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www.thecourieronline.co.uk Monday 28 November 2016 Issue 1341 Free

The Independent Voice of Newcastle Students Est 1948 The ultimate gaming character selection is 2016 FASHION ROUND-UP OUR BEST FRIEND NETFLIX? Are we all just becomming antisocial, Revisit the best and the worst fashion ready for play, p.30 trends of the current year , p. 17 netflix watching robotos these days? p. 24

RAG speed dating success By Jade Holroyd Editor Last Monday Newcastle University Students’ Union’s Raising and Giving (RAG) society held their annual speed dating event. The evening was hosted by the RAG committee and presented by student Max Fosh. The speed dating event was organised in aid of Orchid, a UK-based charity devoted to research and treatment in men’s cancers. Orchid was selected by RAG’s executive committee which consists of Co-Presidents Harry Young and Liam Day, Treasurer Alice Nicholl and Secretary Samantha Ree. When explaining how the executive committee came to choose Orchid, Samantha Ree said: “Orchid made the shortlist when we were selecting which charities to raise funds for during RAG Week. Because it was not chosen we decided to dedicate the speed dating event to this charity”. Committee member Stephanie Redfearn led the organisation of the event of which 185 students attended. Through a combination of ticket sales and general donations, a grand total of £750 was raised on the evening. Hayley Allen, MA Critical Geopolitics student and Event Leader on RAG Committee, attended the evening and remarked: “Speed dating was so much fun. Although I didn’t meet the love of

my life, I had such a funny night and it’s great to know that so much money was raised for such a worthy charity”. Commenting on the event Harry Young, said: “The night was great fun. As a committee we are really happy with how the evening panned out and we had a great turnout even though the weather was terrible. “All the events we’ve hosted so far this year have gone really well and speed dating was a prime example of this. We fulfilled our goal of exceeding last year’s numbers for speed dating and in general, we are ahead of our fundraising targets which is great because it means we’ve got large sums of money to send to the charities we have chosen to support this year”. This academic year RAG is set to hold its annual ‘Raising And Giving Week’ from 28 January to 3 February 2017. All proceeds raised during this week will be donated to the six charities RAG have selected to support this year: Water for Kids, Anti-Slavery International, Alzheimer’s Research UK, Mind, Great North Air Ambulance and The Alan Shearer Foundation. This week RAG are holding auditions for their annual Fashion Show which will take place on 16 March 2017. Auditions will be held at the Students’ Union in the Planning Room from 3pm until 6pm Monday 28 - Wednesday 30 November.

Speed dating in full swing Image: Kevin Wong

Newcastle’s University Challenge Team to compete Reading University Students’ Union Newcastle’s University Challenge team to take part in this year’s series voted to boycott the programme By Ava Forbes Newcastle University’s University Challenge team will continue to compete in this year’s series, while Reading University Students’ Union has voted to boycott the programme. Jack Taylor, President of Newcastle University’s Students’ Union, told The Courier that Newcastle would proceed competing even if nothing had been heard “from our students” about boycotting the BBC Two show. The University’s team was officially named earlier this week as: Jonathan Noble, Jack Reynard, Adam Lowery and Molly Nielsen, with Tom Kungebeharry as reserve. Taylor added: “We had around 75 applicants to start with, and across three trials we were able to narrow it down to five. I believe that the team selected

is a good representation of our student population”. The final five students selected by the University had to submit their applications by November 23. Applicants then go through an interview process and if successful, the team is scheduled to start filming next year. Lowery said: “There are a few things we have to do before we get on, but we’ll cross those bridges when we get there. “We have to get through the interview in January, with the actual people from the show. They have a short interview and then a quiz round.” The University of Reading’s Students’ Union voted in favour of boycotting University Challenge last week after Jeremy Paxman allegedly made “misogynistic and sexist comments” during the show’s recording.

Samantha Buzzard, a PhD student at Reading University, complained after Paxman commented on the team’s mascot, a knitted Jeremy Paxman doll, saying ‘please tell me’ you take it to bed with you.

asked the whole team whether they took it to bed with them. “Though no complaint was made at the time, this, apparently, is what has upset them”. Reading’s student’s union voted 120 to 105 in favour of the motion. Reading’s Education officer, Niall Hamilton wrote in a blog post: “The Students’ Union should not be in a position to promote and encourage students to participate in an institution with a serious lack of regard for the equality and accessibility of women on their show.” Despite this, a university spokesperson said: “The university now plans to step in and recruit a team, given the students’ union has opted out.” Buzzard reacted to the university’s statement in a Tweet saying: “If anyone knows who this Reading University

“I believe that the team selected is a good representation of our student population” Paxman is ‘baffled’ by the University of Reading’s Students’ Union’s decision to boycott the show. Paxman told The Guardian: “One of them said it was a hand-knitted Jeremy Paxman doll. “Across the several yards separating the chairman’s desk from the teams, I

The Newcastle University team of five has been selected

spokesman is please send them my way. They definitely don’t speak for me.” Newcastle’s University Challenge team refused to comment on Reading’s decision to boycott the show. When asked what they were most looking forward to about going onto University Challenge, Jack Reynard said: “Getting roasted by Paxo.” Molly Nielsen told The Courier that she had never watched much of the show before applying. Talking about their subject areas, Reynard said Bio-Sciences and Classics would be his strong point for the show. Nielsen said: “I’m studying medicine but as a second career. “I used to be a professional musician so, music, arts and literature. All the fluffy stuff.” Adam Lowery said: “I’m quite a generalist so I can stretch to most things but I don’t do sport in any shape or form.


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Students protest Education Bill in London Christmas market returns to Newcastle

Monday 28 November 2016

The Courier

Deputy Editors Ollie Burton & Daniel Robertson News Editors Liam Carson, Valentina Egorova, Louise Hall Kotryna Kairytė & Helena Vesty

Decisions to tackle Jesmond’s increased anti-social behaviour

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Royal repairs debated

CULTURE

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Blind Date:

Megan and Ethan The best lunchtime pitstops Books verses Films Album Review:

A Tribe Called Quest

The return of Dave Chappelle

Research into treetop banter

Jesmond’s infamous Osborne Road Image: Stephen Sweeney

By Valentina Egorova News Editor Newcastle University and Newcastle University Students’ Union (NUSU) are setting up a new group to tackle antisocial behaviour in popular student residential areas such as Jesmond. The decision to set up an official group follows a series of disturbances and increased tension between residents and students. The University has already dealt with noise complaints, which involved 401 students from 84 separate properties, since the term began in September. Residents’ complaints have included anti-social behaviour, noise at night and overturned rubbish bins. Newcastle University students residing in Jesmond have been in the spotlight, with 95% of all reported incidents happening in the area. Stella Postlethwaite, a Labour councillor for North Jesmond, told The Courier she was pleased “this group had been set up”. She said: “As a Jesmond Labour councillor representing residents who live in North Jesmond, I know that a great number of residents want to see the

NUSU, King’s Walk, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QB. Tel: 0191 239 3940

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University do a lot more to tackle antisocial behaviour. “My hope is that this group will develop successful campaigns that can be built upon each year so that over time we see better informed and more aware first years moving on to live in our communities as respectful second and third years, who care about the other people and families, who also live there.” Jesmond has undergone a dramatic a period of intense “studentification” over recent years, with long-term residential tenants opting to move to other parts of the city. The 2016/17 academic year has seen a particular increase in concerns expressed on social media. Dan Perry, a Labour councillor for North Jesmond, tweeted on October 20: “Behaviour last night reached new

depths – I’ve never known anything so bad in Jesmond or anywhere”. Newcastle University and NUSU are hoping that together, they will be able to produce an efficient scheme to reduce the number of complaints by local communities. Jack Taylor, the president of NUSU, told The Courier that the new scheme would not be “punishment-based”. He said: “It is not the ‘Big Brother’ policy – we are just looking at ways to try and improve the relationship between the local c om mu n it y and students in general. “We are looking at creative ways. We are cautious and don’t want to punish our students. “We want to try to educate them as to

“It is not the ‘Big Brother’ policy - we are just looking at ways to try and improve the relationship between the local community and students in general”

Editor Jade Holroyd Deputy Editors Ollie Burton and Daniel Robertson News Editors Liam Carson Valentina Egorova, Louise Hall, Kotryna Kairytė and Helena Vesty Comment Editors Jamie Cameron, Sinéad Corkett-Beirne and Sunil Nambiar Culture Editors Jack Oliver Parker and James McCoull Lifestyle Editors Ana Beretsos, Antonia Coleman-Harvey, Ruth Loeffler and Brooklyn Shakeshaft Ward Fashion Editors Liz Rosling, Izzi Watkins and Zofia Zwieglinska Beauty Editors Miranda Stoner, Ellie Trent and Ellen Walker Arts Editors Johnathan Hastings, Meg Holtom and Tamsin Rees Music Editors Sophie Ahmed, Serena Bhardwaj and Ben Grundy Film Editors Emma Allsopp, Zoë Godden and Simon Ramshaw TV Editors Luke Acton, Dominic Corrigan and Alison Scurfield Gaming Editors Errol Kerr, Jared Moore and Jordan Oloman Science Editors Matthew Byrne, Natalie Farmer and Ciara RitsonCourtney Sports Editors Lucy Brogden, Tom Shrimplin and James Sproston

their responsibilities in a community.” Taylor added that the group would be focused on “trying to prevent students from getting into trouble”. He suggested that an increase in antisocial behaviour was due to “the council’s cuts”, with less policing in the area. When asked who would be involved in the new group, Taylor replied: “It is led by the University with student representation. So it’s myself leading that and working closely with the community representatives”. The group will be running campaigns that will appear on the NUSU website. Postlethwaite said that she had been impressed by campaigns run by NUSU in the past. She added: “I would be really pleased to see campaigns targeted at both first years and the general student body while they are living out in the community. “Jesmond wouldn’t be the wonderful place that it is to live in without the students who choose to live here. “But some students each year make life very difficult for other residents and we need to see this situation improve.” The group will meet privately with Jesmond councilors next week to discuss

The Courier is printed by: Print and Digital Associates, Fernleigh House, 10 Uttoxeter Road, Derby, Derbyshire, United Kingdom, DE3 0DA. Established in 1948, The Courier is the fully independent student newspaper of the Students’ Union at Newcastle University. The Courier is published weekly during term time, and is free of charge. The design, text, photographs and graphics are copyright of The Courier and its individual contributors. No parts of this newspaper may be reproduced without the prior permission of the Editor. Any views expressed in this newspaper’s opinion pieces are those of the individual writing, and not of The Courier, the Students’ Union or Newcastle University.


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City University students put freedom of speech to the sword By Liam Carson News Editor

The banned newspapers Image: Liam Carson

Students at City University, London, have voted to pass a motion to ban three right-of-centre national newspapers, from its campus. The prohibited publications on the City University campus include The Sun, The Daily Express and The Daily Mail following the students union vote against them in a motion entitled: “Opposing fascism and social divisiveness in the U.K media”. A similar ban was introduced by the Newcastle University Student’s Union, who elected to ban The Sun and in support of the ‘No more Page 3’ campaign . During the student union’s annual general meeting (AGM), students voted on the motion in response to articles that the named titles have recently published. The articles included stories that were said to ‘demonise refugees’ and ‘Islamophobiac stories’. The motion’s proposer clarified that the move did not ban the possession of the said newspapers on campus but would prohibit their sale. The ban was also suggested to extend to other publications; the specific newspapers highlighted ‘were merely used as high profile examples’. When asked if the newspapers were currently being sold on campus, the proposer was reportedly ‘unsure’. Yusuf Ahmad, The president of the University’s student union, said: “The union is currently unaware of any outlets on campus selling the mentioned media publications. As with all motions, the union will be considering how it implements this.” The student union’s decision to ban media publications from the campus has raised fears that it could damage the reputation of the University’s Department of Journalism, one of Britain’s most acclaimed journalism schools.

On the City University’s website, The Department of Journalism is described ‘as a leader in its field’ and boasts ‘an unrivalled record of getting graduates into the best jobs in journalism’ The University’s symbolic vote also raised concerns that it was an infringement on free speech however, the motion’s proposer stated that the move was ‘not seeking to stop free speech, but instead to promote positivity in news stories’. The proposal stated newspapers had used their ‘freedom of speech... to attack the weakest and poorest members of society’. Arguments against the motion stated the need for an open dialogue at the University stating that, ‘diversity should be embraced and talk about why newspapers publish stories as they do’. City University journalism student, Tony Bennett, in a ‘student blog’ for The Guardian, said that to ban the publications was ‘to ignore the realities of modern Britain.’ ‘These are issues that need to be debated, contested, argued. Shooing them away simply doesn’t work.’ Bennett continued. The Department of Journalism have initiated campaigns against the motion, setting up hashtags on Twitter such as ‘#CityAgainstCensorship’ and the filming of a mannequin challenge, to campaign for free speech. The proposer of the motion had also been in contact with the campaign group ‘Stop Funding Hate’, the group, which recently concentrated efforts on persuading the LEGO Company to cease all product promotions with the Daily Mail. The Danish toy company announced that they were ‘not planning future promotional activity’ with the Daily Mail, following the backlash against the newspaper. The students union’s proposal passed with 69 for and 54 against, with a number of abstentions.

Disabled Students Allowance campaign on campus By Kotryna Kairyte News Editor Mind the Gap society is running a campaign to promote and raise awareness around Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) for students with mental health issues. The society has been running a stall throughout Wednesday where they chat to people and tried to promote the benefits of DSA and educated those interested on how to apply for it. Zoe Godden, Campaign Officer, said: “A lot of students don’t actually know that you can apply for Disabled Students Allowance if you have a mental health condition. But it is classed as a disability under your UCAS application and the University also classes it as a disability.” Society’s member also explained that students can apply for DSA at any stage of the course and all year around, including before receiving confirmation of study at University. “People we talked with today said that they didn’t know what they could get for it, whether they’d be eligible. A lot people think it is just money, but it’s not always about that. For example you can get weekly sessions with a mental health

advisor. So it is more about each student’s personal needs,” Zoe explained. Andrew Lister, President of Mind the Gap society, was happy that the stall attracted quite a lot of interest. He said: “It is always difficult to engage people in, so sweets and coffee are always there to get them to come over. And then we chat to them, explain what Disabled Students allowance could offer. “Weekly sessions where mental health advisor helps you to manage your mental health problems in an academic setting are one of the most valuable.” Andrew added. Students who are interested in applying for the DSA will have to send evidence of their disability, medical or mental health condition alongside their application form. Among the resources available are also computers, specialist software, specialist mentors, study skills tutors, printer paper, disability-related travel costs and other. Mind the Gap society encouraged everyone who is interested to contact them and seek for help, or alternatively, visit their Facebook page for more information and to find out more details about the Disabled Students Allowance application.

“A lot people think it is just money, but it’s not always about that. For example you can get weekly sessions with a mental health advisor”

Mind the Gap team Image: Kotryna Kairyte


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Monday 28 November 2016

The Courier

Students protest Education bill in London By Louise Hall News Editor Thousands of Students took to the streets of London last weekend to protest the recent Higher Education Bill proposed by parliament. The demo was organised by the National Union of Students (NUS) hosting huge crowds of students displaying large banners with powerful slogans attacking the bill, gathering near Parliament and in the surrounding areas. The bill includes the introduction of the Teaching Excellence Framework and the opportunity for high rate universities to increase their annual fees above the £9,000 maximum, in line with inflation. Many students are against the bill, as higher tuition fee’s are likely to alienate students from lower income families from higher education and will plunge existing students into even bigger sums of debt. Additionally this may put students off taking degrees that result in lower paying jobs. Malia Bouattia, President of the National Union of Students commented: “The government is running at pace

with a deeply risky ideologically led market experiment in further and higher education, and students and lecturers, who will suffer most as a result, are clear that this can’t be allowed to happen,” “This week, before the bill has even been properly debated in parliament – let alone passed – universities are already advertising fees above £9,000.” This is not the first time this year the government has faced resistance from students. In August their decision to cut bursaries for the UK’s poorest students was met with intense criticism and protest from students around the country. In retaliation the NUS have proposed that students boycott the National Students Survey, as it will be utilised as a metric in the Teaching Excellence Framework. It is believed over 15,000 students and staff attended the march to protest, as the bill will affect not only student’s futures but teachers also. The main aim of the demonstration was to demand free accessible and quality education for all. The bill has recently progressed to the House of Lords to be discussed before implementation.

“Before the bill has even been properly debated in parliament – let alone passed – universities are already advertising fees above £9,000”

Protesters gather infront of Big Ben in London. Image: Olivia Sykes

Controversy around new teaching framework By Isabel Sykes Controversy surrounds government plans to rank universities using a new Teaching Excellence Framework, which will become available in Spring 2017. The framework will rank universities bronze, silver, and gold. Highly ranked universities will be allowed to raise tuition fees above £9000 per year. The raise of tuition fees in line with inflation will start affecting students applying in Autumn 2018. Afterwards, these highly ranked institutions will be able to then raise tuition fees again the following year. Tuition fees will not change for academic years 2016 and 2017. According to GOV.UK, the Teaching Excellence Framework is designed to help students make well-informed choices when applying to university. The ranking system will give them an idea as to the quality of education they can receive at different institutions. Linking funding to teaching quality is also intended to incentivise high-quality teaching and ensure that students are receiving the best possible academic experience. As the new scheme will affect universities country wide, The Courier investigated how it has been received at Newcastle University. NUSU Education Officer, Chris Duddy expressed concerns that plans seem “uncertain.” He said: “The university is not happy with the Teaching Excellence Framework. “The students aren’t happy with the Teaching Excellence Framework. “The academics specifically aren’t im-

pressed with the Teaching Excellence Framework.” Institutions will be assessed on the three aspects: teaching quality, learning environment and student outcome. Each category includes metrics based on results from the National Student Survey to provide additional data for assessors, especially assessing student achievements. For example, new skills learned and progression onto work or further study. So far, the scheme has not been well received by public. The National Union of Students is opposed to the Teaching Excellence Framework, and students and university staff across the country have been vocal in opposing the scheme, with particular worries regarding escalating tuition fees. Lecturer Stacy Gillis elaborated on staff concerns. Gills said: “There is a concern about another layer of scrutiny, of management, and of accountability.” She said that while the scheme sounded positive in theory - “after all, we all want to do strong and engaging teaching” - there was a danger that the Teaching Excellence Framework could “reduce teaching to a series of tick-box exercises, solely focused on the outcome, rather than the process.” The effects of the Teaching Excellence Framework will be visible as early as next year, when the results of university assessments are released. While the scheme has been designed with the intention of improving education standards, there is certainly room for concern regarding rising costs for students, and the effects of increased scrutiny on teaching and learning environments.


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Monday 28 November 2016

One-quarter of graduates head for London

London, July 2013 Image: Wikimedia Commons

By Elizabeth Steele A new study has shown that London attracts a disproportionate share of new graduates looking for jobs. A report by Centre for Cities, ‘The Great British Brain Drain’, has found that in 2014 and 2015 one-quarter of graduates were working in London within 6 months of completing their degrees. The city is particularly attractive to high achievers. 38% of newly arrived graduates working in London achieved a first or 2:1 from a Russell Group uni-

versity. The study has also found that students are unlikely to remain in their university cities. In Birmingham, 76% of students who moved there for study left after graduation. In Southampton, the figure was as high as 86%. Newcastle students are more likely to stay in the region. The Careers Service at Newcastle University told The Courier that the North East has an “excellent graduate retention rate”, thanks to being such a “vibrant University region”. Of last year’s graduates, 41% stayed in the North East. Newcastle University students can

benefit from accessing a “full spectrum” of graduate opportunities – there are jobs available in every graduate sector. With a quarter of graduates heading for the bright lights of London, there are fears that other cities might experience a ‘brain drain’ effect. More and more graduates are attracted to London as the city accounts for around 19% of all jobs in the UK. And the job opportunities were found as the most important factor influencing graduates’ choices. There was no relationship found between moving graduates and wages - a future career plays a more important

role in the decisions than money. The continuing ‘brain drain’ proves the necessity of rebalancing the economic power in the UK to reverse the trend of bright graduates heading for London. The study has also suggested that other cities need to attract and retain more graduates. It can be achieved by focusing on wider economic growth and creation of more high-skilled jobs. Naomi Oosman-Watts, Assistant Director in the Careers Service, told The Courier that local job market growth would be beneficial to both graduates and locals in Newcastle - creating more

investments in the region and offering more opportunities. Oosman-Watts believes in growing job prospects in the North East, with large companies such as Procter and Gamble based in the area. This factor, Oosman-Watts added, gives graduates plenty of opportunities to “stay local and promote growth in the region”. The Trendence Graduate Partner Report 2016 found that, for both UK and International students at Newcastle, London was the second most-popular graduate destination. The most popular destination choice was to remain in the North East.

International Christmas Market returns to Newcastle By Rebecca McGarry and Helen Robson The International Christmas Market offering international foods and festive gifts has returned to Newcastle this Christmas. The market has transformed Grey’s Monument into a cosmopolitan space sprawling from Grey Street to Grainger Street. The market is infused with enticing aromas from Europe and beyond. Each wooden cabin houses a delicious array of worldwide cuisine including Spanish paella, French crêpes, Italian biscotterie treats and handmade confectionary. The steakhouse and grill offers a range of smoky hot food to keep visitors warm while perusing the market. Unconventional dishes can be found amongst classic street food – the kangaroo and ostrich burgers are particularly noteworthy for those with adventurous taste buds. The market offers bespoke gifts such as decorations for the Christmas tree and personalised wooden plaques for a touch of sentimentality that are hard to find in high street stores. Stallholders have travelled from far and wide to showcase their craftsmanship in the heart of Newcastle. The Courier spoke to RoAns-art Scrap

Iron, whose business is based in London’s Covent Garden. He explained that his stall, which offers a unique range of leather-bound notebooks and recycled metal figurines, has been a part of Newcastle’s International Christmas Market for the past eight years. Year upon year, stallholders brave the northern rain and weather to bring festivity to the heart of Newcastle. An owner of Russian Wo o d c r a f t s was delighted to share with the Courier her collection of intricate Russian dolls. Newcastle is home to several street food markets, with the Quayside Market open most Sundays, the famous Grainger Market selling local produce open Monday-Saturday each week, and the annual International Food Festival. The International Christmas Market opened on 18 November joining Fenwick’s iconic window and the city’s Christmas lights that make Newcastle a truly magical place to experience the festive season. There is still plenty of time to head down to Grey’s Monument and sample the vast selection of sweet and savoury worldwide cuisine – the market will remain open until 11th December.

“The market offers bespoke gifts such as decorations for the Christmas tree and personalised wooden plaques for a touch of sentimentality that are hard to find in high street stores”

International Christmas Market Image: Rebecca McGarry and Helen Robson


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Monday 28 November 2016

The Courier

Housing fair accommodating for students By Laura Higgins Last Thursday, students were welcomed to the annual Housing Fair, which was held in Newcastle University’s Students Union. The event was a unique opportunity for students to be provided with first-hand advice, regarding the renting process in Newcastle, and how to avoid manipulation from landlords. Students were able to meet a team of friendly advisors who would answer any queries regarding property renting. The expertise and advice on offer, coupled with free incentives of pick’n’-mixes, water bottles and bike locks made the event very popular. There were numerous stalls at event from the Northumbria Police to Newcastle’s Lettings and Accommodation providers - which all offered comparable advice. Fresh Student Living distributed leaflets reminding students of the fundamental rules when moving into a local community. This included: the impor-

tance of bin collection, building harmonious relationships with your neighbours and avoiding noise pollution. The Jesmond Residents’ Association (JRA)catered for student requirements, answered questions and assisted their housing searches. As a trustworthy organisation, which has recently celebrated its 50th birthday, they offered first rate advice and support. The JRA’s triadic aims of representing, protecting and furthering the interests of the residents of Jesmond further reassured novices of the property market. The JRA also work with the local council to improve local infrastructure, support measures to reduce anti-social behaviour and protect green spaces for future generations. The organisation also issue an annual newsletter and quarterly e-bulletin to all residents of Jesmond. The ultimate aim of these policies is to reassure students that they always have a point of call, regarding their property, which will always be handled with by an experienced association. The fair’s continual wave of success was demonstrated by the vast number of students who visited and benefitted from the event.

“The event was a unique opportunity for students to be provided with first-hand advice, regarding the renting process in Newcastle”

Students browse information on offer at housing fair Image: Jordan Carr


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Monday 28 November 2016

It’s a pigs life: study reveals swine intelligence By Oliver Ross Assogna In a recent study by Newcastle University, it has been found that, just like humans, pigs’ mood surprisingly affects their judgements and outlooks on life. Therefore, their decisions aren’t always straight forward. The research, conducted by scientists specialising in animal behaviour, determined that pigs – and potentially many other animals – think differently based on their personalities, rather than homogeneously. These findings have been considered breakthroughs in the field, as it has always been difficult to understand whether the relation between mood and judgements worked in animals as it does in humans. According to the results, pigs can present very extroverted or a more neurotic personalities, resulting in assuming respectively optimistic or pessimistic attitudes. A pig that isn’t in a great mood is much more likely to have a rather pessimistic outlook on life than a pig which, instead, feels happier. The researchers found trained the pigs to recognize two different feeding bowls which contained sugar-coated sweets and coffee beans, both representing a different outcomes. The pigs were observed to enjoy the treats waiting for them in the first bowl, but not the coffee beans – therefore, they knew which one they would rather opt for. Then researchers then decided to introduce a new bowl. In addition, this experiment

took place in two different environments which the scientists knew influenced the pigs’ mood. At this point, the researchers then tested whether the reaction of the pigs would be to approach the new bowl expecting more sweets, or whether they would not walk to the new bowl as they weren’t expecting any extra treats. Not only did the pigs with a proactive personality and therefore generally more optimistic attitude, responded indeed optimistically, but also the animals staying in the “good mood” environment approached the mysterious feeding bowl with great expectance. Project leader Professor Lisa Collins from the University of Lincoln was delighted with the outcome of the research: “The results of our study clearly show that those pigs living in a worse environment were more pessimistic, and those in a better environment were much more optimistic. Importantly, this finding demonstrates that humans are not unique in combining longer term personality traits with shorter term mood biases when making judgements.” Dr Lucy Asher as lead author from Newcastle University seemed also very satisfied with results: “The study provides a fascinating insight into the minds of these intelligent animals and paves the way for even more in-depth studies in the future.” Thought pigs were simply docile and playful animals that oink and roll in mud all day? Think again – they are probably much more intriguing than this.

“They determined that pigs think differently based on their personalities rather than homogeneously”

I got you babe: farmyard pig wanders the fields Image: Flickr, Mali Maeder

£12m student accommodation in Shieldfield By Thomas Montague Crosslane Student Developments is set to build a new student accommodation on Albert Street, in Shieldfield. Work has begun on a new £12m scheme, which will home 135 students in 114 flats and 21 studio apartments. The new student accommodation development, which will be built within a few minutes walk from the Northumbria campus, is the fourth Newcastle project of Crosslane Students Developments. It comes on top of their recently completed developments - St. James House, St James’ Point Phase 1 and St James’ Point Phase 2 - and brings Crosslane’s total investment in Newcastle to £60 million and 701 beds. The accommodation is to be built on what was once a car dealership, which was acquired by Crosslane in August this year. With construction currently underway, the building is expected to be complete in time for the 2017/18 academic year. The building will be advertised and managed by Crosslane’s letting division,

Prime Student Living. As well as 135 bedrooms, the development will also feature a common room, gym, courtyard and management office. Andy Whatson, Crosslane’s Director, said: “We are pleased to commence building at Albert Street, our fourth development in the city, and help to meet the strong growth in demand for this type of student accommodation in Newcastle. “Crosslane has a successful track record of developing high quality student accommodation, working in close partnership with local planning committees to ensure we deliver schemes for the long term in a responsible and reliable manner, for the benefit of our customers and the surrounding neighbourhoods. “We continue to grow our identified pipeline of potential student accommodation investments in Newcastle and other prime university cities in the UK and Continental Europe.” The development follows a surge in demand for private accommodations in Newcastle, due to the significant growth of the student population in the city and the closure of University-managed sites in recent years, including Richardson Road and Henderson Hall.

“Work has begun on a new £12m scheme, which will home 135 students in 114 flats and 21 studio apartments”

Construction site Image: Elliott Brown, Flickr


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Monday 28 November 2016

Park View Student Village finalised By Jade Holroyd Editor Park View Student Village (PVSV) is set to open in September 2018, replacing the former Richardson Road. Newcastle University Students’ Union’s Activities Officer, Rebecca Walker, recently visited Jiangmen, China, the headquarters of China International Marine Containers (CIMC), where PVSV is built as modular units. CIMC also manufacture all Hilton and Marriott hotels. The interior of PVSV, including the bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens and living areas, were designed in the U.K. in partnership with the University and Galliford Try. Five University staff members visited the PVSV modular units, alongside two staff from Galliford Try. The accommodation will be a prefabricated building of steel structures. All of the rooms bar those on the ground floor, are built and fully furnished in China and then shipped to Portsmouth. The units will then be driven to Newcastle and stacked onto a pre-built ground floor where they will then be enclosed by bricks. Upon arrival at the CIMC factory, final discussions were made regarding the finer details of the project and then viewing commenced. Both an en-suite bedroom and a kitchen/lounge area were available for viewing. Commenting on the final prototypes, Rebecca said: “I was very impressed with the final designs, even more so that they are fully-furnished in China and then transported to the U.K.” Rebecca also visited the production

line when the modules are manufactured. Speaking about the production line Rebecca stated: “Each module is kept stationary whilst the specialist

“I was very impressed by the standard and high quality finish of the rooms” workers, such as the plumbers and electricians, move from module to module installing the electric, fittings and decor. From the outside, the modules look like ordinary shipping containers but once

inside the steel frame, it would be impossible to guess that you were sat inside a container rather than a building”. In regards to the trip Rebecca said: “I admit that my knowledge of architecture is limited so at first I was unsure as to what I’d think about the designs. I was very impressed by the standard and high quality finish of the rooms. “The whole team that I travelled with, including Paul Bandeen, Head of Residences at Newcastle University, were very happy with what we saw and everything is in line ready for the first shipment of 40 modules in February. “As a student that has lived in the former Ricky Road, I am very excited to see this project complete. It is definitely a huge improvement. I am positive that all future students will be happy with the quality and presentation of PVSV”.

NEWSTACK Manchester

New treatment discovered A team of scientists from the University of Manchester have discovered a possible treatment to slow damage caused by a stroke as well as repairing the damage. This drug, known as IL-1Ra, exists as an anti-inflammatory and is used already in humans for certain conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. This research, spearheaded by professor Stuart Allan, who specialises in neuroscience and experimental psychology, is published in the journal “Brain, Behaviour and Immunity”.

Tests on rodents indicate that not only does this drug limit the death of existing brain cells in order to reduce brain damage, but it also promotes the birth of new neurones, which help to restore function to areas of the brain that are already damaged by the effects of a stroke. Animal tests have already shown they restore motor skills in rodents, and clinical trials in human stroke patients have already pointed towards the positive effects that IL-1Ra could have.

Warwick

International educational award On site: Rebecca Walker views PVSV in Jiangmen, China Image: Rebecca Walker

The Australian Financial Review’s Higher Award for International Education has been won by the Monash-Warwick Alliance. Monash University – based in Melbourne, Australia – and Warwick University have constructed many initiatives, including joint PhD and MA programmes, the founding of the International Journal of Undergraduate Research in 2007, and the spearheading and sponsoring of the International Conference of Undergraduate Research. These events, allowing students of

both undergraduate and postgraduate present and develop research, have resulted in the winning of this international award. The alliance is set for renewal in December of 2016, and has resulted in great successes. In total, 64 projects have been supported by the Alliance, and it describes itself as “globally oriented, ambitious and dynamic” and focuses heavily on science and technology, whether on polymer studies, tissue engineering, and most recently focusing on drone technology.

Leicester

HeForShe

The University of Leicester is to hold a HeForShe “Global Ideathon” on the 29th of November, in order to bring students and staff together in order to tackle gendered violence on university campuses on a global scale. As a HeForShe “IMPACT Champion”, the University of Leicester stands prominently at the forefront of tackling social change and issues in regards to gender equality. The ideathon will focus around the question of “how can we tackle gender violence on campus?” Of the answers

that are to be given, the three most compelling, effective and intriguing answers will be submitted to UN Women, as a method of providing a more effective and useful blueprint for solutions to address gender disparities and violence on university campuses across the globe. These three ideas will be formed into short videos and pitched directly to UN Women who work specifically to expand and uphold standards and aim to create an equal environment for women and girls to live up to their potentials.

