the UK’s higher education system. Just because it costs more to go to doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily receive a better standard of education. However, what there can be no doubt about is that higher fees and larger repayments will only make things more difficult in the future for today’s young people. In particular, the age of first home ownership will be delayed as people will likely be paying their loans off well into their thirties at least.
Metro workers set to go on strike
Clare Atkinson Metro staff have announced a day of strike action on November 30. This comes as a result of a protest vote from RMT trade union workers. It will see Metro workers join thousands of other professionals, such as, teachers and police officers, in a day of strikes across the country. Workers at Nexus, the owners of the Metro system, say the action is necessary following what they call “a government threat to their pensions.” A new government policy wants to see public sector workers take a num-
ber of hits to their pensions. These include, workers’ paying more into their pensions, working for longer, and accepting a scheme based on a ‘career average’ salary. Currently, workers’ pensions are based upon their final salary. This means that earning a higher salary towards the end of your career can see workers better off in retirement. However, the new policy of a ‘career average’ takes into account all previous salaries and averages them out, generally leaving individuals worse off. The whole country is set to see a day of strikes on November 30, with Nexus staff in particular striking from
00.01am to 23.59pm. Among the other walkouts are staff from schools, probation workers and bus drivers. Particularly due to school and public transport strikes, there are concerns over the level of disruption this could cause. Many companies have yet to declare whether or not they will be partaking in the strike action, whilst Newcastle University has announced it will remain open. It is, however, the choice of individual lecturers and staff members as to whether or not they choose to work on this day. Although, Nexus announced on November 23 the intention of their
workers to strike. Craig Johnson, regional organiser for the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers, said employees had voted for strike action in their protest vote. Speaking on the subject, he said “The bottom line here is that workers want to ensure they have a strong future, and they do not want to see the government walk all over those hopes.” “We are not going to pay for a financial problem which we are not to blame for. There is still time for the government to come forward with a better offer and we would urge ministers to do so. We don’t want to bring this disruption to people and to the
regional economy, but we have been left with no choice.” The Metro system is widely used by students, particularly as it serves the popular residential area of Jesmond. With the day of strikes being a Wednesday, it coincides with sports afternoon and could therefore cause chaos, with many unable to attend sports training or matches at far out locations. Individuals are urged to use alternative means of transport such as buses as far as possible, but as of yet, it is unclear just how much chaos the strike will cause.
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
national student news
Derby student caught clothes horsing around Fire service called to halls of residence Wills Robinson News Editor A student at the University of Derby had to be cut free by �ire�ighters after being trapped in a clothes horse for over an hour. Danielle Morgan, who lives in Sir Peter Hilton Court hall of residence, said she was “mucking about” in her �lat mate’s bedroom when the inci-
Job Title: Waiting Staff Employer: Nino’s Closing date: 16.12.11 Salary: National Minimum Wage Basic job description: Two waiting staff are required to work 16 hours per week at Nino’s restaurant in The Gate, Newcastle. Main duties will include waiting on tables and other related duties as required. These roles are temporary, for which the duration is currently unknown. Person requirements: Must have previous experience in a similar environment. Location: Newcastle upon Tyne. Job Title: Sales Assistant Employer: Oasis Closing date: 01.12.11 Salary: Exceeds National Minimum Wage Basic job description: A Sales Assistant is required to work 4 hours per week at the store in the Metrocentre. Duties include creating sales and meeting targets, liaising with customers, stock replenishment, cash handling, warehousing and other general store duties as required. Person requirements: You must be passionate and enthusiastic about your work and fashion and be prepared for a challenge. You must have previous retail experience and posess excellent customer service, communication & numeracy skills and the ability to work as part of a successful team. Location: Metrocentre, Gateshead. Job Title: Supervisory Assistant Employer: Newcastle City Council Closing date: 08.12.11 Salary: £12,787 - £13,589 pro rata Basic job description: West Walker Primary School is seeking to appoint a Lunchtime Supervisory Assistant to work for 7.5 hours per week (term time only), commencing the 16th January 2012. The successful applicant will need to have an enhanced CRB check completed. Person requirements: Previous experience of working with children is essential. Location: Newcastle upon Tyne. Job Title: Christmas Sales Assistants Employer: G-Star Raw Closing date: 30.11.11 Salary: Meets National Minimum Wage Basic job description: G-Star Raw, located
dent occurred. Friends and staff at the halls tried to free her initially before eventually calling the �ire service. Miss Morgan, who is originally from North Wales fell off the bed when in her �lat mate, Lisa Smith’s, room. The clothes horse then fell on her and the head went through the frame. She had tried to move a quilt which had been drying on the horse. Miss Morgan’s �lat mate’s �ilmed and took photos of her while she was trapped and then while she was being released. She said: “I phoned one of my friends from home when I was stuck in it and she just thought I was drunk.”
The 18-year-old was left with bruising on her neck and shoulder, but found the funny side of the accident. “My friends just thought it was hilarious. “I found it funny at �irst but after it got taken off I had a panic attack and the ambulance came out.” Members of the Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service used cutting equipment to free Miss Morgan, including bolt croppers. Her �lat mate Miss Smith said: “I don’t think they quite believed it to begin with.”
within Metrocentre are looking for Temporary Sales Assistants to assist with sales and store maintenance over the Christmas period. Duties will include stock replenishment, liaising with customers, cash handling, meeting targets and general store duties. Person requirements: Applicants must have previous retail experience, customer service, communication and numeracy skills and the ability to work within a team. Location: Metrocentre, Gateshead.
week. Duties include liaising with customers to create sales and meet targets, stock replenishment, cash handling, merchandising, warehousing and other general store duties. Person requirements: Previous retail experience essential. Must have excellent customer service skills, communication skills and numeracy skills and the ability to work within a team. An interest in fashion is essential. Location: Metrocentre, Gateshead.
Job Title: Support Worker Employer: Primary Care Recruitment Closing date: 31.12.11 Salary: Dependant on experience Basic job description: This role is to provide comprehensive support at a service for people with learning disabilities/mental health. You must be capable of working unsupervised and be aware of lone working policies. Duties include empowering service users to gain and maintain control over all aspects of their life, assist service users to recognise their skills and enhancing their development and use, assist with life-skills and any other tasks as required. Person requirements: None speciﬁed. Location: North East England.
Job Title: Collections Advisor Employer: Santander Closing date: 01.12.11 Salary: £12,420 pro rata + beneﬁts Basic job description: A fantastic opportunity has arisen to work 20 hours per week as part of a dynamic team, in a contact centre. You’ll be making and receiving calls from existing customers. You will need to be resilient, ensuring you show excellent communication skills at all times. As a Collections Advisor, you’ll play a key role in enhancing the reputation of one of the world’s largest banks. Person requirements: Must be ﬂexible to work evening shifts and weekends. Must be able to pass a credit check. Location: North Shields.
Job Title: General Assistant Employer: South Tyneside Council Closing date: 23.02.12 Salary: £13,589 pro rata Basic job description: General Assistants are required to work 10 hours per week within the Catering Service, South Tyneside. The role will consist of providing an effective and efﬁcient catering service within the Education Catering Service. Person requirements: The ideal candidate will possess: Good verbal communication skills, a ﬂexible approach to work, able to work well as part of a team, committed to the principles of equality and diversity and willing to undertake any necessary training. Location: South Tyneside. Job Title: Sales Advisor Employer: Topshop Closing date: 30.11.11 Salary: National Minimum Wage Basic job description: Temporary sales assistant is required for Rare concession within Topshop working between 8-16 hours per
Job Title: Music Trainee Employer: The Activity Den Closing date: 02.12.11 Salary: £6.50 per hour Basic job description: The Activity Den wishes to recruit a Music Trainee to work with our Rock the Den Reborn project and support the development of music making activity with other Den groups. This exciting project, funded by Youth Music, will enable The Activity Den to expand the range, type and number of music making opportunities on offer to young people in our rural area. This project will focus on; rock band ensemble playing, singing, song writing, accreditation and youth volunteering. Person requirements: Candidates will be able to demonstrate a keen interest in music making activity and be able to play at least one musical instrument. You will have excellent communication skills, good organisational skills and be able to work as part of a team. Location: Stanley.
Duo apologise for pro�iteering
Cross-dressing at Cambridge
University of Cambridge
University of Oxford
Amrou Al-Kadhi, a 21-year-old History of Art student from Cambridge University, has introduced a series of cross-dressing nights to the University. Known as “Glamrou” to his fans, AlKadhi �irst performed at the University’s St John’s May Ball earlier this year, and is now in the process of organising Denim, the University’s �irst and only drag night. Described by Al-Kadhi as “an opportunity [for students] to let go and express themselves”, the event was conceived in reaction to the conservative societies he experienced in the Middle East. The event has been widely accepted in Cambridge, and this is thought to be indicative of a “growing trend” across the University.
Two members of Oxford University’s Mans�ield Entz Committee who profited from ticket sales for a recent intercollegiate trip to a London nightclub have been branded “grossly irresponsible” by Junior Common Room President Maia Muir Wood, after allegedly bragging on Facebook about spending their earnings at the Ritz Hotel. According to the Mans�ield Junior Common Room constitution, committee members cannot make a personal pro�it from ticket sales when acting in their capacity as a Bench member. Students who had bought tickets were consequently given the option of a full refund, or of continuing the transaction in a personal capacity. The committee members responsible have since apologised for “not appreciating the sensitivity surrounding the issue of pro�it made from tickets sold to members of other colleges”, but declined to comment further on the way in which the pro�its were spent.
24-hour science ‘lecture-athon’ University of Shef�ield
A Physics lecturer at Shef�ield University has raised over £1600 in sponsorship, plus more in ticket sales, in a 24-hour science marathon of backto-back lectures in aid of Children in Need. Tim Richardson, who specialises in nano-science, hosted the lectures on November 17-18, teaching students non-stop and going the whole 24 hours without sleep. Lecture topics included the science behind Harry Potter, astronomy, aliens and how to make ice cream from liquid nitrogen. Richardson said: “The lectures were aimed at a wide range of people. They were colour coded green, yellow and red for the scienti�ic knowledge they required, so we really did have something for everyone.”
Two charged for student rape University of Leeds
Two men have been charged this week with the rape of a female student from Leeds, following a call from a member of the public. The 19-year-old girl had been walking home on her own when she was suddenly grabbed by a hooded man who dragged her down a dark alleyway. She was then allegedly taken into the yard of a pub where the two men attacked her before �leeing the scene. A special police rape investigation unit is now treating the girl for the trauma she suffered as a result of the incident. The case will be sent for sentencing at Leeds Crown Court.
Treasurer steals £13k from union University of Manchester
A treasurer at Manchester University Students’ Union has been sentenced at Manchester Crown Court, after stealing over £13,000 from the Union’s safe earlier this year. 43-year-old Adele Moore used the money to fund exotic holidays and luxury gifts for her partner. As the only person with access to the safe, Moore was responsible for takings from the Union’s bar and two shops. She was caught when union of�icials hired locksmiths to break into the safe and found that takings were down by £13,287 between July 2010 and June 2011. Moore was given an eight month suspended sentence and 150 hours of unpaid community service. She will also be forced to repay the money she stole.
Prince Charles to be new patron Uni. of Wales Trinity Saint David
The Prince of Wales has agreed to serve as royal patron of the new university formed by the merger of Trinity St. David, Swansea Metropolitan and the University of Wales (UoW). Following a series of recent scandals surrounding offers made to overseas students to cheat their way into gaining UoW-validated degrees and UK graduate work visas, the UoW is effectively being abolished and rebranded in the merger. Future students will now receive University of Wales: Trinity St David degrees, rather than University of Wales ones. Professor Medwin Hughes, vicechancellor said: “I am delighted that His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales will preside over the University of Wales: Trinity St David as its Royal Patron. It is both an honour and a privilege to have his support.”
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
Comment Editors Sophie McCoid and Susie May Beever Online Comment Editor Jack Torrance email@example.com
Christmas is an excuse to generate as much proﬁt out of consumers as possible.
Is the festive period just another way of cashing in? Turn the page read our debate. Photography: Ben and Kaz Askins (Flickr)
-Amy Shields page 10
From graduation to the grocery store Laura Wotton
t is strange to imagine that, on the hard-earned completion of a university degree, we might be denied the opportunity of a paid
job. Yet this nightmare has become reality with the latest �igures relating that over one million young people have been stranded without the �inancial support of paid labour. It can only be deemed a disgrace that those who have ful�illed a university education are submitting to work placements without remuneration in large corporate businesses such as
Poundland, Argos and Sainsbury’s. According to the Guardian, graduates from all over the country will be ‘exempt from national minimum wage for up to eight weeks’ when partaking in the government’s reprehensible ‘work experience programme’. Many young jobseekers have already accumulated large sums of student debt. They will now face further �inancial upset, in the cutting of their bene�its if they fail to work without pay for a business to which they have ‘expressed interest’. The job seekers allowance (JSA), comprising of a mere £53 a week, can be held back if these desperate participants back out of this ridiculous governmental scheme. Of course one could argue that all work experience, whether paid or unpaid, builds a level of pro�iciency and capability in young people about to plunge into the world of work. Yet these unpaid placements can hardly
be acknowledged as valuable experience. A young participant in the scheme, James Rayburn, revealed that when working at Tesco he “didn’t actually have much support. They were getting on with their own jobs and left me to it”, suggesting the futility of the placement. Adding to this, those who had previously had experience in the retail sector are still obliged to participate in the scheme or risk losing crucial bene�its. Cait Reilly, although having previously worked in retail, was informed that her bene�its would be stripped if she failed to comply and work without payment. The placement, she was told, was ‘mandatory’. In addition to this, participants cannot be guaranteed a job after the placement, only an interview, despite having had the training and having worked as a normal employee for a number of weeks.
The severity of the situation can be calculated by the fact that a close judicial review of this government scheme has been launched. The question remains as to whether this mandatory work is fair with many lawyers characterizing it as a type of slavery. The ‘exploitation’ of young jobseekers has instigated solicitors in Birmingham to condemn such unpaid labor as a breach of human rights, with article four of the Human Rights Act outlining that ‘no one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labor.’ The Guardian has also learned that lawyers are mounting a legal challenge to a separate work experience scheme known as mandatory work activity, which they argue represents a form of slavery under the Human Rights Act (HRA). I would also question the rights of these large superstores to take on unpaid labourers. The idea behind these placements seems warped: the
bene�its of the scheme falling not into the jobseekers’ hands but into �ists of such thriving businesses who are granted thousands of hours of free labour by the system. With Tesco reaping a £3.5bn pre-tax pro�it in April, we are forced to question why struggling businesses and small charities haven’t been granted the opportunity to take on unpaid labourers, a wholly better investment. It’s necessary to consider that these large superstores would actually be able to provide full-time paid jobs if they weren’t continuously being granted free labourers. The scheme to me seems a misguised form of exploitation, removing young job seekers from the unemployment statistics without actually granting them a paid job. The system is unacceptable, penalising Britain’s young graduates and working to boost the already bulging pockets of the country’s biggest superstores.
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
Catholic schools criticised for letting kids jump the pew
key part of the Catholic Church’s mission is to offer a good education as part of their contribution to society. Having attended Catholic schools myself, my opinion is perhaps coloured. Whilst I agree that Catholic Schools should be happy to welcome children from all backgrounds, a higher priority should be given to children who are Catholic when the school becomes oversubscribed. Nonetheless, I do not agree with the complicated point based system that is being used by some religious schools in the admissions process as this is rather discriminatory to certain types of people. The controversy in the media at the moment is over complaints made by parents and local religious authorities on the points based admissions system at Coloma Convent Girls’ School in south London. Coloma Convent, which was graded as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, is heavily oversubscribed. It prioritised children based on a point system. This means that families who take part in Church activities, attend mass regularly or who had their children baptised early are given more points. This, they argued, was to avoid having an admissions system based on distance and to ensure that committed Catholics were prioritised over ‘pew-jumpers,’ those who only attend Church to get their
children into the ‘right’ schools. However, this system discriminates against busy or one parent families who don’t necessarily have the spare time to be as involved in Church activities. As well as converts or those who live aboard, whose usual practice is not to baptise children as young as the British do. It is also unfair to immigrants, who are not used to the traditional British sense of community service, or due to language barriers have dif�iculties with providing written evidence of volunteering. This system has in fact been found to encourage ‘pew-jumpers.’ Evidence shows that families are taking part in church activities for the wrong reasons. This for me completely contradicts the purpose of the point-based system in the �irst place, which is to make sure those that are the most committed are given priority. Instead, people are only taking part in church activities to jump the hurdles to get into what school they want, which goes against most religions teaching, not just Catholicism. The Department of Education has pointed out that by using this points -based system the admission authorities are breaking the admissions code, which states priority cannot be given to children whose parents are more willing to support the school, whether practically or �inancially. If the government does continue down the line of controlling the admission methods of religious schools so tightly, they are forcing a secular environment upon them. There is a real danger of religious groups being dictated to on what categorises someone as religious. This, for me, begs the question: is the government becoming a bit too ‘big brother’, imposing on our civil right of freedom of belief?
Kids get creative with their peers. Photography: Department for communities and local government (Flickr)
The point-based system should be removed, as it doesn’t take into account the variable factors in a modern working families’ life that limits their participation in the community. But I think it’s acceptable for Catholic schools to give precedence
to children from Catholic or at least Christian’s families, because the Catholic morals do affect the ethos and ethical teachings of the school. How much this is felt or imposed on the pupils varies from school to school, but it is most de�initely an aspect of
the schools ethos. One does have to question why someone who does not believe in the Catholic mission wants their children to be educated at a Catholic school so desperately.
Christmas is not about celebrating the birth of Jesus. For me, Christmas is all about family. For many people it’s the only time each year when all of the family is able to gather together and enjoy one another’s company. Surely that is what Christmas is all about? Once December is here, though, you are more than welcome to get into the festive spirit. With advent calendars providing a legitimate excuse to eat chocolate in the morning and the onset of endless Christmas parties, it is now the season to be jolly. And even I, a so-called ‘scrooge’, start to get excited when I see the Christmas Coca Cola advert come on the television, even if it is that little bit too early.
cynical about the arrival of Christmas, or indeed the seemingly premature advertising that comes with it. Admittedly, I got a shock when I walked past Fenwick’s a couple of weeks ago and saw their nativity display. My initial reaction as an overdrawn student was one of indignation. How dare they?! Mid-November, and the consumerism ploys begin already?! However, on seeing the queue of children on the otherwise grim Northumberland Street waiting to catch a glimpse of the miniature robotic carol singers, I felt a surge of guilt. Who are we to ruin Christmas? An advert released by John Lewis as part of their marketing campaign has caused quite a stir, with broadsheets quick to jump on the brand for capitalising on the population’s “heartstrings”. The advert depicts a young boy eagerly counting down the days to Christmas. When Christmas morning dawns, he surprises us all by running into his parent’s bedroom to give them their present accompanied by the slogan ‘for presents you can’t wait to give.’ I strongly believe John Lewis have done nothing wrong in trying to instill some wholesome family values and in hailing the arrival of the festive season. It is refreshing to see a Christmas advert that employs sel�lessness in children, particularly when all year round we are bombarded with adverts for the next gigawotzit. Although I am not running to spend NatWest’s money at John Lewis, I do
think the general population needs to see reason. Let’s look at the facts: Britain’s unemployment rate has sky rocketed over the past few months and now stands at 2.62 million. In fact, 1 million of the unemployed are accounted for by 16-24 year olds (us lot). As a result our already gloomy nation is showing signs of low morale. This is especially true of the North. ‘Northern England is amongst the most pessimistic regions in the country when it comes to future prospects for the economy with 66% of Northerners expressing a belief that the UK is on a course for a second recession.’ For this reason I can’t see why the Christmas hype can’t commence a little earlier this year. Not only does it encourage consumer spending, it also gives us something to look forward to after a turbulent year. I know I would much rather watch Jamie Oliver trying to sell mince pie �lavour ice cream than watch yet another advert about debt solving or mortgage rates. Don’t the public need something to look forward to? Most certainly, a lot of us won’t be able to eat like kings this Christmas or afford the new iPad, but does that mean to say that we must banish the heartwarming Christmas ads from our homes? My answer to you cynics is as follows: pipe down, have a mince pie (Waitrose preferably), wash it down with a Coca Cola (straight from Santa’s lorry) and if you won’t do it for the kids, do it for the economy!
Holidays are coming, but is Christmas here too soon? Continued from Page 9
et me start by clarifying one thing: I do love Christmas. I love decorating the Christmas tree, listening to carols and reminiscing on the two consecutive Christmases where my mum gave the whole family food poisoning. However, I like my Christmas to begin in December. I do not want to be bombarded with festivity for months on end. This year, Harrods employed a Father Christmas to open their Christmas department. This would be �ine, except it was in July. A full 151 days before 25th December, Christmas had come to London. I would hope that by anyone’s standards this is too early. It appears as though the majority of the population agrees. In a poll conducted by the Telegraph, 69% of people agreed that the start of November was too early for Christmas activities.
We have only just had Halloween and Bon�ire Night: it should be time to have a breather and recover before the next set of celebrations. Instead, you can often walk into your local supermarket and �ind the Halloween aisle side-by-side with the Christmas aisle. It is the shops with their growing commercialisation of Christmas as an industry that are pushing for earlier and earlier Christmases. Having worked in retail myself, I can vividly recall my horror at Christmas products being delivered in September. Even more, my surprise when people were purchasing them. Without sounding sceptical, Christmas for many is simply an excuse to coax as much pro�it out of consumers as possible and they can do this by making Christmas as early as possible. By having such a long run up to Christmas, it loses its excitement. In putting up your Christmas tree and tinsel in November (as my housemates wanted to do), the decorations no longer seem special. Christmas songs become boring after the sixtieth time hearing them and you’ve eaten enough mince pies already to last you a lifetime. There’s only so much Christmas a person can take! We also lose purpose of Christmas. It is far too easy to get lost in a sea of materialism: twinkling lights, baubles and presents. We forget that for Christians, Advent begins in December and is a time to celebrate and re�lect. I am not a religious person and for me
o combat the scrooges among you (yes Charlie Brooker, that includes you), I would contest that now is NOT the time to be
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
Public must picket to protect their pensions This week Joe Boustead
n the 30th of November, this Wednesday, there will be picket lines at educational establishments across the country. Not to mention demonstrations, marches and events in many towns and cities. Around three million people will be out on strike over government changes to their pensions. This will potentially be the most sizeable piece of industrial action in Britain since 1926 (certainly since the 1970’s) and is likely to be only the start of a much longer, drawn out campaign against the austerity program imposed by the government. Since bailing out the banking system plunged the country into its own �inancial black hole, one that we are now, across the board, paying for.
As a member of the Marxist Society at the university and a politics MA student, these developments come as little surprise. Things on a global scale have been changing dramatically and rapidly over the past few years. While it may not seem to be so on a day-by-day basis (though this is barely true if one looks at the current Eurozone crisis!), when you take even the shortest look back through recent history it should become apparent we are living in unstable times. This year alone we have had the biggest Trade Union demonstration in British history. A 700,000+ strong strike of teachers and teaching staff, riots spreading to several cities and a student demonstration at which police had been permitted to use rubber bullets. Times are turbulent, times are changing. It is, however, important to understand why the strike will be taking place. To this end I interviewed university politics lecturer and President of the Newcastle University and College Union (UCU) Barry Gills to gain some perspective on the reasoning behind the strike. The UCU will be out on strike on the issue of their pension scheme (the USS pension scheme)
which has been amended by the employers and railroaded through in a way that made negotiations by the UCU (as with other unions) impossible. This changed USS scheme came into effect on October 10. This process was entirely “unjust”, “undemocratic” and featured a wealth of misinformation. (There is more in-depth information on the UCU website concerning some of the common themes that have been misrepresented such as ‘gold plated pensions’ and the ‘unsustainability’ of pensions.) Dr. Gills went on to comment that teaching staff were now being asked to ‘pay more [into their pension schemes], work for longer [the retirement age is being shifted] and get less [in pension once retired]”. Needless to say, this has proved a volatile concoction. One might then ask why it is that pensions have become the uniting issue across the unions. The answer, quite simply is that ‘retirement is your life goal.’ It is the culmination of your life’s work, and therefore savings, that determine your quality of life once you have �inished working, once you have made your main contribution to society. (Would you
say your lecturers are not contributing to your potential attainment in life?). In this sense, the employers have pressed hard on an “emotional button” which has stimulated such a reaction. There are also lessons and warnings here about issues coming to the fore in the rest of society that I have not the space for. I would therefore urge you to support your lecturers in any way on the 30th, from simply vocally telling them, to organising walk outs in solidarity. This �ight is not just for the here and now but also for the future. It is about the long term prospects for people in a massive sector of society, people whose profession you may join or that your children will experience. It is a �ight about a quality of life that is being eroded and will continue to be eroded and, as Dr. Gills succinctly concluded our interview “The line has to be drawn somewhere!”.
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Boris battles a sticky pollution situation Johnny Farrar-Bell
aking the dog for a walk from where I live in North London it’s possible to get a great panorama over the city. After a while the haze will clear and you can see for miles and miles past Wembley Stadium down to the London Eye and across to City with the Canary Wharf standing tall on the skyline. It can seem as though London hasn’t got anything to worry about from pollution. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. London’s air quality is the worst it has been since 2003 and the EU is on London’s case. A further 35 bad air days this year could result in a £300M �ine. With government cuts and the current economic outlook this could be disastrous for the capital. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has seen the seriousness of this potential �ine and decided to do something about it. A maverick new plan to tackle pollution on London’s streets has begun. Specially adapted convoys of gritting Lorries have been trawling London’s worst roads at the dead of night spraying on a special mixture of calcium and water which sticks sooty particles (PM10s) from the air onto the road. 19 miles of the worst roads including the Victoria Embankment, Earl’s Court Road and those leading to the Blackwall tunnel are currently receiving this treatment. Boris is passionately behind the new policy stating that they are ‘wonderful contraptions which tackle air quality head on’. Many critics of the scheme are worried by the £900,000 cost which seems an extortionate amount to be paying for a ‘sticking plaster solution’ in the current climate. However with the problem so severe and the penalties so harsh, Bo-
ris’ plan, however eccentric must be backed. Many Green activists have been attacking Boris for not getting to the root cause of the problem, claiming that Boris is ‘cheating, making it look as if targets are being met when they are not with the use of this road glue.’ Others have questioned whether the proximity of the next mayoral election hasn’t forced Boris into this crazy plan. The Mayor has already tried a lot to combat pollution: by introducing low emission vehicles, cleaner buses, banning the most polluting taxis and tightening the low emission zone standards. However, pollution lev-
London’s air quality is the worst it has been since 2003 and the EU is on London’s case. els are still high. Cutting traf�ic completely in the congestion charge zone wouldn’t be feasible, only resulting in further tailbacks in other areas and increased pollution. No, the real issue is the amount of emissions from vehicles in general and this is something that even Boris and his low emission vehicles can’t really do anything about. The public slates him for his boyish fascination with electric cars, but they must be part of the solution once workable ones are being produced. Looking back down on London I can still see a full ten miles towards the City. Were I in Beijing, Mumbai or any number of other developing cities, where SARS masks are fashion accessories, it would be pea soup. Let’s be thankful the situation hasn’t got that bad, yet.
Boris showing his ecocredentials by getting on his bike. Photography: Tamara Craiu (Flickr)
I’ve learnt... Becky Orwin
... having a great weekend has its price.
My best friend came to visit me this weekend, and being as she’d paid �ifty quid for a train ticket from her Uni to mine, I felt somewhat obliged to make it a very good weekend. I have to say that I feel I did a pretty damn good job – between the bouncy castle in the O2, a daytrip to Durham to reunite some old friends and an all-youcan-eat Chinese, I didn’t really give her (or, to be fair, myself) much time to breath between all the fun. She left on Sunday afternoon, which essentially meant that I spent the rest of Sunday moping around my room feeling homesick, Skyping my mum and irritating my friends and �latmates by whining about my poor little, mummy’s-girl lifestyle. All well and good, except for the fact that there were actually some things that needed preparing for Monday. Like, say, buying food. And, say, reading the book my weeks-worth of lectures and seminars was based on. Also, maybe, having the weekly battle with my mind about what would be worth writing a column about. But unfortunately, I was somewhat preoccupied with a bout of self-pity. Between that and being semiobsessed with shouting angrily at live streams of the Leveson Inquiry (and, okay, the occasional episode of I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!), I never recti�ied any of those situations. It’s now Friday, and I still haven’t �inished the book I was supposed to have studied this week and I’ve spent the past few days subsisting off pots of coleslaw and various forms of potatoes, grating my �ingers in an attempt to make the most of the tiny cube of cheese that’s left. This procrastination wouldn’t be much of a problem usually. Unfortunately, with the end of term fast approaching, it means that I also have deadlines fast approaching. I have an essay due in on Friday (somewhat ironically based on the book I still haven’t �inished), a creative writing portfolio due in at some vague point after that, some assignments for the world’s most pointless module next week, and various essays over the Christmas holiday. In an ideal world, I would have at least had a crack at the holiday work before going home – Boxing Day isn’t as much fun when you have to spend it highlighting secondary sources rather than watching all of your new DVDs back-to-back. But, once again, my own time management has screwed me over, and one week of solid procrastination means that I’m behind on…well, everything. Whoops. I’m also spending this weekend visiting a friend in Manchester, in which (obviously) absolutely no work will be done, and the weekend after that, I’m going home to be shamelessly spoiled again. It’s almost as if you have to pay the price for all the fun you have. Wish someone had warned me. Now stand back and wait for the lightning to strike.
