C OURIER THE
Issue 1224 Monday February 14 2011
THE INDEPENDENT VOICE OF NEWCASTLE STUDENTS
Dying for a drink: drugs expert, Professor Nutt, warns students are gambling with their lives as a result of a binge drinking culture on campus encapsualted by dangerous drinking games and sports club initiation ceremonies
Drugs expert calls for end to lethal drinking games
• Universities ‘hotbeds of drunkenness’ • Initiations ‘primative and medieval’ Professor Nutt questioned the legality of drinking games that are common place on campus. “Drinking games should be illegal in universities, because they kill people,” he said. A prominent aim of drinking games is to get participants drunk in the shortest time possible as part of a phenomenon termed ‘speed
drinking’. “Not everyone drinks for fun, a lot of people drink because it is a way of dealing with anxiety and stress, those people need different kinds of help; they need other ways of dealing with their problems,” he said. Nutt was also highly critical of sports clubs’ initiation ceremonies which are banned by the University
but remain prevalent. “Initiation ceremonies should be outlawed, it’s primitive and medieval,” he said. The professor suggested hard line measures for any perpetrators of initiation ceremonies: “I was a President at our university sports club, I didn’t condone it [initiations], and I didn’t allow it.
“You say to the presidency if it happens and we know about it then you’ll be sacked.” In light of Nutt’s comments, Athletic Union Ofﬁcer, Charley Wright, clearly afﬁrmed the Athletic Union’s zero tolerance policy towards initiations. He told The Courier: “Initiations are banned. They have been Continued on page 4
Jail break success
Cashing in on Kercher
Inaugural RAG event raises £70k for charity as one team reaches Montreal, reports Helen Lam News, page 3
With the very public trial of convicted killer Amanda Knox about to be dramatised for TV, Niall Haughey questions the ethics of a worrying trend Comment, page 11
Think you know your oysters from your avocados? Eleanor Lister picks out the most reliable aphrodisiacs Lifestyle, page 17
From the mundane to the sublime
Charlie Oven News Editor
A former Government drugs adviser has slammed the binge drinking culture at university, calling for drinking games to be banned. In an exclusive interview with The Courier, Professor David Nutt labelled universities “hotbeds of drunkenness”.
Inside today >>>
Olivia Mason reviews the BALTIC’s latest exhibition, The Sly and Unseen Day Art, page 24
Winning streak continutes with 6-0 victory over York as Royals close in on promotion Sport, page 44
Monday February 14 2011 THE COURIER
News Editors: Simon Murphy and Charlie Oven
Have you got a news story for The Courier? Email us at: email@example.com
List of A- levels considered to be ‘soft subjects’ published by Russell Group Harriet King The Russell Group, the group of 20 elite research universities, of which Newcastle is one, published a list this week of the A-level subjects that they deem to be ‘soft’ subjects. In addition there was a contrasting group of ‘hard’ subjects that all students should take into account when making their sixth form choices. The group has called its guide ‘Informed Choices’ and hopes to help students chose subjects which its elite universities will respect more than others. The ‘hard’ choice subjects tend to be traditional subjects; Maths, Sciences, History, Geography, English Literature and Modern Languages. A-levels such as Business Studies, Art, Media and Film studies top the list of the so-called ‘soft’ subjects, of which students should limit their choice to only one. This listing system is nothing new. Cambridge University caused controversy in 2007 by publishing a similar list. The university defended itself by stating that this merely ensured greater clarity in the admissions process; admissions tutors already used these guidelines when selecting successful applicants. The Russell Group states that part of their advice is to assist students who do not know what they want to study at university after their GCSEs, to leave as many doors open as possible by choosing appropriate subjects. The Russell Group added that as university places are set to become increasingly competitive and funding set to plummet, it is more crucial than ever that students - especially those from less afﬂuent backgrounds - can make informed choices about their further education, which will be a huge investment in terms of debt accumulation. Newcastle University’s central admissions ofﬁce stated that, as far
Newcastle University stated all A- Level subjects are acceptable in admissions process
as they are concerned, all A-level subjects are acceptable. Offers are
made grade conditional, although sometimes speciﬁcation is made as
to which grade is needed in each subject. Individual schools may have widely differing views upon this, and certain subjects are required for certain schools. Although the central admissions ofﬁce does not state this, general studies is, as with many universities, widely unaccepted by individual schools as an A-level. The School of Geography, for example, accepts any subject combination, with the exception of General Studies, and concentrates instead upon the grades available. Newcastle is also careful to state any desired subjects in all advertising material. Other schools within the University also stated when questioned that they did not prioritise any subjects above others, but that if the subjects that were marked as desirable on the school’s speciﬁcations were on one candidate’s application, this would be taken into account. Dr Delany of the University’s School of Marine Science and Technology reiterated this. At entrance level for the Marine sciences degree, the School requires three B’s, in Biology and one other science, or Maths, Geography or Psychology, and the candidate’s choice of third subject. As offers are made throughout the year, candidates are neither ranked nor preferential offers made on the basis of the third subject; rather each individual is taken separately. Both a ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ subject would be acceptable at this stage. It is in August, if a small number of places remain available for candidates who narrowly miss grades, that the subject choice may become more important. A candidate with sciences may be chosen here above a candidate with a subject such as art, due to the very nature of the degree that they are applying to study.
Pupils should be free to choose subjects they enjoy without worrying that universities will judge them on a biased concept of what is or isn’t ‘hard’ Simon Murphy Commentary
t’s a wonder how I ever made it to a Russell Group university. I studied socalled ‘soft’ subjects like Media Studies and Art while I was at college; I even took General Studies. What right did I have to gain a place against my peers who made more traditional choices? Every right in my opinion – universities should openly seek to recruit those who have experience outside the often narrow range of traditional subjects. What room is there then for those
who want to take a different path – those who want to draw instead of work out maths equations, direct a ﬁlm rather than study Shakespeare? There already exists a two-tier higher education system and now it seems the Russell Group is intent on creating a very deﬁnite division in further education by presupposing the worth of different A-levels. The particular case of labelling Media Studies ‘soft’ is entirely bizarre on the part of Russell Group universities seeing as the majority of them – including Newcastle – offer it as a degree course. The universities minister David Willets has long called for institutions to be more transparent about their
admissions policy. However, what this move really amounts to is a reinforcement of the Tories’ Victorian schooling ethos – paraded by stooges like Michael Gove – which works to embed undeserving elites. Pupils should be free to choose subjects they enjoy and not have to worry about university chiefs prejudging their merit based on a biased conception of what is or isn’t ‘hard’. My fear is that by introducing a subject labelling system universities run the risk of producing an increasingly homogenous pool of students all bred on the same diet of traditional subjects. I have no doubt that time-hon-
oured subjects have their value; I simply reject the notion that they are worth more than contemporary courses by virtue of their history. There is a fundamental ﬂaw in the way in which sixth formers are examined – those who do well are normally those who can cram information largely devoid of analytical scrutiny into their heads and regurgitate it onto a piece of paper in a short space of time. The Russell Group should embrace a broad range of subjects, diversity in examinations and teaching and seek to abolish the out-dated view that only a handful of A-levels are worth the paper they’re printed on.
The Union Society, King’s Walk, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QB. Tel: 0191 239 3940
Comment Proposals to move our May Day bank holiday to October look set to get the go-ahead, says Sophie McCoid Page 11
Lifestyle Sports Editor Wills Robinson lands three blind dates to score a Valentine’s hatrick Page 14
Culture Cinema: Thomas Hopkin reviews Brighton Rock, Rowan Joffe’s exhilarating neo-noir thriller Page 28
Sport Dan Robinson talks to the ‘godfather’ of North East sports journalism, John Gibson Page 37
Meetings Timetable: Monday Sport- 12am, Hancock News & Comment - 1pm, Rm 6 Park Terrace Photos - 2pm, Rm 6 Park Terrace Fashion - 4pm, Rm 5 Park Terrace Tuesday Life & Style - 12pm, Room 6 Park Terrace Fashion - 12pm, Room 6 Park Terrace Wednesday Arts - 12.30pm, Room 6 Park Terrace Film & Music- 1pm, Rm 6 Park Terrace TV & Radio - 1.30pm, Room 6 Park Terrace Editorial Team: • Editor - Fran Infante • Deputy Editor - Joshua Shrimpton Dean • News Editors - Charlie Oven & Simon Murphy • Comment Editors - Danny Kielty & Laura Heads • Life & Style Editors - Mary Mullarkey & Kat Bishop •Fashion Editor - Lauren Girling • Arts Editor - Stephanie Ferrao • Film Editor - Adam Williams • Music Editors - Polly Randall & Joe Skrebels • TV & Radio Editor - Ellie Wilson & Lynsey Fawcett • Puzzles Editor - Andy Pitkeathley •Listings Editor - Ciara Littler • Sports Editors - Kat Bannon, Jono Taylor & Wills Robinson •Photo Editor - Briony Carlin • Design Editor - Helen Mamalaki •Head of Digital Media - Aimee Philipson •Online Editors - Bethany Sissons, Katie Hicks, Elliot Bentley and Colin Henrys •Proof Editors - Charlotte Loftus, Katy Lawson, Hannah Davey, Gemma Farina, Jessica Cree, Amy Jordan, Rebecca Gee, GemmaJayne Turner, Jennifer Bear, Emma O’Neil, Georgia Morgan, & Tatiana Horniakova The Courier is printed by: Harmsworth Printing Limited, Northcliffe House, Meadow Road, Derby, DE1 2DW. Tel: 01332 253013. Established in 1948, The Courier is the fully independent student newspaper of the Union Society 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 Union Society or Newcastle University.
THE COURIER Monday February 14 2011
The great escape: students travel far and wide in jail break mission
Grin and bare it: Newcastle students Clare Atkinson and Soph Ryan pose on top of a snow clad Montreal hotel roof as part of the Jail Break mission run by RAG Week .All proceeds raised went to child cancer charity Kidscan
Helen Lam Jail break. The mission to get as far away as possible from Newcastle in 36 hours without spending a single penny on transport, whilst raising as much money as possible! With RAG week soon approaching, this weekend 19 pairs of Newcastle students set off to begin their mission to reach incredible destinations all around the world, by using any means necessary and utilising their best blagging techniques. This is the ﬁrst year RAG has run
Jail Break or anything similar, however the students managed to collectively travel over 20,000 miles, reaching as far as Vienna, Antwerp, Berlin and even impressively, South Africa. With their fundraising, including individual teams managing to raise over £1000, it brings the overall total raised to a staggering £70,000. The event was a huge success and all proceeds went towards a very worthy charity, Kidscan, which funds research into childhood cancers and aims to improve the quality
of life for sufferers. Even more exciting than the challenge itself, the winning pair ‘’Tits for Lifts’’, who made it to Cape Town charming their way onto ﬂights from Heathrow airport, have the honour of a plaque in Sinners complete with their names, as well as £1000 donated to the charity on their behalf. Jack York, from team ‘Smoky and The Bandit’, who reached Freiburg in Breisgau, had one of the most impressive success stories from the challenge. Speaking to The Courier,
he told how he and his team mate, Alex Wiggins, along with another team, ‘’Wendy Armstrong Appreciation Society’’, successfully managed to blag a black Audi Q7 4X4 from a couple they met along their journey to drive alone through Europe, completely unsure whether what they were doing was even legal. York reﬂected on the surrealness of the experience, ‘’At one point I may have accidently set off the car alarm off which was very scary considering we were in possession of a car we couldn’t
prove we had any right to be in, however it turned out to be one of the most eventful road trips we’ve ever been on.’’ Clare Atkinson from ‘’The Double Ds Team’’ which reached Montreal told The Courier : “ I was amazed by how generous people were along the trip.’’ The cabin crew of her ﬁrst ﬂight from Newcastle to London Heathrow allowed her to tell the passengers about the challenge, which raised £86 in about ﬁfteen minutes.
Saviour of seas: more to sea cucumber than meets the eye Sophie McCoid The humble sea cucumber: not something many people have heard of or considered important. But thanks to researchers at Newcastle University, the reputation of this seemingly insigniﬁcant organism is set to rocket, as research suggests it could be the new potential saviour of the seas. The sea cucumber is a kind of aquatic worm that cleans up the sea
bed by moving and consuming sediment, making it a vital part of the marine ecosystem. The slug-esque animals are used widely in Chinese medicine and cuisine, due to their high nutritional value, making them much more than just an underwater Dyson. Stocks of the sea cucumber have been dwindling in recent years, so researchers at Newcastle University, led by Professor Selina Steed, decided to ﬁnd ways to use the sea cucumber to create a more sustainable way of farming in the sea.
Dr Matthew Slater, a sea cucumber expert, holds this issue close to his heart and explains: “By growing sea cucumbers on waste from ﬁsh farms, we are not only farming a valuable food product, we are also developing solutions to ﬁsh farming impacts.” The sea cucumber project will be unveiled as part of the marine conference, held at Newcastle University. It marks the launch of the marineNewcastle network, which aims to bring together the university’s expertise in marine science and
technology to create solutions to the problems of the oceanic world. The research has mostly been carried out at the Dove marine laboratory at the University. The next step, however, is to introduce sea cucumbers to ﬁsh farms around the UK as both cleaners and food, with researchers aiming for an imminent nationwide cucumber revolution. The team is also leading a major aquaculture project in Tanzania, where the cucumbers are being raised to support the growing in-
dustry there. Professor Stead said this important food export can provide a valuable income and a sustainable alternative for people living in the poverty stricken region. So, if you’re tempted to scoff at the idea of a sea cucumber being an important player in the ﬁght to save our underwater habitats, think again. Sea cucumbers could possibly provide the answer scientists have been looking for, as well as helping in the ﬁght against poverty.
Monday February 14 2011 THE COURIER
Binge drinking culture damaging society says drugs advisor - ban drinking games
Outspoken Professor David Nutt has given a damning summary of the destructive effects of alcohol use at university, News Editor Charlie Oven reports Continued from front page banned for the last three academic years. At the start of this academic year, I reinforced this fact at Club Officer Training to the President, Secretary and Treasurers of each club.” Wright said the Union employs stringent measures in dealing with any reported case of initiations. “They are obviously a very serious matter and we would take any cases very seriously,” he said. Nevertheless, Wright argues there will always be a challenge to police initiations which happen off campus. “With 57 clubs we cannot monitor every aspect of each clubs organisation, especially when not on campus. Without having each club under surveillance 24/7, which would obviously be an unattainable goal, I believe there is a continuous challenge facing anybody wishing to police initiations if they occur off campus.” As well as citing the issues and solutions to student binge drinking, Nutt provided a compelling insight on the contentious debate as to whether excessive drinking is embedded in British culture. He told The Courier; “There has been a massive cultural shift over the last forty years, so it’s not been embedded in
culture, it’s been learnt.” Professor Nutt, who was giving a public lecture at Newcastle University entitled ‘Science and Politics in Drug Policy: Past Conflicts and Future Views’, defended his view that alcohol and tobacco were more harmful than cannabis, ecstasy and MDMA. During the lecture on February 3, Nutt criticised the status of alcohol in contemporary society: “If alcohol had been invented now it would almost certainly be made an illegal substance.” Professor Nutt told The Courier that students were no exception to the dangers posed by excessive drinking. Comparing alcohol to other substances, he argued it was far and away the most damaging drug at university. He explained pricing was an integral factor to the binge drinking frequently exercised by students. “There is a linear relationship where the cheaper it is, the more people drink,” he said. The eminent pharmacologist informed The Courier that as a consequence of low pricing, the perception and attitudes towards alcohol at university had changed. “The price of alcohol has gone down to at least half of what it was when I was a student. In the 60’s
and 70’s alcohol was a luxury; now it is considered a staple of diet,” he explained. Nutt has called for a minimum price per unit of alcohol. “50p per unit would be easy and would set a very clear demarcation, effectively doubling the price of lager,” he argued. Price increases would arguably challenge the mass consumption of alcohol by students on the basis of cheap affordability. Of the several health problems tied to alcohol, Nutt emphasised the dangers intoxication posed by impairing sense of judgement. He said: “Probably 10 people a year, maybe more, in Britain die falling out of windows when they’re so drunk they don’t know what they are doing.” The Courier reported last October of how Newcastle student Simon Hales suffered permanent brain damage after falling 20ft while trying to sneak into a club on a night out. The following month, The Courier broke the story of Newcastle student Colin Duck, breaking his back during his ERAMUS year in Madrid by falling from a second floor window after a night of heavy drinking. Both cases are indicative of binge drinking having a direct effect on the Newcastle student body.
Dangerous drinking: Professor David Nutt gave a public lecture at the University in
Statistics from Newcastle General Hospital reported 56 alcohol related cases at the Emergency Department from September 24 to October 18, which involved students from the Newcastle area. It is notable that in the period these statistics were recorded it was the start of the academic year, when social events targeting freshers are at their height. In a letter to the University, dated
22 October, Consultant Neurologist Dr T J Walls warned of the growing prevalence of a student binge drinking culture at Newcastle. “If the current situation continues, then sooner or later there will inevitably be a fatality, either due to the effects of alcohol poisoning, to an individual vomiting and aspirating while deeply unconscious, or to a serious accident while intoxicated,” Dr Walls said.
A light hearted game can turn into something more serious Bethan Brown Commentary
recent documentary aired on BBC 3 highlighted the growing trends of drinking games amongst students. Amongst other locations, Newcastle and particularly the student culture was one of the settings for the investigation. The documentary featured a group of students on
a night out which began with the notorious ‘drinking games’. We’ve all at least heard of them, ‘ring of fire’, where a pack of cards determines what and how much the player must drink, a game which causes the player to mix drinks and consume excessive amounts of alcohol in a short period of time. A more extreme ‘game’ (if you could call it that) highlighted a group of guys downing shots through their eyes, supposedly to feel the effects of the alcohol quicker by getting it into their
bloodstream. Another game popular in America, but which is gradually hitting the UK, is ‘beer pong’, which involves two teams trying to get a ping pong ball in to the other team’s cup, and having to drink it if they let one in. It is clear from looking at this selection that though there are a diverse amount of different rules and combinations, the aim of each is exactly the same: to get drunk quickly in a sociable environment. There is no doubt that these
drinking games are seen as a way of socialising and breaking the ice, particularly at the start of University; a quick way of getting to know those you have only just met. The hype to get involved means that it is often deemed antisocial not to join in, particularly when everyone else around you is. Although such games do help diminish any unbroken ice when meeting new people, I think that it is important that as a whole, students are more aware of the
lists of health risks involved with such excessive drinking, which are endless for both the short term and the long term. Very quickly a light hearted game can turn into something so much more serious. Although I enjoy social drinking with friends, I believe it is possible to go out and have a brilliant night without the need to drink endless top-ups of alcohol, and this comes with the added advantage of not having that excruciating hangover the next morning.
THE COURIER Monday February 14 2011
A ban on drinking games would be impossible to enforce and infringe freedoms Jessica Cree Commentary
which he argued alcohol was by far the most damaging drug to students - he described universities as “hotbeds” for alcohol abuse
Newcastle students have their say on whether drinking games should be banned on campus: Charlotte Goodwin, Law, 19 “I accept that drinking games happen. It would be impossible to enforce a ban on drinking games as people would go elsewhere to drink. Whilst in theory it’s a good idea, its highly impractical and if people do it of their own accord and take
responsibility for their crease revenue for actions, then its fine.” bars so they should be encouraged in the UnAlex Wise, ion, as it doesn’t make Countryside very much money.” Management, 21 Jilly Slater, Town “I think that drinkPlanning, 21 ing games should be banned because I “Drinking games don’t agree with idishouldn’t be banned otic drinking. Drinkbut maybe they ing games are wrong should take place if they are forced away from campus. upon people. Games They do get you relike that are better ally drunk, but it’s if they’re in the SU a very good way to because it means the break the ice with public don’t see them. people you’ve just Drinking games inmet.”
riving up Richardson Road at nine o’clock on any given night is a sight for sore eyes. I’ve seen girls in five inch heels take a tumble, guys who are seriously worse for wear fall over brick walls and people throwing up in the street. Embarrassing you might say. But this is even before they’ve hit the bars and clubs in town, and it’s all thanks to drinking games. Now, I’m not a prude and I do like a cheeky gin and tonic or glass of wine every now and then, but the thought of what binge drinking and drinking games in particular can do to your health is not even worth thinking about. The NHS has released some new adverts recently, warning people about the dangers of consuming too much alcohol. ‘High risk drinkers’ are women who regularly drink more than two to three units of alcohol per day and men who exceed three to four units a day. However, I can almost guarantee you that a high percentage of students go out at least two or three times a week and would think that three shots of tequila would be very tame. And the statistics are terrifying; men can be up to 2.5 percent more likely to get mouth cancer and women up to 1.2 percent more likely to contract breast cancer if they drink excessively. Is it really worth the risk? So, why have drinking games become so popular? I’m a home student and so didn’t move into halls in first year. I think that this may have saved me the peer pressure of drinking myself into oblivion
before going on a night out. I’m aware that drinks are expensive in town and that students on a tight budget still want to go out and have a good time, and so the ‘prelash’ has become a custom. But is being drunk so necessary to enjoy a night out? Could drinking games seriously be banned from university campuses across the UK? David Nutt’s suggestion in his blog to “ban drinking games and pubcrawls in public organisations such as university sports and social clubs” would probably be impossible to enforce and would take away the students’ freedom of choice. Students know exactly what they are doing to their bodies
Professor Nutt thinks universities should ban drinking games on campus but how will they police such a measure?
by drinking in excess; they often feel the effects of the night before in their nine o’clock lecture the next day. But students will continue to play drinking games so long as alcohol remains expensive to buy in bars and students like to drink – though that’s not likely to change, is it?
Callum Meanie, Law, in games for ‘pre-lash’ 21 and they do it because its sociable, fun and “Absolutely not, I cheaper than drinkthink that the banning ing in bars. I don’t of drinking games feel that you can ban would constitute an drinking games based infringement of libupon the unfortunate erty. Participating in deaths or accidents games represents a that have happened personal choice and recently.” a reflection of how people wish to spend Adrian Smith, their free time; they Politics, 20 should be allowed to make their own choic- “Everybody knows es. A ban on drinking their limits. If you games would be imcan’t handle the possible to police. game, then don’t call Most people engage yourself a player.”
Monday February 14 2011 THE COURIER
Not so Innocent: green scheme highlights food waste with deliciously free smoothies Simon Childs We’ve all heard of ‘Innocent’ smoothies, but last Tuesday an environmental group gave students the opportunity to try an alternative that makes their innocuous counterparts look positively sinful. As part of their ‘Go Green Week’, People and Planet highlighted the extraordinary amount of waste created by the food industry by giving away free smoothies made entirely out of fruit that would have otherwise gone to waste. The environmentalists used a bicycle-powered blender ﬁlled with fruit, which had been saved from Grainger Market earlier that day, moments before it was about to be dumped in a skip. The end result, which is as good for your conscience as your health, was handed out free to passers-by. Felix Grifﬁth of People and Planet explained the innovative idea to The Courier: “Food contributes a massive amount to your carbon footprint. It’s not sustainable to eat out-of-season food ﬂown half way across the world. On top of that, supermarkets and shops are so wasteful. “Everyone eats, so this is a great way to involve people in discussions about the environment”, added the
second year history student. People and Planet’s original plan had been to obtain fruit from a Coop supermarket, which, according to Grifﬁth, “chucks out much more fruit than Grainger Market, and in even better condition”. The Co-op claims that they need to get permission from their head ofﬁce long in advance, making such a scheme unfeasible. As well as fruit, the group salvaged virtually every type of vegetable in edible condition, which had been destined for the skip. There are plans to hand out free vegetable soup in the future. A ‘vegetable box scheme’, where locally sourced organic fruit and vegetables are delivered to people’s doors, is another idea. Harley Wright, also of People and Planet, was optimistic about the scheme. He said: “Buying low-cost, local, organic food and not chemicallytreated, ﬂown-in-from-God-knowswhere produce from Londis or a massive supermarket will become habit.” Other events in ‘Go Green Week’ included ‘Carbon Speed Dating’, during which participants’ carbon footprints were calculated and then deducted from scores given for their dating skills.
Smooth operator: People and Planet gave away free smoothies made entirely out of fruit that would have otherwise gone to waste
THE COURIER Monday February 14 2011
Student groups demonstrate on campus to show support for Egyptian plight
Marina Puente Students held demonstrations outside the Union in solidarity with the uprising in Egypt. The Egyptian Society in Newcastle rallied for two days from February 3 to show their “support and solidarity with the legitimate demands of the brave, bold and determined people of Egypt”. Tyneside Stop the War Coalition (TSTWC) has also demonstrated and organised meetings in solidarity with the Egypt Unrest. As the group states on Facebook: “We have always been involved in solidarity work with the Middle East as part of their opposition against the ‘war on terror’”. The group also says they are demonstrating in order to “tell Mubarak to get his thugs off the street”. Alex Snowdon, a TSTWC spokesperson, said: “The University’s Egypt Society has galvanised support for this cause. They helped create a celebratory atmosphere with chanting, placards, ﬂags, singing and lots of energy.” It is important that the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak listens to the people and “gives the right of the people the priority over the order or
Scenes on the streets: Lindsay MacKenzie witnesses protests in Egypt’s Tahrir Square ﬁrst hand, as students at Newcastle University protest outside the Union in solidarity.
wish of any individual, including the president” says Turki Alotaibi, President of the Islamic Society. Reham Abdellatif, president of Egyptian society said: “An uprising of a new generation yearning for freedom and basic human rights will reshape the future of Egypt entirely, which makes us all proud” Abdellatif told The Courier that the Egyptians have already overcome their biggest difﬁculty – themselves. Abdellatif said they have united and organised themselves for a common cause, and bravely stood together for what they believe in, making Egyptians all around the world be proud of their nationality.
Egypt uprising; the story so far The Tunisian’s example rid the repressed Egyptian folk of their fear when they overthrew their dictator Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali with a popular revolt against the police on January 14, triggered by a young unemployed man setting himself on ﬁre after being forbidden by the police to sell fruit and vegetables in the street without permission. Tahrir Square (appropriately enough translated as ‘Liberation Square’) has been swamped in protests and conﬂict against the authorities. What started out as a handful of protesters on January 29, dragged a whole population and, as Egyptian Society President Reham Abdellatif puts it: “different religions stood together against the ‘common enemy’ ”. The thousands of people still occupying the square claim they will not move until the 30 year long rule of Hosni Mubarak comes to
an end. There isn’t a speciﬁc ﬁgurehead or leadership amongst the antigovernment protesters; they are people from all sectors of society, although the forefront counts with young, tech-savvy Egyptians who feed off blogging and Twitter. Groups like the banned Muslim Brotherhood, a large-scale opposition movement in Egypt, have also joined the revolt under the apprehensive eyes of America and Israel, for fear of a post-Mubarak Islamist Rule. They blame the dictator for the economic problems and unemployment in Egypt and accuse his government of corruption and tyranny, rallying with slogans such as “The people want the fall of the regime”. In order to appease the people, Mubarak has already announced he will not stand for re-elections for a sixth term in November, but refuses to step down from power now, like the protesters demand, and insists that demonstrations must stop.
Monday February 14 2011 THE COURIER
Dementia ‘more feared than death’ The Careers Service provides information and advice on developing your skills, finding a part-time job, work experience, supporting business start-up and (when the time comes) exploring graduate opportunities. For more details about these and other vacancies, including details of how to apply, visit their website at www.ncl.ac.uk/careers. Vacancies brought to you by the Careers Service... PART TIME VACANCIES Job Title: Casual Food and Bar Service Staff Employer: Newcastle City Council Closing date: Ongoing (Casual) Salary: £6.84ph Basic job description: To work at Newcastle Civic Centre on an as and when required basis, serving food and drinks to customers. Person Requirements: Experience preferred but not essential Location: Newcastle upon Tyne Job Title: Casual Security Officers Employer: G4S Secure Solutions (UK) Ltd Closing date: Ongoing Salary: £6.00–6.50ph Basic job description: To provide general security duties to a wide range of organisations including office premises and retail businesses. Location: Newcastle upon Tyne Job Title: Census Coverage Survey Interviewers Employer: Census Closing date: Ongoing Salary: £7.71-£10.84 per hour Basic job description: Census Coverage Survey Interviewers are required to carry out short doorstep interviews with households. Person requirements: You must be available to work between 9 May 2011 - 3 June 2011 (4 weeks). Location: UK Wide Job Title: Bar/Waiting Staff Employer: The Hyena Comedy Club, Closing Date: 01/12/2011 Location: Newcastle upon Tyne Person Requirements: Successful candidates must be willing to work as part of a team, preparing drinks and serving food whilst maintaining high customer standards. Full and part time positions are available. Candidates must be available to work evenings and weekends and have good attention to detail. Cocktail knowledge is preferred although is not essential. How to Apply: Please email your CV to heather.j.stanley@gmail. com Job Title: Promotions Work Employer: Anne Savva Promotions Closing date: 01/07/2011 Salary: £8-12 per hour Basic job description: Ann Savva Promotions Ltd is a National Promotional Agency currently
recruiting in this area. This is a very flexible position that allows you to accept work when it is convenient for you. Person requirements: You should be outgoing, presentable and professional, with strong communication skills. Location: Nationwide
Trust Closing date: 16/02/2011 Salary: £13,653 to £14,364 pa (pro rata) Basic job description: Cleaning role based at Brockwell Health Centre in Cramlington. 10 hours per week. Location: Cramlington
Job Title: Kookai Sales Assistant Employer: House of Fraser, Gateshead Closing date: 24/02/2011 Basic job description: 8 hours per week. Excellent customer service, must have a flare for fashion and must be positive and a quick learner. Location: Metro Centre
Job Title: HP Zones Technical Ambassador Employer: CPM International Closing date: 18/02/2011 Salary: £60 per day plus monthly bonus Basic job description: Permanent Saturday only role promoting, training and indirectly selling the HP laptop, PC accessories, printer and perishables range. Location: Gateshead
Job Title: Web Developer Employer: AMD Specialist Coatings Closing date: ASAP Salary: Negotiable depending on experience. Basic job description: We are looking for a web designer to work on an ad hoc basis to make small changes to the website. The position is mainly working from home. Location: Gateshead Job Title: Top Level Sales Advisor Employer: Evans Closing date: ASAP Salary: Competitive Basic job description: Visual Merchandising and customer service. You’ll also undertake management responsibilities and team development. These posts are for 16 hours per week. Location: Gateshead and South Shields. Job Title: Sales Advisor Employer: Topshop Closing date: 24/02/2011 Salary: To be confirmed Basic job description: You will have a passion for shoes, ability to deliver exceptional customer service and strive to achieve sales. Work well in a small team. Location: Gateshead MetroCentre Job Title: Sales Advisors - Outbound Employer: Barclays Closing date: ASAP Salary: £16,000pro rata Basic job description: Outbound sales at Sunderland Call Centre. Part Time shift patterns are: Mon - Thurs 17:00 - 20:00 & All Saturdays 9:00 - 15:30. Roles are to start in April 2011. Location: Sunderland Job Title: Part-Time Sales Assistant Employer: Snow + Rock Closing date: 20th February Salary: Competitive Basic job description: We are opening a new Runners Need concession within our Snow + Rock store in Gateshead and are seeking talented individuals who are passionate about running and related activities. Location: Gateshead Job Title: Domestic Assistant Employer: Northumberland Care
Job Title: Web Developer Employer: Every1Speaks Closing date: ASAP Salary: Competitive Basic job description: We’re looking for a developer to join our small team in central Newcastle immediately. We really need a fast learner, with bags of initiative. An interest in educational software is a bonus. Person requirements: Excellent customer service skills required Location: Newcastle
Newcastle Work Experience (NWE) NWE offers project based work placements in local companies. Term Time placements are for 100 hours to be worked flexibly over a 3-4 month period, and students are paid a £600 bursary. Summer placements are for 10 weeks full time with a bursary of £2,400. Visit Vacancies Online and select Work Experience, and check the ‘Newcastle Work Experience’ option for details of all opportunites. Job Title: Newcastle Work Experience – New Media Marketeer Employer: Fair Squared Ltd Closing date: 20/02/2010 Salary: £600 bursary Basic job description: The role will be to raise awareness of our ethical and fair trade brand. Methods will include building imaginative online campaigns and writing articles and blogs. Person requirements: We need an enthusiastic, creative, hard working individual. Location: Newcastle Work Experience Job Title: Newcastle Work Experience – Summer Placements Employer: North East Businesses Salary: £2,400 bursary Basic job description: Placements available in a range of areas including PR, Marketing, Engineering, Science, IT and Business Planning. Full time for 10 weeks from June/July. Person requirements: Register your interest at www.ncl.ac.uk/ career/nwe Location: North East
Joshua Shrimpton Dean Deputy Editor A Newcastle University scientist is leading calls for an ‘urgent’ funding increase to develop treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. Professor John O’Brien’s appeal comes after a recent YouGov poll revealed that North East residents fear the onset of dementia more than cancer and death. Alzheimer’s Research UK, who commissioned the poll, say that understanding of the condition is being hindered by the UK’s relatively small funding commitment. A report by the organisation shows that for every dementia research specialist, the are six working on cancer
Oxford students evacuated from Egypt Rosie Libell
All second-year language students on study programmes in Egypt were flown home recently after Oxford University advised that evacuation was the safest option. A liaison officer from the Faculty of Oriental Studies suggested last Monday that students based in Cairo and Luxor should leave. All 11 students have now flown back to the UK, amid escalating violence and rioting in Egypt. Isobel Platts-Dunn, a second-year Spanish and Arabic student, flew home from Luxor on Wednesday night. She said: “We were contacted on Monday by a liaison officer at the Oxford Faculty of Oriental Studies, who suggested we should leave; we were told that it was our decision, but that the Faculty strongly suggests we go home.” The British government continue to advise against all but essential travel to Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor and Suez.