Sunderland

W.I.N. Award

Sunderland University Professor Roz Anderson has been awarded a W.I.N Award in the STEM category, in the Network North-East Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2016. As a professor of Pharmacuetical Chemistry, Professor Anderson fit the judges stated bill of “an exceptional woman in the fields of Science, technology, engineering and mathematics, who has pioneered new discoveries, and-or been instrumental in bringing the benefits to market for economic and social impact.”

Anderson’s work spans three decades, and she has focused heavily on the treatment of Alzheimer’s, psoriasis and cancers, but her primary focus has been in improving the treatment of cystinosis, a rare and under-researched disorder which leads to most sufferers dying prior to the age of ten. Professor Anderson insists on working alongside students at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, and felt her award “recognises and celebrates our combined achievements across a range of research projects.”

By Errol Kerr Gaming Editor


Comment 10.

thecourieronline.co.uk/comment

Monday 28 November 2016

The Courier

Comment Editors Jamie Cameron, Sinéad CorkettBeirne & Sunil Nambiar courier.comment@ncl.ac.uk | @Courier_Comment

A king’s ransom: are royal repairs justifiable?

Renovations to Buckingham Palace are going to cost taxpayers £369 million. Should Brexit Britain pay the fees?

YES

Amanda Yap

T

o date, the refurbishment of the 313-year-old Buckingham Palace is currently in the works. Setting aside the fight on whether the Royal Family should be the one footing the bill at a time where the UK Government is looking at budget cuts, why should the need for refurbishments come now? Firstly, refurbishments are necessary for the building’s safety. The 313-year-old building has not had proper renovations since 1952, and it is showing signs of wear and tear – and there is an urgent need for plumbing and upgrading of wiring. What is most worrying is the amount of harmful asbestos fibres that comes from the building’s foundation which can cause lung cancer and mesothelioma when inhaled. If not for the Queen, think about the hundreds of civilians from chefs and footmen to electricians and cleaners who enter and work in the palace each day. It is their right to have a secure place to work in, and I feel that this is a good enough reason to hasten the palace refurbishments. Or, think about the diplomats from around the world who enter the palace gates everyday. Throughout the year, some 50000 guests from all walks of life are invited to the

palace to attend banquets and garden parties. We should note, too, that the Royal Family does not own Buckingham Palace; the palace belongs to the British public. The Queen, as monarch, enjoys stewardship – not ownership.

“If we are not sincere or enthusiastic about keeping tradition alive, we should not complain when there’s no more heritage architecture” It’s important to remember, then, that Buckingham Palace - as with all occupied royal residences around the United Kingdom - is held in trust for the nation. The cost of repairs, therefore, fall on the state. The palace is also a heritage site, housing parts of the Royal Collection and the biggest European royal art collection in the world. It is necessary that sufficient funds are invested toward maintaining this. We often reminisce of time passed. If we are not sincere or enthusiastic about keeping tradition alive, we should not complain when there’s no more heritage architecture, while being surrounded by glittering skyscrapers. After all, the British royal residences like Buckingham Palace are what makes England, England.

NO

Benjamin Eckford

T

he decision that the taxpayers will have to fund the £369m renovation of Buckingham Palace is a national disgrace. After six years of crushing austerity, during which time social housing has been hemorrhaged and homelessness has skyrocketed, it is absurd that now workers, including those on zero-hours contracts or the minimum wage, are expected to pay taxes to subsidise the largest council house in the country. If the palace belonged to the people - as I believe it rightfully should - then it could be a museum, open to tourists, turning a profit for the taxpayers. Instead, it is the private residence of one of the wealthiest families on the planet. I have often criticised the royals for living in their own little bubble and for their selfishness, but this is the most galling example I have seen.

Whilst their own people live in homelessness on the streets and depend on foodbanks simply not to starve, they refuse to contribute a single penny to the upkeep of their own private residence. It is unsurprising from this Conservative government that they continue to protect the royals at the expense of hardworking British taxpayers. While our public services are slashed and privatised, royal funding by the taxpayers increased by 29% from 2012 to 2015, according to the Daily Express.

“It’s necessary that the Royal Family take responsibility toward the upkeep of what is essentially their home ” It’s necessary that the Royal Family take responsibility toward the upkeep of what is essentially their home. Taxpayers should not have to direct their hard-earned money toward a luxury they reap little benefit from. We all agree that Buckingham Palace is a historically significant building that must be preserved so that future generations can see it. However, the Windsor family are the ones with the money, and they live there. They should pay for it.

Fight the fur trade, tooth and claw Few of us would buy fur... knowingly. Indigo Hogg examines the abusive fur trade, and our unconscious consumerism

P

ETA’s iconic 1990s anti-fur campaign with the strapline “I’d rather go naked than wear fur” certainly had an impact on the face of fashion. Today, many UK high-street shops have a ban on fur, including Topshop, H&M, New Look, Selfridges, House of Fraser, Zara and Ralph Lauren, while several designers including Vivienne Westwood and Stella McCartney are vocal about their fur-free, compassionate clothing lines. So why do some companies still insist on creating cruel clothing in 2016? An RSPCA survey conducted in 2011 stated that 95% of British people would not want to wear fur, so why is a coyote trim on a Canada Goose jacket so frequently spotted in Jesmond? One RPSCA spokesperson has suggested that “there are concerns that people may be starting to buy fur in

ignorance. Although full mink coats may be still ethically out of bounds, the fur industry is going for trim and trinkets. Most consumers often don’t know what they are buying, and would be horrified if they realised the suffering involved.”

“On fur farms, animals are confined to tiny wire cages for their entire lives” This suggestion could certainly be the case. On Saturday the 5th November, I joined the ranks of the Northern Animal Welfare Cooperative (NAWC) to protest the sale of fur at Michael Kors, Monument. Several shoppers who stopped to take a leaflet or look at the banners were

shocked that fur would be on sale in a UK high street store, and didn’t realise that they could be buying the pelt of a murdered animal. The fur-trim wearers that passed the protest tended to be more inclined to give the finger, or even shout abuse. In the UK, fur farming was banned and phased out in 2002, and for good reason. On fur farms, animals are confined to tiny wire cages for their entire lives, before they are anally electrocuted, gassed, clubbed, or have their necks broken. Wild animals can also be caught in traps, steel teeth cutting into their flesh as they are unable to move for hours or even days, until the trapper returns to suffocate or bludgeon them. Yet it is shockingly still legal to import fur garments and sell them in the UK. According to Animal Aid, worldwide more than 85% of

animals that are used for fur are bred and slaughtered on fur farms. The remaining percent are trapped in the wild. Commonly used animals for fur trims include mink, rabbits, polecats, raccoons and chinchillas, yet it is littleknown that an estimated two million cats and dogs are killed annually for their fur. With many fur imports coming from China, how can you be sure that the fur pom-pom on your Michael Kors handbag isn’t from a puppy? Faux furs and cruelty-free fabrics are widely available in shops everywhere, so the next time you’re shopping for a winter coat, consider Zara or Selfridges over the cruel Canada Goose or Michael Kors, and boycott stockists of fur. Thankfully, it is possible to keep warm compassionately and fashionably. I’d rather be seen dead than wear fur.


The Courier

comment .11

Monday 28 November 2016

Truth, lies, and Facebook news SOAPBOX

Alexandra Sadler argues it is imperative we challenge ‘fake news’ and misinformation

W

hat is ‘fake news’? I would think it’s pretty self-explanatory, news that is completely untrue or wholly fabricated. Sound familiar? Politicians make statements or do something, and this makes its way into the media, be that print, film or otherwise. However, what do you do when the statements that these politicians, those who are supposed to represent and lead us, are fake themselves? The most notable examples of this are, of course, Donald Trump and Nigel Farage, but was present throughout the EU referrendum.Vague and fear-mongering statements suggesting that immigrants are taking all our jobs, or World War Three would start if you didn’t vote a certain way in the referendum, are helpful to no one. The new populist right is thriving on misinformation and fake news.

celebrities have said or done, can and will influence the public’s opinion of said person or the issue that they’re campaigning on. So, how do we address fake news? Some argue for legislation cracking down on social media sites where fake news is a particular problem (looking at you Facebook). However, there then becomes the issue of

stifling opinions and blocking freedom of speech, one of the cornerstones of democracy. I would argue against specific legislation blocking news from being shared and published online, as this can all too easily become a tool used to prevent unpopular opinions being aired.

“The best form of defence against fake news is the individual” However, I do think that there’s an impetus on social media platforms themselves to address the issue of fake news, even if new announcements addressing fake news seem limited or difficult to achieve. Therefore, if legislation is not used and the networks themselves are limited, the best form of defence against fake news is the individual. It is up to you as a member of society to scrutinise what you’re sharing on social media. Does it seem reliable, and does it come from a reliable source? We need to challenge the news being thrown at us daily, there is always more than one angle, and false or fake news is included in this. The very nature of democracy depends upon us, as how can we ensure a free and fair, transparent, society if it is muddied by constant untruths?

“Fake news... can and will affect the public’s opinion” However, it’s not just politicians creating fake news, through fake or incorrect statements, that we have to worry about. The proliferation of fake news being shared on social media is a huge issue, particularly during the recent presidential election. The issue is not just that the news is made up, but also that people uncritically believe and share it. Fake news articles, about something that politicians or

Understanding life, death, and cryogenics Scientific procedures shouldn’t replace accepting our mortality, writes Emma Bancroft

T

he debate surrounding cryonics has resurfaced this week after a 14-year-old girl who was dying of cancer won the legal battle to have her body cryogenically frozen in the hope that she can be ‘woken up’ and cured of her illness in the future once medical technology has progressed. Cryonics is the field of science that is involved with the preservation of bodies of that can’t be kept alive using modern medicine and is done with the hope that resuscitation and restoration to full health may become possible in the future. Cryopreservation involves freezing the corpse with cyroprotectant or vitrification at temperatures around -196°C. It is believed that if this is done as soon as possible after ‘natural death’ - usually minutes after cardiac failure enough brain information will be able to be preserved to revive these people one day. In this week’s case of the 14-year-old girl, her divorced parents disagreed over her wishes: her father didn’t agree with her body being frozen, whereas her mother did. When the court finally granted her wishes, her parents could not afford to pay for the cryonic process, which cost a staggering £37,000, but her maternal grandparents raised the money needed for her body to be frozen. She

is the only British child to have been frozen. Taken at face value, this scientific phenomenon could certainly be regarded as a huge development in the realm of the treatment of patients with terminal illnesses. However, as with many of these breakthroughs, it comes hand in hand with numerous moral issues. The father of the 14-year-old girl has accused the Cryonics Institute of “selling false hope to those frightened of dying,” and accusing them of “taking advantage of vulnerable people.” Perhaps he’s not wrong. The expense of preservation is huge but, what if this ‘great scientific advancement’ that the patients of this process are hoping for is never achieved, resulting in these people never being ‘woken up’?

‘‘We are entering the realm of cryopreservation without any idea of the potential consequences”

We are entering the realm of cryopreservation without any idea of the potential consequences; we don’t yet have the technology to bring these people back to life, so how can we be certain that we ever will have? There are so

many implications that we could be faced with; what if these people are woken up for them to be brain damaged as a result of being frozen for over 100 years? What if they suffer such severe memory loss that they can no longer remember who they are? What if they may then be so ill they can’t function and wish that they hadn’t been brought back to life? Are they then entitled to euthanasia? This argument unquestionably pushes the boundaries of ethics; on one hand, it’s difficult to deny the last wishes of anybody who is gravely ill, but on the other hand I can’t help but think we are messing around too much with nature. I don’t criticise the decision that the 14-year-old girl’s mother made; she did what was best for her daughter at the time, and maybe the prospect of a possible revival brought peace to the young girl in her final days. However, the prospect of being woken up decades after I’d died, with no friends or family, nowhere to live and potentially no identity or memory doesn’t appeal to me. Playing around with immortality? In my opinion, we are getting too big for our boots. Death is a part of life, not a nice one, and not always a fair one, but in the end it’s the only thing that’s certain. Or maybe these days it isn’t…?

North Dakota: spilling oil, and blood Athénaïs Rambourg decries oil-motivated violent attacks on Sioux Native Americans

A

ncestral graves are being dug up, protestors severely wounded, and federal law being infringed by oil companies and police: The reason is the North Dakota Access Pipeline. The world has been witnessing a failure in the US

“The project is only an extension of the modern fracking frenzy” democratic system. The construction of this $3.8Bn pipeline project is socially and environmentally appalling. Used to transport crude oil, it would carry 470,00 barrels per day from North Dakota to Illinois. The project violates native treaties with the US government, and construction workers have refused to acknowledge Obama’s 6-month temporary halt order, thereby breaking federal law. Construction is almost complete and illegal drilling in the area has begun. This project is built over the ancient lands of the Sioux people, including their homes and graves. Oil spills have already jeopardised the tribe’s fresh water supplies from the Missouri River, and will continue

to do so. The same river that also supplies millions more Americans with water. One protestor was stripped and abused in a jail cell while her dead indant son’s grave was dug up during construction. Another girl lost her arm after being hit point blank by a fired-off smoke grenade. People’s rights are being ignored and stepped on, and their entire lives ruined. The project was proposed by four pipeline companies, supervised by EnergyTransfer Partners ,and is funded by thirty-eight major worldwide banks including HSBC, Barclays and the Royal Bank of Scotland. The tribe’s pleas to the federal and state governments have been dismissed, siding with the pipeline’s developer. Barack Obama has been vague and inactive on the matter since the protests have arisen, failing to enforce his temporary order. Taking a step back, the pipeline is embedded in a greater movement, Divestment, represented at Newcastle University by the Fossil Free campaign. It is important to highlight that the protestors have been peaceful since the beginning, as it is to remember that the police are attacking them with dogs, pepper spray, tasers, teargas and rubber bullets. As of November,

more than 400 protestors have been arrested. Regardless, the protests have been growing bigger and stronger, the main camp now counting over 1,000 people. People from all over the world have joined the cause on social media and in the streets.

“The protestors have been peaceful... the police are attacking them with dogs”

The tribe gathering in the US is critical as it is the biggest since the late nineteenth century. Given that court judgements have refused the project’s termination, people are left with direct action such as sit-ins, or boycott strategies, like writing letters to banks and switching bank accounts. This project is only an extension of the modern fracking-frenzy and shows how oil lobbying remains in opposition to common interests while extending human rights abuses. If Democracy is representing the people, it only takes a glance at this war on the Sioux tribe to see that Democracy dies with them.

COMMENT’S HOME OF WEEKLY RANTS RETAILING IT LIKE IT Tommy Harees

I

am sick to fucking death of being nice to people. Particularly at Christmas. Did I mention I work in retail? I am so done with misogynistic old men expecting to talk to me like I owe them something - I am literally paid to be nice. Please, tell me more about your personal life. Yes, please do tell me about how shocking these prices are (which, by the way, I am earning less than one tenth of per hour). I’m sick of people treating me and my colleagues like literal shit on their shoes. Talk to sales assistants, bar staff, ticket collectors, anyone doing their job like they are (spoilers) human beings. It takes more effort to be a cunt than to be nice. I know this to be true. This is why I’m so tired all the time.

STOCKING HALF-FULL

I

Laura Bolden

t’s almost the best time of the year, and to mark the occasion big brands across the UK have spent millions on their new Christmas advertisements, including of course John Lewis. The new advert, featuring Buster the Boxer, has brought out The Grinch in the nation and provided the masses with yet another topic to whine about. Claims that the advert tells young children Santa isn’t real and that it plays on a real issue of fox attacks in homes have been rife across social media, but the most ridiculous of them all? That the advert promotes Bovine Tuberculosis – a disease spread by badgers. The campaign aimed for ‘laughter not tears’, so why have so many of us chosen to focus upon every negative possible instead of revelling in the excitement of the build up to Christmas? I’m aware we all love a moan, but I believe its time we wrapped ourselves in a warm blanket, cup of hot chocolate in hand and enjoy the advert for what it is, a symbol that everyone can have fun this Christmas.

HUNTING SEASON

I

Meg Holtom

t’s house viewing season and I feel like every time my phone goes off it’s another email from Gary telling me there’s a viewing for the next day. Let me set the scene. It’s 3pm on a Wednesday and I’ve had a very hard hour in Uni. I’m sat in my room minding my own business and in walk a group of freshers and the Pat lady. They proceed to walk around my room, commenting on how nice it is (as if they’d come in and say ‘ew this place is gross’). Their eyes then rest on me, wrapped in a duvet/dressing gown combo with a tub of Tesco everyday value ice cream (fuck paying for Ben and Jerry’s), crying and watching Sex and the City for the fourth time since starting the term. Fuck off with your judgy glares this is what students do isn’t it?! I even got asked one time how energy efficient the house is. I replied: ‘Get the fuck out of my room’.


Culture

12.

thecourieronline.co.uk/culture

Monday 28 November 2016

The Courier

Culture Editors: James McCoull & Jack Oliver Parker Sections: Lifestyle, Fashion, Beauty, Arts, Music, Film, TV, Gaming & Science courier.culture@ncl.ac.uk | @CourierOnline

A survival guide to fi rst dates Shut up about Rant of the Week:

my future

Charlotte Broomfield has had enough of the questioning

I

t’s only four weeks until the Christmas holidays are upon us (not that I’m counting, obviously). Soon we can devour as many homemade meals lovingly provided by our families, who are somehow infinitely better at cooking than us, while avoiding the looming stress of essays and January exams. Christmas is the time to eat chocolate guilt-free in preparation for another attempt at clean-eating for our New Year’s resolutions. Christmas is the time to see your family who you’ve probably sort of missed and to get drunk in your pyjamas without judgement. However, Christmas is NOT the time for your parents to ask if you’ll scrape a 2:1 this year or for your grandparents to ask what kind of job you want, yet somehow these distressing conversations manage to come up far too often.

You’re really excited, they could be the person of your dreams, but you’re an awkward mess. At least you have Siobhan Fuller to help you overcome awkward first dates...

I

t’s getting to that time of year again when it feels like everyone is all loved up just in time for Christmas and you are left as the token singleton. As lovely as it is to curl up on the sofa on a Saturday night with the X Factor and a tub of Ben and Jerry’s, it would be even lovelier to have someone to do that with. Whether you’ve been set up by your best friend with some guy from their course, or you’re going to try to find someone on Tinder, first dates are never easy. Your first hurdle is choosing where to go. Avoid dinner dates and head for a coffee or a drink out instead, because if it ends up going disastrously, you can get out of there a lot quicker. You don’t want to be still stuck on your starter

...Or be the one obsessed with your phone...

“Somehow these distressing conversations manage to come up all too often”

You’ll get home to find that half of your old sixth form friends have sneakily been doing loads of work experience and have a job lined up after graduation. The friends who got apprenticeships (yes, the ones you felt secretly superior to when you were creating your freshers photo album on facebook) now have full time jobs with salaries to be smug about. You’ll probably also have a friend who has managed to juggle their degree, a part time job and do tons of travelling and still have their life together more than you do. The conversation about what you’re going to do after uni will be one that requires at least three drinks and some heavy exaggeration. The mind-numbingly patronizing advice from your “home friends” about how to get an internship or the best job websites won’t be the worst of these conversations, your family’s questions will probably cause enough tension to make your freezing cold room in Jesmond seem not so bad. Why is it that everyone is suddenly overly keen to impart wisdom on what we should be doing with our lives? I don’t need to be told that

“I don’t need to be told eating pasta every day is bad for me”

eating pasta nearly everyday is bad for me or that I should have done work experience; I’m actually very much aware. These conversations begin as soon as your first semester as a fresher is over and gradually become more frequent and more terrifying. By third year you get heart palpitations every time an email about graduate jobs comes through to subtly remind you to sort your life out. You’ll start avoiding your dad’s phone calls because if he asks if you’re any closer to figuring out what it is you’re going to do after graduation one more time you may have a meltdown. The only thing more stressful than every single assignment you do going towards what you’ll graduate with is the thought of being forced out of the lovely student bubble that keeps you safe from “real life” responsibilities. Conversations about what you’re going to do with your life are beyond crap and I’m hoping I’m not the only one having this quarter life crisis right now.

Don’t be the one obsessed with planning your wedding... just as he begins a very detailed description of his My Little Pony collection. Another good option would be picking an activity like iceskating or going to one of the Christmas markets; it takes

the focus off you and if the conversation runs dry, there will be no awkward silences. Once you’ve decided on the where and the when, the predate nerves will probably kick in. A drink or two may seem like a good solution (because who doesn’t need a bit of Dutch courage sometimes) but you’re better off sober on this occasion. You definitely want to minimise any chance of you falling flat on your face or spouting out an embarrassing story. My flatmate confessed to her date that he was remarkably like her ex… safe to say he didn’t text her back the next day. To get over the jitters, send out a distress signal on the group chat. They’ll shower you with compliments and make you feel like an absolute queen, which is almost as good as a shot of vodka. Throw on your favourite pair of shoes and slick on some lipstick so you feel confident, but don’t overdo it otherwise you’ll feel uncomfortable all night. When you’re actually

opposite your date, follow these golden rules: Try your best not to spill anything down your front red wine on your boobs is never a good look. Don’t hit on the staff. Don’t let on that you’ve done a full background check of their social media worthy of the FBI because they’ll probably question how you know they wore a blue shirt to their Grandad’s 80th two years ago in Edinburgh. Avoid mentioning your wedding plans, how many children you want and your retirement plan. Or at least make sure you order before you bring up the engagement rings. Remember, they’re just as worried about making a good first impression as you are, so give them a chance, relax and most importantly, have fun! If nothing comes of it, at least you’ll have a funny story to tell your friends in your lecture the next morning.

...Or expect to be as loved up as these otters straight away

Dear 12 year old me, listen closely

Looking back to your younger self, there is probably a few things that you’d want to tell yourself or let yourself know, so Amanda Yap talks us through what she would do if she had the opportunity to do so

I

think a lot about rewinding to the time when I was 12-years-old again especially when I’m struggling to prepare a decent meal for myself in university in my 20’s. Now, we are at the point in our lives where we are nearing the threshold of entering the working world as a mindless robotic human being for the next 50 years. It’s frightening, it makes you want to cry but it’s reality.

1. Don’t stress about academics this early

Dear Me, it is not worth crying over your Mathematics assessment book. It is stressful enough to think about which high school you will be spending your formative teenage years in. Yes, you feel defeated when you stare blankly at a problem sum and self-doubts surface all over again. However, the latter part of your life is not defined by your grades or what high school you eventually study in. You can only try your very best. Let people judge you by your results as much as they want, after all, their mouths are only capable of such things.

2. Start eating healthy NOW

I’m not saying to scorn all chocolates and sweet things for as long as you live. I’m saying get started on eating more fruits and vegetables, drinking a lot of water and make the effort to keep your body in tip-top condition. Do this now, then you would not have to worry about losing weight later. Focus on

staying healthy and your weight will adjust itself naturally.

have enjoyed the good times a bit longer or even sustained it until now.

The fun is in playing a few rounds of intensive badminton sessions or bicycling up the steep slope and then feeling the explosion of wind on your face when you ride downhill. Though the aftermath is two days of body aches, but recalling the joys of being in the company of friends is an almost-instant remedy for all your sore spots.

Whether it was dancing, soccer or gymnastics, you could have reminded yourself to press on even when the training was tough on your 12-year-old body. It would have been a great memory to say that you did a sport while growing up and who knows, you could have been an excellent athlete.

3. Get out more and smell the 6. Don’t Give Up a Favourite Sport fresh air

4. Don’t Regret Having Your First Crush/Puppy Love

Such a sensitive topic but one day you will look back and be glad that it happened anyway. It was your first taste of romance, maybe it did not turn out the way you expected it to but matters of the heart cannot be dictated by man. Just hang on to your seat and wait to be surprised, it would probably be one of the best things that happened in your life.

5. Keeping In Touch With School Friends

We grow up and move to different schools, priorities shift and suddenly our friendship is the thing of the past. However, there would not be the slightest regret if only we had made the effort to reach out to those friends more, at least we could

7. Be Excited About the Future

Who will you meet during your university days? What will be your future career? Which countries will you travel to? Positivity is the first step towards living a fulfilling one, you do not start living life when you are 12 years old, you start living life when you learn how to live it enthusiastically.

8. Love Freely & Unabashedly

Lastly, loving everyone freely and unashamedly. Express your concern for them in the smallest ways because they mean a lot to you. Let them know the real you, but don’t hold any expectations because you will get upset if you don’t receive the reciprocation. At the end of the day, at least you tried.


The Courier

Megan Ethan

.13

Monday 28 November 2016

Megan Stevenson, 1st Year English Literature meets Ethan Green, 1st year Law on

Hey, Megan so where did you and Ethan go on your date? We went to Wetherspoons… just for drinks and stuff. Was that your decision? Well it was all kind of up in the air, we were meant to go for a meal but there were a lot of last minute changes. We just ended up at the pub. Wetherspoons is a solid choice, which one was it? The Five Swans by uni. I’ve always thought that was the most romantic of all the Wetherspoons. Did you enjoy your date? Yeah I had a lot of fun, there wasn’t really a spark or anything and I think we both kind of agreed on that. Nooooooooo! But we got on well… I think it all went okay. What do you think he thought about you when he first saw you? I think he was probably a little bit annoyed because I was quite late. Fashionably late, obviously. But he was really nice and really polite so I don’t think he hated me. I hope not anyway. What did you think about him? I thought he seemed really lovely, he seemed quite quiet and I’m quite extroverted, so I think that’s probably why we didn’t really click. So I’m guessing you just didn’t fancy him in any way? I don’t want to say that… I think you just did ;) Well… he did seem really nice, just not my type! That’s fair enough, if there was one thing that could’ve gone better what would it be? I think we both kept making jokes that the other person didn’t get. I don’t think we were very much on the same wavelength. So I’d probably say we could’ve had more in common. What did you talk about? Loads! Politics… Did you have different political views? Not really no, we were definitely on the same wavelength with that one. We talked about books and sport, general uni stuff, standard conversation topics. If he was a colour what would he be? Maybe something pastel? Maybe like a pastel blue, because he’s quite quiet and calm and sweet. Aww that’s so nice! That was the cringiest answer ever… *awkward giggle* Did he fulfil your hopes and dreams about the date? I know you didn’t fancy him but… I would say so, because my major worry was that we really wouldn’t get on, or he’d be either really weird or really arrogant. And he was neither of those things! Thank god for that! Finally, if you had to rate Ethan out of 10, what would you give him? That’s another horrible question… probably like a 7. Because he’s really nice, and objectively attractive, but he’s not for me. So he was hot but not the one? Yeah… sorry. Cheers Megan, at least you’ve made a new friend!

Ethan on Megan

Hey Ethan, nice to see you post-date. did you have a good time? Yeah I did actually Glad to hear it. Firstly where did you go? We went to the five swans, it was alright. Not too studenty, just a nice vibe Did you choose it? Nah, she chose it. It wasn’t somewhere I’d normally go for a date haha, but it was very convenient. Very gentlemanly of you... What were your first thoughts when you saw her? My first thought was that she was really tall. Way taller than me. Was that a turn off ? Not especially, I just decided to roll with the punches. I didn’t really think about her height once we were sitting down. What do you think she thought about you? She probably thought I was ill because all I done since the minute I met her was cough. That’s actually why we ended up in the five swans, because I kept having to reschedule haha. Do you think she minded? Well maybe a little bit, it’s not exactly attractive to keep coughing on your date. But she took it very well, she was very nice about it all After you stopped coughing did you talk about anything interesting? We talked about a range of things, from politics to our wild drunken adventures. Ooh have you got any you can share with us? None that are fit for publication, besides I can’t remember everything we talked about, we talked about a lot of stuff ! Okay I’ll keep away from specifics. What were the best bits of the date? The best bit was when my nachos came Haha fair enough, anything about Megan? When we started talking was a good part, it was nice to finally be on the date after having to reschedule so much. I also enjoyed how warm the pub was. So the best part was being in a nice environment with nice food and nice conversation. Aah well done Ethan, you brought it back. Did she have good table manners? I’d say so If she was a colour what would she be? If she was a colour she’d be orange because she’s vibrant. Aww sweet, did you fancy her a little bit? I didn’t fancy her...albeit she was very good looking I think she said the same about you so fair enough. Despite this, did you kiss? Nah. Shame. Do you think you’ll meet up again? Yeah I’d like to, as friends though Did she fulfil your hopes and dreams about going on a blind date? I didn’t really have any hopes, but she was a good blind date. It was a good experience I think What would you give Megan out of 10? I’d give her a solid 7 That’s pretty high! Thanks Ethan, good luck in your future dating endeavours!

Fancy a date? We’ll set you up. Contact us! Find us on The Lifestyle Writers 2016/17 Facebook page


14.lifestyle

Monday 28 November 2016

The Courier

Lifestyle Editors: Ana Beretsos, Antonia Coleman-Harvey, Ruth Loeffler & Brooklyn Shakeshaft Ward

Horoscopes from Astrological Antonia & Sorceress Shakeshaft Ward Antonia ColemanHarvey and Brooklyn Shakeshaft Ward use their mystic powers to guide you through your Aries March 21st- April 19th

Your spirit has been well and truly killed by all the Christmas festivity which you’re adamant is “too early.” You know what, Aries, stop being moody Scrooge cos i’ts beginning to look a lot like.....

Taurus April 20- May 20

Newcastle’s top shops that pack a lunch

If you’ve been fretting over which tantalising lunch time treat to grab this Christmas time, fret no more as Grace Dean shares her go-to list that will leave you in a blissful food coma

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now is slowly falling in the North, Christmas songs are playing on the radio and the John Lewis ad has finally been released – slowly but surely we’re approaching the big day, and excitement for the Christmas dinner is slowly mounting up. For those of us who, like me, can’t wait til December 25th for a taste of turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce, then the sandwiches offered by supermarkets are the perfect on-the-go Christmas fix, and to help, I’ve sampled the best and worst of these for you. Eat4Less Brie & Cranberry Baguette, £1.25. What better way to start than with the cheapest Christmas sandwich imaginable at Newcastle’s classic student hangout? Despite the recent Eat4Less price increase (damn you, inflation!), this still offers incredible value for money. An incredibly satisfying foot-long baguette, oozing with a surprisingly generous portion of fresh creamy brie, is the perfect little festive pick-me-up, and one of the few Christmas offer-

Hopefully you listened to your horoscope last week and texted the mysterious boy in your life... maybe you could arrange a cheeky rendezvous to spice things up.

Gemini May 21- June 20

You’ve signed for a house with people who really don’t want to live with. When will you ever learn, Gemini? Next year take time to thoroughly make these decisions - they’re important!

Cancer June 21- July 22

You are the worst at shopping, Moonchild. And by that I’m referring to the little trip you took last Tuesday? You were meant to buy presents for your FAMILY, not yourself. God. Stop being to selfish.

Leo July 23- Aug 22

Oh Leo, what’s wrong? Is it the weather? Assignments getting you down? Whatever you’re going through right now don’t let it consume you. Treat yourself to a takeaway and some quality time with your closest friends. Watch out for a lingering cat on your way home this week.

Virgo Aug 23- Sep 22

Your stars are in murky alignment this week, Virgo. Just try to stay out of trouble for now and keep being your usual organised self. Everyone needs a Virgo like you in their life.

Libra Sep 23- Oct 22 Fortunately for you, Libra, you’ve had some very good news recently - go you! Don’t brag about it though (you have a tendency to brag, you bighead), so be happy but not, like, too happy.

Scorpio Oct 23- Nov 21

Got the birthday blues, Scorpio? Nah, probably not, cos you don’t seem to care about anything. This weekend is a good time to catch up with friends and get your head out of the clouds.

Sagittarius Nov 22- Dec 21 You’ve been working your socks off recently and it’s paid off ! You’re getting credit where it’s due and hell it feels good! Keep doing you, Saggy.

Capricorn Dec 22- Jan 19

Autumn has drawn to an end but the firey colours are still ignited in you. Find a way to channel your inner angst and reflect on the good things in your life right now. You’ve got a lot to be grateful for.

Aquarius Jan 20- Feb 18

You’re very in touch with your spirituality this week, Aquarius - what we like to see down Horoscope Lane. Tea and crystals (try the Christmas market) will aid your discovery.