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
Virgin pays up for the end of a ‘Rocky’ road Jack Torrance Online Comment Editor
n �irst inspection, last week’s news that Virgin Money had bought Northern Rock may not have appeared to be a good deal. Richard Branson’s conglomerate acquired the remains of the nationalised bank’s ‘good’ assets (which included its branches as well as its mortgage and savings accounts) from the government for the bargain price of £747m. However, this is expected to rise to £1bn depending on the terms of the deal. Given that the bank was acquired for £1.4m in 2008, even the higher �igure would represent a public loss of £400m, or £13 per taxpayer. So in basic �inancial terms the taxpayer has lost out quite signi�icantly. But given the state that Northern Rock was in and the potential bene�its which Virgin Money can bring to the market I am optimistic that in the long term this deal will be a big success. It goes without saying that the UK’s �inancial sector is experiencing its
dif�iculties at the moment. Banks are not lending enough money to keep the economy a�loat and consumers aren’t happy with the way they are being treated. As the Chief Executive of consumers’ group Which? put it: “The high street is dominated by banks that have a shocking record for customer satisfaction – what more proof do we need that the market isn’t working?” By acquiring Northern Rock and setting up on the high street, Virgin Money has the potential to be the force which reverses the UK’s �inancial decay. Branson’s reputation for shaking up many of the markets which his company enters is well deserved. Virgin Atlantic has shown us that there can be a better standard of airline than BA and for all the complaints, Virgin Trains are better than most other operators. Just don’t mention Virgin Cola… The hope is that Virgin will be able to bring that same kind of success and innovation to the banking market. The �irm has already declared its intention to increase the number of branches in the near future and there is an intention for them to be �loated on the stock exchange. Virgin has also pledged to protect Northern Rock’s employees for three years, and will be basing its headquarters in Newcastle, so this news could have great implications for the Northeast.
The really important thing is the impact which this deal can have on the behaviour of other banks. Facing a potentially more innovative and competitive brand entering the market, others will be forced to up their game
and provide better services or avoid losing customers. Despite the loss to the taxpayer, Virgin Money will be a welcome addition to the high street. With its innovative approach to business and com-
mitment to looking after Northern Rock’s legacy in the Northeast, Richard Branson’s �irm has the potential to transform retail banking for the bene�it of everybody.
Can Virgin Money save Northern Rock from ‘rock’ bottom? Photography: Moises Bedrossian
Best of this week’s online responses Re: Time for an attitude change on immigration Gs: I don’t think people were concerned about Theresa May’s relaxation of passport controls in fear of window cleaners getting a few hundred more competitors, but rather the fact that genuine criminals such as hate preachers and human trafﬁckers could enter our borders freely. Oh and while free migration can drive down the cost of services and goods, it also has the handy effect of halting increases in
wages for native workers due to the foreign born workers willingless of taking lower wages. Everybody wins(?) Jack Torrance: @Gs: Given that the two issues are separated by 4 paragraphs, I think it’s pretty clear that I didn’t suggest that the border control row was motivated by job-related concerns. I said it was reﬂective of a general hostility towards foreign people, the idea that if we let some people in without checking them then there’s sure to be some undesirables, by virtue of the fact they are foreign. It can’t have that negative an impact.
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Cast your vote at thecourieronline.co.uk/comment
In conversation with the comedian page 18
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Saviours of rock ‘n’ roll? page 16
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THE COURIER Monday November 282011
Give a gift of Christmas craft Chocolate Trufﬂes What do you need? chocolate cocoa powder double cream
Christmas Star Cookies
What do you need? butter chocolate �lour eggs sugar
Shot Glass Tea Lights What do you need? shot glasses nail varnishes beads broken jewellery, tealights
Embroidered Hankies What do you need? needle embroidery thread handkerchiefs
Your bank acco the pennies whi
Add the chocolate (100g white, 100g dark, 100g milk) in small pieces and stir until it has completely melted
Pour 300ml double cream into a pan and warm until hot, not boiling. Take the pan off the heat
You can �ind a recipe for basic chocolate chip cookies in almost any baking cookbook or www.bbcgoodfood.com
Cheap ingredients don’t matter but good quality butter does to make the best tasting cookies
Paint your glasses however you see �it. It’s all subjective in the world of arts and crafts
Raid your cupboards for some shot glasses, broken jewellery and nail varnishes
Take a thick needle, embroidery thread and a plain handkerchief
Start by repeating a single stitch 3 times to secure the thread
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
Arts Editor: Sally Priddle Online Arts Editor: Lisa Bernhardt
unt may be empty but you can still �ill a stocking! Find out how to save i lst but giving loved ones a present Father Christmas would be proud of When the truf�les are done, remember to store them in the fridge
Wait for the mixture to cool until it is thick enough to fall from a slowly from a spoon (for speed put it in the fridge)
Take a small dollop of the chocolate mixture and drop it in cocoa powder. When fully covered, place it on a plate
Aimee Philipson Photography: Alex Murihead
Leave your cookies to cool, though grab a cheeky one when they are still warm and gooey Make sure you set a timer so you don’t leave the cookies in the oven too long and make them too hard or burnt
When they are dry, pick the ‘bling bits’ from your jewellery and superglue them on
Do a simple back stitch up to make the basic letters (see internet for how to guides)
Buy some cellophane or fancy tissue paper and some ribbon to tie them up and voila, a cheap and lovely present
Put a bit of bluetac in the bottom of the glass and insert your tealight
Repeat the last stitch a few times just to make sure your design stays in place
Make sure your candles are completely dry before you wrap them
Take different coloured threads to add extra details and make your design more personal
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
What did we expect from The Vaccines?
Probably not this. As the undisputed indie success story of the year, The Vaccines have provided a wellneeded shot in the arm to music in 2011. Editor Kat Bannon delves into the oddly low-key world of the band who ﬁnally injected some rock’n’roll cool back into the charts.
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
Music Editors: Ben Travis and Chris Scott Online Music Editor: Graham Matthews
We didn’t really know what to expect ourselves. There was a lot of expectations and hype and we just got really tired of it because you can’t judge a band on a couple of singles.
t’s fair to say The Vaccines have had one hell of a year. From when ‘If You Wanna’ hit YouTube in August 2010, they’ve released their debut album and stampeded through 45 festivals this summer. Now they’re suffering a bout of UK touring déjà vu, taking their second lap of the city circuit a mere few weeks after the �irst, not to mention a recent support slot on Arctic Monkeys’ latest UK arena jaunt. There’s been a lot said about this threechord campaigning indie rock ‘n’ roll quartet too. Hailed as everything from the ‘Worst-Kept-Secret in London’ to ‘the new sound of indie’ when they �irst reared their mix of well groomed and poorly maintained manes, a tonne of hype was piled on their, quite frankly, hardlyproved-themselves-yet-to-be-deserving shoulders. And they’ll be the �irst to agree: ‘People were saying we’re the saviours of rock and roll; that’s a ridiculous thing to say.’ We’re sat in Academy2, �loor occasionally vibrating from sound tests below, deserted aside from a few tech guys setting up and a couple of bar staff mincing around with stock. It’s all a bit too bare, too dead, too dry and uninspiring, which, ironically, is a pretty familiar scene to bassist Árni Hjörvar, having played there alongside drummer Pete Robertson a few years back: “We were playing with this band and everything was going off; it was really fun. We go on stage and like within two seconds [...] the room just emptied out and everyone went down to keep on dancing and we’re just playing to a couple of bar tenders.” Maybe it’s this setting that keeps his tone resigned, lacking expectancy. Not in a ‘I’m used to this now’ way, but rather edging towards ‘I think this might all change any second so I’m not going to get attached’. It could also attain to why a demandingdiva indie band attitude is yet to transpire. Despite having shot to stardom over the past few months, the band are still more than content with just having the basics on tour. “It’s really important to ask for breakfast, and a newspaper or two,” Árni admits casually. After all, they’ve been �lung into the ever -expanding, ever-�ickle indie spotlight clutching a �istful of, admittedly, damn good but not particularly groundbreaking tunes. Frontman Justin Young’s distinctly woozy, slightly mournful vocal soundings and lurching stage demeanour are becoming a key characteristics of the band’s live sets; but it can hardly be called unparalleled. It feels, almost, that they themselves don’t expect much more. I mean, 45 festivals in itself is a lot. A hell of a lot; is it possible to do any more, never mind distinguish between the good, the bad and averagely ugly? “It’s a really dif�icult question because sometimes you’re playing at a shit festival but you play really well; sometimes you play a great festival and you play really shit. Reading/Leeds felt like a victory lap [...] they were amazing’ “Glastonbury was the scariest moment of my life’’ But the rumour mill has hit overspin there too; apparently they’re not the biggest mud slide fans: “[Playing festivals is] essentially just like being a gyspy; you’re just a travelling entertainer you know and you get sort of treated like that. But I don’t really care, I enjoy festivals but some people, this whole kind of slumming away in disgusting wellies and rain [...] by the end of it you’re just sort of carrying around a massive suitcase of dirty underwear” You want to scold them somehow; how can they not appreciate the same atmosphere in which so many fans clamour to see them? Then you think again. 45 festivals, remember. 45. But we’ve gone too far already - this time last year they’d not long thrown
forth the 1min 22 seconds long ra ra ra ruckus of ‘Wreckin’ Bar,’ and, believe it or not, were still playing free gigs. As we chat, the basics are yet to be covered: Why ‘The Vaccines’ anyway? “To be honest, I think the reason why we went for it is because it’s just strong. It doesn’t mean anything. It like a blank name that you can apply to anything. The only thing it says to me is just guitars; it feels like a guitar band. It sounds classic; it sounds like it could have been a ‘50s rock and pop band [...] it could have been a punk band, it could be a hardcore band, it could be a grunge band. We’re all fans of timeless things, things you can’t pinpoint in time.” Their debut album, What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? was released in March of this year; hurtling through 12 tracks in less than 35 minutes, the reasonings behind the title’s ambiguity is Árni’s least favourite question. Was it, perhaps, an ironic nod, holding their hands up in a gesture towards their own genericism? “We didn’t really know what to expect ourselves. There was a lot of expectations and hype and we just got really tired of it because you can’t judge a band on a couple of singles. “It was a bit of a ‘fuck off’ to that.” Frontman Justin Young is The Vaccines’ main songwriter. Fitting, really - there’s no doubt about it, their songs are about youth: making the most of being youthful, commemorating youth, and remembering how to be young. They relate personal experience but never give much insight on how they’d change things in hindsight. ‘Wetsuit’, in particular, focuses on “siezing the moment, it’s about growing up and realising that you’ve been living in a far away distant future rather than just living now. The relationship to wetsuit is just: have fun.” Meanwhile, although composed from the kind of rhyming couplets you expect from a 12 year old’s poetry assignment, ‘Post-Break Up Sex’ does, however, make you pause: ‘It’s a bit ambiguous, because at no point in the song can you hear whether he’s talking about having sex with your ex or getting over someone by having sex with someone else.” This obscurity, Hjorvar stresses, is both integral and irrelevant in the context of the song. “It doesn’t matter. It’s just an observational song about an experience that everybody knows but nobody’s written a pop song about before. “I don’t think anyone passes judgement about whether it’s good or not, it’s just about vocalizing an experience that everyone is afraid of vocalizing” ‘Nørgaard’ is more speci�ically anecdotal, although the way it picks up the pace with sporadically arranged lyrics and head bouncing upbeatness you wouldn’t have guessed where it erupted from. “Have you never heard the story?” Árni asks incredulously. “Justin went on a double date with a friend of his and two girls, and one of the girls was Amanda Nørgaard. The guy he was with ended up getting off with both of them and Justin went home angry and wrote ‘Nørgaard’.” Currently writing some new songs, are the band worried that they’ll slip down the cursed road of the dif�icult second album? “You watch bands do that same mistake again and again. It’s a dif�icult process writing a second album because all your emotional attachment if with the songs you’ve already written and all your growth as a band has been with that bunch of songs. It’s really dif�icult to sort of differentiate between good and bad and after that there’s no way of knowing whether the songs you write are any good or not. A band should always do what feels natural to them, it’s a funny process but it’s cathartic, it’s fun.” Hoping to hit the recording studio early next year, it feels they used that album title too soon. It’s now that we really don’t know what to expect from The Vaccines.
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
Itâ€™s comedy, my dear Watson Pippa had kind of an easy job. She got a lot of praise just for having a nice arse.
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
Editor Kat Bannon catches up with Welsh-West Counties hybrid Mark Watson to talk proud parents, how it doesn’t matter if you’re not the funny kid in school and why the STEPS reunion will never be as big as Take That’s
he name Mark Watson alone is yet to spark the sort sort of instinct recognition, that, dare I say it, accompanies the likes of Frankie Boyle, Dara O’Brian, Russell Howard and any other comedian that has only really come to our attention through Mock the Week.
So it’s quite handy really that he comes with a number of tag lines: ‘I think he’s Welsh’, ‘the one with the joke about the girlfriend in the aeroplane’, ‘that bloke from the Magners advert, has a mate called Duncan.’ Unfortunately for Watson, given that watching said ad only coincides with cringing and the need to remind himself he was paid, he might not be too pleased that it generally tops his list of associations. Especially when he doesn’t even have a friend called Duncan: “no, I made that up!” A gradual �low rather than a sudden burst, Watson’s career has been on the go since 2002. Although quickly becoming more of a regular at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival than Ken Barlow at the Rovers Return it wasn’t for another few years that things began to take off. Winner of Time Out’s Choice Award in 2006 he then began to make regular slots on Mock the Week as well as appearances on Never Mind the Buzzcocks and Have I got News for You. Currently in the middle of his third UK tour, Requests Stop, Watson’s style is by no means entirely unique, but speckled with a �istful of endearing idiosyncrasies that, alongside his insistent, seemingly unstoppable gabbling, gives him aura of a wind up toy that’s got a bit stuck. Thankfully, that’s in the I’ll keep laughing until it stops way, rather than the kind that makes you take it’s batteries out.
Instead of resting in the tired yet welcoming arms of bad language and crude sexual innuendos, his conversational, everyday anecdotal style is fresh yet not risk-free, so when he does drop the occasional ‘c-bomb’ it gives you the kind of kick it should. Comedy, however, hasn’t always been on Watson’s cards. “It was something that came about much later, really after university, I didn’t really expect to be doing it.” Rather than spout the standard spiel of being the funny kid in school, Watson is pretty con�ident he wasn’t pigeon holed into that role, and hardly feels any worse off because of it: “I mean, the sort of people that were funny guys at school and really wound up the teachers they always seemed like they were going to end up being comedians but they normally end up just sort of working in a bank or something. It’s like they get it out of their system and then they never quite live up to it again” Having kept it in his system until he had a �irst class English degree from Cambridge sitting comfortably in his pocket, you could adopt the old cliché that he has been worth the wait. However, it wasn’t quite as easy a ride as that: “[At one show] people were just shouting ‘off, off’ at me for 20 minutes. “I was meant to do 20 minutes and I thought if I leave before my time I’ve sort of let them win. My mission was to stay on as long as I could. I did it, but it nearly killed me” However, as they say, behind every strong man is a strong woman, and Watson is no exception. His parents support has been invaluable, although at times also potentially disastrous: ‘They love it now because I’m on the TV sometimes or the radio so they know that I’m not going to starve, ‘“They were always the sort of parents going look, what the hell are you doing with your education. Otherwise I would have lost courage and given up probably quite quickly.” It was this support that led, unbeknownst to Watson, to his mum following him across the pond to Sydney to see a gig. The trip took place in upmost secrecy as she’d never dream of wanting to distract him while on stage. So she naturally plonked herself on the third row: ‘‘I had to explain to the audience what was happening because it completely ruined my concentration. “It’s very hard to swear in front of your mum or talk about sex.” In terms of his material, production resembles his on stage style:
‘I don’t tend to sit down and write myself a script like most people do, I’m a lot more shambolic than that’ Surely there’s a constant fear that he might one day run out of material. “Yeah, sometimes I do wonder; maybe I’ve said everything.” Given his colloquial style it might then be tempting to change track altogether and bat out a succession of one liners instead. “I kind of envy people who are really good at coming up with that kind of stuff. I prefer stuff that is more personal, you kind of get to know the performer a bit. “Having said that though people are mostly just trying to talk a load of absolute bollocks.” I mostly prefer people who do something completely different to me as you don’t feel threatened by it. Otherwise you think ‘ah, I should have thought of that!’ So it’s slightly more stressful watching that.” But if comedy hadn’t been his calling? “Sports commentator, but that’s even more competitive than being a comedian. “Good thing this came off really as I didn’t have a Plan B” Good thing for us too. Who would you like to win X Factor? Mischa . It’ll probably be a girl winner, they’ve had two men in a row. Obviously Janet, the Irish one is the going to be the favourite I think. I wouldn’t mind if she won either, one of those two I think’ Kate or Pippa?
Probably Kate, because I feel a bit sorry for her in the fact that everyone was on about her sister on her own wedding day, I think that’s a little bit unfair. Pippa had kind of an easy job and she got a lot of praise just for having a nice arse. I think Kate probably deserves a bit more attention. She is the one that actually got married to a Prince after all.
Any thoughts on the STEPS reunion? I think that they’re unlikely to make as much of a success of it as the Take That reunion. I can’t remember them being that good in the �irst place. It seems like the Welsh one, ‘H’, has done pretty well since, and the others have struggled a bit. For them it’s probably good news, but I’m not sure for the pop world that it’s good news.
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
Tradition, treats and Shorthand trinkets
Give It A Go Lucy Johnson tours us around the best
Who? Give It A Go A number of interpretations for that I’m sure… Potentially. Set up by the Students’ Union, Give It A Go does what it says on the tin – gives students the chance to try a huge range of the more fun things uni life has to offer, “be they career developmental, social, cultural or just for a laugh!” Give me more… The thing here is about variety - it seems you can have a go at almost anythingfrom dodgeball to interview training to burlesque dancing. What about experience? A little bit of burlesque is all well and good if you can actually dance… Fear not, help is at hand! No level of skill is required (a bonus to many whose highest form of rhythm is only displayed in Riverside in more inebriated circumstances…), and each class is taken by a member of the Students’ Union or even a professional. Chances of employing Christina Aguilera for a dance class or three? Jog on. Or should I say dance… ok, that was poor. But numbers are high regardless of superstar talent; 700 people have been involved in one of the activities so far this term - and 2000 over the whole of last year. They’re choosing next term’s action packed schedule as we speak, so if you’re interested just ask - the email is email@example.com. What about commitment? What if I decide that ‘snowtubing’ and the like isn’t quite what I had in mind… There’s no requirement to stay on whatsoever. Most people try at least a few sessions - socially it’s excellent for meeting people and making some new friends. Friends! Where do I sign? Steady on, you wouldn’t want to put off potential buddies/hostages eh? Just look on the Union website and email the above address to sign up for classes. The excitement overwhelms me. Are you sure I qualify? Yes! Any student from Newcastle university: “under or post grad, part time, mature, international - everyone and all are welcomed!” And where can it all lead? What if it turns out I have a never-before-seen talent for mediation, or something equally testing and admirable? “Some classes are one-off tasters that are hard to continue with, but you could start your own society/club, and some are directly linked to AU clubs and you can then try out for teams etc…” It all depends on availability but there’s no harm in asking. Wise words. As ever. What’s more, there’s an annual trip to Alton Towers which sounds like a laugh - “last time we had a 90s dance music rave on the bus on the way home, courtesy of some friendly coach drivers which was fun!” Crazy. Yep - and they want it to get bigger too; as many students involved as possible. “We’re constantly trying to do bigger and better activities to include more students, and we really are here for all students to have fun, so if you have any ideas for the programme, or would like to get involved please do get in touch!” Nonie Heal
Christmas markets the north has to offer With the run up to Christmas comes an inevitable British retail phenomenon: The Christmas Market. Vastly growing in popularity, these tastes of continental Europe appear to be popping up in towns and cities across the country. But how do you decipher where best to go? Where exactly is the best place for a steaming hot cup of Gluhwein? And what on earth is a Currywurst?
Newcastle Before everyone heads home to the com-
pany and reliable heating of their family homes, Newcastle’s Continental Market is worth a visit. Under the glow of Grey’s Monument, this year the Continental Market runs from Monday November 21 until Saturday December 3, and is a great place to pick up something hot to eat whilst making your way through Newcastle’s notoriously chilly city centre. Dutch waffles or French crepes are recommended to those with a sweet tooth! Newcastle Christmas Market will run from December 7 until December 11, so keep an eye open if you’re having trouble finding a Christmas present for someone special.
Durham If you don’t mind a journey less than an
hour south of the ‘Toon, head to Durham on the first weekend of December to sample the delights of their Christmas Festival. The huge, heated Craft and Gift Marquee on Palace Green features over 180 stalls across all three days of the event. The festival even boasts reindeers, sleigh rides and falconry displays. Entry to the Marquee is free on December 2 and will cost £2.50 per person on December 3-4.
Edinburgh Edinburgh also hosts a popular Traditional German Christmas Market, which sells a mix of classic and contemporary gifts as
well as a range of German food and drink. Try your best to sample the sausages, potato cakes and German beer – perhaps try a traditional beer stein which holds half a litre of beer! Running from November 24 to December 24, Edinburgh Christmas Market is ideal for finding something a little different for someone even if you’re a last minute shopper.
A little further south, York plays host to Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland, a new event based on the outskirts of the city. Incorporating York’s award-winning ice rink, an authentic British fun fair, traditional Christmas market and Santa’s grotto, Winter Wonderland is your go to festive experience if you find yourself in or around the city this December. The 900sqm real ice rink, aptly named The Ice Factor, is turned into a winter wonderland village, with decorative cabins surrounding the rink, an illuminated forest with reindeer, and a 30ft giant Christmas tree in the centre of the rink. With the market running until January 1, you can still enjoy the festive spirit even after the excitement of Christmas has worn off.
Illustration: Moises Bedrossian Square, the market consists of over 40 wooden chalet stalls where handcrafted toys, jewellery, Christmas cards and festive decorations are all on sale. If the weather’s a little nippy, you can also pick up some bratwurst or goulash to warm you right up! Running until December 18, the market also boasts an adjoining funfair with a traditional Christmas carousel.
Leeds Leeds Christkindel-
markt, described as ‘a little piece of Germany in the heart of Leeds City Centre’, is one of the most established German Christmas Markets in the UK – filled with traditional wooden stalls, carousel rides and festive greenery. Sat comfortably in Leeds Millennium
Newcastle’s own Christmas market. Photography: Moises Bedrossian
If you find yourself in the Manchester area this Christmas, make your way down to the Manchester Christmas Market, where you’ll find the streets lined with chalets, with over 200 stalls offering mouth-watering delicacies from all over Europe, including Dutch mini pancakes, Spanish paella and French profiteroles. Running until December 21, if you’re looking for a gift the choice is increasingly broad and includes gifts, crafts, jewellery, clothes and toys.
Birmingham Last but by no means least is Birming-
ham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market, the largest authentic German market outside of Germany and Austria, with over 180 stalls to browse and enjoy. Birmingham has been twinned with Frankfurt for more than 40 years, and the market itself fills all of Victoria Square and beyond. Traditional stalls offer the usual array of beautiful handmade toys, Christmas decorations, original jewellery and craft goods as well as a carousel to keep younger visitors entertained. Visitors can enjoy the delights of German mulled wine (Gluhwein), grilled sausages, vegetarian options, pretzels, German beer, and for those with a sweet tooth, gingerbread, crepes and marzipan sweets. My personal recommendation is a cup of hot chocolate with a drop of Baileys, topped with whipped cream. All drinks are served in ceramic cups, and you pay a deposit when you pay for your drink – if you want to keep your cup you can take it home with you as a souvenir of your day!
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
Lifestyle Editors: Olivia Mason and Ben Parkin Online Editor: Emma Balter
The housing dilemma
Choosing an area
Newcastle students have plenty of options when it comes to choosing student accommodation. The most popular by far is Jesmond, but unfortunately it’s also the dearest. Not only is the Jesmond rent going to cost about £20 more each week on average, but remember that aside from a small Tesco Metro and a Waitrose (hardly the student’s supermarket of choice) you’ll have limited exposure to grocery shopping, which will inevitably stretch your weekly budget even further. Heaton is the same walking distance from campus, costs far less and puts you within a short walk of an Asda and a Morrisons - you can’t ask for more than that! A little further out, Fenham will generally give you a huge comparative saving on rent costs if you’re prepared to be in a less studenty area.
More is better
If you want to reduce the cost of living next year then not only do bigger houses tend to have a slightly lower rent per person, but you’ll also get to split the util-
Review The Stand Bistro
Follow the sky of Christmas lights down Grey Street and within minutes you reach Newcastle’s new comedy club, The Stand, tucked away down a narrow cobbled alley. A month after opening, the club has seemingly already established itself as not only the one to watch on the comedy circuit but a food venue too, with a bistro that serves food seven days a week, all day long. Luckily food is not the pro�itable add-on here. Drink, in the form of a really smooth bottle of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, was delivered to our table within minutes. As for the food, the select but diverse international menu seems to draw inspiration from, well, everywhere, offering a Vietnamese chicken curry alongside Mexican nachos and North African merguez sausage and mash in addition to the classic British �ish and chips. Our impeccably presented dishes, complete with a quirky twist on the norm, arrived promptly and were a good size - manageable yet not overwhelming. On to desserts, which were traditionally British and did not disappoint, especially the hot apple crumble served with ice cream and the rich chocolate torte with berry coulis and cream. Overall we had a fantastic meal, which quashed any prior concerns by providing really attractive and tasty food. And I think here lies the beauty of the Stand Bistro: reasonably priced, great value and very tasty food in an ideal setting. Lauren Cordell
ity bills between more people. One thing to consider before signing up to a house with new people in �irst year is when rationing central heating time, ensure the bill is split accordingly and you all agree on how often to turn it on.
on a consistent basis then �ind yourself a different landlord.
Some letting companies will try to blindside potential tenants by assuring you that each house comes with a wallmounted �lat screen television, Xbox and Playstation. Try not to place too much emphasis on these added bonuses when making your decision; remember that as little as a pound per week will save you �ifty quid over the entire year.
Before forking out a month’s rent upfront plus any possible administration fee, ask the letter if they have a set list of �ines that are deducted from deposits. You could even ask what proportion of deposits were refunded to the tenants from previous years. If you �ind out large chunks of the deposit are being withheld
How to have a laugh Location: 31 High Bridge Newcastle Upon Tyne Tyne and Wear NE1 1EW Booking Line: 0844 693 3336
Website: www.thestand. co.uk/newcastle
Hours: Mon 11am-11pm, Tues-Sun 11am1am, food served until 9pm
Illustration: Jenny Dodsworth
Before you agree to sign for a house, �ind out how much the current tenants pay each week. Normally landlords will try and bump up the weekly rent by two or three quid on the previous year, so try and set your maximum at the current rate and if you’re lucky you may even be able to get it down further. Keep in mind that if you can reduce your weekly rate by �ive pounds, it will save you £250 for the year.
300g any white �ish, preferably skinless 50g breadcrumbs 1 egg 2tbsp olive oil 20g plain �lour 2 bread rolls 40g soft garlic cheese (Philadelphia with Garlic and Chive, LeRoulé, Boursin all work well) 40g mayonnaise A dash of vinegar (optional – but so worth it!)
I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here
Homemade �ish �inger sandwiches with a garlic and herb sauce
Ingredients (serves 4)
A cheap and cheerful way to stay warm this Winter! In fab colours and patterns, there are plenty to get your hands on (and feet in)!
Mark Wright topless and Jessica-Jane in a bikini... need I say more guys and girls?
Fish �inger sandwiches are an unsuspected giant in the world of quick and easy light bites, providing a meal which you forget is so satisfying until you tuck in. Although good-quality �ish �ingers do exist, they are hard to come by and this recipe seeks to provide a solution to those �ingers that call themselves �ish, but are actually pumped full of unknown rubbish. Fish is often considered a rather expensive foodstuff, but you can easily pick up a good sized pack of fresh cod or haddock for an inconsiderable sum, and by no means are you limited to these �ish – any white �ish will do more than a good job! The sauce contrasts nicely with the �ish, creating a sharp yet creamy �lavour that will have you taking another bite within seconds! It’s also good to note that these sandwiches are immense hangover cures, and provide you with a lunchtime treat that won’t fail to gratify!
Procrastination to the max! “Mentally Stimulating Games & Trivia”...who said naming 200 Harry Potter Characters isn’t going to pass my Biomedical Science exam? Play online or get the app.