More discipline at Edinburgh University The actions of hundreds of students in the Scottish capital has prompted university bosses to reconsider discipline measures after a series of offences. Formal warnings or £250 fines were given to 384 undergraduates in the last academic year. The offences include drug use, plagiarism and the activation of fire alarms. Those accused of indecent, disorderly or threatening behaviour were also given a warning.
Oxbridge eyes maximum £9000 tuition fees Both Cambridge and Oxford universities have confirmed their in-
treatments. Dementia costs the British economy £23bn each year, compared with £12bn for cancer and £8bn for heart disease. Revealing the extent of the condition in the North East, Prof. O’Brien said: “There are currently nearly 3000 people in Newcastle and nearly 30,000 people in the North East affected by dementia, and if we are to find effective treatments that are so urgently needed, dementia research must be made a national priority. “Dementia researchers in Newcastle and across the UK are making real progress, and with support from Alzheimer’s Research UK, scientists are making important breakthroughs,” he continued.
tentions to charge tuition fees of £9,000 a year for every subject. Poorer students will be offered meanstested reductions of up to £3,000. The UK’s top two institutions hope that a report recommending a single flat-rate charge for all courses and colleges from 2012 will help them decide on fees and student support. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg waded into the argument last week by saying that the decision was not Oxbridge’s to make, and that they must “dramatically increase” access for poorer students. The government is under huge pressure from student groups to rethink its position, which has seen a number of violent demonstrations over recent months.
Warwick University issues stark ‘lack of sleep’ health warning Scientists at Warwick University have found that too many late nights and a lack of sleep amount to a “ticking time bomb” of health problems. They found that inadequate sleep can trigger strokes and bring on heart disease. Data from 470,000 people across eight countries was taken over a period from seven to 25 years. It showed that sleeping poorly for less than six hours increases the risk of heart disease by almost 50 per cent and raises the risk of strokes by 15 per cent.
Plymouth considers overseas campus locations The new Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Plymouth is planning to establish a campus overseas. Former Minister for Education, Bill Rammell, said the site has to have “an ethos that fits in with Plymouth” and said other institutions abroad had offered partner arrangements. The move is aimed to increase opportunities for research and recruitment of overseas students as well as encouraging more income for the university.
THE COURIER Monday February 14 2011
Will an October bank holiday bring a boost to British tourism? Comment Editors: Laura Heads and Danny Kielty - firstname.lastname@example.org
> Page 11
Cameron careless on multiculturalism Bethany Staunton
Multiculturalism has failed. That’s the view David Cameron takes anyway. As he made clear in a recent speech, he pledged to cut state funding for Muslim groups that he perceives as failing to integrate Muslims into British society, and therefore failing to effectively combat Islamic extremism. This speech was coincidentally, but tellingly, delivered the same day as the anti-Islamic organisation, the English Defence League, marched in their thousands through Luton, chanting: “Allah, Allah, who the f*** is Allah?” Although perhaps not as blunt as the aggressive racism of the EDL, Cameron’s speech dangerously plays into the same discourse of Islamaphobia. He vaguely referred to ‘suspect groups’, but did not name any speciﬁc Muslim groups that he suspects of ‘extremism’, thereby perpetuating a sense of anxiety about the threat of terrorism in the UK. The Prime Minister’s accusations that British Muslim organisations are often counter-productive to combating radicalisation among Muslim youths are offensive and patronising. Contrary to Cameron’s opinion, research shows that these organisations, state-funded or not, do the most effective work around attracting young Muslims away from ter-
You, The Courier Xiaodan Li, postgraduate student reviews the last edition
n the whole, every section contains news of interest; from big issues in the UK political area to student life, with “blind date” or “weight concern”. There are some small points, however, that need to be pointed out. To begin with, Fashion on page 20 seems a bit messy with wordy descriptions about the most exciting ﬁeld in modern times. It would probably look more attractive with keywords to introduce readers into the world of beauty. As for Lifestyle/Travel, the story on hitchhiking does successfully encourage readers to make a difference to dull life in some way; however, with an ironically dull picture. Since there is no part in The
Do recent marches by the EDL add to the controversial nature of the PM’s remarks?
rorist groups. Although Cameron was careful to draw a distinction between Islam and Islamic extremism, he seemed to be outlining new deﬁnitions of ‘extremism’. His speech placed much emphasis on the different ‘values’ of Brits and of many Muslims, and implied a connection between illiberal attitudes, such as Islam’s ban on homo-
Courier that particularly gets international students’ voices heard, it would be much nicer to add some foreign ﬂavour, such as Chinese students’ life. This applies especially to the Chinese New Year. My favourite part is Comment, which is ﬁlled with wisdom. The net closes in on Aaron Porter as Manchester protests turn sour
C O U RI ER THE
2011 www.thecourieronline.co.uk Issue 1223 Monday 7 February
NEWCASTLE STUDENTS THE INDEPENDENT VOICE OF
Students seek quick ﬁx to beat workload numbers turn to •Increasing performance enhancing drugs questions effectiveness •Expert of so-called ‘smart drugs’
down and attempt a tutorial sheet or Simon Murphy News Editor for an hour before getting bored nd stuck, on Rit[alin] you simply ﬁ A leading pharmacologist has ques- yourself looking at a clock when tioned the effectiveness of illegal you’ve ﬁnished and realising that ‘smart drugs’, as The Courier learns anything from three to six hours has their use is widespread on campus. gone by.” Professor David Nutt – who heads Professor Nutt, who was controan independent drugs body – sug- versially sacked as a chief governgests cognitive-enhancing drugs drugs advisor in 2009, visited ment to a such as Ritalin, which are said Newcastle last Thursday to give about drug use. improve concentration levels, could at- public lecture blunt creativity and cause panic tacks. An increasing number of Newcastle students are turning to the Class B drugs, which can be bought online and shipped from Asia for as little as £1 per pill. Ritalin, originally designed to treat attention deﬁcit hyperactivity disorin der, increases levels of dopamine the brain which can lead to addiction. Third-year engineering student Marcus Thomas ﬁrst started taking He Ritalin at the end of ﬁrst year. said the drug often makes him irritable and impatient but allows him “If to keep up with work pressures. I’ve not done 50 hours or more work a week I’m falling behind, so I take the Rit[alin] to make better use of time that I have,” he said. “Where you might normally sit
“If I’m falling behind, I take Rit[alin] to make better use of the time I have.” He said that so-called ‘smart drugs’ were unproven and potentially detrimental in terms of performance rather than helpful – as is widely assumed. He told The Courier: “They don’t Continued on page 4
Miliband warns of dark times ahead for graduates
Simon Murphy News Editor in Young people face stark prospects the job market as a result of government cuts, Labour leader Ed Miliband warned on a visit to Newcastle last Friday. In an exclusive interview with The his Courier, Mr Miliband spoke of to fear that graduates may struggle ﬁnd jobs as public money is sucked from the region. Speaking on a visit to Newcastle College campus he said: “I really worry about the effect of it because one in ﬁve young people are now ve unemployed – I think one in ﬁ as graduates are looking for a job well. to “Our argument is, if you want get cut the deﬁcit the best way is to growth and jobs in our economy and that’s not what the government is doing. as “I want them [graduates] to do market. well as they can in the job “What I would do if I were Prime Minister is make sure that we had the jobs available for graduates and the jobs available for young the people because we learnt, from of 1980s and the 1990s, the danger for leaving people, frankly, to fend the themselves and not giving them support they need to get into work if and that would be a big priority Labour was in government.” Earlier in the day Mr Miliband gave in a speech at the Sage concert hall Gateshead in which he argued that the “British promise” – that each last generation does better than the – was under threat. very “I’m Courier: The told He for worried about what it means the promise of Britain that the next last generation does better than the and I think that’s more in question as a result of what the government is doing.” Mr Miliband also spoke of his concern that underprivileged young people were ﬁnding it harder than ever to tap into the elite jobs market. “I think a huge issue, irrespective is of which government is in power, how you make sure that everyone he feared with The Courier Ed Miliband said Continued on page 3 Bleak future: in an exclusive interview programme of cuts that young people would suffer as
a result of the government’s
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sexuality, and terrorism. But as offensive and bigoted as such views are, I don’t think their subscribers merit the title of ‘potential terrorist’. Would this title be applied to the more orthodox believers of Christianity and Judaism, many of whom also object to homosexuality? The racist connotations of such sweeping statements cannot be ig-
nored, and, as is usual in the current mania of Islamaphobia, ordinary, innocent Muslims will feel the effects. Cameron is completely mistaken to emphasise a direct relation between Islamic illiberal views and the rise of terrorism. In fact, evidence consistently points to the foreign policy of the US and the UK as being the main provocation to terrorist activity. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the damage and destruction they trail behind them, have actually made Britain a more vulnerable, not safer, place. The fact that this speech was not delivered in Britain, but at the Munich Security Conference (that’s ‘security’ not ‘conference about cultural integration’) is not irrelevant. Cameron is misleadingly submerging the two separate issues of terrorism and cultural identity. Unfortunately, this only encourages the warped and ignorant views of the far right and of racists like those in the EDL. One member, speaking at the demonstration in Luton, was pleased that Cameron “had come round to our way of thinking”. The government has economic and political interests in the perpetuation of Islamaphobia. The coalition has to justify the billions spent on wars in the Middle East, illegal or otherwise, while simultaneously slashing domestic public spending on an unprecedented scale. The ‘war on terrorism’ is characterised as a sort of cultural crusade, highlighting the ‘innate’ differences between different cultures and deﬁning one as good, the other as bad. Organisations like the EDL conveniently pounce on the designated
target of the Muslim, whipping up a storm of race hatred, instead of mobilising in anger against the cuts. In actuality, is the average British person more likely to be affected by job losses and less welfare entitlement, or by Sharia law? Ultimately, integration is a twoway street. Cameron cannot legitimately point the ﬁnger of blame at Muslim communities for promoting a ‘separatist ideology’ on the same day thousands of anti-Islam demonstrators march onto the streets. The EDL are an acute example of the growth in racism, fuelled by the mythology surrounding immigration. Other factors also lead to alienation, such as poverty, which is reported to be much higher in immigrant communities. Cultural difference and reluctance to integrate are by no means the crucial factors in dividing communities, but if they were, the Prime Minister would perhaps be the biggest culprit. Throughout his speech he referred to the democratic rights we hold in this country as ‘British values’. These rights, such as gender equality, were bitterly fought for and hard-won, and the Tory party, historically speaking, has often been their biggest opponent. They are fundamental human rights, not a cultural identity. Egyptians, predominantly Muslim, are currently ﬁghting to win some of these rights and freedoms. Relentlessly promoting a ‘national identity’ will not improve social relations; it risks further alienating minority groups and, at worst, inciting racism. ‘Britishness’ is, in truth, a shifting concept, as it should be.
Byker brought back to future Harriet King
I am sure that I am not the only one who ﬁnds it bafﬂing that the Bolam Coyne part of the Byker estate has been empty for over a decade, considering that not one of the 17 ﬂats within the block has a front door. No tenants are eager to move into what was once an innovative part of the new estate. Designed to replace existing terrace houses that lacked all amenities and provide their tenants with a clean, modern place to live, the Byker Estate has arguably been one of the more successful of this mostly unsuccessful modernisation, which took place country-wide. Many people regard the removing of terraced housing as a travesty, failing to see the logic in pulling down solid homes and replacing them with ‘pre-fab’ ﬂats. Bolam Coyne, with its radical ideas about
communal living, has the basic result that anyone living there has no privacy. Not, I’m sure, what many people would consider an ideal arrangement. Who wants to share the only entrance to your home with so many other families? I know that I wouldn’t. Now the Grade II listed ‘iconic’ block is to be given a complete renovation. Including giving each ﬂat a front door at ground level to the exterior of the building, re-establishing the internal courtyard that will be produced as a result, complete with a rainwater-fed stream.
“The problem for the individuals who live on the estate is that, regardless of what politicians are saying, they have to live their daily lives on it.” I am unsure exactly how a rainwater fed stream works in an inter-
nal courtyard, but it would be interesting to see. Many local people have welcomed the plans. Many others have stated that they believe that the whole thing should be ﬂattened, and the estate built again from scratch. Bolam Coyne was built in the 1970s and was supposed to last for only 25 years. Not only is it well past its sell by date, but I fail to see how that possibly worked as investment for the government. Presumably, there was no guarantee that a government that far in the future would be happy simply pulling down and rebuilding an estate. Building for 25 years was signiﬁcantly cheaper. The problem for the individuals who live on the estate is that, regardless of what politicians are saying, they have to live their daily lives on it. Many have said they are happy living where they do, but that their homes desperately need renovating. Even in this recession the regeneration is worthy, and I hope that they get the funding they deserve.
Monday February 14 2011 THE COURIER
Are the changes in visa laws for non-EU students too tough? Yes Laura Mowat
Although it is important that the UK continues to select talented international students to study in its universities, it is worth the government reducing the amount of students who come and do not actually study here, simply using the visas to live and work. As Immigration Minister Damian Green’s speech outlined: “We will do nothing to prevent those coming here to study degree level courses and will protect our world class academic institutions.” Reports show that students have sometimes never turned up to their courses and have disappeared into the underground economy. According to the Home Ofﬁce statistics, 32, 000 students disappear into the illegal jobs economy each year. The UK Border Agency picking up students supposedly studying in London, but working and living in Wales. Many ill-informed international students, who have the visas, are paying for bogus courses not held at accredited institutions. In the past 12 months, 91,000 students have come to the UK to study at educational institutions which are not highly trusted. The Home Ofﬁce statistics show that there are 613 bogus universities which are not trusted by the government, but where international students apply for visas to study at. They have offered hoax courses in the past, where placements have included working in a pizza chain and there have been reports of two lecturers for 940 students. The Immigration Minister found out that students have been subject to work excessive hours in these placements. Consequently, the reviewed system will help the honest student visa applicants and give them peace of mind that they are studying at an accredited, reputable university and will be fairly treated. The changes will still allow inter-
national students to stay in the UK, if they have a job offer for a skilled position, so they can still enrich the economy. The number of dependents will be reduced; 30,000 dependents came into the UK in 2009, which, given the economic situation, is arguably too high. Nevertheless dependents will still be able to take skilled jobs. Under the new rules, students will need to speak GCSE English. This seems a fair demand seeing as they have to study and live in an English environment. It would be easier if the students could speak intermediate English upon arrival in order to ease integration into society. Alan Johnson, the Labour MP, points out that it is a way of simply curbing the abuse of the system and cracking down on economic migrants entering the country illegally through a student visa. Statistics show that 26 per cent of non EU students with the visa ﬂout the rules, and in 2009, 29 per cent of students coming from India were found to have false documents. Genuine international students will still be very much welcome in
the UK. In fact the government aims to protect the professional agents and universities. The government are simply trying to stop foreign students who are not playing by the rules, and are coming here and working illegally, with absolutely no intention of actually studying.
No Menglei Zhang
Following a change in the UK visa application system in 2009, this year the government is seeking to further reduce net immigration numbers. In line with this objective, the Home Ofﬁce proposed tougher restrictions for non-EU applicants who wish to study in the UK. The new system is going to take ef-
fect in April. The proposed changes includes: removal of in country visas; removal of post study work; requirements of English language. A national consultation on this matter was held in January. Newcastle University, in common with other universities in the UK, is concerned about the effect these proposals would have on recruiting International students. Universities’ concerns shows little wonder when ﬁgures prove that international students bring in ﬁve billion pounds per year to the UK economy. The current international tuition rate is three to four times higher than home student’s fees for undergraduate studies; around £5000 more expensive for postgraduate studies. The top-end universities such as Imperial and UCL could charge approximately £20,000 per year for international rate. When higher education funding is cut up to 60 or 70 per cent, it is clear that restricting international student numbers could be an even bigger blow to universities. This, in combination with a raise in home students’ tuition, will simply encourage both
home and international applicants to study elsewhere. Whilst lacking funds, and facing possible difﬁculties in recruitments, universities are inevitably facing damages on their research ability and reputations. The removal of post graduate work and restrictions in skilled worker permits will also have knock on effects to all higher education institutions. Currently, over 10 per cent of university academic staff come from outside the EU. It is reported by the Guardian that research areas such as clinical medicine, physics, engineering and chemistry in the UK are in need of international talent. World-class research reputation simply can’t bypass global talent. The new rules will only prove to be more than difﬁcult to bringing academic talents. Damian Green, the UK immigration Minster, claimed the government’s plan is proposed “at a time when graduate unemployment rate level is at its highest for 17 years.” Admittedly, there is an undoubted abuse in the current visa system. However if the emphasis is on lowering unemployment rate, why is it that the matter is addressed on candidates’ nationality? If British nationals who are equally educated struggle to ﬁnd employment, it certainly isn’t going to be easier for international graduates doesn’t make sense. Newcastle University says, “International students provide signiﬁcant academic, culture and ﬁnancial beneﬁts to universities and to the wider UK.” This is certainly true. Like most universities in the UK, non-EU students are not just good for ﬁnancial revenues. Equally important, they add much richness into academic and culture arenas. In this globalised era, if Universities cannot be the place where differences of language, culture and world views meet and fuse, where else could it be? Has Britain really failed multiculturalism in this globalised era? Let’s have more faith!
Courier Online Do you agree with Laura or Menglei? Comment online at www.thecourieronline.co.uk Are the tougher laws on visas the answer to a difﬁcult situation or are they just discriminatory against international students?
Middle East mess or an ‘orderly transition’ to peace? George Sanderson
In recent weeks we have seen protests and uprisings by people throughout northern Africa in an attempt to bring political reform to their respective countries. Tunisia and Egypt have seen perhaps the greatest media coverage with Egypt in particular, as it’s a very common tourist destination for international travellers. Tunisia’s President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali has ﬂed his country, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak is staring defeat in the face, Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh announced he would step down after more than 30 years in power, and Jordan’s King Abdul-
lah II has dismissed his government and instructed a whole new batch of political reforms to be carried out. Considering how entrenched the reigning politicians have been in this region for the past few decades, the events unfolding before us are truly historic. The scale of the protesting has been enormous. One day last week has become known as ‘Million Day’ in Egypt due to the number of protesters in Tahrir Square, but since then reporters have said that the protests on the February 8 have superseded even this. The fact that hundreds of thousands of Egyptians have taken part in the protesting each day since they started on January 25 is particularly remarkable given Mubarak’s penchant for ‘doing away’ with political dissidents. This show of civil force is absolutely unprecedented in Muslim coun-
tries, where a more autocratic style of government is the norm. No foreign affairs analyst can say for certain what will happen, but the civil unrest has signalled a new will by people in the Muslim world to bring about political reforms, perhaps stemming from the Iranian protests in 2009 during Ahmadinejad’s re-election. The general message from protesters has been one of wanting increased democratic participation and disposal of the current regime. However, this doesn’t mean the people want to adopt typically Western values of democracy and freedom. Beneath the evident unrest lies a dark undercurrent of political manoeuvring. Perhaps the greatest fear among Western countries is the opportunities increased democracy would present to the Muslim Brotherhood. This is a political party that spans
the Muslim world with the stated intention of bringing in Sharia law to govern countries. They are frequently repressed and outlawed, but are nonetheless popular with citizens and have a long history. They were active in helping kick British colonial rule out of Egypt and it is here that they have their strongest following. They also have somewhat of a paramilitary wing, who have often been accused of being a political front to terrorist activities, much like Sinn Fein and the IRA. As a result of their wish to implement Sharia law and their apparent terrorist activities; Western countries have long tolerated the autocratic but less extreme governments of northern Africa that today ﬁnd themselves under pressure. The Brotherhood have taken no ofﬁcial role in the protests as of yet, but their presence is known and
they have taken steps to publicise their wish to be included in whatever negotiations there may be towards a political settlement. This however, is not a wish to be taken lightly as, of all the opposition parties in Egypt, the Brotherhood command perhaps the largest and most committed following. The reaction of Western governments to this upheaval has been generally one of caution rather than celebration at the prospect of increased democracy. Both Obama and Cameron have used the phrase ‘orderly transition’ when asked about what they would like to see happen. This of course leaves plenty of time for political manoeuvring which would likely see attempts by incumbent governments to promise concessions rather than pack up and leave, which is undoubtedly what the protesters want.
THE COURIER Monday February 14 2011
We’re all going on an (autumn) holiday Sophie McCoid
Doesn’t everyone love summer? Long lazy days, ice cream and the prospect of obtaining a healthy glow, makes it my favourite season at least. Then along comes winter, with its dark nights and chilly weather. Once August has passed, there is no ofﬁcial bank holiday to look forward to until the festive period. Grim. This could be all set to change, however, if a recent proposal to move the May Day bank holiday to October is successful. Tourism minister John Penrose wants a public consultation on whether to have a replacement holiday in October. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said the aim of any alteration to the bank holiday schedule would be to help the tourism industry. The DCMS said any new bank holiday could possibly be held in October, as part of the autumn half-term holiday, and could be called “UK Day” or “Trafalgar Day”. I personally back such a proposal; we have a ﬂurry of bank holidays in the spring-summer period and then come winter, when we could really do with an extra day off for public morale more than anything, we don’t have one. This year alone we will have ﬁve bank holidays over the April-May period due to the fall of Easter and the royal wedding. The move of the bank holiday would be good for British tourism, which seemingly shuts down in the winter months completely. The prospect of a new national day would inspire patriotism, and give
Katy Covell Columnist
Moving a bank holiday to October: a viable suggestion by the Tourism Minister or an idea that ought to remain solely for summer?
people something to look forward to in the arduous winter months before Christmas. The general secretary of the Trade Union Council, Brendan Barber, is against the proposals, however, claiming that workers and businesses have built their schedules around the established bank holidays. May Day is celebrated in many countries, where it is also known as International Workers’ Day, when celebrations and demonstrations are organised by unions and other groups. Mr Barnes believes it is due to this association with Labour Day that the government is so keen to move this particular holiday. This accusation doesn’t seem to
have much founding, as May Day is a traditional British celebration dating back to the 4th century, and its association with Labour Day is merely coincidental in my view.
“This year alone we will have ﬁve bank holidays over the April-May period due to the fall of Easter and the royal wedding.” Mr Barnes proposes that we create a new bank holiday for October, whilst retaining all the current ones. This is a good idea in theory as Brit-
ain also has the least bank holidays in Europe. In practise, however, I don’t believe it would be beneﬁcial to our economy to create a new holiday, instead of moving an existing one. With each UK bank holiday costing the country up to six billion pounds, it seems an unnecessary measure when one could just be moved to a more appropriate time. I for one really hope the outcome of these debates is the creation of a new bank holiday; Britons have long since needed something other than Christmas to get them through the bleak midwinter and this seems the perfect way to alleviate those winter blues until its ice cream season again.
When the tough gets going: make a movie Niall Haughey
On the November 1, 2007, Meredith Kercher, a twenty-one-year-old Leeds University student was murdered while studying abroad in Perugia, Italy. Kercher, who was on a year-long exchange programme as part of her European Studies degree, was sexually assaulted and stabbed to death. Kercher’s housemate, Amanda Knox - herself an exchange student from the USA - and her boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, were convicted of these deplorable crimes in 2009 and sentenced to 26 years and 25 years respectively. However, both Knox and Sollecito have always vehemently denied any involvement in the murder, and an appeal for the two convicts began in November 2010. This appeal is based on disputed D.N.A evidence, involving D.N.A samples taken from a kitchen knife found in Sollecito’s ﬂat, and on blood found on Meredith’s bra. The appeal, which has continued
Mind your manners
to be jammed in the frenzy of the media spotlight, is due to resume later this month with its conclusion hotly anticipated. The Amanda Knox saga has taken an unexpected turn, courtesy of the entertainment industry. A TV ﬁlm, named Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy, is due for screening on American channel Lifetime on February 21, and has come under intense criticism. In the movie, Knox is played by Heroes star Hayden Panettiere, and scenes are included showing Kercher screaming in terror as her killer pins her down. The fact that this ﬁlm is being screened just three years after Kercher’s death, and less than two years after Knox’s and Sollecito’s conviction, is surely scandalous enough in itself. However, this absurdity is surely exasperated when we consider that the screening of the ﬁlm is smack bang in the middle of the appeal process. Arline Kercher, Meredith’s mother, was understandably taken aback, explaining her confusion about how a ﬁlm can be made when there is still an appeal to be heard, stating, “It does not give the court a fair chance”. The making of this movie, though,
should come as no surprise to those who have followed the development of the movie industry in recent years. I mean, let’s face it, stories of tragedy and disaster, struggle and strife – particularly true life stories – make big money. If we take only a quick look we will ﬁnd Schindler’s List, The Great Escape, Pearl Harbor, The Pianist, Hotel Rwanda, Munich, World Trade Center, and United 93. This focus on tragedy in ﬁlm is no more evident when we look at the masses of war movies that continue to hit our screens. Only last year saw the screening of the mini-series, The Paciﬁc, the most expensive miniseries in history, costing a total of $150 million to create. This tendency to follow the same money-making strategy and to exploit real-life stories to make a quick buck, despite being tiresome and often predictable, is all well and good, and in fairness, often creates enjoyable movies. Let’s be honest, the reason that these ﬁlms continue to be made, and continue to make money, is because we persistently take advantage of Orange Wednesdays to go and see them! But what I am arguing here is that there are lines which should be
drawn; indeed boundaries which should not be passed, when creating a movie of this kind. Let’s just look at 9/11. A catastrophic event in which nearly 3000 people died, and which paved the way for a lengthy and expensive War on Terror. Yet, despite the severity of the events which occurred on that day in 2001, the documentary ﬁlm 9/11 was released less than one year later, and followed by many more. This reeks of distaste, and brings back horriﬁc memories for many people affected by the tragedy. And it is this distaste which has reared its ugly head again with the release of Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy. I fully understand that we all need to make a living, but surely there has to be a limit, some sentiment even, when considering topics such as these for a movie. For the parents of Meredith Kercher, this ﬁlm puts the death of their daughter into graphic image, and what’s more, before the case of her murder has even been put to bed! If this trend is to continue, it is worrying to think what will hit the screen next. It is a trend which cannot continue to escalate in world cinema.
Supposedly, the reason that we celebrate Valentine’s Day on the February 14 originates from the death of St. Valentine, a Roman priest who was executed after performing secret marriages which went against the wishes of Emperor Claudius II. As legend has it, having made friends with his jailor’s daughter, the young Roman sent her a letter shortly before his death that ﬁnished with the words, “From your Valentine”, thus sparking the enduring V-Day tradition of sending cards to love interests. Now, I suspect that you are probably expecting to read a torrent of abuse directed at all those ‘adorable’, happily-attached couples; those folk who are this very night planning to hold hands over neatlystarched restaurant tablecloths, gazing into each others’ tea-light-glow enhanced eyes. But fear not; you lovebirds can come out from behind your heartshaped helium balloons. On this occasion, this singleton has no quarrel with you. Instead, I should like to pick a ﬁght with whomever it was who ﬁrst thought to commercialise the day of lovin’. You see, I feel that what was once a day that encouraged folk to make daring and truly romantic gestures, has become a day on which they feel that they are obliged to publicly declare and display their affection for one another. There is, of course, no denying that we will all know at least one annoying pair that goes all out for the whole V-Day thing. But the point is, they do not need any encouragement; they get jiggy in public all year round. The modern day commercialisation of Valentine’s Day was made for these cheesemongers, but I reckon it is actually killing un-showy love. From a singleton’s perspective, the build up and promotion raises our hopes of the imminent materialisation of a magical dalliance. This only heightens the sense of disappointment felt upon not receiving that pink envelope-clad card, complete with a declaration of undying love. But it is not just the Bridget Jones and Adrian Moles out there that are affected; this commercialisation also causes problems for couples too, albeit only the less exhibitionist ones. There is this pressure that they must do ‘something special’ on the 14th. And God forbid if one half forgets to book a restaurant, buy a card, a bunch of ﬂowers, or box of Thornton’s ﬁnest Belgium trufﬂes. It is not the idea of taking one particular day to celebrate romance that bugs me, but the way that it is now shoved in my face everywhere I go. When I encountered a wall of heartshaped chocolate boxes in M&S the other day, I didn’t feel warm and fuzzy inside, but – as a singleton – inadequate and excluded. Having said that, if I was in a relationship and I received a box of chocolates like that, I’d probably dump my other half for being unoriginal. So there we have it... Valentine’s Day just puts pressure on everyone. Just in case though, my address is...
Monday February 14 2011 THE COURIER
Littlegossip.com: the latest Letters to the Editor form of cyber bullying “Birth vs. worth argument is complicated”
Littlegossip.com has appeared in the headlines, due to claims that it has become a site for cyber bullying, rather than a way to spread fun and clean gossip. However, the idea of a gossip site is surely sinister? Gossip amongst young people is often vindictive and manipulative and therefore it’s hard to see that the website could ever just be a place to share entertaining stories. Littlegossip.com provides a website for you to be able to post stories about your peers at your university or college. When reports of school children using the site to bully one another arose, complaints from parents and teachers forced the site to close down. It has now reopened and can only be accessed by over 18s. Is this necessarily the right precaution to take though? Gossip can ruin a reputation at any age, and the gateway to the site is only a simple click away. Evidence has been found of school children still using Littlegossip.com.
This prompts the difﬁcult question of whether the web can be controlled? The internet is vast and it is almost impossible to monitor what appears and happens online. Emma-Jane Cross from the charity Beatbullying said, “while social networking sites are not intrinsically bad, it is vital that where incidents of bullying and harassment take place online, swift and decisive action is taken to protect our children.” Emma continued, saying that the site was worrying because “it seems to have the sole purpose of identifying and victimising vulnerable young people”. I have to admit that I was horriﬁed when I visited Littlegossip.com. After registering as a member of Newcastle University, the posts which appeared made me squirm. To write awful things and target individuals so directly shocked me. Cheating, drugs and sexuality were the recent topics of ‘gossip’ and if the accused read what was written and took it seriously, they would understandably be hurt. Moreover, the victim’s name is disclosed but the spreader of the gossip is not. It’s this secrecy which keeps gossip alive and kicking. Ironically, the ethos of Littlegossip.com includes statements about keeping a ‘positive vibe’ and that
they rely on users for moderation. The rumours, however, are on a similar and sick wavelength; it is unlikely that the foul language and disgusting stories would be reported. Furthermore, the posts are linked to Facebook and Twitter; I don’t understand why you would want to ‘like’ a site which spreads malicious rumours. Reports of cyber bullying are rife. Worryingly, chat rooms are becoming forums for death, with numerous news reports of school pupils announcing their suicidal instincts online. It’s sad to think that young people feel the only way to communicate with the people around them is via a social networking website. It’s a reﬂection of how people need to hide behind a computer screen to express their emotions. However, it is also this smoke screen which means that bullies are able to write such horrible and nasty words; they are empowered by the internet because the bullying is partly hidden. Not only does the internet exhibit the weaknesses of the victim, but it also shows the weak nature of the bully. Shortly before going to print, Littlegossip.com announced its close down due to peristant abuse by some parties.