Pisces Feb 19- March 20

You were very thankful last week and you exude a lot of kindness, Pisces. How very nice of you. However don’t be surprised if you get judged for being a selfie addict.

ings that caters for vegetarians too. One minor criticism, however, is the addition of iceberg lettuce, which ruins the creamy texture of the brie and just doesn’t harmonise with the cranberry sauce. 3/5 M&S Turkey & Pigs in Blankets, £3. This sandwich gives a cheerful contemporary twist to the classic pigs in blankets, which are often the most sought-after part of the Christmas dinner. Boasting a wide range of meat, with bacon, pork sausage and smoked bacon, this sandwich is completely satisfying and left me full, which made up for the fact that it wasn’t included in the M&S meal deal. A common criticism of Christmas sandwiches is that the flavour of the stuffing overpowers the other ingredients, however M&S avoided this problem by using sage and onion bread instead, ensuring there are no lumps of stuffing inside. In spite of that, the cranberry chutney, while binding the sandwich together and adding a festive tang, tasted more jam-like to me, and the spiced mayonnaise had was unevenly distributed throughout the sandwich, leaving a particularly strong clove flavour in one bite. 4/5 Tesco Finest Brie & Mulled Wine Chutney Sandwich, £3. This was a mistake. A massive mistake. In its gorgeously festive packaging, with soft multigrain bread, generous slices of creamy brie and fresh crunchy spinach, the sandwich lured me in, and I thought it would be the perfect companion for a six hour coach journey to Liverpool. Oh, the regrets. Despite the quality of the individual ingredients, they just didn’t work well together, and this was a let-down compared to the usual juicy turkey feast. The brie was delicious, and the bread was a delight too, however they were both overpowered by the excessive flavour of the cinnamon, nutmeg

and cloves in the mulled wine chutney. I won’t even detail the big lumps of grape in there. This sandwich ruined my coach journey, during which my lunch is often the only high point, and my only condolence was that at least it had been reduced to £1.27. 1/5 Greggs Christmas Lunch Toastie, £3. In the cold December weather when it’s already dark by four o’clock, the idea of a hot meal on your way home from uni is always alluring, yet often a far-fetching dream. Cue the Greggs Christmas Lunch Toastie. This flavourful offering from Greggs perfectly fills a gap in the sandwich-to-go market – it’s HEATED! Packed with loads of filling and yet not as heavy as the classic Festive Bake, this sandwich somehow manages to fill a niche in a heavily-saturated market. The perfect hangover treat on those cold winter days. 5/5 ASDA Turkey Dinner Tortilla Wraps, £2.50. The bright red Christmas packaging and generous portion lured me in, and offered the classic festive flavours of turkey, sausage, stuffing, bacon and cranberry sauce with a contemporary twist by serving them in black pepper wraps. The flavour, however, was disappointing to say the least. Dominated by an overpowering sage flavour from the stuffing and with a distinct lack of cranberry sauce, these dry wraps were a struggle to get through, and featured a disappointingly large ratio of wrap to filling. Whilst an original idea, and potentially a more practical on-the-go meal (there’s less of a risk of the filling falling out than there would be with a sandwich), the dry texture unfortunately just didn’t compare to the more traditional offerings on the market. 2/5

Oh, Baby it’s cold outside As temperatures plumet, Sophie Schneider shows us what to do rather than venture out

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aby it’s cold outside, eat mince pies instead T’is the season to get fat, screw anything active that isn’t walking at a gentle pace; Christmas time is for embracing that extra five pounds, and where it’s acceptable to eat your 19th mince pie whilst watching the Christmas special of Gavin and Stacey circa 2011. In replacement to healthy, vigorous activities such as going on runs, hiking up hills and even opening your front door, I present to you 5 replacements.

Do some baking

Whack on some Bake Off for your Mary Berry fix and crack on some Buble: it’s about to get festive. Baking isn’t an expensive activity and will put you in the serious good books of your housemates if you approach them with half-adozen gingerbread snaps. I swear there are some therapeutic qualities in the baking process - it makes you feel like you’ve achieved more in your day than reading half a page of notes and watching 7 episodes of GOT. Plus, it makes the house smell Christmassy as f.

Throw a dinner party

Yes, I’m aware that the majority reading this are not middle aged, own a Volvo and enjoy dessert wine, however dinner parties can be possible for us broke students too. A cheap version of this is everyone brings a dish (be that a bottle of own brand Tesco vodka, or a microwavable sticky toffee pudding), then set the table (or in some cases, floor) with pretty fabrics and festive décor.

d! e t t Spo

Play board games

Everyone loves a good board game, from Monopoly to Monogamy (yes, that game), nowadays there’s a choice for all. There’s something nostalgic about whipping out the Cluedo set, putting on the 90’s bangers and ruthlessly arguing on who’s fitter Miss Scarlett or Miss Peacock. The wonderful thing about this indoor activity, is that these things can last for hours: you’ll find yourself sat on the same cushion for 6.5 hours without a break for food, water or breathing, debating on whether to invest in more hotels on Old Kent Road or steal 3 £50 notes from Free Parking.

Get art-sy

Have you always secretly wanted a painted egg cup with your initials on it? Do you need a paper machee pen holder? Of course you do, and you’re going to spend a good four hours of your life creating such a thing, which will later turn out to be as useful as a chocolate teapot. If there’s any parties coming up that require some imaginative outfits, how about instead of putting on heavy eyeliner and saying you’re an Egyptian, actually try and create something impressive. ABC event? Create a dress with matching headwear entirely made from Foster beer cans.

“Get a barrel of mulled wine brewing and chill in a Christmassy fashion”

Just chill

The laziest option, and my personal favourite: get a barrel of mulled wine brewing and chill in your flat in a Christmassy fashion. The trick to a classy mulled wine is to not let all the alcohol boil off by getting it too hot, plus add a bit of brandy if you don’t want to mess about. You can then sip this while watching Love Actually, perhaps snacking on a freshly baked gingersnap and engaging in a game of Monopoly and feel very smug of how proactive you are.

On a stroll to get out of the library, you hope but dont expect to see much. Well I got more than I could have ever dreamt of. A low rumble of noise caught my attention by Haymarket, as I look up. An open top sightseeing bus of Newcastle and Gateshead was making its way through the traffic. With a lovely gentleman shouting down a megaphone with a gaggle of girls screaming around him- one would presume there was a certain level of intoxication. I’m not sure if I would be inclined to sit on a roofless bus in this weather...

Have you seen something weird and then wished your friends were there to witness it? We’d love to know who/what you’ve seen around campus that has made you chuckle in the last week. The weirder the better. Just Facebook us and let us know, because chances are we’d love to have a chuckle too.


The Courier

lifestyle .15

Monday 28 November 2016

thecourieronline.co.uk/lifestyle c2.lifestyle@ncl.ac.uk | @CourierLifestyle

Battle of the Christmas Ads

Recipe

of the week

For most, Christmas begins with the airing of our favourite branded adverts and Victoria Hope Coke is back again Affleck talks us through her favourites this year and crowns her true deserving winner

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he time has come for the return of the Christmas advert competition and once again the contestants are desperately trying to win over the public and gain the title ‘Christmas ad of the year’. This year, John Lewis’ #BusterTheBoxer ad has left viewers divided, Aldi have pulled out all the stops to sit amongst the big brands with their ‘Kevin the Carrot’ ad, Heathrow’s first ever Christmas ad featuring two adorable teddy bears and the Sainsbury’s cartoon ad about a busy working father wanting to give his family the best gift is sweet, however for me, Marks and Spencer have really upped their game and have ‘dashed’ all the way to first place.

“Marks and Spencer turn Mrs Claus into a stylish and jovial wife of the Big Man”

M&S have decided to take an entirely different route on the traditional Christmas advert with the appearance of ‘Mrs Claus’, a character that commonly gets forgotten about due to the main star of the show, Father Christmas. Marks and Spencer turn Mrs Claus into a stylish and jovial wife of the

Big Man – played by 55-year-old Geordie actress Janet McTeer – who saves the day out of the generosity and kindness in her heart by helping the main character, Jake, on Christmas Eve. This advert lays emphasis on femininity and highlights that women are strong, independent women and don’t need men to help them get the job done, hence promoting female empowerment and ultimately showing that the older women have still got it! Good on you, Mrs Claus! The ad is about a young boy, named Jake, calling upon Mrs Claus on Christmas Eve to help get his sister, Anna, the perfect Christmas present – a pair of sparkling red trainers. He wishes to apologise to her for being an annoying younger brother and showing her that despite his (typical younger sibling) behaviour – certainly a relatable situation for many of us – he still loves her dearly. Mrs Claus comes and saves the day by flying R-Dolf, the helicopter, to Jake’s home in London to personally deliver the pair of red trainers his sister, Anna, desperately wanted. At the end of the ad, on Christmas Day, we see a young brother and sister united by the power of gift-giving and it really does melt my

to keep your student bellies full and happy with her weekly recipe. This week, it’s pizza (Kind of)! “It’s not always about making

heart. It’s all about love and kindness at this time of year, helping one another and making people smile, and this advert captures this more than any other for me.

adverts emotional, such as last year’s John Lewis ad ‘ManOnTheMoon’”

The thing that Christmas advert campaigns sometimes forget is that it’s not always about making adverts emotional, such as last year’s John Lewis ad #ManOnTheMoon, pulling at the heart strings of their audience and reducing people to tears. No. It’s about showing what Christmas is all about… and that’s bringing of friends and family together and making people happy. Marks and Spencer’s 2016 Christmas ad faultlessly captures this and epitomises the idea of Christmas for everyone, appealing to all across the country, and that is why M&S wins the vote of many for this year’s Christmas ad of the year.

VS It’s all about the little things... In a world rife with distractions, Ashleigh Harrison looks to Danish culture to make sure that those special moments don’t pass us by

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ygge (pronounced hue-gah) is the Danish art of making every day things feel a little bit more meaningful. It’s all of the great things about winter rolled into one - the cosiness, the quality time with your family and friends, the great food and even the twinkly lights over Northumberland Street. It has no English translation, much like the French phrase “joie de vivre”, which is probably why we Brits are seen as pretty miserable by the rest of the world, but it basically means to nourish your soul by being present in the little moments. The Danes are known as the happiest nation on earth, so maybe it’s time to inject some Hygge in to the British way of life.

“Unfortunately, dieting doesn’t really correlate with living Hygge, as a massive part of this lifestyle is hearty, warming food”

The first step into living a Hygge lifestyle is buying a ton of candles. Meik Wiking’s “The Little Book of Hygge” recommends that you have at least 5, and they don’t all have to be Yankee – Primark will do just as well. Turn off all the bright white lights, and light your room with lamps and fairy lights for the ultimate Hygge glow. Unfortunately, dieting doesn’t really correlate with living Hygge, as a massive part of this lifestyle is hearty, warming food. We’re talking lasagne, porridge, soups and fresh bread, alongside lots of hot chocolates with whipped cream, marshmallows and flakes. Basically, all the best food that your mam makes when you go home over the Christmas holidays. The next step is being warm; as students this probably isn’t a concept most of us are used to in

our draughty Jesmond houses, but the best way to get that comforting Hygge glow is to crank up the heating (possibly wait until your flatmates go out to do this) and snuggle up with some blankets and throw cushions. Nature plays a huge part in the Danish way of life, so naturally it creeps in as part of Hygge. The Danes believe that acknowledging the beauty of nature is the key to happiness – now this sounds kinda weird, but think about how amazing trees look when they start to turn red in autumn, or how clean tarmac looks after a rainstorm, and you start to realise it’s not an entirely crazy thought. Wrap up in your toastiest clothes and get outside - go for a walk with your mates or maybe sign up to do a Park Run (if you can stomach being up before 9 on a Saturday).

“It’s about real life connections, which most people acknowledge to make much better memories than that time you Facebook messaged that guy...”

One ABSOLUTE NO-GO of Hygge is the internet. No mobiles, no social media, no bringing work into home life. It’s about real life connections, which most people acknowledge to make much better memories than that time you Facebook messaged that guy for like an hour whilst doing some coursework. It doesn’t have to get in the way of your work, in fact the opposite. Hygge is a natural extension to life, just by appreciating nature on your walk to the Marj or taking a coffee break in the Robbo with some of your friends. It’ll not only make you way more productive, but overall just a happier person.

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irst things first, I should make clear that this is not a ‘pizza’ in the traditional sense. The base isn’t really a dough, but made with a gram (chickpea) flour batter, so the consistency is more like pancake-y than bread-y. But strange as that might sound, I promise it’s still really, really good - and the protein packed gram flour gives an extra nutritional kick. It also happens to be gluten free, if that means anything to you. If not, it still tastes great. I’ve gone for pesto, spinach, red onion, cherry tomato and goats cheese here as a topping, but I also think the socca base would lend itself very well to a more middle eastern vibe with toppings like grilled aubergine, peppers and halloumi. Basically what I’m saying is my toppings are a suggestion, but you do you. Makes 1 good size pizza Ingredients: -150g gram flour -230ml water -3tbsp olive oil -1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs -generous pinch salt and pepper -2-4 tbsp olive oil, for frying -1 tbsp pesto -1 generous handful fresh spinach -1 red onion -1 generous handful cherry tomatoes -25g goats cheese -a small handful fresh basil leaves Directions: To make your socca mix whisk together the gram flour, water, olive oil and seasoning in a large bowl until you have a smooth, runny batter. Cover and set aside while you prep the remaining ingredients. Peel and half your red onions, then slice into strips. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a saucepan and fry the onions with a pinch of salt until soft but not overly browned. Remove the pan from the heat, then cut your cherry tomatoes in half and set both the onions and tomatoes aside. Next heat a couple of tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan, swirling it around so that the base is well covered. Take your socca batter and pour into the hot pan, swirling it around to get a fairly thick, even coverage around the base. Turn the heat of your hob quite high and cook for 5 minutes or so, or until the underside of the socca base is dark golden and it is cooked all the way through so that the top is set. You then need to cook the other side, so I advise drizzling a little more oil over the top of the socca base before you do this so it doesn’t stick. Then depending how brave you’re feeling you can either flip the socca over in the pan like a pancake or carefully slide it out onto a plate then invert back onto the pan so that the less cooked side is on the bottom. Turn the heat up high at this point so that you cook the bottom well and get a nice, crisp underside for your pizza. After a few more minutes or once the base is nicely browned and crisp underneath, remove the pan from the heat. Spread the of pesto all over the base, leaving a couple of centimetres gap for the crust, then cover the pesto with your fresh spinach. Next, distribute your softened onions over the top, then the cherry tomatoes and finally crumble over the goats cheese. Place under the grill and cook for 5 minutes or so, until the cheese is nicely golden. Slide out of the pan onto a board or plate. Tear a few fresh basil leaves over the top for garnish, cut into generous slices and serve. I love this alongside a green salad, but it’s also great as it is, eaten in thick wedges with your hands. No shame.


16. fashion

Monday 28 November 2016

The Courier

Fashion Editors: Liz Rosling, Izzi Watkins & Zofia Zwieglinska

Xmas shopping guide: NCL Rebecca Jones reveals the city’s stop-offs’ for purchasing prezzies

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ewcastle City Centre has an array of shops that are perfect for those special Christmas gifts. You only have to walk down Northumberland Street and into Eldon Square in order to see. So, if you’re choosing to purchase your Christmas presents here in the North East you’ve got a great selection of shops to chose from. This ranges from your classic stores such as John Lewis or Debenhams to those quaint independent stores across the city. For a one-stop-shop, you’ve obviously got to go to Fenwick Department Store - if you’re one of those last minute shoppers then this is the perfect place for you. The store has everything you could ever need for the festive season! Presents range from expensive designer makeup brands that are perfect for spoiling our adored mums, to children’s toys that will provide great fun for little brothers / sisters. To add to the magic of Christmas, take a look at the festive window… As soon as Fenwick reveals their Christmas window you know that the end of the year celebrations are finally near! If you’re somebody who fancies bit more of an edgy vibe, take a trip down to Fern Avenue’s Antiques Centre in Jesmond. Here you can pick up some retro presents, for your friends who have more of a quirky, individual style. Grab yourself anything from Victorian over-mantel mirrors to your classic chesterfield arm chairs. This shop models itself on catering for those who are looking for the traditional antiques, and also the quirkier items too. Plus, supporting the local independent businesses of Jesmond is always a bonus!

“For a one-stop-shop, you’ve obviously got to go to Fenwick Department Store - if you’re one of those last minute shoppers then this is the perfect place for you” If you’re taking a stroll through to West Jesmond, then you have a wide variety of stores to choose from. For those of you who are looking at spending a little more on your loved ones take a trip down to Strangers Cook Shop, by West Jesmond metro station. This independent shop operates as a more premium priced shop, which sells a range of house hold items, with brands ranging from Kitchen Aid to Joseph and Joseph. The items in this shop would be perfect for the cooks at Christmas, adding an extra sparkle to the magic day. It also has an amazing display in their window, to get you into that Christmas spirit if you aren’t already there. If you’re more of an arty type, I would recommend to take a trip to The Baltic Shop, in the Baltic Gallery on the Quayside. With presents ranging from books, posters and pens you’re bound to find that special gift in there, and you have the added bonus of getting to look around the gallery too. The real hidden gem in Newcastle City Centre has to be Central Arcade, just by Monument. Built in 1906, the Edwardian building isn’t just aesthetically pleasing, it has a wide range of shops too. With classics such as Cath Kidston for beautifully floral print presents, or SpaceNK for the beauty lovers – it really does have something for everybody. Once you’ve finally finished your Christmas shopping, you can treat yourself to a warming refreshment from Starbucks, which is located there too.

These boots are made for walking Jaymelouise Hudspith walks us through the best boots to buy this winter season W

inter is upon us. I know what you may be thinking, this is Newcastle which means that bar two good days in July it’s pretty much winter all year round… This means you need to be prepared

for the transition from cold to sub-zero, especially once it snows and we’re all finding ourselves walking around trying not to look like Bambi on ice. For this very reason I have searched the internet up and down,

looking for the best winter boot options out there to create a mini survival guide for this season.

2. TOPSHOP’s snug black low heel biker boots

1. Zara’s flat boots with heel detail

Product code: 6054/101.. For only £59.99 you can purchase these gorgeous genuine leather knee high boots. If you can pull these off (and I’m jealous if that is the case, my little legs look ridiculous in them) think how warm you’d be when wearing with some extra thick wellington boots socks underneath, not only warming your toes but your legs too. While it’s still above freezing level, I would recommend teaming these boots with a floral dress, a biker jacket and of course a matching hat and scarf to pull of the perfect autumnal artsy rocker look. After the temperature drops, team these with jeans and a fitted shirt to pull of the preppy, dressy yet seemingly effortless look.

Concession brand Miss KG, product code: 63K02KBLK. Although they may be a little pricey at £99, I believe the fact that they are faux fur lined with chunky soles makes the high price tag more than worth it. The weather may be numbing, but in these boots your toes certainly won’t be. The thick soles mean you’ll be able to survive whatever winter throws at you - without worrying about falling flat on your butt in embarrassment – and let’s be honest we all know it would be bound to happen in front of that cute guy you’ve been flirting with. With boots like this aim to go back to basics and consider comfort first. I would team these biker boots with black skinny jeans (optional rips if you’re feeling brave, edgy and don’t mind a bit of frost bite), a basic jersey tee with an extra baggy jumper to cocoon yourself in while sat in the old draft lecture halls. Oh, and of course a tartan scarf to add a dash of fes-

3. River Island’s grey suede hiker boots

tive colour to this at times bleak season.

Product code: 688600. These boots are a bargain worth catching at the reduced price of £30 from £45 - and available in more colours, all of which are in the sale too. Perfect for everyday use, these cute little boots are lined with faux sheering to keep you warm and toasty. Since they’re styled for hiking they’ll be the perfect way to combat the ice and sludge left behind once the novelty of snow has worn off. Dressed perfectly with grey or ‘wash out’ black skinny jeans, a flannel checked shirt, roll over socks, a beanie and a formal backpack to complete the hiker to high fashion look.

4. New Look’s light brown ankle boots

Product code: 381269521. These boots are also available for those needing the wide fit boot. Both are completed with a knitted band to make them extra cosy… They’re the cheapest of the bunch at only £29.99. These are the only brown boots I have included, but they are also available in black with a grey knitted band around the top. These boots are a fabulous smart-casual option that I would recommend wearing with a white fitted shirt under a fine knit black sweatshirt with blue jeans. Allowing you to layer up for warmth but look fashionable doing so.

The art of layering Rosemary Macklam hunts down the best of the current high street trend

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inter has truly hit Newcastle and if you don’t have your winter layers sorted then listen up! With a great range of puffer jackets, turtle necks, pleated midi skirts and sweatshirt dresses on offer, there is no need to brave the winter months in one layer; there are some great deals out there for simple layering. The key element to winter dressing is layers, layers, layers! The majority of the popular high street stores as well as online retailers such as Missguided offer a great range of pieces you can layer up. Layers are perfect because by the time you get into university for that 9am lecture and you’ve worked up a sweat, you can easily peel them off - and the re-add them - as you wish. There is a range of staple items to consider from each of the high-street winter collections, and it is worth shopping around. Firstly, check out Urban Outfitters City Layers collection for a range of unique pieces, with the velour tracksuit bottoms being a particularly exciting piece. The pleated midi slip dress from the same collection is also a great one to layer. Expertly crafted from vintage materials, it proves to be a true investment as a limited edition piece. Go into any high street

store and head for their basics range and buy a variety of turtle neck and/or long sleeve tops which can be layered with this strappy number – then wear alone for an alternative night-time outfit. There are cheaper versions in other high street stores but the slip dresses unique vintage character and the 10% student discount makes it worth it. The most important piece for layering in the winter is the overcoat. In H&M’s interview with DJ and TV host Alexandra Fedorova, she said her winter signature style included an oversized wool coat.

“The key element to winter dressing is layers, layers, layers!”

Being students it is next to impossible to find the funds for a real wool coat, but there are some great alternatives. Again, Urban Outfitters’ collection City Layers has some great coats but they are more expensive in comparison to Missguided.co.uk and New Look (who currently have 40% off coats and knitwear). In fact, whilst writing this article I (accidentally, ha!) bought a beautiful grey maxi coat that is incredibly soft and has a great tailored

shape. If you are not in a mood for a thick layer, all of the high-street stores have multitudes of bomber jackets too. For the best value I found that New Look currently has a quilted bomber jacket in a variety of colours, and its reduced from £34.99 to as little as £26.94! Talking about value for money, there is also a comeback of reversible items at the moment. One of the best items I have found is this reversible Tote H&M.com Bag from Urban Outfitters that comes in a range of different duo colours. It is perfect for someone who is indecisive, or wanting to invest in a versatile bag to suit all outfits. The underdog in the high-street market, H&M has a range of amazing knitted jumpers and turtleneck dresses. It also provides lots of inspiration for that allimportant layering!

instagram: @charmaineb

Instagram: @fedrafedra

New Look, Grey Longline Coat £34.99

TOPSHOP, Grey funnel neck top, £15

New Look, Quilted bomber, £26.94

Urban Outfitters Mini Reversible Tote Bag £36.00

H&M Knitted Turtleneck Dress £29.99


The Courier

fashion .17

Monday 28 November 2016

thecourieronline.co.uk/fashion

Tattoos as a fashion statement Kitty Marie discusses the pros and cons

Victoria’s Secret Scandal

Chloe Bland divulges in the body idealism behind the famous catwalk show

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Instagram: @pliszkamagdalena

ur favourite drawing, the name of somebody we love, a drunken joke, an inspirational quote; tattoos can take many forms and can mean very different things for different people. However, there is often debate on whether they are a form of art to be loved by the holder forever or a passing faze that will most certainly be regretted. So is it a rite of passage or a badge of dishonour?

Tattoos are art:

Of course tattoos are art; they require an actual artist to bring them to life. The tattoos we see on people’s bodies vary from very small, simple designs like a Hello Kitty or a character from Winnie the Pooh to beautiful, colourful intricate pieces of art. These could be a Kraken devouring a ship in a windy ocean, a busty woman on a motorbike or a portrait of a loved one. All of these designs require someone to painstakingly pierce into the person’s body with needles and ink beneath the surface of the skin. Like a painting or sculpture, a tattoo can

Instagram: @inkspiringtattoos

Instagram: @stevesavart

make us feel slight awe or happiness when we see it, and some of them are so good that we even contemplate getting the design on our own body. Like any other art, a tattoo deserves to be appreciated for the work and craftsmanship that goes into it.

“Tattoos can be both beneficial and detrimental, but they are a life-changing choice that people must make by themselves”

We regret tattoos:

Tattoos are definitely art, but despite this we can still come to regret them in many years’ time when we no longer like the design. They are expensive, and this money could be used on other things like going on holiday, buying a classic old car or a new rug. In the future, when you look at the tattoo and think that it is no longer appealing, you would’ve

Instagram: @maddepaulsson

wished you had spent the money on something else instead. If you really hate the tattoo you may wish to pay for laser surgery or tannic acid to remove it; this is just as expensive, sometimes even more expensive, and very time-consuming. Sometimes a tattoo can also become a reminder of a past life that we wish to leave behind. In the form of a previous lover’s name or a once-upon-a-time proud eagle that has aged with the body and turned in a flaccid budgie… Many of us are fickle and like to change our minds, and with a tattoo it is very difficult to do this as it is a permanent decision. If you really like a particular drawing, then why not just get it drawn on paper with a pretty frame? That way, you can have as many paintings as you want and it would probably be cheaper than a tattoo. Tattoos can be both beneficial and detrimental, but they are a life-changing choice that people must make by themselves. After all, in twenty years’ time you don’t want to boast that you got a tattoo etched into your skin as a drunken joke!

2016: A Fashion Round-up Fashion Editor Izzi Watkins revisits the good, the bad and the ugly of 2016 fashion

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2016: Hot or Not

High Street Collabs- With the likes of Kenzo and Alexa Chung teaming up with our fave brands, merely dreaming of a designer wardrobe is a thing of the past Kendall J- dominating catwalks

and covershoots Kendall is unstoppable

Ugg Boots (?!)- In October

Alexa Chung teamed up with Ugg to inject some much needed flare

Cleavage- Vogue has called for

the end of cleavage: this justifies an entire new wardrobe of pretty triangle bras right?

Being Cold- this season has seen the meteroric rise of hyge inspired cosy puffa jackets and blanket scarves- Newc students approve! Skinny Jeans- 2016 was

Vogue .co.uk

without a doubt the year of the denim straight leg; see ya later skinnies!

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2 p, £ sho Top

Instagram: @messgolovesdesign

s it draws to a close 2016 for many, will with: Calvin Klein and Adidas logo tees took the be a year to be forgotten. David Bowie’s Toon en masse, flooding the floors of the Robbo untimely death in January seemed to set and Digi with a sea of vintage labels that wouldn’t the precedent for a year of the unexpected and the look out of place paired with some socks and sandownright depressing. The world of fashion has dals on your dad. however marched on regardless, donning crocs on Perhaps less surprising was that the great body its way no less (the ultimate unexpected). debate raged on with as much furore as ever. In the centenary year of British Vogue we were Whilst there did seem to be some progress made gifted with a rare peek behind those hallowed Con- towards a more body positive and inclusive indusdé Naste doors and in her first book the usually try, including Vogue’s first ever ‘real’ women issue’ private Schulman bared all. It wasn’t just a year of (does this mean all models up until this point have firsts for the British edition however; Kendall Jen- been fake women? Is Kate Moss actually a synth? ner and Lily Rose Depp debuted on the magazine’s The questions are endless). On closer inspection French and American covers. Both went on to however, progress was perhaps less than we would cement their supermodel status with iconic ensu- have liked, Gigi Hadid and Cara Delvigne were ing Calvin Klein and Chanel campaigns, meaning both caught up in media storms after allegations hardly a day would go by without us seeing their they had been turned down for certain shows for (perfectly formed) being too ‘fat’ or ‘bloatfaces staring out at “Waging war first on street-style, ed’. As well as this there us... we’re not bitter been a somewhat and more recently on cleavage- the has we swear. worrying emergence of Despite twelvecondemnation of boobs and bloggersa corset trend, initiated hugely successful by Prada and Balmain covers (The British led many to que‹stion whether, 100 and endorsed by the Vogue June issue years on, Vogue’s finger has slipped Kardashian clan. was one of the best 2016 seems to have from the pulse” selling of all time) passed us in a flash of the magazine has fashion weeks, florals continued to court controversy. Waging war first and flares. I’m quite sure that even the saviest of on streetstyle, and more recently on cleavage- the fashion forecasters would have struggled to predict condemnation of boobs and bloggers led many 2016 would be the year of the croc, let alone the to question whether 100 years on, Vogue’s finger year of the brightly coloured pantsuit (credit to ulslipped from the pulse. timate nasty woman, Hilary for that one). Looking In regards to trends, the 90s revival reigned on; to the future I’m in no doubt that many surprises seeing the slip dress slink its way into our ward- await us in 2017, perhaps this time next year we robes, the high street once again proved that imi- will all be donning the darkest shade of tation is the highest form of flattery. Topshop and St Tropez a la Trump?…or not. Primark alike churned out variants of the 90s staple in every cut, colour and cloth imaginable. Vetements and FCUK also ensured that the logo T shirt came back in a big way, both sold out of their new lines of cult T-shirts in hours. And although it’s unlikely many Newcastle students will have Pinterest: Icynightmare bagged one, it was a trend we fully got on board

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@Pinterest

ear after year, Victoria Secret’s runway achieves a huge audience, especially among the younger generation of girls. 2015 saw both Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid take the runway. These figures become and act as role models and as inspiration for young girls, and they hold a strong influence regarding their trends and figures. With the 2016 line up, there has been some disruption in the choice, as potential Angel Cara Delevingne was slammed for her figure, apparently not suiting the requirements of an ‘Angel’. According to The Sun, the Victoria Secret Fashion Show panel rejected Cara from this year’s runway due to the fact that she looked ‘bloated.’ Edward Razek, the CMO of Victoria Secret’s replied to this accusation in a letter to Cara, stating that ‘We have tried hard to have you here,’ and that the sole reason she was not included was due to her unavailability, with filming in North Carolina.

“Not everyone can achieve a perfectly slim figure, however this should not stop anyone from pursuing their career and feeling confident in their own image” The accusations themselves may be debatable, however this issue of fat shaming has become conventional to the social media of the 21st Century. With apps such as Instagram, the idealism of the ‘perfect body’ is pretty much unavoidable, causing many young girls to suffer from extreme self-consciousness and take on absurd diets and lifestyles in order to fit the ‘ideal.’ As everyone has differing builds and metabolisms of each person, this is troubling. Not everyone can achieve a perfectly slim figure, however this should not stop anyone from pursuing their career and feeling confident in their own image. The Victoria Secret models are known for their amazing figures, Cara Delevingne being no exception to the rule. They flatter the styles and clothing items in a visual sense, however I think it is important to consider whether or not their figures actually affect the way in which the clothes are advertised. With this concept of ‘fat shaming’ causing many problems for the younger generation, would it not be beneficial to have curvier models as part of the runway? The catwalk Angels could then be consistent with a wider audience. Another Angel for this year, lsa Hosk, said ‘When I step out on that runway, I want to know I did everything I possibly could to earn my place in the Fashion Show.’ Many of the models this year have demonstrated their own workout routines, whilst advertising the Victoria Secret’s sportswear range. It is clear that these models focus on their careers and their appearance and general health is one of the most important concerns for them. Their job is to maintain their figure, just as other jobs require frequent training. They are therefore role models to young people not for their appearance, but for their success. As Cara herself explained when criticizing The Sun, ‘It’s shameless to discuss women’s bodies just to sell papers.’ Cara clearly shows no animosity for Victoria Secret and may even consider the offer to join the 2016 runway, with ’no casting necessary.’ Hopefully we can see Cara return to the Angels’ catwalk and dominate the show, whether ‘bloated’ or not.


18. beauty

Monday 28 November 2016

The Courier

Beauty Editors: Ellie Trent, Miranda Stoner & Ellen Walker

Is highlighting the new contour? Laura Bolden discusses how contouring is slowly becoming replaced by the highlighting method

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f you haven’t heard of makeup contouring, you have been living under a rock. In a fast paced industry where trends change more frequently than our beauty blenders, contouring has stood the test of time and has became an essential part of every girl’s makeup routines. Thanks to our favourite beauty bloggers, we were all able to become contouring professionals and as a result we all now have our favourite contouring products. Whether it’s a liquid concealer such as LA Girl Pro Conceal (£3.95) or a matte powder like Benefits Hoola Bronzer (£23,50), we know which gives us that perfect bronzed definition. But are contouring’s days numbered? The emergence of new trends such as strobing, baking and highlighting have taken over the beauty industry and look to be here to stay. Highlighting uses the same concept as contouring, except this time we are being taught to emphasis the areas the light hits our face rather than define our areas of shade. The best bit of highlighting though… it is now acceptable to have shimmery cheekbones every day and not just for fancy dress parties. There’s no need to panic though, highlighting is the quicker and simpler little sister to contouring that leaves you with a bright and dewy face that will make you Instagram ready within minutes. Trend setters such as The Kardashians, Gigi Hadid and Rihanna are constantly rocking the new technique and are further cementing it in the history books of beauty.

