Page 1

Meet the second-year student who’ll be the youngest ever Brit to reach the South Pole News, page 4 & 5


Issue 1221 Monday 6 December 2011


They said Nick Clegg lied, look who’s lying now News, page 5

EST 1948


Inside today >>> L.MACKENZIE

Jesmond knife attack horror Shocked students tell of 2am confrontation with taxi driver after snowball hits his car, Bethany Sissons reports News, page 6

Cloned meat: a crisis of conscience? ‘‘I can’t be the only one who finds this weird’’, says Emily Sargeant Comment, page 12

Sex in the Snow Five students get to grips with cocktails, crumble and and fancy crockery Food & Drink, page 14

Critical of the critics Matt Burton asks if we really care what the film critics have to say Film, page 26

Holding it all together Action speaks louder than words: a group of students laid down with their mouths duct-taped shut in the foyer of the King’s Gate Building while staff looked on helplessly

Student found with broken back after four-day search

Intra Mural’s Denis Murphy, profiled by Colin Henry Sport, page 37

Third-year Politics student discovered in Madrid hospital after boozed-up night Nile Amos The remarkable hunt for a Newcastle student who went missing for four days in Madrid has finally ended in relief for his family and friends, but once again highlighted the damaging effects of binge drinking. Colin Duck, a third-year Politics and Spanish undergraduate, who is currently undertaking his year abroad in at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, was found after a frantic four-day search in a Ma-

drid hospital on November 22 with a broken coccyx and fractures to two of his vertebrae. He had fallen while attempting to climb into a second floor window, having lost his keys after returning from a nightclub. Duck had been drinking heavily and a close friend described alcohol abuse as the “real demon” in the events that led to his subsequent disappearance. A search that involved two universities, the British embassy, Spanish police authorities and an intuitive Facebook campaign all played a part in the initial hunt for Colin Duck af-

ter nobody had seen or heard from him after he attended ‘Independance’, a large scale night at one of Madrid’s nightclubs. Duck, originally from Middlesbrough, was discharged from hospital last week after recovering from his initial injuries. The anguish of his friends and family at his disappearance was so great that his parents and older sister flew to the Spanish capital to aid the authorities and visit him on his release. It fell upon Duck’s close friends in particular to raise the alarm of his disappearance, and authorities,

friends and family were quick to praise the actions of those studying in Madrid with him. Mairi Clancy, also a third-year student from Newcastle studying Spanish and Politics, was one of the first to notice Colin’s absence, and began posting frantic wall posts on her own and Colin’s Facebook profiles in English and Spanish, asking for any information of his whereabouts. They included a classic ‘missing person’ image with contact information. Clancy then alerted the Continued on page 6

We are Scientists Keith Murray braves the snow to chat to Ben Travis about the world tour, his favourite kind of science and his thoughts on the wave of UK student protests Culture, page 29


Monday December 6 2010 THE COURIER

News Editors: Simon Murphy and Charlie Oven

Have you got a news story for The Courier? Email us at:

University accused of cheating potential students by hiking entry requirements Brionny Bragg Universities have been accused of abusing the trust of potential applicants. This comes after many institutions raised their A-level entry requirements on numerous courses after the 2011 prospectuses had been published and students had begun submitting their applications. No fewer than 13 courses at Newcastle raised their entry requirements after the 2011 prospectus was distributed and, in five of these courses, applications had already opened. Many had applied in vain thinking that they could meet the requirements. The University itself has not broken any rules. Whilst entrance requirements are agreed at the time of printing, they are allowed to be changed according to the potential market and number of applications being received. Nevertheless, with the debate about proposed increases in fees hanging over sixth-form students’ shoulders, critics have argued it is callous for universities to be placing even more pressure on applicants. The competition for precious places is so intense at the moment, it appears the situation is not likely to be resolved in the near future, particularly with the prospect of the government slashing university funding by £915 million. Billy Flinn, of St Benedict’s High School in Cumbria, believed that universities should empathise with applicants in spite of demand for places. “I would agree to an extent that the changes to course requirements may be unavoidable due to the high volume of applications. Nevertheless, I feel the institutions should be more sympathetic towards the applications they’ve already received by giving applicants a chance to withdraw their application or change their UCAS form,” he said. Flinn added: “Alternatively, they should offer them the original requirements for the course they applied for via UCAS.” Newcastle University have failed to disclose to The Courier a list of courses where entry requirements were changed after the prospectus was issued.

Undergraduate applicants have their say: Caroline Reader – Carmel RC College, Darlington “The requirements shouldn’t go up as the University was willing to take on applicants with lower requirements only a year ago.”

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

Comment Can’t do kettling: Are the police becoming too heavy handed with student protests? Join our debate Page 10

Lifestyle Do you want a body like Britney’s? We test out the best of the celebrity workouts to get you into shape Page 17

Culture It’s been 50 years since Coronation Street first graced our screens, in our TV highlight we look back at the best 50 moments Page 33

Sport Daley or David: The Courier reviews the 10 person short list for Sports Personality of the Year 2010 Page 38

Meetings Timetable: Monday News & Comment - 12pm, Room 6 Park Terrace Sport- 1pm, MLK, Room 6 Park Terrace Photos - 12pm, Room 6 Park Terrace Tuesday Life & Style - 12pm, Room 6 Park Terrace Fashion - 12pm, Room 6 Park Terrace Wednesday Film - 12pm, Room 6 Park Terrace Arts 12.30pm, Room 6 Park Terrace Music - 1pm, Room 6 Park Terrace TV & Radio - 1.30pm, Room 6 Park Terrace

Celebration: graduation is a happy time for students and their families but some sixth-formers may never get the chance to attend university as grade boundaries are raised after undergraduate prospectuses are printed - 13 courses at Newcastle were found guilty of this

At York for Philosophy, Politics and Economics the requirements were changed from AAB to AAA. Manchester Metropolitan changed their Pharmacology requirements from ABB to AAB. A press statement released from Newcastle commented: “The popularity of Newcastle University meant that, for the 2010 entry, the number of high quality applications received was considerably higher than the previous year and we had

to take great care not to admit more students than our government quota would allow. “This year, our applications so far indicate that we will receive even more than last year. A small number of subject areas therefore reviewed their entrance requirements and increased grades slightly at the beginning of the UCAS cycle in September, in order to be able to manage numbers in a very buoyant market.”

With this in mind, students have been advised to take extra care in regularly checking their potential university’s website for any changes to the entry requirements which may have occurred. However, with a lot of students unaware of such activity taking place, many will be particularly disappointed by the changes after applying under one set of criteria to find they are being judged by another.

Stephanie Barker - Nunthorpe School, Middlesborough

Andrew Mooney - Dalziel School, Glasgow

Naomi Bragg - St Benedict’s High School, Cumbria

“With some students unaware of the grade requirements increasing, it seems really unfair for someone to be turned down having applied thinking they could meet the requirements, only for another with higher grades to then come and take their place.”

“It’s surprising as universities must have brought lots of hassle upon themselves with people emailing and phoning up to ask what has happened.”

“I believe they should have stuck with what requirements they put out in the first place. Instead students have been given false hope to attend a university that best suited them. This is a really stressful time to apply for university.”

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 and 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 and 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 • Online Editors - Aimee Philipson, Bethany Sissons, Katie Hicks, Elliot Bentley and Colin Henrys •Proof Editors - Charlotte Loftus, Katy Lawson, Hannah Davey, Verity Cunningham, Freya Marks, Gemma Farina, Jessica Cree, Amy Jordan, Ruby Hall, Rebecca Gee & Jennifer Beer 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 December 6 2010



Hay there ladies: Agrics get their kit off in raunchy charity calendar for Simon Hales

Baring all: Agriculture students stripped off in aid of Headway, the brain association. Simon Hales, an Agriculture student, suffered permanent brain damage after a terrible accident last year, Headway has been supporting his recovery

Sophie McCoid With Christmas fast approaching, are you still struggling to find the perfect present for your secret Santa? Well the Newcastle Agriculture students may have the answer, in the form of their naked charity calendar. The calendar, priced at a reasonable £6 or two for £10 with a £1.50 P&P charge, is raising money for Headway, the brain association. Last year, Simon Hales, 21, a member of the Newcastle Agricultural society, suffered permanent brain damage after a terrible accident, which resulted in him being in a coma for five weeks. He spent three

months in hospital and is now living in a specialist residential brain rehabilitation centre in Northamptonshire, where he continues to make good progress. Simon owes his recovery to his own courage and the constant support from Headway. Headway supports people with brain injuries along with their family and friends. Brain injury is the foremost cause of death and disability in young people and Headway campaigns nationally for the introduction of measures to reduce brain injury. The Agricultural students wanted to do something to thank Headway for all the help they have given to Simon, and to raise funds so that the

charity can continue to provide support to people just like their friend. Anna Langmead, 21, who is in charge of administration and sponsorship of the calendar, said: “We did this calendar because Simon is a great friend of ours and we miss him not being up here with us. We want to thank all those who helped him get back on his feet. “We hope to sell the calendars to raise as much money as possible to give to Headway to help others.” The calendar’s printing costs have been covered by some of the students’ parents and local businesses, making the production of it a real team effort. The calendar includes both male and female models, making it ap-

peal to all. Sam Phillips, one of the participants, said: “It was a good laugh and well worth the Arctic temperatures, as Simon is a really good mate of all of ours. “I was surprised at how comfortable we felt getting naked in front of each other.” The shots that appear in the calendar were taken in three different photo shoots around the Newcastle and North Tyneside area, on very chilly days by Laura White, 21, a third-year Environmental Science student, who described the experience of making the calendar as: “Nippy, to say the least. Thank you to everyone who so willingly took part.” The shots are playful and sugges-

tive, making use of farm machinery and hay to create a comical calendar that would make a great gift. Luke Griggs, spokesman for Headway said: “Having heard about this project, we are very grateful for the endeavours of all involved and we look forward to seeing the results of their creativity. “The funds raised will help us continue our work to improve the lives of those affected by brain injury, such as Simon and his family.” Calenders will be available from Thursday December 9, in Jesmond, or the Agricultural Building. If you are interested in ordering a calendar contact Anna Langmead at, who will be very happy to assist you.

Man of Movember: student crowned regional king Emily Robson As we welcome the festive season, the month of Movember draws to an end. The idea to grow moustaches to raise awareness of men’s health issues was sparked in Melbourne, Australia by a small group of men in 2003. Since 2003, the Movember movement has expanded year-onyear and now includes the US, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, Spain, South Africa, The Netherlands, Finland and the UK. Movember in the UK raises money

for research into the number one cancer affecting men. All donations to the cause will be received by The Prostate Cancer Charity (TPCC). Student support for the cause has been noticeable around campus. Many of the sports teams have participated in the campaign, including Hockey, American Football, Rugby League, Rugby Union, and many more. Beerd Soc, a fledgling society for people with a love for both facial hair and great beer, have shown their support for the campaign by creating a team of people all committed to the cause.

The team of nine raised £546 over the month. Matt Downie, a member of Beerd Soc, said that the society had “sacrificed their beards” for the cause. He confirmed that as of December 1 he would start growing a beard again. Beerd Soc hope that next year, once they are more established as a society, they will be able to support the cause even further, taking a more prominent role in supporting the campaign for men’s health across the campus. To mark the end of Movember and celebrate the achievements of those who participated, there have been five Gala Partés across the UK.

The locations included: Brighton, Cornwall, Edinburgh, London and Newcastle. The Movember website advertises the event as an occasion when “Mo Bros and Mo Sistas come together for one night to show off their moustache growing efforts. Celebrate the Mo and compete for a number of title accolades”. Awards were presented for the following: Miss Movember, Team Mo Bro and Mo Sista, Best Mo in Character, Lame Mo, The Ultimate Mo and the most prestigious accolade Man of Movember. James England, a member of Beerd Soc, described one gentleman at

Newcastle’s Gala Partés as having “a moustache that joined his chest hair.” Quite an achievement, most students would agree. Needless to say, he won the title of Newcastle’s Man of Movember and will now compete for the national title. James said that he thoroughly enjoyed the Movember celebrations held at Mr Lynch’s, which included a talk from one of the original members of the Australian Movember group. He added that the evening “reinforced the feeling that you were doing something really important.”


Monday December 6 2010 THE COURIER


On top of the world: student to be youngest ever Brit to reach the South Pole George Sandeman In December 2011 Bryony Balen aims to become the youngest Briton to trek to the South Pole. The 1100 kilometre journey across ice and snow, known for its crevasse fields and freezing headwinds, will see Bryony march in temperatures as low as -40˚C for 10 hours a day. The second-year Geography student, who will turn 21 during the trip, will use a sled weighing over 60 kilograms for the perilous journey. Bryony will travel with Polar Explorers, where the route from the Hercules Inlet to the Geographic South Pole will last roughly 50 days. Preparation for such an undertaking includes intensive endurance training and a carefully managed diet that requires her to gain weight as well as fitness. Part of this has meant joining the University Rowing Club and their notorious fitness regime before Bryony intensifies her programme as she nears departure. Her prospective trip takes her to Chile, where she will spend a couple of days preparing for the trip with the guides at Polar Explorers before flying out to Patriot Hills base camp in Antarctica. After another few days of prepping and acclimatising, she will fly out to the Hercules Inlet from which she will begin the journey to the Geographic South Pole,

at which the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Research Station is based. This expedition coincides with the centenary of famed British Antarctic Explorer Captain Robert Scott, who died in 1912, after being second to Roald Amundsen in the race to the Pole. The perils Bryony may encounter are many. They range from the terrors of frostbite and frostnip to the common cough and cold. In the Antarctic everyday illnesses are greatly accentuated by the sheer freezing temperatures and intense exercise, with the extreme isolation making any outside help unlikely. The 24 hour daylight situation in the Antarctic summer means getting any sleep will be a challenge, but, more importantly, sunburn is a constant threat. According to Bryony, a combination of lip balm and factor 50 sunblock constitute the best form of defence. Altitude sickness will also be a factor as Bryony will ascend 3500 metres with symptoms known to take effect after 2400. However, Bryony is no stranger to tackling the world’s natural wonders; at 17 years of age she climbed all 4800 metres of Mont Blanc and last summer scaled 5600 metres of Mount Elbrus in Russia, Europe’s highest mountain. She began rock climbing at the age of eight, and through her participation in Scouts

and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, has been able to develop her mountaineering prowess. Simon Tate, from the School of Geography here at Newcastle, is vocal in his enthusiasm about Bryony’s Antarctic undertaking. He said: “Expeditions like Bryony’s are always particularly spine-tingling and inspirational. In fact, what Bryony is planning to do takes us back to the origins of what geography as an academic subject is about - getting out there, exploring the world. Bryony’s plans are all the more exciting and important, as they show that geography is not all about sitting behind a desk and colouring in.” Such a feat is not cheap, with the financial reality being that the trip will cost roughly £49,000 with the intention of donating any surplus funds to charity. The flight from Chile to the Patriot Hills base in Antarctica alone will cost a peaky £32,000. Bryony herself seems more “excited than daunted” at the moment and refreshingly chilled about her forthcoming Antarctic adventure. However, she seems to be under no illusions as to what an experience of this magnitude entails, stating, “no amount of training can prepare you for this”.

Bryony Balen will brave sub-zero temperatures as she treks to the South Pole. But the expedition from Ricky Road to the Robinson Library comes close, reports George Sandeman


hilst trekking 1100 kilometres across the Antarctic is a pretty mean feat I suggest that an expedition from Ricky Road to the Robinson Library comes close. Bryony Balen is going to endure bone-chilling headwinds and risk horrendous frostbite as she travels to the South Pole, but residents of Ricky Road, Marris House and Castle Leazes have to cope with the melted slush all along Lover’s Lane that makes our shoes wet, whilst also being in constant fear of stacking it and making a fool out of ourselves. As Bryony Balen describes her

forthcoming attempt at becoming the youngest Briton to reach the South Pole from the Hercules Inlet, you can’t help but be greatly impressed by the passion her words inspire. From the beginning of the meeting she painted her upcoming feat as something “anybody could do if they wanted to”, but her humility disguises the incredible level of desire she possesses to complete a dearly held aspiration. Having already climbed Mont Blanc and Mount Elbrus, she is, in the words of Jay-Z, ‘on to the next one’ and her commitment is truly remarkable. Along with her full-time Geogra-

phy degree here at Newcastle, she has endurance training to complete, a strict diet to adhere to, a part-time job to raise money for new kit, media engagements with TV and radio to promote her trip, as well as the critical task of finding enough sponsorship money to make the expedition possible at all. In mid-January 2012, Bryony Balen will be standing at the South Pole filled with a sense of satisfaction and pride few of us can comprehend. All the while, future Newcastle students will be getting to grips with the Lover’s Lane slush and the perils it brings; remember to bring wellies.

Record-breaker: second-year Geography student is hoping to become the youngest ever Brit

THE COURIER Monday December 6 2010



Rising tensions: protestors up the ante in repeated King’s Gate stunts Jonathan Offredo

to reach the South Pole on her trip next year

Students occupying the Fine Art building upped the ante last week after about 15 students marched into King’s Gate on two separate occasions showing their disgust with the higher education cuts through sombre and whimsical peaceful direct action. On Friday one student, dressed as a cat, was trailed by several others armed with 9,000 homemade one pound notes with Vice-Chancellor Chris Brink’s face printed on them, representing the amount of money students may soon have to pay per year to study at Newcastle. The students threw the money in the air and stuffed it into a pillowcase as the ‘fat cat’ rolled, mewed and crawled on all fours across the foyer of King’s Gate. Security guards snapped photos as University staff and officials looked on bemused and demanded that the protesters leave or face disciplinary action. On Wednesday, the building was shut down for two hours after 15 students laid down with mouths duct-taped shut in the foyer of the King’s Gate Building while staff looked on from floors above and the University threatened disciplinary action yet again. Tensions between the University and the occupants have increased somewhat as students have fortified their position in the Fine Art building, and the administration resigned to let them stay until Friday, the day after parliament votes on the higher education cuts. After a delegation of students left disappointed from a meeting with Vice-Chancellor Chris Brink Wednesday morning, the group decided more needed to be done, culminating with Wednesday’s peaceful silent protest. “It was a natural decision to make,” said second-year Combined Honours student Zoe McNamee, who laid down herself. “We’ve been occupying for a week now and

nothing has been happening. We feel like we need to edge the protest forward,” she added. While the occupiers are at a standstill with administration, they are not without some newly-gathered allies. Late last week, Newcastle Union Society president Tom Delamere said he and the Union Society supported the occupation. Aaron Porter, President of the national branch of NUS, followed suit on Sunday, offering his and NUS’s legal and financial support and apologising for his “spineless” lack of public support. The occupation has also received numerous donations from the Newcastle UCU, lecturers, local political groups, Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah, parents and other students. A delegation from NUS also showed their support for the occupation after one member visited on Wednesday, but a delegation was turned away from the doors on Thursday on the account they were not staff or students. “NUS officers went to show solidarity with students in occupation in Newcastle and were prevented from doing so by University security,” a statement said. “We are deeply disappointed that these students, who are taking peaceful action against the government’s plans to destroy our universities, were not allowed to speak directly to national student representatives.” Last Tuesday, occupiers, students from sixth forms and local colleges all banded together and helped organise the second day of action, which saw no arrests or incident, in less than a week. Several hundred students marched on Tuesday afternoon along a similar route that well over 1000 marched on November 25. One of those marching, and frequent occupier, is a 16-year-old Heaton Manor sixth form student who was integral in organising and galvanising the demonstration and activities at the occupation. “The response we get in our

schools and what some people get from their parents ‘There’s no point in you doing anything, you can’t achieve anything, you’re voice won’t matter here,’ but just the idea you can bring something to the table here - it’s fantastic.” On Tuesday evening, the Students’

Union organised a symbolic protest in the quadrangle outside the Armstrong building. More than 150 students and lecturers braved the freezing temperatures, to each light a candle, signalling their objection to the proposed fees hike and cuts to higher education funding.

Attacking the fat cats: 9,000 £1 notes with the Vice-Chancellor’s face on it were scattered around the King’s Gate building by the ‘cat’ in protest to the threat of raised fees

Bright idea: the Union organised a symbolic protest against the fees hike last Tuesday

Vice-Chancellor challenged by frustrated students at Union council Jonathan Offredo Vice-Chancellor Chris Brink laid out his personal position on the Browne Review last Thursday night during a question and answer session with students, but remained apolitical on the official University stance. He insisted that he saw universities as part of a civil society that should stay value neutral on political matters. The stance was met with mixed reaction from the crowd of 100 or so students. During his address to students, which ran for about 20 minutes, the Vice-Chancellor touched on the fact that “questions will be asked” if there is a disinvestment in education, which he considers to be one of the strongest cards the UK has to

play in the international arena. Brink said that if the cuts move ahead as proposed, the UK would be the only major country he knows of that would have created “an incentive for young people to leave.” Charles Barry, a first-year Economics student, said the Vice-Chancellor’s stance was “spot on” and that it was proper to separate his personal views from his official view as the figurehead of the University. “As the head of the organization effectively he has to be careful of what he says and I think what he said today made a lot of sense,” he said. “This University should not be a part of a political organisation. It should not come out in favour of Labour and against the Conservatives that’s totally wrong and totally against what universities stand

for.” At one point, some students grew frustrated with some of the ViceChancellor’s answers to questions about why he would not make a political statement over the Browne Review, despite implicitly posting support of the review – which one student argued was a political statement. The Vice-Chancellor’s separation of the personal from the official stance was “very, very frustrating” for third-year Politics student Jonny Pickering. “Not only that and then he just came out there and made a public speech denouncing the public cuts and the government plans. It seems to me that it’s a bit of a cop out and a bit of an excuse,” Pickering said. On the cuts to funding to the Arts,

he said in a similar, but personal vein: “If this all goes ahead this will be the only major country that I know of where there will be no state contribution to the study of the Arts and the Humanities and it’s difficult to interpret that as anything than a view that there is not sufficient public good in the study of History or Literature or Fine Art or Philosophy to justify spending public money on. “And that is curious for a country of Shakespeare, Chaucer and Milton, with a long history as a political entity certainly. “So it seems a curious proposition to say a country with that kind of history, those kinds of intellectual benefits, that you will not spend public money on the study of such subjects.”


Monday December 6 2010 THE COURIER


Knife attack nightmare relived by student: “I was just concerned about getting away” Bethany Sissons Four Newcastle students were threatened at knife-point by a taxi driver after throwing snowballs at his car. The attack happened on Saturday November 27. Elliot Bentley, a second-year Biology student, told The Courier: “We were walking back home through Jesmond at about 2:30am. “We’d had a few drinks but we weren’t smashed; we had a snowball fight and then stupidly thought it would be a laugh to throw a few snowballs at the passing cars.” However, as the group of students played in the snow, one car slowed down and stopped near Tesco on Acorn Road. The driver abandoned his car in the middle of the street, got out and shouted aggressively at the students. Elliot said: “He used foul language and was very angry with us

for throwing the snowballs.” The taxi driver then chased the students away: “We ran down a side road to escape him. When we lost of sight of him we thought we’d got away with it but he happened to drive past us again and saw us.” “He jumped out of his taxi again and that’s when I noticed he had a knife in his hand.” Elliot described the knife as having a fifteen centimetre blade. “I was further away from the knife than my housemates were. “I just remember him angrily telling us to stop throwing snowballs at him and then he went right up to my housemate and said he would put his knife through him. It all happened very fast.” Another second-year student, who studies Geography, also stated his shock at the awful threat: “All the time I was just stunned. It was so out of the blue. “When he stopped I expected a

normal angry reaction; I suppose cumulative things could have got on his nerves but he didn’t listen to us at all.” The students say that they attempted to calm the taxi driver down and when this failed, they backed away quickly. Elliot commented: “My housemates were shaken up. We ran away, stupidly; I ran down a separate road to the rest of them. “I was concerned about getting away quickly but the guy stalked my housemates down the other street.” The students phoned the police and described what had happened to them. “The police told us they would follow it up but we did get a bit of a telling off for throwing the snowballs at cars in the first place. “We’d managed to get the number plate of the taxi but the police said that they thought the weapon he was carrying probably wasn’t ille-

gal.” Elliot concluded: “I can understand why any taxi driver would carry a knife - at 3am alone in a vehicle – but not what it was used for in this instance. I suppose taxi drivers could be picking any psycho up off the street though.” “I only regret throwing the snowballs. In retrospect, it was a bit silly but it was just a bit of fun until we were threatened.” Another of Elliot’s housemates, also a second-year Geography student, who wanted to remain anonymous for his safety, told The Courier: “I am shocked and angry. You just don’t expect that kind of thing to happen. I will never be using that taxi company again.” The aftermath of the attack had an effect on the students: “We didn’t want to talk about it the next day really, we were frightened at the time and we haven’t heard back from the police.” Elliot hoped that there wouldn’t

be a repeat of the incident, but acknowledged his fears saying: “If he was psycho enough to jump out of a taxi in the middle of the street, abandon his car and threaten us with a knife, I would be slightly worried that he could come after us again.” With another frightening event taking place in Jesmond, is the student population at risk living there? Elliot stated: “I won’t be scared to wander around Jesmond at night in the future. There was some antagonism even though the response was unjustified. Generally, I feel very safe in Jesmond.” Having fun in the snow it seems can quickly become dangerous. Speaking to The Courier, Elliot concluded: “We’ve learnt our lesson and we won’t throw any more snowballs at cars. Shouting at stupid kids is one thing but chasing and then threatening them is another.”

Continued from front page relevant Spanish authorities, who to her seemed less than anxious about the safety of Colin, which she claims only added to the ordeal. Clancy described her thoughts at the time: “I simply thought he was dead.” The reaction of the Madrid police is something which she puts down to the context of his disappearance in the first instance. Clancy said: “The reaction of the police is a result of the fact that they knew that when Colin was last seen he was incredibly drunk, and therefore didn’t think it as a serious disappearance, because they are used to students getting too drunk and doing stupid things. “What happened with Colin, to them, almost justified their lack of concern. When we went to the police station to tell them that we had found him and what had happened, they were a bit like, ‘we told you so’.” Clancy resorted to contacting Madrid hospitals herself, as the reluctance of the Madrid police force to commit time to Duck’s situation was slowing the process in locating him. It was Clancy that found Duck at a local hospital, undergoing treatment for his injured back. Duck spoke to The Courier about his ordeal, and said: “I’m OK now, just sore. I can walk reasonably well and the pain’s started to subside. I have to wear a sort of body brace and it hurts to sit.” The reason for the lack of response and the subsequent panic experienced by those looking for him came down to some very simple, but unfortunate circumstances. “My battery had died I had no way of contacting anyone in Spain because I don’t know their numbers. I assumed that since I’d been identified in a hospital, the Spanish police would know where I was, and therefore so would the English. I didn’t want to worry my parents and have them fly out,” Duck explained. On his decision to climb two floors into a window, he has a very straightforward view on how his decision making skills were affected by his alcohol intake: “I wouldn’t have done it if I hadn’t been drinking, and it was a fairly ridiculous thing to do. “Trying to explain why you were

found on the floor in agony to a paramedic, in Spanish, with your back broken in three places is enough to put most people’s language skills to the test, but I more or less managed.” For many, moving to a different country can be a daunting experience, and the international aspect of the incident has only served to make for a more anxious experience for those concerned about Duck. It also took its toll on Duck himself: “Being alone was pretty tough, I didn’t have any clothes to wear since they’d been cut off, I didn’t have any company, so with my neck brace on I spent four days watching the same 5ft x 5ft square of white ceiling. Even just having someone to hold your hand makes a big difference.” Speaking to The Courier, Ella Ritchie, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Newcastle University said: “The University was deeply concerned to hear that one of its students had been involved in an accident whilst studying in Spain. We are relieved to hear that the student has responded well to treatment and is now out of hospital and recovering with his family. “We are in constant contact with the student, friends and family to offer support and practical help. “As soon as we were made aware of this incident we were able to put in place the comprehensive response procedure we have to provide support for students in crisis and, when needed, we can call in representatives to go into the area to provide assistance.” Each year, several hundred Newcastle University students are able to benefit from exchange arrangements with universities in many different countries to experience part of their studies overseas. In advance of the placements, students are given a full briefing, both verbally and in the form of a handbook. Students are required to prepare themselves fully for their placement by learning about the environment in which they will be based and they are required to complete a risk assessment so that they understand the nature of the country in which they will live, and have thought through what they might need to do in the event of an accident or emergency.

THE COURIER Monday December 6 2010



University battles against adverse weather conditions as long Arctic chill bites campus Elliot Bentley In face of the record-breaking levels of snow, none of the University’s schools have made any changes to their lecture schedule or deadlines. This comes in spite of warnings by the Met office of “severe or extreme weather”. Most schools The Courier spoke to said that no lectures had been formally cancelled and that attendance has been “good”. However, The Courier understands that many lecturers are unable to get to Newcastle because of the heavy snow and that lectures have therefore been cancelled. The only school that has officially made any changes to its schedule is the school of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, which has cancelled a field trip due to the adverse

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 careers. Vacancies brought to you by the Careers Service... PART TIME VACANCIES Job Title: Administrator/Data Entry Clerk Employer: Admiral PR Closing date: 08/12/2010 Salary: National Minimum Wage Basic job description: Duties include cleansing of a database. This placement is due to last around 2 weeks, commencing 13 December and finishing on 23 December. Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

conditions. Many primary and secondary schools in Scotland have been closed for the last three days, while Newcastle City Council have closed around a quarter of the city’s schools, citing “severe weather warnings”. Similarly, despite many students being stuck at home or in other cities due to difficult driving conditions and train delays, almost all of the University’s Schools contacted told The Courier that no general extensions had been issued and that each student would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. A member of staff from the Law School told The Courier that all students had managed to make the weekly Monday deadline, but if problems emerged next week they would make exceptions.

Person Requirements: Applicants should be outgoing with a strong work ethic. Bar experience is preferred although not essential. You must be staying in the Newcastle area all year round. Location: Newcastle upon Tyne Job Title: Bar/Waiting Staff Employer: The Hyena Comedy Club Closing date: 01/12/2011 Salary: National Minimum Wage Basic job description: Successful candidates must be willing to work as part of a team, preparing drinks and serving food whilst maintaining high customer standards. Person requirements: 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. Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

Job Title: Bar & Restaurant Staff Employer: Holiday Inn Jesmond Closing date: 22/12/2010 Salary: National Minimum Wage Basic job description: Bar & Restaurant Staff are required for a newly opened Holiday Inn located in Jesmond, with a soon to be opened trendy new bar and restaurant. Location: Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne

Job Title: Bartender/Food Runner Employer: Cafe Rouge Closing date: 10/12/2010 Salary: Meets NMW + Tips and company benefits Basic job description: The post will involve running drinks and food from a bar and kitchen. You will also be taking orders, cleaning and re-stocking and generally be involved in the day to day duties of a busy restaurant. Location: Gateshead, Tyne and Wear

Job Title: Bar Staff Employer: Bar 38 Closing date: ASAP Salary: Meets National Minimum Wage Basic job description: Bar 38 are looking for Bar Staff to work in their busy, student venue. Applicants will be required to work 2-3 shifts per week mainly at night.