A squeeze of lemon juice (optional) Cooking Instructions
For the �ish �ingers 1. Preheat your oven to 200°C (Gas Mark 6) 2. Slice your �ish into long strips, and in a bowl, mix together an egg and the olive oil. On a plate of baking tray, scatter the breadcrumbs and �lour. 3. Dip the �ish in the egg and oil, and �irst roll in the �lour, followed by the breadcrumbs, until the �ish is fully coated. 4. Place the �ish �ingers on a baking tray, and bake for 10 minutes. For the sauce 1. In a bowl, mix together your cheese and mayonnaise (plus a dash of olive oil), until your sauce is smooth yet thick. Add a dash of lemon juice.
Getting out of bed when it’s still dark outside and seeing your own breath as you leap around trying to get dressed as quickly as possible is not hot... literally!
Flip Flops and shorts
Its -5˚C outside and yet guys (and girls!) wearing �lip �lops and shorts is still a regular occurrence! Put some clothes on, no-one wants to be reminded of what we were wearing 3 months ago - it just depresses us!
Facebook porn and violent image spam
No-one likes to see images of dead animals on their news feed, and as for seeing porn images, dare I say the vast majority of us don’t like that either? Sort it out Facebook!
What’s Not Rachel Lund
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
lifestyle Dating dos and don’ts
Liven up the love
Emily Rae Lauren Cordell on how to keep your romance blazing during winter
Dating Dos Plan your date ahead of time
Avoid falling into the vicious cycle of saying, “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” because then it’s easy for them to �lake. Decide on something and stick to it!
Meet in a public place on your �irst date
Don’t worry, we hardly think you’ll be meeting a stranger off match.com, but meeting up in Toon for a chat in Costa is not only safer if you don’t know them that well, but offers distractions if conversation begins to lag. If all else fails you could always “people watch” through the window! Also, if it’s that bad, pretend you’ve spotted your friend outside and make a run for it.
Have sticky eyes
No, we’re not advocating a dose of conjunctivitis before your date. It’s all about elongated eye contact - holding eye contact just a second too long will have them weak at the knees. Just make sure it doesn’t look like a staring contest. Remember, you aren’t a hawk eyeing its prey.
Suggest something a little different
We’re not talking about investing in the Kama Sutra here. Suggest a different kind of date - what about ice skating at the Life Centre for starters? Guaranteed laughs if you’re like Bambi on the ice.
Approach a potential conquest with the following lines -
“Are you from Ireland, ‘cause my dick’s Dublin!” “Do you know how much a polar bear weighs? Neither do I, but it broke the ice!” “Your eyes are like spanners - every time you look at me my nuts tighten.” Also, unless you’re certain they’re an avid maths geek, we’re not sure “Oi you, you’re one over sinC!” will have the desired effect.
With the onset of gloomy winter weather, spending time with your boyfriend or girlfriend can easily descend into a stayat-home-and-watch-TV routine. But just because it’s cold outside that doesn’t mean you should forget going out. Here are some top tips to help you break the monotony of those long winter nights.
Twist on a Classic
Dinner and a movie is a timeless dating classic, and for good reason; you get to chat over dinner and snuggle up to your loved one in the cinema afterwards. But it’s so easy to fall into going to the same old places, giving you all too quickly a sense of boring déjà vu. Plus it’s expensive, right? Save money by cooking a new meal together at home before going to the cinema, or go out to dinner before watching a DVD. If you don’t have the time or skills for cooking, scout out one of the many restaurants around Newcastle that have an early evening happy hour. There’s the well known Italian favourites such as Avanti, Scalini’s and Francesca’s in Jesmond or for something a bit more sophisticated consider Loch Fyne, located in a gorgeous converted church in Gosforth (check www.lochfyne-restaurants.com for promotions). If you’ve chosen your �ilm beforehand, try matching your dinner to your movie - where better to eat before Midnight in Paris, for example, than Café Rouge? Why not swap the bog-standard Empire cinema for one of Newcastle’s quirky independent cinemas where you can catch foreign �ilms or lesser known treasures. The Tyneside boasts an old art-deco theatre setting where viewers can still enjoy alcoholic drinks whilst watching their �ilm. Those who are really lucky will manage to secure seats for The Room – the supposed worst �ilm of all time - where viewers often dress up in Rocky Horroresque style and delight in shouting and throwing plastic spoons at the screen.
Tell a stream of anecdotes about the “absolute banter” you have with your �latmates
Ok, so one or two genuinely witty pranks or humiliating stories is allowed, but otherwise your prospect will be left feeling slightly intimidated by the descriptions of all your incredible friends.
Just because you’re in a relationship doesn’t mean you have to always go on exclusive dates. Learning something new together is not only fun but gives you a shared experience, which gives you more to talk about and more in common. If you’ve decided to go away on holiday together this year or have a shared appreciation for a certain country, why not take up a language together at the Centre for Life Long Learning? On the other hand, if you’re trying to stay �it despite all your winter comforteating, sometimes it’s best to just face the weather full-on, and how better than with your other half for support. Running together on a cold winter’s evening can be a surprisingly invigorating experience and the dark and cold mean you don’t
because you are sounding stalkerish. Obsession really isn’t attractive, because that’s what this is - obsession, not love. You have to block him out of your life. Start by removing the posters I know you have on your walls and changing the desktop background on your laptop. Also, travelling around after him has to stop, because it will be affecting not only your work but also your bank balance. Occupy your time so you don’t have a chance to think about him and then after a while you will realise how silly it is.
Nothing is ruder or more annoying than friends who tap away on their mobile whilst talking – so don’t even think about it when you’re with the person you like. Nothing could show a greater lack of interest on your part.
Pick up a new hobby or just get physical
This week Aunty Angela takes us through the etiquette of a one night stand, tackling modern day vampires and why everyone should love Tinie Tempah
Note to self: Lady and the Tramp romantic spaghetti moment does not work in Wagamamas.
With Christmas just round the corner, there are lots of ways you and your other half can get in to the Christmas spirit together. Take a day trip to Durham Christmas Market the �irst weekend in December or venture to Beamish, the living Victorian museum which is newly decorated for the festive season complete with temporary market stalls and an outdoor ice rink. If you don’t fancy leaving the city, browse the Newcastle Christmas Market around Monument and get your skates on at the outdoor ice rink by the Centre for Life. Alternatively, if staying indoors is really much more your thing, take a trip out to the Metrocentre, set a price and buy each other a present. You’ll both get to know what the other person likes and will end up with a guilt-free new dress/ jewellery/shoes made all the more special as it’ll be a gift from your sweetheart.
Ask Aunty Angela
Pick your location willy-nilly
Aim for effortlessly sexy (It may require extensive preparation to create that perfect dishevelled look – but he doesn’t need to know that!), however, preferably not the dishevelled image that involves mountains of hairspray to maintain that “Just rolled out of bed and slipped into these Jack Wills trackies yah” look.
have to worry half as much about looking like a hot, sweaty mess. For something a little less energetic, wrap up warm for a walk in the Jesmond Dene or venture out to Saltwood Park in Gateshead for an outing in a rowing boat or pedalo. A great comprise for those who want to stay in shape but avoid the weather is salsa dancing. Salseduce (Tues 7.15pm at Venue Club), Newcastle’s premier salsa night, provides a fun evening of classes followed by social dancing where you can try out your newly-learnt moves. No previous experience is necessary and the classes, taught by the encouraging Chris and Megan, are laid-back and informative. All in all it’s a great way to have a laugh, exercise and socialise – so what are you waiting for? Grab your partner and go!
Get that festive feeling
Illustration: Jennifer Dodsworth Help! I think I am becoming obsessed with Robert Pattinson. Ever since the �irst Twilight �ilm came out I have literally loved him but after seeing the most recent movie he is all I think about. I mean, he’s just so gorgeous. But I spend so much up my time stalking him online and travelling to places where he makes an appearance, I think my social life and uni work is suffering. I just can’t stop thinking about R-Patz though, I think he’s the one! Well �irst off, you have to calm down
Help! I had a one night stand last week and although for me it was just a one-off, the girl I slept with seems to think it meant more than that. She keeps texting and facebooking me and I see her all the time around campus so avoiding her isn’t an option. What do I do?!
What a cad you are - in my day this would have been quite the scandal! However, this is often a problem with one night stands and because of this you should pick your playmates carefully. Always make sure the girl or guy is in complete understanding that it is just a bit of fun and nothing more, or you’ll end up in the
sticky situation that you are now in. You have to be straight with her and it may even be best if you are harsh, not too harsh mind, but you have to make sure she knows that there is nothing in it and she is barking up the wrong tree.
Auntie Angela! I live in Ricky Road and while I absolutely love it, I just can’t take the constant noise anymore. Work is starting to pile up and all I hear all the time is that awful song that begins: ‘Labyrinth come in’. How can I sort it out without being a bore? Do you have any advice from your uni days?
If you have any problems you need help with, email Aunty Angela at c2.lifestyle@ ncl.ac.uk
I really am not the best example - I ended up just shouting at everyone and, although it worked, unless you can deal with being shouted abuse at by drunkards I wouldn’t recommend it. I would say your best bet is to go to the library to do your work and either get some good ear plugs for sleep or �ind a friend in different halls who doesn’t mind you crashing on their �loor. Sometimes they let you move halls if you really are unhappy, maybe you should look into that? P.S. Aunty Angela loves that song!
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
Lifestyle Editors: Olivia Mason and Ben Parkin Online Editor: Emma Balter
Simon Smith, 2nd year Politics and History, meets Jo Johnston-Smith, 2nd year Classics
Jo on Simon
Simon on Jo
First Impressions? He seemed like a really nice guy, not normally the type I would go for, but he seemed like a genuine person on �irst impressions. He came across as a really sweet guy with a good sense of humour.
First Impressions? My �irst impression of Jo was good; she was attractive and well dressed. She looked quite smart so I felt a little underdressed but once we got talking it didn’t matter. She had nice hair as well and since I prefer blondes I was pretty damn chuffed about being set up with Jo!
What did you talk about? We talked about where we came from, what course we did and whereabouts we lived in Newcastle and what the differences were between them. We then talked about the nightlife in Newcastle. We discussed how we came about doing the blind date and what our friends made of us doing it. The conversation never really died which was good: we always managed to �ind something to laugh about. Any awkward moments? The start of the date because we were both waiting outside as we hadn’t discussed how we would know each other so we were both waiting outside the bar for about �ive minutes. We managed to laugh at the awkwardness of the two of us waiting next to each other for so long. So we started the date on a laugh which was good. Anything in common? That we both go to Newcastle University and we have a similar sense of humour. We discussed our humorous nights out which lead to many laughs. Best thing about them? His sense of humour made the evening interesting, it was good that we both had a good sense of humour. Did you go anywhere afterwards? No, he walked me back to the top of my road as it was on his way home but we didn’t go anywhere else.
Would you introduce them to your housemates? No I wouldn’t introduce him to my housemates, although he is a really nice guy and would probably be a really good friend. Did you want to go in for a kiss? No, there wasn’t any spark between us and it felt like just going for a drink with a friend which was a really good way to spend the evening.
Would you meet again? No, I don’t think so because we didn’t really have much in common so there wasn’t really much to talk about. He’s a really lovely guy though and he has a great sense of humour; if I ran into to him on a night out I would happily have a catch up with him.
Marks out of 10? I would give the ‘date’ a 6 as it didn’t feel like a date but more like drinks with a mate.
What did you talk about? Everything really, the conversation just came naturally. We talked about our courses and where we came from as well as the intriguing question of how we ended up doing the blind date in the �irst place. There were more than a few embarrassing night out stories from her, to the point where I had to break into the vault of the tales my friends had banned me from mentioning.
Any awkward moments? Well we both didn’t quite click on that we were meeting each other as we stood waiting for our unknown dates to arrive, but it wasn’t too bad. Then there was her telling me she “liked being told what to do” by text before hand, but that just showed me she had a sense of humour. And that she was kinky.
Anything in common? We really didn’t! There was the new historical studies common room we had both recently been in and we shared a charming xenophobia towards Scotland but no common interests. I was amazed she had never been in Argos before; it had never occurred to me that I had a choice in the matter! At least there was the mutual friend of alcohol.
Best thing about them? She was easy to talk to and she had a good sense of humour, which is quite important with me because I like my stupid jokes. Jo was really chatty and she didn’t seem to mind my quite full-on personality, so full credit to her!
Did you go anywhere afterwards? Not really, I walked her home which was amusing because she decided to try out a dubious new shortcut for the �irst time and got lost. We had a nice time in Spy bar and it felt like a natural end to the evening rather than dragging it out.
Would you introduce them to your housemates? I don’t see why not, we got on well and I’m sure they would have liked her. Not sure if she would introduce me to hers though, I didn’t meet any even though I walked her home!
Did you want to go in for a kiss? Now why would I do something ridiculous to spoil a lovely evening like that? I would have to be pretty con�ident Jo was thinking the same if I was going to be that bold, and unfortunately I wasn’t, so we’ll never know how magical that kiss might have been…
Would you meet again? I would meet Jo again because we had a great time. There didn’t seem to be much of a spark though and when I jokingly described myself as “intolerable” her response that she had met worse means its long odds for the follow up date! If I bump into her in our new common room I’ll de�initely stop and say hi though.
Marks out of 10? I think 7/10 is a fair score, I enjoyed myself and she was pretty and a good laugh.
Tashin’ on in the Toon
Victoria Mole We’re all guilty of spending an extra 20 minutes in front of the mirror and using an extra spray (or ten) of our most expensive perfume when we know that we’ll see someone we have a soft spot for. For a certain person, you’d stand outside in the rain all night until you’ve more than reversed your make-up process, just to see them for �ive minutes. You would probably resemble Ozzy Osbourne had he just seen The Notebook for the �irst time and you could comfort yourself with the consolation that you’re now just a hot mess, but, honestly, you probably wouldn’t even care by that point. Whoever you just imagined waiting for as you pictured yourself working the drowned rodent look - they’re your weakness. I have many weaknesses: I frequently �ind myself slowing down and turning my head in the street (basically having a little perve) at: sweets, beautiful clothes shop displays and muscular shoulders- in that order. However, one weakness would top these: Jake Gyllenhaal on a runway dripping in chocolate. That weakness has the power to make your behaviour more than irrational, and if they know the extent of their power, it can put you in a very vulnerable position. Sometimes two people’s weaknesses are each other: this is the stuff that chick �licks and pensioners’ marriages are made of. However, most of the time you’ll �ind that your friends and family will hate your weakness as though they’re public enemy #1: those closest to you are the ones that see what’s left once your weakness has walked away. Watching a friend care about someone that doesn’t value them as much is painful. It can turn them from someone who’s independent with pride into someone desperate who acts like they have no self-worth. They could be in denial but the situation is crystal clear to everyone else. The boyfriend that takes his lovesick girlfriend for granted has her in a trap, and it’s like watching a ticking time bomb. You know that it’s going to end and the longer that it ticks on, the more intense the explosion will be. Once you’ve become that attached to someone, it’s all a dangerous and messy affair - �ighting it is like �ighting an addiction. The chemical reactions going on in your brain when you’re around a weakness can have you taking desperate measures for that high. The person giving you that rush can be a sacri�ice of your happiness, but it’s human nature to choose the high and the pain rather than just the pain alone. Going through a break-up is a shock to the system, in part, because of the chemical withdrawals. At the end of the day, you’ll never be able to explain why certain people will just get under your skin only by touching it. Although, you will know that the people who really love you have the best intentions, and if they don’t think someone’s right for you (if my brother knew of a recent relapse of mine, he’d be on the �irst train to Newcastle with a cricket bat), they’re probably right. It’s easy to decide that when you’ve had that strong a high from an individual once, no one else will ever make you feel that way again, but trust me: they will, so brace yourself! If you take nothing else from my words of wisdom, just understand this: love makes you one crazy motherforker.
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
fashionista etiquette being chic in all situations
Winter is a great time for dressing because layering is �lattering and it’s a great time for accessorising with scarves, hats and...socks! Here are tips for styling boots fashionably this season. Thick socks It doesn’t matter if your boots are pixie-style, knee-high, heeled, or any other style: socks always help with that layered look. If you dare to go bare-legged in the cold winter winds (which especially affect us as students in Newcastle), or listen to your mum and wear woolly tights, a pair of thick socks that go slightly over the top of your boots, bunched up, look cool and comfy. Don’t be boring Whatever you do, don’t go for the boring, halfway up the calf, black, plain leather boots they will just make you feel dull and dated, and no one feels con�ident when they blend in too much. Get something cute, something vintage, or something chunky, but most of all, be bold and choose something you really love. Look out for detail It could be anything from a buckle or two, a bit of studding, a cut out section (very, dare I say, ‘in’), or anything that makes them a bit unique. Look to the past The 90s are most certainly back. Wherever you look, on the catwalks, or in magazines, the platforms are back. Or, if that is a bit too Spice Girlsy for you, there’s always creeper-style boots if you love a bit of 90s grunge.
Print & texture If you can’t be bothered to accessorise (aka you’ve got TV to watch- I mean- university work to do), there’s always animal-print boots to keep you looking up to date - especially the cutesy dalmatian print which is all over the place at the moment. Otherwise go for something sumptuous like velvet, silk, worn-out vintage leather, or suede. There’s a lot of choice this season!
Accept that you are going to need a pair of wellies Wellies are actually quite �lattering, especially Hunters, as they magically make your legs look dainty. But, if you’re not the classic kind, there is always Vivienne Westwood- it’s not as expensive as you might think and wellies last forever, and plus, they’re very pretty. Re-use some old snow boots Snow and rain ruin Uggs- so try snow boots! Chunky is very wintery, so try some big, comfy snow boots. You won’t slip over in them, and they toughen up any look that is verging on too girly or overdone.
Denim shirt: Topman Chinos: Topman Shoes: Schuh
Third Year English Language and Literature
Idea behind your out�it? “I tend not to think too much about what I wear. I just wear what I want to wear.”
Coat: Urban Out�itters Vintage Jumper: Urban Out�itters Vintage Leggings: Topshop Bag: Paul’s Boutique
Favourite fashion statement? “Anything simple and not too fussy. I quite like block colours and often wear coloured trousers with plain t-shirts.”
Idea behind your out�it? “I was mainly thinking of warmth to be honest! But the coat is a bit of a statement so I kept the rest of my out�it nice and simple.”
Fashion pet hates? “People wearing things just because they are expensive.”
Favourite fashion statement? “I love lace worn in any way.” Fashion pet hates? “People wearing out-ofseason clothing, like shorts in winter.”
Paul Bradley Katie Robertson Photography: Zainab Haq
It’s in the bag
Don’t go too cheap and prioritise �it My mother always told me never to buy cheap shoes, and she was right. First of all, they will most likely fall apart so that is not exactly great value for money. Second of all, they will be uncomfortable. Everyone needs a trusty pair of boots they can wear year in, year out, which is why they need to be comfortable, and in the right size! Bring a thick pair of socks with you when you’re out buying boots to try on with.
Handbags are a girl’s best friend. They’re both stylish and useful, a brilliantly fab combination for students, and this season on the high street there are more styles than ever to choose from - and many for a reasonable price. As practicality is a must, the current spacious designs lining the shelves are perfect for �itting all of your books and the like into, whilst still looking superbly fashionable. Space will be the least of your problems with a structured doctor’s bag like the one below. Its deep shade of
purple will keep you right on trend too, as jewel-tones are everywhere this AW11. If preppy geek-chic is your thing- a classic satchel is ideal. A long shoulder strap makes it comfortable and easy to carry, whilst a vivid colour, such as this gorgeous citrus-toned red below, will brighten up any dull winter out�it! A black handbag is the ultimate staple accessory in every girl’s wardrobe, but they’re not always the most exciting of items, so texture or �iner detailing is essential. Faux-fur
Third Year Politics
is huge at the moment and adding it to a black bag will instantly create a polished and fashion-forward look. Sticking to simple panels will keep it stylish and tasteful. When choosing a bag for taking to university, bear in mind that pockets, compartments and ‘oversized’ are in. These things are perfect for making sure you have all your essentials and stay organised.
Wear skinny jeans Pair some skinny jeans (any colour) with a baggy knit jumper, loose looking hair, naturallooking make-up and whap on your boots. Simple, but it works every time. Don’t match too much Either you’re a matching kind of person, or you’re not. I happen not to be, so I think it is best to not overly match. So if your boots are black, why not try a grey bag? Or a bag with a print on it? The less you match, as long as it looks good, the more effortless you will look.
River Island, £35
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
Fashion Editor: Victoria Mole Online Fashion Editor: Rosanna Sopp
Lads in labels
the fashionconscious male
Rebecca Whit�ield and Emily Symington have scouted around campus to speak to some on-trend male students about sweats, shirts and keeping style in their stride.
James Allison , 20, Sunderland 3rd Year Dentistry
Joe Norris, 21, Hudders�ield 3rd Year Dentistry
Do you like brand names? “I’m not a brand snob, if I like it I like it.” What do you wear to lounge around in? “Joggers and a t-shirt.” What is your favourite fashion statement? “I wear what I like.” What are your female fashion pet hates? “When they try too hard and when they dress up too much.” What is your favourite female fashion statement? “Maxi dresses.” What are your opinions on tanning? “De�initely not.” How important is taking care of your physical shape? “I don’t play for any teams, just go to the gym.”
Do you like brand names? “It’s all about the �it not the brand.” What do you wear to lounge around in? “The same, joggers and a t-shirt.” What is your favourite fashion statement? “Stringers Vests.” What are your female fashion pet hates? “I don’t like girls in Jack Wills, they all look the same.” What is your favourite female fashion statement? “Tight jeans and heels.” What is your daily grooming ritual? “10 minutes in the morning on my hair after my shower, just to straighten and hairspray.” What are your opinions on tanning? “Only in summer, I don’t fake tan.” How important is taking care of your physical shape? “It’s a priority in life, for health reasons and looks.”
Vest: Topman Shorts: SoCal Shoes: Vans
Vest: Slazenger Shorts: Addidas Shoes: Of�ice
Freddie Watson, 19, Shef�ield 1st Year English Language Shirt: All Saints Jacket: St George Jeans: Luke 1977 Underwear: Calvin Klein Shoes: Topman
Do you like brand names? “Yeah, but not when they’re too obvious.” What do you wear to lounge around in? “Trackies and a t-shirt, I’m not too bothered about the brand.” What is your favourite fashion statement? “I’m not too fussed about any particular statement.” What are your female fashion pet hates? “Girls in baggy jeans!” What is your favourite female fashion statement? “LBDs” (little black dress) What is your daily grooming ritual? “Shower for 5-10 minutes; do my hair, use some wax; and I moisturise.” What are your opinions on tanning? “Don’t do it, don’t want to.” How important is taking care of your physical shape? “I’m not sporty, I try to keep in shape. I don’t sweat about it, though.” Photography: Alice Machin
Guy Severs, 23, Darlington 2nd Year Construction Manager (Northumbria University) Shirt: Tommy Hil�iger Jacket: Ted Baker Hoodie: H&M Jeans: Hugo Boss Underwear: Calvin Klein Boots: Kurt Geiger – with fur trim
Do you like brand names? “Yes, but I don’t necessarily go for them just for the names.” What do you wear to lounge around in? “Jack Wills joggers and hoodie.” What is your favourite fashion statement? “I like the smart-look, so blazers and shirts.” Who is your style icon? “Joey Essex is reem.” What are your female fashion pet hates? “Girls wearing out�its that don’t �latter their �igure- especially when it comes to leggings.” What is your favourite female fashion statement? “High-waisted skirts or shorts that accentuate their �igure (wink!).” What is your daily grooming ritual? “I get out of the shower, blow dry my hair and use a bit of hairspray and products.” What are your opinions on tanning? “Why not? I use Garnier gradual tan moisturiser sometimes.” How important is taking care of your physical shape? “I don’t go to the gym. I don’t have much motivation for that sort of thing.”
THE COURIER Monday November 21 2011
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
Every Saturday at the Students’ Union. Have you been caught on camera? If your head has been circled you’ve won free entry for yourself and another to CCTV this Saturday! To claim your prize, head to The Courier ofﬁce on Level One of the Students’ Union.
Newcastle Careers in Computing Fair 12-3pm King’s Hall, Armstrong Building
Come along and meet over 20 of the UK’s prestigious IT and Software Engineering companies, course providers and professional bodies. The fair is open to all students from all universities. Newcastle students should bring their smartcard for easier and quicker access into the event. Newcastle Careers in Computing Fair is a national event organised by Newcastle University Careers Service and the School of Computing Science. The event is sponsored by Deloitte. www.ncl.ac.uk/careers
Tuesday Tuesday and Wednesday King’s Road Centre
Do something amazing and give blood this week. You don’t even have to leave campus - in fact if you fit it into your lunch break, you could stock up on biscuits and cups of tea so you can save your lunch money! Don’t believe the rumours - even if you’ve had a tattoo, piercing or a blood transfusion, you
Joe McElderry 7.30pm Newcastle City Hall
Due to phenomenal demand a second Newcastle City Hall performance has been added to Joe’s debut tour. Grab your tickets now at www. newcastlecityhall.org.
7.30pm 27th Nov 2011-21st Jan 2012 Theatre Royal
7pm O2 Academy Newcastle
Hanoi Rocks frontman Michael Monroe joins forces with horror rockers Wednesday 13 for this double headline show. Tickets on sale at www.o2academynewcastle.co.uk for £16.00.
Sleeping Beauty is one of the most traditional and popular pantomimes of all time. Join Theatre Royal favourites Clive Webb (The King), Danny Adams (Muddles) and Chris Hayward (The Queen) along with a fabulous cast, spectacular sets, stunning costumes and an abundance of laughs for the pantomime of your dreams. www.theatreroyal.co.uk
Thursday Mandarin Consultant
Wednesday 13 and Michael Monroe
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
1-2pm King’s Gate 1.20 Find out more at www.blood.co.uk
Charity Quiz 7.30pm Hyena Comedy Club
Organised by NMDSC (Newcastle Medical and Dental Students Council) with the profits going to Operation Christmas Child. Although we’re a medical and dental student committee it’s not just for medics and dentists! £2 entry per person.
This event is aimed at Chinese speaking highfliers of all degree disciplines. Mandarin Consultant is a leading London based consultancy firm helping Chinese students and graduates to gain UK-based work experience. We have an in-depth understanding of the international, UK and Chinese job markets; we also work with many multinational international companies who actively recruit bilingual Chinese. www.ncl.ac.uk/careers
Get Your Kit Off
The traditional post-match entertainment is back at the Union and kicks off as soon as the first Wednesday fixture ends. Get your kit off after the match, dump it in the SU cloakroom, then hit the bar with all the other AU teams in preparation for ‘Road’ at Tiger Tiger. www.nusu.co.uk/events
After amassing double gold sales of his album ‘Alive Til I’m Dead’, and over a million Facebook fans, Prof. Green is on the up-and-up as he plays his biggest ever headline shows. Grab your tickets now at www.o2academynewcastle.
6pm Mens Bar, Students’ Union
7pm O2 Academy Newcastle
Reservoir Gags 7.30pm The Venue, Students’ Union
Come on down to our second show of the year to see a fantastic evening of comedy, featuring a selection of our finest handpicked stand-ups and our intensively-trained-Rocky-esque-comedy-montage improv group! It’ll be a fun night of impulsive, suggestive and quality impromptu comedy, so come on down and bring your friends! Tickets £3. Find the event on Facebook today!
Film Production Workshop 6-8pm Star and Shadow Cinema
The Glass Slipper 7.30pm Northern Stage
An enchanting and surprising new version of one of the oldest stories ever told. ‘When Ella’s beloved mother died and her father remarried, little did she know what adventures awaited her. Her new stepmother and her exceedlingly badly-behaved sisters make it their life’s work to bully and abuse her, especially in preparation for the famous Northumberland Ball - the hugest, most extravagant party the North East has ever seen, which is saying something. Ella would love to go, of course, and meet the prince, who she happens to know is obsessed with hot air balloons, but she has to stay in the cold, miserable kitchen all alone. Besides, she has nothing whatever to wear... might there be a magical ghost out there to help her?’ A charming, thrilling and occasionally very silly Christmassy show. www.northernstage.co.uk
Comedy: Craig Campbell Live
7.30pm The Stand Comedy Club, High Bridge
Extra dates have just been announced following the huge success of his Spring 2011 tour. www.thestand.co.uk
Metro Radio Live 7.30pm Metro Radio Arena
Metro Radio Live is back with another amazing show set to be the biggest pop party this Autumn at the Metro Radio Arena. Confirmed so far: Olly Murs, Pixie Lott, Rizzle Kicks, Joe McElderry, Loick Essien, Matt Cardle, Tinchy Stryder and Emeli Sande. Tickets from £25 are on sale now at www.metroradioarena.co.uk.