Instagram: @littledustmua The trick is to use little to no bronzer (it is essential it is NOT matte) and then apply your chosen highlighting product to areas such as your brow bone, tip of your nose, your cupids bow and cheekbones. Pretty simple then. Choosing your highlighting product however can be anything but simple. It’s the same with contouring of course. The cosmetic market is pumped with different products from high street to high end, liquid to powder and an entire spectrum of glittery or shimmery colours. My favourite product comes in the form of MAC’s mineralised skin finished in the shade ‘Soft and Gentle’ (£24.00), however there is a shade for everyone as it ranges from the perfect peachy shade to a bronzed golden shimmer. Our next student loan is so close yet so far away and with Christmas scrimping well under way we all need something that will be less damaging to our fragile student bank accounts. No.7 Instant Radiance Highlighter (£9.95) is also the perfect dupe for Benefit’s Watts Up and creates a creamy, dewy look that glides on perfectly. Highlighting allows more room for more experimentation with our individual preferences towards makeup: we can choose our personal favourite colours and can mix it up from a light daytime shimmer to a serious night time glow. And that’s something that is not as easy to do when it comes to contouring. The beauty of makeup is that we can switch up our routines frequently meaning one day we can be the Queen of contour and the next a Princess of highlighting. It’s impossible to choose between bronzed or shimmery cheekbones and we eagerly await the day a cosmetic guru creates the perfect medium. Until then you will find me clinging onto my beloved bronzer and highlighter breaking all the rules of beauty.

Just don’t sweat it

Katherine Rawlings gives us her thoughts on the controversy of exercising in make-up

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hether or not to wear makeup to the gym is fairly high on the list of controversial beauty topics. Although you would think that the decision of whether or not to apply some cosmetics to one’s own face would be somewhat unproblematic for everybody else, it does appear to consistently create outrage amongst certain groups of people. We all know of the many societal ‘double standards’ and ridiculous judgements that surround the topic of makeup and women in dayto-day life. Whether you’re wearing too much or too little, it’s impossible to please everyone. In fact, I’m sure we’re all familiar with accusations such as “you must be so insecure to need that makeup” or the frequently asked question, “who are you trying to impress with that?”

a bit of self-loving without the need for any coverups. Yet, if a little dab of concealer or foundation in the morning before your workout gets up the confidence or just makes you feel happier, then why shouldn’t it be acceptable? After all, it’s your body. However, now we have all agreed that wearing makeup in the gym is acceptable on a societal level, we are left to consider wheth-

“The imminent threat of breakouts as a result of sweating underneath a heavy coat of makeup”

“Some people seem to just be baffled by the idea that others might enjoy applying and wearing makeup”

Although numerous people have addressed this problem on various social media platforms and in everyday life, these stigmas still remain. Some people seem to just be baffled by the idea that others might actually enjoy applying and wearing makeup. One place, in particular, where people seem to stereotype those seen wearing makeup, is the gym. Often regarded as being self-obsessed or not intending on working out ‘properly’, the option to wear makeup here doesn’t tend to receive a lot of love. But why? Admittedly, the gym is perhaps not the location where it is necessary to look your most stunning – lets accept it, you’re probably not going to leave the building looking that great either way – and obviously it’s always preferable to learn

and you realise you’ve just smudged a black mess across your face. However, despite the potentially unnecessary frustration this may bring, it is not really the end of the world: simply opt for a waterproof option. Although these too can be known to let us down, my personal trusted favourite is Max Factor False Lash Effect Waterproof Mascara. The real problem, however, lies with the imminent threat of breakouts as a result of sweating underneath a heavy coat of makeup. For this reason, I would highly recommend avoiding options such as foundation. Although perhaps beloved for their miraculous cover-up abilities, is it

Instagram: @Victoriassecret er this is also a good decision for our skin. I imagine we have all experienced the frustration that smeared mascara can bring to life. And it only gets worse when you’re already struggling to retain the motivation to complete your workout

worth the risk of waking up with an acne breakout? Makeup interferes with the skin’s natural processes, preventing sweat and sebum from leaving the skin and creating blocked pores. In addition, makeup can encourage the growth of bacteria, meaning that if you are unable to wash or cleanse your skin immediately after the workout, it could lead to further blocked pores and acne. The first solution is to always avoid oil-based makeup. Instead, choose blotting sheets. These will prevent shine and help to ease sweat and oil build up. Secondly, if possible, just lose the foundation. Opt for matt concealer to cover any problem areas and use a loose anti-bacterial powder for light coverage, such as the Beautiful Me Mineral Foundation Naked. To summarise: light makeup is best when planning a trip to the gym to avoid the dreaded breakouts, but if you need a little help from your makeup then always do what’s best for you!

Find your mani-cure

Susanne Norris gives us the lowdown on the Toon’s greatest beauticians and hair salons

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ewcastle has a wealth of fabulous places to go for the best hair and nails, but knowing where to find them can be tricky, especially as a studnet with a tight budget it is important to know that you are investing in a treatment that is going to be worthwhile. So here’s my list of the best places that are worth treating yourself to.

Simply Flawless Beauty, Cowgate General info: Simply Flawless offers a wide range of treatments and is based in Cowgate, although the beautician who owns it is willing to travel to most areas in Newcastle. What to take advantage of: Eyelash extensions! At just £30 for the original set and £15 for infills it’s a win-win situation. I currently visit Simply Flawless for my eyelash extensions, and I can safely say I’ve never looked back. Lucy, the beautician who owns Simply Flawless, is super-friendly and has given me beautiful lashes. Also, check out gel overlays for £10 and half leg waxes for just £10 too. Making appointments and extra info: Whilst appointments can be made through the Simply Flawless Facebook page, I’d recommend booking through the Treatwell app. Treatwell currently offers £5 student discount (with Student Beans) on any treatments booked.

Glam ‘n Glory Bar, City Centre General info: Glam n Glory is situated on Grainger Street so is perfect in terms of proximity to uni. Its constant 5* Google reviews and cheap

prices means it stands as a firm favourite for nails. What to take advantage of: Gel overlays for £15 and acrylics for £18. The staff are super friendly and only offer nail services so you know you’re getting the most experienced technicians possible. Making appointments and extra info: You can book through information on their Facebook page, but I’d once again recommend Treatwell for that £5 discount on treatments.

Trends Hair and Beauty, City Centre General info: This is another salon which is just a stone’s throw away from uni. It’s on Blackett Street so is very close to Monument. Whilst Trendz offers hair and beauty services, its speciality is definitely the hair services it offers. What to take advantage of: Its wide variety of super-affordable colour services. If you’re looking to treat yourself to a half-head of highlights you’re looking at just £36, whilst a full-head will set you back about £51 and Ombre around £45. When you consider your average hairdressing chain, such as Toni and Guy, would be charging you around £70 for a half-head of highlights alone, it is clear Trendz offers some fabulous deals. Making appointments and extra info: You guessed it, jump onto Treatwell and book with your Student Beans discount! All extra information and numbers can be found on Facebook or getintonewcastle.co.uk.

Le Beau Hair Extensions, Heaton General Info: This one’s a bit more specific and specialised. Le Beau is the place to go for girls who are sick of clip in extensions (RIP to the clips that fall out and embarrass us on nights out) and are looking for a more professional fix. Le Beau offers Micro ring and Nano ring extensions from a home salon in Heaton. What to take advantage of: Micro-ring extensions for £160. Whilst it sounds expensive, Microrings in any other salon in Newcastle cost £300+, but as Le Beau is a home business the owner has no overheads, meaning you get beautiful long hair for a fraction of the price. I’m currently wearing micro-ring extensions from Le Beau and the confidence boost it’s given me is unreal. Making appointments and extra info: All appointments can be arranged through Le Beau’s Facebook page.


The Courier

beauty .19

Monday 28 November 2016

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Damaged hair, don’t care Olivia Bowden brings us her greatest tips on how to get luscious locks after years of neglect

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hether it’s long, short, curly or straight your hair has the power to make or break you. And while yes, straightening, curling and the occasional blow dry can do wonders for a quick change of style, its damaging effects can often leave hair dry, brittle and all-round unhealthy. In this day and age it has become so easy to get caught up in a tumult of beauty tips and regimes that are often costly, time consuming, and even fake. When it comes to our hair we need something quick, easy and that we know will work. So let’s take it back to basics with an easy, natural and cost effective haircare routine tha will leave those ends thick, those locks full and that confidence brimming.

“If you’re after an even deeper shine and moisture, you can leave the coconut oil on overnight and wash out the following morning” First off let’s talk products. Here we need to avoid anything artificial; nature is your friend and with haircare in mind, the more natural the better. Coconut oil is one of the most resourceful products out there on the market. While rich in natural oils it’ll leave hair shiny, nourished and moisturised. Merely massage onto your scalp and hair and leave on for anywhere between ten and thirty minutes. Wash out well with your regular shampoo and conditioner and unveil that new shiny mane. If you’re after an even deeper shine and moisture, you can leave the coconut oil on overnight and wash out the following morning. Investing in a good heat protection will not only protect hair from breakage but leave hair smelling fragrant and fresh. However, if you are using heat nearly every day, there is only so much you can do to prevent its damaging effects, and eventually your hair will show signs of long term heat damage. Try cutting down your heat use by a few days a week. It may take

cold water will penetrate the moisture right to the root. While hot water opens the roots and the end of the hair, cold water does the opposite and ensures the moisture remains locked inside the hair. Your diet in particular will help here also. As hair is made up of protein, a protein rich diet will ensure hair is in its peak condition. If your hair’s health is your main concern, your mum’s not lying when she says take your vitamins. Vitamins packed with Magnesium, Zinc and Biotin will keep hair rich and healthier for longer. You wouldn’t expect flowers to grow without the correct nutrients or water and your hair is very much the same. Feed it right and you’ll reap the shiny rewards.

Instagram: @miss.sallyrose

“If your hair’s health is your main concern, your mum’s not lying when she says take your vitamins”

a while but your hair will thank you eventually. In terms of washing, every other day should do the trick perfectly. Although the temptation is often there to try and keep hair as clean and fresh as possible, washing your hair every day strips hair of natural oils, leaving it dry and prone to breakage. However, when you do treat yourself so a good wash there’s one little trick that will leave that moisture locked in for longer. It may be cold and it may be uncomfortable, but rinsing your hair in

“While there’s no quick fix for growth, massaging the roots of your hair and your scalp for anywhere between 3-5 minutes a day has proven to promote circulation in the If its hair growth you’re after, be prepared to be patient. Unfortunately here, there is no quick remedy, it’s a mixture of genetics, hair health and diet. Regular trims every six to eight weeks will keep hair light, split-end free and in its best condition to grow. While there’s no quick fix for growth, massaging the roots of your hair and your scalp for anywhere between 3-5 minutes a day has proven to promote circulation in the scalp. Don’t get carried away expecting drastic results here, but there is evidence to suggest regular massages to the scalp can potentially improve the speed of hair growth per month by up to an inch. Those Beyoncé locks take time, be patient. While it’s easy to neglect the care your hair needs and deserves, your hair is the tiara you wear every day. Once you’ve established a routine that works for you there no limit to what your hair can do. Keep it healthy, keep it strong, watch the compliments roll in and swish it girls.

Sound of the undergrowth

Josie Bough discusses the growing problem of how to properly tend to your lady garden

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have, wax, pluck? There are so many ways to tend to your lady garden. And even when you have figured out which method to use, there is the question of how much hair to get rid of. All of it? Just the bikini line? Or what about absolutely none of it? Believe it or not just leaving your lady garden to grow freely and naturally is an option too. Thanks to pornography and shamed celebrity bikini lines, our generation seems to be obsessed with hair removal and, frankly, a bit scared of the bush.

“Women in Britain spend on average around £8000 on hair removal in their lifetime” It has not always been something to be feared though. In the Elizabethan era keeping your pubic hair was the trend and when women were hairless for hygiene reasons, they wore a merkin pubic hair wig. In the twentieth century, the first women’s razor was released and then came the bikini in 1946 which, along with it, came hairless models and therefore the hairless trend. Then, the sixties and seventies arrived and everyone was back to the bush again. With the nineties and noughties, came the Brazilian and, again, the hairless trend. It goes to show that women have always been under pressure to keep up with trends and the way we keep are pubic hair is no exception.

The hairless trend does come at a cost, and not just financially. Women in Britain spend on average around £8000 on hair removal in their lifetime. You could get 515 MAC lipsticks or 206 Urban Decay Naked palettes for less than that! Most women also spend about four months of their life removing body hair, time that could be spent shopping

Women say they feel cleaner, well-presented and just altogether more comfortable with a shaved or trimmed pubic region. The great thing about the hairless trend is that there are now so many products, gadgets and treatments for maintaining your downstairs. So, for those who choose to be bare the options are endless.

“Men have their own ideas about how a woman’s pubic region should look” Apparently, men have their own ideas about how a woman’s pubic region should look. On a forum where women discuss how they maintain their pubic hair, several men make the bold claim that 90% of men prefer it all shaved off, implying that this is the route you should take. In one comment (in which ‘there’ is spelt wrong) one man even threatens to walk away if you have pubic hair- don’t say I didn’t warn you! Not only are these men assuming all men Instagram: @waxpotstudio have the same pubic hair preferences as they do, they are also assuming for MAC lipsticks and Urban Decay palettes. that women care what their preferences are. SarRemoving pubic hair can also be a painful ex- castic remarks aside, the only person who should perience, whether it’s the itchy, red shaving rash, have a say on how you maintain your pubic hair, or in-grown hairs, chemical burns from hair removal any part of your body for that matter, is you. cream or the agony of getting hair ripped out from So, whether you like to keep it bald, trimmed, vaits root, no woman can say it is pleasant. jazzled, long, short, neat or in its natural form your However, for a lot of women the effort is worth it. pubic hair is yours to do whatever you like with.

Brush Off

Lois Johnston brings us the battle of the brushes and which tools are worth the splurge

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ecently the make-up brush market has exploded with new products and tools, it’s now more affordable than ever to build your collection of tools and brushes. Nowadays some people may even argue that investing in good quality tools is more important than the make-up you buy. To an extent I agree with this, but ultimately it depends what works best for you personally – for example, fingers are the perfect tool for applying certain products and they’re completely free! If you’re a messy person like me, however, you may not want to have foundation all over your hands for the rest of the day. So, for those of you out there like myself, I have comprised a guide to the best tools and inform you as to which I think are worth the splurge. At the top end of the price spectrum is cult favourite MAC. Many of their brushes are well known cult-favourites like the 217 blending brush (£20) and the 168 contour brush (£28). These are great for artists who want to really step-up their make-up game and can afford to break the bank. NARS brushes also fall into this price bracket. Their best sellers being the Ita Kabuki brush (£43), which is great for contouring and the Yachiyo Kabuki brush (£43). Despite the high quality expected with this hefty price tag, they do have their drawbacks. They are made from real hair so are not vegan or cruelty free and in addition to this, shedding can be a problem.

“If what you’re looking for is a cruelty free, cheaper alternative then a brand like Spectrum may be for you”

If what you’re looking for is a cruelty free, cheaper alternative then a brand like Spectrum may be for you. Not only are these brushes very aesthetically pleasing and instagramable, but they are also good quality and well-priced. For example, their 10-piece Attention Seeker set which won a cosmopolitan beauty award this year will only set you back £39.99 – that’s just £3.99 per brush! One mid-range product that I would recommend is Benefit’s Hoola bronzer. For £23.50 you get a 50g compact bronzer with a small tapered contour brush. This is one of the best shaped brushes for contouring and well worth the money! I would recommend shopping these brushes online as often, when you sign up to a mailing list they send you a discount code. At the lower end of the price range, is Real Techniques. The brand, created by YouTube beauty guru sisters @pixiewoo changed the make-up game a few years ago. All colour coordinated depending on their use, the brand creates products which rival the top brands in quality but are at a more affordable price. For example, their Core Collection of four brushes is £21.99, and their Starter Set of 5 eye brushes is the same price. To save money on this I would recommend looking in boots for when they are on offer for 3 for 2, or on their website they are regularly discounted. Real Techniques also has a range of make-up sponges that rival the market-leader Beauty Blender’s products. Their Miracle Complexion sponge costs £5.99 and is a great dupe for Beauty Blender’s Original sponge which retails for £16. The three main tools that I would recommend you have in your make up bag are good quality eyelash curlers (Vintage Cosmetic Company, £7), a buffing brush (Real Techniques Expert Face brush, £9.99) and a lash and brow brush.

Instagram: @spectrumcollections


20. arts

Monday 28 November 2016

The Courier

Arts Editors: Tamsin Daisy Rees, Jonathan Hastings & Meg Holtom

SALTY CLASSICS JAMES McCOULL: “Fuck Ulysses”

What classic do you want everyone to read, and why? I feel really evangelical about Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. The first time I read it, all my preconceived notions of war and conflict were just destroyed and rebuilt from the ground up and I kind of feel like absolutely everyone needs to experience that. I don’t see how any country could go to war ever again in a world where everybody had read this book. But that’s naïve, obviously. My other answer is Neuromancer, which is my favourite book in the world, but I understand that sci-fi isn’t really everyone’s cup of tea. Their loss, I guess. What’s the most overhyped/awful classic? Fuck anything by Charles Dickens and fuck Ulysses, by Joyce. The former I can’t blame for his awful, dense writing style because he was paid by the word and, honestly, I’d do the exact same in that position - but that doesn’t mean I have to enjoy it. The latter is that inexcusably pretentious kind of hyper-intellectual masturbation that I just can’t abide. Fuck you James Joyce. You’re a disgrace to the name. Which classic do you always lie about having read? I don’t tend to pretend I’ve read anything I haven’t, because that seems to just be asking for trouble. But I guess people sometimes assume I’ve read Dracula and I don’t bother correcting them. Maybe I’ll read it one day. Probably not. Whatever. People also tend to be surprised that I haven’t read any Austen when that comes up as well, but I don’t bother pretending I have. Snog marry kill in the last classic you’ve read. The last classic (or near enough) I read was Giovanni’s Room, in which I’d snog Giovanni, marry Hella (because SOMEONE SHOULD GOD DAMN IT) and kill David, who - looking back on the whole thing - was honestly kind of a dickhead. From two different classics, what is a likely ship? Roy Batty from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and Molly Millions from Neuromancer. Get that cyborg love out there. Alternatively I think GLaDOS from Portal and HAL9000 would have a lot to get on about. I’m calling Portal a classic there, but oh well. I think it counts.

Navigating the arts in post-millennial capitalism

Charlotte Hill investigates the role that the capitalist elites have endowed on the Arts

I

t is not an unknown issue that with any art arises the issue of reception, and consequently subjectivity. Once you have released your masterpiece to the world, it is disputable whether you are any longer the possessor of it, as it is left to the wider community to dissect, use and control. It’s like being Paul McCartney in a world of Michael Jacksons. And then, as a result, whatever form of art you produce (be it literature, sculpture, music); the debate begins about what your creation really ‘means,’ and whether it’s really great, or frankly a load of bollocks. It’s like that painting you slaved away over in art GCSE that you were convinced was worthy of an A*, but for whatever reason your teacher only graced it with a C.

“One of the greatest things about art, literature, photography, and any other style is the contrast in opinions and beliefs that are triggered by it” So, post GCSE, when you enter the terrifying world of adulthood seething with capitalism, how does the issue of money translate? Should we be paid by the value of our work, by its ‘greatness’? Or

29 November

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30 November

NIBBLES AND NIPPLES @ The NewBridge Project 18.15

1 December

LAURA BATES: Everyday Sexism Project @ The Lit & Phil 18.00

“Should we be paid by the value of our work, by its ‘greatness’?” Whilst journalists can be paid for a service, this is a quantifiable and tangible amount of work. Competition winners, for example, have been selected through a process of opinion and arguably are awarded cash through luck, depending who’s on the judgement panel, or which members of the public decided to vote etc. Though on the flip side, we wouldn’t necessarily say the same thing for Wimbledon finalists. Obviously, we cannot expect artists to produce work for free, but how do we go about tackling this issue of payment? Helen Marten, Turner Prize nominee, believes she has the answer. Having just won the Hepworth prize for sculpture, she vowed to share the prize money with other nominees. I can’t decide if this is a stunning act of generosity, aiming to empower the work of artists everywhere, or whether to be honest it’s just a bit patronising. Surely, it would feel like salt in the wound for the

other nominees after losing. Furthermore, does quantifying and equally measuring the pay of artists devalue the very existence of art itself - by ignoring one of the key features of its form? One of the greatest things about art, literature, photography, and any other style is the contrast in opinions and beliefs that are triggered by it. No single person experiences art in the same way.

“Obviously, we cannot expect artists to produce work for free, but how do we go about tackling this issue of payment?”

Therefore, I’m not so sure I agree with Marten’s approach. I can understand its sentiment, but in reality it feels a little hollow and condescending. If she felt the desire to give away the money, were there no other causes in more desperate need? Perhaps her donations would have been better received by charitable cases, for example. Or, alternatively, if we are to continue to support the value of artistry, we should invest in projects that support artists and young people, instead of just cashing out the money afterwards. Teach a man to fish and all that.

The book versus the fi lm debate Carys Rose Thomas dissects modern book adaptations and ponders on their relevance I n a lecture the other day, our lecturer asked why do you read the books you read? Other than recommendations from my parents, the one frustratingly obvious reason I choose to read lots of books is because I enjoy the film adaption and think the book will probably be even better. This got me thinking about book to film adaptations, why they are so popular and how adaptations place quite heavy constraints on both the book and film industry.

“With the copious book to film adaptations, little room is left for original screenplays to be turned into films”

WHAT’S DOON IN THE TOON

does the difference in opinion of ‘greatness’ make for this too difficult to determine? Is it simply too unjust to provide different rates to artists, assuming that any determination in their pay will have arisen from a place of subjectivity?

Let’s all just establish that right now – the book is usually better than the film. Call me biased because I’m a literature student, but I really do believe that books are one of the best ways to exercise your mind; they work your creativity, concentration and allow a wonderful escape from dreary daily life. I suppose you could say films do the same, but you can sort of passively absorb film in a way I don’t think books allow you to. By saying that I’m not

trying to disregard films altogether as an entertainment/art form, I just value books that little bit more. I find it frustrating that ‘the film’ of a story is always so heavily advertised compared to ‘the book’. Yes, I understand that this is because the film industry is a larger more lucrative one, but perhaps this wouldn’t be the case if all books weren’t so accessible in film form. We’re a pretty lazy race a lot of the tine, and it’s easier for all of us to think “why would I read Gone Girl when I can just watch it? Perhaps people should be given this option less often. Perhaps we should be given this option less often? Perhaps if less fantastic books were turned into sub-par films then more people would feel encouraged to read. It works both ways round, too. With the copious book to film adaptations, little room is left for original screenplays to be turned into films. I feel people are far less encouraged to write original screenplays because perhaps film production companies are likely to view a book adaptation as a safer bet. I can also remember many times when I have read a book and just thought, “this would make a much better film than it does book” but perhaps the author has never considered screenplay writing

as “their thing” because it allows for less originality. Essentially, just as the book industry deserves to be shouted about a little bit more and amazing original works deserve to be advertised a bit better, the film industry deserves a shot of originality through its veins and lots of time and talent deserves to be thrown at something other than yet another teen dystopia trilogy book adaptation.

“I’m not calling for a total cull of adaptations, just for the two art forms to be recognised as separate entities and appreciated so”

I’m not saying book to film adaptations are always awful. Just look at the popularity of Harry Potter - both the books and films are adored worldwide. I’m not calling for a total cull of adaptations, just for the two art forms to be recognised as separate entities and appreciated so. Something which is difficult to do when the two are so closely intertwined.


The Courier

arts .21

Monday 28 November 2016

thecourieronline.co.uk/arts c2.arts@ncl.ac.uk | Instagram: @CourierArts

Our North-East Picks of the Week IMMORTALITY THE NUTCRACKER TYNE OPERA + THEATRE

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re-December 1st I’m usually a bit of a Scrooge, but the Russian Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker at The Theatre Royal fully converted me into one of those “Yes it’s mid-November and no I’m not taking off my Christmas jumper” people. With snow-filled sets and Christmassy costumes, there was no way to avoid the wintery feels the ballet gave me. At first I was a bit worried I’d have no clue what on earth was happening. The only knowledge I have of The Nutcracker as a story is the few flaky memories of my ‘Barbie and the Nutcracker’ video tape that have stuck with me for the last 15 years and I’m one of the least clued-up dance people ever. I couldn’t conceive how on earth these dancers were about to relay a story to me purely through movement. Not only did they manage to convey the story to me, but they wowed me beyond explanation. I was in awe of the strength, precision and grace of the dancers. Yes, merely sitting and watching ballet is entertaining. But then you start to think about the dancer’s movements and become totally awestruck. How does she get her leg that high?! Is he holding her up just with one hand? One hand? The strength of the ballerinas captivated me and all too soon the show was over. A special shout-out to the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Cavalier. Whether they were dancing together or separately, I was transfixed by their abilities to make such difficult movements look to effortlessly graceful. A part of me wanted to go and pick the two of them up by the end of the ballet, because I felt so certain that they must be as light as a feather. So, some advice from a poor and lowly fresher: if you’re wanting a festive experience that involves something other than you and your flatmates sitting around drinking cheap knock-off baileys and eating a slightly sub-par burnt Christmas dinner that cost you 4 hours and a lot of arguments, go to the ballet. It won’t disappoint. Carys Rose Thomas

SIGNALS

EPOCH

NORTHUMBRIA UNI @OLD POLICE STATION

E

poch means a point in time and space,’ I was told that last Friday night at The Old Police House in Gateshead. Eight Northumbria fine art students clubbed together to display their work to the public. The venue was unconventional – it certainly doesn’t have a future as a mainstream art gallery - but I liked it. It suited the event and added to the atmosphere. Although there was no specific correlation between the eight different works, they had a common feeling of critiquing the modern world. Hanging from the ceiling was Dixon’s box, inside which was the incessant ringing of the iPhone ‘Radar’ tune. It made me realise what an annoying sound it is, and yet, because it was inescapable, it really brought home to me Dixon’s point about how reliant we are on technology. Ellie Robson had nine TVs showing different aspects of our obsession with the virtual world. Cleverly, one showed the Treehouse of Horrors where Homer mistakenly enters a virtual reality.

“Although there was no specific correlation between the eight different works, they had a common feeling of critiquing the modern world”

Faye Smith, a second year student from Chesterfield, told me that her works were a reaction to the patronising and clichéd comments she, a lesbian, receives. One of her pieces was a flickering video image of her, in the background showing a completely blank face, whilst superimposed over it was, she said, ‘what I’m really feeling. The blank face is what you show to the world’. Another used video was Rachel Bokor, who filmed a friend discovering a TV screen like a baby, seeing an image of herself on the screen. “Social media becomes your identity”, Bokor said, “you only realise who you are when you see yourself projected back at you”. There were also works from Ian Rodgers, Matthew Glover, Kimberly Bailey, and Cris Pablo Pearson: brilliant work from all.

ALPHABETTI THEATRE

I

very nearly walked passed the Alphabetti Theatre. Had I not assumed that this would be the case, and been looking out for it with extreme care, I probably would have. It is a wonderful fringe space, with a tiny bar, bookshop, and stage. I had been excited to visit, largely because of the allusion to Alphabetti Spaghetti- a childhood favourite. Whether Heinz was the inspiration for the name is unclear but the whole place got cooler by the minute, something to be said considering this super cool starting point. The play itself was a comedy about the communication age. An elderly wildlife poet riles against technology, while his daughter aspires to explore the world. A woman seeking to install a telegraph pole has a crises of conscience and a cabby tries to befriend all. The play highlighted the issues we all have with communication, be it an incomprehensible poem or weak chat up line, but showed the rewards we can reap if we have the patience to persevere. The play made me think about the assumptions we make when meeting strangers, and reminded me that the spontaneous communication we never trust can be innocent. It reminded me of arriving in Newcastle after living in London- learning that being approached in the street was not a threat took a little adjustment. Scenes where the wellmeaning cab driver was threatened to be impaled with various implements were amusing but also a little too relatable. Moving with the times can be tricky. If it were possible to overdose on nostalgia I would have died years ago - I hate technology and would certainly love to live in the house of the poet, a remote idyll detached from the world of technology. The play made the reassuring point that it can be possible to strike a balance between moving with the changing world while holding on to aspects of the past. Helena Buchanan

“Let’s all drink ourselves into oblivion in our £150 studio apartment and ignore the fact that the end of culture is nigh”

I’m fed up of art spaces in Newcastle not getting enough attention. Just recently, Alphabetti Theatre, an independent theatre and bar faced closure after financial difficulties. Alphabetti believes that theatre shouldn’t be dependent on people’s financial

The habitual chewing of fingernails came naturally to me when I was nervous. I cut that out. I stopped that, but here it is again. Bad habits - bloody nails, itchy skin and restless legs: the subconscious kicking of a buried self clawing at layers of gravedirt and irony and detachment. He’s down there (somewhere),

I can’t feel him anymore, because the only thing I can feel is self-conscious when I kiss in public.

Meg Holtom gives us the lowdown on the price of culture for our party-raving teens

L

POET

from this; from me.

Culture is dead; in its place, a drinking ground and then came the ridiculous agency fees and the knobhead landlords. So I understand. But let’s not destroy a beloved cultural hub, which in fact attracts a lot of students, for more of the same shit. The Tower is important. Newcastle isn’t exactly lacking in art spaces with the likes of Newbridge Project Space, The Biscuit Factory and Baltic 39 but The Tower serves more of a purpose than just an art space. It’s a central part of the Ousburn community and the copious amount of fundraising they’ve done has helped countless charities.

JAMES McCOULL

but how different he must look now

Benj Eckford

ocated in the heart of the culture capital of Newcastle, Ousburn, stands Uptin House – an old boarding school turned art hub. The Tower, taking up the south side of Uptin House, is a shared art gallery, café and gallery specialising in contemporary art and graffiti. An eclectic, independent space for all sorts of creative individuals in an up and coming area. Sounds great right? So why then do people want it demolished for yet another block of overpriced student accommodation? One in six people in Newcastle are students and areas such as Jesmond and Heaton are teeming with student houses from prices as low as around £50 pppw and yet there seems to be overpriced private accommodation popping up everywhere. Don’t get me wrong I can see the appeal. Most of them have en-suites and the studio flats have everything a student could need in one room. I myself felt the stress of finding enough people to get a house together and the countless viewings of shitholes. I felt like I literally looked around every house in Jesmond before settling on a house

The weekly showcase of Newcastle University talent

status and so offers ‘pay what you feel’ shows. The Tower’s bring your own booze policy is a dream come true but realistically its lead to the business facing financial difficulties as they can’t afford repair work that is pretty essential. But the fact that these business are not completely focused on money should not mean that they struggle to keep going. So why are they struggling? I’ve got an idea. Instead of forking out millions upon millions of pounds on building more and more identical, characterless accommodation, maybe the government should be funding independent art spaces? It’s just another example of the arts being swept under the rug. Not so long ago we saw the cutting of arts A-Level subjects and the reduction in funding for arts based degrees so how far is it going to go? Are we going to be left in an artless, soulless world? Perhaps. But don’t worry, there will be a plethora of swanky accommodation to fill the hole. Let’s all drink ourselves into oblivion in our £150 studio apartment and ignore the fact that the end of culture is nigh.

Once I could say ‘I love you’ and mean it one hundred percent.