Job Title: Campus Brand Manager Employer: Ltd Closing date: 14/12/2010 Salary: Competitive + On Target Earnings (OTE) Basic job description: A Brand Manager is someone who would represent the company through

A similar attitude to the snow was reflected by most of the schools contacted - that if the weather became more dangerous, measures would be considered. In related news, the appearance of cracks in the Percy Building’s glass dome has prompted a closure of the main entrance. The Courier understands that the damage to the dome has been caused by the weight of the settled snow, and that it is potentially dangerous. However, some students have expressed concerns that the back entrance poses a similar risk, as it has not been cleared of snow and is very slippery.

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Frozen: The old quad strikes a Christmas card image as heavy snow fell in Newcastle

the marketing of their product/ brand on-campus to students. In this instance would be looking to predominantly market the brand to job seeking final year students. Person requirements: The duties of this post can be done either from home or on campus, therefore it would be advantageous if applicants had access to a PC or laptop. Location: Newcastle University Campus/from home Job Title: Care Workers Employer: Heritage Healthcare Closing date: ASAP Salary: Meets National Minimum Wage Basic job description: Heritage Healthcare are looking for ongoing Care Workers to provide domiciliary care to people in their own homes within the North East Region. Person requirements:. Applicants should have an interest in working within the care sector. Experience is not essential as training will be provided. A driving license is preferred but is not essential. Applicants must be available to work during the vacation periods. Location: North East Job Title: Census Coverage Survey Interviewers Employer: Census Closing date: ASAP Salary: £7.71 - £10.84 per hour Basic job description: Census Coverage Survey Interviewers are required to carry out short doorstep interviews with households. Applications for these positions will be accepted from 4 January 2011. Person requirements:. You must be available to work between 9 May 2011 - 3 June 2011 (4 weeks). Location: UK wide

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Kiwi student sells virginity online for £20k

ing on any demonstration. His reasoning may be the same as he gave John Humphreys for missing the first two: “I think I was doing something else.”

Tom Saunders

Students go naked against ‘sweatshops’

An unnamed 19-year-old New Zealand student has sold her virginity on an internet auctioning site for $NZ46,000. The student, known only by her username ‘Unigirl’, received more than 1200 offers on after describing herself as “a keen athlete” with “a trim physique”. ‘Unigirl’ claims to be fully aware of the ‘circumstances and possible consequences’. An Italian model once offered her virginity for £792,000, whilst a Peruvian women had cold feet and ended up rejecting an offer of about £750,000 in 2005.

Welsh avoid tuition fee rise Welsh education minister Leighton Andrews last week promised that Welsh students will not pay increased tuition fees at any UK university, whatever happens in the House of Commons vote. “Welsh students who go to university in 2012-13 will be paying the same in real terms as students who go to university in this academic year,” Andrews told the Senedd. The Welsh NUS expressed concern this summer when results of a Survey showed 2010 graduates, the first to pay £3,000 a year in Wales, showed less satisfaction than the previous year.

Miliband rejects offer to join protest Despite assuring Radio 4’s Today programme that he was “tempted” to join protestors against education cuts two weeks ago, Labour Leader Ed Miliband has rejected the chance to join the students in the street. The National Campaign Against the Cuts extended their offer to join last Tuesday’s march, the third to take place in November, only to be told by a spokeswoman that “Ed will not be go-

Students from the UK, USA and Europe have led a coordinated series of direct action events against ‘sweatshops’. Leaflets carrying details of how cheap clothes are made under extremely poor working conditions were placed in the pockets of items in high street shops. Oxford Brookes students pledged to go naked rather than wear sweatshopproduced clothes. In a move supporting the ‘10,000 Voices for Human Rights’ petition, other events included the University of East Anglia’s performing street theatre ‘bringing the sweatshop onto the campus’. Sussex, Bristol, Birmingham and Reading universities all organised events across their campuses. The petition can be signed at: http://

Oxford college set to appoint ‘monarch’ St Hugh’s College, Oxford, has passed a motion to establish an unelected ‘College Monarch’, complete with royal crown and an ‘interesting wave’. The role will primarily be ceremonial, but is also intended to spice-up college debates, giving alternative and controversial points of view that are not accountable to voters. Rather than being elected, the King or Queen will be selected randomly through a statistical programme developed by Maths students at the college. The changes also include introducing an unelected Upper House, which Oxford students hope will attract peer Lord Alan Sugar. Whilst one student told student paper the Cherwell he was looking forward to a “royal wedding next year to rival Kate and Wills”, another lamented the move as “seriously lame”.

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THE COURIER Monday December 6 2010

What changes are being made at Disney? > Page 11 Comment Editors: Laura Heads and Danny Kielty -

Whistleblowing WikiLeaks court controversy again Elliot Bentley

In case you weren’t already aware, last week the freedom of information activist group known as WikiLeaks released onto their website 250,000 diplomatic cables. These transmissions reveal the US position on global issues, from Iran’s nuclear programme to members of the Royal Family and the performance of Britain’s politicians. Although their website was initially brought down as the documents were released, The Guardian and The New York Times (as well as several other high-profile newspapers) were provided with access to the documents. Unsurprisingly, the US government has come out guns blazing, criticising WikiLeaks’ actions on account that they “put people’s lives in danger, threaten our national security and undermine our efforts to work with other countries to solve shared problems.” Some US politicians have even called for WikiLeaks to be labelled as a terrorist organisation (and its leader Julian Assange to be “hunted down like Bin Laden”), which is frankly ridiculous. WikiLeaks’ aim is not to destroy America, but to (in their own words) “bring important news and information to the public” – damaging the state far more than the country. However, the anger expressed

You, The Courier Katie Lauren Henry, an MA student in Media and Journalism reviews the last edition


he front page news story this week was very emotive, giving details of the medical school’s use of animals for scientific testing. The news came as quite a shock to myself, and undoubtedly was the source of mass debate between readers. Comment as ever provided some interesting food for thought, in particular the discussion regarding the University’s affiliation with the NUS. A personal highlight from Lifestyle being the interesting article about ‘Spidercise’. Being a selfconfessed Come Dine With Me addict, I thought the Newcastle-Upon-Dine feature was inspired. The section of the week, however, was Fashion. The articles discussing key looks from the past century were well informed, and the professional photographs complemented the text beautifully.

by the US administration is entirely understandable. Unfortunately for them, there’s not much they can do about it – and in many ways it’s their own fault. Unbelievably, around five million users are able to access the US internal Internet system, SIPRNet – including Bradley Manning, an intelligence analyst who stowed the data on a CD-RW labelled ‘Lady Gaga’. Manning, in a leaked instant messaging conversation, said, “Information should be free... it belongs in the public domain.” While perhaps a contemptuous claim, when the US allow access of confidential information to so many of their staff it is somewhat inevitable that a disillusioned staff member is going to attempt to leak it. Furthermore, in the 21st century the means to distribute such information are plentiful – and once leaked, can never be fully erased from the Internet. With that in mind, it is entirely acceptable for the press to cover these documents in depth. Manning and WikiLeaks were committed to releasing this information one way or another – is it not better that the information is dissected by experienced professionals rather than ofthysterical bloggers and tweeters? The Guardian’s coverage, for one thing, has been carried out very professionally in co-operation with the government and in consideration of UK libel laws that prevent publication of many of the cables. This is, of course, not WikiLeaks’ first release by far. They’ve previously leaked documents on the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, as well as Some much appreciated X Factor gossip was provided this week from Culture in the form of a revealing interview with Treyc Cohen. And although I enjoyed reading about Wills Robinson’s internship, I felt the Sports section was very football focused, with four stories about the ‘beautiful game’.

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In the public interest? Internet site WikiLeaks have made 250,000 secret US government files available to several major newspapers

a report on police killings in Kenya, and a now-notorious video of two journalists being gunned down by over-enthusiastic pilots in Baghdad. What WikiLeaks does is undoubtedly highly illegal, but is leaking highly classified information acceptable if it is in the public interest? Well, it’s a mixed bag. Though the revelation that US ambassadors have been ordered to spy on UN diplomats is shocking, is it so necessary to reveal that Prince Andrew “arrogantly branded Americans as being ignorant of geography, and [thought] that anorexia sufferers needed to cure themselves”? Definitions of the “public interest”

may vary, but many of the cables revealed seem to be in the interest of the gossip-hungry press alone. Though of course much of the press have criticised WikiLeaks’ actions some have come out in support of the organisation, claiming that their actions are necessary since the mainstream press are so afraid to release sensitive information. There is a commonly held belief that journalists should constantly be attacking the establishment and the status quo – breaking laws as they see fit in the pursuit of truth. This is, of course, hardly ever the case. The reality is that if The Guardian had stolen this information them-

selves there would be little doubt over the legality of publishing the cables. In fact, they would never even attempt such a stunt for fear of legal consequences, no matter what dark secrets may be uncovered in the process. What of the leakers, then? A commitment to freedom of information is admirable, and it’s important to occasionally unveil what the government gets up to, warts and all. I personally salute WikiLeaks for their courage: the world’s governments deserve constant scrutiny, and if the press are bound by legal issues then it’s up to the public to investigate their rulers themselves.

Changing attitudes on disability Bethan Brown

After the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 was finally passed, it seemed that the rights of disabled people would begin to develop in a fair way. Headed by the young Lord Morris, who was an MP in the Lancashire region, he felt particularly passionate about the rights of people who are disabled. If it hadn’t been for Morris, who had a personal reason to feel strongly about passing the Act, (his father was severely injured in World War One), then the issue may never have been brought into the political mainstream. And it is true that the Act provided a great list of positive movements, for example: help within the home of the disabled individual, the right to a proper assessment of needs, and

very importantly, the plan to make local councils responsible for making the environment an accessible place for all. As well as this, there was a strong initiative to stop the accepted assumption that individuals who are disabled are to spend their lives in institutions. Despite significant developments and improvements, it seems that there still remain important issues that have slipped through the net, so to speak. Indeed, Lord Morris admits that he doesn’t like talking about what the Bill achieved, as he feels “there’s still so much to be done”. It seems that there is still a deep -routed belief that disabled people are unemployable or turn down jobs unnecessarily. This was revealed in a recent BBC interview that found that whilst many people believe government funds should increase in order to make workplaces fully accessible for the disabled, still as many as 50 per cent of the people in the survey actually believed that disabled people have a reputation for turning down jobs, even if they are physically able

to take them on. It seems that the Act has not been able to eliminate the sceptical views about disabled individuals and their relationship with the workplace.

“50 per cent of the people in the survey actually believed that disabled people have a reputation for turning down jobs, even if they are physically able to take them on” This comes at a time when the economic down-turn has caused the government to repeatedly endeavour to make cuts to benefits, including disabled benefits. This has meant that there are tougher assessments for those wishing to claim benefits in an effort to ensure genuine disability benefits. So it seems that despite tougher regulations, people are still sceptic of those who are disabled and their relationship with employment.


Monday December 6 2010 THE COURIER


BA in burgers next on the menu for McDonald’s Tom Saunders

I freely admit that I am one of the many, many wasters who have wandered into the Northumberland Street McDonald’s in the early hours with the intention of scrabbling together the last remnants of my night’s funds into something that can get me a cheeseburger, or if I’m lucky, Big Mac. But in the morning, as I regret all that McGoodness and look at doing some work, I’m never tempted to connect the two, other than in the vaguely sick feeling they give me. But times in the universities sector are changing. Last month saw the first entrants onto McDonald’s two-year foundation degree in Managing, following the summer

announcements of a Morrisons’ course in Business and Marketing and Harrods’ offer of a BA in Sales and Marketing. With education an increasingly costly business, the idea of being able to study fee-free whilst actually making money is incredibly tempting, as is the promise of a management job at the end of the process.

“When McDonald’s claim that people will mix education and work, what they really mean is that people will mix education with working for McDonald’s” Psychologically, there is a real burden being placed on people’s shoulders in terms of debt, and it is a sad truth that many cannot afford two or three years’ worth of not earning

full time. If those who would usually end up staying in McDonald’s at the till can have educational pathways opened to them that would otherwise be closed, then fantastic. But there’s something far more abstract about this whole thing that is troubling, and it’s not to do with lazy and snobbish ‘McJob’ labels. There is a danger that people will go into these jobs at 16, start degree training at 18 and are institutionalised to the extent that they don’t realise that their skills are transferable across the industry. This is what branding does – it leads us to believe that this product is better than all others, that it does the job for you that no other product can. When McDonald’s claim that people will mix education and work, what they really mean is that people will mix education with working for McDonald’s. If there’s one point stressed at any uni, and particularly Newcastle, it’s the belief that a degree is just the be-

ginning, a key that opens doors to a wide future where various opportunities are available. What these institutionalised courses offer is a way of studying which leads directly, and exclusively, to making more money for the company which paid the fees. Education is a good thing in its own right, and should be tailored into creating fantastic contributors to society, not the perfect McDonald’s employee. Whilst the idea of offering university-standard education to employees fits in very nicely with the rebranding of McDonald’s as a trendy and healthy pillar of society, it’s really a way of keeping the same people in the same job for their whole careers. There’s a ton of articles on the web defending a McJob as a useful stepping stone, but the idea that someone, at 18, should be encouraged to think that they belong under the Golden Arches for life is frankly depressing.

Were the police too heavy handed at the student protests? Yes Sophie McCoid

The recent student protests that have been taking place nationwide since the November 10 have caused a media furore. It’s not the cuts that the media spotlight has focused on, however, but the police’s harsh handling of the student protestors. The police have been criticised for their brutal treatment towards the demonstrators, some of whom are as young as 14. On Wednesday November 24 the police contained a crowd outside Whitehall: 17 people were injured and 32 arrests were made. The protest began peacefully, as have all the other cuts demonstrations. Only later did the atmosphere become one of violence, as a small group of protestors’ anger bubbled over at being penned in for an unapparent reason. The student protestors, in my opinion, have a cause worth fighting for. The recent education proposals the government have been making are definitely something to protest against and strongly resist. The police treated the protestors as if they were common thugs chanting racist abuse, as might be seen on a BNP or EDL march. The majority of people who were demonstrating are highly educated young people, who are interested in not only saving their future, but their children’s and generations’ to come. If fees are raised to £9000 and we do nothing, we will only have our children to answer to. The small group of people who are carrying out the violence are not representative of the majority, who only wish to get their cause heard through peaceful protest and dem-

onstration. The people that throw fire extinguishers off buildings are not to be admired and the police are right to be heavy-handed with people who do such idiotic things. The police are not right to be heavy handed, however, with the peaceful protestors who give them nothing but respect, yet in turn are treated like animals, herded into overcrowded pens.

“The student protestors, in my opinion, have a cause worth fighting for. The recent education proposals the government have been making are definitely something to protest against ” The police need to be professional and not retaliate with violence if things do get a tad heated. They should recognise the youth of most of the protestors as naivety, with many not ever having been on a march before. When things get heated as mob mentality grows, most of the protestors must begin to fear for their safety, it’s the job of the police to alleviate their fears, not add to them. With the protests set to continue until the government changes its plans, the police need to change their tactics. The protestors are not scared by the show of force; all it serves to do is make people sympathise with the protestors and make the students themselves even more determined to get their voice heard. With many members of the police possibly having their own children taking part in the protests, they should really be asking themselves if they would treat their own child in the way they have treated somebody else’s. As Mum always said, two wrongs never make a right.

No Laura Heads Comment Editor

The national news coverage the student protests received was undoubtedly vast and dramatic. There was not a single front page that did not feature, in some way or another, the protests. The only problem was, however, the nature of the coverage, instead of praising and supporting the mass turnout of 50,000 students, it condemned the violence used by a few select students against the Tory HQ, Millbank Tower. The most recent event on November 24, which again was overtaken by the violence of a number of

students and protestors, has been widely condemned as a failure by the police. They went in too hard and too heavy. Honestly, in my opinion, 90 per cent of it was. The students who decided to storm and occupy Millbank Tower immediately opened themselves up to the reaction of the police. The inability to do something at Millbank, and the precedent set by the students from this violence set up and actuated the response by the police; they were expecting Millbank mark two and acted accordingly. It is the police’s responsibility to ensure that the immediate area that they are policing and protecting is safe. If this isn’t the case they are allowed to use anything within their power, as long as it is proportionate, to control and get a hold of the situation. The students’ immediate actions warranted a strong retaliation by the police on the November 24 to J. OFFREDO

ensure nothing similar happened. The students proved that they were willing to use any force necessary, so the police in return had to be equally as harsh. The view taken to this situation and the handling of it by both sides generally depends on whose side you’re willing to take and believe as truth. The students will have you believe that the violence used was proportionate in order to achieve their aims and to raise the profile and the feelings against the increased cuts and hike to tuition fees even further. The police will lead you to believe that they were merely responding to what they were presented with: a potential group of violent students disobeying the law. All I can say is that by watching the television footage and actually being there on the day when the initial storms happened - I will admit that the situation at the time confused me, and I marched onwards and did not think anymore of the matter – it doesn’t look good for the perpetrators. The breaking in, smashing of the front window glass and general pushing, shoving and fighting that went on by the protestors has to point to the fact that they were in it for more than just proving a point. Indeed if we were to look at any other protest, demonstration or gathering, and violence was to occur on the same scale as it did here I would think we would probably be praising the police for the work they did in attempting to calm down the situation. It is purely because they were members of our own, fighting for something we believe in, that we are as upset as we are. I do not believe in using violence point blank, but when you are faced with a potential explosive situation and the only way to control is by using some form of force I cannot say that I am also 100 per cent against it. The students and protestors brought it on themselves; if they want to act like thugs then they should expect to be treated as such.

THE COURIER Monday December 6 2010



Princess given the push by Disney Mind your Tarren Smarr

Oh the magical world of Disney. Honestly and truly that is what Disney is: magical. From Disneyland to Mickey Mouse to the Silver Screen, Disney has been the heart and soul of childhood since the 1920s. However, Disney’s impact on children will be a bit different in the coming years. In late November, Disney’s animation ‘Bigwig’, John Lasseter announced that after the release of Tangled in November/December worldwide, fans have seen the end of princess films for some time. Shocker! I understand that not everyone likes a good princess film, but really? Disney made its mark on the entertainment world with classics such as Sleeping Beauty and Aladdin. Key people in the industry attribute this change to two main factors: boys and girls. “Allegedly” boys are not big fans of princess films and Disney would rather not

alienate young boys with revivals of fairy tales. Right, well I know quite a few boys who dressed up as the Beast for Halloween when they were younger. I’m also pretty sure they would have seen the movie Beauty and the Beast before coming to this decision. After all, who wakes up and thinks “Hey I’ll just be a beast today.” They may not always admit it, but boys love Disney! Hello, the Lion King? Yeah, so the film is about animals, but I am kind of amazing with Disney knowledge and am about 100 per cent positive that Disney claims Nala as the unofficial princess, as she becomes queen at the end of the film. Ask the guy next to you and he will probably tell you that he likes the Lion King. So this rubbish about boys not liking Disney films is a laugh! As for the girls’ thing, well we are once again back to the argument of girls growing up way too fast. Research conducted by Disney has shown that by the age of five, girls have outgrown their princess stage and would rather be “hot” or “cool,” strutting around in skinny jeans and Ugg boots. What?! My mother would have skinned me if I

acted like that at five! Sadly enough, Disney has realized that society has deemed this behaviour as acceptable and believes they no longer have much market for animated films of the princess variety. So in order to continue their profiteering venture, they are not planning on making any more princess films. I like to say that I am part of the Disney generation. Being part of the Disney generation means I was practically raised by the Mickey Mouse Club and Disney films. I can remember being so excited the day my Dad brought home a copy of the Little Mermaid on VHS, and I still get excited now when films get released from that magical place they call “the Vault” and I can watch them on DVD. I used to tease my roommate because she was instilled with Disney values. I was a tomboy to her girly girl. She wants a Prince Charming and all that jazz. OK, I may want a Prince Charming myself, but the only way I am getting one is if he stops falling off his horse whilst trying to get to me. But Disney does more than Prince Charmings. It subconsciously

teaches you the value of virtue. I mean you didn’t see Cinderella shagging everyone whilst waiting to be rescued. It’s Cinderella not Sin-der-ella. It teaches girls that it is OK to wait for the right guy and that there is someone for everyone, it just takes others longer to find them or for them to find you. Think about it, Snow White waited ages in that glass box to be kissed and Beauty and the Beast teaches kids that it’s what’s inside that matters. And Aladdin, their love spanned the class system that was meant to keep Jasmine and Aladdin apart. Is it really so bad for girls to believe in true love? No! What is wrong with teaching youth to take their time and not rush the growing up process? Nothing! Instead of encouraging our fiveyear-olds to be “hot” we should encourage them to be kids and use their imagination. We should be instilling positive values and how it is OK to dream big because at five years old, the world is their oyster. Disney is doing a disservice to youth by changing their ideology to make money, and I for one am disappointed. J. WHITTAKER

Article 9: not the declaration of independence Anthony Ash

After years of devotion, happiness and joy, after having realised they wish to be together in sickness and in health, the happy couple decide to consecrate their love and get married. They tie the knot before the eyes of God and become husband and wife. So goes the traditional narrative. Marriage, in this definition of the word, still has great meaning for many couples throughout the UK and Europe. Marrying at the altar before God is something which many religious followers desire to do and would have it no other way. However, with the demise of religion in modern Europe and the ever-growing reality that marriage for many today is nothing more than a legal act to ensure their rights and protection in both sickness and in

health, will the religious aspect of marriage become nothing more than a fable in the future? Will we move to a solely legal ceremony carried out in the registry office? The answer is no, no and no. Not because I predict the return of religion and a growing belief in the ‘one true God’, but because the EU will not allow it to happen. In 2000, the EU signed, published and legalised the EU Charter of Human Rights. Article 9 (Right to marry and right to found a family) declares the following: “The right to marry and the right to found a family shall be guaranteed in accordance with the national laws governing the exercise of these rights.” In other words, marriage is not an EU matter but a matter for the individual member states. The UK is not a secular state. The Head of State is indeed the head of the Anglican Church. The abolition of religious marriage would be impossible, or at least certainly improbable. This is a pattern which can be discerned in many other EU countries. When reading the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, a small document of only 22

pages, I was looking for a declaration on the right to marry and found a family which would transcend religion and declare it free and rightful for all to marry, i.e. two loved ones may marry before the eyes of the law, be they two men, two women or a man and a woman. This superdeclaration was not to be found.

“Is the EU not a supranational organisation designed to deal with matters above and beyond the state level? The answer is, of course, yes!” Were someone to ask, why expect such a declaration (a fair question to pose), I would say: is the EU not a supra-national organisation designed to deal with matters above and beyond the state level? The answer is, of course, yes! Last week, Lithuania decided to follow Latvia’s anti-gay stance and ban same-sex marriage, with one politician openly stating on the BBC

World Service: “Allowing gays to marry would diminish our population”. The country’s LGBT movement has declared it will turn to the EU for help, as this must be “against the EU Charter of Human Rights”. To great dismay, they are wrong, as the EU Charter leaves such matters for the member-states to deal with, as declared in article 9. The EU is a supra-national organisation, designed to guarantee rights and freedoms and allow its citizens to challenge the legislation of the state governments. That is something which it has done successfully in the fields of environmental protection, the rights of minorities and linguistic diversity, yet the EU says its hands are tied when it comes to marriage, and leaves its citizens standing at the front door.

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manners Katy Covell Columnist

Don’t misunderstand me. I still firmly believe that we should say our ‘Ps and Qs’, hold doors for one another and generally be aware of those around us, but it has to be said that there are some behavioural formalities that seem entirely ridiculous, and archaic in our present day set-up. With the current education cuts debates and protests happening, we find ourselves in a situation that essentially sees the young, challenging the old (or older), so I figured, what better time could there be to challenge these outdated formalities that seem to serve little purpose other than to monitor the aesthetic? It doesn’t take a genius to work out that I am primarily referring to ‘Table Manners’; a term sure to illicit groans of exasperation from teenagers across the country, who are constantly being reminded to keep their elbows off the dinner table, and hold their knife and fork properly. Yet at 22 years of age, I am still to hear a single satisfactory explanation as to how resting your elbows on the table or holding your culinary weapons improperly causes discomfort to your fellow diners, and could therefore be classed as ‘bad’ manners. Unless the manner in which you choose to grasp your fork results in pea-and-meaty-chunk projectiles (or whatever the cuisine of your choice) finding their way onto your neighbour’s lap, spraying gravy across the clean white tablecloth as it flies through the air, what exactly is wrong with the way you are holding it? Of course the ‘proper’ style in which we are supposed to grip our cutlery derives from eras gone by, where the show of ‘good-breeding’ was demonstrated in ‘one’s’ manner, and was of extreme importance to one’s social standing. But is anyone going to drop their best friend when they suddenly realise that they hold their fork too far down the handle? No… Or at least anyone worth having as a friend wouldn’t. Sure, I can understand that sitting there with your fork balled in your fist might appear slightly savage - a sort of mini devil’s pitchfork residing in your palm - but I can’t think of any other position that would serve to distract or put someone off their meal. Which leads nicely onto the one table manner that I think should remain unchallenged: no eating with your mouth open. Sure, I’m not physically inconvenienced by the sight of half-masticated edibles slowly rolling around in your gaping trap, but I am certainly likely to be put off eating my own food. It is using this idea of unnecessary discomfort that I believe we can make the distinction between table manners that we should continue to observe and those that no longer have a place in our modern society. Indeed, surely it is a notion that underlies every manner, be it holding doors or not listening to music too loudly on public transport, worth following.


Monday December 6 2010 THE COURIER


Cloned meat may pose a crisis of culinary conscience Emily Sargeant

This week the Food Standards Agency has stated that cloned meat is safe to eat; the farmers of the country have seen our culinary future, and it begins life in a petri dish. I can’t be the only one who finds this weird I’m sure, and I watched a BBC news report in absolute horror as the correspondent cautiously carved himself a piece of cloned beef. Horror turned to disbelief as I realised this was not just for show this man, this reckless maniac, was going to go through with it! My God, I thought, as I signed the cross on myself and prayed for his safety (probably the wrong way as I am no Christian, but these were desperate times). It was worse than any bushtucker trial, I can tell you. There were other accompaniments to the sham-steak which made me think: you poor guy, that wrinkled little potato, slice of tomato and half a boiled egg (I don’t know either) is not going to save you from that freaky alien beef. Masquerading your dinner as a regular roast (bar the weird egg addition) won’t help

Now the Food Standards Agency has given the go ahead on the safety of cloned meat: what will be the reaction be from consumers?

your plight. Those condiments you have arranged around your plate for comfort will not enhance your meal any more than red currant jelly would a cat-turd soufflé. Blow me down if he didn’t go through with it. He didn’t die immediately either, which works in favour of the FSA’s suggestion that cloned meat is safe, (although it cut out very quickly after his first bite, so I cannot say that with total confidence). Obviously at the moment they haven’t been trialing it for long enough to be able to say for sure what happens to you in the long run. My guess, perhaps unsurprisingly, would be that in 20 years time, that same BBC reporter

will be sat at home with a jar of turtle wax and a shammy leather buffing a handsome pair of horns, but then I am no scientist. It turns out that the process of cloning isn’t as mysterious as I’d imagined. I had reasonably presumed that an unsuspecting bull was kidnapped by humans wearing long leather coats, who would allow him the choice of two different coloured pills, after which he would be reborn, bald, into a giant egg for our eventual consumption. What they’re actually doing, is taking DNA samples from the animal world’s most successful specimens: the cow version of Wagner, say, and putting these samples into

empty eggs, which become embryos and are then inserted into normal female animals. The calf that’s born as a result of this process will then be paired with a regular cow, and their offspring is the one that’ll be used for meat. The idea of a cloned cheese doesn’t freak me out as much – but then we will happily delve into cheese riddled with blue mould and fuzz; it is a backwards anomaly of a foodstuff whereby it would seem anything goes – and therefore does not count. If the meat is safe then, and it is not the original clone we would be eating, is there actually a problem? Cloned meat made it into super-

markets in August, (without, may I add, being correctly sold on its separate cardboard stand; covered in those pregnant jelly alien’s goo, with high pitched alien music playing and a box of free alien antennae headbands for anyone willing to purchase a cloned sirloin), so someone must have eaten it, probably me. The meat was removed from the market the same month, but the Food Standards Agency chief scientist Andrew Wadge is now saying: “The Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes has confirmed that meat and milk from cloned cattle and their offspring shows no substantial difference to conventionally produced meat and milk, and therefore is unlikely to present a food safety risk.” Despite this, the European Commission proposes to ban meat and milk from clones and their offspring, but the issue is going to be discussed during December by the Food Standards Agency. Farmers in the US and Asia are allowed to source meat and dairy products from cloned animals in order to increase their amount of produce, so will this mean a ban on agricultural cloning here sees Europe lagging behind? Would you be happy to eat cloned meat? Maybe I’m just being overly sensitive, but it feels unnatural, and I would want more than ‘unlikely’ when we’re talking about food potentially being a health risk.

THE COURIER Monday December 6 2010


Fishy feet? An alternative treatment for dry skin. > page 17


Keeping the ‘Smile’ alive for Rhys After losing her son to leukaemia in 2003, Donna Grundy started the “Smile”, charity to help the families of children suffering from cancer. Now she speak to Kat Bannon On October 7 2003 much-loved receptionist of St Mary’s College accommodation, Donna Grundy lost her son Rhys to one of the rarest forms of leukaemia a child can have – Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia Philadephia Chromosome positive. His battle began when he was first diagnosed aged three in September ’95. His only chance of survival was a bone marrow transplant, and it took seven months to find a match for Rhys; however, even then he was only given a 60-40% chance of surviving the operation. In July ’96 Rhys went on to have the transplant and much to the delight of his parents, it was a success. After spending ten weeks in recovery on the ‘Bubble’ ward at the General, he was allowed home to his family, and this was followed by four amazing, healthy years. In 2000 Rhys’ family and friends found their lives shattered again when he relapsed. They were initially told that nothing could be done to save the eight-year-old. However, thanks to the research undertaken by Rhys’ consultant, his parents were given the option of a second bone marrow transplant, making him the first child in the UK to undergo the procedure twice. This time he was given only a 20% chance of survival, and it was a major decision for his family to make. But with little other alternative, they went ahead with it. Rhys was extremely poorly during and after the transplant, yet, ‘in true Rhys style’ was back at home after six weeks and continued to grow even stronger. It wasn’t until 13 months later that devastation hit his family once more, when he relapsed again. This time it really looked as if nothing else could be done to save him. It was down to the dedicated research of Rhys’ consultant that he was given another lifeline: he suggested trying out the latest drug ‘Glivec’, which had only previously been used on adults, allowing his parents a brief sigh of relief as Rhys entered remission. Still battling, Rhys started to complain of severe headaches in October 2003. The worst had happened: after eight years of fighting to keep it at bay, the leukaemia had travelled to his brain, meaning that this time there really was nothing left to

The Penny Pincher #8 Cheap Xmas Pressies Sarah Bennett Columnist

Donna and Rhys: Donna was inspired by Rhys, and is a strong believer that ‘out of something negative there should be a positive.’

save him. Rhys fell asleep for the last time on October 7 2003 at 6.10am, leaving his family and friends heartbroken. He spent eight of his eleven years battling this disease, yet never lost his trademark cheeky smile. Donna is a strong believer that “out of something negative there should be a positive”. After their ordeal Donna and her husband decided to channel their energy towards helping families on the children/teenage cancer ward at the RVI, donating to families of children aged from five months to 21 years old, thus establishing ‘Smile’: The Rhys Grundy Fund.