Whether you’re interested in development, locations, costume, special effects, logistics, filming or marketing there’s an opportunity to get hands-on experience with Itinerant Motion Picture Company this winter during the shooting of “Noctambule” - a dreamlike trip in a surreal labyrinth. This open house session is for all with even a passing interest in how films are made. www.starandshadowcinema.org.uk
Toonpreneur 6.30-9.30pm City Library
Toonpreneur™ with Newcastle BIPC & City Library present a Global Entrepreneurship Week Hangover Event! An evening of inspiration, motivation, learning and business networking comes together with an exciting collaboration of guest speakers and audience involvement. This event celebrates enterprise within the region as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week. Whether you’re in business or not, this evening won’t fail to inspire you and leave you feeling motivated to get out there and make a difference. Featuring Peter Jones Enterprise Academy (PJEA) ‘National Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2011’ (and North East lad) Grant Ridley.
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
C2 Editor: Aimee Philipson
Friday Electric Six
Circus of Horrors
Electric Six follow up the release of new album ‘Heartbeats & Brainwaves’ with a run of UK shows. Grab your tickets now at www.o2academynewcastle.co.uk.
The show that rocked Britain’s Got Talent is back with a new awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping sensation. Set in 1921 Berlin, ‘This was the roaring twenties, a decadent decade and the birth of the Cabaret’. Check them out at www.circusofhorrors.co.uk and buy your tickets at www.journaltynetheatre.co.uk.
6pm O2 Academy Newcastle
Lee Evans book signing at Waterstones
1pm Waterstones bookshop
Fans of sweaty comedian Lee Evans will be excited to hear that he is popping down to Waterstones by Monument to sign copies of his autobiography - don’t forget your camera and make sure you’re early, it’s bound to be a popular event!
Something for the weekend The Swung Eight Saturday World Headquarters
Durham Christmas Market
Newcastle’s original juke joint and speakeasy brings its killer cocktails, Golden Age glamour and swingin’ vintage sounds to the city’s most iconic club! Vintage roots music from the ‘20s to the ‘50s - big band swing, gypsy jazz, jump jive, rhythm and blues, original rock ‘n’ roll. Free swing dance lesson, live music and dancing girls!
Fri - Sun Durham
Monument Christmas Market
Kate Rusby at Christmas
Take a break from the library, turn off the TV or bundle your visiting parents onto the Metro and get down to the Christmas Market at Monument this weekend. Stuff your face with noodles, pies, paella, cake, sweets, chocolate, crepes and all sorts of other tasty delicacies, or invest in a handmade woolly jumper, an animal-shaped hat or a bonsai tree and grab a few cheeky Christmas pressies whilst you’re there!
Kate Rusby is steeped in her local traditions and tonight showcases the carols and songs learnt through childhood in her native South Yorkshire. Come along to hear new variations of familiar carols mostly unheard outside the area.
All weekend Monument, Newcastle
Durham’s award-winning, annual Christmas Festival is back! With a wide range of festive entertainment for all the family in and around the World Heritage Site of the Cathedral and the Castle, the festival includes over 250 traders operating throughout the city centre across the weekend - ideal for Christmas presents!
Saturday Journal Tyne Theatre
The book that... made me cry Keep a box of tissues within arms reach whilst reading Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun advises Millie Walton
Initially I was wary of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun. A book set in the midst of the Biafran War suggested only one thing to me: depressing, but I was lured in by the bright yellow cover and decided I may as well give it a go. So yes, I admit it was a bit depressing at times, but also funny and powerfully moving, which made it all worth it. Instead of just giving you a history lesson on Biafra’s struggle to establish an independent republic in Nigeria, which, although highly signi�icant, isn’t exactly what you want when you read a novel, Adichie delves into the lives of various characters, giving strikingly different perspectives on a seminal moment in African history. There’s Ugwu, the thirteen-year-old houseboy who’s touchingly desperate to please his master with his ropey culinary skills and far-from-perfect English; Olanna, his master’s entrancing lover; Richard, a shy English ex-pat and, unforgettably, Olanna’s enigmatic and feisty sister, Kainene. As clichéd as it sounds, it’s a book you can’t put down. Right from the start Adichie draws you into a story that resembles a sophisticated soap opera; there’s sex, marital issues, teenage crushes and affairs, all set against the background of a war zone. The characters we can relate to: they are intelligent, loveable and full of �laws. Then suddenly their whole world collapses and we are thrown into scenes which make you shudder to think about. However, Adichie manages to avoid being accused of over-dramatising things by simply presenting us with raw emotion, showing us how much people can really take: how much we can love, how easily we can kill. The book presents us with enough issues to make anybody break under the pressure, with all personal problems addressed alongside the total chaos of war, this book really does challenge everything. This is a war we’ve all happily forgotten about and Adichie brings it back to life in a way we can’t ignore, as many of the issues surrounding the Biafran War are still current today. She refuses to let us get away with empty platitudes and ‘regret’ at the horrifying statistics; we have to feel the pain along with the characters, the suffering, which accompanies both war and love. It may not be a literary masterpiece, but when you’re dealing with a topic like this, that hardly seems relevant. I recommend it to everyone, just as long as you have a box of tissues handy and, if you do not trust my judgement, it has got a load of awards behind it to back me up.
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
Beatrice Walker witnesses the wonders of Durham’s Lumiere Festival Like moths to the light, thousands descended on Durham for Lumiere, a festival of light created by creative company Artichoke. Lasting four nights only, over 40 artists created a series of installations and projections, bringing a touch of modern �lare to the medieval city. Despite being only two years old, the youth of the festival was not evident in its overwhelming popularity. In fact, extra security measures had to be taken in order to deal with the unexpectedly large crowds. Mercifully though, the free event managed to remain non-commercial and steer clear of too many food and drink vans. The cathedral, both inside and out, was the biggest attraction by far. The ‘Crown of Light’ projection onto the walls of the thousand-year-old building was a stunning display of images from the Lindisfarne Gospels, accompanied by some appropriately enigmatic music. Although an ambitious installation, the artists Ross Ashton, Robert Ziegler and John Del’ Nero succeeded in creating a truly magical experience. Compagnie Carabosse, one of France’s most important street art groups transformed the inside and surrounding grounds into a magical �ire garden using everything from scrap metal to old clothing to create the hundreds of suspended lanterns that lit the cathedral. The atmosphere was all the more heightened with ethereal live
performances from a number of guitarists and performers. You had the personal power to move through the moments as you wished, juxtaposed with the group experience, which gave the event a constant, gentle movement. Without being intimidating or pretentious, Lumiere attracted everyone, from university students to families with prams. It seemed that all were in search of some ‘sparkle’ to light up their cold November evening. Overall, despite some negative feedback due to crowd control and numbers, the installations were a triumph and we wait in wonder at what Artichoke might conjure up next...
Photography: Flo McApline
What do you get when an Irishman, an Iranian and a guy from Teeside walk into a bar? ...Patrick Monahan Arts Editor Sally Priddle discovers what makes this funny boy tick
atrick Monahan, Edinburgh Fringe Superstar, is coming back to Newcastle to take the new comedy club The Stand by storm with his down-to-earth humour and audienceinteractive banter. He says he is looking forward to the gig but not the Newcastle weather. The best thing about being on tour for Patrick is getting to see different places and new venues, and it is great to know that when you are stood on stage all those people are there to see you and they are really up for your gig. Patrick happily babbles onto me as he talks about having to sign out of his hotel ready to travel up North for his performance tonight; his easy going chat makes me instantly relax and understand how he easily fell into the world of comedy. Patrick is known for his laid-back quick comedy that not only entertains the audience but also involves them. Patrick says he gets his inspiration from a mixture of things: “the longer the show, the more I like to explore - you can’t just stick on one theme. To make a comedian stand out I think you need to make it personal. Get the balance right between observational and background, always adding in your personal stuff - I am part Iranian, part Irish and I was brought up in Teeside, so I have a lot to play on.” Although he has a heritage from all over the globe, Patrick thinks it has helped him in becoming a comedian. When he was growing up, people either enjoyed football or �ighting and “I was just really good
at talking; people could try and �ight me but I would talk them to death �irst.” Although Patrick’s love for talking has fortunately led to him having a career in comedy, if he wasn’t a comedian he would still jabber away, either on a checkout at a supermarket or working in a cake factory, because after talking, his second love is cake: “I have a new love for Jaffa Cake donuts”. As a comedian, the audience are always keeping Patrick on his toes, though he has now learnt to incorporate this into his routine. “My style of comedy is part routine and part chat, a bit of interactive banter with the audience, so I don’t really get heckled though I do �ind people yell out the most random stuff. I was once talking about what people would put on their heads for protection, someone said their cat and one bloke said his wife.” Patrick is a friendly guy who happily and comfortably talks about his life and his show with me, and clearly does the same with the audiences he performs to. So obviously he wasn’t at all phased by my question: “What do you read on the toilet?” and answered quite happily that, although
he never used to understand why people read on the toilet when he was younger, since getting a job he �inds it is the only time he can actually read the paper as he doesn’t get disturbed by people asking him to do things. He laughs his way through my questions on Harry Potter versus Twilight “I have never actually read or seen either! I feel that I should support Harry Potter as it was the �irst big craze and therefore should be given the bigger mention, but honestly I couldn’t give a fair judgement. Although I hear all the girls go crazy for Twilight so they must be doing something right!” We �inished off our hilarious chat on the important question of what Patrick would change his name to if he could change it to anything he said “Lady Gaga or Rhianna as they already have quite a lot publicity that I would appreciate.” Patrick Monahan performed at The Stand Comedy Club, on November 22.
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
Arts Editor: Sally Priddle Online Arts Editor: Lisa Bernhardt
The Flint Street Nativity
Kiss of the Spider Woman
St. Luke’s Church Claremont Road December 7-9
Theatre Royal November 29-January 21
People’s Theatre November 15
Tim Firth’s ‘The Flint Street Nativity’ provides an entirely new look at a traditional Christmas story. Seen through the eyes of the children of Flint Street Primary School, the lead up to the Christmas nativity takes on a magical, mysterious and highly comical atmosphere. This hilarious play is about the politics that take place amongst school children; the unrequited love, the blackmail, the sabotage. We are invited to witness the tears, giggling �its and the lovely carols that only children can ruin. As the cardboard crowns, sheets and robes come out of the cupboard for another show, jealousy looms and the teasing of the child given the role of ‘Ass’ is inevitable. The play was adapted for stage for the Liverpool Playhouse, and became the best selling play in the theatre’s history. It’s not surprising: with characters such as ‘Star’ and ‘Wise Frankincense’, Firth’s play is refreshing, honest and decidedly unpretentious. ‘The Flint Street Nativity’ provides a brief glimpse into the enormous world small children inhabit. With their own distinct personalities and the wonderful eyes through which they see their friends and families, the world around them is transformed. Rosie Tallant
Sleeping Beauty promises all the magic, wonder and comedy a fairytale and pantomime should; a beautiful princess, music, the triumph of good over evil and a classic bit of ‘who’s behind you’. The Theatre Royal are taking the traditional British pantomime to a whole new level with breathtaking and technologicallyadvanced special effects. Multi-award winning pantomime legends Danny Adams and Clive Webb are back again and ready to show us why pantomimes can never get old, supported by the North East’s most famous Dame, Chris Hayward, in his 27th Panto performance, this time as the wicked Queen. The classical fairytale tells the story of an ill-fated princess who falls foul of the curse of a bad fairy, pricks her �inger on a spinning wheel and falls asleep for a hundred years, only to be woken by the kiss of a handsome prince. However, as we know, pantomimes don’t always run smoothly: Muddles is the Palace’s comic kitchen hand inexorably entwined in the action and romance of the story. This will be the seventh Theatre Royal pantomime written and produced by Newcastle-born West End producer Michael Harrison. Tickets range from £10.50-£27.50.
t is the lead up to Christmas, and all around are frenzied shoppers, jazzy jumpers and the joy of Fenwicks’ festive window. Therefore, this is a perfect opportunity to dip into the unique gifts that Newcastle has to offer, including Gateshead’s Shipley Art Gallery ‘Christmas Present’ exhibition, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this joyful season. For those who fancy buying something different whilst still �inding that perfect gift for your friends and family, this market really could be the adventure you have been looking for. Housed in a recently redeveloped building, this exhibition and the stunning Designs for Life gallery space mark the Shipley Gallery out as the home of contemporary crafts in the Tyne and Wear area. This exhibition features the most innovative and inspiring pieces by the country’s leading crafts-makers of the moment, with pieces ranging from metalwork to ceramics, and from glass to jewellery. The small gallery space is a maze of exhibitors demonstrating a diverse array of work that offers you nearly every kind of gift idea you could wish for and some things you could not even imagine. As a lover of books, the most inventive
Valentin and Molina,(both men; one straight, one gay), are locked up for six months, and of course, end up in bed together. Although we hear snippets of political and philosophical topics being debated, extensive discussion of �ilms and characters and endless irritations, which do actually draw the audience in, I found Valentin’s voice grating and Molina’s endless optimism annoying after a while, but the sex scene was surprisingly vulnerable and intimate. Molina is a 40 year old gay man, a real optimist and hopeless romantic. And he tries to soften his �iercely political and somewhat cynical cell-mate. Molina regularly puts himself down, acting up to Valentin as a stereotypically feminine, weak, gay man. Valentin questions him on this after sleeping with him and Molina’s response is that there’s no thrill in equality: it is the slight fear and need to be protected that gives sexual pleasure: being held in a man’s arms. So would I sleep with a cell mate of the same sex? Well, after a fairly tumultuous evening of annoyances, discussions and meandering thoughts I decided that being in a cell would be fairly dull on a day to day basis and some casual fooling around may be quite fun. Clare Deal
the play created a fresh, exciting and enjoyable atmosphere
Hamlet Star and Shadow Cinema Ouseburn Valley November 17
Newcastle-based theatre company Bubble and Squeek delivered an unforgettable reimagining of Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ performed by an exceptionally talented cast. With detailed creativity, the Star and Shadow cinema was transformed with candles, black and white posters of characters and rustic props into Elsinore Court, the setting of the play. I felt like I was stepping back in time, into a dark and mysterious world of obsession and paranoia tinged with insanity and the supernatural. The daring directorial dynamics and technical staging of the play created a fresh, exciting and enjoyable atmosphere. Harrowing electrical music, played on an upper level behind the audience accompanied the slicing action on the stage. Frequently the characters would enter from the side entrance or behind the audience, who at one point turned their necks to see just a few characters illuminated by torch lights in the darkness. Hamlet’s ‘To be or not to be’ speech ended with poor Ophelia dripping in confusion and fear, as water trickles from where Hamlet has forced her into the water. The cast brought Shakespeare’s language to life in a performance which could be watched again and again. Mary Taylor
Culture Shock Shipley’s Christmas Market
and desirable pieces for me were those by Jeremy May, who takes old literature and turns them into items of jewellery. The artist uses hundreds of pieces of laminated paper, which are then covered in a layer of gloss and transforms them into fully functioning accessories, and as every book is different you are guaranteed to be taking home a completely individual piece. Jenny Southam’s ceramics stand out for their distinctive �igurative sculptures. Southam takes traditional subject matter and then changes and distorts the scale of her �igures to produce a unique �inished artwork. But don’t think the Christmas Present is just for arty-farty bits and bobs, the market also offers fashionable clothing, vintage accessories and unique pieces of jewellery that you will be sure to �ind no where else in Newcastle. So if you have had enough of the mad rush and business of Northumberland Street or the Metrocentre for Christmas shopping, why not go a little further a�ield to the Shipley Christmas Present exhibition and �ind something more unusual for that special someone. Catherine Langley
...Christmas lights on Grey Street
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
Sound of the Overground Sam Summers once again delves into this week’s chart, occasionally ﬁnding some of pop’s best kept secrets, but more often than not, ﬁnding absolute drivel. Flo Rida’s ‘Good Feeling’ opens with a lone guitar, strumming blissfully and carelessly into the calm air. You lay back, close your eyes, take a deep, satis�ied breath. “This,” you say to yourself, “is what happiness sounds like”. And then we’re off. Galloping, faster and faster, across an aural rainbow that both starts and ends at the pleasure centres of your brain. There’s a woman singing – nay, belting – the most shamelessly uplifting chorus you’ve heard all year. Joyous, uninhibited, uncredited. Suddenly, rapping starts to happen. It’s bad rapping, admittedly, but it’s Flo Rida. You forgive him that. He doesn’t know any better. Everything’s over before you know it. Blinking for the �irst time in four minutes, you gag at the thought of enjoying a Flo Rida song. You have a drink of water, stick on some Kanye and pretend it never happened. But you’re glad it did.
I don’t want to frighten you, reader, but boy bands are coming back. I know this doesn’t seem like news anymore, I know JLS and The Wanted have been sitting at the top of the charts for a good few years now, but just look at those �ive words again. Really focus in on them. Boy Bands Are Coming Back. Terrifying. For me, One Direction are a light in the darkness. ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ has its �laws, but on the whole it’s a fantastic piece of work, full of infectious fun and ridiculous pop nonsense like ‘doo-o-oor!’ Unfortunately, they follow up this topnotch smile-bomb with ‘Gotta Be You’, a whinging ballad in the same vein as their sadsack contemporaries. And the crowd goes mild. Lady Gaga needs to sort herself out. It’s incredible how someone can go from brilliant, sprawling, sax-addled epics like ‘Edge Of Glory’ to by-the-numbers poprot like ‘Marry The Night’ in the space of one album. Like ‘Judas’, like ‘Born This Way’, it fails dramatically to bring anything new to the table. She wrote ‘Telephone’! She wrote ‘Bad Romance’! Why does she still think it’s OK to knock out sh*t like this? We could all have a good laugh about how she can only write one kind of chorus (‘ma-ma-ma-marry the night’? really?) or her clutching-at-crazystraws X Factor performance, but there is nothing funny about ‘Marry The Night’. I just want my Gaga back.
This year’s Children In Need single, a cover of ‘Teardrop’ by the ominously named Collective, peaked at number 24 on the chart. That’s a bit upsetting. Gary Barlow has slapped together quite possibly the worst charity supergroup ever, featuring people you’ve never heard of (Mz Bratt), people you used to have heard of (Ms Dynamite), people you’ve heard of but you’ve no idea why (Tinchy Stryder), and people you wish you’d never heard of (Ed Sheeran). Nice try, Gary, but next year maybe just grow a moustache or something. Recommended download: ‘Good Feeling’
When it comes to an album from Snow Patrol we all know what to expect; there is an air of predictability. But with this certainty we take comfort and solace that some things don’t necessarily need to change to be cherished. Everyone can sing along to a Snow Patrol song, whether it be ‘Chasing Cars’, ‘Just Say Yes’ or ‘Run’, and for many people they hold a great sentimentality, reminding you of those life-changing moments.
Over the past few years, while touring and releasing their version of a best of album, Snow Patrol have been re-interpreting their old songs with the addition of strings and brass. Fallen Empires is the band’s �irst chance to showcase a whole new collection of songs which hopefully incorporate some of these grand orchestral arrangements. The opening two songs of Fallen Empires, including the lead single ‘Called Out In The Dark’, really are lacking; attempting a foray into the world of electronica, they are bland and generic at best, and are failed attempts at breaking new ground for the band. Thankfully, the sec-
Take Care Drake
Former Degrassi star Aubrey Drake Graham is a strange one to pin down. He seems to toe the very strange line between a crooner and a rapper. This means that Take Care is both a mixture of introspective sensitivity and narcissistic bile. You can imagine, on the songs in the latter section, that Drake is just stood in front of a mirror, Boogie Nights style, telling himself “he’s a star”. This annoyingly detracts from the crooner tracks which are much better and offer a nice insight into the non-“�irst world problems” side of Drake. Although his vocals have improved from previous mix tapes and his �irst album, his �lows are still extraordinarily clunky with some absolute �lops like “She said, you’re such a dog; I said, you’re such a bone” on ‘We’ll Be Fine’. And yet, on ‘Lord Knows’, he manages to work well with Rick Ross, contemplating his more meaty vocals. It’s this inconsistency that makes Take Care a strange album. There is no denying, however, that where Drake falls �lat, the production and his guest stars pick up the slack. From the moody Under Ground Kings, to the smooth Marvins Room and with stars such as Andre 3000 and big up-and-comer The Weekend, it adds something that Drake’s vocals and rhymes might be missing. Recommended download: ‘Lord Knows’
The Garden Rules’, ‘Lifening’ and ‘In the End’ are fantastically written songs, proving this album really hits the special notes
ond single ‘This Isn’t Everything You Are’ �inally announces the start of something special - it’s just a shame it takes four tracks to get there. ‘The Garden Rules’, ‘Life-ning’ and ‘In The End’ are fantastically-written songs, proving this album really hits the special notes when it aims for grandeur and ultimately delivers. This is never more apparent than through the immensely ambitious sound of ‘New York’ or the poignantly beautiful orchestral �lourish of ‘The President’. Fallen Empires is both a success and a disappointment - Snow Patrol are developing their what some may call predictable style, �illing it out with complex and luscious orchestral arrangements, and adding a further dimension to their fantastic songwriting style. But their exploration of the more electronica and techno side of indie feels like a wasted exercise and several songs become so generic that without Lightbody’s vocals they would be almost indistinguishable as Snow Patrol. This much-anticipated album leaves you frustrated that a few songs let it down, and deprive you of what could have been an incredible album.
50 Words For Snow Kate Bush
The timing of Kate Bush’s awakening from hibernation seems very apt. Nearly all new female solo artists seem bound by law to cite her as an in�luence, though this rarely seems to extend further than a shared gender and �louncing about in �ields while looking a bit ‘vintage’ in videos. However, none seem to have an ounce of the effortless weirdness of Bush in her prime, who routinely broached such jolly subjects as incestuous pregnancy and paedophilia with lightness and grace. After being away for six years, she seems determined to give the listener their money’s worth; to say this record’s a bit long is an understatement akin to calling Bono a bit earnest. The shortest song is nearly seven minutes long, the seven tracks adding up to over seventy minutes altogether, but it never drags. Every song moves at its own pace, luxuriating in the space afforded to it, all the richer for being unbounded by any rigid structure. The sparse but expansive piano arrangements with �lashes of electronica evoke a desolate wintry landscape. The quite unexpected arrival of Stephen Fry on the title track, reading out the titular ‘50 Words For Snow’ while Bush chivvies him along, is a shuf�ling, sensuous highlight. 50 Words For Snow is a welcome reminder of Bush’s class and unique oddity. Recommended download: ‘Among Angels’
Recommended download: ‘New York’ Alex Brophy
Polymers Are Forever To say this record’s a bit long is an understatement akin to calling Bono a bit earnest
Future of the Left
Decidedly not for everyone, Future of the Left’s new offering, Polymers are Forever is as brutally noisy and chaotic as anything they’ve done before. But as always, behind the ruckus is a rigidly structured and technically ambitious framework that borders on the experimental. FOTL’s last album, Travels with Myself and Other, was released to critical acclaim, and by the sound of things, this EP (to be released early next year) will be a similar story. FOTL manage to remain effortlessly innovative without straying from the niche they have carved for themselves. Previously criticized for their ambitious use of synth, FOTL seem to have found a perfect medium here, often combining raucous, grungy guitar riffs with eerie synthorgans. Andy ‘Falco’ Falkous produces an ominous collection that still incorporates a characteristic sense of humour. Quirky song titles (a Falco trademark) and comedic spoken word sections abound, and this EP amuses as much as it petri�ies. FOTL make their brand of grungy borderline math-rock irrespective of how it will be received, and alienate most of the general public (and at times �lirt with pretentiousness) in doing so. Challenging and irreverent, FOTL will continue to impress fans and critics but retain their cult status, never breaking into the mainstream, for better or for worse. Recommended download: ‘destroywhitchurch.com’
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
Music Editors: Ben Travis and Chris Scott Online Music Editor: Graham Matthews
Live: The Vaccines The 02 Academy, November 21 The Vaccines have had an amazing year. On the back of bulldozing the festival circuit and supporting the Arctic Monkeys at our very own Metro Radio Arena only a few weeks ago, it was never in question that the band would roll into Newcastle again on their own sell-out headline tour amidst a drunken sea of expectation and excitement. After support from Howler and Sunderland-born Frankie and the Heartstrings, it was no surprise that The Vaccines
took to the stage with the self-assuredness they have surely earned in the last 12 months. Anthemic opener ‘Blow It Up’ before the frantically punkish ‘Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)’ announced the set with ferocious adrenalin and lead singer Justin Young, sporting his band’s signature bomber jacket, looked in the mood. The raw energy and galloping pace the band have become known for was never absent here as the crowd leapt about gleefully to favourites ‘If You Wanna’ and ‘Post Break-Up Sex’. But the
Preview: The top 5 Dragnet in Space The Cut, December 3, £5
NASA recently proved mathematically that Dragnet at the Cut (Newcastle’s favourite crack den-inspired club) on a Saturday is the best club night of the week, and in a reciprocal gesture, on Saturday December 3 the whole club will be temporarily relocated to space. Luckily, the quality of music will ensure that even in a vacuum, there will most certainly be a great atmosphere (boom boom). If you’ve not been before, Dragnet plays a fantastic mix of disco, electro, hip-hop and synthpop, while throwing in a few curveballs; you’re as likely to hear Talking Heads, LCD Soundsystem and Chic as Nina Simone or Etta James. The DJ has a decent sense of humour too; last time I was there the �inal song was The Specials’ ‘Ghost Town’, played to a dance�loor of rather lonely boys. Space-themed fancy dress is heartily encouraged, so stock up on tin foil. If you do go, just remember two things: �irst, don’t dress up as Boba Fett – that’s my idea. Secondly, please remember that while everyone knows that in space no-one can hear you scream, they can most de�initely still see you attempting to do the robot.
Delving into the explosive North East music scene every week to bring you your new favourite local band. Who are Mausi? Tom: More than a band that makes music. We do so much more with the videos we make, the artwork, and the image we try and create. How do you all know each other? Tom: The �irst people that met were Daisy and I; she’s my mother’s daughter. Benji: And I’m their mother’s son’s friend and Ben is their mother’s daughter’s friend.
musical mo’ments. With the month of Movember drawing to a close, the population of suspect-looking males around the city will be counting down the days until their upper lip is free of facial fuzz. Tim Sewell instead counts down some of the most famous ‘taches in the industry, from the iconic to the downright bizarre.
5)The Beatles – Sergeant Pepper Era Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band shows the best and worst of ‘taches on the fab four, some better than others. Harrison’s was by far the most accomplished, while Ringo’s monstrosity did little to help his looks. At least it was better than his drumming... 4) James Het�ield – Metallica The king of metal mo’s, Het�ield rocked this bad boy all through the 80s, as well as more recently. Sometimes, this amazing work of metal craftsmanship even joined up with his sideburns - now THAT is monochop madness! 3) Dave Grohl – The
What have you done with the band so far? Benji: We’ve spent two years �inding what we wanted to do; now we’ve just found our style. Summarise the band in �ive words Benji: Indie, European, summer synthpop Who are your musical heroes? Daisy: De�initely Phoenix. Tom: Yeah, a lot of French artists who do ‘dancey-funk’ stuff. Benji: We take a lot of in�luence from pop music as well. What was the �irst album you ever bought?
band have the slower numbers at their disposal too, with a stunning rendition of ‘All In White’ and slow-building epic ‘Wetsuit’ uniting the crowd as it echoed through the �loor. Yeah, it got a bit samey, and replicating the success of this army of three-chord indie gems will be tough, but all they promise is passion-�illed, unadulterated rock‘n’roll, and if the crowd’s manic reaction to the brief and brilliant set closer ‘Norgaard’ is anything to go by, nobody is getting bored yet. This is what we expect from The Vaccines.
Foo Fighters Drumming for Nirvana, Grohl always looked odd, and it wasn’t until he grew his amazing beard combo, stretching neatly over his top lip, that he became the coolest man to currently rock facial hair. For the best example of Grohl’s moustache magic, check out the video for ‘Long Road To Ruin’. 2) Jimi Hendrix It would be impossible to remember Hendrix without one thing - drugs? Insane guitar solos? No, his small but mighty moustache - never massively noticeable but always there. I’m pretty sure that part of his genius was down to the power his ‘tache gave him.
1) Freddie Mercury Words can’t do justice to the brilliance of this facial masterpiece. Without a doubt the best beard the music world has ever seen, 80s-era Freddie was a camp force to be reckoned with. A moustache as ambiguous as his sexuality, both exceedingly masculine yet trimmed to perfection. When Freddie’s famous moustache went, so did Queen. Benji: Smash Hits ’98. The �irst song was A1’s ‘Take On Me’! What’s your favourite venue in Newcastle? Daisy: The Cluny; there’s always a really good atmosphere. Ben: Those who come here just really want to listen to music; they love music. Who’s your favourite band on the Newcastle scene? Ben: We’ve played with Polarsets a lot; they’re the closest thing to us. What’s next for the band? Benji: An EP that’ll be released around May. It’ll be four songs that tell a story and have a dialogue with one another; there’ll be videos to each one. Where and when can we see you next in Newcastle? Benji: It’ll be in 2012, with an entire new set. We want to work now and make those songs we want to play.