In response to Laura Mowat’s article on “private schooling”, in The Courier, Issue 1223. Does it matter that politics is elitist? Does it matter where someone comes from? Will the best rise to the top? Despite not quite understanding the exact argument that Mowat was making (Private schools make you a better person? It doesn’t matter where one comes from? It’s unfair to judge someone by their background? Something has to change?) or the conclusion (private schools give you the ‘can do’ drive? Or that drive, intelligence and ambition comes from the individual?), Mowat was right in pointing out that the ‘birth vs. worth’ argument is complicated, and therefore it is worth looking at some empirical evidence when coming to a ‘conclusion’. In terms of life chances, the evidence clearly points to one answer: yes, it does matter where you come from. Research by the Programme for International Student Assessment and the International Adult Literacy Survey concluded that educational performance is related to socio-economic background. Research by the Department of Health concluded that there is a cor-
relation between health, well-being and life expectancy and one’s background. The evidence goes on. These all have a signiﬁcant impact on life chances and the ability to be ‘successful’. However, in the important realm of politics, does elitism matter? Yes, especially when a signiﬁcant proportion of the ‘elites’ are taken from the same place. Studies by the UN and the University of California, Berkeley, have produced reports that conclude that a diverse ‘workforce’ is important in increasing productivity, responsiveness and developing solutions to problems. In the realm of politics, where the issues are numerous, these are of even more importance. Ambition may be a necessary condition for success, but it is by no means sufﬁcient. Class, education and opportunities available to a person matter, especially in politics. SINCERELY, EDWARD MUNDY
Have your say on all the stories included this week and more online, at www.the courieronline. co.uk
THE COURIER Monday February 14 2011
Which foods will get you in the mood this Valentine’s? > page 17
Sexual health: no glove, no love
Valentine’s gifts; what happens if you get a suprise you didn’t expect? Harriet Webb investigates
Each year, on February 14, every romantic dreams of the perfect Valentine’s Day. However, with as many as 790,000 sexually transmitted infections (STIs) being diagnosed across the UK, this dream could turn into another statistic, and worse a potentially life altering disease. ‘Wrap it up before you slap it up’ is a common condom slogan. In today’s society, the message it conveys is becoming ever more important with the rate of STIs still on the increase. Therefore every effort to raise awareness will be made in this year’s National Contraceptive Week February 11-17. You can’t tell if someone has an STI just by looking at them. STIs are diseases passed on through intimate sexual contact. They can be passed on during vaginal, anal and, most surprisingly, oral sex or even genital contact with an infected partner. The most common STIs in the UK include chlamydia, genital warts and gonorrhoea, otherwise known as ‘the clap.’ Worryingly, even in the 21st century there is a lack of awareness around the dangers of these intimate infections. A recent Government survey of 2000 young people and parents found alarming statistics; one in five people do not realise that catching chlamydia can affect fertility, and approximately one in fourteen people tested have chlamydia. The study also revealed that two thirds do not use a condom when
Condoms: The only way to protect yourself from a sexually transmitted infection
they have sex with a new partner for the first time and nine out of ten fail to get tested for STIs before starting a new relationship, leaving themselves and their new partner at risk. Similarly, gonorrhoea can be spread by oral sex; the infection is contracted in their throat and eventually pass it on. It can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, which can prevent women from getting pregnant in later life. Shockingly genital herpes greatly increases the chance of getting HIV by up to 10 times. This is because herpes causes an ulcerated raw surface in your genitals. The number of confirmed diagnoses of genital herpes rose by 10 per cent to a total of
28,957 cases between 2007 and 2008. Also, there are some types of the wart virus that are known to cause cervical and vaginal cancers. Unfortunately a lot of people rely on symptoms to tell them they need to be tested, but not all STIs show symptoms. Worryingly at least 50 per cent of those who have chlamydia (possibly up to 90 per cent of men with chlamydia) have no visible symptoms. For more information on symptoms please visit the NHS website. The age group most affected continues to be us, 16 to 24 year olds. Even though we make up just 12 per cent of the population, young people such as university students ac-
count for more than half of all STIs diagnosed in the UK. This includes 65 per cent of new Chlamydia cases and 55 per cent of new cases of genital warts. According to the UK’s leading provider of sexual health and reproductive clinics, January and February are their busiest months for dealing with the STI aftermath of flowing alcohol and the feel good seasonal spirit. To diagnose an STI you can only be sure if you have a test. Local sexual health clinics, genitourinary medicine (GUM) or community contraceptive clinics such as the Brook can test you for STIs free of charge, and all advice and treatment is completely confidential. Again visit the NHS website to find your nearest clinic. If you go to a clinic you don’t have to give your real name, as long as the clinic can contact you with your results. Young people under 25 can get tested for chlamydia for free as part of the National Chlamydia Screening Programme; this is now done in pubs and clubs. The tests are quick and non-invasive; men and woman can give a urine sample, and women can take a vaginal swab. So this year as we celebrate Valentine’s Day by indulging in the established intimate traditions usually celebrated with a loved one, remember: ‘You can’t go wrong if you shield your dong.’
Is hair removal really a smooth move?
This week Lifestyle’s grooming expert considers the best look for your downstairs; the shaven haven or au naturel It is a social taboo that has plagued scores of women - to trim or not to trim? That is the question I hope to discuss in the passage of this article and bare all in this beauty debate. In case any of you have been lost in my opening vague clichés, it is going to be difficult to discuss this very delicate subject without being slightly crude at times so, with this in mind, my subject of investigation is female hair maintenance. After canvassing opinion, it seems that after entering into a sexual relationship, one of the opening questions that the ‘lads’ ask their poor, unassuming male friend is: was the girl well-maintained downstairs? When my boyfriend and I reminisce about our relationship in its infancy, he never fails to mention that he was pleased and relieved with my appearance underneath my leggings; this makes one wonder whether this aspect of our beauty regime is liberating, or whether society has pressurised us into conforming to male ideals that may have originated in the classified section of a seedy video shop or on the internet?
Some feminists would argue that the increasing pressure to maintain a certain level of tidiness is a social construct, showing the decline in appreciation of the natural form. With all the ‘Brazilian’ and ‘Bollywood’ waxes one can get at a beauticians these days, it’s hard to argue with this opinion. In reality, should we really care to buy into such “treatments” if it means rejecting the natural form? When I used to work in retail, the shop was across the road from a spa and many of the customers used to mention that they were spending the rest of their afternoon getting a wax. Working in a superficial industry, one doesn’t question their motives. However, in retrospect, why do female grooming habits have to be dictated by a male ideal that is now, in society, taken as a given and you are somewhat perverse if you don’t adhere to this strict rule of care? After much discussion with my friends, the conclusion seems to be quite the opposite, denying the bond of sisterhood we should have. Rather, every young woman I have
spoken to, regardless of their marital status, agrees that not only does maintenance create the impression that you look after yourself, but also quite simply makes a girl feel good. However, does this rule of ‘not being in the wilderness’, as a friend so eloquently put it, count for men too? Is it a question of what a girl does, a guy should do too? From heated discussions, it seems it is more socially acceptable for men to not maintain, possibly harping back to animalistic ‘me Tarzan, you Jane’ rhetoric. It seems that we are lacking a consensus in our sexual morals here. Should it be agreed on a partner to partner basis the level in which maintenance should be performed to avoid surprises? But where exactly will this debate end? Will we find men looking like Neanderthals whilst every woman walks around with no body hair and pretty patterns on their areas? With new and more inventive ways for women to beautify their bits, I felt, in the spirit of this investigation, I should discover the marvels of the biggest phenomenon of 2011 - the “vajazzle”. In
Should we trim our most intimate areas?
the second part of this article next week, I hope to expel all the myths surrounding possibly the most extreme treatment on the high street to make women feel good. The trimming debate may be over for now, but I expect greater revelations to come as the “vajazzle” reveals all.
The Penny Pincher #11 Something for nothing Sarah Bennett Columnist
Don’t worry, this week I’m avoiding all things red, pink and Valentine. Instead I’m going to talk about getting something for practically nothing. www.freecycle.org is a site that originated in the US but has now come to the UK. Here, people can advertise things that they want to get rid of and you can reply to them if you want their item. There are groups all around the country and the Newcastle one is fairly active. If you sign up to the site, you’ll get daily emails of the top 25 most recent posts or if you want to fill up your inbox, you can get an email for every item that’s posted. The spirit of the site is a recycling community, somewhere you can give as well as get, and a mantra that I think more of us should choose in the long run. Most of the stuff on here is furniture, but if you want to brighten up your room you may find something that does just that. There are also the stranger posts; I’ve seen boxes of Beanie Babies listed, and a fish tank, so if you fancy a new hobby, or giving a new home to a pet, this could be the place to start! The only downside to this is that you have to collect the item yourself. So if you really, really want that new chair that’s been posted, just think about how you’re going to get it home, or rope in a friend with a car. If you don’t fancy reliving your childhood and starting up your Beanie Baby collection again, you could try something new in your spare time. The Union is offering just that with their Give it a Go scheme. Here you can try a new activity, offered by a sports club or society, or visit somewhere in Newcastle for a small cost. Activities this term include visits to St James Park, Wet ‘n’ Wild and Go-Karting, and taster sessions offered by Karate, the Fell Walking society and the Fencing club. You can even get some Massage training and have a go at Burlesque dancing! Just check out the Union website at www.unionsociety.co.uk and you’ll find all the information on how to sign up. The latest freebie I’ve signed up for is the npower smartpower electricity monitor. If you’re an npower customer, all you need to do is sign up online, opt to receive paperless billing and select the option for a monitor. There’s a high demand for them, but apparently it’s going to tell me what electricity I’m using and see where I can make savings in my energy usage. I’m a little sceptical, but I’ll let you know how it progresses when I receive it, so watch this space!
Monday February 14 2011 THE COURIER
Life & Style Sex & Relationships
sex & relationships
Blind date special: Three girls, three dates, one boy...
In our Valentine’s Day special, casanova Wills Robinson dates Bethan Brown, Sarah Melton, and Nikoleta Naydenova
Date No. 1 Bethan She said: The date started rather comically with me walking straight past Wills. Even more funny is the fact that I walked past smiling and said ‘hi’ quietly, in the hope that he was my blind date! After a light-bulb moment, we both greeted each other properly and despite the fact I was quite nervous, Wills was great company from start to finish and I can’t remember a single awkward silence. Wills had given me a choice of going to Tynemouth, or having lunch in town, and given the weather, the lunch seemed a really good choice. We chatted all the way as we got in a taxi and went down to the ‘The pitcher and piano’. We sat down,
and after finding out a bit about each other, it seemed we had quite a few things in common, as well as reminiscing over summer festivals. Time seemed to fly, and two hours raced past. We had a lot of laughs and I really enjoyed Wills company; he’s a polite guy, with a generous sense of humour which made for a really enjoyable date. When we finished the wine, and Wills tried the feta cheese I had ordered (he just couldn’t stomach the olive though!), we both decided to walk back up to town, where we went our separate ways. Wills is a really down to earth guy, and I have to say I had a lot of fun on the date. He said: Standing next to Haymarket station, I didn’t really know what to expect from the date. I was waiting when a girl strolled past and smiled at me, but carried on walking. Then, she turned round and laughed realising I was her date, and not some
random guy handing her a cheeky smile on the street. As soon as we got in the taxi, the conversation was flowing as we headed to Pitcher and Piano for lunch. I chose this after deliberating over a trip to Tynemouth; an idea, which was discarded when I realised the North East’s finest weather wouldn’t have made for a great day out at the beach. We ordered a bottle of wine and the conversation flowed - I don’t think there was a time when we were really searching for something to say. Her love for a good cup of tea made her an instant hit with me, even though she described herself as a bit of an old woman on a night out. We had a lot in common, and I was pretty jealous when she said she was off to see Magnetic Man later that night. All in all the date flew by and a few laughs were exchanged a long the way. She was a really nice, down to earth girl and I had a really good time, and hope she did to.
Date No. 2 Sarah She said: I had absolutely no idea what to expect for my blind date, I knew nothing about Wills or even where I was going. I was ordered a taxi to come and pick me up and take me to the restaurant, unfortunately the taxi driver didn’t know where I was meant to be going either, but that was all solved by a quick phone call. Wills had booked a table at The Living Room and was stood outside waiting for me when I arrived and paid my taxi fare. We sat down at the table with a bottle of wine each discussing how we’d been roped into the blind date. After the usual curtseys, conversation flowed as much as the wine (there may have been a
Date No. 3 Nikoleta She said: This was my first blind date ever and it went surprisingly good. I wasn’t very nervous but still had that tiny little voice in my head saying “Oh my God what if he’s an absolute freak?” Well he wasn’t. At around 7:30 he sent a taxi to pick me up and we met at Gusto, a really nice Italian restaurant at the Quayside. At first I thought he looked a bit nervous but as we started talking it all went down pretty well – there were no awkward moments of silence or stupid small talk about the weather. We spent a good couple of hours
in the restaurant talking about our shared interest in journalism or about time spent in uni or even about annoying parental conversations. After that we went to a cocktail bar just across the road, we had a couple of cocktails and a really good laugh about my strange reading habits. At around 11:30 we got a taxi back home. I had a really good time, I enjoyed the meal but most of all I enjoyed the company. I thought Wills is really easy going and clever; he is definitely a gentlemen and a fun-to-be -with kind of guy. I am not sure that there were any Cupid’s arrows or sparkles flying around but I would definitely like to have a friend like him. It was a fantastic night out. He said: For the final date I took first year media student Nikki to Gusto on the
Quayside. Learning she was doing a degree in media and wanted to be a journalist, we instantly had something in common, whilst the mutual love of sinners provided another good talking point. The food was fantastic and even though it stretches the wallet a bit, I would definitely recommend it to anyone. We finished off with some dessert, banoffee pie and ice cream which again went down very well, and then decided to get a couple more drinks in the Pitcher and Piano before we called it a night, where we ordered a couple of cocktails and started up a long conversation on films, learning that she had read the first Harry Potter book an impressive 34 times and was a big Lord of the Rings fan. Again it was a really nice date. The food, drinks and the company was good and I really don’t have a bad word to say about Nikki.
connection). The meal was amazing (which Wills wouldn’t let me pay towards at all - what a love!). After we were both finished we moved on to The Vineyard, where an incredibly drunk Geordie man insisted on giving me the world’s longest hug... something Wills found rather funny! After this encounter, we decided to head into The Lodge for a few drinks and a go on the games machine. Both of us were completely useless at this, but we got a good laugh out of it! As it was getting pretty late and the bars were closing, we decided that it was time to call it a night. Overall I had a fun night, there were no awkward silences and Wills was a real gentleman - absolutely lovely. He said: After the success of the first date, I was looking forward to the second. I took Sarah to the Living Room, a place I’d heard good things about it. She arrived, and we grabbed a bottle of wine at the bar and went
to the table. As the wine flowed, so did the conversation. There was a lot of laughs, her story about vodka and a hospital visit being one of my favourites. After the food the conversation continued and when the bottle of wine was finished, we ordered a couple more drinks. Then we went across the road to a bar, where Sarah caught the attention of a pretty intoxicated Geordie who I had to rescure her from! After a couple more drinks, the north v south banter kicked in, and we headed to the Lodge. We started playing the virtual Pub Quiz and even though she was convinced she had good general knowledge, we ended up wasting around a fiver with no success. After a few more shots, we went into Bar 42, eventually calling it a day after one final drink. Again it was a good date. She was funny, although someone a bit more sensitive may have taken the ‘posh southerner’ jokes to heart. The end of the night did get slightly messy, but all in all she was good company.
Life & Style Sex & Relationships
Monday February 14 2011 THE COURIER
sex & relationships
Is Valentine’s day too commercialised?
We discuss the age-old tale of flowers and chocolate or bitter singletons and wine
Victoria Mole: No Why is the holiday that celebrates love the most hated of all? The anti-Valentine’s party consists of the single, the clueless and the can’t-bebothered. It is not hard to imagine why this day is stressful for the majority of people, single or otherwise; everyone is trying to aspire to something that is full of such hyped expectations that they are impossible to actually live up to. The people that complain about it are only accepting it as a commercialised holiday with cards, extravagant gifts and a million ways to go wrong. If you view Valentine’s Day in the way that Clinton Cards wants you to, you are only going to be disappointed. It is only as commercial as you make it. The bitter single person is going to stay just that - single and even more bitter (this is coming from someone who has spent every Valentine’s Day of their life alone). There is nothing attractive about somebody who resents the happiness of other people and feels like they can’t be whole and content in themselves just as they are. If anything, being single is something to celebrate, you have so much freedom and are in much more control of your happiness. Valentine’s is a celebration of love; friends and relatives deserve to be shown some appreciation. It is a
Emma Balter: Yes
day that is designed to make people feel special; it doesn’t have to be confined to couples sending gifts. It is also a reminder to single people that may have a secret love interest of how amazing it could be if they were courageous enough to act on their feelings. The mass sightings of couples should be seen as a motivational, not a disheartening. Relationships are difficult to maintain - people who have decided to make a commitment to another person should be congratulated. The spark fading is a reason for many long-term relationships becoming strained; spending a day devoted to making an effort to recreate the honeymoon phase is definitely a positive gesture. Many long-term couples don’t kiss each other or say ‘I love you’ as much as they used to. It involves flowers, chocolate and wine; surely there can be nothing bad about this day! Yes, it’s a reminder of what you’re missing; yes, there’s pressure and expectations and yes, it’s probably going to be expensive but the stigma surrounding it makes people forget what it is: a day for letting someone you care about know that you love them.
The standard, over-used argument against Valentine’s Day is that it is too commercialised. But then again, so is Christmas - and I would never say a negative word about Christmas. However, this argument does have a point. Imagine how much pressure must be put on lads when the dreaded date approaches. Because let’s face it, if they don’t get us something perfect (and pricey), it obviously means they don’t love us enough - right? A well-known French comedian once rightly said that if guys mess up on Valentine’s Day, it feels like they immediately lose all the brownie points they had accumulated during the year. Not to mention that it is not fair on the female friends of these men. Last week I was dragged around by one of my good mates to help him find a present for his girlfriend, who happens to be my housemate. I ended up spending the whole of my afternoon trying on every single ring in Eldon Square. So what does all this actually mean? Why is Valentine’s Day such a big deal? It’s not like couples don’t
have enough landmark dates to celebrate: the first date, the first kiss, the first intimate moment, the first ‘I love you’, and of course the actual anniversaries. Brushing aside the excessiveness of all this, these dates are, after all, unique to the couple. So why would they need another one? Especially one that is shared with the billions of other couples walking on the face of the earth. There is also, let’s be honest, a major cringe factor to Valentine’s Day. At least one month before the actual day, the cheesy, lovey-dovey fest commences, and is felt everywhere. I mean, what does a girl have to do to be able to buy a box of Ferrero Rochers without it being heart-shaped? Or enjoy a Greggs cupcake without it having a Valentine’s theme? Not to be the ‘angry single gal’ here, but why do we have to be reminded that we have no one to be cheesy with? Or in other cases, why should we have to feel abnormal if we simply don’t want someone to be cheesy with? Think about it. I have always said that the best (and safest) way to celebrate Valentine’s Day is to have a brilliant night out with your single girlfriends. February 14 is on a Monday this year - Perdu anyone? That is, of course, if the club doesn’t decide to have a ‘Love’ theme...
madame vs monsieur K.VONG
girlfriend, don’t be afraid to use it... Ma cherie, give as good as you get.
“Help Madame & Monsieur! I’ve started seeing an older man, and my housemates find him repulsive!” I’ve recently started seeing a man who is much older than me, and my housemates are giving me a really hard time about it. I’m nearly 22, and my new boyfriend is 51. Personally, I don’t see a problem with the age gap, but most of my close friends think it’s really weird. He’s been divorced for nearly 10 years, and has two children – both who are older than me. They know about the relationship, and although they aren’t thrilled, they’ve accepted that we like one another. Unfortunately, my housemates are acting really strangely about it. They keep making rude jokes, and say that he’s old enough to be my grandad. He’s a lovely man, and we get on really well. How do I make my friends see that my relationship is not the end of the world?
Monsieur Girl, grow a pair! I think that your housemates are just poking fun at you. You can’t say you’ve never said something offensive to them that might be taken the wrong way. Have you ever thought that they may be jealous? Girls can get a pretty strong green eye if you know what I mean. Secretly, I bet they’d love a bit of older man loving. Who doesn’t want a more sophisticated
man - a man with money and experience?! Just because you have mature tastes doesn’t mean that you should be ashamed of them: you like him, who cares what everyone else thinks? Couples with large age gaps are actually very common. You’re definitely not the only person out there in a relationship with a much older fella. If his kids are accepting, then take what your friends say with a pinch of salt. Take it on the chin and if you have anything you can pull out about their boyfriend/
It has worked for Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas has it not? However, he is only 25 years her senior, I tally yours at 29. My dear, I simply feel you are missing out. Nineteen is the sexual peak for males, after that they get lazy rather than experienced. You are still young enough to bag yourself your very own teen, still fresh faced and with all the right plumbing intact. I am hardly surprised your housemates aren’t entirely happy with the prospect they came to uni to escape the over 50s, not share a beer with one over MOTD. And divorced? Have you enquired about the details? Second hand goods are never desirable. Perhaps you should just let this one go back to watching Deal or No Deal with a cup of hot cocoa rather than trying to introduce him to your pals. Why don’t you go for his son instead? Got a problem for Madame and Monsieur? Email courier.life@newcastle. ac.uk
Dangerous Liaisons #11 Valentine’s Day Pamela Mardle Columnist
I’m sure you’re all familiar with the over-amorous, lovey-dovey mushy couples who all seem completely unaware of social boundaries. The ones who feel that Robinson Library is an appropriate place to shoot raunchy texts to each other about rendezvous’ in the private study rooms - I can feel your sexual tension, and as fun as it is to have a little secret in public, suggestive looks and blushing smirks really do give the game away. I’m all for a bit of romance, but I feel the line is drawn at holding hands in public. Virtually sewed together in a clinch that would make a Playboy Bunny blush, we assume you must be entirely unaware you are in public. I don’t want to be the one to tap the couple on the shoulder (singular – it’s unclear where one entity ends and another begins) to tell them the feds are here to arrest them for indecent exposure; that’s just a mood killer. During Valentine’s season, looking in the window of Francesco’s and the like, you will be presented with the picture-perfect image of candlelit tables for two, bookended with similarly perfect-looking couples. A bitter sight for the recently abandoned maybe, but even the most hardened love cynic would be hard-pressed to not feel a bit gooey inside. I think it’s around the time when the romantic duo become symbolically joined by a length of spaghetti that I draw the line. Disney films: movie genius; real life they are not. If you are unaware of the boundaries for public displays of affection, heed this: when you begin taking hints from cartoon dogs (however human they may have seemed when you were five) you really are creeping into stomach-churning territory. Pay more attention to recent Disney creations like Enchanted which come as a textbook warning of how not to behave in public as a duo (singing with animated squirrels; spinning, arms wide, in the middle of a fountain; general vomit-inducing dreaminess). So, for those of you who are loved-up this Valentine’s day, spare a thought for the more restrained amongst us, and try to remain suitably distant from your significant other, at least until the library lift doors have closed (common sense would tell you to also ensure you’re alone). If I sound scathing I do apologise: it must be the fact that I have quarantined my germ-ridden bedroom and am surrounded by tissues and Vicks, repulsive even to the loneliest cretin this romantic season. Perhaps if I wasn’t certain to be turned away from restaurants for health and safety purposes, my bout of flu might be substituted by the Disney fever sweeping the nation.
Monday February 14 2011 THE COURIER
food & drink
Reviews: the best of the Valentine’s Day menus reviews The Fat Hippo 35a, St. Georges Terrace West Jesmond 0191 3408949 To say that our dining experience was enjoyable would be an understatement. With the intention of sampling the Valentine’s Day menu, naturally I was accompanied by my boyfriend. Initially greeted by the warm and charming decor, the staff offered an equally warm smile as we were seated at a table of our choice. The menu has everything that a student would want. Hearty cooked breakfasts for the perfect hangover cure, sharing platters if you’re lunching with friends, and really tasty burgers, suitable for all appetites. After taking our order, the manager, Michael, returned to our table and let me taste the wine before pouring it into our rather large glasses. As the policy of The Fat Hippo is to cook every meal from scratch, the short yet comfortable wait between each course allowed us to chat with Michael about his restaurant. As a former student living in Jesmond, he is passionate about fresh, well-prepared food and Michael felt that there was a gap in the market for this. Sampling the Valentine’s menu,
A gastronomic opportunity not to be missed: The Fat Hippo offers a Valentine’s Day menu that is sure to get you heart pumping.
my boyfriend Matthew ordered the soup of the day which was beetroot and feta. This came to the table served in a beautiful rustic pot with a warm wedge of sun-dried tomato bread. It was incredibly fresh and an amazing taste combination. We liked it so much that we had to share start-
ers, with my potato skins also getting demolished. The soup was exactly what The Fat Hippo represents for us, that the most unsuspecting things can present the greatest surprises. For mains, I had a Spicy Bean Burger, and Matthew had the ‘Fat Hippo Burger’. We were taken aback by the
presentation; on a wooden board sat a beautiful burger in a square ciabatta roll, a dish of homemade coleslaw and homemade chunky chips, complete with a salad garnish. The taste, once again, matched the presentation as I made the proclamation that it was the best veggie burger I’d ever had. Matthew was over-
reviews Café Med 1 Hutton Terrace Newcastle Upon Tyne 0191 239 9586 Following a string of unsuccessful restaurant ventures, it seems Hutton Terrace in Sandyford is ﬁnally onto a winner with Café Med. This small restaurant, tucked away off Portland Terrace is a hidden gem, and for many, just a short detour off the main route into university. Word of mouth has ensured that Café Med, which brands itself as a café, bistro and kitchen, has built up a steady clientele of local ofﬁce workers, professionals and students. Not to be missed is the daily happy hour, where a selection of pizzas and pasta dishes are available for just £3.50. The main area of the restaurant is small, with only 15 tables or so, set out in such a way as
A touch of class on a student budget; Cafe Med is the perfect place to enjoy a meal with your signiﬁcant other this Valentine’s day
to minimalise noise and promote an intimate dining experience. Simply decorated, and with a very pleasant ambience, Café Med immediately presents itself as a warm and welcoming environment in which to
enjoy a romantic dinner. The menu is a mixture of all things Mediterranean ensuring that both you and your special someone can ﬁnd something to taste, with ﬂavours from Greece, North Africa
and Turkey combining with the traditional pizza, pasta and risotto. As a Valentine’s treat Café Med are now also offering bottles of Rioja at the discount price of £13.50. The waiting staff take great care to
whelmed by the variety of accompaniments to his perfectly-cooked burger, with homemade onion rings, caramelised onions, pepperoni and bacon topping his towering plate. It was also the attention to detail that set The Fat Hippo apart from the rest; when I asked for mayonnaise, I was surprised by the pale yellow colour of it. The cook in me knew that this was the hallmark of homemade freshness, and it came as another pleasant contribution to our dining experience. Our ﬁnal course comprised of a well-presented strawberry cheesecake and ice cream drizzled with coulis and a warm Belgian wafﬂe with ice cream and butterscotch for Matthew. They were faultless just like the previous courses, a testament to Michael’s mantra of wanting to do tasty food properly. Not only was the food to die for, the decor was tasteful, the atmosphere was intimate and the music perfectly set it off. Despite the meal being complimentary, we left a rather generous tip because we couldn’t possibly have faulted our dining experience or the food that was served. The choices that we made, most of which are on the Valentine’s menu couldn’t have been done better. It is places like The Fat Hippo that do simple good food that offer the best experiences. Because of our very enthusiastic report, a couple we know are going to visit The Fat Hippo from Durham. If you want a fuss-free, intimate meal with your loved-one this Valentine’s Day then the Fat Hippo offers a gastronomic opportunity not to be missed! Lauren Girling be attentive, and are knowledgeable of the menu and the specials. The food is of a high quality, artistically presented and is quick to arrive at the table. Speciality starters include delicately prepared seafood dishes such as curried mussels and garlic king prawns, as well as the more usual garlic bread, potato skins and crostini. The deep fried Camembert with cranberry sauce was a particular highlight. Dishes as wide ranging as beef stroganoff, chicken souvlaki and lamb kleftiko make up the main course menu, but the real revelation is in the happy hour pizzas and pasta. For just £3.50, the pizzas are of such quality they merit a much higher price tag. We sampled the Calzone, which was large and perfectly baked, stuffed to bursting with juicy onions, ham and mushrooms. The desert menu is simple, but will cater for almost any taste. Desserts are lavishly presented with cream, chocolate sauce and fresh fruit. Certainly a ﬁtting end to a superb menu, a shared portion of the chocolate proﬁteroles is the perfect compromise for those sweet-seekers too full to enjoy their own desert. This restaurant isn’t only perfect for a Valentine’s Day dinner, but a quick bite at lunchtime or a more formal dinner. Sam Jacques
THE COURIER Monday February 14 2011
food & drink
The key to the heart is through the stomach Fall in love this February with Georgie Davies delicious slection of tempting yet simple recipes Love is in the air with Valentine’s Day fast approaching, but is it also on our plates? As loved ones head to their favourite restaurants, how about staying in and trying out some new recipes to impress that special someone? Whether loved up or not, this is the perfect time to try your hand to the kitchen! Rustle up a romantic brunch in bed with scrumptious American pancakes drizzled with strawberry syrup. Sift 125g of plain ﬂour into a bowl and combine with 1tsp of baking powder, 30g of caster sugar and a pinch of salt. Make a well in the middle and crack in one egg, add 120ml of milk and 30g of melted butter and whisk together into a smooth batter. Melt a little butter in a hot frying pan and add a ladleful of the mixture to form a thick pancake roughly the size of a saucer. When the surface of the pancake begins to bubble it is ready to turn over. Fry until golden, and repeat until the batter is used up. Meanwhile, heat 50ml of maple syrup with 70g of sliced strawberries until the strawberries have broken down a little and you’re left with a sweet, fruity syrup. If you’re feeling particularly romantic why not cut the pancakes into heart shapes using a large heart cookie cutter! If you fancy going the whole hog, turn to Italy for inspiration (after all, it was the homeland of the renowned seducer, Casanova!) Invest some time in the labour of love and create a heavenly risotto. The perfect thing about risotto is that once you’ve grasped the method for the base you can add any number and variety of ingredients, each creating a wonderfully new dish. Here’s a pea, pancetta and asparagus one to get you started. Apparently, three courses of asparagus were served to bridegrooms in the 1800s as an aphrodisiac! Add one chopped onion and a garlic clove to a pan with a knob of but-
Known by the Aztecs as ‘nourishment of the Gods’, more chocolate is sold on Valentine’s Day than any other time of the year. It contains feel-good phenylethylamine, and apparently more antioxidants than red wine (no harm combining the two though, right?) It’s also one of the few foods that will melt at body temperature...
Kat Bannon eats her way through the perfect Valentine’s treat - chocolate! 5/10 Milktray £4.68 (Co-op) The dozen red roses of the Valentine’s chocolate treat choice. This classic selection promises hazelnut praline, caramel bliss and rich trufﬂes. But with only one layer you know you’re paying more for the heartshaped box than the heart-shaped chocolates.
7/10 Black Magic £3.99 (Asda) An indulgent chocolate dessert: Chocolate and passion fruit pudding is a homemade treat that is guaranteed to wow your Valentine.
ter and sauté over a low heat. After 5-10 minutes turn up the heat and pour in 200g of Arborio risotto rice, keep stirring for about a minute. Add a glass of white wine and stir until its absorbed then turn down the heat. Take a pint of vegetable stock and very slowly begin to ladle it into the pan, waiting for each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. This should take about 20-30minutes. Taste every now and then to check. When the rice is almost cooked add a handful of petit pois, along with some steamed asparagus and chopped up crispy pancetta (you can also use streaky bacon). Stir in a large knob of butter, 50g of grated Parmesan and a handful
of chopped sage and season with salt and pepper. Serve with a rocket and Parmesan salad. Try other combos using ingredients such as goat’s cheese, mushrooms, squash, pine nuts, and many more. Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without chocolate; for a perfectly passionate pudding, nothing beats melt in the middle chocolate pud with passionfruit cream. Melt 60g of dark chocolate and 50g of butter in a bowl sitting over a saucepan of just simmering water. Meanwhile whisk together 30g of caster sugar, 1 large egg, 1 large egg yolk, and a few drops of vanilla extract/paste in a bowl - preferably with an electric whisk - until you reach a mousse-like consistency.
Slowly mix in the melted chocolate and butter and sift in 15g of selfraising ﬂour and fold in slowly using a metal spoon. Pour into two ramekins/mini pudding basins that have been brushed with butter. Cook the puddings in an oven heated to 200C for about 8-10 minutes, when they should be cooked on the outside but still oozing in the middle. Once ready leave them to stand for a minute before carefully turning them out. Lightly whip some double cream until just thick and scoop out the centre of a passion fruit. Swirl it through the cream. Spoon over the hot puddings. If you’re not already in love this Valentine’s Day, you certainly will be once you’ve ﬁnished one of these.
Eleanor Lister explores a range of aphrodisiacs to get you in the mood this Valentine’s Planning to cook for someone special this Valentine’s Day? Aphrodisiac foods, named after the Greek goddess of love, are believed to stimulate the senses and get people in the mood. For the perfect starter, main course and desert, try sneaking a couple of these into your February 14th’s dishes and (apparently) see things really sizzle...
compare the market
Aztecs believed this hanging fruit resembled testicles. Saucy. If that’s not enough, its potassium is good for energy levels and vitamin B6 found inside is said to increase male hormone production.
Another good reason for your 5-a-day. These are rich in potassium and B vitamins for sex hormone production. Studies also show its enzyme bromelain enhances male performance. Its suggestive shape apparently also plays a part in being named one of the world’s favourite aphrodisiacs.