“A parent never budgets for a child being diagnosed with cancer. Financial hardship adds to the stress, especially when combined with the emotional difficulties” Donna said: “a parent never budgets for a child being diagnosed with cancer. The financial hardship can add to the stress of the situation, especially when combined with taking time out from work, and all the emotional difficulties.” When a family is referred to the charity they are given £500 within 48 hours, and the families use the cash to pay bills, car parking expenses,

computer games for their child or to even have alterations done at their home because of the child’s condition. Sometimes between treatments, the families will use the cash to enjoy some cherished family time away. Although £500 may not seem like a huge amount of money, when you have nothing, it really is a fortune. There are many heart-breaking stories behind why families are referred to ‘Smile’. One single dad of four children was found in tears by a nurse on the ward, he’d had to leave his job to care for one of his youngest children who was fighting cancer and with it being just a few weeks before Christmas he had no idea how he was going to afford presents. ‘Smile’s’ cash donation the following day allowed him to make the best Christmas ever for his family. A donation to the family of a young girl allowed her to have an amazing birthday party, although sadly it proved to be her last. They have also recently donated to a young girl who has relapsed with cancer after five years and wants to be independent. She is desperate to be able to drive herself to hospital for treatment and so ‘Smile’ donated £500 to get her a block course of driving lessons. Meanwhile, the young baby of parents aged only 18 and 19 themselves was referred to the charity in order to help with the parking costs and food at the hospital as well as treats for their child. Working part time, the father was able to spend the rest of his time in hospital with

his family. This is only a handful of examples, but there are many families that may not have been lucky enough to have a charity like ‘Smile’ offering help. Many other charities stop helping these families when the child reaches 16, but ‘Smile’ continues to offer support up to the age of 21. ‘Smile’ relies on the support of the local community, local businesses, work colleagues and also staff of the University. In May 2009, Donna held a Quiz fundraiser at St Mary’s. The support she received from students was “amazing” – the incredible turn out meant people were having to be turned away due to limited space. Other events have included Donna taking part in The Great North Run, as well as swimathons, 24hour snooker days and cake baking for the kids. However night-time fundraisers have proved the most successful, the last one a couple of weekends ago raising more than £1500. Taking place at the local community centre in Fenham, they have hosted live bands, discos and play your cards right. Overall, ‘Smile’ has donated £30,000 to date to families struggling financially whilst trying to care for children fighting cancer. However although financial support to families will continue until all the donations have gone, the final fundraiser for ‘Smile’ took place two weeks ago. Rhys would now be 18 years old and at university, and Donna believes this is a perfect time to ‘put things to bed and say goodbye.’ With a smile, of course.

Making Christmas presents is a great way of letting your crafty and artistic side loose. Personalised gifts go down a treat; you don’t have to spend too much money on them, and they can really mean a lot to the person receiving them. One example is the good old fashioned collage. All you need is a cheap picture frame (Wilkos for only 97p). Next, you need a load of photos to put in. If a family member has a passion for something, you can use pictures of that; your brother’s passion for fast cars or your sister’s passion for horses... you get the gist! Another great way of saving on Christmas presents is Secret Santa. Making a budget is essential , and you can make it as much or as little as you want. You can also decide whether you are going to each pick a name, or buy the presents and create a grown up lucky dip. Quick searches on the internet for cheap Christmas presents turn up loads of sites. My favourites are www. and At Firebox, you can also order a Mystery Box, which, if you can’t decide what you want to get someone, they will just send you a selection of items off the site, and the price of the box is much less than if you would have bought the items separately! I did this last year for my family, and ended up sorting three presents in one go! Cheap and convenient, my two favourite things. You can never go wrong with a bottle of alcohol or a tub of sweets at Christmas and as we get closer to this season of goodwill, there are going to be countless deals out there on everything. Tesco currently have a two for £20 thing going on, ranging from Baileys, Archers and Gin and there’s only going to be more offers as we get closer to Christmas, and the supermarkets want us to shop there. Tubs of chocolates were in supermarkets at £10 each in October, but now they’re being reduced to £10 for two. 3 for 2 offers are usually aplenty around Christmas time too. Boots have a pretty good range of gifts, not all ‘smellies’ that people never want to get at Christmas. Thorntons also have a good selection. I am currently coveting their advent calendars, which they’ll ice your name onto (and considering the culinary delights that went on in our house with Come Dine With Me recently, the calendars might be a welcome relief!) Next week: Say goodbye to 2010!


Monday December 6 2010 THE COURIER


food & drink


Lifestyle challenges Sarah Bennett, Rachel Lewis, Sarah Starbuck and Ella Railton to create a four course feast...

The dishes Sarah B:

Course 1 - Seafood cocktail I like prawn cocktail, but prawns are so expensive, so cue the entrance of seafood sticks! After putting some tomato and lettuce in the glass, I blended ketchup and mayo together to make the Marie Rose sauce and mixed in the seafood sticks. Instant win, and cheap!


Course 2 - Toad in the Hole I wanted to make a winter warmer that would warm us all up in spite of the snow outside. This is an easy dish to make and I hoped that the great Pork and Leek Tesco sausages that I used wouldn’t let me down.

Sarah S:

Course 3 - Apple Crumble Since my year abroad in Hamburg I’ve felt compelled put cinnamon with apple. So I did. Working from a Jamie Oliver recipe I made a few alterations which I hoped would make it better. Once baked, we had a festive apple crumble!


Course 4 - ‘Sex in the Snow’ cocktail I made a Sex on the Beach, changing the name to Sex in the Snow in honour of it all falling outside. I even put some fresh snow in the cocktail! Archers is the favourite spirit in the house so what better to use for the cocktails and win those high votes.


Sarah S


I thought that this looked fabulous. It looked really delicious, colourful and fancy, a simple and light dish. Unfortunately I’m not a big seafood fan, which was a bit of a problem, so this isn’t my favourite kind of starter.

I thought this tasted good, much similar to the classic original but I do prefer it with prawns rather than the seafood sticks. I appreciated the a wine glass! (Curse our lack of fancy crockery!)

I agree with the presentation comments, it looks really good! However, although Sarah is our resident Penny Pincher I felt that the dish would be better with prawns. Also, the tomato at the bottom was difficult to eat with a teaspoon.

Sarah S

Sarah B


The pork and leek sausages were fantastic. The mash was good, although a little dry, could have been improved with some butter. Overall it was a satisfying and warming main course. Perfect for winter evenings.

This was yummy! The batter was light and the sausages were really tasty and I liked the onions in the gravy too. The only thing I would change would be thicker gravy, and a bit more mash to go with it!

This is one of my absolute favourite meals! The texture of the batter was just right and it looked amazing when it just came out of the oven. The sausages were really tasty. Would have liked some more veg though.



Sarah B

The crumble was well presented, but for me it there was too much cinnamon. Unfortunately for Sarah, apple and cinnamon isn’t to my taste and I don’t really like any kind of crumble, sorry!

I really enjoyed the cinnamon aspect. However, the crumble was a bit dry as I prefer mashed apple and as it was snowing, I would have preferred custard to warm me up, instead of squirty cream.

The presentation was ok but what I really liked most was the cinnamon and apple combination! I liked the oats in the crumble, but could have been a little sweeter and I tend to prefer custard when having crumble.

Sarah B


Sarah S

Archers, vodka, cranberry and orange juice with a tacky umbrella to finish? I’m in! It was well mixed, which is important for a good cocktail, but I didn’t appreciate being made to stand in the snow to taste it!

It was a great way to finish the three course meal. I liked drinking it in the snow. Wasn’t too keen on the idea of snow in the cocktail though, I was hoping it would somehow warm me up!

I think she did a good job, but there was too much vodka. Normally I wouldn’t complain, but in a well mixed cocktail you shouldn’t taste the alcohol. After she made us drink it in the snow I was ready for a whisky!

The final scores

21/30 winner

24/30 17/30


THE COURIER Monday December 6 2010




food & drink

reviews Komal


1 Eldon Square, Newcastle Upon Tyne Tel: 0191 233 0663

14-16 Brentwood Avenue, West Jesmond Tel: 0191 281 4878

compare the market

Looking for a perfect accompaniment to late night chips? Sarah Bennett tests different brands of ketchup... 7.5/10 M&S Tomato Ketchup 85p (515g)

A different experience: Komal offers Indian cuisine in an inviting and stylish setting

Perfect for a quick bite: Wagamama serves exciting oriental dishes in the city centre

If you’re looking for a bit of Indian opulence, Komal in Jesmond is the place to go. A pleasant change from Italian restaurants, the business began 25 years ago and was taken over by current owners seven years in. The business is very popular, with an estimated 60 per cent of the restaurant clientele being made up by students. From the moment we stepped in, the restaurant was instantly warm and inviting, with ambient surroundings of solid wooden floors and tables, paintings and subtle lighting. We waited a little while to be seated, but this was quickly compensated for by the hospitable and friendly service; our waiter ensured we had a secluded spot in the back of the restaurant, which was, incidentally, already quite calm and quiet. Our drinks came quickly and after a thorough consideration period, we had our orders in and were awaiting the meal with excitement. Our starters came swiftly and rather stylishly, the lamb tikka balti audibly sizzling in a hot dish, and the classic meat samosas neatly presented with a side of salad. The lamb was tender and juicy, whilst the samosas had a delicious combination

With its ever expanding ranks of restaurants on UK high streets across the country, Wagamamas has rapidly become a household name. I have long been a fan of this pan-Asian chain of noodle restaurants and regularly visit for my fix of chicken katsu curry so jumped at the chance to sample their new winter menu, nobly taking with me a self-confessed Waga-virgin to balance my critique. The Newcastle branch, located in the centre of town, just off Eldon Square, offers convenience from campus or the excuse to venture away from the happy-hour overkill of Jesmond. The restaurant was bustling when we arrived and though it took a while to get seated at the long, low trestle tables that characterise the communal feel of the restaurant, it was nice to take a second to watch the chefs hard at work in a steamy kitchen open to view by the diners. Wagamama doesn’t do starters in the conventional sense; instead they offer a range of tempting side dishes to share. We opted for the winter special tebasaki BBQ-glazed chicken wings, which were tender and juicy, and a portion of duck gyoza – deep fried duck dumplings served with

of pastry and filling. So, after an impressive start, the main course certainly didn’t disappoint. The lamb lazeez was full of textures and spices, blending peppers, courgettes, aubergine, spring onions, and of course lamb, to create an interesting burst of flavours. The patan balti was equally as tasty, mixing chicken, spinach, garlic and cheese in a delicious dish that would definitely please all avid cheese-lovers. A proper Indian meal wouldn’t be complete without some naan bread, and we decided to experiment with a cheese naan and a peshwar naan. The former could have had more cheese, but the peshwar naan was an undiscovered delight; a sweet contrast to the mains, stuffed with nuts, almond, cream and sugar, acting as the pudding we didn’t have room for. The restaurant may seem a bit expensive for the student budget, with mine setting me back £20, but it is definitely worth spending a little extra. Overall, it was a great experience, and definitely made an exciting change from lasagne and garlic bread. Katy Lawson

cherry hoi sin sauce. These were less of hit as they had rather a strange texture to them and not as much crisp as I thought they should, but the cherry sauce accompaniment was spicy and sweet and absolutely addictive. For the main course I chose the special teriyaki chicken donburi with sticky white rice, sliced carrots, pea shoots and spicy kimchee, and my brave companion ventured into new territory with one of Wagamama’s signature dishes; chicken ramen, which came as a satisfying and aromatic bowl of hot noodles in chicken soup topped with slices of chicken breast. I was a little disappointed with my choice, as delicious as it was, the sauce-to-sticky rice ratio made it quite dry and lacking in flavour in places, but my companion, slurping happily from his bowl of noodles, was a convert. Both too full to face dessert but reluctant to admit total defeat we finished the meal by sharing a portion of Japanese cherry cheesecake, which was creamy and delicious and the perfect tangy compliment to an enjoyably different meal in the toon. Fran Infante

No fat vs pro-fat: Katy Lawson and Pete Warcup debate the pros and cons of full fat and low fat food If someone asked you whether you wanted a lean piece of chicken, some rice and steamed vegetables, or a massive Big Mac, you would probably go for the latter. This greasy whopper, however, will set you back 820 calories, amounting to almost half your daily allowances in one go; it might taste good, but all that fat swimming around your bloodstream can never be a good thing. Low fat food doesn’t actually have to taste like cardboard; you don’t have to eradicate all fatty foods and just exist on some kind of fruitarian diet, but can make small substitutions that will make a difference in the long run. For example, it’s worth swapping full fat meat for lean meat, full fat cheese for low fat cheese, and picking up the occasional ‘good for you’ option - despite how unappealing the packaging might look. Condiments like mayonnaise come in healthier options, tasting almost exactly the same but cut down con-

siderably on fat, salt and sugar. Soups, sauces, cheese, milk, garlic bread: almost everything comes in lower fat options, and can easily be substituted for their fatty competitors. These ranges may cost a little bit extra, but it’s usually a difference of pennies – a small price to pay to help avoid heart disease. In fact, value products can often have lower fat contents anyway, as less fat is simply put into the product in order to lower the price, (yet the salt and sugar contents need to be watched). So low fat food is cheaper than Big Macs, healthier and can taste equally as good, if not better. I say ditch cardboard-boxed ready meals and make things from scratch; use lower fat ingredients and healthier methods of cooking. It’s not about slimming, but helping prevent the dodgy health problems that will hit most of us in older age. I think I’ll pass on the Big Mac.

For me, fat equals flavour. I like food with taste in abundance; if this means fat, salt, sugar and any other immoderations then so be it. If fat didn’t add flavour, then there would be no need to deep-fry everything from vegetables to Mars Bars. Chefs understand this, which is why they produce foods that are calorific beyond comprehension, and which customers just so happen to find irresistible. We should not be worried by this occasional extravagance, and should certainly not deny ourselves this pleasure. Even if your excesses become more than frequent, try thinking of those extra pounds as well-needed insulation for winter. With the recent weather, perhaps it’s time to turn to good old fashioned comfort food. Hearty, energy rich dishes are exactly what we need to warm both body and soul. British food was never intended to be


devoid of trans fat, it was meant to nourish and energise the populace against harsh weather. Fat is needed for cell growth and other bodily functions, so excessive limitation can lead to health complications. I am prepared to concede that too many people follow the motto ‘live fat, die young’. This does not preclude the possibility of fatty foods being enjoyed in moderation. What is not required is an attitude of nutritional austerity. The propagation of this view is not good for either our health or our taste buds. I for one would prefer the discomfort of chafing thighs to the pallid, undernourished appearance that Kate Moss and friends have so successfully advanced. We should not be willing to live a life purged of basic enjoyment, where our eating habits are circumscribed by the tyranny of health consciousness. Accept fatty foods for what they are: necessary for health and damned delicious.

This had a great taste and was fairly ‘tomatoey.’ It was thick, and stayed on my chips. This came a close second but lost out because the flavour was more like tomato purée. 4/10 Essential Waitrose Tomato Ketchup 86p (470g) This was a let down. I’ve always thought of Waitrose as a quality supermarket. Unfortunately, it had a very thin consistency and it was also far too sugary and sweet for my taste. 9/10 Tesco Tomato Ketchup 82p (485g) This was a nice surprise; the cheapest option was actually my favourite. It had a good ratio of tomato to vinegar and had a very balanced taste. It also had more tomatoes per 100g than Heinz! 5/10 Heinz Tomato Ketchup £1.04 (342g) Despite being one of the most popular brands of ketchup, this didn’t taste very ‘tomatoey’, and was bland. It also had a thin consistency and texture and was the most expensive.


Monday December 6 2010 THE COURIER

Lifestyle Sex & relationships

sex & relationships blind date

Dangerous Liaisons

Jacques Beecher & Beth Sissons

#8 The Crush

He said:

Pamela Mardle Columnist

I’d never been on a blind date before but I imagined it to be a lot like trying to chat up girls on a night out so I wasn’t expecting it to go very well. I resisted the temptation to Facebook stalk Beth before the date, so had no idea what she looked like. Beth on the other hand had already seen a picture of me, so the fact that she’d turned up was already a bonus in my mind. I was greeted with a friendly smile outside Billabong and after a brief introduction we made our way inside. Conversation flowed and there were far less uncomfortable silences than I was expecting. Before long our taxi arrived to take us to the ice rink at the Life Centre. We were both looking forward to ice-skating, probably more than the date itself to be fair, but we were gutted to find that the rink had been closed due to ‘adverse weather conditions’. I’m not going to lie I was gutted, mainly because I was denied the chance to watch Beth go down… on the ice. Nevertheless we made our way to Pitcher and Piano and time flew as we continued to chat over dinner and a few glasses of wine. We then decided to up the tempo a bit, and made our way to Revs for a few cocktails. I was content sitting back and chilling but Beth continued to talk! I could have done with a few of the silences I was so eager to avoid in the earlier stages of the night. There was a definite sign to leave when a lairy bunch sat next to us. After sharing a taxi back to Beth’s, I went in for a drink, then politely said goodnight. I can honestly say that Beth was one of the most genuine and down to earth girls I’d ever met, and I’m definitely planning on staying in touch with her, all depending on what she writes about me of course.

She said: The snow prompted Jacques to text me last minute and suggest ice skating. At first I was like “oh my god, I can’t ice skate to save my life”. Falling over on a blind date probably isn’t the way to impress. I suggested we still meet for a couple of drinks before skating and amazingly, we arrived at Billabong in Jesmond at exactly the same time. Having nattered all the way here, to the taxi driver, about how embarrassing meeting Jacques was going to be, I was pleasantly surprised. Luckily for me, he turned out to be a lovely date. He presented me with roses and was extremely easy to talk to. It was great to be in the company of someone who is chatty, friendly and who seemed genuinely interested to find out the answers to the questions he was asking. After a couple of drinks, we went to the Life Centre ready to skate;

Jacques telling me he would be as bad as me. Unfortunately though, we weren’t allowed to go on the ice due to the amount of snow. I did wonder whether Jacques was going to kick off but he kept his temper and despite his pleas to let us skate, we were still refused. Another plan was in place – Jacques decisive nature meant that we walked straight down to the Quayside for dinner at Pitcher and Piano. The Quayside is my favourite part of Newcastle so I was pleased about this. We had a lovely meal and Jacques was a gentleman throughout. From pulling out my chair at dinner to going behind my back to ask the staff for live music recommendations, he was great to talk to. I found the fact that Jacques has lived all over the world really interesting, his involvement in intramural football and his house of laddish pranks funny and even our morbid conversation about death row gave me a great insight into this sociable bloke. We had lots

of opposite opinions on things – I will always choose white wine over red and I enjoy shopping – but three hours flew by. We went on to Revs for a few cocktails. The motown music was fun but then it must have gone a bit downhill for Jacques. Despite me saying I loved coconut, I didn’t detect that the ‘surprise’ cocktail he’d bought for me was coconut flavoured. I said I preferred the fruity drink so Jacques was left with the duff coconut one. I didn’t realise he’d probably chosen this one for me and when I did, I was so embarrassed. He didn’t seem to mind too much but I think this is just an indication of how polite he is. He also revealed at this point that he is actually a great ice skater, so perhaps the snow saved me! At 23:51 we got in a taxi and then Jacques walked me to my door. Overall, our blind date was great. Anyone who goes out with Jacques would have a brilliant time and I expect one day he will make someone an extremely lovely boyfriend.

madame vs monsieur

Our agony duo Madame & Monsieur contemplate dating a friend’s ex I recently took a girl out for a night on the town and had a right laugh. It was completely innocent but I ended up getting with her. Problem is, she is my mate’s ex and now not only am I wracked with guilt for my lapse, but I quite like her. However, she seems to be playing mind games with me and it is kind of frustrating. Should I forget about her and should I tell my mate about it either way?


You’re forgetting a vital detail here: who split up with who? If it was he who broke her heart than crushed the pieces you can guarantee she’s no more interested in you than


Cheryl is likely to play suck and blow with Simon Cowell. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a bit of fun to ease the pain and get revenge for the mind games. Make sure you enquire whether she’s sure she got rid of those crabs your mate told you about. And that it’s lucky they didn’t have sex for the first few

weeks as he was still waiting for those chlamydia antibiotics to kick in. Even if she is on the rebound it might be a good opportunity to up that magic number. Although at the same time, she is second hand property. You wouldn’t go sharing your mate’s underwear now would you?

Monsieur Yes, like our Madame says; there are a few questions which advice would depend on. How long have they been apart for and how do they feel about each other now; and how serious were they when they were together? If you think about these and come to realise that they were never really that close then go for it, avoid telling him if it’s just a sex thing. If things get more serious then mention it to him and hopefully he won’t react too badly. I find the whole ex girl/ boyfriend thing being off limits a bit weird – if someone is single, they are fair game in my book. After all, if there is potentially an amazing relationship on the cards for you and this girl, why should your mate stand in the way? However, some people are sensitive to these things; and if she likes playing mind games then maybe she’s not worth rocking any good friendships that you have. Bonne chance.

The ridiculous, overwhelming and completely inappropriate crush: we’ve all been there and experienced our fair share of shame as a result. Why is it that we have been designed to turn an alarming shade of crimson, sweat like a gerbil in a gay bary, and lose all sense of comprehensive language in the presence of our crush? We are encouraged to procreate so this instinctive reaction seems surely malfunctioned in the grand scheme of evolution. One particularly confident acquaintance is a prime example: introduce her to any model-looks pin-up and she can make him fall in love without giving him a second thought, but place her within twenty feet of her ongoing crush and she turns to mush. This one-sided love affair has endured since we attended our first seminar and he came into view, all muscles and facial hair with a brooding gaze. She is the most outgoing femme fatale I know but as soon as he’s in the same building, her coyness becomes genuine and she becomes almost mute. In high school, I suffered the most unhealthy and unsavoury crush on my English teacher. Every time I walked into class, I had visions of me walking clean into one of the desks and launching myself ungraciously across the floor because for some reason, embarrassing yourself becomes a much more likely event in the company of a potential mate. As a result of this, I always walked into class with my head in my books, covering my burning face to avoid all possibility of humiliation. At the moment, I am dealing with a particular liking for an instructor at my gym. I never saw it before, but since taking one of his spinning classes, I can’t help but get the image of him all sweaty and hepped up out of my head every time I see him. This proves extremely difficult to handle when he is there watching me as I work out (at least I can blame the red face on the exercise), but at least it has brought me new encouragement to go to the gym. Last week, I indulged in a jacuzzi and steam room session only to be interrupted by him changing the water cooler. Usually, wearing a bikini and having slick wet hair bodes well for impressing the opposite sex, but suddenly I became so uncomfortable in my own skin that I slipped off the seat of the jacuzzi and fell into the water, making a massive splash and momentarily blinding myself. I think my apparent shock screamed out at him “I am in love with you and I can not act like a normal human being with you here”. I think it’s safe to say that he won’t be asking me out any time soon.

THE COURIER Monday December 6 2010


Health Lifestyle


Celebrity workouts put to the test

Andrew Curry whips out his lycra in order to find the best woman for the job

Tried and tested: with the help of these lovely ladies, and of course his gold spandex, Andrew tries to find which video is the best

It’s snowing at Christmas. This glorious feeling brings with it a certain problem. You’ve packed in an entire turkey, donned your new trainers and power leggings, jogged outside and promptly stacked it in the snow. You face a choice: cut down on the festive eating (yeah right) or find a new way to keep up the exercise without braving the conditions. Tired of being destroyed by your eight year old sister at Wii boxing you turn to the only alternative left to you. Work out videos. ‘What’s that?’ you cry, ‘a way of working out to some cracking tunes led by scantily clad women? Sack cage fighting, I’m in!’ I must warn you that this relatively rare form of exercise is neither the most masculine nor the most fashionable, yet, as I don my gold span-

dex leggings and head sweatband, I wonder: will it be effective? The three work outs I chose were ‘The Pussycat Workout DVD 2009’ a snip at £2.99 and featuring the Pussycat Dolls themselves in their entire lip synched and auto tuned glory. Davina McCall’s ‘Super Body Work Out’ featuring the most vapid woman on earth, but cracking bod for a forty something and Katie Price’s ‘The Jordan Workout’ which surely needs no explanation. I hit up YouTube on a Saturday afternoon, filled up my water bottle, did some dynamic stretches and tried to get myself into the right frame of mind. My only previous experience of this form of exercise is when I went to an ‘AB attack’ class with my sister when I was 15 and was reduced to a

shaking mass of torn muscles in the corner as the middle aged veterans powered through ‘crunch time’, so it was with some form of trepidation that I set about my task. The Pussycat Dolls Let’s be honest now. Who wouldn’t want to be a Pussycat Doll? They pretty much represent the modern woman and are the pin up group for most feminists. Right? Even if you disagree, you must admit that in the aesthetic world of pop singing, they’ve had to use something to complement their obvious singing ‘prowess’. Their work out is essentially built with one thing in mind. Sex. The amount of thrusting, bending and popping you have to do is something that makes most men happy. But in terms of exercise

it leaves a little to be desired. All in all an amusing half hour but unless you really want to resemble the Dolls, stay clear.

“I can’t sleep help!”

Davina’s Super Body Workout ‘Don’t just get fit, get Davina fit’. With a tag line like that it’s a wonder that everything Ms McCall touches turns to mud. However, her work out is surprisingly effective. If you ignore the sheer annoyance of the presenter (best achieved with the sound on mute) then you actually do feel it tiring you out. She goes for the all over aerobic work out to begin with, plenty of lunges and bounces, before moving on to some yoga and stretching routines. It’s a bit more dynamic than the Pussycat Dolls, but a whole lot less fun. Davina’s facial expressions cast some amusement to the process but, in all honesty, you tend to ignore the fact that she’s there and focus more on the bald, muscular man who is actually doing the work out properly. Davina focuses far more on the ‘abs and core’ part, emphasising the flat stomach that everyone apparently craves. Whilst it’s a lot less ‘plastic’ than the Pussycat Dolls it seems to be aimed at women who are exactly like Ms McCall: ageing fast but still clinging to youth.

University: the time of your life when your body will crave sleep the most and you will never deprive yourself of it more. As a student it is easy, in an attempt to balance an unrelenting workload and tireless social life, to neglect this necessity. It’s estimated that 30% of Britons suffer from insomnia despite the well-known guideline of seven to nine hours each night. Insomnia is characterised as persistent difficulty in falling asleep (known as ‘sleep on-set insomnia’: the most common type among adolescents) or disturbances during sleep preventing someone getting a sufficient amount of rest. Sleep deprivation causes irritability, lack of concentration and severe mental and physical fatigue; symptoms that are detrimental to academic performance. In order to maximise your slumber potential, try to establish a routine of falling asleep and waking up at the same time daily. Environment is important: sleep on a comfortable mattress, clear away clutter and make sure that your room is a pleasant temperature and quiet (a tactful chat to flatmates may be necessary). Do not drink anything alcoholic or caffeinated six hours before sleep; additionally a magnesium-rich diet promotes muscle relaxation, beans are a fantastic source of this. Regular exercise induces deeper sleep and increases energy levels during the day, 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity five times a week is ideal. Before bed it helps to drink a glass of milk and have a bath (preferably with lavender scented bath foam, this is known for it’s soothing properties and is cheaply available from Boots). If you’re feeling overwhelmed, write a list and leave your worries on a piece of paper, reading a book is an effective distraction. Avoid watching TV before sleep, especially not in bed, as this keeps your mind alert. Try to keep the bed a place for rest and sex only as this will signal to your body that when in bed it is time for sleep. If insomnia lasts for longer than a month it is recommended that you visit your GP.

The Jordan Workout Hilarious. Literally the single most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen Jordan do (a bold claim I know). The workout is good. Tiring, efficient and effective. But she doesn’t do anything! You essentially pay to watch a huge weight lifting guru complete her work out for her. Whilst this is effective, it is not very inspiring if you’re trying to be like Jordan. Money best spent towards cosmetic surgery and go for the real Jordan experience. On completion, it was a decent way to exercise. Fun, motivational and, most importantly, indoors. But if I’m honest; stick to sport.

Keep your tootsies in tip-top condition Olivia Mason and Lucy Johnson test the latest spa treatment in foot therapy

Dipping your feet in a tank of carnivorous fish might seem like a scary concept, but it’s exactly what we did last Friday. The trend in spa treatments these days has moved away from the stereotypical to the weird and wonderful, in a bush-tucker trial -esque manner. This newest treatment is offered by FootLove in Newcastle, where harmless Garra Rufa fish nibble at your feet, and get rid of all the dead skin. Not wanting to miss out four of us decided to give it a go. We’d been discussing it all week, what it might feel like, if it’d hurt and how well it would actually work. We’d even heard hor-

ror stories of a girl having a mole eaten off by one of them. Despite all this we arrived at the little spa with high hopes. Situated underneath one of the arches under the station, it’s a tiny independent place, with eight tanks for eight people to dip their feet into. You get your own tank with your own set of fish, all responsible for ridding your feet of any dead or dry skin. The spa doesn’t guarantee amazing results first time, but say if you return for multiple treatments then you’ll really feel the benefits. If we’re honest, we squealed like children when we first dipped our feet in; the minute your feet hit the water they all flock to them – it’s a really odd sensation, not painful in the slightest, just surreal. The fish really know what they’re do-

Doctor, Doctor:

ing though; those bits of skin round your nails, those really hard patches on your heels, they get them all. It’s similar to having the world’s most tailor made pumice stone except it bites. After a while your feet lose the tickling sensation and it is surprisingly relaxing, part of this is the novelty but it is also a very natural way to care for your feet. Feeling a bit more confident we even stuck our hands in the tanks; the fish didn’t find them quite as tasty but our nail beds looked noticeably neater. Afterwards our feet definitely felt smoother and it was a very entertaining experience we would all recommend. At £15 for half an hour its not a snip but compared to other treatments it’s a drop in the ocean really. Most importantly it is worth it just to say you did!