For tonnes of web-exclusive columns and live reviews, check out The Courier music section online. Tune into NSR on Thursday, 2-4 to hear the music editors and writers chatting about this week’s articles.
On the record Classic albums Fresh perspective
Until last week, I had never listened to
Black Sabbath’s Paranoid.
I’d been aware of it, and I quite liked the songs that I did know, but it had never really been something I’d ever really listened properly to. This is probably true for a lot of people. Think about how, for years, the public’s instant mental association with Ozzy Osbourne wasn’t anything musical, or even the bat-munching, Alamo-pissing Prince of Darkness image, but the barely coherent reality star and stock Dead Ringers impression, like some senile grandparent, only dressed in black and being constantly bleeped out. He even seemed to have taken a back seat compared to his X-Factor enabler wife (who nearly hit a friend of mine with her car once, true story) and offspring still yet to justify their existence in the public eye despite spending nearly a decade in it. And all of a sudden, what do you know. Black Sabbath reunite and Facebook implodes on itself, the live feed becoming a freely cascading waterfall of ‘DUDE WE SERIOUSLY HAVE TO GET TICKETS FOR DOWNLOAD THIS YEAR’. So here I am, playing their second album in its entirety, and I’m glad I have. There’s not a bad or ignorable song on here, especially on the �irst half of the album, although I haven’t quite made my mind up about ‘Planet Caravan’s weird light and drifty sound. I’d heard the better known songs - ‘War Pigs’, ‘Iron Man’, ‘Paranoid’ itself - but I realise now that I hadn’t paid too much attention to them, fully appreciating each riff and wail in all their glory. The music is consistently dark, rhythmic, engaging…there aren’t many parts where a listener could lose interest (though I’m probably excluding drum centred ‘Rat Salad’ here). And the lyrics too; obviously not poetry, but they still invoke pretty cool images. I mean it’s one thing to just assume ‘Iron Man’ would be about - three guesses - an iron man, but a guy who travels through time to witness the apocalypse, only to be turned into metal and ignored by the people, and then causes said apocalypse in revenge? Even better. I’ll play the whole album through again. And I would recommend it to anyone else who hasn’t heard it either, even if you don’t imagine it to be your sort of thing. My mum used to like Sabbath, and she now only buys an album every �ive years or so, which tends to be the same sort of Norah Jones niceness that someone else already got for her birthday. Kind of proves there’s a gap in anyone’s taste for Paranoid. Becca Price
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
5) Wilford Brimley
Looking like a mixture between the walrus from Alice in Wonderland and the Lorax in the Dr Seuss book, Brimley’s tache makes him look slightly sad all the time due to its magnificent curve. The scariest thing about The Thing is Wilford Brimley’s role sans tache. It just doesn’t look right!
4) Groucho Marx
At one point in Marx’s career, his moustache was fake, painted on with greasepaint as referenced in a particular scene in Duck Soup, which should disqualify him. However, he later got fed up with applying it and grew a real one. Those funny glasses, nose and tache masks you can buy at Magic Box? Yep, inspired by Marx!
3) Sam Elliot
In The Big Lebowski, when Jeff Bridges is off pursuing repayment for the disgraceful destruction of the rug that pulled the room together, Sam Elliot as The Stranger had his own problems in maintaining that heavenly tache. This is the ultimate soup strainer and the amount of maintenance required must be ridiculous.
2) Daniel Day Lewis
There are times you just can’t separate the man from the tache. Think of DDL in Last of the Mohicans - he just doesn’t look right does he? But in There Will Be Blood and Gangs of New York you see the perfect example of why DDL needs his tache.
1) Tom Selleck
Of course this was going to be number one. Did you really think any different? Selleck’s moustache is a work of art. Why it hasn’t been inaugurated into the Tate is beyond all reason. The 80s had cheesy pop, disco and Selleck’s moustache. That’s all it needed. Chris Taylor
Vamps, wolves and screaming teens
With Breaking Dawn: Part One screening this month, Lisa Bernhardt questions the perplexing success of the Twilight franchise.
At the risk of being completely misunderstood, I need to ask: why can’t everything in life be like Twilight? You either love it, hate it or you just don’t care. It’s as simple as that, isn’t it? And wouldn’t our lives be much more bearable sometimes if they were that simple? Well, they might, but at the expense of being similarly boring and kind of sallow, like Edward’s face. Now that the first film of the two-part series finale Breaking Dawn has hit cinemas, it’s only a matter of time until the franchise’s box office revenue crosses the $2 billion threshold. And it will definitely happen: fans around the globe have had to wait over a year to finally see the cinematic adaptation of the saga’s last instalment, making it one of the most anticipated releases this year. Not that we don’t know how it ends (especially after those juicy pics from the set appeared all over the internet...). Even the most ignorant amongst us have probably heard about the story of Bella and Edward falling in love and struggling with sometimes minor, sometimes major problems like bloodthirsty evil vampires, a werewolf with a massive crush on Bella and their overdramatic relationship argy-bargy. But the one question often asked but never answered is: WHY? Why are millions of people (i.e. hosts of teenage girls and young women who occasionally drag their boyfriends with them) pilgrimaging
Vampire Films The The Essential Essential Collection Vampire Films
Let The Right One In
As Twilight slowly saps the horror and shock value from the vampire genre with its bland Mormon morality, it’s always exciting when a sleeper-hit catches you by surprise, biting you straight in the metaphorical jugular. Case in point: Swedish horror Let The Right One In, the account of a seemingly innocent child romance tainted by the awkward fact that the girl (Lina Leandersson) is plagued by a desire to drink blood. Stylish, brooding and incredibly shocking in places, the film’s juxtaposition of innocence and uncontrollable evil, with the mystery surrounding vampire child Eli and her unpredictable ‘condition’, leaves a foreboding sense of unease towards the safety of loved-up youngster Oskar. As the body count rises and events spiral bloodily out of control, their friendship is tested to the absolute limit. Although it was snatched by Hollywood in shot-forshot remake Let Me In (2010), the real acclaim lies with the original, with a beautifully shot finale that will plague your mind for days.
It’s only a matter of time until the franchise’s box office revenue crosses the $2 billion threshold. And it will definitely happen.
to movie theatres all over the world to voluntarily watch this less-than-mediocre ending to an equally horrendous series - and it’s only the first part of it. What, for heaven’s sake, is the appeal (you might have realised by now, this article is shamelessly biased)? Is it the great cinematography and memorable scenes? Very doubtful. Is it the excellent acting (and no, conventional good looks don’t count)? Not with characters like evergrumpy Kristen Stewart. Or is it the deep and meaningful dialogues? No comment on that. In the end, it probably all comes down to Stephenie Meyer’s story that created the enormous fan base in the first place, so the films can’t actually be blamed. Poorly written books, awful films. And yet again we wonder what makes this fairly plain boy-meets-girl plot so enthral-
On paper, the sheer age of this film is unfortunately enough to put people off watching this brilliantly executed telling of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, with the only screams being produced from people who are terrified of the prospect of watching a film so old; it lacks colour, voice acting and any real recognisable actors. But despite being nearly ninety years old, it’s worth remembering that it is actually a historically influential cult classic and for very good reason. This film is filled with heart-stopping moments (such as the initial reveal of Max Schreck as the vampire Count Orlock) and contains some of the film industry’s most iconic film stills, such as the expressionist shadow on the stairway scene, which even now manages to inflict sheer terror in the viewer. The special effects may be ancient, but they are still quite impressive, especially the vampire’s ghoulish facial makeup and the incessant stare he seems to continually hold. The film’s use of high tension, eerie music scores and creepy shadow play are all still adopted by modern films of the same genre, making this the godfather of horror films.
For tons of web exclusive features, reviews and news check out The Courier Film section online.
ling. Maybe because it captures the idea of true, unspoiled love that many of us secretly long for in this world full of sexualised imagery? Or perhaps because it makes the average person hope that someone out of their league can love them? Yes, the books are incredibly gooey and they convey questionable attitudes about female sexuality, healthy relationships and reproductive rights by presenting traditional gender roles in a modern setting; but if some of us occasionally want to indulge in unrealistic romantic spheres, both in a book and on screen, there isn’t much to do about it. Perhaps the stiff anti-Twilighters should do the same? I have indeed watched Breaking Dawn because hearing a cinema audience squealing with glee over Taylor Lautner’s bare body is a creepy, yet very entertaining experience.
The Lost Boys
What some may call a ridiculous hour and a half of cinema, others may refer to as a stepping stone in the revolution for the vampire genre. The plot is simple: brothers Michael and Sam are forced to move to Santa Carla with their mother. The only downside is they’ve moved to the murder capital of the world, where the locals are disappearing faster than the Maltesers in a Celebrations pack. After Michael has a run-in with enigmatic vampire David (Kiefer Sutherland) he begins a slow descent into being a creature of the night. It’s up to Sam, with the help of two eccentric comic book geeks, to restore the status quo. Joel Schumacher’s insanely camp take on the creatures of the night may seem excessively irreverent and poorly scripted. But The Lost Boys was something completely fresh back in 1987. A strange hybrid of Peter Pan and Dracula, with a generous amount of dark humour thrown in, this film subsequently paved the way for future horror/comedy mash-ups. Modern day pop culture like Shaun of the Dead and Joss Whedon’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer owe a debt to Schumacher for his zany and incredibly outlandish vision.
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
Film Editor: Chris Binding Online Film Editor: Hayley Hamilton
Twilight Breaking Dawn: Part One Like its biggest competitor Harry Potter, the final book in the Twilight franchise, Breaking Dawn, has been split into two parts, in an obvious attempt to gain as much profit as possible before the franchise bows out of the limelight. This seems to be the single motive, with little else to merit this arguably unnecessary move. In Breaking Dawn: Part One, the slow-paced plot feels rather drawn out at times, with the extra time available in this movie predictably being used to show pouting and an appreciation of the actors’ beauty (it doesn’t take long for Jacob to get topless), although perhaps this is because the film makers know their audience. The film begins with the upcoming nuptials between Bella and her vampire husband-tobe, Edward. Although a picture of happiness together, it seems Bella is apprehensive about her decision to join Edward and become a vampire herself after the honeymoon. The wedding day arrives, admittedly a beautifully shot part of the movie, and the happy couple leave for their honeymoon, an island off Rio where
their highly anticipated love scenes eventually take place. Although not particularly detailed, the love scenes will undoubtedly please the legion of teenage fans, with just about the right amount of sweetness to keep the film a 12A certificate. Ignorant of the risks involved, Bella falls pregnant and has to come to terms with the decision of keeping the baby which is killing her and whether she can survive the ordeal. On the furrier side of things, Jacob is finding it
difficult to deal with the loss of Bella to Edward, her looming change into a vampire, and consequently her pregnancy, whilst also exploring the angst issues within the wolf-pack. As with the other films in the series, these werewolf scenes are terrible. They are, at some points, unintentionally comedic, reflecting the seemingly cheap production and taking the fantasy a little too far. They also add little to the structure of the story, other than maybe making you
If reading last week‘s film special on the wacky and pretty omnipresent character that is Nicolas Cage has confirmed either your love-hate or hate-love for him (seriously, there are only these two options), then you shouldn‘t miss Nic‘s latest cinematic escapade. He has been a busy bee as usual, with Justice his fourth released film of 2011, which has been an actiondriven year. So this must be the great finale with Cage at his best, right? Well, not quite. Cage plays teacher Nick Gerard who, after his wife Laura is raped, is approached by the shady Simon (Guy Pearce), who claims to work for an unofficial organisation, offering to ‘take care‘ of the rapist for Nick. He reluctantly agrees and the rapist ‘disappears‘, but a few months later Nick is contacted again by Simon who asks him for an immoral favour. As he tries to escape the organisation, Nick himself becomes the target of a police investigation and is forced to search for evidence to prove his innocence: cue montages of Nic Cage looking confused and searching the internet. The plot is admittedly predictable and the action scenes won‘t excite even sensitive souls accustomed to rom coms; however, the film takes an interesting approach to the subject of vigilante justice and how benevolent motivation can morph into exaggerated ways of thinking and outlandish drama. Nevertheless, the biggest let-down was a lack of “Nicolas Cage, completely losing it“-scenes, the feature which makes him such a hilarious cult figure.
Despite arriving in cinemas fairly discreetly and without causing too much of a stir, The Awakening is a surprisingly good horror film that doesn’t play to the gore-frenzies that have become popular recently, with films such as the Saw franchise. Replacing special effects and gore with tense and atmopsheric staging produces a genuinely chilling film. Set just after the end of the First World War, the author/ghost hunter Florence Cathcart (brilliantly played by Rebecca Hall) is sent to a boys’ orphanage to investigate the mysterious alleged apparitions of the ghost of a small child. Her initial scepticism of the ghost’s presence is quashed when she then becomes the target of said spirit, and is forced to question her own beliefs on the afterlife as more of her personal history is dredged up into the story. However, this film does sometimes fall into the trap of feeling a tad too similar to Juan Antonio Bayona’s The Orphanage in both setting and tone, and has predictable elements within the plotline that should have been avoided. Also, the run time has to be questioned; reducing this by a good twenty minutes would not have detracted from the film and at the same time, not forced the audience to endure lengthy periods of characters just wandering around an empty house. But what saves this film is the bountiful amount of scares present and the scenes that create insane amounts of tension leaving you wanting to hide behind your seat.
There’s a big sigh of relief when you go to view something by a Newcastle University graduate and discover that what they’ve produced is a beautiful piece of post-modern art. Andrew Haigh’s Weekend is a delightfully honest tale of contemporary gay relationships. Set in the urban backdrop of Nottingham, Russell (Tom Cullen) ditches a house party on a solemn Friday night to find some companionship in a gay bar. There he meets Glen (Chris New), and what starts as a one night stand turns into something deeper. The casual pillow talk of the morning after their special connection is limited by Glen leaving for America on Sunday night; hence it becomes an ‘enjoy-it-while-it-lasts’ story. Even though nothing exciting seems to go on, the reality comes from simply watching the developing intimacy between Glen and Russell. Whether chatting on the sofa, taking drugs or having sex, the actions of the characters never seem forced. Director Haigh doesn’t exploit any nature of gay-hate to amplify the drama. It’s more about the melodrama of seemingly special relationships limited by a ticking clock. Both Chris New and Tom Cullen give wonderfully down-to-earth performances. They each present uniquely different characters yet retain a believable, tender chemistry that appears completely natural. Thankfully Weekend doesn’t force any political statement about the gay ethos or gay marriage, even though it does touch upon those ideas.
VERDICT: A solid action film with an unfortunately uncranky Nicolas Cage that turns out to be like most of his recent films - enjoyable to a certain extent, but with no overall substance.
VERDICT: An entertaining horror experience with moments that genuinely make your skin crawl. You will not want to wander round without the lights on for a good while after seeing this.
VERDICT: The film is definitely not for everyone but whether gay or straight, it’s simply a well executed, modern day telling of two people crossing paths and discovering a connection.
feel a little uncomfortable with the borderline paedophilic imprinting of a baby, and seem more circumstantial than anything else. Unfortunately, the movie is badly written, badly acted and lacks a sense of realism - but isn’t that what they are all like? If you are hoping this film will be an improvement on any of its predecessors in the saga, then you will be bitterly disappointed. Unsurprisingly, with a fool-proof financial formula, producers don’t need to change anything. With the saga garnering over $1 billion already, the films must be doing something right. However, all is not lost, as the film is entertaining for both fans and sceptics alike, and the CGI effects on Bella’s pregnancy and the birth scene are quite impressive, although the constant cheesy music which runs throughout the whole film gets rather annoying by the end, provoking the occasional breaking yawn. Verdict: Twilight Breaking Dawn: Part One may not attract many new converts but it will certainly keep the twihards satisfied and the box office happy - that is until the inevitable final outing. Lizzie Tucker
Screening as part of the London Korean Film Festival strand at the Tyneside Cinema, Kim Sok-yun’s Detective K: Secret of the Virtuous Woman is the first of three films attempting to showcase Korean cinema to a wider audience. The film follows the eponymous detective as he attempts to unravel a murder mystery that quickly develops into a tangled conspiracy in 16th century Korea, but is actually far more light-hearted than such a synopsis might suggest. Playing fast and loose with historical accuracy, much of the film’s charm is derived from the wry exchanges between the charismatic detective (Kim Myung-min) and his insistent sidekick (Han Seo Pil), as they bumble their way through various mishaps in the Korean state of Joseon. At times the detective’s almost preternatural crime-solving abilities are used to excuse some occasionally clunky plot development and by the conclusion, the convoluted narrative sees the film run rapidly out of steam as it veers into fantasy with some wonky CGI. But like most blockbusters of any denomination, its purpose isn’t to tax nor is it meant to be a realistic historical portrayal of Korean society. Instead it proves a snappy and consistently amusing little film that, barring the odd joke lost in translation, actually gains something from its unusual setting. All things considered, it’s difficult not to be entertained by the manner in which it ably dances between mystery, action, drama and fantasy.
VERDICT: Medieval Korean period drama mixed with Pink Panther and Rush Hour. Its mileage will probably depend on how much Far Eastern slapstick you can stomach. At least there’s no Chris Tucker.
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
5 things you need to know about Nature’s best moustaches
The ‘Mexican molly fish’ This is one straight out of the book of Forsyth, not only is it a glorious upper lip outline but it’s also irresistible to the ladies. It seems the animal kingdom has gone the way of the 80’s and succumbed to the sexual pull of the tash. Research has shown that female Mexican mollys consistently choose to mate with their male counterparts that sport that Brucey moustache.
The ‘Emperor Tamarin’ Ever wanted to style your facial hair on an English gent as well as one of our simian relatives? Well today is your lucky day. The emperor tamarin monkey has a glorious moustache which extends from its upper lip like a fountain of wisdom and superiority. When nature succeeds where so many pre-pubescent teens fail it makes me wish we could enlist them for our movember battle against prostate cancer.
The ‘Splendeuptychia’ A butterfly with a moustache. Imagine a summers day, the scent of flowers on the air, the warming feeling of the sun’s rays on your freckled face, you spot a butterfly in the distance, you marvel as it delicately flutters towards you and admire its grace and poise. Then you spot its ‘holy, Tom Selleck’ hovering above its upper lip, never tell me nature isn’t beautiful. Not only is it a sight to see, it also defines the Splendeuptychia ackeryi’s very existence. Without the distinctive moustache it would never have been characterised as a new species after years of storage in the National History Museum.
UN I need to talk
As the UN prepare for crisis talks in South Africa, Emma Summerscales fills us in on the often overlooked realities of climate change
hat person you can see deep in thought sat on the metro or in the café probably isn’t thinking about climate change. There’s no denying it’s a daunting issue, but really when you turn the lights off, or complain that your housemate keeps putting the heating on and not wearing a jumper, you’re thinking of the bills and not the polar bears. Everyone knows it’s a potentially devastating problem that we need to try and reign in. Surely though, we can sleep easy knowing that someone somewhere is tackling the problem? Probably not. We are far from understanding all the complex processes that come together to affect the global climate, and the process of change that we are currently seeing is unprecedented. It is common knowledge that the earth is getting warmer because of greenhouse gas emissions, and that this will cause a rise in sea levels. Everyone probably knows at least one of those guys who quip that
climate change is a product of the earth’s natural cycle (whatever that is). Though this is a good starting point, the whole process is far more complex. So what is actually happening with regards to the changes in our planet’s climate? It is a question that can only be answered as far as our current knowledge takes us; in that spirit it is perhaps more objective to ask what we don’t know. Britain is an island, at the mercy of the Atlantic ocean. It is of paramount concern that one of the most discussed impacts of a warmer planet is rising sea levels. While we all needn’t fashion a makeshift life raft just yet, the threat is tangible, and very real. The glaciers, ice caps and vast ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland have the capacity to melt into our oceans. Ice sheets defrost and re-freeze seasonally, however the imbalance has been a little more year upon year. Worrying then, that there is so
much ice left to melt. The IPCC say that contributions from the largest stores of ice raised sea levels by 0.4mm a year from 1993 to 2003. Still undaunted? Consider this. Should the temperature increase to a point where the ice sheets of Greenland and Antactica melt completely, global sea levels could rise by almost 60m. That would be an overwhelming increase without even considering the other ice sources. Simple thermodynamics denotes also that as the temperature of the oceans would continue to rise, their relative volume would increase. This hasn’t even been factored into the equation.
Greenhouse gases By definition these are gases that trap the heat trying to escape from the earth’s surface. This heat is generated when the earth absorbs sunlight, heats up and then emits infra red (IR) radiation (or heat). The gas molecules trap the heat because they have the ability to absorb the IR, vibrate and eventually emit the radiation again. Thus, they share this heat energy with their neighbours, generating a sort of heatsharing blanket. The biggest offenders are naturally occurring constituents of atmosphere, the much maligned carbon dioxide, water vapour, methane, nitrous oxides and ozone. We never really hear much about the names on that list bar our obsession with carbon, which is surprising when you consider that water vapour is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. The problem is relative, and it’s quantitative. Carbon dioxide is the most abundant greenhouse gas, artificially generated in ever-increasing and significant quantities. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) the amount of carbon dioxide generated from burning fossil fuels has increased by more than 40% since 1990, and the rate is accelerating.
Breaking the ice
Uni scientists conduct research into shrinkage of Antarctic landmass The ‘Walrus’ This above the lip disaster doesn’t do anything to help the looks of these unfortunate creatures. The upper lip of the walrus looks like a kid has gone to town with a spaghetti playdough set and it’s hard to imagine anyone wanting to emulate this. We should cut the walrus some slack, (never thought I would write that) as it must be difficult to keep your nose tickler under control in a semi-aquatic environment.
The ‘Catfish’ Like something out of the Ming dynasty this one is all about the long whisps. Not only is its moustache long and styled but its brows and beard follow suit leading to a mug reminiscent of Salvatore Dali. On a serious note these flavour savours are morphologically known as barbels and are so sensitive that over the course of evolution its eyes have become small under a lack of selective pressure.
Perhaps the darkest and most enduring image of climate change is the crumbling Antarctic ice caps falling helplessly into the sea. It is ironic therefore that it is largely unknown exactly how fast the ice caps are melting. An international team of experts from Newcastle and Bristol Universities have been awarded a grant of £760,000 to fill in the blanks, and give the world a definitive conclusion on the impact on sea level caused by this melting ice in order to end speculation and controversy. With satellite imagery, GPS and climate computer models based on catalogues of temperature and barometric data, the team aims to determine the relationship between the change of mass of the Antarctic ice sheet and climate change. Leading the Newcastle team is Dr Matt King, Reader in Polar Geodesy. He explains: “There are now lots of measurements that tell us something about the recent state of the Antarctic Ice Sheet, but none of those measurements gives the complete picture. The project aims to bring together the strengths of every data
set to gain the most accurate estimate of Antarctica’s contribution to sea level as a whole, as well as identify which regions are changing and which are not.” The project at Newcastle involves the use of GPS data to monitor the bedrock surrounding and poking out of the ice
sheet, which gets compressed by the tonnes of ice resting on it. Measuring very subtle changes in it’s motion -requiring as Dr King suggests- precision “better than one millimetre-per-year – the thickness of a fingernail”. Because the changes in the motion of the bedrock -effected by the magma below, and the ice above- are very slow and gradual, the measurements will give the team information on the changes in the Antarctic ice sheet dating back to the last Ice Age. With information this comprehensive, the outcome of this project will give science a great deal of help understanding how climate change has varied in the cycles of global warming since the end of the Ice Age. It could then be said for sure whether our acceleration of climate change will have the massive and dangerous effect we all fear, or whether it will simply be another peak in the cycles of the unfathomably long life of the Antarctic.
Mark Atwill Science editor
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
Science Editor: Mark Atwill Science Online Editor: Shaun Butcher
science&technology What happens next?
Carbon sinks Worryingly, about half the Earth’s seas, which have been behaving as carbon sinks, are at saturation point and could even emit carbon dioxide in the future if sea temperature continues to rise. This could very rapidly exacerbate the situation to an unimaginable point. Methane sinks, in addition to carbon sinks, are also threatening to emit stored gas in the biggest and most tumultuous fart witnessed since the extinction of the Brachiosaur. Demand for food and increased agriculture has caused a rapid increase in atmospheric methane in recent years, and increasing temperatures threaten to imminently liberate permafrost and oceanic hydrates. Unfortunately no one knows how high the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will rise, or how hot this means out planet will get. When it comes to planning for the future we are digging around in the dark. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, so we are probably in for something gargantuan.
Coastal regions and islands are both attractive and profitable regions to live in and no less than 160 million people live less than one metre above sea level, according to the IPCC. With so many factors involved, each of them incredibly variable, it’s impossible to predict how fast sea levels will rise; spare a thought to one of the 160 million the next time you fall asleep and leave your laptop on all night. Before we ever reached the disastrous point and we all talked about how much we used to like London, Norfolk, Venice and all of the Netherlands, changes in volume and salinity across our oceans could upset currents, which in turn could negatively impact many established weather patterns. Anyone seen the Day After Tomorrow? Floods, droughts and storms – dubbed ‘extreme events’ – would become more frequent and intense. Hurricanes form over warm tropical seas, so a rising sea temperature is bad news. Increased temperatures would also change rainfall patterns enormously. Last year’s dry spell and disastrous heatwave in Russia sparked both huge fires and debate overt whether they were directly linked to athropogenic climate change. How long before we are having similar debates in the UK?
Global dimming As well as gases that warm our planet, there are some pollutants such as aerosols that become incorporated into clouds and reflect the sun’s light away from our planet before it ever has chance to be absorbed and emitted as heat. This is known as ‘global dimming.’ Surely then, this is good news? Alarmingly, there is a large voice behind the idea that the global temperature rise of just 0.6 degrees is so small because temperature increases have been offset by global dimming, and that disturbingly this could mean the atmosphere is far more sensitive to greenhouse gases than previously thought. The solution isn’t, however, to continually pump dimming pollutants into the atmosphere; global dimming has been blamed for crop failures and years without summers in some parts of the world.
Meat is murder?
Meat is murdering the environment. It is with great regret that I report livestock farming accounts for around 15-18% of greenhouse gas emissions produced, a figure I found overwhelmingly high. In terms of agricultural emissions, a total of 80% is due to meat production. The next time I order that really amazing burger from The Forth, should I be perfused with regret? Obviously, this is a problem that increases with greater demand for meat and in developing countries, consumption of meat is rising by more than 5% per year. In China, the most populous country, this increase is becoming much more problematic as people become richer. It is estimated wealthier people eat ten times more meat than those who are poor. What are the solutions? We can’t all be expected to be vegetarians and we do need
to support the agricultural industry that provides us with our food – an industry which is doing its part to cut emissions and improve farming. We need to change our pattern of meat consumption. Colin Butler from the Australian National University in Canberra calculated, on a global scale, the amount of meat one person should limit themselves to. Accounting for the fact that around 5-10% of an animal is discarded, one person can allow themselves approximately 80- 85g of red and white meat. This equates to an upper limit of one burger and one chicken fillet every three days. Could you honestly say you ate so little? The allowance of meat consumption will drop further when waste is considered. As well as waste from the plate, expired food and bulk packaging is also an issue. If we only bought what we needed, rather than being encouraged to buy larger packs from supermarkets, our waste would rapidly decrease. Yes, I would love to be a vegetarian, but the fact is my diet (and taste buds) require it – as a Smiths fan this leaves me with an overwhelming pang of guilt. Society cannot be expected to become vegetarian. The answer being, rather than to quit meat entirely, to eat less of it and reduce the amount of food wasted. Buying organic and free range products can also help to reduce unsustainable and
Technology Must have games for your Christmas list
Tipping points As ominous as their name prerequisites, they are defined as irreversible and abrupt changes in our climate. One day we may reach a certain threshold where our systems can no longer cope and undergo a sudden catastrophic change. There are nine such possible future tipping points highlighted in the last IPCC report, and they include the Amazon rainforest dying and becoming savannah, the end of the Indian monsoon season, and the Greenland Ice Sheet irreversibly shrinking. The very real concept of tipping points highlights the potential power of climate change and how it could change our lives forever. If ice sheets do suddenly start to melt, will they form again if we reduce our emissions dramatically and temperatures go back down? Will sea levels and rainfall decrease again, so that floods plague populations no more? We don’t know how hot, how cool, how high, how frequent; most importantly, all this means we don’t know what the threat to life is. There remains one certainty, anthropogenic activities are causing raised temperatures and therefore climate change. How this is to be stopped is a matter of debate and international argument, maybe the next weeks talk will ring some changes, but don’t be too hopeful. We may not know what is going to happen in the future, but from looking at what we do know today it should be said that there has to be something in forgetting our quarrels and pulling together to reduce our carbon footprints. The hustle and bustle can make us flippant, but it is in our power to reduce emissions and stave off tipping points - perhaps forever.
inhumane factory farming. It’s unerringly hard to be environmentally friendly, but little changes like this we can all make, and would have, collectively, a huge impact on the future wellbeing of our planet. Lauren Tough
Accounting for the fact that around 5-10% of an animal is discarded, one person can allow themselves approximately 8085g of red and white meat. This equates to an upper limit of one burger and one chicken fillet every three days
Christmas is around the corner and the games industry is gearing up for a busy season ahead. But, with all these new games coming out, which should you be asking Santa for? The big names, and games that you have no doubt seen copious amounts of advertising for, are probably the ones that will top your list Here are a few of them.