Crowned the most powerful of aphrodisiacs, this ‘nectar of Aphrodite’ was often used in Ancient Egypt to cure impotence and sterility. It’s rich in B vitamins for testosterone production in men and boron to stimulate oestrogen production in females.
Perhaps not so common in a student kitchen, but protein-rich oysters are packed with zinc, used for testosterone production. As oysters can switch genders, there are claims that this aphrodisiac therefore allows one to experience both the masculine and feminine sides of love.
This has long been considered an aphrodisiac due to its phallic shape. Chinese traditionalists believe the roots increase compassion and love.
Known as the ‘drink of love’, let the bubbles work their magic. It is the perfect accompaniment to any romantic meal for two this Valentine’s.
These are just a few – garlic, ginger, mustard, vanilla and strawberries are also known aphrodisiacs. So get cooking and watch things really heat up! Happy Valentine’s!
Fancy something a little darker? Nestle’s Black Magic isn’t a national favourite, but its endorphin production and antioxidants might inspire more pleasure than expected.
8/10 Malteasers £1.99 (Morrisons) Cheap and cheerful, this ‘lighter way to enjoy chocolate’ might not be the ﬁrst choice for a Valentine, but these honeycomb balls don’t just endorse straw related fun.
10/10 Quality Street £4 (Tesco) A date with Tool Academy on the cards? Take advantage of the all time price low of the postChristmas chocolate tins still refusing to budge from supermarket shelves. Who needs a date when you have strawberry and orange creams to suck on?
Monday February 14 2011 THE COURIER
The insider’s guide to Paris
Emma Balter on the alternative places to visit when visiting the most romantic city in the world
Best of Britain Pete Warcup visits the UK’s most suprising romantic city; Hull
Paris: The French capital has much more to offer than the obvious world-famous landmarks. The Place Vendôme is home to a selection of luxurious shops and hotels
When walking around the streets of Paris it becomes clear that there is more to see or do in this beautiful city than the standard Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe. Some sites that are not necessarily well-known or wildly spoken about can sometimes turn out to be precious gems, worthy of a place in any guide book The ‘fripperies’ These little shops scattered around the small yet charming neighbourhood of the Marais (4th arrondissement) are in fact the best vintage thrift stores in town. If you root around the countless piles of clothes, you may find kooky and unique bargains such as flimsy tops for 5€, trendy granny sweaters for 10€ and genuine fur coats for 30-40€. The one I would especially recommend would be Coiffeur at 32 rue des Rosiers. And after a bit of retail therapy why not stop for the best falafel in Paris just round the corner on the rue Hospitalières St Gervais? They are priced at 5€ but are a meal in itself! The Cookie Shop For the sweet-toothed out there, opt for a traditional French bakery experience at the corner of rue Cardinet and rue Léon Cogniet in the 17th arrondissement. Although instead of going for the habitual croissant or pain au chocolat, be tempted by one of the best, most gooey chocolate chip cookies in existance. They are only 2€ and put Millie’s Cookies to shame! Rue Princesse This minuscule street is situated in the 6th arrondissment in a very hip neighbourhood near the quayside called Saint-Germain. If you stroll down there one evening you will find countless bars and crowds of people who, on the good nights, overflow on the street. FavouriteTemple Bar, although the pints are a whopping 8€ they charge only 20€ for ten shots of flavoured vodka.
The Rex Club At 5 boulevard Poissonière in the 2nd arrondissement hides the Rex, one of the more ‘grungy’ clubs of Paris (yet cleaner than Basement!). On its best nights it plays ‘minimal’, a minimalistic electronic music widespread in France but not very well-known elsewhere. The atmosphere is great and it is one of the few venues in Paris where you can walk in without a tie or a prom dress. Entry is 15€, which unfortunately is quite reasonable for Parisian nightlife, and 10€ on Thursdays which is effectively the best night.
The Place Vendôme Vendôme is a square very near the old Opera House in the 1st arrondissement. All around the Place are luxury shops and hotels such as Cartier, Chanel, the Ritz, and of course the Ministry of Justice building. Standing proudly in the middle of all this grandness is a blue-green, rusty column with engravings of war scenes. It seems at first slightly out of place, yet I have always felt that the contrast added a certain charm to the square; it also looks enchanting at night time when the lights from the buildings are shining on it.
Pont des arts: One of Paris’ most beautiful buildings, popular with tourists and locals
The Musée des Arts Décoratifs Located in the east wing of the Louvre building, the ‘Arts Déco’, as the Parisians call it, attracts many modern design enthusiasts with its quirky chairs and flashy lamps. It also puts on thrilling temporary fashion exhibitions where the likes of Christian Lacroix, Sonia Rykiel and Louis Vuitton parade their finest creations. It is free for under 25s for the permanent collection only, 7€50 for temporary shows
The Place des Vosges This is nestled between the 3rd and 4th arrondissement and on the outskirts of the Marais. The house fronts are made out of the same red brick and sit on vaulted arcades where people can enjoy coffee in a typical café or admire the various art galleries. In the middle is a small park around which joggers run in the early hours of the morning, and where people sit on the grass and soak up the sun in the afternoon.
The Père Lachaise Cemetery It may seem strange to include a cemetery in this top ten, but as it turns out the Père Lachaise is an attraction in itself. Indeed, if you stumble across 20 boulevard de Ménilmontant you will find the most impressively beautiful crypts and tombstones (as morbid as that sounds). The main appeal of the cemetery though is the countless number of famous people buried there. Among these are French artists such as Molière and Edith Piaf, as well as international stars like The Doors’ Jim Morrison or the literary dandy Oscar Wilde. The Ave Maria This tiny restaurant is hidden in a small pedestrian street of the 11th arrondissement called rue Jacquart. The outrageously kitsch decor and convivial canteen-style tables of this venue contribute to it being one of the best dining experiences in Paris. The food could only be called an imaginative mixture of South American and Indian cuisine, and the sauces are among the most flavoursome I have ever tasted. You have to count between 15€ and 18€ for a (very filling) main course, and 25€ for a large pitcher of varied exotic cocktails. Among the Ave Maria’s flaws though is the fact that they do not take reservations and that sometimes you will have to wait about an hour to get a table, it is so popular!
When asked to name a romantic city, what comes to mind? Paris, Venice or perhaps Rome? Well you may be surprised to hear that Britain’s most romantic city does not quite compare to its continental competitors. A flower supplier, which conducted a survey to find the country’s most passionate places, found none other than Hull to be just that. It seems that when it comes to generous gift giving, the people of Hull are second to none, buying more bouquets of flowers per person than any other British city. Although this survey does the men of Hull credit by highlighting their romantic efforts, it does not quite offer an objective view of the qualities that make a city truly romantic. It certainly must be a rare occurrence indeed for a doting couple to suggest to one another that they take a romantic getaway to see the charms of Hull. Had Shakespeare been alive today it seems doubtful that he would have chosen the city to provide the backdrop to a contemporary Romeo and Juliet. The attributes that make Paris the incontrovertible centre of romance are not related to the frequency with which its residents give each other petrol station posies. It is the city’s ambiance, the character given to it by its architecture and attractions, which makes it so special. Add to this just a smattering of fabulous restaurants and you have a recipe for February 14 success. Although the aforementioned survey places Edinburgh as the least romantic city in the British Isles, this is more a reflection of the flowerbuying habits of residents than of the city itself. Edinburgh has oodles of culture with its beautiful buildings and the castle ever present in its skyline, and must truly be up there with the likes of Paris. Not featured in the list are some at least equally romantic alternatives such as the UK’s only UNESCO world heritage site, Bath, which hosts an impressive array of Roman and Georgian buildings. However one of the strongest contenders for the title of most romantic location is not to be found in a city. The Lake District is unparalleled in its beauty and tranquility, which will melt even the frostiest of hearts. Even so, it is with whom you choose to spend Valentines Day and not where you spend it that will determine how romantic your day is.
The Pont des Arts There are 37 bridges that cross over the river Seine, yet the Pont des Arts is by far the most special. It is a pedestrian bridge situated opposite the famous Louvre museum where, in the warm summer evenings, people gather to sit, drink, play music or smoke chicha. A truly chilled place to be, although obviously not recommended in winter. For more ideas on where to visit in Paris visit http://en.parisinfo.com/
Hull: The most romantic city in the UK?
THE COURIER Monday February 14 2011
Your guide to enviable underwear > Page 21
Adding pounds or perspective?
Editor Fran Infante discusses the controversial issue of the changing shape of catwalk models Last year the Canadian knitwear designer Mark Fast caused controversy when he insisted on sending ‘plus size’ models down his catwalk at London Fashion Week. The decision cost him one of his stylists and won him more media attentions than he could ever have bought; but to the sceptic, does this mark a step forward in the fashion industry’s attitude towards women with real bodies, or is it simply a realization of the need to pay lip service to the idea of natural, healthy beauty? Since the rise of ‘heroin chic’, with the likes of Kate Moss sporting jutting bones and almost theatrical androgyny in the 1990s, the emphasis on catwalk models being rakishly thin has become progressively more blatant, and the critics who blame them for a rise in eating disorders, more vociferous. Campaigners have continually pushed for a more realistic approach to the size and shape of women’s bodies, though with the rise of the Hollywood-endorsed size 0 it does often appear to have been in vain. Over the years there have been tiny glimpses of news that have appeared to indicate a break in the size zero strangle-hold on the fashion industry, acknowledging just occasionally, the need to police the health of dangerously underweight models. Nevertheless the shock-horror mentality that accompanied Fast’s decision is not new. In 2006, when organisers at Madrid Fashion Week banned models with a body mass index of less than 18, almost 30 percent of those ﬁelded by agencies were disqualiﬁed on the grounds that they were
Skinny vs curvy: Is it time for different shapes to take the stage or will ‘heroin chic’ thin always be the prefferred size for the catwalk ?
too skinny, simultaneously provoking outrage from the industry and demonstrating just how big the problem had become. Organisers repeatedly claimed the justiﬁcation of the need to promote a healthy body image to young women at risk of developing eating disorders, but this did nothing to silence howls of discrimination and intense anger from agencies and designers alike. Many were outraged in 2009 by Kate Moss’ confession to living by the motto ‘nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’
which, it was felt, embodied an attitude that served as a leading cause of anorexia in young women, convinced that by comparison with models like Moss, their own normal bodies were grossly overweight. The near obsession of the media with the ﬂuctuating weight of celebrities only adds to the hysteria, and it does appear that arguments of responsibility and health fall all too frequently on deaf ears when it comes to a designers’ need to model their clothes on hanger-like
women. Against this backdrop, Fast’s break with convention should be lauded as a turning point against the tide of unrealistic skinniness. But is a fashion designer who talks the talk but still dresses size 14 women in spandex style ‘knitwear’ really making an effort to change the perception of fuller-ﬁgured beauties? Or is he, like fellow designer Julien Macdonald, simply perpetuating the industry tendency to look on them as “a joke?” Real women have features that any designer worth their
salt should want to emphasise and enhance, not bind and disguise, nor swathe in skin-tight and unﬂattering lycra. Real women have breasts and hips, and god forbid maybe even the tiniest wobble in their thighs. These are not things to be abhorred and starved out of us; this is what makes women beautiful and, before you scoff, what makes them different from pre-pubescent boys. If a designer wanted to pay tribute to ﬂeshy females, then surely the least he could do would be to furnish them with clothing that was an appropriate size for them, not simply a stretchy version of the clothes given to size 6 women. Credit to the plus sizers for putting a brave face on it, but in all honesty few curvy women have tried on a tight dress and thought the look could be improved if only it was two sizes too small. Refreshing though it may be, seeing them strut down the catwalk with every ripple of their frames bulging out of their dresses is not exactly an advert for not being obsessed with your weight. Regardless of which side of the argument you fall on, there is an unfortunate reality that the bootylicious body lovers appear to ignore. This is, that (as anyone who has been there will know) it is difﬁcult to present yourself as the ravishing embodiment of female aesthetic perfection when instead of washboards abs and long lean pins, you sport ﬂeshy arms, chunky cheeks and a poochy tummy. More realistic it may be but since when was realism what we looked to the catwalk for?
A guy’s quickﬁx: how to solve a sartorial dilemma
Resident menswear expert, Tim Perkin discusses an issue of impersonation plaguing both sexes A crime has been committed! And while no actual laws have been broken the offence still resonates throughout my group of friends. The infraction? Buying an item of clothing that you know a friend has already purchased. While this may seem trivial to some it certainly got, lets call it a lively discussion, going on in my house. The defendants excuse? That he had never heard of the rule. Yes, the rule is unwritten but come on lads, every single one of us knows it. It is just not the “done thing”; however much you covet your mates new t-shirt/sweater/hitops, you cannot simply go out and buy exactly the same item. The defendant’s excuse of not knowing the rule was thrown out of court. Now, personally I’m obsessed with ﬂat peak caps - it is bordering on a dangerous addiction - and just last term I had my eye on what was going to be the next addition to my collection. Yet when I got home one day I found my housemate to have bought said hat - fair enough, I hadn’t told him which exact cap I liked and we have similar tastes. I was gutted it wasn’t mine, but I held
A very common crisis: is copying a form of ﬂattery or should we all just be individual?
my tongue and certainly did not go out and buy it for myself. Friends having the same clothes as you is bad, but there is nothing worse, I fear, than seeing some stranger out and about wearing exactly the same
item of clothing. Literally I want the ground to swallow me up. You’re on a night out looking extra ﬂy in your new shirt - tell me it’s not devastating when you see three other people in the club wearing the same thing.
This problem arises from the high street being pretty limited to poor for boys clothing. You can spot the identikit All Saints/Topman/River Island clones a mile off. I don’t have a problem with any of these shops, as the high street chains do often offer good quality basics such as jeans and hoodies, but I would urge you to stop at the basics. The problem with buying a t-shirt or sweater from Topman or other such establishments is that there will be thousands of people out there with exactly the same item of clothing. Fashion is meant to display your individual personality; how can this be achieved with every other Tom, Dick and Harry looking like your twin? My solution is to avoid the high street for statement pieces such as Tshirts, shirts and sweaters. Try and hunt down more individual items that you will have no fear of seeing anyone else in on your big night out. It is far cooler to have a limited edition T-shirt from an underground designer than a mass produced high street one with an unfunny slogan. I buy the majority of my clothes online as the distribution is that much
smaller and you can ﬁnd independent brands that you won’t ﬁnd wandering down Northumberland Street. Try websites such as urbanindustry.com and karmaloop.com for really cool streetwear, including great hats for you ﬂat peak lovers out there! Independent shops are far more likely to stock smaller designers and more interesting clothes than the high street behemoths. Try Union on Grey Street - it’s one of the best independent shops in Newcastle and should be championed. Another way to absolutely avoid having the same clothes as Neil from your seminar group is going down the vintage route. Admittedly vintage clothes shopping for boys in Newcastle is very hit and miss but a bargain, especially woolen jumpers, can sometimes be found in Yellow Jelly (above Beatdown records) or the plethora of vintage shops down near the station. With vintage you have the guarantee that you have a unique piece of clothing, so no one can copy your style; not even that troublesome friend who goes out and buys the same clothes as everyone else...you know who you are!
Monday February 14 2011 THE COURIER
Fashion Varsity Style
Wearing sportswear with glee
Victoria Mole investigates the problematic but wearable trend of varsity wear for this season Fashion’s ﬁxation with uniform isn’t limited to the military; athletics apparel is making an increasingly more prominent mark on popular culture. Many of us can admit to being the proud owners of a pair of trackies without any intention of wearing them to work out. You can always rely on your tracksuit bottoms for comfort and the occasional ‘fat day’ coverage. Moreover with brands such as Abercrombie & Fitch and Jack Wills, it is becoming more acceptable to wear your trusted trackies in public as part of a casual outﬁt. When paired with a cute top, the trackie-bottom ensemble appears effortless and is low-maintenance in its purest form (however matching tracksuits are best left to the professional athletes, rappers and Vicky Pollard). Tracksuits are practical and neutral, although now sportsspeciﬁc wear is being worn by people who have no afﬁliation with sport whatsoever. Is this fashionable or is it simply wrong to dress as a fake American football player? In the words of Jay-Z: ‘I made the Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can’; this trend is part of an image, not a lifestyle. Nevertheless, it encompasses what an active lifestyle represents: youth and vivacity. Varsity-inspired attire has been sported by P. Diddy, Chris Brown and even Justin Bieber. The R&B scene has given varsity its own stamp of attitude by incorporating it into their image and accessorising it lavishly. Diamonds, ﬂashy cars and the athletically gifted: such is the
Varsity wear: Tommy Hilﬁger presents a collection channelling sportwear’s good spirit
luxurious ideal of the life of a prep. The fascination with varsity in popular culture is part of America’s national identity. American television programmes broadcasted all over the world expose a caricatured adolescent world in which the jock and cheerleader are both idolised and despised. The varsity jacket is almost a costume; it is a symbol of such a stereotyped lifestyle and it is not restricted to America - this fashion statement is branching out notably to England and France. Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton and Alexander Wang have in recent seasons produced for their collections varsity jackets featuring the classic embroidered letters, striped cuffs and mascot emblems. French designer Isabel Marrant was enamoured with the American lifestyle and in her Spring/Summer collection 2010 fashioned both feminine and masculine versions of American football couture. Similarly, Britain’s Jack Wills alludes to classic public school culture, with motifs for sports such as lacrosse and rowing. Three Jack Wills stores have recently opened in America with the intention of remaining ‘Fabulously British’. Is this preppy vs public-school saga fashion experimentation, or simply an identity crisis? A couple of friends and I went to scour the High Street for this new trend to decide whether we could incorporate these into our wardrobes or not. After being unable to resist trying on some varsity jackets that
we found with tracksuit bottoms, we came to the conclusion that although we could not imagine leaving the changing rooms in our ensembles, they were inﬁnitely more comfy than what we had on already. Varsity jackets were in a lot of the shops that we visited; even Topshop have a new collection of varsity wear that they are pairing with 1940s-esque garments. This was cute and quirky, thus giving varsity a new edge that differs heavily from the original inﬂuences of the trend. Varsity jackets were at their most ﬂattering when over-sized, and easiest to match to other garments when the detailing was minimal. This trend is perfect for those with a bold personality and a ﬂair for piecing together imaginative outﬁts. They can make a colourful addition to any wardrobe, and especially due to high demand it is possible to have them custom-made to any colour and design. They are also ultimately comfortable; think of them as the tracksuit bottoms for your top half. You may be a fan of the trend or not, but it’s undeniable how iconic this look is, especially its appearance in Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ video. The varsity jacket will not be for everyone and it is difﬁcult to predict how long it will remain a prominent trend, but whether you may feel like your bomber jacket needs an upgrade or you’d rather stick to your staples, you will always be able to get in touch with your inner athlete and don a jacket and some sweats.
We asked you... The memory of a legend: one year on Which spring trend are you coveting?
Rosanna Sopp remembers fashion’s ‘enfant terrible’ February 11 marks the one year anniversary of the death of legendary designer Alexander ‘Lee’ McQueen. It goes without saying that Alexander McQueen was one of the most innovative and inﬂuential designers of all time. More than that, he was an artist. His consistently phenomenal collections were raw and emotional, passionate and ﬂuid. They battled between romance and cynicism, and he produced some of the most controversial and unforgettable designs in history. Impeccable tailoring and an astonishing attention to detail were inﬂuenced by his Italian, British and French training. At age 16 Lee began working as an apprentice cutter on Saville Row where he learnt his craft. After having worked for Givenchy as chief designer, McQueen’s rising star status was cemented. From this collection it was predicted that Lee was going to be one of the most shocking, provocative and brilliant designers the world had seen. This prophecy was proven to be accurate when he won numerous awards, including British Designer of the Year four times and International Designer of the Year. Alexander McQueen shaped
the face of British fashion in ways most are unaware of; his notorious ‘bumster’ trousers are what started the long-lasting trend of low rise jeans. Celebrities who are avid fans of his work include Lady Gaga and Sarah Jessica Parker. Lady Gaga wore shoes in her video for ‘Bad Romance’ that seem to defy nature and gravity, have become somewhat of an iconic item, and had shocked on McQueen’s runway. To add to that, the digital print dress worn by Camille Belle in 2009 was listed as one of the 100 best dresses of the decade by InStyle. His tragic death came far too soon, and McQueen’s second-in-command Sarah Burton was given the daunting task of continuing his brand and his spirit. Burton had worked with McQueen for 15 years, and had been head of womenswear since 2000, so there really was no one better to take over as Creative Director of the label. The Spring/Summer 2011 catwalk marked the ﬁrst full show without McQueen, but nonetheless his presence was very much felt every inch of the clothes presented screamed of the romance prevalent in his past shows, of the exaggerated silhouettes with nipped-in waists
and the intricate detailing. The opulence and extravagance of McQueen remained, happily, very much intact, and the combination of old and new proves that, as a brand, Alexander McQueen is going to continue to be a fashion powerhouse, acting as the designer’s legacy for years to come. CATWALKING.COM
In last issue (1223), Fashion featured some of the key trends for Spring/ Summer 2011, featuring Minimalism, Sportswear, Prints, the nostalgic look of the 1970s and Romance. After reading the piece, some of you went online and voted for the trend that you will be wearing this season. 50 per cent of voters chose Prints as their preferred trend, with 1970s and Romance sharing the
other half of the vote. It could possibly be because prints, in general, are easier to wear when you’re a student as they can be incorporated into any outﬁt. We will listen to your opinions and feature more articles on prints as the season progresses. To see all our articles, polls and to give your views, go to www.thecourieronline.co.uk for more details.
THE COURIER Monday February 14 2011
Uncover the perfect underwear
With Valentine’s Day this week, Victoria Mole bares all on the quest to ﬁnd the perfect bra
The only wardrobe-related task more difﬁcult than ﬁnding a perfectly ﬁtting pair of jeans is ﬁnding a perfectly ﬁtting bra. Research suggests that as many as 80% of women are wearing the wrong size bra, with most wearing a band size that is too big and a cup size that is too small. It is important to know your correct size; back pain can be caused if it does not support you properly and a correctly ﬁtting bra should be noticably more comfortable and can even make you appear thinner. As the average bra size in the UK is rising, notably from 34B to a 36C over the past decade, a correctly ﬁtting bra is a deﬁnite essential. It is possible to measure your size
yourself, however it is much more accurate when done by a professional in a shop. Marks and Spencers and La Senza offer bra measuring services and due to the sizes varying between shops, it is always a good idea to try on bras before buying them because what size may ﬁt you in one shop may not in another. If your bra ﬁts you properly the band should lay ﬁrmly against your ribcage and you should be able to ﬁt no more than two ﬁngers underneath it; the band should lay horizontally and stay in place even if you raise your arms. You should completely ﬁll the cup but not spill out of it and the straps should not dig into your skin at all. Not many
people are aware that cup size is relative to band size so a 30D would actually be the same cup size as a 34B. Once you have found the correct size, the next step is choosing a style. A perfectly ﬁtting and beautiful bra is a complete conﬁdence boost. Television personality Holly Willoughby has expressed in an interview with Cosmopolitan magazine how incredible she feels when wearing a matching set. A lot of people are familiar with the concept of ‘lucky underwear’ and it is true that wearing underwear that you feel sexy in, even if nobody else can see it, will enhance your self-esteem. If thongs aren’t for you, still try to avoid the granny knickers á la Bridget Jones and opt for something comfortable and pretty like French knicker briefs. It appears that very few women are secure in their own bodies with both breast augmentations and reductions on the rise. Both petite Natalie Portman and voluptuous Christina Hendricks are universally admired despite being at two opposite ends of the spectrum; from an AA cup to a GG, all size breasts are sexy and can look amazing. Women with a larger bust should embrace their curves with underwired seamless cups and women with a petite bust should ﬂatter their delicate ﬁgures with ¾ cups and plunge bras. Whatever your requirements there will be somewhere that caters to them; Bravissimo stocks sizes D-K cups and have even recently developed an L cup. Moreover Marks and Spencer are fantastic for practical and pretty lingerie with especially spectacular push-up bras. If you are looking for luscious lingerie including romantic basques, then Boudiche offer a gorgeous range for a slightly higher budget. When ﬁnally wearing the perfect bra, make sure that you wear a stunning outﬁt to compliment it. The V-neck was fashioned especially
for accentuating curvy women, when paired with an empire-line cut (cinched under the bust) or a waist belt, this is ﬁgure-ﬂattering to the fullest. Additional tips for big busted women that may be self-conscious and want to draw less attention to their upper body would be opting for vertical stripes and dark colours to create a more streamlined look and wearing pieces that highlight the hip area.
For smaller-framed women, high and straight necklines create the impression of a fuller bust, as well as rufﬂes and embellishments across the chest area. Regardless of your body shape, you can guarantee that your silhouette will look striking in the right bra. Ultimately, when selecting what to wear each morning, the key rule to making the most of your ﬁgure is carrying yourself with conﬁdence.
A. PHILIPSON L. GIRLING, P. GARDNER
The rise and fall of the hemline: the history of the skirt
Katie Lauren Henry plots the turbulent story of every girl’s wardrobe staple: the skirt Pencil, tulip, feathered and A-line. Diverse and elegant, the skirt has taken pride of place in the wardrobes of stylish women for decades. The history of the skirt over the past century or so is an interesting one to say the least. From the very beginning, where even the ﬂashing of an ankle was an unimaginable sin, to today where just about anything goes in the skirt style stakes. It was in the mid 60s and thanks to designers such as Mary Quant, that fashion trends took a dramatic shift with the creation of the mini skirt. Compared to longer, more conservative skirts in the earlier decades of the 40s and 50s, the mini broke all style boundaries and shot to popularity as a new and exciting fashion item (often sitting 6 or 7 inches above the knee). The ‘it’ girls of swinging London such as Twiggy made the daring mini incredibly popular, meaning today it is still seen as the most im-
Long or short: will the mini always reign supreme or will this season’s midi be coveted?
portant fashion item of that decade. Although the mini was seen by some women as a representation of liberation and freedom, some believed that this trend was encouraging men to look at women as mere objects. With the growth of the feminine movement, so grew the hemline of the skirt. The fact that the mini skirt simply could get no shorter, the desire for a new style during the 1970s led to the return of longer skirts such as the midi and the maxi. However the death of the mini was short lived. Some very questionable outﬁt choices by pop stars in the 80s, including Madonna and Kylie, saw the rebirth of the mini in the form of rah-rah and puff-ball skirts. Tragic as it may be, we will forever be grateful to the skirts of the 80s for providing a staple fancy dress item upon which we can always rely. Even today the mini skirt is still a favourite, and we love ﬂashing our pins in body con and feathered
numbers. However, in a bid for a new and exciting trend, the hemline once again appears to be falling, with the catwalks for Spring/ Summer 2011 showcasing a distinctively modern approach to the midi skirt. The key trend for this season is 1970s glamour therefore it is unsurprising that the midi skirt will creep its way back into our wardrobes this Spring/Summer. All the High Street stores are featuring their own take on the midi skirt but whether it’s a trend that will stand the test of the modern day is a question for the future. Will the mini skirt be permanently usurped? From mini to midi and back again, the history of the skirt appears to now have gone full circle. The style and length of the skirt is constantly changing and will continue to do so for as long as the demand for a new look exists. It’s the basics of existence and the evolution of skirt will continue in the future.
THE COURIER Monday February 14 2011
what’s happening on your campus? monday Zumba Classes
Northumberland Lawn Tennis Club, Jesmond, 13:00-14:00, £2.50, Also Wed, Saint George’s Church Hall 14:00-15:00 Over the past year Zumba has taken the world by storm and now its right here at Newcastle University. Zumba is an infusion of hypnotic Latin rhythms and easyto-follow moves to create a one-of-a-kind ﬁtness program that will blow you away. The routines feature interval training sessions where fast and slow rhythms and resistance training are combined to tone and sculpt your body while burning fat. Sign up at http://data.ncl.ac.uk/auclubssocieties/memberships. For any further information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. No previous dance experience is necessary. Classes are also on Wed, St George’s Church Hall, 14:00-15:00 and Sat, Castle Leazes, 14:00-15:00
Do you want your event advertised in The Courier? This listings spread is for you. A place for students and societies to advertise any events that they are organising. From team trials, to fundraising and charity nights, to live music and art shows - we want you to know what is going on around your university campus - and more importantly we want you to be able to let others know about it too! To get details of your event published in these pages, all you have to do is email the date, time and location of your event with a short description to: courier.listings@ ncl.ac.uk.
Give it a Go!
Curtis Auditorium, Herschel Building, 17:30-18:30, FREE
Culture Challenge Check out this new event from the Give it a Go team. The Culture Challenge Murder Mystery promises to impress. For more information and to sign up, e-mail giag. firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.facebook. com/giag.newcastle
Public Lectures Roy Hattersley
Curtis Auditorium, Herschel Building, 17:30-18:30, FREE Roy Hattersley, writer, broadcaster and former deputy leader of the Labour Party, talks about Lloyd George and the politics of coalition. There are coalitions of necessity and coalitions of expediency. Lloyd George’s example and experience provides a salutary lesson for politicians who combine forces either to save the nation or their own careers. Roy Hattersley has been a columnist for the Guardian, Spectator, Punch and the Daily Mail. He has been a Visiting Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford and the Institute of Politics at Harvard. In 1998 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. This lecture is sold out, get there early so as not to miss out on returns.
Controversies in cloning
Future force 2020
Alison Murdoch talks about the ethics of human cloning. As well as informing United Nations headquarters in New York and national governments on debates on human cloning that could determine the future direction of medical research for years to come, she has founded the Department of Reproductive Medicine in 1991 and has directed its growth and development into the leading Fertility Centre in the North East of England and beyond. Visit the website for more information and to ﬁnd out the venue http://newcastleskeptics.org.uk
Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton KCB ADC, Chief of the Air Staff gives a talk on Implementing the United Kingdom’s Future Force 2020. The planned transition of the RAE force structure was set out in the 2010 Defence and Security Review: the signiﬁcance of both space and cyber will increase, and success in future conﬂicts will depend on an ability to operate in the third dimension. The lecture will stress the level of commitment of the Royal Air Force to current operations before outlining the planned transition of the RAF force structure, as set out in the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review, and will examine the drivers for the employment of air power in 2020.
Folk degree show
The Cumberland Arms, Byker, 20:00
Third-year Newcastle University Folk music Degree Ensembles perform at this great venue. Grab a pint and sit back to hear some of the best folk music from the University. Also featuring Old Fashioned Junk, The Sting Sisters and much more.
You be the Seeker
Meet at Quilted Camel, 20:00
Your North East: Newcastle University’s central quadrangle captured looking wintery during December’s long snowy spell. Photo by Aron Baksh. To enter yourself into Your North East, send your picture to email@example.com
St. Mary’s Pub Quiz
Newcastle University International Development Conference
Valentine’s Day quiz
Newcastle IDC 2011 : ‘Inequality: Challenging an Assumed Reality’
Great Hall, St. Marys, 19:00, Max Five Person Teams
Armstrong Building, February 26, 09:00-18:00, Tickets on sale at www.idcnewcastle.com Following the huge success of Newcastle IDC 2010, this year’s theme ‘Inequality: challenging an assumed reality’ will explore the lived experiences of ‘inequality’ across the world. Using issues of gender, global justice, health and youth, IDC 2011 attempts to expose the ways in which inequalities affect practices of development all around the world. How can we give women a voice that’s listened to? What effect is fast fashion having on poorer countries? Should developing country debt be cancelled? Who makes the rules? What is ‘development’ and who is it for? The IDC is a conference run by students
The Students Union is putting on a Valentine’s Day Pub quiz, so whether you’re a lonely heart or doting couple get yourself in a team and pitch yourself against the rest of St. Mary’s.
Panis Restaurant, 19:00 As a reminder to section editors The Courier team are getting together to celebrate the end of exams and ﬁrst issue of second semester
Our top events happening in Newcastle this week 4. Theatre 3. Photography 2. Clubbing
COO-COO presents Club Visage
Northern Stages: An Exhibition of Photos
Big Picture: Short Cuts
CooCoo presents Club Visage: an 80s Electronic Night. Known for the ﬂamboyant fashions of its patrons, London’s Blitz Kids and New Romantics were a sharp contrast with the pedestrian attire of the early-Thatcherite period. Club Visage will laugh in the face of the latest economic recession by dressing as uniquely as possible and drawing attention to itself! Music will be provided by DJs Lady Koo (Funky Butt Club) and Michael Clunkie.
This ﬁrst solo exhibition from Topher McGrillis displays beautiful, funny and intriguing photographs capturing both the public-face of the company - from exhibitions and installation launches, to family day drawing events and on stage show shots - and those behind-the-scenes moments that the public rarely glimpse. The exhibition helps to answer and challenge Northern Stage’s birthday question; what do we mean when we say ‘northern’?