Victoria Mole

It helps to have a bath before bed; treat yourself to lavender scented bath foam



Monday December 6 2010 THE COURIER



Oslo: Chill out in Norway’s capital Katie Hicks uncovers one of Scandanavia’s most popular cities during a weekend away on a tight student budget

Ten Minute Travel

Emma Balter takes a trip to rival North East city; Sunderland

Oslo: though it is renowned for being one of europe’s pricier destinations, many of the city’s highlights can be discovered free of charge, ideal for those seeking art and scenery

Oslo. The capital of Norway. The second most expensive city in the world. Not really the most popular student destination being a far cry from the usual haunts of Malia or Ibiza. But when you take a look online, and realise that you can have a weekend away from Newcastle, and your stressful student life for just £180 (that’s food, lodgings, transport, local sights and souvenirs) it becomes a more likely place to go. From Newcastle, in three hours, you could go to Birmingham, you could go to London, but why not go to Oslo? Taking the metro, for a mere £2.90, you are at the airport in just 23 minutes from the city centre. Taking the Ryanair flight, for just £20 return, means you can check in online. With hand luggage only it makes travelling time and the cost much lower. With your home printed boarding card already in your hand, you can head straight to security. Being a quiet airport you are through in no time. Bearing in mind the small amount of liquid you can take though, you must be armed with miniatures of everything - right down to dinky deodorant. Staying in a city centre hostel costs

£33 per person, per night. With towels, bedding, a sink and a plasma screen TV in your private room, it is certainly worthwhile. Searching on it’s easy to look for a place to stay and you can find recommendations and prices to suit whatever you fancy.

Winter really is the season to pay Oslo a visit, with their traditional lights and local Christmas markets it really puts you in the festive spirit Transfer from the airport could be cheaper, but couldn’t be easier with a shuttle from right outside to central station. After this it’s onlya short walk across the bottom of the main street to find your hostel for the night, with its 24hour opening and video monitored access. If you think it’s too much hassle sorting a holiday, you should know that we had the idea and booked this in three hours, because we just fan-

cied getting away. So don’t be put off, if we can do it (at about 1am), anyone can. The only preparation to be done before you jet off is to get your currency and make sure your hand baggage is subject to airline regulations. M&S gives the best exchange rate and you can get your currency straight away with no extra fees. We changed just under £100, and this saw us through with enough money to eat, buy (modest) souvenirs and see all the sights we wanted. The label ‘second most expensive city in the world’ may put you off, but don’t worry - just don’t be frivolous. Don’t go expecting to eat out and get plastered every night, as a single pint will set you back around eight quid. Also for the same price you can’t even get a starter in a restaurant. So you’ll find wraps from our new favourite Norse chain, Cafe di Luca, will keep you going throughout your stay. Most things to see in the city are free, the National Gallery, Royal Palace, National Sculpture Park and Parliament Buildings are just some of the sights which are a must. It’s even free to visit the famous ‘The Scream’ painting by Edvard

Munch. The only thing we spent money on, and have no regrets about, was the ice bar. Costing 160NOK (£16) including a local cocktail, you can sit on the ice seats and take in the amazing surroundings. Don’t worry about being cold either as you are provided with huge capes with furry hoods and gloves attached. Another great thing about Oslo is that everything is in walking distance, so any tales of expensive transportation are irrelevant if you’ve got your comfy shoes on (we went for the funky wellies option, and got many compliments). Make sure you wrap up warm though if you go in winter (it was -4 in early November), the cold may seem unappealing as a holiday but you’ll love even the coldest of student flats on your return. It might not be the place you first think of, but winter really is Oslo’s season, with their traditional tea lights scattered on the pavements and the local Christmas markets it really puts you in the festive spirit. For the amusing truth behind our personal journey go to:

It was a very, very snowy day. My housemate and I took the metro to the land of Sunder; it is about a thirty-minute ride from Newcastle city centre and costs only £3.80 for a return ticket. There are four metro stops in the Sunderland area: Stadium of Light, St Peter’s, Sunderland and University. We got off at the latter, and after venturing the wrong way, being redirected by a friendly local couple and coming across a few grim-looking campus buildings we made our way into the city centre. It was snowing quite heavily at that point so we took shelter in Bridges shopping centre to warm up and then ventured back out to Mowbray Gardens. The snow made the park look magical. A few Christmas wire sculptures had been laid out: deer prancing around the lake, a rather massive Father Christmas and a sledge on which we sat for a while, admiring the scenery. Our childhood spirit enticed, we ran ohso-gracefully in the snow like a couple of asylum escapees, and eventually got driven out of the gardens by a bunch of local kids who attacked us with snowballs. There is a museum next to the park which has a fairly interesting permanent exhibit about war-time life. At the back of the building are the Winter Gardens, an interior complex of impressive-looking, giant plants which, they were proud to say, were mainly taken care of by a ‘computerised plant care system’. By that time my stomach was growling with hunger so we went across the road to The William Jameson, a pub owned by Wetherspoon, where I had an exquisite sweet potato, chick pea and spinach curry with a side of poppadoms and naan bread for £6.49. Our journey ended when we went to see the Stadium of Light on the other side of River Wear. As we looked up at the empty stadium, snow in our boots and cold through our bones, Sunderland AFC were away being beaten 3-2 by Wolverhampton. It was a sad day for Sunderland, but a very enjoyable one for us.

Sunderland: the enchanting Mowbray Gardens, filled with festive attractions

THE COURIER Monday December 6 2010


All about the luxuries of lace > Page 21

My Fashionable Life 3.1: the designer’s story

The Courier’s favourite fashion insider goes high profile and reminisces about their catwalk experiences

Kate Short explores the career of A-list design favourite – Phillip Lim


A fashionable life: our model insider uncovers the backstage mysteries of fashion week

It’s ten o’clock as I wake up to a fast, busy New York City with one thing on my mind, ‘last day of fashion week’. Rather than just seven days parading up and down a catwalk, fashion week preparation for a model starts two weeks before. A fortnight till showtime. Models are flying in from all over the world in order to put their portfolios in the hands of labels from Calvin Klein to Lacoste. Traipsing around the city doesn’t seem like a chore at first, but walking twenty blocks from one queue to another in order to see a casting director for 30 seconds does become tedious and slightly soul destroying. However, I see myself booked for one more high-profile show, showcasing the work of one of the fashion world’s rising stars. Looking at the call sheet I have been given by my agent to let me know the details of the show, I notice that this season, it is being held at the main stand in the Bryant Park tents making the show a bigger deal than I had anticipated. My knowledge of fashion extended to one piece of advice that

I had been given previously: “only the Dior and Armani shows attract the big crowds.” How wrong I was. As I arrived at Bryant Park, I was told by security to go though the back entrance which was for the designers, make up, hair, PR and models. The front gate was crowded out by every magazine writer from Brooklyn to Milan waiting for glimpses of the fashion elite coming in and out of the tent. Making my way into the side entrance was one thing, going through backstage to prepare for the show was another; I started to wonder how many people could cram under one marquee with crowds going in every direction. I was swiftly escorted to the makeup chair which is a small price to pay as two female models from Europe are sitting either side of me. These types of women are not the sort I would casually go up to at a bar and start talking to but I remember where I am and my ego has suddenly increased to bring out the cheesiest lines I could think of (I doubt they were impressed). Whilst the makeup is being applied, I fill my mouth

with all the free food available, unlikely behaviour from a model so it seems! After making more small talk with the hair stylist and the models next to me, a quick rehearsal is needed before the show and after this has been completed, press photographers are allowed into the backstage area to get some coverage of the run up to the show. Whilst all the press coverage is going on, the empty chairs around the catwalk are being filled, with the inclusion of a few A-list celebrities. Yet there is only one guest a fashion designer would like to see on their guest list and that would be the fashion editor of US Vogue, Anna Wintour. A widely respected ambassador of fashion, a designer’s line could live or die on the remarks and personal opinion of this critic alone. Once the catwalk arena has been filled, a five-minute countdown is given to all dressers, hair stylists and makeup artists for the last minute touch-ups. Once fully dressed, we all line up in the order that our number by our dresser tells us. As I find my spot in the line of models, any last minute checks being done are stopped, as the music for the show has finally started. A few nerves start to hit me as the first of the models disappear from backstage and start walking into a line of fire from the press. As the line starts to shorten, I do a quick re-tie of my shoelaces as I wouldn’t expect many more catwalk jobs in the future if I tripped in the middle of the runway, this is a business for myself as well as the designer. Finally as I make my way to the curtain, I get a glimpse of the first couple of rows of people, closest to the catwalk, I see the model in front of me leave and all I have to do now is wait. Nerves are showing, but at the end of the day, I walk twenty metres one way, then twenty metres another. As I am told to start walking out, I am initially blinded by a beam of light, my peripheral vision has gone and the audience is pitch black, all I can see is the end of the runway where there are about thirty cameras piled on top of each other waiting to stop for that ‘quick pose’. As I walk down with a quick stride and a look of arrogance I realise that the people watching didn’t come to see me, they had travelled to see the clothes over my shoulders which I feel is a good sense of reality to keep, preventing an inflated ego which ultimately gives models a branded stereotype of vain, stuck-up and ego hungry. As I make my way back down towards the backstage, relief sets in that I made it back without any hiccups. One last line up and collective walk out to the runway to showpiece the collection together, with the designer thanking his guests concludes the show. Then comes the busy departure of the fashion press who have already started their journey onto another show somewhere else in New York. As for me, I got changed into my less stylish clothes, wiped off the makeup, and ran my hands through my hair a couple of times to get rid of that groomed look. As I leave the backstage madness behind to find the nearest McDonald’s, there is only one thing on my mind: the after-party!

Phillip Lim is an American fashion designer renowned for designing clothes that are classic, cool and sultry. Lim aims to design everyday classics with a twist. His ability to design such coveted garments has won Lim much deserved cult status throughout the contemporary fashion world. His creations are loved by celebrities such as Kate Hudson, Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, Lauren Conrad and his model muse Irina Lazareanu. Lim was born in Thailand, in 1973 to Chinese immigrants who then fled to Southern California to escape the Cambodian civil war. His mother was a seamstress and his father a professional poker player. Lim’s career in fashion began with an internship at Katayone Adeli where his skills soon earned him a permanent position as part of her design team. After Adeli, Lim worked for the LA based label Development. It was not until 2005 that Lim moved to New York to launch his own brand 3.1 Phillip Lim with his friend Wen Zhou. The name was inspired by the ages of the men at the time. Lim won the Council of Fashion Designers of America Emerging Talent in Womenswear award in 2007 for his work as creative director of 3.1 Phillip Lim. The brand has since expanded through the introduction of a men’s line and kids line. Lim also collaborated with Japanese clothing giant Uniqlo in the spring of 2007 for a one-off collection. The 3.1 Phillip Lim collection reflects

Lim’s love of New York. The clothes capture a mixture of girlish elegance and effortless chic with quirky romance. To Lim, fit is key. Lim is renowned for his tailoring and attention to detail, evident in his debut collection, which saw headbands embellished with Swarovski crystals and shift dresses decorated with pearls. This kind of unexpected decoration is a key theme seen throughout the collections that adds personality to Lim’s simple designs. Another important factor in Lim’s designs is maintaining a sense of femininity whilst still looking on-trend. Lim is also not afraid to use colour, usually favouring neutral shades and pastels, maintaining the lady-like brand image. The Autumn/Winter 2011 collection saw the 3.1 Phillip Lim brand continue to wow critics with easy to wear clothes made from luxurious fabrics. On the catwalk sheer chiffon blouses, woollen trousers, leather shorts and sheepskin coats created a sophisticated daytime look. Neutral camels and creams were teamed with muted blacks, greys and blues. Embellished necklines, purple sequin dresses and gold metallic suits added a touch of glamour to the evening wear. This collection is a perfect example of how 3.1 Phillip Lim is the brand to watch in the future, paving its way to be a powerhouse of the future. Sources:, www.elle. com,, com

Lauren Conrad: a celebrity who champions Phillip Lim’s line at red carpet events


Monday December 6 2010 THE COURIER

Fashion Glamour in Newcastle

Fur, feathers and fizz Suits you sir

Katie Lauren Henry reviews a unique gastronomic and Matt Green gives guys his ideas on sartorial experience Italian style at Franco’s in Jesmond how to dress for that special event Franco’s Terrace Bar and Restaurant in West Jesmond was the perfect venue for this glitzy charity fashion show. The restaurant is chicly decorated with a black and silver interior, the addition of some bold red balloons created a glamorous atmosphere to mirror the sophistication of the event. The ambiance of the venue was very warm and inviting and I immediately found myself relaxed (aided in no part by the champagne reception). The friendly staff were extremely attentive and their smiling faces added to the light-hearted tone of the event. It is clear that elegance and charm is something that the owners, Judith and Franco, pride themselves on, making it a perfect setting for a fashion show. Women from far and wide travelled to Franco’s for this fabulous charity event, raising money for St Otswald’s Hospice. The pieces from the show were provided by the local fashion retailer Designer Desirables, available exclusively online at The website is home to pieces ranging from affordable little Lipsy dresses at £60 to extravagant Jovani gowns at £700. The event showcased a range of items from Designer Desirables, presenting something for women of all ages and catering for every budget. In the near future, Designer Desirables are also keen to offer a discount on their pieces exclusively for students. The first half of the show presented a range of gorgeous coats, gilets and boots perfect for keeping warm and cosy in this frosty weather. After a delicious lunch provided by Franco’s, the second half of the show commenced with some dazzling party frocks. The beautiful models strutted up and down the length of Franco’s restaurant, the intricate dresses looking right at home on the catwalk (which was very fittingly a stretch of red carpet). A personal highlight of the show was the glistening sequinned floor length Jovani gown and the Sherri Hill feathered leopard bustier dress. The backless gowns brought a splash of sexy to the show whilst still retaining elegance, and you would certainly be hard pushed not to find your perfect Christmas party outfit amongst the adorable dresses on show. The show was an extravagant display of bright colours and fabrics, with one of the models even whipping off the K HENRY


It’s that time of year again where dressing to impress is firmly on the agenda. That’s right, the ball season has arrived. Whilst girls generally grab this opportunity to dazzle, less can be said about us lads. The words ‘black tie do’ don’t exactly send our pulses racing. A formal affair means attention to detail... something the male population aren’t renowned for. Fortunately, by following these simple do’s and don’ts all this is about to change. CATWALKING.COM

Designer Desirables: showcasing show-stopping gowns and accesories at Franco’s

detachable net skirt from her dress midwalk. A dress made solely from leather and an array of fur shrugs perfectly highlighted the business owner’s love for luxurious fabrics. At the back of Franco’s restaurant was a stand displaying some of the beautiful jewellery and accessories from another local business, Kiara Concierge. The Kiara boutique began selling clothes and accessories, and has now evolved into a concierge service (officially launched on the 1st December) offering everything from travel arrangements to flower delivery for its customers. After the fashion show I was lucky enough to grab a quick chat with the owner of Designer Desirables, Paula Gibbon. Demonstrating an interest in fashion from an early age, Paula loves pieces that are feminine and fabulous. It is evident that Paula is the type of person who loves keeping busy, and through the boredom of retirement, she started selling second hand clothes on Ebay. The impressive website that we see today was built in 2009, and the business has gone from strength to strength with a customer base stretching all over the world. Designer Desirables was even nominated for the Drapers Fashion Award for best retailer of year, reaching the final 60 from throughout country. Quite the achievement for the online business. The collections at Designer Desirables include some beautiful accessories and daywear; however it is the exquisite range of party frocks and ball gowns

that really stand out. Whether it be a feathered skirt or a dress with sequin embellished shoulders, the posh frocks all have an element of hand craftsmanship. A firm believer in old school glitz, glamour and all things pretty, Paula only selects items that have something to make them unique. She said “lots of retailers sell lovely plain dresses, but I like my pieces to have a little something extra, something a bit different...I love sequins and fur and feathers”. The dresses at Designer Desirables are designed to complement and accentuate the female silhouette, and would be suited to celebrities such as Angelina Jolie and Charlize Theron. A native North East girl herself, it comes as no surprise that the celebrity Paula would most love to dress is Cheryl Cole. It would almost be too perfect for a Geordie girl to be dressed by a North East retailer and Paula’s glamorous dresses would definitely be at home on an A-lister such as Chezza (the site even has the exclusive stock of gowns worn by both Cheryl and Treyc Cohen on the X Factor). Paula has been working with a number of celebrity stylists, and the pieces from Designer Desirables are so gorgeous that I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw Ms Cole in one of Paula’s numbers in the near future. If you do only one productive thing today, then may I suggest that it not be writing a chunk of dissertation or watching a marathon of Come Dine With Me, but instead visit Paula’s website and bag yourself your very own designer desirable!

Don’t shave at the last minute - Think again about shaving at the 11th hour. You’ll only end up regretting it.

Nicks, scratches and irritation are avoidable. Try shaving the day before to allow enough time for the skin to rest. Failing that, a bit of stubble never hurt anyone providing it’s not undesirably patchy. Don’t get a completely new haircut - Highlights? Quiff? Save the urge to revamp your hairstyle. You’ll only end up standing out for all the wrong reasons. The goal and mantra for the optimum appearance at a function is to improve upon your everyday self-image. A basic trim at least a week in advance will accomplish this and allow for natural re-growth. Don’t cover yourself in aftershave - Restrain yourself when it comes to aftershave. No-one wants to be getting a whiff of your scent all night. A dash on the pulse points and base of the neck is all you will need to be smelling fresh all night long. If you’re not an everyday user of aftershave, now isn’t the time to be trying one out. If you insist on finding a fragrance, go for something light and won’t asphyxiate anyone in your vicinity. Do try and spice up your attire - Choose a tie/tuxedo combination in colours other than black. A black tux may be classy and elegant but it can be upgraded with a different colour combination. Popular with shops at the moment is a grey or navy suit with either black or white shirt and a black tie. Don’t try to outshine everyone....literally! - It’s all well and good trying to spice up your look but wearing a shiny tuxedo or suit isn’t one of them. If you want to look dapper, it’s best to play it safe don’t commit a fashion faux pas. Don’t drink too much! - Alcohol may help conversation flow but you still want to be able to remember the night. Don’t drink as if it’s just another Friday night in Chase otherwise you’ll be making an early exit from the night’s proceedings. Do take your footwear into consideration - The shoes paired with the tuxedo must look good in an anonymous way. If people notice your shoes, then you’ve more than likely chosen the wrong pair!

Accessory of the week Olivia Mason gets us ready for winter with a fabulous faux fur offering The snow is here, the wind is bitter and the nights are short. What perfect excuses for winter accessorising, in particular the come-back of the faux fur hat. Faux fur is this season’s way to inject some glamour into any outfit, just be warned less is more. A fur hat is the perfect way to add a sprinkling of style whilst still being practical. Steer away from vintage here, however, second hand faux fur touching your hair is a no go area as far as I am concerned. There are no shortage of options and colours to opt for: white, black, brown, dear stalker, bucket. And everyone has been spotted in one: Fearne Cotton, Grace Jones, Camilla, Katie Price, Paris Hilton. A fashion accessory for quite literally anyone then! Where can you get one though? The high street is awash with faux fur and

shearling accessories so it will not be difficult to locate a bargain find. Topshop, ASOS and even Primark are jumping on the band-waggon of accessorizing arcticstyle, so go forth, put on your fur hat and be merry.


THE COURIER Monday December 6 2010


Lace Fashion

Wear lace with grace: the guide Victoria Mole gives us a guided tour through the most luxurious texture of the winter season

Photos courtesy of, catwalking. com, L. Bel and S. Peacock

Welcome to the era of embellishment; the Autumn/Winter collections are here and shop window displays nationwide are bejewelled. Texture is the focal aspect of this season with designers decorating models in sequin rosettes, flourishes of tassels and layers of antique lace. Lace is among the fabulous fabrics that are making a statement this season alongside suede, velvet, satin and mesh. Some of the most prominent names in the industry have made it a central feature of their latest catwalk shows. Dolce & Gabbana have exhibited a classic black lace bodice draped in cascades of tulle, Oscar de la Renta displayed a baby-doll-style dress with a lace corset and tiered hoop skirt complete with a bow tied around the waist. Moreover Marc Jacobs has used lace with the inspiration of Russian dolls, presenting on the catwalk a long-sleeved ivory blouse with black high-waisted, wide-leg trousers. Valentino has used lace more subtly to compliment their collection with vintage-style netting and trimmings. Similarly DKNY’s Autumn/Winter Resort campaign features models wearing tinted grey tights with a doyley-inspired floral lace patterning for additional flair. Lace is the embodiment of luxury and romance with the ability to make a girl feel like a princess, or in the case of Kate Middleton, who modelled black lace over a bikini in a charity catwalk show in 2002, steal the heart of a Prince in the audience. Furthermore, actress and 1950s style icon Grace Kelly’s stunning floor-length wedding gown made her a vision in alabaster-white lace as she assumed the role of Princess of Monaco. Additionally, her contemporary Audrey Hepburn wore an iconic black lace mask in the film How to Steal a Million (1966) that was a platform for lace to become more prominent as an accessory. Lace accessories add an ethereal quality to outfits and with embellishment being such an integral part of Autumn/ Winter 2010, an investment in geometrically designed jewellery can add a bold sparkle to a crocheted garment. Lace is not only aesthetically beautiful but when worn in dark colours, it is extremely figure flattering. A general rule is that sheer lace should only be worn on top or bottom and lingerie must match. Lace can be overused and transformed from classy to racy if too much skin is exposed as leaving something to the imagination has been proven to be more alluring. For everyday wear, lace blouses look lovely when layered with plain vests or long sleeved tops underneath; these are ideal for tucking into high-waisted hot pants and pencil skirts. Miss Selfridge are doing ¾ length sleeve lace sweaters that would be a useful addition to any wardrobe, with cute batwing sleeves and coming in colours midnight blue and pewter, they are gorgeous and easy to match with other garments. Staple items such as a simple lace-finished playsuit can be transformed from day to night-wear with metallic or sparkling eye shadow and a casual outfit can be totally revamped by one of Boohoo. com’s lace tuxedo jackets. Topshop’s new tights and leggings, similar to the lace tights by DKNY, are also perfect for making an outfit more exciting. Having been admired and used frequently since the 15th century, lace has proved it has the staying-power, unrivalled by any other textures that are seen to be so prominent this season. Whilst it has exhibited its credentials as the a la mode fabric, lace has become a styling staple, synonymous with elegance.



THE COURIER Monday December 6 2010



what’s happening on your campus? tuesday

monday Open Mic Night

Northern Stage, Stage 3, 19:00, FREE HomeMade Jam is back for its final night of festive homemade fun before Christmas. With all the old favourites and some new faces, in the cosy surroundings of Northern Stage’s Stage 3, this promises to be another great night in this now loved new venue. If you missed the last HomeMade Jam make sure you head down to this week’s to check out the University’s very own HomeMade talent.

EngSoc Christmas Social

Tyneside Cinema, December 9, Doors 18:45, Starts 19:00, £13/11 Stalls, £15/13 Circle

Speaker Evening - Liver Immunology Lecture Theatre F, Dental School 19:00-21:00

Have you got a burning desire to find the cure for cancer? Or develop a new drug to fight AIDS? Are you wondering if an Academic Foundation Programme might be right for you? The Academic Medicine Society is here to answer your questions, give you advice, point you in the right direction and help you gain experience so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not a career in academia (including research, teaching and many other things) is right for you. The event is open to all year groups right from Stage 1 to 5 - this is a great chance to hear about some of the research going on in Newcastle, and how research can be combined with clinical medicine. The Academic Medicine Society committee will be there too, so if you want to have a chat about what we do and how you can get involved in the committee, or in academic medicine as an undergraduate, (including summer research projects, research SSCs and electives or even thinking further ahead to an Academic Foundation Programme) come along and we will be more than happy to help.

Fête de Noel

Join EngSoc for their epic annual English Society Social. The route begins in Madisons, then will head through town (hopefully not in the snow) to pick up some great drinks deals before ending in Digital with a Q jump and 80p entry. What could be better? Unsuprisingly the theme is Festive Fancy Dress, so fish out your Santa hats or come as a Christmas tree and enjoy!

NT Live: Hamlet

Newcastle Academic Medicine Society

English Christmas Party

Meet at Madisons, 21:00, Ending at Digital

1. Theatre


Insights Public Lecture Duke of Edinburgh Our Ecological Woes – A Award Christian Response: Mass

Home Made Jam

Your City:


Hatton Gallery, 19:00 Those of you in their final year in the English school are lucky enough to be invited to drinks and nibbles with lecturers and peers. Head down to the Hatton Gallery to enjoy an evening of intellectual chatter and free drinks to celebrate the end of term, and the closely approaching end of your undergraduate degree.



Curtis Auditorium, Herschel Building, 17:30 -18:30, FREE

Robinson Library Study Room Level 4, ten minute slot between 09:0015:00

The first in a two part series of lectures looks at the problem of mass extinction. The Angel of the Apocalypse cried ‘Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth!’ The warning seems appropriate to our age of impending ecological catastrophe. The rich biodiversity of our planet is being steadily destroyed by a process of mass extinction resulting from humanity’s wasteful exploitation of resources. This lecture explores what role Christianity can play in helping with the climate issues of today.

Have you come to University with an incomplete award which you’re keen to finish? Would you like to start the award and form a society here at the University? We are looking to meet people on an individual basis at the Robinson library. E-mail with a time you can attend a ten minute slot on that day. If you have your log book, please bring it along with any other evidence so

Women for Women International Coffee Afternoon

Blue Bunny Cafe, St. Marys Place, 15:00-17:00 The Women for Women International Society are putting on a coffee afternoon in the Blue Bunny Cafe for an informal question and answer session, and a chance for people to come and speak to the committee about the Women for Women International Society. There will be drink and cake deals, and the first 20 people there will be lucky enough to get a free mince pie. Please come down between 3pm and 5pm and meet us for mulled wine. Look forward to seeing you there!

Give It A Go!

Tynemouth Aquarium

13:00, £3, Meet at Park Terrace, booking essential Including all transport and entry, come and see the sea life underwater world, with otters, playful seals, octopuses and much more. Don’t miss this great afternoon of fun. Email to sign up.

Listings Editor : Ciara Littler -

friday Mausi

O2 Academy2, 23:00, £4 Mausi return to the O2 Academy2 this Friday for a fun packed powerful performance. The band is comprised of students from Newcastle University and promise to bring you a night of great music and tantalising tunes. Fronted by Italian siblings Daisy and Thomas Finetto, Mausi blend infectious melodies with stunning entwined harmonies, creating their own unique sound in alternative-pop. Expect danceable rhythms, colourful synths and a big chorus! Simply mention on the door that you’re on the Mausi guestlist to get in for £4. This entry also gets you in to Dirty Pop in Academy1 with £1.50 drinks, bouncy castles, sumo wrestling, dancing and great music. For more info visit or

Insights Public Lecture

Our Ecological Woes – A Christian Response: Mass Extinction

Newcastle University Contemporary Music Ensemble

Curtis Auditorium, Herschel Building, 17:30 -18:30, FREE

20th Century Minimalism

The second lecture in this series looks at Christianity’s response to climate change. It is held by Richard Bauckham who was, until recently, Professor of New Testament Studies and Bishop Wardlaw Professor in the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, and is now Professor Emeritus at St. Andrews.

International Human Rights Day Speak up Stop Discrimination

Committee Room 6, Students Union Building, 12:00-13:00 Friday December 10 is International Human Rights Day, and this year’s theme focuses on Human Rights defenders. Come to the meeting on Thursday to find out more about this campaign, what it stands for, the impact upon women and what we as individuals can do to support and celebrate human rights.

Kings Hall, Armstong Building, 19:30, £4/£3

Memoir Writing

A discussion chaired by Linda Anderson

Culture Lab, Newcastle University, 19:00, £6/4 Vesna Goldsworthy’s memoir Chernobyl Strawberries (2005) was a bestseller in five European countries and Book of the Week on Radio 4. Jackie Kay’s Red Dust Road was published to great acclaim this year and Alison Light is following her highly original and evocative Mrs Woolf and the Servants (2007) by writing her own family history, Common People: An English Family History without Roots.

Our top events happening in Newcastle this week 5. Fun 3. Film 4. Comedy/ Radio A Good Yarn - Tyneside 2. Art

Shakespeare’s sublime tale of revenge, treachery, incest and moral corruption is brilliantly re-told in director Nicholas Hytner’s superb production starring Olivier Award winner Rory Kinnear as Hamlet. Kinnear is joined by David Calder as Polonius, Clare Higgins as Gertrude, Patrick Malahide as Claudius and Ruth Negga as Ophelia, as the action is moved to a modern day police state setting for a powerful 21st century update of one of the greatest tragedies ever written.

Star and Shadow Cinema, December 10, 18:00-00:00, Free to members/£1

Platform2:Change Your World Poetry and Film Night

I’m Sorry I Haven’t Got A Clue

This annual event presented by Platform North East showcases the best new artists working with live art in the region. Experience exciting, curious and unexpected acts of performance art, experimental theatre and contemporary dance, often mashed up with genre-defying skill. The event is a showcase for new work by emerging artists working in the field of live art. This year’s 17 performances are taking place in a variety of locations within the Star and Shadow building.

Writer, artist and curator Steven Ball presents a programme of landmark artworks. It includes experimental classics, rare artists’ films and rediscovered video works. Audience members receive a free copy of a new limited edition publication accompanying the event and exclusive programme notes. Steven Ball is currently research fellow at the British Artists’ Film & Video Study Collection.

BBC Radio 4’s multi award-winning antidote to panel games begins a new UK tour, after sell-out tours in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Join Jack Dee, Barry Cryer, Graeme Garden, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Jeremy Hardy and pianist Colin Sell for an unmissable evening of inspired nonsense and laughter. To book tickets visit the City Hall website at


Tyneside Cinema, December 8, 18:00, £4

City Hall, December 8, 19:30, £23/£20/£15

Cinema Knitting Club

Tyneside Cinema, December 7, 19:00, FREE Whether you are a beginner or expert, pop along and join other enthusiasts as the Tyneside Bar is transformed into a fortnightly crafty community. If you’ve never knitted (or crocheted!) before never fear, as resident expert Denise, and Tyneside Cinema’s very own knitting queen Clare Ruddock are always available to help you get started. If you’re lucky you might get invited to the Knitters Christmas party as well!

The recently founded NUCME follows an agenda to promote and perform music from the contemporary classical repertoire. The ensemble also supports composition students of Newcastle’s International Centre of Music by running workshops in order to develop their compositions. During the performance of all six movements of Philip Glass’s atmospheric Glassworks, the Kings Hall will be plunged into darkness to allow the audience to reach that meditative state so evocative of minimalism. Local artist Ben Applegarth will also be showcasing several art works throughout the evening such as his graphic representation of Philip Glass’s Metamorphosis No. 1. All proceeds go towards giving students the chance to run their own degree show exhibition in summer 2011.

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, recruitment drives, 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 of what it is and who it is for to:, or stop into The Courier office at Park Terrace.

weekend Give it a Go!