Battlefield 3 EA started their advertising campaign back in March so you have no doubt seen this about. Critics are raving about the visual effects in this game due to EA employing FROSTBITE2 technology meaning you can ‘experience superior animation, unparalleled lighting and special effects, epic scale and incredible sound design.’ This, if you haven’t already got it, starts from around £35 and comes in standard and special editions across the following platforms: PlayStation, Xbox, and PC.
Batman: Arkham Asylum This is an action adventure that builds upon the intense, atmospheric foundation of Batman: Arkham Asylum but with polished graphics. This is a game that should make your list. Although some users have experienced some annoying problems, the majority think the good outweigh the bad by a large margin. Gamespot’s rating for this game is 9/10. Definitely worth putting it on the list – and if you don’t get, go buy it yourself.
Mario and Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games If you like retro, then you might be interested in what can only be described as the ultimate duo of Christmas joy: Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games. This great Wii only game combines 20 of the most recognisable characters from Sega and Nintendo and with a host of special powers brings them together in a contemporary setting. If you want fun, this is the game for you.
Shaun Butcher Online Science Editor
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
thecourieronline.co.uk/tvandradio firstname.lastname@example.org TV Editors: Sophia Fairhead and Nicole Stevenson
I’m a Celebrity... apparently TV Editor Sophia Fairhead’s on the girls, guys and gold medal winners living it rough down under
Female viewers would love to see more of McFly bassist Dougie Poynter down under.
Mark Wright’s �irst time... with a woman with false teeth. Benidorm comedian Crissy Rock rocked his hammock early doors for a bit of a cuddle.
DJ, TV and radio presenter Pat Sharp doesn’t always see eye-toeye with singer Sinitta. She may not be pulling her weight but his critter-cal remarks don’t seem to have impressed either as we saw him up for trial this weekend.
Do bushtucker babes model Jessica-Jane Clement and Emily Scott’s bikini shots have anything to do with the shows high ratings? The show has more viewers than the Young Apprentice.. we know who we’d rather see in a coconut bra.
Pat Sharp also accuses ex-Emmerdale star Lorraine Chase of being too nice. Sticks and stones... at least she has Tedward’ to protect her, but is her cuddly bear enough to face the real animals in Australia?
Champion jockey Willie Carson OBE is proving that he can handle a wild ride in the outback.
Gold medal winner Fatima Whitbread MBE. If her impressive stature and javelin skills are anything to go by, neither contestants nor jungle beasts will be a match.
Hart to Hart actress Stefanie Powers is known on the show for being a loudmouth and having naturally frizzy hair. Will she get as wild and unruly as her hair in the jungle?
Anthony Cotton is not sure how he’s going to cope with the leap from Corrie to camping, and is relieved to be able to bring his pillow.
Review: New Girl New Girl is a brand new American comedy-drama that follows the doe-eyed Zooey Deschanel (from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and the game Yes Man) as Jess, a girl who has been cheated on by her long-term boyfriend. She moves into an apartment with three single men and this series narrates the realistically unusual events that follow. Zooey plays the pixie-like Jess with an utmost ease. Her husky singing voice also helps to bring out another characteristic of Jess – singing about things as they are happening. At �irst, the men are wary of this brokenhearted, petite girl who has kind of invaded their space, but it takes no time before her eccentric, childish ways win them over. Not to mention, having a hot model for a best friend doesn’t hurt! New Girl is guaranteed to bring out a lot of laughs, as the viewer sees the bumbling and geeky Jess deal with everyday situations in her own special way around the frustrated roommates, who almost always give in to her unusual charm.The growing viewership shows the promise that this show has of being a sure hit amongst all age groups world over. If you catch the show online, you’ll be hooked!
Tune in your hangover They may lure vulnerable students into hours of soul-destroying slouching, but these constantlyrepeated shows are the ultimate form of the hangover cure, explains TV Editor Nicole Stevenson
Deal or No Deal
Deal or No Deal is the worst offender of wasting both human and airtime. The accused, Noel Edmonds, presents this long and tedious journey – wearing a retro �lowery shirt – which usually ends with the contestant �inding themselves �inancially worse off due to a costly trip to Bristol, where the show is �ilmed. Most players are convinced that it is their fate to �inish the game by opening the box in front of them, so they pretend to ponder
Ahh.. the talk show we all love to hate, or just hate. Before recognizing my error, I used to set my alarm for 9.30am every sacred weekday just so I could chew my corn�lakes to the sound of Jeremy’s oneliners – ‘Put something on the end of it,’ ‘Firstly, get that smug look off your face,’ ‘Sorry – you’re not the child’s biological father’ – and smile at others’ misfortune (perhaps this is the appeal). I stopped eating carbs almost simultaneously to giving up on Jezza, on exceptions when I am feeling blue or want to take my mind off a night out’s disappointing suitors. Apart from the embarrassing fact that all contestants are bad stereotypes of the northeast, it makes your problems seem trivial.
over the banker’s offers until they end up with an average sum of money. It should not be exciting unless you yourself are in the ‘Crazy Chair’ playing the game. However, as a hangover cure, the repetitive act of breaking seals, the ringing of the telephone and the audience’s clapping can be therapeutic and have a calming effect on a pounding headache. Otherwise, it’s a no deal from me.
Come Dine With Me It is pointless on many levels: I’ll take you through them. Firstly, the cash prize of £1,000 is not exciting. Secondly, the viewers can guess who will win this petty grand as the scores are revealed. Thirdly, the contestants don’t deserve our time and attention – they’re normal people cooking in their kitchens. And lastly, if the audience �ind it interesting how the participants engage with each other, they shouldn’t – human interaction is happening all around us. Despite these letdowns, C.D.W.M whilst waiting for your Sunday dinner and holding an icepack to your
Hottie of the Week
head is a pleasant experience. It put you in the mood for your meal, and seeing the eccentric participants bitch about each other saves you the job. I hope, like me, you would rather dine in good company and if you’re hosting a dinner party, be polite enough to ask your guests their preferences.
This week’s ‘hottie’ has to go to Harry Styles. He’s a cheeky chappy who’s abundance of curly hair and signature clean-cut blazer trouser combination have every girl falling for him. He’s One Direction’s main man and there is only one thing that’s holding us back...he is 17. It certainly isn’t holding him back though: the boys managed to shift over 153,000 copies of ‘What Makes You Beautiful’, beating the likes of Adele, Bruno Mars and Jennifer Lopez to this year’s biggest �irst week sales title. It seems we’re all loving Harry, but unfortunately for us he seems to be taken by Xtra Factor’s Caroline Flack. Despite the 15 year age gap, we don’t blame Caroline for falling for his charm and cheeky smile. The two have been seen canoodling on a night out as well as enjoying a cosy dinner for two at St Martin Lane Hotel, before leaving in a taxi together. Harry has con�irmed these rumours on Twitter, not his smartest move, as he received numerous death threats from girls getting incredibly territorial over our adolescent heartthrob. It appears he has broken the hearts of millions of teens with his dreamy looks, but we can’t deny that he is still ridiculously �it and will certainly remain every girl’s guilty pleasure.
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
Aimee Philipson speaks to Ramy Khuffash, the business mind behind Vouchers go Viral, a new voucher website which utilises the genius of social networking sites to reward customers for sharing offers with their friends and followers. Sometimes you need to �igure what you don’t want in order to get closer to knowing what you do want. Ramy Khuffash had always thought he wanted to train as an accountant after he graduated but after a placement in his second year, he soon realised that accountancy wasn’t the right career for him. ‘I enjoyed learning about accountancy,’ he explained, ‘but I soon realised that I didn’t like the idea of being an accountant for the rest of my life.’ Unfortunately this made knowing what to do after graduation a whole lot more complicated. Like many students, he know had no idea what he wanted to do once he graduated. ‘I was applying for jobs that I didn’t really want,’ he said, ‘and eventually I decided to stop looking for jobs all
together.’ Having always been interested in business, and having a role on the committee of the Entrepreneurs Society throughout his degree, he decided that it was an ideal time to have a go at setting up a business of his own. Because of his role in the Entrepreneurs Society, Ramy knew about the support network available to students looking to start a business. ‘The support that students have access to is incredible, even if you don’t have a business idea, you can get free advice on a verity of relevant topics. There’s also some funding available from the university.’ The decision to go into business didn’t make things any less complicated though.
featurecareers Like most people, Ramy had plenty of ideas but none of them seemed perfect. ‘I decided to set up a few websites to get a feel of how everything works,’ he explained, ‘getting experience is the best way to learn.’ It was a little while before Ramy hit upon the idea for “Vouchers go Viral”. ‘I woke up and had a look at Facebook and my news feed was covered with the McDonalds logo,’ he said, ‘they were offering a voucher to anyone who ‘liked’ their Facebook page. I thought that this was an amazing way for McDonalds to get more exposure on the social networks and it would be great if there were a platform for other businesses to achieve the same thing. ‘I realised that there was an opportunity and got to work on it. ‘ At this point, all Ramy’s experience online paid off as it turned out to be hugely valuable to the creation of his new business. www.vouchersgoviral.com is the end result; a voucher website where you need to share the link on a social network before you can use it. ‘This means that businesses get can get social media coverage every time their voucher is used.’ explained Ramy, ‘It gives businesses more of an incentive to provide our users with better vouchers. ‘If you’re willing to support your favourite brands, then you get rewarded for it!‘ So, does Ramy have any advice for anyone who’s considering starting a business?
‘I urge anyone interested in business to get in contact with someone from the “Rise Up” team in the Careers Service (King’s Gate building). There’s plenty of help available through the team for anyone looking to start a business and the North East has plenty of funding available for start-ups at the moment so it’s a great place to be and a great time to start. If you want to know more about Vouchers go Viral then head over to www.vouchersgoviral.com. Follow Ramy on Twitter @ RamyKhuffash. Sign up to the ‘Rise Up’ newsletter at www.ncl.ac.uk/careers/riseup to keep up-to-date with all the exciting events and initiatives going on at the careers service including ‘The Rise Up Entrepreneurship Programme 2012’ - an intensive six-week programme of free workshops and events for Newcastle University students and graduates (from all stages and disciplines) who are interested in launching their �irst business or developing an existing one. For a one-to-one session from a member of the dedicated ‘Rise Up’ team of business advisers, business support staff and entrepreneurs in residence, pop into the Careers Service.
Career Crackers Volunteering
Volunteering is a great way to develop valuable personal and employability skills. Get involved in a community project through SCAN, who offer lots of different projects for you to choose from.
Volunteer with Madventurer (based in the Union). Help out in their of�ice or do a project overseas in a developing country. Do a Career Development Module. This allows you to volunteer for academic credit so that it won’t interfere with your other work.
For more information check www.nusu.co.uk under ‘volunteering’ and www.madventurer.com
Marleen van Os
Tribulations of a soonto-begraduate Lucy Alexander Once upon a time, there was a normal, lazy, vodka-swigging, fancydress-wearing student. She liked all the normal things that her fellow freshers liked. More importantly, she also got annoyed by the same trivial things as them: 9am lectures, aggressive lea�let distribution on the cow�ield and any kind of price increase on alcohol. Cut to two years later, and this student’s level of tolerance has dropped to a dangerous level. Under the pretence of ‘working hard’, the things that now make this student annoyed are more likely to be heard being professed by ranting senior citizens. Yes that’s right, I am of�icially a grouchy third year; anything that gets in the way of my studies is likely to induce a lengthy rant, or evil glares usually reserved for my siblings. This leads me to my problem this week. Annoying library dwellers (or ‘tw*ts’ as they’re otherwise affectionately known) are the bane of many a third year’s life. We all know who they are, and we can usually spot them before they’ve even opened their mouth. They come in many shapes and sizes, but their single identifying feature is their loud, braying voice and the fact that, like coyotes, they move in packs. Unless you are in fact yourself a ‘library twat’ (just check: are you reading this column aloud in the library? Are people giving you death stares and potently coughing when you speak? If so, this is awkward), then I can guarantee that you a) know who I’m talking about, and b) hate them also. Library twats tend to fall into two categories: there are the �irst/second years who feel that by just being in the library then they’re working. Then there are the third years who know they should be working, but have somehow instead wandered in and mistaken the library for the smoking area of a diamond strip club. I’m writing this column in a Robinson cluster (obviously whilst respecting the needs of my fellow students), and there is a guy near me watching the X Factor on his computer, loudly commenting on how Kelly Rowland has lost weight and that ‘he would’. You just can’t make this stuff up… To relay another infuriating anecdote, my attempts to research my dissertation last Thursday (the use of pornography in the fairy tale if you’re interested), were well and truly thwarted. This time the obnoxious guy next to me was literally sprawled over his desk complaining about how he thought his casual use of Class B drugs might possibly be affecting his concentration. I laughed until I realised he was being serious. Please, library twats, see this as a public service announcement (although I doubt you’re amongst the demographic of students who actually read the Courier). Do us all a favour, and let this crop of third year students have a happy ending. And by happy ending, I mean let us actually pass our degrees. You’re just not good for my stress levels, and I don’t believe in violence. However if that guy doesn’t stop inanely expressing the many reasons why he’d be a better judge than Louis Walsh, I might have to start…
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
You can ﬁnd the answer s to this week’s pu thecou zzles at rieronli ne. co.uk/p uzzles
thecourieronline.co.uk/puzzles email@example.com Puzzles Editor: Laura Armitage
1. Rodent (5) 3. European ﬂatﬁsh (6) 7. Arctic whale with spiral tusk (7) 8. Type of duck (5) 9. Carnivorous burrowing mammal (6) 10. Breed of dog (4) 13. Showy parrot (5) 14. Venomous snake (5) 18. Elephant ivory (4) 19. Billﬁsh (6) 21. Small bird (5) 23. Sparrow hawk (7) 24. Musteline mammal (6) 25. Reptile (5)
1. Long-tailed primate (6) 2. Spiny anteaters (8) 3. Young hen (6) 4. Simians (4) 5. North Atlantic food ﬁsh (3) 6. Corvines (5) 9. Large plantigrade mammals (5) 11. Bird with long legs, neck and bill (5) 12. Shellﬁsh (8) 15. Large wading bird (5) 16. Nocturnal canine mammal (6) 17. Sheepdog (6) 20. Colony insects (4) 22. Drone (3)
f the ne o como e B o ord ﬁve t ﬁrst e crossw n’s th Me plete nd into ree f ha and to win a r Ba meal!
Find a word that connects the three words shown below
Duckett and Haye
Alnwick Castle Angel of the North Bamburgh Castle Durham Cathedral Hadrian’s Wall
Holy Island Penshaw Monument Quayside The Sage Tyne Bridge
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
Sport Editors: Colin Henrys, Harry Slavin and Rory Brigstock-Baron Online Sport Editors: Grace Harvey and Charlie Scott firstname.lastname@example.org
Fab’s Eagles �lying high So often the success of Newcastle’s basketball team has �lown under the radar. This week The Courier looks at the side’s immaculate start to the season, as well as their achievements in recent years
Eagles by numbers
Grace Harvey Online Sports Editor
When most of us think of Basketball, I’d suppose you’d think of NBA giants like Shaquille O’Neal or Magic Johnson, but rarely do people seem to think of Newcastle’s Eagles. Truth be told when I was �irst asked about the Toon’s Basketball team, I did immediately start quoting Space Jam completely unaware of the faux-pas I had just made. Yet since this minor incident, I’ve been completely hooked on Newcastle Eagles, who are currently leading the British Basketball League table and have soared from one success to another this season, although they do remain relatively unknown in Newcastle. Unfortunately, there are a few who doubt the credibility of the BBL and liken it to soccer played in America, pretty naff and should stay on its own side of the Paci�ic; but the quality of the sport in Britain is absolutely phenomenal and Newcastle certainly embody a world class basketball team. Whilst the Eagles do play at Northumbria’s Sports Central, do not let Royal pride deter you. Comparing their season results to NUFC and the Falcons, the Eagles are one of the only professional sports team in the city to consistently lead the league tables and truth be told, barely get half the credit they deserve. Since 2005, the team have secured BBL championship titles all but twice after unwillingly conceding gold for a close second or third place table position. The 2011 season marked the start of the Eagles new campaign to re-establish themselves as BBL titans once and for all, and have been undeniably �lawless with only one close defeat, they are at the top of the league. Their championship results have been consistently outstanding, annihilating all opposition they have faced effortlessly with great ease. In their �irst championship against Guildford Heat back in October, they set the standard early, destroying Heat 85-64 and since have continued to produce results as dominant throughout the season, defeating Durham, Shef�ield and Milton Keynes in recent matches. The team roster this year has ultimately been the means of the team’s continued success. Star players Joe Chapman, Charles Smith and Andrew Thomson have been amongst the highest scorers leading the team from triumph to triumph. Smith’s performance this season has been truly outstanding, and as the only player to pre-date BBL legend Fabulous Flournoy, has become an Eagles institution and without fail can be relied upon to guarantee high scoring and exceptional teamwork. Yet, there is no clearer marker of the Eagles determination to once again
Average height of Eagles roster
Number of Eagles play-off wins in last seven years
Guard Joe Chapman’s points tally this season
Average number of Eagles assists per game
Eagles’ player-manager Fab Flournoy, a defensive rock for a number of years. Photo: Hitthatswitch (Flickr)
reign as champions than their most recent success, when three weeks ago the team secured their place in the BBL cup semi-�inals after a hard fought match against long standing rivals, Glasgow Rocks. The match proved to be their most demanding of the season so far, forcing the hometown heroes to battle until the very end to a close 78-75 result. The Eagles will now play Leicester Raiders in a two leg semi-�inal play-
off, the �irst leg of which was played on Saturday, the second to be played in December at home. Whilst this has forced organisers to rearrange certain matches, new �ixtures have been added for December to ensure the semi-�inals are complete before Christmas. And given their failure to progress to the �inals last year, there is no doubt their attack on the Raiders will be the most aggressive assault yet to
ensure they once again acquire championship titles. The team’s next home �ixture is this Friday against Leicester Riders, and with both sides currently unbeaten in the league something has to give. Tip-off is at 7.30pm and for sure these games are genuine spectacles, so there really is no excuse to not support our hometown heroes.
Free throw percentage this season
1688 Total rebounds won by Fab Flournoy in his Eagles career
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
Think before you speak Some �ine examples of when sports biggest names should have kept their mouths shut
Sepp Blatter Rory Brigstock-Barron Sports Editor
Wrongly or rightly, we often make concessions for the archaic views of the elderly. An inappropriate remark bordering on bigotry for example can, occasionally, be hushed up and ignored when it comes from a bushybrowed granddad in the fruit and veg’ aisle at Morrisons. This is not the case, however, when the architect of such a comment is the President of Fifa, dictator to the most popular sport in the world, and a repeat offender. While the Swiss have often been commended for their neutrality, Sepp Blatter’s recent concessions on racism are far from commendable. Speaking to CNN earlier this month regarding on the �ield racism, Blatter said, “There is no racism, but maybe there is a word or gesture that is not correct... The one affected by this should say this is a game and shake hands.” These comments caused an uproar, particularly in the UK with many of the sports big names calling for a resignation from Blatter, who has been in of�ice since 1998. Rio Ferdinand confronted the Fifa President, tweeting, “@SeppBlatter to say what you said about racism in football spoke volumes of your ignorance to the subject.” David Beckham also spoke out against Blatter, stating that, “The comments were appalling.” Blatter apologised for causing offence but was quick to point out that he would not be resigning from his position. Speaking to the BBC he said, “When you have done something which was not totally correct, I
can only say I am sorry for all those people affected by my declarations… I cannot resign…Why should I?” The 75 year-old’s recent slip of the tongue is just one, although perhaps the most serious, of many occasions in which he should have kept his mouth shut. In 2004, when asked how the popularity of women’s football could be increased, Blatter commented, “Let’s get women to play in different and more feminine garb than the men, in tighter shorts for example.” Six years later in 2010, Blatter alienated further support groups when giving advice to the gay community hoping to attend the Quater 2012 games (where homosexuality is banned), “I would say they should refrain from any sexual activities.” Character references from those who have spent time with Blatter do not necessarily condemn his personality, but there is certainly some room for doubt. Rich Mkhondo, who worked with the Swiss on the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, said “He was a very pleasant man but sometimes he’s a loose cannon and a scud missile. He says things that can be controversial. Sometimes he doesn’t think about them…Everyone knows in their inner-self if they believe they’re superior. It’s not for me to say if he’s racist.” Having strayed in to sexism, homophobia and with his latest stunt, racism, it will be interesting to see what form of discrimination the Fifa President will be next to jump to the defence of. Perhaps it will be Fifa themselves, risking allegations of ageism as they remove this relic to the past and replace him with a younger, more sensitive model.
Footballing faux pas
Fifa President Sepp Blatter looking as lovely as ever Getty Images
Mike Tyson Joshua Duf�ield ‘Trash-talk’ is common in the sport of professional boxing, an arena often dominated by �lashy, arrogant young men but there have been times when this intimidation tactic has crossed into absurdity. At the height of his powers, Muhammad Ali was famous for a wit that was perhaps even as fast as his �ists, but others have proved less successful in the art of verbal sparring. Mike Tyson was a particularly controversial and outspoken character throughout a 20 year boxing career, which included nine successful defences of his heavyweight title, a rape conviction, and the claiming of a piece of Evander Holy�ield’s right ear as a souvenir. Much of Tyson’s verbal aggression was aimed at Lennox Lewis, another recipient of the Tyson bite, in the years prior to their long-awaited 2002 bout. On one occasion Tyson was quoted as saying “Lennox Lewis, I’m coming for you man. My style is impetuous. My defence is impregnable, and I’m just ferocious. I want your heart. I want to eat his children. Praise be to Allah!” Tyson’s defence on this occasion was not quite impregnable enough as he was knocked out by Lewis, whose three children (the eldest of whom was born four years after the remark), remained thankfully unharmed. Tyson’s outbursts were not restricted to what goes on in the ring however, with literature, science and the media often focus for his ramblings. Any aspiring journalists or authors out there should bear in mind that according to Mike, “most writers are dysfunctional derelicts.”
Gigi Becali Charlie Scott Online Sports Editor Oh Gigi. Where to start? Never one to shy away from a press conference, the controversial Steaua Bucharest owner has come out with some unbelievable quotes in his time. Here’s a small (honestly) selection of some of his, ahem… most controversial moments: When a fan recently punched a Steaua player during a game, which subsequently led to it being abandoned, Becali proclaimed afterwards, “All the team should have kicked that motherf*ker!” In May, after rival chairman at FC Dinamo, Cristian Borcea divorced his wife and married a model, Becali claimed it was “�ine by God”, using the warped reasoning that “a man can choose, as God said: man is man and
Philippe Senderos The former Arsenal defender described how when playing against Joey Barton, “you know he is going to come in your face.” Tony Cascarino Sky Sports’ Tony Cascarino had the difﬁcult task of commentating on Manchester United’s 8-2 drubbing of Arsenal in August, and the constant activity at Old Trafford clearly got the better of him as he uttered, “poor Traore, at right-back is having a holocaust because he’s ﬁnding himself against Nani, who is literally running at him from everywhere.” John Motson “So Bierhoff has got a short time to press his claims now that the two other strikers who started the match have both been taken off… Kuntz.”- Czech Rep. vs Germany. Alan Pardew With the consistently uncontroversial Alan Hansen claiming Michael Essien “mauls him” when describing a tackle on Ched Evans, Alan Pardew, a guest on MOTD, pushes the description further with “he absolutely rapes him.” The BBC maintain he said “rakes”…
woman is whore.” At Easter, in something that resembled the Queen’s Christmas Day message, Becali held a press conference to “clear the air” and apologise to “everyone I offended this year”, in which he described homosexuality as “a sin”, and claimed that “Jehovah’s Witnesses are on the way to perdition.” Gigi’s ridiculous views on homosexuality have been evident for years. In the past he has cancelled a transfer because he thought the player was homosexual, saying, “I would rather dissolve the club than allow a gay to join Steaua.” In 2008, when accused of attempting to bribe players from fellow Romanian side Cluj, Gigi claimed that an intercepted suitcase containing €1.7million was for “chocolate and lollipops”. And this is just a sprinkling of Becali madness. For more, chuck his name into any decent search engine.
A way with words, Mike Tyson (black shorts) Getty Images
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
Bringing home the Beckham
In light of LA Galaxy lifting the MLS Cup, Charlie Scott looks at England legend David Beckham’s American adventure, and assesses the impact ‘Golden Balls’ has had in the U.S
David Beckham holds aloft the MLS making the U.S the third country where he has won the top prize. Getty Images
Back of the net Video of the week
On November 20 2011, MLS league executive’s dreams came true. There, exhausted in the centre of the pitch at a packed Home Depot Center in California, stood David Beckham, effectively the league’s mascot, hoisting aloft the MLS Cup in the �inal year of his contract at LA Galaxy. Beckham could not have wished for a sweeter �inale. A hamstring injury picked up in the build-up to the game had threatened to rule the mid�ielder out of the �inal, but Beckham, perhaps realising that this might be his last appearance for LA Galaxy, fought through the pain barrier, and played a vital role in the match-winning goal scored by Landon Donovan. The game itself failed to live up to its promise, but the outcome was such that any disappointment at the level of play was overshadowed by the poignancy and seeming inevitability of Beckham leading his side to victory. Upon arriving in LA back in 2007, Beckham was fully aware of the task at hand, and though he spoke at the time of how he did not think his arrival was ‘going to make soccer the biggest sport in America’, his career has had a profound effect on the league. In his four-and-a-half years in America, the popularity of ‘soccer’ stateside has exploded, with average attendance �igures for MLS games greater than those of their supposedly more illustrious counterparts, the NBA and NBL in their last full seasons. Average attendance is up 7% to 17,872, with the 17,000 mark only previously being passed in the inaugural season back in 1996. That average attendance of 17,872 is more than some established footballing nations in Europe attract, in-
Tweet of the week
-@JackWilshere “All spurs fans buzzing that they are ahead of us in the league (for once). Its a marathon, not a sprint! I tell you what at the end of the season if spurs �inish above arsenal I will give £3000 to charity and if arsenal �inish above spurs every spurs fan that follows me must send me a pound each and I will give it to @Jack_Marshall_ charity! Do we have a deal THFC fans!?”
During the third quarter of Baltimore Ravens’ 31-24 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, referee Ron Winter was caught up right in the thick of the action. As players from both sides attempted to gain possession of the ball
near the end-zone, Winter became entangled, and was eventually completely buried under the considerable mass of 10 or so American footballers. Poor guy.
1.) Other than Barcelona who is the only other team to have gone 27 games without a loss in Europe? 2.) Which Formula One driver has won the most Brazilian Grand Prix? 3.) How many pairs of brothers took part in last weekend’s Golf World Cup? 4.) Who was Monica Seles’s opponent when she was stabbed in the back by a spectator in 1993? 5.) Other than David Beckham, who is the only other English footballer to win a top division medal in three countries?
1) West Ham; 2) Magdalena Maleeva; 3) three; (18 between 2006-2010); 4) Magdalena Maleeva); 5) Trevor Steven
NFL referee Ron Winter gets burried in Ravens game -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9tKFtQ5TZU
cluding Portugal (10,081) and Russia resulting in fewer goals, but a greater (12,332), and is not far away from all-round input for the team. His asmatching the likes of World Cup win- sists column emphasises this. ning nations Holland (19,116) and As his contract at LA Galaxy reaches France (19,650)*. its expiry, Beckham has offers from Though there are other factors that elsewhere, particularly in Europe, have impacted on this increased aver- and while he has pointedly said that age attendance, including the intro- he may stay in the MLS, the general duction of clubs with some consider- consensus is that he will move back able �inancial clout that can attract to Europe. The Qatari-backed PSG players and build large stadiums, have made noises about taking BeckBeckham’s role in promoting the ham to Paris, a move Victoria will no sport and the league on a domestic doubt emphatically support, while and international level should not be A.C. Milan are also rumoured to be overlooked. While attendances are interested in securing the services of up in the MLS, interest in the league the 36-year-old. from abroad has also increased, He said in 2007, “I’m coming with many of the national papers there not to be a superstar. in Britain reporting on LA GalI’m coming there to be part of axy’s win, something that would the team, to work hard and not have happened �ive years to hopefully win things. ago. With me, it’s about footOn an individual level, and this ball. I’m coming there may come as quite a shock to to make a difference. some considering Beckham I’m coming there has played for some of the to play football…” top clubs in European football, Beckham has not this season could be cononly achieved the sidered as one of modest aims he the most successset out to, he ful of his career. has also been Played 27, scored the perfect �igtwo and assisted 13. ure to lead the Before moving to LA GalMLS into a new axy, between 1995 and era. 2007, Beckham played Beckham, for once in more games each the reluctant superseason than he did for star, can leave MLS LA Galaxy this year, with his head held yet never provided so high. Getty Images many assists. As Beckham has grown older *All �igures reland his pace has evant to 2010waned, he has had 2011 season. to adapt his game,
This week in history
Nov 29 1984, Intra Mural: Castle Leazes second 15 beat Kirkley Hall 10-4 on a “Somme-like pitch.” Dec 3 1995, World: Jack Russell takes 11 catches in Test Cricket v South Africa, a record. Dec 1 1984, World: Greg Page KOs Gerrie Coetzee in round eight for the WBA Heavyweight boxing title. Nov 30 1995, BUCS: Newcastle football thirds played out a 4-4 draw with Durham, despite being 3-0 midway through the second half.