James McCoull is a Master’s student studying English Literature, and Culture Editor for this very paper. In his spare time he writes self-indulgent poetry. More of his work can be found at the following address: http://wired-messiah.tumblr.com/tagged/ poetry/


22. music

Monday 28 November 2016

The Courier

Music Editors: Sophie Ahmed, Serena Bhardwaj & Ben Grundy

Toon In Robyn Wainwright asks Para Alta about North-East music and their Spotify success

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ll half-dressed with a cigarette in one hand and a can in the other, I knew this was going to be a good interview. Lighting fresh cigarettes and opening more cans throughout the interview, these guys had a definite ring of old school rock about them. I spoke to Para Alta band members, Johnny, Grant, Luke and Tom, before their headline gig in Middlesbrough. Tonight’s the biggest headline gig you’ve done yet. Is there any added pressure with that or are you just excited? Johnny: Excited more than anything. I think the pressure is turning into energy. Luke: I think because we’ve been rehearsing every day, we feel really well prepared and when you feel prepared you feel like you’ve got nothing to worry about, you just feel excited. All our friends are coming and that turns into positive vibes. Tom: It’s going to be fun playing the new song as well. We’ve got new tunes that we’re going to play that haven’t been released yet. Your single ‘New You’ on Spotify is in playlists with bands such as the 1975. What do you think of that? Grant: Someone’s obviously doing their job properly. Tom: As soon as I saw Kings of Leon I was like ‘shit’. Grant: We’ve completed Spotify (they all laugh). Luke: It peaks your confidence. Especially before a gig like this. It creates momentum. Who writes the songs then? Johnny: It’s just a massive collaborative effort. Luke: I’ve only just started playing bass in the band and our first songs started out from songs that I’d wrote in my bedroom. All our new songs have all come from Grant. We’ve all had our times. Someone might come up with a riff and then we’ll write the song round it. It’s never the same process. And now the lyrics and melody are Johnny. We trust Johnny. He’s smashed the new songs out the park. What do you think of the North-East music scene? Johnny: It’s going really really well. Luke: Right now it’s the best it’s ever been. The reason we got into a band was because of Hartlepool bands. From the age of 14 we used to go to places like the Studio and watch bands. And we realised we just really wanted to be in a band. We joined the Hartlepool music scene when it was really strong, the older bands they got jobs. It only really left us. Grant: I think more bands are taking themselves more seriously. It’s more competition for us, but it’s healthy competition. Do you have any pre-gig rituals? Johnny: Tom does six press-ups before he goes on. To warm his arms up and that. Grant: We don’t let Tom anywhere near stuff you can put in your mouth. Luke: Johnny’s got a little teddybear. But it’s got a hole where its arse would be. Before he goes on he gives it five little lucky prods. The thing Johnny does, is he likes to go missing right before we’re meant to be on stage. What can your fans expect in the next 6 months? Johnny: We’re moving to London in January. Luke: We recorded a couple of songs about two years ago, we’ve released two singles but we’ve had some waiting. We’ve recorded another three, so we’re two songs ahead of the game. In December, we’re going to release a new tune and then we’ll have one left and we’re recording a few new songs in December.

Make sure you follow us on Spotify at https://play.spotify. com/user/thecourierdoesmusic

We’re all clubbed to death

Ally Wilson discusses the predictable nature of club songs and how DJs need to change the oh-so-obvious record before nights out become a bit too similar for anyone’s liking

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t’s a standard Friday night on the toon, and you look as glamorous as you can in jeans and trainers, because it’s bloody freezing up here and you would like to be able to walk tomorrow. You’ve got a treble in hand or are just returning from the bar after having endured a tequila shot - unless of course you prinked hard; in which case you’re already flailing yourself across the dancefloor to whatever booming drum and bass monotony it is only possible to like when this wasted. All is fine and dandy. And then…Fix You comes on. WHAT THE HELL, DJ?

“Club-Zoning, a bit like Friend-Zoning, is the overuse of songs in clubs until their potential is utterly dashed”

the oblivion of the Club-Zone. I say yet another, because the list is sprawling. Club-Zoning, a bit like Friend-Zoning, is the overuse of songs in clubs until their potential for anything more than a standard drunken sing-along is utterly dashed. Songs which were never designed for it are blasted out of huge speakers, choked by smoke machines and tainted by the general sticky grossness of a club dance floor. They’ve been blighted, warped, manipulated and nullified to the point where I can no longer listen to ‘Seven Nation Army ‘without the taste of Jäger beginning to linger on my tongue, or ‘Hey-Ya’ without impromptu

and irrepressible body spasms trying to force me to “shake it like a Polaroid picture”. Like many people, I struggle to have fun on a night out when the playlist is dominated by lyricless, synthy compositions during which you have to actually check if your ribs are still there because of the ferocity of its drums. As much as these are a going out staple and should certainly make an appearance for the sake of that grimey guy in your friendship group (because, bless him, he does put up with your obsession with Flares), if you can’t bawl out ‘Waterfalls’ by TLC in that hoarse, impaled-cat-esque voice of yours in a club, then where can you? Songs people know the words to are, of course, needed in clubs.

“I can no longer listen to ‘Seven Nation Army’ without the taste of Jäger beginning to linger on my tongue”

This is the song you cried over your ex to. This is the song you listened to whilst staring wistfully out of a train window on your way back to a shit tonne of work, after a cosy weekend of ignoring it all at home. This is the song that’s played over Children In Need featurettes or uplifting moments on a reality TV show. This is NOT, I repeat, NOT, the song to which you’re going to kiss some randomer, throw some shockingly embarrassing shapes to or, in fact, be the sound-track to any of the terrible decisions that are inevitable on a night out. Please, Mr DJ, turn it off before yet another of our tunes is lost to

My argument, however, is that, like everything in life, too much or too often and it’s a recipe for disaster. We all love a bit of Queen B and ‘Crazy In Love’ is a tune, but there are only so many times you can twerk with your gal pals without it becoming just a tad weird. But at the same time, sticking a vulgar, pulsing beat behind ‘Riptide’ is a violation of the unwritten clubbing code. So, Mr DJ, keep the bangers coming, just know your limits.

Love letter to Leonard

Following the death of yet another legend, Serena Bhardwaj reflects on the life and work of Leonard Cohen and says goodbye and thank-you to the gloomy poet, author and singer

L

eonard Cohen: “I am completely open and transparent and therefore its easy for anyone to grasp the emotion that’s there. I am the person who tries everything and experience myself as falling apart. I try drugs, Jung, Zen meditation, love and it all falls apart at every moment. And the place where it all comes out is in the critical examination of those things – the songs. And because of this, I am vulnerable” Dear Leonard, This year has been shit - to put it bluntly. Just when we thought 2016 couldn’t get much worse, you the Grandfather of Gloom left the table. It seems kind of ironic that you’re the man who sang ‘Democracy is coming to the USA’ and you’ve passed away straight after the election that resulted in Trump becoming president - coincidence? I think not. You’re probably best known for ‘Hallelujah’ the most covered song ever, performed by over 200 artists in numerous languages and so it shocked me to learn that when you first presented it to your record label they absolutely hated it. Bet they feel like absolute mugs now.

“The Grandfather of Gloom has left the table”

I’ll openly admit that I haven’t known your music for long. It wasn’t until a year or so ago that I first heard a beautiful, crackly version of ‘Suzanne’ on a frosty winter’s evening on my housemate’s record player as we slouched around slightly high and slightly out of it - how very Skins. Straight away I felt the mirror neurons jump in to action. I believe that there are few songs we come across in our lifetimes which seem to actually move us, as cliché as it sounds - but this is one of them for me. The thing is, I have absolutely no idea why, the song doesn’t have any specific meaning to me, or anything in particular that I can necessarily resonate with - but I genuinely well up every time I hear it. Soppy I know. But it’s a talent that only a few artists hold. You’re without a doubt up there with the likes of

Dylan, The Velvet Underground, Nick Drake - but what surprises me is that so many people I’ve spoken to don’t know about you, including 2014 me of course. With your death at the age of 82; you’ve left behind a gravelly, gruff discography full to the brim with rich emotion and moving lyrics. And of learning about your battle with depression, I suppose it just goes to show that there is definitely some truth in how there’s a ‘crack in everything’ and that’s ‘how the light gets in’. Now, it’s ever so chilling listening to You Want

It Darker - a dystopian album of death, darkness and dejection - a simple premonition for what was to come. It seems to be a fitting end to a career that was built on raw affection and one that somehow found beauty in just about everything. You were spiritual, somber and most importantly - suavely dressed, and I’m not sure anyone will ever write a love song as sad as you have been able to. It’s truly is tragic news. I’ll be taking a bit of Leonard everywhere I go for

“A dystopian album of death, darkness and dejection”


The Courier

music .23

Monday 28 November 2016

thecourieronline.co.uk/music c2.music@ncl.ac.uk

We Got It from Here...Thank You 4 Your Service Rafaello Marioni by A Tribe Called Quest

T

o call A Tribe Called Quest’s 18 years away from the spotlight a hiatus would be a disservice. After the release of their fifth album in 1998, it was assumed that the American alternative hip-hop group, consisting of four members and hailing from Queen’s New York, would never return after their subsequent and abrupt split. The tragic death of one of its frontmen Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor in March of this year due to finally losing an ongoing battle with diabetes meant that even the most optimistic person knew a Tribe reunion seemed hopeless. Yet remarkably on November 11, one last album was released; and it’s one that succeeds in avoiding the usual lacklustre content of comeback albums, instead harking back to Tribe’s heyday as the pioneers of inventive and soulful hip-hop, equalling the quality of their previous classics. Soaked in old-school hip-hop and sprinkled with samples from the jazz and funk eras, We got it from here...Thank you 4 your service is an album that pushes the boundaries of rap in the same manner that Tribe did in the early 90s. Sonically, they don’t miss a beat. The production is raw and innovative throughout, infusing influences from a range of genres not usually associated with rap, whilst still retaining the hard-hitting essence of hip-hop. The album succeeds in balancing the introduction of progression and modernity in their work with remaining loyal to a sound that Tribe themselves championed at the end of the last century. Q-Tip, the group’s architect, returns to the mic as strong as ever and handles the body of production, whilst the late Phife Dawg provides the playful rhymes that became a staple of why he was considered so relatable and likeable by fans “No doubt I’mma set it, dudes best be ready, Off top on the spot, no reading from your Whackberry”. Jarobi White, one of Tribe’s original members

Long Live The Angels

before leaving to become a full-time chef, is also prominent on the album, providing a particularly moving verse on ‘Lose Somebody’ in tribute to the group’s fallen friend.

“Q-Tip, the group’s architect, returns to the mic as strong as ever”

The album is littered with standout tracks, with ‘Space Program’ acting as a rousing, politically driven opener, providing a message of unity that sets the tone for an album so necessary and suitable for the current tumultuous period we’re living in. Newcomers Anderson Paak and Kendrick Lamar each make fantastic appearances, symbolising a passing of the torch from seasoned veterans to new pioneers, with the latter featuring on ‘Conrad Tokyo’, a song that is arguably the purest old-school Tribe song on the album, with Phife and Lamar floating over a gorgeous nostalgic beat that will transport you to another world. ‘Dis Gen-

Did you know..?

We Got It From Here...Thank You For Your Service is A Tribe Called Quest’s 2nd Number 1 album. Their last was Beats, Rhythm and Life in 1996, 20 years ago. Not a bad legacy to leave behind with your last album.

Ellie Phillips talks Justice and techno worthy of soundtracking Quentin Tarantino films

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ustice has finally been served, and it’s utterly delicious. That’s right folks - after four years of waiting, the legendary French electronica duo are back with funk-tastic vengeance with the release of their third album Woman, and it’s certainly got me boogying down. It seems that this pair have taken their music further into the realm of disco than ever before, and they have demonstrated great expertise and talent in doing so. Tracks like ‘Safe and Sound’ and ‘Pleasure’ transport you into an early 1980’s cult daydream, projecting out all classic disco vibes. Yet the duo still manages to show variety in their new endeavour, with absolute anthems like ‘Alakazam’ getting me in the mood to go out and party at the nearest warehouse rave in range. A lot of musicians often seem to stumble and lose themselves around the point of the album number three, but Justice have merely expanded diversely, a glaze on the cherry of their already successful sundae, or something like that.

You need to hear: Be Svensden

24 HRS Olly Murs

Emeli Sandé

eration’ serves as the invigorating magnum opus of the project, featuring a star turn from Busta Rhymes who, along with the three other MCs, engages in light-hearted lyrical interplay that proves how timeless Tribe’s unique sound is. This is an album that will brighten up those cold and dark winter walks back from university. We got it from here...Thank you 4 your service serves as a beautiful tribute to the fallen Phife, a fitting farewell to one of hip-hop’s greatest groups, and a body of music that deserves to resonate in the ears of listeners for years to come. Thank you for your service Tribe.

Electronic Blanket

Invisible Boy

Invisible Boy

Titled genre as ‘Tarantino-Techno’, produce of Copenhagen Lasse Bruhn Svendsen has been a recent suggestion from my southern based friend on who to listen to, and I am not disappointed. The European electronica musician creates a whole nomadic style symphony with his innovative mix of primal-tribe beats, painting an entire scenescape for the listener. Imagine the funky island beach music you used to hear back in early 200’s on that video game ‘Spyro: A Dragons Tale’, but far more refined, edgy and appealing to dance to. It’s a weird one to explain, so all the more reason to take a listen. Tracks like ‘Circle’ and ‘Bones’ capture bizzare cowboy-esque, adventure style zones of listening, and it’s truly nothing average or what you’ve ever seen before. It’s quirky, but it strangely works, so why not expand your horizons and check this guy out.

Listen to: Be Svensden - ‘Circles’

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meli Sandé is a British national treasure our country is proud of. Her talent was showcased both ceremonies of the London Olympics. Now she returns with an epic 15 track album which is only the second after her 2012 debut Our Version of Events which carried hits like ‘Heaven’. Most modern Popstars churn out album after underwhelming album to please the mainstream masses, but the fact that Emeli Sandé has taken 4 years to craft her second is a testament to her artistry. Having heard Long Live The Angels is influenced by the Scottish singer’s Zambian background, I expected an honest album with this as its focus. However, love and heartbreak are the main themes, rather than her heritage. The album starts well, with Sandé’s vocals stripped bare on ‘Selah’, the texture only building slightly with the introduction of a gospel choir mirroring her words. This track doesn’t set the tone for the rest of the album however, which blends electronic and live instrumentation in ways that often don’t work.

“It blends electronic and live instrumentation in ways that often don’t work”

‘Hurts’, the first single and one of the electronic efforts, is perhaps the most catchy, with its fast-paced handclap background beat. It feels wrong that this gives way to the acoustic ‘Give Me Something’. The dark R&B track ‘Garden’ ft. Jay Electronica is also badly placed with its lyric ‘In the club/ how you dance/ how you touch’, which leads on from the piano power ballad ‘Shakes’. The strongest track is ‘Tenderly’, with its finger-picked acoustic guitar, and vocal help from her father and cousins who are credited as the Serenje Choir. Sophie Ahmed

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ver the past seven years, since finishing runner-up in 2009’s X-Factor, Olly Murs has become British pop royalty. However, his fifth studio album 24 HRS isn’t up to his high standards. In July this year, Murs released the first track, ‘You Don’t Know Love’, but the single only peaked at number 15 in the Charts. It’s catchy and was well played on mainstream radio but just lacked the infectious feeling that previous hits such as ‘Dance with Me Tonight’ thrived on. This is the feeling for the rest of the album. There are 16 tracks of good pop music but not the excellence that we have come to expect from Murs. The sound he is trying to achieve is confusing for listeners. 24 HRS is meant to be a break-up album but Murs’ attempt to combine heartbreak with the happy-go-lucky personality and sound he has developed makes it hard for the album to make an impact.

“It’s not a bad pop album but it is far from outstanding”

The second track ‘Years & Years’ opens with almost haunting piano notes whilst he sings, “While I’m alone in the dark, I paint a picture in my mind,” but a minute and a half in, the introduction of a drum tries to bring the track into the realms of mainstream pop and it’s difficult to appreciate what Murs is trying to get at. The title track is another peculiar listen with an electro-pop vibe that is a little uncomfortable. That said, ‘Unpredictable’, ‘Back Around’ and ‘Love You More’ are more upbeat, classic-Murs and do stand-out on the record as potential future singles. It’s not a bad pop album but it is far from outstanding. The record will please Olly Murs fans but it won’t be making any huge waves in the music industry. Toby Bryant

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fter much study, my experts and I have concluded that Invisible Boy by Invisible Boy works as ideal theme music for the pensive traveller or even just for someone relaxing on a bus. As I listened to it I pictured beaches at the twilight hour, the American Wild West and long hours in transit, comforted by the promise of home. The message I’m trying to get across to you here guys is that I like the album. Chris Bierden the so-called ‘Invisible Boy’ has created a collection of profoundly gripping tracks that each emanate the potency of true anthems, all retaining a sophisticated completeness about them. If we were going to categorise this sound I’d say he has produced a very relaxing but dynamically-varied Neo-psychedelia with a smattering of other genres such as blues, pop and indie rock. The music engulfs the listener in many different atmospheres, predominantly one of haunting melancholy but within this there is something curiously innocent and magical that I haven’t heard in music for a while. It is Invisible Boy’s voice, that is the most strik-

“The music engulfs the listener in many different atmospheres”

ing element of his music and probably what brings it such idiosyncrasy. His voice has an enigmatic, androgyny to it, which contains unmistakable elements of the late David Bowie, especially when coupled with lamenting piano parts and the steady strum of guitar chords, most notable in songs like ‘Star Child’ and ‘All the Kids.’ I realise that not everyone immediately relates to Neo-psychedelia but I truly believe you should all give this album a try and to listen to the whole bloody thing without adhering to the terribly modern habit of being close-minded. Toby Livsey

“It’s quirky, but it strangely works so why not expand your horizons and check this guy out” Preview: The Levellers Association UK presents: Roni Size ft Dynamite MC, Friday 9th December at World Headquarters Moving away from the strange and unknown and back to the beloved bangers, Newcastle is soon to be graced by one of Drum and Bass’ finest contributors, none other than Roni Size himself. Most famous for his huge hit ‘Brown Paper Bag’, Roni has previously set up a drum and bass collective called Reprazent, who’s album ‘New Forms’ won the 1997 Mercury Prize. I last saw this man back at Latitude 2015, where he was stealing away all of headliner act Noel Gallagher’s crowd by blasting out crudely loud and fantastic beats from the darkness of the Film Arena. It was a 3 hour set of head bopping beats, feet shuffling a necessity, gun fingers everywhere. So, how could this experience be improved? Well, if you add Dynamite MC into the mix, your guarantee of a good night goes up from 100% to 110%, with quality bars in line to be spat all night long. This is a level one only event at good old World HQ, so you can get up close and personal with the man himself whilst you and your mates jump up and get down to the lethal level of loud that is set to be generated on the night. Be a part of it, get involved, last tickets now available for £15. Go follow us on intagram for live gig updates, fun pictures and the latest music gossip@courier_music


24.television

Monday 28 November 2016

The Courier

TV Editors: Luke Acton, Alison Scurfield and Dominic Corrigan

Reviews

Two Doors Down BBC Two, Monday 10pm

I The Crown

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Netflix

his drama-filled biopic focuses on the reign of our Queen Elizabeth II. The series transports viewers to 1947 and follows the Queen’s early and unexpected rise to the throne. A young Queen Elizabeth II addresses the task of leading Britain, the Empire and the Commonwealth during a time of political turmoil after the passing of her Father, King George VI. The historically accurate series provides an insight into the private life of the royal family. Actress Claire Foy undertakes the main role opposite Doctor Who’s Matt Smith, who plays Prince Phillip. Both provide solid performances. Their romantic relationship is both charming and challenging at times, as the Queen attempts to balance family life alongside her duties. Meanwhile, American John Lithgow depicts the troubles of the post war and victorious Prime Minster Winston Churchill. The realistic and extravagant sets invite viewers to join the narrative in notable places such as Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and 10 Downing Street. Equally, the impressive costumes are perfectly appropriate for the era. The luxurious feel matches the immense production budget, embodying a sense of royalty in itself. The show is an essential for fans of ITV’s recent series, Victoria, which concentrated on the life of Queen Elizabeth’s great-great Grandmother. The Crown is also ideal for fans of the nostalgic period drama Downton Abbey. With a second series confirmed, the triumphant show promises to illustrate the Queen’s life up until the present day. Until then, the 10 part series is available to watch instantly on Netflix. Sarah Aston

I’m a Celebrity Weeknights, 9pm

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TV’s I’m A Celebrity returned to our screens earlier this month. We get to see ageing celebrities eat an animal’s penis once again! However, the “celebrity” cast is underwhelming. The more elderly stars, Carol Vorderman and Larry Lamb, are the stars, the latter being immediately voted to become Camp President. Away from them, the only two who generate any social media attention are Gogglebox’s Scarlett Moffatt and comedian Joel Dommett. Dummett is genuinely witty and brings a spark to the camp. Moffatt is the celebrity who has been afforded the most screen time so far, her innocent, naïve, yet hilarious ways that won over British viewers in Gogglebox are also working for I’m A Celebrity. However, the fact that the inexperienced reality-TV star is the current favourite to win says a lot about the programme’s rapidly decreasing ability to pull in the biggest names. Up to this point, the rest of the campmates seem dull. That said, Adam Thomas does have the potential to go far when afforded the chance to play more of an active role in the jungle whilst we wait to see whether the arrivals of controversial Danny Baker and loveable Martin Roberts add another dynamic. One aspect that does remain ever impressive with I’m A Celebrity is the hosts. Without Ant & Dec the show would really struggle – both Strictly Come Dancing and David Attenborough’s Planet Earth II achieved higher ratings on the opening night. If it wasn’t for the Newcastle duo’s humour it would be doubtful whether Scarlett Moffatt and co. could hold our attention. Toby Bryant

t’s New Year’s Eve 2013. Brand new BBC Two comedy special, Two Doors Down, shows the struggle of being an eager to please neighbour at a Hogmanay party. Down to earth couple, Beth and Eric Beard try to keep their cool as tensions rise between them and their difficult neighbours. With long lost sister Caroline, stuck up couple Cathy and Colin, son Ian and his new boyfriend Tony, next-door teen Sophie and friends, and new-to-the-street Nina and Henning all crammed into the Beards’ living room, mayhem, and indeed, hilarity, ensues. The special perfectly showed the humour in the everyday, and in real life people and conversations. Each character is instantly recognisable to viewers and the heightened family party atmosphere, fuelled with alcohol and festive fun was captured superbly by writers Simon Carlyle and Elliott Kerrigan.

“It is the sharp wit of the writing and the acute characterisation which makes this show so fantastic” Fast-forward to April this year when the Beards returned to our screens with a full six-part series. With the addition of Sophie’s interfering mum, Christine, to the cast, the show went from strength to strength. Each week, the likes of a broken freezer, a housewarming and even a new hot tub brought the dysfunctional street together for a half hour of guaranteed laughs. As all the best comedies are, the show’s concept is relatively simple; a group of neighbours in a little Scottish town. It is the sharp wit of the writing and the acute characterisation, however, which makes this show so fantastic. There seems to have been a trend in the last couple of years in sitcoms moving away from the surreal, alternative scene established in the late 90s and early 00s, back to observational, laughing-at-ourselves comedies. The likes of Peter Kay’s Car Share and Newcastle based Boy Meets Girl, from the same writers as Two Doors Down, are other examples of

this fantastically funny, heartwarming comedy trend, that hasn’t really been seen since the all time great, Caroline Aherne and Craig Cash’s The Royle Family. Comedy is becoming much more clever, rather than relying on slapstick or shock elements for laughs. As much as this works brilliantly in moderation, it has been done. Let’s hope this more sophisticated style lasts a while longer.

“Two Doors Down is observational comedy at its absolute best” Series two began last week with the usual gang back and determined to cause more havoc. Episode one saw Christine awarded over £6000 in PPI, leading to her inviting herself, along with Cathy and Colin, round to Beth and Eric’s for a celebratory BBQ. Two Doors Down is observational comedy at its absolute best and this episode showed this off beautifully, perfectly capturing the essence of a family BBQ; rows over food, someone causing an atmosphere by having a bit too much to drink and, of course, a good old British downpour. With

Cathy and Colin badgering their reluctant neighbours to join them on a cruise, Christine pondering what to spend her winnings on and Beth just about managing to hold it together, series two got off to another strong start. The episode ended true to form, with Cathy and Colin storming out, after having their real intentions about the cruise uncovered; a cheap deal on your own package if you manage to persuade a friend to make a booking. The show has also been praised for its representation of women. Actors Doon Mackichan, Elaine C Smith, Arabella Weir and My Mad Fat Diary’s Sharon Rooney provide some of the greatest laughs from their larger than life characters. Mackichan and Smith themselves have noted the rarity in having three women, over the age of 50 together on a television set, carrying a large proportion of the laughs. This show passes the Bechdel test with flying colours. If you missed episode one, catch up now on BBC iPlayer, ready for more hilariously real and recognisable antics from those difficult people you just can’t seem to shake from your life. Neighbourswho’d ‘ave ‘em? Alison Scurfield

Our best friend Netflix

Lauren Sneath takes a look at the effects of the internet on our modes of viewership. Are we all anitsocial robots now? Or is this simply the next step in home-viewing history?

Let me clear from the start; this article is not a criticism of Neflix. I am by no means a backward-thinking advocate of ignoring the amazing possibilities that online television and media can offer (nor can I deny my slightly unhealthy obsession with Orange is the New Black). However, I have recently begun to question the impact that a new shift in worldwide habits has had upon us as people, as we begin to leave the social space of our living room or a cinema to shut ourselves away in our rooms, eating Uncle Ben’s microwaveable rice from the bag as we hunker down in front of our tablets, laptops and phones. Recently there has been a year upon year decline in the number of hours spent weekly in front of a television, as the rise of the constantly accessible, usually free internet TV continues to invade each and every home with a wifi connection. In fact, it has reached such a level that viewers don’t mind constant buffering or irritating pop ups during their shows, and even watch shows illegally, using sites such as “Putlocker”. The “why” of this issue is fairly evident; as our world evolves to become as instant as possible, it stands to reason that television must adapt to fit the new norm. It’s simply ironic that just under 100 years ago, this debate would see television itself as the ominous interloper on a society that is perfectly fine without it, thank you very much. So, just as society became used to television, just as it became habit to flop down after a long day in front of a black box and watch pictures come to life, so now must we change yet again. Now, like then, this new wave of technology must be integrated into

our daily lives, or we risk being left behind, in the cold, dark world that is life without “Gilmore Girls” and “Gossip Girl”.

“Perhaps our evolutionary path will see us all become hermits, in dark, one-person bunkers” However, I feel it’s a real shame that as a society we choose to hide from each other. Gone is the tradition of X-Factor on a Saturday night, all of the family curled up on the sofa- after all, why watch it on the television and have to put on decent clothes

when one could remain immobile in bed, not even having to reach for a remote, and watch it online? Perhaps our evolutionary path will see us all become hermits, in dark, one-person bunkers, our eyes now constantly bloodshot but adapted to our glowing screens as we feverishly search the web for a free, online version of “Blades of Glory” that isn’t too obviously shot with an iPhone. So, has every social element of television been lost? I hope not. Antiquated though it may seem, I enjoy the company of others, and would love to find a silver lining in the growing cloud of “internet television”. Let’s hope that human nature is not so altered these days that we have lost our ability to balance technology and a social life; and let’s pray that television itself doesn’t become obsolete, because that would mean the end of “GoggleBox”.


The Courier

television.25

Monday 28 November 2016

thecourieronline.co.uk/tv c2.tv@ncl.ac.uk | @courier_tv

Chappelle’s post-election SNL excels Joel’s dead

TV legend Dave Chappelle returns, raising the standard of the dying comedy institution for one night. Here’s the play-by-play, from Ed Eastly and TV Editor Luke Acton

good shows

Scream: the TV show

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ate Mckinnon’s cold open performance of hallelujah as Hilary Clinton didn’t sit right. Clinton wasn’t the underdog of this election: to many she represented an alternative but she’s far from flawless. People have a duty to assess her flaws; it felt wrong for her to be given a sendoff this nakedly sincere. When the first proper sketch of the night made a point of mocking the failure of white American to see the enormous divides that exist within the country, to celebrate a politician who has done very little to address that issue rang very hollow. Hallelujah is an incredible song and its dissemination throughout popular culture in recent years has been fascinating (remember when it was in Shrek? And the West Wing?) but it felt cheap and reductive to canonise a political figure by employing a wellknown and genuinely emotional song, especially with the weight of Leonard Cohen’s death. How would that cold open have gone if it hadn’t been for Cohen’s passing? Perhaps it would have eschewed emotion and treaded the line of hope/ hopelessness that the rest of the show went for. I’ve never really engaged with Dave Chappelle, mainly to do with generational difference. After tonight I think I should probably amend that. His opening monologue was loose and funny in a way that broke from the overly-mannered and predictable format of recent SNL monologues (a musical number, a surprise guest) and engaged with the live format, especially his use of the n-word, an intrinsic part of his comedy. It could have a come across as intentionally edgy in the sanitised context of SNL but genuinely allowed Chappelle’s true and honest voice to be heard. The fatalistic attitude he conveyed in that monologue was a perfect counterpoint to the faux-earnestness of the cold open and the depreciation felt sort of sad and human in a way that the cold open completely wasn’t. I remembered why stand-up comedy is actually good.

“The initial concept of Jones discussing her lack of romantic encounters had a nice little switch into Mooney establishing himself as a virgin” The first real sketch of the night was a highlight for me, both in terms of content and the slightly dorky joy that came with seeing Chris Rock show up in a cameo that didn’t rob the scene of momentum or rely on his presence to carry it, he brought a grounded sensibility that I can’t imagine any of the proper cast members managing, especially given the deeply troubling undertones looking at the whole. The first sketch cashed in on The Walking Dead. It’s the most popular show on television and yet it doesn’t seem to have been attacked sufficiently in any pop cultural mediums for its inherent flaws. But it was just a good premise to shoe-horn in old Chappelle characters. It was just the premise and literally nothing else. The way the characters were introduced so quickly it was a nice touch of parody against fan service. It was also down to Chappelle being an incredibly engaging performer, it was bold and made sense to let him run the show and not have any regular cast members in the

A scene. Chappelle has killer range, and it would be weird not to give Chappelle rope just because of the size of his cult following (the first season DVD of Chappelle’s Show was the best-selling TV series of all time). There was a nice natural looseness to all the sketches that went a long way to endearing it to me.

“The last sketch, another gross-out piece about a 40-something who’s still breastfed beat its premise pretty well into the ground...” Michael Che on Weekend Update handled his fuck-up really well, it’s rare that the cast have the confidence to consistently bring up their own mistakes. Lorne Michaels (the creator/main producer of SNL since it started) is very vocally against improve and that really puts cast members off doing it. It’s often why the cast would rather fudge the cue cards a few times instead of improvising (what’s the point of it being live?). The way he seemed vaguely overwhelmed felt real and genuine. I imagine for a lot of American’s that this period of time is overwhelming and awful. Kate McKinnon has made Ruth Bader Ginsburg her own, eating the vitamin powder and the part in the bar skit when Chappelle and McKinnon are tonguing for like a minute. There was so much Eric Andre channeled through those two moments. There was some fantastic gross-out gags in this episode that rivalled his level of dedication. That’s the advantage of it being live: it allows the performers to choose to commit completely in an instant. The general level of humour in Weekend Update was a lot sharper and more genuinely satirical than it’s been in several years and I think that has a lot to do with America’s national mood. NOBODY watching SNL is going to be happy with that elec-

tion result. Weekend Update is never archived on the show’s youtube, which allows the show to make edgy, potentially off-colour jokes that wouldn’t hold up within the context of the echo-chamber of internet criticism but it also means that the section feels incredibly self-contained and removed from the rest of the show. The rest of the show tailed off from here. The remaining sketches weren’t the strongest material of the night but they rode the goofy/serious line pretty nicely and made sure to benefit from Chappelle’s presence as much as possible. The “Kids Talk Politics” sketch was brief enough to contain some real bite and didn’t overextend the premise, and Chappelle coming in at the end to cap it off with some silly wordplay gags sold it. The next sketch, a seemingly piss-poor bit of fluff about a restaurant took a rarely-seen on SNL turn into metacommentary when it collapsed into a post-sketch press conference that let every player involved examine the failures of their respective roles. Again, this is familiar territory for Chappelle but if the show playing to its host’s very specific set of skills can find laughs in places it doesn’t really go to very often then it’s probably worth it. As mentioned earlier the “Closing Time” bit delivered some gross laughs but it’s starting to wear thin from repetition by now, especially as so many sketches on the show rely on the format of the camera cutting to a cast member dead-panning extreme reactions, and that cast member is often Kenan Thompson.