Fellwalking Trip

Sunday 12, Meet at 09:00, £5 This trip is perfect for everyone, from those who have been hiking before to those who have never done any hiking at all. Anyone can sign up and there may even be time to have a quick look around Keswick itself. You can sign up for this trip weekdays at the fellwalking table in the Herschel Building by the curved mirror, between 12.30 and 1.30. Email to sign up.

NUTS present Spring Awakening Peter Sarah Theatre, Newcastle College, NE4 7SA December 8-10, Doors 19:00 - Performance 19:30 , Tickets on sale outside the library Mon&Tues this week & on the door, £7. This year’s long awaited musical has finally arrived! Spring Awakening starts this week at Newcastle College, using alternative rock as part of the folk-infused rock score to create a breathtaking story of teenagers discovering the inner and outer tumult of sexuality. In a world where the grown-ups hold all the cards, a group of school friends experience the exhilarating and turbulent journey into adulthood.

Spring Awakening is a rock musical based on the controversial 1891 German play by Frank Wedekind. The original play was banned in Germany due to its extremely controversial content. Don’t miss this chance to see the infamous NUTS Musical - Check out the Facebook group ‘NUTS - SPRING AWAKENING’ for more information.

NUTS present Hercules The Panto Premier Inn Newcastle, New Bridge Street, NE1 8BS December 12-14, Doors 19:00 - Performance 19:30 , Tickets on sale outside the library all this week & on the door, £6. The highlight of the Christmas term has finally arrived! NUTS brings you the Panto in the form of the twelve labours of Hercules. Join Hercules, the biggest LAD in Greece, his socially awkward best friend Theseus and warrior princess Hypolita as they take on murderous goddesses, cross-dressing kings, four headed beasts, lions and minotaurs and hinds (oh my!)

What more could you want? A lifesized camel? No problem. Don’t miss one of the most exciting and hysterical shows to be set in Ancient Greece this year! Written by NUTS’ very own Patrick Robertson and Matthew Doyle, this is a show not to be missed to brighten up the end of term.


Monday December 6 2010 THE COURIER

Life & Style

The man brought us Eraserhead but where did he rank in our top five strange directors? > page 27


How much can you learn from a portrait? M.NEVILLE

Sally Priddle looks at an exhibition on the complications of identity in art Another Face is the Hatton Museum’s new exhibition that transforms the seemingly traditional genre of portraiture. It is reinvented and manipulated by contemporary artists into a series of works drawn from the Arts Council collection. The variety of artists demonstrate their different interpretations of portraiture, creating a fresh and innovative exhibition that features a diverse selection of works, including a 6ft black pineapple sculpture, photography and multi-media installations. The exhibition includes work from the Turner Prize nominated artist Lucy Skaer, whose work explores and challenges conventional ideas about portraits through the medium of multimedia works. Artist Toby Ziegler created his giant plastic fruit in remembrance of his friend, and to explore the themes of culture, identity, appearance and representation. Saul Fletcher uses enigmatic black and white photography of isolated figures that dramatically contrasts with Mark Neville’s highly coloured depictions of rural communities. The exhibition also features paintings by Milena Dragicevic and Alasdair Gray both of whose work is currently featured in the British Art Show. The Hatton Gallery’s curator, Emily Marsden, commented: “We think of portraits as revealing hid-

Saving face: the Hatton Gallery’s latest exhibition Another Face reimagines the traditional conventions of portraiture using pieces from the Arts Council’s national collection

den depths or something essential about the people they portray. But, many of the works in the exhibition focus on surface appearance and the difficultly of truly representing anyone.” This exhibition aims to explore not

only the concept of portraits but also their purpose in the art world and the messages they portray to people. Another Face offers the chance for people to gain new perspectives on the idea of portraits, as well as see-


ing how the use of different and modern technology can lead to a new dimension to artists’ work. The National Arts Council collection is the largest modern and contemporary British Art collection that is on national loan in the world, and

includes works from a diverse range of the country’s most prominent artists. Another Face is at the Hatton Gallery until February 19 2011


A NUTS-cracking winter musical Profile: 36 Lime Street The penultimate production for NUTS is the new musical Spring Awakening, which contributes to the fantastic season for this semester. Following sell-out shows such as A Clockwork Orange, the theatre society has excelled, proving it is not only a popular choice for performers but also audiences alike. The diverse array of drama on offer has been overwhelmingly popular across campus, and Spring Awakening looks to follow this example. The musical is an adaptation of a controversial 1891 German play by Frank Wedekind. The play caused much debate and outrage when it was first performed due to the thematic issues that were explored. As a result the musical is a daring and exciting representation of issues that many playwrights and theatrical companies have previously shied away from, for fear of causing controversy.

The musical documents the struggle of teenagers in late nineteenthcentury Germany as they learn about the harsh realities of life and look to rebel against regimented social expectations. The teenagers refuse to conform to a particular set of moral values, behaviour and appearance, for example. The characters long to express themselves as individuals regardless of the negative reaction this may cause in society. In their development through life, the teenagers confront issues of sexuality, abortion, rape, child abuse and suicide. The audience witnesses the characters’ growing dissatisfaction with life and the restrictive society they live in, conveying their desire to break free. Although the inspiration for the musical derives from seventeenthcentury theatre, the themes are surprisingly relevant today and for fu-

ture generations to come. Spring Awakening has been adapted into a modern theatrical work. This show resists the “traditional” concept of musical theatre that is so often despised by many arts’ lovers for being unbearably quaint and tacky. This rock musical promises to be an instant hit that will no doubt be another sell-out show for the society. Tickets will inevitably become scarce within a matter of days, particularly given the success of last year’s musical Rent. The show is an opportunity to indulge in theatre but also allows us to show support for the drama scene that is flourishing in the University, an opportunity not to be missed. Spring Awakening is on from December 8-10 at Newcastle College Juliet Armstrong

36 Lime Street is a multi-purpose creative arts centre found in the city’s Ouseburn Valley, and was set up specifically to offer cheap and affordable spaces for creative artists in the region. Once home to a Tyneside flour mill, the Grade II listed building is used to encourage the development of theatre groups, artists, musicians and designers who work in the North East. This eclectic mix of creative practitioners makes 36 Lime Street one of the most unique centres in the area, and encourages the public to make use of the expertise of its occupants. As a not-for-profit organisation, the centre regularly plays host to free creative workshops and demonstrations including drawing lessons, sculpture classes and print-making sessions. As part of the National Federation of Artists Studio Providers, 36 Lime

Street is recognised as a centre of national importance. Perhaps one of the key advantages of having such a diverse range of creative businesses so close to each other is the potential for collaboration. The centre recently participated in the Ouseburn Open Studios, which brought together a wide range of local artists and galleries including The Biscuit Factory, Art Works Galleries and Northern Print. December marks the launch of a new exhibition Small is Beautiful, showcasing some of the best works produced by the centre this year. 36 Lime Street is continuously expanding, but with an extensive waiting list for its facilities already in place, the need for such creative spaces in the city is becoming increasingly prominent. Stephen Ferrell

THE COURIER Monday December 6 2010


Arts Culture

Arts Editor: Stephanie Ferrao -


Pained expressions of accidental sinners A.RICHARDS

Catherine Langley takes a look at a new grotesque exhibition of dark emotions Dark, unsettling and highly distorted - all qualities one might normally want to avoid at all costs. However, Barely Breathing - a new exhibition at The Outsiders, is dominated by all these elements, creating a truly thought provoking experience some may find confrontational. Artist Alana Richards uses strong contrasts between light and dark, conveying Baroque influences that enforce powerful emotional states of being into her troubled figures making her paintings unconventionally vivid. Perhaps the most striking feature of these works is the dominant stare each figure has at the viewer, providing a feeling of unease and aesthetic tension, emphasising the immediate impact these works have. There is something visceral about the way the viewer is confronted by the mouths of the figures which are either slightly parted or warped to look as if the subject is struggling to draw a final breath. The primal, almost bestial appearance of the mouth bears a remarkable resemblance to the work of Francis Bacon, where there is often a sense of screaming or anguish. Other noticeable links with Bacon are the isolation of the figures and the large flat areas of colour that surround them, as well as the way that the paint is applied. Richards’ oil paintings seem to have been reworked and altered with multiple layers of paint conveying the sort of thought process the artist went through. Even areas of paint are juxtaposed with more drippy and textural sections, displaying an artist at the height of her

Where Burlesque meets Broadway

Rosie Tallant on the new venue that brings the old-school glamour to the city’s nightlife

Barely Breathing at the Quayside’s Outsiders Gallery is an exhibition that combines portraiture with grotesque images of bodies

craft. Richards herself said of the way she paints: “I like the way you can use it to form your subject over time, which allows time for thought. You can smudge it and it stains. And it’s messy as hell.” Colour is distinctly limited to neutrals, the only tones other than the stark black and white that so dominate her canvas. Chiaroscuro provides the canvases with a drama like that seen in Caravaggio and Raphael’s paintings which is integral to

the success of her compositions. This technique allows the figures to either blend into the gloom of their environment or else to be straining for the light source they so desire. The depth of the darkness seems almost impenetrable, reflecting the dark, emotional sentiment of the paintings, dominant in Alana Richards’ work as a whole. These extreme states of being are not necessarily purely a fiction, as they may point at the human condi-

tion of the artist, painting being her own kind of escapism. This is an exhibition and experience not for the faint hearted. However, if you want to discover the work of an up-and-coming contemporary artist in the trendy Quayside gallery, and can cope with the visually arresting subject matter, this is definitely worth a visit. Barely Breathing is on at The Outsiders Gallery until January 8 2011


Love literature? Then Barter Books is for you Calling all bookworms and literature conoisseurs: if you’ve never been (or never even heard) of Barter Books, read on to discover heaven on earth in an old Victorian railway station in nearby Alnwick. To call Barter Books a “shop” is to underestimate the scale of stock, the range of things to do there and the sheer amount of time you could spend in this one building when there’s the whole rest of beautiful Alnwick to explore. Packed to the rafters with bookcases stuffed with old Penguin classics to 21st century publications, first edition books, collectable prints, second-hand novels and non-fiction books, children’s books, vintage cookbooks, travel guides and books on any topic from Lady Chatterley’s


Lover to Ancient Egypt – it’s a treasure trove of literature. A far cry from Waterstones or Blackwells, Barter Books is more of a browsing-and-discovering experience which can be exciting, and surprisingly time-consuming so allow at least half a day to fully enjoy it. As well as walls lined with books, the bookshop has a working model railway which runs around the ceiling and a stunning triangular mural featuring 33 life-size figures of literature including Charlotte Brontë, Salman Rushdie , Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Keats, Walt Whitman and William Shakespeare – who else can you spot? One of the best things about Barter Books is their student-friendly ex-

change system where customers can swap their own second hand books for credit against future purchases from the shop. If you don’t want to swap any of your books for new reads then you can also pay in the usual ways. With seven rooms to work through, you might need a little break and there are - lots of cosy corners in which you can put your feet up and read through your potential purchases. The converted station waiting room has an open fire and a pot of coffee so you can sit back and relax or you could head to the cosy cafe for a cheese toastie - “the best ever” in the words of our Arts Editor. There’s also a small cybercafé if you are in Barter Books so long that you feel the need to check your

email. Alnwick is about 35 miles from Newcastle-upon-Tyne but don’t worry if you don’t have a car, there are regular buses every day from Haymarket Bus Station or you can take the train to nearby Alnmouth which is quicker and then get a taxi or bus to Alnwick. So if you’re looking for a great day out this winter, maybe you need to entertain the parents or a visiting friend, forget about the castle, the river, the gardens, the markets, the beach or even the Metro Centre and head to Barter Books for a cosy winter afternoon with coffee, booklovers and some of the best books ever written. Aimee Phillipson

Now that winter is upon us, a night out in Newcastle may not be the most appealing of ideas. If you don’t fancy ice skating to The Gate, then a recently opened venue in the heart of Newcastle is ready to give you a night out with a difference. Boulevard is a brand new burlesque and Broadway club, located just off St James Boulevard, which offers a wide range of entertainment: from laugh out loud slapstick comedy to stunningly choreographed dance routines with incredible costumes, Boulevard really does have something for everyone. Boasting the renowned Broadway act, Betty Legs Diamond, arguably the most celebrated drag-artist currently in performance, the club guarantees to put on a show so clever, witty and charming that audiences will visit time and time again. Miss Diamond, also known as Simon Green, has an impressive performance CV, having performed in Blackpool’s Funny Girls for 16 years, seven Royal Variety performances and countless West End Shows. Despite this professional repertoire, she (or he) may be best known amongst students as a winner on last year’s Blackpool edition of Come Dine With Me. Miss Diamond has undoubtedly made a name for herself over the past few years and, if her television appearances are anything to go by, is bound to give any audience a night to remember. Boulevard’s other performers are certain to put on a show to rival that of the famous Miss Diamond. Former face of the Northern Pride LGBT festival, Miss Rory, has a more mainstream background. Having worked alongside some of the biggest names in pop, including Basshunter, the Vengaboys and all of the X Factor finalists from the past three years, Rory has won awards for her stunning wit and humour. Decidedly not your average student night out, Boulevard’s burlesque-meets-Broadway theme is certain to liven up your timetable. The VIP area is available to hire for celebratory shows, with luxurious environment for guests to relax and enjoy the show in style. There’s no need to wait for an occasion to visit this classy venue, though, as their shows run all year and change with the seasons to ensure new and exciting acts are constantly in the works. Boulevard cabaret bar is found at 3-9 Churchill Street, Newcastle City Centre


Monday December 6 2010 THE COURIER

Culture Film

film film of the week

Megamind Director: Tom McGrath Cast: Will Ferrell, David Cross, Jonah Hill, Tina Fey, Brad Pitt Runtime: 95 mins

DreamWorks has a knack for taking the stereotypical despicable characters and moulding them into likeable heroes. Just like with Shrek and Monsters vs. Aliens the protagonist character is viewed as an outsider to normal society, but when all goes wrong in the equilibrium, who do they turn to? In this case we are given Megamind, voiced by the wonderfully irreverent Will Ferrell. However unlike Shrek, Megamind doesn’t quite hit the comedic heights that it aims for. The story begins with the destruction of the home planets of two unique alien babies, both sent in evacuation pods to the safety of Earth. One is the charismatic, charming and square jawed Metro Man (Pitt). The other is the blue light bulb

headed Megamind (Ferrell). The film has an amusing interpretation of how the characters choose their identities. Metro Man becomes the hero because he loves the attention and Megamind becomes the villain as he was brainwashed as a child by criminals into believing their questionable morals. As an outsider he feels the only way to make sense of himself is to become the ‘villain’ between the two of them, or as he puts it, “become the Ying to his Yang”. After years of encounters Megamind, still continually being foiled by Metro Man and made aware of his clichéd predictability by the feisty news reporter Roxanne Ritchie (Fey), manages to actually defeat his nemesis by complete fluke. But after realising how boring the easy life is the question becomes: what does a villain do when there are no heroes to stop him? So Megamind creates a new foe in the shape of Roxanne’s camera man Hal (Hill) to give his life meaning once again. However his plan backfires when Hal (or ‘Titan,’ his alter-

Mega money: one of the highest paid stars in Hollywood, Will Ferrell stars as the titular character in this DreamWorks animation

native super hero identity) turns to the dark side and Megamind finds himself filling the shoes of both the antagonist and the protagonist. This leads to him discovering that the path of heroism does have its benefits, as he grows closer to his frequently captured hostage Roxanne. The film provides plenty of spectacular action sequences, especially from the final showdown between Megamind and Titan and the moments where characters are flying or falling are fun to watch. The chemistry between Ferrell and Fey is fantastic and really drives the


The power of the critic Matt Burton asks whether critics can still influence audiences It could once be said that film critics were one of the most powerful figures in the film industry. Their word alone could decide, with a good review, guaranteed box office success ,whilst a poor review resigned a film to obscurity and financial failure. Peeping Tom was universally panned upon its release in 1960 by critics who despised the use of violence, pornography and the sympathetic representation of the villain Mark Lewis. While it is now considered a classic horror film with a large cult following, at the time of its release the critical exodus not only led to the distributors pulling the film from cinemas, but also destroyed the career of director Michael Powell, an indication of the level of power the critics held in the film industry. However, things have changed since the 1960s with marketing and promotion now reigning supreme when it comes to persuading viewers to see a film. The voice of the critic has been quietened by the well financed and invasive advertising strategies in a power shift that has left the impact of a film critic debatable. In recent times, films have been able to post huge financial profits despite receiving little praise from film critics when they were released. Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland was able to gross over $1 billion at the box office to become

the sixth highest grossing film of all time. This was all achieved despite the film receiving mixed reviews at best from the film critics who failed to warm to Tim Burton’s post-apocalyptic interpretation of the C.S. Lewis classic. It is easy to see the impact marketing has on films when considering the ridiculous fan fares generated by blockbuster film series like Harry Potter and the Twilight Saga, and it seems the word of a film critic can no longer put a viewer off going to see a film. The most recent Twilight release managed to break the $600 million mark and the next instalment is sure to at least match that figure especially given to popularity of its male leads Robert Patterson

“The voice of the critic has been quietened by the well financed and invasive advertising strategies” and Taylor Lautner. Perhaps then, the only element needed for a successful film is an attractive lead to reel in viewers too busy fantasising to be engaged in the story and notice its flaws. And it is not only the successful films that forget the critic’s opinions; Superman Returns was praised as a superman for a modern audience by critics but did not provide sufficient box office returns (apparently $390 million isn’t a lot of money) and has

been branded a failure by Warner Bros. proving that financial gain is now the only criteria for a successful film, artistic vision seems to have gone out the window. But there is one shining light that pulls film critics back from the depths of insignificance and reminds us of the power they once yielded: the independent film. Whilst critics may no longer have the power to influence the tent-pole blockbusters that dominate our screens, they still have the ability to pick out the overlooked and shove them into the limelight. Take last year’s surprise sleeper hit The Hurt Locker which not only managed $40 million at the box office, despite only being released in four US theatres and being up against heavy hitters like Harry Potter, but also beat Avatar to the best picture Oscar. This came only a year after Slumdog Millionaire rose from obscurity due largely to the universal praise of the film critic, showing they are not going down without a fight. Despite this, the film critic is still in decline, and the reason for their ever diminishing power may simply boil down to a loss of prestige. In the past the film critic was trained in the craft of writing but now the rise of reviewer websites like Rotten Tomatoes allows not only journalists to post reviews but also members of the public who are fans of the film. The fact is, with so many different opinions the real critics cannot be heard, their voice lost in the irrelevant views of part timers making it almost certain that the critics power will be forever forgotten.

movie forward. The writing does have some fantastic impact, with Ferrell providing his zany signature on his character. Although Jonah Hill’s character Hal isn’t given enough screen time to believably descend into villainy. The writing though does have more good than bad with a brilliant speech involving the Queen of England not being real and the mockery of traditional superhero ideals. The relationships between the central characters is surprisingly believable, however the whole film drags on a bit, leaving portions of the film

feeling a bit flat. Verdict: An interesting spin on the usual superhero story. There’s plenty of good comedic timing and witty dialogue. However it takes a while for the story to properly get rolling, and it’s lacking any real depth to make the story memorable. Luke Hearfield

radar The Inbetweeners Movie Director: Ben Palmer Cast: Simon Bird, Joe Thomas, James Buckley, Blake Harrison ETA: Summer 2011 When, at the end of the third series, we saw Simon move to Swansea, it seemed certain that The Inbetweeners had came to an end. So when news broke that the the four stars would be reunited to give the hit TV series a proper send off through a full cinematic film, many rejoiced at the prospect of watching the hilarious antics of Will (Bird), Simon (Thomas), Jay (Buckley) and Neil (Harrison) for one last time. However, one would not be wrong for worrying whether The Inbetweeners would live up to its funny reputation. The hit TV series had been noticeably criticised for its over-exhausted and repetitive jokes, something that is arguably evident in some of the episodes in season 3. However, writer Iain Morris has assured fans that the movie will not just be a cash cow with nothing to laugh at. To add more confidence, Ben Palmer. He man who directed all six episodes of the second series, is directing The Inbetweeners Movie

and should therefore bring the classic idiocy and hilarity that viewers have come to love. Although the plot of the film has been greatly speculated among film critiques and fans it is widely known that the film will be set in Malia, Crete. The boys head to the Greek Island for a ‘lads’ holiday, after the end of their A-levels and without their parents, to create some carnage, mayhem and to work on their usual endeavours of girls and booze. Filming is now underway despite reports of Simon Bird, who plays Will, demanding more money from the production company. Bwark Productions reportedly started casting for a replacement actor to play Will but fortunately for fans, Simon Bird didn’t win this staring match and humbly took back the role of Will, allowing the chemistry between the four actors to be fully displayed in cinematic view. The release of the film is still given the ambiguous date of 2011. However, speculation and rumour points to a summer release. The Inbetweeners Movie is definitely something to watch out for. Jack Groutage

THE COURIER Monday Decermber 6 2010


Film Culture Film Editor: Adam Williams -


The cult of the bad movie Chris Taylor on the terrible movies that are so bad, they’re good Bad movies aren’t just a complete waste of time. They do something to you that makes you feel soulless. You’ve essentially wasted two hours watching something so terrible you wanted to rip your eyes and ears out. But there’s a special class of bad movies which just defy all possible logic. They go so far around the spectrum that they pass ‘terrible’ and become ‘good’ again. Ed Wood made possibly some of the worst movies ever. Cheaply produced, so much so that Plan 9 From Outer Space infamously featured paper plates on string as UFOs, poorly acted and horrifically edited, they were slated by every critic who saw them. But fans today love them. Other such films include Manos: Hands of Fate, The Room, Troll 2 and Silent Nighty, Deadly Night 2. The strange thing is, many people love them completely unironically. You’d expect it to be pop culture savvy hipsters loving the films, but there is a genuine adoration for these films. Take The Room for example. Directed, written and produced by Tommy Wiseau, who also stars as the lead, it contains no coherent plot, terrible acting, increasingly awkward sex scenes (with individual songs produced especially for each scene), characters that just appear then never appear again and some of the most absurd character interactions you will ever find. But it’s fantastic. Screenings of the film sell out pretty quickly, with comedians such as David Cross and Patton Oswalt frequently putting on screenings. They become cultural events, in the way The Rocky Picture Horror

Show has become. People will dress up, shout out lines from the film as they happen or even throw spoons at the screen every time a photo frame with spoons in them is shown on screen. It’s so bad and yet Tommy Wiseau stands by it as an important piece of cinema. Troll 2 is generally considered

“You feel you need to keep watching just to see if it could potentially get any worse and usually it does get worse, a lot worse” one of the worst films ever made. It contains not one single troll, it has nothing to do with its predecessor, the plot is so absurd (the goblins are vegetarian so need to trick humans into eating food with a poison that turns them into plants) and contains some of the most ham-fisted acting you will ever see. Michael Paul Stephenson, who played the freshfaced kid in the film, later went on to create a documentary called Best Worst Movie documenting how this film has had such a cultural affect. As with The Room, screenings are frequently put on where people dress as their favourite characters and get involved in the action. Again, the director strongly stands by the film as having a serious message about “life, death and food” despite it being so ridiculously terrible. But what separates these terrible films from truly terrible films such as Vampires Suck (which has no redeeming features whatsoever) is that these are earnest and genuine. Everyone involved believed in the

Awfully brilliant: Plan 9 From Outer Space is considered one of the worst movies ever

project until the end, with some carrying on to the present as seen above. And that’s what makes it more entertaining. It feels almost like a train wreck that you can’t look away from. It’s so tragic, so heart breaking but so enthralling at the same time. You feel you need to keep watching just to see if it could potentially get any worse and usually it does get worse, a lot worse. It seems unfathomable that it would be possible to mess up everything imaginable (and unimaginable) yet still believe your film to be the greatest ever made. It’s spawned such things as Mystery Science Theatre 3000, which focuses on how bad these films are by making jokes during the film, and these cultural phenomenon so there is something definitely different between these and soulless films like the Epic/Date Movie series.

The director of Troll 2 does have a point when he says, “At the end of the day, whether you laugh or it makes you cry or it sc.ares you, the most important thing is that a movie moves you,” and these films, however bad, most certainly do. They entertain, perhaps for the wrong reasons, but they still have an effect on the viewer and that’s where the cult of bad films arises.

marish, dystopian Britain that bristles with dark, creative energy, acting as a true testament to Gilliam’s vast and peculiar imagination. God only knows what goes on in this director’s head; probably something terrifying.

pretty impressive and eclectic CV to consider. He gained a serious cult following after directing Twin Peaks, the weirdest television series of all time, and it has only increased from there. With Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive and the cult favourite Dune, Lynch loves to mess with the heads of his audience.

“Wilma, I promise you; whatever scum did this, not one man on this force will rest one minute until he’s behind bars. Now, let’s grab a bite to eat.” - Lt. Frank Drebin A quote from Leslie Nielsen’s most famous character, the star of films such as Airplane! and The Naked Gun series died last week aged 84.

film five Strangest directors 5. Werner Herzog Werner Herzog is without a doubt the most eccentric director around. Not only did he reportedly hold a gun to actor Klaus Kinski’s head to prevent him walking off the set of Aguirre, Wrath of God, he also cooked and ate his own shoe at the premier of Heaven’s Gate, making good on a bet. This later formed the basis for a documentary, fittingly titled Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe. 4. Stanley Kubrick Taking Obsessive Compulsive Disorder to new, insane levels, Kubrick was a master film maker and a nightmare to work with. Forcing his actors through endless takes of the same shot over and over again, Kubrick originally wanted 70 takes of a particular scene in The Shining, but was convinced to bring it down to 40. He still stands as one of the greatest directors of all time, but

also one of the most difficult for actors and crew to work with. 3. Michel Gondry Everyone knows Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but to see the full potential of this particular director’s strangeness, you need to check out The Science of Sleep. Gondry specialises in surreal, dream-like imagery, often neglecting coherence and sense as a result, and The Science of Sleep has this in spades, a stand out sequence being a happy couple riding through the sky on a giant toy horse. For no reason whatsoever. 2. Terry Gilliam After graduating from the Monty Python’s Flying Circus’ animator to fully fledged director, Terry Gilliam has gone on to become one of the most peculiar, visually arresting film makers of the 21st Century. His masterpiece, Brazil, creates a night-

1. David Lynch This is the man who made Eraserhead. In some ways, that’s all that needs to be said, but Lynch has a

Kathy Jackman

news Jane Arden season at Star and Shadow If someone were to say Jane Arden to you, you would probably return a blank stare. Luckily, the Star and Shadow Cinema are giving you the chance to educate yourself on who she actually is. And it’s definitely worth an education. After studying at RADA, she hit the stage and the screen alongside later household names such as Sid James. As we entered the 1950s, she began writing her own original material as well as continuing acting. Her TV comedy, Curtains for Harry, was one of the first to be shown on the newly established ITV and was co-written by Richard Lester, who later went on to direct A Hard Day’s Night. As the 1950s went on, she began to mingle with the cream of the crop and those who would shoot to fame. Working with Charles Laughton, Albert Finney and Harold Pinter, she had really made a name for herself on stage and screen. But it wasn’t until the ‘60s that Arden really came into her own. Her work began to grow increasingly more radical as she became interested in feminism. This is first most evident with her TV series The Logic Game, which she wrote and starred in. It was described as a “surrealist puzzle” which attempted to locate the isolation of women. After a stint on That Was The Week That Was and a documentary with Salvador Dali, she went on to form the radical feminist theatre group, Holocaust. Her next film, featuring numerous members of the group, was The Otherside of the Underneath, which was the only British film of the 1970s to be solely directed by a woman. It depicts a woman’s mental break-down and caused a considerable stir amongst critics. In 1974, she co-directed Vibration and in 1979, Anti-Clock. Both used extremely experimental techniques which were unusual at the time.After her death in 1982, she faded into obscurity despite her huge impact on feminist cinema. Luckily, in 2009, the BFI restored Separation, The Otherside of the Underneath and Anti-Clock for re-release, all of which will be screened as part of the season at the Byker based cinema, the latter in a double bill with Vibration. The season begins this Wednesday; the Star and Shadow Cinema is giving the public a chance to see these films that touched on sexual politics and the role of women in a way no other filmmaker did at the time. Chris Taylor

The Courier Online For exclusive reviews of DVD releases and to see the latest trailers, head to the film section of The Courier website:


Monday December 6 2010 THE COURIER

Culture Film

film in cinemas Machete Directors: Robert Rodriguez Cast: Danny Trejo, Jessica Alba, Steven Seagal, Robert De Niro Runtime: 92 mins Ever since the Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez double–bill Grindhouse in 2007, fans have eagerly awaited a full version of one of the fake trailers that appeared with the two films. In a grainy damaged film style, Machete was a throwback to 70s explotation cinema, complete with copious violence, nudity and betrayal, in grainy damaged film style. With a fan–based push, Rodriguez has extended and fleshed out the mock trailer into a feature length film, attracting an impressive cast and creating one the most outrageous and hilarious action flicks this year. The narrative follows Mexican ‘federale’ Machete Cortes (Trejo) who witnesses his family murdered at the

Unstoppable Director: Tony Scott Cast: Denzel Washington, Chris Pine, Rosario Dawson Runtime: 98 mins ‘This is Will Coalson your conductor speaking, we are gonna run this bitch down’. Having taken audiences on an underground thrill ride in last year’s remake of The Taking of Pelham 123, Tony Scott and Denzel Washington team up once again in this action-packed thriller, but instead of there being a psycho villain in the shape of John Travolta, the only bad guy here is the worker who accidentally pushes the wrong button which sends a half-mile long cargo train hurtling through Pennsylvania unmanned. Denzel Washington plays veteran engineer Frank Barnes, who must team up with rookie conductor Will Coalson