Compiled by Charlie Scott
30 Nov 1976- Josh Lewsey Josh Lewsey, former England rugby union international, part of the 2003 World Cup winning squad. 1 Dec 1964- Salvatore ‘Toto’ Schillaci. Former Italy football international, top-scorer at the 1990 World Cup with 6 goals.
2 Dec 1973- Monica Seles Former World No. 1 female tennis player, she remains the youngest ever winner of the French Open, after winning it in 1990.
Back our four brave English sides not to lose in the Europa League this week. A four-game accumulator backing Spurs and Stoke to win at home against PAOK Salonika and Dynamo Kiev respectively, with draws for Fulham and Birmingham away to Twente and Braga gives odds of 36-1. (Odds from William Hill)
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
Second half Hendo revival K.Os Medics
Watson completes stunning �ightback to hand incumbent champions their �irst defeat of the season
Intra Mural Football Division One (Weds)
Newcastle Medics 1sts 3 Henderson Hall
Josh Duf�ield at Longbenton 3G Shaun Watson broke Medics hearts as his brace helped Henderson come back from three goals down to clinch an unlikely victory on a cold, late autumn afternoon at Longbenton. The Medics had been in �ine form prior to the break, with Johnny Emms, Ben Emmerson and Ramin Leylabi all �inding the back of the net, and had looked like enjoying a comfortable victory before letting it slip away in the second half. Several of the Medics team can consider themselves unfortunate to have found themselves on the losing team, but whoever gave Henderson’s team talk at half time deserves no small amount of credit for inspiring their second half performance. The game started at high tempo with both teams obviously raring to go in the 3.45pm kick-off. Henderson’s Armani Zafar embodied the nature of the game with a rapid, purposeful run in the opening minutes before
his team-mate Matthew Tollefson spurned the �irst opportunity of the match; Tollefson made space for himself nicely in the penalty box, sending Medics defenders to the �loor with some fancy footwork before blazing over the bar. The next 10 minutes must have seemed like a blur to the Henderson mid�ield who were completely bypassed as the game turned in Medics’ favour. After an untidy goal-mouth scramble resulted in a Medics corner, Johnny Emms was on hand to head past Rory Davies in the Henderson goal, scoring the �irst of a double salvo. Only minutes later, the impressive Matt Anderson collected Theo Adjetey’s knock-on down the left wing before squaring to Emmerson who doubled the lead with a tidy �inish into the far corner. At this point, Joel English was giving Henderson right back Shaun Decesare a torrid time and English thought he’d reaped the reward for his endeavour, only for the referee’s whistle to deny him a deserved goal. Undeterred by this setback English set up another opportunity, this time for Adjetey who forced a �ine save from Davies as the Medics piled on the pressure and peppered Davies’ goal. Their third goal �inally came courtesy of some poor set-piece defending; allowing Leylabi the opportunity to smash home; midway through the �irst half and the Medics were cruising.
Henderson were handed a lifeline when striker Liam McAlister was brought down in the box and mid�ielder Lewis Jones made no mistake with the spot kick, leaving the score at 3-1 at the halfway point. This seemed like a consolation goal at the time but it kick-started the men in orange who forced themselves back into the game and as the wind began to drop, their searching balls started to �ind their targets (although their luminous orange strip may have helped in the dimming light). Decesare crowned a much-improved second half display with an inch-perfect cross from deep which found Watson’s forehead and the back of the net in quick succession. Mike Scott then hit a venomous shot through a crowded penalty box which the Medics ‘keeper, known only as Dale, was unable to stop and to the disbelief of the opposition, Henderson had drawn level. With the momentum on Henderson’s side, Watson produced the winner when he again headed in, this time from a corner. The Medics had struggled to deal with Henderson’s front two throughout the second period and although they piled on the pressure in the closing minutes, Henderson held on to record a remarkable comeback and show their title credentials; the Medics, incumbent champions, were sent crashing back down to earth after their impressive victory over BarcaLaw-Na last week.
The Medics wall crumbles along with their three goal lead in the second half Photography: Moises Bedrossian
Hodgson masterclass downs Leazes Intra Mural Football Division One (Weds) Aftermath
Pete Watts at Cochrane Park With only a win and a draw between the bottom two sides in division one, this tie was a six pointer if ever there was one. It was a revived Aftermath who claimed a vital win in this basement battle, leaving Castle Leazes wondering where their next points are going to come from. On the back of a few hammerings, Aftermath captain Pete Watts took a bold decision to drop star man Rob Shelton and vice-captain Joel Hawkins. It appeared to pay off however as they made a bright start to the game, with striker Oli Golzari forcing a great save from the Leazes keeper, who tipped his low shot round the post. The pace of Aftermath continued to cause problems though, with winger Pete Hodgson making several �ine runs down the left. Dave Eccles should have had a penalty when he was blatantly pulled down from behind in the box but the referee failed to spot it, although it’s hard to spot anything stood in the centre circle. Aftermath �inally broke the deadlock after Eccles connected with a great cross from man-of-the-match Hodgson.
Hodgson works his magic down the wing in Aftermath’s victory Photography: Hubert Lam
Aftermath continued to pile on the pressure and the second goal came soon after the �irst when the versatile Ryan O’Toole played a long ball from the back, putting Eccles through to expertly dispatch his second of the game. This appeared to rally Leazes as they pushed for a way back into the
game, however they were lacking the �inal ball every time as the Aftermath defence dealt with anything thrown at them. It was soon 3-0 after the tireless Golzari found himself one-on-one with the keeper before unsel�ishly cutting it back to Hodgson, who calmly slotted it home for his �irst goal
since his transfer from Roman Villa in the summer window. Eccles completed his hat-trick just before half time after some great composure from mid�ielder Greg ‘David Luiz’ Dickens. The second half started more evenly as Leazes appeared to up their game, although it remained 4-0 for some
time. Eventually debutant Alex Jones got something on a Leazes corner and the team appeared buoyed by this despite still being three goals down, and piled the pressure on in search of a comeback. Aftermath became a little sloppy, with Leazes creating a few good chances, threatening to get back in the game. There were some worried faces on the touchline when Leazes were awarded a penalty for a shove in the back from centre-back Liam Jordan; the defender quick to dispute the decision, calling it ‘laughable’ while Aftermath’s veteran defender Matt Buckley said it was a ‘blatant pen’. Sam Turner calmly tucked away the penalty, giving keeper Dan Turner no chance. Despite not having too long left to play it was game on at 4-2. However Leazes hopes were dashed just a few minutes later when an Aftermath corner, which appeared to have been cleared, was nodded back across by the Aftermath skipper Watts leading to Jordan making up for his penalty concession by nodding home from close range to make it 5-2. It was effectively game over and although Leazes continued to look the better side late on, they couldn’t close the gap any further. Watts will be delighted with the improvement of his team and will be looking to carry this form into tougher �ixtures in the coming weeks and says he hopes the return to �itness of left back JP ’James Perch’ Quinn will give them that extra quality. Castle Leazes are now adrift at the bottom of the table, although the spirit of the team in the second half was promising.
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
Thistle burst Shagther’s balloon Intra Mural Football Division Three (Weds) Shagther Senseless
Captain Nick Graham lead his Politic side to victory at Longbenton Photography: Hubert Lam
Robbie Cachia at Longbenton In a heavily anticipated third versus second place match up, Politic Thistle ran out deserved winners in a closely fought match that could have a serious baring on the destination of the Third Division title as the chasing pack desperately tries to keep up with Roman Villa and their 100 per cent record. In the late night kick off, under the �loodlights at Longbenton 3G, both teams started brightly by playing neat passes smoothly running along the trusty 3G surface, creating a few half chances falling either way but neither team dominating. The �irst chance came in the 20th minute, Shagther picking up the tempo, were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box as referee Steve Catchpole judged the keeper to have handled outside the box. With the wall set, Garrood hit the free kick sweetly, the keeper parrying away only to Grosvenor gambling at the back post, who pounced on the rebound, �inishing for what Shagther believed to be the opener. However Catchpole called for a retake, as he deemed it to have been taken too early, in the only contentious decision of the night, the resulting free kick was
de�lected wide. This seemed to give Shagther con�idence and they began to dictate the game in the middle, pressing for the opener, which came courtesy of a brilliant sweeping move. Georgihno and Montgomery played some nice interlinking down the right before an excellent �lick from Grosvenor put Montgomery one on one with the left
back, who he left for dead before providing an excellent cut back to Tomlinson who struck a sweet shot into the top left hand corner, leaving the keeper with no chance. On 35 minutes Shaghter suffered a blow as Declan Ferry, who had struggled to get into the game, went down with an injury after a bad challenge. Shagther will want to see their star
man back as soon as possible. Shagther looked good for their lead and looked like they would go in at half time deservedly in the lead. However with a minute left before half time, Montgomery who had made such a contribution to Shagther’s opener, made an uncharacteristic error in the wrong place as Politic striker James Dunn capitalised on the mistake to slot home neatly and bring his team level before the break. Shagther came out for the second half looking slightly de�lated having thrown away a hard fought lead with one mistake. Thistle on the other hand came out with their heads up and dominated the second half, unable to capitalise from their pressure, with Lamont in goal having another stand out performance keeping Nick Graham and his men at bay. The third goal did come 20 minutes into the half as Politic captain Graham pushed forward in mid�ield to deliver a great through ball to Josh Slater who struck a sweet �inish to put his side in front for the �irst time in the match. Shagther tried to get back into the game but even reverting to three at the back they only created one �inal opportunity to drag themselves level, Garrood missing a header at the back post. It looked more likely Politic would score their third rather than a Shagther equaliser. In the end Politic Thistle ended deserved winners in an extremely competitve game of football, cementing their postion as main challengers to Roman Villa’s quest of Third Division domination. Shagther will need to regroup and focus on their cup run and their rematch with Galaticos, where they will be looking for revenge.
Unnatural disaster for Hurricanes Medics 2nds maintain lead at the top after second half demolition
Intra Mural Football Division Two (Weds) The Hurricanes
Newcastle Medics 2nds 5 Harry Slavin at Close House The Hurricanes second half horrors continued at Close House as they contrived to throw away a half time lead for the third time this season. Meanwhile Medics 2nds’ impressive �ivegoal revival ensures that they keep a �irm grip on top spot in the division and maintain their unbeaten start to the campaign. On an uncomfortably uneven surface both, teams had to deal with the unpredictability of the ball, a factor that caught out just about every player on the pitch at some point and which also played a key role in the majority of the goals. In fairness The Hurricanes and Medics both coped admirably with the conditions in the opening half, both teams able to get the ball down and create decent chances. The �irst fell to The Hurricanes centre forward Chris McCrory but the pint sized Irishman could only �ire wide from a tight angle. Will Hollis in The Hurricanes goal made a few smart stops to keep the
Medics at bay but neither keeper was seriously tested in the opening stages. As well as the pitch, both teams had to contend with a number of bizarre refereeing decisions, non-existent fouls and phantom handballs perplexing both sets of players. The deadlock was broken midway through the �irst half as the surface claimed the assist for The Hurricanes opener. A decent through ball from mid�ielder Mark Smith seemed too heavy for Andy Thomas to get near, however as keeper Phil Morris came out to clear the Medics lines, the ball bobbled over his foot and allowed Thomas the easiest of tasks to slot the ball home into an empty net to put The Hurricanes one goal to the good. The Hurricanes had chances to increase their lead before the break but once again failed to �ind the target and force a save from Morris, Chris Adams wasting the best opportunity; the sluggish wing back heading over from Harry Slavin’s pinpoint cross when unmarked. As what is fast becoming the norm however, this was as good as life got for The Hurricanes as they once again failed to turn up for the second half. The reoccurrence of a second half collapse was exploited to full advantage by Medics 2nds and they found themselves level within ten minutes of the break as they pounced on The Hurricanes numerous lapses in concentration. The equaliser came about from a defensive error as Will Lawrence failed
to deal with a long ball over the top, his hesitation allowing medics forward Jamie Pav to pinch the ball and send a low shot past Will Hollis in goal. Hurricanes captain Nick Gibby began to make changes throughout the second half and one of his decisions was to bring on Joe Moffat, the winger almost making an instant impact. The feather light super sub �loated down the left hand side before cutting in and sending a rasping effort into the side netting. Hurricanes attacking threat waned after Moffat’s effort and Medics dominance began to materialise, although there second goal came courtesy of further calamitous defending from the Blue and White’s back line. Trying to compose themselves on the ball, the defence struggled under pressure and a weak back pass was intercepted by Dave MacMillan to put his side in front for the �irst time. Medics 2nds never looked back after this and a third goal soon saw Hurricanes heads drop as a free kick into the box was spilled by Hollis, providing Pav with the simplest of tasks to strengthen his teams position. The fourth goal arrived in the most bizarre of circumstances as the referee continued his attempts to baf�le both sets of players with incredulously poor decisions. The man in the middle appeared to give The Hurricanes a free-kick when James Butler was hauled down in the centre circle, holding out his arm to seemingly in-
dicate an infringement, however having not blown his whistle The Medics continued to gallop up the pitch past a static Hurricanes side and Pav put the ball in the net to complete his hat-trick. The goal stood, much to the disbelief of the entire Hurricanes side and a few bystanders who voiced their confusion at what had unfolded in front of them. The Medics compounded their opponent’s misery with only �ive minutes left, a �lowing move down the left hand side was completed by a �ine �inish from MacMillan to complete a stunning second half performance. Medics 2nds are still comfortably top of the Second Division after their turnaround while The Hurricanes will be looking over their shoulder to make sure their not dragged into a relegation dog �ight.
Photography: Sam Tyson
The Secret Intra Mural Footballer #7 Referees
As the ongoing debate surrounding the introduction of goal line technology to Intra Mural football rumbles on, with more calls in recent weeks for a complete overhaul of the current system, additional grievances with recent refereeing performances are beginning to be voiced. Verbal jousting between of�icials and coaching staff is commonplace on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons at Longbenton and Close House, with the standard of refereeing, particularly in the lower Intra Mural leagues, being reminiscent of a blind man being given a whistle to play with. Last week my team were the victim of some outrageous decision-making from the man in black. After one of our attacking mid�ielders (we play a 4-2-3-1 formation, as all the great teams do) won a tackle in the opposition’s half, his momentum in the challenge caused the ball to run all the way back, the whole length of our half, to our ‘keeper, who rightly picked the ball up. Unbelievably the referee deemed it a back pass, despite there being neither any intent from our player to put the ball anywhere near our keeper or an appeal from the opposition for a free-kick. Fortunately the opposition failed to capitalise on such a gift, yet what was perhaps even more infuriating than the initial wrong decision, was the fact that when the opposition’s keeper picked up a deliberate backpass in the second half, the referee was nowhere to be seen. Throughout the game, the anonymous referee, who I have never seen before, and hope never to see again, was some distance behind play and quite often looking the wrong way during a performance that prompted fury from players on both sides. I am a big fan of the FA’s Respect campaign, and genuinely think it is a shame that so many players in the professional league’s fail to adhere to it. I appreciate that referees have a dif�icult job and should be given the respect that their importance within the game merits. But at Intra Mural level, the of�icials don’t have players surrounding them, demanding decisions, and making crude hand gestures to instigate the showing of a card, all they have to do is referee the game fairly. And they so often don’t manage to. Far more often than not it seems that the men we trust, and pay, to of�iciate our games just don’t give a sh*t. With the games coming thick and fast as we approach the Christmas break, vital points are being decided by refereeing decisions, and if their performances continue at the current substandard level, then the sometimes verbally abusive grievances of players and managers are inevitable. Respect is a two-way process.
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
Strong Ladies dominate farmers Intra Mural Rugby Union Agrics 2 Cheeky Ladies
Christopher Etchells at Close House After a mixed start to the season, the Cheeky Ladies got their season back on track this week with a comfortable 25-0 win over Agrics 2 at Close House, running in four tries without really having to get out of fourth gear. The game started with the Ladies quickly setting up camp in the Agrics half, captain Danny Price setting the tone with some strong carries. After 10 minutes, hooker Rory Gibson was found on the wing but the covering Agrics defence put him into touch just short of the line. The Cheekies stole the resulting line out and drove over for the games opening try, with Gibson touching down. The first half though was blighted by individual mistakes on both sides and as a result both teams found it difficult to get into a rhythm. While the Cheeky Ladies were keen to keep ball in hand, the Agrics stuck to a game plan of using their forwards before resorting to the boot of their fly half, attempting to pin the Cheekies deep into their own half. However, the Cheekies wings and in particular full-back Neil Gordon counter-attacked well. Midway through the first half Rory Banks went over for the second try
Cheeky strolled past a lacklusture Agrics side Photography: Sam Tyson
of the game after good work from the Ladies forwards. Both sides made a number of changes after the break, the Agrics strengthening their pack resulting in a far better performance from their forwards. The Cheekies continued to dominate possession and territory however and after moving up field the ball was
spread wide allowing outside centre Chris Etchells to go over in the corner untouched. The moment of the game came with 15 minutes remaining. Again the Ladies worked their way upfield where flanker Joe Forster broke through the defence before producing a side-step that Shane Williams would be proud
of, to round the full-back and score under the posts. The conversion took the score to 25-0. In all it was a mixed game from both sides. The Agrics, as ever, worked for the full 80 minutes and were much improved in the second half. The Cheekies will take confidence from the power they showed in the scrum,
winning almost every one against the feed, and also the manner of the win despite rarely playing to their best. Crucially, it ends a run of three straight defeats for the Ladies ahead of their clash with the unbeaten incumbent champions Titans next week.
Division Two (Bottom)
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
Football Wednesday 11-a-side
Intra Mural Netball round-up
Intra Mural W D L F A <<<<>>> round-up 6 5 0 1 93 38
Barca Law Na
Newcastle Medics 1sts
Leazes Ladies RRB1
Net Assets Biology Netball
Aftermath Castle Leazes
Dyslexic Untied Barca Law Na
Newcastle Medics 1sts Henderson Hall
Agrics B CHS
Top Goalscorers 7: Jamie Hurworth (Barca) 7: Chris McKee (Barca) 6: Dave Eccles (Aftermath) 5: Dave Edwards (Medics) 4: Chris Kay (Medics)
CHS Uni Hockey
Newcastle Medics 2nds
The History Girls
Ar U Shavin A Laugh
Ar U Shavin A Laugh Boroussia Forsyth
The Hurricanes Newcastle Medics 2nds
Ecosoccer Newhist FC
Lokomotiv Boca Seniors
12: Zack Goddard (Ecosoccer) 10: Josh Batham (Ecosoccer) 9: Archie Norman (Forsyth) 8: Jake Wimshurst (Shavin) 7: Adam Duckworth (H’canes)
24 Polly’s Dollies 4 The History Girls
Chem Eng NUSSC
Intra Mural 7-a-side Football
Rugby Union Division 1 Team
Roman Villa FC
Brown Magic FC
New Uni Freshers
Brown Magic FC Combined Honours
Jesmondino FC NCL Galacticos
Politic Thistle Shagther Senseless
Roman Villa FC Newcastle Dynamos
Top Goalscorers 9: James Dunn (P Thistle) 8: Ollie Grifﬁths (Roman Villa) 6: Lewis Cockerill (B Magic) 6: Rob Grady (Roman Villa) 5: Tom Islip (Roman Villa)
The 5pm-6pm league has a completely different look to it after Architecture’s results, or rather lack of them, were expunged from the records this week due to them not having �ielded a team since their opening day defeat to Agrics. While it does not affect league positions particularly, it does mean that one team each week will have no �ixture to play. Still leading the way in that league are the undefeated Netball Ninjas, who were the team to miss out on a match this week. Agrics ensured that losing their opening day win hasn’t led to them losing touch of the Ninjas however, thrashing CHS 24-4. At the other end of the table, The History Girls are still winless after losing 13-2 to Polly’s Dollies. The Dollies are now third in the table, four points clear of both NUSSC and Chem Eng who played out a low scoring match that ended with the Ski Society winning by the odd goal in nine for just their second victory of the season. In the earlier league a shortage of players appeared to be the order of day as Agrics B had to cancel their match with CHS. Their opposition did not �ind out until after they had arrived at the Sports Centre, but this worked in the favour of both Mansoc and Leazes Ladies who borrowed some of the Combiners after �inding themselves unable to �ield full teams on their own. Both sides won their matches too, the latter narrowly beating Biology Netball 8-7, while the former beat bottom of the league RRB1 16-6. RRB1, unusually, now �ield a male player amongst their ranks which is certainly a rare occurrence at this level. In the biggest game of the day Uni Hockey beat Net Assets 14-10 to go clear at the top of the league. Having now won �ive of their opening six matches, Uni Hockey look good bets for staying top too if they can maintain their impressive form.
Agrics 2 Cheeky Ladies
Medics Southern Fairies
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The Wednesday evening 7-a-side competition edges towards its conclusions as the �inal round of games before the play-offs decided which four teams in each league would progress to the quarter-�inal stages. In the 5.30-6.45pm league, FC Jagerbomb needed a win in their �inal game against Sons of Pitches to secure �irst place, having beaten second-placed SS Ladzio the previous week. They ended their league campaigns with 5-2 and 2-0 wins respectively, thereby cementing their places in �irst and second going into the knockout phase. The two other teams to advance from this division were the �ierce History rivals, The History Boys and Newhist FC, with the History Boys clinching bragging rights in the department by beating Newhist in their last game of the season. In the later 6.45-8.30pm league, Not In Your Mum’s Forest sealed �irst place ahead of Smegma courtesy of their impressive +21 goal difference, with a 7-0 win in their �inal game against the aptly named Farcenal demonstrating their attacking prowess. Forest and Smegma boasted the meanest defences in the division, conceding just eight goals, but the former’s 29 goals scored ensures that they march into the quarter-�inals as hot favourites to win the title. Eleventh Heaven and the delightfully named Muf�in Crushers grabbed the �inal two play-off places, with just a single point separating �irst from fourth in that league.
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
Durham dominate at Heaton
Seven second-half tries sees incumbent champions to big win and bring Royals back down to earth
Men’s Rugby Union Newcastle 1sts Durham 1sts
Nick Gabriel at Heaton Sports Ground Last Wednesday, Newcastle’s Rugby Union 1st XV were sent crashing back down to earth following the derby win in their previous BUCS fixture, slumping to a heavy 61-20 defeat at the hands of a ruthless Durham side. Few had given the home side much of a chance against a Durham outfit that boasted an impeccable 100% record in the BUCS Premier North A League, with five wins from five. Unsurprisingly therefore, it was the away side that started by far the brighter, and were rewarded for their early pressure when a neat move resulted in the ball being touched down in the corner. Although the following conversion was missed, the away side had taken an early 5-0 lead. The Uni outfit, who have been in good form themselves of late, wining their last two BUCS encounters, were not to be disheartened. Indeed, they managed to find their way back into the game soon after. As Durham looked set to break through again, the ball was knocked on. The Royals went on to take full advantage as a quick shifting of the ball enabled the impressive Rory Bell, fresh from his try-scoring display in the Poly game, to break through the makeshift Durham backline to touch down. Although the conversion was missed by fly-half Richard WalkerTaylor, the Royals had, momentarily, fought their way back into the contest. Durham proceeded to hit back strongly however, as a well-worked lineout created a rolling maul that moved quickly through the home side’s 22. As the maul reached the tryline, the away side’s flanker broke away from the body of his forwards to force his way over before, once again, a tricky conversion was missed. There was no sign of an end to the
Out of reach: despite a spirited first-half, Newcastle suffered their first defeat in three matches. Photography: Turlough Donnelly
frantic opening stages of the affair as the home side responded quickly, and in dramatic fashion. With the Royals retaining possession of the ball in midfield, winger David Swetman took it upon himself to produce an incredible solo effort. The number 11 skipped effortlessly through the away side’s backs before scoring directly beneath the posts.
Walker-Taylor then made the simple conversion, taking the home side into the lead for the first, and only, time in the game. The Royals’ joy was short-lived, however, as Durham’s attacking flare saw the away outfit retake the lead soon after. On this occasion, the Uni side eventually succumbed to a spell of sustained pressure when the oppo-
sition winger forced his way over. Although the Royals replied quickly via the boot of Walker-Taylor, who did well to slot a penalty from just outside the opposition 22, Durham’s dominance of the first half’s latter stages paid further dividends moments later. This time, another flowing move saw them score once more, giving the away outfit a 20-15 lead at
the interval. A great amount of credit must go to the Royals for staying within touching distance of a merciless Durham side. It would appear that a gruelling first half had taken its toll on the Uni side, as the unrelenting away outfit went on to run amok for the entirety of the second period. Certainly, the visitors showed exactly why they were crowned BUCS National Champions for the 2010/11 season in the 40 minutes that followed, as an incredible display of attacking rugby completely blew the Royals’ defence away. The away outfit enjoyed almost total domination of the second half, scoring seven unanswered tries, three of which were converted, to take a commanding 61-15 lead. There was one bright point for the few remaining loyal supporters of the Royals who had stayed to watch the mauling. Durham were made to pay for trying to run the ball out of their own 22, largely uncharted territory for the hosts in the second period, when winger Jo Beckett did well to intercept a looping pass before proceeding to run the ball in for the Royals’ solitary second half score. Indeed, the home side’s misery was compounded further late on, when Paddy Irwin was shown a straight red for violent conduct. Frustration got the better of Irwin, as the fullback reacted angrily to a dangerous dump tackle from one of the Durham backs. Speaking after the game, Director of Rugby Tom Wilkinson was, understandably, disappointed with the result, but was pleased with the fight his players showed overall. “I’m delighted with the way the lads performed in the first half,” he said. “We did well to keep tabs on an excellent Durham side, even if it was only for 40 minutes.” The coach then went on to note the importance of not letting the result have a lasting psychological effect on his side. “It’s a matter of picking ourselves up now, and looking ahead to the next fixture.”
Duathlon debut NUAXC take on Braid Hills Alex Rickart
Having been inaugurated this year, the Newcastle University Triathlon Club entered their first competition this month. The British Universities Duathlon took place in Castle Combe, marking the 2010-11 season’s close. 14 hardy souls embarked on the journey to the far south to tackle what would prove to be a hotly contended sprint distance race. The formula of a two mile run, followed by a ten mile time trial on the bike and finished with another couple of miles on foot, all set on a course generally on the level was one that as anticipated, produced a searing pace. In the first wave the womens’ title was contested and the first run split the pack quickly; Newcastle’s Amy Jessett setting the early pace. Being strong on the bike too was well rewarded and there was a plethora of carbon frames to placate certain club members’ unhealthy bike fascinations racked in the transition area, to aid the top athletes time trial efforts.
Disaster struck for Jessett however as she crashed out two laps into the bike leg, an incident which resulted in her receiving a flattering set of stitches on her chin. This left just one other Newcastle female, Amy Hodges, but she was quick to pick up the slack racing strongly to achieve a top 20 finish. In the second wave were the men and again the pace was forced from the off, but again Newcastle’s athletes relished the pace of the forerunners and more than held their own. After an express bike leg the second run was a hard slog but both Rob Clark and Rowan Landon kept on pushing into the red resulting in top thirty finishes in a high quality field. These great team performances capped off a brilliant weekend for the team and have provided motivation for the hard off-season training to come. Needless to say this marks the competitive beginning of the club and if this weekend’s results are anything to go by, they are sure to go on to expand and improve in producing performances of the highest calibre.
Newcastle’s cross country runners made the short journey north of the border in order to compete in the annual Braid Hills Cross Country race hosted by Edinburgh University. Local clubs and universities from all over the country, travelling from as far afield as Swansea, competed in one of the main warm up races before BUCS competition starts in February. A team of 28 made the trip from Newcastle and took on the hilly, muddy and challenging course, recording some very impressive times, with several personal bests being broken. Although the weather was surprisingly kind with the sun beating down on the course, this did nothing to prevent the course being extremely muddy and making grip difficult and posing some tough challenges. Rosie Tarbuck, the women’s cross country captain, was the first female for Team Newcastle running the 5km race in 19:59 and just missing out on a top 10 position. She also helped the
women’s A team finish in fifth place overall, with Jo Armstead and Bobbi Philips the other members to contribute towards Newcastle’s success. Overall the race was won by Claire Ward of the HBT club in a time of 18:34. Seven Newcastle runners finished inside the top 50, with an eighth - Suzi Spencer - just one second outside. In the Men’s longer 10km race, Seb Bodger narrowly pipped Joe Turner over the finish line, with only three seconds between their times, to be the first Newcastle runner over the line in 29th position, recording a time of 36:33. Turner finished two places back in 31st. These two were also key members of the men’s A team who finished ninth out of 35, with Joel English (37:24) and Joe Wales (38:15) completing the team. In total, seven of Newcastle’s runners were placed inside the top 100 finishers. The men’s race was won by Niall Sheehan of the Lasswade Athletics Club in a very quick time of 32:35. On an overall note Newcastle were
recognised as ‘the largest team competing’ which shows how much the club has grown in recent years. After the race, a well-deserved social was enjoyed by those that had raced. Even though the organised meal consisted off a bowl of potato wedges and a few small chicken wings and the live entertainment did not turn up, the evening was enjoyed by everyone. Even with a few members unable to race, this year could be one of the most successful had by the cross country team based on these early signs.