“I’ve never really engaged with Dave Chapelle, mainly to do with generational difference. After tonight I think I should probably amend that” The next bit of pre-filmed material was a nice gem hidden deep in the show’s back-end, detailing a secret office romance between cast members Kyle Mooney and Leslie Jones (playing themselves). The initial concept of Jones discussing her lack of romantic encounters had a nice little switch into Mooney establishing himself as a virgin. It was sweet without being cloying or fey and it made put the actor’s varied personalities to good use. The last sketch, another gross-out piece about a 40-something who’s still breastfed beat its premise pretty well into the ground but still got some laughs out of Jones (who really took control of the last half of the show) blasting clearly-fake milk at a sofa full of dudes. I’m not sure SNL is going to put out an episode this consistent for the rest of the season, maybe ever again, because the goodwill towards the Democrats is going to give way to easy gags about whatever inadequate response they manage to Trump’s election, the cast won’t energised by an industry legend like Chappelle making a big comeback and because the general mood of SNL-watching America is going to lose some of its rosiness when the nation’s mood begins to turn and misery overtakes the brief stirrings of inspiration that the liberal entertainers will try to stir up. Thankfully, for one night, the situations aligned in such a way that let a great comic voice have fun and make a point with a talented cast who could rise to the occasion and make the most of a pretty dark moment.

mongst the fresh blood of shows like American Horror Story and comic-book based The Walking Dead, there’s a recent trend of horror movie adaptations hitting TV screens. One of the most surprising success examples, not in terms of ratings but fan popularity, is MTV’s Scream: the TV Series. The basis of the show, Scream (1996), reinvented the horror genre and remains the highest-grossing slasher of all time. In this modern, Netflix-obsessed world it was almost inevitable that a TV adaptation would splatter into our lives at some point. That being said, taking a hugely popular movie franchise and making it an MTV show is risky, to say the least. The show is by no means as successful as its source material, no shocker there, but it follows in the habit of many other shows of the 21st century by having a loyal fan-base (even if the ratings are lacking).

“Everyone knows that if there’s one crucial element to a slasher movie, it’s the killer’s look” The show focuses on the town of Lakewood, where 20 years ago, a misfit named Brandon James conducted a killing spree, or so the legend says. In true horror fashion, the past begins to haunt the quaint town and before long there’s a new wave of murders. In this world, nothing is as it seems, and everyone is definitely a suspect. It’s a typical slasher movie expanded into seasons, basically. Everyone knows that if there’s one crucial element to a slasher movie, it’s the killer’s look. Michael Myers had this creepy William Shatner mask, Freddy had the razor claws and Jason used a hockey mask (originally a brown sack). As with Scream (1996), the show’s mask isn’t particularly frightening, though when combined with a flowing black ensemble and a knife, it’s pretty damn scary! The mask, for once, even has its own backstory: a teenage Brandon James wore one similar to cover up his a facial deformity, and this is one of the show’s connection between past and present. Similarly to the movie franchise’s exposure of horror troupes, the show’s leads are fairly archetypal. Willa Fitzgerald plays Emma Duval, the show’s Sidney Prescott: the girl-next-door protagonist and ‘final girl’ type. Gale Weathers comes in the form of Piper Shaw, portrayed by Amelia Rose Blaire, who’s an investigative journalist and ally to Emma, whilst Connor Weil plays Emma’s shady boyfriend, Will Belmont. The stars of the show though are undeniably John Karna, Carlson Young and Tom Madden, who portray Noah Foster, Brooke Maddox and Jake Fitzgerald respectively. Noah is reminiscent of Randy Meeks: he’s obsessed with all things horror and anyone who loved Scream 4’s Kirby Reed will undoubtedly root for Noah. Brooke is the attractive best-friend of Emma, and daughter of Lakewood’s Mayor. She’s very much a princess yet she’s extremely lovable. Jake is her on-off lover who has some shady dealings with Will, and similarly to Brooke, he’s the bad-boy you just can’t help but like. There’s a couple of other members of the gang, but I’ll let you watch the show to figure out their troupe types. Both seasons are currently on Netflix, including the recent Halloween special, and the third season is set to air in 2017. It isn’t the most polished show, that’s for sure, but it stays faithful to its roots. If you’re a fan of the Scream franchise, or slashers in general, give it a watch.


26.filmfeatures

Monday 28 November 2016

The Courier

Film Editors: Emma Allsopp, Zoë Godden & Simon Ramshaw

Tyneside Cinema short film night

GUILT TRIP The Stupids (1996) This week Joe Holloran fills us in on a lesser-known film from a master of comedy, and genetic producer of Max Landis

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ohn Landis - even if you don’t know the name, I’m sure you would have at some point come across his more accredited films. The jazz-comedy caper The Blues Brothers (1980), the brilliantly subversive toilet humour classic Animal House (1978), and for those of you with a taste for horror-comedy, An American Werewolf in London (1981). All three of these are just as funny now as they were thirty years ago. So, you may be asking how the man who made us laugh so profusely could possibly have a film included in a guilty pleasure column. Well, comedy, perhaps more than any other, is a genre whose effectiveness is subjective. We laugh at John Belushi in the above because he does what Chaplin did at the birth of the genre; laugh at authority figures. Landis here continues in this tradition to great effect. So when his 1996 film The Stupids hit cinemas many expected this dynamic to continue. What Landis did however was bring in Tom Arnold and get him to dress as a sentient bush. This was a surprise to many critics and audiences at the time. Where was the high-brow, yet subversive humour we had come to expect? Well, it had been returned to sender. Watch the film and that last sentence will make more sense. Landis had chosen very deliberately to not use subversion as a plot point in a movie, but rather make a movie that was itself a send up of comedy conventions.

The film revolves around a typical suburban American ‘nuclear family’. A dad, a mum, two kids, and an animated family pet. The only difference between this family and the numerous others common in sitcoms is that the Stupid’s are very stupid. From act one to act three. No moment of clarity. No straight man signing knowingly into camera. Just a family attempting to discover who is stealing the garbage from their trashcans every week. This mystery takes them all around their city in search of a mysterious villain collecting everyone’s mail, a Mr. Sender, who is nefariously connected, somehow, to the evil garbage thieves. The film is littered with brilliant cameo’s from ‘serious’ actors such as Christopher Lee, Atom Egoyan, and cult director David Cronenberg. The film was never going to be Oscar-bait and is for many critics and audiences simply too childish to be considered funny. I however believe the comedy audience dynamic has changed so much in the last two decades, with the rise of post-modern TV shows like Family Guy that a dumb, selfaware movie like this may yet find a new audience among us millennials.

This time last week, Helena Buchanan headed down to the Tyneside Cinema to check out their monthly short film extravaganza; here, she gives us the lowdown on the line up

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very nearly skipped this evening based on the veritable storm raging outside before the night was due to start. Nonetheless, I braved the torrential rain and arrived at the cinema with a striking resemblance to a drowned rat. Much as I love short films, I was not expecting to have an enjoyable evening - it is extremely difficult to enjoy yourself in sodden jeans. The Tyneside, however, never fails. I could, with ease and joy, spend the next 500 words praising the glorious institute that is the Tyneside; however, as this is the Film Section of The Courier, I’ll assume anyone reading this does not need to be converted. We were directed to the Roxy Lounge, a screen with three rows of long velvet sofas (which I may well have ruined with two bum cheek shaped wet patches) and a small bar; the setting felt apt for a ‘short’ film night. The only problem with the long sofa set up was that I was forced to concede that stripping off might be mildly inappropriate.

experience with her parents and as a mother. Her story was highly moving and you could focus on it without being too distracted by a visual overload. The animation was a series of recurring printlike motifs, the overall effect of which was greatly reminiscent of patterned Indian fabrics. This was

“The most visually stunning work was a monologue about a homosexual Indian woman’s experience with her parents and as a mother” aided by the bright colours used, predominantly warm reds and oranges, which was particularly effective when block black elephants strode across the screen. The audio and the visual worked together perfectly while refraining from merely illustrating one with the other.

Another particular favourite was a story about a young zombie. When the family morgue is destroyed, he must set out alone, seeking comfort and the ice cream parlour once owned by his parents. Along the way he is spurned by people and scarecrows (a particularly emotional and amusing moment) alike. Other particularly witty moments occur when he reaches the ice cream parlour where one man plays a video game in which he kills zombies. When the young undead is eventually embraced, the smear of blood he leaves on his new mother’s trousers is an excellent detail. Continuing the theme of death was a particularly short ‘short’ in which a magician successfully contacts the afterlife and is asked to hold. This highly affective satire was a wonderful illustration of the daily frustrations of modern life. I am told the short film nights are an ongoing event, and I will certainly return (possibly with an umbrella) - prepared to be amazed by the experience when not undergone in soaked denim.

“Much like short stories, short films must be well crafted and to the point” It was an animation night, which I was greatly excited for being the proud owner of the Pixar Short Collection. Much like short stories, short films must be well crafted and to the point - it is very obvious if you try to bullshit on a small scale. The films on show were all highly digitised, which made me a little sad, being a sucker for ‘claymation’ or anything that looks originally drawn by hand. This I appreciate, however, is mere personal preference. The most visually stunning work was a monologue about a homosexual Indian woman’s

This is a rebellion isn’t it? I rebel

A year on from the release of The Force Awakens we are eagerly anticipating the release of Rogue One. William Johnson tells us what we can expect from the newest Star Wars film

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ogue One marks the first of a trilogy of origin stories, which make up the Anthology Series. Set at the height of the Empire’s control of the galaxy and Darth Vader’s villainy, between the events of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, it tells the story of a group of Rebel spies on a mission to steal the design schematics for the Galactic Empire’s new weapon, the Death Star. After the release of the trailer it became clear that Rogue One would be bringing something very different to the galaxy far, far away. There will be no Jedi masterclasses, but instead a full in-thetrenches look of the Galactic Civil War captured from a much more human perspective than what the franchise has previously shown. Director Gareth Edwards, draws parallels with the style of the film with that of a war film, depicting the reality of war, “Good guys are bad. Bad guys are good. It’s complicated, layered; a very rich scenario in which to set a movie.” Another ‘first’ that Rogue One brings to the Star Wars franchise is that it is the first film not scored by John Williams. Alexandre Desplat, whose work features in many a Wes Anderson production, The Kings Speech and Argo to name a few, has taken on the challenge.

“The biggest fan theory surrounding the film however has already ben confirmed with the release of the latest trailer”

As per the norm with big blockbuster franchises with a mass followings, fan theories are guaranteed to emerge and evolve in the run up to its opening. Although many are debated, some do offer a possible insight into what to expect. The biggest fan theory surrounding the film however has already been confirmed with the release of the latest trailer. Following on from the array of Star Wars film that

centre family divisions at the centre of the Empire vs Rebel war, the trailer reveals that Rogue One is no exception. Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen), is confirmed as the creator of the Empire’s Death Star and also the father of the film’s lead rebel Jyn Erso, played by Felicity Jones. However, whilst trying not to give out any spoilers, the relationship between Galen and the Empire is a lot more complicated than what is depicted so far.

“President of Lucasfilm Kathleen Kennedy has assured that there will be no crossing over of these new origin films and the sequel trilogies” Some have speculated whether Rogue One will bring us any clues to help answer the widely debated question which The Force Awakens left us with. Who are Rey’s parents? Many have speculated that Luke Skywalker is her father but her mother leaves a greater mystery. One popular theory that has risen is given the time frame and the obvious physical similarities, Jyn is in fact Rey’s mother. President of Lucasfilm Kathleen Kennedy has

assured that there will be no crossing over of these new origin films and the sequel trilogies. This is with specific reference to carrying characters into the saga episodes. A ruse or not, if Rey’s family are revealed in Episode VIII it will have a much greater impact if viewers are already familiar with who they are. With its release scheduled for December 15th, you don’t have to wait long to find out. Be set to witness what looks to be an explosive and visceral start to this new trilogy that will be sure to fill in the gaps left by the episode saga.


The Courier

reviewsfilm.27

Monday 28 November 2016

thecourieronline.co.uk/film c2.film@ncl.ac.uk | @Courier_Film

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (12A)

Golden Oldies Presents... Alan J. Pakula’s

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ive years after the world saw the end of an era with the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, fans can now return to J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. This newest addition to this beloved fictional universe is not a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but rather a spin-off created around the 2001 textbook that takes the audience back 70 years before the events in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. However, do not expect Fantastic Beasts to be anything like the Potter series; it is a completely new story that is set far away from the grounds of Hogwarts – albeit with some references to it – and this first part of what is set to become a five-film franchise is building an additional world to the one we’ve come to know and love. The film follows Newt Scamander, as he arrives in New York City with a magical, bigger-on-the-inside suitcase full of the eponymous fantastic beasts. After bumping into No-Maj/Muggle Jacob Kowalski, who has a suitcase not unlike Newt’s but which is filled with pastries instead of livestock, some of Newt’s beloved creatures escape into the city and chaos ensues. Newt is helped by an understandably astounded Jacob in finding the animals before they get hurt – or discovered by No-Majs – and ex-auror Tina Goldstein, who has been watching

Newt suspiciously since his arrival, and her mindreading sister Queenie join the party. At the same time, MACUSA (America’s Ministry of Magic) is worrying about the disappearance of Grindelwald and the strange destructions happening in New York they fear could be related to this dark wizard. The two plot-lines interweave quite late on in the film, but that isn’t necessarily a problem for the story, as the first half of the film appears to build a world for the sequels in the first place and make the audience fall in love with these new characters and the wonderful beasts in the second. Eddie Redmayne puts Newt down as an introverted, well-meaning but chaotic scientist who is better with animals than he is with humans. Dan Fogler’s Jacob is a good-hearted fellow who is the source of most of the comic-relief. Katherine Waterston is wonderful as the strong-willed Tina, and

Alison Sudol shines on the screen as Queenie. Carmen Ejogo will do everything to protect her people as madam-president Seraphina Picquery, while Colin Farrell sets down a powerful performance as the shifty auror Percival Graves, but Ezra Miller steals the show as the abused and scared son of an anti-magic activist. With a strong cast and a fun screenplay penned by J.K. Rowling herself, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a magical film that lives up to the hype and creates excitement for its sequels, which promise to dive deeper into the magical yet dark world set up in this film. Hopefully we will also see more of the titular beasts, as they are fantastic in every way and make everyone wish they knew where to find them. More like this: The Golden Compass (2008)

Francofonia (12A)

13th (15)

True Memoirs of an International Assassin (15)

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very now and again, you watch a movie you don’t want to watch and come out feeling even worse than you felt going in. That crushing feeling that you had the right measure of the film from the trailers, and 98 minutes later, you’ve just proven yourself right, for no reason. That was the general gist of my thought-process once I had finished True Memoirs of an International Assassin, Netflix’s first film with Kevin James, following in the footsteps of his frequent collaborator, Adam Sandler, in what is likely to be a new slew of painfully-unfunny comedies. TMoaIA (not typing out the full title) chronicles the unfortunate mishaps of writer Sam J. Larson, whose titular novel lands him in a spot of bother after people believe these ‘true memoirs’ to be actually true. He is thrown into the messy politics of Venezuela, where three different parties try to recruit him to assassinate one another’s leaders. There’s some strong potential in the concept for some biting satire to lampoon the 10-a-penny bargain-bucket thrillers you see people reading on your average long-haul flight, but when the film’s ambitions only extend as far as lifting a multiplechoice mission from any open-world videogame, you know the film’s in trouble. Kevin James looks intensely worried as himself and his character just realise what sort of mess they’ve gotten themselves into, while Andy Garcia pops up with a wildman beard, making you wonder where he’s been hiding since the Ocean’s trilogy came to a close. Netflix makes everything looks as flat as a pancake (or, more appropriately, a TV episode), so there’s nothing even vaguely interesting visually to get lost in. There’s only an endless void where humour should be, stuffed with confusing plotting and impossible-to-care-about stakes. I think I counted about three occasions where I found something slightly funny, but I remember half-smirking and exhaling lightly, so I could’ve just been sighing. Avoid. More like this: The Do-Over (2016) Simon Ramshaw

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rancofonia is the first arthouse film I’ve ever watched, so it was a pretty interesting experience to say the least. Based on a brief glance at the IMDb synopsis before entering the theatre, I expected a pretty standard documentary about the Louvre during Nazi occupation, but it turned out that that topic serves more as a vague foundation for the film than its main plot. I was pleasantly surprised to find in Francofonia a charming little film that doesn’t really have a specific plot but rather is a non-linear series of introspective meditations on various aspects of art, culture, and history. The film does have a rather slow and perplexing opening 10 minutes, but once it gets going it’s thoroughly interesting till the end. The film is stylistically beautiful; most of the film consists of narration over interspersions of calming shots inside the galleries of the Louvre, quaint archive footage of 1940s Paris, delightfully immersive dramatised scenes convincingly rendered to imitate grainy sepia footage, and metaphorical dialogue exchanges between Napoleon Bonaparte and Marianne, the national French symbol of liberty and reason. Through this medium of filmmaking Sokurov presents a series of contemplations about the uses and abuses of art throughout history – focussing on the Nazis’ exploitative agenda that came with being in control of the centre of world culture – but providing various meditations on the philosophy of art and civilization itself. Francofonia was certainly an enjoyable experience but it might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Then again, I don’t think those who aren’t normally into this sort of thing should be too daunted considering I enjoyed my first arthouse film experience. As my artist housemate Jed Buttress (who watched it with me) remarked, “It wasn’t an art film because it made sense and it was actually good.” So if you fancy a film trip that’s as culturally enriching as going to a gallery, why not head over to Tyneside and give Francofonia a watch? More like this: Russian Ark (2002) Will Capuano

Becky van Leeuwen

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va DuVernay’s 13th is a hard-hitting Netflix original documentary mapping the history of the prison system in the US and why it has become a country of mass incarceration. I wouldn’t go into this documentary in a bad mood, as it does its best to shock you through its images and statistics. The documentary consists of the opinions of several experts, of all races, essentially arguing that the 13th Amendment loophole is the source of the issue of mass incarceration in the US. Although all the experts have an opinion, they are never at any point so biased that you aren’t totally convinced. By taking us chronologically, from post-civil war America right up until the modern day, DuVernay composes a fantastic testament to the long standing struggles of African Americans. The most powerful thing about the film though was its use of images. Expert opinions were interspersed with footage that you sometimes didn’t even want to admit was real, and DuVernay doesn’t spare you any respite either. At points, images from the past 200 years are effectively paired with the haunting voice of Donald Trump proclaiming the ‘good old days’ (and if that doesn’t send a shiver down your spine I don’t know what will). Although we all know Trump’s a dirty racist, it’s only when you see his words in relation to behaviour that occurred 100 years ago that you realise how America really is regressing. DuVernay even offers a sly clip of Hilary back in the day, being only marginally less bigoted than Trump. Overall, the documentary is an intensely thought-provoking piece, which through the example of the incarceration system in the US illustrates how backward their policies are. Quite simply, you’ll leave with absolutely zero faith in humanity and an extreme hatred towards every President ever. However, you’ll be more aware, if slightly angrier as well. And that’s exactly DuVernay’s intention. More like this: The Act of Killing (2012) Rachel Baker

All the President’s Men As part of the Tyneside Cinema’s Altered States: 70s American Cinema season, Dan Haygarth saw the 1976 journalism thriller, All the President’s Men. Does it live up to its intimidating and controversial reputation? Is it still relevant today in our terrifying political climate?

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ased on the 1974 book by journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, All the President’s Men tells the story of the Washington Post’s investigation of the Watergate scandal, which rocked American politics and ultimately led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon. The third part of director Alan Pakula’s unofficial ‘Paranoia Trilogy’, All the President’s Men is one of the greatest and most important films of the twentieth century. A worthy winner of four Academy Awards in 1977 (including one for William Goldman’s adapted screenplay), the film captured the era’s suspicious and insecure mood perfectly. Gordon Willis’ atmospheric cinematography, in particular the frequent use of wide shots, creates a genuine sense of fear and emphasises that the journalists’ every move is being watched. The pairing of two screen icons, Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as Woodward and Bernstein respectively, is arguably the film’s greatest asset. Seeing these two legendary actors together at their peak is a joy to watch. Their excellent chemistry creates a humorous personality clash, as Hoffman’s frenetic and defiant Bernstein continually irritates Woodward, while the latter’s emphasis on evidence frustrates his colleague. Redford and Hoffman revel in their everyman roles, as Pakula’s emphasis on the regularity of the two journalists allows them to abandon their movie-star personas and bring the characters to the fore.

The supporting cast is superb, particularly the Oscar-winning Jason Robards as Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, who delivers the film’s most indelible line: “Nothing’s riding on this except the first amendment to the Constitution, freedom of the press, and maybe the future of the country. Not that any of that matters, but if you guys fuck up again, I’m going to get mad.” As a film about journalism, it is unparalleled. Woodward and Bernstein’s tireless work, whether it be searching through the Library of Congress’ records by hand or Woodward’s shady meetings with his government source ‘Deep Throat’, displays the profession at its most admirable and vital. Despite its understandable anti-Nixon agenda, the film skilfully manages to avoid taking a partisan approach to party politics – a fine example of journalistic integrity. Technically brilliant and featuring excellent performances, All the President’s Men is a consummate conspiracy thriller. Its account of the scandal encapsulates the dangers of power and the threat of surveillance; and as the Snooper’s Charter was recently passed into law, the film remains as essential as ever.


28.gaming

Monday 28 November 2016

The Courier

Gaming Editors: Jordan Oloman, Errol Kerr & Jared Moore

Top 5 Medics in Gaming

James McCoull throws a lifeline to gaming’s very own NHS 5. Dr. Mario Though his compassion leaves something to be desired, there’s no debating that Mario’s dual professions, as a plumber and a doctor, are certainly impressive. Mario medicates in much the same fashion as he operates in his other career as a chivalrous volunteer Princess guard: applying Occam’s razor with liberal abandon and simply ramming pills down the necks of his patients until the problem is gone. But hey, at the end of the day, medicine is just whatever works.

4. Dr. Steinman If you want cosmetic surgery at the bottom of the sea, there’s really only one man to call. With his obsessive rejection of symmetry, his spectacular disregard for the Hippocratic oath, and his team of on-staff murder nurses, Bioshock’s Dr. J. S. Steinman stands proud at the peak of his field (having more or less executed the competition). Points go to the good doctor for not just his surgical precision with a submachine gun, but his melodramatic monologue upon arriving in his clinic. Steinman really puts the theatre back in ‘surgical theatre’.

3. Dr. Courier Throughout Fallout: New Vegas, the multi-talented protagonist has the opportunity to assist with a number of medical quandaries. With a high enough skill, the Courier is able to perform clean, successful operations with nothing more than a handful of lightly-irradiated scalpels and a bottle of dirty water. But perhaps the better half of the postman-turned-Punisher’s medical endeavours is the failures. A botched operation can result in amputating the complete wrong leg, or executing the leader of a barbaric dictatorship during brain surgery. Talk about a happy accident.

2. Dr. The Medic The only doctor on this list to both acquire and lose a medical license, Team Fortress 2’s Medic has an approach to the practice of his trade more akin to experimentation than actual healing and care. But with a stock of homicidal mercenaries more than eager to put his experiments to the test, who can blame him? In spite of his psychopathic approach to the doctor-patient relationship, no-one can deny the Medic’s genius: to his name is a gun that heals bullet wounds, burns and lacerations in mere seconds, and can even render a patient invincible to all physical harm for a short period.

1. Dr. Angela ‘Mercy’ Ziegler Yet even better than that is a cure for death, and that’s what the ambiguously-immortal Angela Ziegler achieves in Overwatch. In addition to her Caduceus staff - capable of the same on-the-fly (ha-ha) rapid healing as the Medic – Mercy can bring up to five teammates back from the afterlife, reconstructing their bodies and equipment and getting them back to fighting condition at a moment’s notice. And best of all, she has what no-one else on this list does: genuine compassion for those in her care. Mercy looks out for her patients, and her accolades include the cybernetic ninja Genji Shimada, painstakingly brought back from the dead by the good doctor, and the ghostly Gabriel Reyes, who seems a little less grateful for his miraculous resurrection.

Review: Dishonored 2 Jordan Oloman preys in the sultry shadows, assassinating his way to a usurped throne

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lmost 15 years on from the first game, the daughter of the Royal Protector Corvo Attano is flung into the perilous wastes of Karnaca. Her throne has been usurped by Delilah Copperspoon, and revenge is the only goal. Emily Kaldwin brings with her an entirely different way to play in this bespoke immersive simulator, including a suite of new powers to upgrade. If you’ve played the first one, you probably know the basics already. You can approach each level as a meticulous sleuth, setting up traps and skulking through the shadows to orchestrate a non-lethal justified assassination or go guns blazing, preferring to brutalize your enemies and send swathes of rats to devour the grisly evidence. This is because Dishonored 2 is all about diversifying your playstyle, and it pulls it off with that famous Arkane polish that we adore them for.

“Dishonored 2 is all about diversifying your playstyle, and it pulls it off with that famous Arkane polish that we adore them for” I’m not messing around either; there are some intricate details in this game that would make Kojima blush. Think of them like mini unmarked quests from the Fallout series. In mission 3, which I think is a stroke of Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde inspired genius in its own right, there is a lift you use to get to the many floors. The designers also allow you to journey to the top of the heavily guarded tower and cut the wires, sending the lift plummeting to the floor and opening up an unmarked lost and found section which gives some crucial details on a character from the first game. It’s touches like this from Harvey and the team

that invoke such wanderlust in me for future levels, as it sets a gorgeous environmental precedent, elevating the sequel beyond its already masterful predecessor. This is further evidenced in the sheer scale of Dishonored 2.. The mini-worlds the game drops you into this time are so much more openplan and would take at least a few playthroughs to fully explore. The gameplay also still retains its unique style. Every mission is distinct from the last, throwing up an entirely new challenge to test the powers you’ve chosen on your journey. Further, this time you have to be more careful with how you specialize. Unless you plan to really seek out the many runes in each level, you’re going to be constrained to a few abilities. Do you want to be able to scale building and escape quickly with Far Reach and Agility, or focus on Domino so that you can take down 4 enemies with one sleeping dart after chaining a group of foes together? Emily also has a doppelganger, which, whilst offensive by nature, can be used as a fall damage safety net when you’re dropping out of a tower. I don’t even think the designers planned for that, but the whole point of the game is to solve these tricky situations with your own intuition, and Dishonored 2 knows how to strike a line between difficulty and gratuitous reward. The story, whilst perhaps a touch less gripping than the first, works well and pulls you along the path to your throne. The characters will keep your intrigue throughout, and for a game where the narrative is perhaps not the main focus, it shines just like its new setting, the lavish jewel of the south.

The Rise of Telltale Games Zoë Godden tells the tale of the company currently dominating the adventure genre

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aming is first person storytelling at its finest. Well-rounded characters, fleshed out worlds, engaging narratives – it’s something that can only really be accomplished in multiple hours of playtime. Enter Telltale Games. Founded in 2004 by three former LucasArts employees, Telltale existed in a stale landscape of stagnant gameplay where story was secondary. Their first title, Telltale Texas Hold’em, acted as a test for their in-house engine. Following this, they acted as main distributer for CSI games, their initial dabble into third party content. It’s far from the gameplay mechanics they’re renowned for today. Then along comes the Sam and Max franchise. Making three series in total, Telltale’s take on the anthropomorphic comic duo started their tradition of releasing content episodically, whilst simultaneously reinventing the point-and-click genre into adventure-based gameplay. Praised by Windows players, the company moved onto wider IPs – Tales of Monkey Island, Jurassic Park, and most notably, Back to the Future, which was a huge step for the studio critically, gaining an average Metacritic score of 73 and getting THE Christopher Lloyd to voice Doc Brown. 2010 marked the biggest year for the company yet, announcing their yearly revenue was $10 million;

90% greater than the previous year. The studio truly hit mainstream success with the release of The Walking Dead in 2012. Receiving over 80 Game of the Year awards, and selling over 28 million copies, the grim adventures of Lee and Clementine cemented Telltale’s place in the gaming spotlight. Following this triumph came The Wolf Among Us, immersing players into a neonoir crime thriller based on Vertigo’s Fables comic series. Tales from the Borderlands was another success, building upon the already intricate lore of Pandora by giving us dual protagonists and a new retail element, whilst their Game of Thrones and Minecraft adaptations were liked by fans, but had

“Tales from the Borderlands was another success, building upon the already intricate lore of Pandora” mixed reception critically. Whilst these games lack fast-paced, trigger happy mechanics (OK, bar those pesky quick-time events), they make up for in intricate storylines, gorgeous cell-shaded aesthetics, and phenomenal soundtracks. Telltale’s greatest strength is their ability to expand upon existing IPs without

Images; Telltale Games Image; Smashpedia/TF2 Wiki/Overwatch

Image; Arkane

imposing on its source material, letting fans insert themselves in the worlds they love. They’re brand new takes on your favourite licenses, with decision-making at its core – you are both the protagonist and the storyteller, your actions affecting the overall story arc (to a reasonable extent). In the most simplistic terms, they are nonplayable games. And now Telltale is tackling one of its biggest IPs yet – Marvel. Thanks leaks following the ongoing voice-actor strike, a Guardians of the Galaxy game was exposed to the point-and-click masses, listed with the fake working title ‘Blue Harvest’, an obvious nod to another space franchise. It’s unclear as of now whether the game will follow Marvel’s comics continuity or tie into the MCU, potentially releasing alongside Vol. 2 in April next year. Telltale first announced its Marvel project back in April 2015, and would act as a perfect parallel to the current brooding Batman series (as I write this, Episode 4 has just released and I CANNOT CONTAIN MY EXCITEMENT). Despite the odd technical issues and inconsistent episode releases, Telltale has evolved from a little known indie dev to one of the industry’s most prominent and beloved studios. No doubt there will be a utopian future where Telltale have monopolised every envisionable IP in existence, and I personally can’t wait to be assimilated.


The Courier

Autopsy: Sonic ‘06

Michael Hicks tries to distance himself from the gaming nightmare that is Sonic ‘06

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mong all of the games that make up Sonic’s twenty-five-year history, there is no game more infamous than Sonic the Hedgehog (the one released for the Xbox 360 in the winter of 2006. In no way to be confused with the actually good first game). Sonic 2006, as I will be calling it for the rest of this retrospective, is a game I have borderline traumatic memories of. I remember a twelve-year-old me bugging his mum for that Xbox for Christmas just so he could play the new Sonic game he desperately wanted. I still remember that E3 trailer. The lush green forest vistas littered with crumbling ruins, the burning skyscrapers of a post-apocalyptic city, tornadoes of fire ripping it to shreds. And, in HD, it all looked so beautiful. And the speed. It was safe to say that I had my socks thoroughly knocked off. After updating the 360 and downloading what was probably a massive patch for the game (concepts completely alien to me at the time), twelve-yearold me was met with, without a doubt, the worst game he has ever played. The disappointment was crushing. But enough with what I thought the game was going to be, and instead let’s talk more about what it was. What it was, was a completely broken, blatantly unfinished game rushed out to meet a Christmas deadline. Sonic 2006 is as stable as wet Weetabix. I’d challenge anyone to play the game for more than ten minutes without something breaking. Sonic can walk up sheer cliff faces, and back up around loopde-loops. Sonic can fall through the world. Sonic can go to space by spin kicking in place on top of a box. This is not even close to the tip of the iceberg. The camera jerks around endlessly, like

an ever-moving shark scared of drowning. Trying to control Sonic is like controlling a sixteenth

“Trying to control Sonic is like controlling a sixteenth century Spanish galleon, with a broken rudder, while drunk at the wheel”

Image; SEGA

century Spanish galleon, with a broken rudder, while drunk at the wheel. The framerate drops whenever anything taxing happens - like breaking a box, killing an enemy or moving at all. And the “mach-speed” sections I can’t even write words about without getting excessively angry. Sonic 2006 tried to have a plot. But the plot is the work of a madman; a madman trapped in a padded room with nothing but the crib notes of a rejected Final Fantasy game. The story follows three characters, Sonic, his lord edginess Shadow and blatant Trunks clone Silver (a new psychokinetic hedgehog, because why not). Sonic travels to the city of Soleanna to rescue Princess Elise from the clutches of nemesis Dr. Eggman (this time looking creepily realistic). Shadow accidentally unleashes a mysterious evil being called Mephiles and spends his campaign trying to fix his fuck up and driving things for some reason. Silver comes from a future where the world was destroyed by bland Lavoswannabe Iblis, and must travel back in time to kill Sonic, the “Iblis Trigger”, in an attempt to undo the badness. Shit happens (and by shit I mean crap boss fights and dialogue that would make the worst of Tumblr roleplays cringe) and evil must be stopped by gathering the chaos emeralds and Elise kisses Sonic and oh god. Despite all of this, I somehow don’t entirely hate Sonic 2006. It’s unbelievably shit, but I’ve come to realise that it’s earnest in its shittiness. I’ve finished the game twice and had something near resembling fun at times, times usually being when Shadow clips his hovercraft through the world and aimlessly floats through the endless void. Silver screams “it’s no use!” while throwing Sonic

All Aboard the Hype Train Georgina Howlett discusses all things hype, but is this gaming trend now overhyped?