They say a picture paints a thousand words. In Short Cuts this proverb is being tested as writers are set the challenge of writing a short play inspired by the winning image from our photography competition. The best pieces will be performed alongside brilliant short plays from around the world. Jump through the photo frame and explore plays that are visual, plays that surprise and plays that pop up where you least expect.
Theatre Royal, February 15/17/19, 19:00, £15-£56
Carmen is at the centre of Bizet’s ﬁery and passionate opera, a heady mix of sex and death in which every tune is a hit. The opera outraged its ﬁrst night audience in Paris back in 1875, yet has gone on to become one of the world’s most popular. Celebrated director Daniel Kramer sets this new production in a contemporary world where Latin vibes mix with sizzling heat to bring to life a gripping production which pulls no punches.
Listings Editor : Ciara Littler - firstname.lastname@example.org
Star and Shadow Cinema, February 18, 19:30-01:00, £5
Northern Stage, Until April, 09:30-18:00 daily, FREE
Live Theatre, Quayside, February 17, 20:00, £6/4
who have come together to question what is being done about inequality in the world today. Unfortunately inequalities are often left assumed, and unquestioned. This conference will engage with these assumptions, providing delegates with a chance to challenge the assumed realities of inequality, and to develop mechanisms with which to deal with them. The IDC will provide a platform for stimulating debate and discussion amongst students, academics and members of the public. It will bring together experienced speakers in the form of global charity organisations, academics, and journal-
ists. Speakers will include; Bill Kerry, co founder of The Equality Trust and John Hilary, the Executive Director of the charity War on Want, Dr Paul Roux, a senior paediatrician in Cape Town and Kathrin Hartmann, a German Journalist (as well as many more). The conference will challenge guests to analyse inequalities in the world, looking at race, gender, health, youth and debt amongst other themes. The opinions and actions of the speakers will hopefully inspire guests to think about the issues raised, and demonstrate things that can and should be done.
Ballet Boyz - The Talent
Coming of Age: The Art & Science of Ageing
Dance City, Temple Street, February 18/19, 20:00, £15/£10
One of the most exciting dance companies in the country, Balletboyz, will be presenting an energetic and lively night of dance. The company is embarking on a 10th Anniversary Tour which includes its trademark style of blending spectacular dance with stunning music and ﬁlm. The baton is passed from the masters to the new generation of dancers for a night of energy, grace and sheer talent. Check the website for tickets.
Great North Museum, Until March 1, FREE
This dynamic exhibition brings together the scientiﬁc and artistic communities by exploring aspects of ageing and life expectancy. Inspired by Newcastle University’s Changing Age campaign, which seeks to challenge the negative perceptions about older people in society, Coming of Age uses art to explore how and why we age, the effects of ageing and the lives of older people through the eyes of both artists and scientists.
To celebrate the greatest piece of ﬁction since the Bible, it’s a Harry Potter social! So dress as Harry Potter characters- Lily Evans, Barty Crouch Jr., Seamus Finnigan or even some of the more popular characters that people have heard of; the possibilities are endless. (Not true http://en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/List_of_Harry_Potter_characters) We have told you the ﬁrst destination only.... after that this is a Quidditch Pub Crawl. All of you will be the Seekers as you follow the snitch (a person from the committee) from bar to bar. When the snitch leaves, no matter how full your drink is, you have to see it off and chase after to the next venue. Get practicing your spells...
NUTS present The Pillowman Cluny 2, Byker, February 20-22, Doors 19:00 - Performance 19:30 , Tickets on sale outside the library all this week & on the door, £6. NUTS return with The Pillowman kicking off their spring season of plays. A black comedy, written by Martin McDonagh (writer and director of ‘In Bruges’), The Pillowman is about a writer in a totalitarian state who is interrogated about the gruesome content of his short stories and their similarities to a number of child-murders that are happening in his town. The play received the 2004 Olivier Award for Best New Play, the 2004-5 New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best New Foreign Play, and two Tony Awards for production. Be prepared to be spooked, and make sure you get your tickets as soon as possible. Check out the Facebook group, ‘The Pillowman by NUTS’ for more information.
Polly and the Billet Doux
Give it a Go!
The Cumberland Arms, Byker, February 18, 20:00, £5/£6
Join the Newcastle University Karate Club to learn some slick moves to beat any foes. A great way to keep ﬁt and have fun at the same time. To sign up, e-mail giag. email@example.com or visit www.facebook. com/giag.newcastle
Support: Bethany & Roger They released the ‘Head of Steam’ EP on Bleak Mouse Records, which charted at 17 on the Radio 1 Indie Chart, followed by their critically acclaimed album. Featured in The Word Magazine’s Best New Music, they have also been championed by Bob Harris and Terry Wogan on Radio 2, Tom Robinson on Radio 6 as well as live sessions with Cerys Matthews and ‘Loose Ends’ on Radio 4. Their reputation as a formidable force on the stage is spreading quickly.
BALTIC, 19:30-02:00, FREE The BALTIC are having a party to celebrate the Spring Season and you are invited. For one night only, join us for a special late night with drinks promotions and a chance to be one of the ﬁrst to see three new exhibitions. Exhibitions open 19.30-21.00. Preview Party 20.00-02.00. No booking or tickets required.
Sunday 20, 15:00, FREE
Pole Dancing Competition
Sunday 20, Players Bar, 12:45-18:00, £6/£15 VIP The ﬁrst event set to launch by ElizabethJade Events is our very own Pole Dance Competition. Red carpet entrance, magazine coverage and beautiful VIP area (with a free drink upon entry)...this event is set to be unmissable. Pole Dancing has taken the UK by storm as one of the most enjoyable (and extremely difﬁcult!) ways to keep ﬁt. We are showcasing the most talented dancers from across the NorthEast in our ﬁrst event. The day will be full of fantastic entertainment and brilliantly cheap drinks. 10% of proﬁts go to Breast Cancer Care. For more info visit http://elizabeth-jade. moonfruit.com
Monday February 14 2011 THE COURIER
Life & Style
Enjoy some mash-up madness with The Go! Team
Drawing on the past for creative inspiration Olivia Mason on the BALTIC’s upcoming exhibition, with paintings that transform mundane settings into sublime scenes This February the BALTIC unveils a new exhibition of work from British artist George Shaw, The Sly and Unseen Day, which brings together forty paintings from 1996 until the present day. Born in 1966, Shaw was brought up on the Tree Hill Estate in Coventry, an upbringing that was instrumental in inﬂuencing his artistic style. The memory of his childhood home has inspired him to create unnerving and familiar portrayals of landscapes surrounding his West Midlands hometown. Shaw uses artistic mediums such as drawing, video-making, performance and writing, to portray the landscapes of his youth, though he is mainly famous for his large collection of paintings. At ﬁrst glance, the detail in Shaw’s work is so clear that the paintings could easily be mistaken for photographs. By appearing to use a method that captures a real-life image, the artist confuses what we, the viewers, perceive real life to be. His paintings portray both familiar and unfamiliar buildings and landscapes: woodland, pubs, his childhood secondary school, parks, and the remnants of an abandoned urban housing project. The collection comprises of pieces created between the 1990s and the present day, reﬂecting the changing nature and importance of landscapes in Shaw’s work. Although not all Shaw’s work is inherently autobiographical, as much of his work moves beyond his own memories to alternative representations of England, which The Sly and Unseen Day reveals. His paintings ask you to conjure your own thoughts and memories from what you see in them. Shaw’s work is certainly very real and captures an atmosphere of peculiar
Life in sharp-focus: artist George Shaw’s exhibition The Sly and Unseen Day at the BALTIC is the largest showing of his work, in which he reworks photographs as paintings
Englishness: issues of class and British social life are often underlying in much of his work offering an unusual record of this period in British history. Even his more tranquil paintings emanate feelings of nostalgia. Scenes from the Passion: Pig Wood and Scenes
from the Passion: The Way Home are particularly effective in capturing this. Shaw locates the special within ordinary life in his series called Ash Wednesday, which portrays a council estate on an hour-by-hour basis during the course of one day. It will be accompanied by a major
new publication which features essays from Michael Bracewell and Laurence Sillars, a new piece of ﬁction by Peter Hobbs, and an unpublished conversation between the artist and Gordon Burn conducted in 2007. This will be undoubtedly an unu-
sual and highly engaging exhibition containing alternative representations for everyone. The Sly and Unseen Day opens at the BALTIC on 18 February
Local playwright answers back to Anton Chekhov This February, the Northern Stage has an exciting double-bill of drama on offer. The production includes Anton Chekhov’s On the Harmful Effects of Tobacco and the local playwright Alison Carr’s Can Cause Death, a response to Chekhov’s monologue. Chekhov’s monologue follows the trials and tribulations for Nyukhin, a man who suffers at the hands of his demanding wife. Nyukhin’s wife dictates that he must deliver a lecture on the harmful effects of tobacco, despite Nyukhin being a smoker. The monologue explores Nyukhin’s desperation to escape the restraints of his marriage and achieve
his independence. Alison Carr’s play Can Cause Death is a modern response to Chekhov’s work, which takes the opposite view point by exploring the opinions and perspectives of Nyukhin’s wife. Popova is frustrated and disappointed with her husband, unable to lead a happy and satisﬁed life. This contrasting perspective is an interesting reversal from Chekhov’s original work, allowing the audience to understand the complex levels that exist in this unhappy marriage. Although the drama explores both the husband and wife’s perspectives, there is only one actor in the entire production. David Bradley, an Olivier award-winning actor,
stars in the production, fulﬁlling the difﬁcult task of acting both the roles of Nyukhin and Popova. This will be an interesting challenge that will demonstrate Bradley’s brilliant acting skills and leave audience members mesmerised in his effortless ability to portray these characters. Bradley is probably best known for his role as the caretaker Argus Filch in the Harry Potter ﬁlms, adding another source of interest to the play. Alison Carr is a local playwright with numerous works that are due to make their debut in Newcastle in the upcoming months. In March, Carr’s monologue Clint will be performed in the Live The-
atre’s event Boys on the Edge, and April sees her play Never Rains But It Pours debuting at the People’s Theatre. The combination of these two dramatic works is the result of a writers’ development project that was led by the artistic director of Forward Theatre Project, Charlotte Bennett. This new and developing theatre company comprises of 25 up-andcoming writers, directors and designers. This production debuted at the National Theatre in November 2010 where performances were sold out. This experiment is a crucial development because it combines both traditional works with new modern
drama. Chekhov is a renowned dramatist and therefore it is important that his work is still performed and discussed today. However it is a pleasing sign to see contemporary playwrights unafraid to write back and offer contrasting versions of previous works. This production promises to be an unforgettable evening, offering two breath-taking performances for the price of one. On The Harmful Effects of Tobacco / Can Cause Death is on at the Northern Stage on the 16 and 17 February. Juliet Armstrong
THE COURIER Monday February 14 2011
Arts Culture Arts Editor: Stephanie Ferrao - firstname.lastname@example.org
Political animals or headless chickens? Political satire and West End theatre aren’t two genres you’d immediately put together, but if you have a few quid to spare, Yes Prime Minister! will surely prove to be money well spent. Now making its North East debut at Newcastle’s Theatre Royal, Yes Prime Minister! is still fresh from the West End with TV stars Simon Williams and Richard McCabe heading up the lead roles. If you’re a fan of the original 80s TV sitcom Yes Minister!, you’re sure to love Yes Prime Minister!, which served as a sequel to the BAFTA award-winning TV show, which bore the hallmarks of the original’s wit and quick humour. The TV sitcom accumulated a huge cult following and has had many fans flocking to the West End especially to see the theatrical adaptation of the show. The show has already received great critical and public acclaim during both its initial season at Chichester Festival Theatre and current run at the Gielgud Theatre in London. Set in the Prime Minister’s Office at Number 10 Downing Street, the play follows idealistic PM Jim Hacker (McCabe) and bureaucracyloving Cabinet Secretary Sir Humphrey Appleby (Williams) as they attempt to salvage a country in financial meltdown. The only prospect of salvation comes from morally dubious allies – leading to wonderfully comic consequences. Running parallel to similar current political issues, Yes Prime Minister! is a contemporary and highly relevant production that draws humour from the thin political line between sanity and insanity. Written by Anthony Jay and Jonathan Lynn, original creators of Yes Minister! and Yes Prime Minister!, they adapted the theatre production especially for the show’s thirtieth anniversary. Individually they have been involved with programmes such as the BBC’s legendary Tonight programme, and have both dabbled in directing and writing.
Yes Prime Minister! is the stage adaptation of the hit Eighties satirical show Yes Minister! which inspired the likes of Armando Ianucci
Lynn has also established film credits as a director, with films such as The Whole Nine Yards and The Fighting Temptations. The produc-
tion is sure to be a hit, so make sure you don’t miss out. Yes Prime Minister! is on at the Theatre
Royal from 22 - 26 February Lucy Johnson
NUGSS take to the stage in grand style Newcastle University has been the proud home of the Gilbert and Sullivan Society since it was first established in 1952, making it one of the oldest in the institution. It allows students to revel in the masterful powers of the duo, with trips to see both amateur and professional shows and it is very much open to anyone who would like to get involved. On the other hand, it most importantly prides itself on putting on regular performances of one of the 14 operas created by the highly esteemed operatic pair. This year is no different, as the members of the society introduce
their highly anticipated production of the final Savoy opera, The Grand Duke. Gilbert and Sullivan successfully collaborated and created comic operas for 25 years in the late nineteenth century yet their influence is still notable in musicals and films today. Furthermore, an annual threeweek festival to celebrate their works is held every year in Buxton. Their most famous pieces are arguably The Pirates of Penzance, HMS Pinafore and The Mikado. However, The Grand Duke still has all the elements of the masters at their best, combining speedy hu-
mour and absurdity with biting satire. The show follows the inhabitants of a fictitious area of Germany called Pfennig Halbpfennig, where The Grand Duke governs the kingdom with an iron fist. However, he has a law set out regarding drawing aces out of a pack of cards that has catastrophic consequences for all involved. This comedic and ridiculous plot set to Albert Sullivan’s fabulous music and with tight dialogue, is sure to entertain and amuse, while at the same time reflecting one of W. S. Gilbert’s ‘topsy-turvy’ worlds at its very best.
A cast of talented and seasoned performers and collaborators will be putting on this production, so it is sure to be excellent and highly worth the small price of a ticket. A fun-filled time is definitely in store if you are feeling adventurous or in the mood for a bit of Gilbert and Sullivan. The Grand Duke is performed from 24 - 26 February at the Royal Grammar School, Jesmond. Tickets are £8/ £5 concessions. For more information email email@example.com Catherine Langley
Do we need to explain the value of museums? Last month, Alain de Botton raised eyebrows and pens everywhere with his controversial BBC article that questioned the purpose and therefore the functionality of museums. He posed the idea that “museums are our new churches” because of the way that the public tiptoes and whispers around these places. For me though, his suggestion that museums should change to reflect “the needs of our souls” may be somewhat far-fetched. According to de Botton, artefacts in museums should not be presented to us with descriptive plaques that allow us to make up our own minds about the ideas behind the art, and not arranged chronologically or geographically. In this way, de Botton argues that we can “stay sensitive to the pains suffered by our ever-troubled species”. Besides the fact that not many of us would describe our species as “evertroubled” next to, say, the dung beetle; those of us who truly do believe in the eternal suffering of mankind probably do not wish to be reminded of this fact during a pleasant trip to the Great North Museum. Having visited the Great North Museum several times and observed that the majority of visitors are aged between three and eleven, I’m not entirely sure that de Botton’s insistence on artefacts providing us with “self-knowledge” is particularly realistic. One major problem that de Botton has with museums is that for him, they are not accurately conveying the significance of the art that they display. But surely the significance of every piece of art is dramatically different for each individual because of the response of the individual. When entering a museum, every individual has a choice about how they interpret what they find there, and how seriously they take the ideas they may encounter. Following the church’s supposedly shining example of dictating how art is interpreted would surely take away this choice, even if an image of the cross has managed to convert thousands of former atheists. The real question is, do we need or want “new churches”? After the whole drama that went down with Henry VIII and then Elizabeth I, it’s likely that England at least is enjoying the freedom of not being told what to think. Or at least being told a little more subtly. So, even though museums and galleries may resemble churches in the hushed tones that are often found within their walls, de Botton is perhaps going too far by suggesting that they take on the didactic approach that religious art has quite cleverly honed over the last couple of millennia. Rosie Tallant
Monday February 14 2011 THE COURIER
Opera North hits all the right notes Carmen
Going to the opera may not be at the top of every student’s to-do-list, but you should definitely make at least one exception in the upcoming weeks. This February the Theatre Royal hosts the Opera North’s production of Georges Bizet’s famous opera Carmen. Opera North audiences have not had the opportunity to see this opera for ten years but now the wait is over and audiences are arriving in their droves this season. The opera has a sensational story line that follows the life and devastating destruction of the gypsy Carmen. Drama, love and murder all unfold for an eventful theatrical evening that cannot fail but to impress thanks to the impressive and magnificent opera score. This production blends the traditional opera with a new, modern twist from the innovative American director Daniel Kramer, previous credits include Pictures at an exhibition at Sadler’s Wells and the world premiere of Rufus Wainwright’s Prima Donna in 2009. Kramer sets Carmen in an American trailer park, a new and bold direction that could either be a roaring success or simply horrify the traditionalists amongst audience members. Joining Kramer in the production team is choreographer Lucy Burge and the costumes have been designed by Gabrielle Dalton. Taking the role of Carmen is Heather Shipp, recently seen as Mad Margaret in Ruddigore and the tenor Peter Auty sings the role of Don José. The cast is conducted by Andreas Delfs. The opera has a wide appeal because it entices the theatre-goer to explore another genre that is very different from the play or musical format. But even for those who are not
Dramatic operatics: the Theatre Royal’s Opera North season has re-invented the stuffy stereotypes surrounding opera as an art-form
regular theatre attendees, there are plenty of reasons to get a ticket for Carmen. The spectacle of the work will inspire audiences and the language of the opera is a beautiful feature, allowing those interested in foreign languages to further their interest in the field as Carmen is sung in French with English titles. Carmen is a perfect opportunity for
students to expand their knowledge of the arts and embrace a genre that is largely ignored and discredited as boring and inaccessible for the younger generation. Hopefully Opera North’s productions this February will open people’s eyes to the wonderful and exciting theatrical genre. Carmen is on at the Theatre Royal on 15 February
The Portrait Opera North this February will see the British premiere of The Portrait, a little known opera created by Mieczyslaw Weinberg. Portraying the harmful influence of money and fame, it is based on the short story by Russian author Nikolai Gogol. Talented but unsuccessful painter,
Chartkov, acquires a magic portrait that grants him wealth and success, but in turn causes him to betray his own art. The Portrait will be sung in English, and will be part of the Theatre Royal’s Opera North season. Weinberg’s work is, at present, undergoing a revival; the English National Opera plan to stage The Passenger this autumn. David Pountney directs the lively production, with a strong cast of talent familiar to the Company. Weinberg was born in Warsaw in 1919, a Polish Jew who escaped the Nazis by fleeing to the Soviet Union. In 1943 he settled in Moscow, where he worked as a composer and pianist. He died in 1996, leaving multiple symphonies and operas behind him. Weinberg was a close friend and follower of Dmitri Shostakovich, a Soviet Russian composer and one of the most celebrated composers of the 20th century, and there has been a major revival of interest in his work in Europe. The Portrait, written in 1980, slightly echoes Shostakovich’s work. The lead role of Chartkov is performed by Paul Nilon, who has worked closely with Opera North over many years, singing major roles such as Idomeneo (2003), Orfeo (2007) and Werther (2009). The major role of Nikita, Chartkov’s servant, is sung by Richard Burkhard, seen most recently in 2010 as Sir Despard in Ruddigore. Undoubtedly, opera is a genre with which many students are unfamiliar, but the Opera North season should see revived interest in opera in the North East, and perhaps grow in popularity with the younger generations in the city. The Portrait is on at the Theatre Royal on 18 February Lucy Johnson
Why students should open up to the opera When the word ‘opera’ is spoken generally what comes to mind is a stuffy audience watching a bigboned performer bellowing dull songs in Italian. It is stereotypes such as this that Newcastle’s Opera North season hopes to shatter, as the re-invented productions of Carmen, The Merry Widow and The Portrait show that opera has as much charisma and relevance to young people as film or theatre. The arts are increasing in popularity among young people with many alternative theatres and new art galleries attracting a younger audience through diverse topics. More and
more university degrees are opening up with creative initiatives promoting young people to become involved in the arts. But is opera being left behind and if so why? Opera enjoyed its ‘golden age’in the mid-to-late 19th century – a movement that was led and dominated by Wagner in Germany and Verdi in Italy. During this time, some of the most famous works that are more conventionally associated with opera were created such as Carmen and Aida. Although these operas remain very popular today, there is a farreaching spectrum of operas available that can offer something more
exciting and diverse for students today. The Theatre Royal’s Opera North season promotes opera with a modern twist. At the end of 2010 they launched an operatic production of Henry James’ ghost-story novella The Turn of the Screw. The show attracted an assorted audience with a captivating storyline containing supernatural characters and an eerie set. This was one of three operas brought to the Theatre Royal that are spoken in English and are assigned a contemporary screenplay. Opera is also not necessarily always full of sopranos and large or-
chestras, many recent musicals cite themselves as having an operatic style such as Broadway sensations Show Boat, West Side Story, Brigadoon, Sweeney Todd, Evita, The Light in the Piazza and The Phantom of the Opera. These are all modern alternatives that are growing increasingly popular as showtunes make a come back. Opera does not even involve sitting in a grand theatre anymore; opera houses are using more diverse ways to prove they are adaptable and current. One performance of La Bohème was transmitted in 671 cinema screens worldwide and in 2009, British
Opera house Glyndebourne made available online a full digital video download of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, filmed two years previously. Many young people are missing out on a cultural experience that is very rewarding. In a society where the importance of culture is increasing with many people cashing in on the idea of Newcastle as a ‘cultural capital’, opera still has a very important place. Students should embrace an alternative experience that still has the ability to captivate and enchant. Olivia Mason
THE COURIER Monday February 14 2011
Film Editor: Adam Williams - firstname.lastname@example.org
film of the week
Sanctum 3D Director: Alister Grierson Cast: Rhys Wakeﬁeld, Richard Roxburgh, Ioan Gruffud Runtime: 109 mins
With a cast of relative unknowns, and a director who has made only one previous feature-length ﬁlm, the publicists have had a tricky job selling Sanctum. They’ve managed it by plastering 3D and the name of executive producer James Cameron all over the posters. Don’t be fooled however into thinking this is an Avatar-style spectacle. Including Cameron’s name has simply raised expectations that the ﬁlm is unable to meet, and they merely draw attention to the fact Sanctum just isn’t any good. Instead, it feels like a pet project merely for Cameron to further his love of all things aquatic. The question is why he would attach his name to this ﬁlm? Inspired very loosely by a true story, Sanctum is based on events that concern a diving group exploring a huge uncharted cave system in Papua New Guinea. Unsurprisingly a tropical storm on the surface ﬂoods the caves, forcing the explorers deeper underground to ﬁnd a way
out. On their search for an exit they endure the usual difﬁculties seen in most survival ﬁlms such as broken limbs, claustrophobia and food supplies running out. The entire story and characterisation has been done countless times before so the ﬁlm feels very familiar. It is similar stylistically to Sphere and The Abyss, both of which are superior though. The group of explorers is made up of the normal stereotypes to which we never feel an attachment. Among the expedition is Josh, played by Rhys Wakeﬁeld known to most through Home and Away. He gives an unconvincing performance considering he’s a major character, and his hair stays perfectly styled throughout. Roxburgh plays Josh’s father as the grizzled diver who takes the art of exploration a bit too seriously at the expense of spending time with his son. Will their ﬁght for survival bring them closer together? Stop me if you’ve heard that before. The last main character is Gruffud, giving quite an odd performance with an even more bizarre accent. Depending on how loud he’s speaking, it goes between American into Welsh via Australian. One does feel sorry for the cast who have to deliver a pretty basic script, which is full of the usual clichés about never giving up and the dangers of caving. Despite being executive producer,
James Cameron clearly had little input as the main problem with the ﬁlm is that essentially it is just boring. This shouldn’t be the case with such a large budget, cast and set in a spectacular cave network. Even with a runtime of only 109 minutes, sometimes it lags and you wish they could reach the surface with a bit more haste. Still in the box-ofﬁce chart is another survival ﬁlm, 127 Hours, which is hugely more worthwhile than Sanctum. Also far superior is 2005’s The Descent which, for a fraction of the cost, uses the cave setting much more effectively.
Alternative Valentine’s Films 5) Rushmore Wes Anderson’s ﬁrst ﬁlm is also the one that put Jason Schwartzman on the map and brought back Bill Murray in a tale of an eccentric young boy who befriends an industrialist and gets involved in a love triangle with a teacher. Offbeat, whimsical but at times really quite dark, Rushmore tackles weighty subjects as young and forbidden love. 4) Scott Pilgrim vs. the World This is a rom-com for the Nintendo generation. Rather than chasing after the girl, Scott has to keep hold of his girl by defeating her seven exes. Of course, the ﬁlm is more nerdy references and elaborates ﬁght sequences than it is a love story but the underlying theme of confused twenty-somethings in love makes it at least a contender. Plus it’s just damn good to watch anyway! 3) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind When you come to think of it, the best romantic ﬁlms are the ones that don’t always turn out as expected. Annie Hall, for instance, is the big one. Eternal Sunshine is another, except here director Charlie Kaufman injects his own brand of sci-ﬁ weirdness to create a heart breaking tale of two strangers who defy all odds
to be together. A ﬁlm that manages to be weird, gorgeous and heart wrenching. 2) Before Sunrise/Before Sunset 90 per cent of romances on screen are nothing more than sexual. Rarely do you see an actual mental connection between the two characters. Richard Linklater’s 1995 romantic drama and its 2004 sequel shows exactly that. Two strangers meet on a train and decide to spend the evening until morning together, discussing sex, politics and philosophy. The chemistry seems real and the characters are engaging making it a huge break
from the mould. 1) Some Like It Hot Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis dressed as women in order to escape the Mob? Marilyn Monroe in her blonde bombshell days? A battle between Curtis and Lemmon to win Monroe’s heart? What’s not to like about Some Like It Hot? It’s hilarious with slapstick, cross dressing and an absurd love triangle; an instant classic and a deﬁnite watch on Valentine’s Day if you’re sick of the usual mush. Chris Taylor
It’s easy to be critical of a ﬁlm that has as many ﬂaws as Sanctum, but to its credit it does have its moments. There are some interesting visual shots and it has one of the better applications of 3D seen recently, but that isn’t really saying much. That does not compensate for the ﬂat characters and a very predictable plot. The Descent managed to create a greater sense of claustrophobia and suspense without the use of glossy 3D visuals.
not enough to outweigh uninspired casting and a lazy script. Sanctum has a multitude of problems that means it never rises above mediocrity. If you want to see a far superior survival ﬁlm go and see 127 Hours again, also ‘inspired by a true story’. Jeremy Trotter
Verdict: The underground labyrinth is an interesting setting, but the occasional strong visual shot is
Captain America: The First Avenger Director: Joe Johnston Cast: Chris Evans, Sebastian Stan, Hayley Atwell, Hugo Weaving ETA: July 2011 This summer the release of the ﬁlm adaptation of Marvel comic classic Captain America: The First Avenger, sees Chris Evans taking the role of leading man Steve Rogers; a patriotic character who desperately wants to ﬁght the Nazis for his country, but is deemed physically unﬁt and is unable to join the military. He then volunteers for a top secret research project which transforms him into the superhero Captain America. Filmed in areas of London, Manchester and Liverpool, Captain America is set in World War II, and set designers have amazingly transformed areas of Manchester (most notably near the University of Manchester in the Northern Quarter) into near perfect reproductions of 1940s Manhattan. The ﬁlm is set to be converted into a 3D movie post production. This isn’t the ﬁrst role Evans has taken in a Stan Lee ﬁlm adaptation; famously playing Johnny Storm in
the Fantastic Four franchise; a mischievous and carefree character – a stark contrast to the character of Steve Rogers. Evans is joined by an acclaimed cast, including Tommy Lee Jones and Dominic Cooper. His arch nemesis, Red Skull, is played by Australian actor Hugo Weaving, who has also done his fair share of comic book acting, playing the iconic role of V in V for Vendetta. British actress Hayley Atwell is Evans’s leading lady, Peggy Carter. Captain America is set to be a box ofﬁce hit; last week saw the unveiling of the ofﬁcial movie poster, which sees Evans in full costume against a gritty background. Shunning the usual spandex superhero get up, Evans’s costume is more ﬁtting with the World War II era; however, the famous Captain America helmet is still incorporated into his outﬁt. Some Marvel Comics fans may be asking if Stan Lee will be making a cameo appearance – the verdict is still out; although he didn’t create the character, he did assist the creators Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, but fans won’t know for certain until the ﬁlm’s release. Lucy Johnson
Monday February 14 2011 THE COURIER
film valentine’s day
news A season of French hidden gems
The perfect rom-com Olivia Mason on what makes the perfect Valentine’s Day ﬁlm
Valentine’s Day - the epitome of loved up couples: a day of poems, roses, and of course love. Or alternatively a day hated by many thanks to its increasing commercialization and emphasis on relationships. Love it or loath it, the market for Valentine’s Day ﬁlms is inevitable, with Hollywood proving that sex, love and comedy sell. So in the spirit of Valentine’s Day grab someone special and use a ﬁlm to inspire romance in the one you love or as a guilty pleasure. A ﬁlm relating to Valentine’s Day is synonymous with the romantic comedy, a ﬁlm that is light and sweet. Cynics apart, everyone loves a ﬁlm that makes you feel good and requires little dissection of the plot, a ﬁlm to relax to. The rom-com has really taken off in recent years, as they appeal to nearly everyone. The soundtracks are often worth watching for too, mainstream rom-coms are able to use popular pop tracks to promote their ﬁlms while more independent ﬁlms can promote new bands and increase your musical library. Garden State was able to bring The Shins to a wider audience while the beautiful soundtrack of Amelie was able to make French composer Yann Tiersen known outside of France. If you want to get out of the house, spending a night at the cinema can be the perfect way to relax on Valentine’s Day with little stress and minimal talking. No matter who your
Without a stutter: Colin Firth starred alongside Renée Zellweger and Hugh Grant in British rom-com Bridget Jones’s Diary
date is (bromances are in remember) Hollywood caters for ‘the date’ every year, with a perfect selection of smoochy ﬁlms that will pack the cinemas no matter what the topic. This year A Little Bit of Heaven will bring out the sensitive side of your partner through the medium of terminal illness. While Just Go With It is the token easy going rom-com with plenty of laughs courtesy of Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler. For those opting for a bromance The Roommate was written for you, with a plot revolving mainly around two girls in a room, one of whom is possessive and slightly crazy. For those who want a quieter, less commercial night, why not stay in with a movie?