The Courier Online Check out The Courier Online every week for all of the latest Intra Mural and University sport reports, including web exclusive articles at www.thecourieronline.co.uk
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
Undefeated NWR break Hallam hearts Women’s Rugby
Newcastle 1sts Sheffield Hallam 1sts
Sofie Raine at Cochrane Park On a cold, windy day at Cochrane Park the so far undefeated Womens’ Rugby Firsts lined up against Sheffield Hallam. The visitors, who were level on points with Newcastle prior to the match, kicked off and NWR immediately launched a counter attack, taking a good kick and running the ball into the Hallam 22. The pressure from the Royals was such that the ball was stuck in the opposition 22, with two scrums kept within reach of the tryline. While Sheffield forced errors in the NWR back line, the forwards rucked back the ball frequently and the pressure paid off when simple hands out to speedy winger Livvy Coombs led to the first try of the match. A sudden gust of wind denied kicker Phoebe Lebrecht the extra two points, blowing the ball wide but Newcastle held a 5-0 lead. After the restart the speed and skill of NWR was clearly shown again with prop Charlotte Flint expertly catching the ball. Some good offloads and strong running returned the ball straight back into Hallam territory. Miscommunications led to some scrum downs and Sheffield regained the ball from a scrum inside their own 22. A loose pass was well intercepted by Holly Malins however, who scored a try under the posts. This was converted by Lebrecht, whose kicking skills have kept the scoreboard ticking over constantly during this seasons BUCS matches, to give Newcastle a good 12-0 lead after just 15 minutes. Sheffield may have been shocked by the white line dominance of the backs but they didn’t let it get to them and constantly placed pressure on NWR with both forward and backs balls, which has been rare in this league so far since most teams just use their big forwards to wear down the very small forward pack of NWR. If scrum weights were done NWR would be 100kg lighter than most forward packs in this division. They were further hindered by being offside on more than one occasion and also by a number of other odd and confusing calls from the referee. As a result they racked up the penalty count in a similar manner to England at this year’s World Cup, so much so
Women’s rugby continued their BUCS winning streak by bagging their fifth win of the season in a 38-0 whitewash of Sheffield Hallam at home Photography: Hubert Lam
that they were given a last warning by the referee, with the threat that one more infringement would result in the loss of a player. The Royals kept their cool when Sheffield tested their defence however, and were ever so close to their own try line with multiple try saving tackles being made by the forwards and the backs driving Hallam away from the whitewash. This was the most physical and nerve-wracking period of the whole game, but NWR cleared their line with a beautiful kick from Lebrecht and pushed Sheffield back to halfway. A good chase gave NWR possession and simple hands out to the wing saw Coombs lead the counterattack. Probably the fastest player on the pitch, Coombs used her pace and the space that opened up before her to outrun her opposite number and
score under the posts. It was a try that was against the run of play but when Lebrecht converted, it took NWR to a 19-0 lead at half-time. The Royals used the rarely perfected technique of counter-rucking, something which the new forwards seem to have down to a tee, to regain possession from their own kick-off, and coupled with Sophie Bale’s dominance in the line outs kept Newcastle on top. Where the Royals dominated the line outs however, they struggled in the scrums and one on halfway saw Sheffield steal possession and place pressure on the hosts’ 22. Handling errors prevented a score, and Newcastle cleared to touch but were soon under more pressure when their number eight was sin-binned for being offside. It was a decision in keeping with the referee’s earlier warn-
ings about too many penalties, but in truth penalties were few and far between in the second half. Despite having just 14 players, NWR battled on for the next 10 minutes and added another try of their own through Pat Lapierre. They also improved their scrums with some new players on the pitch but still saw them spun around too often, which was tiring for both the players and spectators. Newcastle’s pace out wide was obvious though, and when Elizabeth Severs received the ball she added another try to her impressive NWR career total. Lebrecht, whose kicking standard could surpass Jonny Wilkinson’s in the World Cup, converted the try. It was closely followed by another from Malins who only got her second try of the game close to full time and didn’t get her usual hat-trick. Lebre-
cht again converted to take the score to 38-0. Sadly the game ended in unfortunate circumstances when a player from Sheffield ran to charge down the kick and fell awkwardly in one of the many divots in the pitch and broke her leg. Sheffield nominated her as the back of the match afterwards, which shows how big a loss she will be and NWR wish her a full and speedy recovery in the RVI.
Results so far v Chester Uni 47-0 (W) v Northumbria Uni 22-7 (W) v Teeside Uni 10-5 (W) v Leeds Uni 36-0 (W) v Sheffield Hallam 38-0 (W)
Royals offer Bishops last minute blessing First win of season denied by three goals in final 15 from 10 man opposition
continued from back page
Newcastle 3rds Bishop Burton 1sts
Chris Ritson at Longbenton 3G The Royals came into this match without a win in the league this campaign and the poor run of form seemed set to continue as the Burton number nine converted a cross from close range with just 30 seconds gone.
However, this kickstarted Newcastle into life who immediately replied when Tim Rakshi cut inside to smash the ball home from 20 yards, leaving the ‘Sixth form college’ keeper stranded at his near post. With Newcastle now bombing forward on both flanks, they were left short at the back which Burton soon took full advantage of. A quick break lead to a pinpoint cross which left an easy header for the Burton central midfielder, leaving the Royals’ keeper bemused by the lack of defensive cover. With this disappointment quickly put behind them by new captain Chris
Burt’s leadership qualities, Newcastle finally began to play the free-flowing football that comes naturally to them. After a sweeping cross field move, Tim Rakshi was able to convert from close range to claim his second of the game. This equaliser began a complete Alamo-like bombardment upon the Burton goal which led to Newcastle coming in at half time 4-2 up after further sublime finishes from the right boots of Rakshi and lone striker Will Marks. Newcastle came out in complete control at the beginning of the second half and the constant threat of Rishi Dhand and EJ Elmodori led to
further chances for the Royals, which they failed to execute. These misses let Burton back in to the game and after a lack of concentration from Newcastle, a pop shot from range was allowed to trickle over the line, giving Burton hope. This hope, however, was soon extinguished with fine finishes from the ever instrumental Rakshi and Marks who formed a lethal partnership in the attacking third for the Royals’ outfit. The game then descended into a fiery encounter with Eddie King and Rakshi both getting involved in a bit of handbags in the centre of the park which resulted in Burton being re-
duced to 10 men. Rather than dishearten the away side, this numerical advantage spurred them on as Newcastle’s complacency allowed three late goals to bring a dramatic turnaround. The disappointment etched across the Royals’ faces was a clear indication of how close the side had come to their first win of the campaign. Newcastle will take some heart from the performance though, as they dominated the game in periods. Hopefully this will allow them to kick on in the league in the weeks to come.
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
Super-Mac defeats Manchester Last minute strikes blows title race wide open as Royals maintain unbeaten run Men’s Hockey
Newcastle 1sts Manchester 1sts
Michael Pollock at Longbenton
The Royals caused a major upset at Longbenton on Wednesday beating league leaders Manchester University in a thrilling encounter which has effectively opened up the title race, with only one point now separating the top four teams. Confidence has been simmering of late in the Royals dressing room and they started strongly. Newcastle city airport had to be notified as Max “The Gunshow” Underwood was throwing huge aerials out of defence that may have been a danger to passing aircrafts, and it was one of these balls that a striding Hector Hall latched onto after opening up the taps and leaving a flailing Manchester defender stranded in his wake. One delicious first touch later and the ball was soon in the back of the net courtesy of a bone-shattering strike that the unfortunate Manchester Keeper knew nothing about. Cue the celebration: a somewhat botched attempt that showed little similarity to his fine finish, a graceful striker Hall might be but this spectator is relieved to know much work is still being done behind the scenes on the dance floors of Tiger Tiger to address the celebration issue. 20 minutes into the half and Manchester were beginning to get a foothold in the game, stringing passes together and growing in confidence with every passing minute. After some conferring, the Management Team of Injury Stricken Players (MTISP) consisting of Robert Rams-
Newcastle had much to celebrate as they extended their unbeaten start to the season Photography: Moises Bedrossian
den and Michael Pollock recognised that something needed to be done quickly, so they set in motion a cunning tactical manoeuvre that simply couldn’t fail. The equalizer came within minutes, during a period of sustained pressure in the Newcastle half, and with it came the realization of Ramsden and Pollock that they should perhaps stick to cheerleading. Nevertheless, Newcastle bolstered their defensive efforts and managed to shut up shop, and it came as somewhat of a relief when the half time whistle was blown. After some inspirational words from captain John Colville, and a few minutes to get their breath back, the team rallied again for the second half with renewed determination. Fifth year
medic, captain Colville, who through some shady dealings with the University seems to have managed to put his career on hold to attend fitness classes and play hockey all day every day, appeased his attacking demons by placing himself at right back for the second half. He had some joy in the opening 10 minutes too, katbannoning his way through Manchester’s left flank. After this opening period of Newcastle pressure, the opposition got their slick passing game back in action and had a long period of sustained possession, but thanks to the tireless work of the Royals’ midfield the deadlock was not broken. Kieran “Booray” Borrett stomped his way to man of the match by break-
ing down play in the midfield at every opportunity, a role that his incredibly large feet seem tailor made for – no one quite knows just how big they are – and one which he relishes. Chandler Bing doppelganger, Ben “Beej” Bowing worked tirelessly with “Booray” in the centre of midfield to prolong Manchester’s perpetual cycle of discontent. Calum “Briefcase” Mackenzie moved into right midfield and acted as the defensive anchor that allowed for the occasional marauding overlapping run of captain Colville. Some sterling work from Newcastle’s defence kept the hungry Manchester strikers at bay, with German import goalkeeper, JayJay Linden making a number of agile stops. With five minutes to go the pressure was still mounting and the wolf-like features of Joe Cooper nearly cost Newcastle dearly as he lost possession cheaply outside the “D”, fortunately the resulting short corner was saved impressively by the ubiquitous Linden. With the final whistle approaching
Newcastle embarked on a final attack, working the ball up the left before playing it across the face of goal. The arrival of Mackenzie at the back post was a nerve-wracking experience for all, hearts were in mouths as he launched himself into a completely unnecessary dive and, fortunately, slapped the ball firmly into the bottom corner to make it 2-1 to the Royals. The crowd went wild. Cooper redeemed himself in the final few minutes by guarding the ball as an overprotective wolf might be expected to guard its cubs, winding down the clock. Unbelievable scenes greeted the final whistle, with the fans pouring onto to the pitch to congratulate the boys in blue. Captain Colville described the victory as a “Great win, no more than we deserve,” and was delighted with the performance of his entire team. He is optimistic about the future too, “It’s all to play for now, we’re in a tough league and our guys are up for the fight!”
Calum MacKenzie (left) celebrates his late winner Photography: Moises Bedrossian
Firsts win Battle of the Blades against valiant Seconds
Promotion push maintained at the Sports Centre in rare encounter between both Newcastle sides Men’s Fencing
Newcastle 1sts Newcastle 2nds
James Docherty at The Sports Centre For the first time in four years, the Men’s First team fenced the Second team in a competitive fixture. Sabre was the first weapon of the three to be fenced. It is also the weapon in which the First team have displayed recent dominance. This was no exception, with superb strikes from the team of Rob Walker, Andrew “Dixy Chick” Dixon and Tom “Southerner” Patterson leading to a massive lead. Some strong efforts from Captain Peter Stalley and Jimmy Mullen helped the score look less one-sided, but in the end the First team prevailed 45-21. With some experienced specialists in the next weapon of Foil, the Seconds hoped to rally and justify some promotions to the First team. The match started strongly, with James Docherty narrowly losing to Rob Walker 5-4 and Alex Walchester continuing his run of fine form with a 6-3
victory over Grant “Babyface” Turnbull, placing the Seconds in the lead. The weapon continued with tit-fortat scoring, the Seconds occasionally nosing ahead and hoping to rain on the First’s parade. However, after a brief injury time-out, Rob Walker found his tempo and distance, and with it a fight back, consolidated by efforts from his team mates Babyface and Dixy Chick. Eventually, the Firsts breathed a collective sigh of relief as their efforts and skill at controlling the closing legs of a match paid off and the weapon was won 45-32. Following the tooth and nail of Foil, Epee should have been a procession for the Firsts, numbering a GB under 20 and a member of the Navy Team amongst their ranks. Again, the Seconds proceeded to fight valiantly with Points and Double Hits traded during a series of frenetic bouts. George “Scouser” Flewitt; resplendent in a uniform so white it could be in a Cillit Bang advert, used his reach advantage to pick off points into his opponents preparation. Bang! And the Point is won! Some excellent hits from Jon “Ar-
The Blades’ two Men’s teams met for the first time in four years on Wednesday Photography: James Docherty
moury” Land and Alex “Not just a Foilist” Walchester kept the margin close before Firsts captain “Navy” Dan Grant stepped up and opened the gap to a safe 40-32 going into the last
match. While this should have been a formality for Dixy Chick, Anton Chan proved again why he shouldn’t be under-estimated in Epee, taking sev-
eral points until it looked like a nailbiter could be on the cards. However, the margin was too great and the First team cruised across the line, winning the weapon, and with it the match 4540. This leaves the First team unbeaten after four matches, with the Seconds on one win from three. The next matches take place after Christmas, where the First Team will hope to continue their drive for promotion and an unbeaten run.
League Table 1 Newcastle 1sts 2 Durham 3rds 3 Leeds 1sts 4 Hull 1sts 5 Sheffield 1sts 6 Bradford 1sts 7 Newcastle 2nds 8 York 2nds 9 Leeds Met 1sts
Pts: 12 Pts: 9 Pts: 6 Pts: 6 Pts: 3 Pts: 3 Pts: 3 Pts: 0 Pts: 0
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
Owls meet match at Met Unbeaten Firsts reach Poly beaten Rugby League
Leeds Met 2nds Newcastle 1sts
Daniel Caparros-Midwood in Leeds
An away match at Leeds Met saw all but one player of the Death Machine meeting at the ridiculous time of 08.30 for a mischievous coach journey. Luckily NURL talisman, Dave Knoxly managed to resist the temptation of chatting up the women’s tennis players and instead silently devised a winning strategy for the game. The �irst 20 minutes were very cruel to the Owls, as a series of handling errors allowed Leeds to convert pressure into three lacklustre tries. Even worse, NURL’s own Fredrik Ferrier lookalike, Jonah Wartinson, took a nasty elbow to the face. This seemed to infuriate the team, who were angered by this dirty attempt to bring a prospective modelling career to an early end. Industrious defence from Harry Rigsby and Mylo Myloson began to turn the tide with some big tackles forcing errors. Gargantuan Connor’s lack of a pre-match gorge on a packet of Doritos began to show with some mischievous ball rips allowing NURL to play in Leeds’ half. The calming in�luence of Chris Grif�iths dictating the backline led to Harry Rigerby scoring just before the half ended, to leave the score at 16-4. A sterling semi-comprehensible half-time team talk led to a �ight back in the second half. Spurred on by the sight of Samuel Boyd’s intelligent, delightful and charming sister, hard running from Beanz Beanison and Trim Chatts led to several chances for NURL, which were unfortunately
squandered. A perfectly weighted kick from Grif�iths looked certain to land in Jim Walkers arms for a stunning �inish, however the lothario was distracted by a burning sensation in his nether region, leading to him batting the ball away. Barry Yeend slipped through two bumbling Leeds neanderthals to score a stunning 80 metre try, bringing the scores close at 16-10. However, poor defending allowed Leeds to come back with two dreary tries. A try saving tackle from Man of the Match, Gareth ‘Liam Smith’ Herbert, allowed the visitors to keep Leeds Met from extending their lead though, and with the last play of the game, Sammy Boyd danced, boogied and wiggled his way over the line, with Grif�iths adding the extras to �inish the game, 28-16. A disappointing result from what was always going to be a hard game. NURL’s second team faired better in their game at home to York St Johns Firsts, gaining their �irst win of the season 38-28. Despite injuries to a host of players and the absence of inspirational captain Craig Richards, and with the help of some Intra Mural veterans, the side were able to kick start their season and gain some con�idence after a tough defeat to Northumbria. Due to an outstanding performance from fresher John Portsmouth, and an impressive cameo from George Mathews who scored a try within minutes of coming on before departing due to injury ,were enough to help Newcastle push on from a 24-24 half time deadlock. The Owls will be looking to take the positives in to next weeks game against Durham, the side who sit one place above them in the table.
top at LJMU’s expense
Newcastle 1sts Liverpool John Moores 1sts
Fiona Moss Netball correspondent
In their biggest game of the season to date, the Firsts certainly rose to the challenge. In order to stay on the road to promotion, Newcastle had to beat their rivals in the league and maintain their unbeaten start to the season. The prospect of winning seemed somewhat daunting however, with John Moores having secured a goal difference of 100 goals prior to this match, though the girls remained con�ident that they could come out on top. A shaky start saw Newcastle immediately fall behind. John Moores’ con�ident attacking play was dif�icult to disrupt, whilst Newcastle’s attack struggled against the strength of the John Moores defence. The score line remained consistent after the �irst three quarters, with Newcastle trailing, struggling to pull back the goals that separated the two teams. Going into the �inal quarter losing 23-30, adrenalin and determination was required to ensure the victorious outcome that they so desperately desired. The team pressed at their visitors persistently throughout the quarter and the previously dominant defence could no longer hold off Newcastle’s attack. Player of the match, Mia Archer defended relentlessly, whilst Hannah
Swainson and Sarah Cressy’s shooting took charge and the score line was level for the �irst time since the beginning of the match. With minutes remaining, Newcastle had control of the game. Possession of the ball and a steady head was all that was required to close out the game. Despite a nail biting �inal minute, Newcastle maintained their cool to deliver a win of 36-33, ensuring their sole dominance of the league at the end of this �irst round of BUCS matches. They must now repeat the success of this semester in January if they hope to move back up to the BUCS Premiership.
Daniel Carnie at The Northumberland Club With both these teams occupying the two top spots in the table, it was always set to be a close-fought encounter and so it proved. Newcastle had won three out of their four matches and drew with Shef�ield last time out, while Durham’s Thirds had won all of theirs. Therefore it was crucial that Newcastle competed with the leaders to maintain hopes of promotion. It was Mike Tang who got the ball rolling for Newcastle as he won his tricky singles match 6-4, 6-1. Al-
M1 v Birmingham 1sts M2 v York St John 1sts W1 v Bangor 1sts
1-7 5-3 4-4
M1 v Manchester 1sts M2 v Sunderland 2nds M3 v Northumbria 3rds W1 v Manchester 1sts W2 v Northumbria 2nds
M1 v M2 W1 v Shefﬁeld 1sts
though the score line suggests an easy victory, it was anything but; especially in the �irst set as his opponent continued to hit ace after ace. With the score at 4-4 in the �irst set, Tang managed to break serve after saving break points in the game before. This seemed to rattle his opponent who couldn’t maintain his standard of play as Tang ran away with the second set, sealing a double break with a glorious backhand pass before sealing victory in style with a forehand winner down the line. Kyle Cowper was also up �irst in the singles, but failed to emulate the success of team mate Tang, losing 5-7, 0-6 as he struggled with his serve and forehand in particular. Tom Loughran and Ben Maynard were playing dou-
72 - 69 50 - 48 60 - 76 61 - 36 31 - 54
135 - 93 113 - 134
M1 v Leeds Met 1sts M2 v York St John 2nds M3 v Bishop Burton 1sts W1 v Hull 1sts W2 v Teessude 2nds
1 v Durham 1sts 2 v Sunderland 1sts
M1 v Manchester 1sts M2 v Shefﬁeld 2nds M3 v Leeds 3rds M4 v Leeds 5ths
1-1 0-2 6-6 7-0 8-0
NUNC’s bid for re-promotion has started well. Photography: Lindsay Mackenzie
2-4 6-0 2-1 2-1 0-2 2-1
bles on the other court and they managed to steal victory with a 10-5 win in a tense Championship tie-break to decide the winner. This meant that Newcastle lead 2-1 going into the second half of matches. In the second doubles match, Mike Tang and Kyle Cowper were paired together and it was Cowper who impressed after picking himself up from his singles defeat to set up a routine 6-3, 6-3 win. There was great communication and teamwork between the two and despite a slight lapse towards the end of the second set, they eased to victory. The victory allowed the continuation of Tang’s impressive unbeaten run this year since joining the team. Sadly, it all went downhill from this
point for Newcastle. Leading 3-1 overall, all that was required was one singles win from either Loughran or Maynard. However, they didn’t manage to get that victory as Loughran went down 4-6, 2-6 and Maynard lost 4-6, 3-6. It was Maynard in particular who lost his cool, throwing his racquet in frustration numerous times after surrendering an early lead. All this meant that a 3-3 draw was the outcome between the two sides in a very even contest. Although the manner of the draw will frustrate Newcastle, they can take encouragement from the overall performance as they continue to chase promotion along with Durham’s Thirds.
W1 v Northumbria 1sts W2 v Leeds 3rds W3 v Durham 4ths W4 v Leeds 5ths
M1 v Durham 3rds W1 v Shefﬁeld 1sts W2 v Durham 2nds
W1 v Liverpool JMU 1sts W2 v S’ﬁeld Hallam 2nds W3 v Leeds 3rds W4 v Northumbria 4ths
2-2 2-3 0-2 1-2 12 - 1 16 - 6 0 - 26 36 - 33 40 - 36 25 - 39 34 - 32
Fiona Moss Netball correspondent
Newcastle 2nds Shefﬁeld Hallam 2nds
Newcastle 4ths Northumbria 4ths
M1 v Durham 3rds M2 v Shefﬁeld 2nds W1 v Leeds 2nds
M1 v Manchester 2nds M2 v Durham 2nds W1 v Leeds Met 2nds W2 v Leeds Met 3rds W3 v Leeds 3rds
4-1 4-1 4-0 4-0 2-2
A very determined Newcastle team went ahead to face locals rivals, Northumbria, with 100% effort coming from all the girls. Jo Pilkington was deservedly named player of the match, after an excellent game; her perfect passes into goal shooter, Ella Davidson, making it very dif�icult for Northumbria, particularly as Ella’s shooting was unstoppable. An all round excellent effort from the girls, who have faced much disappointment this term but let’s hope that this win is the �irst of many for the Fourths.
16 - 28 38 - 28
Away at Leeds, the Thirds gave a steady performance, though struggled to play at their usual high standards. Charlotte Plumtree, as always gave a solid showing as goal keeper and was rightly distinguished as player of the match. Stacey Jenion also had a great match in defence, managing to get many tips from the Leeds attack. Although Newcastle seemed to be bringing the score line back to a more equal standing at the end of the last quarter with a string of �ive goals, Leeds took back over and �inished well. The pressure is now on for the team to ensure a solid performance when they face the Seconds.
M1 v Durham 1sts 20 - 61 M2 v M3 33 - 10 M4 v Shefﬁeld 2nds 10 - 3 W1 v S’ﬁeld Hallam 2nds 38 - 0 M1 v Leeds Met 2nds M2 v York St John 1sts
From the �irst whistle, Newcastle took charge. Working hard down court, the seconds were able to leave the �irst quarter leading by a goal, a lead that they extended in every quarter of the game. Excellent feeds into the circle from Harriet Humphries, strong movement down court by the teams new found centre, Eustacia Hamilton, and persistent pressure and constant shooting from Stephanie Blain resulted in Newcastle dominating the third quarter and creating a substantial lead. This lead proved crucial going into the latter stages of the match. Hallam raised their game and won the quarter, however their efforts did not prove strong enough to match the lead that Newcastle had already created, and the Seconds earned a crucial win.
Newcastle 3rds Leeds 3rds
Game and set matched in Jesmond Newcastle 1sts Durham 3rds
but Thirds lose in Leeds
M1 v Manchester 1sts M2 v Northumbria 1sts
M1 v Shefﬁeld 1sts W1 v Shefﬁeld 1sts
8-9 5 - 12 6-6 2 - 10 8-4 3-1 3-2
THE COURIER Monday November 28 2011
Intra Mural: Medics back on track with double win page 44 Rugby League: Mixed results for NURL page 51
Smiling now, but for how long? 10-man Bishop Burton stun Thirds with late comeback
Oliphant man stuns Durham Men’s Football Thirds found themselves sharing the spoils with Bishop Burton last Wednesday despite carrying an easy three goal lead until the closing minutes, and with Burton a man down Photography: Moises Bedrossian
Newcastle 1sts Durham 3rds
Harry Mead at Redhall Drive Wednesday afternoon, Redhall pitches; any other day simply another sports ground. However, on November 23 it would be remembered through the eternal annals of history as a �ield of unfathomable victory. The darkening skies cast a shadow across the pitch, the cool morning air had an icy touch but nothing obscured their vision, their singular goal, the absolute devastation of Durham Lacrosse. The team was prepared, as prepared as any could be before venturing forth onto the �ield of battle. No cheers were shouted, no taunts made; none were needed. Only a steely silence and menacing mist emanated from the stoic golems they faced. Both
teams knew why they were there, but no one could have predicted what was about to unfold on this day of days. The whistle blew and Newcastle’s leader, that champion of men, Andy ‘The omnipotent’ Oliver cried havoc and let slip the dogs of war, or as they are known locally, the Newcastle Immortals. Within seconds Richard ‘DDay’ Dudbridge put the ball in the net. Durham realised the punishment had begun. For Nick ‘Wolfman’ Weeks this was one of the rare occasions where he let his true bestial nature take over and handled the ball with such ferocity that it was considered a punishment for Durham defense to oppose him. As for Ben ‘The beginning, the middle and the end’ Beattie, what can I say, words in our language have yet to be made to describe the feats displayed by this man, It is getting to the point where his actions are becoming the thing of legend and myth. In the second quarter Harry Mead received a pass from right mid�ield and proceeded to execute a left hand,
which resulted in a goal opportunity that Mead quickly capitalized on. It is said that new recruit Eddie ‘Doomsday’ Dale glows gold at full pace, no one is sure as when he is at full pace no eye can follow him. This is undoubtedly the reason why he blew past the Durham defense like a cold north wind and secured a goal before the keeper even realized he was on the pitch. Now for the defence, that unholy tri newly named the gates of Tartarus. To them, blood is simply red sweat. To see them is to know of one’s end, to be near them is to ensure it. Toby ‘The Templar’ Crow wielded his steely pole like a crusader, hacking and slashing all who were foolish enough to come within his range. Phil ‘The Pain’ Ellwood denied every man foolish enough to attempt to reach the golden gates of the Newcastle goal. With hits that shook the earth, he not only crushed Durham’s attack but also their spirits and selfrespect. As for Toby ‘Hurtlocker’ Hoskins, he
rained down blows with such concussive force that he had to leave the battle as his actions were deemed to distressing for onlookers to witness. Goalkeeper, Mathew ‘The Messiah’ Jolly was heard to be chanting to himself “though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I shall not fear evil for I walk with Newcastle D and evil fears us!” Also of note was Richard ‘The Lionheart’ Wise, a man who one only needs to look at to become emboldened, his courage on the �ield, unquestionable, his strength with the ball, unfeasible, his goal, impeccable. Kollo ‘Killstreak’ Kollokotroni, like a human juggernaut, showed impossible stopping power in defence and with the tactics of a commando pro and the utilization of some sleight of hand he tore through Durham’s defence, truly a specialist. Now ladies and gentlemen, to our main protagonist, Duncan ‘Durhams Undoing’ Oliphant. To see him meant the ball was already in your net. We may have crushed the titans last week
but one can surely see their strength in this man. He gives honour to our name and through his actions on the �ield will become truly immortalized in history. To him, defence is a pointless triviality. He constantly asks himself “why do these mortals persist in believing they can do anything to stop me?” Next to Oliphant an opposing team are simply people to witness his excellence. It is said that it wasn’t the Greeks who destroyed Troy but a singular shot from his stick. It is rumored he actually died many years ago but as he is so fearsome death hasn’t built up the courage to come and claim him yet. To score a goal was simply his way of showing the opposing team he was merciful enough to end their torment; there were many goals. At some point Durham scored but no one was sure when as no one was watching them. Final score Newcastle won 12-1. Goal scorers were Beattie �ive, Oliphant three, Mead one, Dale one, Wise one, Dudbridge one.