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gaming.29

Monday 28 November 2016

ype in the gaming industry is not a new occurrence, and nor is it surprising given the incredible fan bases which many games, consoles and developers have. It has almost become part of the package of any video game announcement, and as such there are divisive opinions on whether it has a good or bad impact on the marketing and reception of games. Increasingly, it is thought that hype is having a negative effect on the industry. In the past few years alone, new and popular games have been given unrealistic and even impossible expectations to meet as a result of over-hyping, with Hello Games’ No Man’s Sky being perhaps the most recent and famous victim of this (but then again it was dishonestly promoted and most of the promised features weren’t included upon release, so perhaps it wasn’t the hype that was the issue). Similarly, developers and publishers seem to be feeling pressured by the hype for their games, releasing them early in order to meet demand but failing to complete and refine them. As such, some games are released half-finished, broken in mechanics or

with features missing (again, No Man’s Sky with its game-breaking bugs and glitches, and absence of multiplayer, interstellar war, endless planets… I could continue but I won’t), which in the end only elicits more negative responses from fans and increases criticism for excitement around gaming at all. Pokémon GO as a mobile game is equally victim and perpetrator of this; once released, it became apparent that the servers couldn’t handle the sheer number of players, the tracking feature didn’t function, and bugs were littered everywhere that caused Pokémon to disappear or the player to run across the map with no prompting whatsoever. Finally, at its core, long hype cycles in particular are being pinpointed as to blame for the negative reception of many games; prospective players, given years to mull over a game and predict what it will and won’t be, create unreasonable expectations that inevitably aren’t met. It is a vicious cycle that excitement for often great games results in said game not being seen as as great as it realistically is, as people expect too much and then receive too little.

Of course, though, hype for games isn’t entirely negative. It is, undeniably, good for the industry in the sense that it makes money. Hyped-up games are more frequently pre-ordered, special editions are more common, and on release day thousands flock to stores and online retailers to purchase the game. A lot of money is pumped through the system, eventually resulting in even more games, and thus the cycle begins anew. Hype creates good publicity that attracts a lot more people to games that are perhaps lesser-known, or not made by big companies. More and more indie developers of late have been able to enter the mainstream industry, with Toby Fox’s Undertale being an excellent example of a small-scale game that hit it big, and therefore it stands that the industry is more inclusive now of both established and new developers than it has ever been before. Most significantly, though, a lack of hype for games can (unfortunately) mean that great titles are overlooked and do not sell well. Often it is preconceptions and expectations which create demand, and so if a game is insufficiently hyped, it can also cause them to

Images; Wikimedia, Flickr

thecourieronline.co.uk @Courier_Gaming

Club trope-icana: Silent Protagonists Gerry Hart breaks the silence protagonists that refuse to speak their minds

S

ilent protagonists are more than anything else an invention of necessity. Early games didn’t have the technical capabilities for voiced dialogue and rarely had the space available for much written dialogue to substitute it, and for a while this was perfectly ok as few games had particularly nuanced narratives. As time has passed and gaming storytelling has evolved many have come to view silent protagonists as antiquated and shallow in the face of their voiced counterparts. Such a view, however, doesn’t do them credit. The primary argument used against silent protagonists is that they barely qualify as characters at all. Their silence affords them no opportunity for verbal self-expression and stilts their interactions with other characters, which in turn hinders their character development. My objection here is that characters can express themselves and communicate through more than just their voice. In their video on Metroid: Other M, Extra Credits highlighted how much we can actually infer from the series’ previously silent protagonist Samus Aran, chiefly that she opted for a career in bounty hunting, a dangerous job that also entails a free spirit. Similarly in his analysis of the latest Doom’s protagonist, Jim Sterling noted that despite his silence, Doomguy was surprisingly expressive, demonstrating a violent hatred for all demonkind and a seething contempt for his manipulative allies, all through his in-game actions. This is to say nothing of the silent protagonists who can express themselves through text based dialogue such as in the Elder Scrolls games. Immersion is another contested area in this debate. Detractors of silent protagonists argue they can impede one’s immersion due to their silence in a verbal world, whilst their defenders argue that silent protagonists can provide a “tabula rasa” onto which the player can insert themselves into the game’s world, and I believe there is something of value in this. Such characters might not be particularly deep in and of themselves but they can allow players to insert their persona onto them and define them through their actions, which in games that require the player to make genuinely tough choices can make for powerful experiences. I also think its important to challenge the assumption that voiced protagonists are inherently better, an argument best demonstrated by cases where silent protagonists have been unsilenced by their developers. The most glaring example is the aforementioned Metroid: Other M which was heavily criticised for its handling of Samus Aran. Granted bad writing plays a part here but voiced characters can often provide for a much more singular experience. I found Fallout 4’s voiced protagonist for instance to be far less engaging than their silent predecessors. Try as I might, my self-made Ryan Gosling lookalike was not “my character” but rather Fallout 4’s. They had a defined voice with defined vocal inflections, reinforcing their defined life and defined goals, all of which clashed with Fallout’s traditionally freeform gameplay. None of this is to say I dislike voiced protagonists. They certainly have their place and I feel gaming would be markedly worse off without them. But for the reasons outlined I believe their silent counterparts are just as valid and important to the medium as they are. So perhaps in future we can stop worrying about how Doomguy buys his groceries when he only communicates through heavy ordnance and gurning.

Image; Valve


30.gamingfeature

Monday 28 November 2016

Gaming Editors: Jordan Oloman, Errol Kerr & Jared Moore

The Courier

Loading (99%) ...the gaming writers put forward

Vaas Montenegro

GLaDOS

Yoshi

Andrew Ryan

“Did I ever tell you the definition of insanity?” One repeated sentence in one cutscene did more for the character development of FarCry3’s Vaas Montenegro than I ever thought possible. FarCry3’s secondary villain was responsible for the death of the protagonist’s brother in the opening sequences of the game, and no punches were pulled by this guy. Hell, he tried to set you on fire, drown you with a brick tied to your feet, and generally existed to make your life hell. Vaas is also in charge of a small army of violent drugtrafficking, people-trafficking pirates to boot, and throughout the game, you really couldn’t escape his influence across the Rook Islands. What really makes Vaas such an engaging character is his unchecked capacity for violence, and throughout the course of the game, you discover that what initially seems like recklessness is thoroughly calculated. Vaas wants to provoke you throughout the game. He traps your girlfriend, Liza, in a building because he wants you to come after him. He hides in a truck because he knows you’re going to try to ambush him. “Did I ever tell you the definition of insanity?”Unfortunately for Vaas, Jason Brody is very, very, very hard to kill. Considering the lengths he goes to in trying to off you – finally shooting you point-blank in the chest (which you don’t get killed by) and then burying you under a few feet of corpses – Vaas at bare minimum is one of the most creative antagonists I’ve ever encountered. In every situation, even if you’ve planned ahead, even if you’ve been the stealthiest individual on the planet, Vaas is always about six steps ahead of you, able to predict Jason’s every move. Whilst the final fight with Vaas is a Quick-time event, it’s one of the most enjoyable sections of the game, as you enter a weird, trippy-as-hell world as you confront several visions of him and, enraged, Jason finally repeatedly stabs him in the chest. As you both fall to the floor, Vaas’ dead eyes suddenly lock with your own.“Did I ever tell you the definition of insanity?”

The digital mastermind lurking within the bowels of Aperture Science is not only one of the greatest AI characters in science fiction (which she most certainly is), but a fantastically written and well fleshed out character in her own right. Initially designed as a cyborgic amalgamation of a cutting-edge supercomputer and the disembodied consciousness of Aperture CEO Cave Johnson’s loyal assistant, Caroline, GLaDOS (Genetic Lifeform and Disc-Operating System) ran the whole subterranean research facility single-handedly. However, her inclinations wandered toward genocide, and in a decisive stroke she gassed the entire facility with a deadly neurotoxin, killing almost everyone. The few remaining scientists affixed her with a ‘morality core’, stifling her murderous intentions, but the facility remained in her control and she eventually began her incessant, amoral ‘testing’ on the stock of stasis-preserved test subjects at her disposal - the apparently contented state in which we first find her. In terms of her personality, GLaDOS is utterly fascinating. Her monotone PA system voice betrays a rich tapestry of emotions, mostly centering around her Shodan-esque contempt for organic lifeforms and her genuine amusement at tormenting them. Later in the game, GLaDOS opens up to show elements of desperation, her cold façade slipping as her scorn turns to violent hatred, and Portal 2 develops this even further. The second game sees GLaDOS turn from an antagonist, to a reluctant ally, to a genuinely sympathetic figure as the plot whirlwinds through changing circumstances and relationships. What makes GLaDOS really shine as a character though is her wit. The soul of Portal’s exquisite black comedy comes from the juxtaposition of her utterly matter-of-fact tone calmly reminding you of the significant likelihood of your death during the tests, up to and including her impassive gratitude for your cooperation in the testing programme as she slowly lowers you into a roaring furnace.

Yoshi has been my favourite video game character since I was six years old, having discovered him by playing Super Mario Advance 2. Since his very first appearance in the original Super Mario World for the SNES, he has remained one of the most recognisable characters in the Mario franchise, being a regular companion and helper to the Mario brothers and featuring in numerous spin-off series such as Mario Tennis, Mario Party, Mario Kart, and Super Smash Bros.. In describing why I love Yoshi so much, you first have to consider the various abilities he has. Not only does he have an extendable tongue which can grab distant objects and enemies in order to ingest them, he also can poop out green eggs to lob at foes and objects, hover by rapidly flapping his arms and legs around, and perform the signature ‘ground pound’ by slamming his butt on the floor or an enemy’s head. All of these make him a godsend when battling and exploring levels in the various Mario games, and in other games such as Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. he is an excellent choice due to his small size and light weight. I rose to the maximum rank on Mario Kart Wii playing him, and I’ll never forget my final ranked race where I secured a hit the person in front of me with a red shell and soared over the finish line in first place wheelieing and performing a fist-pump jump. Finally, in addition to being both a highly practical and versatile character, Yoshi’s overall design is, you have to admit, adorable. With his rounded nose, huge smile and fashionable brown boots, you can’t go wrong; plus, his species comes in so many colours that you also can’t complain if green isn’t your favourite, as there’s a Yoshi for everyone. His voice, too, is brilliant – many a time I’ve burst into laughter listening to the various noises he makes around the racing track and whilst beating up another character in Super Smash Bros. If you don’t love Yoshi, then you’re doing something wrong.

When I was asked to pick my favourite video game character, I found myself undecided on who to pick. Still, if any character has made an impression on me, it’d be BioShock’s Andrew Ryan. Andrew Ryan, a charismatic and intelligent businessman, is the primary antagonist of BioShock and the creator of Rapture, an underwater city created by Ryan to serve as a free market, Rayndian utopia where (according to Ryan) a person could reach their full potential without constraint. Indeed one of the first lines the player hears is a recording of Ryan questioning newcomers to Rapture “is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow?” and throughout the game the player can find audiologs where Ryan praises the market and rails against the “parasites” who thrive on the hard work of others. Rapture is Ryan’s pet project and it is as intrinsic to his identity as he is to its. This makes analysing BioShock’s philosophy a complex and fascinating affair, especially in the wake of the calamitous events leading up to the game itself. What makes Ryan a truly captivating character is the way he conducts himself throughout the game, the result of Armin Shimerman’s fantastic voice acting. Andrew Ryan is not one to waste his breath. Every word he utters has an intent and forethought behind it, which is usually expressed in a soft and erudite yet authoritative manner. Even as his calm veneer eventually starts to slip, he retains his eloquence amidst his desperate rantings and ravings. This makes him an incredibly powerful orator who draws you in, whether you agree or not. Despite the myriad of potential interpretations, BioShock at its core is a game about the danger of unwavering adherence to an ideology. For all his verbose intelligence, Ryan is a man unable to acknowledge his flaws or question his beliefs, thus he persists despite the damage his dream has wrought. Andrew Ryan is as complex and thought provoking as BioShock itself and is easily one of the best characters the medium created.

Errol Kerr

Jared Liam Moore

Georgina Howlett

Gerry Hart


The Courier

featuregaming .31

Monday 28 November 2016

thecourieronline.co.uk/gaming

their all time favourite character selections:

Samus Aran

Solaire of Astora

Linebeck

Fassad

Whether it’s for all the right reasons or all the wrong ones (looking at you DeviantArt), Samus Aran is a classic favourite, and her presence on this list shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. A no-nonsense professional with a heart of gold and legendary combat prowess to boot, the beloved bounty hunter behind the visor doesn’t even have to utter a word to earn her place in her hearts. No, Other M doesn’t count, as if I have to clarify. Both inside and out of the iconic Varia Suit, Samus sports an astonishing array of abilities, from her daring feats of acrobatics to her hard-hitting fighting style, up close or at range. She can take out swarms of hostile, unfamiliar aliens, reading their weaknesses in seconds; she can singlehandedly destroy whole pirate stations with nothing more than her Arm Cannon and a fierce vendetta; the most hulking and powerful creatures a deadly uninhabited world has to offer are mere obstacles in her unstoppable path. But beneath all of this, Samus Aran remains deeply compassionate, not hesitating to put her own life in danger for the sake of the innocent, such as the Luminoth, a race of creatures to whom she owes nothing, but for whom she goes above and beyond all standard Galactic Federation protocol to help. Her traumas – the raid of her colony at a young age, which left her an orphan in the care of aliens – become her motivation, such that she fights so that no child will ever be left lost and alone again. In her three decade run of legendary games, no mention is ever made of payment, nor does Samus seem to act out of a desire for fame and glory. She expects no statues in her honour, trophies in her home or rewards in her pocket. The satisfaction of an evil vanquished and a job well done is all she needs. Samus is, simply put, an incorruptible force for good, and an unstoppable one at that. Other marines, mercenaries and mavericks, take note; Samus Aran is the benchmark against which all heroes are measured.

Some of us know what we long for on this road we call life, others hope to find something which gives them purpose during the journey. Solaire of Astora is the latter. Lordran, the world of Dark Souls, is an infamously melancholy place. Lordran will do everything it can to grind you down. There are savage monsters, looking to brutally kill you in the most horrible ways imaginable around every corner, and around every other one is an insane chancer looking for his next poor soul to rob and kill. Lordran is decaying, its golden age long since passed living memory for most. Everyone still sane in Lordran is a broken shell, resigned to their bleak fate, and longing for their chance at the next life. All of them except for Solaire. The player meets Solaire early on in the game, located on the bridge just after the first major boss of the game. A tall, proud man. Armoured in chainmail, adorned with a green and white tunic baring an insignia of a smiling sun, staring gallantly at the sunset. Where as everyone else has either tried to kill or backstab you, Solaire offers a much-needed helping hand to the player in the name of “jolly co-operation”. He is a man on a quest. The same quest we are actually; to enact the prophecy of the chosen undead, slay the beasts that plague the once fair land and link the First Flame, prolonging the golden age of Lordran. And, along the way, he hopes to find the meaning in his life; his own personal ‘sun’. Solaire isn’t just talk either. He is the leader of the Warriors of Sunlight; a covenant consisting of selfless players willing to help their fellow undead out during difficult boss fights. Solaire himself can be summoned for some of the more difficult fights, armed with the powerful Lightning Spear miracle. He can throw lightning bolts, and he is willing to pass this sacred (and badass) art to you. Whenever Dark Souls is at its darkest, Solaire and his band of merry men will be there to make sure that the bad times aren’t as bad as they need be.

The Zelda series has a long history of providing companions for your adventures in Hyrule, from the decent (Tatl) to the slightly odd (the talking boat in Wind Waker) to the downright infuriating (Navi HEY LISTEN HEY HEY), but among all the magic fairies, sword spirits and ghost princesses, one companion stands head and shoulders above the rest. I am of course talking about Linebeck; loveable coward, bullshitter extraordinaire and all-round best bro. The first time you hear of Linebeck in Phantom Hourglass, he’s made out to be a real man’s man, a fearless, swashbuckling explorer. When you actually meet him in the Temple of the Ocean King it’s clear that’s not the case – he’s sat trapped and terrified in the middle of a spike trap which he makes you free him from, then he insists he’s sprained his ankle and makes you retrieve the treasure he’d gone into the temple for in the first place. He doesn’t make a great first impression, but he makes up for it as the game goes on. Despite all his bluster and ineptitude, it’s hard not to love Linebeck. By far his best moment is knocking over Link’s statue-ified friend Tetra in the background of what is otherwise one of the most serious scenes in the game. His backstory is also brilliant: he once accidentally rescued the pirate Jolene from a monster, somehow made her fall in love with him, then stole her treasure and ended up pursued by her relentlessly (naturally whenever she turns up it’s your job to fend her off while Linebeck hides in a barrel). But even though he’s a coward, Linebeck manages to prove himself as the best of Link’s many companions during the final boss battle with Bellum, taking up the Phantom Sword to defend Link from certain death even though he’s quite literally quaking in his boots. Linebeck’s progression from insufferable coward to indispensable ally in my opinion makes him not just the best Legend of Zelda character, but one of the best characters in any game ever.

You first meet Mother 3’s Fassad in the game’s third chapter, where the player is inexplicably given control over a pathetically weak monkey fitted with an electrical collar. A man with a prominent moustache, an annoying laugh and clothes out of Lawrence of Arabia, Fassad is assigned as your handler, chivvying you across the desert with searing electrical torture and verbal abuse. Though soon you’ll be itching for a shot at him, his meaty bumrushes and military-grade weaponry are your best defence against the local wildlife. But when you arrive at the town of Tazmily, this smug army officer suddenly becomes a salesman: forcing you to dance to advertise his Happy Boxes, weird TV-like devices that somehow make you happy by making coloured light and sound. Slowly, the town, which thus far didn’t even understand electricity or money, warms to him, and soon he’s turned the Nowhere Islands into an industrialised nightmare. He can be found in later chapters proselytizing in the centre of town, surrounded by fawning ladies and adoring fans. The genius of Fassad is the way he combines entertaining moustache-twirling villainy with insidious, worrying rhetoric that destroys what the player is fighting for. By the time you’ve destroyed many of the Pigmask Army’s forces and facilities, his preaching has left Tazmily a dead village. Its inhabitants have become so addicted to the consumerist lifestyle they’ve abandoned it for the mysterious New Pork City, whose bright lights and expensive burger joints obscure sad, stinking tenements and creeping despair. And though you do get to fight Fassad, retrofitted into a cyborg who can only speak through French horns grafted to his face, your victory really means nothing when the way of life you grew up with has long since been dead. Not many villains manage to be both hilarious and soul-crushing in such a relatable way.

James McCoull

Micheal Hicks

Richard Liddle

Alex Ridley


32. science&technology

Monday 28 November 2016

The Courier

Science Editors: Matthew Byrne, Natalie Farmer

On this day

1st December 1981

I

Sakura Brandi developes our understanding of HIV

t’s June 1981. The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report the first few cases of patients suffering from a rare type of pneumonia in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Out of the five gay men, all have other unusual infections and two pass away before the report is even published. In that same summer, many more cases of immune deficiency causing a wide range of infections, and even an aggressive type of cancer (Kaposi’s sarcoma), start to appear all over America. The same thing is happening in many countries across the world. During this time, the disease starts to become associated with high prevalence in gay men, with articles in the New York Times such as: “Rare Cancer Seen in 41 Homosexuals” and renaming Kaposi’s sarcoma as the “gay cancer”. This leads to “social death” for gay men with AIDS, who are denied their roles and jobs in their communities based on stigma and a lack of understanding of the disease. On 1 December 1981, AIDS was officially recognised as a disease, but it was only in September of the following year that the term Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) was used by the CDC. By the end of 1981, there were 270 reported cases in the US alone, and 121 of those gay men died due to a condition some researchers named GRID (Gay-Related Immune Deficiency). This obviously led to severe stigma which slowed progress in understanding the disease and creating preventative measures for the hundreds of patients who did not fit that demographic; such as women, heterosexual men and people using contaminated needles (both in medical and substance abuse scenarios).

“By the end of 1981, there were 270 reported cases in the US”

At the start of 1982, it was estimated that tens of thousands of gay men may have been affected by the disease in the US. It took even longer for related cases of immune deficiency (such as in infants) to be recognised as AIDS. Blood banks only started getting screened for HIV in 1985 thanks to a new diagnostic blood test called ELISA (Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay).

“Blood banks only started getting screened for HIV in 1985 thanks to a new diagnostic blood test called ELISA” Over the 35 years that AIDS has been officially recognised, there have been massive improvements in understanding, preventing and treating HIV and AIDS. It is estimated that since the start of the epidemic, 70 million people have been infected by HIV, and 35 million have died from AIDS. Although the burden of the disease depends on the country and socio-economic status of the people affected, the number of those managing to live with H I V keeps on rising due to regular testing of at risk groups and better treatment.

Tree-top tree-NOC

Christopher Little uproots all new research about how banter’s better in the woodlands

T

hey are forever rooted to the same place, have no eyes, ears or mouths, yet trees may still have better social lives than we do. It may sound bizarre, and even a little depressing, but research suggests that it could well be true.

“They actively converse, nurture their young, and make sacrifices to help fellow strugglers” Many poets have written of the tranquility that can be found in a forest. Birds and insects may punctuate the serenity from time to time, but there is a peaceful silence to be found in the company of trees. Little do people know, there is a right old chinwag going on beneath the soil. Trees are anything but the lonesome giants we perceive them as. They actively converse, nurture their young, and make sacrifices to help fellow strugglers. Connected via an underground network, they are constantly communicating and cooperating with one another. Professor Suzanne Simard has a long held fascination with this phenomenon, but found it difficult to gain research funding 25 years ago. Many were sceptical of the idea, whilst some just thought she was plain crazy. Using limited resources, Simard ventured deep into the Canadian forests to conduct experiments in the wild. She grew 80 replicates of three species: paper birch, Douglas fir, and western red cedar. Her theory was that the birch and fir would be connected via this underground network, but not the cedar. Simard had to contend with grizzly bears chasing her away, and apparatus that ranged from duct tape to syringes full of radioactive gas, but she proved her theories were correct. By placing plastic bags over the young trees and injecting isotopic tracers, she was able to use a Geiger counter to follow the carbon moving between her specimens. Simard found that the paper birch and Douglas fir were in a “lively two way conversation”. One would send more carbon to the other when they were in

need, such as when one was leafless or in shade. “I knew that I had found something big,” says Simard, “something that would change the way we look at how trees interact in forests, from not just competitors but to cooperators. And I had found solid evidence of this massive below ground communications network, the other world.” It was not only carbon that was being transmitted, but also nitrogen, phosphorus, water, defence signals, chemicals and hormones. What allows the plants to communicate this information is an underground mutualistic symbiosis called a mycorrhiza.

“What allows the plants to communicate this information is an underground mutualisitic symbiosis called a mycorrhiza” This symbiotic association occurs between a fungus and the roots of a plant. The mushrooms you see scattered across the forest floor are the reproductive organs of this fungus.

Heya !

But, beneath the soil, a mass of fungal threads branch off in all directions to form a mycelium. It is so dense, there could be hundreds of kilometres under a single footstep. Simard explains that, “mycelium infects and colonises the roots of all the trees and plants. And where the fungal cells interact with the root cells, there’s a trade of carbon for nutrients.” Paul Stamets, an American mycologist who studies fungi, first proposed in the early nineties “that mycelium is the Earth’s natural Internet”. Simard’s research has found that the mycorrhizal networks have nodes and links like a communication network, and she has been able to map these out using the DNA sequences of trees and fungi. Simard refers to the hub trees as ‘mother trees’, because they nurture the young growing in the understory. They can be connected to hundreds of other trees within a single forest and are the cornerstones of a healthy and vibrant network. Simard believes that if too many are removed, then the whole system could collapse.

“They can be connected to hundreds of other trees, a healthy vibrant network”

These mother trees have been found to not only recognise their own young, but to show them preferential treatment, giving them extra space by reducing root competition. Messages of wisdom will also be sent when a mother tree is injured or dying, in the form of defence signals that can increase a seedling’s resistance to future stresses. Simard now hopes that these little known revelations will help change the way we understand and manage our forests. Trees have been using their underground networks to communicate and cooperate with one another for untold years. We may marvel at our Internet, but theirs serves an egalitarian purpose. Ours on the other hand, is mainly used to watch hilarious memes.

Leaf me alone!

Twitter: demise of vine Michael Hicks heard rumours through the twitter grapevine

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ome of the biggest news in the tech industry at the moment is that Twitter has decided to pull the plug on their hugely popular video-sharing platform Vine, to the great surprise of many. For those unfamiliar with Vine, the platform allowed users to upload and share short, six-second long videos that would loop indefinitely. Vine was a massively popular network, with a reported 200 million monthly active users, and with Vine playing host to nearly 40 million videos. Vine was even where a load of famous faces (such as singer Shawn Mendes and make-up artist Jesse Smiles) got their start, and many have used Vine to carve out a good, sustainable career for themselves. So why, if all signs were looking so good, did Twitter decide to pull the plug? After all, they bought Vine for a reported $30 million back in 2012.

“Vine plays host to nearly 40 million videos” Well, Twitter hasn’t stated the exact reason that Vine will be closing its doors, just that they would not be removing the app from app stores (straight away anyway), taking down the website or any of the vines currently uploaded to their servers, just removing the functionality for new vines to be uploaded. Many assume that the closure of Vine is because Twitter is facing its own internal crisis right now. After a rumoured breakdown in the plans of a Twitter buyout by the likes of Google

or Disney, coupled with a lack of any significant growth in the price of their stock (to the point where Twitter, despite its huge popularity, isn’t actually turning a profit), 350 workers found themselves laid off. Vine’s casualty appears to be part of the process to streamline the company, stripping away some of their non-core software in order to aid their ailing finances. It also seems to be the case that Vine itself is losing steam. While I was writing this, my teenage sister asked me “why I was writing about Vine since no one cares anymore”. And that may be a key part of the puzzle. Despite Vine’s popularity, the service has failed to keep up and stay relevant in the wake of competitors Snapchat and Periscope (the latter of which is owned by Twitter themselves), and many of Vine’s biggest stars have since jumped ship to more popular websites, like Youtube, in search of greener pastures. Perhaps that was why Twitter decided to cut their losses and kill the service, rather than let it suffer a prolonged, expensive demise as its user base started to jump ship in ever-increasing numbers.

So, what does the future hold for Vine, and other videosharing platforms like it? Well, it’s safe to say that Snapchat and Periscope aren’t going to be heading the way of Vine any time soon. As for the functionality of Vine itself, I find it hard to believe that Twitter will completely drop the idea of sharing short videos. Vine was already increasing being merged with Twitter (now requiring you to sign in with a Twitter account to like and share Vines), and it wouldn’t surprise me if we saw something similar to Vine be directly implemented into Twitter itself sooner rather than later.

“It’s hard to believe Twitter will drop the idea”

Until then, I’m going to take a short, six-second trip down memory lane and watch that one with the lawnmower taking flight to cheesy 90s dance music, with a single tear in my eye.


The Courier

science&technology.33

28 November 2016

Antibiotic emergency emerges

thecourieronline.co.uk/science

Mythbusters: Do juice cleasers actually work ?

Ollie Burton infects us with the knowledge that antibiotics might be our eventual doom

O

ften when asked about the most pressing dangers to humanity, people will answer with ‘climate change’ or ‘the inevitable and total heat death of the universe’. The common factor there is that both of these things will likely take a very long time to bring about the destruction of the human species. Antibiotic resistance on the other hand is a problem that we are dealing with right now (or at least attempting to). Bacteria are really really good at evolving. Think of the best thing at evolving you can, dear reader, and they’re even better than that (except arguably viruses). Because they reproduce incredibly quickly, this allows natural selection to rapidly build populations of individuals that are very good at living where they do. For instance, let’s say you’re taking a course of antibiotics to clear an infection. Naturally, the drug will work and kill a significant portion of them in most cases without too much issue. You then feel better and decide to stop taking your tablets before finishing the course, you naive young fool. This means that any surviving bacteria, which were evidently good at resisting the effects of the antibiotic face much less competition and are free to reproduce again without competition. They will then grow to problematic numbers again, leaving you with an infection that is significantly more difficult to cure, as each one will have inherited antibiotic resistance due to the clonal reproduction of bacteria.

“You then feel better and decide to stop taking your tablets before finishing the course, you naive young fool”

So how do we overcome this terrifying threat? Well unfortunately we’re quite far along the line towards impending doom, but we can yet try. Firstly, reduce antibiotic intake in humans and animals these increase the background level of resistance for the above reason. There are some situations where they are completely useless, such as cold and flu - these are caused by viruses, and antibiotics

will do diddly squat against them. Second is a more outside-the-box answer - prevent infections in the first place. Immunisation and good hygiene are simple ways to achieve this, as if people do not encounter bacterial infections in the first place, they do not need to be treated at all. This prevents both the development and subsequent spreading of resistant bacteria.

“Well unfortunately we’re quite far along the line towards impending doom, but we can yet try”

Scarlett Carroll asks the real question: are Donald Trump and his vice-president a danger to world science and society?

I

“Both Trump and the vice-president Michael Pence show a worrying lack of concern for mankinds future” However, this tweet was posted in 2012 – so perhaps there is the possibility of hope that he may have changed his views as the signs of global warming are becoming clearer and more obvious, with 2016 being the warmest year since before the 1800s. Unfortunately instead, Trump is turning the other cheek to global warming – this February, he went as far as threatening to disband the Environmental Protection Agency. By scrapping the EPA, Donald Trump places both public health and the climate in danger. The fact that Trump has been elected is threatening to negate all of the progress that Obama’s terms implemented. He

“See you in the antibioticresistant apocalypse”

Extensive tracking measures for resistance characteristics will also become vital, as well as proper management of resistant strains that have already developed. Such strains (particularly well known examples including MRSA, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) can be easily carried in and around environments such as hospitals or public transport which can become extremely dangerous. If these strains can be isolated and properly dealt with it massively reduces risk of further harm. Different antibiotics can also be used in different hospitals and rotated to prevent establishment of multiple resistances to the entire arsenal of antibiotics. Lastly, the key factor in dealing with this phenomenon in the long run is going to be developing brand new antibiotics that will catch the bugs unawares. Unfortunately there are a few problems here. Firstly, ideally any new drug developed should not be used unless as a last resort, obvi-

Trumpocalypse

t should come as no surprise to any reader that America’s next president is going to be Donald Trump. Not only is this man an orange small-handed bigot but both he and the vice-president, Michael Pence, show a worrying lack of concern for mankind’s future. Firstly, there is the issue of global warming. We need only look at Trump’s infamous twitter to understand his view on this topic, He posted: “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make the U.S manufacturing non-competitive”

ously to minimise any development of resistance. Secondly, it is difficult to demonstrate efficacy of these drugs within trials while avoiding undesirable side effects. Finally because antibiotics need to be a cheap consumer-level purchase, profit margins for pharmaceutical companies are low and are therefore not a good investment from an economic standpoint. Ultimately, very little is going to change without a concerted effort at the manufacturer level, but I freely admit I have no idea as to how it should be brought about. See you in the antibiotic-resistant apocalypse.

threatens America’s opportunity to develop plans for reliable energy, reduce carbon pollution and energy efficiency targets. It is not only Trump who has scarily controversial views, however; his vice-president, Michael Pence harbours homophobic beliefs about the efficacy of conversion therapy. When money could be spent upon improving the country, Pence believes that taxpayers’ dollars should be diverted towards conversion therapy. This therapy includes electroshock therapy and talk therapy, treating homophobia as if it were a mental illness. In his own words Pence stated, ‘Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.’. This archaic belief directly opposes the scientific understanding that there is no correlation between this therapy and being able to “cure” homosexuality. Both the next president and the vice-president hold views that pose a danger to the future freedom of scientific research, as Trump desires to reduce the funding to environmental issues, and Pence wishes to redirect the funding from medical research to homophobic quackery. As said by Noam Chomsky, Trump and his administration will be ‘a death knell for the human species’, come January an inevitable stress on science and

Jared Moore squeezes the truth out of juice cleanses

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t’s been said (and disproven, in a previous issue of the Courier) that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. But, is the same true if you take an abundance of apples, juice them all up and then attempt to solely survive on their liquid for weeks at a time? Dating back to around 150 BC, the process of juicing fruits has been around for quite some time. In its earliest form, people would crush-up the insides of pomegranates in order to provide them with a little extra strength. In contemporary society, however, juice cleanses are mainly used as an alternative to hard exercise and eating your veggies. Most juice cleanses on the market claim that they do wonders for your health, weight and sometimes even mental state, but is it actually true?