London Boulevard Director: Andy Fickman Cast: Colin Farrell, Keira Knightley, Ray Winstone Runtime: 103 mins Set on the streets of London, London Boulevard follows Mitchell (Farrell), a South London criminal who is newly released from prison. Determined to make an ‘honest’ living Mitchell tries to cut his ties with the criminal world and gives up his life as a gangster and takes a job as a handyman for a reclusive actress, Charlotte (Knightley). However, despite Mitchell’s attempt to live a reformed life a local London gang, led by Gant (Winstone), have other plans for their former friend forcing Mitchell to fight for his life and for his new love, Charlotte. The premise of the film and the adverts shown on

hands of drug kingpin Torrez (Seagal), before being left for dead in a burning building. Three years later, as a migrant worker in America, he is bribed to assassinate a racist antiimmigration senator (De Niro) but is betrayed, becoming a political pawn in a plot to get the senator reelected. The master plot of the intricate network of villains is to take a ‘hard line’ on immigration by building an electric border fence to shut out Mexican immigrants; and as Machete proceeds on a warpath to confront his betrayers, they fearfully realise “they f**ked with the wrong Mexican”. Rodriguez has successfully drawn together an ecletic cast, with Jessica Alba as a empathic immigration officer, Michelle Rodriguez as the hardened revolutionary ‘She’ and Lindsay Lohan extremely in her element, as a drugged up socialite. A colossal roster of villainous antagonists such as psychotic border guard (Jonson) and devious businessman (Fahey) produce inspired performances but none compare to the films moustachioed anti-hero. Trejo oozes charisma as Machete, disposing (Chris Pine) in a race against the clock to catch up with and prevent the train derailing and decimating an entire town. The whole film is an edge of the seat, white-knuckle ride, which builds into something genuinely thrilling and intense. Yes it may not feature prominently in many award ceremonies, but it doesn’t take itself too seriously, with the action rightly taking priority over the acting and character development. The relationship between the two leads develops well in the limited time it is afforded, and is believable throughout. Both have predictably endured troubled times, and through the course of events inevitably begin to see light at the end of their tunnels. The premise of the film is simple and unoffensive - and is all the more enjoyable as a result. Although we are told in the opening credits that the film is inspired in part by real events, it would appear that Tony Scott has absurdly elevated the stakes, placing a train full of schoolchildren in the path TV leads one to believe that London Boulevard would be an exciting, action-packed film. Even the director’s name, William Monahan, would lead a potential movie-goer to hope that London Boulevard would follow the greatness of The Departed. However within 15 minutes of the start, any hopes one would have of the film being deemed ‘great’ quickly vanishes and another 15 minutes later using the word, ‘average’ to describe the film is a compliment. Colin Farrell’s half-hearted attempt to act leaves his character as a weird sounding Londoner, who excessively swears (and not even in a humorous way that can be found in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.) To add to the direness of the film, Keira Knightley’s acting is almost nonexistent and adds very little to the film or plot. By the end of the film I wanted Keira Knightley’s character to be caught and shot. However her ability to stand in a scene and say and do nothing is very great and wildly exhausted throughout the film.

political message, when a scene has Machete casually rappelling down the side of a building holding onto human intestines. Rodriguez regrettably lets the pace slow at the films denouement, with a disappointingly uncreative mass fight scene and showdown; but as trashy, selfaware cinema goes, Machete will still leave you heartily satisfied. Danny Trejo has potential to become a huge B-movie action star and if the allusions in the films credits are valid, I eagerly anticipate the sequel.

goons in veritable fountains of gore, while simultaneously managing to bed every female character in the film to inserted sound clips of sleazy porn groove. Director Rodriguez also experiments with style, implementing grainy stock footage, faux political advertisements and hilarious voiceovers, which like his previous work Planet Terror, distances the

film from reality enough to justify the superbly daft script and caricature like acting. The film’s political stance on immigration is also hard to ignore, commenting on the cruel hypocrisy which Mexican migrants are treated with. However, these stereotypes are drowned out by outlandish spectacle, as it’s hard to pursue a serious

Verdict: Machete is a cinematic throwback to exploitation cinema at its prime. Although lagging somewhat in the final act, as the political commentary and Rodriguez’s unique self–referential humour demonstrate, it’s definitely sharper than it appears. The genre of ‘Mexploitation’ is born... Chris Binding

as one of Hollywood’s newest leading men, and isn’t outshone by the legendary Denzel Washington. The train is the real star of the show, and Scott captures its menace from every possible angle. One particularly neat aspect is the presence of constant live news updates keeping the audience and the relatives of the main characters informed as the plot unfolds.

of the runaway train, before going on to threaten the entire population of the fictional town ‘Stanton’. Rosario Dawson evokes plenty of emotion in her ‘control room’ role, and as she sees the drama unfolding before her eyes (‘it’s a missile the size of the Chrysler building!’) she shines in her interactions with both the greedy executives and the heroic train workers. Although there will

inevitably be comparisons made with 1994 classic Speed, this film is completely different in almost every aspect. The absence of vast amounts of CGI in the film is a success. Denzel Washington willingly throws himself into his own stunts, running at ease on top of a moving train. Following on from his successful role in Star Trek, Chris Pine has now firmly established himself

Verdict: Bold, brash and relentless, this film is a real adrenalin rush from start to finish, as spectacular crashes and explosions provide plenty to whet the appetites of action seeking moviegoers. A perfect popcorn flick which stands out within the action genre, this is one of Tony Scott’s best films to date. Simon Howard

feel deceived by the many adverts I had seen on TV. London Boulevard is more of a romantic film rather than a gritty film about gangsters. The film then dragged on leading to a random ending that attempted to be clever but was in fact odd, leaving the film feeling even more pointless and unexplained. Verdict: London Boulevard is very, very poor. The only good thing to come from this film is that I have learnt how to spell the word; boulevard. If you want to see a good Colin Farrell film look towards In Bruges; a much funnier, much more interesting, Belgium version of London Boulevard. After 90 minutes of waiting, something mildly interesting eventually happens however the audience, many of whom had already walked out of the screening, were far beyond caring. The stiffness of the film and the focus on the poorly displayed

feelings of ‘love’ made London Boulevard boring. The focus on the ‘love’ between the two main characters ends up dominating London Boulevard and is far from the way the film has been advertised. In fact I couldn’t help but

Jack Groutage

THE COURIER Monday December 6 2010



Music Culture


Music Editors: Polly Randall & Joe Skrebels -

More fun than a physics class

Ben Travis chats to one half of We Are Scientists, the funniest musical duo to surface since Chas and Dave

“Our booking agents wisely saved the UK for last. An, if not the, highlight of the world tour! It’s nice to end on a very, very high note.” If there’s one thing you can say about Keith Murray, one half of American indie-pop duo We Are Scientists, he certainly knows to say the right things. But the more he speaks, you can tell that it’s true – We Are Scientists really do love us here in the U.K. Despite being American, they even wrote England a World Cup song (‘Goal! England!’) this summer. “The tour has been great so far. I just went through the mid-tour trench of illness, but I feel really good now,” says Keith, who braved the snow for a chat. With third album Barbara released this year seeing a return to the guitar riff-based power pop of their debut With Love & Squalor, Keith reveals that the direct and immediate nature of the songs was partly due to the recording process. “It ended up being the most fun album to record. Considering it was scheduled to fit our availability and Andy Burrows’ (of ex-Razorlight fame) availability, our producers availability and the fact that we all live in different cities, figuring out the personal schedules and the geography of it was kind of a headache,” he explains of the album, which was recorded in various sessions over a three month period. “We’re not a band who geeks out over studio gear. Messing with microphone placement for three hours is not really our cup of tea. On the first few records, I definitely got a little bit of studio burnout, but this way I had a week of people talking about mic placement, and then two

debate Yes

weeks away wishing I was back in the studio talking about mic placement.” An undeniably light-hearted and catchy album, the only mystery surrounding Barbara is the origin of the album title. Turns out it just seemed as a good a name as any – Barbara. “That was sort of the rationale. When we were naming this record, the idea of giving it a title seemed really obnoxious,” says Keith. “We were put off with the idea of rifling through random phrases that are benign enough to not seem pretentious, but are referential in some way and signify the whole album. We thought, let’s just name it, in the same way that if you named your daughter Barbara, people wouldn’t go, ‘What? Who’s Barbara?!’” Whilst scheduling conflicts meant that Andy Burrows, now on his solo I Am Arrows project, hasn’t toured the album, he was still an enthusiastic contributor to Barbara. “He called me when Razorlight were in New York and we met him for drinks afterwards and had a really fun night. We had a really great time, so I just said ‘We’ve been asking people to play on our record, would you be interested in doing a song or two?’ and he immediately leapt on that. A month later he called up and announced that he’d left Razorlight and that he really wanted to play on Barbara. We were like, ‘Woah!’, we didn’t really know what to make of it.” As he reveals that, if schedules permit, Burrows intends to record the next We Are Scientists album, Keith talks of the friendship that formed between the trio. “For most of the summer Andy was in New York, I’d moved to Georgia,” he says. “While I was there, Andy and Chris formed quite a friendship which I missed out on. I was the third wheel!” How does Keith cope when Chris isn’t around? “A part of me withers and dies. It’s like ET’s flower, it’s in me somewhere. I don’t really function quite

as well when he’s not around,” he deadpans. Having toured the UK during the majority of the student protest, I ask Keith for his opinion on the current situation surrounding the cuts in funding and increased cap on tuition fees. “It seems ill-advised to suddenly, dramatically change the way that your education system works. It’s interesting when governments just suddenly decide that education is a luxury,” he replies, adding “If we want the government to perform at a higher level as we clearly want it to, it doesn’t seem wise to actively create a scenario where it’s easier for people to remain uneducated. But who am I to say?” “You’re Keith from We Are Scientists!” I remind him of his position of political authority.

Do We Are Scientists have any appropriate protest songs to play during the opposition to the cuts? “We don’t really have any protest songs. I think we considered our football song to be the most actively protesting song we have as it was against our own country…” As the interview winds to a close, I ask Keith which of the science subjects at school was his favourite – Biology, Chemistry, or Physics? “Definitely Physics,” he decides. “I think just because there was so much of it that felt very practically applicable. I was good at Biology and Chemistry, but I never really enjoyed it. It all felt mathematical in a theoretical way, and I was really into maths, but what I liked about Physics was plugging equations into the actual physical world.”

They may appear distant but part of Keith ‘withers and dies’ when seperated from Chris

In the wake of this week’s student protests, we ask: Is music the place for politics?

Music and politics have always been intertwined. Yes, many artists could be accused of making controversial statements merely to make headlines - and their left-wing or ‘green’ stance is in stark contrast with the vast fortunes hidden in offshore bank accounts, reports of creative tax avoidance and lavish lifestyles. In some cases this highly cynical view may be justified – Bono and John McClure should stick to the day job – but to ban politics from music would leave it empty and soulless. Plus there is only so much love and heartbreak a person can listen to. No-one can deny that Billy Bragg has stayed true to his beliefs, or that multi-millionaire Bruce Springsteen has tried to use his wealth to support good causes.

Music can become a gateway into politics overcoming apathy and distrust of politicians. Listening to The Clash we are reminded of Thatcher’s Britain - fuelled by unemployment, strikes and racism riots - but scarily it also echoes the situation we face today. Some of the most influential bands and albums of the past few decades have taken some kind of political and social stance, which is why I believe they have stood the test of time. Passion creates longevity. Hearing your own anger and frustration sung or rapped about, creates the sense that change is possible as long as someone stands up. If that someone is a musician we should suspend our cynicism – even the dreadful Sting genuinely made a difference to the Amazon rainforest! Grace Harding

No Let me start this by saying that I’m not always against politics in pop. When it’s done well, when it’s intelligent and it’s well written, there’s no reason why not – think Billy Bragg, Fugazi some of the time. All too often though, we end up with Green Day, or U2 the rest of the time. The problem to me is simple: great polemics and great art are often very different things. Once you become so bogged down in an ideological position of any stripe or variety that you have to scream it from the rooftops at any moment, there’s no room left for subtlety or ambiguity. Take Rage Against The Machine – fun music to stomp round your bedroom to, yes, but with the level of complexity and

nuance of a ten-year-old: the sound not of rebellion, but of thousands of semi-pubescent boys the world over screaming along, “Fuck you mom, I won’t tidy my bedroom!” (That’s without going into the whole socialism-espousing-band-signing-withmajor-record-label thing either.) There’s also the worry that a performer’s politics might spoil your enjoyment of their art. Many fans of the cult American singer-songwriter Micah P. Hinson found themselves wishing he’d kept his mouth shut when, in a recent interview, he denounced Obama’s healthcare reforms, while The Velvet Underground’s pioneering drummer Maureen Tucker recently pledged her support for the Tea Party movement. Politics in music isn’t always bad. But it’s a tricky balancing act that can often lead to disaster. Mark Corcoran-Lettice

column Metal Monthly Graham Matthews Columnist

Love your music loud and heavy but not so keen on nightclubs? Prefer going to the pub but can’t stand the cheesy music they play? Then rock bars are what you’re looking for, and thankfully Newcastle has quite a few. Trillians is probably the most popular rock bar in Newcastle centre (though it’s not easy to find) - take the last left turn off Northumberland Street and it’s round the corner; I’m sure Google maps can find it. Like lots of the best rock venues, it’s underground. Featuring posters of rock bands new and old on the walls and a dark atmosphere due to the lack of natural light (and probably to cheapen their electricity bill too) Trillians looks the part. Opposite the bar, where drinks are reasonably priced, is the stage, as Trillians regularly plays host to local and cover bands, usually for free or very cheap.This month they’ve got a range of covers bands playing and they’re all free entry. 101% Pantera, Gallus Cooper (Alice Cooper) and Maiden England are three highlights playing in December and as it’s free, you’ve got no excuses (I had to pay to see Maiden England last time!). Another great rock bar in Newcastle is Hyem Bar, situated on Chillingham Road in Heaton. Although it may be a bit out of the way (you can get a bus/metro from town) it’s definitely worth visiting. Downstairs is the main bar and pool table whilst upstairs is the venue room used for live bands and other events. The upstairs room hosts a band every Thursday whilst Friday has a different event every week. Wednesdays are the highlight however. From 7pm they put on free food, free pool and a free quiz where you can win a crate. Free overload! For fans of more extreme music ‘Terrorizer Grindhouse’ is the night for you. It’s on about once a month and so far has been happening at Hyem, often featuring a live band beforehand. Playing bands like Cattle Decapitation and Fleshrot rather than anything remotely cheerful shows it’s not a night for the fainthearted. Elsewhere around the city everyone’s favourite ‘Bat out of Hell’ Meat Loaf is playing the Metro Arena on December 14, whilst The Pogues do their annual pre-Christmas tour at the O2 Academy on the same night. For the New Year however, there have been quite a few exciting announcements. Heavy metal titans Iron Maiden are bringing their spectacular stage show and classic tunes to the Metro Arena on July 23. After leaving his position as Ozzy Osbourne’s axe wielder, Zakk Wylde is back concentrating on his own band Black Label Society, who are coming to the O2 Academy on the February 15, a mere three days before Rob Zombie plays that same venue, in his first visit to the UK in 12 years.


Monday December 6 2010 THE COURIER

Culture Music

music listings

Monday December 6 2010 Faithless, Metro Radio Arena, 7.30pm, £29.50 British dance legends Faithless have a reputation for an incredible live show, so if you feel like splashing out a little bit more for a particularly memorable evening this’ll be a good shout. ‘Insomnia’, ‘Mass Destruction’ and ‘God Is A DJ’ are iconic tracks, even for people who don’t know much about dance. Tuesday December 7 2010 Here Come the Girls, Metro Radio Arena, 7.45pm, £25 OK, I admit it’s slim pickings on Tuesday. But if you’re totally desperate to do something, or your Mum is up for a visit, then you could check out Here Come the Girls, with a line-up featuring Lulu (who’ll make you ‘Shout!’), Anastacia (who’s “not that kind of girl”) and Heather Small from M People (who’s, er…small?). Wednesday December 8 2010 Field Music, The Cluny, 8pm, £5 This Northern band released their third album Field Music (Measure) this year, an ambitious doubledisc effort, to considerable critical acclaim, and they’ll no doubt be playing a fair few tracks off it at the Cluny on Wednesday. Epic indiepop is the order of the day here, and at a mere fiver you can’t really go wrong. Thursday December 9 2010 Pendulum, Metro Radio Arena, 7.30pm, £22.50 In a few short years, Pendulum have become the biggest name on the mainstream drum’n’bass scene. While latest album Immersion may have seen a further foray into weird metal D’n’B, it also had some of their best tunes yet (‘The Island Pt. 2’, I’m looking at you). This tour is their biggest yet, so expect very loud bass, and amazing lights. Friday December 10 2010 NARC Stars In Their Eyes, The Cluny, 8pm, £3 What could be better than a load of local bands doing a Stars in their Eyes evening of covers? Making it three quid entry and giving out free cake, that’s how. Yes, there will be free cake. See Holy Mammoth as Blink-182, The Union Choir as The Velvet Underground, Cult Image as The Ramones and Rainfalldown as Johnny Cash. Saturday December 11 2010 Tim Minchin, Metro Radio Arena, 7.30pm, £35 The musical comedian returns for another tour, but this time he’s backed by a 55-piece orchestra. Whilst his jokes are often hilarious, Minchin’s musical ability is also brilliant, and so this promises to be much more special than your average arena comedy tour. Sunday December 12 2010 CLIC Sargent Christmas Carol Concert, Newcastle City Hall, 3pm, £6 Now it’s December, it’s acceptable to get really excited about Christmas, and if you’re going to do that you might as well give to charity at the same time. Head down to the City Hall on Sunday for an afternoon of carols sung by a variety of local choirs. Ben Travis


Have no fear, the Rabbits are here Olivia Mason chats to Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutchison about tunes, touring and the wonders of iPlayer

“You know what I really miss when I’m away? Good soggy chip shop chips. You want them so they have almost absorbed the vinegar to their core” Scott Hutchison admits. Added to the list as well is Crabbie’s ginger beer and iPlayer. And I know exactly what he means. It is hard not to get along with the lead singer from Glasgow’s Frightened Rabbit, even talking about knowing Belle and Sebastian leaves him far from name dropping. He does know a couple of the band members though and used drummer Richard Colburn’s house to write bits of the last album if you’re asking. Hutchison is humbled by the great honor bestowed on the band when Belle and Sebastian handpicked them for their Bowlie weekender at the start of December. Things are only going from strength to strength for the band and Hutchison is extremely positive about the future. Recently moving from small independent label Fat Cat to the much larger Atlantic he explains that it is not to conform to label pressure but the next logical step after the last album came to an end. Hutchison enthuses that Atlantic knew where they were coming from and hugely supportive of their ideas and directions. “Come back and ask me in a year though!” he jokes. Another new move is the decision to take on a fifth member recently in the shape of keyboardist Gordon Skene. “This creates a more layered sound and five is a nicer number, I have always wanted five people in the band.” Easy as finding a fifth member sounds when you’re an internationally-renowned band Hutchison points out that getting rid of a band member is a tough job. I mention the problem many students have with getting rid of flat mates, “oh I’ve had to do that too, it’s not nice,” he grimaces. Skene is here to stay though and his presence will be noted on their next album that will be in production after this tour. No X-Factor style auditions were held either he laughs. Asking where he usually works, Hutchison admits that working at home is difficult so is hoping to find somewhere up North to draw inspiration with no

distractions, “particularly iPlayer!” On the subject of musical tastes and backgrounds I ask if everyone listens to similar music and whether everyone is able to bring different styles or not, Hutchison loves that everyone in the band likes different music. Even Andy Monaghan’s love for harsh German techno music, despite being a far cry from Frightened Rabbit’s musical style, shows how easily musical genres can appeal to everyone. Monaghan must have loved Frightened Rabbit’s most recent tour destination, Germany, where the band has just returned from. Getting to visit new and exciting places is a definite perk of the job. Germany was great Hutchison adds, “very hospitable”, it is also nice to be doing bigger gigs than last time they toured there. “Touring in a place is one of the best ways to get to know it,

you end up in places you wouldn’t normally go and meet normal local people.” I ask if there is anywhere he would like to tour but hasn’t been yet, “Japan definitely”, and it is almost certain one day they will. In some ways Frightened Rabbit seems to have had a very sheltered and privileged break into the music industry, an example being of when they supported Death Cab for Cutie a few years ago. “They were incredibly kind and we had a very good experience.” Hutchison adds that Biffy Clyro is another band who have a similar attitude. “It’s good to now be in a position where we can help out bands as well.” Hutchison explains that being able to pick bands to support you is a fantastic way of helping other up and coming bands get a foot in the door. I wonder if Frightened Rabbit have any particular allegiance

to Scottish bands? “Of course it is good to raise awareness of bands in your local area but not exclusively,” Hutchison explains that being able to promote any good band is the most important thing. I ask who he would most like to collaborate with: “People I admire mainly such as Jeff Tweedy and Brendan Benson from the Raconteurs.” Hutchison is wary of collaborations though as only in an ideal world do they work out perfectly, “I am also rubbish at working with other people as everyone else in the band will tell you.” It is hard to imagine this persona of Hutchison but I’ll take his word for it. Finally I asked what Hutchison’s dreams for the band are in the next year: “to get the next album recorded is the main thing,” finding somewhere idyllic to write it as well would be the icing on the cake Hutchison muses.

Caught in the headlights of success: with a major label deal and a new album on the way, things look bright for Frightened Rabbit

moodtape 10 Songs to listen to whilst protesting. 1. T-Rex – ‘Children of the Revolution’ It might not be entirely about protesting, but the sentiment of young individuals fighting for change is one we all have an affinity with. 2. Rage Against the Machine - ‘Killing in the Name’ The raw energy that pulses through this track will keep you on your feet for the entire march!

3. System of a Down – ‘BYOB’ It’s a song which brings out that bit of anarchy in all of us. It’s enough to stir anyone into action. 4. The Special A.K.A. - ‘Free Nelson Mandela’ Seen as a popular and effective hit in the 1980s, even if it was 15 years after its release that Mandela was to be freed. 5. John Lennon - ‘Imagine’ For when everything’s smashed up and we need to be reminded of the reason we’re actually protesting.

6. U2 - ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ Written about one of the most infamous protests to have ever occurred, this song is actually about peace, not rebellion. 7. Kinks – ‘Dead End Street’ “I’m deep in debt and now it’s much too late”. This should ring true for many people right now. 8. Bob Marley and The Wailers – ‘Get Up, Stand Up’ Written about oppression, it can really be used in any protest where you want your rights to be heard.

9. Bob Dylan - ‘The Times They Are a-Changin’ From the biggest antiwar protester in popular music, this is seen as one of the most definitive songs about revolt and change. 10. Billie Holiday - ‘Strange Fruit’ A poem that is as haunting as the photograph it’s actually based on, it will remain with you upon understanding the meaning. Listen to the Moodtape on our website Chris Scott

THE COURIER Monday December 6 2010


Music Culture


the top 5

albums Jay-Z

1. Kanye West & Jay-Z – That’s My Bitch Leaked Track

The Hits Collection, Volume One

This week saw the release of JayZ’s third greatest hits album, so the question that begs to be asked is does he really have that many hits? When listening to the 14 tracks picked for The Hits Collection, Volume One the answer is clear, yes. This offering of hits takes on a very different form to the previous two selections, sharing only one of the same songs and portraying the commercially successful side of the rapper. The album is a testimony to JayZ’s success in music; it supplies the listener with some of the biggest rap songs of the past decade. The combination of classic hip-hop songs such as ‘Hard Knock Life’ alongside recent chart toppers including ‘Run This Town’ and ‘Empire State of Mind’ makes an impressive listen made even better by the talent of producers and featuring artists like Kanye West, Beyoncé and Rhianna. Some fans however may be shocked by which songs have made the album and those that ultimately did not. Out of Jay-Z’s 11 albums, only nine were used, with much greater focus being placed on his

more recent projects. Choosing to completely ignore all songs from his influential debut album Reasonable Doubt and paying little homage to nearly all the early, but less marketable, songs gives you a sense of the purpose of this release. This CD has not been released to attract current fans; the focus upon more mainstream songs is an attempt to capitalise upon the wider popularity of Jay-Z since the commercial success of his latest album and popular live performances. The quality of the collection of songs is hard to fault, none will fail to get you rapping along and by the end of the CD you will be convinced that this middle-aged man is still one of the best rappers out there. For people who have enjoyed Jay-Z’s recent releases and would like to see more of what he has to offer, this would be a great buy, though people who have been listening to Hova for a while may be left disappointed by the narrow choice of songs. Our advice? If you really enjoy rap music stick to the actual albums.

Atlas Sound

Gregory & the Hawk

Kanye West & Jay-Z. Produced by Q-Tip. Featuring Elly Jackson (i.e. the half of La Roux people actually know of). If those four names don’t signal an exciting development in the music world, then perhaps the news that the two biggest names in hip-hop are making an album, Watch The Throne, and that this is the first, leaked single from said album will. The dark, muffled beats, catchy sung chorus and sex-obsessed lyrical content don’t signal anything too original as yet, but the flows are as flawless as you’d expect from these masters of the art. Big news. 2. Black Eyed Peas – The Time (Dirty Bit) Music Video

Kieran Flynn

Bedroom Databank Vol. 1-4 Leche


The Rubbergum EP Vol. 3


So Many Souls

A video every bit as ludicrous as the song it accompanies. Watch in horror as the Dirty Dancing/ shameless ’Pon de Floor’ rip-off mash-up you never expected or wanted progresses from the boundaries of the universe to a slowly pixellating version of’s head that eventually turns into a TV with Fergie’s perpetually gurning face on it! Scream as Apple product placement is jammed in both aurally and visually! Sigh as you realise this will continue to be played everywhere you go for weeks. 3. Wagner – Creep Youtube Video Say goodbye in fitting style to everyone’s favourite Brazilian karate expert/lion tail holder/’singer’ by watching one of his final performances – just about not completely desecrating the alt. rock oddball’s anthem of choice. Then keep watching to see Louis Walsh fail to understand the lyrics and say that Thom Yorke would be watching X Factor. Brilliant.

In an age where you can access an entire artist’s discography in minutes, how do you keep the listener interested? It’s a question many artists are trying to answer, but few of them have done it so well as Bradford Cox. In addition to the stream of official albums he releases both as part of Deerhunter and under his solo Atlas Sound project, he’s always put out reams of demo collections, free tracks and live material online for free. The four-album Bedroom Databank series, released for free online via the Deerhunter blog over the course of a week, must be his most ambitious project yet though. The tracks on the four compilations of unreleased material date from years ago to weeks ago, and showcase the full extent of this indie auteur’s artistic palette: glitchy electronica morphs into shoegaze beauty, warped balladeering into frantic noise, with diversions into country rock and ambient soundscapes along the way. Trying to pick highlights is tricky (although Vol. 2’s epic, careering closer ‘Here Come The Trains’ and Vol. 3’s ‘Mona Lisa’ already rank up with his best work), but it’s an incredible offering from one of the underground’s true geniuses and a wonderful treat for the obsessive music fan in all of us.

Clearly feeling the need to join in the trend of naming your band with an object; this one has no diamond or machine tailing her but a hawk. She is certainly not a man named Gregory either but a very delicate female singer-songwriter called Meredith Godreau. A New York born pop-folk musician who began making music from a very young age, she “always dreamed of becoming a singer” but I will try not to hold her clichéd sentiments against her. Described as having an “introspective hum”, I would add melodic and soothing, so if you prefer your music melodramatic and downbeat Godreau is for you. Leche is Godreau’s latest studio album and plays gently thorughout. Some of the tracks edge onto standard indie acoustic territory but there is lots of promise here. If you enjoy female singers this is definitely something to give a try. Thoughtful lyrics and a soft eerie voice accompany a well-produced album. ‘Olly Olly Oxen Free’ is instantly likeable while ‘Landscapes’ features some lovely strings. If you like a childlike female voice with little else but a piano ‘A Century Is All We Need’ hits the nail on the head. Potential is here and some tracks are worth a listen; perhaps a few too many filler tracks though.

Kassidy are a four-piece Scottish band and their newest output, The Rubbergum EP Volume 3 combines a rock style with acoustic guitars to create foot-stomping festival friendly music. Throughout the summer, they have played numerous festivals, including T in the Park, Bestival and the Leeds/Reading festivals, where they were reported to have “kicked up a storm.” The album has a similar feel to Mumford and Sons but with more of an upbeat sound and optimistic lyrics which gives Kassidy’s album a twist on the “harmonic folk-rock” that has become increasingly popular. The single ‘Oh My God’ was featured as one of BBC Radio 1’s songs of the week and they have been named as one of their new bands to watch. ‘Oh My God’ certainly stands out on the album, incorporating indierock vibes with the passion and harmony of folk music, brought together by the strong and beautiful lead vocals. The EP is only five tracks long, which is a shame as all the songs are enjoyable, catchy and well executed. The Rubbergum EP Volume 3 demonstrates the unique and individual talent that Kassidy have, and if they continue in this vein, they are sure to gain success in 2011.

Misleadingly, the press release for So Many Souls mentioned that OST had supported (among others) The Stranglers. A quick Google search showed that they were just on the same stage this year at the Wyeside Festival. That’s a bit pedantic, what difference does it make? I hear you thinking angrily. Well it’s not really that important, but it does clarify why this album was so disappointing. If you’re looking for edgy, intelligent lyrics laced with a bitter irony you won’t get them here. If you’re thinking that this album might sound unique you’ll also be a bit disappointed. ‘Promises’ starts off in a synthy Klaxons fashion and about half way through it becomes apparent this track holds no promise at all, there’s nothing memorableto be found throughout. The whole LP carries on that way really, be it the Biffy Clyro sounding ‘We Are Machines’ or the standard soft indie-rock sound of the title track. Furthermore, most of the lyrics sound like they were strung together with the help of children’s rhyming dictionary. Though So Many Souls packs a lot of different sounds it’s more of a boring imitation than anything new or innovative.

Mark Corcoran-Lettice

Olivia Mason

Sally Priddle

Rowan McCabe

4. Pulled Apart By Horses – Yeah Buddy New Single Britain’s most insane noisemerchants return with their third single, which comes dangerously close to actually sounding melodic at points. Don’t worry though, singer Tom Hudson still manages to scream all over it and it eventually transforms into a sort of metalpunk hybrid for the outro. Like being punched in the face for two minutes. But in a good way. 5. Pet Shop Boys – Together New Single Made to promote their third greatest hits album, Ultimate, ‘Together’ is the sound of the world’s foremost electronic anthem makers taking in what’s popular, turning ‘camp’ up to maximum and ejecting something that’s immediately familiar, but distinctly theirs. Joe Skrebels

The Courier Online For exclusive reviews of album releases and live gigs from around the city, as well as specialist blogs and the Top 5 and Moodtape playlists head to the music section of The Courier website:

THE COURIER Monday December 6 2010


Culture TV & Radio

tv & radio tv highlight

TV & Radio Editors: Lynsey Fawcett & Ellie Wilson -

Coronation Street: 50 years, 50 moments

The 50 best moments of Coronation Street’s 50 years on TV brought together for a special anniversary show Tuesday 9pm, ITV1 Back in 1960, Granada studios had a simple idea to make a show about one street with ordinary working class residents. Who’d have thought that this show would not only reach 50 years of television viewing but also become one of the most popular soaps of all time? That’s right, Coronation Street has made it to its 50th birthday, and to commemorate the monumental occasion ITV1 has made a two part documentary to look back on the countless storylines that have kept viewers glued to their seats for the last five decades. Compared to the average street, these cobbles have seen more love triangles, more infidelities, more murders and more controversial storylines then Betty has made hotpots. Any viewer’s home street must seem frightfully dull compared to the famous street where everybody’s neighbours have a pile of dirty laundry larger than the Rovers Return. From Deidre Richards’ false imprisonment, to Tony Gordon’s prison break the writers have given us thrills, tears and award winning drama that keep us tuning in each week. The list of the 50 best moments has been compiled by Coronation Street’s

Coronation Street:

Mon, Thurs, Fri on ITV1 Tyrone is heartbroken when Molly makes a shocking confession, Charlotte’s demands test the limits of John’s patience and Leanne and Peter celebrate as their stag and hen nights kick off. But the fun turns to terror when an explosion rips through The Joinery, as a tram crashes onto the cobbles. Frantic rescue attempts begin to save the lives of the residents.