Grab some popcorn, hike up the heating for a treat, light some candles, and pile up the blankets for a romantic atmosphere. The ﬁlm choices are endless; for a guaranteed rom-com with happy endings all round there are Pretty Woman, The Holiday, Bridget Jones’s Diary and Hitch. Complete with unlikely couples and the search for love, these are rom-com staples. For more teary numbers try The Notebook, Titanic, Ghost and Beaches. Not necessarily featuring happy endings but guaranteed to make you grab the person closest to you for comfort. The above-mentioned are just a small few, the opportunities are endless, just take a quick browse round the internet for starters. If you love
Glee why not try a musical? Moulin Rouge or The Sound of Music will get the lungs going; whether you want this to happen or not is your own decision. Or for something slightly more alternative why not try Amelie, Garden State, Raising Arizona or Belleville Rendezvous? All of which present a more naïve and quirky idea of romance, with less smuck. I therefore urge you to spend Valentine’s Day the way it should be, with people you love and watching a cheesy, soppy ﬁlm; whether it is to crack a smile or encourage a romance. But more importantly remember the romantic comedy is for life, and not just for Valentine’s Day.
in cinemas Brighton Rock Director: Rowan Joffe Cast: Sam Riley, Andrea Riseborough, Andy Serkis, John Hurt, Helen Mirren Runtime: 115 mins
This neo-noir thriller is an exhilarating and heart racing reinterpretation of the Graham Greene novel and subsequent John Boulting ﬁlm. Though there are deviances from the original outings of this story, it retains the gritty subsistence mentality of the interwar setting and the spiritual conﬂict conjured by the characters’ blinkered perception of their situation. Sam Riley stars as Pinkie, a teenage gang member who is implicated in the murder of a rival mob member. Pinkie then pursues the one piece of evidence that can connect him to the murder. This evidence is in the possession of Rose (Andrea Riseborough) a tearoom waitress who’s vulnerability is exploited to the beneﬁt of the mob. Rose’s increasing ado-
ration of Pinkie coupled with the realisation of what he is embroiled in means that the teenage gangster becomes increasingly paranoid and reckless in his actions. Pinkie ruthlessly assumes control of his own mob and tries to make peace with his rivals, headed by the imperious Mr. Colleoni (Andy Serkis). Simultaneously he tries to gauge Rose’s reliability using the pretence of love to protect himself. The relationship between Pinkie and Rose is where we see the ﬁlm at its strongest. The characters similarities, such as their Catholic faith, means that they both share a fatalistic attitude. However this manifests itself in very different ways. Where Pinkie recklessly pursues self-preservation at any cost, Rose sees Pinkie as a route to escapism. She ﬁnds the excitement of a sinful life much more appealing than the drab subservience she has always lived with. However, this blinds her to the reality and gravity of the situation she has found herself in and the real intentions of her beloved Pinkie. As Rose assumes a total disregard for herself we see Pinkie descend from paranoid to psychopathic. His selﬁsh and abhorrent mindset soon
When you think of French cinema, there are a number of stereotyped images that will immediately come to mind. Faded black and white shots of famous landmarks, smoky, dimly lit bars perfect for romantic rendezvous, and very beautiful women – basically anything by Jean Renoir falls into this category. When the 1990s came around, French cinema became deﬁned by a very different sort of ﬁlm. Mathieu Kassovitz’s La Haine with its gritty, monotone style touched on all the elements of life in Paris that cinema has hidden for so many years; guns, crime and racism. This ﬁlm deﬁned French cinema in the 90s. Now a new season of ﬁlms at the Side Cinema aims to showcase some of the interesting, yet overlooked, French ﬁlms made during this period. Numerous directors were making interesting and thought provoking ﬁlms with little commercial success. The season began last week with Every Little Thing, a 100 minute documentary from 1997 about the inside workings of a specialist psychiatric unit as they prepare for their annual play. The director, Nicolas Philibert, received critical acclaim for his more recent ﬁlm Etre et Avoir which is also very much worth a watch. This Tuesday sees something a bit different with Claude Chabrol’s New Wave thriller Betty, a part psychological depiction of a woman in the middle of a nervous breakdown, the ﬁlm providing a critique of the narrow mindedness of bourgeois society. The last two ﬁlms in the season, Beau Travail (February 22) and The Town is Quiet (March 1) are from the end of the decade. Both have been called masterpieces of French cinema and show the diversity French cinema has begun to represent. The former is an indepth study into masculinity and the latter is a socio-realist thriller. The Side Cinema has once again produced a great series of ﬁlms which let you see something a little bit different. Polly Randall
sees him isolated from his former friends and his readiness for violence eclipsing whatever morality he might have. The backdrop of the mob’s savagery are the clashes between the two major manifestations of 1960s youth culture, the mods and rockers. We see the posturing of youth gangs shrouding the underground movements of the far more ruthless players in the ﬁlm. But where these gangs of youths attract the hate of the public, it cannot be matched with the self loathing that drives the misguided Pinkie and Rose.
Verdict: Though Brighton Rock fails in trying to evoke the eerie poignancy of the classic age of ﬁlm noir it is a success in its modernisation of the genre. The claustrophobia of the decaying Brighton sea front has a resounding correlation with the social change in Britain at the time. Though not always elegant, Brighton Rock is a stirring ﬂick well worth watching. Thomas Hopkin
THE COURIER Monday February 14 2011
in cinemas The Fighter Director: David O. Russell Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Melissa Leo Runtime: 115 mins
The sports genre has become very clichéd recently. You walk into a Rocky or a Cool Runnings and you know what to expect; a struggling athlete/athletes not doing very well until a boost of conﬁdence and some wise words propel them through the ranks to win a world title. It’s all become very stale and predictable. And in some ways The Fighter is predictable - but the journey it takes to get there is worth the predictable ending. It’s dirty, powerful, heartbreaking and uplifting and po-
Rabbit Hole Director: John C. Mitchell Cast: Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, Dianne Wiest, Sandra Oh Runtime: 91 mins
Having watched the trailer for Rabbit Hole, it looked like the ﬁlm would be a real tear jerker; it seemed to have a storyline that would make even the most hardened person weep. However, it turned out to be an anticlimactic ﬁlm that left me feeling as though I had been cheated out of the heart-warming and uplifting ﬁlm I’d been expecting. The ﬁlm revolves around Becca and Howie Corbett, a couple trying to cope with the loss of their young son. It focuses on
A Little Bit of Heaven Director: Nicole Kassell Cast: Kate Hudson, Gael Garcia Bernal, Kathy Bates, Whoopi Goldberg Runtime: 108 mins It’s not very often in Hollywood that the terms ‘romance’ and ‘terminal illness’ coincide, yet A Little Bit of Heaven attempt to combine the two in a young woman’s journey of self-discovery after she is diagnosed with cancer. Director Nicole Kassell, no stranger to dark material after her exploration of a paedophilic ex-convict in The Woodsman, reverts to an unbalanced mixture of slushy romcom and over-sentimental scenes, destroying any potential realism the ﬁlm could have achieved. Kate Hudson plays Marley, a woman who relishes sleeping around, refusing to believe in love or serious relationships. This outlook changes when she is diagnosed with cancer,
tentially David O. Russell’s greatest ﬁlm to date. Based on a true story, the ﬁlm follows “Irish” Mickey Ward (Wahlberg), a welterweight boxer seen as a stepping stone to help other boxers progress through the ranks. He lives in the shadow of his older half-brother Dicky Eklund, who is known as “The Pride of Lowell” for famously knocking down Sugar Ray Leonard. To Mickey, Dicky is his idol and trainer, teaching him everything he knows. Mickey’s mother, Alice (Leo), works as his manager, keeping his career within the family due to a distrust of “outsiders”. But this family is falling apart. Dicky is a crack addict, Alice is a chain smoking alcoholic, the sisters act as Alice’s personal group of harpies and Mickey’s father is too cowardly to do anything to stop everyone else from bringing Mickey down with them. That is until he meets Charlene (Amy Adams) who pushes him in the right directheir ways of dealing with grief, and how it affects them and the relationships around them. Although this is a simple storyline, the complications of having to portray the anger, loneliness and desperation are not simple at all, and are what gave Kidman her Oscar nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role. She portrays Becca beautifully, as the mother trying to shut out her grief and carry on as normal, dealing with everyday situations as best she can, but with a vulnerability that is often exposed. She ﬁnds herself in complete contrast to her husband, who is trying to tackle it head on. At times the ﬁlm feels as though Kidman wasn’t invested in her character, which made her grief – and the entire ﬁlm – far less convincing. The clashes of Becca and Howie’s different coping techniques bring a wonderful tension to the ﬁlm that is present throughout, it is subtle yet and she forms a strong bond with her doctor (Bernal). Through her illness, Marley’s use of humour as a barrier to mask her emotions is heartfelt, with the exploration of the effects of physical and mental degradation on her family and friends. This leads to a number of emotionally charged exchanges with her mother (Bates) and an examination of the angstridden relationship with her father, as she comes to terms with her limited time. However this undercurrent of tragedy is counter-balanced with farcical and stale comedy moments, undermining and diluting the serious subject matter. Despite director Kassell’s stylish portrayal of New Orleans, through a combination of atmospheric jazz bars and location photography, the ﬁlm lacks any real thematic depth. The occurrences of the generic romcom clichés include shopping montages and the eccentric arty best friends leave the supporting characters failing to transcend the boundaries of caricature. Similarly the strained chemistry between Hudson and Bernal is worsened by sexual puns including the strange appearance of a midget gigolo whose professional nickname is ‘A Little Bit of Heaven’, characterises the base level
The dialogue provides a variety of laughs, as well as tears, but doesn’t force these upon you. The script lets you decide how you feel about the characters rather than telling you who you should empathise with. It feels very much like The Wire, in that the colloquial nature makes these characters much more believable.
tion, even if it means separating him from his family. The Fighter is very much a character driven piece. It’s less about boxing and more about the harsh realities of fame and small town America. And it’s this that sets it apart from the tale of Rocky Balboa. The boxing aspect
is mainly just narrative, designed to push the characters through certain trials and tribulations. It’s clear that Russell saw the potential in these utterly ﬂawed people (the real life Ward/Eklund family) and created a fascinating array of characters. They’re raw and, at times, hilarious.
Verdict: With superb performances across the board - even if this isn’t a huge leap from Wahlberg’s comfort zone - and fantastic characters, The Fighter manages to breathe life into an entirely predictable genre by taking the focus away from the sport and putting it onto the characters. Chris Taylor
lack of a poignant outcome leaves the ﬁlm feeling unﬁnished; the tension dissipates without much of an explanation and the ﬁlm seems to end abruptly without a climax. The chemistry between the two wasn’t magnetic and even after the resolution it still feels stilted. Verdict: If you’re looking for a ﬁlm to warm the cockles of your heart – this isn’t it. Although the intricate, and sometimes gut-wrenching, interactions between Kidman and Eckhart displays a number of emotions and issues that any grieving parent would have to deal with, it doesn’t feel genuine and leaves you unsatisﬁed with the outcome. Louisa Troughton keeps your stomach in knots; there is a feeling of instability, that something must give soon. Although there are moments where this ten-
sion does break, it feels lacklustre and inauthentic, the overwhelming feeling is that neither actor is fully committed to their roles. The ing sub-plots and Hollywood gloss diminish what could have been an emotive exploration of genuine issues. Verdict: Despite its dark subject matter and some poignant performances, A Little Bit of Heaven is uninspiring and predictable with an unbalanced tone that prevents any believable catharsis. By glossing over the painful realities of cancer with heavy doses of sentiment and outlandish heaven scenes, it is saccharine escapism at its hellish worst. Chris Binding
of humour. Films of a similar ilk, such as My Sister’s Keeper, have exposed the true physical deterioration of terminal illness, yet Kate Hudson’s physical descent consists of her not wearing makeup and looking pale, which denies the visual shock that other effective portrayals of terminal illness have previously implemented. This mismatched formula of romcom sentiment and cancer presents
patronising and confusing morals about confronting one’s own mortality. This refusal to fully explore death is epitomised in cringeworthy ﬂuffy cloud sequences where Hudson converses with the surprisingly cast God (Goldberg), who grants her three wishes, injecting an unneeded dose of Hollywood fantasy. Although I acknowledge that I’m not the target consumer of this type of ﬁlm, the unbalanced tone, confus-
The Courier Online For reviews of DVD releases, exclusive online competitions and the latest movie trailers, visit the ﬁlm section of The Courier website: thecourieronline.co.uk/ﬁlm
Monday February 14 2011 THE COURIER
music listings Monday 14th Let There Be Love – A Celebration of Nat King Cole, £7.50-£26.50, 7.30pm Feeling particularly flush? Want to show how ridiculously cultured you are on a Monday evening instead of ending up totally bladdered in Floritas? Lucky for you then, The Sage is hosting a concert celebrating the music of Nat King Cole, which should be a thoroughly classy evening. And with tickets up to £26.50, it could be the most expensive covers band you’ve ever seen. Tuesday 15th Frankie & the Heartstrings, The Cluny, £7.50, 8pm One of the most hyped bands of 2011 make their way to the Cluny this week. Touring in support of eagerly-awaited debut album Hunger, expect Morrissey-esque melodramatic lyrics, and a bunch of danceable riffs. Wednesday 16th Young Rebel Set, The Cluny, £6, 8pm Relatively local band Young Rebel Set, from Stockton-on-Tees, play an almost British take on The Hold Steady’s bar rock crossed with catchy indie-pop. Turn up early to see the excellent local band O’Messy Life supporting, with a folkier, shambolic Pixies sound. Thursday 17th Roots Rhythms Presents…, The Cumberland Arms, £5/£3, 7.30pm Feeling up for something a little more eclectic? Wander on down to Ouseburn valley to one of the city’s best pubs for a mix of African, jazz, funk, latin and classical beats. Even if the music’s not your thing, there’s always a lovely range of ales and ciders to tickle your fancy. Friday 18th Rob Zombie, o2 Academy, SOLD OUT, 6.30pm The king of the undead returns after a few years off making pretty terrible horror movies. Mr Zombie promises pyrotechnics and monsters, so expect an average night out on the Toon. Support comes from ragga-metallers Skindred. Saturday 19th Reel Big Fish, o2 Academy, £14.81, 6.30pm Want to feel like you’re 14 again? Skank along to ska-punk favourites Reel Big Fish who return to Newcastle for the millionth time. You’ll be the odd one out if you’re not drinking cheap cider, skanking in mosh pits, and ending up a sweaty, deaf wreck. Sunday 20th Grinspoon, o2 Academy 2, £10, 7pm Apparently, Grinspoon are “one of the most successful Australian rock acts of the past decade”. They are also apparently “still a musical force to be reckoned with”. I have never, ever heard of this band. Chances are you probably haven’t either. Can a spoon grin? What does a grinning spoon look like? It’ll cost you £10 for the privilege of finding out. Ben Travis
One funeral you’ll want to hear about Jack Kidder gets to know America’s latest indie export
Funeral Party are a band wanting to start a movement. Since storming onto the scene halfway through last year, with their infectious debut single, ‘New York City Moves to the Sound of LA’, the four piece hailing from Whittier, a sleepy town just outside the Los Angeles boundaries, have seen themselves make just about every ‘next big thing in 2011’ list, including the scarily accurate ‘BBC Sound of...’. Yet although Funeral Party, alongside other upand-coming bands, have seemingly been given the task of re-igniting the quickly fading indie scene this year, front man and songwriter Chad Elliot insists that for his band, music provided an opportunity to make a new movement and escape their origins. “We like to think of it as the dawning of the nowhere kids coming from a shitty little town,” he explains. Yet despite the frustration with their small town upbringing, he is quick to note how fundamental it was in shaping the band’s sound. “We started off playing house parties where people wanted to dance and so you play music people want to dance to” though he laughs when remembering that “back then we barely knew how to play instruments and we were just falling into what we were doing”. This background has given shape to the bands recently released debut album, Golden Age of Knowhere, a collection of eleven songs ranging from full frontal, amps turned to 11, sonic assaults of sound, clearly demonstrating the hardcore roots of the music scene from which they emerged, to more self-contained, balanced and reflective numbers. The production duties fell to Mars Volta engineer Lars Stalfors who, Elliott explains, the band were no stranger to because “we knew him from the old days; he was in a backyard band on the Los An-
geles music scene”. However, whilst clearly capturing the band’s sound, the recording process certainly challenged Funeral Party. As Elliott recalls Stalfors asking each member to record their own parts separately his nearly constant grin fleetingly disappears as he remembers that “I didn’t see anyone in the band for like a month and a half”. For a band made up of such close friendships this was clearly a change to their work ethic and Elliott explains “It was a different approach but I think going into the next one, we want to do it differently”. Yet, despite the challenges it has posed, Golden Age of Knowhere has arguably captured the sound Funeral Party have developed from playing backyard and house parties. It has quickly made an impact on the UK music scene, being made BBC 6 Music’s album of the day in the week of its release and receiving further coverage from the NME and BBC Radio 1. Elliott admits that, while it is “overwhelming to get that much press over here”; he feels that “hype can be a double edged sword”. This has been made clear for Funeral Party because, whilst the majority of coverage the band have received has been positive, certain critics have found it too easy to write them off as a secondhand version of other leading US bands such as The Strokes and The Rapture. Yet when asked whether this is fair Elliott freely admits that these comparisons are easily drawn because, like their American predecessors, Funeral Party make catchy and upbeat indie music. However he argues that the importance of these bands to him has been finding “inspiration from the bands that they love” and he adds that “the Strokes introduced me to bands like Velvet Underground and T Rex which did more to help shape our sound”. It seems that the potential negative impact such coverage could have hasn’t worried the band and that what is more important is the reception from the fans of their music. Funeral Party certainly can-
not be accused of laziness and have shown themselves willing to reward and capitalise on their fans support with plenty of live dates. The band are halfway through their first headlining tour and Elliott admits that, whilst “living out of a suitcase can be tiring”, it is the constant touring and delivering shows to the fans that “is what makes or breaks people and if you can outlive this period you can outlive anything”. Any fatigue in the band certainly isn’t made obvious
at tonight’s show at the Cluny, with the band tirelessly and passionately storming through a frantic set, made up mostly of debut album tracks, pausing only to give an impromptu chorus of ‘Happy Birthday’ to their bassist Kimo. On closing number ‘New York City Moves to the Sound of LA’, Chad Elliott screams “it’s all been done before and it will all be done again”, and whilst Funeral Party’s new movement may just be doing it again, it’s certainly doing it with style.
LA moves to the sound of Funeral Party: No foot in the grave for this three-piece band
But we still have the music...
Mark Corcoran-Lettice gets all emotional over love songs for Valentine’s Day
There is a theory that 90 percent of all songs are love songs. It’s not a statistic, or anything empirical – just one of those claims that drifts through time that you encounter every now and then. But it’s a remarkable claim all the same. All those millions upon millions of songs that exist out there, in every conceivable genre from every nation, from every person who’s ever picked up an instrument or locked themselves in a studio or just put pen to paper – and the vast majority of these will be, in one way or another, love songs. Unsurprisingly then, my favourite song is a love song. I was asked to write, if possible, a
scathing piece about the notion of the love song: the love song as a lie, an impossible ideal that too few of us will encounter. There’s mileage in that. Just like every Hollywood romcom where the improbably beautiful and confident, after a serious of hilarious misinterpretations and accidents, find themselves struck by Cupid’s arrow, so many love songs lie to us. You can’t hurry love, you’ve got the love, you give love a bad name: so many commandments, from so many privileged, pampered celebrities. You can’t take this shit seriously, can you? And yet if we did not buy into this – if we were not so concerned with the expanse of love, with all its forms and fates – nobody would bother. The whole history of popular music would be a completely different thing if the love song didn’t touch some deep instinct inside us, and play it. When it’s Simon Cowell butchering one of the few genuine
twentieth century standards by getting Alexandra Burke to turn it into something that smells like a rundown kebab shop in Croydon at 3 a.m. on a Saturday night, cynicism is the only recourse available. But we humans are social animals, and we need to connect and empathise. So when something seems to address us directly about our affairs of the heart, we cling to it. It’s the law of averages in effect – there are so many love songs out there, one of them must speak to us. Whether it’s good love, bad love, puppy love, unrequited love, platonic love, lust, a crush, dangerous desires, eternal love, passing love, committed love, drunk in the nightclub and looking for a fuck love, the song is there for you. If you’re reading this on the Monday this issue comes out, then it’s Valentine’s Day. I don’t know you – how could I, I’m only words on a page after all – but I hope it’s a good
one for you. Maybe it’s a bit ridiculous taking one commercially viable day a year to think about our partners, or those we love, or those we want to love us, but even rejecting it is taking part, saying that you want something real and true instead. Love, basically. But all year round we surround ourselves and fill ourselves up with love, listening out for that connection, that need to be understood. That favourite song of mine? Easy – Leonard Cohen, Chelsea Hotel #2. It’s short, direct and infinitely complex – as adoring as it is critical, affecting nonchalance while showing the most haunting beauty and passion imaginable. It’s contradictory and it’s confused, just like any love is, and it knows the source of its own power. We may be adored and in ecstasy, or lonely and frustrated, but there will always be one constant. Whatever happens to us, we still have the music.
THE COURIER Monday February 14 2011
Music Culture Music Editors: Polly Randall & Joe Skrebels - email@example.com
We give you a ‘sample’ of The Go! Team Seven years after the release of their first album Nile Amos and Joe Redpath talk to The Go! Team “My finest student memory?! When I was in my first year at Leicester De Montfort, there was a factory nearby that we used to break into quite a lot. There was this family of bats living there too…we used to get dive bombed whilst sitting inside… trippy…” So mulls Ian Parton, indie-funk mashup genius and head honcho of Brighton’s best loved soulsters the Go! Team. This weekend, he and his band of sampling superstars cram themselves and their gear into the mighty Cluny by the crate-load, to be greeted by what must be one of the most intimate crowds they have faced in a fair while. “There was a big debate in the band about whether we should do the Cluny ‘cos it’s probably too small for us…“, says Parton, not a little sheepishly. “But I’ve always thought we’re more suited to sweaty little clubs than festivals, even though we are often seen as a festival band. There’s always an atmosphere of chaos in those smaller venues. We’ve had some killer shows up in Newcastle though”, he laughs. For those not familiar with the sound of the Go! Team, the easiest way to describe them is to employ the technique they’re famous for. Imagine Sonic Youth playing in a 70s Detroit car wash, or the Supremes singing a double-dutch chant over a sun-drenched Teenage Fanclub on a Brighton beach. Their influences and musical aspirations are embodied in the prolific sampling that dominates their first two albums, Thunder, Lightening, Strike (2004) and Proof of Youth (2007). But this time, something is different. Rolling Blackouts, the band’s third effort and out this year, is rumoured to be their last. And Parton, who started out making funny little songs from old records in his parent’s garage, is a little wiser. The reliance on
samples, the marker that set the Go! Team apart from their other guitarwielding contemporaries, has been toned down here. Three records in, and seven years down the line, is this record a sign of the band maturing? “I always try and avoid the word maturing! I don’t think maturing is necessarily a good thing. But yeah, there was more attention paid to actual song writing. Too much emphasis has always been placed on the sampling side of the Go! Team. I’ve always thought that when you apply song writing to samples it can be a real art form.” And as for these rumours of the end being nigh, I do wonder why on earth he would want to go and put an end to something like the Go! Team? “It’s not for definite; I think we’ll keep doing music in some sense, individually or in collaborations. Whether we play as a band together after this year is looking unlikely”. I begin to sense that the topic is still very much up in the air, and with more enjoyable matters on Parton’s mind, he is quick to move on: “I don’t want to get all teary eyed about it!” Parton still clearly holds his specialist profession deep in his heart however, for when probed about his magnificent sampling, he still opens up and lets you in on why he loves it. “On Rolling Blackouts I was listening to literally thousands and thousands of records, day in day out. Often the sample idea comes from a song that I don’t like! I think it’s more inventive to use a really obscure song or sample and salvage it.” I mention that he is blessed with the artistic licence, much like the oft-referenced Avalanches, to take a part of a song and chew it up and wring it out in a way which he likes better. “I like the idea of salvaging something which doesn’t actually sound that good in a particular song, that’s the most inventive use of sampling, you’re growing something that everybody else has forgotten about. Recycling songs, in a way. I call it Eco-songwriting!” I take my opportunity to ask Parton for some recommendations for our next show on NSR, and he dispels his love for Little Lisa “who has
a great song that is about a train or something. Or ever heard Gotta Be a Big Thing by the Yum Yums?” I’m surprised that he doesn’t seem to be able to recollect anything exactly, but this is thanks to the vast amount of time he commits to simply pressing play and sitting back: “Lots of the people I like are the people that only ever did one record, which means that I don’t actually know anything about them.” One thing I’ve been waiting to bait Parton about is his view on the industry in general. The Go! Team’s hear-all-play-all approach flies above the debate about the lack of guitar bands in the charts. Does the current climate worry him, either musically or otherwise? “I’ve always had this theory that if you’re in the music industry to make money then you’re
the wrong kind of person anyway. I speak to people who have worked in the industry for a long time who say that the amount of tossers you come across is actually so much less than back in the day, you know, when everybody was coked up and had too much money...” So that makes for a nicer bunch of people to work with? “Now the ethos is that if you’re still here [in the industry] then you’re there for the right reasons. There must be some truth in that. One thing for sure is that people will always make music, so I don’t think we need to worry about that side of things.” Parton may sound like a man who has been able to watch many other genre-centred bands come and go, but one can’t help feeling that he might well be right.
Mashup madness: The Go! Team are influenced by ‘60s pop and hip-hop breakbeats
Little Comets, big impact?
There are some famous people on this planet that are extremely noticeable and thus very likely to be recognised when they leave their house. And there are people like Little Comets. They look like four random guys that you wouldn‘t even recognise if they stood right in front of you in the queue at Starbucks. That might be because of the messy fringes that cover parts of their faces, but mainly because they look so damn normal which, incidentally, makes them quite likeable. Nevertheless, it is pretty probable for us Newcastle residents to see them in the streets as all members are from the Toon and the surrounding area. Who knows, maybe they will become the next big act from the North East - they defi-
nitely have the potential. The indie band was already founded in 2008 and their first single ‘One Night in October‘ was critically acclaimed by many radio DJs; it even reached #3 in the UK indie charts. However, their big breakthrough came in 2010 and was made possible by a medium that is indispensable nowadays and has helped other musicians like Lily Allen to rise to fame: it is, of course, the internet. A video that showed the four guys playing their first hit on only one guitar received thousands of hits in a very short time and called widespread attention from far outside of the small indie scene that was already aware of them. But what do Little Comets sound
like? Well, in places they remind one of Vampire Weekend, which is never a bad thing, but of course they aren‘t just a plain copy. Besides some nice guitar riffs, the beats are eminently danceable, but the band can muster some melancholic and slow songs like ‘Joanna‘ or ‘Isles‘ too. Lyric fans will get their money‘s worth as well: Lines such as “Just like Carlisle, she lies on the border/Disorder surrounds, her every noun“ not only suggest that the four are true Northern souls, but also make you want more of those sometimes witty and sarcastic, sometimes sociocritical songs. Another aspect that works in favour of Little Comets is their qualities as a live band. At the beginning
of February they played a free instore gig at HMV on Northumberland Street in front of a mixed crowd of fans and curious shop visitors drawn by the music coming from the back of the shop. All in all, everyone seemed to be well entertained and the band surely gained new fans on the day. If you missed this opportunity and still want to see them live, there will be another gig at Northumbria University on the 26 February (tickets can be purchased at the uni‘s Students‘ Union). Then again, you may well have many more chances to catch them this year - 2011 could be the year of Little Comets. Lisa Bernhardt
column Krieg Sam Booth Columnist
Welcome to Krieg. Take Note. Put this on your blog. Here it is, another round up of the cultural dregs. Today’s band is Middlesbrough’s very own Drunk in Hell. The band, comprising five men of dubious morals have surely begun the ascent to absolutely nowhere with the creation of their nihilistic brand of scummy sludge metal. A dirge of crushing riffs, the band have since 2007 been demolishing peoples’ faces with their particular brand of noise. After a few line-up changes the band has solidified into a group of bruising power and intensity. Playing gigs across the North of England the band have gained a small following willing to let themselves be battered by the band’s muscle. With an impressive pedigree - drummer Michael Gilham played in UK hardcore stalwarts Voorhees and singer Stephen Bishop played with local goons Ultra Shit Inferno - the band have forged a new grim sound for the north. A mixture of doom bands like Upsidedown Cross and Stooges worshipers Brainbombs, the band have encapsulated the dour realities of life. Feedback that shoots through your skull like lasers, drums that could have been recorded in a cave, cymbals that sound like smashing glass, and an endless dirge of huge, filthy, overwhelming riffs. The band worship at the altar of loud repetitive nihilism with songs that go nowhere but instead exist to pummel you to a concrete floor. Without any recordings available for purchase, it’s difficult to get a chance to listen to this maelstrom. An early demo exists as a download on their Myspace (www.myspace.com/drunkinhell) along with some other studio offerings on the Myspace itself. These recordings showcase the band’s live sound fairly well but the band deserve a proper release on which to spit out their particular brand of feral music. The good news is that with three 7” singles planned for the near future, including a split with Boston rotters Kilslug, this problem will soon be solved. In the mean time go and see this band live. Watching them in the flesh it’s immediately obvious this band mean something. A focused, tight unit, the band’s live sets show off everything the band brings to the table. Impossible to ignore and loud as fuck, the band are always on form and ready to blow your genitals away. Catch them in Leeds at the common place on 12 March to experience the new wave of British scummy metal. Who knows, the singer might shit himself whilst they play. Its happened before. To summarise, watch out for the new releases coming soon (and will be available at Beatdown Records in Newcastle, no doubt) and make your way to a live show. Then you can start enjoying the disgusting music of Drunk In Hell.
THE COURIER Monday February 14 2011
the top 10
The Perfect Valentine’s Day Playlist
Gang of Four Content
You form a band in 1977. You ﬁnd yourselves operating at the height of the punk movement, and you take that sound and push it into strange new places: the lyrics are smarter, the guitars sound like shrapnel, while the rhythm section reacts with a snapped, strained blend of funk. Not many people listen at the time, and you break up, but your legacy grows. At the turn of the millennium, a whole breed of British guitar bands appears, based solely on ripping off your ﬁrst two albums. And so you decide the time is right to strike back. This is the position Gang of Four ﬁnd themselves in, releasing their ﬁrst new studio release in sixteen years (2005’s Return the Gift saw them re-recording older material as a response to an on-going loyalties dispute), Content. While the core duo of vocalist Jon King and guitarist Andy Gill have revived the b(r)and for occasional albums and forays ever since their initial disillusion in 1983, Content is being pushed as the ofﬁcial, spiritual follow-up to those
Bullets and Lullabies
1. Do You Realize? - The Flaming Lips
early records. It’s a fair amount of pressure for any record to be placed under, and to its credit Content is a pleasingly un-self-conscious listen. Sonically, the slow moody grooves that dominate the record come closest to Solid Gold: the new rhythm section of Mark Heaney and Thomas McNeice, after several years of touring the ‘classic’ material, lock in perfectly and on highlights like ‘You Don’t Have To Be Mad’, there are songs that could comfortably stand up to their ancestors. But even on these tracks, the past proves inescapable – there’s some strong material here, but it’s never going to be something you’d pick over ‘Damaged Goods’. And when they attempt to broaden their sound for a new century on the messy auto-tune experiment ‘It Was Never Gonna Turn Out Too Good’, the results aren’t too pretty. Content is a solid late entry, but one whose limitations keep it from reaching the heights Gang of Four were once capable of.
A slightly odd choice maybe, but with beautiful lyrics and a poignant meaning behind the song, it ﬁts the romantic occasion very well. 2. 6 Months - Hey Monday A fresh, clear cut record that resonates within you long after the track has ﬁnished. A great acoustic option with impressive vocal power and range. 3. The Reason - Hoobastank Truly a great ‘slow dance’ record for at the end of a night, the powerful chorus is simple yet very effective. 4. Breathe In - Frou Frou The bass that laces this track together almost makes you sway in time to the song; with the mellow atmosphere it creates, it results in a good mood setter.
The Here and Now
The Tenebrous Liar Run Run Run
Funeral for a Friend
Welcome Home Armageddon
5. February Air - LIGHTS Light electronic synth ﬂows throughout this track, and coupled with the airy vocals produces something very different. Its uniqueness adds to its charm. 6. Miss You - The Rolling Stones You’ll have the addictive guitar riff in your heads until Easter, but it’s worth it due to the way the track exudes coolness. 7. Everything Must Go! - The Weakerthans.
Bullets & Lullabies is an album of classical piano compositions (of course) and is the third release from James Rhodes, the ﬁrst ever classical musician to be signed to Warner Bros. The title alludes to the fact that the ﬁrst half of this double record is livelier than its more thoughtful second section. Rhodes states that this is to convey to a listener what it’s like to be inside his head for a day, meaning there is a Rhodes to suit every occasion; energetic Rhodes, melancholy Rhodes and, indeed, cross Rhodes. The variety is commendable and noticeable even for the casual listener (this reviewer is far from a classical music aﬁcionado, and readily acknowledges that more discerning ears might react differently). Likewise some of the tracks will be familiar to anyone who’s ever seen an Alton Towers advert and/ or Ocean’s 11 (Grieg and Debussy. Who knew?) Ultimately Bullets & Lullabies is far from an unpleasant listen, but hardly revolutionary. I would recommend this record if you like the sound of a piano (which I think we can all agree is nice) or just fancy a bit of respite from whatever Black Eyed Peas song happens to be in the charts at the moment.
Two years on from ear pummelling third album Hollow Crown, Architects return with a much more ambitious effort. Whilst not a complete change of direction, there are obvious differences between previous albums and The Here And Now. The technical riffs and roaring vocals are still present but are now combined with clean singing and, on penultimate track ‘Heartburn’, acoustic guitars, unheard of on any previous Architects material. This movement away from a full on screamo/hardcore approach adds another dimension to their songs, creating a more well-rounded sound that will appeal to fans outside of the elitist hardcore genre. Fans of the old style won’t be disappointed however as songs such as the ﬁrst single ‘Day In Day Out’ and ‘Stay Young Forever’, featuring Andrew Neufeld from hardcore giants Comeback Kid, pretty much stick to the classic formula. Greg Puciato, from The Dillinger Escape Plan, also guests on album closer ‘Year In Year Out’. Few bands could hope to alter their sound and still reach out to fans old and new, but that’s exactly what Architects have done, and the best part is they’re only in their early twenties - there’s much more to come.