“Most juice cleanses claim they can do wonders”

Word of the Week:

Gondwanaland

Toby Bryant explores the wonders of this weeks word

M

any are familiar with the supercontinent of “Pangaea”, a land mass made up of the modern day Americas, Eurasia, Africa, India, Antarctica and Australia. Between 570 and 510 million years ago this land mass divided and part of it that broke off became known as “Gondwanaland”. This new continent was, fundamentally, what was to become the Southern Hemisphere as it inacluded Antarctica, South America, Africa and Australia. However, land that now makes up India and the Arabian Peninsular were also part of Gondwanaland. The name, often referred to as “Gondwana”, was coined by the geologist Eduard Suess and comes from the Gondwana region of northern India which translates from the sacred Hindu language, Sanskrit, as “forest of the Gonds” (Gonds are the second largest tribe in Central India). The use of the word has also evolved into an adjective, “Gondwanan”. This is typically used by biologists when referring to organisms that are restricted to regions of Gondwanaland.

A typical cleanse normally consists of drinking an array of different juices over the course of three to ten days. In that time, you eat no solid food. That means no burgers, no crisps - no nothing. If that doesn’t sound awful enough, companies can charge up to £60 for a three day cleanse... That’s £20 a day to ingest nothing but juice! Commercially, one of the main selling points to juice cleanses is that they rid your body of toxins, resetting your digestive system. Except there isn’t a great deal of scientific evidence that supports this claim. It is true that your body creates harmful byproducts (or toxins) on a daily basis. Ammonia, for example, is created when bacteria in the intestines break down proteins. But the body has its own neat filtration system that deals with toxins such as ammonia regardless of the quantity of bitter tasting juice you stick in your body. As ammonia is created, your liver and kidneys get to work, converting the toxins into urea which you then empty into the toilet. Drinking juice for a few days isn’t going to make your kidney or liver clear out anything extra in your body that it isn’t already doing on its own. Another misconception about the human body often depicted in juice cleanses is that your digestive system is in dire need of a good cleaning out. They make your intestine sound like a blocked hoover pipe that can only be returned to its natural state through an intense week of diarrhoea washed down with a few glasses of water. But the human plumbing system doesn’t quite work like that. Waste constantly moves through a healthy digestive system in a process that can take between 24 and 72 hours. After your body is done absorbing what it can along the way, the rest ends up as poo. When you juice, the lack of fibre in your diet can leave your bowel movements… a little runny (pardon the image). But, that doesn’t mean it’s cleaning out a layer of gunk stuck to the inside of your body; it just means your body can’t take in any more of the nutrients you’ve given it and has to get rid.

“A typical cleanse normally consists of drinking an array of different juices”

Juicing can also lead to physical problems in day to day life. If you’re lucky on a juice cleanse, you’ll perhaps take in around 1000 calories a day. Often, however, you’re limited to far less than that amount. When juicing, the process of creating the juice removes fibre from the food that you’re about to put in your body. Fibre naturally slows the body’s uptake of sugar, meaning that your blood sugar level stays at a much more consistent level. The removal of fibre from your diet, paired with the low calorie intake that juicing encourages, can lead to dizzying blood sugar spikes followed by huge crashes that leave the body feeling exhausted. Whilst the claim that this low calorie diet can lead to increased weight loss can be true, you’re more than likely to pile back on the pounds when the juicing stops. So please, take a minute to look at the science behind juicing before diving head first into a week of carrot juice induced cleansing. That way, you might not end up literally flushing a shit ton of money down the toilet for nothing.


The Courier

puzzles.35

Monday 28 October 2016

Puzzles Across

Down

1 Location in Beijing, as well as the unsuccessfully covered-up incident that occurred there (9) 6 A stack of hay, often seen dotting fields throughout England (4) 7 ___ Hemingway, alcoholic Modernist writer (6) 9 Surname of a famous (or infamous) emperor, with his very own complex (9) 11 Abbreviated name for the German air raids on London during World War 2 (5) 12 Yorkshire slang meaning angry or irritable (5) 14 Diminutive amphibian often associated with witchcraft (4) 15 Tavern or public house, where you can generally rent a room (3) 18 Russia’s greatest love machine. It was a shame how he carried on (8) 19 Greek deity of love; Roman counterpart is known as ‘Cupid’ (4)

1 A pharaoh of ancient Egypt, whose tomb was famously cursed (11) 2 King of Macedonia, famed for his enormous empire and probable bisexuality (9) 3 One of Henry VIII’s executed wives (4, 6) 4 Surplus; in addition to (5) 5 A kind of beer very popular in Mediaeval times, still widely enjoyed today (3) 6 Long-lived empire centered around what is now known as Istanbul (9) 8 Hobbes’ colossal 17th century political thesis (10) 10 An individual in aristocratic society with status and, generally, wealth (5) 13 Abbreviation (usually used by children) for the creatures that dominated the Earth before humankind’s existence (5) 16 A flat-topped rock formation (4) 17 An area for the keeping and rearing of pigs (4)

1

Puzzles Editors: James McCoull & Mark Sleightholm 4 3 5

2

6 7 8 9

10

11

12

14

13 16

15

17 18 19

Completing this crossword will cement your status as a history buff, unless you actually study history, in which case it’ll probably seem a bit basic. Bring proof of your achievement to the Courier office, where your name shall be forevermore recorded in the annals of history (a whiteboard on the wall).


36. sport

Monday 28 November 2016

The Courier

Sports Editors: Lucy Brogden, Tom Shrimplin & James Sproston

Better late than never

With Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton battling it out for the F1 championship in the final race, we take a look at a handful of other instances when the title has been decided at the final hurdle.

ITU Triathlon, 2016

Jonny Brownlee, the British duathlete and triathlete, was described by his brother to have been “as close to death as you can be in sport”, following his men’s world champion shortcoming earlier this year, in Cozumel, Mexico. The two-time Olympic medal winner looked assured to win the race and secure the men’s world champion crown. It was a necessity that close rival Mario Mola finished no higher than fourth, and that Jonny finished the race in first place. Despite Mola finishing the race in fifth place, Jonny paced the last 700m poorly and began to suffer from severe heat stroke. Barely able to stand and criss-crossing the track in a languid manner, Jonny’s opportunity of becoming the world number one was over. This shocking twist led to the viral spectacle of Jonny being propped up over the line by his brother, Alistair. Due to Jonny’s exceptional performance in the 1.5km swim and the 40km cycle, he was still able to finish in an ad-

mirable second place, followed by his brother in third. South African Henri Schoeman was able to capitalise on the circumstances, and thus finished in first place. As a result, Mario Mola became number one in the ITU World Triathlon Series standings, surpassing Jonny by a small margin of four points. Mola, although the new champion, expressed his disappointment, stating that this was not how he wanted to win. Despite the upset, the dramatic scenes were largely celebrated as embodying what sport is really all about. In the sporting community, fellow Olympian Jess Ennis announced her respect for the brothers on Twitter. Jonny appeared still in high spirits after the riveting finale, jokingly tweeting “normally when you have had too much to drink, this time it was the opposite”, with the accompanying video. Winning mentality: 2016 was Marc Márquez’s third title in four years Image: Wikimedia Commons

Harry Webb

F1, 2010 Back before the domination of Mercedes, and Red Bull before them, F1 was one of the most exciting sports on offer. 2010 saw the last real competitive season on F1 as four different drivers from across three teams battled it out for the title in the final race. Throughout the season, the momentum seemed to shift between the drivers. Though the Red Bulls seemed to be able to take more pole positions, it was Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button in the Ferrari and McLaren respectively who seemed to have the early race pace. However soon Button dropped off, with Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton becoming the most obvious challengers to Alonso. When the teams returned to Asia for the last stage of the season, Webber led from Hamilton by five points, who had a further 16-point lead over Alonso. It was at this point that the season took another sudden turn. Four races after the Italian Grand Prix, Hamilton had slipped down to fourth, but was still in with a shout come the last race,

Tour de France, 1989

along with Alonso, Webber and Vettel. Webber, who’d seen his 14-point lead slashed to an 8-point deficit, needed to better Alonso and keep Vettel and Hamilton within touching distance. But the Australian qualified in fifth, behind all three of his title rivals, meaning he had a lot of work to do in the race to win the championship. Throughout the race, Vettel looked dominant, and of his fellow title contenders, only Hamilton threatened his lead. Webber and Alonso were regularly frustrated by traffic, and were never even in touching distance at any stage. From fourth place in the championship three races prior, Vettel had taken the title in exceptional circumstances. Not many would’ve confidently picked a winner before the race, with the season having been so unpredictable up to the final race. With four in the mix in the final race, it was a fitting end to an exceptionally exciting season.

All smiles: LeMond defeated Fignon in the final stage Image: Wikimedia Commons

James Sproston

MotoGP, 2015 The 2015 Moto GP season proved to be one of the most controversial and closest yet, as the race for the title came down to the final race. The two contenders for the title were Yamaha teammates, Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, who left the two rival Honda drivers in the points. Dani Pedrosa was still recovering from surgery on his arm-pump at the start of the season, while reigning champion Marc Márquez was also unable to challenge for the title due to suffering 6 retirements. Rossi also known as ‘the Doctor’ had started a comeback after a few fallow years in search of his 10th world title, with his team-mate and rival Lorenzo looking for his fifth. The two had been close all season, with the lead switch-

ing from the Italian to the Spaniard and then back again to Rossi. However, before the final race in Valencia, Lorenzo had closed the gap back to seven points. To make matters worse, Rossi had been given a back-of-the-grid penalty after yet another collision with the Honda of Márquez in Sepang. Rossi and Márquez had been involved in a number of battles during the season, with incidents in Argentina, Assen and Misano fuelling a significant rivalry between the two drivers. In fact it grew so heated it even led Rossi to accuse Márquez of supporting his fellow Spaniard in his title challenge during the pre-event press conference in Sepang. The increasingly poisonous atmosphere led to the cancellation of the

same conference in Valenica. Thus, despite an appeal, Rossi was forced to start the race at the back of his grid, while Lorenzo qualified in pole position. ‘The Doctor’ had fought his way up to fourth but was stopped by the two Honda drivers, with Lorenzo just about holding off Márquez and Pedrosa to finish first, even despite heavy pressure on the final lap. With this, Lorenzo had won his 5th world title, by a slim margin of 5 points, while a furious Rossi blamed Márquez for losing the championship. Nevertheless, the two rivals did bury the hatchet next season, with Rossi giving the eventual 2016 winner Márquez a handshake in Catalonia. Tom Shrimplin

The modern-day Tour de France is a most gentlemanly affair. During the final stage, unofficial etiquette dictates that nobody should overtake the yellow jersey, whose pop of a champagne bottle signals the start of an early celebration and a job well-done. 1989 was different. America’s Greg LeMond and France’s Laurent Fignon had been neck-and-neck since stage five, the former sporting yellow for seven stages, Fignon for nine. The title would ultimately come down to the individual time trial at the Champs-Élysées: the first and only time it has been used as such. Given the Tour’s gruelling distance, most winners usually cross the finish line at least a few minutes ahead of the runner-up (in 1903, Maurice Garin won by almost three hours.) However, up until the final stage of 1989, LeMond and Fignon had always been within fifty-three seconds of each other. Even so, armed with both the yellow jersey and

a lead of fifty seconds, it seemed like Fignon had it in the bag. LeMond wasn’t going to give up that easily. Soaring through the final stage in under twenty-seven minutes, Fignon finished with a time almost a minute slower. It soon became clear: LeMond had won the Tour de France by eight seconds. How did he do it? Perhaps it was the controversial bike used in stage twentyone, equipped with innovative aerobars that Bicycle Magazine claim may have given him a one-minute advantage. Maybe it was Fignon’s lack of helmet, or even his saddle sores and consequent lack of sleep the night before. Speculation aside, the fact remains that the 1989 Tour de France was the closest in history. Over two thousand miles of cycling across all terrains, and victory was determined by a mere eight seconds. How’s that for carpe diem? Lily Eanshaw

Premier League, 2012 Astonishingly, Manchester City were losing to a 10-man QPR side, with five minutes until the end of the match and the Premier League season. At the Stadium of Light, United had done all they could, defeating Sunderland thanks to Rooney’s goal. As heartbroken fans started to leave the Etihad in tears, fearing their dreams of Premier League glory were in tatters, a 92nd minute equaliser scored by Edin Dzeko got them roaring. However, a draw wasn’t enough to take the trophy they’d been waiting 44 years for. Only one man could finish the job, Sergio “Kun” Agüero. “Manchester City are still alive here… Balotelli… Agüero!!!”

Fifty thousand supporters went wild in the stands, and Roberto Mancini sprinted back to his bench in complete jubilation. “I swear you’ll never see anything like this ever again” Agüero was City’s hero. The Citizens climbed to the top of the table with 89 points, the same as their cross-town rivals United, but goal difference was crucial. Scoring 21 goals overall in the 2011/2012 PL season, Sergio Agüero surely was decisive throughout. Nevertheless, that last pulsating strike was the one that has become immortalised in footballing history. Oliver Ross Assogna


The Courier

sport .37

Monday 28 November 2016

thecourieronline.co.uk/sport Instagram thecouriersport | Twitter @Courier_Sport

Clay shooters gunning for victory

Sports Editor, Lucy Brogden, spoke to the President of the Clay Pigeon Shooting Club, Elena Floto, to find out more Newcastle University’s clay pigeon shooting club welcomes students of all backgrounds and abilities to their ranks. Members, ranging from beginners to experienced shooters, come together to train at Steve Smiths Shooting Ground in Dinnington, Northumberland every Wednesday. The twenty-minute drive from Newcastle to the range gives students the opportunity to explore more of Newcastle, and step out into the country. With the club attracting over 50 members, it seems that plenty of students are eager to get involved. The shooting club allows students to join throughout the year, and provides all necessary equipment to members, including shotguns and ammunition, which are all kept in the club’s off-campus safe. Members are also able to shoot using their own guns if they prefer.

“Members, ranging from beginners to experienced shooter, come together to train”

The club never shoot live game, and use clays instead. These targets look like small frisbees, and are designed to be durable enough to survive being thrown into the air, but fragile enough to shatter when they are struck. When hit, the clays disintegrate, and the immediate residual powder, gives the

shooter confirmation that they have successfully struck the clay. Clays come in a variety of different colours, as this enables shooters to clearly see their result against the backdrop.

“Other events to look forward to include the annual BUCS clay pigeon shooting competition” In shooting, there are both individual and single sex team events. Teams are made up of four members, and shoot what is known as a ‘flush’. Teams are positioned in a stand (effectively, a wooden cage), with only one open side, and they shoot at a total of 100 clays. Four clays are released at a time, from a trap- a springloaded device capable of catapulting the clays up to 100 metres into the air. Each member will shoot at their clay, and there is no break between each set of clays being released. Behind the stand, an official will count how many clays their shooter hits, and the four individual scores are added together to produce a team score, which is marked out of 100. In individual events, the shooter will call ‘pull’ when they wish for the clay to be released, and they will shoot at 100 clays. The most notable social event in the shooting calendar is the St Andrew’s Challenge and following af-

ter party: The Welly Ball (yes, this really does mean that all partygoers wear wellies with their black-tie outfits!), which was held in the opulent Kinkell Byre in St Andrews in November. Other events to look forward to include the annual BUCS clay pigeon shooting competition, which is to be held at the West Midlands Shooting ground on the first weekend in December. Teams from across the country gather to collect BUCS points and the titles on offer for both teams and individual shooters. Newcastle are sending twenty club members down to compete in the event: two male and two female individual shooters, three male teams, and a ladies team. The men’s first and second teams are expected to put in a strong performance against tough competition from the likes of Harper Adams University in Shropshire and the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester. In February, the club will be hosting their own competition at the prestigious Bywell shooting ground in Morpeth, Northumberland. Teams from across the U.K will come to the Toon to compete in the event, with the weekend’s festivities culminating in the ‘Guns and Horses Ball’- an after party held jointly between the shooting club and the polo club to celebrate the weekend. We look forward to hearing how the club get on over the coming year.

The competition gets underway for Newcastle’s shooting club Image: Elena Floto


38. sport

Monday 28 November 2016

The Courier

Sports Editors: Lucy Brogden, Tom Shrimplin & James Sproston

Sprosdog’s Sport Section By James Sproston Sports Editor Yeah, that’s right: my sport section. Now that the reins of the Courier’s Section of the Year are in my hands there’s a lot of responsibility that’s been passed on. I, along with the Courier’s finest editors, Broggo and Shrimpers, promise to bring you the most representative and thorough sport section possible. “But we’re never in the Courier” I hear you cry from that remarkably high horse. Well then, please get in touch with us, and we’ll do everything we can to get you in the paper. Equally, if you’ve got an interest in sports writing then please contact us. We’d love to have as many writers on board as we can. “What’s the nation’s favourite sport section got planned for us?” Well, we don’t know what the Guardian sport are up to, however, we can confirm that the Courier Sport have a few nifty little features in the pipeline. This year we are hoping to send someone along to BUCS Nationals and, with your help, are aiming to get every sport who are attending in a feature the following week. We’re hearing the date this year is the 17-19 of February, so if you’re thinking of heading down, then please give us a heads-up. Similarly, we’re looking forward to Stan Calvert this year. Though no date has yet been set, we’re hoping to have extensive coverage of the final weekend. We’ll have a large selection of previews that you can read the week before, and the issue after will hopefully be jampacked with reports, reaction and reviews from the most exciting weekend in Newcastle’s sporting calendar. In the more immediate future, we are again running our very own Sports Personality of the Year award. We’d love to continue the fantastic legacy laid down last year, and have a large pool of nominees to choose our winner from. Anyone can submit someone they feel is worthy for the title, all we’re asking is for you to send your nominee’s name, team and photo to our email address, courier.sport@ncl.ac.uk, along with a short bio giving us some background and an explanation as to why they’ve been nominated. As the term comes to a close, we’ve got our eye on a few fixtures. Our men’s basketball 1sts are pitted up against Leeds Beckett as they aim to avoid relegation and, similarly, the women’s water polo 1sts will look to climb the table as they play St Andrews and Sheffield Hallam in their next two games. We’re up against local rivals, Northumbria in a handful of upcoming fixtures too. In the Northern B, our women’s hockey 1sts host the old enemy on the 30th, looking to catch table-toppers Birmingham. Likewise, women’s football 1sts will look to hold onto their position at the top of the table in the Northern 2B as they take on Northumbria on the 7th of December. After the winter break, there are three big matches against Northumbria: American football will look to continue their winning streak as the two sides clash at Gateshead Stadium, whilst our women’s volleyball side are hoping to reel in their cross-town rivals when they face off in February. Finally, our women’s badminton 1sts aim to repeat theirearly-season victory as they’re out to get an edge over title-rivals Durham. We hope you’re all as excited as we are, and if you know of any upcoming events, let us know and we will do our very best to be there.

Coast to Coast’s cycling charity challenge

Sports Editor Tom Shrimplin discusses Coast to Coast’s fundraising efforts this academic year on our campus Last week, the Coast to Coast society together with members from the Newcastle Cycling Club and Newcastle Triathlon teams all participated in a 48hour Spin-a-thon to help raise money for charity. After running the event for 24 hours last year they decided to push themselves even further by doubling the length of the event, in which at least one person had to constantly cycling in the duration of this challenge. Around 30 people from this trio of clubs taking part in the event. The Spin-a-thon lasted from from 9 o’clock in the morning on the Tuesday to 9 am on the Thursday. Participants took either one or two slots of two hours each. Typically 2 people were spinning on the bikes throughout the event, other than during the late night and early morning where brave individuals alone cycled in temperatures just below freezing.

Nevertheless even in such adverse conditions, the participants did not fail and kept going in order to raise money for the Coast to Coast society’s two selected charities; the Great North Air Ambulance and Doctors without Borders. In the end they raised which is a fantastic effort from all those involved!

NEU Archery League

Byers and Henderson performed well and Fletcher achieved a personal best of 188. The afternoon was a different story with several members of the team struggling to get close to their best scores, despite having home advantage. All the while Durham’s novices shocked everyone by outperforming many of the experienced archers. After the final arrows were released the scores were carefully checked. Teams can enter as many competi-

“Participants took either one or two slots of two hours each.”

The Coast to Coast society are also preparing for their main event that will be taking place in March. It involves them riding all the way from Whitehaven and Tynemouth, to raise even more money for their two chosen charities. The society cycle the event in two days over a weekend, staying in a hostel halfway in Alston in the Lake District. Last year all 70 members made it to the end of this challenging 140 mile route.

The Spin-a-thon participants on their final push Image: Thomas Shrimplin

Home success for archers By Miriam Atkinson at Longbenton On the 5th of November, Newcastle University’s Archery Club narrowly came second to Teesside, by only 41 points, in the first NEUAL round. Newcastle had been training ever since and last Saturday the team felt confident going into round three against Sunderland and Durham. Newcastle’s team consisted of Novice Barebow Elliott Fletcher; Experienced Barebows Miriam Atkinson and Kate Stanton; and Experienced Recurves Jowan Barnes, Sarah Byers, Heather Flint, Emily Henderson, and Riki Kusuyama.

tors as they wish but only the top four scores per team are counted as part of the overall total. Here experience, bow type and gender do not matter – only the best scores. Sunderland came third with 1658 points. Newcastle waited glumly, surely about to come second once again. The final scores: Durham 1872 and Newcastle 1875. The combined points of Barnes, Byers, Flint and Kusuyama had earned Newcastle a three point victory over Durham.

Special mention must go to Flint who won the women’s experienced recurve category with 549 points out of a possible 600. Teammates Atkinson and Stanton battled to win the women’s experienced barebow category; with Atkinson just managing to take first place. There were certainly mixed feelings for Newcastle in round three with highs and lows. The team now has to wait until February to face Teesside and Durham again – plenty of time to train and improve.

“Special mention must go to Flint, who won the women’s experienced recurve category ” Due to the lack of space at our range Sunderland competed in the morning with Byers, Fletcher and Henderson while Durham competed in the afternoon with Atkinson, Barnes, Flint, Kusuyama and Stanton. All the scores were then combined at the end. When Sunderland eventually found their way to the range, the match began.

Newcastle take a three point victory over Durham Image: Sarah Byers

Football M1 v Strathclyde 1sts M2 v Northumbria 2nds W1 v York St John 1sts Badminton M1 v UCLAN 1sts W1 v Strathclyde 1sts W2 v Durham 3rds Basketball M1 v Northumbria 1sts W1 v Northumbria 1sts W2 v Lancaster 1sts Fencing M1 v Durham 1sts M2 v Bradford 2nds M3 v Lancaster 2nds W2 v Strathclyde 1sts W3 v St. Andrews 2nds

6-2 8-0 8-0

Golf 2 v Manchester Met 2nds

2-3 0-2 4-1 2.5-3.5

79-59 41-76 57-41

Hockey M1 v Nottingham 2nds M2 v Hull 1sts M3 v Lancaster 1sts W1 v Manchester 1sts W2 v W3 W4 v Sheffield 4ths

73-135 135-73 67-135 80-135 62-135

Lacrosse M1 v Nottingham Trent 2nds M2 v Keele 1sts 20-5 W1 v Birmingham 1sts 1-3 W2 v Sheffield Hallam 1sts 8-17 7-10

1-1* 3-0 1-6 3-1 2-1 2-2*

Netball 1 v Edinburgh 1sts 2 v Leeds 3rds 3 v Sunderland 1sts

31-56 48-47 62-28

Rugby M2 v Glasgow 1sts W1 v Northumbeia 1sts W2 v York 1sts

29-49 0-62 0-84

Rugby League 1 v Manchester MMU 1sts

29-49

Squash M1 v Birmingham 1sts M2 v Durham 1sts W1 v Leeds Beckett 1sts W2 v Manchester 1sts

0-5 3-2 3-1 2-2*

Table Tennis M1 v Warwick 1sts W1 v Manchester Met 1sts W2 v Sheffield 2nds

4-13 W*-W W*-W

Tennis M1 v Keele 1sts W1 v Glasgow 1sts W2 v Keele 1sts

4-8 8-4 10-2

Volleyball M v Hull 1sts W v Nottingham 1sts

3-0 3-2

Waterpolo M2 v York 1sts W1 v Edinburgh 1sts

3-11 8-12

Wednesday 23rd November Results


The Courier

sport .39

Monday 28 November 2016

thecourieronline.co.uk/sport Instagram thecouriersport | Twitter @Courier_Sport

TNT prove to be dynamite in Duathlon BUCS Duathlon

By Jordan Scudder at Castle Combe Motor Racing Circuit On Sunday the 20th November, Team Newcastle Triathlon (TNT) took part in their first BUCS event of the year; the BUCS Duathlon. A Duathlon is like a Triathlon but only 2/3 the fun. It consists of a run, a bike, and a further run. The BUCS Duathlon was based down in Chippenham, near Bath, and brought forty University teams from all over the country. TNT sent twenty-six of their finest athletes. For some it was their first ever race, but a lot of veterans attended too.

A race this short meant that it would be over very quickly, less than 45 minutes for the top contenders. Usually Triathlons are very tactical; food and isotonic drinks have to be consumed every 20-30 minutes and you have to monitor your heart rate as well as your pace. However this race was so short that none of this was needed. From the second the trigger was pulled it was about pushing yourself to your limit. Most of our athletes were in the ‘pain cave’ for the entire race and there was much grimacing as they came past.

“We were extremely proud of Sam Steele who came 19th overall and Louise McLeman who came 43rd in the Women’s Race” Despite this, everyone had a fantastic time and felt that the long journey was well worth it for the race! Unfortunately our Bike Captain, Tom Jackson-Taylor,

was knocked off his Bike by another competitor which brought a stellar performance to an early end, but he’s determined to come back next year and smash it! Unlike a lot of BUCS sports, it is exceedingly difficult to obtain BUCS points at Triathlon events. We only have three BUCS events a year; the Duathlon in November, a Sprint Distance Triathlon in April and an Olympic Distance race in May. A lot of the contenders are semi professional, with the winner of last year’s BUCS Sprint being Gordon Benson,

who went to Rio to compete with the Brownlee Brothers a the Olympics. Hopefully, this will provide some context to our results. With over six hundred athletes in the race, we were extremely proud of Sam Steele who came 19th overall and Louise McLeman who came forty-third in the Women’s race. Overall it was another fantastic trip for TNT. Whether we’re racing in a BUCS event, training in the Yorkshire Dales or eating in between, everyone always has a great time!

“Most of our athletes were in the ‘pain cave’ for the entire race and there was much grimacing as they came past” Meeting early Saturday morning at the Students’ Union, we loaded our bikes up and a fleet of minibuses headed down the A1 to Chippenham. We woke up bright on early on Sunday to head down to the Castle Combe Race course. Usually a motor circuit, once a year this track hosts the 9Bar DBMax Chilly Duathlon & 10K. Multiple events were occuring throughout the day and made the site very hectic. Firstly there was a 10Km road race followed by a Duathlon; both open to the public. At midday the BUCS races began. The Elite Men were up first, then the Elite Women, and finally a mixed race. They were all the same distance: 2 Mile Run, 10 Mile Ride, 2 Mile Run, with a transition between each one (named T1 & T2). The run was one lap around the perimeter of the track, whilst the bike was five laps of the circuit itself.

TNT gave an explosive performance in the Duathlon at Chippenham Image: Sophie McDermott

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www.thecourieronline.co.uk Monday 28 November 2016 Issue 1341 Free

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Sports Editors: Lucy Brogden, Tom Shrimplin & James Sproston courier.sport@ncl.ac.uk Twitter: @Courier_Sport | Instagram: thecouriersport

SHOOTING, P.37

DUATHLON, P.39

Battling the elements: WWR captain Ben Smith takes on the challenging course Image: Tom Clare

Kaya-Kings tame wild water course BUCS Wild Water Racing By Emma Bancroft at Washburn River

ARCHERY, P.38

TITLE DECIDERS FEATURE, P.36

The freezing conditions of last weekend saw the dedicated members of Newcastle University Canoe Club don their wetsuits and take to the dam-fed Washburn River in Harrogate to compete in the annual two-day BUCS Wild Water Racing Championships. The conditions were far from ideal as the 29 determined competitors from the Toon arrived at the fast and narrow river in North Yorkshire. With punishing temperatures of around 3 degrees Celsius, not only did the team have to compete in the heavy rain, but they also had to negotiate heavy snow on the Saturday. Members of the public and of the other teams joined Newcastle Canoe Club’s coach Christ Barratt to cheer all the competitors on from the banks. Proceedings officially began at around 10am on Saturday and continued until around 4pm. Sunday was another long day, starting at a similar time and finishing at 2pm.

“Craig Milne commented that the team did remarkably well, and praised them for their ability to adapt to changes on the day” Around 20 boats were taken down to be used for competing, but with almost

30 competitors, it took great organisation to manage the boats and share them between the team and individual runs.

“It goes without saying that Newcastle University Canoe Club should be extremely proud of themselves”

There were several different runs to be completed by team Newcastle. These saw the competitors compete in a series of boats (K1s, C1s, C2s), individually or in teams, down a long course of roughly 10 minutes and a short course of roughly 90 seconds. Each kayaker completed between 3 and 7 runs and over 20 different boats were used. The arrival of a new boat saw the experienced paddler Nick Bennett gain an extremely impressive time in potentially the most competitive event of the day, the K1 men’s event. Team Newcastle also fought strongly in the C2 category, one of the Newcastle competitors’ strongest events. Ben Smith and Daniel Leicester held third place for much of the day in the C2 sprint category but, courtesy of rivals Durham, slid down to fourth by the end of the day. The female canoeists also put in a very solid effort and to have so many girls complete the course is quite an achievement for any club. Slalom captain of NUCC Ben Smith believes that “kayaking and canoeing is a sport that relies heavily upon confidence; if you think that you’re going to swim on the falls, you probably will.”

Ben has put a great deal of time and effort into helping build up the confidence of the team and has played a considerable role in the training of many of the competitors. He praised the team by going on to comment that “the ability to be brave enough to tackle a course is significant enough, but to also climb out of the river following a swim and get back into the boat speaks volumes about the grit and commitment of the competitors.” Fellow captain Jess Playle also played a significant role in the preparation for the BUCS event, from behind-thescenes organisation to morning training. She commented on the fantastic performance of NUCC; “everyone involved in the BUCS competition should be extremely proud of themselves,” she also noted how fantastic it was to see so many freshers and new members to the club involved in the competition this year. President of the club Craig Milne commented that the team did remarkably well, and praised them for their ability to adapt to changes on the day by remaining organised and competitive even when things got a bit hectic. “For some club members, it was their first time at this competition and they perhaps felt slightly out of their comfort zone, but it was great to see so many determined faces and positive attitudes from Team Newcastle even through the snow and freezing cold.” Craig also celebrated the extraordinary efforts of the NUCC Committee, who put hours of their own time into the intense preparation to ensure that the weekend was a success. He went on to praise all the individu-

als of the club, “Even down to every individual who competed for us, many hours were spent training hard at gym sessions, morning training, the swimming pool and also the white water course to ensure we were all as prepared as possible for the challenges we had to face.” It goes without saying that Newcastle University Canoe Club should be extremely proud of themselves, their teamwork, determination and dedication of all their members set the bar high for all the sports clubs of Newcastle University.

“Ben Smith and Daniel Leicester held third place for much of the day in the C2 sprint category ”

Summed up by captain Ben Smith, “climbing into a silly, wobbly racing boat in the snow and ice to throw yourself down a freezing white water river is difficult enough, but to do this when you’ve only paddled white water a few times, or are pushing your limits in a new discipline (such as the girls’ C1 and C2 races) is even harder. The willingness of everyone to show up, let alone compete, and with such high spirits speaks millions for the calibre of the club.” Hopefully the team members have now recovered from the weekend of strenuous paddling, warmed up and dried out their wetsuits ready to begin their preparations for their next challenge of white water slalom in February.

Courier 1341  
Courier 1341  
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