Longevity: after 50 years on our screens, ITV pulls together some classic moments from Coronation Street throughout the years

creator Tony Warren, the streets veteran actor William Roache (Ken Barlow), and The Guardian’s TV critic Nancy Banks-Smith to give us a summary of all the best bits the series has given us. With 50 years of footage, which moments will be appraised? Such classics spring to mind like the untimely death of Alan Bradley or Ena Sharples poison pen letter. Or maybe the more modern day

stories like Todd Grimshaw’s homosexuality or the pregnancy of Sarah Louise Platt at age 13 will strike nostalgic gold in the judge’s eyes. And who could forget the brilliant Richard Hillman murder stories. The confession to wife Gail about his past was a television moment so powerful it caused power cuts across the United Kingdom. For each clip there will be interviews from the cast, producers

and writers who will share the details on how the scenes were created, shot and brought to life. With Coronation Street greats like Johnny Briggs (Mike Baldwin), Wendi Peters (Cilla Battersby) and Julie Goodyear (Bet Lynch) dropping in to give their opinions this is definitely one to tune in for if you’re a diehard Coronation Street fan. Luke Hearfield

tv previews Kirstie and Phil’s Perfect Christmas MondayThursday 8pm, Channel 4


Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri on BBC1 Pat wrestles with a secret that could destroy Janine’s marriage, leading Janine to resort to chilling measures. Billy goes behind Julie’s back to meet their son, but it backfires with disastrous consequences. Jane is thrown by Peter’s startling revelation, while Ian’s confidence is shattered by Glenda. He then gets drunk and causes chaos at Peter’s birthday party, while Jay earns a place in the Mitchell family by standing up to Connor.


Weekdays 7pm on ITV Viv lies to get Bob’s attention this week, but Terry discovers the truth. Jackson is reluctant to return after his accident, but Aaron visits and makes a surprising declaration. Chas enjoys humiliating Eve, but then starts to have doubts about seeking revenge, will she call the wedding off? Meanwhile, Moira is worried about the rift between her and John, and Sam is disturbed to get a letter from Samson’s school.

Hollyoaks Come Dine With Me Coronation Street Special Monday 9pm, Channel 4

Bruce Springsteen: Darkness Revisited Tuesday 10.35pm, BBC1

The House That Made Me: Boy George Thursday 9pm, Channel 4

Weekdays 6.30pm on C4 Riley manipulates Jack into giving Mercedes a job at ‘The Dog,’ much to Carl’s annoyance. Jacqui and Rhys continue to hide their relationship from a heartbroken Gilly. Darren schemes to manage Guy Candy, where does that leave Lee? Warren’s presence in the village is revealed, leaving everybody in a state of shock, but his time as a free man is limited.

Neighbours Kirstie and Phil are going to inspire us this year as they show us how to create delectable dishes, dazzling decorations and the perfect party as they explore a variety of different Christmasses; whether you’re entertaining the adults or pleasing the children there is something for everyone. Phil will be taking a look at the Britain’s best presents, decorations, and food producers to give us some pointers. He’ll be shown how to make wooden toys, chocolate treats and delicious cheese as well as presenting us with the top toys and gadgets for the children this year. Kirstie will be showing us how to make a traditional wreath, tree decorations as well as learning how to design gifts and make fantastic food that can be ready in a flash. Kirstie and Phil will then come together to get to grips with Christmas lunch and battle it out to see who can create the best ice sculpture for New Year. A great start for everyone wanting some inspiration this Christmas!

Coronation Street is teaming up with Come Dine With Me for a one off special to celebrate the soap’s 50th anniversary. The show will see four former Coronation Street cast members battle it out to win £1000 for their chosen charity. Tupele Dorgu (Kelly Crabtree), Julie Goodyear (Bet Lynch), Ken Morley (Reg Holdsworth) and Philip Middlemiss (Des Barnes) will feature in the special ‘celebrity’ edition of the show. There will be tension as Ken’s zany sense of humor doesn’t always go down a treat with the others, especially Tupele Dorgu. Things are sure to liven up and get even more interesting when the “Corrie De Bancock” boys show up in drag. We will also get to see Julie Goodyear show off her half-naked man slave dressed in a leopard print thong! With all this going on let’s just hope that on top of it all they don’t burn the food!

You probably wouldn‘t expect a person who even the president of the United States calls ‘the Boss‘ to be severely woried about anything. For a lot of people, the name Bruce Springsteen stands for success, timelessness and above all really good music. But even a legend like him struggles from time to time. The upcoming documentary by the American director Thom Zimny sheds light on a difficult phase of Springsteen‘s life: the making of his fourth album Darkness on the Edge of Town. After the release of his breakthrough album Born to Run in 1975 and a legal battle, perfectionist Springsteen was determined to get ahead of his previous successes and wanted to create an even greater album, driving everyone around him almost mad. Amongst others, interviews with band members and his manager John Landau will be central part of the documentary as well as yet unpublished footage from the creation process between 1976 and 1978.

The first episode of an innovative new series sees pop star Boy George take a trip down memory lane. The House That Made Me is set to delve into the past of celebrities by taking them back to a reconstruction of their childhood family homes. The stars can see their houses exactly how they were when they were teens, thanks to detailed research involving family photos and accounts, social historians and design experts. Nostalgic Boy George returns to the 1970s council house in Eltham, South London where he spent his early adolescence. He was raised in a council house in a large, working class Irish Catholic family and was the only one out of his five siblings who didn’t join the family business. Boy George goes through a rollercoaster of emotions as he talks with his family about his difficult relationship with his father, coming out and developing his early interest in music.

Maria Moffatt

Olivia-Marie Viveiros

Lisa Bernhardt

Olivia-Marie Viveiros

Weekdays 1.45pm & 5.30pm on Five Dan’s ex wife Samantha turns up, but her visit is strictly business after she reveals she’ll be the prosecutor in the case against Steph. Libby is desperate to protect Steph and withdraws some information about the day of the accident; but her parents find out and try to convince her not to hold back on her testimony. After Kate babysits India, she realises Declan is missing out by working too much but when she tells him he loses his temper.

Home and Away

Weekdays at 2.15pm & 6pm on Five Bianca must choose between Vittorio and Liam, while Nicola receives the result of her HIV test. Ruby is crushed when Alex reveals he already has a girlfriend and Graves agrees to go on a date with Dex. Marilyn tells Robertson about her nightmares involving Alf and an outburst from Lily convinces Will to come clean to Irene about how he cheated on Gypsy. Lynsey Fawcett TV & Radio Editor


Monday December 6 2010 THE COURIER

Culture TV & Radio

tv & radio nsr

radio highlights

For those less sportily inclined, Wednesday afternoon is a good one to stay in and listen to NSR, particularly as it kicks off at 1pm for “Peel’s Ghost.” Patrick McCluskey and Richard Anderson have an eclectic taste to rival that of the legendary presenter they seek to emulate, playing anything from 1940s rhythm and blues to dubstep. They have a weekly feature, “This Week’s Ridiculous Record”, in which Patrick plays an obscure and ‘unplayable’ record that Richard has never heard, and we hear Richard’s amusing reaction. They are swiftly followed by Kat and Miranda with “The Alternative News” naturally they provide an entertaining take on the week’s best and strangest stories with a smattering of songs in between. “Back to the Future” from 3-4pm presented by Josh Tweedie is a show for your musical education, as he explores the evolution of a different genre every week. At 4pm there’s “NSR’s Ents Show” forecasting the week’s entertainments ranging from theatre to art to comedy. You should stay tuned to catch one half of the Entertainments team Annie Harrison-Dunn’s own show directly after, “Euphony” provides a delectable mix of folk and spoken word for a short but sweet auditory treat. To catch all of those NSR shows you may have missed, check out and add us on facebook to receive reminders about when shows are going to start – you can even use it to comment on our favourites and will be the first to find out about any competitions. Furthermore you can contact the presenters whilst they are on air at nsr.union@ncl. you never know it may lead to a shout out! As always keep checking the site! Louise Morris Station Manager

debate Yes

John Lennon- The New York Years Monday 10pm, Radio 2

Yoko In Her Own Words Tuesday 10pm, Radio 2

Huey Morgan presents a documentary marking the 30th anniversary of John Lennon’s death. This documentary explores the major moments in John’s life, which occurred in the city that he called home from the early 1970s to his death in 1980. The programme looks at the story of how, on his first visit to New York, John was introduced to the legendary Bob Dylan. As their relationship developed Dylan became a major influence on his work. Eventually John and Yoko moved to New York permanently and Morgan looks at some of the major events that occurred while they were living in the city. Such events included performing on the Ed Sullivan show, writing and recording with David Bowie and collaborating with Elton John at Madison Square Gardens. The BBC Radio 2 show also considers how, after John Lennon was tragically shot in New York, Ono was adamant that the fans didn’t blame the city. She even wrote a letter to the New York Times saying ‘Please don’t blame New York for John’s death- what happened could have happened anywhere.’ This is a fascinating documentary with contributions from Yoko Ono, David Bowie, Elton John and Klaus Voormand; as well as excerpts from interview recorded with John during his time in New York.

To mark the 30th anniversary of John Lennon’s death, BBC Radio 2 are broadcasting an exclusive interview with Yoko Ono. In this radio special, journalist Nina Myskow meets Yoko Ono for an in-depth conversation about her life with the icon John Lennon and how she coped without him after his death in 1980. The interview is frank and honest, as Yoko discusses how she will be honouring John’s birthday and the anniversary of his death. She talks emotionally about raising their son Sean alone and her often turbulent relationship with Paul McCartney. We also get to hear the story behind the famous “lost weekend” when John and Yoko separated. Yoko reveals the identity of the person who helped them reunite, someone she is eternally grateful to. The interview wouldn’t be complete without a look at the reason we all know and remember John: his music. Yoko reveals the song hardest for her to listen to and the song she believes John was most proud of. The interview is interspersed with Lennon’s classic songs. There is an exclusive play of some home demos and acoustic recordings which have been released by EMI for the anniversary. There are also tribute recordings from Paul McCartney and Elton John.

Rosie Daly

Rosie Daly

comment When The OC ended in 2007 I was devastated. How was I was going to survive without a group of glamorous American teenagers whose lives were in turmoil? Thankfully the creator of The OC, Josh Schwartz, must have thought the same as he went on to create Gossip Girl, bringing yet another group of dramatic teenagers to our screens. For those of you who don’t watch Gossip Girl, (I don’t understand why you wouldn’t) it is a drama series which revolves around the lives of a group of privileged young adults from the Upper East Side in NYC. Each episode is narrated by a mysterious blogger who knows all the scandal and debauchery that is occurring in the characters lives; she is Gossip Girl. The TV show is now in its fourth season and has gone from strength to strength. The series mainly follows the lives of Serena (Blake Lively), Chuck (Ed Weswick), Dan (Penn Bagley), Blair (Leighton Meester), Nate (Chase Crawford) and Vanessa (Jessica Szohr). At times it can be difficult to keep up with the storylines, mainly because

they seem to acquire step siblings and change boyfriends/girlfriends more often then it snows in Newcastle. In a brief (and I mean brief) summary of the relationships: in season one Nate and Blair were the golden couple, however since then Nate has been with Vanessa and Serena, whilst Blair has moved onto Chuck. It sounds confusing but when you watch it all seems to fade into insignificance. Perhaps this is because of the attractiveness of the characters, or perhaps I am blinded by the fabulous fashion on the show. They seem to attend a ball every week, and go to lectures in outfits that I dream of owning. The current drama revolves around Blair and Chuck’s denial of their love for each other,with Chuck saying ‘If two people are meant to be together eventually they will find their way back,’ a line that will have melted every girl’s heart. So tune in every Wednesday 8pm on ITV2, you know you want to. XOXO Rosie Daly

tweets of the week Jedward Its a new day babys being born people naming them Jedward boy or girl Jedward is the best name you can give your child make the change.

Chris Moyles And... Aren’t those Iceland adverts brilliant. Great acting. Great songs. And the food looks proper luxury...

Sue Perkins Good that they’ve booked a teenage lesbian on the xfactor #biebermania.

Chris Addison Wikileaks is basically the political equivalent of the baby monitor you accidentally left on when you went upstairs to slag your guests.

Peter Serafinowicz Just unlocked ‘PIN Options’ on World of ATMcraft.

Al Murray Signs that say “caution snow”, who are they for really?

Is there too much Christmas themed programming and advertising too early in the year?

Christmas themed programmes can provide great entertainment, as long as they are aired during the Christmas period. It has become an inherent tradition of many households to spend a sleepy Christmas afternoon recovering from over indulgence on turkey and mince pies in front of the TV. But being bombarded from as early as October with programmes and adverts aimed at reminding us months in advance that Christmas is on its way, makes us want to forget. From an early age I have always marked the first time I saw the Coca Cola Christmas advert as the official start to Christmas, but every year this advert appears earlier and earlier. Adverts, including this one, get us thinking and talking about Christmas even before we’ve got Halloween and Bonfire Night out of the way. As a result Christmas has become an increasingly shallow, commercial enterprise. An excuse for big business to push their products and pressurise the public to buy, buy, buy. We start thinking about our Christmas shopping so early in the year that by the time the big day itself rolls around, we are so sick of

Christmas that we just want it over and done with. Essentially TV programming and advertising builds and builds Christmas up to such a point that it inevitably becomes an anticlimax. In the early days of Christmas specials class acts such as More-

“Christmas has become an increasingly shallow, commercial enterprise. “ cambe and Wise and Only Fools and Horses brought a new element to the festive period, when the nation crowded round their TVs all enjoying the same programme. To an extent this still exists, a great example being the Doctor Who Christmas special. However there is a growing trend for every sitcom to make a special purely to compete for viewing figures and inevitably sacrificing quality. This along with the myriad of adverts seems to have cheapened the whole idea of Christmas to the extent that it has lost a great deal of its original meaning and magic. Or did I just grow up? Marianne Spence

No That time of year is upon us again, the time everybody loves; obviously I am talking about Christmas! First of all, when people talk about programmes and advertisements being on too early, what is too early? They don’t appear on our screens till the end of October, which isn’t early at all! With only two months to go, people have lots of presents to buy and various treats to organise with very little time to spare. Every year in September (if not earlier) my mum says that she is starting her Christmas shopping (with the aim of having it done in November) and I am sure that lots of mums out there will be in a similar predicament. All the ‘early’ October advertising out there only helps to serve our poor parents as the advertisements give them inspiration and ideas to make Christmas easier and more affordable; it enables them to spread the cost rather than paying one lump sum a week before Christmas. Advertising is dictated by the shops. The shops tend to advertise in October, giving people plenty of time to get their shopping done early if they so wish! For the advertisements to be there, there has

to be a demand for it. Every year I hear lots of people say, “Christmas starts when the Coca-Cola advertisement appears on the television”; I saw it on the 14th November for the first time this year, so for me Christmas is officially here. I didn’t see any Christmas programmes on the television till the beginning of December and with Christmas just under three weeks away, anyone still complaining that

they heard Christmas songs in October needs to relax and enjoy the upcoming festivities. Christmas ‘tis the season to be jolly’ not to moan about it starting ‘early’! So bring on the programmes and advertisements so we can all enjoy looking forward to the festive season! Don’t say Bah Humbug but Merry Christmas! Maria Moffatt

Christmas: when the Coca Cola advert comes on TV, we know christmas has arrived

Monday December 6 2010 THE COURIER


Puzzles Culture


Puzzles Editor: Andy Pitkeathley -

crossword across 1. Largest island in the Mediterranean (6) 4. Large shrimp (plural) (6) 7. Battery back up for PCs (abbrev.) (3) 9. Meet, bring together (8) 11. The sound of mirth or merriment (8) 13. A pair of performers (3) 14. Envelop completely (7) 15. Sea in northern Europe (6) 17. Capital of the Ukraine (4) 19. Reflect, resemble (6) 20. Edible crustacean (5) 21. Having the characteristics of an icon (6) 22. One of the female Friends (6) 24. Alcoholic beverage (slang) (5) 26. Aniseed flavoured liqueur (6) 27. ____ Rogan, comedy writer and actor (4) 28. Not awake (6) 30. Eighth month of the Roman calender (7) 33. Strike lightly (3) 35. Animal (8)

36. Afflicted, diminished (8) 37. Hard, black lignite used in jewellery making (3) 38. Coconut flavoured chocolate bar (6) 39. Prefix for something that is false or not what it seems (6)

Down 2. Someone who is unable to sleep (9) 3. Awkward, feckless (5) 4. Hut, outbuilding (4) 5. Completely or not at all (3, 2, 7) 6. Exactly vertical (5) 8. Watch (e.g. film) before it goes on general release (7) 10. Flying insect (3) 12. Very funny (9) 16. Creator of the monster in Mary Shelley’s novel (12) 18. South American republic (9) 19. Raincoat (abbrev.) (3) 22. Doctorate (abbrev.) (3) 23. The final extremity (6, 3) 25. Watch closely, detect (7)

word link FIRE










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 Painters.

Last week’s crossword answers


word steps


The aim of this puzzle is to fill each box so that each column, each row and 3×3 grid contains the numbers 1-9 just once.

Work your way down the steps from MALE to BATS by filling in each step with a genuine four letter word. As you take each step change one letter of the previous word keeping the rest of the letters in the same order.

Find the word that can be placed between these words to make two new words or phrases

phone in

29. Disney’s cartoon dog (5) 31. Publisher of educational books and revision guides (abbrev.) (3) 32. Small Mediterranean fruit associated with oil (5) 34. Commiseration, feeling of sympathy (4)




3. 736644 1. 66638 4. 62638 2. 273625 6. 7655625 5. 23254

The clues below will help but they may not correspond to the order of the steps. Clues • Burrowing animal • One of the three christian saints • A cavity or pit Last week’s Sudoku answers

andy’s number cruncher Keep your brain in shape by trying to complete these sums as fast as you can without using a calculator



MEDIUM Last week’s phone in answers

logical What does this say?




Divide Square this by 7


Divide Times by 8 itself



Square 2/5 of this this


Square Multiply root by 0.5



Cube this


2/7 of Divide 7/4 of Double this this by 1/6 this

logic problem


Square root

Square root

A lawyer had ten volumes of legal reference which he rarely consulted. One day he had discovered an earthworm had eaten its way in a straight line from the front cover of volume one to the back cover of volume 10. Each book was two inches thick. How far did the bookworm travel?

answers Word Steps: Male, Mole, Hole, Hope, Hops Number Cruncher: Easy = 1, Medium = 10, Hard = 1000 Word Link: Safe, Run, Watch, Water, Change Last week’s Logic Problem: 198 days. Every day it increased its height by one half its original height. In 198 days, it reproduced its height 99 times and was therefore 100 times its original height Last week’s Logical: A round of drinks


THE COURIER Monday December 6 2010


England wrap up

Hurricanes feel Autumn series the Loko-motion SportsEditors: Editors: Paul Christian, Gavin Tom James - Sports Paul Christian, JamieJamie Gavin and Tomand James -

>page Sport, page 40 > Intra Mural Football, 40-41

Sports Editors: Jono Taylor, Wills Robinson and Kat Bannon -

The man behind Intra Mural

Colin Henrys talks to Denis Murphy about the state of IM sport, the refereeing society, and beyond


Intra Mural sport within the University has gone from strength to strength over the last few years and now involves more students than ever competing in a host of different sports each week Intra Mural sport is an integral part of university life for many students. With sports such as netball, hockey, basketball and 5-a-side and 7-a-side football, alongside the iconic rugby union and 11-a-side football programmes, there is plenty of sport available for anybody who wishes to participate. However, without one man, much of this sport wouldn’t be possible. To many, Denis Murphy is known primarily for his weekly bombardment of emails to the IM captains, but his role extends much further than just sitting behind a computer chasing up results and organising referees. Speaking to The Courier he explained what he does for IM sport: “I look at the facilities we have available and look back at the history of Intra Mural sport, at what has worked well and what hasn’t. Then it’s basically about utilising the University’s facilities and setting up sports where students can set up teams and get involved and play competitive sport on a weekly basis, without the heavy demand of two or three training sessions a week when they’re pretty busy with their courses as well.” The most popular programmes are of course the 7-a-side and 11-aside football. With 52 teams competing at 11-a-side level on either a Wednesday or a Saturday, and with 16 teams making the journey to Longbenton every Wednesday evening for the 7-a-side competition it gets many students involved. Denis states that there simply aren’t enough facilities to match

demand for places. As for netball, there are eight teams on a Tuesday and 16 on a Saturday, in what he describes as a “fairly competitive, well-organised league” while recent coercion with the University’s Basketball Club has led to a brand new basketball league on a Sunday afternoon. Of course, with every success story, there are obviously sports that haven’t worked in the past. Notable examples include volleyball and women’s football, while most recently the plan to stage a mixed netball league on a Sunday afternoon fell by the wayside. Reflecting upon the latter, Denis confessed that it was a disappointment: “I thought it’d work as more of a social sport rather than a really competitive sport. There are students who live in houses together and I’d hoped that they would maybe make a team and have a bit of laugh at the weekend. They might have gone out on a Saturday night and have nothing to do on a Sunday, so they’d get together and do a bit of sport.” A competitive hall system is one which Denis speaks quite optimistically about, and is hopeful that such competitions will soon be added to the ever-expanding Intra Mural roster: “There’s a new system in University accommodation where they’re going to elect hall reps. Some of those reps will have responsibility for the social side and the sport side so I’m going to meet with them and hopefully we’ll get more of a

hall team in a number of different sports. “They’ll go into the Intra Mural leagues and there’ll be a bit of hall rivalry like that. That’s something that might come up in the future and I’ll be opening it up to the students and asking what sports they would like to do. If you tell me what you want, I’ll go ahead and get the facilities and the league rules and sort a competition out.” The scope for adding additional sports is possible thanks to a wealth of facilities available to the University. Unsurprisingly, Denis speaks highly of those available to him: “The facilities we have are good quality facilities. They’re wellmaintained and well-staffed and it’s very good for the students. Ideally, we would like more facilities because we can’t accommodate all of the students, especially for training sessions, friendly matches and additional matches, but the facilities we do have, we absolutely jampack with as much student sport as possible.” Despite the range of facilities available however, with just one 3G pitch available to Newcastle, the recent weather has caused widespread cancellations across the outdoor intra mural programme. Nevertheless, Denis remains confident that the programme will remain unaffected: “It concerns me that there will be cancellations. Students will be disappointed that they’re not getting a game and that might be for two or three weeks. But, in terms of getting the fixtures done, that doesn’t

worry me at all. “In term three we have two weeks before the exams start. There will be Intra Mural games every single night for 21 days and some teams will play maybe alternate nights and they could perhaps play three or four games in a week. Also, the performance side and the University representative side are pretty much finished so we have the 3G and all of the grass pitches in the city pretty much every night of the week.” Alongside controlling the facilities and running the league, Denis is also responsible for the referees. Like them or loathe them, and in many cases it will be the latter, the referees are integral to the Intra Mural programme, particularly in the case of football and rugby. For rugby, the officials are provided thanks to the Rugby Referees Society. Meanwhile, football’s men in the middle are all qualified referees from either within the University or from the local area, with Denis often taking the whistle himself. “I get involved because I like refereeing myself, and it gets me out with the students more often. I can chat to them before the game, during the game, after the game and get a feel about how things are going. “It normally runs fairly smoothly. I mean, certain referees will be better than other referees but that’ll be the case no matter what league you play in. I think most referees like the students and get on with the students.”

There are perhaps no referees more iconic than Steve Catchpole, whom Denis describes as “a good quality referee.” “He gives good banter and there’s good camaraderie between him and the players. Obviously he still tries to get you a good game, but makes it much more enjoyable. There are other referees who wouldn’t do that, who just want to referee by the book but it’s good because it gives students different experiences and different ideas of referees.” Their rugby counterparts are also key to the programme, and Denis describes the Referees’ Society “as absolutely fantastic for the Intra Mural programme.” “Before, two players from each team had to go on a rugby referees course prior to the start of the league and then they were thrown a bit into the deep end. They weren’t experienced or comfortable in that environment and that kind of reflected in the rugby programme. There was a lot of students not happy with the standard of refereeing. “It’s important that you know the basic rules and that you’re a rugby man, rather than being in a situation where you don’t understand how everything fits together. “In that sense, it has gone from strength to strength. It’s increased the professionalism and the performance of the Intra Mural programme week in, week out. These are still developing referees so now and again there are a few issues but they are good for the sport, good for the teams and good for rugby development.”


Monday December 6 2010 THE COURIER

Sport Sports personality of the year

Britain’s finest: Who will win the

After the BBC released the ten-person shortlist last week, The Courier looks Jono Taylor Sports Editor Christmas has become synonymous with a number of things, including the Fenwick’s window display, the daily weather updates about whether it is going to snow overnight, and the campaign against Simon Cowell to occupy the Christmas Number One slot. However, despite all of these, Christmas certainly would not feel the same without the BBC Sports Personality of the Year. Hosted by Gary Lineker, Sue Barker and Jake Humphrey, the show is due to be broadcasted live on BBC One on Sunday 19th December. This year’s event, which will take place in Birmingham, is set to be the biggest yet, with over 12,000 sports players, managers, associates and fanatics set to descend upon the LG Arena in a fortnight’s

Amy Williams

Wills Robinson Sports Editor Literally unknown outside her own sport before this year’s Winter Olympics, Amy Williams became a national star overnight after taking home Great Britain’s only gold medal of the games in the women’s bob-skeleton.

Tom Daley

Kat Bannon Sports Editor This is Daley’s second year in the Sports Personality of the Year top ten – and after bagging another two gold medals at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi to add to his already impressive collection, he looks set to claim this position for many years to come. Claiming medals in both the syn-

Graeme McDowell Niall Haughey

A fantastic year for British Golf was epitomized by ‘G-Mac’. Not only part of the victorious European Ryder Cup team at Celtic Manor, contributing 2 ½ points, he sank the winning putt in an incredibly tense finale. However, McDowell’s most remarkable accomplishment came at Pebble Beach, where he became

Graeme Swann

Wills Robinson Sports Editor Since Freddie Flintoff retired, England has needed a new legend, and they have definitely found one in Graeme Swann. He was named ECB Cricketer of the Year this year and became the first English offspinner to take 10 wickets in a test

Tony McCoy Colin Henrys

The name of A.P. McCoy has become synonymous with horse racing over the past two decades. He has won the Champion Jockey award for each of the last fifteen seasons, riding over 3000 winners during his illustrious career and yet, until this year, winning the

time. Devised in 1954, the BBC Sports Personality of the Year is now recognized as one of the most prestigious sporting awards, with past winners including the likes of Sir Ian Botham, Jonathan Edwards, David Beckham and Andrew Flintoff. The hugely coveted award was won last year by Manchester United’s Ryan Giggs. In addition to the main accolade, Sue Barker and co will also be announcing the winners of a number of supplementary awards, including Team of the Year, Overseas Personality of the Year, Young Personality of the Year and the Lifetime Achievement Award. The two hour show is usually great entertainment for all sports fans, as the presenters review the entire year in sport. This year will inevitably see plenty of footage from the past year, including an analysis of Europe’s Ryder Cup success, the

There is no full skeleton track in England, with only a starting practice run at Bath University, making her achievement even more impressive. If she were to win, she would be the first to do so on the back of success in the Winter Olympics since the infamous ice skaters Torvill and Dean in 1984. chro and individual 10m platform final, not only did he beat Australia’s Olympic champion Matt Mitcham for his second gold, but his dive was hailed a ‘perfect’ ten - a word rarely featured in diving vocabulary. Training hard for 2012, you forget he’ll only just have reached his eighteenth birthday when London beckons. Expectations will soar even higher for the youngster, especially if he can land this award. the first British golfer to win the US Open since Tony Jacklin in 1970 and the first to win any major since 1999. McDowell has also risen from 39th to 11th in the latest world rankings. Although an outside bet to win the top prize, G-Mac would no doubt be a worthy winner if he were to become the first golfer to lift the trophy since Nick Faldo in 1989.

match since Jim Laker. England’s ‘funny man’ was an integral part in both winning the 2009 Ashes series and then the following ICC Cricket World Cup. ‘Swanny’ is loved on and off the pitch, and his personality should mean he wins the accolade hands down; plus he supports Newcastle United. What more could you ask for? most famous jump race of them all – the Grand National – had somehow eluded him. That all changed back in April however, when he rode Don’t Push It to victory. On the racing circuit there are few more popular jockeys and he is a true icon of the sport – exactly the criteria required to be crowned Sports Personality of the Year. McCoy is the bookies’ early favourite.

2010 FIFA World Cup, the Commonwealth Games in Delhi and the Vancouver Winter Olympics. The ten person short-list for the top award was announced live on The One Show last week. The early favourite appears to be jockey Tony McCoy, while World Heavyweight Champion of the World David Haye, golfing world number one Lee Westwood and cricketing spinner Graeme Swann have all been touted as potential winners of the award. All ten contenders are in with a great chance of cementing their names amongst the sporting elite.

BBC Sports Personality of the Year Hall of Fame: 1954: Sir Chris Chataway 1955: Gordon Pirie 1956: Jim Laker 1957: Dai Rees 1958: Ian Black 1959: John Surtees 1960: David Broome 1961: Sir Stirling Moss 1962: Anita Lonsbrough 1963: Dorothy Hyman 1964: Mary Rand 1965: Tommy Simpson 1966: Bobby Moore 1967: Sir Henry Cooper 1968: David Hemery 1969: Ann Jones 1970: Sir Henry Cooper 1971: HRH Princess Anne 1972: Dame Mary Peters 1973: Sir Jackie Stewart 1974: Brendan Foster 1975: David Steele 1976: John Curry 1977: Virginia Wade 1978: Steve Ovett 1979: Lord Sebastian Coe 1980: Robin Cousins 1981: Sir Ian Botham 1982: Daley Thompson 1983: Steve Cram 1984: Torvill and Dean 1985: Barry McGuigan 1986: Nigel Mansell 1987: Fatima Whitbread 1988: Steve Davis 1989: Nick Faldo 1990: Paul Gascoigne 1991: Liz McColgan 1992: Nigel Mansell 1993: Linford Christie 1994: Damon Hill 1995: Jonathan Edwards 1996: Damon Hill 1997: Greg Rusedksi 1998: Michael Owen 1999: Lennox Lewis 2000: Sir Steve Redgrave 2001: David Beckham 2002: Paula Radcliffe 2003: Jonny Wilkinson 2004: Dame Kelly Holmes 2005: Andrew Flintoff 2006: Zara Phillips 2007: Joe Calzaghe 2008: Sir Chris Hoy 2009: Ryan Giggs

THE COURIER Monday December 6 2010


Sports personality of the year Sport

2010 Sports Personality of theYear?

at the contenders for one of the BBC’s most prestigious and coveted awards Lee Westwood Jimmy Booker

Lee Westwood, like a fine wine, has matured and progressed over time, and has reached the peak of his game over the last 12 months. He has quietly but brilliantly climbed up the PGA World Rankings and usurped Tiger Woods’ record 281 week reign at the top of

Phil Taylor

Wills Robinson Sports Editor ‘The Power’ is definitely the heavyweight of the darts world. Despite being shortlisted for the award in 2006 and narrowly missing out, he has managed to continually dominate the sport with over 50 tournament wins under his belt. He has won 15 world championships, received the PDA Player of the Year three times, and can boast nine televised dart checkouts.