Well I don’t know where to start, and in this case that isn’t such a good thing. I wasn’t aware any band were capable of producing both powerful and ironically uplifting sounds whilst at the same time spewing out a larger batch of the opposite, that is, distinctly irritating and monotonous. The opening of the album with ‘Theme Tune’ paints a more promising picture than the band can actually create; you are tricked into listening on. But with further attention however, the impending disappointment becomes crystal clear. It must be said, though, that I did ﬁnd myself enjoying parts of a song and feeling surprisingly empowered; ‘Western Skies’ even provoked a sound not dissimilar to Explosions in the Sky with the grungy guitars and progressive build up; however, to put two such bands in the same category would be doing a huge injustice to Explosions and gives far too much credit to The Tenebrous Liar. The least I can say is that it is not my cup of tea, although, you’ll probably ﬁnd you can pick out a few moments of good listening. It seems unfair to suggest that the band have totally failed, at least their name is ﬁtting; the album has gloom written all over it.
Funeral for a Friend’s 2011 offering, Welcome Home Armageddon, is instantly recognisable as the classic Funeral for a Friend sound. Unfortunately, that sound ensures that all the songs are very similar and it becomes hard to distinguish one from another. The album is introduced with an instrumental that aims to prepare the listener for what is to come, which turns out to be more of the same just with added lyrics. The band have claimed that this album stretched their creativity but in reality it is the same combination of riffs, melodies and screams that can be found on any of the other four albums. This is what the band have always done; songs that combine powerful male melodic singing with sporadic screaming intervals that make sure they retain their ‘rock’ status. Possibly the best song on the album is ‘Medicated’ which actually allows the listener to hear the lyrics over the unnecessarily loud drums that are used in all other tracks on the album. Unsurprisingly, the songs revolve around the hardships and inspiration of love and being in a band, but overall the album is just as much of a hardship and doesn’t inspire the listener to do anything but turn it off.
The consistent, steady pace to this track doesn’t vary, but it doesn’t need to as the vocals show they’re effective enough alone and the simplistic backing proves it. 8. Chasing Cars - Snow Patrol It has a chorus I’m sure you’ll all know the words to, this is a track made for Valentine’s Day, with its slow pace and sentimental meaning. 9. Heaven - Los Lonely Boys Such a good record to just kick back and relax to. It creates a completely chilled out vibe and is brimming with something that makes you smile. 10. Cupid - Sam Cooke This track ﬂows like liquid chocolate throughout, with vocals that are both smooth and powerful, bedded in a minimalistic way that delivers well. Chris Scott
The Courier Online For exclusive reviews of album releases and live gigs from around the city, as well as Spotify Playlists, head to the music section of The Courier website: thecourieronline.co.uk/music
THE COURIER Monday February 14 2011
TV & Radio
tv & radio
TV & Radio Editors: Lynsey Fawcett & Ellie Wilson - firstname.lastname@example.org
BRIT Awards 2011
It’s BRITs time again, this time with host James Corden overseeing proceedings. Tuesday 8pm, ITV1
awards will be Tinie Tempah who is up for five awards including British Male Solo Artist and Breakthrough Act. Also hoping to add to their accolades will be Take That who will be attending the event as a five piece for the first time in 10 years. The influence of the X-Factor remains omnipresent in the British Single category with judge Cheryl Cole competing against past contestants Alexandra Burke, Oli Murs and Matt Cardle. However Simon Cowell is the ultimate winner of this category. In between the presentation of awards there will be performances from numerous British and international acts including the incredible CeeLo Green and Rhianna (I wonder how little clothing she will be wearing this time). Tinie Tempah has already told fans to ‘expect the unexpected’ from his performance and after he did a surprise duet with Snoop Dogg at Glastonbury we wouldn’t expect anything else. Also on the line up are Plan B and Mumford and Sons, who will be proving why their live performances of 2010 had such rave reviews. I am excited to see Take That give their first live performance of 2011, and see whether the rumours of a duet between Rhianna and Adele are correct. The Brit Awards are always an amazing show and give an indication of who will be dominating the charts throughout the year.
The Brit awards are my favourite music awards. Every year I watch in anticipation hoping for some controversial speeches, interesting performances and the occasional stage invasion. My favourite Brit memory is of Jarvis Cocker invading the stage whilst Michael Jackson was performing Earth Song. This year James Corden joins the likes of Peter Kay, Chris Evans, Russell Brand in hosting the event. Perhaps the producers chose him after he successfully managed to handle a rambling and confused Patrick Stewart at the GQ awards last year. A skill which will undoubtedly prove useful when he is attempting to cope with the likes of Plan B and Rhianna. This years Brit Awards will be celebrating the music of 2010, which certainly was an amazing and eclectic year for British music. Mumford and Sons introduced us to a new form of folk music, Ellie Golding became the next Imogen Heap and Tinie Tempah was rarely out of the charts. So this years Brits will be the ultimate celebration of creative and diverse musical talent. There have been some changes to the music award ceremony. For instance the Brits statue has been re-styled by Britain’s most influential designer Vivienne Westwood. Hoping to win one of these coveted
Baking Made Easy Monday 8.30pm, BBC2
Mon, Thurs, Fri on ITV1 Tina’s friend Xin arrives on the street and gatecrashes her Valentines meal with Graeme. Tracy revels in the trouble she has caused when Peter attacks Nick, leading Leanne to plead for his forgiveness. Kevin attempts to sabotage Sally’s date with Jeff, while Sophie receives some bad news and sends Sally and Kevin into despair when she throws her future away.
Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri on BBC1 Heather’s money problems go from bad to worse, placing her life in danger. Shirley and Darren break in to find her unconscious; will they save her? Kat gives Whitney a job as a favour to Ryan, while Roxy is jealous to see Michael with another girl. Jack confronts Ronnie, but she breaks down and confesses she needs help, while Roxy has some surprising news for Syed and Christian.
Musical talent: James Corden is set to host the 2011 BRIT Awards ceremony live on ITV
Weekdays 7pm on ITV Katie is thrown by a glimpse of Henshall’s past and is disturbed to discover the truth about him, putting her life in danger. Charity and Cain remain at odds and she searches for a new home. Lisa is sickened when she sees Lizzie getting closer to Derek and Debbie fears Lisa is not coping. Tempers begin to flare between Nicola and Jimmy, while Rhona plays Cupid for Marlon.
Hollyoaks Masterchef Wednesday 9pm, BBC1
The Grammys Wednesday 10pm, ITV2
Push the Button Saturday 7.20pm, ITV1
Weekdays 6.30pm on C4 Carmel is frantic when baby Angel takes a turn for the worse and turns to God in her time of need, where she receives a surprise visit from the dead. Gilly gets close to Lynsey, but is disturbed when she brushes him off and reveals she’s found a lump. Jacqui finds out about Rhys’s infidelity and heads home to a tipsy Gilly, will they betray Rhys?
The theme for this week’s Baking Made Easy, brought to us by exmodel and chef Lorraine Pascale, is a weekend of indulgence and relaxed, unrushed baking. Lorraine will show us how to bake pumpkin and rosemary muffins, perfect for weekend brunches as they can be eaten for breakfast or lunch. Macaroons are also on the menu, with a trip to Pierre Herme in Paris to sample some of the most famous macaroons in the world. Lorraine insists that, while they may look complex, macaroons can be made easily and beautifully at home. Moving from France to her local Italian deli, she buys the ingredients for mini tiramisu cakes that are inspired by the popular pudding. Finally, we will be shown how to make the most of the weekend’s free time by creating fabulous homemade pizzas using Lorraine’s recipe for a basic pizza dough.
Masterchef is back for a new series, and with a fresh format and style it is set to be the best one yet! Judges Greg Wallace and John Torode are back and on hand to share their culinary expertise. They audition contestants one by one to determine whether or not their cooking ability is good enough for the next round. The contenders have 45 minutes to create the perfect dish, with an additional 10 minutes for plating up before hearing the judges’ verdict. Greg and John decide the fate of the contestants (paying particular attention to taste and presentation): if they agree the contestant has produced top quality cooking then they’re through to the next round, if not then they go straight home. If undecided, the contestant is given another chance to cook again. With their culinary skills pushed to their limits and with only twenty places available, competition is tough.
It seems that awards season is well and truly underway and this week The Grammys joins the BRITs in celbrating talent. America’s biggest music awards ceremony has its 53rd annual show, which will take place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. A show stopping ceremony in its own right, we can expect to see performances from Arcade Fire, Lady Gaga, man of the moment Bruno Mars plus a joint performance between Justin Bieber and Jayden Smith. Flying the flag for Britain are Mumford and Sons, Muse and Florence and Machine. In the past, it’s a show that has brought memorable moments, such as the duet with Lady Gaga and Elton John last year or the pregnant M.I.A. performing in 2009. So if you’re having a night in, why not tune into what promises to be a jam-packed night of music royalty and one off collaborations?
Britain’s loveable Geordie duo Ant and Dec returned to our screens last week with Push the Button. The series starts on a high - the pair have just been crowned ‘best entertainment presenters’ for a 10th consecutive year. Hardly surprising, being hosts to three highly popular shows. The second series is similar to the first, except that it’s now live - a trait that TV bosses love when it comes to Saturday TV- and the pair are in drag for parts of this series too. Some of the series’ favourite games return, including ‘Simon Cowell’s Teeth’. Essentially, the show does what the title says. Two families push buttons, and the winner is the one with the most money left. There is nothing too original about the format, but ask yourself if any of Ant and Dec’s shows would be as successful without their charm, and the answer is most likely ‘no’.
Ellie Wilson TV&Radio Editor
Weekdays 1.45pm & 5.30pm on Five Declan is torn when he realises how much Rebecca’s connection with Michael means to her; will he agree to support his mum and keep her secret safe? Jade is appalled to discover what Sonya’s been keeping from her and Summer tries to deny the feelings she has for Andrew. Meanwhile Paul is determined to discover who caused the fire, resulting in him issuing Lyn with an ultimatum.
Home and Away
Weekdays at 2.15pm & 6pm on Five Charlie finds Morag on the road home after being dumped there by Will and when Morag tells him Will has left town, they begin to search for him. Robertson’s case against Alf takes a sharp turn when he discovers a startling new piece of information. Bianca and Liam are finding it hard to live with April and John discovers who his daughter really is. Lynsey Fawcett TV & Radio Editor
Monday February 14 2011 THE COURIER
Culture TV & Radio
tv & radio nsr
NSR is back with a new and re-shuffled schedule this semester, with several new presenters joining us, so tune in to check it all out. The NSR exec team return with their section specific shows: Heads of Entertainments Annie and Jennie will inspire you to get out more with their ideas on the best cultural and comedic events Newcastle has to offer, as well as providing reviews on the latest film releases, club nights and plays. Tune in to listen to the NSR Ents every Wednesday from 16:00-16:30. Earlier on in the day, 10:00-10:30, Heads of News, Alex Bishop and Charlotte Irving will have informed you about university and student related current affairs. Friday lunchtime, 12:00-13:00, sees the Heads of Sport Si Howard and James Turnbull covering everything active in the city, reporting on both Newcastle University matches and also professional sporting events. With the Stan Calvert competition imminent, their show will give you all the vital information on the various teams participating. NSR are focusing on bringing back our studio sessions with bands over the next semester. Previous bands have included Scottish indie-types Copy Haho and chamber-pop band The Miserable Rich. Footage and audio are available on our website: nsrlive.co.uk. Our next guests will be local electro-rock act Viva City who will be interviewed on air this week to promote the launch of their EP. We are always keen to welcome new members so if you are interested in contributing, writing and reporting about news, music, events, or sport then please contact each department by email: nsr.news@ ncl.ac.uk, email@example.com, nsr. firstname.lastname@example.org, and nsr.sports@ncl. ac.uk. Louise Morris Station Manager
Trevor Nelson - Valentine’s Special Featuring Nicki Minaj Monday 10am, BBC Radio 1Xtra
David Attenborough’s Life Stories Friday 8.50pm, BBC Radio4
For his Valentine’s Day special this year, BBC Radio 1Xtra’s smooth guy Trevor Nelson is putting his three hour show together with one of today’s hottest women in hip hop, Nicki Minaj. Since the successful release of her debut album, Pink Friday, in 2010 Nicki Minaj has taken the UK by storm. The much anticipated release of this album followed Minaj featuring in many other artists’ singles. She is the hotly tipped US rapper and singer, whose recent promotional tour made headlines and attracted her fans, also known as Barbz, in crowds. Minaj would often get mobbed by the same fans, and reportedly got kicked out of her five-star London hotel. The Valentine’s special features an hour long exclusive interview with the flamboyant star, who will be discussing her image, UK fans/ Barbz, and her new-found money and fame. She will also be providing hints about what we can expect from her upcoming second album and Trevor will get her to run through her Top 10 favourite records.
Returning for a new series, Life Stories once again resumes its exploration of the many weird and wonderful experiences of one of the nation’s best loved presenters—Sir David Attenborough. Few of us can boast of feeding an orang-utan, or riding in a boat alongside the monstrous form of a blue whale. But this show, written and presented by the man himself, endeavours to give an insight into this world of adventure and discovery. While the first series answered any questions you might have had about the real reason that animals sing, this series will not disappoint. In the first of these twenty episodes— only ten minutes each—he relives the first time he was asked to ascend into the canopy of the rainforest. Attenborough is the perfect guide to his memory of this remote environment, with its breath-taking medley of animal and plant life. With his truly astounding knowledge, coupled with his charm and infectious enthusiasm, it is no wonder that when it comes to the natural world, Sir David Attenborough is still the indisputable king of the jungle.
Ellie Wilson TV & Radio Editor
news As part of their attempt to achieve 20% cost savings over the next four years, the BBC have made the controversial decision to axe the Electric Proms. The spin off from the Summer Proms has been running for the last five years and has always produced amazing live performances. It allows artists to incorporate instruments outside of their usual arrangement, most commonly in the form of collaborations with the BBC Concert Orchestra. Since it began in 2005 some incredible partnerships have occurred, Dizzee Rascal did a phenomenal show with Young Punk and Heritage Orchestra and in 2010 Sir Elton John performed with Rumer and Plan B. Solo artists have also used the event to showcase their live talents. Throughout its history the event has had a stellar line up including Robbie Williams, Paul McCartney and Neil Diamond. The decision to axe the show has been criticised as another loss of a legendary music platform. The music industry body BPI criticised the
decision claiming it makes the corporation look out of touch and unable to reflect the trends of today’s music. In an attempt to replicate the spirit of the Electric Proms, the BBC will be attempting to incorporate more live music into the Radio 2 schedule. Jeff Smith, head of music at Radio 2, said the station would “replicate the spirit of the Electric proms” within its schedule. In recent years the station has started to establish itself as a foundation for live indoor and outside performances from a variety of genres. In 2010 it featured live performances ranging from Paolo Nutini performing at Paisley, the Scissor Sisters live on Ken Bruce’s midmorning show and Bryan Terfel singing Christmas classics at the Mermaid Theatre. I guess only time will prove if the BBC can live up to its promise of celebrating new and innovative music styles. Rosie Daly
tweets of the week Derren Brown At dinner party, met lovely chap called Ricky who ‘sings in a band’. Turns out to be Kaiserchiefs. I am utterly, utterly useless. Spencer Pratt Shia Lebouf involved in bar fight. No word yet if Megatron will press charges. Duncan Bannatyne Oh get lost Twitter, you just said I was similar to @piersmorgan, get real!
Gok Wan Trying to work out if I have a food or booze hangover?! Either way, kareoke at 3am has definitely contributed!! Elvis has left the building! Shappi Khorsandi Pic in paper of bloke burning Union Flag.He’d drawn it very neatly with felt-tip. Real shame to to burn it, I’d have put it on the fridge.
Are gameshows better than they used to be or have they lost their mojo?
Today we are given a unique take on game shows, as they differentiate themselves in their high cash prizes. Small prizes are a thing of the past and large prizes are part of the future. With the emergence of these big prizes, comes more anticipation and excitement for these game shows. In 1998 when Who Wants to be a Millionaire hit our screens, it became an instant hit with the viewers as contestants answered 15 questions in a bid to win £1,000,000. The high stakes, pressure and nailbiting tension are all combined to create a thrilling atmosphere and made Who Wants to be a Millionaire one of the most popular game shows of its day. Other game shows like Deal or No Deal, Million Pound Drop and 101 Ways to Leave a Gamshow have emerged onto our screens in recent years and have proved to be just as popular. The suspense, thrill and excitement provided by the big prize game shows continues, as each show differs from the last and is just as unpredictable!
Shouting the answer at the screen? Can the contestant keep their nerve? Will they win the £250,000 jackpot or the minimal 1p?
The high stakes, pressure and nail biting tension create a thrilling astmosphere. Whether you win money (or not) through your vast array of knowledge or a game of chance, we enjoy the thrill that these game shows provide, rather than the cheesy, showy game shows that preceded them. The uniqueness of these shows is what draws us in, something as simple as opening a box can change people’s lives forever. As well as the likeable presenters, these gameshows grow in popularity and are so great because the contestants represent people like us; we like these people, we want them to win and we feel the tension as much as them.. We hope that one day we will be that ordinary person to win an extraordinary amount of money. Maria Moffatt
No I was watching a rerun of Catchphrase recently, when I was struck by an old cliché: ‘They don’t make ’em like they used to’. With a theme tune that refuses to leave your head and graphics comparable to those on a Super Nintendo, we loved game shows like these. It is clear the TV guide agrees with me, describing Catchphrase as ‘classic’ and ‘timeless’. There were also many more, from the ‘super, smashing, great’ Bullseye to the original Family Fortunes, both of which are still talked about today. Will Deal or No Deal be iconic like these in fifteen years time?
Star Family Fortunes. Gameshows are often given the ‘celebrity’ treatment, in the superstar-obsessed world we live in. They should ditch that format and go back to the golden age of game shows, where the host could be distinguished as the star of the show. The ‘fun’ factor of game shows seems to have gone too, for the contestants and the viewers. View-
ers could actually feel involved in the days of Bullseye and The Price is Right, with their wacky games, as well as the cheesy prizes. Now we just watch someone opening random boxes for ridiculous amounts of money. It is no wonder game shows have lost their shine. Adam Rummens
One thing that has poisoned game shows is celebrity involvement. One thing that has poisoned game shows is celebrity involvement. It is clear that game shows have become a magnet for so-called celebrities in recent years, one example being All
Tension: Contestents are made to feel the pressure when they play against The Banker
Monday February 14 2011 THE COURIER
puzzles Across 4. Soft hat (5) 9. Third largest city in Spain (8) 10. Offshore platform (3, 3) 11. Long period of time (3) 12. Cosmetic surgery substance (5) 13. Travel, change location (2) 16. 1960 Hitchcock film (6) 17. UK medical service (abbrev.) (3) 19. London river (6) 20. Mathematical drawing using circles (4, 7) 22. Capital of Egypt (5) 24. City in Florida (5) 26. Study of quantity, structure, change, etc. (11) 29. Togetherness, occurring simultaneously (6) 30. Snake-like marine fish (3) 32. UN organisation for the protection of mothers and children (abbrev.) (6) 33. Third person singular pronoun (2) 34. United Arab Emirates’ city (5) 35. Best selling magazine (3) – 39. North American wolf (6)
40. Human-powered two wheel transport (8) 41. Indian currency (5)
Down 1. Team sport with long handled racquets (8) 2. Plead, implore (3) 3. Greek citadel (9) 4. Member of the monkey family (6) 5. American rock band (3) 6. Largest city in Canada (7) 7. Type, kind (3) 8. Shakespearian tragedy (4, 4) 14. Expert in the science of production of goods, services and wealth (9) 15. Area bordered by Egypt and Israel, focus of territorial disputes (4, 5) 18. Break into pieces (5) 21. Vine fruit (5) 23. Transportation for the sick or injured (9)
word link MOVE
Use the clues and the keypad to find the answers to the grid using the week’s theme to help you. For example the number 3 in a clue could be D, E or F. This week’s theme is English Monarchs.
25. Setting something on fire (8) 27. Reaction involving changes in atoms or molecules (8) 28. Cue sport (7) 31. Parisian art museum (6) 36. North Atlantic fish (3) 37. Senior citizen (abbrev.) (3) 38. Specialist English college (abbrev.) (3) Last week’s crossword
Find the word that can be placed between these words to make two new words or phrases
Puzzles Editor: Andy Pitkeathley - email@example.com
1. 2427537 3. 436743 6. 43679
2. 7837436 4. 339273 5.6279
Find all the words in the grid below, the words are all linked. This week’s link is British Rivers. Thames Derwent Tay Severn Wye Trent Tweed Dee Spey Tyne Hove Avon Wear Clyde Tees
andy’s number cruncher logic problem A family gathering consists of father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, cousin, nephew, niece, uncle and aunt. But there are only two men and two women present. They have a common ancestor, and there has been no consanguine marriage. Explain how this is possible.
logical What does this say?
Keep your brain in shape by trying to complete these sums as fast as you can without using a calculator
50% of this
75% of this
10% of this
Triple Divide 4/7 of this this by 9
3/8 of 25% of Square this this this
Divide by 2
Divide 1/3 of this by 7
The puzzles get harder as you work your way down the page.
THE COURIER Monday February 14 2011
Sports Editors: Jono Taylor, Wills Robinson and Kat Bannon - firstname.lastname@example.org
Number of hockey goals scored in Stan Calvert 2010
days to go
“I have the best job in the world”
The Evening Chronicle’s John Gibson takes Dan Robinson through his 40 year career as a journalist Most kids on Tyneside grow up wanting to be the next Alan Shearer, dreaming of walking out at a packed St. James’ Park proudly bearing that sacred No. 9 on the back of their shirt. For John Gibson, the godfather of sports writing for The Evening Chronicle, the job he has made his own for the last 40 years is the stuff of dreams. “It started straight from school. I always knew when I was a kid and everyone was playing football out in the back lanes. “They all wanted to be Jackie Milburn, like how now everyone wants to be Alan Shearer, or how many would have wanted to be Andy Carroll. But I never did – I wanted to write about the game, not play it. Perhaps I realised I couldn’t play!” Beginning his career as a news reporter for The Hexham Courant before building a portfolio on non-league football and cutting his teeth at The Sun, the Benwell-born journalist has scoured the globe to report on the greatest sports events, from Scunthorpe to Sydney, Olympic Games to World Cups. Before reporting on his first Newcastle match, he followed the 1966 World Cup from its North East roots, taking in the famous North Korea victory over Italy at Ayresome Park, right through to witnessing England’s famous Geoff Hurst-inspired triumph. Away from football, Gibson has seen Gateshead Harrier Jonathan Edwards win gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and while he was also there when tragedy struck in Munich during the 1974 Olympics, in which 11 Israeli athletes were murdered. However, his most memorable sporting isn’t an Olympics or a World Cup. “Obviously, it’s got to be the European Fairs Cup because I’m a Newcastle United fan, and to see Newcastle United win something was special. “When they won that in 1969 I was the same age as the players, and I mistakenly thought Newcastle would win something every three or four years!” Gibson is one of the only living people, let alone journalists, to have seen the Magpies lift a trophy, and in the wake of the Andy Carroll saga, one wonders if he will ever get the opportunity again. Indeed, he has stood side by side with some of the true greats of North East football and has been in the front seat of the Geordie rollercoaster for almost half a decade, yet his memory is still as fiercely alive as his burning love for the game. “Often, you now work harder for less money and I think some of the sheer enjoyment of doing the job has been lost. Also, newspaper journalism is different because there’s instant news 24/7 with Sky Sports News, local radio stations and the internet. “Certainly, everything else has changed for the better, like technol-
Now the man dubbed ‘Gibbo’ is mourning the loss of the latest incumbent of that legendary black and white No. 9 shirt, as he rues yet more poor communication with the fans from the much-maligned Mike Ashley regime. “I think it is a great failing of any business not to communicate with its customers. If you own Harrods shop and you don’t tell your customers what you’re trying to do, and tell them if you don’t like the prices they can get out the shop and go to Poundstretcher, it doesn’t seem to be the way to run a business. “And it certainly doesn’t seem to be the way to run Newcastle United, whose fans have always felt as if the club is theirs, are turning up to every home game and ought to be informed on what is happening.”
“Everybody has always said to me, ‘Why don’t you retire and then do whatever you like?’ I’m actually doing what I like; I’m going to watch Newcastle United play. I’ve got the best seat.”
John Gibson talks covering the European Fairs Cup, new media technology, money in football and that controversial departure
ogy. Having to phone over copy when I was covering Newcastle United dictating to a guy with headphones on who was taking it down with a typewriter as I said it, spelling out every word. Whereas, now, I can be anywhere in the world writing my stuff and it can be sent immediately. “I think it’s a very different world now, not always quite as enjoyable as the one I knew for the bulk of my career. But I’m still absolutely delighted to be in it, because the day I stop getting joy out of reporting football, is the day they screw nuts down on my coffin.”
“It tells us something we already knew, which is that money doesn’t talk in football, it screams from the house tops.” This attitude is familiar to most of the Geordie faithful. Sir Bobby Robson, a man who was out on the training ground still at 70 years old, was known to many as the grandfather of football, and both he and Gibson the two are more than legends of their profession, but also friends. “He was a wonderful and pas-
sionate man, I knew him for donkey’s years. I knew him when he was manager of Ipswich; he used to come up here and do talk-ins round the social clubs with me, and that shows you that how much the managers didn’t get big wages, as they wouldn’t have to do that now.” “He was an inspirational man, he inspired you when you were in his company, and he was a great storyteller. His passion for football and his love of players shone through, and that got him everything within the game, because players respected him. “I went down to stay with him at his house for four or five days when he was at Porto to do a feature on a ‘Geordie abroad’. He introduced me on a social night out to his translator, and it was Jose Mourinho, who I didn’t know was anything but a translator at that time! “And he’s become the Jose Mourinho, who Bobby recommended to Newcastle to succeed him, but Newcastle’s reaction was ‘We don’t want any foreign managers here!’ There you go.” Similarly, Gibson’s reaction to Andy Carroll’s £35 million departure from Newcastle United- his hometown club- to Liverpool, stands out like a magpie gracing the Stadium of Light turf, from amongst the rubble of outside perspectives, which don’t understand what it re-
ally means for the club. “It tells us something we already knew, which is that money doesn’t talk in football, it screams from the house tops. Whether that money is the wages the player receives or the transfer fee the selling club gets, money rules football.” Indeed, never have Gibson’s words rung truer than in the wake of the latest fiasco to strike a club with a knack for not just shooting itself in the foot, but aiming a loaded shotgun at its own head on too many occasions. Gibson knows the repercussions of selling a local hero go far beyond the constraints of money - mere materialism to the average Geordie fanatic. “Pardew had managed to settle the boat after Hughton was sacked and we’d got back on an even keel, and then this happens on transfer deadline day, which has drawn all the fans and everyone else into dismay once again. “I think the days of players staying ten years at one particular club are over - I’m talking about good players, not grateful players. Shearer was probably the last. “This isn’t anything new to Newcastle. At the end of the ‘80s we sold three Geordies – Waddle, Beardsley and Gascoigne – who were on the verge of England careers, and we were consequently relegated. Surprise, surprise.”
Another talking point amongst North East football fans this season has been the two derbies, with Newcastle’s 5-1 hammering of their local rivalries one of the greatest in living memory, even for a man who has witnessed his fair share of thrillers. Gibson ranks the Tyne-Wear tussle at the very top. “It’s probably on a par with Rangers-Celtic - people who haven’t seen it don’t know what it’s like. Like Alan Pardew said before he sampled it, ‘I’ve heard about it, but I don’t know’. “I think that basic essence is in the word ‘hate’. Because there is that basic hate between the two sets of fans, and that creates that competitive edge on the terraces which translates to the players.” Certainly, John Gibson has lived the life of a sports journalist. Just like Robson, he has got everything possible out his profession, and could easily be somewhere across the other side of the world basking in glorious sun if he wished. Yet, still his passion for the game sees him reporting on his beloved Newcastle United. “Everybody has always said to me, ‘Why don’t you retire and then do whatever you like?’ I’m actually doing what I like; I’m going to watch Newcastle United play; I’ve got the best seat in the house. I’m going to all the big games, I’m going to World Cups and Olympic Games. “And what’s more, not only do I go to all them and it doesn’t cost me a penny, but the Chronicle pays me money to go, so why do I want to retire? I have, without question, the best job in the world.”
Monday February 14 2011 THE COURIER
Sport Premier League Top Six
The League of Extraordinary Upsets Following Newcastle’s epic 4-0 comeback against Arsenal, The Courier looks back at the most memorable games in Premiership history
Tottenham 4-4 Chelsea
Newcastle 4-4 Arsenal Harry Slavin February 5 2010
Charlie Scott March 19 2008
What will surely go down as one of, if not the greatest Premier League game in history took place at St James’ Park only last week. A Newcastle side fresh from the loss of its prodigal son in a turbulent transfer window, looked dishevelled and devoid of all fight and spirit, as a rampant Arsenal took apart a woeful Newcastle defence, finding themselves 4-0 down at half-time. The blue torch paper was lit when Abou Diaby needlessly got himself sent off, and even when Joey Barton swept home a penalty with just over 20 minutes remaining, most would be forgiven for considering it nothing more than a consolation. When Leon Best poked home a second, an air of belief swept around the stadium. When a second penalty was awarded, to the bemusement of the crowd, the possibility of witnessing something special began to materialize into reality, as Joey Barton thumped home the spot-kick to make it 4-3. There was a growing sense of inevitability around the stadium and even the Arsenal players, looking absolutely shell-shocked began to assume that they would not be leaving with three points. And how right they were. With three minutes left on the clock, Joey Barton swung in a free-kick that was headed clear by the Arsenal defence, but only to the feet of Cheick Tiote. The Ivorian unleashed a breathtaking left-footed volley flying past the despairing dive of Wojciech Szczesny and sent the masses at St James’ Park into raptures. People say that special goals can lift the roof off of stadia; Tiote’s goal however probably resulted in the SJP roof needing a full re-servicing after the celebrations that followed. The game itself will go down in history as the day Newcastle United fought back from four goals down to stun the mighty Arsenal, a feat never before matched in Premier League history.
Eight goals, three Tottenham comebacks, and a Robbie Keane wondergoal. This game was full of surprises. Not even a virtuoso performance, including a brace of goals from a delightful Joe Cole was enough to secure three points for a beleaguered Avram Grant. The game may be remembered for Ashley Cole’s aggressive attitude towards both Alan Hutton and referee Mike Riley before half-time, but far more than just dear Ashley’s petulance stood out in this classic encounter. This game had it all. A plethora of goals, ample refereeing controversy, a pulsating atmosphere in a brutal clash between two London rivals and the sight of a title challenge slipping away all contributed to an enthralling encounter at White Hart Lane. Throw in Spurs’ ‘never-say-die’ attitude, some wonderful football from both teams, and Keane’s marvellous curling effort in the 88th minute, and you have a game that would undoubtedly live long in the memory, not just for Spurs and Chelsea fans, but for football fans everywhere. And I haven’t mentioned the words ‘wonderful’, ‘advert’ and ‘Premier League’ anywhere.
Arsenal 2-3 Leeds Utd Rory Brigstock-Barron May 4 2003
West Ham 5-4 Bradford Owen Evans February 12 2000 The two sides involved may be deceiving, but this nine goal thriller must be a contender for the greatest Premiership game of all time. A crippling leg break caused West Ham goalkeeper Shaka Hislop to be carried off the field, and an onslaught of goals ensued seeing Bradford City 4-2 up with 25 minutes left on the clock. After a penalty gave the Hammers a glimmer of hope, up stepped two rising stars in Joe Cole and Frank Lampard to steal all the points and leave relegation battlers Bradford wondering where it all went wrong. To top it off, the game saw Paulo Di Canio, ever the showman, descend into lunacy and demanded to be substituted after having three penalty shouts in a row turned town. A truly fantastic spectacle with everything one could hope for
Liverpool 4-3 Newcastle Jimmy Booker April 3 1996 This riotously entertaining seven goal thriller appeared to put the significant nail in free-scoring Newcastle’s title-chasing coffin. After having their monumental 10-point lead decimated by Manchester United, this heart-wrenching defeat to thirdplaced Liverpool certainly took the wind out of the sails of Kevin Keegan’s boys. Although Robbie Fowler headed Liverpool into a second-minute lead, Les Ferdinand and David Ginola ensured Newcastle had turned the tables after only 15 minutes. Fowler then drew Liverpool level early in the second half, but Fausti-
no Asprilla restored Newcastle’s lead after a lightning counter attack. It was then left to Stan Collymore to steal the show with the equaliser just after the hour mark when he rifled home a last-gasp effort following neat interplay by Ian Rush and John Barnes. Football purists would argue that this game lacked defensive quality, but for sheer excitement, flair, sense of occasion and moments of football magic, this match is often seen as one of the Premiership’s best.