Jessica Ennis

Wills Robinson Sports Editor Great Britain’s golden girl had a 2010 full of success, winning European heptathlon gold after dominating in Barcelona. The 24-year-old led her opponents from start to finish in Spain as she edged out Olympic champion and rival Nataliya Dobrynska to add the European title to the world championship crown she won last year. For Ennis, the win was another

Mark Cavendish Nick Gabriel

Mark Cavendish’s year began in a controversial fashion. The Manx sprinter was forced to withdraw midway through the Tour de Romandie, after he made a two-fingered gestured aimed at critics of his early season form as he raced to a stage victory. However, the 25-year-old re-

David Haye

Jono Taylor Sports Editor All hail the WBA Heavyweight Champion of the World. Shortlisted for the 2009 award, David Haye has enjoyed another fantastic year at the summit of British boxing. After winning the nation’s hearts with his victory over man-mountain Nikolai Valuev last year, Haye’s home-coming saw him defeat John Ruiz in Manchester, before surprising the world by putting his title on

the golfing tree. Runner-up positions in the Masters and The Open, as well as playing a key role in Europe’s reclaiming of the Ryder Cup, confirms Westwood as a wonderful sportsman at the top of his game. Westwood is a fine ambassador for British sport, and a more than worthy recipient of the 2010 Sports Personality of the Year. The Stoke born legend is the first professional darts player to receive over one million pounds in prize money throughout his career, and no opponent can boast a winning head to head record against him. His rags to riches story makes him a personality in itself, but the fact that he has continually brushed aside opposition in the darts world surely makes him worthy of BBC’s most sought after sporting accolade.

indication of her world class attributes. After proving once again that she is the one to beat, Ennis took some time off at the end of the season to allow her to focus on the World Championships in 2011 and London 2012. Ennis came third in last year’s Sports Personality of the Year event, held in her home city, and will be hoping to take home the trophy when the event goes to Birmingham this month. turned strongly to impress at the Tour de France, winning five stages and becoming the first rider ever to seal back-to-back victories on the Champs-Élysées. He went on to win the green jersey points classification at the Vuelta a España. An outside shot for the award, Cavendish will be hoping to become only the third cyclist in history to lift the crown.

the line against pantomime villain Audley Harrison. Last month, Haye destroyed Harrison in a third round TKO, and has now set his sights upon a fight with one of the Klitschko brothers next year. Haye has helped the nation recover from the demise of Ricky Hatton. It is certainly about time that the World Champion gets the recognition he deserves, and is rightfully one of the favourites to land this year’s Sports Personality gong.

2010 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Predictions: Wills Robinson Sports Editor - Graeme Swann Kat Bannon Sports Editor - Tony McCoy Jono Taylor Sports Editor - David Haye Laura Heads Comment Editor - Amy Williams Mike Wilkinson Activities Officer - Graeme McDowell James Russell AU Exec- Lee Westwood Mark Bowers AU Deputy Officer- Mark Cavendish Fran Infante Editor - Jessica Ennis Charley Wright, AU Officer - David Haye Tom Delamere Union President - Tom Daley


Sport Rugby Union: Autumn internationals review

Monday December 6 2010 THE COURIER

Johnson braced for Six Nations assault

Sports Editor Jono Taylor reviews England’s performances in the Autumn Internationals, and suggests that youth will prove the key to their Six Nations and 2011 World Cup prospects

After a turbulent 32 months at the helm of English rugby, Martin Johnson finally appears to have quashed the critics of his performance as England manager. On the back of the Autumn Internationals, Johnson’s side have finally found some much-needed consistency, direction, and most importantly, a desire to compete with the Southern Hemisphere elite. The last month has been crucial for both Johnson and his side. On the back of a spirited performance against New Zealand, a recordbreaking demolition of Australia, an efficient dismissal of Samoa and a narrow defeat to South Africa, England have successfully laid the foundations for a full-scale Six Nations assault in February. The Six Nations will be of huge importance ahead of next year’s World Cup in New Zealand, and after a spirited test series against the giants of the Southern Hemisphere, England must approach it with huge belief and optimism. Over the last four games, Johnson’s side have played with composure, creativity and heart, and in doing so, have announced to the world that England will arrive in New Zealand next year with a genuine ambition of bringing home the trophy. The pivotal moment in the rebirth of English rugby was in June, when Martin Johnson masterminded a stunning win in Sydney - the first victory Down Under since the World Cup final in 2003. In that game Johnson gave youth a chance, as Ben Youngs, Ben Foden and Chris Ashton rose to international prominence. It was hugely important that England approached the Autumn Internationals with the aim of finding some consistency, both in terms of selection, and perhaps most importantly, performance. It was therefore encouraging that Johnson stuck with a similar side that won Down Under for the recent tests, and as a result, England appear to have both a backbone to the side, and a very clear direction.

“England appear to have both a backbone to the side, and a very clear direction” Despite losing out to South Africa in the final match of the autumn series, the scoreline was a little unjust. For large periods of the game England more than matched the 2007 World Champions, and had Toby Flood not limped off early in the first half and been replaced by, quite frankly, an unsuitable alternative in Charlie Hodgson, the match may have ended very differently. The last four games have proven to both Johnson and the media that the key to success in next year’s World Cup is the audacity of youth. With Courtney Lawes, Ben Youngs, Shontayne Hape and Chris Ashton, England possess a fearless and exciting side that have the artillery to threaten any side in the world. The most exciting thing for English fans is that the team now seem to be playing with energy and invention - something that has eluded Twickenham since 2003. The emergence of Leicester scrum-

half Ben Youngs has been a breath of fresh air to the side, and after impressing in the Autumn Internationals, he has almost certainly established himself as England’s first choice scrum-half. His recent performances for club and country have fundamentally proven that he is the true heir to Matt Dawson. Ever since Dawson’s retirement, England have struggled to find a number nine that can supply their back-line with consistent quick ball. After a strenuous search, Johnson has now found his deadly weapon to unleash during the Six Nations, and more importantly in New Zealand. Johnson now knows the backbone of his World Cup starting XV - he must now show managerial consistency in order to give England a genuine chance of bringing home the Webb Ellis trophy.

“Johnson has now found his deadly weapon to unleash during the Six Nations and, more importantly, in New Zealand” The importance of this cannot be underestimated - Clive Woodward’s 2003 world-beaters consistently played together for two years prior to the World Cup, and reaped the rewards of boasting the most organised and efficient force that world rugby had ever seen. Johnson now must go into the Six Nations with this in mind, and allow this young, exciting side a chance to gel together. Perhaps an almost forgotten figure amongst the wave of optimism in English rugby at the moment is Jonny Wilkinson, but he remains an integral part of England’s prospects next year. The weakness in the current England side remains the centre partnership, with Mike Tindall no longer able to compete with the next generation of strong, dynamic centres - in the ilk of Ma’a Nonu, Francois Steyn and Kurtley Beale. Tindall has been a great servant to English rugby, and undoubtedly remains an influential and well-respected figure in the dressing room. Johnson should definitely include him in the World Cup squad, but must start to look for better-suited alternatives at centre, in order to compliment the mercurial creativity of Ben Youngs and Toby Flood. This is why Jonny Wilkinson, fitness-permitting, still holds a crucial role in Johnson’s World Cup master plan. Wilkinson should be installed as inside centre with Shontayne Hape outside, which would ensure that England would remain strong in defence, and exciting in attack. Wilkinson remains one of the most ferocious tacklers in world rugby, while by playing outside of Flood, England will have a left-right kicking combination that is similar to that of Wilkinson-Catt in 2003, which proved an integral part of England’s World Cup victory. With the Autumn Internationals finished, the countdown to the Six Nations Championship in February has already begun. The tournament will be the final dress rehearsal ahead of the World Cup, and will give Johnson’s revitalised and re-

After a successful autumn series, England must now use the Six Nations to gather some pre-World Cup momentum energised England a chance to lock horns with European heavyweights Ireland and France. England, on paper, may have experienced a mixed autumn series, but it has been far more important than it may seem. In showing managerial consistency, Johnson is finally giving youth the chance that

it deserves, and an England side has never shown as much innovation and inventiveness on the international stage since the infamous team of 2003. England remain World Cup underdogs, but should fear nobody. Johnson and his men must now approach the Six Nations with opti-

mism. Johnson must now allow the team to gel, and if this vibrant side continues to develop, next year’s Six Nations may prove the perfect way to announce to the world that England will arrive in New Zealand next September with the realistic aim of winning the World Cup.

THE COURIER Monday December 6 2010



It’s the most wonderful time of the year Dan Robinson Each year there are many dates on the calendar earmarked by the avid football fan. The first and last games of the season, the visits of the ‘Big Four’, the twin ties against that detested local rival. But there is always one day of the year which still holds universal appeal for English football - the draw for the third round of the FA Cup. The competition may have sadly lost some of its glamour following the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger fielding weaker teams, as finishing fourth in the league displaces the triumph of winning the oldest club competition in the world. Indeed, if it were up to the fans, many would no doubt argue that the fourth Champions League spot should be awarded to the winners of the FA Cup in order to halt its rapid decline, but that’s for another day. Yet, no matter how much the FA and the Premier League strive to dent the name of the nation’s beloved tournament, they will never be able to take away the romance which accompanies the third round, when the big teams from the Premiership and Championship enter the competition against minnows from the depths of English football. Sunday’s draw was no different. Of course, one match sticks out like a sore thumb as Liverpool were handed an away tie at their fiercest rivals Manchester United, for a game which promises to be as exciting as it will be fiery. History buffs will point to the fact that the Red Devils have only lost to Liverpool once in the past eight games in the competition, yet those of an Anfield persuasion will inform us that their side actually won

the last tie back in 2006. Liverpool have been struggling of late, but whichever way you look at it, the FA Cup does not always follow the rule book. However, while most eyes may be on the North West, for those of a more dreamy nature, there are many more reasons to tune into this season’s third round weekend. Those of a certain vintage may have felt their eyes sparkle as Noel Gallagher lifted Newcastle’s name out of the hat to draw them away to Stevenage. While the Borough may now be strutting their stuff in the thick end of League Two, they will long be remembered for their escapades almost 13 years ago, when they were still a non-league side. Drawn at home to the Magpies in the fourth round in January 1998, they warmed the hearts of a nation as they forced a replay, which Kenny Dalglish’s team scraped through 2-1 at St. James’ Park in controversial circumstances. The Toon Army will not be looking forward to a repeat of this game, but if they are looking for a consolation, then it may lie in the fact that they reached the final that season. Elsewhere, Bolton, a team whose football is threatening to become vastly more fashionable than their name, will entertain Blue Square Premier side York City in a game in which they will be praying to avoid an upset. Leeds travel to Arsenal looking to recreate the scenes of last season when they defeated Manchester United in their own backyard – a game which surely ranks alongside the greatest third round ties of all time given their League One status at the time, as Jermaine Beckford silenced 70,000-odd Man United fans against their old foes. Indeed, the third round contains a multitude of memories, some full of pleasure for the nobodies who

managed to upset the balance and eliminate a more illustrious opponent. Britain loves an underdog, and season after season, we all get the opportunity to throw our weight behind some unknown quantity in the hope of a giant-killing act. Given the fact they are arguably the biggest team in the land, Man United feature prominently in this trip down memory lane. For, if ever there was a scalp worth taking, it’s theirs. Back in 1984, a Harry Redknappinspired Bournemouth dumped Ron Atkinson’s cup holders out of the competition at the first hurdle. Milton Graham and Ian Thompson were the goal heroes for the old third division outfit. Just four years ago, Sir Alex Ferguson’s superstars almost had to suffer a similar fate as Nigel Clough’s non-league Burton Albion held his side to a 0-0 draw, forcing a replay despite the introduction of Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo for the last half hour. The year before that, they experienced a similar scoreline at home to Exeter to demonstrate the pitfalls of fielding weakened sides. However, the Old Trafford club has not been the only team to agonise at the hands of lesser forces along the years. Wrexham, bottom of the old fourth division, took apart league champions Arsenal in 1992 thanks to a 25-yard free kick from 37-year old Mickey Thomas with a late Steve Watkin finish to claim a famous 2-1 victory. Even Coventry City, for so long a stable top division side and even FA Cup winners in 1987, tasted bitter embarrassment as Sutton United disposed of them 2-1 with goals from Tony Rains and Matthew Hanlan in 1989. Yet, no doubt the biggest FA Cup slay of modern times belongs to a little team called Hereford United.

The romance of the FA Cup third round will be rekindled early next month In 1972, they were ploughing their trade in the Southern League, but Ronnie Radford wrote his name into football folklore (there’s even a new trophy named after him this season for the biggest giant-killing act) when he unleashed an unstoppable 30-yard strike to defeat topflight Newcastle.

It’s a goal which epitomises the romance of the FA Cup third round – perhaps Man United v Liverpool will set the pulses racing highest, but you can guarantee to see Ronnie pop up on the BBC before Stevenage attempt to become the latest team to dispose of a Premier League team.


Monday December 6 2010 THE COURIER

Sport BUCS

Mixed fortunes for badminton stars Stephanie Ferrao Newcastle’s Badminton Club recently made the journey to the University of Nottingham to compete in Britain’s largest university badminton tournament – the BUCS Individual Championship. With 400 players from 60 different clubs, the tournament was an exciting chance to play teams beyond the Northern division. As a knockout tournament, players were submitted as individual entrants or pairs rather than as a team. The competition opened with the Men’s Singles, with Newcastle’s Ben Davidson putting on a promising start, edging over opponent Andrew Saunders, with a threeended win. Davidson went on to beat Wai Lim of Cardiff University 21-11, 21-17. First year Joshua Au Yeung endured a tough start in the competition, facing the tournament’s second seed and England player Jamie Bonsels. Au Yeung did well to draw-out the match, but fast footwork wasn’t enough to stave off a

9-21, 12-21 defeat. The Manchester University player later went on to take the silver medal in the competition. Fellow first-year Ben Lambden took his game against Brunel University to three closely-contested ends, but was outmanoeuvred in the third end, losing it 14-21. Women’s Singles held less promise, as it is an event the team has struggled with since the departure of key players in the past two years. Both Rachel Turner and Katherine Mills were beaten in successive ends. For the Newcastle team, Mixed Doubles proved to be a more successful event. The experienced partnership of Kirstin Miller and Adam Lodge took the pair through the first round, beating Yousuf Kerr and Ruth Flett convincingly. Their second round match was the first of many local derbies during the tournament, as they faced Doug Clark and Laura McKie of Northumbria University. The Newcastle pair played a strong, offensive game, and after a controversial match-point call, lost 15-21 21-17 24-22.

Though unaccustomed to partnering each other, Kathleen Turner and Joshua Au Yeung complimented each other on court and claimed a convincing win in their first round match 21-16, 21-12 against Teesside University. However, they came unstuck in their second round match against James Todd and Jenny Crump. Representing one of the best universities in the competition, the Birmingham University pair beat Turner and Au Yeung 21-13, 21-13. Following his earlier success in Men’s Singles, Ben Davidson returned to the court with Stephanie Ferrao to play Nottingham University’s Jonathan Campbell and Kate Strong. From the off the Nottingham pair dominated the game, assisted by a series of unenforced errors from Ferrao. Beleaguered and suffering from an aggravating hip injury, Davidson’s movement was impaired, leading the opponents to take a comfortable win 21-13, 2111. The second day of the competition began with Women’s Doubles with Kirstin Miller and Kathleen Turner

facing Manchester University’s Felicity Porter and Gemma Barlow. A few points into the first end, the Newcastle pair were being pushed into defence by the opponents allowing them to take the match 2114, 21-16. Also facing Manchester University were second pair Stephanie Ferrao and Alison Craine. After losing the first end 17-21, the Newcastle pair played excellently, making the most of opportunities to attack at the net, and took the end 21-16. After a frank team talk, the Manchester pair used the third end to destabilise Ferrao and Craine’s game-plan, pushing them around the court to effortlessly take the final end 21-4. Making a rare appearance for Newcastle, Laura Walsh partnered first-year Emily Waller to take on Sheffield University’s Olivia Franklin and Rachel Hickie. Despite having never played together before, the pair rallied out the points, but were often denied the opportunity to attack, leading to a 14-21, 15-21 defeat. The atmosphere of Ben Davidson’s return to the court was akin to that

of the Stan Calvert tournament, as he faced the seeded Richard Eaton of Northumbria University. Despite the support of the team cheering him on, Davidson’s knee and hip injuries meant that he was lacking the rapid movement of earlier games, allowing Eaton to take the match 21-10, 21-17. The local rival has seen an surge in talent in recent years, and is sure to prove a tough side in this year’s match. Men’s Doubles presented an intimidating match for Ben Lambden and Adam Lodge, who faced the event’s top seeds and eventual winners Harry Wright and Mark Middleton of Leeds Met Carnegie. Lodge and Lambden played well, but were beaten 21-10, 21-14. Last to play were Newcastle’s Jordan Levens and Chris Harrison, who beat the University of Brighton pair in three ends. However, their second round match proved too much of a challenge, as they faced seeded pair Richard Collier and Richard Doyle of Birmingham University, who took the match 2112, 21-12. B.LAMBDEN

Newcastle’s Badminton Club recently travelled down to Nottingham to participate in the BUCS Individual Championships. The tournament is Britain’s largest university competition for the sport

Newcastle Ski Club make their national TV debut in daring Grey Street ski stunt James Russell Newcastle University Ski and Snowboard Club made national news last weekend as its members took full advantage of the snow that is frustrating most of the University’s other sports clubs. As the snow continued to disrupt university life for many, former British Slalom Champion and Elite Athlete Alister Hirst and the club’s former President James Russell took to Grey Street, near Monument in

central Newcastle to ski. “Snow like this in England is very rare so we have to make the most of it when we get chance” said Alister, an engineering Masters student. The club certainly has been doing so. Waking up early on Saturday morning, the pair headed into town, taking the Metro from West Jesmond station. “We attracted some funny looks on the Metro, it was the strangest ski lift I’ve ever used” added Alister. On arriving at Monument, James and Alister stripped down to their rac-

ing lycra cat suits, further attracting attention from confused Christmas shoppers. James Russell, a final year economics student, said “We wore the cat suits for a bit of a laugh. We joked about TV cameras turning up, but didn’t really expect them to.” ITV did however approach the pair for a clip of them skiing, which made the national evening news, and the footage was also adopted by BBC News. It showed James and Alister skiing from Monument, down Grey Street and past the Theatre Royal as

passers-by peered out of shops to catch a glimpse. “It was a surreal experience,” commented Alister, “the snow was just deep enough on the road, although I only narrowly avoided a van at one point!” On Sunday the pair was joined on the Town Moor by first team skiers, Vice President Benn Hall and Chris Penrose, along with some of the club’s Freestyle Team led by Bart Loades and Snowboard Captain Hamish Livingstone. The team practiced some freestyle from

a small kicker they built, with an interview with the skiers making local news that evening. President Chris Thompson said “It’s fantastic to see the guys so bravely adapt to all conditions thrown at them and raise the profile of the club as it goes from strength to strength.” For more information on the Ski and Snowboard Club’s plans for the winter, please visit www.nussc. org, or get in touch with President Chris Thompson on chris@nussc. org.

THE COURIER Monday December 6 2010


BUCS Sport

so Canoe club conquer elements Royals close to L. SPEIGHT

upset in Calvert rehearsal

Netball Round-up Newcastle 1sts Northumbria 1sts

30 31

Harriet Needham

What snow? The Canoe Club braved the elements as they travelled to Yorkshire for the annual BUCS White Water Rafting tournament, finishing fourth. Linda Speight Last weekend, when most people were thinking of snowball fights and warm fires, the Canoe Club travelled to the River Washburn in Yorkshire to compete in the annual BUCS white water race. For the uninformed, white water racing involves paddling as fast as possible down the river - the longer and pointier your boat, the faster you will go. Competitors race against the clock in a number of events in K1 (single kayak), C1 (single canoe) and C2 (double canoe). The challenge is to pick the best route through a series of exciting waves and drops, while paddling

as fast as possible. A combination of skill, strength and fitness is required to beat the fastest paddlers. Newcastle had been training hard in the weeks leading up to the race and went into the weekend with high hopes, spurred on by a new coach and racing boat funded by the sports centre. With a great team effort Newcastle finished 4th overall and picked up 34 BUCS points along the way. A fantastic achievement for the club which, unlike many of the other top universities, has no paddlers in the GB team. Special mentions should go to Ralph Baker, Sarah McGarrity and Linda Speight for winning a silver medal in the mixed team race, breaking up a potential 1,2,3 from

Loughborough; to the men’s team of Ralph Baker, Jonny Clough and Sam Desbruslais who narrowly missed out on a bronze medal by a heart wrenching four seconds, and to the new pairing of Ralph Baker and Pete Clarke who also finished 4th in the C2 sprint race. The weekend brought plenty of new challenges for everyone, particularly due to the sub-zero temperatures. Putting on frozen kit, walking through the snow, and getting into a boat full of ice is not the usual routine for a Canoe Club trip! Hats off to the determination of those paddlers (who shall remain nameless for pride’s sake) for their commitment to finish the race, despite finding themselves in

the freezing water a few too many times! Many of the team also competed in racing boats for the first time. A risky decision as they are much faster than general purpose kayaks when you get it right but much more difficult to control and hence you’re much more likely to end up swimming if you get it wrong. Hopefully over the next few years the skill base of using these boats within the club will build up and even better results will be reported. The next BUCS event in the canoe calendar is the slalom in February; I’m praying for warmer weather already!

Dancing success in Durham Ania Kurek Last weekend, whilst the majority of students were making the most of the snow on a Saturday, the Newcastle University Dance Society dancers were up at the crack of dawn to compete in their first university dance competition of the year. Hosted by Durham University, the team came away with spectacular results. Unbeatable choreography by Hannah Houghton led to first places in both Contemporary and Intermediate ballet (where they were already reigning champions). Also scoring second place with Advanced Tap (choreography Niki Holgate-Smith and Amy Heptinstall) and Advanced Ballet (choreography Sophie Bennison) would have ordinarily been the icing on the cake, but a 3rd place in the highly prestigious street category (choreography Beth Bresnen and Nat Halhead) meant that Newcastle swept the board with their fantastic results. Missing out on being placed with

questionable results in Jazz and Intermediate Tap put a brief dampener over the day’s events, but with over 13 universities competing from all over the country, the bar was set very high and Newcastle did achieve some incredible results. The snow blizzard couldn’t keep us away, especially since 36 dancers from the society have been rehearsing since October. Competition was fierce but Newcastle prevailed and came away as winners. Newcastle University Dance Society prides itself with providing classes of all abilities in a range of styles that people may not know would interest them. The obvious ballet, tap and jazz, along with contemporary, musical theatre (no singing involved!) and the very popular street. We even offer a body conditioning class running once or twice a week, which combines strengthening, cardio and core exercises. Ideal for anyone who wants to keep fit but can’t quite face the gym, any dancer will tell you that this is the way to get buff! Dance is the perfect way to keep fit and have fun. No lesson will be the same, and

you will notice the difference in yourself even after a few weeks. All classes are taught by students making it informal and fun. A few things spring to mind when someone mentions the word ‘dancer’: ballet, tutus, Sam Jacks, pansies, fake tan, Ann Widdecombe on Strictly Come Dancing... well maybe not so much the latter. Not many would associate the word athlete with dancer. However studies have shown that Sports Science research supports the notion that ballet and dance can enhance agility and other measures of sports performance’. Dance is a physically demanding activity, which requires skill and physical prowess. It also requires technique, timing, musicality and above everything, dancers have to do it all whilst looking as light as a feather with a smile on their face. I believe you’d be hard pressed to see the rugby lads running around with grins on their faces for the full match! The dancers who competed in this recent dance competition have trained for hours throughout the week and more so on the weekend; similar or even more, I would

argue, than athletes on any other NCL sports team. Combining grace and poise, with agility and endurance, I know my dancers can hack it like the best of them! Next year we are hosting our first dance competition on the 12 February, where a multitude of universities will be competing. From St Andrews to London, universities from literally the length and breadth of the country will be represented. We also have our annual show in March of next year to be held at the Northern Stage, which anyone can get involved in. Not only that, but we work in involvement with the Sports Volunteer Programme and have dance volunteer opportunities for those that want to work within the community. Ever since the influx of street dancing on our TV screens (think Step Up, George Sampson, Diversity) Britain has got dance fever. So get on your dancing shoes and come join in the ever expanding Dance Society... there’s always room for next aspiring Billy Elliot. Even if it is one that just wants to impress on a Wednesday night at Tiger.

In one of the only fixtures played at all last Wednesday, NUNC fell short by a solitary point at the sports centre against rivals Northumbria in a match that, literally, went down to the final whistle The Royals made the short journey across Newcastle togged up in their wellies and coats for the second clash against Northumbria, which proved to be a nail biting match from start to finish. The Poly won the toss and chose to have first centre. At quarter time, the Royals saw themselves three goals down, but nothing could stop them from fighting back after they were left gutted by their previous result. The first half saw some fantastic play by the attackers, with goal shooter Laura Harvey barely missing and Corinne Kinvig at goal attack moving so quickly that there was no way her hands-on goal defence could keep up. At half time, the girls gained on them by one more goal. A stern team talk and a few more positive words allowed the girls to fight back once again. Katie Rimmer at Centre and Rachel Saville at wing defence were picking off interceptions everywhere, with wing attack Harriet Needham feeding the ball into the shooters who continued to convert their shots. The Royals came out on top in the third quarter winning it by three goals, but there was still only one point separating the two sides. The defence did not falter, applying pressure and picking up hundreds of rebounds throughout the whole game; Mia Archer played beautifully at goal defence and player of the match, goal keeper Sally Burden did not let the Northumbria goal shooter receive the ball easily. It became a race against time in the last few minutes of the final quarter, but the Royals did not lose their heads and played perfectly the whole way down court with much encouragement for each other and from the side line. Two last centre passes saw a quick goal from Northumbria and just as the Royals got the ball to Harvey, full time was blown. The end of the game saw confusion from both sides as to who had won the close-fought game. However, the Royals narrowly missed out by only one goal. Bring on Stan Calvert in two weeks time. The best result yet for the Royals.

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Monday December 6 2010 THE COURIER

Netball narrowly miss out to Northumbria in pre-Stan Calvert clash Sports Editors: Paul Christian, Jamie Gavin and Tom James -

Sports Editors: Jono Taylor, Wills Robinson and Kat Bannon -

There’s snow way we can play

> Sport, page 43

Taking the piste: Ski club conquer the slopes of Grey street Sport, page 42

Elements bring BUCS to stand still with only two fixtures able to be played last Wednesday Wills Robinson Sports Editor There’s no doubt that snow has a certain novelty factor. However, this tends to last as long as family Christmas amiability, and was certainly in short supplies in the Union office last week. Emma Moses, Newcastle University’s Clubs and Societies Administrator, described the damage the weather had on Wednesday’s BUCS and Intra Mural fixtures as the worst she had experienced since beginning her job. Only two fixtures out of the entire schedule were able to be played last Wednesday after all outdoor fixtures as well as the majority of indoor fixtures were cancelled. This has proved to be more than a headache for the administration staff, not just at Newcastle but at universities around the country. At the beginning of last week, BUCS released a statement that all fixtures were to go ahead as planned. This was unless the university could provide written evidence from the AA and coach companies stating that the roads were too dangerous or congested for travel. An angry Birmingham University released a statement declaring that none of their students would be participating in fixtures on the Wednesday, because of their general concern for the athletes’ well-being. After receiving Birmingham’s statement, most universities jumped on their established bandwagon, despite it failing to coincide with BUCS regulations. Newcastle began cancelling fixtures on the Tuesday of last week, and continued as late as the early hours of Wednesday morning when Keith’s Coaches deemed it too dangerous to travel to Sheffield. Although some of the indoor games against local opposition were still to be played, Northumbria released a statement saying that, after a health and safety check, no fixtures were going to played at all, except for Netball Firsts and Women’s Squash Seconds against Newcastle. Newcastle responded by cancelling the remaining games against the likes of Teeside, Sunderland and Durham. Then, to add to the confusion Fraser Kennedy, Director of Sport received a frustrated phone call from local rivals Dur-

ham, asking why they had called off fixtures when there was only a short distance to travel. Although the teams could have reached their destinations relatively easily, there was no guarantee that they could get back if the snow continued to fall. The rearranging of some fixtures are proving far more of a headache for Emma Moses than others. The Newcastle Mens First XI were meant to play Northumbria Fourths in the BUCS Cup and will now have to squeeze the fixture in before 6 December (today), weather permitting. Otherwise, the fixture will be decided by the dreaded toss of the coin. This is the same with the Men’s Football Seconds, who have to fit a tie against Leeds Met Fourths in by the same date. The Met Office has predicted the wintry conditions will continue and so both University and IntraMural sport look to be in jeopardy over the next couple of weeks. Last week over 70cm of snow fell on some parts of the UK, with parts of Scotland reaching 100cm. The outlook is also less optimistic for the biggest day in Newcastle University of the year, the Stan Calvert Cup. For every athlete at Newcastle and Northumbria, winning the encounter is one of the main desires during the year, and the bragging rights between the Poly and the Posh are very sought after. Despite Newcastle winning by a record margin last year, the main event at Gateshead Stadium, the Men’s Rugby Union, was cancelled due to a water-logged pitch. Surely the sporting gods will not make us go through the same again this year. On a slightly more comical side, NUSSC were on the receiving end of a somewhat ironic blow last weekend as their BUCS Northern League race meeting was called off - because of the snow. The meet was meant to be held at Rossendale Dry Ski Slope, just outside of Blackburn. However, the teams decided that the heavy snow fall on the roads meant that getting to the North West last Saturday would be problematic, especially since there would be an unfair allocation of points if only a handful of teams turned up. This means that NUSSC will have to wait until the sun shines and the snow has melted until they can put their skis back on.

Much to the confusion of Newcastle’s Christmas shoppers, NUSSC members James Russell and Alister Hirst traded the ski lift for the metro when they were caught by national television skiing down Grey Street last week, fully kitted out in racing lycra cat suits

The Courier 1221  

Monday 6 December 2010

The Courier 1221  

Monday 6 December 2010