Arsenal 5-3 M’boro Colin Henrys August 22 2004 Arsenal’s ‘invincibles’ hadn’t lost for 41 matches when Middlesbrough visited Highbury in August 2004
and they needed to avoid defeat just once more to equal the English record. Thierry Henry’s early strike set Arsenal on their way and the hosts were cruising, but a Joseph-Desire Job goal levelled proceedings before half-time. Five goals in 15 second half minutes then ensued, as the game burst into life. Middlesbrough went 3-1 up through Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink and Franck Queudrue and Arsenal’s hopes of a record lay in tatters. Dennis Bergkamp pulled one back a minute later though and two goals in a minute by Robert Pires and Jose Antonio Reyes restored Arsenal’s lead. Henry then applied the finishing touches with a goal in the last minute. Arsenal had a record, Middlesbrough only pride, but for the neutrals it was truly a game to savour.
It’s not just the number of goals that makes a game special; every so often the Premier League serves up a game that is significant on multiple levels to thousands of people. This particular tie was the penultimate game of the season, and one that had so many implications. A win for Arsenal would leave the title race down to the final day, while a win for Leeds guaranteed survival in the top flight, in addition to the bittersweet reality that the title would go to arch rivals, Manchester United. For Leeds, a side in free fall after huge financial trouble, the victory over an Arsenal outfit containing the likes of Henry, Bergkamp and Pires was of huge significance to the fans and conjured memories of a time when they too were fighting for the title. The win was even more impressive considering the fact that the Leeds side contained defender Michael Duberry, surely one of the worst players to ever play in the Premier League. Stalwart Mark Viduka proved the hero for the Yorkshire side, firing in an 89th minute winner to end Arsenal’s title hopes, and send the title down the M62 to Old Trafford.
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THE COURIER Monday February 14 2011
Women boxers given Pay as you play? fighting chance in 2012 Owen Evans
Grace Harvey January 4 marked a new age in Britain’s bid for Olympic success, when six female boxers competing for a place on the Olympic team were granted lottery funding to become full-time athletes. I must insist this is not a feminist rant, merely an acknowledgement of Britain’s continuing aspiration for Olympic medals. Up until now, women wanting to box have been forced to spar with men almost double their weight, but the new funding now means women have a sport of their own, opening the sport to a much wider audience. The decision to feature the sport in the Olympics was announced last summer, but is quickly gaining more support from the press since the British athletes were granted lottery funding. Rather than training every other weekend, the women are now able to train up to four days a week at the English Institute for Sports in Sheffield. With such a significant
financial burden now relieved, the women have already seen significant improvements in their skill and fitness levels. Flyweight contender Nicola Adams openly advocated the funding, which has allowed her to quit her former job to focus entirely on the sport, and since January, believes the increase in training has allowed her to boost her skill and fitness levels by nearly 80%. Previously women have been unable to compete against men due to the drastic levels of physical strength and the sport has been relatively unknown to women. However, the latest decision now enables women to train and be recognised as world class athletes, with just over 12 months until the London 2012 games! Whilst it is only in the early stages of training, the squad are showing great promise and determination to prove themselves as champions. There is clearly a lot of raw talent in the squad- Adams won all three rounds in her fight last month against World Champion Jenny
Hardings . Despite these incredible efforts, there are only three medals on offer to the athletes at the 2012 games, allowing the women to compete in flyweight (48-51kg), lightweight (56-60kg) and middleweight (6975kg) divisions. The recent news is just one of the ways England is demonstrating and implementing new initiatives and ideas in an attempt to place Team GB ahead of its competitors in the run-up to the Olympic Games in London. Although a significant jump in their fitness demands, Adams and the rest of the squad remain confident and determined to avoid complacency. The women’s next challenge is a multinational tournament in Bulgaria in preparation for the World Championships in China next year. It is vital that the athletes are prepared for the challenges ahead, but with the aid of the lottery funding, it is clear that Britain is fully focused on bringing great Olympic success in the future.
Last month, Gil Meche, a prominent baseball player, shocked the sporting world by announcing his retirement at the age of 32 and walking away from a guaranteed 12 million dollars. Meche felt that his recurring shoulder injury and under-par performances – earning three times more than anyone else on the team and only playing nine times last year without winning – meant that he didn’t deserve the money, and decided to give it back to the Kansas City Royals, when he could have quite easily been placed on the injury list and cashed in. This has been greeted with commendation from the sporting world, with this act of good will being cited as an example to follow for other sporting stars. Meche has admittedly accumulated an incredible 55 million dollars over his career to date, so this act will certainly not cause his family to go hungry. This has raised the debate about whether more sportsmen and women should be emulating this, being only paid what they deserve. In 2010, AC Milan defender Oguchi
Onyewu did just that by asking for a one year contract extension without pay, in order to thank the club for keeping faith in him whilst he recovered from injury. In contrast however, Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner stated earlier this week that he felt he deserved his £50,000 per week wages despite only making one league start this season. According to Bendtner, sports stars deserve their astronomical wages due to being forced to give up areas of their personal lives, such as being able to eat in restaurants without disturbance, or being able to embark on skiing holidays. I still find that a lack of privacy and restriction of personal activity does not justify a sportsman or woman amassing huge sums of money for sitting on the sidelines or underperforming, and a move towards a ‘pay as you play’ scheme may be introduced sooner rather than later. The anger often felt amongst sports fans about players earning more money than the average yearly salary in a week whilst on sick leave appears to be slowly seeping into the consciences of sporting stars themselves, and there is hope that stars may begin heeding the call for change.
THE COURIER Monday February 14 2011
Intra Mural Sport
Lawyers prove Agrics guilty of poor performance D. PEARCE
Intra Mural Rugby Union
Law Blacks Agrics 2nds
Fabien Laroche at Close House
The Law Blacks are hoping to build on this decisive win in order to compensate for their disappointing form in 2010
Forsythe can’t get the price right against league leaders Dyslexic Intra Mural Division 1
Dyslexic Untied Boroussia Forsythe
Dan Robinson at Longbenton 3G An early red card, a goal from a corner kick and eight fine goals were the major talking points as Dyslexic Untied ran riot against basement club Boroussia Forsythe to reaffirm their title credentials. Dyslexic retained their unbeaten record for the season on the Longbenton 3G pitch, in what was their first Wednesday appearance on the University’s most luxurious surface. Slick passing, swift movement and some clinical finishing were all on display as they brushed aside their opponents in an impressive 8-0 victory. It was as early as the third minute that the writing was on the wall for Forsythe, when their goalkeeper wiped out Dyslexic striker Simon Schofield as he ran through on goal. Referee Steve Catchpole had no choice but to issue the red card, and Applegarth easily beat his replacement with the resultant free-kick to give his side an early lead. However, the avalanche did not fall immediately as the Reds failed
to take the game by the scruff of the neck, allowing Forsythe to build confidence and threaten the Dyslexic goal. They organised themselves brilliantly, enabling the midfield to support the strikers as they caused some genuine problems for the Dyslexic backline, even if they struggled to create chances of significance. Indeed, it was difficult to identify which side was carrying the ten men at this point, and Untied knew they needed to step their game up in the second half. That they did, and more, as they came out all guns blazing after the break to score two goals within the first five minutes. An Al Walker pinpoint cross from the left hand side found Schofield in the centre, who had no problem placing it in the back of the net, before Andy Nicholson drilled his first goal of the season into the bottom corner. Schofield almost doubled his tally when he burst past the defender to smash the shot off the crossbar, but Dyslexic didn’t have to wait long for the fourth goal as Forsythe’s resolve began to crumble. It was Nicholson again who hit the target, as the excellent and beautiful Adrian Bell skinned his marker once more to float in a cross from the right, and the speedy left winger simply could
not miss with his head. The fifth goal, however, arrived in slightly less conventional circumstances. As dead ball merchant Applegarth stepped up to plant his corner kick on a teammate’s head, the Forsythe keeper was caught off guard as the ball swerved into the back of the net. Only in Intra Mural football. Laurence Jackson, the ‘Red Predator’ for so long this season, wasn’t just going to sit back and observe his teammates getting their names on the scoresheet, and so he added goal number six with a typical Linekeresque close-range finish. Schofield made his tally five goals in four games since the winter break with a well-placed strike, before Bell capped his energetic display with the goal he deserved with a fierce drive into the bottom corner. Forsythe will feel angry with the way they allowed their opponents to run away with the game so comprehensively in the second half, but should be heartened by their mature first half display. They now face a tough period as they bid to climb away from bottom place, while Dyslexic will hope this win gives them the tonic to put a run together as the Wednesday League title race begins to heat up.
Intra Mural Football results Wednesday 11 a-side leagues Division 1 Real Politique 2-1 Castle Leazes Barca Law Na 4-0 Medics Dyslexi Untied 8-0 Boroussia Fors
Division 2 Ecosoccer 0-1 Crayola The Huricanes 4-0 Olympic Mayo
Division 3 FC Molesok 3-1 Brown Magic FC
The Law Blacks returned from the extended Christmas break with the intention of putting right the wrongs of 2010. Although aware of their potential to cause upset so far into the season, they have only been able to produce decent form in 10 minute patches. With their proud history and large following, the Agrics seconds were also keen to improve on a stuttering start to their campaign. The encounter was an open but highly physical contest. As is customary, the Agrics seconds fielded a large pack, which wasn’t afraid to run the ball down the opposition’s throats. They also boasted a sizable and dangerous-looking centre partnership. However, the Law Blacks were fired up for the occasion and refused to concede much ground, even to their biggest runners. The Law Blacks dominated the opening exchanges and displayed excellent composure for long periods. Chris Jackson marshalled the forwards well and they progressed up the pitch in a confident fashion. Thanks to searching runs and intelligent kicking by the backs, the Lawyers looked to be the sure favourites to score first. Despite this strong start it was the Agrics seconds who drew first blood. After some good work by the pack, the Agrics spread the ball to the left wing and exploit-
ed a simple overlap to touch down for an unconverted try. Not willing to lie down, the Law Blacks responded with renewed determination. Before long they had marched the ball up to the opposition’s five-metre line and were threatening to put some points on the board. They made hard work of it, but eventually Mike Gyi powered over from a pick-and-go. A successful conversion from hard-hitting out-half Neil Gordon left the score at 7-5. Late in the second half, the Farmers registered a penalty to regain the lead. In the second half, a strong defensive show from the Law Blacks forced the Agrics seconds into making countless mistakes. After a sliced clearance from the Farmers, George Triggs used every inch of his 6’7” frame to out-jump the defence and touch-down. Shortly after this, scrum-half Joseph White was first to react to a loose ball emerging from a five-metre scrum, and slid through to put some distance between the two teams. For the final quarter of the game, replacement out-half Stuart McAvoy was content to pin the Agrics seconds back with booming kicks into the corners. In the dying minutes the Lawyers hit their opposition with a quick counter-attack. A good run and beautifully weighted pass by Joseph White put stocky centre Benjamin Rose through to finish the game 24-8. The Law Blacks will hope to build on this convincing win and continue the second half of the season in a similar fashion.
Medics heartache Intra Mural Division 1
Barca Law Na Medics
Rory Brigstock-Barron at Longbenton In a game that many would have expected to be a close encounter, a frustrated Medics side was easily defeated by an impressive counterattacking Barca Law Na display. The pattern of the game was established early in the first half. Barca Law Na seemed content to let their opponents have the lion’s share of possession and, to their credit, the Medics played some sumptuous football at times, yet failed to find the killer pass to unlock the resolute Barca defence. This was not a problem faced by the legal faction who created numerous chances against a medics defence particularly susceptible on this particular afternoon to anything played in the air. This repeated inability to clear their lines, coupled with the ease at which Barca were able to get to the second ball, lead to the first real chance of the game. Within ten minutes of play, a scuffed defensive header left Matt Valenzia clean through on goal, only for the wide man to scuff his shot past the post. The Medics were not so lucky a few moments later, when another failed clearance from a cross set the ball up nicely for unmarked Barca striker Nick Moss, who expertly drilled the ball into the bottom corner on the half volley.
An off the ball incident caused some controversy mid way through the half when, Law man Jamie Hurworth kicked out at a member of the opposition. This out of character act of petulance was met a with yellow card from the referee and a chorus of groans from the medics, who were hoping for another colour. Things went from bad to worse for the Medics just before half time, when a precisely lofted Barca Law Na corner lead to a scramble inside the box. The ball was twice cleared off the line before being turned in emphatically by central defender Dan Allison. The second half saw the game open up a little more when Barca Law Na strung together some fluid moves worthy of their name sakes and the Medics got some joy down the right hand side, but were unable to capitalise. Dan Allison secured Barca’s victory with his second goal of the game; a well timed run and header from yet another corner before the final nail in the Medics coffin was hammered in by Dave Bagot from the edge of the area. The post mortem makes awkward reading for the Medics who, despite passing the ball well, never really threatened to make a game of it, being rather more outworked than outplayed. Though the result overstates the gulf in class between the two sides, there can be no doubt that Barca Law Na deserved their victory, having turned in a particularly impressive defensive effort.
Monday February 14 2011 THE COURIER
Netball Round-up Harriet Needham
Newcastle 1sts 28 Birmingham 1sts 37 It seemed like nothing could get worse for the Royals this season, but a trek down to Birmingham proved otherwise. An accident on the A1 and the M1 quickly dampened the girls’ hopes for that win they so hoped for, but luckily Birmingham agreed to put the match back until 6.15pm. The Royals then had to contend with a bus driver who was adamant he wouldn’t be able to get them home in his working hours. Arriving at Birmingham at 6.16pm does not leave much to the imagination. After six and a half hours on a bus and no warm up, it was always going to be a tough match. Adrenaline kicked in and the Royals were matching their opponents goal for goal, but Birmingham soon hit back not allowing the Royals to pull away. A few changes were made to try and encourage the Royals to push for a place in the second round of the trophy. Captain and wing defence Rachel Saville kept team talks positive and played outstandingly, earning herself player of the match. The girls will now have to work towards Stan Calvert, and with their last successful result against the Poly, everything is to play for.
Newcastle 2nds Leeds 3rds
After two frustrating games, the girls went on court determined and enthusiastic. It was a much more positive performance by the whole team this week, continually playing their own game and not allowing Leeds to dominate. The attack worked well together throughout, with fantastic feeds from Stephanie Blain at centre into Fiona Moss at goal shooter, who produced great movement in the circle. Defence continued to apply pressure even with a lead and none of the girls let their heads drop in the third quarter, which had proved to be a problem in recent games. Sassa Hamilton at goal defence had a cracking game, forcing numerous errors and earning herself player of the match.
Newcastle 3rds 41 Leeds 4ths 27 The girls stormed through the quarterfinal of the cup last week. Knowing it was to be their hardest match of the season so far, they started out strongly, forcing the opposition to make constant errors, while the shooters made scoring goals look effortless. However, Leeds fought back in the second half, beginning to dictate play and forcing the girls to become rushed and unsteady. Player of the match, wing defence Allie Strang, continued to make key interceptions in the final two quarters in order to prevent Leeds gaining, and adding to the score line. The early lead was a blessing to the girls as they have now made their way into the semi-finals where they will come up against either Leeds Seconds or Sheffield Firsts.
Campbell strikes twice for NUWFC in victory over Leeds
Newcastle 1sts Leeds 2nds
Grace Harvey at Cochrane Park Newcastle Women’s Football Firsts claimed another victory last Wednesday, absolutely destroying Leeds Seconds despite difficult playing conditions. Patience and precision were ultimately key to the Royals’ success, following a string of recent victories for the team in both BUCS matches and local leagues. With the New Year came a new team strategy and rotation of player positions, which, alongside exceptional levels of team work, certainly paid off. Newcastle started aggressively and quickly moved into a determined attack, exploiting a weaker side. Whilst Leeds failed to employ any form of stable strategy or defence, the hosts continued to attack effectively through Lizzie Tulip and Gabby Gunn. The team continued to create countless opportunities to open the scoring, yet Leeds’ naive strategy prevented Newcastle from following through. Despite this, the Royals were still competitive in their attack, with phenomenal support from Stephanie Dalby and Raphaelle Freeston, proving to be absolutely vital in Newcastle’s attacking play. The focus on the attack fell to their demise as Leeds seized on Newcastle’s attacking attitude, playing the ball down the pitch with extreme speed, and leaving the Royals little time to respond as Leeds took an early 1-0 lead. Newcastle were quick to respond to this, but Leeds maintained the upper hand and the hosts slowed down drastically, conceding possession of the ball endlessly. But in the 33rd minute, Lizzie Campbell chased the ball straight down the pitch with unseen speed, blasting it into the net to equalise. Moments later, Campbell again placed the ball into the net with outstanding precision finally giving Newcastle the advantage within minutes. Despite losing pace and
Newcastle put four past Leeds in a win that adds to their recent run of good form
missing several further chances, the Royals had a strong 2-1 advantage as the half time whistle blew. Moving into the second half, the Royals picked up the pace, but it was a difficult start as the hosts struggled to dominate possession. At times it seemed more like a game of tennis and Leeds continued to prove to be erratic. In spite of this, Newcastle refused to relent and in the 25th minute Lucy Martin pushed the advantage to 3-1, claiming another goal with meticulous timing and accuracy. The team persevered through the difficult weather, whilst Leeds, still chronically disorganised, prohibited the hosts from any sort of
progression and eventually left the last 20 minutes stagnant, with the unpredictable movement of the ball looking like a game of tennis. Yet in the 44th minute, Stephanie Pepper was called to the mark, and in a last minute attempt to confirm their victory, finally fired the ball into the net with sheer power. This latest success is one of a long string of victories the team have under their belt. This term will see the competition increase, yet the squad have continually shown their capabilities. This latest match is only one of many to come that will illicit individual talent, but will prove to all just how strong the team is.
Kite & Windsurfing Charles Ellington Last weekend, Newcastle University Kite and Windsurfing Club headed down to South Wales for the Student Kitesurfing Association’s (SKA) Wave Jam with over 75 students from universities across the country. The newly formed SKA was successful in running their best-attended event to date. Alex Parker, president of the SKA said, “Kitesurfing is one of the fastest growing watersports and our aim at the SKA is to get as many students involved in kitesurfing as possible. The SKA caters for riders of all abilities and the committee have put a lot of hard work into organising events, from beginners’ clinics to inter-university competitions and are now seeing the benefits of this. “The student kitesurfing community is growing and we are getting enquiries on a daily basis from students wanting to know how they can get involved or how they can set up a kite club at their university.There was tough competition on Saturday with some of the best riders in the country competing in 35 miles per hour wind at Rest Bay with massive waves. Our club managed to battle the conditions and chased the waves in the onshore wind, with the RedBull sponsor truck pumping out music across the beach with a live DJ.” Saturday night saw the team hit the streets of Cardiff for a legendary night at the Cardiff Student Union with the club’s new kitesurfing buddies. After fuelling up again with a full English (Welsh) breakfast, the team all hit the water on Sunday morning with the slightly less furious 25 mile per hour winds. This brought a huge array of kites to the water and some tough competition heats. Our riders, Liam Neligan, Matt Gibson and Charlie Ellington, all narrowly missed out on a place in the final, but were happy with their performances, with two great sessions in the winds and waves of South Wales! The club then headed back up North, already looking forward to the Student National Finals in March.
Knights stay top after third straight win Women’s Basketball
Newcastle 1sts Sheffield 1sts
Jess Ambler in Sheffield Having played Sheffield twice before in the league and the cup, Newcastle knew this game should follow suit and gain the team valuable points in what has been an undefeated season so far. The team was quick to familiarise themselves with the large court and didn’t appear phased by Sheffield’s growing numbers. Having already heard the requests to “go easy”, Newcastle knew their season domination had been noted and the musty aroma of fear oozed from the Sheffield bench. Egle Duleckyte was the first to put the points on the board as she broke down court to score, leaving
the Sheffield players bewildered. The Knights played their notoriously tough man-to-man defence, and monstrous interceptions from Holloway prevented giving the opposition any opportunity to shoot under the basket. Inga Vareikaite used her Lithuanian jargon to put pressure on her player resulting in successful steals and quick outlet passes to a waiting Jackson. The quarter ended 8-21 to Newcastle but the away team knew they had plenty left to show. Captain Vaughan made her presence felt on court as she scored 12 points in the space of four minutes. The pace of Newcastle’s game couldn’t be matched by Sheffield and nearly all their points came from foul shots on the line. Jacqui Fisher played a great defensive game under the basket, denying cuts and passes into Sheffield’s grill-wearing beast. The frustration of this aggressive contact was clearly visible, and a few flying elbows were purposely
thrown, along with a flying punch for the ball. Foul-mouthed Hung took control of the court on offense and used speed to dribble out of their poor excuse for a press. At half time Newcastle had a comfortable 39-21 lead. The second half began with animal lover Jackson hitting a three pointer off a screen. The raucous fans spurred the team on as they relentlessly penetrated towards the basket, fighting through the defence. J. Monney made good cuts through the key, creating space for party animal Corinne to drive in for lay-ups. The Newcastle side played hard throughout the game and continued to play with honest defence, not allowing any slip in their lead. All players pushed themselves up until the final whistle, and were pleased with the final score of 72-38. As always, Coach Ballard was there with his wise words and reflections on the game: “It was a solid
team performance, our defence was good and it gave us a lot of scoring opportunities on the fast break. We executed our set offences well which shows we now understand the plays. “I think we just need to make a bit better decisions with the ball and tighten up on a couple of things defensively and we’ll be in a position to maintain this unbeaten run until the end of the season. I never really doubt the girls, they are a credit to me and I’m really proud of their focus and attitude this far.”
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THE COURIER Monday February 14 2011
NWR queens of Cochrane after York win S.TYSON
Newcastle 2nds York 1sts
Emma Boyle at Cochrane Park The nerves were obvious as Newcastle warmed up in preparation for their match against top of the table York. With their previous meeting in York ﬁnishing in a 65-5 defeat for the Royals, this was understandable, but the team didn’t let their nerves get the better of them and, instead, pulled out a stunning performance. From the ﬁrst whistle, Newcastle dominated play, receiving the kick and keeping hold of possession, whilst systematically driving towards the try line. Good hands and solid running from the backs helped the team to gain ground and it wasn’t long before NWR were in sight of the line. An enthusiastic number eight, Holly Malins, dove towards it in an attempt to score the ﬁrst points of the match but unfortunately knocked the ball on. Newcastle quickly won back possession of the ball and it wasn’t long before Malins made up for her previous misfortune and scored the ﬁrst try of the game. It came as a result of some strong play from the forwards, which drew the York defence in, al-
Newcastle overturned a heavy defeat at the hands of York earlier in the season with a victory, despite a slightly nervous ﬁrst half
Promotion charge still on track as Royals snatch draw to stay on track Men’s Football
Hull 1sts Newcastle1sts
Mitch King in Hull A strong Newcastle University Men’s football team travelled to Hull in the knowledge that a win would place them in a great position for promotion from their current league. The team was in a buoyant mood, having comfortably beat Hull in the reverse ﬁxture. However, the Royals did not take this conﬁdence into the game, and within 15 minutes found themselves 2-0 down to a distinctly average Hull team via a combination of bad marking and poor defending. Things could have got a lot worse for the Royals after a bad backpass from the usually composed Ed Houlton placed goalkeeper and part time model Andrew Kilshaw in trouble, resulting in the referee giving an indirect free kick just outside
the six-yard box. After a stunning block from striker Addy, the Royals started to play their passing game and started to impose themselves on the match. The Royals got their ﬁrst goal when Sue Barker lookalike George Coyle played in Addy on the left wing, where he took on two Hull university defenders before delivering a well timed pull back from fresher Dan ‘The Tripod’ Clements to score from 12 yards out. This seemed to invigorate the players in white and they got the second straight after following great work from the back, starting with King, Hartley and Dhugga before releasing Addy on the left wing, who delivered a cross for Clements to score again. However, the Royals conceded another goal swiftly after half time, following a moment of madness from a free kick. The ball was ﬂoated in from the left, where the usually cool and collected Elliot Connolly then missed the clearance, leading to a simple header for the Hull central defender.
Yet again it took a goal for the players in white to start playing football, and the Royals hard work paid off when fresher Clements cut in from the left, smashed a shot against the post, and the impressive Peace scored the rebound from six yards. The Royals then took the game to Hull, with central midﬁelder ‘Big Time’ Coyle dictating play from the middle and attacking midﬁelder Nose Burt, showing some good touches. However, the team could not convert this pressure into any real chances, despite full back King having a rasping 40-yard strike hit the post. The game ended 3-3, which in general was a fair reﬂection on an encounter in which the Royals simply didn’t turn up. After the full time whistle captain Ben Burt told The Courier, “I am impressed with the commitment of the lads”. This result leaves the Royals needing to beat Leeds Met seconds at home in order to gain promotion to the league above.
BUCS Results - February 9th Badminton
Mens 2nds 6-2 Sunderland 1sts
Mens 2nds 43-59 Durham 2nds Mens 3rds 63-50 Leeds Met 4ths Womens 1sts 71-38 Shefﬁeld 1sts Womens 2nds 47-51 Durham 2nds
Mens 1sts 3-3 Hull 1sts
Mens 2nds 0-0 Durham 1sts Mens 3rds 6-0 Hull 3rds Womens 1sts 4-1 Leeds 2nds
Golf 1sts 5-5.5 Central Lancashire 1sts
Mens 1sts 6-0 York 1sts Mens 2nds 1-1 York St John 1sts Mens 3rds 1-9 Northumbria 1sts Mens 4ths 1-5 Leeds Met 2nds
Womens 2nds 1-4 Shefﬁeld 1sts Womens 3rds 2-3 Northumbria 2nds Womens 4ths 1-2 Durham 4ths
Mens 1sts 4-11 Leeds 1sts Womens 2nds 10-7 Yorks 1sts
1sts 28-37 Birmingham 1sts 2nds 44-34 Leeds 3rds 3rds 41-27 Leeds 4ths
lowing Malins to make a break on the blindside, running robustly through tackles and leaping over failed tacklers to cross the try line. She followed this with an attempt at a difﬁcult conversion, which narrowly missed. For the remainder of the ﬁrst half and the beginning of the second half, Newcastle continued to dictate the play, especially in the scrums, keeping the play in the oppositions half with their defence being almost impenetrable to the York attack. On a couple of occasions when York did manage to break through, cover tackles from full-back Jess Moore and winger Livvy Coombes soon restored the balance. Although NWR were in command of the game, their second try did not come until late in the second half. Fly-half Laura Wealsby ran a great line through the York defence, but was taken down just short of the try line. Captain Heather Sherriff ﬁnished what Wealsby started, with a quick pickand-go to drive over the line. Malins stepped up once again and was this time successful in her conversion, taking the ﬁnal score to 12-0, and sealing a Newcastle victory. The back of the match and forward of the match were awarded respectively to scrum half Hannah McShane and front row Charlotte Flint, with York awarding player of the match to Holly Malins.
Newcastle 2nds Durham 1sts
Matthew Gouland at Longbenton On the back of an excellent win against the Poly, the Royals second string faced table topping Durham who took the short trip north full of purpose, knowing a win here would aid their promotion hopes. However, the spoils would be shared in a game which saw plenty of chances for both sides but no goals. Due to Cochrane being waterlogged, Longbenton stepped in to host this close encounter and the tricky conditions affected the play. Adam Ball began causing the Durham right back constant problems. Ball skipped past his clumsy man but the delivery never seemed to fall to a blue shirt in the box. The Royals took the game to Durham, with Chipps and Murphy in the centre of the park never giving Durham a heart beat on the ball. Some neat play by the Durham
Mens 1sts 15-18 Leeds 1sts Mens 2nds 0-55 Leeds Met 2nds Mens 3rds 8-11 Shefﬁeld 2nds Mens 4ths 54-7 Shefﬁeld Hallam 3rds Womens 2nds 12-0 York 1sts
Mens 2nds 3-2 Durham 2nds Mens 3rds 1-2 Hull 1sts Womens 1sts 3-1 Loughborough 1sts
midﬁeld released a man down the left, whose back post cross was scuppered by the oncoming striker. However, the best two goal attempts of the half fell to the Royals. A tidy piece of play allowed a powerful shot form Murphy, which seemed to be ﬂying into the top corner but was delicately tipped away by the Durham keeper. The second half was much more one-sided. Durham switched their danger man to the right ﬂank and pushed high up the ﬁeld. The Royals seemed to absorb the pressure with ease, especially Weston, the inform keeper, who claimed several low driven crosses. Baker and Holden at centre halves covered each other excellently, making important challenges to keep the Durham pressure at bay. With the game looking more and more like a draw, it was the Royals who could have clinched the victory. An aerial ﬂick on by Ritson and some hold up play by Stapleton opened up a chance for substitute Okonkwo. However, some last gasp defending by the visitors provided the rightful draw.
Womens 3rds 0-4 Leeds Met 2nds
Mens 1sts 12-0 Newcastle 2nds Womens 1sts 6-6 Warwick 1sts Womens 2nds 0-12 Shefﬁeld 1sts
Mens 3-2 Durham 1sts
Monday February 14 2011 THE COURIER
Premier League Six: best matches of all time > Sport, page 38
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Relentless Royals march on Men’s 1sts stay on track for promotion after 6-0 victory over York
The Royals capitalised on a number of well drilled short corner routines last Wednesday to extend their winning run to an impressive four games, which further established the side as genuine promotion contenders
Newcastle 1sts York 1sts
Calum Mackenzie at Longbenton Last Wednesday saw Newcastle Men’s hockey ﬁrsts adding a fourth match to their current BUCS winning streak in an emphatic 6-0 victory over York, which conﬁrmed them as ﬁrm contenders for promotion into BUCS Northern Conference 2A. The ﬁerce battle for the top of the table meant the Royals were in no doubt that victory against a team they had put eight goals past earlier in the season was an absolute must. However, despite still nursing the wounds from the annihilation they had received in October, York began the match conﬁdently, controlling possession and making Newcastle immediately aware they were in a game. It was York who had the better opening chances with Newcastle shot stopper Toby Raper staying
alert to prevent the visitors taking an early lead. The Royals began to ﬁnd their feet and impose themselves into the match with Fresher Max Underwood taking control and distributing well from defence. Yet, regardless of the possession that Newcastle was beginning to enjoy, they were failing to create any clear goal scoring opportunities. York defended resolutely and Newcastle stayed wary of a quick attack, not wanting to ﬁnd themselves caught on the break. Therefore a half that lacked any real incidents ended goalless, despite the best endeavours of both teams. The second half began with the Royals taking the game to York, causing the opposition to see themselves pressed into their own half.
Newcastle 7 Leeds 2nds York 1sts Durham 3rds Shefﬁeld 2nds Durham 4ths
6 7 7 6 7
W 6 5 3 3 2 0
D 0 0 0 0 1 1
L 1 1 4 4 3 6
It was then a quickly taken free-hit that found Ben Gowing in space on the edge of the York circle, his drive towards goal forcing a foul from York and so Newcastle was awarded a short-corner. A training ground routine followed to allow Captain Hector Hall to give Newcastle a much deserved lead. York were then forced to try and ﬁnd an equaliser and in doing so began to leave space at the back for Newcastle to exploit. For the ﬁrst time the home side started to threaten from open play, a ﬂuid attack providing the second goal not long after the ﬁrst. John Yarrow drove the ball into the circle, beat the goalkeeper with ﬂair and sent the ball towards goal only for the poacher Hall to attempt to encourage the ball across the line. The
F 37 21 8 14 9 8
A 7 12 22 13 17 26
Pts 18 15 9 9 7 1
credit for the goal rests with Yarrow but the dubious goal panel will be likely to award it to Hall. However the goal scorer was of little importance to the Royals who were simply relieved to have ﬁnally started to make their dominance count. The resolute defensive display that York had produced in the ﬁrst half rapidly became a distant memory. The Royals maintained the pressure they had exerted throughout the ﬁnal 30 minutes and once again were rewarded when Yarrow ﬁred the ball across the face of the York goal to be met by an onrushing Ian Rossiter to make it three for Newcastle. As York started to tire, Newcastle were able to capitalise on some weary defending and continued to win short corners, in which they claimed their fourth. The ball was ﬁred at goal from the top of the circle where a combination of goalkeeper and defender managed to prevent it from crossing the line. However John Colville’s sharp anticipation gave him the simplest of chances and he duly added his name to the score sheet. Once again a well-rehearsed short-corner routine proved the
undoing of York, as the Royals started to embarrass the visitors. The ball was sent to the top of the circle where Mike Pollack sent the ball back to Rossiter. With a ﬁrst time shot Rossiter was able to add a second to his haul. The Royals had comfortably secured victory and were able sit back for the remaining ten minutes. However Patch Brown remained the only striker to not bag a goal but a short corner provided him with the opportunity. With a sweet strike from the top of the circle, ‘The Horse’ found the bottom right-hand corner of the goal to round off the scoring. The win maintains Newcastle’s position as division leaders however the coming away trip to second place Leeds now presents a season decider. Victory for either team would almost guarantee promotion and, with only one promotion place available, the match looks set to be a classic encounter. Newcastle’s recent form should give rise to cautious optimism but it is important to bear in mind that Leeds remain the only team to have taken points from the Royals this season.